Authority to say who a Baha'i is

Apr 2011
484
Sydney
According to my understanding, Baha'u'llah has only given authority to the centre of His covenant, which today is the Universal House of Justice, to declare who is or is not Baha'i.

Kind regards,
Dan :)
 
Aug 2010
726
New Zealand mainly
According to my understanding, Baha'u'llah has only given authority to the centre of His covenant, which today is the Universal House of Justice, to declare who is or is not Baha'i.
"Centre of the covenant" is a title of Abdu'l-Baha, it is not applied to the Universal House of Justice.

The local and national assemblies, and ultimately the Head of the Faith, can determine who is enrolled as a member of the Bahai community. This is not the same thing as being a Bahai. You could check your NSA guidelines, but ours say that a declaration of faith and registration as a member are two separate steps. "A declaration of faith is not necessarily an application to be enrolled in the community, and no formal administrative steps will result [from a declaration alone]." (my translation from the Dutch).

Not everyone who is truly a Bahai is on the membership rolls, and not everyone on the rolls is really a Bahai. So the answer to the question "who is a Bahai" is "God knows." And the answer to the question, "who is to say who is a member of the Bahai community today" is "the elected institutions."
 
Oct 2011
4,213
Quilimari,Chile
According to my understanding, Baha'u'llah has only given authority to the centre of His covenant, which today is the Universal House of Justice, to declare who is or is not Baha'i.

Kind regards,
Dan :)
Dear friend, I feel I understand what you are trying to say.
What randalljazz has said is true.
Also Sen the center of the covenant is Abdul-Baha.
Maybe you meant who's guidance we are to follow at this time. Of course Baha'u'llah as I understand guided the Baha'i community this then passed to Abdul-Baha then passed to Shoghi Effendi then passed to the Universal House of Justice. Of course only the writings of the Bab, Baha'u'llah and Abdul-Baha are our pure guidance, as I understand, the others use the Writings in their guidance.

As for who is or who is not a Baha'i again Sen is correct that only God knows.
I find it interesting that Baha'u'llah has said that actually there are no Baha'is, that it is only by the Grace of God, that any are accepted. He likened Baha'is to the Philosophers stone, and then asked have you seen the Philosophers stone?

Peace and love to all
 
Feb 2015
1
jdgvurfi
Dear friend, I feel I understand what you are trying to say.
What randalljazz has said is true.
Also Sen the center of the covenant is Abdul-Baha.
Maybe you meant who's guidance we are to follow at this time. Of course Baha'u'llah as I understand guided the Baha'i community this then passed to Abdul-Baha then passed to Shoghi Effendi then passed to the Universal House of Justice. Of course only the writings of the Bab, Baha'u'llah and Abdul-Baha are our pure guidance, as I understand, the others use the Writings in their guidance.
 
May 2014
233
Dublin, Ireland
If a person accepts Bahá'u'lláh and his claims, they are Bahá'í. Even if the UHJ says they are a covenant-breaker, Allah (swt) knows that in their hearts they are a Bahá'í.
 
Oct 2011
4,213
Quilimari,Chile
If a person accepts Bahá'u'lláh and his claims, they are Bahá'í. Even if the UHJ says they are a covenant-breaker, Allah (swt) knows that in their hearts they are a Bahá'í.
I feel dear friend you have made a conflicting comment.

If a person has been declared a covenant breaker by the Universal House of Justice, then they can't have accepted Baha'u'llah and His claims.

bill
 
Jun 2014
1,100
Wisconsin
I feel dear friend you have made a conflicting comment.

If a person has been declared a covenant breaker by the Universal House of Justice, then they can't have accepted Baha'u'llah and His claims.

bill
Huh. I see that as a conflicting comment.

According to the UHJ, it is the opposite. The UHJ has stated that someone must have accepted Baha'u'llah and his claims in order to be a Covenant Breaker in the first place. If they have not accepted Baha'u'llah, they cannot break the covenant (because they are not a part of the covenant). IE the random Non-Baha'is you know are not and cannot be Covenant Breakers. The UHJ states one must accept the Covenant before one can break it.

"When a person declares his acceptance of Bahá'u'lláh as a Manifestation of God he becomes a party to the Covenant and accepts the totality of His Revelation. If he then turns round and attacks Bahá'u'lláh or the Central Institution of the Faith he violates the Covenant. If this happens every effort is made to help that person to see the illogicality and error of his actions, but if he persists he must, in accordance with the instructions of Bahá'u'lláh Himself, be shunned as a Covenant-breaker." -Letter from the UHJ, 23 March 1975

Furthermore, I note that former Baha'is, those who become convinced that Baha'u'llah's claims are not true and leave the faith are not Covenant Breakers. The word is for people who accept Baha'u'llah, yet contradict him.

Regardless, being "Baha'i" is not about accepting Baha'u'llah or his claims. Abdul-Baha gives definitions of "Baha'i" that even cover people well outside of the Covenant. I don't think anyone is granted the authority to determine who is or is not a Baha'i, especially since the definition mainly deals with matters of the heart, which cannot be judged by any save God.

"To be a Bahá’í simply means to love all the world; to love humanity and try to serve it; to work for universal peace and universal brotherhood" -Abdul-Baha

"[A Baha'i is] one endowed with all the perfections of man in activity." -Abdul-Baha

"The man who lives the life according to the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh is already a Bahá’í. On the other hand, a man may call himself a Bahá’í for fifty years, and if he does not live the life he is not a Bahá’í." -Abdul-Baha

(Source on those three quotes: Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era, Chapter 5)
 
Sep 2010
4,603
Normanton, Far North West Queensland
Walrus has posted some good points, but what must not be left out if the talk is the importance if recognition an acceptance of the Manifestation.

Good works alone are not sufficient. I do not have a good internet to provide the quotes, but they have been posted many a time in discussions such as these.

A big topic that has many avenues if thoughts to consider.

God bless all and regards Tony
 
Jun 2014
1,100
Wisconsin
Walrus has posted some good points, but what must not be left out if the talk is the importance if recognition an acceptance of the Manifestation.

Good works alone are not sufficient. I do not have a good internet to provide the quotes, but they have been posted many a time in discussions such as these.

A big topic that has many avenues if thoughts to consider.

God bless all and regards Tony
Important?? Yes, most certainly.

Necessary for being a "Baha'i" (which seems to be the OP of this thread)?? Not according to Abdul-Baha, who is infallible. "Good works" (depending on how you define it) is apparently sufficient to claim that word.