Saturday, January 24, 2009

Some Old Charges for a New Religion

As a graduate student I sometimes hired Iranian students to assist me with translating certain Persian Baha'i histories. My preference, of course was to use Iranian Baha'is who would be more familiar with the vocabulary specific to our Faith, but there were occasions when I resorted to non-Baha'is. On one occasion­ an intelligent, rather secularized young man of Muslim background was reading a Baha'i text in Persian with me when he awkwardly asked me the following question: “Is it true that Baha'is believe that before a man gives away an apple, he should taste it first.”

I knew better than to take his question literally, but I wasn't about to guess at what he meant, so I said, “Farhad if you want an answer to your question you're going to have to be clearer.” After fumbling around a bit he finally asked me if it were true that Baha'is believed that a father should sleep with his daughter before he gave her away in marriage. At that point I said, “Think for a minute, Farhad. If you were going to make up stories to discredit a religion, what sort of things would you say?” He then admitted that he had figured the stories weren't true but he couldn't be sure.

This story, as fantastic as it might appear is all too typical of the rumors and slander that are spread in Iran about Baha'is and sometimes believed even by those with no love for Islamist regime now ruling there. The Nineteen Day Feast where Baha'is gather to say prayers, read from their scriptures, discuss the affairs of the community and share refreshments and food are rumored to be sexual orgies. The Baha'i Faith itself is thought to have been a Russian and British plot to destroy the unity of Islam, notwithstanding the unlikelihood of those two countries having colluded on anything in the 19th century. Nowadays it is imagined that Baha'is are receiving their support from Zionists or the US government.

Although the Baha'i Faith is a new religion, charges such as these are really very old. For this reason I would like to discuss the significance of such stories and the function they have played in Islamic history. Aside from the Baha'i Faith itself, Islam has historically been the most tolerant of the world's religions. This is mostly owing to the fact that Qur'an itself asserts that there is no people to whom a prophet has not been sent. (Qur'an 35:24, 16:24.) This opened the door for the acceptance of the legitimacy of nearly all the previous religions, even those not formally considered People of the Book (i.e. Christians and Jews.) Much more problematic has been the acceptance of any claims to revelation after Muhammad. No religion likes to be superseded, but in Islam particularly the notion that there would be no revelation after the Qur'an came to be seen as every bit as fundamental to the religion as the Oneness of God and the Prophethood of Muhammad. Because of this any religious movement arising after Islam had to be explained away as something other than a religion. The stock explanation came to be that such movements were really political in nature, usually instigated by an outsider, often a Jew, aimed at creating disruption (fitna.) For instance, Sunni Muslims hold a Yemenite Jew, Abdallah ibn Saba, responsible for the founding Shi'ism, a belief that goes back at least as far as al-Tabari (d. 934 A.D.)

A classical work which illustrates the manner in which Muslims came to view religious dissidence is in Nizam ul-Mulk's Siyasat-Name or Treatise on Government. Nizam u'l-Mulk served as Grand Vizier to the Seljuks who had invaded the Middle East under the pretext of saving Islam and the Caliphate from Shi'ite heretics. Most especially Nizam u'l-Mulk had to contend with the Ismaeli Assassins, to whom according to some accounts he eventually fell victim. The Siyasat Name presents the Sassanid ruler Khosrau the Just as the ideal ruler and one of the acts which is depicted as bringing him to power was his supression of the Mazdakite heresy. Nizam u'l-Mulk presents the Mazdakite religion as a Manichean-type dualism which was especially dangerous for its social program of community of property and wives. It is difficult to know at this distance if the historical Mazdak really had anything more radical in mind than a more equal distribution of property and ending the practice of the wealthy having several wives while the poor could afford none, but the notion of communism and wife-swapping came to be associated not only with his heresy but with subsequent religious dissidence as well. The Ismaelis, as well as the Babis, were accused of engaging in such practices. While the economic prosperity of the Baha'is of Iran during the Pahlavi period may have dissolved any notion that Baha'is were communists, the idea that Baha'is practiced a 'community of wives' lived on in lurid stories about Baha'i sexual orgies.

