The attitude of the West to the non-Christian has always been a critical one. Christianity was its perfect standard and at the same time the yardstick which it applied to the rival great religions. Little was changed in that respect when scholars of religion emancipated themselves from Christian missionary theology whose only real concern was to find in the non-Christian religions points of contact for teaching the heathen. However, none of these religions has been so detested, vilified, misunderstood and misrepresented as the sister religion of Christianity: Islam. Here the Christians' annoyance was of a special character: not only was a claim to revelation made to which the Bible did not bear witness, but, worse still, the doctrine that the history of the Salvation of Man had ended once and for all with Jesus Christ was denied. The "Son of God" was demoted to the rank of a mere prophet. Whosoever made such a statement was clearly in error; this is why Islam was, from the beginning, looked upon as an infamous fraud and a wicked heresy. It could not be a revelation, therefore for the Western scholar it remains to this day an eclectic mixture of ideas and teachings which its founder borrowed from religious concepts which he found in Judaism, Christianity and among the pagan Arabs, and which he partly misunderstood... (1:1)

Whoever wants to be properly informed about a religion would first do well to get hold of literature which is both self-descriptive and self-interpretative, which shows what the religion in question is and what its claims are according to its own teachings and history. This is a matter of course. (2:1)

He who wants information about Islam should start by reading works written by believers before he concentrates his attention on the premises of Western scholars of Islam, and can look at the religion only from their point of view. Obviously this is easier said than done, for the choice of literature is not very wide although the best material available is written in English. The works of non-religious European writers offer an abundance of interesting and useful facts and details. But as soon as these scholars start to evaluate their material-- and evaluation as well as classification are prerequisites to understanding-- the calamity begins: the results are determined by the scholar's attitude to this subject and the premises on which his research has been based. (2:2)

The orientalist who deserves best for his research on the Baha'i Faith and especially on the Babi Faith-- one of the few Europeans who entered the presence of Baha'u'llah and one who handed down to posterity a priceless report about this meeting-- has to a considerable extent drawn from authors frankly opposed to Baha'u'llah and 'Abdul-Baha. The image he conveys is therefore self-contradictory (3:1)

End of Quote

The Light Shineth in Darkness
Udo Schaefer