Papers delivered at the ‘Irfán Colloquium Session #60 (English)

Bosch Bahá'í School: Santa Cruz, California USA

May 26–29, 2005.

Abdu'l-Baha's Tablets to the Central Organization for a Durable Peace at the Hague

by Sima Quddusi

In 1915, a year after the First World War, a group of people from 13 countries (12 European countries and the United States), constituted themselves as the Central Organization for a Durable Peace in Holland at The Hague. They published their constitution all over the world. In Tehran, Iran was published in the Iran News. Mr, Ahmad Yazdani took the oportunity and through his initiative which certainly was an inspiration from the Abha kingdom, and in consultation with Mr. Ibn-i-Asdaq, prepared a paper embodying the Baha'i principles and sent it to that Organization suggesting they seek guidance from Abdu'l-Baha in their strivings to establish a pemanent peace. The Organization responded by submitting, through Mr. Yazdani, a letter to Abdu'l-Baha. The Master in turn revealed the first Tablet of the Hague on 17 December 1919, Mr. Yazdani and Mr. Abn-Asdaq were honored to deliver the Tablet to the Central Organization in in early June 1920. On 12 July 1920 a second letter from the peace organization was sent to the Master and He revealed the second Tablet of the Hague which reached them duly.
    We will investigate and study these Tablets and will briefly touch on the following:
  1. Peace movements of the world and the history behind the formation of the Central Organization for a Durable Peace.

  2. Historical background of the revealed Tablets and how they were sent to the Organization.

  3. Brief explanation of the Tablets

Analysis of the content of Kitab-i-Ahd and Relating it to the Passages in Kitab-i-Aqdas, Will and Testament, Tablet of One Thousand Verses and Dispensation of Baha'u'llah, The

by Habib Riazati

The analysis of the content of Kitab-i-Ahd and Relating it to the Passages in Kitab-i-Aqdas, Will and Testament, Tablet of One Thousand Verses and Dispensation of Baha'u'llah.

Art of Rhetoric in the Writings of Shoghi Effendi

by Jack McLean

Shoghi Effendi's use of rhetoric, demonstrated mainly through epistolary, and also through table talks to pilgrims (1922-1957), corresponds to the ancient purpose of this "great prince" (Longinus) as speech/writing that aims to persuade and to move to action. Since the time of its inception in the West, with the Sophists in the fifth century BCE, down to the present day, rhetoric has remained both a practice and a theoretical study. It has particular pertinence to the suasive speech of Shoghi Effendi. Coupled with his own native ability, the Guardian studied courses on rhetoric during his time at the Syrian Protestant College (1915-17). Later at Balliol College (1920-21), Oxford, he listened with interest to the great speakers of the day at the Oxford Union and presented a paper to the Lotus Club, which excelled at intellectual discussion and dialogue.

This paper will outline, with examples from his letters, six defining elements of Shoghi Effendi's rhetorical art, which shows both classical and particular or atypical uses. These elements include: (1) His use of epistolary (2) His credibility as a rhetor (3) Parallels to Aristotle's three species of rhetoric found in On Rhetoric. (4) The Guardian's rhetoric of action, eulogy and blame (5) The place of demonstrative reason and kinetic emotion (6) His use of the sublime (hypsos).
Click here to read this paper online.

Bridging between the gist of the epistemology of the Baha'i Faith and "Minimalism"

by Mahyad Zaerpoor-Rahnamaie

The concepts of truth/reality in philosophy are closely related to the question of viable ways to obtain the knowledge of such concepts, with any degree of certainty. In this brief discussion, there will be an attempt to contrast the two dominant schools of thought in the twentieth century: scientific positivism / absolute objectivism on one hand and post modernism / total subjectivism on the other hand. In addition, "minimalism," a newly developed epistemological system, and its compatibility with the teachings of the Bahá'í Faith will be discussed. Minimalism emphasizes on the validity of pure logic and axiomatic approach, without discrediting the possible existence of the trans-rational.

