seeker questions

All research or scholarship questions
drmikenz
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seeker questions

Postby drmikenz » Sat May 27, 2006 6:36 pm

Hi all,

I have been quite interested in the Bahai faith for a while now and have kinda muddled my way through some of the books. However one thing that has been bugging me is just information on the Bab that i have picked up online. For example the Bab wrote in the Bayan that the next messenger would not appear until all the world had accepted Babism, to burn all non Babi books etc. How do Bahais reconcile this ? :?

onepence
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Re: seeker questions

Postby onepence » Sun May 28, 2006 2:07 pm

drmikenz wrote:Hi all,

I have been quite interested in the Bahai faith for a while now and have kinda muddled my way through some of the books. However one thing that has been bugging me is just information on the Bab that i have picked up online. For example the Bab wrote in the Bayan that the next messenger would not appear until all the world had accepted Babism, to burn all non Babi books etc. How do Bahais reconcile this ? :?


I am no authority on such things
but I was thinking that maybe all the books
that He wanted burned were burned
thus what was left was acceptable

and as to all the world had accepted Babism
this is a matter of fact
for I have chosen to believe
in more than I can just physically see

yet I am sure the wayward will become evem more pervarse
seeking to destroy all that is Holy in Islam
in all religious belief
substituting rumor and inneundo
instead of allowing facts to speak for themselves

"taste ye what your hands have wrought"

oneness
the apostle dean

brettz9
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Postby brettz9 » Mon May 29, 2006 9:34 am

Hello Drmikenz,

Good questions...

A couple of things...

The Bayán has only been partially authoritatively translated (partially because of concerns which would need to be well annotated (as evident by your questions) and which is not as pressing a need at this time as other translations). But, assuming that the Báb did write that the whole world would accept Him first, I believe this might easily fit under the same category as the prophecy of the Bible about all shall see Him.

For one, this could be explained in terms of the "world" referring to all the true believers or those who had eyes to see. Another potential interpretation (and not exclusive with the preceding) might be along the lines of the following:

...For Bahá'u'lláh, Whose advent marks the return of the Son in the Glory of the Father, has already appeared, and the signs predicted in the Gospel have not yet fully been realized. Their complete fulfilment, however, would mark the beginning of the recognition of His full station by the peoples of the world. Then and only then will His appearance be made completely manifest."

(From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, November 29, 1937, in Lights of Guidance, no. 1651)


Thus, in this understanding, the next Messenger (Bahá'u'lláh) has not FULLY appeared, even though He has come. The purpose of such a statement of the Báb might have simply been to emphasize the close relationship between these two Faiths.

As far as the severity of the laws of the Bayán, this has been covered in the notes to the Kitáb-i-Aqdas:

In the Tablet of Ishráqát Bahá'u'lláh, referring to the fact that the Báb had made the laws of the Bayán subject to His sanction, states that He put some of the Báb's laws into effect "by embodying them in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas in different words", while others He set aside.

With regard to the destruction of books, the Bayán commanded the Báb's followers to destroy all books except those that were written in vindication of the Cause and Religion of God. Bahá'u'lláh abrogates this specific law of the Bayán.
As to the nature and severity of the laws of the Bayán, Shoghi Effendi in a letter written on his behalf provides the following comment:

The severe laws and injunctions revealed by the Báb can be properly appreciated and understood only when interpreted in the light of His own statements regarding the nature, purpose and character of His own Dispensation. As these statements clearly reveal, the Bábí Dispensation was essentially in the nature of a religious and indeed social revolution, and its duration had therefore to be short, but full of tragic events, of sweeping and drastic reforms. Those drastic measures enforced by the Báb and His followers were taken with the view of undermining the very foundations of Shí'ih orthodoxy, and thus paving the way for the coming of Bahá'u'lláh. To assert the independence of the new Dispensation, and to prepare also the ground for the approaching Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, the Báb had therefore to reveal very severe laws, even though most of them were never enforced. But the mere fact that He revealed them was in itself a proof of the independent character of His Dispensation and was sufficient to create such widespread agitation, and excite such opposition on the part of the clergy that led them to cause His eventual martyrdom.

