Bahá'í Faith and Zoroastrianism

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Zoroastrianism is recognized in the Bahá'í Faith as one of nine known religions and its scriptures are regarded as predicting the coming of Bahá'u'lláh. Zoroaster is included in the succession of Manifestations of God. The authenticity of the Zend Avesta (Zoroastrian scriptures) is seen as uncertain.[1]

Ancestry of Bahá'u'lláh[edit]

Bahá'ís believe that Bahá'u'lláh, born as Mírzá Ḥusayn-`Alí Núrí, is a descendant of Zoroaster and the last Zoroastrian king Yazdegerd III.[1] (d. 651). His father was Mírzá Buzurg, a nobleman from the Persian province of Mázindarán (formerly called Tabaristán). Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl wrote a treatise regarding Bahá'u'lláh's ancestry.[2][3]

Prophecies[edit]

Zoroastrian prophecies from late Pahlavi texts foretell the coming of the world saver 'Sháh Bahrám. Bahá'ís regard these prophecies as having been fulfilled in the person of Bahá'u'lláh.[1] The prophecy from the Jamasp Nama "It is said that the sun will stand in the midst of the sky in the time of Oshedar Bami [Hushedar] for 10 days and in the time of Oshedar Mah [Hushedar Mah] for 20 days and in the time of Soshyosh [Saoshyant] for 30 days" is interpreted as referring to Muhammad, the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh respectively.[4]

Scriptural sources[edit]

The volume Tabernacle of Unity is a collection of letters, containing Bahá'u'lláh's Tablet written in pure Persian to Mánikchí Ṣáḥib, a prominent Zoroastrian, and a companion Tablet addressed to Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl, the secretary to Mánikchí Ṣáḥib at that time. These, together with three shorter inspirational Tablets, offer a glimpse of Bahá'u'lláh’s relationship with the followers of Zoroastrianism.

In the tablet to Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl Bahá'u'lláh answered questions about Zoroastrianism and Hinduism by Mánikchí Ṣáḥib. The subjects include comparative religion, and constitute, while much remains implicit, a dialogue of Bahá'u'lláh with Zoroastrianism and the other religions discussed, giving an understanding of what Baha'u'llah meant with the unity of the world religions.[5]

Calendar[edit]

The Bahá'í calendar contains several elements of the Zoroastrian calendar.[4] The months and the days of the month in the Zoroastrian calendar are dedicated to, and named after, a divinity or divine concept. In the Bahá'í calendar the names of the months, days and years are referring to divine attributes as well.

Naw-Rúz, traditionally spelled as Nowruz, is the first day of spring and the beginning of the year in Iranian calendar, was originally a Zoroastrian festival, and the holiest of them all. It is believed to have been invented by Zoroaster himself, although there is no clear date of origin.[6] The Báb and later Bahá'u'lláh adopted the day as a holy day in the Bahá'í calendar and associated it with the Most Great Name of God.[7][8]

Early conversions[edit]

In the end of the 19th century the Zoroastrian community was largely concentrated in Yazd and Kirman in the south of Persia, and in India, where they are known as Parsees, the majority of Zoroastrians lived in Bombay.[9] Since the 1880s a significant number of Zoroastrians from Yazd converted to the Bahá'í Faith. This was also the case in Bombay, where they contributed a lot in the growth of the Indian Bahá'í community.[1] The first Zoroastrian Bahá'í is believed to be Kay-Khusraw-i-Khudádád from Yazd.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Smith, Peter (2000). "Zoroastrianism". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 369. ISBN 1-85168-184-1. 
  2. ^ Balyuzi, H.M. (1985). Eminent Bahá'ís in the time of Bahá'u'lláh (PDF). Oxford, UK: George Ronald. pp. 309–312. ISBN 0-85398-152-3. 
  3. ^ Balyuzi, H.M. (2000). Bahá'u'lláh, King of Glory. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. pp. 9–11. ISBN 0-85398-328-3. 
  4. ^ a b Buck, Christopher (1998), "Bahá'u'lláh as Zoroastrian saviour" (PDF), Baha'i Studies Review 8 
  5. ^ Cole, Juan R. I. Baha'u'llah on Hinduism and Zoroastrianism: The Tablet to Mirza Abu'l-Fadl Concerning the Questions of Manakji Limji Hataria.
  6. ^ Boyce, M. Festivals. i. Zoroastrian. Encyclopaedia Iranica.
  7. ^ Walbridge, John (2004-07-11). "Naw-Ruz: The Bahá'í New Year". Retrieved 2007-03-14. 
  8. ^ MacEoin, Denis (1994). Rituals in Babism and Baha'ism. Cambridge: British Academic Press. pp. 33–34. ISBN 1-85043-654-1. 
  9. ^ Maneck, Susan Stiles (1984). "Early Zoroastrian conversions to the Bahá' Faith in Yazd, Iran". In Cole, Juan R. I.; Momen, Moojan. Iran East and West: Studies in Babi and Baha'i History. Studies in Babi and Baha'i History: From Iran East and West 2 (illustrated ed.). Kalimat Press. pp. 67–93. ISBN 9780933770409. 
  10. ^ Taherzadeh, A. (1984). The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, Volume 3: `Akka, The Early Years 1868-77. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. p. 269. ISBN 0-85398-144-2. 

Further reading[edit]

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