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Abstract:
A defense of the Baha'i Faith, with reference to fulfilled prophecy. Followed by the journal's short response to Baha'i requests not to include advertisements for Kheiralla's book (which one is not named, could be O Christians). Not yet proofread.
Notes:
This essay was written in response to Richardson's The Persian Rival to Jesus, and His American Disciples. See the letter from the editor re advertising Kheiralla's book at end.

This document is online in a variety of formats at archive.org.


Behaism:
In Reply to the Attack of Robert P. Richardson

by Ibrahim George Kheiralla

published in The Open Court, 29:10, pages 633-640
Chicago: 1915-10

1. PDF of images and text of issue 29:10 (partly OCRed)

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2. Uncorrected text of issue 29:10

THE evils, deceptions, wars and murders, which the followers of Christ committed against each other and against people of different faiths since the birth of Christianity' until the present day, and all the shameful accusations against the personality of Jesus Christ himself and against his claims by Pharisees and Scribes, and the misdoings ascribed to his faithful disciples and early followers, were all naught but vague and untrue evidences as we all know, and failed to prove that Christ was a pretender and Christianity was a false religion. How much more unfair it is to state that Huseyn Ali was not Beha Ullah, the Manifestation of the Everlasting Father and that the Behai religion is false and insane, because Mr. Robert P. Richardson read some records against Beha Ullah and against his Forerunner the Bab, which were certainly attributed to both of them by adversaries; also because Mr. Richardson visited some Bostonians claiming to be followers of Beha. and found them deceitful as they had cheated Miss Farmer out of her property known as "Greenacre." Indeed, "History repeats itself."

It is waste of time to say more on such a useless subject, and now, I like to draw the attention of the reader to the following proofs, which should convince him of the fact that Huseyn Ali was the Appearance of the Everlasting Father, and that his knowledge, teachings, life as well as his personality were superior to those of Jesus Christ as he himself declared in the New Testament.

I am of the opinion that the Prophets and Manifestations of God must prove to the people of the earth the truth of their divine missions by producing the following four evidences in order that the people may believe and acknowledge them. Should they present such evidences and yet should we reject them it would be our own fault and not theirs.

First: To utter verses which contain striking truths and principles, whereby the human race is uplifted and elevated, and the extremely wicked become upright and good.

Second: Their appearance is foretold by the prophets of yore.

Third: To display a divine knowledge, which is beyond that of man.

Fourth: To show a superiority in their lives and in their personalities.

These evidences were fully established in the person of Huseyn Ali, so as to leave no doubt that He was the Glory of God, and the Manifestation of the Father. In brief all the prophecies were fulfilled in him as you will see by some of them which shall here be mentioned.

By comparison we find Beha Ullah more excellent and uplifting than all the other prophets. For his teachings are not visionary nor prophetic, but practical, final, and useful to the high and the low, to the civilized and the uncivilized. At the same time they are in accord with reason and science and in harmony with the laws governing the world.

For instance, history proves that neither through Christianity nor Mohammedanism could peace be established upon earth, for the first shed blood, if not more, not less than the other, and the present horrible war bears witness. But in the Tablets which Beha Ullah, the Prince of Peace, sent to the rulers of the world. He prohibited them from warring with each other, and commanded them to settle their dififerences by arbitration. He also strictly forbade the waging of war for differences in faith or otherwise. By His teachings. He established the foundation of peace and enlightened the world with the light of union, concord, and love. He urged His followers to rise up by the help of God, and deliver the world from religious hatred and enmity, which are a consuming fire devouring the human race. He came to unite all those who are upon earth and save the world from the fetters of ignorance. He said, "Let justice be your army, and your weapon reason."

Jesus said: "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."

Beha said: "Come that I make you vivifiers of the world."

Jesus said: "Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." Beha said: "To be murdered is better for you than to commit murder, were ye seeking the pleasure of God."

Jesus said to preach the gospel to the people, and whosoever believeth shall attain everlasting life, but whosoever rejecteth shall have everlasting fire.

Beha said: "If ye follow Me I will make you the heirs of My Kingdom, but if ye rebel against Me I will kindly be patient; I am the Forgiver, the Merciful."

Also Beha said: "Communicate to all people what ye know, with the language of love and kindness." "Consort with people of all faiths, with fragrance and spirituality." "Allow not the zeal of bigotry to display itself in you, for everyone cometh from God, and unto God shall he return. He is the Causer of their being, and the Center of their final attainment."

