The story of Denis MacEoin's expulsion as told by Juan Cole

Denis MacEoin did not withdraw from the faith, he was chased out by powerful Baha'i fundamentalists who were deeply threatened by the implications of his historical work. Denis became a Baha'i in North Ireland around 1965 and quickly emerged as a Baha'i youth leader. He was chosen to come to Haifa to commemorate the 1968 anniversary of Baha'u'llah's Letters to the Kings.

He then wrote the House saying he did not know whether to serve the Faith by becoming an academic scholar of the Middle East or by going pioneering. They wrote back that either path would be praiseworthy. (They later stabbed him in the back about this). He therefore entered graduate school at Edinburgh in Middle East Studies, then went on to Cambridge University for his Ph.D. He was the first academic to study the Babi movement with all the tools of modern scholarship, and his findings were groundbreaking.

Denis made the mistake of continuing to be an active Baha'i. Since the community is so heavily dominated by aggressive fundamentalist fanatics, if a genuine academic wants to be a Baha'i s/he has to keep a low profile. Denis did not. He gave summer school talks. He was once viciously attacked by Abu al-Qasim Faizi. His new ideas were upsetting the conservative British community. He objected when the Baha'i authorities supported dictators like Pinochet and Bokassa. He corresponded with the Los Angeles Study Class and some of his letters were published in their newsletter (a newsletter that the Baha'i authorities later closed down, for all the world like Tehran ayatollahs pulling a publishing license).

Around 1980, fundamentalist UHJ members Ian Semple and David Hoffman called Denis to a meeting and told him he would have to fall silent (rather as the Vatican did to Leonardo Boff). Hoffman was especially harsh. Denis declined to fall silent, and ultimately withdrew from the Faith. He was pushed out by anti-intellectual bigots who had risen high in the Baha'i hierarchy and become Infallible. Denis's works on the Babi and Baha'i movements are some of the few pieces of solid scholarship that exist. Instead of being grateful to him for sacrificing all those years living in penury as a graduate student, studying Arabic and Persian, traveling to a dangerous Middle East, all for the service of Baha'u'llah, the community could think of nothing better to do than viciously attack him and throw him in the gutter of infamy.

Denis's story is the story of most thinking people who have anything serious to do with the Baha'i faith. Either they adopt a cult-like mindset of true believers and covenant breakers, in which case they gradually cease being thinking persons, or they get chased out by the wild-eyed. A few people manage to avoid either fate by not drawing attention to themselves. The Baha'i Extreme Orthodox are like the Borg in Star Trek. They want to assimilate you, but might leave you alone if you stay quiet.


Juan Cole

Source :

The unlawful seizure of Baha'u'llah's house by the Shí'ahs of Iraq and the services of David Kelly, a Baha'i and an employee of the British Ministry of Defence.

David Kelly

On September 11, 1928, the Bahá'ís of Baghdád..."through the High Commissioner for Iraq...approached the League's Permanent Mandates Commission, charged with the supervision of the administration of all Mandated Territories, and presented a petition" about Bahá'u'lláh's Baghdad house." As written by Shoghi Effendi in God Passes By...
Of a more serious nature, and productive of still greater repercussions, was the unlawful seizure by the Shí'ahs of Iraq, at about the same time that the keys of the Tomb of Bahá'u'lláh were wrested by the Covenant-breakers from its keeper, of yet another Bahá'í Shrine, the House occupied by Bahá'u'lláh for well nigh the whole period of His exile in Iraq, which had been acquired by Him, and later had been ordained as a center of pilgrimage, and had continued in the unbroken and undisputed possession of His followers ever since His departure from Baghdád. This crisis, originating about a year prior to 'Abdu'l-Bahá's ascension, and precipitated by the measures which, after the change of regime in Iraq, had, according to His instructions, been taken for the reconstruction of that House, acquired as it developed a steadily widening measure of publicity. It became the object of the consideration of successive tribunals, first of the local Shí'ah Ja'faríyyih court in Baghdád, second of the Peace court, then the court of First Instance, then of the court of Appeal in Iraq, and finally of the League of Nations, the greatest international body yet come into existence, and empowered to exercise supervision and control over all Mandated Territories. Though as yet unresolved through a combination of causes, religious as well as political, it has already remarkably fulfilled Bahá'u'lláh's own prediction, and will, in its own appointed time, as the means for its solution are providentially created, fulfill the high destiny ordained for it by Him in His Tablets. Long before its seizure by fanatical enemies, who had no conceivable claim to it whatever, He had prophesied that "it shall be so abased in the days to come as to cause tears to flow from every discerning eye."
The Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Baghdád, deprived of the use of that sacred property through an adverse decision by a majority of the court of Appeal, which had reversed the verdict of the lower court and awarded the property to the Shí'ahs, and aroused by subsequent action of the Shí'ahs, soon after the execution of the judgment of that court, in converting the building into waqf property (pious foundation), designating it "Husayníyyih," with the purpose of consolidating their gain, realized the futility of the three years of negotiations they had been conducting with the civil authorities in Baghdád for the righting of the wrong inflicted upon them. In their capacity as the national representatives of the Bahá'ís of Iraq, they, therefore, on September 11, 1928, through the High Commissioner for Iraq and in conformity with the provisions of Art. 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, approached the League's Permanent Mandates Commission, charged with the supervision of the administration of all Mandated Territories, and presented a petition that was accepted and approved by that body in November, 1928. A memorandum submitted, in connection with that petition, to that same Commission, by the Mandatory Power unequivocally stated that the Shí'ahs had "no conceivable claim whatever" to the House, that the decision of the judge of the Ja'faríyyih court was "obviously wrong," "unjust" and "undoubtedly actuated by religious prejudice," that the subsequent ejectment of the Bahá'ís was "illegal," that the action of the authorities had been "highly irregular," and that the verdict of the Court of Appeal was suspected of not being "uninfluenced by political consideration."

