Two items appear below:
1 Bahai World Rule
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.
interpret the Koran as saying that Muhammed (570-632 AD) would be the
and final prophet:
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,
been executed. Thousands of others have been dismissed from jobs or
attacked and beaten; imprisoned; had houses ransacked; possessions
The intention seems to be to destroy Baha'ism in the land of its origin
and force 300,000 Iranian Bahais to rejoin Islam.
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
Persia Shah Nasr-ed-Din
(1831-1896) ordered suppression of the Babists. 3,000 Babists died in
and fighting. The "Bab" was imprisoned for heresy in 1847 and shot in
1850. To shoot him took two attempts as the first firing squad of 750
all missed! (Gaver 1969 pp. 53-54)
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.
100 volumes of laws
and social teachings that he said would transform the world. He
racial equality, abolition of war and poverty, a universal language,
a Bahai universal government under one religion. He sent letters to
and presidents requesting the establishment of an international
to stop wars.
Baha'ullah's eldest son, Abdul Baha (1844-1921), succeeded him as leader of the faith.
Abdul Baha was
He simplified his father's teachings and introduced the faith to the
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
of principles and social goals including abolition of religious and
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.
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.
the dissent by galvanising
followers into missionary effort in a series of campaigns from
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 -|
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:
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
or by a majority doth carry, that is verily the Truth and the Purpose
God Himself. Whoso doth deviate therefrom is verily of them that love
hath shown forth malice and turned away from the Lord of the Covenant.
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
that world peace would come in the 20th century:
Balyuzi quotes a writing of Abdul Baha titled Seven Candles of Unity:
‘Behold how its
now dawning upon
the world's darkened horizon. The first candle is unity in the
realm, the early glimmerings can now be discerned… The fifth candle is
the unity of nations – a unity which in this century will be
established, causing all the peoples of the world to regard themselves
as citizens of one common fatherland… (p. 361)
Justice has absolute
authority in all questions of faith. It accepts that an emerging world
religion must adapt to different cultures.
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.
within 10 (!) years
followed by Bahai World Government. It will be a world Federal system
by an international army enforcing the decisions of the Universal House
of Justice! A world tribunal will debate all disagreements between
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.
Bahais are currently
suffering in Iran
might be minor compared to what others will suffer if the Bahai
statistics on Bahai membership were
hard to get. The following include some guestimates:
||Languages with Bahai Literature|
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.
Basic Facts of the Baha'i Faith
The World Centre of the Baha'i Faith
(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.