Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Israeli Prime Minister visits the shrine of 'Bab', the forerunner of Baha'i Faith.




Photos: Haim Tzah, Government Press Office

The Bahá'í Gardens in Haifa, which can be called the Hanging Gardens of Haifa, are gardens located around the Tomb of the Bab on Mount Carmel. These gardens are a symbol of Haifa and one of the most important tourist attractions.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Azerbaijan: The land of religious tolerance

By SPONSORED - Monday, October 2, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

What Muslim country allows Jews, Christians, Muslims and Baha`is to live side by side in peace and harmony?

Father Constantin, Press Secretary of Baku-Azerbaijan Eparchy of Russian Orthodox Church

In Azerbaijan’s long history, many nationalities and different ethnic groups have lived together, and the Azeri people have developed a mentality of love and kindness to other people. And history didn’t record any conflict between Christians, Jews and Muslims, the three main denominations in Azerbaijan. Even when idol worshippers lived here, such conflicts didn’t happen.

Today, our government’s support for the multiculturalism and tolerance built by our national leader Heydar Aliyev is being continued by President Ilham Aliyev. Different religious communities not only peacefully coexist, but also are joining action on charitable and social projects.

Although Azerbaijan’s main population is Muslim, the country`s constitution is of a secular state. It is our constitution, as citizens of Azerbaijan and also patriots of our country. We wish all goods and blessings to this country, to our country. We wish Azerbaijan to develop spiritually and materially.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 18, United Nations - 1948.

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Mr. Milikh Yevdayev, Head of the Mountain Jews Community in Azerbaijan

I always repeat these words to Jewish people everywhere that if they don’t have any place to live, let them come to Azerbaijan. We are here for 2,000 years and will be for another 2,000. We live here in peace and harmony with all other citizens of Azerbaijan of different ethnicities and religions.

In Azerbaijan, the government has created all conditions for preserving our religion and our language. We enjoy all the rights and privileges fixed in the Constitution of Azerbaijan. President Ilham Aliyev says he is the president of each and every citizen. We are witness of this statement in deeds. We are living here in peace and safety.

Ramazan Asgarli, Secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha`is of Azerbaijan

Geographically located between east and west, Azerbaijan has developed its own culture that is not totally eastern or western. And the Azerbaijani people are characterized by their tolerance and kindness towards other cultures and nations.

Building on this, the government of Azerbaijan has created all conditions for developing this culture and even has adopted multiculturalism as a state policy.

In Baha`i writings, Azerbaijanis are mentioned as peaceful peace lovers with a rich and ancient culture. Today, Baha`is of Azerbaijan enjoy these favorable conditions in our country and contribute to the welfare and development of our society. We are grateful to the government of Azerbaijan for creating favorable conditions for practicing our beliefs. 
 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Abdul Baha speaks in a Jewish synagogue

 
When in San Francisco(26) I was invited to speak in a Jewish synagogue. I said,
 
"For about two thousand years, between you and the Christians, there have been friction and opposition, owing to the misunderstandings which today have blinded the eyes. You conceive that His Holiness the Christ was the enemy of Moses, the destroyer of the laws of the Pentateuch, the abrogator of the commandments of the Bible. When we investigate the reality we observe that Christ appeared at a time when according to your own historians, the laws of the Torah were forgotten; the foundation of religion and faith was shaken. Nebuchadnezzar had come, burning the context [contents] of the whole Bible,(27) and taking into captivity many Jewish tribes. Alexander the Great came for the second time, and Titus, the Roman general, devastated the land for the third time, killed the Jews, pillaged their property and imprisoned their children.

At such a time, under such gloomy conditions, His Holiness the Christ appeared. The first thing he said was: 'The Torah is the divine book; Moses is the man of God; Aaron, Solomon, Isaiah, Zechariah and all the Israelitish prophets [prophets of Israel] are valid and true.' Through all regions he spread the Old Testament, which for fifteen hundred years had not been sent out of Palestine, but Christ promulgated it in all countries. Were it not for Christ the name of Moses and his book would not have reached America; for during fifteen hundred years the Torah had been translated but once. It was Christ's seal of approval which caused it to be translated into six hundred languages. Now be just, was Christ the friend or the enemy of Moses?

