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Abstract:
One of Baha'u'llah's first public proclamatory tablets, following his private proclamation in 1863.

Surah of the Companions

by Bahá'u'lláh

translated by Juan Cole.
published in Bahá'í Studies Bulletin, 5:34-6:1, pages 4-74
1991
originally revealed as "Suriy-i-Ashab" in Arabic.
first written or published 1865
see translator's introduction

In the name of God, the Glorious, the Most Glorious, the All-Glorious.

Give ear to the divine summons from the precincts of the throne, as we recite to you the verses of God, the Help in Peril, the Hallowed, the Most Great. Perhaps you will then turn to your Lord with all that is in you and proclaim the sovereignty of this Cause between the heavens and the earth. Thus will you attain such power in yourself that even if all who dwell on earth were to contend with you with keen, finely honed sword blades, you would meet them without trepidation and find yourself altogether independent of them by virtue of my name, the Self-Sufficient, the Mighty, the Powerful, the Omnipotent.

In truth, you are aware of what has befallen us, insofar as you became acquainted in the course of your travels with secrets unknown to others. For at the time when we emigrated to God there was no man of insight with us save you. Thus did you pay heed, and came to know what none of those pretenders knew. This is the choice wine for which God has singled you out, so quaff it within yourself in secret, lest the heedless become cognizant of it. Render thanks to God, insofar as he has made you aware of what none of his creatures discovered, and has taken your hand in the Hand of Might and delivered you out of the desert of negligence. There is no God but he, and he is, in truth, the Guardian of the Near Ones. By God, the Eternal Truth! The chalice of joy could contain nothing better than what we have ordained for you. Therefore, drink from it and be steadfast in this Cause, and be not of the fearful. Then gaze with a seeing eye on those who claim, `In truth, we have believed in the verses of God, the Protector, the Mighty, the Powerful.' But when these verses were revealed yet another time in his name, the Exalted, the Omnipotent, the Most Great, behold, they fled from him, showed pride toward him and demonstrated a hypocrisy greater than that of any previous people.

Say: By God, we have endured what has never been borne by the mountains, nor by the heavens and all that is in them, nor by the earth and all that are on it, nor even by those who support the throne of the Almighty. Say: Not the waves, nor the seas, nor the trees, nor all that has been and will be, nor even the hosts of the invisible Lord among the concourse of the worlds can ever bear this burden. Behold, the eyes of grandeur are on the brink of tears, as are the eyes of those who attained everlasting life, and those who dwell in the eternal paradise in their crimson chambers, then those in the Ark of Glory beyond the depths wherein dwell the people of sanctity.

My beloved friend! You shall find that our opponents have clung to the same arguments as did the people of the Qur'an in the past, nay have stooped even lower. God is sufficient to me in this regard as a witness. Indeed, you shall hear from them what never was heard from any of the learned among the Muslims, nor from their ignorant ones, nor even from their street-sweepers in the markets. By God, this is a great iniquity!

Say: This is he who appeared once before. All else besides me has been created by my decree, if you are among the seeing. Say: Do you grow haughty toward him who made your names manifest and your ranks exalted? In truth, this is a wrong that you have committed against God, the Help in Peril, the Glorious, the All-Knowing. Have you not seen the sovereignty and power, the grandeur and majesty, the authority and sublimity of God? Then may your vision grow dim, concourse of the hateful!

Was it for any living thing to ask `Wherefore?' or `Whereby?' or to speak forth in our Presence? Nay, by my Self, the Mighty, the Knowing! All heads have bowed before my glorious and beautiful countenance, and all have humbly submitted to my powerful and invincible dominion.[1] Within the throat of this youth lie imprisoned words that, if revealed to mankind to an extent smaller than a needle's eye, would be sufficient to cause every mountain to crumble, the leaves of the trees to be discolored and their fruits to fall; would compel every head to bow down in worship and every face to turn in adoration towards this omnipotent ruler who, at various times and in diverse manners, appears as a devouring flame, as a billowing ocean, as a radiant light, as the tree which, rooted in the soil of holiness, lifts its branches and spreads out its limbs as far as and beyond the throne of deathless glory.[2] At yet other times, you will find him in the form of the beloved, in this cloak that none in all the creation can recognize. Should any of them desire to recognize him, they would swoon within their own spirits, all save those who approach their Lord with a sincere heart.

