الاسلام والدين البهائي

Islam and the Bahá’í Faith

Rejection of the New Religion

"Do men think when they say `We believe' they shall be let alone and not be put to proof?" - [Qur'an 29:2]

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It has always been the wont of people to reject the new Messengers of God, and the Religions they bring. This has happened to every Messenger:

"Ah! Alas for (My) Servants! There comes not a messenger to them but they mock him!" - [Qur'an 36:30]

"But if they reject you, so indeed were rejected before you apostles who came with clear arguments and scriptures and the illuminating book." - [Qur'an 3:184]

".. and every nation purposed to seize their Messenger and argued falsely, (thinking) thereby to refute the Truth. " - [Qur'an 40:5]

It should be worthwhile to contemplate on the reasons why this has been the case, notwithstanding the clear evidence presented by the Messengers, and notwithstanding the fact that in most cases, the followers of the earlier religions, were fully expecting the coming of the new Messenger, and were ardently praying to God to hasten His advent.

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When we study the sacred books of all religions, and specially the Qur'an (and also to some extent the history books), we begin to see patterns and find clues to the reasons for such rejection and opposition. Hopefully, becoming aware of these reasons, and understanding them, would help us avoid making the same mistakes, which we condemned the generations of old for.

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One of the reasons for this rejection, may have been the fear of being mislead by a false prophet (dajjal or anti-christ). This issue has been addressed in a different section on this web site.

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The point which needs to come across, is that we should not let such fears prevent us from searching for the true Messenger. We should not "throw the baby, out with the bath water" as the saying goes.

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People have rejected the Prophets and Messengers of the past when they (the people) failed to pass God's tests of their belief, (and failed to even recognize that they were being tested):

"Do men think when they say `We believe' they shall be let alone and not be put to proof ?" - [Qur'an 29:2]

At the time of Noah (PBUH), people (including members of His own family) were tested in their belief, when time after time, the promised flood did not come and was delayed. This kind of test, of delay, or non-fulfillment of promise or prophecy (known as bidA' in Arabic), caused many followers of many Prophets to waver in their faith and to reject the Prophet or Messenger of their time.

At the time of Moses (PBUH), people failed a different test when they did not want to accept Him because He had killed a man prior to receiving the Revelation of God. When Moses came unto Pharaoh to deliver the divine Message, Pharaoh said to Him:

"And you did that deed of yours which you did [killed a man], and you are one of the ungrateful. He said: I did it then while I was of those unable to see the right course;" - [Qur'an 26:19-20]

At the time of Jesus (PBUH), the greatest test was that His mother was not married at the time she carried Him. And one test at the time of Muhammad (PBUH), was when some people stopped following Him when He changed the direction of the Qiblah.

Could God not have prevented Moses from killing a man. or brought up Jesus of a known father, or sent the floods on time for Noah's people? Yet, if it were made easy to recognize the Messenger and to believe, how then are the sincere who strive in the path of God, to be distinguished from the unbelievers?

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Yet another reason that caused the rejection of the Messengers, was that it was hard for the people to see someone from amongst themselves, like themselves in many ways, someone they have known since childhood, without earthly authority or wealth or special powers, lay on them such an extraordinary claim:

"And they say: What is the matter with this Messenger that he eats food and goes about in the markets; why has not an angel been sent down to him, so that he should have been a warner with him?" - [Qur'an 25:7]

Not only that, but laws and rituals cherished by people for a long time were changed and abrogated much to the dislike and resentment of the people, leading them to revile and persecute and even kill many of God's Messengers and Prophets:

"That whenever there comes to you An Apostle with what ye yourselves desire not, ye are puffed up with pride Some ye called impostors and others ye slay." - [Qur'an 2:87]

All believers should recognize that "Verily God doeth whatsoever He willeth, and ordaineth whatsoever He pleaseth.", and yet all His laws and ordinances are only for our own protection and benefit, and when he changes them, He does so for our own good, as he stands in no need for any of His creatures.

"None of Our revelations Do we abrogate or cause to be forgotten, But We substitute Something better or similar:" - [Qur'an 2:106]

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One of the most serious causes ever for such rejection, vilification and persecution of these Essences of purity, and Conveyers of God's Will, has been the rejection and the opposition of the priests, the clergy, and the divines of the previous religions, to the new Light and the new Message.

