Why I believe Baha’i and Baha’i belief are false

  1. Why the Baha'i Faith is attractive
  2. Biography of Mirzá 'Alí Muhammad (the Báb), the founder of Babism.
  3. Biography of Husayn-`Ali Nuri (Baha'u'llah), the founder of the Baha'i Faith
  4. Central tenets of the Baha'i Faith
  5. Why I believe Baha’i is false
  6. Why I believe Baha'i beliefs are flawed
  7. Resource material

 

1.)    Why the Baha'i Faith is attractive

The central tenets of Baha’i faith include the equality man and women and all races before the one true God, the creator of heaven and earth. Peoples of the world are urged to forsake evil and to hold fast that which is good. They should strive to be shining examples for all mankind, and act as true reminders of the virtues of God amidst men. Love and concern for all peoples of the world supercede loyalty to country. Conflict and violence are shunned. Abolishment of war is a major objective. Education especially in science is encouraged. Followers are urged to consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship. It embraces most of the world’s religions. Devotees believe God has ushered in a new age of world unity through Baha’i.

 

2.)    Biography of Mirzá 'Alí Muhammad (the Báb), the founder of Babism

Husayn-`Ali Nuri, the founder of the Baha'i Faith derived much of his beliefs from Babism. Hence it is necessary to study the life and beliefs of Mirzá 'Alí Muhammad, the founder of Babism.

Mirzá 'Alí Muhammad, afterwards known as the Báb or "Gate" was born at Shíraz in southern Persia on October 9, 1820. He was a seyyid, or reputed descendent of the prophet Muhammad.

He left school because of the cruelty of his teacher. He was for a while engaged in helping his father Mírzá Rizá in his business as a cloth seller. He was still a boy, when his father died. and was taken under the care of his maternal uncle, Háji Seyyid 'Alí. After a while, he left Shíráz and stayed at Bushire on the Persian Gulf, where he continueed his trade.

So far there was nothing specially noticeable in him except a seriousness unusual for his young age, a remarkable purity of life, a somewhat dreamy temperament, and a sweetness of manner which attracted all with whom he came in contact. At the age of twenty-two he married and had one son named Ahmad, who died in infancy.

About this time, there dwelled and taught at Kerbelá, a spot most holy in the eyes of every Persian Shi'ite by reason of the martyrdom of Huseyn, the third Imám, which took place there, a certain Hájí Seyyid Kázim of Resht, the disciple and successor of Sheykh Ahmad of Ahsá, who had founded a new or sect called after him Sheykhís. Of the Sheykhís' doctrine the most notable feature was the extreme veneration, in which they held the Imáms, and the eagerness which they waited for the coming of the Twelfth Imám or Imám Mahdí.

The Shi'ite regard the Imáms, as the sole successors of the prophet. The Imám is divinely called to his lofty office and is endowed with supernatural powers and virtues, his decision is in all things absolutely authoritative, and he is an open channel of grace between God and mankind. .

Abú Bekr, 'Umar and 'Othmán, the first three caliphs of the Sunnís, are in the eyes of the Shi'ites detestable usurpers, who snatched from 'Ali, the lawful Imám, a power to which they had no right and a position which they were not qualified to hold. They, and the Ommayad and 'Abbásid caliphs, who persecuted and slew the lawful Imáms of the family of 'Ali whom they had robbed and disputed, are solemnly cursed by every true Shi'ite.

The Imáms of the family of 'Ali are, on the other hand, loved, revered, almost adored; they are given a rank hardly inferior to that of the prophet himself, hardly short of divinity; and the well-being of mankind is made dependent on their existence.

These Imáms were twelve in number. The eleventh, Hasan 'Askarí, died in the year A.D. 874, and was succeeded by his son, who is generally known as the "Imám Mahdí," "the Proof," or "the Absent Imám." This Imám Mahdí was from the first involved in mystery, and communicated with his followers only indirectly through certain chosen and trusted representatives, who were called "Gates" or "Doors" (Abwáb, pl. of Báb). Of these "Gates" or "Bábs" there were four successively. When the last of them died, no one was appointed to succeed him, and then began that period of the "Greater Occultation," in which, as the Shi'ites believe, we now are.

It is believed that the Imám Mahdí though no longer accessible, did not die. He disappeared from the eyes of men in the year A.H. 329 (A.D. 940-941), but he still lives, hidden in the mysterious city of Jábulká, from where, in the fullness of time, when faith is weakest and the world is full of misery and oppression, he will come forth to restore the true religion, fill the earth with justice, and inaugurate the millennium. For this long-expected day do all Shi'ites wait and watch eagerly and anxiously.

Motivated by a pious desire to visit the Holy Shrines, Mírzá 'Alí Muhammad left his business at Bushire to come to Kerbelá. He became a disciple of Seyyid Kázim and took his seat modestly by the door in the lowest place for a few months. He then returned to Shíráz, his native city. Not long after this Seyyid Kázim died without nominating any successor. Seyyid Kázim was reported to have said to some of his disciples before his death, "Do you not then desire that I should go, so that the Truth may become manifest?"

