The Concept of Infallibility In The Baha’i Faith

I’ve put forward my own thinking on the concept of infallibility, or rather, the question of the infallibility of the House of Justice. You can find them here:

Is the Universal House of Justice Infallible?
Is the Universal House of Justice Infallible? part II

Here’s a recent message by Sen McGlinn, as part of a discussion on Talisman. Sen’s exploration of this concept is much wider than mine but is nevertheless intriguing. Of course, you’ll recall that Sen was disenrolled after the publication of his book: Church & State.

*********

I think [……] has explained why people want to get hold of something infallible, in the sense of its never being wrong. It is so that they can be not-wrong themselves, it is a way of short-circuiting the critical faculty and banishing doubt and reflection. The inerrancy of scripture in Protestant doctrine is the clearest example: the claim is usually not used as a statement of humility in the face of scripture, but as a claim of superiority: it generally says, “I have the scriptural faith which cannot be wrong, so everyone different is wrong.” Infallibility is also an assurance that something will be constant: it is used as a crutch for people who are having difficulty in coping with a world of constant universal change.

Infallibility in the sense of never being wrong is simply a non-existent thing. Arguments about its general nature are therefore futile, and it cannot be proved or disproved in any specific case. What we can say is that, for infallibility in this sense to exist in the world, there would first have to be one universal standard of “rightness” and then one contingent thing or being which somehow escapes contingency and always has and always will be “right” against this one standard. Which standard then? The will of God? Scientific accuracy? effectiveness in maximising human happiness? Effectiveness in some other respect? If there is no universal “rightness” there cannot be anything which is universally and always right.

Infallibility in the Bahai writings does not mean never being wrong. Baha’u’llah for instance was wrong on some historical and scientific matters. Bahai infallibility is in the first place an attribute of God, and as such is shared with the whole creation, and its meaning is defined as “free from sin” that is, not bound by sin, free to do otherwise. Infallibility is a statement that sin does not reign — except when we allow it to. It is an attribute of empowerment, a statement of our liberty from what seems to us to bind us. At every breathe, we are free to start again with a fresh slate. That is why the new believer is assured by Baha’u’llah:

Thou hast mentioned Husayn. We have attired his temple with the robe of forgiveness and adorned his head with the crown of pardon. … Say: Be not despondent. After the revelation of this blessed verse it is as though thou hast been born anew from thy mother’s womb. Say: Thou art free from sin and error. Truly God hath purged thee with the living waters of His utterance in His Most Great Prison.
(Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 76)

This is infallibility at the individual level.

In the same way, sovereignty is an attribute of God, and the individual can choose sovereignty for himself:

“Possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart, that thine may be a sovereignty ancient, imperishable and everlasting
(Baha’u’llah, The Arabic Hidden Words)

Each of the attributes of God takes different forms at different levels. So the kings are called “the manifestations of affluence and power and the daysprings of sovereignty and glory” (Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 30), and in the Aqdas are told: “Arise, and serve Him Who is the Desire of all nations, Who hath created you through a word from Him, and ordained you to be, for all time, the emblems of His sovereignty.” At the same time, the founders of religions exhibit a different kind of sovereignty:

“by sovereignty is meant the all-encompassing, all-pervading power which is inherently exercised by the Q??’im whether or not He appear to the world clothed in the majesty of earthly dominion. … That sovereignty is the spiritual ascendancy which He exerciseth..” (Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p.107)

The same is true of infallibility: it takes different forms in the individual, in institutions, in relationships and so on.

“Know thou that the term ‘Infallibility’ hath numerous meanings and divers stations. In one sense it is applicable to the One Whom God hath made immune from error. Similarly it is applied to every soul whom God hath guarded against sin, transgression, rebellion, impiety, disbelief and the like. However, the Most Great Infallibility is confined to the One Whose station is immeasurably exalted beyond ordinances or prohibitions and is sanctified from errors and omissions.” (Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 108).

I will puzzle out the details of this below, but we can note now that it includes “every soul” but not all in the same sense, and that it says NOTHING about not being wrong: it is all about not **doing** wrong. And we can look to the next page and see that the example of the Most Great Infallibility which Baha’u’llah gives is the designation of Mecca as the place of pilgrimmage. Muhammad puts Mecca in place of Jerusalem. He changed the Law of God. “Consider thou the blessed, the divinely-revealed verse in which pilgrimage to the House is enjoined upon everyone. It devolved upon those invested with authority after Him to observe whatever had been prescribed unto them in the Book. Unto no one is given the right to deviate from the laws and ordinances of God….” (There’s a critiique here of the Umayyid Caliphs in Damascus, who tried to make Jerusalem at least a rival place of pilgrimmage). So the example of infallibility is that Muhammad changed the place of pilgrimmage, and all after him had to obey that change. Except we do not go to Mecca on pilgrimmage, do we? Baha’u’llah changed the Law again.

