Monday, June 1, 2009

The Bahai and the Mormon

I've been thinking and writing lately about two related matters. First is that Muslims in the West present a sugar-coated version of Islam that would scarcely be recognized in the heartland of the Middle East. Second is that Muslims in both the East and the West easily throw out "facts" that the average person is unprepared to counter.

Both of these subjects can be seen in this recent discussion on Egyptian TV. A well-respected Shaykh argued that Bahais anywhere and everywhere should be killed. For him, the matter was simple. Muhammad said that anyone who changed his religion should be killed. The Bahais had abandoned Islam for a new religion, and for that reason should die.

The Bahai movement began in Iran in the 19th century. They follow a new prophet, Bahaullah, with sacred texts and teachings they see as complimentary to Islam. Their relationship to Islam is similar to the relationship of Mormons in America to Christianity. Mormons also follow a 19th century prophet with a new scripture they see supplementing the Bible. Just as Bihais see themselves as completed Muslims, Mormons believe they are following the true version of Christianity. And just as many Muslims are reluctant to accept Bihais as Muslims, conservative Christians are unwilling to see Mormons as just another Christian denomination.

The comparison stops here. I haven't yet heard any Christian leader arguing that all Mormons should be killed. But here's my problem; I also haven't heard Muslims in America argue that all Bihais should be killed, even though they are as aware of Muhammad's punishment for apostasy as are Muslims in Egypt. Why does the Muslim academic in America not proclaim the same Islam as the Muslim scholar in Cairo?

In the same TV interview, another Shaykh argued that Bahaism cannot be true because no prophet prophesied the coming of Bahaullah. True prophets, the Shaykh claimed, always announce the prophets who will come after them. Moses prophesied the arrival of Jesus, and Jesus prophesied the coming of Muhammad.

There's the "fact", so casually thrown out and believed by hundreds of millions, that simply is not true. As usual, the Muslim begins with the Quran and then tries to prove his assertion with evidence from outside the Quran. According to Quran 61:6, Jesus said:

Oh children of Israel, I am the Messenger of Allah to you,
Confirming the Torah which came before me,
And giving glad tidings of a Messenger to come after me,
Whose name is Ahmad.

For the believing Muslim, that's enough. "Ahmad" and "Muhammad" both come from the Arabic root H-M-D, which means to praise. Even though Ahmad and Muhammad are different names, they both mean "The One Who is Praised". That's close enough for the Muslim to be convinced that Jesus prophesied the coming of Muhammad.

(There is a slight problem for the Muslim even with this verse. Although the name "Muhammad" was common among the Arabs before Muhammad, there is little evidence of the name "Ahmad" being used. The many derivatives of H-M-D that are common Arabic names today including Ahmad, Hamed, Hameed, Hamdi, Hamudi, and Mahmud only began to be widely used after Muhammad).

The Muslim who wants to convince the sceptic from extra Quranic sources next enters the slippery road of Islamic apologetics. In John 14:6 and related verses, Jesus promised that "the Comforter" would come after he left. This has been universally understood by Christians to refer to the Holy Spirit who arrived with miraculous signs upon the early Church in Jerusalem soon after the departure of Jesus.

The Greek word used for this Comforter is "paracletos". The problem for the Muslim is that this word has no linguistic relationship to "Ahmad" or "The One Who is Praised". There is, however, a similar Greek word "periklutos" which does mean praised. Muslims conclude that "periklutos" must have been in the original test but was changed to "paracletos" by nefarious Christian scribes to deliberately obliterate Jesus' reference to Muhammad. The fact that no early Christian text, nor any text at all for that matter, contains "periklutos" in reference to Jesus' prophesy of the Comforter, is unfortunately irrelevant to the Muslim scholar.


Anonymous said...

You are wrong about no christians, or Christian governments, calling for death for Mormons:

""Missouri governor Lilburn Boggs declared "the Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State." Three days later, a renegade militia unit attacked a Mormon settlement at Haun's Mill, resulting in the death of 18 Mormons and no militiamen. The Extermination Order was not formally rescinded until 1976.""

(wikipedia, article on anti-mormonism).