Amongst these disciples was one, Mullá Huseyn by name, of Bushraweyh in Khurásán, who was close to the departed teacher, and who had been regarded by many as likely to succeed him. On the dispersal of the Sheykhís this Mullá Huseyn went to Shíráz. He looked up his former fellow-student, Mírzá 'Alí Muhammad. He was keen to renew his acquaintance with someone who had a charming and amiable disposition.

Mullá Huseyn spoke of the events of Seyyid Kázím's last days, and the hopes and fears which occupied the minds of his followers. Then Mullá Huseyn listened in amazement as Mírzá' Alí Muhammad declared that he himself was the promised guide and teacher, the "Truth" as foretold by the departed Seyyid, the channel of a new outpouring of Divine Grace; in a word, the Báb or Gate whereby men might once again commune with the Imám from whom for a thousand years they had been separated.

This amazement and incredulity was soon changed by further conversation with Mírzá 'Alí Muhammad (the Báb) into belief of his sincerity. This "manifestation" which took place on May 23rd, 1844, A.H. 1260 was almost one thousand years after the Imám Mahdí's first retirement into seclusion, or "Lesser Occultation".

The Báb was soon surrounded by a considerable number of eager disciples. Amongst these were included many of the late Seyyid Kázím's followers, who, informed by Mullá Husayn of what had taken place, hastened to Shíráz. The zeal of the little band of believers was great. In the circles of their own assemblies they read with eagerness the Commentary on the Súra of Joseph, the Ziyárat náma or "Book of Visitation," the Báb had composed. They were also privileged to listen to the words of the Master himself as he depicted in vivid language the worldliness and immorality of the mullás, or Muhammadan clergy, and the injustice and greed of the civil authorities. He also spoke with a conviction which encouraged belief of the era of justice and happiness soon to come and the certain triumph of the new truth which he was commissioned to proclaim.

Already the Báb's fame was in every one's mouth and the Bábís were beginning to attract general attention, an attention which, in the case of the government authorities and the clergy, was initially mixed with suspicion and dislike. The government and the clergy later decided that this new movement was altogether dangerous to them and started to persecute the Babists mercilessly. Many were tortured and imprisoned for heresy.

On his return from Mecca, the Báb was arrested in Bushehr and was brought to Shíráz in  September, 1845. He was brought before the governor by some of the chief clergy, who declared him to be a heretic, and ordered that he should be punished by beating his feet. He was then imprisoned in the house of 'Abdu'l-Hamíd Khán, the dár úghá, or chief constable.

In spite of these measures the new faith continued to spread rapidly, for many of the Báb's disciples were scattered throughout all parts of Persia engaged in teaching his doctrine, while those who remained in Shíráz found ways of communicating with him even in his confinement. The chief constable seemed to have been charmed by his prisoner's gentle and amiable manner. According to one of the Bábí historians he was induced to believe the divine mission of his prisoner, to whose prayers he considered himself indebted for the recovery of his son from a mortal illness.

In 1846, Manúchihr Khán, the governor of Isfahán, anxious to see one of whom he had heard so much, sent messengers to Shíráz to attempt to deliver the Báb from his captivity. With the assent of the chief constable, the Báb escaped and was brought to Isfahán.

For nearly a year the Báb remained at Isfahán, enjoying comparative peace and security. He was under the protection of the most powerful nobles of the time, who was both able and willing to protect him from the malice of his enemies, especially the clergy. But in 1847 his protector died, and Gurgín Khán, who succeeded to the government of Isfahán, sent the Báb off under an armed escort to Teherán, for King Muhammad Sháh and his minister Hájí Mírzá Ákásí to deal with.

The minister, fearful of the charismatic influence of the young prophet on the king, transferred the Báb to the remote frontier-fortress of Mákú, under the control of 'Alí Khán, a friend of the minister.

Soon after his arrival at Mákú, the Báb was summoned to Tabríz and again examined concerning his doctrine by a number of the chief clergy, presided over by the then Crown-Prince. After he refused to answer their mocking questions, they ordered him to be beaten and sent back to his prison at Mákú. The priests could not find anyone willing to beat the Báb and had to do it themselves.

The Báb continued to write down and codify his doctrines and ordinances. Two brothers, Siyyid Huseyn and Siyyid Hasan, of Yezd, were also imprisoned with him. They found ways to convey these writings into the hands of the believers.

The Báb's doctrines, too, underwent considerable development. He declared that he was not merely the "Gate" leading to the Imám Mahdi, but the Imám himself; that he was indeed the "Point" or Primal Truth once more revealed in man, and that what in previous revelations had been written in riddles he now proclaimed openly and unreservedly. At the same time he claimed no finality for his revelation, declaring that after him one yet greater would appear for the perfecting of that which he had begun. This person he named as "He whom God shall manifest".

In the books composed by the Báb at this time it is interesting to note that his main concern was not for his own fate, but for the reception which should be given by his followers to "He whom God shall manifest." Again and again, almost in every page, he presses them not to behave to the next manifestation as the Muhammadans have behaved in his manifestation. They were encouraged to remember that no revelation is final, but only represents the measure of truth which the state of human progress has enabled mankind capable of receiving.

