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All Bahai Writings and other books now on one page

 

Introduction to Reform Bahai Faith, A Talk Presented to the Troy Interfaith Group
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Bahai Writings, Secondary Works

 

Baha'u'llah

Selections from the Writings of Baha’u’llah

Prayers of Baha'u'llah

Spirit of the Age

Hidden Words From the Arabic of Baha’u’llah

Seven Valleys Translator, Julie Chanler.

Seven Valleys Translator, Ali Kuli Khan

Book of Ighan

Compilation of the Holy Utterances Boston, The Tudor press, 1918.

Tablet of Tarazat

Epistle to the Son of the Wolf

Tablet of the Holy Mariner Translator, Juan Cole

 

Abdul-Baha

Abdul-Baha's Authentic 1912 Covenant

Some Vital Bahai Principles

Selections from the Writings of Abdul-Baha

Prayers of Abdul-Baha

Spirit of the Age

At the Friends’ Meeting House

House of Worship

Abdu'l-Baha's "Treatise on Leadership" (on the separation of church and state)

Abdul-Baha on Marriage and Children

Some Answered Questions PDF

Tablets of Abdul-Baha, Vol I PDF or epub

Tablets of Abdul-Baha, Vol II PDF or epub

Tablets of Abdul-Baha, Vol III PDF or epub

The Promulgation of Universal Peace PDF

The Mysterious Forces of Civilization PDF

Remarks of Abdul-Baha (at the Free Religious Association, circa 1911)

Bahai Economic Principles

 

Early Bahai Sources

See Joel Bjorling, THE BAHA'I FAITH: A Historical Bibliography. GARLAND PUBLISHING, INC. NEW YORK & LONDON 1985. 168 pages.

Bahai Teaching 1918. A collection of early Bahai pamphets by Charles Mason Remey (See alphabetized below). Contains Abdul-Baha's 1912 Address Upon the Covenant, which has been suppressed by most other Bahai denominations, but to which the references to the "covenant" are intended by Abdul-Baha prior to his death in 1921, when he is not referring to his father's covenant. Also see Comments on Abdul-Baha's 1912 Covenant.

Star of the West, Vol 3 1912 to 1913 Contains Abdul-Baha's 1912 Address Upon the Covenant.

Star of the West, Vol 11 1920 to 1921 Contains Abdul-Baha's 1912 Address Upon the Covenant. Three crucial statements by Abdul-Baha published prior to his death in the Star of the West November 23, 1920, page 243:
“In New York City, July, 1912, Abdul-Baha said to several believers: ‘Any one quoting me must have authority written either with my own hand, or Tablets signed with my seal. Otherwise these statements do not belong to me. Every instruction, every teaching that I desire to spread I will write with my own hand. You must know this generally. Never accept any statement without my writing which is signed and sealed—any statement.”
“In Egypt, in August, 1913, Abdul-Baha stated (Mirza Ahmad Sohrab interpreting): ‘When in America I repeatedly said that no one must believe one word said by another regarding any commands, teachings or statements made by me unless they can produce the same in writing over my signature.”
“That which has come forth from the Center of the Covenant you must take fast hold of. That which issues from my lips and that which is written with my pen is the Reality. With this you can irrigate the vineyard of God. With this you can make the tree of the Cause of God become verdant. Through this Name the Kingdom of God will be spread all over the world. Through this the Sun of Reality will shine. Through this the clouds of Mercy will pour down. Whosoever utters a word you must ask: ‘Where is the authority of the Center of the Covenant? Show it.’ Without this you must not listen to him. If an angel comes down from heaven and has no authority from the Center of the Covenant, you must require his authority. Otherwise the vineyard will become withered and dry. This is the reality.”

