The Bahai Doubt

The Bahais bring forth a sermon from Imam Ali called Khutbih-i-Tutunjiyyih (Sermon of the Gulf) as a proof for the appearance of a new revelation after Islam.

The following statement from the sermon is of particular interest to the Bahais: "Anticipate ye the Revelation of Him Who conversed with Moses from the Burning Bush on Sinai."

This sermon has been extensively quoted in Bahai writings - The Bab and Bahaullah have made references to it; the heads of the Shaykhi school of thought - Shaykh Ahmed Ahsai and Sayyed Kazim Rashti and even leading Bahai authors like Abul Fadl Golpaygani have made use of this sermon to establish the coming of a new revelation.

Our response - The Shiah Viewpoint

  1. This sermon is available in the book of Hafez Rajab Al Barsi's Mashariq Anwar al-Yaqín fi Asrár Amir Momeneen (printed in Beirut, Dar al-Andalus, 1978, pages 160-170). Which is fine. Except that is it available only and only in this book and no other book of the Shiites. Over the past 1,400 years, no Shiite scholar has ever made even a passing reference to this sermon. Not surprisingly, the Bahais are the only people who have reported it. Interestingly, this sermon is available on Bahai web sites only!

  2. Nahjul Balagha, widely considered to be the most reliable book for the sermonds and sayings of Imam Ali (as) was compiled by Sayyed Razi. The sermon under question does not exist in this book.

  3. Even the exegesis of Nahjul Balagha - Shahr-e-Nahjul Balagha authored by Ibne Abil Hadeed has no reference to this sermon.

  4. No reliable Shiite narrators like Allamah Majlisi, Shaykh Hurre Amili, Shaykh Saduq or Shaykh Mufid have ever reported this sermon or questioned its absence from Nahjul Balagha.

  5. The credibility of the author Hafez Rajab Al Barsi is questionable. Allamah Majlisi (may Allah be pleased with him) states that the books "Masharequl Anwar" and "Alfeen" are written by Hafez Rajab Al Barsi. Allamah Majlisi states that "I do not rely upon those traditions which are reported only through him in his books as his books contain such items which are falsely narrated."

  6. At another place, Shaykh Hurre Amili has reported in his book Wasaelush Shiah that, "The books of Hafez Rajab Al Barsi contain items which are beyond the limits and on many occasions it is seen that he is prone to exaggeration."

  7. None of the Holy Imams who followed Imam Ali have ever made a reference to this sermon.


This sermon is available at only one location - the book of Hafez Rajab Al Bursi. As such, not by prejudice, but going by the principles of establishing the veracity of a tradition, this sermon is disqualified as it is reported by one person only. Not just that, it also finds no place in the Quran or the Sunnah of the Prophet. The Holy Prophet (saw) clearly said that when you evaluate a tradition compare it with the Quran and popular Sunnah, if it is in harmony with it, then accept it or reject it.

All the parties, whether it be Bab or Bahaullah, used the sermon to further their own interests of establishing a new revelation. No Shiite author or narrator of traditions ever reported this sermon.

The credibility of the author, Hafez Rajab Al Barsi, is questionable. The author was prone to exaggeration like the leaders of the Shaykhi school of thought. Noted Shiite scholars denounced the author who reported this sermon.

If the Bahais wish to take traditions from Imam Ali (as), then why are they acknowledging only this sermon. They should read the other sermons of Imam Ali (as) wherein

  • He endorses the finality of Prophethood and Messengership of the Holy Prophet
    (against the principles of the Bahai Faith)

  • He warns us of a physical resurrection
    (against the principles of the Bahai Faith)

  • He informs us of the coming of the Mahdi called Mohammed Ibnil Hasan
    (against the principles of the Bahai Faith)

  • He speaks about Islam being the best and the final revelation from Allah
    (against the principles of the Bahai Faith)

As one can clearly see, everything which Imam Ali (as) prophecised in all his other traditions found freely in Shiite and Sunni books of traditions; all the explanation of the verses of the Quran found in books of traditions is contrary to the basic tenets of the Bahai Faith. Yet ignoring all this, the Bahais talk about one sermon which is reported by an author whose credibility is in doubt.

This approach is reminiscent of the Bahai's "selective" view towards traditions. Either they label all traditions as false and forgeries. Or they choose traditions which are doubtful and claim them as proofs for the Bahai Faith. Given this habit of the Bahais, one needs to be careful while dealing with them in this aspect.

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