Abdu’l-Husayn Ayati (Avarih) the former Baha’i historian and scholar mentions in his book Kashf al-Hiyal (Uncovering the Deceptions), that:
“[Baha’is] deem it a great sin to send their children to Muslim, Protestant, Jewish, or Zoroastrian schools and their leader has forbidden them from doing so. This is specially [evident] with respect to Islamic and Protestant schools. It was because of this that they established [Baha’i] schools so that no words originating from outside of Baha’ism reaches the ears of their children and those logical words influence them.” (Abdu’l-Husayn Ayati (Avarih), Kashf al-Hiyal (Uncovering the Deceptions), 3rd ed., vol. 1, p. 115)
Being labeled a covenant breaker, the words of Avarih are usually met with skepticism and are in many cases categorically denied by Baha’is. We have observed many times that what Avarih mentions is the truth and the denial by Baha’is is not justified. We will now proceed to show from authentic Baha’i scripture (as yet untranslated by Baha’i authorities), the official Baha’i order on the prohibition of Baha’is from attending non-Baha’i schools.
Pay attention to the following letter from Abdu’l-Baha:
“You had inquired about the Tarbiyat School. (Know that) it is absolutely prohibited for the children of the friends to go to the schools of others (meaning non-Baha’is) for this is [a cause of] humiliation (dhillat) for the Cause of God and they will be completely deprived of the Blessed Beauty’s graces. Because they will be educated/nurtured elsewise and they will disgrace the Baha’is.” (Abdu’l-Baha, Makatib (Letters), vol. 5, p. 170)
Since Abdu’l-Baha had prohibited his followers from sending their children to non-Baha’i schools, Baha’i schools such as the Madrisiy-i Tarbiyat (in Tehran) were established. What is extraordinary are the words used by Abdu’l-Baha to describe the result of Baha’is studying in non-Baha’i schools: humiliation (dhillat) of the Cause of God and disgrace (ruswā’ī) of Baha’is and being completely deprived of the Blessed Beauty’s graces!
One wonders why these words have been uttered. Does `Abdu’l-Baha regard all forms of education other than what the Baha’is preach invalid to such an extent that when Baha’is are educated and nurtured using those methods they will be regarded as a disgrace and cause of humiliation for this creed? Or is he afraid that Baha’i children will expose the true face of Baha’ism amongst non-Baha’is which will result in their disgrace and humiliation?
In another letter while praising Baha’i schools and giving guidelines on how to teach Baha’i children, Abdu’l-Baha concludes his statements by these words:
“Sending Baha’i children to non-Baha’i schools and nurturing them there is a cause of abatement (khumudat) and stagnation (jumudat).” (Abdu’l-Baha, Muntakhabati az makatib-i hadrat-i Abdu’l-Baha [Selections From the Letters of Abdu’l-Baha], vol. 6, no. 397)
Abdu’l-Baha’s description of non-Baha’i schools is no wise fair nor based on sound reasoning. The words khumudat and Jumudat used by Abdu’l-Baha used to describe the effect of non-Baha’i schools have a multitude of similar meanings with the former also meaning apathy, depression, passivity, dullness and the latter meaning stiffness, recession and freezing. It is not clear which meaning Abdu’l-Baha had intended although they are all derogatory. To make matters worse, Abdu’l-Baha states what he means by these two words in another statement:
“O true friends! There is no calamity greater than abatement (khumudat) and stagnation (jumudat) for they are death incarnate.” (Abdu’l-Baha, Muntakhabati az makatib-i hadrat-i Abdu’l-Baha [Selections From the Letters of Abdu’l-Baha], vol. 6, no. 7)
Thus, according to Abdu’l-Baha, studying in non-Baha’i schools is a form of incarnation of death itself. Do these statements conform with the Baha’i principles of ‘Removal of All Prejudice’ and the ‘Oneness of Humanity’? Is this how Compulsory Universal Education is achieved by isolating Baha’i children from non-Baha’i children and establishing separate schools for them? In yet another one of his letters, Abdu’l-Baha writes the following:
“You had written about Baha’i girls and that they are attending the schools of other peoples (non-Baha’is). The truth is, although these children are taught a few things in those schools, but the manners of the teachers will influence the (Baha’i) children and will cast doubts into their hearts and will convert and alter them. The friends of God (Baha’is) must establish a school for girls so that the (Baha’i) teachers educate them by Godly manners, divine morals, and methods of the Merciful Lord.” (Fadil Mazandarani, Amr wa khalq, vol. 3, p. 339)
Abdu’l-Baha is actually stating that he doesn’t want Baha’i children to study at non-Baha’i schools because Baha’i children might be influenced by the manners of their non-Baha’i teachers and doubts might be cast in their hearts about Baha’ism. How can the leaders of a creed claim they strive for the Oneness of Humanity and unity of mankind when they cannot tolerate their own children being educated by non-Baha’is?
