THE MISSIONARY AS HISTORIAN: William Miller and the Bahá'í Faith


THE MISSIONARY AS HISTORIAN: William Miller and the Bahá'í Faith
by faryarm

I first came across William Miller’s Book at my college library. It did not take long for me to recognise Miller’s real motive and agenda, when at the time of writing the book in 1931, the respected Rev. Miller dismisses  the Bahá'í Faith as "a dying movement," a minor "sect" which was on the point of disappearing entirely from the world scene: "It is only a matter of time until this strange movement ... shall be known only to students of history."4

The Bahá'í Faith was listed in The Britannica Book of the Year (1992–present) as the second most widespread of the world's independent religions in terms of the number of countries represented. Britannica claims that it is established in 247 countries and territories; represents over 2,100 ethnic, racial, and tribal groups; has scriptures translated into over 800 languages; and has seven million adherents worldwide [2005].[55] Additionally, Bahá'ís have self organized in most of the nations of the earth..

“a dying movement”? Rev.Miller?


This article first appeared in the Journal of Bahá'í Studies, Vol. 4, Dec. 1978.

William Miller and the Bahá'í Faith

by Douglas Martin

A review of William McElwee Miller's

The Bahá'í Faith: Its History and Teachings
(S. Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 1974)

"We are dealing ... not with what we would like to believe, but with historical facts established beyond a doubt which we cannot but accept." -- William Miller

William McElwee Miller is a man with an obsession. Although by profession a Presbyterian clergyman, and for forty years employed in that Church's missions in Persia, Rev. Miller has focused a great part of his energies as a writer and as a public lecturer on the subject of the Bahá'í Faith. The two books he has written are both on that topic1, as are a third work on which he collaborated with the Reverend E. E. Elder,2 and a number of articles published in the religious press. His most recent book, The Bahá'í Faith: Its History And Teachings may be fairly regarded as the final flowering of this lifetime preoccupation.

To say this should not suggest that Rev. Miller regards his subject with any affection. He briefly acknowledges that the Bahá'í Faith has become a worldwide religious force to be taken seriously. In speaking of The Bahá'í World, the fourteen- volume summary of the Faith's activities since 1925, he says: "Whoever peruses [these volumes] ... will be impressed by the fact that the Bahá'í Faith is indeed a world Faith." He groups it in this respect with Christianity and Islam, whose "field is the world."3 Such a judgement is in itself no small admission. In his initial assessment, written in 1931, Rev. Miller dismissed the Bahá'í Faith as "a dying movement," a minor "sect" which was on the point of disappearing entirely from the world scene: "It is only a matter of time until this strange movement ... shall be known only to students of history."4 His latest book would, therefore, have benefited greatly from even a brief explanation of so startling a change of mind.

What has not changed is Rev. Miller's very negative view of the youngest addition to the world's religions. Essentially, the Bahá'í Faith which he pictures for his readers is a product of a century-long conspiracy conceived by persons of the basest character and motive. Its present-day followers (whose own spiritual life Rev. Miller assesses as in no way distinguished) are entirely deceived as to their Faith's real nature. Its laws and teachings are either superficial, harmful, or irrelevant to mankind's needs. Its administrative order is "a dictatorship."

To be sure, Rev. Miller does not advance these opinions as succinctly or as candidly as they are summarized above. In all of his writings he has earnestly sought to present his views as a detached commentary on a body of neutral "facts" gathered by a dispassionate "scholar" through years of patient research. The concluding effort of his career is no exception. The book begins with an assertion that it was written "for the purpose of presenting in a concise and orderly fashion the facts which have been established by [Edward G.] Browne and other trustworthy scholars ..."5 It ends with the measured question "can the Bahá'í World Faith be an adequate religion for the world today, and for the millennium to come?", and the magisterial judgement that the answer is "decidedly negative."6

No one who has read Rev. Miller's earlier writings will be distracted even momentarily by the introduction of these academic conventions. The author's highly partisan opinion of the Bahá'í Faith was formed over forty years ago and was expressed in his first major publication on the subject, written at that time. To what extent those views then represented the results of a study of objective reality and to what extent they were the spontaneous reaction of a Protestant missionary in the barren fields of the Islamic Middle East against what he saw as a successful rival faith is impossible for anyone to know. What does emerge clearly in this final work is an effort to deal with the entirely unexpected developments of the intervening decades and to draw together whatever materials have been turned up in the same period which might be used to reinforce the original argument. The purpose, presumably, is to counteract the demonstrated capacity of the Bahá'í community to attract growing numbers of adherents in nominally Christian lands.

In this aim, the book may enjoy a measure of success over the short run. The very scope suggested by the title, together with the historical approach that is taken, the photographs, and the accompanying narrative detail, give the work an air of thoroughness and authority. Where matters of belief and religious practice are discussed, the author's own opinions are closely woven into the fabric of quotation and reference. The most damning conclusions are presented in a tone of surprise and regret. Throughout, the book is heavily footnoted, drawing on an apparently wide range of sources. While a degree of animus that was much less apparent in Rev. Miller's earlier writings has now become unmistakable, the author also pays an occasional conventional tribute to the sacrifices which Bahá'ís have made for beliefs which he himself regards as misguided or positively dangerous. No doubt the fact that the author is a Presbyterian clergyman will also lend the book special weight with Christian readers who can be expected to assume that such a profession is itself a guarantee of moral credentials.

When Rev. Miller's work is examined at closer range, the carefully constructed scholarly illusion begins to rapidly fall apart. The most serious shortcoming, indeed the fatal one, is the use which is made of the sources. The problem takes several forms, the first of which appears in the opening pages of the Introduction. As has already been indicated, Rev. Miller presents his book as an attempt to provide "in concise and orderly fashion the facts which have been established by Browne and other scholars." Had such an effort been undertaken it would have had a rich body of material on which to draw. The rise of the Bahá'í Faith very early attracted an impressive group of scholars and observers: Joseph Arthur Comte de Gobineau, A.L.M. Nicholas, Clement Huart, E.G. Browne, Alexander Tumansky, Baron Victor Rosen, Mrz Kazem Bek, and Hermann Roemer, to mention only the most important.7

Rev. Miller is obviously familiar with the names of most of these writers, as he lists several of them in his Introduction. Apart from E.G. Browne, however, whose work is extensively used, and occasional rather ill-digested references from Gobineau, the author elliptically confides that he has not "been able to benefit" from direct knowledge of these sources.8 Who, then, are the "scholars" to whom he refers?

The source on whom Rev. Miller most depends is the late Jelal Azal, a descendent of the notorious Mrz Yahy, Subh-i-Azal. Contrary to Rev. Miller's suggestion, Mr. Azal was not a recognized scholar, nor was he in any sense independent. Rather, he was a person who had long been engaged in a personal vendetta against the religion he is alleged to have been "studying."9 His tendentious unpublished "notes," endorsed by Rev. Miller as "the results of ... scholarly research," are used as the basis for some of the most important passages of the author's thesis.10 Fortunately, Rev. Miller has provided a detailed index of these notes and documents on which they are purportedly based, and he has deposited copies of much of the material in the library at Princeton University. There, in time, it will no doubt be subjected to such careful examination as circumstances may warrant. For those familiar with the history of the Bahá'í Faith, however, the entire performance has a depressing air of deja vu. The long series of exposures of forgeries and misrepresentations perpetrated by an earlier generation of Azal writers places the onus squarely on any modern writer who seeks to make use of such sources, to demonstrate their reliability beyond any possible doubt.11 Rev. Miller, on the contrary, places himself entirely in the hands of Mr. Azal, especially so far as the post-Báb period of his narrative is concerned, reproducing quite uncritically whatever his correspondent sent him, and turning large sections of his book into little more than an Azal tract.12 The result is a work in which gross errors of fact undermine the value of every chapter.

Where responsible sources are drawn upon, the use which is made of them often seems remote from the accepted methods of historical writing. Edward Granville Browne suffers particularly in this respect. Professor Browne, a Cambridge orientalist, traveled extensively in the Middle East during the latter part of the nineteenth and the first decade of the twentieth century, met many of the early Bábs and Bahá'ís, and produced a number of translations and scholarly commentaries as a result of his several years' research.13 These are extremely valuable documents and have been heavily used by various scholars, both Bahá'í and non-Bahá'í, in succeeding decades. As a professional scholar, however, Professor Browne himself would have been the first to recognize that his work would inevitably be subject to revision, as later generations freed themselves from the particular political and cultural context in which he was working, and as further historical evidence surfaced. Indeed, the process of revision has been recognized as an integral part of the writing of history ever since historiography moved out of the nineteenth century's naive belief that it could write "scientific history," "history as it really happened."

The most thorough and recent revisionist work on the writings of Professor Browne related to the Bahá'í and Bábi Faiths is a critique by Mr. H.M. Balyuzi, Edward Granville Browne And The Bahá'í Faith (London: George Ronald, 1970). Entirely apart from the meticulous scholarship of his study, Mr. Balyuzi treats his subject with a courtesy and respect which could well serve as a model for writing of this nature. It is, therefore, astonishing to note Rev. Miller's reaction to the Balyuzi critique: "It is indeed regrettable that now after sixty years, when Edward Browne is no longer able to defend himself, his competence as a scholar, and even the integrity of his character, should be thus called into question."14

This, of course, is humbug. If taken seriously it would suggest that a scholarly study like that of Professor Browne should be seen not as a building block in the gradual erection of a comprehensive and many-sided view of a major historical development, but rather as a kind of talisman which endows a particular contemporary point of view with authority and which is itself exempt from examination. So simplistic a view of the nature and function of historical writing has no place in serious study, and its persistent use in the work in question neither advances the author's argument nor does credit to the source thus misused. The failure of the book to come to terms with the Balyuzi critique makes it impossible for the uninformed reader to consider intelligently and dispassionately Professor Browne's own use of the sources available to him at the turn of the century. Professor Browne leaned heavily, one could say safely preferentially, on the views of a small band of men who at the time were involved in a bitter and protracted campaign to destroy the influence of Bahá'u'lláh. These men were Azals, nominally supporters of Bahá'u'lláh's younger half-brother Mrz Yahy Subh-i-Azal. Unlike the mass of their fellow believers they had rejected Bahá'u'lláh's claim to be "He Whom God Will Manifest," Whose advent the Báb had promised. Professor Browne himself estimated their number to be no more than three or four in every hundred Bábis, all the remainder having recognized in Bahá'u'lláh the signs of the Báb's "Promised One."15

Against the virtually unanimous voice of the followers of the Báb, who knew the circumstances and the central personalities in the dispute at first hand, Professor Browne gave preference to the statements of the Azals. What is the explanation for such a departure from historiographical methods and standards to which Professor Browne had earlier demonstrated his commitment? He himself does not tell us. He presents no evidence from independent sources which would support the Azal claims, and he makes it clear that he has an equal measure of respect for the integrity of both parties. Obviously, some very powerful influence had intervened. Thus one of the invaluable contributions of Mr. Balyuzi's recent work is that it has identified this influence, with the help of documentation which has since come to light.

The Báb Revelation did not exercise only a spiritual and emotional influence on Professor Browne, powerful as that effect obviously was. Beyond this, Professor Browne insisted on seeing the new movement in the context of Victorian democratic and nationalistic hopes. He loved Persia, and he ardently looked to the Bábs to become the chief force in the political liberalization of the country. Persia was at the time in the grip of a protracted struggle between the reactionary elements supporting the feudal autocracy of the Shah, and a combination of somewhat ill-assorted radical and revolutionary elements temporarily united under the title "Constitutionalists."16 Naively seeing in the latter a kind of Persian equivalent of the British Liberal and Labor Parties, Professor Browne made himself one of their leading spokesmen in Britain and worked ardently to mobilize Western opinion in their support.