As in Christianity, Manicheanism came to be seen in the Islamic world as the paradigmatic heresy, and in works like al-Tabari, it came to be associated with incest as well. Such charges have echoed down the ages and been associated with virtually any dissident religious movement which arose thereafter, especially in Iran.

It is within this context that one must understand the stories which are often spread about Baha'is in the Islamic World, especially the charges that they are tied to Zionism. The truth is that it was largely an accident of history that the Baha'i World Centre ended up in Haifa, Israel, and not because of any ties it might have with Zionism. Baha'u'llah was exiled to Palestine when it was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire where He was imprisoned in Akka across the bay from Haifa, which was then a small fishing village.

Recently there has been a renewed  effort in Iran to fabricate links between Baha'is and Zionism. The propagandists have gone so far as to masquerade as Baha'is on internet sites such as http://jewbahais.blogspot.com run by someone using the name Yohanna, where misleading information is posted regarding the relationship of Baha'is to both Judaism and Zionism. Photos are included supposedly picturing Jewish-Baha'is in New York that in fact depict Baha'is of Christian background in London.

If the Baha'i Faith is not part of a Russian-British-American-Zionist plot to destroy the unity of Islam, what then is its attitude towards its sister religion? I think this can best be summarized in Shoghi Effendi's statement written in the Promised Day is Come that:

"As to Muhammad, the Apostle of God, let none among His followers who read these pages, think for a moment that either Islam, or its Prophet, or His Book, or His appointed Successors, or any of His authentic teachings, have been, or are to be in any way, or to however slight a degree, disparaged."

(Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come, p. 108)

Indeed, in his correspondence with the Western Baha'is, the Guardian of the Baha'i Faith repeatedly stressed that:

"They must strive to obtain, from sources that are authoritative and unbiased, a sound knowledge of the history and tenets of Islam -- the source and background of their Faith -- and approach reverently and with a mind purged from preconceived ideas the study of the Qur'án which, apart from the sacred scriptures of the Bábí and Bahá'í Revelations, constitutes the only Book which can be regarded as an absolutely authenticated Repository of the Word of God."(Compilations, Scholarship, p. 27)

He even went so far as to predict that the Western Baha'is would become the defenders of Islam. One of the earliest Baha'is to do so was Stanwood Cobb who wrote Islamic Contributions to Civilization.

Since then there has been a stream of academically trained Baha'is, including myself, who have gone on to teach Islam in western universities, seeking to stem the tide of prejudice against the religion. Baha'u'llah's son Abdu'l-Baha was held in the highest esteem by some of the most noted Muslim intellectuals, including Muhammad Abduh and Muhammad Iqbal. Yusuf al-Khatib, a well-known Muslim orator, said the following at Abdu'l-Baha's funeral:

O concourse of Arabians and Persians! Whom are ye bewailing? Is it he who but yesterday was great in his life and is today in his death greater still? Shed no tears for the one that hath departed to the world of Eternity, but weep over the passing of Virtue and Wisdom, of Knowledge and Generosity. Lament for yourselves, for yours is the loss, whilst he, your lost one, is but a revered Wayfarer, stepping from your mortal world into the everlasting Home. Weep one hour for the sake of him who, for well nigh eighty years, hath wept for you! Look to your right, look to your left, look East and look West and behold, what glory and greatness have vanished! What a pillar of peace hath crumbled! What eloquent lips are hushed! Alas! In this tribulation there is no heart but aches with anguish, no eye but is filled with tears. Woe unto the poor, for lo! goodness hath departed from them, woe unto the orphans, for their loving father is no more with them! "

Likewise the Mufti of Haifa said:

I do not wish to exaggerate in my eulogy of this great one, for his ready and helping hand in the service of mankind and the beautiful and wondrous story of his life, spent in doing that which is right and good, none can deny, save him whose heart is blinded...

