When the Baha’is write history!

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The Baha’i leaders have ran about to write the history of Babi and Baha’i periods of time since nearly one hundred years ago. The first struggle was writing[1] a historical-imaginative text by Abbas Effendi (1260 A.H.- 1921). When he was a child, he had left Iran along with his father and family and had never returned. He tries to write the events if Bab periods of time as the Babis desire by romanticizing. The Persian text of the travel story was published in 1890 without mentioning the author’s name… .

     He gave a copy to Edward Brown. Brown translated it into English language and published it in 1891 along with some notes in 1891 under the name of “Sayyah’s personal travel story”. The book includes the history of Bab, his claim in 1844 and the events of Bab’s succession and followers by the year 1879.

     In 1888, Bahaullah commissioned one of his relatives called Muhammad Zarandi (the greatest Nabil) to write a history book called the history of Nabil. Nabil who had become Babi and speaking with alive observers of Babi periods of time.

     The first half of Nabil’s book spanned the events till 1852- Bab’s periods of time and his debates over his succession. It was translated into English language by Shoqi Effendi along with changes and corrections. It was published entitled “Down Breakers”. Then, Shoqi’s writing was translated into Arabic language and called “Mataleul Anwar”. Next, the book was translated into Persian by the famous Baha’i proselytizer called Ishraq Khawari and was published entitled “The summary of Nabil history”. It was gradually called “Nabil history”.

     The present text of Nabil history is the most comprehensive and detailed Baha’i history and narration about Babi periods of time; but it has been written tendentiously. The main difficulty in studying and investigating the primary history of Bab and Baha’ism is that the main text of the book Nabil history which is claimed based on which Shoqi Effendi’s book called “Down Breakers” has been written hasn’t been presented to impartial experts of history science even the Baha’i historians such as June Cole and Abbas Amanat to be criticized and investigated.[2]

     Shoqi Effendi has also written his conclusions from Babi and Baha’i histories during the years 1844 to 1944 in the book Badi’a century.[3] This writing presents some information about many events for which there isn’t any source to be referred. It isn’t worthy because the book is in lack of note, reference and clear description of the references used by Shoqi Effendi.

     The Universal House of Justice hasn’t published the general history of Baha’ism yet. Although, Mr. Adib Taher Zadeh, the UHJ former member has written Bahaullah’s Ahd and Mithaq books in nearly 400 pages; but his book follows Shoqi Effendi’s method of the book Badi’a century regarding the historical events by 1944. Consequently, the book possesses slight value concerning the Babi and Baha’i history.

     History is really important for the Baha’i leadership and the Baha’i authors stress that their creed has been well-documented.[4] The books “Mataleul Anwar” and “Badi’a century” have presented nearly the absolute reality of the Babi and Baha’i history according to Baha’is[5]. However, it is obvious that the students of the religion history course of study don’t consider Mataleul Anwar as a history book; but they assume it as narrating stories about the history and teachings of Babis and Baha’is. This history has been narrated by Bahaullah and Abdul Baha and corrected by Shoqi Effendi.

     The present Nabil history book[6] has been published several times by the national institute of the Iranian Baha’i press; but it hasn’t been revised yet.


[1] Shoqi Effendi, the revision and translation of the book “Down Breakers or Nabil’s narration from the first days of the Baha’i emergence, “Wilmot, the Baha’i publication, 1974, introduction

[2] Denis Mac Queen “References for the study of the primary teachings and history of Babi” pp. 166-169 *** Abbas Amanat in the introduction of the second edition of the book “Ressuraction or revitalization in Iran 1848-1850” He writes: A copy of the book is accessible in the universal center of Baha’ism. He has not been allowed yet after three decades of requests to investigate and study the above-mentioned book as a researcher in history field with the excuse of not having enough space for researchers in the Universal center.

[3] Shoqi Effendi, Badi’a century, Wilmot, the Baha’i publication, 1955.

[4] William Hatcher and Douglas Martin “The Baha’i faith”.

[5] Denis Mac Queen, references for the study of primary Babi history and teachings, pp. 130-131 and 166-169.

[6] Denis Mac Queen, “The Baha’i fundamentalism and the academic study of the Babi movement”, Religion leaflet, Nol. 16, 1986, pp. 57-84 * Muhammad Affnan and William Hatcher, ibid, pp. 187-192.


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