[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets.]
[Personal information has been redacted.]
[The excerpt below is from the section of the article that pertains to the Baha’i Faith]
[Adapted from website:] Ettelaat Newspaper
[Date:] 5 Mordad 1398 [27 July 2019]
Change in Religion or the World?
Roundtable With the Presence of Professors Mohaghegh-Damad, Dinani, Aavani, Jafarian and Seyyed-Fatemi
In this roundtable, an attempt was made to examine the beginning of Iranians’ encounter with the idea of modernity and development and its reflection in the interpretation of religious ideas. Of course, due to the philosophical tendency of the majority of the members of the Department of Islamic Studies of the Academy of Sciences, this historical issue was returned to its philosophical foundation and turned the second half of the roundtable into a philosophical debate. What follows is a summary of this meeting, which was prepared and edited by Hamed Zare and published in the fifth issue of the Academy of Sciences letter....
Dr. Dinani: I am also a supporter of change and believe that there must be a change in epistemology and ontology. But this change was not and is not the work of Sheikhism. Mamaghani and his senior, Sheikh Ahmad Ahsai wanted to make a change based on human simplicity, and so Baha’ism emerged from within this transformation. Yes, I am in favour of change, but change must be rational. If Avicenna speaks of change, his words are important to me, but the intellectual foundations of the [Sheikhi] thinkers do not allow them to understand evolution.
Mohaghegh-Damad: Basically, change in religion is desirable when it is based on reason. But if this transformation is irrational, the result is always dangerous, because from within that transformation comes a good moral deed.
Dr. Jafarian, what do you mean by change?
Jafarian: The debate is about the principle of change that has occurred in the Islamic world and in the Iranian environment in the nineteenth century. Not to mention that after a long period of experimenting with different general ideas and on the eve of the new era, there was a tendency to change. The only way was to change the general religious teachings. Some people stepped into the field. This movement started from the time of Fath-Ali Shah; however, due to a bad incident, the reins of this transformation fell into the hands of Sheikh Ahmad Ahsai and Seyyed Kazem Rashti, and later they fell into the trap of Babism and Baha’ism. In my opinion, another part of this development was the developments related to the field of religious jurisprudence among the clergymen. They felt that changes were taking place and fattened the religious jurisprudence to respond to them. We have to answer the question: Why did the science of principles suddenly grow so big? One should not look negatively or meaninglessly at the interpretation of this issue. At least one aspect of the debate is this sense of change that drives them to new production in the realm of principles to solve problems.
Dinani: It is natural, because Baha’ism itself came from Haifa (Israel). It is also true that there were Jews in Iran who became Baha’is. Followers of any religion can become Baha’i. It has nothing to do with Judaism. There are followers in Christianity and Islam who have converted to Baha’ism. My point is this: one who accepts change superficially, immorally and in appearance can be a Baha’i.