The Báb remained at Mákú for about six months and was then transferred to the higher security prison of Chihrík in order to prevent access to him by his disciples.

Meanwhile, his disciples continued to spread the new faith. Mullá Huseyn went forth into every quarter of Persia persuading inquirers, confirming waverers, and encouraging the faithful. The enmity between the Muhammadans and the Bábís threatened to break out in open warfare.

Suddenly, Muhammad Sháh died in September, 1848 and a period of anarchy and lawlessness ensued. Mullá Huseyn went to the village of Badasht, situated near the borders of the province of Mázandarán, and linked up with another band of his co-religionists under the leadership of Mullá Muhammad `Alí of Bárfurúsh and a charismatic woman named Zarrín- Táj the daughter of Hájí Mullá Muhammad Sálih of Kazvín, better known by the name of Kurralu'l-`Ayn ("Freshness" or "Delight" of the Eyes"),

This band of Báb zealots were besieged by the King’s troops. They made their last stand in the compound of the tomb of Sheykh Tarbarsí, a holy man of bygone days. In the midst of starvation, they tenaciously held on until their leader Mullá Huseyn was killed. A written promise signed by the royalist leaders and confirmed by oaths sworn on the Kur'án offered safe passage if they surrendered. They believed the promise but were betrayed and massacred. Hájí Mullá Muliammad 'All and his four or five surviving comrades were handed over to their foes, the Mullás who tore them limb from limb in the market-place of Bárfurúsh.

The suppression of the Mázandarán insurrection was followed by a similar struggle at Zanján in the north-west of Persia. The Bábís put up a heroic defense, suffered starvation and finally were similarly promised safe passage on surrender, betrayed, brutally tortured and then massacred.

While the siege of Zanján was still in progress, another Bábí rising took place at Níríz far away in the south of Persia. This alarmed the authorities so much that they hoped to deal a death-blow to the Bábí movement by executing the Báb.

The Báb was brought from Chihrík to Tabriz, and once more accused before judges whose sentence was a foregone conclusion. His tormentors were hoping to induce the Báb to formally renounce the doctrine which he had taught. They were unable to accomplish this. In reply to all their threats and promises, he continued to assert that in him was fulfilled what they understood by the coming of the Imám Mahdí.

They scoffed at his assertions, and told him that the Imám they expected was that same Imám who had disappeared more than twelve centuries ago in Surra-man-ra'a, and that when he came he would come as a mighty conqueror to slay and subdue the infidels, and establish the faith of Islám throughout the world.

"Through just such vain superstitions," he replied, " did all former peoples reject and slay the prophets sent unto them. Did not the Jews profess to be expecting their promised Messiah when Jesus the Son of Mary appeared in their midst? And did not they reject and slay Him who was indeed their Messiah, because they falsely imagined that the Messiah must come as a great Conqueror and King to re-establish the faith of Moses, and give it currency throughout the world? Now the Muhammadans were acting as the Jews had acted, because, like them, they clung to their own vain superstitions, refusing to see that the kingdom and the victory spoken of were spiritual and not material."

The death sentence was pronounced by the civil and ratified by the religious authorities, and Mírzá `Alí Muhammad was led back to prison

The next day the prisoners were dragged through the streets and bazaars of Tabríz to the " Square of the Lord of the age", where they were suspended them with ropes from a wall. As the firing squad took up its position Aká Muhammad 'Alí was heard to say to the Báb, " Master, art thou content with me ? " To this the Báb replied in Arabic, " Verily Muhammad 'Alí is with us in paradise! " Hardly had the words left his lips when the crash of musketry rang out, and for a moment the rolling cloud of smoke hid the bodies of the victims. As it lifted a great cry of wonder and awe rose from the spectators. The lifeless body of the disciple, riddled with bullets, swung to and fro in the air, but of the Báb no trace nor sign was visible.

A murmur arose that this was a miracle, and the authorities perceived with terror that the fickle populace was ready to veer round and support the Báb. Had it been so, it might well have been that the faith of the Báb would have won a definitive victory over the religion of Muhammad; and for an instant the fate of the Kájár dynasty and the faith of Islám hung in the balance.

But it was not to be so. Before the crowd had recovered from their amazement, a soldier found the Báb (whose bonds by some strange chance had been cut by the bullets which passed harmlessly by his body) taking shelter in an adjacent guard-house and killed him. The two bodies were dragged through the streets and cast out of the gate to feed the dogs and jackals. When night came, Suleymán Khán, bribed the guards and took the body to Teherán to be buried in a secret location.

So ended the short and sorrowful but noble six year career of Mirzá 'Alí Muhammad the Báb.

However, contrary to hopes of the authorities, his mission had not ended. For the Báb had made his religion independent of his personality in two ways. First of all he had declared that it was not final, and had foretold the coming of " Him whom God shall manifest " to complete and perfect the religion which he had founded. Secondly, he had not centered the spiritual authority even during his lifetime in himself alone, but in what he called the " Unity " — a sort of hierarchy consisting of himself, " the Point," and eighteen other persons called " Letters of the Living." The number nineteen was chosen as the sacred number.

