by Moojan Momenpublished in Encyclopaedia Iranica
New York: Columbia University, 2002
ẒOHUR-AL-ḤAQQ (variously also called Tāriḵ-e Ẓohur-al-Ḥaqq and Ketāb-e Ẓohur-al-Ḥaqq), the most comprehensive history of the first century of the Bahai faith yet written, compiled in nine volumes by Mirzā Asad-Allāh, known as Fāżel Māzandarāni (1881-1957). In about 1924, shortly after his succession to the leadership of the Bahai community, Shoghi Effendi wrote to the Central Spiritual Assembly of the Bahais of Persia, asking them to gather materials towards the compilation of a general history of the Bahai faith. Initially this work was handed to a committee and Fāżel served as the liaison between this committee and the Assembly, of which he was himself a member at the time. However, after the committee failed to make significant progress, Fāżel took on the responsibility to compile this work himself.
Local assemblies throughout Persia were asked to prepare Bahai histories of their areas and to forward these to the Central Assembly. There thus exists a set of local Bahai histories written in the late 1920s and early 1930s, some about whole provinces such as Azerbayjan, Khorasan and Gilan; some about cities such as Isfahan, Hamadan and Yazd; and some on smaller Bahai communities such as those in Milān, Neyriz, Ābādeh, Sangsar, Nur and some of the villages around Yazd. Most of these histories were written by prominent Bahais in each locality. These materials were subsequently put at the disposal of Fāżel, who also collected much material himself on his travels and through his contacts with old Bahai families who had kept important sources in their possession.
It appears that the early volumes of Ẓohur-al-Ḥaqq, on the era of the Bāb, had been completed by May 1932, whereupon Fāżel asked the Central Assembly of Persia to ask the Assemblies in India, Iraq, Egypt, the United States and Europe to collect historical materials for this project (Shoghi Effendi, p. 107). The completion of the fourth volume of Ẓohur-al-Ḥaqq was mentioned in February 1936 (Fāżel, I, p. qāf), and in November 1936, Shoghi Effendi wrote to express his appreciation of the completed work, and his desire to see it published soon (Shoghi Effendi, p. 169). However, he could not have been referring to the completion of the ninth volume, since this final volume covers events as far as 1943.
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