(Note: This is a copy of an entry on Wikipedia that was deleted by one of its admin after a determined effort to get it banned by Haifan Baha’is. This is an example of the thought control and censorship that is subjected to anyone who stands up to the bullies that run or serve the Baha’i Administrative Order.)
Unitarian Bahaism is an interpretation of the Bahai religion characterized by a focus on individual freedom of conscience rather than the authority of Bahai leaders and institutions, not linked with the Haifa-based Baha’i Faith denomination.[self-published source?] Historically, it existed from the death of the Bahai prophet Bahá’u’lláh in 1892, when a schism occurred between two of his sons, until at least 1937, when the second son Mirza Muhammad Ali died. Today, Unitarian Bahaism is being revived by the Unitarian Bahai Association, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization founded in March 2010.[self-published source?]
Unitarian Bahais consider the Bab and Bahá’u’lláh as inspired spiritual teachers. They consider `Abdu’l-Bahá and Mirza Muhammad Ali as the successors of Bahá’u’lláh. They consider Shoghi Effendi‘s status as Guardian of the Bahai faith to be of questionable legitimacy, and they do not regard the Universal House of Justice seated in Haifa, Israel, as an authority that must be followed.[self-published source?]
Historical Unitarian Bahais
The first Unitarian Bahai was Mírzá Muhammad `Alí, also known as Ghusn-i-Akbar (“the Greatest Branch”), the second son of Bahá’u’lláh.[self-published source?] Bahá’u’lláh’s will named `Abdu’l-Bahá, the eldest son, as his successor, and stated that Ghusn-i-Akbar’s status or rank was after that of `Abdu’l-Bahá. None of Bahá’u’lláh’s other children were mentioned by name in the will. `Abdu’l-Bahá and Mirza Muhammad Ali disagreed about how much authority Bahá’u’lláh’s will conferred on `Abdu’l-Bahá, and their dispute became personal and turned into a family feud, as has been described from various points of view including that of `Abdu’l-Bahá in his own will,[non-primary source needed] Mirza Muhammad Ali in a Unitarian Bahai magazine,[non-primary source needed] Shoghi Effendi (grandson and successor of `Abdu’l-Bahá) in his book God Passes By, and William McElwee Miller, a Christian minister who wrote a book critical of the Bahai faith.
Most of Bahá’u’lláh’s family supported Ghusn-i-Akbar’s side, including Baha’u’llah’s two surviving wives, Fatima and Gawhar, and all of their children. However Bahá’u’lláh’s daughter Bahiyyih Khánum, from his late first wife Ásíyih Khánum, and the vast majority of Bahá’ís supported `Abdu’l-Bahá’s side of the dispute. The supporters of Mirza Muhammad `Ali called themselves “Unitarians” because they emphasized the Islamic concept of tawhid, the Oneness of God and absolute prohibition of joining partners with God (known as Unitarianism among Christians). They were excommunicated and declared Covenant-breakers by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá for their refusal to obey him and accept his understanding of the religion.
Ibrahim George Kheiralla, a Syrian Christian convert to the Bahá’í Faith, emigrated to the United States and founded the first American Bahá’í community. Initially he was loyal to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, but he taught that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was the return of Christ, and when ‘Abdu’l-Bahá learned this was becoming the widespread understanding of the Bahá’ís in America he took pains to correct the mistake, according to Bahá’í author Peter Smith. Later on, Kheiralla switched sides in the conflict between Bahá’u’lláh’s sons and supported Mirza Muhammad Ali. He formed the Society of Behaists, a religious denomination promoting Unitarian Bahaism in the U.S., which was led after his death by Shuaullah Behai, son of Mirza Muhammad Ali.
Shuaullah Behai, the eldest grandson of Bahá’u’lláh, emigrated to the United States in June 1904 at the behest of his father, Mirza Muhammad Ali.. He published a Unitarian Bahai magazine called Behai Quarterly for three years, 1934 to 1937, in the English language, which featured the writings of Ghusn-i-Akbar and various other Unitarian Bahais, including himself, Kheiralla, Mirza Majdeddin (nephew and son-in-law of Baha’u’llah), and several Americans. The Unitarian Bahaism of this period appears to have mostly died out after Ghusn-i-Akbar’s death, however, continuing to exist only among the descendants of Bahá’u’lláh through the later wives.
Modern Unitarian Bahais
Nigar Bahai Amsalem, the great-granddaughter of Bahá’u’lláh and granddaughter of both Mirza Muhammad Ali (Ghusn-i-Akbar) and Bahá’u’lláh’s youngest son Badiullah, supports Unitarian Bahaism and was interviewed in the 2006 Israeli film mockumentary Baha’is In My Backyard. She has built a shrine at the tomb of her grandfather, Mirza Muhammad Ali, and opposes the Haifa-based denomination. She withheld information on her opposition during her interview for the film.
Unitarian Bahais today seek to revive Ghusn-i-Akbar’s school of thought, while also recognizing the positive contributions of `Abdu’l-Bahá to the Bahai religion. Modern Unitarian Bahaism is an understanding that emphasizes the unity and transcendence of God, the humanity and limitations of all religious leaders including prophets, the importance of inclusion and tolerance among followers of Bahaullah and people of all faiths, and the responsibility of Bahais to engage with politics and social causes.
Modern Unitarian Bahaism has a tolerant and welcoming view toward some types of people who are viewed with suspicion or rejected by the mainstream Baha’i Faith. This includes partnered and non-celibate lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals, politically active people, all residents of Israel, all descendants of Baha’u’llah (including those who are regarded as Covenant-breakers by the other Bahai denominations), and people in Muslim countries who hide their religion and publicly practice Islam. See Persecution of Bahá’ís and Egyptian identification card controversy especially for those Bahá’ís who don’t hide their religion.