It is not just that infallibility means “being always right but only within one dispensation” — which would be nonsensical anyway. It is stronger: infallibility actually MEANS freedom from bondage and therefore the freedom to change. In the case of the Manifestation, it means the freedom not to be bound by the Law of God as it was up till then. In the case of House of Justice, it is bound by what is revealed in the Book, but it is free to change its own rulings. It can say, “sorry, that is wrong” or “that is no longer best” and head off in another direction. The UHJ is not bound by its own history, or by the need to appear consistent to the world. If is FREE, in a way that the Pope is not. He, like the Shaykh al-Azhar and the Shi`ah Mujtahids, dare not be seen to change what the authorities before them have laid down. They are prisoners of history, and of the expectations of the faithful.

I said I would puzzle out the passage from the Ishraqat about infallibility in more detail. In Taherzadeh’s translation of the Ishraqat, a new paragraph begins here:

When the stream of words reached this stage [maqaam, station], the sweet savours of true knowledge [â€?irfan] were shed abroad and the day-star of divine unity [tawhiid] shone forth above the horizon of His holy utterance. …. Whoso faileth to quaff the choice wine which We have unsealed through the potency of Our Name, the All-Compelling [al-qayyuum – better would be â€?the Self-Subsisting], shall be unable to discern the splendours of the light of divine unity or to grasp the essential purpose underlying the Scriptures of God, the Lord of heaven and earth, the sovereign Ruler of this world and of the world to come. Such a man shall be accounted among the faithless in the Book of God, the All-Knowing, the All-Informed.

There is no mention here of infallibility, but there is in the following paragraph, and the theme of the oneness of God forms a link. I am inclined therefore to think that it is not the sum of the foregoing Ishraqat, but rather the specific statement that the Manifestation has no partner in the Most Great Infallibility, which gives us â€?true knowledge.’

Before answering the question, Baha’u’llah explains that he has delayed unveiling the doctrine because it will elicit opposition from the `ulamaa’ and persecution for the faithful. Then he prefaces the actual explanation with a restatement of the sovereignty of the Manifestation, and the threat this represents to existing religions:

… thou didst firmly adhere unto seemly patience during the days when the Pen was held back from movement and the Tongue hesitated to set forth an explanation regarding the wondrous sign [al-ayah al-`azmii], the Most Great Infallibility [`ismat al-kabrii]. Thou hast asked this Wronged One to remove for thee its veils and coverings … We restrained the Pen for a considerable lapse of time in accordance with divine wisdom [hikmat] and for the sake of protecting the faithful …. The All-Merciful is come invested with power and sovereignty. Through His power the foundations of religions have quaked … Know thou that the term â€?Infallibility’ [`ismat] hath numerous meanings and divers stations [ma`aan shattaa wa maqaamat shattaa = diverse meanings and diverse stations].

The reason why infallibility (in its Bahai meaning) causes the foundations of religions to quake, is that in Bahai teachings infallibility entails change and freedom to change, whereas in previous religions and even in the minds of some Bahais, it is used as a buttress *against* change. ( !! ) The parallel construction in the last sentence links the diversity in meaning to the different stations or levels at which infallibility applies, as we have seen above. Taherzadeh’s translation continues

In one sense it [infallibility] is applicable to the One Whom God hath made immune from error.

â€?In one sense’ does not appear in the text, and the capitalization of One, implying that this is the first station, the most great infallibility of the Manifestation, is an inference by the translator. In my view it is incorrect: this sentence and the following one are talking about the general use of the term, and its Arabic etymology. What it says literally is:

Where there is one whom God guards (`s.mahu) from slipping (az-zalal), he (God) confers upon him this name (infallible) as a station [fii maqaam].

Baha’u’llah is emphasising that the word `ismat comes from the verb `sm, to guard or protect, and the concept â€?infallible’ means that God has protected someone from something – in the first case, from a slip. Zalal is a simpler term than khataa’, it means a lapse, slip or mistake. Coincidentally, this explanation works in English: in-fallible means â€?saved from falling,’ as if God is beside us and catches our elbow when we are about to fall. The English etymology in this case is false, but the coincidence gives us a mnemonic for one meaning of the term.