In addition, a fresh look at the Bahá'í view of the "Arc of Ascent and Descent" will be presented in which minimalism may be applied as a tool in the ascent of humanity to an ever advancing quest in its spiritual path.

Also presented in Persian.


Commentary of the Báb on `Man Arafa Nafsieh fa qad Araf Rabehí in relation to the commentaries of Bahá'u'lláh and the Master, The

by Habib Riazati

1) "Man Arafa Nafseih fa qad Araf Rabeh": The one who knows his own Self, that shall assuredly lead to the recognition of His Lord.

The purpose of this presentation is to look at the significance of this Tradition in the Islamic scriptures and then carefully examine the interpertation of this Hadith in the Writings of the Central Figures of the Cause. Moreover, in these Comparative interpretations by the Báb, Bahá'u'lláh and the Master, recognize the various meanings of the words such as " Arafa" ( recognition), Nafseih ( Self ) and Rabeh ( His Lord) in the realms of creation and revelation.

2) General Introduction to the Writings of the Báb

Study of the Scope and range of the writings of the Báb, challenges assosiated with the authenticity in the writings of the Báb, The most important works of the Báb ( Bayán, Commentary of Josph, Panj Shaín) and their vital roles in relation to the Writings ofBahá'u'lláh .

Comparative study of some of the Isma'íli and Bahá'í Theological concepts, A

by Mozhan Khadem

The talk explores the following subjects: the history of the Ismaili Movement/sect, their theology (Alamout- some of the key events, Hasan 'Ala zekrihi salam - and Post Alamout, sufi disguise), The Fatemis, the role of Nasir Khosrow and Hassan Sabbah, The Ismailies of Pamir, the Mogul conquest. Ismailies during the Qajar period. The significance of the title of The Aga Khan. The Sojourn of the Aga Khans from Iran to India and later to Europe. The doctrine of taghia (dissimulation) in Ismailism. Were some of the great literary figures of Persian History Ismailies? Avecina?, Attar?, Rumi?, Shams-i-Tabrizi? Shabastari? Etc. what was the influence of Ismailies on the Safavid dynasty and the Twelver Shi'is? What are the similarities between Bahá'i theology/'irfán and the Ismaili theology/'irfán? Where are the Ismailies today? Who is Karim Aga Khan? The face of God on earth or a very rich European aristocrat? What are the Ismailies doing today? What does the Aga Khan do for the Ismailies? What does he do for other Muslims? What does he do for others? What are their socio economic programs? What does Jama'at Khane (Congregation House) mean? What is Deedar (Visit)? Who are the scholars who write about Ismailies? What are the available sources for Ismaili studies?

This whole topic is fascinating and is essential for understanding Persian Islamic 'irfán and culture from the beginning of the Ismaili movement through the Safavid era.

Concept of Truth-Seeking in the Course of History

by Babak Rod Khadem

This presentation explores and compares the treatment of the problem of "truth" and the coterminous problem of "unity" amongst several ancient Greek, Neoplatonic, and Islamic thinkers, and then attempts to connect these various strands to the synthesis that is presented in the Bahá'í writings.

