Baháʼí prophecies

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Throughout the Baháʼí writings, future events have been prophesied. The most specific prophecies are related to the rise and fall of leaders and organizations. Most of these prophesies can be found in Baháʼu'lláh's tablets to the kings and rulers of the world and in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas.[1][2]

Particularly potent to early Baháʼís was Baháʼu'lláh's prediction in 1868–69 of the fall of Sultan Abdülaziz, who was deposed in 1876.[3] Other prophecies, including statements from ʻAbdu'l-Bahá, are general in nature, relating to the nature of future society, and the rise of the Baháʼí Faith to prominence.[1][4]

Historical events[edit]

The downfall of various leaders[edit]

Sultan Abdu'l-Aziz[edit]

Baháʼu'lláh wrote a condemnatory letter to then Sultan ʻAbdu'l-ʻAzíz (r. 1861-1876), the original of which has been lost. Originals of three other letters addressing two of the Sultan's ministers are recorded in Summons of the Lord of Hosts, which also mention the Sultan. The letters condemn their misrule, abuse of civil power, and character; especially their role in Baháʼu'lláh's banishments and imprisonment.[5]

Two of the three letters, the Súriy-i-Ra'ís and the Lawh-i-Fu'ád, predict that ʻAbdu'l-ʻAzíz will lose control of the Ottoman Empire.[3] In 1868 Baháʼu'lláh wrote,

The day is approaching when the Land of Mystery (Adrianople) and what is beside it shall be changed, and shall pass out of the hands of the King, and commotions shall appear, and the voice of lamentation shall be raised, and the evidences of mischief shall be revealed on all sides, and confusion shall spread by reason of that which hath befallen these captives at the hands of the hosts of oppression.[6]

Later in 1869, Baháʼu'lláh compares the Sultan and his Prime Minister ʻAlí Páshá to Nimrod and Pharaoh who rose up against Abraham and Moses and writes that they will lose power:

Soon will We dismiss the one who was like unto him [ʻAlí Páshá], and will lay hold on their Chief who ruleth the land [the Sultan]...[7]

Sultan ʻAbdu'l-ʻAzíz was deposed on May 30, 1876 and a fortnight later he was found dead in the palace where he had been confined, and trustworthy medical evidence attributed his death to suicide although many people believed he was murdered by a conspiracy.

The prophecies regarding the downfall of the Sultan played an important role in the conversion of Mírzá Abu'l-Faḍl, one of the Baháʼí Faith's foremost scholars, after the fulfilment of the prophecies.[8][9]

ʻAlí Pashá and Fu'ád Páshá[edit]

Baháʼu'lláh addressed two letters to ʻAlí Páshá (Súriy-i-Ra'ís and Lawh-i-Ra'ís) and an additional letter written reflecting on the death of Fu'ád Páshá (Lawh-i-Fu'ád), both of whom served at different times as Grand Viziers of Sultan ʻAbdu'l-ʻAzíz. Among the strong condemnations of the ministers, written from 1868-1869, Baháʼu'lláh also predicts the downfall of ʻAlí Pashá (referred to as the "Chief").[10] Writing to him in the Súriy-i-Raʼís, Baháʼu'lláh says:

Soon thou shalt find thyself in manifest loss![11]

Writing to him in the Lawh-i-Ra'ís, Baháʼu'lláh says:

Soon will He seize you in His wrathful anger, sedition will be stirred up in your midst, and your dominions will be disrupted. ... Neither will your glory last, nor will Mine abasement endure.[12]

Fu'ád Páshá died of a heart disorder in February 1869. ʻAlí Páshá tried to perform the vacant role of foreign minister as well as prime minister, but also began having health problems, later getting tuberculosis and dying in September of 1871.[13] After his death, his reforms were changed and his enemies returned from exile. Five years later the government was reformed, and the steady decline of the empire culminated in its dissolution during World War I.