O thou revered voyager! Thou hast lived greatly and hast died greatly! This great funeral procession is but a glorious proof of thy greatness in thy life and in thy death. But O, thou whom we have lost! Thou leader of men, generous and benevolent! To whom shall the poor now look? Who shall care for the hungry? and the desolate, the widow and the orphan?”

Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha do admittedly have some harsh words to say about some of the clerics of religion, including Islam. These are mostly aimed at those who have taken advantage of their followers and interfered in the political affairs of Iran. Let's keep in mind however, that Muhamamd spoke even more harshly of them:

"The Apostle of God said: `There will come a time for my people when there will remain nothing of the Qur'an except its outward form and nothing of Islam except its name and they will call themselves by this name even though they are the people furthest from it. The mosques
will be full of people but they will be empty of right guidance. The religious leaders (Fuqaha) of that day will be the most evil religious leaders under the heavens; sedition and dissension will go out from them and to them will it return.' " -ibn Babuya, Thawab ul-A'mal

If one searches through the internet one will find dozens of Muslim-sponsored sites attacking the Baha'i Faith, many of the sponsored by the Iranian government. You willl not, however, find any anti-Islamic sites by Baha'is because they respect Islam and revere Muhammad. Given the amount of persecution Baha'is have suffered at the urging of certain members of the Islamic clergy, this attitude is truly remarkable. Baha'is accept the divine nature of all these religions,  and wish only to promote unity amongst them. We consider the founders of other religions as occupying the same station as our own Founder. As Shoghi Effendi puts it:

“The Revelation, of which Bahá'u'lláh is the source and center, abrogates none of the religions that have preceded it, nor does it attempt, in the slightest degree, to distort their features or to belittle their value. It disclaims any intention of dwarfing any of the Prophets of the past, or of whittling down the eternal verity of their teachings. It can, in no wise, conflict with the spirit that animates their claims, nor does it seek to undermine the basis of any man's allegiance to their cause. Its declared, its primary purpose is to enable every adherent of these Faiths to obtain a fuller understanding of the religion with which he stands identified, and to acquire a clearer apprehension of its purpose. It is neither eclectic in the presentation of its truths, nor arrogant in the affirmation of its claims. Its teachings revolve around the fundamental principle that religious truth is not absolute but relative, that Divine Revelation is progressive, not final. Unequivocally and without the least reservation it proclaims all established religions to be divine in origin, identical in their aims, complementary in their functions, continuous in their purpose, indispensable in their value to mankind.

"All the Prophets of God," asserts Bahá'u'lláh in the Kitáb-i-Íqán, "abide in the same tabernacle, soar in the same heaven, are seated upon the same throne, utter the same speech, and proclaim the same Faith." From the "beginning that hath no beginning," these Exponents of the Unity of God and Channels of His incessant utterance have shed the light of the invisible Beauty upon mankind, and will continue, to the "end that hath no end," to vouchsafe fresh revelations of His might and additional experiences of His inconceivable glory. To contend that any particular religion is final, that "all Revelation is ended, that the portals of Divine mercy are closed, that from the daysprings of eternal holiness no sun shall rise again, that the ocean of everlasting bounty is forever stilled, and that out of the Tabernacle of ancient glory the Messengers of God have ceased to be made manifest" would indeed be nothing less than sheer blasphemy.”

(Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 57)



33 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Great Blog for deepening and understanding..keep up the good work.

    Praveen.

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  3. I read your first post, and I think there are some facts to it. But to add another interpretation to Muslim-Baha'i/Baha'i-Muslim relations, there are also Baha'is who hate Muslims and speak disparagingly of Islam too. I just don't want it to be portrayed as a one way street.

    Some of the early Babis were militants who had hopes of overthrowing the Shah and creating a Babi State in Iran, which would entail making Muslims second-class citizens. And since Muslims were the majority of the population, etc. In that context, I think the population and the clergy were justified in being frightened and angered by such people. It doesn't mean all of the "clergy" (I've never heard that word in a Muslim context) were high-minded people. It is absolutely true that some of them were corrupt individuals, but I don't think all of them were.

