12. The Kitab-i-Iqan (The Book of Assurance)
The Kitab-i-Iqan was composed by Baha in Baghdad. The book was translated into French by Mr. H.M. Dreyfus under the title of Le Livre de la Certitude (Paris, 1904).
On the internal evidence appearing in page 144 of the Iqan to the effect that “one thousand two hundred and eight years have elapsed since the manifestation of the Point of Furqan (i.e. Muhammad who is so called in correspondences with the title “Point of the Bayan” applied to Ali Muhammad ), “and all of those wretches have read the Quran, and have not yet attained to a single letter of the purport thereof”, the date of composition of the Iqan would appear to be in the year A.H. 1280 (A.D. 1863-1864).
In pages 188, 189, and 190 of the Iqan, he states that “eighteen years have elapsed” since the date when hundreds of learned men in Iran embraced the Bayani faith and laid down their lives in this Cause, in which case the date of the composition of the Iran would appear to be in the A.H. 1278 (A.D. 1861-1862) reckoning from the date of the manifestation of the Point in the year A.H. 1260 (A.D. 1844).
In the chronological poem on the events in the life of Baha by Muhammad Nabil of Zarand, J.R.A.S October 1899, pages 983-990, the following data is furnished as regards Baha:
Stanza 1, date of birth : 2nd Muharram A.H. 1233 = Nov. 12, 1817
Stanza 6, date of arrival at Baghdad from Iran: at age 37.
Stanza 6, date of retirement into the solitude of the deserts, at age of 38
Stanza 7, date of return to Baghdad; at age of 40
In page 211 of the Iqan, Baha states that “two years have elapsed” since his return to Baghdad.
In the light of the foregoing, the date of composition of the Iqan would appear to be in the year 1275 (A.D. 1858-1859).
In his coverage of the several interviews with Baha at Acre between the years A.D. 1886 and A.D. 1890, Mirza Aqa Khan of Kerman, one of the co-authors of the Hasht-Bihisht quotes Baha as saying that “he composed the Iqan otherwise known as the “Khaluiyya tract” (named after the Point’s maternal relatives) in order to proselytise the Point’s maternal relative who had not embraced the Bayani faith.
According to Shoghi Effendi’s god passes by, P. 121, it was written “in the years preceding his [i.e. Baha’s] declaration in Baghdad”. According to Shoghi Effendi again, ibid, P. 138 “ It was revealed within the space of two days and two nights, in the closing year of that [i.e. Baghdad] period (1278 A.H. – 1862 A.D.). It was written in reply to the questions addressed to Baha by the as yet unconverted maternal uncle of the Primal Point, Haji Mirza Sayyid Muhammad, while on a visit, with his brother, Haji Mirza Hasan Ali, to Karbala”.
According to Mirza Jawad’s Historical Epitome Materials for the Study of the BÁBi Religion by Prof. Browne, P. 12, the Point’s maternal uncle Haji Mirza Sayyid Muhammad, on his way to Karbala, was “invited by Baha to visit him in Baghdad”.
He accepted the invitation and during his interviews with Baha he “asked some questions about the appearance of the Promised Qaim, whose advent Islam awaits,” In reply Baha “issued to him the Kitab-i-Iqan.”
According to Tanbih-al-Naimin P. 110, the Kitab-i-Iqan was originally named Khaluiyya [the maternal uncle’s] after the Point’s maternal uncle.
It was renamed ‘Iqan’ following Baha’s pretensions in Edirne.
At the time some Bayanis were of the opinion that the Khaluiyya was written by Subh-i-Azal, while others were under the impression that it was by Baha. In his memoirs, manuscript, P.27, Mirza Hadi Dowlat Abadi, one of the leading Bayanis of his time, states that he submitted this point to Subh-i-Azal in his interviews with him in order to clarify the authorship of the Khaluiyya. He quotes Subh-i-Azal, as saying: “It [i.e. the Khaluiyya] was not by me. He [i.e. Baha], when we were in Baghdad, wrote [a rough draft], brought it to me and read it over to me, where instructions were given to him. He went back, wrote again and reported to me. Its [i.e. Khaluiyya’s] emanation, to all appearance, was not from me. Thus it was from the brother himself, and it was written for the reverend maternal uncle of His Holiness the Point. “
The Bayanis considered the clarification as meaning that the original spirit of the contents of the Khaluiyya was Subh-i-Azal’s, though the form of words was Baha’s.
