Baha’u’llah, the prophet and founder of the Baha’i Faith, did not consider himself in any way superior to the messengers of God who came before him.

The Baha’i teachings identify the only difference between their revelations and his as the relative outpouring of God’s Word and the special time of fulfillment that Baha’u’llah has inaugurated. In his writings, Baha’u’llah repeatedly explains that all of the messengers reveal the same Holy Spirit. In this way their stations are one and the same, even though they have different names and distinct individual identities:

Know thou assuredly that the essence of all the Prophets of God is one and the same. Their unity is absolute. God, the Creator, saith: There is no distinction whatsoever among the Bearers of My Message. – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 78.

Furthermore, it is evident to thee that the Bearers of the trust of God are made manifest unto the peoples of the earth as the Exponents of a new Cause and the Bearers of a new Message. Inasmuch as these Birds of the Celestial Throne are all sent down from the heaven of the Will of God, and as they all arise to proclaim His irresistible Faith, they therefore are regarded as one soul and the same person. For they all drink from the one Cup of the love of God, and all partake of the fruit of the same Tree of Oneness. These Manifestations of God have each a twofold station. One is the station of pure abstraction and essential unity. In this respect, if thou callest them all by one name, and dost ascribe to them the same attribute, thou hast not erred from the truth. – Baha’u’llah, The Book of Certitude, p. 152.

At first, this concept may seem to contradict what we have read in other scriptures. In the Bible we find passages that seem to equate Jesus with God, and others that imply that he is subordinate to God. In the Qur’an it is made perfectly clear that Muhammad is not God.

Baha’u’llah explains that all of the prophets have a human nature as well as a divine nature. Sometimes they speak with the voice of God, but this does not mean that they are the same as God. Baha’u’llah touches upon this in the following passage, which is part of a prayer:

When I contemplate, O my God, the relationship that bindeth me to Thee, I am moved to proclaim to all created things ‘verily I am God!’; and when I consider my own self, lo, I find it coarser than clay! – quoted by Shoghi Effendi in The World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 113.

ReligionsBaha’u’llah states time and again that he is God’s chosen messenger and the manifestation of His attributes, but he is not God Himself. (In a later essay in this series we will examine how other scriptures support this concept.)

Baha’u’llah warned us not to judge the Word of God according to human standards and beliefs. On the contrary, the Word of God is itself the standard by which all else is to be judged. For that reason we must take care not to summarily reject a prophet because his teachings do not conform with our own prior expectations or wishes. The tendency on the part of human beings to do just that is the main reason for the sufferings of all of God’s messengers. The consequences reverberate down through centuries and ages, for humanity itself then becomes deprived of the influence of their teachings.

Baha’u’llah taught that we must investigate the truth for ourselves with sincerity and purity of motive. This is what God expects—not blind adherence to the opinions of others, or tradition, or personal prejudices, or anything else that might stand in the way of our recognition of the messenger of God.

The opinions and views expressed in this article are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of BahaiTeachings.org or any institution of the Baha’i Faith.

2 Comments

characters remaining
  • Jun 28, 2015
    Hey Jeffrey, how're you? I guess I'll just share my own current understanding on the matter:
    If we look at Abdu'l-Bahá's explanation of the Trinity we see using his mirror analogy that the Manifestations when we see them on Earth reflecting the Glory of God are like a Mirror reflecting the sun. So when we see them we are seeing, 1: The Sun, 2: Reflections of the sun and 3: A mirror.
    So I reckon the case is that with all of them we see the same, one sun. And all of them are the same in that they ...are reflections of the sun, the universal Manifestation. However all of them are also distinct, in that they have an individual part, a more human part in my understanding.
    "The other station is the station of distinction, and pertaineth to the world of creation, and to the limitations thereof. In this respect, each Manifestation of God hath a distinct individuality, a definitely prescribed mission, a predestined revelation, and specially designated limitations. Each one of them is known by a different name, is characterized by a special attribute, fulfils a definite mission, and is entrusted with a particular Revelation. Even as He saith: “Some of the Apostles We have caused to excel the others. To some God hath spoken, some He hath raised and exalted. And to Jesus, Son of Mary, We gave manifest signs, and We strengthened Him with the Holy Spirit.”" - http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/b/GWB/gwb-22.html
    So there is distinction and unity. Just like with us, we are all individual and distinct and yet one. We are both a drop in the ocean and the ocean in a drop etc.
    Also, I think The Báb and Bahá'u'llah weren't active Manifestations of God at the same time on Earth. It was two years after the martyrdom of His Holiness The Báb that Bahá'u'llah was invested with revelation at the Siyah Chal. To quote Bahá'u'llah:
    "I was but a man like others, asleep upon My couch, when lo, the breezes of the All-Glorious were wafted over Me, and taught Me the knowledge of all that hath been. This thing is not from Me, but from One Who is Almighty and All-Knowing. And He bade Me lift up My voice between earth and heaven, and for this there befell Me what hath caused the tears of every man of understanding to flow. The learning current amongst men I studied not; their schools I entered not. Ask of the city wherein I dwelt, that thou mayest be well assured that I am not of them who speak falsely." - http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/bic/SB/sb-14.html
    I really hope this is relevant.
    Read more...
  • Jun 27, 2015
    The title of this article -- "All Prophets: One Soul and the Same Person" -- brings up a conundrum I've been unable to solve in the nearly 35 years since I began studying the Baha'i writings. If the title is true, then I have no way to reconcile the fact that the Bab and Baha'u'llah are both Prophets and yet they walked this earth at the same time. Any insights other than "it's a mystery" would be appreciated. JP