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TAGS: Lawh-i-Mallahul-Quds (Tablet of the Holy Mariner); Lesser prophets; Maid of Heaven; Words and phrases
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Abstract:
Includes two compilations on references to the Lesser prophets, and mini-compilations on 44 topics: "angels," "apostles," "balance," "call of a prophet," "clouds," "Face of God," "trumpet," etc.
Notes:
See also the Tablet of the Holy Mariner.

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Tablet of the Holy Mariner (Lawh-i-Malláhu'l-Quds):
Study Compilations

by Aziz Mboya

2000
start page

All chapters

"Study the Tablet of the Holy Mariner that ye may know the truth, and consider that the Blessed Beauty hath fully foretold future events. Let them who perceive, take warning!" - `Abdu'l-Bahá

Abstract: The Tablet of the Holy Mariner was revealed in 1863 on the fifth day of Naw-Ruz a few weeks before Bahá'u'lláh declared his prophethood and mission on the first day of Ridvan. The first part of the tablet speaks of the forthcoming declaration of Bahá'u'lláh. A number of symbolic terms used relating to the revelation of Bahá'u'lláh include: "the Holy Mariner", "the ark of eternity", "the Maid of Heaven", "the deathless tree", "the Hand of God" and "the snow-white spot". The latter part of the tablet is about one maiden of the Maid of Heaven's handmaidens.

The text of the tablet is in bold italic, references are in regular font, and comments are in purple. The amount of commentary is limited, in many cases relying on references from which the reader can infer the meaning of particular portions of the tablet, some related portions of the text of the tablet and the references being highlighted in red. The references are taken primarily from the writings of Bahá'u'lláh, also including some references from the writings of Abdu'l-Bahá, the Bible, the Quran and the writings of the Holy Imams.

Table of contents
  1. Study compilation on the Tablet of the Holy Mariner
  2. References to dependent/lesser prophets in the writings of Bahá'u'lláh
  3. References to dependent/lesser prophets in the writings of Abdu'l-Bahá
  4. Tablet of the Holy Mariner from the Persian (a provisional translation)
Other related references listed alphabetically
  1. Angels — meaning prophets.
  2. announcement — the call of a prophet.
  3. apostles — messengers of God.
  4. Arabian Youth — the Bab.
  5. assayer — the prophet.
  6. balance — the teachings of the prophet.
  7. chosen ones — the prophets of God.
  8. clouds — veils to recognising the prophet.
  9. Cord of God — the prophet or messenger.
  10. countenance — the face of prophethood.
  11. deathless tree — the Burning Bush.
  12. descent" of the prophets from heaven to earth.
  13. divine unity" of the prophets.
  14. eternity" as relates to prophets.
  15. exalted paradise — the abode of the prophets.
  16. face of — Face of the prophet, Face of God.
  17. firm handle — the prophets.
  18. Imams 1 — the prophethood (lesser) of the Imams.
  19. Imams 2 — Imams in the Quran.
  20. inner meaning — understanding mystical/symbolic language.
  21. joining partners with God — rejecting the prophet as the Face of God.
  22. Maid of heaven — the prophet(s).
  23. mortal eyes — believers, as separate from prophets.
  24. Most Great Infallibility — the station of the Independent prophet.
  25. mystical writings — a divine test.
  26. names — the revelations/religions of God
  27. pre-existence — of the prophets.
  28. prophecies — of the Imams
  29. revelation — of the prophets.
  30. sealed prophecies.
  31. servant — meaning a prophet of God
  32. Seventh Valley.
  33. signs — of the prophets.
  34. stars — meaning prophets.
  35. step — appearance of a prophet on earth.
  36. "Sun" and "Moon" — the Independent and Dependent/lesser prophets.
  37. Tablet of God — the revealed word of God.
  38. testimony — of the prophets.
  39. throne — the throne of prophethood.
  40. true seeker.
  41. trumpet — the call of the prophet.
  42. understanding the holy writings.
  43. Universal Manifestation.
  44. "veil of concealment — realm of pre-existence of the prophets.

Chapter 1

A study compilation on the TABLET OF THE HOLY MARINER

"Study the Tablet of the Holy Mariner that ye may know the truth,
and consider that the Blessed Beauty hath fully foretold future events.
Let them who perceive, take warning!" -- `Abdu'l-Bahá

Qualities needed to understand the holy writings

Mystical writings are a divine test

He is the Gracious, the Well-Beloved! O Holy Mariner! Bid thine ark of
eternity appear before the Celestial Concourse,

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! Launch it upon the ancient
sea, in His Name, the Most Wondrous,

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! And let the angelic spirits
enter, in the Name of God, the Most High.

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! Unmoor it, then, that it may
sail upon the ocean of glory,

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! Haply the dwellers therein
may attain the retreats of nearness in the everlasting realm.

This can be thought of as God revealing to Bahá'u'lláh, telling him to launch
his revelation -- to declare his prophethood to the Babi's (and the world) and
reveal to them the path to nearness to God.

Bless, O my God, those of the followers of the Bayán as have been numbered
with the people of Bahá, who have entered within the Crimson Ark in Thy Name,
the Most Exalted, the Most High.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Prayers and Meditations, p. 44

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! Having reached the sacred
strand, the shore of the crimson seas,

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! Bid them issue forth and
attain this ethereal invisible station,

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! A station wherein the Lord
hath in the Flame of His Beauty appeared within the deathless tree;

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! Wherein the embodiments of
His Cause cleansed themselves of self and passion;

The believers are journeying on the ark (a spiritual journey) and reach their
destination, arriving at the shore of the crimson seas. At which point they
attain the ethereal (celestial) invisible station in which they are cleansed of
self and passion -- qualities of a believer at the Seventh Valley.

And further: The stages that mark the wayfarer's journey from the abode
of dust to the heavenly homeland are said to be seven. Some have called
these Seven Valleys, and others, Seven Cities. And they say that until the
wayfarer taketh leave of self, and traverseth these stages, he shall never
reach to the ocean of nearness and union, nor drink of the peerless wine.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys, p. 4

O My servants! My holy, My divinely ordained Revelation may be likened
unto an ocean in whose depths are concealed innumerable pearls of great
price, of surpassing luster. It is the duty of every seeker to bestir himself and
strive to attain the shores of this ocean, so that he may, in proportion to the
eagerness of his search and the efforts he hath exerted, partake of such
benefits as have been pre-ordained in God's irrevocable and hidden Tablets.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 326

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! Around which the Glory of
Moses doth circle with the everlasting hosts;

No sooner did the hosts of true knowledge appear, bearing the standards of
Divine utterance, than the tribes of the religions were put to flight, save
only those who willed to drink from the stream of everlasting life in a
Paradise created by the breath of the All-Glorious.
--Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 46

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! Wherein the Hand of God was
drawn forth from His bosom of Grandeur;

Say: This is the infallible Balance which the Hand of God is holding, in
which all who are in the heavens and all who are on the earth are weighed,
and their fate determined, if ye be of them that believe and recognize
this truth. Say: Through it the poor have been enriched, the learned
enlightened, and the seekers enabled to ascend unto the presence of God.
Beware, lest ye make it a cause of dissension amongst you. Be ye as
firmly settled as the immovable mountain in the Cause of your Lord, the
Mighty, the Loving.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 119

Put forth, therefore, out of the bosom of Thy glory, O my Lord, the hand of
Thine omnipotence, and through it assist Thou Thy loved ones who, though
sore-tried in Thy path with such trials as have caused the inmates of the
kingdom of Thy Cause to groan, were not deterred from turning towards the
horizon of Thy Revelation.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Prayers and Meditations, p. 217

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! Wherein the ark of the Cause
remaineth motionless even though to its dwellers be declared all
divine attributes.

At this time the breeze of God is wafted and the spirit of God hath surrounded.
The pen is withheld from motion and the tongue hath ceased utterance. Briefly:
In this station the declaration of divinity and the like have appeared from them,
while in the station of messengership they have declared prophethood. Likewise
in every station they have made a declaration expedient thereto and have attributed
all these to themselves; (declarations) concerning the world of command, the world
of creation, the worlds of divinity, and the worlds of phenomena. Therefore whatever
they may say and claim, including divinity, deity, prophethood, messengership,
successorship, imamat or servitude is true and without doubt. Consequently these
proven statements should be reflected upon, that no one may be overtaken in the
sayings of the Manifestations of the Invisible and Dawning-places of Holiness.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Bahá'í scriptures, p. 48

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! O Mariner! Teach them that are
within the ark that which we have taught thee behind the mystic veil,

Reveal to believers what God has revealed to you.

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! Perchance they may not tarry
in the sacred snow-white spot,

Perchance they may not fail to truly apprehend the Revelation of God.

Verily, the wayfarer who journeyeth unto God, unto the Crimson Pillar
in the snow-white path, will never reach unto his heavenly goal unless
he abandoneth all that men possess: "And if he feareth not God, God will
make him to fear all things; whereas all things fear him who feareth God."
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys, p. 58

The heart must needs therefore be cleansed from the idle sayings of men,
and sanctified from every earthly affection, so that it may discover the
hidden meaning of divine inspiration, and become the treasury of the
mysteries of divine knowledge. Thus hath it been said: "He that treadeth
the snow-white Path, and followeth in the footsteps of the Crimson Pillar,
shall never attain unto his abode unless his hands are empty of those
worldly things cherished by men." This is the prime requisite of whosoever
treadeth this path. Ponder thereon, that, with eyes unveiled, thou mayest
perceive the truth of these words.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 70

The Celestial Youth hath, in this Day, raised above the heads of men the
glorious Chalice of Immortality, and is standing expectant upon His seat,
wondering what eye will recognize His glory, and what arm will, unhesitatingly,
be stretched forth to seize the Cup from His snow-white Hand and drain it.
Only a few have as yet quaffed from this peerless, this soft-flowing grace
of the Ancient King. These occupy the loftiest mansions of Paradise, and are
firmly established upon the seats of authority. By the righteousness of God!
Neither the mirrors of His glory, nor the revealers of His names, nor any
created thing, that hath been or will ever be, can ever excel them, if ye be
of them that comprehend this truth.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 108

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! But may soar upon the wings
of the spirit unto that station which the Lord hath exalted above
all mention in the worlds below,

We dare not, in this Day, lift the veil that concealeth the exalted
station which every true believer can attain, for the joy which such a
revelation must provoke might well cause a few to faint away and die.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 10

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! May wing through space even
as the favored birds in the realm of eternal reunion;

Consider those who rejected the Spirit (Jesus) when He came unto them with
manifest dominion. How numerous the Pharisees who had secluded themselves
in synagogues in His name, lamenting over their separation from Him, and
yet when the portals of reunion were flung open and the divine Luminary
shone resplendent from the Dayspring of Beauty, they disbelieved in God,
the Exalted, the Mighty. They failed to attain His presence, notwithstanding
that His advent had been promised them in the Book of Isaiah as well as in
the Books of the Prophets and the Messengers.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 9

Methinks that thou hast halted and movest not upon My Tablet. Could the
brightness of the Divine Countenance have bewildered thee, or the idle talk of
the froward filled thee with grief and paralyzed thy movement? Take heed lest
anything deter thee from extolling the greatness of this Day--the Day whereon
the Finger of majesty and power hath opened the seal of the Wine of Reunion,
and called all who are in the heavens and all who are on the earth. Preferrest
thou to tarry when the breeze announcing the Day of God hath already breathed
over thee, or art thou of them that are shut out as by a veil from Him?
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 28

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! May know the mysteries hidden
in the Seas of light.

Qualities of a true seeker on the path of Positive Knowledge (Valley of
Knowledge).

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! They passed the grades of
worldly limitations and reached that of the divine unity, the center
of heavenly guidance.

Reaching "divine unity" -- the Babis who recognise and follow Bahá'u'lláh
are those who have reached the Valley of Unity (the Fourth Valley) in their
spiritual growth. They are not attached to a particular manifestation but
recognise the oneness and divinity of all Manifestations. Therefore, they
recognise a new Manifestation.

THE VALLEY OF UNITY (Fourth Valley)
After passing through the Valley of knowledge, which is the last plane of
limitation, the wayfarer cometh to the Valley of Unity and drinketh from
the cup of the Absolute, and gazeth on the Manifestations of Oneness. In
this station he pierceth the veils of plurality, fleeth from the worlds of
the flesh, and ascendeth into the heaven of singleness. With the ear of
God he heareth, with the eye of God he beholdeth the mysteries of divine
creation. He steppeth into the sanctuary of the Friend, and shareth as an
intimate the pavilion of the Loved One. He stretcheth out the hand of
truth from the sleeve of the Absolute; he revealeth the secrets of power.
He seeth in himself neither name nor fame nor rank, but findeth his own
praise in praising God.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys, p. 18

Beware, beware lest thou behave like unto the people of the Bayan. For
indeed they erred grievously, misguided the people, ignored the Covenant of
God and His Testament and joined partners with Him, the One, the
Incomparable, the All-Knowing. Verily they failed to recognize the Point of
the Bayan, for had they recognized Him they would not have rejected His
manifestation in this luminous and resplendent Being.
--Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 185


(new theme starts)

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! They have desired to ascend
unto that state which the Lord hath ordained to be above their stations.

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! Whereupon the burning meteor
cast them out from them that abide in the Kingdom of His Presence,

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! And they heard the Voice of
Grandeur raised from behind the unseen pavilion upon the Height of Glory:

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! "O guardian angels! Return
them to their abode in the world below,

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! "Inasmuch as they have
purposed to rise to that sphere which the wings of the celestial
dove have never attained;

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! "Whereupon the ship of fancy
standeth still which the minds of them that comprehend cannot grasp."

The lines above appear to be a reference to Mirza-Yahya's false claim to be
Him Whom God will make Manifest, and the minority of Babis who follow him
(the Azalis). The "celestial dove" is a reference to the next manifestation
(Bahá'u'lláh) whose station he falsely claimed.

Verily, this is the Point which God hath ordained to be an ocean of light for
the sincere among His servants and a flame of fire to the froward amidst His
creatures and the impious among His people--they who bartered away the
gift of God for unbelief, and the celestial food for hypocrisy, and led their
associates to a wretched abode. These are the people who have manifested
sedition throughout the world and have violated His Covenant on the Day when
the immortal Being mounted His throne and the Crier raised His Voice from
the haven of security and peace in the holy Vale.

O followers of the Bayán! Fear ye the All-Merciful. This is the One Who hath
been glorified by Muhammad, the Apostle of God, and before Him by the Spirit
and yet before Him by the One Who discoursed with God.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 102

... I bear witness, O my God, that through Him Thy most resplendent signs
have been uncovered, and Thy mercy hath encompassed the entire creation.
But for Him, how could the Celestial Dove have uttered its songs or the Heavenly
Nightingale, according to the decree of God, have warbled its melody?
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Prayers and Meditations, p. 295

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! Whereupon the maid of heaven
looked out from her exalted chamber,

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! And with her brow signed to
the Celestial Concourse,

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! Flooding with the light of
her countenance the heaven and the earth,

Bahá'u'lláh unveils himself and manifests his signs.

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! And as the radiance of her
beauty shone upon the people of dust,

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! All beings were shaken in
their mortal graves.

"Beings shaken in their mortal graves" can be interpreted to refer to
those who are "as dead" and are awakened by the revelation of God on
the Day of Resurrection.

Blessed the lifeless one who is quickened through My reviving breaths.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 16

The breeze of the All-Merciful hath wafted, and the souls have been quickened
in the tombs of their bodies. Thus hath the decree been fulfilled by God, the
Mighty, the Beneficent.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 118

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! She then raised the call
which no ear through all eternity hath ever heard,

Bahá'u'lláh declaring a new revelation - revealing new laws and teachings.

"Arise, and proclaim unto the entire creation the tidings that He who is
the All-Merciful hath directed His steps towards the Ridván and entered
it. Guide, then, the people unto the Garden of Delight which God hath made
the Throne of His Paradise... Within this Paradise, and from the heights of
its loftiest chambers, the Maids of Heaven have cried out and shouted:
`Rejoice, ye dwellers of the realms above, for the fingers of Him Who is the
Ancient of Days are ringing, in the name of the All-Glorious, the Most Great
Bell, in the midmost heart of the heavens. The hands of bounty have borne
round the cups of everlasting life. Approach, and quaff your fill.'"
-- Bahá'u'lláh speaking on the First Day of Ridvan. Taken from
Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 154

In the passage above, the Maids of Heaven also announce the declaration of
Bahá'u'lláh to the dwellers in the invisible realm. In the passage below,
the "Moons have diffused their lights, and the Heavens have revealed their
stars," can also be interpreted as another reference to this.

Say, this is the Day when the Speaker on Sinai hath mounted the throne of
Revelation... ...when the Sun hath shed its radiance and the Moons have
diffused their lights, and the Heavens have revealed their stars,...
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 107

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! And thus proclaimed: "By
the Lord! He whose heart hath not the fragrance of the love of the
exalted and glorious Arabian Youth,

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! "Can in no wise ascend unto
the glory of the highest heaven."

The Arabian Youth is the Bab, who was the Imam Mahdi (12th Imam), and
a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (like the Holy Imams), and the
forerunner of Bahá'u'lláh. The Babis who lack the fragrance of the Bab are
not true believers, and also fail to recognise Bahá'u'lláh -- they are not
acceptable to (have disbelieved in) God.


(new theme starts)

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! Thereupon she summoned unto
herself one maiden from her handmaidens,

The handmaidens are the pre-existent dependent (lesser) prophets of
Bahá'u'lláh.

Since Thou hast purposed, O my God, to cause all created things to enter
into the tabernacle of Thy transcendent grace and favor, and to waft over
the entire creation the fragrances of the raiment of Thy glorious unity,
and to look upon all things with the eyes of Thy bounty and Thy oneness, I
beseech Thee, therefore, by Thy love, which Thou hast made to be the
mainspring of the revelations of Thine eternal holiness, and the flame that
gloweth within the hearts of such of Thy creatures as yearn towards Thee,
to create, this very moment, for those of Thy people who are wholly devoted
to Thee, and for such of Thy loved ones as love Thee, out of the essence of
Thy bounty and Thy generosity, and from the inmost spirit of Thy grace and
Thy glory, Thy Paradise of transcendent holiness, and to exalt it above
everything except Thee, and to sanctify it from aught else save Thyself.
Create, moreover, within it, O my God, out of the lights shed by Thy
throne, handmaidens who will intone the melodies of Thy wondrous and most
sweet invention, that they may magnify Thy name with such words as have not
been heard by any of Thy creatures, be they the inmates of Thy heaven or
the dwellers of Thine earth, nor been comprehended by any of Thy people.
Unlock, then, the gates of this Paradise to the faces of Thy loved ones,
that haply they may enter them in Thy name, and by the power of Thy
sovereignty, that thereby the sovereign bounties vouchsafed by Thee unto
Thy chosen ones and the transcendent gifts granted unto Thy trusted ones be
perfected, that they may extol Thy virtues with such melodies as none can
either intone or describe, and that none of Thy people may conceive the
design of appearing in the guise of any of Thy chosen ones, or of emulating
the example of Thy loved ones, and that none may fail to discern between
Thy friends and Thine enemies, or to distinguish them that are devoted to
Thee from such as stubbornly oppose Thee. Potent art Thou to do what Thou
willest, and powerful and supreme art Thou over all things.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Prayers and Meditations, p. 326-327

O My servants [believers]! Through the might of God and His power, and
out of the treasury of His knowledge and wisdom, I have brought forth
and revealed unto you the pearls that lay concealed in the depths of
His everlasting ocean. I have summoned the Maids of Heaven to emerge
from behind the veil of concealment, and have clothed them with these
words of Mine--words of consummate power and wisdom. I have, moreover,
with the hand of divine power, unsealed the choice wine of My Revelation,
and have wafted its holy, its hidden, and musk-laden fragrance upon all
created things. Who else but yourselves is to be blamed if ye choose to
remain unendowed with so great an outpouring of God's transcendent and
all-encompassing grace, with so bright a revelation of His resplendent
mercy?...
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 327

Literally, a handmaiden is a servant to the maiden.

30. O SON OF MAN!
Deny not My servant should he ask anything from thee, for his face is
My face be then abashed before Me.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words of Bahá'u'lláh.

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! Thereupon the countenance of the
favored damsel beamed above the celestial chambers even as the light that
shineth from the face of the Youth above His mortal temple;
- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablet of the Holy Mariner (taken from further below in
reference to the handmaiden)

The Independent Prophet (Bahá'u'lláh) is the Face of God and receives
revelation directly from God. The dependent prophets ("Maids of Heaven",
"handmaidens", "Thy Chosen ones") are the Face of the Independent Prophet
and receive their revelation from the Independent Prophet (Bahá'u'lláh) as
indicated above, "I have summoned the Maids of Heaven to emerge from
behind the veil of concealment, and have clothed them with these words
of Mine--words of consummate power and wisdom" -- they are also the
Face of God.

Such revelation is confined to His Prophets and chosen Ones, inasmuch as
none mightier than they hath come to exist in the world of being. This truth
all recognize, and bear witness thereto. These Prophets and chosen Ones
of God are the recipients and revealers of all the unchangeable attributes and
names of God. They are the mirrors that truly and faithfully reflect the light of
God. Whatsoever is applicable to them is in reality applicable to God, Himself,
Who is both the Visible and the Invisible. The knowledge of Him, Who is the
Origin of all things, and attainment unto Him, are impossible save through
knowledge of, and attainment unto, these luminous Beings who proceed from
the Sun of Truth.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 142

All recent major revelations have had dependent prophets -- The 12 Imams in
era of Muhammad, the 12 Apostles in the era of Christ, and the 12 "minor"
prophets or chiefs in the era of Moses (among: David, Solomon, Daniel,
Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Aaron, Joshua, Samuel, Amos, Hezekiah, Elijah).
At the link to Abdu'l-Bahá's writings at the bottom of the page, the two
classes of prophets are explained. Also, Abdu'l-Bahá explains (based on the
Bible) that there will be 24 dependent prophets in the Bahá'í era -- twice
the number in each of the recent major revelations -- an aspect of the
greatness of the Day of God.

In the passages below, the "angels" (Matthew, 16:27), "the prophets and witnesses"
(Quran, 39:69), "apostles.. rehearsing to you the Signs of your Lord" (Quran, 39:71)
can also be interpreted as references to the dependent prophets.

16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels;
and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

16:28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste
of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.
-- Bible: Matthew.

39:68 The Trumpet will (just) be sounded [appearance of The Bab], when all that
are in the heavens and on earth will swoon, except such as it will please God
(to exempt). Then will a second one be sounded [appearance of Bahá'u'lláh],
when, behold, they will be standing and looking on!

39:69 And the Earth will shine with the Glory of its Lord [era of Bahá'u'lláh]: the Record
(of Deeds) will be placed (open); the prophets and the witnesses will be brought
forward and a just decision pronounced between them; and they will not be
wronged (in the least).

39:70 And to every soul will be paid in full (the fruit) of its Deeds; and (God) knoweth
best all that they do.

39:71 The Unbelievers will be led to Hell in crowd: until, when they arrive,
there, its gates will be opened. And its keepers will say, "Did not apostles
come to you from among yourselves, rehearsing to you the Signs of your Lord,
and warning you of the Meeting of This Day of yours?" The answer will be:
"True: but the Decree of Punishment has been proved true against the
Unbelievers!"
-- Qur'an: 39 - AZ-ZUMAR

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! And commanded her: "Descend
into space from the mansions of eternity,

Bahá'u'lláh summons a dependent prophet to appear earth.

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! "And turn thou unto that
which they have concealed in the inmost of their hearts.

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! "Shouldst thou inhale the
perfume of the robe from the Youth that hath been hidden within
the tabernacle of light by reason of that which the hands of the
wicked have wrought,

Tabernacle: Any small cell, or like place, in which some holy precious things
was deposited or kept. Tabernacle is also a place of worship/holiness. In the
link above where Bahá'u'lláh describes the qualities needed to understand the
writings (purity, chastity,..) it ends with the following quotation: "Well is it with
the sincere in heart for their share of the light of a mighty Day!" So, what
is "hidden in the tabernacle of light" can be interpreted as: knowledge (in the
writings) that would be hidden to one except if they are pure (bear the
perfume/robe with the fragrance of the Youth) -- if they are not, they would
not grasp it or be aware of its significance.

I swear by the life of Him Who is the Desire of the world! Were a man to ponder
in his heart he would, free of all attachment to the world, hasten unto the Most
Great Light and would purge and purify himself from the dust of vain imaginings
and the smoke of idle fancy. What could have prompted the people of the past
to err and by whom were they misled? They still reject the truth and have turned
towards their own selfish desires.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 41

Since Thou hast, O my God, established Thyself upon the throne of Thy
transcendent unity, and ascended the mercy seat of Thy oneness, it befitteth Thee
to blot out from the hearts of all beings whatsoever may keep them back from
gaining admittance into the sanctuary of Thy Divine mysteries, and may shut them
out from the tabernacle of Thy Divinity, that all hearts may mirror Thy beauty...
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Prayers and Meditations, p. 324

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! "Raise a cry within thyself,
that all the inmates of the chambers of Paradise, that are the
embodiments of the eternal wealth, may understand and hearken;

Reveal yourself that true believers may recognise you.

71. O MY FRIENDS!
Call ye to mind that covenant ye have entered into with Me upon Mount
Paran, situate within the hallowed precincts of Zaman. I have taken
to witness the concourse on high and the dwellers in the city of eternity,
yet now none do I find faithful unto the covenant. Of a certainty pride
and rebellion have effaced it from the hearts, in such wise that no trace
thereof remaineth. Yet knowing this, I waited and disclosed it not.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words of Bahá'u'lláh, p.

Persian no. 71
The "Covenant" mentioned in the Hidden Words is the Covenant and Testament
which was entered into by the pen of the Most High in the hallowed precincts
of the Paran of the love of God, the summit of timeless time.[10]
The "dwellers in the city of eternity" and the "concourse on high" are souls
who are firm in the Covenant.
('Abdu'l-Bahá, from a Tablet to an individual believer -- translated from
the Persian)

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! "And kiss their hands and
feet for having soared to the heights of faithfulness;

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! "Perchance they may find from
their robes the fragrance of the Beloved One."

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! Thereupon the countenance of
the favored damsel beamed above the celestial chambers even as the
light that shineth from the face of the Youth above His mortal temple;

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! She then descended with such
an adorning as to illumine the heavens and all that is therein.

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! She bestirred herself and
perfumed all things in the lands of holiness and grandeur.

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! When she reached that place
she rose to her full height in the midmost heart of creation,

The dependent prophet declares her/his mission in a manner that is outwardly
visible to all -- in "midmost heart of creation".

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! And sought to inhale their
fragrance at a time that knoweth neither beginning nor end.

The appearance of dependent prophets, at whatever time - an unknown
time, is a divine test to believers. The true believers have the fragrance of
the Youth while those who fail the test (fail to recognise the dependent
prophet) do not. For example, a female prophet could be a test if one
has not truly embraced the Bahá'í principle of gender equality.

Know thou moreover that in the Day of Revelation were He to pronounce
one of the leaves [women] to be the manifestation of all His excellent
titles, unto no one is given the right to utter why or wherefore, and
should one do so he would be regarded as a disbeliever in God and be
numbered with such as have repudiated His Truth.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 185

Then the gales of divine tests and the winds of lordly temptation blew
from the Sheba of the everlasting Cause. They became distracted by the
beauty of the wine server and grew heedless of the immortal countenance,
to the extent that they imagined the shadow to be the sun and phantoms
to be light. They set out for the ladders of the greatest name so that
they might scale those heavens and arrive at that seat and place. When
they rose toward it, the divine assayers descended upon them with the
sacred touchstone, by the irresistible decree of the lord. When these
emissaries did not perceive the scent of the spiritual youth, they forbade
entry to all.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablet of the Holy Mariner (from the Persian).

Ponder this in thine heart, that the sweet gales of divine knowledge,
blowing from the meads of mercy, may waft upon thee the fragrance of the
Beloved's utterance, and cause thy soul to attain the Ridván of
understanding. As the wayward of every age have failed to fathom the deeper
import of these weighty and pregnant utterances, and imagined the answer of
the Prophets of God to be irrelevant to the questions they asked them, they
therefore have attributed ignorance and folly to those Essences of
knowledge and understanding.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 149

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! She found not in them that which
she did desire, and this, verily, is but one of His wondrous tales.

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! She then cried aloud, wailed
and repaired to her own station within her most lofty mansion,

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! And then gave utterance to
one mystic word, whispered privily by her honeyed tongue,

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! And raised the call amidst
the Celestial Concourse and the immortal maids of heaven:

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! "By the Lord! I found not
from these idle claimants the breeze of Faithfulness!

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! "By the Lord! The Youth hath
remained lone and forlorn in the land of exile in the hands of the
ungodly."

"By the Lord!..." -- likening the experiences of the dependent prophet to those
of Bahá'u'lláh (The Youth)?

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! She then uttered within
herself such a cry that the Celestial Concourse did shriek and tremble,

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! And she fell upon the dust
and gave up the spirit. It seemeth she was called and hearkened unto
Him that summoned her unto the Realm on High.

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! Glorified be He that created
her out of the essence of love in the midmost heart of his exalted
paradise!

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! Thereupon the maids of heaven
hastened forth from their chambers, upon whose countenances the eye
of no dweller in the highest paradise had ever gazed.

Glorified be our Lord, the Most High! They all gathered around her,
and lo! they found her body fallen upon the dust;

Glorified be our Lord, the Most High! And as they beheld her state
and comprehended a word of the tale told by the Youth, they bared
their heads, rent their garments asunder, beat upon their faces,
forgot their joy, shed tears and smote with their hands upon their
cheeks, and this is verily one of the mysterious grievous
afflictions - Glorified be our Lord, the Most High!
- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablet of the Holy Mariner

References to dependent/lesser prophets in the writings of Bahá'u'lláh.

References to dependent/lesser in the writings of Abdu'l-Bahá.

Tablet of the Holy Mariner from the Persian (a provisional translation).


Chapter 2

References to Dependent Prophets from the writings of Bahá'u'lláh.

Symbolic terms used by Bahá'u'lláh to refer to prophets: "Maid(s) of Heaven",
"Brides", "handmaidens", "húrís", "Beauties", "black-eyed Damsels". Other terms
used include: "His chosen ones", "countenances", "manifestations of Thy Divine
holiness", "angels", "servants", "Sun", "Moons", "stars", "His loved ones", "birds
of heaven", "doves", "assayers".

More terms used that are applicable to prophets include: "throne",
"announcement", "call", "cry", "balance", "testimony", "holy veil", "veil of
concealment", "Tablet of God", "signs", "revelation", "descent" [from heaven],
"mansions", "clouds".


1. The passage below can be interpreted in the following sense as a
reference to dependent (lesser) prophets:

-"concealed within the Holy Veil"--realm of pre-existence of the Prophets.
-"His chosen ones" -- the Prophets of God.
-"Warn, then, those that have joined partners with Him"--those who join
partners with God are those who reject the Prophet as the Face of God.
-"I am come from the Throne of glory" -- reference to her/his prophetic
station.
-"And bear you an announcement from God" -- the declaration of the
Dependent Prophet.
-"Weigh it with the just Balance that ye possess, the Balance of the testimony
of the Prophets and Messengers of God" -- judge their revelation with same
standards you use for Prophets and Messengers of God, as they are.
-"And render your works vain, and be numbered with the infidels" -- reference
to believers who after serving the faith reject a dependent prophet and thereby
render their works vain.
-"Step out of Thy holy chamber, O Maid of Heaven" -- the dependent prophet
summoned to appear on earth.
-"I am the Maid of Heaven, the Offspring begotten by the Spirit of Bahá."
I am a prophet, the dependent prophet of Bahá'u'lláh. Similar to how
Bahá'u'lláh referred to the Jafar as-Sadiq, the Sixth Imam, as 'son' of
Muhammad, i.e. his dependent prophet: 'Thus hath Sádiq, son of Muhammad,
spoken: "God verily will test them and sift them." - Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 255'

CXXIX. O wayfarer in the path of God! Take thou thy portion of the ocean of
His grace, and deprive not thyself of the things that lie hidden in its depths.
Be thou of them that have partaken of its treasures. A dewdrop out of this
ocean would, if shed upon all that are in the heavens and on the earth,
suffice to enrich them with the bounty of God, the Almighty, the All-Knowing,
the All-Wise. With the hands of renunciation draw forth from its life-giving
waters, and sprinkle therewith all created things, that they may be cleansed
from all man-made limitations and may approach the mighty seat of God, this
hallowed and resplendent Spot.

Be not grieved if thou performest it thyself alone. Let God be all-sufficient
for thee. Commune intimately with His Spirit, and be thou of the thankful.
Proclaim the Cause of thy Lord unto all who are in the heavens and on the
earth. Should any man respond to thy call, lay bare before him the pearls of
the wisdom of the Lord, thy God, which His Spirit hath sent down unto thee,
and be thou of them that truly believe. And should any one reject thine offer,
turn thou away from him, and put thy trust and confidence in the Lord, thy
God, the Lord of all worlds.

By the righteousness of God! Whoso openeth his lips in this Day and maketh
mention of the name of his Lord, the hosts of Divine inspiration shall descend
upon him from the heaven of My name, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. On him
shall also descend the Concourse on high, each bearing aloft a chalice of pure
light. Thus hath it been foreordained in the realm of God's Revelation, by the
behest of Him Who is the All-Glorious, the Most Powerful.

There lay concealed within the Holy Veil, and prepared for the service of God,
a company of His chosen ones who shall be manifested unto men, who shall
aid His Cause, who shall be afraid of no one, though the entire human race
rise up and war against them. These are the ones who, before the gaze of
the dwellers on earth and the denizens of heaven, shall arise and, shouting
aloud, acclaim the name of the Almighty, and summon the children of men to
the path of God, the All-Glorious, the All-Praised. Walk thou in their way, and
let no one dismay thee. Be of them whom the tumult of the world, however
much it may agitate them in the path of their Creator, can never sadden, whose
purpose the blame of the blamer will never defeat.

Go forth with the Tablet of God and His signs , and rejoin them that have
believed in Me, and announce unto them tidings of Our most holy Paradise.
Warn, then, those that have joined partners with Him. Say: I am come to
you, O people, from the Throne of glory , and bear you an announcement from
God, the Most Powerful, the Most Exalted, the Most Great. In mine hand I
carry the testimony of God, your Lord and the Lord of your sires of old.
Weigh it with the just Balance that ye possess, the Balance of the testimony
of the Prophets and Messengers of God. If ye find it to be established in
truth, if ye believe it to be of God, beware, then, lest ye cavil at it, and render
your works vain, and be numbered with the infidels. It is indeed the sign of
God that hath been sent down through the power of truth, through which the
validity of His Cause hath been demonstrated unto His creatures, and the
ensigns of purity lifted up betwixt earth and heaven.

Say: This is the sealed and mystic Scroll, the repository of God's
irrevocable Decree, bearing the words which the Finger of Holiness hath
traced, that lay wrapt within the veil of impenetrable mystery, and hath
now been sent down as a token of the grace of Him Who is the Almighty, the
Ancient of Days. In it have We decreed the destinies of all the dwellers of
the earth and the denizens of heaven, and written down the knowledge of all
things from first to last. Nothing whatsoever can escape or frustrate Him,
whether created in the past or to be created in the future, could ye but
perceive it.

Say: The Revelation sent down by God hath most surely been repeated, and the
outstretched Hand of Our power hath overshadowed all that are in the heavens
and all that are on the earth. We have, through the power of truth, the very
truth, manifested an infinitesimal glimmer of Our impenetrable Mystery, and
lo, they that have recognized the radiance of the Sinaic splendor expired, as
they caught a lightening glimpse of this Crimson Light enveloping the Sinai
of Our Revelation. Thus hath He Who is the Beauty of the All-Merciful come
down in the clouds of His testimony , and the decree accomplished by virtue of
the Will of God, the All-Glorious, the All-Wise.

Say: Step out of Thy holy chamber, O Maid of Heaven,inmate of the Exalted
Paradise! Drape thyself in whatever manner pleaseth Thee in the silken
Vesture of Immortality, and put on, in the name of the All-Glorious, the
broidered Robe of Light. Hear, then, the sweet, the wondrous accent of the
Voice that cometh from the Throne of Thy Lord, the Inaccessible, the Most
High. Unveil Thy face , and manifest the beauty of the black-eyed Damsel,
and suffer not the servants of God to be deprived of the light of Thy shining
countenance. Grieve not if Thou hearest the sighs of the dwellers of the
earth, or the voice of the lamentation of the denizens of heaven. Leave them
to perish on the dust of extinction. Let them be reduced to nothingness,
inasmuch as the flame of hatred hath been kindled within their breasts. Intone,
then, before the face of the peoples of earth and heaven, and in a most
melodious voice, the anthem of praise, for a remembrance of Him Who is
the King of the names and attributes of God. Thus have We decreed Thy
destiny. Well able are We to achieve Our purpose.

Beware that Thou divest not Thyself, Thou Who art the Essence of Purity, of
Thy robe of effulgent glory. Nay, enrich Thyself increasingly, in the kingdom
of creation, with the incorruptible vestures of Thy God, that the beauteous
image of the Almighty may be reflected through Thee in all created things and
the grace of Thy Lord be infused in the plenitude of its power into the
entire creation.

If Thou smellest from any one the smell of the love of Thy Lord, offer up
Thyself for him, for We have created Thee to this end, and have covenanted
with Thee, from time immemorial, and in the presence of the congregation of
Our well-favored ones, for this very purpose. Be not impatient if the blind
in heart hurl down the shafts of their idle fancies upon Thee. Leave them to
themselves, for they follow the promptings of the evil ones.

Cry out before the gaze of the dwellers of heaven and of earth: I am the Maid
of Heaven, the Offspring begotten by the Spirit of Bahá. My habitation is the
Mansion of His Name, the All-Glorious. Before the Concourse on high I was
adorned with the ornament of His names. I was wrapt within the veil of an
inviolable security, and lay hidden from the eyes of men. Methinks that I
heard a Voice of divine and incomparable sweetness, proceeding from the right
hand of the God of Mercy, and lo, the whole Paradise stirred and trembled
before Me, in its longing to hear its accents, and gaze on the beauty of Him
that uttered them. Thus have We revealed in this luminous Tablet, and in the
sweetest of languages, the verses which the Tongue of Eternity was moved to
utter in the Qayyúmu'l-Asmá.

Say: He ordaineth as He pleaseth, by virtue of His sovereignty, and doeth
whatsoever He willeth at His own behest. He shall not be asked of the things
it pleaseth Him to ordain. He, in truth, is the Unrestrained, the
All-Powerful, the All-Wise.

They that have disbelieved in God and rebelled against His sovereignty are
the helpless victims of their corrupt inclinations and desires. These shall
return to their abode in the fire of hell: wretched is the abode of the
deniers!
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 279-284


2. "I have summoned the Maids of Heaven to emerge from behind the veil of
concealment" -- can be interpreted in the following sense: Bahá'u'lláh has
called on the pre-existent dependent prophets to appear on earth. "and have
clothed them with these words of Mine" -- and they receive their revelation
from him. Bahá'u'lláh, the Independent Prophet, receives his revelation directly
from God. No Independent Prophet will appear until after at least one thousand
years have passed.

O My servants [believers]! Through the might of God and His power, and
out of the treasury of His knowledge and wisdom, I have brought forth
and revealed unto you the pearls that lay concealed in the depths of
His everlasting ocean. I have summoned the Maids of Heaven to emerge
from behind the veil of concealment, and have clothed them with these
words of Mine--words of consummate power and wisdom. I have, moreover,
with the hand of divine power, unsealed the choice wine of My Revelation,
and have wafted its holy, its hidden, and musk-laden fragrance upon all
created things. Who else but yourselves is to be blamed if ye choose to
remain unendowed with so great an outpouring of God's transcendent and
all-encompassing grace, with so bright a revelation of His resplendent
mercy?...
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 327


3. "one of the Beauties of the Most Sublime Paradise" can also be interpreted as
a reference to one of the dependent prophets. The "Wronged One" refers to
Bahá'u'lláh himself.

"We will now mention unto thee Trustworthiness and the station thereof in
the estimation of God, thy Lord, the Lord of the Mighty Throne. One day of
days We repaired unto Our Green Island. Upon Our arrival, We beheld its
streams flowing, and its trees luxuriant, and the sunlight playing in their
midst. Turning Our face to the right, We beheld what the pen is powerless
to describe; nor can it set forth that which the eye of the Lord of Mankind
witnessed in that most sanctified, that most sublime, that blest, and most
exalted Spot. Turning, then, to the left We gazed on one of the Beauties of
the Most Sublime Paradise, standing on a pillar of light, and calling aloud
saying: `O inmates of earth and heaven! Behold ye My beauty, and My
radiance, and My revelation, and My effulgence. By God, the True One! I am
Trustworthiness and the revelation thereof, and the beauty thereof. I will
recompense whosoever will cleave unto Me, and recognize My rank and
station, and hold fast unto My hem. I am the most great ornament of the
people of Bahá, and the vesture of glory unto all who are in the kingdom of
creation. I am the supreme instrument for the prosperity of the world, and
the horizon of assurance unto all beings.' Thus have We sent down for thee
that which will draw men nigh unto the Lord of creation."

This Wronged One hath, at all times, summoned the peoples of the world unto
that which will exalt them, and draw them nigh unto God. From the Most
Sublime Horizon there hath shone forth that which leaveth no room unto any
one for vacillation, repudiation or denial. The wayward, however, have
failed to profit therefrom; nay, it shall only increase their loss.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 136-137


4a. The "handmaidens" who "magnify Thy name with such words as have
not been heard by any of Thy creatures" can be interpreted as referring
to dependent prophets who bring new revelation and teachings.

Since Thou hast purposed, O my God, to cause all created things to enter
into the tabernacle of Thy transcendent grace and favor, and to waft over
the entire creation the fragrances of the raiment of Thy glorious unity,
and to look upon all things with the eyes of Thy bounty and Thy oneness, I
beseech Thee, therefore, by Thy love, which Thou hast made to be the
mainspring of the revelations of Thine eternal holiness, and the flame that
gloweth within the hearts of such of Thy creatures as yearn towards Thee,
to create, this very moment, for those of Thy people who are wholly devoted
to Thee, and for such of Thy loved ones as love Thee, out of the essence of
Thy bounty and Thy generosity, and from the inmost spirit of Thy grace and
Thy glory, Thy Paradise of transcendent holiness, and to exalt it above
everything except Thee, and to sanctify it from aught else save Thyself.
Create, moreover, within it, O my God, out of the lights shed by Thy
throne, handmaidens who will intone the melodies of Thy wondrous and most
sweet invention, that they may magnify Thy name with such words as have not
been heard by any of Thy creatures, be they the inmates of Thy heaven or
the dwellers of Thine earth, nor been comprehended by any of Thy people.
Unlock, then, the gates of this Paradise to the faces of Thy loved ones,
that haply they may enter them in Thy name, and by the power of Thy
sovereignty, that thereby the sovereign bounties vouchsafed by Thee unto
Thy chosen ones and the transcendent gifts granted unto Thy trusted ones be
perfected, that they may extol Thy virtues with such melodies as none can
either intone or describe, and that none of Thy people may conceive the
design of appearing in the guise of any of Thy chosen ones, or of emulating
the example of Thy loved ones, and that none may fail to discern between
Thy friends and Thine enemies, or to distinguish them that are devoted to
Thee from such as stubbornly oppose Thee. Potent art Thou to do what Thou
willest, and powerful and supreme art Thou over all things.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Prayers and Meditations, p. 326-327

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! Thereupon she summoned unto
herself one maiden from her handmaidens,

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! And commanded her: "Descend
into space from the mansions of eternity,
- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablet of the Holy Mariner

4b. "Those countenances which are hid within the chambers of chastity" and
"the manifestations of Thy Divine holiness" can also be interpreted as a
reference to dependent prophets.

Lauded be Thy name, O Thou Who art the Goal of my desire! I swear by Thy
glory! How great is my wish to attain unto a detachment so complete that
were there to appear before me those countenances which are hid within the
chambers of chastity, and the beauty of which Thou didst veil from the eyes
of the entire creation, and whose faces Thou didst sanctify from the sight of
all beings,and were they to unveil themselves in all the glory of the splendors
of Thine incomparable beauty, I would refuse to look upon them, and would
behold them solely for the purpose of discerning the mysteries of Thy handiwork,
which have perplexed the minds of such as have drawn nigh unto Thee, and
awed the souls of all them that have recognized Thee. I would, by Thy power
and Thy might, soar to such heights that nothing whatsoever would have the
power to keep me back from the manifold evidences of Thy transcendent
dominion, nor would any earthly scheme shut me out from the manifestations
of Thy Divine holiness.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Prayers and Meditations, p. 337

In like manner, every time the Prophets of God have illumined the world
with the resplendent radiance of the Day Star of Divine knowledge, they have
invariably summoned its peoples to embrace the light of God through such
means as best befitted the exigencies of the age in which they appeared. They
were thus able to scatter the darkness of ignorance, and to shed upon the
world the glory of their own knowledge. It is towards the inmost essence of
these Prophets, therefore, that the eye of every man of discernment must
be directed,...
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 80


5. "how innumerable are the pearls", "How many the húrís (maidens) of inner
meaning that are as yet concealed within the chambers of divine wisdom!" can
be interpreted in the following sense: how many the pre-existent dependent
prophets of Bahá'u'lláh. As a parallel, Bahá'u'lláh also cites a reference in the
Quran to Imam Hasan and Imam Husayn who were dependent prophets of
Muhammad -- the "pearls and coral" that came out from the Two Seas (two
bodies of flowing water): Imam Ali and Fatima, their parents who belong to the
Family of Muhammad. Cited in "Introduction to Shi'i Islam," Moojan Momen,
p. 153.

We have digressed from the purpose of Our argument, although whatsoever is
mentioned serveth only to confirm Our purpose. By God! however great Our
desire to be brief, yet We feel We cannot restrain Our pen. Notwithstanding
all that We have mentioned, how innumerable are the pearls which have remained
unpierced in the shell of Our heart! How many the húrís of inner meaning that
are as yet concealed within the chambers of divine wisdom![1] None hath yet
approached them;--húrís, "whom no man nor spirit hath touched before."
Notwithstanding all that hath been said, it seemeth as if not one letter of Our
purpose hath been uttered, nor a single sign divulged concerning Our object.
When will a faithful seeker be found who will don the garb of pilgrimage, attain
the Ka'bih of the heart's desire, and, without ear or tongue, discover the
mysteries of divine utterance? [1 Qur'an 55:56.]
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 70

55:19 He has let free the two bodies of flowing water, meeting together:

55:20 Between them is a Barrier which they do not transgress:

55:21 Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?

55:22 Out of them come Pearls and Coral:...

55:37 When the sky is rent asunder, and it becomes red like ointment:

55:38 Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?...

55:56 In them will be (Maidens), chaste, restraining their glances, whom
no man or Jinn before them has touched;-

55:57 Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?-

55:58 Like unto Rubies and coral.
-- The Qur’án 55 - AR-RAHMAN


6. The "Brides of inner meaning" can be interpreted in the following sense:
the dependent prophets who will continue the revelation of Bahá'u'lláh and
"utter a myriad songs" and unfold "innumerable mysteries".

By God! This Bird of Heaven, now dwelling upon the dust, can, besides these
melodies, utter a myriad songs, and is able, apart from these utterances, to
unfold innumerable mysteries. Every single note of its unpronounced
utterances is immeasurably exalted above all that hath already been revealed,
and immensely glorified beyond that which hath streamed from this Pen. Let
the future disclose the hour when the Brides of inner meaning will, as
decreed by the Will of God, hasten forth, unveiled, out of their mystic
mansions, and manifest themselves in the ancient realm of being. Nothing
whatsoever is possible without His permission; no power can endure save
through His power, and there is none other God but He. His is the world of
creation, and His the Cause of God. All proclaim His Revelation, and all
unfold the mysteries of His Spirit.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 175

The continuation of revelation is also alluded to by the following passages
which may be a reference to the laws of the Aqdas and their formulation
according to the spiritual capacity of the earliest believers. Hence, for example,
their partriachal nature and the permissibility of bigamy. In the era of
Muhammad, is was permitted for a man to have up to four wives -- based
on the spiritual capacity of believers then.

Know verily that the veil hiding Our countenance hath not been completely
lifted. We have revealed Our Self to a degree corresponding to the capacity
of the people of Our age. Should the Ancient Beauty be unveiled in the
fullness of His glory mortal eyes would be blinded by the dazzling intensity
of His revelation.
-- Excerpt from one of Bahá'u'lláh's Tablets

67. O SON OF BEAUTY!
By My spirit and by My favor! By My mercy and by My beauty! All that I
have revealed unto thee with the tongue of power, and have written for
thee with the pen of might, hath been in accordance with thy capacity
and understanding, not with My state and the melody of My voice.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 19

Whenever My laws appear like the sun in the heaven of Mine utterance, they
must be faithfully obeyed by all, though My decree be such as to cause the
heaven of every religion to be cleft asunder.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 21


7. In certain contexts "servants" can also be interpreted as references to
dependent prophets.

Assist ye, O My people, My chosen servants who have arisen to make mention
of Me among My creatures and to exalt My Word throughout My realm. These,
truly, are the stars of the heaven of My loving providence and the lamps of My
guidance unto all mankind. But he whose words conflict with that which hath
been sent down in My Holy Tablets is not of Me. Beware lest ye follow any
impious pretender. These Tablets are embellished with the seal of Him Who
causeth the dawn to appear, Who lifteth up His voice between the heavens and
the earth. Lay hold on this Sure Handle and on the Cord of My mighty and
unassailable Cause.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 61


8. "Beauties of divine mystery", "birds abiding within the domains of My Kingdom",
"doves dwelling in the rose-garden of My wisdom" can also be interpreted as
references to dependent prophets of Bahá'u'lláh.

O thou honoured enquirer! We bear witness that thou didst firmly adhere unto
seemly patience during the days when the Pen was held back from movement and
the Tongue hesitated to set forth an explanation regarding the wondrous sign,
the Most Great Infallibility. Thou hast asked this Wronged One to remove for
thee its veils and coverings, to elucidate its mystery and character, its state
and position, its excellence, sublimity and exaltation. By the life of God!
Were We to unveil the pearls of testimony which lie hid within the shells of
the ocean of knowledge and assurance or to let the beauties of divine mystery
which are hidden within the chambers of utterance in the Paradise of true
understanding, step out of their habitation, then from every direction violent
commotion would arise among the leaders of religion and thou wouldst witness
the people of God held fast in the teeth of such wolves as have denied God both
in the beginning and in the end. Therefore We restrained the Pen for a
considerable lapse of time in accordance with divine wisdom and for the sake of
protecting the faithful from those who have bartered away heavenly blessings
for disbelief and have chosen for their people the abode of perdition.

