Two items appear below:

1 Bahai World Rule

2 Bahais


BAHAI WORLD RULE

(Investigator 23, 1992 March)
 
 

PERSECUTION

Baha'ism, an offshoot of the Shiite division of Islam, hopes to be the one faith and one government for all humankind by the year 2,000. The Islamic revolution that overthrew the Shah in 1979 wants the supremacy of fundamentalist Islam in all areas of Islamic life. Since Muslims regard Bahais as apostates the two aims are in conflict.

A second conflict concerns theology. Muslims interpret the Koran as saying that Muhammed (570-632 AD) would be the last and final prophet:

Jesus son of Mary said: "Children of Israel! Lo! I am the messenger of Allah unto you, confirming that which was revealed before me in the Torah, and bringing good tidings of a messenger who commeth after me, whose name is the Praised One." (Surah 61)


Bahais, in contrast, claim that Baha'ullah (1817-1892) is the latest but not the final one of God's prophets.

Baha'ullah's son and successor as leader of Bahaism, Abdul Baha (1844-1921), is proclaimed infallible in all his works, actions, judgments and interpretations.

The New Islamic Constitution of Islam grants religious freedom. Nevertheless up to 300 Bahais, mainly the leaders, have been executed. Thousands of others have been dismissed from jobs or schools; attacked and beaten; imprisoned; had houses ransacked; possessions confiscated. The intention seems to be to destroy Baha'ism in the land of its origin and force 300,000 Iranian Bahais to rejoin Islam.
 
 

BABISTS

Bahaism began in 1844 when a young Persian merchant, Mirza Ali Muhammad (1819-1850), began calling himself the Bab (Gate) and proclaimed himself "the promised one" who would purify Islam and all society. He claimed to be equal to Muhammad and predicted an even greater "Manifestation" of God who would appear 19 years later. He wrote a new holy book to replace the Koran and opposed Muslim customs such as polygamy and concubinage. The "Bab" said his followers must shed blood to convert the whole world.

In 1848 the new Shah of Persia Shah Nasr-ed-Din (1831-1896) ordered suppression of the Babists. 3,000 Babists died in riots and fighting. The "Bab" was imprisoned for heresy in 1847 and shot in July 1850. To shoot him took two attempts as the first firing squad of 750 "sharpshooters" all missed! (Gaver 1969 pp. 53-54)
 
 

BAHA'ULLAH

The Babist movement fragmented, went underground and awaited the "greater Manifestation" to come.

Enter Baha'ullah (=The Glory and Splendour of God) whose real name was Mirz Husayn Ali.

Baha'ullah had joined up in 1844 and became leader of one of the Bab factions in 1850. He was spared in 1852 during a general massacre of 20,000 Babists, imprisoned, tortured, and exiled to Baghdad (then under Turkish rule) in 1853. 1854-1856 were spent in hermit-like withdrawal in a cave in Kurdistan.

There he tamed the local "desperadoes" with his "exquisite", "wonderful", "melodious" singing. (Gaver 1969 p. 59) Next followed a power struggle against his younger half brother Subh'i Azal (1830-1912). Subh'i Azal had been appointed by the Bab as the Bab's successor. But this apparently didn't count. The majority followed Baha'ullah and became known as Bahais. The smaller Azali group still survives in Iran.

In 1863 in Baghdad, Baha'ullah told close followers that he himself was the predictedone – "him whom God should manifest". From 1863 to 1868 he was exiled in Adrianople. In 1866 Baha'ullah openly and publicly claimed to be the "coming one" of all religions – the second coming of Jesus, the Mahdi awaited by Muslims, the Lord of Hosts of the Jews, etc. Previous prophets had brought different teachings to different ages. He, the latest messenger, had a new message – world peace and unity under one faith. Bahai missionary endeavours commenced in Egypt and lands in central Asia.

In 1868 the Turks exiled Baha'ullah and his family to the penal city of Acre, Palestine. Baha'ullah spent the last 20 years of his life in a mansion outside Acre.

