Chapter 7     Chapter 9

[page 177]


Its Record as to Morals

[page 178]

      The Bahais are ignorant of the dogmas of Babism and of its history and its book. The "Traveller's Narrative," a work of Abbas Effendi, is a bad romance, composed solely for the purpose of proving that the Bab is simply a percursor and announcer of Baha Ullah. With extreme bias, he misconceives in every instance the true history, and the author has not even searched, as I have, in the immense works of the Bab for the autobiographical notes which are so plentiful. He is satisfied with the legends which fall in best with the end he is pursuing. It is regrettable that a man like Abbas Effendi should show himself ignorant of the life of the Bab.-- "Beyan Persan," A. L. M. Nicolas, Vol. I, p. xvi.

      To represent him (the Bab) as simply the forerunner of Baha is an historic falsehood. It is another to pretend that the religion of the Bab was universalized by Baha Ullah.--Ibid., Vol. III, p. v.

      The Bab did not consider himself as the herald or forerunner of another dispensation, as a John the Baptist to Christ. This is devoid of historic foundation. In his own eyes as in those of his followers, M. Ali Mohammed inaugurated a new prophetic cycle and brought a new revelation which abrogated the Koran. He declared that he is not the last Manifestation. There would be a greater, whom he calls "Him whom God would manifest," but the Bab expected that the next manifestation would be separated from his own by an interval such as had separated previous dispensations. Possibly the "Bayan" indicates 1511 or 2001 years as the interval.--Professor Browne, "Introduction to Mirza Jani's History."

[page 179]



THE moral conduct of the founders of a religion, especially one that requires trust in the person of its author, is a necessary subject of investigation. The conduct of the immediate followers is not to the same degree a subject of criticism. From one point of view it is no argument against the truth of Bahaism that Bahais fail to live up to its precepts and principles, for this can be said of all religions. But the claims of Bahai writers make it necessary to consider their conduct. They boast of superior exemplary character and make this a proof of Bahaism. Hence it is necessary to show the groundlessness of their assertions. In the following review, which covers several chapters, the conduct of Baha, Abdul Baha and their early followers is treated together. The claim made for the founders is nothing short of blessed perfection. For the disciples, it is one of superlative excellence. Myron Phelps says: [1] "This faith does not expend itself on beautiful and unfruitful theories, but has a vital and effective power to mould life towards the very highest ideals of human character--as

1. Life of Abbas Effendi," p. xxxvii.

[page 180]

exemplified in the life of Abbas and the salient characteristics of his followers." The Bahai historians say: [1] "They are remarkable only for their charity, kindliness, purity, godliness, rectitude, sincerity, integrity, generosity, chastity and strict avoidance of all forbidden things." "In their conduct, action, morality and demeanour was no place for objection. . . . People have confidence in their trustworthiness, faithfulness and godliness." Abul Fazl [2] speaks of the supernatural character and morals of the followers of Baha, who became universally celebrated for their just characters, good conduct and excellent morals. So Remey: "The effect of this cause upon the lives of the peoples of every race and religion leaves no doubt as to the divine source of its teachings." Mirza Jani, speaking of the proofs the Babis gave to the Moslems, says '"We say, 'We have witnessed miracles on the part of this man. They retort, 'He is a sorcerer. We say, 'Come, let us invoke God's curse on whomsoever is in error, leaving to Him the decision.' They reply, 'This is not permitted by our law. We say, 'Let us kindle a fire and enter into the midst together. They answer, 'You are mad. We further say, ' Consider the godliness, piety and self-renunciation of those who believe. They return us no answer." I propose to return the answer.

      1. One characteristic of the Bahai leaders is

1. New Hist.," p. 236; "Trav.'s Narr.," p. 82.
2. "Bahai Proofs," pp. 63, 77.      
3. "The Bahai Religion," p. iii.
4. 'Quoted in "New Hist.," p. 373; comp. p. 61.

[page 181]

dishonesty in dealing with their history. This sometimes takes the form of the suppression and concealment of documents, sometimes of the omission or perversion of essential facts or their presentation in such a way as to falsify history. In the writing of political history and in scheming for the triumph of a political party, we may expect crookedness in dealing with facts, but in the propagating of a new religion designed to supersede Christianity and Islam, and purporting to be an improvement on them, we do not expect to find dishonesty and misrepresentation. Yet this is exactly what we find, namely, "a readiness to ignore or suppress facts, writings or views (undoubtedly historical), which they regard as useless or hurtful to their aims." [1]

      When Mirza Husain Ali (Baha Ullah) started out as a "Manifestation," it was necessary to get rid of certain facts and beliefs held by Babis. He must reduce the Bab from his position as the Point of Divinity--the Lord of a new Dispensation, as well as supplant and supersede the Bab's successor, Subh-iAzal. [2] Thoroughly to accomplish this object (after the Babis leaders had been put out of the way), the history was rewritten. While claiming that the Bab gave testimony to Baha and taking to themselves the glory of Babi heroism and martyrdoms, the Bahais relegated the "Bayan" and other " revelations" of the Bab, not yet a score of years old, to dust-covered oblivion. [3] Subh-i-Azal avers that they

1. Professor Browne's Introduction to Phelps, p. xxi.
2. "New list.," p. 426.
3. Ibid., p. xxvii.

[page 182]

wilfully destroyed them. He writes [1] that thirty or more bound books of the Bab were given in trust by him to his relatives (Baha and his family) as trustees. "They carried off the trust," and "making strenuous efforts, got into their hands such of the books of the Point as were obtainable, with the idea of destroying them and rendering their own works attractive. Professor Browne [2] informs us that it was very difficult to obtain a Babi book from Persian Bahais and next to impossible to get a glimpse of one at Acca, where the Bahais had them concealed. The "holy, divine books" were shelved from motives of policy.

