Baha’i activities, Baha’i friendship for what?

Hi, I’m new to this but I wanted to speak about my recent experiences with the local Baha’i cluster, their activities and how I lost most of my friends after I decided to stop participating in their events.

Firstly, I wanted to mention that I’m an atheist, I always have been and I imagine I always will be. I’m not sure if any of them knew that then, and I wonder if that played a role in how they treat me now. Although I dislike religion and what my friends did over the past year, I was never traumatised or severely upset by anything that happened and I can’t say I dislike any of these friends even if I disagree with them now.

At the start of 2016, my close friend invited me to a youth gathering which she described was for “community building activities” and “empowering youth,” with absolutely no mention of any religious component. I attended, we only discussed the societal potential of young people and by the end of the day some older youth I met had already signed me up to start the Ruhi Institute books despite the fact that I’d never heard of them and they didn’t show them to us or tell us what they were about.

I continued meeting with my new friends throughout the year because I enjoyed their company and learning about their work, but each time our conversations about community and youth would become slightly less secular and eventually all we talked about was in context of the Baha’i faith. Nobody was forcing me to participate, but there was a LOT of manipulation and pressuring on their behalf from the beginning, which sadly I chose to overlook.

Amongst the possibly hundreds of people I met in the year, there were about 10 people around my age who I became particularly close to. We often had meals together, met outside of school and on weekends just to hang out together as we enjoyed each other’s company. I had a lot of fun with these people and I was frequently invited to join them whenever they met, which I appreciated because it made me feel included and important for once.

At different stages in 2016, but particularly towards the end of the year, we (the non-Bahai’s who were a part of the cluster) were expected to attend several Ruhi study circles and devotionals a week, go to regular Institute camps, have our own Junior Youth groups or Baha’i Children’s Classes, regularly doorknock and attempt to involve our friends, classmates and any strangers we encountered in our activities. Although I wasn’t bothered by the frequency of these things, as someone who is strongly against religious proselytizing I decided it was time for me to withdraw once and for all. I told my friend (also a non-Baha’i in the group, who is one of the 1 or 2 who I think genuinely cares for me) I didn’t want to be a part of cluster activities anymore. She said she’d let the others know, and that marked the end of my year working with the Baha’is in my city.

Since then, December of last year, I barely socialise in groups outside of school. I’m not particularly bothered by this since I like to be alone, but it feels strange after a year filled with things to do every week. I’ve been invited to one or two casual catch-ups since, but recently I’ve tried to organise my own with four individual people from this group and every single time I was told they were busy, not available, etc., and even though I know they don’t owe me their time, it’s very clear to me that they are making an active choice to not see me. I think they see me as an apostate and somehow threatening to them, or at the very least they have realised that I’m not receptive to their religion and I refuse to spread it for them, so they don’t have a use for me anymore. I love my friends, but I have to say their behaviour could be quite pathetic at times and I’ve always just felt sorry for them when they talk about the Baha’i faith. I’m sure they must have been furious when I left abruptly since they used up so much of their time and resources on me, but the only thing I feel bad about is allowing myself to be manipulated for an entire year.

That’s all. I’m not sure if many people frequent this subreddit, but I’d appreciate some feedback, opinions, any commentary really. There’s nobody I can really speak to about this since nobody I know in person can relate. Have any of you experienced something similar to this? What do you think?

About imranshaykh
I am a student of comparative religion with a special interest in Islam and The Bahai Faith

23 Responses to Baha’i activities, Baha’i friendship for what?

  1. Mandy Jennings says:

    is there a link to the original source of this article?

  2. Lisa says:

    I think the only way you will know is to ask. The Baha’is who are active in the Faith are often extremely busy with Baha’i related activities, so that may be a legitimate reason. They also might feel your rejection of the Faith as a personal rejection of them. When your religion becomes an integral part of your identity it’s often difficult to separate the two. I hope that helps. Good luck to you.

    • imranshaykh says:

      Dear Lisa:

      I would have bought that argument except that the shunning is a legitimate activity which has legal sanctity from the UHJ. The edict to shun and ostracise individuals has the blessings of the UHJ. Dont believe otherwise.


  3. LIsa Johnson says:

    I am a Baha’i and very proud to be for 36 years and at 11 years old it was my own choice to accept the teachings of Baha’ullah. It’s the people that haven’t matured to a level of what it means to be a Baha’i. Just as in Christianity, Islam and in many other world religions there are people that don’t practice or know how to practice the teachings of their faith and how many people use religion to fuel their own hatred; Mankind is still behind in it’s maturity. Love everyone like God does.

