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New Member

Posted: Thu Aug 24, 2006 11:44 am
by choogue

I have been browsing this site for awhile now so have decided to become a member.

I just recently heard about the Bahai faith from this girl that im seeing and it has really interested me. I am currently a muslim and am very keen to understand and following the bahai religion.

My girlfriend has referred me to many websites such as to help educate myself but i have many questions which i hope you all may assist me.

So anyway my first question for the road of enlightment:
Is the Bahai faith derived from the Shaykism religion? (i thought to myself, in order to help understand the faith, i need to understand the origin of it.)


Posted: Thu Aug 24, 2006 2:50 pm
by Jonah
There's a fair bit of information out there, but unfortunately it's not online.

First, a bibliography. At the bottom of I have this:


Denis MacEoin's "Orthodoxy and heterodoxy in nineteenth-century <u>Sh</u>í'ism: the cases of <u>Sh</u>ay<u>kh</u>ism and Babism," in <i>Journal of the American Oriental Society,</i> 110 (April/June 1990) discusses the influences of the Bábí movement from a theological perspective. The single best work designed to provide Iranian and <u>Sh</u>ay<u>kh</u>í context is Abbas Amanat's <i>Resurrection and Renewal: The Making of the Bábí Movement in Iran, 1844-1850,</i> especially part one, "Historical Background," 33-105. Peter Smith, <i>Bábí and Bahá'í Religions,</i> 5-13, provides an excellent summary of the context. A useful article on a related subject is Denis MacEoin's "Early <u>Sh</u>ay<u>kh</u>í Reactions to the Báb and his Claims," in Moojan Momen, <i>Studies in Bábí and Bahá'í History,</i> volume 1, a partial abridgment of his doctoral dissertation <i>From </i><u>Sh</u><i>ay</i><u>kh</u><i>ism to Babism: A Study in Charismatic Renewal in </i><u>Sh</u><i>í'i Islam</i>. Vahid Rafati's doctoral dissertation examines <u>Sh</u>ay<u>kh</u>í thought, especially as it relates to Babism, and thus is a valuable source of background. Rafati summarizes aspects of his dissertation an article of the same title, "The Development of <u>Sh</u>ay<u>kh</u>í Thought in <u>Sh</u>í'í Islam," in <i>The Bahá'í Faith and Islam. </i>Momen briefly discusses the <u>Sh</u>ay<u>kh</u>í school in<i> An Introduction to </i><u>Sh</u><i>í'í Islam,</i> pages 225-31.

There are a couple paragraphs online at and

Finally I know Shoghi Effendi and/or Nabil discuss this a bit in <i>God Passes By</i> and <i>Dawnbreakers,</i> both of which are online at this site, but I don't have citations handy.


Posted: Thu Aug 24, 2006 8:23 pm
by choogue
Thanks Jonah.

I had a quick read through the articles.

From what i gather, Shaykhism is basically derived from Islam where Babis and Bahais were offshoots of shaykhism?

Shaykhism believe in the world Hurqalya. Is this the same with Bahais? Therefore, the below paragraph from that article:
"The Shaykhís taught that instead of a literal reemergence of a man who had gone into hiding one thousand years ago, the return of the Imam might be understood spiritually and metaphorically"
Does this mean that the Imam Mehdi is metaphorical? Did the Imam Mehdi in Hurqalya and the bab was the gate to him?

Sorry for the questions. I just think in order to learn a religion, we need to understand where it came from to ensure it does not contradict itself. I hope you can help me understand

Posted: Thu Aug 24, 2006 9:56 pm
by Zazaban
It is not a offshoot. it's more like evolution.

Posted: Fri Aug 25, 2006 12:09 am
by Dorumerosaer
I do not think that you will get an accurate picture of the Baha'i Faith by reading Shaykhi literature. Shoghi Effendi wrote in his introduction to his seminal history of the first century of the Baha'i Faith:

"It is my purpose, on the occasion of an anniversary of such profound significance, to attempt in the succeeding pages a survey of the outstanding events of the century that has seen this Spirit burst forth upon the world, as well as the initial stages of its subsequent incarnation in a System that must evolve into an Order designed to embrace the whole of mankind, and capable of fulfilling the high destiny that awaits man on this planet. I shall endeavor to review, in their proper perspective and despite the comparatively brief space of time which separates us from them, the events which the revolution of a hundred years, unique alike in glory and tribulation, has unrolled before our eyes. I shall seek to represent and correlate, in however cursory a manner, those momentous happenings which have insensibly, relentlessly, and under the very eyes of successive generations, perverse, indifferent or hostile, transformed a heterodox and seemingly negligible offshoot of the Shaykhi school of the Ithna-'Ashariyyih sect of Shí'ah Islam into a world religion. . .
(Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. xii)

It is my personal impression that although some of the early followers were Shaykhis, the main thing with that group was their sincerity in looking for the Promised One, and the leaders of that School found Him in the person of the Bab.


Posted: Fri Aug 25, 2006 1:06 am
by choogue
Thanks Brent.

I am hoping to understand the origin of bahai, that is, examine and understand in a timeline manner to determine how it started and how it became what it is today. This is why i am enquiring about the Shaykism faith.

I know that the followers of Shaykism were without a leader for about 4 months? (correct me if im wrong) apparently Sayyed Kazim Rashty died without appointing a successor which resulted in the group splitting into three (Not sure what they were but i know one was Babis) where Mirza Ali Mohammed Shirazi of the Babi faith prevailed.

As i am trying to learn this faith i am also very interested in the history. So would you know how Mirza Ali Mohammed Shirazi became the leader of the Babis group? If you could refer me to some sort of text/references that i could read, that would be great. i did a bit of research but i may be searching incorrectly because i cant seem to gain any correct references to this subject.


Posted: Fri Aug 25, 2006 5:34 am
by Dorumerosaer
Dear Abbas:

What books, websites or other materials by Muslims have you read that address this subject?


Dawn breakers

Posted: Fri Aug 25, 2006 8:54 am
by Sean H.
(I'm not an expert, the following comments are random impressions.)

The clasic book about the early history of the Babi/Baha'i Faiths is titled "Dawn Breakers". I'm not sure if it is still published or available, but someone on this forum should easily be able to give you that information.

