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Did the Founders of Baha’ism Refrain From Prejudice?

Sunday, 08 November 2015 23:36 Written by  font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size

 

Did the Founders of Baha’ism Refrain From Prejudice?

IMRAN SHAYKH

A quick review of Baha’i scripture and history shows that Baha’i leaders have shown great a great amount of prejudice regarding different matters. We will now enumerate some of these instances:

1- The Bab
Some of the most extreme and most violent prejudice and zeal in Baha’i history can be found in the laws and actions of the Bab: 
The order to destroy all non-Babi books. 
The order to destroy all monuments. 
The order to exile or massacre all non-Babi people. 
Prohibition of teaching any book but those that the Bab had revealed. 
The order to confiscate the wealth of non-Babis.

References for above:

  • The Bab, Farsi Bayan: \"Chapter six of the sixth unit which is about destroying all books but those that have been written or will be written about this order (meaning the Bab’s creed).\"
  • \"The utterance of the [book or religion] of Bayan in the day of the appearance of his Highness A`la (meaning the Bab) was to behead, burn the books, destroy the monuments, and massacre [everyone] but those who believed [in the Bab’s religion] and verified it,\" Abdul Baha, Makatib (Egypt: 1330 AH), vol. 2, p. 266
  • The Bab, Farsi Bayan: \"The sixteenth chapter of the seventh unit which is about [the decree] that all rulers who rise who are [followers] of the religion of the Bayan, leave no-one in their land who is not a follower of this religion. This is compulsory upon all the people too\"; \"The utterance of the [book or religion] of Bayan in the day of the appearance of his Highness A`la (meaning the Bab) was to behead, burn the books, destroy the monuments, and massacre [everyone] but those who believed [in the Bab’s religion] and verified it,\" Abdul Baha, Makatib (Egypt: 1330 AH), vol. 2, p. 266.
  • The Bab, Farsi Bayan: \"The tenth chapter of the fourth unit which is about [the decree] that it is prohibited to teach any book but the book of Bayan.\"
  • The Bab, Farsi Bayan: \"The fifth chapter of the fifth unit which is about the decree of taking the property of those who do not believe in [the religion] of Bayan and giving it back if they become believers in this religion, except in the lands where taking [property] is not possible.\"

Even with all these savage and irrational laws, Baha’i prejudice and zeal towards the Bab is so great that he is regarded by them as one of the greatest prophets of God. Bahaullah had so much zeal with respect to the Bab that he had uttered that a single word from his book was more dear to him than anything in the skies and on the earth. 
\"I [swear by] He who in His hand is my soul and my essence, a single letter from the Bayan is dearer to me than everything that is in the heavens and the earth,\" Asad-Allah Fazil Mazandarani, Asrar al-athar khususi, vol. 5, p. 333.

2- Removal of Prejudice: Only for Non-Baha’is 
If all prejudice and zeal must be put aside, even religious zeal, then Baha’is too, must put aside their religious beliefs and stop preaching their religion to others. As we previously showed, when Abdul Baha speaks about setting aside religious prejudice, he only addresses non-Baha’is:

Zoroastrians say we are right, Jews say we are right, Christians say we are right, and Buddhists say we are right. How can the [one who is really] right be shown? The follower of Moses must put aside prejudice, the Christian must put aside prejudice, and the Buddhist must put aside prejudice. Not until this is performed will it be possible to expose the truth . . . [no one] should have prejudice. 
Abd al-Hamid Ishraq Khawari, Payam-i malakut, p.18.

Why have Baha’is been excluded from this order? Why shouldn’t they too put aside prejudice? Why don’t Baha’is practice what they preach? Why does Abdul Baha state that words needs actions but his own words remain only as words:

Words need actions. Words without actions are like a bee without honey or a tree without fruits. 
Riyaz Qadimi, Gulzar-i ta`alim Baha’i, p. 1.

3- Bahai Attitude Toward Deniers 
The Bahai corpus is filled with sentences about the need to put aside all prejudice. For example: Keep aloof from the scent of ignorant prejudice, enmity, vulgar hatred, and sexual, national and religious delusions, for they are all against God’s religion and His satisfaction and will deprive mankind of God’s graces . . . do not have the slightest hatred towards anyone from any nation, religion, tribe, sex, or land, rather show utmost compassion and friendship. 
Riyaz Qadimi, Gulzar-i ta`alim Baha’i, pp. 366-367

But when it concerns Baha’ism directly, this is no longer the case and a very disturbing prejudice can be seen in Bahaullah’s orders: We must avoid deniers in all affairs and must not become fond of them or sit and converse with them even for a moment, for by God the [effect of] evil individuals on pure individuals is like fire on dry wood and heat on cold snow. 
Abd al-Hamid Ishraq Khawari, Ma’idiy-i asimani, vol. 8, pp. 39.