O thou seeker who art gifted with keen insight. I swear by Him Who attracted
the Concourse on High through the potency of His most sublime Word! Verily, the
birds abiding within the domains of My Kingdom and the doves dwelling in the
rose-garden of My wisdom utter such melodies and warblings as are inscrutable
to all but God, the Lord of the kingdoms of earth and heaven; and were these
melodies to be revealed even to an extent smaller than a needle's eye, the
people of tyranny would utter such calumnies as none among former generations
hath ever uttered, and would commit such deeds as no one in past ages and
centuries hath ever committed. They have rejected the bounty of God and His
proofs and have repudiated the testimony of God and His signs. They have gone
astray and have caused the people to go astray, yet perceive it not. They
worship vain imaginings but know it not. They have taken idle fancies for their
lords and have neglected God, yet understand not. They have abandoned the most
great Ocean and are hastening towards the pool, but comprehend not. They follow
their own idle fancies while turning aside from God, the Help in Peril, the
Self-Subsisting.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 106-107


9. In the following passages "assayers" can also be interpreted as a
reference to dependent prophets.

9a)
I swear by Him Who is Our Beloved and your Beloved, that if one's life be
not offered up in His path, it would not be worth even as much as a mustard
seed, and if one's inmost being were not laid down at His feet, it would
appear more abject and insignificant than a pebble. However, none but the
divine Assayers are able to recognize this gem. In truth, when bereft of
vision, what advantage would one gain by entering into the all-highest
Paradise? If destitute of hearing, what can one perceive by drawing close
unto the celestial Tree of Blessedness? The Assayers of these priceless
gems are such souls unto whom the following tribute is paid: 'They that
speak not till He hath spoken and act according to His commandment.'
Likewise He saith: 'They whom neither merchandise nor traffic beguile from
the remembrance of the Almighty.'
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Compilations, Fire and Light, p. 12

9b)
Then the gales of divine tests and the winds of lordly temptation blew
from the Sheba of the everlasting Cause. They became distracted by the
beauty of the wine server and grew heedless of the immortal countenance,
to the extent that they imagined the shadow to be the sun and phantoms
to be light. They set out for the ladders of the greatest name so that
they might scale those heavens and arrive at that seat and place. When
they rose toward it, the divine assayers descended upon them with the
sacred touchstone, by the irresistible decree of the lord. When these
emissaries did not perceive the scent of the spiritual youth, they forbade
entry to all.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablet of the Holy Mariner (from the Persian).

9c)
69. O CHILDREN OF ADAM!
Holy words and pure and goodly deeds ascend unto the heaven of celestial
glory. Strive that your deeds may be cleansed from the dust of self and
hypocrisy and find favor at the court of glory; for ere long the assayers
of mankind shall, in the holy presence of the Adored One, accept naught
but absolute virtue and deeds of stainless purity. This is the daystar of
wisdom and of divine mystery that hath shone above the horizon of the
divine will. Blessed are they that turn thereunto.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 46

Persian no. 69
This holy verse is replete with meaning, and as time is pressing only a
brief mention is made as follows: naught else but upright conduct and
pure deeds shall be accepted at His divine Threshold. ('Abdu'l-Bahá from
a Tablet to an individual believer -- translated from the Persian)

9d)
35. O MY FRIENDS!
Quench ye the lamp of error, and kindle within your hearts the everlasting
torch of divine guidance. For ere long the assayers of mankind shall, in
the holy presence of the Adored, accept naught but purest virtue and deeds
of stainless holiness.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 34


10. In certain contexts "angels" can also be interpreted as references to dependent
prophets.

10a)
This is the Day whereon the All-Merciful hath come down in the clouds of
knowledge, clothed with manifest sovereignty. He well knoweth the actions of
men. He it is Whose glory none can mistake, could ye but comprehend it. The
heaven of every religion hath been rent, and the earth of human understanding
been cleft asunder, and the angels of God are seen descending. Say: This is
the Day of mutual deceit; whither do ye flee? The mountains have passed away,
and the heavens have been folded together, and the whole earth is held within
His grasp, could ye but understand it. Who is it that can protect you? None, by
Him Who is the All-Merciful! None, except God, the Almighty, the All-Glorious,
the Beneficent. Every woman that hath had a burden in her womb hath cast
her burden. We see men drunken in this Day, the Day in which men and angels
have been gathered together.

Say: Is there any doubt concerning God? Behold how He hath come down from
the heaven of His grace, girded with power and invested with sovereignty. Is
there any doubt concerning His signs? Open ye your eyes, and consider His clear
evidence. Paradise is on your right hand, and hath been brought nigh unto you,
while Hell hath been made to blaze. Witness its devouring flame. Haste ye to
enter into Paradise, as a token of Our mercy unto you, and drink ye from the
hands of the All-Merciful the Wine that is life indeed.

Drink with healthy relish, O people of Bahá. Ye are indeed they with whom it shall
be well. This is what they who have near access to God have attained. This is the
flowing water ye were promised in the Qur'án, and later in the Bayán, as a
recompense from your Lord, the God of Mercy. Blessed are they that quaff it.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 45-46

The passage above about the "angels of God seen descending" (dependent
prophets of Bahá'u'lláh) can be paralleled to the passage below "the Light which
we have sent down" which is a reference to the Imams (dependent prophets of
Muhammad) cited in "Introduction to Shi'i Islam" by Moojan Momen, p. 151-153

64:8 Believe, therefore, in God and His Apostle, and in the Light which
we have sent down. And God is well acquainted with all that ye do.

64:9 The Day that He assembles you (all) for a Day of Assembly,- that
will be a Day of mutual loss and gain (among you), and those who believe
in God and work righteousness,- He will remove from them their ills, and
He will admit them to Gardens beneath which Rivers flow, to dwell therein
for ever: that will be the Supreme Achievement.

64:10 But those who reject Faith and treat Our Signs as falsehoods, they
will be Companions of the Fire, to dwell therein for aye: and evil is
that Goal.
--Qur'an: 64 - AT-TAGHABUN.

10b)
Say: Let not your hearts be perturbed, O people, when the glory of My Presence
is withdrawn, and the ocean of My utterance is stilled. In My presence amongst
you there is a wisdom, and in My absence there is yet another, inscrutable to
all but God, the Incomparable, the All-Knowing. Verily, We behold you from Our
realm of glory, and shall aid whosoever will arise for the triumph of Our Cause
with the hosts of the Concourse on high and a company of Our favoured angels.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 38


11. In the passage below, "souls who will adorn the world of being with a
new raiment and a wondrous robe" -- can also be interpreted as references
to dependent prophets and the new teachings they bring. "Moon" and "divine
unity" are also references applicable to prophets.

The term "suns" hath many a time been applied in the writings of the
"immaculate Souls" unto the Prophets of God, those luminous Emblems of
Detachment. Among those writings are the following words recorded in the
"Prayer of Nudbih": "Whither are gone the resplendent Suns? Whereunto have
departed those shining Moons and sparkling Stars?" Thus, it hath become evident
that the terms "sun," "moon," and "stars" primarily signify the Prophets of
God, the saints, and their companions, those Luminaries, the light of Whose
knowledge hath shed illumination upon the worlds of the visible and the
invisible.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 35

O Thou kind Lord! From the horizon of detachment Thou hast manifested souls
that, even as the shining moon, shed radiance upon the realm of heart and
soul, rid themselves from the attributes of the world of existence and
hastened forth unto the kingdom of immortality. With a drop from the ocean
of Thy loving kindness Thou didst oft-times moisten the gardens of their
hearts until they gained incomparable freshness and beauty. The holy
fragrance of Thy divine unity was diffused far and wide, shedding its sweet
savours over the entire world, causing the regions of the earth to be
redolent with perfume.

Raise up then, O Spirit of Purity, souls who, like those sanctified beings,
will become free and pure, Will adorn the world of being with a new raiment
and a wondrous robe, will seek no one else but Thee, tread no path except
the path of Thy good-pleasure and will speak of naught but the mysteries of
Thy Cause.
--Compilations, Fire and Light.

Passage above can be likened to the one below in reference to Bahá'u'lláh
himself.

"O King! I was but a man like others, asleep upon My couch, when lo, the
breezes of the All-Glorious were wafted over Me, and taught Me the
knowledge of all that hath been. This thing is not from Me, but from One
Who is Almighty and All-Knowing. And He bade Me lift up My voice between
earth and heaven, and for this there befell Me what hath caused the tears
of every man of understanding to flow. The learning current amongst men I
studied not; their schools I entered not. Ask of the city wherein I dwelt,
that thou mayest be well assured that I am not of them who speak falsely.
This is but a leaf which the winds of the will of thy Lord, the Almighty,
the All-Praised, have stirred. Can it be still when the tempestuous winds
are blowing? Nay, by Him Who is the Lord of all Names and Attributes! They
move it as they list. The evanescent is as nothing before Him Who is the
Ever-Abiding. His all-compelling summons hath reached Me, and caused Me to
speak His praise amidst all people. I was indeed as one dead when His
behest was uttered. The hand of the will of thy Lord, the Compassionate,
the Merciful, transformed Me."
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 11-12


12. The "black-eyed damsels" can also be interpreted as references to
dependent prophets.

The Apostle of God--may the blessings of God and His salutations be upon
Him--is reported to have said: "Blessed the man that hath visited Akká, and
blessed he that hath visited the visitor of Akká. 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 Salván (Siloam), and the Well of
Zamzam. 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."
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 179-180

Say: Step out of Thy holy chamber, O Maid of Heaven, inmate of the Exalted
Paradise! Drape thyself in whatever manner pleaseth Thee in the silken
Vesture of Immortality, and put on, in the name of the All-Glorious, the
broidered Robe of Light. Hear, then, the sweet, the wondrous accent of the
Voice that cometh from the Throne of Thy Lord, the Inaccessible, the Most
High. Unveil Thy face, and manifest the beauty of the black-eyed Damsel,
and suffer not the servants of God to be deprived of the light of Thy
shining countenance. Grieve not if Thou hearest the sighs of the dwellers
of the earth, or the voice of the lamentation of the denizens of heaven.
Leave them to perish on the dust of extinction. Let them be reduced to
nothingness, inasmuch as the flame of hatred hath been kindled within their
breasts. Intone, then, before the face of the peoples of earth and heaven,
and in a most melodious voice, the anthem of praise, for a remembrance of
Him Who is the King of the names and attributes of God. Thus have We
decreed Thy destiny. Well able are We to achieve Our purpose.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 282-283


General references on the Prophets of God.

These attributes of God are not and have never been vouchsafed specially unto
certain Prophets, and withheld from others. Nay, all the Prophets of God, His
well-favoured, His holy, and chosen Messengers, are, without exception, the
bearers of His names, and the embodiments of His attributes. They only differ
in the intensity of their revelation, and the comparative potency of their
light. Even as He hath revealed: "Some of the Apostles We have caused to excel
the others." It hath therefore become manifest and evident that within the
tabernacles of these Prophets and chosen Ones of God the light of His infinite
names and exalted attributes hath been reflected, even though the light of some
of these attributes may or may not be outwardly revealed from these luminous
Temples to the eyes of men. That a certain attribute of God hath not been
outwardly manifested by these Essences of Detachment doth in no wise imply that
they Who are the Daysprings of God's attributes and the Treasuries of His holy
names did not actually possess it. Therefore, these illuminated Souls, these
beauteous Countenances have, each and every one of them, been endowed with all
the attributes of God, such as sovereignty, dominion, and the like, even though
to outward seeming they be shorn of all earthly majesty. To every discerning
eye this is evident and manifest; it requireth neither proof nor evidence.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 103

These Manifestations of God have each a twofold station. One is the station
of pure abstraction and essential unity. In this respect, if thou callest
them all by one name, and dost ascribe to them the same attributes, thou
hast not erred from the truth. Even as He hath revealed: "No distinction do
We make between any of His Messengers." For they, one and all, summon the
people of the earth to acknowledge the unity of God, and herald unto them
the Kawthar of an infinite grace and bounty. They are all invested with the
robe of prophethood, and are honored with the mantle of glory. Thus hath
Muhammad, the Point of the Qur'án, revealed: "I am all the Prophets."
Likewise, He saith: "I am the first Adam, Noah, Moses, and Jesus." Similar
statements have been made by Imám `Alí. Sayings such as these, which
indicate the essential unity of those Exponents of Oneness, have also
emanated from the Channels of God's immortal utterance, and the Treasuries
of the gems of Divine knowledge, and have been recorded in the Scriptures.
These Countenances are the recipients of the Divine Command, and the Day
Springs of His Revelation. This Revelation is exalted above the veils of
plurality and the exigencies of number. Thus He saith: "Our Cause is but
One." Inasmuch as the Cause is one and the same, the Exponents thereof also
must needs be one and the same. Likewise, the Imáms of the Muhammadan Faith,
those lamps of certitude, have said: "Muhammad is our first, Muhammad is our
last, Muhammad our all."
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 51

Such revelation is confined to His Prophets and chosen Ones, inasmuch as none
mightier than they hath come to exist in the world of being. This truth all
recognize, and bear witness thereto. These Prophets and chosen Ones of God are
the recipients and revealers of all the unchangeable attributes and names of
God. They are the mirrors that truly and faithfully reflect the light of God.
Whatsoever is applicable to them is in reality applicable to God, Himself, Who
is both the Visible and the Invisible. The knowledge of Him, Who is the Origin
of all things, and attainment unto Him, are impossible save through knowledge
of, and attainment unto, these luminous Beings who proceed from the Sun of
Truth.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 142

The door of the knowledge of the Ancient of Days being thus closed in the face
of all beings, the Source of infinite grace, according to His saying: "His
grace hath transcended all things; My grace hath encompassed them all" hath
caused those luminous Gems of Holiness to appear out of the realm of the
spirit, in the noble form of the human temple, and be made manifest unto all
men, that they may impart unto the world the mysteries of the unchangeable
Being, and tell of the subtleties of His imperishable Essence. These sanctified
Mirrors, these Day-springs of ancient glory are one and all the Exponents on
earth of Him Who is the central Orb of the universe, its Essence and ultimate
Purpose. From Him proceed their knowledge and power; from Him is derived their
sovereignty. The beauty of their countenance is but a reflection of His image,
and their revelation a sign of His deathless glory. They are the Treasuries of
divine knowledge, and the Repositories of celestial wisdom. Through them is
transmitted a grace that is infinite, and by them is revealed the light that
can never fade. Even as He hath said: "There is no distinction whatsoever
between Thee and them; except that they are Thy servants, and are created of
Thee." This is the significance of the tradition: "I am He, Himself, and He is
I, myself."
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 99

XXI. O Salmán! The door of the knowledge of the Ancient Being hath ever been,
and will continue for ever to be, closed in the face of men. No man's
understanding shall ever gain access unto His holy court. As a token of His
mercy, however, and as a proof of His loving-kindness, He hath manifested unto
men the Day Stars of His divine guidance, the Symbols of His divine unity, and
hath ordained the knowledge of these sanctified Beings to be identical with the
knowledge of His own Self. Whoso recognizeth them hath recognized God. Whoso
hearkeneth to their call, hath hearkened to the Voice of God, and whoso
testifieth to the truth of their Revelation, hath testified to the truth of God
Himself. Whoso turneth away from them, hath turned away from God, and whoso
disbelieveth in them, hath disbelieved in God. Every one of them is the Way of
God that connecteth this world with the realms above, and the Standard of His
Truth unto every one in the kingdoms of earth and heaven. They are the
Manifestations of God amidst men, the evidences of His Truth, and the signs of
His glory.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 49

Know that the attributes of perfection, the splendor of the divine
bounties, and the lights of inspiration are visible and evident in all the
Holy Manifestations; but the glorious Word of God, Christ, and the Greatest
Name, Bahá'u'lláh, are manifestations and evidences which are beyond
imagination, for They possess all the perfections of the former
Manifestations; and more than that, They possess some perfections which
make the other Manifestations dependent upon Them. So all the Prophets of
Israel were centers of inspiration; Christ also was a receiver of
inspiration, but what a difference between the inspiration of the Word of
God and the revelations of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Elijah!
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 149-150

Question.--How many kinds of Prophets are there? Answer.--Universally, the
Prophets are of two kinds. One are the independent Prophets Who are
followed; the other kind are not independent and are themselves followers.

The independent Prophets are the lawgivers and the founders of a new cycle.
Through Their appearance the world puts on a new garment, the foundations
of religion are established, and a new book is revealed. Without an
intermediary They receive bounty from the Reality of the Divinity, and
Their illumination is an essential illumination. They are like the sun
which is luminous in itself: the light is its essential necessity; it does
not receive light from any other star. These Dawning-places of the morn of
Unity are the sources of bounty and the mirrors of the Essence of Reality.

The other Prophets are followers and promoters, for they are branches and
not independent; they receive the bounty of the independent Prophets, and
they profit by the light of the Guidance of the universal Prophets. They
are like the moon, which is not luminous and radiant in itself, but
receives its light from the sun.

The Manifestations of universal Prophethood Who appeared independently are,
for example, Abraham, Moses, Christ, Muhammad, the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh. But
the others who are followers and promoters are like Solomon, David, Isaiah,
Jeremiah and Ezekiel. For the independent Prophets are founders; They
establish a new religion and make new creatures of men; They change the
general morals, promote new customs and rules, renew the cycle and the Law.
Their appearance is like the season of spring, which arrays all earthly
beings in a new garment, and gives them a new life.

With regard to the second sort of Prophets who are followers, these also
promote the Law of God, make known the Religion of God, and proclaim His
word. Of themselves they have no power and might, except what they receive
from the independent Prophets.
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p.165


Chapter 3

References to dependent prophets from the writings of Abdu'l-Bahá.

Symbolic terms used by Abdu'l-Bahá to refer to prophets include: "Sun",
"Moons", "stars", "root", "branch", "countenances", "holy ones".

More terms used that are applicable to prophets include: "throne",
"heralds", "testimony", "signs", "revelation","ascent" [to heaven].


THE TWO CLASSES OF PROPHETS

Question.--How many kinds of Prophets are there? Answer.--Universally, the
Prophets are of two kinds. One are the independent Prophets Who are followed;
the other kind are not independent and are themselves followers.

The independent Prophets are the lawgivers and the founders of a new cycle.
Through Their appearance the world puts on a new garment, the foundations of
religion are established, and a new book is revealed. Without an intermediary
They receive bounty from the Reality of the Divinity, and Their illumination is
an essential illumination. They are like the sun which is luminous in itself:
the light is its essential necessity; it does not receive light from any other
star. These Dawning-places of the morn of Unity are the sources of bounty and
the mirrors of the Essence of Reality.

The other Prophets are followers and promoters, for they are branches and not
independent; they receive the bounty of the independent Prophets, and they
profit by the light of the Guidance of the universal Prophets. They are like
the moon, which is not luminous and radiant in itself, but receives its light
from the sun.

The Manifestations of universal Prophethood Who appeared independently are, for
example, Abraham, Moses, Christ, Muhammad, the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh. But the
others who are followers and promoters are like Solomon, David, Isaiah,
Jeremiah and Ezekiel. For the independent Prophets are founders; They establish
a new religion and make new creatures of men; They change the general morals,
promote new customs and rules, renew the cycle and the Law. Their appearance is
like the season of spring, which arrays all earthly beings in a new garment,
and gives them a new life.

With regard to the second sort of Prophets who are followers, these also
promote the Law of God, make known the Religion of God, and proclaim His word.
Of themselves they have no power and might, except what they receive from the
independent Prophets.
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p.165


The passage below can be interpreted in the following sense as a
reference to dependent (lesser) prophets: where it says they will "interpret
every hidden meaning" may be a reference to Sealed Prophecies. These are
prophecies that can only be explained by prophets and is a proof of
prophethood. Where it says, "They shall raise their voices in every assembly"
can be interpreted to be referring to how their writings and teachings will be
used in Bahá'í gatherings like those of Bahá'u'lláh and Abdu'l-Bahá. Where it
says,"that their sacred countenances may be unveiled to mortal eyes"can be
interpreted as the dependent prophets appearing before us believers -- i.e.
those with"mortal eyes"are us believers who are fallible and whose spiritual
station is not guaranteed.

204. O phoenix of that immortal flame kindled in the sacred Tree!
Bahá'u'lláh--may my life, my soul, my spirit be offered up as a sacrifice unto
His lowly servants--hath, during His last days on earth, given the most
emphatic promise that, through the outpourings of the grace of God and the aid
and assistance vouchsafed from His Kingdom on high, souls will arise and holy
beings appear who, as stars, would adorn the firmament of divine guidance;
illumine the dayspring of loving-kindness and bounty; manifest the signs of the
unity of God; shine with the light of sanctity and purity; receive their full
measure of divine inspiration; raise high the sacred torch of faith; stand firm
as the rock and immoveable as the mountain; and grow to become luminaries in
the heavens of His Revelation, mighty channels of His grace, means for the
bestowal of God's bountiful care, heralds calling forth the name of the One
true God, and establishers of the world's supreme foundation.

These shall labour ceaselessly, by day and by night, shall heed neither trials
nor woe, shall suffer no respite in their efforts, shall seek no repose, shall
disregard all ease and comfort, and, detached and unsullied, shall consecrate
every fleeting moment of their lives to the diffusion of the divine fragrance
and the exaltation of God's holy Word. Their faces will radiate heavenly
gladness, and their hearts be filled with joy. Their souls will be inspired,
and their foundation stand secure. They shall scatter in the world, and travel
throughout all regions. They shall raise their voices in every assembly, and
adorn and revive every gathering. They shall speak in every tongue, and
interpret every hidden meaning. They shall reveal the mysteries of the Kingdom,
and manifest unto everyone the signs of God. They shall burn brightly even as a
candle in the heart of every assembly, and beam forth as a star upon every
horizon. The gentle breezes wafted from the garden of their hearts shall
perfume and revive the souls of men, and the revelations of their minds, even
as showers, will reinvigorate the peoples and nations of the world.

I am waiting, eagerly waiting for these holy ones to appear; and yet, how long
will they delay their coming? My prayer and ardent supplication, at eventide
and at dawn, is that these shining stars may soon shed their radiance upon the
world, that their sacred countenances may be unveiled to mortal eyes, that the
hosts of divine assistance may achieve their victory, and the billows of grace,
rising from His oceans above, may flow upon all mankind. Pray ye also and
supplicate unto Him that through the bountiful aid of the Ancient Beauty these
souls may be unveiled to the eyes of the world.

The glory of God rest upon thee, and upon him whose face is illumined with that
everlasting light that shineth from His Kingdom of Glory.
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Bahá, p. 252


According to the passages below, there will be 24 Dependent Prophets in the
Bahá'í era; twice the number in each of the recent major revelations, an aspect
of the greatness of the Day of God.

4:4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon
the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment;
and they had on their heads crowns of gold.
-- Bible: Revelation.

The following sequence from the Book of Revelation verses 11:3 to 11:17
fortells the coming of Muhammad (first woe) and Imam Ali , followed by The Bab
(second woe) and Quddus, followed by Bahá'u'lláh (third woe) and the 24 holy
souls.

11:3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy
a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
-- Bible: Revelation

And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand
two hundred and three-score days, clothed in sackcloth." These two witnesses

are Muhammad the Messenger of God, and `Alí, son of Abú Tálib.

In the Qur'án it is said that God addressed Muhammad, the Messenger of God,
saying: "We made You a Witness, a Herald of good news, and a Warner"--that is

to say, We have established Thee as the witness, the giver of good tidings, and

as One bringing the wrath of God. The meaning of "a witness" is one by whose
testimony things may be verified. The commands of these two witnesses were to
be performed for twelve hundred and sixty days, each day signifying a year.
Now, Muhammad was the root, and `Alí the branch, like Moses and Joshua.
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 48

11:11 And after three days and an half the spirit of life from God entered into
them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them
which saw them.
-- Bible: Revelation

"And after three days and a half the spirit of life from God entered into them,
and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them that saw them."

Three days and a half, as we before explained, is twelve hundred and sixty

years. Those two persons whose bodies were lying spiritless are the teachings

and the law that Muhammad established and `Alí promoted, from which, however,

the reality had departed and only the form remained. The spirit came again into
them means that those foundations and teachings were again established. In
other words, the spirituality of the Religion of God had been changed into
materiality, and virtues into vices; the love of God had been changed into
hatred, enlightenment into darkness, divine qualities into satanic ones,
justice into tyranny, mercy into enmity, sincerity into hypocrisy, guidance
into error, and purity into sensuality. Then after three days and a half, which
by the terminology of the Holy Books is twelve hundred and sixty years, these
divine teachings, heavenly virtues, perfections and spiritual bounties were
again renewed by the appearance of the Báb and the devotion of Jináb-i-Quddús.
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 54

11:12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up
hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies
beheld them.
-- Bible: Revelation

"And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And
they ascended up to heaven," meaning that from the invisible heaven they heard

the voice of God, saying: You have performed all that was proper and fitting in

delivering the teachings and glad tidings; you have given My message to the

people and raised the call of God, and have accomplished your duty. Now, like

Christ, you must sacrifice your life for the Well-Beloved, and be martyrs. And
that Sun of Reality, and that Moon of Guidance, both, like Christ, set on the
horizon of the greatest martyrdom and ascended to the Kingdom of God.
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 55

11:14 The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.
-- Bible: Revelation

"The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly." The first
woe is the appearance of the Prophet, Muhammad, the son of `Abdu'lláh--peace be

upon Him! The second woe is that of the Báb--to Him be glory and praise! The

third woe is the great day of the manifestation of the Lord of Hosts and the

radiance of the Beauty of the Promised One. The explanation of this subject,
woe, is mentioned in the thirtieth chapter of Ezekiel, where it is said: "The
word of the Lord came again unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy and say, Thus
saith the Lord God; Howl ye, Woe worth the day! For the day is near, even the
day of the Lord is near."

Therefore, it is certain that the day of woe is the day of the Lord; for in
that day woe is for the neglectful, woe is for the sinners, woe is for the
ignorant. That is why it is said, "The second woe is past; behold the third woe
cometh quickly!" This third woe is the day of the manifestation of
Bahá'u'lláh, the day of God; and it is near to the day of the appearance of the
Báb.
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 56

11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven,
saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord,
and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

The seventh angel is a man qualified with heavenly attributes, who will arise
with heavenly qualities and character. Voices will be raised, so that the

appearance of the Divine Manifestation will be proclaimed and diffused. In the

day of the manifestation of the Lord of Hosts, and at the epoch of the divine

cycle of the Omnipotent which is promised and mentioned in all the books and

writings of the Prophets--in that day of God, the Spiritual and Divine Kingdom
will be established, and the world will be renewed;
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 56

"His Christ" is interpreted as a general reference to the manifestation, like
when Muhammad refers to himself as "Jesus".

Every discerning observer will recognize that in the Dispensation of the Qur'án
both the Book and the Cause of Jesus were confirmed. As to the matter of names,
Muhammad, Himself, declared: "I am Jesus." He recognized the truth of the
signs, prophecies, and words of Jesus, and testified that they were all of God.
In this sense, neither the person of Jesus nor His writings hath differed from
that of Muhammad and of His holy Book, inasmuch as both have championed the
Cause of God, uttered His praise, and revealed His commandments. Thus it is
that Jesus, Himself, declared: "I go away and come again unto you."
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 21

11:16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell
upon their faces, and worshipped God,

11:17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O LORD God Almighty, which art, and wast,
and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and
hast reigned.
-- Bible: Revelation

Such is the day of God. For all the days which have come and gone were the days
of Abraham, Moses and Christ, or of the other Prophets; but this day is the day

of God, for the Sun of Reality will arise in it with the utmost warmth and

splendor.

"And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon
their faces, and worshipped God.

"Saying, We give Thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, Which art, and wast, and art
to come; because Thou hast taken to Thee Thy great power, and hast reigned." In
each cycle the guardians and holy souls have been twelve. So Jacob had twelve
sons; in the time of Moses there were twelve heads or chiefs of the tribes; in
the time of Christ there were twelve Apostles ; and in the time of Muhammad
there were twelve Imáms. But in this glorious manifestation there are
twenty-four, double the number of all the others, for the greatness of this
manifestation requires it. These holy souls are in the presence of God seated
on their own thrones, meaning that they reign eternally.

These twenty-four great persons, though they are seated on the thrones of
everlasting rule, yet are worshipers of the appearance of the Universal
Manifestation, and they are humble and submissive, saying, "We give thanks to
Thee, O Lord God Almighty, Which art, and wast, and art to come, because Thou
hast taken to Thee Thy great power and hast reigned" -- that is to say, Thou
wilt issue all Thy teachings, Thou wilt gather all the people of the earth
under Thy shadow, and Thou wilt bring all men under the shadow of one tent.
Although it is the Eternal Kingdom of God, and He always had, and has, a
Kingdom, the Kingdom here means the manifestation of Himself; and He will issue
all the laws and teachings which are the spirit of the world of humanity and
everlasting life. And that universal Manifestation will subdue the world by
spiritual power, not by war and combat; He will do it with peace and
tranquillity, not by the sword and arms; He will establish this Heavenly
Kingdom by true love, and not by the power of war. He will promote these divine
teachings by kindness and righteousness, and not by weapons and harshness. He
will so educate the nations and people that, notwithstanding their various
conditions, their different customs and characters, and their diverse religions
and races, they will, as it is said in the Bible, like the wolf and the lamb,
the leopard, the kid, the sucking child and the serpent, become comrades,
friends and companions. The contentions of races, the differences of religions,
and the barriers between nations will be completely removed, and all will
attain perfect union and reconciliation under the shadow of the Blessed Tree.
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 58.


Significance of Twelve

Thou didst ask as to the tenth to the seventeenth verses of the twenty-first
chapter of Saint John the Divine's Revelation. Know thou that according to
mathematical principles, the firmament of this earth's brilliant day-star hath
been divided among twelve constellations, which they call the twelve zodiacal
signs. In the same way, the Sun of Truth shineth out from and sheddeth its
bounties through twelve stations of holiness, and by these heavenly signs are
meant those stainless and unsullied personages who are the very well-springs of
sanctity, and the dawning-points proclaiming the oneness of God.

Consider how in the days of the Interlocutor (Moses), there were twelve holy
beings who were leaders of the twelve tribes; and likewise in the dispensation
of the Spirit (Christ), note that there were twelve Apostles gathered within
the sheltering shade of that supernal Light, and from those splendid
dawning-points the Sun of Truth shone forth even as the sun in the sky. Again,
in the days of Muhammad, observe that there were twelve dawning-points of
holiness, the manifestors of God's confirming help. Such is the way of it.

Accordingly did Saint John the Divine tell of twelve gates in his vision, and
twelve foundations. By `that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of
heaven from God' is meant the holy Law of God, and this is set forth in many
Tablets and still to be read in the Scriptures of the Prophets of the past: for
instance, that Jerusalem was seen going out into the wilderness.

The meaning of the passage is that this heavenly Jerusalem hath twelve gates,
through which the blessed enter into the City of God. These gates are souls who
are as guiding stars, as portals of knowledge and grace; and within these gates
there stand twelve angels. By `angel' is meant the power of the confirmations
of God--that the candle of God's confirming power shineth out from the
lamp-niche of those souls--meaning that every one of those beings will be
granted the most vehement confirming support.

These twelve gates surround the entire world, that is they are a shelter for
all creatures. And further, these twelve gates are the foundation of the City
of God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and on each one of these foundations is written
the name of one of the Apostles of Christ. That is to say, each one maketh
manifest the perfections, the joyous message, and the excellency of that holy
Being.
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Bahá, p. 165


Chapter 4

Tablet of the Holy Mariner (from the Persian)

He is the Foreigner, the Persian, the Iraqi.

When the passengers on the divine ark had clung to one of the names, with the
permission of the holy mariner in the pre-existent vessel, then did it set sail
upon the sea of names. They traversed the stations of limitation, so that they
might make for the Yemen of the powerful sovereign of oneness, arriving at the
shore of divine unity. Thus might they drink from the chalice of transcendence.
Indeed, by the aid of the lord, that eternal ark set sail upon and plied the
spiritual waters of wisdom.

Then they reached a place where the name, the Still, became dominant over their
course, so that the ship of the spirit was becalmed, unable to move. At that
moment, the impregnable command of the lord descended from the holy and
everlasting heavens. The mariner of eternity was ordered to teach a single
letter of the hidden word to the people of the ark. Thus did they, by the
succor of the Unseen, pass through the valley of psychological bewilderment and
arrive at the great court of spiritual unity, attaining the Mount Qaf of
eternal life and the presence of the lord of souls. When the people of the ship
attained to the word of the spiritual friend, they were immediately filled with
meaning and soared into the sacred sky. By the divine grace and mercy, they
passed beyond the peaks of carnal desire and the deepest levels of negligence
and blindness. At that moment the breezes of paradise wafted upon their bodies
from the sanctuary of the All Merciful. After they soared in the heavens of
divine nearness, they traversed the spiritual stations in the place of safety
and security. Finally, they halted at the homeland of lovers. The inhabitants
of this station arose to serve them and show them kindness. The immortal
attendants and the holy servers poured ruby wine liberally. Intoxication with
the wine of divine knowledge, and the cup of eternal wisdom induced such love
and distraction that they escaped from their own being and that of existing
things. They gave their hearts to the beauty of the friend. For ages and
centuries they settled and dwelt in that pleasant and spiritual station, in
that divine and holy rose garden, with perfect joy and happiness.

Then the gales of divine tests and the winds of lordly temptation blew from the
Sheba of the everlasting Cause. They became distracted by the beauty of the
wine server and grew heedless of the immortal countenance, to the extent that
they imagined the shadow to be the sun and phantoms to be light. They set out
for the ladders of the greatest name so that they might scale those heavens and
arrive at that seat and place. When they rose toward it, the divine assayers
descended upon them with the sacred touchstone, by the irresistible decree of
the lord. When these emissaries did not perceive the scent of the spiritual
youth, they forbade entry to all. Afterwards, there occurred what is inscribed
upon the guarded tablet.

Then, you who dwell upon the plain of divine love and drink the wine of
unceasing forgiveness, do not exchange nearness to the beauty of the friend for
both worlds. Do not prefer the presence of the wine server to meeting him, and
do not give your heart to the intoxicant of ignorance and heedlessness in
preference to his wine of knowledge and wisdom. Lips are for mentioning the
beloved; do not defile them with filthy water. The heart is the home of
everlasting mysteries, do not busy it with perishable things. Seek the water of
life from the fountain of the beauty of the All-Praised, not from the
manifestations of Satan.

Yes, this ephemeral youth here mentions the highest station of the love of the
divine friends. He does so by reference to the wonders of the text of divine
unity and the gems of the wisdom of the self-sufficient sovereign. Thus,
perhaps some might recognize the value of courage and gallantry, and put off
the shirt of negligence and carnal appetites. Perhaps they will visit the
illumined beauty of the pure, radiant and sanctified friend in the land of
love, detachment, amiability and exaltation. Thus would they receive the lights
dawning from the morn of his brow and the effulgence of the perspicuous day, to
at least the extent that they would be enabled to unite their inner and outer
selves. We have passed beyond the loftiness of abstraction, the sublimity of
divine oneness, the ultimate recognition that God is above all attributes, and
the most great sanctification. Now, they must put forth their utmost effort and
give their unswerving attention, so that their inward secrets not be contrary
to their overt behavior, nor their outward deeds at variance with their inner
mysteries. We have traversed the stage of expending the self for others. Arise
to expend justice and fairness upon the souls that pertain to you.

In the end, however, you prefer the cloak of carnal longing and desire to the
robe of divine benediction, and you exchange the song of the nightingale of
immortality for the disagreeable croaking of death that issues from the throats
of the hateful and rebellious. How miserable a trade you make! We are from God
and to him do we return. God willing, we maintain the hope that the immortal
temples of glory shall, through the adornment of holiness and the divine
attributes, appear illumined, gentle, pure and undefiled like the eternal sun.
This is not difficult for God.

- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablet of the Holy Mariner from the Persian. (a provisional
translation)


Chapter 5

References to "angels" meaning prophets.

This is the Day whereon the All-Merciful hath come down in the clouds of
knowledge, clothed with manifest sovereignty. He well knoweth the actions of
men. He it is Whose glory none can mistake, could ye but comprehend it. The
heaven of every religion hath been rent, and the earth of human understanding
been cleft asunder, and the angels of God are seen descending. Say: This is
the Day of mutual deceit; whither do ye flee? The mountains have passed away,
and the heavens have been folded together, and the whole earth is held within
His grasp, could ye but understand it. Who is it that can protect you? None, by
Him Who is the All-Merciful! None, except God, the Almighty, the All-Glorious,
the Beneficent. Every woman that hath had a burden in her womb hath cast
her burden. We see men drunken in this Day, the Day in which men and
angels have been gathered together.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 45

Know ye that the world and its vanities and its embellishments shall pass away.
Nothing will endure except God's Kingdom which pertaineth to none but Him,
the Sovereign Lord of all, the Help in Peril, the All-Glorious, the Almighty. The
days of your life shall roll away, and all the things with which ye are occupied
and of which ye boast yourselves shall perish, and ye shall, most certainly, be
summoned by a company of His angels to appear at the spot where the limbs
of the entire creation shall be made to tremble, and the flesh of every oppressor
to creep. Ye shall be asked of the things your hands have wrought in this, your
vain life, and shall be repaid for your doings. This is the day that shall inevitably
come upon you, the hour that none can put back. To this the Tongue of Him
that speaketh the truth and is the Knower of all things hath testified.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 125

Certain ones among you have said: "He it is Who hath laid claim to be God." By
God! This is a gross calumny. I am but a servant of God Who hath believed in Him
and in His signs, and in His Prophets and in His angels. My tongue, and My heart,
and My inner and My outer being testify that there is no God but Him, that all others
have been created by His behest, and been fashioned through the operation of His
Will. There is none other God but Him, the Creator, the Raiser from the dead, the
Quickener, the Slayer. I am He that telleth abroad the favors with which God hath,
through His bounty, favored Me. If this be My transgression, then I am truly the first
of the transgressors. I and My kindred are at your mercy. Do ye as ye please, and
be not of them that hesitate, that I might return to God My Lord, and reach the
place where I can no longer behold your faces. This, indeed, is My dearest wish,
My most ardent desire. Of My state God is, verily, sufficiently informed, observant.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 228

4:136 O ye who believe! Believe in God and His Apostle, and the scripture
which He hath sent to His Apostle and the scripture which He sent to
those before (him). Any who denieth God, His angels, His Books, His
Apostles, and the Day of Judgment, hath gone far, far astray.
-- Qur'an: 4 - AN-NISA.

LXXII. Let not your hearts be perturbed, O people, when the glory of My Presence
is withdrawn, and the ocean of My utterance is stilled. In My presence amongst you
there is a wisdom, and in My absence there is yet another, inscrutable to all but
God, the Incomparable, the All-Knowing. Verily, We behold you from Our realm of
glory, and shall aid whosoever will arise for the triumph of Our Cause with the
hosts of the Concourse on high and a company of Our favored angels.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 139

CLVII. They that have forsaken their country for the purpose of teaching Our
Cause--these shall the Faithful Spirit strengthen through its power. A company
of Our chosen angels shall go forth with them, as bidden by Him Who is the
Almighty, the All-Wise. How great the blessedness that awaiteth him that hath
attained the honor of serving the Almighty! By My life! No act, however great,
can compare with it, except such deeds as have been ordained by God, the
All-Powerful, the Most Mighty. Such a service is, indeed, the prince of all goodly
deeds, and the ornament of every goodly act. Thus hath it been ordained by Him
Who is the Sovereign Revealer, the Ancient of Days.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 334

At that time, the signs of the Son of man shall appear in heaven, that is, the
promised Beauty and Substance of life shall, when these signs have appeared, step
forth out of the realm of the invisible into the visible world. And He saith: at that
time, all the peoples and kindreds that dwell on earth shall bewail and lament, and
they shall see that divine Beauty coming from heaven, riding upon the clouds with
power, grandeur, and magnificence, sending His angels with a great sound of a
trumpet. Similarly, in the three other Gospels, according to Luke, Mark, and John,
the same statements are recorded. As We have referred at length to these in Our
Tablets revealed in the Arabic tongue, We have made no mention of them in
these pages, and have confined Ourselves to but one reference.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 25

Every one who hath turned aside from Me hath clung to his own idle words,
and therewith voiced his objections to Him Who is the Truth. Gracious God! Such
references as have been made to Divinity and Godhead by the holy ones and
chosen ones of God have been made a cause for denial and repudiation. The
Imám Sádiq hath said: "Servitude is a substance, the essence of which is Divinity."
The Commander of the Faithful (Imám `Alí) answered an Arab, who had questioned
him concerning the soul, as follows: "The third is the soul which is divine and celestial.
It is a divine energy, a substance, simple, and self-subsistent." And further he --
peace be upon him--said: "Therefore it is the Most Sublime Essence of God, the
Tree of Blessedness, the Lote-Tree beyond which there is no passing, the Garden
of Repose." The Imám Sádiq hath said: "When our Qá'im will arise, the earth will
shine with the light of her Lord." Likewise, a lengthy tradition is attributed to
Ábí-`Abdi'lláh--peace be upon him--in which these sublime words are found: "Thereupon
will He Who is the All-Compelling-- exalted and glorified be He--descend from the
clouds with the angels." And in the mighty Qur'án: "What can such expect but that
God should come down to them overshadowed with clouds?" And in the tradition of
Mufaddál it is said: "The Qá'im will lean His back against the Sanctuary, and will
stretch forth His hand, and lo, it shall be snow-white but unhurt. And He shall say:
`This is the hand of God, the right hand of God, that cometh from God, at the
command of God!'" In whichever manner these traditions are interpreted, in that
same manner let them also interpret that which the Most Sublime Pen hath set down.
The Commander of the Faithful (Imám `Alí) hath said: "I am He Who can neither be
named, nor described." And likewise He hath said: "Outwardly I am an Imám; inwardly
I am the Unseen, the Unknowable."
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 111

16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels;
and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

16:28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste
of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.
-- Bible: Matthew.


Chapter 6

References on "announcement" -- the declaration of a prophet.

Set thine heart towards Him Who is the Point of adoration for the world, and
say: O peoples of the earth! Have ye denied the One in Whose path He Who
came with the truth, bearing the announcement of your Lord, the Exalted, the
Great, suffered martyrdom? Say: This is an Announcement whereat the hearts of
the Prophets and Messengers have rejoiced. This is the One Whom the heart of
the world remembereth and is promised in the Books of God, the Mighty, the
All-Wise.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 29

O followers of the Bayán! Fear ye the All-Merciful. This is the One Who hath
been glorified by Muhammad, the Apostle of God, and before Him by the Spirit
and yet before Him by the One Who discoursed with God. This is the Point of
the Bayán calling aloud before the Throne, saying: `By the righteousness of
God, ye have been created to glorify this Most Great Announcement, this
Perfect Way which lay hid within the souls of the Prophets, which was
treasured in the hearts of the chosen ones of God and was written down by the
glorious Pen of your Lord, the Possessor of Names.'
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 103

Fear God, O men of insight, and be not of those who disbelieve in Me. Take
heed lest the word "Prophet" withhold you from this Most Great Announcement,
or any reference to "Vicegerency" debar you from the sovereignty of Him Who
is the Vicegerent of God, which overshadoweth all the worlds. Every name hath
been created by His Word, and every cause is dependent on His irresistible,
His mighty and wondrous Cause. Say: This is the Day of God, the Day on which
naught shall be mentioned save His own Self, the omnipotent Protector of all
worlds. This is the Cause that hath made all your superstitions and idols to
tremble.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 80

Say: Fear ye God, then observe equity in your judgement of this Great
Announcement before which, as soon as it shone forth, every momentous
announcement bowed low in adoration. Say: O concourse of the foolish! If ye
reject Him, by what evidence can ye prove your allegiance to the former
Messengers of God or vindicate your belief in that which He hath sent down
from His mighty and exalted Kingdom? What benefit do your possessions bestow
upon you? What protection can your treasures afford you? None, I swear by the
Spirit of God that pervadeth all that are in the heavens and on the earth.
Cast away that which ye have put together with the hands of idle fancy and
vain imaginings and take fast hold of the Book of God which hath been sent
down by virtue of His all-compelling and inviolable authority.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 248

`Call out to Zion, O Carmel, and announce the joyful tidings: He that was
hidden from mortal eyes is come! His all-conquering sovereignty is manifest;
His all-encompassing splendour is revealed. Beware lest thou hesitate or
halt. Hasten forth and circumambulate the City of God that hath descended
from heaven, the celestial Kaaba round which have circled in adoration the
favoured of God, the pure in heart, and the company of the most exalted
angels. Oh, how I long to announce unto every spot on the surface of the
earth, and to carry to each one of its cities, the glad-tidings of this
Revelation--a Revelation to which the heart of Sinai hath been attracted,
and in whose name the Burning Bush is calling: "Unto God, the Lord of Lords,
belong the kingdoms of earth and heaven." Verily this is the Day in which
both land and sea rejoice at this announcement, the Day for which have been
laid up those things which God, through a bounty beyond the ken of mortal
mind or heart, hath destined for revelation. Ere long will God sail His Ark
upon thee, and will manifest the people of Bahá who have been mentioned in
the Book of Names.'
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 4

Verily, Thou art the Potent, the Bountiful. No God is there but Thee, the
Mighty, the Gracious.

The tenth Glad-Tidings

As a token of grace from God, the Revealer of this Most Great Announcement,
We have removed from the Holy Scriptures and Tablets the law prescribing the
destruction of books.

The eleventh Glad-Tidings

It is permissible to study sciences and arts, but such sciences as are useful
and would redound to the progress and advancement of the people. Thus hath it
been decreed by Him Who is the Ordainer, the All-Wise.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 25

From the Quran

9:1 A (déclaration) of immunity from God and His Apostle, to those of the
Pagans with whom ye have contracted mutual alliances:-

9:2 Go ye, then, for four months, backwards and forwards, (as ye will),
throughout the land, but know ye that ye cannot frustrate God (by your
falsehood) but that God will cover with shame those who reject Him.

9:3 And an announcement from God and His Apostle, to the people (assembled)
on the day of the Great Pilgrimage,- that God and His Apostle dissolve
(treaty) obligations with the Pagans. If then, ye repent, it were best
for you; but if ye turn away, know ye that ye cannot frustrate God. And
proclaim a grievous penalty to those who reject Faith.
-- Qur'an: 9 - AT-TAUBAH.


Chapter 7

References on the Apostles, indicating their station.

References to apostles from the writings of Abdu'l-Bahá

Consider! The station and the confirmation of the apostles in the time of
Christ was not known, and no one looked on them with the feeling of
importance -- nay, rather, they persecuted and ridiculed them. Later on it
became evident what crowns studded with the brilliant jewels of guidance
were placed on the heads of the apostles, Mary Magdalene and Mary the
mother of John.
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Tablets of the Divine Plan, p. 39

Emmanuel was indeed the Herald of the Second Coming of Christ, and a
Summoner to the pathway of the Kingdom. It is evident that the Letter is
a member of the Word, and this membership in the Word signifieth that the
Letter is dependent for its value on the Word, that is, it deriveth its
grace from the Word; it has a spiritual kinship with the Word, and is
accounted an integral part of the Word. The Apostles were even as Letters,
and Christ was the essence of the Word Itself; and the meaning of the Word,
which is grace everlasting, cast a splendour on those Letters. Again, since
the Letter is a member of the Word, it therefore, in its inner meaning, is
consonant with the Word.
-- Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Bahá, p. 60

Significance of Twelve

Thou didst ask as to the tenth to the seventeenth verses of the twenty-first
chapter of Saint John the Divine's Revelation. Know thou that according to
mathematical principles, the firmament of this earth's brilliant day-star
hath been divided among twelve constellations, which they call the twelve
zodiacal signs. In the same way, the Sun of Truth shineth out from and
sheddeth its bounties through twelve stations of holiness, and by these
heavenly signs are meant those stainless and unsullied personages who are
the very well-springs of sanctity, and the dawning-points proclaiming the
oneness of God.

Consider how in the days of the Interlocutor (Moses), there were twelve holy
beings who were leaders of the twelve tribes; and likewise in the
dispensation of the Spirit (Christ), note that there were twelve Apostles
gathered within the sheltering shade of that supernal Light, and from those
splendid dawning-points the Sun of Truth shone forth even as the sun in the
sky. Again, in the days of Muhammad, observe that there were twelve
dawning-points of holiness, the manifestors of God's confirming help. Such
is the way of it.

Accordingly did Saint John the Divine tell of twelve gates in his vision, and
twelve foundations. By `that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending
out of heaven from God' is meant the holy Law of God, and this is set forth
in many Tablets and still to be read in the Scriptures of the Prophets of
the past: for instance, that Jerusalem was seen going out into the
wilderness.

The meaning of the passage is that this heavenly Jerusalem hath twelve gates,
through which the blessed enter into the City of God. These gates are souls
who are as guiding stars, as portals of knowledge and grace; and within
these gates there stand twelve angels. By `angel' is meant the power of the
confirmations of God--that the candle of God's confirming power shineth out
from the lamp-niche of those souls--meaning that every one of those beings
will be granted the most vehement confirming support.

These twelve gates surround the entire world, that is they are a shelter for
all creatures. And further, these twelve gates are the foundation of the
City of God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and on each one of these foundations is
written the name of one of the Apostles of Christ. That is to say, each one
maketh manifest the perfections, the joyous message, and the excellency of
that holy Being.
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Bahá, p. 165


From the Bible

1:1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began
both to do and teach,

1:2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy
Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:

1:3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many
infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the
things pertaining to the kingdom of God:

1:4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they
should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the
Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
-- Bible: Acts.

6:13 And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he
chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;

6:14 Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and
John, Philip and Bartholomew,

6:15 Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called
Zelotes,

6:16 And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was
the traitor.

6:17 And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company
of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea
and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came
to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases;
-- Bible: Luke,

16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I
will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

16:19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and
whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and
whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
-- Bible: Matthew,

2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by
the blood of Christ.

2:14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the
middle wall of partition between us;

2:15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments
contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man,
so making peace;

2:16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross,
having slain the enmity thereby:

2:17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them
that were nigh.

2:18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but
fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus
Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
-- Bible: Ephesians

1:1 Paul called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God,
and Sosthenes our brother,

1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified
in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call
upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their's and our's:

1:3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord
Jesus Christ.

1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is
given you by Jesus Christ;

1:5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in
all knowledge;

1:6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:
-- Bible: 1 Corinthians.

The Day of God -- the era of the Glory of God (Bahá'u'lláh) is
foretold the Bible by Peter

3:1 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I
stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:

3:2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the
holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord

and Saviour:

3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers,
walking after their own lusts,

3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers
fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the
creation.

3:5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens
were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

3:6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept
in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of
ungodly men.

3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the
Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness;
but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but
that all should come to repentance.

3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the
heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall
melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall
be burned up.

3:11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons
ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,

3:12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the
heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt
with fervent heat?

3:13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new
earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
-- Bible: Peter


References to apostles from the Quran

4:136 O ye who believe! Believe in God and His Apostle, and the scripture
which He hath sent to His Apostle and the scripture which He sent to
those before (him). Any who denieth God, His angels, His Books, His
Apostles, and the Day of Judgment, hath gone far, far astray.
-- Qur'an: 4 - AN-NISA.

5:13 God did aforetime take a covenant from the Children of Israel, and
we appointed twelve captains among them. And God said: "I am with
you: if ye (but) establish regular prayers, practise regular charity,
believe in my apostles, honour and assist them, and loan to God a
beautiful loan, verily I will wipe out from you your evils, and admit
you to gardens with rivers flowing beneath; but if any of you, after
this, resisteth faith, he hath truly wandered from the path or
rectitude."
-- Qur'an: 5 - AL-MA'IDAH

2:87 We gave Moses the Book and followed him up with a succession of
apostles; We gave Jesus the son of Mary Clear (Signs) and
strengthened him with the holy spirit. Is it that whenever there comes
to you an apostle with what ye yourselves desire not, ye are puffed up
with pride?- Some ye called impostors, and others ye slay!
-- Qur'an: 2 - AL-BAQARAH,

14:8 And Moses said: "If ye show ingratitude, ye and all on earth
together, yet is God free of all wants, worthy of all praise.

14:9 Has not the story reached you, (O people!), of those who (went)
before you? - of the people of Noah, and 'Ad, and Thámúd? - And of
those who (came) after them? None knows them but God. To them came
apostles with Clear (Signs); but they put their hands up to their
mouths, and said: "We do deny (the mission) on which ye have been
sent, and we are really in suspicious (disquieting) doubt as to that
to which ye invite us."

