NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The extracts from the Writings of the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh contained in this book are from the matchless translations by Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith, and their published sources are acknowledged in the references and bibliography. There are many other quotations from Persian manuscripts and publications, and these I have translated, unless otherwise indicated. The footnotes are mine, except for one which is identified. Verses taken from the Qur'án are numbered in accordance with the Arabic text, although their numbering may differ from that given in English translations. Persian and Arabic names are transliterated in accordance with the system adopted for books on the Bahá'í Faith, but quotations are reproduced in their original form. To assist the reader, I have sometimes referred to certain well-known Persians by their titles instead of their full names; however, the interested reader may find their names in brackets in the index.
The early followers of Bahá'u'lláh seldom sought to be photographed. Occasionally, group photographs were taken, from which it has been possible to obtain many of the individual photographs which I have included, in the belief that their historical interest outweighs the fact that some are faded and out of focus. I am deeply indebted to the Audio-Visual Department of the Bahá'í World Centre for supplying most of these photographs; one has come from the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Írán and Mr. Ruhi Shakibai has skilfully reproduced another.
I wish to acknowledge with sincere thanks the co-operation of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Írán, the Bahá'í Publishing Trust, London, and the Bahá'í Publishing Trust, Wilmette, Illinois, in permitting me to quote extensively from their publications. I am also most grateful to Madame
Laura Dreyfus-Barney for permission to quote from Some Answered Questions.
For the editing of the book I desire to record my warm appreciation to Mrs. Marion Hofman, whose advice at every stage has enriched its quality. I am also grateful to Mr. Joseph Watson for reading most of the manuscript and offering valuable suggestions, to Miss Rosemary Magill for meticulously checking the quotations and rendering many other services including proof reading, to Mr. Paul Reynolds who has prepared the index with efficiency and resourcefulness, to Mrs. Jacqueline Mehrabi who patiently converted my scribblings into neatly typed manuscript, to Mrs. Frances Beard for additional typing assistance, and to Miss Mary Perkins and Mr. John Coates for so carefully reading the proofs.
To one friend, in particular, Mr. O. Z. Whitehead, I am deeply indebted for his constant interest and encouragement. And last but not least, I wish to express my heartfelt thanks to my wife Lesley, for her selfless enthusiasm and unfailing support without which the writing of this book would have been much more difficult.
Adib TaherzadehBray, Co. Wicklow
The creative Word of God in every Dispensation is vouchsafed to mankind through the intermediary of His Prophets and Messengers. Bahá'u'lláh, Whose innumerable followers throughout the world believe Him to be the most recent in the succession of these Messengers or Manifestations of God, has revealed the Word of God for today. His recorded utterances and writings in Persian and Arabic, authenticated by Himself, are viewed by Bahá'ís as their Scripture. In English these are often referred to as Tablets.
In order to indicate the manner of, and the background to, the revelation of some of Bahá'u'lláh's Writings during the forty years of His ministry, it has been felt essential to recount part of the history of His life, and also of the lives of some of His companions and followers whom He addressed, or who were affected, directly or indirectly, by the outpouring of His words or served Him by recording His utterances, transcribing and disseminating His Tablets, or propagating His Message in the land of His birth and in adjoining countries. The author has drawn on narratives which they have left us, in most cases providing the translations.
This volume is the first of four which will survey the better known Writings of Bahá'u'lláh throughout the period of His ministry. It deals only with a number of Tablets which He revealed in 'Iráq during the ten years of His sojourn in that land, the majority of them unavailable in Western languages. Obviously, it is not possible to describe every Tablet which was revealed by His Pen in this or any other period, for the
Outpouring of His Revelation was so prodigious that such an attempt would be tantamount to trying to capture an ocean within a cup.
Moreover, since Bahá'u'lláh's Writings, for the most part, have not yet been translated from the originals, the present writer has been faced with the task of conveying in his own words something of their true spirit and feeling, a task which is rendered supremely difficult--and indeed in its entirety impossible--both by the limited vision of man, and by the vast range of the utterances of Bahá'u'lláh and their limitless potency and significance.
If even a small measure of the power and beauty contained within these Writings is imparted here, this book will have gone some way towards achieving its purpose.
Recently I have received some authentic material which was not available to me when I wrote this book. It chiefly concerns two of Bahá'u'lláh's Tablets revealed in Baghdád and, as a result, I have revised some paragraphs between pages 147 and 151.
Through the movement of Our Pen of glory We have, at the bidding of the omnipotent Ordainer, breathed a new life into every human frame and instilled into every word a fresh potency. All created things proclaim the evidences of this world-wide regeneration.
The world of being shineth in this Day with the resplendency of this Divine Revelation. All created things extol its saving grace and sing its praises. The universe is wrapt in an ecstasy of joy and gladness. The Scriptures of past Dispensations celebrate the great jubilee that must needs greet this most great Day of God. Well is it with him that hath lived to see this Day and hath recognized its station.
Centuries, nay ages, must pass away, ere the Day-Star of Truth shineth again in its mid-summer splendour, or appeareth once more in the radiance of its vernal glory...