The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Bahais and the Book

I've not read up much on the Bahaiya, I'll admit. I have not been to Haifa (or to Iran) and I have spoken to vanishingly few Bahais face-to-face. I know some of the basics: the Bahais hold to a continuous revelation from God, and they derive from the Bab's Imami-Islamic reform movement. My interest lies mainly in the decades surrounding 700 CE, as you may have guessed lately. I've skimped on the 1800s.

I appreciate that the Bahais refuse the excesses of Islam while at the same time they refuse the excesses of our modern world.

All that said. I must still come to terms with Shoghi Effendi (my emphasis):

As to Muhammad, the Apostle of God, let none among His followers who read these pages, think for a moment that Islam, or its Prophet, or His Book, or His appointed Successors, or any of His authentic teachings, have been, or are to be in any way, or to however slight a degree, disparaged. The lineage of the Bab, the descendant of the Imam Husayn...

In Islam up to the year of that Imam Husayn's ill-starred demise (682ish) the Qur'an was not a "book". The Jews by contrast had, and have, a "book". The Christians have a book too especially when they're cut off from Rome (or from Byzantion). When you experience the Qur'an, you realise that it is a "recital"; it is delivered to you by way of tajwid. That's why it rhymes. And that's why when the Qur'an's suras and devotees talk of "ahl al-kitab" they're not including themselves.

The Qur'an became a book - as opposed to several haphazard collections of sura - largely thanks to the caliph Abd al-Malik and to his viceroy Kulayb the Pilgrim. So to speak of Allah's book in the context of Allah's prophet, is to accept the word of Umayyad Islam.

A true Islamic reform would open the Umayyad "furqan", also, to historical analysis. I remain unconvinced that even the Bahaiya can do this.

UPDATE: Bahai attempts at tafsir don't help their case.

UPDATE 12/27: A Bahai speaks in the comments, reinforcing that Shoghi Effendi (the Bahai Guardian) believed in the full integrity of the Qur'an in its entirety as quite authentic. Effendi dismissed that any suras in the current canon be inauthentic. He might allow that some suras NOT in the Umayyad canon perhaps should be (al-Nurayn?), but that's beside my point.

A link has been supplied to the above, on why I'm dubious on the Prophet bearing a new Book as of 630 AD.

posted by Zimri on 18:50 | link | 3 comments

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