The text of this Book is found here. Baha'u'llah revealed this Book, His last great work, to a renowned enemy of the Baha'i Faith, a Muslim clergyman residing in Persia. This clergyman's father, also a member of the clergy, had been responsible for the murder of two prominent Baha'is, for which act Baha'u'llah designated him "the Wolf." In this work, Baha'u'llah directly addresses a number of unfounded criticisms of His Faith, both doctrinal, and regarding His social teachings. He demonstrates that His conduct and that of His followers had always been above reproach.
These notes are not an attempt at a methodical approach to the study of this wonderful Book. Rather, they are notes made here and there within this great Book. Some are observations about similar passages in other of Baha'u'llah's Works; some are citations to verses in the Bible or the Qur'an; some are personal impressions of the purpose of Baha'u'llah in a given passage.
In some instances I have shared alternate translations of the same original phrase, from other passages from the Baha'i Writings translated by Shoghi Effendi. In the Notes to the Most Holy Book, the Universal House of Justice illustrates the benefit of elaborating the additional meanings of the original words used by Baha'u'llah:
"This is the first of several passages referring to the importance of refinement and cleanliness. The original Arabic word 'latafah', rendered here as 'refinement', has a wide range of meanings with both spiritual and physical implications, such as elegance, gracefulness, cleanliness, civility, politeness, gentleness, delicacy and graciousness, as well as being subtle, refined, sanctified and pure."
(The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 199, Note 74)
That is, the Universal House of Justice is explaining the profundity of the original language employed by Baha'u'llah, and that our understanding of passages from the Aqdas in which the words "cleanliness" or "refinement" occur, will be enhanced by realizing these additional "meanings" and "implications" it has here listed.
Although I have numbered the paragraphs in my copy of the book, though as yet I have not had time to set up my comments in discrete postings, paragraph-by-paragraph; perhaps one day I will have time to do so, instead of this all-in-one posting approach. At least this gets the material up and on the Internet, and as time permits I will improve this presentation. - Brent Poirier
P. 1 THE BOOK OF MAN
This station hath many signs, unnumbered proofs. Hence it is said: "Hereafter We will show them Our signs in the regions of the earth, and in themselves, until it become manifest unto them that it is the truth," [Qur'án 41:53] and that there is no God save Him. One must, then, read the book of his own self, rather than some treatise on rhetoric. Wherefore He hath said, "Read thy Book: There needeth none but thyself to make out an account against thee this day." [Qur'án 17:15.] (Baha'u'llah, The First Valley, The Tablet of Four Valleys; The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys, pp. 50-51)
P. 1 ARTICULATE SPEECH
Literally, al-bayan. (Some read this verse from the Qur’an as, “Hath taught him the Bayan”, i.e. that in this verse, Muhammad is prophesying the appearance of the Revelation of the Bab.)
P. 2 GIVE EAR, O DISTINGUISHED DIVINE
According to the memoirs of a believer, the Baha'i messenger delivering this Book to Shaykh Muhammad Taqi, went to the mosque when the Shaykh was praying. When the Shaykh bowed his head to the floor, the messenger placed this lengthy Tablet near his head, then went into a corner to observe. When the Shaykh finished his prayer and saw the book he frowned, but he picked it up and took it home with him.
pp. 3-9 WHEREFORE ALAS, ALAS! AND AGAIN, ALAS, ALAS!
Baha’u’llah reveals this prayer for forgiveness for the recipient of this Book, a notorious opponent of His faith and oppressor of the Baha’is, to recite.
P. 8 Thou hast ordained that every pulpit be set apart for Thy mention . . . but I have ascended it to proclaim the violation of Thy Covenant
Here, the violation of the Covenant refers not to the Covenant of Baha’u’llah, but perhaps to the greater Covenant with God. This symbol of misuse of the pulpits is used several times by Baha’u’llah in this Book. “I heard the lamentation of the pulpits” (p. 127); “We have heard the moaning of the pulpits” (p. 163). Also see page 79 of Tablets of Baha’u’llah Revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas, where Baha’u’llah says that the clergy are “engaged in reviling and denouncing the True One from their pulpits”.
P. 10 JUST AND FAIR-MINDED
In the original, al-`adl and al-`insaf. Baha’u’llah often pairs these two words, and Shoghi Effendi has elsewhere translated them as justice and equity, justice and fairness. Baha’u’llah uses these words again on pp. 12-13:
Say: "O God, my God! Attire mine head with the crown of justice, and my temple with the ornament of equity. Thou, verily, art the Possessor of all gifts and bounties." Justice and equity are twin Guardians that watch over men.
Baha’u’llah pairs these words again later in this Book (p. 104): “Bestow justice [`adl] upon the rulers, and fairness [`insaf] upon the divines.” `Adl is the Arabic word used in “House of Justice.”
P. 11 I WAS BUT A MAN LIKE OTHERS, ASLEEP UPON MY COUCH
Baha’u’llah returns to this subject on p. 39 of this Book. The Master discusses this verse from Baha’u’llah in Some Answered Questions, Chapters 16 and 38, and explains that the significance of the Manifestation being “asleep” is a symbol denoting that He had not yet begun His Mission.
P. 13 THE MYSTIC GEMS OUT OF THE MINE OF MAN
Thine heart is My treasury, allow not the treacherous hand of self to rob thee of the pearls which I have treasured therein. (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 322, Section CXII; from the Persian Tablet of Ahmad)
O YE SONS OF SPIRIT!
Ye are My treasury, for in you I have treasured the pearls of My mysteries and the gems of My knowledge.
(Baha'u'llah, The Arabic Hidden Words #69)
The Purpose of the one true God, exalted be His glory, in revealing Himself unto men is to lay bare those gems that lie hidden within the mine of their true and inmost selves. (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 287, Section CXXXII)
P. 13 HE IS THE SUBTILE
The word here translated as “subtile” (which is an alternate spelling for “subtle”) is elsewhere translated by Shoghi Effendi as “attentive” and as “discriminating,” as well as “lofty,” “incorruptible,” and “ethereal.”
P. 14 SO POWERFUL IS THE LIGHT OF UNITY THAT IT CAN ILLUMINATE THE WHOLE EARTH
This brings to mind the prayer Baha'is often say at the start of Spiritual Assembly meetings, which includes the verse, "Make our souls dependent upon the Verses of Thy Divine Unity, our hearts cheered with the outpourings of Thy Grace, that we may unite even as the waves of one sea and become merged together as the rays of Thine effulgent Light; that our thoughts, our views, our feelings may become as one reality, manifesting the spirit of union throughout the world." That is, that the spirit of unity, even in a small gathering in this Day, can affect the entire world.
P. 15 THESE THICK CLOUDS ARE THE EXPONENTS OF IDLE FANCIES AND VAIN IMAGININGS, WHO ARE NONE OTHER BUT THE DIVINES OF PERSIA
“ . . . ignorant physicians who, even as clouds, interposed themselves between Him and the world.” (p. 63)
“A few unfair ones, however, have become a veil, and an insurmountable barrier, and debarred the people from turning towards the lights of His Countenance.” (p. 155)
Also compare this prophecy from the Old Testament:
“That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness.” (Zephaniah 1:15)
p. 15 THOSE MEN WHO OUTWARDLY ATTIRE THEMSELVES WITH THE RAIMENT OF KNOWLEDGE
Baha’u’llah often refers in this Work to those with pretensions to knowledge or spirituality:
“O thou who art reputed for thy learning!” (pp. 80, 119)
“O thou who assumest the voice of knowledge!” (p. 104)
“thou . . . who hast laid claim to knowledge” (p. 164)
“O ye that are foolish, yet have a name to be wise!” (p. 16.)
Here, on page 16 of Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, Baha’u’llah quotes four of His Persian Hidden Words, numbers 24, 25, 28 and 30, which He says on page 15 are all revealed with in connection with such divines.
There is a statement from the Imam Ali in which He refers to “piercing the veils of glory, unaided.” In the Book of Certitude Baha’u’llah explains that these “veils of glory” are the clergy and learned who are outwardly glorious but inwardly foul:
“And, now, strive thou to comprehend the meaning of this saying of Ali, the Commander of the Faithful: ‘Piercing the veils of glory, unaided.’ Among these ‘veils of glory’ are the divines and doctors living in the days of the Manifestation of God, who, because of their want of discernment and their love and eagerness for leadership, have failed to submit to the Cause of God, nay, have even refused to incline their ears unto the divine Melody.. . . And the people also, utterly ignoring God and taking them for their masters, have placed themselves unreservedly under the authority of these pompous and hypocritical leaders, for they have no sight, no hearing, no heart, of their own to distinguish truth from falsehood.”
(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 163)
In 1983 or 1984 while visiting the Bosch Baha'i School in California, Helen Bishop said that during her Pilgrimage, Shoghi Effendi asked her, "Do the Baha'i friends realize that the condemnations in the Hidden Words are not addressed to them?" She said she did not think so, and Shoghi Effendi explained that in the Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, Baha'u'llah quotes the Hidden Words that contain strong condemnations, and states that these are addressed to the clergy of Persia; and that He does not speak to His loved ones in such tones.
P. 16 THOSE DIVINES, HOWEVER, WHO ARE TRULY ADORNED WITH THE ORNAMENT OF KNOWLEDGE AND OF A GOODLY CHARACTER ARE, VERILY, AS A HEAD TO THE BODY OF THE WORLD, AND AS EYES TO THE NATIONS.
Baha’u’llah often praises the truly learned, who guide the people to God, and sometimes compares their value to the value of the human eye to the human body.
Know thou that he is truly learned who hath acknowledged My Revelation, and drunk from the Ocean of My knowledge, and soared in the atmosphere of My love, and cast away all else besides Me, and taken firm hold on that which hath been sent down from the Kingdom of My wondrous utterance. He, verily, is even as an eye unto mankind, and as the spirit of life unto the body of all creation. (p. 83)
The divine who hath seized and quaffed the most holy Wine, in the name of the sovereign Ordainer, is as an eye unto the world. (The Proclamation of Baha'u'llah, p. 79)
The Great Being saith: The man of consummate learning and the sage endowed with penetrating wisdom are the two eyes to the body of mankind. (Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 170)
`Abdu’l-Baha explains that when Jesus said, “And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee,” He was referring to the expulsion of Covenant-breakers from the body of the believers; those who, though learned and valuable when faithful, after they change, they threaten the life of the whole body. (Baha'i World Faith, p. 431)
P. 17 THE GUIDANCE OF MEN . . . IS DEPENDENT UPON SUCH BLESSED SOULS
Compare to paragraph 173 of the Most Holy Book.
P. 17 AT HILL AND AT HARAM
The significance of these terms is explained in Marzieh Gail’s introduction to this Book at page xiii, and in the Glossary at the end of the Book, p. 187. Marzieh Gail writes: “. . . the Arabic verse on p. 17 contrasts the Sanctuary (Haram), the sacred place where no blood may be shed, with the place outside the Sanctuary (Hill) where the shedding of blood is not unlawful, and refers to Baha’u’llah’s willingness to sacrifice His life anywhere and under any conditions.”
P. 18 THE SPLENDORS OF THE SUN OF THY REVELATION ON SINAI
Compare a similar reference on p. 133 of this Book.
Shoghi Effendi explains the significance of the reference to Sinai:
“Bahá'u'lláh is not the intermediary between other Manifestations and God. Each has His own relation to the Primal Source. But in the sense that Bahá'u'lláh is the greatest Manifestation to yet appear, the One who consummates the Revelation of Moses, He was the One Moses conversed with in the Burning Bush. In other words, Bahá'u'lláh identifies the glory of the God-Head on that occasion with Himself. No distinction can be made amongst the Prophets in the sense that They all proceed from one Source, and are of one essence. But Their stations and functions in this world are different.” (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi dated 19 October 1947, The Unfolding Destiny of the British Baha'i Community, p. 448)
P. 18 THY PORTION OF THE LIBERAL EFFUSIONS OF HIM WHO IS TRULY THE ALL-BOUNTIFUL
The words in the original translated here as “liberal effusions” are elsewhere in the Writings translated by Shoghi Effendi as: Outpourings, manifold grace, showers of His favors, abundance, flow of the grace, emanate from, merciful outpourings
P. 19 ABU-DHAR, THE SHEPHERD
See the Glossary, p. 183.
P. 19 THRONE OF GOLD
This symbol is also used by Baha’u’llah in paragraph 36 of the Most Holy Book.
22 LOVING ADMONITIONS
Shoghi Effendi translates these same words from the Persian original as “loving counsels” in Persian Hidden Words 45.
23 MEN ENDUED WITH INSIGHT
The same word here translated as “insight” is translated as “the wise” on page 33. It is based on the word “aql” which is variously translated by Shoghi Effendi as intelligence, judgment, understanding, mind, intellect, reasoning power, soul and mind, sound mind, and wisdom.
This word is elsewhere in the Baha'i Writings translated by Shoghi Effendi as peace and quiet calm, peace and quiet, confidence.
23 THEY THAT . . . ENTER A HOUSE WITHOUT LEAVE OF ITS OWNER
Next to the divine Manifestations come the believers whose characteristics are agreement, fellowship and love. The Baha’i friends in Persia attained such a brotherhood and love that it really became a hindrance in the conduct of material affairs. Each one into whatever house of the friends he went considered himself the owner of the house, so to speak. There was no duality but complete mutuality of interests and love. The visiting friend would have no hesitation in opening the provision box and taking out enough food for his needs. They wore each other's clothes as their own when necessary. If in need of a hat or cloak, they would take and use it. The owner of the clothing would be thankful and grateful that the garment had gone. When he returned home, he would perhaps be told, "So and so was here and took away your coat." He would reply, "Praise be to God! I am so grateful to him. Praise be to God! I am so thankful I have been given this opportunity of showing my love for him." To such an extreme degree this love and fellowship expressed itself that Bahá'u'lláh commanded that no one should take possession of another's belongings unless presented with them. The intention is to show to what an extent unity and love prevailed among the Bahá'í friends in the East. I hope that this same degree and intensity of love may become manifest and apparent here . . .
(Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 208; extract from an Address in New York City)
24 WAR YE VALIANTLY
In the original Arabic, al-jihad. That is, Baha’u’llah restores the word “jihad” to an entirely spiritual and wholesome meaning--wholeness of effort, the extremity of effort. One of the instances in which jihad is used in this spiritual sense is in the Master's Will, where He says that the Hands of the Cause are to “strive and endeavor to the utmost of their ability” to diffuse the sweet savors of God. (The Will and Testament of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 13, paragraph 22)
P. 24 ARMIES OF WISDOM AND UTTERANCE, AND OF A GOODLY CHARACTER AND PRAISEWORTHY DEEDS
Baha’u’llah uses martial imagery, but relates it to spiritual conquest to make it clear to His followers, some of whom are emerging from cultures where religious violence is deemed acceptable, that violence is never to be used in the promotion or defense of His Cause. He makes this point explicitly on page 25 ("we have abolished the law to wage holy war”) and again on page 29:
The sword of a virtuous character and upright conduct is sharper than blades of steel.
This sword imagery is also used in the Hebrew Bible and in the New Testament to convey spiritual realities (Isaiah 9:2, Matthew 10:34, Epistle to the Ephesians 6:17, Epistle to the Hebrews 4:12, Revelation 1:16, 2:16, 19:15)
P. 24 WE, VERILY, HAVE COME TO UNITE AND WELD TOGETHER ALL THAT DWELL ON EARTH
In this Book, Baha'u'llah many times mentions His lofty purposes, and this is one example. It is my understanding that He does so repeatedly, to counter the distortions of His purpose which had been unthinkingly repeated by the recipient of this book, the Shaykh. A collection of many such phrases of Baha'u'llah's purpose is found here.
P. 25 ACCURSED PRATTLER
The same phrase appears in Prayers and Meditations, p. 43, XXXIII, where Shoghi Effendi translates it as a prayer that the people not follow every “clamorous impostor” that presumeth to “speak in Thy name”.
These passages from Baha’u’llah’s Writings (pp. 23-29) are all in the context of showing to this persecutor of the Faith, the son of "the Wolf," that Baha’u’llah has trained His followers to virtuous attributes, obedience to authority, and entirely non-violent promotion and defense of His Faith. (See His introduction to these quotations, at the bottom of p. 22, top of p. 23)
P. 25 YE ARE THE LETTERS OF THE WORDS
Compare these statements of `Abdu’l-Baha addressed to Christian listeners:
It is evident that the Letter is a member of the Word, and this membership in the Word signifieth that the Letter is dependent for its value on the Word, that is, it deriveth its grace from the Word; it has a spiritual kinship with the Word, and is accounted an integral part of the Word. The Apostles were even as Letters, and Christ was the essence of the Word Itself; and the meaning of the Word, which is grace everlasting, cast a splendour on those Letters. Again, since the Letter is a member of the Word, it therefore, in its inner meaning, is consonant with the Word.
(Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 60)
The perfections of Christ are called the Word because all the beings are in the condition of letters, and one letter has not a complete meaning, while the perfections of Christ have the power of the word because a complete meaning can be inferred from a word. As the Reality of Christ was the manifestation of the divine perfections, therefore, it was like the word. Why? because He is the sum of perfect meanings. This is why He is called the Word.
(Some Answered Questions, p. 206)
By the "word" we mean that creation with its infinite forms is like unto letters and the individual members of humanity are likewise like unto letters. A letter individually has no meaning, no independent significance, but the station of Christ is the station of the word. That is why we say Christ is the "word" - a complete significance. The universal bestowal of divinity is manifest in Christ. It is obvious that the evolution of other souls is approximate, or only a part of the whole, but the perfections of the Christ are universal, or the whole. The reality of Christ is the collective center of all the independent virtues and infinite significances.
(Abdu'l-Baha, Divine Philosophy, p. 148)
In one of the prayers for the Fast Baha’u’llah reveals:
I beseech Thee, O my God, by that Letter which, as soon as it proceeded out of the mouth of Thy will, hath caused the oceans to surge, and the winds to blow, and the fruits to be revealed, and the trees
to spring forth, and all past traces to vanish, and all veils to be rent asunder, and them who are devoted to Thee to hasten unto the light of the countenance of their Lord, the Unconstrained, to make known unto me what lay hid in the treasuries of Thy knowledge and concealed within the repositories of Thy wisdom. Thou seest me, O my God, holding to Thy Name, the Most Holy, the Most Luminous, the Most Mighty, the Most Great, the Most Exalted, the Most Glorious, and clinging to the hem of the robe to which have clung all in this world and in the world to come. (US Baha’i Prayers, p. 242)
`Abdu’l-Baha reportedly explained the significance of this passage to a pilgrim:
Explanation of the First Portion of the Second Commune, which is taken from the "Prayer of the Dawn."
This "Letter" means a person. As the word came forth from the Mouth, that person is the reflection of the Light of God. It is the Letter in which are all the mysteries of the Holy Books. It is the Letter that came forth from the Mouth of the Blessed Perfection.
"The seas moved" - the seas of existence; the seas of life; the seas of sciences; the seas of knowledge; the seas of understanding; the Seas of the Love of God rolled.
"The winds did blow" - these breezes are the causes of life to the trees. These are the fragrances which will revive the beloved of the Kingdom of God, and which will cause the fragrance to exhale from them.
"The fruits appeared" - the new conditions upon the earth began to manifest and appear.
"The trees began to thrive" - the trees are the people in the Paradise of Abha, who, through the fragrance of this Letter will be nourished.
"The traces were destroyed" - these are the ancient traces which are destroyed by the Light. For example, the radiance of the Sun will destroy the sparkling of the star.
P. 26 KNOWLEDGE
The word ‘ilm, the name of the 12th month of the Baha'i calendar, is elsewhere translated by Shoghi Effendi as science, understanding, wise, discerning.
P. 28 WAYWARDNESS
Elsewhere translated by Shoghi Effendi as negligence, heedlessness, failure, blind err, deprivation, couch of heedlessness, essence of negligence, thou didst neglect all my bounties.
P. 34 ONE WHO, THOUGH A PRISONER AND WITH NONE TO HELP AND ASSIST HIM, HATH SUCCEEDED IN ESTABLISHING HIS ASCENDENCY OVER THAT LAND
Although the policy of Sultan Abdu'l-Hamid was harsher than ever; although he constantly insisted on his Captive's strict confinement -- still, the Blessed Beauty now lived, as everyone knows, with all power and glory. Some of the time Bahá'u'lláh would spend at the Mansion, and again, at the farm village of Mazra'ih; for a while He would sojourn in Haifa, and occasionally His tent would be pitched on the heights of Mount Carmel. Friends from everywhere presented themselves and gained an audience. The people and the government authorities witnessed it all, yet no one so much as breathed a word. And this is one of Bahá'u'lláh's greatest miracles: that He, a captive, surrounded Himself with panoply and He wielded power. The prison changed into a palace, the jail itself became a Garden of Eden. Such a thing has not occurred in history before; no former age has seen its like: that a man confined to a prison should move about with authority and might; that one in chains should carry the fame of the Cause of God to the high heavens, should win splendid victories in both East and West, and should, by His almighty pen, subdue the world.
(Abdu'l-Baha, Memorials of the Faithful, p. 27)
ESW 38 SMILED
The same word is elsewhere in the Writings translated by Shoghi Effendi as: filled with delight, wreathed in smiles, rejoiced.
P. 39 CAN ANYONE SPEAK FORTH OF HIS OWN ACCORD THAT FOR WHICH ALL MEN, BOTH HIGH AND LOW, WILL PROTEST AGAINST HIM?
Compare these words of Baha’u’llah writing about the Bab:
Could such a thing be made manifest except through the power of a divine Revelation, and the potency of God's invincible Will? By the righteousness of God! Were any one to entertain so great a Revelation in his heart, the thought of such a declaration would alone confound him! Were the hearts of all men to be crowded into his heart, he would still hesitate to venture upon so awful an enterprise. He could achieve it only by the permission of God, only if the channel of his heart were to be linked with the Source of divine grace, and his soul be assured of the unfailing sustenance of the Almighty.
(The Kitab-i-Iqan, paragraph 257, p. 230)
P. 40 NEITHER WOULDST THOU EVER BE WILLING TO BEAR THE BURDEN OF DOMINION SAVE FOR THE PUPROSE OF HELPING THY LORD
One of the signs of the maturity of the world is that no one will accept to bear the weight of kingship. Kingship will remain with none willing to bear alone its weight. That day will be the day whereon wisdom will be manifested among mankind. Only in order to proclaim the Cause of God and spread abroad His Faith will anyone be willing to bear this grievous weight. Well is it with him who, for love of God and His Cause, and for the sake of God and for the purpose of proclaiming His Faith, will expose himself unto this great danger, and will accept this toil and trouble.
(Baha’u’llah, quoted in The Promised Day is Come, p. 71)
P. 41 SURIH OF TAWHID
The Surih of Tawhid is Surih 112 of the Qur'an. It is quoted by Muslims for the proposition that there is one God, that He alone is worshipped and praised, and to reject Baha’u’llah on the basis that the followers of Baha’u’llah believe in his Divinity and Godhood. Baha'u'llah explains that this is a distortion of His teachings.
