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  • Foreword

    • 1 See, for example, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, 30.2; The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912, trans. Howard MacNutt (Wilmette, IL: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 2012), p. 427; Paris Talks: Addresses Given by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in 1911, 2.1 and 28.6. 

    • 2 Chap. 46, par. 7. 

    • 3 Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By (Wilmette, IL: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1974, 2012 printing), p. 410. 

    • 4 From a letter dated 13 March 1923 written by Shoghi Effendi to the Bahá’ís of Australasia. 

    • 5 From a letter dated 14 November 1940 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer. 

  • Part 1: On the Influence of the Prophets in the Evolution of Humanity

    • 1 Gen. 1:26. 

    • 2 Cf. John 6:42. 

    • 3 Cf. Jurjí Zaydán, Umayyads and ‘Abbásids: Being the Fourth Part of Jurjí Zaydán’s History of Islamic Civilization, trans. D. S. Margoliouth (London: Darf Publishers, 1987), pp. 125–31. 

    • 4 ‘Umar. 

    • 5 Copernicus. 

    • 6 Qur’án 36:38. 

    • 7 Qur’án 36:40. 

    • 8 Galileo. 

    • 9 ‘Abdu’l-Bahá refers to the Báb by His title Ḥaḍrat-i-A‘lá—His Holiness the Exalted One—but He will be designated here by the name under which He is known in the West. 

    • 10 ‘Abdu’l-Bahá refers to Bahá’u’lláh here by His title Jamál-i-Mubárak (the Blessed Beauty). He is also called Jamál-i-Qidám (the Ancient Beauty) and Qalam-i-A‘lá (the Pen of the Most High), but He will be designated throughout as Bahá’u’lláh, the title by which He is known in the West. 

    • 11 Bahá’u’lláh was exiled first from Ṭihrán to Baghdád, then to Constantinople (Istanbul), then to Adrianople (Edirne), and was imprisoned in ‘Akká, “the Most Great Prison”, in 1868, in the precincts of which He passed away in 1892. 

    • 12 Two cities in Iraq which contain the tombs of the first and the third Imáms of the Shí‘ah denomination, respectively, and which are important centres of pilgrimage. 

    • 13 Bahá’u’lláh’s first Tablet to Napoleon III was revealed in Adrianople (see Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, trans. Shoghi Effendi [Wilmette, IL: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1988, 2001 printing], p. 45), which Bahá’u’lláh called the “remote prison”. 

    • 14 Cf. Súriy-i-Haykal (Súrih of the Temple), ¶138. 

    • 15 The son of the French consul in Syria who, according to Nabíl-i- A‘ẓam, was a follower of Bahá’u’lláh; see H. M. Balyuzi, Bahá’u’lláh: The King of Glory (Oxford: George Ronald, 1980), p. 320. 

    • 16 Cf. Súriy-i-Haykal, ¶221. 

    • 17 “Yá Bahá’u’l-Abhá”, an invocation of the Greatest Name of God (the All-Glorious or Most Glorious). 

    • 18 Bahá’u’lláh. 

    • 19 Cf. Kitáb-i-Íqán (The Book of Certitude), ¶213. 

    • 20 See Chapters 8–9 above. 

    • 21 See Dan. 9:24. 

    • 22 Cf. Num. 14:34; Ezek. 4:6. 

    • 23 That is, Muḥammad’s wife and her cousin Varaqih-ibn-i-Nawfal. 

    • 24 As Muḥammad began His public ministry ten years before the Hijrah, this date corresponds to the year A.H. 1280, or A.D. 1863. 

    • 25 Rev. 11:3. 

    • 26 Qur’án 48:8. 

    • 27 Rev. 11:4. 

    • 28 Rev. 11:5. 

    • 29 Rev. 11:6. 

    • 30 Rev. 11:6. 

    • 31 Rev. 11:6. 

    • 32 Rev. 11:7. 

    • 33 Rev. 11:7. 

    • 34 Rev. 11:7. 

    • 35 Rev. 11:8. 

    • 36 Rev. 11:9. 

    • 37 Rev. 11:10. 

    • 38 Rev. 11:11. 

    • 39 Rev. 11:12. 

    • 40 The Báb and Quddús. 

    • 41 Rev. 11:12. 

    • 42 Rev. 11:13. 

    • 43 Rev. 11:13. 

    • 44 Rev. 11:14. 

    • 45 Ezek. 30:1–3. 

    • 46 Rev. 11:15. 

    • 47 Rev. 11:16–17. 

