Abdu’l-Baha’s knighthood and other bogeys
This is a collection of my posts on a thread on the Iran military forum under the heading Is the Bahai faith political or just religious?
I retrieved these postings because the subject of Abdu’l-Baha’s knighthood came up, and I am now working on a blog posting on the topic. The thread also turned up a lot of the conspiracy theories and prejudices about Bahais current among Iranians, and has links to useful sources for refuting these ideas.
#5 July 27, 2010
I wonder how the Baha’i people have it now. I know they do not have equal rights, but has been better for them?
The situation for the Bahais in Iran is getting steadily worse. Over the past few months, many have been imprisoned, there are more closures of the small business from which many Bahais earn a living (because they are barred from most forms of employment), a number of Bahai cemeteries have been destroyed, and recently 50 houses owned by Bahais in Ivel were destroyed – the Bahais were driven out after the revolution and lived elsewhere, coming back sometimes to work on their land. For day-by-day information on the situation see my news summary at
http://sensday.wordpress.com/news/ and follow the links there to read the sources.
Bahai teachings advocate the separation of church and state. See for example a ‘sermon’ of Abdu’l-Baha in London where he lists this as the 9th Bahai principle:
http://reference.bahai.org/fa/t/ab/KA1/ka1-35.html line 5 on the page:
din az siyaasat jedaa ast / politics is separated from religion.
The teaching of the separation of church and state doesn’t mean that Muslims, Bahais, Christians etc cannot vote and take part in legal (not seditious) politics. That would mean a government of atheists alone! Rather it means “the formal and complete separation of Church and State” (Shoghi Effendi, Baha’i Administration, p. 148, see
http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/se/BA/ba-147.html#pg148 ), that is the separation of the institutions of religion from the institutions of politics. That does not prevent politicians and voters believing, or believers voting and participating in “the affairs of the republic.” (see http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/ab/TAB/tab-407.html#pg343 )
Contrary to what Pasdar says, the Bahai Faith was not founded by British (or Russians, or Freemasons, or Israelis, etc…) but by a Persian, from a Persian family going back hundreds of years. The theory that the British did it is based on a fraud, whose author, Firaydun Adamiyyat, has admitted it is baseless and removed the allegation from the next edition of his book – see
Is the Bahai Faith political? It has teachings about society, peace, democracy, equality – which are political topics – but within the framework of the separation of church and state, these topics must be addressed in each state by the people as citizens, they cannot be laid down by religious institutions, and especially not by the Bahai administrative machinery. Shoghi Effendi writes:
“Let them proclaim that in whatever country they reside… they will, unhesitatingly, subordinate the operation of such [Bahai] laws and … to the requirements and legal enactments of their respective governments. Theirs is not the purpose, … to violate, under any circumstances, the provisions of their country’s constitution, much less to allow the machinery of their administration to supersede the government of their respective countries.”
therefore the Bahais can have no political ambitions for their religious institutions. But Bahais, as citizens and well-wishers of their nations, participate in all aspects of public life open to them.
The story about Russian involvement is another fraud. The story is that a Russian diplomat called Dolgorukov did it. No reputable Iranian historian believes this story, the document is a fraud written in Persian in Mashhad about 1942-3. Dr. Bahram Choubine believes that the memoirs were fabricated by `Alí Javáher-Kalám (see http://www.iranian.com/main/2008/sacrificing-innocent)
Wiki has a good short article about this conspiracy theory at http://tinyurl.com/wiki-on-Dolgorukov
but you can figure out for yourself that it couldn’t be true. Why would a Russian diplomat write his memoirs in Persian? If he wrote them in Russian, where is the Russian texts? Who translated it?
In fact he did write his memoirs, and they show he was not even in Iran when, according to the conspiracy theory, he was founding Babism. He was in fact Secretary of Russian Legation in The Hague, Netherlands (where I live !) from 1832-1837. He didn’t arrive in Tehran until 1846: the Babi Faith had begun in Shiraz two years before that. Dolgorukov also died in 1867, several years before — according to the fraudulent ‘memoirs’ — he was supposed to be helping Baha’u’llah buy a house in Akka, in Palestine.
For a more detailed treatment of the Dolgorukov trick, with a detailed table of the impossibilities it contains, see
Another work that is useful in understanding why such silly ideas circulate in Iran is Ahmad Ashraf (1997), Conspiracy theories and the Persian Mind;
Quote from: Mr-Babak-S on July 27, 2010, 04:04:36 PM
Pasdar is correct. It was founded by the British.
British agents found insane people like Wahab and also the Iranian founder of the Bahais, and gave them motivation, bodygaurds, financing, protection, and other forms of help.
This is admitted to in the journal of a British spy named Hempher who founded Wahabism by promoting and protecting Wahab.
Wahhabism is a very conservative form of Sunni Islam, from Saudi Arabia. Bahai is a very modern and progressive Iranian religion, and it’s not even part of Islam. You can read about them in wikipedia
or in Persian
Quote from: Mr-Babak-S on July 27, 2010, 04:26:54 PM
After the blessed Islamic revolution, the revolutionaries uncovered documents that showed that the Bahaies were the right arm of the x-Shah, and that they were instrumental in the persecution of Shia during the x-Shah time.
Which I suppose is why the Bahais were so persecuted during the Shah’s day? why the Shah closed the Bahai schools? Why the Shah cooperated with Borujerdi and Muhammad-Taqi Falsafí in instigating the 1955 anti-bahai pogroms, by allowing the use of radio to spread Fasafi’s sermons across the country?
If the Bahais were the Shah’s friends, it was a very funny sort of friendship, don’t you think?
In his Kháterát va Mubarezát, Muhammad-Taqi Falsafí writes:
Ayatollah Borujerdí sent a message for me to convey the issue of Baha’is to the governmental authorities. Eventually, after Ramadan 1332 [May 1953], he sent a letter for me to meet with the Shah … He added further, ‘It is necessary to mention this beforehand to the Shah so that he would not have an excuse later to intercede, ruin everything and terminate the radio broadcasts. If the latter were to happen, that would be most unfortunate for the Muslims and would embolden the Baha’is.’
I called the Shah’s office and requested an appointment. When I met the Shah, I stated, ‘Ayatollah Borujerdí has consented that the issue of Baha’is, which is a cause of worry for the Muslims, be dealt with and discussed in my radio sermons during the month of Ramadan. Would your majesty consent as well?’
The Shah remained silent for a moment and then stated, ‘Go and preach accordingly.’
It’s pretty obvious who was working with the Shah here.
Quote from: Mr-Babak-S on July 27, 2010, 06:17:44 PM
B. The connection between Bahá’is and the deceased Shah
The major part of the organizations of the Shah’s damned rule, particularly SAVAK, was managed by Bahá’is. As an example, suffice it to look at the following list of names, all of whom were Bahá’is:
Hoveyda, the Shah’s 13-year Prime Minister as well as Minister of the Imperial Court and Minister of Finance;
Mehri Rasekh, Farah’s boon companion;
Gen. Abdol-Karim Ayadi, the Shah’s special physician, who held 23 high-ranking government jobs;
Gen. Ali Mohammad Khademi;
Gen. Sani’ee, Minister of War;
Habib Sabet and Hojabr Yazdani, two major economic supports and two financial arms of the Zionists in Iran;
Mansoor Rohani, the Shah’s minister for 13 years;
Mrs Farokhrou Parsa, Minister of Education and holder of tens of other jobs;
Shapour Rasekh, the Shah’s sincere advisor;
Hossein Amanat, the famous capitalist, designer and executor of the Shahyad Monument;
Parviz Sabeti, Director of Internal Security of the Shah’s security police;
Lili Amir-Arjomand, trainer of the Shah’s children.
You should know better than believe everything you cut and paste from bahaism.blogspot:
– Hoveyda: his grandfather was a Bahai. His father was not. Hoveyda’s brother says in his diary that he never heard of the Bahais until he was 14 years old. To dispel the rumors that he was a Bahá’í, during his ministry, Hoveyda took several measures against the Bahá’ís to demonstrate that he had no sympathy towards them. For instance, documents from the Sháh’s secret police (SÁVÁK) confiscated and made public after the 1979 revolution revealed that, in 1967, he had ordered the firing of Bahá’ís from the Ministry of Petroleum.
– Gen. Abdol-Karim Ayadi, this one was a Bahai: a doctor in the army, rather than a military man.
– Gen Sana’i was a Bahai: he was appointed minister of war without wanting the job, and the Shah refused to allow him to refuse it. But because the Bahais thought the post (cabinet members) was political, he was removed from the membership lists of the Bahai community.
= Farokhrou Parsa, minister of education: was never a Bahai, see Roya Parsay (2005), A Bit of Iran’s Legacy; http://inconversationwithroya.blogspot.com/
= Hossein Amanat was a Bahai, and an architect, but not a “famous capitalist” : he was just a young graduate when he designed the shahyad monument.