It isn't a book written in the conventional "objective" style of western historians, rather it is apologetic in its orientation (it was designed to inspire the believers by recounting the heroic aspects of the stories of the Babis and early Baha'is).

A Persian Baha'i friend of mine is descended from Babis in Shiraz, and his family has maintained close contacts (I can't go into details in public because of security) with one of the surviving Shayki groups for the purposes of obtaining materials and documents of historical significance. My guess (1000% speculation) is that it could easily take decades longer (or even 100+ years) for all the material to be collected and made available to historical scholars, then be "digested" by experts and their findings made public.

Some of the "dissident" (ex/)Baha'i historians have made attempts at "objective", western-style (non-apologetic) histories, but they have received mixed reactions from the Baha'i community, with some of the more "devout", "traditional" Baha'is criticising those histories for being "materialistic" (etc.). A huge controversy has erupted over the last several decades about the tensions between traditional and western styles of scholarship in the Baha'i community. This web site has some of the more important public documentation of that conflict.

My personal opinion is that the "dissident" histories are useful to a point, but do contain significant ideological biases, some of which are the cause of a lot of discomfort for some Baha'is.

Sorry I couldn't provide specific answers.

abbas wrote:
I am hoping to understand the origin of bahai, that is, examine and understand in a timeline manner to determine how it started and how it became what it is today. This is why i am enquiring about the Shaykism faith.

I know that the followers of Shaykism were without a leader for about 4 months? (correct me if im wrong) apparently Sayyed Kazim Rashty died without appointing a successor which resulted in the group splitting into three (Not sure what they were but i know one was Babis) where Mirza Ali Mohammed Shirazi of the Babi faith prevailed.

As i am trying to learn this faith i am also very interested in the history. So would you know how Mirza Ali Mohammed Shirazi became the leader of the Babis group? If you could refer me to some sort of text/references that i could read, that would be great. i did a bit of research but i may be searching incorrectly because i cant seem to gain any correct references to this subject.


Posted: Fri Aug 25, 2006 11:58 am
by Jonah
Abbas, I think the best place to start is , where I've cross-listed some of the more useful and general overviews of the Baha'i Faith and its history.

I'd like to interject a brief note about Eric's use of the phrase "dissident (ex/) Baha'i historians." I don't recall having heard the word "dissident" used in this context before, I don't want people to think this is a common category.

I'm trying to think of whom Eric might be referring to, and only two historians come to mind: Abbas Amanat, author of <i>Resurrection and Renewal: The Making of the Babi Movement in Iran, 1844-1850,</i> who has not publicly stated whether or not he is a Baha'i and hence about whom we shouldn't be guessing, and Denis MacEoin, author of a few articles in the journal <i>Religion,</i> who did explicitly leave the Baha'i Faith a couple decades ago. I don't think it would be accurate to call either of them "dissident" ex-Baha'is. Or perhaps Eric is referring to ex-Baha'i historians Juan Cole or John Walbridge, but neither of them has published work in this area, both concentrating on later Baha'i history and Islamic philosophy, respectively.


Posted: Fri Aug 25, 2006 10:48 pm
by Dorumerosaer
Abbas has written in various messages on this forum, of his approach to the Baha'i Faith:

“I am currently a muslim and am very keen to understand and following the bahai religion.”

“I just want to know the truth.”

There is an organization in Iran called Tablighat-e-Islami, generally translated as “Society for the Propagation of Islam.” Its members study certain tracts their leaders have written against the Baha'i Faith, which they believe proves that it is illogical, immoral, and not founded in Divine Revelation. Not infrequently its members pose as seekers who just have a few questions. They seek to draw the Baha’is into dialogue so that they can then present their opposition to it.

Abbas, religion is too serious a matter for us to do anything but speak frankly to one another. So I will speak frankly to you and tell you that I do not believe that your motive is what you have stated. I believe that you feel that you already know the truth – Islam – and that you already know the truth about the Baha'i Faith – that it is a false religion founded by a false Prophet. You say that you are “very keen” to “follow the Baha'i Faith”. However, you do not indicate even one word of agreement with it; so I do not believe that you are keen to follow it.

I think it is very possible that you have studied the Baha'i Faith, not from Baha'i sources, but from prejudiced sources opposed to it; and that after we answer your first questions, and direct you to a book, and after we say that Baha’u’llah is infallible, you are all ready with your list of contradictions to present to us.

However, `Abdu’l-Baha, in a book addressed to a Muslim audience, writes, “An authoritative Tradition states: ‘As for him who is one of the learned: he must guard himself, defend his faith, oppose his passions and obey the commandments of his Lord.’” (The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 34)

Defense of the Faith is a noble act; and I am sure that you feel that is what you are doing. That’s just fine with me; I am happy to dialogue with you on that basis.

Also, you have been polite. Even when you have been spoken to impolitely, you have responded politely.

Finally, it is possible that I am wrong; that in fact you are investigating the Baha'i Faith to see if it is true, with an eye to embracing it. For these reasons, I will begin a dialogue with you.

Since you are a seeker of Truth, I wish to point out that the best way to determine if a Book is divine, is to use the standard of proof recommended in that Book. In contrast, let me make an observation about your methodology. You have written:

“In order to believe, one must question to therefore achieve answers to rid of all contradictions.” And, “I just think in order to learn a religion, we need to understand where it came from to ensure it does not contradict itself.”

You have also written: “The reason i chose Islam is because it made sense and i personally couldnt find any contradictions.”

My first comment is that in my personal spiritual experience, seeking contradictions is not the most profound approach to determining whether a Book is Divine Revelation or not. This is applying the inferior instrument of the human mind, to the Divine Word. But the Word itself does not urge this approach. Does God say in the Holy Qur’an that the proof of its divine origin is that it has no internal contradictions? Or does He rather say that its proof is its verses?

There are a thousand websites claiming that there are contradictions in the Holy Bible: ... tions.html

And a thousand more claiming there are contradictions in the Holy Qur’an:

And for each claimed contradiction, there is a response. I do not feel that testing the Divine Book by merely using the mind is sufficient; one must use the soul. Using the mind is fine; but it only brings the seeker so far. To draw near to God, one must engage the soul.

