The Bahai Doubt

The Bahais claim that Imam Mahdi (as) on his advent will act contrary to the following verses of the Quran -

لَكُمْ دِينُكُمْ وَلِيَ دِينِ

"For you is your religion and for me, mine"
(Ref: Chapter of Disbelievers, verse 6)


لاَ إِكْرَاهَ فِي الدِّينِ

"There is no compulsion in religion"
(Ref: Chapter of The Cow, verse 256)

According to the Bahais, the Imam would spread Islam of the strength of the sword (by force). The masses in Iran were awaiting the arrival of Imam Mahdi (as) so that they could offer a strong resistance to him and to his companions (due to this contravention of the above verses). Hence when Mirza Ali Mohammed Bab staked his claim to be the Promised Imam Mahdi, then people started taking their revenge on the Babis.

Our response - The Shiah Viewpoint

At the outset, the Bahais must provide at least one verse or tradition from any source which substantiated the allegation that Imam Mahdi (as) will act contrary to the verses of the Quran. This is necessary for the Bahais to add weight to their baseless allegation against Imam Mahdi (as).

The Bahais will be unable to provide any verse or tradition in this regard, for the first verse was revealed for a specific event and the second was abrogated for a subsequent verse regarding the covenant of the Holy Prophet (saw) from the disbelievers and polytheists. (Ref: Tafseere' Safi for each of the quoted verses)

Have the Bahais referred to the verse,

هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَى وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ لِيُظْهِرَهُ عَلَى الدِّينِ كُلِّهِ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْمُشْرِكُونَ

"It is He who sent His apostle with guidance and the religion of truth so that He may cause it to prevail over all religions even if the polytheists be averse to it.
(Ref: Holy Quran, Chapter of Taubah, verse 33)"

There are Shiah traditions from the Holy Imams (as) which indicate that the government of Imam Mahdi (as) will overcome all other governments and Allah will create an environment for this action overnight. His government will rule over the entire world - truth will conquer falsehood, oppressors will be punished and revenge sought for their oppressions, the People of the Book will be offered a truce as a result of which all mankind will enter the sphere of truth (Islam). Do the Bahais consider this to be the effect of the sword?

Here are some traditions to substantiate the above Shiah beliefs:

Imam Mohammed Baqir (as) says, "The Qaem will be from Allah. Allah will establish Tahiyyul Arz (a condition wherein he will be able to traverse distances quickly) for him; the earth will reveal its treasures. His rule will encompass the East and the West and through him Allah will cause His religion to prevail over the earth even if the polytheists oppose it. It will be an era of prosperity for all."
(Ref: Behar, volume 13, page 155)

The Holy Prophet of Islam (saw) said, "Imam Mahdi (as), like Zulqarnayn will reach the East and West. Allah will cause the earth to reveal its treasures for him and will grant him authority through awe. He will fill the earth with justice and equality"
(Ref: Behar, volume 13, page 187)

Explaining the verse, "It is He who sent…averse to it", Imam Sadiq (as) says, "By Allah, this verse cannot be interpreted till the Qaem, the Mahdi rises. So when the Qaem will arise, the polytheists or atheists who will be averse to his reappearance will not find any refuge."
(Ref: Behar, volume 13, page 193)

The Holy Prophet (saw) said, "Allah will grant victory to the Mahdi in the East and the West."
(Ref: Behar, volume 13, page 300)

Imam Mohammed Baqir (as) prophesized, "When the Qaem arises, the Syrians will seek out the people of Bani Umayyah and seek refuge in Rome. The Romans will offer refuge to them on the conditions of accepting Christianity. The companions of Imam Mahdi (as) will arrive there with a proposal for truce. The Syrians will decline the proposal claiming that they will not accept peace till such time that their comrades are returned to them. Consequently the Romans will hand over the Syrians to the companions of Imam Mahdi (as)"
(Ref: Behar, volume 13, page 300)

Imam Sadiq (as) said, "When the Qaem arises, every Naji (a group of people) will be offered the opportunity to accept his government. He will have the option to accept it or to pay the Jiziya (tax)."
(Ref: Behar, volume 13, page 199)

A person asked Imam Sadiq (as) about the condition of the Zimmi (a group of people) in the event of the reappearance of the Mahdi. The Imam (as) replied, "The Qaem will offer them peace just as the Holy Prophet (saw) did and will seek the Jiziya from them. As regards the Naji, the Imam (as) said, those who oppose us will not have any share in our government. Their blood is forbidden to us today from the time of the Holy Prophet (saw). However when the Qaem arises, Allah will make their blood permissible for us."
(Ref: Behar, volume 13, page 199)

Without prejudice, my readers should judge whether our traditions indicate that Imam Mahdi (as) will act only through bloodshed and violence or will he offer truce as the first option to all. Will he spread Islam only through the sword or also through the medium of peace as the first option? Yes, those who are stubborn and do not accept the reasoning and arguments of the Imam will be dealt with severely and rightfully punished.