    • imranshaykh says:

      Dear Lisa:

      Thank you for your response to my article. Religion is a personal choice, no doubt. However it should be based on some rationale and wisdom, else it becomes blind faith which is condemned by all including the Bahai Faith.

      Bahai Faith should ask what maturity is required to understand the teachings of the Bahai Faith. If it is a Universal Religion as it claims and it is 200 years old why are there so many contradictions between the teachings of the Faith and behaviour of the Founders. The Faith talks about Unity, yet we find that Abdul Baha and Shoghi were unable to keep their own family together. Everyone without exceptions was disowned. What maturity does one need to understand this anomaly?

      Or at another place, we find that while the Faith talks about having no clergy. Yet the UHJ is no less than a Big Brother who is trigger happy to issue edicts to label anyone as a covenant breaker, who decides what people should read, not read, do , not do etc.

      Dear Lisa, it is very easy to label anyone as immature. It is very difficult to defend the Bahai Faith. The gaps and omissions are very obvious.

      I am happy to discuss anytime.

      Warm regards

    • Ali says:

      If have read your writing again you will spot that maturity is a requirement to accept baha’i faith, as you said. How does god send a messenger to a people who are not mature enough? is it fair? it had never happened in Islam that prophet mohammad said such things to people in his era. the opposite always happened. people understand the messege and belive in it but they dont accept gor many other reasons.

      how it become fair to send a message to people who are not mature?

      god is so fair and this cant be done by him.

      • imranshaykh says:

        Dear Ali: Who are you to decide what God does and does not do. The message of Holy Prophet (pbuh) is still relevant for today and will be till Day of Judgement. We understand perfectly what God wanted to communicate to us through His book. We dont need Bahai Faith…

  4. habib says:

    There is no god but Allah, and prophet Mohammad is his messenger. I m a muslim, and the same situation I faced. One of my bahai friend invited me to their weekly gathering, telling me that the gathering is about social welfare. I visited bahai house, thrice. People there were very cooperative. In their gathering I noticed some touch of religious discussion. Some of their discussion was criticizing the teachings of Islam. I realised that something is going wrong. Actually they were exercising their faith teachings from printed pages, given to us for reading. In the third visit I saw a poster, a message of bahaullah was written on it. The name of bahaullah was also mentioned there. I asked my bahai friend, ‘who is bahaullah’. He told me that I will tell u later, but he didn’t. After coming home I searched the name bahaullah on internet. Then I realised there tricks. Then I stopped meeting my bahai friend. The bahais invited me many times, but I rejected. I believe in one Allah and the teachings of prophet Mohammad, and there is no need to accept other religions, because Islam is not just a religion but a code of living peace ful life. Many people are defaming Islam, but who want to know about Islam, I request them to study Quran by their own.

    • Certainly there are people that are against Islam, Habib. There are also those who hold Mohammad to the same standards as do their own faith. Baha’is are one of them. We believe in progressive revelation and that means God sends a series of messengers at periods of time. This can be graphically seen by looking at the decline and advancement of society on a graph – the ‘high’ points occur about the time someone claims to be a spokesperson for God. This doesn’t make one right and one wrong, but it puts the knowledge given in a historical perspective. All paths lead to God or we are lying when we say God is ‘all merciful’. You state ‘there is no need to accept other religions’, is that what Mohammad taught, or is that an interpretation of a person or group suggesting that theory is as truth? The Koran is allegory and that is, perhaps, why it is only ‘interpreted’. It is not wrong, but neither are all the other religions wrong. It’s a matter of time in history.

      • imranshaykh says:

        Dear friend:

        Islam for Muslims is driven by the words of the Quran, the words of the Prophet and his immaculate family. Everything starts and ends with that. If we had any indication of any coming of any person after the Holy Prophet (pbuh) from any of the above sources, we would have accepted the Bahai Faith. Else, the Bahai Faith will continue to remain in our estimation, a tool of the West to divide the Muslim community.