A primitive Babi work of first importance was the "History," by Mirza Jani. This was an original narrative of events, at first hand, prepared in sincerity by one who shortly suffered martyrdom for the cause (1852). But its facts did not suit the Bahais. So it was superseded, first by the "New History" [3] (1880), and secondly by the "Traveller's Narrative" (1886). Both these histories purport to be written by European travellers. We might excuse their being anonymous, to avoid possible persecution, but to make pretense that the authors are travellers who have come from afar ostensibly to investigate, and

1. Trav.'s Narr.," pp. 342--343.
2. Browne's "A Year Among the Persians," p. 530. "If, instead of talking in this violent and unreasonable manner, you would produce the 'Bayan, of which ever since I came to Persia I have been vainly endeavouring to obtain a copy."
3. Its authors were Mirza Husain of Hamadan, M. Abul FazI, and Manakji.

[page 183]

into whose mouths are put praises of the religion, is but part of the insincerity noticeable in other things. [1] Mirza Jani's "History" passed out of sight, and it was only because a copy had been deposited by Count Gobineau in the Bibliothque Nationale at Paris that it has reached our hands. [2]

      Of the "New History" little need be said, except that it perverted the history and "carefully omitted every fact, doctrine and expression," [3] not in accord with the policy of Baha.

      Let us examine somewhat in detail how Abbas Abdul Baha treats facts in his "Traveller's Narrative." He is undoubtedly the principal author of this work. [4] The Persian Bahai, who sent Professor Browne the lithographed (Bombay) copy of it, wrote, "It contains the observations of His Holiness, the Lord, Mystery of God (May my personality be his sacrifice)." Professor Browne was also presented with a copy of it at Acca, which he published in Persian with an English translation. Of it he says, [5] "It was written to discredit the perfectiy legitimate claims and to disparage the blameless character of his less successful rival" (Azal). "There is good ground for

1. Numerous magazine articles, and even the "Life of Abbas Effendi" have been written by Bahais, as if they were outsiders making observations.
2. In his Introduction (pp. xxxii.--v.) to Mirra Jani, which he has had printed in Persian, Professor Browne says, "But for Count Gobineau it would have perished utterly. This fact is very instructive, that so important a work could be successfully suppressed," and "that the adherents of a religion could connive at such an act of suppression and falsification of evidence." "This fact is established by the clearest evidence."
3. "New Hist.," p. xxix.      
4. Ibid, pp. xiv., xxxi.      
5. Ibid., p. xiv.

[page 184]

suspecting a deliberate misstatement [1] of facts and dates." He specifies [2] various points in which Abbas Effendi perverted the facts. Undoubtedly one of the aims of Abbas was to eliminate Azal. The latter had been regularly appointed by the Bab as his successor, [3] but he refused to make way for Baha. The Bahais tried to get rid of the question by suppressing all mention of him, even of his name, and "of all documents tending to prove the position which he undoubtedly held." [4] They would have consigned him to oblivion. [5] The "New History" makes but one doubtful reference to Azal. [6] Professor Browne says, "Abbas Effendi, [7] in order to curtail the duraation

1. Encyc. Brit.," article, Babism.
2. "Trav.'s Narr.," p. xlv. It (1) belittles the Bab and glorifies Baha -- making the former simply a forerunner; (2) belittles the sufferings and deeds of Babis, passing over remarkable events almost unnoticed and rnagnifies inferior deeds of Bahais; (3) debases Azal, disregards his position as successor, disparages and scorns him as lacking in courage and wisdom; (4) tries to curry the favour of the Shah of Persia and excuses his persecutions, putting the blame on Mullahs and Viziers, deprecating the resistance and wars of the early Babis.
3. Count Gobineau (p. 277) says, "There was some little hesitation about the successor of the Bab, but finally he was recognized as divinely designated, a young man of sixteen, named M. Yahya (Azal). The election was recognized by all the Babis."
4. "Mirza Jani," p. xxxii.
5. Ibid., p. xxxv. Professor Browne says, "When I was in Persia in 1887--1888, the Babis (Bahais) whom I met feigned complete ignorance of the very name and existence of Subh-i-Azal."
6. Page 64, note.
7. "Abbas Effendi suppressed all incidents and expressions not in accordance with later Bahai sentiment." "Of this I am certain that the more the Bahai doctrine spreads, especially outside of Persia, the more the true history is obscured and distorted" (Professor Browne in his introduction to "Mirza Jani," p. xxxvi.).

