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Suicide

 

Some of my life coaching clients have told me how tired they are of this life, and many of them have even considered ending their lives to end the intense suffering they feel, and hasten the intense longing to be in the next world.  They often feel very guilty for these feelings, knowing that the act of suicide is strongly condemned in the Baha’i teachings, (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 203) and alongside the other world religions, it is “forbidden”.

They want to know why it’s forbidden:

  • God Who is the Author of all life can alone take it away, and dispose of it the way he deems best.  (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 203)
  • Whoever commits suicide endangers his soul, and will suffer spiritually as a result in the other worlds beyond.’ (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 203)

And what they can do when they’re feeling this way:

  • You must not injure yourselves or commit suicide…Should anyone at any time encounter hard and perplexing times, he must say to himself, “This will soon pass.” Then will he be calm and quiet. In all my calamity and difficulties I used to say to myself, “This will pass away”. Then I became patient. If anyone cannot be patient and cannot endure, and if he wishes to become a martyr than let him arise in service to the Cause of God. It will be better for him if he attains to martyrdom in His path.  (‘Abdul-Bahá, Star of the West, Vol. 12, No 181, p. 280)
  • The House of Justice admonishes you to put all thought of suicide and death out of your mind and concentrate on prayer and effort to serve the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh.  (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 203)
  • The House of Justice admonishes you to put all thought of suicide out of your mind and instead to concentrate on the outpourings of Baha’u’llah’s grace which have encompassed all mankind, and strive to use the tests you face as a means for your growth and development. (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer 13 December 1988)

They want to know they aren’t alone:

  • That honorable personage has been so much subjected to the stress and pain of this world that his highest wish became deliverance from it. Such is this mortal abode — a storehouse of afflictions and suffering. It is negligence that binds man to it for no comfort can be secured by any soul in this world, from monarch down to the least subject. If once it should offer man a sweet cup, a hundred bitter ones will follow it and such is the condition of this world. The wise man therefore does not attach himself to this mortal life and does not depend upon it; even at some moments he eagerly wishes death that he may thereby be freed from these sorrows and afflictions. Thus it is seen that some, under extreme pressure of anguish, have committed suicide.  (‘Abdul-Bahá, Baha’i World Faith, p. 378)

They feel comforted to know that even the Manifestations of God longed to be delivered from this world:

  • Grant that the day of attaining Thy holy presence may be fast approaching.  (The Báb, Bahá’í Prayers, p. 165)
  • Hasten, by Thy grace and bounty, my passing, O my Lord … (Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations, p. 18)

They want to know what will happen to them if they do kill themselves:

  • As to him rest assured; he will be immersed in the ocean of pardon and forgiveness and will become the recipient of bounty and favor.  (‘Abdul-Bahá, Baha’i World Faith, p. 378)
  • The manner in which the Supreme Being, in His justice as well as in His mercy, will deal with every individual soul is a mystery unknown to us on this earthly plane.  (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, December 21, 1978)

They want to know that God cares about them:

  • I sorrow for thee in thy grief, and lament with thee in thy tribulation… I bear witness to the ser¬vices thou hast rendered Me, and testify to the various troubles thou hast sustained for My sake. All the atoms of the earth declare My love for thee.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 309)
  • Ye have tolerated the censure of the enemies for the sake of My love and have steadfastly endured in My Path the grievous cruelties which the ungodly have inflicted upon you. Unto this I Myself bear witness, and I am the All-Knowing.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 246)
  • Know thou that God is with thee under all conditions. (‘Abdul-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdul-Bahá, p. 122)
  • With all my soul and spirit, I am thy companion at all moments. Know thou this of a certainty!  (Abdu’l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu’l-Baha v3, p. 558)
  • O my well-beloved, deeply spiritual sister! Day and night thou livest in my memory. Whenever I remember thee my heart swelleth with sadness and my regret groweth more intense. Grieve not, for I am thy true, thy unfailing comforter. Let neither despondency nor despair becloud the serenity of thy life or restrain thy freedom. These days shall pass away. We will, please God, in the Abha Kingdom and beneath the sheltering shadow of the Blessed Beauty, forget all these our earthly cares and will find each one of these base calumnies amply compensated by His expressions of praise and favour. From the beginning of time sorrow and anxiety, regret and tribulation, have always been the lot of every loyal servant of God. Ponder this in thine heart and consider how very true it is. Wherefore, set thine heart on the tender mercies of the Ancient Beauty and be thou filled with abiding joy and intense gladness…. (Compilations, Bahiyyih Khánum, p. 7)

They want to know that this despair will get better:

  • Sorrow not if, in these days and on this earthly plane, things contrary to your wishes have been ordained and manifested by God, for days of blissful joy, of heavenly delight, are assuredly in store for you. Worlds, holy and spiritually glorious, will be unveiled to your eyes. You are destined by Him, in this world and hereafter, to partake of their benefits, to share in their joys, and to obtain a portion of their sustaining grace. To each and every one of them you will, no doubt, attain.  (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 329)
  • The darkness of this gloomy night shall pass away.   (‘Abdul-Bahá, Baha’i Scriptures, p. 547)
  • These are the darkest hours before the break of day. Peace, as promised, will come at night’s end.  (The Universal House of Justice, Ridván Message150, 1993)
  • Do not despair, nay be assured that a glorious future awaits you all, more brilliant than any you can imagine.  (Shoghi Effendi, The Light of Divine Guidance v I, p. 97)