    I am a Muslim convert, so I don't see Islam as something of the past that was once good but not anymore. That's the attitude I get from a lot of Persian Baha'is. It may be a reaction to the persecution over there, and I try to let that slide. It still offends me, but I've never been under persecution before. I try to be tolerant of it and just think of it as reactionary statements. It's easier said than done.

    But I think that if Muslims and Baha'is/Baha'is and Muslims are to have a real dialogue with each other, we have to be honest and not resort to polemics on either side to discredit each others faiths. This includes the books and articles that say Baha'is are Zionists, pro-Israeli, U.S. backed revolutionaries who are trying to destroy Islam. Including also are Baha'i books like the Dawn-Breakers, which paints an extremely negative picture of Islam and Muslims, makes them appear to be barbaric and evil monsters.

    It should be interesting.

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  4. Congratulations, Susan! This is great! May your blog promote the unity of humankind.

    If you could spend some time rerading Persian, please do check out my blog, too:
    http://akhtararjmand.blogspot.com/

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  5. An excellent entry on an important topic -- I look forward to reading more.

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  6. Dear A,

    You make some good points. The Baha'is I know of who have negative attitudes towards Islam seem to fall into two categories:

    1. Iranian Baha'is of Zoroastrian (and sometimes Jewish) background whose families rather grudgingly accepted Muhammad when they became Baha'is. They sometimes take the attitude that Islam was meant for those barbaric Arabs who should never have conquered Iran. Leaving aside for a moment the rightness or wrongness of the early Arab conquests, the Baha'i Teachings are quite clear that Muhammad's message was intended for everyone and not just Arabs.
    Let's keep in mind that these Baha'is are not only suffering persecution from Muslims today, but they come from families who have been discriminated against for centuries. In other words, they've carrying a lot of package which I don't think the Faith itself is responsible for.

    2. The second group of Baha'is who may have negative attitudes towards Islam are Western Baha'is who at times have picked up prejudices of their surrounding culture. As with Baha'is of the first category, having to accept the Prophethood of Muhammad may well have been their hardest hurdle in becoming Baha'i. I know it was for me when I first became a Baha'i nearly forty years ago.

    As for your reference to the aims of Babi militants, keep in mind that the Baha'i Faith is in some respects separate from the earlier Babi religion which could be seen as sharing Islam's militancy. In fact the notion that Muslims might be reduced to second-class citizen-ship within a Babi State would have been derived from Muslim conceptions of how dhimmis should be treated. The Bab, by the way, insisted that any jihad would have to meet the approval of "He Whom God Will Make Manifest" a reference to Baha'u'llah. But Baha'u'llah prohibited jihad entirely. In fact He insisted that we should "consort with the followers of all religions with joy and spirituality" and prohibited the shunning of other religious communities and considering them najes or unclean as the 'ulama in Iran insist. There were some Babis uprisings in the 19th century but these seemed more aimed at recreating Karbila than attempting to establish a Babi State in Iran.

    When I use the word 'clergy' I am, of course, referring to the 'ulama. I did not use the Arabic word because I don't think Baha'u'llah's criticisms of religious leaders is exclusive to Islam, and clergy seemed like the best term to cover all of them.

    As for Baha'is not using primary sources like Dawnbreakers to avoid offending Muslims, I don't see how we can do that. The accounts where Muslims in your words appear as "barbaric and evil monsters" are likely those where the martyrdoms of various Babis are described, often times in gory detail. We can no more write this out of our history to avoid offending Muslims than Shi'ites can write out the martyrdom of the Imam Husayn in order to improve relations with Sunnis.

