What does the Baha'i Faith have to say about abortion? Is the Baha'i Faith pro-Choice or is it pro-Life or is it neither or somewhere inbetween? Is abortion forbidden in the Baha'i Faith, or is it a 'personal decision' or something inbetween? Is the child in the womb part of a woman's body, or it is life? Is is human life or subhuman life? Does a woman's 'reproductive rights' outweigh the rights of the fetus, or does the fetus have an essential right to life?
These and other questions will be answered in this website. We invite you to take the time to read it. It may be one of the most important Baha'i articles you will ever read. It has to do with life and death.
Printing, Publishing, and Copyrights
If you wish to print it out and read it please do so. If you don't have a printer, then simply write down the URL of this website (http://www.angelfire.com/mo/baha/abortion.html) and take it to any public library or any university library and have them print it out for you. They will charge you a small fee (perhaps 5 or 10 cents per page) or charge you nothing. This article, as well as all of the articles linked to it below, are not copyrighted. You can print them out and distribute them if you wish. We encourage you to do so. We encourage all Baha'is to print these articles out (especially Abortion in Babi and Baha'i Holy Law) and make copies of them (at any copy store) and give them to other Baha'is; especially those new to the Faith.
These articles may be published by anyone who wishes to publish them; in book form or whatever form you wish. You can publish them and give them away to others, or publish them and sell them if you wish. You can publish them under your name (as "Editor"), or no name. It is up to you.
The Baha'i Faith
For those of you reading this who are not Baha'is, let us give you a brief introduction!
The Baha'i Faith was founded by Baha'u'llah (Bah-HAH-oo-LAH). His name in Arabic means "The Glory of God". He was born Prince Husayn Ali of Noor, in Iran, in the year 1817. He was born into a family of royal Persian and royal Jewish blood. He was a descendant of the ancient kings of Persia (including Cyrus the Great) and of King David via his son King Solomon through the lineage of the Jewish Exilarchs (Jewish chiefs of the House of David living in Babylon during the Babylonian Captivity).
Baha'is ("Bah-highz") are the followers of Baha'u'llah. We believe that He is the Promised One of all religion. We believe that He is:
*The Kalki Avatar of the Hindus
Baha'u'llah Himself proclaimed that He was the 'Spirit of Truth' that Jesus promised would come and teach mankind 'all things'.
Baha'is believe that Baha'u'llah is the Manifestation of God for our Age. We believe that the Words of Baha'u'llah are the Words of God, and the Laws of Baha'u'llah are the Laws of God.
There are today (2003 A.D.) about 7 million Baha'is in the world; in almost 200 countries and on all 7 continents. The headquarters of the Baha'i Faith is located in Haifa, Israel, on the northern slopes of Mount Carmel; next to the Cave of Elijah.
Baha'is believe that the mission of Baha'u'llah was to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth; also called the "Millennial Kingdom", or "The Reign of Christ". Baha'is believe that the Baha'i Faith is the "New Jerusalem" that John the Revelator saw descend from Heaven; with 12 Gates. Baha'is believe those gates are symbols of the 12 Principles of the Faith. The 12 Principles are:
*The Oneness of God
Baha'is believe that these 12 Principles will be the foundation of the Kingdom of God on earth.
The Straight Path
Baha'is believe that besides the 12 Principles is the Law of God. In Arabic the Law of God is called the Shariah ("Straight Path"). It means the most direct way from one watering hole to the next; a matter of life and death for the desert-dwelling Arabs. It is not enough for Baha'is to merely work for the 12 Principles. They must also "live the life" and "walk the Path".
"The first duty prescribed by God for His servants is the recognition of Him Who is the Dayspring of His Revelation and the Fountain of His laws, Who representeth the Godhead in both the Kingdom of His Cause and the world of creation. Whoso achieveth this duty hath attained unto all good; and whoso is deprived thereof, hath gone astray, though he be the author of every righteous deed. It behoveth every one who reacheth this most sublime station, this summit of transcendant glory, to observe every ordinance of Him Who is the Desire of the world. These twin duties are inseparable. Neither is acceptable without the other. Thus hath it been decreed by Him Who is the South of Divine inspiration.
