- Category: Alison Marshall's Column
- Created: Sunday, 08 April 2007 16:38
- Published: Sunday, 08 April 2007 16:38
- Written by Alison Marshall
- Hits: 6534
This entry was originally posted on my blog on May 20, 2005.
Baquia has an excellent piece on his blog called Ruhi Redux. It is a short analysis of what's wrong with Ruhi and it has a link to Tony Lee's compelling essay, The Ruhi Problem, on the subject.
One of the points Baquia makes is that the thrust of Ruhi is 'taqlid' , which he defines as "blind and unquestioning imitation in action or belief". Taqlid is a big part of Shi'ism. Believers are expected to find a religious leader who they respect and is suitably qualified and then imitate that person's religious belief and action. This is necessary because ordinary people lack the necessary education to figure that stuff out for themselves. Baquia refers to the fact that there are explicit texts that condemn taqlid, but he does not quote any.
That got me thinking that I should post here a section from an old Talisman message by Juan Cole. In it, he pulls together a number of quotes in which Baha'u'llah condemns taqlid. I think this mini compilation is informative because Juan includes with the English the relevant phrases from the original in brackets. The result gives someone like me, who can't read the orginal, an understanding of the context for the ban on blind obedience and a better understanding of what it means. When it comes to our religious beliefs, we are not to imitate anyone - not religious authority or any 'forefather' in any form. If we do, our belief will amount to no more than an attachment to names, where we align ourselves with the name 'Baha' all the while denying its reality. To avoid this, we have to see that reality with our own eyes.