Read: Bahaism and Its Claims


Note: Wilson's book is a work of intentional deception. We have included it here for historical and academic interest and will share it with members of the Bahá'í administration or with historians only, to prevent it from being accessed by those without sufficient knowledge of Bahá'í history and thought and thus perpetuating misinformation. For access, please write to the webmaster at .

Scanned by Duane Troxel;
OCR-ed and proofread by Sen McGlinn;
formatted by Jonah Winters


This first electronic version dated 21 July 2000;
see Preface and a caveat, below.



Library of Congress Number: 79--131493



[page 5]

To my Wife

whose love and appreciation
are a constant inspiration
in our far-away home

---------//---------


[page 7]

Contents

    INTRODUCTION .............................................................11


  1. HISTORICAL SKETCH ........................................................17
    The East productive of religions--Imamat--Shiahism, its sects--Sheikhiism--The Bab-Subh i Azal--Bahá Ullah--His policy--His haram--Abdul Bahá--Journey to Occident--Education--Number of Bahá'ís.


  2. THE GENERAL CLAIMS OF BAHAISM ............................................29
    (I) New religion needed--(II) Bahá'ísm that new religion--To supersede Christianity--Doctrines--Bahá God--His Revelation--The Akdas--Conditions of discipleship--Position of Abdul Bahá--(III) Claims superiority to former religions-In founder, books and doctrines-Not superlative--(IV) To be a universal religion--Defects in rites, regulations, calendar, civil government--House of Justice--Alphabet--Universal language.


  3. ITS SPECIFIC CLAIMS ..................................................... 61
    Unification of Mankind--Divisions in Persia--Of Bahá'ís--Compulsory uniformity--One Language-- Peace Movement--History of--Abdul Bahá on war--Bahá'ísm dogmatic and boastful.


  4. BAHAISM AND CHRISTIANITY ................................................ 81
    Antagonistic--Makes Christianity one among many--Abrogates it--Dethrones Christ--Presumes to be Christ's Second Coming--And the fulfillment of prophecy--Bahá'í meeting in Chicago--Method of interpretation--The "Ikan" --Dishonours and belittles the historic Christ.


  5. BAHAISM AND CHRISTIANITY (continued) ................................... 109
    Immortality and sin--Faith in Bahá--Bahá'í Scriptures --Its worship-- Hierarchy-- Substitutes for Baptism and Lord's Supper--Christ's words imitated--Rites -- Ablution -- Fast -- Prayer -- Pilgrimage --Acca Shrines -- Festivals-- Era-- Propaganda anti-Christian.


[page 8]

  1. BAHAISM AND THE STATE .................................................. 131
    Babism political Mahdiism--Hostile to Shah--Insurrections--Bahá'ísm opportunism --Sought reconciliation -- Tolerated -- Indifferent to Constitutional struggle -- Aided reactionary Shah-- Rewarded by him-- Its political scheme-- Houses of Justice-- Dangerous to liberty.


  2. BAHAISM AND WOMAN ...................................................... 149
    Abdul Bahá teaches equality of sexes-- Bahá does not -- Education of girls neglected -- Marriage enjoined -- Bigamy allowed-- And practiced-- Polygamy of Bahá-- His family-- Loose divorce-- Intermarriage of races--Aims at amelioration of woman-- Moslem efforts-- Babi Kurrat ul Ayn-- No successor to-- Bahá's haram-- Men only to be rulers-- Women secluded.


  3. ITS RECORD AS TO MORALS ................................................ 177
    Claim superior conduct-- Falsification of religious history-- Suppression of facts-- Changing sacred Writings-- Surat ul Maluk-- Lawh i Basharat-- Forging quotations-- Perversion of political history-- Of Shahs -- Of plot to assassinate-- False claim to Martyrs-- Double view of Abdul Hamid-- Fact about imprisonment of Bahá -- Tagiya-- Dissimulation-- Orient Occident Unity-- Pretense regarding Azal's succession -- Maskin Kalam.