Perhaps even more important than his liberal ideals in impelling Professor Browne along this course were nationalistic convictions which held almost the force of a religion for him. Persia in the nineteenth century had become the key to one of the great international power struggles of the late nineteenth century, the contest of British and Russian empires for control of the land route to India and the Orient. Each side sought clients on the Persian domestic political scene. As Tsarist Russia increasingly supported the congenial despotism of the Qajar monarchy, English patriots like Professor Browne began to urge on their government the potential value of the Constitutionalists as British allies.17

To Professor Browne's intense disappointment the Bábi community, the most vital, disciplined, and progressive element in Persian society, refused to be drawn into either the domestic or the international conflict. The reason was Bahá'u'lláh's assumption of His Prophetic role and His refusal to compromise the universal nature of His message for political ends. Professor Browne's reaction may be read in his own commentary on Bahá'u'lláh's oft-quoted statement on the oneness of mankind:

Bahá'ísm [sic], in my opinion, is too cosmopolitan in its aim to render much direct service to that revival [i.e., of Persian political life]. "Pride is not for him who loves his country," says Bahá'u'lláh, "but for him who loves the world." This is a fine sentiment, but just now it is men who love their country above all else that Persia needs. [emphasis added]18

Only one small handful of Bábis were prepared, indeed eager, to assume the political role which Professor Browne had envisioned for them. These were the Azals, who had by this time abandoned their erstwhile leader, Mrz Yahy, to his lonely exile on Cyprus, and had suddenly metamorphosed into political ideologists, journalists, and underground agents. In the process they entered into intimate correspondence with Professor Browne and became his trusted collaborators. It was from these men, intensely ambitious for public careers, and blocked by Bahá'u'lláh from utilizing the Báb's legacy to this end, that Professor Browne received the "documents" and commentaries which Mr. Balyuzi has convincingly exposed.

The only other non-Bahá'í sources whose assistance Rev. Miller acknowledge are an improbable collection of avowed opponents of the Bahá'í Faith, including several Protestant missionaries, a number of individuals who were at one time or another expelled from Bahá'í membership (and whose various reflections on one another's integrity is an aspect of their view not touched on in Rev. Miller's highly selective citations from their writings), and two amateur American polemicists who lack even these modest credentials. Most of these persons are presented as independent "inquirers," and only a very careful reading of the book reveals that, in fact, they represent a group of persons with varying grievances against the Bahá'í Faith, several of whom have long maintained a close correspondence on the congenial subject of attempts to "expose" its claims. In no sense can any of them be regarded as independent, nor their writings as scholarly. One is left to assume that the explanation for the failure of the book to draw on the works of any of the recognized scholars, except for Browne and, in a small way, Gobineau, is Rev. Miller's ignorance of European languages other than English. Whatever the cause may be, the lack cannot explain the similar neglect of several basic Bahá'í sources which are available in the latter language. Limitations of space prevent a through examination of the subject, but one or two of the more glaring examples will illustrate the magnitude of the gap.

It is impossible that any responsible examination of the Bábi era could be undertaken without making extensive use of The Dawn- Breakers: Nabl 's Narrative, the detailed history of that period written by the one person who was both a firsthand observer and a recognized historical writer.19 For those events which he did not personally witness, Nabl provides in exhaustive detail, the identity of the observers from whom he received the accounts and very often the circumstances surrounding the transmittal. To understand the significance of such a work one would have to imagine the importance to Christian history of a similar, meticulously annotated record kept by one of the immediate companions of Jesus Christ, and covering all the significant events of the latter's ministry. This unique body of primary documentation is dismissed by Rev. Miller without further explanation as not "reliable."20

In its place, the principal source used for this period (apart from Mr. Azal) is an extraordinary manuscript produced by unknown writers some time between 1852 and 1863, under the title Nuqtat'l-Kf.21 In his study on the work of Professor Browne, Mr. Balyuzi has demonstrated the unreliability of this strange melange of historical narrative, superstition, nihilistic thought, and naive partisan propaganda. He also rescues the reputation of Mrz Jn, the merchant and Bábi martyr whose name and memoirs were misused by the compilers of the work.22 For a modern writer to discuss the subject, therefore, would again have required coming to grips with the argument contained in the Balyuzi critique. The challenge is particularly acute for Rev. Miller, as the thesis of the section of his book which deals with the Bábi period rests squarely on the authenticity of the Kf manuscript. Rev. Miller seems aware of the seriousness of the problem, but the one lengthy footnote which he devotes to the Balyuzi study is both superficial and essentially off the topic.23 Ignoring the obstacle, he simply attributes the manuscript to Mrz Jn and asserts that it is "the earliest and best history" of the Bábi movement.24

Rev. Miller's presentation of the period dominated by the ministry of Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Bahá'í Cause (1921-1957), suffers from a similarly unacceptable neglect of major sources. As with the Bábi era, there is one detailed, comprehensive source, this time provided by the person who, next to Shoghi Effendi himself, had the most intimate knowledge of the events of those thirty-six years. The book is The Priceless Pearl, the biography of the Guardian written by his widow and long-time secretary, Rhyyih Khnum, the former Mary Maxwell of Montreal, Canada, and published two years before Rev. Miller's book went to press.25 It is, by any standard, an extraordinary achievement in biography, in which an intricately crafted structure gives form and balance to the wealth of detail and documentation provided for every phase of the subject's life and work. It is not merely that The Priceless Pearl is the best account of the events with which it deals. It is the only comprehensive account in existence. One is free, if one wishes, to regard it as "official history" (to use Rev. Miller's disparaging phrase), but to disregard it is to demonstrate either an ignorance of the role of the Guardianship in Bahá'í history or a purpose so partisan as to produce the same effect.

To be precise, Rev. Miller does not entirely disregard Rhyyih Khnum's writings. Rather, he extracts brief excerpts from moving, personal accounts which the author gives of her marriage and Shoghi Effendi's death. These fragments lend color and an appearance of authenticity to Rev. Miller's presentation of the writer (who in contrast to the male writers quoted is tastelessly referred to merely by her first name, "Mary") as an emotional woman whose range of understanding and even interest goes little beyond a personal attachment to the man who was her husband.26

Apart from these highly misleading references, the invaluable biographical work which Rhyyih Khnum has contributed to an understanding of one of the most critical periods in the development of the Bahá'í Faith, the period of its global expansion, is passed over in silence. Yet the next chapter of Rev. Miller's book finds space for nearly a dozen pages of quotations from the writings of Charles Mason Remey, formerly a figure of prominence in the Bahá'í Faith, who was expelled when he attempted to set himself up as "the hereditary Guardian" of the Faith in 1960.27 From an objective point of view, and particularly in the light of subsequent events, on which Rev. Miller had fully informed himself, Mr. Remey's role in Bahá'í history could hardly be regarded as a major one. His unsuccessful efforts to create a rift in the membership of the Faith is no doubt relevant to any comprehensive discussion of modern Bahá'í history, but could have been more than adequately dealt with in a paragraph, illustrated by an extract from one of Mr. Remey's statements, if that seemed necessary to the writer's argument.

To present a figure of this kind as a major historical source is unacceptable in any serious work. Mr. Remey was an aged man at the time he produced the writings in question, one whose condition made him a pathetic figure and whose mental state could not have been unknown to anyone in even limited contact with him.28 His statements throw no light whatever on the extraordinary expansion of the Bahá'í Faith in the past four decades, which had caused Rev. Miller so completely to revise his estimate of the Faith's capacities. Indeed, Mr. Remey wrote very little on this subject.

Inevitably, introduction of such material embroils its user in serious problems. After a lengthy review of Mr. Remey's pronouncements, Rev. Miller suddenly asks, "Did it ever occur to Mr. Remey that in claiming to be the Guardian [of the Bahá'í Faith] he was himself violating the Will of 'Abdu'l-Bahá", which required that the successor of the Guardian be 'the first born of his [Shoghi Effendi's] lineal descendants,' ..."29 The point seems so obvious that one wonders why it is included at all.

Few people, either within the Bahá'í Faith or outside, took seriously Mr. Remey's pretensions, and he died in his hundredth year, at about the time Rev. Miller's book was going to press, bereft of supporters or attention. Having given the subject extensive space, however, Rev. Miller seems to lose entirely the thread of his argument. Nine pages after the statement just quoted, the Hands of the Bahá'í Cause are criticized for having failed to "create a new Guardian," a step for which, as had just been noted, there was no authority in the Writings of their Faith.30 Rev. Miller's judgment is most severe:

Unabashed ... and undeterred by the appeals of the Hand of the Cause and President of the First International Bahá'í Council, Mason Remey, to continue the Guardianship, the remaining Hands of the Cause proceeded with their plans [to arrange for the election of the Universal House of Justice].31

A discussion of Rev. Miller's use of sources is rendered extremely difficult by the fact that except for the brief opening chapters on Islam, he fails to provide a bibliography. Next to Nabl -i-Azam and Amatu'l-Bah Rhyyih Khnum, the most serious omissions that are readily apparent are the biographies of the Báb and 'Abdu'l-Bahá which have been produced by Mr. Balyuzi (London: George Ronald, 1971 and 1973, respectively). Both books deal in some detail with a number of the most complex and contentious issues taken up by Rev. Miller. Both are extensively documented and make use of archival material which has only come to light in recent years. So far as The Bahá'í Faith: Its History And Teachings is concerned these two most current and basic texts might as well not exist. Where Rev. Miller does use Bahá'í sources, his editorial comments on them are uniformly hostile and unfair. The writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi especially suffer in this respect. In marked contrast long-time enemies of the Faith are treated with elaborate deference.

Although a wholesale misuse of sources is the book's most serious flaw, it is by no means the only one. Where congenial sources fail, Rev. Miller leans heavily on the "it is not too improbable to suggest" narrative method. Throughout the book, major gaps are filled in with this insubstantial connective. The far from impressive result is worth a moment's attention because of the revealing glimpse it provides of the historiographical methods and objectives underlying the book. Without exception, these glosses, none of which is supported by a reference to the usual "documentation," depreciate the significance of some important event or personality of Bahá'í history. Occasionally, they are even used to force some unrelated Christian theological message into the narrative.

The Báb's teachings on kindness, for example, are attributed to the influence on Him of the Christian scriptures: "It is probable [emphasis added] that in order to save his life Baha denied he was a Bábi, as the Báb had ordered his disciples to do at the time of his execution. This is not improbable ..."33

Bahá'u'lláh's assumption of His divine mission is attributed to a recognition on His part of certain practical necessities within the Bábi movement: "Baha ... probably [emphasis added] realized that the Bábi Cause in order to survive needed stronger leadership than his brother Azal was able to give."34

Not even Muhammad escapes, although in His case, the vast body of existing scholarly comment imposes a greater degree of caution in the use of the method:

It was probably, in part at least [emphasis added], as a result of this contact with them [Jews and Christians] that a strong conviction came to Muhammad ... that he had been appointed by Allah. . . . Therefore, in the Koran, in accordance with the supposed pattern of the books of previous prophets, ... we find regulations for marriage and divorce, ... The Prophet of probably [emphasis added] took Moses as his model of what a prophet should be and say and do, for he knew more of him than he did of Jesus.35

The results of this wholesale manufacturing of history are unedifying and occasionally grotesque. One of the most firmly established facts of Bahá'í history is the Báb's recognition of the title which Bahá'u'lláh chose for Himself and those which He conferred on His fellow Bábis. Nabl , who had the details at first hand from those present describes the scene at the conference of Badasht:

Upon each He [Bahá'u'lláh] bestowed a new name. He Himself was henceforth designated by the name of Bah; upon the Last Letter of the Living was conferred the appellation of Qudds, and to Qurraty'l-'Ayn was given the title of Thirih. To each of those who had convened at Badasht a special Tablet was subsequently revealed by the Báb, each of whom He addressed by the name recently conferred upon him.36

The Báb's recognition of the title of Bahá'u'lláh (Glory of God) was particularly significant since He had used precisely this term in the Bayán to allude to the promised "Him Whom God Will Manifest." On the eve of His departure for Tabrz where He was executed the Báb reiterated this recognition in a remarkable Tablet which He forwarded to Bahá'u'lláh. Nabl, who was himself a witness of the transmittal, describes the document as:

...a scroll of blue paper, of the most delicate texture, on which the Báb, in His own exquisite handwriting, which was a fine shikastih script, had penned, in the form of a pentacle, what numbered about five hundred verses, all consisting of derivations from the words "Baha." ... So fine and intricate was the penmanship that, viewed at a distance, the writing appeared as a single wash of ink on the paper. We were overcome with admiration as we gazed upon a masterpiece which no calligraphist, we believed, could rival.37

The scroll was duly delivered to Bahá'u'lláh at Tihrn. The most cursory research would have cleared up any question which a modern student of the Bahá'í Faith might have on the subject. Instead, Rev. Miller ignores Nabl account in favor of an entirely fictitious version of events in which the Báb Himself, in some fashion not explained, conferred titles on all the other Badasht participants except Bahá'u'lláh. The latter then undertook a sedulous search through the Christian and other Scriptures for a title which would advance His own plans: "Mrz Husayn Ali [Bahá'u'lláh] no doubt [emphasis added] spent many hours searching for this beautiful word in all the sacred writings..."38

In the same fashion Shoghi Effendi's exercise of the unique ministry conferred on him in the Bahá'í Writings, a ministry for which he alone had the authority, is attributed to a psychological insecurity on his own part: "It seems that [emphasis added] he [Shoghi Effendi] did not know how to delegate tasks to others ..."39

The freedom with which this device is used betrays an ignorance on the part of the author of basic and readily available information on his subject. The Comte de Gobineau, for example, the first Western scholar to study the facts at first hand, says of the Bábi heroine, Thirih: "I have never heard anyone among the Muslims cast any doubt on the virtue of so unusual a person"40 Presumably lacking a thorough knowledge of Gobineau's work, and having objectives other than historiographical ones, Rev. Miller's discussion of the subject casts a slur on the character of this unique woman, whose personal life is regarded by Bahá'ís as the very model of moral purity: "her freedom of travelling about the country with the Bábi chiefs scandalized many people, and there was probably [emphasis added] some ground for criticism of her disregard for convention."41 The writer then quotes an obscure reference from the Kf manuscript and asserts that Thirih "was on intimate terms" with one of her male colleagues.42 The implication is clear.

A similar shadow is cast on the reputation of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Howard Colby Ives, himself a Christian clergyman, fully acquainted with the details of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Western trip, makes a particular point of the fact that one of the many things which confirmed him in his recognition of Bahá'u'lláh was 'Abdu'l-Bahá's refusal to accept assistance with his personal expenses from Western believers. The funds which were raised by well-meaning friends were courteously returned to them.

... He constantly refused the slightest remuneration, and even when entertained by solicitous and generous hosts He was punctilious in seeing to it that gifts to both hosts and servants of the household far outweighed what He received.43

Mr. Ives' book is a commonplace item in any Bahá'í library, and although a number of other sources make precisely the same point, Rev. Miller casually creates an entirely fictitious version of events: "in the spring of 1912 'Abdu'l-Bahá no doubt [emphasis added] at the invitation and the expense [emphasis added] of the believers in America, set forth on a journey which lasted nearly two years."44

Almost no aspect of Bahá'í history escapes this treatment. A well-to-do philanthropist like Mrs. W. Sutherland Maxwell of Montreal, and professional people such as Keith Ransom-Kehler and Dr. Susan Moody, whose dedication of their funds and skills to the work of the Bahá'í Faith was an inspiration to their coreligionists all over the world, are described as "paid pioneers."45 The open and emphatic declaration of her faith as a Bahá'í by Queen Marie of Rumania, in letters to newspapers and to the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith (some of which were published with her consent in photostat form in Volumes VI and VIII of The Bahá'í World)46 is passed over in silence, and a letter from the Queen's daughter, a member of a Christian religious order, is used to raise doubt about the "alleged" conversion of the Queen.47 Countless other examples could be cited.

Moral insensitivity, indeed, is another glaring weakness of the entire work. The shortcoming is unfortunately one which requires some attention here, if for no other reason than the fact that moral sensitivity is so important a requirement in anyone who seeks to write on matters as central to human conscience as is faith. It is also an attribute to which Rev. Miller lays formal claim by virtue of his profession. A single example will perhaps stand for the numerous lapses which tarnish every chapter of his book. It concerns the character of Mrz Yahy, Subh-i-Azal, the half-brother and persistent enemy of Bahá'u'lláh, and a figure whom Rev. Miller's book presents in the most favorable possible light as an unworldly soul, utterly devoted to the memory of the Báb, and incapable of any form of self-assertion.48 The picture is one which would have astonished the nineteenth-century Bábis who knew Azal at first hand over a period of many years and whose assessment of his character is most clearly demonstrated by the fact that almost without exception they came to despise him.49 As his character steadily deteriorated under the influence of a consuming ambition and the manipulation of a former student of Muslim theology, Siyyid Muhammad, who was his closest associate, no single piece of grossness on Azal's part so revolted those in contact with him as did his treatment of the widow of the Báb. The Báb had prescribed the marks of respect due her and had explicitly forbidden any man to presume to seek her in marriage after the Báb's own death. In the turmoil which followed the martyrdom of the Báb and the dispersal of the Bábi community, Azal surpassed his other infamies to that date when he first took this lady as one of his several wives and later "gave" her to Siyyid Muhammad. Rev. Miller's incapacity to understand the nature of the events which he is discussing is nowhere more clearly revealed than in the complacent passing reference which he makes to a subject which Bahá'í historians regard with abhorrence: "The blame for the opposition of Subh-i-Azal to Baha's claims has been laid by the Bahá'ís on Siyyid Muhammad of Isfahan, who had been an intimate friend of the Báb, and had married the Báb's widow Fatima."50

A parallel shortcoming is Rev. Miller's ignorance of Bahá'í thought itself. It is not to be expected that a Presbyterian clergyman would be sympathetic with theological concepts central to a Faith that he considers to be false. If he chooses to write a book on the subject, however, it is reasonable to expect that he will at least understand these concepts and, as a result of such understanding, presumably make a creditable effort at refuting them in a work written for that purpose.

That Rev. Miller does not understand what the Bahá'í Faith teaches on subjects which are absolutely central to its message becomes apparent as soon as he moves from his historiographical pastiche to conceptual questions. The problem affects his efforts to deal with almost every major issue, including the nature of God, the nature and function of revelation in history, the role of the Messenger of God, the Bahá'í view of the station of the Báb, life after death, and the relationship of each revelation to those which precede and follow it. The subject is far beyond the scope of this review, but one example will perhaps illustrate the seriousness of the problem.

The Bahá'í Faith teaches that religion is progressive. Islam is a fuller revelation than Christianity, and those revelations since Muhammad, the Báb and Bahá'í Faiths, incorporate and develop the elements which appeared for the first time in Islam, as well as unfolding yet other aspects of the divine purpose. What sets the latter three Faiths apart from Christianity is that they include moral teachings which relate to the organization of society as well as those which govern purely individual conduct. Far from leaving unto Caesar "the things that are Caesar's," Islam contained a wide range of moral instruction related to the state's administration of human affairs. The extraordinarily beneficial effect of such moral instruction on the conduct of governments was repeatedly demonstrated by the marked contrast between the way in which Islamic and Christian societies carried on warfare, conducted diplomacy, encouraged intellectual advancement, and administered the daily life of the peoples entrusted to their care, throughout the several centuries in which these two religious cultures were locked in their great historic struggle.

It is not surprising in this context, therefore, to find that the Writings of both the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh contained extensive teachings directed at the conduct of institutions and states, teachings which necessarily differ greatly from those intended to guide the life of the individual believer. Bahá'u'lláh states that mankind has now entered the era of "divine justice," and that it is the duty of governments of the world to administer justice, in accordance with divine principles. Similarly, He creates institutions for the administration of the life of the Bahá'í community and provides these institutions with specific guidance designed to enable them to mold a community which can provide a practical example for the organization of man's social life. While making it clear that loyalty to government and the strict avoidance by Bahá'ís of involvement in any kind of political activity are fundamental principles of His Faith, He insists that all forms of human organization are today under the judgement of God and will rise or fall depending on whether they conform their philosophies of government and patterns of behavior to the central principle that the time has come for the unification of humankind in one race and one global society.51

On the individual believer, however, the divine command lays the duty of acting with love, mercy, forbearance and forgiveness. Going one step beyond the so-called "Golden Rules" of earlier stages in mankind's moral evolution, Bahá'u'lláh calls upon the individual to "prefer others" to himself and teaches that such a standard is the only basis upon which the Bahá'í principle of "unity in diversity" can be realized, with all its implications for the protection of individual identity.

Few if any of the Christian missionary writers who have chosen to attack the Bahá'í Faith over the past several decades have shown the patience to try to grasp this fundamental distinction. For them faith is essentially an individual matter. The individual is saved alone, and society as such is irredeemable. The "coming of the Kingdom" is an event outside history, so far outside indeed as to occur in another world entirely. To be sure, these basic elements of Christian theology have been so muddied by conflicting sectarian interpretations and by twentieth-century attempts to create a "social gospel" that they probably have little relevance for the average member of most Christian churches. Yet Pauline theology itself has not changed. However weakened or inarticulate, it continues to appear in habits of thought and in assumptions which reveal their presence when a mind conditioned by them tries to grapple with new elements in religious truth. Rev. Miller is a victim of these limitations. While ostensibly aware that the Bahá'í Faith has dimensions other than those related to the moral life of the individual, he clearly has not grasped the implications.52 In discussing the ministry of the Báb, he sketches briefly the kinds of authority which the Bábi Scriptures gave to the Bábi state, in preparation for the coming of "Him Whom God Will Manifest." Although inadequate and distorted, the discussion touches on such subjects as regulations governing military activity, the rights of the state in private property, the rights of citizens who have embraced the new Revelation, and one or two related subjects.53 The passage then continues:

It is not clear how these regulations about conquest of countries and divisions of booty [sic] were to be reconciled with other commands in the Bayán [the Bábi Scriptures], such as: "No one is to be slain for unbelief, for the slaying of a soul is outside the religion of God ... and if anyone commits it he is not, and has not been, of the Bayán."54

The explanation, of course, lies in the distinction which the three Faiths under discussion make between the moral responsibilities of states (or institutions) and those of the individual soul. The extent to which Rev. Miller has failed to understand the distinction is demonstrated by the fact that the chapter which he devotes to the teachings of the Báb indiscriminately mixes up laws and principles which fall into these two very different categories.

The same conceptual problem handicaps Rev. Miller's efforts to understand the emphasis which Bahá'u'lláh, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, and the Guardian of the Bahá'í Cause (Shoghi Effendi) placed on the integrity of the community entrusted to them. One of the most impressive achievements of the Bahá'í Faith is its success in maintaining its unity during the first critical century of its existence, the period in which schism has divided every religious movement in the past. Rev. Miller seems to some extent appreciative of this achievement, as he devotes considerable attention to the various efforts made over the years to introduce schism into the ranks of the Bahá'í community without at any point coming to grips with the implications of the Faith's success in overcoming this age-old enemy of men's efforts to work together in harmony.

The factor responsible for the achievement has been the conveyance of authority known as the "Covenant," by which Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá endowed the Guardian and the Universal House of Justice with the powers necessary to govern the community which They had brought into existence.55 At each stage in the development of the Bahá'í Faith this conveyance of authority was challenged by various elements who sought to advance parties or objectives of their own. These challenges were successfully surmounted only because of the firmness with which the central institutions of the Faith insisted upon the authority established under the Covenant, called upon the entire community to unite in support of one single program, and where necessary did not hesitate to expel from the ranks of the community those few persons who refused to accept the conditions which Bahá'u'lláh Himself had placed upon membership in His Faith. One is at liberty, if one chooses, to criticize this element in the building of a global community, but any such criticism must be founded on an understanding of the theory involved and of the distinction between these principles of social organization and those which relate to the spiritual life of the individual.