    Anyhow, I appreciate the tone of your post and your genuine attempt to reach a better understanding between our two communities.

    warmest, Susan

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  7. A wrote about Baha'i attitudes of superiority towards Islam, particularly by some of the Persian believers. In truth, A, I think you're right - this often happens. I have heard Baha'is feel this way about Christianity as well, or Judaism, or Hinduism. However, consider for a moment. Baha'is believe that all these religions are of God. Baha'is also believe that Baha'u'llah is the latest revelator of God's Will. It is easy to accidentally decide that "more recent" means "better". This is not the Baha'i postition, but is an unfortunate emotional attitude that many Baha'is have, usually for a time. Often it's a reaction to their own excitement at the new religion. Other times it is, as you say, a reaction to feelings of persecution.

    I would like to point out, however, that this attitude, unacceptable as it is to rational inquiry AND to an investigation of Baha'i teaching, is present in almost every community of believers that sees itself as building upon a past. The very same "passé" concept I have seem Christians apply to Judaism, Buddhists apply to Hinduism, and, yes, Muslims apply to both Christianity and Judaism and Zoroastrianism, etc. If religion is progressive in its revealing (which Islam seems to assert as well as the Baha'is) then that progression can be seen as towards something "better", more refined, etc. So it's easy to take the wrong emotional lesson from this. I would not accept it from another Baha'i, any more than I would accept it from a Muslim to a Christian, or a Christian to a Jew. (For reference, note that Christians call the Jewish scripture the "old" testament, and their own as the "new" testament)

    Lastly, I would like to point out that when it comes to Baha'is persecuting others, that is the most extreme you find. There are some examples of more extremes among the Babis, but please remember, we are not followers of the Bab's laws and community, but of Baha'u'llah's. It's a new Umma. I wouldn't blame a Sunni muslim for the baviour of a Khajirite. And further, if an attitude of superiority is the worst you'll find from a community (as a generalization), then we're doing pretty well. We don't hang people or behead them, or politically manipulate governments to kill them. These are all things you can find throughout the history of religion done in the name of the same. Pray God we never become that, or the Faith will be lost.

    As to your comments about mutual respect, I agree. And as a Muslim convert, your views will likely be more informed than one who grew up in that Faith, as I find converts in general are more educated in their chosen tradition, than those who grew up in a cultural milieu. I commend you for investigating and choosing. Conversion is a wonderful and brave act of faith. I look forward to more lucid commentary from you in the future.

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  8. Excellent post, Susan. I hope to see more from a scholar so well-educated in comparative religion.

    Adib

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  9. Dear Anonymous,

    Care to share with us your understanding of Koran 51:51?

    This, of course, would be the Baha'i position:

    Whatsoever hath led the children of men to shun one another, and hath caused dissensions and divisions amongst them, hath, through the revelation of these words, been nullified and abolished.

    (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 94)


    warmest, Susan

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  10. Koran5:51 tells me that muslims are not to take Christians,or Jews as friends.Let alone accepting Bahai Faith as a later revelation.
    This is a strong message for them to remain apart.Is this what you have in mind..I see a new group of Bahais in Iran were arrested a day or two ago...

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  11. "I see a new group of Bahais in Iran were arrested a day or two ago..."

    Do you consider this a good thing or a bad thing, Anonymous?

    The Qur'an also says that persecution is worse than murder.

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  12. Do not like the sound of this at all.Do you think it is ok? from any perspective.

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  13. I agree that persecution is worse than murder.
    Does a lot of damage to a person one way or other..Can last a lifetime..

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  14. If you take the Qur'an as a revelation from God, then you have to take it all as a revelation from God, (it seems to me). Therefore, while this quote from 5:51 seems to indicate (in some translations) what you said, you have to balance it with other statements from the Qur'an. For example:

    [60:8] GOD does not enjoin you from befriending those who do not fight you because of religion, and do not evict you from your homes. You may befriend them and be equitable towards them. GOD loves the equitable.

    [60:9] GOD enjoins you only from befriending those who fight you because of religion, evict you from your homes, and band together with others to banish you. You shall not befriend them. Those who befriend them are the transgressors.

