Abstract: Since the early days of the Bahá'í Faith in Persia, the
Bahá'í-Muslim dialogue has generated tremendous interest on both
sides. From the Bahá'í camp, significant attempts have been made
towards demonstrating the truth of the Bahá'í Faith, based on
Islamic texts and theology. Meanwhile, Bahá'í apologists had to
stay consistent within the Bahá'í theological framework. To date,
there has been no serious attempt to study the development of the
Bahá'í-Muslim debate. This study concerns itself with a narrow
spectrum of this debate. It will focus on two of the most plausible and
effective arguments developed by Bahá'í scholars, namely, the
proof based on establishment (dalíl-i-taqrír) and the
proof based on verses (hujjiyyat-i-ayát). The historical and
theological aspects of these apologetic developments will be given special
attention. The proof based on verses may be said to be an extension of the
quranic challenge, upon which Bahá'í scholars capitalized. The
proof based on establishment was then a further apologetic development of the
proof based on verses. These apologetic arguments were grounded in the writings
of the central figures of the Bahá'í Faith. Most of the material
for this study comes from the works of Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl, who has made the most significant contribution to this field. The
Bahá'í-Muslim dialogue has continued into our time, but under the
towering shadow of Abu'l-Fad.l. Islamic polemicists have also made serious
attempts at countering these arguments, and some of their salient arguments
will be critiqued in this article. From the setting of a
Bahá'í-Muslim dialogue, this study will endeavor to introduce the
proof based on establishment (dalíl-i-taqrír) into the
Bahá'í-Christian dialogue, from which it has been conspicuously
absent in the West.
Other than those passages translated by Shoghi Effendi or Habib Taherzadeh, the remainder of the Persian or Arabic texts are translated by Kavian S. Milani.
This article is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Kambiz Sadeghzade Milani, who
was abducted in August of 1981, along with the other members of the National
Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Iran.
The early nucleus of the followers of the Báb and
Bahá'u'lláh accepted Their respective claims on the basis of
messianic expectation. They had been prepared to expect the advent of their
Promised One, as the Qá'im or "Him Whom God shall make manifest," from
within the Shaykhí and the Bábí communities
respectively. In fact, polemical argumentation did not play a prominent role in
their acceptance of the new kerygma. Quddús, for instance, recognized
the Báb based on His exalted gait. Táhirih accepted the
Bábí call after a dream, without the need for Quranic or
Hadith arguments. Similar
dynamics governed the early conversions to the Bahá'í Faith from
the Bábí tradition. Soon, however, the new message spread beyond
the ranks of these prepared souls, attracting the attention of the general
The early exponents of the Bahá'í Faith in the East faced a
difficult task of conveying the Bahá'í message to the Muslim
populace of Persia and the rest of the Islamic world. This task was
particularly challenging in that the Bahá'í teacher would frequently have to
face a systematic and well-defined theological framework, one in which Muhammad
was the Messenger of God and the Seal of the Prophets, and Islam the last
Divinely revealed religion. These early Bahá'í teachers and
scholars were gradually able to formulate and develop solid textual arguments
and interpretations based on the Qur'án, Hadith and the
Bible to communicate the validity of the new message and answer challenges
addressed to it. These arguments were especially designed to convince, or at
least to silence their vocal counterparts regarding the validity of the
Bahá'í Faith. The Bahá'í teachers were not
absolutely original in these developments. Most, if not all, of these arguments
were based upon key concepts advanced originally by the Báb and
Bahá'u'lláh. This study will focus on the historical and
theological development of the dalíl-i-taqrír (proof based on
establishment) and hujjiyyat-i-ayát (proof based on verses), especially
through the examination of the writings of Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl
Gulpáygání. Once fully developed, these two proofs became
potent polemical arguments in the hands of Bahá'í teachers.
The study will primarily focus on the Kitáb al-Fará'id
(The Book of Priceless Pearls) and the Fasl
ul-Khitáb (That which Separates Between Truth and
Falsehood). The Fará'id may easily be said to be the best apologetic
defense of the Bahá'í Faith ever written by a
Bahá'í scholar. Written by Abu'l-Fadl in 1898, it is essentially
a defense of the Kitáb-i-Íqán, written in response
to a refutation of the Íqán which had been written by a
prominent Muslim cleric. The Kitáb al-Fará'id is
undoubtedly the most influential writing in its genre both within the
Bahá'í world and without. Virtually every Persian apologetic
Bahá'í text since then has relied heavily on its style and
content. In fact, numerous later Bahá'í scholars accepted the
Bahá'í Faith after they found themselves unable to respond
satisfactorily to its contents. The
Fará'id has also continually attracted the attention of those who
have sought to attack the Bahá'í Faith. It is worth noting that a
number of anti-Bahá'í polemics in the East were written
originally as refutations of the Fará'id. This book is essential
to this study, as it is where Abu'l-Fadl, for the first time, systematically
outlines the dalíl-i-taqrír. The Fasl
ul-Khitáb is a lesser known work by Abu'l-Fadl,
which was written almost five years before the Fará'id, while he
was a lone Bahá'í pioneer in Samarqand. The Fasl
ul-Khitáb is his first major written attempt to
prove the Bábí and Bahá'í Religions, through both
textual and rational proofs. This book is central to the study of Abu'l-Fadl's
development of textual proof. In
the Fará'id, he characterizes the Fasl
ul-Khitáb as a "great book." There are other
works by Abu'l-Fadl that are available in English, which are more peripheral to
the development of his Bahá'í apologetic. This study, therefore,
will only concern the two books mentioned above.
It is appropriate to begin the survey of the dalíl-i-taqrír by
an examination of the Kitáb al-Fará'id. The third chapter
of the first segment of the Fará'id is entitled, "On the Argument
Based on Establishment." Here Abu'l-Fadl advances the following thesis:
Should a person claim to be the founder of a religion, and proceed to establish
a religion, and claim a relationship between that religion and God (Blessed and
Exalted be He), and that religion gains influence in the world and becomes
established, this is sufficient proof regarding its truth. Conversely,
non-establishment and lack of influence indicate the falsity of a fading and
Clearly, Abu'l-Fadl is arguing that if a religion becomes established in the
world and finds a permanent following, then it must be true and of God.
Elsewhere in that same book Abu'l-Fadl restates the
dalíl-i-taqrír in this way:
No one other than God (Blessed and Exalted be He) is capable of rendering a
religion influential and established. The Might and Sovereignty of God prevent
the false religion from becoming established. 
As one can imagine, the dalíl-i-taqrír may be highly problematic
for the skeptic. Because of this, Abu'l-Fadl devotes a substantial part of the
Fará'id to the development and consolidation of the proof based
on establishment. Later in the course of this article some of the major
objections that have been directed at the dalíl-i-taqrír will be
enumerated. We shall also examine how Abu'l-Fadl and later Bahá'í
scholars have addressed those criticisms.
THE SCRIPTURAL SOURCES:
It was mentioned earlier that even though Bahá'í scholars
systematically formulated and presented the dalíl-i-taqrír, it
was first advanced by Bahá'u'lláh. He utilized this argument in
numerous tablets and letters. The following, from the
Kitab-i-Íqán, addressing the issue of the expected
sovereignty of the Qá'im, is historically early and of particular
interest. Here Bahá'u'lláh refutes some prevalent notions
regarding the sovereignty of the Qá'im. While providing His
interpretation of the sovereignty of the Qá'im, He also provides the
foundation for the dalíl-i-taqrír.