Rev. Miller's iNabl ity to grasp the distinction inevitably leads him into a tangle of argument which misses entirely one of the most interesting and important features of the development of the religion he is attempting to describe. In his chapter on the teachings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, for example, he quotes the latter as saying:

You must love humanity in order to uplift and beautify humanity. Even if people slay you, yet you must love them. ... We are creatures of the same God, therefore we must love all as children of God even though they are doing us harm.56

Rev. Miller then goes on to introduce the question of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's vigorous denunciation of those who attempted to break the Covenant established by Bahá'u'lláh, to which they had committed themselves:

After reading these beautiful words it is disappointing to discover in other utterances of 'Abdu'l-Bahá that he found it impossible to love certain people. It appears that he to the end of his life cherished great bitterness toward the "Covenant-breakers," the leader of whom had been his own brother Mrz Muhammad Ali.57

In fact, one of the features of the lives of both 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi which profoundly impressed those in close contact with them and served as a powerful example to the conduct of the members of the Faith at large, was the patience and forbearance which they demonstrated as individuals in the face of almost daily harassment from those whose personal ambitions they had blocked.58

Conceptual weaknesses of such dimensions are difficult to understand in a writer whose professional training is in the field of theology and who holds distinguished credentials in this highly specialized discipline. Questions of prejudice aside, they arise presumably from a failure to take seriously the intellectual foundations of the Faith being studied. There is no more risky lapse in the examination of beliefs other than one's own.

Certainly there is evidence that Rev. Miller frequently flagged as his pursuit of his private white whale carried him on through growing masses of information. Taken as a whole, the book is uneven. While some sections are closely argued and demonstrate the author's command of a large body of detail, other betray signs of hasty writing and a very superficial familiarity with the sources used. In some cases Rev. Miller's material seems entirely to escape his control. An example is his treatment of the subject of the powerful impression which Bahá'u'lláh made on persons of capacity who met Him. Rev. Miller seems to resist coming to terms with this incontrovertible fact of the history he is recounting. In an apparent effort to reduce the problem to more manageable proportions, he introduces an explanation which Muslim theologians and other opponents of the Bahá'í Faith early developed to account for the extraordinary impact of the Messenger of God upon human consciousness. Rev. Miller paraphrases their explanation in his introduction of the story of the interview which Bahá'u'lláh granted to Professor Browne:

Each visitor was carefully prepared for his audience with the Manifestation of God. He was told that what he saw when he came into the Divine Presence would depend on what he was himself-- if he was a material person he would see only a man, but if he was a spiritual being he would see God. When his expectations had been sufficiently aroused, the pilgrim was led into the presence of Bahá'u'lláh and was permitted to gaze for a few moments upon "the Blessed Perfection" ...The almost magical effect of such visits is seen in the account which Professor Browne has given of his experience in Akka in 1890.59

The explanation is nothing if not ingenious, and taken by itself would no doubt seem quite persuasive to persons who lacked any other information on Bahá'u'lláh's life. Almost immediately afterward, however, Rev. Miller quotes the memorable words of Professor Browne's own version of events. Describing his entrance in Bahá'u'lláh's room, Professor Browne says:

Though I dimly suspected whither I was going and whom I was to behold (for no distinct intimation had been given to me) [emphasis added], a second or two elapsed ere, with a throb of wonder and awe, I became definitely conscious that the room was not untenanted. In the corner where the divan met the wall sat a wondrous and venerable figure ... The face of him on whom I gazed I can never forget, though I cannot describe it. Those piercing eyes seemed to read one's very soul; power and authority sat on that ample brow ... No need to ask in whose presence I stood, as I bowed myself before one who is the object of a devotion and love which kings might envy and emperors sigh for in vain!60

Since the explanation had been introduced to account for the impact of Bahá'u'lláh's personality on Browne, and since Browne himself states that, far from being told whom he was to se, he had only inferred himself that he might be entering the room of Bahá'u'lláh, one can only conclude that this section of the book, like a number of others, represents a very hasty assembling of material gathered from contradictory sources and quite unintegrated in the writer's own mind. Ironically, the passage of Professor Browne's writings which immediately precedes the section quoted by Rev. Miller is devoted to correcting precisely the kind of story which Rev. Miller has carelessly retailed.

Finally, some attention must be given here to one further theme, if for no other reason than the weight of emphasis placed on it by Rev. Miller. This is the charge, brought against the Bahá'ís by Azals and subsequently picked up by others of their enemies, that the success of the Bahá'í Faith was secured in large part by the murder of persons who opposed it. The Founders of the Faith are accused, if not of initiating these crimes, at least of conniving at them.61 The charge derives much of what force it possesses from a tragic incident which tarnished the name of the Faith early in Bahá'u'lláh's imprisonment in Akka, and which caused Him intense indignation and grief.62 The full story is given in Shoghi Effendi's God Passes By and has long served as an object lesson to a persecuted community of the importance and the implications of Bahá'u'lláh's teachings on nonviolence.63 At the same time, Bahá'í writers have insisted that similar charges which Azals and other opponents hastened to heap on top of this incident have no basis whatever in fact. Professor Browne, although he sought to avoid discussing the subject, appears to have accepted at least some of the charges leveled against the early Bahá'ís by his Azal acquaintances.64 At no time were any of the charges supported by independent evidence, nor were they pursued by Ottoman civil authorities who eagerly took advantage of every excuse to persecute the new religion. In retrospect it is obvious that the charges were conceived not simply to blacken the reputation of the Bahá'ís, but to provide an explanation for Bahá'u'lláh's success which had so precisely fitted the assurances of the Báb and which had created an inescapable dilemma for Azal and his supporters.65

These charges have since been taken up and given wide currency by the several Christian missionaries who have written against the Bahá'í Faith. For the most part these missionaries have contented themselves with simply advancing the charges on the basis of the otherwise unsupported statements of the Azals. Against this background it is interesting, therefore, to examine how Rev. Miller handles the subject.

The most complete treatment of one such incident occurs in his chapter on the life and work of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. It concerns a certain Mrz Yahy, who had abandoned his pledge under the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh and had become the agent of Muhammad Ali in the latter's efforts to set up a party of his own.66 For this, Yahy was severely rebuked by 'Abdu'l-Bahá and warned in the strongest language that God would defend the unity of His Faith and that unless Yahy desisted he would suffer in both this world and the next. Undeterred, Yahy continued his activity. The following is the account of his subsequent death as written by his father-in-law, Haji Mulla Husayn, and reproduced together with other related documents by Professor Browne in his 1917 work Materials For The Study Of The Bábi Religion.67 The Haji felt he had witnessed a fulfillment of "prophecy" and was writing to share the details with a friend:

Touching the Tablet which was vouchsafed from the Land of Heart's Desire [i.e. Akka, the home of 'Abdu'l-Bahá], in truth if anyone should possess the eye of discernment, these same Blessed Words which were thus fulfilled are a very great miracle... I read the Tablet to Mrz Yahy and he listened. ... Then he rose up and departed to his own house. A few nights later towards the dawn one knocked at the door of my house. "Who is it?" I cried. Then, seeing that it was a maid-servant, I added, "What wilt thou?" She replied, " Mrz Yahy is done for." I at once ran thither. Haji Muhammad Bqir also was present. I saw that blood was flowing from his (Mrz Yahy's) throat, and that he was unable to move. By this time it was morning. I at once brought thither an Indian doctor. He examined him and said, "A blood-vessel in his lung is ruptured. He must lie still for three days and not move, and then he will recover." He then gave him some medicine. The hemorrhage stopped for two days, and his condition improved. In spite of this he was not admonished to return to the Truth. After two days there was a second flow of blood from his throat and he was nearly finished. The doctor came again and gave him medicine, but ultimately it profited him nothing. Twice again he vomited undiluted blood, and then surrendered his spirit. ...68

Rev. Miller provides an abbreviated excerpt from the above account, the only document in the series published by Professor Browne which he quotes. He entirely omits, however, that section of the passage that describes the summoning of the doctor, the diagnosis which the latter gave, and the details of the remissions and final hemorrhage which killed Yahy.69 Instead, he provides a brief summary of the contents of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's letter to Yahy and the efforts of the latter's father-in-law to admonish him, concluding: "A few nights later Mrz Yahy was found in the house in a serious condition with blood flowing from his throat, and after several days he died."70

Even more startling is the use which Rev. Miller makes of the fact that Professor Browne has translated and reproduced the document: "Not only did 'Abdu'l-Bahá and his followers not remain silent, they went beyond angry words. Browne has published evidence which proves conclusively [emphasis added] that at least in one instance the old Bábi method of assassination was resorted to by 'Abdu'l-Bahá to get rid of a dangerous enemy."71

In sum, we are told by Rev. Miller that Mrz Yahy was murdered in a particularly horrendous manner (presumably by having his throat cut), that 'Abdu'l-Bahá, acting in the traditions of his Faith, had ordered this odious crime, and that the authority for all these charges is Edward Browne who subsequently published his findings. Not one of these allegations is true. For anyone with some direct experience of the subject, The Bahá'í Faith: Its History And Teachings conveys the impression of a rather ill-tempered amateur theatrical group plodding resentfully through a performance of Hamlet in which no one has been assigned the title role. For what is almost totally absent from the book is the Bahá'í Faith itself. Only a mere shadow, a kind of ghost of Denmark's murdered king, is present on stage to utter the occasional muffled protest from under the masses of trivia, misrepresentation, and personal prejudice in which Rev. Miller has literally burned his subject.

One searches in vain for a presentation of the great body of ethical and devotional literature which makes up the bulk of Bahá'u'lláh's Writings, and which have exercised so powerful and positive an effect on the lives of millions of persons. Its place is taken by a labored effort to paraphrase and summarize precisely the one of Bahá'u'lláh's books which its Author Himself states must be understood in the light of a vast body of supplementary Writings to most of which Rev. Miller had no access, and of the expositions of those who were named to book's sole interpreters.72

The persons of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi, as Rev. Miller presents them, must be virtually unrecognizable to those who knew them at first hand. There is no trace of the great humanitarianism of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, which won Him universal respect from government and public alike and which, at the time of His passing in 1921, evoked the greatest demonstration of public grief from the many religious, ethnic, and cultural communities in Haifa that modern Palestine has witnessed.73 Nor is there any recognition of the reputation of integrity which Shoghi Effendi built up over the thirty-six years of his Guardianship, which made him the sole public figure in Haifa whose independence was spontaneously respected by all sides in the bitter civil wars that ravaged the country after the 1948 partition, and which made it possible for him to establish through processes of civil law which he had not himself initiated every smallest public detail of the trust which Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant had conferred upon him.74

One will search in vain, too, for an adequate presentation of the extraordinary global expansion of the Bahá'í community over the past forty years. The statistics of this expansion must be among the most impressive of any religious development in the past century.75 Only fragments of the story appear in two of the later chapters, in both cases hedged about by comments which depreciate the importance of the development being described.76 Since this phenomenon of expansion presumably caused the startling reversal in Rev. Miller's own assessment of the Bahá'í Faith's capacities and provoked the years of industry represented by this new book, the absence of an adequate treatment of the subject is all the more remarkable.

