BAHAÚ÷-ALLAÚH MÈRZAÚ H®OSAYN-¿ALÈ NUÚRÈ (1233-1309/1817-92). Iranian notable and founder of the Bahai religion or Bahaism (q.v.). He was born 2 Moháarram 1233/12 November 1817 in Tehran into the household of a notable family from Ma@zandara@n. His father, M^rza@ ¿Abba@s Nu@r^ (d. 1839), known as M^rza@ Bozorg, served the court of Fathá-¿Al^ Shah Qa@ja@r (1797-1834) (q.v.) in several capacities. He was appointed vizier to the shah's twelfth son, the il-khan of the Qajar tribe. He grew close to First Minister M^rza@ Abu÷l-Qa@sem Qa@÷emmaqa@m, and in 1834 he was appointed governor and tax-farmer of Boru@jerd and Luristan (Loresta@n). But in 1835 the new monarch Moháammad Shah (1834-48) had Qa@÷emmaqa@m executed, and the new first minister, H®a@j^ M^rza@ AÚqa@s^, removed M^rza@ Bozorg from his posts and stopped his salary (Ba@mda@d, Reja@l VI, pp. 126-29). The family retained lands around its ancestral village of Takor on the Nu@r district of Ma@zandara@n.
In his youth M^rza@ H®osayn-¿Al^ demonstrated pacifist tendencies, and was disturbed when he read an account of the early Muslim execution of the Banu@ Qorayzáa in Medina (Baha@÷-Alla@h, in EÞra@q K¨a@var^, ed., Ma@÷eda-ye a@sma@n^ VII, p. 136). At the wedding of one of his brothers he received a lesson about the world's ephemerality when he saw that, after a puppet show about a royal court, all the pomp was packed into trunks at the end (Baha@÷-Alla@h, “Lawhá-e ra÷^s,” in Majmu@¿a-ye matábu@¿a, pp. 107-10). M^rza@ H®osayn-¿Al^, the future Baha@÷-Alla@h, was just reaching adulthood when his father fell from power and the experience may have further disillusioned him with worldly politics and predisposed him to a meditative spirituality, and, later, the adoption of the radical religion of Babism (q.v.). Baha@÷-Alla@h wrote, late in his life, that Moháammad Shah committed two “heinous deeds,” the banishment of the Ba@b to Azerbaijan and the murder of Qa@÷emmaqa@m, and this consideration appears to have partially underpinned his advocacy from the 1870s of constitutional constraints on the monarchy (“Kalema@t-e ferdows^ya,” in Majmu@¿a-^ az alwa@há, pp. 35-36; tr. Taherzadeh, p. 65). Indeed, many of M^rza@ Bozorg's children reacted against the orthodoxies of Qajar Shi¿ism. Of M^rza@ Bozorg's thirteen children by four wives and three concubines, al least one adopted Shaikhism (q.v.) and at least six others Babism.
The new first minister, AÚqa@s^, offered M^rza@ H®osayn-¿Al^ his patronage, despite his being the son of an enemy, but the young Nu@r^ proved uninterested, and the two later fell out when M^rza@ H®osayn-¿Al^ refused to sell some land and villages to the rapacious AÚqa@s^. (Moháammad “Nab^l-e A¿záam” Zarand^, Matáa@le¿ al-anwa@r, MS. International Baha‚÷í Archives, Haifa; partial Eng. tr. Shoghi [ˆawq^] Effendi Rabbani [q.v.], The Dawn-Breakers, New York, 1932; repr. Wilmette, 1974, pp. 120-22.) M^rza@ H®osayn-¿Al^ was in contact with Shaikhis from Nu@r and from Tehran, a natural development given the popularity of esoteric Shaikhism with Qajar-era notables and his own speculative bent. When Molla@ H®osayn BoÞru@÷^ came to Tehran in 1844 to spread the new beliefs of Babism, centered on Sayyed ¿Al^-Moháammad ˆ^ra@z^ the Ba@b (q.v.), he met with local Shaikhis. One of them, Molla@ Moháammad Mo¿allem Nu@r^, became a Babi and consented to contact M^rza@ H®osayn-¿Al^ for BoÞru@÷^. M^rza@ H®osayn-¿Al^ in this manner accepted the Ba@b's claims to religious authority as the gate of the Twelfth Imam. Soon thereafter, late in 1844 or in 1845, M^rza@ H®osayn-¿Al^ returned to his village of Takor, where he endeavored to spread Babism in Nu@r and in Ma@zandara@n. His prestige as a local notable gave him many openings, and this missionary journey met with some success, even among some members of the religious class. Through him, as well, his brothers M^rza@ Yaháya@ (whom M^rza@ H®osayn-¿Al^ raised, aged 14 in 1844) and M^rza@ Mu@sa@ became Babis (Keta@b-e noqtáat al-ka@f, ed. E. G. Browne, E. J. W. Gibb Memorial Series 15, 1910, pp. 239-40; Zarand^, Matáa@le¿, tr. pp. 102-20; ¿Abd-al-Baha@÷, Maqa@la-ye Þakòsá-^ sayya@há, E. G. Browne, ed. and tr. as A Traveller's Narrative, Cambridge, 1891, pp. 72-78, tr. pp. 56-62).
