Episodes in the History of the CovenantKhazeh Fananapazir.
edited by Mehdi Wolf.
originally written as "Waqáy-i-Tárikhiyyih dar 'Ahd wa Mitháq-i-Iláhi".
first written or published 1937-12
To the friends of the Ancient Beauty, the compatriots of the Greatest Name in the sacred country of 'Irán - May they study this Communication!
O ye tested ones! O ye seeking to draw nigh unto [God]! May my being and what my Lord hath vouchsafed unto me be a sacrifice unto thee and to thy steadfastness! I swear by the righteousness of God! The Abhá Beauty, with the denizens of the sacred chambers in the All-Highest paradise on His right hand, and the sanctified angels and cherubim from the most glorious retreats on His left, send thee greetings, praise thy deeds and actions, and glory in thy steadfastness, the immensity of thy love and the greatness of thy loyalty to this most awesome, most transcendent Cause! O friends! Do ye not hear the acclamation of the Concourse on High and, above them, the King of Grandeur and majesty beyond the All-Glorious tabernacle, calling to thee in these words: "O concourse of My loved ones and trusted ones! Ye are the chosen in My land! Ye are the inheritors of My Kingdom! Ye are the protectors of My Cause. Ye are steadfast on My Path. Ye seek to unravel My mysteries. Ye seek to spread abroad My Law, and to unfurl my banner. Ye proclaim the glad tidings of My sanctified and all-pervasive sovereignty, which is still hidden from the eyes of mankind.
"Upon thee, O my loved ones, be My gracious greetings and My loving providence and a myriad salutations and praise, for thou hast been steadfast in My Covenant, have laid firm hold of My Sure Handle, dispersed the ranks of mine enemies, wert utterly detached of any one save Me and because ye went forward, accepting with thy bodies and thy spirits the arrows of My tribulations and decree. Thou hast cast away the covering veil from off the countenance of My Cause. Thou art raising up the edifices to My glory and to My Might; ye are implementing the provisions of My Book and are expounding the hidden mysteries of My Shari'ah. At all times, ye have sought assistance in My Name, the All-Subduing, the Omnipotent, the All-Effulgent, the Transcendent and the Peerless.
"O ye candles of My love in My realm! O ye the banners of My glory and victory in My lands! Be ye truly steadfast in My Cause, for I am truly powerful when I lay hold in divine punishment and I am strong in retribution. I shall aid thee as I aided thee in the past. Verily, I shalt fulfil thy aspirations by virtue of Mine omnipotence, which penetrateth all throughout the earth. Behold! The dawn of victory hath appeared. Be patient, as I am patient."
O ye assisters of the Cause of God! The Centre of Covenant-breaking, the Pivot of dissension, after a period of forty years, during which time, he had lain in a corner in his nethermost state of humiliation, having witnessed, in forty territories, the lights of divine confirmation descending, eventually, with an empty hand and with a heart full of sighs, returned unto his abode, disappointed, in perdition, and in a sorry state. The Great Branch was transformed into the Greater Firewood. One can see him in the nethermost region; the rod of divine chastisement and wrath, as wielded by the All-Subduing Avenger, hath laid hold of him. This is what our Master had warned openly and privily. Exalted indeed are the promises contained in His truth-bearing, holy and wondrous utterances! He, as the Ancient Beauty - glorified be His Greatest Name - hath said, "If but a moment he turneth away, he shalt become utterly non-existent", hath now, outwardly, become non-being. It hath now gone unto the depths of the earth. Where now is he and his conspiratorial adjutants, his falsifying Ambassadors, his lying trustees, his tremulous followers, who were wont to travel in the lands many a year, who sought in vain to extinguish the light of God with the breathings of their mouths and who purposed to attack the sanctity of God's covenant with their ingrained hatreds and malice? What evil they did conceive! What atrociousness they perpetrated! Their efforts were brought to nought. Their company was dispersed. Their aspirations met with utter despondency. Their foundations have been destroyed. None have they to aid them. God's decree came upon them and made them join those who are lost. Even their mention will become non-existent, and their traces will vanish. Ye shalt hear no voice, nor any whisper of them. God will make them utterly forgotten.
O ye steadfast lovers of the Ancient Beauty! Ponder awhile. Reflect deeply on the evidences of divine ascendancy and the penetrating power of His might, which is most extraordinary and amazing. Consider most profoundly the events and the vicissitudes of this Great Cause. Recall its past events and stages. What great difficulties came to pass since its inception from the horizon of that land, full of turmoil and tribulation! What violent assaults, what forceful attacks, were perpetrated against its beauteous Body by friend and foe! From the beginning of the Divine Theophany in the year sixty until our day, this incomparable Plant, which the Hand of Divine Power hath planted in the garden of the World, hath been encompassed by such troubles, been beaten upon by such storms, and assaulted by such whirlwinds, that their like is unheard of and unrecorded in any history whatever. In the beginning, the wicked divines unfurled the banner of the most great animosity, misled the unjust and ignorant nation and motivated the masses to perform infinite assaults and aggressions against the Faith of God. From another corner, the pillars of the oppressive Qájár government unleashed the hand of pillage against it, and inflicted upon the sacred realities and institutions of the Wronged One great injuries. That government suspended the sinless and holy Body of Its Herald in the air, and with the bullets of hatred and rancour, lacerated His luminous breast and caused twenty thousand of His followers to drink the chalice of martyrdom. In yet another part, the Ottoman Sultán, the pivot of the Khaliphate, joined forces with the earlier most inveterate enemy, and imprisoned the Divine Lawgiver. They banished Him from land to land until, eventually, He was exiled to the "most desolate city." For forty years, they made Him drink the poison of every tribulation. In 'Iráq, in Constantinople, in the Land of Mystery and in the Most Great Prison, such wrong and oppression was permitted against Him, that the like of it hath not been seen by the eye of creation or heard by the ear of all the nations. The heads of government and the masses of the people aided each other, and, for ninety years, in its homeland, in neighbouring territories and here in the Holy Land, with all their power, girded up their loins to extinguish this light, to disperse this assemblage, destroy this divine Foundation and belittle and cast aspersion on this Sacred Name. They never rested until the lightning of Wrath took them and the winds of perdition came upon them. They fell and were hurled from the heights of glory and power to the nether reaches of humiliation and degradation. The hands of the divines, in the words of 'Abdu'l-Bahá', the Centre of the Covenant of the Self-Subsisting and Living God, lost their authority and their degradation became apparent. In His own words: "This glory shall be turned into the most abject abasement, and this pomp and might converted into the most complete subjugation. Their palaces will be transformed into prisons, and the course of their ascendant star terminate in the depths of the pit. Laughter and merriment will vanish, nay more, the voice of their weeping will be raised." The Qájár dynasty was uprooted. Its chain of succession was broken. Its star set forever. The blood-spilling monarch, who suspended the Most pure, the Most sinless Temple of Divine Meekness and who directed bullets of hatred against His Holy Chest, was hurled to the nethermost abyss, and his family and grandchildren are scattered all over the world. The evil 'Abdu'l-Hamíd, who afflicted the Wronged One and His Glorious Branch in the Greatest Prison with all manner of troubles - he himself was ensnared in turmoil and was dethroned, jailed and extinguished. In a short time, the foundations of the Ottoman Empire were shaken and the Khaliphate terminated. The Sultánate became a Republic. Ancient glory changed into palpable dishonour. Our God, the All-Glorious Lord spoke in truth. May His utterance remain exalted, He saith: "O concourse of divines! Because of you the people were abased, and the banner of Islám was hauled down, and its mighty throne subverted."