The Baha’i attitude toward non-Baha’i teachers and schools and the words used to describe them are what one would except from a cult practicing an extreme form of information control on the adherents. One might even go as far as calling it a form of brainwashing. Anyway, since these orders were so illogical and impractical–like many other Baha’i teachings that Baha’is in the western world are kept in the dark about–they were temporarily abandoned until a “future state of society” when Baha’is are hopeful that they can be implemented…
What is even more interesting, is that although Abdu’l-Baha had prohibited his followers in the strictest sense and using threatening language from sending their children to non-Baha’i schools, he defied this order himself and sent his own beloved grandson to non-Baha’i schools in Palestine:
“It was here that Shoghi Effendi had a very significant dream which he recounted to me and which I wrote down. He said that when he was nine or ten years old, living with his nurse in this house and attending school in Haifa, he dreamed that he and another child, an Arab schoolmate, were in the room in which ‘Abdu’l-Bahā used to receive His guests in the house in Akka . . .” (Rūhīyyih Rabbani, The Priceless Pearl (London: Bahā’ī Publishing Trust, 1969), p. 16.)
“Shoghi Effendi entered the best school in Haifa, the College des Freres, conducted by the Jesuits. He told me he had been very unhappy there. Indeed, I gathered from him that he never was really happy in either school or university. In spite of his innately joyous nature, his sensitivity and his background – so different from that of others in every way – could not but set him apart and give rise to many a heart-ache; indeed, he was one of those people whose open and innocent hearts, keen minds and affectionate nature seem to combine to bring upon them more shocks and suffering in life than is the lot of most men. Because of his unhappiness in this school ‘Abdu’l-Baha decided to send him to Beirut where he attended another Catholic school as a boarder, and where he was equally unhappy. Learning of this in Haifa the family sent a trusted Baha’i woman to rent a home for Shoghi Effendi in Beirut and take care of and wait on him. It was not long before she wrote to his father that he was very unhappy at school, would refuse to go to it sometimes for days, and was getting thin and run down. His father showed this letter to ‘Abdu’l-Baha Who then had arrangements made for Shoghi Effendi to enter the Syrian Protestant College, which had a school as well as a university, later known as the American College in Beirut, and which the Guardian entered when he finished what was then equivalent to the high school.” (Rūhīyyih Rabbani, The Priceless Pearl, p. 17)
Anyway, one should think twice before joining a creed that claims its purpose is unity of the masses but does not allow the children of its own adherents to attend the schools of those same masses. And one should think twice before joining a creed that claims one of its main principles is the ‘Removal of All Forms of Prejudice’ but refers to schools that are run by non-Baha’is as “death incarnate” and believes attending these institutions is a cause of disgrace, humiliation and spiritual abatement and stagnation. Baha’is, especially in English speaking countries, will vehemently deny their leaders’ statements about non-Baha’i schools. We do not blame them for as we mentioned at the beginning of the article, these quotes have never been translated to English.