| Texts and scriptures |
|From the Báb|
|From Shoghi Effendi|
Some Answered Questions is a book that was first published in 1908. It contains questions related to religion, philosophy and science, asked to `Abdu'l-Bahá by Laura Clifford Barney, during several of her visits to Haifa between 1904 and 1906, and `Abdu'l-Bahá's answers to these questions.`Abdu'l-Bahá was the son of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, and was appointed by him as his successor and interpreter of his words.
`Abdu’l-Bahá', born `Abbás, was the eldest son of Bahá'u'lláh and served as head of the Bahá'í Faith from 1892 until 1921. `Abdu’l-Bahá was later canonized as the last of three "central figures" of the religion, along with Bahá'u'lláh and the Báb, and his writings and authenticated talks are regarded as a source of Bahá'í sacred literature.
Laura Clifford Barney (1879–1974), married name Laura Dreyfus-Barney became a leading American Bahá'í teacher and philanthropist.
Haifa is the third-largest city in Israel – after Jerusalem and Tel Aviv– with a population of 281,087 in 2017. The city of Haifa forms part of the Haifa metropolitan area, the second- or third-most populous metropolitan area in Israel. It is home to the Bahá'í World Centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a destination for Bahá'í pilgrims.
Topics covered include the Prophets of God, human evolution, immortality of the soul, the relationship between the soul and the body, reincarnation and Christian subjects.
Reincarnation is the philosophical or religious concept that an aspect of a living being starts a new life in a different physical body or form after each biological death. It is also called rebirth or transmigration, and is a part of the Saṃsāra doctrine of cyclic existence. It is a central tenet of all major Indian religions, namely Jainism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. The idea of reincarnation is found in many ancient cultures, and a belief in rebirth/metempsychosis was held by Greek historic figures, such as Pythagoras, Socrates, and Plato. It is also a common belief of various ancient and modern religions such as Spiritism, Theosophy, and Eckankar, and as an esoteric belief in many streams of Orthodox Judaism. It is found as well in many tribal societies around the world, in places such as Australia, East Asia, Siberia, and South America.
'Abdu'l-Bahá's answers were first written down in Persian by a secretary, and afterwards revised twice by 'Abdu'l-Bahá. In 1908, three first editions were published: The Persian text by E.J. Brill in The Netherlands; the English translation of Laura Clifford Barney by Regan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co. in London; and a French edition translated by Hippolyte Dreyfus, published by Ernest Leroux in Paris.
Persian, also known by its endonym Farsi, is one of the Western Iranian languages within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and some other regions which historically were Persianate societies and considered part of Greater Iran. It is written right to left in the Persian alphabet, a modified variant of the Arabic script.
London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.
Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts.
A new English translation revised by a committee at the Bahá'í World Centre was published in 2014 and made available in early 2015.
The Bahá'í World Centre is the name given to the spiritual and administrative centre of the Bahá'í Faith. The World Centre consists of the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh near Acre, Israel, the Shrine of the Báb and its gardens on Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel, and various other buildings in the area including the Arc buildings.
The book is divided into five parts:
Part one covers topics such as the one universal law that governs nature, rational and spiritual proofs of the existence of God,Manifestations of God (Abraham, Moses, Christ, Muhammad, (includes His wives and battles), the Báb, and Bahá'u'lláh), and Biblical prophecies from chapters 8, 9 and 12 of the Book of Daniel (see Day-year principle), chapter 11 of the Book of Isaiah and chapters 11 and 12 of the Book of Revelation.
Nature, in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, or material world or universe. "Nature" can refer to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general. The study of nature is a large, if not the only, part of science. Although humans are part of nature, human activity is often understood as a separate category from other natural phenomena.
The Bahá'í view of God is essentially monotheistic. God is the imperishable, uncreated being who is the source of all existence. He is described as "a personal God, unknowable, inaccessible, the source of all Revelation, eternal, omniscient, omnipresent and almighty". Though transcendent and inaccessible directly, his image is reflected in his creation. The purpose of creation is for the created to have the capacity to know and love its creator. God communicates his will and purpose to humanity through intermediaries, known as Manifestations of God, who are the prophets and messengers that have founded religions from prehistoric times up to the present day.
The Manifestation of God is a concept in the Bahá'í Faith that refers to what are commonly called prophets. The Manifestations of God are appearances of the Divine Spirit or Holy Spirit in a series of personages, and as such, they perfectly reflect the attributes of the divine into the human world for the progress and advancement of human morals and civilization through the agency of that same Spirit. In the Baha'i Faith, it is believed that the Manifestations of God are the only channel for humanity to know about God because contact with the Spirit is what transforms the heart and mind, creating a living relationship between the soul and God. They act as perfect mirrors reflecting the attributes of God into the physical world. Bahá'í teachings hold that the motive force in all human development is due to the coming of the Manifestations of God. The Manifestations of God are directly linked with the Bahá'í concept of progressive revelation.
