The Authenticity of the Word of God
Some of the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh which were revealed in answer to individuals are written in such a way that they appear to have been composed by Mírzá Áqá Ján. Sometimes, these Writings consisted of two different parts, each with its own distinctive style, one appearing to be the words of Mírzá Áqá Ján, and the other clearly the words of Bahá'u'lláh. It is an established fact, however, that every word of these Tablets, regardless of their style and content, was dictated by Bahá'u'lláh and that not a single word originated from Mírzá Áqá Ján. Bahá'u'lláh always dictated the answer to letters addressed to Mírzá Áqá Ján. In His inscrutable wisdom, however, He would dictate in such a way that one part of the Tablet appeared to have been composed by Mírzá Áqá Ján and the other by Himself. Some of the believers were under the false impression that Mírzá Áqá Ján had actually composed those parts which seemed to be in his words.
In order to appreciate the confusion which was created among the early believers in this respect, it is necessary to become more familiar with the life of Mírzá Áqá Ján. This man served Bahá'u'lláh for nearly forty years, not only as amanuensis but also as companion and attendant. He was with Bahá'u'lláh throughout His ministry with the exception of the two years which Bahá'u'lláh spent in retirement in Kurdistán. During this period he was for some time in the service of Mírzá Yahyá, who sent him to Tihrán on a secret mission to assassinate Násiri'd-Dín Sháh. Soon after his arrival in Tihrán, he managed to obtain access to the court of the Sháh in the guise of a labourer but, having failed to carry out his sinister intention, he returned to Baghdád fully realizing the extent of his folly.
At length, Bahá'u'lláh returned to Baghdád and Mírzá Yahyá's manipulations came to an end. The fire of love and devotion which had been ignited in Mírzá Áqá Ján's heart before Bahá'u'lláh's departure was kindled once again. With great zeal and enthusiasm he began to serve Bahá'u'lláh as amanuensis.
Towards the end of his service, however, Mírzá Áqá Ján grew proud and, shortly before the death of Bahá'u'lláh, he fell from grace. On several occasions, by his actions and attitude, he provoked feelings of sadness and displeasure in the heart of Bahá'u'lláh. At such times it was always 'Abdu'l-Bahá who rebuked Mírzá Áqá Ján for his conduct.
Shortly before the death of Bahá'u'lláh, a certain believer, Hájí Mírzá 'Abdu'lláh, the father-in-law of the martyred Varqá, personally asked Bahá'u'lláh about those Tablets which appeared to have been composed by Mírzá Áqá Ján. He wanted to know who was the actual author. Bahá'u'lláh indicated that the answer to this question must come from Mírzá Áqá Ján himself. 'Abdu'l-Bahá, in one of the talks He gave in Haifa in 1919, refers to this episode. He mentions that when asked, Mírzá Áqá Ján's answer was not readily forthcoming, and for this reason some of the believers rose against him.
One day, during Bahá'u'lláh's illness prior to His ascension, 'Abdu'l-Bahá found the believers arguing and divided into two groups, one headed by Nabíl-i-A'zam, the other by Fúrúghíyyih, a daughter of Bahá'u'lláh and wife of Hájí Siyyid 'Alíy-i-Afnán. (Both husband and wife later became Covenant-breakers.) He immediately closed their argument and censured them severely for creating an unnecessary division at such a critical time.
It was then that He learned that Mírzá Áqá Ján had spoken to Bahá'u'lláh in an arrogant manner, causing Him extreme displeasure. At once, 'Abdu'l-Bahá confronted Mírzá Áqá Ján and rebuked him for his offensive behaviour. Nevertheless, 'Abdu'l-Bahá went three times into the presence of Bahá'u'lláh to intercede for him, each time prostrating Himself at Bahá'u'lláh's feet and begging forgiveness for Mírzá Áqá Ján.
The ascension of Bahá'u'lláh occurred soon after these events. Whereupon 'Abdu'l-Bahá asked Mírzá Áqá Ján to send his long-awaited reply to Hájí Mírzá 'Abdu'lláh. This he did. The letter which he wrote in his own hand, dated one month after the ascension of Bahá'u'lláh, is very clear indeed. In it he unequivocally stated that every word of the Tablets which seemed to have been composed by him had, in fact, been dictated by Bahá'u'lláh. Here is Mírzá Áqá Ján's testimony:
Not one word has originated from this servant. Every word was revealed from the Kingdom of God--my Lord, yours, and the Lord of all who are in the heavens and on earth. Always, after obtaining permission, I would, in His most holy and exalted presence, read the letters which were addressed to this servant. He would then direct me to take my pen and write the answer which, from the beginning to end, was revealed by His blessed tongue. This practice was not limited to this servant alone. Many times has the Tongue of Grandeur* revealed in the words of His companions or those believers who came from abroad what amounts to a mighty book for all the world...I was only a servant recording His words in His presence..