The Suratu'l-Haykal: introduction and notes

Translated by Anton F. Haddad, 1900

Online edition provided by Robert Stauffer, © 1998

With proof-reading and reference assistance by Sen McGlinn,
Thellie Lovejoy, and Jonah Winters. Online formatting by J.W.
Note: this file is not yet fully proofread; some errors may remain.

Table of Contents:

Introductory notes

Baha'is reading this translation should be aware of 'Abdu'l-Baha's statement, published in Tablets of Abdul-Baha Abbas, Volume I, 1908, p. 1: "Ye have written concerning the printing and publication of the Tablets. The translation of the Surat-ul-Hykl is of the utmost difficulty. It must be translated by a committee who are exceedingly efficient both in Persian and English, exercising the closest and most minute attention. Otherwise the text would not become intelligible. The same rule applieth to other Writings and Tablets. For the present the organization of such a committee of translators is not possible and there is no other means than the translations made by individuals. In the future, God willing, means will be brought about. Translations will be made by a committee composed of two most erudite Persians and two learned Americans, all of them having the utmost proficiency in both languages and possessing a certain knowledge of sciences and arts. Then others from among the scholars and thinkers must assist. At that time Tablets will be translated correctly and published. What ye have in your hands and what is already printed will impart a certain degree of information. Whatever matter the spiritual Boards of Council in New York, Chicago, Washington and Kenosha unanimously deem advisable to print and publish, ye may print and publish; and have the utmost union and oneness with each other."

This translation was also published abridged with minor editing in Baha'i Scriptures, Selections from the Utterances of Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha, Ed. Horace Holley, New York, Brentano's, 1923 (Baha'i Publishing Committee, 1928), p. 209 P 222.

Spelling or punctuation variations of the Baha'i Scriptures edition are added in brackets.

Bracketed numbers shown in this online edition indicate verse numbering used in the Baha'i Scriptures editions.

Verses not in Baha'i Scriptures edition, but found in the Haddad edition, are indented.

Words within parenthesis are only in the 1900 edition translated by Haddad. If also enclosed in brackets then such words in parenthesis also appear in Baha'i Scriptures.

Page numbering in brackets is according to the Haddad translation and precede the page intended.

Words in this color font and between bullets are footnoted to the translations made by Shoghi Effendi of the same passage, which is presented in this color font and italicized. For best appearance of the text, the footnotes are contained in a different file. For comparison, the reader might wish to open these footnotes in a different browser window such that the two versions can be read side-by-side in different windows.


Athar-i Qalam-i A`la, vol. 1, p.2-38 (Revised Athar-i Qalam-i A`la, vol. 1 (forthcoming) will deal with differences between the two versions of the tablet. [Arabic])

Athar-i Qalam-i A`la, vol. 4, p. 268-300. Baha'i Scriptures, Selections from the Utterances of Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha, Ed. Horace Holley, New York: Brentano's, 1923 (Baha'i Publishing Committee, 1928), p. 209 P 222

Baha'i World Center, "Questions about the Suratu'l-Haykal," unpublished memo, 5 September 1993 [regarding the date of the tablet]

Baha'u'llah, Alwah-i, Surat al-Haykal, Bombay,1308, Lith.

Baha'u'llah, From Suratul-Heykle, the Book of the Temple, translation by Habib Katibah and L. K. Saleeby, n.p., n.d. [190-?] [4] p. [an early translation circulated widely in mimeo; see Collins 1.36]

Bushrui, Suheil, Style of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, University Press of Maryland, 1995. Discussion of Baha'u'llah's nine-tiered categorization of His Writings, 40-41; translation of one brief paragraph, 62.

al-Kitab al-mubin, Tehran, 120 B.E./1963[?], p. 2-38, [with numerous variations]

Lambden, Stephen, 'Sinaitic mysteries' SBBR, vol.5, p.145

Browne, Edward Granville, 'The Babis of Persia', II Their Literature and Doctrines. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, vol. 21, London,1889, p. 955-960 (see reprint: Selections from the Writings of E. G. Browne on the Babi and Baha'i Religions, Ed. Moojan Momen, Oxford: George Ronald, 1987, p. 260-265)

Mazandarani, Jinab-i-Fadil-i-, Asraru'l-Athar, vol. 1, p. 33

Rosen, Collections scientifiques de L'institut de Langues Orientales du Ministere des Affairs Estrangeres, vol VI, 2e fascicule, 1891, Ms 247, reproduced in full pp. 149-192

Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, Wilmette: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1938, p. 109, 117, 138-9, 169

Taherzadeh, Adib, The Revelation of Baha'u'llah, Baghdad, 1853- 63, vol. 1, Oxford: George Ronald, 1974, pp. 42-43, 121-122

Taherzadeh, Adib, The Revelation of Baha'u'llah, Baghdad, 1853- 63, vol. 3, Oxford: George Ronald, 1983, p. 133-146

Walbridge, John. "The Suratu'l-Haykal." Encyclopedia article, online here.


Baha'u'llah had the Suratu'l-Haykal and Tablets to Pius IX, Napoleon III, Alexander II and the King of Persia (Nasiri'd-Din Shah) written in the form of a pentacle [see Shoghi Effendi God Passes By, Baha'i Publishing Trust, Wilmette, 1944, p. 212-3; Taherzadeh, Adib, The Revelation of Baha'u'llah, Baghdad, 1853-63, vol. 3, George Ronald, Oxford, 1983, p. 133]

Baha'u'llah affirms in a separate tablet that the Haykal, or Temple, addressed in the tablet is Himself. He also says the Voice of God in the tablet is identical with His voice. [see Fadil-i-Mazindarani, Asadu'llah, Mirza, Asraru'l-Athar, vol. 5, Tihran: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 129 B.E./1972, p. 227]

Suratu'l-Haykal was first written in Edirne but revised in 'Akka, probably in 1869 (Lambden: 1873-4). [more bibliographic information needed]

Various spellings and names of this Tablet

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