Source : www.iranwire.com
Translation by Iran Press Watch
By Mohammad Taghi Fazel Meybodi (1)
Three types of fatwas have been issued by different religious jurists regarding the subject of the purity (2) of Baha’is. Some religious jurists believe that all non-Muslims are impure while others believe that “people of the book” (ahl al kitab – 3) are pure while those who are not people of the book are impure. The third group believes that all people are pure. In my research I have come to the conclusion that all people are pure irrespective of their religious beliefs, unless they become ritually impure by coming into contact with objects that are considered impure in Islam such as blood or a dead body. Ayatollah Saanei (4) and Ayatollah Jannaati (5) are also of the same belief. Like all other religious jurists who believe that people are ritually pure, I also believe that Baha’is are pure.
In accordance with the citizenship rights of all citizens of a country, Muslims, Baha’is, Zoroastrians, or any people holding any set of beliefs should enjoy rights equal to those of any other citizens of the country.
In old Fiqh (6), there were no boundaries between religions, and terms such as Dar as-Salam (7) and Dar al-Kufr (8) were used. Meaning that in a country where Islam was the ruling system, only Muslims were considered citizens, and only they were able to enjoy citizenship rights. For instance, when Iran became a Muslim country, Afghan Muslims in Iran enjoyed citizenship rights while non-Muslim Iranians did not have any citizenship rights. However, in the modern world, boundaries designated by religious beliefs have been abolished and geographic boundaries have replaced them. Therefore, all citizens of a country with defined geographical boundaries must enjoy equal rights in that country, irrespective of their ideological or religious beliefs Accordingly, a person cannot be deprived of all his citizenship rights such as the right to earn a living or the right to an education for his Baha’i beliefs. For instance, according to the Constitution, the President has to be a Muslim ˗ a Baha’i or any other non-Muslim cannot become President in Iran. However, there should be no difference between a Baha’i, a Jew and other religious minorities in other situations such as the right to education, the right to earn a living, the right to select one’s residence, etc. In my opinion equality and citizenship rights are customary practices, and the customary practice during the time of the Prophet was defined differently than it is defined today. At the time of the Prophet, boundaries were defined in a certain way, whereas today they are defined in another way. Therefore, it is important to look at this issue in accordance with the customs of the time, and it is essential that justice is used to protect the rights of all citizens.
1. Hojatoleslam Mohammad Taqi Fazel Meybodi is a reformist cleric at the Shi’ite seminary in Qom, and a friend of former reformist President Mohammad Khatami. For a recent incident, see https://hra-news.org/en/fazel-meybodis-passport-has-been-confiscated-in-the-airport#more-7453
2. Najes is the Persian Shi’ite Islamic term for “ritually impure”. Originally used with respect to certain animals and bodily fluids (see http://www.imamreza.net/eng/imamreza.php?id=4076), it now is used to refer to Baha’is, and often to non-Muslims generally.
3. Communities who adhere to a religion which has a written revelation as set forth in the Qur’an — usually means Christianity and Islam. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People_of_the_Book
4. Yousef Saanei ˗ see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yousef_Saanei
5. Ayatollah Jannaati – see http://www.jannaati.com/
6. Islamic jurisprudence. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiqh
7. Literally, “The Abode of Peace” ˗ those lands in which Islam is the predominant religion. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divisions_of_the_world_in_Islam
8. Literally, “The Abode of Unbelief” ˗ another name for Dar al-Harb (“the abode of war”) ˗ lands outside Islamic domination ˗ see previous note.