Juan Cole wrote a commentary on the prophecies, suggesting that "predictions of the Sultán's downfall, such as Baháʼu'lláh made in that Tablet, were not unusual but rather were commonplaces..."[14] He continues,

"Baháʼu'lláh predicts that Alí Páshá, then grand vizier, will be deposed (the verb is 'azala, which is used of deposing kings). He says, too, that God will "lay hold" (the verb is akhadha, to take, seize) of Sultán AbdulAzíz (he is called amiruhum, literally, "their prince" or "their commander"). Although Baháʼu'lláh was correct that neither of these powerful men had long at the top in 1869, his prophecy, if taken literally, actually reverses their true fates... Taken together with Baháʼu'lláh's prediction in the Tablet of the Premier that turmoil would overtake the Ottoman empire and his advocacy from his early Acre years of parliamentary democracy, he does seem to have been prescient about the imminence of the First Constitutional Revolution. Indeed, the matter of Alí Páshá never being deposed seems minor in comparison.[14]

Napoleon III[edit]

Napoleon III was the Emperor of the French from 1852 to 1870. In 1869 Baháʼu'lláh wrote to him in one of the five chapters that compose the Súriy-i-Haykal. In the tablet Baháʼu'lláh writes that if Napoleon III does not follow Baháʼu'lláh he will lose his kingdom and that commotion will occur in France:[15]

"For what thou hast done, thy kingdom shall be thrown into confusion, and thine empire shall pass from thine hands, as a punishment for that which thou hast wrought. Then wilt thou know how thou hast plainly erred. Commotions shall seize all the people in that land, unless thou arisest to help this Cause, and followest Him Who is the Spirit of God in this, the Straight Path. Hath thy pomp made thee proud? By My Life! It shall not endure; nay, it shall soon pass away, unless thou holdest fast to this firm Cord. We see abasement hastening after thee, whilst thou art of the heedless. "
(Baháʼu'lláh, Súriy-i-Haykal, 1869)

Within the year, in battle against Prussia in July 1870, the Emperor was captured at the Battle of Sedan (September 2) and was deposed by the forces of the Third Republic in Paris two days later; he was sent into exile to England where he died.

After Napoleon's capture by the Prussians, General Louis Jules Trochu and the politician Léon Gambetta overthrew the Second Empire and established the "Government of National Defence" which later became the conservative Third Republic. Its creation was overshadowed by the subsequent revolution in Paris known as the Paris Commune, which maintained a radical regime for two months until its bloody suppression in May 1871.


Baháʼu'lláh prophesied the fall of the Caliphate, the title of the head of state in Sunni Islam. From 1517 onwards, the Ottoman sultan was also the Caliph of Islam, and the Ottoman Empire was, from 1517 until 1922 (or 1924), synonymous with the Caliphate or the Islamic State. Addressing the people of Constantinople, the capital of the Ottoman Empire, Baháʼu'lláh, in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas which was completed in 1873, claims that the leaders of Constantinople, the Caliph, has been a source of tyranny, and that they will lose control:[16][17]

"O people of Constantinople! Lo, from your midst We hear the baleful hooting of the owl. Hath the drunkenness of passion laid hold upon you, or is it that ye are sunk in heedlessness? O Spot that art situate on the shores of the two seas! The throne of tyranny hath, verily, been established upon thee, and the flame of hatred hath been kindled within thy bosom, in such wise that the Concourse on high and they who circle around the Exalted Throne have wailed and lamented. We behold in thee the foolish ruling over the wise, and darkness vaunting itself against the light. Thou art indeed filled with manifest pride. Hath thine outward splendour made thee vainglorious? By Him Who is the Lord of mankind! It shall soon perish, and thy daughters and thy widows and all the kindreds that dwell within thee shall lament. Thus informeth thee the All-Knowing, the All-Wise."
(Baháʼu'lláh, Kitáb-i-Aqdas, 1873)

On March 3, 1924, the first President of the Turkish Republic, Kemal Atatürk, constitutionally abolished the institution of the Caliphate. Its powers were transferred to the Turkish Grand National Assembly (parliament) of the newly formed Turkish nation-state and the title has since been inactive.

