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Term Definition
AkkaAkka (English: Acre) is a small city on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, just north of Haifa City, Israel. In Baha'u'llah's time, Akka was part of the Ottoman province of Syria and was used as a prison-city for criminals and political prisoners. Baha'u'llah was sent to Akka for life in 1868. He was confined for two years in the city's citadel, but later moved into accommodation in the city. After nine years, Baha'u'llah took up residence on the outskirts of Akka. For details and pictures, see Wikipedia "Acre, Israel".
Ali'Ali' is a common Islamic name. It derives from Ali ibn Abi Talib, who was a cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad and the fourth caliph. For Shi'is, Ali was also the First Imam. 'Ali' was one of Baha'u'llah's given names; his full name was Mirza Husayn Ali Nuri. For details, see Wikipedia "Ali".
amanuensisAn amanuensis is a person who writes from dictation.
BaghdadBaghdad is the capital city of Iraq, which, in Baha'u'llah's time, was a province of the Ottoman Empire. Baha'u'llah was exiled from Iran to Baghdad in late 1852. His family lived there for ten years until Baha'u'llah was exiled to Istanbul and Edirne in 1863.
Day of GodThe Day of God is another name for the Day of Judgement or Day of Resurrection. It is referred to in the scriptures of all the major religions. The Bab and Baha'u'llah claimed to be the messengers sent by God to fulfil the promise of the Day of God.
EdirneEdirne is a city in the far west of Turkey, close to the border with Greece. In Baha'u'llah's time, the city formed part of the Ottoman Empire. Baha'u'llah lived in Edirne from 1863 to 1868. The Baha'is usually refer to the city of Edirne as 'Adrianople'. This was its English name up until the First World War. For details, see Wikipedia "Edirne".
hadithHadith is "A report of the sayings or actions of Muhammad or his companions, together with the tradition of its chain of transmission." Answers.com
He Whom God Will Make ManifestThis is the title the Bab gave to the manifestation who would come after him. Baha'u'llah openly proclaimed that he was He Whom God Will Make Manifest on 21 April 1863, the day Baha'is now celebrate as the first Day of Ridvan.
houriThe Arabic word 'houri' is the term used in the Qur'an (55:56; 55:72) to refer to the celestial women who inhabit paradise. In the Baha'i writings, Baha'u'llah uses the term to refer to 'The Houri', in the singular, a woman who appeared to him in visions and was the source of the Baha'i revelation, and to 'houris' in the plural, who inhabit paradise. Baha'u'llah wrote many poems and tablets about The Houri, such as Tablet of the Houri. In official translations, the word 'houri' is usually translated as 'Maid of Heaven'.
Husayn'Husayn' is a common Islamic name. It derives from Husayn ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib, who was a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad (a son of Ali, the Prophet's cousin, and of Fatima, the Prophet's daughter). For Shi'is, Husayn was the third Imam. He led a revolt against the sixth caliph, Yazid, and was martyred along with many members of his family. 'Husayn' was one of Baha'u'llah's given names; his full name was Mirza Husayn Ali Nuri. For details, see Wikipedia "Husayn ibn Ali".
ImamThe word 'Imam' is Arabic and means 'one who stands in front'. The word generally refers to Islamic religious leaders and those who lead Friday obligatory prayers. For Shi'is, however, the word also refers to the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad, through his daughter, Fatima, and his cousin, Ali. Most Shi'is believe that there were twelve Imams. For details, see Wikipedia "Twelvers".
IranIran is a country located in southwest Asia, in the region commonly referred to as the Middle East. Its neighbours include Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey and Iraq. The Iranian people speak the Persian language and the majority belong to the Shi'ah denomination of Islam. Throughout history, the country was known as 'Persia', but its name was changed to 'Iran' in 1935. For details, see Wikipedia "Iran".
IslamThe religion of Islam was founded by the Prophet Muhammad (570-632), who lived in the cities of Mecca and Medina in what is now Saudi Arabia. His book of scripture is called the Qur'an. Those who follow Muhammad are called Muslims. Baha'is also believe that Muhammad was a messenger of God.

