[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:] 11 Aban 1393 [2 November 2014]

 

Ayatollah Borujerdi, Imam Khomeini and the Struggle Against Baha’i Influence

After the coming to power of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Baha’i sect gained key positions in government and, with the support of colonial governments, adopted various anti-Islamic methods. The role of the clergy, especially Ayatollah Borujerdi, and after him, Imam Khomeini, in the intellectual and legal struggle against this sect, thwarted many of the common goals of the government and the Baha’is.

In terms of the Baha’i Faith, its beliefs about topics such as monotheism, prophethood and resurrection are practically the opposite of what is the common belief of all Islamic sects, to the extent that they consider their leaders to have the status of prophethood and Resalat [term referring to a Messenger of God similar to a Prophet] and consider the religion of Islam as an abrogated religion whose mission is over. The role of the clergy and informed authorities, especially Ayatollah Borujerdi and after him, Imam Khomeini, in the intellectual and legal struggle against this sect, thwarted many of the common goals of the government and Baha’is.

The main question of the research is how the Baha’is could achieve their goals in spreading and promoting Baha’ism. The author’s hypothesis is that they sought to achieve their ideals through two methods of influencing the Pahlavi court and opposition to Islam. Undoubtedly, if it were not for the obvious scientific and practical fight of the religious scholars against them, today, Baha’ism would have grown and spread as much as Wahhabism, and taken its place in the Islamic world.

In this study, after a brief account of the views of Baha’i leaders, the two issues of Baha’i influence over the [royal] court and their anti-Islamism, which has been the main cause of opposition, are briefly examined. Then, the propaganda-political struggles of the two Shiite marja-i-taqlid [religious jurisprudence authority] Ayatollah Borujerdi and Imam Khomeini, will be analyzed in this regard.

Attention to the intellectual deviations of the two main leaders of the Baha’i sect, namely the Bab and Baha’u’llah, especially their beliefs in the field of monotheism, prophethood and resurrection, can explain the importance of the insistence of Islamic scholars on combating them.

The culmination of the struggle of clerics and marja-i-taqlid against this sect was in the Pahlavi era, in which Ayatollah Borujerdi and Imam Khomeini (PBUH) had a clear and unequivocal role.

 

Positions of Ayatollah Borujerdi

Mr. Vaezzadeh, a student of the imam and Ayatollah Borujerdi, who witnessed many of the political events of that time, said, “The fight against the Baha’is was originally started by Ayatollah Borujerdi, who takes the Baha’i threat very seriously. After returning from Najaf, he started his struggle in Borujerd, during the years when the perverse Baha’i sect had intensified its activities in Borujerd, particularly in government offices. Ayatollah Borujerdi diligently resisted and left the city in protest. In a short period of time, the news of his departure caused the people of the city and surrounding areas to demonstrate and gather in the telegraph office. After seeing this situation, the government felt threatened and tried to make him return to the city. He returned to the city as soon the open circles and assemblies of Baha’is were closed and the perverse people [Baha’is] were dismissed from the city administration.

After he settled in Qom at the invitation of the clerics, he first took action through propaganda, guidance and warnings activities. Ayatollah Borujerdi, during the holy month of Ramadan [April/May], went to the pulpit for a whole month and spoke about the Mahdi, the Lord of the Age, quoting Sunni and Shiite scholars and rejecting the Baha’i views. According to Ayatollah Jafar Sobhani, in 1331 [1952/1953] he also sent a group of the scholars of that time to Faridan in Isfahan to neutralize the Baha’i propaganda. This stage of his struggle took place during the government of Prime Minister Razmara and at the beginning of the rise of Baha’is.

After Razmara, Dr. Mossadegh became the prime minister; this was at the time when the Baha’is rose to a higher and more powerful position.

At this time, the late Falsafi conveyed the message and warnings of Ayatollah Borujerdi to Mossadegh. He said, “You are the head of the Islamic State of Iran; now that the Baha’is are active in the cities and creating problems for the Muslim people, and the complaint letters regularly reach Ayatollah Borujerdi, he thought it was necessary for you to take action.”

