Mr. ... refers to several sources in the literature of the Bahá'í Faith where the first person to recognize Bahá'u'lláh as a Manifestation of God is identified. Those named include 'Abdu'l-Bahá (see Balyuzi's book "'Abdu'l-Bahá The Centre of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh" (Oxford: George Ronald, 1987), p. 13), Mírzá Áqá Ján and Shaykh Hasán-i-Zunúzi (see "Bahá'u'lláh: The King of Glory" (Oxford: George Ronald, 1980, p. 109 and pp. 67-68). He asks how this apparent contradiction is to be resolved.
It is evident that the term "the first" to recognize
Bahá'u'lláh had different meanings according to the context of its use. For
example, given 'Abdu'l-Bahá's designation as "the Mystery of God" and
His unique relationship with His Father, it is possible that the reference is
to the spiritual realm, a realm which transcends time. While, in the case of
Mírzá Áqá Ján and Shaykh Hasán-i-Zunúzi, the application of the term is
necessarily in the context of the human plane of existence.
In relation to Mírzá Áqá Ján, Shoghi Effendi in "God
Passes By", p. 115, clearly affirms that Mírzá Áqá Ján was "the first
to believe" in Bahá'u'lláh, and that to him, Bahá'u'lláh, more than to
anyone else, was moved to disclose, at this critical juncture, a glimpse of the
as yet unrevealed glory of His station.
Hence, one possible distinction between Mírzá Áqá Ján and
Shaykh Hasán-i-Zunúzi could well relate to the degree or extent of their
recognition, with primacy being accorded to Mírzá Áqá Ján.
(Memorandum from the
Research Department of the Universal House of Justice dated 23 May 1991)