The text continues, in my translation:

Similarly where God has guarded anyone from sin (khataa’), rebellion (`isyaan), impiety (`iraaz) disbelief (kufr), joining partners with God (shirk) and the like, God grants each and every one of them the name of â€?infallibility.’

In short, where God guards anyone from anything, this guarding is called �ismat.

However, the Most Great Infallibility belongs to the One Whose station is a holiness above ordinances and prohibitions and an exemption from sin (khataa’) and forgetfulness (nisyaan).] Indeed He is a Light which is not succeeded by darkness and a suitability [s.awaab = rightness, fittingness, perhaps righteousness here?] that is not subject to sin/failing (khataa’). Were He to pronounce upon water the decree of wine (i.e., that it is forbidden) or upon heaven the decree of earth, or upon light the decree of fire, it is the truth [haqq = truth, reality, legal right] and there is no doubt about it; and it is not for anyone to object to it (or, against him) or to say â€?why and wherefore?.’ If anyone objects, he is one of the objectors in the Book of God, the Lord of the worlds. Truly, he is “He shall not be asked of His doings, but they shall be questioned.”

The Qur’an verse (21:23) refers to God, but the subject of this paragraph is the Manifestation of God. The last sentence asserts that the Manifestation is in this respect like God: free to do as he (or she) wills, without having to answer to others. This freedom includes changing laws, of which the extreme example would be to forbid the believers to drink water. It includes changing the language and symbols of the religions, in which, for instance, fire has been the symbol of punishment and disgrace, and light symbolises insight and purity. What is meant by pronouncing the decree of earth upon heaven?

We imagine the physical and metaphorical heavens to be unchanging, while the earth (or the sub-lunar realm in medieval cosmology) is the realm of change, relativity and conditionality. The Manifestation has the authority to introduce change into “heaven” — into religion.

He is come from the invisible heaven (or: the heaven of concealment), and with him the banner `He doeth whatsoever He willeth’ and the hosts of power and authority (ikhtiyaar, which is authority in the sense of being able to *choose*) while it is the duty of all besides Him to hold fast to the religious laws (shari`ah) and ordinances (ahkaam) that have been enjoined upon them. Should anyone transgress them, even to the extent of a single hair, his work will miscarry.

The last sentence need not mean that one who ignores the religious laws will not prosper in this world – the opposite is quite likely. The worst sort of people generally rise to the top. It seems more likely to mean that respect and obedience for the religious laws is a condition for the acceptability of good works in the eyes of God, and for the success of the mystic’s efforts.

  • Priscilla Gilman

    Sen wrote:

    “The UHJ is not bound by its own history, or by the need to appear consistent to the world. If is FREE, in a way that the Pope is not. He, like the Shaykh al-Azhar and the Shi`ah Mujtahids, dare not be seen to change what the authorities before them have laid down. They are prisoners of history, and of the expectations of the faithful.”

    Are there any examples of the UHJ changing what it has done, written, decided, etc? Have they ever said that a previous action or decision was wrong? I would love to know if they have. I can think of plenty of possible Catholic examples, some of them very dramatic.

  • Priscilla Gilman

    Sen wrote:

    “The UHJ is not bound by its own history, or by the need to appear consistent to the world. If is FREE, in a way that the Pope is not. He, like the Shaykh al-Azhar and the Shi`ah Mujtahids, dare not be seen to change what the authorities before them have laid down. They are prisoners of history, and of the expectations of the faithful.”

    Are there any examples of the UHJ changing what it has done, written, decided, etc? Have they ever said that a previous action or decision was wrong? I would love to know if they have. I can think of plenty of possible Catholic examples, some of them very dramatic.

  • Eric Davis

    You guys are all deceived thinking that a religion is the answer.

