The original Persian text written in 1875 carried no author’s name, and the first English translation published in 1910 under the title The Mysterious Forces of Civilization states only “Written in Persian by an Eminent Bahai Philosopher.”
“If by the word algebra we mean that branch of mathematics by which we learn how to solve the equation x²+5x=14, written in this way, the science begins in the 17th century. If we allow the equation to be written with other and less convenient symbols, it may be considered as beginning at least as early as the 3rd century. If we permit it to be stated in words and solved, for simple cases of positive roots, by the aid of geometric figures, the science was known to Euclid and others of the Alexandrian school as early as 300 B.C. If we permit of more or less scientific guessing in achieving a solution, algebra may be said to have been known nearly 2000 years B.C., and it had probably attracted the attention of the intellectual class much earlier … The name ‘algebra’ is quite fortuitous. When Mohammed ibn Mûsâ al-Khowârizmî … wrote in Baghdad (c. 825) he gave to one of his works the name Al-jebr w’al-muqâbalah. The title is sometimes translated as ‘restoration and equation,’ but the meaning was not clear even to the later Arab writers.” Encyclopedia Britannica, 1952, s.v. Algebra.
Cf. Qur’án 27:12, referring to Moses: “Put now thy hand into thy bosom: it shall come forth white … one of nine signs to Pharaoh and his people…” Also Qur’án 7:105; 20:23; 26:32; and 28:32. Also Exodus 4:6. See too Edward Fitzgerald’s The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam: “Now the New Year reviving old Desires, / The thoughtful Soul to Solitude retires, / Where the White Hand of Moses on the Bough / Puts out, and Jesus from the Ground suspires.” The metaphors here refer to white blossoms and the perfumes of spring.
Dhu’l-Awtád is variously rendered by translators of the Qur’án as The Impaler, The Contriver of the Stakes, The Lord of a Strong Dominion, The One Surrounded by Ministers, etc. Awtád means pegs or tent stakes. See Qur’án 38:11 and 89:9.
Qur’án 33:63: “Men will ask Thee of ‘the Hour.’ Say: The knowledge of it is with God alone.” Cf. also 22:1, “the earthquake of the Hour,” etc. See also Matthew 24:36, 42, etc. To Bahá’ís, this refers to the Advent of the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh.
The foregoing paragraph, together with the later paragraph beginning “A few, unaware of the power latent in human endeavor,” was translated by Shoghi Effendi, Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith. Cf. The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, The Goal of a New World Order.
See Rúmí, The Mathnaví, II, 185 and 189. Also the Ḥadíth: “God created the creatures in darkness, then He sprinkled some of His Light upon them. Those whom some of that Light reached took the right way, while those whom it missed wandered from the straight road.” Cf. R. A. Nicholson’s “The Mathnawí of Jalálu’ddín Rúmí” in the E. J. W. Gibb Memorial Series.
The King James Bible reads: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.” Scholars object to this reading because it is contrary to the known Law as set forth in Leviticus 19:18, Exodus 23:4–5, Proverbs 25:21, the Talmud, etc.
Cf. ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá, Some Answered Questions, ch. LXXXIV, and Promulgation of Universal Peace, paragraph beginning “Therefore, the Lord of mankind has caused His holy, divine Manifestations…”. See also Galen on Jews and Christians by Richard Walzer, Oxford University Press, 1949, p. 15. The author states that Galen’s summary here referred to is lost, being preserved only in Arabic quotations.
The Persian text transliterates this author’s name as “Draybár” and titles his work The Progress of Peoples. The reference is apparently to John William Draper, 1811–1882, celebrated chemist and widely-translated historian. Detailed material on Muslim contributions to the West, and on Gerbert (Pope Sylvester II) appears in the second volume of the work cited. Of some of Europe’s systematically unacknowledged obligations to Islám the author writes: “Injustice founded on religious rancour and national conceit cannot be perpetuated for ever.” (Vol. II, p. 42, Rev. ed.) The Dictionary of American Biography states that Draper’s father was a Roman Catholic who assumed the name John Christopher Draper when disowned by his family for becoming a Methodist, and that his real name is unknown. The translator is indebted to Mr. Paul North Rice, Chief of the New York Public Library’s Reference Department, for the information that available data on Draper’s family history and nationality are in conflict; The Drapers in America by Thomas Waln-Morgan (1892) states that Draper’s father was born in London, while Albert E. Henschel in “Centenary of John William Draper” (New York University “Colonnade,” June, 1911) has the following: “If there be among us any who trace their lineage to the sunny fields of Italy, they may feel a just pride in John William Draper, for his father, John C. Draper, was an Italian by birth…” The translator’s thanks are also due to Madame Laura Dreyfus-Barney for investigations in connection with this passage at the Library of Congress and the Bibliothéque Nationale.