Today I was reading a document titled "The Azali Bahai Crisis of September 1867" written by Mr. Juan Cole, the document is very interesting and worth reading.
Until now we knew that Baha'u'llah claimed himself to be a Manifestation of God, Sender of Prophets, Imam Mahdi, Imam Husayn, Christ, Sender of Prophets, the one who spoke to the Moses on Mount Sinai, the Avatar of Lord Krishna, Buddha, Lord of the Lords, the list continues....
In this document he claims himself to be the return of Bab and Mohammed. Here is the extract :
|BAHA'U'LLAH - A CONFUSED SOUL|
The crisis produced three contemporary texts or discourses by the two leaders. The first was Azal’s challenge, which unfortunately is not reprinted in any of the sources available to me. The second is Bahā’u’llāh’s oral discourse, delivered to Sayyid Muhammad Mukārī in the streets of Edirne after they had departed the mosque at sundown. The third is the Tablet of the Divine Test, penned late Friday evening after Bahā’u’llāh had returned home from the chanting and dancing session of the Mevlevī Sufis. Although the oral discourse on the way back from the mosque was delivered only that evening, and probably memorized on the spot by Khādimu’llāh, Bahā’u’llāh most likely composed elements of it earlier in the day, beginning with his swift march to the mosque at midday, when he was said to have amazed bystanders by reciting verses as he went. One important theme is the comparison of this divine test to the contest between Moses and Pharaoh’s magicians. This theme emerges as early as Friday afternoon when Bahā’u’llāh sent Mukārī for the second time to fetch Azal, telling him, “O Muhammad, go to them and say, come, with your ropes and your staff.” This language is repeated in the body of the subsequent evening discourse. It evokes Qur’ān 20:59–72, which speaks of the Egyptian magicians menacing Moses with their rope snares and their staffs:
So we showed Pharaoh all Our signs, but he cried lies, and refused. ‘Hast thou come, Moses,’ he said, to expel us out of our land by thy sorcery? We shall assuredly bring thee sorcery the like of it; therefore appoint a tryst between us and thee, a place mutually agreeable, and we shall not fail it, neither thou.’
‘Your tryst shall be upon the Feast Day.’ said Moses.
‘Let the people be mustered at the high noon.’
Pharaoh then withdrew, and gathered his guile. Thereafter he came again, and Moses said to them, ‘O beware! Forge not a lie against God, lest He destroy you with a chastisement. Whoso forges has ever failed.’
And they disputed upon their plan between them, and communed secretly, saying, ‘These two men are sorcerers and their purpose is to expel you out of your land by their sorcery, and to extirpate your justest way. So gather your guile; then come in battle-line. Whoever today gains the upper hand shall surely prosper.’
They said, ‘Moses, either thou wilt cast, or we shall be the first to cast.’
‘No,’ said Moses. ‘Do you cast!’
And lo, it seemed to him, by their sorcery, their ropes and their staffs were sliding; and Moses conceived a fear within him. We said unto him, ‘Fear not; surely thou art the uppermost. Cast down what is in they right hand, and it shall swallow what they have fashioned; for they have fashioned only the guile of a sorcerer, and the sorcerer prospers not, wherever he goes’ (Qur’ān in Arberry 1973: 1:343–342).
This theme of Bahā’u’llāh as a new Moses is also evoked when he says in the discourse that the palm of his hand was rendered white (the miracle of the suddenly whitened palm was attributed to Moses in Muslim tradition), and he refers to his “staff,” saying, “were we to cast it down, it would swallow to the entire creation,” just as Moses’ staff swallowed the magicians’ serpents.
Bahā’u’llāh begins the discourse by saying that he had departed from his house with “manifest sovereignty,” presumably meaning that he went of his own sovereign will to confront Azal. He tells Mīr Muhammad Mukārī that the spirit has thereby vacated its seat, and that thereby the spirits of the pure ones went forth, along with the souls of the past messengers. “Spirit,” of course, is an Islamic sobriquet for Jesus, but it is unclear if that is the referent here. I think Bahā’u’llāh is referring more to the Holy Spirit. Bahā’u’llāh then says he is the return of the Bāb, and also the return of the Prophet Muhammad. (It is thus particularly appropriate that he wins his victory in a mosque). Bahā’u’llāh is here appealing to the Bābī doctrine of the “return” or raj‘at, wherein the personality-attributes of past historical persons recur in contemporary human beings. Although the messianic figure sought by the Bābīs was called by the Bāb “He whom God shall make manifest,” Bahā’u’llāh in this period seems instead to have said he was the “return” of the Bāb, establishing a continuity between the Bāb’s writings and persona and his own. Bahā’u’llāh announces his defiance of all the clergy, mystics, and monarchs on earth, insisting that he would recite God’s verses to them without any fear. These assertions also echo the Moses theme, insofar as he defied Pharaoh (civil authority) and his priests (religious authority). Bahā’u’llāh notes that he is, technically speaking, acting contrary to religious counsels in agreeing to meet with a hypocrite and an idolater like Azal. And despite this one exception, he does insist that the bonds with any loved ones (such as a brother) who rejected Bahā’u’llāh’s cause in favor of Azal had from that moment been severed. He defines Azal as having previously been the embodiment of only one of God’s names, and to prefer one of the divine names over God himself would be a form of idolatry. He redefines religious authority (prophets, messengers, imams and vicars) as being legitimate only if it upholds Bahā’u’llāh’s Cause. (This assertion undermines Azal’s authority as the supposed vicar of the Bāb.) Finally, Bahā’u’llāh complains that Azal had once been just one of the Bābīs, like any other man, but that his passions and selfishness had led him to begin having grandiose ideas about himself. Bahā’u’llāh explains that he had himself helped build Azal up, to his current regret, for a “secret reason” (hikmat). (The traditional Bahā’ī explanation is that Azal was put forward as the exoteric leader in order to protect the real leader, Bahā’u’llāh, though this story no doubt presents an overly rationalized picture of the complex relationship between Bahā’u’llāh and Azal, 1850–1865).
Read the full document on my scribd page :