Nay, by sovereignty is meant that sovereignty which in every dispensation
resideth within, and is exercised by, the person of the Manifestation, the
Day-star of Truth. That sovereignty is the spiritual ascendancy which He
exerciseth to the fullest degree over all that is in heaven and on earth, and
which in due time revealeth itself to the world in direct proportion to its
capacity and spiritual receptiveness, even as the sovereignty of Muhammad, the
Messenger of God, is today apparent and manifest amongst the people.
In the following passage, Bahá'u'lláh explains the meaning of the
sovereignty of Muhammad after detailing some of the challenges and anguishes
that Muhammad faced in the course of His ministry. According to
Bahá'u'lláh, the sovereignty of Muhammad is the establishment and
ascendancy of Islam.
Consider, how great is the change today! Behold, how many are the Sovereigns
who bow the knee before His name! How numerous the nations and kingdoms who
have sought the shelter of His shadow, who bear allegiance to His Faith, and
pride themselves therein! From the pulpit-top there ascendeth today the words
of praise which, in utter lowliness, glorify His blessed name; and from the
heights of the minarets there resoundeth the concourse of His people to adore
Him. Even those Kings of the earth who have refused to embrace His Faith and to
put off the garment of unbelief, none the less confess and acknowledge the
greatness and overpowering majesty of that Day-star of loving kindness. Such is
His sovereignty, the evidences of which thou dost on every side behold. This
sovereignty must needs be revealed and established either in the lifetime of
every Manifestation of God or after His ascension unto His true habitation in
the realms above. What thou dost witness today is but a confirmation of this
truth. That spiritual ascendancy, however, which is primarily intended,
resideth within, and revolveth around Them from eternity even unto eternity. It
can never for a moment be divorced from Them. Its dominion hath encompassed all
that is in heaven and on earth.
The Bahá'í theological scheme is very consistent with this
understanding of sovereignty. It may be suggested that Bahá'í
theology is pivoted on the concept of Manifestations. Simply stated, God has undisputed
sovereignty over all creation. Manifestations of God are possessors of His
attributes, sovereignty included. It follows then that They exercise inherent
sovereignty in the world. Therefore Manifestations will sooner or later achieve
sovereignty in násút (the earthly realm) over Their enemies. In
other words, a divinely inspired religion cannot be stopped.
Another passage by Bahá'u'lláh merits close examination with
respect to the dalíl-i-taqrír. This passage is to be found in the
Gleanings. Here He proceeds to enumerate what He regards as proof for
the validity of His mission.
Say: The first and foremost testimony establishing His Truth is His own Self.
Next to this testimony is His Revelation. For whoso faileth to recognize either
the one or the other He hath established the words He hath revealed as proof of
His reality and truth. This is, verily, an evidence of His tender mercy unto
Three separate but interrelated proofs are provided in this passage. The first
and second ones are incorporated in the dalíl-i-taqrír, but
Bahá'u'lláh does not presuppose establishment in either case. The
establishment (taqrír) of a religion is a temporal phenomenon.
Bahá'u'lláh does not state that an observer need wait for
establishment before the two become valid proofs. However, for an observer
temporally distanced from Bahá'u'lláh and the inception of His
Revelation, the spread and establishment of His Revelation and teachings would
be considered integral parts of the proof.
THE PROOF BASED ON VERSES:
The third proof given above by Bahá'u'lláh represents the basis
for the hujjiyyat-i-ayát, i.e. proof based on verses.
Bahá'u'lláh, however, states that "His self," "His Revelation,"
and "the words He hath revealed" must be considered substantial proof in
descending order. The formal development of the proof based on verses
historically preceded the polemical development of the proof based on
establishment (dalíl-i-taqrír). It is our conclusion that the
dalíl-i-taqrír is a further apologetic development of the
hujiyyat-i-ayát. Therefore, the development of the proof based on verses
will be examined first.
The third testimony mentioned in the above passage is based on verses.  Bahá'u'lláh states that
the verses He has revealed are by themselves sufficient testimony to the truth
of His claim. Bahá'u'lláh has repeated this theme frequently in
His Writings. The following example from the Tablet of Ahmad is well
O people, if ye deny these verses, by what proof have ye believed in God?
Produce it, O assemblage of false ones.
Nay, by the One in Whose hand is my soul, they are not, and never shall be able
to do this, even should they combine to assist one another.
The challenge that Bahá'u'lláh presents in these lines is very
clear. He unequivocally states that should all of His foes gather together they
would be incapable of producing verses such as He has written. This challenge
has been reiterated many times in the vast corpus of the Writings of
Say o people, if ye deny that which hath been revealed from the Throne, then by
what discourse have ye believed in God? Then produce it and do not hesitate
even for less than a moment.
If ye deny these verses, then by what proof was your belief in God and
Manifestations of His Self established?
Produce it, if ye are capable of so doing.
The tone and grammatical structure of these verses are as similar in English
as they are in Arabic. An interesting question may be raised at this point: Why
did Bahá'u'lláh structure all these sentences along the same
format? The key may lie in the audience that Bahá'u'lláh was
addressing in these verses. These were written for those of Islamic background,
who would have been familiar with the very similar Quranic challenges. The echo
of a familiar challenge in a familiar language and tone serves to make a strong
polemical point. This theme is directly addressed in the Qur'án
on at least six occasions. The verses below are some example:
If ye are in doubt regarding what We have revealed to Our servant, then produce
a chapter like it, and call any witness other than God, if ye are truthful.
Do they say that: "He has forged it?" Say: bring a chapter like this, and call
anyone other than God to your assistance, if ye are truthful.
Say: If men and spirits combine to compose the like of the
Qur'án, they will not be able to produce it, even should they
combine to assist one another.
The Qur'án extended the above challenges to those who sought to
question the truth of Muhammad and the Islamic message. The challenge of the
Qur'án had remained unanswered for nearly fourteen hundred years.
It is in this light that one can see the question Bahá'u'lláh
posed to the Muslim learned. The fact that Bahá'u'lláh expressed
His challenge in a language closely paralleling the Quranic challenge simply
rendered it more emphatic. Bahá'í teachers, including Abu'l-Fadl,
simply noted the argument advanced by Bahá'u'lláh and understood
the power of the argument in the setting of its Quranic root. Their task was
then to fully formulate and consolidate the Hujjiyyat-i-ayát. This they
did, and the proof of the verses has been an incredible tool in the hands of
the Bahá'í teachers since.
One should not fail to mention that the Báb also emphatically utilized
both the establishment (dalíl-i-taqrír) and verses(
hujjiyyat-i-ayát) as proofs regarding His mission. The following verse
concerns the dalíl-i-taqrír.
Say, God hath undisputed sovereignty over every victorious one. There is no one
in heaven or earth or in whatever lieth between them who can frustrate the
transcendent supremacy of His triumph.
The proof based on the verses was also frequently used by the Báb.
The Bayan is in truth Our conclusive proof for all created things, and all the
peoples of the world are powerless before the revelation of its verses.
Verily We made the revelation of verses to be a testimony for Our message unto
you. Can ye produce a single letter to match these verses? Bring forth, then,
your proofs, if ye be of those who can discern the one true God. I solemnly
affirm before God, should all men and spirits combine to compose the like of
one chapter of this Book, they would surely fail, even though they were to
assist one another.
In this last passage the Báb clearly constructs a key sentence very
similar to the Quranic one, one that we have already examined. The Báb
frequently incorporates Quranic verses within His Writings. He does this
especially when He wants to draw a parallel between Himself and the Prophet
Muhammad. In this case the Báb presents His "revelation of verses" as a
"testimony", along the same lines as the Qur'án had before Him
and Bahá'u'lláh was to do in the future.
