When the next prophet comes?

Discussion in 'Baha'i' started by iBrian, Apr 15, 2004.

  1. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Something that occured to me - how will the Baha'i movement recognise it's next prophet?

    And after 1000 years, if there is no apparent manifestation, then what will Baha'i movement do then?

    After all, many other religions tend to be waiting for a "new manifestation" to appear.

    Will Baha'is join them in re-interpreting texts to account for the lack of show by such a figure?
     
  2. 9Harmony

    9Harmony goin' with the flow...

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    Hi Brian,

    For one thing our writings state that it will be at least 1000 years, so this leaves the door wide open it may in fact be 2000 years before the next one appears. As Baha'i's we hope that we will be more mature spiritually to be able to recognize the next manifestation, but God always tests His servants. None of us will be here when it happens so it is all mere speculation. We just hope humanity as a whole will have progressed to the point that we will be more open to it when it happens.

    Loving Greetings, Harmony
     
  3. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    How will they recognize the next prophet?

    We have a recent case history to provide of how people receive the new Manifestation. We Baha'is really accept two Manifestations of God in both the Bab and Baha'u'llah, however our laws and so on are from Baha'u'llah and based on the Aqdas...rather than on the laws and ordinances of the Bayan the Holy Book revealed by the Bab.

    But between 1850 and 1863 some Babis other than Baha'u'llah claimed themselves to be the One whom God would make manifest promised by the Bab... Some Babis rejected Baha'u'llah outright and some returned to Islam.

    So you can examine that record and see how it played out...

    - Art
     
  4. QueryGuy

    QueryGuy A guy who's Baha'i

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    I don't know. I don't think anyone does, not with a certainty that means much anyway.


    I think Harmony's post above gives the most likely future explanation for a lack of a new Manifestation--regardless of whether or not one shows up. :)

    QG
     
  5. smkolins

    smkolins Bahá'í

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    legacy

    To which I all agree - but I would add that we are somewhat used to the idea that a Prophet may come which takes some time to find and indeed may spend his entire life relatively obscure.

    I would also add that it is possible each of us could leave a legacy which makes that future of a people who largely passes the test of God more or less likely, or who at least is remembered by the Prophet - like Rumi and Attar.

    Happy Twelfth Day of Ridvan!
     
  6. smkolins

    smkolins Bahá'í

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    a legacy

    To which I all agree - but I would add that we are somewhat used to the idea that a Prophet may come which takes some time to find and indeed may spend his entire life relatively obscure.

    I would also add that it is possible each of us could leave a legacy which makes that future of a people who largely passes the test of God more or less likely, or who at least is remembered by the Prophet - like Rumi and Attar.
     
  7. Pathless

    Pathless Fiercely Interdependent

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    This is an interesting question and one that was in the back (or maybe even front) of my mind when I started my Baha'i/Ananda Marga post. Barefootgal mentioned in that thread that she wasn't clear what I was looking for when I posted that thread. If I may, I would like to clarify that now: I was wondering how Bahais reconciled the fact that there are other religious or spiritual movements out there that have originated since the time of Baha'u'llah which also have spiritual leaders that are regarded similarly by their own followers as Baha'u'llah is. Ananda Marga was used as an example because of my familiarity with it, but of course there are other similar new religious movements.

    So, that was my intention in starting the post; I was wondering if Bahai adherence to the porphecy of 1000 years could possibly blind them to the appearance of another divine manifestation, although this purpose I believe was lost as people reacted more to my disrespectful tone than to my intent or question. And again, I apologize for that disrespect. There is no excuse, but a bad reaction to my own experiences led me to express myself in that way... at any rate, I am still left to wonder, similarly but yet different to Brian's question: what if the next manifestation comes before 1000 years? Will Bahais be able to recognize it? Or is it simply regarded as impossible because of the set-in-stone nature of Baha'u'llah's prophecy?
     