You say he abrogated the Torah, but I say he promulgated the Torah, the ten commandments and all the questions which belong to its moral world. But he changed the following: That for a small theft one must cut of the hand.(28) If a person blind another, he must be blinded, or if he breaks another's teeth, his teeth must be broken. Is it possible nowadays to establish the archaic laws of an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth? Christ changed only that part of the Mosaic religion which did not accord with the spirit of his time. He had no desire to abolish the Torah. Is it not true that the Christians believe that Moses was the [High] prophet of God, and all the Israelitish seers were the messengers of God, and the Bible [Torah] the book of God?(29) Has this belief of theirs harmed their religion? If you say from your heart that Christ is the word of God, then all these differences will cease. The persecutions of the last two thousand years have been on account of this fact, that you were not willing to proclaim these two words. But I hope that it is proven to you that Moses had no better friend than His Holiness the Christ."
 

Friday, July 28, 2017

For over a century they had rejected Christianity

Our Beloved Faith is advancing and making significant progress throughout the world, specially during this auspicious period of the Holy Year, the Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha'u'llah, The Law of Huququ'llah (Right of God) is also reaching various corners of the world including the Baha'i community of Tanna which is an island in Tafea Province of Vanuatu, Pacific Ocean. See details below also attached:

Extract from Huqúqu’lláh Newsletter No. 83 


Tanna: The people of the village of Yapkisip were very strong in their customs and culture. For over a century they had rejected Christianity and followed their traditional beliefs. Due to a vision by one of their elders this past year, they are now all Bahá’ís. The Representative and the Deputy Trustee consulted that though they are new Bahá’ís, the laws are for everyone; and their approach with the education on Ḥuqúqu’lláh should be gradual. The Representative mentioned that the chief of the village attended the National Convention and was very touched by the presentation on Ḥuqúqu’lláh and now wanted to make his payment. They made plans to visit the village. They were welcomed with cultural dances and speeches. The Secretary of the new Local Spiritual Assembly said: “Welcome to the new Home of Bahá’u’lláh.” “In this village there is no Right or Left, there are no prejudices, all are welcome.”

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Paylocity founder Steve Sarowitz: Baha’i ‘made sense to me right away’

Paylocity founder Steve Sarowitz, a member of the Baha'i faith, outside the Baha'i Temple in Wilmette. Turned to Baha'i after a trip to Akko, Israel — the “spiritual center” of the religion. | Michelle Kanaar / Sun-Times

Steve Sarowitz, 51, Chicago tech entrepreneur, Paylocity founder, philanthropist, raised Jewish, now Baha’i, which teaches there’s “essentially one faith being revealed over the history of humanity.”

Raised in Homewood as a Reform Jew.

“I had a pleasant upbringing in the Jewish faith . . . We were the three-day-a-year Jews.”

“Wasn’t passionate” about his religion, but “I was always a believer in God.”

When he was a baby, his mother had a “life-after-death experience” in which she said she “went through a tunnel,” saw flashbacks and was asked by God whether she wanted to stay there or resume her life.

“I always believed in God ’cause my mom told me she talked to Him.”

Still, growing up, he didn’t “think about religion that much . . . I was thinking about everything else . . . sports . . . girls.”

To the extent he contemplated faith, wondered: “Are the Jews right and the Christians wrong, or are the Christians right and the Jews wrong, or maybe the Muslims are right?”
                                                              ***
First encountered the Baha’i religion — which today, according to estimates, has at least five million adherents, many in the Middle East — while a student at the University of Illinois.

