Today’s white slice of wisdom comes from The Tabernacle of Unity, a compilation of works of Bahá’u’lláh published in 2006. It advises Bahá’ís on the extent to which they ought to value human life:
O servants! This nether world is the abode of demons: Guard yourselves from approaching them. By demons is meant those wayward souls who, with the burden of their evil deeds, slumber in the chambers of oblivion. Their sleep is preferable to their wakefulness, and their death is better than their life.
What value, then, should be put on human life? It is well-known that Bahá’u’lláh was not against the death penalty, or even cruel punishment:
Should anyone intentionally destroy a house by fire, him also shall ye burn; should anyone deliberately take another’s life, him also shall ye put to death. —Kitáb-i-Aqdas
There’s no deterrent like execution, or better yet, a painful execution.
It seems fair to suggest that Bahá’u’lláh adopted the Islamic standard with regard to corporeal punishment, but would Bahá’u’lláh also advise that anyone authoritatively judged as a “demon” (say, a covenant breaker) be put out of their misery? Would Bahá’u’lláh also adopt an Islamic standard in that regard?
After all, their death is better than their life. Right?
To address this question, we might inquire whether Bahá’u’lláh might have ever ordered the assassination of an enemy. He had certainly been accused of such an act, but—not surprisingly—he claimed to be innocent of the crime.