"The Commission," states the Report submitted by it to the Council of the League, and published in the Minutes of the 14th session of the Permanent Mandates Commission, held in Geneva in the fall of 1928, and subsequently translated into Arabic and published in Iraq, "draws the Council's attention to the considerations and conclusions suggested to it by an examination of the petition... It recommends that the Council should ask the British Government to make representations to the Iraq Government with a view to the immediate redress of the denial of justice from which the petitioners have suffered."
The British accredited representative present at the sessions of the Commission, furthermore, stated that "the Mandatory Power had recognized that the Bahá'ís had suffered an injustice," whilst allusion was made, in the course of that session, to the fact that the action of the Shí'ahs constituted a breach of the constitution and the Organic Law of Iraq. The Finnish representative, moreover, in his report to the Council, declared that this "injustice must be attributed solely to religious passion," and asked that "the petitioner's wrongs should be redressed."
The Council of the League, on its part, having considered this report as well as the joint observations and conclusions of the Commission, unanimously adopted, on March 4, 1929, a resolution, subsequently translated and published in the newspapers of Baghdád, directing the Mandatory Power "to make representations to the Government of Iraq with a view to the immediate redress of the injustice suffered by the Petitioners." It instructed, accordingly, the Secretary General to bring to the notice of the Mandatory Power, as well as to the petitioners concerned, the conclusions arrived at by the Commission, an instruction which was duly transmitted by the British Government through its High Commissioner to the Iraq Government.
A letter dated January 12, 1931, written on behalf of the British Foreign Minister, Mr. Arthur Henderson, addressed to the League Secretariat, stated that the conclusions reached by the Council had "received the most careful consideration by the Government of Iraq," who had "finally decided to set up a special committee ... to consider the views expressed by the Bahá'í community in respect of certain houses in Baghdád, and to formulate recommendations for an equitable settlement of this question." That letter, moreover, pointed out that the committee had submitted its report in August, 1930, that it had been accepted by the government, that the Bahá'í community had "accepted in principle" its recommendations, and that the authorities in Baghdád had directed that "detailed plans and estimates shall be prepared with a view to carrying these recommendations into effect during the coming financial year."
No need to dwell on the subsequent history of this momentous case, on the long-drawn out negotiations, the delays and complications that ensued; on the consultations, "over a hundred" in number, in which the king, his ministers and advisers took part; on the expressions of "regret," of "surprise" and of "anxiety" placed on record at successive sessions of the Mandates Commission held in Geneva in 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932 and 1933; on the condemnation by its members of the "spirit of intolerance" animating the Shí'ah community, of the "partiality" of the Iráqí courts, of the "weakness" of the civil authorities and of the "religious passion at the bottom of this injustice"; on their testimony to the "extremely conciliatory disposition" of the petitioners, on their "doubt" regarding the adequacy of the proposals, and on their recognition of the "serious" character of the situation that had been created, of the "flagrant denial of justice" which the Bahá'ís had suffered, and of the "moral debt" which the Iraq Government had contracted, a debt which, whatever the changes in her status as a nation, it was her bounden duty to discharge.
Nor does it seem necessary to expatiate on the unfortunate consequences of the untimely death of both the British High Commissioner and the Iráqí Prime Minister; on the admission of Iraq as a member of the League, and the consequent termination of the mandate held by Great Britain; on the tragic and unexpected death of the King himself; on the difficulties raised owing to the existence of a town planning scheme; on the written assurance conveyed to the High Commissioner by the acting Premier in his letter of January, 1932; on the pledge given by the King, prior to his death, in the presence of the foreign minister, in February, 1933, that the House would be expropriated, and the necessary sum would be appropriated in the spring of the ensuing year; on the categorical statement made by that same foreign minister that the Prime Minister had given the necessary assurances that the promise already made by the acting Premier would be redeemed; or on the positive statements made by that same Foreign Minister and his colleague, the Minister of Finance, when representing their country during the sessions of the League Assembly held in Geneva, that the promise given by their late King would be fully honored.
Suffice it to say that, despite these interminable delays, protests and evasions, and the manifest failure of the Authorities concerned to implement the recommendations made by both the Council of the League and the Permanent Mandates Commission, the publicity achieved for the Faith by this memorable litigation, and the defense of its cause--the cause of truth and justice--by the world's highest tribunal, have been such as to excite the wonder of its friends and to fill with consternation its enemies. Few episodes, if any, since the birth of the Formative Age of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, have given rise to repercussions in high places comparable to the effect produced on governments and chancelleries by this violent and unprovoked assault directed by its inveterate enemies against one of its holiest sanctuaries.
"Grieve not, O House of God," Bahá'u'lláh Himself has significantly written, "if the veil of thy sanctity be rent asunder by the infidels. God hath, in the world of creation, adorned thee with the jewel of His remembrance. Such an ornament no man can, at any time, profane. Towards thee the eyes of thy Lord shall, under all conditions, remain directed." "In the fullness of time," He, in another passage, referring to that same House, has prophesied, "the Lord shall, by the power of truth, exalt it in the eyes of all men. He shall cause it to become the Standard of His Kingdom, the Shrine round which will circle the concourse of the faithful."
To the bold onslaught made by the breakers of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh in their concerted efforts to secure the custodianship of His holy Tomb, to the arbitrary seizure of His holy House in Baghdád by the Shí'ah community of Iraq, was to be added, a few years later, yet another grievous assault launched by a still more powerful adversary, directed against the very fabric of the Administrative Order as established by two long-flourishing Bahá'í communities of the East, culminating in the virtual disruption of these communities and the seizure of the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkár of the Bahá'í world and of the few accessory institutions already reared about it.
On July 17, 2013, the Universal House of Justice sent a letter "to the Bahá’ís of the World" announcing "with utter shock and desolating grief that the Bahá’ís in Baghdad discovered on 26 June that the “most holy habitation” of Bahá’u’lláh had been razed almost to the ground to make way for the construction of a mosque," at the end of what the Universal Hose of Justice calls a "highly delicate situation in Iraq over the last tumultuous decade."

