Posted by Richard on October 30, 1998 at 16:10:25:
In Reply to: Re: Why did you choose Bahaism over Islam? posted by Salik on October 21, 1998 at 22:03:27:
: : Dear Salik:
: : I thought it good to add an addition to my earlier post, having run out of time.
: : As I mentioned, I was reared a Christian, and with that Christian upbringing was included an understanding of Judaism as the mother faith of Christianity. As Christians we honored the Jewish Torah as the Old Testament from God and the Gospel as God's new Testament. When in 1959 I heard of Baha'u'llah and the Baha'i Faith, I quickly overcame any reservations and accepted Baha'u'llah's proclamation to be the Return of Christ in the glory of the Father. Through the Sacred Scriptures of the Baha'i Faith, I found myself able to accept and believe in the Holy Qur'an as the Word of God, as His newer Testament, supersiding that of the Torah and the Gospel. My maturation in understanding the revelation of Baha'u'llah made me see the Holy Qur'an as an Old Testament vis a vis the Baha'i Holy Scriptures.
: : The question you posed suggested that the Baha'is lack good reason for distinguishing themselves from Islam. It is precisely because God has renewed revelation through the Bab and through Baha'u'llah that we are called into faith as Baha'is. Muslims distinguish themselves from Christians for the same reasons: Jesus had been fulfilled in the person of Muhammad Who revealed the Holy Qur'an. To argue that the Christians were not ready to accept a new Messenger is to call into question the prerogative of God to send humanity His Messengers. To argue that the Muslims divided the Christian community by insisting upon following Muhammad is what God does in every age when He sends a new Messenger: the faithful are divided from others.
: : Again I strongly urge you to read the "Kitab-i-Iqan' the Book of Certitude by Baha'u'llah where human hearts are set at rest on such issues.
: : Regards,
: : Richard
: I just saw your response. Interesting argument. I am sure your beautiful intentions are just that. However,
: I have read the Kitab-i Iqan in translation and compared it to the farsi terms of the original and the arabic origin of some
: of those key terms. It is the western ideas taken out of context which has created, what I believe, is a false dichotomy between
: Islam and the Baha'i Faith. Baha' Allah himself (ra) was a Muslim. It is that historical fact which makes me question the need for
: Baha'is to remain outside of the loop. One must place the revelation (inspiration) of the Bab and Baha' Allah within the irfani (gnostic)
: traditions they belonged to, Shaykhism and Sufism, respectively. Again, in the context of those writings the inspiration is that of mystical
: insight not that of the Judgement which Isa bin Maryam (Jesus Christ) is to usher in at the Eschaton. I encourage all to study the mystic tradition of
: Islam to deepen one's understanding of the writings. And, Inshallah, if you come to the same conclusion I have come to then I would deeply enjoy seeing you
: in the Mosques and the Sufi Halls.
Thank you for your kind response. I quite agree: just as Jesus Christ was a Jew, Baha'u'llah was a Muslim. I keep in mind the universal sense of the word "Muslim," the sense carried by the Holy Qur'an in 5:111 by which all who submit to the will of God are Muslims and their religion is Islam. But here "Islam" and "Muslim" are generic, not specific. Whenever God sends humanity a new Manifestation, that divinely-sent personage not only renews the previous religious revelation, he brings a new revelation as its fulfillment. Baha'u'llah in the course of revitalizing Islam brings forth something quite specifically post-Islamic. The Prophet Muhammad does quite the same vis-a-vis Christianity and Judaism. In the widest sense they all are Islam and their followers all Muslims, including the Baha'is. There is, in this sense, no separation of communities except those which the lovers of leadership, fame, and glory have erected. I could not recommend a book more well-written on this topic than the oone by Christopher Buck entitled "Symbols and Secrets." This is an outstanding study of the issues raised in this discussion, especially as they pertain to Baha'u'llah's stature as an independent revealer of the Word of God, confirming the mother-faith of Islam (as well as Christianity and Islam), and fulfilling the messianic expectations of religious traditions outside the Middle East.
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