The Baha’is of Iran and Contact with Foreign Nations


Ahang Rabbani
by Ahang Rabbani

The Baha’is of Iran and Contact with Foreign Nations

By Mehdi Khalaji

Translated by Ahang Rabbani

Translator’s Note: Mehdi Khalaji is a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute and focuses on the role of politics in contemporary Shi’ite clericalism in Iran and Iraq. From 1986 to 2000 he trained in seminaries of Qom, the traditional center of Iran’s clerical establishment. He has also served on the editorial boards of two prominent Iranian periodicals, worked for the BBC’s Persian Service, and has worked as a producer for Radio Farda, the Persian-language service of the U.S. government’s Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. He has published extensively, including “Apocalyptic Politics: On the Rationality of Iranian Policy”. The following essay was originally published by BBC Persian Service. Mr. Khalaji is not affiliated with the Baha’i community.

The Baha’is of Iran and Contact with Foreign Nations

Concurrent with the increase pressure on the Baha’is, once more the Islamic Republic of Iran has declared activities of the followers of the Baha’i Faith illegal.

In his letter to the Minster of Intelligence, Iran’s Attorney General, Qorban-Ali Dorri Najafabadi, has accused the Baha’is of connection with Israel and of gathering of information for the “Zionist regime”. He has written that the activities of the Baha’is in Iran will endanger national security and the nation’s geopolitical integrity.

Conspiracy and the Baha’i Faith

Since the Baha’i Faith is a global entity and is not bounded by any geographical lines, it has been accused of breaking through “national identity and Iranian religiosity” from its very inception in the middle of the nineteenth century. Likewise, its birth and diffusion has been ascribed to the efforts and designs of authorities in such governments as Russia, the Ottoman Empire, England and Israel.

In the history book taught to the third graders (under the education program of the Islamic Republic of Iran), there an section under the heading, “Colonialism through Creating Sects”, where it is stated, “The British and Russian governments were deeply frightened by the unity of Muslims in Iran. For this reason, they endeavored to cause division among the people and to destroy their oneness. One of the things they did to create this division was to create makeshift religions. Among these false and manmade religions was Babism and Baha’ism … The claim of Siyyid Muhammad-Ali [sic] the Bab caused a great convulsion and for this reason it is known as the ‘The Babi Sedition’. He created the Babi sect for this purpose was supported by the Russian and British governments.”

Rivalry of Azalis and Baha’is, the First Promoter of Conspiracy Theories

However, where does this allegation comes from? The root of the connection between Baha’is and foreign nations is several-fold.

During the initial stage in the history of the Baha’i Faith, its neighboring religious branches, such as the Azalis, first fired this arrow of allegation. Based on what Mrs. Mangol Bayat has written in her book, “Iran’s First Revolution: Shi’ism and the Constitutional Revolution of 1905-1909”, Azalis were active in the constitutional movement -- and from a religious perspective, were rivals of the Baha’is. They tried to raise questions about the legitimacy and authenticity of the Baha’i Faith by suggesting “connections with foreigners”.

Azalis were the followers of Mirza Yahya Nuri, surnamed Azal, who was a successor of Muhammad-Ali [sic] the Bab. At first they believed in the necessity of jihad [religious struggle] and armed removal of the Qajar government.

Mirza Husayn-Ali Baha (later Baha’u’llah), was a half-brother of Mirza Yahya Nuri from his father’s side. After a while, the two brothers clashed over the successorship to their father, which resulted in deep enmity. [Editor’s correction: Baha’u’llah had raised Azal since childhood; when He raised the claim to Prophethood, Azal rejected Baha’u’llah’s claim. A division took place at that time and had nothing to do with their father’s successorship or estate.] The Babis were divided into two branches -- Azalis and Baha’is. The Azali group did not last long and soon disappeared. However, the Baha’is flourished and presently live in every country of the globe.

