Someone asked a question in the comments to this blog, which is so important I have decided to answer in a new posting. He asks whether a government leader [in Israel] who enrolled in the Bahai community would have had temporal authority over the Guardian, had the line of guardians continued, or would the governor have had to defer to the authority of the Guardian, as the head of the Bahai community? Read the rest of this entry »
Archive for the ‘Church and State’ Category
Posted by Sen on July 30, 2013
Posted in Church and State, Political science, Theology | Tagged: Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'u'llah, Bahai, bahai theology, Church and State, Guardianship, Organic unity, Shoghi Effendi, بـهاءالله, بهائی, بهائیت, شوقی افندی, عبدالبهاء | 6 Comments »
Posted by Sen on November 5, 2011
[Updated May 2012, December 2016]
In 2008, I posted an entry about the translation of the Eighth Ishraq, which is the eighth section of one of Baha’u’llah’s shorter works, the Ishraqat or Splendours. The posting explained why I thought that the 1978 translation authorized by the Universal House of Justice was incorrect where it says “All matters of State (‘umuur-e siyaasiyyah) should be referred to the House of Justice.” The earlier translation by Ali Kuli Khan, “Administrative affairs are all in charge of the House of Justice, and devotional acts must be observed according as they are revealed in the Book” was, I thought, more accurate, and more consistent with other works by Abdu’l-Baha and Baha’u’llah. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Bahai Writings, Church and State, Community, Translations | Tagged: Abdu'l-Baha, Administrative matters, Affairs of the people, Ali Kuli Khan, amur-e mellat, amuur-e mellat, Aqdas, ‘amuur-e siyaasiyyah, Baha'u'llah, Bahai, Bahai Faith, bahai theology, Bisharat, Church and State, Community, House of Justice, Iqan, ishraqat, lawh-e dunya, matters of state, Organic unity, politics, Religion, Shoghi Effendi, Tehran, The Art of Governance, theocracy, theocratic, Translation, بـهاءالله, بهائی, بهائیت, شوقی افندی | 26 Comments »
Posted by Sen on October 27, 2010
Towards the end of his life, Baha’u’llah wrote a number of works that included numbered lists of his teachings. Abdu’l-Baha also wrote several letters that include such numbered lists of essential teachings. Not surprisingly, Abdu’l-Baha sometimes adopted the same format when speaking to gatherings, however the records of these in English are often unreliable. One of these talks – one for which there are authenticated Persian notes (here), not just notes taken in English, caught my attention because it includes “the separation of religion and politics” as a key principle and also refers to this as “not entering into politics” — a formulation that will be more familiar to Bahais. An earlier report of this talk is published in Abdu’l-Baha in London (which incidentally shows that not all talks in that book cannot be authenticated). Naturally that report, based on an interpreter’s words, is more compact than the Persian version which I have translated. Its list of principles differs, Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Bahai Writings, Church and State, Political science, Theology | Tagged: Abdu'l-Baha, bahai theology, Church and State, political theology, Religion and Politics, بهائی, بهائیت, عبدالبهاء | 56 Comments »
Posted by Sen on May 23, 2010
The Universal House of Justice is an elected body that serves as the head of the world-wide Bahai community. It is empowered to decide when Bahai laws are applicable for Bahais, to provide the necessary framework so that they can be applied, and to make laws and rulings for situations that are not covered in Bahai scripture. So it has a very important role in Bahai community life. Unlike all the other Bahai institutions and roles and positions in community life, membership of the Universal House of Justice is, at least for now, reserved for men. I will return to that ‘for now’ briefly, at the end of this posting. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Sen on April 4, 2010
This is in response to ‘Pluralist Society is an Unethical Rabble’ on another Bahai blog on WordPress, Owen’s Meanderings. Owen says he is
“increasingly reminded of that famous biblical story about Sodom and Gommorroh,” … the men and women who sit in government seats must take their share of the blame for the inequities within a nation. However increasingly I have realized that the person living in my street is likely to be twice a corrupt as a politician. … There seems to be very few people who have self-regulating ethical decision-making process. .. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Church and State, Community, Ethics and Morality, Individualism, Political science | Tagged: Abdu'l-Baha, Bahai Faith, multiculturalism, pluralism, pluralist society, political theology, postmodernism, بهائی, بهائیت | 21 Comments »
Posted by Sen on January 1, 2010
A Pilgrim’s note
On Planet Bahai (a very good Bahai discussion forum), I had been arguing that Baha’u’llah’s World Order and the Bahai Administrative Order are two different things, to which the moderator Dale replied,
“‘Abdu’l-Baha,” replied the person to whom he was talking.