Thus does the crier call out on my right hand, the speaker declare on my left hand, the caller shout aloud from behind me and the Spirit from before me, and the tongue of God proclaim from above my head. By God! This is, in truth, he whom you have sought from the beginning that has no beginning. This is the visage toward which all faces turned, though they might now be without understanding, and whoever rejects this manifest, refulgent, exalted and illumined Grace must inquire of his condition from his mother. Such a one will return to the lowest depths of hell. Do you think within yourselves that, if you deny these verses, your faith in any of the former Messengers of God, even in `Ali (the Bab), can be credited? No, by the Lord of the Worlds! Behold, you are given the lie by all the atoms, and beyond them by the tongues of power, might, glory and grandeur, and beyond all these by the tongue of God, the Omnipotent, the Almighty, the All-Wise.

My beloved friend, grasp the hem of the veil with the fingers of might and barely lift it, so that none could perceive what you had done. Should you hear the clamor of the hateful, remove your fingertips and leave it as it was. Subsist behind a curtain of beauty with patience and perseverance. Then bring the fingers of power near and raise the veil of contingent beings higher than before. If the howling of those who join partners with God should begin lay it down and retreat before the beasts of prey, seeking an impregnable shelter. Dwell with the dignity and tranquillity of God, then prepare yourself for the service of God and turn your face to him with manifest authority. Detach yourself from all who are in the heavens and on earth, and from the likes of the idolaters. Then extend the fingers of might and power from the cloak that we bestowed on you before the creation of all things, when Adam was yet between water and clay. Rend asunder the illusions of the people by means of the sovereignty whereby all veils were torn from all things. Demonstrate such wondrous integrity that it will efface the idle fancies of those who have turned away and the delusions of those who depend on false intimations without any warrant from us, if you are among those who act.

Friend, shatter the idols and do not sorrow at what befalls you, and fear not the demonic hosts. Say: O concourse of deniers, we do not fear you. You may perish, or swoon, or pass out of existence, but the Cause of God shall not be turned back. It has, in truth, become manifest, in spite of you and despite those who join partners with God. Whenever we have, at one time, concealed this Cause from you, and at another revealed it to you, this has been a mercy from us on you, and on all the worlds. For some of the people are weak and feeble, such that they would be unable to witness the light of the sun by reason of the infirmity in their eyes. Therefore have we treated them with gentle courtesy, lest they expire altogether. Say: It will not profit you to turn to the right or the left, to answer or to ask, if you be of those with certitude.

Say: Consider in yourselves when `Ali (the Bab) came in truth from the Egypt of Spirit with the verses of God, the Powerful, the unconstrained. Did any of the people of the Qur'an profit from what was with them? Nay, by your Lord, the All-Merciful! In the same way, peruse the Bayan, if you will. By my life, nothing that they possessed availed them, neither anyone's question nor any soul's answer. Every individual of perspicacious understanding knows this. Say: By God, what was never manifested before has now appeared, and he enjoins on you what you were commanded in the Book of God, the Omnipotent, the Mighty, the Omniscient. All that you have was created by my Word, did you but know. Say: In this day, no one can become rich save by making himself poor in the presence of God. This is a sanctified and luminous station. Nor can anything gain mention save by forgetting itself, and becoming oblivious to all that is in the kingdom of the Cause and the world of creation, how much more so to all that was created between the heavens and the earth. Say: Have you not heard it said in the past, that `his evidence is his verses and his proof is his being.'? Then woe to you, concourse of the heedless.

Were the veil to be drawn from the face of this Cause even to so small an extent that none of the mystic knowers could discern it, the call of the concourse on high would be raised, the people of the domains of immortality would cry out, and the strains of the sacred melody would be heard from the sanctuary of grandeur. These would proclaim that this is nothing but a glad-tiding to the world of creation. Is this anything but the King, the Powerful, the Venerable, the Wondrous? Thus was the proof of God made perfect. But the people are in a drunken stupor induced by their negligence, such that they will never even be able to distinguish left from right. After God's self-manifestation, can anything else in the heavens or on earth avail anyone? Nay, by the Lord of the Worlds!

O my beloved friend, come and chant, lilt, drum and beat time in the realm of eternity, and then in the kingdom of the Unknowable Essence, paying no heed to anything save my radiant and resplendent Beauty. Thus have we bestowed on you something, a single letter of which could render wealthy all who are in the heavens and on the earth, if they would but persevere in their love for their Lord, the Glorious, the Generous. May the Spirit be on you, and on all those endued with knowledge.