But what is most strikingly absent from The Bahá'í Faith: Its History And Teachings is any effort to communicate the spirit which, for over a century, has evoked self-sacrifice on a scale seldom equaled in religious history and which has produced the expansion already mentioned. It would be unrealistic and unfair to expect a Protestant clergyman to admire the beliefs which inspired such devotion, or even to appreciate adequately the devotion itself. The phenomenon nevertheless exists and is the feature of the Bahá'í Faith which has most deeply impressed every disinterested observer who has come in contact with it for over a century. It is almost tangible in the writings of such independent scholars as Browne and Gobineau, neither of whom himself became a believer nor felt his reputation diminished by his recognition of this spiritual force as a fact of history. In an address on "the Bábi Religion" to a scholarly audience at the South Place conference on comparative religions in 1891, Professor Browne attempted to convey something of the power of this spirit as he had experienced it at first hand. He described the Bábi-Bahá'í movement as "an heroic struggle which I do not hesitate to call the greatest religious movement of the century,"77 and he concluded:

I trust that I have told you enough to make it clear that the objects at which this religion aims are neither trivial nor unworthy of the noble self-devotion and heroism of the Founder and his followers. It is the lives and deaths of these, their hope which knows no despair,, their love which knows no cooling, their steadfastness which knows no wavering, which stamp this wonderful movement with a character entirely its own. For whatever may be the merits of demerits of the doctrines for which these scores and hundreds of our fellow-men died, they have at least found something which made them ready "to leave all things under the sky, And go forth naked under sun and rain, And work and wait and watch out all their years." It is not a small or easy thing to endure what these have endured, and surely what they deemed worth life itself is worth trying to understand. I say nothing of the mighty influence which, as I believe, the Bábi faith will exert in the future, nor of the new life it may perchance breathe into a dead people; for, whether it succeed or fail, the splendid heroism of the Bábi martyrs is a thing eternal and indestructible.. But what I cannot hope to have conveyed to you is the terrible earnestness of these men, and the indescribable influence which this earnestness, combined with other qualities, exerts on any one who has actually been brought in contact with them. That you must take my word for. ...78

What is the strange defect in the ecclesiastical form of religious organization, which so often prompts its members to seek to destroy the faith of other men? It is a vice which, to one extent or another, has characterized the priestly caste of virtually every religion in recorded history. To our shame here in the West, it has especially stained the record of the religion of Jesus Christ, the religion of which we have been preeminently the trustees. The indecent and grossly unfair slanders against Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam, which for centuries were impressed upon the populations of Christian lands by those whom they trusted as their spiritual mentors have done incalculable harm to human relations and to the cause of world peace. If an accounting were ever to be demanded (and one of Bahá'u'lláh's persistent themes is that in this day God and history are demanding just such an accounting), Judaism alone could present the major Christian churches with a billing which none of them is in any moral state to meet.

In recent decades, with a vast increase in education and the simultaneous breakdown of ecclesiastical authority, the open vilification of earlier ages has given way to caution. Rev. Miller's book can fairly be considered a representative example of the new trend. But the spirit and the essential methods have not changed. Nor has the aim, which is to attack and create contempt and aversion for beliefs which differ from one's own.


