On the first of Ridvan the believers had for a number of years observed officially the festival by closing their schools on that day. No objection had been raised by the authorities. The action was precipitated which the government may impose upon them in this connection would necessarily constitute a violation of the individual’s right to freedom in matters of religious belief. The situation is different when an institution is run partly by Baha’is, or is completely owned by the government. In this case the believers, while anxious to observe all prescribed Baha’i Feasts and Anniversaries, when the Assembly decided, as advised by the Guardian, to observe in the same manner the Anniversary of the Bab’s Martyrdom, the observance of which is, in addition to eight other holidays, explicitly enjoined by ‘Abdu’l-Baha in one of His Tablets.
The point which should be always remembered is that the issue in question is essentially a matter of conscience, and as such is of a binding effect upon all believers. It has so been considered by the friends in Persia, not because of any specific instruction given to them by the Guardian, but solely in view of the fact that the celebration of the Anniversary of the Bab’s martyrdom has been explicitly enjoined by the Master.
- Shoghi Effendi (Through his secretary, in a letter to the N.S.A. dated Haifa, October 2, 1935; Baha’i News, no. 97, January 1936)