Make mention of me to Javad, even as the pen of the Cause at this very moment busies itself with my mention, whereby the canopy of holiness was raised aloft, and the sun came to rest on the throne of magnificent splendor. Give him to drink of the chalice we bestowed on you, that thereby his heart will be soothed, and he may be among the grateful. Say: We showed you in your sleep that whereby your soul and spirit will find repose, if you would but perform it. Interpret your vision as God interprets it, then traverse the path even as a cloud passes overhead, and pay no heed to those who join partners with God. Should you find one whose heart is devoid of love for me, flee from him and eschew his company, keeping at a great distance from him. Should your soul contend with you in this matter, then detach yourself from it and demonstrate an invincible certitude. Say: By God, the balance is nothing other but love for me. This is a mercy on the near ones, but a vengeance and a scourge on those who join partners with God.

Then remind Rahim of the glad-tidings of God, the Exalted, the Almighty, the All-Wise. Say: You attained the Presence of God, but failed to recognize him, and were among the heedless. Therefore beseech God to aid you in knowing him and to apprise you of the one who manifests his essence, and to remove you from the midst of those deluded ones. O Rahim, avoid them and their like. Do not associate with them, nor with any among the hateful. Turn toward the horizon of spirit with your heart, and sever yourself from all attachment to this world. Thus do we teach you what shall enable you to dispense with all creatures. What you sent reached us, and we accepted it as a mercy from us on you, that you might be among the thankful.

Speak to Zaman of the verses of his Lord now being mentioned by the Spirit, that he might rejoice in his soul and might be among the pious, at a time when most of the people have departed from piety in such a way that they turn away from him in whom they believed. Thus does the spirit admonish them, lest they enter the ranks of his repudiators. Say: Servant, read what we revealed to you in the past, and inhale from its ink the fragrance of musk from the tresses of the divine Beloved, the Help in Peril, the All-Glorious. Then act according to what is written therein. By God, thereby were solaced the eyes of the dwellers in paradise and the inhabitants of the heaven of sanctity, did you but know.

Then remember us to `Ali-Akbar, and announce to him the good news now being proclaimed by the spirit within this lofty, brilliant and lauded heart. Say: Servant, what we sent to you earlier was such that nothing created between the heavens and the earth equals in value even a letter of it. Commit it to memory, and read it at those times you find yourself free from all who are on the earth, that you might be attracted to the lustrous and resplendent seat of holiness. We received the letter you had previously dispatched, and God shall give you as recompense the best of what is with him, for in truth he is the Guardian of the beneficent. Know, then, that whatever he accepts from his servants is as a grace to his creatures, and that he is Self-Sufficient above the worlds. Beware lest you associate with those in whose hearts you find hatred for this youth, nay, keep clear of them and their like, and avoid their company. Suffice yourself with God, your Lord, and, in truth, he shall render you able to dispense with all else besides him. There is no God but him. The worlds of creation and of command are his, and all is with him on a Preserved Tablet.

Tell `Ali in Qaf (Qazvin) that which the essence of pre-existence commands you, at a time when all who subsist in the depths of eternity circle round him, as does all that has been or will be, if you but knew. Say: Servant, be steadfast in the Cause of God, and fear no one. Put your trust in my refulgent, sanctified and luminous Beauty. If your very essence should oppose you in this, then detach yourself therefrom without pause.

Give our regards to Hasan, that he might be gladdened by the droplets sprinkled in his name from this shimmering Ink, which is perfumed, wondrous, indelible, unific, eternal, and everlasting. Say: Servant, perform what you were commanded in the Guarded Tablet that we sent to you, and be not of the listless. Ascend in your spirit to the heights of sanctity, and let no man make you apprehensive; rather, depend on God, the Mighty, the Powerful. Say: By God, the Ascension has recurred in its entirety, if you did but see.

