Baha’i Leaders and Violence: Abdu’l-Baha the Face Slapper

When Baha’is preach their beliefs, the audience are induced into believing that Baha’ism is a peaceful religion refraining from all forms of violence. In the current article, using historical evidence from trusted Baha’i eyewitnesses, we will show that this is simply not the case and Abdu’l-Baha was a violent person who would routinely slap people.

One of the key witnesses to these acts is Khalil Shahidi who was born in Akka and was a trusted companion of Abdu’l-Baha and other Baha’i leaders for about forty years. According to the famous Baha’i translator Ahang Rabbani:

“As a trusted resident believer of ‘Akká and a longtime custodian of the House of ‘Abbúd, he was at a unique vantage point to observe ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as He dealt, neutralized and triumphed over all opposition and adversaries.” (Ahang Rabbani, A Lifetime with `Abdu’l-Bahá: Reminiscences of Khalíl Shahídí, p.3)

Khalili narrates many violent acts from Abdu’l-Baha. In one instance a question is met not with an answer, but a slap:

One day in the birúní[outer section] of the blessed House of Haifa, He [‘Abdu’l-Bahá] stated, “I have forgotten my handkerchief.” One of the friends who was known as Ustád Muhammad-‘Alí Banná, remarked to this effect, “How is it possible for the manifestation of Truth to forget anything?” Immediately, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá slapped him and stated, “Over forgetting a handkerchief that man puts a hundred souls to test.” (Ahang Rabbani, A Lifetime with `Abdu’l-Bahá: Reminiscences of Khalíl Shahídí, pp. 100-101)

In another instance he states that a certain person who opposes him needs a slap. The man mysteriously dies the next day:

One of the inhabitants of ‘Akká was exhibiting great opposition. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá stated, “He needs a slap.” Next day that person died. It was said to His blessed presence, “He received his slap,” but He did not respond. (Ahang Rabbani, A Lifetime with `Abdu’l-Bahá: Reminiscences of Khalíl Shahídí, p. 41)

abdul-baha

Abdul Baha

In yet another incident a man asks Abdu’l-Baha for a bribe. He receives a beating instead:

Thereupon, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá sought water to perform His ablution. With the utmost deliberation, He completed His ablution and then commenced to perform the long obligatory prayer of the Muslims. During His prayer, the man kept interrupting, “This matter must
be concluded quickly, as there is little time!” Meaning that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá should end His obligatory prayer and attend to this urgent matter. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá finished His prayer, with the utmost dignity and authority He came close to him and slapped him several times, saying, “I sent it for you.” With great stress and anxiety, never having imagined such an outcome, he held his face and head, and shouting, screaming and roaring, he returned to the government office and informed his comrades of what had transpired. (Ahang Rabbani, A Lifetime with `Abdu’l-Bahá: Reminiscences of Khalíl Shahídí, p. 116)

This story has been narrated from Abdu’l-Baha by multiple witnesses. For instance, Doctor Habib Mu’ayyad a member of the National Spiritual Assemblies of Iran and a frequent visitor of Abdu’l-Baha narrates it like this:

‘Hurry, Effendi, it is best not to delay this matter!’ I asked, ‘Which matter?’ He replied, ‘The issue of the money!’ ‘The money was sent a while ago. Why are you here?’ I told him. ‘How was it sent? By whom was it sent?’ he inquired. I said, ‘By now it has reached the Mutasarrif. Go quickly!’ He rose and began to put on his shoes; and, when he turned back towards Me, I slapped him hard and was about to slap him again, but he fled and went to the Mutasarrif who had inquired, ‘Why did it take you so long? Where is the money?’ He replied, ‘By God, I went to them, but all I received was a hard beating. Look, my face is still quite red! These people are very tough!’ (Ahang Rabbani, Eight Years Near Abdu’l-Bahā: The Diary of Dr. Habib Mu’ayyad, p. 431)

Khalili narrates another story about a group of people who were harassing the Baha’is of Egypt:

During the blessed days of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, a person in Egypt was the leader of a band of men, and would provoke these men against the Bahá’ís of Egypt, and for this reason had brought about difficulties. One day that same person arrived in Haifa from Egypt. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá summoned him. After the man entered into ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s presence, He said to him, “You are causing injury to my community.” Then he was the recipient of warnings, admonishments and several slaps. After he left [the room], immediately he was summoned once more. He thought to himself that perchance the page had turned [and this time ‘Abdu’l-Bahá would be friendly to him], but it was not so since upon his entrance, one more time, the same thing occurred and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá picked up where He had left off. When this man returned to Egypt, he gave unequivocal, emphatic and decisive command to that band and emphasized, “You should not show any malice towards this community [i.e. Bahá’ís], as no one can defeat their Chief [‘Abdu’l-Bahá]; He is most powerful and able.” (Ahang Rabbani, A Lifetime with `Abdu’l-Bahá: Reminiscences of Khalíl Shahídí, p. 127)

So how does Abdu’l-Baha justify his actions? Khalili continues:

One time, He [‘Abdu’l-Bahá] stated, “With some people, a thousand counsels and admonishments would not have the same effect as a slap.” (Ahang Rabbani, A Lifetime with `Abdu’l-Bahá: Reminiscences of Khalíl Shahídí, p. 128)

Many people who commit violent acts utter similar arguments, so what advantage does Baha’ism have over other opinions and why all the commotion about Baha’is being peaceful and refraining from physical abuse? Matters don’t finish here. In fact Abdu’l-Baha had hit people in different shapes and forms innumerable times. This is what Khalili tells us directly after the previous quote:

 At all events, in different forms and taking
different shapes, many such occurrences would take place – so many that they remain unnumbered and uncountable. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, while extremely meek, was the zenith of power and grandeur. (Ahang Rabbani, A Lifetime with `Abdu’l-Bahá: Reminiscences of Khalíl Shahídí, p. 128)

Can Baha’i leaders be considered peaceful non-violent people? How can the leader of a group of people who cannot abide by his own words and the orders of his father be considered a teacher of morals and peace? Apparently, when Baha’u’llah had prohibited conflicts and striking others, he was giving orders to everyone but his own beloved son:

Ye have been forbidden in the Book of God to engage in contention and conflict, to strike another, or to commit similar acts whereby hearts and souls may be saddened. (Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, pp. 72-73) 

How can someone who has a reputation of having slapped different people innumerable times, condemn violent acts:

“In this, the cycle of Almighty God, violence and force, constraint and oppression, are one and all condemned.” (Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 149)

The Quran and the Bible condemn this attitude:

Do you order the people to do good but forget about yourselves whilst you read the Book! Do you not use your reason! (Quran 2:44)

You, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? (Romans 2:21-22)

And why isn’t the true violent face of Abdu’l-Baha ever shown to those being preached about Baha’ism?

Courtesy : http://bahaism.blogspot.com

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