– Parvis Sábetí, Savak spokesman, was born into a Bahá’í family but, according to his own biographical information in the files of SÁVÁK never became a Bahai. The Savak was persecuting the Bahais: a Bahai would never be a member of it.
– Habib Sabet was a Bahai and wealthy, but had no links to zionism. Bahais are not Jews, and do not support racist theories. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habib_Sabet
On Mehri Rasekh, Gen. Ali Mohammad Khademi; Hojabr Yazdani, Mansoor Rohani, Shapour Rasekh, and Lili Amir-Arjomand, I have no definite information. But I am smart enough to know you can’t trust bahaism.blogspot. And I know that everytime an Iranian women gets uppity or an Iranian man get modern ideas, a bunch of people will start saying he’s a Bahai. (see the news on Shirin Ebadi in the past few days). If one tenth of what these people say was true, every family in Iran would have a Bahai.
Quote from: sinaferdowsi on July 27, 2010, 06:58:24 PM
Am I the only one who see’s parallels between “Bahaism” and “Mormonism”? Both were rather outlandish offshoots of two major world religions (Islam and Christianity) created in the 1800s that borrow heavily the principles of those religions. Today Bahais and Mormons are also similar in that they are both close-knit communities that heavily proselytize, have lots of money, and exert political influence (which was true of the Bahais in Iran during the Shahs time).
I also believe that Bahaism or Babism probably has its origins with British and Russian agents trying to divide Iranian and Islamic people.
Yes, the sociological similarities between Mormonism growing in Christian America, and the Bahai Faith growing in Iran, have been noticed. A comparative study would be fruitful, but so far as I know no proper scientific comparison has been done.
The Bahais were persecuted under the Shah’s regime, just as the Mormons were persecuted during their earlier days in America.
The stories about Russian and British involvement are based on forged documents: read higher up in this thread or look at wikipedia
don’t believe everything you read in the Iranian media. Investigate for yourself and ask intelligent questions such as:
– how would the British be able to reward so many people working for them in Saudi Arabia and Iran?
– thousands of Iranian Babis and Bahais gave their lives for their religions. What would motivate Iranians to give their lives for Britain?
– why are their so many conflicting stories – Russian agents, British agents, zionists, freemasons, etc.. – and no authentic evidence for any of them?
Quote from: sinaferdowsi on July 27, 2010, 07:57:04 PM
I have to ask, are you a Bahai yourself? If so, may I ask what attracted you to Bahaism (assuming you weren’t born into a Bahai family) and also where you are from? Just curious, I have no ill intentions.
Yes, I’m a Bahai. You can see my blogs
I was born in a Christian-humanist family, and I’ve been fascinated by religion since childhood. Bahai attracted me because I saw it was like the early Christian church and early Buddhism, that is, a great world religion just beginning, and still taking shape. I thought that would be fascinating to follow as it developed, and soon decided not to just watch, but to join in. Being Bahai, I wanted to learn Persian and Arabic, which led me into Islamic Studies and Iranian studies.
Quote from: sinaferdowsi on July 27, 2010, 09:20:57 PM
Interesting. Good for you man, as an Iranian-American Shia Muslim I wish you success and I hope you find the right path for yourself.
Just know that in my part of the world, things are rarely as they seem and everything tends to be more complex than it should be (after all the MIDDLE-EAST is a place all major powers have always meddled in).
What is historical fact though, is that the Bahai’s sided with the imperialists of yester-year, and seems to side with the Zionists of today. Zionism is heavily invested in Bahaism, and the Bahai HQ is in Israel under the stewardship of proud bahai zionists.
A Bahai zionist is a contradiction in terms. The Bahais have never sided with imperialists – Baha’u’llah is scathing about the pretentions of the British to be “assisting” the Egyptians for example. The Bahai slogan “unity in freedom” definitely entails the end of colonialism as a precondition for world Peace. The Universal House of Justice writes: “Just as the American Constitution does not allow one state to be more autonomous than another, so must the nations of the world enjoy equal status in any form of World Federation. Indeed one of the “candles” of unity anticipated by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is “unity in freedom.” (Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 335)
Just ask yourself – have you ever seen even one piece of solid evidence for this supposed siding with Zionism, Russians, British, and whatnot? Even one? If there was solid evidence for one of the stories, all the other stories would be quickly forgotten – but in fact, all the incompatible stories keep circulating.
The Bahai holy places, the al-Aqsa mosque and the church of the Holy Sepulcher are all in Israel today. Does that mean all Bahais, Muslims and Christians are Zionists, or pro-Israel? For that matter, the Wailing Wall is in Jerusalem, and a holy place for all Jews – but not all Jews support Zionism.
Quote from: Mr-Babak-S on July 27, 2010, 10:21:01 PM
Also, another SAVAK report on the Bahais reads as follows:
Report No. H 11181-1350/5/19, in a meeting with the participation of twelve Bahais, Mr. Farhangi said: “Bahais are quite successful in Muslim states …
But in fact, if you look at sources of world religious statistics such as the World Christian Encyclopaedia, you can see that the Bahais are NOT successful in Muslim states, except for Iran. So Mr Farhangi, if he ever existed, was reporting what his masters wanted to hear. Hoveyda was not a Bahai – but a lot of people said he was. A lot of Iranians said (and still say) “he’s a Bahai” about anyone they don’t like. It doesn’t make it true.
It’s true I’ve come across some anti-Arab prejudice, among Persian Bahais. Bahais say that all prejudice is wrong, but it takes time to shed old attitudes.
The words you give from Browne are not ones I’ve ever seen in his writings. I think you just made it up. The idea that Hoveyda’s father, who was born in 1920, was a close confident of Baha’u’llah, who died in 1892, seems a little far-fetched. Not to mention that Baha’u’llah died in Palestine, and Hoveyda’s father was born and lived in Tehran, so he would need a teleporter as well as a time machine. I cannot believe that Browne would fall for such a silly story.
also your source “bahaifact” says that “His eminence Bahaollah has stated: “The Israeli government in the course of the 1967 war has been recognized as the world champion…” But Baha’u’llah died 75 years before the 1967 war, so how could he say this??
Tell me – you are intelligent enough to make grammatical sentences. Why are you not able to ask these simple questions yourself? Could it be you need to shed some prejudice, and look at things for yourself? Then you would see that Bahaifact is just making up fairy stories that could not possibly be true. Just look at the “sources” Bahaifact quotes. There is not one that you can check yourself. These are just lies for the gullible.
But the points I’ve made, are all ones you can see for yourself just by reason, or follow the references I give to check for yourself.
#46 July 28, 2010
Quote from: Nadeem on July 28, 2010, 10:16:25 AM
Do you know friends that there are “Baha’is of Jewish background” who supports the teaching of Baha’i faith in Israel. If this movement gained success then the many of Israelite will accept Baha’i faith and convert to Baha’ism. Rather interesting blog.
I think the site is a fraud. When it was launched it had a photo supposedly of Jewish Bahais in New York having a meeting. But they were actually British Bahais (I knew one of them) and not Jews at all.
The IRI has set up an organisation at Qom producing anti-Bahai material, with lower-level branches at the major city level and ‘outreach’ programmes in towns and small cities that give lectures and short courses on anti-Bahai arguments (like Hojatiyyah was, but now a government programme). That means there is a huge amount of disinformation being produced, and one of the themes they hammer on is the idea that the Bahais have links with the state of Israel. In fact we can’t complain: we are free to practice our faith in Israel like any other religious community.
The ban on teaching the Faith in Israel applies to Palestinian Christians and Muslims, as well as to Jews and non-religious people: we can give information but must not seek to convert people to the Bahai Faith. That policy goes back to Ottoman days, before Israel existed: teaching the Faith is banned in a broad area around the Bahai World Centre, which for practical purposes nowadays means Israel and the Palestinian territories.
As to whether many Israelis would accept the Bahai Faith – it’s a what-if question. I would like to think so, but since the Jewish community has lived for centuries in Christian and Muslim (and at one time Zoroastrian) countries without losing very many members to conversion, I see no reason to think that many Israeli Jews would become Bahais if they knew more. Perhaps Palestinian Muslims and Christians might – but who knows?
There’s a blog in Persian that quotes Baha’u’llah’s words, forbidding teaching in “Sham” (the Ottoman province of Syria which includes present-day Israel and Palestinian territories). see
However I don’t get a clear reason for the prohibition from the quotes. I don’t think anyone understands it – we obey because Baha’u’llah said so.
Quote from: jaafer on July 28, 2010, 10:40:11 AM
Sen McGlinn, I think that you should open another topic where you can informe us about the basic things about your religion. There are many questions here and they are all mixed so that way we will separate them. In that topic we can talk about the religions aspects of Bahaism and also make a parallels with Shia Islam and the other religions and this topic should be about the politic. That would be way for better understanding.