    The Bahai Faith is no different than any other religion claiming to save the world but has it’s roots from the dark side which is where religion originated. At least in your logo, you guys tell people that you are EVIL.
    The only true individual that the Baha’is have is the Bab who somehow got cast aside for a whiner such as Bahaullah who emulated the story of the Chosen One like all other religions have.
    The Universal House of Justice is a joke. How were they able to get land that was not supposed to be sold to them? By threat of course and what Bahai Administration won’t tell you is that they are financed by private powerful families that are linked to the Rockerfellers out of Europe. Shoghi Effendi didn’t travel to Europe all the time just to be doing it. He was meeting with the Elite and the Illuminati and when he didn’t play hardball, he “mysteriously” died.
    Wake up! The Bahai Faith had the ID card system implemented through them to track individuals. The faith was a test base of the Illuminatti.
    But most of you are miserable in your lives and are always looking for something external to appease you instead of taking responsibility for your spirituality. You can’t even discern what’s Arabian culture or religion.
    The LSA’s are going to be the seat of Local Governments? That’s a joke! That’s call “insurrection” to the American Constitution whether you know it or not.
    Some of you are fighting a system that will never change because it is full of intellectual dummies that have no wisdom at all. Even Bahaullah had no wisdom and stole some of his sayings from others. Are you that blinded in your spiritual lives?
    Look in the deception. The Bahai Faith is no different than all the other major religions (they use the word “Bahai Faith” to throw you off but it should be “Bahai Religion”. Wake up and discover your own path!

  • Eric Davis

    You guys are all deceived thinking that a religion is the answer.

    The Bahai Faith is no different than any other religion claiming to save the world but has it’s roots from the dark side which is where religion originated. At least in your logo, you guys tell people that you are EVIL.
    The only true individual that the Baha’is have is the Bab who somehow got cast aside for a whiner such as Bahaullah who emulated the story of the Chosen One like all other religions have.
    The Universal House of Justice is a joke. How were they able to get land that was not supposed to be sold to them? By threat of course and what Bahai Administration won’t tell you is that they are financed by private powerful families that are linked to the Rockerfellers out of Europe. Shoghi Effendi didn’t travel to Europe all the time just to be doing it. He was meeting with the Elite and the Illuminati and when he didn’t play hardball, he “mysteriously” died.
    Wake up! The Bahai Faith had the ID card system implemented through them to track individuals. The faith was a test base of the Illuminatti.
    But most of you are miserable in your lives and are always looking for something external to appease you instead of taking responsibility for your spirituality. You can’t even discern what’s Arabian culture or religion.
    The LSA’s are going to be the seat of Local Governments? That’s a joke! That’s call “insurrection” to the American Constitution whether you know it or not.
    Some of you are fighting a system that will never change because it is full of intellectual dummies that have no wisdom at all. Even Bahaullah had no wisdom and stole some of his sayings from others. Are you that blinded in your spiritual lives?
    Look in the deception. The Bahai Faith is no different than all the other major religions (they use the word “Bahai Faith” to throw you off but it should be “Bahai Religion”. Wake up and discover your own path!

  • Andrew

    Eric Davis wrote: “The faith was a test base of the Illuminatti.”

    Then the Illuminati must be a bunch of incompetent nincompoops.

    “Wake up and discover your own path!”

    Excellent advice! I also plan to conduct my own funeral (as soon as I’ve finished solemnizing my own marriage).

    Religions are typically social and communal in nature. Religion falls flat on its face when it subordinates itself to its function or dominates its function with its doctrine.

  • Andrew

    Eric Davis wrote: “The faith was a test base of the Illuminatti.”

    Then the Illuminati must be a bunch of incompetent nincompoops.

    “Wake up and discover your own path!”

    Excellent advice! I also plan to conduct my own funeral (as soon as I’ve finished solemnizing my own marriage).

    Religions are typically social and communal in nature. Religion falls flat on its face when it subordinates itself to its function or dominates its function with its doctrine.

  • Guest
  • Adib Behjat

    I think Baha’u’llah was never wrong in History nor Science.

    But that line just made your rant worthless.

    My opinion might not be worthwhile, but since you are preaching investigation of truth, I believe your not in standing with

    “let deeds, not words, be your adorning.”

    Anyway, research wise, you did a great job. Theme wise, I really think, in my personal worthless opinion, you are not sure of your belief in the Faith.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    ok wait, alright, now I’ve got my tinfoil hat on… let’s see:

    the “logo” you refer to is EVIL if you scrunch up your face and do a hillbilly translation from Farsi to English. You can do the same sort of thing by looking at Chinese characters or cloud formations, etc. You see what you want to see. Some see the Virgin Mary in their toast.

    the Baha’i Faith doesn’t say that LSA’s will supplant local government nor the NSA’s national, etc… Basically what you’re saying is theocracy and Sen McGlinn’s book shoots down this idea through clear and detailed exposition of Baha’i writings.