Ayat is the original Arabic word generally translated as verse. It has also
been translated as sign. This word was used in pre-Islamic Arabic and was also
utilized in the Qur'án. There is some debate regarding the
etymology and derivation of this word. Arthur Jeffery considers it among the
foreign vocabulary of the Qur'án. A number of prominent classical
Islamic linguists however, have regarded it as originally Arabic. Izutsu, the great Quranic linguist in
his study of Quranic semantics defines ayát in the context of two other
Quranic terms, 'aql (intellect) and qalb (heart). Both are needed to fully
comprehend the divine ayát. He states that the Quranic ayát
(signs) therefore divides the people into two camps, those who reject the sign
and those who accept it.  This
Quranic use has some important implications. One salient implication is as a
sign that is indisputable and other claimants have failed to provide, i.e. a
miracle. An ayat , as such is bestowed to a Messenger of God as testimony. One
such usage occurs in the story of Sálih, the Prophet of
Thamúd and his miracle. "O people, this is the she-camel of God
which is a miracle (ayat) for you.
The following verse is yet another example of this utilization. "Ask of the
children of Israel regarding the number of clear miracles (ayát) We sent
them." It is in this context that
the Qur'án refers to the revealed and eventually written Quranic text as
ayát as well. The implication is clear: that these verses are miracles
given by God, given to the Prophet Muhammad, as seen in the verse," These are
the verses (ayát) of the clear Book."
According to Abu'l-Fadl, the Protestants, the Muslims and the
Bábís all agree that the revealed word of God in itself
constitutes sufficient proof regarding the truth of the revealer. He maintains,
however, that each religion does so by different criteria. Abu'l-Fadl devotes
some pages to a very acute analysis of each group's reason, whether textual or
rational, in the earlier Fasl ul-Khitáb.
Although his study of each claim in that text is very interesting, it does,
however, lie outside the scope of this paper. Needless to say, years later, he
returned to the same topic in his Fará'id, to re-address the
questions set forth by a Muslim cleric. For centuries, the Muslims had
understood the challenge of the Qur'án to lie in its eloquent and
exalted language. It was accepted that the supreme miracle of the
Qur'án was that it had set a standard of eloquence that none of
the later grammarians, poets and rhetoricians was able to meet. Abu'l-Fadl's counterpart, the
Shaykh ul-Islám of Tblisi, challenged him with the same
argument. Here Abu'l-Fadl categorically refutes eloquence as a proof with a
detailed and well structured response. The following abridgement represents a
summary of his argument against eloquence as a sufficient proof, as detailed in
He first argues that the proof of a divine book must be one that is
universally recognizable. The eloquence of a book in any language, Arabic for
instance, cannot be sufficient proof for all who dwell on earth. How can an
American, for instance, without any firsthand knowledge of Arabic, accept Islam
based on the general consensus that Quranic Arabic is eloquent and matchless?
He then argues that even for those who are familiar with Arabic, eloquence
cannot represent an appropriate litmus test. To be able to gauge eloquence
properly, one must well-versed in Arabic. As such, the universal testimony of
the Word of God can be examined and appreciated by only a few who have spent
their lives studying Arabic literature. Again, Abu'l-Fadl would hold that the
criterion of eloquence as sufficient proof falls short.
Abu'l-Fadl then proceeds to tread fresh ground in the
Bahá'í-Muslim dialogue. He begins to quote long portions from
Christian anti-Islamic polemics, where the writers point out particular
grammatical lapses in the Qur'án. His purpose in so doing is to
emphasize that the eloquence and literary excellence of the
Qur'án would not constitute definitive proof because it is
subjective in nature. Passages that the Muslims lauded as masterpiece were
dismissed by their foes as grammatically flawed. Prior to the
Fará'id, the issue of the Quranic grammatical errors or
innovations had not been overtly acknowledged and systematically treated in the
Bahá'í-Muslim dialogue. Abu'l-Fadl was particularly ingenious in
his use of the alleged Quranic grammatical lapses. This point also served him
well elsewhere in the Fará'id on the question of lapses of Arabic
grammar by Bahá'u'lláh. 
The last point that Abu'l-Fadl argued with respect to the issue of the
eloquence was the following. Among the Arabic speaking people who heard the
Islamic message at its inception and during its early years, a majority of
eloquent poets and rhetoricians rejected Islam and the Qur'án.
After all, it was they who the Qur'án records as stating,"we can
certainly compose similar writings, should we want to." On the other hand, he mentions
Abú-dhar, Balál, and Uways-i- Qarany as less learned
people who accepted the Quranic call. Abu'l-Fadl raises the question that if
eloquence is to be considered an absolute test, why is it that the eloquent
ones rejected the Quranic verses and the non-eloquent ones accepted the Quranic
Based on the above reasons and more, Abu'l-Fadl concludes that the eloquence
of the Quranic language cannot be sufficient evidence regarding the divine
origin of the Qur'án. He is very correct in that the idea has
been unable to silence the Quranic critics. A modern day Christian apologist
writes the following:
The Qurán is not a unique literary masterpiece. There are numerous
examples of other beautifully crafted poems, epics, and scripture from the
classical period, many much older than the Qur'án. 
Abu'l-Fadl had already considered the prevalent Bábí argument
based on innate revelation (nuzúl-i-fitrí) in the Fasl
. His argument against inherent and
innate revelation of verses is interestingly absent in the
. This may well be a function of the polemical audience of
. Nonetheless it serves to demonstrate the earnest
quest of Abu'l-Fadl to arrive at conclusive and indisputable textual proofs.
Abu'l-Fadl paraphrases the concept of innate revelation from the
Bábí standpoint in the following manner:
And the People of the Bayan regard the proof and miracle of Divine revelation
to be that of innate revelation. Their intention is that should a person
assemble words without formal learning and without hesitation, that is
sufficient testimony that those words were revealed through Divine revelation,
because the utilization of sciences and writing of phrases without formal
education and prior reflection and meditation is impossible. It is seen that
when scholars want to write a page on a scientific subject they cannot do so
spontaneously and without prior thought, in spite of the years they have spent
in pursuit of knowledge. Therefore, if an unlettered youth reveal one thousand
verses on scientific matters and prayers and verses in three hours
spontaneously and without the stopping of the pen there can be no doubt that it
is Divine revelation.
It is very interesting that Abu'l-Fadl argues against the application of this
proof based on spontaneous and innate revelation as a universal criterion.
Prior to examination of what he states on this issue, some relevant Bábi
and Bahá'í texts must be examined. The following example occurs
in the Dalá'il-i-Sab`ih ( The Epistle of Seven Proofs) by the
How strange then that this twenty-five-year-old untutored one should be singled
out to reveal His verses in so astounding a manner...So great is the celestial
might and power which God hath revealed in Him that if it were His will and no
break should intervene He could, within the space of five days and nights,
reveal the equivalent of the Qur'án which was sent down in
Here the Báb is openly claiming that He can reveal the equivalent of
the Qur'án in five days. This statement should be studied in
the context of the Qur'án. The Qur'án contains more
than 6200 verses. A tradition from 'Ali puts the number of Quranic verses at
6236. These verses are revelations
received by the Prophet Muhammad in the course of His twenty-three years of
earthly ministry. The above statement by the Báb must have been very
challenging to a Muslim readership. It is by no means the only reference to
this theme in the Bábí scripture.