“And where,” he then asked, “does authority reside after the Master’s passing?”
“The Guardian,” the other person replied.
“No,” he said. “It resides with the World Order of Baha’u’llah.”
Posted in Church and State | Tagged: Bahai Administrative Order, Bahai World Order, Church and State, Emeric Sala, new world order, Organic unity, pilgrim's notes, political theology, Religion and Politics, Shoghi Effendi, بهائی, بهائیت, شوقی افندی | 2 Comments »
Posted by Sen on November 25, 2009
An awkward question
Anna’s come a long way – to national television, in fact. She’s being interviewed on her favourite subject: the Bahai Faith. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Bahai Writings, Church and State, Defence of the Faith | Tagged: Abdu'l-Baha, Anna's presentation, Bahai Faith, bahai theology, Church and State, kingship, NWO, political theology, Shoghi Effendi, بهائی, بهائیت, شوقی افندی | 4 Comments »
Posted by Sen on November 22, 2009
This posting begins by discussing a letter written on behalf of the Guardian, which refers to “the Bahai theocracy” as a divinely ordained system, and goes on from there to address the claims that there is ‘a theocratic undercurrent’ in Shoghi Effendi’s writings, or that he contradicted himself, changed his mind or concealed his real views for reasons of prudence. In addition to the few places where Shoghi Effendi speaks directly on the topic, we can look at the Bahai writings he translated, to see what teachings he thought were central and important for the English-speaking Bahais to understand.
The posting continues by looking at the future renaming of the Assemblies as Houses of Justice, and what Shoghi Effendi says about the role of the Universal House of Justice in the Bahai Commonwealth and in a future superstate, which leads to some considerations regarding the role of an established religion, or state religion, in a society. Another section looks at a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi which says that, one day, “the Bahais will be called upon to assume the reins of government,” and at another letter on behalf of Shoghi Effendi that speaks of the International Tribunal and Court of Arbitration being merged in the Universal House of Justice. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Church and State, Defence of the Faith | Tagged: Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'u'lah, Bahai Commonwealth, Bahai theocracy, Bernard Leach, Church and State, commonwealth of nations, establishment of religion, House of Justice, International Tribunal, John Robarts, non-involvement in politics, pilgrim's notes, Shoghi Effendi, Spiritual Assembly, William Miller, World Order of Baha'u'llah, بهایی, شوقی افندی, عبدالبهاء | 20 Comments »
Posted by Sen on October 29, 2009
[Updated, July 2012: added A Traveller’s Narrative]
One of the friends asked:
What do you make of ‘Abdu’l-Baha having written:
“This House of Justice enacteth the laws and the government enforceth them. The legislative body must reinforce the executive, the executive must aid and assist the legislative body so that through the close union and harmony of these two forces, the foundation of fairness and justice may become firm and strong, that all the regions of the world may become even as Paradise itself.” (Will and Testament, 14)
Posted in Bahai Writings, Church and State, Political science | Tagged: Abdu'l-Baha, Bahai Faith, bahai theology, Church and State, International Tribunal, poltical theology, Secret of Divine Civilization, Shoghi Effendi, Supreme Tribunal, Tablet to the Hague, The Art of Governance, Will and Testament, بهائیت, شوقی افندی, عبدالبهاء | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Sen on October 6, 2009
In a conversation with a friend about the translation of the 8th Ishraq (discussed here), I realised that he thought the whole question of the Bahai teachings on church and state hinged in some way on doubtful matters: on the translation of the Ishraqat, on whether the words “the consummate union and blending of church and state” had been interpolated into a report of Abdu’l-Baha’s words, (See the entry ‘A consummate union’), and such like.