O ye loved ones of His Holiness 'Abdu'l-Bahá'! The collapse of the mighty Khaliphate, the destruction of the foundations of the Sultánate, the abrogation of the Islámic Laws, the abolishment of the Shari'at courts in Constantinople, the separation of state from religion in Turkey, the humiliation of the divines of the Faith of the Prophet, the Chief of the Apostles of God - upon His Self be a myriad salutations and praise! - and all that will come to pass in the future in the neighbouring lands upon the wicked divines, whether pertaining unto the Shí'íh or Sunní sects - all of the above are the direct spiritual consequences of the conspicuous injustices perpetrated by those twin perfidious monarchs, who were the supporters of the divines in those twin countries. In the Súrih revealed for Amín these exalted words have descended: "O concourse of Islám! Verily, Muhammad, the Apostle of God, wept sore by reason of your wrong doings, for ye followed your vain desires and turned away from sure guidance. Ere long, ye will see the consequences of your deeds. For my Lord is as a Guardian on a watchtower."
O Concourse of Bahá! Consider and reflect! The enemies of the Cause of Jesus Christ - May my spirit be a sacrifice to the wrongs He suffered! - who were the primary instigators and the real cause of the martyrdom of that Sinless Soul, although they acted against Christ, that Peerless Beauty, for only a limited number of days and encircled and captured Him, yet with what a humiliation those enemies were afflicted! The Emperor of Rome embarked on an attack against these enemies and turned the glorious House of Worship of that Faith, the exalted Temple, to dust! Jerusalem was utterly destroyed and the poor nation was to endure a scattering throughout the earth. It is well nigh two thousand years that the Israelites, as a consequence of this enormous injustice, have been writhing with great sufferings, and have been spread throughout [the earth]. Yet now, in this all-glorious century, this gracious Dispensation, the scroll of their humiliation is at an end, and their requital is completed. As a result of the overshadowing beneficence of the Divine Teachings, the ancient glories will be restored unto them. Again, ponder with discernment: although the enemies of Christ were engaged only a mere few years in opposition and antagonism, yet they were afflicted with such a great degradation for twenty centuries! Howbeit, in this Supreme Theophany and Most excellent religious cycle, which is the glory of all past ages and centuries, what will be visited upon its enemies, who, for seventy years, have inflicted such unheard of sufferings upon the Blessed Beauty, His Herald, and His Most Great, Most Honoured Branch. What retribution will befall them in the realm of the visible! My pen truly trembles at its attempt to even refer to what shall befall the oppressors! My heart truly cries over them for their degradations, their sufferings and all that will transpire in this transcendent, this luminous, this Great Dispensation!
