Dealing with crime

Oct 2013
Glenwood, Queensland, Australia
Beloved friends

'Abdu'l-Baha, in speaking of dealing with crime and criminals, states:

105. As to the difference between that material civilization now prevailing, and the divine civilization which will be one of the benefits to derive from the House of Justice, it is this: material civilization, through the power of punitive and retaliatory laws, restraineth the people from criminal acts; and notwithstanding this, while laws to retaliate against and punish a man are continually proliferating, as ye can see, no laws exist to reward him. In all the cities of Europe and America, vast buildings have been erected to serve as jails for the criminals.

Divine civilization, however, so traineth every member of society that no one, with the exception of a negligible few, will undertake to commit a crime. There is thus a great difference between the prevention of crime through measures that are violent and retaliatory, and so training the people, and enlightening them, and spiritualizing them, that without any fear of punishment or vengeance to come, they will shun all criminal acts. They will, indeed, look upon the very commission of a crime as a great disgrace and in itself the harshest of punishments. They will become enamoured of human perfections, and will consecrate their lives to whatever will bring light to the world and will further those qualities which are acceptable at the Holy Threshold of God.

See then how wide is the difference between material civilization and divine. With force and punishments, material civilization seeketh to restrain the people from mischief, from inflicting harm on society and committing crimes. But in a divine civilization, the individual is so conditioned that with no fear of punishment, he shunneth the perpetration of crimes, seeth the crime itself as the severest of torments, and with alacrity and joy, setteth himself to acquiring the virtues of humankind, to furthering human progress, and to spreading light across the world.

(Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 132)
The progress to such a state where crime is prevented through education will take time and many steps - some small, some big.

Today in the news, is an article of a trial which may possibly be seen as a small first step toward such a state - acting in a way that keeps a person out of prison, imposes a suitable penalty, and provides greater satisfaction to victims than current judicial penal sentences. It has been trialled overseas, apparently with some success, and is about to be trialled here in Australia in the State of Western Australia:

First-time offenders in WA to sign agreement, avoid criminal convictions under Australia-first police plan - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

With the most warm greetings

Last edited:
Apr 2015
Las Vegas, Nevada
Thank you for sharing, this is a very important statement from the Master, I feel.