Baha’s attention was called thereto, and he deemed it to be a reflection on him as a manifestation. In his posthumous work, Epistle to the son of the wolf, Shoghi Effendi’s translation, Baha says it was stated that thou ascribed the authorship of that Kitab-i-Iqan and of other tablets unto others. I swear by god! This is a grievous injustice, others are incapable of apprehending I their meanings, how much more of revealing them!”
The Khaluiyya renamed Iqan was expurgated in Acre by two laymen at the express order of Baha. Section 9.18.2 refers. The expurgation notwithstanding, glaring discrepancies occur in different editions of the Iqan.
As for example, according to supplementary Persan, Paris copy, Prof. Browne’s Persian introduction of the Nuqta-al-Kaf by Mirza Jani of Kashan, P.35, footnote 7, the following passage appears in P.60a : “One thousand two hundred and seventy eight years have passed since the manifestation of the Point of Furqan [i.e. Muhammad], and all of those worthless wretches have read the Quran every morning and have not yet attained to a single letter of the purport thereof.” This shows that the Iqan was composed in A.H. 1278 (1861-1863).
According to the Iqan, Cairo Edition, Shoghi Effendi’s translation, P. 172, the above-mentioned passage appears as follows:
“Twelve hundred and eighty years have passed since the dawn of the Muhamedan dispensation, and with every break of day, these blind and ignoble people have recited their Quran, and yet have failed to grasp one letter of that Book.”
“The year 1280” mentioned in the Cairo edition of the Iqan is erroneous, as according to Shoghi Effendi’s god passes by, P. 148, Baha moved to the garden of Ridvan in Baghdad, where he is alleged to have declared his mission, for which no record exists, see section 9.14, on “Dhil Qa’da 3, 1279 A.H. (April 22, 1863)” and left Baghdad for Istanbul on “Dhil Qa’da 14, 1279 A.H. (May 3, 1863),” ibid, P. 155.
Shoghi Effendi’s footnote 1, P. 354, in the Dawn-Breaker’s Nabil’s Narrative that Baha “declared his mission in the year 1280 A.H. (1863-4) in Baghdad” is also erroneous.
In the year 1260, according to Shoghi Effendi’s god passes by, P. 157 and 161, Baha was already first in Istanbul and then in Edirne.
The Iqan is a proof of the truth of the Bayani doctrines and the divine inscription of their Founder the Primal Point, supported by arguments drawn from the Pentateuch Gospel, Quran and Traditions.
In the Iqan, Shoghi Effendi’s translation, PP. 198-200, Baha likens the ‘word of god’ [Kutab-i-Elahiyya] unto a “City”. “Once in about a thousand years shall this city be renewed and re-adorned …
That city is none other than the word of god revealed in every age and dispensation. In the days [Ahd] of Moses it was the Pentateuch; in the days [Zaman] of Jesus the Gospel; in the days [Ahd] of Muhammad, the messenger of god, the Quran; in this day [Acre] the Bayan, and in the dispensation [Ahd] of Him-Whom-God-Will-Make-Manifest his own book.”
Baha’s admission in the above-quoted passage from the Iqan is significant in itself to rebut Baha’s pretensions.
Baha admits that the writ of the Bayanic dispensation is to run for a thousand years to come. Yet hardly was the ink of the Iqan composed in A.H. 1278 dry, when Baha is alleged to have declared his mission in the garden of Ridvan in Baghdad in A.H. 1279, 19 years after the declaration of the Primal Point in A.H. 1260 (1844).