Say to Ibn Nabil from us, if you find in his visage the radiance of grace: Servant, do not hesitate in this Cause, and follow no one in so doing. Then look with fresh eyes at the proofs of the messengers. By God, he who appeared in the year 60 is manifest once more. This is among his proofs that have filled the East and the West. Because your father hesitated in this Cause, he failed to attain what he desired. God severed him from all that was with him and returned him to dust with great sorrow solely in order to awaken you, but you failed to perceive it and remained heedless. God has now, however, forgiven him his offenses and has granted him remission of his misdeeds, for he, in truth, pardons whoever he wills, and chastises whomever he pleases. The decree is his alone: He does whatsoever he wills and ordains whatsoever he desires. Say: O servant, have mercy on yourself; do not dispute the verses of God, and be not among those who join partners with God. Say: By God, were we to draw aside the veil from the face of this Cause, you would slash at your bodies with your own hands. However, we concealed the Cause with what was predestined in the tablets by the pen of God, the Almighty, the All-Knowing. My beloved friend, if you fail to perceive in him the fragrance of love, sever yourself from him and pay him no heed. Turn to the countenance of your Lord, the Glorious, the Wondrous.

Then magnify before the face of Isma`il the one who murmurs from the fire on the heights, to whose flames are attracted the hearts of the believers in divine unity. Say: Servant, strip yourself of all veils, then enter into the fire, for it shall be as light and mercy to you, and to all the sincere. Then smash the idols of self and passion set up by those who disbelieved and joined partners with the Deity after having claimed within themselves faith in God, the Powerful, the Mighty, the Compassionate. Say: By God, your own tongues revile you and your mortal frames declare themselves innocent of you, concourse of the heedless! Servant, teach the Cause of your Lord and let nothing dismay you. Fare not on the paths of the deluded.

Say: O people of the Bayan, `Ali (the Bab) has appeared in a new mantle. In truth, he was named Husayn in the realm of names, and Baha' in the kingdom of eternity, and in the domain of the Unknowable Essence he was given this name, which has taken the form of this youth. Blessed be God, the Best of Creators. Concourse of mankind, the manifestation of divine potency has appeared in the most great countenance, with an adornment that has dazzled the hearts of all endued with intelligence and insight. Say: Concourse of idolaters, by what proof can you escape. By God, there is no refuge for anyone save in severing himself from all that he possesses and clinging to this glittering, most luminous Cord. Indeed, he is the most great sign and the beauty of God among you, and he is the concealed mystery, but he is the wrath of God to those who attribute partners to him. In truth, his wrath is bitterer and more calamitous, for by him God chastises those who have denied the divine verses and decree. Then flee to God, your Lord, and set not other gods up beside him. In truth, with me is sanctuary. Say: If we wished, we would bring into being another creation, for we are over all things Mighty and Powerful. All things are in the grasp of our potency, and this is recognized by the people of knowledge and thought.

People, think on these verses. By virtue of what saying did you hitherto believe in `Ali (the Bab)? Then consider carefully, O concourse of asses! Say: In this day, nothing shall avail you but to believe in him in whom you believed aforetime, and in the Tablets and Scriptures that he revealed. Munib, report to that servant what this celebrated pen has related to you, that he may be steadfast within himself in such a way that he will not be deterred by the aversion of those who turned away, nor hindered by anyone who has committed a wrong toward God and disbelieved.

Then mention on our behalf the friend who journeyed to God, attained his Presence, heard his melodies and was of the people of vision. Say: Blessed are your eyes and ears! It is incumbent on you to realize their full value, insofar as they have heard and seen what the eyes of those who advanced toward God never witnessed. Then the latter turned their backs and turned away from him that dawned from the sacred horizon with this radiant, sanctified and most pure Beauty. O servant, be not distressed when the clamor of the idolaters grows raucous, for if you allow yourself to be disturbed thereby you risk joining the people of hell.

Say: The most great trumpet has appeared, and has spoken forth with the truth, sounding, and raising its voice to the utmost between the heavens and the earth, proclaiming, `With me is sanctuary!' People, do not invent lies against God, your creator, and do not deny him after he has lifted the veil and manifested himself. Beware lest you busy yourselves with this world and allow anything to prevent you from attaining this fathomless and overflowing Ocean. In truth, those who believed in God and his verses ascended to God, and they have inherited gardens and rivers, but those who disbelieved and set up other gods beside God, they are consumed in the fires of the inferno. Beyond this, the wrath of God will take hold of them and make them like enclosed fields of chaff. Thus did God decree for them retribution for their sins. Woe to them, and to any who disbelieve and act with perfidy. And blessed is he who acquiesces to the good-pleasure of his Lord, and who, when the divine verses are recited to him, believes and gives thanks.