  1. William McElwee Miller, Bahá'ísm: Its Origin, History, And Teachings (Fleming H. Revell Co., 1931); William McElwee Miller, The Bahá'í Faith: Its History And Teachings (South Pasadena, Calif.: William Carey Library, 1974).
  2. Mrz Husayn Ali Bahá'u'lláh, Al-Kitb Al-Aqdas Or The Most Holy Book (London: The Royal Asiatic Society, 1961): an English translation of Bahá'u'lláh's Kitb-i-Aqdas with an introduction by W.M. Miller.
  1. Miller, Bahá'í Faith, pp. 349-50.
  1. Miller, Bahaism, p. 9.
  1. Miller, Bahá'í Faith, p. xi.
  1. Ibid., p. 358.
  2. E.G. Browne provides a valuable bibliography on the Bábi and Bahá'í Faiths prior to 1917 in two of his works: A Traveller's Narrative Written To Illustrate The Episode Of The Báb, trans. Edward G. Browne (Cambridge, England: The Univ. Press, 1918), pp. 175-243.
  3. Miller, Bahá'í Faith, p. xvi. Except where otherwise indicated, further references to Rev. Miller's work are taken from The Bahá'í Faith: Its History And Teachings.
  4. Mrz Yahy was the younger half-brother of Bahá'u'lláh and like Him a follower of the Báb. The central theme of the Báb's Teachings was that He had come to prepare the way for a Universal Messenger of God, "He Whom God Will Make Manifest." The time of the advent of this figure was known to God alone, but the Bábs were commanded to await it eagerly. At the height of the persecutions of the Bábis in the late 1840s the Bábi named Yahya as titular head of the community and commanded him to set an example of fidelity. Instead, Yahy fled in disguise as soon as the persecution of the Bábi community began. When Bahá'u'lláh publicly proclaimed Himself to be the Promised Messenger, Yahy at first temporized and then refused to submit. He was promptly abandoned by virtually the entire Bábi community. His subsequent attempts on Bahá'u'lláh's life failed and deepened the abhorrence in which his former coreligionists had come to hold him. In 1867 the Ottoman government exiled Yahy and his immediate family to Cyprus where he died in 1912, abandoned even by those few Bábis who had originally followed him. Yahy named one of his surviving sons, Ahmad, as his successor, but the latter eventually repudiated his father, sought 'Abdu'l-Bahá's forgiveness for his part in the family's misdeeds, and lived the remainder of his life as a steadfast Bahá'í. Rev. Miller seems unaware of this aspect of the Azal's family story, as he is under the impression that Yahy did not name a successor (Miller, p. 107). Jell Azal was a grandson of Yahy. Apparently resenting the circumstances in which he found himself, he began a lifelong effort to reverse the verdict of history by reviving the Azal charges against Bahá'u'lláh and attempting to interpret events in a fashion which would restore his father's reputation. The notes and documents which he gave to Rev. Miller are the fruit of this campaign. The subject has been dealt with in detail by Shoghi Effendi in God Passes By (Wilmette, Ill.: Bahá'í Pub. Trust, 1944), Chapters VII-XII passim, and by Browne in Traveller's Narrative, Introduction and Notes U, V, and W; in Materials, Introduction and Sections I, VIII, IX; and in Mrz Husayn of Hamadn, Trkh-i-Jadd, trans. Edward G. Browne (Cambridge, England: The Univ. Press, 1893), passim.
  5. Rev. Miller states: "While engaged in the task of rewriting a book which was published many years ago [Bahá'ísm] ..., the author was most fortunate in becoming acquainted through correspondence with another scholar [Mr. Azal] who was uniquely qualified to supply new historical material and to throw fresh light on many of the doctrines and the events of the Bábi-Bahá'í movement. ...Mr. Azal most generously made available to the author the results of his scholarly research, having supplied more than 1100 pages [of notes and documents] ..." (p. xvi). In fact (so far as the first century of Bahá'í history is concerned), it is not exaggerating the case to say that the bulk of the new primary material which distinguishes this book from Rev. Miller's earlier effort can be credited to Mr. Azal.
  6. See, for example, Hasan Balyuzi's discussion of three Azal contributions in Edward Granville Browne And The Bahá'í Faith (London: George Ronald, 1970): the Hasht-Bihisht, pp. 19-21, 33-34, 80-84; the Nuqtat'l-Kf, pp. 70-88; and the Persian Introduction to the latter, pp. 70, 73-88. Mr. Balyuzi mentions various errors of fact in Azal manuscripts, whose authorship had been concealed and which had earlier been pointed out by Mrz Abu'l-Fadl. Rev. Miller takes note of at least one of these flaws, although he fails to identify the source of the insights. (Cf. Balyuzi, pp. 72-73; Miller, p. 73). Rev. Miller also blandly notes the Azal authorship of the Hasht-Bihisht (Miller, p. 102) without a suggestion of recognition that the Azals had attempted to pass it off as the work of one of the Báb's leading disciples, Hj Siyyid Javd. (Cf. Balyuzi, p. 20, citing Browne, J.R.A.S., n.s., vol. xxiv, p. 684.)
  7. The kind of distortion which this influence produced in Rev. Miller's narrative is particularly apparent in those sections where he attempts to discuss Bahá'u'lláh's claim to be "He Whom God Will Manifest." The Báb had repeatedly stated that the central purpose of His own mission was the preparation of mankind for the advent of this universal divine Messenger. He had stated that the time of the advent was known to God alone but had assured a number of His close disciples that they would in their own lifetimes recognize and serve "Him Whom God Will Manifest." (Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 28). Rev. Miller notes the reports of both Professor Browne and the Comte de Gobineau that in the anarchy which followed the martyrdom of the Báb and the massacres of many thousands of His followers, several of the more excitable Bábis had come to believe that they were the Promised Deliverer (see Miller, pp. 75-77). Indeed, the unknown authors of the Nuqtat'l-Kf sought to claim the title for Mrz Yahy (see Miller, p. 73). The Báb, however, had assured His followers emphatically in the Bayán (see Miller, p. 54) that no one could falsely claim to be "He Whom God Will Make Manifest," and succeed in such a claim. Bahá'u'lláh's complete triumph, therefore, and the humiliating collapse of Yahy's pretensions (see Miller, p. 98) were extremely embarrassing to the Azal apologists. Their efforts to escape the dilemma centered on an attempt to argue that a cryptic reference in the Bayán to the word "Ghiyath," whose numerical equivalent according to one method of reckoning is 1511, indicated that the Promised One was not to appear until at least fifteen hundred and eleven years had passed. Much more explicit references by the Báb to "the year nine" and "the year nineteen" were entirely ignored. Rev. Miller takes up this arcane argument and makes it the organizing principle of his discussion of the relationship between the Bábi and Bahá'í Revelations. The entire presentation is far removed from the methods and purposes of historiography.
  8. See notes (7) and (9) above. Browne's A Year Amongst The Persians (Cambridge, England: The Univ. Press, 1893) is also extremely valuable as are a number of papers published under the auspices of the Royal Asiatic Society. Interested readers are also referred to Browne's Introduction to Myron Phelps' Life And Teachings Of Abbas Effendi (New York: G.P. Putnam's, 1903) and the text of a lengthy address delivered in 1889 at the South Place Institute under the title "Bábism" and published in The Religious Systems Of The World: A Contribution To The Study Of Comparative Religions, ed. Wm. Sheowring and Conrad W. Thies (London: Swann Sonnenschien & Co., Limited, 1902), pp. 333-53.
  9. Miller, p. 113, n. 44
  10. Browne, "Bábism," in Religious Systems, p. 351, Trkh-i-Jadd. p. xxiv; Traveller's Narrative, p. xvii, Materials, pp. xv-xvii.
  11. Browne, The Persian Revolution Of 1905-1909 (Cambridge, England: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1910) and The Persian Constitutional Movement (London, 1918). Both works reflect the hopes which Browne placed in the Bábis, and the latter especially reflects his disappointment, as does Materials, pp. xv-xx.
  12. I am also indebted for these insights into the nationalistic aspects of Professor Browne's motivations to Professor Frz Kazemzadeh. See his Russia And Britain In Persia, 1864-1914: A Study In Imperialism (New Haven, Ct.: Yale Univ. Press, 1968), p. 247, n. 16.
  13. English Introduction to Nuqtat'l-Kf, cited by Balyuzi, Edward Granville Browne, p. 88.
  1. The Dawn-Breakers: Nabl's Narrative Of The Early Days Of The Bahá'í Revelation, trans. and ed. Shoghi Effendi (Wilmette, Ill.: Bahá'í Pub. Trust, 1932). This massively documented tome runs 668 pages and is supplemented by over two hundred photographs, maps, sketches, and charts, as well as an Appendix, a Glossary, and an index.
  1. Miller, p. 303.
  2. The title means literally "The Point of Kaf," (that is, the letter "K"). It is no longer possible to determine the reason why this strange title was given to the manuscript.
  3. In his Trkh-i-Jadd, published in 1893, Professor Browne had included a translation of excerpts from the writings of the noted Persian scholar Mrz Abu'l-Fadl, who had studied an original copy of the memoirs of Mrz Jan. Mr. Balyuzi now published the further statement of Mrz Abu'l-Fadl that the manuscript which appeared in an English translation in 1910 under the title Kitb-i-Nuqtat'l-Kf was a forgery (Balyuzi, Edward Granville Browne, pp. 70-73).
  4. Miller, pp. 111-13, n. 44. The note includes the extraordinary statement: "Whether, therefore, the book published by Browne [i.e., the Nuqtat'l-Kf ] was written entirely by Mrz Jan before his death in 1852, or whether others wrote the book after the death of Mrz Jani and gave his name to it, the NUQTAT'L-KÁF is by far the earliest account in our possession.
  5. Miller, p. 21.
  6. Rhyyih Khnum, The Priceless Pearl (London: Bahá'í Pub. Trust, 1969).
  7. Miller, pp. 295-99.
  8. Miller, pp. 311-23.
  9. Mr. Remey was honored by the Guardian of the Bahá'í Cause by appointment as a Hand of the Cause of God in 1951. Subsequently, in preparation for the eventual election of the Universal House of Justice Shoghi Effendi created an advisory body to assist him in his work, to which he gave the name the International Bahá'í Council. Mr. Remey was appointed President of the Council, although what may be considered to be the ranking position, "liaison with the Guardian of the Faith," was assigned to Rhyyih Khnum. Mr. Remey later stated that the Council's role was purely honorary (Miller, p. 292), although he subsequently attempted to use his position in it to advance his bizarre claim to be the "hereditary Guardian" of the Faith.
  10. Miller, p. 318.
  11. The position of the Hand of the Cause of God was created by Bahá'u'lláh to distinguish certain believers who possessed unusual capacity in the field of Bahá'í service. 'Abdu'l-Bahá defines their role in his Will And Testament (Wilmette, Ill.: Bahá'í Pub. Trust, 1944), and Shoghi Effendi relied heavily on them to assist him with delicate and important missions and as formal representatives of the Faith at major functions. He also named them "Stewards" of the Faith, thus enabling them to make the necessary preparations for the election of the Universal House of Justice, following Shoghi Effendi's death in 1957.
  12. Miller, p. 327.
  13. Ibid., p. 62.
  14. Ibid., p. 80.
  15. Ibid., p. 81.
  16. Ibid., pp. 2-4.
  1. Nabl, Dawn-Breakers, p. 293.
  1. Ibid., p. 505.
  2. Miller, p. 120. As is the case so often throughout his book Rev. Miller advances an alternative explanation, without any attempt to resolve the contradiction or indeed even any clear indication that he recognizes the problem it creates for his argument. In the case of Bahá'u'lláh's title, Thirih is alleged (p. 119) to have given it to Him "to comfort him." Bahá'u'lláh is pictured as "hurt" because alone of all the participants at Badasht He had been ignored by the Báb.
  3. Ibid., p. 298.
  4. "Je n'ai jamais entendu personne parmi les musulmans mettre en doute la vertu d'une personne si singulire." Joseph Arthur Comte de Gobineau, Les religions et philosophies dans l'Asie centrale (Paris: Perrin, 1865), p. 155.
  5. Miller, p. 31.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Howard Colby Ives, Portals To Freedom, rev. ed. (London: George Ronald, 1962), p. 135.
  8. Miller, p. 204.
  9. Ibid., p. 285.
  10. The full text of most of these letters can be found in Volume 8 (Wilmette, Ill.: Bahá'í Pub. Committee, 1942), pp. 595- 98, including those printed at Queen Marie's request in the Toronto Star (May 4 and Sept. 28, 1926) and the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin (Sept. 27, 1926). In addition to her several public declarations of faith, Queen Marie arrived in Haifa in March of 1930 to make a pilgrimage to the Shrines of the Báb and 'Abdu'l-Bahá. She was prevented from doing so by intense political pressure, and subsequently wrote (June 28,1931) to Martha Root: "Both Ileana [her daughter] and I were cruelly disappointed at having been prevented going to the holy shrines and of meeting Shoghi Effendi, but at that time we were going through a cruel crisis and every movement I made was being turned against me and being exploited politically in an unkind way." (cited in The Priceless Pearl, p. 115). Rhyyih Khnum quotes the full texts of most of the letters in Chapter IV of The Priceless Pearl.
  11. Miller, pp. 304-05, n. 41.
  12. Ibid, pp. 71, 75, 82.
  13. Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, Chapter X; Browne Trkh-i-Jadd, p. xxii.
  14. Miller, p. 98.
  15. Interested readers are referred to Shoghi Effendi's The World Order Of Bahá'u'lláh: Selected Letters, 2d rev. ed. (Wilmette, Ill.: Bahá'í Pub. Trust, 1974) and The Promised Day Is Come, rev. ed. (Wilmette, Ill.: Bahá'í Pub. Trust, 1961) for a complete development of the theme. Both works quote extensively from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá.
  16. Miller. p. 160.
  17. Ibid., pp. 58-60.
  18. Ibid., p. 59.
  19. For a complete discussion of the subject see Shoghi Effendi, World Order Of Bahá'u'lláh, pp. 143-57.
  20. Miller, p. 229.
  21. Ibid.
  22. See, for example, H.M. Balyuzi, 'Abdu'l-Bahá The Centre Of The Covenant Of Bahá'u'lláh (London: George Ronald, 1971), Chapters IV and V, Rhyyih Khnum, The Priceless Pearl, Chapters V and VI; Phelps, Life And Teachings Of Abbas Effendi, passim; Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation Of Bahá'u'lláh: Baghdad, Vol. I (Oxford: George Ronald, 1974), Appendix I, Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, Chapters IV, XVII, XXIII.
  23. Miller, p. 126.
  24. Ibid., p. 127, quoted from Traveller's Narrative, p. xiii and Materials, p. 4, n. 1.
  25. The charges may be found in the writings of such Christian ecclesiastics as Samuel Graham Wilson, Bahaism And Its Claims: A Study Of The Religion Promulgated By Baha Ullah And Abdul Baha (New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1915); John Richards Richards, The Religion Of The Bahá'ís, the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (London: The Macmillan Co., 1932); William M. Miller, BAHÁ'ÍSM; Robert P. Richardson, various articles published in Open Court: "The Persian Rival to Jesus, and His American Disciples," 29 (Aug. 1915), 460-83; "The Precursor, the Prophet, and the Pope," 30 (Oct. 1916), 617-37; "The Rise and Fall of the Parliament of Religions at Greenacre," 46 (Mar. 1931), 129-66.
  26. "My captivity can bring on Me no shame. Nay, by My life, it conferreth on Me glory. This which can make Me ashamed is the conduct of such of My followers as profess to love Me, yet in fact follow the Evil One.": Bahá'u'lláh, cited by Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 190.
  27. Ibid., pp. 189-90.
  28. See, for example, Trkh-i-Jadd, p. xxiii. Browne, however attributes the "murders" to the actions of "too zealous Bahá'ís" and exempts the Founders of the Faith from complicity, though he reports the Azal charges on the latter point.
  1. See note (12) above.
  1. Mrz Yahy was no relation to the Mrz Yahy ?ubh-i-Azal referred to extensively above. Muhammad 'Al was a half-brother of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Following the death of Bahá'u'lláh he rebelled against the authority conferred on 'Abdu'l-Bahá in Bahá'u'lláh's Will and attempted to usurp the leadership of the Bahá'í Faith. He briefly enjoyed some success, attracting to his side various members of the household as well as Ibrhm Khayrullh, who had been the leading exponent of the Bahá'í Faith in America and who also fretted under the authority of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. The organization which Khayrullh attempted to establish perished with him. Muhammad 'Al died in 1936 having failed in his efforts to created a sectarian group of his own.
  2. Browne, MATERIALS, pp. 155-171.
  3. Ibid., pp. 165-66.
  4. Miller, p. 184.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid., pp. 183-84.
  7. The Universal House of Justice, governing body of the Bahá'í Faith, has continued the codification of the Kitb-i-Aqdas, which was begun by Shoghi Effendi. The first stage of this vast program was the publication of A Synopsis And Codification Of The Kitb-i-Aqdas: The Most Holy Book Of Bahá'u'lláh, comp. Universal House of Justice", (Haifa: Bahá'í World Centre, 1973). Contrary to Rev. Miller's suggestions (Miller, pp. 143-44, 323- 26) the Bahá'í world has had constant access to the Aqdas through the translations of various sections as well as the extensive interpretations and commentaries provided by 'Abdu'l-Bahá (and after him, Shoghi Effendi). This was the mode of access prescribed by Bahá'u'lláh. A labored translation which is often misleadingly inaccurate was produced by Rev. E.E. Elder and is now reproduced by Rev. Miller as an Appendix to his present book. It seems unlikely to add anything of value to mankind's appreciation of this unique work. Perhaps in an effort to overcome the lack of interest which has been shown in the Elder translation (in which he himself collaborated) Rev. Miller provides an endorsement by the ubiquitous Mr. Azal: "The translators ... are to be congratulated on their excellent work." (Miller, pp. 326).
  8. Balyuzi, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Chapter 24.
  9. Rhyyih Khnum, The Priceless Pearl, Chapters XI and XII.
  10. The details of the expansion can be traced in volumes VII through XIV of The Bahá'í World, covering the period from 1937 to 1968, and in the several statistical summaries of the successive Plans published by the World Centre of the Bahá'í Faith in 1953, 1963 and 1968: The Bahá'í Faith: 1844-1952 (Wilmette, Ill.: Bahá'í Pub. Committee, 1953); The Bahá'í Faith: 1844-1963 (n.p.: n.d.); and the Universal House of Justice; The Bahá'í Faith: Statistical Information (n.p.: 1968).
  11. In the second of these two chapters (pp. 336-41) Rev. Miller publishes the results of what was apparently a personal survey he undertook by correspondence. The burden of his "findings" is that the Bahá'í Faith is not as widely known or well established in certain countries as its own publications assert. Rev. Miller opens this strange sequence with the statement: "the author sought information from non-Bahá'ís [emphasis added] in a dozen different countries..." (Miller, p. 336). These ostensibly independent sources are then introduced one by one: "A correspondent who has...traveled widely, in all the North African countries"; "an authority on the religious situation in Burma"; "A long-time resident of Korea"; "A person well acquainted with East Pakistan"; "long-time residents in Japan, India, Yucatan, Indonesia, Lebanon and other lands" (this latter list of addressees failed to respond). Footnotes give the names of the respondents: "Mr. H.W. Stalley"; "Dr. Paul Clasper"; "Dr. F. Dale Bruner"; "Dr. Samuel Moffett"; "Mr. Waren Webster"; and so on. There is no suggestion as to the professions of these gentlemen or as to the nature of their connection with Rev. Miller. The question inevitably arises as to whether in fact they, too, are Christian missionaries, and if indeed they are, why Rev. Miller did not forthrightly state this fact so that the degree of the disinterestedness of their contributions could be examined by his readers.
  12. Browne, "Bábism," in Religious Systems, p. 350.
  13. Ibid., pp. 352-53.


Central Figures & Institutions

The Báb, Forerunner of Bahá'u'lláh

Bahá'u'lláh: Manifestation of God

The Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh

'Abdu'l-Baha: the Center of the Covenant

The Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith

The Universal House of Justice

Historical Context of the Bábi and Bahá'í Faiths

Spiritual Truths

The Baha'i Sacred Writings

A Global Community

A New Vision for Humanity's Future

Social Action

Perspectives and Profiles

About This Site

Site Index

Copyright 2009, Bahá'í  International Community | About the Bahá'í Faith | Contact Us

Other Bahá'í Sites


more from faryarm

More on NUR's sad life story - READ ALL ABOUT IT



Here's the answer

by NUR on


NUR's coming out of the closet is a not a pretty sight but ...


here it is for all to see.




NUR - I wonder why it is so painful for you to answer these Qs


1) How many people in your group?

2) Are you a clergyman in this group?

3) How often do you meet?

4) Where do most of these people live?

5) Is this group growing in numbers or dwindling? How do you know?  Any references you can site?

6) What are the goals of this group?

7) How does this group organize itself or does it have a community?

8) Is this group recognized by any organization or civil or international body?

9) Is this group persecuted in Iran or elsewhere? If so, can you reference any evidence to support this claim?

10) What would be considered an achievement for this group?

11) Could you tell us some of the principles of your Faith?

and finally...

12) Why don't you answer these basic questions? 

Even if you don't have a reference to cite, it would good to at least tell us the basis for the answers.