On the other hand, based on what Mansour Bonakdarian writes in his book, “Britain and the Iranian Constitutional Revolution of 1906-1911: Foreign Policy, Imperialism and Dissent”, conversion of a number of Jews to the Babi and Baha’i religions, and also adaptation of the Baha’i faith by a number of British citizens, raised suspicions about the connection between Babis and Baha’is with “foreigners”.

Even though the published official documents of the British Foreign Ministry demonstrate that this Ministry did not have a positive view of the Constitutional Revolt [of 1905-11], certain individuals like Edward Brown, the prominent scholar of Iran, became close supporters and allies of the Babi and Baha’i leaders.

It is worth noting that from the inception of Baha’ism, a large number of Shiite clerics and individuals from other religions, such as Zoroastrianism, converted to this religion as well.

Anti-Baha’ism, an Echo of Anti-Israel and Anti-American Sentiments

In 1868, after increasing differences between the two branches of the Babis, and reciprocal killings between the Azalis and the Baha’is, the Ottoman government took Mirza Yahya Nuri and Husayn-Ali Baha, who had been sent to Istanbul from Iran, to court.

The court exiled Mirza Yahya and his family and followers to the island of Cyprus, and Husayn-Ali Baha and his family and supporters to Akka, near Haifa (Palestine).

The Ottoman government was mostly under the influence of rumors spread by the Iranian authorities, who persisted in suggesting that Husayn-Ali Baha and his followers were in contact with Bulgarian revolutionaries and were a threat to Ottoman rule.

Baha’u’llah made Akka and Haifa the headquarters of his religion. Around the same time, Theodor Herzl in 1890s established the Zionist movement. The government of Israel came into being in 1948 in a region known as Palestine. The inauguration of the Zionist movement, formation of the nation of Israel and geographical position of the center of the Baha’i Faith were coincidences that became a new pretext for advancing conspiracy theories about the relationship of Baha’ism with the Jewish government of Israel.

In the context of anti-western proclivities, the closeness of the United States to Israel, and protests of western countries (as well as Russia) against anti-Baha’i repression, made the Baha’is targets of vehement attacks – particularly once clerical rule was established, the Baha’is of Iran were stripped of their citizenship rights.

Secular Intellectualism and Conspiracy Theories

The claim that foreigners had a role in the establishment and spread of the Baha’i Faith is not something created by the Islamic Republic or by current Shiite clerics.

In the early 1940s a book titled “The Political Confessions or Memoirs of Prince Dolgoruki: The Secrets of the Appearance of the Babi and Baha’i Religions in Iran” was published, in which the Baha’i Faith was presented as a creation of the hand of colonial powers, such as Russia.

This book, which is dismissed by many experts, such as Ahmad Kasravi, as a forgery, attempts to sever the line connecting the Babi and the Baha’i Faiths with Shiism and Islam, and presents them as a sudden and foreign phenomenon.

During the reign of Reza Shah Pahlavi, anti-Baha’i activities subsided to some degree. However, new waves of anti-Baha’i sentiment reemerged once again with the emergence of the monarchy of Muhammad-Reza Shah Pahlavi.

During this period, some Baha’is who had left the fold wrote certain books against the religion, and at some length they once more raised the issue of the connection of Baha’ism with foreign nations. In this regard, they exerted an influential role in enhancing suspicions against Baha’is.

Among these writings, in the book Tarikh va Naqsh Siyasi Rahbaran Baha’i [History and the Political Role of Baha’i leaders] by Murteza Ahmad A. (penname, Yafteh Publisher in 1344 [1965]), Baha’ism is defined as a “manufactured religion” created solely for the purpose of “waywardness and division among the citizens of the nation”.

Similarly, the author suggests that the Babi and Baha’i leaders at the beginning were “deep devotees of the glorious Russian government”, afterwards benefited from the “support of the Ottoman government”, and eventually “begin espionage for the British government”.

Fereydun Adamiyat, the renowned historian of the Constitutional Revolt, in his book, Amir-Kabir va Iran [Amir-Kabir and Iran], regards Baha’ism as a creation of British espionage and claims that Arthur Conolly, a British intelligence officer, has spoken in his travelogue about his connection with Mulla Husayn Bushruiyh, the first believer in the Bab.

