The Four Valleys
The Four Valleys (Persian: چهار وادی Chahár Vádí) is a book written in Persian by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. The Seven Valleys (Persian: هفت وادی Haft-Vádí) was also written by Bahá'u'lláh, and the two books are usually published together under the title The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys. The two books are distinctly different and have no direct relation.
The Four Valleys
The Four Valleys was written around 1857 in Baghdad. Bahá'u'lláh had recently returned from the mountains of Kurdistan where he had spent two years studying with various Sufi sheikhs using the pseudonym Darvish Muhammad-i-Irani. The Four Valleys was written in response to questions of Shaykh 'Abdu'r-Rahman-i-Talabani, the "honored and indisputable leader" of the Qádiríyyih Order of Sufism. He never identified as a Bahá'í, but was known to his followers as having high respect and admiration for Bahá'u'lláh.
In the book, Bahá'u'lláh describes the qualities and grades of four types of mystical wayfarers: "Those who progress in mystic wayfaring are of four kinds."
The four are, roughly:
- Those who journey through strict observance of religious Laws.
- Those who journey to God through the use of logic & reason.
- Those who journey purely by the love of God.
- Those who journey by combination of the three approaches of obedience, reason, and inspiration.
There is some difficulty in translating a text written in a poetic style, with references to concepts of Sufism that may be foreign in the West. Some names are left in their original Arabic form. For example, Maqsúd ("the Intended One") in this book is used in connection with the holy Kaaba in Mecca and serves as an adjective for it, i.e., it means "the intended Kaba", however, from the context it is clear that this is not a physical place but rather one of the stations on the path toward God.
This tablet seems to contain many subjects, such as interpretation of scriptures, religious beliefs and doctrines of the past. The subjects addressed include: Mystical Writings, knowledge, divine philosophy, mysteries of creation, medicine, alchemy, etc.
Throughout the book Bahá'u'lláh exhorts men to education, goodly character and divine virtues.
- Ayman, Iraj; Afnani, Muin. "Four Valleys - Wilmette Institute faculty notes". Retrieved 2009-03-28.
- Bahá'u'lláh (1991) [1856-63]. The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. ISBN 0-87743-227-9. Retrieved 2009-03-28.
- Balyuzi, Hasan (2000). Bahá'u'lláh, King of Glory. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. ISBN 0-85398-328-3.
- Effendi, Shoghi (1944). God Passes By. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. ISBN 0-87743-020-9. Retrieved 2009-03-28.
- Hatcher, J.S. (1997). The Ocean of His Words: A Reader's Guide to the Art of Bahá'u'lláh. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. ISBN 0-87743-259-7.
- Smith, Peter (2008). An Introduction to the Baha'i Faith. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-86251-5.
- Taherzadeh, A. (1976), The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, Volume 1: Baghdad 1853-63, Oxford, UK: George Ronald, ISBN 0-85398-270-8
- Saiedi, Nader (2000). "Chapter 3: Spiritual Journey in the Four Valleys and the Seven Valleys". Logos and Civilization - Spirit, History, and Order in the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh. USA: University Press of Maryland and Association for Baha'i Studies. pp. 79–110. ISBN 1883053609.