Chapter 12  

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In the preceding chapters numerous proofs of the Manifestation of the Bab and of Baha'u'llah have been presented. This chapter offers further proofs from the Qur'an concerning the Baha'i Revelation. Baha'u'llah's Name Is Mentioned Each letter in the Arabic alphabet is equivalent to a number according to a system known as "Abjad". The letter "A", pronounced "alif" in Arabic, has a numerical value of one. However, "alif" is in fact a consonant, as are all Arabic letters, and as such it must receive what is known as a "hamza" ('); otherwise the "alif" without a "hamza" becomes a vowel. The "hamza" inserted after the "alif", as in "Baha"', also has a numerical value of one. Thus "Baha"', in Arabic would be written as B and H and A and a Hamza, which is BHA'. In this connection, it is interesting to note that in the Surih of the Inevitable (LXIX), verses 13 to 17 [69:13-17], it is revealed:
But when one blast shall be blown on the trumpet,
And the earth and the mountains shall be upheaved, and shall both be crushed into dust at a single crushing,
On that day the woe that must come suddenly shall suddenly come,
And the angels shall be on its sides, and over them on that day eight shall bear up the throne of thy Lord,1

  1. In his book Shoghi Effendi, p. 83, Dr. Ugo Giachery writes: "... Since the beginning of Shoghi Effendi's noble enterprise, when Mr. Maxwell brought to Rome his drawings of the Shrine's model, I had observed that the number eight had a predominant part in the whole project. Without my asking the significance of that number in the structure and the surrounding grounds, Shoghi Effendi one day made reference to a verse of the Qur'an, which he first recited in Arabic and then in English: '... on that day eight shall bear up the throne of thy Lord 'He then explained the sublime station of the Bab, and how he guided Mr. Maxwell to incorporate the spiritual meaning of this Islamic prophecy in the project, to testify to His exalted station, to honour eternally the Martyr-Prophet enshrined in the Sepulchre, and to emphasize how closely the Bab's Revelation was connected with the expectations of the Islamic world. Shoghi Effendi further mentioned that 'Abdu'l- Baha... always referred to the Shrine as the 'Throne of the Lord', and to the Casket of the Bab also as the 'Throne'. Even the Holy Dust was called by Him the 'Throne"' On p. 96 of Shoghi Effendi, Giachery records a pilgrim's note: "Shoghi Effendi said: 'The mosque of Medina has seven minarets, the one of Sultan Ahmad in Constantinople has six, but the Qur'an mentions eight"'. M. Gail refers to the existence of a Tablet of 'Abdu'l-Baha in which He interprets this verse. She writes: "The Master's words were to this effect: that the throne is the temple or body of the Manifestation of God, and that the Manifestation is symbolized by the number one. And according to abjad reckoning - the numerical value of the component letters, used everywhere by Persian and Arabic scholars - 'Baha' is eight plus one. ('B' in the abjad is two, the short vowel is not written in, the 'h' is five, the long vowel is one, and the symbol called a hamza, represented by the apostrophe, is also one.) The verse thus means: on that day Baha will bear up the throne (the body) of thy Lord "On that day eight will bear up one."' See Summon Up Remembrance, p. 128.

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The thirteenth verse refers to one Trumpet-blast, the first of two Trumpet-blasts referred to in the Surih of the Troops (XXXIX), verses 68 and 69 [39:68-69]. Clearly, a Trumpet-blast cannot be other than the announcement of a Message. Hence, the first announcement or Trumpet-blast on the Day of Resurrection is none other than the Call of the Bab. Following its attendant upheaval, "eight shall bear up the throne of thy Lord". One meaning of the "eight" referred to in the verse is the sum of the numerical values of the letters upon which is raised the Hamza in BHA', thus:

      B is equivalent to 2
      A is equivalent to 1

It is a total of 8 that bear the Hamza or the full name of Baha'u'llah.

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Many traditions are attributed to the Prophet Muhammad which explain the meaning of the phrase "Throne of God", including the following from among those known as Qudsi Traditions, where God says: Neither My earth nor My heavens could contain Me, but the heart of My faithful servant did. In another tradition, the Prophet is reported to have said:
The heart of the believers is the Throne of the Merciful.

From Where the Cry Shall Come Forth

The manifestations of God have been given many names in the Qur'an apart from "Apostle" or "Prophet". "The Clear Evidence ", "the Glad-Tidings", "the Word of God", "the Caller", "The Witness", "the Redeemer", "the Spirit and "Trumpet-blast" are among them. Muhammad was also given the name of "the Crier" (al-MunadI), whose Cry is a call to faith: O our Lord! we have indeed heard the voice of one that called. He called us to the faith -- 'Believe ye on your Lord' -- and we have believed.