He went to the Jewish student center during a presentation on “progressive revelation,” learned about “the Baha’i vision that . . . one God sent all the messengers, all the founders of all the great faiths with the same essential message, which is to love God and love thy neighbor and that the differences” among the major religions “were rather minor and that it was, in fact, one faith being revealed over the entire history of humanity.

“The idea of unity and continuity . . . a single reality . . . made sense to me right away,” though he didn’t become Baha’i yet.

                                                              ***

He and his wife raised their kids Jewish, but he revisited the Baha’i faith years later when a running buddy asked him to join a Baha’i “study group.”

Wealthier after Paylocity, the human resources and payroll provider, went public in 2014, decided to do “a lot more” philanthropy and heard about a plan to put a community center for Arab and Jewish kids in Akko, Israel — the “spiritual center” of the Baha’i religion, to which the faithful worldwide face during daily prayers.

Sarowitz considered it a sign and helped, visiting Akko and the shrine of Baha’u’llah, who died in 1892 and is viewed by the faithful as the “latest” of God’s “divine educators” — among them Abraham, Krishna, Moses, Buddha, Jesus and Muhammad.

“I had a profound spiritual transformation . . . I was already a Baha’i in my heart, but I walked out teaching the Baha’i faith.”

                                                              ***

“The main tenet, the most overriding value in the Baha’i faith, is unity, unity of religion, unity of mankind. It’s trying to take away all the things that divide us . . . getting rid of all prejudices . . . sexism, racism, nationalism. Baha’u’llah had a beautiful quote, he said the earth is but one country and mankind its citizens.”

                                                              ***

How often do members go to services?

“Very rarely.”

But there’s a minimum of one “obligatory” prayer to be said daily.

Baha’i members in individual towns in the Chicago area get together for a “feast” — to pray together, eat together, handle “community business” — every 19 days, the length of a month in the Baha’i calendar.

There are just a handful of Baha’i temples around the world, including one in the United States — in Wilmette, along Sheridan Road.

                                                             ***

The Baha’i faith has long faced persecution in the Middle East, including Iran, was an early voice in the 19th and 20th centuries for women’s rights and against racism.

“Service is part and parcel” to the faith.

                                                             ***

Sarowitz has helped fund community centers in minority neighborhoods in Chicago and is bankrolling a documentary about the Bab, who is considered a prophet and “heralded” Baha’u’llah.

                                                             ***

Sarowitz’s great-uncle fought for Israel’s independence with Menachem Begin, who later was Israel’s prime minister.

More than 20 family members were killed in the Holocaust.

                                                             ***

“Honesty is the foundation of all virtues.”

“God doesn’t look like anything to me . . . We can only know God as his attributes, so God is kindness, God is love . . . charity, philanthropy . . . truth, wisdom.”

                                                             ***

Baha’i followers are “are peace lovers” but not necessarily “pacifists” — so while they work for peace, there can be a “use of war, but it should be very limited.”

                                                             ***

“I find our message resonates particularly with millennials, who are really into the oneness of humankind.”

In the Baha’i faith, “there is no hierarchy, so I’m not above or below anybody.”


Paylocity founder Steve Sarowitz, a member of the Baha’i faith,
outside the Baha’i Temple in Wilmette. | Michelle Kanaar / Sun-Times

http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/paylocity-founder-steve-sarowitz-got-rich-turned-to-bahai-religion-face-to-faith/

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The "New Jerusalem" of Baha'u'llah

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE
Bahá’í World Centre • P.O. Box 155 • 31001 Haifa, Israel
Tel: 972 (4) 835 8358 • Fax: 972 (4) 835 8280 • Email: secretariat@bwc.org

12 May 2008

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá’í Friends,

As the worldwide Bahá’í community proceeds with a unified and coordinated endeavour to advance the process of entry by troops, developments of far-reaching significance at the Bahá’í World Centre, foreshadowed in our message of Ridván 2006 to the Bahá’ís of the world, are now occurring.

