Taqiyyih and Kitman:
Reflections on the Practice of Dissimulation in the Babi and Baha'i Religions

By Kamran Ekbal

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #8
Newcastle, England
December 8–10, 1995
(see list of papers from #8)

    Enemies of the Baha'i Faith, sometimes even scholarly critics writing not necessarily in polemical terms in opposition to the Faith, often mingle true and correct information with false and incorrect information about the Cause. Out of a sense of duty and devotion to their Faith, Baha'i authors who wish to refute such accusations often tend to denounce all accusations, without taking enough care about the details of particular issues. Even Baha'i scholars well acquainted with methods of scientific research respond sometimes in such an apologetical manner, which, beside easily proving to be a boomerang, may be very well regarded as a symptom of a superficial knowledge that exists among Baha'is in regard to diverse aspects of the history and theology of their own religion.

    One such example that will be discussed in this paper is taqiyyih, or dissimulation, brought as an accusation against the Baha'i Faith and its adherents from the earliest times in both Western and Eastern polemics. Although Babi and Baha'i sources provide sufficient evidence that taqiyyih was practiced abundantly by the early believers and that this practice remained in use at least until the ministry of the Guardian, and in spite of references to the fact that the Bab, Baha'u'llah, and 'Abdu'l-Baha ordained and in one way or another even practiced taqiyyih themselves, Baha'i authors generally try to rebut this en masse. The aim of this paper is to provide examples of the practice of taqiyyih among Babis and early Baha'i in order to discuss the proper means and attitude for handling such and similar issues in the future.

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