Authenticity of The Báb's Farewell Address to the Letters of the Living
by / on behalf of Universal House of Justice2020-01-19
To: The Universal House of Justice
Date: 19 January 2020
From: Research Department
The Báb’s Farewell Address to the Letters of the Living
In his email letter of 8 August 2019, Mr. ... poses four questions about the Báb’s farewell address to the Letters of the Living, published in The Dawn-Breakers: Nabíl’s Narrative of the Early Days of the Bahá’í Revelation, translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi (Wilmette: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1999), pages 92–94. The Research Department responds as follows.
Concerning his first question, as Mr. ... has noted, Nabíl-i-A‘zam does not explicitly mention his source for the Báb’s address. Since one of Nabíl's primary sources for the early history of the Faith was Mullá ‘Abdu’l-Karím-i-Qazvíní—also known as Mírzá Aḥmad-i- Qazvíní and Mírzá Aḥmad-i-Kátib—who, for example, “on several occasions had heard Mullá Ḥusayn recount to the early believers the story of his moving and historic interview with the Báb”, it is possible to surmise that Mullá Ḥusayn conveyed the words of the Báb’s address to ‘Abdu’l-Karím-i-Qazvíní who then conveyed them to Nabíl-i-A‘zam. Regarding Mr. ...’s question as to whether or not the words of the Báb’s address to the Letters of the Living can be considered the exact words of the Báb, in a letter dated 10 November 1934 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi he clarified that words attributed to the Báb or any of His disciples “are by no means their exact words. They constitute the substance of their message, and thus are not as definite as the quoted words of Bahá’u’lláh or the Master”. In the same letter, the Guardian requested that future editions of The Dawn-Breakers feature a note with this explanation. To date, the original-language text of the Báb’s farewell address has not been located in any manuscript of His Writings. Finally, regarding how best to refer to the Báb’s address, we draw Mr. ...’s attention to how it has been identified by Shoghi Effendi in the table of contents to The Dawn-Breakers: “The Báb’s farewell address to the Letters of the Living”.