(Notes to the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, no. 109)


and by Shoghi Effendi in God Passes By:

Designedly severe in the rules and regulations it [The Bayán] imposed, revolutionizing in the principles it instilled, calculated to awaken from their age-long torpor the clergy and the people, and to administer a sudden and fatal blow to obsolete and corrupt institutions, it proclaimed, through its drastic provisions, the advent of the anticipated Day, the Day when "the Summoner shall summon to a stern business," when He will "demolish whatever hath been before Him, even as the Apostle of God demolished the ways of those that preceded Him."

(Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 25)

drmikenz
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Postby drmikenz » Wed May 31, 2006 3:55 am

thanks for your reasoned responses guys. just three more questions :)

1) Do Bahai's see Bahá'u'lláh as a messenger of God or God himself ? there seems to be some conflict on this

2) Is the UHJ infallible ? do you need to accept this to be a bahai ?

3) Muhammed noted in the Qu'ran that he was the seal of the prophets and none would come after him , how is this interpreted in light of the ba'hai revelation ?

Thanks :)

Mike

onepence
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Postby onepence » Wed May 31, 2006 11:35 am

drmikenz wrote:thanks for your reasoned responses guys. just three more questions :) ...



The questions ye ask
to answer
properly
would take me about a thousand years
therefore be at peace

I know that I am

oneness
the apostle dean

brettz9
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Postby brettz9 » Wed May 31, 2006 12:54 pm

1) Here is an authoritative explanation given in Bahá'u'lláh's most important doctrinal work, the Kitáb-i-Íqán (Book of Certitude):

Were any of the all-embracing Manifestations of God to declare: "I am God!" He verily speaketh the truth, and no doubt attacheth thereto. For it hath been repeatedly demonstrated that through their Revelation, their attributes and names, the Revelation of God, His name and His attributes, are made manifest in the world. Thus, He hath revealed: "Those shafts were God's, not Thine!"1 And also He saith: "In truth, they who plighted fealty unto thee, really plighted that fealty unto God."2 And were any of them to voice the utterance: "I am the Messenger of God," He also speaketh the truth, the indubitable truth. Even as He saith: "Muhammad is not the father of any man among you, but He is the Messenger of God."3 Viewed in this light, they are all but Messengers of that ideal King, that unchangeable Essence. And were they all to proclaim: "I am the Seal of the Prophets," they verily utter but the truth, beyond the faintest shadow of doubt. For they are all but one person, one soul, one spirit, one being, one revelation. They are all the manifestation of the "Beginning" and the "End,"the "First" and the "Last," the "Seen" and "Hidden" — all of which pertain to Him Who is the innermost Spirit of Spirits and eternal Essence of Essences. And were they to say: "We are the servants of God," this also is a manifest and indisputable fact. For they have been made manifest in the uttermost state of servitude, a servitude the like of which no man can possibly attain...Were the eye of discernment to be opened, it would recognize that in this very state, they have considered themselves utterly effaced and non-existent in the face of Him Who is the All-Pervading, the Incorruptible. Methinks, they have regarded themselves as utter nothingness, and deemed their mention in that Court an act of blasphemy.

(Bahá'u'lláh, Kitáb-i-Íqán, par. 196)


The book discusses this theme in other paragraphs as well...

So, Bahá'ís most definitely believe that Bahá'u'lláh is not literally God Himself, although just as one can point to a mirror with the sun being reflected in it and say it is the sun (while still realizing the mirror is not the sun itself), we can say that the Prophets of God are God (as far as we're concerned), even while recognizing that they are simply servants of God.

'Abdu'l-Bahá also confirms this in a talk on the Trinity in His most important collection of talks, Some Answered Questions: http://bahai-library.com/writings/abdulbaha/saq/27.html

There are many other passages to indicate that our Faith does not accept that Bahá'u'lláh (or any other Manifestation of God) is literally God incarnate--many in very strong terms (I can provide more if you like).

2) Related to the above, divine authority is something upon which our belief rests:

"Regarding your Bahá'í friend who does not fully understand the infallibility of the Manifestation of God: You should influence that person to study the matter more deeply, and to realize that the whole theory of Divine Revelation rests on the infallibility of the Prophet, be He Christ, Muhammad, Bahá'u'lláh, or one of the others. If they are not infallible, then They are not Divine, and thus lose that essential link with God which, we believe, is the bond that educates men and causes all human progress."