Baha’u’llah writes, regarding the Baha'i salat:

“Concerning obligatory prayer, it hath been revealed in such wise that whosoever reciteth it, even one time, with a detached heart, will find himself wholly severed from the world.”

I suggest that if you are a seeker of Truth, you recite the Long Obligatory Prayer that was divinely revealed through Baha’u’llah, which is found here, (incidentally, on the most authentic Baha'i website):

and see if it has a divine influence on your soul and your mind.

Not if you read it; that is still merely using the mind. Only if you recite it with your soul; with tenderness, with a whole heart, with the rising and the genuflections, with full awareness and with humility. After you have recited it, see if you have been drawn nearer to, or more distant from, the one true God. And from this you can see within yourself if Baha’u’llah draws people to God, or if He is a false prophet who draws people away from God.

And if you say that personal proofs are subjective, and secondary to objective logical proofs available to all, I will point to these verses:

“We will show them our signs in the regions and in themselves, until it is plain to them that it is the truth.” (Qur’an 41:53)

“Those who disbelieve say: If only a portent were sent down upon him from his Lord! Say: Lo! Allah sendeth whom He will astray, and guideth unto Himself all who turn (unto Him), who have believed and whose hearts have rest in the remembrance of Allah. Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest!” (Qur'an 13:27-28 )

You can test the quality of a doctor by reading his curriculum vita; this is somewhat of a guide, but in reality, is superficial. The true test is to take his medicine and then see its transforming power.

The Baha'i Writings urge this approach to investigating its divine origin, and recommends these as the true tests:

“Nowhere but in the purity of its precepts, the sublimity of its standards, the integrity of its laws, the reasonableness of its claims, the comprehensiveness of its scope, the universality of its program, the flexibility of its institutions, the lives of its founders, the heroism of its martyrs, and the transforming power of its influence, should the unprejudiced observer seek to obtain the true criterion that can enable him to fathom its mysteries or to estimate its virtue.”
(Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 54)

I wish to show you deeper proofs of the Baha'i Faith. If you are looking for divine fruit in this forum, there is plenty of it to guide you to. I expect that you may insist that we deal with your list of contradictions; but I sincerely hope that instead, you will recite that prayer with sincerity and heart. It is a better path to investigating Truth.


(edited to correct URL)

Posted: Fri Aug 25, 2006 10:51 pm
by choogue
Thank you all for the info.

Jonah, i will have a read of the the introductory link.

Brent, the information i read about the Shaykis was just random searches on google. I cant remember any specific websites but if i come across them again, ill let you know.

epierce, the Dawn Breakers you refer to, is that the book written by Shoghi Effendi?
Also, what is the website you refer to that contains the documentation?


Posted: Fri Aug 25, 2006 11:31 pm
by choogue

This is exactly what i was afraid of and did not want to happen.

Its true i already know the truth about Islam. Islam states that the mehdi will return and the time is not known. So this can be at anytime. From what i understand so far, the Bahai faith believe this has happened. So what if im here being a muslim and everything the Quran has taught us about the mehdi has already happened? This is why i am so interested in the Bahai faith.

As i previously mentioned, my girlfriend is of this faith who gave me a very brief understanding of it. I never heard about it until i met her and her explanation was the mehdi has already come.

So as a muslim, i feel it is my right to search the truth. Do you not agree?
You mention that "you do not indicate even one word of agreement with it". No offence, but ofcourse i dont because i havent researched it enough to believe it. This is why i am here. This is why i want to know how it all came about. I want to seek the truth.

Im not here to defend my faith Brent. Im here to seek the truth. And to seek the truth i need answers to the questions that i have. If the questions are not answered, how am i to find the truth?

I do not have a list of contradictions to present to you. When i did a search on whether the Bab was the mehdi, that is one of the statements i got. So is it wrong to get an explanation for it?

Im sure there will be more statements that i would need clarification on, which is why i hope to gain an understanding for the Bahai community.

It is my personal opinion from experience that i refer to the term "contradictions". this is what i found to help me find the truth. But in saying that, it is not the only method i use. To me, a divine book must not have mistakes since it was written by an infallible individual. I cannot believe something that contradicts itself as that surely indicates that it has errors. A message by a divine being must not contain mistakes.

As i have previously mentioned, muslims are waiting for the Mehdi. The Bahai faith indicates that this already happened. If this is the case, i want to follow. It would be wrong not to!!

But, i need proof that the Mehdi did return. Again, this is why i am researching.

Look, at the end of it, you have the right to an opinion and i think your clever to assume that i may have different motives. But rest assured that is not the case. I was afraid that this would happen and this is the same reason my girlfriend wont take me to one of her classes as she believes i ask too many questions which may present different motives.

I am only 17 and i believe in Islam but I am still researching it. I am too young to have the knowledge and experience of scholars. My mind is always wandering and raising questions. So far i classify myself as muslim since thats what makes sense to me. But as i mentioned, i want to know if the Mehdi has come. This is what i hope to achieve.

I apologise if i have given the wrong impression. I just dont know how else to ask questions without being seen as "negative".

Anyway, i have been referred to certain texts to start me off, so hopefully that will help guide me and provide me with the proof that i need.


Posted: Sat Aug 26, 2006 12:38 am
by Zazaban
Don't worry, some people are probably paranoid because there's a history of Muslims coming to Baha'i related areas and attemping to convert people. I guess this has caused some people to be jumpy.

Posted: Sat Aug 26, 2006 1:13 am
by Dorumerosaer
Well, I really misread you. My guess was that you were a 40 year old with a Master's degree, based on your command of English. I do hear your sincerity in your explanation of who you are, and your motivation.

I hope you will accept my apology, and that we can get to the substance of your search.

If you are willing to give me another chance, I will respond.

I am not afraid of questions. I myself have asked a million of them. It would mean a lot to me if we could give this another try.


parallel paradigm shifts 1800s east/west?

Posted: Sat Aug 26, 2006 9:54 am
by Sean H.
(edited to add a URL)

Jonah wrote:Abbas, I think the best place to start is , where I've cross-listed some of the more useful and general overviews of the Baha'i Faith and its history.


Thanks for the excellent feedback, and for providing such an abundance of fantastic materials and resources on this web site.