    Since the Baha’i Faith teaches progressive revelation, what you say is true, it isn’t that different from other religions. They all claim to come from the same source.

    Finally, the rejoinder to discover your own path is also taught by the Baha’i Faith: individual investigation of truth and that there is no compulsion in religion or belief.

    Thanks for stopping by 😉
    [takes tinfoil hat off and is immediately zapped by Illuminati mind control rays!]

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    ok wait, alright, now I’ve got my tinfoil hat on… let’s see:

    the “logo” you refer to is EVIL if you scrunch up your face and do a hillbilly translation from Farsi to English. You can do the same sort of thing by looking at Chinese characters or cloud formations, etc. You see what you want to see. Some see the Virgin Mary in their toast.

    the Baha’i Faith doesn’t say that LSA’s will supplant local government nor the NSA’s national, etc… Basically what you’re saying is theocracy and Sen McGlinn’s book shoots down this idea through clear and detailed exposition of Baha’i writings.

    Since the Baha’i Faith teaches progressive revelation, what you say is true, it isn’t that different from other religions. They all claim to come from the same source.

    Finally, the rejoinder to discover your own path is also taught by the Baha’i Faith: individual investigation of truth and that there is no compulsion in religion or belief.

    Thanks for stopping by 😉
    [takes tinfoil hat off and is immediately zapped by Illuminati mind control rays!]

  • pb

    wow, so will this be Da Vinci Code II? :o)

  • pb

    wow, so will this be Da Vinci Code II? :o)

  • Fritz Gormann

    If given the the power, todays UHJ might give it a try.
    Who owns the Publishing House for all the Runi books.
    Who said use the minds and ears and eyes of the UHJ not your own at the National Convention.

    Fritz

  • Fritz Gormann

    If given the the power, todays UHJ might give it a try.
    Who owns the Publishing House for all the Runi books.
    Who said use the minds and ears and eyes of the UHJ not your own at the National Convention.

    Fritz

  • http://blog.twohandsapproach.org stedawa

    I once worked with a middle school student in Canada. He had a neurological disease that left his body almost totally unresponsive. He was a kind of will-o’-the-wisp. He could swallow, but not speak. He could move his eyes, and had very limited control over and could move his neck and arms slightly. No grasping capability in his hands, however.

    His whole life he won’t say a word, or do any harm to anyone (how could he?).

    He made me think that perhaps he had a perfect life.

    I don’t know if that would make him infallible, too. Infallibility implies some kind of relationship with the Divine in terms of making absolute and binding statements that apply to certain groups of people. Maybe he understood some of what the concept or Ultimate Reality “G-d” is by listening to people talk and watching TV and keeping up on what the media is churning out. Maybe he even thought a lot about it, and how he should not think bad thoughts. He would try to become more perfect than he already was. That is often a tendency in people.

    So, there are always gradations in perfection. Whatever treaded-on, still glistening splinters or flecks of glass of Wisdom that we are privy to hear about and or cherish, we must realize that some kind of early prototype of a simplified terrestrial governance system must be implemented or even instituted. In terms of the power brokers who have the ways and means to spread their charms and fragrances more than others, or who seem to want to pave the way for a common level of spiritual knowledge and understanding, then maybe that is what Ruhi and New Garden is all about — trying to keep things simple, but still progressive; keep an even keel, but still loosen the sails; sail into the future while keep a regular look at the past.

    Maybe it is the Formullah, or Formul’llah, or Formu’llah, or Formu’Allah or Best Fit Formula closely matching the needs of the times.

    Theologians argue picky points, even moot points, but don’t follow through in their questioning; philosophers pursue moots points unto the sub-atomic level, only to find that matter matters not, time is an illusion, and peace and illumination can really only be experienced by one’s individual effort, along with a helping dose of angel dust from some generous and gracious ancestors in Sky Country.

    Words and languages have their limitations; the most profound experiences and even thoughts that we have are moments when words or phrases prove unsufficient, or they just aren’t there, or they flash by like luminous chariots, only to fade into the horizon, and you without a shred of paper to write it down on.

    So, fade in and fade out on the world and all its imperfections and even its panorama of cloistered treasures: all entities reveal various stages of “complete perfection”, or “progressive becoming”, while the world goes through solution(s) and dissolution, compaction and defragmentation, involution and evolution. Row, and grow, with the flow, in your bowt.