To accept Baha'u'llah as the Manifestation of God for our time, and then to reject or ignore any of His Laws or Commands, is in fact to reject Him, and really not acknowledge that He reveals God and the Will of God for humanity in our day.
Baha'u'llah referred to the precepts and commandments of God as "The Straight Path".
"Commotions shall seize all the people in that land, unless thou arisest to hep this Cause, and followest Him Who is the Spirit of God (Jesus Christ), in this, the Straight Path." (Proclamation of Baha'u'llah, p.21)
To say that you believe in Baha'u'llah, and are His following (a Baha'i) and yet not follow His the straight path is to be a hypocrite.
The Exemplar and Interpreter of the Baha'i Faith was 'Abdu'l-Baha (1844-1923); the Eldest Son of Baha'u'llah. Although not a Manifestation of God, nor even a Prophet, Baha'is believe that 'Abdu'l-Baha (which means "Servant of Glory") was a "Perfect Man"; a perfect human being Who was not a Manifestation of God. Baha'is believe He was the perfect example of what a "Baha'i" should be. He also spoke of the Straight Path:
"O LORD, my God! Praise and thanksgiving be unto Thee for Thou has guided me to the highway of the Kingdom, suffermed me to walk in this straight and far-stretched Path. (Tablets of the Divine Plan, p.81)
The Lord Jesus said:
"Enter ye in by the narrow gate: for wise is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many are they that enter therein. For narrow is the gate, and straitened the way, that leadeth unto life, and few are they that find it." (Matthew 6:24)
The Buddha said:
"Truth teaches us the noble eighfold Path of righteousness, and it is a straight path easily found by the truth-loving. Happy are those who walk in it." (The Gospel of Buddha, 99:30)
The prophet Zoroaster said:
"I, who as Thy steadfast priest, have learned the straight path of Asha (Truth and Righteousness),...." (Yasna 33:6)
The Qur'an (the Holy Book of Islam) says:
"Verily, this is My Straight Path, so follow it and follow not (other) paths, they will separate you away from His Path." (Qur'an 6:153)
In the Bhagavad Gita ("Song of the Lord"), the most Holy Book of Hinduism, Krishna tells Arjuna why He has appeared on earth many times:
"Whenever the Law [Dharma] declines and the purpose of life is forgotten, I manifest Myself on earth. I am born in every Age to protect the good, to destroy evil, and to reestablish the Law [Dharma]." (Bhagavad Gita 4:7-8)
What does "Dharma" mean? Does it simply mean "Law"? Here are a few comments from Hindu teachers and scholars:
"The word Dharma means 'that which upholds'. It denotes particularly the 'Law or Principle that upholds the world.'" (Dharma--From Virtue Arises Happiness, p.1 online)
The word "Dharma" means "righteousness", "justice", "duty", "obligations", "religion", "discipline", "custom", "right conduct","appropriate behavior", "correct attitude" and "straight path". It means the way that humans are to treat others, their obligations to God and society, to all living things, to the earth itself. It is the "Way".
The Jews called their religion "The Way of the LORD" (Genesis 18:19)
The Law of God is called the "Way", the "Path", the "Straight Path", the "Right Way". It is the same in every Divine Religion that has been revealed by God through a Manifestation of God.
The Shariah, or Straight Path ("Law of God") is changed only slightly from Manifestation of God to Manifestation of God. That is because situations change. Yet, the Straight Path always forbids killing the innocent, stealing, lying, adultery, bearing false witness, and the like. It is the same in all Holy Laws.