I am really not qualified to lead such a discussion: I can contribute to the areas I know about. That’s why I came onto this thread: the question was about the current situation of the Bahais in Iran, and politics and religion in the Bahai Teachings, and I answered it here:
If you wish to start a thread on the Bahai teachings in general, all the different topics in the Bahai teachings will be mixed up together, and most of the posts will be from people whose response to everything is “the British did it.” It will be very difficult for anyone to follow a discussion of any one teaching. On this thread, 90% of the postings are not about “is the Bahai Faith political or religious.” Think how much more confused it would be if the topic was “the Bahai teachings.”
So why not start a thread yourself, on some particular question that interests you? Or go to a forum such as Planet Bahai forum ( http://www.planetbahai.org/cgi-bin/main.pl?page=forum ) and ask there? That way you won’t get “the british did it” but answers that are from people who know something and are at least to the point (though not always correct).
Quote from: Mr-Babak-S on July 28, 2010, 02:54:21 PM
“His eminence Bahaollah has stated: “The Israeli government in the course of the 1967 war has been recognized as the world champion…” But Baha’u’llah died 75 years before the 1967 war, so how could he say this??
Just as we have many people named Muhammad, I infer that the Bahai have people that they name after their founder also. I take it that the reference was to someone speaking who was alive at that time, not the founder of the religion.
Don’t you think that the writer knew that the original Bahallah died long before the 67 war? Why then would he be referring to the original Bahuallah, and not some Bahai cleric with the same name?
ROFL … A Bahai child being named Baha’u’llah? A Bahai cleric? Don’t you know anything at all about the Bahai Faith?
Quote from: Mr-Babak-S on July 28, 2010, 03:06:44 PM
I thought you’d say something like that.
But, unless you consider you Bahullah to be God, there should be nothing wrong with naming a child as such since Christians name their children Jesus (pronounced heysuse by the Spainish), Jews call their children Noah and after other prophets.
Do you know the names of all the Bahai clerics in history?
Yes I do. That’s an easy question. Bahais do not have any clerics. Not one, Zero. That’s why your comment is so funny. A 20th century Bahai cleric named Baha’u’llah making political comments about the 1967 war. The mind just boggles at the picture. 🙂
Bahai children are never ever ever named Baha’u’llah. It would be like naming a Muslim child Rasullallah, or calling a Christian child “Christ the anointed.” Bahais may be called Husayn, or Ali, or Husayn Ali, but they are never named Baha’u’llah.
Sorry, but there’s no way of wiggling out of it. You quoted a source that said “His eminence Bahaollah has stated: “The Israeli government in the course of the 1967 war has been recognized as the world champion. We, the Bahai community, admire this beloved nation …” .. and you expect the readers here to take that source seriously ?
My voting rights were not removed: that’s a sanction that is sometimes applied to Bahais who break Bahai law. Rather I was removed from the membership rolls, dis-enrolled.
If we disregard speculative explanations for this, we are left with what the Universal House of Justice itself has said, in its letter of 14 November 2005. That indicates that the decision was based wholly or primarily on some words in my Master’s thesis Church and State, which the UHJ has construed as a claim to personal authority. There is more on this and links to the documents on my blog here:
Dis-enrollment for Bahais is not like being declared a heretic (takfir) or having the anathema pronounced against you for a Catholic: I am still free to attend conferences and summer schools organised by the Bahais, and I have done so and on a couple of occasions have been a speaker, I can go to local unity feasts, devotional meetings and holy day celebrations. I can’t be enrolled in the Bahai community. It’s a bit like being a Catholic but not being accepted for the priesthood, or living in a medieval walled monastery for a decade or two, and then being summoned by the Abbot and told “Brother Sen, the chapel outside the walls needs you. Pack your bags.” The UHJ’s religious authority extends over all Bahais, not just those on the membership rolls, because it flows from the direct words of Baha’u’llah. So I’m extramurally active, and try with reasonable success to do it with joy, and not to cause the UHJ any grief about it.
Quote from: Nadeem on July 29, 2010, 06:39:06 AM
Sen you didn’t answered this question also. your answer is awaited. What is the Official Stand of the ‘Haifan UHJ’ on the Israeli Palestinian Conflict.
There is none. As I said way back on this thread:
Bahai teachings advocate the separation of church and state. The Bahai Faith has teachings about society, peace, democracy, equality, and the ending of colonialism, but given the framework of our belief in the separation of church and state, these topics must be addressed in each state by the people as citizens, they cannot be laid down by religious institutions, and especially not by the Bahai administrative machinery.
Humanitarian needs, however, are something the Bahais as individuals and Bahai institutions can and do respond to. However this is a small community, just a few million people world-wide, most of them in the third world, and the large Bahai community in Iran has had its assets and even pension rights seized, has been denied most forms of employment and higher education, and so forth, under a deliberate policy to reduce them to an impoverished underlayer of society. So our contribution is mainly in manpower rather than in cash. There is no Bahai Aid Organisation, but there are Bahais active alongside people of other faiths (and humanists) in aid efforts all over the world. I think that is preferable to having one organisation for Shiah aid and one for Sunni aid and one for Catholic Aid and so forth. Helping people in need is one area where the religious communities can forget their doctrinal differences and work together.
Quote from: Pasdar on July 29, 2010, 09:49:04 AM
I was reading some of the things on the blog you linked to and I must say it has a strong crazy-Christian sect like feel to it. The type of sect that does mass suicide.
I’m not planning to suicide just yet, so it could be worth your time to reply to me: exactly which of the dozen of sites mentioned here, have you been reading?
#62 [in reply to : Out of all of the countries in the world, why did you decide to place your universal house of Justice in Israel? ]
It was not the Bahai choice. Baha’u’llah was exiled to Akka by the Ottoman Sultan (having first been exiled from Iran by the Shah). Akka was a walled city, and the Ottomans used the whole town as a prison, with guards on the city gates. Israel wasn’t even thought of in those days, it was wall-to-wall Ottomans.
Of all the countries in the world they could have chosen, why did the Muslims decide to put the al-Aqsa mosque in Israel? It’s the same question, with the same answer.
History (and sh**) happens
#66 [in reply to the question why Abdu’l-Baha and the UHJ have not helped oppressed Palestinians]
Abdu’l-Baha did do a great deal, starting years before the war. He bought and leased land around Galilee, put farmers on it and taught them modern farming methods, set up system of escorted mule trains to carry the grain to the coast, and renovated old Roman granaries to store the grain, so that by the time the war and famine came, he could feed the people for some time.
If you have a plan like that which would help the Palestinians, I’m sure we’d all like to hear it, and you could send a copy to the UHJ as well. Bear in mind however that none of the Palestinian leaders are in a position to accept help from the Bahais, because to be accused of friendship with the Bahais would be political suicide. And if aid goes to Palestinian civil society rather than the leadership, that doesn’t help in developing a strong leadership, which is one of the things the Palestinians most need. But tell us your plan, we can bounce it around and send it to whoever can use it.
Quote from: Nadeem on July 29, 2010, 12:56:45 PM
Universal House of Justice came into existence in 1963, where were the ottomans in 1963?
Ottomans were long gone by 1963. Which just shows, if you wait long enough, things will change. States come and go, but the Holy Places stay where they are put. Or should we also move the rock under al-Aqsa somewhere more convenient, and build a new mosque on it?
Quote from: Nadeem on July 29, 2010, 01:24:05 PM
Mr. Sen, I am not talking about the shrine of Bab or Baha, I am talking about the Haifan UHJ that came into existence in 1963.
Yes, I understand that. The Universal House of Justice and other Bahai institutions are clustered around the Shrines of the Bab and Baha’u’llah, just as all sorts of foundations and religious institutions are clustered around the Shrine of Imam Reza in Mashhad or the Shrine of Fatimah Ma`sumeh in Qom. A holy city does not just get up and move when the political conditions change.
74#, July 30
Quote from: Nadeem on July 30, 2010, 06:33:07 AM
… i secret meetings with MOSSAD agents ….
….the Zionists are giving you perks?
… a separate unit in British Parliament for Baha’is
When you start presenting meetings that are secret (so you don’t know about them) as evidence for your argument, you lose all credibility.
Anyone can say “he’s a Mossad agent” about anyone. So what? The question is always, where’s the evidence? Where’s the evidence?
Only the Bishops of the Church of England have allocated seats in British houses of parliament. It’s not like Iran where the Zoroastrians, Catholics (Assyrians), Jews and Armenians each have allocated seats.
Following the passage of the House of Lords Act 1999, the House of Lords consists of 26 bishops of the Church of England (Lords Spiritual), 92 elected representatives of the hereditary peers, and several hundred life peers. The power to nominate bishops of the Church of England, and to create hereditary and life peers, is exercised by the Sovereign on the advice of the Prime Minister. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_of_the_United_Kingdom )
There are at present no Bahai members of Parliament in Britain – let alone having a special section for them!
