The Legal Basis of Islamic Opposition to the Baha'i Faith

By Moojan Momen

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

    From its inception as the Babi movement in 1844, the Baha'i Faith has been the subject of attacks from Muslim religious leaders in different parts of the Islamic world. This paper is an attempt to look at the basis for these attacks in Islamic law. In Islamic jurisprudence, people are divided into those who believe (mu'minun, and who are therefore Muslims) and unbelievers (kafirun). The unbelievers may then be divided into a number of categories: Ahl al-Kitab (People of the Book); Mushrikun (polytheists); Murtadd (apostates); and Mulhid or Zindiq (heretics).

    This paper looks at a number of legal opinions (fatwas) and court verdicts which have been issued in the context of Islamic law over the years in a geographical spread from Burma to Egypt in order to determine what has been the basis in Islamic law on which Baha'is have been condemned.

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