  8. BruceDLimber

    BruceDLimber Baha'i

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    Baha'is trust Baha'u'llah's Word on this.

    Bruce
     
  9. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    No one doubts that in the next eight hundred tears or so there will be many spiritual leaders and movements... The world needs more spiritually advanced individuals not less in the centuries to come and in fact Baha'i Writings say that the future civilization will be spiritually based!

    Baha'is though also accept that the concept of a Manifestation of God us one that can only be uniquely filled Someone Who will meet that criteria... They will bring additional divinely revealed scripture and introduce a new advance in civilization just as Baha'u'llah has done...

    - Art
     
  10. Pathless

    Pathless Fiercely Interdependent

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    Thanks, Art, for the reply. Now I am left wondering, though, what the criteria for judging divinely revealed scripture and a new advance in civilization would be.

    Also, what I understand you and other Bahais as saying is that any spiritual leader or teacher who comes into the world before the 1000 years is up is automatically assumed to be spiritually derivative of Baha'u'llah and therefore unable to produce divinely revealed scripture and/or a new advance in civilization. Have I got that right or did I misinterpret?
     
  11. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    Part of your dilemma may be in understanding the concept of a Manifestation of God in the Baha'i Writings... Once you understand that you'll better understand the criteria involved....So I'll refer you to an essay by Julio Savi:

    http://bahai-library.com/books/quest/quest.06.html

    which contains some of the important concepts and criteria....

    - Art
     
  12. smkolins

    smkolins Bahá'í

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    Art's reference is indeed detailed in answer to these ideas and questions but there is something comparable in religious history. You have Moses and Isaiah (if I haven't mixed my dates) - what Baha'is call a Greater Prophet and a Lesser Prophet. But even then you can have relationships among Greater Prophets and Lesser Prophets under one Greater Prophet to other Greater or Lesser Prophets.

    Therefore it is unclear what "spiritually derivative" means. Jesus "came to fulfill the Law," not to break it. Whose judgement counts?
     
  13. kkawohl

    kkawohl Well-Known Member

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    Messengers of God are often spurned unless that messenger claims to be a member of THEIR religion. Islam, Bahaism, Sikhism and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Communities could combine their resources and be the leaders of a new vision of unity. Yet it is ironic that these four faiths who have been founded by the latest messengers of God battle amongst themselves for the right to be the correct one.

    Please peruse the Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam.
    http://www.alislam.org/books/philosophy/index.html

    In The Philosophy of the Oaths of the Holy Qur’an paragraph 7 & 8 state:

    As six hundred years had passed after the time of Jesus, and no recipient of
    revelation had appeared during the interval. The whole world had been
    corrupted. The history of every country shows that before the advent of the
    Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, falsehood had become
    current throughout the world. Why did this happen? This happened because
    divine revelation had been held back for a long time and the kingdom of
    heaven had fallen into the hands of human reason alone. No one is unaware of
    the corruption in which the people were involved by following defective
    reason. Thus when the rain of revelation did not descend for a period, the
    water of reason dried up.

    So in these oaths God Almighty draws attention to this firm and eternal law
    of nature and calls for reflection upon it that all the vegetation of the
    earth depends upon the water of heaven. Thus, for the hidden law that
    governs divine revelation the obvious law of nature is a witness. Then try
    to derive benefit from the testimony of this witness and do not make reason
    alone your guide, for it is not a water that can continue without heavenly
    water. As it is a characteristic of heavenly water that it pulls up the
    water of all the wells, whether it falls directly into a well or not, in the
    same way, when a recipient of divine revelation appears in the world then,
    whether a wise person follows him or not, reason is illumined and clarified
    to a degree not witnessed before. People begin to search for the truth and
    their faculty of reflection is stirred up from the unseen. Thus, all this
    upsurge of reason and of the heart is initiated by the blessed advent of the
    recipient of divine revelation and the waters of the earth are pulled up by
    it. So, when you find that everyone has started a search for religion and an
    upsurge has stirred earthly waters, then rise up and be warned and know for
    certain that heavy rain has fallen from heaven and that the water of divine
    revelation has fallen upon a human heart.