In discussing these "pre-Bahá'í" concepts, this presentation advances the following:
  1. The accounts of certain Islamic thinkers partially resolve the Greek debate regarding the universality versus particularity of being by way of adopting both the criterion of uniqueness and constancy (i.e. the doctrine of the particularity of the soul) - thereby overcoming the polarization of the Greek debate.
  2. While the Greek account of unity invokes a notion of causality whereby only some beings are caused, Neoplatonism advances a rather mechanistic doctrine of creation, whereby all beings are caused through a series of steps originating in a distant, if not disinterested, God. Although earlier Islamic thinkers reiterate the Neoplatonist account, there occurs, after Al-Ghazali, a split in two directions: mystical and rational, the latter of which significantly impacts European thinking, largely due to the work of Ibn Rusht.
  3. While the ancient Greeks directly address the question of access to truth (i.e. sensible vs. intelligible), their conception of the categories of truth is quite limited: only ontic truth is conceptualized, neither logical nor ontological. Similarly, Platonism and Neoplatonism, though building upon the Greek notions of access to truth, do little in the way of conceiving its categories.
Islamic thinking, however, while building upon the Greek and Neoplatonic notions of truth-access, elucidates the category of logical truth and, as a corollary, the need for empiricism. More specifically, Islamic thinking elaborates on the Platonic radicalization of the realms of the sensible and intelligible, resulting in the differentiation of the truth of a being (ontic) from the truth of one's disclosure (logos) about a being (logical). The questionability of the logos, in turn, results in the need to ground knowledge empirically, particularly in the finding and experiencing of religion. A related, and much debated, question is to what extent the a posteriori finding of religion must itself accord with the a priori representations of the logos (i.e. the problem of interpretation).

This elaboration of the concept of truth anticipates the same issues that arise half a millennium later, in European thinking, namely Aquinas' stance on interpretation, Descartes' elucidation of the category of logical truth, and Kant's critique of Descartes and Leibnitz regarding the consequences of the cogito ergo sum.

Covenant Renewed, The: Perspective in Religious Revelation and History

by Sateh Bayat

From the very beginning of time, God has had a special relationship with His creation, in which He has showered guidance and love upon mankind, promising that as long as man remains faithful and obeys Him, he will be safe from all spiritual dangers. "Love Me that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, my love can in no wise reach thee." This safety has come to be symbolized by the Ark, the ship of Noah--who begged the people to listen to God's warning of the approaching flood. With the Coming of Bahá'u'lláh and His tremendous Revelation, we have now come to a holistic understanding of God's Covenant with man. In this presentation, we will examine the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá for references to the renewal of this Covenant and how the new Ark represents the protection that obedience to the divinely ordained Universal House of Justice gives mankind.

Further Explorations in Baha'i Ontology: Ontologies of self and change

by Ian Kluge

In this paper/presentation, we shall continue our exploration of Bahá'í ontology that we began in "Bahá'í Ontology: An Initial Reconnaissance." We shall examine, among other things, issues related to becoming and change; substance, soul, self and identity; the nature of being and nothingness; time; the one and the many; the nature of 'things'; what makes something 'real'; social ontology and dialectic; and the order of knowledge and the order of being. On some of these issues we shall draw comparisons with other systems of thought such as are found in Buddhism and the works of Hegel.
Click here to read this paper online.

General introduction to the English and Persian/Arabic Writings of Shoghi Effendi: Summary of the major themes

by Muin Afnani

The writings of Shoghi Effendi, written over a period of 36 years (1921-1957), constitute a unique collection of religious writings. These writings can be studied from several perspectives including their forms and content.

From the perspective of the language we can say that about three fourth of the writings of Shoghi Effendi are in English, and the reminder in Persian and Arabic. It is commonly known that Shoghi Effendi used elevated style of language in His English writings. It is interesting to note that His Persian and Arabic writings are written in even more difficult styles, so much so that a higher mastery of those languages is needed for the native speakers to understand them thoroughly.

Aside from His own writings Shoghi Effendi also translated significant portions from the writings of Bahá'u'lláh, the Báb, and `Abdu'l-Bahá. His own writings can be classified into two groups: those that were written by the Guardian Himself and those that contain His views and instructions but written by His secretary and then reviewed and signed by Shoghi Effendi. In terms of the content of His own writings we can say that the following are some of the major themes found in them:
  • Interpretation of the Holy Writings.
  • Recording the major events and victories unfolding in the Cause of God and reporting them to Bahá'ís throughout the world.
  • Explanation of the major world issues in relation to the teachings of the Faith and the destiny of the Bahá'í community.
  • The development of the Bahá'í Administrative Order, and its relation to the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh.
  • Assessing the needs of various Bahá'í communities and providing resources for them.
  • The principle of encouragement: He constantly encouraged the friends. His writings are lessons in providing encouragement.
  • Documenting the history of the Faith, and providing explanation of the various ages and epochs that the Cause of God will go through. Providing a vision for the Bahá'í world of the unfoldment of the divine Will through major and minor plans of God.
  • Responding to countless inquiries and providing explanation on questions dealing with historical, sociological, educational, philosophical, and other themes.
Of course the above list is not complete, but it offers a glimpse of the diversity of the content of Shoghi Effendi's writings.