The way has been opened to further beautification of the environs of the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh, the Qiblih of the people of Bahá, described by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as the “luminous Shrine” and “the place around which circumambulate the Concourse on high”. After negotiations over several years, agreement has been reached with the Israeli government for the acquisition of a rectangular plot of land 90,000 square metres in area, located between Bahjí and the main road, which is currently being used by the government.

The property in the possession of the Faith has been further augmented by the conclusion, after negotiations which extended over some twenty years, of a land exchange with the Israel Land Administration, by which a portion of the land bequeathed to the Faith in the Ein Sara neighbourhood of Nahariya, north of ‘Akká, is being exchanged for an additional 100,000 square metres to the east of the Mansion of Bahjí, an area of about 32,000 square metres adjoining the island at the Ridván Garden, and the caravanserai adjacent to the Mansion of Mazra‘ih. Discussions are continuing with the authorities for a further exchange, using more of the Ein Sara land to acquire additional property in close proximity to the Bahá’í Holy Places in the ‘Akká area required to protect the sanctity and tranquillity of these places in the face of the rapid urbanization of the region.

Measures are now being taken to formulate a comprehensive plan for the development of these Holy Places in the years immediately ahead, in a manner which will preserve the distinctive characteristics evident when Bahá’u’lláh blessed them with His presence, while providing facilities for the growing number of pilgrims and visitors. Work has also been completed on the restoration of the Junayn Gardens, a small farmhouse and orchard north of Bahjí visited occasionally by Bahá’u’lláh, which was subsequently donated to the Faith.

An extensive project is now under way for the restoration of the Ridván Garden to its condition when visited by Bahá’u’lláh at the termination of His nine-year confinement within the walls of the prison-city of ‘Akká. Described by Him as “Our Verdant Isle” and as the “New Jerusalem”, Bahá’u’lláh rejoiced in the tranquillity of the setting, “its streams flowing, and its trees luxuriant, and the sunlight playing in their midst.” Included in the work being carried out here is the construction of a circulating water system, which will recreate the island frequented by Bahá’u’lláh, and the restoration of an antique flour mill, which was in use during His time.

No less significant is the work being carried out on Mount Carmel. The International Archives Building, constructed over fifty years ago at a time of limited resources in the Holy Land, is being extensively renovated and its facilities developed. This edifice, described by the Guardian as “the permanent and befitting repository for the priceless and numerous relics associated with the Twin Founders of the Faith, with the Perfect Exemplar of its teachings and with its heroes, saints and martyrs”, is being strengthened structurally; provisions are being made to render it accessible to the disabled; the method of display of its relics is being improved; a comprehensive security system is being provided; the exterior stonework is being restored; and its interior is being enhanced through installation of a granite floor.

Detailed plans have been prepared for the renovation of the Shrine of the Báb, the “majestic mausoleum” extolled by Shoghi Effendi as “the Queen of Carmel enthroned on God’s Mountain, crowned in glowing gold, robed in shimmering white, girdled in emerald green, enchanting every eye from air, sea, plain and hill.” This work will include installation of earthquake-resistant reinforcement not visible to pilgrims or visitors; preparation of the three chambers not previously available for meditation or worship; repair of the dome; and replacement of its tiles, which have become worn and discoloured, to return them to their pristine lustre.

The work being carried out at the World Centre of the Faith represents far more than repair, renovation, and beautification of buildings and gardens of historic significance. It can best be assessed by reference to Bahá’u’lláh’s designation of Mount Carmel as “the seat of God’s throne” and by recognition of His followers that the Qiblih is the holiest spot on the surface of the planet, while the places in which He found respite are forever sanctified by His presence. From that perspective those who participate in this endeavour, either through their dedicated labours or through their sacrificial contributions of funds, are privileged to an extent far beyond their capacity to comprehend.