    Kurt
     
  14. barefootgal9

    barefootgal9 Baha'i

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    Greetings & Welcome Kurt!

    I think we're pretty much in agreement with the spirit of the essay you posted.

    I'm confused by your links, however. Are you an Ahmadist - which, I presume, as it claims to be "true Islam" - would postulate absolute monotheism. (BTW, I tried to read further on that site, but the links in the Ahmadiyyeh section didn't seem to work. Maybe I'm supposed to register? Buy the book?)

    but your own articles would seem to postulate that God and His creatures are the same - ie, God is a composite of souls.

    The two concepts of Deity seem quite contradictory.

    Have you read much about Baha'i? Or any of Baha'u'llah's writings?

    How do you believe unity among the religions can be accomplished?
     
  15. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    A few comments on the next Messenger of God:

    kkawohl wrote:

    Messengers of God are often spurned unless that messenger claims to be a member of THEIR religion. Islam, Bahaism, Sikhism and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Communities could combine their resources and be the leaders of a new vision of unity. Yet it is ironic that these four faiths who have been founded by the latest messengers of God battle amongst themselves for the right to be the correct one.

    Reply:

    Just thought I'd comment briefly a few things you wrote....

    The Baha'is are not battling with Sikhs, Ahmadis or Moslems... There are no pamphlets attacking these religions from Baha'is.

    As to combining resources...I'm unsure what you are suggesting. We do work with other religious groups especially on Inter-Faith Councils and sometimes collaborate on mutually agreed objectives.

    Nor are Baha'is saying the next Messenger of God will be a "member of their religion".

    What we know about the next Messenger can be summed up as follows:

    "Each Messenger in the series is part of God's great plan: they each arise at the place and time where they are most needed. There is always a link from one to the next, usually in the form of prophecies which are fulfilled by the following Messenger. These prophecies form another covenant which is between the Messenger and His followers:

    "The Lord of the universe hath never raised up a Prophet nor hath He sent down a Book unless He hath established His covenant with all men, calling for their acceptance of the next Revelation and of the next Book."

    Bahá'u'lláh has promised that the next Messenger will come after not less than a thousand years.

    "This is the changeless Faith of God, eternal in the past, eternal in the future."

    We must always watch out for the next Messenger and be ready to accept Him (or Her). Purity of heart is needed. Unfortunately it is often those who hold positions of authority in a religion who fail to recognise the new Messenger when He comes.

    Each religion has a springtime when it grows and spreads rapidly, a summer when it flourishes and its influence produces a new degree of civilisation, an autumn when it begins to decline or become corrupt, and a winter when belief is lost and it has hardly any influence for good in the world. It is at this time that the religion is refreshed and renewed by a new Messenger."

    - From a Baha'i pamphlet

    - Art
     
  16. kkawohl

    kkawohl Well-Known Member

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    Here is a response from the Baha'i Faith at Beliefnet with which I agree.
    http://www.beliefnet.com/boards/message_list.asp?boardID=5608&discussionID=317607
    Kurt, the Baha'i teachings agree with you on several points. As I see it, they are:

    - religion should be rational
    - science (one of the aspects of rationality) and religion are two ways of looking at truth. They should agree
    - God is one
    - The major religions of the world are have been given to humanity in a progressive format (like grades in school) to educate humanity about God. As humanity has passed through childhood and adolescence, its ideas about God have matured. Today, as humanity enters its maturity, it is ready for the message that God has been preparing us for.
    - Since the messengers of each major religion were sent by God, they are all in agreement on the basics. Where they usually differ is in the rules for society at the time to protect the people. Most other differences are due to interpretation or misunderstanding of what the messengers said.
    - The characteristics that we develop in order to follow the teachings of the messengers are the same: kindness, love of one another, care for the poor, etc.
    --------------
    If the medieval practices and the medieval beliefs of Christianity, Judaism and Islam that are based on superstitions were eliminated, then we could start building a rational and logical belief system that is based on truth and an understanding of spirituality. This is the value of truthfulness and rationality.