We showed many other similar quotes in the second chapter.

4- Baha\'is Have No Prejudice but Non-Baha\'is Are Bastards 
Abdul Baha says: Praise God that you have accepted this great affair that is the light of the horizons and the promoter of the oneness of humanity. You detest all prejudice and show utmost compassion and kindness to all religions. You love all humanity. 
Abdul Baha, Makatib (Egypt), vol. 3, pp. 81-82.

We must not desire ourselves and must regard others as better than ourselves, even those who are not believers . . . we must see all people superior to ourselves . . . we must see other peoples shortcomings as our own shortcomings for if we didn’t have shortcomings ourselves we couldn’t have seen the shortcomings of others. Man must always see himself as imperfect and others perfect. 
Abd al-Hamid Ishraq Khawari, Ganjiniy-i Hudud wa ahkam, chap. 49, p. 326-327

The falsity of the claims of having no prejudice and loving all humanity can be seen when we compare Abdul Baha’s words with those of his father. As we showed in chapter two, Bahaullah regards all those who deny him as being bastards.

5- Baha\'is Have No Prejudice but Non-Baha\'is Are Animals 
According to Bahaullah non-Baha’is are animals: Today, according to the decree of the Point of Bayan (meaning the Bab), those individuals who turn away from this Novel Affair (meaning Baha’ism) are deprived of the garb of being called and described [as humans?] and are assembled and mentioned as animals in the presence of God. 
Bahaullah, Badi`, p. 213.

Non-Baha’is must be viewed as earthworms and their sound is the buzz of flies . They are mentioned among the livestock .

  • \"Do not see the polytheists (deniers of Baha’ism) but as earthworms and their sounds but the buzzing of flies,\" Bahaullah, Athar-i Qalam-i A`la, vol. 1, no. 20, p. 183.
  • \"O group of polytheists (deniers of Baha’ism), if you take pride in your name remaining amongst the animals or being mentioned amongst the livestock, then take pride in that for you are worthy of it,\" Bahaullah, Athar-i Qalam-i A`la, vol. 2, no. 81, p. 452.

Instead of preaching to non-Baha’is, Abdul Baha should have reminded his father that: This century, is the century of progress. These prejudices are unjustified. These are rooted in ignorance. 
Abd al-Hamid Ishraq Khawari, Payam-i malakut, p. 25

Is considering non-Baha’is to be non-humans not a clear sign of prejudice? Whose words should Baha’is adhere to? Abdul Baha who claims prejudice is rooted in ignorance? Or Bahaullah who insists on having prejudice?

6- Baha\'is Are Jewels and Other People Worthless Rocks 
If any creed or group had claimed that they themselves were jewels and all other people were worthless pieces of rock, would Baha’is not have expressed their dissatisfaction because of such blatant prejudice? Why is it acceptable for Bahaullah to utter such words:

My friends are the pearls of [this] order and all others are earthly pebbles . . . a single one of these (Baha’is) is more precious than a million others (non-Baha’is). 
Abd al-Hamid Ishraq Khawari, Ma’idiy-i asimani, vol. 4, p. 353

Why must one show such ignorance, as Abdul Baha puts it, by having all this prejudice:

We must neither say bad things nor quarrel. We must know that all are the servants of one God and are encompassed with his sea of mercy . . . see how ignorant people can be by being prisoners of such prejudice. 
Abd al-Hamid Ishraq Khawari, Payam-i malakut, p. 25

Even though the words of the leaders of this creed have a high degree of prejudice in them, Abdul Baha announces with great pride that: We must thank God a hundred thousand times every moment, that thank-god, we have been freed from ignorant prejudice and are kind to all of God’s sheep. 
Abdul Baha, Makatib (Egypt), vol. 3, p. 43

7- Non-Baha’is Inherit Nothing from Baha’i Parents 
If in the Baha’i creed, religious prejudice has really been abolished, and all people, regardless of their religion have equal rights, then why are non-Baha’is deprived of their share of inheritance from their deceased parents? 
\"Bahaullah states that non-Baha’is have no right to inherit from their Baha’i parents or relatives,\" Bahaullah, The Kitabi Aqdas, p. 184 And why does Abdul Baha insist that there are equality of rights:

There is equality between people and complete brotherhood. Justice implies that the rights of humankind be protected and preserved and all have equal rights. 
Abd al-Hamid Ishraq Khawari, Payam-i malakut, p. 30

How can such discriminatory laws be considered just and manifestations of complete brotherhood? How are they not examples of clear religious prejudice? Perhaps Bahaullah has a totally new definition for prejudice.

