The Book of Certitude (Kitab-i Iqan) is the preeminent doctrinal work of the Bahá'í Faith.
This is the first time these texts have been published since their original publication.
Circumstances of "Revelation": The Iqan focused on spiritual authority from an Islamic perspective, rationalizing the eschatologically conceived fulfillment of Islam in the advent of Sayyid `Ali-Muhammad Shirazi (d. The Bab had created a firestorm of controversy following the declaration his prophetic mission at the end of the Shi`i millennium (1260/1844), a millennium that dating from the occultation of the Twelfth Imam in the year 260 A. While Bahá'u'lláh maintained continuity with Islam at a doctrinal level, historically this claim of fulfillment was tantamount to a break from Islam.
The Iqan also served to heighten the adventist fervor current in the Babi community, in anticipation of the advent of a messianic figure foretold by the Bab. The Book of Certitude may be among the first texts by Bahá'u'lláh explicitly designated as "revelation," since the colophon at the end of the book refers to it as having been "revealed" (al-manzul [British Museum MS., BL Or. 78-127] or in some MSS al-munzal [Browne's MS.]), by the "Ba' " and the "Ha' ", as Cambridge Orientalist Edward Granville Browne first pointed out (ET, 257).
Details of the circumstances of revelation are given in the present writer's monograph, Symbol and Secret: Qur'an Commentary in Bahá'u'lláh's Kitab-i Iqan. In Islamic thought use of such terminology is reserved for books written by prophets, and so it represents an early claim to such a theophanic status by Bahá'u'lláh.
That the reading "al-manzul" is the better one is apparent from the manuscript original at the Bahá'í World Centre Archives, in the hand of Bahá'u'lláh's eldest son `Abdu'l-Bahá (facsimile in Buck 1995, frontispiece), which was reviewed, with emendations and marginalia, by Bahá'u'lláh himself.
Browne was at pains to reconcile this claim with Bahá'u'lláh's erstwhile disavowals of any spiritual station or authority, and so Browne supposed the colophon to have been a later interpolation (Selections, 253-4).
Subsequent scholarship continues to debate the stages of Bahá'u'lláh's evolving messianic self-consciousness, but has moved beyond Browne in accepting the Iqan as reflecting the crystallization of Bahá'u'lláh's messianic vocation as intimated in the colophon. "Questions of Sayyid Muhammad Shirazi, Uncle of the Bab".
An important source for an accurate reconstruction of the background to the writing of this book is to be found in Bahá'u'lláh's Tablet, dated 27 Muharram 1306 A. The questions posed by the Bab's uncle may be summarized as follows: (1) The Day of Resurrection: Will it be corporeal?
H./3 October 1888, in honor of Aqa `Abdu'l-Hamid Shirazi, a working translation of which was recently shared by Dr. Briefly, the initial revelation of the Iqan was occasioned by questions posed by the Bab's maternal uncle, Haji Mirza Sayyid Muhammad, on a visit to the holy shrines in Karbala in the Islamic year 1278 (1861-2), or possibly in 1277 A. The precise date of this visit will be discussed below. How will the just be recompensed and the wicked dealt with?