The Universal House of Justice

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Homeland and Holocaust - Notes on Judaism from a Baha'i Perspective

 
Secularization of western European society did not solve the "Jewish Question"; anti- Semitism continued. The French Jews, who regarded France as the most secular and tolerant society in the world, were profoundly shocked in 1894 when Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish officer in the French army, was wrongly accused of espionage. Dreyfus was sent to prison on the Devil's Island in the South Atlantic, and when evidence of the guilt of another officer surfaced the army refused to admit its mistake. French society was torn into two parties for over a decade, and one party was openly anti-Semitic in its literature. Anti- Jewish riots broke out in most major French cities. In Algiers—capital of the French colony of Algeria—the entire Jewish quarter was sacked. In the rest of Europe anti-Semitism was encouraged as well, and openly anti-Semitic politicians began to be elected to legislative positions. It became clear that anti-Semitism would not die simply because society had abandoned much of its religious trappings

Theodor Herzl (1860-1904), a Jewish journalist who was allowed to cover the Dreyfus trial, took up his pen and wrote The Jewish State, the book that launched the modern Zionist movement. Herzl worked tirelessly to promote Zionism, dying young as a result. Eastern European Jews embraced it with particular enthusiasm, for persecution there was growing and citizenship in a secular state was not a reasonable expectation. In western Europe Zionist congresses debated the idea of setting up a Jewish homeland in Palestine and began courting contacts with diplomats. When World War One converted Palestine from an Ottoman Turkish province to a British protectorate and British policy came to favor establishment of a "Jewish home" in Palestine, the political conditions for migration to Palestine were set.

Palestine in 1917 had at most a hundred thousand Jews, out of a total population of 600,000. Many were refugees from pogroms in Eastern Europe; some were religious scholars who were totally uninterested in a Jewish state. The British did not allow unlimited immigration and Zionism at first had little momentum, and thus few potential immigrants. All land had to be purchased from the Arabs, who charged as much as the market would bear. As more Jews came to Palestine the price of land spiraled upward. Eastern European Jews who voluntarily migrated to Palestine were often secularist and Marxist; they founded the kibbutzim, which remain among the world's few successful socialist experiments.

By the end of the 1920s the Jewish population of Palestine had risen to a mere 160,000, and anti-Jewish violence promulgated by angry Arabs became a more serious problem. Jews began to organize military units to defend themselves, units that were broken up by the British. In the 1930s, with the rise of Naziism in central Europe, immigration to Palestine rose sharply; in 1935 alone 64,000 Jews arrived. Arab resistance grew and the British began to face the breakdown of the mandate. Arab and Jewish states, increasingly became inevitable.

The deterioration of the safety of Jews throughout most of Europe accelerated the process. In the Russian Empire tens of thousands of Jews were killed in early the 1920s, for they were heavily involved in the Russian Revolution as Marxists. Under Stalin, who was fiercely anti-Semitic, Marxist Jews suffered terribly and the religion was virtually banned. But the spread of Naziism represented far more serious a threat. In some ways systematic anti- Semitism in Germany was surprising, for violence against Jews had ceased a century earlier and Jews were thoroughly integrated into German science, literature, and philosophy. Germany was winning half of the Nobel Prizes being awarded; and a third to a half of the German Nobels were being won by Jews. But the lost of the First World War was a terrible blow to German pride and needed an explanation; blaming the loss on the Jews was persuasive to many. The collapse of the German economy in the early 1930s required a scapegoat and pushed the country to desperation. It elected a demagogue in one of the first national elections it had ever held. Hitler had an obsession against Jews and as a result Naziism bolstered its nationalist theories of racial superiority of the Germans with arguments of Jewish genetic inferiority and conspiracy theories of Jewish dominance of the German economy. Even before Germany began military action it began to crack down on its Jewish population. Two hundred thousand Jews fled Germany for France, Holland, and countries beyond Europe.

Creation of a powerful German military machine and its use to conquer France, Poland, and much of the Balkans and the western Soviet Union brought much of European Jewry under German authority. Nazi-occupied Poland alone had 3.3 million Jews, and Hitler could do anything with them he pleased. Labor camps where Jews and other non-Germans were reduced to slave labor were built, then concentration camps. When the Soviet Union was invaded the Jewish populations of occupied Soviet cities were rounded up and shot in the hundreds of thousands. While some two and a half million Soviet Jews fled the German armies, a million and a half remained behind, and most were killed.

