Index to this page:
Yes. According to the Bahá’í teachings, Jesus Christ is a Manifestation of God. Shoghi Effendi elaborates (“The Promised Day is Come”, p. 109):
“As to the position of Christianity, let it be stated without any hesitation or equivocation that its divine origin is unconditionally acknowledged, that the Sonship and Divinity of Jesus Christ are fearlessly asserted, that the divine inspiration of the Gospel is fully recognised, that the reality of the mystery of the Immaculacy of the Virgin Mary is confessed, and the primacy of Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, is upheld and defended. The Founder of the Christian Faith is designated by Bahá’u’lláh as the "Spirit of God," is proclaimed as the One Who "appeared out of the breath of the Holy Ghost," and is even extolled as the "Essence of the Spirit." His mother is described as "that veiled and immortal, that most beauteous, countenance," and the station of her Son eulogised as a "station which hath been exalted above the imaginings of all that dwell on earth," whilst Peter is recognised as one whom God has caused "the mysteries of wisdom and of utterance to flow out of his mouth." "Know thou," Bahá’u’lláh has moreover testified, "that when the Son of Man yielded up His breath to God, the whole creation wept with a great weeping. By sacrificing Himself, however, a fresh capacity was infused into all created things. Its evidences, as witnessed in all the peoples of the earth, are now manifest before thee. The deepest wisdom which the sages have uttered, the profoundest learning which any mind hath unfolded, the arts which the ablest hands have produced, the influence exerted by the most potent of rulers, are but manifestations of the quickening power released by His transcendent, His all-pervasive and resplendent Spirit. We testify that when He came into the world, He shed the splendour of His glory upon all created things. Through Him the leper recovered from the leprosy of perversity and ignorance. Through Him the unchaste and wayward were healed. Through His power, born of Almighty God, the eyes of the blind were opened and the soul of the sinner sanctified.... He it is Who purified the world. Blessed is the man who, with a face beaming with light, hath turned towards Him."Shoghi Effendi elaborates that “wholehearted and unqualified acceptance... of the divine origin of both Islám and Christianity, of the Prophetic functions of both Muhammad and Jesus Christ, of the legitimacy of the institution of the Imámate, and of the primacy of St. Peter, the Prince of the Apostles... are the central, the solid, the incontrovertible principles that constitute the bedrock of Bahá’í belief, which the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh is proud to acknowledge, which its teachers proclaim, which its apologists defend, which its literature disseminates, which its summer schools expound, and which the rank and file of its followers attest by both word and deed.” (p.110)
Bahá’ís believe, as do the Christians, in both Jesus Christ and the Bible. We believe that Christ was the Only Way, the Only Begotten Son, and all other Biblical teachings concerning Christ. It is clear, from the Bible, that Christ must one day return. Bahá’ís believe that He has returned, and has come in the Glory of the Father. The name Bahá’u’lláh itself, is Arabic for “Glory of God”. The Bible says that Christ will descend from heaven, but it becomes clear from an in-depth reading of the Bible that Christ also descended from heaven, the first time He came. But wasn’t He actually born? This same fact puzzled the Jews, who expected the Messiah to descend from heaven, sit on the throne of David, raise an army, kick out the Romans and literally fulfil all the prophecies of the Old Testament. However, God had another plan. “They (the Jews) said, ‘Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, ‘I have come down from heaven?’” (John 6:42) The Messiah was born on earth, lived, was rejected, tortured and persecuted and cruelly put to death. This did not fit well with the Jews’ literal interpretation of the Scriptures. Yet His Cause eventually triumphed over the earth and millions of people have had spiritual fulfilment and fulfilment through His Message.
Christ said, “Before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58) “In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1). It is clear that the physical body of Christ did not exist from the beginning, but the divine Christ did. Christ’s physical body was born, changed form and attained manhood, and clearly could not be the changeless nature of Christ. Christ is eternal, before the world was, His spiritual teachings have always existed and are always the same. Christ said, “He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness... For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.” (John 12:44-49). Christ is that eternal Messenger of God who comes in each age, to be a “light into the world” so that “whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” It is this same Christ that has returned in the person of Bahá’u’lláh, who is Christ returned in the Glory of the Father. Bahá’u’lláh has a different body, personality and soul, but He is that same Being that was “before Abraham,” the changeless and eternal Christ, the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last. If Christ came the first time ‘from heaven’, could ‘from heaven’ not be literally meant? Christ was born the first time, could it not be reasonably assumed that He would be born a second time? Is Christ’s body really floating in some physical afterlife?
