In a Tablet, the original of which has been lost, Baha’u’llah had already condemned, in the severest terms, the misrule of the Ottoman Sultan ’Abdu’l-’Aziz. The present volume includes, however, three other Tablets which address two ministers of the Sultan, whose selfish and unprincipled influence played an important role in Baha’u’llah’s successive banishments. The Suriy-i-Ra’is, which addresses ’Ali Pasha, the Ottoman Prime Minister, was revealed in August 1868 as the exiles were being moved from Adrianople to Gallipoli, and exposes unsparingly the abuse of civil power the minister had perpetrated. The Lawh-i-Ra’is, which also contains passages directed to ’Ali Pasha, was revealed shortly after Baha’u’llah’s incarceration in the citadel of ’Akka and includes a chilling denunciation of the character of the Minister. The third Tablet, the Lawh-i-Fu’ad, revealed in 1869 shortly after the death of Fu’ad Pasha, the Ottoman Minister to whose machinations it refers, describes the spiritual consequences of the abuse of power, and foretells the imminent downfall of his colleague, ’Ali Pasha, and the overthrow of the Sultan himself—prophecies that were widely circulated and whose dramatic fulfilment added greatly to the prestige of their Author.
It seems especially appropriate, as Baha’u’llah’s influence penetrates ever more deeply the life of the larger society throughout the world, that the full texts of these great Tablets should now be available for a broad readership. We express to the committees who were commissioned to undertake and review these translations the deep gratitude we feel for the care and sensitivity they have brought to the task. Baha’is will recognize key passages from several of the Tablets that were introduced to the West by Shoghi Effendi. His translations into English of the Baha’i Holy Texts provide an enduring standard for the efforts of those who rise to the challenge of preparing appropriate renderings into English of these treasures of the Faith.
The Universal House of Justice
This is the Surih of the Temple which God hath
ordained to be the Mirror
of His Names between the heavens and the earth, and the Sign of His
Remembrance amidst the peoples of the world.
He is the Most Wondrous, the All-Glorious!
1 Glorified is He Who hath revealed His verses to those who understand. Glorified is He Who sendeth down His verses to those who perceive. Glorified is He Who guideth whomsoever He pleaseth unto His path. Say: I, verily, am the Path of God unto all who are in the heavens and all who are on the earth; well is it with them that hasten thereunto!