“They don’t want to leave a trace of anything Baha’i”

Some fear the oppression of a little-known religious minority in Iran is intensifying


 

Naeim Tavakkoli last saw his father Behrouz three years ago in Tehran’s infamous Evin prison. Behrouz, a leader in among the 300,000 Iranians who follow the Baha’i religion, had failed to come home weeks earlier. Naeim, his mother, and brother searched hospitals and police stations but found no trace. Finally they were told Behrouz had been arrested by the Intelligence Ministry and were allowed to see him.

The three of them sat across from Behrouz on a small bench in a tiny room with two government agents standing behind them, watching and listening. “My father was slim, pale, with a long beard. They didn’t let him shave,” Naeim said in an interview with Maclean’s. “He was limping, wearing a jail uniform, not quite clean. Pajamas, basically.”

Naeim told his father he was moving to Canada, and his father wished him well. A few months later, Behrouz was released but Naeim was already in Ottawa, where he now lives. Behrouz later heard from his mother that his father had been forced to sit on a stool for 24 hours at a time and sleep on concrete. He developed kidney problems. But he was free, at least for a while.

Last May, Behrouz was arrested again. Security agents came at six o’clock in the morning. Naeim’s mother asked for time to pack her husband some warm clothes but was told he wouldn’t live long enough to need them.

Behrouz has been in jail ever since, part of an escalating crackdown on a religious minority that few outside Iran know much about. Six other Baha’i leaders were arrested last spring, five on the same morning as Behrouz. Five more were arrested in January, including Zhinoos Sobhani, who worked for the Organization for Defending Mine Victims and the Centre of Human Rights Defenders–both founded by Iran’s Nobel Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi. These arrests are in addition to the everyday discrimination suffered by Baha’is. They are not permitted to attend university, and their cemeteries are regularly ransacked.

Mohamad Tavakoli, a professor of history and near and eastern civilizations at the University of Toronto, says that there has been longstanding enmity on the part of Shia religious authorities toward Baha’ism, a monotheistic religion that originated in Persia during the 19th century. This hostility increased following the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and has become particularly severe under the presidency of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his emphasis on the messianic strains of Shia Islam.

The Baha’i are not the only religious minority of Iran. Several thousand Iranians follow the pre-Islamic Zoroastrian religion. In Esfahan, easily Iran’s most beautiful city, the trendiest cafés are in the Christian Armenian quarters, where young Muslims also gather to talk and flirt. There are at least 20,000 Jews in Iran, more than in any other Middle Eastern country save Israel itself. They are occasionally persecuted, usually because of trumped-up connections to Israel. But there is little grassroots anti-Semitism. Many of the merchants on Shiraz’s main street are Jewish, and synagogues require no security–unlike, say, in Paris. Iranian Jews, like Christians, have official minority status and are guaranteed representation in the country’s parliament.

The Baha’i have no such protection. Whereas Christians and Jews are recognized as “people of the book,” the Baha’i are seen as heretics and political subversives.

“Baha’ism has become scapegoated as a religion,” Tavakoli says. “With the emergence of political Islam, Baha’ism has been cast as a religion that contributes to the disintegration of, and has been used to bring down Islam.”

The founder of the Baha’i faith, Bahá’u’lláh, died in Palestine and has his tomb in what is now Israel, where it is an important place of pilgrimage. Iranian authorities use this connection to denigrate the religion “They cast Baha’ism as the handmaiden of Zionism, whereas Baha’is were in the Holy Land before a lot of the European Zionists came there, and were there before the establishment of the state of Israel,” Tavakoli says.

Naeim says the Iranian government, which effectively controls the media and uses it to whip up hatred, drives much of the anti-Baha’i hostility. “The people are good,” he says. But he also recalls that as a boy religious teachers in his school would tell other students that Baha’i were unclean, and he would sit on the floor with his fellow students afraid to come too close lest they accidentally brush against him. When he had the opportunity to come to Canada he seized it, joining the thousands of Iranian Baha’i who have immigrated here.

He knows that the Baha’i have been persecuted since their religion was founded–and his father has been arrested before as well. But he fears that the oppression of Baha’i in Iran is reaching a new intensity. He worries about the wave of arrests, the destruction of cemeteries, as if a people’s history itself can be erased. “We don’t know what’s going to happen next,” he says. “They don’t want to leave a trace of anything Baha’i.”


 

“They don’t want to leave a trace of anything Baha’i”

  1. Bahai faith is the most tolerant faith on earth. It emphasizes the education of girls and women and demands full equality of men and women. It is shame that the world has turned its back on it and ignores the plight of the Bahais in Iran.

  2. I would like to commend Michael Petrou for this well-researched and objective story. Most, if not all, religions faced intense persecution during their early, formative years. Sadly, it seems that the Baha’i, like the Jewish, Christian, Muslim before them, are not exempt, even in the 21st century. History does repeat itself. I would like to point out a good source of information on this topic, “The Muslim network for Baha’i rights”, http://www.bahairights.org. It is unusual because it is developed by a group of Muslim interfaith activists who believe in tolerance, coexistence and freedom. It is good because they created this site to promote human rights, religious freedom and respect within the Arab and Muslim world. I have no personal connection or affiliation with this group, but such values should apply to all people equally regardless of their faith, cultural differences, political stance or nationality. More people should be joining such efforts not only as believers of freedom, but also for the sake of a better and more productive society, one that embraces diversity instead of stifling it by oppressing minorities.

  3. The Baha’is in Iran have been recognized by many of the Iranian muslims as people who respect both the history of Persia and the future of Iran. Tyrants come and ago and the truth can be held at bay by force for a time, but no one can stop an idea whose time has come. Indeed, it is time for Iranian muslims to demand accountability from those in authority who arrest people without cause and all too often execute them without trial. As one very well-known Baha’i poetess stated calmly before her execution in the middle of the 19th Century, “You may take my life but you cannot stop the emancipation of women.”

  4. I, too, would like to commend Michael Petrou for this well-researched and objective story. In the greater scheme of things, it is information such as his article which contributes to the gradual emergence of truths conducive to human transformation. Iran’s persecution of Baha’is can be seen as the “purest form of religious persecution today”, according to the U.S. Committee on Refugees (1986.

    Despite the Baha’i Faith’s youthfulness, its inherent truths concerning human reality, God, and religion itself, have enabled it to already become the most widespread religion on earth, after Christianity. In other words, its spread exceeds that of Islam, Judaism, Hindu, etc. This fact alone has caused many to investigate it. Because greater and more relevant religious truth is always revealed by God’s progressively sent Manifestations. Baha’u’llah is God’s latest.

    Why its persecution? Among the eternal laws given by His Holiness Jesus is that “old skins cannot contain new wine”. Hence the inability of traditional religious systems to contain new and divinely revealed truths. This adequately explains not only the persecution of Baha’is in Iran but by many religious leaders of other faiths as well, globally.

    Again, thank you for this article.

  5. This touching article helps shed light on the most recent 30 year wave in the 160+ year persecution of the tolerant and progressive Baha’i community in Iran, and the systematic use of distortion and lies which sustains these attacks. How strange the reaction to a community which has so evidently championed unity, forgiveness, non-violence and peace! The patient and constructive response of the Baha’is in Iran, rather than fighting back with demonstrations and the gun, keeps news of their predicament off of the front pages. Although a relatively small but growing religion, it is, in fact, unusually widespread. Wikipedia notes “there are an estimated five to six million Bahá’ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories”. I have lived and traveled in dozens of countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, North America and Europe, from Bangladesh to Ukraine, Ethiopia to Antigua, and met active Baha’i communities in all of them.

  6. It is such a crime that the Iranians do not allow for the free expression of religious beliefs. It is also a crime that the main Baha’i organization is trying to squelch the free speech of Orthodox Baha’is. See the following: Details of the Court Action: http://www.truebahai.com/court_case.html

    • The justification offered by the leadership of the large body of Bahá’ís for its Court action to stifle the freedom of religion of Orthodox Bahá’ís also parallels the justification offered by the Iranian Government agencies which oppress Bahá’ís in Iran, namely that they consider Orthodox Bahá’ís to be heretics/apostates/Covenant-breakers. Their reasoning is identical. Those leaders of the large body of Bahá’ís are seeking by Court action to stop Orthodox Bahá’ís from using the name Bahá’í, and from using the symbols of their Faith.

    • There isn’t such a thing as orthodox Baha’i. Just letting u know.

      • You who say: “There isn’t such a thing as orthodox Baha’i”, are you saying that Judge Amy J. St. Eve, who ruled in favor of Orthodox Bahá’ís is not a real Judge,and the the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals which scheduled the Appeal of Judge St. Eve’s decision is not a real Court? Why in the world would anyone want to embarrass herself/himself by making such a statement?