My friend Sen, please see this
Thank you for this Nadeem. It’s very fair-minded of you to share it. I have down-loaded the pdfs and will put them on my blog as soon as I can, but I am really busy at the moment. It’s good evidence that at least up to 1921 there was no British involvement with the Bahai Faith. If there had been, the writer (could it be Ambassador Sheil – I’ll research that) would not have been suggesting the possibility. Similarly if the British had been funding the Bahais or Abdu’l-Baha, the writer would not have been asking instructions about the request to help the Bahais transmit their money to Abdu’l-Baha – he could have simply said “we’ll divert some of our money to Abdu’l-Baha.
It’s very hard to prove that something does not exist or did not happen, but this is at least strong evidence. Either there was no British involvement, or there was (for which there’s no evidence so far), and the writer did not know about it.
I’ll write it up and put it up on sensday ( http://sensday.wordpress.com ) as soon as I get a moment
Quote from: Dariush94 on July 30, 2010, 05:34:29 PM
what are bahai ??
Hi Goedzo, there’s a good page on wikipedia:
The Bahá’í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá’u’lláh in nineteenth-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá’ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories.
I guess that’s the short answer. There’s also a wiki entry on Bahai teachings:
2.1 The oneness of God
2.2 The oneness of humanity
2.3 The oneness of religion
3 Progressive revelation
3.1 Religion as a school [with successive classes ]
4 Social principles
4.1 Equality of women and men
4.2 Harmony of religion and science
4.3 Universal compulsory education
4.4 Universal auxiliary language
4.5 Independent investigation of truth
4.6 Elimination of extremes of wealth and poverty
6 Mystical teachings…
Bahais are very diverse, in background and opinion, they are widely but thinly scattered across the globe, and they don’t live apart in their own communities or wear special clothes, so the answer to “who are the Bahais” is, it could be just about anyone you meet. Ask them 🙂
[That’s a joke: do NOT try walking down the street in Tehran asking if people are Bahai OMG ]
Quote from: Nadeem on July 30, 2010, 04:37:07 PM
also read this
The handbook of Palestine
It’s certainly true that Abdu’l-Baha received a KBE : so has the Aga Khan IV
You can see a partial list of KBE recipients here:
it includes the Beatles. The Dames Commander are here:
there are quite a few religious figures in the lists:
Archbishop Woods of Australia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Woods_%28archbishop%29
Henry Chadwick (whose history of the early church was my textbook long ago)
and so on. There’s nothing sinister about it, it’s just a British oddity to give these honours to people, usually towards the end of their lives, in recognition of their contribution to society.
Quote from: Dariush94 on July 30, 2010, 08:10:57 PM
@ Sen Mcglinn, so what is there so bad or good about bahai’s or what is special about them?
Edti:Btw do you play BFME II??
No, I prefer turn-based strategy games like Civilization, or those that combine that with real-time skirmishes such as Rome Total War.
I don’t think there’s anything good or bad about Bahais as such. The most you could say is that they’re usually better than they would be if they were not Bahais. I wouldn’t necessarily buy a used car from just any random Bahai. One thing special is that most Bahais have chosen to be Bahais, and sometimes given up quite a bit to be Bahais, so they tend to take their religion quite seriously.
The Bahai Faith (not the same as the Bahais) is religion with less of the bad bits, and because it is so young it’s growing and changing, which makes life interesting
I think you are quite right about the statistics on the number of Bahais in India: the exact number is unknown but 2.2 million seems too high. I think the source for these statistics is the World Christian Encyclopaedia, which is a good source. I don’t mean to criticise the World Christian Encyclopaedia: religious statistics are notoriously unreliable and they do better than any previous effort at counting the world’s religions. There’s an assessment of the reliability of their data here:
the abstract says “We test the reliability of the WCD by comparing its religious composition estimates to four other data sources (World Values Survey, Pew Global Assessment Project, CIA World Factbook, and the U.S. Department of State), finding that estimates are highly correlated. … Religious composition estimates in the World Christian Database are generally plausible and consistent with other data sets.”
The site you referred to says that the web site of the NSA of India no longer claims 2.2 million Bahais. I think the site you referred to (like most of those you have referred to) is a fake: the official site is here:
and it does claim 2.2 million.
However the figure of 11,324 that your site claims is even more implausible. I have a sitemeter counter on my Bahai studies web site, and the count for today shows 15.2% of my recent visitors came from India, versus 29.3% coming from the USA. Roughly, one from India for every two from the USA. The Bahai numbers in the USA are quite accurately known: about 70,000 participating Bahais (given the vagueness of religious identity, read more than 50,000 less than 100,000). So if the internet use in the countries was the same, we would estimate 35,000 participating Bahais in India. But internet use in India is much much lower, and that use is spread over multiple languages, so we have to multiply the first estimate by a factor allowing for the difference. How much lower is the English internet density in India than in the USA? Say 50 times lower? That would give an estimate of 1.75 million Bahais. It’s another guess, but at least it starts with a bit of hard data I know is accurate.
Quote from: Dariush94 on July 31, 2010, 12:04:05 PM
I was suggesting BFMEii because your avatar depicts a character from the game Tongue(a bit of topic but yeah).
Is the Bahai faith forbidden in Iran?
Rome Total War and Battle for Middle Earth off-topic? Heaven forbid, this is a military forum.
My dwarf avatar actually comes from World of Warcraft, where my avatar was a little female pixie who looked remarkably like my wife. I met this dwarf in my travels in WoW, and thought, “that looks just like me (years ago when I had so much hair),” so I saved it for use one day.
The Bahai Faith is heavily persecuted in Iran, and has been since it was born there about 160 years ago. “A prophet is not without honour, except in his own country” as the Gospel says. The Bahai community has been especially harshly oppressed in the the past 3 or 4 years, as have the Sufis and Christians and of course the political liberals, the ethnic minorities, women, bloggers, journalists, satellite dish salesmen, newspaper publishers, human rights lawyers etc., etc…
The difference (as you can see on this forum) is that as regards the Bahais there is a state-sponsored anti-bahai disinformation programme, in both Persian and (on internet) English. To some extent there is anti-Sunni disinformation as well, usually in the form of calling Sunnis wahhabis and claiming they (like everyone else the regime doesn’t like) were established by the British and are agents of zionism.
Here’s an image that sums it up (it was attached to an article about Bahai – logic is not part of the religious propaganda 101 curriculum ! ):
There seem to be some people who believe this stuff, but they might be getting paid to pretend they do.
On my blog I have an analysis of the visual images used in the Iranian media to depict Bahais, with a brief summary of what the attached articles say:
If you don’t read the Iranian media, that will give you a quick impression of what’s going on, and explain perhaps some of the things alleged about Bahais in this thread.
On my daily blog, I have a translation of a story that was revived recently, about Bahais getting drunk (Bahais don’t drink) and murdering a Muslim boy as part of a secret ritual:
It’s an old story, originally told about Jews, and retold in hundreds of variants over the centuries. That basically tells you “what’s going on” on this thread and elsewhere – it’s a variant on antisemitism, an ugly systematic and sustained attempt to spread hate, which is poisoning the atmosphere of Iranian society.
Tolerance for diversity is far more crucial to a modern society than voting or technological wizardry. Indeed, if a society does not have tolerance, voting will just be the means of voting in a Hitler, and technology the means of oppressing people more efficiently.
Quote from: Dariush94 on July 31, 2010, 12:53:07 PM
Tolerance is a very necessary thing but should we be tolerant to non tolerant people?
Yes, we have to tolerate the intolerant. If an open society starts saying what ideas can be expressed and what values must apply, the battle is already lost. One simply has one more variant on all the forms of intolerance that already exist.
The way for an open society to deal with intolerance, is to expose it to light and air, argue it out, gather the facts – and often use a bit of humour. Intolerant people usually make fools of themselves, and it’s OK to laugh a bit.
In yesterday’s Iranian media
we have a “professor” expert in the Bahai Faith, who claims that Baha’u’llah was supported by the Russians and went into exile in Russia. Baha’u’llah was actually exiled to Baghdad, which in those days was Ottoman territory, which is how he ended up getting sent to prison in Akka in Palestine – also Ottoman territory. If Baha’u’llah had gone to Russia, things might have turned out very differently.
Expert? LOL LOL
Hojjatoleslam ?? Proof of folly more like it
#100 August 1
Khabar online, a government-controlled organ which often releases the anti-Bahai propaganda that is picked up by quasi-official agencies, is reporting the arrest of two members of a Bahai terrorist team in Taleghani Park in Tehran. They were supposedly working for the “global liberation army” and recruiting students. Khabar online is the source which recently claimed that Bahai couples in Iran were being paid by the Bahais to have babies (see http://sensday.wordpress.com/2010/07/28/call-me-a-cynic-but/ )
Bahais have been accused of terrorism in Iran in the past, for instance following a bombing in a mosque in Shiraz in April 2008, which was at first attributed to Bahais. Later that accusation was dropped, but not before the 7 Yaran (Bahai national facilitators) had been arrested on vaguer charges. http://www.iranpresswatch.org/post/6063.