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O our Lord! forgive us then our sin, and hide away from us our evil deeds, and cause us to die with the righteous.2
(Surih III, "The Family of 'Imran", vv. 190-1) [3:190-191]

In Surih Qaf (L), God addresses the Prophet Muhammad, and through Him, the followers of Muhammad, with the following Words:
Wherefore put up with what they say, and celebrate the praise of thy Lord before sunrise and before sunset:
And praise Him in the night: and perform the two final prostrations.
And list for the day whereon the crier3 shall cry from a place near to every one alike:
The day on which men shall in truth hear that shout will be the day of their coming forth from the grave.4
(Surih L., "Kaf", vv. 38-41) [50:38-41]

  1. The Baha'i reader will recognize these verses as ones quoted by early believers in embracing the new Revelation. See Memorials of the Faithful, pp. 150-1 and 156, and The Dawn-Breakers. pp. 146-7, which provides Shoghi Effendi's translation.
  2. References in the Baha'i Writings to "the Crier" can be found on p. 131 of Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 40 of Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, pp. 12 and 103 of Tablets of Baha'u'llah, and p. 13 of Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha.
  3. The verse is alluded to by Baha'u'llah on pp. 41-2 of Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, as follows: ... "Say: The shout hath been raised, and the people have come forth from their graves, and arising, are gazing around them. Some have made haste to attain the court of the God of Mercy, others have fallen down on their faces in the fire of Hell, while still others are lost in bewilderment...."

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Thus God warns His Apostle, and through Him His entire nation to listen for the Crier who "shall cry from a place near to every one alike" and that Day shall be the Day of Resurrection, the day of "coming forth from the grave". But Muhammad Himself was the Crier, according to verse 190 of the Surih of the Family of 'Imran. Hence, the Crier to whom Muhammad was enjoined to listen is another Manifestation who shall appear in the future and cry out from a place nearby to Mecca. Where could this nearby place be? In the Surih of the Night Journey (XVII), or Children of Israel, as it is also called, the first verse reads: Glory be to Him who carried his servant by night from the sacred temple of Mecca to the temple that is more remote [Jerusalem], whose precinct we have blessed, that we might shew him of our signs! for He is the Hearer, the Seer.5 The most notable precincts of Jerusalem mentioned in the Holy Books and in the traditions are those of 'Akka and Baghdad. The traditions regarding

  1. H. Balyuzi notes that "This verse is the basis for the account of the Prophet's 'Night Journey' from Mecca to Jerusalem, and the 'Ascent' from Jerusalem to Heaven.... The world of Islam has accepted the literal fact of this Night Journey, just as Christendom has accepted the literal fact of the Resurrection and the Ascension of Christ. However, voices have been raised. . . to assert that the mi'raj of the Prophet was not an actual physical occurrence but a profound spiritual experience..." in Muhammad and the Course of Islam, p. 41.

    It is in the Kitab-i-Iqan that Baha'u'llah states that comprehension of the mystery of the "Miraj" requires the cleansing of the heart from "limited and obscure learnings". See Kitab-i-Iqan, pp. 186-7.

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'Akka which are accepted by both Shi'ihs and Sunnis include the following:

Ibn-i-Mas'ud reported that the Prophet said:
"Of all shores the best is the shore of Askelon, and 'Akka is, verily, better than Askelon, and the merit of 'Akka above that of Askelon and all other shores is as the merit of Muhammad above that of all other Prophets. I bring you tidings of a city betwixt two mountains in Syria, in the middle of a meadow, which is called 'Akka. Verily, he that entereth therein, longing for it and eager to visit it, God will forgive his sins, both of the past and of the future. And he that departeth from it, other than as a pilgrim, God will not bless his departure. In it is a spring called the Spring of the Cow. Whoso drinketh a draught therefrom, God will fill his heart with light, and will protect him from the most great terror on the Day of Resurrection. "

And Anas, son of Malik, said:
"The Apostle of God may the blessings of God and His salutations be upon Him hath said: 'By the shore of the sea is a city, suspended beneath the Throne, and named 'Akka. He that dwelleth therein, firm and expecting a. reward from God exalted be He God will write down for him, until the Day of Resurrection, the recompense of such as have been patient, and have stood up, and knelt down, and prostrated themselves before Him. "'

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Other traditions of the Prophet include:
"I announce unto you a city, on the shores of the sea, white, whose whiteness is pleasing unto God- exalted be He! It is called 'Akka. He that hath been bitten by one of its fleas is better, in the estimation of God, than he who hath received a grievous blow in the path of God And he that raiseth therein the call to prayer, his voice will be lifted up unto Paradise. And he that remaineth therein for seven days in the face of the enemy, God will gather him with Khidr6 -- peace be upon Him - And God will protect him from the most great terror on the Day of Resurrection. "

"There are kings and princes in Paradise. The poor of 'Akka are the kings of Paradise and the princes thereof A month in 'Akka is better than a thousand years elsewhere."