8- Baha\'is Have No Prejudice but All Non-Baha\'is Are Ignorant and Unreasonable 
We have quoted Bahaullah multiple times saying only Baha’is can be referred to as knowledgeable and reasonable. If this is not prejudice, then what is it? Is this the meaning of not seeing ourselves superior to others, as described below:

One of Bahaullah’s teachings is mutual aid between humans. This aid is much greater than equality. It means that not only one must not see himself superior to others; rather, he must sacrifice his life and belongings for other people. 
Abdul Baha, Makatib (Egypt), vol. 3, p. 107

9- Racial prejudice in Baha’i teachings 
As we already pointed out in the second chapter, there exists a certain degree of racial prejudice in the Baha’i scripture. For instance Abdul Baha believes that Turks deserve ridiculous answers and all Africans are like savage wild animals that are cows with human faces until they are nurtured.

  • \"When Djemal Pasha . . . reached Acre and asked to see me, I mounted a donkey and headed for his home. As soon as he saw me, he greeted me and sat me next to him and without hesitation said: \"You are a corrupter of religion and that is why the government of Iran exiled you here . . .\" I thought to myself that he is a Turk and I must give him a ridiculous and silencing answer,\" Asad-Allah Fazil Mazandarani, Asrar al-athar khususi,vol. 3,p. 42-43
  • \"The inhabitants of a land like Africa are all like wild savages and land-dwelling animals that lack common-sense and knowledge and are all wild. There is not a single wise and civilized person among them,\" Abdul Baha, Makatib (Egypt), vol. 1, pp. 331
  • \"The wild tribes have no superiority over animals. For example, what is the difference between African blacks and American blacks? The [black Africans] are cows that God has created with human faces. The [black Americans] are civilized, intelligent, and have culture,\" Abdul Baha, Khatabat (Tehran), vol. 3, p. 48.

10- Sexual Prejudice 
Although Baha’is preach for equality between men and women, their laws show a great degree of prejudice and discrimination towards women and women are regarded inferior to men. For example, they take a smaller share of inheritance and cannot be a member of the Universal House of Justice. We will present many other examples in the tenth chapter.

  • \"A woman’s question was referred to him who had asked why hasn’t God made any woman Prophets and why have all Divine Manifestations been men. He answered, ‘Although women and men share the same capacities and abilities, there is definitely no doubt that men are superior and stronger. Even in animals like pigeons, sparrows, peacocks, and other [birds] this advantage is visible,’\" Mahmud Zaraqani, Bada’i` al-athar, vol. 1, p. 153.
  • The deceased’s property are split into 2520 portions. Out of these, 1080 are for the children, 390 for the wives, fathers 330, mothers 270, brothers 210, sisters 150, teachers 90 (Abd al-Hamid Ishraq Khawari, Ganjiniy-i Hudud wa ahkam, chap. 10, p. 117-119).
  • Abd al-Hamid Ishraq Khawari, Ganjiniy-i Hudud wa ahkam, chap. 27, p. 219.

With all these forms of prejudice, Abdul Baha still insists that: To reach the goal of (removing prejudice) we strive . . . but others just talk. 
Abd al-Hamid Ishraq Khawari, Payam-i malakut, p. 99

Yes they strive. They strive by saying non-Bahais are like dry wood that are only worthy of fire, no socializing is allowed with them, and the earth will be cleansed from their filth when the Baha’i kingdom materializes.

  • \"Anyone who has a garden will not allow the dry trees to remain in the garden and will definitely cut them and throw them in fire, for dry wood is only worthy of fire. Thus, O inhabitants of my orchard, protect yourselves from the wicked poisonous breath and void breeze which is socializing with the polytheists (deniers of Baha’ism) and the unaware (ghafil),\" Abd al-Hamid Ishraq Khawari, Ma’idiy-i asimani, vol. 8, p. 39.
  • \"Do not socialize with those who deny God (meaning non-Baha’is) and his signs and keep away from their kind,\" Abd al-Hamid Ishraq Khawari, Ma’idiy-i asimani, vol. 8, p. 39; \"In it incumbent on ever soul to keep away from the wicked breath of the polytheists (deniers of Bahaism),\" Abd al-Hamid Ishraq Khawari, Ma’idiy-i asimani, vol. 8, p. 39; \"Know that God has forbidden his friends from meeting with the polytheists (deniers of Baha’ism) and hypocrites,\" Abd al-Hamid Ishraq Khawari, Ma’idiy-i asimani, vol. 4, p. 280. for more quotes refer to chapter 2.
  • \"God will soon take out from the sleeves of power the hands of strength and dominance and will make the Servant (Bahaullah) victorious and will cleanse the earth from the filth of every rejected polytheist (deniers of Baha\'ism). And they will stand by the cause and will conquer the lands using my mighty eternal name and will enter the lands and they will be feared by all the servants,\" Bahaullah, Athar-i Qalam-i A`la, vol. 2, no. 90, p. 587

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