Nothing could be further from the truth: Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Church and State, Theology | Tagged: Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'u'llah, bahai theology, Church and State, Kitab-i Iqan, kitab-i-aqdas, monarchy, Quran, render to Caesar, Resaleh-ye Siyasiyyeh, separation of church and state, Shoghi Effendi, spiritual sovereignty, The Bab, بهائی, بهائیت, شوقی افندی | 2 Comments »
Posted by Sen on June 28, 2009
While Ayatollah Khomeini was in exile in Najaf in 1970, he said:
This slogan of the separation of religion and politics and the demand that Islamic scholars not intervene in social and political affairs has been formulated and propagated by the imperialists; it is only the irreligious who repeat them. Were religion and politics separate in the time of the Prophet? Did there exist on one side a group of clerics, and opposite it, a group of politicians and leaders? (As cited by Nader Hashemi)
Posted by Sen on January 30, 2009
One of the friends asked three questions:
1. After the World Order of Baha’u’llah is established and the World’s legislative & executive branches of government are arms or derivatory institutions of the Universal House of Justice (which appears to be the case from my readings) will non-Baha’is have the opportunity to vote for the National Assemblies that elect the House of Justice? Alternatively, can/will the Universal House of Justice be elected in some other way?
2. Will the World Legislature and/or Executive be elected or appointed by the Universal House of Justice? Alternatively, is the Universal House of Justice to become the World Executive? If elected, will only Baha’is have the right to vote?
Posted in Church and State, Community, Political science | Tagged: Abdu'l-Baha, democracy, elections, International Tribunal, Organic unity, Shoghi Effendi, the Central Organization for a Durable Peace, World Legislature, World Order, بهائیت, شوقی افندی | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Sen on January 25, 2009
I was in the bazaar of Shiraz one morning early, just after sunrise in April. The sound of a sermon drew me off the main route through the bazaar: the mullah’s voice rising and falling in beautiful rhythmical Persian.
I followed the sound and came into a courtyard with shops on two floors around, and in the middle a garden with some orange trees. It appeared to be a former madrasah converted into shops. In one corner sat the mullah on a chair, rocking back and forth and gesturing left and right in time with the rhythms of the language, all built up of pairs of synonym phrases. Either he had it entirely memorised, or this was highly polished extempore art like rapping.
In front of him a cloth of perhaps 10 metres square was spread out on the ground, and about 25 merchants were sitting around the edges of the cloth, eating cucumber and flat white bread and white cheese, and drinking tea. Several of them gestured me to come and sit at an empty place, and one who made it his business to serve the others brought me some food and tea. I noticed, a little bit further away, under one of the orange trees, that there were two women also sitting on a cloth. The sermon was interrupted with some munajat, responses from the merchants, then more rhythmic Persian by way of conclusion. Then the mullah looks at his watch, jumps up, bows left and right and hurries off. I suppose it lasted 30 minutes, but I was hardly aware of time passing.
The shopkeepers fell to gossiping, and then went off one by one to raise the shutters on their shops.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Church and State, Devotions, Islam | Tagged: Abdu'l-Baha, Bahai Faith, Christ, Christianity, Church and State, Future of Islam, Future of religion, Iran, Islam, secular state, Shiraz, Some Answered Questions, بهائیت, عبدالبهاء | 2 Comments »
Posted by Sen on December 10, 2008
In thinking about the future of the world, and of the Bahai community, and in speaking about them, we need to distinguish between the two uses of ‘commonwealth’ : the commonwealth of nations and the Bahai Commonwealth. If we do not, governments are likely to be misled and alarmed, thinking that there is something political or governmental about this ‘Bahai Commonwealth’ Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Church and State | Tagged: Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'u'llah, Bahai, Bahai Commonwealth, federalism, Organic unity, political theology, Shoghi Effendi, world government, World Order of Baha'u'llah, بهائی, شوقی افندی | 7 Comments »
Posted by Sen on December 2, 2008
A person investigating the Bahai Faith had encountered theocratic ideas among the Bahais she met, and asked if these were correct, and where they came from. But in fact, she seemed to know already that these ideas must be wrong. She wrote:
> I have to say that the idea of a one-world government run by a
> religious institution of any sort whatsoever, is what I can only
> call a total nightmare. I cannot believe for one second that this
> is what Bahaullah envisaged,
She was quite right. This is certainly not what Baha’u’llah envisioned!
