“Yeah I never understood the splinter groups obsession with continuing the guardianship.”
Just finished reading William Garlington’s The Baha’i Faith in America, it explains a lot about this obsession.
For Mason Remey, and many other Baha’is, it was inconceivable, unimaginable, that there not be a living hereditary guardian because a living hereditary guardian had been specifically mentioned by Abdu’l-Baha’ in his Will and Testament as an integral part of the future Baha’i administrative order as permanent head of the UHJ.
And Abdu’l-Baha’ being infallible couldn’t have erred in this, couldn’t have been wrong, could he? For some it became obvious that for the Guardianship to end would mean that they would as well have to admit to, accept, Abdu’l-Baha’s humanity, Abdu’l-Baha’s fallibility, some Baha’is couldn’t go there, most are still in denial.
As well in several places in Shoghi Effendi’s writings the existence of a future Guardian is clearly stated, Shoghi Effendi couldn’t have been wrong, couldn’t have been fallible, could he?
Thus Mason who was a pillar of the Baha’i community, a Hand of the Cause, a favourite of Abdu’l-Baha’s, appointed by Shoghi Effendi to head The International Baha’i Council, could not fathom that god had changed his mind (bada) in regards to an ongoing Guardianship, couldn’t accept that Abdu’l-Baha’s Will and Testament was flawed.
Mason was intellectually honest enough to understand what the implications were of the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha’ being shown to be imperfect, shown to be a merely human document in no way perfectly, ‘infallibly’, divine. Thus the Hands decided to take control over the affairs of the Baha’i Faith even though they had no authority to proceed in that manner. What these Baha’i elites did was behave as religious elites usually do, ignore the masses of believers and do what they personally choose to do without consulting with those masses. A more democratic, dare I say more spiritual way to proceed would have been to go to the greater Baha’i community itself and see what Baha’is themselves thought, what Baha’is themselves believed.
Obviously these religious elites didn’t trust the masses of Baha’i believers, didn’t feel that they were capable or worthy of collectively deciding for themselves the direction their religion should take.
In their effort to escape this dilemma [Husayn Ali’s claim to being Him whom God will Manifest], Baha and his partisans did two things:
first, they got rid of the most leading Babis who sided with Subh-e Azal; and, second, they rewrote the history of the Babi movement, largely ignoring Subh-e Azal, greatly magnifying the person and position of Baha, and degrading the Bab from the position of a Major Manifestation to that of a “forerunner” of Baha, who was the real Manifestation for the age….[therefore] those Babis who remained faithful to Subh-e Azal, later known as Azalis or Babis, about twenty were murdered in Baghdad, Edirne and Akka by followers of Baha. Two of those killed were brothers of Fatima the widow of the Bab, and was her husband Siyyid Muhammad Isfahani, and two were Letters [of the Living] appointed by the Bab.
It has been said that these assassinations were the work of the too-zealous followers of Baha, and that he was not himself responsible. However this may be, could one who possessed the divine knowledge and power to influence men which Baha claimed to have, been able to prevent such acts on the part of his intimate disciples?
William McElwee Miller, THE BAHA’I FAITH: ITS HISTORY AND TEACHINGS, 1974, pp.100-01.
At first not a few prominent Babis, including even several “Letters of the Living” and personal friends of the Bab, adhered faithfully to Subh-e Azal. One by one these disappeared, most of them, as I fear cannot be doubted, by the foul play on the part of too zealous Baha’is. “Companions” (as-hab), Mirza Riza Kulli and Mirza Nasr’ullah of Tafrish, were stabbed or poisoned in Adrianople and Acre.
Two of the “Letters of the Living,” Aka Siyyid `Ali the Arab, and Mulla Rajab `Ali Kahir, were assassinated, the one at Tabriz, the other at Kerbela. The brother of the latter, Aka Ali Muhammad, was also murdered in Baghdad [by a Baha’i]….
E.G. Browne in his introduction to his translation of the Tarikh-e Jadid (New History of Mirza `Ali Muhammad, the Bab), 1975, pp.xxiii-xxiv.
See also p.42 of E.G. Browne’s Persian introduction to his edition of the Kitab-e Nuqtat’ul-Kaf.