I personally found the following article (linked at ) to be *very* useful and interesting.

In particular it makes some extremely interesting connections between the influence of Romanticism (the "anti-Enlightenment" ideology that gave rise to both marxism and fascism, amongst other things, see ... scism.html, ) and the underlying causes of orientation towards "social change" in the thoughts of a wide range of people in Iran during the 1800s that made Babism popular.

My personal opinion is that the study of the underlying forces acting to create changes in social paradigms (in response to the "conditions of modernity") in both the "west" and in the Islamic world, will lead to the best chance of creating "bridges" between westerners and muslims.

In other words, use of an Integral theory of consciousness that "transcends and includes" both the pre-modern and modern assumptions that have been "warring" with each other for dominance for several hundred years.

In any case, Martin appears (to my non-expert eyes) to do a very good job of identifying the parallels between the paradigms changes in europe and the muslim world that made the Bab an important figure to many western Romanticists and some important western historians.

Martin's bibliography would presumably contain some very useful references for anyone that is seriously thinking about the issue.

- - -


The Mission of The Báb: Retrospective, 1844-1994

Douglas Martin considers the Revelation of the Báb in the context of its impact on Western writers of the period and its subsequent influence. This article first appeared in the 1994-95 edition of The Bahá'í World, pp. 193-225.
. . .

The first half of the nineteenth century was a period of messianic expectation in the Islamic world, as was the case in many parts of Christendom. In Persia a wave of millenialist enthusiasm had swept many in the religiously educated class of Shi`ih Muslim society, focused on belief that the fulfillment of prophecies in the Qur'an and the Islamic traditions was at hand.
. . .

Moreover, despite His ability to use traditional Arabic forms when He chose to do so, the Báb showed no hesitancy in abandoning these conventions as the requirements of His message dictated. He resorted freely to neologisms, new grammatical constructions, and other variants on accepted speech whenever He found existing terms inadequate vehicles for the revolutionary new conception of spiritual reality He vigorously advanced. Rebuked by learned Shi`ih mujtahids at His trial in Tabriz (1848) for violations of the rules of grammar, the Báb reminded those who followed Him that the Word of God is the Creator of language as of all other things, shaping it according to His purpose.17 Through the power of His Word, God says "BE," and it is.
. . .

For the young seminarians who most eagerly responded to Him, the originality of the Báb's language, far from creating an obstacle to their appreciation of His message, itself represented another compelling sign of the Divine mission He claimed. It challenged them to break out of familiar patterns of perception, to stretch their intellectual faculties, to discover in this new Revelation a true freedom of the spirit.

However baffling some of the Báb's writings were to prove for His later European admirers, the latter also perceived Him to be a unique figure, one who had found within His own soul the vision of a transcendent new reality and who had acted unhesitatingly on the imperative it represented. Most of their commentaries tended to reflect the Victorian era's dualistic frame of mind and were presented as scientifically motivated observations of what their authors considered to be an important religious and cultural phenomenon. In the introduction to his translation of A Traveller's Narrative, for example, the Cambridge scholar Edward Granville Browne took pains to justify the unusual degree of attention he had devoted to the Bábi movement in his research work: he [the student of religion] may contemplate such personalities as by lapse of time pass into heroes and demi-gods still unobscured by myth and fable; he may examine by the light of concurrent and independent testimony one of those strange outbursts of enthusiasm, faith, fervent devotion, and indomitable heroism--or fanaticism, if you will--which we are accustomed to associate with the earlier history of the human race; he may witness, in a word, the birth of a faith which may not impossibly win a place amidst the great religions of the world.20
The electrifying effect that the phenomenon exerted, however--even on a cautious and scientifically trained European intellect and after the passage of several decades--can be appreciated from Browne's concluding remarks in a major article in Religious Systems of the World, published in 1892, the year of Bahá'u'lláh's passing
. . .

the Báb's writings present a daunting problem for even those Western scholars familiar with Persian and Arabic. To a considerable degree, this is due to the fact that the works often address minute matters of Shi`ih Islamic theology which were of consuming importance to His listeners, whose minds had been entirely formed in this narrow intellectual world and who could conceive of no other. The study of the organizing spiritual principles within these writings will doubtless occupy generations of doctoral candidates as the Bahá'í community continues to expand and its influence in the life of society consolidates. For the Bábis, who received the writings at first hand, a great deal of their significance lay in their demonstration of the Báb's effortless mastery of the most abstruse theological issues, issues to which His ecclesiastical opponents had devoted years of painstaking study and dispute. The effect was to dissolve for the Báb's followers the intellectual foundations on which the prevailing Islamic theological system rested.

A feature of the Báb's writings which is relatively accessible is the laws they contain. The Báb revealed what is, at first sight, the essential elements of a complete system of laws dealing with issues of both daily life and social organization. The question that comes immediately to the mind of any Western reader with even a cursory familiarity with Bábi history is the difficulty of reconciling this body of law which, however diffuse, might well have prevailed for several centuries, with the Báb's reiterated anticipation that "He Whom God will make manifest" would shortly appear and lay the foundations of the Kingdom of God. While no one knew the hour of His coming, the Báb assured several of His followers that they would live to see and serve Him. Cryptic allusions to "the year nine" and "the year nineteen" heightened the anticipation within the Bábi community. No one could falsely claim to be "He Whom God will make manifest," the Báb asserted, and succeed in such a claim.

It is elsewhere that we must look for the immediate significance of the laws of the Bayan. The practice of Islam, particularly in its Shi`ih form, had become a matter of adherence to minutely detailed ordinances and prescriptions, endlessly elaborated by generations of mujtahids, and rigidly enforced. The shari`a, or system of canon law, was, in effect, the embodiment of the clergy's authority over not only the mass of the population but even the monarchy itself. It contained all that mankind needed or could use. The mouth of God was closed until the Day of Judgment when the heavens would be cleft asunder, the mountains would dissolve, the seas would boil, trumpet blasts would rouse the dead from their graves, and God would "come down" surrounded by angels "rank on rank."