In 1941 the first gas chambers were constructed. Ironically, as the tide clearly turned against Germany, Hitler and his generals put a higher priority on the "Final Solution" to the Jewish problem than on prosecuting the war. Trains carrying Polish, German, and other Jews to death camps were given priority over military trains carrying soldiers and supplies to the front. Ninety percent of Poland's Jews were gassed, shot, or worked to death. At Auschwitz alone over two million human beings were gassed and incinerated. The war saw the cold-blooded killing of six million Jews, almost two thirds of the total in Europe.

The horror produced two results of lasting significance. One was the Nuremberg trials and the creation of international law against genocide. The second was awareness of the need to create a Jewish state. Not only were Jews convinced it was essential, but international sympathy made Jewish migration to Palestine easier. The result was an explosion of the Jewish population of Palestine. When the British sought to prevent Jewish immigration a campaign of terrorism—coordinated by young men like Menachem Begin—forced them to reverse their policy. The Czech government agreed to sell arms to the Jewish agency (the coordinating agency of Jews in Palestine), which began importing weapons via a clandestine airfield. When the British surrendered their mandate in 1948 to independent Jewish and Arab states, Israel was prepared to defend itself against Arab invasion. The Jewish question was replaced by the Arab question, for hundreds of thousands fled the land that became Israel. But the Jews reestablished their own sovereign state, for the first time in over two thousand years.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Baha'i New Year reception held at David Citadel Hotel - Jerusalem

Baha'i International Community Naw Ruz (Baha'i New Year) reception at David Citadel Hotel - Jerusalem
2017



Baha'i International Community Naw Ruz (Baha'i New Year) reception at David Citadel Hotel - Jerusalem
2017

Baha'i International Community Naw Ruz (Baha'i New Year) reception at David Citadel Hotel - Jerusalem (2016)
Photo (R to L) : Joshua Lincoln Secretary General & Barbara and Kern Wisman

Baha'u'llah's Tablet to Pope Pius IX and His Tablets to the bishops, monks, priests (and rabbis)

"O POPE! Rend the veils asunder. He Who is the Lord of Lords is come overshadowed with clouds, and the decree hath been fulfilled by God, the Almighty, the Unrestrained… He, verily, hath again come down from Heaven even as He came down from it the first time. Beware that thou dispute not with Him even as the Pharisees disputed with Him (Jesus) without a clear token or proof. On His right hand flow the living waters of grace, and on His left the choice Wine of justice, whilst before Him march the angels of Paradise, bearing the banners of His signs. Beware lest any name debar thee from God, the Creator of earth and heaven. Leave thou the world behind thee, and turn towards thy Lord, through Whom the whole earth hath been illumined… Dwellest thou in palaces whilst He Who is the King of Revelation liveth in the most desolate of abodes? Leave them unto such as desire them, and set thy face with joy and delight towards the Kingdom… Arise in the name of thy Lord, the God of Mercy, amidst the peoples of the earth, and seize thou the Cup of Life with the hands of confidence, and first drink thou therefrom, and proffer it then to such as turn towards it amongst the peoples of all faiths…" - http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/b/PB/pb-26.html
"Tell Me then: Do the sons recognize the Father, and acknowledge Him, or do they deny Him, even as the people aforetime denied Him (Jesus)?’ Whereupon she cried out saying: ‘Thou art, in truth, the All-Knowing, the Best-Informed.’" - http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/b/PB/pb-41.html
The Baha'i perspective of the return of Christ has little in common with the modern Christian understanding. A relevant quote from the Master on this:
"Know that the return of Christ for a second time doth not mean what the people believe, but rather signifieth the One promised to come after Him. He shall come with the Kingdom of God and His Power which hath surrounded the world. This dominion is in the world of hearts and spirits, and not in that of matter; for the material world is not comparable to a single wing of a fly, in the sight of the Lord, wert thou of those who know! Verily Christ came with His Kingdom from the beginning which hath no beginning, and will come with His Kingdom to the eternity of eternities, inasmuch as in this sense “Christ” is an expression of the Divine Reality, the simple Essence and heavenly Entity, which hath no beginning nor ending. It hath appearance, arising, manifestation and setting in each of the cycles." - http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/je/BNE/bne-177.html
The association of Baha'u'llah and Christ (Messiah) has more to do with the Mahdi prophecies (which are important in Islamic theology). Unfortunately Baha'i scholarly studies on the Mahdi/Qa'im traditions were written in Persian and Arabic and remain, for the most part, untranslated.

