Page 1 of 1

A return of christ question

Posted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 8:48 pm
by SpiritualSeeker
Hello all I am still reading this long article on the meaning of "Seal of prophets" and came across another question I had

the uathor quotes the Bab when he addressed the meaning of the Day of Ressurection in the persian bayan.

here is the quote

The substance of this chapter is this that what was intended by the Day of Resurrection is the Day of the appearance of the Tree of divine Reality, but it is not seen that any one of the followers of Shi'ih Islam hath understood the meaning of the Day of Resurrection; rather they have fanatically imagined a thing which with God hath no reality. In the estimation of God and according to the usage of such as are initiated into the divine mysteries, what is meant by the Day of Resurrection is this, that from the time of the appearance of Him Who is the Tree of divine Reality, at whatever period and under whatever name, until the moment of His disappearance, is the Day of Resurrection.

For example, from the inception of the mission of Jesus -may peace be upon Him- till the day of His ascension was the Resurrection of Moses. For during that period the Revelation of God shone forth through the appearance of that divine Reality [i.e. Jesus. KH], Who rewarded by His Word everyone who believed in Moses, [i.e. was a true believer within the Mosaic law. KH], and punished by His Word everyone who did not believe [i.e. was not a true believer -was a believer by name only-. KH]; inasmuch as God's Testimony for that Day was that which He had solemnly affirmed in the Gospel. And from the inception of the Revelation of the Apostle of God -may the blessings of God be upon Him- till the day of His ascension was the Resurrection of Jesus [i.e. Day of Resurrection for the followers of Jesus. KH] -peace be upon Him- wherein the Tree of divine Reality appeared in the person of Muhammad, rewarding by His Word everyone who was a believer in Jesus, and punishing by His Word everyone who was not a believer in Him. And from the moment when the Tree of Baya'n [i.e. The Bab is referring to Himself. KH] appeared until it disappeareth is the Resurrection of the Apostle of God, as is divinely foretold in the Qur'an.....The stage of perfection of everything is reached when its resurrection occureth. The perfection of the religion of Islam was consummated at the beginning of this Revelation until its setting, the fruits of the Tree of Islam, whatever they are, will become apparent. The Resurrection of the Baya'n [i.e. the Holy Book revealed by The Bab, Mahdi or Qa'im of the House of the Prophet. KH] will occur at the time of the appearance of Him Whom God shall make manifest [i.e. Isaa bin Maryam, The Return of Christ, the Glory of God, Baha'u'llah. KH]. For today the Bayan is in the stage of seed; at the beginning of the manifestation of Him Whom God shall make manifest its ultimate perfection will become apparent. He [Him Whom God shall make manifest. KH] is made manifest in order to gather the fruits of the trees He [i.e. The Bab. KH] hath planted; even as the Revelation of the Qa'im [He Who ariseth. The Shi'ah name for Mahdi. KH] -an allusion to Himself-, a descendant of Muhammad -may the blessings of God rest upon Him- is exactly like unto the Revelation of the Apostle of God Himself [Muhammad. KH]. He appeareth not, save for the purpose of gathering the fruits of Islam from the Qur'anic verses which He [Muhammad. KH] hath sown in the hearts of men. The fruits of Islam cannot be gathered except through allegiance unto Him [the Qa'im or Mahdi. KH], and by believing in Him...yet unjustly have they consigned Him to the Mountain of Maku.

The Persian Bayan 2:7



I Understand that Bahais say baha'ullah is the return of christ. I totally get that. I see bahais quote from the gospel and elaborate on how the return of Christ doesnt mean his literal return but of the advent of baha'ullah. I can see its possible to do this with the bible. But as far as the Islamic ahadith (narrations) and verses of the Quran are concerned it seems much too clearer to be able to alter or make tawil (figurative interpretation).

So my question is Do bahais also interpret the return of Isaa ibn Maryam (Jesus the son of mary) as Baha'ullah even when they quote from islamic sources? I dont see how you can make it figurative when it seems so clear in the Islamic perspective.

I know my questions may not seem to matter, but these are things that are bothering me. Which I hope to understand soon.

many thanks in advance

Re: A return of christ question

Posted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 11:31 pm
by onepence~2
SpiritualSeeker wrote: ...

So my question is Do bahais also interpret the return of Isaa ibn Maryam (Jesus the son of mary) as Baha'ullah even when they quote from islamic sources? I dont see how you can make it figurative when it seems so clear in the Islamic perspective.

