Bab's Laws

Aug 2014
1,418
Blue Planet
In Abdul Baha's book, Makatib (Page 266), He talks about the gist and core of the religions of the past. He first talks about the core of the teachings of Moses. Then comes to Jesus and says the gist of His religion was brotherhood and kindness. The Comes to Mohammad and says the gist of His religion was abandoning and breaking of all idols. Now, Abdul Baha reaches the time of Bab and says (my own translation because I could not find the English translation):
The core of the teachings of Bab is and the main subject was to "beheading","burning of books", and"killing of all those who are not Babis".

Now I was watching a new documentary movie recently made by a Bahai woman and then after it came the critic, who is a Muslim and very critical of Bahais. He is very famous in Iran for his strong critical views towards the faith. he said something which made me send a question here. I hope you can help me answer it.

first of all, how is it that a religion of God, which is to reach equality, kindness and brotherhood, must start with "beheading and killing and setting to fire?" maybe it is not such a critical point because even in Shia Islam, Muslims believe that when Mahdi (Qaim) comes, He will kill so many Muslim Mollas that streams of blood will start to flow in the streets. but why?

now the more important question is this:
everywhere in Bahai historical data, like in Dawn Breakers, there is the talk about a small group of "extreme" Babais who decided to Kill the Shah of Iran in that time (Naserredin Shah), and they commit an unsuccessful attack. everywhere in the hostorical data, and even by Bahaullah Himself, they are called "Babi extremists" but is what they did really extreme??? in fact, they really only listened to what Bab had ordered, and since the Bahai faith was not yet born, they were right to do that, according to the teachings of the Bab!
I wonder why this FACT is always altered in Bahai data, and why Bahaullah calls them "Babi extremists". I would really be thankful if anyone can answer me, tho maybe, only those who are more into history can give me the answer.
 
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Jcc

Mar 2013
600
Edwardsville, Illinois, USA
Maryam,

There are a lot of pieces to this story, and a lot of misunderstanding. First, if you describe the Bab's laws as "cutting off heads and burning books" that is a description from prophecies of Islam, where a final battle between believers and non-believers will take place. The Bab actually tried to show that it is really a spiritual battle, and that it should be done in a way as to not actually harm anyone. Which means, if you were to take it literally, then it is a law that could never be enforced. Many of the Bab's laws are written in such a way that they could never be enforced, because He knew they would soon be replaced by the laws of "Him whom God shall make manifest"

As far as the two Babis who tried to kill the Shah, they were not a "group" they were just 2 foolish and probably mentally sick people. The Bab never commanded anyone to kill, and the times when the Babis defended themselves, like at Tabarsi, it was self defense, not attack or revenge. Later Baha'u'llah taught that they should not even organize self defense and the Islamic law of Jihad is definitely ended.
 
Aug 2014
1,418
Blue Planet
Dear JCC
thanks for your reply. I hope you do not mind me taking an opposition, because I really want this topic to get solved and closed in my mind. so I'll start:

first of all, you say the Bab's law which was to "behead, kill, and fire" is spiritual. but what is your clue for saying it? just because there wasn't enough time for those laws to actually take place in the society? that is not a good answer. there was enough time, and in fact with those laws, and enough followers, a big society can be ruined in one year, let alone seven years.

Second, Abdul Baha in His book confirms that they were the CORE of the religion on Bab. when He talks about the religion of Moses, Jesus, and Mohammad, He (Abdul Baha) talks literally and without the use of symbols etc. so how come that suddenly in case of Bab's religion, He counts the SPIRITUAL laws without ever mentioning that they were ONLY spiritual?!!!

third, you say those people who tried to assassin the Shah were two. first of all I should say that they were not two, but three. and yes, in appearance they were only three, but what theology was behind them? how did they take that decision? Bab's law had given them the green light. Tahere, used to teach Ghayum Al'Asma (Commentary on the Surat Al-Yusuf) to her students that were Babis and even in that book (Commentary...) it is ordered again and again to kill non Babis and somewhere the Bab even says "And Do not accept money from them in exchange for their lives." is that what (you think) is a SPIRITUAL law??? this, to me, shows that after trying to act according to this law, some people will get so frightened that they will offer money to save their lives. it is NOT spiritual dear JCC.
 
Nov 2015
279
France
Greetings everyone.