Dr. C. (Charles) Ainsworth Mitchell. Report on the Writing Shown on the Photographs of the Alleged Will of Abdul-Baha. 1930. Certified Copy from the Library of Congress. "In my opinion these differences are not consistent with the signatures upon the envelope being in the writing of the writer of the authenticated signature." “That is to say, the writing does not agree with the hypothesis that it was all written by one person.” “A minute comparison of the authenticated writing with the writing on every page of the alleged will . . . has failed to detect in any part of the will the characteristics of the writing of Abdul-Baha, as shown in the authenticated specimens.”

 

Secondary Works by Early Reform Bahais

Ruhi Muhsen Afnan. Mysticism and the Baha'i Revelation: a Contrast. New York, 1934. ePub Notable for the clarity with which the universality of mysticism is coopted by power politics, a flaw his extended essay shares. Otherwise, a balanced, down-to-earth understanding of mysticism, though not fully informed by Baha'u'llah's writings, nor, crucially, Abdul-Baha's interpretation in the 20th Century (80):

Mysticism...

Ruhi M. Afnan. The Great Prophets: Moses, Zoroaster, Jesus [excerpts]. Philosophical Library. New York, 1960. 457 pages. Argues for universality but fails to achieve it, remaining ultimately bound to exclusivism.

Ruhi M. Afnan. Zoroaster's Influence on Greek Thought. Philosophical Library. New York, 1965. 436 pages.

Ruhi M. Afnan. Zoroaster's Influence on Anaxagoras, the Greek Tragedians, and Socrates. Philosophical Library. New York, 1969. 161 pages.

Ruhi M. Afnan. The Revelation of Baha'u'llah and the Bab. Book I. Descartes' Theory of Knowledge. Philosophical Library. New York, 1970. 222 pages. Both volumes are uniformed, as are Afnan's other books, particularly ironic in his case, by the implications of the fraudulent document of 1921.

Ruhi M. Afnan. Baha'u'llah and the Bab Confront Modern Thinkers. Book II. Spinoza: Concerning God. Philosophical Library. New York, 1969. 172 pages.

Ayati, Husayn "Avarih." Of special importance since he was the target of Bahai takfir, "shunning," by at least one Baha'i denomination. Kashf al-Hiyal. Volume 1. Volume 2. Volume 3.Tehran: Kitabfurushi-yi `Ilmi, 1326/1947.

Ayati, Husayn "Avarih." al-Kawakib ad-Durriyyah [Brilliant Stars]. Volume 1. Volume 2. (Cairo: Matba`at as-Sa`adah, 1923-1924).

Stanwood Cobb, The Essential Mysticism. The Four Seasons Company. Boston, 1918. 144 pages.

Thomas Kelly Cheyne, The Reconciliation of Races and Religions. 1914. [ascii text file, Gutenberg.org]

Thorton Chase, The Bahai Revelation. 1913. 181 pages.

Julie Chanler. From Gaslight to Dawn: An Autobiography. The New History Foundation, 1956. 413 pages.

Hippolyte Dreyfus, The Universal Religion: Bahaism, It's Rise and Social Import. 1909.

Mary Hanford Ford, The Oriental Rose, or Teachings of Abdul-Baha. 1910. 213 pages.

Mary Hanford Ford, The World of Abdul Baha. Fourth Edition. 64 pages.

Isabel Fraser [Chamberlain], Abdul-Baha on Divine Philosophy. THE TUDOR PRESS, 1911; 1918. 183 pages.

Horace Holley, The Modern Social Religion. London and Toronto. Sidwick and Jackson, 1913. 228 pages. PDF. ePub.

Julia M. Grundy, Ten Days in the Light of Acca. 1907. 111 pages.

Elizabeth Herrick, Unity Triumphant: The Call of the Kingdom. An Introduction to the Bahai Teachings and a Testimony of Faith in the Revelation of Baha'u'llah. London, 1923. 226 pages.

Eric Hammond, The Spledour of God: Being Extracts from the Sacred Writings of the Bahais. [Includes excerpts from The Hidden Words.] E. P. Dutton & Company. New York, 1909. 124 pages.

Elbert Hubbard, Hollyhocks and Goldenglow. 1912. 158 pages.

