North Cyprus  

Interview with Mr Mulla Mustafa Salman
  (A member of the Turkish-Cypriot Bahá'i community). Text quoted courtesy of 'Pan International' magazine of North Cyprus. 
  Mr Mulla Mustafa SalmanPan: Mr Salman, you are a member of the Bahá'i Faith, what are the Bahá'i teachings?

Salman: Some of the Basic principles are: the oneness of mankind independent investigation of truth, the common foundation of all religions, the essential harmony of science and religion, equal status for men and women, elimination
of prejudices of all kinds, universal compulsory education, spiritual solution to economic problem, a universal auxhilliary language, universal peace upheld by a world government. The vision of a united mankind, a global world order is no longer utopian. The people of the world are being oriented towards global action in all areas of life.

Baha'u'llah assures us that soon the present day order will be rolled up and a new one will be spread instead. The world will be one country and all people its citizens. "These fruitless strifes, these ruinuous wars shall pass away, and the 'Most Great Peace' shall come.

Pan: How is the Bahá'i Faith making progress?

Salman: Although still in its infancy, the Faith has now emerged from obscurity on a global scale yet the vast majority of the world's population remains unaware of its existence and vital importance for the mater intellectual and spiritual life of man on earth. However, at this stage of evolution, it has become more vulnerable to external elements and adherents and need to exercise more vigilance and wisdom to ensure protection "against the malice of the ignorant and the unwisdom of friends." We know from the Holy Writings that the emergence of the Faith from obscurity is but one of the stages in the long evolution towards the Faith's divinely appointed destiny. The Bahá'is are warned that there will be more oppressions and bitter oppositions from various quarters in many countries, but at the end the Faith will triumph and will be accorded universal recognition.

Pan: What makes you so confident that the Baha'i Faith will in time be adopted as a world religion?

Salman: Our absolute belief in the power of Baha'u'llah. He is the divine educator and the Spirit of this new age. A new race of man is being gradually raised with increased spiritual susceptibilities. This drastic transformation in the life of man is taking placevery rapidly, through the power of divine revelation. "Entry by troops" of peoples of diverse nations and races into into the Bahá'i Faith as anticipated by Abdul Baha, is witnessed in many countries, especially in the developing countries. This prophecy is affirmed in the Holy Qur'an as a sign of God's victory in the "latter days". It says that when the day of God'd victory arrives, you will see the people entering the religion of God in droves. It is interesting that the verse from the Qur'an "the victory of God id near at hand" often appears engraved on stones above entrances to mosques in some Muslim countries and yet perhaps only few would stop to think on the significance and true meaning of this inscription.

Pan: Are Baha'u'llah's claims supported by prophecies in the Bible also?

Salman: A study of the Holy Writings of the past dispensations will reveal beyond any shadow of a doubt that Baha'u'llah is the Promised One. To the Jews he is the "Everlsting Father", "The Lord of Hosts", to the Zoroastrians, He is the "Promised Shah-Bahram"; to the Buddhists, the fifth Buddha; to the Hindus, the reincarnation of Krishna; to the Mohammedans, "The Great Announcement", and to the Christians, the second coming of Christ. Baha'u'llah (which means the "Glory of God") proclaimed his mission in Baghdad to all mankind in 1863. He was banished to Edirne and later to the prison city of Akka in the Holy Land. Thus, the Biblical prophecy that the Glory of God would come to the Holy Land from the East and other prophecies about the events that would take place in Sharon and the valley of Achor (Akka) were fulfilled.

Pan: How do you finance your various local, national and international Bahá'i activities?

Salman: All the necessary funds come from voluntary contributions of the declared Bahá'is. There are no collections. Donations from non-Bahá'i are not accepted. Baha'u'llah has reserved this bounty for His followers only. Whether poor
or wealthy, each Bahá'i feels his spiritual responsibility and privilege to contribute to the Bahá'i fund. The amount given is not important. But the degree of the sacrifice of the giver and the love with which he makes his/ her gift.

Pan: Do the Bahá'is have churches and a priesthood?

Salman: The Bahá'i house of worship is called 'Mashriq-ul-Adhkar', which literally means "Dawning-place of the praise of God". It is nine sided and domed. Around, it will be built social institutions, such as home for the aged, hospital, school, orphanage and administrative buildings. At the present time, there is one mother temple on each continent and one in Western Samoa in the Pacific. These beautiful houses of worship are open to all religions, anyone can enter therein for meditation and prayer, but not for preaching.

Bahá'i Faith has no clergy. The duty of giving the Healing Message of Baha'u'llah to a sorely ailing world rests with the individual believers and the Bahá'i institutions. Teaching the Cause of God, giving the Message in its pure form, is considered to be a meritorious deed.

Pan: Do we really need to have a new religion in this scientific age? And since religion has been the main cause of misunderstandings and strifes amongst people, could we not dispense with it?

Salman: Baha'u'llah says that people of wealth, authority and power must show the profoundest regard for religion. Religion is a radiant light and an "impregnable stronghold" for the protection and welfare of the peoples of the world. Everyone of true understanding will agree that the fear of God causes man to avoid evil, and compels him to do good.
When the lamp of religion is dimmed, chaos and confusion appear, equity and justice, unity and peace cease to exist. Religion is the greatest of all means for the establishment of order in the world. The purpose of religion is to establish unity and concord amongst the people of the world. It should not be made the cause of dissension and strife.
If religion is not conducive to unity and love, it is not the right kind of religion.

The Bahá'i teachings assert that religion should be in harmony with science and reason. Religion is revealed truth, and science discovered truth. Without truth, there can be no human progress. Religion should respond to the needs and requirements of the present day. Baha'is believe that divine revelation is continuous and progressive. "Kitab-i Aqdes", the most Holy Book of Baha'u'llah will become available in English in 1995.

Pan: How many Bahá'is are there in the T.R. of Northern Cyprus?

Salman: I guess over two hundred.


  People & Life