For the next several pages, (and again for several pages starting on page 111 of this Book), Baha’u’llah clarifies His station, and that the divinity He claims is no different than the divinity claimed by the previous Manifestations including Muhammad, as well as by the Shi'ih Imams who were Muhammad's lawful successors. As Baha'u'llah elsewhere writes,
"Know verily that whenever this Youth turneth His eyes towards His own self, he findeth it the most insignificant of all creation. When He contemplates, however, the bright effulgences He hath been empowered to manifest, lo, that self is transfigured before Him into a sovereign Potency permeating the essence of all things visible and invisible. Glory be to Him Who, through the power of truth, hath sent down the Manifestation of His own Self and entrusted Him with His message unto all mankind." (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 102, Paragraph XLIX)
Baha’u’llah also addresses the subject of Tawhid—the oneness of God—in two Tablets, excerpts from which are found in the Gleanings, pp. 59 and 60. Section XXIV is from Baha’u’llah’s Tablet named “The City of the Oneness of God” and Section XXVI is from His “Tablet of the Oneness of God.”
p. 41 THE WORD WHICH THE BURNING BUSH HAD UTTERED
Baha’u’llah often refers to Himself as the One Who spoke with Moses in the Burning Bush (pp. 47, 146 and 173 of this Book; The Most Holy Book p. 48, Paragraph 80, and p. 215, Note 111; Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 52, 104 and 248; Prayers and Meditations p. 315).
41 SIYYID OF FINDIRISK
The Siyyid of Findirisk is referred to in the Glossary, p. 192. He is described by one Muslim source as a Peripatetic philosopher and ascetic Sufi, and among the teachers of the eminent Muslim philosopher Mulla Sadra.
This is an essay by the Imam `Ali well-known to Shi’ih Muslims including the recipient of the Epistle to the Son of the Wolf. Baha’u’llah here tells him that even the Imam `Ali has prophesied the appearance of the One Who spoke with Moses from the Burning Bush.
Likewise, Baha’u’llah explains in this same paragraph, the Imam Husayn has prophesied a Revelation through a Prophet Who “will be He Who revealed Thee,” i.e. God Himself.
P. 43 “HE IS THAT HE IS, AND WE ARE THAT WE ARE.”
This Tradition from the Prophet Muhammad is also used in the course of Baha’u’llah’s explanation on p. 66 of Gleanings, Section XXVII.
P. 44 THAT PERCHANCE IT MIGHT BE HONORED BY TOUCHING A SPOT ENNOBLED BY THE FOOTSTEPS OF THY LOVED ONES
This same theme is in the Tablet of Visitation of `Abdu’l-Baha, “Grant that I may offer up my soul for the earth ennobled by the footsteps of Thy chosen ones in Thy path, O Lord of Glory in the Highest.”
P. 44 THE CHOICE SEALED WINE
In the Qur’an it states that in Paradise the believers will recline on couches and be given choice wine sealed with musk. The significance of this symbol is explained in Note 2 on page 165 of the Most Holy Book.
ESW 45 RECONSTRUCTION OF THE WORLD
This is a very common theme in the Epistle to the Son of the Wolf -- that the followers of Baha'u'llah are upbuilders of society. The words in the original are elsewhere translated by Shoghi Effendi as “advancement of its peoples” and as “revive the world.”
P. 45 NAPOLEON III, WHO IS REPORTED TO HAVE MADE A CERTAIN STATEMENT
The reported statement was “If this man is God, I am two Gods!” See Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha’u’llah, Volume III, p. 110.
P. 45 WE, THEREFORE, REVEALED IN HIS (NAPOLEON III’S) NAME VERSES IN THE SURATU’L-HAYKAL
A portion of these verses is quoted starting on page 46; see Summons of the Lord of Hosts, pp. 58 ff. for the entirety of the verses addressed to Napoleon
P. 46 HEAVEN OF IMMORTALITY
The word in the original, translated here as “immortality”, also appears in these verses:
“Hearken ye, O rulers of America and the Presidents of the Republics therein! unto that which the Dove is warbling on the Branch of Eternity . . .”
O SON OF THE SUPREME! To the eternal I call thee (Arabic Hidden Words 23)
Lo, the Nightingale of Paradise singeth upon the twigs of the Tree of Eternity . . . . Be thou as a flame of fire to My enemies and a river of life eternal to My loved ones . . .” (Tablet of Ahmad)
P. 46 THESE DAYS WHEN ALL THE TRIBES OF THE EARTH HAVE MOURNED
This sentence contains symbols from the Holy Books which prophesy the Last Day; Baha’u’llah is saying those prophecies are now fulfilled. The first symbol, the tribes mourning, is associated with the return of Jesus Christ (Matthew 24:30); the symbolic term earthquakes is found in all the Holy Books; and the symbol of dust enwrapping people is in this verse of the Qur’an:
Faces on that day shall be bright,-laughing, joyous! and faces shall have dust upon them,-darkness shall cover them! those are the wicked misbelievers! (The Qur'an, Palmer translation, Surah 80)
P. 46 HE WHO IS THE UNCONDITIONED
The same word is also translated as “He doeth whatsoever He willeth”, Gleanings, p. 206.
P. 46 AND OF ALL PAIN AND SICKNESS
Perhaps a reference to this verse prophesying the return of Christ, the Day when God Himself will come to the earth:
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Revelation 21:4)
P. 47 OTHERS REMEMBER HIM, YET KNOW HIM NOT
Amongst the people, however, are those who understand and utter praises, and those who utter praises, yet understand not.
(Baha'u'llah, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 12)
In such manner hath the Kitáb-i-Aqdas been revealed that it attracteth and embraceth all the divinely appointed Dispensations. Blessed those who peruse it. Blessed those who apprehend it. Blessed those who meditate upon it. Blessed those who ponder its meaning. So vast is its range that it hath encompassed all men ere their recognition of it. (Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 200)
P. 47 THE VOICE THAT CALLETH FROM THE FIRE WHICH BURNETH IN THIS VERDANT TREE
Apparently a reference to the voice that spoke to Moses from the Burning Bush, which in this Day is a Tree. Also see also Note 23 to the Most Holy Book, p. 175, for `Abdu’l-Baha’s most interesting explanation of the fire burning in the Tree as a symbol of the stages of revelation of the Manifestation of God.
47 THIS LIGHT THAT HATH SHONE FORTH FROM THE HORIZON OF THE WILL OF YOUR LORD, THE MOST EXALTED, THE ALL-GLORIOUS, AND WHOSE SIGNS HAVE BEEN REVEALED IN THE WEST
The word translated here as “horizon” is also translated as “east”. This is a reference to one of the signs Jesus Christ gave of His return:
For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
(Jesus Christ, Gospel of Matthew, 24:27)
See also, God Passes By, p. 396
P. 48 THIS IS, TRULY, THAT WHICH THE SPIRIT OF GOD (JESUS CHRIST) HATH ANNOUNCED
Jesus promised that when He appeared, the stars of heaven would fall. Matthew 24:29; Mark 13:25; Luke 21:25. Also see Revelation 6:13.
P. 49 SECLUDE NOT YOURSELVES IN YOUR CHURCHES AND CLOISTERS
This admonition to not live a religious life of austerity and seclusion finds fulfillment in the Most Holy Book, paragraph 36, and Note 61, page 195.
O maid-servant of God! This day is not a day of seclusion and solitude, but a day of proclaiming the manifestation of the light of the Beauty of thy Supreme Lord.
Therefore, abandon silence and seclusion and solitary nooks and go forth into the arena of explanation. Convey the Message of thy Lord with clearest speech and most complete elucidation. This is better for thee than solitude.
The season of seclusion in quiet nooks is the season of winter when the cold and the winds increase. But during the spring, the wafting of gentle breezes, the passing of fragrances from the rose, the state of equilibrium in the atmosphere and the green hue of valleys and prairies, it is best for man to leave solitude and enjoy out-of-door blessings. Thus be thou happy in the commemoration of thy Lord.
Go out from the solitary place like unto a shining star blazing on its horizon. This is better for thee in the Kingdom of the Lord of the worlds
(Tablets of `Abdu'l-Baha Abbas, Volume III, p. 520)
p. 49 WE, VERILY, HAVE FORBIDDEN YOU LECHERY, AND NOT THAT WHICH IS CONDUCIVE TO FIDELITY
The Arabic word here translated as “lechery” kheeanat, rhymes with the word translated as “fidelity” amanat. So the words contrast in meaning, and they rhyme, a device frequently employed by Baha’u’llah. In The Promised Day is Come, Shoghi Effendi translates this same passage as “we have forbidden you perfidious acts”. Perfidious acts are treacherous or faithless acts, the opposite of loyalty.
p. 49 HAVE YE CLUNG UNTO THE PROMPTINGS OF YOUR NATURE, AND CAST BEHIND YOUR BACKS THE STATUTES OF GOD?
Compare paragraph 29 of the Most Holy Book, page 29: “These, verily, are the Laws of God; transgress them not at the prompting of your base and selfish desires.” In the original Arabic, Baha’u’llah uses the word “asool” for both “promptings” and “statutes”; that is, ye have clung to the commandments of your nature and denied the commandments of God. Later in the Epistle to the Son of the Wolf (p. 82) Baha'u'llah says the same thing: "We testify that thou hast cast behind thy back the Law [Shariah] of God, and laid hold on the dictates [shariah] of thy passions."
P. 51 AND FOLLOWEST HIM WHO IS THE SPIRIT OF GOD
This is one of the places in His Writings where Baha’u’llah expressly states that following Him is following Jesus Christ. Another is this:
Open the doors of your hearts. He Who is the Spirit verily standeth before them.
(Tablet to the Christians; Tablets of Baha’u’llah revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 11)
P. 53 SHOULD THEY HIDE ME AWAY IN THE DEPTHS OF THE EARTH, YET WOULD THEY FIND ME RIDING ALOFT ON THE CLOUDS
There is a similar passage in another of Baha’u’llah’s Tablets:
"Should they attempt to conceal His light on the continent, He will assuredly rear His head in the midmost heart of the ocean and, raising His voice, proclaim: 'I am the lifegiver of the world!'... And if they cast Him into a darksome pit, they will find Him seated on earth's loftiest heights calling aloud to all mankind: 'Lo, the Desire of the world is come in His majesty, His sovereignty, His transcendent dominion!' And if He be buried beneath the depths of the earth, His Spirit soaring to the apex of heaven shall peal the summons: 'Behold ye the coming of the Glory; witness ye the Kingdom of God, the most Holy, the Gracious, the All-Powerful!'"
(The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 108)
P. 53 BEWARE THAT YE ALLOW NOT WOLVES TO BECOME THE SHEPHERDS OF THE FOLD
This admonition to Napoleon is similar to Baha’u’llah’s exhortation to the Universal House of Justice:
O ye Men of Justice! Be ye, in the realm of God, shepherds unto His sheep and guard them from the ravening wolves that have appeared in disguise, even as ye would guard your own sons. Thus exhorteth you the Counsellor, the Faithful.
(The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 38, paragraph 52
And it is similar to His condemnation of the clergy of Persia:
O ye that are foolish, yet have a name to be wise!
Wherefore do ye wear the guise of shepherds, when inwardly ye have become wolves, intent upon My flock?
(Persian Hidden Words, number 24; He states this Hidden Word is addressed to the divines of Persia on pages 15-16 of Epistle to the Son of the Wolf)
P. 54 BY THE WORLD IS MEANT THAT WHICH TURNETH YOU ASIDE FROM HIM WHO IS THE DAWNING-PLACE OF REVELATION, AND INCLINETH YOU UNTO THAT WHICH IS UNPROFITABLE UNTO YOU
Know ye that by "the world" is meant your unawareness of Him Who is your Maker, and your absorption in aught else but Him.
(Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 276, Section CXXVIII)
P. 54 THEY THAT COMMIT DISORDERS IN THE LAND
This is a phrase that often appears in the Qur’an. See 5:64; 7:85; the Arabic word here translated as “disorder” is also translated as mischief and as corruption in different translations of the Qur’an.)
P. 54 DEAL NOT TREACHEROUSLY WITH THE SUBSTANCE OF YOUR NEIGHBOR
Compare “consume not the substance of others,” (ESW p. 25) and “Beware lest ye encroach upon the substance of your neighbor” (Gleanings CXXVIII p. 278; also CXXXVII, p. 297)
P. 55 HE, VERILY, WILL BESTOW UPON YOU THE DOUBLE OF WHAT YE POSSESS
This promise to those who give to the poor is similar to Baha’u’llah’s promise in the Tablet of Israqat, to those who obey His law regarding charging interest on money:
And if they put into practice what We have set forth, God -- exalted be His glory -- will assuredly double their portion through the heaven of His bounty.
(Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 134)
P. 55 EVERY ONE OF YOU WAS CREATED OF A SORRY GERM
A reference to Qur’an 77:20:
“Have we not created you of a sorry germ . . .?” (Rodwell translation)
Translated as “ordinary water” by Maulana Muhammad `Ali. The significance, as explained by Muhammad Asad in the notes to his excellent translation of the Qur'an (my favorite translation) is that man deems semen to be a substance of little importance; and yet, since men are created from it, they have no reason to be conceited.
P. 56 . O CZAR OF RUSSIA! . . . WE, VERILY, HAVE HEARD THE THING FOR WHICH THOU DIDST SUPPLICATE THY LORD, WHILST SECRETLY COMMUNING WITH HIM.
Aqa Muhammad-Rahim was an accomplished teacher of the Faith as well as a writer. He visited 'Akká twice during the lifetime of Bahá'u'lláh and attained His presence. He told us the following story:
'Before I went on my first pilgrimage to attain the Holy
Presence of Bahá'u'lláh, a Russian Consul in Esterabad had
intimated to an Armenian merchant that he would like to
meet a Bahá'í from Sabzivar who could bring some Bahá'í
books for him. He had also offered to pay the expenses
involved. The Armenian merchant gave this message to Haji
Muhammad-Kazim, a merchant of Isfahan (a Bahá'í). The
Haji and other believers consulted together and decided that I should go.
The Armenian merchant wrote a letter of introduction to
the Consul which I took with me along with some Bahá'í
books. I travelled to Esterabad and two days later I went to the Consul and handed him the letter. He invited me to stay at his home, which I did. We used to talk together in the evenings. He talked about some parts of the history of the Faith that he knew, and I enlightened him on subjects that he was not familiar with. One night he said to me: 'The main purpose in calling you here is to ask you the meaning of the following passage which appears in Bahá'u'lláh's Tablet to the Czar: "We, verily have heard the thing for which thou didst supplicate thy Lord, whilst secretly communing with Him. Wherefore, the breeze of My loving-kindness wafted forth, and the sea of My mercy surged, and We answered thee in truth. Thy Lord, verily, is the All-Knowing, the All-Wise."'
What did the Czar ask in his prayer which was granted to
him? I did not know what to answer, so I said, 'God knows
that.' 'That is obvious,' he said, 'but how do you interpret this passage?' I meditated for a little while on the subject and came to the conclusion that kings don't ask anything from God except victory in their conquests and defeat for their enemies... To reverse the situation after Russia's defeat in the Crimean War, the Czar had prayed to God to make him victorious in his fight against the Ottomans and to enable him to conquer their cities. I conveyed all these thoughts to the Consul and suggested that he ought to write a letter to the Czar and inform him that his prayers would be answered and that he should carry out his plans and intentions.
After a few days he paid my travelling expenses and I
returned home. But in my heart I was apprehensive lest my
interpretation of the Tablet might have been incorrect. I was worried about this subject. Fear and hope dwelt together in my heart until I travelled to 'Akká and arrived at the Caravanserai. It did not take very long before Mirza Aqa Jan [Bahá'u'lláh's amanuensis] came to see me. Among
other things he asked me: 'What things did you say to the
Russian Consul?' I remained silent and became apprehensive. An hour later Ghusn-i-Akbar [Mirza Muhammad-'Ali, the son of Bahá'u'lláh who later became the Arch-Breaker of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh] came to visit me. He also asked the same question. That added to my anxiety.
The following morning, the Most Great Branch ['Abdu'l-Bahá]
came. I felt obliged to tell Him the whole story exactly as it had happened and I confessed to the mistake I had made in my statement. 'Abdu'l-Bahá said to me, 'Be happy and relieved, for the statement you have made was the truth, because on a certain day the Blessed Beauty intimated that at that very moment someone was reading the Tablet of the Czar. Then Bahá'u'lláh mentioned you. He said, "The Russian Consul asked one of Our servants 'What was the prayer of the King?' The answer he received was a correct one." Then He revealed your name, saying "That person was Aqa Muhammad-Rahim-i-Isfahani."' I thanked God for this and was very happy to hear it."
These thoughts of Aqa Muhammad-Rahim, conveyed to the Russian Consul, refer to the war of 1877-8 between Russia and Turkey. The Czar went to war apparently to avenge the defeat of his father in the Crimean War. At first his armies made considerable progress and were moving toward Constantinople. Then their progress was halted by the Turks and many Russian soldiers were killed in the battles which followed. The Czar saw the prospect of defeat again, and Aqa Muhammad-Rahim thought this must have been the time that the Czar had turned to God in prayer beseeching His help. Bahá'u'lláh states in His Tablet that the Czar's prayers were answered.
(Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha'u'llah Volume 3, pp. 121-123)
It is interesting to contrast this with the words of Napoleon which Baha’u’llah also heard, on page 50 of ESW: “We heard the words thou didst utter in answer to the Czar of Russia, concerning the decision made regarding the war (Crimean War). Thy Lord, verily, is informed of all.”
57 THE HOLY
In the original, “Quds”. This word appears in Haziratu’l-Quds, the ‘Sacred Fold,” the name given by Baha’u’llah to the Baha'i Center in each community. The name “Quddus” the Holy One, and the word “Aqdas”, Most Holy, are derivatives of quds, as is al-ard muqaddas, the name for The Holy Land in Arabic.
P. 57 ONE OF THY MINISTERS EXTENDED ME HIS AID
See pages 77 and 99 of Balyuzi’s “Baha’u’llah, the King of Glory” for information about this Russian minister.
P. 57 THE SON (JESUS CHRIST), IN THE HOLY VALE, CRIETH OUT
Compare to a similar passage in the Lawh-i-Aqdas; Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 11.
P. 57 SINAI CIRCLETH ROUND THE HOUSE
Similarly, in the Tablet of Carmel, (Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 4) Baha’u’llah calls on Mount Zion to circumambulate the City of God on Mount Carmel.
PP. 57-58 ALL-COMPELLING
Elsewhere translated by Shoghi Effendi as inviolable, resistless, overruling.
P. 58 HEROD GAVE JUDGMENT AGAINST HIM
See Matthew 2:13.
P. 60 HE, IN TRUTH, HATH COME UNTO THE WORLD IN HIS MOST GREAT GLORY, AND ALL THAT HATH BEEN MENTIONED IN THE GOSPEL HATH BEEN FULFILLED
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
(Jesus Christ, Gospel of Matthew 24:29-30)
For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels
(Jesus Christ, Gospel of Matthew 16:27)
To Him Jesus Christ had referred . . . as the "Son of Man" Who "shall come in the glory of His Father" "in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory," with "all the holy angels" about Him, and "all nations" gathered before His throne.
(Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 95)
P. 60 THE LAND OF SYRIA HATH BEEN HONORED BY THE FOOTSTEPS OF ITS LORD
In those days the Holy Land was part of the Province of Syria in the Ottoman Empire. On pages 177-178 of this Work, Baha’u’llah quotes from prophecies of Muhammad related to greatness that will occur in Syria. In His Tablet to the Christians Baha’u’llah writes:
O land of Syria! What hath become of thy righteousness? Thou art, in truth, ennobled by the footsteps of thy Lord.
(Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 14)
P. 60 THE MOSQUE OF AQSA VIBRATETH THROUGH THE BREEZES OF ITS LORD
There is an entry in the Glossary for the Mosque of Aqsa, indicating that it refers to the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem. Also see p. 145 where Baha’u’llah says that Mount Zion, also in Jerusalem, is trembling with joy because of His appearance in the Holy Land.
P. 60 WE HAVE BEEN INFORMED THAT THOU HAST FORBIDDEN THE TRADING IN SLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN. THIS, VERILY, IS WHAT GOD HATH ENJOINED IN THIS WONDROUS REVELATION
The British government forbade slave ownership in 1807, and slave trading in 1834. In the Most Holy Book, Paragraph 72, page 45, Baha’u’llah forbids slave trading.
Baha’u’llah apparently inherited black slaves from His father Mirza Buzurg, as `Abdu’l-Baha recounted in a pilgrim’s note:
My grandfather had many colored maids and servants. When the Blessed Perfection became the head of the family he liberated all of them, and gave them permission to leave or stay, but if they desired to remain it would, of course, be in a different manner. However, all of them, revelling in their new found freedom preferred to leave, except Esfandayar [sic], who remained in household and continued to serve us with proverbial faithfulness and chastity.
(Star of the West, volume 9 (April 28, 1928), number 3, page 38; quoted in a letter of the Universal House of Justice, dated 2000 Feb 02, on “Servants in the Holy Household”)
P. 61 THOU HAST ENTRUSTED THE REINS OF COUNSEL INTO THE HANDS OF THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE PEOPLE
Having praised the Queen for ending slave trading in her realm, Baha’u’llah now praises her for her form of government, in which consultation plays a role. Compare this verse from the Tablet of the World:
The system of government which the British people have adopted in London appeareth to be good, for it is adorned with the light of both kingship and of the consultation of the people.
(Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 93)
P. 62 ONE COMMON FAITH
This is prophesied for the world in these verses:
And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them.
The Arabic word “shari’ah”, though it is generally used to refer to the Law revealed through Muhammad, is a generic word that simply means the revealed Law of God. It would be correct, for example, to refer to the Torah as the Shari’ah of Moses.
The word shari’ah is often used in the Baha'i Writings. For example, `Abdu’l-Baha begins His Will and Testament (page 3) with these words, where “shari’ah” is translated by Shoghi Effendi as “His Most Beneficient Law”:
All-praise to Him Who, by the Shield of His Covenant, hath guarded the Temple of His Cause from the darts of doubtfulness, Who by the Hosts of His Testament hath preserved the Sanctuary of His Most Beneficent Law and protected His Straight and Luminous Path . . .
Similarly, in this verse addressed to Queen Victoria Baha’u’llah states that the world will be healed through the instrumentality of one common Faith – one common shari’ah.
P. 63 IGNORANT PHYSICIANS WHO, EVEN AS CLOUDS
This is an image Baha’u’llah often uses – those who interpose themselves between the people and the Sun.
Similarly, later in the Book (p. 155) He writes:
A few unfair ones, however, have become a veil, and an insurmountable barrier, and debarred the people from turning towards the lights of His Countenance.