In the above traditions (and there are many like these), it is repeatedly emphasized that Allah will create an environment wherein Imam Mahdi (as) will lead the world and not that he will be led by the world or made to bow down or cowed down by it. Now the Bahais should judge whether the Bab (who is the Mahdi for the Bahais) overcame Iran or did Iran overcome the Bab. And if the Bab could not leave his stamp of authority on Iran then where is the question that his rule will overcome the world. At the time of writing this article more than 150 years have passed and there are more followers of the actual 12th Imam, Mohammed Ibne Hasan Askari than all the Bahais combined!

In addition, traditions indicate that the rule of the Mahdi will be based on the Quran and the traditions of the Holy Prophet (saw) and the Imams (as). He will not be under any pressure to adopt Taqaiyyah (dissimulation) like his forefathers. There are many traditions which underline this belief. A few of these are given below:

Imam Mohammed Baqir (as) clarifies in a lengthy tradition, "Imam Mahdi (as) will claim that he is the successor of all the prophets. Who can match me in debate with respect to the Quran (The book of Allah) and the Sunnat (traditions) of the Holy Prophet (saw)? I enjoy precedence over others in both these aspects."
(Ref: Behar, volume 13, page 167-191)

Imam Mohammed Baqir (as) says, "The Qaem will seek allegiance from the people on the basis of the Quran and the Sunnat (traditions) of the Holy Prophet (saw)."
(Ref: Behar, volume 13, page 183)

Imam Sadiq (as) mentions in a tradition, "The Qaem will ascend to the pulpit in Mecca and promise the people that he will deal with them on the basis of the Quran and the Sunnat of the prophet."
(Ref: Behar, volume 13, page 190)

Imam Mohammed Baqir (as) says, "The Qaem will invite Sufiyani to Islam on the basis of the Quran and the Sunnat. At first he will accept. Thereafter he will deny Islam and turn away from it"
(Ref: Behar, volume 13, page 192)

In another tradition, Imam Mohammed Baqir (as) says, "The Qaem will act as per the traditions of the prophet and show all the signs of the previous prophets. During this time, for a period of eight days, the sword will not be used."
(Ref: Behar, volume 13, page 193)

All the above traditions (and once again, I repeat, there are many like these) indicate that the Qaem is yet to come and when he reappears, he will judge the people on the basis of the Quran and the traditions of the Holy Prophet of Islam (saw). Where does the Bab fit into this? The Bab does not meet any element in any of the above traditions. The Bahais should be afraid - their Qaem (The Bab as they claim) has come and gone and yet there seems to be no sign that the religion of the Bab will overcome the world. Surely the promise of Allah made in the verse of Surah Taubah cannot be false.


The Bahais have a very irritating habit of presenting verses in Arabic and misinterpreting them. They also bring forth "traditions" without any references from any book and by hook or by crook (largely by crook) try to establish the Mirza Ali Mohammed Bab was the Mahdi for this generation and that Mirza Hussain Ali Noori is the new prophet after him. They take advantage of the fact that the masses are not aware of Arabic and generally are not too conversant with books of traditions (most of which are in Arabic).

Secondly, they also misinterpret the Quran as they see fit (most of them in fact just read the apparent meaning in English or any other translation) without referring to the circumstances under which the verse was revealed or what is the comment of the Holy Prophet (saw) or the Imams (as) about its interpretations. The result: They not just end confusing themselves, but also become the cause for misguiding others.

The Quran and traditions very clearly cannot be interpreted in isolation. Or else there is a possibility that one may be misguided. The history of Islam went through extreme circumstances and the Imams were often forced to resort to Taqaiyyah (protecting one's faith in difficult circumstances) to communicate their messages to their followers. One needs to be aware of such facets of history or refer to a scholar before interpreting any verse or tradition.

I strongly recommend my readers that they familiarize themselves with Arabic and even teach it to their children. We must all become conversant with the Quran and traditions and seek the help of Allah, His prophet and the Imams (as) so that we may be able to understand the words and the spirit of the traditions and are able to accept them.

Do not ever be misled or overawed by any person who speaks Arabic - especially the Bahais. They have a habit of quoting any Arabic sentence and then claiming it to be part of Quran. Also do not accept their interpretation till such time it is confirmed by a tradition from the prophet (saw) or the Imams from a reliable book. Also seek the reference for any verse / tradition quoted.

It is irritating nuances like these due to which the people of Iran openly and in some cases violently opposed the Bab. Read the questioning of the Bab in the book Traveller's Narrative. At one end, you have the Bab who has made this humongous claim - and on the other hand you observe that he is unable to answer any question logically to the satisfaction of his interrogators.

Personally, my blood boils when I see the Bab as an insane person claiming the honored position of the 12th Imam without any credentials to back his claim. Even more so when I read that the Bab actually claimed that he saw the wounded Imam Hussain (as) in his dream in a condition that he (the Bab) drank the drops of blood of the venerated Imam. Allah alone knows what punishment lies in store for the person who is emboldened to even state that he drank the blood of the son of the Holy Prophet (saw) of Islam. It is small wonder that the common people of Iran saw the Bab as the one usurping the position of Imam Mahdi (as) and vent their anger against the Babis.

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