A new version of the Bahá’í Reference Library is now available. This ‘old version’ of the Bahá’í Reference Library will be replaced at a later date.
Decline of Islám
Surely every unprejudiced observer, reviewing on one hand the turbulent history of the Cause in Turkey and recalling on the other the series of internal convulsions that have seized that country, cannot but marvel at the contrast between the swift decline of an all-powerful theocracy and the gradual consolidation of a persecuted Faith. He will appreciate the significance of the circumstances that have caused on one hand the dismemberment of what was the most powerful institution of Islám, and contributed on the other to the emergence upon its ruins of the very Faith it has vainly labored to suppress. Should he look further into the past and consult the annals of Christendom during the first century of the Christian era, 170 he cannot fail to observe the striking parallel between the cataclysmic visitation of Providence that has afflicted the most sacred institutions of the Jews in the Holy Land and the utter collapse in this, the first century of the Bahá’í era, of the Sultanate and the Caliphate, the highest institutions of orthodox Islám. He will recall the severities which the hand of Titus inflicted upon the Jews, the harassing siege of Jerusalem, the destruction of the Holy City, the profanation of the Temple, the desecration of the Holy of Holies, the transfer of its priceless treasures to the imperial city of Rome, the erection on the site of Zion of the pagan colony of Oelia Capitolina, the massacre of the Jews, and the exile and dispersion of most of the survivors. In like manner, he will observe that almost in the corresponding decade of the first century of the era of Bahá’u’lláh, not at the hand of the infidel, but by a recognized ruler professing the faith of Islám, a blow, unprecedented in its magnitude, has been dealt to the highest seats of authority in the Islámic world. He will call to mind the recent disestablishment of the state religion of Turkey, the overthrow of the dynasty of the House of Uthmán, the loss of the unity of the vast majority of the adherents of the Muhammadan Faith, the humiliation inflicted upon the whole hierarchy of its ecclesiastical exponents in that land, the abolition of religious courts, the annulment of the provisions of the Qur’án, the promulgation of a universal western code of civil law, the suppression of its Orders and the closing of most of its seminaries and establishments.
Such a close correspondence between these historic retributions which the Almighty’s avenging arm has chosen to inflict upon the persecutors of Christ and Bahá’u’lláh cannot but fortify the confidence of every Bahá’í believer in the future glories of this Divine Dispensation. Particularly will he feel strengthened when he recalls the triumphs that have signalized the advance of Christianity after the humiliation of its enemies. And as he ponders upon the circumstances that have given such startling publicity to the Cause, not only throughout Turkey but in the adjoining countries as well, he cannot fail to recognize, in this strange episode, following so closely upon the fall of the mighty stronghold of Bahá’í opposition, a prelude to a higher recognition and fuller unfoldment of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh.