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1893 c. `Abdu'l-Bahá wrote Risáliy-i-Siyásiyyih (variously translated as "Treatise on Politics", "A Treatise on Statesmanship" and "Treatise on Leadership"). [ABMM] He wrote it in response to the crisis in Persia known as the Tobacco Revolt which was an insurrection against the Shah for having granted the tobacco monopoly to British interests at the expense of Persian farmers and businessmen.

The Treatise was the first policy statement of `Abdu'l-Bahá upon taking the reins of the leadership of the Bahá'í community. It shows His alarm at the increasing involvement of religious leaders and communities in this populist movement against the civil Iranian state and cites the way past such religious populist movements have led to foreign intervention or increased absolutism (e.g. the `Urabi Revolt in Egypt and the 1876 Constitutional Revolution in Istanbul). `Abdu'l-Bahá argues forcefully for a separation of religion and state as a basis for Bahá'í non-involvement in such anti-state violence.

  • See Treatise on Leadership by 'Abdu'l-Bahá as translated by Juan Cole.
  • It was published in Bombay in Farsi in 1893. No English translation has been published to date, apart from the provisional translation referred to above. [CEBF273]
  • Hand of the Cause Ibn-i-Asdaq was the messenger that delivered 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Tablet to the Shah and other notables in Iran. [EB176]
  • Akka; Bahji; Iran Risaliy-i-Siyasiyyih (Treatise on Leadership); Abdul-Baha, Life of; Abdul-Baha, Writings and talks of; Politics; Tobacco Revolt; Publications; Abdul-Baha, Basic timeline; - Basic timeline, Expanded; Church and state

    from the main catalogue

    1. "And universal peace — in what Book is this written?": How and Why 'Abdu'l-Bahá Identified "New" and Distinctive Bahá'í Principles, by Christopher Buck (2022-09). Reflections on ‘Abdu’l-Bahá's answer to the question "What has Bahá’u’lláh brought that we have not heard before?" [about]
    2. Bahá'í Ethics: Answers to 55 Questions Submitted by Arthur Dobrin, by Dianne Bradford and Fiona Missaghian, in Religious Ethics: A Sourcebook, Arthur D. Dobrin, ed. (2004). Answers to questions submitted in preparation for a source book in religious ethics for a college course at Hofstra University, New York, fall 2001. [about]
    3. Bahá'í Teachings and the Principle of Separation between Religion and State, by Mikhail Sergeev, in Studies in Bahá'í Philosophy, vol. 1 (2012). Historical background of the concept of separation of church and state, some contemporary views within and without the Bahá'í community, and the nature of secular democracy. [about]
    4. Church and State: Book 1 of a Postmodern Political Theology for the Bahá'í Community, by Sen McGlinn, in Studies in the Bábí and Bahá'í Religions, 19 (2005). Religion and politics in Islamic history; Islamic and Bahá'í views on theocracy and democracy; the theology of the State and the unfoldment of world civilization; relevant contemporary Bahá'í literature in English, French, and German. [about]
    5. Church and State in the Bahá'í Faith: An Epistemic Approach, by Roshan Danesh, in Journal of Law and Religion, 24:1 (2008). On the public role of Bahá'í institutions; review of current secondary literature; temporal legitimacy vs. divine sovereignty; interaction of religion and politics; maturation and unity; an open vision of church and state. [about]
    6. Church and State in the World Order of Baha'u'llah, by Sen McGlinn (1994-11-06). The concept of theocracy as it applies to the Bahá'í model of government. [about]
    7. Common sense versus secularism: American Bahá'í literature as a window on implicit culture, by Sen McGlinn (2007). Religion and politics must be kept in separate spheres with different, though complementary, rules. This paper questions whether that is understood by Bahá'ís, even in countries that claim to value the separation of church and state. [about]
    8. Difficult Case, A: Beyer's Categories and the Bahá'í Faith, by Sen McGlinn, in Social Compass, 50 (2003-06). Beyer considers that a religious movement which seeks to have religious norms enshrined in legislation has adopted the 'conservative option' in response to globalisation. Is this a useful categorisation for a global stage? [about]
    9. Mikhail Sergeev, Theory of Religious Cycles: Tradition, Modernity and the Bahá'í Faith: Review, by Benjamin Olshin, in Studies in Bahá'í Philosophy, vol. 4 (2015). [about]
    10. Modernity and the Millennium: The Genesis of the Bahá'í Faith in the Nineteenth-century Middle East [introduction only], by Juan Cole, in Studies in the Bábí and Bahá'í Religions (1998). Introduction and first 4 pages of Chapter One. [about]
    11. Takfir, declaration of unbelief: includes excerpts from Risáliy-i-Siyasiyyih, by Universal House of Justice (2001-04-18). Questions from an individual about the Muslim practice of takfir, declaring someone an unbeliever, whether this is practiced in the Bahá'í Faith, and questions related to "church and state", followed by the House's response. [about]
    12. Theocracy and Separation of Church and State, by Universal House of Justice (1995-04-27). On theocracy in relation to the Bahá'í model of government, and issues relating to the development of the Bahá’í Administrative Order. [about]
    13. Theocratic Ideas and Assumptions in Bahá'í Literature: An Inquiry, by Sen McGlinn, in Reason and Revelation: Studies in the Babi and Bahá'í Religions, 13 (2002/2007). A selection and interpretation of scriptures which suggest that an institutional differentiation of the religious and political orders — i.e., the separation of church and state — is a central Bahá’í doctrine. [about]
    14. Theology of the State from the Bahá'í Teachings, A, by Sen McGlinn, in Journal of Church & State (1999 Autumn). Western religions exhibit three types of divine societies: eschatological (the Kingdom of God on Earth); metaphysical (angels or the Hidden Imam interact with the world); and ecclesiological (the church as the body of Christ, or the Islamic community). [about]
    15. Theses on Modernity and the Bahá'í Faith, by Mikhail Sergeev, in Studies in Bahá'í Philosophy, vol. 4 (2015). On how new religious movements respond to modernity; cycles of religion; project of modernity; culture vs. civilization; the Bahá'í extension of modernity; Bahá'í departure from modernity; separation of religion and state. [about]
    16. Treatise on Leadership: Introduction, by Juan Cole (1998-02). Informal notes about and introduction to `Abdu'l-Bahá's Risalih-i-Siyasiyyih (1893). [about]
    17. World Order, Evolution Towards: Notes on recent secondary literature, compilation, and two memoranda from the Bahá'í World Centre, by Universal House of Justice, in Online Journal of Bahá'í Studies, 1 (1990/1995/2007). Two letters, "Request for Materials about the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh" and "World Government and the Universal House of Justice," and compilation "Extracts from Letters Written by and on Behalf of the House of Justice on Evolution Towards World Order." [about]
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