[page 185]

and extent of Subh-i-Azal's authority and to give colour to their assertion that it was but temporary and nominal, deliberately and purposely antedated the Manifestation of Baha." And he continues to the present to misrepresent the facts. In "Answered Questions" [1] Baha is presented as the chief influence in Persia immediately after the Bab. Other Bahai writers repeat this error. [2]

      2. Another practice of the founders of Bahaism is falsifying and changing the documents and texts of their Sacred Writings, namely, those of the Bab and Baha, according to the exigency of circumstances. Subh-i-Azal made the accusation "that the Bahais had tampered with the Bab's writings to give colour to their own doctrines and views." [3] I pass this by, to notice how they have tampered with their own

1. Pages 36--38.
2. One need not be surprised at this falsifying of claims and historical facts, for it is the testimony of the Bahai historian himself (" New Hist.," p. 5) that " the principal vice of the Persians is falsehood--so universal and customary and so familiar that truthfulness is entirely abandoned and ignored." "In matters relating to religion the Mullahs have shown themselves to be ready liars and shameless forgers." The degree of reliability of this History may be judged from the following sentence, "When the people of Italy had proved the extent of the Pope's hypocrisy, guile and deceit, they so effectually deposed him and his children and his grandchildren that naught remained of him but the appearance "(referring to 1870--1871). I have received a pamphlet by A. J. Stenstrand, of Chicago, called " Third call to Behaists." He writes (p. 27), "The Babi history as well as their sacred scriptures prove that a terrible corruption, changing and transposing of its meanings, has been going on in the hands of the Behaists." Again (p. 28), "We have plenty of proofs that there has been continual corruption, interpolation, changing, transposing and stealing away the sacred scriptures of the Babi religion in the hands of the Bahais."
3. cf. Jour. Roy. As. Soc., 1892, p. 447.

[page 186]

"Revelations." For example, take Baha's "Epistle to the Shah of Persia." Its original text was published by Baron Rosen. [1] It is embodied by Abbas Eflendi in the "Traveller's Narrative." [2] The two do not agree. "Very considerable alterations and suppressions were made in the text by the author of 'Traveller's Narrative." [3] "The text has evidently been toned down to suit a wider audience and to avoid giving offense to non-believers." [4]

      There is also another "Epistle to the Shah" which is contained in the "Surat-ul-Maluk." Its tone is strikingly different. The first is a careful diplomatic document which acknowledges the faults of the Babis, pleads pardon for the past and for religious toleration. It is monotheistic, representing Baha as a humble suffering servant, with no pretense to Divinity. The other "adopts a tone of fierce recrimination towards the Shah, and upbraids him for the Bab's death, saying, 'Would you had slain him as men slay one another, but ye slew him in such a way as the eyes of men have not seen the like thereof and heaven wept over him, and by God, the eye of existence hath not beheld the like of you; you slay the son of your prophet and then are of those who are joyful. " He excuses the attempt on the life of the Shah, and threatens vengeance [5] on him. These

1. "The Alwah-i-Salatin," in collections Scientifiques, St. Petersburg, 1877.
2. "Trav.'s Narr.," pp. 108--164.
3. 7our. Roy. As. Soc., 1892, p. 313.
4. Ibid p. 286.
5. S.W., Sept. 27, 1913, pp. 9, 10, "If thou dost not obey God, the foundations of thy government shall be razed, and thou shalt become evanescent--become as nothing. If no attention is paid to this book, thou shalt become non-existent."

[page 187]

two Epistles to the Shah have been a puzzle to the critics. This threatening, fierce letter seems so contrary to the policy of Baha. An adequate and not improbable explanation [1] would be that one letter was prepared for the perusal of his Majesty and the other for the Bahais, to impress them with the boldness of their prophet.

      Another example of this is seen in the suppression of part of the "Lawh-i-Basharat" ("Glad Tidings"). Its fifteenth section commands Constitutional Government. When the Tablet was sent to Russia, this section was suppressed by Bahais. The Tablet was published in its mutilated form by Baron Rosen. Expediency, which rules Bahai practice, required that an incomplete "Divine Revelation" should reach Russia.

      Playing fast and loose with the "Revelations" prevailed still more at the time of the bitter quarrel and schism on the death of Baha. Though Baha's Tablets are regarded as "Holy Books" in the highest sense, yet the Bahais commit the grave offense of changing them so as to misrepresent facts. Mirza Mohammed Ali and Badi Ullah, younger sons of Baha, in refuting the claim of Abbas Effendi to be

1. The same explanation will account for the opposite narratives of the trial of Baha before the Turkish court at Acca. Mr. Laurence Oliphant reports that the court put the question to Baha, "Will you tell the court who and what you are?" "I will begin," he replied, "by telling you who I am not. I am not a camel-driver (alluding to Mohammed), nor am I a carpenter."
2. New Hist.," p. xxv.

[page 188]

Baha's successor, say, "Has Abbas dared to change the texts uttered by Baha Ullah? Most certainly, Yes. We have in our possession many texts of Baha Ullah which have been changed [1] by Abbas Effendi." Further, "he and his party have stolen the first paragraph of a sacred Tablet and have perverted its meaning, with deception."

      Khadim-Ullah, [2] the lifelong amanuensis of Baha, asserts that Abbas actually rejected a " Sacred Tablet," written in the handwriting of Baha Ullah. Other Tablets are repudiated. For in "Hidden Words" [3]Baha Ullah refers to the "Fifth Tablet of Paradise" and the "Ruby Tablet." Abbas Effendi warns against accepting any such Tablets if they should be brought to light. What other reason for this can we imagine than fear that their contents

1. "Facts for Behaists" p. 27. We mention a few of the important ones. (1) The so-called Tablet of Beirut, which confirmed the claim of Abbas, and was said to be transcribed by Khadim Ullah. The latter declared it to be a forgery by Abbas Effendi. (2) Abbas omitted the middIe part of the "Tablet of command" to make it certify his claims. A complete copy in Baha's own handwriting showed the subterfuge. (3) He combined parts of two different Tablets, called it the "Treasure Tablet," and claimed that it certified his succession. The two Tablets were produced and proved the falsity of the claim.
2. "Facts for Behaists," p. 55. Afterwards Badi Ullah, who had accused the party of Abbas of making additions to the writings, with a purpose changed sides in the quarrel and accused Mohammed Ali of the same things-- "interpolating," "erasing," "transposing," " replacing," "clipping and joining fragments," of the Tablets of Baha Ullah, besides issuing "a false writing in his name" Mohammed Ali is also accused of " carrying away by way of the window" two trunks full of the "blessed writings." See "Epistle to the Bahai World," by Mirza Badi Ullah, pp. 3,5, 12--17.
3. "Hidden Words," numbers 20, 37, 48.