Then convey to `Abdu'r-Rahim the gist of this tablet, so that perhaps he will draw near in his essence to the sacred Shore, and be of the thoughtful, who contemplate the Cause of God and obey the ordinances and admonitions revealed by him. Say: Servant, cast away whatever hinders you from arriving at the haven of grandeur. In truth, that is better for you than all that has been created and foreordained. Lift up your voice between the heavens and the earth, that you may be among those who struggle in the way of God, and gain the victory. Say: In truth, we have created the heavens and the earth for the sake of our Cause. By God, then, this is our Cause, which has appeared with the truth, and which has been recognized only by those endowed with sagacity and the ability to reflect. Thus have we inspired you and informed you, so that you might follow what you have been commanded in this tablet, and be of the discerning.

Finally, tell Ha', as the last of the names, what the dove of holiness says, and perhaps he will be enraptured by her melodies. We have mentioned him last so that he might ascend to the lote-tree of the farthest limit and seek its shade. Say: The lote-tree has spread its branches over all who are in the heavens and on earth, and blessed is the one who resides in its vicinity.

The sun has risen over the sacred horizon, and the concourse on high has been illumined by its radiance. The scent of musk has diffused from the knolls of sanctity, perfuming the temples of pre-existence. Happy is he who adorns himself with these fragrances! The luminary of the Cause has risen in the midst of the sky, and has taken the form of a full moon, brilliant in its whiteness. Concourse of the near ones, seek to be illumined by its splendor! Say: The throne has been established behind the pavilion of majesty, and about it circle chaste maidens of beauty bearing flagons brimming with the water of life. Blessed is the person who attains to sprinkled droplets thereof. Say: The Maiden of Eternity has uncovered Beauty itself with a gut-wrenching gaze. Blessed is the one who is struck by her glance! Say: The voice of God has been heard from the sanctuary of eternity, and the hearts of the mystic knowers have been enthralled by its melodies.

O my name, hearken to what is revealed to you from the Holy Land by the songs of your Lord, and stand in fear of no one, rather, put your trust in God, who will preserve you from the evil ones and the harm they wreak. Take heed lest you forbid yourself the very thing for which you were created, and be not among those who deny the verses of God after their revelation. In this day, nothing can be of any benefit to anyone until he attains my love, and to this bear witness the people of the sacred canopy and the tongues of those who subsist beyond it. In truth, those who turned away from the brilliancy of this countenance, God will blacken their own faces in hellfire, until they are as the feathers of the raven. He will chastise them with the burning flames of remoteness. Say: In truth, he it is who created the heavens and the earth, and established the throne on the water. Then he suspended the water from the sky, so that you might recognize the handiwork of God, who perfected the creation of all things. Meditate thereon, and on the blessings that have been foreordained in the earth.

Say: People, in truth, I am that `good' you were promised in the year Nine, concerning whom God covenanted with all the atoms. Blessed is the soul that fulfills his covenant. The canopy of pre-existence has been raised. People of the Bayan, do not keep yourselves therefrom, but rather dwell in its court. By God, the lote-tree of Baha' has borne fruit in this paradise that has manifested itself in four- and three-sided patterns. People of the Ark of Eternity, draw near to it, and enjoy its harvest. Say: People, do you deny the verses of God and yet continue to recite what was revealed before? Woe to you, insofar as satan has made your works seem beautiful to your base selves. Thus do we share with you the verses of the Cause, that you might rise from the dust of negligence and be nourished by what descended from the clouds of sanctity, and the waters that rain down from them. Thus does the pen of the Cause counsel every soul among the perceptive.

The vessels of immortality have come to rest on the crimson sea, and happy is the one who clings to their sacred cords, that he might attain everlasting life by virtue of their imperishability. By God, this sea has dazzled the eyes of contingent beings and its waters are plied by the ark of holiness that was constructed by the Noah of the spirit for this youth, in whose name the helm of the ark is taken, and in whose name it is spun. Say: The seas of eternity have billowed within this Most Great Ocean, and no one has attained to its shore, how much less to its whirling depths, save those who clung to the sacred ships that ply it. Board them, then, in my name.

The burning bush has been raised up on the Sinai of immortality, and the nightingale that sang before the world was made warbles on its branches with the best of melodies. Give ear, temples of the All-Praised, that you may hear them. The river of paradise has streamed out from this celestial fountain that flowed from the sacred spring of Kawthar, through these lips from which the waters of eternity descend. Blessed is he on whom they overflow. Say: This is the Self of God, which is seated on the throne, and God has sanctified his robe from the touch of the idolaters.