14:10 Their apostles said: "Is there a doubt about God, The Creator of the
heavens and the earth? It is He Who invites you, in order that He may
forgive you your sins and give you respite for a term appointed!"
They said: "Ah! ye are no more than human, like ourselves! Ye wish to
turn us away from the (gods) our fathers used to worship: then bring
us some clear authority."

14:11 Their apostles said to them: "True, we are human like yourselves, but
God doth grant His grace to such of his servants as He pleases. It is
not for us to bring you an authority except as God permits. And on
God let all men of faith put their trust.

14:12 "No reason have we why we should not put our trust on God. Indeed He
Has guided us to the Ways we (follow). We shall certainly bear with
patience all the hurt you may cause us. For those who put their trust
should put their trust on God."

14:13 And the Unbelievers said to their apostles: "Be sure we shall drive
you out of our land, or ye shall return to our religion." But their
Lord inspired (this Message) to them: "Verily We shall cause the
wrong-doers to perish!
-- Qur'an: 14 - IBRAHIM.

26:16 "So go forth, both of you, to Pharaoh, and say: 'We have been sent by
the Lord and Cherisher of the worlds;

26:17 "'Send thou with us the Children of Israel.'"

26:18 (Pharaoh) said: "Did we not cherish thee as a child among us, and
didst thou not stay in our midst many years of thy life?

26:19 "And thou didst a deed of thine which (thou knowest) thou didst, and
thou art an ungrateful (wretch)!"

26:20 Moses said: "I did it then, when I was in error.

26:21 "So I fled from you (all) when I feared you; but my Lord has (since)
invested me with judgment (and wisdom) and appointed me as one of the
apostles.
-- Qur'an: 26 - ASH-SHU`ARAA',


Chapter 8

Arabian Youth - The Bab

O peoples of the earth! Give ear unto God's holy Voice proclaimed by this
Arabian Youth Whom the Almighty hath graciously chosen for His Own Self.
He is indeed none other than the True One, Whom God hath entrusted with
this Mission from the midst of the Burning Bush. O Qurratu'l-`Ayn! Unravel
what Thou pleasest from the secrets of the All-Glorious, for the ocean is
surging high at the behest of the incomparable Lord. Chapter XXIV.
-- The Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 50

O peoples of the earth! Cleave ye tenaciously to the Cord of the All-Highest
God, which is but this Arabian Youth, Our Remembrance--He Who standeth
concealed at the point of ice amidst the ocean of fire. Chapter XXIX.

O people of the earth! By the righteousness of the One true God, I am the
Maid of Heaven begotten by the Spirit of Bahá, abiding within the Mansion
hewn out of a mass of ruby, tender and vibrant; and in this mighty Paradise
naught have I ever witnessed save that which proclaimeth the Remembrance
of God by extolling the virtues of this Arabian Youth. Verily there is none
other God but your Lord, the All-Merciful. Magnify ye, then, His station,
for behold, He is poised in the midmost heart of the All-Highest Paradise
as the embodiment of the praise of God in the Tabernacle wherein His
glorification is intoned.
-- The Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 54

Abú-`Abdi'lláh, questioned concerning the character of the Mihdí, answered
saying: "He will perform that which Muhammad, the Messenger of God, hath

performed, and will demolish whatever hath been before Him even as the
Messenger of God hath demolished the ways of those that preceded Him."...

In the "Aválím," an authoritative and well-known book, it is recorded: "A
Youth from Baní-Háshim shall be made manifest, Who will reveal a new Book and
promulgate a new law;" then follow these words: "Most of His enemies will be
the divines."...

In another passage, it is related of Sádiq, son of Muhammad, that he spoke the
following: "There shall appear a Youth from Baní-Háshim, Who will bid the people
plight fealty unto Him. His Book will be a new Book, unto which He shall summon
the people to pledge their faith. Stern is His Revelation unto the Arab. If ye
hear about Him, hasten unto Him." How well have they followed the directions of
the Imáms of the Faith and Lamps of certitude! Although it is clearly stated:
"Were ye to hear that a Youth from Baní-Háshim hath appeared, summoning the
people unto a new and Divine Book, and to new and Divine laws, hasten unto Him,"
yet have they all declared that Lord of being an infidel, and pronounced Him a
heretic....

And now, consider this other tradition, and observe how all these things have
been foretold. In "Arbá'in" it is recorded: "Out of Baní-Háshim there shall come
forth a Youth Who shall reveal new laws. He shall summon the people unto Him,
but none will heed His call. Most of His enemies will be the divines. His bidding
they will not obey, but will protest saying: `This is contrary to that which hath
been handed down unto us by the Imáms of the Faith.'" In this day, all are
repeating these very same words, utterly unaware that He is established upon the
throne of "He doeth whatsoever He willeth," and abideth upon the seat of "He
ordaineth whatsoever He pleaseth."
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 240-243


Chapter 9

Assayer -- reference to the Bahá'u'lláh

By "divines" in the passage cited above is meant those men who outwardly
attire themselves with the raiment of knowledge, but who inwardly are
deprived therefrom. In this connection, We quote from the Tablet addressed
to His Majesty the Shah, certain passages from the "Hidden Words" which
were revealed by the Abha Pen under the name of the "Book of Fatimih," the
blessings of God be upon her!

"O ye that are foolish, yet have a name to be wise! Wherefore do ye wear
the guise of the shepherd, when inwardly ye have become wolves, intent upon
My flock? Ye are even as the star, which riseth ere the dawn, and which,
though it seem radiant and luminous, leadeth the wayfarers of My city
astray into the paths of perdition."

And likewise He saith: "O ye seeming fair yet inwardly foul! Ye are like
clear but bitter water, which to outward seeming is crystal pure but of
which, when tested by the Divine Assayer, not a drop is accepted. Yea, the
sunbeam falls alike upon the dust and the mirror, yet differ they in
reflection even as doth the star from the earth: nay, immeasurable is the
difference!"
--Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 15

Assayers -- references to Dependent Prophets.

I swear by Him Who is Our Beloved and your Beloved, that if one's life be
not offered up in His path, it would not be worth even as much as a mustard
seed, and if one's inmost being were not laid down at His feet, it would
appear more abject and insignificant than a pebble. However, none but the
divine Assayers are able to recognize this gem. In truth, when bereft of
vision, what advantage would one gain by entering into the all-highest
Paradise? If destitute of hearing, what can one perceive by drawing close
unto the celestial Tree of Blessedness? The Assayers of these priceless
gems are such souls unto whom the following tribute is paid: 'They that
speak not till He hath spoken and act according to His commandment.'
Likewise He saith: 'They whom neither merchandise nor traffic beguile from
the remembrance of the Almighty.'
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Compilations, Fire and Light, p. 12

Then the gales of divine tests and the winds of lordly temptation blew
from the Sheba of the everlasting Cause. They became distracted by the
beauty of the wine server and grew heedless of the immortal countenance,
to the extent that they imagined the shadow to be the sun and phantoms
to be light. They set out for the ladders of the greatest name so that
they might scale those heavens and arrive at that seat and place. When
they rose toward it, the divine assayers descended upon them with the
sacred touchstone, by the irresistible decree of the lord. When these
emissaries did not perceive the scent of the spiritual youth, they forbade
entry to all.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablet of the Holy Mariner (from the Persian).

69. O CHILDREN OF ADAM!
Holy words and pure and goodly deeds ascend unto the heaven of celestial
glory. Strive that your deeds may be cleansed from the dust of self and
hypocrisy and find favor at the court of glory; for ere long the assayers
of mankind shall, in the holy presence of the Adored One, accept naught
but absolute virtue and deeds of stainless purity. This is the daystar of
wisdom and of divine mystery that hath shone above the horizon of the
divine will. Blessed are they that turn thereunto.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 46

Persian no. 69
This holy verse is replete with meaning, and as time is pressing only a
brief mention is made as follows: naught else but upright conduct and
pure deeds shall be accepted at His divine Threshold. ('Abdu'l-Bahá from
a Tablet to an individual believer -- translated from the Persian)

35. O MY FRIENDS!
Quench ye the lamp of error, and kindle within your hearts the everlasting
torch of divine guidance. For ere long the assayers of mankind shall, in
the holy presence of the Adored, accept naught but purest virtue and deeds
of stainless holiness.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 34

Just as the term "assayer" is applied to Bahá'u'lláh and the Dependent
Prophets, similarly Bahá'u'lláh refers to himself as the Maid of Heaven
in the passage below and also refers to the Dependent Prophets as the
Maids of Heaven in the next passage.

O ye beloved of God! O ye children of His Kingdom! Verily, verily the
new heaven and the new earth are come. The holy City, new Jerusalem,
hath come down from on high in the form of a maid of heaven, veiled,
beauteous, and unique, and prepared for reunion with her lovers on earth.
The angelic company of the celestial Concourse have joined in a call that
hath rung throughout the universe, all loudly and mightily acclaiming:
"Hail, O City of God! Abide Thou, and make Thy habitation with the
pure, virtuous and holy servants of Thine; for they are Thy people, and
Thou art their Lord."
-- Compilation, Bahá'í World Faith, p. 350

O My servants! Through the might of God and His power, and out of the
treasury of His knowledge and wisdom, I have brought forth and revealed
unto you the pearls that lay concealed in the depths of His everlasting
ocean. I have summoned the Maids of Heaven to emerge from behind the veil
of concealment, and have clothed them with these words of Mine--words of
consummate power and wisdom. I have, moreover, with the hand of divine
power, unsealed the choice wine of My Revelation, and have wafted its holy,
its hidden, and musk-laden fragrance upon all created things. Who else but
yourselves is to be blamed if ye choose to remain unendowed with so great
an outpouring of God's transcendent and all-encompassing grace, with so
bright a revelation of His resplendent mercy?...
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 327


Chapter 10

References on "Balance".

XVII. By Him Who is the Great Announcement! The All-Merciful is come
invested with undoubted sovereignty. The Balance hath been appointed,
and all them that dwell on earth have been gathered together. The
Trumpet hath been blown, and lo, all eyes have stared up with terror,
and the hearts of all who are in the heavens and on the earth have
trembled, except them whom the breath of the verses of God hath
quickened, and who have detached themselves from all things.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 40

Immerse yourselves in the ocean of My words, that ye may unravel its
secrets, and discover all the pearls of wisdom that lie hid in its depths.
Take heed that ye do not vacillate in your determination to embrace the
truth of this Cause--a Cause through which the potentialities of the might
of God have been revealed, and His sovereignty established. With faces
beaming with joy, hasten ye unto Him. This is the changeless Faith of God,
eternal in the past, eternal in the future. Let him that seeketh, attain it;
and as to him that hath refused to seek it--verily, God is Self-Sufficient,
above any need of His creatures.

Say: This is the infallible Balance which the Hand of God is holding, in which
all who are in the heavens and all who are on the earth are weighed, and
their fate determined, if ye be of them that believe and recognize this truth.
Say: Through it the poor have been enriched, the learned enlightened, and
the seekers enabled to ascend unto the presence of God. Beware, lest ye make
it a cause of dissension amongst you. Be ye as firmly settled as the immovable
mountain in the Cause of your Lord, the Mighty, the Loving.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 136

XCVIII. Say: O leaders of religion! Weigh not the Book of God with such
standards and sciences as are current amongst you, for the Book itself is the
unerring balance established amongst men. In this most perfect balance
whatsoever the peoples and kindreds of the earth possess must be weighed,
while the measure of its weight should be tested according to its own standard,
did ye but know it.

The eye of My loving-kindness weepeth sore over you, inasmuch as ye have
failed to recognize the One upon Whom ye have been calling in the daytime
and in the night season, at even and at morn. Advance, O people, with
snow-white faces and radiant hearts, unto the blest and crimson Spot, wherein
the Sadratu'l-Muntahá is calling: "Verily, there is none other God beside Me,
the Omnipotent Protector, the Self-Subsisting!"
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 198

Set before thine eyes God's unerring Balance and, as one standing in His
Presence, weigh in that Balance thine actions every day, every moment of thy
life. Bring thyself to account ere thou art summoned to a reckoning, on the Day
when no man shall have strength to stand for fear of God, the Day when the
hearts of the heedless ones shall be made to tremble.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 236

They say: `We see not the Balance.' Say: `Surely, by my Lord, the God of
Mercy! None can see it except such as are endued with insight.' They say:
`Have the stars fallen?' Say: `Yea, when He Who is the Self-Subsisting dwelt
in the Land of Mystery. Take heed, ye who are endued with discernment!'
All the signs appeared when We drew forth the Hand of Power from the
bosom of majesty and might. Verily, the Crier hath cried out, when the
promised time came, and they that have recognized the splendours of Sinai
have swooned away in the wilderness of hesitation, before the awful majesty
of thy Lord, the Lord of creation. The trumpet asketh: `Hath the Bugle been
sounded?' Say: `Yea, by the King of Revelation! when He mounted the throne
of His Name, the All-Merciful.' Darkness hath been chased away by the dawning
light of the mercy of thy Lord, the Source of all light. The breeze of the
All-Merciful hath wafted, and the souls have been quickened in the tombs of
their bodies. Thus hath the decree been fulfilled by God, the Mighty, the Beneficent.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 118


Chapter 11

"God's Chosen Ones" -- the Prophets of God.

Consider the past. How many, both high and low, have, at all times,
yearningly awaited the advent of the Manifestations of God in the sanctified
persons of His chosen Ones. How often have they expected His coming, how
frequently have they prayed that the breeze of divine mercy might blow, and
the promised Beauty step forth from behind the veil of concealment, and be
made manifest to all the world. And whensoever the portals of grace did
open, and the clouds of divine bounty did rain upon mankind, and the light
of the Unseen did shine above the horizon of celestial might, they all
denied Him, and turned away from His face--the face of God Himself. Refer
ye, to verify this truth, to that which hath been recorded in every sacred
Book.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 4

We made reply: "Muhammad, the Seal of the Prophets, and the most distinguished
of God's chosen Ones, hath likened the Dispensation of the Qur'án unto heaven,
by reason of its loftiness, its paramount influence, its majesty, and the fact
that it comprehendeth all religions. And as the sun and moon constitute the
brightest and most prominent luminaries in the heavens, similarly in the heaven
of the religion of God two shining orbs have been ordained--fasting and prayer.
`Islám is heaven; fasting is its sun, prayer, its moon.'"
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 40

From the foregoing passages and allusions it hath been made indubitably
clear that in the kingdoms of earth and heaven there must needs be
manifested a Being, an Essence Who shall act as a Manifestation and Vehicle
for the transmission of the grace of the Divinity Itself, the Sovereign
Lord of all. Through the Teachings of this Day Star of Truth every man will
advance and develop until he attaineth the station at which he can manifest
all the potential forces with which his inmost true self hath been endowed.
It is for this very purpose that in every age and dispensation the Prophets
of God and His chosen Ones have appeared amongst men, and have evinced such
power as is born of God and such might as only the Eternal can reveal.
--Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 67

These attributes of God are not and have never been vouchsafed specially unto
certain Prophets, and withheld from others. Nay, all the Prophets of God, His
well-favoured, His holy, and chosen Messengers, are, without exception, the
bearers of His names, and the embodiments of His attributes. They only differ
in the intensity of their revelation, and the comparative potency of their
light. Even as He hath revealed: "Some of the Apostles We have caused to excel
the others." It hath therefore become manifest and evident that within the
tabernacles of these Prophets and chosen Ones of God the light of His infinite
names and exalted attributes hath been reflected, even though the light of some
of these attributes may or may not be outwardly revealed from these luminous
Temples to the eyes of men. That a certain attribute of God hath not been
outwardly manifested by these Essences of Detachment doth in no wise imply that
they Who are the Daysprings of God's attributes and the Treasuries of His holy
names did not actually possess it. Therefore, these illuminated Souls, these
beauteous Countenances have, each and every one of them, been endowed with all
the attributes of God, such as sovereignty, dominion, and the like, even though
to outward seeming they be shorn of all earthly majesty. To every discerning
eye this is evident and manifest; it requireth neither proof nor evidence.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 103


The "Chosen ones" -- the Imams.

O Hádí! The blind fanaticism of former times hath withheld the hapless
creatures from the Straight Path. Meditate on the Shí'ih sect. For twelve
hundred years they have cried "O Qá'im!", until in the end all pronounced
the sentence of His death, and caused Him to suffer martyrdom,
notwithstanding their belief in, and their acceptance and acknowledgment
of, the True One--exalted be His glory--and of the Seal of the Prophets,
and of the Chosen Ones. It is now necessary to reflect a while, that haply
that which hath come between the True One and His creatures may be
discovered, and the deeds which have been the cause of protest and denial
be made known.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 163

Imam Ali -- One of God's chosen ones.

In like manner, two of the people of Kufih went to Ali, the Commander of
the Faithful. One owned a house and wished to sell it; the other was to be
the purchaser. They had agreed that this transaction should be effected and
the contract be written with the knowledge of Ali. He, the exponent of the
law of God, addressing the scribe, said: "Write thou: 'A dead man hath
bought from another dead man a house. That house is bounded by four limits.
One extendeth toward the tomb, the other to the vault of the grave, the
third to the Sirat, the fourth to either Paradise or hell.'" Reflect, had
these two souls been quickened by the trumpet-call of Ali, had they risen
from the grave of error by the power of his love, the judgment of death
would certainly not have been pronounced against them.

In every age and century, the purpose of the Prophets of God and their
chosen ones hath been no other but to affirm the spiritual significance of
the terms "life," "resurrection," and "judgment." If one will ponder but
for a while this utterance of Ali in his heart, one will surely discover
all mysteries hidden in the terms "grave," "tomb," "sirat," "paradise" and
"hell."
--Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 119

Imam Husayn -- One of God's chosen ones.

Were the verse "And verily Our host shall conquer" to be literally
interpreted, it is evident that it would in no wise be applicable to the
chosen Ones of God and His hosts, inasmuch as Husayn, whose heroism was
manifest as the sun, crushed and subjugated, quaffed at last the cup of
martyrdom in Karbila, the land of Taff. Similarly, the sacred verse "Fain
would they put out God's light with their mouths: But God hath willed to
perfect His light, albeit the infidels abhor it." Were it to be literally
interpreted it would never correspond with the truth. For in every age the
light of God hath, to outward seeming, been quenched by the peoples of the
earth, and the Lamps of God extinguished by them. How then could the
ascendancy of the sovereignty of these Lamps be explained? What could the
potency of God's will to "perfect His light" signify? As hath already been
witnessed, so great was the enmity of the infidels, that none of these
divine Luminaries ever found a place for shelter, or tasted of the cup of
tranquillity. So heavily were they oppressed, that the least of men
inflicted upon these Essences of being whatsoever he listed. These
sufferings have been observed and measured by the people. How, therefore,
can such people be capable of understanding and expounding these words of
God, these verses of everlasting glory?
--Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 126

The concept of the Return of the Prophets and chosen ones.

It is clear and evident to thee that all the Prophets are the Temples of the
Cause of God, Who have appeared clothed in divers attire. If thou wilt observe
with discriminating eyes, thou wilt behold them all abiding in the same
tabernacle, soaring in the same heaven, seated upon the same throne, uttering
the same speech, and proclaiming the same Faith. Such is the unity of those
Essences of being, those Luminaries of infinite and immeasurable splendour.
Wherefore, should one of these Manifestations of Holiness proclaim saying: "I
am the return of all the Prophets," He verily speaketh the truth. In like
manner, in every subsequent Revelation, the return of the former Revelation is
a fact, the truth of which is firmly established. Inasmuch as the return of the
Prophets of God, as attested by verses and traditions, hath been conclusively
demonstrated, the return of their chosen ones also is therefore definitely
proven. This return is too manifest in itself to require any evidence or proof.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 153

Bahá'u'lláh -- the Return of Imam Husayn.

IX. O Husayn! Consider the eagerness with which certain peoples and nations
have anticipated the return of Imám-Husayn, whose coming, after the
appearance of the Qá'im, hath been prophesied, in days past, by the chosen
ones of God, exalted be His glory. These holy ones have, moreover, announced
that when He Who is the Day Spring of the manifold grace of God manifesteth
Himself, all the Prophets and Messengers, including the Qá'im, will gather
together beneath the shadow of the sacred Standard which the Promised One
will raise. That hour is now come. The world is illumined with the effulgent
glory of His countenance. And yet, behold how far its peoples have strayed
from His path! None have believed in Him except them who, through the power
of the Lord of Names, have shattered the idols of their vain imaginings and
corrupt desires and entered the city of certitude. The seal of the choice
Wine of His Revelation hath, in this Day and in His Name, the Self-Sufficing,
been broken. Its grace is being poured out upon men. Fill thy cup, and drink
in, in His Name, the Most Holy, the All-Praised.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 12


Divinity and Unity of the Manifestations and Chosen ones.

Were any of the all-embracing Manifestations of God to declare: "I am God!"
He verily speaketh the truth, and no doubt attacheth thereto. For it hath
been repeatedly demonstrated that through their Revelation, their
attributes and names, the Revelation of God, His name and His attributes,
are made manifest in the world. Thus, He hath revealed: "Those shafts were
God's, not Thine!"[1] And also He saith: "In truth, they who plighted
fealty unto thee, really plighted that fealty unto God."[2] And were any of
them to voice the utterance: "I am the Messenger of God," He also speaketh
the truth, the indubitable truth. Even as He saith: "Muhammad is not the
father of any man among you, but He is the Messenger of God."[3] Viewed in
this light, they are all but Messengers of that ideal King, that
unchangeable Essence. And were they all to proclaim: "I am the Seal of the
Prophets," they verily utter but the truth, beyond the faintest shadow of
doubt. For they are all but one person, one soul, one spirit, one being,
one revelation. They are all the manifestation of the "Beginning" and the
"End," the "First" and the "Last," the "Seen" and "Hidden" -- all of which
pertain to Him Who is the innermost Spirit of Spirits and eternal Essence
of Essences. And were they to say: "We are the servants of God," this also
is a manifest and indisputable fact. For they have been made manifest in
the uttermost state of servitude, a servitude the like of which no man can
possibly attain. Thus in moments in which these Essences of being were
deeply immersed beneath the oceans of ancient and everlasting holiness, or
when they soared to the loftiest summits of divine mysteries, they claimed
their utterance to be the Voice of divinity, the Call of God Himself. Were
the eye of discernment to be opened, it would recognize that in this very
state, they have considered themselves utterly effaced and non-existent in
the face of Him Who is the All-Pervading, the Incorruptible. Methinks, they
have regarded themselves as utter nothingness, and deemed their mention in
that Court an act of blasphemy. For the slightest whispering of self,
within such a Court, is an evidence of self-assertion and independent
existence. In the eyes of them that have attained unto that Court, such a
suggestion is itself a grievous transgression. How much more grievous would
it be, were aught else to be mentioned in that Presence, were man's heart,
his tongue, his mind, or his soul, to be busied with anyone but the
Well-Beloved, were his eyes to behold any countenance other than His
beauty, were his ear to be inclined to any melody but His voice, and were
his feet to tread any way but His way. [1 Qur'an 8:17.] [2 Qur'an 48:10.]
[3 Qur'an 33:40 ]--Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 178

These Manifestations of God have each a twofold station. One is the station
of pure abstraction and essential unity. In this respect, if thou callest
them all by one name, and dost ascribe to them the same attributes, thou
hast not erred from the truth. Even as He hath revealed: "No distinction do
We make between any of His Messengers." For they, one and all, summon the
people of the earth to acknowledge the unity of God, and herald unto them
the Kawthar of an infinite grace and bounty. They are all invested with the
robe of prophethood, and are honored with the mantle of glory. Thus hath
Muhammad, the Point of the Qur'án, revealed: "I am all the Prophets."
Likewise, He saith: "I am the first Adam, Noah, Moses, and Jesus." Similar
statements have been made by Imám `Alí. Sayings such as these, which
indicate the essential unity of those Exponents of Oneness, have also
emanated from the Channels of God's immortal utterance, and the Treasuries
of the gems of Divine knowledge, and have been recorded in the Scriptures.
These Countenances are the recipients of the Divine Command, and the Day
Springs of His Revelation. This Revelation is exalted above the veils of
plurality and the exigencies of number. Thus He saith: "Our Cause is but
One." Inasmuch as the Cause is one and the same, the Exponents thereof also
must needs be one and the same. Likewise, the Imáms of the Muhammadan Faith,
those lamps of certitude, have said: "Muhammad is our first, Muhammad is our
last, Muhammad our all."
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 51


And were they to say that by "divine Presence" is meant the "Secondary
Revelation of God," interpreted as the "Holy Outpouring," this is admittedly
applicable to the world of creation, that is, in the realm of the primal and
original manifestation of God. Such revelation is confined to His Prophets
and chosen Ones, inasmuch as none mightier than they hath come to exist
in the world of being. This truth all recognize, and bear witness thereto. These
Prophets and chosen Ones of God are the recipients and revealers of all the
unchangeable attributes and names of God. They are the mirrors that truly
and faithfully reflect the light of God. Whatsoever is applicable to them is in
reality applicable to God, Himself, Who is both the Visible and the Invisible.
The knowledge of Him, Who is the Origin of all things, and attainment unto
Him, are impossible save through knowledge of, and attainment unto, these
luminous Beings who proceed from the Sun of Truth. By attaining, therefore,
to the presence of these holy Luminaries, the "Presence of God" Himself is
attained. From their knowledge, the knowledge of God is revealed, and from
the light of their countenance, the splendour of the Face of God is made
manifest. Through the manifold attributes of these Essences of Detachment,
Who are both the first and the last, the seen and the hidden, it is made evident
that He Who is the Sun of Truth is "the First and the Last, the Seen, and the
Hidden." Likewise the other lofty names and exalted attributes of God.
Therefore, whosoever, and in whatever Dispensation, hath recognized and
attained unto the presence of these glorious, these resplendent and most
excellent Luminaries, hath verily attained unto the "Presence of God" Himself,
and entered the city of eternal and immortal life. Attainment unto such presence
is possible only in the Day of Resurrection, which is the Day of the rise of God
Himself through His all-embracing Revelation.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 141-143

Glorified art Thou, O Lord my God! I beseech Thee by Thy Chosen Ones, and
by the Bearers of Thy Trust, and by Him Whom Thou hast ordained to be the
Seal of Thy Prophets and of Thy Messengers, to let Thy remembrance be my
companion, and Thy love my aim, and Thy face my goal, and Thy name my lamp,
and Thy wish my desire, and Thy pleasure my delight.
-- Compilation, Bahá'í Prayers, p. 72

O followers of the Bayán! Fear ye the All-Merciful. This is the One Who
hath been glorified by Muhammad, the Apostle of God, and before Him by the
Spirit and yet before Him by the One Who discoursed with God. This is the
Point of the Bayán calling aloud before the Throne, saying: `By the
righteousness of God, ye have been created to glorify this Most Great
Announcement, this Perfect Way which lay hid within the souls of the
Prophets, which was treasured in the hearts of the chosen ones of God and
was written down by the glorious Pen of your Lord, the Possessor of Names.'
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 103

"The purpose underlying all creation is the revelation of this most sublime,
this most holy Day, the Day known as the Day of God, in His Books and
Scriptures--the Day which all the Prophets, and the Chosen Ones, and the holy
ones, have wished to witness." "The highest essence and most perfect expression
of whatsoever the peoples of old have either said or written hath, through this
most potent Revelation, been sent down from the heaven of the Will of the
All-Possessing, the Ever-Abiding God."...
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Advent of Divine Justice, p. 77-79

O followers of the Bayán! Fear ye the All-Merciful. This is the One Who hath
been glorified by Muhammad, the Apostle of God, and before Him by the
Spirit and yet before Him by the One Who discoursed with God. This is the
Point of the Bayán calling aloud before the Throne, saying: `By the righteousness
of God, ye have been created to glorify this Most Great Announcement, this
Perfect Way which lay hid within the souls of the Prophets, which was treasured
in the hearts of the chosen ones of God and was written down by the
glorious Pen of your Lord, the Possessor of Names.'
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 103

Thou hast known how grievously the Prophets of God, His Messengers and Chosen
Ones, have been afflicted. Meditate a while on the motive and reason which
have been responsible for such a persecution. At no time, in no Dispensation,
have the Prophets of God escaped the blasphemy of their enemies, the cruelty
of their oppressors, the denunciation of the learned of their age, who
appeared in the guise of uprightness and piety. Day and night they passed
through such agonies as none can ever measure, except the knowledge of the
one true God, exalted be His glory.

Consider this wronged One. Though the clearest proofs attest the truth of His
Cause; though the prophecies He, in an unmistakable language, hath made have
been fulfilled; though, in spite of His not being accounted among the learned,
His being unschooled and inexperienced in the disputations current among the
divines, He hath rained upon men the showers of His manifold and
Divinely-inspired knowledge; yet, behold how this generation hath rejected
His authority, and rebelled against Him!
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 57

O concourse of divines! When My verses were sent down, and My clear tokens
were revealed, We found you behind the veils. This, verily, is a strange
thing. Ye glory in My Name, yet ye recognized Me not at the time your Lord,
the All-Merciful, appeared amongst you with proof and testimony. We have
rent the veils asunder. Beware lest ye shut out the people by yet another
veil. Pluck asunder the chains of vain imaginings, in the name of the Lord
of all men, and be not of the deceitful. Should ye turn unto God and embrace
His Cause, spread not disorder within it, and measure not the Book of God
with your selfish desires. This, verily, is the counsel of God aforetime and
hereafter, and to this God's witnesses and chosen ones, yea, each and every
one of Us, do solemnly attest.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 79

The sovereigns of the earth have been and are the manifestations of the
power, the grandeur and the majesty of God. This Wronged One hath at no
time dealt deceitfully with anyone. Every one is well aware of this, and
beareth witness unto it. Regard for the rank of sovereigns is divinely
ordained, as is clearly attested by the words of the Prophets of God and
His chosen ones. He Who is the Spirit (Jesus) -- may peace be upon Him --
was asked: "O Spirit of God! Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar or
not?" And He made reply: "Yea, render to Caesar the things that are
Caesar's and to God the things that are God's." He forbade it not. These
two sayings are, in the estimation of men of insight, one and the same, for
if that which belonged to Caesar had not come from God, He would have
forbidden it. And likewise in the sacred verse: "Obey God and obey the
Apostle, and those among you invested with authority." By "those invested
with authority" is meant primarily and more especially the Imams -- the
blessings of God rest upon them! They, verily, are the manifestations of
the power of God, and the sources of His authority, and the repositories of
His knowledge, and the daysprings of His commandments.
--Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 89


Chapter 12

"Clouds" that hindermankind from recognising the prophet.

It is evident that the changes brought about in every Dispensation constitute
the dark clouds that intervene between the eye of man's understanding and
the Divine Luminary which shineth forth from the day spring of the Divine
Essence. Consider how men for generations have been blindly imitating their
fathers, and have been trained according to such ways and manners as have
been laid down by the dictates of their Faith. Were these men, therefore, to
discover suddenly that a Man, Who hath been living in their midst, Who, with
respect to every human limitation hath been their equal, had risen to abolish
every established principle imposed by their Faith--principles by which for
centuries they have been disciplined, and every opposer and denier of which
they have come to regard as infidel, profligate and wicked,--they would of a
certainty be veiled and hindered from acknowledging His truth. Such things
are as "clouds" that veil the eyes of those whose inner being hath not tasted
the Salsabíl of detachment, nor drunk from the Kawthar of the knowledge of
God. Such men, when acquainted with those circumstances, become so veiled
that, without the least question, they pronounce the Manifestation of God as
infidel, and sentence Him to death. You must have heard of such things taking
place all down the ages, and are now observing them in these days.

It behoveth us, therefore, to make the utmost endeavor, that, by God's invisible
assistance, these dark veils, these clouds of Heaven-sent trials, may not hinder
us from beholding the beauty of His shining Countenance, and that we may
recognize Him only by His own Self.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 26-27

Say: Tribulation is a horizon unto My Revelation. The day star of grace shineth
above it, and sheddeth a light which neither the clouds of men's idle fancy nor
the vain imaginations of the aggressor can obscure.

Follow thou the footsteps of thy Lord, and remember His servants even as He
doth remember thee, undeterred by either the clamor of the heedless ones or
the sword of the enemy.... Spread abroad the sweet savors of thy Lord, and
hesitate not, though it be for less than a moment, in the service of His Cause.
The day is approaching when the victory of thy Lord, the Ever-Forgiving, the
Most Bountiful, will be proclaimed.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 42

This is the Day whereon the All-Merciful hath come down in the clouds of
knowledge, clothed with manifest sovereignty. He well knoweth the actions
of men. He it is Whose glory none can mistake, could ye but comprehend it.
The heaven of every religion hath been rent, and the earth of human
understanding been cleft asunder, and the angels of God are seen descending.
Say: This is the Day of mutual deceit; whither do ye flee? The mountains have
passed away, and the heavens have been folded together, and the whole earth
is held within His grasp, could ye but understand it. Who is it that can protect
you? None, by Him Who is the All-Merciful! None, except God, the Almighty,
the All-Glorious, the Beneficent. Every woman that hath had a burden in her
womb hath cast her burden. We see men drunken in this Day, the Day in
which men and angels have been gathered together.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p.

LVII. O Jews! If ye be intent on crucifying once again Jesus, the Spirit of
God, put Me to death, for He hath once more, in My person, been made
manifest unto you. Deal with Me as ye wish, for I have vowed to lay down
My life in the path of God. I will fear no one, though the powers of earth
and heaven be leagued against Me. Followers of the Gospel! If ye cherish
the desire to slay Muhammad, the Apostle of God, seize Me and put an end
to My life, for I am He, and My Self is His Self. Do unto Me as ye like, for
the deepest longing of Mine heart is to attain the presence of My Best-Beloved
in His Kingdom of Glory. Such is the Divine decree, if ye know it. Followers
of Muhammad! If it be your wish to riddle with your shafts the breast of Him
Who hath caused His Book the Bayán to be sent down unto you, lay hands on
Me and persecute Me, for I am His Well-Beloved, the revelation of His own
Self, though My name be not His name. I have come in the shadows of the
clouds of glory, and am invested by God with invincible sovereignty. He, verily,
is the Truth, the Knower of things unseen. I, verily, anticipate from you the
treatment ye have accorded unto Him that came before Me. To this all things,
verily, witness, if ye be of those who hearken.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 101

Consider the past. How many, both high and low, have, at all times, yearningly
awaited the advent of the Manifestations of God in the sanctified persons of His
chosen Ones. How often have they expected His coming, how frequently have
they prayed that the breeze of divine mercy might blow, and the promised Beauty
step forth from behind the veil of concealment, and be made manifest to all the
world. And whensoever the portals of grace did open, and the clouds of divine
bounty did rain upon mankind, and the light of the Unseen did shine above the
horizon of celestial might, they all denied Him, and turned away from His face--the
face of God Himself. Refer ye, to verify this truth, to that which hath been recorded
in every sacred Book.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 4

O King of Paris! Tell the priest to ring the bells no longer. By God, the True One!
The Most Mighty Bell hath appeared in the form of Him Who is the Most Great Name,
and the fingers of the will of Thy Lord, the Most Exalted, the Most High, toll it out in
the heaven of Immortality, in His name, the All-Glorious. Thus have the mighty verses
of Thy Lord been again sent down unto thee, that thou mayest arise to remember
God, the Creator of earth and heaven, in these days when all the tribes of the earth
have mourned, and the foundations of the cities have trembled, and the dust of
irreligion hath enwrapped all men, except such as God, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise,
was pleased to spare. Say: He Who is the Unconditioned is come, in the clouds of light,
that He may quicken all created things with the breeze of His Name, the Most Merciful,
and unify the world, and gather all men around this Table which hath been sent down
from heaven. Beware that ye deny not the favour of God after it hath been sent down
unto you. Better is this for you than that which ye possess; for that which is yours
perisheth, whilst that which is with God endureth. He, in truth, ordaineth what He
pleaseth. Verily, the breezes of forgiveness have been wafted from the direction of
your Lord, the God of Mercy; whoso turneth thereunto, shall be cleansed of his sins,
and of all pain and sickness. Happy the man that hath turned towards them, and
woe betide him that hath turned aside.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 17


Chapter 13

The Cord of God

Assist ye, O My people, My chosen servants who have arisen to make mention
of Me among My creatures and to exalt My Word throughout My realm. These,
truly, are the stars of the heaven of My loving providence and the lamps of
My guidance unto all mankind. But he whose words conflict with that which
hath been sent down in My Holy Tablets is not of Me. Beware lest ye follow
any impious pretender. These Tablets are embellished with the seal of Him
Who causeth the dawn to appear, Who lifteth up His voice between the
heavens and the earth. Lay hold on this Sure Handle and on the Cord of My
mighty and unassailable Cause.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 61

Say: Fear ye God and commit not such deeds as would cause My loved ones on
earth to lament. Thus biddeth you this Pen which hath set the Pen of Glory

in motion within the arena of wisdom and true understanding.

Convey My greetings unto those whose faces mirror forth the radiance of
Bahá, then mention to them this utterance which cheereth the eyes of the
righteous. The glory of God rest upon thee and upon such as have firmly
clung to the Cord of God, the Revealer of verses....
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 198


3:102 O ye who believe! Fear God as He should be feared, and die not except
in a state of Islám.

3:103 And hold fast, all together, by the rope [cord] which God (stretches out
for you), and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with
gratitude God's favour on you; for ye were enemies and He joined
your hearts in love, so that by His Grace, ye became brethren; and
ye were on the brink of the pit of Fire, and He saved you from it.
Thus doth God make His Signs clear to you: That ye may be guided.

3:104 Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is
good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: They
are the ones to attain felicity.

3:105 Be not like those who are divided amongst themselves and fall into
disputations after receiving Clear Signs: For them is a dreadful
penalty,-

3:106 On the Day when some faces will be (lit up with) white, and some
faces will be (in the gloom of) black: To those whose faces will
be black, (will be said): "Did ye reject Faith after accepting it?
Taste then the penalty for rejecting Faith."

3:107 But those whose faces will be (lit with) white,- they will be in
(the light of) God's mercy: therein to dwell (for ever).

3:108 These are the Signs of God: We rehearse them to thee in Truth: And
God means no injustice to any of His creatures.
-- The Qur'an: 3 - AL-I-IMRAN,

The truth is Mine and certitude is at My side. Leadership is Mine and the
righteous shall follow Me. I am the first to acknowledge faith, the Cord of God
that shall not be broken, the One who will raise the world to justice even as it
hath been brought low by oppression. I am the companion of Gabriel and the
archangel Michael is beside Me. I am the tree of guidance, and the essence of
righteousness. I shall gather together the world of creation through the Word of
God that gathers together all things. I give life unto humanity and I am the
treasury of all divine commands. To Me hath been given the Luminous Pen and
the Crimson Camel.
-- Imam Ali, Khutbat'ul-Iftikhár (The Sermon of Glorification)

The glory that hath shone forth from the horizon of eternity rest upon thee
and upon such as have taken fast hold of the Cord of God that no man can
sever.

He Who leadeth to true victory is come. By the righteousness of God! He is
fully capable of revolutionizing the world through the power of a single

Word. Having enjoined upon all men to observe wisdom, He Himself hath
adhered to the cord of patience and resignation.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 259-260


Chapter 14

References to "countenance" -- [face of] prophethood.

XI. All glory be to this Day, the Day in which the fragrances of mercy have
been wafted over all created things, a Day so blest that past ages and
centuries can never hope to rival it, a Day in which the countenance of the
Ancient of Days hath turned towards His holy seat. Thereupon the voices of
all created things, and beyond them those of the Concourse on high, were
heard calling aloud: "Haste thee, O Carmel, for lo, the light of the
countenance of God, the Ruler of the Kingdom of Names and Fashioner of the
heavens, hath been lifted upon thee."
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 14

VII. Verily I say, this is the Day in which mankind can behold the Face,
and hear the Voice, of the Promised One. The Call of God hath been raised,
and the light of His countenance hath been lifted up upon men. It behoveth
every man to blot out the trace of every idle word from the tablet of his
heart, and to gaze, with an open and unbiased mind, on the signs of His
Revelation, the proofs of His Mission, and the tokens of His glory.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 10

Say, this of a certainty is the Garden of Repose, the loftiest Point of adoration,
the Tree beyond which there is no passing, the blessed Lote-Tree, the Most
Mighty Sign, the most beauteous Countenance and the most comely Face.

From the beginning that hath no beginning all men have bowed in adoration
before Him Whom God shall make manifest and will continue to do so until the
end that hath no end. How strange then that at the time of His appearance ye
should pay homage by day and night unto that which the Point of the Bayán hath
enjoined upon you and yet fail to worship Him Whom God shall make manifest.
-- The Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 155

IX. O Husayn! Consider the eagerness with which certain peoples and nations
have anticipated the return of Imám-Husayn, whose coming, after the
appearance of the Qá'im, hath been prophesied, in days past, by the chosen
ones of God, exalted be His glory. These holy ones have, moreover, announced
that when He Who is the Day Spring of the manifold grace of God manifesteth
Himself, all the Prophets and Messengers, including the Qá'im, will gather
together beneath the shadow of the sacred Standard which the Promised One
will raise. That hour is now come. The world is illumined with the
effulgent glory of His countenance. And yet, behold how far its peoples
have strayed from His path! None have believed in Him except them who,
through the power of the Lord of Names, have shattered the idols of their
vain imaginings and corrupt desires and entered the city of certitude.
The seal of the choice Wine of His Revelation hath, in this Day and in His
Name, the Self-Sufficing, been broken. Its grace is being poured out upon
men. Fill thy cup, and drink in, in His Name, the Most Holy, the All-Praised.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 12

Although the commentators of the Qur'án have related in divers manners the
circumstances attending the revelation of this verse, yet thou shouldst
endeavor to apprehend the purpose thereof. He saith: How false is that
which the Jews have imagined! How can the hand of Him Who is the King in
truth, Who caused the countenance of Moses to be made manifest, and
conferred upon Him the robe of Prophethood--how can the hand of such a
One be chained and fettered? How can He be conceived as powerless to raise
up yet another Messenger after Moses?
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 23

XXII. The Bearers of the Trust of God are made manifest unto the peoples of
the earth as the Exponents of a new Cause and the Revealers of a new
Message. Inasmuch as these Birds of the celestial Throne are all sent down
from the heaven of the Will of God, and as they all arise to proclaim His
irresistible Faith, they, therefore, are regarded as one soul and the same
person. For they all drink from the one Cup of the love of God, and all
partake of the fruit of the same Tree of Oneness.

These Manifestations of God have each a twofold station. One is the station
of pure abstraction and essential unity. In this respect, if thou callest
them all by one name, and dost ascribe to them the same attributes, thou
hast not erred from the truth. Even as He hath revealed: "No distinction
do We make between any of His Messengers." For they, one and all, summon
the people of the earth to acknowledge the unity of God, and herald unto
them the Kawthar of an infinite grace and bounty. They are all invested
with the robe of prophethood, and are honored with the mantle of glory.
Thus hath Muhammad, the Point of the Qur'án, revealed: "I am all the
Prophets." Likewise, He saith: "I am the first Adam, Noah, Moses, and
Jesus." Similar statements have been made by Imám `Alí. Sayings such as
these, which indicate the essential unity of those Exponents of Oneness,
have also emanated from the Channels of God's immortal utterance, and the
Treasuries of the gems of Divine knowledge, and have been recorded in the
Scriptures. These Countenances are the recipients of the Divine Command,
and the Day Springs of His Revelation. This Revelation is exalted above
the veils of plurality and the exigencies of number. Thus He saith: "Our
Cause is but One." Inasmuch as the Cause is one and the same, the Exponents
thereof also must needs be one and the same. Likewise, the Imáms of the
Muhammadan Faith, those lamps of certitude, have said: "Muhammad is our
first, Muhammad is our last, Muhammad our all."

It is clear and evident to thee that all the Prophets are the Temples of the
Cause of God, Who have appeared clothed in divers attire. If thou wilt
observe with discriminating eyes, thou wilt behold Them all abiding in the
same tabernacle, soaring in the same heaven, seated upon the same throne,
uttering the same speech, and proclaiming the same Faith. Such is the unity
of those Essences of Being, those Luminaries of infinite and immeasurable
splendor! Wherefore, should one of these Manifestations of Holiness
proclaim saying: "I am the return of all the Prophets," He, verily,
speaketh the truth. In like manner, in every subsequent Revelation, the
return of the former Revelation is a fact, the truth of which is firmly
established....

The other station is the station of distinction, and pertaineth to the world
of creation, and to the limitations thereof. In this respect, each
Manifestation of God hath a distinct individuality, a definitely prescribed
mission, a predestined revelation, and specially designated limitations.
Each one of them is known by a different name, is characterized by a
special attribute, fulfils a definite mission, and is entrusted with a
particular Revelation. Even as He saith: "Some of the Apostles We have
caused to excel the others. To some God hath spoken, some He hath raised
and exalted. And to Jesus, Son of Mary, We gave manifest signs, and We
strengthened Him with the Holy Spirit."

It is because of this difference in their station and mission that the words
and utterances flowing from these Well Springs of Divine knowledge appear
to diverge and differ. Otherwise, in the eyes of them that are initiated
into the mysteries of Divine wisdom, all their utterances are, in reality,
but the expressions of one Truth. As most of the people have failed to
appreciate those stations to which We have referred, they, therefore, feel
perplexed and dismayed at the varying utterances pronounced by
Manifestations that are essentially one and the same.

It hath ever been evident that all these divergencies of utterance are
attributable to differences of station. Thus, viewed from the standpoint of
their oneness and sublime detachment, the attributes of Godhead, Divinity,
Supreme Singleness, and Inmost Essence, have been, and are applicable to
those Essences of Being, inasmuch as they all abide on the throne of
Divine Revelation, and are established upon the seat of Divine Concealment.
Through their appearance the Revelation of God is made manifest, and by
their countenance the Beauty of God is revealed. Thus it is that the accents
of God Himself have been heard uttered by these Manifestations of the Divine
Being.

Viewed in the light of their second station--the station of distinction,
differentiation, temporal limitations, characteristics and standards--they
manifest absolute servitude, utter destitution, and complete
self-effacement. Even as He saith: "I am the servant of God. I am but a
man like you."...
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 50-54

Say: Step out of Thy holy chamber, O Maid of Heaven, inmate of the Exalted
Paradise! Drape thyself in whatever manner pleaseth Thee in the silken
Vesture of Immortality, and put on, in the name of the All-Glorious, the
broidered Robe of Light. Hear, then, the sweet, the wondrous accent of the
Voice that cometh from the Throne of Thy Lord, the Inaccessible, the Most
High. Unveil Thy face, and manifest the beauty of the black-eyed Damsel,
and suffer not the servants of God to be deprived of the light of Thy
shining countenance. Grieve not if Thou hearest the sighs of the dwellers
of the earth, or the voice of the lamentation of the denizens of heaven.
Leave them to perish on the dust of extinction. Let them be reduced to
nothingness, inasmuch as the flame of hatred hath been kindled within
their breasts. Intone, then, before the face of the peoples of earth and
heaven, and in a most melodious voice, the anthem of praise, for a
remembrance of Him Who is the King of the names and attributes of God.
Thus have We decreed Thy destiny. Well able are We to achieve Our purpose.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 282

Then the gales of divine tests and the winds of lordly temptation blew from
the Sheba of the everlasting Cause. They became distracted by the beauty of
the wine server and grew heedless of the immortal countenance, to the extent
that they imagined the shadow to be the sun and phantoms to be light. They
set out for the ladders of the greatest name so that they might scale those
heavens and arrive at that seat and place. When they rose toward it, the
divine assayers descended upon them with the sacred touchstone, by the
irresistible decree of the lord. When these emissaries did not perceive
the scent of the spiritual youth, they forbade entry to all.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablet of the Holy Mariner (from the Persian).


Chapter 15

The Deathless Tree (the Burning Bush) -- the Revelation of God.

The breezes of the Most Merciful have passed over all created things; happy the
man that hath discovered their fragrance, and set himself towards them with a
sound heart. Attire thy temple with the ornament of My Name, and thy tongue
with remembrance of Me, and thine heart with love for Me, the Almighty, the
Most High. We have desired for thee naught except that which is better for thee
than what thou dost possess and all the treasures of the earth. Thy Lord,
verily, is knowing, informed of all. Arise, in My Name, amongst My servants,
and say: `O ye peoples of the earth! Turn yourselves towards Him Who hath
turned towards you. He, verily, is the Face of God amongst you, and His
Testimony and His Guide unto you. He hath come to you with signs which none can
produce.' The voice of the Burning Bush is raised in the midmost heart of the
world, and the Holy Spirit calleth aloud among the nations: `Lo, the Desired
One is come with manifest dominion!'
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 18-19

Lauded be Thy name, O my God! This is the hour when Thou hast unlocked the
doors of Thy bounty before the faces of Thy creatures, and opened wide the
portals of Thy tender mercy unto all the dwellers of Thine earth. I beseech
Thee, by all them whose blood was shed in Thy path, who, in their yearning over
Thee, rid themselves from all attachment to any of Thy creatures, and who were
so carried away by the sweet savors of Thine inspiration that every single
member of their bodies intoned Thy praise and vibrated to Thy remembrance, not
to withhold from us the things Thou hast irrevocably ordained in this
Revelation--a Revelation the potency of which hath caused every tree to cry out
what the Burning Bush had aforetime proclaimed unto Moses, Who conversed with
Thee, a Revelation that hath enabled every least pebble to resound again with
Thy praise, as the stones glorified Thee in the days of Muhammad, Thy Friend.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Prayers and Meditations, p. 144

O ye kinsmen of the Most Great Remembrance! This Tree of Holiness, dyed crimson
with the oil of servitude, hath verily sprung forth out of your own soil in the
midst of the Burning Bush, yet ye comprehend nothing whatever thereof, neither
of His true, heavenly attributes, nor of the actual circumstances of His
earthly life, nor of the evidences of His powerful and unblemished behaviour.
-- The Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 52

O ye that circle the throne of glory! Hearken unto My Call which is raised from
the midst of the Burning Bush, `Verily I am God and there is none other God but
Me. Hence worship Me, and for the sake of Him Who is the Most Great
Remembrance, offer ye prayers, purged from the insinuations of the people, for
verily your Lord, the One true God, is none other than the Sovereign Truth.
Indeed such as invoke others besides Him are deservedly numbered among the
inmates of the fire, while He Who is the Remembrance of God verily abideth,
firm and undeviating, on the Path of Truth amidst the Burning Bush.'...
-- The Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 69

"Call out to Zion, O Carmel, and announce the joyful tidings: He that was
hidden from mortal eyes is come! His all-conquering sovereignty is manifest;
His all-encompassing splendor is revealed. Beware lest thou hesitate or halt.
Hasten forth and circumambulate the City of God that hath descended from
heaven, the celestial Kaaba round which have circled in adoration the favored
of God, the pure in heart, and the company of the most exalted angels. Oh, how
I long to announce unto every spot on the surface of the earth, and to carry to
each one of its cities, the glad-tidings of this Revelation--a Revelation to
which the heart of Sinai hath been attracted, and in whose name the Burning
Bush is calling: `Unto God, the Lord of Lords, belong the kingdoms of earth and
heaven.' Verily this is the Day in which both land and sea rejoice at this
announcement, the Day for which have been laid up those things which God,
through a bounty beyond the ken of mortal mind or heart, hath destined for
revelation. Ere long will God sail His Ark upon thee, and will manifest the
people of Bahá who have been mentioned in the Book of Names."
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 16

Moreover, in the traditions the terms "sun" and "moon" have been applied to
prayer and fasting, even as it is said: "Fasting is illumination, prayer is
light." One day, a well-known divine came to visit Us. While We were
conversing with him, he referred to the above-quoted tradition. He said:
"Inasmuch as fasting causeth the heat of the body to increase, it hath
therefore been likened unto the light of the sun; and as the prayer of the
night-season refresheth man, it hath been compared unto the radiance of the
moon." Thereupon We realized that that poor man had not been favoured with a
single drop of the ocean of true understanding, and had strayed far from the
burning Bush of divine wisdom. We then politely observed to him saying: "The
interpretation your honour hath given to this tradition is the one current
amongst the people. Could it not be interpreted differently?" He asked Us:
"What could it be?" We made reply: "Muhammad, the Seal of the Prophets, and
the most distinguished of God's chosen Ones, hath likened the Dispensation of
the Qur'án unto heaven, by reason of its loftiness, its paramount influence,
its majesty, and the fact that it comprehendeth all religions. And as the sun
and moon constitute the brightest and most prominent luminaries in the heavens,
similarly in the heaven of the religion of God two shining orbs have been
ordained--fasting and prayer. `Islám is heaven; fasting is its sun, prayer, its
moon.'"
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 39-40


Chapter 16

Descent (from heaven) of pre-existent prophets to earth.