(From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, January 11, 1942, in Lights of Guidance, no. 1572)


This concept is not restricted to the Prophets. Just as 'Abdul-Bahá was appointed by Bahá'u'lláh to be the Centre of His Covenant and infallible Interpreter, so too is the Universal House of Justice strongly emphasized as being infallible (within its sphere of legislation):

Unto the Most Holy Book every one must turn, and all that is not expressly recorded therein must be referred to the Universal House of Justice. That which this body, whether unanimously or by a majority doth carry, that is verily the truth and the purpose of God Himself. Whoso doth deviate therefrom is verily of them that love discord, hath shown forth malice, and turned away from the Lord of the Covenant. By this House is meant that Universal House of Justice which is to be elected from all countries, that is from those parts in the East and West where the loved ones are to be found, after the manner of the customary elections in Western countries such as those of England.

('Abdu'l-Bahá, Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Part 1, pp. 19-20)


3) Also from the Kitáb-i-Íqán (Book of Certitude):

...in the eyes of those that have quaffed the wine of knowledge and certitude, yet how many are those who, through failure to understand its meaning, have allowed the term "Seal of the Prophets" to obscure their understanding, and deprive them of the grace of all His manifold bounties! Hath not Muhhammad, Himself, declared: "I am all the Prophets?" Hath He not said as We have already mentioned: "I am Adam, Noah, Moses, and Jesus?" Why should Muhammad, that immortal Beauty, Who hath said: "I am the first Adam" be incapable of saying also: "I am the last Adam"? For even as He regarded Himself to be the "First of the Prophets" — that is Adam — in like manner, the "Seal of the Prophets" is also applicable unto that Divine Beauty. It is admittedly obvious that being the "First of the Prophets," He likewise is their "Seal."

(Bahá'u'lláh, Kitáb-i-Íqán, par. 172)


Although on the one hand, the term may be applied to all of the Prophets , the term also has its special application to Muhammad (as is also the case with the term "Son of God" for Jesus). As Bahá'u'lláh states (quoted by Shoghi Effendi):

"...It is evident that every age in which a Manifestation of God hath lived is divinely ordained and may, in a sense, be characterized as God's appointed Day. This Day, however, is unique and is to be distinguished from those that have preceded it. The designation `Seal of the Prophets' fully reveals and demonstrates its high station."

(Bahá'u'lláh cited by Shoghi Effendi, World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 107)

majnun
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Postby majnun » Thu Jun 01, 2006 1:33 pm

Dear mister dermikenz:

The truth aint so complicated.
First, there is no god at all.
Second, Baha'u'llah is a messenger, you can see him at wikipedia bahai.
Third, the UJJ published tiny bits of the Bayan, after they shuffled them like
a deck of cards, just to mix up people. What a lazy job ! This sort of
"infaillibility" is far from perfect.

Four: muslim still fight over that word "khatema" which meaning is fully
explained by both the Bab and Baha, but since you dont read french, you
cannot enjoy the Bayan in french. Some muslim say it means "seal" while other say no, it means "last", and translate "nabyyan" (a plural word) in singular, so to make Muhammad the last prophet in line, while others say both meanings are correct. Total confusion !

Start reciting the scriptures in the correct chronological order,
see what it does to you, to your head, then only you will know.

MJ.

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Postby Jonah » Thu Jun 01, 2006 2:33 pm

<b>Moderator's note</b> in response to majnun's post, above: The person whose questions majnun was "answering," drmikenz, asked specifically about Baha'i teachings. He wrote "Do Bahai's see..."

It's important that readers be aware that majnun's answer does <b>not</b> reflect what Baha'is believe, and is in some points exactly the <b>opposite</b> of what Baha'is believe.

I'm sorry I can't provide any better info at the moment, but I want to be sure that no-one misunderstands majnun and thinks he's sharing Baha'i teachings.

-Jonah

drmikenz
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Postby drmikenz » Thu Jun 01, 2006 4:58 pm

Thanks Jonah, i wasn't thinking for a second that's what Bahai's believe...

manjun, not sure how Bahuallah can be a 'messenger' of noone, since you think there is no God ;)

majnun
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Yeah, is it coming

Postby majnun » Fri Jun 02, 2006 12:23 am

Dear mister dmensky;
May I here thank mister Jonah for his courtesy, his usual
subtil diplomacy and secret warnings.

