[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:] Fars News Agency
[Date:] 21 Mordad 1393 [12 August 2014]
The Place of Mahdism in the Thought of Muslim Elites in the Period of Modernity
It seems that one of the grounds for increasing instrumental Mahdism and connection with Imam Mahdi [the Lord of the Age] in the Qajar era, and why sects such as Babism and Baha’ism were able to penetrate among some people, was the use of the Iranian context in this period and the situation that modernity created in Iran.
In [the condition of] people like Husayn Ali Mirza [sic], the effects of modernism from innovation could be seen. Regarding Husayn Ali Mirza, as a result of gaining a special position among the Babis, according to Sheikh Ahmad Rouhi and Aga Khan Kermani, gradually, some of the effects of modernity―indulgence, ostentatious behaviour, selfishness and haughtiness―became apparent in Baha’u’llah’s condition, and some of the forerunners ... who were alarmed to see this situation, threatened Baha’u’llah. (Najafi, 1357: 309)
Also, Baha’ism, at the beginning of its movement, was able to rely on concepts of Mahdism and attract the attention of people, confused and tired of the situation of the time, who knew that the solution to the problems was the advent of [the promised] Imam Mahdi. Hence, the leaders of the groups in the Qajar period, from Sheikhism to Baha’ism, using concepts of Mahdism, such as advocacy, fourth pillar, gate to Imam, Imamate and other concepts, created deviant beliefs and connected themselves to revelation using the concept of Mahdism, and considered themselves to [be recipients of] divine revelation and heavenly assistance.
The Babis and Baha’is were supporters of Western interests and policies in Iran, and the situation resulting from the elements of modernism in Iran gave them the courage to learn this heresy about religions, and they began their movement with claims of Mahdisim: Babi and Azali and Baha’i leaders ... redoubled their reliance on foreign embassies, in order to carry out plans and conspiracies that, on the one hand, boost their business and, on the other hand, satisfy foreign actors and policymakers, under the auspices of foreign policies.
While continuing the Babi movement, the Baha’is were aware of the potential for discussion of Mahdism among the people and used it to consolidate their position, and they were not without the support of Western countries such as Britain and Russia. In times of danger and crisis, they used the help of the people and Shia scholars, as the thoughts and ideas of the Baha’i and Azali sects in the Qajar period were very pleasing to the two great countries of Russia and Britain, and these countries competed for support of and power over these sects.