It would seem the murders of Daniel Jordan and Hedi Ma’ani (and possibly others) have clear precedents in the assassinations carried out during the lifetime of Husayn Ali himself.
How many Baha’is are aware that the Persian Hands of the Cause held a secret conclave during the night of November 19th, 1957, in the Mansion of Baha’u’llah in Bahji?
The Persian Hands of the Cause stayed in Bahji after the first conclave of all of the Hands held on November 19th, 1957, while the non-Persian Hands of the Cause returned to Haifa for the night. During that night, Nov.19th, 1957,the Persian Hands, alone, held their own private secret conclave and made a secret convenant amongst themselves to declare the Will and Testament of “Abdu’l-Baha’ to be “Badah”, an Islamic term meaning ‘God has changed His Mind’. They made such a covenant despite the fact that only a Holy Manifestation of God has Authority to declare that God has changed His Mind, such as the occasion when His Holiness,Muhammad, changed the Qiblih from Jerusalem to Mecca.
On November 20th, 1957,when the non-Persian Hands had returned to Bahji to continue the conclave that all the Hands together had commenced the day before, it became obvious after a few opening sentences that such a secret covenant had been endorsed by the Persian Hands of the Cause, when the youngest Hand, Dr Mujahir, leapt to his feet to make the “Badah” declaration.
The other Hands then spoke in support of that declaration with one notable exception.
Not wishing to make an outright declaration to all Baha’is Earthwide that they had declared the Will and Testament of the Master to be nul and void for fear of causing intense distress amongst multitudes of Baha’i believers, the administrators in Haifa from that date, November 20th, 1957 onward to the moment of this writing have embraced the policy of outwardly declaring the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’ to be the Foundation for the Administration of the New World Order, while simultanepously neglecting or rejecting its vital and sacred decrees, including the sacred and immutable decrees concerning the sacred Institutions delineated by the Master in His Will,namely the Guardianship,
the Interpreter of Baha’i Holy Writ, and the Institution of the Hands of the Baha’i Faith.Shamelessly, they seek to pursue administration without any of those sacred Institutions which were established to continue for the duration of the 1000 years of the Baha’i Dispensation.
When asked to explain which qualifications a man or woman must possess in order to be considered a true Baha’i believer, Shoghi Effendi, the first of our Guardians wrote: “…loyal and steadfast adherence to every clause of our Beloved’s sacred Will…”, amongst the requirements.
According to Hajji Mirza Jani Kashani (or whoever was actually responsible for penning the NUQTAT’UL-KAF), Husayn Avarih Ayati, E.G. Browne, Miller and an aside by Fazel Mazandarani in his 3rd volume of the HISTORY OF THE MANIFESTATION OF THE TRUTH, the title “Baha’u’llah” (Splendor or Glory of God) was used not only by the Bab in his works but was also a title of reference to Mirza Yahya Nuri Subh-e Azal in the early Baghdad period.
In the Qayyum al-Asma as well as the Persian Bayan (and elsewhere) the Bab directly refers to Himself on numerous occasions as Baha’u’llah (the Splendour of God) and apart from the honorific Tahirih (the pure), Baha’ was a title he had also bestowed upon Umm Salmih Zarrin Taj Fatimih Baraghani Qurrat’ul-`Ayn prior to the Badasht conference.
According to the NUQTAT’UL-KAF, Jalal Azal, Miller and other non-Baha’i sectarian accounts of the Badasht conference in 1848, it was not the Bab but in fact TahirihQurrat’ul-`Ayn who had bestowed the title BAHA’ upon Mirza Husayn Ali Nuri, and not one which Mirza Husayn Ali had taken for himself.
Miller, for instance, correctly points out that “…Others may have called him [Mirza Husayn Ali Nuri] by this title [Baha’], but there is no valid evidence that the Bab ever did so [p.119].”
