|Kitáb-i-Aqdas from the Viewpoint of Shoghi Effendi|
Presented by Cyrus Ala'i [click here to read this paper online]
Kitáb-i-Aqdas--the Most Holy Book--may well be regarded as the brightest emanation of the mind of Bahá'u'lláh, as the Mother Book of His Dispensation and the Charter of His New World Order.
Kitáb-i-Aqdas is not an ordinary book, to be reviewed in a single paper, whatever the extent of it. Numerous articles and books have already been written, describing and investigating various facets of this extraordinary work which contains only some 10,000 words in its original Arabic edition and about 20,000 words in the English translation.
However, the commentaries of Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith, in particular those that appeared in his unique work God Passes By, are of exceptional value and are paramount for appreciating the importance and discovering the hidden treasures of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, a book designated by its Author as the "Source of True Felicity," the "Unerring Balance," the "Straight Path," and the "Quickener of Mankind."
In this paper, first, some basic facts about the Kitáb-i-Aqdas will be established. Thereafter, the commentaries of the Guardian, taken from forty-eight different pages of God Passes By and categorized in nine topics, will be studied and discussed.
These topics include:
- How the Kitáb-i-Aqdas was created and its magnitude
- The previous tablets, heralding the creation of the Most Holy Book
- Later treatises and tablets which are considered as the addenda to this mighty work
- References to the rulers (kings and presidents) and to the learned (ecclesiastical leaders)
- The laws and ordinances
- Prophecies and projections
- The Bahá'í Faith is an independent religion
Transliteration of Oriental Terms in the English Bahá'í Literature
Presented by Cyrus Ala'i
In his letter of March 12, 1923 to the Western Bahá'í Shoghi Effendi wrote: "On another page is given the list of the best known and most current Bahá'í terms, and other Oriental names and expressions, all property and accurately transliterated, the faithful spelling of which by all the Western friends will avoid confusion in future, and ensure in this matter a uniformity which is greatly needed at present in all Bahá'í literature..." ('Transliteration' means writing words or letters in the letters of a different alphabet, as from Arabic/Persian into Roman letters.)
At present, although the uniformity of spelling in Bahá'í literature has been restored, the accuracy of pronunciation has declined. The Western readers have shown little interest in learning the presented code. Instead, they are inclined to pronounce these terms as if they were written in conventional English.
This paper briefly compares the alphabets of Arabic, Persian and English, examining which letters represent what phonemes and vice versa. Thereafter, the transliteration system adopted for Bahá'í literature is compared with the other Oriental transliteration schemes which are most widely used by the English-speaking societies.
Based on the above investigation, one may conclude that there is little point in switching to any other system of transliteration for the Bahá'í literature, as there is no clear advantage for such a move and several major disadvantages.
However, a few other effective improvements have been suggested and discussed in detail which may prove useful in fulfilling the noble desire of the Guardian and rendering a service to the Bahá'í literature in English. In particular, it has been argued that we should make use of ever-increasing Anglicized Oriental terms which are replacing the transliterated versions in the English-speaking world.
Bahá'u'lláh's Lawh-i-Hertik or the Tablet to Hardegg: Tablets to Christians, Part I
Presented by Kamran Ekbal and Stephen Lambden [click here to read this paper online]
Lawh-i-Hertik, as the Tablet addressed to Georg David Hardegg is usually called, contains in an open and straightforward manner the proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh as the Promised One and the return of the Father to earth. The recipient, one of the two leaders of the Wurttemberg Templers of Germany who arrived in Palestine, expecting the coming of the Lord, in the same year as Bahá'u'lláh, is addressed in a very friendly manner and is given advice by which the validity of Bahá'u'lláh's claims may be recognized. He also is warned not to make the same errors of the Pharisees, who neglected the validity of Christ's own claims.
This paper will discuss the contents of the Tablet addressed to Hardegg and provide information both about the Templers and the recipient of the Tablet.
Most Great Prison, The: An Historical Outlook on the City of 'Akká
Presented by Kamran Ekbal
'Akká is one of the most ancient cities of the world, which has been inhabited without interruption since the early ages. Its strategic position on the military route connecting Asia with Africa, as well as its significance as one of the best harbors on the eastern Mediterranean, turned it into a melting pot of different peoples, cultures, and religions that dwelled within its walls: Jews, Zoroastrians, Greeks, Romans, Christians and Moslems.