    • 48 “Regarding the four and twenty elders: The Master, in a Tablet, stated that they are the Báb, the 18 Letters of the Living and five others who would be known in the future.” (From a letter dated 22 July 1943 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer.) ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in a Tablet identified one of the remaining five as Ḥájí Mírzá Muḥammad-Taqí Afnán, Vakílu’d-Dawlih. 

    • 49 Rev. 11:18. 

    • 50 Rev. 11:18. 

    • 51 Rev. 11:18. 

    • 52 Rev. 11:18. 

    • 53 Rev. 11:19. 

    • 54 Rev. 11:19. 

    • 55 Rev. 11:19. 

    • 56 Rev. 11:19. 

    • 57 The translation of the paragraph to this point follows Shoghi Effendi’s revision of this passage as quoted in The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh: Selected Letters (Wilmette, IL: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1991, 2012 printing), pp. 204–5, and The Promised Day Is Come, ¶297. It should be noted that the word nahál, which corresponds to “rod” in English and which has been rendered as such in paragraphs 1–2, has been rendered in this paragraph as “Branch”. In both cases the reference is to Bahá’u’lláh. 

    • 58 Rev. 21:1–3. 

    • 59 Rev. 21:2. 

    • 60 Rev. 12:2. 

    • 61 Rev. 12:3–4. 

    • 62 Rev. 12:4. 

    • 63 Rev. 12:5. 

    • 64 Rev. 12:5. 

    • 65 Rev. 12:6. 

    • 66 Rev. 12:6. 

    • 67 Rev. 12:6. 

    • 68 The word sa‘ádat, rendered here as “felicity”, has further connotations of prosperity, joy, and well-being. 

  • Part 2: Some Christian Subjects

    • 69 Cf. Matt. 3:16–17; Mark 1:10–11; Luke 3:22. 

    • 70 Cf. Exod. 13:21–2. 

    • 71 Cf. John 10:38. 

    • 72 From Bahá’u’lláh’s Tablet to Náṣiri’d-Dín Sháh, in Súriy-i-Haykal, ¶192. 

    • 73 Qur’án 19:17; cf. Luke 1:26–8. 

    • 74 Qur’án 36:36. 

    • 75 Cf. Qur’án 13:3. 

    • 76 John 1:12–13. 

    • 77 Gen 2:7. 

    • 78 Cf. Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33. 

    • 79 Cf. Acts 15:20. 

    • 80 ‘Abdu’l-Bahá refers here to the notions of heat and cold that played an important role in traditional Islamic medicine. 

    • 81 John 6:51. 

    • 82 Matt. 26:26. 

    • 83 Matt. 8:22; John 3:6. 

    • 84 Cf. Matt. 13:14–15; John 12:39–40. 

    • 85 Cf. Matt. 24:29–30. 

    • 86 See Kitáb-i-Íqán, ¶¶27–42 and 66–87. 

    • 87 Cf. John 3:13. 

    • 88 Masíkh (monster), a distortion of Masíḥ (Messiah). 

    • 89 Cf. 1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Pet. 3:10. 

    • 90 John 17:5. 

    • 91 Cf. John 6:50–1. 

    • 92 Cf. Gen. 2:16–17. 

    • 93 Cf. Gen. 3:5. 

    • 94 Cf. Gen. 3:11–15, 22. 

    • 95 Bahá’u’lláh. 

    • 96 Cf. John 6:51. 

    • 97 I.e., Jews and Christians. 

    • 98 Matt. 8:22. 

    • 99 Matt. 12:31–2. 

    • 100 Matt. 22:14. 

    • 101 Qur’án 2:105 and 3:74. 

    • 102 Matt. 22:14. 

    • 103 See, for example, Kitáb-i-Íqán, ¶¶156–79. 

    • 104 Cf. John 1:19–21. 

    • 105 That is, the individuality of John. 

    • 106 Cf. Matt. 23:34–6. 

    • 107 Matt. 16:18. 

    • 108 Peter’s given name was Simon, but Christ called him Cephas, which corresponds to the Greek words petros or petra, meaning “rock”. 

    • 109 Cf. Matt. 16:14–18. 

  • Part 3: On the Powers and Conditions of the Manifestations of God

    • 110 Elsewhere ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s classification also includes the mineral spirit; see, for example, Chapter 64; Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l- Bahá, sec. 30; and The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912, trans. Howard MacNutt (Wilmette, IL: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 2012), pp. 95, 264–5, 336, 360, and 377–8. 

    • 111 From a Tradition attributed to Imám ‘Alí. 

    • 112 Qur’án 6:103. 

    • 113 From a Tradition attributed to Imám ‘Alí. 

    • 114 Qur’án 59:2. 

    • 115 Cf. John 14:11 and 17:21. 