There is no doubt that the Almighty hath sent down these verses unto Him [the
Báb], even as He sent down unto the Apostle of God. Indeed no less than
a hundred thousand verses similar to these have already been disseminated among
the people, not to mention His Epistles, His Prayers or His learned and
philosophical treatises. He revealeth no less than a thousand verses within the
space of five hours. He reciteth verses at a speed consonant with the capacity
of His amanuensis to set them down.
In this passage the Báb states that He is able to reveal a thousand
verses in about five hours. He does not mention the Qur'án in
this context. This verse may also be examined in light of the
Qur'án. Here the Báb is asserting that He can reveal a
volume equal to the Qur'án in slightly more than twenty-four
hours. Bahá'u'lláh Himself advances a similar argument in the
Íqán, in support of the claims of the Báb. He states that His verses have been
revealed according to fitrat (innate revelation) as well. With regard to His own ability to
reveal verses, Bahá'u'lláh, in the Lawh-i-Nasír,
states that " Within the space of an hour the equivalent of a thousand verses
hath been revealed."
In the light of the above verses by both the Báb and
Bahá'u'lláh, it may seem perplexing that Abu'l-Fadl argues
against innate revelation of verses as sufficient proof for a true claimant.  He provides two arguments in the
Fasl ul-Khitáb, one of which is as
One endowed with knowledge knows that the innate revelation of verses by itself
is not sufficient, since it would be limited to those present. It may be
sufficient proof for those who are present when the verses are revealed, but
not for the rest of people who were not present and did not observe personally.
Today no one knows whether Moses was learned or not ... Consider this day;
nearly forty-four years have passed since the martyrdom of the Primal Point,
Glorified be His most Holy and most Exalted name. How can one possibly
ascertain whether He revealed verses innately or otherwise?
As stated, Abu'l-Fadl is of the opinion that given any unbiased observer who
is inquiring into the truth of a given religion, it would be impossible to
determine absolutely whether verses were revealed by innate revelation or human
learning. A case in point is the Quranic pronouncement regarding Muhammad being
an ummí, i.e. unlettered. The following verses are good examples:
You (Muhammad) have neither read any scripture before this, nor have you
transcribed any with thy hand, or else those who seek to falsify would have
found a cause to doubt it.
Those who follow the messenger, the unlettered prophet, who can be found in the
Old and New Testaments, who commands them unto the noble and forbids
unrighteous deeds, who makes lawful thing pure, and prohibits that which is
not, He relieves them of their burdens.
Islamic polemicists have argued that the illiteracy of the Prophet can be
considered further proof that the Qur'án must be Divinely
inspired. As Abu'l-Fadl asserts, this is impossible to establish. The Christian
polemicists for instance, wholeheartedly claim that the Prophet of Islam was
taught by others. Let us observe the claims of a leading contemporary Christian
Most Christian scholars believe that Muhammad came in contact with Nestorians
during his business travels to Damascus and Egypt with his uncle's caravans,
then later with Khadija's caravans. The Nestorians established monasteries on
the caravan routes and entertained travelers like Muhammad frequently. Buhaira,
a Nestorian monk, is considered as one of the most influential men in
Muhammad's knowledge of the scriptures. The descriptions of hell in the
homilies of Eprahim, a Nestorian preacher of the sixth century, resemble
Muhammad's description of hell.
It is not our intention to engage this very intriguing topic here. Nonetheless,
the fact remains that the innate revelation of verses is open to disputation
and cannot be considered conclusive proof.
Thus far Abu'l-Fadl has told us only what the hujjiyyat-i-ayát is not.
But then what is the proof of the verses? It is perhaps best to begin by
examining the most comprehensive and detailed answer that he provides. This
also happens to be the earliest. The
Fasl-ul-Khitáb is where he enunciates this proof
And the People of Bahá, who by the grace of the Creator of heavens and
earth have been liberated from blind imitation and have attained the summit of
investigation, distinguish the Words of God from the sayings of man by a few
criteria. It suffices us to mention only two criteria in this book so that this
discussion does not become prolonged.
The first criterion is the creativity of the verses of God. By this is
meant the foundation of laws and the establishment of traditions and rites that
exert influence in the world. These ordinances then become the cause of the
elevation of civilization and eradication of the spiritual ailments of the
The second criterion is the sovereignty of the verses of God. By this is
meant that the Word of God is sovereign and dominant and will not ebb and
undergo extinction when faced with the resistance and hostility of governments
and people. Rather, it becomes the cause of the disappearance and eradication
of the forces that oppose it. For example, the Law of the Torah was not
destroyed by the opposition of the Egyptian, Syrian and Assyrian Kings; rather,
the word of God conquered the opposing nations. The Faith of Jesus was not
destroyed by the resistance of their Jewish and Roman foes. The potency of the
New Testament subjugated them. Likewise the resistance of Arab and non-Arab
disbelievers did not cause the ebbing of the religion of His Holiness "the
Seal." The sovereignty of the Quran dispersed them all. This is the meaning of
the blessed Quranic verse, "God desired to confirm the truth by His Words and
destroy the unbelievers to the last."
Through the use of these two criteria, the words of God can readily be
distinguished from the sayings of men equally by everyone, regardless of
whether they are learned or not, and whether they personally witnessed the
revelation of verses or not. 
Abu'l-Fadl has finally provided two universal standards that satisfy him.
First, the Word of God is creative. This creativity has a number of aspects
that he does not discuss any further at this point. Creativity may mean that
the Word of God changes the human heart as it interacts with it. This change in
the human heart gradually brings about a transformation in the world.
Eventually a new civilization is created. In addition, Abu'l-Fadl holds that
the Word of God enjoys inherent sovereignty and ascendancy over everything
else. This innate sovereignty eventually becomes fully manifest in the world.
The two meet all the standards that Abu'l-Fadl has required thus far. Both can
be discerned and verified by almost anyone. Neither one requires years of
research and training to recognize. These aspects have been repeatedly
addressed by both the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh. The creative
nature of the Word of God, for instance, is a prominent motif in
Through the movement of Our Pen of Glory We have, at the bidding of the
omnipotent Ordainer, breathed a new life into every human frame, and instilled
into every word a fresh potency.
It is perhaps best to conclude this discussion with the following statement by
Bahá'u'lláh, verifying the creative aspect of the Word of
Every single letter proceeding out of the mouth of God is indeed a mother
letter, and every word uttered by Him Who is the Well Spring of Divine
Revelation is a mother word, and His Tablet a Mother Tablet.