M^rza@ H®osayn-¿Al^ used his position and his contacts in Tehran, not only to spread Babism, but to protect his coreligionists. He did so at some risk, however, since the aid he gave the poet Qorrat-al-¿Ayn and other Babis after they were accused in the slaying (actually by a Shaikhi) of Molla@ Taq^ Barag@a@n^ caused him to suffer temporary imprisonment in Tehran. In 1847 the government exiled the Ba@b to imprisonment in Azerbaijan. In the summer of 1848 eighty-one prominent Babis gathered for twenty-two days in Khorasan in the village of BadaÞt. M^rza@ H®osayn-¿Al^ and his young brother M^rza@ Yaháya@ both attended. M^rza@ H®osayn-¿Al^ played a low-key role, renting gardens for Qorrat-al-¿Ayn and others, and suggesting theophanic names for some of the Babis, whom the Ba@b had encouraged to glorify God by adopting divine names. From this point M^rza@ H®osayn-¿Al^ adopted the name Baha@÷ (the glory, [of God] ). M^rza@ Yaháya@ became Sáobhá-e Azal (The morn of eternity). In the conflict at the conference between those who wanted to retain the Islamic law (ˆar^¿a) and those who knew of the Ba@b's recent announcement that he was the messianic Mahd^ or Qa@÷em, empowered to begin another dispensation, Baha@÷-Alla@h took the side of the pro-change group, who won out (Noqtáat al-ka@f, pp. 145-54, 240-41; for Baha@÷-Alla@h's role see Zarand^, Matáa@le¿, tr. pp. 278-300, 459-61, 584-85).
Violence broke out between the Babis and the Qajar government in the second half of 1848, and Baha@÷-Alla@h and several companions, including his half-brother Yaháya@ (then aged 17 or 18), set out from Nu@r to help the besieged Babis at ˆaykò T®abars^ near Ba@bol, Ma@zandara@n, in early December, 1848, but they were arrested and imprisoned in AÚmol (Noqtáat al-ka@f, pp. 242-43; Zarand^, Matáa@le¿, tr. pp. 368-77, 461-62, 583-84; M^rza@ H®osayn Hamada@n^, Ta@r^kò-e jad^d, ms., Cambridge University Library, Browne Or. F. 55/9, tr. E. G. Browne, The New History of M^rza@ ¿Al^ Muháammed, the Ba@b, Cambridge, 1893; repr. Amsterdam, 1975, pp. 64-65). The following three years witnessed a series of disasters for the Babis, whom government troops besieged and then massacred in Ma@zandara@n, Nayr^z, and Zanja@n. On 9 July 1850 the government had the Ba@b executed, but only after he had declared himself an independent manifestation of God (mazáhar-e ela@h^) and had written a book of laws, the Baya@n-e fa@rs^ for the new religion he founded.
The Ba@b had been in correspondence with the Nu@r^ brothers from his prison, and after the death of many prominent disciples in 1848-50, they emerged as the most likely leaders. Baha@÷-Alla@h, then aged thirty-three and a well-known notable, might have been expected to become the leading Babi. But surprisingly, the Ba@b appears to have indicated for M^rza@ Yaháya@ Sáobhá-e Azal (then around nineteen) a high station or leadership position, at least nominally, in Babism. The young Azal, however, seems to have possessed little widespread authority or legitimacy, and the 1850s saw the Babi community splinter into a number a regional sects headed by various claimants to theophanic status. The Ba@b's works emphasized that another messianic figure, “He whom God shall make manifest (man yozáheroh Alla@h)” would appear. More important, the disheartened Babis seem to have been looking for charismatic leaders to replace the Ba@b. Azal at first refused to denounce these rivals outright, rather incorporating them into a “theophanic field” with himself at the apex. Later in the 1850s Azal became more intolerant of rivals. Baha@÷-Alla@h, on the other hand, attempted to deflate Babi “manifestations” (záohu@ra@t) even in early 1851, asserting his own high station. He snubbed the Babi disciple Sayyed Basá^r-e Hend^ of Multan when he came to visit Nu@r, because the Indian made grandiose claims. Finally, Baha@÷-Alla@h “took pity on him and manifested upon that temple of servitude, [Sayyed Basá^r] the effulgences of divinity, [tajall^ya@t-e robu@b^yat] from that glory of paradise (Baha@÷ al-rezμwa@n, [i.e., Baha@÷-Alla@h]).” (Noqtáat al-ka@f, p. 258; see also pp. 238-61 ).
In June, 1851, Baha@÷-Alla@h left Tehran for Karbala@÷ in Iraq at the suggestion of First Minister Am^r Nezáa@m Taq^ Khan (later Am^r[-e] Kab^r), who attempted to co-opt him by offering him a government post whenever he should return. Baha@÷-Alla@h refused the post, but took the hint that he should leave Iran for a while. Baha@÷-Alla@h found Babis in Karbala@÷ following a Sayyed ¿Oloww, who claimed to be a divine incarnation until Baha@÷-Alla@h's greater prestige caused him to renounce his pretensions. While in Karbala@÷ in 1851, according to his companion Shaikh H®asan Zonu@z^, Baha@÷-Alla@h said he was himself the return of Imam H®osayn (whom many expected to appear after the Mahd^, whom Babis identified with the Ba@b), though he kept this “messianic secret” from most of his associates. In public, Baha@÷-Alla@h supported Azal, in the interests of unity, and worked to spread Babism in Karbala@÷ (Zarand^, Matáa@le¿, tr. pp. 32, 587, 593-94).
The fall of Am^r Kab^r and the rise of M^rza@ AÚqa@ Khan Nu@r^ E¿tema@d-al-Dawla as first minister under Na@sáer-al-D^n Shah had the potential for changing Baha@÷-Alla@h's political fortunes. The first minister wanted a rapprochement with Baha@÷-Alla@h, a relative from his region of the country, and with the Babis. He wrote Baha@÷-Alla@h asking him to return to Tehran, and the latter complied. The first minister's brother lavished hospitality on Baha@÷-Alla@h in Tehran for a month, after which the Babi notable retired to a summer house in ˆemra@n. On the way, he met briefly with Shaikh ¿Al^ ¿Azá^m, learning that ¿Azá^m and other radical Babi leaders in the capital had planned the assassination of the shah in retaliation for the execution of the Ba@b. Baha@÷-Alla@h condemned the plan. On August 15, 1852, Babis did attempt to assassinate the shah, but failed (Zarand^, Matáa@le¿, tr. pp. 595-602; H®asan Fasa@÷^, Fa@rs-na@ma-ye na@sáer^, tr. H. Busse, History of Persia under Qajar Rule, New York, 1972, pp. 302-04; Sheil to Malmsbury, correspondence August 1852, FO 60/171 in M. Momen, The Ba@b^ and Baha@÷^ Religions, 1844-1944: Some Contemporary Western Accounts, Oxford, 1981, pp. 128-46).
