Cracks in the Covenant

Bahá'ís present their "Covenant" as something unique to their religion. They present it as an undisputable documented contract of inheritance, a will and testament, if you will, that is protected by God so that any violaters against it will be rendered impotent by it.

The Bahá'í Faith's history is full of fragmentation, and the course the Bahá'í Faith has taken has taken quick surprise turns on a number of occasions.

The act that brought the Bahá'í Faith itself into existence was in defiance of such a covenant. The Báb's successor, called Mirza Yahya by Bahá'ís, was referred to as a mere decoy by Bahá'ís. Bahá'ís produced evidence that Bahá'u'lláh was the Báb's intended successor, but did not deny that the Báb appointed Yahya.

Later, the third Bahá'í leader, Shoghi Effendi, died childless. Having failed to produce a will, and having failed to leave any clear indication of a successor, Shoghi left the Bahá'í world in a precarious situation. What he did was in apparent violation of the Bahá'í Covenant.

Bahá'ís maintain that such critical junctures in their history were only tests to sift out the weak in faith.

The Bahá'ís whose allegiance lies with the dominant Bahá'í sect, those loyal to the Universal House of Justice currently seated in Haifa, Israel, maintain that those who are true to the Covenant will be empowered by the Covenant.

Bahá'í history shows us a different picture. At many times, the Bahá'ís who eventually prevailed were nearly vanquished. Only recently has there been such a dominant sect in the Bahá'í Faith, but even that denomination seems impotent and obscure, lacking the influence to even familiarize the world with the word Bahá'í in this information age.

Bahá'í history is mottled with inheritance disputes. In defense of their Covenant, Bahá'ís regard the darker periods as divine tests, arguing that egos are often tested by opportunities for power.

What Bahá'ís do not acknowledge is the fact that their history is just as fragmented as other religions, with breaks occurring from its first years to the years following the death of Shoghi Effendi.