Naturally this is not exactly in line with Christ's teachings - but then, the Sheikh on Egyptian television was just giving his own selective view of Muhammad's teachings, which had everything to do with Egyptian politics today and not much to do with Islam. There is no one 'Islam" - there are Islams, which differ according to the political and social setting. That's why Muslims in East and West say differen things. Muslims in the secular universities of Cairo and those in Al-Azhar differ just as widely.

Quotable Quotes: said...

senmcglinn, do you have an email? I had a look at your site, but don't see a contact address. I'd like to give your comment a worthy reply. In short, I would say there are many kinds of Muslims, but I'm not so sure there are many "Islams". Also, "secular" Egyptian academics, such as Sayyid Al Qimni, have been shut down by the government. If you google him, you will see that he "repented" of his reformist views.

John Ticon said...

As reprehensible as Bloggs's order was, did he justify it with the words and teachings of Christ?

John Ticon said...

This is really an apples to oranges comparison anyway--reading the Wikipedia article, there is no mention of Bloggs being a communicant of any church. But more importantly he is not a religious authority in Christianity and followers of Christ would not look to him for guidance the same way that Muslims look to Sheikhs for fatwas and legalistic guidance. Furthermore there is separation of church and state in America, where that does not exist in Egypt.

Antonio Bardy Corretor Imobiliario em Orlando said...

Bahais do not only derive from Islam! They believe that all prophets are manifestations of the same god,just in different times. Bahais study many different religious doctrines and want to unify the world.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I have an email, at
sen.sonja [a] casema.NL

aemish said...

"The comparison stops here. I haven't yet heard any Christian leader arguing that all Mormons should be killed."

Are we to believe you haven't yet heard any Christian leader arguing that Muslims should be killed? **cough Pat Robertson**cough President Bush**

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stevenmasua said...

The Baha'i Faith is an independent religion. Its similar to how Christianity branched from Judaism, Islam from Christianity and The Baha'i Faith from Islam yet all of them are independent. All religions prophecy the coming of a Divine Being sent from heaven whom Baha'is believe is Baha'u'llah.

This is the Day whereon the Ocean of God's mercy hath been manifested unto men, the Day in which the Day Star of His loving-kindness hath shed its radiance upon them, the Day in which the clouds of His bountiful favor have overshadowed the whole of mankind. Now is the time to cheer and refresh the down-cast through the invigorating breeze of love and fellowship, and the living waters of friendliness and charity.

(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 7)


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The prophecy said Servant of God will war in bringing judgement, to correct the wrongs. He will also liberate Arabia from worshiping molten images. Wilderness (desert), villages and cities will glorify God. This is what happen today. Whole of Arabia worshiping God daily.

And we continue reading Isaiah 42:18 - 25; Children of Israel will still be deaf and blind as they neglect the message brought by the 'Servant of God'.

In Isaiah 42:1, this cannot be a coincidence. If we look at the writing of אתמך (Atmc) אחמד (Ahmad). Not to mentioned אתמך (Atmc) is a term used only once throughout. [Scribes copying error or indeed an intended error?] And the word before אתמך (Atmc), is עבדי (Abedi~My Servant). It is indeed indicating Ahmad; Abedallah (Ahmad; 'Servant of God').

Children of Israel had been foretold by the coming of Ahmad.

Unknown said...

Moses,Christ, Muhammad, and Joseph Smith prepared the people, admonishing them to be be prepared, to be looking for the fulfilment of their faith. If you follow the fulfilment of your faith you have not abondoned it!!! The Bab and Baha'u'llah fulfill those promises! Baha'u'llah, the Promised One of each religion, proclaims all are of the Book of God. Everyone is in a different stage of awakening. Everyone is already a Bahai. Some are quick to pick up on that. Others are as unaware as if asleep. Their being as asleep is at the root of the conflict and upheval in the world today.If this be true, the chaos will continue to get worse until The Promised One is recognized and His healing remedies applied.The process of awakening and receiving and applying the healing remedies, individually, is the purifying of each soul, their day of judgement.For the nations,it is the beginning of a lesser lasting peace leading to the Most Great Peace and the golden age of humanity. Only the unbiased, independant investigation of truth,freed from loves blild acceptance and hates blind repulsion,guided in Gods love guided by the Holy Spirit, can accomplish this.And that at this moment is within the power of every man woman and child. Jehovah, God Allah is awaiting your