This is really a good summary of the Mahdi prophecies and how they relate to the Baha'i perspective on the return of Christ :
Many Muslims expected that after the advent of the Mahdi (a descendant of the Prophet who was expected to arise at the end of time to fill the world with justice after it had been filled with tyranny), Jesus would return shortly before the Resurrection Day. Muslim lore even contains numerous miraculous acts and adventures that the returned Christ will undertake (Parrinder:122-125; Robinson:78-105). Mahmoud Ayoub has translated a particularly interesting Sufi interpretation of the return of Christ, by Isma'il ibn Mustafa al-Haqqi, which says of Jesus: "He shall return in the end to be a sign for the hour (ilm li's-sa'ah, that is, the Day of Resurrection [Q. 43:61]) . . . [For in this] is [the Islamic dispensation's] great ennoblement, in that it will be closed by a prophet-messenger who will be subject to the shari'a [divinely-revealed Law]. Both Jews and Christians will believe in it [that is, Islam]. Through him (Jesus) God will renew the age of prophethood for the community (umma). He shall be served by the Mahdi and the men of the cave. He shall marry and beget children. He shall be one of the community of Muhammad as the seal of his awliya' [saints] . . . For the Spirit of Jesus is the manifestation of the Greatest Name, and an effulgence of divine power . . ." (Haqqi in Ayoub 1980:121). In a gloss on Qur'an 2:86, the Bab says the "clear signs" God bestowed on Jesus are a reference to his future co-advent with the Islamic promised one. He identifies Jesus or the Holy Spirit that aids him as "the noblest of the partisans of [the first Shi'ite Imam or successor to the Prophet] `Ali" (the Bab in Lawson 1987:484-485).
The Bab gradually revealed himself to be the Mahdi, and prophesied the coming of "He Whom God shall make Manifest." When Baha'u'llah asserted, from 1863, that he was the promised one prophesied by the Bab, he was as a result claiming to be the spiritual return of Christ. The idea of past holy figures "returning" (raj'at) was a doctrine of Shi`ite Islam, not so very different in conception from Jesus' own assertion that John the Baptist had been the return of the Prophet Elijah. In Baha'u'llah's Tablet to Queen Victoria, he wrote, "all that hath been mentioned in the Gospel hath been fulfilled. The land of Syria hath been honoured by the footsteps of its Lord . . ." (1967:33; 1968:131). In his letter to the Pope, Baha'u'llah says that "He, verily, hath again come down from Heaven even as He came down from it the first time. Beware that thou dispute not with Him even as the Pharisees disputed with Him (Jesus) without a clear token or proof" (1967:83; 1968:73). Similar statements are scattered through Baha'u'llah's writings (1988:11; 1980b:4-5; cf. Lambden 1993). - http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jrcole/bahai/bhjesu.htm

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

How many generations of the Jews brooded over the hallowed name of the Messiah as a fulfillment of their hearts' desire!

Finally He was born the Christ Child, The Word, The Son of God, at a period when spiritual comprehension was in its youthful stages, and it was not surprising that the Jews failed to recognize their deliverer in this throneless King.

(Baha'i World, Volume 4, p. 406)