The Criterion for Being Knowledgeable and Reasonable in the Baha’i Creed?
Esslemont (Baha’i author): “The religious world owes a debt of gratitude to the men of science who helped to tear such worn-out creeds and dogmas to tatters and allowed the truth to step forth free.”
Reference: J. E. Esslemont, Bahā’u’llāh and the New Era, p. 200.
Bahā’u’llāh: If you don’t become a Baha’i you are ignorant even if you possess all the science in the world.
“If today, someone grasps all of the knowledge on earth but stops at the word ‘yes’ (meaning does not become a Baha’i), the Lord will not pay attention to him and he will be considered as the most ignorant amongst the people,”
Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, Iqtidārāt wa chand lauḥ dīgar, p. 111.
“From now on nobody is to be called knowledgeable, except those who have decorated themselves with the garment of this New Affair (meaning those who have become Baha’is),”
Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, Badī`, pp. 138–139.
If you do not become a Baha’i you have no reason.
“The general criterion is what we mentioned and any soul who has success in it, meaning recognizes and realizes the Sunrise of Manifestation (meaning himself), will be mentioned in the Divine Book as someone who possesses reason or else he will be (mentioned as) ignorant even if he himself thinks that his reason equals that of the whole world,”
Reference:`Abd a l-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Mā’idiy-i āsimānī, vol. 7, p. 160.
“No one has denied or will deny what has been revealed by the Ancient Pen (meaning himself) in this Most Great Manifestation regarding society, unity, manners, rites, and being occupied with what has benefits for the people, except that he completely lacks reason,”
Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, Iqtidārāt wa chand lauḥ dīgar, p. 168.
Was the Tablet of Wisdom Revealed in Persian?
Shoghi: The tablet of wisdom was revealed in Persian.
When referring to a problematic matter in the English translation of this tablet he says: “We must not take this statement too literally; “contemporary” may have been meant in Persian as something far more elastic than the English word. Likewise, the whole translation probably needs revising (15 February 1947).”
Reference: Article titled Socrates compiled by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice: http://bahai-library.com/compilation_socrates_bwc (retrieved
The tablet was revealed by Bahā’u’llāh in Arabic!
Is Shoghi Infallible?
Shoghi: I am only infallible in matters regarding the faith and interpreting it.
“The infallibility of the Guardian is confined to matters which are related strictly to the Cause and interpretations of the Teachings; he is not an infallible authority on other subjects, such as economics, science, etc,”
Reference: Shoghi Effendi, Directives from the Guardian, p. 33–34.
Shoghi makes errors when speaking about Bahā’u’llāh’s Tablet of Wisdom and claims it was revealed in Persian while it was revealed in Arabic.
Refer to Was the Tablet of Wisdom Revealed in Persian?
Can Shoghi Fit the Role of Being the Authorized Interpreter of Baha’i Texts?
`Abdu’l-Bahā: Shoghi is the authoritative interpreter of the words of God.
“O my loving friends! After the passing away of this wronged one, it is incumbent upon the Aghsān (Branches), the Afnān (Twigs) of the Sacred Lote-Tree, the Hands (pillars) of the Cause of God and the loved ones of the Abhā Beauty to turn unto Shoghi Effendi—the youthful branch branched from the two hallowed and sacred Lote-Trees and the fruit grown from the union of the two offshoots of the Tree of Holiness,—as he is the sign of God, the chosen branch, the Guardian of the Cause of God, he unto whom all the Aghsān, the Afnān, the Hands of the Cause of God and His loved ones must turn. He is the Interpreter of the Word of God and after him will succeed the first-born of his lineal descendents,”
Reference:`Abdu’l-Bahā, The Will and Testament of `Abdu’l-Bahā, p. 11.
Shoghi is unsure in interpreting the words of Bahā’u’llāh and uses the words may and probably.
“We must not take this statement too literally; “contemporary” may have been meant in Persian as something far more elastic than the English word. Likewise, the whole translation probably needs revising (15 February 1947),”
Reference: Article titled Socrates compiled by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice: http://bahai-library.com/compilation_socrates_bwc
He doesn’t even consider his own translations as final.
“Concerning the different translations of the Words. It is surely the original text that should never be changed. The translations will continue to vary as more and better translations are made. Shoghi Effendi does not consider even his own translations as final, how much more translations made in the early days of the Cause in the West when no competent translators existed (From a letter on behalf of the Guardian to John Hyde Dunn, 14 August 1930),”
Reference: http://bahai-library.com/compilation_provisional_translations (retrieved 18/2/2014).
Bahā’u’llāh and Divine Knowledge: Referring to Books
Bahā’u’llāh: Whenever I want to quote a book it is revealed in a tablet before my face.
“Whenever We desire to quote the sayings of the learned and of the wise, presently there will appear before the face of thy Lord in the form of a tablet all that which hath appeared in the world and is revealed in the Holy Books and Scriptures,”
Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, Tablets of Bahā’u’llāh Revealed After the Kitāb-i-Aqdas, p. 149.
“You know that we did not read the books of the people and were unaware of the sciences that they possessed.”
Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, Majmū`ihī az alwāḥ jamāl aqdas abhā ki ba`d az kitāb Aqdas nāzil shude. (Langenhain [Germany]: Lajniyi Nashr Āthār Amrī Bi Lisān Fārsī wa `Arabī), p. 89.
Bahā’u’llāh: I searched in vain for a book to see what the author had written in it until I finally found it!
“As We had frequently heard about him, We purposed to read some of his works. Although We never felt disposed to peruse other peoples’ writings, yet as some had questioned Us concerning him, We felt it necessary to refer to his books, in order that We might answer Our questioners with knowledge and understanding. His works, in the Arabic tongue, were, however, not available, . . . We sent for the book, and kept it with Us a few days. It was probably referred to twice,”
Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, The Kitāb-i-Īqān, pp. 184–186.
I used to read books when I was a child.
“This oppressed one in his childhood (ṭufūliyyat) saw the war of the tribe of Qurayẓa in a book that belonged to (was authored by) Mullā Bāqir Majlisī, and has been sad and sorrowful ever-since,”
Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Mā’idiy-i āsimānī, vol. 7, p. 136
Had Bahā’u’llāh Associated with the Learned and the `Ulamā?
`Abdu’l-Bahā: “As all the people of Persia know, He had never studied in any school, nor had He associated with the `ulamā or the men of learning.”
Reference: `Abdu’l-Bahā, Some Answered Questions, p. 27.
`Abdu’l-Bahā: My father used to associate with the learned and the `Ulamā!
“When He was only thirteen or fourteen years old He became renowned for His learning. He would converse on any subject and solve any problem presented to Him. In large gatherings He would discuss matters with the `Ulamā (leading mullās) and would explain intricate religious questions. All of them used to listen to Him with the greatest interest,”
Reference: J. E. Esslemont, Bahā’u’llāh and the New Era, p. 48
“In whatever meeting, scientific assembly or theological discussion He was found, He became the authority of explanation upon intricate and abstruse questions presented,”
Reference: `Abdu’l-Bahā, Bahā’ī World Faith—Selected Writings of Bahā’u’llāh and `Abdu’l-Bahā (`Abdu’l-Bahā’s Section Only), p. 220.
Bahā’u’llāh’s Childhood: Happiness or Sorrow?
`Abdu’l-Bahā: “The early part of His life was passed in the greatest happiness.”
Reference: `Abdu’l-Bahā, Some Answered Questions, p. 27.
Bahā’u’llāh: “This oppressed one in his childhood (ṭufūliyyat) saw the war of the tribe of Qurayẓa in a book that belonged to (was authored by) Mullā Bāqir Majlisī, and has been sad and sorrowful ever-since.”
Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Mā’idiy-i āsimānī, vol. 7, p. 136.
When and Where to Bury the Dead
Bahā’u’llāh: “It is forbidden you to transport the body of the deceased a greater distance than one hour’s journey from the city.”
Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, The Kitābi Aqdas, p. 230.
Under Bahā’u’llāh and `Abdu’l-Bahā’s orders, this one hour limit changes to fifty years and thousands of kilometers for the Bāb!
“As observed in a previous chapter the mangled bodies of the Bāb and His fellow-martyr, Mīrzā Muḥammad-`Alī, were removed, in the middle of the second night following their execution, through the pious intervention of Ḥājī Sulaymān Khān, from the edge of the moat where they had been cast to a silk factory owned by one of the believers of Milān, and were laid the next day in a wooden casket, and thence carried to a place of safety. Subsequently, according to Bahā’u’llāh’s instructions, they were transported to Ṭihrān and placed in the shrine of Imām-Zādih Ḥasan. They were later removed to the residence of Ḥājī Sulaymān Khān himself in the Sar-Chashmih quarter of the city, and from his house were taken to the shrine of Imām-Zādih Ma`ṣūm, where they remained concealed until the year 274 1284 A.H. (1867–1868), when a Tablet, revealed by Bahā’u’llāh in Adrianople, directed Mullā `Alī-Akbar-i-Shāhmīrzādī and Jamāl-i-Burūjirdī to transfer them without delay to some other spot . . . Ḥājī Shāh Muḥammad buried the casket beneath the floor of the inner sanctuary of the shrine of Imām-Zādih Zayd, where it lay undetected until Mīrzā Asadu’llāh-i-Iṣfahānī was informed of its exact location through a chart forwarded to him by Bahā’u’llāh. Instructed by Bahā’u’llāh to conceal it elsewhere, he first removed the remains to his own house in Ṭihrān, after which they were deposited in several other localities such as the house of Ḥusayn-‘Alīy-i-Iṣfahānī and that of Muḥammad-Karīm-i-‘Aṭṭār, where they remained hidden until the year 1316 (1899) A.H., when, in pursuance of directions issued by ‘Abdu’l-Bahā, this same Mīrzā Asadu’llāh, together with a number of other believers, transported them by way of Iṣfahān, Kirmanshāh, Baghdād and Damascus, to Beirut and thence by sea to ‘Akkā, arriving at their destination on the 19th of the month of Ramadān 1316 A.H. (January 31, 1899), fifty lunar years after the Bāb’s execution in Tabrīz,”
Reference: Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, pp. 273–274.
Courtesy: Twelve Principles – A Comprehensive Investigation on the Bahai Teachings