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Abstract:
Prepared by a group of contributors to the "Tarjuman" translation email list.
Notes:
Translated by Franklin Lewis, Peter Terry, Moojan Momen, Kavian Milani, J. Vahid Brown and Ismael Velasco.

The translation is based on Athar-i-Qalam-i-Alá,Vol. 4, pp 258-267 and Risáli-yi-Tasbih-u-Tahlil, pp. 124-139. The two sources are cited below as "AQA" and "TT".


Súrah of the Pen:
Súratu'l-Qalam

by Bahá'u'lláh

2002
[0.1] [per AQA 258:] This is the Tablet of the Pen sent down from the heaven of eternity for those whose gaze is directed toward the divine Throne!

[1.1] In the Name of God, the Most Wondrous, the Most Glorious!

[1.2] O most exalted Pen! Bear witness within Your Own Self that [per AQA 258:1.2: ] He is God, there is no God but Me, [1.3] the Help in peril, the Self-Subsisting. Then bear witness in Your inmost essence, that I, in truth, am God — [1.4] there is no God but Him! — and that all have been created by and act in conformity with My command. [1.5] Bear witness, moreover, within Your Own being that this is indeed the Beauty of God which has shone forth [1.6] from the unseen realm, though none have recognized Him except He Himself, and none shall ever know Him [1.7] but He alone. He is, in truth, the All-Powerful, the Almighty, the one Beloved.

Through [1.8] a single emanation from Him, the suns of grandeur and divine majesty have dawned resplendent, [1.9] the hearts of those who dwell in the eternal Concourse were created, the inner realities of holiness hidden within [1.10] the veils of divine mystery were brought into being, and the secrets of all that is and has been were made manifest.

[1.11] O Pen! Do not be dazed and swoon away, for We have with sovereign might and power conferred on You Our protection [2.1], and have breathed within You such spirit that, were an infinitesimal breeze of it to waft [2.2] over the lifeless bodies of all contingent being, they would assuredly, [2.3] one and all, arise from their resting places, with their tongue proclaiming, their inner essence affirming [2.4] and their inmost being testifying that there is no God but Me, [2.5] the All-Powerful, the Majestic, the Most Exalted, the Almighty, the Single, the Victorious, [2.6] the Self-Subsisting.

O Pen of Revelation! Remain steadfast and true to Your essence, and reveal [2.7] unto all created beings a measure of that bounty which God bestowed upon You before the creation [2.8] of letters and words, before the existence of contingent beings, before the [2.9] kingdom of names and attributes was established and His mighty and guarded Tablets revealed. [2.10] Say: These are, indeed, a mighty portent, one unequalled from before the beginning [2.11] until beyond the end of time, if you would but comprehend, O Concourse of the spirit! [2.12] And this is, indeed, a Beauty unequalled since the beginning without beginning, [2.13] did you but know.

Say: should it occur to any heart that it may compare to [2.14] or become partners with this Pen, that it has approached near to or [3.1] understood what has been revealed through it, let that heart know for certain that Satan is whispering [3.2] within. Thus has it been revealed, could you but perceive it. Say: [3.3] By God! None in all creation has ever surpassed Me, nor shall any soul ever do so. [3.4] Thus is it now written by the fingers of everlasting holiness. Say: At a single Word [3.5] revealed through Me were created all contingent beings, and the inner realities of all existence, and [3.6] worlds which none can fathom but Myself, the Mighty, [3.7] the Manifest.

O Pen! [per AQA 260.2] Hearken to that which those who join partners with God say [3.8] of You. Say: O host of enmity! Die in your envy, [per AQA 260.2:] your rancor, your jealousy, [3.9] and your blasphemy. By God, the True One! This is, in truth, a Pen at whose behest [3.10] were created the souls of the Concourse on High, the inner realities of the people of Eternity, and [3.11] the inmost essence of all hearts and minds. With a single trace of this Pen the suns [per AQA 260.5: ] of might and grandeur were created, and beyond them, the moons of purity and loftiness, [3.12b] and the stars of grace and generosity. [3.13] Through it the gardens of Paradise and Ridván, and all that they contain, have appeared, did you but know.

[3.14] Say: At a single stroke from Me was made manifest the knowledge of all that is and has been, and beyond that, [4.1] the creation of the former and the latter days. Open, then, your eyes [4.2] that you may perceive it!