Jenabe Fazel Mazandarani. Several articles on spiritual universality. Author of a multi-volume study of Babi and Bahai: History of the Manifestation of Truth (Tarikh-i Zuhur al-Haqq). Nine Volumes. Written in Farsi. Jenabe Fazel's work was suppressed by Haifan Baha'is after the 3rd volume for presenting an independent, scholarly understanding of Babi and Bahai history. See his translated talks to American Bahais during the early 1920s.

Dr. C. (Charles) Ainsworth Mitchell - Certified Copy from the Library of Congress:
https://reformbahai.org/CAMitchell_Report.html
 

Myron H. Phelps, Life and Teachings of Abbas Effendi: A Study of the Religion of the Babis, or Baha'is. Founded by the Persian Bab and by His Successors, Baha’u’llah and Abbas Effendi. With an Introduction by Edward Granville Browne, G. P. Putnam's Sons New York and London 1912. 243 pages.

Charles Mason Remey, The Bahai Movement: A Series of 19 Papers Upon. Press of J. D. Milans & Sons. Washington D. D., 1912. 115 pages.

Mirza Ahmad Sohrab. Broken Silence. The Story of Today's Struggle for Religious Freedom. New York: Universal Publishing, 1942. 188 pages. Essential reading for anyone who wishes to begin to understand Bahai history as it actually happened. Note well that the Haifan Baha'i Faith rewrites history as it suits its purposes and has done so since 1921. In addition to the many works below, Mirza Ahmad Sohrab also edited and published a very popular, large volume titled Bible of Mankind in 1939, which includes excerpts from all of the major world religions, and a number of other books.

Mirza Ahmad Sohrab. Abdul Baha in Egypt. New York: J. H. Sears & Co. for The New History Foundation, 1929. 390 pages.
A crucial book that has been swept aside by most other Bahai denominations. Sohrab documents how much Abdul-Baha was still living within a Muslim milieu, unable to understand the full implications of Baha'u'llah's and his own teachings on universality, for instance, in regard to Buddhism and Hinduism, even while he was dedicated to promoting "the ideal of Universal Peace and the solidarity of the human race" (102). Key passages, "In this Cause there is no religious title, no ceremonies of ordination" (87). "In this Movement there is no title to be given to anyone, and no position to be inherited" (87). Not limited to a "special community to the exclusion of others" (113). Essential reading for anyone who wishes to begin to understand Bahai history. Note well that in his "official" biography of Abdul-Baha, H. M. Balyuzi leaves out Sohrab's extensive documentation of Abdul-Baha's life during this period, after his having spoken all over Europe and the United States, further demonstrating the disstorting of Bahai history by the Haifan Baha'is in order to deceive people into believing in the fraudulent will and testament of 1921. This book also makes clear why Shoghi Effendi must have felt threatened with the exposure of his criminal acts and "excommunicated" Sohrab.

Mirza Ahmad Sohrab. I Heard Him Say. Words of Abdul Baha as Recorded by his Secretary. New York: The New History Foundation, 1937. 126 pages.

Mirza Ahmad Sohrab. The Will and Testament of Abdul Baha, An Analysis. New York: Universal Publishing, 1944. 125 pages. A highly insightful analysis of the document, though perhaps its one shortcoming is Sohrab's attempt to placate Shoghi Effendi, if in fact he did. Essential reading

Mirza Ahmad Sohrab. The Story of the Divine Plan. Taking Place during, and immediately following World War I. New York: The New History Foundation, 1947. Digitally republished, East Lansing, Mi.: H-Bahai, 2004.
>https://www.h-net.org/~bahai/diglib/books/P-T/S/sohrab/SDP.htm

Mirza Ahmad Sohrab. My Bahai Pilgrimage. Autobiography from Childhood to Middle Age. New York: New History Foundation, 1959. 134 pages.

