Some Answered Questions
‘Abdu’l-Bahá
Bahá’í
9:29 h
Some Answered Questions is a book that was first published in 1908. It contains questions related to religion, philosophy and science, asked to `Abdu'l-Bahá by Laura Clifford Barney, during several of her visits to Haifa between 1904 and 1906, and `Abdu'l-Bahá's answers to these questions. `Abdu'l-Bahá was the son of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, and was appointed by him as his successor and interpreter of his words. Topics covered include the Prophets of God, human evolution, immortality of the soul, the relationship between the soul and the body, reincarnation and Christian subjects.
Some Answered Questions
‘Abdu’l-Bahá

© Bahá’í International Community


Author’s Preface to the First Edition

I HAVE GIVEN TO you my tired moments,” were the words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as He rose from table after answering one of my questions.

As it was on this day, so it continued; between the hours of work, His fatigue would find relief in renewed activity; occasionally He was able to speak at length; but often, even though the subject might require more time, He would be called away after a few moments; again, days and even weeks would pass, in which He had no opportunity of instructing me. But I could well be patient, for I had always before me the greater lesson the lesson of His personal life.

During my several visits to ‘Akká, these answers were written down in Persian while ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke, not with a view to publication, but simply that I might have them for future study. At first they had to be adapted to the verbal translation of the interpreter; and later, when I had acquired a slight knowledge of Persian, to my limited vocabulary. This accounts for repetition of figures and phrases, for no one has a more extensive command of felicitous expressions than ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. In these lessons He is the teacher adapting Himself to His pupil, and not the orator or poet. This book presents only certain aspects of the Bahá’í Faith, which is universal in its message and has for each questioner the answer suited to his special development and needs.

In my case the teachings were made simple, to correspond to my rudimentary knowledge, and are therefore in no way complete and exhaustive, as the Table of Contents may suggest the Table of Contents having been added merely to indicate the subjects treated of. But I believe that what has been so valuable to me may be of use to others, since all men, notwithstanding their differences, are united in their search for reality; and I have therefore asked ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s permission to publish these talks.

Originally they were not given in any special order, but have now been roughly classified for the convenience of the reader. The Persian text has been closely followed, at times even to the detriment of the English, a few alterations being made in the translation merely where the literal rendering seemed too involved and obscure; and the interpolated words, required to make the meaning clearer, have not been indicated in any way in order to avoid the too frequent interruption of the thought by technical or explanatory signs. Also many of the Persian and Arabic names have been written in their simplest form without strictly adhering to a scientific system which would be confusing to the average reader.

LAURA CLIFFORD BARNEY


On the Influence of the Prophets in the Evolution of Humanity

1

Nature is Governed by a Universal Law

NATURE IS THAT CONDITION or reality which outwardly is the source of the life and death, or, in other words, of the composition and decomposition, of all things.

This nature is subject to a sound organization, to inviolable laws, to a perfect order, and to a consummate design, from which it never departs. To such an extent is this true that were you to gaze with the eye of insight and discernment, you would observe that all things from the smallest invisible atom to the largest globes in the world of existence, such as the sun or the other great stars and luminous bodies are most perfectly organized, be it with regard to their order, their composition, their outward form, or their motion, and that all are subject to one universal law from which they never depart.

When you consider nature itself, however, you see that it has neither awareness nor will. For instance, the nature of fire is to burn; it burns without consciousness or will. The nature of water is to flow; it flows without consciousness or will. The nature of the sun is to shed light; it shines without consciousness or will. The nature of vapour is to rise; it rises without consciousness or will. It is therefore evident that the natural movements of all created things are compelled, and that nothing moves of its own will save animals and, in particular, man.