Baha'is believe that each Manifestation of God has a unique mission to fulfill. Jesus was sent to offer Himself as a ransom for the sins and iniquities of mankind. Muhammad was sent to teach Islam; submission to the Will of God. Baha'u'llah was sent to unite all humanity under the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. While the name of the Manifestation of God may change, the Shariah ("Straight Path") always remains essentially the same. It is the Path that true Believers must walk. It is the "Way" of life.
The Straight Path is the Way of Heaven. It is the Way of the Cosmos. It is the Way of God. Any other path, or way, is a crooked path, and not the Way of God.
The 9 Living Revealed Religions
Baha'is believe that there are 9 living religions on earth today that are direct Revelations of God. These are not the only true Religions which God has revealed to this planet, but they are the 9 that have survived to this day. The Guardian of the Faith, Shoghi Effendi (d. 1957) wrote:
"The number nine, which in itself is the number of perfection, is considered by the Baha'is as sacred because it is symbolic of the perfection of the Baha'i Revelation, which constitutes the ninth in the line of existing religions, the latest and fullest Revelation which mankind has ever known. The eighth is the Religion of the Bab, and the remaining seven are: Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and the religion of the Sabaeans. These religions are not the only true religions that have appeared in the world, but are the only ones which are still existing. There have always been divine prophets and messengers, to many of whom the Qur'an refers. But the only ones existing are those mentioned." (Directives of the Guardian, pp.51-2)
Baha'is believe that the following religions are Divine Revelations of God:
One favorite symbol of Baha'is is the 9-pointed star. For Baha'is it represents the 9 Revelations which still exist on the earth today; as well as the name of BAHA ("Glory"); which in Arabic is BA(2) and HA(7) which equals 9.
Baha'is believe that the Will and Mind of God is revealed through His Manifestations. His Manifestations are superhuman men who appear on earth at various times; in order to perform some unique divine Mission, and to reestablish the Dharma, the Holy Law, the Straight Path of God. The reason why the Shariah must be reestablished is because uninspired men corrupt it. Out of selfish desire and other reasons they corrupt the Holy Law of God, and this is why Manifestations must reestablish it.
Baha'is believe that the Founders of the 9 Revealed Religions are Manifestations of God. Their Words are the Words of God. They reveal His Will on all subjects they speak or write about.
Have the Manifestations of God spoken or written on the subject of abortion?
These articles will reveal what the Manifestations of God have decreed on the subject of abortion. Great pain has been taken to quote only the oldest and most reliable sacred texts. Those works which are not reliable are not consulted; because they may not indeed be those of the Manifestation. Also, the decrees of the successors of these Manifestations have also been quoted. Baha'is believe that the Manifestations had individuals or institutions which succeeded them, and were given the Holy Spirit so they could rightly interpret and establish Divine Law.
These articles will reveal the Will and Mind of God on the subject of abortion.
Why is this important for Baha'is to know?
If the Baha'i Faith was merely a set of 12 social-principles, then as long as a person adhered to the 12 Principles, they would be a Baha'i. Thus, a Baha'i could be a swindler, a child-molester, a murderer, a thief, a liar, and an adulter, and not violate any of the 12 Principles. But the Faith is so much more than just the 12 Principles! The Faith is not the summon-bonum of the 12 Principles! The Faith has laws and precepts which Baha'is promise to follow when they accepted Baha'u'llah.
The Staight Path, the Law of God, is not mere "suggestions". They are commandments. They are not for Baha'is to "pick-and-choose"; to accept some they like and ignore some they don't like. It's all-or-nothing. Baha'is are those who truly believe that God has revealed His Mind and Will through His Manifestations. To pick-and-choose some we like, and ignore others, is to say we don't really believe They were manifesting God's Will to humanity.
Abortion is a "life and death" subject. It has to do with millions of lives being destroyed and effected each year. It is more important than Esperanto, or if women are allowed to become CEOs of corporations. It is more important than 'equal pay for equal work'. It is more important than segregation, or discrimination. It is more important than the 'independent investigator of truth'.It is life and death.