[page 189]

would be against his claim. Enough has been said to show the truth of the charge that the Bahais deal dishonestly with the documents of their alleged revelation.

      A peculiar instance of forgery occurs in the writings of Baha Ullah. In his Epistle to the Shah Baha quotes certain verses as from the "Hidden Book of Fatima." This book, the Shiahs believe, was revealed by Gabriel to Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed, disappeared with the twelfth Imam, and will be brought back by the Mahdi at his coming. Professor Browne [1] wrote to Acca making inquiry about this "Book of Fatima" and the quotations from it. The authoritative reply which he received was, "That naught is known of such a book but the name, but Baha Ullah mentioned it in this manner to make known the appearance of the Kaim" (Mahdi). In other words, Baha was making a false pretense of quoting from the "Book of Fatima," as if he, as Mahdi, had brought it with him.

      3.       Bahais make false representation of facts in political history. The "Traveller's Narrative" perverts the truth for "political opportunism." [2] Contrary to the contemporary historian, Mirza Jani, and the European chroniclers, the Shah is represented as ignorant and innocent of and averse to the repressive measures taken by his government against the Babis. Let me give specific proofs of this.

      At the first trial of the Bab, at Tabriz, according to Mirza Jani, [3] Nasr-ud-Din, then Crown Prince, whom

1. "Trav.'s Narr.," p. 523.
2. "New Hist.," p. vii.
3. Ibid., p. 353.

[page 190]

he dubs "bastard," treated the Bab disrespectfully by rolling a globe towards him and taunting him with ignorance of it and by ordering him to be bastinadoed. The "Traveller's Narrative," [1] per contra, says, "The heavenly-cradled Crown Prince pronounced no sentence with regard to the Bab, but the Mullahs ordered a bastinado." The former history states that the Prime Minister consulted, about the execution of the Bab, with the Shah, [2] who gave him full authority to act in the matter," and that he then communicated with Prince Hamza Mirza, Governor of Azerbaijan, who proceeded to make plans for it. Abbas Narrative [3] states that "the Minister, without the Royal command and without his cognizance and entirely on his own authority, issued commands to put the Bab to death"; "that Prince Hamza utterly refused to have part in the trial and execution." Gobineau [4] confirms the original account, and states that Prince Hamza "took a leading part in the condemnation of the Bab." It is certain that contemporary Babis [5] held the Shah responsible for their persecution and were bitter against him. Mirza Jani records the death of Mohammed

1. "Trav's Narr.," p. 20.
2. "New Hist.," p. 292.
3. "Trav.'s Narr.," pp. 40, 41. Ahul Fazl also is apologetic for the Shah, and says ("Bahai Proofs," p. 38), "Without seeking permission from the Shah, the Minister issued the order for his death."
4. "Trav.'s Narr.," p. 259.
5. In "New Hist.," p. xvii., Professor Browne says, "The Babis made no profession of loyalty, nor did they attempt to exonerate the Shah from the responsibility of the persecutions. To the Shahs, such terms as tyrant, scoundrel, unrightful king, are freely applied. The battle cry, 'Ya Nasrud-Din Shah, is described as 'a foul watchword.'"

[page 191]

Shah, by saying that "he went to hell"; the "New History" affirms "that he passed to the mansions of Paradise." Nasr-ud-Din was no puppet king, he was fully cognizant of the affairs of state. Regarding the imprisonment of Baha, the "Traveller's Narrative" [1] says, "His Majesty, moved by his own kindly spirit, ordered investigation and the release of Baha Ullah." He had just ordered the execution of twenty-eight Babis, with horrid cruelties, after the attempt on his life. Regarding the torture and execution of Badi, who bore the Epistle to the Shah, it says: [2] "It was contrary to the desire of the Shah, and he manifested regret for it." This and much in that Epistle is written with the idea of conciliating the Shah and obtaining toleration. It is a sensible attitude, did they not maintain it with so much misrepresentation and hypocrisy. The real spirit of Bahais towards Nasr-ud-Din is seen in Baha's "Surat-ul-Maluk," and is one of "fierce recriminatinn." Confirmation of this comes from conversations with Bahais.

      Another misrepresentation of history, which is universal among Bahais, is in belittling the plot to assassinate Nasr-ud-Din Shah in 1852. Abbas Effendi says, [3] "It was done by a certain Babi, by sheer madness, one other person being his accomplice." His sister, Bahiah Khanum, says, [4] It was "by a young Babi who had lost his reason." Kheiralla, [5] says, It was "by a weak-minded, insane

1. "Trav.'s Narr.," p. 52.
2. Ibid., pp. 104--106.
3. Ibid., pp. 49, 50.
4. Phelps, p. 13.      
5. "Beha Ullah," p. 411.