O Pen! Let what You have thus far cast over [4.3] the world of contingent being by way of Your sovereignty and power to suffice, for the hearts of the malicious [4.4] may well burst in their malice. Conceal, then, Your Cause and divulge it no further, [4.5] for Your words [per AQA 260.10: ] have caused the heavens of eternity to crack, and the earth of holiness [4.6-7] to split asunder, and all those wrapped in veils of communion in the paradise of Grandeur to fall down dumbstruck! [4.7] Hold your peace, for none who [4.8] dwell on earth can ever witness Your sovereign might nor [per AQA 260.12-13:] hear your manifold revelations, [4.9] how much less those of Your Fashioner and Creator, [4.10] He who created You through a single utterance. Exalted is Your Lord above all that emanates [4.11] from [per TT 127.10-11] Him, or that has been revealed through You before this. Exalted is He above that which [per AQA 260.14:] those who are near unto God have thought, or that which [4.12] the sincere ones conceive of Him.

Beware, beware! Allow what [per AQA 260.15: ] He has already revealed through You to suffice. By God, [4.13] the True one! Were all that is in the heavens and the earth, and whatsoever [4.14] lies between the two — the trees, fruits, leaves, twigs, [5.1] branches, waters, seas and mountains — were all these brought face to face with but one letter that [5.2] has been revealed through You, they would indeed give voice within themselves to that which the burning bush spoke to Moses upon [5.3] Sinai, at [per AQA 261.3:] the spot of revelation, in the blessed vale of sanctity.

[5.4] O Pen! Refrain from mention of those wonders imparted to You by God [5.5] and detach Yourself from all that you possess. Yet inform the people of the glad tidings of the great announcement [5.6] enshrined in this most great Revelation, that they may come to know their Creator [5.7] in and of Himself, and detach themselves from all else but Him. Then [per AQA 261.6:] inform the Concourse on High of these glad tidings and say: O people of the Concourse of Grandeur [5.8] in the pavilions of majesty! [5.9] O people of the sanctified Realm of divine power, concealed within the tabernacles of the All-Glorious! O people of the [per AQA 261. 8] Realm of the seen and the unseen, within the holy precincts, immersed in the waves of eternity! O manifestations of the kingdom of names [5.10b] in the veils of divine mystery! Rejoice [5.11] within yourselves in this most great and joyous festival, during which God [5.12] Himself is pouring out the most pure wine for those who stand before His face [5.13] in well-pleasing humility. Adorn, then, your souls with the silk of certitude [5.14] and your bodies with the brocade of the All-Merciful, inasmuch as a Light has appeared, flashed forth, [6.1] and shone radiantly from the dawning-place of his countenance. [6.2] At its appearance all on heaven and earth have bowed down in adoration, could you but perceive.

[6.3] Say: By God, the True one! Never has one like him appeared throughout all creation! [6.4] Any soul who maintains otherwise has deviated from the testimony of God Himself, and will be [6.5] accounted in His mighty and guarded tablets among those who have joined partners with God. Say: [per AQA 261:14-15] Through this Light, the realm of Divine Essence and its realities were brought into being, and the outward forms and inner essences of the people of the realm of eternity were raised up. [6.7] Through it, God has created worlds without beginning [6.8] or end, which none fathom but those whom the Lord wills. Thus [6.9-10] do We shower the divine mysteries upon You, that you might reflect upon the works of God.

[6.10] Say: This is a Light at Whose emanation every [6.11] neck has bowed down in humility and at whose appearance the souls of those near to God, [6.12] and the hearts of the sanctified, and the inner realities of those who truly praise God, and every honored servant have prostrated. [6.13] O dwellers in the sacred precincts! By God, this is, [6.13-14] standing among you and before your very faces, the Meccan sanctuary of God, [6.14] and the hallowed precincts surrounding it, and the plain of worship leading to it, [7.1] and the station of refuge on the inner and outer pilgrimage!

Take heed that you do not deprive yourselves [7.2] of the sanctuary of recognition. Rather, hasten to Him and be not of [7.3] those who tarry along the way, for this is the sanctuary around whom circumambulate [7.4] the forms of divine oneness, and beyond them the everlasting realities and ancient eternal essences. [7.5] God has made His threshold sanctified from the defilement of every rejected blasphemer. [7.6] The dark-eyed maids of Paradise, and the denizens of the upper chambers [7.7] of heaven, and beyond them, those who enjoy intimate communion within the confines of holiness, [per AQA 262.8:] kneel inconstant service before Him, and yet [7.8] most of the people fail to comprehend.

[7.8-9] O peoples of the heavens and the earth! [per AQA 262.12:] Abandon your resting places for the most great Pilgrimage to the person of this [7.9-10] most pure and radiant, this most beauteous Youth. [7.10] God has, however, beholding your weakness, relieved you of this duty. [7.11] And yet, you should hasten to Him with all your heart, even though none can ever attain thereto, [7.12] except those who regard all the heavens and the earth [AQA 262.3] as of no more worth than on the day when none shall be remembered. Such are they who drink from the hands [7.14] of their Lord the holy and sealed wine. And whoso turns to face this [8.1] most pure and radiant direction will be encircled by luminous orbs [8.2] for which no beginning or end has been appointed. [8.3] The daystar of all suns, [8.3-4] before whose light the sun of Names dims and darkens, [8.3] shall dawn from the horizon of such a heart, [8.4] if you but knew.