P. 64 HURRIED HIM FROM LAND TO LAND
Baha’u’llah repeatedly describes the indignities of His banishments:
. . . whilst We were being hurried along by a troop of executioners and officials (ESW p. 20)
. . . they seized Him and paraded Him through cities and countries. (ESW p. 78)
. . . the one whom they knew to be an outcast among men and to have been banished from one country to another. (ESW p. 108)
When they expelled Us from thy city, they placed Us in such conveyances as the people use to carry baggage and the like. Such was the treatment We received at their hands, shouldst thou wish to know the truth. Thus were We sent away, and thus were We brought to the city which they regard as the abode of rebels. Upon our arrival, We could find no house in which to dwell, and perforce resided in a place where none would enter save the most indigent stranger.
(The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 216)
P. 64 A GREAT NUMBER OF MEN DENIED HIM, OTHERS TURNED ASIDE FROM HIM, AND STILL OTHERS CALUMNIATED HIM
Compare these words of `Abdu’l-Baha spoken in Chicago about how some people relate to the Covenant:
Naturally, there are some who are antagonistic, some who are followers of self-desire, others who hold to their own ideas and still others who wish to create dissension in the Cause.
(The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 382)
P. 65 UNGRATEFUL
From an Arabic word al-kafareen, also translated as infidel and unbeliever.
P. 66 AND MOSES SMOTE HIM
This story is recounted in the Book of Exodus, chapter 2, and in the Book of Certitude, p. 54.
P. 67 IN THE DAYS OF EVERY MANIFESTATION THESE THINGS APPEAR AND ARE EVIDENT
Baha’u’llah discusses these tests that occur in every Dispensation in the Book of Certitude, pp. 56 ff. However, Baha’u’llah also states that similar events have not occurred in this Dispensation (Iqan p. 59)
As Mr. Taherzadeh explains:
“. . . outwardly the Manifestation of God is endowed with a power and authority which are inherent in Him. This is especially true of Bahá'u'lláh, whose Revelation is the culmination of all the Revelations of the past.
“The awe-inspiring majesty of Bahá'u'lláh's public appearances and the authority with which He spoke to both friend and foe are facts which even His greatest adversaries have acknowledged. 'Abdu'l-Bahá mentions that those who persecuted the Prophets of the past were able to deride and ridicule them. They laughed at Moses because He was a stammerer, and jeered at Christ because, in their estimation, He had no father. The barbarous people of Arabia, at the time of Muhammad, laughed at Him, also, because of His inability to beget an heir!
“But in the case of Bahá'u'lláh, His glory was so overwhelming that everyone felt inferior in His presence. Even His enemies became humble when they came in contact with His person.”
(The Revelation of Baha'u'llah Volume I, p. 257)
P. 68 MIRZA HUSAYN KHAN
The four people mentioned in this paragraph are referred to in the Glossary
P. 68 WITHOUT ANY REFERENCE TO ANY NEED HE MIGHT HAVE HAD
Upon Bahá'u'lláh’s arrival in Constantinople, the Persian ambassador Mirza Husayn Khan, who had been instrumental in securing the Sultan’s approval of the edict banishing Bahá'u'lláh to Constantinople, sent two high–ranking Persians to call on Bahá'u'lláh on his behalf. He expected Bahá'u'lláh to return the favor and call on him, but he soon found that Bahá'u'lláh had no intention of doing so. In those days it was customary for prominent visitors to Constantinople to call on high-ranking clerics, government ministers, and diplomats from other countries after arriving in the city. During such visits callers stated their needs, solicited favors, made deals, and presented gifts, all with the intention of winning the authorities’ support to further their own positions. The Persians were particularly known for this. Baha’u’llah refused to be involved in such intrigues and exchanges of favors and maintained an upright and independent attitude. Kamal Pasha, a minister of the Sultan, and a few others were so forward as to remind Baha’u’llah of the custom.
(Geoffry W. Marks, Call to Remembrance, Connecting the Heart to Baha’u’llah, p. 123. The “two high–ranking Persians” are mentioned by name by Bahá'u'lláh on p. 68 of ESW)
P. 69 THAT WHICH WAS DONE BY HIS LATE EXCELLENCY
For more information on Mirza Husayn Khan, see Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha’u’llah, Volume II, pp. 398 ff.
P. 73 IN EVERY CITY THE EVIDENCES OF A TYRANNY
On pages 234 and 245 of the Book of Certitude, Baha’u’llah elaborates on the sufferings of the believers “in every city”.
P. 73 NONE AROSE IN SELF-DEFENSE
In towns where these were but a limited number all of them with bound hands became food for the sword, while in cities where they were numerous they arose in self-defense agreeably to their former beliefs, since it was impossible for them to make inquiry as to their duty, and all doors were closed.
(Abdu'l-Baha, A Traveller's Narrative, p. 22)
Now although this sect had not been affected with quaking or consternation at these grievous events, such as the slaughter of their Chief and the rest, but did rather increase and multiply; still, since the Báb was but beginning to lay the foundations when He was slain, therefore was this community ignorant concerning its proper conduct, action, behavior, and duty, their sole guiding principle being love for the Báb. This ignorance was the reason that in some parts disturbances occurred; for, experiencing violent molestation, they unclosed their hands in self-defense. But after His return Bahá'u'lláh made such strenuous efforts in educating, teaching, training, regulating, and reconstructing this community that in a short while all these troubles and mischiefs were quenched, and the utmost tranquility and repose reigned in men's hearts; so that, according to what hath been heard, it became clear and obvious even to statesmen that the fundamental intentions and ideas of this sect were things spiritual, and such as are connected with pure hearts; that their true and essential principles were to reform the morals and beautify the conduct of the human race, and that with things material they had absolutely no concern.
When these principles, then, were established in the hearts of this sect they so acted in all lands that they became celebrated amongst statesmen for gentleness of spirit, steadfastness of heart, right intent, good deeds, and excellence of conduct.
(Abdu'l-Baha, A Traveller's Narrative, p. 39)
From the texts you already have available it is clear that Bahá'u'lláh has stated that it is preferable to be killed in the path of God's good-pleasure than to kill, and that organized religious attack against Bahá'ís should never turn into any kind of warfare, as this is strictly prohibited in our Writings.
(From a letter of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of Canada, May 26, 1969: Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1968-1973, p. 26)
. . . the members of a defenseless community, who, at the bidding of Bahá'u'lláh, had ceased to offer armed resistance even in self-defense, and were carrying out His injunction that "it is better to be killed than kill."
(Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 198)
p. 73 IF THINGS SUCH AS THESE ARE TO BE DENIED, WHAT SHALL, THEN, BE DEEMED WORTHY OF CREDENCE?
If these companions, with all their marvellous testimonies and wondrous works, be false, who then is worthy to claim for himself the truth? I swear by God! Their very deeds are a sufficient testimony, and an irrefutable proof unto all the peoples of the earth, were men to ponder in their hearts the mysteries of divine Revelation.
(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 226)
O ye that judge with fairness! If this Cause is to be denied then what other cause in this world can be vindicated or deemed worthy of acceptance?
(Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 131)
P. 73 THE MOTHER OF ASHRAF
See the Dawn-Breakers p. 562, and Gleanings p. 135 Section LXIX for the story of Ashraf and his mother. Also see Salmani’s Memoirs, where he writes, “It seemed to me that up to now, in all the earth, there had never been a woman so excellent as Ashraf's mother.” (Ustad Muhammad-'Aliy-i Salmani, My Memories of Baha'u'llah, p. 71)
P. 75 HAVE ENDURED TRIBULATIONS THE LIKE OF WHICH THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD HATH NEVER RECORDED
the whole world marveled at the manner of their sacrifice . . . The mind is bewildered at their deeds, and the soul marvelleth at their fortitude and bodily endurance.
(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 224-225)
P. 75 THE BAN WHICH THE PEN OF GLORY HATH, DAY AND NIGHT, CHOSEN TO IMPOSE
We exhorted all men, and particularly this people, through Our wise counsels and loving admonitions, and forbade them to engage in sedition, quarrels, disputes and conflict.
(Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 22)
In that land we forbad all mischief, and all unseemly and unholy deeds.
(Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 166)
P. 75 REMEMBER THE FATHER OF BADI
As soon as Mulla Husayn had determined to pursue the way that led to Mazindaran, he, immediately after he had offered his morning prayer, bade his companions discard all their possessions. "Leave behind all your belongings," he urged them, "and content yourselves only with your steeds and swords, that all may witness your renunciation of all earthly things, and may realise that this little band of God's chosen companions has no desire to safeguard its own property, much less to covet the property of others." Instantly they all obeyed and, unburdening their steeds, arose and joyously followed him. The father of Badi' was the first to throw aside his satchel, which contained a considerable amount of turquoise which he had brought with him from the mine that belonged to his father. One word from Mulla Husayn proved sufficient to induce him to fling by the road-side what was undoubtedly his most treasured possession, and to cling to the desire of his leader.
(The Dawn-Breakers, p. 329)
The story of his request to Baha’u’llah that he be allowed to lay down his life as a martyr, and of his martyrdom, is told in Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha’u’llah, Volume II, pp. 129-135)
P. 75 OFFERED UP, BY HIS OWN HAND, HIS LIFE
One of My companions offered up his life, cutting his throat with his own hands for the love of God, an act unheard of in bygone centuries and which God hath set apart for this Revelation as an evidence of the power of His might. He, verily, is the Unconstrained, the All-Subduing. As for the one who thus slew himself in 'Iraq, he truly is the King and Beloved of Martyrs, and that which he evinced was a testimony from God unto the peoples of the earth. Such souls have been influenced by the Word of God, have tasted the sweetness of His remembrance, and are so transported by the breezes of reunion that they have detached themselves from all that dwell on earth and turned unto the Divine Countenance with faces beaming with light. And though they have committed an act which God hath forbidden, He hath nevertheless forgiven them as a token of His mercy. He, verily, is the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Compassionate. So enraptured were these souls by Him Who is the All-Compelling that the reins of volition slipped from their grasp, until at last they ascended to the dwelling of the Unseen and entered the presence of God, the Almighty, the All-Knowing.
(Baha'u'llah, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 146)
Nabil's suicide was not insanity but love. He loved Bahá'u'lláh too much to go on in a world that no longer held Him.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Unfolding Destiny of the British Baha'i Community, p. 406)
Dhabih took his own life because he was intoxicated by the wine of the presence of Bahá'u'lláh, Who had enabled him to witness the glory of the spiritual worlds of God. This cannot be compared with ordinary suicide, nor can this episode be taken to mean that Bahá'í belief condones the taking of one's own life. On the contrary, suicide is strongly condemned in the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh and is clearly against His Teachings.
(Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha'u'llah v 1, p. 103, Footnote 1)
P. 76 WE HAVE BORNE IT ALL WITH THE UTMOST WILLINGNESS AND RESIGNATION
The word here translated as “resignation”, Riḍá, is part of a man’s name on the following page, whose resignation Baha’u’llah praises, and is also part of the name of one of Baha’u’llah’s brothers, Mirza Riḍá-Quli. Elsewhere in the Baha'i Writings riḍá is translated by Shoghi Effendi as resigned to His will, resignation, contentment, Divine good-pleasure, submissiveness to the Will of God, resignation to the Will of God, divine nearness and favor, radiant acquiescence to His will, wholly resigned and submitted.
P. 77 THE MARTYRDOM OF HAJI MUHAMMAD-RIDA
The remarkable story of the martyrdom of this believer in the City of Ishqabad, in Russian Turkistan near the border with Persia, is told by Mr. Taherzadeh in The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, Volume 4, pp. 342-346. Baha’u’llah wrote a Tablet to the believers in that city and commented on the upheaval that had taken place there, and the believer who had suffered martyrdom. No such upheaval had yet taken place, but it took place two months later, and Haji Muhammad-Rida was the one martyred.
P. 78 FOR THE VICTIMS OF OPPRESSION TO INTERCEDE IN FAVOR OF THEIR ENEMIES IS . . . A PRINCELY DEED.
As explained by Mr. Taherzadeh in The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, Volume 4, p. 346, because of the intercession of the believers in Ishqabad on behalf of their persecutors, the Czar of Russia intervened and lowered the sentences.
P. 80 O THOU WHO ART EVEN AS NOTHING
He said [Baha’u’llah said about Mirza Muhammad `Ali]: -- "Should he for a moment pass out from under the shadow of the Cause, he surely shall be brought to naught." Reflect! What stress He layeth upon one moment's deviation: that is, were he to incline a hair's breadth to the right or to the left, his deviation would be clearly established and his utter nothingness made manifest. (The Will and Testament of `Abdu’l-Baha, p. 6)
it is the duty of all besides Him to strictly observe whatever laws and ordinances have been enjoined upon them, and should anyone deviate therefrom, even to the extent of a hair's breadth, his work would be brought to naught.
(Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 108)
Turn unto God and seek His protection, O concourse of divines, and make not of yourselves a veil between Me and My creatures. Thus doth your Lord admonish you, and command you to be just, lest your works should come to naught and ye yourselves be oblivious of your plight.
(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 80, Paragraph 167)
P. 80 IDLE FANCIES AND VAIN IMAGININGS
Elsewhere translated by the Guardian as “vain and profitless”
P. 82 THOU HAST CAST BEHIND THY BACK THE LAW OF GOD
There is a play on the Arabic words here. The passage literally reads,
We testify that thou hast cast behind thy back
the Law [shari’ah] of God, and laid hold on
the dictates [shari’ah] of thy passions.
Later in the paragraph Baha’u’llah repeats the same sentiment, this time using the word “hukm” – law or commandment:
Thou hast set aside the commandment [hukm] of God, and clung unto the promptings [hukm] of thine own desire.
P. 83 HE WHO IS TRULY LEARNED
Baha’u’llah also praises the truly learned in the Most Holy Book (paragraph 173, p. 82):
Happy are ye, O ye the learned ones in Baha. By
the Lord! Ye are the billows of the Most Mighty Ocean,
the stars of the firmament of Glory, the standards of
triumph waving betwixt earth and heaven. Ye are the
manifestations of steadfastness amidst men and the
daysprings of Divine Utterance to all that dwell on
earth. Well is it with him that turneth unto you, and
woe betide the froward.
And again, in the Surih of the Temple, Baha’u’llah praises these “eyes”:
O Eyes of this Temple! Look not upon the heavens and that which they contain, nor upon the earth and them that dwell thereon, for We have created you to behold Our own Beauty: See it now before you! Withhold not your gaze therefrom, and deprive not yourselves of the Beauty of your Lord, the All-Glorious, the Best-Beloved. Erelong shall We bring into being through you keen and penetrating eyes that will contemplate the manifold signs of their Creator and turn away from all that is perceived by the people of the world. Through you shall We bestow the power of vision upon whomsoever We desire, and lay hold upon those who have deprived themselves of this gracious bounty. These, verily, have drunk from the cup of delusion, though they perceive it not.
(The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 9, paragraph 1.19)
P. 83 THY POWERLESSNESS
This is translated from the same word as appears in the Short Obligatory Prayer, “I testify to my powerlessness and to Thy might”. It is also translated by Shoghi Effendi as helplessness, incapacity, weakness, feebleness and impotence.
P. 83 HIM WHO HATH COME UNTO THEE WITH THE TESTIMONIES OF GOD
Say, verily, He [Jesus Christ] hath testified of Me, and I do testify of Him. Indeed, He hath purposed no one other than Me.
(Baha'u'llah, Tablet to the Christians, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 11, referring to John 15:26))
Go forth with the Tablet of God and His signs, and rejoin them that have believed in Me, and announce unto them tidings of Our most holy Paradise. Warn, then, those that have joined partners with Him. Say: I am come to you, O people, from the Throne of glory, and bear you an announcement from God, the Most Powerful, the Most Exalted, the Most Great. In mine hand I carry the testimony of God, your Lord and the Lord of your sires of old. Weigh it with the just Balance that ye possess, the Balance of the testimony of the Prophets and Messengers of God. If ye find it to be established in truth, if ye believe it to be of God, beware, then, lest ye cavil at it, and render your works vain, and be numbered with the infidels.
(Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah CXXIX, p. 281)
P. 84 ITS LEAVES
The “leaves” of the Holy Tree often means the women in the Holy Family. The Writings also use “leaves” to indicate the institutions of the Cause, so Baha’u’llah is saying to the recipient of this book that he has injured the Cause of God.
As Shoghi Effendi wrote:
The seeds which 'Abdu'l-Bahá's ceaseless activities so lavishly scattered had endowed the United States and Canada, nay the entire continent, with potentialities such as it had never known in its history. On the small band of His trained and beloved disciples, and through them on their descendants, He, through that visit, had bequeathed a priceless heritage -- a heritage which carried with it the sacred and primary obligation to arise and carry on in that fertile field the work He had so gloriously initiated. We can dimly picture to ourselves the wishes that must have welled from His eager heart as He bade His last farewell to that promising country. An inscrutable Wisdom, we can well imagine Him remark to His disciples on the eve of His departure, has, in His infinite bounty singled out your native land for the execution of a mighty purpose. Through the agency of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant I, as the ploughman, have been called upon since the beginning of my ministry to turn up and break its ground. The mighty confirmations that have, in the opening days of your career, rained upon you have prepared and invigorated its soil. The tribulations you subsequently were made to suffer have driven deep furrows into the field which my hands had prepared. The seeds with which I have been entrusted I have now scattered far and wide before you. Under your loving care, by your ceaseless exertions, every one of these seeds must germinate, every one must yield its destined fruit. A winter of unprecedented severity will soon be upon you. Its storm-clouds are fast gathering on the horizon. Tempestuous winds will assail you from every side. The Light of the Covenant will be obscured through my departure. These mighty blasts, this wintry desolation, shall however pass away. The dormant seed will burst into fresh activity. It shall put forth its buds, shall reveal, in mighty institutions, its leaves and blossoms. The vernal showers which the tender mercies of my heavenly Father will cause to descend upon you will enable this tender plant to spread out its branches to regions far beyond the confines of your native land. And finally the steadily mounting sun of His Revelation, shining in its meridian splendor, will enable this mighty Tree of His Faith to yield, in the fullness of time and on your soil, its golden fruit.
(The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 86)
P. 85 WISH YE, THEN, FOR DEATH, IF YE ARE SINCERE
Bahá'u'lláh discusses the implications of this verse from the Qur’an on page 209 of Tablets of Baha’u’llah, and on page 227 of the Book of Certitude.
P. 86 THE STATE OF MIRZA HADI DAWLAT-ABADI AND OF SAD-I-ISFAHANI (SADRU’L-`ULAMA)
Another source of suffering for Bahá'u'lláh was the behavior of a few Azalis who sullied the Faith’s reputation. Two such persons were Sadru’l-`Ulama and Mirza Hadiy-i-Dawlat-Abadi. Sadru’l-Ulama was a divine who had become a Babi but had fallen under the influence of Siyyid Muhammad, Mirza Yahya’s ally from the time of Bahá'u'lláh’s exile in Baghdad until his death in 1872. Mirza Hadiy-i-Dawlat-Abadi was Mirza Yahya’s representative in Persia who later became his successor. Years before, Mirza Hadi had become a Babi and had followed Mirza Yahya when he advanced his claim to be the one foretold by the Bab. Mirza Hadi had rallied other Babis to Mirza Yahya’s side and had spread many misunderstandings and falsehoods about Bahá'u'lláh and His Cause.
In 1888, when the clergy was clamoring for the arrest and execution of prominent Baha'i teachers, Shaykh Muhammad-Taqiy-i-Najafi (the Son of the Wolf) [i.e. the recipient of this book] called for the execution of Mirza Ashraf-i-Abadi in Isfahan. Denounced as a Baha'i and imprisoned, Mirza Ashraf was interrogated by the divines, including Shaykh Muhammad Taqiy-i-Najafi. After strongly and eloquently refuting their arguments, Mirza Ashraf was sentenced to death and hung in the public square, whereupon his body was savagely mutilated. Soon thereafter Shaykh Muhammad Taqi called for the death of Hadi, who publicly recanted his faith from the pulpit, cursing and reviling the Bab and Bahá'u'lláh in the foulest language. He was promptly absolved of the charge of being a Baha'i, and his life was spared. Seizing their opportunity, enemies of the Faith publicized Hadi’s recantation throughout the country. Despite his shameful behavior, Hadi carried on as leader of the Azalis in Persia. Although the Azalis were few in number, Bahá'u'lláh continued to admonish Hadi and his handful of followers, hoping to lead them away from the oblivion toward which they were headed.
(Geoffry W. Marks, “Call to Remembrance, Connecting the Heart to Baha’u’llah”, pp. 231-232)
P. 87 THIS WRONGED ONE HATH NOT CONCEALED THE CAUSE OF GOD
It is reported in the press that this Servant hath fled from the land of Ta (Tihran) and gone to Iraq. Gracious God! Not even for a single moment hath this Wronged One ever concealed Himself. Rather hath He at all times remained steadfast and conspicuous before the eyes of all men. Never have We retreated, nor shall We ever seek flight.
(Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 40)
P. 87 O HADI! THOU HAST GONE UNTO MY BROTHER AND HAST SEEN HIM
O Hadi! . . . Thou hast been there (Cyprus) and hast seen him (Mirza Yahya). Now speak forth with fairness.
(Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 43)
ESW 87 POISE
Elsewhere translated by Shoghi Effendi as stillness, serenity, dignity, calm, tranquility, dwelling
P. 87 IMPERTURBABILITY
In the Master’s Will and Testament, this word is translated as “submissiveness” to the Guardian of the Cause of God.
THE SEALED WINE IS DISCLOSED
A reference to this verse of the Qur’an, in which the righteous are promised that in Paradise they will drink the Choice Sealed Wine:
Verily, the righteous shall be in pleasure; upon couches shall they gaze; thou mayest recognise in their faces the brightness of pleasure; they shall be given to drink wine that is sealed, whose seal is musk; for that then let the aspirants aspire!
(Qur'an 83:25, E.H. Palmer translation)
Reference to the use of "wine" in an allegorical
sense -- such as being the cause of spiritual ecstasy – is found, not only in the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, but in the Bible, in the Qur'án, and in ancient Hindu traditions. For example, in the Qur'án the righteous are promised that they will be given to drink of the "choice sealed wine". In His Tablets, Bahá'u'lláh identifies the "choice Wine" with His Revelation whose "musk-laden fragrance" has been wafted "upon all created things". He states that He has "unsealed" this "Wine", thereby disclosing spiritual truths that were hitherto unknown, and enabling those who quaff thereof to "discern the splendours of the light of divine unity" and to "grasp the essential purpose underlying the Scriptures of God". In one of His meditations, Bahá'u'lláh entreats God to supply the believers with "the choice Wine of Thy mercy, that it may cause them to be forgetful of any one except Thee, and to arise to serve Thy Cause, and to be steadfast in their love for Thee".