For those who recognized the Báb, the legal provisions of the Bayan shattered the clergy's institutional authority at one blow by making the entire shari`a structure irrelevant.30 God had spoken anew. Challenged by a superannuated religious establishment which claimed to act in the name of the Prophet, the Báb vindicated His claim by exercising, in their fullness, the authority and powers that Islam reserved to the Prophets. More than any other act of His mission, it was this boldness that cost Him His life, but the effect was to liberate the minds and hearts of His followers as no other influence could have done. That so many laws of the Bayan should shortly be superseded or significantly altered by those laid down by Bahá'u'lláh in the Kitab-i-Aqdas31 was, in the perspective of history and in the eyes of the mass of the Bábis who were to accept the new Revelation, of little significance once the Báb's purpose had been accomplished.

In this connection, it is interesting to note the way in which the Báb dealt with issues that had no part in His mission, but which, if not addressed, could have become serious obstacles to His work because they were so deeply and firmly imbedded in Muslim religious consciousness. The concept of jihad or "holy war," for example, is a commandment laid down in the Qur'an as obligatory for all able-bodied male Muslims and one whose practice has figured prominently in Islamic societies throughout the ages. In the Qayy?-Asma', the Báb is at pains to include a form of jihad as one of the prerogatives of the station which He claims for Himself. He made any engagement in jihad, however, entirely dependent on His own approval, an approval which He declined to give. Subsequently, the Bayan, although representing the formal promulgation of the laws of the new Dispensation, makes only passing reference to a subject which had so long seemed fundamental to the exercise of God's Will. In ranging across Persia to proclaim the new Revelation, therefore, the Báb's followers felt free to defend themselves when attacked, but their new beliefs did not include the old Islamic mandate to wage war on others for purposes of conversion. 32

In the perspective of history, it is obvious that the intent of these rigid and exacting laws was to produce a spiritual mobilization, and in this they brilliantly succeeded. Foreseeing clearly where the course on which he was embarked would lead, the Báb prepared His followers, through a severe regimen of prayer, meditation, self-discipline, and solidarity of community life, to meet the inevitable consequences of their commitment to His mission.

The prescriptions in the Bayan extend, however, far beyond those immediate purposes. Consequently, when Bahá'u'lláh took up the task of establishing the moral and spiritual foundations of the new Dispensation, He built directly on the work of the Báb.
. . .

The connection with the writings of the Báb is readily apparent to anyone who examines the provisions of the Aqdas. Those laws of the Bayan which have no relevance to the coming age are abrogated. Other prescriptions are reformulated, usually through liberalizing their requirements and broadening their applications. Still other provisions of the Bayan are retained virtually in their original form.
. . .

Apart from the specific laws of the Bayan, the Báb's writings also contain the seeds of new spiritual perspectives and concepts which were to animate the worldwide Bahá'í enterprise. Beginning from the belief universally accepted by Muslims that God is one and transcendent, the Báb cuts sharply through the welter of conflicting doctrines and mystical speculations that had accumulated over more than twelve centuries of Islamic history. God is not only One and Single; He is utterly unknowable to humankind and will forever remain so. There is no direct connection between the Creator of all things and His creation.
. . .

Going far beyond the orthodox Islamic conception of a "succession" of the Prophets that terminates with the mission of Muhammad, the Báb also declares the Revelation of God to be a recurring and never-ending phenomenon whose purpose is the gradual training and development of humankind. As human consciousness recognizes and responds to each Divine Messenger, the spiritual, moral, and intellectual capacities latent in it steadily develop, thus preparing the way for recognition of God's next Manifestation.
. . .

The Báb described His teachings as opening the "sealed wine" referred to in both the Qur'an and New Testament. The "Day of God" does not envision the end of the world, but its perennial renewal. The earth will continue to exist, as will the human race, whose potentialities will progressively unfold in response to the successive impulses of the Divine. All people are equal in the sight of God, and the race has now advanced to the point where, with the imminent advent of Him Whom God will manifest, there is neither need nor place for a privileged class of clergy. Believers are encouraged to see the allegorical intent in passages of scriptures which were once viewed as references to supernatural or magical events. As God is one, so phenomenal reality is one, an organic whole animated by the Divine Will.

The contrast between this evolutionary and supremely rational conception of the nature of religious truth and that embodied by nineteenth-century Shi`ih Islam could not have been more dramatic. Fundamental to orthodox Shi`ism--whose full implications are today exposed in the regime of the Islamic Republic in Iran--was a literalistic understanding of the Qur'an, a preoccupation with meticulous adherence to the shari`a, a belief that personal salvation comes through the "imitation" (taqlid) of clerical mentors, and an unbending conviction that Islam is God's final and all-sufficient revelation of truth to the world. For so static and rigid a mindset, any serious consideration of the teachings of the Báb would have unthinkable consequences.

The Báb's teachings, like the laws of the Bayan, are enunciated not in the form of an organized exposition, but lie rather embedded in the wide range of theological and mystical issues addressed in the pages of His voluminous writings. It is in the writings of Bahá'u'lláh that, as with the laws of the Bayan, these scattered truths and precepts are taken up, reshaped, and integrated into a unified, coherent system of belief. The subject lies far beyond the scope of this brief paper, but the reader will find in Bahá'u'lláh's major doctrinal work, the Kitab-i-iqan ("Book of Certitude"), not only echoes of the Báb's teachings, but a coherent exposition of their central concepts.
. . .

Finally, a striking feature of the Báb's writings, which has emerged as an important element of Bahá'í belief and history, is the mission envisioned for "the peoples of the West" and admiration of the qualities that fit them for it. This, too, was in dramatic contrast to the professed contempt for farangi and "infidel" thought that prevailed in the Islamic world of His time. Western scientific advancement is particularly praised, for example, as are the fairness of mind and concern for cleanliness that the Báb saw Westerners on the whole as tending to display. His appreciation is not merely generalized but touches on even such mundane matters as postal systems and printing facilities.

At the outset of the Báb's mission, the Qayy?-Asma' called on "the peoples of the West" to arise and leave their homes in promotion of the Day of God
. . .

Anticipating the decisive contribution which Western lands and peoples are destined to make in founding the institutions of world order, Bahá'u'lláh wrote:

In the East the Light of His Revelation hath broken;
in the West have appeared the signs of His dominion.
Ponder this in your hearts, O people....36

It was on `Abdu'l-Bahá that responsibility devolved to lay the foundations for this distinctive feature of the missions of the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh. Visiting both Western Europe and North America in the years 1911-1913, He coupled high praise for the material accomplishments of the West with an urgent appeal that they be balanced with the essentials of "spiritual civilization."
. . .