This " Unity " was in its very nature permanent; for, when any one of the " Letters " composing it died, the grace and virtue inherent in him passed to some other Bábí, who then became incorporated in the " Unity," which in this way remained constant. After ‘the Point ' (i.e. the Báb), the two chief " Letters" of the " Unity " had been Mullá Huseyn and Mullá Muhammad 'Alí. Both of these having been killed at Sheykh Tabarsí, a youth named Mírzá Yahyá, and entitled by the Bábís "Subh-i-Ezel" ("the Morning of Eternity"), now occupied the highest rank in the Unity after the Báb himself. Of this doctrine, the Musulmáns were quite ignorant, and they confidently expected that the new faith would expire with its founder.

Persecution went on steadily in all parts of the country; but the general attention was somewhat diverted from the Bábís by the sudden disgrace and fall of Mírzá Takí Khán, the minister who advised the execution of the Báb.

In August, 1852, a young man named Sádik, of Zanján with two others attempted to assassinate the Sháh outside his palace at Niyávarán. They failed and this brought on fierce persecution of the Bábís. The secret police of Teherán captured of forty Bábís, of whom a large number were surprised in the house of Suleymán Khán, the recoverer of the Bábs body. Five or six of these, including Behá'u'lláh, who now claims the allegiance of the great majority of the Bábís, were spared, but all the rest were doomed to die after horrific torture in the hands of the population who were made to do so to demonstrate their allegiance to the Shah.

The centre of the movement was then transferred from Persian to Turkish territory. Baghdad became for the next eleven years the abode of the Bábí leaders who escaped the terrible devastation of 1852. Mirzá Yahyá Subh-i-Ezel," o became, on the death of the Báb, the chief " Letter " of the " Unity." He was soon followed by his half-brother, Behá'u'lláh (also a member of the Unity), who, having narrowly escaped death was released from the Black Pit dungeon.

Persecution continued with varying severity in Persia, exiles forced to flee from their homes added to the Bábí colony at Baghdad. In 1864, the Persian Government induced the Turkish authorities to transfer the Bábí exiles farther from their frontiers, first to Constantinople and then to Adrianople. While they were at Adrianople the Bábís divided into two antagonistic parties.

The Báb had declared that his revelation was not final, and that he would, at some future time be succeeded by " Him whom God shall manifest". It was generally believed that this new manifestation would not take place for at least a thousand years. At the same time the Báb had laid it down that the time of this promised deliverer's arrival was known only to God, that no one could falsely claim to be him. The Báb also indicated that the next manifestation would appear suddenly and unexpectedly, and that when he appeared, he would have the full authority to confirm or annul, to bind or to loose.

So, when Behá'u'lláh suddenly declared that he was their promised deliverer, whose manifestation they so eagerly expected, and warned all the Bábís not to remain “veiled" as the Muhammadans had done, many immediately acknowledged his authority, received his words as divinely inspired, and yielded to him an unquestioning submission. So for these Behá'ís, as they are now called, the writings of the Báb became an old testament, and the ordinances of the Babi Beyán an abrogated law.

But not all of the Bábís were content to accept this. Subh-i- Ezel the legitimate successor of the Báb, and the visible head of the Bábí faith refused to acknowledge Behá'u'lláh's claim, or to abdicate in his favor. A minority of the Bábís (now called Ezelís) refused to acknowledge another chief.

Dissensions naturally arose, which culminated in the interference of the Turkish government and the final separation of the rival heads. Subh-i- Ezel was sent to Famagusta in Cyprus, and Behá 'u 'lláh to Acre in Syria, the former surrounded by a very few, the latter by many devoted adherents such that out of every hundred Bábís probably not more than three or four are Ezelís, all the rest accepting Behá'u'lláh as the final and most perfect manifestation of the Truth.

 

3.)    Biography of Husayn-`Ali Nuri (Baha'u'llah) the founder of the Baha'i Faith

Baha'u'llah (1817-1892) was the Prophet-Founder of the Baha'i Faith, considered by adherents to be the Universal Manifestation of God who has ushered in a new age of world unity. His given name was Husayn-`Ali Nuri, and he was born in Tihran on 12 November 1817 into the household of a prominent Iranian government dignitary, Mirza Abbas Nuri.

Baha'u'llah, who had contemplative leanings, came into contact with believers in the mystical, esoteric school of Shaykhis in Nur. In 1844, Mulla Husayn Bushru'i arrived in Tihran in his attempt to spread the Babi faith among the Shaykhi communities, and he found a willing convert in Mulla Muhammad Mu`allim of Nur. The latter in turn agreed to convey the Bab's message to Baha'u'llah, then in the capital. The young noble accepted the new religion eagerly.