"Call out to Zion, O Carmel, and announce the joyful tidings: He that was
hidden from mortal eyes is come! His all-conquering sovereignty is manifest;
His all-encompassing splendor is revealed. Beware lest thou hesitate or halt.
Hasten forth and circumambulate the City of God that hath descended from
heaven, the celestial Kaaba round which have circled in adoration the favored
of God, the pure in heart, and the company of the most exalted angels. Oh, how
I long to announce unto every spot on the surface of the earth, and to carry to
each one of its cities, the glad-tidings of this Revelation--a Revelation to which
the heart of Sinai hath been attracted, and in whose name the Burning Bush is
calling: `Unto God, the Lord of Lords, belong the kingdoms of earth and heaven.'
Verily this is the Day in which both land and sea rejoice at this announcement,
the Day for which have been laid up those things which God, through a bounty
beyond the ken of mortal mind or heart, hath destined for revelation. Ere long
will God sail His Ark upon thee, and will manifest the people of Bahá who have
been mentioned in the Book of Names."
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 16

17. O ye who are the chosen ones of the Abhá Kingdom! Praise ye the Lord
of Hosts for He, riding upon the clouds, hath come down to this world out of the
heaven of the invisible realm, so that East and West were lit by the glory of the
Sun of Truth, and the call of the Kingdom was raised, and the heralds of the realm
above, with melodies of the Concourse on high, sang out the glad tidings of the
Coming. Then the whole world of being did quiver for joy, and still the people,
even as the Messiah saith, slept on: for the day of the Manifestation, when the
Lord of Hosts descended, found them wrapped in the slumber of unknowing. As
He saith in the Gospel, My coming is even as when the thief is in the house, and
the goodman of the house watcheth not.
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Bahá, p. 17

Likewise the address of the angels to the people of Galilee, "That this Christ will
return in the same way and that He will descend from heaven," is a spiritual
address. For when Christ appeared, He came from heaven, although He was
outwardly born from the womb of Mary. For He said: "No man hath ascended up
to heaven, but he that came down from heaven."

He said: "I came down from heaven and likewise will go to heaven." By "heaven"
is not meant this infinite phenomenal space, but "heaven" signifies the world of
the divine kingdom which is the supreme station and seat of the Sun of Truth.
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Tablets of Abdu'l-Bahá, p. 192

127. Joy unto him who, in this Day, casts away that which is possessed by
the people, and holds fast to that which is commanded on the part of God,
the King of names and the Creator of things -- The One who hath come from
the heaven of Pre-existence with the Greatest Name, and with a power that
the hosts of the earth fail to withstand: whereunto testifies the
Mother-Book in the highest station.

128. The first splendor which hath shone forth from the Sun of Truth is
the knowledge of God -- exalted is His glory! -- and the knowledge of the
King of Pre-existence cannot be attained except by knowing the Greatest
Name. He is the Speaker of the Mount who is established and seated upon
the throne of Manifestation, and He is the hidden, invisible One, the
concealed Mystery.
-- Excerpt from the writings of Bahá'u'lláh

The Word which the Son concealed is made manifest. It hath been sent down
in the form of the human temple in this day. Blessed be the Lord Who is the
Father! He, verily, is come unto the nations in His most great majesty. Turn
your faces towards Him, O concourse of the righteous... This is the day
whereon the Rock (Peter) crieth out and shouteth, and celebrateth the praise
of its Lord, the All-Possessing, the Most High, saying: `Lo! The Father is
come, and that which ye were promised in the Kingdom is fulfilled!...' My
body longeth for the cross, and Mine head waiteth the thrust of the spear,
in the path of the All-Merciful, that the world may be purged from its
transgressions....
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 84

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! Thereupon she summoned
unto herself one maiden from her handmaidens,

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! And commanded her: "Descend
into space from the mansions of eternity,
....
Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! Thereupon the countenance of
the favored damsel beamed above the celestial chambers even as the
light that shineth from the face of the Youth above His mortal temple;

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! She then descended with such
an adorning as to illumine the heavens and all that is therein.
-- Compilation, Bahá'í Prayers, Tablet of the Holy Mariner.

Be watchful lest the concerns and preoccupations of this world prevent you
from observing that which hath been enjoined upon you by Him Who is the
Mighty, the Faithful. Be ye the embodiments of such steadfastness amidst
mankind that ye will not be kept back from God by the doubts of those who
disbelieved in Him when He manifested Himself, invested with a mighty
sovereignty. Take heed lest ye be prevented by aught that hath been recorded
in the Book from hearkening unto this, the Living Book, Who proclaimeth the
truth: "Verily, there is no God but Me, the Most Excellent, the All-Praised." Look
ye with the eye of equity upon Him Who hath descended from the heaven of
Divine will and power, and be not of those who act unjustly.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 66

And now, with reference to His words: "And then shall all the tribes of the
earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of
heaven with power and great glory." These words signify that in those days
men will lament the loss of the Sun of the divine beauty, of the Moon of
knowledge, and of the Stars of divine wisdom. Thereupon, they will behold
the countenance of the promised One, the adored Beauty, descending from
heaven and riding upon the clouds. By this is meant that the divine Beauty will
be made manifest from the heaven of the will of God, and will appear in the
form of the human temple. The term "heaven" denoteth loftiness and exaltation,
inasmuch as it is the seat of the revelation of those Manifestations of Holiness,
the Day-springs of ancient glory. These ancient Beings, though delivered from
the womb of their mother, have in reality descended from the heaven of the
will of God. Though they be dwelling on this earth, yet their true habitations are
the retreats of glory in the realms above. Whilst walking amongst mortals, they
soar in the heaven of the divine presence. Without feet they tread the path of
the spirit, and without wings they rise unto the exalted heights of divine unity.
With every fleeting breath they cover the immensity of space, and at every
moment traverse the kingdoms of the visible and the invisible. Upon their
thrones is written: "Nothing whatsoever keepeth Him from being occupied with
any other thing;" and on their seats is inscribed: "Verily, His ways differ every
day." They are sent forth through the transcendent power of the Ancient of
Days, and are raised up by the exalted will of God, the most mighty King. This is
what is meant by the words: "coming in the clouds of heaven."
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 66


Chapter 17

Divine unity -- in reference to prophets and their relation to God.

LXXXIV. Regard thou the one true God as One Who is apart from, and
immeasurably exalted above, all created things. The whole universe
reflecteth His glory, while He is Himself independent of, and transcendeth
His creatures. This is the true meaning of Divine unity. He Who is the
Eternal Truth is the one Power Who exerciseth undisputed sovereignty over
the world of being, Whose image is reflected in the mirror of the entire
creation. All existence is dependent upon Him, and from Him is derived the
source of the sustenance of all things. This is what is meant by Divine
unity; this is its fundamental principle.

Some, deluded by their idle fancies, have conceived all created things as
associates and partners of God, and imagined themselves to be the exponents
of His unity. By Him Who is the one true God! Such men have been, and will
continue to remain, the victims of blind imitation, and are to be numbered
with them that have restricted and limited the conception of God.

He is a true believer in Divine unity who, far from confusing duality with
oneness, refuseth to allow any notion of multiplicity to becloud his
conception of the singleness of God, who will regard the Divine Being as
One Who, by His very nature, transcendeth the limitations of numbers.

The essence of belief in Divine unity consisteth in regarding Him Who is
the Manifestation of God and Him Who is the invisible, the inaccessible,
the unknowable Essence as one and the same. By this is meant that whatever
pertaineth to the former, all His acts and doings, whatever He ordaineth or
forbiddeth, should be considered, in all their aspects, and under all
circumstances, and without any reservation, as identical with the Will of
God Himself. This is the loftiest station to which a true believer in the
unity of God can ever hope to attain. Blessed is the man that reacheth this
station, and is of them that are steadfast in their belief.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 166-167

XXI. O Salman! The door of the knowledge of the Ancient Being hath ever
been, and will continue for ever to be, closed in the face of men. No man's
understanding shall ever gain access unto His holy court. As a token of His
mercy, however, and as a proof of His loving-kindness, He hath manifested
unto men the Day Stars of His divine guidance, the Symbols of His divine
unity, and hath ordained the knowledge of these sanctified Beings to be
identical with the knowledge of His own Self. Whoso recognizeth them hath
recognized God. Whoso hearkeneth to their call, hath hearkened to the Voice
of God, and whoso testifieth to the truth of their Revelation, hath
testified to the truth of God Himself. Whoso turneth away from them, hath
turned away from God, and whoso disbelieveth in them, hath disbelieved in
God. Every one of them is the Way of God that connecteth this world with
the realms above, and the Standard of His Truth unto every one in the
kingdoms of earth and heaven. They are the Manifestations of God amidst
men, the evidences of His Truth, and the signs of His glory.
--Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 49

XXIV. Beware, O believers in the Unity of God, lest ye be tempted to make
any distinction between any of the Manifestations of His Cause, or to
discriminate against the signs that have accompanied and proclaimed their
Revelation. This indeed is the true meaning of Divine Unity, if ye be of
them that apprehend and believe this truth. Be ye assured, moreover, that
the works and acts of each and every one of these Manifestations of God,
nay whatever pertaineth unto them, and whatsoever they may manifest in the
future, are all ordained by God, and are a reflection of His Will and
Purpose. Whoso maketh the slightest possible difference between their
persons, their words, their messages, their acts and manners, hath indeed
disbelieved in God, hath repudiated His signs, and betrayed the Cause of
His Messengers.
--Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 59

And now, with reference to His words: "And then shall all the tribes of the
earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of
heaven with power and great glory." These words signify that in those days
men will lament the loss of the Sun of the divine beauty, of the Moon of
knowledge, and of the Stars of divine wisdom. Thereupon, they will behold
the countenance of the promised One, the adored Beauty, descending from
heaven and riding upon the clouds. By this is meant that the divine Beauty
will be made manifest from the heaven of the will of God, and will appear
in the form of the human temple. The term "heaven" denoteth loftiness and
exaltation, inasmuch as it is the seat of the revelation of those
Manifestations of Holiness, the Day-springs of ancient glory. These ancient
Beings, though delivered from the womb of their mother, have in reality
descended from the heaven of the will of God. Though they be dwelling on
this earth, yet their true habitations are the retreats of glory in the
realms above. Whilst walking amongst mortals, they soar in the heaven of
the divine presence. Without feet they tread the path of the spirit, and
without wings they rise unto the exalted heights of divine unity. With
every fleeting breath they cover the immensity of space, and at every
moment traverse the kingdoms of the visible and the invisible. Upon their
thrones is written: "Nothing whatsoever keepeth Him from being occupied
with any other thing;" and on their seats is inscribed: "Verily, His ways
differ every day."[1] They are sent forth through the transcendent power of
the Ancient of Days, and are raised up by the exalted will of God, the most
mighty King. This is what is meant by the words: "coming in the clouds of
heaven." [1 Qur'an 55:29.]
--Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 66

XXVIII. Happy is the man who will arise to serve My Cause, and glorify My
beauteous Name. Take hold of My Book with the power of My might, and cleave
tenaciously to whatsoever commandment thy Lord, the Ordainer, the All-Wise,
hath prescribed therein. Behold, O Muhammad, how the sayings and doings of
the followers of Shi'ih Islam have dulled the joy and fervor of its early
days, and tarnished the pristine brilliancy of its light. In its primitive
days, whilst they still adhered to the precepts associated with the name of
their Prophet, the Lord of mankind, their career was marked by an unbroken
chain of victories and triumphs. As they gradually strayed from the path of
their Ideal Leader and Master, as they turned away from the Light of God
and corrupted the principle of His Divine unity, and as they increasingly
centered their attention upon them who were only the revealers of the
potency of His Word, their power was turned into weakness, their glory into
shame, their courage into fear. Thou dost witness to what a pass they have
come. Behold, how they have joined partners with Him Who is the Focal-Point
of Divine unity. Behold how their evil doings have hindered them from
recognizing, in the Day of Resurrection, the Word of Truth, exalted be His
glory. We cherish the hope that this people will henceforth shield
themselves from vain hopes and idle fancies, and will attain to a true
understanding of the meaning of Divine unity.

The Person of the Manifestation hath ever been the representative and
mouthpiece of God. He, in truth, is the Day Spring of God's most excellent
Titles, and the Dawning-Place of His exalted Attributes. If any be set up
by His side as peers, if they be regarded as identical with His Person, how
can it, then, be maintained that the Divine Being is One and Incomparable,
that His Essence is indivisible and peerless? Meditate on that which We
have, through the power of truth, revealed unto thee, and be thou of them
that comprehend its meaning.
--Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 69

If we ponder a while over the Qur'anic verses and proofs, and the
traditional accounts which have come down to us from those stars of the
heaven of Divine Unity, the Holy Imams, we shall be convinced of the fact
that if a soul is endowed with the attributes of true faith and
characterized with spiritual qualities he will become to all mankind an
emblem of the outstretched mercies of God. For the attributes of the people
of faith are justice and fair-mindedness; forbearance and compassion and
generosity; consideration for others; candor, trustworthiness, and loyalty;
love and loving-kindness; devotion and determination and humanity. If
therefore an individual is truly righteous, he will avail himself of all
those means which will attract the hearts of men, and through the
attributes of God he will draw them to the straight path of faith and cause
them to drink from the river of everlasting life.
--Abdu'l-Bahá, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 55

Praised be Thou, O Lord my God! I implore Thee by Them Who are the
Tabernacles of Thy Divine holiness, Who are the Manifestations of Thy
transcendent unity and the Day-Springs of Thine inspiration and revelation,
to grant that Thy servants may not be kept back from this Divine Law which,
at Thy will and according to Thy pleasure, hath branched out from Thy most
great Ocean. Do Thou, then, ordain for them that which Thou didst ordain
for Thy chosen ones and for the righteous among Thy creatures, whose
constancy in Thy Cause the tempests of trials have failed to shake, and
whom the tumults of tests have been powerless to hinder from magnifying Thy
most exalted Word -- the Word through Which the heavens of men's idle
fancies and vain imaginations have been split asunder. Thou art, verily,
the Almighty, the All-Glorious, the All-Knowing.
--Bahá'u'lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá'u'lláh, p. 27

Praise be unto God Who hath made the Most Great Infallibility the shield
for the temple of His Cause in the realm of creation, and hath assigned
unto no one a share of this lofty and sublime station -- a station which is
a vesture which the fingers of transcendent power have woven for His august
Self. It befitteth no one except Him Who is seated upon the mighty throne
of 'He doeth what He pleaseth'. Whoso accepteth and recognizeth that which
is written down at this moment by the Pen of Glory is indeed reckoned in
the Book of God, the Lord of the beginning and the end, among the exponents
of divine unity, they that uphold the concept of the oneness of God.

When the stream of words reached this stage, the sweet savours of true
knowledge were shed abroad and the day-star of divine unity shone forth
above the horizon of His holy utterance. Blessed is he whom His Call hath
attracted to the summit of glory, who hath drawn nigh to the ultimate
Purpose, and who hath recognized through the shrill voice of My Pen of
Glory that which the Lord of this world and of the next hath willed. Whoso
faileth to quaff the choice wine which We have unsealed through the potency
of Our Name, the All-Compelling, shall be unable to discern the splendours
of the light of divine unity or to grasp the essential purpose underlying
the Scriptures of God, the Lord of heaven and earth, the sovereign Ruler of
this world and of the world to come. Such a man shall be accounted among
the faithless in the Book of God, the All-Knowing, the All-Informed.

O thou honoured enquirer! [1] We bear witness that thou didst firmly adhere
unto seemly patience during the days when the Pen was held back from
movement and the Tongue hesitated to set forth an explanation regarding the
wondrous sign, the Most Great Infallibility. Thou hast asked this Wronged
One to remove for thee its veils and coverings, to elucidate its mystery
and character, its state and position, its excellence, sublimity and
exaltation. By the life of God! Were We to unveil the pearls of testimony
which lie hid within the shells of the ocean of knowledge and assurance or
to let the beauties of divine mystery which are hidden within the chambers
of utterance in the Paradise of true understanding, step out of their
habitation, then from every direction violent commotion would arise among
the leaders of religion and thou wouldst witness the people of God held
fast in the teeth of such wolves as have denied God both in the beginning
and in the end. Therefore We restrained the Pen for a considerable lapse of
time in accordance with divine wisdom and for the sake of protecting the
faithful from those who have bartered away heavenly blessings for disbelief
and have chosen for their people the abode of perdition.
--Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 105

FIX your gaze upon wisdom in all things, for it is an unfailing antidote.
How often hath it turned a disbeliever into a believer or a foe into a
friend? Its observance is highly essential, inasmuch as this theme hath
been set forth in numerous Tablets revealed from the empyrean of the Will
of Him Who is the Manifestation of the light of divine unity. Well is it
with them that act accordingly.

Centre your attention unceasingly upon that which will cause the Word of
God to be exalted. In this Most Great Revelation goodly deeds and a
praiseworthy character are regarded as the hosts of God, likewise is His
blessed and holy Word. These hosts are the lodestone of the hearts of men
and the effective means for unlocking doors. Of all the weapons in the
world this is the keenest.

Beseech thou God to graciously assist all men to observe that which His
all-glorious Pen hath recorded in the sacred Books and Tablets.

THIS Wronged One doth mention him who hath set his face toward the
Incomparable One, the All-Knowing, him who beareth witness unto His unity
even as the All-Glorious Pen hath borne witness as it moveth swiftly within
the arena of utterance. Blessed is the soul that hath recognized its Lord
and woe betide him who hath grievously erred and doubted.

Man is like unto a tree. If he be adorned with fruit, he hath been and will
ever be worthy of praise and commendation. Otherwise a fruitless tree is
but fit for fire. The fruits of the human tree are exquisite, highly
desired and dearly cherished. Among them are upright character, virtuous
deeds and a goodly utterance. The springtime for earthly trees occurreth
once every year, while the one for human trees appeareth in the Days of God
-- exalted be His glory. Were the trees of men's lives to be adorned in
this divine Springtime with the fruits that have been mentioned, the
effulgence of the light of Justice would, of a certainty, illumine all the
dwellers of the earth and everyone would abide in tranquillity and
contentment beneath the sheltering shadow of Him Who is the Object of all
mankind. The Water for these trees is the living water of the sacred Words
uttered by the Beloved of the world. In one instant are such trees planted
and in the next their branches shall, through the outpourings of the
showers of divine mercy, have reached the skies. A dried-up tree, however,
hath never been nor will be worthy of any mention.
--Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 256


Chapter 18

Eternity (meanings of)

XIX. To every discerning and illuminated heart it is evident that God,
the unknowable Essence, the Divine Being, is immensely exalted beyond
every human attribute, such as corporeal existence, ascent and descent,
egress and regress. Far be it from His glory that human tongue should
adequately recount His praise, or that human heart comprehend His
fathomless mystery. He is, and hath ever been, veiled in the ancient
eternity of His Essence, and will remain in His Reality everlastingly
hidden from the sight of men. "No vision taketh in Him, but He taketh in
all vision; He is the Subtile, the All-Perceiving."...

The door of the knowledge of the Ancient of Days being thus closed in the
face of all beings, the Source of infinite grace, according to His
saying, "His grace hath transcended all things; My grace hath encompassed
them all," hath caused those luminous Gems of Holiness to appear out of
the realm of the spirit, in the noble form of the human temple, and be
made manifest unto all men, that they may impart unto the world the
mysteries of the unchangeable Being, and tell of the subtleties of His
imperishable Essence.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 46-47

The people of Bahá burn brightly amidst the gatherings even as a candle
and hold fast unto that which God hath purposed. This station standeth

supreme above all stations. Well is it with him who hath cast away the
things that the people of the world possess, yearning for that which
pertaineth unto God, the Sovereign Lord of eternity.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 58-59

Glory be to Thee, O King of eternity, and the Maker of nations, and the
Fashioner of every moldering bone! I pray Thee, by Thy Name through which

Thou didst call all mankind unto the horizon of Thy majesty and glory,

and didst guide Thy servants to the court of Thy grace and favors, to
number me with such as have rid themselves from everything except
Thyself, and have set themselves towards Thee, and have not been kept
back by such misfortunes as were decreed by Thee, from turning in the
direction of Thy gifts.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Prayers and Meditations, p. 47-48


Say, O followers of the Son! Have ye shut out yourselves from Me by
reason of My Name? Wherefore ponder ye not in your hearts? Day and night

ye have been calling upon your Lord, the Omnipotent, but when He came
from the heaven of eternity in His great glory, ye turned aside from Him
and remained sunk in heedlessness.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 9

Great is the blessedness of him who hath in this Day cast away the things
current amongst men and hath clung unto that which is ordained by God,

the Lord of Names and the Fashioner of all created things, He Who is come
from the heaven of eternity through the power of the Most Great Name,
invested with so invincible an authority that all the powers of the earth
are unable to withstand Him. Unto this beareth witness the Mother Book,
calling from the Most Sublime Station.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 48

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! Thereupon she summoned unto
herself one maiden from her handmaidens,

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! And commanded her: "Descend into
space from the mansions of eternity,
-- Compilation, Bahá'í Prayers, p. 221

He came down from the pavillions of beauty and stood like the Sun at the
zenith of heaven, peerless and unique in His beauty.

Rejoice! This is the Deathless Youth, come bearing great joy.

Thus He stood in the midst of heaven, shining like the noonday Sun at the
axis of beauty, His Name mighty! Thereupon a herald proclaimed: "
Rejoice! This is the Beauty of the Unseen, come with a mighty spirit."

A clamor then arose from the hearts of the maids of heaven in their
chambers, "Blessed be God, the best of Creators!" Thereupon the dove
sang out,
Rejoice! for the eyes of the privy angels have seen none like unto this
Deathless Youth."

The gates of Paradise were flung wide yet again, opened with the key of a
mighty Name.
Rejoice! This is the Deathless Youth, come with a mighty Name.

The Maid of Beauty came forth, dawning like the sun, plain upon the horizon
of the morn.
Rejoice! This is the Maid of Glory, come with a mighty beauty.

A brocade she wore, dazzling the minds of the privy angels.
Rejoice! this is the Deathless Maid, come with a mighty grace.

She descended from the chambers of eternity, then She sang such a song as to
enchant the hearts of the sincere.

Rejoice! This is the Deathless Beauty, come with a mighty secret.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablet of the Deathless Youth (provisional translation).

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.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Surah of the Companions (provisional translation).

He is the Beloved One

[1] The Maid of Eternity came from the Exalted Paradise;
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, O Glad Tidings!

...

[8] This sweet Davidic voice, from the Divine Lote-Tree--with
the Messianic Spirit she came;
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, O Glad Tidings!
...

[12] With the joyful tidings of reunion this Divine Maiden
came from a branch of the Tree of Blessedness;
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, O Glad Tidings!
...

[16] This Eternal Countenance, she came with snow-white hand
from the Divine command;
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, O Glad Tidings!
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Lawh-i Halih, Halih, Halih, Ya Bisharat (prov. translation)

He is the Mighty.

This is the Garden of Paradise, wherein hath been raised the melody of God,
the Protector, the Self-Subsisting. Wherein have been established the

maidens of eternity whom none hath touched save God, the Mighty, the Holy.
Wherein the Nightingale of Eternity hath warbled upon the branches of the
Lote-tree beyond which there is no passing, with a melody that hath filled
with astonishment the minds of all men. Wherein is that which bringeth the
poor ones nigh unto the shores of the ocean of wealth and guideth mankind
unto the word of God. This, verily, is a manifest truth.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Tablet of the Bell (provisional translation)

In the name of God, the most holy, the most exalted.

Praise be to Thee, O God, My God. I make mention of Thee at this time, when
the sun of Thy Godhead hath risen from the horizon of the splendid divinity

of Thy oneness, the lights of Thy lordship have flashed forth from the
dawning of the ineffable encounter with the eternal kingdom of Thy
self-sufficiency, and the darkness of this world hath been illumined by
the radiance of the faithful realm of Thy cause--in such wise that the
garden of paradise came into being above the essence of Thy glorious
selfhood. Therein were planted the trees of Thy quintessence, which put
forth the fruits of Thine essence, and therein wafted the breezes of Thy
spirit and the breaths of Thy sanctity. Therein were foreordained the gems
of Thy bounties and the substance of Thy munificence; and therein were
uncovered the treasures of Thy knowledge and mystery. Over its terraces
flow the streams of Thy glorious life, the canals of Thy radiant eternality,
and the springs of the wine of Thine inaccessibility. When Thou didst
desire, O my God, to manifest it, Thou didst raise it up to the throne of
grandeur and greatness, embellish it with the rays of might and power,
render it effulgent by Thine essence, and didst make to shine upon it the
sun of oneness from the pre-eternal lights of Thy features. Thou didst
light for it the wick of eternity in the lamp of pre-existence. Now, Thy
most exalted decree hath come to the kingdom of command by Thy signature,
so that a visage might appear therefrom, that the brilliance of Thy beauty
might be manifest to all who dwell on earth, and that the glory of Thy
countenance might be seen by all who are in the realm of Thy cause.

There arose the houri [maiden], Who had dwelt in pre-eternity in the pavilions of
holiness, protection, and glorification and in the canopies of sinlessness,
greatness and splendor. Upon Her creamy brow the most high pen hath written
in crimson ink, "Praise be to God! This is a houri [maiden] upon Whom none have
gazed save God, the exalted, the most high. God hath purified the hem of
Her purity from the knowledge of the concourse of names in the realm of
eternity, and Her face from the view of all who are in the kingdom of
creation. When She arose with the ornament of God from Her palace, She
looked with one glance toward the sky. The people of the heavens swooned at
the rays of Her visage and at the wafting of Her perfume. Then She looked
with another glance toward the earth, and it was illumined by the lights of
Her beauty and the loveliness of Her splendor.
...
Then the firmament was illumined by the radiance of its light, contingent
beings were made resplendent by its appearance and effulgence, and by its
rays infinite numbers of suns dawned forth, as though they trekked through
heavens that were without beginning or end. I became bewildered at the pen
of God's handiwork, and at what it had inscribed upon Her temple. It was as
though She had appeared with a body of light in the forms of the spirit,
as though She moved upon the earth of essence in the substance of
manifestation. I noticed that the houris [Maidens] had poked their heads
out of their rooms [chambers] and were suspended in the air above
Her. They grew perplexed at Her appearance and Her beauty, and were
entranced by the raptures of Her song. Praise be to Her creator, fashioner,
and maker--to the one Who made Her manifest.

Then she nearly swooned within herself, and with all her being she sought
to inhale My fragrance. She opened Her lips, and the rays of light dawned
forth from Her teeth, as though the pearls of the cause had appeared from
Her treasures and Her shells.

She asked, "Who art Thou?"

I said, "A servant of God and the son of his maidservant."
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablet of the Maiden (provisional translation)


Arise thou to serve the Cause and say: I swear by the righteousness of
God! Verily this is the Primal Point, arrayed in His new attire and

manifested in His glorious Name. He at present beholdeth everything from
this Horizon. Indeed He is supreme over all things. Amongst the Concourse
on High He is known as the Most Great Announcement and in the Realms of
Eternity as the Ancient Beauty, and before the Throne by this Name which
hath caused the footsteps of them that are endued with understanding to
slip.

Say, I swear by God! In this Revelation even before a single verse was
sent down from the realm of holiness and sublimity, the supreme testimony
of God had been fulfilled for all the inmates of heaven and the dwellers
on earth; moreover, We have revealed the equivalent of whatsoever was
sent down in the Dispensation of the Bayán. Fear ye God and suffer not
your deeds to be rendered vain and be not of them that are sunk in
heedlessness. Open your eyes that ye may behold the Ancient Beauty from
this shining and luminous station.

Say, God is my witness! The Promised One Himself hath come down from
heaven, seated upon the crimson cloud with the hosts of revelation on His
right, and the angels of inspiration on His left, and the Decree hath
been fulfilled at the behest of God, the Omnipotent, the Almighty.
Thereupon the footsteps of everyone have slipped except such as God hath
protected through His tender mercy and numbered with those who have
recognized Him through His Own Self and detached themselves from all that
pertaineth to the world.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 182-183

This is a Tablet sent down by the Lord of mercy that the people of the
world may be enabled to draw nigh unto this Ocean which hath surged

through the potency of His august Name. Amongst men there are those who
have turned away from Him and gainsaid His testimony, while others have
quaffed the wine of assurance in the glory of His Name which pervadeth
all created things. A grievous loss hath indeed been suffered by those
that have inclined their ears to the croaking of the raven, and refused
to hearken unto the sweet warblings of the Bird of Heaven singing upon
the twigs of the Tree of eternity: Verily there is none other God but Me,
the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. This is the Day that hath been illumined
by the splendours of the light of Our countenance--the Day around which
all days and nights circle in adoration. Blessed is the man of insight
who hath perceived, and the sore athirst who hath quaffed from this
luminous Fountain. Blessed the man who acknowledgeth the truth, earnestly
striving to serve the Cause of his Lord, the Powerful, the Almighty.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 261

With fixed and steady gaze, born of the unerring eye of God, scan for a
while the horizon of divine knowledge, and contemplate those words of

perfection which the Eternal hath revealed, that haply the mysteries of
divine wisdom, hidden ere now beneath the veil of glory and treasured
within the tabernacle of His grace, may be made manifest unto you. The
denials and protestations of these leaders of religion have, in the main,
been due to their lack of knowledge and understanding. Those words
uttered by the Revealers of the beauty of the one true God, setting forth
the signs that should herald the advent of the Manifestation to come,
they never understood nor fathomed. Hence they raised the standard of
revolt, and stirred up mischief and sedition. It is obvious and manifest
that the true meaning of the utterances of the Birds of Eternity is
revealed to none except those that manifest the Eternal Being, and the
melodies of the Nightingale of Holiness can reach no ear save that of the
denizens of the everlasting realm. The Copt of tyranny can never partake
of the cup touched by the lips of the Sept of justice, and the Pharaoh of
unbelief can never hope to recognize the hand of the Moses of truth. Even
as He saith: "None knoweth the meaning thereof except God and them that
are well-grounded in knowledge." And yet, they have sought the
interpretation of the Book from those that are wrapt in veils, and have
refused to seek enlightenment from the fountain-head of knowledge.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 16-17


Chapter 19

The Exalted Paradise (coming from)

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! Glorified be He that created her
out of the essence of love in the midmost heart of his exalted paradise!

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! Thereupon the maids of heaven
hastened forth from their chambers, upon whose countenances the eye of no
dweller in the highest paradise had ever gazed.

Glorified be our Lord, the Most High! They all gathered around her, and lo!
they found her body fallen upon the dust;

Glorified be our Lord, the Most High! And as they beheld her state and
comprehended a word of the tale told by the Youth, they bared their heads,
rent their garments asunder, beat upon their faces, forgot their joy, shed
tears and smote with their hands upon their cheeks, and this is verily one
of the mysterious grievous afflictions - Glorified be our Lord, the Most
High!
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablet of the Holy Mariner

HE IS THE ALMIGHTY LORD!
Lo, this is the garden of Paradise wherein is raised the Voice of God, the
Dominant, the Strong; Here do the immaculate Maids of Heaven dwell, they
whom no eye hath seen save only God's, the Sanctified, the Well-Beloved;
Herein the eternal nightingale singeth on the bough of the sacred Lote-Tree
a song that bedazzaleth the minds, and herein are the needy led to the
haven of wealth, and all men guided to the Word of God; verily this is a
manifest truth.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablet of the Feast of Ridvan (provisional translation)

18. O YE DWELLERS IN THE HIGHEST PARADISE!
Proclaim unto the children of assurance that within the realms of
holiness, nigh unto the celestial paradise, a new garden hath appeared,
round which circle the denizens of the realm on high and the immortal
dwellers of the exalted paradise. Strive, then, that ye may attain that
station, that ye may unravel the mysteries of love from its wind-flowers
and learn the secret of divine and consummate wisdom from its eternal
fruits. Solaced are the eyes of them that enter and abide therein!
--Bahá'u'lláh, The Persian Hidden Words

Say: Step out of Thy holy chamber, O Maid of Heaven, inmate of the Exalted
Paradise! Drape thyself in whatever manner pleaseth Thee in the silken
Vesture of Immortality, and put on, in the name of the All-Glorious, the
broidered Robe of Light. Hear, then, the sweet, the wondrous accent of the
Voice that cometh from the Throne of Thy Lord, the Inaccessible, the Most
High. Unveil Thy face, and manifest the beauty of the black-eyed Damsel,
and suffer not the servants of God to be deprived of the light of Thy
shining countenance. Grieve not if Thou hearest the sighs of the dwellers
of the earth, or the voice of the lamentation of the denizens of heaven.
Leave them to perish on the dust of extinction. Let them be reduced to
nothingness, inasmuch as the flame of hatred hath been kindled within their
breasts. Intone, then, before the face of the peoples of earth and heaven,
and in a most melodious voice, the anthem of praise, for a remembrance of
Him Who is the King of the names and attributes of God. Thus have We
decreed Thy destiny. Well able are We to achieve Our purpose.

Beware that Thou divest not Thyself, Thou Who art the Essence of Purity, of
Thy robe of effulgent glory. Nay, enrich Thyself increasingly, in the
kingdom of creation, with the incorruptible vestures of Thy God, that the
beauteous image of the Almighty may be reflected through Thee in all
created things and the grace of Thy Lord be infused in the plenitude of its
power into the entire creation.

If Thou smellest from any one the smell of the love of Thy Lord, offer up
Thyself for him, for We have created Thee to this end, and have covenanted
with Thee, from time immemorial, and in the presence of the congregation of
Our well-favored ones, for this very purpose. Be not impatient if the blind
in heart hurl down the shafts of their idle fancies upon Thee. Leave them
to themselves, for they follow the promptings of the evil ones.

Cry out before the gaze of the dwellers of heaven and of earth: I am the
Maid of Heaven, the Offspring begotten by the Spirit of Baha. My habitation
is the Mansion of His Name, the All-Glorious. Before the Concourse on high
I was adorned with the ornament of His names. I was wrapt within the veil
of an inviolable security, and lay hidden from the eyes of men. Methinks
that I heard a Voice of divine and incomparable sweetness, proceeding from
the right hand of the God of Mercy, and lo, the whole Paradise stirred and
trembled before Me, in its longing to hear its accents, and gaze on the
beauty of Him that uttered them. Thus have We revealed in this luminous
Tablet, and in the sweetest of languages, the verses which the Tongue of
Eternity was moved to utter in the Qayyumu'l-Asma'.

Say: He ordaineth as He pleaseth, by virtue of His sovereignty, and doeth
whatsoever He willeth at His own behest. He shall not be asked of the
things it pleaseth Him to ordain. He, in truth, is the Unrestrained, the
All-Powerful, the All-Wise.

They that have disbelieved in God and rebelled against His sovereignty are
the helpless victims of their corrupt inclinations and desires. These shall
return to their abode in the fire of hell: wretched is the abode of the
deniers!
--Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 282

"Arise, and proclaim unto the entire creation the tidings that He who is
the All-Merciful hath directed His steps towards the Ridván and entered
it. Guide, then, the people unto the Garden of Delight which God hath made
the Throne of His Paradise... Within this Paradise, and from the heights of
its loftiest chambers, the Maids of Heaven have cried out and shouted:
`Rejoice, ye dwellers of the realms above, for the fingers of Him Who is the
Ancient of Days are ringing, in the name of the All-Glorious, the Most Great
Bell, in the midmost heart of the heavens. The hands of bounty have borne
round the cups of everlasting life. Approach, and quaff your fill.'"
-- Bahá'u'lláh speaking on the First Day of Ridvan. Taken from
Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 154

Since Thou hast purposed, O my God, to cause all created things to enter
into the tabernacle of Thy transcendent grace and favor, and to waft over
the entire creation the fragrances of the raiment of Thy glorious unity,
and to look upon all things with the eyes of Thy bounty and Thy oneness, I
beseech Thee, therefore, by Thy love, which Thou hast made to be the
mainspring of the revelations of Thine eternal holiness, and the flame that
gloweth within the hearts of such of Thy creatures as yearn towards Thee,
to create, this very moment, for those of Thy people who are wholly devoted
to Thee, and for such of Thy loved ones as love Thee, out of the essence of
Thy bounty and Thy generosity, and from the inmost spirit of Thy grace and
Thy glory, Thy Paradise of transcendent holiness, and to exalt it above
everything except Thee, and to sanctify it from aught else save Thyself.
Create, moreover, within it, O my God, out of the lights shed by Thy
throne, handmaidens who will intone the melodies of Thy wondrous and most
sweet invention, that they may magnify Thy name with such words as have not
been heard by any of Thy creatures, be they the inmates of Thy heaven or
the dwellers of Thine earth, nor been comprehended by any of Thy people.
Unlock, then, the gates of this Paradise to the faces of Thy loved ones,
that haply they may enter them in Thy name, and by the power of Thy
sovereignty, that thereby the sovereign bounties vouchsafed by Thee unto
Thy chosen ones and the transcendent gifts granted unto Thy trusted ones be
perfected, that they may extol Thy virtues with such melodies as none can
either intone or describe, and that none of Thy people may conceive the
design of appearing in the guise of any of Thy chosen ones, or of emulating
the example of Thy loved ones, and that none may fail to discern between
Thy friends and Thine enemies, or to distinguish them that are devoted to
Thee from such as stubbornly oppose Thee. Potent art Thou to do what Thou
willest, and powerful and supreme art Thou over all things.
--Bahá'u'lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá'u'lláh, p. 326


The word of God which the Abha Pen hath revealed and inscribed on the first
leaf of the Most Exalted Paradise is this: Verily I say: The fear of God
hath ever been a sure defence and a safe stronghold for all the peoples of
the world. It is the chief cause of the protection of mankind, and the
supreme instrument for its preservation. Indeed, there existeth in man a
faculty which deterreth him from, and guardeth him against, whatever is
unworthy and unseemly, and which is known as his sense of shame. This,
however, is confined to but a few; all have not possessed and do not
possess it.
--Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 63

The instigators of this oppression are those very persons who, though so
foolish, are reputed the wisest of the wise. Such is their blindness
that, with unfeigned severity, they have cast into this fortified and
afflictive Prison Him, for the servants of Whose Threshold the world hath
been created. The Almighty, however, in spite of them and those that have
repudiated the truth of this "Great Announcement," hath transformed this
Prison House into the Most Exalted Paradise, the Heaven of Heavens.
--Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 116

Be ye guided by wisdom in all your doings, and cleave ye tenaciously unto
it. Please God ye may all be strengthened to carry out that which is the
Will of God, and may be graciously assisted to appreciate the rank
conferred upon such of His loved ones as have arisen to serve Him and
magnify His name. Upon them be the glory of God, the glory of all that is
in the heavens and all that is on the earth, and the glory of the inmates
of the most exalted Paradise, the heaven of heavens.
--Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 197

CIII. God hath, through His tongue that uttereth the truth, testified in
all His Tablets to these words: "I am He that liveth in the Abha Realm of
Glory."

By the righteousness of God! He, from the heights of this sublime, this
holy, this mighty, and transcendent station, seeth all things, heareth all
things, and is, at this hour, proclaiming: Blessed art thou, O Javad,
inasmuch as thou hast attained unto that which no man before thee hath
attained. I swear by Him Who is the Eternal Truth! Through thee the eyes of
the inmates of the Exalted Paradise have been gladdened. The people,
however, are utterly heedless. Were We to reveal thy station, the hearts of
men would be sorely agitated, their footsteps would slip, the embodiments
of vain-glory would be dumbfounded, would fall down upon the ground, and
would thrust the fingers of heedlessness into their ears, for fear of
hearing.
--(Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 207


Chapter 20

References on "Face of God"

An Independent Prophet is the Face of God, and a Dependent Prophet is the
Face of the Independent Prophet and also the Face of God.

"The breezes of the Most Merciful have passed over all created things;
happy the man that hath discovered their fragrance, and set himself towards
them with a sound heart. Attire thy temple with the ornament of My Name,
and thy tongue with remembrance of Me, and thine heart with love for Me,
the Almighty, the Most High. We have desired for thee naught except that
which is better for thee than what thou dost possess and all the treasures
of the earth. Thy Lord, verily, is knowing, informed of all. Arise, in My
Name, amongst My servants, and say: `O ye peoples of the earth! Turn
yourselves towards Him Who hath turned towards you. He, verily, is the
Face of God amongst you, and His Testimony and His Guide unto you. He hath
come to you with signs which none can produce.' The voice of the Burning
Bush is raised in the midmost heart of the world, and the Holy Spirit
calleth aloud among the nations: `Lo, the Desired One is come with manifest
dominion!'
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 48

And were they to say that by "divine Presence" is meant the "Secondary
Revelation of God," interpreted as the "Holy Outpouring," this is admittedly
applicable to the world of creation, that is, in the realm of the primal and
original manifestation of God. Such revelation is confined to His Prophets
and chosen Ones, inasmuch as none mightier than they hath come to exist
in the world of being. This truth all recognize, and bear witness thereto. These
Prophets and chosen Ones of God are the recipients and revealers of all the
unchangeable attributes and names of God. They are the mirrors that truly
and faithfully reflect the light of God. Whatsoever is applicable to them is in
reality applicable to God, Himself, Who is both the Visible and the Invisible.
The knowledge of Him, Who is the Origin of all things, and attainment unto
Him, are impossible save through knowledge of, and attainment unto, these
luminous Beings who proceed from the Sun of Truth. By attaining, therefore,
to the presence of these holy Luminaries, the "Presence of God" Himself is
attained. From their knowledge, the knowledge of God is revealed, and from
the light of their countenance, the splendour of the Face of God is made
manifest. Through the manifold attributes of these Essences of Detachment,
Who are both the first and the last, the seen and the hidden, it is made evident
that He Who is the Sun of Truth is "the First and the Last, the Seen, and the
Hidden." Likewise the other lofty names and exalted attributes of God.
Therefore, whosoever, and in whatever Dispensation, hath recognized and
attained unto the presence of these glorious, these resplendent and most
excellent Luminaries, hath verily attained unto the "Presence of God" Himself,
and entered the city of eternal and immortal life. Attainment unto such presence
is possible only in the Day of Resurrection, which is the Day of the rise of God
Himself through His all-embracing Revelation.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 141-143

The Imams are Face of God

The Commander of the Faithful (Imám `Alí) hath said: "I am He Who can neither
be named, nor described." And likewise He hath said: "Outwardly I am an Imám;
inwardly I am the Unseen, the Unknowable." Abú-Ja'far-i-Túsí hath said: "I
said to Ábí `Abdi'lláh: `You are the Way mentioned in the Book of God, and
you are the Impost, and you are the Pilgrimage.' He replied: `O man! We are
the Way mentioned in the Book of God,--exalted and glorified be He--and We
are the Impost, and We are the Fast, and We are the Pilgrimage, and We are
the Sacred Month, and We are the Sacred City, and We are the Kaaba of God,
and We are the Qiblih of God, and We are the Face of God.'" Jabír hath said
that Abú-Ja'far--peace be upon him--spoke to him as follows: "O Jabír! Give
heed unto the Bayán (Exposition) and the Má'ání (Significances)." He --peace
be upon him--added: "As to the Bayán, it consisteth in thy recognition of
God--glorified be He--as the One Who hath no equal, and in thy adoration of
Him, and in thy refusal to join partners with Him. As to the Má'ání, We are
its meaning, and its side, and its hand, and its tongue, and its cause, and
its command, and its knowledge, and its right. If We wish for something, it
is God Who wisheth it, and He desireth that which We desire." Moreover, the
Commander of the Faithful (Imám `Alí)--peace be upon him--hath said: "How can
I worship a Lord Whom I have not seen?" And, in another connection, he
saith: "Nothing have I perceived except that I perceived God before it, God
after it, or God with it."
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 112

Consider the past. How many, both high and low, have, at all times,
yearningly awaited the advent of the Manifestations of God in the sanctified
persons of His chosen Ones. How often have they expected His coming, how
frequently have they prayed that the breeze of divine mercy might blow,
and the promised Beauty step forth from behind the veil of concealment,
and be made manifest to all the world. And whensoever the portals of grace
did open, and the clouds of divine bounty did rain upon mankind, and the
light of the Unseen did shine above the horizon of celestial might, they
all denied Him, and turned away from His face--the face of God Himself.
Refer ye, to verify this truth, to that which hath been recorded in every
sacred Book.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 4

VII. Verily I say, this is the Day in which mankind can behold the Face,
and hear the Voice, of the Promised One. The Call of God hath been raised,
and the light of His countenance hath been lifted up upon men. It behoveth
every man to blot out the trace of every idle word from the tablet of his
heart, and to gaze, with an open and unbiased mind, on the signs of His
Revelation, the proofs of His Mission, and the tokens of His glory.

Great indeed is this Day! The allusions made to it in all the sacred
Scriptures as the Day of God attest its greatness. The soul of every Prophet
of God, of every Divine Messenger, hath thirsted for this wondrous Day. All
the divers kindreds of the earth have, likewise, yearned to attain it. No
sooner, however, had the Day Star of His Revelation manifested itself in
the heaven of God's Will, than all, except those whom the Almighty was
pleased to guide, were found dumbfounded and heedless.

O thou that hast remembered Me! The most grievous veil hath shut out the
peoples of the earth from His glory, and hindered them from hearkening to
His call. God grant that the light of unity may envelop the whole earth,
and that the seal, "the Kingdom is God's", may be stamped upon the brow of
all its peoples.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 11


Chapter 21

The "firm handle"

They that judge with fairness testify that since the early days of the
Cause this Wronged One hath arisen, unveiled and resplendent, before the
faces of kings and commoners, before the rulers and the divines, and hath,
in ringing tones, summoned all men unto the straight Path. He hath had no
helper save His Pen, nor any succourer other than Himself.

Those who are ignorant or heedless of the motivating purpose of the Cause
of God have rebelled against Him. Such men are the foreboders of evil, whom
God hath mentioned in His Book and Tablets and against whose influence,
clamour and deception He hath warned His people. Well is it with those who,
in the face of the remembrance of the Lord of Eternity, regard the peoples
of the world as utter nothingness, as a thing forgotten, and hold fast to
the firm handle of God in such wise that neither doubts nor insinuations,
nor swords, nor cannon could hold them back or deprive them of His
presence. Blessed are the steadfast; blessed are they that stand firm in
His Faith.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 123

O thou spiritual youth and merciful young man!

Consider the grace of thy Master; how He hath directed thee to the fountain
of salvation, until thou hast drunk from the salsabil (i.e., clear water of
life) of the guidance of God, in this holy and rich garden.

Cling to this firm handle and make thy feet steady in this path, so that
the bounties of thy Supreme Lord may successively pour upon thee and make
thee a sign of His mighty knowledge.
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Tablets of Abdu'l-Bahá, p. 256

"O Lord, I ask of Thee by the Supreme Word, whereat whosoever is in the
earth and the heaven feareth save him who taketh hold of the `Most Firm
Handle,' that Thou wilt not abandon Me amongst Thy creatures: lift Me up
unto Thee, and make Me to enter in under the shadow of Thy mercy, and give
Me to drink of the pure wine of Thy grace, that I may dwell under the
canopy of Thy glory and the domes of Thy favors: verily Thou art powerful
unto that Thou wishest, and verily Thou art the Protecting, the
Self-Sufficing.
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, A Traveler's Narrative, p. 76

2:256 Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from
Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in God hath grasped the most
trustworthy hand- hold, that never breaks. And God heareth and knoweth all
things.

2:257 God is the Protector of those who have faith: from the depths of
darkness He will lead them forth into light. Of those who reject faith the
patrons are the evil ones: from light they will lead them forth into the
depths of darkness. They will be companions of the fire, to dwell therein
(For ever).
-- Qur'an: 2 - AL-BAQARAH

31:21 When they are told to follow the (Revelation) that God has sent down,
they say: "Nay, we shall follow the ways that we found our fathers
(following). "What! even if it is Satan beckoning them to the Penalty of
the (Blazing) Fire?

31:22 Whoever submits his whole self to God, and is a doer of good, has
grasped indeed the most trustworthy hand-hold: and with God rests the End
and Decision of (all) affairs.

31:23 But if any reject Faith, let not his rejection grieve thee: to Us is
their return, and We shall tell them the truth of their deeds: for God
knows well all that is in (men's) hearts.

31:24 We grant them their pleasure for a little while: in the end shall We
drive them to a chastisement unrelenting.
-- Qur'an: 31 - LUQMAN.


Chapter 22

The 12 Imams of the Muhammedan revelation

First Imam: Abul-Hasan Ali ibn Abu Talib - "Ali" ( - 661).
Second Imam: Abu Muhammad Hasan ibn Ali - "Hasan" (AH 3 - AH 49/669).
Third Imam: Abu Abdu'llah Husayn ibn Ali - "Husayn" (AH 4/626 - AH 61/680).
Fourth Imam: Ali, Zaynu'l-Abidin - "Zaynu'l-Abidin" (AH 38/658 - 94/712?).
Fifth Imam: Muhammad al-Baqir - "Baqir" (AH 57/676 - AH 117/735?).
Sixth Imam: Jafar as-Sadiq - "Sadiq" (AH 80/669? - AH 148/765).
Seventh Imam: Musa al-Kazim - "al-Kazim" (AH 128/745 - AH 183/799).
Eighth Imam: Ali ar-Rida - "ar-Rida" (AH 148/765 - AH 203/818).
Ninth Imam: Muhammad at-Taqi - "at-Taqi" (AH 195/810 - AH 220/835).
Tenth Imam: Ali al-Hadi - "al-Hadi" (AH 212/827? - AH 254/868).
Eleventh Imam: Hasan al-Askari - "al-Askari" (AH 232/846 - AH 260/873?).
Twelth Imam: Muhammad al-Mahdi - "al-Qaim" (the one who will arise).
-- Cited in "Introduction to Shi'i Islam" by Moojan Momen.


Passages indicating the prophethood (dependent/lesser) of the Imams.

1. The passage below is about the "station of pure abstraction and essential
unity" of the Manifestations of God, including as examples, Adam, Noah,
Moses, and Jesus, Muhammad and the Imams.