    • 116 ‘Abdu’l-Bahá here anticipates a question about the beginning of Bahá’u’lláh’s Revelation, which is taken up in greater detail in Chapters 16 and 39. 

    • 117 Cf. Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, XLI; and Súriy-i-Haykal, ¶192. 

    • 118 John 1:1. 

    • 119 Matt. 6:9; Luke 11:2. 

    • 120 See, for example, Chapter 14. 

    • 121 John 1:1. 

    • 122 Cf. Exod. 20:4–5; Deut. 5:8–9. 

    • 123 Cf. Num. 13–14. 

    • 124 Qur’án 48:1–2. 

    • 125 Matt. 19:16–17. 

    • 126 Kitáb-i-Aqdas (The Most Holy Book), ¶47. 

  • Part 4: On the Origin, Powers, and Conditions of Man

    • 127 The word naw‘, translated here and in following chapters as “species”, has a range of meanings including kind, sort, and type. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is not using the word in the modern biological sense but in the sense of changeless archetypal forms. 

    • 128 In a Tablet, Bahá’u’lláh attributes these words to Hermes. 

    • 129 See, for example, Chapters 2 and 80. 

    • 130 Qur’án 23:14 and Persian Hidden Word no. 9. 

    • 131 Gen. 1:26. 

    • 132 As will be seen in the next chapter, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá uses the terms “appearance through emanation” and “procession through emanation” interchangeably. 

    • 133 See Chapter 80. 

    • 134 Cf. Gen. 2:7. 

    • 135 John 1:1. 

    • 136 John 1:1. 

    • 137 See, for example, John 14:10–11 and 17:21. 

    • 138 See Chapter 36. 

    • 139 See Gen. 9:22–7. 

    • 140 That is, that people cannot be held responsible for their own character. 

    • 141 Cf. Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, XLI, and Súriy-i-Haykal, ¶192. 

    • 142 Cf. Rev. 22:13. 

    • 143 See Chapter 48. 

    • 144 Cf. John 3:5. 

    • 145 Cf. John 1:13. 

    • 146 Qur’án 23:14. 

    • 147 ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is here directly addressing Laura Clifford Barney, whose father had passed away in 1902. 

    • 148 Mírzá Yaḥyá, half-brother and avowed enemy of Bahá’u’lláh. 

    • 149 “The first duty prescribed by God for His servants is the recognition of Him Who is the Dayspring of His Revelation and the Fountain of His laws, Who representeth the Godhead in both the Kingdom of His Cause and the world of creation. Whoso achieveth this duty hath attained unto all good; and whoso is deprived thereof hath gone astray, though he be the author of every righteous deed.” (Kitáb-i-Aqdas, ¶1.) 

    • 150 See Chapter 84 for a fuller discussion of this subject. 

    • 151 Rom. 9:21. 

    • 152 See Chapters 32, 62, and 63. 

  • Part 5: Miscellaneous Subjects

    • 153 Cf. Matt. 5:39. 

    • 154 A Bahá’í sitting at table. 

    • 155 Matt. 8:22. 

    • 156 Cf. Aristotle, Physics 194b16–195a1. 

    • 157 The Tree of Zaqqúm, mentioned in Qur’án 17:60, 37:62–6, 44:43–6, and 56:52–3. 

    • 158 Cf. Qur’án 37:180. 

    • 159 Qur’án 59:2. 

    • 160 See Chapter 33 for a fuller discussion of this subject. 

    • 161 While, as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá explains, the idea is of ancient origin, its history in Islamic thought begins with Ibnu’l-‘Arabí (1165–1240). “Ibnu’l-‘Arabí is a thoroughgoing monist, and the name given to his doctrine (vaḥdatu’l-vujúd, the unity of existence) justly describes it. He holds that all things pre-exist as ideas in the knowledge of God, whence they emanate and whither they ultimately return.” R. A. Nicholson, “Mysticism”, The Legacy of Islam, ed. Sir Thomas Arnold and Alfred Guillaume (Oxford University Press, 1931), p. 224. 

    • 162 Cf. Plotinus, Ennead 5.2.1: “The One is all things and not a single one of them…” (Armstrong’s trans.); and Plato, Parmenides 160b2–3: “Thus, if there is a One, the One is both all things and nothing whatsoever, alike with reference to itself and to the Others” (Cornford’s trans.). In the tradition of the Islamic philosophers, certain of the writings of Plotinus are attributed to Aristotle. 

    • 163 See Ibn Abí Uṣaybi‘ih, ‘Uyúnu’l-Anbá’ fí Ṭabaqáti’l-Aṭibbá’ (Cairo,1882), 1:76–7. 

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