‘The Revelation of Baha’u’llah’ Books by Adib Taherzadeh

In 1974, the first volume of Adib Taherzadeh’s monumental series, The Revelation of Baha’u’llah, was published. With this publication, and the three volumes that followed, Taherzadeh brought to English-speakers rich insights into Baha’u’llah’s Writings, contextualizing them in the narrative of His unfolding ministry from 1853 to 1892. 

Along with Nabil-i-Akbar’s The Dawn-Breakers and Shoghi Effendi’s God Passes By, Taherzadeh’s The Revelation of Baha’u’llah earns a place in the canon of histories recounting the early years of the Baha’i Faith. What makes Taherzadeh’s work distinctive is his focus on the vast and deep oeuvre of Baha’u’llah: the Writings that form the scriptural foundation of the religion. As he states in the foreword to Volume 1,

This book is an attempt to describe, in language however inadequate, something of the supreme spiritual phenomenon of this age, namely, the Revelation of Baha’u’llah. The creative Word of God in every Dispensation is vouchsafed to mankind through the intermediary of His Prophets and Messengers. Baha’u’llah, Whose innumerable followers throughout the world believe Him to be the most recent in the succession of these Messengers or Manifestations of God, has revealed the Word of God for today. His recorded utterances and writings in Persian and Arabic, authenticated by Himself, are viewed by Baha’is as their Scripture.

Taherzadeh’s accomplishments were many over his eight decades of life. Born in Iran in 1921, after college he moved to the British Isles. There, he served on the National Spiritual Assemblies of both the British Isles and of the Republic of Ireland, and later served on the European Continental Board of Counselors. Remarkably, in addition to his work as an engineer and his service on Baha’i assemblies and councils, he also delved into a field far from his professional home in the sciences: the writing of history. Taherzadeh undertook the huge project of researching and composing The Revelation of Baha’u’llah, which totals over 1,800 pages. He served on the Universal House of Justice from 1988 until his passing in 2000.1

Over a decade and a half, four volumes of The Revelation of Baha’u’llah were published, moving chronologically through His extensive teachings. Volume 1 (1974) covers His decade in Baghdad, 1853 to 1863. Volume 2 (1977) takes us to the Adrianople period, 1863 to 1868. Volume 3 (1983) considers the years spent behind the walls of Akka, 1868 to 1877. Finally, Volume 4 (1987) covers Baha’u’llah’s residency outside the prison city, at Mazra’ih and Bahji, 1877 to 1892.

When I was a teenager, my parents recommended that I read The Revelation of Baha’u’llah. I found Taherzadeh’s dense historiography challenging but edifying. The books’ density mirrors the complexity of the turbulent early years of the Baha’i Faith and the cosmic vision of Baha’u’llah.

If, like my teenage self, you’re not ready to read the series from beginning to end, The Revelation of Baha’u’llah can also serve as a reference work. Say you are interested in learning more about The Seven Valleys. You can find the date of its revelation—1856—then proceed to the appropriate volume, in this case, Volume 1. By perusing either the table of contents or the useful index of “Tablets and Writings of Baha’u’llah,” you will find that Taherzadeh devotes an entire chapter to this significant book. It can be difficult to grasp Baha’u’llah’s Sufi-esque depiction of the soul’s journey, but Taherzadeh clarifies the mystical metaphors by describing exemplary disciples as representing certain valleys. For example, for the Valley of True Poverty and Absolute Nothingness, Taherzadeh portrays Siyyid Isma’il of Zavarih (Dhabih) as having reached this final valley. He recounts a story of Dhabih’s “spiritual intoxication” after Baha’u’llah revealed spiritual mysteries to him in Baghdad:

In order to pay homage to his Lord and to express his inner feelings of humility and self-effacement towards Him, Dhabih took upon himself the task of sweeping the approaches to the house of Baha’u’llah at the hour of dawn. In those days one of the duties of a servant in any household was to sweep a small portion of the path leading to the entrance of the house. As a token of humility and lowliness, however, Dhabih would, instead of using a brush, unwind his green turban, the ensign of his holy lineage, and with it would sweep the approaches of the house of Baha’u’llah. He would then place in the fold of his cloak the dust which the feet of his Beloved had trodden and, unwilling that others should tread on it, would carry it all the way to the river and throw it into its waters.