Part two consists of subjects of Christian interest, such as the significance of symbolism ("intelligible realities and their expression through sensible forms"), an examination and breakdown of various verses from the Bible, the story of Adam and Eve, the birth of Christ, the greatness of Christ, baptism, miracles, the Eucharist, Peter and the Papacy, the resurrection of Christ, the Holy Spirit, the second coming of Christ, the Day of Judgement, the Trinity, sin, blasphemy, and predestination.
As a literary device, an allegory is a metaphor in which a character, place or event is used to deliver a broader message about real-world issues and occurrences. Allegory has occurred widely throughout history in all forms of art, largely because it can readily illustrate or convey complex ideas and concepts in ways that are comprehensible or striking to its viewers, readers, or listeners.
In philosophy, intelligibility is what can be comprehended by the human mind in contrast to sense perception. The intelligible method is thought thinking itself, or the human mind reflecting on itself. Plato referred to the intelligible realm of mathematics, forms, first principles, logical deduction, and the dialectical method. The intelligible realm of thought thinking about thought does not necessarily require any visual images, sensual impressions, and material causes for the contents of mind. Descartes referred to this method of thought thinking about itself, without the possible illusions of the senses. Kant made similar claims about a priori knowledge. A priori knowledge is claimed to be independent of the content of experience.
The Bible is a collection of sacred texts or scriptures. Varying parts of the Bible are considered to be a product of divine inspiration and a record of the relationship between God and humans by Christians, Jews, Samaritans, and Rastafarians.
Part three speaks about topics such as the five aspects of spirit,the stations, power and influence of the Manifestations of God, universal cycles, the two classes of Prophets, God's rebukes to the Prophets and infallibility.
The fourth part includes a commentary on the theory of evolution,the origin of the universe, the difference between man and animal, the origin of man, the difference between the soul, mind, and spirit, human nature, the origin of the spirit and mind of man, the relationship between the spirit and the body, the relationship between God and man (emanationism), the physical and intellectual powers of man, the differences of character in men, the degree of knowledge man possesses and the knowledge the Manifestations of God possess, man's knowledge of God, the immortality of the spirit, the state and progress of the spirit after death, fate, the influence of the stars, free will, visions, dreams and communication with spirits, and spiritual and physical healing.
Part five goes into topics such as the nonexistence of evil,two kinds of torment, the justice and mercy of God, the punishment of criminals, strikes, reality, pre-existence, reincarnation, pantheism ('Unity of Existence'), four kinds of comprehension, and ethics.
The Kitáb-i-Aqdas or Aqdas is the central book of the Bahá'í Faith written by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the religion, in 1873. The work was written in Arabic under the Arabic title al-Kitābu l-Aqdas, but it is commonly referred to by its Persian title, Kitáb-i-Aqdas, which was given to the work by Bahá'u'lláh himself. It is sometimes also referred to as "the Most Holy Book", "the Book of Laws" or the Book of Aqdas. The word Aqdas has a significance in many languages as the superlative form of a word with its primary letters Q-D-Š.
He whom God shall make manifest is a messianic figure in the religion of Bábism. The messianic figure was repeatedly mentioned by the Báb, the founder of Bábism, in His book, the Bayán. The Báb described the messianic figure as the origin of all divine attributes, and stated that his command was equivalent to God’s command. The Báb stated that once the messianic figure had arrived, the perusal of one of his verses was to be greater than a thousand perusals of the Bayán. The prediction is widely recognized as being fulfilled by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith.
The Monument Gardens are a set of gardens which hold the graves of some of the members of the family of Bahá'u'lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith. The grave monuments are located downhill from the Bahá'í Arc on Mount Carmel, Haifa, Israel, at the Bahá'í World Centre and were constructed by Shoghi Effendi between 1932 and 1939.
Covenant in the Bahá'í Faith refers to two separate binding agreements between God and man. A Covenant in the religious sense is a binding agreement made between God and man wherein a certain behaviour is required of man and in return God guarantees certain blessings. The concept of a covenant has been found in various religious scriptures including numerous covenant references in the Bible. In the Bahá'í Faith there is a distinction between a Greater Covenant which is made between every messenger from God and his followers concerning the next dispensation, and a Lesser Covenant that concerns successorship of authority within the religion after the messenger dies.
