Abstract: From the onset of his ministry, Abdu'l-Bahá faced significant family opposition to his authority and position. These family members, led by Mirza Muhammad-Ali, a younger half-brother of Abdul-Baha to whom Bahaullah had given a rank subordinate to Abdu'l-Bahá, colluded in spreading false allegations against Abdul-Baha who was seeking to spread the Bahá'í Faith to Europe and North America. For several years, Abdu'l-Bahá worked hard to contain these defections and to prevent news of them from reaching other Bahá'í communities.
By 1896-7, the Bahá'ís of Egypt had heard enough of the details that when Mirza Habibu'llah Afnan was going on a visit to Akka, they asked him to learn as much of the details as he could. To his great shock, while in Akka, the Afnan learned that indeed Abdu'l-Bahá's brothers and the majority of his family had arisen against him in rebellion. As instructed by Abdul-Baha, the young pilgrim on his return to Egypt informed the Bahá'í community of the occurrences in Akka and the opposition to Abdu'l-Bahá. The celebrated Mirza Abu'l-Fadl found this hard to accept. Therefore, he wrote to Abdu'l-Bahá inquiring about the veracity of this news, and received in response a lengthy tablet dated 26 March 1897, which we propose to be called the First Thousand-Verse Tablet. This paper will provide historical background and a provisional translation of this momentous tablet.