O my beloved friend, nourish every soul with the tender, imperishable bounties of the divine unity that descend from this heaven, which has been raised up with truth. Take heed lest you transgress the bounds of the people, and give to every soul according to its capacity. He whose sense of taste has suffered an alteration will never be able to distinguish between the sweet and bitter, except if he should recover from his illness. Thus, we created souls in various conditions. They who have not cleansed their ears shall never delight in the songs of holiness. Thus do we share with you the purport of every decree. Break the seal on the flask of the All-Merciful in my name, the All-Bountiful, and pass about the wine of life that was pressed by the fingers of the All-Praised. Perhaps the people of the contingent world will be warmed by its heat and be illumined by its gleaming light. In this manner have we revealed the verses, and have changed them from one condition to another. We send them forth as we please, so that in their dispatch you may witness the power of your Lord, and may prostrate yourself humbly before him. Say: By God, the Eternal Truth, glory lies not in revealing verses and the like. Rather, glory lies in my manifestation between the heavens and the earth, among the divers peoples of the world, if you have eyes to see.

If you find those whose names we have mentioned in this Tablet fragrant and encompassed by the spirit, then waft on them the diffusing scent of God, the Exalted, the Mighty, the Guardian. If not, stop up the mouth of the perfume bottle, lest those who join partners with God discover its aroma, and seal it with the mark of holiness or with a crimson gem from this Yemen. Beware lest you spread the divine writings among the idolaters. Rather, abandon them, be patient and sorrow not. By God, this is a Cause at which all who are in the heavens and on earth are thunderstruck, the skin of the haughty has crawled with fright, the lands of the pharaohs have been split, towering peaks have been leveled, every nursing mother has forsaken her newborn, every pregnant woman has laid down her fetus and a drunken stupor has enveloped the inhabitants of the heavens and the earth, all save those on whom God bestowed a heart able to bear afflictions.

Bear the Book of God with a power and a might deriving from us. Shrink not from bearing it, and feel no apprehension at its weight, for he will, in truth, protect you and will guard you from all trials and calamities. When any tribulation touches those endued with knowledge, it only increases their detachment in God, and their yearning for that station which God has sanctified from the vicissitudes of time. If you find yourself alone between the heavens and the earth, then be pleased therewith, and with the One who created them, and do not be overwhelmed by trials and distress. Turn away from those who have disbelieved, and draw near to God. In truth, that is better for you than possession of the heavens and the earth, and of all that was created, whether hidden or manifest. Purify your hem from the tumult of the created world, and quaff from the crimson chalice proffered by the hand of this most glorious youth, so that your soul may be liberated from this world and the vanities and palaces that are therein. Say: People, do not focus on discrepancies among the verses we have revealed, for these have all descended from one strong in power, from the realm of immortality, and differ according to various stations, if you be among the discerning. Thus do we bestow on you a portion of the mysteries of the Cause, lest your feet stumble on this exalted and manifest path. Conceal not the Cause of your Lord to the extent that the divine fire is extinguished in all else besides it, nor openly proclaim it in such a way that harm befalls you. Follow a clear path between these two.

Know, then, that this Beauty has been sorely tried among those persons in such a way that he desires to withdraw from them, or soar into the heavens of holiness in the primal homeland. By God, I have fallen at every moment beneath the talons of the malicious and the hateful, and I shall never find for myself any helper save God, who created me and all else besides, and sent me forth with the sovereignty of his Cause to land and sea, and to the inhabitants of the cities. Say: We related not even an intimation of our vision to the believers in the Unknowable Essence. Behold, they could not bear it, and they cast us into this pit, in the depths of darkness. Thus do we relate to you the mysteries of the Cause that were shrouded and concealed. Know that among those present were some who turned away from God, their Lord, and disbelieved in his signs, and some who believed in their Lord and attained safety and salvation. The former disguised themselves, when they ventured out from behind their wine jugs, in the gowns of women, after which they turned away from this most manifest, and yet most hidden, Beauty. Say: People, fear God and do not dispute with the manifestation of his Self; rather, turn to him with splendid humility. The invisible God has become manifest and the symbol of the hidden God has appeared from this sanctuary. People, render thanks to God, who created you from gushing water and made known to you the paths of holiness. For he revealed to you divine laws and standards, so that you might follow the way of guidance for the sake of this fountain that has appeared with the truth. Beware lest you differ concerning it, nor should you doubt that you will attain the presence of your Lord. Draw near to him in your hearts, for that is, in truth, better for you than all that has been made manifest and all that has remained concealed.