        • I was shocked by your comment here. There is never any reason to insult someone because of a disagreement.

          There is no such thing as “orthodox Baha’i” because Baha’is belive in unity over everything else. If some people call themselves Baha’is, but don’t choose the path of unity, and instead separate themselves from other Bahai’s, then they are not behaving as Baha’is. One of the important things about the Baha’i faith is that there are no schisms or divisions within the faith. This can be very difficult when people don’t wish to abide by all the teachings, or have other reasons to disagree with certain tenets of the faith, but their choice is to leave the faith, or else to make the sacrifices that are asked of them. Of course, that is their choice, very rarely is someone required to leave the faith.

          Of course, legally, anyone can set up a corporation called “Orthodox Baha’is” and become involved in litigation. However, you or I could set up a corporation called “God” and become involved in litigation. But of course, the ‘real’ God won’t appear in court! In the legal sense the “orthodox Baha’is” exist.

          Unity, working together to build a world based on equality and diversity, is a lofty goal indeed, and of course progress will be slow, as there will be a lot of discussion, disagreement, and sometimes hurt feelings or even anger. However, the goal of peace is so important that maybe we can try to put aside our personal feelings and forgive others so that we can continue to strive for things that are more important to us.

      • The author of this article states, “Despite the Baha’i Faith’s youthfulness, its inherent truths concerning human reality, God, and religion itself, have enabled it to already become the most widespread religion on earth, after Christianity. . . This fact alone has caused many to investigate it.”
        This investigation is one of the twelve principals of the Baha’i Faith, and when followed, as the Baha’i Faith designates through Independent Investigation, mankind is lead unto God’s Reality or Truth. But man must keep investigating.
        How odd to not know of the Orthodox Baha’i Faith. I, being in my 50’s, babysat 4th generation Orthodox Baha’i children over 30 years ago!
        beth

        • Dear Anne-Marie

          Thank you for your comment. You wrote: “However, the goal of peace is so important that maybe we can try to put aside our personal feelings and forgive others so that we can continue to strive for things that are more important to us.” That is a noble goal. Let’s work towards achieving it together. Incidentally, Orthodox Bahá’ís did not commence this litigation. They were just minding their own business as they have been doing for decades, and suddenly they found themselves facing Court action against them instigated by the National spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States. Also, you mentioned: “people don’t wish to abide by all the teachings, or have other reasons to disagree with certain tenets of the faith,…” Shoghi Effendi was asked how to identify a true Bahá’í believer and in response he included on the list of essential requirements which he provided this
          quality: “…loyal and steadfast adherence to every clause of our Beloved’s sacred Will.” And that requirement was included in the By-Laws of all Local spiritual assemblies in the United states:

          From The Bahá’í World 1954-1963, from ARTICLE V, page 59:

          “The Bahá’ís of…,for whose benefit this Corporation has been established, shall consist of all persons resident in … who are recognized by the Spiritual Assembly as having fulfilled the requirements of voting membership in this local Bahá’í community. To become a voting member of this Bahá’í community a person shall

          c. Have established to the satisfaction of the Spiritual Assembly, subject to the approval of the National Spiritual Assembly, that he (or she) possesses the qualifications of Bahá’í Faith and practice required under the following standard: Full recognition of the Station of the Fore-runner (The Bab), the Author (Bahá’u’lláh), and `Abdu’l-Bahá the Exemplar of the Bahá’í religion; unreserved acceptance of, and submission to, whatsoever has been revealed by Them; loyal and steadfast adherence to every clause of `Abdu’l-Bahá’s sacred Will and Testament…”
          Also, on page 4 of The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, which Shoghi Effendi wrote, he identified the Will and Testament of `Abdu’l-Bahá, together with the Most Holy Book to be “inseparable parts of one complete unit”. That statement by the first Guardian tells us that the Will and Testament of `Abdu’l-Bahá is sacred and immutable. no human can legally alter it or add to it, and it is Bahá’í Holy Text. Bahá’ís are required to show “loyal and steadfast adherence to every clause” of that Holy Document.

          That is a tenet of the true Bahá’í Faith. Orthodox Bahá’ís obey that tenet of their Faith.

          Every clause.

          Cordially,
          Ross

          • Ross, do you know what the main point of the Bahai faith is?
            It is a religion brough to us by Baha’u’llah to UNITE ALL THE PEOPLES AND RACES OF THE EARTH and to deliver God’s present message to them.
            Who could possibly call themselves Baha’i if they break away from the faith to create their own little sect.
            Do you know what that does? That created DISunity in the religion that wishes to create UNITY. Being what you and others call “Orthodox Baha’i” is an oxymoron in itself.
            What Orthodox Bahai’s have done is to stain the pure name of the faith by creating disunity. Whatever came afterwards (court cases, etc.) was a result of that initial “breaking-off”. The Baha’i faith has become a joke to any non-Baha’i knowing of the so called “orthodox Bahai’s, because they see this. They see disunity in what is supposed to be a unifying religion.
            Please, tell me, because I truly wish to know, what you “Orthodox Bahai’s” have in difference with the Baha’i Faith that is lead by the Universal House of Justice( **as desired by Baha’u’llah, Abdul-Baha and the Guardian explicitly during their respective times)?

            Is it worth the dis-unity? Is it worth the enmity and discord? I don’t think so.

            Rouhani

          • Rouhani wrote:

            Ross, do you know what the main point of the Bahai faith is?
            It is a religion brough to us by Baha’u’llah to UNITE ALL THE PEOPLES AND RACES OF THE EARTH and to deliver God’s present message to them.
            Who could possibly call themselves Baha’i if they break away from the faith to create their own little sect.
            Do you know what that does? That created DISunity in the religion that wishes to create UNITY. Being what you and others call “Orthodox Baha’i” is an oxymoron in itself.
            What Orthodox Bahai’s have done is to stain the pure name of the faith by creating disunity. Whatever came afterwards (court cases, etc.) was a result of that initial “breaking-off”. The Baha’i faith has become a joke to any non-Baha’i knowing of the so called “orthodox Bahai’s, because they see this. They see disunity in what is supposed to be a unifying religion.
            Please, tell me, because I truly wish to know, what you “Orthodox Bahai’s” have in difference with the Baha’i Faith that is lead by the Universal House of Justice( **as desired by Baha’u’llah, Abdul-Baha and the Guardian explicitly during their respective times)?

            Is it worth the dis-unity? Is it worth the enmity and discord? I don’t think so.

            Rouhani

            Dear Rouhani,

            To see unity at the cost of disobedience to `Abdu’l-Bahá, the Center of the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh, is to deny our Faith. True Bahá’ís do not disobey the Master in order to pursue unity. You wrote:

            “Ross, do you know what the main point of the Bahai faith is?”

            Shoghi Effendi taught that the “primary mission” of the Bahá’í Faith is intrinsically bound together with the sacred and immutable Will and Testament of `Abdu’l-Bahá, which is, as identified by Shoghi effendi, “The Charter of the New world Order”. Listen carefully to Shoghi
            Effendi’s words:

            “It would…be helpful and instructive to bear in mind certain basic principles with reference to the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, which together with the Kitab-i-Aqdas, constitutes the chief depository wherein are enshrined those priceless elements of that Divine Civilization, the establishment of which is the primary mission of the Bahá’í Faith. A study of the provisions of these sacred documents will reveal the close relationship that exists between them as well as the identity of purpose and method which they inculcate. Far from regarding their specific provisions as incompatible and contradictory in spirit, every fair-minded inquirer will readily admit that they are not only complementary, but that they mutually confirm one another, and are inseparable parts of one complete unit.”

            “…inseparable parts of one complete unit”

            He also wrote these words about that Holy immutable Document, the Masters Will and Testament:

            “The creative energies released by the Law of Bahá’u’lláh,
            permeating and evolving within the mind of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, have, by
            their very impact and close interaction, given birth to an Instrument
            which may be viewed as the Charter of the New World Order which is at
            once the glory and the promise of this most great Dispensation. The
            Will may thus be acclaimed as the inevitable offspring resulting from
            that mystic intercourse between Him Who communicated the generating
            influence of His divine Purpose and the One Who was its vehicle and
            chosen recipient. Being the Child of the Covenant- the Heir of both
            the Originator and the Interpreter of the Law of God-the Will and
            Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá can no more be divorced from Him Who
            supplied the original and motivating impulse than from the One Who
            ultimately conceived it. Bahá’u’lláh’s inscrutable purpose, we must
            ever bear in mind, has been so thoroughly infused into the conduct of
            ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and their motives have been so closely wedded together,
            that the mere attempt to dissociate the teachings of the former from
            any system which the ideal Exemplar of those same teachings has
            established would amount to a repudiation of one of the most sacred and
            basic truths of the Faith.”