As for the translations, Shoghi Effendi translated some major works from various periods of Bahá'u'lláh's ministry: early and late Baghdad period, Adrianople period, and various periods of Akka. Most of the translations took place within the first 18 years of His Guardianship. In addition to setting the standard for the translation of the Writings from Arabic and Persian into English, as part of His translations, Shoghi Effendi interpreted and explained themes and concepts not understood properly by the friends until that time.

Finally, it might be interesting to note that the Guardian wrote important messages to the Bahá'ís of the East in Persian and Arabic which contain a wealth of information related to all the topics listed above. For example, we know that Shoghi Effendi wrote the book called "God Passes By" in 1944 chronicling the 100-year history of the Faith of God. He also wrote another chronicle of the Faith in Persian, in no less than 100 pages, explaining the events of the first 100 years of the Cause of God and, offered it to the friends at Naw-Ruz of 101 B.E. This work is known as the "Tablet of the Century". No doubt the translation of these messages into English will be considered in future.

Image of the Prophet of Islam in Muslim and Bahá'í Writings, The

by Ghasem Bayat

The Prophet Muhammad, the Founder of Islam, was born in 570 A.D. in Mecca amongst one of the least cultured and developed societies of His age and died in 632 A.D. in Medina.

The image of this great Manifestation of God reaches us from three sources: His life-stories (Siras of the Prophet, e.g. Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasulullah) compiled a century or so later; the traditions (Hadiths, e.g. Sahih al-Bukhari) attributed to Him and His appointees, compiled within a few centuries from His time; and lastly the Qur'án, the Holy Book of Islam.

The first source (Siras) mostly reflect the thoughts and perceptions of the people of His age and the prevalent primitive and barbarian culture of the Arabian tribes, referred to by the Muslim Arabs themselves as Ayyamu'l-Jáhiliah (The days of ignorance).

The second source (Hadiths - Traditions) suffers from the uncertainties introduced from a few centuries of fabrications by His friends and enemies alike, reflecting the changes in the religious, political and cultural scenes of the then Muslim Empire. These misrepresentations are alleged statement of the Prophet, orally maintained for a few generations before being committed to paper. Lastly, remain the references to His Holiness Muhammad in the Qur'án. Given the literary style, brevity, and in some cases the ambiguity of such passages in the Qur'án, one finds oneself in need of the elucidations given by the Prophet and His trusted ones about those passages. The summary portrays a mixed image of this Manifestation of God that could not do justice to Him.

In this presentation we will learn that a great deal of the non-Muslim and occasionally Muslim criticisms that have been unjustly leveled against Muhammad are directly related to those Islamic sources. We will additionally see how these very sources supported by the subsequent re-interpretations and consolidations in the form of the Islamic religious laws (Shari'a) and their most recent enactment is now portraying the Islamic communities as radical, fundamentalist, intolerant, violent and regressive societies that tarnish the image of Islam and its Prophet-Founder. In this paper we will review different aspects of the image of the Prophet Muhammad that emerge from the sources referred to above and contrast them with references from the Bahá'í Writings. We will conclude that His image as seen from the Islamic sources needs to be looked at anew and revised in many aspects based on the Bahá'í Writings. Finally, an image of the Prophet-Founder of Islam as seen in the Bahá'í sacred scriptures is offered.

in addition to the inaccuracies introduced inadvertently through the complex process of relating what each believer understood from an alleged statement of the Prophet, orally maintained for a few generations before being committed to paper. Lastly, remain the references to His Holiness Muhammad in the Qur'án. Given the literary style, brevity, and in some cases the ambiguity of such passages in the Qur'án, one finds oneself in need of the elucidations given by the Prophet and His trusted ones about those passages. The summary portrays a mixed image of this Manifestation of God that could not do justice to Him.

