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bullet.gif (837 bytes) The Bahá'ís
bullet.gif (837 bytes) Unity in Diversity
bullet.gif (837 bytes) Bahá'u'lláh
bullet1.gif (837 bytes) Social and Moral
bullet1.gif (837 bytes) Spiritual Beliefs of
the Bahá'í Faith
bullet1.gif (837 bytes) A System for
Global Governance
bullet1.gif (837 bytes) A Century of
Growth and
bullet1.gif (837 bytes) New Approaches
to Old Problems
bullet1.gif (837 bytes) Towards the New
World Order

The Writings of Bahá'u'lláh

In addition to several longer works, Bahá'u'lláh wrote a vast number of documents known as "Tablets," most of them addressed to individuals among His followers. He has Himself estimated that the collected Tablets constitute over a hundred volumes. Moving easily between Persian and Arabic, both of which languages Bahá'u'lláh employed with superb mastery, the Writings are also characterized by a wide range of styles.

The heart of Bahá'u'lláh's ethical teachings is to be found in a small book entitled The Hidden Words, a compilation of aphorisms dating from the earliest days of His mission. The work He describes as a distillation of the spiritual guidance contained in the successive revelations of God.

Bahá'u'lláh's principal exposition of His doctrinal message is a book entitled the "Kitab-i-lqan" (The Book of Certitude). In laying out the entire panorama of the Divine purpose, the "Iqan" deals with the great questions which have always lain at the heart of religious life: God, the nature of humanity, the purpose of life, and the function of Revelation.

Among the best known of Bahá'u'lláh's mystical writings is a small work entitled The Seven Valleys. In poetic language, it traces the stages of the soul 's journey to union with its Creator.

Foremost among Bahá'u'lláh's writings is the "Kitab-i-Aqdas" ("The Most Holy Book"). Revealed during the darkest days of His imprisonment in Acre, the "Aqdas", "Mother Book" of the Bahá'í dispensation, is the chief repository of the laws and institutions which Bahá'u'lláh designed for the World Order He conceived.

The process of translating the sacred writings into other languages is on-going. The standard for the work of translation into English was established by Shoghi Effendi, who headed the Bahá'í Faith from 1921 to 1957. [See page 55.] Educated at Oxford, he was able to provide translations that reflect not only a brilliant command of the English language, but also an authoritative exposition of the Texts' meaning.

In undertaking the challenge of finding an English style which would faithfully convey the exalted and emotive character of Bahá'u'lláh's use of Persian and Arabic, Shoghi Effendi chose a slightly archaic form of English which echoes the King James version of the Bible. He also chose, in accordance with this style, to use the masculine pronoun for references to God--although Bahá'u'lláh's teachings make clear that no gender can be attached to the Creator. Shoghi Effendi also chose to make extensive use of diacritical marks as a guide to the pronunciation of Arabic and Persian names, a practice that is followed throughout the Bahá'í community today.

The result is a style that acts as bridge between modern English and the Persian and Arabic style in which Bahá'u'lláh wrote. Accordingly, Shoghi Effendi's English translations, and not the Arabic or Persian originals, are used for the work of translation into other Western languages.

Selections from Bahá'u'lláh's Writings have been translated into more than 800 languages.

"Excerpted from The Bahá'ís, a publication of the Bahá'í International Community."

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Photo from page 25
In September 1992, the
British Museum opened a
special display of original
Bahá'í manuscripts, which
included some in Bahá'u'lláh's own hand.
Shown above are Dr.
Sheila Canbe, Assistant
Keeper of the John Addis
Gallery at the Museum,
left, and the Honorable J.
Bamabas Leith,
representative of the
Bahá'í community of the
United Kingdom.







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