From Adamiyat’s perspective, without support from foreign nations such a religion could not have endured and would have soon disappeared. Of course, at a later time, he recognized that the attribution to Arthur Conolly was incorrect, and removed it from subsequent printings of his book.

In his book Baha’igari, the author, Ahmad Kasravi, the well-regarded historian of the Constitutional period, accuses foreign governments such as the British of providing support to Baha’i leaders. He writes, “After the British conquered Palestine, ‘Abdu’l-Baha, the son and successor of Baha’u’llah, asked for the title of ‘Sir’ from that government. When it was bestowed, the day that the Order of Knighthood arrived, there was a large festival in Akka, and music was played.”

Kasravi’s allusion is to the later years of Abdu’l-Baha in Palestine. In the years that coincided with World War I, British power enveloped Palestine during the war in Haifa and subsequent to it. For this reason, they guaranteed the safety of Abdu’l-Baha and his Baha’i followers. Afterwards, as a reward for Abdu’l-Baha’s humanitarian activities during the war years, the British government granted him the title of “Sir”.

There is no historical evidence that Abdu’l-Baha himself ever wanted the title “Sir”.

Violation of the Rights of Citizenship in the First Constitution of Iran

One of the goals of the Constitutionalists was to make all the “servants of Iran” equal before the law, regardless of race or religion. Later this was achieved as Article 8 of the Constitution, which was ratified in 1906.

Despite this, the group of Constitutionalists who were in favor of aligning the Constitution with Islamic law were eventually able to deprive non-Muslim Iranians, including Jews, Christians, Babis and Baha’is, of equal rights with other citizens. They also succeeded in ensuring that the same document deprived these minorities of representation in national parliament or from being given ministerial status.

Conspiracy Theory and the New Movement

The appearance of a new movement, an independent religion or a political power is constantly exposed to fresh threats. For this reason, accusing new movements of being against the masses, anti-religion or against the government is not unprecedented, and occurs in every instance.

The history of religion is filled with clashes between established and central religions and those on the periphery: This is the case with religions before Islam in Iran, as well as with Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Each one in their own time had to face such slander and vilification.

Even Shi’ism, which today in Iran is considered the official and legal state religion, at the beginning of its formation was accused of being created by Jews for the destruction of Islam (Sunni religion). Many among the followers of Sunni Islam consider a certain ‘Abdu’llah ibn Saba (who was a Jew and a resident of Kufih) as the one who formed the Shi‘ite sect – a charge that Shi’ites reject.

Conspiracy theory is the easiest way to construe the emergence of any new entity. However, from a historical point of view, it is not an effective way to confront and defend against such emerging faiths. Many movements that internally have had the ability to sustain themselves have managed to continue their development despite such accusations or appeals to conspiracies.

On the other hand, we must differentiate between two theories: (1) a theory that fundamentally considers the Baha’i Faith to be a creation and effort of foreigners and does not recognize in it any internal drivers that stem from cultural, historical and Islamic-Shi’ite roots; (2) a theory that sees the Baha’i Faith as a movement based on an apt relationship between a cultural, religious and political axis of Iranian society which has gained the support of foreign nations.

Historical research and analysis does not support the first theory, but the same studies indicate that Baha’i leaders enjoyed the support of foreign nations. Nevertheless, it should be noted that the support of foreign nations for marginal religions and sects is not limited to the contemporary era. For instance, from a historical perspective, very few researchers doubt that the Mogul attack on the Islamic realm, which resulted in the fall of Baghdad and lessening of the central power of the Muslim Caliphs benefited smaller sects, such as the Shi’ite sect. Likewise, the collaboration and alliance of Shi’ite leaders and high-ranking clerics, such as Khawjeh Nasir’d-Din Tusi, with Mogul principals is beyond historical dispute.

Baha’is and the Silence of Intellectuals

Faced with persistent and focused attack on Baha’is, either before the 1979 revolution or afterwards, Baha’is have been deprived of the means to defend themselves.