They want to know what to say to combat these feelings:

  • Is there any Remover of difficulties save God? Say: Praised be God! He is God! All are His servants, and all abide by His bidding!   (The Báb, Baha’i Prayers, p. 27)  Tell them to repeat it five hundred times, nay, a thousand times, by day and by night, sleeping and waking . . .   (Adib Taherzadeh, The Child of the Covenant, p. 63)
  • O Lord! Thou art the Remover of every anguish and the Dispeller of every affliction. Thou art He Who banisheth every sorrow and setteth free every slave, the Redeemer of every soul. O Lord! Grant deliverance through Thy mercy, and reckon me among such servants of Thine as have gained salvation. (The Báb, Baha’i Prayers, p. 28)
  • Protect us from what lieth in front of us and behind us, above our heads, on our right, on our left, below our feet and every other side to which we are exposed. Verily, Thy protection over all things is unfailing.  (The Báb, Baha’i Prayers, p. 134)
  • Dispel my grief by Thy bounty and Thy generosity, O God, my God, and banish mine anguish through Thy sovereignty and Thy might.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Baha’i Prayers, p. 25)
  • O my Lord, my Beloved, my Desire! Befriend me in my loneliness and accompany me in my exile. Remove my sorrow. . . (‘Abdul-Bahá, Baha’i Prayers, p. 31)
  • O God! Refresh and gladden my spirit. Purify my heart. Illumine my powers. I lay all my affairs in Thy hand. Thou art my Guide and my Refuge. I will no longer be sorrowful and grieved; I will be a happy and joyful being. O God! I will no longer be full of anxiety, nor will I let trouble harass me. I will not dwell on the unpleasant things of life.  O God! Thou art more friend to me than I am to myself. I dedicate myself to Thee, O Lord.  (‘Abdul-Bahá, Baha’i Prayers, p. 151)
  • In the darksome night of despair, my eye turneth expectant and full of hope to the morn of Thy boundless favor and at the hour of dawn my drooping soul is refreshed and strengthened in remembrance of Thy beauty and perfection. (‘Abdul-Bahá, Baha’i Prayers, p. 30)
  • He urges you to persevere and add up your accomplishments, rather than to dwell on the dark side of things. Everyone’s life has both a dark and bright side. The Master said: turn your back to the darkness and your face to Me.  (Shoghi Effendi, Unfolding Destiny, p. 457)

Family and friends want to know why their loved ones might have felt they had to do it:

  • Thus it is seen that some, under extreme pressure of anguish, have committed suicide. (‘Abdul-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 378)
  • …That honourable man hath been so subjected to the stress and strain of this world that his greatest wish was for deliverance from it. Such is this mortal abode: a storehouse of afflic¬tions and suffering. It is ignorance that binds man to it, for no comfort can be secured by any soul in this world, from monarch down to the most humble commoner. If once this life should offer a man a sweet cup, a hundred bitter ones will follow; such is the condition of this world. The wise man, therefore, doth not attach himself to this mortal life and doth not depend upon it; at some moments, even, he eagerly wisheth for death that he may thereby be freed from these sorrows and afflictions. (‘Abdul-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdul-Bahá, p. 200)
  • It is too bad that young and promising men . . . should take away their life at a moment of despair.  (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 203)

When suicidal feelings are part of a mental Illness:

  • It is very hard to be subject to any illness, particularly a mental one. However, we must always remember these illnesses have nothing to do with our spirit or our inner relation to God.  (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 281)

Survivors want to know the Baha’i attitude toward those who commit suicide:

  • Although suicide has been strongly condemned in the teachings, this does not mean that a person has ceased to be a Baha’i because he committed suicide, and he should certainly be given a Baha’i funeral.  (from a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly 9 December 1984)
  • A Baha’i is certainly free to pray for those who have passed on regardless of the cause of their death, using the words of any of the prayers of his choice which have been revealed through the bounty of God. (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, December 21, 1978)

What can those that remain behind, do?

  • The Universal House of Justice was deeply saddened to learn of the tragic deaths of your daughter…Such a senseless cutting short of the lives of capable young people who have so much promise before them is a loss to mankind and an agonizing trial for those to whom they were near and dear.  You ask what you, as a Baha’i, can do to assist the progress of their souls. The House of Justice has asked us to say that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has stated that good works performed in the names of those who have passed on assist their progress in the next life. Therefore, if you will consecrate to their memory your services to your fellow human beings, and, above all, your efforts to teach the Message of Baha’u’llah, you may be sure that this will rejoice them in the worlds beyond.    (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer 10 August 1988)


If you are feeling suicidal, please get help!

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