Late in 1844 or in 1845, Baha'u'llah returned to Takur from Tihran, and expended great efforts in spreading the Babi faith in Nur and Mazandaran. Baha'u'llah also taught the faith to his brothers, including Mirza Musa and Mirza Yahya. As a consequence of his coming out into the open, Baha'u'llah was briefly imprisoned in Tihran

In the summer of 1848, eighty-one prominent Babis gathered at the village of Badasht in northwestern Iran to discuss ways of freeing the Bab from his imprisonment in Azerbaijan.  In accordance with the Bab's instructions that his followers glorify God, Husayn-`Ali Nuri suggested adopting divine names for some of the Babis It was at this point that he adopted for himself the name Baha', or the divine glory. His young brother  Mirza Yahya, then 17, became Subh-i Azal or the Morn of Eternity Baha'u'llah, like Tahirih, supported the adoption of the new revealed law of the Bab

Baha'u'llah later visited Fort Shaykh Tabarsi and advised the Babis besieged there by government troops and local Shi`ite clericalists. He left, and attempted to return, but he and his brother Mirza Yahya were arrested in Amul.

In July of 1850 the Bab was executed by the Iranian government.  Thereafter a number of important Babis put forth extravagant claims, including, in 1851, Sayyid Basir-i Hindi of Multan. Baha'u'llah challenged Sayyid Basir, and asserted his own divinity instead (many Babi leaders of the time represented themselves as participating in a plethora of divine manifestation, similar in some ways to that claimed by Sufis or mystics. In June, 1851, the vizier put pressure on Baha'u'llah to leave the country.

Baha'u'llah went to the shrine city of Karbala in Iraq, the site of the tomb of the Imam Husayn, where a small but active Babi group existed. He found that it was led by a Sayyid `Uluvv, who had made claims to being God incarnate. Baha'u'llah faced the man down and convinced him to retract those claims.

During his stay in Karbala between August 1851 and March 1852, Baha'u'llah told some of his close companions that he was himself the return of the Imam Husayn, whose return Shi`ites expected after the return of the Qa'im or Mahdi (which the Bab claimed he was).

On his return to Persia, Baha'u'llah discovered an assassination plot and denounced it. The plot was carried out on August 15, 1852, by some young fanatics, but failed when the pistol misfired. Baha'u'llah was arrested and made to walk in chains to the Siyah-Chal, the Black Pit dungeon.

During his imprisonment in the filthy, disease-ridden dungeon, Baha'u'llah saw several Babi friends executed and suffered horribly. He underwent mystical experiences, feeling energy wash over his body from the crown of his head, and saw visions that encouraged him to arise to reform the Babi community

Baha'u'llah was found innocent of complicity in the assassination plot, but it was clear that he was not now welcome in Iran. The government gave him permission to go to Baghdad, in neighboring Ottoman Iraq, where he arrived on 12 January 1853.

In 1854 he secretly departed from Baghdad, went to Kurdistan in the north where he lived the life of a mystic. The Kurds practiced the mystical form of Islam known as Sufism. While in Kurdistan Baha'u'llah wrote his "Ode of the Nightingale," an Arabic poem in classical Sufi style that mentions his ‘mission’.

The Babis searched for and found Baha'u'llah and pleaded with him to return. He returned in 1856. In the late 1850s Baha'u'llah wrote important works such as The Hidden Words and Seven Valleys, which by their crisp Arabic and Persian style and their mystical intensity encouraged some Babis back in Iran to become especially attracted to his personality. The form of The Hidden Words, in which God speaks directly but cryptically to the believer, much resembles that of the `Holy Sayings' (hadith qudsi) attributed to the Prophet Muhammad This literary form provided a clue to his own claims

Privately, to a handful of believers such as Nabil-I Akbar Qa'ini, Baha'u'llah in the late 1850s talked of himself as a Logos-figure (divine word of god), brought into being before the creation.

He appears to have been waiting for the year 1280 of the Islamic calendar (1863-64) to make a more open declaration, since some Muslims expected that a messiah would arise in that year. In the spring of 1863 Baha'u'llah was informed that Ottoman Sultan `Abdu'l-`Aziz wanted him  brought to the capital, Istanbul (Constantinople). Before he left, Baha'u'llah set up tents in the garden of Najib Pasha at Baghdad, where, during the period 21 April to 2 May, he informed a select handful of close followers and relatives that he was the promised one of the Bab, "He whom God shall make manifest." He also from this point urged a pacifist approach, condemning holy war or jihad.

He arrived in Istanbul in August, but refused to seek out prominent statesmen or to play politics. The Iranian ambassador put considerable pressure on the Ottoman government to have him exiled from the capital, from which he could have gained influence. Sultan `Abdu'l-`Aziz bowed to the Iranian entreaties, and ordered that Baha'u'llah be exiled to Edirne (Adrianople). Baha'u'llah dwelled in Edirne from 12 December 1863 to 12 August 1868.

In 1866-1868 Baha'u'llah began writing his Epistles to the Rulers, addressing Sultan `Abdu'l-`Aziz, Nasiru'd-Din Shah of Iran, and Napoleon III of France.

Because of further pressure from Persia, the Ottoman Sultan ordered that Baha'u'llah and some of his companions be exiled to the disease-ridden fortress-prison of Akka or St. Jean d'Acre on the Syrian coast.

In response Baha'u'llah  vengefully predicted that political turmoil would consequently beset Istanbul and that God would "take hold" of Sultan `Abdu'l-`Aziz.

