Which is more important in your religion — faith or works?
Answer: Today’s question
indicates that the dynamic of faith and works can refer to the life of
any believer, regardless of the faith tradition. For every religion is
based on faith, and every religion stresses the importance of doing
good deeds or “good works.”
In a Bahá’í context, the question takes on a capital importance. For
faith or belief can be expressed only by two means: words and deeds.
Every believer, consequently, should strive for the coherence of words
Regarding deeds, Bahá’u’lláh (1817-1892), the Prophet-Founder of the
religion, has written, “By my life! All that are on earth shall pass
away, while good deeds alone shall endure; to the truth of My words God
doth Himself bear witness” (The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 44). In his ethical
work, The Hidden Words, he emphatically stressed the importance of
deeds: “O Son of Dust! Verily I say unto thee: Of all men the most
negligent is he that disputeth idly and seeketh to advance himself over
his brother. Say, O brethren! Let deeds, not words, be your adorning”
(no. 5, from the Persian).
However, in a challenging statement, Bahá’u’lláh erased the line
between faith and works. He prescribed belief in the Prophet
(“Manifestation of God”) when he appears (faith) and the observance of
his laws and teachings (deeds) as being inseparable “twin duties.”
“The first duty prescribed by God for His servants is the recognition
of Him Who is the Day Spring of His Revelation and the Fountain of His
laws, Who representeth the Godhead in both the Kingdom of His Cause and
the world of creation… It behoveth every one who reacheth this most
sublime station, this summit of transcendent glory, to observe every
ordinance of Him Who is the Desire of the world. These twin duties are
inseparable. Neither is acceptable without the other” (Gleanings, p.