Let me resume my theme. In truth, the Divines, the rulers and the kings, each according to their part, attacked the Faith of the Wronged One of the World from all sides. They endeavoured mightily to shed the blood of the meek ones of the earth through murder and the banishment and exile of the Founders of this clearly Divine Cause. But, it should be evident that these assaults and attacks, though ferocious and violent in their own right, what transpired within the Community of the followers of the One God, as a result of the deeds of those who claimed adherence and affection unto it, and even by persons related unto the Holy Tree, who had branched forth from the Sacred Plant, were many times and many categories greater and more virulent when compared to the assaults emanating from outside the Faith from the external foes who held the reins of power. A person related to the Divine Tree, honoured with being a brother of the Supreme Manifestation of God, whose mention was recorded in many a communication from the Pen of the Point of the Bayán - May the spirit of all beings be a sacrifice unto His true lovers! - he, who was a Mirror of the Bábí Dispensation, who was to obtain a faint glimmer of the Splendour of Sinai, whose care was entrusted, by the decree of the Báb, to the Ancient Beauty, Bahá'u'lláh - May the spirits of all those near unto God be a sacrifice to His Sovereignty! - and who, for a certain number of years, was, at the behest of the Life-Giver of the world, a person for the Bábís to turn to and to refer to - such a person denied and waxed proud. He arose to oppose. He did such wrongs and inflicted such cruelty that no pen is able to depict them and no paper can bear their narration! He perpetrated such an assault, and he caused the drinking of such a poison that no eye hath witnessed it, nor no ear hath heard. In Adrianople, he caused such a great convulsion and tumult that he was able to shake the faith of a number [of believers] and cause them to wander lost. He was able to cheer up the inveterate enemies, and to give hope to the sect of Karím Khán. The Concourse on High shed tears of blood because of his wrongdoing and the party of the faithful and steadfast ones heaved a sigh of lamenting. The earthquakes of the day of Wrath, as predicted in the Tablet of Nasír, came to be fulfilled and the tremours of the Afflictive Period made their effects felt. The wasting blasts blew and, for a time, the Sun of the Heaven of Truth was eclipsed by his hatred. The Star of the Heaven of Divinity was momentarily veiled by the clouds of his rancour. He caused Bahá'u'lláh to drink such a poison of suffering that His Tongue of Divine Grandeur revealed this heart-rending utterance in one of His Tablets: "I wish I had been non-existent and My Mother had not borne Me! I swear by God! If any one were to become cognizant of what befell [Me], He would assuredly seek to dwell in the wilderness and would flee from anyone seeking his company. Furthermore, He would not eat anything, until at last he would give his life as a ransom for love of this incandescent and Luminous Beauty! All that hath appeared externally is not anything in my sight that I should mention it. Rather, what hath befallen Me inside - this is that which the Concourse of heaven cannot bear. The entirety of existence cannot bear it either. I swear I cannot mention even a letter of it, for if I were to reveal a letter thereof, all the heavens and the earth will be cloven asunder!" Also in the Tablet of the Dove, these two verses disclose His sufferings and tragedies: "My tears, when flowing, are indeed the real Flood of Noah. The burning of My heart is indeed what reminds one of the Abrahamic Fire Jacob suffered; the least of My sorrows and all that befell Job is but part of My sufferings!"
Soon after, another assault was launched against the temple of the Cause of the All Beneficent Lord by one who claimed to be a believer and who was related to the Beauty of the Merciful God. The tornado of tests blew fiercely again, and the dust clouds of Covenant-Breaking were upraised. In the Prison of the Quickener of the World, he who arose following the Setting of the Sun of Pre-existence, the Most Great Convulsion came to pass. A son, amongst the sons of Bahá'u'lláh, the Ancient Beauty, who, for many a year, had drunk the milk of divine providence from the breast of loving-kindness, who had grown up in the cradle of Divine Overseeing, who had been described and known as the Ghusn-i-Akbar, who had been explicitly referred to in the Book of the Covenant and in the Scroll of the Divine Testament, to whom Bahá'u'lláh had referred to with these honorific and special words: "We have chosen the Akbár [the Greater] after the A'zám [the Most Great]" - such a person broke the Divine Covenant! The fire of his envy burned with an amazing conflagration. He got hold of the axe of hatred and used it against the roots of the Blessed Tree. He brought about joy and exultation amongst the disfigured Yahyá community and also brought about happiness and a fresh excitement amongst the despairing enemies of former times. He caused the Stainless Spirit of God to be hurt in the All-highest Paradise and engulfed all the denizens of the cities of eternity in sorrow, wailing and lamenting. He besmirched the name of this Most Holy Faith with the stains of calumniation and obloquy. A new upheaval was enacted. He caused the Joseph of Bahá to again be imprisoned. He engaged continually in perversion of the Words of God. He created misgivings continuously and spread letters of hellfire to all parts, night and day. He tore apart the veil of decorum and modesty. He ignited a heart-burning fire in the heart of the oppressed Bahá'ís. The most pure, the most gentle heart of the Centre of the Covenant melted as a result of his wrongdoing. He used to weep all the while from his pain and lamentations. In numerous Tablets, and diverse prayers, the Pen of the Covenant hath continually moved in description of His sorrows caused by that Breaker of the Covenant of the Luminary of all the World, some of which will be mentioned here. "So much was I afflicted with sorrow that I spent all night in wailing and communing with God. So intense was the fever created by My pain, that, in the morning, a most strange effect was visible on My face from the burn. It became obvious to Me that My pain hath afflicted My liver so that some of its consequence was visible on My face."
Now, O ye who seek to discover the secrets of the Divine! O ye who support the Cause of the All-Merciful God! Ponder a little. These afflictive difficulties, these successive assaults, these awesome disturbances, these various tribulations, these internal rebellions, all of which descended upon the Cause of God from the beginning of the divine Revelation, and continuing for over ninety years, and inflicted upon it by both acquaintances and adversaries alike -- did any of these at all create a breach in this mighty edifice, this immovable fortress? Could any of these create a disruption or confounding of the foundations of the Shari'ah of God? Nay, I swear by the Lord of Might! Dissension did not lead unto schisms. Those seeking rebellion and separatism did not succeed in creating obliteration and dissolution. Although certain of those who would fain have recognized the radiance of the Sinaic Splendour did faint away and die; though certain important pillars of this Edifice self-destructed and the majority of the aghsán, the offshoots of the Tree that belongeth neither to the East nor to the West, did fall upon the dust of degradation and cut themselves off from the Trunk of the Divine Lote-Tree, - yet, despite all of this, the foundation of this Temple was unshaken and unaffected. The Divine Tree could never be uprooted. Deadly toxin could never poison the Fountainhead of this Most Precious Cause. The blasting gales could never afflict this Incomparable Plant. The most incisive sword could not cleave asunder the united assemblage created by God. The most ferocious winds failed to quench the Resplendent Candle. Every fair one will testify, and every discerning one will confess to this verity: in past cycles, internal differences, religious disputes, partisan argumentations and antagonisms - all would immediately result in permanent schisms and abiding denominations, and would eventuate in big breaches in the foundations of the divine Edifice. Then the primal oneness would be lost. The Cause initiated by God would be destroyed and its efficacy enfeebled. But in this Supreme Revelation, this most consummate and complete Dispensation, despite a current of tribulations and a succession of troubles and calamities and the occurrence of unheard of difficulties, the Faith of God was providentially vouchsafed protection from those ailments which impinged upon previous Religions.