- ^ a b Admin, Unitarian Universalist Bahai Blog (March 27, 2010). “Not Interested”. Bahais Online. http://www.uubahai.com/2010/03/not-interested/. Retrieved April 9, 2010.
- ^ a b Bjorling, Joel (1985). The Baha’i Faith: A Historical Bibliography (Garland Reference Library of the Humanities, Vol 223). Scholarly Title. pp. 131-133. ISBN 978-0824089740. http://books.google.com/books?id=ra3gAAAAMAAJ.
- ^ McGlinn, Sen (March 27, 2010). “A Muhammad Ali revival?”. http://senmcglinn.wordpress.com/2010/03/27/muhammad-ali/. Retrieved April 9, 2010.
- ^ Mirza Majdeddin. “Brief Behai History” Behai Quarterly. Volume III, No. 1 & 2, 1936, p. 20. http://www.h-net.org/~bahai/docs/vol8/32BQ20.gif
- ^ a b “Differences Between the Unitarian and Haifan Bahai Faith”. The Unitarian Bahai Association. http://www.unitarianbahai.org/differences.html. Retrieved April 9, 2010.
- ^ a b “Ghusn-i-Akbar, the First Unitarian Bahai – Part 1: The Facts”. UU Bahai.com. March 30, 2010. http://www.uubahai.com/2010/03/ghusn-i-akbar-part-1-the-facts/. Retrieved April 9, 2010.
- ^ Baha’u’llah. Kitab-i-Ahd. http://bahai-library.com/writings/bahaullah/tb/13.htmlhttp://bahai-library.com/writings/bahaullah/tb/13.html
- ^ Browne, Edward Granville. Materials for the Study of the Babi Religion. http://books.google.com/books?id=SuU8AAAAIAAJ
- ^ `Abdu’l-Bahá. Will and Testament of `Abdu’l-Bahá. http://bahai-library.com/file.php?file=abdulbaha_will_testament
- ^ Behai, Shuaullah. “My Interview with Ghusni Akbar Mohammed Ali Behai, The Eldest Living Son of Beha U’llah.” Behai Quarterly. Volume IV, No. 1 & 2, 1937, p. 17. http://www.h-net.org/~bahai/docs/vol8/42BQ17.gif
- ^ Rabbani, Shoghi Effendi. God Passes By. http://bahai-library.com/file.php?file=shoghieffendi_god_passes_by
- ^ Miller, William McElwee (1974). The Baha’i Faith: Its History and Teachings. William Carey Library. ISBN 9780878081370. http://books.google.com/books?id=gc3_6HVvZzkC.
- ^ Baha’u’llah; Browne, Edward Granville (1898, 1918). Mirza Javad Qazvini, Risalih. (Epitome of Babi and Baha’i History). Cambridge University Press. p. 61. http://www.h-net.org/~bahai/diglib/books/A-E/B/browne/material/qazvini.htm. Retrieved April 9, 2010.
- ^ Momen, Moojan. “The Covenant, and Covenant-breaker”. A Short Encyclopedia of the Baha’i Faith (draft). http://bahai-library.com/?file=momen_encyclopedia_covenant. Retrieved April 10, 2010.
- ^ http://www.countyhistorian.com/cecilweb/index.php/Ibrahim_George_Kheiralla
- ^ Garlington, William (2005). The Baha’i Faith in America. Praeger Publishers. ISBN 978-0742562349.
- ^ Smith, Peter (2004). “The Baha’i Faith in the West”. Bahá’ís in the West. Kalimat Press. pp. 4, 7. ISBN 9781890688110. http://books.google.com/books?id=x7wyJdyE60oC&lpg=PA13&ots=30IjH_BoUp&lr&pg=PA4#v=onepage&q&f=false.
- ^ Behai Quarterly. Digitally reprinted at http://www.h-net.org/~bahai/docs/vol8/bq.htm. See Volume I, No. 1, p. 11: http://www.h-net.org/~bahai/docs/vol8/11BQ11.gif. See Volume IV, No. 1 & 2, p. 23: http://www.h-net.org/~bahai/docs/vol8/42BQ23.gif
- ^ Behai, Shu’a’ullah (1934-1937). “Documents on the Shaykhi, Babi and Baha’i Movements”. Behai Quarterly 8 (2). http://www.h-net.org/~bahai/docs/vol8/bq.htm. Retrieved April 9, 2010.
- ^ Bahá’í: Studies in Contemporary Religion, (Schisms Since the Bab, p64) by Margit Warburg ISBN 1-56085-169-4
- ^ Schory, Noemi. “Producer’s Statement”. Bahais in My Backyard, A Belfilms Production. firsthandfilms.com. http://www.firsthandfilms.com/index.php?film=1000184. Retrieved 04-13-2010.
- ^ Masumian, Abid; Moojan Momen (?). “The Truth about Baha’u’llah’s Great-Granddaughter, Nigar Bahai Amsalem”. ?. http://www.scribd.com/doc/17497747/Bahaullahs-Great-Grand-Daughter-Nigar-Bahai-Amsalem. Retrieved 04-13-2010.
- ^ “A liberal, all-inclusive worldwide Bahai faith community”. The Unitarian Bahai Association. http://www.unitarianbahai.org/. Retrieved April 9, 2010.
- ^ “Unitarian And Bahai”. The Unitarian Bahai Association. http://www.unitarianbahai.org/teaching/uandb.html. Retrieved April 9, 2010.
- ^ “A Fellowship within the Unitarian-Universalist Association”. Unitarian-Baha’is. http://unitarianbahai.angelfire.com/. Retrieved April 11, 2010.