Mirza Ahmad Sohrab. Abdul Baha's Grandson: Story of a Twentieth Century Excommunication. New York: Universal Publishing for The New History Foundation, 1943. Reprinted. H-Bahai: Lansing, Michigan, 2004. 179 pages.
https://www.h-net.org/~bahai/diglib/books/P-T/S/sohrab/ABG.htm - Or here."Those who have studied the talks and writings of Ruhi Effendi can see very clearly that this material could not have been pleasing to the administration, for it contained an inherent liberality and tolerance which did not fit into a totalitarian pattern... He seemed to be of the old order of Abdul-Baha, which is synonymous with being of the new order of a world society; and he constituted a threat [italics and bold added] to the system which had chosen to forget the universality in the Cause" (169). One might find it helpful to read Abdul Baha's Grandson prior to Ruhi Afnan's book on mysticism and other works. Essential reading

Francis Henry Skrine, Bahaism: The Religion of Brotherhood, and its place in the evolution of creeds. 1912. 72 pages.

Sydney Sprague, The Story of the Bahai Movement: A Universal Religion. Second Edition, Revised. 1908. 20 pages. ePub.

Elthel J. Rosenberg, A Brief Account of the Bahai Movement. The Bahai Society of London, 1911. 30 pages.

Albert Vail, Heroic Lives in Universal Religion. Beacon Press, 1917.

Ruth White. Ruth White Collection, Library of Congress, 1930. Documents regarding the fraudulent will and testament of 1921 and deposited by White with the Library of Congress for safe-keeping. Essential reading

Ruth White. Appendix "Is the Bahai Organization the Enemy of the Bahai Religion?"1929. (An Appendix to her early work Abdul-Baha and the Promised Age. J. J. Little and Ives Company, 1927. 224 pages.)

Ruth White. "Abdul Baha's Alleged Will is Fraudulent: An Appendix" to The Bahai Religion and Its Enemy, the Bahai Organization. 21. Rutland, Vt.: The Tuttle Co., 1930.

Ruth White. Bahai Leads Out of the Labyrinth. Universal Publishing Company, 1944. 259 pages. (pages 257, 258, 259 restored)

Ruth White. Abdul Baha's Questioned Will and Testament. Beverly Hills: White, 1946. 139 pages.  Essential reading for understanding what transpired in 1921. In terms of the fraudulence of the document, White is ultimately much more insightful on what took place than Sohrab.

Hermann Zimmer, A Fraudulent Testament: Devalues the Bahai Religion Into Political Shoghism. 1973. 

Universal Principles of the Bahai Movement: Social, Economic, Governmental. Persian-American Bulletin. McLanchen Bank Building, 1912. 59 pages. [See 2008 edition at bottom.]

 

Recommended Works on Babi and Bahai History

Studies of Babi and Bahai history have long suffered from hagiography, apologetics, and revisionism. Most of the works listed below avoid such shortcomings, are objective, critical, scholarly books and articles, and offer a fresh approach for the 21st Century.

A cautionary note on a popular Bahai novel. Historians and scholars of ability have been universal in their criticism of The Dawn-Breakers, as in Dr. Denis MacEoin's article below. Properly speaking, Shoghi Effendi turned Nabil's brief 70-page narrative of Babi history into a vaguely historical romance of over 700 pages, ignoring that much of the actual teaching and practice of the Bab was emphatically condemned and repudiated by both Baha'u'llah ("The excesses of some at the beginning of the cause were like devastating, ruinous winds that cast down the saplings of trust and hope") and Abdul-Baha ("The decree of the Bayan was the striking of necks, the burning of books and papers, the destruction of shrines, and the universal slaughter of all save those who believed and were faithful").

Far from idealizing and misrepresenting Babism, the Reform Bahai Faith is based on the actual history, words, and interpretations of Baha'u'llah and Abdul-Baha, not the Bab or an Iranian Shiite imamate clothed in more Western language as a "guardian," "shunning" for takfir, etc. Compare Abdul-Baha in Egypt: "In this Movement there is no title to be given to anyone, and no position to be inherited (87).