Christ said that He would return like a “thief in the night,” (Rev. 3:3 & 16:15) meaning He wouldn’t return by literally coming down through the clouds. Revelation 3:12 says: “And I will write on him My new name...” (i.e. Christ will return with a new name). “Every eye shall see him” is clearly not to be taken literally. How else shall He come as a “thief in the night”? The prophecies of the New Testament were sealed up until His coming, and they now stand revealed and open. Bahá’u’lláh is the same Christ, that has existed before the beginning of the world. Christ said, concerning the coming of Bahá’u’lláh, “I still have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit, when he the Spirit of Truth is come, he will guide you unto all truth.” (John 16:12-13) Bahá’u’lláh is that “Spirit of Truth” predicted by Jesus. Isaiah (7:14) says that the Messiah’s name will be Emanuel (“God with us”) and not Jesus. When you take a literalist approach and deny the claims of Bahá’u’lláh, you might as well deny the claims of Jesus as well, since the Jews judged Jesus in a similar way. Jesus didn’t literally fulfil the Old Testament prophecies, but He did fulfil all of them, and Bahá’u’lláh does not literally fulfil the New Testament prophecies, but He does fulfil all of them nonetheless. Jesus said that John the Baptist was Elijah, but clearly they had distinct bodies and personalities. Similarly, Bahá’u’lláh is the Return of Christ, even though He does not have the same body as Christ.
Bahá’u’lláh says (Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 169):
“The Great Being saith: The Tongue of Wisdom proclaimeth: He that hath Me not is bereft of all things. Turn ye away from all that is on earth and seek none else but Me. I am the Sun of Wisdom and the Ocean of Knowledge. I cheer the faint and revive the dead. I am the guiding Light that illumineth the way. I am the royal Falcon on the arm of the Almighty. I unfold the drooping wings of every broken bird and start it on its flight.”
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings, p. 101):
“O Jews! If ye be intent on crucifying once again Jesus, the Spirit of God, put Me to death, for He hath once more, in My person, been made manifest unto you. Deal with Me as ye wish, for I have vowed to lay down My life in the path of God. I will fear no one, though the powers of earth and heaven be leagued against Me. Followers of the Gospel! If ye cherish the desire to slay Muhammad, the Apostle of God, seize Me and put an end to My life, for I am He, and My Self is His Self. Do unto Me as ye like, for the deepest longing of Mine heart is to attain the presence of My Best-Beloved in His Kingdom of Glory.”
I will quote from “The Resurrection of All Mankind - A Bahá’í Exploration of Christian Subjects” (p. 28-29):
“SHORT ANSWERS TO COMMON CHRISTIAN QUESTIONS
1. Do Bahá’ís believe in Jesus? Bahá’ís believe in the Sonship and Divinity of Jesus Christ (PDC, p109). Bahá’u’lláh refers to Jesus as Lord of the visible and invisible (Gl, p 56) and The Lord of all being. (ESW, p 100)
2. What do Bahá’ís believe about the Bible? Bahá’ís believe it is the Word of God. (KI, p 84)
3. Is Bahá’u’lláh a false prophet? No, as false prophets deny Jesus and show greed and licentiousness (2 Peter 2:1-3)
4. Is Bahá’u’lláh the Anti-Christ? No, as the Anti-Christ denies that Jesus is the Christ. (1 John 2:22)
5. Are Bahá’ís followers of the devil? No, as Bahá’ís believe in Jesus and there is no truth in him (i.e., the devil) (John 8:44)
6. Do Bahá’ís accept the virgin birth? Yes. (LOG, p 489)
7. Are Bahá’ís saved? Yes as Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved. (Acts 16:31)
8. Do Bahá’ís believe we must be born again? Yes, as ...man must be born again... (PUP, p288) (p26)
9. Do Bahá’ís believe in a personal God? Yes. (LOG, p 477)
10. Do Bahá’ís believe that Christ died for our salvation? Yes. ...the purpose of their Lord and Saviour... is the salvation of mankind... (Shoghi Effendi: Arohanui: Letters to New Zealand, Page: 3)
11. Do Bahá’ís accept that Jesus was without sin? Yes. (SAQ, p 170)
12. Do Bahá’ís believe that we are saved by grace and not by works? Yes. (GI, p 193) (p 19)
13. Are Bahá’ís righteous? Yes as Little children, let no one deceive you. He who does right is righteous, as He is righteous. (1 John 3:7)
14. Are Bahá’ís condemned? No, as He who believes in Him is not condemned. (John 3:18)
15. Do Bahá’ís believe that Jesus is the Only Way? The Only Begotten Son? The Only Mediator Between God and Man? Yes, and Bahá’u’lláh is the Return of the “Only Way,” the “Only Begotten Son” and the “Only Mediator.”
