A volume containing al-Kitāb al-aqdas and other Tablets revealed by Baha’u’llah.

Who was Baha’u’llah?

Mirza Husayn ‘Ali Nuri (1817–1892), known as Baha’u’llah, was the founder of the Baha’i Faith. Born in Tehran into a prominent family of court officials, he rejected the life of a courtier and instead joined the Babi movement from which he developed his own religion. Imprisoned and exiled several times, in 1868, Baha’u’llah was exiled to Acre (then part of Ottoman Empire, now in modern-day Israel), where he spent the rest of his life.

What is al-Kitāb al-aqdas?

It was in Acre around 1873 that Baha’u’llah revealed al-Kitāb al-aqdas (‘The Most Holy Book’), often referred to by its Persian title Kitāb-i Aqdas, although originally written in Arabic. This work is regarded as the central book of the Bahaʼi Faith and contains religious and civil rules in addition to advice to believers and ethical exhortations to the ‘Kings of the earth’.

This manuscript

Many copies were made of al-Kitāb-i Aqdas. This volume is dated according to the Baha’i era with a date equivalent to mid-January 1887 and was copied by Mulla Zayn al-‘Abidin Najafabadi (d. 1903), who was given the title Zayn al-Muqarrabin. Zayn al-Muqarrabin moved to Acre in 1303 (1885/86) and devoted himself to copying Baha’u’llah’s writings for onward transmission to Iran and elsewhere. His copies are highly regarded for their accuracy. This manuscript was donated to the British Library in 1998 by the late Jalal Irani, a descendant of the family of Baha’u’llah.