Bahai Tactics & Techniques: CAUTION NON-BAHAIS

by NUR on

BAHAI Tactics & Techniques - CAUTION NON-BAHAIS

"Slanderous Vilification" = The Baha'i Technique - Ad Hominem, Libel, Slander, Demonize, Scapegoat, Ostracize, Shun, Banish, Backbite, Defame, Vilify, Discredit, Smear, Revile, Suppress, Attack, Bully, Intimidate, Threaten, Malign, Blackball, Deceive, Coerce, Silence, Harass... etc., etc....  CAUTION NON-BAHAIS

1. As far as possible they hold back from responding
2. Then they claim no knowledge of the given issue by feigning
3. After the exposer has exposed they will try to divert to secondary and totally peripheral and irrelevent side-issues
4. The exposer is then painted as someone with an axe to grind,
biased, deluded (while they, the bahaim, still have not responded to
the main issue exposed)
5. Next they relate mental instability and insanity to the exposer,
i.e. shoot the messenger
6. Then, the last tactic, is to wheel out several dubious personas on
the scene who claim to be neutral non-bahai observers who then begin attacking the exposer as well as the issue exposed supporting the bahais and their issues as so-called non-bahais

See sourcewatch entry, Baha'i Faith.


Answers to Nur's Questions

by Anonymous111 (not verified) on


Nur, or Tariki (better fitting):

I have decided to answer the questions for that you posed for Detour. So, here we go:

1) Who are you and what is your real name?

Joseph Simmons

2) What creed or organization do you belong to?


3) What position do you occupy?

Grand Dragon.

4) Are you now or have you ever worked on behalf of the Baha'i Internet Agency headed by Matthew Weinberg at the Baha'i World Center in Haifa, occupied Palestine?

As a KKK official, I normally do not like to travel to Israel (for obvious reasons), but because of my love for Bahais, and on this particular occasions, the answer to your question is yes.

5) Why do you see the need in hiding behind a pseudonym and masking your identity?

I don’t really know. I saw you doing it, so I followed suit.

6) What are your goals to that end?

Annoying you.

7) What is your primary motivation in ascertaining logistical information about my group?

Annoying you.

8) Are you a sayanim and work for Mossad?

See answer to question number 4 above.

9) Is your organization attempting to manufacture consent through fictitious and exagerrated narratives about persecution in Iran?

We were going to, but now that you have exposed us, we have abandoned the plan and will look for some other means by which to annoy you.

10) What would you consider your motivation to that end?

Annoying you.

11) Is your organization attempting to foment international discord and lobby for a pre-emptive military strike on Iran?

See answer to question number 9 above.

12) What is your position on the current policy of President Obama in wishing engagement with Iran?

I am a KKK official. What do you think I think of Obama? Duh?!!!

13) Do you believe that Baha'ism should replace the national religion in Iran, and is your organization attempting to replace the mullah's theocracy with a Baha'i theocracy?

See answer to question number 9 above.

14) Do you stand for New World Order and totalitarian One World Government?

Only if it is ruled by the Mississippi Chapter of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.



None of your business

by NUR on

That is your present answer. The next answer you will get from me will be a four lettered explitive followed by the word 'off'!

Now answer a few of mine,

1) Who are you and what is your real name?

2)  What creed or organization do you belong to?

3) What position do you occupy?

4) Are you now or have you ever worked on behalf of the Baha'i Internet Agency headed by Matthew Weinberg at the Baha'i World Center in Haifa, occupied Palestine?

 5) Why do you see the need in hiding behind a pseudonym and masking your identity?

6) What are your goals to that end?

7) What is your primary motivation in ascertaining logistical information about my group?

8) Are you a sayanim and work for Mossad?

9) Is your organization attempting to manufacture consent through fictitious and exagerrated narratives about persecution in Iran?

10) What would you consider your motivation to that end?

11) Is your organization attempting to foment international discord and lobby for a pre-emptive military strike on Iran?

12) What is your position on the current policy of President Obama in wishing engagement with Iran?

13) Do you believe that Baha'ism should replace the national religion in Iran, and is your organization attempting to replace the mullah's theocracy with a Baha'i theocracy? 

14) Do you stand for New World Order and totalitarian One World Government?

Don't get frustrated. Just answer the questions. Looking in the mirror of your organizational duplicity and Stalinism can't be that bad. Or can it?



NUR, just answer these basic questions...


1) How many people in your group?

2) Are you a clergyman in this group?

3) How often do you meet?

4) Where do most of these people live?

5) Is this group growing in numbers or dwindling?

6) What are the goals of this group?

7) How does this group organize itself or does it have a community?

8) Is this group recognized by any organization or civil or international body?

9) Is this group persecuted in Iran or elsewhere? If so, can you reference any evidence to support this claim?

10) What would be considered an achievement for this group?

11) Could you tell us some of the principles of your Faith?

Don't get frustrated, just answer these questions.  Looking in the mirror can't be that bad.  (or is it?)




by NUR on


A Skeptic Christian Missionary Interviews Abdul-Baha In NYC 1912

by faryarm on

"In the afternoon the public meeting was at the home of Mr. [Mountfort] Mills. Several clergymen, professors and dignitaries were present. The Master first spoke on the superior power of the human kingdom over nature. Then in another room He spoke to the clergymen about the necessity of a power that will cause spirituality to be victorious over materialism. 'This power', He said, 'is the power of Baha'u'llah. We used that power and thus have succeeded in this great Cause.' The meeting and the attention and joyful devotion of those present gave 'Abdu'l-Baha much satisfaction. In the carriage returning to His hotel, He said,

"I have made the subject of my talks here only one of the principles of the Blessed Beauty. I have not as yet touched upon others of greater importance. It is because I perceive the pulse of the people and the needs of the present circumstances that the confirmations of the Blessed Beauty successively rain down and assist me. These effects that you see are not only the result of addresses but are due to the assistance of the Blessed Beauty. Of course, everyone says that peace is desirable but the power to influence and conform is what is required. The Blessed Beauty is indeed my helper and protector, to the degree that were I, for example, even to make war the subject of my talks, the same effects would become apparent. It is indeed the confirmations of the Blessed Beauty that aid us. Otherwise how would Westerners show such consideration to us Easterners?"

Our interview for today features a less pleasant clash with an opinionated missionary whose mission in life was to refute the Master on His home turf. It is also briefly recorded in his immortal memoir, Portals to Freedom, by the other Christian Minister present, Howard Colby Ives. This is what he recalled, as recounted by Marzieh Gail:

"One minister who came was not friendly. 'Abdu'l-Baha answered all his questions with reserve and patience. The minister asked by what authority Baha'u'llah is placed with Abraham, Moses and Jesus -- and 'Abdu'l-Baha said, 'Today we believe Baha'u'llah to be an educator... If He has opened the doors of human hearts to a higher consciousness, He is a heavenly educator. If He has not accomplished this we are privileged to deny His claim. Then 'Abdu'l-Baha gave the minister an armful of white roses." (Marzieh Gail, Dawn Over Mount Hira, 190; a note explains: Reminiscence, also recorded in Howard Colby Ives, Portals to Freedom, George Ronald, Oxford, 1943)

In any case, the interview in question does not appear in Promulgation, the collection of the Master's talks in America, though some other interviews and question periods are. It only is to be found in Star of the West. The following footnote to the article gives the following background material. I confess I do not know what they mean by His "disqualifying" the interviewer.

NOTE: This interview was prompted by the fact that an article prepared by Rev. S. T. Bixby for publication in the North American Review had been objected to by Baha'is to whom it had been submitted as incorrect and misleading. Although the truth embodied in the words of Abdu'l-Baha completely disprove the erroneous statements, the article in question -- slightly amended, was afterward published. It should also be noted that Abdu'l-Baha in his preliminary setting forth of the historical accomplishment of the Baha'i Movement disqualifies the writer and his motive before a question is asked. Ed.

So, without further ado, here is the text of the interview as it appears in Star of the West.


From Notes by Howard MacNutt.

(Star of the West, Vol. 3, No. 8, p. 5)

Abdu'l-Baha: The origin of man is one; the consummate intention of all human existence must likewise be one.

The development of a tree is from a seed; the purpose of a tree's existence therefore is to produce a seed. The fruit of man is love and unity, the development of spiritual susceptibilities through the influence and infusion of Divine Love. The union of East and West must be accomplished in the soil of man fortified by the Divine Spirit. This spiritual bond of unity, this power of Divine Love is everlasting. Its appearance in the sod of man is the purpose of his creation.

America is a great instrument for the accomplishment of world unity. No other nation of the world stands in a similar position of influence and responsibility. The fundamental question is the unification of religious belief.

In Persia during the last fifty years a wonderful evidence of such unity has appeared among the various sects and denominations of religionists. What is witnessed in that country is (a matter of) historical account and record which cannot be denied. The accomplishment of a fundamental religious unity in Persia is therefore a nucleus which proves the possibility of universal peace among the world nations.

Consider the kingdom of the animals. There is no strife among them on account of color or creed. If you select a pigeon from Persia, another from Germany, another from France, America and so on, you would find them living together in complete union and love. Because one was American it would not object to its companion from Persia. The birds of white plumage would not shun those of black and brown. They would not notice this difference in color, but would dwell together in peace and harmony. Should we not at least attain to their state and possibility? We have reason; we have consciousness. God has taught us through these channels that we were created for unity and love. The heavenly Prophets have revealed the principles of His Will and Word. Let us live in accord with those principles and thereby live in unity with each other.

When the adherents of the former despotic government of Persia found that this unity and harmony was being accomplished among the followers of Baha'u'llah, they arose in bigotry and persecution against them. The clergy especially perceived that their vocation and means of livelihood were threatened. They persecuted the Baha’is with bitterness and ferocity. They misrepresented this Cause to the Government, saying, "These are the people of rebellion and revolution; these are the enemies of the Shah;" whereas in fact down to the time of the recent revolution in Persia the Baha’is have taken no part whatever in political questions and disturbances. Their clamorous persecutors were the real revolutionists.

These discontents (sic. malcontents?) wanted Constitutional rights and privileges. They were politicians, not religionists. Today there are many political parties in Persia. Notwithstanding the spread of rumors intended to excite prejudice against the Baha’is, unity and love increased among them, for falsehood cannot stand against the onrushing stream of Truth. These enemies said, "The teachings of Baha’u’llah sanction one wife and nine husbands;" "the principles of Baha’u’llah are communistic and proclaim treason against the theories and government." All kinds of false and dangerous reports were circulated until even European travelers passing through the country were influenced to believe them. How different was the reality! While the Baha’is have practical laws upon moral, ethical, civil and governmental questions, their obedience to these laws is always conducive to the uplift, purification and improvement of human conditions and never destructive to the development of individual, community or nation.

Furthermore, the Baha’is consider it more blessed and a greater privilege to bestow than to gain and receive. They believe that bestowing good upon another freely is the greatest means of help to both. This is not the principle and practice of their calumniators who make even religion a source of livelihood. According to Baha’i principles justice and equity in government are not to be attained by force and rebellion against the existing order of things.

The solution of economic questions for instance will not be accomplished by array of labor against capital and capital against labor in strife and conflict, but by (a) voluntary attitude of sacrifice upon both sides. Then a real and lasting justness of conditions will be brought about. If a capitalist is forced to give up a portion of his income and possessions there will be no love in his heart; no permanent benefit in his action. But if it be given in the spirit of the Love of God, everything will be accomplished. As it is now, the forces of labor strike and the capitalist retaliates. If the latter should voluntarily add to the scale of wages love is evident and the greatest good results. Briefly, among the Baha'is there are no extortionate, mercenary and unjust practices, no rebellious demands, no revolutionary uprisings against existing governments.

In Persia Baha'i teachers never accept the slightest coin for their work. This is so noticeably true that when such recompense is refused it is customary to hear the statement "These are Baha'is." This is the strongest proof of the Baha'i principles and their power of accomplishment.

How different are the methods and actions of the clergy and priesthood of Persia, whose demands upon the property and possessions of the people are equivalent to pillage and plunder. For instance, when a man dies, the clergy takes possession of one third his goods and the other two thirds goes to his heirs. Then they accuse the Baha’is of doing this -- whereas, in fact, the followers of Baha’u’llah are forbidden to accept anything whatever from the property of others. The Baha’is are accustomed to give rather than to receive.

