Does the Baha’i faith claim to have fulfilled prophecies?
Yes, it does.
The Baha’i faith began in the mid-nineteenth century, started by a Persian man by the name of Baha-ulla (actual name Mirza Hussein Ali). His work was preceded by a John the Baptist-like figure the Bab, who was also Persian. This religion is an attempt to adapt Islam to a more modern, multireligious context. Baha-Ullah principally reinterpreted Islam, but he claimed to be the fulfillment of the ministry of Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, Krishna and many other religious leaders, real and fictional. He claimed to be the final and greatest prophet.
The Baha’i religion had no scripture of its own before Baha-ulla began his writings. Therefore, it cannot claim to have fulfilled prophecies within its scripture, simply because it has no ancient writings. However, as do Muslims and Mormons, Baha’is claim to find prophecies of their religion in the Old and New Testaments. I will list three examples below, followed by a brief analysis of the claim that Baha-ullah did in fact fulfill these prophecies. I found these at www.bci.org/prophecy-fulfilled
1. Daniel 8:13-14 says "Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to him, ‘How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled–the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, and the surrender of the sanctuary and of the host that will be trampled underfoot?’ He said to me, ‘It will take 2300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be reconsecrated.’" Baha’is claim that this prophecy was fulfilled with the ministry of the Bab.
To quote: That is to say, how long will this misfortune, this ruin, this abasement and degradation last? meaning, when will be the dawn of the Manifestation? Then he answered, "Two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." Briefly, the purport of this passage is that he appoints two thousand three hundred years, for in the text of the Bible each day is a year. Then from the date of the issuing of the edict of Artaxerxes to rebuild Jerusalem until the day of the birth of Christ there are 456 years, and from the birth of Christ until the day of the manifestation of the Bab there are 1844 years. When you add 456 years to this number it makes 2300 years.
There is a problem with this interpretation. First of all, there is the fact that the beginning point of these 2300 years makes no sense. The prophecy points to a beginning of the desecration of the temple. The date this person uses is one on which it was decreed that Jerusalem should be rebuilt. This makes no sense at all. The attempted interpretation of Daniel 8 amounts to counting back from 1844 (a year that the person known as the Bab began his ministry) by 2300 years and looking around for the closest significant date and arbitrarily making this a fulfillment of this prophecy.
Another reason this interpretation does not make sense, is that prophecy is about the desolation of the temple which happened at the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. In fact, the desecration of the temple happened in Nov. 167 BC and the rededication of the temple happened Dec. 25, 164 BC, 1150 days (2300 evenings and days) after the desecration by Antiochus Epiphanes. I can say a lot more about the actual meaning of Daniel 8. You can find this in my book Daniel, Prophet to the Nations (www.ipibooks.com) Claiming that Daniel 8:13-14 is a prophecy of the ministry of the Bab is a completely spurious claim. Nothing the Bab did even remotely matches the context of Daniel 8, which is about the Greek persecutions of the Jews.
2. Revelation 11:3 says, "And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1260 days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth." Baha’is claim that this is a prophecy of the ministry of Baha-ullah. As in Daniel 8, they claim that the days are years. They claim that Rev 11:3 is a prophecy that the time between the Hejira of Muhammad (his journey from Mecca to Medina) to the time of the ministry of Baha-ullah would be 1260 years. Where did they get this? Again, it is a matter of starting with the ministry of Baha-ulla, counting back 1260 years, and seeing if anything significant happened at that time, then claiming it is a prophecy of this. The Hejira of Muhammad happened in the year AD 622. If we add 1260 years, this will be the year 1882. This is the year that one of the printed texts of the writings of Baha-ullah was published. OK, so we have this coincidence, but if we look at the text of Revelation, is there even the slightest indication that it is talking about the length of time between the Muslim Hejira and the writings of Baha-ullah? The very idea that the Christian scripture would be a prophecy about a person who denied that Jesus is the Son of God and that he was crucified for our sins is really quite ludicrous. In what sense was the Holy City of Jerusalem trampled for that particular stretch of time (AD 622-1882)? This makes absolutely no sense. It is a clear case of reading a random scripture and doing math until a possible coincidence is found, with no consideration at all for the biblical context.
The Baha’i interpreter tells us that the two witnesses are the two laws of Muhammad and of Baha-ullah, without any justification at all for that interpretation within the passage. There is not the slightest indication in the passage that it is discussing two Laws. Even if it were (which it is not!), then implying that the Christian scripture has a prophecy of the anti-Christian Qur’an, which denies the deity of Jesus is truly outrageous.
3. Revelation 12:1 says "A great and wondrous sign appearing in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head." The Baha’i interpreter tells us that the woman is the Law of God. Where he gets this from is a mystery. He then proceeds to identify the sun and the moon. The sun is the Persian kingdom and the moon is the Ottoman Empire. How the woman (the Law according to the Baha’i interpreter) is "clothed" with Persia and the Ottomans is hard to understand. Revelation 12:1 is a prophecy about the Umayyad empire and the twelve stars are the twelve imams of the prophet Muhammad, according to our Baha’i interpreter. The seven heads are seven nations ruled by the Umayyad dynasty (!) In Revelation 12:5, when the woman gives birth to a son who will rule the earth ( a clear allusion to Jesus Christ), it is identified by Baha’is as a reference to the Bab!!! That this is forcing the context of the passage is rather obvious. In the context of Revelation 12, which is about Jesus, the church and the attacks of Satan on the church, there is not even the slightest conceivable hint that this is a prophecy of the history of Islam and the arrival of the Bab!!!!
Because Baha-Ullah wanted to claim to be the next Jesus or Muhammad, he needed to establish prophetic links. You can judge the success of these attempts by the examples listed above. I will admit that my analysis is a bit shallow, as the Baha’is have more to say about each of the passages. You can investigate at the web site above and others to do your own further research. I believe you will find that the pattern described above of using a shoe horn to force events in the life of Baha-Ullah or the Bab into Jewish or Christian scripture, completely violating the context, will be the rule.