16. Are the sins of Bahá’ís forgiven? Yes, as Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved. (Acts 16:31)
17. Do you believe in the Resurrection of Jesus? There are as many verses in the Bible that speak of the Resurrection as a spiritual event as there are that speak of it as a literal event. Even without a physical resurrection, I believe Jesus has power over death and has the power to resurrect and provide everlasting life to those who follow Him.”
“The Resurrection of All Mankind - A Bahá’í Exploration of Christian Subjects” (p. 71-72):
“WHY CHRISTIANS MUST INVESTIGATE BAHÁ’U’LLÁH
1. Christians must test the spirits to see if they are God’s teachings: But test the spirits to see whether they are of God... (1 John 4:1) [Therefore a Christian is commanded to test the spirit of Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings.]
A. Jesus gives the test instructions to see whether spirits are of God: My teaching is not mine, but His who sent me; if any man’s will is to do His will, he shall know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking from my own authority. He who speaks of his own authority seeks his own glory; but he who seeks the glory of Him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood. (John 7:16-18) [Bahá’u’lláh’s Teachings and life clearly show He did not seek His own glory but only God’s glory as among other things Bahá’u’lláh gave up all His earthly wealth and position of power to serve God.]
B. Also, Christ says: By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God. (1 John 4:2-3) [Bahá’u’lláh refers to Jesus as the Christ (Gl, p 57)]
2. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesying. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. [Christians are instructed to “prove all things” so as not to quench the spirit or miss the fulfilment of prophecy.]
3. Watch at all times, praying that you may ... stand before the Son of Man. (Luke 21:36) [The word “may” implies that Christians must prayerfully consider the claim of Bahá’u’lláh and that recognition of the “Return” is not automatic.]
4. Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the kingdom, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Matt 7:21) [Therefore, if Christians are not watching at all times, testing the spirits, proving all things, then they are not doing the will of the Father and are in jeopardy of not entering the kingdom.]”
Bahá’u’lláh says, (Gleanings, pp. 85-86) about Christ:
“Know thou that when the Son of Man yielded up His breath to God, the whole creation wept with a great weeping. By sacrificing Himself, however, a fresh capacity was infused into all created things. Its evidences, as witnessed in all the peoples of the earth, are now manifest before thee. The deepest wisdom which the sages have uttered, the profoundest learning which any mind hath unfolded, the arts which the ablest hands have produced, the influence exerted by the most potent of rulers, are but manifestations of the quickening power released by His transcendent, His all-pervasive, and resplended Spirit.“We testify that when He came into the world, He shed the splendour of His glory upon all created things. Through Him the leper recovered from the leprosy of perversity and ignorance. Through Him, the unchaste and wayward were healed. Through His power, born of Almighty God, the eyes of the blind were opened, and the soul of the sinner sanctified.
“Leprosy may be interpreted as any veil that interveneth between man and the recognition of the Lord, his God. Whoso alloweth himself to be shut out from Him is indeed a leper, who shall not be remembered in the Kingdom of God, the Mighty, the All-Praised. We bear witness that through the power of the Word of God every leper was cleansed, every sickness was healed, every human infirmity was banished. He it is Who purified the world. Blessed is the man who, with a face beaming with light, hath turned towards Him.”
William Sears [from the award-winning daily sports show, the “Bill Sears Show”, other shows and several books and plays] in his “Thief in the Night - The Case of the Missing Millennium” (pp. 252-255) says:
“It is not a case of now it can be told, but rather, I feel, of now it must be told. At least once, in clear, straight-forward terms. If a man is riding with a friend on a winding mountainous road, and sees him asleep at the wheel, he has no choice but to awaken him—for the sake of both the driver and himself. If a neighbour lies asleep in a burning house, it is the duty of the one who sees the fire to do everything in his power to arouse the victim.
“I was a Christian when I first began my investigation into this century-old riddle of the Messiah. I had no idea where it would lead me. Now that it is ended, I am still a Christian, but in a fuller, richer sense than I ever dreamed could be possible.
I have also become a follower of Bahá’u’lláh. I have become a Bahá’í. I had no choice. I had to accept Bahá’u’lláh or deny Christ.
