What is Bahaism and what is their theological belief?
The founder of Baha`ism
Baha`ism or Babism is a sect attributed to Mirza Ali Mohammed who was known as al-Bab. He initiated his call in 1260 AH (1844 AD), announcing his aim to reform the corrupted conditions of Muslims. He made his call public in Shiraz—south of Iran—where he gained some followers. Later, he sent a group of his followers to different parts of Iran to announce his advent and spread his claims, mainly that he is a messenger sent by Allah.
Mirza Ali Mohammed authored a book entitled Al-Bayan, and claimed that it contains a divinely revealed code of laws. Moreover, he claimed that his message abrogates the laws of Islam and innovated rulings for his followers similar to those of Islam. He instituted a 19 day fast that ends with the spring equinox, so that ‘Eid al-Fitr always coincides with the day of Nairuz (Coptic New Year). In the Baha`i faith the fast starts from sunrise and ends at sun set. In Al-Bayan, he said: "We have enjoined upon you fasting for a fixed number of days, and designated for you Nairuz as a feast after completing them."
The founder of the Baha`i faith called for the conference of Badasht which was held in Iran in 1264 AH-1848 AD. In this conference, he outlined the faith and declared its independence from Islam and its laws. Scholars of his time resisted this call; they proclaimed its corruption and issued fatawa declaring him a disbeliever. He was incarcerated in Shiraz and then in Asfahan. After wars and clashes between his followers and Muslims, Mirza Ali Mohammed was sentenced to death and was crucified in 1265 AH.
His successor, Mirza Hussein Ali, called himself Baha`ullah and authored a book entitled Al-Aqdas, in which he followed the footsteps of his late leader and founder of this belief, Miraz Ali Mohammed, as outlined in his book Al-Bayan.
In Al-Aqdas, Mirza Hussein Ali contradicted the principles of Islam and the other faiths. He annulled the doctrine of Islam and its laws by prescribing nine prayers to be performed each day and night and designating the place of his residence as their qibla [direction of prayer]. In Al-Aqdas, he said: "When you wish to perform prayer, turn your faces towards my holy direction." He further annulled pilgrimage and commanded the destruction of the sacred House of Allah (Ka’ba) after the advent of an able and brave man from among his followers.
The Baha’is [followers of Baha’ism] followed the opinion of former philosophers. They stated the eternity of knowledge saying: (Baha’ teaches that the universe is without beginning in time. It is a perpetual emanation from the First cause. God and creation are co-eternal
Opinions on Baha’ism
Generally speaking, Baha’ism is a fabricated faith; it includes elements from Buddhism, Brahmanism, idolatry, Judaism, Christianity, Islam and beliefs from the Baatini school of thought.
– Baha’is do not believe in the afterlife, Paradise or Hellfire. In this respect, they imitated the Dahriyas.
– The first Baha’i leader claimed in his interpretation of Surat Yusuf that he is better than Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and his book Al-Bayan is better than the Qur`an.
– They do not acknowledge the prophethood of our master, the Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) or that he is the seal of all Prophets. Hence, they are not Muslims since all Muslims believe that the Qur’an is the Book revealed by Allah and believe in the words of Allah Almighty:
Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allah, and the seal of the Prophets. [Qur`an 33:40)
In his interpretation to this verse, the luminary Al-Alusi said, "There were a group of Shi’a extremists at this time who called themselves as al-Babia and who authored works on this belief. Any sane person who believes in this [sect] is a kafir [disbeliever]".
Based on this, Muslims have unanimously agreed that Bahai’sm or Babism is not an Islamic doctrine and that whoever believes in it is not a Muslim but an apostate from Islam; an apostate is a person who abandons Islam for another faith. Allah Almighty says,
And if any of you turn back from their faith and die in unbelief, their deeds will ear no fruit in this life and in the Hereafter they will be Companions of the fire and will abide therein [Qur’an 2:217).
There is a scholarly consensus on the obligation to kill an apostate if he insists on his disbelief due to the words of the Prophet (pbuh) who said: "Whoever changes his faith, kill him" [Bukhari and Abu Dawud).
Allah Almighty says:
If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah) never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost [Qur’an 3:85].
Allah Almighty knows best.