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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

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    from the main catalogue

    1. 'Abdu'l Bahá's Tablet of the Two Calls: Civilizing Barbarity, by Manooher Mofidi, in Lights of Irfan, Volume 6 (2005). The relatioship between civilization and barbarity, and the capabilities of humanity. [about]
    2. `Abdu'l-Bahá and the Iranian Constitutional Revolution: Embracing Principles while Disapproving Methodologies, by Mina Yazdani, in Journal of Bahá'í Studies, 24:1-2 (2014). Abdu’l-Bahá’s orientation toward the Constitutional Revolution of 1906–1911: he embraced the principles of constitutionalism while disapproving of confrontation; real social change needs to start at the moral-ethical level. [about]
    3. Achieving Reconciliation in a Conflicting World, by Ismael Velasco, in Journal of Bahá'í Studies, 18:1-4 (2008). The dynamics of conflict against the backdrop of globalization, and religion's role in fostering unity. A "logic of reconciliation" will allow us to find harmony among ideas, individuals, and communities. [about]
    4. Alain Locke's Philosophy of Democracy, by Christopher Buck, in Studies in Bahá'í Philosophy, vol. 4 (2015). For Locke, democracy was more than its narrow political definition, but multidimensional, encompassing local, moral, political, economic, and cultural stages — a model against which he measured America’s fidelity to its democratic ideal. [about]
    5. Approach of Abdu'l-Baha to the Problem of Tolerance, The, by Erfan Sabeti (2003). Exploring the differences between forbearance, indifference, acceptance, turning away, freedom, and tolerance, to distinguish matters of opinion and belief from scientific and aesthetic ones. [about]
    6. Are Independents Just Partisans In Disguise?, by Shankar Vedantam, in Morning Edition (2012). Political attitudes and voting patterns in the United States, including brief interview with a Bahá'í voter. [about]
    7. Attitude of Bahá'ís towards Persian Politics, by Abdu'l-Bahá, in Persian Revolution of 1905-1909 (1910). [about]
    8. Avoidance of Politics and Controversial Matters, by Universal House of Justice (2003). A short explanation that the aim of Bahá'ís is to reconcile viewpoints and heal divisions, but not become involved with disputes of the many conflicting elements of society around them. Includes introductory letter from the US NSA, and a compilation. [about]
    9. Bahá'í World, The: Volume 18 (1979-1983), in Bahá'í World (1986). Periodic volumes that survey the global activities and major achievements of the Faith. [about]
    10. Baha'is and the Constitutional Revolution, The: The Case of Sari, Mazandaran, 1906-1913, by Moojan Momen, in Iranian Studies, 41:3 (2008). Accounts of the Constitutional Revolution in Iran have tended to ignore the role of the Baha’is. They educated people about the reforms envisaged and about the modern world, for which they were persecuted. [about]
    11. Bahá'u'lláh and Liberation Theology, by Juan Cole, in Revisioning the Sacred: New Perspectives on a Bahá'í Theology, Studies in the Bábí and Bahá'í Religions vol. 8 (1997). The idea of liberation and equality is central to Bahá'í theology; the poor in the 19th century Middle East; Bahá'u'lláh and the poor; Tablet to the Kings on wealth and peace; laws of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas and Huququ'lláh; state social welfare. [about]
    12. Becoming Physicians to the World: Transforming "Non-Involvement in Politics", by John T. Dale, in dialogue magazine, 2:2-3 (1988). Looking at this issue from the perspective of positive human rights and cross-cultural communication to devise a better message than "non-involvement" as the basis for Bahá'í relations with the world around us, and recasting it as a message of unity. [about]
    13. Challenges to Bahá'í Studies, by Udo Schaefer, in Bahá'í Studies Review, 2:1 (1992). Discussion of the intellectual presentation of the Bahá'í Faith, and of the related topics of review, apologetics, and contemporary political contexts. [about]
    14. Church and State: A Postmodern Theology, Book One, by Sen McGlinn, in Studies in the Bábí and Bahá'í Religions, 19 (2005). Review of Bahá'í literature and of the scriptures of Christianity and Islam show that the separation of state from religion is a universal ideal. Excerpt from a lengthy book; includes Contents, Foreword, and Introduction. [about]
    15. 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]
    16. Church and State in the World Order of Baha'u'llah, by Sen McGlinn (1994). The concept of theocracy as it applies to the Bahá'í model of government. [about]