If you don’t have these four volumes brightening your bookshelf with their colorful covers, I definitely recommend seeing if you can borrow them from a friend, or perhaps your community has a library of Baha’i books. You can also purchase them here on Amazon.


 

  1. Source: https://bahaikipedia.org/Adib_Taherzadeh []

About the Author

Layli Miron

Layli and her husband Sergey moved to central Pennsylvania so she could pursue her dream of earning a PhD in rhetoric and composition. In the moments when she’s not writing or grading papers, she most enjoys spending time with Sergey. They collaborate on projects of a local nature, to serve the region’s Baha’i community, and of a global scope, expanding their knowledge through watching documentaries and traveling.

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Discussion 6 Comments

  1. Layli, words cannot express my thankfulness for you have written blog. It is truly an answer to prayer. I went immediately to Amazon upon your suggestion and have found another world open up to me. Ever since my declaration, Baha’u’llah”s writings have often been locked with a combination I couldn’t find the key for until now. These volumes of Mr. Taherzadeh finally, finally provide the rich insights into our beloved Baha’u’llah”s writings that I have been sorely lacking. These volumes do indeed clarify the mystical metaphors that I knew offered way more than I what I was understanding. Your promptings to introduce us readers to these four volumes are, I believe, divinely inspired! Now I can read and finally feel, I GET IT! Now I can’t read enough of Baha’u’llah”s prayers and meditations and its all because you introduced me to the Volumes of Mr. Taherzadeh! Did I say, “Thank You?” Thank You!

    1. Van Gig, thank you for expressing your appreciation for this article! I am so happy that you found the information about Adib Taherzadeh’s “Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh” useful and that you are now benefiting from these books. Your enthusiasm is inspirational!

      Best wishes for your continuing exploration of the Holy Writings!

  2. We have been doing a study group of these 4 volumes for many years now. We are following in Jackie Tobias’ footsteps who lived in Wilton Manors, Fl.
    She has passed on, but she is always in our prayers. I would like to encourage the Friends to start their own study groups of these four volumes. Mr. Taherzadeh was an exquisite Baha’i scholar and a spiritual giant. Our group is small here in So. Fl. We alternate every other Monday between the homes of the Friends in Margate and Tamarac Fl. Each and every time we meet, all of our hearts are uplifted from reading the healing words of Baha’u’llah. Our meetings are called Baha’i Devotional/Deepening/Potluck. The main purpose of the Study Group is, of course, deepening in the words of Baha’u’llah. But, coming closer, spiritually , to one another is a great side benefit. I am striving to lessen my vain imaginings and idle fancies. So, spending time with the Friends, and being of service are meaningful alternatives to being self-centered. Peace, joy, and contentment in His will. Leonard Sooman, Lsooman70@gmail.com; (954) 773 7113, Plantation, Fl.

    1. Leonard, what a wonderful gathering your community has! Thank you for sharing your vision for other Bahá’í communities to build study groups around Adib Taherzadeh’s “Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh.” Indeed, combining deepening on the Holy Writings with fellowship is an excellent way to strengthen our communities.

  3. Hello Layli, Thank your for your article. We served at the BWC in the 1990s, then we had 3 small children so my wife and I decided that we would attend one thing on our own, once a week. I chose Mr. Taherzadeh’s class which were held nearly every Sunday night for almost 7 years. Those attending were transfixed by his explanation of complex historical aspects of our Faith and his masterly storytelling. He rarely repeated himself, if he did it was important to listen. I have his precious signature on the inside cover of most of his books. When we recall him we should never forget his constant companion dear Lesley who was his collaborator and supporter. Warm Regards,

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