            The teachings of Bahá’u’lláh cannot be divorced/separated from the system
            delineated by `Abdu’l-Bahá in His sacred Will and Testament. Every sacred
            Institution delineated by Him in that Holy Document will be part of the Administration
            of God’s Kingdom on Earth.

            The leadership of the large body of Bahá’ís is rejecting the sacred Institutions which
            He delineated in His Will and Testament. The requirements for Bahá’í membership
            approved by Shoghi Effendi do not permit any clause of His Will and Testament to be
            ignored or disobeyed.

            Cordially,
            Ross

    • It is so disappointing to see how you turn turn this issue to get your name out there.
      I wonder how many of “you” gave a drop of blood in the Baha’ullah’s path?

  7. The blameless Iranian Baha’is not only have taken the qualities of the oppressed, in the contrary they’re seen to be as loving and dedicated as always, if not more. As if they’re fueled by the cruelties of their oppressors. Such firmness, constant patience and forbearance is admirable and exemplary.

  8. Thank you, Michael Petrou, for bringing Iran’s despised infamy to Maclean’s readership. The fruits of the 1979 Iranian Revolution (American diplomats were held 444 days – save those secretly saved by the Canadian Embassy in Tehran) have seen the Baha’i community progressively targeted by the Secret Police.

    Over 200 Baha’i leaders have been executed (or gone missing) and thousands arrested; houses and businesses appropriated and expropriated; government employees summarily fired and their pensions revoked; students expelled from higher education; high school and elementary students verbally abused, intimidated, and hounded to convert to Islam – though Mohammad has expressly forbidden compulsion in religious matters, as He recited in the Qur’an (Koran) nearly 1400 years ago.

    Iran’s Shi’a (Shi’ite) clergy have surely shamed the fair name of Islam. To the good, at least the Sunni Muslims in Iraq are respectful and tolerant of the progressive beliefs of the Baha’i world religion. But the Iranian government, controlled by the orthodox Shi’a clergy, have actively pursued policies to destabilize Iraq in its drive to democratize and embrace freedom of thought and belief for all of its citizens.

    And the fact that Baha’u’llah was exiled from His beloved Persia (now Iran) by the Shaw, and subsequently by the Sultan, to Palestine (now Israel) in the 1850’s and 1860’s, does not put the Baha’i World Centre, and by extension the Baha’i Faith, in some kind of anti-Islamic skull-duggery undermining Iran’s Shi’a version of Islam.

    Again, thank you, Michael Petrou.

  9. If the Baha’i religion advocates the equality of men and women and the education of girls as well, then it’s no wonder that the Muslims are persecuting them!

    • My friend,please don’t generalize. You speak as if all Muslims advocate inequality between men and women. That is not the case. I agree with you in that the fundementally Islamic government if Iran is persecuting baha’is because of the faith’s beliefs. But that is just the clergy-dominated government, not Muslims in general. And by the way,i’m Bahai,and I can tell you honestly that nowhere in Islamic scripture does the prophet Mohammed blessed be his name explicitlypreach that women are lower than men and that they should not be granted like priveleges. It is the false interpretation/alteration of Islamic scripture by some, including extremists like Hamas l, Hezbollah and the fundementalist regime in Iran that lead to the bad view of Islam in western society.

      Soroush

      • Dear Soroush,

        You wrote:

        “I agree with you in that the fundamentally Islamic government if Iran is persecuting Baha’is because of the Faith’s beliefs. But that is just the clergy-dominated government, not Muslims in general.”

        Is a “clergy-dominated” leadership also the explanation for this circumstance which we are now observing in America where the leadership of the large body of Bahá’ís in the United States is persecuting Orthodox Bahá’ís by bringing Court action against them in an attempt to stop them legally from practicing their Faith, “framing mischief by decree” (Ps. 94:20), preventing Orthodox Bahá’ís from using the Name of the Founder of their Faith and the symbols of their Faith? How is that attitude and action different from Iranian authorities destroying sacred Bahá’í sites in Iran? The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United states is acting towards Orthodox Bahá’ís with the same attitude as the clergy of the Iranian leadership, classifying Orthodox Bahá’ís as “heretics/Covenant-breakers/apostates”.

        Ross

        • Ross if you read my post once more you would perhaps notice that I made no reference to the present situation of the so called *orthodox baha’is * and that I was just telling Richard here not to generalize and insinuate that all Moslems are against women’s rights.
          So, tell me friend, do you see an attack in that message towards you or your faith (which I Assume is this s.c. *orthodox Bahai *)?. Didn’t think so.

          And by the way, seriously, if you want to hear both sides of the subject(orthodox bahai court case), maybe you should write a letter to Canada’s or the US NSA.Then maybe you will have heard their justification for the court case and atop hating.

          One love,
          Soroush

          • Dear Soroush,

            I am happy to read your statement that you are not personally attacking the Orthodox Bahá’í Faith.

            There is no mystery why the N.S.A. of the United States opposes Orthodox Bahá’ís. It is very simple and it is for this reason: The By-Laws for Local Spiritual Assemblies approved by Shoghi Effendi personally, and recorded in The Bahá’í World 1954-1963, from ARTICLE V, page 59 require that any Bahá’í, before being allowed to vote in Bahá’í elections, must demonstrate to the Local Spiritual Assembly “loyal and steadfast adherence to every clause of `Abdu’l-Bahá’s sacred Will and Testament”. Orthodox Bahá’ís believe that Shoghi Effendi’s approval of that requirement must stand as it was authorized by him as the infallible Guardian of our Faith, and no human has authority to abrogate or reject that requirement.

            The NSA of the United States wants to abrogate that requirement, to void it and reject it. The NSA rejects “loyal and steadfast adherence to every clause of `Abdu’l-Bahá’s sacred Will and Testament” as a requirement for their adherents. They do not want to obey that regulation.

            That regulation: “loyal and steadfast adherence to every clause of `Abdu’l-Bahá’s sacred Will and Testament” is the primary tenet of the Orthodox Bahá’í Faith, and that is the reason why the NSA of the United States is attempting to outlaw the Orthodox Bahá’í Faith in Courts of America, to make it illegal for Orthodox Bahá’ís to use the Holy Name of their Founder and to use the symbols of their Faith, in effect, to deny them freedom of religion in America, just as the Islamic clergy wants to deny Bahá’ís freedom of religion In Iran.
            Cordially,
            Ross

  10. Congrats to Michael Petrou on putting together such an interesting article. A good friend of mine in Ottawa follows the Bahai religion and he tells me about every so often, things ranging from their history, current movements and even stories of persecution. He also went on pilgrimage last year and was telling me about the logistics of how it is all done and significance of the various sites they visit. so I’ve gotten to understand. Anyhow to be honest, being a practicing Muslim myself, I tend to brace myself for a attacks on my sensibilities (sort of like Mr. Richard’s comment), however Petrou was able to articulate his point really well in this article. And yes, the website http://www.bahairights.org/ really is worth a visit.

  11. Ross, you bring forth valid arguments in that the will fo Abdul-Baha and and Baha’u’llah are inseperable parts of one unit. OK. Great. So is that all you’re going to say?

    Like it’s hard for me to believe that you actually think that the Baha’i Faith does no believe this also. Seriously, Ross? Have you ever even looked into it? The Baha’i Faith holds Abdul-Baha in the same regard as it does Baha’u’llah, The Bab, Jesus, Mohammed, Moses, etc.

    Honestly. Name me one way in which the Baha’i faith has not obeyed the Master. Seriously.
    You speak as if the Bahai’s do not respect Abdul Baha when in reality it is the other way around.

    “To see unity at the cost of disobedience to `Abdu’l-Bahá, the Center of the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh, is to deny our Faith”

    Really? The way I see, it, Orthodox Bahai’s, the ones who are creating disunity, are the ones not being obedient to Abdul-Baha. Abdul-Baha’s wishes were peace, harmony and unity. Orthodox Bahai’s wish to follow Abdul-Baha’s wishes. What’s so damn complicated?

    And in your reply to me last post you didn’t even bother to address my question as to what the difference between The Baha’i faith and this so called “orthodox Baha’i” faith is. If your answer is “that the mainstream Baha’i faith does not obey Abdul-Baha” then you are terribly wrong and you should check your sources again. Baha’i children learn in their first day of children’s classes that Abdul-Baha and Baha’u’llah’s will are one in the same. Trust me, I was one of those children and I’ll never forget what I have learned, neither has any other Baha’i.