The Tabernacle is a-comin'
From what I have seen since 2003, the UHJ takes all the wrong decisions,
like forcing people to follow Ruhi courses, which only mix up scriptures, giving course to religiously unconscious kids, and to recite prayers like robots. And more of the same keeps a-comin'. It is no wonder the number of adherants stays stagnant, while the UHJ blindly spread this repulsing sainthood atmosphere.

More over, the UHJ does everything in
its interventions to "christianize" the bahai formation,
by inserting ugly biblical terms into the then, pure bahai texts.

Recent publications by the house are titled with
and by biblical expressions, non existent either in persian nor arabic.

"The summons of the lord of the host" is a shining example
of words directly borrowed from the bible, and in "Gems of divine
mysteries" there is no word "divine" in the original "javahir alasrar" title.

Their next coup d'éclat, the Tabernacle of Unity, blows up the catholic word "tabernacle", a concept that does not exist neither in persian nor in islam. This is another shoot in the foot move, and the systematic usage of biblical terminology, and overdivinising and holyfying the bahai scriptures is a serious crime and a distortion, and it only keeps away intelligent seekers from finding the main road.

This up-coming tablet to Manik-ji is relatively well know to searching folks, and it has nothing to do with any "tabernacles". It is a bit of religious fondamentalism, or a reversion to catholicism, exactly what Shogi Effendi abhored (rejected).

Those responsible for such stupid marketing decisions should be replaced
by lucid and objective persons. Think about it, the "tabernacle", what a shish-kebab titling it is ! The critic made by a well know translator of many writhings is perfectly justified: most of the 9 members of the UHJ, and their associates, dont know a single word of arabic or persian. How illogical !

For the problem you have to have or need a god, or to admit the reality or not, it is between you and you my friend. Those in need of a contact with a god, are the weakest rampant worms, even when Baha'u'llah himself warned us about this evident impossibility. But people are people, and they will still, come in throngs to beleive in Superman 6 and in King Kong 4. That is how people behave over and over, generally. Do you play bowling mr dmensky ?

MJ

brettz9
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Postby brettz9 » Fri Jun 02, 2006 1:53 am

Majnun,

By attacking the institutions while appearing to follow the Bahá'í Faith, you are really running afoul of the Covenant here, and Jonah has stated such posts are not welcome here. If someone claims to be a Bahá'í and yet claim to know better than our officially appointed Universal House of Justice--whose legitimacy as an infallibly-guided Successor-Institution was most clearly delineated in our Writings (see below), the only result will be divisions, with the assumption being that the opinions of so-called scholars should trump those actions of our legitimately appointed Successorship.

As you seem to speak in favor of Shoghi Effendi, consider that the document which also appointed Him also granted the same infallibility to the Universal House of Justice:

The sacred and youthful branch, the Guardian of the Cause of God, as well as the Universal House of Justice to be universally elected and established, are both under the care and protection of the Abhá Beauty, under the shelter and unerring guidance of the Exalted One (may my life be offered up for them both). Whatsoever they decide is of God. Whoso obeyeth him not, neither obeyeth them, hath not obeyed God; whoso rebelleth against him and against them hath rebelled against God; whoso opposeth him hath opposed God; whoso contendeth with them hath contended with God; whoso disputeth with him hath disputed with God; whoso denieth him hath denied God; whoso disbelieveth in him hath disbelieved in God; whoso deviateth, separateth himself and turneth aside from him hath in truth deviated, separated himself and turned aside from God. May the wrath, the fierce indignation, the vengeance of God rest upon him!

(Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, p. 11)


And as far as "Summons of the Lord of Hosts", here is a letter in which Shoghi Effendi (original in English) used that term: "I direct my impassioned appeal to obey, as befits His warriors, the summons of the Lord of Hosts". He also used, in a translation contained in The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, the term "Tabernacle of Unity": ""The Tabernacle of Unity," Bahá'u'lláh proclaims in His message to all mankind, "has been raised..."

Regarding placing blame on the individuals of the House of Justice, as should be evident by a read of the Will and Testament--a document we as Bahá'ís were strongly advised by Shoghi Effendi to read, concerning the Universal House of Justice, "That which this body, whether unanimously or by a majority doth carry, that is verily the truth and the purpose of God Himself." (Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, p. 19) Their knowledge or lack of knowledge of Arabic or Persian is wholly irrelevant; they are not (through due elections) elected to themselves become translators.