Abbas Amanat, Resurrection and Renewal: The Making of the Babi Movement in Iran, 1844-1850. Cornell University Press, 1989. The first work in English that presents Babi and Bahai history in objectively modern terms.

Abul Fazl Gulpaygan, The Brilliant Proof: In Reply to an Attack Upon the Bahai Movement by Peter Z. Easton. English and Farzi Edition. 1912. 37 pages.

Edward Granville Browne. Materials for the Study of the Babi Religion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1919. Browne's work is especially important for preserving the historical record.

Edward Granville Browne, trans. The Tarikh-i-Jadid, or New History of Mirza 'Ali Muhammad The Bab. By Mirza Huseyn Hamadani. Translated by Edward G. Browne. Cambridge: University Press, 1893.

Edward Granville Browne. A Year Amongst the Persians. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1927. [First published A & C Black, Ltd., 1893].

Hippolyte Dreyfus, The Universal Religion: Bahaism, It's Rise and Social Import. 1909. 175 pages.

Edward Granville Browne. Materials for the Study of the Babi Religion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1919. Browne's work is especially important for preserving the historical record.

Edward Granville Browne, trans. The Tarikh-i-Jadid, or New History of Mirza 'Ali Muhammad The Bab. By Mirza Huseyn Hamadani. Translated by Edward G. Browne. Cambridge: University Press, 1893.

Edward Granville Browne. A Year Amongst the Persians. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1927. [First published A & C Black, Ltd., 1893].

Juan R. I. Cole, Modernity and the Millennium : The Genesis of the Baha'i Faith in the Nineteenth-Century Middle East. Columbia University Press, 1998. Review. Especially insightful of Baha'u'llah's response to the tension between traditional Islam and modernity. Observes that the Baha'i administration has increasingly come under the control of fundamentalists, "stressing scriptural literalism . . . theocracy, censorship, intellectual intolerance, and denying key democratic values" (196). (Other important articles by Professor Cole are available on his academic website, two of which are cited below.)

Juan Cole, "The Baha'i Faith in America as Panopticon, 1963-1997": The Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 37, No. 2 (June 1998): 234-248.

Juan Cole, "Fundamentalism in the Contemporary U.S. Baha'i Community,"  Religious Studies Review, Vol. 43, no. 3 (March, 2002):195-217.

Denis Martin MacEoin, From Shaykhism to Babism: A Study in Charismatic Renewal in Shi'i Islam. 1979 dissertation. A scholar of outstanding intellectual integrity, perhaps the most compelling, independent, modern view of Babi and Bahai history.

Denis Martin MacEoin, From Babism to Baha'ism: Problems of Militancy, Quietism, and Conflation in the Construction of a Religion. Religion Vol. 13 (1983): 219-55.

Sen McGlinn. Church and State: A postmodern political theology. Leiden, 2005. Though flawed in some particulars, McGlinn's book offers a fresh approach to Baha'u'llah's Teachings for the 21st century. The Appendix contains his translation of Abdul-Baha's "Sermon on the Art of Governance," advocating the separation of church and state. Juan Cole has also translated the same document as "A Treatise on Leadership. Like other key documents by Abdul-Baha, it has been entirely suppressed by Haifan Baha'is. See Review.

William Garlington. The Bahai Faith in America. Praeger. 2005. c.221p. bibliog. index. ISBN 0-275-98413-3.  "Vocal and liberal Baha'is of the type mentioned in this study appear to be an ever-decreasing minority" (184). Review.

Samuel Graham Wilson, Bahaism and Its Claims. Fleming H. Revell Company. London and Edinboro, 1915. 298 pages.

 

Reform Bahai Press

UPThe Universal Principles of the Reform Bahai Faith. Baha'u'llah & Abdul-Baha. Edited by Frederick Glaysher. A new Introduction and the original 1912 Foreword. Reform Bahai Press, 2008. 148 pages. $11.99. Paperback: ISBN-13: 9780967042107 - ISBN-10: 0967042100. Amazon: Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle. Barnes & Noble (print & Nook).

