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Abstract:
Tablet to a one-time Covenant-breaker on the importance of obedience to the Covenant.
Notes:

Tablet to Jamál-i-Burujirdí

by Abdu'l-Bahá

translated by Khazeh Fananapazir.
2003
originally written as "Lawh-i-Jamál-i-Burujirdí".
first written or published 1892?
[1] O Name of God![2] In this Day, the criterion and balance of all things and the magnet for attracting divine confirmations is the Covenant and Testament of the All-Glorious Lord. It is incumbent on thee to invite all to this impregnable foundation. For the Covenant is none other than the powerful and robust edifice erected by the Manifest Beauty. Any soul who is firmer in the Covenant is the recipient of greater confirmations and assistance. However, should the Holy Spirit incarnate Itself[3] and become embodied as a Person[4] and yet make the slightest hesitation in this regard, It would become a lifeless corpse, a discarded carapace. For the foundation of the Religion of God and the cause of exaltation of the Word of God and promotion of His Faith resides in this. But suppose a suckling baby should arise with utmost steadfastness in the Covenant, all the hosts of the Abhá Kingdom will rush to that child's aid and the Concourse on High will hasten to help that babe. Erelong, this amazing mystery will become apparent to all. Thus should you and all of us - all the loved ones of God - undeviatingly focus and concentrate our sight on this Lordly, pearl-like[5] Essence so that all affairs will progress as it is desired and loved.

May glory rest on thee!
Notes
    [1] Translated in honour of the Day of the Covenant, 2003. The Persian original is in Makátib Vol. 2, p. 126; also in Má'idih, Vol. 5, p. 98. Referred to in Bihjatu's-Sudur, p. 441. The Tablet is dated to the early years of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's ministry in 'Akká (i.e. between 1892 and 1900). (KF's note, modified slightly by MW).

    [2] Yá Ismu'lláh, that is 'Ismu'lláhu'l-Jamál' (The Name of God, Jamál), a title bestowed to Jamál-i-Burujirdí by Bahá'u'lláh. Formerly a great teacher of the Faith, Jamál-i-Burujirdí, proud, ambitious, deceitful and egotistical, became a Covenant-Breaker after the passing of Bahá'u'lláh and served as Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí's ablest and most prominent lieutenant in Persia. 'Adib Taherzadeh writes of him:

            Before embracing the Faith during the Ministry of Bahá'u'lláh, Jamál was an accomplished Muslim clergyman. He was knowledgeable, a notable orator. When he accepted the Faith, he did not relinquish those practices which were characteristic of the Muslim clergy. For instance, he continued to wear cleric's robes, and never gave up the trait of superiority and pride which had been ingrained upon his character in his former days. He continued his customary Islámic practice of making his hands available for those believers who would wish to kiss them. He used to explain that although Bahá'u'lláh had forbidden the kissing of hands in this Dispensation, Jamál had decided that in the circumstances prevailing at the time, such a practice would be conducive to the exaltation of the Cause! Yet, in spite of all this, when he entered the Faith, the believers in Persia gathered around him, for he was a man of learning and knowledge.

            It must be understood that in those days the people of Persia -- most of whom were illiterate -- were brought up to follow the clergy. In Islamic countries, men of learning were highly revered by the masses. There is no clergy in the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, but He has exhorted His followers to honour the truly learned in the Cause, those whose knowledge and learning have not become the cause of pride and self-glorification.

            No doubt it is concerning such people that Bahá'u'lláh has revealed in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas:

        Happy are ye, O ye the learned ones in Bahá. 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. [KA 173]

            A person who is truly learned in the Faith is one who reaches such heights of detachment that he sincerely regards his learning as utter nothingness compared with the truths of the Cause of God. He becomes the embodiment of humility and self-effacement. Unfortunately Jamál did not fall into this category of 'the learned ones in Bahá; he was a deceitful and hypocritical man who longed for glory. Yet the great majority of the believers did not realize this; they considered him a man of God and treated him with great respect.

            Till the end of His earthly life Bahá'u'lláh showered His bounties upon Jamál. He concealed his faults and shortcomings and instead exhorted him to righteousness and piety. In one of His Tablets, Bahá'u'lláh explains that through His attribute 'the Concealer', He has concealed the faults and shortcomings of many deceitful men, who, as a result, have thought that the Manifestation of God was ignorant of their evil deeds. These men did not realize that, through the knowledge of God, Bahá'u'lláh was fully aware of their wrongdoings. The sin-covering eye of God did not disclose their iniquities, and only when they were about to rise up against the Centre of the Cause and involve themselves in activities which harmed the Faith, did Bahá'u'lláh expel them from the community of the Most Great Name. ('Adib Taherzadeh, The Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 208-9).

          Shoghi Effendi notes that Jamál "fell a prey to a fatal and loathsome disease..." (See Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 319). (KF's note, modified by MW).

    [3] According to Hají Mírzá Haydar 'Alí's Bihjatu's-Sudur, this Tablet was sent by the Master to Jamál-i-Burujirdí warning him that, even if he should consider himself the incarnation of the Holy Spirit [Ruhu'l-Quds], but fail in his allegiance to the covenant of God, he would become as nothing. (See Hají Mírzá Haydar 'Alí, Bihjatu's-Sudur, Hofheim, 2002, p. 360). (MW's note).

    [4] C.f. See Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, Section XX, p. 49: "Know thou of a certainty that the Unseen can in no wise incarnate His Essence and reveal it unto men." (MW's note).

    [5] Perhaps an allusion to Shawqí Afandí (Shoghi Effendí), referred to as 'the Priceless Pearl' in the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá', p 3. (MW's note).
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