This one-sided propaganda supported by the government, which has been accompanied by many episodes of intense persecution and attempts at genocide, has not only impacted the view of common people, but has also had a lasting influence on non-religious intellectuals.

Only recently a number of Iranian intellectuals in a letter have expressed their shame for their long and inexcusable silence over the violation of the human rights of the Baha’i citizens. However, few among the signatories of this document live in Iran, and most well-known contemporary intellectuals are not signatories to this document.

[This article was posted in Persian on February 18, 2009, at // A translation was posted on //]


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Faryar's Haifan Bahai Propaganda: CAUTION NON-BAHAIS

by NUR on

You answer the questions put to you on Habib Sabet which you have avoided so far before accusing anyone of evasion.

Start HERE (Sourcewatch): // See as well, BAHA'I INTERNET AGENCY, 


SECTS OF BAHAIS: A Taxonomy of Baha'i Sects, //


Documentary film by independent Israeli film maker Naama Pyritz:


Recent court victory by the Orthodox Baha'is, and the suit brought by the Haifan Bahai organization against them:

Judge's decision

**Appellate hearing (Feb 2009)***

BAHAI Tactics & Techniques - CAUTION NON-BAHAIS

"Slanderous Vilification" = The Baha'i Technique - Ad Hominem, Libel, Slander, Demonize, Scapegoat, Ostracize, Shun, Banish, Backbite, Defame, Vilify, Discredit, Smear, Revile, Suppress, Attack, Bully, Intimidate, Threaten, Malign, Blackball, Deceive, Coerce, Silence, Harass... etc., etc....  CAUTION NON-BAHAIS

1. As far as possible they hold back from responding
2. Then they claim no knowledge of the given issue by feigning
3. After the exposer has exposed they will try to divert to secondary
and totally peripheral and irrelevent side-issues
4. The exposer is then painted as someone with an axe to grind,
biased, deluded (while they, the bahaim, still have not responded to
the main issue exposed)
5. Next they relate mental instability and insanity to the exposer,
i.e. shoot the messenger
6. Then, the last tactic, is to wheel out several dubious personas on
the scene who claim to be neutral non-bahai observers who then begin attacking the exposer as well as the issue exposed while supporting the bahais and their issues as so-called non-bahais



See Susan Stiles Maneck,
WISDOM AND DISSIMULATION IN THE BAHA’I WRITINGS: The Use and meaning of Hikmat in the Baha’i Writings

"In many cases hikmat calls for the apparent suspension of a Bahá'í principle in order to ensure the protection of the Faith."



"We don't want to be like those people who want to see God with their own eyes, or hear His melody with their own ears, because we have been given the gift of being able to see through the eyes of the House of Justice and listen through the ears of the House of Justice." - Bahai Counselor Rebeque Murphy

To hear this section of her talk go to:


BAHAI NOTIONS of FREEDOM of CONSCIENCE according to EX-UHJ member DOUGLAS MARTIN --  Monday, September 23, 2001



"We have inherited a dangerous delusion from Christianity that our
individual conscience is supreme. This is not a Baha'i belief. In the
end, in the context of both our role in the community and our role in
the  greater world, we must be prepared to sacrifice our personal
convictions or opinions. The belief that individual conscience is
supreme is equivalent to "taking partners with God" which is abhorrent to the Teachings of the Faith

NOTE especially, S.G. Wilson,
BAHAISM AND RELIGIOUS ASSASSINATION The Muslim World vol. 4, issue 4, 1914
BAHAISM AND RELIGIOUS DECEPTION The Muslim World, Volume 5, Issue 2, 1914-1915.


features of Bahai Stalinism)


Ma'idih-i-Asmani, vol. 4, page 355

Translation by Wahid Azal (Jan. 7, 2009)
Chapter 11

The Critics of the Cause of God (munkirin-i-amru'llah)

