Friday, August 14, 2009

Many of the first Iranian and Hungarian Baha’i were of Jewish origin

Bahá'u'lláh's writings addressed Christians more than any other non-Muslim religious groups and addressed them at an earlier date. Yet Christian response to the Bahá'í revelation was negligible.

The sudden conversion of Jews to the Bahá'í Faith occurred almost surprisingly, even the Bahá'ís did not, at first, make any concerted efforts to reach Jew. The actual conversions took many Bahá'ís by surprise.

Jews conversion to Baha’i Faith in Iran

1-The Jewish conversion movement began in Hamadan around 1877, and by 1884, according to the historian of Persian Jewry Habib Levy, involved some one hundred and fifty of the eight-hundred Jewish households there (Levy, Tarikh-i-Yahud-i-Iran 657).

2-From Hamadan, the Bahá'í Faith spread to the Jewish communities of other Iranian cities, including Kashan (where half of the Bahá'í community was of Jewish origin), Tehran, Isfahan, Bukhara, and Gulpaygan (where seventy-five percent of the Jewish community was said to have converted) (Curzon, Persia 500).

3-According to the Bahá'í historian Hasan Balyuzi, Táhirih was instrumental in converting a number of Jews to the Babí Faith in Hamadan (Balyuzi, The Báb 165). It should be noted however, that of all the Babí leaders, Táhirih was the most outspoken in departing from Islamic norms.

Jews conversion to Baha’i Faith in Hungary
The history of the Hungarian community reaches back to the beginning of the twentieth century. In 1913, 'Abdu'l-Baha, the eldest son of Baha'u'llah, visited Budapest and met a number of dignitaries and academics. Among them was the renowned orientalist Professor Arminius Vambery who, in a letter addressed to 'Abdu'l-Baha, pledged his allegiance to the Baha'i faith and is considered the first Hungarian Baha'i.

During his nine-day stay in Budapest, 'Abdu'l-Baha delivered a number of speeches to the public as well as to dignitaries of the Parliament and the Academy. He also expressed his hope that in the future Budapest would become the center for the unification of the East and the West. "I am happy to have been able to visit Hungary," 'Abdu'l-Baha said in 1913, "because this is the country where the culture of the West and the warm hospitality of the East meet and merge into one."

The Baha'i community grew slowly in the inter-war years. Several times during the country's dictatorial rule in the 1930s and 40s, it was dispersed. Many of the first Hungarian Baha'is were of Jewish origin, and most of them were deported to concentration camps. After World War II, the community also faced restrictions when the Communist government banned religious gatherings.

With the end of Communist rule in the late 1980s, religious freedom increased and the community began to flourish again. In 1990s, the Baha'is in Budapest were able to again elect their Local Spiritual Assembly, the local governing body that stands at the base of the Baha'i administrative order.

This is a well known fact that Jews are lover of justice and peace. In many countries the Jews are accepting Baha’u’llah as the Manifestation of our Age. Then why this Great Bounty is deprived to the Jews residing in Israel.


Anonymous said...

It might be of interest that one of the first Baha'is in Kansas, in 1897, may well have been of Jewish extraction. His name was John A Abramson. Very little is known about him except that he had a brother in Jerusalem and relatives (not Jewish) in Enterprise, Kansas were he came about age 15. But no reason was given for him coming there. From 1897 to 1900 there is evidence of his interest in Baha'i, but no information has been found about him after that date when he moved to Los Angeles.
- Duane L. Herrmann

Anonymous said...

The first Hungarian Bahá'í was a Jew (Vámbéry Ármin)

sebi für-lang