In this general review, special importance will be given to the Ottoman period and to some of its major buildings that played a role during the early Bahá'í history of the city.
Metaphysics: Historical Perspectives and Bahá'í Horizons
Presented by Ali Kassem
In the long history of (mainly Western) philosophy, no subject has been so ill-defined and yet so controversial as metaphysics. Indeed, over the last few hundred years, much debate has centered around the question of whether such a subject can be usefully studied at all, or whether it is "nothing but sophistry and illusion." From a Bahá'í studies perspective, very little work has been done in this challenging area, and of that little, virtually nothing has been done to define the subject, discuss some of the controversies and lay, as it were, the foundation for future, more elaborate discussions.
This paper has three main aims. First, it will discuss the nature of metaphysics from an historical perspective to outline and consider some (though by no means all) of the most significant definitions and to trace the evolution of the subject over time. We will also consider some of its most outspoken critics and long standing controversies.
Secondly, we will attempt to consider what Bahá'í responses to the above definitions could be, to try and unearth dimensions of a possible Bahá'í metaphysics, and to consider its place in modern thought.
Finally, we will review the current Bahá'í literature, and to discuss possible Bahá'í directions and avenues for future study.
From Alwáh to Ziyara: The Literary Forms of the Writings of the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh
Presented by Stephen Lambden
The extensive Persian and Arabic writings of Sayyid 'Alí Muhammad, the Báb (1819-1850), and Mírzá Husayn 'Alí Núrí, Bahá'u'lláh (18171892), are extant in a variety of literary forms believed by their authors and by their followers (the Bábís and Bahá'ís) to encapsulate ahy ('divine revelation'). These revelations are sometimes identified by means of such time-honoured terms as Kitáb ("Book"), Lawh (pl. alwáh, "Tablet"), Surah (loosely "Chapter" and Sahífa ("Sheet," "Epistle")and so on, which often have their roots in Abrahamic ("Semitic") scriptural terminology and literatures. Born out of the Sh'i Islamic world, Bábí-Bahá'í scripture is most centrally and directly rooted in this Islamic literary heritage.
Both the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh variously identified the totality of their writings: among other terms the words sha'n (p]. shu'n, 'modes,' 'grades') and Bahán ('Exposition,' 'Clarification') are significant in this respect. They not infrequently gave specific designations and titles to revealed texts within their multifaceted writings. In his early Kitáb al-fihrist ('Book of the Index,' 1846 CE) the Báb actually lists his writings up to the time of composition in terms of their titles and date. A few examples of titles utilizing past terminology used in Bábí-Bahá'í in sacred writings are Sahífa bayn al-haramayn ('Epistle between the Two Shrines'), Lawh-i-'Ayyúb (=Surat al-Sabr), 'The Tablet of Job' (='The Surah of Patience'), Lawh-i-haft pursish ('Tablet of the Seven Questions'); Surat al-Huriyya ('The Surah of the Maiden'). Two hundred or more revelations of the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh have specific author designated titles. In this paper the background, significance and translation of the varying terms used to identify their sometimes dictated revelations will be undertaken along with a brief overview of the novel forms or alternative forms of the basmalah ('In the name of...') and divine affirmation ('He is...').