The rise and fall of Communism[edit]

"...absolute equality is just as impossible, for absolute equality in fortunes, honors, commerce, agriculture, industry would end in disorderliness, in chaos, in disorganization of the means of existence, and in universal disappointment: the order of the community would be quite destroyed."
(ʻAbdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, 1904–6)
"Movements, newly-born and world-wide in their range, will exert their utmost effort for the advancement of their designs. The Movement of the Left will acquire great importance. Its influence will spread."
(ʻAbdu'l-Bahá in January 1920, quoted in World Order of Baháʼu'lláh and published in full context in Star of the West, vol. 14, issue 12, pp. 355-356)
"The chief idols in the desecrated temple of mankind are none other than the triple gods of Nationalism, Racialism and Communism, at whose altars governments and peoples, whether democratic or totalitarian, at peace or at war, of the East or of the West, Christian or Islamic, are, in various forms and in different degrees, now worshiping."
(Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come, published in 1941)

The outbreak of World War(s)[edit]

  • The fall of kingdoms in Europe by 1917:[19]
"We are on the eve of the Battle of Armageddon referred to in the sixteenth chapter of Revelation... The time is two years hence, when only a spark will set aflame the whole of Europe... by 1917 kingdoms will fall and cataclysms will rock the earth."
(ʻAbdu'l-Bahá in October 1912, quoted in Esslemont, Baha'u'llah and the New Era, citing Corinne True in The North Shore Review, September 26, 1914)
"The ills from which the world now suffers... will multiply; the gloom which envelops it will deepen. The Balkans will remain discontented. Its restlessness will increase. The vanquished Powers will continue to agitate. They will resort to every measure that may rekindle the flame of war."
(ʻAbdu'l-Bahá in January 1920, quoted in World Order of Baháʼu'lláh)
"O banks of the Rhine! We have seen you covered with gore, inasmuch as the swords of retribution were drawn against you; and you shall have another turn. And We hear the lamentations of Berlin, though she be today in conspicuous glory."
(Baháʼu'lláh, Kitáb-i-Aqdas, 1873)

Scientific discoveries[edit]

Baháʼu'lláh wrote:

"Strange and astonishing things exist in the earth but they are hidden from the minds and the understanding of men. These things are capable of changing the whole atmosphere of the earth and their contamination would prove lethal."
(Baháʼu'lláh, Kalímát-i-Firdawsíyyih (Words of Paradise), c.1879–91)

Some point to this as a statement about the discovery of nuclear energy and the use of nuclear weapons.[22] Baháʼu'lláh also wrote that planets would be found around other star systems, and that life would be found on those planets:

"Know thou that every fixed star hath its own planets, and every planet its own creatures, whose number no man can compute."
(Baháʼu'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baháʼu'lláh, Section LXXXII)

A ruler who will raise up the Baháʼí Faith[edit]

In 1873 Baháʼu'lláh wrote in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas:[23]

"How great the blessedness that awaiteth the king who will arise to aid My Cause in My kingdom, who will detach himself from all else but Me! Such a king is numbered with the companions of the Crimson Ark--the Ark which God hath prepared for the people of Bahá. All must glorify his name, must reverence his station, and aid him to unlock the cities with the keys of My Name, the omnipotent Protector of all that inhabit the visible and invisible kingdoms. Such a king is the very eye of mankind, the luminous ornament on the brow of creation, the fountainhead of blessings unto the whole world. Offer up, O people of Bahá, your substance, nay your very lives, for his assistance."
(Baháʼu'lláh, Kitáb-i-Aqdas, 1873)

This is elaborated specifically:

"In the Lawh-i-Ra'ís He actually and categorically prophesies the rise of such a king: "Erelong will God raise up from among the kings one who will aid His loved ones. He, verily, encompasseth all things. He will instill in the hearts the love of His loved ones. This, indeed, is irrevocably decreed by One Who is the Almighty, the Beneficent." In the Ridvánu'l-ʻAdl, wherein the virtue of justice is exalted, He makes a parallel prediction: "Erelong will God make manifest on earth kings who will recline on the couches of justice, and will rule amongst men even as they rule their own selves. They, indeed, are among the choicest of My creatures in the entire creation.""
(Baháʼu'lláh, 1868, quoted by Shoghi Effendi in Promised Day is Come)

The establishment of a World Commonwealth[edit]

The Lesser Peace[edit]

Shoghi Effendi wrote:[24]

"... It must, however long and tortuous the way, lead, through a series of victories and reverses, to the political unification of the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, to the emergence of a world government and the establishment of the Lesser Peace, as foretold by Baháʼu'lláh and foreshadowed by the Prophet Isaiah."
(Shoghi Effendi, Citadel of Faith, 1947)

Signs for the coming of age of the human race[edit]

Baháʼu'lláh wrote in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas:[25]

"We have appointed two signs for the coming of age of the human race: the first, which is the most firm foundation, We have set down in other of Our Tablets, while the second hath been revealed in this wondrous Book."
(Baháʼu'lláh, Kitáb-i-Aqdas, 1873)

The first sign refers to the selection of a single language and the adoption of a common script:

"O members of parliaments throughout the world! Select ye a single language for the use of all on earth, and adopt ye likewise a common script. ... This will be the cause of unity, could ye but comprehend it, and the greatest instrument for promoting harmony and civilization, would that ye might understand!"
(Baháʼu'lláh, Kitáb-i-Aqdas, 1873)

The second sign refers to the emergence of a "divine philosophy" which will include the discovery of a radical approach to the transmutation of elements:

"Consider the doubts which they who have joined partners with God have instilled into the hearts of the people of this land. “Is it ever possible,” they ask, “for copper to be transmuted into gold?” Say, Yes, by my Lord, it is possible. Its secret, however, lieth hidden in Our Knowledge. We will reveal it unto whom We will. Whoso doubteth Our power, let him ask the Lord his God, that He may disclose unto him the secret, and assure him of its truth. That copper can be turned into gold is in itself sufficient proof that gold can, in like manner, be transmuted into copper, if they be of them that can apprehend this truth. Every mineral can be made to acquire the density, form, and substance of each and every other mineral. The knowledge thereof is with Us in the Hidden Book."
(Baháʼu'lláh, Gleanings from the Writing of Baháʼu'lláh, Section XCVII, undated)

In Baháʼu'lláh's tablet addressed to Shaykh Salmán, he mentions a third sign, which is that no one will accept to bear the weight of kingship:

"One of the signs of the maturity of the world is that no one will accept to bear the weight of kingship. Kingship will remain with none willing to bear alone its weight. That day will be the day whereon wisdom will be manifested among mankind. Only in order to proclaim the Cause of God and spread abroad His Faith will anyone be willing to bear this grievous weight. Well is it with him who, for love of God and His Cause, and for the sake of God and for the purpose of proclaiming His Faith, will expose himself unto this great danger, and will accept this toil and trouble.”"
(Baháʼu'lláh, undated, quoted in Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come)

The establishment of a World Commonwealth[edit]

Shoghi Effendi wrote:[4]

"The unity of the human race, as envisaged by Baháʼu'lláh, implies the establishment of a world commonwealth in which all nations, races, creeds and classes are closely and permanently united, and in which the autonomy of its state members and the personal freedom and initiative of the individuals that compose them are definitely and completely safeguarded…"
"A world federal system, ruling the whole earth and exercising unchallengeable authority over its unimaginably vast resources, blending and embodying the ideals of both the East and the West, liberated from the curse of war and its miseries, and bent on the exploitation of all the available sources of energy on the surface of the planet, a system in which Force is made the servant of Justice, whose life is sustained by its universal recognition of one God and by its allegiance to one common Revelation—such is the goal towards which humanity, impelled by the unifying forces of life, is moving."
(Shoghi Effendi, The Unfoldment of World Civilization, 1936)

This commonwealth must consist of:

  • a world legislature.
  • a world executive, backed by an international Force.
  • a world tribunal.