(Note prepared under the supervision of The Universal House of Justice, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 166, Note 2)
Fear ye God, O people of the earth, and think not that the wine We have mentioned in Our Tablet is the wine which men drink, and which causeth their intelligence to pass away, their human nature to be perverted, their light to be changed, and their purity to be soiled. Our intention is indeed that wine which intensifieth man's love for God, for His Chosen Ones and for His loved ones, and igniteth in the hearts the fire of God and love for Him, and glorification and praise of Him. So potent is this wine that a drop thereof will attract him who drinketh it to the court of His sanctity and nearness, and will enable him to attain the presence of God, the King, the Glorious, the Most Beauteous. It is a wine that blotteth out from the hearts of the true lovers all suggestions of limitation, establisheth the truth of the signs of His oneness and divine unity, and leadeth them to the Tabernacle of the Well-Beloved, in the presence of God, the Sovereign Lord, the Self-Subsisting, the All-Forgiving, the All-Generous. We meant by this Wine, the River of God, and His favour, the fountain of His living waters, and the Mystic Wine and its divine grace, even as it was revealed in the Qur'án, if ye are of those who understand. He said, and how true is His utterance: "A wine delectable to those who drink it."[Qur'án 47:15] And He had no purpose in this but the wine We have mentioned to you, O people of certitude!
(Baha’u’llah, Compilation on Intoxicating Drinks, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 245)
P. 88 consternation
This word is elsewhere translated by Shoghi Effendi as terror-stricken, shook and trembled, fears and agitations, terror, lament, dismay, raised their plaintive cries.
P. 89 TRUTHFULNESS AND TRUSTWORTHINESS
Baha’u’llah calls on His followers to show these virtues towards their governments.
In every country where any of this people reside, they must behave towards the government of that country with loyalty, honesty and truthfulness.
(The Tablet of Bisharat, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, pp. 22-23)
The one true God, exalted be His glory, hath bestowed the government of the earth upon the kings. To none is given the right to act in any manner that would run counter to the considered views of them who are in authority.
(Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah CXV, p. 241)
P. 89 EVERY NATION MUST HAVE A HIGH REGARD FOR THE POSITION OF ITS SOVEREIGN
Kings are the manifestations of the power, and the daysprings of the might and riches, of God. Pray ye on their behalf. He hath invested them with the rulership of the earth and hath singled out the hearts of men as His Own domain.
(Baha’u’llah, the Book of My Covenant, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, pp. 220-221)
Say: O people! Sow not the seeds of discord among men, and refrain from contending with your neighbor, for your Lord hath committed the world and the cities thereof to the care of the kings of the earth, and made them the emblems of His own power, by virtue of the sovereignty He hath chosen to bestow upon them. He hath refused to reserve for Himself any share whatever of this world's dominion.
(Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, pp. 303-304)
O ye beloved of the Lord! It is incumbent upon you to be submissive to all monarchs that are just and to show your fidelity to every righteous king. Serve ye the sovereigns of the world with utmost truthfulness and loyalty. Show obedience unto them and be their well-wishers. Without their leave and permission do not meddle with political affairs, for disloyalty to the just sovereign is disloyalty to God Himself.
This is my counsel and the commandment of God unto you. Well is it with them that act accordingly.
(The Will and Testament of `Abdu’l-Baha, p. 15)
P. 91 THE DIVINES MUST NEEDS UNITE WITH HIS MAJESTY, THE SHAH
The state is, moreover, based upon two potent forces, the legislative and the executive. The focal center of the executive power is the government, while that of the legislative is the learned—and if this latter great support and pillar should prove defective, how is it conceivable that the state should stand?
In view of the fact that at the present time such fully developed and comprehensively learned individuals are hard to come by, and the government and people are in dire need of order and direction, it is essential to establish a body of scholars the various groups of whose membership would each be expert in one of the aforementioned branches of knowledge.
(Abdu'l-Baha, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 37)
P. 91 A JUST KING ENJOYETH NEARER ACCESS UNTO GOD THAN ANYONE
. . . ineffable glory is set apart for the Holy Ones and those who are nearest to the Threshold of God, although such as these have never for a moment concerned themselves with material gain. Then comes the station of those just kings whose fame as protectors of the people and dispensers of Divine justice has filled the world
(Abdu'l-Baha, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 20)
Shoghi Effendi here writes of one of Baha'u'llah's tablets known as the "Paradise of Justice":
In the Ridvanu'l-'Adl, wherein the virtue of justice is exalted, He makes a parallel prediction: "Erelong will God make manifest on earth kings who will recline on the couches of justice, and will rule amongst men even as they rule their own selves. They, indeed, are among the choicest of My creatures in the entire creation."
(Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come, p. 73, quoting Baha’u’llah’s Tablet “The Paradise of Justice”. Additional excerpts from this Tablet are found in Gleanings Sections XII and LXXXVIII)
P. 92 SOME WERE HELD TO BE POSSESSED, OTHERS WERE CALLED IMPOSTORS
No sooner did He [the Bab] reveal Himself, than all the people rose up against Him. By some He was denounced as one that hath uttered slanders against God, the Almighty, the Ancient of Days. Others regarded Him as a man smitten with madness, an allegation which I, Myself, have heard from the lips of one of the divines. Still others disputed His claim to be the Mouthpiece of God, and stigmatized Him as one who had stolen and used as his the words of the Almighty . . .
(Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah LXXVI, p. 145)
"And many of them said, He [Jesus] hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him?" (Gospel of John 10:20)
P. 93 GUARDED IN THY SPEECH
This is the same word in the original Arabic as is translated “observe silence” on page 193 of the Book of Certitude, and “silent” on page 108 of the present Work.
P. 92 A CROWN TO THE BROW OF FIDELITY
The original word here translated as fidelity – amanat—is also translated as Trustworthiness.
P. 96 A CORRUPT INCLINATION
The original word, nafs, is also translated by Shoghi Effendi as self, evil passions, corrupt and selfish desires, evil and corrupt affections, abasement, earthly desires, vain desires, fire of self, inclinations, fancies and desires, passions.
P. 97 WE HAVE NOT SOUGHT TO SPREAD DISORDER IN THE LAND AFTER IT HAD BEEN WELL-ORDERED
A reference to the Qur’an, see 7:83
P. 98 MOST SUBLIME
Elsewhere translated by Shoghi Effendi as most exalted, all highest, most august, transcendent
P. 99 HORIZON
Elsewhere in the Baha'i Writings, Shoghi Effendi translates this word, afaq, as realm, Kingdom, firmament, sanctuary, high summit, fountain, horizon, dayspring, heights, heaven, habitation, apex, face, meridian splendor
P. 99 WISDOM
Elsewhere in the Baha'i Writings, Shoghi Effendi translates this word, hikmat, as understanding, and as divine wisdom
P. 99 HEEDLESS ONE
Elsewhere in the Baha'i Writings, Shoghi Effendi translates this word, ghafal, as oblivious, unaware, forgetful, heedless and neglected, ignored and repudiated.
P. 99 THY GLORY AND THE GLORY OF SUCH AS ARE LIKE THEE HAVE BEEN TAKEN AWAY
"From two ranks amongst men," is His terse and prophetic utterance, "power hath been seized: kings and ecclesiastics."
(Shoghi Effendi quoting Baha’u’llah, God Passes By, p. 230)
"Power hath been seized" indeed, and is being increasingly seized, from these ecclesiastics that speak in the name, and yet are so far away from the spirit, of the Faith they profess.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come, p. 103)
P. 99 HE WHO CONTENDED WITH GOD
This is also translated by Shoghi Effendi as “risen up against God”.
P. 99 LAMENTED
The same word is elsewhere translated by Shoghi Effendi as groaned, wailed, bemoan their plight, groan aloud, wept sore
P. 99 CRIED OUT
Elsewhere translated by Shoghi Effendi as shout, loudly raised
P. 101 EVERY MAN ENDUED WITH PERCEPTION
Elsewhere translated by Shoghi Effendi as as sense of smell
P. 101 EVERY MAN OF INSIGHT
Elsewhere translated by Shoghi Effendi as eye, discernment, sight, vision
P. 101 DIDST THOU IMAGINE THAT MARTYRDOM COULD ABASE THIS CAUSE?
If those that have erred grievously were aware of the hidden mysteries of martyrdom. they would in no wise commit such deeds. However, God hath caused them to be tongue-tied and bereft of sight, with their minds and power of perception reduced to naught, in such wise that they deem a priceless benefit a grievous loss. With their own hands they help the Cause of God, though they themselves are wholly unconscious of it. Verily God would at one time render His Cause victorious through the aid of His enemies and at another by virtue of the assistance of His chosen ones.
(Baha’u’llah, Compilation on Martyrdom, Fire and Light, p. 13)
They that are sunk in heedlessness fondly imagine that massacre and crucifixion cause the fire of the Word of God to be extinguished, and regard martyrdom as a devastating injury. They are utterly oblivious of the truth that through such afflictions the Cause of God is exalted, its fame is blazoned far and wide, and the martyrs themselves are enabled to attain the boundless retreats of nearness unto God. Immeasurably exalted is the Lord of Wisdom who doeth that which He willeth and ordaineth whatsoever He pleaseth.
(Baha’u’llah, Compilation on Martyrdom, Fire and Light, p. 9)
P. 102 THOU HAST SLAIN THE CHILDREN OF THE APOSTLE
This is probably a reference to a stirring event in Shi’ih Muslim history, and is intended to evoke in this Muslim cleric a realization of the gravity of his deeds. Baha’u’llah compares the Shaykh’s deed of martyring the two brothers, to the slaughtering of the son and grandchildren of the Prophet Muhammad. In the book “Prince of Martyrs” by Hand of the Cause Faizi we read that after the death of Husayn, his sister Zaynab said to Yazid, the leader of the army who had killed Husayn, "O son of Marjanih! You uprooted the tree of prophethood and cut off its branches and boughs. We hope that now your heart rests in peace and that your thirst for the blood of our family is quenched." When the humiliated surviving members of Husayn’s family were brought before this man, “one of the audience gave vent to his feelings and shouted, ‘You did well, Yazid! You exterminated the generation of the Prophet and raised to command the son of an adulteress.’" (Abu'l-Qasim Faizi, The Prince of Martyrs, p. 48)
By saying that the recipient of this Book had slain the children of the Apostle, Baha’u’llah is comparing this act of the “pious” Shaykh to the deeds he views as the worst in history.
P. 102 O IGNORANT ONE
This is also translated by Shoghi Effendi as foolish, heedless.
P. 103 THE SHE-CAMEL
This relates to the story of the Prophet Salih in the Qur’an, who was sent to the Arabian Peninsula to the people of Thamud long before the time of the Prophet Muhammad.
“ . . . he exhorted people to believe in God and stop worshipping idols. He argued with them for a long time, but they said that they could not find in him the signs of prophethood. Thereupon God brought forth a she-camel as a sign. Tradition has it that the she-camel came out of a rock. Salih asked the people to take care of the she-camel and to drink of her milk, but they did not. And when she came to drink of their water, which was scarce in that land and therefore vital to their existence, they raised great objections and eventually they hamstrung the she-camel and killed her.
Salih repeatedly warned the people that if they did not respond to his message they would be struck by a calamity and would be seized by God with a grievous punishment. When the sign from God, the she-camel, had no effect on the people and the animal was killed, an earthquake wiped them out, all except Salih and his followers, who were saved. . .
The stories of Hud and Salih are somewhat similar to the story of Noah, the flood and the Ark. They are all symbolic. In the Bahá'í Writings we find explained the significance of such terms as Noah's Ark, the flood, the she-camel and other incidents. For example, 'Abdu'l-Bahá in a Tablet explains that the she-camel was symbolic of the holy spirit of Salih, and the milk was symbolic of the spiritual food which his spirit offered to the people. The significance of the she-camel being hamstrung is the suffering inflicted by the wicked people on that holy soul, Salih. The spring of water which the people denied to the she-camel signifies life on this earth. The people were so attached to earthly things that they could not recognize the gifts of God to them, and so they rose up in opposition to Salih, and when he departed from their midst they became deprived of his spiritual influence. His absence was the calamity which caused them to be deprived of the bounties of God and consequently they perished spiritually.
(Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha'u'llah Volume 4, pp. 426-427)
103 BLESSED THE MAN
Elsewhere translated as well is it with, happy is.
P. 103 DRAW FORTH THE TABLET
In Gleanings, p. 281, Baha’u’llah again says to bring His Tablet to the presence of God as proof that one has obeyed God and accepted this Revelation.
P. 103 BY THIS BOOK
The words in the original in this beautiful phrase are familiar to Baha’is:
By this Book, the holy [ mubarak], the mighty [`aziz], the incomparable [badi’].
P. 104 O THOU WHO ASSUMEST THE VOICE OF KNOWLEDGE!
Compare the notes for page 15 above, “those men who outwardly attire themselves with the raiment of knowledge.”
P. 104 THE DESIRED ONE
Maqsud, elsewhere translated as goal, desire, purpose, highest and last end, end, design, meaning, my object is to show. This title is translated as “The Intended One” in the First Valley of the Tablet of Four Valleys.
P. 104 THE LAMP IS THINE
I know not, O my God, what the Fire is with which Thou didst light the Lamp of Thy Cause, or what the Glass wherewith Thou didst preserve it from Thine enemies. By Thy might! I marvel at the wonders of Thy Revelation, and at the tokens of Thy glory. I recognize, O Thou Who art my heart's Desire, that were fire to be touched by water it would instantly be extinguished, whereas the Fire which Thou didst kindle can never go out, though all the seas of the earth be poured upon it. Should water at any time touch it, the hands of Thy power would, as decreed in Thy Tablets, transmute that water into a fuel that would feed its flame.
I, likewise, recognize, O my God, that every lamp, when exposed to the fury of the winds, must cease from burning. As to Thy Lamp, however, O Beloved of the worlds, I cannot think what power except Thy power could have kept it safe for so many years from the tempests that have continually been directed upon it by the rebellious among Thy creatures.
I swear by Thy glory, O my God! Thy Lamp which Thou didst light within the tabernacle of man crieth out to Thee . . .
(Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah LXXXIX, p. 150)
P. 104 “Bestow justice [ `adl] upon the rulers [`umara’], and fairness [`insaf] upon the divines [`ulama’].”
`Adl is the word for "justice" in “House of Justice.” See the notes for P. 10, “Just and fair-minded”.
This passage can be taken to be a prayer that God will bestow justice upon the rulers in the world, and fairness up on the learned of all faiths. It might also be taken to mean that the Baha’is in the institution of the Rulers, i.e. the Houses of Justice at all levels, should identify with and embody the justice inherent in their holy name, and that the Baha’is in the Institution of the Learned should aspire to fairness in the conduct of their services.
I personally see this as an encouragement for the Baha'i institution of the Rulers [ `umara’] to be particularly possessed of justice; and for the Institution of the Learned to be possessed of fairness, fairmindedness, open-mindedness. The Baha'i institution of the Learned is “`Ulama fee al-Baha”, “Learned Ones in Baha”. Ṭuubaa lakum yaa ma'shar al 'ulamaa fee al-Baha is “Happy are ye, O ye Learned ones in Baha”.
P. 104 THINE IRRESISTIBLE CAUSE
The word translated here as “irresistible” is also translated by Shoghi Effendi as inscrutable and as divinely-appointed.
P. 105 THE UNCONSTRAINED
Al-makhtar, also translated as unrestrained, unconditioned, whatsoever He willeth.
P. 106 SECRET PROGRESS
The word translated here as secret is also translated as mystery, inner, hidden; the word translated here as progress is also translated by Shoghi Effendi as motion. It appears that Baha'u'llah is saying that as His cause advanced mysteriously, the rulers opposed it.
P. 106 THE EXTENDED CORD
"The word 'cord', so often mentioned in the teachings, means both the Faith itself and also the power of the Faith which sustains those who cling to it."
(From a letter dated April 18, 1941 written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer; Lights of Guidance, p. 483 #1604)
P. 106 A DISTINGUISHED SIYYID
A reference to Haji Mirza Siyyid Hasan, known as the Great Afnan “Afnan-i-Kabir,” a brother of the wife of the Báb. See Balyuzi, Baha'u'llah - The King of Glory, p. 386, and Taherzadeh, the Revelation of Baha’u’llah, Volume 4, pp. 404-405) Abdu’l-Baha has spoken at some length about him (Memorials of the Faithful, pp. 21 ff.) and has identified him as being among the “twenty-four elders”
P. 106 THE PERSIAN DRAGOMAN
In each town there was an official translator for certain languages, generally Turkish, Arabic and Persian, known as the dragoman. He also performed certain functions to assist travelers.
P. 107 THE DAY WHEREOF LUQMAN SPOKE UNTO HIS SON
Luqman is a legendary figure, sometimes identified with Aesop. Muhammad adopted the literary figure of words from Luqman to his son, as the 31st Surah of the Qur’an. The Day spoken of is the day when “God will bring everything to light,” also mentioned at the end of that Surah, when he speaks of the Resurrection and the Last Hour. The quotation in this paragraph that begins “O my son!” is from Qur’an 31:16.
P. 108 HAJI SHAYKH MUHAMMAD `ALI
“In 1880 members of the Bab’s family, known as Afnan, decided to establish a trading company in Constantinople for which they sought and obtained Baha’u’llah’s permission. To run the business they invited an experienced merchant from Qazvin and a devoted Baha'i, Shaykh Muhammad-`Ali, whom Baha’u’llah named Nabil ibn-i-Nabil (Nabil, son of Nabil); his father had been one of the earliest Babis. The business began in 1882 and was soon very successful. Nabil became known as one of the most trustworthy merchants in the city, a fact that aroused the jealousy of the Azalis, who instituted a villainous campaign of slander against him within the city’s higher circles.”
(Geoffrey Marks, Call to Remembrance, p. 216)
Also see the notes for page 75, above, concerning such early believers’ taking their own lives.
P. 111 SUCH REFERENCES AS HAVE BEEN MADE TO DIVINITY
Baha’u’llah explains the significance of any of the Manifestations of God making a claim to Divinity, pp. 177-181 of the Book of Certitude; also see His previous explanation of His own Divinity, on page 41 of ESW. In the 4th Tajalli of the Tablet of Tajalliyat, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 53, He quotes from the Writings of the Bab stating that the One to follow the Bab would proclaim, “Verily, verily, I am God”.
In this section of the Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, pp. 111-114, Baha’u’llah shows with quotations from the sacred Traditions of Islam and the Qur’an, that Muhammad and the Imams claimed Divinity; and then shows with extensive quotations from the Qur’an, pp. 115-118, that it promises that God will come to the earth. In the midst of this, Baha’u’llah says, “In whatever manner these traditions are interpreted, in that same manner let them also interpret” His own statements regarding His Divinity (p. 112) and not use these statements as an excuse to deny Him.
Dr. Khazeh Fananapazir, a Baha'i resident in the United Kingdom who has considerable familiarity with the Holy Books of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, as well as Baha'i literature, has located references to the Muslim Traditions quoted on pp. 111-113 of the Epistle to the Son of the Wolf. I am listing them here, for the benefit of those who have access to these works and the languages in which they are written. Dr. Fananapazir writes:
"You kindly asked for the sources of some of the references in the Epistle of the Son of the Wolf. This servant checked them twice so I hope I have got them alright. yours humbly, khazeh
The Imam Sadiq hath said: "Servitude is a substance, the essence of which is Divinity." Sharh.uz-ZiyArat al Jami’at al-Kabeera [by Shaykh Ahmad al-AhsAi] Volume 4 page 24 line 3.
Sharh.ul MashA’ir page 248
The Commander of the Faithful (Imam Ali) answered an Arab, who had questioned him concerning the soul, as follows:
"The third is the soul which is divine and celestial. It is a divine energy, a substance, simple, and self-subsistent."
Sharh.uz-ZiyArat al Jami’at al-Kabeera [by Shaykh Ahmad al-AhsAi] Volume 4 page 41
And further He - peace be upon him - said: "Therefore it is the Most Sublime Essence of God, the Tree of Blessedness, the Lote-Tree beyond which there is no passing, the Garden of Repose."
The same page Sharh.uz-ZiyArat al Jami’at al-Kabeera [by Shaykh Ahmad al-AhsAi] Volume 4 page 41
The Imam Sadiq hath said: "When our Qa'im will arise, the earth will shine with the light of her Lord."
Kitab ar Raj’at by Shaykh Ah.mad al-Ah.sAi page 183
Likewise, a lengthy tradition is attributed to Abi-'Abdi'llah - peace be upon him - in which these sublime words are found:
"Thereupon will He Who is the All-Compelling - exalted and glorified be He - descend from the clouds with the angels."
Kitab ar Raj’at by Shaykh Ah.mad al-Ah.sAi page 210
And in the mighty Qur'an: "What can such expect but that God should come down to them overshadowed with clouds?" And in the tradition of Mufaddal it is said:
"The Qa'im will lean His back against the Sanctuary, and will stretch forth His hand, and lo, it shall be snow-white but unhurt. And He shall say: `This is the hand of God, the right hand of God, that cometh from God, at the command of God!'"
Kitab ar Raj’at by Shaykh Ah.mad al-Ah.sAi page 157
… The Commander of the Faithful (Imam Ali) hath said:
"I am He Who can neither be named, nor described."
Sharh.uz-ZiyArat al Jami’at al-Kabeera [by Shaykh Ah.mad al-Ah.sAi] Volume 1 page 227
And likewise He hath said: "Outwardly I am an Imam; inwardly I am the Unseen, the Unknowable."
Sharh.uz-ZiyArat al Jami’at al-Kabeera [by Shaykh Ahmad al-AhsAi] Volume 1 page 202
Sharh.uz-ZiyArat al Jami’at al-Kabeera [by Shaykh Ahmad al-AhsAi] Volume 1 page 261
Sharh.uz-ZiyArat al Jami’at al-Kabeera [by Shaykh Ahmad al-AhsAi] Volume 1 page 336
Abu-Ja'far-i-Tusi hath said: "I said to Abi Abdi'llah: `You are the Way mentioned in the Book of God, and you are the Impost, and you are the Pilgrimage.' He replied: `O man! We are the Way mentioned in the Book of God, - exalted and glorified be He - and We are the Impost, and We are the Fast, and We are the Pilgrimage, and We are the Sacred Month, and We are the Sacred City, and We are the Kaaba of God, and We are the Qiblih of God, and We are the Face of God.'"
Sharh.uz-ZiyArat al Jami’at al-Kabeera [by Shaykh Ahmad al-AhsAi] Volume 1 page 416
Bih.Ar u’l-AnwAr [Oceans of Lights] by Mirza Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi Volume 24 [the Book of Imamate] page 303
Jabir hath said that Abu-Ja'far - peace be upon him - spoke to him as follows: "O Jabir! Give heed unto the Bayan (Exposition) and the Ma'ani (Significances)." He - peace be upon him - added: "As to the Bayan, it consisteth in thy recognition of God - glorified be He - as the One Who hath no equal, and in thy adoration of Him, and in thy refusal to join partners with Him. As to the Ma'ani, We are its meaning, and its side, and its hand, and its tongue, and its cause, and its command, and its knowledge, and its right. If We wish for something, it is God Who wisheth it, and He desireth that which We desire."
Sharh.uz-ZiyArat al Jami’at al-Kabeera [by Shaykh Ah.mad al-Ah.sAi] Volume 1 page 21 [explaining "mawz. Ar RisAlat"] and page 150 [Jabir ibn al-Yazid al-Ju’fi]
Moreover, the Commander of the Faithful (Imam Ali) - peace be upon him - hath said: "How can I worship a Lord Whom I have not seen?"