Lawh-i-Ru'yá (Tablet of Vision)
Presented by Stephen Lambden [click here to read this paper online]
The Lawh-i-Ru'yá was revealed in the House of 'Udi Khammar in 'Akká for an apparently Bahá'í believer referred to by Bahá'u'lláh as "My Name" (=Husayn?). In various sources this Tablet is said to date nineteen years prior to the ascension of Bahá'u'lláh in 1308 AH and to the (eve of) the anniversary of the birthday of the Báb in the year to 1290 AH, 1873 CE. A four page or so, wholly Arabic Tablet, the Lawh-i-Ru'yá is a multifaceted, largely commemoratory Tablet. It opens with the following paragraph in which a heavenly vision (Arabic = ru'yá) is introduced and headed by the words, "In My Name, that warbleth upon the twigs (afnán)"--the word Afnan being suggestive of the "twigs" or "branches" of the Tree of the family of the Báb:
 "My Name! Hearken unto My Call which cometh from the precincts of the heavenly Throne (al-'arsh) that it might enable thee to attain unto the shore of an opulent Ocean; the fathomless deep of which no swimmer (sabbah) hath ever attained. And Thy Lord is assuredly One Knowing and Generous.  We indeed desired to cast Our Bounty upon thee by making mention of that which We visioned.  This to the end that thou mayest witness the Luminous World (al-'álam al-núrání) in this nether world of darkness (al-'álam al-zalmání) and be firmly assured that for Us there is many a world within this mortal world. Then render thanks unto Thy Lord, the Well-Informed.  If He desired that He might cause the rays of the Sun to appear from a tiny atom (al-qatra), He is assuredly capable of this; even as He hath enabled the knowledge of what was and what is to emerge from a single Point (al-nuqta)!"Speaking as if enthroned upon the celestial "Throne" (al-'arsh), Bahá'u'lláh states that he is going to recount his vision (ru'yá). This that the recipient of the Tablet might thereby gain a glimpse of the celestial world of lights while yet in this mortal world. The following thirteen paragraphs (II-XIV) of the Tablet recount aspects of a mystical vision centering upon the symbolic tale of a "Luminous Maiden" (waraqat al-núrání, lit. 'Luminous Leaf,' 'Nightingale') clad in a "snow-white robe" and appearing as the "full moon" (al-Badr). This "Maiden" symbolizes the Reality of Bahá'u'lláh, Who, as a Manifestation of God, is also mystically "One" with his forerunner the Báb (also a "Maiden") whose birthday is being allusively commemorated. The relationship of oneness and heraldship between the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh is also celebrated in the course of the symbolic and sometimes prophetic vision. We read at one point (VIII), for example:
"[1) We investigated the depth of her Countenance and discovered the Hidden Point (al-nuqtah al-mastúrah) [the Báb] neath the Veil of Unicity (hijáb al-wáhidiyya), radiating forth from the horizon of her Bosom (ufq al-jayb)."Note also these lines:
" Then did the Temple of God (haykal Alláh) [=Bahá'u'lláh] rise up and walk forth [21 whereon the Maiden [=the Báb] also did walk along behind, listening, trembling and enraptured at the verses of her Lord."Between the main body of the narrative of the vision of the Maiden is an ongoing (and once variant) refrain giving exaltation to God Who originated thecelestial, incomparable, exquisitely beautiful 'Maiden.' This occurs throughout most of the account of the vision and usually reads: "Exalted be God, her Originator (mawjuduha), for no eye hath ever beheld anything like unto her!"
Towards the end of the vision (paragraph XIV) there is, according to the interpretation of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, a figurative prophecy of Bahá'u'lláh's ascension. We read of a "most secreted mystery" (al-sirr al-mustasirr), foreshadowing the passing of Bahá'u'lláh (in 1892) into the worlds of the afterlife:
"Thereupon did the Maiden [=the Báb] bow her head and place her Countenance upon her two fingers.  It was as if the new Moon [=the Báb] (al-hilál)was conjoined with a wholly full Moon [=Bahá'u'lláh] (al-badr al-tamám). I I) Thereupon she wailed and exclaimed, 'May all in existence be a sacrifice for Thy woes (balá'), 0 Sovereign of earth and heaven!  Wherefore didst Thou set Thyself amongst such as are in the city of 'Akká?  Hasten Thou unto Thine other realms (mamálikaka al-ukhrá); unto [Thy) retreats on high (al-maqámá) whereon the eyes of the people of names have never fallen...'"With this prophetic allusion to his leaving the mortal world, Bahá'u'lláh comments by saying, "At this We smiled"!
The Lawh-i-Ru'yá concludes with a plea that its symbolism be contemplated by the Bahá'ís, the "possessors of knowledge among the companions of the Crimson Ark (asháb safinat al-hamrá')." It is clearly stated that the Tablet was "a commemoration (al-dhikr) which "coincided with the day in which the Herald (mubashshir) [= the Báb] was born, who cried out after My [Bahá'u'lláh's] Remembrance (bi-dhikrí) and Our Sovereignty (sultání)." The Báb had given the people news of the manifestation and identity of Bahá'u'lláh, the guarded mystery of the "Greatest Name" of God. The Day of God was honoured with another dispensation: the Bahá'í Faith followed that of the Báb. The people were tested and "thunderstruck" with bewilderment. Yet, all might attain truth, for "This Day every seeker attaineth the Desired One (al-maqsúd), every mystic aspirant ('árif) achieveth Real Gnosis (al-ma'rúf) and every wayfarer reacheth the Straight Path."