Consider carefully: after the Martyrdom of His Holiness, the Spirit of God and His Ascension to the Supreme Concourse, the divergences of opinion amongst the disciples generated dissensions and all these disputes were progenitors of great schisms among the concourse of Christ's followers. Gradually these breaches intensified. The quarrels and conflicts reached a crescendo and ever newer sects and denominations came to be created. The leading men of the Oriental and Occidental Churches upraised the banners of revolt against each other. The Religion of God became divided into fissiparous sects. They were all adrift and in dispersion. All these divisions persist unto our day. Again: At the commencement of Islám, immediately after the Sinless and Pure Spirit of His Holiness, the seal of the Prophets, Muhammad - upon Him be the choicest salutation and praise! - ascended from amongst His companions, a grievous difference occurred relating to that most fundamental of their beliefs, that is, relating to the matter of succession and viceregency. This difference led to the formation of factions. These schisms generated numerous parties, denominations, and sects. The passage of time did not assuage the intensity of these differences and nothing could impede the permanence of lasting denominationalism and schism. But in this wondrous Dispensation, which, in all aspects, is to be distinguished from the past Shari'ahs and religions, even though more than 90 years have elapsed since the Effulgent Luminary arose in Persia, and in spite of fearful events, mighty afflictions, the apostasy of those related to the Sacred Tree itself and the revolt of some pillars of the Community, yet, by virtue of most decisive Texts, the most firm admonitions and warnings, as revealed by God, the existence of unequivocal, incontrovertible, and firm testaments, the specific appointment and identification of an adjudicator who would act as the authoritative interpreter of God's Holy Words - as a result of all this, the unity of the divine Faith proved unassailable and the enemies were all brought to extinction and defeat. The sacred institutions and holy ordinances - all remained sacrosanct from the stain and spoliation of the rebellious and recalcitrant. Differences and disturbances, which are the essential prerequisites and sine qua non of growth and evolution within the Body of the Cause, did not, unlike in the past, result in the disjunction and fracture of the Temple of the Cause. All those difficulties were transformed by God into mechanisms for the purification of its vesture, strengthening of its constituent elements, and the discarding of unhealthy and insalubrious entities from the Community of the People of Bahá. Even though diversity in the Faith of Him Who vouchsafeth secret Bounties is bound to happen in all ages, yet the absence of dissection and schism in the company of the followers of the Light of the World is a distinguishing characteristic of this luminous Cause and one of the particularities of this Glorious Dispensation. Where is the misbegotten Karím and his colleagues? Where is to be found Azal and his followers? Where is the Arch-breaker, his friends and cohorts? Where are their futile plans? Where are their degraded associations? Where are their false promises? Whither are their vain conspiracies? Where is gone their ever-vanishing and transient power? All their hopes were brought to nought. All their deeds were of no avail. The angels of retribution beat upon their mouths and hurled them all into the midmost fire. Their story remaineth as a lesson for those observers who have a clear vision. Nothing hath remained in the kingdom of God except the lights that radiate from His luminous and incandescent Countenance and the traces and effects of His All-Conquering All-Pervasive, All-Potent Faith.
O ye who seek to praise the Greatest Name! This precious and beloved Faith of God is held firmly in the grasp of the One Who is the Luminary of All Existence and the concourse of the People of Bahá are held in the protective hand of the Absolute, the All-Possessing One! His Unseen Hand worketh ever more. All earthly turmoil and revolution is but the start of the proclamation of the Divine Shari'ah. The rays emanating from the heaven of confirmation are truly dazzling and the signs of the grandeur of the Cause evident far and near. This Day is that fearful aforementioned Day of Separation and all things declare the glad tidings of the Golden Age of the Cycle of the Lord of Destiny. A discerning eye is essential if one wisheth to behold the lights of this Day and to assimilate and appreciate these heretofore unknown verities. Who can flee from His Sovereignty? Who can escape from His Authority? Who can fail not to be conquered by His Victory? The events and vicissitudes of the first Bahá'í Century are the pivotal points for drawing lessons in relation to future events. They are the clear mirror for seeing the future transpire.
Consider again: After the passing of our kind Father, 'Abdu'l-Bahá', the Centre of the Covenant, - may My spirit be a sacrifice to His lovers! - certain degraded, vain and unfaithful ones, among them their chief, the Great Raven, the Redolent Droplet, the miserable Avarih, -- what an uproar they caused! What foul noises were raised by them! What senseless ravings were disseminated by them! What plottings were conceived by them! What staunch efforts they exerted in order that the Sacred Cord of the Divine Testament be broken apart and a breach be created in the divine Guardianship, so that they might be able to accomplish what the wicked groups of the past failed to achieve. But God did cut off their tongue. And soon will God cause them to join the company of those who acted unjustly in the past and waxed vainglorious. Then they will learn their true abode!
O friends of God! I adjure thee to remain steadfast on this awesome Cause. I adjure thee to defend its Holy sacraments. I adjure thee to summon mankind to this Great Announcement and to implement its glorious Laws. I adjure thee to follow this Broad and Straight Path! I adjure you to lay firm its foundations and to persist in unraveling its mysteries, and to continue avoiding and shunning every one who is an enemy of this Unique, scintillating and all Glorious Name. In this wise, will thy stations become disclosed unto thee. The lights of thy glory will then shine and darkness will thereby be dispelled from thy lands. All the hidden matters latent in the Cause will thereby be revealed, thy enemies will be vanquished and all the promises of your Lord and Master will be fulfilled. Thy country will then become a part of the Most Exalted Paradise and a mirror reflecting the lights radiating from the Abhá Kingdom.
All Glory to this approaching Day, a Day All-Effulgent, Most Holy, Most Blessed, Most Great!
The Servant of His Threshold, Shoghi.
 In this section, and in the two following paragraphs, the Guardian transmits an address to the Iránian believers from Bahá'u'lláh. (MW's note, Mitsukaido Nikko, Monday, May 28, 2001.)