"During the Meccan phase of his ministry, Muhammad taught a very simple religious ethic centred on the need to put aside idol-worship and turn to the one true God. Later in Medina these teachings were expanded. Three fundamental tenets remained at the core of the religion:
1. Belief in one God and rejection of all idols;
2. Belief in Muhammad as the messenger of God;
3. Belief in the Day of Judgement.
But to these were added a number of obligatory ritual observances:
1. Obligatory Prayer, five times a day;
2. Fasting for the month of Ramadan;
3. Paying of alms;
4. Pilgrimage to the Ka'ba [in Mecca];
5. Jihad, or Holy War against idolators."
Moojan Momen: An Introduction to Shi'i Islam (Oxford: George Ronald, 1985) p 8.

For details, see Islamic Association of Australia "Islam Explained".
Letters of the LivingThe Letters of the Living were the first 18 people to declare their belief in the Bab. There were 19 letters in total, including the Bab.
manifestationA manifestation of God is a person chosen by God to act as God's representative in all the worlds of God. The manifestation brings God's latest message to humanity, which is recorded as a book of scripture. Manifestations of God include Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, the Bab and Baha'u'llah. Manifestations are also referred to as 'prophets' and 'messengers'.
Mirza Husayn Ali NuriMirza Husayn Ali Nuri is the given name of Baha'u'llah. The word 'Mirza' is a title, a bit like 'Mr' in English. It indicates that the person has standing in society; for example, by being learned or an official of government. 'Husayn' was the name of a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. 'Ali' was the name of Husayn's father, who was also the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad. The last part of Baha'u'llah's name 'Nuri' literally means 'of Nur'. Nur is the area of Iran where Baha'u'llah was born.
Mount SinaiMount Sinai was the mountain that Moses climbed in order to receive the ten commandments (Exodus: 19 and 20). Baha'u'llah used Sinai-related imagery a great deal in his writings.
mysticismMysticism is: "Belief in the possibility of union with or absorption into God by means of contemplation and self-surrender; belief in or reliance on the possibility of spiritual apprehension of knowledge inaccessible to the intellect." The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary

The word 'Sufism' is name for the mysticism of Islam.
Ottoman EmpireThe Ottoman Empire was a powerful state that existed for over seven centuries, from 1299 to 1923. Its vast territory took in most of the countries that lay on the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea and Red Sea. The Ottoman Empire was broken up by the Allied Powers after World War 1. The empire's capital was Istanbul, which is now in Turkey. The empire's ruler was called the Sultan and the state religion was Sunni Islam. See the Naqshbandi website for a map of the Ottoman Empire.
People of the BookThe People of the Book in Islam are the Jews and Christians, possessors of past scriptures from God.
PersiaPersia was the name for the country of Iran until it was changed in 1935.
prophetA prophet is a person who recieves divine guidance and inspiration. There are two kinds of prophet:
1. Prophets endowed with constancy. These are the manifestations.
2. Lesser prophets. These draw their inspiration from the manifestation whose era they live in. The examples usually given are the prophets of Judaism, such as Isaiah, who were followers of Moses. Other examples would include the Imams of Shi'ism and the Letters of the Living in the Babi religion. As for the Baha'i religion, Shoghi Effendi quotes Baha'u'llah: "In confirmation of the exalted rank of the true believer, referred to by Baha'u'llah, He reveals the following: 'The station which he who hath truly recognized this Revelation will attain is the same as the one ordained for such prophets of the house of Israel as are not regarded as Manifestations 'endowed with constancy.''" (World Order of Baha'u'llah, p 111).