A brief prayer of thanksgiving concludes the Tablet.
NOTE: All translations are provisional, so too most of the interpretations suggested above. For further details see Stephen Lambden, "Traces From the Musk-Scented Pen" (forthcoming).
Lawh-i-Tibb (Tablet of Medicine)
Presented by Stephen Lambden
The Arabic and Persian text of Bahá'u'lláh's 'Tablet of Medicine' (Lawh-i-Tibb) is to be dated to the early 'Akká period of his ministry (early 1870s?). It was addressed to a Bahá'í named Mírzá Muhammad Ridá'-yi Tabib-i Yazdí, a physician of the traditional school. The text was first published in Cairo in the early 1920s and is in two parts:  an Arabic part which largely revolves around the subject of medical treatment and  a Persian section which sets forth admonitions to Bahá'ís, designed to increase their level of wisdom, devotion and service.
Only a few portions of the Lawh-i-Tibb have been translated into English, most notably in the Bahá'í magazine Star of the West 13/9 (December 1922; the translator of select lines from the Arabic is unnamed) and in John Esslemont's classic introductory work Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era (see chapter VII, 'Health and Healing'), which was first published in 1923. There is to date no authorized translation of the whole of the Lawh-i-Tibb though a number of provisional translations into various languages have been attempted.
Certain of the directives in the opening Arabic section of the Lawh-i-Tibb are in line with modern health guidelines. Others, however, are in accordance with the ancient, time-honoured directives of traditional or Graeco-Arabic medicinal practice: importance, for example, being given to dietary practices consonant with the balancing of the four humours (blood, black bile, phlegm, and yellow bile) of the human constitution. The admonitions of the Lawh-i- Tibb echo those medical maxims and pieces of useful advice (fawa'id) found in a variety of Greek and Islamic literatures.
Though the Qur'án contains little or no explicit medicine--neither the word doctor/physician nor medicine are mentioned therein--this is more than made up for in the Sunni and Shí'í hadith literatures. It is from within this Graeco-Islamic background that much of the Lawh-i-Tibb is best understood, for the recipient of the Tablet was a nineteenth-century physician of Yazd familiar with the terminology and methods of ancient medicine.
While in his Kitáb-i-Aqdas and elsewhere Bahá'u'lláh advises the sick to consult competent physicians, in the Lawh-i-Tibb they are advised to utilize "established means" (bi'l-asbab). The importance of a spiritual dimension in medical practice is also highlighted in various ways. It is in the opening, Arabic section of the Lawh-i-Tibb that the well-known heating prayer is found, which commences, "Thy Name is my healing, 0 My God..." The opening section of the Lawh-i-Tibb also has it that true medicine is "the most noble of the sciences."
The Persian section of the Lawh-i-Tibb opens with a salutation to the Bahá'í friends and focuses upon the importance of "two decrees":  the utilization of "wisdom" and "utterance" and  "steadfastness" in the Bahá'í Cause. The person who attains these "two" qualities is numbered among the exalted "dwellers within the City of Immortality" (madínah-yi baqá). At the close of the Persian section Bahá'u'lláh states that it is the guiding of souls to "the immortal Faith of God" which is the act of greatest importance in the sight of God.
Bedrock of Bahá'í Belief, The: The Doctrine of Progressive Revelation
Presented by Zaid Lundberg [click here to read this paper online]
According to Ninian Smart, the doctrinal dimension is (together with the experiential, mythic, ethical, ritual, and social) a major dimension of any religion. Thus, it is arguably true that doctrinal studies (usually known as "systematic theology," or "dogmatism") are crucial for understanding and developing a Bahá'í theology. Compared to the other world religions, the Bahá'í Faith has, on the one hand, very meager mythical and ritual dimensions, but on the other hand, it has quite elaborate doctrinal, ethical, and social dimensions.
