Notes to Aqdas, Sentence #1
This file contains the title pages and introductions to the Haddad and Elder translations. Much further introductory information is contained in the Correspondence to Sentence #1

Title page to the Anton Haddad translation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas.



Translated by Anton Haddad

[Copied from the copy of Mrs Lua M. Getsinger by Francis J. Phelps, December 25th, 1906, Washington, D.C.]

[Recopied from above copy, March 6th, 1915. by Edna Kinney, Botolph St., Boston, Mass.]

[Recopied from above, Sepetember, 1915 by Isabel Fraser, Boston, Mass.]

[Recopied from above, July, 1942, by Mrs. Clyde S. Longyear, Los Angeles, California.]

[This online version provided by Robert Stauffer, 1997]

Introduction to the Earl Elder translation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, printed in William Miller's The Baha'i Faith: Its History and Teachings.

Al-Kitab al-Aqdas
The Most Holy Book

by Mirza Husayn Ali Baha'u'llah

Translated from the Original Arabic and Edited by
Earl E. Elder, Ph.D., D.D. and
William McE. Miller, M.A., D.D.

Published by The Royal Asiatic Society
and sold by its Agents Luzac & Company, Ltd.
46 Great Russell Street, London, W.C. 1, 1961

[Oriental Translation Fund
New Series Volume XXXVIII]

Reprinted in The Baha'i Faith: Its History and Teachings
by William McElwee Miller, William Carey Library,
South Pasadena, CA, 1974


Anyone who studies Baha'ism learns very soon of the volume of sacred to those who profess this religion and know as "The Most Holy Book". Of this book Baha in his Will said, ".reflect upon that which is revealed in my book the Aqdas." And his son and successor `Abdu'l-Baha said in his Will, "unto the Aqdas everyone must turn."

Yet, strange to say, although the teachings of Baha have been widely proclaimed in Great Britain and America, only fragments of al-Kitab al-Aqdas have been translated previously into English. another interesting point is that it is written in Arabic, although the founder of the religion was Persian and the first promulgation of this doctrine was in Persia (no known as Iran), where Arabic is not generally known.

When a translation was contemplated reliance was placed on an edition published in Arabic in Baghdad, Iraq, in 1931. However, the attention of those interested was turned to a copy of the work, a gift of `Abdu'l- Baha to one of the first American Baha'is to visit him in Palestine. This copy had been autographed by `Abdu'l-Baha on 25th March, 1899. By permission of the present owner, this version has been used in the translation.

It was this text which was first distributed by Baha among his followers - in handwriting. About 1880 he sent one of his sons and a disciple to India to prepare the manuscript for publication. Photographic copies of the sixty-five pages of this text are in the collections preserved in the Public Library of New York City. It is available there to any who wish to pursue the investigation of the text in the original Arabic.

Since the Baha'i Administration at Wilmette, Illinois, admittedly does not possess a copy of the book, not has it been circulated in America, this translation will afford many the opportunity of gaining at first hand knowledge of the principles of the faith.

In comparing this rather authentic copy with the Baghdad edition one discovers a great many differences of minor importance. The omission of three lines appearing in the Baghdad copy from the text on page 57 and again of four lines on page 60 of this edition constitute the most conspicuous differences. However, no important doctrine is in these lines that has not already been stressed. In fact in both cases the words are exhortations to the recognition of God's power and might. These have often been stressed previously.

In translating the Baha'i holy book one faces the problem of giving a critical study of the manifold differences in the text, or of ignoring the elaborate apparatus for collating readings and presenting a readable translation with explanatory notes. The latter method was chosen with the idea of making the book interesting to a wider circle of readers. The Arabic, like that of the Qur'an, is often lofty and sometimes difficult to express in language easy to be understood by Westerners.

The reader must remember that Baha was of Persian origin and the Arabic words and terminology sometimes have a Persian flavour. Some references to the shades of difference in meaning in the two languages are to be found in the notes.

When A.H. Tumansky translated al Kitab al-Aqdas into Russian more than sixty years ago, he felt an introduction was imperative. That it reached to three times the length of the original work translated is not surprising when one remembers that the background is crammed with a long history. an introduction and full notes on many points unfamiliar to a Western reader were absolutely essential. much of the imperative explanation in the Notes has been secured from one thoroughly familiar with Baha'ism through years of close connection with the movement.

In conclusion, lest readers imagine the translation was not sufficiently checked, it is only right to mention that it has been reviewed not only by those who know Arabic and Persian well, but by three persons who have an intimate acquaintance with the teachings of Baha'u'llah.

The transliteration of the Arabic words has often been given to enable Arabists to know the original. At times words which rhyme give some suggestion to the style of the composition, resembling the rhyming prose of the Qur'an. Further discussion of style and subject matter is unnecessary since the book speaks for itself.

Among those who have reviewed the translation and introduction, mention should be made of Mr. Will Orick and Rev. Cady H. Allen. Mr. Orick, among many services on connection with this work, arranged for the typing of the entire manuscript for the printers. Rev. Cady H. Allen has given invaluable assistance in many suggestions regarding punctuation and phrasing.

The figures given in parenthesis in the text are the pages of the copy from which the translation has been made.

Earl E. Elder

Kitab-i-Aqdas Multilinear Translation table of contents
Front page of translation | Glossary of select Arabic terms
  Go to
No.:1-3 4-6 7-9 10-12 13-15 16-18 19-21 22-24
25-27 28-30 31-33 34-36 37-39 40-42 43-45 46-48 49-51 52-54 55-57
58-60 61-63 64-66 67-69 70-72 73-75 76-78 79-81 82-84 85-87 88-90
91-93 94-96 97-99 100-02 103-05 106-08 109-11 112-14 115-17 118-20 121-23
124-26 127-29 130-32 133-35 136-38 139-41 142-44 145-47 148-50 151-53 154-56
157-59 160-62 163-65 166-68 169-71 172-74 175-77 178-80 181-83 184-86 187-90