THE PROOF BASED ON ESTABLISHMENT:
Let us now begin to re-examine the dalíl-i-taqrír. In the
Fasl ul-Khitáb Abu'l-Fadl makes a number of
en-passant references to the fact that the survival of a false religion
is impossible, and that only divinely inspired religions can become
established, the key point in the proof based on establishment. This he does
most clearly in the context of the ascendancy and sovereignty of the word of
God. However, he does not formally present the dalíl-i-taqrír,
nor does he even use the word taqrír (establishment) at all. Based on
the text of the Fasl ul-Khitáb one may
conclude that Abu'l-Fadl had not yet formalized the proof based on
establishment (the dalíl-i-taqrír) at that time. In 1898,
however, in his most definitive and ingenious defense of the
Íqán, he begins his formal presentation with the
dalíl-i-taqrír. The thesis that Abu'l-Fadl should be credited
with the formulation of the dalíl-i-taqrír cannot be fully
substantiated at this time. It may
appear to be a very plausible thesis at first glance, but one that is not
supported by the internal evidence in the Fará'id. For instance,
in that same book Abu'l-Fadl credits a Bahá'í confectioner with
stating (in a written rebuttal to the Shaykh ul-Islám's original
refutation of the Íqán) that false religions have existed before
and they have disappeared. It should be noted that other Bahá'í
teachers were at that same time successfully utilizing variants of the
dalíl-i-taqrír in their dialogues with Muslim, Christian and
Jewish scholars. Excellent examples may be found in the recently published
volume of the
Gulshan-i-Haqáyiq, (Rose-garden of Truths) is
a well-researched presentation of the Bahá'í Faith written by
Háj Mihdí Arjumand Hamadáni, aimed primarily for those
from Jewish and Christian backgrounds. The arguments of this book are based on
dialogues with Christian missionaries that took place in the mid-to late
1890's. The book was written in 1919. Mr. Arjumand does use establishment as a
criterion, but does not refer to it as dalíl-i-taqrír. It should
be noted that establishment plays a less prominent role in the
Gulshan-i-Haqáyiq. However, if the proof
based on establishment was used in the original set of debates, i.e. in the
1890's, it also presents strong evidence that the Fará'id was not
the original presentation of taqrír. To further complicate matters, it
should be noted that both the Gulshan Haqáyiq
were written about twenty years after the Fará'id. Obviously,
there remain unanswered questions regarding the historical development of the
There remains little doubt, however, that Abu'l-Fadl single handedly developed
the most comprehensive formulation of the proof based on establishment as
recorded in the Fará'id. It also appears that he has coined the
term dalíl-i-taqrír. Moreover, there can be no doubt that
Abu'l-Fadl was primarily responsible for the consolidation and defense of the
dalíl-i-taqrír. Bahá'í history attests to the fact
that the dalíl-i-taqrír became the mainstay of
Bahá'í-Muslim polemical discussions, and in a short time,
Bahá'í teachers became very adroit in the successful application
of the proof based on establishment. Their disputants, on the other hand, have
since merely attempted to refute the Fará'id.
Prior to an examination of the salient features of the argument based on
establishment, it is appropriate to comment on the utilization (or perhaps
under-utilization) of the dalíl-i-taqrír and
hujjiyyat-i-ayát in the West, and by western Bahá'ís. One
can confidently state that neither argument has been used by western
Bahá'ís to any appreciable extent. It may seem readily apparent
to all that the proof based on verses assumes a Quranic background, and a
special concept of ayát (verses). On this ground one can understand the
exclusion of the hujjiyyat-i-ayát from the
Bahá'í-Christian dialogue. The lack of this background cannot,
however, explain the absence of the proof based on establishment from the
Bahá'í-Christian dialogue, since the dalíl-i-taqrír
has ample Biblical justification. In fact, the Persian scholars, including
Abu'l-Fadl, in their dialogues with Christian missionaries, would frequently
use Biblical criteria to prove that the most supreme testimony to the truth of
Jesus is the establishment of Christianity. Then they would apply the same
criteria to Muhammad and Bahá'u'lláh. It seems that the Bahá'í
authors of the West have generally missed the strength of this argument and its
Biblical foundation. William Sears, the late Hand of the Cause of God, in his
time-less classic, Thief in the Night, devotes a significant portion to
the implications of the Biblical verse,"Ye shall know them by their fruits",
which is to be found in Matthew 7:16. He examines this verse as a
touchstone for identifying false prophets. An alternative line of argument,
utilizing establishment, could have been presented based on Matthew
15:13, "Every tree which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be
rooted up." Bahá'ís apologists coming from a Western Christian
background, writing in more recent times, seem to have also neglected the
dalíl-i-taqrír. In short, it appears that through a keen and
exact study of the Bible, Oriental Bahá'í scholars were
able to correctly identify and root taqrír in both the Old and New
Bahá'u'lláh Himself posed the challenge of
dalíl-i-taqrír, directly and indirectly, to His disputants. The
following statement, addressed to a Minister of the Sháh in
Constantinople, is a direct application of the
If this Cause be of God, no man can prevail against it; and if it be not of
God, the divines amongst you, and they that follow their corrupt desires, and
such as have rebelled against Him, will surely suffice to overpower it. 
The dalíl-i-taqrír requires that false claimants disappear.
History of the early days of the Bahá'í Faith records a number of
independent counter-claimants to the Divine call. It is interesting that
history tells us that their claims faced rapid demise. Even little is mentioned
in scholarly papers regarding them. To substantiate his argument, further,
Abu'l-Fadl mentions four such claimants in the
Fará'id.50 It is ironic that the best known
record of their names is within the context of proving the truth of
Bahá'u'lláh, where they are each mentioned as examples of false
claimants. Abu'l-Fadl mentions Siyyid 'Alá,
Ahmad-i-Kirmání, Khuffásh-i-Yazdí and Háji Mullá
Háshim-i-Naráqí. Relatively little is known regarding
these claimants and their followers. It is known, for instance, that Siyyid
'Alá considered himself the embodiment of the Holy Spirit. He had found
some disciples, including the future erudite Bahá'í teacher,
Háji Siyyid Javád-i-Karbalá'í. Abu'l-Fadl does not mention Azal in
his list of false claimants, but certainly Azal can be added to his list.  Abu'l-Fadl had already treated the
subject of the Azalí movement in the Fasl
The essence of the dalíl-i-taqrír, as presented by Mirzá
Abu'l-Fadl, can be summarized in the following passage:
Should a person claim to be the founder of a religion, and proceed to establish
a religion, and claim a relationship between that religion and God (Blessed and
Exalted be He), and that religion gains influence in the world and becomes
established, this is sufficient proof regarding its truth. Conversely,
non-establishment and lack of influence indicate the falsity of a fading and
temporary claim, especially when this establishment and endurance, as is the
way of God in the foundation of religions, are not dependent upon acquired
knowledge, earthly riches and treasures, or worldly majesty ... In short, God
hath, in all heavenly scriptures, testified with this most great proof and has
considered the establishment of the Truth and the disappearance of falsehood to
be the most mighty sign and the most great proof.
Abu'l-Fadl is so confident of the validity of the dalíl-i-taqrír
that he claims that without it the truth of no religion can be established. In
an audacious passage addressing the leaders and scholars of all religions
collectively, he writes the following.
And with the slightest pondering it becomes evident that if one ignores the
proof of establishment, then it is in no wise possible for one to distinguish
between Truth and falsehood.
TAQRÍR IN THE BIBLE:
It is now time to apply the dalíl-i-taqrír to both the
Bible and the Qur'án and ascertain whether Abu'l-Fadl is
correct in claiming that it is an integral part of every Revelation. The
Hebrew Scriptures clearly state that one who speaks lies will perish.
A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not
escape...A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies
shall perish. 
The New Testament is very clear that no man can be a foundation such as
the one that Jesus has become. The Apostle Paul writes to the Corinthians,
referring to the early Christian community as laborers engaged in building on
the foundation of Christ: " For other foundation can no man lay than that which
is laid, which is Jesus Christ." 
The First Epistle of John addresses the same issue, but in terms of a
different concept. The Qur'án also argues along this same line at
times. The author of this Epistle states that since his faith, Christianity, is
born of God it can not be stopped: "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh
the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."
 The following is a very emphatic
reference to the same theme, one which Matthew ascribes to Jesus Himself:
"Every tree, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up." The tree is a common Biblical metaphor
for religion. Interestingly enough, the Qur'án also uses the
metaphor of a tree in a similar manner. In any case, the Biblical lesson is
very clear: any man-made religion will be destroyed and only those that derive
their spirit and authority from God last.
