Bahá'í Sacred Writings
In 1852, while confined in a dungeon in Persia (present-day Iran) for His religious and social teachings, Baha’u’llah experienced the rarest and most cherished of religious events: outwardly human in other respects, He was summoned by God to bring to humanity a new religious revelation. The event is comparable to those great moments of the ancient past when God revealed Himself to His earlier Messengers: when Moses stood before the Burning Bush; when the Buddha received enlightenment under the Bodhi tree; when the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, descended upon Jesus; and when the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Muhammad.
In addition to the writings of Baha'u'llah, Baha'is also recognize as divine scripture the writings of His Herald, the Bab (Siyyid Ali Muhammad, 1819-1850); the Quran; the Old and New Testaments; and the sacred writings of Buddhism, Hinduism and Zoroastrianism.
The process of revelation
Baha’u’llah authored thousands of books, tablets, and letters that today comprise the sacred scripture of the Baha’i Faith. A unique feature of the revelation of Baha’u’llah is the authenticity of its scripture. Unlike the teachings of Christ, for example, which were written down by others decades after they were uttered, the words of Baha’u’llah were recorded and authenticated at the time they were revealed.
The process of revelation—as Baha’is term the act of bringing forth the Word of God—is described in numerous historical documents. One observer recorded the following: "Mirza Aqa Jan (Baha’u’llah's personal secretary) had a large ink-pot the size of a small bowl. He also had available about ten to twelve pens and large sheets of paper in stacks. In those days all letters that arrived for Baha’u’llah were received by Mirza Aqa Jan. He would bring these into the presence of Baha’u’llah and, having obtained permission, would read them. Afterwards [Baha’u’llah] would direct him to take up his pen and record the tablet that was revealed in reply. . . .Such was the speed with which he used to write the revealed Word that the ink of the first word was scarcely yet dry when the whole page was finished. It seemed as if someone had dipped a lock of hair in the ink and applied it over the whole page."
Baha’u’llah wrote thousands of documents in Persian and Arabic, which if compiled, would constitute more than 100 volumes. The principal works that have been translated and published in English include:
- The Most Holy Book (Kitab-i-Aqdas), the chief repository of the laws and institutions that Baha’u’llah prescribed for a future world civilization
- The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, a collection of weighty letters that Baha’u’llah wrote to the world leaders of His time, including Emperor Napoleon III, Queen Victoria, Czar Alexander II, Pope Pius IX, and Sultan Abdul-Aziz, in which He openly proclaimed His station, announced the dawn of a new age, and warned of catastrophic upheavals if they failed to act collectively to establish a just world order.
- Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, a compilation of representative passages on a wide variety of subjects.
- Prayers and Meditations, a compilation of prayers and meditations