published in Lights of Irfan, Book 3, pages 41-48 Wilmette, IL: Irfan Colloquia, 2002
In the first lines of the Kitáb-i-Íqán, Bahá'u'lláh writes of attaining "true understanding." He notes that those who thirst for certitude must "cleanse themselves of all that is earthly," and "Then will they be made worthy of the effulgent glories of the sun of divine knowledge and understanding." Repeatedly in the Kitáb-i-Íqán, as well as many other Bahá'í scriptures, the Blessed Beauty incites us to seek divine knowledge or true understanding.
Bahá'u'lláh continues with this theme by instructing us "to cleanse the eye of thine heart from the things of the world, that thou mayest realize the infinitude of divine knowledge, and mayest behold Truth so clearly that thou wilt need no proof to demonstrate His reality, nor any evidence to bear witness unto His testimony" (Kitáb-i-Íqán, p. 91). He equates Truth with divine knowledge and once again requires that we must first be cleansed of worldly things. In addition, He clarifies that it is the "heart" that must be purified. Later in the Kitáb-i-Íqán, when once again charging us with cleansing the heart, Bahá'u'lláh says that the heart is "the seat of the revelation of the inner mysteries of God," and that after it is in the proper state we will be awakened by the "mystic Herald" and His "trumpet-blast of knowledge" (Kitáb-i-Íqán, p. 196). This panoply of terms raises many questions. What is divine knowledge or true understanding? Why is the Kitáb-i-Íqán the Book of Certitude and not the Book of Certainty? What is the distinction between divine knowledge and other kinds of knowledge? What is meant by the heart as the "seat of the revelation of inner mysteries?" What condition of the heart leads to this trumpet blast of knowledge? If we need no proof or evidence how is it that we can see "Truth" so clearly? What is "His testimony?" These verses suggest the elusive and transcendent nature of divine knowledge.