“There are four methods by which we can prove a thing:
1. By Reason (logic and experiment).
2. By the Senses (experience).
3. By tradition or prophecy (fulfilment of promises).
4. By inspiration or intuition (inward conviction above the senses or logic).
I had tested Bahá’u’lláh by all four. My self-importance had gradually diminished until I became like an ant which has come out to look at the sun.
“With the exactness of stars, Bahá’u’lláh had fulfilled all of the prophecies required. He had exalted reason to its proper throne. He had urged scientific method and experience in seeking the truth. His life, which is told in another book called The King of Glory, was filled with such beauty and inspiration that a Christian clergyman, and famous Bible scholar, declared: ‘If there has been any prophet in recent times, it is to Bahá’u’lláh we must go.’
“I discovered the reason why the Bahá’ís have such a tender love and reverence for Christ and Moses. To deny Moses and Christ would be to deny Bahá’u’lláh. They are one in the Holy Spirit they bring. God is like the sun, and Moses, Christ and Bahá’u’lláh, as well as the other prophets, are like mirrors. They all reflect the same truth. They merely come at different ages in history...
“I could not refuse to accept Bahá’u’lláh, or I would be denying Christ Himself, and Moses; for, in reality they were one. The same light of God shines in each mirror. The name Bahá’í became familiar, simple and filled with warmth and love. It meant: follower of Bahá’u’lláh. For example:
A Christian is a follower of Christ, and a Bahá’í is a follower of Bahá’u’lláh.
“Now that I have become a follower of Bahá’u’lláh, perhaps I would write this book in a different manner. However, it was not written as a Bahá’í, but as a Christian who was led to search for the missing Messiah. I only know that my love for Christ is far greater now than ever before, and indefinitely deeper and more precious than at any time when I was a Christian only. Bahá’u’lláh has taught me the beauty and the majesty of Christ.”
Jesus said: ‘But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep... And other sheep have I which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold and one shepherd.’ [Báb is Arabic for “gate”. He is the door through which the shepherd entereth. The “shepherd” is Bahá’u’lláh, who will unite all peoples of the earth in “one fold” and under “one shepherd.”]
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burnt up.” II Peter iii.10
Bahá’u’lláh revealed over a hundred volumes of sacred scripture. All of these are regarded by Bahá’ís as Holy Books, the Word of God. However, one of the most significant is the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, which means “the Most Holy Book.” Although not particularly long, it is the central repository of Bahá’í law. It is not, however, only a ‘book of laws’. Bahá’u’lláh asserts: “Think not that We have revealed unto you a mere code of laws. Nay, rather, We have unsealed the choice Wine with the fingers of might and power.”
Shoghi Effendi elaborates (from God Passes By):
“The laws and ordinances that constitute the major theme of this Book, Bahá’u’lláh, moreover, has specifically characterised as “the breath of life unto all created things”, as “the mightiest stronghold”, as the “fruits” of His “Tree”, as “the highest means for the maintenance of order in the world and the security of its peoples”, as “the lamps of His wisdom and loving-providence”, as “the sweet-smelling savour of His garment”, and the “keys” of His “mercy” to his creatures. “This Book”, He Himself testifies, “is a heaven which We have adorned with the stars of Our commandments and prohibitions.” “Blessed the man”, He, moreover, has stated, “who will read it, and ponder the verses sent down in it by God, the Lord of Power, the Almighty. Say, O men! Take hold of it with the hand of resignation. . . By My life! It hath been sent down in a manner that amazeth the minds of men. Verily, it is My weightiest testimony unto all people, and the proof of the All-Merciful unto all who are in heaven and all who are on earth.” And again: “Blessed the palate that savoureth its sweetness, and the perceiving eye that recogniseth that which is treasured therein, and the understanding heart that comprehendeth its allusions and mysteries. By God! Such is the majesty of what hath been revealed therein, and so tremendous the revelation of its veiled allusions that the loins of utterance shake when attempting their description.” And finally: “In such a manner hath the Kitáb-i-Aqdas been revealed that it attracteth and embraceth all the divinely appointed Dispensations. Blessed those who peruse it! Blessed those who apprehend it! Blessed those who meditate upon it! Blessed those who ponder its meaning! So vast is its range that it hath encompassed all men ere their recognition of it. Erelong will its sovereign power, its pervasive influence and the greatness of its might be manifested on earth.”
Bahá’ís regard the Kitáb-i-Aqdas as the Charter of the future world civilisation.