The verses written by the Supreme Pen of Beha Ullah contain an ocean of sublime spiritual teachings, thrilling precepts and admonitions, excellent bases of religious principles, just and equitable laws and edicts. When the time comes, wherein those teachings shall be diffused and read in the civilized countries, the people of understanding shall find therein the remedy for healing the sick body of this world. Through His teachings and commandments, the great peace shall come, capital and labor shall be conciliated, the wolf and the lamb shall live together, the unity of race shall be established, a universal language shall be adopted', and the people of the earth shall live as brothers, as one kindred, one family, loving not only their country, but the whole world.

All the prophets of yore foretold the coming of the Father and the establishment of His Kingdom on earth. They gave the signs of His coming, and that Elijah shall come as a forerunner. They located the city of Akka as the new Jerusalem. They predicted the year of His Manifestation, and described the condition at His day. Every prophecy in regard to the Manifestation of the Deity upon earth was fulfilled in Huseyn Ali, and proved that He was the Glory of God.

Jewish rabbis, Christian theologians, Mohammedan doctors, and priests of other faiths, all expected the coming of the Kingdom of God on earth in the nineteenth century. They were not mistaken, for their scriptures foretold His appearance. Jesus said: "The Lord of the vineyard cometh"; "The Comforter will come"; "When the Spirit of Truth is come he will guide you into all truth." He prayed: "Thy Kingdom come."

In the twenty-first chapter of Luke, Jesus, after giving the signs of the Kingdom, taught that our salvation is in God at the time of His coming: "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh" (verse 28) . . . ."When the Lord of Hosts shall reign in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem and before His ancients gloriously" (Is. xxiv. 23). "For unto us a child is born, and unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace" (Is. ix. 6-7). "This was the appearance of the likeness of the Glory of the Lord" (Ezekiel i. 28).

Huseyn Ali was born Nov. 12, 1817, and manifested Himself as Beha Ullah, the Glory of God, 1867, and departed May 28th, 1892.

All the signs of His coming which were mentioned in the scriptures of different religions were fulfilled in the nineteenth century. Jesus Christ said: "This Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come." In the last century, the Christian missionaries preached the Gospel to all nations. Mohammed said: "When ye behold the ships sailing upon the land, then He shall come." The trains sailed upon the land a few years before He manifested Himself. Nahum said: "The chariots shall rage in the streets, they shall jostle one against another in the broad ways: they shall seem like torches, they shall run like lightning." In this sign the material atoms declared the coming of the Glory of God. It is an accurate prediction of electric cars and modern vehicles which throng our streets. "Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord" (Malachi iv. 5). In 1844 Elijah the prophet came, for there appeared in Persia a young man who possessed great powers of wisdom and spiritual inspiration. He is known in history as Ali Mohammed. He called himself "The Bab," meaning the "Gate" or "Door." He was also termed "Nokteh," the "Point," signifying the center of religious truth. He was Elijah, the forerunner, and gave the glad tidings of the coming of the Kingdom of God and the appearance of "Him whom God shall manifest," the Glory of God.

Akka is the new Jerusalem, the City of the Lord, unto which He was exiled as a prisoner of the Turkish government, and from whence He departed. It is upon the Syrian Coast nine miles from the foot of Mount Carmel, and during the Crusades it was the headquarters of the Knights Templars, who called it Saint Jean d'Acre. It is a fortified city and celebrated for its unhealthy climate and filthiness. It is the Turkish city of exile and the place of confinement for the prisoners of the Government.

Isaiah (ix. 1) accurately located the new Jerusalem at Akka (literal translation of the prophecies of Isaiah by Professor Cheyne of Oxford, England): "Surely there is (now) no (more) gloom to her whose lot was affliction. At the former time he brought shame on the land of Zebulun and on the land of Naphtali, but in the latter, he hath brought honor on the 'Way by the Sea' (Akka), the other side of Jordon, the district of the nations. The people that walk in darkness see a great light; they that dwell in the land of deadly shade, light shineth brilliantly upon them. Thou hast multiplied exultation, thou hast increased joy; they rejoice before thee as with joy in the harvest, as men exult when they divide spoil. For the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his back, the rod of his taskmaster, thou hast broken, as in the days of Midian. Yea, every boot of him that stamped with noise, and the cloak rolled in blood — they are to be burned up as fuel of fire. For a child is born unto us, a son is given unto us, and the government resteth upon his back, and his name is called Wonder-Counsellor, God-Mighty-One, Everlasting-Father, Prince of Peace; increased is the government and to peace there is no end; upon the throne of David and throughout His Kingdom, in establishing and supporting it by justice and by righteousness from henceforth and forever. The jealousy of Jehovah Sabbaoth will perform this." The spot described by the prophet between the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali is Akka; and to appoint the exact situation, he said, "But in the later time, he hath brought honor on the 'Way by the Sea'" (Akka).

