Some notes on the historical background of Bahá'u'lláh's Epistle to the Son of the Wolf

By Armin Eschragi

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #104
Centre for Bahá'í Studies: Acuto, Italy
July 9–12, 2011
(see list of papers from #104)

    In 1891 Bahá'u'lláh addressed a long message to the powerful Shiite leader residing in Isfahan, Nadjafí II. Shoghi Effendi translated the work under the title "Epistle to the Son of the Wolf" and described it as "the last outstanding Tablet revealed by the pen of Bahá'u'lláh," calling it the termination of His prodigious literary achievement. (God Passes By p. 219) In this work, the Founder of the Bahá'í Faith sums up His 40 year-long prophetic career. It contains valuable information on His own biography as well as on the early history of the Bábí-Bahá'í Faiths. Mainly quoting from earlier Writings, He also dwells on the major ethical concepts of His message as well as on principles for guiding society which He had announced to several political leaders some years earlier.

    Since the book is at its core Bahá'u'lláh's spiritual testament for the community of His believers and, in some sense, for whole mankind, the question rises why He would address such an important Tablet to Nadjafí II, who was possibly the most fierce enemy of His community by the time and responsible for the death of several martyrs. A study of the biography of Nadjafí II and the political circumstances of the time, particularly the situation of the Bahá'í community of Iran but also the general situation of the country and its population, allow us to come up with several possible explanations.

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