It is somewhat ironic, that in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the false information of Iraq's purported possession of weapons of mass destruction was leaked to the media by David Kelly, a Bahá’í authority on biological warfare, employed by the British Ministry of Defence, and formerly a weapons inspector with the United Nations Special Commission in Iraq. David Kelly was found dead from an apparent suicide on July 17, 2003, two days after appearing before a before a parliamentary Foreign Affairs Select Committee.

On August 11, 2003, The Independent carried an article about David Kelly, noting "In October 2002, Dr Kelly gave a slide show and lecture about his experiences as a weapons inspector in Iraq to a small almost private gathering of the Baha'i faith, which aims to unite the teachings of all the prophets. Dr Kelly had converted to the religion three years earlier, while in New York on attachment to the UN. When he returned to England he became treasurer of the small but influential Baha'i branch in Abingdon near his home. Roger Kingdon, a member, recalls: 'He had no doubt that [the Iraqis] had biological and chemical weapons. It was clear that David Kelly was largely happy with the material in the dossier.'"

On September 13th, 1983, the UHJ cabled regarding the Iranian government's banning the Baha'i Administration

Iranian Baha'i Yaran in Prison

September 13. On this date in 1983, the Universal House of Justice sent a cable to all National Spiritual Assemblies regarding the Iranian government's banning the Bahá'í Administration on August 29, 1983, noting the government's statement permitted Bahá'ís to "practice beliefs as private individuals provided they do not teach or invite others to join (the) Faith, they do not form Assemblies or have anything to do with Administration. Serving in Bahá'í Administration now specified as criminal act."
To all National Spiritual Assemblies
In fact, after the banning of the NSA and LSAs, the Administrative Order did establish in Iran a new administrative structure known as the Yaran.

In the past, when other governments have banned the the Bahá' Administrative Order, no such new administrative structure was established.

