Baháulláh (Glory of God) was born Husayn-Alí. The
authoritative work on the missions of the Báb and Baháulláh is Shoghi
Effendis God Passes By (Wilmette: Baháí Publishing Trust, 1987).
For a biographical study see Hasan Balyuzis Baháulláh: The King of
Glory (Oxford: George Ronald, 1980). Baháulláhs writings are
extensively reviewed in Adib Taherzadehs The Revelation of
Baháulláh (Oxford: George Ronald, 1975), four volumes.
Yearbook, 1988, indicates that, although the Baháí community numbers only
about five million members, the Faith has already become the most widely diffused religion
on earth, after Christianity. There are today 155 Baháí National Assemblies in
independent countries and major territories of the globe, and more than 17,000 elected
Assemblies functioning at the local level. It is estimated that 2,112 nationalities and
tribes are represented.
Toynbee, A Study of History, Vol. VIII (London: Oxford, 1954), p. 117.
Báb (Gate or Door) was born Siyyid Alí-Muhammad in Shiraz,
October 20, 1819.
Passages in the Bábs writings which refer to the advent of Him Whom God
will make manifest include cryptic references to the year Nine
and the year Nineteen (i.e., roughly 1852 and 1863, calculating in
lunar years from the year of the Bábs inauguration of His mission, 1844). On
several occasions the Báb also indicated to certain of His followers that they would
themselves come to recognize and serve Him Whom God will make manifest.
proclamation of the Bábs message had been carried out in mosques and public places
by enthusiastic bands of followers, many of them young seminarians. The Muslim clergy had
replied by inciting mob violence. Unfortunately, these events coincided with a political
crisis created by the death of Muhammad Sháh and a struggle over the succession. It was
the leaders of the successful political faction, behind the boy-king Násirid-Dín
Sháh, who then turned the royal army against the Bábí enthusiasts. The latter, raised
in a Muslim frame of reference, and believing that they had a moral right to self-defense,
barricaded themselves in makeshift shelters and withstood long, bloody sieges. When they
had eventually been overcome and slaughtered, and the Báb had been executed, two deranged
Bábí youth stopped the Sháh in a public road and fired birdshot at him, in an
ill-conceived attempt at assassination. It was this incident which provided the excuse for
the worst of the massacres of Bábís which evoked protests from Western embassies. For an
account of the period see W. Hatcher and D. Martin, The Baháí Faith: The
Emerging Global Religion (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1985), pp. 6-32.
7. For an
account of these events see God Passes By, chapters I-V. Western interest in the
Bábí movement was aroused, particularly, by the publication in 1865 of Joseph Arthur
Comte de Gobineaus Les religions et les philosophies dans lAsie centrale
(Paris: Didier, 1865).
Baháulláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf (Wilmette, Ill.:
Baháí Publishing Trust, 1979), pp. 20-21.
number of Western diplomatic and military observers have left harrowing accounts of what
they witnessed. Several formal protests were registered with the Persian authorities. See
Moojan Momen, The Bábí and Baháí Religions, 1844-1944 (Oxford: George
There was, understandably, great suspicion in Persia about the intentions of the British
and Russian governments, both of which had long interfered in Persian affairs.
focal point of these problems was one Mírzá Yahyá, a younger half-brother of
Baháulláh. While still a youth and under the guidance of
Baháulláh Yahyá had been appointed by the Báb as nominal head of the
Bábí community, pending the imminent advent of Him Whom God will make
manifest. Falling under the influence of a former Muslim theologian, Siyyid
Muhammad Isfahání, however, Yahyá gradually became estranged from his brother. Rather
than being expressed openly, this resentment found its outlet in clandestine agitation,
which had a disastrous effect on the exiles' already low morale. Yahyá eventually refused
to accept Baháulláhs declaration, and played no role in the
development of the Baháí Faith which this declaration initiated.
Baháulláh, The Book of Certitude (Wilmette, Ill.: Baháí
Publishing Trust, 1985), p. 251.
Baháulláh, The Hidden Words of Baháulláh (Wilmette,
Ill.: Baháí Publishing Trust, 1985), Arabic 2 on pp. 3-4, Arabic 5 on p. 4, Arabic
35 on p. 12, Arabic 12 on p. 6.
Except where the context makes it obvious, the
conventional use of the English word man translates the concept of
pp. 3-4, pp. 195-200.
Cited in God Passes By, p. 137.
Quotation from Prince Zaynul-Ábidín Khán, God Passes By, p. 135.
Note 68 below.
Passes By, p. 153. Increasingly, after 1863, the word Baháí
replaced Bábí as the designation for the new faith, marking the fact that an
entirely new religion had emerged.
Cited in Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice (Wilmette, Ill.:
Baháí Publishing Trust, 1984), p. 77.
Baháulláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baháulláh
(Wilmette, Ill.: Baháí Publishing Trust, 1983), pp. 10-11.
two statements quoted may be found cited by Abdul-Bahá in J. E. Esslemont, Baháulláh
and the New Era (Wilmette, Ill.: Baháí Publishing Trust 1987), p. 170 and Tablets
of Baháulláh Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas (Haifa: Baháí
World Centre, 1982), pp. 22-23, respectively.