As Shoghi Effendi, Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith says in “The Promised Day is Come” (p. 1):
“A tempest, unprecedented in its violence, unpredictable in its course, catastrophic in its immediate effects, unimaginably glorious in its ultimate consequences, is at present sweeping the face of the earth. Its driving power is remorselessly gaining in range and momentum. Its cleansing force, however much undetected, is increasing with every passing day. Humanity, gripped in the clutches of its devastating power, is smitten by the evidences of its resistless fury. It can neither perceive its origin, nor probe its significance, nor discern its outcome. Bewildered, agonised and helpless, it watches this great and mighty wind of God invading the remotest and fairest regions of the earth, rocking its foundations, deranging its equilibrium, sundering its nations, disrupting the homes of its peoples, wasting its cities, driving into exile its kings, pulling down its bulwarks, uprooting its institutions, dimming its light, and harrowing up the souls of its inhabitants...”
But there is hope, (David Hofman, Bahá’u’lláh, the Prince of Peace, a Portrait, p. 2-5)
“The increasing disruption of the old order of the world has led to a widespread conviction that we are entering a new period of human history. Thoughtful people realise that this world-wide agitation is no transitory dislocation, childhood sickness or adolescent fever. It signifies an organic change in the nature of human life on earth, a change such as we associate with the coming of age of individuals, and which must surely have its counterpart with the collective life of mankind and the organisation of the planet. Humanity is coming of age and is beset with all the disruption, instability and confusion experienced by individuals as they come into full possession of their physical, mental and spiritual powers.
“This period of instability, unless we are to destroy all life on our planet, can have only one outcome — the precipitation of a world society. Out of the confusion, pain and labour of our time, world order is being born, opening to mankind the portals of a new era of peace, brotherhood and happiness.
“Such a consummation has been the dream and hope of peoples, the vision of poets, the promise of religions from the beginning of recorded history. It has been characterised as the Day of God, the Kingdom of God on earth, the New Jerusalem, or such, and has been associated in all religions with the coming of a divine messenger, or the return of each one’s founder, the Promised One of all ages.
“Bahá’u’lláh announced Himself as that one and His message the promised revelation of truth upon which will be founded that Kingdom: ‘O concourse of the rulers and of the learned and the wise! The Promised Day is come and the Lord of Hosts hath appeared. Rejoice ye with great joy by reason of this supreme felicity.’...
“Bahá’u’lláh made it clear that world peace would not be brought about by any sudden magical act but by the response of mankind to the new message from God of which He was the bearer. The maturity of mankind demands its unity, and man will not be mature until he attains that unity... Man is starving for spiritual knowledge, unable to perceive his own true nature, yet trying to harness the majestic powers of maturity to the moribund social, economic, political systems of childhood. The spiritual force of the principle embodied in the words of Bahá’u’lláh ‘the earth is but one country and mankind its citizens’ is shaking to bits the ramshackle old contraption of competing enemy states, precariously balanced on the tightrope of such moribund and obsolescent doctrines as unfettered national sovereignty, relentless economic competition, racial and class prejudices, bitterly antagonistic religious systems. ‘This is a new cycle of human power,’ ‘Abdu’l-Bahá announced in the City Temple in London on September 10th, 1911. ‘All the horizons of the world are luminous, and the world will become indeed as a garden and a paradise. It is the hour of unity of the sons of men and of the drawing together of all races and all classes. You are loosed from ancient superstitions which have kept men ignorant, destroying the foundations of true humanity.’”
Bahá’u’lláh says (Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 85):
“The world’s equilibrium hath been upset through the vibrating influence of this most great, this new World Order. Mankind’s ordered life hath been revolutionised through the agency of this unique, this wondrous System—the like of which mortal eyes have never witnessed.”
“The humanitarian and spiritual principles enunciated decades ago in the darkest East by Bahá’u’lláh and moulded by Him into a coherent scheme are one after another being taken by a world unconscious of their source as the marks of progressive civilization. And the sense that mankind has broken with the past and that the old guidance will not carry it through the emergencies of the present has filled with uncertainty and dismay all thoughtful men save those who have learned to find in the story of Bahá’u’lláh the meaning of all the prodigies and portents of our time.” - George Townshend
Yes, there are many proofs which validate Bahá’u’lláh’s mission. Generally, when each Manifestation of God comes to the world, He brings with Him many proofs. The person and deeds of each Manifestation, Their revelations of the Word of God, and Their teachings that transform individuals and society. Jesus said: “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” All people have the capacity to recognise the signs of God. For prophecies of different religions which Bahá’u’lláh has fulfilled, see the Bahá’í Prophecies Fulfilled website.
