Why are Baha’is “Ritually Impure”?


Grand Ayatollah Siyyid Muhammad-Sadiq Rawhani was asked, “Why do we consider the Baha’is ritually impure?”

He issued a religious ruling over his seal on this question and answered:

“He is the All-Knowing!  Because an infidel without a Holy Book is ritually impure.”

[Source: http://www.rohani.ir/estefta/ans.php?stfid=1596&subid=8&merg=1.  It should be noted that the word najis, rendered as ritually impure, has broad religious implications by the Shi’ahs as they consider followers of many religions to be untouchable, such as, members of the Baha’i Faith, Iran’s largest minority group.  The ill-informed Ayatollah should be advised that the Baha’is have Holy Books revealed by the Founder of their Faith, Baha’u’llah over the span of some 40 years and totally over 100 volumes.]


4 Responses

  1. Brian

    January 23, 2009 1:23 pm

    I know there are different definitions for the word “infidel.” One is “somebody with no religious belief”, and another is “somebody who does not believe in a major religion, especially Christianity or Islam.”

    How does Islam define it?

  2. Brooks Garis

    January 24, 2009 5:57 am

    There is a distinction between idol worship, which Muhammad was dedicated to ending to free the mind of humanity from the ignobility of superstition, and those “people of the book” -monotheists who didn’t accept the revelation of Islam but the protection of whom Islam, nonetheless, accepted as an act of regard for their holy books and honor for itself. Rather that applying the word “infidel” to people of no belief whatever, “infidel” would be more properly applied to people who showed infidelity to their own holy books, because they had failed to recognize Muhammad who was the fulfillment of those books, or because they had failed to honor the covenant which their holy books proclaimed. But the modern usage has come to be more of a denigrating slur to encompass any group, from ‘foreigners’ to people who believe that Islam is fulfilled and that it is faithfulness to its Holy Book to accept Great Announcement promised by Muhammad. And for those people, there is surely a Holy Book -but to insinuate that there is not is to say that such a people would be outside the circle of protection guaranteed by Islam.

  3. Muhammad

    January 24, 2009 8:08 am

    For a better understanding of the above two questions, you’ll find the book Islam & Religious Pluralism by a Shi’i scholar, Murtadha Mutahhari, to be useful. It’s linked below:


    Within the original entry, there are a few errors – perhaps to arouse emotions. There are no ‘untouchables’ according to Islam.

    There is indeed a sort of hierarchy of responsibility and affinity for Muslims with other groups – with the top-most being towards Muslims – yet this by no means implies that other groups should be ill treated.


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