The Universal Principles of the Reform Bahai Faith collects many of the early writings of Baha'u'llah and Abdul-Baha, published in the West, seeking to restore and preserve their vision of the oneness of God, humanity, and all religions.

In addition to all of the 1912 Universal Principles of the Bahai Movement, the book includes Baha'u'llah's Arabic Hidden Words, selections known as the Spirit of the Age, an address by Abdul-Baha at the Friends' Meeting House in London in 1913, and many Bahai prayers for community and individual worship and meditation.

Though beginning in 2004, the Reform Bahai Faith traces its origin to the early Bahais Ruth White, Mirza Ahmad Sohrab, and Julie Chanler, who sought to preserve the teachings of Abdul-Baha after his passing in 1921. They and other early American Bahais understood the Bahai Faith was being turned into an oppressive organization, under what the British Museum document expert Dr. C. Ainsworth Mitchell judged to be a fraudulent will and testament.

A VisionLetters from the American Desert: Signposts of a Journey, A Vision.
Frederick Glaysher. ISBN: 9780967042114. 0967042119. Hardcover. Preface. Earthrise Press, 2008. 172 pages. $21.95. Available through the online booksellers above. Amazon: Hardcover, Kindle. Barnes & Noble

Twenty years in the making, in Letters from the American Desert, the book reflects on the cultural, political, and religious history of Western and non-Western civilizations, pondering the dilemmas of postmodernity, in a compelling struggle for spiritual knowledge and truth. In what is a highly autobiographical work, fully cognizant of the relativism and nihilism of modern life, it finds a deeper meaning and purpose in the Sufi-Zen-like mystical, universal Vision of Baha’u’llah. Confronting the antinomies of the soul, grounded in the dialectic, charting a path beyond the postmodern desert.

Alluding extensively to Martin Luther and W. B. Yeats at All Souls Chapel, “metaphors for poetry,” from Yeats’s book A Vision, the author considers the example of the global, universal, moderate form of the Bahai Teachings as interpreted by Abdul-Baha, Baha’u’llah’s son, who had spoken throughout the West in Europe, England, and the United States from 1911 to 1913.

Abdul-Baha’s message of the oneness of God, all religions, and humankind holds out a new hope and peaceful Vision for a world in spiritual and global crisis.

Far from a theocracy, the author envisions a modest separation of church and state, as the will of God, in an unorganized religion, a universal synthesis of all spiritual and wisdom traditions, in harmony and balance with universal peace, in a global age of pluralism, where religious belief is a distinctive mark of the individual, not collective, communal identity.

In addition to the letters written to Mrs. Elinor Gaines, an older Bahai from Rochester, Michigan, during the late 1980s to mid '90s, reflecting on literary and cultural matters, as well as Bahai, the book includes the 95 Theses, On Bahai Liberty, the Reform Bahai Articles, Abdul-Baha's 1912 Covenant, and book reviews of Juan Cole, William Garlington, and Sen McGlinn, along with other writings relevant to the Reform Bahai Faith. Like the 1912 Covenant, "A Response to Takfir" goes to the heart of the issue.

Reviews

"A valuable contribution to understanding the real history of the Bahai Faith." Yahoo! Reform Bahai Group

"Mr. Glaysher, in my view, is taking some positive steps to resolve some serious issues in the Baha'i community. The Faith needs a total overhaul. It has forgotten what the real Faith is." —Joel Bjorling, author of The Baha'i Faith: A Historical Bibliography. New York. Garland Publishing, 1985.

"Riveting! I was unable to put it down until completion in the wee hours. As the journey of the writer took many years to complete, it reminded me, too, of my Bahai journey. Strangely, I had never remembered seeing Abdu'-Baha's 1912 Covenant, anywhere. Where was it hidden? Is there more such documented evidence being suppressed?"Reform Bahai Faith Forum