Though he knew suspicion would fall on him, Baha@÷-Alla@h declined to go into hiding. He went to Zarganda, staying with his brother-in-law, M^rza@ Maj^d, who acted as secretary to the Russian ambassador. His presence was reported to the shah by H®a@j^ ¿Al^ Khan H®a@jeb-al-Dawla. Na@sáer-al-D^n Shah demanded that the Russian legation hand Baha@÷-Alla@h over, but the ambassador insisted on delivering him to M^rza@ AÚqa@ Khan Nu@r^, who sympathized with Baha@÷-Alla@h. M^rza@ AÚqa@ Khan, however, proved unable to protect Baha@÷-Alla@h when anti-Babi riots broke out in Tehran, and Baha@÷-Alla@h was arrested and made to walk in chains to the S^a@h Ùa@l (black pit) dungeon. At length he was found innocent. His stay in the crowded, filthy dungeon, where he watched several Babi friends being executed, proved important for Baha@÷-Alla@h's spiritual development. He later wrote that he at that point decided to “undertake, with the utmost vigor, the task of regenerating” the Babi community (Baha@÷-Alla@h, Lawhá-e ˆaykò, pp. 14-16; tr. Shoghi Effendi, pp. 20-22). He had several mystical experiences and dreams of a visionary nature while in prison. Despite having found him innocent, the government exiled Baha@÷-Alla@h, who chose to return to Iraq in the Ottoman empire, arriving in Baghdad on 12 January 1853. In Iran, the aftermath of the attempt on the shah's life saw widespread massacres of suspected Babis, and pillaging of the Nu@r^s' property in Takor (Zarand^, Matáa@le¿, tr. pp. 602-50; Moháammad-H®asan Khan E¿tema@d-al-Saltáana [Ru@z-na@ma-ye kòa@táera@t, ed. È. AfÞa@r, Tehran, 1350 ˆ./1971, p. 957] asserts that M^rza@ AÚqa@ Khan Nu@r^, who remained in power until 1858, offered his resignation over the issue of Baha@÷-Alla@h's imprisonment).
A small number of other Babis chose to follow Baha@÷-Alla@h into exile in Iraq, including his half-brother M^rza@ Yaháya@ Sáobhá-e Azal, who arrived a few months later. Azal tended to distance himself from the community, spending his time in disguise and dealing with affairs through proxies, including Baha@÷-Alla@h, who publicly deferred to his brother. In Baghdad during 1853 differences arose between Baha@÷-Alla@h, and Azal and his close disciples. A close companion, Dahaj^, wrote that Baha@÷-Alla@h disagreed with Azal's policy of remaining incognito, and left Baghdad in order to distance himself from Azal. He retired for two years (1854-56) to Kurdistan, living the life of a Sufi dervish. Azal's continued attempts to assassinate the shah, of which Baha@÷-Alla@h disapproved, may have been another source of contention. Prominent Babis in Baghdad, feeling a need for Baha@÷-Alla@h's stabilizing influence, pleaded with him to return from Solayma@n^ya, which he did in 1856 (M^rza@ Mehd^ Dahaj^, “Resa@la,” ms., Cambridge University Library, Browne Or. F. 57, p. 48; M^rza@ Java@d Qazv^n^, “Resa@la,” ms., Cambridge University Library, Browne Or. F. 26, tr. E. G. Browne in Materials for the Study of the Babi Religion, Cambridge, 1918, pp. 7-9; Baha@÷-Alla@h wrote an important mystical poem while staying with the K¨a@led^ NaqÞband^s in Solayma@n^ya, that mentions his “mission” [be¿t¯at^], “al-Qasá^da al-warqa@÷^ya,” AÚt¯a@r III, pp. 196-215).
From 1856 to 1863 Baha@÷-Alla@h lived in Baghdad, building up an increasingly loyal following in Iran through his elegant mystical aphorisms and crisp doctrinal treatises in Persian or Arabic such as the Kalema@t-e maknu@na (Hidden words), Haft wa@d^ (Seven valleys), and Keta@b-e ^qa@n (Book of certitude). He took very seriously a widely believed Muslim prophecy that the Mahd^ or Jesus Christ would appear in 1280/1863-64, and put off making any public announcement until then, though evidence abounds that he kept a “messianic secret” for years before (for the wave of millenarianism that swept the Muslims of Arabia and India in the years just before 1280, see O. Pearson, Islamic Reform and Revival in Nineteenth Century India: the Tariqah-i Muhammadiyyah, Ph.D. dissertation, Duke University, 1979, pp. 211-12). Baha@÷-Alla@h replaced the disastrous militancy of the Babis to which leaders like Azal were still committed with an emphasis on internal personal transformation similar to Sufi ethics and mysticism.