    The tide is high, or what?

  • http://blog.twohandsapproach.org stedawa

    I once worked with a middle school student in Canada. He had a neurological disease that left his body almost totally unresponsive. He was a kind of will-o’-the-wisp. He could swallow, but not speak. He could move his eyes, and had very limited control over and could move his neck and arms slightly. No grasping capability in his hands, however.

    His whole life he won’t say a word, or do any harm to anyone (how could he?).

    He made me think that perhaps he had a perfect life.

    I don’t know if that would make him infallible, too. Infallibility implies some kind of relationship with the Divine in terms of making absolute and binding statements that apply to certain groups of people. Maybe he understood some of what the concept or Ultimate Reality “G-d” is by listening to people talk and watching TV and keeping up on what the media is churning out. Maybe he even thought a lot about it, and how he should not think bad thoughts. He would try to become more perfect than he already was. That is often a tendency in people.

    So, there are always gradations in perfection. Whatever treaded-on, still glistening splinters or flecks of glass of Wisdom that we are privy to hear about and or cherish, we must realize that some kind of early prototype of a simplified terrestrial governance system must be implemented or even instituted. In terms of the power brokers who have the ways and means to spread their charms and fragrances more than others, or who seem to want to pave the way for a common level of spiritual knowledge and understanding, then maybe that is what Ruhi and New Garden is all about — trying to keep things simple, but still progressive; keep an even keel, but still loosen the sails; sail into the future while keep a regular look at the past.

    Maybe it is the Formullah, or Formul’llah, or Formu’llah, or Formu’Allah or Best Fit Formula closely matching the needs of the times.

    Theologians argue picky points, even moot points, but don’t follow through in their questioning; philosophers pursue moots points unto the sub-atomic level, only to find that matter matters not, time is an illusion, and peace and illumination can really only be experienced by one’s individual effort, along with a helping dose of angel dust from some generous and gracious ancestors in Sky Country.

    Words and languages have their limitations; the most profound experiences and even thoughts that we have are moments when words or phrases prove unsufficient, or they just aren’t there, or they flash by like luminous chariots, only to fade into the horizon, and you without a shred of paper to write it down on.

    So, fade in and fade out on the world and all its imperfections and even its panorama of cloistered treasures: all entities reveal various stages of “complete perfection”, or “progressive becoming”, while the world goes through solution(s) and dissolution, compaction and defragmentation, involution and evolution. Row, and grow, with the flow, in your bowt.

    The tide is high, or what?

  • Keyvan

    I think my response can best be summed by excerpting a talk by Peter Khan

    “Another intriguing form of questioning that’s becoming more prevalent in the present day concerns the word “infallible”. And this is a very interesting way to try and erode the authority of the House of Justice, because “infallible” is a pretty bad word – you know, nobody likes to talk about things that are infallible or individuals who claim infallibility, it’s sort of an unsavoury concept. So in that sense, one of the forms of opposition at the moment that’s being spread in a clandestine way, is to say: well, the word is mistranslated, it really doesn’t mean “infallible”, it means “immaculate” in terms of integrity, or sinlessness, or freedom from moral stain or anything like that, and that somehow these folk in Haifa have taken it to be “infallible” and they go around sort of parading up and down the place saying that they’re free from error in their decisions. And the problem with that school of thought, whether you can speak Arabic or Persian or Turkish or any language at all, the problem is that Shoghi Effendi has, as authorised interpreter, used the word infallible over and over again, explaining that he means this, even though it doesn’t mean that, and so on and so forth. So one then has to tackle Shoghi Effendi, and that leads you then to have to tackle what Abdu’l-Baha said about Shoghi Effendi and his authority as interpreter in the Will and Testament, and then you have to deal with Abdu’l-Baha and so it goes on. So, these are issues that I think we need at least a few friends, if not as many as possible, in the community to be very clear on so they can be a help and a guide to the other believers when these sorts of issues become prevalent, because they become the basis for assertions attempting to erode the authority of the House of Justice. ”

    Talk by Peter Khan: New Zealand National Teaching Conference, June, 2000
    http://bahaistudies.net/khan.html

