The Removal of All Prejudice

“The fifth Baha’i principle is that sexual prejudice, religious prejudice, spiritual prejudice, national prejudice, and political prejudice are the destroyers of human foundations and any form of prejudice ruins the basis of humankind. Not until these prejudices are removed, will the human world attain tranquility. The proof for [this claim] is that all wars and battles and all enmities and hatreds which have occurred amongst humans were either the result of national prejudice or the result of political prejudice. The human world has not seen peace for 6000 years and the reason for this lack of peace is these prejudices. Until there is prejudice, there will be war, there will be hatred, there will be enmity, and there will be inconvenience. If the human world is to attain comfort, we must dump all these prejudices or else tranquility will be impossible.”

Reference: `Abdu’l-Bahā, Khaṭābāt (Tehran), vol. 2, pp. 147–148.

 

Did the Founders of Baha’ism Refrain From Prejudice?

A quick review of Baha’i scripture and history shows that Baha’i leaders have shown great a great amount of prejudice regarding different matters. We will now enumerate some of these instances:

1- The Bāb

Some of the most extreme and most violent prejudice and zeal in Baha’i history can be found in the laws and actions of the Bāb:

The order to destroy all non-Bābī books.

Reference: The Bāb, Farsi Bayān: “Chapter six of the sixth unit which is about destroying all books but those that have been written or will be written about this order (meaning the Bab’s creed).”

The order to destroy all monuments.

Reference: “The utterance of the [book or religion] of Bayān in the day of the appearance of his Highness A`lā (meaning the Bāb) was to behead, burn the books, destroy the monuments, and massacre [everyone] but those who believed [in the Bāb’s religion] and verified it,” `Abdu’l-Bahā, Makātīb (Egypt: 1330 AH), vol. 2, p. 266

The order to exile or massacre all non-Bābī people.

Reference: The Bāb, Farsi Bayān: “The sixteenth chapter of the seventh unit which is about [the decree] that all rulers who rise who are [followers] of the religion of the Bayan, leave no-one in their land who is not a follower of this religion. This is compulsory upon all the people too”; “The utterance of the [book or religion] of Bayān in the day of the appearance of his Highness A`lā (meaning the Bāb) was to behead, burn the books, destroy the monuments, and massacre [everyone] but those who believed [in the Bāb’s religion] and verified it,” `Abdu’l-Bahā, Makātīb (Egypt: 1330 AH), vol. 2, p. 266.

Prohibition of teaching any book but those that the Bāb had revealed.

Reference: The Bāb, Farsi Bayān: “The tenth chapter of the fourth unit which is about [the decree] that it is prohibited to teach any book but the book of Bayān.”

The order to confiscate the wealth of non-Bābīs.

Reference: The Bāb, Farsi Bayan: “The fifth chapter of the fifth unit which is about the decree of taking the property of those who do not believe in [the religion] of Bayan and giving it back if they become believers in this religion, except in the lands where taking [property] is not possible.”

Even with all these savage and irrational laws, Baha’i prejudice and zeal towards the Bāb is so great that he is regarded by them as one of the greatest prophets of God. Bahā’u’llāh had so much zeal with respect to the Bāb that he had uttered that a single word from his book was more dear to him than anything in the skies and on the earth.

Reference: “I [swear by] He who in His hand is my soul and my essence, a single letter from the Bayān is dearer to me than everything that is in the heavens and the earth,” Asad-Allāh Fāḍil Māzandarānī,Asrār al-āthār khuṣūṣī, vol. 5, p. 333.

 

2- Removal of Prejudice: Only for Non-Baha’is

If all prejudice and zeal must be put aside, even religious zeal, then Baha’is too, must put aside their religious beliefs and stop preaching their religion to others. As we previously showed, when `Abdu’l-Bahā speaks about setting aside religious prejudice, he only addresses non-Baha’is:

“Zoroastrians say we are right, Jews say we are right, Christians say we are right, and Buddhists say we are right. How can the [one who is really] right be shown? The follower of Moses must put aside prejudice, the Christian must put aside prejudice, and the Buddhist must put aside prejudice. Not until this is performed will it be possible to expose the truth . . . [no one] should have prejudice.”

Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Payām-i malakūt, p.18.

Why have Baha’is been excluded from this order?

Why shouldn’t they too put aside prejudice?

Why don’t Baha’is practice what they preach?

Why does `Abdu’l-Bahā state that words needs actions but his own words remain only as words:

“Words need actions. Words without actions are like a bee without honey or a tree without fruits.”

Reference: Riyāḍ Qadīmī, Gulzār-i ta`ālim Bahā’ī, p. 1.

 

3- Baha’i Attitude Toward Deniers

The Baha’i corpus is filled with sentences about the need to put aside all prejudice. For example:

“Keep aloof from the scent of ignorant prejudice, enmity, vulgar hatred, and sexual, national and religious delusions, for they are all against God’s religion and His satisfaction and will deprive mankind of God’s graces . . . do not have the slightest hatred towards anyone from any nation, religion, tribe, sex, or land, rather show utmost compassion and friendship.”

Reference: Riyāḍ Qadīmī, Gulzār-i ta`ālim Bahā’ī, pp. 366–367.

But when it concerns Baha’ism directly, this is no longer the case and a very disturbing prejudice can be seen in Bahā’u’llāh’s orders:

“We must avoid deniers in all affairs and must not become fond of them or sit and converse with them even for a moment, for by God the [effect of] evil individuals on pure individuals is like fire on dry wood and heat on cold snow.”

Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Mā’idiy-i āsimānī, vol. 8, pp. 39.

 

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