The Ancient Beauty in the Tablet of Habib from Maragha, which begins with "H B hear the call of God from the direction of the throne by the protective signs/verses (bi-ayati muhayyimin)..etc." they [i.e. Husayn 'Ali Nuri] enunciate the command (mi-farmayand) [i.e. state],


By God, the Truth, whomsoever criticizes it [i.e. Baha'ism], [which is] possessed of the manifest, the brilliant, the high and the perspicuous excellence, it behoveth him to ask his mother [yanbaghi lahu bi-an yas'al min ummihi] about his origins [or 'state', i.e.'hal', meaning he should inquire his mother about his legitimate conception – trans.], for he shall return to the nethermost hell [asfal al-jahim]"…

In Promulgation of Universal Peace p. 322 the following is quoted by 'Abbas Effendi from a prayer by his father, cf. THE BAHA'I FAITH AND ISLAM (ed.) Heshmat Moayyad (The Association for Baha'i Studies: Ottawa, 1990), p.23

O God! Whomsoever violates My Covenant, O God, humiliate him. Verily whosoever violates My Covenant, erase and efface him.

See as well,



Nur, Despite your Evasion:

by faryarm on

Your questions are easily answered; and strangely enough, with pleasure; I wonder if you Mr Nur/Nima/Wahid etc  would feel the same and reciprocate. ??

Despite your efforts that try to portray the Bahai Faith as a secretive society, most of what you have asked is accessible public knowledge; despite your   

desperate effort and use of your IRI  Style offensive terminology to Vilify Bahais. 

1) Who are you and what is your real name?

I am a Bahai with absolutely no rank. 

My real name is not important, although the Publisher and moderators have know me as well as many on this site who correspond with me , all well aware of my identity.

How well do they know you? 

2)  What creed or organization do you belong to?

I am an Iranian and a self declared Bahai.

3) What position do you occupy?

None, but a husband and a  famiy man. 

4) Are you now or have you ever worked on behalf of the Baha'i Internet Agency headed by Matthew Weinberg at the Baha'i World Center in Haifa, occupied Palestine?

No I don’t work for any agency; I am familiar with the Bahai internet agency whose goal I believe is to help promote quality and accuracy in the research, study and presentation of Bahai material on the internet.

 5) Why do you see the need in hiding behind a pseudonym and masking your identity?

Wisdom and Simple precaution against people whose language and attacks against Bahais, has shown them to be unbalanced, obsessed, even deranged.

6) What are your goals to that end?

Self improvement, laughter, Peace and amity, 

7) What is your primary motivation in ascertaining logistical information about my group?

To show that you belong to a small fringe group, if any;  without any redeeming qualities, whose only aim is and has been to destroy the Bahai Faith, be they Azali, Bayani, or any arm of the IRI.

8) Are you a sayanim and work for Mossad?

No, as member of any intelligence service, I would have to be much smarter and be able to lie and decieve all day. you may be a better candidate.

My only encounter with anything close to Mossad was when I went for Pilgrimage , where at the Airport,  the three ladies and gents  grilled me  for hours about my islamic name and as to why i was visiting Israel and  the “Bahai Gardens”.

9) Is your organization attempting to manufacture consent through fictitious and exagerrated narratives about persecution in Iran? 

No,The Bahais dont have to manufacture any stories; these days, the people of Iran are witnessing the day to day attacks in the media and persecution of Bahais ; everyone from school children, banned university students, boycotted small shopkeepers, businessmen with revoked licenses, old fathers and mothers who have lost thier retirement income, not to mention early morning attacks, arrests, prison, torture, and executions.


Not even the Dead are immune from attacks...



What would you consider your motivation to that end?

Nothing but the hope that one day people like you would stop your. lies , distortions, hatred and in the Name of ONE GOD and ONE HUMANITY, join a united effort to build harmony, instead of hate.

Is your organization attempting to foment international discord and lobby for a pre-emptive military strike on Iran?

A loaded question and totally irrelevant question. The very wording of this incendiary question, speaks of your true intention and makes a strong case for your links to IRI.