The New Testament also provides the disputants of the
dalíl-i-taqrír with one of the most intriguing case-studies
possible. Abu'l-Fadl does not provide any Biblical verses in support of the
dalíl-i-taqrír in the Fará'id, but he is definitely
aware of the following scripture as he refers to Theudas and Judas of Galilee
and their claims. The Book of Acts records a dialogue from early
Christian history, at a time when the Apostles were nothing more than a
negligible minority. This occasion was meant to be a trial of the Apostles and
in fact of Christianity. The setting is the temple, in Jerusalem, with the
Apostles standing in the presence of the Pharisees and the High Priest. The
High Priest had put a question to the Apostles to which Peter had replied. His
short reply must have adversely affected his jurors.
When they heard that, they were furious to the heart and took council to slay
them. Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a
doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put
the apostles forth a little space.
And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to
do as touching these men. For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting
himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred joined
themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and
brought to nought.
After this man rose up Judas of Galilee, in the days of taxing, and drew away
much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him,
And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this
message or this work be of men, it will come to nought.
But if it be of God, ye can not overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to
fight against God.
These words from Gamaliel, essentially reiterate the
dalíl-i-taqrír. This example from the New Testament itself
demonstrates the strength of the argument based on establishment. After all, it
is the most concrete Biblical touchstone applied to Jesus Christ and
Christianity. The vanishment of Theudas and Judas of Galilee, their claims and
followers, as recorded in Acts gives further credence to the
dalíl-i-taqrír. The Eastern Bahá'í scholars have
argued that the establishment of Islam and the Bahá'í Faith must
also be considered in the context of this Biblical touchstone. Indeed, the
Persian Bahá'í scholars had accurately noted this critical
argument: the dalíl-i-taqrír can be readily maintained based on
TAQRÍR IN THE QUR'ÁN:
A central theme of the Qur'án is the indisputable sovereignty of
God and His religion on earth. The dalíl-i-taqrír is therefore
firmly rooted in the Qur'án. The Qur'án clearly
teaches that the forces of Truth will inevitably be victorious over the forces
of falsehood: "And say: Truth has come and falsehood hath vanished. Verily
falsehood is by its nature bound to perish."  According to the Qur'án,
the hosts of God cannot be halted and ultimate victory is always with the Word
of God: "Our Word had already been given before to Our servants, the
Messengers, That they would be assisted, And that certainly Our hosts shall be
The Quranic text below is another scriptural use of the metaphor of the tree
which closely parallels Matthew 15:13. The Word of God is like a strong
tree that will last and continue to bring good fruit, whereas a false word is
like a rootless tree which has no stability. It cannot last.
Do you not see how God compareth a good Word with a good tree whose roots are
firm and branches in the sky, Which yields, by the leave of its Lord, its
fruits in all seasons. God presents similitudes to men that they might reflect.
An evil word is like a rotten tree torn out of the earth. It has no
This Quranic concept has been fully worked out by Bahá'í
scholars. Abu'l-Fadl quotes in the Fará'id a large number of
similar verses. The following few should suffice.
Verily, We set the truth against falsehood, which shatters it, and falsehood
disappears. Woe unto you for what you attribute to God!
Fain, they wish to extinguish the light of God by their mouths; but God will
not have it so, for He wills to perfect His light, albeit the unbelievers be
averse. It is He who sent His Messenger with guidance and the True Religion in
order to make it victorious over every other religion, even though the
unbelievers be averse.
Islamic history has recorded the names of a few who advanced claims of their
own , who attempted to confuse the early Muslims. Abu'l-Fadl is acutely aware
of these false claimants and mentions them a number of times to impress the
dalíl-i-taqrír on his disputant. The best known of these
false-claimants is Musaylimah, the son of Habíb. He attained the
presence of the Prophet of Islam in the last year of Muhammad life with a
number of fellow-pilgrims. After returning to his home town of
Yamámáh, Musaylimah claimed that he was also a Messenger of
God. He began to distribute his
writings as verses of God among the people of his city. Musaylimah found a
strong following in Yamámáh. He was audacious enough to send the
following message to the Prophet of Islam:
From Musaylimah, the Messenger of God, to Muhammad, the Messenger of God.
Peace be upon thee. Verily, I am a partner in Revelation with you. Half of the
earth is for us, and the other half is for Quraysh. However, the Quraysh are an
Muhammad sent a short reply to Musaylimah, which Ibn Hishám records as
From Muhammad, the Messenger of God, to Musaylimah, the false one.
Peace be upon those who follow the Guidance. Verily, the earth belongs to God,
and it shall be inherited by those of His servants who He wishes. And the end
is with those who fear God.
That was the last year of the Prophet's earthly life. The next year
Abú-Bakr, the first Caliph of Islam sent troops to subjugate the
followers of Musaylimah. Islamic historians record that the Muslim armies were
vastly inferior to those at Yamámáh. Nevertheless, Musaylimah was
killed in battle and the Muslims were victorious.  Like Theudas and Judas of Galilee,
Musaylimah and his verses vanished. The story of Musaylimah, however, is
important to the collection of the Qur'án. A large number of the
memorizers of the Qur'án fell in battle. This alarmed the Muslims
and they became convinced that the Quranic verses should be compiled so that
the Book of God might be preserved. Abú-Bakr began the compilation of
the Qur'án, which was completed during the reign of the third
Caliph, Uthmán. Musaylimah is
best known to history through the series of events that lead to the collection
of the Qur'án, and not through his claim. Abu'l-Fadl frequently
uses the case of Musaylimah to convey the dalíl-i-taqrír.
A number of polemical criticisms have been raised to the
dalíl-i-taqrír. Every serious apologetic challenge to the
Bahá'í Faith has attempted to undermine the
dalíl-i-taqrír. For the purposes of this article three objections
will be examined. All objections are really addressing the same key points.
Abu'l-Fadl has answered most of the major criticisms in the
Fará'id itself. In fact, the sections where Abu'l-Fadl is
defending and consolidating the dalíl-i-taqrír are some of the
most exciting segments of the Fará'id. The Chief Islamic cleric
of the Caucasus had already raised the following point in rebuttal to a
Bahá'í disputant. It is quoted in the Fará'id.
Allow me to express myself more clearly. What if one of the idolaters addresses
us publicly and says: O People of Islam, O people of Christendom, O people of
Moses, and O followers of all true religions! Why have ye all been deceived!
Why do you not return to the one true path? Do you not see that idolatry has
encompassed the earth? Do you not see that we have more than four hundred
million followers in China alone? This is none other than that innate spiritual
sovereignty with which our precious founder was endowed! The truth of his words
influenced and changed hearts day by day, such as you see today. Therefore, if
by sovereignty one intends spiritual sovereignty and ascendancy, which takes
place gradually, then it follows that idolatry must be true as well! 
The point of the Shaykh is well-made. He attempts to turn the table on
Abu'l-Fadl and give him some of his own medicine. If the Bahá'ís
can use establishment as a proof, so can the idolaters! Abu'l-Fadl's genius and
originality, however, is striking. Abu'l-Fadl has already maintained that God
proves His Religion through establishment. Therefore, once the people of a
religion deny the dalíl-i-taqrír and reject a Messenger of God
they have effectively lost the only universal standard by which they can
validate their religion. They will then be no longer be able to defend their
religion against external attacks, and are vulnerable. Small wonder then that
the Shaykh ul-Islám cannot respond to the idolater. Abu'l-Fadl
states that now that the Muslims have rejected the Bahá'í
Revelation they can no longer answer this and other challenges in order to
If this question is raised to the people of Islam, you can in no wise answer
them. In no way can their falsehood and your truth be proven,
because it is impossible that a people of religion should be able to defend
their own religion, once they have rejected truth!