I know my questions may not seem to matter, but these are things that are bothering me. Which I hope to understand soon.

many thanks in advance


you know ... that is a very good question ...

one that i am surely not qualified to answer ...

still though i shall share some Words and thoughts ...

first from Baha'u'llah these Words

"O CHILDREN OF THE DIVINE AND INVISIBLE ESSENCE! Ye shall be hindered from loving Me and souls shall be perturbed as they make mention of Me. For minds cannot grasp Me nor hearts contain Me."

and some of my personal thoughts

the reality of Baha'u'llah is such as no mortal eye has ever seen
sometimes i sit in amazement over what the community of the Greatest Name has been able to do
just utter amazement that individual souls arise and do whatever job they are inspired/instructed to do

and so ... you may ask ... how does this relate to the literal and figurative ...

especially in understanding and practicing Scripture with reference to pre-existing thought/philosophy/theology

i feel it is related because individual thought of the literal and figurative is always that
just individual thought ... nothing more ... nothing less ... just individual thought ...
and individual thought is always influenced by the surroundings of the individual

to the extent of the individual brought up around Christ will see Christ
the individual brought up around Muhammad will see Muhammad
the individual brought up around Baha'u'llah will see Baha'u'llah

thus individual thought (and surroundings) becomes important to understanding how the literal and figurative
can and do co-exist with-in ourselves and our community

as mentioned ... i sit in awe over what our community has done ...
there are photos that compare Mount Carmel in 1900
and Mount Carmel in 2000

what an incredible transformation has been done ...
we marvel at the ability of the figurative Ark to became literal

and yet ... all of us know ... this is just n itsybitsy tiny step
as compared to the full figurative Ark becoming literal

thus we study Scripture
both figuratively and literally
so that ourselves and our children
can share in the bounty of knowing
"the promise has been fulfilled"

i am sorry if some may think that this is not a direct answer
nor any type of answer for the question sought

but hey ... i tried ...

it is extremely difficult to juxtaposition various thought/philosophy/theology

in fact it becomes such a hardship that all one can do is encourage individual investigation of truth

so far ... the best article we have read on the concept i call juxtaposition is

'The Changeless Faith of God' ... http://info.bahai.org/article-1-4-0-10.html

some highlights

For Bahá'ís of Jewish background, Bahá'u'lláh is ..

For Bahá'ís of Buddhist background, Bahá'u'lláh fulfils ...

For Bahá'ís of Hindu background, Bahá'u'lláh comes ...

For Bahá'ís of Christian background, Bahá'u'lláh fulfils ...

For Bahá'ís of Muslim background, Bahá'u'lláh fulfils

hmmm ... so how does one juxtaposition all of that ... ???

our simple answer would be simple

Baha'u'llah is Baha'u'llah
and we His servants

Re: A return of christ question

Posted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 3:12 pm
by SpiritualSeeker
Thanks for the response. I am starting to understand a bit of the figurative expressions from the scriptures, but it is still very new way of interpretation for me but that is okay i will keep going on till i get it completely

Re: A return of christ question

Posted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 6:46 pm
by nharandi
SpiritualSeeker wrote:I Understand that Bahais say baha'ullah is the return of christ. I totally get that. I see bahais quote from the gospel and elaborate on how the return of Christ doesnt mean his literal return but of the advent of baha'ullah. I can see its possible to do this with the bible. But as far as the Islamic ahadith (narrations) and verses of the Quran are concerned it seems much too clearer to be able to alter or make tawil (figurative interpretation).

So my question is Do bahais also interpret the return of Isaa ibn Maryam (Jesus the son of mary) as Baha'ullah even when they quote from islamic sources? I dont see how you can make it figurative when it seems so clear in the Islamic perspective.


I feel as if there is a misunderstanding as to what is meant by Christ's second coming not being literal. Baha'is in no way deny that the prophecies set forward for Christ's Return are wrong or that they don't really mean he will literally return. We believe literally that Christ has returned in the form of Baha'u'llah. What we do not believe should be taken literally, however, are many of the prophecies concerning his return. Much of these are meant to be spiritual prophecies rather than literal ones. Baha'u'llah, in the Kitab-i-Iqan as well as other tablets, explains in detail the dangers of taking such prophecies literally rather than figuratively or spiritually. He explains the common history for every single Manifestation that has brought God's revelation. Zoroaster, Moses, Jesus, Mohammad, the Bab, Baha'u'llah (and more) all came to a time and place where people were fervently seeking the Messiah in some form or another. But time after time, once the Manifestation arrived, those same people denied him:

Consider the past. How many, both high and low, have, at all times, yearningly awaited the advent of the Manifestations of God in the sanctified persons of His chosen Ones. How often have they expected His coming, how frequently have they prayed that the breeze of divine mercy might blow, and the promised Beauty step forth from behind the veil of concealment, and be made manifest to all the world. And whensoever the portals of grace did open, and the clouds of divine bounty did rain upon mankind, and the light of the Unseen did shine above the horizon of celestial might, they all denied Him, and turned away from His face -- the face of God Himself. Refer ye, to verify this truth, to that which hath been recorded in every sacred Book.