For example, on February 11, 1934, Shoghi Effendi addressed a letter to a German Bahá'í stating about the Nazi government that "obedience to the regulations and orders of the state is indeed, the sacred obligation of every true and loyal Bahá'í" and that "our German friends are under the sacred obligation to whole-heartedly obey the existing political regime, whatever be their personal views and criticisms of its actual working. There is nothing more contrary to the spirit of the Cause than open rebellion against the governmental authorities of a country, specially if they do not interfere in and do not oppose the inner and sacred beliefs and religious convictions of the individual. And there is every reason to believe that the present regime in Germany, which has thus far refused to trample upon the domain of individual conscience in all matters pertaining to religion will never encroach upon it in the near future, unless some unforeseen and unexpected changes take place. And this seems to be doubtful at present."
11 February 1934
Dear Bahá'í Brother,
I am charged by the Guardian to thank you for your letter of Jan. 30th as well as for the enclosed pamphlet containing the address delivered by Herr Hitler on Oct. 14th, 1933, on the subject of Germany's attitude towards peace, all of which he read with deepest care and sustained interest. He wishes me to convey to you and to all the members of your German National Assembly and through them to all the followers of the Faith in Germany his views on the present conditions in that land, and particularly in their relation to the nature and scope of the Bahá'í activities of our German believers.
At the outset it should be made indubitably clear that the Bahá'í Cause being essentially a religious movement of a spiritual character stands above every political party or group, and thus cannot and should not act in contravention to the principles, laws, and doctrines of any government. Obedience to the regulations and orders of the state is indeed, the sacred obligation of every true and loyal Bahá'í. Both Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá have urged us all to be submissive and loyal to the political authorities of our respective countries. It follows, therefore, that our German friends are under the sacred obligation to whole-heartedly obey the existing political regime, whatever be their personal views and criticisms of its actual working. There is nothing more contrary to the spirit of the Cause than open rebellion against the governmental authorities of a country, specially if they do not interfere in and do not oppose the inner and sacred beliefs and religious convictions of the individual. And there is every reason to believe that the present regime in Germany which has thus far refused to trample upon the domain of individual conscience in all matters pertaining to religion will never encroach upon it in the near future, unless some unforeseen and unexpected changes take place. And this seems to be doubtful at present.
For whereas the friends should obey the government under which they live, even at the risk of sacrificing all their administrative affairs and interests, they should under no circumstances suffer their inner religious beliefs and convictions to be violated and transgressed by any authority whatever. A distinction of a fundamental importance must, therefore, be made between spiritual and administrative matters. Whereas the former are sacred and inviolable, and hence cannot be subject to compromise, the latter are secondary and can consequently be given up and even sacrificed for the sake of obedience to the laws and regulations of the government. Obedience to the state is so vital a principle of the Cause that should the authorities in Germany decide to-day to prevent the Bahá'ís from holding any meeting or publishing any literature they should obey and be as submissive as our Russian believers have thus far been under the Soviet regime. But, as already pointed out, such an allegiance is confined merely to administrative matters which if checked can only retard the progress of the Faith for some time. In matters of belief, however, no compromise whatever should be allowed, even though the outcome of it be death or expulsion
There is one more point to be emphasized in this connection. The principle of obedience to government does not place any Bahá'í under the obligation of identifying the teachings of his Faith with the political program enforced by the government. For such an identification, besides being erroneous and contrary to both the spirit as well as the form of the Bahá'í message, would necessarily create a conflict within the conscience of every loyal believer.
For reasons which are only too obvious the Bahá'í philosophy of social and political organization cannot be fully reconciled with the political doctrines and conceptions that are current and much in vogue to-day. The wave of nationalism, so aggressive and so contagious in its effects, which has swept not only over Europe but over a large part of mankind is, indeed, the very negation of the gospel of peace and of brotherhood proclaimed by Bahá'u'lláh. The actual trend in the political world is, indeed, far from being in the direction of the Bahá'í teachings. The world is drawing nearer and nearer to a universal catastrophe which will mark the end of a bankrupt and of a fundamentally defective civilization.
From such considerations we can well conclude that we as Bahá'ís can in no wise identify the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh with man-made creeds and conceptions, which by their very nature are impotent to save the world from the dangers with which it is being so fiercely and so increasingly assailed.
The Guardian hopes that these brief explanations will be sufficient to guide our German National Assembly in their efforts to safeguard and promote the interests of the Faith, and that through them they will be given a new vision of the Cause and a fresh determination to carry forward its message to the world at large.
With greetings and best wishes to you and to all the friends in Germany,...
In the Guardian's own handwriting:
Dear and valued co-worker:
I wish to add a few words in loving appreciation of your strenuous, your intelligent and devoted efforts for the spread and consolidation of our beloved Faith. May the Almighty bless your endeavours, deepen your understanding of the essentials and requirements of our beloved Cause, and enable you in these difficult and challenging days to promote its interests and consolidate its institutions,
Your true brother,

Nima Wahid Azal's response to Braindead Haifan Baha'i, Scott Hakala

Scott Hakala is an active Baha'i working for the Baha'i Internet Agency for the propagation and defense of the Baha'i faith on Internet forum Quora.

He writes answers to questions related to the Baha'i faith. This time he tried to answer a question about Bayani Faith. Thanks to N. Wahid Azal for correcting him and exposing this kind of Brainwashed Haifan Baha'i once again.

Download the PDF

Link to Wahid Azal's article

Invoking the Seven Worlds: An acrostic prayer by Mīrzā Yaḥyā Nūrī Ṣubḥ-i-Azal

Update 1 : Scott deletes the comments of N. Wahid Azal 

Update 2 : N. Wahid Azal's last comment to Scott Hakala

Not exactly the media coverage that the Administrative Order was hoping for, unless you go by the argument that any media coverage is good.

"Why you should think twice before taking a picture of you at the Bahai Temple in Santiago"

Maybe the Bahai religion and its temple to the Game of Thrones is a contribution to generate more tastes in your social networks, but not to that you find the inner peace that - supposedly - you look for.

