“Immerse yourselves”, Baha’u’llah tells us, “in the ocean of My words, that ye may unravel its secrets and discover all the pearls of wisdom that lie hid in its depths”.
I’m not sure if you feel the same way but when I think about the numerous volumes that Baha’u’llah has revealed, I often find myself vacillating wildly between two states: firstly, awe and curiosity, having been moved by the beauty and wisdom of the Writings; and secondly, complete paralysis from feeling overwhelmed by the sheer immensity and profundity of the Writings. There’s so much to gain from studying the Writings but it’s not always easy!
The Kitáb-i-Íqán is just one of the works by Baha’u’llah that I have attempted – on numerous occasions – to read from start to finish but simply haven’t been able to. So you can imagine how thrilled I was to discover, just a few months ago, that there is now an online course on the Kitáb-i-Íqán!
Fazel Naghdy, the creator of this online course, has kindly prepared a selection of writings by Shoghi Effendi about the Kitáb-i-Íqán and has also provided some additional information on the course.
I’ve already signed up to do the course and am really excited! If you, like me, have been meaning to get around to really studying the Kitáb-i-Íqán, then this post, which compiles what Shoghi Effendi has to say about the importance of the Kitáb-i-Íqán – is for you. (A big thanks to Fazel for preparing this for us!)
The Kitáb-i-Íqán: Breaking the “Choice Sealed Wine”
prepared by Fazel Naghdy
The importance of the Kitáb-i-Íqán
The Kitáb-i-Íqán has a very high station in the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh. Bahá’u’lláh refers to the Kitáb-i-Íqán as Siyyid-i-Kutub, the Lord of the Books, and describes it in these words:
… all the Scriptures and the mysteries thereof are condensed into this brief account. So much so, that were a person to ponder it a while in his heart, he would discover from all that hath been said the mysteries of the Words of God, and would apprehend the meaning of whatever hath been manifested by that ideal King. Kitáb-i-Íqán
Here are 8 things Shoghi Effendi said about the importance of the Kitáb-i-Íqán:
- It “occupies a position unequalled by any work in the entire range of Baha’i literature, except the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Bahá’u’lláh’s Most Holy Book.” God Passes By
- It is the “fulfilment of the prophecy of the Bab in which it was stated that the Promised One would complete the text of the unfinished Persian Bayán”. God Passes By
- It is “the most important book written on the spiritual significance of the Cause”. Light of Divine Guidance, Vol. 1
- No person “can consider himself well versed in the teachings unless he has studied it thoroughly”. Light of Divine Guidance, Vol. 1
- The friends “should form study classes and read the important books that have been published, especially the ‘Íqán’, which contains the basic tenets of the Faith.” The Compilation of Compilations, Vol. I (The Importance of Deepening)
- “The one who ponders over that book and grasps its full significance will obtain a clear insight into the old scriptures and appreciate the true Mission of the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh.” The Compilation of Compilations, Vol. I (The Importance of Deepening)
- It can also be considered an exceptional work in the Persian literature in regards to its style of writing and eloquence. Shoghi Effendi refers to its style as “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”. God Passes By
- The revelation of The Kitáb-i-Íqán “proffered to mankind the ‘Choice Sealed Wine,’ whose seal is of ‘musk,’ and broke the ‘seals’ of the ‘Book’ referred to by Daniel, and disclosed the meaning of the ‘words’ destined to remain ‘closed up’ till the ‘time of the end’ ”. God Passes By
Shoghi Effendi also indicates that the revelation of The Kitáb-i-Íqán fulfilled two prophecies in the Qur’án and the Bible.
The term “Choice Sealed Wine” has been used allegorically in the Qur’án promising the righteous that they will drink of “choice sealed wine”.
Truly the Righteous will be in Bliss:
On Thrones (of Dignity) will they command a sight (of all things):
Thou wilt recognize in their faces the beaming brightness of Bliss.
Their thirst will be slaked with Choice Sealed Wine:
The seal thereof will be Musk: And for this let those aspire, who have aspirations:
Qur’án 83:22–26, Al-Mutaffifin (The Dealers in Fraud).
The second prophecy is made in the Bible. At the end of Daniel’s visions the seer was told:
But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
… And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?
And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
Daniel 12:4, 8–9
Interested in studying the Kitáb-i-Íqán?
A newly-launched online study course called, A Tutorial on the Kitáb-i-Íqán, provides you with an opportunity to immerse yourself in this important work of Bahá’u’lláh.
This book is called a ‘tutorial’ to emphasize the philosophy underpinning its development. The aim is to simulate, as much as possible, the tutor-tutee relationship in a self-paced, distance-learning program. In order to accompany you in the study of The Kitáb-i-Íqán, this tutorial identifies the main themes covered in the book and maps the related paragraphs into chapters.
This tutorial is not an interpretation or a critical analysis of the content of the book. It also does not provide any personal opinion. All the references in the tutorial are sourced either from the Bahá’í authoritative material or obtained from other reliable data.
For more information and to enrol, please visit the tutorial website.