Nothing of what has been said should suggest an uncritical admiration of European or North American cultures on the part of either the Báb or Bahá'u'lláh nor an endorsement of the ideological foundations on which they rest. Far otherwise. Bahá'u'lláh warns in ominous tones of the suffering and ruin that will be visited upon the entire human race if Western civilization continues on its course of excess. During His visits to Europe and America, `Abdu'l-Bahá called on His hearers in poignant language to free themselves, while time still remained, from racial and national prejudices, as well as materialistic preoccupations, whose unappreciated dangers, He said, threatened the future of their nations and of all humankind.
. . .

Jonah wrote:I'd like to interject a brief note about Eric's use of the phrase "dissident (ex/) Baha'i historians." I don't recall having heard the word "dissident" used in this context before, I don't want people to think this is a common category.

Thanks for the clarification.

I personally see a general connection between the "dissident" phenomena (LA Study Group.... talisman1, etc.) and some of the "unconventional" technical Bahai histories written by MacEoin, Cole, etc., that have a more "obective", "western", "rational" frame of reference.

The important thing for me of course is that the Universal House of Justice attempted to resolve the conflict of paradigms issue by suggesting that Baha'i scholarship "contribute to integrative paradigms" instead of being locked into conventional categories of either "traditionalist/conservative" (mystical, devotional, apologetic) or "progressive" (liberal, rational, scientific), and so forth.

The mainstream of the Baha'i community is oriented towards apologetic histories, whereas professional/technical historians tend to use the more rational approach.

As such, the professional historians can be seen as advocating a "materialistic" approach to the understanding of "Divine history", which, at least when it is done by non-conformists, can have "dissident" implications (IMO).

As an Integralist, I would simply say that the "best of both" approaches should be used instead of "taking sides" and avocating that either ought to be exclusively "privileged" or "dominant".


Posted: Sat Aug 26, 2006 11:03 am
by choogue

Absolutely no hard feelings what so ever!! I understand why you would have assumed i had other motives. You are not at fault and there is no need to apologise. :)

I am more than happy to get assistance from you and i would really appreciate it if you continue providing it.


By the way, thankyou for the compliment regarding my command of English. :wink:

Re: New Member

Posted: Sat Aug 26, 2006 1:42 pm
by hugobjzq

Shaykism is not a religion, but a school of Shi'ite Islaam. Shaykh Ahmad al-Asai was a Muuhaadaath (Seer), and so was Siyyid Kazim Rashti. They had visions from Muhammad and the Imaams. The Shaykhis prepared the way for The Bab and Baha'u'llah as the Nazarene sect prepared the way for John the Baptist and Jesus.

The Bab is not the Gate to the Imaam Mahdi, but the Imaam Mahdi Himself, the return of the Imaam Mahdi, who died when he fell down a well outside of Qom in 260 A.H. Exactly 1000 lunar years later, The Bab made His declaration. The Bab is the return of the Imaam Mahdi. The spirit of Mahdi returned in the person of The Bab. He is Bab'u'llah. The Imaam Mahdi was "resurrected" in the Person of The Bab.

The Shaykhi sect is the one true Sect of the Umma of Muhammad. The other 72 sects are ripe for Hell-fire.

The Bab was never the leader of the Shaykhi sect, but many who belonged to the Shaykhi sect became Babis after His declaration in 1844 (1260 A.H.). The Bab was beforehand a disciple of Siyyid Kazim Rashti.

Baha'u'llah is the return of Jesus to this earth. The spirit of Jesus returned in the Person of Baha'u'llah. The spirit of Jesus overshadowed the body of Baha'u'llah for forty lunar years (1953-1992).

Siyyid Muhammad Isfahaani was the Dajjal; the one-eyed Anti-Christ. He was blind in one eye. His lies led to the deaths of many Baha'is. He was killed outside of Akka in 1869, by a group of seven Baha'is.

The Muslim traditions regarding the coming of the Mahdi and the Prophet Isa were fulfilled metaphorically. The Bab was the Imaam of Baha'u'llah for a time. The tradition that Isa shall descend near a white mineret east of Damacus between two saffron sheets, and leaning on the shoulders of two Angels was fulfilled in Baha'u'llah. He was born of two royal houses (two saffron sheets), and made His declaration near a white mineret in Baghdad; called "East Damascus" by the Turks who ruled it. The two "Angels" meant that Isa would follow the religions of two Messengers of God: Muhammad and The Bab. Baha'u'llah was first a Muslim, then a Babi.

Muhammad is the Seal of the Prophets (Nabiyyun), but not the Seal of the Rasuls (Messengers). He was the last of the inspired prophetic poets (nabiyyun), but not the last of the Messengers.

Muhammad was NOT succeeded by a Messenger (Apostle), but by the Imaam Ali; who was not a Prophet nor a Messenger, but an Imaam and Muuhaadaath (Seer). This is the meaning of the tradition where Muhammad says that no Apostle (Rasul) shall succeed him.

The Baha'i Faith is the 9th Revelation of Islaam.
The Bab

If you can read Arabic, you would do well to read the works of Shaykh Ahsai. Books of his in Arabic are sold via the Internet.

I hope this helps.
Darrick Evenson

So anyway my first question for the road of enlightment:
Is the Bahai faith derived from the Shaykism religion? (i thought to myself, in order to help understand the faith, i need to understand the origin of it.)


to Abbas

Posted: Sat Aug 26, 2006 3:37 pm
by majnun
Dear Abbas

I dont mean to be rude here, but even if Darrick's
information seems okay, logically, and sometimes accurate (exact)
I discard it, because
he his not a bahai, and does not know much about what he
reports in what he writes about the baha'i formation.

My suggestion to you is to start where it starts:
the valleys. Im not so hooked on it but that is the
starting point wich make many analogies with the Qur'an's message.