 The Covenant. See Kitáb-i-Aqdas, ¶117. (KF's note, modified by MW).
 Law (KF's note)
 Cf. Qur'án 3:146: "And God Loves those who are firm and steadfast." See also Kitáb-i-Aqdas, ¶ 134 (MW"'s note).
 Cf. Qur'án 59:4: ". . .if any one resists God, verily God is severe in Punishment." (MW's note).
 Cf. Qur'án 5:98: "For God is Exalted, and Lord of Retribution." See also 7:167 and 40:22: ". . . for He is Full of Strength, Strict in Punishment." (MW's note).
 Here ends Bahá'u'lláh's Voice as transmitted by the Guardian (KF's note)
 This sentence and following is the Guardian in his own voice (KF's note).
 i.e. on the Cause (KF's note)
 Mirzá Muhammad-'Alí, the half-brother of 'Abdu'l-Bahá' and the Archbreaker of the Covenant, died on the 20th of December, 1937 (See David S. Ruhe Door of Hope, p. 117, footnote #3). Referring to this event, the Guardian sent the following cablegram to the Bahá'ís of America on that same day: "The Hand of Omnipotence has removed the archbreaker of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant, his hopes shattered, his plottings frustrated, the society of his fellow-conspirators extinguished. God's triumphant Faith forges on, its unity unimpaired, its purpose unsullied, its stability unshaken. Such a death calls for neither exultation nor recrimination, but evokes overwhelming pity at so tragic a downfall unparalleled in religious history." It is interesting to note that the themes that are elucidated so eloquently in this letter to the Bahá'ís of 'Irán are all briefly stated in the above cable. (MW's note, based on information provided by Barry Uhlenhake from the Research Department of the United States Bahá'í National Center in an e-mail message to the present editor).
 Cf. Qur'án 4:145: "The Hypocrites will be in the lowest depths of the Fire: no helper wilt thou find for them . . ". See also 66:9: "O Prophet! Strive hard against the Unbelievers and the Hypocrites, and be firm against them. Their abode is Hell,- an evil refuge (indeed)." (MW's note).
 Cf. Psalm 89:31-2: "If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes." See also Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 325: ". . . yet the rod with which I can chastise the wicked is grievous, and the fierceness of Mine anger against them terrible." (MW's note).
 This passage is quoted by 'Abdu'l-Bahá' . Will and Testament of'Abdu'l-Bahá', p. 6. (MW's note, based on message from KF).
 Cf. Qur'án 2:257: "Of those who reject faith the patrons are the evil ones: from light they will lead them forth into the depths of darkness. They will be companions of the fire, to dwell therein (For ever)." (MW's note).
 Cf. Qur'án 61:8 and 9:32: "Fain would they extinguish God's light with their mouths, but God will not allow but that His light should be perfected, even though the Unbelievers may detest (it)." (MW's note).
 Cf. Qur'án 4:145 "The Hypocrites will be in the lowest depths of the Fire: no helper wilt thou find for them.." (MW's note).
 i.e. Irán (MW's note).
 1260 A.H. or 1844 A.D.(KF's note)
 The Dynasty which ruled 'Irán from 1795 to its formal removal in 1925 (MW's note).
 Refers to the martyrdom of the Báb. See The Dawnbreakers, p. 506-517 (MW's note).
 i.e. Sultán 'Abdu'l-'Aziz (KF's note).
 The Qájár dynasty in toto (KF's note, from a personal e-mail from the translator to the present editor).
 i.e 'Akká. Cf. Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 22: "He, for Whose sake the world was called into being, hath been imprisoned in the most desolate of cities ('Akká), by reason of that which the hands of the wayward have wrought." (KF's note, expanded by MW).
 Bahá'u'lláh (KF's note).
 Adrianople (KF's note).
 i.e. 'Akká (MW's note)
 The Guardian here details some of the evidences of the wrath of God upon the divines and the kings. In this connection, see Isaiah 10:33 and 24:21: "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth." (MW's note)
 Translation of this passage is taken from Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come, p. 90. KF's translation of this passage is as follows: "Their honour will be transmuted to great dishonour. This outward power and pomp will be transformed to the greatest defeat. Palaces will change to Prisons. Their heights of heaven will end as the bottom of a well. Their laughter and merriment will not abide; nay, the voice of tears and lamentations will be upraised." Source for this passage from 'Abdu'l-Bahá ís, as yet, unknown. (MW's note).
 Following the assassination of Nasír'd-Dín Sháh in 1896, the Persian throne passed quickly from his son, Mozaffar ad-Dín Sháh (reigned 1896–1907), then to his grandson, Muhammad 'Alí Sháh (reigned 1907–09). Muhammad 'Alí's son, Ahmad Sháh (reigned 1909–25), who succeeded to the throne at age 11, was deposed in a coup d'état in February 1921, led by Reza Khán (ruled as Reza Sháh Pahlaví between 1925–41). The Qájár Dynasty was formally terminated by declaration of the National Consultative Assembly in October, 1925 (MW's note).
 Shoghi Effendi briefly recounts the fall of the Qájárs in The Promised Day is Come p. 66-69. (MW's note, Mitsukaido Nikko, Monday, May 28, 2001,)
 Nasir'd-Dín Sháh (1831-1896) (KF's note, modified by MW).
 The Báb (MW's note).
 Nasiri'd-Dín Sháh was assassinated on the eve of his jubilee in the shrine of Sháh Abdu'l-'Azim in 1896 (MW's note).
 Sultan 'Abdu'l-Hamid II (1842-1918). During his reign (1876 -1909), large portions of the Ottoman Empire were lost, following his defeat in the war with Russia (1878). Tunisia was occupied by France (1881), and Egypt was controlled by Britain (1882). In 1897, the Empire was forced by the Europeans to recognize the autonomy of Crete. The Sultán ruled as a despot, and brutally repressed the Armenians between 1894-6. In 1908, due to the lack of support among the army and the rise of the Young Turks, 'Abdu'l-Hamid was forced re-enact the Constitution of 1876 which he had earlier suspended, and which, for the first time in an Islámic state, defined the rights of both the ruler and his subjects. He was ultimately deposed when he attempted to plot a counterrevolution against the Young Turks and was exiled to Salonika, where he died in disgrace (MW's note).
