Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Baha'u'llah and Islam

Mirza Husayn Ali (1817-1892) was born in Tehran. Later he and his followers came to call him Baha’u’llah, meaning the Glory of God.

In short, Baha’u’llah was a prolific writer, an extraordinary visionary, a saintly man who should easily be viewed as one of the great Sufis masters of Islam. He spent much of his life in exile and prison, where he eventually died. Unlike most other Sufis, he is extremely controversial in Islam because of claims that he was a new prophet.

According to the Rose Crescent, Muhammad (PBUH) was the last prophet. However, as stated in a previous post, we do view Baha’u’llah as an Apostle of Muhammad, and as an Elder of the Rose Crescent.

As a Sufi Master, we believe that Baha’u’llah emptied himself of his own ego. Thus, when he claims equality with the Prophets before him, it is tantamount to Hallaj’s claim that he is God. Moreover, we believe that Baha’u’llah stands in relation to Muhammad as St. Paul’s stood to Jesus Christ. In Galations 2:20 Paul wrote:

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.”

Paul did not replace Jesus Christ. Nor was Paul a Messenger (Rasul) of God. Instead, Paul was a reflection, or a manifestation, of Jesus on earth. His writings do not replace the Gospel. But through his writings we often catch a glimpse of Jesus – and the Spirit - through Paul’s eyes. In the same way, we understand Baha’u’llah’s claims of himself as reflecting the high station he achieved of oneness with the Spirit.

Baha’ullah’s teachings and writings pick up on points in the Glorious Qur’an, clarifying them and empathizing issues that have been overlooked, or down played, by the ulamah. Baha’u’llah’s books can be divided into four categories: apologetics (Kitab-i-Iqan); mystical Sufi writings; social teachings; and Sharia/law (The Kitab-i-Aqdas).

Our view is that Baha’u’llah was inspired by the Light (Allah) and thus we view him as an important spiritual Elder of our global village (along with saints such as Hazrat Inayat Khan, Badshah Khan, Gandhi, Rudolf Steiner, etc). We believe that in each period Allah sends Elders (both male and female) into the world. These guides serve as physicians for our ailing civilizations and planet.

According to the Rose Crescent, Baha’u’llah’s teachings confirm the message of the Quran (and we will explain this in a follow-up post), and we see him as one of the great leaders of the ummah. Baha’u’llah’s writings provide a great insight into understanding the Spirit, and should thus be read by all sincere Muslims and Sufis.

Our hope is that the day is coming when there will be a reconciliation between Islam, the ummah and Baha’u’llah. So mote it be!


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