How and Why Shoghi Effendi Changed the Text of the Kitáb-i-Íqán?

The Kitáb-i-Íqán is one of the most important and most-read pieces of Baha'i scripture, the faith's major theological work. It was written when Bahá outwardly accepted the authority of His Holiness Subh-i-Azal, before Bahá began to publicly advance any divine claim of his. Shoghi Effendi had this to say about it:

"A model of Persian prose, of a style at once original, chaste and vigorous, and remarkably lucid, both cogent in argument and matchless in its irresistible eloquence, this Book [the Íqán], setting forth in outline the Grand Redemptive Scheme of God, occupies a position unequalled [sic] by any work in the entire range of Baha'i literature, except the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. . ." (God Passes By, p. 138-139)

Why then would Shoghi Effendi change this work he so highly praised, a book he believed to have been divinely inspired, and a book which was authored by the Prophet of his religion who he is a successor to?

Bahá asks in his Íqán: "Can a man who believeth in a book, and deemeth it to be inspired by God, mutilate it?" (p. 20)

The answer to that question is "yes," and I can prove it.

The most obvious case in which we see that the text has been changed by Shoghi Effendi is with this passage: "...until the hour when, from the Mystic Source, there came the summons bidding Us return whence We came. Surrendering Our will to His, We submitted to His injunction" (p. 57-58)

Here, Bahá is referring to his self-imposed exile in Suleymanieh, Iraqi Kurdistan which he undertook after being rebuked by His Holiness Subh-i-Azal for attempting to undermine his cause.

Some of Bahá's antics are documented in Atiyya Ruhi's biography of His Holiness Subh-i-Azal. She writes: "After a while, Baha thought of making his own claim. He would often write what he called verses and then would have them washed out in the sea and would say that 'they were the share of the fish!' Elders of the Babi [Bayani] community went to Baghdad and admonished Baha for his improper behavior. As a result, he took to the Suleymaniyya where he stayed for two years. There, he also made fresh claims as a result of which he received death threats and saw no option but writing to Subh-i-Azal asking for permission to return which was granted."

Even during the years preceding the Bayání-Bahá'í schism, Bahá in private created his own circle of friends, constantly trying to undermine Subh-i-Azal, and promoting himself. He was at instances caught red-handed making claims forcing him to then retreat and recant. Examine this letter of Bahá written during the Baghdad period where he says: "I swear by God," Baha places on record with firm conviction, "that if any one of the People of the Bayan were to mention that the Book [i.e. the Bayan] is abrogated, may God smash the mouth of the speaker and the calumniator, and by him who holds my soul and myself in his hands one letter from the Bayan is the most loved with me than all that are in the heavens and on the earth" (

In the original text of the Íqán quoted by Prof. E.G. Browne in his Persian introduction to the Nuqtatu'l-Kaf, Bahá explains his return in these words:

"باری تا آنکه از مصدر امر حکم رجوع صادر شد و لابد تسلیم شدم و راجع نمودم"

Here, Bahá speaks in the first person singular, and he states that he returned at the behest of the "Source of Command" who was His Holiness Subh-i-Azal, but Shoghi Effendi changes the text to read "Mystic Source," and it is translated with Bahá speaking in the first person plural! This is done to conceal Bahá's loyalties to His Holiness Subh-i-Azal.

Further, these are some of Bahá's original words:

"و این عبد در کمال رضا جان بر کف حاضرم که شاید از عنایت الهی و فضل سبحان این حرف مذکور .و مشهور در سبیل نقطه و کلمة مستور فدا شود"

In some copies, the words in bold appear as "و کلمه علیا," both denoting His Holiness Subh-i-Azal.
Shoghi Effendi's version, appearing translated in The Dawn-Breakers quotes Bahá as saying: "I stand, life in hand, ready; that perchance, through God's loving-kindness and grace, this revealed and manifest Letter may lay down his life as a sacrifice in the path of the Primal Point, the Most Exalted Word (
Here "مذکور مشهور" is turned into "revealed and magnificent" and the word "and" immediately following the "Point" is suppressed to give a different slant to "و کلمة مستور" or "و کلمه علیا".

The most hilarious (not to mention, hypocritical), aspect of this situation, I think, is that Shoghi Effendi in God Passes By accuses Mírzá Muḥammad-‘Alí of tampering with the text of holy writings when he had done the same thing himself! Shoghi Effendi writes: "And yet it was this same Mírzá Muḥammad-‘Alí...He it was who, when sent on a mission to India, had tampered with the text of the holy writings entrusted to his care for publication" (p. 248-249).

Read the debate here :

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