I hope you don't mind me telling you a little bit about myself, and asking some questions.
I have read some of your articles about mysticism, and comments about the Baha'i Faith and some of it is hard to deny. Here is a little background about myself. I converted to Islam when I was nineteen years old, and within a year I discovered the Baha'i Faith. I didn't do much research at first because I was still getting used to practicing Islam and grasping the idea of being part of a worldwide Muslim community. I didn't care for all of the rules and regulations that the 'ulama declared were the only true means of practicing the faith. It seemed like they made Islam excessively hard to practice for most people. When I finally began to research the Baha'i Faith, my attraction was really towards the Bab', Ali-Muhammad Shirazi. I read Mirza Husayn Ali's "Book of Certitude" in one night, and the parts that kept me reading even though my mind was tired, were the prophecies about the Bab' as the Mahdi. I was not interested in prophecies at that time, because I didn't come from a particular background that required them. The same was true for Islam. I didn't "need" to know that Muhammad was prophesized in the Bible, as I was an agnostic. Even so, when I read the Shi'a hadith that was quoted in the book, I fell in love with this man called "The Bab'." Even when I started to hang out with the Baha'is, I would jokingly refer to myself as a "Muslim Babi" because of how attracted I was to him.
But jokes aside, I didn't see a contradiction with that phrase because I viewed the Bab' as a man who created a community that was "outside" of Islam but still "inside" at the same time, like a paradox. After a month of spending time with Baha'is, I saw my first red flag. I was talking to one of my Baha'i friends and mentioned that I wanted to learn Farsi or French so I could read the Persian Bayan in full. For some reason, still unknown to me to this day, she became instantly suspicious and implied that my "intentions" to read it were impure somehow. "Wait a minute", I thought. Why would she give me a guilt trip because I wanted to read a part of her own faith's scripture? If I were talking to a Muslim and stated that I wanted to learn Arabic so I could read the Qur'an in its original language, they would be ecstatic and probably even help me learn the language if they knew it. I took the matter to some other Baha'is because I thought maybe she just had her own issues or something, but they also became silent when I said it was because I wanted to read the Persian Bayan.
One of them kindly suggested that it would be easier for me to just read the writings of Baha'u'llah because he is the "most recent" Manifestation of God, they are more easily available, and they are translated into English so I don't need to learn a foreign language. I understood the logic, but I didn't understand why they were all trying to dissuade me from reading a piece of their own scripture. I got the impression that they had something to hide. That wasn't my initial perception at all, but when they kept trying to steer me in a certain direction and even question my "intentions" (whatever that means), what else was I to think? The only reason why I wanted to read the Persian Bayan was because of my attraction to the Bab, not despite of it. I eventually caved to their wishes and read the writings of Mirza Husayn 'Ali instead, which were inspiring to a certain degree. But I would get this intuitional feeling that somehow the Baha'i Faith wasn't telling the whole story about its origins, like it was hiding something.
Every time I would feel that way, I would crush it and punish myself for thinking such "unholy" thoughts. I also started to wonder if the Baha'i Faith actually despised Islam at its inner core. While I could never categorically prove this, I came across many passages and writings that seemed to speak ill of Islam through cleverly constructed phrases that appear to exalt the faith of Muhammad at face value, but in actuality are tearing it apart. I would notice that out of all of the interpretations given to particular Quranic verses and hadiths that exist in the tradition of Islamic scholarship, the Baha'i Faith would almost always pick the "bad" one that would make Islam appear "backward" to the "enlightened" west, and would then say "this is why Baha'u'llah came, to reform religion...etc." Perhaps that is too conspiratorial, but it was a very strong feeling I had that would inevitably creep up no matter how much I censored my thoughts. One of my most vivid memories of this kind of thing, was a "conversation" I had with a sweet elderly Persian woman. She initiated it by stating that according to a Zoroastrian scholar on satalite t.v., Muhammad (pbuh) commanded his followers to bury their new born children alive during the early years of his prophethood; but he later abrogated that law by commanding them to only bury their female new born children alive and sparing the males. I told her that that was really confusing since the Qur'an specifically mentions the practice of burying female new borns and condemns it. She just brushed that off and kept saying more things that would make Islam look bad, and ended our conversation with a hug and an "apology" for "offending" me, and stating a final after thought, "the Qur'an tells men to beat their wives...you know this?"
This leads into my questions. What is it that I could have done to make these Baha'is treat me this way? I was nothing but respectful towards them and their faith. I never said a bad word about their religion. And yet it seems like just because of the sheer fact that I was a Muslim, that somehow meant that I was less than them. Even after I became a Baha'i, while still retaining my love and appreciation for Islam and the Prophet Muhammad, some of the Baha'is would still pick at me for my association with Islam. The elderly Persian woman would sometimes ask me if I was "still a Baha'i", which is a meaningless question because the LSA would know if I had resigned from the Baha'i Faith (which I did a number of years later.) In the research you have done, is there any evidence that the Baha'i Faith has an agenda to make Islam look barbaric and evil, while appearing to praise the Prophet Muhammad and the Qur'an? In connection with that question, does the Baha'i Faith have an agenda to make the Babi Faith and Islam appear to be enemies of each other? Did Tahirih really claim that Muhammad's teachings were "nonsense"? Is there a full translation of the Persian and Arabic Bayans in English? Or for that matter, are full copies of the originals still in existence for anyone to read?
Thanks for getting back to me, I really appreciate it...About Western imperialism and the Baha'i Faith, I am also starting to think there is a connection. I still have a few Baha'i friends, and almost on a daily basis I hear about the "oppression of Baha'is in Iran", which saddens me. But what makes me question things is this: Out of all of the oppressed peoples of the world, from South America to Chechnya, from Iran to the First Nation peoples of North America, why is is that so much attention is given to seven people in Iran? I am not saying that persecution requires a high number of people for it to be persecution, but they act as if Baha'is are the only people being persecuted in that country. In the past twenty years, about two-hundred Baha'is have been executed by the State. That is a serious human rights crime, but does it really warrant a war, sanctions, and massive death for the entire Iranian population, while other countries that are allies of the United States kill groups of people in the thousands? And when non- Baha'is question Baha'is why they don't speak out against the oppression of other groups of people, they basically say that it's not their job. Which would be a "fair", albeit selfish answer if it were not for the sheer fact that the Baha'i institutions call on non- Baha'is to speak out on behalf of Baha'is. But when the tables are turned, the Baha'i institutions don't want to hear it.
This might sound really off-the-mark, but do you think it is possible that the "higher-ups" of the Baha'i Faith are practicing some form of "black" magick in an attempt to influence world affairs towards their goals? Also, are you aware of any Baha'i-Freemason connections? I came across some interesting things a Baha'i wrote on a Baha'i forum, but haven't done enough researching yet to know if it is true. Basically, he said that the name "Baha'u'llah" is a "special name" at the Baltimore Masonic Temple, like a "code word." They have a hallway of nine doors, with the ninth door being the highest as the hall moves upwards. He also said that Gleanings from the writings of Baha'u'llah is in their top ten books of scripture to read from. He said that Baha'is are not permitted to join Secret Societies, but he knows at least two Baha'is in "good standing" who are 33rd degree Masons.
Thanks to Mr. Wahid Azal for putting this on TRB
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