[page 192]

believer." Similarly all their writers propagate a tradition that one irresponsible man made the attempt. It is permitted to doubt the Shiah historian, who gives a circumstantial account of how twelve Babis, including one high leader, laid the plot. But Count Gobineau [1] is entitled to credence when he says that there were a number of Babis in the plot and three took part in the attempt. A nephew of one of the accomplices told Professor Browne [2] that there were seven in the plot and three of them went out to commit the act. Why will not Bahai writers give the facts straight?

      Another misrepresentation fostered by them is that of calling the Babi martyrs Bahais. Thus Abdul Baha says, [3] "When they brought Kurrat-ul-Ayn the terrible news of the martyrdom of the Bahais, she did not waver." Again he says, [4] "Thousands of His (i. e., Baha Ullah's) followers have given their lives, and while under the sword shedding their blood they have proclaimed, 'Ya Baha-ul-Abha. " He said [5] in Doctor Cadman's church, "The King of Persia killed 20,000 Bahais." Again, [6] "In all parts of Persia his enemies rose against Baha Ullah, imprisoning and killing his converts, razing thousands of dwellings." These are gross misstatements. In Kurrat-ul-Ayn's time there were no Bahais, only Babis. No such efforts as those described were ever made to crush Bahaism. The thousands who gave

1. "Trav.'s Narr.," p. 53.
2. Ibid., p. 323.
3. S.W, Oct. 16, 1913. p. 210.
4. Ibid., July 13, 1913, p. 118.
5. Ibid., Sept. 18, 1912.
6 "Some Answered Questions," p. 37.

[page 193]

their lives were Babis. Perhaps some one remarks, "What's the difference?" Foreign writers may not know the difference, and an American audience certainly does not. But Abdul Baha, from whom I have quoted, makes a great difference. It arouses one's indignation to read Bahai literature, in which they claim credit for all that is noble in Babi annals, such as the martyrdoms, and yet they disparage and deny the Babis.

      Read Abul Fazi's "Bahai Proofs." He said [1] to Prince Naibus-Sultaneh, "The unseemly actions of the Babis cannot be denied nor excused, but to arrest Bahais for them is oppression, for these unfortunates have no connection with the Babis, who took up arms, nor are they of the same religion or creed." In another place he writes [2] repudiating the wars and disorders of the Babis, and affirming that they were guilty of many censurable actions, 'such as taking men's property and pillaging the dead, and engaging in conflict and bloodshed. If then the Bahais repudiate them, they must not appropriate their glory, for the old Babis, with all their faults, were at least heroic. Bahaism has, on the contrary, the spirit of tagiya.

      I pass on to consider Abdul Baha's representations regarding Sultan Abdul Hamid. I present two quotations from Tablets addressed to American believers. The first says, [3] "Here one witnesses the fairness and impartiality of H. I. Majesty the Padishah of the

1. Pages 77, 78.
2. Page 63.
3. "Tablets of Abdul Baha," Vol. I, p. 46.

[page 194]

Ottomans, who has dealt with the utmost justice and equity. In reality to-day, in the Asiatic world, the Padishah of the Ottoman Empire and the Shah of Persia, Muzaffar-ud-Din, are peerless and have no equals. These two kings have treated us with mildness--both are just. Therefore, pray ye and beseech for their confirmation in the threshold of the Almighty, especially for Abdul Hamid, who has dealt at all times in justice with these exiled ones." Abdul Hamid--a peerless, just one! Surely this would have remained among the hidden things had not one "Servant of God" (Abd-ul-Baha) revealed it to us about that other "Servant of God" (Abd-ulHamid). This "revelation" is dated 1906. After Abdul Hamid was deposed, Abdul Baha speaks [1] of "his oppression and tyranny," for the Sultan sent "an oppressive, august commission, that with all kinds of wiles, simulations, slander and fabrication of false stories, they might fasten guilt upon Abdul Baha. But soon fetters and manacles were placed around the unblessed neck of Abdul Hamid." Did the "Infallible Pen" err in the former character sketch? No, but Abdul Baha's oppression [2] of his brothers, in retaining their patrimony, resulted in a bitter quarrel and complaints, followed by an

1. S.W., May 17, 1951, p. 6.
2. Mrs. Templeton (previously Mrs. Laurence Oliphant), in "Facts for Behaists," tells of the unrighteousness of Abbas Effendi (Abdul Baha) in keeping from his brothers and stepmothers the pension money of the Turkish Government and the revenue of Baha's villages, and of his ostentatious charity in giving away part of these funds by distributing coins to a mixed crowd of beggars every Friday.

[page 195]

investigating Commission and Abdul Baha's imprisonment. On this account the whitewash scaled off from Abdul Hamid.

      Another form of misstatement is their habitual way of speaking of the imprisonment of Baha and Abdul Baha. Abdul Baha says of Baha, [1] " His blessed days ended in the cruel prison and dark dungeon." "He passed his days in the Most Great Prison." [2] Abdul Baha continually speaks of himself in such words as the following, "Forty years I was a prisoner; I was young when I was put in prison, and my hair was white when the prison doors opened." [3] "After all these long years of prison life." "My body can endure anything; my body has endured forty years of imprisonment." [4] Now, what are the facts?