These Manifestations of God have each a twofold station. One is the station
of pure abstraction and essential unity. In this respect, if thou callest
them all by one name, and dost ascribe to them the same attributes, thou
hast not erred from the truth. Even as He hath revealed: "No distinction do
We make between any of His Messengers." For they, one and all, summon the
people of the earth to acknowledge the unity of God, and herald unto them
the Kawthar of an infinite grace and bounty. They are all invested with the
robe of prophethood, and are honored with the mantle of glory. Thus hath
Muhammad, the Point of the Qur'án, revealed: "I am all the Prophets."
Likewise, He saith: "I am the first Adam, Noah, Moses, and Jesus." Similar
statements have been made by Imám `Alí. Sayings such as these, which
indicate the essential unity of those Exponents of Oneness, have also
emanated from the Channels of God's immortal utterance, and the Treasuries
of the gems of Divine knowledge, and have been recorded in the Scriptures.
These Countenances are the recipients of the Divine Command, and the Day
Springs of His Revelation. This Revelation is exalted above the veils of
plurality and the exigencies of number. Thus He saith: "Our Cause is but
One." Inasmuch as the Cause is one and the same, the Exponents thereof also
must needs be one and the same. Likewise, the Imáms of the Muhammadan Faith,
those lamps of certitude, have said: "Muhammad is our first, Muhammad is our
last, Muhammad our all."
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 51

-'They are all invested with the robe of prophethood'.
-'These Countenances are the recipients of the Divine Command and the
Day Springs of His Revelation'.
-'I am all the Prophets' - i.e. Muhammad embodies the nature and qualities
that all the prophets embody.
-'Muhammad is our first, Muhammad is our last, Muhammad our all'. -- i.e.
Muhammad is the first of us Manifestations of God whom the Imams also are..

And were they all [Manifestations of God] to proclaim, "I am the Seal of
the Prophets," they, verily, utter but the truth, beyond the faintest
shadow of doubt. For they are all but one person, one soul, one spirit,
one being, one revelation. They are all the manifestation of the
"Beginning" and the "End," the "First" and the "Last," the "Seen" and
the "Hidden" -- all of which pertain to Him Who is the Innermost Spirit
of Spirits and Eternal Essence of Essences.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 54

-'Likewise, He saith: "I am the first Adam, Noah, Moses, and Jesus."
Similar statements have been made by Imám `Alí'-- i.e. Imam Ali
identifies the unity of his prophethood with that of earlier prophets
in the same way Muhammad does and also Bahá'u'lláh does. Below is
such a passage by Imam Ali in a tablet referred to by Bahá'u'lláh (in
which Imam Ali also fortells the coming of Bahá'u'lláh).

I am the Master (sahib) of the First Creation before the First Noah, and if
you were to know what was between Adam and Noah of wondrous events that I
wrought and of nations that I caused to perish. And the true Word of Thy
Lord was fulfilled in them and evil is that which they worked" I am the
Master of the First Flood! I am the Master of the Second Flood! I am the
Master of the Deluge of Iram! I am the Master of the Secret Mysteries! I am
the Lord of 'Ad and its gardens! I am the Lord of Thamud and its wondrous
signs! I am the One that destroyed it, I am the One that caused the
Earthquakes! I am the One that caused their Return and their Perdition!
I am the Builder of those civilisations and their Destroyer! I cause
their Expiry and I cause them to be quickened! I am the First and the Last!
I am the External and Manifest and I am the Internal and Hidden! I am with
the Cycle (kawr) before the Cycle began! I am the Companion of the
Dispensation (dawr) before the Dispensation started! I was with the Pen
before the Pen and I am with the Tablet prior to the Tablet being revealed!
I am the Lord of the First Pre-existence! I am the Lord of Jabulqa and of
Jabulsa! I am the Master of Highest Stage (rafraf) and of Bahram! I am the
One Who organised existence when there was no heaven as you have them now
nor earth as you know it now!

The Son of Suwairama said: "Are you, are you indeed that One?!"

'Ali replied: "I am, I am that One! There is no other God But God Who is My
Lord and the Lord of all created things. Unto Him belongs the Creation and
the World of Revelation
-- Imam Ali, Khutbih-i-Tutunjiyyih (The Sermon of the Twin Gulfs)

He whose acceptance of my guardianship is based on external reality more than
internal truth, he is that one "whose balance will be Light" [Qur'an 7:9]
Those whose scale will be light, will be their souls in perdition [Qur'an
23:103 and 101:8]. Salman! The faith of no believer will attain perfection
unless and until he recognizes me with luminousness. If he attains this then
he has truly attained faith whose heart is tested with true faith and whose
chest is dilated in true Islam whose faith is based on discernment. He who
is convicted of shortcoming in this cognition he will be a doubter immersed
in disbelief.

O Salman! And O Jandab [Abu Dharr]! In truth My recognition in luminousness
is the recognition of God [Ma'rifat Allah] and Recognition and knowledge of
God is indeed my knowledge and this is what is meant by sincere devotion/pure
religion [ad-Deen al Khaalis, Qur'an 39:3]...

Salman! We are the Mystery of God [Sirru'llah] that shall not remain hidden.
We are His light that shall never be extinguished, His Grace that is not to
be expected from any one but Him. Muhammad is our first, Muhammad our last,
Muhammad our all.

Muhammad is our first, Muhammad our last, Muhammad our all. He who recognises
us in this regard has consummated the Faith in truth.

O Salman and O Jandab! Muhammad and I were the Light that was voicing forth
the divine eulogy before any other reality started to praise Him. We were the
cause of illumination unto all creation. This one Light was divided by God in
two portions and vouchsafed unto creation the Chosen "Mustapha" Prophet
Muhammad and His Vicegerent in Whom He was well pleased "Murtada". God,
exalted be His Glory, said to each half "Be Muhammad" "Be 'Ali". The Imperative
is Kun the letters B and E. It is thus that the Prophet said: " I am from 'Ali
and 'Ali is from Me. None can give forth my Trust but Myself and 'Ali".
-- Imam Ali, Sermon of Ma'rifat bin-Nuraaniyyat (Recognition with Luminousness)


2. The passage below about the suffering and martyrdom of different prophets
when viewed from the "station of pure abstraction and essential unity",
indicates Imam Husayn was a prophet (dependent/lesser) -- the one who
was martyred in Karbila.

XXXIX. Praise be to Thee, O Lord My God, for the wondrous revelations of
Thy inscrutable decree and the manifold woes and trials Thou hast destined
for Myself. At one time Thou didst deliver Me into the hands of Nimrod
[Abraham]; at another Thou hast allowed Pharaoh's rod to persecute Me
[Moses]..... Again I was crucified for having unveiled to men's eyes the hidden
gems of Thy glorious unity [Jesus], for having revealed to them the wondrous
signs of Thy sovereign and everlasting power. How bitter the humiliations heaped
upon Me, in a subsequent age, on the plain of Kárbilá! [Imam Husayn] How lonely
did I feel amidst Thy people! To what a state of helplessness I was reduced
in that land! Unsatisfied with such indignities, My persecutors decapitated Me,
and, carrying aloft My head from land to land paraded it before the gaze of
the unbelieving multitude, and deposited it on the seats of the perverse and
faithless. In a later age, I was suspended, and My breast was made a target
to the darts of the malicious cruelty of My foes. My limbs were riddled with
bullets, and My body was torn asunder [The Bab]. Finally, behold how, in this
Day, My treacherous enemies have leagued themselves against Me, and are
continually plotting to instill the venom of hate and malice into the souls of Thy
servants [Bahá'u'lláh]. With all their might they are scheming to accomplish
their purpose.. Grievous as is My plight, O God, My Well-Beloved, I render
thanks unto Thee, and My Spirit is grateful for whatsoever hath befallen me
in the path of Thy good-pleasure. I am well pleased with that which Thou didst
ordain for Me, and welcome, however calamitous, the pains and sorrows I am
made to suffer.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 88-90


3. The Imams -- The manifestations of the power of God

4:59 O ye who believe! Obey God, and obey the Apostle, and those charged with
authority among you. If ye differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to
God and His Apostle, if ye do believe in God and the Last Day: That is best,
and most suitable for final determination.
-- Qur'an: 4 - AN-NISA.

And likewise in the sacred verse: "Obey God and obey the Apostle, and those
among you invested with authority." By "those invested with authority" is
meant primarily and more especially the Imáms -- the blessings of God rest
upon them! They, verily, are the manifestations of the power of God, and the
sources of His authority, and the repositories of His knowledge, and the
daysprings of His commandments.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 90

At this time the breeze of God is wafted and the spirit of God hath
surrounded. The pen is withheld from motion and the tongue hath ceased
utterance. Briefly: In this station the declaration of divinity and the like
have appeared from them, while in the station of messengership they have
declared prophethood. Likewise in every station they have made a declaration
expedient thereto and have attributed all these to themselves; (declarations)
concerning the world of command, the world of creation, the worlds of
divinity, and the worlds of phenomena. Therefore whatever they may say and
claim, including divinity, deity, prophethood, messengership, successorship,
imamat or servitude is true and without doubt. Consequently these proven
statements should be reflected upon, that no one may be overtaken in the
sayings of the Manifestations of the Invisible and Dawning-places of Holiness.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Bahá'í scriptures, p. 48


4. Prophets are pre-existent

Whomsoever He ordaineth as a Prophet, he, verily, hath been a Prophet
from the beginning that hath no beginning, and will thus remain until
the end that hath no end, inasmuch as this is an act of God. And
whosoever is made a Vicegerent by Him, shall be a Vicegerent in all
the worlds, for this is an act of God. For the will of God can in no
wise be revealed except through His will, nor His wish be manifested
save through His wish. He, verily, is the All-Conquering, the
All-Powerful, the All-Highest."
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 155

The door of the knowledge of the Ancient of Days being thus closed in the
face of all beings, the Source of infinite grace, according to His
saying: "His grace hath transcended all things; My grace hath encompassed
them all" hath caused those luminous Gems of Holiness to appear out of
the realm of the spirit, in the noble form of the human temple, and be
made manifest unto all men, that they may impart unto the world the
mysteries of the unchangeable Being, and tell of the subtleties of His
imperishable Essence.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 99

References on the pre-existence of Muhammad and the Imams, also
indicating their prophethood.

The following Tradition is attributed to the Prophet: 'God created 'Ali
and me from one light before the creation of Adam... then He split
(the light) into two halves, then He created (all) things from my light
and 'Ali's light.'[5]

The First Imam, 'Ali, is reported to have said: 'God is one; He was
alone in His singleness and so He spoke one word and it became a light
and He created from that light Muhammad and He created me and my
descendants (i.e. the other Imams), then He spoke another word and it
became a Spirit and He caused it to settle upon that light and He
caused it to settle on our bodies. And so we are the Spirit of God and
His Word... and this was before He created the creation.[6]
-- quoted in, Introduction to Shi'i Islam, Moojan Momen p. 148-149

O Salman and O Jandab! Muhammad and I were the Light that was voicing
forth the divine eulogy before any other reality started to praise Him. We
were the cause of illumination unto all creation. This one Light was divided
by God in two portions and vouchsafed unto creation the Chosen "Mustapha"
Prophet Muhammad and His Vicegerent in Whom He was well pleased "Murtada".
God, exalted be His Glory, said to each half "Be Muhammad" "Be 'Ali". The
Imperative is Kun the letters B and E. It is thus that the Prophet said: " I
am from 'Ali and 'Ali is from Me. None can give forth my Trust but Myself
and 'Ali".
-- Imam Ali, Sermon of Ma'rifat bin-Nuraaniyyat (Recognition with
Luminousness)

I am the First and the Last! I am the External and Manifest and I am the
Internal and Hidden! I am with the Cycle (kawr) before the Cycle began! I
am the Companion of the Dispensation (dawr) before the Dispensation started!
I was with the Pen before the Pen and I am with the Tablet prior to the
Tablet being revealed! I am the Lord of the First Pre-existence! I am the Lord
of Jabulqa and of Jabulsa! I am the Master of Highest Stage (rafraf) and of
Bahram! I am the One Who organised existence when there was no heaven as
you have them now nor earth as you know it now!
-- Imam Ali, Khutbih-i-Tutunjiyyih (The Sermon of the Twin Gulfs)

As for the station of the Imams and of the near ones at the threshold of
grandeur, it is that of spiritual honor and glory. Their right is to the
authority of the All-Merciful, and their crown of glory is the dust of
the divine path. Their gleaming scepter is the lights of the bounty of
God. Their royal throne is the seat of hearts, and their exalted and
great crown is in the kingdom of God. They are the monarchs of the world
of spirit and heart, not that of water and clay. They are sovereigns of
the realm of the placeless, not of the graveyards of the contingent
world. No one can usurp or plunder this glorious station or this
pre-existent grandeur.
--`Abdu'l-Bahá's "Treatise on Leadership" (a provisional translation)

Pre-existence of the Bab (Twelfth Imam -- Imam Mahdi) and Bahá'u'lláh.

O congregation of the Bayán, and all who are therein! Recognize ye the
limits imposed upon you, for such a One as the Point of the Bayán Himself
hath believed in Him Whom God shall make manifest, before all things were
created. Therein, verily, do I glory before all who are in the kingdom of
heaven and earth.
-- The Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 168


5. The passage below also indicates the prophethood of Imam Ali and his
designation as "the branch" (dependent/lesser prophet), based on the Bible,
explained by Abdu'l-Bahá.

11:3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a
thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.

11:4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before
the God of the earth.

11:5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and
devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this
manner be killed.

11:6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their
prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite
the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
-- Bible: Revelation,

And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a
thousand two hundred and three-score days, clothed in sackcloth." These two
witnesses are Muhammad the Messenger of God, and `Alí, son of Abú Tálib.

In the Qur'án it is said that God addressed Muhammad, the Messenger of God,
saying: "We made You a Witness, a Herald of good news, and a Warner"--that
is to say, We have established Thee as the witness, the giver of good
tidings, and as One bringing the wrath of God. The meaning of "a witness"
is one by whose testimony things may be verified. The commands of these two
witnesses were to be performed for twelve hundred and sixty days, each day
signifying a year. Now, Muhammad was the root, and `Alí the branch, like
Moses and Joshua. It is said they "are clothed in sackcloth," meaning that
they, apparently, were to be clothed in old raiment, not in new raiment;
in other words, in the beginning they would possess no splendor in the eyes
of the people, nor would their Cause appear new; for Muhammad's spiritual
Law corresponds to that of Christ in the Gospel, and most of His laws
relating to material things correspond to those of the Pentateuch. This is
the meaning of the old raiment.

Then it is said: "These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks
standing before the God of the earth." These two souls are likened to olive
trees because at that time all lamps were lighted by olive oil. The meaning
is two persons from whom that spirit of the wisdom of God, which is the
cause of the illumination of the world, appears. These lights of God were
to radiate and shine; therefore, they are likened to two candlesticks: the
candlestick is the abode of the light, and from it the light shines forth.
In the same way the light of guidance would shine and radiate from these
illumined souls.
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 48

Universally, the Prophets are of two kinds. One are the independent
Prophets Who are followed; the other kind are not independent and are
themselves followers.

The independent Prophets are the lawgivers and the founders of a new
cycle.. They are like the sun which is luminous in itself: the light is
its essential necessity; it does not receive light from any other star..

The other Prophets are followers and promoters, for they are branches and
not independent; they receive the bounty of the independent Prophets, and
they profit by the light of the Guidance of the universal Prophets. They
are like the moon, which is not luminous and radiant in itself, but
receives its light from the sun.
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p.165


6. The prophethood (dependent/lesser) of Imam Ali is indicated further below
in Revelation 11:10, one of "the two prophets" (Muhammad and Imam Ali) who
"tormented them that dwelt on the earth."

11:9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see
their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their
dead bodies to be put in graves.

11:10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make
merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets
tormented them that dwelt on the earth.
-- Bible: Revelation

"And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their
dead bodies three days and a half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to
be put in graves."

As it was before explained, in the terminology of the Holy Books three days
and a half signify three years and a half, and three years and a half are
forty and two months, and forty and two months twelve hundred and sixty
days; and as each day by the text of the Holy Book signifies one year, the
meaning is that for twelve hundred and sixty years, which is the cycle of
the Qur'án, the nations, tribes and peoples would look at their bodies--that
is to say, that they would make a spectacle of the Religion of God: though
they would not act in accordance with it, still, they would not suffer their
bodies--meaning the Religion of God--to be put in the grave. That is to say,
that in appearance they would cling to the Religion of God and not allow it
to completely disappear from their midst, nor the body of it to be entirely
destroyed and annihilated. Nay, in reality they would leave it, while
outwardly preserving its name and remembrance.

Those "kindreds, people and nations" signify those who are gathered under
the shadow of the Qur'án, not permitting the Cause and Law of God to be, in
outward appearance, entirely destroyed and annihilated--for there are prayer
and fasting among them -- but the fundamental principles of the Religion of
God, which are morals and conduct, with the knowledge of divine mysteries,
have disappeared; the light of the virtues of the world of humanity, which
is the result of the love and knowledge of God, is extinguished; and the
darkness of tyranny, oppression, satanic passions and desires has become
victorious. The body of the Law of God, like a corpse, has been exposed to
public view for twelve hundred and sixty days, each day being counted as a
year, and this period is the cycle of Muhammad.

The people forfeited all that these two persons had established, which was
the foundation of the Law of God, and destroyed the virtues of the world of
humanity, which are the divine gifts and the spirit of this religion, to
such a degree that truthfulness, justice, love, union, purity, sanctity,
detachment and all the divine qualities departed from among them. In the
religion only prayers and fasting persisted; this condition lasted for
twelve hundred and sixty years, which is the duration of the cycle of the
Qurán. It was as if these two persons were dead, and their bodies were
remaining without spirit.

"And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry,
and shall send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented
them that dwelt on the earth." "Those who dwelt upon the earth" means the
other nations and races, such as the peoples of Europe and distant Asia,
who, when they saw that the character of Islám was entirely changed, the
Law of God forsaken-- that virtues, zeal and honor had departed from among
them, and that their qualities were changed--became happy, and rejoiced that
corruption of morals had infected the people of Islám, and that they would
in consequence be overcome by other nations. So this thing has come to pass.
Witness this people which had attained the summit of power, how degraded and
downtrodden it is now.
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 52-54


7. Explanation of the "Return" of the prophets.

It is clear and evident to thee that all the Prophets are the Temples of the
Cause of God, Who have appeared clothed in divers attire. If thou wilt observe
with discriminating eyes, thou wilt behold them all abiding in the same
tabernacle, soaring in the same heaven, seated upon the same throne, uttering
the same speech, and proclaiming the same Faith. Such is the unity of those
Essences of being, those Luminaries of infinite and immeasurable splendour.
Wherefore, should one of these Manifestations of Holiness proclaim saying: "I
am the return of all the Prophets," He verily speaketh the truth. In like
manner, in every subsequent Revelation, the return of the former Revelation is
a fact, the truth of which is firmly established. Inasmuch as the return of the
Prophets of God, as attested by verses and traditions, hath been conclusively
demonstrated, the return of their chosen ones also is therefore definitely
proven. This return is too manifest in itself to require any evidence or proof.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 153

Bahá'u'lláh is the Return of Imam Husayn also indicating Imam Husayn
was a prophet based on the explanation above on the concept of "Return"

IX. O Husayn! Consider the eagerness with which certain peoples and nations
have anticipated the return of Imám-Husayn, whose coming, after the
appearance of the Qá'im, hath been prophesied, in days past, by the chosen
ones of God, exalted be His glory. These holy ones have, moreover, announced
that when He Who is the Day Spring of the manifold grace of God manifesteth
Himself, all the Prophets and Messengers, including the Qá'im, will gather
together beneath the shadow of the sacred Standard which the Promised One
will raise. That hour is now come. The world is illumined with the effulgent
glory of His countenance. And yet, behold how far its peoples have strayed
from His path! None have believed in Him except them who, through the power
of the Lord of Names, have shattered the idols of their vain imaginings and
corrupt desires and entered the city of certitude. The seal of the choice
Wine of His Revelation hath, in this Day and in His Name, the Self-Sufficing,
been broken. Its grace is being poured out upon men. Fill thy cup, and drink
in, in His Name, the Most Holy, the All-Praised.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 12


8. "Trumpet" symbolises the call or revelation of the prophet. Below
Muhammad fortells the coming of the Bab (first Trumpet) and Bahá'u'lláh
(second Trumpet). Further below Bahá'u'lláh refers to the trumpet-call of
Imam Ali also consistent with Imam Ali being a prophet (dependent/lesser).

39:67 No just estimate have they made of God, such as is due to Him: On the
Day of Judgment the whole of the earth will be but His handful, and the

heavens will be rolled up in His right hand: Glory to Him! High is He above

the Partners they attribute to Him!

39:68 The Trumpet will (just) be sounded, when all that are in the heavens
and on earth will swoon, except such as it will please God (to exempt).
Then will a second one be sounded, when, behold, they will be standing and
looking on!

39:69 And the Earth will shine with the Glory of its Lord: the Record (of
Deeds) will be placed (open); the prophets and the witnesses will be
brought forward and a just decision pronounced between them; and they will
not be wronged (in the least).

39:70 And to every soul will be paid in full (the fruit) of its Deeds; and
(God) knoweth best all that they do.
-- Qur'an: 39 - AZ-ZUMAR

Upon Our arrival in Iraq We found the Cause of God sunk in deep apathy and
the breeze of divine revelation stilled. Most of the believers were faint
and dispirited, nay utterly lost and dead. Hence there was a second blast
on the Trumpet, whereupon the Tongue of Grandeur uttered these blessed
words: `We have sounded the Trumpet for the second time.' Thus the whole
world was quickened through the vitalizing breaths of divine revelation and
inspiration.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 131

O Haydar-`Alí! I swear by the righteousness of God! The Blast hath been
blown on the Trumpet of the Bayán as decreed by the Lord, the Merciful, and
all that are in the heavens and on the earth have swooned away except such

as have detached themselves from the world, cleaving fast unto the Cord of
God, the Lord of mankind.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 244

They refuse to recognize the trumpet-blast which so explicitly in this text
was sounded through the revelation of Muhammad. They deprive themselves of
the regenerating Spirit of God that breathed into it, and foolishly expect

to hear the trumpet-sound of the Seraph of God who is but one of His
servants! Hath not the Seraph himself, the angel of the Judgment Day, and
his like been ordained by Muhammad's own utterance?
--Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 116

Below Bahá'u'lláh refers to the trumpet-call of Imam Ali also consistent
with him being a prophet.

In like manner, two of the people of Kufih went to Ali, the Commander of
the Faithful... Reflect, had these two souls been quickened by the

trumpet-call of Ali, had they risen from the grave of error by the power of
his love, the judgment of death would certainly not have been pronounced
against them.
--Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 119


Prophecies of the Imams about the coming of the Bab and Bahá'u'lláh.

References to the Imams in the Quran.


Chapter 23

References to the Imams in the Holy Quran.


(Based on the Bahá'í writings and the writings of the Imams as cited in
"Introduction to Shi'i Islam" by Moojan Momen, p. 151-153).


The Possessors of Authority

4:59 O ye who believe! Obey God, and obey the Apostle, and those charged with
authority among you. If ye differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to
God and His Apostle, if ye do believe in God and the Last Day: That is best,
and most suitable for final determination.
-- Qur'an: 4 - AN-NISA.

And likewise in the sacred verse: "Obey God and obey the Apostle, and those
among you invested with authority." By "those invested with authority" is
meant primarily and more especially the Imáms -- the blessings of God rest
upon them! They, verily, are the manifestations of the power of God, and the
sources of His authority, and the repositories of His knowledge, and the
daysprings of His commandments.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 90

Muhammad, Himself, as the end of His mission drew nigh, spoke these words:
"Verily, I leave amongst you My twin weighty testimonies: The Book of God
and My Family [the Imams]."
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 201


The Guides of Men

7:181 Of those We have created are people who direct (others) with truth.
And dispense justice therewith.

7:182 Those who reject Our signs, We shall gradually visit with punishment,
in ways they perceive not;
-- Qur'an: 7 - AL-A`ARAF.


The Possesors of knowledge

3:7 He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book: In it are verses basic or
fundamental (of established meaning); they are the foundation of the Book:
others are allegorical. But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the
part thereof that is allegorical, seeking discord, and searching for its
hidden meanings, but no one knows its hidden meanings except God. And those
who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: "We believe in the Book; the whole
of it is from our Lord:" and none will grasp the Message except men of
understanding.
-- Qur'an: 3 - AL-I-IMRAN


The Cord of God

3:102 O ye who believe! Fear God as He should be feared, and die not except
in a state of Islám.

3:103 And hold fast, all together, by the rope [cord] which God (stretches out
for you), and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with
gratitude God's favour on you; for ye were enemies and He joined
your hearts in love, so that by His Grace, ye became brethren; and
ye were on the brink of the pit of Fire, and He saved you from it.
Thus doth God make His Signs clear to you: That ye may be guided.

3:104 Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is
good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: They
are the ones to attain felicity.

3:105 Be not like those who are divided amongst themselves and fall into
disputations after receiving Clear Signs: For them is a dreadful
penalty,-

3:106 On the Day when some faces will be (lit up with) white, and some
faces will be (in the gloom of) black: To those whose faces will
be black, (will be said): "Did ye reject Faith after accepting it?
Taste then the penalty for rejecting Faith."

3:107 But those whose faces will be (lit with) white,- they will be in
(the light of) God's mercy: therein to dwell (for ever).

3:108 These are the Signs of God: We rehearse them to thee in Truth: And
God means no injustice to any of His creatures.
-- The Qur'an: 3 - AL-I-IMRAN,

Below Imam Ali states he is the Cord of God.

The truth is Mine and certitude is at My side. Leadership is Mine and the
righteous shall follow Me. I am the first to acknowledge faith, the Cord of God
that shall not be broken, the One who will raise the world to justice even as it
hath been brought low by oppression. I am the companion of Gabriel and the
archangel Michael is beside Me. I am the tree of guidance, and the essence of
righteousness. I shall gather together the world of creation through the Word of
God that gathers together all things. I give life unto humanity and I am the
treasury of all divine commands. To Me hath been given the Luminous Pen and
the Crimson Camel.
-- Imam Ali, Khutbat'ul-Iftikhár (The Sermon of Glorification)


The Signs of God

29:49 Nay, here are Signs self-evident in the hearts of those endowed with
knowledge: and none but the unjust reject Our Signs.

29:50 Ye they say: "Why are not Signs sent down to him from his Lord?" Say:
"The signs are indeed with God: and I am indeed a clear Warner."

29:51 And is it not enough for them that we have sent down to thee the Book
which is rehearsed to them? Verily, in it is Mercy and a Reminder to those
who believe.
-- Qur'an: 29 - AL-`ANKABUT

7:9 Those whose scale will be light, will be their souls in perdition, for
that they wrongfully treated Our signs.
-- Qur'an: 7 - AL-A`ARAF.

10:6 Verily, in the alternation of the night and the day, and in all that
God hath created, in the heavens and the earth, are signs for those who
fear Him.

10:7 Those who rest not their hope on their meeting with Us, but are
pleased and satisfied with the life of the present, and those who heed not
Our Signs,-

10:8 Their abode is the Fire, because of the (evil) they earned.
-- Qur'an: 10 - YUNUS.

10:101 Say: "Behold all that is in the heavens and on earth"; but neither
Signs nor Warners profit those who believe not.
-- Qur'an: 10 - YUNUS.

22:55 Those who reject Faith will not cease to be in doubt concerning
(Revelation) until the Hour (of Judgment) comes suddenly upon them, or
there comes to them the Penalty of a Day of Disaster.

22:56 On that Day of Dominion will be that of God: He will judge between
them: so those who believe and work righteous deeds will be in Gardens of
Delight.

22:57 And for those who reject Faith and deny our Signs, there will be a
humiliating Punishment.
-- Qur'an: 22 - AL-HAJJ.

8:29 (Here is) a Book which We have sent down unto thee, full of blessings,
that they may mediate on its Signs, and that men of understanding may
receive admonition.
-- Qur'an: 38 - SUAD.


The Straight Path

1:6 Show us the straight way,
-- Qur'an: 1 - AL-FATIHAH.

6:153 Verily, this is My way, leading straight: follow it: follow not
(other) paths: they will scatter you about from His (great) path: thus doth
He command you. that ye may be righteous.
-- Qur'an: 6 - AL-AN`AM.

15:41 (God) said: "This (way of My sincere servants) is indeed a way that
leads straight to Me.
-- Qur'an: 15 - AL-HIJR.

16:76 God sets forth (another) Parable of two men: one of them dumb, with
no power of any sort; a wearisome burden is he to his master; whichever way
be directs him, he brings no good: is such a man equal with one who
commands Justice, and is on a Straight Way?
-- Qur'an: 16 - AN-NAHL.

20:135 Say: "Each one (of us) is waiting: wait ye, therefore, and soon
shall ye know who it is that is on the straight and even way, and who it is
that has received Guidance."
-- Qur'an: 20 - TA HA.

43:42 Or We shall show thee that (accomplished) which We have promised
them: for verily We shall prevail over them.

43:43 So hold thou fast to the Revelation sent down to thee; verily thou
art on a Straight Way.
-- Qur'an: 43 - AZ-ZUKHRUF.


The Way

25:27 The Day that the wrong-doer will bite at his hands, he will say, "Oh!
would that I had taken a (straight) path with the Apostle!
-- Qur'an: 25 - AL-FURQAN.

6:153 Verily, this is My way, leading straight: follow it: follow not
(other) paths: they will scatter you about from His (great) path: thus doth
He command you. that ye may be righteous.
-- Qur'an: 6 - AL-AN`AM.

29:69 And those who strive in Our (cause),- We will certainly guide them to
our Paths: For verily God is with those who do right.
-- Qur'an: 29 - AL-`ANKABUT.

These are among the attributes of the exalted, and constitute the hall-mark
of the spiritually-minded. They have already been mentioned in connection
with the requirements of the wayfarers that tread the Path of Positive
Knowledge. When the detached wayfarer and sincere seeker hath fulfilled
these essential conditions, then and only then can he be called a true
seeker. Whensoever he hath fulfilled the conditions implied in the verse:
"Whoso maketh efforts for Us," he shall enjoy the blessing conferred by the
words: "In Our ways shall We assuredly guide him."
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 195

31:15 "But if they strive to make thee join in worship with Me things of
which thou hast no knowledge, obey them not; yet bear them company in this
life with justice (and consideration), and follow the way of those who turn
to me (in love): in the end the return of you all is to Me, and I will tell
you the truth (and meaning) of all that ye did."
-- Qur'an: 31 - LUQMAN.

The Commander of the Faithful (Imám `Alí) hath said: "I am He Who can
neither be named, nor described." And likewise He hath said: "Outwardly I
am an Imám; inwardly I am the Unseen, the Unknowable." Abú-Ja'far-i-Túsí
hath said: "I said to Ábí `Abdi'lláh: `You are the Way mentioned in the
Book of God, and you are the Impost, and you are the Pilgrimage.' He
replied: `O man! We are the Way mentioned in the Book of God,--exalted and
glorified be He--and We are the Impost, and We are the Fast, and We are the
Pilgrimage, and We are the Sacred Month, and We are the Sacred City, and We
are the Kaaba of God, and We are the Qiblih of God, and We are the Face of
God.'"
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 112


The Firmest Handle

2:256 Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from
Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in God hath grasped the most
trustworthy hand- hold, that never breaks. And God heareth and knoweth
all things.
-- Qur'an: 2 - AL-BAQARAH.


The Light of God

64:8 Believe, therefore, in God and His Apostle, and in the Light which
we have sent down. And God is well acquainted with all that ye do.

64:9 The Day that He assembles you (all) for a Day of Assembly,- that
will be a Day of mutual loss and gain (among you), and those who believe
in God and work righteousness,- He will remove from them their ills, and
He will admit them to Gardens beneath which Rivers flow, to dwell therein
for ever: that will be the Supreme Achievement.

64:10 But those who reject Faith and treat Our Signs as falsehoods, they
will be Companions of the Fire, to dwell therein for aye: and evil is
that Goal.
--Qur'an: 64 - AT-TAGHABUN.

4:174 O mankind! verily there hath come to you a convincing proof from
your Lord: For We have sent unto you a light (that is) manifest.
--Qur'an: 4 - AN-NISA.

6:122 Can he who was dead, to whom We gave life, and a light whereby he
can walk amongst men, be like him who is in the depths of darkness, from
which he can never come out? Thus to those without faith their own deeds
seem pleasing.

6:123 Thus have We placed leaders in every town, its wicked men, to plot
(and burrow) therein: but they only plot against their own souls, and
they perceive it not.

6:124 When there comes to them a sign (from God), They say: "We shall not
believe until we receive one (exactly) like those received by God's
apostles." God knoweth best where (and how) to carry out His mission.
Soon will the wicked be overtaken by humiliation before God, and a severe
punishment, for all their plots.

6:125 Those whom God (in His plan) willeth to guide,- He openeth their
breast to Islám; those whom He willeth to leave straying,- He maketh
their breast close and constricted, as if they had to climb up to the
skies: thus doth God (heap) the penalty on those who refuse to believe.

6:126 This is the way of thy Lord, leading straight: We have detailed the
signs for those who receive admonition.
-- Qur'an: 6 - AL-AN`AM.

7:157 "Those who follow the apostle, the unlettered Prophet, whom they
find mentioned in their own (scriptures),- in the law and the Gospel;-
for he commands them what is just and forbids them what is evil; he
allows them as lawful what is good (and pure) and prohibits them from
what is bad (and impure); He releases them from their heavy burdens and
from the yokes that are upon them. So it is those who believe in him,
honour him, help him, and follow the light which is sent down with him,-
it is they who will prosper."
--Qur'an: 7 - AL-A`ARAF.

9:32 Fain would they extinguish God's light with their mouths, but God
will not allow but that His light should be perfected, even though the
Unbelievers may detest (it).

9:33 It is He Who hath sent His Apostle with guidance and the Religion of
Truth, to proclaim it over all religion, even though the Pagans may
detest (it).
-- Qur'an: 9 - AT-TAUBAH.

57:28 O ye that believe! Fear God, and believe in His Apostle, and He
will bestow on you a double portion of His Mercy: He will provide for you
a Light by which ye shall walk (straight in your path), and He will
forgive you (your past): for God is Oft- Forgiving, Most Merciful.
-- Qur'an: 57 - AL-HADID.

66:8 O ye who believe! Turn to God with sincere repentance: In the hope
that your Lord will remove from you your ills and admit you to Gardens
beneath which Rivers flow,- the Day that God will not permit to be
humiliated the Prophet and those who believe with him. Their Light will
run forward before them and by their right hands, while they say, "Our
Lord! Perfect our Light for us, and grant us Forgiveness: for Thou hast
power over all things."
-- Qur'an: 66 - AT-TAHRIM.


The Sun and the Moon

91:1 By the Sun and his (glorious) splendour;

91:2 By the Moon as she follows him;

91:3 By the Day as it shows up (the Sun's) glory;

91:4 By the Night as it conceals it;
-- Qur'an: 91 - ASH-SHAMS.

The Prophet is the Sun and Imam Ali is the Moon. The Day refers to the
Imams and the Night to the Caliphate which "covered" Imam Ali.

The term "suns" hath many a time been applied in the writings of the
"immaculate Souls" unto the Prophets of God, those luminous Emblems of
Detachment. Among those writings are the following words recorded in the
"Prayer of Nudbih": "Whither are gone the resplendent Suns? Whereunto
have departed those shining Moons and sparkling Stars?" Thus, it hath
become evident that the terms "sun," "moon," and "stars" primarily
signify the Prophets of God, the saints, and their companions, those
Luminaries, the light of Whose knowledge hath shed illumination upon the
worlds of the visible and the invisible.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 35

Universally, the Prophets are of two kinds. One are the independent
Prophets Who are followed; the other kind are not independent and are
themselves followers..

The independent Prophets are the lawgivers and the founders of a new
cycle.. They are like the sun which is luminous in itself..

The other Prophets are followers and promoters, for they are branches and
not independent; they receive the bounty of the independent Prophets, and
they profit by the light of the Guidance of the universal Prophets. They
are like the moon, which is not luminous and radiant in itself, but
receives its light from the sun...
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p.165


The Two Seas

55:19 He has let free the two bodies of flowing water, meeting together:

55:20 Between them is a Barrier which they do not transgress:

55:21 Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?

55:22 Out of them come Pearls and Coral:...

The Two Seas are Imam Ali and Fatima (both equal in rank) and the
"Pearls and Coral" are their sons Imam Hasan and Imam Husayn.


The Men of the Battlements (who determine who goes to heaven or to hell)

7:46 Between them shall be a veil, and on the heights will be men who would
know every one by his marks: they will call out to the Companions of the
Garden, "peace on you": they will not have entered, but they will have an
assurance (thereof).
-- Qur'an: 7 - AL-A`ARAF.


Apostles rehearsing the signs of God..

7:35 O ye Children of Adam! whenever there come to you apostles from
amongst you, rehearsing My signs unto you,- those who are righteous and
mend (their lives),- on them shall be no fear nor shall they grieve.

7:36 But those who reject Our signs and treat them with arrogance, - they
are companions of the Fire, to dwell therein (for ever).
-- The Qur’án: 7 - AL-A`ARAF

The apostles mentioned above can be paralleled to those who came after
Moses mentioned below.

2:87 We gave Moses the Book and followed him up with a succession of
apostles; We gave Jesus the son of Mary Clear (Signs) and strengthened him
with the holy spirit. Is it that whenever there comes to you an apostle
with what ye yourselves desire not, ye are puffed up with pride?- Some ye
called impostors, and others ye slay!
-- The Qur’án: 2 - AL-BAQARAH


Chapter 24

Inner meaning

And the wayfarer, after traversing the high planes of this supernal journey,
entereth

THE VALLEY OF CONTENTMENT

In this Valley he feeleth the winds of divine contentment blowing from the
plane of the spirit. He burneth away the veils of want, and with inward and
outward eye, perceiveth within and without all things the day of: "God will
compensate each one out of His abundance." From sorrow he turneth to bliss,
from anguish to joy. His grief and mourning yield to delight and rapture.
Although to outward view, the wayfarers in this Valley may dwell upon the
dust, yet inwardly they are throned in the heights of mystic meaning; they
eat of the endless bounties of inner significances, and drink of the delicate
wines of the spirit.

The tongue faileth in describing these three Valleys, and speech falleth short.
The pen steppeth not into this region, the ink leaveth only a blot. In these
planes, the nightingale of the heart hath other songs and secrets, which
make the heart to stir and the soul to clamor, but this mystery of inner meaning
may be whispered only from heart to heart, confided only from breast to breast.

Only heart to heart can speak the bliss of mystic knowers;
No messenger can tell it and no missive bear it.
I am silent from weakness on many a matter,
For my words could not reckon them and my speech would fall short.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys, p. 29

Blessed is the one who discovereth the fragrance of inner meanings from the
traces of this Pen through whose movement the breezes of God are wafted over the
entire creation, and through whose stillness the very essence of tranquillity
appeareth in the realm of being. Glorified be the All-Merciful, the Revealer of
so inestimable a bounty. Say: Because He bore injustice, justice hath appeared
on earth, and because He accepted abasement, the majesty of God hath shone forth
amidst mankind.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 76

The essence and the fundamentals of philosophy have emanated from the Prophets.
That the people differ concerning the inner meanings and mysteries thereof is to
be attributed to the divergence of their views and minds. We would fain recount
to thee the following: One of the Prophets once was communicating to his people
that with which the Omnipotent Lord had inspired Him. Truly, thy Lord is the
Inspirer, the Gracious, the Exalted. When the fountain of wisdom and eloquence
gushed forth from the wellspring of His utterance and the wine of divine
knowledge inebriated those who had sought His threshold, He exclaimed: `Lo! All
are filled with the Spirit.' From among the people there was he who held fast
unto this statement and, actuated by his own fancies, conceived the idea that
the spirit literally penetrateth or entereth into the body, and through lengthy
expositions he advanced proofs to vindicate this concept; and groups of people
followed in his footsteps. To mention their names at this point, or to giv
thee a detailed account thereof, would lead to prolixity, and would depart from
the main theme. Verily, thy Lord is the All-Wise, the All-Knowing. There was
also he who partook of the choice wine whose seal had been removed by the Key of
the Tongue of Him Who is the Revealer of the Verses of thy Lord, the Gracious,
the Most Generous.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 145

We have digressed from the purpose of Our argument, although whatsoever is
mentioned serveth only to confirm Our purpose. By God! however great Our desire
to be brief, yet We feel We cannot restrain Our pen. Notwithstanding all that We
have mentioned, how innumerable are the pearls which have remained unpierced in
the shell of Our heart! How many the húrís of inner meaning that are as yet
concealed within the chambers of divine wisdom! None hath yet approache
them;--húrís, "whom no man nor spirit hath touched before." Notwithstanding
all that hath been said, it seemeth as if not one letter of Our purpose hath
been uttered, nor a single sign divulged concerning Our object. When will a
faithful seeker be found who will don the garb of pilgrimage, attain the Ka'bih
of the heart's desire, and, without ear or tongue, discover the mysteries of
divine utterance?
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 70


Chapter 25

Joining partners with God.

We eventually succeeded in manifesting the Cause of God, and exalted it to
so eminent a position that all the people, except those who cherished
ill-will in their hearts against this Youth and joined partners with the
Almighty, acknowledged the sovereignty of God and His mighty dominion. And
yet, notwithstanding this Revelation whose influence hath pervaded all
created things, and despite the brightness of this Light, the like of which
none of them hath ever beheld, witness how the people of the Bayan have
denied and contended with Me. Some have turned away from the Path of God,
rejected the authority of Him in Whom they had believed, and acted
insolently towards God, the Most Powerful, the Supreme Protector, the Most
Exalted, the Most Great. Others hesitated and halted in His Path, and
regarded the Cause of the Creator, in its inmost truth, as invalid unless
substantiated by the approval of him who was created through the operation
of My Will. Thus have their works come to naught, and yet they failed to
perceive it. Among them is he who sought to measure God with the measure of
his own self, and was so misled by the names of God as to rise up against
Me, who condemned Me as one that deserved to be put to death, and who
imputed to Me the very offenses of which he himself was guilty.
--Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 273

Beware, beware lest thou behave like unto the people of the Bayan. For
indeed they erred grievously, misguided the people, ignored the Covenant of
God and His Testament and joined partners with Him, the One, the
Incomparable, the All-Knowing. Verily they failed to recognize the Point of
the Bayan, for had they recognized Him they would not have rejected His
manifestation in this luminous and resplendent Being. And since they fixed
their eyes on names, therefore when He replaced His Name 'the Most Exalted'
by 'the Most Glorious' their eyes were dimmed. They have failed to
recognize Him in these days and are reckoned with those that perish.
Indeed, had they known Him through His own Self or by virtue of that which
He hath revealed, they would not have repudiated Him when He appeared in
this glorious and incomparable Name, which God hath ordained to be the
Sword of His Revelation between heaven and earth, and through which truth
is separated from error, even from now until the Day when mankind shall
stand before the Lord of the worlds.
--Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 185

O thou who hast gone astray! Thou hast neither seen Me, nor associated with
Me, nor been My companion for the fraction of a moment. How is it, then,
that thou hast bidden men to curse Me? Didst thou, in this, follow the
promptings of thine own desires, or didst thou obey thy Lord? Produce thou
a sign, if thou art one of the truthful. We testify that thou hast cast
behind thy back the Law of God, and laid hold on the dictates of thy
passions. Nothing, in truth, escapeth His knowledge; He, verily, is the
Incomparable, the All-Informed. O heedless one! Hearken unto that which the
Merciful hath revealed in the Qur'an: 'Say not to every one who meeteth you
with a greeting, "Thou art not a believer."' [1] Thus hath He decreed in
Whose grasp are the kingdoms of Revelation and of creation, if thou be of
them that hearken. Thou hast set aside the commandment of God, and clung
unto the promptings of thine own desire. Woe, then, unto thee, O careless
one that doubtest! If thou deniest Me, by what proof canst thou vindicate
the truth of that which thou dost possess? Produce it, then, O thou who
hast joined partners with God, and turned aside from His sovereignty that
hath encompassed the worlds! [1 Qur'an 4:96.]
--Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 207

The Commander of the Faithful (Imam Ali) hath said: "I am He Who can
neither be named, nor described." And likewise He hath said: "Outwardly I
am an Imam; inwardly I am the Unseen, the Unknowable." Abu-Ja'far-i-Tusi
hath said: "I said to Abi Abdi'llah: 'You are the Way mentioned in the Book
of God, and you are the Impost, and you are the Pilgrimage.' He replied: 'O
man! We are the Way mentioned in the Book of God, -- exalted and glorified
be He -- and We are the Impost, and We are the Fast, and We are the
Pilgrimage, and We are the Sacred Month, and We are the Sacred City, and We
are the Kaaba of God, and We are the Qiblih of God, and We are the Face of
God.'" Jabir hath said that Abu-Ja'far -- peace be upon him -- spoke to him
as follows: "O Jabir! Give heed unto the Bayan (Exposition) and the Ma'ani
(Significances)." He -- peace be upon him -- added: "As to the Bayan, it
consisteth in thy recognition of God -- glorified be He -- as the One Who
hath no equal, and in thy adoration of Him, and in thy refusal to join
partners with Him. As to the Ma'ani, We are its meaning, and its side, and
its hand, and its tongue, and its cause, and its command, and its
knowledge, and its right. If We wish for something, it is God Who wisheth
it, and He desireth that which We desire." Moreover, the Commander of the
Faithful (Imam Ali) -- peace be upon him -- hath said: "How can I worship a
Lord Whom I have not seen?" And, in another connection, he saith: "Nothing
have I perceived except that I perceived God before it, God after it, or
God with it."
--Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 111

There lay concealed within the Holy Veil, and prepared for the service of
God, a company of His chosen ones who shall be manifested unto men, who
shall aid His Cause, who shall be afraid of no one, though the entire human
race rise up and war against them. These are the ones who, before the gaze
of the dwellers on earth and the denizens of heaven, shall arise and,
shouting aloud, acclaim the name of the Almighty, and summon the children
of men to the path of God, the All-Glorious, the All-Praised. Walk thou in
their way, and let no one dismay thee. Be of them whom the tumult of the
world, however much it may agitate them in the path of their Creator, can
never sadden, whose purpose the blame of the blamer will never defeat.

Go forth with the Tablet of God and His signs, and rejoin them that have
believed in Me, and announce unto them tidings of Our most holy Paradise.
Warn, then, those that have joined partners with Him. Say: I am come to
you, O people, from the Throne of glory, and bear you an announcement from
God, the Most Powerful, the Most Exalted, the Most Great. In mine hand I
carry the testimony of God, your Lord and the Lord of your sires of old.
Weigh it with the just Balance that ye possess, the Balance of the
testimony of the Prophets and Messengers of God. If ye find it to be
established in truth, if ye believe it to be of God, beware, then, lest ye
cavil at it, and render your works vain, and be numbered with the infidels.
It is indeed the sign of God that hath been sent down through the power of
truth, through which the validity of His Cause hath been demonstrated unto
His creatures, and the ensigns of purity lifted up betwixt earth and
heaven.
--Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 280

Among others, these perspicuous verses have, in answer to certain
individuals, been sent down from the Kingdom of Divine knowledge: "O thou
who hast set thy face towards the splendors of My Countenance! Vague
fancies have encompassed the dwellers of the earth and debarred them from
turning towards the Horizon of Certitude, and its brightness, and its
manifestations and its lights. Vain imaginings have withheld them from Him
Who is the Self-Subsisting. They speak as prompted by their own caprices,
and understand not. Among them are those who have said: 'Have the verses
been sent down?' Say: 'Yea, by Him Who is the Lord of the heavens!' 'Hath
the Hour come?' 'Nay, more; it hath passed, by Him Who is the Revealer of
clear tokens! Verily, the Inevitable is come, and He, the True One, hath
appeared with proof and testimony. The Plain is disclosed, and mankind is
sore vexed and fearful. Earthquakes have broken loose, and the tribes have
lamented, for fear of God, the Lord of Strength, the All-Compelling.' Say:
'The stunning trumpet blast hath been loudly raised, and the Day is God's,
the One, the Unconstrained.' 'Hath the Catastrophe come to pass?' Say:
'Yea, by the Lord of Lords!' 'Is the Resurrection come?' 'Nay, more; He Who
is the Self-Subsisting hath appeared with the Kingdom of His signs.' 'Seest
thou men laid low?' 'Yea, by my Lord, the Exalted, the Most High!' 'Have
the tree-stumps been uprooted?' 'Yea, more; the mountains have been
scattered in dust; by Him the Lord of attributes!' They say: 'Where is
Paradise, and where is Hell?' Say: 'The one is reunion with Me; the other
thine own self, O thou who dost associate a partner with God and doubtest.'
They say: 'We see not the Balance.' Say: 'Surely, by my Lord, the God of
Mercy! None can see it except such as are endued with insight.' 'Have the
stars fallen?' Say: 'Yea, when He Who is the Self-Subsisting dwelt in the
Land of Mystery (Adrianople). Take heed, ye who are endued with
discernment!' All the signs appeared when We drew forth the Hand of Power
from the bosom of majesty and might.
--Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 131

XV. The Pen of Revelation exclaimeth: "On this Day the Kingdom is God's!"
The Tongue of Power is calling: "On this Day all sovereignty is, in very
deed, with God!" The Phoenix of the realms above crieth out from the
immortal Branch: "The glory of all greatness belongeth to God, the
Incomparable, the All-Compelling!" The Mystic Dove proclaimeth from its
blissful bower, in the everlasting Paradise: "The source of all bounty is
derived, in this Day, from God, the One, the Forgiving!" The Bird of the
Throne warbleth its melody in its retreats of holiness: "Supreme ascendancy
is to be attributed, this Day, to none except God, Him Who hath no peer nor
equal, Who is the Most Powerful, the All-Subduing!" The inmost essence of
all things voiceth in all things the testimony: "All forgiveness floweth,
in this Day, from God, Him to Whom none can compare, with Whom no partners
can be joined, the Sovereign Protector of all men, and the Concealer of
their sins!" The Quintessence of Glory hath lifted up its voice above My
head, and crieth from such heights as neither pen nor tongue can in any
degree describe: "God is my witness! He, the Ancient of everlasting days is
come, girded with majesty and power. There is none other God but Him, the
All-Glorious, the Almighty, the All-Highest, the All-Wise, the
All-Pervading, the All-Seeing, the All-Informed, the Sovereign Protector,
the Source of eternal light!"
--Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 35

XXVIII. Happy is the man who will arise to serve My Cause, and glorify My
beauteous Name. Take hold of My Book with the power of My might, and cleave
tenaciously to whatsoever commandment thy Lord, the Ordainer, the All-Wise,
hath prescribed therein. Behold, O Muhammad, how the sayings and doings of
the followers of Shi'ih Islam have dulled the joy and fervor of its early
days, and tarnished the pristine brilliancy of its light. In its primitive
days, whilst they still adhered to the precepts associated with the name of
their Prophet, the Lord of mankind, their career was marked by an unbroken
chain of victories and triumphs. As they gradually strayed from the path of
their Ideal Leader and Master, as they turned away from the Light of God
and corrupted the principle of His Divine unity, and as they increasingly
centered their attention upon them who were only the revealers of the
potency of His Word, their power was turned into weakness, their glory into
shame, their courage into fear. Thou dost witness to what a pass they have
come. Behold, how they have joined partners with Him Who is the Focal-Point
of Divine unity. Behold how their evil doings have hindered them from
recognizing, in the Day of Resurrection, the Word of Truth, exalted be His
glory. We cherish the hope that this people will henceforth shield
themselves from vain hopes and idle fancies, and will attain to a true
understanding of the meaning of Divine unity.

The Person of the Manifestation hath ever been the representative and
mouthpiece of God. He, in truth, is the Day Spring of God's most excellent
Titles, and the Dawning-Place of His exalted Attributes. If any be set up
by His side as peers, if they be regarded as identical with His Person, how
can it, then, be maintained that the Divine Being is One and Incomparable,
that His Essence is indivisible and peerless? Meditate on that which We
have, through the power of truth, revealed unto thee, and be thou of them
that comprehend its meaning.
--Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 69

Consider, in like manner, the revelation of the light of the Name of God,
the Incomparable. Behold, how this light hath enveloped the entire
creation, how each and every thing manifesteth the sign of His Unity,
testifieth to the reality of Him Who is the Eternal Truth, proclaimeth His
sovereignty, His oneness, and His power. This revelation is a token of His
mercy that hath encompassed all created things. They that have joined
partners with Him, however, are unaware of such a revelation, and are
deprived of the Faith through which they can draw near unto, and be united
with, Him. Witness how the divers peoples and kindreds of the earth bear
witness to His unity, and recognize His oneness. But for the sign of the
Unity of God within them, they would have never acknowledged the truth of
the words, "There is none other God but God." And yet, consider how
grievously they have erred, and strayed from His path. Inasmuch as they
have failed to recognize the Sovereign Revealer, they have ceased to be
reckoned among those who may be regarded as true believers in the Unity of
God.