Each valley brings up a sensible topic, the first being the relationship
with our own family. If you have this joy of knowing arabic, or persian,
the original texts may offer you a valid point of comparison, much more
accurate than what we, not knowing these original languages, can brag
about, and comment, or extrapolate [i](tafsir)[/i] about. Informed people know that baqara, ayat 170 and 171, deals with people who are simply parrots of their parents and grand parents, without understanding profoundly. In this valley no 1, only the imitated habits
are questioned, not the respect we hold for our family backgrounds.

The most valid conclusions could come from the inside of your own conscience.

I hope this post does not shock you too much.


Posted: Sat Aug 26, 2006 4:26 pm
by Zazaban
Whoa Darrick, Hell-fire? that's a bit harsh. the way I understand it is that there is no "one religion is right and all else get the hell-fire" but that everybody is on a sorta scale, with the Baha'i faith on one end and something like satanism on the other. one gets the best and one gets the worst, but everybody in between get something inbetween.

Posted: Sat Aug 26, 2006 4:42 pm
by Dorumerosaer
Majnun wrote: "My suggestion to you is to start where it starts: the valleys. [...] Each valley brings up a sensible topic, the first being the relationship with our own family. [...] Informed people know that baqara, ayat 170 and 171, deals with people who are simply parrots of their parents and grand parents, without understanding profoundly."

I think Majnun makes an important point here (and as I said, recommends yet another of Baha'u'llah's Books as a great starting-point!)

Majnun is apparently referring to the 2nd Surah of the Holy Qur'an, Suratu'l-Baqara, the Surah of the Cow:

"But when they are told, 'Follow what God has bestowed from on high,' some answer, 'Nay, we shall follow only that which we found our forefathers believing in and doing.' Why, even if their forefathers did not use their reason at all, and were devoid of all guidance?"
(Qur'an 2:170, Muhammad Asad translation)

And Baha'u'llah makes this same point in the First Valley of His Tablet known as "The Seven Valleys":

"It is incumbent on these servants that they cleanse the heart -- which is the wellspring of divine treasures -- from every marking, and that they turn away from imitation, which is following the traces of their forefathers and sires, and shut the door of friendliness and enmity upon all the people of the earth." (Baha'u'llah, The Seven Valleys, p. 5)

As Majnun says, "In this valley no 1, only the imitated habits
are questioned, not the respect we hold for our family backgrounds."

This same approach to our parents and forefathers is seen in all of the Holy Books. For example, in the Gospel of Mark 10:19 Jesus tells His followers to honor their parents; but in Luke 14:25, Jesus gives the same message that Muhammad and Baha'u'llah give, about the importance of not necessarily following in their footsteps in matters of faith.

As far as the views of non-Baha'is on this Forum, it's my understanding that non-Baha'is are quite free to not only ask questions, but to offer their views here; and some are quite knowledgeable about the Baha'i teachings. Not infrequently, the personal views of posters here, are mixed together with the Baha'i teachings.. Sometimes the views of posters here -- Baha'is or non-Baha'is -- are based on the sacred Texts; sometimes they are their own personal understandings. I think it would avoid confusion if a person posting an idea would state whether it's his opinion, which is fine; or else refer to a Text to back it up; and likewise it would make things clearer if people state whether they are Baha'is or not.


well seen

Posted: Sat Aug 26, 2006 5:36 pm
by majnun
It is nice to see that many people can make parallels
between scriptures, by themselves.

I was refering to Dr Khalifa's version, so close and so precise
to the original arabic (and if you have anydoubt this, transfer
each word into the Sakhr dictionary online)

Khalifa says:
[2:170] When they are told, "Follow what God has revealed herein," they say, "We follow only what we found our parents doing." What if their parents did not understand, and were not guided?

[2:171] The example of such disbelievers is that of parrots who repeat what they hear of sounds and calls, without understanding. Deaf, dumb, and blind; they cannot understand.

Actually, the arabic says : Those who croak and repeat, wisely translated here by Dr Khalifa.

Many other verses of the Qur'an deal with this touchy family topic.
Baha'u'llah made it the first point to examine, to find our lost identity
(symbolically, Jacob's long gone Joseph).


Posted: Sun Aug 27, 2006 1:14 am
by Jonah
even if Darrick's information seems okay, logically, and sometimes accurate (exact) I discard it, because he is not a bahai

Darrick may not be a Baha'i, but to the best of my knowledge (except possiby the bit about hell-fire), everything he wrote about Shaykhism is fairly standard history. (Thanks for compiling it, Darrick.)

I have one theological observation. Darrick wrote:
The Bab is not the Gate to the Imaam Mahdi, but the Imaam Mahdi Himself

I think that is true, Baha'is (and Darrick, I guess) accept The Báb as the Imam Mahdi himself. However, it's also the case that The Báb's "claim to prophethood" changed over the course of His ministry. There's a good article on this, and unfortunately I can't recall the author (Peter Smith or Stephen Lambden, I think). The article delineates four separate stages of The Báb's claims to Revelation, starting with the claim to merely be the gate to the Mahdi, and then the Mahdi Himself, and finally an Independent Manifestation. We might interpret this evolution as The Báb gradually coming to recognize the status of His ministry, or we could equally validly interpret it as The Báb choosing to share such information gradually.

When I can recall more details, or the article, I'll edit this post with the new info.


Posted: Sun Aug 27, 2006 3:28 am
by Dorumerosaer
It may be that we have provided enough to Abbas on this point, already; and that we can move on.




Posted: Mon Aug 28, 2006 4:11 pm
by hugobjzq
One of the sayings of Muhammad was:

"My Ummah shall divide into 73 sects, and all but one shall be fit for Hell-fire."

The Shaykhi sect is the only sect in the Umman of Muhammad that accurately reflected his religion.

Zazaban wrote:Whoa Darrick, Hell-fire? that's a bit harsh. the way I understand it is that there is no "one religion is right and all else get the hell-fire" but that everybody is on a sorta scale, with the Baha'i faith on one end and something like satanism on the other. one gets the best and one gets the worst, but everybody in between get something inbetween.

Re: to Abbas

Posted: Mon Aug 28, 2006 4:14 pm
by hugobjzq
That I am not a Baha'i is FALSE and a LIE!!!