From ancient times the highway to Damascus from the sea commenced at Akka. In Prophecies of Isaiah we read in a note on page 59: "Via Maris, M. Renan observes, was the name of the high-road from Akka to Damascus, as late as the Crusades." "Way," however, means "region." Thus literally, the Manifestation of Jehovah, Beha Ullah, appeared in the latter days and brought honor upon the "Way by the Sea" (Akka).

Huseyn Ali manifested himself as The Glory of God to all the people in the year 1867 A. D., at the exact time announced by Jesus in the twelfth chapter of Revelation, and by Daniel in the twelfth chapter. It was three times and a half after the appearance of the two wonders, the Papacy and Mohammedanism. Three times and a half are 1260 years.

The Papacy and Mohammedanism appeared about the same time in the year 607 A. D. Therefore, the basis of chronology is the Christian era. By adding 607 years to 1260 years, we find that the year 1867 A. D. is the appointed year of His Manifestation.

The vision of the image and that of the tree mentioned in the second and the fourth chapters of Daniel have the same significance concerning the appearance of the Kingdom of God, the time of its coming, as shown in the latter chapter, to be after "seven times" had passed over the head of Nebuchadnezar. Seven times (360 years) make 2520. From the date of Nebuchadnezar's birth, 628 B. C. seven times or 2520 years forward, will bring us to 1892 A. D., the year of the departure of the Manifestation and the completion of His organization of the Kingdom of God.

The prophets described the day of God as a day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, and said that He would come in clouds. Indeed, the nineteenth century was the day of God, for the spiritual ignorance shrouded humanity like unto thick clouds. Humanity became more civilized, but less sanctified; men gained material knowledge, but they were losers in grace. The prophecy of the appearance of scoffers was fulfilled, and a great number of our fellow creatures based their theories of life and religion upon materialism and pantheistic doctrines. Hundreds of false Christs and prophets appeared. Celibacy and vegetarianism were advocated. Accumulation of wealth and estate came to pass. "Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth." "Wars and rumors of war and no peace to him that went out or came in."

The Divine knowledge and wisdom which Huseyn Ali displayed in thousands of Epistles and Tablets to his followers, in the just and beautiful laws He gave the world in the Most Sacred Book (Kitabul-Ackdas), in the tablets which He sent to the rulers of the earth, inviting them to come to His Kingdom and partake of the Spiritual Banquet, eat and drink with the elect, in knowing the past and the future as was stated in His numerous predictions, proved conclusively that He was the Glory of God, as such knowledge is beyond that of man.

For instance, in the second tablet sent to Napoleon HI He informed the Emperor concerning his past secrets, and judged him, because he cast aside the first tablet which Beha sent to him. The prediction was that the Empire shall depart from the hands of Napoleon, and humiliation shall come upon him, and commotion shall seize the people of France, and his glory shall pass away. A few months later Napoleon declared war on Germany and was defeated, dethroned, humiliated as a prisoner of war, and finally died an exile in England, Also the commotion seized the French people at the revolution of the Commune.

Beha Ullah proclaimed the downfall of the Sultan Abdu'l Azez, the death of Ali Pasha in a foreign country, and the judgment of Turkey. The downfall of Zill-i-Sultan was foreshadowed in the epistle to Sheik Bakir. He foretold the exile of some of his followers, and Ismail Pasha of Egypt exiled them to Khartoun. Then He sent them an epistle wherein He announced that their oppressor, Ismail Pasha, would fall from power, and soon they should stand again in His presence. After a while Gordon Pasha came to Khartoun as the governor of Soudan and liberated them, and Ismail Pasha was exiled to Naples in Italy; and some of them visited Akka and stood in the presence of Beha. The numerous written and verbal warnings of impending events which took place, and which shall come to pass, are plain evidences of His Divine Knowledge.

The life and personality of Huseyn Ali are convincing proofs that He was the Manifestation and the Glory of God. For forty years he suffered in jails and in exile, oppressed and afflicted, was threatened with death by Mohammedan doctors and rulers, yet under the sword of the enemy He summoned all the people of the earth and their rulers, even those who imprisoned and exiled Him, to come to God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth. At the same time He uttered volumes of wonderful teachings and precepts, vigorous in style, clear in argument, powerful in proof, displaying perfect acquaintance with the scriptures of different faiths. He spent His life for the salvation of our race, and suffered humiliation for our elevation. He was imprisoned to free us from the fetters of ignorance. If more proofs are desired, read my work entitled Beha Ullah.