In this presentation we will learn that a great deal of the non-Muslim and occasionally Muslim criticisms that have been unjustly leveled against Muhammad are directly related to those Islamic sources. We will additionally see how these very sources supported by the subsequent re-interpretations and consolidations in the form of the Islamic religious laws (Shari'a) and their most recent enactment is now portraying the Islamic communities as radical, fundamentalist, intolerant, violent and regressive societies that tarnish the image of Islam and its Prophet-Founder.

In this paper we will review different aspects of the image of the Prophet Muhammad that emerge from the sources referred to above and contrast them with references from the Bahá'í Writings. We will conclude that His image as seen from the Islamic sources needs to be looked at anew and revised in many aspects based on the Bahá'í Writings. Finally, an image of the Prophet-Founder of Islam as seen in the Bahá'í sacred scriptures is offered.

Lawh-i-Hikmat (Bahá'u'lláh's Tablet of Wisdom): Spiritual Materialism vs. Dialogical Thinking

by Wolfgang Klebel

This commentary on Bahá'u'lláh's Tablet results in these tentative and preliminary conclusions:
  1. The primary focus of Bahá'í studies must by on the Writings of the Faith, and the philosophical understanding and interpretation need to follow and be enlightened by the Revelation. Attempting to use philosophical categories and trying to understand the spiritual reality in materialistic scientific ways must be called spiritual materialism like the transpersonal philosophy of Ken Wilber.
  2. Therefore, the relationship between the spiritual and material needs to be re-evaluated. Bahá'u'lláh stated that the two aspects of creation, the active and the passive, the form and the receiver, the material and the spiritual are the same and are different. As a guiding principle of this understanding the Bahá'í concept of unity in diversity can be used, as well as, the philosophical understanding of Teilhard de Chardin about the unity of spirit and matter. The relationship between the whole and the part needs to be re-defined from this point of view as well.
  3. The meaning and importance of the sentence "The essence and the fundamentals of philosophy have emanated from the Prophets" should be further followed up in terms of the writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, talking about the Spirit of Faith and the Holy Spirit. This emanation is a spiritual process, not a materialistic or historically provable fact, and must be considered in any study of philosophy from a Bahá'í perspective.
  4. The Dialogical Thinking, as presented by Franz Rosenzweig, Martin Buber and Ferdinand Ebner can assist in understanding the importance of the "Word" in the I-Thou relationship and the Divine Word, the Manifestation, as the origin, the beginning of all that is. This thinking introduces some philosophical understanding of the fact that God is unknowable, in the sense of substantial thinking, but man is created to know and to worship God in the personal-dialogical way, which denotes the spiritual aspect of reality and is expressed in prayer.
  5. The last, but perhaps the most important conclusion of this paper, is the obligation to look at modern philosophy and distinguish between the findings and statements of modern philosophers. There are philosophies that are words leading to words and thereby dealing only with "that which they comprehend". On the other hand, there are modern philosophers, there are philosophical ideas and visions of contemporary thinking, that are based on the essence and the fundamentals that have been revealed by and emanate from the Prophets of the past and the Prophets of today, the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh. And there are, certainly some philosophers, who are in the middle, having only partially recognized this spirit of the Prophet.
In every case it is the task of the student of Bahá'í theology to use discrimination and apply it according to the Pauline statement: "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." (1 Thessalonians 5:21)
Click here to read this paper online.