He goes on to point out that “On March 27, 1850, only three months before his death, the Bab, according to the notation of his personal Diary, wrote an epistle to “238”, the brother of the Fruit.”… the Fruit [Thamarih] was Subh-e Azal. The numerical value of the Arabic letters in Husayn Ali is 238. Hence, it seems that when the Bab wrote his epistle to Mirza Husayn Ali, charging him to take the utmost care of Subh-e Azal, he used no title in addressing him, but referred to his younger brother as “The Most Glorious (Abha) Element.” The epistle clearly indicates that it was written by a superior to an inferior [ibid].”
We, now have it from the Bab himself that Mirza Yahya is “Baha’u’llah” and that therefore all references to Baha’ and Baha’u’llah which the Baha’is latter appropriated to refer to Mirza Husayn Ali was in fact understood by the Bab to be first referring to himself than to his successor, Subh-e Azal. I have been told on very reliable authority that in Azal’s first major work as Babi chief, the Kitab-i-Nur (the Book of Light), he in fact does call himself by that title.
In His longer Will and Testatment (which Browne did not translate and which I am currently in the process of translating in full) the Bab bestowed all of his rank and authority upon his successor, Subh-e Azal, and states that the rank of Mirza Yahya is co-equal to his own.
Therefore, it is not merely the case that Subh-e Azal was being referred also as Waheed Thani (the second unity) because Wahid had been the honorific of Siyyid Yahya Darabi who had just perished in the Babi uprisings, and thus his title “Waheed” had now spiritually ‘transmigrated’ or passed on to Azal. Rather Subh-e Azal was being referred to as Waheed Thani because the First Unity was primarily none other than the Bab himself sitting at the apex of his own religious
hierarchy, i.e. himself as the Point (nuqta) with the 18 Letters of the Living which consistute the First collective Unity (waahid) of the First Cycle of All-Things (Kullu Shay’, i.e. 361) of the mystico-religio-political Babi hierarchy. The Bab, as with everything he ever wrote and did, was being consciously deliberate in designations of titles and rank to people. Unfortunately both sectarian Baha’i hagiographies as well as works purporting to be of a scholarly nature have seemingly and very deliberately glossed over these facts and retrospectively elevated the role of Mirza Husayn AliNuri even in the early period beginning with the titles “Baha'” and “Baha’u’llah.” Perusal of these earliest (non-Baha’i) source texts and the more reliable accounts they provide – accounts which the Baha’is have either systematically tried to suppress or twist the facts in their own favour prove what the actual case was, and that is that the title Baha’u’llah was earlier one belonging to Azal and on which Mirza Husayn Ali later appropriated.
By Vance Salisbury
Professor Browne’s observation that “the more the Baha’i doctrine spreads…the more …the original Babi movement is obscured and distorted,” cannot be taken too literally, but it is quite certain from the foregoing examination that Baha’i institutions and Baha’i authors have continued to rewrite history up to the present time.
Popular writers, such as Hatcher and Martin, have distorted the history of the movement by producing pious, inaccurate records which rely heavily upon orthodox works, while virtually ignoring important research by both Baha’i and non-Baha’i scholars.
Through the questionable practice of revising previously published books, the views of deceased authors have been corrected and brought into conformity with modern perceptions and dogma. And, through the process of literature review, future publications will be regulated and kept within the boundaries of orthodoxy.
There is not sufficient reason to conclude that there is a well orchestrated conspiracy on the part of the Baha’i Administration, in which these three practices are coordinated to completely overhaul the history of the movement. But, it is safe to conclude that, since the Baha’i Faith began spreading westward at the turn of the century, there has been a tendency on the part of Baha’i individuals and institutions to distort or suppress historical data. And, unless Baha’is are granted more freedom in expressing their views and more pressure is placed upon the Baha’i Administration through the research, concern and efforts of those outside the Faith, there is no reason to believe that this ongoing revision and rewriting will cease in the near future.
In Islam, worship of Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) is one of the gravest sins you can commit. Muslims don’t like being called ‘Muhammeddans’ as they belive that it gives the wrong impression that they worship the Holy Prophet (PBUH). Now ( some of the ) Bahais try to imitate this by telling others not to call their religion ‘Bahaism’ as they say it is same as calling Islam- Muhammedanism. They say that the right word for their religion is ‘Bahai faith’. On the look of it everything looks fine. But one has to remember that all that glitters is not gold. Let us look at some of the facts and Bahai beliefs and decide whether it is the same as in the case of Islam or not.