He continued his proclamation to the rulers of the major powers, writing Queen Victoria, Tsar Alexander II, Kaiser Wilhelm I, and Pope Pius IX. In these letters he proclaimed himself the promised one of all religions, and therefore in a symbolic sense the return of Christ for Christians. (For Jews, he was the messiah, for Shi`ite Muslims the return of Imam Husayn, for Zoroastrians the Shah-Bahram Varjavand.)

In 1873, in his Most Holy Book (al-Kitab al-Aqdas), Baha'u'llah predicted that a democracy of the people would rule one day in Iran itself. In later tablets he advocated that a world-wide consultative body be convoked.

In 1876, in a vindication for Baha'u'llah's earlier predictions, Sultan `Abdu'l-`Aziz committed suicide in Istanbul and political forces favoring elected government came to power, authoring a constitution and holding empire-wide elections.

From Baha'u'llah's more open proclamation of his station in 1866/67, his message met with widespread acceptance among the Babis back in Iran, the vast majority of whom now became Baha'is. Only a few thousand continued to follow Azal.

As noted, in 1873 Baha'u'llah authored his most important work, the Most Holy Book, the book of laws for the Baha'i religion, intended to abrogate for Baha'is the canon law of both the Babi faith and the law of Islam.

In subsequent works he urged the adoption of a world language, and of a globally uniform set of weights and measures. He taught the underlying unity of the major world religions, including Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity, Hinduism and Islam (his son and vicar, `Abdu'l-Baha', later recognized Buddha and Krishna as true prophets as well).

Baha'u'llah advocated compulsory schooling for children, including girls, and said that in his religion "women are as men." He instructed his followers against holding any religious or national prejudice, and in a time when Middle Easterners were discovering nationalism, he insisted that love of all humankind was superior to mere love of one's own country.

He advocated the adoption of modern Western technology, and pointed out that Middle Easterners had already accepted much of the philosophical and scientific heritage of the ancient Greeks, upon which modern scientists were building

In 1877, the local Ottoman governor gave him permission to live in a mansion outside Akka, at Mazra`a. In 1879 he moved to another mansion, at Bahji (literally the "small garden," Bagce, in Turkish), where he lived until his passing in 1892.

Baha'u'llah married three times, first Asiyih "Nuvvab" Khanum in his youth, then his cousin, Mahd-i `Ulya, whose family had been martyred. He had a number of children with each of these co-wives.

In Baghdad he married Gawhar Khanum (the latter appears to have been a formality, a temporary marriage [mut`ah] of a sort required of Shi`ite law where a man had a live-in maid, and Gawhar Khanum had been brought into the household in the Shi`ite Karkh district in order to serve Asiyih Khanum). He had only one child, a daughter, with Gawhar Khanum).

Baha'u'llah had altogether fourteen children from his three wives, including four daughters. Five of his sons predeceased him. He appointed his eldest son, `Abdu'l-Baha, as his successor and the official interpreter of his religion after his death, and he also provided for the election of local houses of justice and a world-wide Universal House of Justice to govern community affairs.

Baha'u'llah died of a fever in `Akka on 29 May 1892, at the age of 74.

 

4.)    Central tenets of the Baha'i Faith   

The most salient features of the Baha'i faith are as follows: One God who is eternal and incomprehensible, God reveals to man as much as he can understand of truth by means of an endless but intermittent succession of prophets. The essence of their teaching is, in reality, one and the same because the same universal wisdom speaks, and the same divine will acts through all of them. But as man advances and evolves his latent potentialities, he needs a fuller light, and can bear a clearer teaching.

The human race has an infancy, a childhood, a youth and a maturity. Because the human race is in its maturity, those earlier revelations of religion which were sufficient for and adapted to its infancy are now no longer suitable.

Heaven is true, but it is a state, not a place. There is a resurrection, but it is not what man have imagined. Each " manifestation " of the divine wisdom in human form is the ' resurrection " of that which preceded it, in which the fruit is reaped of the seed sown. The "judgment," is the " meeting with God," and the angels are the reapers who go forth to gather in what is ripe and good.

Thus it is according to whether they are addressing a Muhammadan, a Christian or a Jew, the Baha’i’s say that the Imám Mahdí has come, that Christ has returned, or that Moses has reappeared on earth ; for to them all these phrases signify the same thing. That Baha'u'llah is the most recent revelation of God and embodies the Messiah hoped for by the Jews, the triumphant return of Jesus Christ and the long-awaited return of Imam Mahdi.

As to the belief in a future life, it is there, but it is not prominent. A universal reign of peace, love, freedom, and unity of belief and effort is the thing primarily aimed at. Baha’ism, in spite of the mystic enthusiasm which pervades it, differs from Sufíism. in having practical objectives.