Letters of Sayyid 'Ali Muhammad Shirazi 'the Báb' to Muhammad Shah Qajar (Part II)

by Sholeh Quinn

The purpose of this paper is to examine the later Tablets of the Báb to Muhammad Shah Qajar (r. 1834-1848), whose reign covered the earlier years of Sayyid `Alí Muhammad the Báb's ministry (1844-1850). The Báb addressed at least four epistles to Muhammad Shah, most of which are in Arabic and one of which is largely in Persian and partly translated in the well-known compilation of the writings of the Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Báb. No fully critical editions of these writings have yet been published, though the texts of most of them are available in manuscript collections.

The letters that the Báb wrote to the king before his incarceration in Chihriq reflect the changing human circumstances in which the Báb found Himself. They range from early calls for the king to assist Him in waging a universal jihad against the Ottomans and others, to appeals for the king to make sure that the Báb is shown justice. Throughout these pre-Chihriq letters, he still appeared to be giving the king the benefit of the doubt. The situation changes after Chihriq, however, and the paper will focus on those letters of the Báb written to Muhammad Shah after his incarceration there, and compare the contents of the later letters with the themes found in the early letters. The paper will include some discussion of notions of kingship in the Qajar era and the reign of Muhammad Shah.

Mary Magdalene and the Resurrection of Jesus: Some ancient and modern traditions and Baha'i and Perspectives

by Stephen Lambden

New Testament scholars generally regard Mary Magdalene a female contemporary of Jesus, one of his ardent admirers, and a Jewish woman who was the most important female figure within the New Testament relative to the genesis of the Jesus movement that became Christianity. The gospels conclusively have it that she was the first to announce the risen Christ after the death of Jesus upon the cross. Mary was the first to experience his allegedly quasi-physical or spiritual presence prior to his ascension to Heaven around (tradition has it) 40 days later. It was Mary Magdalene who encouraged key disciples of Jesus to post-crucifixion faith. She enabled Peter and others to open themselves to the regenerative experience of the risen Christ. Peter might have been the "rock" upon which the future church came to be built but Mary Magdalene might be pictured as its foremost pillar, architect and fountainhead. She was much more than an allegedly wayward prostitute, which patriarchal male Christian writers (without any evidence at all to back up their contentions) in later centuries came to unfairly marginalize and dismiss her.

A Bahá'í pilgrim note has it that at the mention of Mary Magdalene Bahá'u'lláh (d. 1892), the founder of the Bahá'í religion, was moved to smile with joy. In various of his numerous Arabic and Persian talks and Tablets, `Abdu'l-Bahá (d. 1921) the saintly and sage-like son of Bahá'u'lláh, repeatedly underlined the centrality of the spirituality of Mary Magdalene for the growth of Christian understanding, spirituality and religiosity. Decades before the discovery of the lost (for more than 1,500 years) 'Gospel of Mary Magdalene' now included within the Nag Hammadi codices (discovered 1947 but dating to the early centuries C.E.), `Abdu'l-Bahá perceived the importance of this woman from Magdala (in Palestine) with the same name as Jesus' mother. He often spoke of her and told her story in interesting ways. The Christian realization of the risen Christ, which constitutes the genesis and foundation of the Christian religion, has its roots in the spirituality of Mary Magdalene. Rather like the Bábí Tahirih's excellent status among the male `Letters of the Living', she was ahead of the male disciples of Jesus. In this paper, something of the role, mythical history and theological position of Mary Magdalene will be sketched in light of statements of Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá about her importance. This will be supplemented by some observations about the Bahá'í understanding of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Seeds of Revelation and the Mystic Bond Between the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh: An Exposition on Excerpts From The Persian Bayán