 Shoghi Effendi recounts the fall of the Ottoman Empire in The Promised Day is Come, p. 62-5 (MW's note).
 After the Young Turks Revolution, foreign powers forced the ceding of further territories. In October 1908, Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Bulgaria proclaimed its independence. Italy seized Tripoli (Libya). Following the two Balkan Wars (1912-3), the Empire lost Serbia, Greece, Montenegro, and Albania. After World War I, under the Treaty of Sèvres (1920), the Empire lost its remaining Arab provinces, important islands and lands were annexed to Greece, and the Europeans powers gained control over the Empire's finances. (MW's note).
 The last Ottoman Sultán, Muhammad VI, was deposed and was succeeded briefly by a cousin, but in 1924, the caliphate was abolished by Ataturk. (MW's note).
 Formally recognized by the Treaty of Lausanne in October 29th,1923 (MW's note).
 Quoted from the Lawh-i-Burhán. See Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 213. (KF's note).
 The Shari'ah Law was abolished and the Swiss Civil Code was adopted by the Turkish parliament in 1926. The Commercial Law for the country was debated for four years, and then finally ratified (MW's note).
 Religious Courts were abolished by Ataturk in 1926, and a modern jury system was introduced throughout the republic that same year (MW's note)
 In 1925, Ataturk banned all religious activities in the country. Then, in 1934, religious attire was prohibited in public (MW's note)
 i.e., The Súriy-i-Amín (Tablet of the Trustee) [Athár-i-Qalam-i A´lá, Vol. 1, pp. 170-173; Athár-i-Qalam-i-A´lá, Vol. 4(i), pp. 320-323] which was revealed in 'Akká for Hájí Abu'l-hasan, surnamed Amín (Trusted One), who was the second person to be appointed the Trustee of Huquq'u'lláh by Bahá'u'lláh. (MW's note, added Mitsukaido Nikko, Monday, May 28, 2001).
 i.e. from the Heaven of Revelation (KF's note)
 Bahá'u'lláh expands on this point in the Epistle to the Son of the Wolf (p 100): "O concourse of divines! Because of you the people were abased, and the banner of Islam was hauled down, and its mighty throne subverted. Every time a man of discernment hath sought to hold fast unto that which would exalt Islam, ye raised a clamor, and thereby was he deterred from achieving his purpose, while the land remained fallen in clear ruin." (MW's note).
 The passage the Guardian quotes is from the Súriy-i-Amín (Tablet of the Trustee), Athar Qalam A'lá v. IV, p. 321. The quotation cites Qur'án 89:14. (MW's note, based on a reference from KF).
 Bahá'u'lláh seems to be referring here to the Jewish people (MW's note, Tuesday, January 22, 2002).
 Cf. Qur'án, 5:20: "(Both) the Jews and the Christians say: 'We are sons of God, and his beloved.' Say: 'Why then doth He punish you for your sins?'" (MW's note).
 In AD 66, Nero Claudius Caesar (reigned 54 to 68 A.D.) commissioned his general Vespasian to settle the Jewish revolt that had broken out in Cesaraea and Jerusalem. Vespasian and his legate Titus Flavius Vespasianus began their campaign against Jerusalem in the following year, but the city was very heavily defended, both naturally and militarily. In AD 69, Vespasian was proclaimed Emperor and Titus remained in the East. He continued the siege and reached the outer walls of the Temple in 4 weeks. A siege wall was built around the city and this reduced much of the Jewish population to starvation. In August of AD 70, Herod's Temple was razed to the ground, the remaining inhabitants of the city were all killed, and Titus made sacrifice to the Roman standards in the inner court (MW's note).
 i.e., the Temple as it was built by Herod the Great (37 BCE to c. 4 BCE). It was begun in 19 BCE and dedicated the following year. It was not formally completed, however, until 63 AD, just 5 years before the beginning of the Roman seige (MW's note).
 The second Temple, built by King Herod, was utterly destroyed during the Roman siege of the city in 68-70 AD and the all Jews who remained were either sold as slaves or killed. (MW's note).
 'Abdu'l-Bahá' comments on this point: "Notwithstanding the fulfillment of all the prophetic signs in His Holiness, the Jews denied him [Christ] and entered the period of their deprivation because of their allegiance to imitations and ancestral forms." Foundations of World Unity, p.75. (MW's note).
 The Jewish people began a revolt against Rome in 66 A.D. Jerusalem was taken by the Roman army in the year 70. Jews were banished from Jerusalem by order of Hadrian following the crushing of the Bar Kochba revolt in 135. It was not until 1860 that a Jewish settlement was permitted by the Turkish authorities in the vicinity of Jerusalem. The founding of the State of Israel in the Holy Land in 1948 marked the close of their banishment (MW's note).
 'Abdu'l-Bahá' refers to this age as the 'century of light'; see, e.g. Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá', p. 32. For elaboration, see Century of Light, Universal House of Justice (MW's note).
 In a Tablet revealed to the Jewish Community in the Orient in 1897, the Master wrote: "Moreover, materially as well (as spiritually), the Israelites will all gather in the Holy Land. This is irrefutable prophecy, for the ignominy which Israel has suffered for well-nigh twenty-five hundred years will now be changed into eternal glory, and in the eyes of all, the Jewish people will become glorified to such an extent as to draw the jealousy of its enemies and the envy of its friends." See Bahá'í News, no. 250, Dec. 1951, p.5. The prophecy chiefly referred to is Ezekiel 36:22-28: "Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: 'I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name's sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went. For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God.''" See also Ezekiel 20:33-38, 22:17-22, Isaiah 11:11-12, Zephaniah 2:1-2 and Daniel 8:13-4: "Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, 'How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?' And he said unto me, 'Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.'" The prophecies see their wonderful fulfillment with the Edict of Toleration (1844), Bahá'u'lláh's banishment to Palestine and His four visits to Carmel, in the founding of the State of Israel in 1948 and the establishment of the Bahá'í World Center on that Holy mountain. (MW's note. Bible quotes from KJV.)
 i.e. the fall of Muhammad 'Alí, etc. (KF's note)
 Mírzá Yahyá (KF's note).
 i.e. the Báb (MW's note).