  • Keyvan

    I think my response can best be summed by excerpting a talk by Peter Khan

    “Another intriguing form of questioning that’s becoming more prevalent in the present day concerns the word “infallible”. And this is a very interesting way to try and erode the authority of the House of Justice, because “infallible” is a pretty bad word – you know, nobody likes to talk about things that are infallible or individuals who claim infallibility, it’s sort of an unsavoury concept. So in that sense, one of the forms of opposition at the moment that’s being spread in a clandestine way, is to say: well, the word is mistranslated, it really doesn’t mean “infallible”, it means “immaculate” in terms of integrity, or sinlessness, or freedom from moral stain or anything like that, and that somehow these folk in Haifa have taken it to be “infallible” and they go around sort of parading up and down the place saying that they’re free from error in their decisions. And the problem with that school of thought, whether you can speak Arabic or Persian or Turkish or any language at all, the problem is that Shoghi Effendi has, as authorised interpreter, used the word infallible over and over again, explaining that he means this, even though it doesn’t mean that, and so on and so forth. So one then has to tackle Shoghi Effendi, and that leads you then to have to tackle what Abdu’l-Baha said about Shoghi Effendi and his authority as interpreter in the Will and Testament, and then you have to deal with Abdu’l-Baha and so it goes on. So, these are issues that I think we need at least a few friends, if not as many as possible, in the community to be very clear on so they can be a help and a guide to the other believers when these sorts of issues become prevalent, because they become the basis for assertions attempting to erode the authority of the House of Justice. ”

    Talk by Peter Khan: New Zealand National Teaching Conference, June, 2000
    http://bahaistudies.net/khan.html

  • Peyamb

    Hi Adib. Your opinion is worthwhile. The only problem is that in the Bahai community Baquia’s opinion would not be worthwhile. Actually they probably would be shot down and he would be forced to leave. Probably he would be made uncomfortable enough by people suggesting that “he is not sure of his belief in the Faith”. I’m assuming you are of Persian decent, well so am I. I’ve never understood why Iranian believers must deify Bahaullah. When Baha spoke of his powers, he was speaking of God- not the human being. He was also a man- who smoked tobacco, who married 3 women and you know who may very well have made some comments that are scientifically/historically incorrect. Given that most of his comments were directed to ignorant people in his day and age. So if proof is found that there is a scientific booboo in some of Bahaullah’s words- woudl that end your Faith? It wouldn’t harm mine.

  • Peyamb

    Hi Adib. Your opinion is worthwhile. The only problem is that in the Bahai community Baquia’s opinion would not be worthwhile. Actually they probably would be shot down and he would be forced to leave. Probably he would be made uncomfortable enough by people suggesting that “he is not sure of his belief in the Faith”. I’m assuming you are of Persian decent, well so am I. I’ve never understood why Iranian believers must deify Bahaullah. When Baha spoke of his powers, he was speaking of God- not the human being. He was also a man- who smoked tobacco, who married 3 women and you know who may very well have made some comments that are scientifically/historically incorrect. Given that most of his comments were directed to ignorant people in his day and age. So if proof is found that there is a scientific booboo in some of Bahaullah’s words- woudl that end your Faith? It wouldn’t harm mine.

  • Fritz Gormann

    Some where Baha-u-llah said how many wifes?

    Abdul-Baha said no he ment only one wife.

    Was he wrong or was he mistaken

    Fritz

  • Fritz Gormann

    Some where Baha-u-llah said how many wifes?

    Abdul-Baha said no he ment only one wife.

    Was he wrong or was he mistaken

    Fritz

  • Fritz Gormann

    The UHJ is elected by whom.
    They can elect anyone they want and they have infallibility, in the Baha’i way.

    Why doesn’t the people who elect the UHJ ever elect andone who is just an average person?

    I hear that there is a list of Preffered people, men ofcourse who should be considered first.

    They are all on the ITC, I looks like we have a fork in the road and one way is the ITC Faith and the other is the Baha’i Faith.

    It looks like the Baha’i Faith path isn’t crowed anymore.

    Fritz

  • Fritz Gormann

    The UHJ is elected by whom.
    They can elect anyone they want and they have infallibility, in the Baha’i way.

    Why doesn’t the people who elect the UHJ ever elect andone who is just an average person?

    I hear that there is a list of Preffered people, men ofcourse who should be considered first.

    They are all on the ITC, I looks like we have a fork in the road and one way is the ITC Faith and the other is the Baha’i Faith.

    It looks like the Baha’i Faith path isn’t crowed anymore.

