published in Bahá'í Studies Review, 11, pages 53-57 Association for Baha'i Studies English-Speaking Europe, 2003
Abstract: This paper presents a provisional translation of a short exegesis (tafsīr) by ‘Abdu’l-Baha in Ottoman Turkish. There are many tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Baha in various Turkic dialects. The original text of this tablet appears in a collection of Turkish tablets and prayers of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, Majmū‘ih-yi Alwāḥ wa Munājāthā-yi Turkī in the Arabic-Persian script, first published in 1948-9. It is probable that this tablet was written in ‘Akka since at least one tablet in this collection is dated 1894, and at that time ‘Abdu’l-Baha was living there. He moved to Haifa after his liberation in 1908. As in the case of some other tablets, it was probably addressed to a Sunni Ottoman official or a cleric. Its content indicates that the recipient was not a Baha’i because it does not contain the typical openings emphasizing a believer’s qualities, nor the common exhortations to servitude before God and promoting the Baha’i Faith. The recipient is addressed as ‘thine excellency’, and this tablet forms part of what can be called the ‘external affairs’ work that ‘Abdu’l-Baha carried out for Baha’u’llah. In the second part of this tablet ‘Abdu’l-Baha interprets a dream of the addressee; this, however, is discussed in another paper as it is a different topic.