The Bahais claim that Bab was the return of the Twelfth Imam. By his advent, Islam was completed; the Day of Judgement dawned thus paving the way for a new prophet or dispensation.

This claim is probably the most important one from the Bahai point of view for if it is proved that Bab was not the twelfth Imam, then one can automatically conclude that Islam is not complete (as the twelfth Imam is yet to appear; the Day of Judgement is yet to dawn). I fail to understand that in the event of such a conclusion, where does it leave Bab and subsequently the Bahais?

The importance of this belief can also be gauged by the fact that during my conversations with Bahais, they do not offer consistent responses to the question about the position of the Bab as the twelfth Imam. Consider the responses which I have received from the Bahais on this subject

  1. Bahais at the outset, deny that Imam Hasan Askari (as) had any son
  2. Next, they raise objections about his mother to disprove his birth
  3. When the above points are disproved, i.e., the twelfth Imam was born, the Bahais will claim that Bab is the return of the twelfth Imam. On pressing them further, they say that Bab is the "return of the attributes" of the twelfth Imam.
  4. Bahais also say that Bab is the "spiritual return" of the twelfth Imam.
  5. Finally, they say that Bab fulfilled the prophecies of the twelfth Imam.

The varied responses indicates that the Bahais are a confused lot. Yet, to prove the accension of Bahaullah, they need to prove that the Bab was the twelfth Imam. It will be my attempt to establish through his article that the Bab was not the twelfth Imam which he pompously announced at his examination at Tabriz.

Before delving into the topic, I leave my readers with the following tradition from the 6th Shiite Imam - Jafare' Sadiq (as) which the Bab testifies to in his book Tafseere' Surah Kauthar.

The Bab writes, "Imam Sadiq has related in a lengthy tradition, saying: "The occultation of our Qa'im will be denied by the umma. Some will say, without any knowledge: The Imam was never born; others will say: he was born, but he died. Still others will become disbelievers and will say: The eleventh Imam had no offspring at all. Some will spread factionalism in the community by what they say, and will go beyond the twelve Imams and will count thirteen or more Imams. There will be those who will cause God's anger to engulf them by saying: The spirit of the Qa'im is speaking through another person."

Bab asserts that he is not the twelfth Imam
At multiple times in his lifetime, Bab asserted that he was not the promised Imam. Consider the following quotations from the Bab:

  • God, verily, hath decreed that this Book be divulged in interpretation (tafsir) of the "Best of Narratives" on the part of Muhammad, the son of Hasan, the son of Ali, son of Muhammad, the son of Ali, the son of Musa, the son of Ja`far, the son of Muhammad, the son of Ali, the son of Husayn, the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib unto His servant (The Bab) to the end that it might be an eloquent Proof of God from the Remembrance (al-dhikr) unto all the worlds.
    (Ref: Qayyamul Asma, Surah Mulk, verse 10)

  • In the book Dalaaelus Sabah, page 47, he asserts that the Qaem is M-H-M-D (the Arabic alphabets for Mohammed, the name of the hidden Imam). He infact quotes the tradition enscribed in the Tablet of Fatemah in this treatise.

  • In the book Sahifae' Adaliyah, not once, but twice on pages 18 and 27, the Bab refers to the twelfth Imam as Hujjat Al Qaem Mohammed Ibnil Hasan Sahebaz Zaman.

  • In Tafseere' Surah Kauthar, the Bab says, "He (the twelfth Imam) is a righteous offspring. His patronymic is Abu al-Qasim (the same nick name as the Holy Prophet Muhammad). He is the one invested with God's command (al-qa'im bi-amr allah), the proof of God's existence for God's creatures, the remaining one (baqiyyat allah) among the servants of God, the Mahdi who will guide people to the mysterious matters."

The above quotations make it amply clear that the Bab did not consider himself to be the 12th Imam or the Qaem or the Mahdi. In fact the Bab is so clear on this aspect that he chose to repeat it at atleast four different points of time in his life. Why are the Bahais insisting that the Bab was the twelfth Imam?

Taking the entire discussion a step forward, the assertions of the Bab make it amply clear that the Bab considered himself to be a slave, a servant of the twelfth Imam. Moreover consider the following narration from the Bab in Tafseere' Surah Kauthar,

"One day I was busy praying in the holy mosque of Mecca, on the side of the Yamani pillar (of the Kaaba). I noticed a well built and good looking young man who was deeply involved in performing the circumambulation (tawaf). He had a white turban on his head and a woolen cloak on his shoulder. He was with the merchants' group from Fars. There was no more than a few steps of distance between us. All of a sudden a thought came to my mind that he could be the Master of the Command (sahib al-amr). But I was embarrassed to go closer to him. When I finished my prayers I did not find him. Nevertheless, I am not so sure that he was the Master of the Command."

Now where is the question of him considering Bab as the twelfth Imam when the Bab himself says that he considered another person in Mecca as the twelfth Imam.

Having said that, it is clear that the Bab did make a claim to be the twelfth Imam - and this claim was made in Tabriz in the presence of the then Shah of Iran and the Muslim clergy present in the court. While the entire incident has been dealt separately, it is sufficient to say that the Bab was pronounced insane at that examination.

I wish to ask the Bahais - why do they ignore the thousands of traditions which have been reported about the 12th Imam from all aspects - his genealogy, the conditions prior to his birth, his hidden birth, his occultation, the fact that he would have an extraordinarily long life, those who met him as a child as well as those traditions which report the events after his reappearance? Why are all these traditions ignored in favour of some obscure statements by poets or historians whose credibility is under question?

No other sect of Islam or for that matter, no other religion has such a rich culture of traditions reported directly from the founder of the Faith - the Holy Prophet of Islam (saw). In addition, there are traditions from the Imams as well which run into tens of thousands. There is perhaps no verse of the Quran on which we do not have an explanation by either the Holy Prophet (saw), or from his authorised successors, the Twelve Imams (as).

The traditions about the Twelfth Imam (as) are not in isolation. Why is it that the Bahais insist on the Bab being the Twelfth Imam, when he did not meet a single prophecy reported in traditions? Where is the long life, the fact that the Twelfth Imam (as) is an Arab, the son of Imam Hasan Askari (as) - one can go on about each prophecy and I challenge the Bahais - open the books of traditions and check the Bab - he will fail on all accounts. Truly, It pains my heart to see the Bahais ignore all these traditions.

To conclude, here are some points for my readers to consider:

  1. Bab accepted that there was a son born to Imam Hasan Askari (as)

  2. The name of that son was Mohammed Ibnil Hasan (as)

  3. Bab calls Mohammed Ibnil Hasan (as) with the titles of the twelfth Imam, namely, Sahib al Amr, Baqiyatullah, Mahdi, Al Hujjat, Al Qaem, Sahebaz Zaman.

  4. Why don't the Bahais clarify that who is Mohammed Ibnil Hasan? Why are there only vague responses to this question?

  5. If Bab was a forerunner of the Bahai Faith and if he acknowledges Mohammed Ibnil Hasan as his spiritual leader, should'nt the Bahais follow suit?

  6. Bab, invokes the curse of Allah who attribute the position of Mahdi to him - either in spirit or in person in Tafseere' Surah Kauthar.

Lastly, who should we believe - The Bahais who say that Bab was the twelfth Imam or Bab who unequivocally, clearly and without any ambiguity asserts that he was not the twelfth Imam?

The other claims of The Bab:
» Was The Bab, the Gate / Door to the Twelfth Imam?
» Was The Bab the Mahdi - Twelfth Imam?
» Was The Bab an independent prophet?
» Was The Bab, God!? Also refer to: The position of Bab in God Passes By

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