    So if the Qur'an says you may befriend those who do not fight you because of your religion, that seems to me to be a clarification of God's intent around relations with non-believers. So making allies, as referred to in 5:51 is made clear by 60:9. It's not non-believers, but opponents from among the non-believers that you may not befriend and rely on as allies. To quote Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, President of the Fiqh Council of North America:

    The Qur'an does not say that non-Muslims cannot be Muslims' friends, nor does it forbid Muslims to be friendly to non-Muslims. There are many non-Muslims who are good friends of Muslim individuals and the Muslim community. There are also many good Muslims who truly and sincerely observe their faith and are very friendly to many non-Muslims at the same time.

    Islam teaches us that we should be friendly to all people. Islam teaches us that we should deal even with our enemies with justice and fairness. Allah says in the Qur'an in the beginning of the same Surat Al-Madah: "O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah as witnesses to fair dealings and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just, that is next to piety. Fear Allah, indeed Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do." (Al-Madah 5:8)

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  15. A very welcome initiative. Much appreciated

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  16. Actions speak louder than words..I do not see any Jewish ,or Christian,OR Budist,OR Hindu killing amd persecuting Bahais.The moslems have been persecuting amd killing Bahais for over 160 yrs. I taught a muslim family the faith recently..I was ask not to say anything about this,as he was conceerned about his relatives etc.Today this family are at the forfront in their community.I might add I sought out Bahais to learn about the Faith,and the family I met were named Abbas-This entire family had converted,and one of the daughters became a very well known teacher until her death some years ago.I can read about Islam as to what is going on in Europe etc..I have not heard of any Honor Killings on the streets of New York City yet. I am not making my living at teaching islam-Many years ago I gave talks on it to Unitarians etc.Me and my 6 lessons on Islam..Then I did a search as to what many of the laws of Aqudas are about,such as padeophilia,cousin marrige,brothers wife ,homosexuality.Age of concent,marrige -list goes on as you are aware.One more thing here-I have an aquaintance who on her own has gone to one of the most dangerous places on earth,and is looking after women in 2 prisons who had refused to marry the man she was told to.Also establishing schools in villages,but this has stopped ,as all the teachers are being killed ..by thos peace lovin people you are talking about.Did you read the latest field manual of the taliban..What do you make of article 19..? OK-now your turn...

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  17. It's true that so far Baha'is have no suffered the same kind of persecution at the hands of Hindus, Buddhists, Jews or Christians as they have at the hands of Muslims. I would not presume this will not happen in the future, however. Baha'u'llah predicted:

    "...How great, how very great is the Cause! How very fierce the onslaught of all the peoples and kindreds of the earth. Ere long shall the clamor of the multitude throughout Africa, throughout America, the cry of the European and of the Turk, the groaning of India and China, be heard from far and near. One and all, they shall arise with all their power to resist His Cause. Then shall the knights of the Lord, assisted by His grace from on high, strengthened by faith, aided by the power of understanding, and reinforced by the legions of the Covenant, arise and make manifest the truth of the verse: "Behold the confusion that hath befallen the tribes of the defeated!"

    Also, I don't think you can judge a religion solely by the way Baha'is are treated. Christianity probably has the worst historical record for persecuting people for their religion. Muslims are being persecuted for their religion in Burma where Buddhist are in the majority. I recently saw on CNN how many of these Muslims escaped on rickety boats to Thailand only to be set out to sea again to die. Hindus have been persecuting Christians in areas like Gujarat. So no religion has a monopoly on either fanaticism or persecution. As Baha'u'llah says:

    "Religious fanaticism and hatred are a world-devouring fire, whose violence none can quench. The Hand of Divine power can, alone, deliver mankind from this desolating affliction...."

    (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 288)

    As for Honor Killings, these are in no way sanction by Islam, but in the past their common amongst a lot of Mediterranean cultures like the Greeks and Italians.

    I'm not at all sure what you mean by 'what the laws of the Aqdas are about." The Aqdas says nothing whatsoever about cousin marriages or ones brother's wife.

    And no, I haven't read the Taliban's field manual, but then I haven't read the US military field manual either, nor am I sure than either would be relevant to this blog.