(The Proofs of Bahá’u’lláh’s Mission, p. 43-44)
“The Bahá’í writings assert that the progress of individuals and society as a whole depends upon recognising the Manifestation of God in His Day. Every individual has the capacity to recognise Him.
“The Manifestation of God appears in such a way, and reveals such teachings, as is determined by God. Because these things do not conform to the desires or understanding of the people, each Manifestation faced rejection and persecution. The foremost opponent of the new Manifestation is the clergy, the custodians of the traditions of the previous religion. The people, blindly following in their footsteps, fail to recognise the truth. The Scriptures of every religion testify to this pattern.
“Bahá’u’lláh, like the Manifestations of God before Him, was opposed by the clergy and the people—attacks that continued for more than forty years. The arguments used to reject Him, however, were the same used throughout time to reject Moses, Jesus, Muhammad and others. Bahá’u’lláh encouraged a careful examination of the statements and deeds of those who reject the Manifestation in every age as a means of attaining the certitude in the new religion of God.
“How can we know that Bahá’u’lláh—or any other Manifestation—is Who He claims to be? If we could know in some way that He is the bearer of God’s message for humanity in this Day, our response would be obvious: we should embrace His Cause and put His teachings into practice. But how can such a claim be evaluated?
“Since most people accept without investigation the religion of their parents, the truth of the station of the Founder of one’s own religion is accepted without question. But what is the evidence for the claim of Moses, of Buddha, of Jesus, or of Muhammad? For their followers, it is difficult to imagine a time when such proofs were demanded. However, at the time of the appearance of each of these individuals, the people required such evidence...
“Bahá’u’lláh explains that the proofs validating the station of the Founder of one religion are the same proofs to validate the claim of all these Founders. The proofs include the person and deeds of the Manifestation, His revelation of the Word of God, and His teachings that transform individuals and society. The prophecies in the Holy Books are another evidence of the truth of the new Manifestation; however, these Books are interpreted in various ways—even to reject the new Manifestation when He comes. Their true meaning, therefore, must be sought from the Manifestation Himself.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá says (The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 10): “The appearances of the Manifestations of God are the divine springtime. When Christ appeared in the world, it was like the vernal bounty; the outpouring descended; the effulgence of the Merciful encircled all things; the human world found new life. Even the physical world partook of it. The divine perfections were upraised; souls were trained in the school of heaven so that all grades of human existence received life and light. Then by degrees these fragrances of heaven were discontinued; the season of winter came upon the world; the beauties of spring vanished; the excellencies and perfections passed away; the lights and quickening were no longer evident; the phenomenal world and its materialities conquered everything; the spiritualities of life were lost; the world of existence became like unto a lifeless body; there was no trace of the spring left.
“Bahá’u’lláh has come into this world. He has renewed the springtime. The same fragrances are wafting; the same heat of the Sun is giving life; the same cloud is pouring its rain, and with our own eyes we see that the world of existence is advancing and progressing. The human world has found new life.”
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 62):
“During the days of Jesus Christ the Jews were expecting the appearance of the Messiah, praying and beseeching God day and night that the Promised One might appear. Why did they reject Him when He did appear?...Because they did not investigate the truth or the reality of Christ and were not able to recognise Him as the Messiah of God. Had they investigated sincerely for themselves, they would surely have believed in Him, respected Him and bowed before Him in reverence. They would have considered His manifestation the greatest bestowal upon mankind. They would have accepted Him as the very Saviour of man; but, alas, they were veiled, they held to imitations of ancestral beliefs and hearsay and did not investigate the truth of Christ.”
Shouldn’t all people then investigate the truth and reality of Bahá’u’lláh? Shouldn’t everyone investigate his Cause sincerely for themselves? If Bahá’u’lláh’s claims are true, then He is indeed the Manifestation of God for this Day and age, and it is the fundamental duty of all human beings to accept His Faith and teachings. But if you turn away from Bahá’u’lláh, what would you have done in the time of Jesus Christ? Did Christ sit on the throne of David, did He descend from heaven, and literally fulfil the Jewish prophecies that people expected? We know He did fulfil the prophecies of the Old Testament, but He did not fulfil them literally.