With regard to the doctrinal dimension, it is Bahá'u'lláh's Kitáb-i-Íqán, which, according to Shoghi Effendi, occupies a position "of unsurpassed preeminence among the doctrinal ... writings of the Author of the Bahá'í Dispensation." More importantly, Adib Taherzadeh writes that the Kitáb-i-Íqán has "unfolded the pattern and disclosed the meaning of progressive revelation." It is also especially noteworthy that 'Abdu'l-Bahá, during his travels to Europe and North America, enumerates a set of various Bahá'í principles (one being "the oneness of religion"), and that Shoghi Effendi, more specifically and repeatedly, states that "the fundamental principle which constitutes the Bedrock of Bahá'í belief" is "the principle that religious truth is not absolute but relative, that Divine Revelation is orderly, continuous and progressive and not spasmodic or final." But, since the doctrinal dimension of the Bahá'í Faith has only recently been emphasized in Bahá'í scholarship, it is only natural the principle of progressive revelation should have remained largely unexplored, and it is therefore important to take notice of Jack McLean's words, that:
... there is still no major scholarly work in Bahá'í perspective on this most vital theme [the oneness of religion], which along with the oneness of humanity, is the most distinctive and characteristically Bahá'í teaching. Neither is there yet any major scholarly work on progressive revelation, one of the grand themes of Bahá'u'lláh's preeminent doctrinal work the Kitáb-i-Íqán.The purpose of this paper is therefore to: 1) introduce the doctrinal dimension of religious studies--especially the function of doctrine, 2) investigate the Bahá'í usage of the technical term "progressive revelation," 3) analyze whether the principle of progressive revelation can be evaluated as a central Bahá'ídoctrine, and 4) survey the process of "doctrinalization" in Bahá'í history.
Revisioning the Sacred: New Perspectives on a Bahá'í Theology, p. xv
Fire Tablet (Lawh-i-Ihtiraq) and the Tablet of the Land of Ba (Lawh-i-Arz-i-Ba), The
Presented by Moojan Momen
These are two tablets of Bahá'u'lláh revealed in the early 'Akká period and relating to specific historical episodes. In this presentation, therefore, we will discuss both the content and the historical context of these tablets.
The first tablet is generally called "The Fire Tablet" in the West while in the Middle East it is referred to by its opening words "Qad lhtaraq al-Mukhlisn." It contains a revealing and compelling glimpse of the turmoil caused within Bahá'u'lláh's inner being at the time when the problems with the Azalis in 'Akká were coming to a head towards the end of 1871. It is in the form of an exchange between Bahá'u'lláh and God. Bahá'u'lláh laments His present condition and implores God's intervention. God responds by encouraging Bahá'u'lláh's fortitude in the face of His tribulations, pointing out that these events are indeed part of God's plan and are necessary if God's purpose is to be fulfilled. The abasement and tribulations suffered by God's Manifestation is the means whereby the glory and sovereignty of God can eventually be demonstrated.
The second tablet was revealed by Bahá'u'lláh on the occasion of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's visit to Beirut in 1879. This journey was undertaken at the express invitation of Midhat Páshá, the famous reforming Turkish statesman who was at this time the governor of Syria. On this journey, 'Abdu'l-Bahá met other individuals such as Shaykh Muhammad 'Abduh, who were also to play an important part in the reform movements of the Middle East. In this tablet, Bahá'u'lláh praises 'Abdu'l-Bahá greatly. This tablet thus forms an important component in the series of tablets starting with the Tablet of the Branch and culmination in the Book of the Covenant in which Bahá'u'lláh clearly indicates the high station of the person whom He would appoint as His successor and the Center of the Covenant.
Study of the Meaning of the Word "Al-Amr" in the Qur'án and in the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, A
Presented by Moojan Momen [click here to read this paper online]
The word "amr" in Persian or "al-amr" in Arabic has a range of meaning that covers several words in English. In two instances the precise meaning has become a source of controversy and it is therefore necessary to examine this matter more carefully. In this paper, I will look in detail at the use of the word in the Qur'án in order to delineate the semantic range for this word in the Qur'án. This is in order to examine the assertion by Bahá'í apologists that the term "al-amr" in Qur'án 32:5 ("He establishes His Decree "al-amr"--from heaven to earth and it will return to Him in a Day, the length of which is one thousand years in your reckoning") refers to the appearance of a new religion one thousand years after the Prophet Muhammad. I will also examine the semantic range of the occurrence of this word in the early writings of Bahá'u'lláh in order to assess the assertion of Prof. E.G. Browne that the phrase "masdar-i-amr" which appears in the Kitáb-i-Íqán is an acknowledgement by Bahá'u'lláh of the leadership of Azal at the time of the revelation of the Íqán in about 1861-2.