Isn’t Bahaullah considered to be a prophet by the Bahais?
Well, the answer is not that simple, we better let the Bahais answer this question for they themselves are very much confused about the station of Bahaullah. Sometimes he is spoken of as God himself & sometimes as a Prophet of God ( They both arent the same, are the? ). I will merely reproduce here a few of his writing and let the Bahais account for this.
Bahaullah initially claimed to be a Prophet beside the other hundred and one claims. But later on after he knew that he had enough following, he came up & claimed divinity. The following is the first so called revelation that Prophet part of Bahaullah is supposed to have recieved when he was in prison-
‘During the days I lay in the prison of Teheran, though the galling weight of the chains and the stench-filled air allowed Me but little sleep, still in those infrequent moments of slumber I felt as if something flowed from the crown of My head over My breast, even as a mighty torrent that precipitateth itself upon the earth from the summit of a lofty mountain. Every limb of My body would, as a result, be set afire. At such moments My tongue recited what no man could bear to hear.
To the non Bahais who are new to the faith, Bahaullah is portrayed only as a Prophet. There are several websites on the net which try to prove to the world the prophethood of Bahaullah. It is however strange that he is also considered as God. Here are a few quotations where Bahaullah declares his divinity.
1. “There is no God but I the Honored , the Wise”.
– Kitab al Aqdas pg 43
2.”Accept whatever is commanded by Baha (himself) the Lord of Eternity”.
-kitab al aqdas pg 144
3.”All praise is for you O Bahaullah, the Creator of existence”.
-Al mubeen pg 34
4.”Obey the commands of your Elevated, Splendorous God, Bahaullah
-Al Mubeen pg 190
5.”You Most beneficent Lord, Bahaullah”,
Al Mubeen 297
The truth is revealed!. In all the above verses Bahaullah is clearly claiming divinity for himself here.
The Bahais even turn towards the shrine of Bahaullah when they offer prayers. Just listen to this statement in the Badaae ul Asaar of Abdul Baha-
6. Bahaullah is unique, Incomparable. It is necessary for everyone to turn towards Bahaullah in his prayers.
Even more revealing is this statement of Bahaullah in a letter to his son Abdul Baha-
7. “This s a letter from Allah, the Honoured and the Wise (Bahaullah) to Allah the Gracious, the Aware (Abdul Baha).”
This statement really shocked me when I read it.
But the one statements which is most hurting to a Muslim is in the Kitab ul Aqdas where Bahaullah writes-
“A lot of requests and supplications from my followers reached ‘My’ Arsh wherein they have asked many questions from me. Thereupon Baha has revealed Epistles upon them. there was a request for revealing the Ahkam (Laws). But due to some wisdom, I withheld My pen and did not accede to their requests. Having received innumerable such requests from them, I have now acceded to their requests so that their hearts may remain alive”.
We have seen above that initially Bahaullah made less dramatic claims as he did’nt have the neccessary following. Only after his popularity & following grew did he publically declare himself divine. We must also note that his claims grew bolder as time passed.
The divine status of Bahaullah is a fact of Bahai faith which is cleverly hidden from the non Bahai. This is clearly a deceptive tactic used by the Bahais. But those people who hide these facts must remember that they cannot hide the truth forever.
TO THE INTERNATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY IN HAIFA
Whatever happens, the will of God will be established.
Our intention is simply to explain why the Baha’i believers under Shoghi Effendi continue to believe in the succession of the Guardians, conforming to the Covenant of God.
Shoghi Effendi was faithful in all aspects relating to the development of the Faith. He took on his responsibilities as Guardian, realizing his objectives of translating the works of Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l-Baha’ from Arabic to Persian into English, and then into French.
His labor (one should rather say life’s work…) and his Office were in fulfillment of the prophecies announced in the Bible “a little child will lead them.”
The installation of the administrative order structures and their operation, contribute to the development of the faith.