It is likely that today’s story is entirely fabricated, and is preparing public opinion for harsh sentences against the Yaran.
#106, August 5
I didn’t reply to your argument to avoid embarrassing you Babak. Any argument in that form is logically invalid, which should be obvious to all the readers on this list, without my saying anything. I didn’t want to rub it in.
You cannot ‘prove” that something did happen in history, by the argument that if you were in their shoes, you would have done it. You can only prove something happened in history, by proof that it actually did happen. You have generously provided us with historical documentation from the Foreign Office that shows that as far as 1920, the British were not involved in either establishing or supporting the Bahai Faith. You have not found *anything* historical that shows they were involved. So even if you are absolutely convinced that the British could have done it and should have done it, we are still left with the evidence that they didn’t do it.
For those who have just joined us, Babak previously posted this link:
which has two pdf documents. I’ve typed them over because I’m going to put them on one of my blogs (http://sensday.wordpress.com/), but I haven’t proof-read them yet. The first document is a British Foreign Office cover letter, dated May 30 1918, accompanying the Eastern Report, which is another Foreign Office publication. The writer (M.S.) evaluates the material in the Eastern Report as follows:
The Asiatic intelligence should be read with care. The prospects in Turkestan are now distinctly bad. The destruction and disintegration of the Armenians proceeds apace and paves the way for Turko-German dominion, extending through the Turanian belt right up to Afghanistan itself. From that point of vantage the Turko-germans will work every possible form of anti-British policy; Pan-islamism, Pan-turanianism, and anarchistic revolution will be the three forces that they will use.
The elements which will be friendly to us, and which will combat these three forces, are :-
(a) the natural tendency which exists among pious Moslems to regard religion as a spiritual rather than a political force, and which lies at the back of the teachings of Mohammed Abdu, Abdul Bahai, and the Persian Mystics.
(b) the natural dislike of non-turanian peoples for turanian ascendency.
(c) the social elements which stand to gain by justice and order.
With regard to the development of these elements into political assets, we can give positive assistance in regard to (b) and (c) ; in regard to (a), we can do nothing positive but on the negative side may do something by avoiding giving the impression that we are afraid of political Pan Islam or are ready to compromise with it. …
This shows that there has been no British involvement, and also that the writer sees no possibility for the British to do anything positive in the future to assist the progressive forces in the Islamic world (Mohammed Abduh, Abdul-Baha, and some of the Sufis).
The second document is much longer, on page 8 it reports:
On 13th November , Mr Bridgeman telegraphed [no 631] as follows: – The representative of Abdul Baha has asked me to facilitate remittances from the Bahais in Persia to Abdul Baha in Haifa, for the maintenance of the latter and his suite. His adherents wish to remit at once 4,000 (pounds) and to send yearly remittances amounting to about 50,000 tomans. The Imperial bank of Persia refuses to place drafts to anyone, and the Bahais cannot remit the money unless we afford facilities.
As your Lordship knows, the Bahais are very numerous and are ever increasing in Persia. To refuse them facilities requested for the accomplishment of what to them is a sacred duty would offend an influential and well disposed section of the people. In view of the religious aspect of the question I cannot mention the matter to Persian Government. Please instruct whether and how the operation should be facilitated.
This shows that the Bahais in Iran were not being assisted by the British, for if they were, Mr Bridgeman would not have had to inquire what to do, and whether to help at all. By this time Abdu’l-Baha was living under British rule in Palestine, so it would not be unusual if he had received consular help with something like money remittances, visas and the like. But clearly up to this date, that had not happened to the knowledge of Mr. Bridgeman.
I’m sorry if this all makes you feel like a fool Babak. If you would look critically at the stuff that you copy from here and there, and ask yourself whether it could possibly be true, and what it really means, you could avoid looking so gullible. There are people doing their best to spread misinformation about the Bahais, so you need to be a little critical about what you believe
Quote from: Mr-Babak-S on August 05, 2010, 03:14:29 PM
So far as I can see, the Daheshists have no relationship to the Bahais at all. They are just two different religions. The “daheshist questions for Bahais” on this site:
appear not to be written by a Daheshist: they draw on anti-Bahai polemics usual in Iranian circles, and do not mention anything about Dahesh and his teachings.
As usual, ask yourself critical questions …
If I wanted to prove that there were 100 sects of Bahai, I could make a website for “Bahai sects” and include the Daheshists, the Divine Light and 98 others there, and see if anyone was silly enough to believe me
Quote from: Izirbat on August 05, 2010, 07:24:50 PM
I don’t really want to get to this debate but;
1) It is a fact that Abdu’l-Baha’s was knighted (Knighthood) by the British. So I am sure they just did that because the Brits love Iranians.
2) declassified British Government documents, from May 1918 and November 1921clearly states that the three perceived threats of “Pan-Islamism, Pan-Turanianism and anarchistic revolution” are juxtaposed with the “friendly” elements that can “combat these three forces”.
But I am sure when the British were thinking of using “friendly” elements they were thinking of aliens from Mars and not Internal trouble makers in Iran.
thank you Izirbat – the documents you have presented as proof are precisely the ones I have just posted as text. If you read carefully you will see that they are evidence that the British were not involved with the Bahais, and at least one person in the Foreign Office saw no possibility of any involvement.
The British knighted many religious leaders – including the present Aga Khan IV. It’s just a British custom, it means nothing except that people are respected.
You can see a partial list of KBE recipients here:
and the ladies are here:
Abdu’l-Baha is the second name in the first list. He has good company there.
Babak – I have never heard it said that Abdu’l-Baha fed the British. They were a well-organised army and would have their own supplies. However there was a famine in the region due to locusts and drought, and the war prevented food being shipped in. Abdu’l-Baha was able to feed the people for some time. You can get an idea of how the local people felt about that from this photograph of his funeral:
I’ve put those two Foreign Office documents up on one of my blogs,
as images and as text.
Quote from: Barberry on August 05, 2010, 10:04:08 PM
Reading through some of your blog posts I can tell you have never been to Iran…
If thats the case then do your self a favor and visit Iran for yourself (a lot of Bahais do these days) and rely less on what you hear from Iranians living in exile.
I have been to Iran, in the Khatami days. Most of the photos of Iran on my blog I took myself at that time:
#124 August 6
Quote from: Nadeem on August 06, 2010, 08:11:07 AM
“…Sir ‘Abbas Effendi ‘Abdu’l Baha had travelled extensively in Europe and America to expound his doctrines, and on the 4th December, 1919, was created by King George V. a K.B.E. for valuable services rendered to the British Government in the early days of the Occupation…..”
I’ve tried to find out where the author got this information, without any success so far. I do notice that he thinks Shoghi Effendi is president of a council of nine, but that council didn’t even exist at the time, so I guess the author had no personal knowledge of the Bahais in Palestine. He might know something about the reasons for the knighthood, from government circles, because he mentions an exact date. However other sources say the date was 27 April 1920.
I’ve looked myself for any official statement of the reason (knighthoods are usually awarded ‘for services to music’ or ‘services to Anglo-French relations’ or the like), but I haven’t found anything. In principle this should be easy enough to find:
and fill in a date range and knighthood, and one turns up the honours lists and also the reports of dubbings and occasional announcements of a knighthood not in one of the regular lists. But I have drawn a blank.
Bahai sources say variously that he was “knighted for his charitable works in Palestine” “knighted for his humanitarian services in feeding the populace of Haifa” and so on, but the simple fact that they have different wording tells us that they don’t have a documentary source. Yet such a thing should be documented.
I’m still looking
Quote from: Nadeem on August 06, 2010, 02:08:13 PM
In Israel they don’t teach. They don’t want to convert Jews.
We have nothing against Jews. Jews in Iran and many other parts of the world have become Bahais, and they are welcome.
The ban on teaching the Bahai Faith in Israel goes back to Baha’u’llah’s time, when it applied to the whole of the province of Sham. At that time, there were not a great number of Jews in the area. It applies to teaching all the residents of the area, Arab or Jew, Christian, Muslim or Druze.
There’s a blog in Persian that quotes Baha’u’llah’s words, forbidding teaching in “Sham” (the Ottoman province of Syria which includes
present-day Israel and Palestinian territories). see
However I don’t get a clear reason for the prohibition from the quotes. I don’t think anyone understands it – we obey because Baha’u’llah said so.