    If it has to do with the Universal House of Justice then know that Baha’u’llah, Abdul-Baha and the Guardian all explicitly shared their plans for a UHJ and that you would be wrong there also. Baha’is didn’t just make up the idea of an infallible body and make it happen. No, the Guardian and his predecessors all had specific plans which were followed, which lead to this beautiful faith we have today that unfortunately is being tarnished by disunifiers and covenant breakers such as the “Orthodox Baha’is” Trust me, I have references in case you’re interested.

    One love,
    Rouhani

    • Dear Rouhani,

      You wrote:

      “Honestly. Name me one way in which the Baha’i faith has not obeyed the Master.”
      And also:
      “And in your reply to me last post you didn’t even bother to address my question as to what the difference between The Baha’i faith and this so called “orthodox Baha’i” faith is.'”

      Those two questions are the same question with the same answer, and this is the answer: Shoghi Effendi, the infallible first Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith included this quality as an essential characteristic of any woman or man wishing to be identified as a true Bahá’í believer:

      “loyal and steadfast adherence to every clause of our Beloved’s sacred Will”

      “every clause”

      Here follows a partial list of the many, many clauses enshrined in the Masters sacred Will and Testament which members of the large body of Bahá’ís DO NOT obey:

      1. O friends! The Hands of the Cause of God must be nominated and appointed by the guardian of the Cause of God.

      2. All must be under his shadow and obey his command.

      3. This body of the Hands of the Cause of God is under the direction of the guardian of the cause of God.

      4. He must continually urge them.

      5. By this body [the Universal House of Justice] all the difficult problems are to be resolved and the guardian of the Cause of god is its sacred head and the distinguished member for life of that body.

      6. Should he not attend in person its [Universal House of Justice]deliberations, he must appoint one to represent him.

      7. Should any of the members [of the Universal House of Justice] commit a sin, injurious to the common weal, the guardian of the Cause of God hath at his own discretion the right to expel him,…

      Cordially,
      Ross

      • How have Baha’is not obeyed this? Are you joking me? Seriously?

        1- The hands of the Cause of God which are revered by Baha’is WERE appointed by the Guardian.
        2- All true Bahai’s follow the teachings of Baha’ullah, Abdul-Baha, Shoghi Effendi and the UHJ and all its institutions.
        3- As for your third clause that occording to you Bahai’s don’t obey, well, you’re wrong.
        4- That’s not even an argument
        5- OK…Bahai’s follow the UHJ…it’s orthodox Bahai’s that don’t. The UHJ has named them Covenant Breakers. If you follow the UHJ then why are you Orthodox Baha’i?
        6- All well, except the Guardian did not appoint anyone. So does that mean we should all break apart and create small Baha’i sects and title our own Guardian? Don’t think so. That creates what we call “disunity” and defeats the purpose of the Baha’i Faith.
        7- Which UHJ members have done sin and not been held accountable for it?

        Ross, you have no argument, and I say that with the utmost respect

        One love,
        Rouhani

        • Dear Rouhani,

          You wrote:

          “How have Baha’is not obeyed this? Are you joking me? Seriously?

          1- The hands of the Cause of God which are revered by Baha’is WERE appointed by the Guardian.
          2- All true Bahai’s follow the teachings of Baha’ullah, Abdul-Baha, Shoghi Effendi and the UHJ and all its institutions.
          3- As for your third clause that occording to you Bahai’s don’t obey, well, you’re wrong.
          4- That’s not even an argument
          5- OK…Bahai’s follow the UHJ…it’s orthodox Bahai’s that don’t. The UHJ has named them Covenant Breakers. If you follow the UHJ then why are you Orthodox Baha’i?
          6- All well, except the Guardian did not appoint anyone. So does that mean we should all break apart and create small Baha’i sects and title our own Guardian? Don’t think so. That creates what we call “disunity” and defeats the purpose of the Baha’i Faith.
          7- Which UHJ members have done sin and not been held accountable for it?

          Ross, you have no argument, and I say that with the utmost respect

          One love,
          Rouhani”

          “1- The hands of the Cause of God which are revered by Baha’is WERE appointed by the Guardian.”

          Rouhani, are you saying that the Will and Testament of `Abdu’l-Bahá is now obsolete, and that the appointing of Hands of the Cause by a Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith is nothing more than an anecdote from the past, many decades ago? The Will and Testament of `Abdu’l-Bahá IS the “Charter of the New World Order” not WAS the “Charter of the New world Order. For the remainder of the 1000 year millennium all faithful Bahá’ís will continue to demonstrate “loyal and steadfast adherence to every clause of our Beloved’s sacred Will”

          “every clause”

          “2- All true Bahai’s follow the teachings of Baha’ullah, Abdul-Baha, Shoghi Effendi and the UHJ and all its institutions.”

          The Master’s Instruction: “All must be under his shadow and obey his command.” is a specific instruction for Hands of the Cause of God to obey a living Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, not a general instruction for all Bahá’ís to follow the teachings of the Founders of the Faith and the teachings of the first Guardian.

          “3- As for your third clause that occording to you Bahai’s don’t obey, well, you’re wrong.”

          If a woman or man does not believe this sacred Instruction of the Master: “This body of the Hands of the Cause of God is under the direction of the guardian of the cause of God.” that woman or man is not showing “steadfast adherence” to that “clause” of the Master’s Will and Testament. Take note of the present tense “is” in that statement: “This body of the Hands of the Cause of God is under the direction of the guardian of the cause of God.”

          “is”, NOT ‘was’

          The Master’s will and Testament is not obsolete.

          “4- That’s not even an argument”

          The Master’s Instruction for each Guardian to “urge” the Hands of the Cause of God is a vital Instruction in the true Bahá’í Faith, because it provides all Bahá’ís on Earth with understanding of the connection between Hands of the Cause and the living Guardian of the Faith. It is the duty of Hands of the Cause of God to teach the Faith and their teaching would have no authority If they were not under the guidance and direction and “urging” of a living Guardian.

          “5- OK…Bahai’s follow the UHJ…it’s orthodox Bahai’s that don’t. The UHJ has named them Covenant Breakers. If you follow the UHJ then why are you Orthodox Baha’i?”

          Shoghi Effendi taught that the establishment of an International Bahá’í Court is an “essential prelude” to the formation of a legitimate Universal House of Justice, and he also taught that the establishment of a legitimate Universal House of Justice would mean that the Formative age of the Bahá’í Faith had ended.

          The Formative age of the Bahá’í Faith has not ended.

          Are you not aware that Shoghi Effendi reserved exclusively for Guardians the authority to declare an individual to be a Covenant -breaker? Read what he wrote:

          “People who have withdrawn from the Cause because they no longer feel that
          they can support its Teachings and Institutions sincerely, are not
          Covenant-breakers — they are non-Bahá’ís and should just be treated as
          such. Only those who ally themselves actively with known enemies of the
          Faith who are Covenant-breakers, and who attack the Faith in the same spirit
          as these people, can be considered, themselves, to be Covenant-breakers. As
          you know, up to the present time, no one has been permitted to pronounce
          anybody a Covenant-breaker but the Guardian himself”
          (Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 183)
          “The education of the members of the community in the principles and
          essential verities underlying the Covenants of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
          as well as the Administrative Order of the Faith – the twin pillars
          sustaining the spiritual life and the institutions of every organized Bahá’í
          community – must, at all costs, be vigorously pursued and systematically
          intensified.” (Shoghi Effendi, The Light of Divine Guidance v I, p. 162)
          “The Guardian, like the Master before him, has not considered it advisable
          to as yet permit any person or Assembly to put another out of the Cause of
          God. There is a sharp distinction between depriving a believer of his voting
          rights, and pronouncing a former believer to be a truly spiritually diseased
          soul” (Baha’i News June 1949)”
          .
          Only a living Guardian has authority to declare a woman or man to be a Covenant-breaker.

          “6- All well, except the Guardian did not appoint anyone. So does that mean we should all break apart and create small Baha’i sects and title our own Guardian? Don’t think so. That creates what we call “disunity” and defeats the purpose of the Baha’i Faith.”

          The Master’s sacred Instruction discussed is His Instruction that a living Guardian, the “sacred head” of a legitimate universal House of Justice MUST (upper case letters mine for emphasis) appoint a person to represent him during deliberations of a Universal House of Justice when his is not able to attend those deliberations personally.
          Shoghi effendi was never a member of a Universal House of Justice, and never was the “sacred head” of a Universal House of Justice, and is not now the “sacred head” of a Universal House of Justice and therefore he was never under any obligation to appoint someone to represent him to the deliberations of a Universal House of Justice which deliberations he could not personally attend.