Passes By, pp. 127-57, gives an account of these events.
Cited in Advent of Divine Justice, p. 79.
a detailed exposition of this subject see Abdul-Bahá, Some Answered
Questions (Wilmette, Ill.: Baháí Publishing Trust, 1970), pp. 163-201.
Examples, in the words of Jesus, are Why callest thou me good? There is none
good but one, that is, God... (Matthew 19:17); I and my
Father are one. (John 10:30)
pp. 54, 55.
Testament, John 1:10.
Cited in Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baháulláh: Selected Letters
(Wilmette, Ill.: Baháí Publishing Trust, 1982), p. 117.
p. 74. In the Baháí writings the term Adam is used symbolically in two
different senses. The one refers to the emergence of the human race, while the other
designates the first of the Manifestations of God.
Baháulláh, The Seven Valleys and The Four Valleys (Wilmette, Ill.:
Baháí Publishing Trust, 1986), pp. 6-7: Yea, although to the wise it be
shameful to seek the Lord of Lords in the dust, yet this betokeneth intense ardor in
Cited in The World Order of Baháulláh, p. 116.
Valleys, pp. 1-2.
Testament, John 10:16.
elaboration on the subject of Baháulláhs teachings on the process of
the maturation of the human race, see World Order of Baháulláh, pp.
Extracts from the Writings of Baháulláh, Abdul-Bahá, Shoghi
Effendi and the Universal House of Justice (Thornhill, Ontario: Baháí
Publications Canada, 1986), p. 26.
combination of unusual circumstances had made the central authorities in Constantinople
especially sympathetic to Baháulláh, and resistant to pressure from the
Persian government. The governor of Baghdad, Namíq Páshá, had written enthusiastically
to the capital about both the character and influence of the distinguished Persian exile.
Sultan Abdul-Azíz found the reports intriguing because, although he was
Caliph of Sunni Islam, he considered himself a mystical seeker. Equally important, in
another way, was the reaction of his chief minister, Alí Páshá. To the latter, who was
an accomplished student of Persian language and literature as well as a would-be
modernizer of the Turkish administration, Baháulláh seemed a highly
sympathetic figure. It was no doubt this combination of sympathy and interest which led
the Ottoman government to invite Baháulláh to the capital rather than send
Him to a more remote center or deliver Him to the Persian authorities, as the latter were
the full text of the report of the Austrian ambassador, Count von Prokesch-Osten, in a
letter to the Comte de Gobineau, January 10, 1886, see Bábí and Baháí
Religions, pp. 186-87.
Vol. 2, p. 399.
a description of these events see Revelation, Vol. 3, especially pp. 296, 331.
a description of this experience see God Passes By, pp. 180-89.
the 1850s two German religious leaders, Christoph Hoffmann and Georg David Hardegg,
collaborated in the development of the Society of Templers, devoted to
creating in the Holy Land a colony or colonies which would prepare the way for Christ, on
His return. Leaving Germany on August 6, 1868, the founding group arrived in Haifa on
October 30, 1868, two months after Baháulláhs own arrival.
a description of the disasters which befell European Turkey in the Russo-Turkish War of
1877-78 see Addendum III in Baháulláh: King of Glory, pp. 460-62.
Alistair Horne, The Fall of Paris (London: Macmillan, 1965), p. 34.
Cited in Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day Is Come (Wilmette, Ill.: Baháí
Publishing Trust, 1980), pp. 32-33.
Cited in Promised Day, p. 37.
Cited in Promised Day, p. 35.
Cited in Shoghi Effendi, Citadel of Faith: Messages to America 1947-1957
(Wilmette, Ill.: Baháí Publishing Trust, 1980), pp. 18-19.
Cited in Promised Day, p. 83.
Cited in Promised Day, p. 81.
Cited in Promised Day, pp. 110-11.
p. 11. The phrase Not of Mine own volition appears in the same
paragraph immediately above the excerpt cited.
Baháulláh's son, Mírzá Mihdí,a youth of twenty-two, died in 1870 in an
accidental fall resulting from the conditions in which the family was imprisoned.
Passes By, pp. 94-96.
Cited in World Order of Baháulláh, p. 113.
Although Sultán Abdul-Azíz order of banishment was never
formally revoked, the responsible political authorities came to regard it as null and
void. They, therefore, indicated that Baháulláh could establish His
residence outside the city walls, should He choose to do so.
The mansion, which had been built by a wealthy Christian Arab merchant of Akká, had
been abandoned by him when an outbreak of plague began to spread. The property was first
rented and, some years after Baháulláh's passing, purchased by the
Baháí community. Baháulláh's grave is located in a Shrine in the
gardens of Bahjí, and is now the focal point of pilgrimage for the Baháí world.
For a summary of this body of teaching see World Order, pp. 143-57, and Shoghi
Effendis Principles of Baháí Administration (London: Baháí
Publishing Trust, 1973), throughout. A fully annotated English translation of the central
document in this body of writings, the Kitáb-i-Aqdas (The Most Holy
Book), is being published to coincide with the centenary of
Baháulláh's passing, 1992.
Edward G. Browne, A Travellers Narrative (New York: Baháí
Publishing Committee, 1930), pp. xxxix-xl.