But I will answer regardless, YOU know full well that Bahais want no part in any kind of partisan politics, especially against a Land they call HOLY;  the Cradle of their Faith and the Land of Baha’u’llah.

What is your position on the current policy of President Obama in wishing engagement with Iran?

Bahais have no position, but for to put an end to war and hatred.

With Iran as Holy Land to not just Iranian Bahais , but to Bahais of all nations and backgrounds, what else can we wish for, but Peace and Prosperity for Iran and the world.

Bahais work and Pray for the establishment of peace throughout then world; they believe that it can only come about a s a result of an “act of consultative will” by the nations of the world.


Do you believe that Baha'ism should replace the national religion in Iran, and is your organization attempting to replace the mullah's theocracy with a Baha'i theocracy? 

Bahais Believe that, Islam has run its course; its teachings were never meant for the 20 and 21st centuries; and as Baha’u’llah cautioned:

"O people of the Koran," Bahá'u'lláh, addressing the combined forces of Sunni and Shi'ih Islám, significantly affirms, "Verily the Prophet Of God, Muhammad, sheddeth tears at the sight of your cruelty. Ye have assuredly followed your evil and corrupt desires, and turned away your face from the light of guidance. Erelong will ye witness the result of your deeds: for the Lord. My God, lieth in wait and is watchful of your behaviour ... O concourse of Muslim divines! By your deeds the exalted station of the people hath been abased, the standard of Islam hath been reversed, and mighty throne hath fallen."

Since  Baha’u’llah foresaw the day when the actions of the shia mullah has “abased” the people of Iran leading to the fall and “the standard of Islam” in the eyes of the people, to the extent that these days  the average conversation about religion and Islam amongst the young and the educated leads to these days to outright disgust and rejection. Iranians are sick of lies and the religious hypocricy they daily witness in the name of Islam.

I sincerely believe that the people of the world are spiritually straved, longing and reaching for meaning in their lives. That each perso has to take and experience that search and journey.

 As For Iran, I do believe that One day The Bahai Faith will be recognised in Iran; when Iranians will be free to choose and practice their faith freely. Whether The people of Iran will choose to accept Baha’u’llah  and his teachings as The Answer will depend on an absolutely free and unfettered personal search and investigation.

I also believe the inevitible Mullahs’/Azali/Bayani Nightmare  will come to pass, as  the people of Iran will soon give recognition to the Bahais for their longstanding and steadfast stand on Principle and Belief against the brutal persecution of the backward and corrupt Shia establishment, along with the machinations of Azali/Bayanis during the life of Baha’u’llah and Abdul-Baha.

Don't get frustrated. Just answer the questions. Looking in the mirror of your organizational duplicity and Stalinism can't be that bad. Or can it


Unlike you, these were my sincere  answers, 

Please try and do the same with courage if you can???




Yes, occupied Palestine...

by NUR on

Good that you recognize what my true face is, sayanim. Glad to be in yours. Expect me to be in it more often...

Torah Only Jews, i.e. Orthodox Jews following scripture to the letter, do not recognize the legitimacy of IsraHELL either.

Long Live Palestine! Down with IsraHELL! 



"occupied Palestine?"

by zeinolabedin (not verified) on

now you are showing your true face NUR.


Answer mine

by NUR on

None of your business.

Now answer a few of mine,

1) Who are you and what is your real name?

2)  What creed or organization do you belong to?

3) What position do you occupy?

4) Are you now or have you ever worked on behalf of the Baha'i Internet Agency headed by Matthew Weinberg at the Baha'i World Center in Haifa, occupied Palestine?

 5) Why do you see the need in hiding behind a pseudonym and masking your identity?

6) What are your goals to that end?

7) What is your primary motivation in ascertaining logistical information about my group?

8) Are you a sayanim and work for Mossad?

9) Is your organization attempting to manufacture consent through fictitious and exagerrated narratives about persecution in Iran?

10) What would you consider your motivation to that end?

11) Is your organization attempting to foment international discord and lobby for a pre-emptive military strike on Iran?

12) What is your position on the current policy of President Obama in wishing engagement with Iran?