This sign of the revelation of the Divine Being in them that have joined
partners with Him may, in a sense, be regarded as a reflection of the glory
with which the faithful are illumined. None, however, can comprehend this
truth save men endued with understanding. They that have truly recognized
the Unity of God should be regarded as the primary manifestations of this
Name. It is they who have quaffed the wine of Divine Unity from the cup
which the hand of God hath proffered unto them, and who have turned their
faces towards Him. How vast the distance that separateth these sanctified
beings from those men that are so far away from God!...
--Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 190


Chapter 26

References to the Maid of Heaven and Maid(ens) in the writings of Bahá'u'lláh.

O ye beloved of God! O ye children of His Kingdom! Verily, verily the
new heaven and the new earth are come. The holy City, new Jerusalem,
hath come down from on high in the form of a maid of heaven, veiled,
beauteous, and unique, and prepared for reunion with her lovers on earth.
The angelic company of the celestial Concourse have joined in a call that
hath rung throughout the universe, all loudly and mightily acclaiming:
"Hail, O City of God! Abide Thou, and make Thy habitation with the
pure, virtuous and holy servants of Thine; for they are Thy people, and
Thou art their Lord."
-- Compilation, Bahá'í World Faith, p. 350

We have revealed Ourself unto men, have unveiled the Cause, guided all
mankind towards God's Straight Path, promulgated the laws and have enjoined
upon everyone that which shall truly profit them both in this world and in
the next; yet they have pronounced judgement to shed My blood, whereat the
Maid of Heaven hath wept sore, Sinai hath lamented and the Faithful Spirit
was made to sigh with grief.

In these days the people have debarred themselves from the effusions of
divine grace by following in the footsteps of every ignorant one that hath
gone astray. They have cast the Ocean of divine knowledge behind their
backs and fixed their eyes upon such foolish men as claim to be well
versed in learning without being supported by any evidence from God, the
Lord of mankind.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 251

O My servants! Through the might of God and His power, and out of the
treasury of His knowledge and wisdom, I have brought forth and revealed
unto you the pearls that lay concealed in the depths of His everlasting
ocean. I have summoned the Maids of Heaven to emerge from behind the veil
of concealment, and have clothed them with these words of Mine--words of
consummate power and wisdom. I have, moreover, with the hand of divine
power, unsealed the choice wine of My Revelation, and have wafted its holy,
its hidden, and musk-laden fragrance upon all created things. Who else but
yourselves is to be blamed if ye choose to remain unendowed with so great
an outpouring of God's transcendent and all-encompassing grace, with so
bright a revelation of His resplendent mercy?...
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 327

Say: Step out of Thy holy chamber, O Maid of Heaven, inmate of the Exalted
Paradise! Drape thyself in whatever manner pleaseth Thee in the silken
Vesture of Immortality, and put on, in the name of the All-Glorious, the
broidered Robe of Light. Hear, then, the sweet, the wondrous accent of the
Voice that cometh from the Throne of Thy Lord, the Inaccessible, the Most
High. Unveil Thy face, and manifest the beauty of the black-eyed Damsel,
and suffer not the servants of God to be deprived of the light of Thy
shining countenance. Grieve not if Thou hearest the sighs of the dwellers
of the earth, or the voice of the lamentation of the denizens of heaven.
Leave them to perish on the dust of extinction. Let them be reduced to
nothingness, inasmuch as the flame of hatred hath been kindled within their
breasts. Intone, then, before the face of the peoples of earth and heaven,
and in a most melodious voice, the anthem of praise, for a remembrance of
Him Who is the King of the names and attributes of God. Thus have We
decreed Thy destiny. Well able are We to achieve Our purpose.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 282

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! Thereupon the maids of heaven
hastened forth from their chambers, upon whose countenances the eye
of no dweller in the highest paradise had ever gazed.

Glorified be our Lord, the Most High! They all gathered around her,
and lo! they found her body fallen upon the dust;

Glorified be our Lord, the Most High! And as they beheld her state
and comprehended a word of the tale told by the Youth, they bared
their heads, rent their garments asunder, beat upon their faces,
forgot their joy, shed tears and smote with their hands upon their
cheeks, and this is verily one of the mysterious grievous afflictions -
Glorified be our Lord, the Most High!
- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablet of the Holy Mariner

"Arise, and proclaim unto the entire creation the tidings that He who is
the All-Merciful hath directed His steps towards the Ridván and entered
it. Guide, then, the people unto the Garden of Delight which God hath made
the Throne of His Paradise... Within this Paradise, and from the heights of
its loftiest chambers, the Maids of Heaven have cried out and shouted:
`Rejoice, ye dwellers of the realms above, for the fingers of Him Who is the
Ancient of Days are ringing, in the name of the All-Glorious, the Most Great
Bell, in the midmost heart of the heavens. The hands of bounty have borne
round the cups of everlasting life. Approach, and quaff your fill.'"
- Bahá'u'lláh speaking on the First Day of Ridvan. Taken from, Shoghi
Effendi, God Passes By, p. 154

The mystic and wondrous Bride, hidden ere this beneath the veiling of
utterance, hath now, by the grace of God and His divine favor, been made
manifest even as the resplendent light shed by the beauty of the Beloved. I
bear witness, O friends! that the favor is complete, the argument fulfilled,
the proof manifest and the evidence established. Let it now be seen what
your endeavors in the path of detachment will reveal. In this wise hath the
divine favor been fully vouchsafed unto you and unto them that are in heaven
and on earth. All praise to God, the Lord of all Worlds.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 51

We have digressed from the purpose of Our argument, although whatsoever is
mentioned serveth only to confirm Our purpose. By God! however great Our
desire to be brief, yet We feel We cannot restrain Our pen. Notwithstanding
all that We have mentioned, how innumerable are the pearls which have remained
unpierced in the shell of Our heart! How many the húrís (maidens) of inner meaning
that are as yet concealed within the chambers of divine wisdom! None hath yet
approached them;--húrís, "whom no man nor spirit hath touched before."
Notwithstanding all that hath been said, it seemeth as if not one letter of Our
purpose hath been uttered, nor a single sign divulged concerning Our object.
When will a faithful seeker be found who will don the garb of pilgrimage, attain
the Ka'bih of the heart's desire, and, without ear or tongue, discover the mysteries
of divine utterance?
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 70

By God! This Bird of Heaven, now dwelling upon the dust, can, besides these
melodies, utter a myriad songs, and is able, apart from these utterances, to
unfold innumerable mysteries. Every single note of its unpronounced utterances
is immeasurably exalted above all that hath already been revealed, and
immensely glorified beyond that which hath streamed from this Pen. Let
the future disclose the hour when the Brides (maidens) of inner meaning will, as
decreed by the Will of God, hasten forth, unveiled, out of their mystic
mansions, and manifest themselves in the ancient realm of being. Nothing
whatsoever is possible without His permission; no power can endure save
through His power, and there is none other God but He. His is the world of
creation, and His the Cause of God. All proclaim His Revelation, and all
unfold the mysteries of His Spirit.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 175


From provisional translations

He came down from the pavillions of beauty and stood like the Sun at the
zenith of heaven, peerless and unique in His beauty.
Rejoice! This is the Deathless Youth, come bearing great joy.

Thus He stood in the midst of heaven, shining like the noonday Sun at the
axis of beauty, His Name mighty! Thereupon a herald proclaimed: "
Rejoice! This is the Beauty of the Unseen, come with a mighty spirit."

A clamor then arose from the hearts of the maids of heaven in their
chambers, "Blessed be God, the best of Creators!" Thereupon the dove
sang out,
Rejoice! for the eyes of the privy angels have seen none like unto this
Deathless Youth."

The gates of Paradise were flung wide yet again, opened with the key of a
mighty Name.
Rejoice! This is the Deathless Youth, come with a mighty Name.

The Maid of Beauty came forth, dawning like the sun, plain upon the horizon
of the morn.
Rejoice! This is the Maid of Glory, come with a mighty beauty.

A brocade she wore, dazzling the minds of the privy angels.
Rejoice! this is the Deathless Maid, come with a mighty grace.

She descended from the chambers of eternity, then She sang such a song as to
enchant the hearts of the sincere.
Rejoice! This is the Deathless Beauty, come with a mighty secret.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablet of the Deathless Youth (provisional translation).

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.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Surah of the Companions (provisional translation).

He is the Beloved One

[1] The Maid of Eternity came from the Exalted Paradise;
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, O Glad Tidings!
...

[8] This sweet Davidic voice, from the Divine Lote-Tree--with
the Messianic Spirit she came;
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, O Glad Tidings!
...

[12] With the joyful tidings of reunion this Divine Maiden
came from a branch of the Tree of Blessedness;
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, O Glad Tidings!
...

[16] This Eternal Countenance, she came with snow-white hand
from the Divine command;
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, O Glad Tidings!
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Lawh-i Halih, Halih, Halih, Ya Bisharat (prov. translation)

But when I saw myself at the culmination of calamity, I heard, from above
my head, the Most Wonderful [wonderful] and Melodious Voice [melodious
voice], and when I turned I witnessed an Houri [a Maiden] (Nymph of
Paradise) of the celebration of the Name of my Lord, suspended in the air
on a level with my head; [.] I saw her, that she was indeed rejoicing
within herself as though the embroidered Garment [garment] of pleasure was
manifesting itself upon her face, and the brightness of the Merciful was
apparent upon her cheeks; and between the earth and heaven, she was
uttering a call, by which all the hearts and minds will be drawn, and at
the same time, gladdening all the limbs of my internal and external being,
with glad-tidings that made my soul rejoice, and those of the noble
servants. Then with her finger, she pointed to my head, and addressed all
those in heaven and earth saying: "By God, This is indeed the Beloved of
the universe, but ye do not understand! This is the Beauty of God among
you, and His Dominion within you, if ye are those who know! This is the
Mystery of God, His Treasure, the Command of God, and His Glory, to those
who are in the Kingdom of power and creation were ye of those who reason!
This is the One whose meeting will be longed for by all those who dwell in
the everlasting spiritual world, and who have taken a station for
themselves in the tents of El-ABHA [El-Abha] while ye yourselves are
turned away from His Beauty!
....
Say, this is the day whereon the Most Great Bounty has appeared, and
nothing, either in the supremest heaven or in the lowest earth, but utters
in My mention and sings in the praise of Myself were ye of those who hear,
O Temple of the Manifestation! Blow though the horn in My Name: Then O
Temple of the Secrets! Breathe thou into the fife in commemoration of thy
Lord, the Unconstrained: Then O Houri [Maid] of Paradise! Come out of the
chambers of the Garden and say to the inhabitants of the universe, "By God,
He hath appeared, the Beloved of the world, the Intended of the Knowers
[knowers], the Worshipped of whomsoever is in the heaven and the earth and
the adored [Adored] of the Ancients and Moderns [ancients and moderns].
Beware of hesitating to accept this Beauty, after the Ruler of Might,
Power and Glory hath appeared. Verily, He is the Truth and everything
besides Him on the part of His servants is annihilated and lost at the
appearance of His Lights [lights]. Hasten to the River of Bounty [river of
bounty] (Cowther el-Fadhl) and be of the impatient, and he who hesitates
for an instant, God will frustrate his plans and bring him back to the
station of overwhelming grief and constraint. Thus how terrible is the
residence of those who hesitate!"
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablet of the Temple (provisional translation)

Say: the time of union has been fulfilled, and by virtue of the decree
that of absence has begun through this parting, you who are filled with
yearning;

Tears have flowed from the eyes of the immortals in the concourse
on high because of this farewell, you who are filled with yearning;

The breezes of joy that blew from the paradise of splendor
have been stilled by this departure, you who are filled with yearning.

By God, the faces of the celestial maidens in their chambers have paled
at the prospect of this absence, you who are filled with yearning;

The houris rouge their cheeks blood red, for they have heard about this
leave-taking, you who are filled with yearning;
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Nightingale of Separation (provisional translation)

See dawning of the Godhead, the Maid of Paradise
How mystery of Unknown from earthly appearance doth arise

Lo! Remnant's Countenance, Cupbearer's Face
Lo! The translucent glass pouring out from Our Chalice

Behold the Burning Bush, see the Hand so white
Behold Mount Sinai radiating from the Palm so bright

Hear his intoxicated moans, see the mystic ecstatic
In the precincts of rapture all living beings are charismatic

From His peek, observe the amorous glance of Baha
From His reed, hearken the Farsi melody of Baha

Emergence of Revelation 'tis, Effusion of Purity 'tis
Warbling of Nightingales 'tis, that pours out of Nothingness!
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Mist of Unknown (provisional translation)

He is the Mighty.

This is the Garden of Paradise, wherein hath been raised the melody of God,
the Protector, the Self-Subsisting. Wherein have been established the
maidens of eternity whom none hath touched save God, the Mighty, the Holy.
Wherein the Nightingale of Eternity hath warbled upon the branches of the
Lote-tree beyond which there is no passing, with a melody that hath filled
with astonishment the minds of all men. Wherein is that which bringeth the
poor ones nigh unto the shores of the ocean of wealth and guideth mankind
unto the word of God. This, verily, is a manifest truth.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Tablet of the Bell (provisional translation)

In the name of God, the most holy, the most exalted.

Praise be to Thee, O God, My God. I make mention of Thee at this time, when
the sun of Thy Godhead hath risen from the horizon of the splendid divinity
of Thy oneness, the lights of Thy lordship have flashed forth from the
dawning of the ineffable encounter with the eternal kingdom of Thy
self-sufficiency, and the darkness of this world hath been illumined by
the radiance of the faithful realm of Thy cause--in such wise that the
garden of paradise came into being above the essence of Thy glorious
selfhood. Therein were planted the trees of Thy quintessence, which put
forth the fruits of Thine essence, and therein wafted the breezes of Thy
spirit and the breaths of Thy sanctity. Therein were foreordained the gems
of Thy bounties and the substance of Thy munificence; and therein were
uncovered the treasures of Thy knowledge and mystery. Over its terraces
flow the streams of Thy glorious life, the canals of Thy radiant eternality,
and the springs of the wine of Thine inaccessibility. When Thou didst
desire, O my God, to manifest it, Thou didst raise it up to the throne of
grandeur and greatness, embellish it with the rays of might and power,
render it effulgent by Thine essence, and didst make to shine upon it the
sun of oneness from the pre-eternal lights of Thy features. Thou didst
light for it the wick of eternity in the lamp of pre-existence. Now, Thy
most exalted decree hath come to the kingdom of command by Thy signature,
so that a visage might appear therefrom, that the brilliance of Thy beauty
might be manifest to all who dwell on earth, and that the glory of Thy
countenance might be seen by all who are in the realm of Thy cause.

There arose the houri [maiden], Who had dwelt in pre-eternity in the pavilions of
holiness, protection, and glorification and in the canopies of sinlessness,
greatness and splendor. Upon Her creamy brow the most high pen hath written
in crimson ink, "Praise be to God! This is a houri [maiden] upon Whom none have
gazed save God, the exalted, the most high. God hath purified the hem of
Her purity from the knowledge of the concourse of names in the realm of
eternity, and Her face from the view of all who are in the kingdom of
creation. When She arose with the ornament of God from Her palace, She
looked with one glance toward the sky. The people of the heavens swooned at
the rays of Her visage and at the wafting of Her perfume. Then She looked
with another glance toward the earth, and it was illumined by the lights of
Her beauty and the loveliness of Her splendor.
...
Then the firmament was illumined by the radiance of its light, contingent
beings were made resplendent by its appearance and effulgence, and by its
rays infinite numbers of suns dawned forth, as though they trekked through
heavens that were without beginning or end. I became bewildered at the pen
of God's handiwork, and at what it had inscribed upon Her temple. It was as
though She had appeared with a body of light in the forms of the spirit,
as though She moved upon the earth of essence in the substance of
manifestation. I noticed that the houris [Maidens] had poked their heads
out of their rooms [chambers] and were suspended in the air above
Her. They grew perplexed at Her appearance and Her beauty, and were
entranced by the raptures of Her song. Praise be to Her creator, fashioner,
and maker--to the one Who made Her manifest.

Then she nearly swooned within herself, and with all her being she sought
to inhale My fragrance. She opened Her lips, and the rays of light dawned
forth from Her teeth, as though the pearls of the cause had appeared from
Her treasures and Her shells.

She asked, "Who art Thou?"

I said, "A servant of God and the son of his maidservant."
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablet of the Maiden (provisional translation)

Truly blessed is the one who arrays himself with the garment of patience
and equanimity and who does not change in afflictions and whose footsteps
do not slip when the tempests of wrath blow and remains acquiescent at all
times and relies on God at all times. I swear by God! Soon will God cause
him to be manifested within the canopy of grandeur with a luminous garment
which will scintillate like unto the scintillation of light above the
spiritual horizon and eyes will be dazzled upon beholding him and above his
head there will be a caller from God saying, "This is verily the one who
was long suffering for God in the vain and futile world and in all that
the unbelievers did unto him. The concourse on high will seek blessing
from him and the occupiers of God's pavilions will seek to meet him as well
as the holy maidens in the sacred and beautiful tabernacles." So O People
of the Bayan! Be patient in these passing days and do not complain that
your abject ornaments have been lost and do not bemoan of the afflictive
trials that have been ordained in the Mighty Scrolls of God.
...
O Solace of the eye of eternity! Change your tone and chant upon the
melodies of those nightingales singing in the tabernacle of divine names
and in the dominions of divine attributes that the birds of the throne may
detach themselves from the dust of themselves, and may therefore turn back
to their original homeland which is sanctified beyond transcendence. O Thou
Quintessence of truth! Sing and chant with the most beauteous melodies for
all the maidens of paradise have come out of their assemblies and their
tents of purity that they may hear Your own melody, the melody that has
been sung in the pages of God in the book, Qayyumu'l-Asma. Do not deprive
these of what they have desired to hear of Thy new and wondrous melodies
and loving kindness for Thou art indeed the most generous One in the
highest grades of immortality and in truth Thou art indeed the most
generous One in the dominion of eternity and Thy Name is well known amongst
the concourse on high as the Generous One.
...
O Thou most holy Beauty! The unbelievers do not respite Thee that a breath
should be exhaled from Thy chest for as My voice wishes to leave My mouth,
they place the hand of hatred over My mouth and yet with all your knowledge
of this matter you command Me to raise My call in this atmosphere for Thou
art the doer in truth, Thou art the commander in justice. Thou does what
Thou wishes and Thou art wise over all things. If Thou hearkenest to the
call of Thy servant, if Thou fulfillest his wish then forgive them with the
utmost kind word and delicate utterance that those handmaidens of eternity
may return to their seats in the crimson and ruby laden chambers. Thou
knowest that I have now become afflicted between the unbelievers from two
parties and Thou commandest in both Revelations and overseest both
Dispensations and Thou art manifest in the Twin garments and Thou art
resplendent through the Two Suns and have been mentioned with the Twin
Names, possessest the Twin Dawning-places, commandest the secret of the
Twin Mysteries in these Two Lines and God is fully aware beyond all this.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablet of Job (provisional translation)

HE IS THE ALMIGHTY LORD!
Lo, this is the garden of Paradise wherein is raised the Voice of God, the
Dominant, the Strong; Here do the immaculate Maids of Heaven dwell, they
whom no eye hath seen save only God's, the Sanctified, the Well-Beloved;
Herein the eternal nightingale singeth on the bough of the sacred Lote-Tree
a song that bedazzaleth the minds, and herein are the needy led to the
haven of wealth, and all men guided to the Word of God; verily this is a
manifest truth.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablet of the Feast of Ridvan (provisional translation)

The Beauty of holiness hath risen from behind the veil.
And this is a wondrous thing!

And the spirits have fainted away from the flames of attraction.
And this is a wondrous matter!

They have recovered consciousness and flown unto the pavilion of holiness on
the Throne of Domes.
And this is a wondrous mystery.

Say: the Maid of Eternity hath removed the veil from her face.
Exalted be the new and wondrous Beauty!

And the lights of her face have shone from the earth unto the clouds.
And this is a wondrous light.

And she hath cast her glances as shooting stars are cast.
And this is a wondrous casting.

And all names and all titles have been set aflame by the fire of her face.
And this is a wondrous deed.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablet of the Wondrous (provisional translation)


Chapter 27

References to "mortal eyes" -- mankind -- believers.

Call out to Zion, O Carmel, and announce the joyful tidings: He that was
hidden from mortal eyes is come! His all-conquering sovereignty is manifest;
His all-encompassing splendor is revealed. Beware lest thou hesitate or halt.
Hasten forth and circumambulate the City of God that hath descended from
heaven, the celestial Kaaba round which have circled in adoration the favored
of God, the pure in heart, and the company of the most exalted angels. Oh,
how I long to announce unto every spot on the surface of the earth, and to
carry to each one of its cities, the glad-tidings of this Revelation--a
Revelation to which the heart of Sinai hath been attracted, and in whose name
the Burning Bush is calling: `Unto God, the Lord of Lords, belong the
kingdoms of earth and heaven.' Verily this is the Day in which both land and
sea rejoice at this announcement, the Day for which have been laid up those
things which God, through a bounty beyond the ken of mortal mind or heart,
hath destined for revelation. Ere long will God sail His Ark upon thee, and
will manifest the people of Bahá who have been mentioned in the Book of Names."
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 16

Whatsoever ye understand not in the Bayán, ask it of God, your Lord and the
Lord of your forefathers. Should He so desire, He will expound for you that
which is revealed therein, and disclose to you the pearls of Divine knowledge
and wisdom that lie concealed within the ocean of its words. He, verily, is
supreme over all names; no God is there but Him, the Help in Peril, the
Self-Subsisting.

The world's equilibrium hath been upset through the vibrating influence of this
most great, this new World Order. Mankind's ordered life hath been revolutionized
through the agency of this unique, this wondrous System--the like of which
mortal eyes have never witnessed.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 85


Chapter 28

The station of the Most Great Infallibility.

However, the Most Great Infallibility is confined to the One Whose station
is immeasurably exalted beyond ordinances or prohibitions and is sanctified
from errors and omissions. Indeed He is a Light which is not followed by
darkness and a Truth not overtaken by error. Were He to pronounce water to
be wine or heaven to be earth or light to be fire, He speaketh the truth
and no doubt would there be about it; and unto no one is given the right to
question His authority or to say why or wherefore. Whosoever raiseth
objections will be numbered with the froward in the Book of God, the Lord
of the worlds. `Verily He shall not be asked of His doings but all others
shall be asked of their doings.' He is come from the invisible heaven,
bearing the banner `He doeth whatsoever He willeth' and is accompanied by
hosts of power and authority while it is the duty of all besides Him to
strictly observe whatever laws and ordinances have been enjoined upon them,
and should anyone deviate therefrom, even to the extent of a hair's
breadth, his work would be brought to naught.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 108

In response to thy request the Pen of Glory hath graciously described the
stations and grades of the Most Great Infallibility. The purpose is that all
should know of a certainty that the Seal of the Prophets [Muhammad]--may
the souls of all else but Him be offered up for His sake--is without likeness,
peer or partner in His Own station. The Holy Ones [The Imams]--may the
blessings of God be upon them--were created through the potency of His
Word, and after Him they were the most learned and the most distinguished
among the people and abide in the utmost station of servitude. The divine
Essence, sanctified from every comparison and likeness, is established in
the Prophet, and God's inmost Reality, exalted above any peer or partner,
is manifest in Him. This is the station of true unity and of véritable singleness.
The followers of the previous Dispensation grievously failed to acquire an
adequate understanding of this station.The Primal Point [The Bab] --may
the life of all else but Him be offered up for His sake--saith: `If the
Seal of the Prophets had not uttered the word "Successorship", such a
station would not have been created.'
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 123

XXXVII. Blessed is the man that hath acknowledged his belief in God and in
His signs, and recognized that "He shall not be asked of His doings." Such

a recognition hath been made by God the ornament of every belief, and its
very foundation. Upon it must depend the acceptance of every goodly deed.
Fasten your eyes upon it, that haply the whisperings of the rebellious may
not cause you to slip.

Were He to decree as lawful the thing which from time immemorial had been
forbidden, and forbid that which had, at all times, been regarded as
lawful, to none is given the right to question His authority. Whoso will
hesitate, though it be for less than a moment, should be regarded as a
transgressor.

Whoso hath not recognized this sublime and fundamental verity, and hath
failed to attain this most exalted station, the winds of doubt will agitate
him, and the sayings of the infidels will distract his soul. He that hath
acknowledged this principle will be endowed with the most perfect
constancy. All honor to this all-glorious station, the remembrance of which
adorneth every exalted Tablet. Such is the teaching which God bestoweth on
you, a teaching that will deliver you from all manner of doubt and
perplexity, and enable you to attain unto salvation in both this world and
in the next. He, verily, is the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Bountiful.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 86

O thou who soarest in the atmosphere of love and fellowship and hast fixed
thy gaze upon the light of the countenance of thy Lord, the King of
creation! Render thanks unto God, inasmuch as He hath unravelled for thee
that which was hidden and enshrined in His knowledge so that everyone may
become aware that within His realm of supreme infallibility He hath not
taken a partner nor a counsellor unto Himself. He is in truth the Dayspring
of divine precepts and commandments and the Fountainhead of knowledge and
wisdom, while all else besides Him are but His subjects and under His rule,
and He is the supreme Ruler, the Ordainer, the All-Knowing, the
All-Informed.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 110

He Who is the Dawning-place of God's Cause hath no partner in the Most Great
Infallibility. He it is Who, in the kingdom of creation, is the Manifestation of
"He doeth whatsoever He willeth". God hath reserved this distinction unto His
own Self, and ordained for none a share in so sublime and transcendent a station.
This is the Decree of God, concealed ere now within the veil of impenetrable
mystery. We have disclosed it in this Revelation, and have thereby rent asunder
the veils of such as have failed to recognize that which the Book of God set forth
and who were numbered with the heedless.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 36


The Most Great Infallibility, the shield for the temple of His Cause.

Praise be unto God Who hath made the Most Great Infallibility the shield
for the temple of His Cause in the realm of creation, and hath assigned
unto no one a share of this lofty and sublime station--a station which is a
vesture which the fingers of transcendent power have woven for His august
Self. It befitteth no one except Him Who is seated upon the mighty throne
of `He doeth what He pleaseth'. Whoso accepteth and recognizeth that which
is written down at this moment by the Pen of Glory is indeed reckoned in
the Book of God, the Lord of the beginning and the end, among the exponents
of divine unity, they that uphold the concept of the oneness of God.

When the stream of words reached this stage, the sweet savours of true
knowledge were shed abroad and the day-star of divine unity shone forth
above the horizon of His holy utterance. Blessed is he whom His Call hath
attracted to the summit of glory, who hath drawn nigh to the ultimate
Purpose, and who hath recognized through the shrill voice of My Pen of
Glory that which the Lord of this world and of the next hath willed. Whoso
faileth to quaff the choice wine which We have unsealed through the potency
of Our Name, the All-Compelling, shall be unable to discern the splendours
of the light of divine unity or to grasp the essential purpose underlying
the Scriptures of God, the Lord of heaven and earth, the sovereign Ruler of
this world and of the world to come. Such a man shall be accounted among
the faithless in the Book of God, the All-Knowing, the All-Informed.

O thou honoured enquirer! We bear witness that thou didst firmly adhere
unto seemly patience during the days when the Pen was held back from
movement and the Tongue hesitated to set forth an explanation regarding the
wondrous sign, the Most Great Infallibility. Thou hast asked this Wronged
One to remove for thee its veils and coverings, to elucidate its mystery
and character, its state and position, its excellence, sublimity and
exaltation. By the life of God! Were We to unveil the pearls of testimony
which lie hid within the shells of the ocean of knowledge and assurance or
to let the beauties of divine mystery which are hidden within the chambers
of utterance in the Paradise of true understanding, step out of their
habitation, then from every direction violent commotion would arise among
the leaders of religion and thou wouldst witness the people of God held
fast in the teeth of such wolves as have denied God both in the beginning
and in the end. Therefore We restrained the Pen for a considerable lapse of
time in accordance with divine wisdom and for the sake of protecting the
faithful from those who have bartered away heavenly blessings for disbelief
and have chosen for their people the abode of perdition.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 105-106

Should differences arise amongst you over any matter, refer it to God while
the Sun still shineth above the horizon of this Heaven and, when it hath
set, refer ye to whatsoever hath been sent down by Him. This, verily, is
sufficient unto the peoples of the world.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 38

Assist ye, O My people, My chosen servants who have arisen to make mention
of Me among My creatures and to exalt My Word throughout My realm. These,
truly, are the stars of the heaven of My loving providence and the lamps of
My guidance unto all mankind. But he whose words conflict with that which
hath been sent down in My Holy Tablets is not of Me. Beware lest ye follow
any impious pretender. These Tablets are embellished with the seal of Him
Who causeth the dawn to appear, Who lifteth up His voice between the
heavens and the earth. Lay hold on this Sure Handle and on the Cord of My
mighty and unassailable Cause.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 61-62


Essential infallibility is peculiar to the supreme Manifestation, for it is
His essential requirement, and an essential requirement cannot be separated
from the thing itself... Therefore, if one imagines separation of the Most
Great Infallibility from the supreme Manifestation, He would not be the
supreme Manifestation, and He would lack the essential perfections..

Briefly, it is said that the "Dayspring of Revelation" is the manifestation
of these words, "He doeth whatsoever He willeth"; this condition is
peculiar to that Holy Being, and others have no share of this essential
perfection. That is to say, that as the supreme Manifestations certainly
possess essential infallibility, therefore whatever emanates from Them is
identical with the truth, and conformable to reality. They are not under
the shadow of the former laws. Whatever They say is the word of God, and
whatever They perform is an upright action. No believer has any right to
criticize; his condition must be one of absolute submission, for the
Manifestation arises with perfect wisdom--so that whatever the supreme
Manifestation says and does is absolute wisdom, and is in accordance with
reality...

In short, the meaning of "He doeth whatsoever He willeth" is that if the
Manifestation says something, or gives a command, or performs an action,
and believers do not understand its wisdom, they still ought not to oppose
it by a single thought, seeking to know why He spoke so, or why He did such
a thing. The other souls who are under the shadow of the supreme
Manifestations are submissive to the commandments of the Law of God, and
are not to deviate as much as a hairsbreadth from it; they must conform
their acts and words to the Law of God. If they do deviate from it, they
will be held responsible and reproved in the presence of God. It is certain
that they have no share in the permission "He doeth whatsoever He willeth,"
for this condition is peculiar to the supreme Manifestations.

So Christ--may my spirit be sacrificed to Him!--was the manifestation of
these words, "He doeth whatsoever He willeth," but the disciples were not
partakers of this condition; for as they were under the shadow of Christ,
they could not deviate from His command and will.
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 171-174

Chapter 45 in Some Answered Questions is devoted to an explanation by
`Abdu'l-Bahá of this verse of the Aqdas. In this chapter He stresses, among
other things, the inseparability of essential "infallibility" from the
Manifestations of God, and asserts that "whatever emanates from Them is
identical with the truth, and conformable to reality", that "They are not
under the shadow of the former laws", and "Whatever They say is the word of
God, and whatever They perform is an upright action".
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 199


The Word of God

Every single letter proceeding out of the mouth of God is indeed a mother
letter, and every word uttered by Him Who is the Well Spring of Divine

Revelation is a mother word, and His Tablet a Mother Tablet. Well is it
with them that apprehend this truth.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 142

I implore Thee, O my God, by Thy Most Great Name, to enrapture the nations
through the potency of the Word which Thou didst ordain to be the king of
all words, the Word whereby the goodly pearls of Thy hidden wisdom were
uncovered, and the gem-like mysteries which were wrapped up within Thee
were unraveled. Deprive them not, by Thy grace and bounty, of the things
Thou didst desire for them, and suffer them not to be far removed from the
shores of the ocean of Thy presence.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Prayers and Meditations, p. 113

O friend of mine! The Word of God is the king of words and its pervasive
influence is incalculable. It hath ever dominated and will continue to
dominate the realm of being. The Great Being saith: The Word is the master
key for the whole world, inasmuch as through its potency the doors of the
hearts of men, which in reality are the doors of heaven, are unlocked. No
sooner had but a glimmer of its effulgent splendour shone forth upon the
mirror of love than the blessed word `I am the Best-Beloved' was reflected
therein. It is an ocean inexhaustible in riches, comprehending all things.
Every thing which can be perceived is but an emanation therefrom. High,
immeasurably high is this sublime station, in whose shadow moveth the
essence of loftiness and splendour, wrapt in praise and adoration.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 173

165. Recite ye the verses of God every morn and eventide. #149

Bahá'u'lláh states that the essential "requisite" for reciting "the verses
of God" is the "eagerness and love" of the believers to "read the Word of
God" (Q and A 68).

With regard to the definition of "verses of God", Bahá'u'lláh states that
it refers to "all that hath been sent down from the Heaven of Divine
Utterance". Shoghi Effendi, in a letter written to one of the believers in
the East, has clarified that the term "verses of God" does not include the
writings of `Abdu'l-Bahá; he has likewise indicated that this term does not
apply to his own writings.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 236

Intone, O My servants, the verses of God that have been received by thee,
as intoned by them who have drawn nigh unto Him, that the sweetness of thy
melody may kindle thine own soul, and attract the hearts of all men. Whoso
reciteth, in the privacy of his chamber, the verses revealed by God, the
scattering angels of the Almighty shall scatter abroad the fragrance of the
words uttered by his mouth, and shall cause the heart of every righteous
man to throb. Though he may, at first, remain unaware of its effect, yet
the virtue of the grace vouchsafed unto him must needs sooner or later
exercise its influence upon his soul. Thus have the mysteries of the
Revelation of God been decreed by virtue of the Will of Him Who is the
Source of power and wisdom.
- BAHÁ'U'LLÁH, Compilation, Bahá'í Prayers, p. 2

They who recite the verses of the All-Merciful in the most melodious of
tones will perceive in them that with which the sovereignty of earth and
heaven can never be compared. From them they will inhale the divine
fragrance of My worlds--worlds which today none can discern save those who
have been endowed with vision through this sublime, this beauteous
Revelation. Say: These verses draw hearts that are pure unto those
spiritual worlds that can neither be expressed in words nor intimated by
allusion. Blessed be those who hearken.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 61


Chapter 29

References on mystical writings -- a divine test.

It is evident unto thee that the Birds of Heaven and Doves of Eternity
speak a twofold language. One language, the outward language, is devoid of
allusions, is unconcealed and unveiled; that it may be a guiding lamp and a
beaconing light whereby wayfarers may attain the heights of holiness, and
seekers may advance into the realm of eternal reunion. Such are the unveiled
traditions and the evident verses already mentioned. The other language is
veiled and concealed, so that whatever lieth hidden in the heart of the
malevolent may be made manifest and their innermost being be disclosed. Thus
hath Sádiq, son of Muhammad, spoken: "God verily will test them and sift
them." This is the divine standard, this is the Touchstone of God, wherewith
He proveth His servants. None apprehendeth the meaning of these utterances
except them whose hearts are assured, whose souls have found favour with God,
and whose minds are detached from all else but Him. In such utterances, the
literal meaning, as generally understood by the people, is not what hath
been intended. Thus it is recorded: "Every knowledge hath seventy meanings,
of which one only is known amongst the people. And when the Qá'im shall arise,
He shall reveal unto men all that which remaineth." He also saith: "We speak
one word, and by it we intend one and seventy meanings; each one of these
meanings we can explain."
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 255

"Sádiq, 'son' of Muhammad" refers to Ja'far as-Sadiq, the Sixth Imam of
Shi'i Islam.

Such are the mysteries of the Word of God, which have been unveiled and made
manifest, that haply thou mayest apprehend the morning light of divine
guidance, mayest quench, by the power of reliance and renunciation, the lamp of
idle fancy, of vain imaginings, of hesitation, and doubt, and mayest kindle, in
the inmost chamber of thine heart, the new-born light of divine knowledge and
certitude.

Know verily that the purpose underlying all these symbolic terms and abstruse
allusions, which emanate from the Revealers of God's holy Cause, hath been to
test and prove the peoples of the world; that thereby the earth of the pure and
illuminated hearts may be known from the perishable and barren soil. From time
immemorial such hath been the way of God amidst His creatures, and to this
testify the records of the sacred books.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 48

As they have literally interpreted the Word of God, and the sayings and traditions
of the Letters of Unity, and expounded them according to their own deficient
understanding, they have therefore deprived themselves and all their people of
the bountiful showers of the grace and mercies of God. And yet they bear witness
to this well-known tradition: "Verily Our Word is abstruse, bewilderingly abstruse."
In another instance, it is said: "Our Cause is sorely trying, highly perplexing; none
can bear it except a favorite of heaven, or an inspired Prophet, or he whose faith
God hath tested." These leaders of religion admit that none of these three specified
conditions is applicable to them. The first two conditions are manifestly beyond their
reach; as to the third, it is evident that at no time have they been proof against at
have been sent by God, and that when the divine Touchstone appeared, they have
shown themselves to be naught but dross.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 82

You should know, questioner, that the divine word encompasses all meanings.
That is, all divine meanings and mysteries are concealed within it. Blessed are
they who attain it and extract the pearls hidden within it. Consider the radiance
of the divine word to be like the shining of the sun. In the same way that once
the sun rises, it shines on all, so once the sun of the word dawns from the will
of the lord, it sheds its illumination on all. Indeed, I take refuge in God even
from this simile, since the outward sun itself owes its existence to the comprehensive
word. Think, so that you might attain knowledge. Still, the outward sun can be
perceived with physical eyes, whereas the rays of the sun of the word are seen
with inner vision. By the one in whose hand is my soul! If the hidden aid and
power of the divine word were withdrawn from the world and its people for a
single instant, all would be lost and annihilated. If souls gaze with divine sight,
they will see the radiance of its lights in everything. Likewise, if they listen with
pure ears, they will hear the primal call of God at every moment. The divine call
is still being raised but ears are blocked, and the lights of the luminary above the
horizon are apparent, but eyes are covered...

For, glory lies in attaining mystical insight into the Eternal Truth and remaining
firm, steadfast and unswerving in the Cause of God. It does not come from outward
statements, as my predecessor explained these spiritual levels. Look, so that you
might understand. For instance, the souls who have ascended to the peaks of
mystical insight and those who remained at the lowest rank have precisely the
same station in the eyes of God. For the nobility of knowledge and insight is not
dependent on these attributes in themselves. If they lead to the Eternal Truth and
acceptance of it, they are approved. Otherwise, they are rejected. On this plane,
all words are mentioned on the same level.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablet of the Son (a provisional translation)

Among them is the tradition, "And when the Standard of Truth is made manifest,
the people of both the East and the West curse it." The wine of renunciation must
needs be quaffed, the lofty heights of detachment must needs be attained, and
the meditation referred to in the words "One hour's reflection is preferable to
seventy years of pious worship" must needs be observed, so that the secret of
the wretched behaviour of the people might be discovered, those people who,
despite the love and yearning for truth which they profess, curse the followers
of Truth when once He hath been made manifest.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 238

From the Quran

3:7 He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book: In it are verses basic
or fundamental (of established meaning); they are the foundation of the
Book: others are allegorical. But those in whose hearts is perversity
follow the part thereof that is allegorical, seeking discord, and searching
for its hidden meanings, but no one knows its hidden meanings except God.
And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: "We believe in the
Book; the whole of it is from our Lord:" and none will grasp the Message
except men of understanding.
-- Qur'an: 3 - AL-I-IMRAN

From the Bible

12:9 And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed
till the time of the end.

12:10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall
do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall
understand.
-- Bible: Daniel

5:20 Despise not prophesyings.

5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
-- Bible: 1 Thessalonians,

Gracious God! Notwithstanding the warning which, in marvelously symbolic
language and subtle allusions, hath been uttered in days past, and which was
intended to awaken the peoples of the world and to prevent them from being
deprived of their share of the billowing ocean of God's grace, yet such
things as have already been witnessed have come to pass! Reference to these
things hath also been made in the Qur'án, as witnessed by this verse: "What
can such expect but that God should come down to them overshadowed with
clouds?"

A number of the divines, who hold firmly to the letter of the Word of God,
have come to regard this verse as one of the signs of that expected
resurrection which is born of their idle fancy. This, notwithstanding the
fact that similar references have been made in most of the heavenly Books,
and have been recorded in all the passages connected with the signs of the
coming Manifestation.

Likewise, He saith: "On the day when the heaven shall give out a palpable
smoke, which shall enshroud mankind: this will be an afflictive torment."
The All-Glorious hath decreed these very things, that are contrary to the
desires of wicked men, to be the touchstone and standard whereby He proveth
His servants, that the just may be known from the wicked, and the faithful
distinguished from the infidel. The symbolic term "smoke" denotes grave
dissensions, the abrogation and demolition of recognized standards, and
the utter destruction of their narrow-minded exponents.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 76

Furthermore, the sign of truth and falsehood is designated and appointed in
the Book. By this divinely-appointed touchstone, the claims and pretensions
of all men must needs be assayed, so that the truthful may be known and
distinguished from the imposter. This touchstone is no other than this
verse: "Wish for death, if ye are men of truth." Consider these martyrs of
unquestionable sincerity, to whose truthfulness testifieth the explicit text
of the Book, and all of whom, as thou hast witnessed, have sacrificed their
life, their substance, their wives, their children, their all, and ascended
unto the loftiest chambers of Paradise. Is it fair to reject the testimony
of these detached and exalted beings to the truth of this pre-eminent and
glorious Revelation and to regard as acceptable the denunciations which
have been uttered against this resplendent Light by this faithless people,
who for gold have forsaken their faith, and who for the sake of leadership
have repudiated Him Who is the First Leader of all mankind? This, although
their character is now revealed unto all people who have recognized them as
those who will in no wise relinquish one jot or one tittle of their temporal
authority for the sake of God's holy Faith, how much less their life, their
substance, and the like.

Behold how the divine Touchstone hath, according to the explicit text of the
Book, separated and distinguished the true from the false. Notwithstanding,
they are still oblivious of this truth, and in the sleep of heedlessness,
are pursuing the vanities of the world, and are occupied with thoughts of
vain and earthly leadership.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 227

Among the Prophets was Noah. For nine hundred and fifty years He prayerfully
exhorted His people and summoned them to the haven of security and peace.
None, however, heeded His call. Each day they inflicted on His blessed person
such pain and suffering that no one believed He could survive. How frequently
they denied Him, how malevolently they hinted their suspicion against Him!
Thus it hath been revealed: "And as often as a company of His people passed
by Him, they derided Him. To them He said: `Though ye scoff at us now, we
will scoff at you hereafter even as ye scoff at us. In the end ye shall know.'"
Long afterward, He several times promised victory to His companions and fixed
the hour thereof. But when the hour struck, the divine promise was not fulfilled.
This caused a few among the small number of His followers to turn away from
Him, and to this testify the records of the best-known books. These you must
certainly have perused; if not, undoubtedly you will. Finally, as stated in books
and traditions, there remained with Him only forty or seventy-two of His followers.
At last from the depth of His being He cried aloud: "Lord! Leave not upon the
land a single dweller from among the unbelievers."

And now, consider and reflect a moment upon the waywardness of this people.
What could have been the reason for such denial and avoidance on their part?
What could have induced them to refuse to put off the garment of denial, and to
adorn themselves with the robe of acceptance? Moreover, what could have
caused the nonfulfilment of the divine promise which led the seekers to reject
that which they had accepted? Meditate profoundly, that the secret of things
unseen may be revealed unto you, that you may inhale the sweetness of a spiritual
and imperishable fragrance, and that you may acknowledge the truth that from
time immemorial even unto eternity the Almighty hath tried, and will continue to
try, His servants, so that light may be distinguished from darkness, truth from
falsehood, right from wrong, guidance from error, happiness from misery, and
roses from thorns. Even as He hath revealed: "Do men think when they say `We
believe' they shall be let alone and not be put to proof?"
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 7-9


Chapter 30

References on "names" - the religions (revelations) of God.

"Arise thou amongst men in the name of this all-compelling Cause, and
summon, then, the nations unto God, the Mighty, the Great. Be thou not of
them who called upon God by one of His names, but who, when He Who is the
Object of all names appeared, denied Him and turned aside from Him, and, in
the end, pronounced sentence against Him with manifest injustice. Consider
and call thou to mind the days whereon the Spirit of God (Jesus Christ)
appeared, and Herod gave judgment against Him. God, however, aided Him with
the hosts of the unseen, and protected Him with truth, and sent Him down
unto another land, according to His promise. He, verily, ordaineth what He
pleaseth. Thy Lord truly preserveth whom He willeth, be he in the midst of
the seas or in the maw of the serpent, or beneath the sword of the
oppressor."
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 57-58

Forget the world of creation, O Pen, and turn thou towards the face of thy
Lord, the Lord of all names. Adorn, then, the world with the ornament of
the favors of thy Lord, the King of everlasting days. For We perceive the
fragrance of the Day whereon He Who is the Desire of all nations hath
shed upon the kingdoms of the unseen and of the seen the splendor of the
light of His most excellent names, and enveloped them with the radiance
of the luminaries of His most gracious favors--favors which none can reckon
except Him, Who is the omnipotent Protector of the entire creation.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 32

Attract the hearts of men, through the call of Him, the one alone Beloved.
Say: This is the Voice of God, if ye do but hearken. This is the Day Spring of
the Revelation of God, did ye but know it. This is the Dawning-Place of the
Cause of God, were ye to recognize it. This is the Source of the commandment
of God, did ye but judge it fairly. This is the manifest and hidden Secret; would
that ye might perceive it. O peoples of the world! Cast away, in My name that
transcendeth all other names, the things ye possess, and immerse yourselves
in this Ocean in whose depths lay hidden the pearls of wisdom and of utterance,
an ocean that surgeth in My name, the All-Merciful. Thus instructeth you He with
Whom is the Mother Book.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 33

This is an Epistle from Our presence unto him whom the veils of names have
failed to keep back from God, the Creator of earth and heaven, that his eyes may
be cheered in the days of his Lord, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.

Say, O followers of the Son! Have ye shut out yourselves from Me by reason of
My Name? Wherefore ponder ye not in your hearts? Day and night ye have been
calling upon your Lord, the Omnipotent, but when He came from the heaven of
eternity in His great glory, ye turned aside from Him and remained sunk in
heedlessness.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 9

LVII. O Jews! If ye be intent on crucifying once again Jesus, the Spirit of
God, put Me to death, for He hath once more, in My person, been made
manifest unto you. Deal with Me as ye wish, for I have vowed to lay down
My life in the path of God. I will fear no one, though the powers of earth
and heaven be leagued against Me. Followers of the Gospel! If ye cherish
the desire to slay Muhammad, the Apostle of God, seize Me and put an end
to My life, for I am He, and My Self is His Self. Do unto Me as ye like, for
the deepest longing of Mine heart is to attain the presence of My Best-Beloved
in His Kingdom of Glory. Such is the Divine decree, if ye know it. Followers
of Muhammad! If it be your wish to riddle with your shafts the breast of Him
Who hath caused His Book the Bayán to be sent down unto you, lay hands on
Me and persecute Me, for I am His Well-Beloved, the revelation of His own
Self, though My name be not His name. I have come in the shadows of the
clouds of glory, and am invested by God with invincible sovereignty. He, verily,
is the Truth, the Knower of things unseen. I, verily, anticipate from you the
treatment ye have accorded unto Him that came before Me. To this all things,
verily, witness, if ye be of those who hearken.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 101

These attributes of God are not, and have never been, vouchsafed specially
unto certain Prophets, and withheld from others. Nay, all the Prophets of God,
His well-favored, His holy and chosen Messengers are, without exception, the
bearers of His names, and the embodiments of His attributes. They only differ
in the intensity of their revelation, and the comparative potency of their light.
Even as He hath revealed: "Some of the Apostles We have caused to excel the
others."

It hath, therefore, become manifest and evident that within the tabernacles of
these Prophets and chosen Ones of God the light of His infinite names and exalted
attributes hath been reflected, even though the light of some of these attributes
may or may not be outwardly revealed from these luminous Temples to the eyes
of men. That a certain attribute of God hath not been outwardly manifested by
these Essences of Detachment doth in no wise imply that they who are the Day
Springs of God's attributes and the Treasuries of His holy names did not actually
possess it. Therefore, these illuminated Souls, these beauteous Countenances
have, each and every one of them, been endowed with all the attributes of God,
such as sovereignty, dominion, and the like, even though to outward seeming
they be shorn of all earthly majesty....
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 48

And when after the lapse of a few years the heaven of Divine decree was cleft
asunder, and the Beauty of the Báb appeared in the clouds of the names of God,
arrayed in a new raiment, these same people maliciously rose up against Him,
Whose light embraceth all created things. They broke His Covenant, rejected His
truth, contended with Him, caviled at His signs, treated His testimony as falsehood,
and joined the company of the infidels. Eventually, they determined to take away
His life. Such is the state of them who are in a far-gone error!
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 147

LXXIII. It is clear and evident that when the veils that conceal the realities of the
manifestations of the Names and Attributes of God, nay of all created things visible
or invisible, have been rent asunder, nothing except the Sign of God will remain--a
sign which He, Himself, hath placed within these realities. This sign will endure as
long as is the wish of the Lord thy God, the Lord of the heavens and of the earth.
If such be the blessings conferred on all created things, how superior must be the
destiny of the true believer, whose existence and life are to be regarded as the
originating purpose of all creation.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 140

O Kings of the earth! He Who is the sovereign Lord of all is come. The Kingdom is
God's, the omnipotent Protector, the Self-Subsisting. Worship none but God, and,
with radiant hearts, lift up your faces unto your Lord, the Lord of all names. This is
a Revelation to which whatever ye possess can never be compared, could ye but
know it. We see you rejoicing in that which ye have amassed for others, and
shutting out yourselves from the worlds which naught except My Guarded Tablet can
reckon. The treasures ye have laid up have drawn you far away from your ultimate
objective. This ill beseemeth you, could ye but understand it. Wash your hearts from
all earthly defilements, and hasten to enter the Kingdom of your Lord, the Creator of
earth and heaven, Who caused the world to tremble, and all its peoples to wail,
except them that have renounced all things and clung to that which the Hidden
Tablet hath ordained....
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh, p.

Further, we have harkened to what the nightingale of knowledge sang on the
boughs of the tree of thy being, and learned what the dove of certitude cried on
the branches of the bower of thy heart. Methinks I verily inhaled the pure fragrances
of the garment of thy love, and attained thy very meeting from perusing thy letter.
And since I noted thy mention of thy death in God, and thy life through Him, and thy
love for the beloved of God and the Manifestations of His Names and the Dawning-Points
of His Attributes--I therefore reveal unto thee sacred and resplendent tokens from
the planes of glory, to attract thee into the court of holiness and nearness and beauty,
and draw thee to a station wherein thou shalt see nothing in creation save the Face
of thy Beloved One, the Honored, and behold all created things only as in the day
wherein none hath a mention.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys, p. 2


Chapter 31

References on the pre-existence of prophets.