          Are you saying that the Instruction “must appoint one to represent him” delineated by the Master in His sacred Will and Testament never can and never will be obeyed? Any woman or man who believes that any of the Master’s Instructions enshrined in His immutable Will and Testament cannot be obeyed is not showing “loyal and steadfast adherence to every clause of our Beloved’s sacred Will”

          “every clause”

          “7- Which UHJ members have done sin and not been held accountable for it?”

          That is a decision granted by the Master exclusively for a living Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, “at his own discretion” (Will and Testament, paragraph 25) That is not a decision for you or for me, Rouhani, nor for any other woman or man on Earth.

          Cordially,
          Ross

  12. Dear Ross,
    The Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice were seen to be, in the words of Shoghi Effendi “Twin Successors” to Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l-Baha. Did you know that Baha’u’llah himself warns against allowing concepts of successors to blind the people of the true sovereign, the manifestations? Now that isn’t to include Abdu’l-Baha or The Guardian but a continuation thereof. (See N181 of the Kitab-i-Aqdas).

    This is from Kitab-i-Aqdas K42:
    “…this authority shall pass to the Aghsan, and after them to the House of Justice -should it be established in the world by then- that they may use these endowments for the benefit of the Places which have been exalted in this Cause, and for whatsoever hath been enjoined upon them by Him Who is the God of might and power.”

    If you’re confused on the term “Aghsan” see Kitab-i-Aqdas Note 66.
    “Aghsan” (plural of Ghusn) is the Arabic word for “Braches”. This term is used by Baha’u’llah to designate His male descendants. It has particular implications not only for the disposition of endowments but also for the succession of authority following the passing of Baha’u’llah (see note 145) and of ‘Abdu’l-Baha . Baha’u’llah, in the Book of His Covenant, appointed ‘Abdu’l-Baha, His eldest son, as the Centre of His Covenant and the Head of the Faith. ‘Abdul-Baha, in His Will and Testament, appointed Shoghi Effendi, His eldest grandson, as the Guardian and Head of the Faith.
    This passage of the Aqdas, therefore anticipates the succession of chosen Aghsan and thus the institution of the Guardianship and envisages the possibility of a break in their line. The passing of Shoghi Effendi in 1957 precipitated the very situation provided for in this passage, in that the line of Aghsan ended before the Universal House of Justice had been established (see note 67).

    Note 67. describes the line “revert to the people of Baha” when Baha’u’llah gives very clear instructions on what would happen if the Guardianship was terminated before the establishment of the Universal House of Justice.

    “67. revert to the people of Baha # 42

    Bahá’u’lláh provides for the possibility that the line of
    Aghsan would terminate prior to the establishment of the
    Universal House of Justice. He designated that in such a
    situation “endowments shall revert to the people of Baha”. The
    term “people of Baha” is used with a number of different
    meanings in the Bahá’í Writings. In this instance, they are
    described as those “who speak not except by His leave and judge
    not save in accordance with what God hath decreed in this
    Tablet”. Following the passing of Shoghi Effendi in 1957,
    the Hands of the Cause of God directed the affairs of the
    Cause until the election of the Universal House of Justice in
    1963 (see note 183).”

    (Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 196)

    And finally here is Note 183 (Describing The Universal House of Justice, the Hands of the Cause of God, the Counselors and the Auxiliary Board members)

    “183. O ye the learned ones in Baha # 173

    Bahá’u’lláh eulogizes the learned among His followers. In
    the Book of His Covenant, He wrote: “Blessed are the rulers
    and learned among the people of Baha.” Referring to this
    statement, Shoghi Effendi has written:

    In this holy cycle the “learned” are, on the one hand, the
    Hands of the Cause of God, and, on the other, the
    teachers and diffusers of His Teachings who do not rank
    as Hands, but who have attained an eminent position in
    the teaching work. As to the “rulers” they refer to the
    members of the Local, National and International Houses
    of Justice. The duties of each of these souls will be
    determined in the future.

    The Hands of the Cause of God were individuals
    appointed by Bahá’u’lláh and charged with various duties,
    especially those of protecting and propagating His Faith. In
    Memorials of the Faithful ‘Abdu’l-Bahá referred to other
    outstanding believers as Hands of the Cause, and in His
    Will and Testament He included a provision calling upon
    the Guardian of the Faith to appoint Hands of the Cause at
    his discretion. Shoghi Effendi first raised posthumously a
    number of the believers to the rank of Hands of the Cause,
    and during the latter years of his life appointed a total of 32
    believers from all continents to this position. In the period
    between the passing of Shoghi Effendi in 1957 and the  246 
    election of the Universal House of Justice in 1963, the
    Hands of the Cause directed the affairs of the Faith in their
    capacity as Chief Stewards of Bahá’u’lláh’s embryonic World
    Commonwealth (see note 67). In November 1964, the
    Universal House of Justice determined that it could not
    legislate to make it possible to appoint Hands of the Cause.
    Instead, by a decision of the House of Justice in 1968, the
    functions of the Hands of the Cause in relation to protecting
    and propagating the Faith were extended into the future by
    the creation of the Continental Boards of Counsellors, and
    in 1973 through the establishment of the International
    Teaching Centre, which has its seat in the Holy Land.
    The Universal House of Justice appoints the Counsellor
    members of the International Teaching Centre and the
    Continental Counsellors. Members of Auxiliary Boards are
    appointed by the Continental Counsellors. All these
    individuals fall within the definition of the “learned” given
    by Shoghi Effendi in the statement quoted above.”

    (Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 245)

  13. Also Ross, you did a LOT of paraphrasing and there is a LOT more to the bits and pieces you pulled out of the Will and Testament. Please read through this very carefully, and you will see that the Baha’is are all trying to abide by these. Whether each individual does it is between them and God, but to be a Baha’i is to follow in the Cause of God and be Steadfast in the Covenant. No person is ever truly a Baha’i. Did you know that Abdu’l-Baha himself said he was trying to be a Baha’i? A new believer had come up to him and said, “Abdu’l-Baha! I’m a Baha’i!” and the Master’s response was that he was still trying to be a Baha’i. Again, there will always be Baha’is who do not follow in all the commandments but that is between them and God but we should all try and help each other grow as we will continue our development after death. Here’s the entire excerpt from the Will and Testament.

    “O friends! The Hands of the Cause of God must be nominated and appointed by the Guardian of the Cause of God. 13

    All must be under his shadow and obey his command. Should any, within or without the company of the Hands of the Cause of God disobey and seek division, the wrath of God and His vengeance will be upon him, for he will have caused a breach in the true Faith of God.

    The obligations of the Hands of the Cause of God are to diffuse the Divine Fragrances, to edify the souls of men, to promote learning, to improve the character of all men and to be, at all times and under all conditions, sanctified and detached from earthly things. They must manifest the fear of God by their conduct, their manners, their deeds and their words.

    This body of the Hands of the Cause of God is under the direction of the Guardian of the Cause of God. He must continually urge them to strive and endeavor to the utmost of their ability to diffuse the sweet savors of God, and to guide all the peoples of the world, for it is the light of Divine Guidance that causeth all the universe to be illumined. To disregard, though it be for a moment, this absolute command which is binding upon everyone, is in no wise permitted, that the existent world may become even as the Abha Paradise, that the surface of the earth may become heavenly, that contention and conflict amidst peoples, kindreds, nations and governments may disappear, that all the dwellers on earth may become one people and one race, that the world may become even as one home. Should differences arise, they shall be amicably and conclusively settled by the Supreme Tribunal, that shall include members from all the governments and peoples of the world.”

    (Abdu’l-Baha, The Will and Testament, p. 12)

    And now, concerning the House of Justice which God hath ordained as the source of all good and freed from all error, it must be elected by universal suffrage, that is, by the believers. Its members must be manifestations of the fear of God and daysprings of knowledge and understanding, must be steadfast in God’s faith and the well-wishers of all mankind. By this House is meant the Universal House of Justice, that is, in all countries a secondary House of Justice must be instituted, and these secondary Houses of Justice must elect the members of the Universal one. Unto this body all things must be referred. It enacteth all ordinances and regulations that are not to be found in the explicit Holy Text. By this body all the difficult problems are to be resolved and the Guardian of the Cause of God is its sacred head and the distinguished member for life of that body. Should he not attend in person its deliberations, he must appoint one to represent him. Should any of the members commit a sin, injurious to the common weal, the Guardian of the Cause of God hath at his own discretion the right to expel him, whereupon the people must elect another one in his stead. This House of Justice enacteth the laws and the government enforceth  15  them. The legislative body must reinforce the executive, the executive must aid and assist the legislative body so that through the close union and harmony of these two forces, the foundation of fairness and justice may become firm and strong, that all the regions of the world may become even as Paradise itself.