  4. ITS RECORD AS TO MORALS (continued) .................................... 207
    Boast of Love-- Hatred for Shiahs-- For Persecutors-- For Mullahs-- Abusive language-- Vindictiveness -- Addiction to alcohol and opium--Testimonies.


  5. RELIGIOUS ASSASSINATION ................................................ 219
    Strife between Bahá and Azal in Bagdad-- Bahá goes to Kurdistan-- Dissension at Adrianople-- Testimony of an eye-witness -- Attempted assassinations-- Plots and counter plots-- Bahá'ís assassinate Azalis at Acca-- Otber assassinations-- In Bagdad, in Persia-- Attitude towards taking of life -- Suicide commended -- Psychological attestation-- Traditional custom-- Assassination practiced in Islam-- Testimonies -- Azali hatred.

[page 9]

  1. THE QUARREL OVER THE SUCCESSION ........................................ 247
    Claim to love refuted -- Death of Bahá -- Titles of sons -- Quarrel over will -- Abbas assumes Pontiffship -- Brothers protest -- Bitter schism -- Boycott, anathema --Appeal to Turkish government -- Results in restriction of liberty -- Quarrel and schism in Persia -- In America.


  2. BAHAISM IN AMERICA ..................................................... 263
    First notices of -- Kheiralla -- His converts -- Writings -- An American Azali -- Pilgrims to Acca -- Quarrel and schism -- Abdul Karim -- Abul Fazl -- Methods of propaganda -- Publications -- Orient Occident Unity -- Abdul Bahá visits America -- Press agents -- Photographs, movies -- Addresses -- Attitude of public -- Communion service of Bahá'ís -- Bahá'í Temple, Mashrak ul Azkar -- Memorial vase -- Influence in America -- Chicago congregation -- Number in U. S. A. exaggerated -- Statistics of other religious fads -- Christian liberalism excessive.


    BIBLIOGRAPHY ........................................................... 287


    INDEX................................................................... 291


Preface to the electronic text - by Sen McGlinn.
I have scanned and corrected this work, from the 1970 reprint of the original 1915 edition, because the work has become hard to obtain, at least in Europe. Page numbers are at the top of each page.

      I have not felt that the work warrants the time required to correct the electronic text word-for-word, and the user is warned that there may be minor errors. In particular the footnote numbers in the original are so small, and the layout of the footnotes on the page so various, that there is a good chance that note numbers have been omitted or assigned to the wrong note, although the notes should at least be on the correct page.

      The user should be warned that Wilson's work is frankly hostile and unscientific in its use of sources. The scientific method requires a researcher not only to look for evidence that supports his or her thesis, but also to look for counter-evidence, and to deal with it fairly. Wilson on the other hand seizes on a single citation or piece of historical evidence that can be used to support a negative view, while ignoring ten times as much contrary evidence. After working closely with the text, I have to say that I find it impossible to believe that the author writes in good faith. He must have been aware that he was spreading deliberate distortions. Distortions of this kind have not been remarked on in the text. The user must take this as a general warning. Because of what appears to be a deliberately selective use of sources, no statement made by Wilson about the Bahá'í teachings or history can be relied on.

      There are also errors in good faith, where Wilson has been mislead by a bad translation or has simply not known some fact. In some cases I have added a note in square brackets [** ] by way of amendment. Often the same translation or ignorance has led the Bahá'ís of Wilson's day to the same conclusions, as can be seen in his citations from early Bahá'í authors. A complete inventory of these honest errors is impossible, but I would gladly add any that readers may detect, both to redeem Wilson's reputation as far as can be, and because of the insight it gives us into the materials available to the Bahá'ís of his time and how they were read.

      In many places the author's own doctrinal position and apologetic intent have lead to distorted interpretations and frankly illogical arguments. No effort has been made to point these out, since they are obvious enough. No writer is free of such biases, and (as Islamic theologians often conclude) 'God knows best'.

      Square brackets have been used to mark editorial additions. In the few cases where Wilson himself had used square brackets, these have been changed to parentheses ( ).

Corrections and additional notes regarding errors in Wilson's text can be sent to me at Sen.McGlinn@Bahá'í.NL

Sen McGlinn -- July 2000
  Introduction


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