(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 3)


And the Quran agrees:

Then sent We Our Messengers one after another: every time there came to a people their Messenger, they accused him of falsehood: so We made them follow each other. (23:44)





The point is that the source of such denial, time after time, Manifestation after Manifestation, is the often the clinging to strict literal interpretation of writings that are not literal, but spiritual in essence. For example, the Jews reject Christ because he did not fulfill the literal prophecies that were expected of him. Among these,

1. Elijah was supposed to return before Christ. (but Jesus says that it was meant to be a spiritual return. That John the Baptist was the return (Matt 17:10-13), and that their literal expectation was wrong.)
2. The Messiah was supposed to come from an unknown place. The Jews knew exactly where Christ came from – Nazareth. (Again, Jesus interprets this spiritually. He says He had come from God, and the Jews did not know God)
3. The Messiah was supposed to live forever, but Jesus died. (Once again, the literal interpretation fails. Christ’s glory, message, and revelation lives forever not his literal body.)
4. His name should’ve been Emmanuel, not Jesus (Matt 1:23).
5. Messiah was to sit on the throne of David and reestablish the glory of the Jews (Amos
9:14-15): (Only a spiritual interpretation of "throne of David" allows fulfillment).
6. Messiah was to carry a sword and defeat enemies of God’s Chosen People (Isaiah
66:16): (Jesus had not a physical sword but the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of
God. (Eph 6:17) which triumphed over all. Again, only a spiritual interpretation allows
fulfillment.)

These aren’t limited examples; Christians, that at one point, defended Christ’s revelation with spiritual interpretations, after hundred’s of years, turn around and rejected Muhammad because he did not fulfill the literal prophecies expected of him, and now do so for Baha’u’llah as well. This phenomenon is universal. So what sense does it make to continue to make the mistakes of every other revelation?

The Christians expect Christ’s return to be preceded by a darkening of the Sun and Moon, stars falling from the sky, etc. What would the point be of taking these literally? What purpose what the Sun going black have? If we look at these spiritual prophecies with a spiritual eye we can see the truth in them. Baha’u’llah explains a lot of them in the Kitab-i-Iqan.

Abdu’l-Baha also briefly speaks to this in Some Answered Questions. You should read it here: http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/ab/SAQ/saq-26.html

So, when you ask how Baha’is justify the more literal writings of the Quran/ahadiths, the answer is that there is nothing to justify. Baha’is wholeheartedly agree to the return of Christ. What is literal is not that, however, it is the spiritual prophecies that were never meant to be taken literally. If they were, the people who have consistently denied the Manifestation of God (including the Jews towards Christ, Christians towards Muhammad, Muslims towards the Bab and Baha’u’llah) would all be right.

Given the type of questions you’re asking and interests you seem to have, I also highly recommend (as others have) Moojan Momen’s “Islam and the Baha’i Faith”. It’s a great book that I’m sure will answer tons of questions you may have.

Sorry if that was too long, I hope it helps :)

Re: A return of christ question

Posted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 7:55 pm
by Fadl
Dear Spiritual Seeker,

As you know most of the Islamic references (but not all) to the return of Christ, the Mahdi, the Qaim are found in the various hadith. Since there are so many hadith, and so much disagreement about which are reliable or not, could you quote the particular hadith that are troubling you? Here are some thoughts that may help you.

You have already mentioned that you understand how Baha’u’llah can be the return of Christ through a less literal reading of biblical prophecies. If you can do that, great! Many Christians cannot, and one of the reasons for this is that certain biblical passages when read in isolation and without consideration of the book as a whole seems to them impossible to be read any way other than literally. So even though you are able to do something with the Bible that many Christians struggle with, the challenge that you are facing with the hadith is in many ways similar to the challenge of a Christian attempting to establish through scriptural prophecies the validity of Baha’u’llah’s claims.

As Baha’is we do not believe that the bible has been “corrupted” and accept it as the word of God. One of the many reasons for the “corruption” charge brought against the Bible by Muslims is that the Bible contains internal contradictions, and also contradicts the Qur’an in many places. However, the Qur’an itself does not say that the Bible is corrupted, and there are other ways of understanding these contradictions without concluding one of the holy books is corrupted.