One of the most important Bahá’í teachings is the principle of the “independent investigation of truth.” This means that is the duty of all human beings to investigate the truth for themselves and not to blindly accept the traditions of the past without investigation. Bahá’í children are thus raised to ascertain for themselves whether or not the Bahá’í Faith is true. The claims of Bahá’u’lláh must not be taken lightly, and they must not be accepted dogmatically. All people must judge for themselves, with their heart and with reason, whether or not He is the Manifestation of God for this age.
Bahá’u’lláh says (Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 19):
“The first duty prescribed by God for His servants is the recognition of Him Who is the Dayspring of His Revelation and the Fountain of His laws, Who representeth the Godhead in both the Kingdom of His Cause and the world of creation. Whoso achieveth this duty hath attained unto all good; and whoso is deprived thereof hath gone astray, though he be the author of every righteous deed. It behoveth every one who reacheth this most sublime station, this summit of transcendent glory, to observe every ordinance of Him Who is the Desire of the world. These twin duties are inseparable. Neither is acceptable without the other. Thus hath it been decreed by Him Who is the Source of Divine inspiration.”
“Say: God hath made My hidden love the key to the Treasure; would that ye might perceive it! But for the key, the Treasure would to all eternity have remained concealed; would that ye might believe it! Say: This is the Source of Revelation, the Dawning-place of Splendour, Whose brightness hath illumined the horizons of the world. Would that you might understand! This is, verily, that fixed Decree through which every irrevocable decree hath been established.”
“O peoples of the world! Give ear unto the call of Him Who is the Lord of Names, Who proclaimeth unto you from His habitation in the Most Great Prison: “Verily, no God is there but Me, the Powerful, the Mighty, the All-Subduing, the Most Exalted, the Omniscient, the All-Wise.” In truth, there is no God but Him, the Omnipotent Ruler of the worlds. Were it His Will, He would, through but a single word proceeding from His presence, lay hold on all mankind. Beware lest ye hesitate in your acceptance of this Cause—a Cause before which the Concourse on high and the dwellers of the Cities of Names have bowed down. Fear God, and be not of those who are shut out as by a veil. Burn ye away the veils with the fire of My love, and dispel ye the mists of vain imaginings by the power of this Name through which We have subdued the entire creation.”
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings, p. 105)
“...The first and foremost testimony establishing His truth is His own Self. Next to this testimony is His Revelation. For whoso faileth to recognise either the one or the other He hath established the words He hath revealed as proof of His reality and truth. This is, verily, an evidence of His tender mercy unto men. He hath endowed every soul with the capacity to recognise the signs of God. How could He, otherwise, have fulfilled His testimony unto men, if ye be of them that ponder His Cause in their hearts. He will never deal unjustly with any one, neither will He task a soul beyond its power. He verily, is the Compassionate, the All-Merciful.”
(Elena Maria Marsella, The Quest for Eden, pp. 241-242)
“Not only was this young scion of a noble family possessed of wealth, intelligence, and a pure character— he was also endowed with an uncommon physical beauty. Though not tall by western standards, he was strongly built and well formed, moving with that same mysterious majesty which had so charmed the followers of the Báb. Those who saw him were more often than not unable to describe his face feature by feature. They retained, however, an impression of vivid colouring, flashing black eyes beneath a high-domed forehead, and a luxurious mane of long dark hair. His voice, melodious like the Báb’s, was compelling in quality, giving to every word spoken an aura of unchallengeable authority.”
(Rúhíyyih Rabbani, Prescription for Living, pp. 168-169):
“He Himself was a man of moderate stature, His face indicative of great strength of character and will power, which distinguished it at first glance: He had black brows gathered over piercing, wonderful black eyes; a strong, well-shaped nose and firm mouth; a luxuriant black beard and moustache and long curly black locks which fell in profusion on His shoulders, as was the custom for men in those days. From early youth He displayed an altruistic turn of mind, a sympathy for the poor and suffering, most rare in a person of His country and His class. Until He heard of the teachings of the Báb He had led a relatively quiet and retired life, occupying Himself with His philanthropies and His family, and attracting much comment because of the marked contrast His tastes presented to those of the young men of His mileu, who were ambitious for fame, high office and wealth. His father, a man of discernment, recognising in earliest youth, gifts and traits of character in Bahá’u’lláh far above the average, had always regarded Him as a child with a unique future and left Him to develop in His own way...”
Edward Granville Brown’s pen-portrait of Bahá’u’lláh is by far the most famous description. Enjoy!
(Edward Granville Browne, quoted from ‘H.M. Balyuzi, Edward Granville Brown and the Bahá’í Faith,’ pp. 56-57.)
