Shaykh Ahmad Ahsa’i was widely regarded a heretic by Shia scholars. Baha’is try to portray him as one of the forerunners to the Bab and Baha’u’llah who was hated by the Shia clergy because of his connections with the Babi and Baha’i creeds that they claim were prophesized in his writings. He is held with great respect and esteem by Baha’i figures and their followers and is praised greatly in Baha’i literature.
When one reads through the books of Shaykh Ahmad, it becomes evident why he was labeled as a heretic and rejected. Although he was a originally a Shia scholar himself and abided by Shia scripture, he later deviated and started uttering statements that even though were sometimes based on accepted Shia literature, were many times based on his own personal beliefs.
In this article we will translate a section of his book Jawami` al-kalim. The book is a lithographed manuscript held at the National Iranian Library Archives with the number: 1329670 distributed by Sulayman Khan ibn Shamkhan Afshar in 1273 AH (1856-7 AD), Tehran. The section being translated is from pages 150-151 of the section called Risaliyyi Qatiffiyya. Scans of the pages used can be found at the end of the article:
“مسئلة: ما الوجه فی تولد عیسی من غیر اب و هل الجنین من ماء الرجل ام من ماء المرءة او منهما او تارة کذا و اخری کذی؟
اقول: الم تعلم ان الله علی کل شیء قدیر. اراد ان یبین لعباده قدرته و کیفیة تولد آدم علیه السلام. و الاب انما یکون سببا للتولد لاجل نطفة التی هی فی صلبه و لیست هی نفس المنی و لکن المنی حامل للنطفة التی هی روح الحیوة المعبر عنها ظاهرا بالرائحة لانها لازمة للرائحة و هی التی تقع من شجرة المزن و من هذا کان اهل شهر زنان کلهم نساء و لیس فیهم ذکور و انما یحملن من شجر فی بلادهن یکون فی اصل الشجره غصن کهیئة ذکر الرجل و له رائحة کرائحة منی فتمضی المرءة و تستعمله فتحمل ببنت و ذلک للرائحة و لما اراد الله سبحانه اظهار قدرته ارسل جبرئیل الی مریم و نفخ فی جبینها او فی فمها علی اختلاف روایتین لهواء رائحته رائحة المنی فتولد منه عیسی علیه السلام.
The following question is asked:
“Question: What is the rationality in Jesus being born without a father and is the embryo (created) from the father’s water (semen) or the mother’s or from both of them or sometimes from one and sometimes from another?”
This is how Shaykh Ahmad Ahsa’i responds:
“I say: Do you not know that God is capable of doing anything. He intended to show His servants His power and the way that Adam was born. The father is the cause of birth because of the sperm that is in his loin. And that is not the sperm itself, rather the semen holds the sperm that is the spirit of life that crosses from it and appears with a smell, for the smell accompanies it [the translation of this last sentence was rather tricky and there might a better alternative]. And this is what falls from the Muzn tree and it is because of this that the inhabitants of the City of Women are all women and there is not a single male among them. These women are impregnated in their land by a tree. In the root of the tree there is a branch shaped like a man’s penis and it has an odor that smells like semen. The women will go (to the branch) and will use it and they become impregnated with a (baby) girl and this is caused by the odor. When God wanted to make manifest His power, he sent Gabriel (the Archangel) to Mary and he blew the air of its odor (from the tree) and the odor of the semen on her forehead-or according to a different narration in her mouth-and Jesus peace be upon him was born like that.”
Basically, this is what Shaykh Ahmad is saying: There is a city filled with women that impregnate themselves using a penis which grows on a tree. When God wanted to create Jesus He sent Gabriel to the penis tree in the City of Women and he took from it what smelled like semen and he blew it on Mary’s face and that is how Jesus was conceived!
These are the beliefs of one of the forerunners to Baha’u’llah.
Note 1: The lack of fluency in the Arabic text is also obvious in the English translation.
Note 2: The language of the aforementioned text is Arabic except for the section “Share Zanan” which is purely Farsi and translates to “The City of Women”. Shaykh Ahmad could have easily used the Arabic words “Madinat al-Nisa” but he doesn’t which might imply that he believes this city is in Iran and has a Farsi name.
Note 3: According to the text, Shaykh Ahmad claims the tree causes the women to only have baby girls and no boys. It is strange that when Mary is impregnated by this tree she conceives a boy, Jesus!
Note 4: ‘Nutfa’ and ‘Mani’, two Arabic words used in the text, can both mean sperm or semen. In the translation, Nutfa has been translated to Sperm and Mani to Semen.
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