    I really do not feel constrained to defend the actions of all Muslims. Given the fact that Baha'is are being persecuted in so many Muslim countries that would be rather silly. What I do think we need to defend as Baha'is is the Prophethood of Muahammad, the revelational character of the Qur'an. We also need to honor the contributions which Islam has further civilization and recognize the ways in which it has informed our own religion.

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  18. I just wanted to inform you that your blog inspired me to start my own, entitled "A Muslim's Perspective of the Baha'i Faith." I only have one post so far, but I intend to write on it semi-regularly. Feel free to check it out sometimes.

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  19. Dear Muslim-perspective,

    You're off to an interesting start. I look forward to reading more.

    warmest, Susan

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  20. I find this blog most interesting and will be back for more. Thank you to all the participants.

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  21. Hello Anonymous,

    About the Koran 5:51, that's not a very good translation for the Arabic word "awlia" in that sura; "awlia" means that you support non-Muslims in fighting against Muslims or reveal to them secrets (i.e. battle plans) of Muslims, etc. So that passage is not asking Muslims not to befriend the Jews, Christians, Baha'is, etc.

    Warmest,

    Masud

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  22. Susan, congratulations, it is a very interesting initiative. Of course only a good prepared person can do well this. I hope you can post other thoughts or stories. I'll initiate the publicity of this blog through links in my internet services, etc. bye

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  23. I highly reccomend those who wish to defend the Prophethood of Muhammed to go to www.jihadwatch.org . It is rife with blindness and hatred of Islam and the Prophet. As far as I know, I am the only Baha'i on the site. It's difficult defending the Prophet on my own as my knowledge is insufficient.

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  24. I must admit, I avoid such sites. People there are not at all interested in investigating the truth for themselves and they will only condemn the Baha'i Faith as a offshoot of Islam.

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  25. Susan, I have a few things to say. first, I'm gladt you have a generally positive outlook on Islam. I am also glad you are one who acknowledges the prophet Muhammad(SAW). and that you seemingly study the teachings exclusive to Islam, atleast originally, and fully, such as the our testimonial before birth, as to the question of "Am I not your Lord", and this being the reason for each and every soul's yearning to know God, and their nature to tend to believe in our Creator, and to...

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  26. serve His higher Cause. but I must clarify, that when the prophet Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of Allah(swt) be upon him, spoke in his prophecies of the Last Days, he prophesies much more about his Ummah than you related. if you accept prophecies such as the one you did, and many other prophecies and hadiths I have seen Baha'is quote and even their founders and prophets quote, if you accept these hadiths, then you have no choice but to subsequently accept atleast related hadiths. you cannot pick and choose what suits your theory adn reject everything else. the prophet said that in the LAST DAYS, it would be his Ummah, who would join the Messiah, who would ride under HIS(Muhammad's) banner. simultaenously, he alo prophesied that there wouldbe 30 imposters who would arise out of his Ummah, meaning Muslims, who would claim themselves prophets, but that "He is the last in the line of the prophets of God no messenger will come after him", and thus, it is related that they would all be Muslims, and apostate out of the religion of God, in order to create a new religion, and pronounce themselves prophets, and you know the rest.

    secondly, you would also have to accept the authentic hadiths and the Qur'anic verses that state he was the final messenger of God. the seal of the prophets thing is very much so over emphasized today, yes, but it is nonetheless true. how righteous is it for a man to come, to claim all of the prophecies, all of the words God Himself spoke in His Qur'an, to have been allegorical, and to not mean what the prophet, the Companions, nad God and the world always have known them to mean, just so he can fit himself into the equation? I pray you do not think because you "accept" Muhammad's prophethood, that I am burdoned to accept Bahaullah's, or any Muslim, or to speak kindly of him, because in essence, Baha'ullah is as the prophet said, a wolf in sheeps clothing. he says, yes, Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, no, a Manifestation of God Himself! were he to say, "He is God", by Allah, Muhammad would have told the truth. but yet he the whole time is deceiving both Muslims and Baha'is alike, because he attempts to nullify the prophet of God's Message and the Word of God Himself. yes, he is God's Mesenger, adn I do not want to abrogate his message, but do not listen to or obey anything he says, because this message I have brought, in contradiction of his, is better, though it is a complete contradiction of the admitted Message of Allah Himself, glorified and exalted be He.