I am just a guy who read the Bayan and some other of the Bab's writings (I'm reading the Qayyum al-Asma right now : Qayyūm al-asm�' - Translations | Hurqalya Publications: Center for Shaykhī and B�bī-Bah�’ī Studies).

As far as i can tell, the Bayan prohibits bloodhsed for the reason that the believers may want to kill Hiw whom God shall Manifest. Henceforth, he protects Him through a system of laws where people can only be punished through fines and forced abstinence. Killing, hurting, or imprisonning anyone (even in their own house, even for a few seconds) is, as per the Bayanic law, strictly forbidden. Animals and children, unbelievers and believers as well, cannot be hit for instance. That is in the Bayan, but you may ask some Bayanis, as they have some website and e-mail adress.

In the Bayan, unbelievers are forbidden from inhabiting 5 Persian provinces, and they are to be converted, but there are conditions :
_the people must have been taught of the Bayan (that's a long process)
_Bayanis must be the majority in the city/village before starting this process
_no violence can be used

I assume that the text from Tahirih that you quote actually refers to a pre-Bayanic tablet. You need to ask for the context of that scripture.

In the way i understand it through my spiritual experience of the Bab's writings, the core of the Bayanic religion is to be a talisman that kindles and enhances love for Baha'u'llah, and provides guidance on how to become a better Baha'i. It is a spirituality that focuses on esotericism and good manners. Therefore i do not yet understand the Master's reflection on the Bab's religion.

Here we need to be precise and articulate. In which scriptures does the Bab refer to violence, what is the context, and do they predate the Bayan ?

-Goaforce

EDIT : I think i remember Baha'u'llah remember to the Bayanic principle of non-violence in some tablet addressed to Babis who threatened his life, arguing that such thing was forbidden in their book. Does someone remember that ?
 
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Aug 2014
1,418
Blue Planet
Thank you GoaForce for the answer.
first of all, I took a loot at the link of Bab's book you have provided here. it is complete on some works and absolutely in complete on others.
as an example, on Surah 98 (Surah al-Jahad which means SUrah of war) we have:

" یا جنود الحقّ اذا وقفتم علی الحرب مع المشرکین لن تخافوا عن کثرتهم فانّا قد کتبناعلی قلوبهم الرّعب عنکم اقتلوا المشرکین و لا تذروا علی الارض بالحقّ علی الحقّ من الکافرین دیّاراً"

that means (my translation): Oh warriors of the Truth, when you stand in lines in a war against unbelievers, do not fear their great numbers, because We have written fear on their hearts. Kill each and every of them and do not let one of them remain on earth."

or in Surah 97 Surah Al-ghetal (SUrah of killing in fight) we have:

"یا معشرالمومنین فسخرو البلاد و اهلها لدین الله الخالص و لا تقبلو من الکفار جزیة ..."
that means: Oh Believers! Take and occupy every city and its inhabitants for God's religion and do not accept from them a money in exchange ..."

there are more of such examples in Qayum Al-Asma. but they do not exist in your link or if they do, I do not know how to look at them for example in your link when I open SUrah Al-Ghetal, there is only one line in it while it is in fact a long SUrah.

Anyway, Even Abdul Baha has talked about the core of Babi religion and has introduced it as "Killing, beheading and setting to fire."
so can we say when those three Babis decided on killing the Shah, it was their own decision and not out of Bab's laws?? how can you say it?

..............
P.S: Furthermore the man I listened to said that the book Qayum Al-Asma had been translated into Persian by Tahire and she had been teaching it to her students according to some Bahai and Bayani historians. So, if she had translated the whole book into Persian, why nowadays we do not have it? why the Universal House of Justice doesn't publish it all?!
 
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Jun 2014
1,120
Wisconsin
Thanks GoaForce!! I did some digging on this topic but wanted to wait for someone who has read the Bayan to weigh in before I commented (also, tangentially, would you know of any complete English translations of the work?? Probably not, but I figure there's no harm in asking, since I'm always on the lookout for that sort of thing :p ).

Maryamr, I've done some digging on the topic of the Makatib. It's, for starters, not a book written by 'Abdu'l-Baha, but is apparently multiple books made up of a bunch of letters he wrote (the specific letter you cite being apparently in Volume 2). Further, I can only find references to the part you are talking about in specifically anti-Baha'i publications.

Do you (or does anyone else here for that matter) have full access to the Makatib in its original language, and, if so, can you verify that the relevant passage is in it?? There doesn't appear to be anything like a full English translation available anywhere online, so I can't dig past simply getting a vague idea of what the Makatib is.