In the 1860s, Baha@÷-Alla@h's gatherings attracted many local notables and Iranian pilgrims, lending him greater influence in Iran as well as in Baghdad. Despite his emphasis on communal harmony, however, sporadic communal violence broke out between Shi¿ites and Babis, and among factions of Babis, especially among unruly tradesmen and religious students, and Ottoman and Persian officials often laid this violence at his door. Baha@÷-Alla@h's influence worried his enemies in the Iranian government and among the Shi¿ite clerics, and he narrowly escaped assassination at the hands of a man hired by the Iranian consul in Baghdad, M^rza@ Bozorg Khan. Molla@ ¿Abd-al-H®osayn T®ehra@n^, Na@sáer-al-D^n Shah's religious envoy to the shrine cities, cooperated with the consul, and began a major Shi¿ite drive against Baha@÷-Alla@h and the fifty or so Babis in Iraq that lost steam when Shaikh Mortazμa@ Ansáa@r^ (q.v.), the leading marja¿-e taql^d, refused to join in on the grounds that he knew nothing about the Babis (Baha@÷-Alla@h, Keta@b-e ^ga@n, pp. 210-12; tr. Shoghi Effendi, pp. 249-53; ¿Abd-al-Baha@÷, Maqa@la, pp. 107-18, tr. pp. 82-88; Dahaj^, “Resa@la,” pp. 81-82; Osta@d Moháammad-¿Al^ Salma@n^, K¨a@táera@t, ms., International Baha‚÷í Archives, Haifa; Eng. tr. M. Gail, My Memories of Baha@÷ulla@h, Los Angeles, 1982, pp. 15-20; M^rza@ Abu÷l-Fazμl Golpa@yega@n^, “Resa@la be Aleksandr Tumanskii,” R. Mehra@bkòa@n^, ed., Rasa@÷el wa raqa@÷em, Tehran, 1978, pp. 65-76; tr. J. Cole, Letters and Essays 1886-1913, Los Angeles, 1985; “Two State Papers of 1862,” in Browne, Materials, pp. 270-81).
Alarmed at the revival of Babi activity under Baha@÷-Alla@h's de facto leadership, and at the easy access to Iranians enjoyed by the Babi leaders situated so near the Shi¿ite shrine cities, M^rza@ H®osayn Khan MoÞ^r-al-Dawla (q.v.), the Iranian consul in Istanbul who at that point considered the Babis subversive, pressured the Ottomans to exile Baha@÷-Alla@h farther from Iran. The Ottomans complied, calling Baha@÷-Alla@h to Istanbul in the spring of 1863. Before he left Baghdad, Baha@÷-Alla@h camped for twelve days at the Garden of Necip Pa¶a, where a large number of friends came to bid him farewell. During these days, to intimates, “he would speak of the Ba@b's Cause and declare his own” (Salma@n^, K¨a@táera@t, tr. p. 22; see also Dahaj^, “Resa@la,” pp. 65-70, 153-54; Qazv^n^, “Resa@la,” p. 16). In late April, 1863, Baha@÷-Alla@h declared himself, to a handful of close followers, the promised one foretold by the Ba@b. Perhaps because the year 1280 had not yet begun, he delayed any written declaration for almost a year.
After a four-month journey overland, Baha@÷-Alla@h and his entourage arrived in Istanbul. He had chosen twenty Babis to accompany him, in addition to his own family and muleteers; these were often men he thought might make trouble if left to themselves. Azal voluntarily accompanied his older brother, traveling incognito. Baha@÷-Alla@h met with a few Ottoman officials who came to visit him, but refused to seek audiences with the sultan or first minister. In Istanbul in 1863 he first gave evidence of thinking about the global social reforms that he advocated in later years. He told former First Minister Kemal Pasha that the Ottomans, and the world, should adopt a universal auxiliary language to be taught alongside local languages in every nation, so that “the whole earth would come to be regarded as one country” (Baha@÷-Alla@h, Lawhá-e Þaykò, p. 90, tr. p. 38.) Because he refused to build alliances with Ottoman politicians, Baha@÷-Alla@h had no means of resisting MoÞ^r-al-Dawla's pressure on the sultan to exile him still farther away. Sultan ¿Abdülaziz (¿Abd-al-¿Az^z) commanded that Baha@÷-Alla@h be banished to Edirne in Rumelia, a common site for the exile of political prisoners. Baha@÷-Alla@h at first refused to leave Istanbul, and wanted to make a stand against the Ottomans, seeking either to overturn the sultan's edict or to attain martyrdom when troops came to arrest the Babis. But such a plan required unanimity, and when Azal declined to go along it fell through (Salma@n^, K¨a@táera@t, tr. p. 39-41, Qazv^n^, “Resa@la,” tr. pp. 18-19). Baha@÷-Alla@h and his entourage, as well as Azal and his, lived in Edirne from 12 December 1863 to 12 August 1868. They received an Ottoman stipend for their support. In the winter and spring of 1864/1280, Baha@÷-Alla@h gradually began announcing himself to friends in Iran. In the “Su@rat Damm” (Sura of blood), written twenty years after the Ba@b's declaration (1260/1844) for Molla@ Moháammad “Nab^l” Zarand^, then in Iran, Baha@÷-Alla@h said he was the return (raj¿a) of the Ba@b, that is, “He whom God would make manifest” (AÚt¯a@r IV, pp. 1-15). Close disciples of Baha@÷-Alla@h in Iran like M^rza@ H®aydar-¿Al^ Esáfaha@n^ received such letters and began increasingly passing them on to other Babis. For his followers, Baha@÷-Alla@h's assertion that he was an independent manifestation of God able to found a new dispensation made Azal's position as head of the old Babi religion irrelevant. Baha@÷-Alla@h and his supporters in any case held that the Ba@b's appointment of Azal had been a ruse to draw the fire of Iranian officials from Baha@÷-Alla@h. In spring of 1866 Baha@÷-Alla@h moved to a separate house from that of Azal, saying that Azal had attempted to have him killed, and, meeting with failure, had then imputed similar plots to his older brother. Baha@÷-Alla@h began more openly proclaiming his status as an independent prophet, writing suras he said were divine revelation (waháy). In September, 1867, he decisively broke with Yaháya@, addressing to him a letter in which he set forth his station and demanded his brother's obedience. Yaháya@ refused, challenging Baha@÷-Alla@h to a test of the divine will (moba@hela) at the mosque of Sultan Selim, but Azal lost face when he changed his mind and did not appear (Baha@÷-Alla@h, “Lawhá-e Nasá^r,” in Majmu@¿a-ye matábu@¿a, pp. 166-202; see Baha@÷-Alla@h's many Edirne-period works in AÚt¯a@r, vol. 4; Dahaj^, “Resa@la” pp. 35-38, 283-85; Salma@n^, K¨a@táera@t, tr. pp. 42-48, 93-105; Qazv^n^, “Resa@la,” tr. pp. 19-27).