    17. Climate Change: Policies and Political Discourse, by Universal House of Justice (2017). Letter "to three individuals" on the science behind anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming, and how Bahá'ís might participate in activism and raising awareness of the issue while avoiding political divisiveness. [about]
    18. Colonialism, Nationalism and Jewish Immigration to Palestine: Abdu'l-Baha's Viewpoints Regarding the Middle East, by Kamran Ekbal (2014). Abdu'l-Bahá was opposed to the cultural and political colonialism of foreign powers and their militaries. In spite of the Bahá'í principle of abstaining from politics, exceptions can be made in the face of tyranny and injustice. [about]
    19. Compilation of the Holy Utterances of Bahá'u'lláh and Abdu'l-Bahá, Concerning the Most Great Peace, War and Duty of the Bahá'ís toward their Government, by Bahá'u'lláh and Abdu'l-Bahá (1918). An early compilation, prepared for the Tenth Annual Convention, April 1918. [about]
    20. Conspiracies and Forgeries: The Attack upon the Bahá'í Community in Iran, by Moojan Momen, in Persian Heritage, 9:35 (2004). Early attacks on the Bahá'í community in Iran were made mostly on the basis of religious accusations, but in the 20th century, non-religious accusations based on widely held and often fantastical conspiracy theories have become more prevalent. [about]
    21. Contemporary Governance and Conflict Resolution: A Bahá'í Reading, by Graham Hassall (1999). The Bahá'í Writings provide the foundations for a "critique of modernity" at the same time that they suggest possible paths to the future, in particular in conflict resolution. [about]
    22. Debunking the Myths: Conspiracy Theories on the Genesis and Mission of the Bahá'í Faith, by Adib Masumian (2009). Response to Iranian conspiracy theories portraying the Bahá'í Faith as a subversive political group, Zionist spies, affiliates of the secret police, British agents, etc. Available in English and Persian. Includes interview with author. [about]
    23. "Double Crusade" and the American Baha'i Community, The, by Universal House of Justice (2018). Comments on what the double crusade means, how it relates to the current series of Plans of the Faith, what should be done to carry it out, and the Advent of Divine Justice. [about]
    24. Future of the "Sovereign" Nation-State: A Baha'i Perspective, by Graham Nicholson (2020). The nation-state, previously the preeminent institution of the world order around which the global system has been constructed, was a construct appropriate for earlier times; now, global interests trump regional sovereignty. [about]
    25. Human Station in the Bahá'í Faith: Selected Sections: Philosophy and Knowledge of the Divine, by Ali Murad Davudi (2013). A collection of talks by the Bahá’í teacher and philosopher Dr. A. M. Dávúdí on selected philosophical topics, including one on the subject of the non-political nature of the Bahá’í Faith and non-involvement in partisan politics. [about]
    26. Humanitarian Responses to Global Conflicts, by Universal House of Justice (2015). A letter to and response from the House about why Bahá'ís do not condemn the 2014 attacks on Gaza, and principles to consider when addressing conflicts. [about]
    27. Individual Rights and Freedoms, by Universal House of Justice (1988). An important and often-quoted letter about rights and freedom of expression in the Bahá'í community, as contrasted with those in American civil society. [about]
    28. Iranian Millenarianism and Democratic Thought in the Nineteenth Century, by Juan Cole, in International Journal of Middle East Studies, 24:1 (1992). The growth of belief in representative government within the Bahá'í faith in the last third of the 19th century as an example of how popular opinion in Iran was changing prior to the Constitutional Revolution. [about]
    29. Left in Contemporary Iran, The, by Sepehr Zabih (1986). Discussion of "urban guerilla warfare" pre-1979 with one passing mention of an unnamed Bahá'í businessman as owner of Export Bank. [about]
    30. Letter to the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine, by Shoghi Effendi and Horace Holley (1947). Shoghi Effendi's summary of the relationship of the Bahá'í Faith to Palestine, written as an introduction to the pamphlet "The Faith of Bahá'u'lláh: A World Religion." Includes Holley's letter to the UN the next year on Bahá'í shrines in Palestine. [about]
    31. Making the Crooked Straight: A Contribution to Baha'i Apologetics [excerpt], by Udo Schaefer and Nicola Towfigh (2000). Front- and back-matter of the book only: Contents, Preface, Introduction, Conclusion, Bibliography, Index. [about]