But I am not a Baha'i, so why should I be concerned about what the Baha'i Faith thinks of abortion?
These articles deal with abortion in the Baha'i Faith and in the other Revelations of God. If you are a Sabean, a Hindu, a Christian, a Buddhist, a Zoroastrian, or a Muslim, these articles will deal with abortion in all those Faiths.
If you are an Atheist, or Agnostic, or merely "spiritual without being religious", then you will come away from here knowing what these ancient Faiths believed about abortion.
But doesn't the U.S. Constitution grant women the right to privacy, which includes the right of abortion? Doesn't the fact that 'most' people agree that a woman should have a choice mean anything?
Baha'is are not bound by the standard of the U.S. Constitution, but by a higher standard: the Law of God.
"...the Will of God is not limited by the standards of the people, and God doth not tread in their ways. Rather is it incumbent upon everyone to firmly adhere to God's straight Path." (Tablets of Baha'u'llah revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas, p.109)The authors of the U.S. Constitution were men who owned black slaves, and thought Negroes hopelessly inferior. Are they infallible?
Are the men and women sitting on the Supreme Court of the U.S. "infallible"? They once said that slavery was constitutional, and that anti-black laws were "constitutional".
Baha'is should not be bound by what Humanist philosophers think, or what the Supreme Court of the United States "thinks", but what GOD THINKS. God reveals His Will and Mind via His Manifestations.
Baha'is are to adhere to the Will of God on all subjects; including abortion.
I am a Baha'i, and I was told that abortion is a woman's choice in consultation with her physician in the light of the Teachings. Is this not true?
The purpose of these articles is to discover if this is true, or not. Simply because other Baha'is told you this doesn't necessarily mean it is true. Early American and British Baha'is believed that the Faith taught reincarnation, but that wasn't true. They were sincerely mistaken.
But isn't the Baha'i Faith about Unity and Oneness? Won't discussion on this sensitive issue merely cause Baha'is to be divided?
If some Baha'is believed in drinking alcohol, and others believed this was forbidden, which side would you be on? Alcohol is forbidden in the Baha'i Faith. Thus, if certain 'Baha'is' ignore this, then they are violating the Law of God, and are not truly Baha'is; unless they repent. Some 'Baha'is' believe that homosexuality should be permitted, and a few 'Baha'is' even believe that sex with hildren should be permitted. Yet, God has forbidden these things in His Straight Path. Baha'is are obligated to walk in that Path. Baha'is who see or hear other Baha'is who do not walk in that Path are commanded to admonish them to do so. If the Faith were to allow all forbidden things in the name of 'Unity' then the very purpose of God's Straight Path would be frustrated and annulled.
But shouldn't a woman have the right over her own body? Shouldn't she have the right to determine whether or not to get pregnant, or whether or not to terminate her pregnancy?
Yes, if God's Will says so. The determining factor for Baha'is is 'What is the Will of God on this matter?'; not what is popular, or what 'most people' would agree with or not agree with. The ultimate Arbitrator of all such questions is God, and His Will and Mind is revealed via the Manifestations of God.
But won't discussion about abortion bring contention? Aren't Baha'is forbidden to be contentious and argumentative?
Baha'is are to be Educators of Mankind. This is a way to educate without being argumentative and contentious. Baha'is are to use that way. Some people, like members of the Ku Klux Klan, may get contentious toward Baha'is when they hear their message on Race Unity, but this shouldn't cause Baha'is to remain silent or not try to educate them. The same is true regarding abortion.
But isn't this getting the Faith involved in partisan politics? Isn't abortion a partisan issue, and Baha'is are forbidden to get involved in politics? Abortion is a moral issue. It becomes a 'political issue' only when Baha'is become involved in partisan politics. Baha'is are forbidden to use violence, or even peaceful civil-disobedience, in order to establish Baha'i principles and ultimately the World Order of Baha'u'llah. Baha'is are limited to being educators of mankind. One need not get involved in politics at all--especially partisan politics--to become educators.