    O Lord, my God! Assist Thy loved ones to be firm in Thy Faith, to walk in Thy ways, to be steadfast in Thy Cause. Give them Thy grace to withstand the onslaught of self and passion, to follow the light of Divine Guidance. Thou art the Powerful, the Gracious, the Self-Subsisting, the Bestower, the Compassionate, the Almighty, the All-Bountiful.

    (Abdu’l-Baha, The Will and Testament, p. 14)

    I hope this helps clarify the beliefs of the Baha’i Faith for everyone.

    • Dear Faran,

      You wrote:

      “If you’re confused on the term “Aghsan” see Kitab-i-Aqdas Note 66.
      “Aghsan” (plural of Ghusn) is the Arabic word for “Branches”. This term is used by Baha’u’llah to designate His male descendants.”

      Shoghi Effendi, on page 239 of God Passes By, defined the Aghsan to be the “sons of Bahá’u’lláh “.

      in view of Shoghi Effendi’s definition of the Aghsán, it is evident that because the sons
      of Bahá’u’lláh were contemporaries of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, they were obvioulsly no longer
      living even before the ministry of Shoghi Effendi ended and consequently were no longer
      available for consideration as his successors.

      The Aghsan were already unfaithful before `Abdu’l-Bahá finished writing His sacred Will and Testament, and therefore it is not possible that His Instruction for the Guardians to `choose another ghusan (branch) was not speaking about the sons of Bahá’u’lláh. Shoghi Effendi himself was not an Aghsan. (son) The hereditary principle of the Bahá’í Faith applies to spiritual descendants who have ” the spiritual within him” .

      You wrote:

      ”This passage of the Aqdas, therefore anticipates the succession of chosen Aghsan and thus the institution of the Guardianship and envisages the possibility of a break in their line.”

      Shoghi Effendi was not Aghsan, and he was the first Guardian. The verses you quoted about endowments have nothing to do with the Guardianship of the Bahá’í Faith. The Huquqùllah belongs to the Guardian, not the endowments. There is nothing in those verses which anticipatesa break in the line of Guardians, and furthermore, you and I have no authority to interpret the Kitab-i-Aqdas. That authority belongs exclusively to a Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, not to any other Bahá’í or Bahá’ís in any group or Assembly.

      You wrote:

      ”No person is ever truly a Baha’i.”

      That is true, and that is precisely the reason why there is a Divine provision in the to preserve the Promise: ”This is the day which will not be followed by night” , otherwise spiritual darkness would overtake the Bahá’í Faith in the same manner as such spiritual darkness overtook all earlier Dispensations, and that Divine provision is the ” flow” of ” Divine guidance” as explained by the infallible first Guardian,Shoghi Effendi:

      The following words were written by the Guardian through his secretary to Miss Helen Campbell on November 25, 1948:

      “He feels that if ……ponders more deeply about the fundamentals of Divine Revelation, she will also come to understand the Guardianship. Once the mind and heart have grasped the fact that God guides men through a Mouthpiece, a human being, a Prophet, infallible and unerring, it is only a logical projection of this acceptance to also accept the station of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’ and the Guardians. The Guardians are the evidence of the maturity of mankind in the sense that at long last men have progressed to the point of having one world, and of needing one world management for human affairs. In the spiritual realm they have also reached the point where God could leave in human hands (ie. the Guardians’) guided directly by the Bab and Baha’u’llah, as the Master states in His Will, the affairs of His Faith for this Dispensation. This is what is meant by “this is the day which will not be followed by night.” In this Dispensation, divine guidance flows on to us in this world after the Prophet’s ascension through , first the Master, and then the Guardians. If a person can accept Baha’u’llah’s function, it should not present any difficulty to them to also accept what He has ordained in a divinely guided individual in matters pertaining to the Faith.”

      Take carfeful note that the ” flow” of ” Divine guidance” ” flows on to us in this world” through ”a divinely guided individual”, not through a group of elected men devoid of a living Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith.

      Cordially,
      Ross

      • Abdu’l-Baha explained how the Aghsan were male descendants of Baha’u’llah and Shoghi Effendi stating that the rest were more or less unfaithful just amplifies the fact that the Guardianship could not continue. Why else would he not have a child? Successors can become dangerous as Baha’u’llah has stated.

  14. Correction of grammatical error in the response to Faran

    The word `not” should not appear before the word “speaking” in this paragraph:

    The Aghsan were already unfaithful before `Abdu’l-Bahá finished writing His sacred Will and Testament, and therefore it is not possible that His Instruction for the Guardians to `choose another ghusan (branch) was speaking about the sons of Bahá’u’lláh. Shoghi Effendi himself was not an Aghsan. (son) The hereditary principle of the Bahá’í Faith applies to spiritual descendants who have ” the spiritual within him” .

    Ross

  15. Baha’is all over the world agree on the main teachings of the faith. The main difference is that the larger group has a Universal House of Justice minus a Guardian and the Orthodox Baha’is have a Guardian minus a Universal House of Justice. Both are essential components of the Administration. The Guardian can function without the Universal House of Justice (Shoghi Effendi functioned as Guardian without the Universal House of Justice). But the Universal House of Justice can not function without a Guardian, which is why, if he were to be absent, he would need to appoint a person to deliberate for him. It is through the Guardian that we are assured of Divine Guidance and it is through the Guardian that we are United. The Orthodox Baha’is believe that the Guardian can be a spiritual son and the other Baha’is believe that this spiritual son must be related by blood to Baha’u”llah.

    Janice

    • Janice wrote:

      “But the Universal House of Justice can not function without a Guardian, which is why, if he were to be absent, he would need to appoint a person to deliberate for him.”

      That is a good point, Janice. Whoever happens to be the living Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith during any deliberation of a legitimate Universal House of Justice must be apprised of everything related to that deliberation. He is the Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith and must guard all aspects of the Faith. A legitimate Universal House of Justice cannot guard itself from error, and much less an illegitimate one.

      Actually, the Orthodox Bahá’í Faith does currently have a Universal House of Justice with the third Guardian as its President, only that body is in embryonic form, just as it was when Shoghi Effendi first established it. It is the third International Bahá’í Council.

      Ross

    • “the other Baha’is believe that this spiritual son must be related by blood to Baha’u”llah.”

      Just like Baha’u’llah himself stated in the most holy book. ;) I’m done conversing on this topic due to the redundancy of this conversation. It’s completely unrelated to the topic and is disunifying.

      • Faran,
        I am sorry that you are not feeling Unity. There is nothing that would be better than to be reunited with all of my former Baha’i brothers and sisters. But because of my questions, I have been shunned by them.
        You are now choosing the same escape.
        According to Abdu’l-Baha: ” The brilliant light which comes from the collision of thoughts is the “lightener”
        of facts.” I invite you to join me in exploring the possibility that a mistake was made many years ago regarding some very important tenets of the Faith. There is time to right this wrong. We both love Baha’u”llah and both crave for the establishment of Peace on Earth. It would be good if you could take a look at the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha. I think you meant to say that this is where the Succession of Guardians is mentioned and not in the Most Holy Book of Baha’u”llah. The Kitab-I-Aqdas, does not mention the Guardian. This information can be found in the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha with further detailed explanations in the Dispensation of Baha’u’llah written by Shoghi Effendi. These used to be required reading of anyone desiring to be a Baha’i but now they are becoming obsolete. Please take a look if you wish. If not, I wish you great peace and offer you my kindness and apology for sharing my opinions.

        • Dear Janice,

          You haven’t been shunned because of your questions. You have been shunned because you left the faith and had been declared a Covenant Breaker.

          If you had questions, you could have asked them, and you would have found someone who could answer them.

          I’m assuming you didn’t ask or you asked the wrong people, and weren’t satisfied with you answer. That’s when you ask other reliable sources.

          I’m guessing you didn’t do that either.

          If you wanted unity you would have stayed with the Faith that could have answered your questions if you had patience.

          • **sorry, not Covenant Breaker.

            **Non Baha’i

            “People who have withdrawn from the Cause because they no longer feel that
            they can support its Teachings and Institutions sincerely, are not
            Covenant-breakers — they are non-Bahá’ís and should just be treated as
            such. Only those who ally themselves actively with known enemies of the
            Faith who are Covenant-breakers, and who attack the Faith in the same spirit
            as these people, can be considered, themselves, to be Covenant-breakers”
            (Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 183)

            I used the wrong term, and I appologize

  16. There is a very important teaching that you ALL seem to have forgotten.

    “If two people argue , both are wrong”

    I think this is especially true where you hold your argument out in public
    where others can see the didunity.