    32. Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986: Third Epoch of the Formative Age, by Universal House of Justice (1996). [about]
    33. Non-Involvement in Partisan Politics, by Universal House of Justice (2013). Lengthy letter to the Bahá'ís of Iran, and copied to all NSAs, about how Bahá'ís can contribute to global civilization-building partly through the community's own growth and development, and through non-political involvement in society at large. [about]
    34. Non-Involvement in Politics, by Ali Murad Davudi (2010). The importance and value of the Bahá'í principle of non-involvement in political affairs. [about]
    35. Non-Political Character of the Bahá'í Faith, The: Excerpts from the Writings of Shoghi Effendi, by Shoghi Effendi, in Bahá'í World, Vol. 18 (1979-1983) (1986). Published as Section 6 of Bahá'í World 18, preceding a section on "Relationship to Government." [about]
    36. Notes on Words of the Guardian, by Virginia Orbison (1956). Ten pages of notes, preserved as an appendix to Orbison's lengthy manuscript "Diary of a Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Made by Virginia Orbison, January 15 to February 11". [about]
    37. On a Bahá'í's Engagement with Society and Non-Involvement in Politics (2017). [about]
    38. One Common Faith, by Universal House of Justice (2005). Review of relevant passages from both the writings of Bahá'u'lláh and the scriptures of other faiths against the background of contemporary crises. [about]
    39. Paradox of Protest in a Culture of Contest, The, by Michael Karlberg, in Peace and Change, 28:3 (2003). In our culture, political and legal institutions are structured as contests and reform is characterized as protest. This leads to injustice and unsustainability. Bahá'í models of elections and decision-making offer a practical alternative. [about]
    40. Participation in Politics and Social Activities, by Universal House of Justice (2013). Collaboration with political parties that are in opposition to a government is considered a form of involvement in politics. Bahá'ís must learn how to participate in civil activities while abstaining from partisanship. [about]
    41. Persian Revolution of 1905-1909, The, by E. G. Browne (1910). Includes discussion of Bahá'ís and Bábís in "Attitude of Bahá’ís towards Persian Politics" (pp. 424-429) and "The Assassination of Nasiru'd-Din Shah" (60-62). Search text for Bábí for other references. [about]
    42. Phoenix and the Ashes: The Bahá'í Faith and the Modern Apocalypse, by Geoffrey Nash: Review, by John Huddleston, in dialogue magazine, 2:2-3 (1988). 19th-century optimism, disillusionment with contemporary society, philosophy of history, political theory, Arthur Koestler and Aldous Huxley, and the future of humanity. Includes review of Jon Winokur's The Portable Curmudgeon, by Robert Ballenger. [about]
    43. Political Activity, Social Change, and Public Policy, by Universal House of Justice (2008). Letter to an individual Bahá’í regarding political activity, social change, and public policy. [about]
    44. Political Non-Involvement and Obedience to Government: Compilation by Peter Khan with Cover Letter from Secretariat, by Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi (2003). Current world events can cause confusion and anguish among those seeking global peace. Rather than being drawn into prevailing attitudes and disputes, Bahá'ís must hold a broader long-term perspective. [about]
    45. Politics and Engagement in the Life of Society, by Universal House of Justice (2010). On which principles should guide Iranian believers in their participation in the life of society, and other themes related to political activism and social justice. [about]
    46. Politics, Text, and Context: In Search of the Bahá'í Revolution, by R. Jackson Armstrong-Ingram, in dialogue magazine, 1:3 (1986). The rationale for Shoghi Effendi requiring Bahá'ís to disassociate themselves from other churches and political movements; the role of political science in Bahá'í theology; how best to work with non-Bahá'í groups to better society. [about]
    47. Power and the Bahá'í community, by Moojan Momen, in Lights of Irfan, 19 (2018). While Bahá'í social teachings may have sounded new and exciting a century ago, that is no longer the case today. The problem the world faces is not in the principles that would lead to a better society, but in their application. [about]