        Warm regards,

  5. AK says:

    They are not your friends duh lol

  6. yokwerx says:

    Bit of a late response – but here goes:
    People can be kept so busy in the Baha’i Faith. Especially if you are involved in teaching – and by that I mean the devotionals/children’s classes/junior youth/study circles etc. Always pressure (much from oneself) to do more. Many Baha’is see this as adhering to the teachings and it takes a savvy mind (or tiredness) to say “enough”. Additionally, it’s very hard, when you know of Baha’is – possibly friends or family members – that have unjustly suffered or are suffering because of their beliefs. “Crisis and Victory” is a much used motto.
    I think it’s so easy (and too easy) for young Baha’is to get caught up in all of this – to want to do more and, in effect, hand over their lives to the cause. Everything else becomes secondary. But it shouldn’t.
    I would say try to remain in contact. Some of these “souls” are, one day, going to realise that the faith is not a beautiful flower. They will see it for what it really is: an authoritarian movement devoted to a god that doesn’t exist. Took me 20 years. My advice is to try and stay in contact. They will probably need someone like you to turn to one of these days…

  7. Carol says:

    I’m so sorry that your experience was like this. One of the most essential aspects of the Baha’I Faith is independent investigation of the truth. If the Baha’i Faith didn’t ring true to you, then that is that. The teachings of the Faith exhort its followers to consort freely with people of all backgrounds, without any hint of bias. Like any faith, there can be disparities between a believer’s actions and the actual teachings of their faith. All good wishes to you on your journey. If you ever wish to learn more, but feel negative about reconnecting with the youth you interfaced with, you might consider contacting the local spiritual assembly for your locality to consult with them. These assemblies do not just serve the Baha’I community of their locality, but have as their task service to all who live there.

  8. Natasha says:

    I truly can relate to you. I’m actually going through it now but from day one I had my guard up! I just told someone today from the Baha’i religion who always want my opinion because I have so many bright ideas that they need to do a better job explaining their purpose such as inviting someone basically under false pretenses. For example, I was invited to a suppose to be a gathering to help the youth! Then all of sudden we are praying and discussing a class and reading that book you mentioned in your post! I’m thinking to myself, I’m glad I’m open minded because some people would be offended. Everyone don’t have the same belief when it comes to religion so be cautious how they present their information! The way some members, well in my opinion most members present their Baha’i religion is very misleading. I tell them straight up I’m a Christian and will not change or convert but I’m very open to hearing them out and if they don’t care to socialize with me anymore.. I’m definitely not going to lose any sleep from it! So yes I can definitely relate to your post!

    • Judi says:

      I can relate also. I was attending their feasts all the time by their invitation and I found them very manipulative. They presented their faith to me as a religion of equality and all for humanity, but then I read their book, “Revelation and Social Reality”. As a critical thinker I saw the faiths true agenda of a one world religion and government backed up by an international police force, which I’m against because if you combine religion with government it’s a Theocracy. The group was very pushy in having me obtain a Bahai card, which I did not want. They dropped me like a hot potato. I’m not going to lose sleep over it either.

  9. Sheatan Bahman says:

    I am glad that you did not fall in to the Baha’i trap. Ruhi classes are just for brainwashing people. Baha’i is a dangerous cult, even if it does not look like this. If you are tricked into the Bahai sect, it’s hard to get out again. They tray to show an innocent facade with slogans like peace and unity, bust inside this cult is totally different.

  10. Teresa Frankhauser says:

    I am so sorry to read this but your story is similar to my experience even though I am a Bahai. I have been a part of two separate Bahai communities and to be honest the Bahai’s I know do not do much out side of their community because they don’t have the time in their schedule. I have tried hanging out with Bahai’s who have moved to a different region and unless I go to their events it is impossible to catch up with them.

    Bahai life at all ages is demanding and rewarding, but it is our way of life, our culture. Our community is really regarded as our family and families raise children together and care for the elderly together. This is why we never seem to have the time.

    • imranshaykh says:

      I think there is very little spirituality in Bahai Faith. And probably one big factor is the attention paid to Bahaullah over actual “God”. The sign of a false religion is when the founder draws more attention towards himself rather than the one who sent him. Bahai Faith is just like that.


  11. Thomas Greenbank says:

    Did you define certain words differently than the theistic friends did?

  12. amalia says:

    I have had a very bad experienced with this Bahai Faith…. knowing they looks like a good people .
    not until one of their member a teacher, a Canadian … and Canada is civilized country , She behaved uncivil, not educated when she talk her tongue has no soul.. I was shocked ,, no words came out from my mouth …until now it hunts my feelings .. i was been hurt, angry, honestly if i have a chance to meet this person I will also blast her the way she treated me.

  13. Maziyar says:

    You can not find such fraud system of religion arround the world. They harmed many people emotionaly and financialy by making friendship or love. Avoid this cult.

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