    Just my opinion.

    • Dear Meg,

      You quoted:

      “If two people argue , both are wrong”

      You neglected to explain the correct course of action for the wrong ones arguing. Yes, they are instructed to cease arguing, and to seek the accurate explanation from the Interpreter of the Bahá’í Writings. Those Bahá’ís with incorrect understanding are not meant or required to remain “wrong” and all others with the same concepts to remain wrong for the remainder of the 1000 years. The Bahá’í Faith has a Promise: “This is the day which will not be followed by night”. Only because the Bahá’í Faith always has a living interpreter of Bahá’í Holy writ and Holy Text that Promise will be fulfilled during this Holy Dispensation. Shoghi Gffendi explained that the Guardians of the Bahá’í Faith are exclusively the interpreters of the Bahá’í Writings.

      The following words were written by the first Guardian through his secretary to Miss Helen Campbell on November 25, 1948:

      “He feels that if ……ponders more deeply about the fundamentals of Divine Revelation, she will also come to understand the Guardianship. Once the mind and heart have grasped the fact that God guides men through a Mouthpiece, a human being, a Prophet, infallible and unerring, it is only a logical projection of this acceptance to also accept the station of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’ and the Guardians. The Guardians are the evidence of the maturity of mankind in the sense that at long last men have progressed to the point of having one world, and of needing one world management for human affairs. In the spiritual realm they have also reached the point where God could leave in human hands (ie. the Guardians’) guided directly by the Bab and Baha’u’llah, as the Master states in His Will, the affairs of His Faith for this Dispensation. This is what is meant by “this is the day which will not be followed by night.” In this Dispensation, divine guidance flows on to us in this world after the Prophet’s ascension through , first the Master, and then the Guardians. If a person can accept Baha’u’llah’s function, it should not present any difficulty to them to also accept what He has ordained in a divinely guided individual in matters pertaining to the Faith.”

      “…through , first the Master, and then the Guardians.” (Note the plural form, “Guardians”)

      Cordially,
      Ross

      • And Ross, you neglected to understand the deeper meaning in Meg’s message.

        **props to Meg for the quote, it was great.

        Ross, what Meg was saying didn’t mean what you took it to mean. All it’s saying is that two people should not argue. That the truth is attainable trough a legitimate consultation, not a debate.

        Arguing disunifies. Consultation unifies.

        Which is better?

        • Dear ‘Star1844’,

          You wrote:

          “Arguing disunifies. Consultation unifies.

          Which is better?”

          I agree with you completely. Consultation is better. And it’s very nice to hear you speak in that manner. However, if we fail to make `Abdu’l-Bahá the Senior Partner in every consultation, we will never achieve our goal of discovering that “spark of truth” of which He spoke.

          We make Him the Head of our consultations by closely adhering to His commands, exhortations and advices. He is the Center of the Covenant. Shoghi effendi stated that His Will and Testament, together with the Most Holy Book, are “inseparable parts of one complete unit. Shoghi effendi wrote on page 4 of W.O.B.:

          “It would…be helpful and instructive to bear in mind certain basic principles with reference to the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, which together with the Kitab-i-Aqdas, constitutes the chief depository wherein are enshrined those priceless elements of that Divine Civilization, the establishment of which is the primary mission of the Bahá’í Faith. A study of the provisions of these sacred documents will reveal the close relationship that exists between them as well as the identity of purpose and method which they inculcate. Far from regarding their specific provisions as incompatible and contradictory in spirit, every fair-minded inquirer will readily admit that they are not only complementary, but that they mutually confirm one another, and are inseparable parts of one complete unit.”

          “…inseparable parts of one complete unit.”

          That means that His will and Testament is sacred and immutable Bahá’í Holy Text. In view of the fact that it is one inseparable unit with the Kitab-i-Aqdas, it also cannot be altered or abrogated in any way. every clause is permanent and immaculate.

          That is why Shoghi Effendi, when asked to explain how to identify a true Bahá’í believer, included on the list of essential qualities of a true Bahá’í this characteristic:

          “loyal and steadfast adherence to every clause of our Beloved’s sacred Will.”

          “every clause”

          Those women and men who are saying by their actions and words that many clauses of His will and Testament are now obsolete and cannot be adhered to/obeyed are not demonstrating “loyal and steadfast adherence to every clause…” They have rejected Him as a Member of their consultations.

          Cordially,
          Ross

          • Ross I’ve read your other posts and truly you have repeated yourself about eight times. Seriously, i think you’re just using this article on the real suffering of Bahai’s in Iran to go on some teaching mission for your ” orthodox bahai” faith.

            STOP.

            Name me one of your fellow orthodox bahai’s who gave his/her life for any cause.
            Name me one of your fellow orthodox bahai’s who was imprisonned for his/her faith.
            Name me one of your fellow orthodox bahai’s who has lost his/her job and property because of their religion.
            Name me one of your fellow orthodox bahai’s who has lost a loved one because of religious intolerance

            The answer is, that you cannot.
            Do not even begin to compare your “faith’s suffering” due to the court cases to what the Babi’s and Bahai’s of Iran have been suffering for the last 165 years. It is downright insulting and disrespectful.

            **And stop saying that Bahai’s regard the Master’s Will and Testament obsolete. It is not true, and is a lie. Investigate with a detatched heart before you accuse.

            Star 1844

          • Dear Star1844,

            You wrote:

            “Do not even begin to compare your “faith’s suffering” due to the court cases to what the Babi’s and Bahai’s of Iran have been suffering for the last 165 years. It is downright insulting and disrespectful.”

            If the NSA were to win its Court action against Orthodox Bahá’ís, the Orthodox Bahá’í Faith would effectively become outlawed in America. On many occasions during the twenty or so Orthodox Bahá’í Conferences which I attended in Albuquerque the Hotel management wrote “Welcome Orthodox Bahá’í Faith” on the sign board for the Hotel. If the NSA were to win, the Hotel management would not be allowed to post that notice in future. We would not be permitted to publish notices inviting the public to our Conferences. We would not even be permitted to invite friends and relatives, because it would be illegal for us to use the name Bahá’í. We would be forced underground, just like our sisters and brothers in Iran. Incidentally, we consider that the early Bahá’í martyrs were orthodox Bahá’ís.

            You wrote:

            “**And stop saying that Bahai’s regard the Master’s Will and Testament obsolete. It is not true, and is a lie.”

            Correct me if I am wrong, don’t you sans-Guardian people intend to establish the Administration of the New World Order without including the Institutions of the Guardianship and the Hands of the Cause of God delineated by Him in His sacred Will and Testament? If you do not consider His Instructions related to those Institutions to be obsolete, why do you plan to keep them out of the Administration of the New world Order?

            Cordially,
            Ross

  17. Star 1844,

    It is nice of you to join the conversation. I am sorry that Faran left. I am shunned by the Baha’is because I questioned their authority. They do not have the authority that they are giving themselves. For one thing, to declare me a Covenant Breaker. That authority solely rests with the Guardian. If the Universal House of Justice were truly divinely guided, they would know my heart and know that it is devoted to truth, honesty and obeying the writings as best as I know how. It is simply my study of the writings that led me to obey. I did ask questions, in fact I had a meeting with a Chicago Spriitual Assembly member at the House of Worship for over seven hours to come to the conclusion that one group follows a Spiritual Son appointed by Shoghi Effendi in his one and only Proclamation ever made and the other believes that half of the Administration is null and void becuase there are no longer any blood relatives of Baha’u’llah that had been appointed by Shoghi Effendi. I chose the spiritual son because I feel that God wants our hearts to be pure regardless of our bloodline. It is our loving kind nature, and not our family line that matters. I loved every one of my Baha’i brothers and sisters and still do dearly. I was asked to not contact them anymore because of my desire to follow what I believe to be the true teachings. I did not fight with them or even ask them to investigate what I was learning. In fact I made my decision based on the writings from the Baha’i faith, which were all verified to be valid. I obediently studied the book, The Covenant, by Taherzedeh, during the weeks of the fast and prayed fervently. I prayed that no one would catch my “spiritual disease” if I were truly infected and I even prayed that God would give my some strange malady if I were wrong to scare my friends and protect them in an attempt to save them. Please don’t judge me so harshly. You are free to follow your heart, and I would like to be free to follow mine. I do not want to be found in contempt of court for calling myself Orthodox Baha’i in a country like the US that supposedly guarantees freedom of religion.
    As to your comments regarding the Baha’is in Iran. We are all Baha’i and should any of us Orthodox Baha’is go to Iran, I think we would be met with the same fate as the Baha’is that are there, because I am certain that the Muslim authority would not distinguish one from the other. It is certainly terrible what they have to endure and I am praying for their release and safety.