    Fritz

  • Peyamb

    Bahaullah said two wives max, but conditional on treating both equally. Abdul-Baha explained that Bahaullah was stating the impossible- that you could not treat to people 100% equally in such a relationship as marriage, therefore Bahaullah was really promoting monogomy. I think it had to do also with the crowd that Bahaullah spoke to. To propose monogomy at that time would have been suicide for his young Faith. The Bahai Faith was mean to be a dynamic religion that adapts to needs of the times- with official interpreters. That’s what I loved about the Faith. Unfortunately, it has become totally stagnant now.

  • Peyamb

    Bahaullah said two wives max, but conditional on treating both equally. Abdul-Baha explained that Bahaullah was stating the impossible- that you could not treat to people 100% equally in such a relationship as marriage, therefore Bahaullah was really promoting monogomy. I think it had to do also with the crowd that Bahaullah spoke to. To propose monogomy at that time would have been suicide for his young Faith. The Bahai Faith was mean to be a dynamic religion that adapts to needs of the times- with official interpreters. That’s what I loved about the Faith. Unfortunately, it has become totally stagnant now.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Peyamb,
    Abdu’l-Baha was the interpreter, however it defies logic that one would interpret something to mean its opposite. The Master’s guidance regarding this topic is misunderstood. What you’ve written is what most Baha’is are taught. Yet it is wrong.

    The truth is a “Little known fact” !!

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Peyamb,
    Abdu’l-Baha was the interpreter, however it defies logic that one would interpret something to mean its opposite. The Master’s guidance regarding this topic is misunderstood. What you’ve written is what most Baha’is are taught. Yet it is wrong.

    The truth is a “Little known fact” !!

  • Fritz Gormann

    Abdul-Baha allow some men to have 3 wives after he said this.
    Don’t know where I read it, probebly on the BahaiRant pages what a great Blob that is.

    Why say one thing then allow an other.

    Like no women on the uhj and inhardence largest share going to man.

    Equality of Men and women?

    Fritz

  • Fritz Gormann

    Abdul-Baha allow some men to have 3 wives after he said this.
    Don’t know where I read it, probebly on the BahaiRant pages what a great Blob that is.

    Why say one thing then allow an other.

    Like no women on the uhj and inhardence largest share going to man.

    Equality of Men and women?

    Fritz

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  • joe

    WRONG. YOU know NOTHING about Arabic apparently!!

    Arabic is read from right to left which in this instant gives you the word LIVE.

  • Leon Payne

    Religious organisations are human creations and as we humans are prone to making mistakes on many levels.
    Because we are complex beings prone to influence both realised and unseen why should any institution that is run by humans be beyond reproach or indeed perfect. Has every Bahai that you ever met been a perfect example of humanity?

    I was raised as a Bahai and as such I have gotten a lot of my sense of morality and right and wrong from that upbringing. But I have some deepseated questions about religious organisations in general. (Time period 1978-1979 Alexandra Palace) Say for example as a child you wander off from the other children, go into a room and sit under a table then key members of the faith walk in and sit down at that table and begin to discuss things unaware of your pressence. What might you hear?. The NSA and UHJ members may be privy to information that we mortals are not supposed to know.

    Now in adult lifeI will say this…Please bear with me.

    Just as there is the http://bahai-library.com/zinky_genealogy_prophets there is a bloodline that the UHJ is aware of and monitor.

    If the line of the prophets includes Abraham as one of the ancestors of Baha-u-llah (genealogy being genetics) what if Abraham had made a mistake entreating with an entity of unkown intent? What if the line thereafter were prone to influence?

    Genesis 15
    King James Version (KJV)

    “And he said unto him, I am the Lord that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. And he said, Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. And
    he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away. And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.”

    Now look at this now long deliberately mis-identified symbol http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a4/Baphomet.png

    Baphomet being linked with the temple of Solomon and the knights templar, the temple of solomon being the holy site of Judaism and Islam…

    What I am saying at this point is this (its a female goat with rams legs and doves wings gender implied by the breasts)

    Its the symbol of the seal. One of the clues to the Davidic key (the root of the modern institutions of egypto/judaic/islamic/bahai beliefs)

    Note the sign on the forehead is the same either side of the ringstone symbol. http://skyriver.ca/bahai/sl/ringstone.jpg

    In his lap sits the caduceus of hermes aka the staff of Moses aka The Staff of Horus

    lets not forget that Abram with his son Ishmael founded the Kabba in Mecca where mankind prostrates to the sacred metiorite (look it up there are pics)

    But we are not meant to know this either…..