Abortion is ultimately a human rights issue. The right to Life is the ultimate human right, and the denial of life is the ultimate violation of human rights.
But don't these articles have an anti-abortion bias already?
If the Law of God is silent on abortion then Baha'is should be silent. If the Law of God is pro-Choice, then Baha'is should be pro-Choice. If the Law of God is pro-Life, then Baha'is should be pro-Life (anti-abortion). The facts are given herein, and you need to see for yourselves.
Table of Contents
The first article in this website is Abortion in Babi and Baha'i Holy Law. Because the Babi Faith is so nearly connected to the Baha'i Faith, the subject of abortion in both Faiths will be dealt with in this one article. This is the main article of the website, and we hope that you will make copies of this article and offer them to other Baha'is in your Community.
One or more of your LSA Members may object, and say, "We can't discuss abortion because it is a political issue!" or "It's a woman's right" or something of that nature. If they do, ask: "How is merely informing Believers what the Guardian had to say about abortion a political issue?" Wait for an answer. Write down what their reply is, and take it to your LSA for a decision. There is no valid reason why you cannot share the article below with others in your Community, or do a Deepening on Abortion in Babi and Baha'i Holy Law. There is no valid excuse or reason why you can't; other than there are pro-Choice "Baha'is" in your Community who will want to try to prevent you.
Don't let them.
Because the Baha'i Faith accepts other Living Revealed Religions, there are articles about abortion in those Faiths as well:
The Chapters are:
*Abortion and Sabeanism
The author of these articles if Darrick Evenson; a former Mormon who became a Baha'i in 1994. He resigned from the Faith in 1996, but remains a Believer and one who sustains the Universal House of Justice (the Greater and Lesser Covenants). There are some false rumors being spread about me by pro-Choice "Baha'is" who are upset with me. I would encourage the Reader to question any negative rumor you hear about me; even from LSA Members or ABMs for Protection. If they sound bad it is because they are most likely false. Don't assume the NSA is "infallible". Don't assume a rumor from the National Centre is reliable just because it comes from an office there. Pro-Choice "Baha'is" are trying very hard to "discredit" me in the hopes you won't read my materials. They will use ANY LIE to do that. So, be wary.
Permission to Publish
Any Baha'i is welcomed to publish Abortion and the Baha'i Faith as an article, or the complete website in book-form. You do not need our permission to do so. None of these articles are copyrighted. If you do decide to publish, please publish them in your name as "Editor".
The Baha'i Faith is not the 12 Principles!. If the Faith were merely the "12 Principles" then there would be no "Law of God". Yet, there is. Baha'u'llah has decreed the Will and Mind of God in His Straight Path. Only those who walk this straight path will receive Eternal Life. All others will be accounted as Unbelievers and Hypocrites.
You will discover in reading these articles that the Shariah (Law of God) concerning abortion has never changed since the days of Adam. It is One. This is because God is One, and His Will and Mind does not change. You will find these articles entertaining as well as informative.If you do not have the time to read them in one sitting, then please read them over a number of days or weeks. Again, please feel free to print them out, copy them, and distribute them to others who may be interested. Account this not as a small thing, but people's lives may depend upon it.
Please read the article below, and make copies and hold a Deepending in your Community on 'Abortion in Babi Baha'i Holy Law' and give all who attend copies of that article.
|Abortion and Sabeanism|
|Abortion and Judaism|
|Abortion and Hinduism|
|Abortion and Zoroastrianism|
|Abortion and Buddhism|
|Abortion and Christianity|
|Abortion and Islam|
|Abortion and the Nazis|
|Abortion and Gandhi|
|Abortion and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.|
|Pro-Choice "Baha'is" and the Racist Roots of the Pro-Choice Movement|