Whether for power or for lust for leadership, or out of ignorance and failure to understand the verses of God, they always condemned the new Messenger, heaped atrocities upon Him, and did all that was in their power to discredit Him and cause Him pain and suffering. Their positions of leadership on the one hand, and the ignorance of the masses, their blind loyalty and obedience on the other, caused the multitudes of people to fall into the abyss of disobedience to God, and like unsuspecting sheep allowed themselves to be lead to the wilderness of error:

"Oh our lord ! Indeed we obeyed our chiefs and our great ones, and they misled us from the way of God." - [Qur'an 33:67]

"But if you obey most men in the land they misled thee." - [Qur'an 6:116]

The priests and clergy took upon themselves the interpretation of the allegorical (mutashabihat) among the verses of God even though it is clearly forbidden to do so:

"He it is Who has revealed the Book to you; some of its verses are decisive, they are the basis of the Book, and others are allegorical; then as for those in whose hearts there is perversity they follow the part of it which is allegorical, seeking to mislead and seeking to give it (their own) interpretation. but none knows its interpretation except Allah, and those who are firmly rooted in knowledge say: We believe in it, it is all from our Lord; and none do mind except those having understanding." - [Qur'an 3:7]

"Move not thy tongue concerning the (Qur'an) to make haste therewith. It is for Us to collect it and to promulgate it: But when We have promulgated it, follow thou its recital (as promulgated): Nay more, it is for Us to explain it (and make it clear)." - [Qur'an 75: 16-19]

"Nay, they charge with falsehood that whose knowledge they cannot compass, even before the elucidation thereof hath reached them: thus did those before them make charges of falsehood: but see what was the end of those who did wrong! Of them there are some who believe therein, and some who do not: and thy Lord knoweth best those who are out for mischief. If they charge thee with falsehood, say: "My work to me, and yours to you! ye are free from responsibility for what I do, and I for what ye do!" - [Qur'an 10:39-41]

"And pursue not that of which thou hast no knowledge; for every act of hearing, or of seeing or of (feeling in) the heart will be inquired into (on the Day of Reckoning)." - [Qur'an 17:36-7]

They misunderstood the meanings and caused the people to go astray. It was the priests of pharaoh's court who fought Moses, and the rabbis who rejected Christ and conspired to have Him killed. It was the priests of the Ka'bah, the scholars and missionaries of Christianity, and the rabbis who stood against the truth of Islam reaching the congregations, by their preaching against it and distorting its teachings in their books. How careful must we be today, not to fall in the same traps and make the same mistakes, specially when we learn of the warnings by the Prophet (PBUH):

Abu Sa'id al-Khudri reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: You would tread the same path as was trodden by those before you inch by inch and step by step so much so that if they had entered into the hole of the lizard, you would follow them in this also. We said: Allah's Messenger, do you mean Jews and Christians (by your words) "those before you"? He said: Who else (than those two religious groups)? - [Sahih Muslim, Hadith 6448]

Related to this, is the issue of imitating the parents and the forefathers, and adhering to a particular religion solely through inheriting it.

Sincere followers of any religion should be able to truthfully answer questions like these: " Would we have still found and followed this religion, had we been born to different parents in a different part of the world? Would I have been a follower of this religion, if I had been taught differently all my life, or if I never had a chance to hear about it? Does God's mercy include followers of other religions who never had a chance to hear about my religion?

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People rejected the Messengers for many other different reasons. They objected to things which did not fit their own standards. They argued about words and grammar, weighing the Book of God with their own balance when in reality everything should be weighed according to It. They objected when the signs were not literally fulfilled according to their limited understanding. The Jews rejected Christ when He did not rule with a rod of iron or come from an "unknown place" like they had been expecting. They mocked Him with a crown of thorns because they were expecting a king to lead them into salvation and victory against their enemies.

People rejected the Messengers when they didn't understand their parables and metaphors or their references to spiritual realities, like references to Their relationship to God, such as when Jesus (PBUH) claimed to have come from heaven, or the references in some hadiths to Muhammad's (PBUH) Light being the first thing that God created, or His night journey to the seven heavens, ...etc.

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Indeed many are the objections of the people and their reasons for rejecting the Messengers and Prophets of God. The sincere seeker of the truth would do well to consider the answers to two questions:

1- If we are not constantly vigilant, is it not possible that we would repeat the same mistakes of the people of the past who oppressed and persecuted every Messenger of God, and by so doing deservedly subjected themselves to His wrath and punishment?
2- Were those people successful, in suppressing the Will of God and stopping the progress of His Religion, or did their actions actually help promote it?

“He Who is your Lord, the All-Merciful, cherisheth in His heart the desire of beholding the entire human race as one soul and one body. Haste ye to win your share of God's good grace and mercy in this Day that eclipseth all other created Days. How great the felicity that awaiteth the man that forsaketh all he hath in a desire to obtain the things of God! Such a man, We testify, is among God's blessed ones.”
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