By Hadi Haddad. – 1:04 PM 18 Mordad, 1389 [9 Aug 2010]
Why am I not a Baha’i? Why? The question “why am I not a Baha’i” is a very intriguing proposition.
For example, one could ask the question another way: “Why am I a Christian?” or “Why am I a Shi’ite (Muslim)?”. In such a case, what I would have to do is much simpler. All I would need to do would be to string together a series of “reasons”. For instance, “Jehovah is a Most Mighty God”, or “Almighty God made Himself into flesh, as Jesus, and came down to Earth, to endure great hardship, pain and suffering, so that we may be saved from our sins”, or I could speak of the connection between religion, faith and life, or speak of the beauty of Islam and Mohammad, etc., etc.
Yet “Why am I not a Baha’i” is a much more difficult question. Why, after working so hard for so many years, enduring untold suffering and hardship in order to know the truth ̶ after so much effort, why…?
Now that I am forced to ponder this question, I need to approach it from a different perspective. Why do I not …..
Why do I not want be a man who is clear about his purpose in life?
Why can I not accept the idea of devoting my life to the betterment of human society?
Why do I want to believe that all people should be treated equally?
Why must I not judge people of other faiths, nor must I discriminate the Heavens of Christians, Jews, Muslims, or, for that matter, of Atheists from one another?
Why do I not want to accept the future? or that the world has changed?
Why do I not want to consider that we have moved ahead, even though just a little, from where we were 3000, 2000, or even 1400 years ago?
Why must I keep my remembered enmity against my ancient enemies alive, and seek to find new ones?
Why can I not have the ability to ponder my own faith and religion (that is, I must delegate it to others)?
Why should I not allow myself to study other Religions?
Perhaps I am eager to reach that Heaven which has been promised to me and my co-religionists alone, which is the highest of all heavens, a Heaven filled with beautiful virgins (houris), angels (pariyan), flowing streams, and all manner of earthly delights!
Perhaps I cherish holding all that is sacred in my religion high in my thoughts, so as to relegate the advent of the promised one into the hands of an ancient prophet!
Perhaps I enjoy sitting in a position of authority among my countrymen, and consider those who follow other religions to be inferior, untouchable and beneath contempt, so that I can be proud of my high standing!
Perhaps in my heart burns a yearning to arrive at that hallowed place, that Heaven of heavens, where all the believers in God who have followed other prophets, from other lands and other cultures, are sitting closer to the gates of Hell, far beneath my exalted paradise, right next to God Almighty, ruling over them all as a citizen of the highest Paradise
Perhaps I see with my inner eye that I have reached the object of my quest both in this world and in the world to come!
Perhaps I am elated by thinking of my religion as the last religion, and my prophet as the last prophet, and so see myself as superior to all the other lost souls, and I feel pride and superiority of the spirit over those poor lost ones, and feel pity for them!
Perhaps I am happy to feel free to take the lives, children and wives of others, and see them as perfectly available to me to take whenever I wish (halal, meaning “allowed” in Islamic law), and feel free to kill them whenever I desire!
But really, what am I thinking?
I regret that I am not a Baha’i, but I still am not one.
I regret that I am not working for universal justice and fairness with kindliness, but I still am not one.
I regret that unlike Baha’is, I cannot be kind to my fellow co-religionists, and cannot be respectful to people of other faiths.
I regret that I cannot, unlike Baha’is, be concerned with the betterment of the world, and cannot initiate that in myself.
I sigh that I am not a member of a society whose goal is to bring all people together as one.
I sigh that I can not, or do not want to, believe in one Truth and do not care about who has led me to that Truth.
Perhaps I would prefer to be alone, by myself.
Maybe I am more happy to be by myself – to not think too much about the realities of what IS and IS NOT.
Maybe I would rather be two-faced and a liar – a big liar, one who can trick the entire world!
Maybe it is easier to project my anxiety about others onto other people!
Maybe I enjoy the challenge of getting into the abstract and esoteric passages of my holy scripture that allow me to hide from the truth of my sins!
Maybe I do not want to give up my option to “deny my faith”[taqiyyah– an option available to Shi’ite Muslims surrounded by non-believers, but not available to Baha’is], if necessary!
Maybe I am afraid of being imprisoned, of becoming a refugee!
Maybe I am afraid of pain and torture!
Maybe I am afraid of showing love and kindliness!
Maybe I am afraid of how people would look at me, what they would think of me, or how they would behave towards me – or what false charges they would levy against me!
Maybe I cannot see myself in their clutches!
Maybe I am afraid of getting a twenty-year prison sentence!
Do I not know what the beautiful feeling of friendship is?
Do I not know where Beautiful World of Nobility is?
Do I not know if there is a God?
Do I not know, if there is a God, which way He is looking?
Do I not know if God differentiates between one who seeks the vulnerable to call them “his enemy” and one who seeks the enemy to call him a “friend”?
Do I not know if there is a difference between the one who wants to purge and save the world by killing all those who do not agree with him, and the one who tries to purge and save the world by manifesting pure and goodly deeds, along with commendable and seemly conduct?
Do I not know if I want to worship God or His Servant?
Do I not know if I want to worship God or His world?
Do I not know if I want to worship God or His religion?
Do I not know if I want to worship God or His creed?
Do I not know if I want to worship God or the word of His Servant?
Do I not know if I want to worship God or His Book?
Do I not know if I want to worship God or His house?
Do I not know if I want to worship God or His Prophet?
Do I not know if I want to worship God or His creation?
Do I not know if I want to worship God or the darkness of fear?
Maybe I am only interested in power.
Or maybe I am only interested in the feeling or presumption of power!