For details, see Abdu'l-Baha: Some Answered Questions, chapter 43, "The two classes of prophets".
SamiriSamiri was the name of Pharaoh's wizard in the time of Moses.
Seal of the ProphetsThis term is from Qur'an 33:40, which says: "Muhammad is not the father of any one of your men, but is God's Apostle and the Seal of all Prophets". Muslims understand this to mean that Muhammad was the final messenger ever. Baha'is understand the passage to mean that Muhammad was the last messenger before the Day of God. Baha'u'llah discusses this issue at length in his Book of Certitude.
ShiismShi'ism is one of the two denominations of Islam, the other being Sunni Islam. The fundamental disagreement between the two denominations is over who was the rightful successor to the Prophet Muhammad and the role of that successor. Shi'is believe that Muhammad intended for his cousin and son-in-law 'Ali ibn Abi Talib to succeed him and for his progeny to lead thereafter. Shi'is refer to Ali and his successors as 'Imams' and they were seen, primarily, as spiritual leaders. Sunnis believe that Muhammad's successors were to be chosen by the community of believers. Their leaders were called 'caliphs' and they were temporal rulers. Baha'u'llah confirmed the legitimacy of Ali and the Imams as Muhammad's successors and the spiritual leaders of the community.
Shoghi EffendiShoghi Effendi Rabbani (1897-1957) was the Guardian of the Baha'i Faith and the eldest grandson of Abdu'l-Baha. Abdu'l-Baha appointed him as his successor and as an authoritative interpretor of Baha'u'llah's writings. Shoghi Effendi was the leader of the Baha'i community from 1921 to 1957.
spiritual worldsThe spiritual worlds are the worlds of God. Jesus referred to these worlds when he said: "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you." (John 14:2) We access these worlds with our spiritual faculties in dreams and visions and at times of prayer and devotion when we are not distracted by the physical world. Abdu'l-Baha explains: "The spirit and mind of man travel to all countries and regions - even through the limitless space of the heavens - surround all that exists, and make discoveries in the exalted spheres and infinite distances. This is because the spirit has no place; it is placeless; and for the spirit, the earth and the heaven are as one since it makes discoveries in both." Some Answered Questions, chapter 67, "Eternal life and entrance into the Kingdom of God".
Sufism"Sufism is the mysticism of Islam and forms part of that faith. The Sufi's goal... is first to strengthen faith and then to transcend it by gaining, through Divine Grace, a love and certainty that spring from direct knowledge of God." Dr M I Wiley in the Introduction to Sufism: The Alchemy of the Heart (London: Aquarian Press, 1993) p 10. The goal of Sufi practice is for the believer to progress on a personal journey to God, using religious observances, and thereby develop an intimate relationship with God. The thinking behind this is like that of a marriage: we develop in a marriage by developing our knowledge of, and intimacy with, our partner. This is why, in Sufism, the relationship between the believer and God is often likened to that of a lover and a beloved. Baha'u'llah uses this imagery frequently in his writings. For details, see "Sufism and Its Many Paths".
SufyaniA figure in Shi'i Islam expected to oppose the promised Mihdi, just as the Anti-Christ would oppose the returned Christ.
SunniSunni Islam is the largest of the two denominations of Islam, the other being Shi'ism. It is estimated that 85 to 90 percent of the world's Muslims are Sunni. Sunnis believe that Muhammad's successors were to be chosen by the community of believers. These leaders were known as 'caliphs'. The Sunni institution of the Caliphate was established after Muhammad's death and lasted for 1292 years. It was finally abolished in 1924, when the Ottoman Empire also went out of existence. For details, see Wikipedia "Sunni Islam".
The BabThe Bab (1819-1850) was a manifestation of God, who founded the Babi religion. His given name was Siyyid Ali Muhammad Shirazi. The word 'Bab' literally means 'the gate'. The Bab was the forerunner to Baha'u'llah in the same way that John the Baptist was to Jesus. The Bab said in his scriptures that he would be followed by Him Whom God Will Make Manifest. Baha'u'llah claimed to be this promised one and to be the 'return' of the Bab. These claims are central to Baha'u'llah's writings. For details, see Wikipedia "Bab" and "Babism".
Twelfth ImamThe Twelfth Imam (Abu'l-Qasim Muhammad) is believed to have been born around 868AH. Shi'is believe that he went into occultation; that is, his body disappeared but he continued to reside in the spiritual cities of Jabulsa and Jabulqa. They believe that he will return before the final Day of Judgement as the Mahdi (Rightly Guided One). For details, see Wikipedia "Muhammad al-Mahdi".
Universal House of JusticeThe Universal House of Justice is the administrative head of the Baha'i world community. Its centre is located in Haifa, Israel.

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