As on Instagram everything happens suddenly and in mass - first were photos of people at the top of the hill Manquehue and then, from the drinks made with Aperol Spritz - I could see how since last year the trend was around the Bahai temple of Santiago.

I went to Peñalolén thinking that I would find inner peace in a religion with a very positive background unlike what I experienced in my religious childhood filled with guilt.

Through various pamphlets that deliver you at the entrance to the compound, it is explained that the Bahai religion rejects all kinds of prejudices and blindly trusts in the inherent goodness that every human being has in his heart; It also encourages marriages between different races and promotes the empowerment of women. As if the picture could not be better, there are no masses or priests and therefore there are no confessions or punishments imposed by guilt.

In a generation like ours, Bahai faith seems to fill the spaces that the dogmas imposed by our fathers could not fulfill and it seems that finally we are facing a credo of universal union of tolerance and love.

But it's not like that.

The Bahai faith is full of contradictions that try to fill the spaces of intolerance that other monotheistic religions like Judaism, Christianity and Islam present with a discourse that lacks logic and common sense.

Let's start with the first purpose and teaching of the creed, where in addition to the development of spiritual qualities, respect for and conservation of the environment is encouraged. How is it explained then that for the construction of the temple literally had to destroy half a hill precordillerano to fill it of cars and buses besides introducing plant species with the only and egoistic purpose of making the environment more comfortable for its visitors?

The guide of the place told me that the Bahai faith indicates as a basic principle the elimination of extremes of wealth and poverty and that the temple was built by anonymous donations from the parishioners themselves. However, the mole that looks like a set of Games Of Thrones and that clearly cost millions of dollars is located in the community of Peñalolén where 10% of its population is poor and presents other priorities quite obvious and not worth mentioning Yes its basic principles are to ensure that equity would not have been opted to contribute to the commune then?

The same guide who spoke to me about the advantages of not having a priest, or rites or masses, commented that although there is no equivalent to a Bible or a Quran, different texts compile the teachings of its leader, Bahá'u'llálah. One of these texts is the Aqdas, which specifically indicates that premarital relationships are discouraged and that the purpose of the union between two people is to have children, clearly rejecting same-sex couples. In fact, the counselor said that she had "many gay friends" and that it does not pressure the person, but the lifestyle. Just like that.
Within the Aqdas also instructions are given for the month of fasting that none of the Chileans would be willing to perform and therefore within the tour is not mentioned; the empowerment of women also has flaws since the system of inheritance is different for them. Marriages must be approved by all members of the family and divorce is valid one year after completion because this space is left in case of possible reconciliation (for whatever reason).

The Bahai religion indifferently criticizes what other religions should do by implementing rules that ultimately, and not being governed by a leader, are impossible to apply.

Many people told me that they visited the sanctuary for value architectural of the place but inside the temple I saw many couples enjoying themselves, people carrying their cell phone, three blessings running and two others crying. Outside the building there were more people, about 40 people. All of them taking photos with sticks selfies and even saw some guys in the parking lot eating hand roll and smoking weed.

The Bahai religion is aware of the attraction of its temples as a method of attracting new parishioners (and hence taxpayers). Being a new religion, it understands the different sociological currents of the present where the beautification of our social networks is much more important than to look for our spirituality (cause that is technically given as lost today).
So think twice: maybe a selfie in this place goes against what you really believe, or you just do not care about the above.

Source :

Automatically translated with

Baha'i activities in DRC

This is being circulated by Baha'is on social media, not sure how true this is!

The ability is being raised to go into neighborhoods and villages to engage the population in an intensive way to raise up large numbers of core activities (not just for a group of people, but serving the whole village).

In one of the villages in the DRC such intense process is underway, everyone trusts each other and everyone is trustworthy, they feel like 1, even the livestock is not locked up at night. So when a new person comes into a village he’s told that if anything goes missing, they know it’s him.

In another village everyone’s saying Allah’u’Abha to each other, coming from outside one doesn’t know who’s Baha’i and who not. And when the Baha’is speak about Baha’is vs. friends of the Faith, the friends ask why they aren’t considered Baha’is too. So we need to catch up with our language use.

For the Bicentenaries the NSA is arranging a month of observances. The first week of October will be dedicated to friends and family, gatherings will be held in the close circles; in the second week activities will be organized for neighborhoods; in week 3 the LSAs will arrange observances for whole localities; week 4 will be on cluster level. The NSA sent a letter to the RBC asking to invite 17 million people to participate. Even if not so many people come, but 17 million invitations should be sent out. In Lubumbashi the friends booked the local football stadium for the event.

Baha'i Faith: Teaching vs. Proselytizing

Baha'u'llah's activities in the Ottoman Empire and the Political conditions during that period.