"Blessed the man that hath visited 'Akka, and blessed he that hath visited the visitor of 'Akka. Blessed the one that hath drunk from the Spring of the Cow and washed in its waters, for 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.7 Well is it with him that hath drunk from these springs, and washed in their waters, for God hath forbidden the fire of hell to touch him and his body on the Day of Resurrection. "

"In 'Akka are works of supererogation and acts which are beneficial, which God vouchsafed specially unto whomsoever He pleaseth. And he that saith in 'Akka: 'Glorified be God, and praise

  1. Khidr, a name which means green, is the custodian of the water of life referred to in Qur'an 18:63 and on p. 26 of The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys.
  2. Salvan is a spring in Mecca and Zamzam is a well, also in Mecca, regarded by Muslims as sacred.

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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,' God will write down for him a thousand goods deeds, and blot out from him a thousand evil deeds, and will uplift him a thousand grades in Paradise, and will forgive him his transgressions. And whoso saith in 'Akka': 'I beg forgiveness of God,' God will forgive all his trespasses. And he that remembereth God in 'Akka' at morn and at eventide, in the night-season and at dawn, is better in the sight of God than he who beareth swords, spears and arms in the path of God-exalted be He!"8

Such were the words of the Prophet concerning 'Akka. With regard to Baghdad, in the Surih of Jonah (X) [10] He said of those who believe:
But they who believe and do the things that are right, shall their Lord direct aright because of their faith. Rivers shall flow at their feet in gardens of delight:
Their cry therein, "Glory be to thee, O God!" and their salutation therein, "Peace!"
And the close of their cry, "Praise be to God, Lord of all creatures!"9
(Surih X, "Jonah, Peace be on Him!", vv. 9-11) [10:9-11] And God calleth to the abode of peace;10 and He guideth whom He will into the right way.
(Surih X "Jonah, Peace be on Him!", v. 26) [10:26]

  1. Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, pp. 178-180.
  2. Mulla Husayn's account of his interview with the Bab, an event which marks the beginning of the Babi Dispensation as prelude to that of Baha'u'llah, includes his use of these verses in description of his spiritual experience. See The Dawn-Breakers, p. 62.
  3. Baghdad. In God Passes By, p. 110, Shoghi Effendi wrote "In that city, described in Islamic traditions as Zahru'l-Kufih, designated for centuries as the 'Abode of Peace' and immortalized by Baha'u'llah as the 'City of God,' He, except for His two year retirement to the mountains of Kurdistan and His occasional visits to Najaf, Karbila and Kazimayn, continued to reside until His banishment to Constantinople. To that city the Qur'an had alluded as the 'Abode of Peace' to which God 'calleth.' To it, in that same Book, further allusion had been made in the verse 'For them is a Dwelling of Peace with their Lord.. on the Day whereon God shall gather them all together. [6:126-7]"' Reference to Baha'u'llah's Writings that poured forth from the "Abode of Peace" is made on p. 141 of that text; His declaration of His mission is recounted in chapter
  4. Baha'u'llah makes reference to the "peaceful city of the divine presence" on p. 55 of the Kitab-i-Iqan. See also pp. 22 and 174-5 of that Text, and p. 103 of Memorials of the Faithful.

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The metropolis of Daru's-Salam, which means "Abode of Peace", became known as Baghdad. He Will Change You for Another People Of the numerous warnings that were given in the Qur'an, one was accompanied by an explanatory gesture on behalf of the Prophet that is of particular interest to Baha'is.
Lo! ye are they, who are called to expend for the cause of God: and some of you are niggards: but whoso is niggardly shall be niggard only to his own loss; for God is the Rich, and ye are the poor: and if ye turn back, He will change you for another people, and they shall not be your like!11
(Surih XLVII, "Muhammad", v. 40) [47:40]

  1. In His farewell address to the Letters of the Living, found on p. 93 of The Dawn-Breakers, the Bab alludes to this verse, in encouraging them to meet the challenges presented to them by the arrival of the Day of God.

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When asked which people were being referred to as "another people" to replace the Arabs, the Prophet patted the legs of Salman a Persian believer, and said; "He and his people". He then continued: "By the True One, in Whose Hand is my life, if the Faith of God be suspended in the Pleiades, surely men from Persia shall reach it". This tradition is among those accepted by both Shi'ahs and Sunnis and is included by Nassafi in his book, volume IV, page 169, as well as Muhammad Farid Vajdi, in his book, third edition, page 676.12 The Earth Will Shine With the Light of its Lord - This is the Promise of God. Interpreted literally, the earth shines every day with the visible sun. In its spiritual sense, the earth symbolizes the hearts of men, which shine with the light of guidance from the Lord on the Promised Day.