This is the Surah of the Companions, which we have revealed with the truth, and we have sent it to you that you may recite it to those in whose faces you discover the radiance of the All-Merciful. When they hear the verses of God, they soar to the lote-tree of the farthest limit in this sanctified and united Court.

If you see Nasr, relate to him, even after the last-mentioned person, what has at this time been revealed from the kingdom of exaltation, that he might remember within himself, and be among those who were secure and guided. Say: Nasr, aid your Lord to the extent you are able for the sake of this victory that has been manifested in the form of this youth. Blessed by God, who created and proportioned all things. Be steadfast in the Cause of your Lord God in such a way that nothing in the heavens or on earth could prevent you from being among those that made a covenant and fulfilled it.

Say: People, do you dispute the Spirit concerning what he witnessed and saw, and the melodies of God that he heard in the most holy, pure and glorious realm? In truth, he is so steadfast that the entire creation will never deter him, nor will all who are in the heavens and on earth ever be more in his eyes than a handful of dust. Were he but to speak forth the least intimation, it would be sweeter than all that has been revealed in the kingdom of the Cause and the world of creation. This is known only by those who possess understanding. In truth, he has mounted the throne and seated himself thereon. This is a difficult thing indeed for those who join partners with God, and for him who has disbelieved and transgressed, then turned away and provoked great misery. Say: Concourse of the hateful, die in your rancor! For the sun has dawned forth, spreading the rays of God from the zenith of the mid-morning sky, and all have been illumined thereby, save the despicable, who have gone astray and become blind. Thus do we relate to you some of the stories of God, you possessors of intellect. In truth, a glance at him is better than all that is in the concourse on high, and than the kingdoms of this world and the next. Blessed is the one who has attained the presence of the throne, has gazed on the countenance of the Most High, and has heard in the songs of holiness the most great verses of his Lord. Nasr, listen to what is revealed to you from the farthest divine realm, and take heed lest you fear any man. Turn to the visage of your Lord, and be of those who profited from the remembrance of God. Have patience when the heavens are cleft asunder, the earth of desire is split and the lamentations among those who turned away and were lost fill the air. He whose heart is not purified from all that can be described by any name will never reflect within himself this brilliant and most limpid Beauty.

Purify the mirrors of your souls, people of the earth, then ascend to the station that God has rendered, from behind himself, only two bow-lengths away, or less. In truth, he declares at all times what the Spirit revealed within his pure and sinless breast. Say: He speaks not out of his own base desire, rather, he proclaims the most great verses of his Lord, with which he is inspired by one powerful in his commands. Say: In truth, he has at this time risen above the most exalted horizon, and he is, verily, the Primal Beauty (the Bab) clothed in another mantle. By him have the standards of the Cause been raised aloft in the kingdom of names, and the pavilion of glory been erected in the realm of the Unknowable Essence. Say: O people, return to him, for he is the end of all things. By God, he is the heaven of refuge at the lote-tree of holiness when the effulgence of the light becomes manifest from this shining and most glorious Beauty. Thus, his sharp gaze swerved not from the most manifest, and yet most hidden, sovereignty of his Lord that he witnessed with his own eyes.

Say: Were he to uncover the veil from the face of only one of his words, the earth would be rent and the heavens of the most high would be cloven. He, however, treated his servants with gentle courtesy, lest their hearts be distinguished from one another, and they return to the seat of wrath in the deepest pit. Be afraid of no one, and remind the people of the verses of your Lord, for this is his triumph in the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. Thus he aids you with this mention, and to him the commemoration returns. Thus have we caused to flow forth from every letter of this tablet nineteen rivers. Happy is he that thirsts and seeks to drink.

When we completed this tablet, the most great verses of God began to descend once again from the realm of immortality, that every reasoning and gracious man might take admonishment therefrom. Let us mention in this tablet some of the beloved of God to whom we have not heretofore referred, that the grace of God might encompass every atom and every possessor of refinement and prudence. Then remind those, over whose names the pen of the cause has not moved, if you find them bearing in mind the remembrance of their Lord. Otherwise, leave them to themselves and avoid every one who turns away in suspicion. Say: O people, delight in these days wherein God has come in the shadows of the spirit, and the countenance has dawned forth from behind the veil.