Sharh.uz-ZiyArat al Jami’at al-Kabeera [by Shaykh Ah.mad al-Ah.sAi] Volume 2
P. 111 SERVITUDE IS A SUBSTANCE, THE ESSENCE OF WHICH IS DIVINITY
After the Ascension of Baha’u’llah, the Master took the title `Abdu’l-Baha, signifying Servant of Baha’u’llah. This countered His opponents who alleged that He claimed an equal station to that of Baha’u’llah. Yet, they then claimed that because of this sacred Tradition that the essence of servitude is divinity, that He was actually claiming a station greater than that of Baha’u’llah – Divinity itself!
P. 112 THE SOUL . . . IS THE MOST SUBLIME ESSENCE OF GOD
This appears to be similar to the words of Jesus, when He was condemned by the Jewish clergy of His day for asserting that He was the Son of God. He quoted (John 10:34-36) from the Jewish Scriptures that they themselves were as God; so why did they oppose Him for merely claiming to be God’s Son?
P. 113 WE ARE THE IMPOST
By the 'Impost' is meant the tithe, payment of which is a religious duty, as are the Fast and the Pilgrimage
(Marzieh Gail, Dawn Over Mount Hira, p. 181)
P. 113 MA’ANI
In the notes in the back of the Book, “Ma’ani: A reference to the Imams as the repositories of the inner meanings of the Word of God.”
P. 114 ENTER THEN THE MOST GREAT PRISON, THAT THOU MAYEST HEAR WHAT NO EAR HATH EVER HEARD, AND GAZE ON THAT WHICH NO EYE HATH EVER SEEN
Compare page 130 of this Work:
Enter thou My presence, that thou mayest behold what the eye of the universe hath never beheld, and hear that which the ear of the whole creation hath never heard. . .
The Master stated:
Only through the honor of entering His presence, many souls became confirmed believers; they had no need of other proofs. Even those people who rejected and hated Him bitterly, when they had met Him, would testify to the grandeur of Bahá'u'lláh, saying, "This is a magnificent man, but what a pity that he makes such a claim! Otherwise, all that he says is acceptable."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 36)
P. 114 HAVE FOUND THEIR CONSUMMATION
Here Baha’u’llah follows the verse from the Qur’an where Muhammad says that He is the Seal of the Prophets, with those verses (pp. 115-119) where Muhammad promises that after the “Seal” will come the Presence of God, i.e. that God Himself will come to the earth.
Baha’u’llah does the same thing in the Gems of Divine Mysteries:
Know then that the paradise that appeareth in the day of God surpasseth every other paradise and excelleth the realities of Heaven. For when God - blessed and glorified is He - sealed the station of prophethood in the person of Him Who was His Friend, His Chosen One, and His Treasure amongst His creatures, as hath been revealed from the Kingdom of glory: "but He is the Apostle of God and the Seal of the Prophets", [Qur’an 33:40] He promised all men that they shall attain unto His own presence in the Day of Resurrection. In this He meant to emphasize the greatness of the Revelation to come, as it hath indeed been manifested through the power of truth. And there is of a certainty no paradise greater than this, nor station higher, should ye reflect upon the verses of the Qur'án. Blessed be he who knoweth of a certainty that he shall attain unto the presence of God on that day when His Beauty shall be made manifest.
Were I to recount all the verses that have been revealed in connection with this exalted theme, it would weary the reader and divert Us from Our purpose. The following verse shall therefore suffice Us; may thine eyes be solaced therewith, and mayest thou attain unto that which hath been treasured and concealed therein: "It is God who hath reared the heavens without pillars thou canst behold; then mounted His throne, and imposed laws on the sun and moon: each travelleth to its appointed goal. He ordereth all things. He maketh His signs clear, that ye may have firm faith in the presence of your Lord." [Qur’an 13:2]
(Baha'u'llah, Gems of Divine Mysteries, pp. 43-44, Paragraphs 58-59)
He then praises “those who have severed themselves from all save God and who in this day rejoice in the presence of their Lord,” (Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 47) that is, that the promise in the Qur’an has been fulfilled.
He clarifies what is meant by the “Presence of God” when He writes of the believer’s “certitude of attaining unto the presence of God through the Manifestations of His Cause.” (Gems of Divine Mysteries, pp. 47-48, paragraph 64)
P. 114 THE LOTE-TREE BEYOND WHICH THERE IS NO PASSING STANDETH LADEN WITH COUNTLESS FRUITS
Wing then thy flight unto this divine Tree and partake of its fruits. Gather up that which hath fallen therefrom and guard it faithfully.
(Baha'u'llah, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 51)
P. 115 PONDER A WHILE UPON THE VERSES CONCERNING THE DIVINE PRESENCE
These are the Qur’anic citations for the verses Baha’u’llah quotes on pages 116-118 that refer to the Presence of God:
13:2 It is God
29:4 To him who hopeth
29:22 As for those
32:9 And they say
41:54 They truly doubt
10:7 Verily, they who hope not
10:16 But when Our clear signs
6:155 Then gave We the Book
18:105 They are those
20:10 Hath the history of Moses
30:7 Have they not considered
32:23 We heretofore gave the Book
9:32 Fain would they put out
28:29 And when Moses
P. 115 PERSPICUOUS WORDS
The word here translated as “perspicuous”, muhkamaat, is elsewhere translated by Shoghi Effendi as “firm and conclusive” and as “words of consummate power and wisdom”. This word appears in Qur’an 3:7, where Rodwell translates it as “perspicuous”, Yusuf Ali translates as “of established meaning,” Muhammad Asad translates as those verses “clear in and by themselves”, and Maulana Muhammad Ali translates it as “decisive.”
The word "perspicuous" rhymes with "conspicuous", i.e. per-spik-you-us.
P. 115 THOU MAYEST ACHIEVE A DEED THE FRAGRANCE OF WHICH SHALL NEVER FADE FROM THE EARTH
God willing, thou mayest accomplish a deed whose fragrance shall endure as long as the Names of God—exalted be His glory—will endure.
(Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 252)
One righteous work performed in this Day, equalleth all the virtuous acts which for myriads of centuries men have practised—nay, We ask forgiveness of God for such a comparison!
(The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 144)
P. 118 IN ALL THE DIVINE BOOKS THE PROMISE OF THE DIVINE PRESENCE HATH BEEN EXPLICITLY RECORDED
The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, even with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the excellence of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the excellency of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are fearful-hearted, be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God, He will come and save you." (Isaiah 35:1‑4)
"Behold, the Lord God shall come with a strong hand. And His arm shall rule for Him; Behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. He will feed His flock like a shepherd ..." (Isaiah 40:10)
"Then she that is mine enemy shall see it, and shame shall cover her which said unto me, 'Where is the LORD thy God?' mine eyes shall behold her: now shall she be trodden down as the mire of the streets. In the day that thy walls are to be built, in that day shall the decree be far removed. In that day also he shall come even to thee from Assyria, and from the fortified cities, and from the fortress even to the river, and from sea to sea, and from mountain to mountain. Notwithstanding the land shall be desolate because of them that dwell therein, for the fruit of their doings. Feed thy people with thy rod, the flock of thine heritage, which dwell solitarily in the wood, in the midst of Carmel: let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old. According to the days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt will I show unto him marvelous things."
And the Lord shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be—“The Lord is one,” and His name one.
"And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, 'Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God."
P. 119 THERE HATH BEEN REVEALED IN THE KITAB-I-IQAN
The Book of Certitude, pp. 142-143
P. 119 THE SUN OF TRUTH SHINETH . . . ABOVE THE HORIZON OF THE PRISON-CITY OF `AKKA
Baha’u’llah uses this same image when speaking of the influence of `Abdu’l-Baha:
All the atoms of the earth have announced unto all created things that from behind the gate of the Prison-city there hath appeared and above its horizon there hath shone forth the Orb of the beauty of the great, the Most Mighty Branch of God -- His ancient and immutable Mystery
(Baha'u'llah, Tablet of the Land of Ba, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 227)
P. 119 EITHER THOU MUST RECOGNIZE IT
This is similar to the challenge issued by the Bab to a Muslim divine during His Pilgrimage to Mecca:
On the last day of His pilgrimage to Mecca, the Báb met Mirza Muhit-i-Kirmani. He stood facing the Black Stone, when the Báb approached him and, taking his hand in His, addressed him in these words: "O Muhit! You regard yourself as one of the most outstanding figures of the Shaykhi community and a distinguished exponent of its teachings. In your heart you even claim to be one of the direct successors and rightful inheritors of those twin great Lights, those Stars that have heralded the morn of Divine guidance. Behold, we are both now standing within this most sacred shrine. Within its hallowed precincts, He whose Spirit dwells in this place can cause Truth immediately to be known and distinguished from falsehood, and righteousness from error. Verily I declare, none besides Me in this day, whether in the East or in the West, can claim to be the Gate that leads men to the knowledge of God. My proof is none other than that proof whereby the truth of the Prophet Muhammad was established. Ask Me whatsoever you please; now, at this very moment, I pledge Myself to reveal such verses as can demonstrate the truth of My mission. You must choose either to submit yourself unreservedly to My Cause or to repudiate it entirely. You have no other alternative. If you choose to reject My message, I will not let go your hand until you pledge your word to declare publicly your repudiation of the Truth which I have proclaimed. Thus shall He who speaks the Truth be made known, and he that speaks falsely shall be condemned to eternal misery and shame. Then shall the way of Truth be revealed and made manifest to all men."
(The Dawn-Breakers, p. 134)
P. 119 THOSE VAIN IMAGININGS WERE CONVERTED INTO BULLETS
Here, Baha'u'llah states that the Shi'ih Muslims were responsible for the martyrdom of the Bab. In other passages, the Baha'i Writings assert that it was the responsibility of the Sunnis:
“When Imam 'Ali attempted to assert his position as Muhammad's verbally designated successor and the expounder of the Word of God as revealed in the Qur'án, 'Umar's response was the fateful remark: 'The Book of God is sufficient unto us.' This short statement has echoed through the centuries. 'Abdu'l-Bahá, in His celebrated Tablet the Lawh-i-Hizar Bayti (Tablet of One Thousand Verses), describes its woeful consequences, saying that this statement caused the foundation of the religion of God in the Islamic Dispensation to be shattered and the ignoble worshippers of self and passion to rule over the righteous souls. It became a deadly weapon by which the Imam 'Ali himself was martyred, which caused great divisions within the nation of Islam and which changed the loving spirit of that nation to one of armed warriors. In His Tablet 'Abdu'l-Bahá explains that as a result of this statement Imam Husayn, the most illustrious of the Imams, was decapitated on the plain of Karbila, the other holy Imams were inflicted with great suffering, imprisonment and death, and the blood of countless innocent souls was shed for almost twelve hundred years.
“'Abdu'l-Bahá further affirms that 'Umar's statement, 'The Book of God is sufficient unto us', was transformed centuries later into the hundreds of bullets that pierced the breast of the Báb in Tabriz; that it became the chains placed around the blessed neck of Bahá'u'lláh and brought about the untold suffering inflicted upon Him in the course of His successive exiles.
“'Abdu'l-Bahá attributes all these and many more atrocities committed during the Islamic Dispensation to the influence of the simple statement 'The Book of God is sufficient unto us'. It deprived the greater part of the Islamic nation not only of divine guidance and the wealth of spiritual knowledge imparted by the holy Imams to their followers through their interpretation and elucidation of the many abstruse passages in the Qur'án, but also of their illuminating prophecies concerning the advent of the Qá'im, the Promised One of Islam.
“The course of history itself changed as a result of 'Umar's opposition to Imam 'Ali. The successful breaking of the Covenant of Muhammad by 'Umar through his refusal to submit to Imam 'Ali as the lawful successor of the Prophet and the interpreter of His words brought about, according to 'Abdu'l-Bahá, dim consequences for many nations and peoples. Who knows in what manner the Faith of Islam would have spread and its community developed had all its followers remained faithful to the wishes of Muhammad and followed Imam 'Ali as His lawful successor. 'Abdu'l-Bahá implies in the Lawh-i-Hizar Bayti that if the nation of Islam had been faithful to 'Ali, many of the atrocities and cruelties committed since the passing of Muhammad could have been mitigated or avoided.”
(Adib Taherzadeh, The Child of the Covenant, pp. 40-41)
P. 120 HIM WHO IS THE PRINCE OF THE WORLD
Baha’u’llah also uses this term to refer to the Bab on pages 130 and 165 of this Work. The original word translated here as Prince is “siyyid,” elsewhere translated by Shoghi Effendi as master, princely King, Lord, Chief, cynosure.
P. 120 MAY GOD HASTEN THE JOY HIS COMING WILL BRING
Both Baha’u’llah and the Bab speak of the difference between the expectation of the people before the new Manifestation appears, and their treatment of Him after His coming.
In the manifestation of the Apostle of God all were eagerly awaiting Him, yet thou hast heard how He was treated at the time of His appearance, in spite of the fact that if ever they beheld Him in their dreams they would take pride in them.
Likewise in the manifestation of the Point of the Bayan, the people stood up at the mention of His Name and fervently implored His advent night and day, and if they dreamt of Him they gloried in their dreams; yet now that He hath revealed Himself, invested with the mightiest testimony, whereby their own religion is vindicated, and despite the incalculable number of people who yearningly anticipate His coming, they are resting comfortably in their homes, after having hearkened to His verses; while He at this moment is confined in the mountain of Maku, lonely and forsaken.
Take good heed of yourselves, O people of the Bayan, lest ye perform such deeds as to weep sore for His sake night and day, to stand up at the mention of His Name, yet on this Day of fruition -- a Day whereon ye should not only arise at His Name, but seek a path unto Him Who personifies that Name -- ye shut yourselves out from Him as by as veil.
(Selections from the Writings of the Bab, pp. 84-85)
Consider the past. How many, both high and low, have, at all times, yearningly awaited the advent of the Manifestations of God in the sanctified persons of His chosen Ones. How often have they expected His coming, how frequently have they prayed that the breeze of divine mercy might blow, and the promised Beauty step forth from behind the veil of concealment, and be made manifest to all the world. And whensoever the portals of grace did open, and the clouds of divine bounty did rain upon mankind, and the light of the Unseen did shine above the horizon of celestial might, they all denied Him, and turned away from His face—the face of God Himself. Refer ye, to verify this truth, to that which hath been recorded in every sacred Book.
(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 4)
Consider those who opposed the Son, when He came unto them with sovereignty and power. How many the Pharisees who were waiting to behold Him, and were lamenting over their separation from Him! And yet, when the fragrance of His coming was wafted over them, and His beauty was unveiled, they turned aside from Him and disputed with Him. Thus do We impart unto thee that which hath been recorded in the Books and Scriptures. None save a very few, who were destitute of any power amongst men, turned towards His face. And yet today every man endowed with power and invested with sovereignty prideth himself on His Name! In like manner, consider how numerous, in these days, are the monks who, in My Name, have secluded themselves in their churches, and who, when the appointed time was fulfilled, and We unveiled Our beauty, knew Us not, though they call upon Me at eventide and at dawn. We behold them clinging to My name, yet veiled from My Self. This, verily, is a strange thing.
(Baha'u'llah, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, pp. 57-58)
P. 120 THEY COMMITTED WHAT MADE THE TABLET TO WEEP
Baha’u’llah’s description of the martyrdom of the Bab are reflected in the earthquake mentioned in the Book of Revelation 11:13, interpreted by `Abdu’l-Baha in Some Answered Questions (p. 55) to refer to the earthquake that occurred in Shiraz following the martyrdom of the Bab.
P. 121 ASSOCIATE WITH MIRZA YAHYA, PERCHANCE HE MAY BECOME AWARE . . . OF THE SOURCE OF THE DIVINE LAWS
Similarly, in the Tarazat, Baha’u’llah addressed Hadi Dawlat-Abadi, who had followed Mirza Yahya, and calls on him to acknowledge that Mirza Yahya is not a Manifestation of God:
Thou hast been there (Cyprus) and hast seen him (Mirza Yahya). Now speak forth with fairness.
(Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 43)
Likewise, later in the Book, Baha’u’llah urges the recipient of this Work to examine the writings of Mirza Yahya to distinguish them from the divinely-revealed verses issued through Baha’u’llah:
I adjure thee by God, the One, the Incomparable, the Lord of Strength, the Most Powerful, to carefully look into the communications addressed in his name to the Primal Point, that thou mayest behold the evidences of Him Who is the Truth as clear as the sun.
(Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 168)
P. 121 PLEASED, AND PLEASING UNTO GOD
In the original, marzieh ("pleased with God") and razieh ("pleasing to God"). “Marzieh” is also translated by Shoghi Effendi variously as acceptable in His sight, saintly, seemly, upright, and praiseworthy.
Marzieh Gail, the noted Baha'i translator, describes how she wrote a letter to `Abdu’l-Baha, and His response:
Before He came to Washington, Marzieh had written Him, in block letters, penciled, undoubtedly an adult holding her fist. Her message went, 'Dear Abdul-Baha, I love you. I hope you will come to see us.' And He had written a line in Persian on it, turning it into a Tablet, and signed it, and sent it back: 'O God, make her who is pleasing to God (Marzieh), well-pleased with God (Razieh). Insha'llah I shall see her.' (The words pleased with and pleasing to God are from the Qur'án, 89:28.)
(Marzieh Gail, Arches of the Years, p. 82)
Qur’an 89:28 reads: “Return thou unto thy Sustainer, well-pleased and pleasing Him.”
P. 121 WHO ELSE BUT BAHA CAN SPEAK FORTH BEFORE THE FCE OF MEN
This is a challenge Baha’u’llah repeats in the Words of Paradise:
Who else but Bahá hath the power to speak forth before the face of mankind?
(Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 76)
This is similar to His praise of the Bab:
He was afraid of no one; He was regardless of consequences. Could such a thing be made manifest except through the power of a divine Revelation, and the potency of God's invincible Will? By the righteousness of God! Were any one to entertain so great a Revelation in his heart, the thought of such a declaration would alone confound him! Were the hearts of all men to be crowded into his heart, he would still hesitate to venture upon so awful an enterprise. He could achieve it only by the permission of God, only if the channel of his heart were to be linked with the Source of divine grace, and his soul be assured of the unfailing sustenance of the Almighty.
(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 230)
P. 122 THIS PEOPLE HAVE NEVER BEEN, NOR ARE THEY NOW, INCLINED TO MISCHIEF
Elsewhere Shoghi Effendi translates the same word as dissension, strife, sedition, or revolt.
P. 122 THE LIGHT OF THE FEAR OF GOD
You ask him about the fear of God: perhaps the friends do not realize that the majority of human beings need the element of fear in order to discipline their conduct? Only a relatively very highly evolved soul would always be disciplined by love alone. Fear of punishment, fear of the anger of God if we do evil, are needed to keep people's feet on the right path. Of course we should love God -- but we must fear Him in the sense of a child fearing the righteous anger and chastisement of a parent; not cringe before Him as before a tyrant, but know His mercy exceeds His justice!
(From a letter dated 26 July 1946 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer; Compilation on Child Education, The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 306, #684)
In explaining the fear of God to children, there is no objection to teaching it as 'Abdu'l-Bahá so often taught everything, in the form of parables. Also the child should be made to understand that we don't fear God because He is cruel, but we fear Him because He is just, and, if we do wrong and deserve to be punished, then in His justice He may see fit to punish us. We must both love God and fear Him.
(From a letter dated 15 February 1957 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi; Compilation on Child Education, The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 309, #694)
P. 123 THEIR CONCERN HATH EVER BEEN AND NOW IS FOR THE BETTERMENT OF THE WORLD
The word translated here as betterment is elsewhere in the Writings translated by Shoghi Effendi as well-being, good of the world, rehabilitate the fortunes, better the condition, reformation, ennoble its life, ever-advancing, reconstruct, rehabilitate, improve
P. 123 TO OBLITERATE DIFFERENCES
The word translated here as differences, is elsewhere translated by Shoghi Effendi as enmity, discord, differences of opinion, contention, confusion, strife, strife and conflict, at variance, the conditions having altered, all problems which have caused difference.
P. 123 THE TRUSTED ONES OF GOD
Umanaa-ye Haqq. The same term is elsewhere translated by Shoghi Effendi as trustees, members of the House of Justice.
P. 123 “FLINGEST THOU THY CALUMNIES. . .”
According to Mr. Hooper Dunbar in his book “A Companion to the Study of the Kitab-i-Iqan,” this is a quotation from Rumi.
Literally, “Helper of the Kingdom”, title of the Ambassador from Persia to the Ottoman Empire. The word mu`ín is also translated as assister, succor, sustainer. It appears in the phrase, “the executive must aid and assist the legislative body.”
P. 124 THE SANCTUARY OF WISDOM
In the original, Haram-i-`Irfan.
P. 125 GRACIOUS GOD!
P. 126 A JUST [ ‘ADL] MAN . . . THE FAIR-MINDED [‘INSAF] PERSON
P. 126 THE CITIES OF KNOWLEDGE [ ‘ILM] AND WISDOM [HIKMAT]
P. 126 THE SHI’IH SECT
This and the following paragraph are among the extensive quotations from Baha’u’llah’s Writings condemning the blindness of the clergy of Islam, in Shoghi Effendi’s book-length letter The Promised Day is Come, pp. 85 ff. As Baha’u’llah says in this paragraph, none of them have accepted Him; just as in the Day of Jesus, none of the Pharisees accepted Him (John 7:48).
P. 127 THE LAMENTATION OF THE PULPITS
`Abdu’l-Baha writes of the effect of the opposition of the clergy:
Indeed, the attacks and the obstructiveness of the ignorant but cause the Word of God to be exalted, and spread His signs and tokens far and wide. Were it not for this opposition by the disdainful, this obduracy of the slanderers, this shouting from the pulpits, this crying and wailing of great and small alike, these accusations of unbelief levelled by the ignorant, this uproar from the foolish – how could news of the advent of the Primal Point and the bright dawning of the Day-Star of Baha ever have reached to east and west? How else could the planet have been rocked from pole to pole? How else could Persia have become the focal point of scattering splendours, and Asia Minor the radiating heart of the beauty of the Lord? However else could the flame of the Manifestation have spread into the south? By what means could the cries of God have been heard in the far north? How else could His summons have been heard in the continents of America and of Africa the dark? How else could the cock-crow of Heaven have penetrated those ears? How else could the sweet parrots of India have come upon this sugar, or nightingales have lifted up their warblings out of the land of Iraq? What else could set the east and west to dancing, how else could this Consecrated Spot become the throne of the Beauty of God? How else could Sinai behold this burning brightness, how could the Advent's flame adorn that mount? How else could the Holy Land be made the footstool of God's beauty, and the holy vale of Towa become the site of excellence and grace, the sacred spot where Moses put off His shoes? How could the breaths of heaven be carried across the Vale of Holiness, how could the sweet-scented, airy streams that blow out of the Abha gardens ever be perceived by those that dwell on the Verdant Isle? How else could the pledges of the Prophets, the joyous tidings of the holy Seers of old, the stirring promises given unto this Sacred Place by the Manifestations of God, ever have been fulfilled?