Rank of Bahá'u'lláh in Relation to the Other Manifestations of God, The
Presented by Nicola Towfigh
One of the most interesting questions in Bahá'í theology is concerning the concept of Manifestation and especially the relation between Bahá'u'lláh and the other divine Manifestations. There are some quotations in the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh that hint at a superiority of Bahá'u'lláh. But how can they be understood in the light of His other statements underlining the oneness of all the Messengers of God and Bahá'u'lláh's emphatic request not to make any difference between the divine manifestations'? The question will be dealt with in reference to these quotations.
Developing Criteria for a Fair Comparison of Religions in Inter-religious Dialogues
Presented by Christoph Wagner
Interreligious dialogues (IRDs), with more than 250 worldwide organizations, have grown increasingly important since the first Parliament of the World's Religions held in Chicago in 1893. They offer many opportunities to present the Bahá'í Faith in addition to classic teaching and public relations. Here, Bahá'ís are undisputedly on the same level with the major world religions. Therefore, an investigation of this topic is at the same time of practical andtheoretical, if not theological, importance.
A parallel movement to be closely observed is the humanistic "World Ethos" or "World Ethics" movement, concentrating on discovering and developing common value systems without entering the transcendental realm of revelations. This movement has gained momentum in the 1990s. In between those two movements there is a growing consciousness of the need for spirituality in all spheres of life.
The "rules of the game" of IRDs are not always clear, however procedures are slowly developing. Differing from a scientific approach to religious phenomena, IRD's do not aim at objective proofs, but at a kind of inter-subjective concordance or common experience of evidence. The most important, even indispensable method of thinking and arguing in interreligious dialogues is comparison. But is this the same method used in the science of comparative religion? With its phenomenological approach?
In nonscientific dialogues, comparisons are being used without the conscience or knowledge of applying a method which has its own rules, whereas the rules of formal thinking (logic and mathematics) are better known and more easily remembered. The issue is further complicated by the fact that religious revelations are in themselves more often than not using symbolic language for their key issues, instead of plain language. Religious language--like poetry or the description of dreams--makes use of symbols, metaphors, allegories and parables.
There is a formal science still to be developed. It could be called analogics, complementary to logic, because it is based on the principle of analogy, or correspondence. Analogy is the secret of imagination, creativity and innovation, not only of primary religious revelations, because, apart from silence, there is no other way to communicate messages from or insights about absolute, transcendental entities. Plain language would have to be comparative (God is greater, the greatest) or paradoxical (poverty is richness).
Analogy makes it possible not only to compare horizontally entities that are on the same level of existence (such as organizations), but also to compare them vertically--such as entities that exist on different levels (God and man), the difference being infinitely greater than the likeness. Interreligious dialogues are meant to foster peace among religions, thus bringing humanity closer to a realization of the unity of religions (based in the unity of God) revealed and prophesied by all the key figures of the Bahá'í Faith. But they have their pitfalls, too. IRDs differ according to their participants, the religions they represent, and the style of communication. The participants may primarily be functionaries of religious organizations or individuals with personal views and experiences. The religions may have their specific degrees of universality and exclusivity, of flexibility and change. The approaches may be forensic, liberal or philosophical, each approach having clearly differing values.
Many major issues of religious conflict, from learned disputes to bloody wars, have their origin in an ignorance of analogy. For instance, creation (by the word of God or the craftsmanship of God the creator) and emanation can be compared, and will prove to be complementary expressions of a divine mystery. The same applies to the principles of manifestation and incarnation, to the images of God the ruler/judge and the father, the paradigm shift of Jesus Christ.
It has been an old saying that the mystics of all religions understand one another quite well, since they respect the unspeakable, while dogmatic people fight each other with words and arguments. With a deeper understanding and careful application of analogy, Bahá'í teaching in a non-Bahá'í environment as well as Bahá'í participation in interreligious dialogues might dramatically increase their impact. And the Master's instructions to try to symbolically interpret those parts of other revelations which are contrary to science or reason point in the same direction.