The Qur’an says:

“ If only they had stood fast by the Law, the Gospel, and all the revelation that was sent to them from their Lord, they would have enjoyed happiness from every side” ( al-ma’idah, Qur’an 5:66, Pickthall).
وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ أَقَامُواْ التَّوْرَاةَ وَالإِنجِيلَ وَمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيهِم مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ لأكَلُواْ مِن فَوْقِهِمْ وَمِن تَحْتِ أَرْجُلِهِم مِّنْهُمْ أُمَّةٌ مُّقْتَصِدَةٌ

“Say: "O People of the Book! ye have no ground to stand upon unless ye stand fast by the Law, the Gospel, and all the revelation that has come to you from your Lord." It is the revelation that cometh to thee from thy Lord, that increaseth in most of them their obstinate rebellion and blasphemy” (al-ma’idah, Qur’an 5:68, Pickthall).
قُلْ يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لَسْتُمْ عَلَى شَيْءٍ حَتَّىَ تُقِيمُواْ التَّوْرَاةَ وَالإِنجِيلَ وَمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكُم مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَلَيَزِيدَنَّ كَثِيرًا مِّنْهُم مَّا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِن رَّبِّكَ طُغْيَانًا وَكُفْرًا فَلاَ تَأْسَ عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْكَافِرِينَ


From reading these two verses, it is clear that:
1) the only corruption that has taken place is in the mind of the believer
2) the word of God is a test, and causes many to go even further astray

Furthermore, the Qur’an says:

“He it is Who hath revealed unto thee (Muhammad) the Scripture wherein are clear revelations--They are the substance of the Book--and others (which are) allegorical. But those in whose hearts is doubt pursue, forsooth, that which is allegorical seeking (to cause) dissension by seeking to explain it. None knoweth its explanation save Allah. And those who are of sound instruction say: We believe therein; the whole is from our Lord; but only men of understanding really heed” (The Family of Imran, Qur’an 3:7, Pickthall).


It is clear from this passage, that the explanation of God’s word is with God himself, and that we shouldn’t trust others’ abilities to explain it for us. This is something which history plays out time and time again. After all, who is it that time after time rejects, persecutes, and seeks to oppose God’s messenger when he comes? So it is evident that we cannot go to our rabbis, mullahs and scholars, to ask them the meaning of scripture since their success record (historically speaking) is abysmal, and the explanation lies with God alone. If this is so for the Qur’an then it is so for the hadith. This means that we cannot solely rely on the hadith as our guide since it is not even possible to know, with absolute confidence, which are reliable or not, or how to interpret and rectify their seeming inconsistencies.

What is left for us then, is to look to the prophet or manifestation himself and decide for ourselves if he is from God or not. After all, light is light, and we needn’t an astronomer or astrophysicist to confirm the sun for us when we see it. Similarly, God has given us the necessary faculties to recognize his messenger, and to perceive the spiritual sun shining in the heavens.

If you determine that Baha’u’llah is a messenger of God, then his writings can and will resolve every dispute, since it is only he who has the knowledge and sanction to do so. After all, what did those pure early believers in Mecca have to recognize the truth of Muhammad and his revelation? Which hadith, and which book of prophecies did they use to confirm his reality and truth? Which of the Pharisees or Sadducees, who were knowledgeable and well versed in the scriptures and prophecies confirmed the belief of those early followers of Christ? And of the followers of Noah, what proof did they have of him ere the flood, when the entire community mocked him?

No, we cannot rely on others to judge for us in matters of the spirit. Look to Baha’u’llah himself, and find if the light and truth of God is in him. If you find it, there is really little else that matters, and you shouldn’t be troubled the least should all the peoples of the world mock you, because the world and those people change. The floods do come, and on that day it is better to be among the people of the ark, no matter how few, and no matter how many learned told you previously that you were wrong.

Re: A return of christ question

Posted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 6:13 pm
by pilgrimbrent
The term "resurrection" has several meanings in the Writings.

One is the meaning explained by the Bab in the passage you have quoted.

Another is that a person who becomes a believer and is transformed by the spirit and Teachings, is resurrected.

Another is the Resurrection of Christ, as explained by Abdu'l-Baha. I have added some notes to that discussion which you can find here http://bahai-library.com/essays/iqan.bible.html If you read the quotes in that paper carefully, it will help you to build a bridge between the Bible and the Baha'i interpretations of Christ's Words.

I was raised Catholic, and studied to be a priest, so this subject has always been of great importance to me.

Brent