Whomsoever He ordaineth as a Prophet, he, verily, hath been a Prophet from
the beginning that hath no beginning, and will thus remain until the end
that hath no end, inasmuch as this is an act of God. And whosoever is made
a Vicegerent by Him, shall be a Vicegerent in all the worlds, for this is
an act of God. For the will of God can in no wise be revealed except
through His will, nor His wish be manifested save through His wish. He,
verily, is the All-Conquering, the All-Powerful, the All-Highest."
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 155

The door of the knowledge of the Ancient of Days being thus closed in the face
of all beings, the Source of infinite grace, according to His saying: "His grace
hath transcended all things; My grace hath encompassed them all" hath caused
those luminous Gems of Holiness to appear out of the realm of the spirit, in the
noble form of the human temple, and be made manifest unto all men, that they
may impart unto the world the mysteries of the unchangeable Being, and tell of
the subtleties of His imperishable Essence.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 99

Have they not heard the melody of that bird of Heaven [Imam Ali], uttering
this mystery: "A thousand Fatimihs I have espoused, all of whom were the
daughters of Muhammad, Son of Abdu'llah, the 'Seal of the Prophets?'"
Behold, how many are the mysteries that lie as yet unravelled within the
tabernacle of the knowledge of God, and how numerous the gems of His
wisdom that are still concealed in His inviolable treasuries! Shouldest
thou ponder this in thine heart, thou wouldst realize that His handiwork
knoweth neither beginning nor end. The domain of His decree is too vast
for the tongue of mortals to describe, or for the bird of the human mind
to traverse; and the dispensations of His providence are too mysterious
for the mind of man to comprehend. His creation no end hath overtaken,
and it hath ever existed from the "Beginning that hath no beginning"; and
the Manifestations of His Beauty no beginning hath beheld, and they will
continue to the "End that knoweth no end." Ponder this utterance in thine
heart, and reflect how it is applicable unto all these holy Souls.
--Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 166

O people of the Bayán! We, verily, set foot within the School of God when
ye lay slumbering; and We perused the Tablet while ye were fast asleep. By
the one true God! We read the Tablet ere it was revealed, while ye were
unaware, and We had perfect knowledge of the Book when ye were yet unborn.
These words are to your measure, not to God's. To this testifieth that
which is enshrined within His knowledge, if ye be of them that comprehend;
and to this the tongue of the Almighty doth bear witness, if ye be of those
who understand. I swear by God, were We to lift the veil, ye would be
dumbfounded.

Take heed that ye dispute not idly concerning the Almighty and His Cause,
for lo! He hath appeared amongst you invested with a Revelation so great as
to encompass all things, whether of the past or of the future. Were We to
address Our theme by speaking in the language of the inmates of the
Kingdom, We would say: "In truth, God created that School ere He created
heaven and earth, and We entered it before the letters B and E were joined
and knit together." Such is the language of Our servants in Our Kingdom;
consider what the tongue of the dwellers of Our exalted Dominion would
utter, for We have taught them Our knowledge and have revealed to them
whatever had lain hidden in God's wisdom. Imagine then what the Tongue of
Might and Grandeur would utter in His All-Glorious Abode!
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 83-84


Pre-existence of Bahá'u'lláh.

127. Joy unto him who, in this Day, casts away that which is possessed by
the people, and holds fast to that which is commanded on the part of God,
the King of names and the Creator of things -- The One who hath come from
the heaven of Pre-existence with the Greatest Name, and with a power that
the hosts of the earth fail to withstand: whereunto testifies the
Mother-Book in the highest station.

128. The first splendor which hath shone forth from the Sun of Truth is
the knowledge of God -- exalted is His glory! -- and the knowledge of the
King of Pre-existence cannot be attained except by knowing the Greatest
Name. He is the Speaker of the Mount who is established and seated upon
the throne of Manifestation, and He is the hidden, invisible One, the
concealed Mystery.
-- Excerpt from the writings of Bahá'u'lláh


Pre-existence of Abdu'l-Bahá

He is Eternal in His Abha Horizon!

Say: Verily, the ocean of pre-existence hath branched forth from this most
great Ocean. Blessed, therefore, is he who abides upon Its shores, and is
of those who are established thereon. Verily, this most sacred temple of
Abha ---the Branch of Holiness--- hath branched forth from the Sadratu'l-
Muntaha. Blessed is whosoever sought shelter beneath it and is of those who
rest therein....

Say: O people, praise ye God, for its Manifestation, for verily it is the
most great favor upon you and the most perfect blessing upon you....

Inhale the fragrances of the Ridvan from His roses and be not of those who
are deprived. Appreciate the bounty of God upon you and be not veiled
therefrom --- and, verily, We have sent Him forth in the temple of man.
Thus praise ye the Lord, the Originator of whatsoever He willeth through
His wise and inviolable Command!
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablet of the Branch (a provisional translation)

Similar to:
The Word which the Son concealed is made manifest. It hath been sent down
in the form of the human temple in this day. Blessed be the Lord Who is the
Father! He, verily, is come unto the nations in His most great majesty.
Turn your faces towards Him, O concourse of the righteous... This is the day
whereon the Rock (Peter) crieth out and shouteth, and celebrateth the praise
of its Lord, the All-Possessing, the Most High, saying: `Lo! The Father is
come, and that which ye were promised in the Kingdom is fulfilled!...' My
body longeth for the cross, and Mine head waiteth the thrust of the spear,
in the path of the All-Merciful, that the world may be purged from its
transgressions....
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 84


Pre-existence of Muhammad and the Imams

O Salman and O Jandab! Muhammad and I were the Light that was voicing
forth the divine eulogy before any other reality started to praise Him. We were
the cause of illumination unto all creation. This one Light was divided by God
in two portions and vouchsafed unto creation the Chosen "Mustapha" Prophet
Muhammad and His Vicegerent in Whom He was well pleased "Murtada". God,
exalted be His Glory, said to each half "Be Muhammad" "Be 'Ali". The
Imperative is Kun the letters B and E. It is thus that the Prophet said: " I
am from 'Ali and 'Ali is from Me. None can give forth my Trust but Myself
and 'Ali".
-- Imam Ali, Sermon of Ma'rifat bin-Nuraaniyyat (Recognition with
Luminousness)

I am the First and the Last! I am the External and Manifest and I am the
Internal and Hidden! I am with the Cycle (kawr) before the Cycle began! I
am the Companion of the Dispensation (dawr) before the Dispensation started!
I was with the Pen before the Pen and I am with the Tablet prior to the
Tablet being revealed! I am the Lord of the First Pre-existence!
-- Imam Ali, Khutbih-i-Tutunjiyyih (The Sermon of the Twin Gulfs)

And were they all [Manifestations of God] to proclaim, "I am the Seal
of the Prophets," they, verily, utter but the truth, beyond the
faintest shadow of doubt. For they are all but one person, one soul,
one spirit, one being, one revelation. They are all the manifestation
of the "Beginning" and the "End," the "First" and the "Last," the
"Seen" and the "Hidden" -- all of which pertain to Him Who is the
Innermost Spirit of Spirits and Eternal Essence of Essences.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 54

The following Tradition is attributed to the Prophet:
'God created 'Ali and me from one light before the creation of Adam...
then He split (the light) into two halves, then He created (all) things

from my light and 'Ali's light.'[5]

The First Imam, 'Ali, is reported to have said: 'God is one; He was
alone in His singleness and so He spoke one word and it became a light

and He created from that light Muhammad and He created me and my
descendants (i.e. the other Imams), then He spoke another word and it
became a Spirit and He caused it to settle upon that light and He
caused it to settle on our bodies. And so we are the Spirit of God and
His Word... and this was before He created the creation.[6]
-- quoted in, Introduction to Shi'i Islam, Moojan Momen p. 148-149

As for the station of the Imams and of the near ones at the threshold of
grandeur, it is that of spiritual honor and glory. Their right is to the authority
of the All-Merciful, and their crown of glory is the dust of the divine path. Their
gleaming scepter is the lights of the bounty of God. Their royal throne is the
seat of hearts, and their exalted and great crown is in the kingdom of God.
They are the monarchs of the world of spirit and heart, not that of water and
clay. They are sovereigns of the realm of the placeless, not of the graveyards
of the contingent world. No one can usurp or plunder this glorious station or
this pre-existent grandeur.
--`Abdu'l-Bahá's "Treatise on Leadership" (a provisional translation)


Pre-existence of the Bab and Bahá'u'lláh.

O congregation of the Bayán, and all who are therein! Recognize ye the
limits imposed upon you, for such a One as the Point of the Bayán Himself
hath believed in Him Whom God shall make manifest, before all things were
created. Therein, verily, do I glory before all who are in the kingdom of
heaven and earth.
-- The Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 168


Pre-existent Maids of Heaven announce declaration of Bahá'u'lláh

in the invisible realm.

"Arise, and proclaim unto the entire creation the tidings that He who is
the All-Merciful hath directed His steps towards the Ridván and entered
it. Guide, then, the people unto the Garden of Delight which God hath made
the Throne of His Paradise... Within this Paradise, and from the heights of
its loftiest chambers, the Maids of Heaven have cried out and shouted:
`Rejoice, ye dwellers of the realms above, for the fingers of Him Who is the
Ancient of Days are ringing, in the name of the All-Glorious, the Most Great
Bell, in the midmost heart of the heavens. The hands of bounty have borne
round the cups of everlasting life. Approach, and quaff your fill.'"
-- Bahá'u'lláh speaking on the First Day of Ridvan. Quoted in
Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 154


Covenant between Bahá'u'lláh and pre-existent Maid of Heaven

"covenanted with Thee, from time immemorial" -- covenant between
Bahá'u'lláh and the pre-existent dependent prophet (Maid of Heaven).

Say: Step out of Thy holy chamber, O Maid of Heaven, inmate of the
Exalted Paradise!...

Beware that Thou divest not Thyself, Thou Who art the Essence of Purity,
of Thy robe of effulgent glory. Nay, enrich Thyself increasingly, in the
kingdom of creation, with the incorruptible vestures of Thy God, that the
beauteous image of the Almighty may be reflected through Thee in all
created things and the grace of Thy Lord be infused in the plenitude of
its power into the entire creation.

If Thou smellest from any one the smell of the love of Thy Lord, offer up
Thyself for him, for We have created Thee to this end, and have covenanted
with Thee, from time immemorial, and in the presence of the congregation
of Our well-favored ones, for this very purpose.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 283


Pre-existence of Christ

EXPLANATION OF VERSE FIVE, CHAPTER SEVENTEEN,
OF THE GOSPEL OF ST. JOHN

"And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self, with the glory
which I had with Thee before the world was."

There are two kinds of priorities: one is essential and is not preceded by
a cause, but its existence is in itself, as, for example, the sun has
light in itself, for its shining is not dependent on the light of other
stars. This is called an essential light. But the light of the moon is
received from the sun, for the moon is dependent on the sun for its
light; therefore, the sun, with regard to light, is the cause, and the
moon becomes the effect. The former is the ancient, the precedent, the
antecedent, while the latter is the preceded and the last.

The second sort of preexistence is the preexistence of time, and that has
no beginning. The Word of God is sanctified from time. The past, the
present, the future, all, in relation to God, are equal. Yesterday, today,
tomorrow do not exist in the sun.

In the same way there is a priority with regard to glory--that is to say,
the most glorious precedes the glorious. Therefore, the Reality of Christ,
Who is the Word of God, with regard to essence, attributes and glory,
certainly precedes the creatures. Before appearing in the human form,
the Word of God was in the utmost sanctity and glory, existing in perfect
beauty and splendor in the height of its magnificence. When through the
wisdom of God the Most High it shone from the heights of glory in the
world of the body, the Word of God, through this body, became oppressed,
so that it fell into the hands of the Jews, and became the captive of the
tyrannical and ignorant, and at last was crucified. That is why He
addressed God, saying: "Free Me from the bonds of the world of the body,
and liberate Me from this cage, so that I may ascend to the heights of
honor and glory, and attain unto the former grandeur and might which
existed before the bodily world, that I may rejoice in the eternal world
and may ascend to the original abode, the placeless world, the invisible
kingdom."
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 116

14. As to His words: "And then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn and
they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and
great glory." The purport of this saying is that at that time the people
will lament because of the absence of the Sun of Divine Beauty, the Moon
of Knowledge and the Stars of Intuitive Wisdom; then it will be witnessed
that the face of the Promised One and the beauty of the Adored One will
descend from heaven riding upon a cloud; that is, that Divine Beauty will
appear from the heavens of the Supreme Will, in the human temple. The
purpose of "heaven" is none other than to demote the exaltation and
loftiness which is the station of the appearance of those Daysprings of
Holiness and Dawning-places of Pre-existence. Although these ancient
Beings outwardly appear from the wombs of mothers, yet in reality they
descend from the heavens of command; and although they dwell upon the
earth, yet they recline upon the couch of significances; and while
walking among the servants, they soar in the skies of nearness. They
journey in the land of spirit without the motion of foot and fly upward to
the summit of oneness without wing. In every breath they traverse the world
of creation east and west, and in every moment pass through the kingdom of
the seen and unseen. They are sent forth from the loftiness of the power
of the King of Pre-existence and from the exaltation of the Will of the
most great Ruler. Therefore He says He shall "descend from heaven."
-- Excerpt from the writings of Abdu'l-Bahá

In the same way there is a priority with regard to glory--that is to say,
the most glorious precedes the glorious. Therefore, the Reality of Christ,
Who is the Word of God, with regard to essence, attributes and glory,
certainly precedes the creatures. Before appearing in the human form, the
Word of God was in the utmost sanctity and glory, existing in perfect
beauty and splendor in the height of its magnificence. When through the
wisdom of God the Most High it shone from the heights of glory in the world
of the body, the Word of God, through this body, became oppressed, so that
it fell into the hands of the Jews, and became the captive of the
tyrannical and ignorant, and at last was crucified. That is why He
addressed God, saying: "Free Me from the bonds of the world of the body,
and liberate Me from this cage, so that I may ascend to the heights of
honor and glory, and attain unto the former grandeur and might which
existed before the bodily world, that I may rejoice in the eternal world
and may ascend to the original abode, the placeless world, the invisible
kingdom."
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 116-117


Chapter 32

Prophecies of the Imams about the coming of the Bab and Bahá'u'lláh.

The First Imam, Ali, fortells the coming of the Qaim (the Bab)

I shall soon depart from amongst you, but be watchful and aware; be on your
guard against the tests and tribulations caused by the 'Ummayyds and their
worldly powers. And after they shall pass away, the kingdom will revert to the
'Abbasids[11] who will bring both sorrow and happiness to mankind. And they
shall build a city called Baghdád, which shall be between the Tigris and the
Euphrates. Woe betide men in those latter days, for amongst them will rise the
oppressors among My people, who shall build palaces for themselves and courts
and tabernacles. For they shall seek supremacy through intrigue and impiety.
Two score and two kings shall rule among the children of the 'Abbasids, after
whose reign shall come to pass the Most Great Tribulation on the surface of the
earth. Then shall the True Qá'im rise up once more. Then shall I show My Face
amongst men, and it shall be as luminous as the face of the moon amid the other
stars. But note well the ten signs associated with my coming. The first sign
shall be the inversion of banners on the highways of Kúfa[12]; the second, the
abeyance of true worship and the prescribed prayers; the third, the end of true
pilgrimage. The fourth sign shall be an eclipse in the lands of Khorasán[13],
the gathering of constellations and the appearance of comets in the sky. There
shall be chaos and confusion, massacre, pillage and robbery in the world. Many
other signs shall there be too, surpassing all these signs, among which is the
sign of wonderment. But when all these signs have passed away, then, verily,
shall the Qá'im Himself arise in truth.
-- Imam Ali, Khutbat'ul-Iftikhár (The Sermon of Glorification)


The First Imam, Ali, fortells the coming of the Bahá'u'lláh

O Jabir! When the Bell shall cry loud, when the stupor of the Nightmare shall
enshroud men, when the Cow shall speak, on that day there shall happen
wondrous, exceedingly wondrous Events, when the Fire shall be ignited in My
sight, when the Banner of the House of 'Uthman shall appear in the Black
Valley, when Basra shall be thrown into confusion and they shall seek to
conquer each other and each party shall seek the other, when the armies of
Khurasan shall begin to move, and when Shu'ayb the son of Salih of Tamim shall
be followed in Taliqan, and Sa'id of Shusha shall be obeyed in Khuzistan, and
the banner shall be raised up by the Amalekites of the Kurds, and the Arabs
shall seek victory over Armenia and the Slavs, and Heraclitus shall submit to
the patriarchs of Sinan in Constantinople, anticipate ye then the Revelation of
the Speaker of Mount Sinai. This will appear with manifest signs visible unto
all, clearly perspicuous to them.
-- Imam Ali, Khutbih-i-Tutunjiyyih (The Sermon of the Twin Gulfs)

The Commander of the Faithful (Imám `Alí)--peace be upon him--moreover, saith
in the Khutbiy-i-Tutúnjíyyih: "Anticipate ye the Revelation of Him Who
conversed with Moses from the Burning Bush on Sinai." Husayn, the son of
`Alí--peace be upon him--likewise saith: "Will there be vouchsafed unto anyone
besides Thee a Revelation which hath not been vouchsafed unto Thyself--A
Revelation Whose Revealer will be He Who revealed Thee. Blind be the eye that
seeth Thee not!"

Similar sayings from the Imáms--the blessings of God be upon them--have been
recorded and are widely known, and are embodied in books worthy of credence.
Blessed is he that perceiveth, and speaketh the pure truth. Well is it with him
who, aided by the living waters of the utterance of Him Who is the Desire of
all men, hath purified himself from idle fancies and vain imaginings, and torn
away, in the name of the All-Possessing, the Most High, the veils of doubt, and
renounced the world and all that is therein, and directed himself towards the
Most Great Prison.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 42

Say, this is the Day when the Speaker on Sinai hath mounted the throne of
Revelation and the people have stood before the Lord of the worlds. This is the
Day wherein the earth hath told out her tidings and hath laid bare her
treasures; when the oceans have brought forth their pearls and the divine
Lote-Tree its fruit; when the Sun hath shed its radiance and the Moons have
diffused their lights, and the Heavens have revealed their stars, and the Hour
its signs, and the Resurrection its dreadful majesty;
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 107


Bahá'u'lláh -- the Return of Imam Husayn

IX. O Husayn! Consider the eagerness with which certain peoples and nations
have anticipated the return of Imám-Husayn, whose coming, after the
appearance of the Qá'im, hath been prophesied, in days past, by the chosen
ones of God, exalted be His glory. These holy ones have, moreover, announced
that when He Who is the Day Spring of the manifold grace of God manifesteth
Himself, all the Prophets and Messengers, including the Qá'im, will gather
together beneath the shadow of the sacred Standard which the Promised One
will raise. That hour is now come. The world is illumined with the effulgent
glory of His countenance. And yet, behold how far its peoples have strayed
from His path! None have believed in Him except them who, through the power
of the Lord of Names, have shattered the idols of their vain imaginings and
corrupt desires and entered the city of certitude. The seal of the choice
Wine of His Revelation hath, in this Day and in His Name, the Self-Sufficing,
been broken. Its grace is being poured out upon men. Fill thy cup, and drink
in, in His Name, the Most Holy, the All-Praised.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 12


The Sixth Imam, Jafar as-Sadiq, fortells the coming of the Qaim
(the Mahdi, The 12th Imam) -- the Bab

It is evident unto thee that the Birds of Heaven and Doves of Eternity speak a
twofold language. One language, the outward language, is devoid of allusions,
is unconcealed and unveiled; that it may be a guiding lamp and a beaconing
light whereby wayfarers may attain the heights of holiness, and seekers may
advance into the realm of eternal reunion. Such are the unveiled traditions and
the evident verses already mentioned. The other language is veiled and
concealed, so that whatever lieth hidden in the heart of the malevolent may be
made manifest and their innermost being be disclosed. Thus hath Sádiq, son of
Muhammad, spoken: "God verily will test them and sift them." This is the divine
standard, this is the Touchstone of God, wherewith He proveth His servants.
None apprehendeth the meaning of these utterances except them whose hearts are
assured, whose souls have found favour with God, and whose minds are detached
from all else but Him. In such utterances, the literal meaning, as generally
understood by the people, is not what hath been intended. Thus it is recorded:
"Every knowledge hath seventy meanings, of which one only is known amongst the
people. And when the Qá'im shall arise, He shall reveal unto men all that which
remaineth." He also saith: "We speak one word, and by it we intend one and
seventy meanings; each one of these meanings we can explain."
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 255

The Imám Sádiq hath said: "When our Qá'im will arise, the earth will shine with
the light of her Lord."
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 112


The Bab refers to a prophecy of the Fifth Imam, Muhammad al-Baqir

I swear by the truth of God! Wert thou to know that which I know, thou wouldst
forgo the sovereignty of this world and of the next, that thou mightest attain
My good-pleasure, through thine obedience unto the True One... Wert thou to
refuse, the Lord of the world would raise up one who would exalt His Cause, and
the Command of God would, verily, be carried into effect.

Through the grace of God nothing can frustrate My purpose, and I am fully
conscious of that which God hath bestowed upon Me as a token of His favour. If
it were My will, I would disclose to Your Majesty all things; but I have not
done this, nor will I do it, that the Truth may be distinguished from aught
else beside it, and this prophecy uttered by the Imám Báqir--may peace rest
upon Him -- be fully realized: `What must needs befall us in Ádhirbayján is
inevitable and without parallel. When this happeneth, rest ye in your homes and
remain patient as we have remained patient. As soon as the Mover moveth make ye
haste to attain unto Him, even though ye have to crawl over the snow.'
-- The Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 16

Siyyid Kázim-i-Rashtí, Shaykh Ahmad's disciple and successor, had likewise
written: "The Qá'im must needs be put to death. After He has been slain the
world will have attained the age of eighteen."
-- Taken from God Passes By, p. 97

O ye peoples of the earth! During the time of My absence I sent down the
Gates unto you. However the believers, except for a handful, obeyed them
not. Formerly I sent forth unto you Ahmad and more recently Kázim, but
apart from the pure in heart amongst you no one followed them. What hath
befallen you, O people of the Book? Will ye not fear the One true God, He
Who is your Lord, the Ancient of Days?... O ye who profess belief in God!
I adjure you by Him Who is the Eternal Truth, have ye discerned among the
precepts of these Gates anything inconsistent with the commandments of
God as set forth in this Book? Hath your learning deluded you by reason
of your impiety? Take ye heed then, for verily your God, the Lord of
Eternal Truth, is with you and in very truth is watchful over you...
Chapter XXVII.
-- The Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 51-52


Traditions in Islam on the coming of the Bab referred to by Bahá'u'lláh

Abú-`Abdi'lláh, questioned concerning the character of the Mihdí, answered
saying: "He will perform that which Muhammad, the Messenger of God, hath
performed, and will demolish whatever hath been before Him even as the
Messenger of God hath demolished the ways of those that preceded Him."...

In the "Aválím," an authoritative and well-known book, it is recorded: "A Youth
from Baní-Háshim shall be made manifest, Who will reveal a new Book and
promulgate a new law;" then follow these words: "Most of His enemies will be
the divines."...

In another passage, it is related of Sádiq, son of Muhammad, that he spoke the
following: "There shall appear a Youth from Baní-Háshim, Who will bid the
people plight fealty unto Him. His Book will be a new Book, unto which He shall
summon the people to pledge their faith. Stern is His Revelation unto the Arab.
If ye hear about Him, hasten unto Him." How well have they followed the
directions of the Imáms of the Faith and Lamps of certitude! Although it is
clearly stated: "Were ye to hear that a Youth from Baní-Háshim hath appeared,
summoning the people unto a new and Divine Book, and to new and Divine laws,
hasten unto Him," yet have they all declared that Lord of being an infidel, and
pronounced Him a heretic....

And now, consider this other tradition, and observe how all these things have
been foretold. In "Arbá'in" it is recorded: "Out of Baní-Háshim there shall
come forth a Youth Who shall reveal new laws. He shall summon the people unto
Him, but none will heed His call. Most of His enemies will be the divines. His
bidding they will not obey, but will protest saying: `This is contrary to that
which hath been handed down unto us by the Imáms of the Faith.'" In this day,
all are repeating these very same words, utterly unaware that He is established
upon the throne of "He doeth whatsoever He willeth," and abideth upon the seat
of "He ordaineth whatsoever He pleaseth."
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 240-243


Chapter 33

References on the revelation of the prophets.

That which is preeminent above all other gifts, is incorruptible in nature,
and pertaineth to God Himself, is the gift of Divine Revelation. Every
bounty conferred by the Creator upon man, be it material or spiritual, is
subservient unto this. It is, in its essence, and will ever so remain, the
Bread which cometh down from Heaven. It is God's supreme testimony, the
clearest evidence of His truth, the sign of His consummate bounty, the
token of His all-encompassing mercy, the proof of His most loving
providence, the symbol of His most perfect grace. He hath, indeed, partaken
of this highest gift of God who hath recognized His Manifestation in this
Day.

Render thanks unto thy Lord for having vouchsafed unto thee so great a
bounty. Lift up thy voice and say: All praise be to Thee, O Thou, the
Desire of every understanding heart!
--Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 195

This is one of the verities that lie enshrined in My Revelation -- a verity
which I have revealed in all the heavenly Books, which I have caused the
Tongue of Grandeur to utter, and the Pen of Power to inscribe. Ponder a
while thereon, that with both your inner and outer eye, ye may perceive the
subtleties of Divine wisdom and discover the gems of heavenly knowledge
which, in clear and weighty language, I have revealed in this exalted and
incorruptible Tablet, and that ye may not stray far from the All-Highest
Throne, from the Tree beyond which there is no passing, from the Habitation
of everlasting might and glory.

The signs of God shine as manifest and resplendent as the sun amidst the
works of His creatures. Whatsoever proceedeth from Him is apart, and will
always remain distinguished, from the inventions of men. From the Source of
His knowledge countless Luminaries of learning and wisdom have risen, and
out of the Paradise of His Pen the breath of the All-Merciful hath
continually been wafted to the hearts and souls of men. Happy are they that
have recognized this truth.
--Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 144

These Manifestations of God have each a twofold station. One is the station
of pure abstraction and essential unity. In this respect, if thou callest
them all by one name, and dost ascribe to them the same attribute, thou
hast not erred from the truth. Even as He hath revealed: "No distinction do
We make between any of His Messengers!" For they one and all summon the
people of the earth to acknowledge the Unity of God, and herald unto them
the Kawthar of an infinite grace and bounty. They are all invested with the
robe of Prophethood, and honoured with the mantle of glory. Thus hath
Muhammad, the Point of the Qur'án, revealed: "I am all the Prophets."
Likewise, He saith: "I am the first Adam, Noah, Moses, and Jesus." Similar
statements have been made by `Alí. Sayings such as this, which indicate the
essential unity of those Exponents of Oneness, have also emanated from the
Channels of God's immortal utterance, and the Treasuries of the gems of
divine knowledge, and have been recorded in the scriptures. These
Countenances are the recipients of the Divine Command, and the day-springs
of His Revelation. This Revelation is exalted above the veils of plurality
and the exigencies of number. Thus He saith: "Our Cause is but one."
Inasmuch as the Cause is one and the same, the Exponents thereof also must
needs be one and the same. Likewise, the Imáms of the Muhammadan Faith,
those lamps of certitude, have said: "Muhammad is our first, Muhammad our
last, Muhammad our all."
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 152-153

III. The Revelation which, from time immemorial, hath been acclaimed as the
Purpose and Promise of all the Prophets of God, and the most cherished
Desire of His Messengers, hath now, by virtue of the pervasive Will of the
Almighty and at His irresistible bidding, been revealed unto men. The
advent of such a Revelation hath been heralded in all the sacred
Scriptures. Behold how, notwithstanding such an announcement, mankind hath
strayed from its path and shut out itself from its glory.

Say: O ye lovers of the One true God! Strive, that ye may truly recognize
and know Him, and observe befittingly His precepts. This is a Revelation,
under which, if a man shed for its sake one drop of blood, myriads of
oceans will be his recompense. Take heed, O friends, that ye forfeit not so
inestimable a benefit, or disregard its transcendent station. Consider the
multitude of lives that have been, and are still being, sacrificed in a
world deluded by a mere phantom which the vain imaginations of its peoples
have conceived. Render thanks unto God, inasmuch as ye have attained unto
your heart's Desire, and been united to Him Who is the Promise of all
nations. Guard ye, with the aid of the one true God--exalted be His
glory--the integrity of the station which ye have attained, and cleave to
that which shall promote His Cause. He, verily, enjoineth on you what is
right and conducive to the exaltation of man's station. Glorified be the
All-Merciful, the Revealer of this wondrous Tablet.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 5-6

X. O Husayn! Consider the eagerness with which certain peoples and nations
have anticipated the return of Imám-Husayn, whose coming, after the
appearance of the Qá'im, hath been prophesied, in days past, by the chosen
ones of God, exalted be His glory. These holy ones have, moreover,
announced that when He Who is the Day Spring of the manifold grace of God
manifesteth Himself, all the Prophets and Messengers, including the Qá'im,
will gather together beneath the shadow of the sacred Standard which the
Promised One will raise. That hour is now come. The world is illumined with
the effulgent glory of His countenance. And yet, behold how far its peoples
have strayed from His path! None have believed in Him except them who,
through the power of the Lord of Names, have shattered the idols of their
vain imaginings and corrupt desires and entered the city of certitude. The
seal of the choice Wine of His Revelation hath, in this Day and in His
Name, the Self-Sufficing, been broken. Its grace is being poured out upon
men. Fill thy cup, and drink in, in His Name, the Most Holy, the
All-Praised.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 12

For this reason did Muhammad cry out: "No Prophet of God hath suffered such
harm as I have suffered." And in the Qur'án are recorded all the calumnies
and reproaches uttered against Him, as well as all the afflictions which He
suffered. Refer ye thereunto, that haply ye may be informed of that which
hath befallen His Revelation. So grievous was His plight, that for a time
all ceased to hold intercourse with Him and His companions. Whoever
associated with Him fell a victim to the relentless cruelty of His
enemies....
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 25

Such revelation is confined to His Prophets and chosen Ones, inasmuch as none
mightier than they hath come to exist in the world of being. This truth all
recognize, and bear witness thereto. These Prophets and chosen Ones of God are
the recipients and revealers of all the unchangeable attributes and names of
God. They are the mirrors that truly and faithfully reflect the light of God.
Whatsoever is applicable to them is in reality applicable to God, Himself, Who
is both the Visible and the Invisible. The knowledge of Him, Who is the Origin
of all things, and attainment unto Him, are impossible save through knowledge
of, and attainment unto, these luminous Beings who proceed from the Sun of
Truth.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 142

O My servants [believers]! Through the might of God and His power, and
out of the treasury of His knowledge and wisdom, I have brought forth
and revealed unto you the pearls that lay concealed in the depths of
His everlasting ocean. I have summoned the Maids of Heaven to emerge
from behind the veil of concealment, and have clothed them with these
words of Mine--words of consummate power and wisdom. I have, moreover,
with the hand of divine power, unsealed the choice wine of My Revelation,
and have wafted its holy, its hidden, and musk-laden fragrance upon all
created things. Who else but yourselves is to be blamed if ye choose to
remain unendowed with so great an outpouring of God's transcendent and
all-encompassing grace, with so bright a revelation of His resplendent
mercy?...
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 327

One day of days We repaired unto Our Green Island. Upon Our arrival, We beheld
its streams flowing, and its trees luxuriant, and the sunlight playing in their
midst. Turning Our face to the right, We beheld what the pen is powerless to
describe; nor can it set forth that which the eye of the Lord of Mankind
witnessed in that most sanctified, that most sublime, that blest, and most
exalted Spot. Turning, then, to the left We gazed on one of the Beauties of the
Most Sublime Paradise, standing on a pillar of light, and calling aloud saying:
"O inmates of earth and heaven! Behold ye My beauty, and My radiance, and My
revelation, and My effulgence. By God, the True One! I am Trustworthiness and
the revelation thereof, and the beauty thereof. I will recompense whosoever
will cleave unto Me, and recognize My rank and station, and hold fast unto My
hem. I am the most great ornament of the people of Bahá, and the vesture of
glory unto all who are in the kingdom of creation. I am the supreme instrument
for the prosperity of the world, and the horizon of assurance unto all beings."
Thus have We sent down for thee that which will draw men nigh unto the Lord of
creation.'
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 3

By God! This Bird of Heaven, now dwelling upon the dust, can, besides these
melodies, utter a myriad songs, and is able, apart from these utterances, to
unfold innumerable mysteries. Every single note of its unpronounced
utterances is immeasurably exalted above all that hath already been revealed,
and immensely glorified beyond that which hath streamed from this Pen. Let
the future disclose the hour when the Brides of inner meaning will, as
decreed by the Will of God, hasten forth, unveiled, out of their mystic
mansions, and manifest themselves in the ancient realm of being. Nothing
whatsoever is possible without His permission; no power can endure save
through His power, and there is none other God but He. His is the world of
creation, and His the Cause of God. All proclaim His Revelation, and all
unfold the mysteries of His Spirit.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 175

XXI. O Salmán! The door of the knowledge of the Ancient Being hath ever been,
and will continue for ever to be, closed in the face of men. No man's
understanding shall ever gain access unto His holy court. As a token of His
mercy, however, and as a proof of His loving-kindness, He hath manifested unto
men the Day Stars of His divine guidance, the Symbols of His divine unity, and
hath ordained the knowledge of these sanctified Beings to be identical with the
knowledge of His own Self. Whoso recognizeth them hath recognized God. Whoso
hearkeneth to their call, hath hearkened to the Voice of God, and whoso
testifieth to the truth of their Revelation, hath testified to the truth of God
Himself. Whoso turneth away from them, hath turned away from God, and whoso
disbelieveth in them, hath disbelieved in God. Every one of them is the Way of
God that connecteth this world with the realms above, and the Standard of His
Truth unto every one in the kingdoms of earth and heaven. They are the
Manifestations of God amidst men, the evidences of His Truth, and the signs of
His glory.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 49


Chapter 34

Sealed Prophecies

In another instance, it is said: "Our Cause is sorely trying, highly perplexing;
none can bear it except a favorite of heaven, or an inspired Prophet, or he
whose faith God hath tested."
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 82

The following prophecy about Muhammad and the 12 Imams in the Book of
Revelation appears to be an example of a Sealed Prophecy.

12:1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with
the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of
twelve stars:
-- Bible: Revelation

21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven
and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God
out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
-- Bible: Revelation

The Law of God is also compared to an adorned bride who appears with
most beautiful ornaments, as it has been said in chapter 21 of the
Revelation of St. John: "And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem,
coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for
her husband." And in chapter 12, verse 1, it is said: "And there
appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and
the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars."
This woman is that bride, the Law of God that descended upon Muhammad.
The sun with which she was clothed, and the moon which was under her
feet, are the two nations which are under the shadow of that Law, the
Persian and Ottoman kingdoms; for the emblem of Persia is the sun, and
that of the Ottoman Empire is the crescent moon. Thus the sun and moon
are the emblems of two kingdoms which are under the power of the Law
of God. Afterward it is said: "upon her head is a crown of twelve stars."
These twelve stars are the twelve Imáms, who were the promoters of the
Law of Muhammad and the educators of the people, shining like stars in
the heaven of guidance.
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 68

The term "suns" hath many a time been applied in the writings of the
"immaculate Souls" unto the Prophets of God, those luminous Emblems of
Detachment. Among those writings are the following words recorded in the
"Prayer of Nudbih": "Whither are gone the resplendent Suns? Whereunto have
departed those shining Moons and sparkling Stars?" Thus, it hath become
evident that the terms "sun," "moon," and "stars" primarily signify the
Prophets of God, the saints, and their companions, those Luminaries, the
light of Whose knowledge hath shed illumination upon the worlds of the
visible and the invisible.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 35

Bahá'u'lláh uses similar symbolism to the passage from Revelation in the
Tablet of the Maiden to announce his revelation.

Praise be to Thee, O God, My God. I make mention of Thee at this time,
when the sun of Thy Godhead hath risen from the horizon of the splendid
divinity of Thy oneness,...

There arose the houri (maiden), Who had dwelt in pre-eternity in the
pavilions of holiness, protection, and glorification and in the canopies
of sinlessness, greatness and splendor...

... Then the firmament was illumined by the radiance of its light,
contingent beings were made resplendent by its appearance and effulgence,
and by its rays infinite numbers of suns dawned forth, as though they
trekked through heavens that were without beginning or end. I became
bewildered at the pen of God's handiwork, and at what it had inscribed
upon Her temple. It was as though She had appeared with a body of light in
the forms of the spirit, as though She moved upon the earth of essence in
the substance of manifestation. I noticed that the houris had poked their
heads out of their rooms and were suspended in the air above Her. They grew
perplexed at Her appearance and Her beauty, and were entranced by the
raptures of Her song. Praise be to Her creator, fashioner, and maker -- to
the one Who made Her manifest...

Thus do we address you, O concourse of paradise, with a vision of eternity.
Interpret it for Me, if ye can interpret the vision of the spirit.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, the Tablet of the Maiden (a provisional translation)


Chapter 35

"Servant/servitude" as a reference to prophets.

Certain ones among you have said: "He it is Who hath laid claim to be God." By
God! This is a gross calumny. I am but a servant of God Who hath believed in Him
and in His signs, and in His Prophets and in His angels. My tongue, and My
heart, and My inner and My outer being testify that there is no God but Him,
that all others have been created by His behest, and been fashioned through the
operation of His Will. There is none other God but Him, the Creator, the Raiser
from the dead, the Quickener, the Slayer. I am He that telleth abroad the favors
with which God hath, through His bounty, favored Me. If this be My
transgression, then I am truly the first of the transgressors. I and My kindred
are at your mercy. Do ye as ye please, and be not of them that hesitate, that I
might return to God My Lord, and reach the place where I can no longer behold
your faces. This, indeed, is My dearest wish, My most ardent desire. Of My state
God is, verily, sufficiently informed, observant.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 228

At this time the breeze of God is wafted and the spirit of God hath surrounded.
The pen is withheld from motion and the tongue hath ceased utterance. Briefly:
In this station the declaration of divinity and the like have appeared from them,
while in the station of messengership they have declared prophethood. Likewise
in every station they have made a declaration expedient thereto and have attributed
all these to themselves; (declarations) concerning the world of command, the world
of creation, the worlds of divinity, and the worlds of phenomena. Therefore whatever
they may say and claim, including divinity, deity, prophethood, messengership,
successorship, imamat or servitude is true and without doubt. Consequently these
proven statements should be reflected upon, that no one may be overtaken in the
sayings of the Manifestations of the Invisible and Dawning-places of Holiness.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Bahá'í scriptures, p. 48

It hath ever been evident that all these divergencies of utterance are attributable
to differences of station. Thus, viewed from the standpoint of their oneness and
sublime detachment, the attributes of Godhead, Divinity, Supreme Singleness, and
Inmost Essence, have been, and are applicable to those Essences of Being, inasmuch
as they all abide on the throne of Divine Revelation, and are established upon the seat
of Divine Concealment. Through their appearance the Revelation of God is made
manifest, and by their countenance the Beauty of God is revealed. Thus it is that the
accents of God Himself have been heard uttered by these Manifestations of the
Divine Being.

Viewed in the light of their second station--the station of distinction, differentiation,
temporal limitations, characteristics and standards--they manifest absolute servitude,
utter destitution, and complete self-effacement. Even as He saith: "I am the servant of
God. I am but a man like you."...
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 53

Assist ye, O My people, My chosen servants who have arisen to make mention of
Me among My creatures and to exalt My Word throughout My realm. These, truly,
are the stars of the heaven of My loving providence and the lamps of My
guidance unto all mankind. But he whose words conflict with that which hath
been sent down in My Holy Tablets is not of Me. Beware lest ye follow any
impious pretender. These Tablets are embellished with the seal of Him Who
causeth the dawn to appear, Who lifteth up His voice between the heavens and
the earth. Lay hold on this Sure Handle and on the Cord of My mighty and
unassailable Cause.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 61

O servant! Warn thou the servants of God not to reject that which they do not
comprehend. Say, implore God to open to your hearts the portals of true
understanding that ye may be apprised of that of which no one is apprised.
Verily, He is the Giver, the Forgiving, the Compassionate.

Thou hast moreover asked Me concerning the ordinances of God. Know thou of a
truth that whatsoever hath been prescribed in the Book is indeed the truth, no
doubt is there about it, and it is incumbent upon everyone to observe that
which hath been sent down by Him Who is the Revealer, the All-Knowing. Were a
man to put them away despite his being aware thereof, God would truly be clear
of such a one and We too would be clear of him, inasmuch as His ordinances
constitute the fruits of the divine Tree and none other than the heedless and
the wayward will deviate therefrom.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 188-189

As to my station, it is that of the servant of Bahá; `Abdu'l-Bahá, the visible
expression of servitude to the Threshold of the Abhá Beauty.
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Bahá, p. 56

30. O SON OF MAN!
Deny not My servant should he ask anything from thee, for his face is My face be
then abashed before Me.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words of Bahá'u'lláh.

The Independent Prophet (Bahá'u'lláh) is the Face of God and receives his
revelation directly from God. The dependent prophets are the Face of the
Independent Prophet and receive their revelation from the Independent
Prophet (Bahá'u'lláh) as indicated above -- they are also the Face of God.
"be then abashed before Me" -- recognise the station/sovereignity of the
prophet -- the sovereignity of God.


Chapter 36

Seventh Valley - The Valley of True Poverty and Absolute Nothingness

This station is the dying from self and the living in God, the being
poor in self and rich in the Desired One. Poverty as here referred to
signifieth being poor in the things of the created world, rich in the
things of God's world. For when the true lover and devoted friend
reacheth to the presence of the Beloved, the sparkling beauty of the
Loved One and the fire of the lover's heart will kindle a blaze and
burn away all veils and wrappings. Yea, all he hath, from heart to skin,
will be set aflame, so that nothing will remain save the Friend.

When the qualities of the Ancient of Days
stood revealed,
Then the qualities of earthly things did
Moses burn away.

He who hath attained this station is sanctified from all that pertaineth
to the world. Wherefore, if those who have come to the sea of His presence
are found to possess none of the limited things of this perishable world,
whether it be outer wealth or personal opinions, it mattereth not.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys, p. 36


Chapter 37

References on "signs" -- the signs of prophets.

"The breezes of the Most Merciful have passed over all created things;
happy the man that hath discovered their fragrance, and set himself
towards them with a sound heart. Attire thy temple with the ornament of
My Name, and thy tongue with remembrance of Me, and thine heart with love
for Me, the Almighty, the Most High. We have desired for thee naught
except that which is better for thee than what thou dost possess and all
the treasures of the earth. Thy Lord, verily, is knowing, informed of
all. Arise, in My Name, amongst My servants, and say: `O ye peoples of
the earth! Turn yourselves towards Him Who hath turned towards you. He,
verily, is the Face of God amongst you, and His Testimony and His Guide
unto you. He hath come to you with signs which none can produce.' The
voice of the Burning Bush is raised in the midmost heart of the world,
and the Holy Spirit calleth aloud among the nations: `Lo, the Desired One
is come with manifest dominion!'
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 48

Say: The first and foremost testimony establishing His truth is His own Self.
Next to this testimony is His Revelation. For whoso faileth to recognize
either the one or the other He hath established the words He hath revealed as
proof of His reality and truth. This is, verily, an evidence of His tender
mercy unto men. He hath endowed every soul with the capacity to recognize the
signs of God. How could He, otherwise, have fulfilled His testimony unto men,
if ye be of them that ponder His Cause in their hearts. He will never deal
unjustly with any one, neither will He task a soul beyond its power. He,
verily, is the Compassionate, the All-Merciful.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 105

VII. Verily I say, this is the Day in which mankind can behold the Face, and
hear the Voice, of the Promised One. The Call of God hath been raised, and
the light of His countenance hath been lifted up upon men. It behoveth every
man to blot out the trace of every idle word from the tablet of his heart,
and to gaze, with an open and unbiased mind, on the signs of His Revelation,
the proofs of His Mission, and the tokens of His glory.

Great indeed is this Day! The allusions made to it in all the sacred
Scriptures as the Day of God attest its greatness. The soul of every Prophet
of God, of every Divine Messenger, hath thirsted for this wondrous Day. All
the divers kindreds of the earth have, likewise, yearned to attain it. No
sooner, however, had the Day Star of His Revelation manifested itself in the
heaven of God's Will, than all, except those whom the Almighty was pleased
to guide, were found dumbfounded and heedless.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 10

XVI. Say: O men! This is a matchless Day. Matchless must, likewise, be the
tongue that celebrateth the praise of the Desire of all nations, and
matchless the deed that aspireth to be acceptable in His sight. The whole
human race hath longed for this Day, that perchance it may fulfil that which
well beseemeth its station, and is worthy of its destiny. Blessed is the man
whom the affairs of the world have failed to deter from recognizing Him Who
is the Lord of all things.

So blind hath become the human heart that neither the disruption of the city,
nor the reduction of the mountain in dust, nor even the cleaving of the
earth, can shake off its torpor. The allusions made in the Scriptures have
been unfolded, and the signs recorded therein have been revealed, and the
prophetic cry is continually being raised. And yet all, except such as God
was pleased to guide, are bewildered in the drunkenness of their heedlessness!
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 39

Only when the lamp of search, of earnest striving, of longing desire, of
passionate devotion, of fervid love, of rapture, and ecstasy, is kindled
within the seeker's heart, and the breeze of His loving-kindness is wafted
upon his soul, will the darkness of error be dispelled, the mists of doubts
and misgivings be dissipated, and the lights of knowledge and certitude
envelop his being. At that hour will the Mystic Herald, bearing the joyful
tidings of the Spirit, shine forth from the City of God resplendent as the
morn, and, through the trumpet-blast of knowledge, will awaken the heart,
the soul, and the spirit from the slumber of heedlessness. Then will the
manifold favors and outpouring grace of the holy and everlasting Spirit
confer such new life upon the seeker that he will find himself endowed with
a new eye, a new ear, a new heart, and a new mind. He will contemplate the
manifest signs of the universe, and will penetrate the hidden mysteries of
the soul. Gazing with the eye of God, he will perceive within every atom a
door that leadeth him to the stations of absolute certitude. He will discover
in all things the mysteries of Divine Revelation, and the evidences of an
everlasting Manifestation.

I swear by God! Were he that treadeth the path of guidance and seeketh to
scale the heights of righteousness to attain unto this glorious and exalted
station, he would inhale, at a distance of a thousand leagues, the fragrance
of God, and would perceive the resplendent morn of a Divine guidance rising
above the Day Spring of all things. Each and every thing, however small,
would be to him a revelation, leading him to his Beloved, the Object of his
quest. So great shall be the discernment of this seeker that he will
discriminate between truth and falsehood, even as he doth distinguish the
sun from shadow. If in the uttermost corners of the East the sweet savors
of God be wafted, he will assuredly recognize and inhale their fragrance,
even though he be dwelling in the uttermost ends of the West. He will,
likewise, clearly distinguish all the signs of God--His wondrous utterances,
His great works, and mighty deeds--from the doings, the words and ways of
men, even as the jeweler who knoweth the gem from the stone, or the man who
distinguisheth the spring from autumn, and heat from cold. When the channel
of the human soul is cleansed of all worldly and impeding attachments, it
will unfailingly perceive the breath of the Beloved across immeasurable
distances, and will, led by its perfume, attain and enter the City of
Certitude.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 267

Say: Is there any doubt concerning God? Behold how He hath come down from
the heaven of His grace, girded with power and invested with sovereignty. Is
there any doubt concerning His signs? Open ye your eyes, and consider His
clear evidence. Paradise is on your right hand, and hath been brought nigh
unto you, while Hell hath been made to blaze. Witness its devouring flame.
Haste ye to enter into Paradise, as a token of Our mercy unto you, and drink
ye from the hands of the All-Merciful the Wine that is life indeed.

Drink with healthy relish, O people of Bahá. Ye are indeed they with whom it
shall be well. This is what they who have near access to God have attained.
This is the flowing water ye were promised in the Qur'án, and later in the
Bayán, as a recompense from your Lord, the God of Mercy. Blessed are they
that quaff it.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 45

XXI. O Salmán! The door of the knowledge of the Ancient Being hath ever
been, and will continue for ever to be, closed in the face of men. No man's
understanding shall ever gain access unto His holy court. As a token of His
mercy, however, and as a proof of His loving-kindness, He hath manifested
unto men the Day Stars of His divine guidance, the Symbols of His divine
unity, and hath ordained the knowledge of these sanctified Beings to be
identical with the knowledge of His own Self. Whoso recognizeth them hath
recognized God. Whoso hearkeneth to their call, hath hearkened to the Voice
of God, and whoso testifieth to the truth of their Revelation, hath
testified to the truth of God Himself. Whoso turneth away from them, hath
turned away from God, and whoso disbelieveth in them, hath disbelieved in
God. Every one of them is the Way of God that connecteth this world with
the realms above, and the Standard of His Truth unto every one in the
kingdoms of earth and heaven. They are the Manifestations of God amidst
men, the evidences of His Truth, and the signs of His glory.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 49

From the Quran

12:1 A.L.R. These are the symbols (or Verses) of the perspicuous Book.

12:2 We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur'án, in order that ye may learn
wisdom.

12:3 We do relate unto thee the most beautiful of stories, in that We reveal
to thee this (portion of the) Qur'án: before this, thou too was among
those who knew it not.

12:4 Behold! Joseph said to his father: "O my father! I did see eleven stars
and the sun and the moon: I saw them prostrate themselves to me!"

12:5 Sa'íd (the father): "My (dear) little son! relate not thy vision to thy
brothers, lest they concoct a plot against thee: for Satan is to man an
avowed enemy!

12:6 "Thus will thy Lord choose thee and teach thee the interpretation of
stories (and events) and perfect His favour to thee and to the posterity
of Jacob - even as He perfected it to thy fathers Abraham and Isaac
aforetime! for God is full of knowledge and wisdom."

12:7 Verily in Joseph and his brethren are signs (or symbols) for seekers
(after Truth).
-- Qur'an: 12 - YUSUF

From the Bible

7:10 Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying,

7:11 Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in
the height above.

7:12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD.

7:13 And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you
to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?

7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall
conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
-- Bible: Isaiah.

In the passage below, Muhammad instructs his followers "be not divided among
yourselves", "Be not like those who are divided amongst themselves and fall into
disputations after receiving Clear Signs: For them is a dreadful penalty,-". There
are many references to "Clear Signs" in the Quran all of which point to the
appearance of prophets -- In the passage below it can be interpreted as a
reference to the Imams.

3:102 O ye who believe! Fear God as He should be feared, and die not except
in a state of Islám.

3:103 And hold fast, all together, by the rope which God (stretches out
for you), and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with
gratitude God's favour on you; for ye were enemies and He joined
your hearts in love, so that by His Grace, ye became brethren; and
ye were on the brink of the pit of Fire, and He saved you from it.
Thus doth God make His Signs clear to you: That ye may be guided.

3:104 Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is
good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: They
are the ones to attain felicity.

3:105 Be not like those who are divided amongst themselves and fall into
disputations after receiving Clear Signs: For them is a dreadful
penalty,-

3:106 On the Day when some faces will be (lit up with) white, and some
faces will be (in the gloom of) black: To those whose faces will
be black, (will be said): "Did ye reject Faith after accepting it?
Taste then the penalty for rejecting Faith."

3:107 But those whose faces will be (lit with) white,- they will be in
(the light of) God's mercy: therein to dwell (for ever).