    who delivered Baha'ullah's "Book"? or did he conjure it up on his own? aman's opinions are not Godly, no matter how educated, or worldly elegant. Holiness adn Godliness can only come direct from God. did the angel Gabriel deliver his book?

    in all honesty, I have, after studying the Bahai faith, developed, atleast when compared wit hthis, or i nthe context of "inspired prophets or reformers or whatever such people", a profound new respect for that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad guy, though he too, falsely, claimed himself to be the Messiah, atleasst he remained true to Islam, in the most major sense. I will never invoke allah's curse for that man again.

    I suggest to the Baha'is to acept Submission to the Will of God through Peace as their religion, it is the provven, pure, uncorrupted religion of God. Salaam.

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  27. Hi James,

    Are you the same person who posts from Mumbai on another list?

    In regards to hadith collections, I'm not sure that because some hadiths can be regarded as authentic that they should all be treated in this manner. Most Baha'i hadiths come from Shi'ite collections and I doubt if that is where the ones you have in mind come from. I think all hadiths are somewhat tenuous by their very nature, but I would hope that someday we can develop a new science of hadith using modern methodologies to determine what is likely authentic. But I don't really want to get bogged down in Shi'ite/Sunni disputes regarding what constitutes an authentic hadith. As Baha'u'llah said, “The eye of divine mercy casteth its glance upon all that is past. It behooveth us to mention them only in favourable terms, for they do not contradict that which is essential.”

    Baha'u'llah also says:

    “Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and centre your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements”

    As for your criticism of Baha'u'llah message in relationship to Islam, I think if you look at history you will find the same objections and criticisms were made by the Jews in relation to Christ. It is always as the Qur'an says: "And Joseph came to you aforetime with clear tokens, but ye ceased not to doubt of the message with which He came to you, until, when He died, ye said, 'God will by no means raise up a Messenger after Him." Qur'an 30:34

    ma salamaat, Susan

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  28. Susan, I'm happy to see your blog which Moro sent to me. You can see mine at http://worldpeach.blogspot.com/
    I was recently deeply involved on Catholic Forums and learned a lot about teacing and what peoples attitudes are!
    One person tried to say Allah was not Yahweh.
    I said "Remember when Jesus cried Eloi Eloi. A more academic transliteration would be Iláhí Iláhí. Both mean My God! My God!"
    Another person who was a convert from Islam to Christianity said: "“The Isa al-Masih of the Quran (or Isa ibn Maryam as he is also called) is not the same Person as Jesus Christ (or Messiah) in the Bible.
    The Quran associates the two, yet Jesus had always been called " Yasou' " by Arabic-speaking Christians prior to Mohammad, as is to this day.”
    But I disputed that too. Languages vary, but the Holy Spirt does not. It brought the Book to Mary and it brought the Book to Muhammad.
    Praise God we have a new Living Book once again!

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  29. Dear Mark,

    The Semitic root word for God is El. While Jesus was on the cross He says Eli, Eli which means "my God, my God." The word you are thinking of is Eloh which is very closely related but is usually found in the plural form as Elohim in the Hebrew Bible, though it takes singular verbs. Allah and Eloh are Arabic/Hebrew cognates both of which are derived from El.

    warmest, Susan

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  30. For accurate and true knowledge of the Quran in particular and of Islam in general, one must refer to the authentic books and to the learned scholars.http://www.islamebooks.co.cc/2011/07/quran-and-world-peace.html

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  31. "it is the provven, pure, uncorrupted religion of God."
    Lol, if it was uncorrupted Muslims wouldn't even kill each other half as often as they do.

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