13) Do you believe that Baha'ism should replace the national religion in Iran, and is your organization attempting to replace the mullah's theocracy with a Baha'i theocracy? 

Don't get frustrated. Just answer the questions. Looking in the mirror of your organizational duplicity and Stalinism can't be that bad. Or can it?

See Sourcewatch entry, Baha'i Faith.


NUR - Answers please....


1) How many people in your group?

2) Are you a clergyman in this group?

3) How often do you meet?

4) Where do most of these people live?

5) Is this group growing in numbers or dwindling? How do you know?  Any references you can site?

6) What are the goals of this group?

7) How does this group organize itself or does it have a community?

8) Is this group recognized by any organization or civil or international body?

9) Is this group persecuted in Iran or elsewhere? If so, can you reference any evidence to support this claim?

10) What would be considered an achievement for this group?

11) Could you tell us some of the principles of your Faith?

and finally...

12) Why don't you answer these basic questions? 

Even if you don't have a reference to cite, it would good to at least tell us the basis for the answers.



رقیبان ازلیِ بهائیت، نخستین مروجان نظریه‌ توطئه

A (not verified)

رقیبان ازلیِ بهائیت، نخستین مروجان نظریه‌ توطئه

-Made in Azalis/Bayani=Nur=Reza41=Hojatiyeh

اما این اتهام از کجا سرچشمه می ‌گیرد؟ ریشه‌ اتهام ارتباط بهائیان با خارجی‌ها چندگانه است.

در دوره ‌اولیه‌ دیانت بهائی، شاخه‌ های مذهبی همسایه‌ آن مانند "ازلی‌ها" تیر این اتهام را به سوی بهائیت روانه کردند.

آن ‌گونه که خانم مانگول بیات در کتاب "نخستین انقلاب ایران؛ تشیع و انقلاب مشروطیت 1909-1905"
(Iran's First Revolution: Shi'ism and the Constitutional Revolution of 1905-1909)

آورده است، ازلی ‌ها که در جنبش مشروطیت فعال بودند و از نظر مذهبی رقیب بهائیان به شمار می ‌رفتند، کوشیدند تا با جا انداختن برچسب "ارتباط با خارجی" حقانیت و اصالت دین بهائیت را به پرسش بگیرند.

ازلی‌ها پیروان میرزا یحیی نوری، ملقب به صبح ازل، جانشین محمد علی باب، بنیادگذار آیین بابی، بودند و در آغاز به ضرورت جهاد و براندازی مسلحانه‌حکومت قاجاریه باور داشتند.

میرزا حسین‌علی بهاء (بعدها بهاء الله)، برادر پدری میرزا یحیی نوری بود. پس از مدتی میان دو برادر بر سر جانشینی پدر اختلاف و دشمنی عمیق افتاد. بابیان به دو شاخه‌ ازلی‌ ها و بهائی‌ ها تقسیم شدند. گروه‌ ازلی‌ها دیری نپایید و فروپاشید، اما بهائیان تا به امروز در سراسر جهان روی به گسترش و فزونی نهادند.

از سوی دیگر، بر پایه‌ آنچه در کتاب "بریتانیا و انقلاب مشروطیت ایران 1911-1906؛ سیاست خارجی، امپریالیسم و مخالفت"
(Britain and the Iranian Constitutional Revolution of 1906-1911; Foreign Policy, Imperialism and Dissent(
، نوشته‌منصور بنکداریان آمده است، ارتداد شماری از یهودیان به آیین بابی و بهائی و نیز گرویدن شماری از انگلیسی‌ها به بهائیت، بدگمانی‌ها در باره‌رابطه‌بابی‌ ها و بهائی ‌ها به "بیگانگان" را افزود.

گفتنی است که از آغاز پیدایش بهائیت، شمار فراوانی از روحانیان شیعه و پیروان ادیان دیگر مانند زردتشتی به این دین گرویده ‌اند.

مهدی خلجی

پژوهشگر مسايل اسلامی، واشنگتن