 The self-proclaimed leader of the Shaykhí sect, following the passing of Siyyid Kazim-i-Rashstí. Bahá'u'lláh condemns him in both the Kitáb-i-Íqán (see. pp. 184-186) and the Lawh-i-Qiná. (MW's note)
 This powerful image occurs only once in the authorized translations of Bahá'u'lláh's writings, namely in the Lawh-i-Dunya (Tablet of the World), in reference to Prince Mahmud Mírzá, the Jalalu'd-Dawlíh, Governor of Yazd, who instigated the horrific martyrdom of seven steadfast believers in that province in 1891 (MW's note).
 Cf. Qur'án 14:44-5: "So warn mankind of the Day when the Wrath will reach them: then will the wrong-doers say: 'Our Lord! respite us (if only) for a short term: we will answer Thy call, and follow the apostles!' 'What! were ye not wont to swear aforetime that ye should suffer no decline? 'And ye dwelt in the dwellings of men who wronged their own souls; ye were clearly shown how We dealt with them; and We put forth (many) parables in your behoof!'" See also Zephania 1:14-16: "The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers." In God Passes By p. 95, Shoghi Effendi confirms these verses refer to the Day of Bahá'u'lláh (MW's note).
 i.e., the Lawh-i-Nasír Qazviní, which was revealed in Adrianople in Persian and addressed to hájí Muhammad-Nasír, of Qazvin, surnamed 'Defender' by Bahá'u'lláh. Muhammad-Nasír was a merchant by trade, well respected by the people of Qazvín, and he was taught the Faith by one of the Letters of the Living. He attended the important conference at Badasht in 1848, and was one of the defenders at Shaykh Tabársí (hence the title). He was imprisoned following the abortive assassination attempt on the Sháh in 1852, but released. He attained the presence of Bahá'u'lláh in 'Akká, then went to teach the Faith in Rasht. He was soon imprisoned again in Rasht by the clergy, and died as a martyr in 1888. His corpse was severely mutilated by fanatic mobs after his death. Bahá'u'lláh makes mention of this in the Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p.72:
"Among them was his honor, Hájí Nasír, who, unquestionably, was a brilliant light that shone forth above the horizon of resignation. After he had suffered martyrdom, they plucked out his eyes and cut off his nose, and inflicted on him such indignities that strangers wept and lamented, and secretly raised funds to support his wife and children." (MW's note).
 "But a myriad times alas for the wayward who are like unto dried-up leaves fallen upon the dust. Ere long mortal blasts shall carry them away to the place ordained for them. Ignorant did they arrive, ignorant did they linger and ignorant did they retire to their abodes." (Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 257-8) (MW's note).
 Possibly a veiled reference to Bahá'u'lláh's withdraw from the house of 'Amru'lláh to that of Ridá Big in Adrianople on March 10, 1866, as a result of Mirzá Yahya 's rebellion (MW's note).
 Perhaps denoting Mirzá Yahya's attempt to poison Bahá'u'lláh in Adrianople and then accuse Him of making an attempt on his own life (MW's note).
 The Guardian often quotes this passage, but its source is, as yet, not known. (MW's note, Iwai Koko, Wednesday, June 6, 2001, based on message from KF dated Tuesday, June 5th, 2001.)
 Qasidiy-i-Varqa'iyyih, also known as the Qasidiy-i-'Izz-Varqa'iyyih, which was revealed in Sulaymaniyyih, around 1855 (MW's note).
 Verse 72 and following (MW's note).
 Cf. Summons of the Lord of Hosts, H ¶274 (MW's note).
 i.e. Bahá'u'lláh (MW's note).
 Cf. Prayers and Meditations, p. 28 (MW's note).
 The Greater Branch, i.e. Muhammad 'Alí (KF's note).
 Kitáb-i-'Ahd (Book of the Covenant); See Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p.222 (MW's note).
 A more detailed account of Muhammad-'Alí's rebellion against 'Abdu'l-Bahá' can be found in God Passes By, pp. 246-49 (MW's note).
 i.e. the Faith of God (MW's note).
 Shoghi Effendi, expanding on this point, writes, "To friend and stranger, believer and unbeliever alike, to officials both high and low, openly and by insinuation, verbally as well as in writing, they [Mírzá Muhammad-Alí and his adjutants] represented 'Abdu'l-Bahá as an ambitious, a self-willed, an unprincipled and pitiless usurper, Who had deliberately disregarded the testamentary instructions of His Father; Who had, in language intentionally veiled and ambiguous, assumed a rank co-equal with the Manifestation Himself; Who in His communications with the West was beginning to claim to be the return of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who had come 'in the glory of the Father'; Who, in His letters to the Indian believers, was proclaiming Himself as the promised Sháh Bahrám, and arrogating to Himself the right to interpret the writing of His Father, to inaugurate a new Dispensation, and to share with Him the Most Great Infallibility, the exclusive prerogative of the holders of the prophetic office. They, furthermore, affirmed that He had, for His private ends, fomented discord, fostered enmity and brandished the weapon of excommunication; that He had perverted the purpose of a Testament which they alleged to be primarily concerned with the private interests of Bahá'u'lláh's family by acclaiming it as a Covenant of world importance, pre-existent, peerless and unique in the history of all religions; that He had deprived His brothers and sisters of their lawful allowance, and expended it on officials for His personal advancement; that He had declined all the repeated invitations made to Him to discuss the issues that had arisen and to compose the differences which prevailed; that He had actually corrupted the Holy Text, interpolated passages written by Himself, and perverted the purpose and meaning of some of the weightiest Tablets revealed by the pen of His Father; and finally, that the standard of rebellion had, as a result of such conduct, been raised by the Oriental believers, that the community of the faithful had been rent asunder, was rapidly declining and was doomed to extinction." (God Passes By, p. 248) (MW's note).