O [8.5] Pen! Raise the call among the Concourse of Eternity and say: O people of the plains of eternity [8.6] and the pavilions of grandeur! And O gems hidden from the [8.7] sight of the people of creation! Rise up from your couches and rejoice in jubilation, [8.8] magnify the name of your Lord, and drink deep from the goblets of eternity [8.8-9] proffered unto you by the all-glorious fingers of this Youth [8.9] on this day, whose like the eyes [8.10] of the universe have never seen, and on which [8.11] the eyes of grandeur, upon the praiseworthy seat of might, were solaced.

O [8.12] Bearers of the Throne! Adorn the most great Throne in finery on this day, for the hidden Beauty has appeared, He to Whose presence [8.14] the people of the highest Paradise and the sheltering garden have not attained. Say: By God! [9.1] The hidden secret has been fully revealed and the eyes of the Seen and the Unseen have been solaced by His Beauty, [9.2-4] and beyond them the eyes of all those who have purified their souls with the sprinklings of the Kawthar of holiness that flows forth from the sea of the name of their Lord, the Manifest.

[9.4] Say: This is the day on which God has made Himself known [9.5] to all who are in the heavens and the earth, and has raised Himself in His sovereignty [9.6] above all who are in the realms of creation and command. How exalted is this bounty, [9.7] how sanctified, blessed and beloved! In this day, the Ancient [9.8] Beauty has appeared in such raiment that the veils have been rent asunder and [9.9-10] the secrets revealed. All things make mention of their Lord, the Unconstrained: the trees have borne fruit, and [9.10-11] the heaven and the earth have brought forth all that they contain, [9.11] all that lay hid in the midst of the mountains [9.12] and the depths of the seas, though they had once been [9.13] veiled in obscurity. This is a day whereon the idols of blasphemy [9.14] and rebellious passion have been shattered, and the Ancient Beauty is firmly established upon His most great Throne.

[10.1] On this day the Most Great Spirit from the concealment of eternity, and the spirit [10.2] of holiness from the Lote Tree beyond which there is no passing, and the spirit of Command from [10.3] the most distant tree, and the spirit of Might from the divine realm on high, all give voice to this: Blessed be [10.4] the Merciful, Who has appeared in the realms of creation with that which no eye has ever before perceived! [10.5] Say: This is He Who, by a single movement of His fingers, [10.6] causes the very creation of heaven and earth to pass away, and with but one word of His mouth [10.7] brings all creatures back to life, and at a sign from His eye, makes all existence to turn [10.8] toward God, the Help in peril, the Mighty, the All-Loving.

Say: O assemblage [10.9] of Monks! Abandon the churches in which you praise God, for the One Who was borne up [10.10] to heaven has come down with the truth, and now circles round the Throne. [10.11] By God, the True One! On this day the bell peals out in mention of Me [10.12] and the horn and trumpet resound with My description and My name, the Help in peril, [10.13] the Self-Subsisting. Do not deprive yourselves of the bounty of this day, [10.14] but hasten to the seat of the Throne and, renouncing all that you possess, grasp hold of the cord [11.1] of God, the Risen, the Visible, the Speaking, the Manifest.

O denizens of the [11.2] realms of the Seen and the Unseen! Sing out and melodiously celebrate this festival which [11.3] God has brought forth, for none has nor will attain the like of it, whether in the past or in the future, [11.4] if you but knew. God has raised the Pen on this day [11.5] over all who are in the heavens and the earth. This is that which the decree of the Ancient of Days caused to rise above the dawning place of the Pen, that you might rejoice within yourselves and be [11.7] of those who experience true joy.

O Pen! Inform the Maiden [11.8] of Paradise and say unto Her: By God, the True One! Today is [per AQA 265.:] Your day; reveal, therefore, [11.9] what You will. [per AQA 265.1:] Don, as you please, the satin raiment of names and the brocades of pure white, [11.10] and then emerge from the chambers [11.11] of eternity like the sun rising above the horizon of the countenance of Bahá. Come down, then, [11.12] from the retreats on high and, standing between the heavens and the earth, [11.13] cast aside the veil that conceals Your angelic face, that [11.14] the most great veils may be rent asunder from the faces of all these, [per AQA 265.4] and [12.1] they may behold the most great vision of the Beauty of God, the sanctified, the Almighty, [12.2] the One Beloved.

O Solace of the Ancient of Days! I swear by God, those who join partners with God [12.3] are drunk with vain imaginings and will never be able to turn their gaze [12.4] in this most pure direction. You have in truth safeguarded Me by Your sovereign might within Your pristine sanctity, [12.5] behind the veils of light, and preserved My beauty from the view [12.6] of Your enemies. Within Your hands, You hold the command, [12.6-7] and through Your word, “Be and it is,” You rule as You please.