      In Phelps Life, Bahiah Khanum [5]says, "We were imprisoned in the barracks at Acca two years (1868--70)." Then [6] "we were given a comfortable house [7] with three rooms and a court." After nine years of such restriction Baha Ullah moved to a beautiful garden outside the city and built there a Palace, called Bahja. He had the freedom of the surrounding country, visited Mount Carmel, and later spent a part of each year at Haifa. [8] Baha Ullah died in this Palace, not in a dungeon.[9]

1. S.W, May 17, 1913, p. 74.
2. "Tablets of Abdul Baha," Vol. I, p. 44.
3. S. W., Ibid., p. 67.
4. Ibid., Sept. 8, 1912, p. 5.      
5. Phelps, p. 66.      
6. Ibid., p. 70.
7. This house was purchased by an American Bahai lady, that it might remain in Bahai hands.
8. "Bahai Proofs," by Abul FazI, p. 66. Remey, p. 23.
9. Mrs. Grundy, p. 73 ff., "Ten Days," etc., speaks of the Palace of Joy as a very, large white mansion. Professor Browns. was received here (1890). He was conducted through a spacious hall, paved with a mosaic of marble, into a great antechamber, and entered through a lifted curtain into a large Audience Room.

      Of the Garden of Baha, Sprague ("A Year in India," etc., p. 1) says, "It is a veritable garden of Eden, with luxuriant foliage and every fruit. Baha Ullah used to sit under the large spreading tree and teach his disciples." Mrs. Grundy says, " The Rizwan is filled with palm trees, oranges, lemons and wonderful flowers. A river, the Nahr Naaman, runs through it, in two streams, on which ducks and other fowls swim. On an island is an arbour under two large mulberry trees. A fountain plays in the midst. Under the arbour is a chair where Baha used to sit. No one sits in it any more. (Mrs. Grundy knelt at the foot of the chair.) The garden has a cottage, where Baha spent his summers." A Palace and a luxurious summer place were Baha's "Most Great Prison" during most of his years at Acca. Compare Laurence Oliphant's "Haifa," etc., p. 103, for a fine description of his "pleasure ground." How unfounded are such statements as Bernard Temple's (S W, p. 39, April 28, 1954). "All this while the founders were behind prison walls."

[page 196]

As to Abbas Effendi, during the first brief period only he was restricted to the barracks. He was even temporarily put in chains in the dungeon [1] when accused of participation in the assassination of the Azalis. After that, for a period of thirty years, "he was permitted to go about at his pleasure, beyond the walls of Acca." [2] He built a fine residence [3] at Haifa, which I have seen. He journeyed to Tiberias and as far as Beirut. Only after his quarrel with his brothers and on their accusation was he ordered back to Acca, and even then he had the freedom of the city (1905). [4] Such are the facts about Abbas

1. Phelps, p. 75.      
2. Ibid., p. 80.
3. Dr. H. H. Jessup, who visited him in 1900, writes (New York Outlook, June, 1901), "Abbas Effendi has two houses in Haifa, one for his family, in which he entertains the American lady pilgrims, and one down town where his Persian followers meet him."
4. Abbas Effendi in Acca at this time visited Mr. Remey ("Bahai Movement," p. 108). He received American pilgrims. Mrs. Goodall ("Daily Lessons," p. 6) speaks of "His bountifully spread table," the laughter and good cheer, and (p. 13) remarks, "One would never realize he was visiting a Turkish prison."

[page 197]

Effendi, whom Canon Wilberforce introduced in his church as "for forty years a prisoner for the cause of brotherhood and love." In truth it was the quarrelling of the brothers, Azal and Baha, that led to the banishment from Adrianople to Acca, the murder of Azalis by Bahais increased its severity, the bitter hatred of the younger generation against each other brought back the restraint.

      4. Another immoral practice of Bahais is tagiya or ketman, religious dissimulation. This is taught and practiced by Shiah Moslems, [1] and it is continued with all its offensiveness against good morals by Bahais. In it concealment, denial or misrepresentation by word or act is allowed for self-protection or for the good of the faith. It was formally permitted by Baha Ullah. In accordance with this practice Abdul Baha and his followers at Acca keep the Fast of Ramazan [2] in addition to the Bahai Fast at Noruz. Dr. H. H. Jessup [3] 3wrote, "He is now acting what seems to be a double part--a Moslem in the Mosque, and a Christ in his own house. He prays with the Moslems, 'there is no God but God, and expounds the Gospels as the incarnate Son of God." Mirza Abul Fazl, a Bahai missionary, lately died in Egypt. At his public funeral [4] the Moslem taziah, with reading of the Koran, was held, though he was a

1. Doctor Shedd says, " Concealment of religious faith is a common practice in Persia, and it is approved and recommended by Bahais."
2. Phelps, p. 101.
2. New York Outlook.
4. S. W., March 2, 1914.

[page 198]

strenuous worker for the abrogation of Islam. Most Bahais in Persia live in habitual agiya. Fear of persecution is some palliation for this, but it is a great defect. Very far from the truth is the statement of Lord Curzon [1] 'that "No Babi (or Bahai) has ever recanted under pressure." Mr. Nicolas, [2] the French Consul at Tabriz, shows from the Bab's own writings that he himself denied his Manifestation at his examination at Shiraz and signed a recantation. At the execution [3] of the Bab in Tabriz (1850) two of his intimate disciples denied the faith. The explanation of the fact is remarkable and instructive. They were enjoined to do so by the Bab in order that they might convey certain documents to a safe place. In other words, they were to lie for the faith, by divine injunction. In another notable instance, [4] seven Babis stood firm and were executed at Teheran, while thirty recanted, being told by their leader to judge whether they were justified by family ties, etc., in renouncing the faith. "They determined to adopt a course of concealment, tagiya." Some years ago a Bahai was called before the Governor of Tabriz and questioned, "Are you a Bahai?" "I am a Mussulman." "Will you curse Baha?" "It is written in the Koran not to curse, I am not a Bahai." By payment of a peshkesk this answer was made acceptable. And no offense was recognized in

1. Phelps, p. xxxi.
2 "Le Beyan Persan" (Paris), Introduction xvi.--xxiv., by A. L. M. Nicolas.
3. "New Hist.," p. 252.
4. "Trav.'s Narr.," p. 252.