Progressive revelation is a core teaching in the Bahá'í Faith that suggests that religious truth is revealed by God progressively and cyclically over time through a series of divine Messengers, and that the teachings are tailored to suit the needs of the time and place of their appearance. Thus, the Bahá'í teachings recognize the divine origin of several world religions as different stages in the history of one religion, while believing that the revelation of Bahá'u'lláh is the most recent, and therefore the most relevant to modern society.
Bahá'í symbols are symbols that have been used, or are used, to express identification with the Bahá'í Faith. While the five-pointed star is the symbol of the religion, being used to represent the human body and Messengers of God, more common symbols include the nine-pointed star, the Greatest Name, and the Ringstone symbol, representing perfection, and the Messengers of God.
Bahá'í laws are laws and ordinances used in the Bahá'í Faith and are a fundamental part of Bahá'í practice. The laws are based on authenticated texts from Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, and also includes subsequent interpretations from `Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi, and legislation by the Universal House of Justice. Bahá'í law is presented as a set of general principles and guidelines and individuals must apply them as they best seem fit. While some of the social laws are enforced by Bahá'í institutions, the emphasis is placed on individuals following the laws based on their conscience, understanding and reasoning, and Bahá'ís are expected to follow the laws for the love of Bahá'u'lláh. The laws are seen as the method of the maintenance of order and security in the world.
A Bahá'í pilgrimage currently consists of visiting the holy places in Haifa, Acre, and Bahjí at the Bahá'í World Centre in Northwest Israel. Bahá'ís do not have access to other places designated as sites for pilgrimage.
Unity of religion is a core teaching of the Bahá'í Faith which states that there is a fundamental unity in many of the world's religions. The principle states that the teachings of the major religions are part of a single plan directed from the same God. It is one of the core teachings of the Bahá'í Faith, alongside the unity of God, and the unity of humanity.
Throughout the Bahá'í writings, future events have been prophesied. The most specific prophecies are related to the rise and fall of leaders and organizations. Most of these prophesies can be found in Bahá'u'lláh's tablets to the kings and rulers of the world and in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas.
Lawh-i-Anta'l-Kafi or the Long Healing Prayer is a prayer written in Arabic by Bahá'u'lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith, in the 'Akká period. The authorized English translation was done in 1980 by Habib Taherzadeh and a Committee at the Bahá'í World Centre.
Bahá'í cosmology is the understanding of reality in the Bahá'í Faith, and for which reality is divided into three divisions. The first division is God, who is preexistent and on whom the rest of creation is contingent. The second division is God's Logos, the Primal Will, which is the realm of God's commands and grace. This realm pervades all created things. The Manifestations of God, Messengers from God, are appearances of the Logos in the physical world. The third division is creation, which includes the physical world. Creation is not seen as confined to the material universe, and individual material objects, such as the Earth, are seen to come into being at particular moment and then subsequently break down into their constituent parts. Thus, the current universe is seen as a result of a long-lasting process, evolving to its current state. In Bahá'í belief, the whole universe is a sign of God and is dependent on him and humanity was created to know God and to serve his purpose.
Maid of Heaven refers to a vision that Bahá’u’lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith was said to have had of a maiden from God, through whom he received his mission as a Manifestation of God.
Buddhism is recognized in the Bahá'í Faith as one of nine known religions and its scriptures are regarded as predicting the coming of Bahá'u'lláh (Maitreya). Buddha is included in the succession of Manifestations of God. The authenticity of the current canon of Buddhist scriptures is seen as uncertain. In recent years there has been an increase in the number of Bahá'ís from Buddhist background.
Zoroastrianism is recognized in the Bahá'í Faith as one of nine known religions and its scriptures are regarded as predicting the coming of Bahá'u'lláh. Zoroaster is included in the succession of Manifestations of God. The authenticity of the Zend Avesta is seen as uncertain.
Talismans are referred to in several of the writings of the Báb, founder of the Bábí Faith, and to a lesser extent in the writings of Bahá'u'lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith.
Díyá'u'lláh was one of the sons of Bahá'u'lláh. He was the second son of his father's second wife Fatimih. He was born in Edirne.
Ibrahim George Kheiralla was a founder of the first American Bahá'í community along with Anton Haddad. He was born to a Christian family in a village on Mount Lebanon in 1849 and later studied medicine at the Syrian Protestant College in Beirut.
The Guardian is a hereditary office of the Bahá'í Faith that is first mentioned in the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá. Shoghi Effendi was named as the first Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith, and future Guardians were to be appointed from among the male descendants of Bahá'u'lláh. However, since Shoghi Effendi died without having named a successor Guardian, no person could be named to fulfill the position after his death on November 4, 1957, and he remains the only individual acknowledged as Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith, but his guidance remains in the written record of his many writings.