Mehmed Emin Ali Pasha

On September 7, 1871, Mehmed Emin Ali Pasha, the Ottoman Grand Vizier, died. He was the recipient of three Tablets from Bahá'u'lláh, including "Lawh-i-Ra'ís" (not to be confused with "Súriy-i-Ra'ís").
Juan Cole describes some of the political atmosphere in the Ottoman Empire in his "Lawh-i-Fu'ád: notes by Juan Cole".
Of note,
The Tablet of Fuad was written to commemorate the death of Kecicizade Fuad Páshá in Nice of heart trouble, in February, 1869. Therefore it was presumably penned in late winter or early spring of that year, during Bahá'u'lláh's close confinement in the fortress of Acre (Akká). Fuad Páshá was the son of a famed poet, and he himself studied medicine. Although Fuad Páshá is presented in this tablet as a despot, he is remembered in Turkish historiography rather as a reformer. Born in Istanbul in 1815, he was among the foremost planners and implementers of the Tanzimat or reorganization of the Ottoman administration in the nineteenth century so as to bring it closer to modern Western standards. Because of his fluent French, he was able to enter and rise high in the foreign ministry. In 1840 he was first secretary of the Ottoman Embassy in England.
Fuad Páshá was intimately involved in decisions affecting Bahá'u'lláh. He was grand vizier in 1863 when Bahá'u'lláh was brought from Baghdad to Istanbul, presumably to remove him from close proximity to his followers in Iran and also to investigate whether Babism under his leadership might be politically useful to the Ottomans in the relations with Iran. (In this regard the summoning of Bahá'u'lláh to Istanbul prefigures Abdulhamid II's attempt to use Iranians such as Sayyid Jamálu'd-Din al-Afghani and Mírzá Áqá Khán Kirmani for political purposes vis-a-vis Iran during his campaign for pan-Islam during the 1880s and 1890s). Fuad Páshá must certainly have taken the decision to rusticate Bahá'u'lláh to Edirne (Adrianople) in November of 1863. He was also involved, as grand vizier and then foreign minister, in making the decision to send Bahá'u'lláh to Acre nearly five years later. As a defender of the more secular values of the Tanzimat reforms, Fuad Páshá was probably suspicious (as we know his colleague Mehmet Emin Alí Páshá was) of Babism as an old-style theocratic Mahdist movement that attacked modernity. In 1866 Alí Páshá told the Austrian ambassador in Istanbul that Bahá'u'lláh, then in exile in Edirne, was "a man of great distinction, exemplary conduct, great moderation, and a most dignified figure" and spoke of Babism as "a doctrine which is worthy of high esteem." He went on to say, however, that he still found the religion politically unacceptable because it refused to recognize a separation of religious and temporal authority. From the reformers' point of view a messianic movement such as Babism, whatever its virtues, threatened the achievements of the Tanzimat by seeking to put all authority, religious and secular, back in the hands of a charismatic spiritual leader. I would argue that, ironically, Bahá'u'lláh was moving away from a theocratic model toward one that acknowledged the autonomy of the civil state, and that there was a convergence between his thought and the Tanzimat that, tragically, the Ottoman state was unable to grasp because of Babism's previous reputation as a vehicle for radical theocracy.
Around the fall of 1867, Bahá'u'lláh in Edirne wrote a letter (The Tablet of the Kings or Súrat al-Mulúk) apostrophizing the world's rulers, in which he addressed Ottoman cabinet officials and to Sultan Abdulaziz. Bahá'u'lláh therein disavows any theocratic or mahdist pretensions, denying that he wishes to lay hold on the worldly possessions of these high officials, and insisting that he is not in rebellion against the Ottoman Sultán. He does say that Sultán AbdulAzíz should be grateful to God for having made him "Sultán of the Muslims," and calls him the "shadow of God on earth." He thus underlines that the civil state derives its ultimate authority from God, but that Bahá'u'lláh's coming does not challenge in any way its authority, since he wishes only to give ethical and spiritual counsel.
We do not know if the Tablet to the Kings actually was sent to the Sublime Porte, though that seems likely. Its attempt at conciliation, in any case, failed. By spring of 1868 Sultan Abdulaziz and his cabinet, in reaction to AzAlí complaints and the importuning of the Iranian ambassador, had decided to exile Bahá'u'lláh and his companions from Edirne to Acre. Grand Vizier or First Minister Alí Páshá and Foreign Minister Fuad Páshá were intimately involved in this decision, which had implications for the Ottoman Empire's relations with Iran and also had the potential to raise protests from the European ambassadors concerned about freedom of conscience. But the motives for taking this step among the high Ottoman elite probably differed. Fuad and Alí could have cared less about Islamic orthodoxy, but they wanted to please Iran for reasons of Realpolitik. Ironically, they may also have worried about the Bábís as Muslim critics of their autocracy. The Islamic backlash against the secularizing Tanzimat reforms had taken two forms. One was the reactionary critique by the conservative Ottoman Muslim clergy (ulema), which had been implicated in the 1858 Kuleli revolt against the Westernizing government. Many of Bahá'u'lláh's statements in his letters to the Ottoman state, calling it back to God, and critiquing its secularizing principles, could have been read as belonging in this reactionary tradition. The other Islamic response was that of the Young Ottomans, a society founded in 1865, who combined an interest in Islamic mysticism and culture with an Ottoman nationalism and a commitment to parliamentary governance and civil rights. Many of these individuals were government translators and had a good knowledge of European languages and of the Enlightenment tradition of thinking about government and rights. One of these was named Sadik [Sadiq] Effendi, and he almost certainly met Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá in the fortress of Acre (Akká).
This fascinating glimpse into the cultural and political situation of the Ottoman empire in 1868 provides obvious further context to Bahá'u'lláh's Tablet of Fuad. It suggests, for one thing, that predictions of the Sultán's downfall, such as Bahá'u'lláh made in that Tablet, were not unusual but rather were commonplaces of the religious discourse of the time. Second, it shows how a mosque preacher at the time might get enough Western education to be considered a member of the effendi (Westernized secretary) class, and how such men were mixing an Islamic critique of what they saw as Fuad and Ali's extreme Westernization with an Enlightenment critique of their top-down, highly authoritarian approach to government. I suppose there is a parallel between the `republicanism' of these Muslim Young Ottomans and the similar pro-republican stance that the American Baptists took during the 1776 revolution. Third, and most suggestive of all, the French periodical describing Sadik Effendi's exile to the Fortress of Akká is dated Feb. 28, 1869!! It seems to me almost certain that he interacted with the Bahá'ís also imprisoned in the fortress, and while Bahá'u'lláh had his own reasons to condemn Fuad Páshá, his likely dialogue with Young Ottoman thought of the time is probably part of the picture. Note that at that moment, Young Ottomans like Namik Kemal were in exile in London, calling for British-style parliamentary governance in the Ottoman empire, and that Bahá'u'lláh's Tablet to Queen Victoria, written in Akká sometime 1868-1869 also did. It is not impossible, in fact, that Sadik Effendi was able surreptitiously to correspond with other Young Ottomans who reported developments to him.