Once the dalíl-i-taqrír is rejected, Abu'l-Fadl maintains that no
religion can be proven. Elsewhere in the Fará'id, he goes on to
prove that the Chinese religions are not idolatry, but rather Religions
revealed by God. He painstakingly proves from the Qur'án the
Bahá'í teaching that all peoples of the world, including the
Chinese, must have been recipients of Divine guidance, in the form of
A similar challenge may be raised based on the Bible. The New
Testament unequivocally warns Christians of false prophets (Matthew
24:5), who will appear and deceive many. Therefore one can imagine that
these false prophets will also be established, because they will deceive
multitudes. Hence establishment cannot be regarded as an absolute test.
Abu'l-Fadl did not respond to this particular question in the
Fará'id. However his line of argumentation is clear. He would have
thoroughly examined the Biblical notion of false prophets. His study would
indicate that all the references to false prophets in the New Testament
are from within Christianity. Restated, nowhere in the New Testament
is a warning given regarding false prophets from outside the Christian
community. Therefore, no Biblical reference to false prophets can be understood
to intend Muhammad or Bahá'u'lláh.
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly
they are hungry
wolves...Not every one that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the
kingdom of heaven; But he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy
name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And done in thy name done many
wonderful works? And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart
from me, ye that work iniquity.
The above passage is very clear. False prophets are those who are preaching in
the name of Jesus, who are engaged in prophecy and healing in the name of
Jesus, that is, from within Christianity. Muhammad and
Bahá'u'lláh did not perform deeds in the name of Jesus. Therefore
they cannot be considered false prophets categorically by New Testament
criteria.  The
dalíl-i-taqrír then can be readily applied to both Muhammad and
Another objection to the dalíl-i-taqrír can be conceived. Why do
both the true and false sects of a religion survive? Why is establishment not
the sole property of the true sect or church? Abu'l-Fadl gives a detailed
response to this particular objection which includes a review of the histories
of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and all their major divisions up to his
time. Only after a rigorous review he maintains that none of those divisions
were meant to form independent religions. They are all merely branches of the
same tree, and the dalíl-i-taqrír does not distinguish sects and
churches within a religion. The religion of Islam for instance will last and
become influential because of the dalíl-i-taqrír. The
dalíl-i-taqrír then applies equally to Shí'a and
Sunní Islam, since they are both based on Qur'án. The
following verse indicates the same: "Do you not see how God compares a
good Word with a good tree, whose roots are firm and branches in the sky."According to the Qur'án,
the branches of a religion survive as a consequence of the establishment of the
One can examine the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the
Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam in light of the above Quranic allegory. The founder
of neither tradition has made an independent claim to Divine Revelation. Followers of the former are
essentially Christian, while the adherents to the latter are Muslims. The spread of both is then to be
expected within the framework of taqrír, just as taqrír of
Christianity and Islam equally entitles Catholicism, Protestantism,
Shí'a and Sunní traditions to last.
As one can expect, many disputants have raised similar objections to the
dalíl-i-taqrír. A particularly interesting variant was raised by
a son-in-law of Yahyá Azal, Mírzá Aqá
Khán Kirmání. Kirmání was a rather
nebulous historical figure of the Qájar period. He was an
Azalí-Bábí, but one who generally presented himself as a
Muslim. He was also a political activist. He is best known in
Bahá'í history because of the difficulties he caused for
known are his anti-Bahá'í polemics and rhetoric. In his
Haftád va dú mellat (The Seventy and Two People), which is
a short story, Kirmání responds to the
dalíl-i-taqrír. The setting of the story is a coffee-house in
India, where travelers from the seventy-two religions of the world have
gathered. Dialogues and debates are in progress among diverse religions, when a
certain Sulaymán Khán enters into dialogue with a Sufi and
a Shaykhi. This fictional Sulaymán Khán, we are told, is a
Bahá'í and is dispatched by the "God of Akka", to preach to the
Indians. At first, Sulaymán Khán quotes numerous Tablets
of Bahá'u'lláh, addressed to the Kings and Rulers, including the
Tablets to Napoleon III, foreshadowing his imminent fall. When asked to
provide further evidence for the claims of Bahá'u'lláh, he states
the following adulterated version of the dalíl-i-taqrír:
Yes! The proof is the claim itself. What proof is greater than a grand claim,
if associated with endurance and if it is effective, and if the claimant
possesses majesty and might, and raises the call among the masses and endures
and is afraid of nothing. 
Apparently his fictional audience did not approve of the
dalíl-i-taqrír. All of the people in the coffee-house,
representing all religions, rise up and collectively spit on Sulaymán
Khán, and address him as follows:
We are astonished at your limitless audacity and shamelessness. If the claim
constituted proof by itself, then the claims of Pharaoh, Nimrod and the
anti-Christ must also be proof. If majesty were a criterion, no one had the
majesty and might of the Pharaohs and Nimrods.
Obviously, Kirmání had misunderstood the proof based on
establishment. As Abu'l-Fadl has repeatedly pointed out, establishment and
taqrir must be in the setting of no worldly glory and might.
Kirmání is in fact providing examples supporting the
dalíl-i-taqrír, which simply states that Nimrod will disappear,
but Abraham will last. Pharaoh and Caesar will vanish, but the teachings of
Moses and Jesus will continue to animate the world.
This article is merely an introduction to the Bahá'í-Muslim
apologetic. The Bahá'í scriptural background to the development
of the dalíl-i-taqrír and hujjiyyat-i-ayát was examined.
The polemical necessity for these developments was determined. An approximate
chronology for the two arguments was established, in the writings of
Mirzá Abú'l-Fadl. The two proofs were studied with respect to
both the Bible and the Qur'án, and possible implications
for the Bahá'í-Christian dialogue were suggested. A preliminary
attempt was made to examine some of the key objections raised to both the
dalíl-i-taqrír and the hujjiyyat-i-ayát, as well. However,
many questions remain unanswered. There is need for further research,
especially with regards to the historical development of the
dalíl-i-taqrír in the pre Abu'l-Fadl era.
See Nabil's Narrative,
See Nabil's Narrative, page 56.
For a very interesting example see
volume IX. In that volume, the
late Bahá'í scholar A. Ish
details the story of his conversion to the Bahá'í Faith.
Abu'l-Fadl himself states in a letter written in 1893 that the
is an unprecedented book in providing proofs for
the Bábí and Bahá'í religions. He also says that
this book stands distinct from his previous writings. See the Mehrabkhani,
5 Kitáb al-Fará'id,
6 Kitáb al-Fará'id, page 63
7 Kitáb-i-Íqán, pages 107-108.
See, for example the Kitáb-i-Íqán,
99-104, and Gleanings from the Writings of
, section XXVII.
10 Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh
As shortly demonstrated the proof based on verses is clearly
rooted in the Qur'án
and had been utilized by Muslim apologists
in anti-Christian polemics. For example see al-Bájí, quoted in
Gaudell vol.II, pages 212-3.
12 La'áli ul-Hikmat,
Vol.I, page 25.
13 La'áli ul-Hikmat
, Vol.I, page 43.
17 Selections from the Writings of the Báb
, page 164.
Ibid, page 159.
Ibid, page 43.
21 God and Man in the Koran
, pages 133-140.
to Izutsu, when faced with an ayat from God one has two choices,
tasdíq(acceptance) and takdh
íb(regarding as false).
For a modern Muslim apologetic argument based on eloquence see
a'ráni, page 31.
