Baha’i – Who Are The Central Figures?
The Baha’i (Bahai) religion embraces several prominent individuals as central figures in the establishment of their beliefs and practices. The Baha’u’llah (Baha’u’llah)claimed that he was the manifestation of God that would take mankind to the next stage of human development. The Baha’is believe that he is the fulfillment of the coming one as projected in the holy writings of all religions.
For the Jews, he was the Everlasting Father; for the Christian, he was the return of Christ; to the Muslims, he is The Great Announcement spoken of in the Quran; he was the Shah Bahram of the Zoroastrian scriptures; he was the Kalki Avatar of the Hindu writings; he was the Maitreya Buddha, the hope of Buddhism.
The Baha’u’llah was originally a follower of the Babi religion founded by the Bab. The Bab, as a youth, was devout and pious, a seeker after religious things and went on a pilgrimage. Later he had a series of divine revelations and visionary dreams and began to write holy verse. He considered himself to be blessed with the grace of the Hidden Imam -- Imam being a Sign of God on earth who receives inspiration from God. Baha’is accept him as an independent manifestation of God and the forerunner of The Baha’u’llah.
Abdu’l Baha was successor to The Baha’u’llah; he endeavored to keep the faith united and coordinated. He suffered early opposition from his half brother who openly sought to oppose and discredit him. Abdu’l Baha constructed a sacred covenant which ensured the preservation of Baha’i unity to those who rendered obedience to the properly appointed leader of the faith.
Shogi Effendi Rabbání was the leader in succession to Abdu’l Baha from 1922 to his death. He was succeeded by the Hands of the Cause who acted as custodians of the faith until the election of the Universal House of Justice, the supreme ruling body of the Baha’i faith in 1963. Hands of the Cause were made up of prominent Baha’is.
Baha’i – Basic Beliefs
The Baha’i religion asserts that God is the ultimate cause of all things existing and that everything reflects his power, man particularly reflecting his attributes. To the Baha’is, God is himself, unknowable, and can only be known through his manifestations: Adam, Abraham, Moses, Zoroaster, Krishna, The Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, the Bab, and The Baha’u’llah. Unlike the Christian belief that Christ was God Incarnate, Shogi Effendi Rabbání, one of the central leaders of the faith, rejected the idea of incarnation. The aforementioned Manifestations of God were simply mirrors who reflect God’s glory, and transmit divine knowledge and grace to mankind.
The Baha’is believe that mankind is uniquely different from other forms of animal life.. They believe that humans were created with a spiritual capacity and responsibility to reflect the divine attributes of the creator. Baha’i doctrine includes the concept of man with two natures -- a lower nature and a higher nature. Man must work hard to make sure that the divine nature within him overcomes the satanic nature. If not, they believe man will become the basest of characters instead of achieving excellence. Man must seek justice, fair treatment towards all, love, kindliness, friendliness, compassion, charity, forbearance, generosity, trustworthiness, and truthfulness. In his interaction with others in society, man must guard against hypocrisy and self-deception, strive for purity, and cultivate self-control.
Baha’i - Is it compatible with Christianity
The Baha’i religion does not force its new converts to reject their former beliefs and doctrines in order to embrace the tenets of the Baha’i faith. One of the goals of the Baha’i religion is the unity of all religions and the preservation of all that is good from all world religions. Other religions require followers to give up their old lives when they are converted. The Baha’is see the central figures in other religions, such as Buddha and Christ, as manifestations of the same Absolute Reality, so new converts to Baha’i have no reason to reject these personages.
The Baha’is believe that the Bab was the spiritual return of John the Baptist and The Baha’u’llah was Christ returned in the glory of the Father. The Baha’is believed that whatever extent organized Christianity accepted the tenets of The Baha’u’llah that was the extent of their success. The loss of power by the papacy, invasion of secularism into Christian institutions, divisiveness, and the emergence of obscure cults were all results of the rejection of Baha’i truths and ideas. The Baha’is accepted the Immaculate Conception and accepted that Peter was the highest apostle.
They viewed Christianity as the fulfillment of Judaism. To the Baha’is, Jesus was simply another manifestation of God -- among many others -- whose miracles were interpreted symbolically, not as physical realities. Christ’s resurrection was also viewed as spiritual and not actual. In essence, though the Baha’is regarded Christ as a respected figure, they ultimately rejected Him as God in the flesh and the only means of access to the true and living God. In John 14:6-7, Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had known who I am, then you would have known who my Father is. From now on you know him and have seen him!"