    As time passes and when people eventually transcend their religious prejudices they will no longer say, “I am a Jew, a Muslim, a Christian”; then they will say “I am a Jewish Transcendentalist, a Muslim Transcendentalist, a Christian Transcendentalist”; and thereafter they will say “I am a Transcendentalist”.

    IMHO, Bahaism could be the uniting force between religions if they would be open to a more modern concept of who/what God is. God is spiritual and will not interfere in the affairs of mankind. This is God's new message. Can mankind accept this? Eventually man will also understand that God NEVER has interfered with anything in this physical universe. Then rationality & logic can prevail in religions.

    [ADMIN EDIT: link removed]

    Namaste,
    Kurt
     
  17. kkawohl

    kkawohl Well-Known Member

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    Hi Art, it is not that they are attacking each other, but each insists that their messenger was more correct than the others. ALL must realize that the Ultimate Truth is indecipherable by the human mind and can only be divulged to the spirit which also often misinterprets its meaning, hence we have various religions and beliefs.

    Namaste,
    Kurt
     
  18. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    kkawohl -

    Could you please explain why you have linked to a a Google search for your alias name in post #11?
     
  19. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    I think Kurt what defines a prophet from our view would be an important consideration... People can have visions and intimations and are seers or they can also be inspired by their spiritual traditions to express beautiful poetic and sometimes philosophic writings that can have a lot of merit.... I think in some ways the Sikh Gurus fall in this category for us... Kabir for instance had a spiritual and poetic vision not unlike many Sufi masters such as Rumi and Attar and so on... We Baha'is applaud these efforts and actually you will find Rumi, Hafiz and Attar among those quoted in the Writings of Baha'u'llah.

    What defines a Manifestation of God for us is a different matter from someone who maybe inspired or have visions... as important as these may be... The next Manifestation of God for us has certain criteria which includes innate knowledge... and has unique teachings which will be critical for the advancement of humanity in the age to come. We believe a world civilization based on spiritual principles will be the ultimate outcome of many of teh struggles we see today... So there is along with the expected future dispensation important social and spiritual principles that will unite the human race...

    A few additional comments might be also in order here because you referred to the Ahmadiyyih movement in your previous post:

    The Ahadiyyih movement is or at least claims to be still within Islam and hopes to reform it although it is viewed as heretical by many Moslems.

    I have not seen any official Baha'i position regarding the Ahadiyyih movement. While I've corresponded from time with some Ahmadis, as Baha'is we don't recognize the writings of Gulam as authoritative for us.... as they have differing views of prophecy and interpretation of the Qur'an.

    Our views on Jesus having survived the crucifixion vary with them as they believe Jesus died in Kashmir.

    Baha'is work with Sikhs and Ahmadis at Inter-faith gatherings and on those areas where we agree, we support the same things. But I also believe that Sikhs and Ahmadis have their own cherished perspectives just as many Christians, Buddhists and Jews do.... The challenge is finding ways we can all work together to build strong communities and appreciate our unique qualities. Baha'is don't believe that the future of religion will be monolithic, locked step or coerced... rather we accept diversity and pluralism.

    - Art
     
  20. BruceDLimber

    BruceDLimber Baha'i

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    This is untrue.

    While I can't speak for all the groups you mention, I know that the Qur'an restricts warfare to defensive warfare only (though some followers ignore this), and the Baha'i Faith prohibits aggression and waging war outright!

    So for example, I don't think you can properly speak of Baha'is "battling" anyone!

    Peace,

    Bruce
     

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