[page 199]      

conscience, for Baha had said, "If your heart is right with me, nothing matters." It were scarcely necessary to note that some Babis and Bahais have denied their faith, except to correct the mistake of travellers, but the fact that denial is permitted and approved is important. For tagiya is a deeply-rooted seed which bears evil fruits in their characters and conduct. Even their propaganda is carried on in the same deceitful spirit. The Bahai conceals from the one he approaches his status and beliefs, insinuates himself into his confidence, suits the substance of his message to the preconceptions and prejudices of his hearer and leads him on, perhaps omitting to mention the real essentials of Bahaism. One of their methods is to worm themselves into the employ of Christian Missions and clandestinely carry on their propaganda while they undermine the work of the Mission. Perhaps the Mission wishes a language teacher or a mirza. A Bahai presents himself. He talks well. In the course of conversation the missionary inquires his religious views. He appears liberal minded. Direct inquiry is made, "Are you a Bahai?" He replies, "No, I am not, but I am tired of Islam; I am a truth-seeker." The missionary employs him. After a time, maybe, he professes to be a Christian, and is baptized. Such were a

1. S. M. Jordan, of Teheran, says (" The Mohammedan World," Cairo, p.130), "We are honestly open in our methods, while they are the reverse." Doctor Shedd says," Christian Mission work is openly Christian, that of Persian Bahais is professedly Mohammedan." "Bahaism, as offered to a Jew, a Christian or a Mohammedan, varies greatly."

[page 200]

certain Mirza Hasan and a Mirza Husain, who deceived the Swedish Mission and received salaries as Christian evangelists, but had been and continued to be Bahais and propagandists. I have heard that in a certain Station (not American) Bahais, without revealing their faith, accepted positions as cook, language-teacher, financial agent, etc., and so surrounded the new Mission that it was a Bahai more than a Christian establishment. Doctor Shedd [1] tells of an assistant he had with him in school work--a Persian, with whom he discussed religious topics freely. For years the man disavowed belief in Bahaism, but finally threw off the mask and became an active propagandist. After his dismissal he instigated the Persian pupils, whom he had previously secretly beguiled, and they complained to the Persian Government that "they, as good (?) Mohammedans, were offended by having to study the Christian Scriptures." Great is tagiya!

      What else can we expect, since Abdul Baha instructs his disciples in pretense. A certain Madame Canavarro, [2] staying at Acca, expressed her desire to assist in spreading Bahaism among the Buddhists, and spoke of the difficulty of introducing it as a new religion. Abdul Baha replied, "At first teach it as truths of their own religion, afterwards tell them of me." She replied that she herself was imbued with the spirit of Buddhism. He answered, "What you call yourself is of no consequence." To a certain American lady who was afraid her friends would be
1. Missionary Review, October, 1911.
2. Phelps, p. 154.

[page 201]

repelled by the idea of a new religion, Abdul Baha advised, "Remain in the Church and teach Bahaism as the true teaching of Christ."

      A striking instance of this religious dissimulation is seen in Hamadan.[1] There about two-and-a-half per cent of the Jews have accepted Baha as the Messiah. But many of these continue in the outward forms and associations of the Jews. [2] Others professed to be Christians, and were protected as such by the Shah's government. After a decade or two it became evident that they were hypocrites, cloaking their Bahaism under the Christian name.

      This Oriental dissimulation takes on a different phase in Western Bahaism. The principle of the latter is stated thus, "Adhere to any religious faith with which you are associated." [3] "No religious relation [4] should be severed, but these relations should become as avenues for giving forth the message of

1. Miss A. Montgomery, in Woman's Work, 1913, p. 270, says of these Bahais, "This sect of Moslems, thirty years ago, were afraid to appear to be what they really were, they exercised the privilege of falsehood their deceitful faith grants them, and called themselves Christians."
2. A European Jew reports as follows (1914), "The Jewish Bahais in Hamadan are few in number (exactly fifty-nine besides children). They have not yet broken with Judaism. They go to the Synagogue and follow outwardly our religious practices. They deny in public that they are Bahais from fear of the Mussulmans, who detest the new religion. But the continual attacks of the Bahais against the Jews will exasperate our co-religionists, who will cast them out finally. At present the practical result is hatred and disdain, and bitter dissensions between fathers and sons, sisters and brothers, husband and wife."
3. S Phelps, p. 96. The Report of the Bahais to the United States census Board says, "One may be a Bahai and still retain active membership in another religious body."
4. 'Remey's "The Bahai Movement," p. 97.

[page 202]

the Bahai faith." This idea is delusive; it is self-deception, ignorance, or worse. No Christian can give allegiance to Baha as incarnate God and accept, as he then must, Islam, [1] Babism and Bahaism as successively true, and as higher revelations abrogating Christianity, and still be loyal to Christ. Bahaism is not a philosophy like Tolstoism, nor a theory of economics like the "single tax"; it is a religion as much as Mormonism is.