26 Kitáb al-Fará'id,
See the Kitáb al-Fará'id
, pages 479-533. In
these pages Abu'l-Fadl presents a detailed and challenging reply to the charge
of Arabic grammatical errors in the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh. The
Shaykh however, does not provide any examples. In the course of the discussion
Abu'l-Fadl manages to point out some interesting grammatical flaws in the
writings of the Sh
29 Islam Revealed, pages 192-193.
30 Fasl ul-Khitáb
31 Selections from the Writings of the Báb
An interesting example of a similar application, from the early
days of the Bábi Faith is recorded in Nabil's Narrative
, page 62.
The occasion is an assembly of ecclesiastics in Najaf who are listening to the
arguments of Mullá 'Ali Bastámi in support of the new claim.
34 Selections from the Writings of the Báb
, page 220.
36 La'áli ul-Hikmat,
vol.I, page 47.
37 God Passes By,
For a modern application of innate revelation by a
Bahá'í scholar see The Revelation of
, vol.1, page 23.
39 Fasl ul-Khitáb
, page 77.
42 Islam Revealed
, page 154.
43 Fasl ul-Khitáb
, pages 79-80.
44 Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh
As previously mentioned the proof based on verses had been heavily
utilized in Christian-Muslim polemics throughout history. A viable
consideration was that the proof based on establishment, also had been
developed by Muslim apologists, and eventually incorporated by
Bahá'í scholars into the Bahá'í-Muslim polemics.
Our survey of the Christian-Muslim polemics from John of Damascus (674-753
A.D.) to the modern apologetic revealed no evidence of the proof based on
establishment. Pending such a find, the proof based on establishment may be
considered to be an original development in apologetic.
See, for example,
pages 196-202. An abridgement is found in the Revelation of
, vol.3, pages 40-44.
See, Thief in the Night
, page 207.
49 Promised Day is Come
, page 87.
50 Kitáb al-Fará'id
, pages 248-249.
Literally means "the bat from Yazd."
See the Persian bibliography on the life of
Bahá'u'láh by the late M. Faizi, pages 57-58.
It can be readily maintained that the
Azalí-Bábí movement never formed as a unified sect of the
Bábí religion, not meeting the criteria for establishment. They
are best defined in terms of their non-acceptance of Bahá'u'lláh.
With regards to scripture, it is worth noting that even Browne remarks that he
has never seen the Kitábu'n-núr
(book of light), generally
considered the major work by Azal. cf Momen, 245.
It is worth noting that he understood Azal to be he subject
of II Thessalonians 2:1-12, and his claim and following as a "falling away."(
cf. Fasl ul-Khitáb, p. 268-269) Years later Shoghi Effendi also
interpreted these verses from II Thessalonians as applying to Azal.
(Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh
Vol. 2. page 298).
55 Kitáb al-Fará'id
58 I. Corinthians
59 I John
67 The Life of Muhammad
, page 472-473. .
68 Sirat Ibn-Hishám,
69 Sirat Ibn-Hishám,
Ibid, pages 303-309.
72 Kitáb al-Fará'id, pages 158-159.
73 Kitáb al-Fará'id
, page 237.
This theme is very explicit in the Bible
. Consult the
following verses for further examples: II Peter 2:1-2, II Timothy 4:3.
Joseph Smith is recognized as a prophet. He has defined the term
in The Articles of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day
, as one of many organizational offices of the Primitive Church,
along with apostles, teachers, pastors, etc.( cf. article 6).
Qulam Ahmad, the founder of the Ahmadiyya movement also never claimed an
independent Revelation, as he states in the following verse of poetry:
I am not a Messenger, and I have not brought a Book
78 The Articles of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of
I am merely one inspired, and a warner from God.
(Quoted by A.
Ishráq-Khávarí in Aqdáh al-Falláh,
vol. 2, page 79)
, written by Joseph Smith is a very interesting document
to examine in this regard. Judging based on the Articles
, the Mormon
Church diverges very little from traditional Christianity.
For a brief synopsis of his life and political thought see Bayat's
Mysticism and Dissent
, pages 140-142 and 157-161.
80 Bahá'u'lláh the King of Glory
81 Haftád va dú Mellat
, page 85.
1. Báb, The. Selections from the Writings of The Báb.
Trans. Habib Taherzadeh (Haifa: Bahá'í World Center,
2. Bahá'u'lláh. Gleanings from the Writings of
Bahá'u'lláh. Trans. Shoghi Effendi (Wilmette:
Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1976).
- Kitáb-i-Íqán. Trans. Shoghi Effendi (Wilmette:
Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1950).
3. Balyuzi, H. M. Bahá'u'lláh The King of Glory. (Oxford:
George Ronald, 1980).
4. Bayat, M. Mysticism and Dissent: Socioreligious Thought in Qajar
Iran. (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1982).
5. Bible, The.
6. Effendi, S. Promised Day is Come. (Wilmette: Bahá'í
Publishing Trust, 1980).
-God Passes By. (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust,
7. Faizi, M. Hadrat-i- Bahá'u'lláh. (Hofheim-Langehain:
Bahá'í-Verlag GmbH, 1990).
8. Gaudall, Jean-Marie. Encounters & Clashes: Islam and Christianity in
History. 2 volumes ( Rome: Pontificio Istituto di Studi Arabi e
9. Gulpáygání, Abu'l-Fadl. Fará'id. (Cairo:
Hindiyya (India) Publishing, 1898).
- Fasl ul-Khitáb. (Canada: Institute for
Bahá'í Studies in Persian, 1995).
10. Hamadáni, M. A. Gulshan-i- Haqáyiq (U.S.: Kalimat
11. Haykal, M. H. The Life of Muhammad. Trans. Ismail Ragi A. al Faruqi
(Delhi: Crescent Publishing Co., 1976).
13. Ibn-Hisham. Sirat Ibn-Hishám. (Beirut, Dar ul-vifaq, 1955).
14. Ishráq-Khávari, A. Aqdáh al-Falláh. Vol.
2. (Tehran: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1974).
15. Izutsu. T. God and Man in the Koran. (Tokyo: Keio Institute of
Cultural and Linguistic Studies, 1964).
16. Kirmání, M. Haftád va dú Mellat.
(Tehran: Arman Publishers, 1992).
17. Málamírí, M. T.
(Hofheim-Langehain: Bahá'í-Verlag GmbH, 1992).
18. Mehrabkhani, R. Zindigání-i-Mirzá
Bahá'í- Verlag GmbH, 1988).
19. Momen, M., Ed. Selections from the Writings of E. G. Browne on the
Bábi and Bahá'í Religions. (Oxford, George Ronald,
21. Qur'án, The.
22. Ramyar, M. Tarikh-i-Qur'án. (Tehran: Amir Kabir
23. Sears, W. Thief in the Night. (Oxford: George Ronald, 1992).
24. Sha'rání, A.
Ithbát-i-Nubuwwat. (Tehran, Sadduq Bookstore
25. Smith, J. The Articles of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-Day Saints. (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-Day Saints, 1985)
26. Soroush, A. Islam Revealed. ( Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers,
27. Sulaymáni, A. Masábih-i-Hidáyat. Vol. IX
(Tehran: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1974).
28. Taherzadeh, A. The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh. Vol. II.
(Oxford: George Ronald, 1977).
- The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh. Vol. IV. (Oxford: George
29. Zarandi, Nabil, S. M. The Dawn Breakers: Nabil's Narrative of the Early
Days of the Bahá'í Revelation. Trans. and ed. Shoghi Effendi
(London: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1975).