`Abdu'l-Baha Lauds the Establishment of the First Iranian Parliament, 1906
To: Jinab-i Aqa Mirza Ahmad, Washington.
You, who are firm in the covenant: You wrote a glorious letter saying that the time has arrived, of the most great glad-tidings that a national parliament [shura-yi milli] has been established in Iran and that arrangements are being made for a constitutional government that is in accord with the divine Law, in conformity with the explicit command of the Most Holy Book. I read what you wrote about the joy and delight of the American intellectuals and scholars at this life-giving good news, as well as the rejoicing at the Ottoman embassy. This became a cause for great happiness. The constitutional government is, according to the unequivocal divine Text, sanctioned by the revealed Law, and it is a cause of the might and prosperity of the State, to which allegiance is owed, and of the progress and liberty of the respected citizenry.
But, of a certainty, the hand of the selfish clerical leaders is at work. Outwardly, they desire a national parliament and raise a hue and cry. But secretly, they are endeavoring to spread turmoil, to instigate, and to oppose the good intentions of the State. Most secretly of all, they have no desire whatsoever to see the establishment of a national parliament. Their purpose is not in the least that Iran should become civilized, that the nation should gain insight, that modern progress be achieved, that sufficient information become available or that knowledge become the property of the masses. For thieves seek darkness, hunters desire to foul everyone’s water, and bats hate the light of the sun. The dung beetle does not smell of fragrant gardens. The ravenous wolf craves snow and food, and the wine-seller desires uncomprehending drunks. Likewise, these leaders of religion wish to cast the nation into the whirlpool of ignorance, so that the reins will fall into the hands of the evil clerics. In the same way, they believe that learning, rectitude, progress, and the nation’s devotion to the truth would lead to their own debasement.
Yes, you must be assured of the grace and munificence of his majesty [Muzaffaru’d-Din Shah], for the throne of Iran is the recipient of divine confirmation, and the royal crown of the East has been guaranteed success. Without doubt, the pure intentions of his majesty in ensuring the progress of the nation will have a great influence. May God aid him, and may assistance arrive from the kingdom on high. May the powers of heaven render him victorious and may he attain the grace and generosity of the All-Merciful. You must pray that the nation will, with the utmost approbation, obey the government, and will invest with authority the considered views of the public servants at the center of authority. May it not listen to the whispering of the wreakers of corruption. And may it not engage in opposition to or conflict with the State, unlike the Russian Duma. I pray that the kingdom and the nation shall not become captive to such a catastrophe. Much prayer is necessary so that God will safeguard all. Upon you be the glory of the All-Glorious.
(circa late summer, 1906)
Source: `Abdu’l-Baha, Majmu`ih-'i Mubarakih. Ed. `Ali Akbar Milani. Tehran, 1326/1908, pp. 222-223.
Page 222 of the Persian Text
Page 223 of the Persian Text