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Church and State, History | Tagged: A Traveler's Narrative, Abdu'l-Baha, Bahai, Bahai Faith, Bahai lore, bahai theology, Church and State, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, Hippolyte Dreyfus, Horace Holley, Kitab-i Iqan, Luke 20:20-26, Mark 12:13-17, Matt. 22:15-22, millenialism, one-world government, render to Caesar, Risaleh-ye Siyasiyyah, Shoghi Effendi, Supreme Tribunal, The Art of Governance, The Promised Day is Come, theocracy, Universal House of Justice, World Order of Baha'u'llah, بهائیت, شوقی افندی, عبدالبهاء | 18 Comments »
Posted by Sen on November 21, 2008
In a discussion, I was asked: “You state that separation of church and state is principle in Islam. Could you explain that a bit more?”
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Church and State, Islam | Tagged: at-taghut, Baha'u'llah, Bahai, Bahai Faith, Church and State, David, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'lah, Islam, Joseph, Kings and rulers, Kitab-e Aqdas, kitab-i-aqdas, Lawh-e Ashraf, Mecca, Medina, Moses, Muhammad, Muhammad Abduh, no compulsion in religion, Pharoah, Quran, Sen McGlinn, Solomon, Surah-ye Bayan, twin seas | 16 Comments »
Posted by Sen on November 14, 2008
There is a delightful story – which I have reason to think is true, in broad lines at least — about the martyr and Hand of the Cause Mirza `Ali-Muhammad Varqa (Grandfather of the Hand of the Cause of the same name who died in 2007). Mr. Varqa made the pilgrimage to the Holy Land during the lifetime of Baha’u’llah. He found himself with fellow pilgrims in the presence of the Manifestation. He watched as Baha’u’llah spoke to the gathering, and thought to himself, “How fortunate I am! To have recognized the Manifestation of God for this Day, and to be in His very presence!”
Then he thought to himself, “I believe that He is the Manifestation of God. But I want to really believe. What could Baha’u’llah do, that would make me know beyond all doubt that He is the Manifestation of God?”
He thought for a time, and then thought, “I have always wondered about the verse in the Holy Qur’an, where it says that Noah brought the animals into the Ark in pairs. This can’t mean a pair of giraffes and a pair of gnats. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Church and State, Community | Tagged: Baha'u'lah, Bahai, Church and State, communism, disciples in pairs, dualism, fascism, fundamentalism, Hand of the Cause, Mark 6:6-13, nationalism, Noah's ark, ontological dualism, ontological pluralims, Organic unity, postmodernism, Quran 36:36, Shoghi Effendi, twoness, `Ali-Muhammad Varqa, بهائی, بهائیت, شوقی افندی | 1 Comment »
Posted by Sen on November 7, 2008
In many Christian churches, and in Sunni Islam in particular, prayers for the ruler or government are a routine part of collective worship. Bahais too are told to pray for their rulers. But we do not seem to be comfortable with it: how often is a prayer for the government part of a Baha’i meeting? Perhaps some background will help.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Church and State, Community, Devotions | Tagged: Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'u'llah, Bahai, Church and State, Majlisi, prayer for government, Religion and Politics, Sen McGlinn, بهائی, بهائیت | 1 Comment »
Posted by Sen on October 1, 2008
On my web site, I’ve put up my part of two discussion threads about theology, and how the Bahai community can face the fact that some people know more than others, on particular topics, but without replicating the structures of past religions in which greater knowledge often translates into greater authority. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Church and State, Community, Theology | Tagged: Bahai, bahai theology, Church and State, disenrollment, political theology, postmodern theology, reason and revelation, Theology, unenrollement, بهائیت | Leave a Comment »