There he finished almost 100 volumes of laws and social teachings that he said would transform the world. He emphasized racial equality, abolition of war and poverty, a universal language, and a Bahai universal government under one religion. He sent letters to kings and presidents requesting the establishment of an international tribunal to stop wars.
 
 

ABDUL BAHA

Baha'ullah's eldest son, Abdul Baha (1844-1921), succeeded him as leader of the faith.

Abdul Baha was charismatic but approachable. He simplified his father's teachings and introduced the faith to the Europe and America during visits there in 1911 to 1913. He emphasized aspects that he knew would appeal to Westerners. He summarized Baha'ism by a set of principles and social goals including abolition of religious and racial prejudice, sexual equality, universal education, a universal language, one universal faith (his), and a universal government. The writings of the Bab, and Baha'ullah, and Abdul Baha, together constitute the sacred writings of Baha'ism.
 

SHOGDI EFFENDI

Abdul Baha's eldest grandson, Oxford educated Shogdi Effendi (1896-1957), became the next leader and "guardian of the faith", at 24. He saw the need for a world religion to be well organized. He sought legal recognition in America by having Bahai Assemblies (congregations of at least nine Bahais) registered as limited companies. In each country where sufficient Bahais live there is also a "National spiritual assembly". This promotion of control and unity caused much opposition and defection.

Shogdi Effendi overcame the dissent by galvanising followers into missionary effort in a series of campaigns from 1937-1953. Then followed a 10-year crusade from 1953 to 1963. Shogdi Effendi was, in effect, an organiser who laid the foundation for rapid expansion.
 

BAHAI SUCCESSION IN LEADERSHIP
Mirza Ali Mohammed (the Bab) 1819 - 1850
Subh'i Azal (displaced in 1860s) 1830 - 1912
Baha'ullah 1817 - 1892
Abdul Baha 1844 - 1921
Shogdi Effendi 1896 - 1957
Hands Of the Cause 1957 - 1963
Universal House of Justice 1963 -

 

 
AFTER 1957

When Shogdi Effendi died a group of leaders called the "Hands of the Cause" took temporary control until 1963.

Then the "Universal House of Justice" was elected as the supreme ruling body. A major faction led by Charles Mason Remey opposed this election but soon split up into mutually antagonistic groups.

By 1980 Baha'ism existed in most Western countries and was progressing rapidly in Third Word countries. In India alone, it is claimed, their 1000 members of the 1950s had grown to 1 million. Baha'ism was not a world religion in terms of having a splendid historical or theological background. But in terms of its spread and growth the Bahais like to believe they're heading that way.

An impressive National Centre in Chicago controls a growing network of groups and activities across the USA. Though door to door proselytising is sometimes used, the main method of attracting new recruits is through home meetings. One line they push is that people need no longer feel confused by having to choose between competing religions. By becoming Bahais they can accept them all.

The Bahai World Headquarters on the slopes of Mount Carmel in Israel overlooks Haifa and Acre. It is the administrative and spiritual centre of the Bahai world Community. One grandiose building houses the Chamber of the Universal House of Justice which is intended to play a major role for world peace.

The primary sources of Bahai doctrine are still the writings of Baha'ullah and Abdul Baha (both infallible) and Shogdi Effendi. Directives from the Universal House of Justice are said to be based on these primary sources and are authoritative. Writings of other prominent Bahais are influential but not infallible or authoritative.