From 1866 Baha@÷-Alla@h began addressing a series of letters to world leaders, announcing his advent as the promised one of all religions. His first was a long general letter of moral exhortations, the Su@rat al-molu@k (Sura of the kings, 1866). Specific individuals therein addressed were Sultan ¿Abd-al-¿Az^z and the Iranian ambassador, MoÞ^r-al-Dawla. In 1868 he wrote a long letter (Lawhá-e soltáa@n) to Na@sáer-al-D^n Shah, saying Babis under his leadership were not militant, and requesting an end to their persecution in Iran. The shah had Baha@÷-Alla@h's emissary bearing this letter tortured and killed. Baha@÷-Alla@h also wrote Napoleon III, elliptically proclaiming himself the return of Christ (Baha@÷-Alla@h, Alwa@há-e na@zela kòetáa@b be molu@k, pp. 3-70, 91-117, 143-201; for Western diplomatic correspondence on Baha@÷-Alla@h in the Edirne period, see Momen, The Ba@b^ and Baha@÷i Religions, pp. 185-200).
In 1868 the Ottoman government exiled the Babis once more. Baha@÷-Alla@h and his followers, along with a few Azal^s, were sent to the prison city of ¿Akka@ on the coast of Palestine, while Azal, his companions, and a few Bahais were sent to Famagusta, Cyprus. Baha@÷-Alla@h was imprisoned in the citadel for over two years, where some of his followers died from the unsanitary conditions. There he continued his proclamation to world leaders, including Queen Victoria, Tsar Aleksandr II, and Pope Pius IX. From 1870 to 1877 Baha@÷-Alla@h was kept under house arrest in the old city of ¿Akka@. In the late 1860s and early 1870s most Babis in Iran went over to Baha@÷-Alla@h, becoming Bahais. These believers in a new revelation asked for a new code of religious and ritual law. Around 1873 Baha@÷-Alla@h in ¿Akka@ set down a new book of law and ritual, the Keta@b-e aqdas, which he said derived from divine revelation, meant to replace both the Koran and the Baya@n (Aleksandr Tumanski¥, Kitabe akdes, Me‚moires de l'Acade‚mie impe‚riale des sciences de St. Petersbourg, 8th ser., vol. 3, no. 6, 1899; Dahaj^, “Resa@la,” pp. 154-56; Qazv^n^, “Resa@la,” tr. pp. 27-52).
His improving relations with local officials were only disturbed once, when some of the rougher of his followers in ¿Akka@, unbeknownst to Baha@÷-Alla@h, plotted and carried out the murder of several Azal^s who had been spying on the Bahais for the Ottomans and stirring up local inhabitants against them. Baha@÷-Alla@h denounced the murderers in no uncertain terms, but the incident revived restrictions on his movements. In 1877, however, the Pasha gave him permission to live in a mansion outside ¿Akka@, at Mazra¿a till 1879, then at Bahj^ until his death in 1892. His advocacy of social reforms in the 1870s won him new respect from old foes like MoÞ^r-al-Dawla. Baha@÷-Alla@h gradually convinced many Qajar notables that he represented no political threat (E¿tema@d-al-Saltáana wrote in 1892 in his Ru@z-na@ma-ye kòa@táera@t, 1st ed., p. 957: “M^rza@ H®osayn-¿Al^, an old man, was no assassin”). In the ¿Akka@ period his financial support probably came from believers' contributions as well as from the Ottoman stipend. Baha@÷-Alla@h married three times, once in Iran (AÚs^a “Nawwa@b” K¨a@nom), once in Baghdad, a cousin (Mahd-e ¿Olya@) whose family had been martyred, and once in ¿Akka@ (Gowhar K¨a@nom). In accordance with Babi law, he had only two wives at any one time (Bahai law later required monogamy). He had fourteen children, four of them girls; five sons predeceased him (Qazv^n^, “Resa@la,” tr. Browne, pp. 45-65; Dahaj^, “Resa@la,” pp. 285-91; Western primary accounts of ¿Akka@ period in Momen, Ba@b^ and Baha@÷i Religions, pp. 201-40). Before his death Baha@÷-Alla@h appointed his eldest son, ¿Abd-al-Baha@÷ ¿Abba@s Effendi (q.v.) to head the Bahai faith after him (“Keta@b ¿Ahd^,” in Majmu@¿a-^ az alwa@há, pp. 134-38).
Religious doctrines. Baha@÷-Alla@h taught a theological via negativa, writing that God's essence is unknowable, and he is simply the absolute truth (al-háaqq, al-¿ama@÷). Following the theology of Mu¿tazilism and Shaikhism, Baha@÷-Alla@h teaches that God's essential attributes (sáefa@t al-dòa@t) are identical to his essence (“Lawhá mad^nat al-tawhá^d,” Ma@÷eda-ye a@sma@n^ IV, p. 321). According to Baha@÷-Alla@h, both God and the universal matter have always existed temporally, though God is essentially prior to matter, which is essentially originated (mahádat¯ dòa@t^: Baha@÷-Alla@h, “Lawhá al-háekma,” Majmu@¿a-ye matábu@¿a, p. 4b; this is Avicennian). He rejected the Sufi doctrine of existential monism or wahádat al-woju@d, and denied that God becomes incarnate (háolu@l) in the world, or manifests (záohu@r) his essence corporeally (Baha@÷-Alla@h, Haft wa@d^, AÚt¯a@r-e qalam-e a¿la@ 3:114-15; Keta@b-e ^qa@n, p. 79; “Lawhá-e Salma@n,” Majmu@¿a-ye matábu@¿a, pp. 140-42).
