The members of Baha’i faith take pride in declaring that they are clergy-free religion.
Before we get on what this, what really I fail to gather is the difference between RIGHT and CORRECT?
There could be subtle differences in the meaning of the two words, but still they are widely accepted as the alternates for each other. At times, it may be more apt to use RIGHT instead of CORRECT and vice versa. But regardless of that both words “convey the same meaning.
Coming to the point here. When it comes to playing verbal gymnastics, the Baha’is can outperform anyone in coining new terms and presenting them differently, while they mean the same — in letter and spirit.
Muslims call divine messengers as Prophets. The Hindus see them as avatars (or incarnations), Baha’is have made up a new word “Manifestation” to largely accommodate prophets and avatars and any other term that is used for divine messengers.
Likewise, while the Baha’is do not have a clergy, but they do have the Auxiliary Board Members (ABMs) and counselors in place. Then they have the Local Spiritual Assemblies (LSAs), the National Spiritual Assemblies (NSAs) and above all the House of Justice. Originally, it was mandatory on them to have a Guardian above the House of Justice, but with Abdul Baha’s prophecy failing and Shoghi Affandi having died without an offspring, the Baha’is manipulated their Faith and declared that the world would now function without a Guardian. They were fully aware that few years down the line, or worse still the next generation will forget about this and this prophecy will be quietly removed from the books and the Faith would thus stand corrected.
Let us try to understand what is the clergy, their role and why did they earn a bad name.
A clergyman or a cleric is an expert in religious affairs, he adopts piety, undergoes a rigorous course so that he can guide the people in the manner taught by the Prophet of Islam (pbuh).
… that they may gain sound knowledge in religion, and that they may warn their folk when they return to them, so that they may beware.
(Chapter Tawbah: Verse 122)
A Muslim cleric spends a good part of his youth mastering the Arabic language in Islamic seminaries so that he can understand the subtleties of Prophetic traditions explaining the Quranic verses. After decades of study does he develop a degree of expertise in deriving religious laws and issuing religious edicts.
So a cleric devotes his life for guiding the common man who exercises his efforts at building a better life for the people. Of course many do not like them, because they remind the people about rights and wrongs. Religion is that what is revealed by God and not what man likes to believe in. Do the Baha’is not prohibit consumption of alcohol and payment of Huququllah?
The Baha’is proudly announce that they do not have clerics. This works against them rather than for them. This also means that they do not have any experts in understanding the teaching of Bahaullah. And if a common Baha’i can understand the complex teachings of Bahaullah by devoting a few hours every month in the name of self-study, the shallowness of the Baha’I faith stands exposed.
Here’s an analogy that will explain the point further. A doctor immerses himself in studying medicine for a good part of his youth and continuously upgrades his knowledge in study circles devoting hours every week, and after that excels only in a branch of medical science. But a Baha’i is able to understand the secrets of Gnosis of God, by studying a few hours here and there. No wonder, he is finding the wrong god.
The clerics earned a bad name during the 16th century, when they objected to scientific evidence. This of course is restricted to Christendom. Islam is above this and science is in consonance with Islamic teachings. However, Muslim scholars are also disliked, more by the non-Muslims than the Muslims – moreso, because they stand to defend Islam when attempts are made to corrupt the Muslims – a popular one being the Ayatullah Shirazi fatwa banning use of tobacco in 1890s which badly impacted the British policy of corrupting Iranian youths. In order to draw the Muslim masses away from Muslim scholars, clergy and “Mullahs” are used as derogatory terms. So while, something is liked by individuals does not make it good, and if something is disliked it does not become bad.
The Baha’is, who are a tool to deviate Muslims, declare they have no clergy. But in reality, they have ABMs and counselors and others who exercise more power and authority than the Muslim clerics. Anyone defiantly rejecting Islamic principles — like Salman Rushdie —becomes an apostate in Islam. But in case of Baha’is anyone questioning the illogical and illegitimate rulings of the Universal House of Justice (UHJ without a Guardian from Abdul Baha’s progeny is illegitimate) becomes a covenant breaker and is ex-communicated from the Baha’i community. Covenant Breaker is in fact the English term used for labeling a Baha’i as a Kafir. Such high-handedness is not found in any of the contemporary religions and only shows the bigoted nature of the faith.