Secondly, does anyone here know more information about this book?? For example, how the letters were gathered and compiled, and how the letters specifically were verified as having been written by 'Abdu'l-Baha?? And also who compiled this book?? It'd be interesting to know how authoritative this text can be considered.

If as GoaForce says, the Bayan is not as the quote describes, then I'd have to say that either 'Abdu'l-Baha is wrong here (is his Ismah only supposed to cover Baha'u'llah's revelation, or the Bab's as well??) or perhaps he did not write it (hence my questions about this book, its composition, verification process, and authority). Any information anyone can offer on the subject of the Makatib 'Abd al-Bahá would be appreciated.

maryamr said:
Tahere, used to teach Ghayum Al'Asma (Commentary on the Surat Al-Yusuf) to her students that were Babis and even in that book (Commentary...) it is ordered again and again to kill non Babis and somewhere the Bab even says "And Do not accept money from them in exchange for their lives."
Edit: I've only been able to find exerpts of the Ghayum Al'Asma. Do you know of where, specifically, in chapter and verse this line supposedly is??

It's worth noting, though, that as this is a commentary on the Surah of Yusuf, that the text was written before the Bayan, and is thus not Bayanic law, but an interpretation of Quranic law.
 
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Aug 2014
1,418
Blue Planet
Yes Walrus. Makatib (Letters) is an Authorized book, a compilation of the writings of Abdul Baha. it is AVAILABLE on Baha'i Reference Library: Øضرت عبدالبهاء
in Persian Language (original language) on the specific page I mentioned. so there is zero doubt about its credibility.

second, you say you read Qayum Alasma and found no laws on killing etc. I dare say you have only read one or two Surah of it like for example only the Surah al Yusuf. Qayum Al-Asma is a massive book, consisting of many Surah, and each Surah has manyyy lines. I cannot find it even in the link you have provided here. and I dare say it is not translated into Persian or English- it is still in original Arabic for some weird reasons.
 
Jun 2014
1,120
Wisconsin
second, you say you read Qayum Alasma and found no laws on killing etc. I dare say you have only read one or two Surah of it like for example only the Surah al Yusuf. Qayum Al-Asma is a massive book, consisting of many Surah, and each Surah has manyyy lines. I cannot find it even in the link you have provided here. and I dare say it is not translated into Persian or English- it is still in original Arabic for some weird reasons.
Yeah... looks like I misread the beginning of my original link and it was only a chapter. I have edited my above post. Do you know the actual chapter and verse the line you cited can supposedly be found??
 
Aug 2014
1,418
Blue Planet
Yeah... looks like I misread the beginning of my original link and it was only a chapter. I have edited my above post. Do you know the actual chapter and verse the line you cited can supposedly be found??
yes. look under GoaForce reply. I have sent a reply in which there are two examples of the original lines, name of the Surahs and my translation of them.
 

Jcc

Mar 2013
600
Edwardsville, Illinois, USA
Dear JCC
thanks for your reply. I hope you do not mind me taking an opposition, because I really want this topic to get solved and closed in my mind. so I'll start:
This is a very important topic, although very difficult for many reasons. Despite the Bab's ministry being only 6 years, He produced a huge amount of writings, totally about 5 million words (equivalent to about 25,000 pages.) This is the calculation made by people at the Baha'i World Center who have been preserving, compiling and scanning/transcribing everything. With that amount of writings it is obviously impossible to summarize it in a few literalistic interpretations such as "behead, kill, and fire" as if it were a continuation of the concepts from the Torah and Qur'an about achieving victory in battle, especially since so much of the Bab's teachings were completely the opposite of that.

first of all, you say the Bab's law which was to "behead, kill, and fire" is spiritual. but what is your clue for saying it? just because there wasn't enough time for those laws to actually take place in the society? that is not a good answer. there was enough time, and in fact with those laws, and enough followers, a big society can be ruined in one year, let alone seven years.
The actual point is not that the Bab intended to fulfill the Islamic prophecies literally, but rather it was to make people realize that the Last Day and Resurrection has occurred, and that the old religious laws and interpretations had ended. In other words, the Qur'an also must not be taken literally, especially prophecies of the Last Day. But not all of that is apparent from just the Qayyamu'l-Asma, it needs to be combined with later writings including the Persian Bayan and others, which taken together require us to follow a spiritual interpretation. That is because a literal interpretation makes no sense and can lead to absurd outcomes. Besides, if you look at the actual instructions He gave to his disciples you see He never told any of His followers to hurt anyone.