    48. Proselytizing, Development, and the Covenant, by Universal House of Justice, in Messages from the Universal House of Justice: 1963-1986, The Third Epoch of the Formative Age (1996). Teaching vs. proselytization; applying Bahá'í social teachings without becoming ensnared in prevailing cultural mores; and the uniqueness of the Bahá'í covenant. [about]
    49. Questions and Answers on War and Related Issues (2003). Compilation of passages and commentary on the military, political activism, disarmament, pacifism, and collective security. [about]
    50. Reflections on the Principle of Unity/Oneness, Some, by Hooshmand Badee, in Lights of Irfan, 19 (2018). Reflections on the message of Bahá'u'lláh creating the oneness of humanity and a global society that is based on unity and love rather than factors such as economic and political gains. [about]
    51. Relating the Faith to Current Issues, by Peter J. Khan (1986). Short essay outlining an approach to relate the teachings to current thoughts and problems of humanity. [about]
    52. Secret of Divine Civilization, by Abdu'l-Bahá (1957). Originally issued anonymously in 1875, this was ʻAbdu'l-Bahá's program for the developmental reform of society within an Iranian context. [about]
    53. Secret of Divine Civilization, The, by Fariba Moghadam (2021). Overview of the history Abdu'l-Bahá's treatise, and its themes presented through a compilation of quotations. Prepared for the Wilmette Institute. [about]
    54. Social Action, Public Discourse, and Non-involvement in Political Affairs, by Universal House of Justice (2017). Alternative courses of action to civil disobedience, circumscribed roles for protest, and the freedom that Bahá’ís have to engage in social action and public discourse, particularly in relation to the principle of non-involvement in political affairs. [about]
    55. Social Activism Among Some Early Twentieth-Century Bahá'ís, by Will C. van den Hoonaard, in Socialist Studies, 2:1 (2006). Socialist involvement of some of Canada's earliest Bahá'ís, before and after the prohibition of involvement in political affairs. [about]
    56. Socio-Political Order, Speaking on, by Universal House of Justice, in Lights of Irfan, 12 (2011). Extent to which Bahá'ís, in this case an academic political scientist, may give their views on politics. [about]
    57. Takfir, declaration of unbelief: includes excerpts from Risáliy-i-Siyasiyyih, by Universal House of Justice (2001). 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]
    58. Theocracy and Separation of Church and State, by Universal House of Justice (1995). On theocracy in relation to the Bahá'í model of government, and issues relating to the development of the Bahá’í Administrative Order. [about]
    59. Theology of the State from the Bahá'í Teachings, A, by Sen McGlinn, in Journal of Church & State (1999). 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]
    60. 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]
    61. Treatise on Leadership, by Abdu'l-Bahá (1998). [about]
    62. Treatise on Leadership: Introduction, by Juan Cole (1998). Informal notes about and introduction to `Abdu'l-Bahá's Risalih-i-Siyasiyyih (1893). [about]
    63. Unrestrained as the Wind: A Life Dedicated to Bahá'u'lláh (1985). Compilation of quotations on topics of especial interest to Bahá'í youth. [about]
    64. War, Governance, and Conscience in This Age of Transition, by National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States, in The Bahá'í National Review, 20 (1969). A whitepaper on issues of Bahá'í involvement in the military services. [about]
    65. Western Liberal Democracy as a New World Order?, by Michael Karlberg, in Bahá'í World, 2005-2006 (2007). Is the Western model of democracy the natural and nevitable way to organize free and enlightened societies? [about]
    66. Why only Baha'is can contribute to the Baha'i funds: The political economy perspective, by Sathia Varqa (2006). An exploration of why only Bahá'ís have the right and privilege of giving to the Bahá'í fund, demonstrated using the economic concept of rent. The comparison is extended to explain some of the motives of interest groups and political institutions... [about]
    67. 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). 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]
    68. Об изменении климата и доверии к науке, by Universal House of Justice (2017). Всемирный Дом Справедливости обсуждает вопрос изменения климата и затрагивает более общие темы доверия к науке, важности избегания крайностей в дискуссиях, совещания бахаи и действий в связи с глобальными проблемами, стоящими перед человечеством. [about]
     
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