Gaver (1969) quotes Abdul'Baha's Will and Testament regarding the Universal House of Justice:

…concerning the House of Justice which God hath ordained as the source of all good and freed from all error…

Whatsoever they decide is of God. Whoso obeyeth him not, neither obeyeth them, hath not obeyed God; whoso rebelleth against him and against them hath rebelled against God; whoso opposeth him hath opposed God; whoso contendeth with them hath contended with God…

That which this body, whether unanimously or by a majority doth carry, that is verily the Truth and the Purpose of God Himself. Whoso doth deviate therefrom is verily of them that love discord, hath shown forth malice and turned away from the Lord of the Covenant. (pp. 145-146)
 
 

Gaver further explains, "Since these institutions are of divine origin, they are based upon spiritual principles which are unchangeable…" (p. 26)

Bahais can discuss their own religion but must not question its essentials. After all, "Bahai teachings are infallible." Those who do question are expelled and shunned (a strategy also often used in Western cults). Things to avoid include alcohol, gambling, politics and gossiping. God's intention, they believe, is to achieve oneness of all humankind through Baha'ism. One world and one faith and one government!

The current world, Bahais believe, is on verge of collapse. During the period of great anarchy just ahead the Bahai preparations for world government will come to the rescue – an equivalent of Noah's Ark. In the new world, which follows the present day, Bahais will be the spiritual leaders.

Bahai writer H M Balyuzi (1971) suggested that world peace would come in the 20th century:

The age has dawned when human fellowship will become a reality. The century has come when all religions shall be unified. (p. 306)


Balyuzi quotes a writing of Abdul Baha titled Seven Candles of Unity:

Hence the unity of all mankind can in this day be achieved. Verily there is none other but one of the wonders of this wondrous age, this glorious century. Of this past ages have been deprived, for this century – this century of light – has been endowed with unique and unprecedented glory, power and illumination… Eventually it will be seen how bright its candles will burn in the assemblage of man.

‘Behold how its light is now dawning upon the world's darkened horizon. The first candle is unity in the political realm, the early glimmerings can now be discerned… The fifth candle is the unity of nations – a unity which in this century will be securely established, causing all the peoples of the world to regard themselves as citizens of one common fatherland… (p. 361)
 
 

To make goals of world unity credible recruitment on a grand scale is necessary. The Bahais see themselves as an army mobilised with unity of thought, purpose and action. In this and in their goals, and in making themselves the centre of God's plans for a new Earth, they are the Islamic equivalent of Christendom's Jehovah's Witnesses.

The Universal House of Justice has absolute authority in all questions of faith. It accepts that an emerging world religion must adapt to different cultures.
 
 

PROBLEMS

Certain central tenets of Baha'ism are problematical:

All revealed religions are stages of one progressing faith in God say the Bahais. Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, and others, were all prophets of the same God whose message is summed up in Bahai religion. Since finally it is Bahai religion that must be accepted the Bahais are really saying – as so many others say – "We're right and you're wrong."

There are vast and real differences between major religions. Buddhists don't even believe in God. Bahais claim that the differences resulted because the original messages of the prophets were corrupted by successive generations. This becomes the all-purpose explanation. But this explanation is challenged, in Christianity, for example, by discoveries of 2,000-year-old manuscripts which correspond, when translated, closely to current Bible translations. "Corruption" has been minimal.

Consider also world peace within 10 (!) years followed by Bahai World Government. It will be a world Federal system backed by an international army enforcing the decisions of the Universal House of Justice! A world tribunal will debate all disagreements between nations and between religions and will hand down compulsory verdicts which will always agree with Baha'ism.

A one party, worldwide, totalitarian superstate!

Bahais at present tend to be peaceful members of society. But history shows that large-scale totalitarian rulerships become intolerant of dissent and tend to crush, by large scale murder if necessary, all perceived opposition. The Bahai system would, in addition, be officially viewed as prepared and ordained by God. To disagree with the God-ordained perfect order would surely be viewed as either insane or criminal – as mad or bad.

What Bahais are currently suffering in Iran might be minor compared to what others will suffer if the Bahai superstate eventuates.
 
 

STATISTICS:

Accurate statistics on Bahai membership were hard to get. The following include some guestimates:

Year
World Total
Bolivia
India
Iran
Israel
1970
2,660,000 94,000
1,000


1975
3,000,000 124,000



1980
3,820,000 160,000
1,000,000
300,000
500
1985
4,440,000
2,000,000


1987
6,000,000



1990
7,000,000




Year
Panama
Swaziland
Uganda
USA
1970
14,400
7,000


1975
17,000
9,000
15,000?