The transcendent essence of God and the originated material world are bridged in Baha@÷-Alla@h's thought by the Word of God (kalemat Alla@h, kala@m Alla@h; also called keta@b Alla@h and amr or divine command), a temporally preexistent principle whereby God created composite creatures. The Word of God manifests (záahara) itself in human form, in the shape of prophets and messengers (“Lawhá al-záohu@r,” ms. AB 201, Baha@÷^ World Centre, Haifa; “Lawhá al-háekma,” pp. 41-42; “Lawhá AÞraf,” Majmu@¿a-ye matábu@¿a, p. 212; “Su@rat al-ra÷^s,” Majmu@¿a-ye moba@raka, p. 87). Baha@÷-Alla@h distinguished between prophets (sing. nab^ [y]) who simply came with a mission to their people and “prophets endowed with constancy” (anb^a@÷ olu÷l-azm), who revealed new religious legislation abrogating that of the previous dispensation. He wrote of the Zoroastrian, Mosaic, Christian, Islamic, and Babi dispensations, recognizing all of them as divinely-ordained religions progressively leading up to his own (he did not exclude other world religions, and his son ¿Abd-al-Baha@÷ later incorporated Buddha and Krishna into the schema). He taught the sinlessness (al-¿esma al-kobra@) of the legislating prophets, though he wrote that their human souls could progress and be purified. The purpose of the advent of prophets is to transmit God's grace and educate souls for their own spiritual advance in this world and in the afterlife (Baha@÷-Alla@h, “EÞra@qa@t,” in Ùand lawhá, pp. 54-59; “al-Qasá^da al-warqa@÷^ya,” AÚt¯a@r 3: 198; Keta@b-e aqdas, Bombay, n.d., p. 51; Keta@b-e ^qa@n, pp. 82-83).
Baha@÷-Alla@h's doctrine of prophets is theophanic. He held that prophets manifest the active attributes (záohu@r-e asma@÷ wa sáefa@t) of God into the material world, though he denied that God's essence (dòa@t) itself could ever be manifested, differing in this regard from Druze and other Shi¿ite esotericists. In neo-Platonic fashion, he sometimes refers to the totality of God's active attributes as the “self” (nafs) of God. Only through the prophets and messengers of God, he wrote, could human beings attain a knowledge of God's attributes, which his envoys mirror forth. He said that prophets have a two-fold nature (do ¿onsáor), one physical and the other divine (ela@h^), corresponding to two stations (maqa@m), the human, and the station wherein his voice is the voice of God. The doctrine of the divinity (olu@h^yat) of all the prophets does not imply incarnation, but refers to the manifestation of the active attributes of God. Explaining his own station, he compared God's manifestation in him to the divine effulgence in the burning bush of Moses, and wrote of divinity, “This station is the station in which one dies to himself (fana@÷) and lives to God. Divinity, whenever I mention it, indicates my complete and absolute self-effacement.” (Lawhá-e Þaykò, p. 30; see also Majmu@¿a-ye matábu@¿a, p. 340; “Tajall^ya@t,” in Ùand lawhá, pp. 203-05). Because all prophets manifest the same divine attributes, in Baha@÷-Alla@h's doctrine they are all metaphysically identical, though their human personalities differed. Thus, each is a “return” of the previous prophets (but this does not imply reincarnation of the human soul, a doctrine Baha@÷-Alla@h rejected).
Social teachings. Baha@÷-Alla@h's enunciation of steps for social reform dates to his arrival in the Turkish-speaking provinces of the Ottoman empire in the mid-1860s, and continued during his Palestine exile 1868-92. He was in Edirne during some of the Ottoman debate on constitutionalism, and around 1868 wrote Queen Victoria that the parliamentarian form of constitutional monarchy she presided over was the best type of government. In 1866 he had denounced the international arms race, urging that the money poured into it be instead spent on the poor. Later in ¿Akka@ he advocated the convening of an international parliament that would guarantee peace through the principle of collective security. He urged the adoption of one universal language throughout the world, and of uniform weights, measures, and currency. He forbade religious and racial prejudice, and discouraged nationalist chauvinism (“Glory not in this that you love your country, glory in this that you love mankind”). He urged universal education of children, and his insistence that daughters be educated along with sons is only one of many indications that he supported an improved status for women. He advocated the adoption of modern technology in the Middle East, arguing that it was only an extension of Greek science and philosophy, which Middle Easterners had long accepted (“Lawhá maleka V^ktu@r^a,” Alwa@há-e na@zela, p. 133; “Su@rat al-molu@k,” ibid.; Keta@b-e aqdas, pp. 52-53; other quotes and points in “Lawhá al-háekma,” Majmu@¿a-^ az alwa@há and tr. Taherzadeh; this entire volume has these reformist emphases).