[12.7] O Maiden of Bahá! Emerge [12.8] from the concealment of eternity, Your immaculate vision purified from [12.9] beholding the faces of mortal beings. By the One True God! None will attain to You but those who receive their sight [12.10] from this most great Vision. Leave behind the Kingdom of Names on your right [12.11] and the Realm of Divine Attributes on your left, to appear in radiant splendor, through My permission, [12.12] from the horizon of My chastity, naked of all that has been created in the realm of Command, [12.13] and divested of all that exists in the realm of Creation, that through You [12.14] God’s Own beauty may be revealed to all else but Him. Sing then in the most pleasing melodies [13.1] between earth and heaven, that the universe may become wholly detached and turn to the face [13.2] of your Lord, the Holy, the Mighty, the Beloved.

Rise above the horizon of [13.3] Ridván with the radiant beauty of the All-Merciful, [13.4-5] your sweet-scented tresses dangling down upon your breasts, [13.4] that the fragrances of your Lord, the Giving, may waft over all the worlds. [13.5] Take care not to conceal the [per AQA 266.1:] yielding hollows of Your bosom from the people of [13.6] revelation, or the curls of sanctity from intimate glances. Enter, then, [13.7] before the throne, Your hair dangling down, [per TT] your face flush, your [13.8] cheeks adorned, your eyelids shadowed with kohl, and take up in the palm of Your angelic hand the chalices [13.9] of pure white in My Most Exalted Name. Pour out, then, for the Concourse of Eternity [13.10] the sealed red wine of the Abhá Beauty, that the people [13.11] of revelation may be [per AQA 266.5:] cleansed [13.11-12] by this pure wine from the veils of pride during this illustrious festival, [13.13] and may emerge from the hidden clouds of glory through My mighty sovereignty, the Powerful, the Help in peril, [13.14] the Self-Subsisting.

By the One True God! I am that Maiden Who dwelt in the very center [14.1] of the Ridván Paradise,guarded in the seclusion of the All-Merciful and untouched by the eyes [14.2] of contingent beings. Hidden from eternity behind veils [14.3] of chastity within the pavilions of majesty, I heard a most sweet voice [14.4] emanating from the right hand of the throne of My Lord, the Exalted, and saw the Paradise of Ridván stirring [14.5] within itself, and all that was created therein stirred by the longing to meet God, [14.6] the Most Glorious. Thereupon another call was raised: By God, the Beloved of the worlds has appeared! [14.7] Blessed the one who attains to His presence, receives the honor of [14.8] meeting Him, and hears [per AQA 266.11:] His melodies, the Mighty, the Sanctified, the one Beloved. [14.9] The hearts of the Concourse on High and [14.10] the people of the plains of eternity are enraptured by the call of God, and longing desire has drawn them [14.10] toward a station in which, one and all, their souls quiver. They have turned in [14.12] the direction of holiness, toward a place of inviolable and momentous might. Though I desire to mention [14.13] what I beheld in that state, I never shall be able to do so, even were I to speak in every [14.14] tongue.

Despite this bounty which has encompassed all things, [15.1] and this longing that has seized all those immersed in the sea of names, I saw [15.2] that the People of the Bayán are heedless, wrapped in veils, like corpses interred in the tombs [15.3] of nothingness. O People of the Bayán! Do you suppose, after [15.4] you have turned away from this revelation, that you are following in the [per AQA 267.3] paths of the spirit? [15.5] No, by My Beauty through which God has revealed His Own Beauty to [15.6] all that which has been and shall be!

O Maiden of Holiness! Refrain from mention [15.7] of them, for their hearts are made of hardest stone. Nothing shall move them, [15.8] except that which satisfies their selfish passions, for they lack maturity in this Cause, [15.9] desiring to suckle the milk of ignorance from the breast of heedlessness. Leave them, then, [15.10] to the dust, and sing in the accents of My voice within the realm of Divine eternity.

[15.11] Inform those who recline upon the couches of Paradise of what has been revealed within the kingdom [15.12] of creation, that your melodies might attract them and they might hasten to a Beauty [15.13] promised and holy. Thus may they recognize this day on which [15.14] the form of all things has been adorned with the robe of names, and every poor one has attained [16.1] to the exalted retreats of wealth, and every banished wrong-doer has been forgiven.

Seek in these days [16.2], O people, to attain the bounty of God and His mercy which has encompassed [16.3] all created beings, and beware not to follow every ignorant one from whom the truth is hid. Thus is the call of the Pen on the blessed theme [per TT:] sealed [per AQA 267.12-13:] within this Tablet, concluded.

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