The Bahai Doubt

The Bahais in order to rationalize the new "Shariah" (code of laws) brought by the Bab claim that it was prophesized in Islam that the Mahdi will rise with a new law. To justify this, they quote the following traditions.

Imam Baqir (as) said, "When the Qaem appears, he will invite the people to a new mission (amre' jadid) as the Holy Prophet (saw) has invited the people to a new mission. Islam has begun strange (gharib) and it will return strange as it has begun"
(Ref: Behar, volume 52, page 366)

In another tradition, Imam Sadiq (as) said, "Islam has begun strange and it will return strange as it has begun. Blessed are the strangers!"
Abu Baseer asked him, "Please explain to me what this means!"
He replied, "The Qaem will invite people to a new mission (Da'ae jadid), as the Prophet has done."
(Ref: Behar, volume 52, page 366)

Our response - The Shiah Viewpoint

  1. At the outset, it needs to be clarified that the traditions do not contain the words "a new code of laws (Shariate' jadid)" or "a new book (kitabe' jadid)." This automatically disqualifies the claims of the Bab as the Mahdi as the Bab "brought" a new book (Bayan) and a new Shariah (code of laws). The Bahais claim that the Bayan abrogated the Quran and the laws of the Bab superseded the laws of the Quran. So in effect, this falsifies the claim of the Bab.

  2. A common word that runs through the traditions is the word - "new affair" (amre' jadid). Muslims acknowledge that at the time of the reappearance of the Mahdi, the community would have been deviated from Islam to that extent that when the Mahdi will invite people to true Islam, it will appear to be completely different from what they have been practicing and following. There will be multiple interpretations of the Quran and divisions within the community. So naturally when the Mahdi arrives and calls people to the Islam, as revealed by Allah and the Holy Prophet (saw), there will be an uproar. Sufficient traditions exist wherein the Holy Imams (as) have forewarned their followers about these tumultuous times.

    The likeness of the period of the Mahdi is like that of the period of the Holy Prophet wherein the people were deviated from the religion of Hazrat Ibrahim (Abraham) and the religion of Hazrat Isa (Christ). The pre-Islamic era was characterized by idolatry, consumption of alcohol and fornication - all which were being committed under the name of religion. We do not consider that Allah would send prophets who would permit the consumption of alcohol or encourage fornication. Yet, the teachings of the past prophets were adulterated to that extent that even grave sins like the ones outlined above were considered to be a part of religion.

    This argument is further reinforced when one reads the other part of the tradition which says clearly that

    • "Islam began strange" implying that Islam was met with surprise and opposition at the time of the Holy Prophet (saw).

    • "Islam will return strange" implying that the Qaem will invite people to Islam only, but by that time, due to the alterations in the original teachings of the Prophet, the call and mission of the Qaem will be met with surprise and opposition.

    It does not mean that the Qaem will bring a new book and a new religion. He will call people towards Islam only (also read point 5).

  3. The Bahais misinterpret these traditions to establish that a new religion will be revealed by the Mahdi. In their unique way, they try to justify the new religion brought by the Bab. However their interpretation is, as always, twisted to suit their purpose. The correct interpretation of these traditions is that when the Mahdi will arise he will invite people to the true Islam (as revealed by the Holy Prophet and explained by the Imam) and that the Mahdi will purify Islam from those elements which have entered it and caused it to be altered.

    These traditions do not in any way imply that the Mahdi will increase the number of months and reduce the number of days in each month (as the Bab did); alter the shape of namaz and reduce the number of fasts; change the direction of the namaz from Mecca to Israel and instead of establishing peace and justice, will spread corruption and destruction on this earth.

  4. The new book referred to in the traditions is the book "Psalms of Fatemah" bestowed upon Hazrat Ali (as) as a trust by the Holy Prophet of Islam (saw). This book has been referred to by even Bahaullah and his teachers in their books. It does not mean a new book which will abrogate the Quran (as is claimed by the Bahais). Rather the Psalms of Fatemah will resolve the differences in the interpretations of the Quran. This argument is further strengthened by the tradition of the Holy Prophet (saw) that our Qaem will face even more difficulty as the people of the time will argue with him on the basis of the Quran and traditions.

  5. Pay attention to the following traditions from Beharul Anwar which endorses the replies given above:

    • Imam Mohammed Baqir (as) said, "When our Qaem reappears, he will announce, who is there who can claim precedence over me in the matters of the Quran and the Sunnah (traditions) of the Holy Prophet (saw)? I enjoy the right of superiority over both."
      (Behar, volume 13, page 167, tradition 191 old ed.)

    • Imam Mohammed Baqir (as) said, "When the Qaem will arise, he will seek allegiance from the people in Mecca on the basis of the Quran and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (saw)."
      (Behar, volume 13, page 173, tradition 191 old ed.)

    • Imam Sadiq (as) said, "The Qaem will ascend the pulpit and promise the people that I will tread the path of the Holy Prophet (saw) amongst you and act in the same manner as the Holy Prophet (saw)."
      (Behar, volume 13, page 190, tradition 191 old ed.)

    • Imam Mohammed Baqir (as) said, "The Qaem will invite Sufiyani to Islam on the basis of the book of Allah (Quran) and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (saw). He will initially accept the invitation, but later, he will be deviated.
      (Behar, volume 13, page 192 tradition 191 old ed.)


The Mahdi of Islam will not arise with a new religion. He will follow and strengthen Islam on the basis of the Quran and Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (saw). His invitation to the people will be on these elements only. In no way will he abrogate Islam or bring a new book to abrogate the Quran. In fact, both the Quran and traditions are clear that Islam is the final religion from Allah and will remain in force till the Day of Judgement.

These prophecies about the Mahdi do not suit the Bab as he claimed to have brought a religion which is superior to Islam and a new book superior to the Quran. It is also be be noted that the "religion" of the Bab was incomplete at the time of his death as was his "revelation". Even his Shariah remained in force for less than 10 years. Today the books of the Bab are lost (at least that is what the Bahais claim).

Compare this with the Quran which has remained unaltered in words since its revelation over 1,400 years ago. True, social factors may have created differences in the Muslims regarding its interpretations. This is what the Mahdi of Islam will change. He will unite the people on the interpretation of the Quran as per the interpretation of the Holy Prophet of Islam (saw) and the Holy Imams (as) who followed him.

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