The only mention of Zionism I know of, in the whole Bahai literature, is one from the wife of Shoghi Effendi in her recollections:
“Rumours had been bruited about that the remains of a certain prominent leader of Zionism might be brought to the Holy Land to be buried befittingly on Mt Carmel. In view of this Shoghi Effendi appealed to the believers to contribute funds for the immediate purchase of land in the vicinity of the Báb’s Tomb, particularly overlooking it, in order to safeguard this Holy Spot (Ruhiyyih Khanum, The Priceless Pearl, p. 97)
Bahai in Hebrew is הבהאי . The Bahai literature in Hebrew is sparse. The Aqdas has been translated into Hebrew, there are a few other things, and there is a small literature in Perso-Hebrew dating from around 1900. This is in fact a dialect (or several dialects) of Persian current in the Jewish communities in various part of the Iran, but written in the Hebrew alphabet. We have one example, a novel, in the library at Leiden, written by Johanna Dawud.
Quote from: Nadeem on August 06, 2010, 05:33:40 PM
The uncompromising support from Britain, USA and Israel…. to the Baha’is.
Do you have any evidence for this? Even one instance ? I mean actual support, not just words. The western countries are great at deploring human rights abuses, etc etc … but what have they ever actually done for the Bahais? They give them equal citizenship rights in their own countries – which is what they give to peoples of all religions and none.
#135 August 7
Quote from: Nadeem on August 07, 2010, 08:29:19 AM
The proof is BBC, VOA Persian and so many other channels are in the hands of Baha’is.
What’s the proof that BBC and VOA are in the hands of Bahais? Don’t believe everything you read in Kayhan.
You cannot prove one conspiracy theory by referring to another. This stuff is as absurd as the stories about the elders of zion or the illuminati running the world. The world is actually run by a single pipe-smoking rabbit.
No-one can prove it is not true, perhaps he’s a very clever rabbit who never leaves any evidence.
The Bahai institutions such as the UHJ will not make official statements about political factions and disputes – that would be breaching the principle of the separation of church and state. see post #5 in this thread:
It is easy to think that you can get more traction on some immediate problem by getting religion involved. It’s the mistake made in the 1906 revolution, and again in 1979. It backfires every time: the long-term cost is a bigger problem and more little ones in its shadow: how to get religion back out of politics?
The separation of church and state is not a cultural option that you can take or leave, it is the very essence of modernity and democracy, more essential in fact that voting or political parties or even free speech.
If we want a world that is modern and democratic, it can only be achieved if political leaders do not interfere in doctrinal matters and religious practices, and religious leaders and institutions do not interfere in political matters. The same is true for Iran, as history has shown. Political issues must be solved by the logic and methods of politics, ideally democratically through open debates based on facta and reason, but in any case not by appeals to revelations from on high that not everyone accepts, or the standing of religious authorities that not everyone respects. Facts and reason are the common ground, that’s where the political debate has to happen.
Quote from: maiser on August 07, 2010, 08:35:38 AM
Baha’is that are living inside Occupied Palestinian territory alone is enough to brand them traitors of Iran and of Islam. But when they don’t even try to use any influence to change the barbaric anti-Islamic ways of Israel when they even live there, then you know for sure where they stand. If they cared about Islam, empathy or their Iranian background or interest, would they not have other ways?
Do you have the same opinion of the Muslims, who have a mosque in Jerusalem and worship there?
There are no Bahai “residents” in Israel, only staff at the institutions. Anyone else in Israel who wants to become a Bahai, is asked to leave Israel.
Can you show me that the Muslims have a similar policy?
If so, why isn’t it working?
#140 August 7
Quote from: Nadeem on August 07, 2010, 09:37:11 AM
You did not answered this :
Why these 7 people are so important to all these Occupational Forces and the lives of Palestinians worthless?
I really have no idea: you would have to ask whoever it is you are talking about, why they think whatever it is you think they think. It might help to ask politely.
If you think some government (America??) supports the Bahais, show us the evidence of this support. Real historical evidence, not just “everybody says so.” I think it’s just convenient for you to bundle all your prejudices up, by supposing that all the people you are prejudiced about support one another.
So far as I know, there are no Bahai classes in Israel, except those that the staff at the world centre arrange for themselves. There is no Bahai community in Israel, as I’ve explained before, just working staff. Bahais who do not actually have a job to do there, are asked to leave Israel, and even the staff numbers are kept to a minimum by hiring local staff for non-specialised jobs. I don’t know the total number of Bahai in Israel, but it’s probably in the region 100-300. Bahai staff with children are only hired in quite exceptional cases, so it is likely there are less than a dozen Bahai children in the whole country. Even couples are usually only hired if both can fill a job, again to keep the staff numbers at a minimum.
I have already given you the Hebrew text for Bahai. If you copy that into a browser and search, you will find all that is available on the web in Hebrew. If you are looking for basic Bahai literature in Hebrew, I know that Esselmont’s book Baha’u’llah and the New Era was translated into Hebrew in the 1930’s. It is likely to be in some libraries or archives in Israel. You could also go to Haifa and ask at the gardens for some literature.
I am continuing to search for more information on the knighthood given to Abdu’l-Baha. I’ve found his name in a list of Persians who received British honours that year: he and Haji Khusrou Khan, Serdar Zafar Bakhtiari got the KBE, and about 20 others got similar honours. I haven’t found an official statement of the reasons, but I did find this which gives some information about how it came about, :
That suggests looking in archives for documents from General Sir Arthur Money, his diaries and administrative documents.
I also found the best quality photograph of the event I have seen, on the page after this one
#144 August 8
Quote from: Nadeem on August 08, 2010, 04:19:41 PM
The year mentioned in the document you produced is 1920. What is the correct date 1920 or 1919?
I found a list of knighthoods and other honours awarded to Persians in 1919, which includes Abdu’l-Baha as receiving a KBE (1919) – no precise date. I have three reports giving three different dates in April, when a ceremony was held in Haifa to present the award.
The problem with Sir Harry Luke’s account, is that there was no honours list announced on 4 December 1919. I thought perhaps he was using handwritten notes, so I checked 9 December, and I thought a number might have been dropped in typesetting, so I checked 14 and 24 December … I found nothing. So Harry Luke might have seen an actual document and be quoting the reason given on it – or he might not.
There is certainly no ban on Bahais performing spiritual and social services in Israel – just on living there (except for staff) and teaching the Bahai Faith there. Abdu’l-Baha himself did not teach the Faith to the local population, but he fed them in time of need and gave charity generously throughout his life, and personally did pastoral care, such as visiting the sick, cleaning their houses, washing the bed-ridden, and so on. That would be what is meant by “spiritual services.”
I found a letter from Major Tudor Pole, who says that after the British had taken Jerusalem, and before they moved north to Haifa and Akka, he was the one who tried to alert the British Army to the danger that Abdu’l-Baha would be in. He recalls:
“It must have been in the early spring of 1918 that I began to feel acute anxiety for ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s safety at Haifa, and that of His family and followers there. I came out of the line in December 1917 during the attack on Jerusalem, and being temporarily incapacitated for active service, was transferred to Intelligence, first at Cairo and later at Ludd, Jaffa, and Jerusalem.
Subject to verification of dates, it was during March 1918 that information reached me from our own espionage service that the Turkish Commander-in-Chief, whose H.Q.S. were then between Haifa and Beirut, had stated his definite intention to “Crucify ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and His family on Mount Carmel” should the Turkish Army be compelled to evacuate haifa and retreat northwards.
With an advance base at and around Jaffa, we were beginning to prepare for a move towards Haifa and the north at that time. For several reasons, including shortage of men and munitions, the British advance was delayed well into the summer of 1918.
Meanwhile, the news reaching me concerning ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s imminent danger became more and more alarming. I tried to arouse interest in the matter among those who were responsible for Intelligence Service activities (including General Clayton, Sir Wyndham Deedes, and Sir Ronald Storrs–the latter having been made Governor of Jerusalem). I also brought the matter before my own chief, General Sir Arthur Money (Chief Administrator of Occupied Enemy Territory). None of these personages knew anything about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, nor could they be made to realize the urgent need to ensure His safety. …
That tells us that the British generally were entirely ignorant of Abdu’l-Baha, and that it is thanks to this one Major (Tudor-Pole) that they were made aware that there was a very important religious leader living in Haifa. One of those mentioned is Sir Arthur Money who, according to another report, soon after initiated the action to award a knighthood to Abdu’l-Baha.
The Major’s letter is published in a book by Lady Blomfield – the aristocrat in London whom he contacted to get instructions sent back to his bosses in Palestine, alerting them to the importance of Abdu’l-Baha. Lady Blomfield was a Bahai, and had met Abdu’l-Baha in London; Tudor-Pole was also a Bahai and had met Abdu’l-Baha in Cairo and Alexandra before the war. It looks as if these two between them are responsible both for getting the British to take notice of the importance of Abdu’l-Baha, and unintentionally via Money, getting him the knighthood.
Quote from: katty on August 09, 2010, 09:47:58 AM
Sen McGlinn, why do you waist your time with a loser who get rewards from Britain.
It is as ridiculous if somebody follow Salman Rashdi for his Satanic verses book and his Sir title from Queen of England.
Britain always reward people to break up the true religion of God, Islam. You have to be that smart to understand this much.