Being a Baha'i is based upon belief and faith; not belonging to the AO. I am an unenrolled Baha'i. I do not belong to the AO. Neither 'Abdu'l-Baha nor Shoghi Effendi ever said that being a Baha'i depends upon being a member of the AO.
majnun wrote:I dont mean to be rude here, but even if Darrick's
information seems okay, logically, and sometimes accurate (exact)
I discard it, because he his not a bahai

Some say, "Darrick is not a Baha'i and knows little about the Teachings".

1) Being a member of the AO is not a prerequisite of being a Baha'i.

2) I know far, far more about the Teachings than most other Baha'is; including history and doctrine. Simply knowing the "12 Principles" and agreeing with them does not make one a Baha'i; nor does it make one knowledgeable about the Faith.

I call myself a Baha'i-Christian. Baha'i-Liberals will deny that a person can be "Baha'i" and a "Christian" at the same time, but 'Abdu'l-Baha said:

"You can be a Baha'i-Christian , a Bahá'i-Freemason, a Bahá'i-Jew, a Bahá'i-Muhammadán" ('Abdu'l-Baha in London, p. 98: ... _london#98 ). Cool

Shoghi Effendi did not contradict this, but said that Baha'is cannot be members of the AO and members of churches and secret socities at the same time.

Posted: Mon Aug 28, 2006 4:36 pm
by Jonah
First, a note to Abbas. I'm sorry that your questions were not answered fully and quickly, I think many of us regulars have been extra-busy this summer. And thank you to those who did take the time to research and respond to his questions. Abbas, please peruse the other 1000 threads and 5000 posts at this forum to get a better idea of what Baha'is believe and what they talk about -- hopefully you'll note that less than 1% of those threads devolve into the kind of discussion you see in this particular thread.

That I am not a Baha'i is FALSE

Thanks for clarifying your status, Darrick.

In three recent cases the issue has arisen: people have asked about the membership status of myself, Eric, and Darrick. Now it should be clearer why I've stated since 1997 or so that my own membership status should be irrelevent to the content at the site, which should be judged on its own merit. Focusing on the messenger rather than the message (so to speak) opens up a pandora's box of ad hominem questions, hurt feelings, and even accusations of blasphemy (those who have been following the forum closely the last couple weeks will have seen the posts where this has come up; if you haven't then please ignore this whole issue).

Eric just posted his clarification of his status, after which I locked that thread. Darrick has just clarified his status above (self-declared Baha'i by belief, but not enrolled in the Administrative Order), and now I would like to curtail any further discussion of his status or belief.

As long as no-one here has been declared a Covenant Breaker, and as long as no statements are made on this forum which challenge the authority of the Institutions or the Station of the Baha'i Manifestations, we don't need to worry about membership status. We only need to judge each other's statements by reference to the Baha'i Writings.

This is not my own interpretation, but has been clarified by the UHJ itself: we are in no way required to limit contact with ex-Baha'is, unenrolled Baha'is, or Baha'is who have had their administrative rights removed. We are <i>only</i> required to not have interaction with declared Covenant Breakers.

Enrollment is a private matter. Any Baha'i may write to any NSA (I believe) to inquire about the status of individuals, but let's keep that discussion off the public forum.

Thanks, -Jonah

<b>Edit, later that day:</b> I wrote "Any Baha'i may write to any NSA (I believe) to inquire about the status of individuals". I've been informed that that's not always the case, an NSA often but not always divulges this information. It seems that an NSA, at least the US NSA, will respond if someone's status is relevant to the person asking, e.g. if you want to find out if your fiancé is a member "in good standing" or to confirm your LSA's voter rolls, or conversely if someone has had their rights removed and is causing public problems. However, in cases where Joe Public Baha'i asks about Jane Public Baha'i with no clear reason to know, the NSA will not in fact state someone's status. It's also possible that the NSA was more willing to share this information in the pre-internet age.

I'm reporting this from summarizing a recent discussion on the listserver <i>tarikh</i>. I am not quoting policy. Further clarification would have to be requested from the US NSA.

Posted: Tue Aug 29, 2006 9:36 am
by choogue
Thankyou all for the information.

I agree with Brent that i have enough references to continue studying. I appreciate everyones reponses and if i have any further questions, i will do a search on the forum first.

If a search fails and i require further clarification, i will post.

Thanks again :)

Posted: Tue Aug 29, 2006 2:35 pm
by Baha'i Warrior

I just wanted to wish you good luck in your search for truth. Not many people these days are as open-minded as you. As you undoubtedly know the Baha'i Faith has high regard for Islam and Muhammad, so much so that Baha'u'llah's Kitab-i-Iqan, which includes His elucidation on the Koran, is considered "the most important book written on the spiritual significance of the Cause," "the most important book wherein Bahá’u’lláh explains the basic beliefs of the Faith," "the most fundamental book on the Bahá’í Revelation," and "of unsurpassed preeminence among the doctrinal...writings of the Author of the Bahá'í Dispensation." The Baha'i belief is that the Koran is the Word of God and thus it is not uncommon to use relevant quotations from it in Baha'i devotional meetings.

Some people might, not unreasonably, have some hesitations in regards to becoming a Baha'i because they might think that they have to give up their Holy Book, like the Koran or the Bible, but they actually would gain from the Baha'i Faith. It is a continuation of past revelations and thus many of the previous Holy Books are considered significant and are revered by Baha'is.

Again, good luck on your quest for truth,


(Sources of quotations: Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Divine Guidance, vol. i., p. 37, On behalf of Shoghi Effendi, 28 June 1930, From a postscript in the hand of Shoghi Effendi on a letter written on his behalf to an individual believer, 25 August 1932, and Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, 140)

Posted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 11:59 am
by endable
(this is my first post here. . .)

Dear Abbas,

I wish you well on your search - you strike me as a very fair and sincere seeker of truth, and that should serve you quite well indeed.

I know others have made their recommendations to you on things to read. Given your background, I strongly recommend The Kitab-i-Iqan as others have, and also (and perhaps first) Gems of Divine Mysteries which echo many of the themes in the Iqan. Gleanings is wonderful, though it is a compilation so it doesn't have the flow/continuity of the others.

Gems is small, powerful and extraordinarily beautiful, IMHO - you may want to start there :-)

I hope you will continue to post questions here and elsewhere (I spend a lot of time on the forums at Planet Baha'i, but hope to be around here more often)