Now Bahá'u'lláh turns to a prophecy similar to but more specific than his jeremiads in the Tablet of the Premier (Súrat ar-Ra'ís) addressed to Alí Páshá. Speaking with the voice of God (using the royal "we"), Bahá'u'lláh predicts that Alí Páshá, then grand vizier, will be deposed (the verb is 'azala, which is used of deposing kings). He says, too, that God will "lay hold" (the verb is akhadha, to take, seize) of Sultán AbdulAzíz (he is called amiruhum, literally, "their prince" or "their commander"). Although Bahá'u'lláh was correct that neither of these powerful men had long at the top in 1869, his prophecy, if taken literally, actually reverses their true fates. Alí Páshá was never deposed, but rather died in office in 1871. It was Sultán AbdulAzíz who was deposed, in the Constitutional Revolution of spring, 1876, shortly after which he committed suicide. Obviously, if Bahá'u'lláh had merely meant to predict that eventually these two men would die, then the prophecy was not very remarkable. Rather, he seems to have believed that Alí Páshá would fall from the Sultán's favor, and that some dramatic event would overtake the Sultán. Even contemporaries such as Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl Gulpaygani, who became a Bahá'í in 1876 on hearing of the Sultán's fall, had demanded that the latter meet some extraordinary fate before he would accept that the prophecy in the Tablet of Fuad had been fulfilled. Taken together with Bahá'u'lláh's prediction in the Tablet of the Premier that turmoil would overtake the Ottoman empire and his advocacy from his early Acre years of parliamentary democracy, he does seem to have been prescient about the imminence of the First Constitutional Revolution). Indeed, the matter of Alí Páshá never being deposed seems minor in comparison.
It is important to note how political Bahá'u'lláh's statements in this tablet are, and how candidly seditious. Any published or openly circulated criticism of the Sultán and his ministers, who still presided over an absolute monarchy despite their moves toward cabinet government, was strictly forbidden and punishable by death. Had the Tablet of Fuad fallen into Ottoman hands, it could well have led to Bahá'u'lláh's summary execution. As noted above, the only other group that engaged in a similar critique of Fuad Páshá and Alí Páshá, charging them with being overly authoritarian and arguing that the Tanzimat abandonment of spirituality had gone too far, while working for British-style parliamentary governance, was the Young Ottomans (as noted above). This group of intellectuals, many of whom had a Western education and who were well aware of the U.S. Bill of Rights and the French Rights of Man, had a more mainstream political style than did Bahá'u'lláh. But despite his Miltonian imagery, his prophetic rhetorical style, and his Bábí passion, by 1869 Bahá'u'lláh was advocating a political program in the Ottoman Empire and Iran that differed very little from that of Young Ottomans such as Namik Kemal. (In his Tablet to Queen Victoria of 1868 or 1869, he advocated parliamentary rule, another value that was strictly prohibited in Ottoman political discourse). The stark Bahá'í turn to political quietism from the 1930s has resulted in a view of Bahá'u'lláh that reads back into his period the later skittishness about politics, a view made possible only by ignorance of Ottoman imperial policy of the time with regard to politics and censorship. The Tablet of Fuad is as radical a document in its own time as Tom Paine's revolutionary pamphlets were.
The last part of the Tablet of Fuad appears to contain a condemnation of Mírzá Yahyá Subh-i Azal (d. 1912), Bahá'u'lláh's half-brother and a widely recognized leader of the Bábís, with whom Bahá'u'lláh was in competition for the leadership of the Bábí community. Despite the disadvantages of his confinement in the fortress of Acre, Bahá'u'lláh appears to have been already well on the way to winning over most of the Bábís by his assertion that he was the promised one of the Báb. Finally, there is a passage about God having seized or taken "al-Mahdi." The Mahdi is, of course, the Islamic promised one who is expected to fill the world with justice after it had been filled with injustice. I am not sure whether this is an ironic way of referring one last time to Fuad Páshá, or whether it is the name of an enemy of Bahá'u'lláh's who had recently died. "Mihdí" is a common Iranian personal name. Khazeh Fananapazir has wrote to me that this Mahdi was in fact an Azali, and was the recipient of the Kitáb-i Badí` (The Book of Wonder), Bahá'u'lláh's major apologia to the Bábís. This Mihdí was in the circle of Sayyid Muhammad Isfahani, and had written a fierce denunciation of Bahá'u'lláh.
The Tablet of Fuad was called by Baron Rosen a "victory hymn" in celebration of an enemy's death. This is an apt description, but this short piece is much more than that. It condemns the autocratic leadership style of the Tanzimat men, with their vision of modernization dictated from above. It playfully pokes fun at their increasing secularization by depicting one of them at the gates of hell surrounded by vengeful angels, who strike him down for his impudence, taunt him for his unbelief and his despotic deeds, and unceremoniously dump him into the inferno. Fuad Páshá is lambasted as more of a tyrant than Pharaoh, and the entire Ottoman state is thus painted with the same brush. The issues of rights and due process are also key to this tablet. Fuad's crime is to condemn the Bahá'ís to imprisonment without proof of any wrongdoing on their part. Because of their iniquity and despotism, the top three officers of the Ottoman state are here consigned to unpleasant ends. Fuad Páshá suddenly dies at a relatively young 53 or 54, far from home and from his loved ones. The deposition of Alí Páshá is predicted. And it is said that God would lay hold upon the Sultán. The correspondence between their mistreatment of Bahá'u'lláh and his companions and their actual or predicted fates posited in this tablet recalls the conviction among Sufi leaders that the fates of kings and dynasties depend upon how well they treat the mystic masters, and, of course, it echoes the sermons and newspaper articles of progressive Muslim Ottoman dissidents who also predicted an early end to the reign of Sultán AbdulAzíz. But in going on to specify actual mechanisms for the redress of such injustices, such as adoption of a rule of law, the safeguarding of individual rights, and parliamentary governance, Bahá'u'lláh makes his jeremiads against the Ottoman pharaohs much more than mere theological gloating, imbuing them instead with importance for the history of thinking about human rights and democracy in the modern Middle East.