How else could the Tree of Anisa have been planted here, the flag of the Testament be flown, the intoxicating cup of the Covenant be lifted to these lips? All these blessings and bestowals, the very means of proclaiming the Faith, have come about through the scorn of the ignorant, the opposition of the foolish, the stubbornness of the dull-witted, the violence of the aggressor. Had it not been for these things, the news of the Báb's advent would not, to this day, have reached even into lands hard by. Wherefore we should never grieve over the blindness of the unwitting, the attacks of the foolish, the hostility of the low and base, the heedlessness of the divines, the charges of infidelity brought against us by the empty of mind. Such too was their way in ages past, nor would it be thus if they were of those who know; but they are benighted, and they come not close to understanding what is told them.
(Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, pp. 234-236)
P. 127 THEM THAT ENJOY NEAR ACCESS TO GOD
In the original, muqarribin. In other passages in the Baha'i Writings, Shoghi Effendi translates this same word as "the favorites of heaven" and as those who "enjoy near access to Thy court." In the following passages he translates this same word as "Our chosen angels" and as "them who have drawn nigh unto Him":
Verily, We behold you from Our Realm of Effulgent Glory, and shall graciously aid whosoever ariseth for the triumph of Our Cause with the hosts of the Celestial Concourse and a company of Our chosen angels.
Intone, O My servant, the verses of God that have been received by thee, as intoned by them who have drawn nigh unto Him, that the sweetness of thy melody may kindle thine own soul
It also appears as "Near Ones" in Chapter 30 of "Some Answered Questions": The good deeds of the righteous are the sins of the Near Ones. (Laura Clifford Barney translation).
It also appears as "Near Ones" in Chapter 30 of "Some Answered Questions": The good deeds of the righteous are the sins of the Near Ones. (Laura Clifford Barney translation).
P. 128 O CONCOURSE OF RULERS [`UMARA’] AND DIVINES [`ULAMA’]!
These are the same titles given by Baha’u’llah to His own divine institutions, in the Kitab-i-`Ahd, “Blessed are the rulers and the learned among the people of Baha.” (Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 221)
P. 128 HE WHO IS THE MOST GREAT NAME IS COME, ON THE PART OF THE ANCIENT KING, AND HATH ANNOUNCED UNTO MEN THIS REVELATION WHICH LAY HID IN HIS KNOWLEDGE
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
(Book of Revelation 2:17
P. 128 THE UNERRING BALANCE
The word here translated as “balance” is elsewhere translated by Shoghi Effendi as criterion, standard, measure.
P. 128 THE EYE OF MY LOVING-KINDNESS
In the original, loving-kindness is enayati. It is translated as “providence” in the verse, “My calamity is My providence”, and as “favor” in the verse, “by My spirit and by My favor”, in Arabic Hidden Words 51 and 67, respectively.
P. 129 THE BLEST AND CRIMSON SPOT
“This is a reference to the prison-city of 'Akká.”
(The Universal House of Justice, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 220, Note 127)
Hand of the Cause Mr. Balyuzi has written:
And the hill named Samariyyih, which overlooks Bahji, and where red flowers grew in abundance, was called Buq'atu'l-Hamra’—the Crimson Spot . . . In the springtime when the hill was verdant and covered with red flowers such as poppies and anemones, Bahá'u'lláh would have His tent pitched there. Many years later, when 'Abdu'l-Bahá was again incarcerated within the city walls of 'Akká, He would wistfully ask those who had gone to visit the Shrine of His Father: 'Were red, red flowers blooming on Buq'atu'l-Hamra'?'
(H.M. Balyuzi, Baha'u'llah, The King of Glory, p. 364)
P. 130 EVIDENT MEANING
This same term in the original is elsewhere translated by Shoghi Effendi as obvious meaning, manifest, revealed, openly, glory is uncovered, resplendent.
This passage is quoted from the Most Holy Book, and constitutes the verse in which we are admonished “Not to depart from the Writings or to be misled by those who do”. (Codification of the Most Holy Book, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 160, section f)
P. 130 THE TRUE FAITH
A term by which Muslims refer to Islam; also used in the Baha'i Writings to refer to the Revelation of Baha’u’llah, and to His Covenant. See page 133 of this Work; also pp. 4, 5, 6, 13 and 21 of the Master’s Will.
P. 130 MOST SUBLIME STATION
The same term is elsewhere translated by Shoghi Effendi as most exalted Spot, and as this sublime and fundamental verity.
P. 131 THESE PERSPICUOUS VERSES
The meaning of “perspicuous” is “clearly expressed, easy to understand.” The word here translated as “perspicuous” is translated as “firm and conclusive” by the Guardian, in the Master’s Will.
P. 131 THE SPLENDORS OF MY COUNTENANCE
The original Arabic word here translated as splendors is anwar, sometimes written anvar (this is a difference between Persian and Arabic pronunciation).
P. 131 HORIZON OF CERTITUDE
Afaq al-yaqeen. “Afaq” here translated as “horizon” is elsewhere translated by Shoghi Effendi as firmament, Dayspring, heaven, orient, fountain, realm, apex, dawning-place, daystar, meridian splendor, heights, high summit, sanctuary, kingdom.
Yaqeen, which is related to the word “iqan,” here translated as “certitude,” is elsewhere translated by Shoghi Effendi as absolute certitude, positive knowledge, assurance.
P. 131 AND ITS BRIGHTNESS, AND ITS MANIFESTATIONS AND ITS LIGHTS
In the original, these words rhyme: Ishraqat, zuhurat, anvarat.
P. 131 HIM WHO IS THE SELF-SUBSISTING
One of the titles of God, Qayyum. As Siyyid Kazim admonished his disciples before the Advent of the Bab, “Verily I say, after the Qá'im the Qayyum will be made manifest.” (The Dawn-Breakers, p. 41) The Short Obligatory Prayer ends with the word Qayyum.
P. 131 PROMPTED BY THEIR OWN CAPRICES
Shoghi Effendi also translates this word, prompted by their own desires, prompted by their vain imaginings.
PP. 131-134 THE RESURRECTION TABLET
That entire Tablet, which I have heard referred to as the “Resurrection Tablet”, but I don’t know if that is accurate – is replete with references to the Qur’an. Here are some of the references. Some terms vary with the translation of the Qur’an, but the Guardian appears to have often used Rodwell’s translations, frequently with his own modifications.
ESW p. 131
24:34 Verses will be sent down
22:7, 22:54 Hour will come
ESW p. 132
56:1 Inevitable will appear
18:45 and 20:105-106 Plain
80:32 Stunning (or deafening) trumpet blast
20:110 The Self-Subsisting (i.e. God) will appear
69:7 Men will be laid low
54:20 and 69:7 Tree stumps will be uprooted
20:105 and 77:9-10 Mountains scattered in dust
55:6-9 Balance is set (also see Isaiah 40:12-15). (I understand this to mean when a scale is calibrated; the Prophet and His Book are that by which all else is measured.)
81:2 Stars will fall
3:11 and 45:4 Those endued with discernment
7:105 and 20:23 Drew forth His hand
50:40 The Crier will cry out
21:103 The promised time will come
ESW p. 133
52:45 The day when men will swoon away
20:102 There will be a blast on the Trumpet
81:18 Darkness chased by light of the dawn
36:51 Trumpet will blast, dead will speed from their graves
25:27 and 55:37 and 77:9 Heavens will be cleft asunder
11:105 Men will be gathered together
20:102 The day when the wicked will be gathered together, blind
25:11 Gardens in Paradise / mystic roses
39:71-72 Unbelievers/ impious burn in hell (also see Matthew 13:50)
These are all signs of the Judgment Day, the Last Day, the Promised Day, the Day when God will come to the earth. As Baha’u’llah says on p. 132, “all the signs appeared.” And I understand that to be His message in this Tablet.
Also, on p. 212 of God Passes By, Shoghi Effendi quotes a Tablet from Baha’u’llah in which He states that He designated His Tablets to the Kings by these names – Trumpet, Bugle, Catastrophe, Plain, etc., and that he wrote these in the shape of the human temple (GPB p. 213), which He identifies with the Temple in Zechariah (6:12-13) that is built by the “Man whose name is the Branch” which in this instance, as in Isaiah 4:2, refers to Baha’u’llah. Also, Isaiah 11:1-10 says the “resting-place” of the Branch will be glorious.
P. 135 THEY HAVE CAST AWAY WHAT HAD BEEN PRESCRIBED, AND PERPETRATED WHAT HAD BEEN FORBIDDEN THEM IN THE BOOK. THEY HAVE ABANDONED THEIR GOD, AND CLUNG UNTO THEIR DESIRES.
Hold ye fast unto His statutes and commandments,
and be not of those who, following their idle
fancies and vain imaginings, have clung to the
standards fixed by their own selves, and cast behind
their backs the standards laid down by God.
(The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 25, paragraph 17)
I testify, O my God, that I have put away Thy commandments, and clung to the dictates of my passions, and have cast away the statutes of Thy Book, and seized the book of mine own desire.
(Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 5)
We testify that thou hast cast behind thy back the Law of God, and laid hold on the dictates of thy passions.
(Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 82)
Thou hast set aside the commandment of God, and clung unto the promptings of thine own desire.
(Lawh-i-Burhan, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 207)
. . . a time when My servants and My creatures, casting the Mother Book behind their backs and, clinging to the dictates of the exponents of idle fancy and vain imaginings, have denounced Me.
(Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 232)
Have ye clung unto the promptings of your nature, and cast behind your backs the statutes of God?
(Suriy-i-Haykal, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 69)
Alas! Alas! My sins have prevented me from approaching the Court of Thy holiness and my trespasses have caused me to stray far from the Tabernacle of Thy majesty. I have committed that which Thou didst forbid me to do and have put away what Thou didst order me to observe.
(Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 25)
135 OUR LOVED ONES
Elsewhere translated by Shoghi Effendi as the holy ones, saints, chosen ones, friends.
Indeed God hath created everywhere around this Gate oceans of divine elixir, tinged crimson with the essence of existence and vitalized through the animating power of the desired fruit; and for them God hath provided Arks of ruby, tender, crimson-coloured, wherein none shall sail but the people of Baha, by the leave of God, the Most Exalted; and verily He is the All-Glorious, the All-Wise.
(Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 57)
The community of the Most Great Name, the "companions of the Crimson Colored Ark," lauded in glowing terms in the Qayyúmu'l-Asmá', had visibly emerged.
(Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 151)
This is the same word translated by Shoghi Effendi as “fidelity” in the verse “a crown to the brow of fidelity.”
The original word here translated as “piety” has elsewhere been translated by the Guardian as belief and as faith.
P. 135 WE HAVE FORBIDDEN YOU DISSENSION AND CONFLICT IN MY BOOKS
In The Book of My Covenant, Baha’u’llah reveals:
The religion of God is for love and unity; make it not the cause of enmity or dissension. . . Conflict and contention are categorically forbidden in His Book. This is a decree of God in this Most Great Revelation.
(Tablets of Baha’u’llah, pp. 220-221)
P. 135 UNTO THIS TESTIFY THE HEAVENS AND THE STARS THEREOF, AND THE SUN AND THE RADIANCE THEREOF, AND THE SEAS AND THE WAVES THEREOF, AND THE EARTH AND THE TREASURES THEREOF
O Jalil! We have unveiled to thine eyes the sea and the waves thereof, the sun and the radiance thereof, the heavens and the stars thereof, the shells and the pearls thereof. Render thou thanks unto God for so great a bounty, so gracious a favour that hath pervaded the whole world.
(Ishraqat, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 117)
P. 135 WE PRAY GOD TO ASSIST HIS LOVED ONES, AND AID THEM IN THAT WHICH BESEEMETH THEM IN THIS BLEST, THIS MIGHTY, AND WONDROUS STATION
On page 14 of this same Work, Baha’u’llah speaks of “this transcendent and most sublime station, the station that can insure the protection and security of all mankind,” the station of unity.
P. 136 WE WILL NOW MENTION UNTO THEE TRUSTWORTHINESS
In the Arabic, al-amanat. Elsewhere translated by Shoghi Effendi as fidelity, loyalty, trust.
P. 136 ONE OF THE BEAUTIES
The word here translated as Beauties is elsewhere translated by Shoghi Effendi as angelic company, Maids of Heaven.
The original words in this passage are: “My beauty [jamal], and My radiance [nur], and My revelation [zuhur], and My effulgence [ishraq].”
P. 137 IT IS INCUMBENT UPON THE DIVINES TO UNITE WITH HIS MAJESTY, THE SHAH
The state is, moreover, based upon two potent forces, the legislative and the executive. The focal center of the executive power is the government, while that of the legislative is the learned -- and if this latter great support and pillar should prove defective, how is it conceivable that the state should stand?
In view of the fact that at the present time such fully developed and comprehensively learned individuals are hard to come by, and the government and people are in dire need of order and direction, it is essential to establish a body of scholars the various groups of whose membership would each be expert in one of the aforementioned branches of knowledge. This body should with the greatest energy and vigor deliberate as to all present and future requirements, and bring about equilibrium and order.
(Abdu'l-Baha, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 36)
P. 138 AT PRESENT, A NEW LANGUAGE AND A NEW SCRIPT HAVE BEEN DEVISED
“This is possibly a reference to Esperanto which was invented about four years before Bahá'u'lláh wrote this Epistle.” (Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha'u'llah Vol. IV, p. 437). Also see Paragraph 189 of the Most Holy Book. Although Mr. Taherzadeh suggests this might be Esperanto, there is no support for this in the Baha'i Writings. As Baha'u'llah writes in the Most Holy Book, the universal auxiliary language might well be one of the existing languages and scripts of the world.
In a Tablet, Baha'u'llah greatly praised the Arabic language:
It is beloved of God that all should speak in Arabic, which is the richest and vastest of all languages. Were anyone to be aware of the richness and vastness of this perspicuous tongue, he would choose it as a universal language of communication. The Persian tongue is a beautiful language, and in this Dispensation God hath chosen to speak in two languages: Arabic and Persian. However, Persian is not as rich as Arabic; in fact all the languages of the earth seem limited when compared to the Arabic language.
(From a previously untranslated tablet by Baha'u'llah, quoted in Soheil Bushrui, "The Style of the Kitab-i-Aqdas: Aspects of the Sublime," pp. 32-33. Dr. Bushrui has in turn quoted this tablet and the following letter on behalf of Shoghi Effendi from a book written in Persian by the Hand of the Cause Dr. Furutan)
Shoghi Effendi's secretary wrote on his behalf to the Baha'is of Persia:
Make sure that Bahá'í schoolchildren in their early years learn Arabic. For this is in accordance with the words of the Ancient Beauty in which He considers Arabic as the perspicuous tongue and through it He revealed the majority of His holy verses, laws and ordinances, prayers and scientific tablets. The rewards for accomplishing this are abundant in the estimation of God, and its results will be of great benefit to the entire community.
(From a letter on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, translated from the Persian, addressed to the Bahá'ís of Iran, quoted in Soheil Bushrui, "The Style of the Kitab-i-Aqdas: Aspects of the Sublime," pp. 33-34)
The Universal House of Justice urged the Persian friends residing outside of Iran to ensure that their children learn Persian:
"Furthermore, the Baha'i parents from an Iranian background should endeavor to teach their children the Persian language, for Persian is one of the two languages of revelation in this glorious Dispensation. Baha'u'llah says: "In this Day when the sun of knowledge hath appeared and is resplendent from the firmament of Iran, whatever is said in praise of this language is meet and seemly." He also says: "The Beloved of the world speaks in the Persian language. It would be praiseworthy in His eyes if His loved ones also converse and write in this language."
"It would be a great service if, in every city and region where a number of Iranian Baha'is reside, some Persian friends would exert a special effort to teach this language to the children and youth, study together the Writings in Persian, and drink their fill from the billowing source of the Creative Word and the Sacred Writings. We praise God for having enabled some Baha'i institutions abroad to devise ways and develop programs to teach the Persian language to those Iranians who live outside their homeland. Such programs can be put to good use for the achievement of this blessed service."
(Excerpt from The Universal House of Justice, Translation from Persian [Message From the Universal House of Justice to the Iranian Believers Throughout the World] Bahá' 154 B.E.)
P. 139 THEY WHO UNDERSTAND
Elsewhere translated by Shoghi Effendi as they that have recognized this truth, those who apprehend, them that comprehend, they who perceive it. Related to the word `irfan, translated as "true understanding" in the passage from the Kitab-i-Iqan in the next paragraph
P. 139 SEEK THOU THE SHORE OF THE MOST GREAT OCEAN
This calls to mind the first verse of the Book of Certitude:
No man shall attain the shores of the ocean of true understanding except he be detached from all that is in heaven and on earth.
(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 3)
And this verse:
Peace be upon him whom the light of truth guideth unto all truth, and who, in the name of God, standeth in the path of His Cause, upon the shore of true understanding.
(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 43)
`Abdu'l-Baha reportedly explained to Ethel Rosenberg the story of Jesus walking on the water in this way:
In this story of our Lord Jesus, the Sea of Tiberias represents the ocean of creation—the two shores represent earthly truth and spiritual truth. The boat or ark stands for arguments and reasons by which men acquire knowledge and in this boat Jesus' disciples were tossed on the waves of the ocean of creation. The shore which Jesus left in order to come to them, walking on the water, represents earthly knowledge. The haven or shore to which he guided them represents spiritual knowledge. There are three ways of apprehending truth: 1. The earthly way, -- by means of the five senses; 2. The way of argument and reasoning . . . 3. The spiritual way, by which man receives knowledge from the inner light or inspiration . . . . As we have before said in the account of this miracle, the disciples of Jesus attempted to sail over the sea of creation in the ark of argument and reasoning, finding great difficulty and danger in proving the truth by so doing. But when Christ, the Light of the world, who knew all things by the light of inner spiritual illumination, came to them in their boat, walking by his knowledge over the ocean of existence, and having no need of the ark of argument, then immediately they were at their desired haven.
("The Symbolic Meaning of Walking on the Sea," Words of `Abdu'l-Baha: From the Notes of Miss E. Rosenberg, 1901; Star of the West, Volume VIII, No. 9, page 114, Blue Reprint Volume #5)
The verse the Master is interpreting is this:
"Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, got into the boat, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was already dark, and Jesus had not come to them. Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing. So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid. But He said to them, 'It is I; do not be afraid.' Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going." (John 6:16-21)
Many a soul in the ark of philosophy, after fruitless struggles, was drowned in the sea of conflicting theories of cause and effect, while those on board the craft of simplicity reached the shore of the Universal Cause by the aid of favorable winds blowing from the Point of Divine Knowledge. When man is associated with that transcendent Power emanating from the Word of God, the tree of his being becomes so well rooted in the soil of assurance that it laughs at the violent hurricanes of skepticism which attempt its eradication.
(`Abdu'l-Baha, quoted in the frontispiece to a book by Thornton Chase published by the Baha'i Publishing Committee in New York)
There are other verses in the Gospel that use the symbol of the people "standing on the shore" such as this:
"And great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore." (Matthew 13:2)
P. 139 THE CRIMSON ARK WHICH GOD HATH ORDAINED IN THE QAYYUM-I-ASMA
For the verse from the Qayyumu’l-Asma, see pp. 57-58 Selections from the Writings of the Bab.
P. 139 HE THAT ENTERETH THEREIN IS SAVED, AND HE THAT TURNETH ASIDE PERISHETH.
"Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark
remained alive." (Genesis 7:23)
See Baha'u'llah's explanations of those who "live" and those who are "dead" in paragraphs 123-128 of the Iqan.
"The Ark and the Flood we believe are symbolical."
(From a letter on behalf of the Guardian, October 28,
1949, Lights of Guidance, 5th edition, p. 509 #1716)
Please also compare:
If ye seek God, it behooveth you to seek Him Whom God shall make manifest, and if ye cherish the desire to dwell in the Ark of Names, ye will be distinguished as the guides to Him Whom God shall make manifest, did
you but believe in Him.
(The Kitab-i-Asma (Book of Names), Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 131)
P. 140 WHAT EYES HAVE NEVER BEHELD
In Ezekiel 40:4 the Glory of God says to Ezekiel, “Look with your eyes and hear with your ears, and fix your mind on everything I show you.”
P. 140 THE SWEET MELODIES
Thou hast heard the sweet melodies of the Doves of Utterance [Bayan] cooing on the boughs of the Lote-Tree of knowledge [`irfan]. Hearken, now, unto the notes of the Birds of Wisdom [Hikmat] upraised in the Most Sublime Paradise
P. 140 THESE MELODIES . . . CONFORM WITH THAT WHICH HATH BEEN SENT DOWN BY THE ALL-MERCIFUL IN THE QUR’AN
Perhaps a reference to the Qur’anic verses Baha’u’llah has quoted on page 112 and pages 116-118 of Epistle to the Son of the Wolf.
P. 141 THIS GREAT ANNOUNCEMENT, THIS STRAIGHT PATH
See Qur’an Surah 78, and 1:6.
P. 141 WELL IS IT WITH HIM THAT HATH GIVEN EAR UNTO ITS VOICE, AND QUAFFED FROM THE OCEANS OF DIVINE UTTERANCE IN EACH OF THESE WORDS
Inspire then my soul, O my God, with Thy wondrous remembrance, that I may glorify Thy name. Number me not with them who read Thy words and fail to find Thy hidden gift which, as decreed by Thee, is contained therein, and which quickeneth the souls of Thy creatures and the hearts of Thy servants.
(Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah LVI, p. 83)
P. 141 THE YEAR NINE
That is, nine years from 1844, i.e. 1853, the year of the beginning of the ministry of Bahá'u'lláh.
P. 141 CONFORM WITH THAT WHICH HATH BEEN SENT DOWN BY THE ALL-MERCIFUL IN THE QUR’AN
That is, these quotations from the Bab conform with the already-quoted verses from the Qur’an, on pp. 116-118 of this Work. For a fuller exploration of this theme see God Passes By, pp. 29-31.
P. 142 THE RIVER OF MERCY
The word the Guardian here translates as River, he elsewhere translates as flood, living waters, soft-flowing waters, fresh and thirst-subduing waters
P. 142 THE MOST EXCELLENT OF MAKERS
That is, that each new Revelation from God is a new “creation”, and a new creation will come about, nine years after the Declaration of the Bab.
