[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]

 

[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets]

[Personal information has been redacted.]

 

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful!

 

[Emblem]

Office of the Honourable Grand Ayatollah Bayat Zanjani

 

Dear respected friend,

Greetings and best wishes; your question along with the response of the religious authority are noted herewith:

 

Question:

 

Greetings; with  wishes of good health for your honour, I hereby inform you that I, the undersigned, am a businessman who has been in a partnership with a Baha'i for quite some time, with whom we are in the business of trade, and with whom I have never had any problems. However, recently a friend showed me an opinion issued by one of Ulama which has left me greatly concerned, and thus I decided to ask for a religious decree from your office in this regard. His exact words are as follows:

"There is no doubt that according to historical documents and other evidence, as well as the religious books of the Baha’i sect, they are non-Muslims and infidels, and those among them who are active in their support, or make efforts to undermine Islam and the Shiites, or spy for foreign nations, are considered Muhareb[1], and in some cases, where their activities are extensive, are considered Mofsed-e Filarz[2]; and are therefore subject to punishment under religious laws.”

 

However, given that I am somewhat familiar with the books on Islamic laws, I referred to some of these resources, including Tafseer Al-Mizan[3] by the late [Ayatollah] Allameh Tabatabaie, who explained the phrase “Waging war against God’ in this way:

 

[Arabic sentence] “One who bears arms to terrorize people;” is a condition and this condition [of bearing arms] is required for being a Muharebeh.  In his interpretation of [the Arabic verse] “Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and who strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none other than that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from the opposite sides [of their bodies] or that they be exiled from the land,”[4] in volume V of afore-mentioned book, page 354, he has explained that waging war without the use of a sword or any other weapon is not considered Muharebeh, inasmuch as it [Muharebeh] would require a threat to security; in addition, acceptance of the repentance of [a person who has been accused of] Muhareb indicates that promoting one’s belief, even polytheism, cannot be considered as Muharebeh.

 

Please clarify for this feeble servant whether you approve of the above fatwa[5] or not. Given that I am pressed to make a quick decision and to know my position, your expedited response would be greatly appreciated.

 

May God protect and safeguard you.

 

Answer:

 

Even though I do not consider Bahaism an independent movement and believe that it is born of colonialism—and of course I believe that the second generation [Baha’is] who are intelligent, educated, and fair-minded would testify to the accuracy of the said statement were they to carefully review the history concerning this issue—I believe, nonetheless, that all Iranians are entitled to their rights as citizens. So long as the individual has not disturbed the security or taken arms, I do not consider him a Muhareb. I recognize the interpretation of our master Allameh Tabatabaie to be in accord with the principles of the Quran and the standards of religious traditions. Moreover, it must be noted that the title of Mofsed-e Filarz certainly does not apply to those who act in accordance with the country's laws, without any violations. Therefore, if you believe that your continued partnership could somehow influence your partner's ideology and lead him towards the Shiite religion, it is best that you continue, otherwise, take a course of action that would strengthen the faith of your co-religionists.

 

[Official stamp] Grand Ayatollah Bayat Zanjani

 

 

 

 

 

[1] [Mohareb: one who wages war against God; Moharbeh: the act of waging war against God]

[2] [Corrupts on Earth]

[3] [An exegesis of the Quran]

[4] [Quran 5:33]

[5] [A legal opinion or decree handed down by an Islamic religious leader]