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Abstract:
Translation of and brief commentary on a tablet in honor of Khadijeh Bagum.
Notes:
First posted to h-net.org.

Tablet of Visitation for the wife of the Bab, Khadijih Begum

by Bahá'u'lláh

translated by Ahang Rabbani.
1997-10
first written or published 1882(?)

1. Translation

He is the Comforter of the Sorrowful!

O Pen! Verily a great tribulation and mighty calamity hath come upon Thee, one that hath caused the denizens of the Exalted Paradise and the dwellers of the Concourse on High to shed bitter tears and sorrow to ascend until it reached the hem of the robe of the All-Merciful. Blessed is the one who sought to serve her during her lifetime and visited her resting place after her passing, as she sought to ascend to her eternal abode near her resplendent Lord.

The glory manifest from the horizon of My luminous effulgence and the light that appears and radiates from the heaven of My glorious Name rest upon thee, O splendid leaf and fruit of the Lote-Tree beyond which there is no passing. Thou art the consort of the One Whose Manifestation made the kingdom of eternity and the realm of creation to beam forth joyously. We testify that thou art the first leaf that was revived through quaffing the cup of reunion and the last fruit that surrendered her soul because of thy separation. Thou art the one whose essence was consumed, whose heart was set afire, and whose whole being was inflamed in thy remoteness from the presence of the One Whom God hath made the dawning-place of His signs, the dayspring of His testimonies, the manifestation of His names, the source of His ordinances, and the seat of His throne.

O My leaf and the fragrance of the paradise of My good-pleasure! Thou art in the Exalted Kingdom, and this Wronged One makes mention of thee in the prison of `Akka. Thou hast inhaled the fragrance of the Divine Garment before the creation of the world of being, and thou hast beheld His countenance, attained His union, and drunk the sweet wine of His nearness from the hand of His bestowal. We bear witness that in thee two signs have been combined: one, the sign of reunion, which hath revived thee; the other, the sign of separation, which hath caused thy death. How many a night thy deep sighs ascended high in the love of God and thy tears flowed at the mention of My Glorious Name. Verily, He was with thee, and indeed beholds thee consumed by flames, and thy rapture, thy longing, and thy ecstasy, and verily He hears the yearning of thy heart and the moaning of thy spirit.

O fruit of My Tree! In thy tribulation the sea of sorrow hath surged and the breezes of forgiveness hath stirred forth. I bear witness that, as a favor upon thee and as a grace because of thee, God hath forgiven every servant or maid-servant who hath ascended on the night thou hast ascended to the Abha Horizon and the Exalted Kingdom, or its morrow, except those who have openly denied the Truth of God and what hath been revealed from Him. Thus hath God singled thee out, O My leaf, with this most great bounty and this most august and ancient station.

Blessed art thou, and blessed art thy visitors, thy near ones, those who circle around thee, and whosoever implored and will implore God through thee. Thou art the one by whose afflictions the Maiden laments and the leaves of the tree of Manifestation are grieved. Thou art the one who accepted Him upon hearing the divine Call uttered from the tongue of the Possessor of the kingdom of names and who was attracted to it in such wise that thou didst lose consciousness of thyself.

O My Leaf! O bird soaring in the heaven of My love, turning towards My countenance, and speaking My praise! Verily We have revealed for thee that which neither the affairs of centuries nor the appearance of ages will obliterate. By Our Exalted Pen, We have made eternal thy mention in the crimson books known to none save God, the Creator of all things. We have mentioned thee in this Tablet with what the favored Ones make mention of thee, and the believers in the oneness of God turn towards thy shrine.

Blessed art thou, and the divine paradise be thine and whosoever's that standeth in front of thy grave and chanteth what hath been sent down by the Bestower, the Desired.

2. Commentary
by Ahang Rabbani

On 10 November 1882, the brother-in-law of the Bab wrote to the standard-bearer of their family, the far-famed Aqa Mirza Aqay-i Nuri'd-Din, about the passing of his sister, Khadijih Begum, the widow of the Bab. In this letter, Haji Mirza Abu'l-Qasim asked Nuri'd-Din to inform Bahá'u'lláh of the ascension of Khadijih Begum as result of her profound disappointment in not being able to visit her Lord. Nuri'd-Din wrote as bidden, and in response to his missive he received a Tablet from Bahá'u'lláh which contained a Tablet of Visitation revealed in honor of Khadijih Begum. Mirza Habib-i Afnan concludes his chapter of memories of the widow of the Bab with the text of this Arabic Tablet. This Tablet of Visitation appears in 4 places:
  1. Athar-i Qalim A`la, vol 4 (i), 125BE pub., pp 201-4;
  2. Athar-i Qalim A`la, vol 4 (ii), 133BE pub., pp 339-341;
  3. Khandan-i Afnan, pp 184-6
  4. Khatirat-i Hayat, unpublished autobiography of Mirza Habib-i Afnan.
As is to be expected, there are some very minor differences among all of these sources. The version from Khandan-i Afnan is used here because, there we not only find an accurate typed script, but a facsimile of the Tablet in the hand of Khadimu'llah (Mirza Aqa Jan). The other advantage of using Khandan-i Afnan is that the full text of Bahá'u'lláh's Tablet to Aqa Mirza Aqay-i Nuri'd-Din appears on pp 181-6 (and really the facsimile is of the entire Tablet).

Also in Khandan-i Afnan, pp 186-187, we find two other Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh addressed to the wife of the Bab. On pages 188-190, we find a Tablet from Bahá'u'lláh to the wife of Aqa Mirza Aqa, a woman by the name of Maryam Sultan Begum, which largely is about the wife of the Bab.

The other two important Tablets in the same book are on pages 190-191, revealed through the Pen of Abdu'l-Bahá, where in the second Tablet He speaks of some future time when an appropriate Shrine will be erected over her resting spot and He calls on the Afnan to regularly visit and circumambulate that grave on behalf of himself, Abdu'l-Bahá.

I should add that in this last Tablet, `Abdu'l-Bahá notes that the spirit of the Holy Ones circumambulate in adoration the resting place of Khadijih Begum — the very same comment that Bahá'u'lláh has made in the Tablet of Carmel about the Shrine of the Bab.

As a footnote I should add that Mirza Habib has pulled together great many letters to and from Khadijih Begum during her final year — two of them from Akka by Munirih Khanum. All of these have been translated and some day will be published as part of Afnan's autobiography. [See The Báb in Shiraz: An Account by Mírzá Habíbu'lláh Afnán and The Genesis of the Bábí-Bahá'í Faiths in Shíráz and Fárs. -J.W., 2013]

3. Original text

This version published in Muhammad `Ali Faydi, Khandan-i Afnan
(Tehran: Mu'assasih-'i Milli-yi Matbu`at-i Amri, 127 B.E.), pp. 184-186.

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