Further features:

  • a mechanism of world inter-communication.
  • a world metropolis which will act as the nerve center of a world civilization.
  • a world language, a world script, and a world literature.
  • a uniform and universal system of currency, weights and measures.
  • science and religion will be reconciled and will harmoniously develop.
  • the press will be liberated from the influence of contending governments and peoples.
  • the economic resources of the world will be organized, its sources of raw materials will be tapped and fully utilized, and the distribution of its products will be equitably regulated.
  • national rivalries, hatreds, and intrigues will cease.
  • the causes of religious strife will be permanently removed.
  • economic barriers and restrictions will be completely abolished, and the inordinate distinction between classes will be obliterated.
  • destitution on the one hand, and gross accumulation of ownership on the other, will disappear.
  • an increase of human inventions, technical development, productivity, and scientific research.
  • the extermination of disease and the raising of the standard of physical health.
  • the sharpening and refinement of the human brain.
  • the prolongation of human life.
  • the furtherance of any other agency that can stimulate the intellectual, the moral, and spiritual life of the entire human race.
  • the gradual adoption of a vegetarian diet by the majority of mankind.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Unfoldment of World Civilization, 1936)
"The second [Baháʼí] century [1944-2044 CE] is destined to witness a tremendous deployment and a notable consolidation of the forces working towards the world-wide development of that Order, as well as the first stirrings of that World Order."
(Shoghi Effendi, Messages to America, 1946)

The Most Great Peace[edit]

Shoghi Effendi wrote:[24]

"The Most Great Peace... a peace that must inevitably follow as the practical consequence of the spiritualization of the world and the fusion of all its races, creeds, classes and nations..."
(Shoghi Effendi, World Order of Baháʼu'lláh, 1936)

Future Manifestation of God[edit]

On Ridván 1863, the period in which Baháʼu'lláh made public his claim to have received a revelation from God, he stated that the next Manifestation of God will not appear before 1000 years have passed:[26]

"...ere the expiration of one thousand years whosoever advanceth a prophetic claim is false. By “year” a full year is intended, and no exegesis or interpretation is permitted in this matter."
(Baháʼu'lláh, Days of Remembrance, section 9.

In the Kitáb-i-Aqdas Baháʼu'lláh stated:

"Whoso layeth claim to a Revelation direct from God, ere the expiration of a full thousand years, such a man is assuredly a lying impostor. We pray God that He may graciously assist him to retract and repudiate such claim. Should he repent, God will, no doubt, forgive him... Whosoever, interpreteth this verse otherwise than its obvious meaning is deprived of the Spirit of God and of His mercy..."
(Baháʼu'lláh, Kitáb-i-Aqdas, 1873)

In a similar verse he says:

"Should a man appear, ere the lapse of a full thousand years—each year consisting of twelve months according to the Qurʼán, and of nineteen months of nineteen days each, according to the Bayán—and if such a man reveal to your eyes all the signs of God, unhesitatingly reject him!"
(Baháʼu'lláh, quoted in World Order of Baháʼu'lláh)

In the Maʼidiy-i-Asmani, Baháʼu'lláh anticipates a different “proof ” for the next Manifestation of God:

"...we have ordained that a proof other than the revelation of divine verses be produced to vindicate the truth of the next Manifestation."
(Baháʼu'lláh, Ma'idiy-i-Asmani, Vol. IV, 93.)[27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Smith, Peter (2000). "prophecy". A concise encyclopedia of the Baháʼí Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 278. ISBN 1-85168-184-1.
  2. ^ Smith, Peter (2000). "rulers, proclamation to". A concise encyclopedia of the Baháʼí Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. pp. 300–301. ISBN 1-85168-184-1.
  3. ^ a b Smith, Peter (2000). "Abdulaziz" (PDF). A concise encyclopedia of the Baháʼí Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. pp. 13–14. ISBN 1-85168-184-1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-01-01.
  4. ^ a b Smith, Peter (2000). "World Order". A concise encyclopedia of the Baháʼí Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. pp. 363–364. ISBN 1-85168-184-1.
  5. ^ Baháʼu'lláh 2002, p. Introduction.
  6. ^ Baháʼu'lláh 2002, p. 143.
  7. ^ Baháʼu'lláh 2002, p. 179.
  8. ^ Smith, Peter (2000). "Mírzá Abu'l-Faḍl Gulpáygání, Mírzá Muḥammad" (PDF). A concise encyclopedia of the Baháʼí Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. pp. 22–23. ISBN 1-85168-184-1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-01-01.
  9. ^ Taherzadeh 1984, pp. 91–107
  10. ^ Smith, Peter (2000). "Âli Paṣa, Mehmet Emin" (PDF). A concise encyclopedia of the Baháʼí Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 34. ISBN 1-85168-184-1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-01-01.
  11. ^ Baháʼu'lláh 2002, p. 142.
  12. ^ Baháʼu'lláh 2002, pp. 164-165.
  13. ^ "Ali Pasha (Mehmet Emin)", Biyografya
  14. ^ a b Cole, Juan. "Lawh-i-Fu'ád: notes by Juan Cole". Baháʼí Library Online. Retrieved December 2, 2017.
  15. ^ Smith, Peter (2000). "Napoleon III". A concise encyclopedia of the Baháʼí Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 278. ISBN 1-85168-184-1.
  16. ^ Smith, Peter (2000). "Istanbul". A concise encyclopedia of the Baháʼí Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 212. ISBN 1-85168-184-1.
  17. ^ Smith, Peter (2000). "caliphate". A concise encyclopedia of the Baháʼí Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 100. ISBN 1-85168-184-1.
  18. ^ Smith, Peter (2000). "communism". A concise encyclopedia of the Baháʼí Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. pp. 107–108. ISBN 1-85168-184-1.
  19. ^ Lambden, Stephen. "Catastrophe, Armageddon and Millennium: some aspects of the Bábí-Baháʼí exegesis of apocalyptic symbolism". Baháʼí Studies Review. 9. Archived from the original on 11 June 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-10.
  20. ^ Smith, Peter (2000). "war". A concise encyclopedia of the Baháʼí Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 354. ISBN 1-85168-184-1.
  21. ^ Smith, Peter (2000). "Wilhelm I". A concise encyclopedia of the Baháʼí Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 356. ISBN 1-85168-184-1.
  22. ^ Smith, Peter (2000). "nuclear power". A concise encyclopedia of the Baháʼí Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. pp. 260–261. ISBN 1-85168-184-1.
  23. ^ Smith, Peter (2000). "kings, kingship". A concise encyclopedia of the Baháʼí Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. pp. 219–220. ISBN 1-85168-184-1.
  24. ^ a b Smith, Peter (2000). "peace". A concise encyclopedia of the Baháʼí Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. pp. 266–267. ISBN 1-85168-184-1.
  25. ^ Smith, Peter (2000). "human race". A concise encyclopedia of the Baháʼí Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. pp. 186–187. ISBN 1-85168-184-1.
  26. ^ Smith, Peter (2000). "Manifestations of God". A concise encyclopedia of the Baháʼí Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 278. ISBN 1-85168-184-1.
  27. ^ Provisional translation quoted in: Nakhjavani, Bahiyyih. Silences of God, The: A Meditation. in Journal of Baháʼí Studies, 24:3-4 (2014).


  • Katirai, Foad (2001). Global Governance and the Lesser Peace. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. ISBN 0-85398-453-0.

External links[edit]