Bibliography : Most of the major primary sources have been cited in the course of the article. Several thousands of Baha@÷-Alla@h's letters and writings are preserved by Bahais in private archives in Iran and at the “International Baha‚÷í Archives” in Haifa, Israel. The best primary sources for Baha@÷-Alla@h's life, the chronicle by Molla@ Moháammad “Nab^l” Zarand^, the memoirs of AÚqa@ H®osayn AÚÞ±^, and those of AÚqa@ Rezμa@ Qanna@d ˆ^ra@z^, all close companions of Baha@÷-Alla@h in Iran and during his exile, remain in ms. in Haifa; these have been summarized by H. M. Balyuzi, Baha@÷u÷lla@h, Oxford, 1980. The first part of Zarand^ was translated, as noted above. A reliable but slightly abridged English translation of memoirs by another companion, Salma@n^, has appeared recently (op. cit.). The Noqtáat al-ka@f contains primary material for the Babi movement in the 1840s and early 1850s, despite lingering questions about possible late interpolations in the recension published by Browne. The “Resa@la”s of Sayyed Mehd^ Dahaj^ and M^rza@ Java@d Qazv^n^, companions of Baha@÷-Alla@h, are also valuable (microfilms of these and other Cambridge University Library Browne mss. are in the Library of Congress and the University of Michigan, British Manuscript Project). Baha@÷-Alla@h's eldest son, ¿Abd-al-Baha@÷, wrote a valuable chronicle, cited above, translated by Browne as A Traveller's Narrative. Some important details are in M^rza@ H®aydar-¿Al^ Esáfaha@n^, Bahájat al-Sáodu@r, Bombay, 1331/1912-13, a small portion of which was translated by A. Faizi, Stories from the Delight of Hearts, Los Angeles, 1980. Primary biographies of Baha@÷-Alla@h's major disciples in Iran are in Ka@záem Samandar, Ta@r^kò-e Samandar wa molháaqa@t, Tehran, 131 Bad^¿/1974. Momen's collection of Western documentary sources is useful, though neither the Ottoman nor the Iranian archives have been intensively explored for Baha@÷-Alla@h's biography (see Moháammad-¿Al^ Mowaháháed, “Asna@d-^ az a@rÞ^v-e dawlat^-e Esta@nbu@l,” Ra@hna@ma-ye keta@b 6, 1342 ˆ./1963, pp. 102-10). Because of his access to family history and private manuscripts as Baha@÷-Alla@h's great-grandson, Shoghi Effendi's God Passes By (Wilmette, Ill., 1944) is also useful. Many Azal^ sources exist, some of them primary, but they are hard to collate with sources originating with Baha@÷-Alla@h and his supporters, because they are so hostile and contradictory. Of note here are Molla@ Rajab-¿Al^ Qa@her, “Keta@b,” ms. Cambridge University Library, Browne Or. F. 24; and ¿Ezz^ya K¨a@nom, “Tanb^h al-na@÷em^n,” ms. Cambridge University Library, Browne Or. F. 60.
Most of Baha@÷-Alla@h's major works have been published, though no scientific editions have been prepared. Multivolume collections of his writings include AÚt¯a@r-e qalam-e a¿la@, 8 vols., Tehran, 1963-76? and ¿Abd-al-H®am^d EÞra@q K¨a@var^, ed., Ma@÷eda-ye a@sma@n^, 10 vols., Tehran, 1971-73; repr. New Delhi, 1985. Facsimiles of many documents by or relating to the Ba@b and Baha@÷-Alla@h were privately published in the 1970s by the Iran National Bahai Archives (INBA) in 100 volumes. Important works by Baha@÷-Alla@h from the 1850s and early 1860s are in AÚt¯a@r, vol. 3, including Jawa@her al-asra@r, Haft wa@d^ and Ùaha@r wa@d^; for Eng. tr. of the latter two see The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys, tr. Ali Kuli Khan and Marzieh Gail, Wilmette, Ill., rev. ed. 1952. Kalema@t-e maknu@na, from the late 1850s, is in Majmu@¿a-ye matábu@¿a-ye alwa@há-e moba@raka, Cairo, 1920, repr. Wilmette, Ill., 1978, tr. Shoghi Effendi, The Hidden Words, London, 1949. Works from the 1850s and early 1860s can also be found in INBA, vol. 36, and in Ma@÷eda-ye a@sma@n^, vol. 4. One of Baha@÷-Alla@h's more important theological and eschatological works, written in 1862 for an uncle of the Ba@b, is Keta@b-e ^qa@n, Cairo, 1902, Eng. tr. Shoghi Effendi, The Kita‚bi-i-I´qa‚n: The Book of Certitude, Wilmette, 1931, 1970, Fr. tr. Hyppolyte Dreyfus and M^rza@ Habibulla@h Chirazi, Le livre de la certitude, Paris, 1904. Other tablets of the mid-1860s can be found in the section on Rezμwa@n in ¿A. EÞra@q K¨a@var^, ed., Ayya@m-e tes¿a, Tehran, n.d., including the Lawhá-e sáabr, set down on April 21, 1863. Many of Baha@÷-Alla@h's Arabic letters to Iran declaring his independent prophethood in 1864-68 are in AÚt¯a@r, vol. 4, including the Su@rat damm, and the Su@rat al-asáháa@b. His epistles to the world's rulers written in 1866-69 are in Alwa@há-e na@zela kòetáa@b be molu@k wa ro÷asa@-ye arzμ, Tehran, 124 Bad^¿/1968; partial tr., Shoghi Effendi, Proclamation of Baha@÷u÷lla@h to the Kings and Leaders of the World, Haifa, 1967. Persian writings from the Edirne period and many significant essays from the ¿Akka@ period, 1868-92, are in Majmu@¿a-ye matábu@¿a. Baha@÷-Alla@h's most important opus, the Keta@b-e aqdas (1873) was published at the Dutt Prashad Press: al-Keta@b al-aqdas wa nabzμa-^ men alwa@há Baha@÷-Alla@h, Bombay, 1890. A poor translation of the Keta@b-e aqdas with fundamentalist Christian commentary was unaccountably published by the Royal Asiatic Society: E. Elder and W. Miller, tr. and ed., Al-Kitab al-Aqdas or the Most Holy Book, Oriental Translation Fund, N.S., vol. 38, London, 1961; the contemporary official Bahai approach to this book of laws can be seen in A Synopsis and Codification of the Kita‚b-i Aqdas, the Most Holy Book of Baha‚÷u÷lla‚h, Haifa, 1973. Several collections have been published of Baha@÷-Alla@h's tablets on global social reform and world government written from 1877 to 1892, including Alwa@há-e moba@raka-ye hazμrat-e Baha@÷-Alla@h Þa@mel-e eÞra@qa@t wa ±and lawhá-e d^gar, Tehran, n.d.; and Majmu@¿a-^ az alwa@há ke ba¿d az Keta@b-e aqdas na@zel Þodand, Hofheim-Langenhain, 1980, pp. 35-36, Eng. tr. H. Taherzadeh et al., Tablets of Baha‚÷u÷lla‚h Revealed after the Kita‚b-i-Aqdas, Haifa, 1978. Baha@÷-Alla@h's last major book, which contains many passages of autobiography, is Lawhá-e moba@rak kòetáa@b ba ˆaykò Moháammad Taq^ Mojtahed, Hofheim-Langenhain, 1982, pp. 14-16, Eng. tr. Shoghi Effendi Rabba@n^, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, Wilmette, 1971, Fr. tr. H. Dreyfus, L'e‚pitre au fils du loup, Paris, 1913. Translations into other European languages have for the most part followed the English rather than the original languages. Important translations in addition to those noted above are Gleanings from the Writings of Baha@÷u÷lla@h, tr. Shoghi Effendi, Wilmette, Ill., 1939; and Prayers and Meditations, tr. Shoghi Effendi, London, 1957.