  1. See also Letters and Essays, pp. 192-193.

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About the Author

Born in the remote Nile Delta village of El Dhahriya to a Muslim father, raised in an entrenched Islamic community, tutored in a Qur'anic village school which provided no more than primary school education, Muhammad Mustafa, a telegraph operator at fifteen, rose, through the creative breath of faith in Baha'u'llah Whom he spontaneously and unconditionally accepted at the first hint, to become one of the veteran Baha'i administrators, an experienced and reliable translator for the beloved Guardian, a defender of the Cause in the heart of the Islamic and Arab world, a diffuser of the Glad Tidings in Egypt, Sudan and North Africa as well as other African countries, a Knight of Baha'u'llah, the rallying point and source of love and encouragement to the valiant Egyptian Baha'i community deprived of its administrative framework since 1960, and, during the last six years of his life, a member of the Continental Board of Counsellors. After joining the ranks of the faithful at age sixteen in Etai-El-Baroud, a town midway between Cairo and Alexandria, Muhammad Mustafa was transferred to Tanta and later went to Port Said where he shared with the other believers the persecutions of 1919 and 1920. He was not physically harmed, but he was among the frontline defenders of the Faith. He wrote to the Master and received three loving Tablets bearing the salutations, "O thou who art turning thy face towards God!", "O thou who art attracted by the fragrances of God!" and "O brave friend!" In the service of the beloved Guardian he was privileged to visit the Holy Shrines almost yearly up to 1933. Shoghi Effendi relied upon Mustafa for a number of English and Arabic translations; till the end of his life, he devoted himself to translating into

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Arabic the Guardian's messages and incomparable prose. "My dear and precious fellow-worker", the Guardian once addressed a postscript to him, ". . . Your perseverance, your utter devotion, your sublime faith, your selfless labours are all graven upon my heart." And in another, Shoghi Effendi wrote, "Your translation of the document will be of great service and assistance to the Cause. You should rejoice and be happy and thankful. I assure you of my prayers for your success and spiritual advancement.1 will never forget you." In two other communications the Guardian addressed him as "O beloved of the hearts of the friends" and "O faithful friend". The first Local Spiritual Assemblies and the first National Spiritual Assembly of Egypt saw Muhammad Mustafa an active member; for many years he was national secretary an office he discharged most ably and later chairman. Until he pioneered in 1953 he served on the national and on local assemblies. He was the first to be appointed Auxiliary Board member and later, Counsellor from amongst the Egyptian believers. The Guardian's announcement of the Ten Year Crusade made him restless. With meagre resources he pioneered to the desolate Spanish Sahara for which service he was named a Knight of Baha'u'llah. Denied residence, he resettled for a year in Benghazi, Libya. Between 1954 and 1960 he travelled in north, east and west Africa helping, amongst other activities, in the erection of the Regional Spiritual Assembly of North-West Africa in 1956. Wherever he went he was a source of happiness and encouragement to the friends and he assisted them in their teaching efforts through his knowledge of the Scriptures and Writings.

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In 1958 he returned to Egypt. Clouds of opposition were collecting. A presidential decree, in 1960, disbanded all Baha'i assemblies in Egypt. A deeply loving heart, eyes that saw no evil, and a mind enriched with memories of the beloved Guardian brought him so close to the hearts of the believers in Egypt that for them he was a father or a brother. His modest home was the haven for all, and despite meagre resources his wife somehow accommodated everyone who approached their ever-open door. The friends simply loved to come and sit with them both, and quickly enveloped the couple with such love and attention that any visitor could not help but notice and marvel. By 1978, when he was eighty, age and long-suffering and hardship showed clearly their effects, but he continued travelling, comforting and visiting in Egypt. Towards the end of 1980 his health seemed to deteriorate rapidly. Before his death, on 15 August 1981, he had asked that his grave be the simplest, and placed lower than all others at the Baha'i cemetery in Cairo. Muhammad Mustafa was dedicated to the Master, the beloved Guardian and the Universal House of Justice; he served on four local and two national Spiritual Assemblies and as Auxiliary Board member and Counsellor; taught and travelled for the Faith in many African countries; translated dozens of messages and documents and wrote two most significant booklets in Arabic, a book of proofs in English which is this volume and a similar but more elaborate one in Arabic; was three times imprisoned for the Faith yet defended it before clergy and in the press; was loved by the friends and was loving, humble, and ever-encouraging.

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After his passing, the Universal House of Justice sent the following cable:

This most beautiful testimony summarizes vividly the sixty-five years of Baha'i life of this last remnant of the dedicated band of first Egyptian Baha'is. (This is a precis of the In Memoriam article written by Mr. Rowshan Mustafa and published in The Baha'i World vol. 18, pp. 768-771)

Chapter 12  

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