[Note from the Editor of Star of the West: In conformity with this principle before the departure of Abdu'l-Baha from the Orient for his visit to this country, a large amount of money contributed by friends here was forwarded to him with the request that he accept it toward defraying his expenses. He returned the money with a blessing, asking the donor to apply it to some philanthropic object. During his stay In this country, his gifts to churches and charity have been many and most generous in amount.]

For instance, ten thousand dollars have been sent to Chicago from the East toward the erection of the Mashrak El Azkar.

Rev. Bixby: Did not Professor Edward Browne, of Cambridge University, England, go to Akka and was he not received there by Baha’u’llah?

A.B. Professor Browne visited the East, interviewed various people and automatically wrote down all he heard. Naturally when he met the enemies of Baha’u’llah he heard nothing favorable. Would you go to the Vatican to hear praises of the Protestants? Would you consult Jewish rabbis as to the reality of Christ? In his first book, Professor Browne praised Baha’u’llah, but the second account, in which he publishes the statements of enemies, is the reverse. His books do not agree.

Rev. Bixby: Is Professor Browne correct in his statement that Abdul-Baha wrote "A Traveler's Narrative"

A. B. The writer of "A Traveler's Narrative" was not one person. It contains a statement of Baha'i principles. If a book was to be written setting forth the essence of Christianity, a number of Christians would come together for that purpose.

Rev. Bixby: Is "A Traveler's Narrative" substantially correct?

A. B. It is an authority.

Rev. Bixby: What is understood to be the relation between the manifestation in Baha'u'llah and the manifestations in Moses, Jesus and others?

A. B. It is one basis, one foundation. Abraham proclaimed the Truth, Moses raised the Standard of Truth. Jesus established the Truth. Can we say that any one of them did not found it? All the prophets have been chosen by God to promulgate The Word. There can be no multiplicity in the Truth itself. The teachings of the Manifestations are of two kinds; first, the Word of God in its outer or material aspect; second, the Word of God in its spiritual or inner significance. The first named is changeable; the second unchangeable. The essential principle of their teaching is spiritual. All the Prophets have come to spread these principles. Each confirms the spiritual utterance of the former and changes the material forms of teachings and ceremonials. For instance, the Ten Commandments revealed by Moses were applicable to the time in which he appeared. They were not applicable to the time of Jesus.

Therefore He abolished and superseded them.

He also abolished certain laws of Moses which were no longer necessary. But this change and renewal is of secondary importance to the Spiritual Reality of the Word in Moses and Jesus, for it is the foundation and it is One and Unchangeable.

Rev. Bixby: Has Baha’u’llah revealed obligatory prayers?

A. B. The mode and requirements of East and West are different. It matters not whether we bend the head in the East or the knee in the West. The purpose of prayer is to come nearer to God to pray from the heart fervently. If the heart is pure, it is beautiful for the tongue to express its ecstasy.

Rev. Bixby: By what authority is Baha’u’llah placed with Abraham, Moses and Jesus?

A. B. Today we believe Baha’u’llah to be an educator of humanity, as Abraham, Moses and Jesus were educators. Are His teachings worthy of serious attention? He originated and proclaimed them. He caused others to believe and follow them. What is the function of a teacher and educator of humanity? By what evidence shall we recognize him? Is it not his power to train and develop, as children are trained at school? Has Baha'u'llah trained the children of humanity? If He has opened the doors of human hearts to a higher consciousness, He is a heavenly Educator. If He has not accomplished this we are privileged to deny His claim and teaching. For the aim and function of an Educator is to train the children of humanity. This is His greatest proof that he has power to uplift humanity. Baha'u'llah either taught higher lessons or did not. If He did, He has fulfilled His claim.

The mission of a physician is to heal sickness and relieve the ailing. When he heals there is no doubt of his ability as a physician. If he cannot heal the sick be is disqualified. We accept the Teachings of Moses, Jesus, Abraham and Adam because unmistakably they came to educate humanity. For example, Moses arose at a time of the lowest ignorance and humiliation of the Hebrew nation. Did He not free them from the bondage of Egypt? Did He not train, educate and organize them as a nation and people. As a consequence of His discipline did they not attain a zenith of power? Yes, unmistakably, up to the time of Solomon. The philosophers of Greece came to Palestine, sat at the feet of the Hebrew sages and were taught by them the fundamental principles of life. Moses produced this result from ignorance and slavery. Can we deny history? Can we deny that He was an Educator?

Rev. Bixby: Has Baha’u’llah done this?

A. B. Yes! In Persia especially He has accomplished this miracle of training and education. Ere long, Persia will attain a high degree of civilization.

Rev. Bixby: Is Mirza Abul Fazl an apostle, prophet or one delegated with special authority?

A. B. We do not have apostles, prophets and special leaders, because all are servants. We have no ecclesiastical order or authority. Mirza Abul Fazl was trained and taught by Baha'u'llah -- His disciple in this sense. He was near to Baha'u'llah; but he has no special station except the station of service.

Rev. Bixby: Were the "Letters of the Living" appointed by the Bab abrogated by Baha'u'llah?

A. B. The "Letters of the Living" were at first eighteen in number. The Bab said, "Go forth and teach others the Message you have received." Among them were some of great ability, who became prominent. Some disappeared. They were not appointed as a secret order. Baha'u'llah did not abrogate their function. As an organization of believers in the Bab it passed away by itself, naturally. The Bab said, "These are the acceptors of my teachings." They had no official station. He did not depend upon them as His clergy. They were servants of the Cause of God. Whoever is near to God is a servant of God.

Rev. Bixby: Did not Subh Ezel occupy an authoritative position?

A. B. Baha'u'llah educated him just as he educated Mirza Abul Fazl and myself. Subh Ezel separated voluntarily. He did not follow his Teacher as we have done. Therefore we do not mention his name. We have no quarrel with those who differ, but are commanded to love them.

Rev. Bixby: How can we receive more from the Teaching of Baha'u'llah than from the Words of Jesus?

A. B. Jesus and the former Prophets laid the foundation of the Cause of God -- the Heavenly Kingdom. But their followers forget and overlook the foundation. Christ said, "Ye must he born again of water and spirit." "As children from the womb, so must ye be born again of Spirit." The essence of His meaning was that those who were taught by Him and became His real followers would become free from world-imperfections; they would become perfect, redeemed from animalism and human passions, transformed into angels; that is to say the earthly would become heavenly. These are the real disciples of Christ. These are real Christians.

Galen, a Greek philosopher, who was pagan and not Christian, writing upon the subject of "Ancient Civilization of Nations," states that "the greatest shaping influences in the civilization of nations are religious principles; and that the effect of Christianity upon the lives and morals of its adherents is a great proof of this statement." Now Baha'u'llah came and brought a new life into the hearts of mankind. He reversed the order of many former teachings. Vast numbers of His followers live in accord with the principles He set forth.

Mirza Abul Fazl for instance, whom you have named, was firmly fixed in his religious belief. Under the influence of Baha'u'llah's words, he arose to serve this Cause. He was thrown into prison two years he was persecuted and driven out of Persia. Under all conditions of distress and suffering, he was thankful and filled with happiness, constantly Serving the Cause of Baha'u'llah.

This is the strongest proof that the Teachings of Baha'u'llah have within them the same power to mould and influence human lives as the Teachings of Jesus. They free the souls of men from world attachments and imperfections. They open the doors in this age of the world to perfection. The Jews admit that Jesus appeared in the world and taught heavenly principles. If Christ had not appeared after Moses the mention of Moses would have been lost. The foundation of Jesus and the foundation of Moses were the same. The foundation of Baha'u'llah is likewise the same as Moses and Jesus. All religion has the same foundation. Furthermore, consider how Baha'u'llah has upraised the standard of Christ in the East in countries and among peoples where there was formerly no mention of Christ's name. He established the truth of the Bible among those who shunned and hated the Bible. They considered it a righteous act to burn and destroy the Book of Christianity. Baha'u'llah has taught them to read the Bible.

Rev. Bixby; Was Christ the Word?

A. B. Baha'u'llah has clearly explained and defined the "Word." Christianity, as explained by its followers, has taught that Christ is the Word and the Son of God. What is the meaning of this? Baha'u'llah has explained that seers and prophets are as letters incomplete in meaning. He shows that human intellects are imperfect, incomplete, but Christ was the All Surrounding Word and synonymous with Perfection. As He contained all Perfections and Attributes He was the Word and this wonderful title was conferred upon Him. But seers, prophets and disciples are as "letters" without complete significance.

Rev. Bixby: Was Baha'u'llah also the Word in the flesh?

A. B. Yes! Because He had all the perfections.

Rev. Bixby: Did Abraham embody the Word?

A. B. We cannot differentiate the attributes of the Word of God we cannot differentiate perfections. Abraham announced the Divine Truth. It is not necessary to lower Abraham to raise Jesus. It is not necessary to lower Jesus to proclaim Baha'u'llah. We must spread the Truth of God wherever we behold it. The essence of the question is that all these Great Messengers came to raise the Divine Standard of Perfections. All of them shine as stars in the same heaven of the Divine Will. All of them give Light to the world.

Rev. Bixby: Did Baha'u'llah fulfill Jesus as Jesus fulfilled Moses?

A. B. Yes! by spreading the renown and glory of Jesus. The aim of Moses, Jesus and Baha'u'llah was to train humanity toward divine perfections. Can we train the world upward by imperfections?

At the conclusion of this interview Abdul-Baha arose and came toward Rev. Bixby, his arms filled with large white roses. As he placed them upon the bosom of his visitor, literally burying him in them, he said, "These beautiful roses will express to you the love and fragrance of the Baha’i Spirit."]

From a previous compilation By John Taylor; 2006 August 7. 




courtasy of NUR here is Missionary Robert Spencer and Islam

by Fatima Nematallahi (not verified) on



by AK (not verified) on

To Reza who criticized that some Baha'i writtings were in Arabic!


To Reza who critisized that some Baha'i writtings were in Arab!

by AK (not verified) on

فارسی در قياس با زبان‌های فرنگی، مانند انگليسی، فرانسه و آلمانی، در قلمرو زبان فنی و اصطلاحی درمانده است. اما اين وضع امروزين نيست. با ورود اسلام به ايران زبان علم و فلسفه تقريباً در انحصار زبان عربی افتاد و فارسی‌زبانان برای انتقال مفاهيم دقيق، عربی را به کار بستند




by NUR on



 "We have inherited a dangerous delusion from Christianity that our individual conscience is supreme. This is not a Baha'i belief. In the end, in the context of both our role in the community and our role in the  greater world, we must be prepared to sacrifice our personal convictions or opinions. The belief that individual conscience is supreme is equivalent to "taking partners with God" which is abhorrent to the Teachings of the Faith."


Reza 41

chera kam lotfi kardi aziz?

by Reza 41 on

thank you ,

If you got time ,would you upload another 800 page, this was little to short ,thats ok , we read. please dont shy .

you cant find any thing has 800 page?

Masnavi -e- rumi

Almizan Ayat..tabatabayee

begardid kolli peyda meekoni <:o)


I wish they learned from their lessons!

by Anonymous-world citizen (not verified) on

Thank you very much Faryam for sharing this historical witness.
Nobody throws rock at a fruitless tree,and then when they do that the ripen fruits fall off the tree and people who are in the way will taste it and will enjoy the fruit.I know of many cases that people have accepted the truth of Bahai faith through antagonastic writings of its enemies.
Baha u llah Himself has promised that His faith once will be proclaimed by His friends and followers and once more it will be proclaimed by His foes.As I investigated about Rev. Miller, I think he lived over a 100 years and he was able to see that his approach and foreseeing was totally the opposite, but unfortunately he did not have the courage to admit his big mistakes,This case and other cases that we are witnessing today will help the Faith to number His followers and outnumber its enemies.


To Faryarm!

by AK (not verified) on

THANK you for sharing.I appriciate!


Dear Faryarm

by Hamid 11 (not verified) on

Thank you for posting this.