The Bahá’í Covenant The Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh

How the Covenant in the Bahá’í Faith creates and maintains a unified religious community.

5 October 1993

You may be confident that the House of Justice is sympathetic to the need of Bahá’í scholars for ever-increasing access to important Bahá’í archival sources such as the original texts of historical documents like “The Dawn-Breakers”. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine how these servants of the Cause, whose contributions to its advancement and the protection of its interests are vital, will otherwise be able to discharge their role. Nor is it necessary to urge on the House of Justice the importance to the interests of the Faith of a general spirit of openness about its scriptural and historical sources.

At present, the World Centre lacks the human resources, physical space, and research facilities necessary to respond adequately to this need. All of us look forward eagerly to the day when the Centre for the Study of the Texts will have come into existence in the building on the Arc designed for it and now under construction, and will be in a position to assemble the archival and research facilities which the Cause urgently requires. We are sure that if you will respond in this perspective to inquiries about access to Bahá’í primary sources you will be able largely to relieve the kinds of doubts which you describe having encountered.

To propose, as some have done, that the best course in the meantime is simply to open the World Centre’s archives to visiting Bahá’í scholars who possess appropriate credentials is not realistic. Were the Archives, the Library, and the Research Department to divert energy and attention to the reception of the many researchers who would feel a legitimate right to come, their priority tasks in vital support of the work of the House of Justice, including preservation, classification, translation, annotation, and publication, would suffer to a degree that is not acceptable at this stage in the growth of the Cause. As is so often the case in many fields of research, scholars interested in work on the Faith will have to exercise a measure of patience.