The fact that Abdu’l-Baha got a knighthood is irrelevant to me (and to him, he never used the title). The matter seems to be of interest to some Persians, so I have researched it for them.
Britain was the colonial power in India and Burma, where it introduced Anglo-Muhammadan law and in other ways respected the Islamic community and its institutions – just as they did the Hindus and anyone else they came across. That’s why a small country with a few people could rule 1/4 of the world: the power of toleration! It was the secret weapon of the British Empire. No country in modern times has every thrived without religious toleration.
If the British did not attack Islam in India, where they had the power and thought they were settling down forever, I can’t imagine why they would want to attack Islam in Iran, where they were not the colonial power, or Palestine, where they had a short-term mandate intended to lead to independence and the League of Nations keeping a watch on their performance.
Quote from: Nadeem on August 09, 2010, 08:41:57 AM
“visiting the sick, cleaning their houses, washing the bed-ridden, and so on”.
Amazing !!! Man, only for these activities they gave him Kinghthood and a big reception!!!
If you go down the lists of honorary civil knighthoods (ie, not military and not British subjects), you will see that they are awarded for just this sort of activity, and also to religious leaders such as the Aga Khan, and scientific geniuses such as Marconi. More recently they have been awarded to notables in the entertainment industry.
A partial list is here:
I posted the URL of a fuller listing previously, but that one had both honorary and ‘actual’ knighthoods. Abdu’l-Baha’s was honorary, since he was not a British citizen.
I suppose it is amazing. I don’t know of any other country that goes around awarding honours all over the world. A quaint British tradition. I suppose it serves the purpose of bringing the merits of these people to the attention of the British public.
At least at first, the British were not anti-Islamic in Palestine. The first British governor (his name was Money, he was the one who, according to one report I have quoted above, recommended the knighthood for Abdu’l-Baha) seems to have been rather good at winning acceptance for British rule among the Arab population. One of the things he did was return the waqfs and their revenues to local control: under the Ottomans the waqfs had been controlled from Istanbul and most of their revenues went into government coffers. I think that the knighthood for Abdu’l-Baha would have been part of his hearts-and-minds campaign. Abdu’l-Baha was enormously popular in Haifa because of his charitable work. In the photograph of the ceremony, the man with a white beard behind the city governor is the Mufti of Haifa.
Money opposed the idea of a Jewish homeland-state in Palestine, and was replaced by someone who would support Lord Balfour’s ideas.
Naval power is great for controlling the seas, but ships aren’t much use in controlling a population on land. The secret of British control of their vast empire was toleration and a sufficiently good rule for them to enlist the local population on their side. I am no fan of colonialism — neither was Baha’u’llah, he had some rather acid things to say about it — but when reading history one has to be fair to the facts. If the British had attacked or tried to weaken Islam or Hinduism, they would have been thrown out in no time. What they did was suborn the local religious institutions and other native social institutions, giving them respect and the protection of the rule of law. The Dutch did something similar with Islamic institutions in Indonesia, but only after first conquering the country quite brutally. Compared to them, the British approach was softly softly catchee monkey.
On postwar British attempts to stop Jewish immigration to Palestine, see for example:
which shows they were prepared to go rather far to stop the traffic, but knew the world press and public was sympathetic to the Jews, which limited the British options.
On the sequence of states recognising Israel, the wikipedia article says:
Eleven minutes after the declaration was signed, President Truman de facto recognized the State of Israel, followed by Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi’s Iran (which had voted against the UN partition plan), Guatemala, Iceland, Nicaragua, Romania, and Uruguay. The Soviet Union was the first nation to fully recognize Israel de jure on 17 May 1948, followed by Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Ireland, and South Africa –
By the end of 1948, 20 states had recognised Israel. Britain did so on January 29, 1949.
#155 September 3
Quote from: namayn on September 03, 2010, 03:24:59 PM
The Bahai Faith is the Teachings of Bahaullah. The only administrative framework he specifically wrote about was the creation of local Houses of Justice. Bahaullah appointed his son AbdulBaha to succeed him and then his younger son GhusniAkbar should he outlive AbdulBaha. After the passing of both sons any kind of Bahai administration and leadership was to be established in these local, grassroots, democratically-elected Houses of Justice. Their role was to be consultative, not to create a theocracy. The independent investigation of truth is paramount to the Teachings of Bahaullah.
The creation of a hereditary Guardianship and a centralized Universal House of Justice was an introduction of AbdulBaha and not found in the Revelation of Bahaullah. …
I think there are all sorts of unspoken assumptions there, that make this difficult to relate to the teachings of Baha’u’llah as I know them. But as for what you have said explicitly, both the election of the Houses of Justice and the role of the male descendants of Baha’u’llah are explicit in his teachings, and both began to function during the lifetime of Baha’u’llah himself. There is no support for the idea that the houses of justice were only to be elected when Abdu’l-Baha and his brothers had died – since Baha’u’llah encouraged the election of houses of justice in the Persian-speaking world himself.
I do not think there is any appointment of GhusniAkbar aka Muhammad Ali to succeed Abdu’l-Baha. The whole case rests on a single ambiguous preposition in Baha’u’llah’s Will. To me it says only that the station of Muhammad Ali was below that of Abdu’l-Baha. the preposition is ba’da which is used twice: Baha’u’llah says (literally) “God has ordained the station of the Greater Branch to be beneath his [Abdu’l-Baha’s]. … We have chosen ‘the Greater’ after ‘the Most Great’ …”, “beneath” and “after” are the same word. The Arabic root means, among other things, to be far away, remote, improbable (bear in mind this is an Arabic, not a Persian, text).
Abdu’l-Baha gets a pile of praise and a very explicit job description, whereas Muhammad Ali is simply not mentioned further.
On my blog see
and the discussion in the comments section.
Baha’u’llah also named Hands of the Cause, and established the Huququllah and its trustees, and the institution of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkar. It is not at all true that he envisioned only the Houses of Justice as Bahai institutions. He certainly did not restrict the houses of Justice to a consultative role. he writes :
“The thirteenth Glad-Tidings : The men of God’s House of Justice have been charged with the affairs of the people. They, in truth, are the Trustees of God among His servants and the daysprings of authority in His countries.”
(Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 26)
It is incumbent upon the Trustees of the House of Justice to take counsel together regarding those things which have not outwardly been revealed in the Book, and to enforce that which is agreeable to them.
(Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 68)
and so on, in dozens of different places. However he also did not envision a theocracy – far from it. What we call the separation of church and state is one of his basic teachings. He cites and endorses the New Testament’s “Render unto Caesar”, and he attacks the millennialist expectation that the faithful will come to exercise worldly power:
Were sovereignty to mean earthly sovereignty and worldly dominion, were it to imply the subjection and external allegiance of all the peoples and kindreds of the earth – whereby His loved ones should be exalted and be made to live in peace, and His enemies be abased and tormented – such form of sovereignty would not be true of God Himself, the Source of all dominion, …
… the purpose of these verses is not what they have imagined. Nay, the terms “ascendancy,” “power,” and “authority” imply a totally different station and meaning. For instance, consider the pervading power of those drops of the blood of Husayn which besprinkled the earth. … Furthermore, call to mind the shameful circumstances that have attended the martyrdom of Husayn. … And yet, behold how numerous, in this day, are those who from the uttermost corners of the earth don the garb of pilgrimage, seeking the site of his martyrdom, that there they may lay their heads upon the threshold of his shrine! (Iqan 126-9) http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/b/KI/ki-5.html#pg126
for more such texts see
So he’s quite unambiguous that the ‘sovereignty’ and ‘power’ of religion are not worldly power, but spiritual authority, standing, respect.
In this framework, it is clear why he can both establish houses of justice, to be elected by Bahais only and run their affairs, and also endorse democracy and equality of people of all religions in a secular state. The authority of Houses of Justice is for Bahais, on Bahai matters, the authority of the kings and rulers and the democratic governments he hoped to see elected, is state authority.
Finally, Baha’u’llah did consciously found a religion: he founded a religious community that he calls the people of Baha’, he gave them their own religious laws and practices, he appointed Abdu’l-Baha to head that community after his death.
In short, most of what you have said is inaccurate. But I think there’s some more basic assumption behind all that misunderstanding. If I could figure out what it is, I might be able to help. In the meantime, try to get accurate knowledge from reliable sources, preferably from reading the writings of Baha’u’llah
#156 September 4
I look forward to the day when Iranian media also can have upfront debate on the Bahai Faith. At the moment, media can get in big trouble for just showing a picture of a Bahai house of worship in a travel advertisement. If a media outlet in Iran said anything true about the Bahai Faith, it would be end of publication, and probably prison for the people concerned.
So in the meantime, everyone has to turn to western media and the internet for information and debate. Not just on this topic, but in general
Quote from: Pasdar on September 04, 2010, 10:21:20 AM
What a joke. Don’t you get it? We don’t recognize this British cult as anything good. Allowing Baha’is to advertise on TV, would be similar to us allowing VOA or MKO to advertise on TV. Bahaism is considered an unwanted entity. However, with all of this, it is still NOT TRUE that anyone gets arrested for being a Baha’i. Something which you thugs keep advertising.
