As far as I know, there is no official way to sign “Baha’i” in sign language.
Stephen Bedingfield offers the suggested sign – to the left – for the deaf and hard of hearing community to represent the word “Baha’i”. If I’m blessed enough to have any readers from that community, I’d appreciate their input.
This reminds me of a story: One day I was dining at an outdoor cafe with a Baha’i friend when we were approached by a deaf person who simply placed a small, well-worn card on our table and walked away to do the same to the other tables.
When I picked it up I read that he was asking for money and explaining that he was deaf. When he returned to our table, my friend surprised him by speaking to him in sign language. At first he was shocked because she was not deaf but had by choice learned sign language.
I sat there transfixed for a few minutes as a dizzying array of finger and hand gestures flew in front of my face. I was curious what they were talking about but obviously had no way to know. After he had left my friend told me that she was trying to convince him to see himself as someone who could achieve more in life and not to accept that this was all he could be.
It didn’t look like she convinced him but it did, once again, renew the question of whether Baha’is are allowed or supposed to give alms to needy persons.
According to the Baha’i Faith, begging and asceticism are forbidden. But can we help those in dire need? should we? We have the example of Abdu’l-Baha who regularly pressed coins into the hands of beggars. We also have Writings which make the Baha’i institutions, and especially the Universal House of Justice, responsible for the well-being of the poor, orphans and elderly.
If ye meet the abased or the down-trodden, turn not away disdainfully from them, for the King of Glory ever watcheth over them and surroundeth them with such tenderness as none can fathom except them that have suffered their wishes and desires to be merged in the Will of your Lord, the Gracious, the All-Wise. O ye rich ones of the earth! Flee not from the face of the poor that lieth in the dust, nay rather befriend him and suffer him to recount the tale of the woes with which God’s inscrutable Decree hath caused him to be afflicted. By the righteousness of God! Whilst ye consort with him, the Concourse on high will be looking upon you, will be interceding for you, will be extolling your names and glorifying your action.
There is also this Hidden Word:
O MY SERVANT!
The best of men are they that earn a livelihood by their calling and spend upon themselves and upon their kindred for the love of God, the Lord of all words.
What are you thoughts? Have you ever given money to a beggar? did you feel guilty as a Baha’i? or do you make it a policy to not give money to beggars?