  18. One of our Orthodox Bahá’í friends in India who is reading the comments here
    has sent his own comment, included below:

    “They ask from Orthodox Baha’is:

    Name us one of your fellow orthodox Bahai’s who gave his/her
    life for any cause.
    Name us one of your fellow orthodox Bahai’s who was imprisoned
    for his/her faith.
    Name us one of your fellow orthodox Bahai’s who has lost his/her
    job and property because of their religion.
    Name us one of your fellows orthodox Bahai’s who has lost a loved
    one because of religious intolerance.

    Those who sacrificed in the way of Cause of God, really they will be rewarded in this world as well in the Abha Kingdom. But in these periods who are giving the time, money etc in the way of Sans Guardian UHJ, it will not benefit to them.

    Dear friend! Please note that we have sacrificed every thing and left every thing but attached with the Guardian of the Faith. Guidance is under the Guardian of the Faith. Sans guardian institution will not benefit any of your sacrifice.

    “JAI HO GUARDIAN” (LONG LIVE TO GUARDIAN)

    Dr. A.P.”

  19. Ross Campbell is the public voice of the so-called “Orthodox Baha’is” – a tiny schismatic group of 40 people very active in posting negative comments against the 5 million member worlwide Baha’i community and its institutions. Mr. Campbell is well aware that the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States is not trying to deprive the “Orthodox Baha’is” of their right to believe as they wish, of their life, property, or any other civil right. Baha’is are bound to uphold these, even for someone who has been expelled from the Baha’i community.

    The court case to which he refers is about the methodology of his organization in misusing identifying trademarks of the Baha’i Faith to make others believe that their organization represents the Baha’i Faith rather than the extremely small schismatic group for which he speaks.

    The Baha’i Faith has a covenant that preserves the unity of the Baha’i Faith. It stems directly and explicitly from the Baha’i scriptures as revealed by Baha’u’llah and ‘Abdu’l-Baha. It explicitly names those who are the Head of the Faith and the conditions under which succession occurs. The 9-member Universal House of Justice is the head of the worldwide Baha’i Faith. One who violates this covenant by attempting to set up a schismatic group and competing institutions is expelled. Mr. Campbell is one such person. One term used in Baha’i scriptures for such excommunicants is “covenant-breakers” or “violators of the covenant.”

    While Mr. Campbell attacks the Baha’i community for using the term “covenant-breaker,” he fails to explain that his own organization has repeatedly attacked the members of the worldwide Baha’i community in the same terms that he claims to abhor. He also fails to note that his organization, while hating and opposing the Universal House of Justice, has set up a decoy site calling itself the “Official Website of the Universal House of Justice.”

    It should be repeated that the worldwide Baha’i Faith does not, nor would ever, seek the persecution of those who have been removed from membership in the Baha’i community for violation of the covenant. Baha’is have spiritual obligations regarding non-association with expelled individuals, but they are absolutely bound, by the teachings of their Faith, to accord those expelled from the Baha’i community the same civil and human rights that are due to all by their common humanity. Mr. Campbell well knows this.

    • Dear Will,

      You wrote:

      “…his organization, while hating and opposing the Universal House of Justice, has set up a decoy site calling itself the “Official Website of the Universal House of Justice.”

      With all due respect, you need to get your facts straight. Othodox Baha’is do not have such a site as the one you mentioned. That is the other litigant in the case, the BUPC.

      You also wrote:

      “…National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States is not trying to deprive the “Orthodox Baha’is” of their right to believe as they wish,…”

      Is “believe” all that matters in the Baha’i Faith? If your NSA muzzles us by Court order so that we can only “believe” without obedience to our Lord’s Instructions to teach and share our Faith with others is that not imposing unfaithfulness to our Lord’s commands upon us?
      Your NSA is seeking to force us by law to stop identifying ourselves as Baha’is, as followers of the Lord of this Age.

      Anyone who reads the Court papers can clearly see that your NSA is attempting to stifle our freedom of speech and to stop us from walking in the Name of our Lord, to stop using the Name Baha’i which identifies us as His followers.

      That is precisely what the Islamic clergy is doing to Baha’is in Iran, namely trying to stop them from sharing their Faith with others, allowing them to “believe as they wish, as long as their believe remains secret and hidden within their hearts at all times. The sacred and immutable will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’ states that teaching is vital and of greatest importance for true Baha’is. Your NSA is attempting by Court action to force us to disobey those Instructions delineated by the Master, stopping us from obeying His command for us to teach our Faith to humankind. That is an attempt to effectively eradicate our Faith. That attempt on the part of your NSA is equally as nefarious as the oppression of Baha’is by the Islamic Government leaders and Clerics in Iran. There is no difference.
      Cordially,
      Ross

  20. Dear Bill,

    It is so great that you too believe that
    “The Baha’i Faith has a covenant that preserves the unity of the Baha’i Faith. It stems directly and explicitly from the Baha’i scriptures as revealed by Baha’u’llah and ‘Abdu’l-Baha. It explicitly names those who are the Head of the Faith and the conditions under which succession occurs”.
    But, please, refer to this scripture and you will see in the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha that it is the Guardian that is the “Head” of the Universal House of Justice. The Universal House of Justice is like the legislative branch and the Guardian is like the executive branch. Have you read this document in its entirety? Also in this document it explicitly explains that only the Guardian can “expel”someone from the faith. In the past, in order to be expelled, you would probably have to be falsifying documents or trying to murder the Blessed Beauty. The Orthodox Baha’is love this faith as much as you do and love to read and dive deeply into those documents. We have arguments that are sound and firm supporting those documents. Unfortunately most of the Heterodox Baha’is are not welcome to read or consider our interpretations of those holy documents. In the words of the Bab, page 131 of Selections From the Writings of the Bab:
    “Should a person lay a claim to a cause and produce his proofs, then those who seek to repudiate him are required to prodcue proofs like unto his. If they succeed in doing so, his words will prove vain and they will prevail; otherwise neither his words will cease nor the proofs he hath set forth will become void. …confront not any soul unless ye give proofs similar to that whcih he hath adduced; for Truth shall be firmly established, while aught else besides it is sure to perish.”
    Where do you see that the Universal House of Justice is to function minus a Guardian? We do not hate the Universal House of Justice, we love it and want to see the Guardian at its head. “It is incumbent upon the members of House of Justice, upon al the Aghsan , the Afnan, the Hands of the Cause of God to show their obedience, submissiveness and subordination unto the guardian of the Cause of God, to turn unto him and be lowly before him.”

    Janice

  21. Bill,
    In my previous post, I meant to say that Heterodox are not “allowed” to read our interpretations of the writings. They are certainly “welcome”, by Orthodox Baha’is, to read anything that is on our site:
    http://www.orthodoxbahai.com/council.htm

    Janice

    • A comprehensive introduction to the features and provisions of the Baha’i Covenant can be found here:
      bahai-covenant.blogspot.com

      • Dear Don,

        The link which you provided contains this quote from the words of ‘
        Abdu’l-Baha’:

        “… Therefore, in the beginning the believers must make their steps firm in the Covenant so that the confirmations of Bahá’u’lláh may encircle them from all sides, the cohorts of the Supreme Concourse may become their supporters and helpers, and the exhortations and advices of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, like unto the pictures engraved on stone, may remain permanent and ineffaceable in the tablets of all hearts.”

        The following is one of those “exhortations” of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá delineated in His sacred and immutable Will and Testament:

        “O friends! The Hands of the Cause of God must be nominated and appointed by the guardian of the Cause of God.”

        Are you claiming that His exhortation is “…like unto the pictures engraved on stone, …” remaining permanent and ineffaceable in the tablets of” the “hearts” of your group and your leadership, all the same while your organization has neither Hands of the Cause of God, nor a Guardian to appoint Hands of the Cause of God? How can anyone in your group claim that His exhortation is ‘engraved’ “permanent and ineffaceable” in the hearts of your leaders and fellow members when your leadership is making the claim that their own institution which they developed is ‘extending into the future’ the Institution of the Hands of the Cause of God by their appointment of “Continental Counsellors”, not “nominated and appointed”by a Guardian of the Cause of God?

        In fact, the Master’s sacred Will and Testament delineates many such exhortations to which your leadership and group pays no heed whatsoever, not to mention having those exhortations “permanent and ineffaceable” in the “tablets” of their “hearts.” In fact, your leadership rejects completely all exhortations of the Master concerning the guardianship of the Baha’i Faith and Hands of the Cause of God.

        Cordially,
        Ross