Dr. Mossadegh laughed out loud and said sarcastically, “In my opinion, Mr. Falsafi, there is no difference between a Muslim and a Baha’i. They are all from the same nation and Iranian.”

In Tir 1334 [June/July 1955], in another letter to the prime minister, in a logical but decisive and serious tone, Ayatollah Borujerdi pointed out to him his incomplete follow-up in implementing his views on the Baha’is. He also stated that his letter to the shah involved finding a solution and had said to the shah that if existing laws were not addressing the issue then necessary laws needed to be approved by the parliament, so that previous actions of this sect are not repeated.

On 20 Ordibehesht [10 May], an interview with him was published in the Kayhan Newspaper. In this interview, he ordered, “All Baha’is should be dismissed from government offices and national enterprises as soon as possible, and the government should ask both houses of parliament to pass a bill to expel all Baha’is from the country.”

He also issued an Istifta [religious advice] in response to a question about dealing with Baha’is, which said, “It is necessary for Muslims to abandon all forms of association, communication and dealing with this sect.”

On 28 Shahrivar 1328 [19 September 1949], in a letter to Mr. Falsafi, Ayatollah Borujerdi wrote, “Creating influence and strengthening this sect is intentional and not a mistake, and inadvertent demonstrations that are rarely seen against them are just hypocrisy and deception of the truth and not the truth.”

When the late Falsafi decided to expose in his speeches the danger of Baha’is’ infiltrating the administration of the country―speeches that were broadcast live on the radio station in Ramadan 1334 [April/May 1956]―he consulted with Ayatollah Borujerdi. After receiving the consent and order of the ayatollah, he informed the shah.

One day after the occupation of the Haziratu’l-Quds—the Baha’i community and propaganda centre—by the Tehran Military Governorate, on Sunday, 17 Ordibehesht 1334 [8 May1955], Ayatollah Borujerdi wrote a letter to Mr. Falsafi in which he praised Mr. Falsafi for his speeches and emphasized his continued fight and serious confrontation against the Baha’is.

According to the author, the decade of the thirties should be named the decade of Ayatollah Borujerdi’s struggles against the Baha’i sect, who fought not on the ordinary front, but on the front that seemed to have complex internal and external colonial support; as mentioned before, they intended nothing but the complete destruction of the Shiite religious culture.

In fact, this is one of the most prominent historical examples of the brilliance of the Shiite authority in preserving the essence of Islam and Shiism, which was similar to the tobacco ban by the late, great Mirza Shirazi, during the reign of Naser al-Din Shah Qajar. Even in the opinion of the author, this action was in every way beyond the aforementioned and similar cases. Since the issue here goes directly back to the beliefs and the religious roots of the people, as noted earlier, the Baha’is considered Islam to be practically an obsolete and outdated religion, denying the Khatamiat[1] and Mahdism, and in this regard, without any consideration, they propagated and promoted this self-made vision.

 

The Positions of Imam Khomeini (PBUH)

After the death of Ayatollah Borujerdi in 1340 [1961/1962], Imam Khomeini (PBUH) exposed the common plots of Baha’is and the Pahlavi regime that were carried out with the support of the colonial governments. In fact, this was at the time when Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi sent condolences for the death of Ayatollah Borujerdi in a telegram to the scholars of Najaf, in order to weaken the power of the [Shiite] authority in Iran and to ignore them.

In 1341 [1962/1963], Imam Khomeini called the perverse Baha’i sect a political party. In fact, the imam’s struggles culminated in the passage of the Municipal and Provincial Associations Act, which removes the barriers for Baha’is to participate in all positions; because in this law, the three restrictions of being a man, being a Muslim and only swearing by the Quran, were abolished, which were all according to the wishes of the Baha’is.