Here are other verses showing that the new creation is the new community of believers when a new Manifestation of God announces Himself:
I testify that no sooner had the First Word proceeded, through the potency of Thy will and purpose, out of His mouth, and the First Call gone forth from His lips than the whole creation was revolutionized, and all that are in the heavens and all that are on earth were stirred to the depths. Through that Word the realities of all created things were shaken, were divided, separated, scattered, combined and reunited, disclosing, in both the contingent world and the heavenly kingdom, entities of a new creation, and revealing, in the unseen realms, the signs and tokens of Thy unity and oneness. Through that Call Thou didst announce unto all Thy servants the advent of Thy most great Revelation and the appearance of Thy most perfect Cause. (Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah, p. 295)
Verily, We have caused every soul to expire by virtue of Our irresistible and all-subduing sovereignty. We have, then, called into being a new creation, as a token of Our grace unto men. (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 29)
Raise up, then, from this Temple, the temples of the Oneness of God, that they may tell out, in the kingdom of creation, the tidings of their Lord, the Most Exalted, the All-Glorious, and be of them that are illumined by His light. We, verily, have ordained this Temple to be the source of all existence in the new creation, that all may know of a certainty My power to accomplish that which I have purposed through My word "Be", and it is! Beneath the shadow of every letter of this Temple We shall raise up a people whose number none can reckon save God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting. Erelong shall God bring forth from His Temple such souls as will remain unswayed by the insinuations of the rebellious, and who will quaff at all times of the cup that is life indeed. These, truly, are of the blissful. (Baha'u'llah, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 8)
P. 142 I AM THE FIRST SERVANT TO BELIEVE IN HIM
See God Passes By, pp. 30 and 98.
P. 142 HE, VERILY, IS THE ONE WHO, UNDER ALL CONDITIONS PROCLAIMETH, “I, IN VERY TRUTH, AM GOD!”
See Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 119.
P. 143 THAT WHICH IS MEANT BY DIVINITY AND GODHEAD HATH PREVIOUSLY BEEN STATED
See pp. 111-113 of this Work.
P. 143 THAT DAY AND HOUR
See the Gospel of Mark 13:32, and Qur’an 7:186, 31:34, 33:63, and 79:42-44
P. 143 BY FATHER IN THIS CONNECTION IS MEANT GOD
In other cases, Father refers to Baha’u’llah. See, for example, p. 57 of this Work, and Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 11.
This word is elsewhere translated by Shoghi Effendi as
abiding tranquility, rest, stillness, stability, serenity, dignity, absolute calm.
OH FOR GREAT IS THAT DAY Jeremiah 30:7
WHO WILL BRING ME INTO THE STRONG CITY?
Psalms 60:9 and 108:10
GET THEE UP INTO THE HIGH MOUNTAIN Isaiah 40:9-10
P. 145 A GREAT CITY HATH DESCENDED FROM HEAVEN
See Revelation 21:2
See Joel 2:1
AND EXULTETH WITH JOY
See Zechariah 2:10
IT HATH HEARD THE VOICE OF GOD ON EVERY SIDE
See Revelation 21:3
IN THE STEAD OF THE SYCAMORE STANDETH THE CEDAR
See Isaiah 9:10
THE LORD WILL ROAR FROM ZION
Carmel, in the Hebrew Carm-El means Vineyard of God or Garden of God. Jesus told the story of the workers in the Vineyard, and Shoghi Effendi interprets “vineyard” in this case as Mount Carmel, and Baha’u’llah as the Lord of the Vineyard. See God passes by p. 95, and the Gospels of Matthew 20:8 and 21:40, Mark 12:9, and Luke 20:13-15.
OUR GOD WILL COME Psalm 50:3
PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD, O ISRAEL Amos 4:12-13
P. 146 HE TRULY IS THE FALSE DAWN . . . WOE UNTO SUCH AS FOLLOW HIM
Compare Persian Hidden Words 24:
O YE THAT ARE FOOLISH, YET HAVE A NAME TO BE WISE!
Wherefore do ye wear the guise of shepherds, when inwardly ye have become wolves, intent upon My flock? Ye are even as the star, which riseth ere the dawn, and which, though it seem radiant and luminous, leadeth the wayfarers of My city astray into the paths of perdition.
The word for dawn here is “subh”, and the word here translated as “false” is elsewhere translated as “impostor.” The term “subh-i-azal” or “morning of eternity” is a sacred phrase taken from a famous Muslim Hadith, which is quoted on page 102 of the Book of Certitude. Baha’u’llah’s half-brother, Mirza Yahya, took this phrase as his own title. Here, Baha’u’llah is saying that anyone who regards himself as the true morn is actually the false dawn, the “imposter subh”. This quote from Amos can be understood as a prophecy of the defection of Mirza Yahya. Mr. Taherzadeh writes:
“Amos, another prophet of Israel, refers to Bahá'u'lláh in Constantinople when he says:
For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name.
“In one of His Tablets revealed in 'Akka Baha'u'llah states that this prophecy refers to Him, that it concerns the year eighty (1280 A.H. -- A.D. 1863) and that the 'high places of the earth' are Constantinople and the Holy Land (Mount Carmel). Furthermore, alluding to Mirza Yahya whose title was Subh-i-Azal (Morning of Eternity), He asserts that through His power the untrue morn was completely darkened.”
(The Revelation of Baha'u'llah Volume II, p. 2)
P. 146 THE LORD ALONE SHALL BE EXALTED IN THAT DAY
Isaiah 2:11 and 2:17
ENTER INTO THE ROCK Isaiah 2:10
THE WILDERNESS AND THE SOLITARY PLACE Isaiah 35:1-2
P. 146 THE GARDEN OF UNDERSTANDING
In the original, the garden of `irfan.
P. 147 SAY TO THEM THAT ARE OF A FEARFUL HEART
P. 147 THE OCEANS OF INNER MEANING AND EXPLANATION
In the original, the oceans of ma’ani and bayan
P. 147 THE SUPREME GOAL AND MOST SUBLIME SUMMIT
Compare the language in the first verse of the Most Holy Book, where Baha’u’llah also speaks of recognition of Him as “this most sublime station, this summit of transcendent glory.” (Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 19)
P. 148 THAT DAWNING-PLACE OF REVELATION SAITH THAT ON THAT DAY HE WHO IS THE PROMISED ONE WILL REVEAL THE THINGS WHICH ARE TO COME
The verse in the Gospel to which Baha’u’llah refers is this:
I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He the Spirit of truth has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
(Jesus Christ, Gospel of John 16:12-13)
Baha’u’llah explains that since Jesus promised that the Spirit of truth would reveal the things which are to come, Baha’u’llah has revealed prophecies which came to pass, in the Tablets to the Kings, the Lawh-i-Ra’is, and the Lawh-i-Fu’ad, in which Baha’u’llah prophecied the downfall of certain kings, the Sultan, and other Ottoman officals including `Ali Pasha. On succeeding pages Baha’u’llah quotes prophecies from the Most Holy Book foretelling future circumstances in Persia, and refers to other tablets including His Tablet to Napoleon III (p. 149), stating that there are prophecies therein, that “will come to pass, word for word, upon earth.” (p. 150).
P. 148 BUT YE CANNOT BEAR THEM NOW
A reference to this passage from the words of Christ in the Gospel of St. John 16:12:
I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth. . .
Baha’u’llah is here saying that He is the One Promised by Jesus Christ.
P. 148 THE PROMISED ONE WILL REVEAL THE THINGS WHICH ARE TO COME
A reference to the continuation of the verse from the Gospel:
I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
Baha’u’llah here says that Jesus Christ prophesied that the Promised One, the Spirit of Truth, will prophecy future world events. Baha’u’llah says that He has done so in several Tablets.
In the Lawh-i-Fu’ad Baha’u’llah prophecies the dismissal of the Ottoman Prime Minister `Ali Pasha and the ruler of the Ottoman lands, Sultan `Abdu’l-`Aziz:
Soon will We dismiss the one who was like unto him, and will lay hold on their Chief who ruleth the land, and I, verily, am the Almighty, the All-Compelling.
(The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 179, ¶ 4.13)
In the Lawh-i-Ra’is Baha’u’llah foreshadows the fall of the Ottoman Prime Minister `Ali Pasha:
Soon will He seize you in His wrathful anger, sedition will be stirred up in your midst, and your dominions will be disrupted.
(The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 164, ¶3.7)
P. 148 GOD WILL . . . BLESS THY THRONE WITH ONE WHO WILL RULE WITH JUSTICE
Baha’u’llah gives this example of an as yet unfulfilled prophecy He has made. Of this verse Shoghi Effendi writes:
In the Kitáb-i-Aqdas He visualizes in these words the elevation to the throne of His native city, "the Mother of the World" and "the Dayspring of Light," of a king who will be adorned with the twin ornaments of justice and of devotion to His Faith
(The Promised Day is Come, p. 74)
P. 148 WOLVES
On page 98 Baha’u’llah designates those gathered around the Shah who oppressed the Baha’is as “wolves.” This is particularly telling, as He has designated the father of the recipient of this Work as one of those wolves.
The word here translated as “joy” is elsewhere translated by Shoghi Effendi as exultation, gladness, ineffable gladness, happiness, wax greater in happiness.
P. 150 WERE MEN TO OBSERVE WITH THE EYE OF JUSTICE, THEY WOULD BE MADE AWARE OF THE SECRET OF THIS BLESSED VERSE: "NEITHER IS THERE A THING GREEN OR SERE, BUT IT IS NOTED IN A DISTINCT WRITING" AND WOULD COMPREHEND IT.
That is, if people read His Writings such as the Lawh-i-Fu’ad and His Tablet to Napoleon III with care and fairness, this will bear out the statement that the Scriptures, including those revealed by Baha'u'llah, contain prophecies of future events.
P. 150 ALL THAT HATH BEEN SENT DOWN HATH AND WILL COME TO PASS, WORD FOR WORD, UPON EARTH.
Shortly after His imprisonment He addressed Epistles, or Tablets, to all the kings and rulers of the world, summoning them to universal peace, to unity and international brotherhood. Among these sovereigns was the Shah of Persia, through whose instrumentality chiefly He had been imprisoned. In His letter to that ruler He arraigned him severely and prophesied his downfall, saying, "Thou art a tyrant; thy country will be laid waste; and thy family, humiliated and debased." He wrote to the Sultan of Turkey in similar terms, saying, "Thy dominion will pass away from thee." The Epistles to the kings and rulers summoning them to international peace were written by Bahá'u'lláh fifty years ago. Everything He wrote has come to pass. These letters were published in Bombay thirty years ago and are now spread broadcast throughout the world.
(Abdu'l-Baha, Address in Sacramento, California, October 25, 1912; The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 372)
Such God-Given promises and sublime glad-tidings that the Pen of the Most High and the divinely-aided and inspired fingers of the Centre of the Covenant have inscribed will, according to the following blessed verse, be unquestionably fulfilled. How enthralling is His Word. Whatsoever hath streamed forth from the Pen of the Most Hath either already occurred or shall assuredly come to pass. Not a single letter thereof will remain unrealized, for verily the fair-minded shall behold it established upon the throne of fulfilment.
(From a letter of Shoghi Effendi, translated from the Persian; Compilation on Martyrdom, Fire and Light, p. 34)
It is irrevocably decreed that whatsoever has been revealed and written down by the Supreme Pen and the holy hand of 'Abdu'l-Bahá will come to pass and be fully realized in this world, wherefore does it behove the people of Baha, the souls attracted to His Splendour, to become all eyes and ears, and to be in body and soul and limbs and members all sagacity and prudence.
(From a letter of the Greatest Holy Leaf, Bahiyyih Khanum, p. 212)
P. 151 THE LIGHT OF CERTITUDE
In the original text, nur’ul-iqan.
P. 151 IN LIKE MANNER, THE PRIMAL POINT SAITH
Having explored the verses from the Old and New Testaments and from the Qur’an which refer to the greatness of His Revelation, Baha’u’llah now turns His attention to the verses in the Writings of the Bab on this same theme, and quotes extensively from them (pp. 151-155)
P. 152 THE BLESSED LOTE-TREE STANDETH, IN THIS DAY, BEFORE THY FACE, LADEN WITH HEAVENLY, WITH NEW AND WONDROUS FRUITS
In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
Wing then thy flight unto this divine Tree and partake of its fruits. Gather up that which hath fallen therefrom and guard it faithfully.
(Baha'u'llah, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 51)
P. 152 ERE NINE WILL HAVE ELAPSED
"In the year nine," He [the Bab], referring to the date of the advent of the promised Revelation, has explicitly written, "ye shall attain unto all good." "In the year nine, ye will attain unto the presence of God." And again: "After Hin (68) a Cause shall be given unto you which ye shall come to know." "Ere nine will have elapsed from the inception of this Cause," He more particularly has stated, "the realities of the created things will not be made manifest. All that thou hast as yet seen is but the stage from the moist germ until We clothed it with flesh. Be patient, until thou beholdest a new creation. Say: 'Blessed, therefore, be God, the most excellent of Makers!'" "Wait thou," is His statement to Azim, "until nine will have elapsed from the time of the Bayan. Then exclaim: 'Blessed, therefore, be God, the most excellent of Makers!'"
(Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 29)
P. 152 THE STAGE FROM THE MOIST GERM UNTIL WE CLOTHED IT WITH FLESH
This is a reference to a verse in the Qur’an:
Now of a fine clay have we created man: Then we placed him, a moist germ, in a safe abode; Then made we the moist germ a clot of blood: then made the clotted blood into a piece of flesh; then made the piece of flesh into bones: and we clothed the bones with flesh: then brought forth man of yet another make - Blessed therefore be God, the most excellent of Makers.
Here the Bab and Baha’u’llah are using this verse to refer to the stages of early maturation of humanity in recognizing the new Manifestation, and the bringing into being of the “new creation,” i.e. the new community of believers, comparing it to the process of the development of the human being from conception.
P. 153 BEWARE, BEWARE LEST IN THE DAYS OF HIS REVELATION, THE VAHID OF THE BAYAN (EIGHTEEN LETTERS OF THE LIVING) SHUT THEE NOT OUT AS BY A VEIL FROM HIM
The Bab directed His followers to read this verse from His Writings every nineteen days so that when Him Whom God shall make manifest appeared, they would not allow the teachings and the followers of the Bab to cause them to fail to recognize Him.
(Taherzadeh, the Child of the Covenant, p. 104)
In the last words on this page ( “O people of the Bayan! Be fair, be fair,”) continuing on to pages 154 and 155, Baha’u’llah calls upon the followers of the Bab to fulfill what the Bab has exhorted them to do.
P. 153 BE YE NOT OF THEM
Consider the past. How many, both high and low, have, at all times, yearningly awaited the advent of the Manifestations of God in the sanctified persons of His chosen Ones. How often have they expected His coming, how frequently have they prayed that the breeze of divine mercy might blow, and the promised Beauty step forth from behind the veil of concealment, and be made manifest to all the world. And whensoever the portals of grace did open, and the clouds of divine bounty did rain upon mankind, and the light of the Unseen did shine above the horizon of celestial might, they all denied Him, and turned away from His face -- the face of God Himself. Refer ye, to verify this truth, to that which hath been recorded in every sacred Book.
(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 4)
P 154 TO SUMMON THEM AND EXHORT THEM UNTO THAT WHICH WILL PROFIT THEM, AND WITHHOLD THEM FROM THAT WHICH WILL HARM THEM
Consider the pettiness of men's minds. They ask for that which injureth them, and cast away the thing that profiteth them. They are, indeed, of those that are far astray. We find some men desiring liberty, and priding themselves therein. Such men are in the depths of ignorance.
(Baha'u'llah, The_Kitab-i-Aqdas, Paragraph 122, p. 63)
P. 155 I MYSELF AM, VERILY, BUT A RING UPON THE HAND OF HIM WHOM GOD SHALL MAKE MANIFEST
The word for “ring”, khaatam, a signet ring used to seal letters, is the same word in the term “Seal of the Prophets.” This is explained in a book on the Baha'i Faith and Islam by Moojan Momen.
P. 155 WERE HE TO MAKE OF EVERY ONE ON EARTH A PROPHET
"The station which he who hath truly recognized this Revelation will attain is the same as the one ordained for such prophets of the house of Israel as are not regarded as Manifestations 'endowed with constancy.'"
(Abdu’l-Baha, quoted in The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 111)
“MANIFESTATION OF GOD -- Designation of a Prophet ‘endowed with constancy’ Who is the Founder of a religious Dispensation, inasmuch as in His words, His person, and His actions He manifests the nature and purpose of God in accordance with the capacity and needs of the people to whom He comes.”
(From the Glossary prepared under the supervision of the Universal House of Justice, The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 746)
The phrase “endowed with constancy” has its origins in Quran 46:35.
P. 155 ALL THAT DWELL ON EARTH WILL BE EQUAL IN HIS ESTIMATION
As for what is meant by the equality of souls in the all-highest realm, it is this: the souls of the believers, at the time when they first become manifest in the world of the body, are equal, and each is sanctified and pure. In this world, however, they will begin to differ one from another, some achieving the highest station, some a middle one, others remaining at the lowest stage of being. Their equal status is at the beginning of their existence; the differentiation followeth their passing away.
(Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 170)
p. 155 VICEGERENT
The word in the original is “vali”, i.e. the same word translated as “Guardian” of the Cause of God in the Will and Testament of `Abdu’l-Baha. (Sometimes misspelled “Viceregent” in earlier editions of the Book.)
P. 155 CONVERSION
The original word here translated as "conversion" is elsewhere translated by Shoghi Effendi as acceptance, willingness, faith, recognized His Manifestation, turned thereunto, accept and believe, acknowledged Himm, take it for their path, turned unto Him, felt disposed, turned their face unto it, turn towards.
P. 156 IF, ON THE DAY OF HIS REVELATION, ALL THAT ARE ON EARTH BEAR HIM ALLEGIANCE, MINE INMOST BEING WILL REJOICE
In the "Bayan" the Báb says that every religion of the past was fit to become universal. The only reason why they failed to attain that mark was the incompetence of their followers. He then proceeds to give a definite promise that this would not be the fate of the revelation of "Him Whom God would make manifest", that it will become universal and include all the people of the world. This shows that we will ultimately succeed.
(From a letter dated 20 February 1932 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer; The Compilation of Compilations, Volume II, p. 4, #1275
The only known record of the Báb's having been seen by a European belongs to the period of His persecution when an English physician resident in Tabriz, Dr. Cormick, was called in by the Persian authorities to pronounce on the Báb's mental condition. [The physician wrote:] “To all enquiries he merely regarded us with a mild look, chanting in a low melodious voice some hymns, I suppose. Two other siyyids, his intimate friends, were also present, who subsequently were put to death with him, besides a couple of government officials. He only deigned to answer me, on my saying that I was not a Musulman and was willing to know something about his religion, as I might perhaps be inclined to adopt it. He regarded me very intently on my saying this, and replied that he had no doubt of all Europeans coming over to his religion.”
(The Dawn-Breakers, Introduction, p. xxxii)
And as Baha’u’llah explains in the Book of Certitude, the significance of a statement in the Scriptures that a person “sees” is that he is a believer:
Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him. . .
P. 157 NONE KNOWETH THE TIME OF THE REVELATION
There are two references to this subject on page 143.
P. 157 THEY THAT HAVE REPUDIATED US, THOUGH THEY HAVE NEVER KNOWN US
O Hadi! Thou hast not been in Our company, thou art therefore ignorant of the Cause.
(Tablet of Tarazat, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 43)
P. 158 THE EIGHTH CHAPTER OF THE SIXTH VAHID OF THE BAYAN
This is Edward Granville Browne’s translation of that Chapter:
He who seeks to bring proofs from other than the book of God and the verses of the Bayan, the like of which none are able to produce, it is no argument for him: and he who recounteth a miracle other than the verses of the Bayan, has no witness for it. But he who assumes to produce (revealed) verses, none should oppose him. Ye must read this chapter once in every 19 days, and ponder on what has been revealed by night and day, that perchance ye may not be veiled from Him whom God shall manifest by states other than (revealed) verses. After the cessation of [the Islamic] revelation, till the manifestation of these verses, no one appeared to produce (revealed) verses. And ye have not so much sagacity as to see that none but God can reveal verses. Know therefore that this is the same Primal Reality to whom God revealed verses in the beginning of Islam. If ye had understood the proof of your own religion, you would also have understood this Dispensation. Just as from the time of Muhammad till now, which is 1270 years, no one has been able to produce verses like it, so after the setting of this sun will it be, till He whom God shall manifest shall appear. It is impossible that anyone other than He whom God shall manifest can lay claim to this Matter . . . If anyone makes such a claim, and verses appear from Him, none must oppose Him, les perchance sorrow come upon that Sun of Truth. Had the people of the Qur’an acted in this way, all their books would not have become vain. So now, if you hear of such a matter, and are not certain do not accuse Him lest ye cause Him sorrow, even if He be other than what He claims to be (though this is an impossible conception). But if He merely mentions His Name (He whom God shall manifest) it is far from those who love Him to cause Him sorrow, out of respect to His name. For such a one must either really be Him whom God shall manifest, or not. If he is, and why then should anyone deny the Truth? Or if he is not (an impossible supposition), then leave him alone; it is not for creatures to judge him, out of honour to the Name of their Beloved. But in fact there is no soul who can aspire to such a rank; if it happened in the cycle of the Qur’an, it will happen in this cycle also. His verses are in themselves a proof of the Light of His Being, while the inability of all (to produce the like) is a sign of their poverty and need of Him. If all obey this command, it is (incumbent) on God to manifest the Truth to them, and to cast the proof into their hearts, by clear proofs coming from Him, that believers may be enabled to show forth certainty concerning Him. And it suffices for all the people of the Bayan to act in accordance with this for their salvation on the Day of Resurrection.
(“A Summary of the Persian Bayan,” Selections from the Writings of E.G. Browne on the Babi and Baha'i Religions, Edited by Moojan Momen, George Ronald Press, pp. 379-380
P. 158 JOHN, SON OF ZACHARIAS
Gospel of John 1:27.
P. 158 DHI’L-JAWSHAN
These three men mentioned here, whose descriptions are in the Glossary, were the murderers of the Imam Husayn. The story of their cruelty would have been well-known to the Son of the Wolf, a member of the learned class of the Shi’ih.
P. 159 BY HIS VERSES
The original Arabic word for “verses,” “ayat,” is the same word used for “verses” in the Qur’an. It is elsewhere translated by Shoghi Effendi as signs, tokens, testimonies, texts, and words (in the first paragraph of the Will and Testament of `Abdu’l-Baha, p. 3, line 12).
P. 159 POINT OF KNOWLEDGE
Nuqtih ye `irfan in the original
P. 159 SAY: O YE UNBELIEVERS!
See page xvii of the Introduction to this Book. This refers to Surah 109 of the Qur’an, the Surah of the Unbelievers.
P. 159 THE TREE OF AFFIRMATION, BY TURNING ASIDE FROM HIM, IS ACCOUNTED AS THE TREE OF DENIAL
Compare these verses from the Kitab-i-`Asma’:
Say, verily God hath caused all created things to enter beneath the shade of the tree of affirmation, except those who are endowed with the faculty of understanding. Theirs is the choice either to believe in God their Lord, and put their whole trust in Him, or to shut themselves out from Him and refuse to believe with certitude in His signs. These two groups sail upon two seas: the sea of affirmation and the sea of negation.
They that truly believe in God and in His signs, and who in every Dispensation faithfully obey that which hath been revealed in the Book -- such are indeed the ones whom God hath created from the fruits of the Paradise of His good-pleasure, and who are of the blissful. But they who turn away from God and His signs in each Dispensation, those are the ones who sail upon the sea of negation.
