Our first and sacred obligation: The principle of noninvolvement in politics and obedience to government

As the Bahá’í community increasingly adopts an outward-looking orientation and takes steps to bring Bahá'u'lláh's teachings to bear on the pressing issues of the day, individual members of the community and the institutions of the Faith are drawn into discursive spaces that can be characterized by partisanship. This presentation seeks to demonstrate the liberating effects of the principle of non-involvement in politics and obedience to government through an examination of guidance from Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice. Finally, this presentation will briefly touch upon some examples of the principle in action.

The presenter gratefully acknowledges the following individuals, as they played a key role in researching and deepening on this subject with him (as a group) and the final product is very much rendered in light of this collaborative approach: Donna Rowlands, David Weber, Eric Kianfar, Faran Moradipour, Maral Moradipour.

Deepening questions
  • According to the Writings/guidance, what is meant by “politics”?
  • What is the concept of “power” outlined in the various correspondence from the Universal House of Justice?
  • How do individual Bahá’í’s, Bahá’í communities, and Bahá’í institutions engage in “politics” if at all?
  • Does the principle of non-involvement in politics = neutrality?
  • How does the Bahá’í conception of history influence the formation and articulation of a perspective on politics?
  • What are some implications/consequences of adherence to the principle/policy of non-involvement in politics?
  • How do we respond to the accusations that Bahá’ís are “aloof” from the socio-political struggles of our respective societies?
  • Will the lesser peace come about as a result of any Bahá’í plan or action?
  • How can Bahá’ís prepare groundwork for transition from system of national sovereignty to system of world government? * 5 important activities
  • What avenues are available to individual Bahá’ís who feel that they have experienced a wrong?
  • What is the approach outlined by the Universal House of Justice with respect to offering advice on the promotion of human rights?
  • Can we make comments about policies or individuals on social media sites? What if the actions policies of a given political party or political personality appear to dovetail or resonate with the teachings of the Faith?
  • How does our understanding that the unity of humanity advances through a process of crisis and victory impact our understanding of these principles?
  • What examples from the history of the Bahá’í Faith can you think of, if any, that exemplify the posture of Bahá’ís towards politics/political situations?

  • Political Science
  • Governance

  • Rolando Aguilera

    Rolando Aguilera grew up in Guelph, to parents from El Salvador. He attended Catholic primary and secondary schools before attending the University of Guelph where he majored in Political Science and minored in Spanish language and literature. It was during his first semester of his undergraduate studies that Rolando began to study the Bahá’í Faith. Rolando then enrolled in a master’s degree, specializing in Latin American literature and thereafter went on to study law with a focus on Canadian constitutional law.


46th Annual Conference


The views expressed in this recording are those of the presenter and do not necessarily represent the views of the Association for Bahá’í Studies, nor the authoritative explications of Bahá’í writings.