Rainn Wilson talks about Baha'u'llah, his Life and Teachings at the National Bahá'í Center in Iceland. Here Are Some Errors and Gross Omissions.

At 17:30, he omits that the Babis led a violent, messianic insurrection against the government.

At 17:40, he says "They killed tens of thousands of Babis in Persia in the early 1800's in the most horrifying ways." In fact, Denis MacEoin concludes]( that the "number of early Babi/Bahá'í martyrs was not 20,000, as 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi mentioned numerous times, but 2,000 to 3,000 (e.g. MacEoin, "A Note on the Numbers of Babi and Bahá'í Martyrs in Iran," in Bahá'í Studies Bulletin, 2.2, Sept. 1983, and "From Babism to Bahá'ísm: Problems of Militancy, Conflation, and Quietism in the Construction of a Religion," in Religion, 13, July 1983)."

At 18:00, he omits that Bahaullah, as one of the leaders of the Babi movement, was imprisoned after some Babis unsuccessfully attempted to assassinate the Shah of Iran.

At 20:15, Bahaullah was exiled and not executed due to heavy pressure from the Russian consul, who had some political authority over the Iranian state at the time. In fact, Bahaullah was escorted with an entourage of Russian horseman to his exile in Baghdad, which was part of the Ottoman Empire at the time. Bahaullah left Baghdad without telling his family to study with Sufi sheikhs in Kurdistan.

At 22:00, the Bab said the next manifestation would come in 1000 years, not a short time.

At 22:20, Bahaullah's followers were engaged in internecine fighting with the followers of Subh-i-Azal, which is why the Ottoman authorities moved him to Acre, Palestine.

At 26:18, he correctly quotes Bahaullah as saying, "That diversity in religion should cease."

At 47:30, he says "There are two choices about Bahaullah." No, in fact, there are many more conclusions that one can more objectively reach than those two.
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