God hath, through the potency of His behest, ordained for Himself the task of ensuring the ascendancy of the sea of affirmation and of bringing to naught the sea of negation through the power of His might. He is in truth potent over all things.
Verily it is incumbent upon you to recognize your Lord at the time of His manifestation, that haply ye may not enter into negation, and that, ere a prophet is raised by God, ye may find yourselves securely established upon the sea of affirmation. For if a prophet cometh to you from God and ye fail to walk in His Way, God will, thereupon, transform your light into fire. Take heed then that perchance ye may, through the grace of God and His signs, be enabled to redeem your souls.
(Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 147)
Addressing Siyyid Yahyay-i-Darabi surnamed Vahid, the most learned, the most eloquent and influential among His followers, the Báb utters this warning: "By the righteousness of Him Whose power causeth the seed to germinate and Who breatheth the spirit of life into all things, were I to be assured that in the day of His manifestation thou wilt deny Him, I would unhesitatingly disown thee and repudiate thy faith.... If, on the other hand, I be told that a Christian, who beareth no allegiance to My Faith, will believe in Him, the same will I regard as the apple of Mine Eye."
(The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 100)
Also see page 172 of this Book, “such a one hath, verily, passed out of the shadow of the blessed and exalted Tree.”
P. 160 THESE WORDS, WHICH DIFFUSE THE BREATH OF DESPAIR
Compare p. 157, “with what helplessness these words were revealed,” and p. 174, “He declareth, with infinite sadness”.
P. 160 YE ARE ALL AS FISHES, MOVING IN THE WATERS OF THE SEA
Indeed, the laws of God are like unto the ocean and the children of men as fish, did they but know it.
(Baha'u'llah, quoted in the Introduction to The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 5)
See also the Book of Ezekiel Chapter 47, where he describes a river of the water of life flowing from the threshold of the “house” on the mountain, down into the sea, where the fish are healed and everything will live.
P. 160 SIYYID JAVAD
See the Dawn-Breakers, pp. 189-190.
P. 161 A PICTURE OF THIS SIYYID
Apparently a reference to an attempt to convey that Siyyid Javad was a follower of Mirza Yahya and not of Baha’u’llah.
P. 162 THE COMPLAINT OF THE PRIMAL POINT AGAINST THE MIRRORS
The Bab designated certain leading believers as Mirrors, as Guides and as Witnesses. These are designated by Shoghi Effendi as the “Babi hierarchy.” (God Passes By, p. 89) Siyyid Muhammad Isfahani, the Antichrist of the Babi Revelation, had been designated as one of the Witnesses (God Passes By, p. 114) The Bab addressed Siyyid Javad as a Mirror (Epistle p. 160) complaining that the other Mirrors would not lead the people to Baha’u’llah, whereas the Bab foresaw that Siyyid Javad would direct the believers correctly, as Baha’u’llah here explains.
P. 162 ANY BRANCH, LEAF OR FRUIT UPON ME
This is reminiscent of the way Baha’u’llah speaks of His own Cause, in the Tablet of Visitation to the Bab and Baha’u’llah:
Bless Thou, O Lord my God, the Divine Lote-Tree and its leaves, and its boughs, and its branches, and its stems, and its offshoots, as long as Thy most excellent titles will endure and Thy most august attributes will last. Protect it, then, from the mischief of the aggressor and the hosts of tyranny. Thou art, in truth, the Almighty, the Most Powerful.
(Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah CLXXX, p. 313)
P. 163 YE WOULD HEAR FROM EVERY LIMB AND MEMBER
Thou beholdest, O my God, how every bone in my body soundeth like a pipe with the music of Thine inspiration, revealing the signs of Thy oneness and the clear tokens of Thy unity.
(Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah LXVIII, p. 111)
P. 163 O QA’IM!
"Qa'im" is literally, “The One Who ariseth,” or “The One Who is standing.” There are places in the Scriptures where the Manifestation is described as “standing,” for example,
Open the doors of your hearts. He Who is the Spirit verily standeth before them.
(Tablet to the Christians; Tablets of Baha’u’llah revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 11)
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. (Revelation 11:3-4)
P. 163 REFLECT A WHILE, THAT HAPLY THAT WHICH HATH COME BETWEEN THE TRUE ONE AND HIS CREATURES MAY BE DISCOVERED
This is a frequent them of the Book of Certitude—that although the people have waited eagerly for centuries for the Promised One, when He appeared, they allowed veils to come between Him and them. See, for example, Iqan p. 4 “they all denied Him,” and p. 74, “Such men … become so veiled that without the least question … they sentence Him to death.”
P. 164 THE ESSENCE OF BEING
Javahir wujud in the original.
P. 165 THOUGH SUPPORTED BY A HUNDRED BOOKS
In a hundred volumes, the repositories of priceless precepts, mighty laws, unique principles, impassioned exhortations, reiterated warnings, amazing prophecies, sublime invocations, and weighty commentaries, the Bearer of such a Message has proclaimed, as no Prophet before Him has done, the Mission with which God had entrusted Him.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come, p. 6)
P. 166 FOUND NO PLACE OF SAFETY
Compare these verses which address circumstances of security and safety:
QUESTION: Concerning the holy verse: "When travelling,
if ye should stop and rest in some safe spot, perform
ye ... a single prostration in place of each unsaid
ANSWER: This prostration is to compensate for
obligatory prayer omitted in the course of travel,
and by reason of insecure circumstances. If, at the time of prayer, the traveller should find himself at rest in a secure place, he should perform that prayer. This provision regarding the compensating prostration applieth both at home and on a journey.
(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, Tablet of Questions and Answers #21, p. 113)
The Universal House of Justice has clarified that with respect to “insecure circimstances” in the above verse of the Aqdas, this means “insecurity which makes the saying of the Obligatory Prayers impossible.”
(Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 58)
"Truly, none must be careless in the matter of safeguarding the Divine Tablets. In former times, when plans were laid to seize some of the friends, before all else it was the Writings that fell into the hands of the enemy. This is not permissible. The friends should designate a strong, secure place for storing the Divine Verses so that they may not be exposed to the touch of unworthy hands, even though these Verses are, and shall always be, such as 'none shall touch but the purified'.”[Qur'án, 79:56]
(Bahá'u'lláh; Compilation on The Importance of Collecting and Safeguarding the Bahá'í Writings, Prepared at the World Centre October 1986; Lights of Guidance, p. 95 #326)
P. 166 THIS WRONGED ONE DEPARTED FROM BAGHDAD, AND FOR TWO YEARS WITHDREW
We cannot, not knowing the factors Bahá'u'lláh weighed in His own mind, judge of the wisdom of His withdrawal to Kurdistan. But, studying His life and teachings, we should see in it an act of wisdom, and not superficially measure Him by our standards.
(From a letter on behalf of Shoghi Effendi dated 28 July 1950, The Unfolding Destiny of the British Baha'i Community, p. 406)
P. 166 WE FORBAD ALL MISCHIEF
A theme Baha’u’llah also addresses on pages 22 and 75. An alternate translation Shoghi Effendi sometimes uses for the word here translated as "mischief" is "sedition," for example on page 109 of this Book.
P. 168 CAREFULLY LOOK INTO THE COMMUNICATIONS ADDRESSED IN HIS NAME TO THE PRIMAL POINT
That is, to contrast the writings of Mirza Yahya, with the grandeur of the Holy Writings of the Bab and of Baha’u’llah. Mr. Taherzadeh has written:
At one stage, Bahá'u'lláh had asked Mirza Yahya to transcribe some of the Writings of the Bab; for four years he was occupied in this task, as a result of which he learnt to copy the style of the Báb's handwriting. Later, when he rebelled against Bahá'u'lláh, he used this very technique to compose passages apparently similar to those of the Báb in both tone and calligraphy. In these so-called Tablets which he circulated, Mirza Yahya introduced many false statements concerning his own position in the Faith. He also corrupted, in some instances, the text of the Báb's Writings and made certain insertions in support of his claim to be the successor of the Báb.
Most of Mirza Yahya's writings are composed of strings of clumsy and meaningless words which, in turn, constitute nonsensical sentences. A mere glance at any of them reveals the ignorance, the incapacity and blindness of an ambitious man who was driven, all his life, by an indomitable passion for leadership and power.
(Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha'u'llah, Volume I, p. 256)
P. 168 THE VEILS OF GLORY
Baha’u’llah explains who these “veils of glory” are:
Among these "veils of glory" are the divines and doctors living in the days of the Manifestation of God, who, because of their want of discernment and their love and eagerness for leadership, have failed to submit to the Cause of God . . .
(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 164)
The manifold bounties of God have ever been and will continue to be vouchsafed unto thee. Praised be God! Thou hast been shielded from the most great terror and hast succeeded in drawing nigh unto the Most Great Bounty at a time when all men were prevented from recognizing the eternal King by the interposition of the veils of outward glory, namely the divines of this day.
(Tablets of Baha'u'llah, pp. 237-238)
P. 171 THE PROXIMITY OF THE REVELATION
Shake off, O heedless ones, the slumber of negligence, that ye may behold the radiance which His glory hath spread through the world. How foolish are those who murmur against the premature birth of His light. O ye who are inly blind! Whether too soon or too late, the evidences of His effulgent glory are now actually manifest. It behoveth you to ascertain whether or not such a light hath appeared. It is neither within your power nor mine to set the time at which it should be made manifest. God's inscrutable Wisdom hath fixed its hour beforehand.
(Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, L, p. 103)
"The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly."[Rev. 11:14] The first woe is the appearance of the Prophet, Muhammad, the son of Abdu'llah—peace be upon Him! The second woe is that of the Báb—to Him be glory and praise! The third woe is the great day of the manifestation of the Lord of Hosts and the radiance of the Beauty of the Promised One . . . . This third woe is the day of the manifestation of Bahá'u'lláh, the day of God; and it is near to the day of the appearance of the Báb.
(Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 56)
The short duration of His [the Bab’s] Dispensation, the restricted range within which His laws and ordinances have been made to operate, supply no criterion whatever wherewith to judge its Divine origin and to evaluate the potency of its message. "That so brief a span," Bahá'u'lláh Himself explains, "should have separated this most mighty and wondrous Revelation from Mine own previous Manifestation, is a secret that no man can unravel and a mystery such as no mind can fathom. Its duration had been foreordained, and no man shall ever discover its reason unless and until he be informed of the contents of My Hidden Book."
(The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 123)
P. 172 SUCH A ONE HATH, VERILY, PASSED OUT OF THE SHADOW OF THE BLESSED AND EXALTED TREE
This image of being under a person's shadow is frequently used in the sacred Texts to refer to a person who is under a divinely-appointed person's authority; and "passing out from under" the shadow of the person means one who rebels against divine authority:
More specifically Bahá'u'lláh had, referring to Mirza Muhammad-'Ali in clear and unequivocal language, affirmed: "He, verily, is but one of My servants... Should he for a moment pass out from under the shadow of the Cause, he surely shall be brought to naught."
(God Passes By, p. 251)
"There hath branched from the Sadratu'l-Muntaha this sacred and glorious Being, this Branch of Holiness; well is it with him that hath sought His shelter and abideth beneath His shadow. . . . They who deprive themselves of the shadow of the Branch, are lost in the wilderness of error, are consumed by the heat of worldly desires, and are of those who will assuredly perish."
(Baha’u’llah, The Tablet of the Branch, cited in The World Order of Baha'u'llah, pp. 134-135)
"Concerning the Manifestations that will come down in the future 'in the shadows of the clouds,'" He, [`Abdu’l-Baha] in a still more definite language, affirms, "know, verily, that in so far as their relation to the Source of their inspiration is concerned, they are under the shadow of the Ancient Beauty. . .”
(The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 167)
The Hands of the Cause of God must be nominated and appointed by the Guardian of the Cause of God. All must be under his shadow and obey his command.
(The Will and Testament of `Abdu’l-Baha, pp. 12-13)
The same image is used in the Gospel, John 1:48 where Jesus saw Nathaniel sitting under a fig tree. The fig is the symbol of the Dispensation of Moses.
P. 172 THE FRUITS OF YOUR NIGHT
Those who have deprived themselves of this Resurrection by reason of their mutual hatreds or by regarding themselves to be in the right and others in the wrong, were chastised on the Day of Resurrection by reason of such hatreds evinced during their night.1
(1 By 'night' is meant the period between two divine Revelations when the Sun of Truth is not manifest among men. In the Persian Bayan, II, 7, the Báb says, 'O people of the Bayan! Act not as the people of the Qur'án have acted, for if you do so the fruits of your night will come to naught'.)
(Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 129 and fn. 1)
P. 172 IF THOU AIDEST NOT HIM WHO IS THE MANIFESTATION OF THE LORDSHIP OF GOD, BE NOT, THEN, A CAUSE OF SADNESS UNTO HIM
By the righteousness of God! I, verily, am His [the Bab’s] Best-Beloved; and at this moment He listeneth to these verses descending from the Heaven of Revelation and bewaileth the wrongs ye have committed in these days. Fear God, and join not with the aggressor. Say: O people, should ye choose to disbelieve in Him [Baha’u’llah], refrain at least from rising up against Him.
(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, Paragraph 141, p. 70)
But if all men were to observe the ordinances of God no sadness would befall that heavenly Tree.
(Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 96)
Take ye good heed in your night lest ye be a cause of sadness to any soul, whether ye be able to discover proofs in him or not, that haply on the Day of Resurrection ye may not grieve Him within Whose grasp lieth every proof. And when ye do not discern God's testimony in a person, he will verily fail in manifesting the power of Truth; and God is sufficient to deal with him. Indeed on no account should ye sadden any person; surely God will put him to the proof and bring him to account. It behooveth you to cling to the testimony of your own Faith and to observe the ordinances laid down in the Bayan.
(Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 134)
If, on the day of His Revelation, all that are on earth bear Him allegiance, Mine inmost being will rejoice, inasmuch as all will have attained the summit of their existence, and will have been brought face to face with their Beloved, and will have recognized, to the fullest extent attainable in the world of being, the splendour of Him Who is the Desire of their hearts. If not, My soul will indeed be saddened. I truly have nurtured all things for this purpose.
(Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 156)
P. 172 THE SIGN OF GOD
Ayat Allah (also transliterated ayatollah)
This sacred title is here applied to the Manifestation, and in the Master’s Will is applied to the Guardian. It is an example of one of the many sacred titles that has been hijacked by the unworthy.
P. 173 WHO WAS CONTINUALLY SURROUNDED BY FIVE OF THE HANDMAIDENS OF GOD
Those who were in close contact with Mirza Yahya were fully aware of his immoderate sexual appetites. In the Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, Bahá'u'lláh alludes to this when He addresses Hadiy-i-Dawlat-Abadi [the Successor of Mirza Yahya] in these words:
“Regardest thou as one wronged he who in this world was never dealt a single blow, and who was continually surrounded by five of the handmaidens of God? . . .”
`Abdu'l-Bahá mentions that one of Mirza Yahya's preoccupations was to marry one wife after another. He mentions eleven wives but some historians have counted three more.
(Adib Taherzadeh, The Child of the Covenant, p. 111)
P. 174 GREAT GOD!
In the original, Subhannu’llah, elsewhere translated by Shoghi Effendi as Gracious God, glorified be God.
P. 174 IN EIGHT YEARS
It is interesting that just as Baha’u’llah closes the Book of Certitude with references to prophecies of the year of the Declaration of the Bab, He now closes this, His last great Work, with the Bab’s prophecies of the year of His own Revelation.
P. 175 DAYYAN
It came to pass at that time that a prominent official of high literary ability, Mirza Asadu'llah, who was later surnamed Dayyan by the Báb and whose vehement denunciations of His Message had baffled those who had endeavoured to convert him, dreamed a dream. When he awoke, he determined not to recount it to anyone, and, fixing his choice on two verses of the Qur'án, he addressed the following request to the Bab: "I have conceived three definite things in my mind. I request you to reveal to me their nature." Mirza Muhammad-'Ali was asked to submit this written request to the Báb. A few days later, he received a reply penned in the Báb's handwriting, in which He set forth in their entirety the circumstances of that dream and revealed a the exact texts of those verses. The accuracy of that reply brought about a sudden conversion. Though unused to walking, Mirza Asadu'llah hastened on foot along that steep and stony path which led from Khuy to the castle. His friends tried to induce him to proceed on horseback to Chihriq, but he refused their offer. His meeting with the Báb confirmed him in his belief and excited that fiery ardour which he continued to manifest to the end of his life.
(Nabil, The Dawn-Breakers, p. 303)
“Dayyan was referred to by the Báb as the repository of the trust of God, and the treasury of His knowledge. He was also promised to be the third person to believe in 'Him Whom God shall make manifest'. When Mirza Yahya claimed to be the successor of the Báb, Dayyan wrote an epistle in which he refuted his claims, quoting many passages from the Writings of the Báb in support of his argument. This bold and truthful epistle angered Mirza Yahya, who replied by writing his inflammatory book known as Mustayqiz (Sleeper Awakened). In it he severely condemns Dayyan, whom he refers to as the 'father of calamities'. He also rebukes another believer of note, a certain Siyyid Ibrahim, who was an admirer of Dayyan and whom he stigmatizes as 'the father of iniquities'. He also calls on the Bábís to take the lives of these two. Not satisfied with this condemnation, Mirza Yahya despatched his servant Mirza Muhammad-i-Mazindarani to Adhirbayjan with explicit orders to murder Dayyan. In the meantime Dayyan had left for Baghdad, and Mirza Yahya's servant had to return.”
“Upon his arrival in Baghdad, Dayyan was confronted with great antagonism by the Bábís who were spurred on by Mirza Yahya's denunciation of him. This was during the time when Bahá'u'lláh was in Baghdad. Knowing that the life of Dayyan was in danger, Bahá'u'lláh called the believers to His house one by one and rebuked them for their behaviour toward Dayyan. In the meantime Dayyan attained the presence of Bahá'u'lláh, and as the Báb had promised, recognized His Person as 'Him Whom God shall make manifest'. A few days later, Dayyan was murdered by that same servant of Mirza Yahya. This tragic crime brought great sorrow to the heart of Bahá'u'lláh. It is significant that on that day, a sandstorm of exceptional severity swept over the city of Baghdad and obscured the light of the sun for some hours.”
“Not satisfied with this iniquitous crime, Mirza Yahya turned his attention to the admirers of Dayyan and issued instructions to kill them also. The next victim was Mirza Ali-Akbar, the cousin of the Báb, who was murdered by the same Mirza Muhammad.”
(Adib Taherzadeh, The Covenant of Baha'u'llah, p. 72)
There were no 'Letters of the Living' for Bahá'u'lláh, as there had been, for the Báb's Dispensation. Dayyan was evidently the 3rd believer in Bahá'u'lláh; who the second and the others were we don't know.
(Extract from a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer dated April 19, 1947; Lights of Guidance, p. 475, #1568)
P. 175 A HIDDEN AND PRESERVED KNOWLEDGE
In the original, `ilm maknuun-i-makhzuun. Maknuun is the word used in the title “Hidden Words” and in these verses from the Book of Certitude, “. . . within every chamber unnumbered mysteries lie hidden, ” and “. . . within their shells the pearls of His Unity are treasured.”
P. 175 HE HATH MADE THE VERSES TO BE HIS TESTIMONY
Baha’u’llah explains this divine principle in the Book of Certitude, p. 206.
P. 176 THE DISHONOR INFLICTED UPON THE PRIMAL POINT
Another person who wrote to Bahá'u'lláh and posed certain questions concerning the position of Mirza Yahya was Mulla Ali-Muhammad-i-Siraj, a native of Isfahan. He had become a Bábí in the early days of the Faith and attained the presence of the Bab in that city. It was his sister Fatimih whom the Bab, after much insistence by Manuchihr Khan, the Governor of Isfahan, took as His second wife.
(Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha'u'llah, Volume II, p. 262)
Mirza Yahya's cowardly behaviour was matched only by his acts of infamy which have for ever stained the annals of the Faith. While Bahá'u'lláh was absent in the mountains of Kurdistan, he committed a shameful act which inflicted dishonour upon the Báb, by marrying His second wife and, a month later, giving her in marriage to Siyyid Muhammad. When Bahá'u'lláh learned of this His grief knew no bounds. In a Tablet He asserts that the whole creation wept for this betrayal. . .
[1 In nineteenth-century Persia the way of life differed radically from present-day life in the West. Social and religious circumstances in Muslim countries almost required a man (especially if he were an eminent person) to take more than one wife. During His six-months' sojourn in Isfahan, the Báb took a second wife, Fatimih, who was a sister of Mulla Rajab-Aliy-i-Qahir, a Bábí from Isfahan.]
(Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha'u'llah, Volume I, p. 248, and footnote 1)
P. 178 HE THAT ENTERETH THEREIN, LONGING FOR IT AND EAGER TO VISIT IT, GOD WILL FORGIVE HIS SINS
This is similar in spirit to this verse from the Most Holy Book:
Blessed is he who, at the hour of dawn, centering his thoughts on God, occupied with His remembrance, and supplicating His forgiveness, directeth his steps to the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar and, entering therein, seateth himself in silence to listen to the verses of God, the Sovereign, the Mighty, the All-Praised.
(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 60, Paragraph 115)
P. 180 THE BLACK-EYED DAMSELS QUAFF THE CAMPHOR IN PARADISE, WHICH HATH COME FROM THE SPRING OF THE COW, AND FROM THE SPRING OF SALVAN (SILOAM) AND THE WELL OF ZAMZAM. WELL IS IT WITH HIM THAT HATH DRUNK FROM THESE SPRINGS
The Spring of the Cow was located near the town of `Akka, but has been covered up by modern development near the Garden of Ridvan. The site of the Spring of Siloam is in Jerusalem, close by the Temple Mount. The Well of Zamzam is located inside the Great Mosque in Mecca; Muslim pilgrims drink from its waters during the Hajj. These Springs and this Well appear to be symbols of the Manifestations of God.
P. 180 GLORIFIED BE GOD, AND PRAISE BE UNTO GOD, AND THERE IS NONE OTHER GOD BUT GOD, AND MOST GREAT IS GOD, AND THERE IS NO POWER NOR STRENGTH EXCEPT IN GOD, THE EXALTED THE MIGHTY
Glorified be God, [Subhaan a Allah] and praise be unto God [al-hamdu lillaah], and there is none other God but God, [laa ilaaha ill-Allah] and most great is God [Allah'u'Akbar], and there is no power nor strength except in God, the Exalted, the Mighty, [wa Laa hawla wa laa quwwata illaa billaah il- 'aliyyil 'Az.eem].
P. 181 THE SHORES OF THE SEA
Please see the notes for page 139 above.
P. 181 AND HE THAT COUNTETH FORTY WAVES, WHILE REPEATING: 'GOD IS MOST GREAT!'
In Arabic, Allah'u'Akbar. It is unfortunate that in the West, the only time this sacred phrase is heard is in the movies, when an Arab Muslim is about to commit an act of murder. It is a legitimate praise of God, entirely without violent or hateful meaning, and Baha'u'llah here quotes Muhammad using it. These passages from Islamic traditions about Akka are compiled in a book, a copy of which is found in the town museum of Akka.