As far as "forcing" people to take Ruhi, that is manifestly false. No one is obligated to participate, as their letters have stated.

As far as your concern with the reality of God, Shoghi Effendi stated:

"What is meant by a personal God is a God Who is conscious of His creation, Who has a Mind, a Will, a Purpose, and not, as many scientists and materialists believe, an unconscious and determined force operating in the universe. Such conception of the Diving Being, as the Supreme and ever present Reality in the world, is not anthropomorphic, for it transcends all human limitations and forms, and does by no means attempt to define the essence of Divinity which is obviously beyond any human comprehension. To say that God is a personal Reality does not mean that He has a physical form, or does in any way resemble a human being. To entertain such belief would be sheer blasphemy."

(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, April 21, 1939)


Any read of the Bahá'í Writings is going to need to take God intot account. Of course, as Bahá'u'lláh stated in the Hidden Words: "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."

So the question becomes, will we become like those who are so self-conscious of offending the present-day fashionable (yet ineffective) agnostic establishment that they fail to uphold what our Faith actually taught or do we humble ourselves and alter our own prejudices so that we can be more united with our fellow believers in (the unextinguishable belief in) God around the world and deliver Bahá'u'lláh's potent message in full to the waiting masses? At least with the mainstream Judaic and Islamic traditions (as well as Christian), God and such terminology you mention are not alien concepts. On the contrary, they are quite familiar.

We do, I believe, need to help people to remove some of the veils the term "God" conjures for many (whether it is in anthropomorphic conceptions or in terms of it seeming remote from our mystic selves), but it should be quite clear that we cannot remove the term!

If you wish to continue the discussion in a truth-seeking manner (e.g., by asking "well, what about this?"), then that is fine, but open hostility is, as Jonah has previously stated, not welcome on these boards.

best wishes,
Brett

majnun
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oh my god !

Postby majnun » Fri Jun 02, 2006 4:56 am

Oh, I respect your choices Brett, as well as
your dedicated long run work for this wonderful cause.
But I tell things like I see them, and lived them. I still
do what you know I do, every day, exploring the persian vocabulary.

[Moderator note: Rest of this posting removed (and emailed back to poster) due to its continuing the topic in the previously proscribed manner]

onepence
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Postby onepence » Fri Jun 02, 2006 10:41 am

well now
this little seeker's thread
has turned into pretty much what I guessed
most notably a place to display angst

but what is funny
is this debate upon words
phrases meanings
and demanding action by players who just ain't gonna play
the way that certain egos thing they should play
all this and so much more
for about a thousand years more

pointless

oneness
the apostle dean

side note: I actually briefly had a hard time accepting Ruhi as instruction ... I thought Aqdas ... then I studied and learned ... now I accept Ruhi as very wise very bold move very beneficiaal to the rulers and the learned ... Aqdas will be applied when mankind is ready ... after The Lesser Peace ... after The Parliment of Religion ... after the Emperor makes His citizens learn the Quran ...

big differences between mercy

The Merciful

oneness
the apostle dean

majnun
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Postby majnun » Sat Jun 03, 2006 3:16 am

You are dreaming in color.
I know the qur'an perfectly and
it does not change anything.
Islam is a terminated cycle, like
the previous ones.

MJ

onepence
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Postby onepence » Sat Jun 03, 2006 8:15 am

mj

of course I dream in color
of course Islam is a terminated cycle
of course this seekers thread questions whether Islam has ended
of course, well help me out here mj,
why the Lesser Peace?

oneness
tha apostle dean

majnun
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Postby majnun » Sun Jun 04, 2006 1:21 am

Lesser peace, ahh, big question.
All I know for now is that our projections,
and projections in general, are triggered by
our own unstabilised emotional zone. This topic is in the
first teachings of Baha'u'llah.

The new book will be out soon, as I saw it
announced on the wikipedia bahai topic, and
you may also transfer a newly availuable
farsi writing by Abdul Baha (a typescript) via
ms-word. It is file no 5 (farsi) and it has
101 pages of texts. (from the BRL site).
If you cannot transfer it, i can send it to you via
email in ms-word (via attached files).


MJ.

onepence
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Postby onepence » Sun Jun 04, 2006 6:30 am

mj

thank you for the offer
but I am in no immediate need

I like to promote the Lesser Peace

it's a universal thing

oneness
dh


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