Share with Muhammad-`Ali, whose name you mentioned in your letter, what the pen of fate reminds him in the realm of the divine decree, in the presence of his Lord, the Mighty, the Bestower. Thus might he ascend within himself to the heights of sanctity through this ascension that has manifested itself in the form of this youth, and be among those who obeyed and repented. Servant, detach yourself from all that your passions desire, then cling to the most great cord within yourself, which is, in truth, better for you than the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. Only the steadfast believers can comprehend this saying and those endued with insight. Give praise in the name of your Lord, and let the ecstasy and rapture of love wash over you, insofar as we have poured out for you the wine of life in wondrous and sanctified goblets. We have, in truth, rendered those letters chalices containing the most marvelous attributes, and we give such of our servants as we desire to drink from the cup of our verses. Say: From us this grace appeared and to us shall it return on the Resurrection Day. A drop thereof bestows life on the forms of all beings. Thus has our mercy preceded all things, and encompassed every atom, from the heights of paradise down to the lowliest speck of earth. In truth, those who failed to attain holy droplets from this cup are more contemptible in the sight of God than common flies, for they disbelieved in the bounty of God and disputed his verses after their revelation, and followed every lying infidel.

Say: O people, do you call on those to whom God has given no authority, and yet abandon the lord of lords? How miserable are the guardians you have adopted for yourselves instead of God! You shall be chastised by the divine wrath, for he is, in truth, powerful in fixing blame and severe in inflicting punishment. Among the idolaters is one who was there, and who was displeased that we gave to ourselves one of the names. Thus did he commit a wrong toward God, who created and fashioned him. The injustice committed by those who join partners with God is nothing but perdition. Say: People, all the names refer to their kingdom, which refers to my Cause, which was created by my word. All know this, who have believed in the Day of Reckoning. The sun has dawned from the horizon of the glory of its Lord, the heavens of pride are sundered, the earth of malice is furrowed with chasms, and the mountain of stillness moves like the clouds. Thus have we informed you of every announcement, that you may remember within yourself and remind the people of that with which we have inspired you. Mayhap they will purify their souls from every malady, and recover their health.

People of the earth, strive for victory in these days, and let not the numbers of the idolaters frighten you. Thus does the pen of grandeur counsel you on behalf of the Glorious, the Enticing One. Know that triumph can never be attained by unsheathing your swords, but rather depends on purifying your souls. Concourse of companions, should anyone sever himself from all who are in the heavens and on earth, and arise to fulfill the divine plan, God will, through him, render victorious the sincere among his loved ones, and will pull down the standards of the idolaters from all parties. By God, the true victory is your detachment from all else besides God and your steadfastness in my love in this day, when the feet of the eloquent have stumbled and a pack of jackals has issued from the thickets of hypocrisy. These persons disbelieved and turned away, doubting that they could attain the presence of their Lord, even after he manifested himself from the sacred horizon with scriptures and the book.

Say: Concourse of holiness, unsheathe the swords of wisdom from the scabbards of utterance, and thereby aid your Lord, the All-Merciful. Beware lest you wreak corruption in the land after its reformation, and fear God, to whom all affairs return in the beginning and the end. Should the idolaters creep up on you, drive them away with our word, not with your blades, and do not contravene what you were commanded in the Book. Be steadfast, people, in following the path, and allow fire and rapture to consume you in this Cause and on this foundation. If you fail to pursue this path with perseverance, God will send another people that will be firm in his Cause and will commemorate him with distraction, yearning and ecstasy. Nothing in the heavens or on earth will deter them. On these the angels and the Spirit will pronounce blessings, as will the concourse of holiness, and those who were within the pavilion of nearness behind the veil. Is there anything that does not mention their names and thereby draw near to God? Say: By God, their names are tolled by the bell, crowed by the cockerel of paradise, and sung by the rebec. Thus are the words of your Lord completed in veracity and justice. Nothing can alter the words of your Lord, but none can comprehend this truth save the souls endued with excellence and immortality.

Notes
  1. Begins passage translated by Shoghi Effendi, World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, pp. 108-109.
  2. Ends passage translated in Ibid.
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