by James B. Thomas

In the Persian Bayán, the Báb advised His followers on a number of subjects about essential elements of faith that covered a broad spectrum. They included attributes, conditions, warnings, spiritual reality, principles, nature of prayer, expectations, relationships of Divine Messengers, proofs, the nature of God and the meaning of eternity. This paper compares the elements in the Bayán to those of Bahá'u'lláh in His various tablets with the purpose of showing the characterization of the Bayán as being in a stage of seed and of showing the unique, mysterious bond between the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh. The Báb introduced new concepts in religion regarding faith and human relations that were revolutionary for the time and place in which they were uttered and in the process He abrogated many of the laws of Islam. He further made a promise that One Greater than Himself would come within a span of nine years. Bahá'u'lláh, in fulfillment of the Báb's prophecy, introduced a large number of new concepts of far reaching import as He addressed the world and in the process abrogated many of the laws embraced by all the world's great religions. It will be shown here that within this context He enlarged upon a number of the Báb's concepts from the Bayán and permanently made some of them part of the foundation of His own Faith. The proof of the Báb's station and the truth of His Revelation were so profound, so powerful that He was brutally martyred by the Persian leaders out of abject fear of His charismatic popularity six short years after His declaration in 1844. Later Bahá'u'lláh, Whose earthly ministry lasted forty years, indicated that He and the Báb should be regarded as "identical in reality." They were contemporaries and never physically met, but an extraordinary relationship emerged that would forever tie Them together as the Twin Messengers of the Bahá'í Dispensation.
Click here to read this paper online.

Style in the Writings of Shoghi Effendi, The

by Jack McLean


Tahirih: A Portrait in Poetry

by Amin Banani


Tahrif ("scriptural falsification") and Tanzil ("divine revelation"): Some aspects of divine guidance through sacred Scripture

by Stephen Lambden

One of the major features of the age-old polemical interaction between major Abrahamic peoples and religions of the Book has been the question of the sacredness, veracity and inspired or revealed nature of specific scriptures in the form of a sacred Book or collection of books. Jews accused their Samaritan ("Israelite-Judaic") neighbors and various Christian groups of tampering with sacred writ and both these and other groups reciprocated similarly. Following a few qur'anic verses primarily directed towards Jews (Q. 2:75b; 4:46a; 5:13a; 5:41b) it was from very early on in the evolution of Islam (2nd-3rd cent AH), that Muslim writers condemned both Jews and Christians for indulging in the (Ar.) tahríf ("scriptural falsification") and tabdíll ("textual alternation") of the Bible. Many Muslims came to regard the Bible as largely or wholly "corrupted" and repeated versions of a tradition interdicting qur'anic-Islamic exposition through biblically related traditions of the bani Isra'il ("children of Israel") known as Isra'iliyyat ("Israelitica").

The anti-biblical / Isra'iliyyat position was trenchantly and most famously voiced, for example, by the prolific Andalusian theologian, jurist and ultimately ?ahiri ("literalist"-"fundamentalist") Sunni writer Ibn Hazm (d. 456/1064) as well as by many others. A considerable number of post 3rd cent AH /10th century CE Muslim thinkers in both the Sunni and Shi`i worlds regarded the Bible as "corrupted" alwa? (scriptural Tablets) of the Edirne (Adrianople; 1863-1868) and Acre (`Akka') or West Galilean periods (1868-1892).

Bahá'u'lláh's eldest son `Abdu'l-Bahá elaborated his father's perspectives regarding the Bible and the Qur'an denying concrete tahríf of both these sacred books while condemning scriptural literalism and restrictive, non-spiritual fundamentalism. Bahá'u'lláh's great-grandson Shoghi Effendi (d. 1957) clarified further the Bahái attitude towards Abrahamic and other sacred books exhorting Bahá'ís to study and expound both the Bible and the Qur'an in the light of Bahá'í perspectives.

In this paper aspects of the history of tahríf and related concepts in biblical and Islamic history will be surveyed along with the Bábí-Bahá'í attitude towards them. It will be seen that the Bahá'í attitude towards the Bible and Qur'an is accepting and unitative of Jewish-Christian and Islamic perspectives. Both Bible and Qur'an are seen to complement each other and contain valid levels of inspiration and guidance.