Or maybe I just want to see myself as bigger and better than others!
Or maybe I only need to have enemies!
Or maybe I relish the opportunity to squash others, no matter who they may be, under my foot!
Or maybe I enjoy seeing an entire community of people, to outward seeming, brought low and made to suffer!
Or maybe I enjoy it when I lie!
Or maybe I am just happy to fanatically cling to the principles of a religion whose teachings I routinely violate and ignore!
Or maybe I enjoy staying where I am, year after year, with no change!
Or maybe I delight in still crying over what happened 1000 years ago!
Or maybe I find peace in only seeing [Imam] Hussain as a victim, but no others!
Or maybe I enjoy being angry towards all because it is Ashura [commemoration of the tenth of Muharram, 61 AH – the day Imam Hussain was martyred]!
Or maybe I am happy to delegate my ability to think to others who will think for me!
Or maybe I am happy to see my other half [woman, wife] as an inferior form of life, inferior to me!
Or maybe I am just happy to be imprisoned by the framework of “adherence” [taqlid– in Islamic law, following the practice of established religious authorities], having to “imitate” my esteemed leaders!
Or maybe I am just happy to bend as the wind blows (to eat bread at today’s price!)!
Or maybe I relish the opportunity to steal other people’s wealth under the banner of “religious action”!
Or maybe I enjoy raping their women under the banner of “religious action”!
Or maybe I am happy to lie about others, so that I can call it “a righteous act of the pious”!
Or maybe I enjoy crushing the jaws of others as a sign of being “righteous”!
Or maybe I delight in calling other such terms as “infidel”, “enemy of the faith”, or “enemy of God”!
Or maybe I just enjoy imprisoning a believer in God, by the order of the words of the “spiritual authority on earth” [i.e., an Ayatollah]!
It seems as if I have agreed to not think.
It seems as if I have agreed to not hear.
It seems as if I have agreed to not see.
It seems as if I have agreed to kill and plunder!
It seems as if I have agreed to spit in my own face!
It seems as if I have agreed to overstep all bounds of human decency.
It seems as if I have agreed to say to myself that this is not my problem nor affair.
Perhaps I am content that I can bury my own dead in some safe place.
Perhaps I am content that I can enter university without having to lie about my convictions.
Perhaps I am content that I can find a meager job without having to lie about my faith.
Perhaps I am content that I can live in this country [the Islamic Republic of Iran] without having to worry about people looking at me, and without having to lie about who I am.
Perhaps I am content to live a miserable life, under this yoke of oppression, simply passing my meaningless days until I die of old age, without having to worry about what I believe!
If only I declare that I am NOT a Baha’i, I have access to universities and schools, and all is well!
If only I declare that I am NOT a Baha’i, then I am NOT a Baha’i, and all is well!
If only I declare that I am NOT a Baha’i, then I have the right to curse my oppressor and attack him with vengeance, and all is well!
If only I declare that I am NOT a Baha’i, then I have the right to hate whomever I do not like!
If only I declare that I am NOT a Baha’i, then I have earned the right to have enemies!
If only I declare that I am NOT a Baha’i, then I have the right to misjudge all others, and make false statements about them!
If only I declare that I am NOT a Baha’i, then the blind people of this land will grant me the right to live in peace!
Perhaps I should wait once again for the Promised One [Mahdi – lit., the “Rightly Guided One”] to come and remake the promised world anew a promise that I, myself, have betrayed!
Perhaps I should wait once again for the One who will “save the world”, so that he may fix the world – the very world that I, myself, have destroyed!
Perhaps I should wait once again for the Qa’im [the Promised One – lit., the “Upright One”], so that he may restore the world to what was before – the world that I, myself, ruined!
Perhaps I should wait once again for the Judge to come and judge the wicked and seek justice for the oppressed – the very oppressed whose oppressor was I, myself!
Perhaps I should wait once again for the angel of justice to judge the deeds of the imprisoned and the prison masters!
Perhaps I should wait once again for…
But why should I wait once again? For what purpose?
Maybe my reason for waiting is to see what happens to those who have been waiting? How will the holy Judge, who is to run His sword through the unjust, think of them?
I have witnessed injustice and those unjust ones who are awaiting the One. Will the sword of the Judge be on them [as in granting Knighthood] or will it run through them [as in killing]?
I have witnessed the lie and the liar who are awaiting the One. Will the sword of the Judge be on them or will it run through them?
I have witnessed profanity and the profane, theft and the thief, murder and the murderer, the prison and the warden. Will the sword of the Judge be on them or will it run through them?
I want to scream “Enough!”, but my voice is mute. My power is no more. Blackshirts [fascists – by analogy to the black shirts of the SS troops of Nazi Germany] are everywhere, and do not allow a single moment of peace to Baha’is, to friends of Baha’is or to defenders of Baha’is. Their oppression has made their [Baha’is] lives difficult. They do not seem to ponder that while they [Blackshirts] oppress God’s children, in the next world, which may truly exist, perhaps (no – for sure!!) they themselves will be subject to the same harsh treatment!!
I am tired of seeing these dark times, these false perceptions.
I cannot believe that one who showers children with love is a spy for Israel!
I cannot believe that one who leaves the comfort of his home and travels to far-off villages so that he may help the poor is one who is a threat to the security of this nation!
I cannot believe that one who is the embodiment of love and affection, both in words and in deeds, is planning terror attacks on people!
I cannot believe that a Baha’i is a traitor!
I cannot believe that an [Iranian] Baha’i is not an Iranian!
I cannot believe that a Baha’i is not a human being!
I cannot disbelieve Baha’is anymore.
I CANNOT, and I WILL NOT!
Translation by Iran Press Watch,