A material resurrection is denied, and the immaterial future of the spirit must not divert their thoughts from the work of regenerating the world. War must cease, nations must mingle in friendship, justice must become universal, all men must be as brothers. " Ye are all the fruit of one tree," says Behá, " and the leaves of one branch. Walk, then, with perfect charity, concord, affection, and agreement, for I swear by the Sun of Truth that the light of agreement shall brighten and illumine the horizons." So again he says, "Pride is not for him who loveth his country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world." As for those who commit sin and cling to the world," he says elsewhere, they are assuredly not of the people of Behá"

"Religious hatred and resentment is a world-consuming fire, and the quenching thereof most arduous, unless the hand of Divine Might give man deliverance from this unfruitful calamity."

People of all creeds are to be associated with in a fair and friendly spirit, not shunned as unclean or treated as foes. Persuasion may be used to gain converts, but the employment of force is hateful to God. " If ye be slain, it is better for you than that ye should slay."

The diffusion of knowledge is a most commendable thing, for, says Behá, 'He who educateth his son, or one of the sons of another, it is as though he had educated one of my sons." But studies like logic and philosophy, which is conducive only to debate, are discouraged. The study of living languages is encouraged, since it is conducive to the closer union of diverse peoples. It is, however, recommended that in course of time one language (either one of those at present existing, or a new universal language) and one writing be chosen by the assembled representatives of the different nations, and that these be taught to every one, so that thenceforth there may be no obstacle to the free communication of all mankind.

 

5.)    Why I believe Baha’i is false

My initial impression of the teaching of Bahá'u'lláh was favorable. After all, the objectives of peace and regeneration of the world were noble and desirable. However, noble objectives are not sufficient to substantiate the reality of its claim to be the ultimate explanation of supernatural reality.

What about the many cases of martyrdom of believers in the Bab and in Bahá'u'lláh? Do not these lend credence to the Baha’i faith? Much as one is emotionally inclined to do so, I believe this is insufficient to constitute proof of supernatural reality

 

Bahá'u'lláh proposes that divine revelation occurs in stages This is the concept of progressive revelation. Each stage is suitable for the level of human understanding at that particular stage in history. He proposed that he is the ultimate Messenger of God and constitute the Messiah hoped for by the Jews, the triumphant return of Jesus Christ and the long-awaited return of Imam Mahdi.

This audacious claim is nonetheless a theory. Any theory purporting to explain the divine is attempting to explain a reality in the supernatural realm. As such, it must stand up to the scrutiny of tests of supernatural reality.

If the writings associated with the theory contain historically supported events which cannot be explained by nature, then it constitutes evidence that the theory probably describes a supernatural reality.

The two objective tests of supernatural reality are accurate predictions of future events and performance of miracles.

Prediction of future events constitute one type of evidence of supernatural reality if the likelihood of those events taking place by chance is extremely remote.

Other than three predictions, I have yet to find other predictions in the life and works of Bahá'u'lláh which have come to pass in secular history

Behá'u'lláh claimed that the Báb had predicted  his coming.

The Báb had declared that his own revelation as the "door" to the Imam Mahdi was not final, and that he would, at some future time be succeeded by "Him whom God shall manifest".  At the same time the Báb had laid it down that the time of this promised deliverer's arrival was known only to God, that no one could falsely claim to be him. The Báb also indicated that the next manifestation would appear suddenly and unexpectedly.

After the execution of the Báb in July 1850 by the Iranian government, a number of important Babis put forth extravagant claims of divinity. This included Sayyid Basir-i Hindi of Multan in 1851. He was one of several Babi leaders of the time who claimed participation in divine manifestations, similar in some ways to those claimed by Sufis or mystics Another such person was Sayyid `Uluvv who had made claims to being God incarnate. He resided in the shrine city of Kerbala in Iraq, the site of the tomb of the Imam Husayn.

Thus during those turbulent times, anyone could claim he was "Him whom God shall manifest." I believe Bahá'u'lláh seized the opportunity to declare his divinity and take over the mantle of leadership of the Babis. Thus his appearance as "Him whom God shall manifest" was neither sudden nor unexpected.

Bahá'u'lláh predicted that Sultan `Abdu'l-`Aziz, the Grand Vizer, `Ali Páshá and the associate, Fu'ád Páshá would have their lives taken from them as punishment for exiling him to the prison city of Akka. 

It is not uncommon for people to curse their enemies. I believe the likelihood of the curse made by Bahá'u'lláh coming to pass by chance is not extremely remote

What is more interesting is not the prediction coming to pass but the very fact that the curse was made at all. One of the central tenets of Baha'i Faith is belief of common brotherhood of man and that people of the Baha'i should be shining examples to all mankind. I quote form his Writings on the Civilizing of Human Character:

"O peoples of the world! Forsake all evil, hold fast that which is good. Strive to be shining examples unto all mankind, and true reminders of the virtues of God amidst men."

This appears to be contrary to the making of curses. I believe that is is an example of hypocrisy and is totally inconsistent of a man who claims he is the "Manifestation of God." and the epitome of the virtues of God.

Behá'u'lláh  predicted that a democracy of the people would rule one day in Iran. If this prediction was made before democratic government appeared on earth, it would have been exceptional. However, Behá'u'lláh was looking at the fledgling democracy in England when he made his prediction. Hence the likelihood of this prediction occurring by chance is not extremely remote.

