After Bahā’u’llāh put forth his claim of being the Bab’s successor, he claimed the title of Him Whom God Shall Make Manifest and attracted a number of followers, disagreements arose between him and his brother Ṣubḥ Azal, and their respective followers clashed and shed blood.
Bahā’u’llāh was forced to flee Baghdad and take refuge in the mountains of Sulaymaniyah near Mosul to escape his brother’s followers. Under the alias Dervish Mohammad, he lived with the lifestyle of a dervish there for two years. Bahā’u’llāh uttered the following statements about this journey:
“By the Righteousness of God! Our withdrawal contemplated no return, and Our separation hoped for no reunion. The one object of Our retirement was to avoid becoming a subject of discord among the faithful, a source of disturbance unto Our companions, the means of injury to any soul, or the cause of sorrow to any heart. Beyond these, We cherished no other intention, and apart from them, We had no end in view.”
Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, The Kitāb-i-Īqān (US Bahā’ī Publishing Trust, 1989 [pocket-size edition]), p. 251.
Bahā’u’llāh confesses that the proclamation of his authority had caused conflict among his friends and followers of his creed. Thus, he had no choice but to go into hiding to prevent this and for two years there was no news of him or his claims. Some might claim that these actions were justified and in accordance with the principle that is under consideration, for Bahā’u’llāh, in order to prevent hatred and enmity, refrained from preaching his religion altogether.
This argument is unacceptable, for, even though Bahā’u’llāh himself knew that proclaiming his authority would cause conflicts among his followers, he still returned after two years, even though he had said “Our withdrawal contemplated no return, and Our separation hoped for no reunion.” Why did he once again put forth his claims of being the successor to the Bab and claimant to the title of Him Whom God Shall Make Manifest? Why did he engage in conflicts and quarrels with his brother, until the situation reached the point that they exchanged all sorts of profanities? Didn’t Bahā’u’llāh himself not admit that
“In these days, however, such odours of jealousy are diffused, that—I swear by the Educator of all beings, visible and invisible—from the beginning of the foundation of the world—though it hath no beginning—until the present day, such malice, envy, and hate have in no wise appeared, nor will they ever be witnessed in the future. For a number of people who have never inhaled the fragrance of justice, have raised the standard of sedition, and have leagued themselves against Us. On every side We witness the menace of their spears, and in all directions We recognize the shafts of their arrows.”
Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, The Kitāb-i-Īqān, p. 249.
According to Bahā’u’llāh’s own statements, his claims—instead of bringing about unity and fellowship—brought about such a degree of hatred and jealousy that was unprecedented and will never occur again. Thus according to Bahā’u’llāh and Abdu’l-Bahā that, “if religion is a cause of enmity and a cause of war, its absence is better, and a lack of religion is better than religion,” it is obvious that having no religion is better than being a Baha’i.
Clashes After Bahā’u’llāh’s Death
If we analyze the issues of fellowship and hatred among Baha’i’s, we will see that even among the followers of Bahā’u’llāh there were many instances where there was no peace or love.
After Bahā’u’llāh’s death, disputes arose among his children over the succession of their father. Even though he had ordered them to refrain from conflicts and disagreements, to respect each other and the other family members, and to refrain from saying obscenities to one another, his sons became engrossed in conflicts and accusations.
It is natural for normal people to have differences amongst each other after someone’s death. What is difficult to understand is why should differences arise amongst individuals that preach the slogan of the Oneness of Humanity and those that claim they possess divine stations.
If religion must be a cause of fellowship and unity, then why did `Abdu’l-Bahā refer to his brother with rude and impolite words like calf, dung beetle, the Devil, and Satan?
“When Mīrzā Yaḥyā Azal started opposing the works, deeds, and words of his esteemed brother (Bahā’u’llāh) in Edirne . . . he plunged from his [high] stature and the rank of union and agreement [that he had with Bahā’u’llāh] and was gradually— in the tablets, works, and revelations [from Bahā’u’llāh]— referred to with codes, references, and names such as the polytheist, the calf, the scarab (dung beetle), the tyrant, the Satan, the devil, the foul swamp, the buzzing of a fly, and similar names,”
Reference: Asad-Allāh Fāḍil Māzandarānī, Asrār al-āthār khuṣūṣī, vol. 5, p. 345–346.
Baha’i Attitude Toward Non-Baha’is
“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
“Know that God has forbidden his friends from meeting with the polytheists (deniers of Baha’ism) and hypocrites.”
Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Mā’idiy-i āsimānī, vol. 4, p. 280.
“And you, oh friends of God, be clouds of grace for those who believe in God and his signs, and be certain torment for those who do not believe in God and are polytheists (deniers of Baha’ism).”
Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, Majmū`iy-i alwāḥ-i mubārak-ih, p. 216.
And finally, why do Baha’is treat covenant breakers in such a harsh manner?
Courtesy: Twelve Principles – A Comprehensive Investigation on the Bahai Teachings