“During the morning of the day after my installation at Behje one of Behá’s younger sons entered the room where I was sitting and beckoned me to follow him. I did so, and was conducted through passages and rooms at which I scarcely had time to glance to a spacious hall, paved, so far as I remember (for my mind was occupied with other thoughts) with a mosaic of marble. Before a curtain suspended from the wall of this great ante-chamber my conductor paused for a moment while I removed my shoes. Then, which a quick movement of the hand, he withdrew, and, as I passed, along the upper end of which ran a low divan, while on the side opposite to the door were placed two or three chairs. Though I dimly suspected whither I was going and whom I was to behold (for no distinct intimation had been given to me), a second or two elapsed ere, with a throb of wonder and awe, I became definitely conscious that the room was not untenanted. In the corner where the divan met the wall sat a wondrous and venerable figure, crowned with a felt head-dress of the kind called táj by dervishes (but of unusual height and make), round the base of which was wound a small white turban. The face of him on whom I gazed I can never forget, though I cannot describe it. Those piercing eyes seemed to read one’s very soul; power and authority sat on that ample brow; while the deep lines on the forehead and face implied an age which the jet-black hair and beard flowing down in indistinguishable luxuriance almost to the waste seemed to belie. No need to ask in whose presence I stood, as I bowed myself before one who is the object of a devotion and love which kings might envy and emperors sigh for in vain!
“A mild dignified voice bade me be seated, and then continued:
“—‘Praise be to God that thou hast attained! ... Thou hast come to see a prisoner and an exile... We desire but the good of the world and the happiness of the nations; yet they deem us a stirrer up of strife and sedition worthy of bondage and banishment... That all nations should become one in faith and all men as brothers; that the bonds of affection and unity between the sons of men should be strengthened; that diversity of religion should cease, and differences of race be annulled—what harm is there in this?... Yet so it shall be; these fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the “Most Great Peace” shall come... Do not you in Europe need this also? Is not this that which Christ foretold?... Yet do we see your kings and rulers lavishing their treasures more freely on means for the destruction of the human race than on that which would conduce to the happiness of mankind... These strifes and this bloodshed and discord must cease, and all men be as one kindred and one family... Let not a man glory in this, that he loves his country; let him rather glory in this, that he loves his kind...’
“Such, so far as I can recall them, were the words which, besides many others, I heard from Behá. Let those who read them consider well with themselves whether such doctrines merit death and bonds, and whether the world is more likely to gain or lose by their diffusion.”
From Gloria Faizi’s “The Bahá’í Faith - An Introduction” (pp. 119-120):
“Joining the Bahá’í Community
Many people who are aware of the high standards set by Bahá’u’lláh feel that they can never live up to these ideals, and are therefore unable to call themselves Bahá’ís. The truth is that among all the followers of Bahá’u’lláh, only one man lived the perfect life of a Bahá’í, and that was ‘Abdu’l-Bahá [the eldest son and appointed successor of Bahá’u’lláh, who was the Exemplar of the Bahá’í teachings]. Bahá’ís are well aware of their shortcomings, and this is one of the reasons why they feel they need the help of Bahá’u’lláh. For the purpose of God in sending His Messenger is to help men at the time of their greatest need.
“The divine Physician comes to give the remedy for men’s illness of heart and soul. Those who recognise the Physician will want to start taking His prescription, knowing full well that if they have courage and perseverance, the divine remedy will bring gradual health and happiness, not only for themselves, but for all the human family of which they are a part.
“When a person believes in Bahá’u’lláh as the Messenger of God for this age, he is a Bahá’í. He does not need to change his name or go through any kind of ceremony. For administrative records and practical reasons, he is expected to declare his faith to the Local Assembly of the place in which he lives. If there is no Local Assembly in his town or village, he notifies the National Assembly of the country he is living in at the time.
“As a member of the Bahá’í community, he is then ready to join forces with his fellow-believers scattered throughout the world and work for the unity of mankind.”
To find a Local Spiritual Assembly near you or a National Spiritual Assembly, see the section below.
The best places for finding more information and locating local Bahá’í communities are probably the official world Bahá’í website, and the national Bahá’í websites. I have provided a list of the national websites of several countries. For UK residents, there is a form you can fill out for more information, literature or local community contacts. The American Bahá’ís have a similar form for free literature, with no obligation (for non-US residents also). If you cannot find your nation below, go to www.bahai.com to find others. Another very good site is the Bahá’í Index.