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Being forced to recant faith - excused?

Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 6:25 pm
by Keyvan
The Qur'an says:

YUSUFALI: Any one who, after accepting faith in Allah, utters Unbelief,- except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in Faith - but such as open their breast to Unbelief, on them is Wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a dreadful Penalty.
PICKTHAL: Whoso disbelieveth in Allah after his belief - save him who is forced thereto and whose heart is still content with the Faith - but whoso findeth ease in disbelief: On them is wrath from Allah. Theirs will be an awful doom.

I'm wondering if anyone knows of any passage in the Baha'i Writings which comments on this, or says something to the same effect.

Re: Being forced to recant faith - excused?

Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 7:09 am
by BruceDLimber
Simply not applicable.

In the Baha'i Faith, no one is ever "forced" either to join or to leave!

"Freedom Hall" and all that . . .



Re: Being forced to recant faith - excused?

Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 10:25 am
by brettz9
Keyvan and the passage are talking about conditions when others (like the Iranian government does still today) try to force us to give up our Faith.

A letter on behalf of Shoghi Effendi stated:

"The Beloved Guardian has directed me to write you concerning information which he has just received of your having indicated in your application for permanent residence in ..., that you were Protestants--and you did not indicate in any way that you were Bahá'ís.

"The Guardian has instructed me to inform you that he is shocked and surprised to receive this news, and this action meets with his disapproval. He said that if advance information had been given that such action must not be taken under any circumstances; then there would be only one thing he could do and that would be removal of voting rights.

"Certainly such action in the future would result in immediate removal of voting rights.

"In Persia, even during the period of persecution, when life was in danger, and complete freedom offered to those who indicated they were Muslims and not Bahá'ís, the Guardian not only deprived anyone who did not openly declare his Faith of his voting rights, but even indicated they were Covenant breakers.

"Thus you will see that it is completely inconsistent for a Bahá'í under any circumstances whatsoever, to indicate they are anything but a Bahá'í, regardless of what the result may be."

(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to two believers, April 30, 1957)

So, the Baha'i position on dissimulation is different from Islam, in that it is not permitted even in times of danger.

Of course, even Covenant-breakers can be reinstated if they seek forgiveness from the Center of the Cause, now the Universal House of Justice (though I don't know that the Universal House of Justice still applies this principle as in the time of Shoghi Effendi).

best wishes,

Re: Being forced to recant faith - excused?

Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 12:52 pm
by Keyvan
Ah, thought so. It's interesting how there is a sharp difference between Dispensations. Unless, do you know of any interpretation of that quote from the Qur'an? Otherwise, any ideas on why the circumstances were different during the former Dispensation?

Re: Being forced to recant faith - excused?

Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 5:52 pm
by brettz9
I don't know of any interepretation of that quote. In the future, you can try ... ultilinear which has cross-references from the Qur'an to the Baha'i Writings (though using Rodwell's verse numbering which can be somewhat different from the traditional). In this case, there was no reference.

But I think I found something which answers both the question of the current status of those who have dissimulated, as well as perhaps a rationale: ... emmigrants

As far as the latter, the document on behalf of the Universal House of Justice states:

" was permissible in Shi'ih Islam for believers to deny their faith in order to escape persecution. since the time of Bahá'u'lláh such an action has been forbidden for Bahá'ís. We do not defend our Faith by the sword, as was permissible in Islam, but Bahá'ís have always held to the principle that when challenged they should `stand up and be counted', as the modern expression is, and not purchase their safety by denying that which is most important to them in this world and the next. The principle is well known to the Iranian Bahá'ís and is upheld by the overwhelming majority of them when the penalty is martyrdom."

If you're still looking for more, here are a few other articles (which I haven't read) which touch on the subject:

But the letter from the House seems to cover quite a bit.

best wishes,