Second, Abdul Baha in His book confirms that they were the CORE of the religion on Bab. when He talks about the religion of Moses, Jesus, and Mohammad, He (Abdul Baha) talks literally and without the use of symbols etc. so how come that suddenly in case of Bab's religion, He counts the SPIRITUAL laws without ever mentioning that they were ONLY spiritual?!!!
When Abdu'l-Baha made a statement comparing the teachings of past religions with those of Baha'u'lah, he had a reason to do so, and that reason was not about describing the past religions, but rather to make a contrast and highlight how full of mercy, light and peace are the teachings of Baha'u'llah. It is presenting an outward aspect of some of the teachings of the Bab, for the rhetorical purpose of contrast, but not explaining why it has that outward appearance.

third, you say those people who tried to assassin the Shah were two. first of all I should say that they were not two, but three. and yes, in appearance they were only three, but what theology was behind them? how did they take that decision? Bab's law had given them the green light. Tahere, used to teach Ghayum Al'Asma (Commentary on the Surat Al-Yusuf) to her students that were Babis and even in that book (Commentary...) it is ordered again and again to kill non Babis and somewhere the Bab even says "And Do not accept money from them in exchange for their lives." is that what (you think) is a SPIRITUAL law??? this, to me, shows that after trying to act according to this law, some people will get so frightened that they will offer money to save their lives. it is NOT spiritual dear JCC.
The decision of those who tried to assassinate the Shah was based on a lack of understanding of the Bab's teachings, and the foolishness of the people involved. The two young people mentioned as committing the crime in "God Passes By" (page 61) are Sadiq-i-Tabrizi, and Fathu'llah-i-Qumi, so who was the third person?

As far as the true meaning of the Qayyamu'l-Asma, we know that is is described as a commentary on the Surih of Joseph, a well known story also mentioned in the Torah. That has many deep spiritual meanings, and the Bab goes into great depth explaining many layers of meanings. It would be ridiculous to take just a few portions literally, unless done by people with a completely literal mind such as the Muslim clergy. So, it is probably a combination of the Muslim clergy misunderstanding the meaning, seeing something that looks to them like a terrible thing that shows how bad the Babis and Baha'is are and deciding to promote that as their proof.

Much of what I am saying about the Bab's writings are from Professor Nader Saidi in his book "Gate of the Heart" which goes to very great depth explaining the context and layers of symbolism of the Bab's writings. He explains that the "laws" which the Bab proclaimed in the early days intentionally used language and concepts similar to Islam, including war and fighting, so that people would not be so shocked at the difference of the new teachings and turn away. The Bab wrote:

Indeed observe how He Who representeth the origin of creation, He Who is the Exponent of the verse, 'I, in very truth, am God', identified Himself as the Gate [Bab] for the advent of the promised Qá'im, a descendant of Muhammad, and in His first Book enjoined the observance of the laws of the Qur'án, so that the people might not be seized with perturbation by reason of a new Book and a new Revelation and might regard His Faith as similar to their own, perchance they would not turn away from the Truth and ignore the thing for which they had been called into being. (The Bab, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 119)

So logically, if the Bab started by proclaiming concepts that appeared similar to those of Islam (with holy war, etc.) and that He introduced new teachings gradually so as not to frighten people, it is because the actual new teachings were very different from traditional Islam, in fact almost the opposite (equality of women, acceptance of all religions, peace among all nations).

After the first book (Qayyamu'l-Asma) the Bab gradually revealed that He is not only a Gate, not only the Qaim, but was a Manifestation of God, and further was preparing the way for "Him Whom God shall Make Manifest". In the Persian Bayan, the phrase "Him Whom God shall Make Manifest" appears more than 400 times, and it is completely clear that the whole purpose of the Bab's Revelation was to prepare the world for Baha'u'llah. He said "all of the Bayan is but a ring on the finger of Him Whom God shall Make Manifest".

Even for the few years where presumably the laws of the Bab should have been applicable, there were stipulations where they could not be enacted yet, and and in fact they never could be enacted. it becomes clear that the laws of the Bab were meant for their spiritual lessons, which force you to think, not blindly follow, and they were never actually intended to guide a society in a literal sense.

I hope this can calm your heart and help you see more clearly the difference between what opponents of the faith say and the reality.
 
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