I didn’t say that (lots of Bahais are thrown into prison for their unorthodox beliefs, but that’s not what I said in my post). My reference was to Hamshari that accidentally printed a photograph of a Bahai House of Worship in India, and got shut down.
That incident illustrates what I was saying: Iranian editors would be likely to be thrown into prison if they said something true about the Bahai Faith. So they keep silent, or print lies.
For example: There is absolutely no evidence that the British had any hand in the creation of the Bahai Faith. The theory that the British did it is based on a fraud, whose author, Firaydun Adamiyyat, has admitted it is baseless and removed the allegation from the next edition of his book – see
The same can be said of the theory that the Russians did it: it’s based on a forged document that isn’t even remotely plausible: the memoirs of a Russian diplomat who supposedly wrote his memoirs in Persian, long after he had in fact died, about founding the Babi faith in Iran at a time when he was in fact the Russian representative at the Hague in the Netherlands, and what he did later to help Baha’u’llah, at a time when Baha’u’llah was in fact dead!
Similarly the ideas that the Freemasons did it, or the Saudis, or the Zionists: all completely baseless rumours. If there was evidence for one of the stories, all the other stories would be quickly forgotten – but in fact, all the incompatible stories keep circulating.
But suppose you wanted to point out such basic historical facts in, say, an Iranian daily newspaper. Given what happened to Hamshari, do you think the editor would allow it?
That’s why foreign media and internet are such important sources, on all sorts of topics relating to Iran. Censorship undermines the credibility of the media, so that even when they do report something accurately, the readers don’t know whether to believe them or not. The end result is not to strengthen the state ideology, but to weaken the media. This is a rule that has been found true in all countries that have had long-term media censorship.
#163 September 10
do you have any actual evidence that the Bahais sought the support of a colonial power? I mean, actual documentary evidence, with names and dates and details that can be checked?
Likewise, have you any evidence that they are doing “same things” (please define) for the USA?
A useful article on this (in Persian) is Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi’s paper
Baha’I sitizi va Islamgarati dar Iran, 1941-1955,” Iran Nameh, 19:1/2 (Winter/Spring 2001), 79-124
The paper begins, “Over the course of the past 50 years, the Iranian political discourse has continually misrepresented the baha’i religion as a foreign entity. This xenophobic attitude is the culmination of a releentless campaign of purposeful forgetfulness aimed at representing a religion that emerged in the second half of the 13th/19th century from the heart of Shi’i academic seminaries and iran’s religious culture...”
Quote from: Nadeem on September 10, 2010, 07:54:31 AM
Now please go to some ZIONIST forum and teach your peaceful religion to them. As I requested you and as you are aware that they need your ‘peaceful religion’ the most.
Also please provide 2-3 links where we can find more about Baha’u’llah being the promised one of Judiasm? And any religious discussion among the Jews and the Baha’is?
Thanks for the suggestion. I don’t know any zionist sites, but give me the URLs and I will check it out.
I don’t know of any sites where Jews and Bahais discuss things, nor any Bahai literature about Baha’u’llah being the promised one of Judaism.
The nearest thing I can point you to is a historical study, “Messianic expectations and evolving identities: the conversion of Iranian Jews to the bahais Faith, by Mehrdad Amanat, in Brookshaw and Fazel (eds) The Baha’is of Iran: Socio-historical studies, Routledge, 2008.
Amanat’s study begins in 1878 and runs through to the 1930’s. One point that might interest you is that he thinks the rise of Zionism in Iran, from 1912 (first Zionist committee in Hamadan) affected the conversion of Jews to the Bahai Faith, which declined about the same time.
#168 September 13
It would all be so much easier if there were no religious minorities, adulteresses, journalists and bloggers and protesters. Sensible governments realise that persecuting religious minorities, stoning adulteresses, jailing journalists and bloggers, beating up protesters in front of cameras, etc.. … will draw condemnation, isolate the nation, and — yes — provide a propaganda weapon to the country’s enemies. Sensible governments also conclude that blaming the minorities, etc.. will not reduce the power of that propaganda weapon at all. Sensible governments therefore stop doing the things that provide a propaganda weapon to the country’s enemies. They may even blame those whose brutality hands the enemies this weapon, rather than blaming their victims.
Bahai belief, like any belief or atheism, certainly has political and social implications, but the Bahai Faith as an organisation is completely non-political, and the separation of church and state is one of the basic Bahai teachings. Abdu’l-Baha writes:
[ninth] Religion is separated from politics: religion does not enter into political matters, in fact, it is linked with the hearts, not with the world of bodies. The leaders of religion should devote themselves to teaching and training the souls and propagating good morals, and they should not enter into political matters. ( http://reference.bahai.org/fa/t/ab/KA1/ka1-35.html )
That doesn’t stop him advocating political policies such as universal peace based on treaties and collective deterence, or a system of social welfare to support the needy, based on progressive taxation, but he advocates the first as something governments should do, the second as something the local people should initiate (“In brief, in every village a Board (anjoman) should be established among the mature persons [`uqalaa’] of that village.”… see https://senmcglinn.wordpress.com/2009/06/11/socialism/
Quote from: Nadeem on September 14, 2010, 07:02:58 AM
Remember what Imam Khomeini Said :
It is a political group and they have no right to practice in Iran.
However often this is repeated, it does not become true. To be recognised as true, it has to have some evidence, and where is the evidence ??
It is also self-contradictory. If it is not a religion, there would be no need to ban practicing the religion. There would be no need to offer Bahai prisoners their freedom if they convert to Islam or undertake not to practice their religion.
#172 September 14
[in response to: This is the fact everybody knows in Iran.
Bahai was manufactured by colonial power and used by Britain to stop Iranians from progressing since its inception.
Bahais has stolen some text from Persian culture, Koran, Sufism and Iranian poems and tarnslated them into different languages ]
Everybody knew the earth was flat – until somebody tested it.
“Everybody knows” is no evidence. What would be evidence that Bahai was manufactured by a colonial power would be historical documents (real ones, not the Dolgorukov memoirs) that show there was any contact between the British / Russians and the Bab / Baha’u’llah. But there is no evidence.
Bahai is in fact deeply rooted in Persian culture: Baha’u’llah was an educated man and quotes Quran and Hafez, and speaks to the Sufis using Sufi terms. Well spotted ! Doesn’t this show that it was not made up by the British ? Or do you imagine that around 1840-70, the British were experts in Quran, Sufism and Iranian poetry?
Quote from: maiser on September 14, 2010, 03:53:00 PM
From what i understand Sheik Abdu’l-Baha hilsemf was not out to create a sect, but was a shia cleric, a very prominent one. His followers created the sect after he died. Thats at least what ive heard.
Not true. Baha’u’llah (Abdu’l-Baha’s father) established a new religion with new laws, and a new community of believers, the Bahais. He certainly expected it to exist as a separate community, in the first case because he gave the Bahais a different Fast, Namaz/daily prayer, and pilgrimage, so he could hardly have expected the Bahais to live as Muslims (or Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians). Second, he established the Houses of Justice, elected bodies that replace the ulama as leaders of the Bahai community. Third, he appointed his son Abdu’l-Baha to lead the community after him. Abdu’l-Baha took this further, encouraging the Houses of Justice to be established wherever there were enough knowledgeable believers (which at first meant in Persia and the Caucasus, later all over the world); encouraging the Bahais to drop their Jewish/Zoroastrian/Christian/Muslim identities, and adopt the practices of the Bahai Faith in their place; and appointing Shoghi Effendi to head the community after him.
None of this would make any sense if Baha’u’llah was not intending to create a new religion
Quote from: Nadeem on September 13, 2010, 01:30:55 PM
Sen as requested by you, I am giving you some addresses of Jewish Forums. Now lets see your performances there :
Start a thread to discuss about Baha’u’llah as the promised one of Judaism.
Sorry, I missed the post with the links in it. Thanks
As I’ve said before, I don’t know of any Bahai literature about Baha’u’llah being the promised one of Judaism. There may be some, I just don’t know about it. So there wouldn’t be much point in my starting a thread on that topic. But I will check out the links and see if there is something there I do know something about, such as the conversion of Persian Jews to the Bahai Faith.
I did in fact sign up for 4 Israeli forums that Nadeem was so keen on me to join. One rejected my application, one put me on hold and never got back, one I don’t remember, and one let me join: the Israel Military Forum. However a search there revealed that the Bahai Faith was not a topic of conversation, at all. I don’t think it’s a good practice to jump into forums and start talking about the Bahai Faith (this is known as Bahaijacking), so I never posted anything there. ~~ Sen, February 26, 2011
Short link: http://wp.me/PcgF5-1Hy