 'Abdu'l-Bahá'. This comparison of the Master to the youngest son of Jacob is made with regard to the envy and jealousy of Joseph's brothers in both the Qur'ánic and the Biblical story (KF's note, expanded by MW).
 Refers to the period during 'Abdu'l-Bahá's ministry between 1901 and 1907 in which Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí and Mírzá Badí'u'lláh, through lies, slander and false testimonies, intrigued with Ottoman authorities such as Nazím Páshá, the Valí (Governor) of Damascus, and successfully campaigned for His re-confinement in 'Akká. Following His re-incarceration, a Commission of Inquiry was sent to Haifa, but was soon recalled due to an assassination attempt on the life of the Sultán, 'Abdu'l-Hamid. The inquiry was permanently curtailed following the collapse of the Sultanate a few months later. See Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, Chap. XVII. (MW's note)
 Branches (KF's note)
 Qur’án 24:35 (MW's note).
 Jesus Christ (KF's note).
 The Letter of St. Paul to the Galatians (2:11-14) indicates that Paul had a dispute with St. Peter over the issue of the importance of circumcision and following the Law of Moses (MW's note).
 See Balyuzí, H. M. Muhammad and the Course of Islám. Chapter 19 (MW's note).
 For details of the divisions with Shí'ism, see Moojan Momen, An Introduction to Shí'í Islám (Oxford, George Ronald, 1985) (MW's note).
 Bahá'u'lláh (MW's note).
 i.e. the Master 'Abdu'l-Bahá' (KA ¶121) and the Guardian, Shoghi Effendi (Will and Testament, p. 11) (MW's note).
 "The outburst of savage fanaticism that greeted the birth of the Revelation proclaimed by the Báb, His subsequent arrest and captivity, had been followed by the formulation of the laws of His Dispensation, by the institution of His Covenant, by the inauguration of that Dispensation in Badasht, and by the public assertion of His station in Tabríz. Widespread and still more violent uprisings in the provinces, His own execution, the blood bath which followed it and Bahá'u'lláh's imprisonment in the Siyah-Chal had been succeeded by the breaking of the dawn of the Bahá'í Revelation in that dungeon. Bahá'u'lláh's banishment to 'Iráq, His withdrawal to Kurdistan and the confusion and distress that afflicted His fellow-disciples in Baghdád had, in turn, been followed by the resurgence of the Bábí community, culminating in the Declaration of His Mission in the Najibiyyih Garden. Sultán Abdu'l-'Aziz's decree summoning Him to Constantinople and the crisis precipitated by Mírzá Yahyá had been succeeded by the proclamation of that Mission to the crowned heads of the world and its ecclesiastical leaders. Bahá'u'lláh's banishment to the penal colony of 'Akká, with all its attendant troubles and miseries, had, in its turn, led to the promulgation of the laws and ordinances of His Revelation and to the institution of His Covenant, the last act of His life. The fiery tests engendered by the rebellion of Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí and his associates had been succeeded by the introduction of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh in the West and the transfer of the Báb's remains to the Holy Land. The renewal of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's incarceration and the perils and anxieties consequent upon it had resulted in the downfall of 'Abdu'l-Hamíd, in 'Abdu'l-Bahá's release from His confinement, in the entombment of the Báb's remains on Mt. Carmel, and in the triumphal journeys undertaken by the Center of the Covenant Himself in Europe and America. The outbreak of a devastating world war and the deepening of the dangers to which Jamal Páshá and the Covenant-breakers had exposed Him had led to the revelation of the Tablets of the Divine Plan, to the flight of that overbearing Commander, to the liberation of the Holy Land, to the enhancement of the prestige of the Faith at its world center, and to a marked expansion of its activities in East and West. 'Abdu'l-Bahá's passing and the agitation which His removal had provoked had been followed by the promulgation of His Will and Testament, by the inauguration of the Formative Age of the Bahá'í era and by the laying of the foundations of a world-embracing Administrative Order. And finally, the seizure of the keys of the Tomb of Bahá'u'lláh by the Covenant-breakers, the forcible occupation of His House in Baghdád by the Shí'íh community, the outbreak of persecution in Russia and the expulsion of the Bahá'í community from Islám in Egypt had been succeeded by the public assertion of the independent religious status of the Faith by its followers in East and West, by the recognition of that status at its world center, by the pronouncement of the Council of the League of Nations testifying to the justice of its claims, by a remarkable expansion of its international teaching activities and its literature, by the testimonials of royalty to its Divine origin, and by the completion of the exterior ornamentation of its first House of Worship in the western world." (Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, pp. 409-410) For elaboration on this theme, see the Compilation, Crisis and Victory, Bahá'í Publications Australia. (MW's note).
 ikhtilaf: variance or diversity (KF's note)
 Qur'án 44:40, 77:13, 78:17 (KF's note).
 i.e. Jináb-i-'Abdu'l-Husayn-i-Avarih, who was formerly known a respected teacher and historian of the Faith. Shoghi Effendi details his Covenant-breaking activities and denounces him in a message dated October 17th, 1927. See Bahá'í Administration, pp. 137-139. (MW's note)
 Cf. KA ¶ 37 and the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá': "And now, one of the greatest and most fundamental principles of the Cause of God is to shun and avoid entirely the Covenant-breakers, for they will utterly destroy the Cause of God, exterminate His Law and render of no account all efforts exerted in the past." (p. 20). The practice of shunning goes back at least to the Christian dispensation; See Romans 16:17-18: "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple." (KJV). The Qur'án recommends that believers do not seek the friendship of such people (See 4:89). (MW's Note).