In summary, the likelihood of these three predictions concerning Behá'u'lláh occurring by chance are not extremely remote and therefore are not sufficient to invoke a supernatural causation.

Performing deeds which are impossible in the natural to occur are known as miracles. Miracles constitute evidence of supernatural reality. I am unable to find examples of miraculous acts performed by Bahá'u'lláh.

Thus there is insufficient evidence for me to be convinced that Bahá'u'lláh’s theory of "Progressive Revelation" represents supernatural reality.  

 

How can I explain Bahá'u'lláh’s behavior? I like to propose a theory that Bahá'u'lláh has megalomania, a psychological state characterized by delusions of grandeur. Examination of his writings show that this theory is plausible.  

Bahá'u'lláh claimed that he was infallible (incapable of failure or error) (the ‘Ishraqat circa 1855)

However, he made an error when he pronounced that creation had no beginning. I quote from his ‘Writings on the human soul’.

“As to thy question whether the physical world is subject to any limitations, know thou that the comprehension of this matter dependeth upon the observer himself. In one sense, it is limited; in another, it is exalted beyond all limitations. The one true God hath everlastingly existed, and will everlastingly continue to exist. His creation, likewise, hath had no beginning, and will have no end. All that is created, however, is preceded by a cause. This fact, in itself, establisheth, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the unity of the Creator”.

It had been scientifically established that there was a beginning described as the ‘Big Bang’. (See the first page on this website) Thus Behá'u'lláh was not infallible.

Behá'u'lláh's original name was Husayn-`Ali Nuri. Consistent with his condition of megalomania, he renamed himself Behá'u'lláh, the meaning of which is "The Glory of God."  

He claimed that he is the Manifestation of God and that no one can recognize God except through Him. (the Tajalliyat circa 1855)

He claims that the various messianic prophecies of earlier religions were fulfilled by his coming. (the ‘Ishraqat circa 1855)

He glorified himself in a fashion consistent with megalomania:

"Had Muhammad, the Apostle of God, attained this Day, He would have exclaimed: 'I have truly recognized Thee, O Thou the Desire of the Divine Messengers!' Had Abraham attained it, He too, falling prostrate upon the ground, and in the utmost lowliness before the Lord thy God, would have cried: 'Mine heart is filled with peace, O Thou Lord of all that is in heaven and on earth! I testify that Thou hast unveiled before mine eyes all the glory of Thy power and the full majesty of Thy law!'... Had Moses Himself attained it, He, likewise, would have raised His voice saying: 'All praise be to Thee for having lifted upon me the light of Thy countenance and enrolled me among them that have been privileged to behold Thy face!" (Bahá'u'lláh, Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p.149)    

 

If I examine Bahá'u'lláh‘s claim that the prophets Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, Imam Mahdi and  Bahá'u'lláh are Manifestations of God, I find something interesting.

None of them claimed to be Manifestations of God except Jesus and Behá'u'lláh. Allow me to compare them.

Behá'u'lláh had three predictions to his credit. He performed no miracles. Like any other man, Behá'u'lláh died and was buried. There was hardly anything supernatural about him.

On the other hand, Jesus had thirty-four predictions about him. He was recorded to have performed no less than thirty-two miracles. He died, was buried but miraculously rose from the dead.  I am inclined to believe Jesus had evidence of supernatural reality.

 

6.)    Why I believe Baha'i beliefs are flawed

The theory of progressive revelation includes the belief that all the Manifestations of God (including Muhammad) were infallible in transmitting the will of God at the time they lived. By my study of the life and times of Muhammad, the Qur’an and the Hadith, I believe Muhammad’s teaching was false. This effectively renders Bahá'u'lláh‘s theory of progressive revelation invalid.

Bahá'u'lláh defines evil as the absence of good. I am of the opinion that this is not logical. When someone is good to another person it means having and acting on a desire to promote the welfare or happiness of the other person. Evil means being deliberately malevolent, wicked, vicious, injurious and harmful to the other person. When someone has an absence of the desire to promote the welfare or happiness of others, he does not necessarily go out of his way to be harmful to the other person. He will most probably ignore the other person. Evil is a proactive attribute of going out of one’s way to harm the interests of the other person. Hence Bahá'u'lláh‘s denial of the existence of evil as an independent attribute is not valid.

 

7.)    Resource material

Bábism http://www.h-net.org/~bahai/diglib/articles/A-E/browne/brbabism.htm
A Brief Biography of Baha'u'llah. http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jrcole/bahabio.htm  
The Bahá'í Faith    http://info.bahai.org/  

 

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Secular evidence for the existence of supernatural reality (Home page)
How I explain supernatural reality

Bible prophecies have correctly predicted events in secular history
Predictions about Yeshua (Jesus)
Which religion should I choose to believe in
Why I believe Islam and Islamic belief are false
Why I believe Hinduism and Hindu belief are false
Why I believe Buddhism and Buddhist belief are false
Why I believe New Age and New Age belief are false
Why I believe Baha'i and Baha'i belief are false
Miracles performed by Jesus Christ
Why things happen the way they do
Is there free will when exercising choice
How can three be one
Invitation to spread the message
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