      A plain example of Bahai tagiya is in connection with the organization known as the "Persian-American Educational Society." This was organized at Washington, D. C., under the patronage of Mirza Ali Kuli Khan, Persian Charge d'Affaires. Its organizing body, committee to draft its constitution, its executive, are Bahais, yet its circular sets forth seventeen purposes for its existence without naming the propagation of Bahaism as one of them. It appealed for funds on general philanthropic and educational grounds, never mentioning its religious motive. It introduced the names of President Taft, Secretary Root, and other prominent men in such a way as to lead the public to understand that the movement had their intelligent endorsement. To its real purpose, viz.: aiding existing and establishing new Bahai schools in Persia and the Orient, [2] I

1. Bahaism says, "Christians who do not believe in the Koran have not believed Christ."
2. The name of the Society has been changed to the "Orient Occident Unity," and a commercial department added. Its contributions are acknowledged, and its work reported through the Star of the West as Bahai work. An American, who imported a machine flour.mill to Persia, under its auspices, told the Consul that the object of his coming was not the mill but propagating Bahaism. In the Jam-i- Jamsied Calcutta, March 28, 1914, Dr. E. C. Getsinger boasts to the Parsees, "The American Bahais have established schools in Persia, and have sent American teachers to those schools."

[page 203]

am making no objection. It is the concealment of this purpose which is objectionable when contributions are asked from the general public. It claims to be unsectarian, because its schools take in pupils of all sects and religions. So do the schools of Christian Missions, but they are none the less Christian schools, and the "Orient-Occident" schools are distinctively Bahai. They disclaim proselytizing. The claim is simply false. Bahai schools are hot-beds of proselytizing, and must be so by their nature. Their law [1] says, "Schools must first train the children in the principles of the religion." Dreyfus [2] adds, "There is no fear of a prescription, emanating from such authority, ever being disregarded." The Bahai school in Teheran worked under cover for some years. Remey says, [3] "This institution is not generally known as a Bahai School. However, it is in the hands of the Bahais. From the directors down through the teachers and students, the majority were of our faith." Similarly in Bombay, [4] the Bahai teacher concealed his faith. "The Zoroastrian parents of his pupils suspected him of Bahaism and so took their children out."

      But to find the supreme example of Bahai tagiya

1. "Words of Paradise," p. 53.
2. "The Universal Religion," p. 139.
3. "Observations of a Bahai Traveller," 1908, p. 77.
4. Sprague's "A Year in India," p. 16.

[page 204]

we have to go to the fountainhead. Abdul Baha himself, oblivious to its moral obliquity, lays bare the fact in his "Traveller's Narrative." [1] We have seen that Subh-i-Azal, the half-brother of Baha Ullah, was appointed by the Bab as his successor. According to Abdul Baha, this appointment was a dishonest subterfuge on the part of Baha, arranged by him through secret correspondence with the Bab, in order that Baha might be relieved of danger and persecution and be protected from interference. So "out of regard for certain considerations and as a matter of expediency, Azal's name was made notorious on the tongues of friends and foes even to jeopardizing his life, while Baha remained safe and secure, and no one fathomed the matter." Abul Fazl [2] states the position of the "Traveller's Narrative" as follows, "The Bab and Baha Ullah after consulting together, made Azal appear as the Bab's successor. In this manner they preserved Baha Ullah from interference." This account shows the low ideas of honour and truthfulness in the minds of Baha and Abdul Baha. And although their explanation is not true (but an invention of their tagiya--corrupted minds), it shows to what straits [3] they were put to explain

1. Pages 62, 63, 95 96.
2. "Bahai Proofs," p. 52. See also Browne's "Mirza Jani's History," pp. xxxiii.--vi..
3. The Bahais are impaled on the other born of the dilemma also, for, as Professor Browne says (" Mirza Jani," p. xxxiii.), "The difficulty lies in the fact that Subh-i-Azal consistently refused to recognize Baha's claim, so that the Bahai is driven to make the assumption that the Bab, who is acknowledged to be divinely inspired and gifted with divine knowledge and prescience, deliberately chose to succeed him one who was destined to be the 'Point of darkness, or chief opponent, of 'Him whom God should manifest.'"

[page 205]

away the succession of Azal, the legitimacy of which Azal still, in his ripe old age, maintains. Abdul Baha published to the world Baha's deceitfulness, but only made the matter worse for him.

      Of a piece with this was the action of Baha's trusted agent, Maskin Kalam, in Cyprus. This Bahai was sent by the Turkish Government with Azal. "He set up a coffee-house at the port where travellers must arrive, and when he saw a Persian land he would invite him in, give him tea or coffee and a pipe, and gradually worm out of him the business that had brought him there. If his object were to see Subh-i-Azal, off went Maskin Kalam to the authorities, and the pilgrim soon found himself packed out of the Island." This account is given by a faithful Bahai. Afterwards Maskin Kalam retired to Acca and spent his old age as an honoured guest of Baha.

1. "A Year Among the Persians," p. 517.

Chapter 7     Chapter 9

Home ][ Sacred Writings ][ Bulletin board
Primary sources ][ Secondary sources ][ Resources
Links ][ Personal pages ][ Other sites

Google distinguishes accents, e.g. "Babi" and "Bábí"
return different results. See more search tips.