1980
20,000
11,000


1985



100,000

 

Year
Centres
Lands
Languages with Bahai Literature
1977
73,500
183
600
1980

194

1986
119,400
210
757


 

References:

Amnesty International, Issue 2, 1983 December.
Balyuzi, H M (1971). Abdu'l-Baha, George Ronald, London.
Gaver, J R (1969). The Dynamic New Religion Baha'i Faith, Award Books, USA.
Perkins, M and Hainsworth, P. (1980) The Baha'i Faith, Ward Lock Educational, Hong Kong.
The Baha'i Faith. Baha'i International Community Office of Public Information.

Pamphlets:
Basic Facts of the Baha'i Faith
The World Centre of the Baha'i Faith

(BS)



 

BAHAIS

(Investigator 24, 1992 May)


When newcomers are invited to private homes and get to ask questions about the Bahai Faith it's called a "Fireside evening".

I was glad the name isn't taken literally and that on the hot summer evening I attended the air-conditioner was on instead. It was the home of Colin Abdullahi who is the Port Adelaide Local Spiritual Assembly Administrator. The other Bahais present were Colin's wife and three children and Barry Sweatman who left the Congregational Church (now part of the Uniting Church) in 1974.

The meeting started with a reading of several prayers: "Make the nations one; May the rulers agree; May they associate in unity… etc."

We were told that all religions basically agree and all pray to the same God. However, details of the "true teaching" keep being obscured. And God wants to reveal new things anyway. Therefore God sends a new prophet from time to time – Moses, Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, etc.

The last and greatest and constituting the Second Coming of Christ is Baha'ullah who lived 1817 - 1892. The followers of Baha'ullah, we were told, will unite the whole world. Their ruling body - the Universal House of Justice - already possesses the legislation and administrative structures to take over the world during a soon coming period of worldwide trouble and chaos. There will follow a universal language and education, elimination of poverty and wealth, and removal of religious division, racism and everything else which divides humankind. The result will be worldwide unity, peace and prosperity and one universal religion.

I own a book about Abdu'l-Baha (1971) who succeeded Baha'ullah as leader of Bahaism and the book quotes Abdu'l-Baha as saying, "The century has come when all religions shall be unified." I asked Colin and Barry whether their religion is going to succeed in uniting the world within only nine more years.

Barry explained that Bahais distinguish the "lesser peace" and the "most great peace". Concerning the former Barry said, "By the year 2,000 we will have the lesser peace which will be political acceptance of Bahaism and a world political system." The most great peace – when all the world is peacefully united – comes an indefinite period after the lesser peace. I asked whether both might be achieved this century. Barry objected that such would require miraculous growth in Bahai membership – currently only about 7 million – but he refused to rule it out completely.

The evening continued with salad, drinks and biscuits – served by Colin's wife, Nahid. Then followed a video showing smiling Bahai communities from the Arctic to the Amazon and from Africa to India.

Since Bahaism started in Persia as an offshoot from Islam and is still much persecuted in Persia (Iran) I asked whether Bahais and Muslims get along with each other in Adelaide. Said Colin, "We don't have good friendships together. A few Bahais know Muslims but don't talk about the faith with them."

I learned other things as well. For example the Bahais use a calendar of 19 months with 19 days. Every 19th day is a "Feast" and is when the Assembly meets. The names of the months are named after attributes of God such as Grandure, Knowledge, Mercy, etc.

Finally I was told how to become a member. This is done through signing a card after one accepts the founder, Baha'ullah, along with his claims and agrees to obey Bahai laws and after one knows the administrative system.

Mr Abdullahi fled Iran in 1979 to escape persecution – his wife for example wasn't permitted to finish a medical degree due to being a Bahai. They lived in India for 6½ years and came to Australia in September 1986.

(BS)


http://users.adam.com.au/bstett/

http://ed5015.tripod.com/