For this reason, in a letter to Asadollah Alam, Imam Khomeini warned him about equating the Quran with other religious books. He said, “If you think that by the force of a few days, you can replace the Holy Quran with the Avesta of Zoroaster, the Bible and some perverse books, and have decided to annul the legality formalization of the Holy Quran, the only great book of the hundreds of millions of Muslims in the world, and want to renew antiquity, you are very wrong.”

It was only after this that he warned the Iranian nation of the danger of the Baha’is. His warning was, “I declare danger to the nation of Iran and the Muslims of the world, according to my religious duty. The Holy Quran and Islam are in danger. The independence of the country and the economy are under the control of the Zionists, who appeared in Iran in the form of the Baha’i Party. It will not be long before, with this deadly silence of the Muslims, they take over the whole economy of this country with the approval of their agents and they annihilate the Muslim nation from existence in all matters. The imam also strongly opposes the publication of the equal rights of men and women in the calendar, which is the opinion of Abdu’l-Baha and is derived from the Western humanist ideas. In 1342 [1963/1964], in a message addressed to the religious clergy of Yazd, he said, “There are many sensitive posts in the hands of this sect (Baha’is) who are really Israeli agents. The Iranian television station is a Jewish spy base.”

Imam Khomeini was well aware of the Baha’is’ betrayal of the country and their relationship with Israel. In 1343 [1964/1965], during a meeting between him and students of the University of Tehran in Qom, he made speeches that, above all, show both the current situation in relation to the government and the goals of the struggle. He said, “The goal is greater than the release of some people. The goal must be considered; the goal is Islam, the independence of the country, and the rejection of Israeli (Baha’is) agents. Now that the whole economy of the country is in the hands of Israel, Israeli agents (Baha’is) have taken over the economy of Iran. Most factories are run by them, Television, Arj [Factory], Pepsi Cola [Plant], ... you have to compress the queues. These are the agents of colonialism. Colonialism must be eradicated.”

Imam Khomeini believed that some principles of the imperial regime are in harmony with the Baha’i ideology. He said, “Some of its principles, such as the absolute equality of the rights of men and women, are derived from the opinion of Abbas Effendi. He warned that the Muslim nation would not remain silent until these dangers are eliminated, and anyone who keeps silent will be responsible… before God Almighty.”

Hence, during the uprising of 15 Khordad [5 June], the houses and shops belonging to the Baha’is were attacked by the people. After this incident, the Baha’is, seeing the dire situation created against them, redoubled their efforts to achieve their goals and, in fact, to strengthen their position. I see the most extreme stance of the imam, where he considers the silence of the people, clergy and seminaries a deadly silence, and incites them to take a stand: “Woe to this country, woe to this ruling body, woe to this world, woe to us, woe to these silent clergy, woe to this silent Najaf, this silent Mashhad! This deadly silence causes this country and our honours to be trampled by Baha’is under the boot of Israel ....”

Imam Khomeini’s campaign against the Baha’is, in addition to complementing Ayatollah Borujerdi’s actions, had several important points. First, in this way, the honour and dignity of the Qom School of Theology and the maraj-i-taqlid [religious jurisprudence authorities] were well preserved, and the plan of the Pahlavi government for the transfer of authority from Qom to Najaf was in vain. Secondly, the imam emphasized that the Baha’is were nothing more than a [political] party and, in fact, a puppet, and he declared that the United States of America and Israel are against the Iranian people, which was the biggest blow to the government and the Baha’is. Lastly, the imam brought the people to the forefront in the fight against the Baha’is, as exemplified by the 15 Khordad [5 June] uprising, and he himself accepted all the hardships of this struggle, from arrest to numerous and long deportations, so that the series of these movements in Bahman 1357 [January/February 1979], with the victory of the Islamic Revolution, led to the fundamental eradication of the Baha’is.

 

 

[1] [Khatamiat:  This is an Islamic doctrine that Prophet Mohammad was the last “Messenger of God” and there will be no more “Messenger of God”.]