Most of the Arabic and Persian originals were published in the twentieth century by the Bahai Publishing Trust in Tehran, destroyed in 1979, but many have been recently reprinted in the original languages at the Bahai Publishing Trusts at Hofheim-Langenhain in West Germany, in Wilmette, Ill., and in New Delhi. For rare nineteenth-century editions of Baha@÷-Alla@h's works see Alwa@há-e Baha@÷-Alla@h moÞtamel bar su@rat-e haykal . . . wa g@ayroh, Bombay, 1890 and Alwa@há-e Baha@÷-Alla@h, Bombay, 1893; see also Baron Victor Rosen, Collections scientifiques de l'institut des langues orientales du ministeàre des affaires e‚trangeàres, St. Petersburg, vol. 1: Manuscrits arabes, 1877, pp. 179-212; vol. 3: Manuscrits persans, 1886, pp. 1-51; vol. 6: Manuscrits arabes, 1891, pp. 141-225; Rosen, ed., al-Majmu@¿ al-awwal men rasa@÷el al-Þaykò al-ba@b^ Baha@÷-Alla@h, (Historico-Philological Section of the Imperial Academy of St. Petersburg, 1908); and Aleksandr Tumanski¥, ed., Keta@b ¿ahd^ wa lawhá-e beÞa@ra@t, in Zapiski of the Russian Oriental Society 7, 1892, pp. 183-92, 193-203, as well as his edition of the Keta@b-e aqdas, cited above. A brief survey of Baha@÷-Alla@h's major works is ¿A. EÞra@q K¨a@var^, Ganj-e Þa@yega@n, Tehran, 123 Bad^¿/1966). A traditional Bahai commentary in English on a large number of these works in A. Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha‚÷u÷lla‚h, 3 vols., Oxford, 1974.
No modern, academic biography of Baha@÷-Alla@h has yet been written, though Balyuzi uses some critical apparatus. Early relevant Western scholarship includes: E. G. Browne, “The Babis of Persia,” JRAS 21, 1889, pp. 485-526, 881-1009; “Some Remarks on the Babi Texts Edited by Baron Victor Rosen,” JRAS 24, 1892, pp. 259-332; “A Catalogue and Description of 27 Babi Manuscripts,” JRAS 24, 1892, pp. 433-99, 637-710; and “Babiism,” in The Religious Systems of the World, ed., London, 1905, (other works by Browne are cited in the text); and Hermann Roemer, Die Babi-Baha÷i, Potsdam, 1911. A short biographical notice is Ba@mda@d, Reja@l I, pp. 434-42. Modern academic works bearing on Baha@÷-Alla@h's life are A. Bausani, Persia religiosa da Zoroaster a Bahâ÷u÷llâh, Milan, 1959; idem, “Baha@÷^s,” EI2; M. Bayat, Mysticism and Dissent: Socioreligious Thought in Qajar Iran, Syracuse, 1982; D. MacEoin, From Shaykhism to Babism, Ph.D. dissertation, Cambridge University, 1979; A. Amanat, The Early Years of the Babi Movement, Ph.D. dissertation, Oxford University, 1981; and for the Bahai religion see P. Smith, The Ba@b^ and Baha@÷^ Religions: From Messianic Sh^¿ism to a World Religion (forthcoming). For the 1850s see J. Cole, “Baha@÷u÷lla@h and the Naqshband^ Sufis in Iraq, 1854-1856,” in J. Cole and M. Momen, eds., From Iran East and West: Studies in Ba‚bí and Baha‚÷í History II, Los Angeles, 1984, pp. 1-28; and K. Kazemzadeh and F. Kazemzadeh, “Baha@÷u÷lla@h's Prison Sentence: The Official Account,” World Order 13, Winter 1978-79, pp. 11-13. Recent academic works of interest include the following articles in Baha@÷^ Studies Bulletin (BSB), on offset publication (ed. S. Lambden, Department of Religion, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England): K. Beveridge and D. MacEoin, “Seven Manuscripts Attributed to Baha@÷u÷lla@h,” BSB 1/4, 1983, pp. 33-56; articles by S. Lambden: “A Tablet of Baha@÷u÷lla@h to Georg David Hardegg: The “Lawhá-i Hirt^q,” BSB 2/1, 1983, pp. 32-62; “A Tablet of Baha@÷u÷lla@h in the Late Baghdad Period,” BSB 2/3, 1983, pp. 107-12; “A Tablet of M^rza@ H®usayn ¿Al^ Baha@÷u÷lla@h of the Early Iraq Period: The Tablet of All Food,” BSB 3/1, 1984, pp. 4-67; “An Early Poem of M^rza@ H®usayn ¿Al^ Baha@÷u÷la@h: The Sprinkling of the Cloud of Unknowing (Rashhá-i ¿Ama@÷),” BSB 3/2, 1984, pp. 4-114; M. Momen, “The Baha@÷^ Influence on the Reform Movements of the Islamic World in the 1860s and 1870s,” BSB 2/2, 1983, pp. 47-65.
(J. R. I. Cole)