The wonderful and heavenly atmosphere of spirituality which shrouded the place of His presence, proved His divinity. Professor Browne of Cambridge, England, the greatest historian of this faith, who recorded what the friends and the adversaries said in favor or against Beha Ullah, went himself and met Beha Ulla in person, that he might be able to write his own experience and knowledge independently from what the others said. But he was attacked and blamed by Christian theologians and missionaries because he recorded his experience truthfully. While visiting Beha, he wrote as follows:

"I might, indeed, strive to describe in greater detail the faces and forms which surrounded me, the conversations to which I was privileged to listen, the solemn melodious reading of the Sacred Books, the general sense of harmony and content which pervaded the place, and the fragrant shady gardens whither in the afternoons we sometimes repaired; but all this was naught in comparison with the spiritual atmosphere with which I was encompassed. . . . Let those who have not seen disbelieve me if the will; but should that Spirit once reveal itself to them, they will experience an emotion which they are not likely to forget."

The followers of Beha were more loving and devoted to the personality of their Master than those of Jesus. When Jesus was arrested His disciples left Him and fled, and the most courageous of them, while following Him secretly, denied Him when asked if he were one of His followers. But those of Beha followed their Master to prison and exile. No hardships, no persecution, no calamity and no death could separate them from Him, and to this profane history bears witness. Indeed, what Jesus said was true, that the Father was greater than He. Professor Browne also said: "In the corner where the divan met the wall sat a wondrous and venerable figure. . . .The face of Him on Whom I gazed I can never forget, though I cannot describe it. Those piercing eyes seemed to read one's very soul; power and authority sat on that ample brow; while the deep lines on the forehead and face implied an age which the jet black hair and beard flowing down in indistinguishable luxuriance almost to the waist, seemed to belie."

"No need to ask in whose presence I stood, as I bowed myself before One who is the Object of a devotion and love which kings might envy and emperors sigh for in vain."

The appearance of the Father is distinguished. It is more excellent and more sublime than all other Manifestations. When the fragrance of His teachings shall be diffused among the people of understanding, they will realize that Behaism is the only competent religion which has the capacity of receiving into her bosom all other religions, unifying them into one. Indeed, a day shall come when the banners of all religions shall be lowered under her Glorified Flag, and the melodious air shall universally be sung: "The Kingdom, the Glory and the Power belong to the Father."

3. Kheiralla's book:
Response to letters-to-the-editor, and advertisement

published in The Open Court, 31:2, page 128 (Chicago: 1917-02)
Note: This brief response to letters-to-the-editor and the accompanying advertisement for Kheiralla's book would not merit inclusion here, save for the fact that (1) Kheiralla's lengthy letter to Open Court [above] had recently been published; (2) the journal, Kheiralla, and American Bahá'ís had been engaged in a series of published exchanges in the previous 2 years (see bahai-library.com/series/TOC); and (3) it gives a small measure of insight into the dynamics between Open Court and the American Bahá'ís at the time. This document is online in a variety of formats at archive.org.

The first item referred to below, from August 1915, is online here. The second reference might be a mistake; the editor might have meant "November 1915" instead of "November 1916". November 1915 had Kheiralla's response to Richardson, which is online above, while November 1916 had an article by Richardson, online here. (-J.W., 2014)

BOOK REVIEWS AND NOTES.

Our readers will understand that we are not responsible for opinions expressed in our advertisements; further, that it would be positively wrong to exclude advertisements because we do not agree with their statements. For instance in publishing the advertisement of the National Association of the Universal Religion we do not intend to defend the practice of bigamy, nor on the other hand do we wish to suppress the announcement of Mr. Kheiralla's book, especially as it offers "an effective reply to the attacks of Robert P. Richardson" which appeared in The Open Court of August 1915 and November 1916. At the time of their appearance we had asked the head of the Bahaists in this country. His Excellency Dr. Zia M. Bagdadi, to refute Mr. Richardson's criticism, and now see incidentally that such a reply is made public in Mr. Kheiralla's book. All direct replies which we received from Bahaists, including Mr. Kheiralla himself, have been given publicity in the columns of The Open Court from time to time.

4. PDF of editor's response, followed by the end-papers of the same
issue (31:2, page 128) which include an advertisement for Kheiralla's book

download PDF
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