This administrative order must not be a substitute for the spiritual values [in our Faith], but must rather be the vehicle for Bahai Thought – borne from the spirituality released from the teachings of Baha’u’llah in all their profundity, in all their loftiness. You have, and we have; supported in totality all that Shoghi Effendi has translated, written and given [to us] as counsels; commands and references.
It is thus unthinkable, even impossible, that you could accept on the one hand Shoghi Effendis handiwork, and roll back or cancel – making forbidden – everything that relates to the principle of the Guardianship and its succeeding lineage of Guardians.
Shoghi Effendi’s strategy was very clear, and it becomes forever clear once he openly proclaims, in 1951, the creation of the first embryonic International Council as “the most significant milestone in evolution of Administrative Order of the Faith of Baha’u’llah in course of last thirty years.”
Shoghi Effendi forwarded this proclamation by telegram to all the national spiritual assemblies of the Baha’i World. You know perfectly well its contents… This body was to become developed in the future through the election of the Universal House of Justice. He specified the principal structure of this body, by appointing its officers and its President.
Shoghi Effendi was conscious of the necessity of preserving the Guardianship in conformity with Gods Covenant and the Will and Testament of Abdul-Baha, translated by Shoghi himself.
These documents (The Kitab-i-‘Ahd and the Will and Testament) were read and accepted by thousands of Baha’i believers.
The circumstances surrounding the sudden death of Shoghi Effendi, and the consequences of the events which followed, have led you into ways that are contrary to the Faith…
But in the name of blood lineage you have openly declared the Guardianship ended and forbidden…without taking into account the fact that when a Guardian is named by the living Guardian, he acquires the force and the strength, the spiritual edification, to uphold the Covenant.
By doing this, you have became the first violators of the Baha’i Faith since the time of the Hands of the Cause. You had the responsibility and the duty of following, through your work, the path prepared by Shoghi Effendi.
As for you, Ruhiyyih Rabbani, although you served your Guardian in a dignified way, [and] wrote marvelous books about him, yet without any prerogative you went against the decisions of Shoghi Effendi.
Shoghi Effendi’s position as Guardian – although there is no comparison of his station with [the supremely greater stations] of the three central figures of the faith – was a station of supremacy. He was assisted by the power of the Covenant and his hands were not in the least bit chained.
He transmitted to all the believers, which included the Hands of the Cause, who were supposed to be at his service, the essence of spiritual life.
Under the terms presented – and it matters not the number of years since 1957-1960 – you have failed in your duty to protect the integrity of the Faith. You are responsible for your actions. NO ONE CAN GO AGAINST THE TESTAMENT AND COVENANT OF GOD DEFINED BY THE INVIOLABLE TEXTS.
If you reject this letter today, know that:
The establishment of the Baha’i World Charter, which rests on the two pillars, the guardianship and the Universal House of Justice (as defined in the Dispensation of Baha’u’llah by Shoghi Effendi) will be realized, not by my will, but by that of Baha’u’llah.
In the days and years that pass, through the power of the Covenant, you will be rejected for your disobedience, like the foam along the edge of the shore that’s cast out by the sea, although you may be on Sacred Ground and benefit from the presence of the three Central Figures of the Faith, as well as from the spiritual essence radiated from Mount Carmel (that doesnt belong to you, but to the Bab, Baha’u’llah, and Abdu’l-Baha), where the believers on pilgrimage receive the waves of true life.
Reconsider your attitude when you gather together at the International Spiritual Assembly and take into account the non-conformity of the present situation.
No matter what you decide and do, the truth will explode when the time arrives and the principle of the guardianship is established again.
Reflect: “An error multiplied does not become the truth…”
Your present attitude has led the believers down a path inconsistent with the Covenant, and is not within the straight line taught by Shoghi Effendi.
However, you have nevertheless developed humane ways, and that is good. But the World Charter of Baha’u’llah rests on the spiritual establishment of that which you have under-estimated, which are the spiritual essentials of the faith, provided for by the Guardianship.
I leave you to your proper reflection.
The Guardian of the Testament and the Covenant,
The Guardian’s letter above, addressed to the International Spiritual Assembly in Haifa, was translated from the French and edited by Brent Reed.
Come join the Heart of the Baha’i Faith!