3:108 These are the Signs of God: We rehearse them to thee in Truth: And
God means no injustice to any of His creatures.
-- The Qur'an: 3 - AL-I-IMRAN,


Chapter 38

"Stars" as a reference to prophets

XXI. O Salmán! The door of the knowledge of the Ancient Being hath ever been,
and will continue for ever to be, closed in the face of men. No man's
understanding shall ever gain access unto His holy court. As a token of His
mercy, however, and as a proof of His loving-kindness, He hath manifested unto
men the Day Stars of His divine guidance, the Symbols of His divine unity, and
hath ordained the knowledge of these sanctified Beings to be identical with the
knowledge of His own Self. Whoso recognizeth them hath recognized God. Whoso
hearkeneth to their call, hath hearkened to the Voice of God, and whoso
testifieth to the truth of their Revelation, hath testified to the truth of
God Himself. Whoso turneth away from them, hath turned away from God, and
whoso disbelieveth in them, hath disbelieved in God. Every one of them is the
Way of God that connecteth this world with the realms above, and the Standard
of His Truth unto every one in the kingdoms of earth and heaven. They are the
Manifestations of God amidst men, the evidences of His Truth, and the signs of
His glory.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 49

The term "suns" hath many a time been applied in the writings of the
"immaculate Souls" unto the Prophets of God, those luminous Emblems of
Detachment. Among those writings are the following words recorded in
the "Prayer of Nudbih": "Whither are gone the resplendent Suns? Whereunto
have departed those shining Moons and sparkling Stars?" Thus, it hath
become evident that the terms "sun," "moon," and "stars" primarily signify
the Prophets of God, the saints, and their companions, those Luminaries,
the light of Whose knowledge hath shed illumination upon the worlds of
the visible and the invisible.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 35

And now, to resume Our argument concerning the question: Why is it that the
sovereignty of the Qá'im, affirmed in the text of recorded traditions, and
handed down by the shining stars of the Muhammadan Dispensation [the Imams],
hath not in the least been made manifest?
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 106

12:1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with
the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of
twelve stars:
-- Bible: Revelation

The Law of God is also compared to an adorned bride who appears with
most beautiful ornaments, as it has been said in chapter 21 of the
Revelation of St. John: "And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem,
coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for
her husband." And in chapter 12, verse 1, it is said: "And there
appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and
the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars."
This woman is that bride, the Law of God that descended upon Muhammad.
The sun with which she was clothed, and the moon which was under her
feet, are the two nations which are under the shadow of that Law, the
Persian and Ottoman kingdoms; for the emblem of Persia is the sun, and
that of the Ottoman Empire is the crescent moon. Thus the sun and moon
are the emblems of two kingdoms which are under the power of the Law
of God. Afterward it is said: "upon her head is a crown of twelve stars."
These twelve stars are the twelve Imáms, who were the promoters of the
Law of Muhammad and the educators of the people, shining like stars in
the heaven of guidance.
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 68

If we ponder a while over the Qur'ánic verses and proofs, and the traditional
accounts which have come down to us from those stars of the heaven of Divine
Unity, the Holy Imáms, we shall be convinced of the fact that if a soul is
endowed with the attributes of true faith and characterized with spiritual
qualities he will become to all mankind an emblem of the outstretched mercies
of God.
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 55

Ages rolled away, until they attained their consummation in this, the Lord of
days, the Day whereon the Day Star of the Bayán manifested itself above the
horizon of mercy, the Day in which the Beauty of the All-Glorious shone forth
in the exalted person of `Alí-Muhammad, the Báb.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 145


Chapter 39

"Step" -- as a reference to the appearance of prophets on earth


from heaven.

Consider the past. How many, both high and low, have, at all times,
yearningly awaited the advent of the Manifestations of God in the
sanctified persons of His chosen Ones. How often have they expected His
coming, how frequently have they prayed that the breeze of divine mercy
might blow, and the promised Beauty step forth from behind the veil of
concealment, and be made manifest to all the world. And whensoever the
portals of grace did open, and the clouds of divine bounty did rain upon
mankind, and the light of the Unseen did shine above the horizon of
celestial might, they all denied Him, and turned away from His face -- the
face of God Himself. Refer ye, to verify this truth, to that which hath
been recorded in every sacred Book.
--Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 4

And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet."[1] Rendered
into the Persian tongue,[2] the purport of these words is as follows: When
the oppression and afflictions that are to befall mankind will have come to
pass, then shall the sun be withheld from shining, the moon from giving
light, the stars of heaven shall fall upon the earth, and the pillars of
the earth shall quake. At that time, the signs of the Son of man shall
appear in heaven, that is, the promised Beauty and Substance of life shall,
when these signs have appeared, step forth out of the realm of the
invisible into the visible world. And He saith: at that time, all the
peoples and kindreds that dwell on earth shall bewail and lament, and they
shall see that divine Beauty coming from heaven, riding upon the clouds
with power, grandeur, and magnificence, sending His angels with a great
sound of a trumpet. Similarly, in the three other Gospels, according to
Luke, Mark, and John, the same statements are recorded. As We have referred
at length to these in Our Tablets revealed in the Arabic tongue, We have
made no mention of them in these pages, and have confined Ourselves to but
one reference.
--Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 25

O thou honoured enquirer! [1] We bear witness that thou didst firmly adhere
unto seemly patience during the days when the Pen was held back from
movement and the Tongue hesitated to set forth an explanation regarding the
wondrous sign, the Most Great Infallibility. Thou hast asked this Wronged
One to remove for thee its veils and coverings, to elucidate its mystery
and character, its state and position, its excellence, sublimity and
exaltation. By the life of God! Were We to unveil the pearls of testimony
which lie hid within the shells of the ocean of knowledge and assurance or
to let the beauties of divine mystery which are hidden within the chambers
of utterance in the Paradise of true understanding, step out of their
habitation, then from every direction violent commotion would arise among
the leaders of religion and thou wouldst witness the people of God held
fast in the teeth of such wolves as have denied God both in the beginning
and in the end. Therefore We restrained the Pen for a considerable lapse of
time in accordance with divine wisdom and for the sake of protecting the
faithful from those who have bartered away heavenly blessings for disbelief
and have chosen for their people the abode of perdition.
--Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 106

Say: Step out of Thy holy chamber, O Maid of Heaven, inmate of the Exalted
Paradise! Drape thyself in whatever manner pleaseth Thee in the silken
Vesture of Immortality, and put on, in the name of the All-Glorious, the
broidered Robe of Light. Hear, then, the sweet, the wondrous accent of the
Voice that cometh from the Throne of Thy Lord, the Inaccessible, the Most
High. Unveil Thy face, and manifest the beauty of the black-eyed Damsel,
and suffer not the servants of God to be deprived of the light of Thy
shining countenance. Grieve not if Thou hearest the sighs of the dwellers
of the earth, or the voice of the lamentation of the denizens of heaven.
Leave them to perish on the dust of extinction. Let them be reduced to
nothingness, inasmuch as the flame of hatred hath been kindled within their
breasts. Intone, then, before the face of the peoples of earth and heaven,
and in a most melodious voice, the anthem of praise, for a remembrance of
Him Who is the King of the names and attributes of God. Thus have We
decreed Thy destiny. Well able are We to achieve Our purpose.
--Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 282


Chapter 40

The "Sun", the Independent prophet; the "Moon", dependent prophet.

Thus, by the "sun" in one sense is meant those Suns of Truth Who rise from
the dayspring of ancient glory, and fill the world with a liberal effusion
of grace from on high. These Suns of Truth are the universal Manifestations
of God in the worlds of His attributes and names...

The term "suns" hath many a time been applied in the writings of the
"immaculate Souls" unto the Prophets of God, those luminous Emblems of

Detachment. Among those writings are the following words recorded in the
"Prayer of Nudbih":[1] "Whither are gone the resplendent Suns? Whereunto
have departed those shining Moons and sparkling Stars?" Thus, it hath
become evident that the terms "sun," "moon," and "stars" primarily signify
the Prophets of God, the saints, and their companions, those Luminaries,
the light of Whose knowledge hath shed illumination upon the worlds of the
visible and the invisible. [1 "Lamentation" attributed to the Twelfth
Imam.]
--Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 33-35

Universally, the Prophets are of two kinds. One are the independent
Prophets Who are followed; the other kind are not independent and are

themselves followers..

The independent Prophets are the lawgivers and the founders of a new
cycle.. They are like the sun which is luminous in itself..

The other Prophets are followers and promoters, for they are branches and
not independent; they receive the bounty of the independent Prophets, and
they profit by the light of the Guidance of the universal Prophets. They
are like the moon, which is not luminous and radiant in itself, but
receives its light from the sun...
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p.165


O Thou kind Lord! From the horizon of detachment Thou hast manifested souls
that, even as the shining moon, shed radiance upon the realm of heart and
soul, rid themselves from the attributes of the world of existence and

hastened forth unto the kingdom of immortality. With a drop from the ocean
of Thy loving kindness Thou didst oft-times moisten the gardens of their
hearts until they gained incomparable freshness and beauty. The holy
fragrance of Thy divine unity was diffused far and wide, shedding its sweet
savours over the entire world, causing the regions of the earth to be
redolent with perfume.

Raise up then, O Spirit of Purity, souls who, like those sanctified beings,
will become free and pure, Will adorn the world of being with a new raiment
and a wondrous robe, will seek no one else but Thee, tread no path except
the path of Thy good-pleasure and will speak of naught but the mysteries of

Thy Cause.
--Compilations, Fire and Light


91:1 By the Sun and his (glorious) splendour;

91:2 By the Moon as she follows him;

91:3 By the Day as it shows up (the Sun's) glory;

91:4 By the Night as it conceals it;
-- Qur'an: 91 - ASH-SHAMS.

The Prophet is the Sun and Imam Ali is the Moon. The Day refers to the
Imams and the Night to the Caliphate which "covered" Imam Ali.
(From the writings of the Imams as cited in "Introduction to Shi'i Islam"
by Moojan Momen, p. 151-153).


XCI. Amongst the proofs demonstrating the truth of this Revelation is this,
that in every age and Dispensation, whenever the invisible Essence was

revealed in the person of His Manifestation, certain souls, obscure and

detached from all worldly entanglements, would seek illumination from the
Sun of Prophethood and Moon of Divine guidance, and would attain unto the
Divine Presence. For this reason, the divines of the age and those
possessed of wealth, would scorn and scoff at these people. Even as He hath
revealed concerning them that erred: "Then said the chiefs of His people
who believed not, 'We see in Thee but a man like ourselves; and we see not
any who have followed Thee except our meanest ones of hasty judgment, nor
see we any excellence in you above ourselves: nay, we deem you liars.'"
They caviled at those holy Manifestations, and protested saying: "None hath
followed you except the abject amongst us, those who are worthy of no
attention." Their aim was to show that no one amongst the learned, the
wealthy, and the renowned believed in them. By this and similar proofs they
sought to demonstrate the falsity of Him that speaketh naught but the
truth.
--Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 179

Assist Thou Thy servants, O my Lord, to recognize Thy unity and to declare
Thy oneness, that all may gather together around what Thou didst desire in
this Day whereon the sun of Thine essence hath shone forth above the
horizon of Thy will, and the moon of Thine own being hath risen from the
Day-Spring of Thy behest. Thou art He, O my Lord, from Whose knowledge
nothing whatsoever escapeth, and Whom no one can frustrate. Thou doest Thy
pleasure, by Thy sovereignty that overshadoweth the worlds.
--Bahá'u'lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá'u'lláh, p. 57


For example, this lamp sheds light and the moon illumines the night with
its silvery beams, but neither light is self created.

His Holiness the Christ is like unto the sun; his light issued forth from
his own identity. He received it not from another person - therefore we

give him the comprehensive title of the "word." By this we mean the
all-comprehending reality and the depository of the infinite divine
characteristics. This "word" has an honorary beginning and not a beginning
of time. For instance, we say this person has precedence over all. This
precedence comes to him through the station and honor which he now holds in
life, but it is not a precedence of time. In reality the "word" has neither
beginning nor ending. The letters of the "word" are those qualities which
appeared in Christ and not his physical body. These attributes were from
God - like unto the rays of the sun reflected in a clear mirror. The rays,
the light and the heat of the sun are its qualities which have become
manifest in the mirror. It is evident that these qualities were ever with
God, even at this time they are with hi, they are inseparable from him
because divinity is not subject to division. Division is a sign of
imperfection and God is the perfect one.

It is clear that the attributes of divinity are co-equal and co-existent
with the essence. In that station there is absolute unity. Ths is brief is
the exposition of the station of the Christ.
--Abdu'l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 148


Chapter 41

References on "Tablet of God" - the revealed word of God.

O King of Berlin! Give ear unto the Voice calling from this manifest Temple:
Verily, there is none other God but Me, the Everlasting, the Peerless, the
Ancient of Days. Take heed lest pride debar thee from recognizing the
Dayspring of Divine Revelation, lest earthly desires shut thee out, as by
a veil, from the Lord of the Throne above and of the earth below. Thus
counselleth thee the Pen of the Most High. He, verily, is the Most Gracious,
the All-Bountiful. Do thou remember the one whose power transcended thy
power (Napoleon III), and whose station excelled thy station. Where is he?
Whither are gone the things he possessed? Take warning, and be not of them
that are fast asleep. He it was who cast the Tablet of God behind him, when
We made known unto him what the hosts of tyranny had caused Us to suffer.
Wherefore, disgrace assailed him from all sides, and he went down to dust in
great loss. Think deeply, O King, concerning him, and concerning them who,
like unto thee, have conquered cities and ruled over men. The All-Merciful
brought them down from their palaces to their graves. Be warned, be of them
who reflect... O banks of the Rhine! We have seen you covered with gore,
inasmuch as the swords of retribution were drawn against you; and you shall
have another turn. And We hear the lamentations of Berlin, though she be
today in conspicuous glory.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 39

O concourse of patriarchs! He Whom ye were promised in the Tablets is come.
Fear God, and follow not the vain imaginings of the superstitious. Lay aside
the things ye possess, and take fast hold of the Tablet of God by His
sovereign power. Better is this for you than all your possessions. Unto this
testifieth every understanding heart, and every man of insight. Pride ye
yourselves on My Name and yet shut yourselves out as by a veil from Me? This
indeed is a strange thing!
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 92


Chapter 42

References on "testimony" -- the revelation/teachings of a prophet

The testimony of The Bab

O Kings of the earth! Give ear unto the Voice of God, calling from this
sublime, this fruit-laden Tree, that hath sprung out of the Crimson Hill,
upon the holy Plain, intoning the words: `There is none other God but He,
the Mighty, the All-Powerful, the All-Wise.'... Fear God, O concourse of
kings, and suffer not yourselves to be deprived of this most sublime grace.
Fling away, then, the things ye possess, and take fast hold on the Handle of
God, the Exalted, the Great. Set your hearts towards the Face of God, and
abandon that which your desires have bidden you to follow, and be not of
those who perish. Relate unto them, O Servant, the story of `Alí (the Báb),
when He came unto them with truth, bearing His glorious and weighty Book,
and holding in His hands a testimony and proof from God, and holy and blessed
tokens from Him. Ye, however, O Kings, have failed to heed the Remembrance of
God in His days and to be guided by the lights which arose and shone forth
above the horizon of a resplendent Heaven. Ye examined not His Cause when so
to do would have been better for you than all that the sun shineth upon,
could ye but perceive it. Ye remained careless until the divines of Persia--those
cruel ones--pronounced judgment against Him, and unjustly slew
Him. His spirit ascended unto God, and the eyes of the inmates of Paradise
and the angels that are nigh unto Him wept sore by reason of this cruelty.
Beware that ye be not careless henceforth as ye have been careless aforetime.
Return, then, unto God, your Maker, and be not of the heedless....
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 7


The testimony of Muhammad and the His Family (The Imams)

Muhammad, Himself, as the end of His mission drew nigh, spoke these words:
"Verily, I leave amongst you My twin weighty testimonies: The Book of God and
My Family." Although many traditions had been revealed by that Source of
Prophethood and Mine of divine Guidance, yet He mentioned only that Book,
thereby appointing it as the mightiest instrument and surest testimony for
the seekers; a guide for the people until the Day of Resurrection.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 201


The testimony of the Sixth Imam, Jafar as-Sadiq

And now, concerning His words: "And He shall send His angels...." By
"angels" is meant those who, reinforced by the power of the spirit, have
consumed, with the fire of the love of God, all human traits and limitations,
and have clothed themselves with the attributes of the most exalted Beings
and of the Cherubim. That holy man, Sádiq, in his eulogy of the Cherubim,
saith: "There stand a company of our fellow-Shí'ihs behind the Throne."
Divers and manifold are the interpretations of the words "behind the Throne."
In one sense, they indicate that no true Shí'ihs exist. Even as he hath said
in another passage: "A true believer is likened unto the philosopher's
stone." Addressing subsequently his listener, he saith: "Hast thou ever seen
the philosopher's stone?" Reflect, how this symbolic language, more
eloquent than any speech, however direct, testifieth to the non-existence of
a true believer. Such is the testimony of Sádiq. And now consider, how unfair
and numerous are those who, although they themselves have failed to inhale
the fragrance of belief, have condemned as infidels those by whose word
belief itself is recognized and established.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 78


Testimony of the Manifestation

O friend! It behooveth us not to waive the injunction of God, but rather
acquiesce and submit to that which He hath ordained as His divine Testimony.
This verse is too weighty and pregnant an utterance for this afflicted soul
to demonstrate and expound. God speaketh the truth and leadeth the way. He,
verily, is supreme over all His people; He is the Mighty, the Beneficent.

Likewise, He saith: "Such are the verses of God: with truth do We recite them
to Thee. But in what revelation will they believe, if they reject God and His
verses?" If thou wilt grasp the implication of this verse, thou wilt
recognize the truth that no manifestation greater than the Prophets of God
hath ever been revealed, and no testimony mightier than the testimony of
their revealed verses hath ever appeared upon the earth. Nay, this testimony
no other testimony can ever excel, except that which the Lord thy God willeth.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 205

Heed not the idle contention of those who maintain that the Book and verses
thereof can never be a testimony unto the common people, inasmuch as they
neither grasp their meaning nor appreciate their value. And yet, the
unfailing testimony of God to both the East and the West is none other than
the Qur'án. Were it beyond the comprehension of men, how could it have been
declared as a universal testimony unto all people? If their contention be
true, none would therefore be required, nor would it be necessary for them
to know God, inasmuch as the knowledge of the divine Being transcendeth the
knowledge of His Book, and the common people would not possess the capacity
to comprehend it.

Such contention is utterly fallacious and inadmissible. It is actuated solely
by arrogance and pride. Its motive is to lead the people astray from the
Ridván of divine good-pleasure and to tighten the reins of their authority
over the people. And yet, in the sight of God, these common people are
infinitely superior and exalted above their religious leaders who have turned
away from the one true God. The understanding of His words and the
comprehension of the utterances of the Birds of Heaven are in no wise
dependent upon human learning. They depend solely upon purity of heart,
chastity of soul, and freedom of spirit. This is evidenced by those who,
today, though without a single letter of the accepted standards of learning,
are occupying the loftiest seats of knowledge; and the garden of their hearts
is adorned, through the showers of divine grace, with the roses of wisdom and
the tulips of understanding. Well is it with the sincere in heart for their
share of the light of a mighty Day!
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 210

Were not the happenings of the life of the "Prince of Martyrs" (Imam Husayn)
regarded as the greatest of all events, as the supreme evidence of his truth?
Did not the people of old declare those happenings to be unprecedented? Did
they not maintain that no manifestation of truth hath ever evinced such
constancy, such conspicuous glory? And yet, that episode of his life,
commencing as it did in the morning, was brought to a close by the middle of
the same day, whereas, these holy lights have, for eighteen years, heroically
endured the showers of afflictions which, from every side, have rained upon
them. With what love, what devotion, what exultation and holy rapture, they
sacrificed their lives in the path of the All-Glorious! To the truth of this
all witness. And yet, how can they belittle this Revelation? Hath any age
witnessed such momentous happenings? If these companions be not the true
strivers after God, who else could be called by this name? Have these
companions been seekers after power or glory? Have they ever yearned for
riches? Have they cherished any desire except the good-pleasure of God? If
these companions, with all their marvellous testimonies and wondrous works,
be false, who then is worthy to claim for himself the truth? I swear by God!
Their very deeds are a sufficient testimony, and an irrefutable proof unto
all the peoples of the earth, were men to ponder in their hearts the
mysteries of divine Revelation. "And they who act unjustly shall soon know
what lot awaiteth them!"

Furthermore, the sign of truth and falsehood is designated and appointed in
the Book. By this divinely-appointed touchstone, the claims and pretensions
of all men must needs be assayed, so that the truthful may be known and
distinguished from the imposter. This touchstone is no other than this verse:
"Wish for death, if ye are men of truth." Consider these martyrs of
unquestionable sincerity, to whose truthfulness testifieth the explicit text
of the Book, and all of whom, as thou hast witnessed, have sacrificed their
life, their substance, their wives, their children, their all, and ascended
unto the loftiest chambers of Paradise. Is it fair to reject the testimony
of these detached and exalted beings to the truth of this pre-eminent and
glorious Revelation and to regard as acceptable the denunciations which have
been uttered against this resplendent Light by this faithless people, who
for gold have forsaken their faith, and who for the sake of leadership have
repudiated Him Who is the First Leader of all mankind? This, although their
character is now revealed unto all people who have recognized them as those
who will in no wise relinquish one jot or one tittle of their temporal
authority for the sake of God's holy Faith, how much less their life, their
substance, and the like.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 225-228


The testimony of Muhammad and Imam Ali

11:3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a
thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.

11:4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before
the God of the earth.

11:5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and
devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this
manner be killed.

11:6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their
prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite
the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
-- Bible: Revelation,

And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two
hundred and three-score days, clothed in sackcloth." These two witnesses are
Muhammad the Messenger of God, and `Alí, son of Abú Tálib.

In the Qur'án it is said that God addressed Muhammad, the Messenger of God, saying:
"We made You a Witness, a Herald of good news, and a Warner"--that is to say, We
have established Thee as the witness, the giver of good tidings, and as One bringing
the wrath of God. The meaning of "a witness" is one by whose testimony things may
be verified. The commands of these two witnesses were to be performed for twelve
hundred and sixty days, each day signifying a year. Now, Muhammad was the root, and
`Alí the branch, like Moses and Joshua. It is said they "are clothed in sackcloth,"
meaning that they, apparently, were to be clothed in old raiment, not in new raiment;
in other words, in the beginning they would possess no splendor in the eyes of the
people, nor would their Cause appear new; for Muhammad's spiritual Law corresponds to
that of Christ in the Gospel, and most of His laws relating to material things
correspond to those of the Pentateuch. This is the meaning of the old raiment.

Then it is said: "These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing
before the God of the earth." These two souls are likened to olive trees because at
that time all lamps were lighted by olive oil. The meaning is two persons from whom
that spirit of the wisdom of God, which is the cause of the illumination of the world,
appears. These lights of God were to radiate and shine; therefore, they are likened
to two candlesticks: the candlestick is the abode of the light, and from it the light
shines forth. In the same way the light of guidance would shine and radiate from
these illumined souls.
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 48


Chapter 43

References to "throne" -- throne of prophethood, throne of the sovereignty of God.

It is clear and evident to thee that all the Prophets are the Temples of the
Cause of God, Who have appeared clothed in divers attire. If thou wilt observe
with discriminating eyes, thou wilt behold them all abiding in the same
tabernacle, soaring in the same heaven, seated upon the same throne, uttering
the same speech, and proclaiming the same Faith. Such is the unity of those
Essences of being, those Luminaries of infinite and immeasurable splendour.
Wherefore, should one of these Manifestations of Holiness proclaim saying: "I
am the return of all the Prophets," He verily speaketh the truth. In like
manner, in every subsequent Revelation, the return of the former Revelation is
a fact, the truth of which is firmly established. Inasmuch as the return of the
Prophets of God, as attested by verses and traditions, hath been conclusively
demonstrated, the return of their chosen ones also is therefore definitely
proven. This return is too manifest in itself to require any evidence or proof.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 153

The Most Great Law is come, and the Ancient Beauty ruleth upon the throne
of David.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 89

Say, this is the Day when the Speaker on Sinai hath mounted the throne of
Revelation and the people have stood before the Lord of the worlds. This is
the Day wherein the earth hath told out her tidings and hath laid bare her
treasures; when the oceans have brought forth their pearls and the divine
Lote-Tree its fruit; when the Sun hath shed its radiance and the Moons have
diffused their lights, and the Heavens have revealed their stars, and the Hour
its signs, and the Resurrection its dreadful majesty;
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 107

As for the station of the Imams and of the near ones at the threshold of
grandeur, it is that of spiritual honor and glory. Their right is to the authority
of the All-Merciful, and their crown of glory is the dust of the divine path. Their
gleaming scepter is the lights of the bounty of God. Their royal throne is the
seat of hearts, and their exalted and great crown is in the kingdom of God.
They are the monarchs of the world of spirit and heart, not that of water and
clay. They are sovereigns of the realm of the placeless, not of the graveyards
of the contingent world. No one can usurp or plunder this glorious station or
this pre-existent grandeur.
--`Abdu'l-Bahá's "Treatise on Leadership" (a provisional translation)

O followers of the Bayán! Fear ye the All-Merciful. This is the One Who
hath been glorified by Muhammad, the Apostle of God, and before Him by the
Spirit and yet before Him by the One Who discoursed with God. This is the
Point of the Bayán calling aloud before the Throne, saying: `By the
righteousness of God, ye have been created to glorify this Most Great
Announcement, this Perfect Way which lay hid within the souls of the
Prophets, which was treasured in the hearts of the chosen ones of God and
was written down by the glorious Pen of your Lord, the Possessor of Names.'
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 103

O King of Berlin! Give ear unto the Voice calling from this manifest
Temple: Verily, there is none other God but Me, the Everlasting, the
Peerless, the Ancient of Days. Take heed lest pride debar thee from
recognizing the Dayspring of Divine Revelation, lest earthly desires
shut thee out, as by a veil, from the Lord of the Throne above and of
the earth below.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 39

When Christ came they denounced and slew Him, saying: `This is not the
One for whom we wait. Behold when the Messiah shall come, signs and wonders
shall testify that He is in truth the Christ. We know the signs and
conditions, and they have not appeared. The Messiah will arise out of an
unknown city. He shall sit upon the throne of David, and behold, He shall
come with a sword of steel, and with a sceptre of iron shall He rule! He
shall fulfil the law of the Prophets, He shall conquer the East and the
West, and shall glorify His chosen people the Jews. He shall bring with
Him a reign of peace, during which even the animals shall cease to be at
enmity with man. For behold the wolf and the lamb shall drink from the same
spring, and the lion and the doe shall lie down in the same pasture, the
serpent and the mouse shall share the same nest, and all God's creatures
shall be at rest'.

According to the Jews, Jesus the Christ fulfilled none of these conditions,
for their eyes were holden and they could not see.

He came from Nazareth, no unknown place. He carried no sword in His hand,
nor even a stick. He did not sit upon the Throne of David, He was a poor
man. He reformed the Law of Moses, and broke the Sabbath Day. He did not
conquer the East and the West, but was Himself subject to the Roman Law.
He did not exalt the Jews, but taught equality and brotherhood, and
rebuked the Scribes and Pharisees. He brought in no reign of peace, for
during His lifetime injustice and cruelty reached such a height that even
He Himself fell a victim to it, and died a shameful death upon the cross.

Thus the Jews thought and spoke, for they did not understand the Scriptures
nor the glorious truths that were contained in them. The letter they knew
by heart, but of the life-giving spirit they understood not a word.

Hearken, and I will show you the meaning thereof. Although He came from
Nazareth, which was a known place, He also came from Heaven. His body was
born of Mary, but His Spirit came from Heaven. The sword He carried was
the sword of His tongue, with which He divided the good from the evil,
the true from the false, the faithful from the unfaithful, and the light
from the darkness. His Word was indeed a sharp sword! The Throne upon
which He sat is the Eternal Throne from which Christ reigns for ever, a
heavenly throne, not an earthly one, for the things of earth pass away
but heavenly things pass not away. He re-interpreted and completed the
Law of Moses and fulfilled the Law of the Prophets. His word conquered
the East and the West. His Kingdom is everlasting. He exalted those Jews
who recognized Him. They were men and women of humble birth, but contact
with Him made them great and gave them everlasting dignity. The animals
who were to live with one another signified the different sects and
races, who, once having been at war, were now to dwell in love and charity,
drinking together the water of life from Christ the Eternal Spring.
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 56

CXLVII. The Most Great Name beareth Me witness! How sad if any man were,
in this Day, to rest his heart on the transitory things of this world!
Arise, and cling firmly to the Cause of God. Be most loving one to another.
Burn away, wholly for the sake of the Well-Beloved, the veil of self with
the flame of the undying Fire, and with faces joyous and beaming with
light, associate with your neighbor. Ye have well observed, in all its
aspects, the behavior of Him Who is the Word of Truth amidst you. Ye know
full well how hard it is for this Youth to allow, though it be for one
night, the heart of any one of the beloved of God to be saddened by Him.

The Word of God hath set the heart of the world afire; how regrettable if
ye fail to be enkindled with its flame! Please God, ye will regard this
blessed night as the night of unity, will knit your souls together, and
resolve to adorn yourselves with the ornament of a goodly and praiseworthy
character. Let your principal concern be to rescue the fallen from the
slough of impending extinction, and to help him embrace the ancient Faith
of God. Your behavior towards your neighbor should be such as to manifest
clearly the signs of the one true God, for ye are the first among men to
be re-created by His Spirit, the first to adore and bow the knee before
Him, the first to circle round His throne of glory. I swear by Him Who
hath caused Me to reveal whatever hath pleased Him! Ye are better known
to the inmates of the Kingdom on high than ye are known to your own selves.
Think ye these words to be vain and empty? Would that ye had the power to
perceive the things your Lord, the All-Merciful, doth see--things that
attest the excellence of your rank, that bear witness to the greatness of
your worth, that proclaim the sublimity of your station! God grant that
your desires and unmortified passions may not hinder you from that which
hath been ordained for you.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 316

Sanctify thine heart, that thou mayest remember Me; and purge thine ear,
that thou mayest hearken unto My words. Set then thy face towards the Spot
wherein the throne of thy Lord, the God of Mercy, hath been established,
and say: Praise be to Thee, O my Lord, for having enabled me to recognize
the Manifestation of Thine own Self, and aided me to fix mine heart on the
court of Thy presence, the object of my soul's adoration. I beseech Thee,
by Thy name that caused the heavens to be rent and the earth to be cleft
asunder, to ordain for me what Thou didst ordain for them that have turned
away from all else but Thee, and rested their hearts firmly upon Thee.
Grant that I may be seated in Thy presence on the seat of truth, within
the Tabernacle of Glory. Powerful art Thou to do what Thou willest. There
is none other God but Thee, the All-Glorious, the All-Wise.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 313

Say: O people of the Bayán! Did We not admonish you, in all Our Tablets and
in all Our hidden Scriptures, not to follow your evil passions and corrupt
inclinations, but to keep your eyes directed towards the Scene of
transcendent glory, on the Day when the Most Mighty Balance shall be set,
the Day when the sweet melodies of the Spirit of God shall be poured out
from the right hand of the throne of your Lord, the omnipotent Protector,
the All-Powerful, the Holy of Holies? Did We not forbid you to cleave to
the things that would shut you out from the Manifestation of our Beauty, in
its subsequent Revelation, be they the embodiments of the names of God and
all their glory, or the revealers of His attributes and their dominion?
Behold, how, as soon as I revealed Myself, ye have rejected My truth and
turned away from Me, and been of them that have regarded the signs of God
as a play and pastime!
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 292


Chapter 44

The true seeker

CXXV. O My brother!When a true seeker determineth to take the step of
search in the path leading unto the knowledge of the Ancient of Days, he
must, before all else, cleanse his heart, which is the seat of the
revelation of the inner mysteries of God, from the obscuring dust of all
acquired knowledge, and the allusions of the embodiments of satanic fancy.
He must purge his breast, which is the sanctuary of the abiding love of
the Beloved, of every defilement, and sanctify his soul from all that
pertaineth to water and clay, from all shadowy and ephemeral attachments.
He must so cleanse his heart that no remnant of either love or hate may
linger therein, lest that love blindly incline him to error, or that hate
repel him away from the truth. Even as thou dost witness in this Day how
most of the people, because of such love and hate, are bereft of the
immortal Face, have strayed far from the Embodiments of the Divine
mysteries, and, shepherdless, are roaming through the wilderness of oblivion
and error.

That seeker must, at all times, put his trust in God, must renounce the
peoples of the earth, must detach himself from the world of dust, and cleave
unto Him Who is the Lord of Lords. He must never seek to exalt himself above
any one, must wash away from the tablet of his heart every trace of pride
and vain-glory, must cling unto patience and resignation, observe silence
and refrain from idle talk. For the tongue is a smoldering fire, and excess
of speech a deadly poison. Material fire consumeth the body, whereas the
fire of the tongue devoureth both heart and soul. The force of the former
lasteth but for a time, whilst the effects of the latter endureth a century.

That seeker should, also, regard backbiting as grievous error, and keep
himself aloof from its dominion, inasmuch as backbiting quencheth the light
of the heart, and extinguisheth the life of the soul. He should be content
with little, and be freed from all inordinate desire. He should treasure
the companionship of them that have renounced the world, and regard
avoidance of boastful and worldly people a precious benefit. At the dawn
of every day he should commune with God, and, with all his soul, persevere
in the quest of his Beloved. He should consume every wayward thought with
the flame of His loving mention, and, with the swiftness of lightning, pass
by all else save Him. He should succor the dispossessed, and never withhold
his favor from the destitute. He should show kindness to animals, how much
more unto his fellow-man, to him who is endowed with the power of utterance.
He should not hesitate to offer up his life for his Beloved, nor allow the
censure of the people to turn him away from the Truth. He should not wish
for others that which he doth not wish for himself, nor promise that which
he doth not fulfil. With all his heart he should avoid fellowship with
evil-doers, and pray for the remission of their sins. He should forgive the
sinful, and never despise his low estate, for none knoweth what his own
end shall be. How often hath a sinner attained, at the hour of death, to
the essence of faith, and, quaffing the immortal draught, hath taken his
flight unto the Concourse on high! And how often hath a devout believer,
at the hour of his soul's ascension, been so changed as to fall into the
nethermost fire!

Our purpose in revealing these convincing and weighty utterances is to
impress upon the seeker that he should regard all else beside God as
transient, and count all things save Him, Who is the Object of all
adoration, as utter nothingness.

These are among the attributes of the exalted, and constitute the hall-mark
of the spiritually-minded. They have already been mentioned in connection
with the requirements of the wayfarers that tread the path of Positive
Knowledge. When the detached wayfarer and sincere seeker hath fulfilled
these essential conditions, then and only then can he be called a true
seeker. Whensoever he hath fulfilled the conditions implied in the verse:
"Whoso maketh efforts for Us," he shall enjoy the blessings conferred by
the words: "In Our Ways shall We assuredly guide him."

Only when the lamp of search, of earnest striving, of longing desire, of
passionate devotion, of fervid love, of rapture, and ecstasy, is kindled
within the seeker's heart, and the breeze of His loving-kindness is wafted
upon his soul, will the darkness of error be dispelled, the mists of doubts
and misgivings be dissipated, and the lights of knowledge and certitude
envelop his being. At that hour will the Mystic Herald, bearing the joyful
tidings of the Spirit, shine forth from the City of God resplendent as the
morn, and, through the trumpet-blast of knowledge, will awaken the heart,
the soul, and the spirit from the slumber of heedlessness. Then will the
manifold favors and outpouring grace of the holy and everlasting Spirit
confer such new life upon the seeker that he will find himself endowed
with a new eye, a new ear, a new heart, and a new mind. He will
contemplate the manifest signs of the universe, and will penetrate the
hidden mysteries of the soul. Gazing with the eye of God, he will perceive
within every atom a door that leadeth him to the stations of absolute
certitude. He will discover in all things the mysteries of Divine
Revelation, and the evidences of an everlasting Manifestation.

I swear by God! Were he that treadeth the path of guidance and seeketh to
scale the heights of righteousness to attain unto this glorious and exalted
station, he would inhale, at a distance of a thousand leagues, the fragrance
of God, and would perceive the resplendent morn of a Divine guidance rising
above the Day Spring of all things. Each and every thing, however small,
would be to him a revelation, leading him to his Beloved, the Object of his
quest. So great shall be the discernment of this seeker that he will
discriminate between truth and falsehood, even as he doth distinguish the
sun from shadow. If in the uttermost corners of the East the sweet savors of
God be wafted, he will assuredly recognize and inhale their fragrance, even
though he be dwelling in the uttermost ends of the West. He will, likewise,
clearly distinguish all the signs of God--His wondrous utterances, His great
works, and mighty deeds--from the doings, the words and ways of men, even as
the jeweler who knoweth the gem from the stone, or the man who
distinguisheth the spring from autumn, and heat from cold. When the channel
of the human soul is cleansed of all worldly and impeding attachments, it
will unfailingly perceive the breath of the Beloved across immeasurable
distances, and will, led by its perfume, attain and enter the City of
Certitude.

Therein he will discern the wonders of His ancient Wisdom, and will perceive
all the hidden teachings from the rustling leaves of the Tree that
flourisheth in that City. With both his inner and outer ear, he will hear
from its dust the hymns of glory and praise ascending unto the Lord of
Lords, and with his inner eye will he discover the mysteries of "return"
and "revival."

How unspeakably glorious are the signs, the tokens, the revelations, and
splendors which He, Who is the King of Names and Attributes, hath destined
for that City! The attainment unto this City quencheth thirst without water,
and kindleth the love of God without fire. Within every blade of grass are
enshrined the mysteries of an inscrutable Wisdom, and upon every rose-bush
a myriad nightingales pour out, in blissful rapture, their melody. Its
wondrous tulips unfold the mystery of the undying Fire in the Burning Bush,
and its sweet savors of holiness breathe the perfume of the Messianic Spirit.
It bestoweth wealth without gold, and conferreth immortality without death.
In each one of its leaves ineffable delights are treasured, and within every
chamber unnumbered mysteries lie hidden.

They that valiantly labor in quest of God, will, when once they have
renounced all else but Him, be so attached and wedded unto that City, that
a moment's separation from it would to them be unthinkable. They will
hearken unto infallible proofs from the Hyacinth of that assembly, and will
receive the surest testimonies from the beauty of its Rose, and the melody
of its Nightingale. Once in about a thousand years shall this City be
renewed and readorned....

That City is none other than the Word of God revealed in every age and
dispensation. In the days of Moses it was the Pentateuch; in the days of
Jesus, the Gospel; in the days of Muhammad, the Messenger of God,
the Qur'án; in this day, the Bayán; and in the Dispensation of Him Whom
God will make manifest, His own Book--the Book unto which all the Books of
former Dispensations must needs be referred, the Book that standeth amongst
them all transcendent and supreme.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 264

The Valley of Search - first stage
And further: The stages that mark the wayfarer's journey from the abode of
dust to the heavenly homeland are said to be seven. Some have called these
Seven Valleys, and others, Seven Cities. And they say that until the
wayfarer taketh leave of self, and traverseth these stages, he shall never
reach to the ocean of nearness and union, nor drink of the peerless wine.
The first is

THE VALLEY OF SEARCH

The steed of this Valley is patience; without patience the wayfarer on
this journey will reach nowhere and attain no goal. Nor should he ever be
downhearted; if he strive for a hundred thousand years and yet fail to
behold the beauty of the Friend, he should not falter. For those who seek
the Ka'bih of "for Us" rejoice in the tidings: "In Our ways will We guide
them." In their search, they have stoutly girded up the loins of service,
and seek at every moment to journey from the plane of heedlessness into the
realm of being. No bond shall hold them back, and no counsel shall deter
them.

It is incumbent on these servants that they cleanse the heart--which is
the wellspring of divine treasures--from every marking, and that they turn
away from imitation, which is following the traces of their forefathers and
sires, and shut the door of friendliness and enmity upon all the people of
the earth.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys, p. 4


Chapter 45

"Trumpet" -- the call or revelation of a prophet.

Verily We have sounded the Trumpet which is none other than My Pen of
Glory, and lo, mankind hath swooned away before it, save them whom God
pleaseth to deliver as a token of His grace. He is the Lord of bounty, the
Ancient of Days.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 61

Nay, by "trumpet" is meant the trumpet-call of Muhammad's Revelation, which
was sounded in the heart of the universe, and by "resurrection" is meant
His own rise to proclaim the Cause of God. He bade the erring and wayward
arise and speed out of the sepulchres of their bodies, arrayed them with
the beauteous robe of faith, and quickened them with the breath of a new
and wondrous life. Thus at the hour when Muhammad, that divine Beauty,
purposed to unveil one of the mysteries hidden in the symbolic terms
"resurrection," "judgment," "paradise," and "hell," Gabriel, the Voice of
Inspiration, was heard saying: "Erelong will they wag their heads at Thee,
and say, 'When shall this be?' Say: 'Perchance it is nigh.'"[1] The
implications of this verse alone suffice the peoples of the world, were
they to ponder it in their hearts. [1 Qur'an 17:51].
--Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 116

In like manner, two of the people of Kufih went to Ali [Imam Ali], the
Commander of the Faithful... Reflect, had these two souls been quickened
by the trumpet-call of Ali, had they risen from the grave of error by the
power of his love, the judgment of death would certainly not have been
pronounced against them.
--Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 119

Muhammad fortells the coming of the Bab (first Trumpet) and Bahá'u'lláh
(second Trumpet).

39:67 No just estimate have they made of God, such as is due to Him: On the
Day of Judgment the whole of the earth will be but His handful, and the
heavens will be rolled up in His right hand: Glory to Him! High is He above
the Partners they attribute to Him!

39:68 The Trumpet will (just) be sounded, when all that are in the heavens and
on earth will swoon, except such as it will please God (to exempt). Then will
a second one be sounded, when, behold, they will be standing and looking on!

39:69 And the Earth will shine with the Glory of its Lord: the Record (of
Deeds) will be placed (open); the prophets and the witnesses will be brought
forward and a just decision pronounced between them; and they will not be
wronged (in the least).

39:70 And to every soul will be paid in full (the fruit) of its Deeds; and
(God) knoweth best all that they do.
-- Qur'an: 39 - AZ-ZUMAR

Perused ye not the Qur'án? Read it, that haply ye may find the Truth, for
this Book is verily the Straight Path. This is the Way of God unto all who
are in the heavens and all who are on the earth. If ye have been careless
of the Qur'án, the Bayán cannot be regarded to be remote from you. Behold
it open before your eyes. Read ye its verses, lest perchance ye desist from
committing that which will cause the Messengers of God to mourn and lament.

Speed out of your sepulchres. How long will ye sleep? The second blast hath
been blown on the trumpet. On whom are ye gazing? This is your Lord, the
God of Mercy.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 98

Upon Our arrival in Iraq We found the Cause of God sunk in deep apathy and
the breeze of divine revelation stilled. Most of the believers were faint
and dispirited, nay utterly lost and dead. Hence there was a second blast
on the Trumpet, whereupon the Tongue of Grandeur uttered these blessed
words: `We have sounded the Trumpet for the second time.' Thus the whole
world was quickened through the vitalizing breaths of divine revelation and
inspiration.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 131

O Haydar-`Alí! I swear by the righteousness of God! The Blast hath been
blown on the Trumpet of the Bayán as decreed by the Lord, the Merciful, and
all that are in the heavens and on the earth have swooned away except such
as have detached themselves from the world, cleaving fast unto the Cord of
God, the Lord of mankind.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 244


Chapter 46

Qualities needed to understanding the holy writings

The understanding of His words and the comprehension of the utterances
of the Birds of Heaven are in no wise dependent upon human learning.
They depend solely upon purity of heart, chastity of soul, and freedom
of spirit. This is evidenced by those who, today, though without a single
letter of the accepted standards of learning, are occupying the loftiest
seats of knowledge; and the garden of their hearts is adorned, through
the showers of divine grace, with the roses of wisdom and the tulips of
understanding. Well is it with the sincere in heart for their share of the
light of a mighty Day!
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 211

Meditate upon that which hath streamed forth from the heaven of the Will
of thy Lord, He Who is the Source of all grace, that thou mayest grasp
the intended meaning which is enshrined in the sacred depths of the Holy
Writings.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 143

... the reading of the scriptures and holy books is for no other purpose
except to enable the reader to apprehend their meaning and unravel their
innermost mysteries. Otherwise reading, without understanding, is of no
abiding profit unto man.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 172

O servant! Warn thou the servants of God not to reject that which they do not
comprehend. Say, implore God to open to your hearts the portals of true
understanding that ye may be apprised of that of which no one is apprised.
Verily, He is the Giver, the Forgiving, the Compassionate.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 188

This sign of the revelation of the Divine Being in them that have joined
partners with Him may, in a sense, be regarded as a reflection of the glory
with which the faithful are illumined. None, however, can comprehend this
truth save men endued with understanding. They that have truly recognized
the Unity of God should be regarded as the primary manifestations of this
Name. It is they who have quaffed the wine of Divine Unity from the cup
which the hand of God hath proffered unto them, and who have turned their
faces towards Him. How vast the distance that separateth these sanctified
beings from those men that are so far away from God!...
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 191

The heart must needs therefore be cleansed from the idle sayings of men,
and sanctified from every earthly affection, so that it may discover the
hidden meaning of divine inspiration, and become the treasury of the
mysteries of divine knowledge. Thus hath it been said: "He that treadeth
the snow-white Path, and followeth in the footsteps of the Crimson Pillar,
shall never attain unto his abode unless his hands are empty of those
worldly things cherished by men." This is the prime requisite of whosoever
treadeth this path. Ponder thereon, that, with eyes unveiled, thou mayest
perceive the truth of these words.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 70

Blessed is the one who discovereth the fragrance of inner meanings from
the traces of this Pen through whose movement the breezes of God are
wafted over the entire creation, and through whose stillness the very
essence of tranquillity appeareth in the realm of being. Glorified be the
All-Merciful, the Revealer of so inestimable a bounty. Say: Because He
bore injustice, justice hath appeared on earth, and because He accepted
abasement, the majesty of God hath shone forth amidst mankind.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 76

2. O SON OF SPIRIT!
The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away
therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee.
By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of
others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the
knowledge of thy neighbor. Ponder this in thy heart; how it behooveth thee
to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness.
Set it then before thine eyes.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words of Bahá'u'lláh,

Immerse yourselves in the ocean of My words, that ye may unravel its
secrets, and discover all the pearls of wisdom that lie hid in its depths.
Take heed that ye do not vacillate in your determination to embrace the
truth of this Cause--a Cause through which the potentialities of the might
of God have been revealed, and His sovereignty established. With faces
beaming with joy, hasten ye unto Him. This is the changeless Faith of
God, eternal in the past, eternal in the future. Let him that seeketh, attain
it; and as to him that hath refused to seek it--verily, God is Self-Sufficient,
above any need of His creatures.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 118

The attainment of the most great guidance is dependent upon knowledge
and wisdom, and on being informed as to the mysteries of the Holy Words.
Wherefore must the loved ones of God, be they young or old, be they men
or women, each one according to his capabilities, strive to acquire the
various branches of knowledge, and to increase his understanding of the
mysteries of the Holy Books, and his skill in marshalling the divine proofs
and evidences.
-- Compilation, Bahá'í Education, Abdu'l-Bahá

By God! He, the Glory of God (Bahá), hath spoken not from mere impulse.
He that hath given Him a voice is He that hath given a voice unto all
things, that they may praise and glorify Him. There is none other God
but Him, the One, the Incomparable, the Lord of strength, the
Unconditioned.

They whose sight is keen, whose ears are retentive, whose hearts are
enlightened, and whose breasts are dilated, recognize both truth and
falsehood, and distinguish the one from the other.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 9


Chapter 47

References to "Universal Manifestation" - Bahá'u'lláh

Were these people, wholly for the sake of God and with no desire but His
good-pleasure, to ponder the verses of the Book in their heart, they would
of a certainty find whatsoever they seek. In its verses would they find
revealed and manifest all the things, be they great or small, that have
come to pass in this Dispensation. They would even recognize in them
references unto the departure of the Manifestations of the names and
attributes of God from out their native land; to the opposition and
disdainful arrogance of government and people; and to the dwelling and
establishment of the Universal Manifestation in an appointed and specially
designated land. No man, however, can comprehend this except he who is
possessed of an understanding heart.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 174

Briefly, we say a universal cycle in the world of existence signifies a long
duration of time, and innumerable and incalculable periods and epochs. In
such a cycle the Manifestations appear with splendor in the realm of the
visible, until a great and universal Manifestation makes the world the
center of his radiance. His appearance causes the world to attain to
maturity, and the extension of his cycle is very great. Afterwards other
Manifestations will arise under his shadow, who according to the needs of
the time will renew certain commandments relating to material questions and
affairs, while remaining under his shadow.

We are in the cycle which began with Adam, and its universal Manifestation
is Bahá'u'lláh.
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Foundations of World Unity, p. 54

The meaning of this is that any individual who, before the expiry of a full
thousand years--years known and clearly established by common usage and
requiring no interpretation-- should lay claim to a Revelation direct from
God, even though he should reveal certain signs, that man is assuredly false
and an impostor.

This is not a reference to the Universal Manifestation, for it is clearly
set forth in the Holy Writings that centuries, nay thousands of years, must
pass on to completion, before a Manifestation like unto this Manifestation
shall appear again.

It is possible, however, that after the completion of a full thousand years,
certain Holy Beings will be empowered to deliver a Revelation: this,
however, will not be through a Universal Manifestation. Wherefore every day
of the cycle of the Blessed Beauty is in reality equal to one year, and
every year of it is equal to a thousand years.
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Bahá, p. 67


Chapter 48

References on "veil of concealment" -- realm of pre-existence of the prophets.

XIII. Consider the past. How many, both high and low, have, at all times,
yearningly awaited the advent of the Manifestations of God in the
sanctified persons of His chosen Ones. How often have they expected His
coming, how frequently have they prayed that the breeze of Divine mercy
might blow, and the promised Beauty step forth from behind the veil of
concealment, and be made manifest to all the world. And whensoever the
portals of grace did open, and the clouds of divine bounty did rain upon
mankind, and the light of the Unseen did shine above the horizon of
celestial might, they all denied Him, and turned away from His face--the
face of God Himself....
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 17

The Word which the Son concealed is made manifest. It hath been sent down
in the form of the human temple in this day. Blessed be the Lord Who is the
Father! He, verily, is come unto the nations in His most great majesty.
Turn your faces towards Him, O concourse of the righteous... This is the day
whereon the Rock (Peter) crieth out and shouteth, and celebrateth the praise
of its Lord, the All-Possessing, the Most High, saying: `Lo! The Father is
come, and that which ye were promised in the Kingdom is fulfilled!...' My
body longeth for the cross, and Mine head waiteth the thrust of the spear,
in the path of the All-Merciful, that the world may be purged from its
transgressions....
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 84

God testifieth that there is none other God but Him and that He Who hath
appeared is the Hidden Mystery, the Treasured Symbol, the Most Great Book
for all peoples, and the Heaven of bounty for the whole world. He is the Most
Mighty Sign amongst men and the Dayspring of the most august attributes in
the realm of creation. Through Him hath appeared that which had been hidden
from time immemorial and been veiled from the eyes of men. He is the One
Whose Manifestation was announced by the heavenly Scriptures, in former
times and more recently. Whoso acknowledgeth belief in Him and in His signs
and testimonies hath in truth acknowledged that which the Tongue of Grandeur
uttered ere the creation of earth and heaven and the revelation of the Kingdom
of Names. Through Him the ocean of knowledge hath surged amidst mankind
and the river of divine wisdom hath gushed out at the behest of God, the Lord
of Days.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 47

Arise, and proclaim unto the entire creation the tidings that He Who is
the All-Merciful hath directed His steps towards the Ridván and entered
it. Guide, then, the people unto the garden of delight which God hath
made the Throne of His Paradise. We have chosen thee to be our most
mighty Trumpet, whose blast is to signalize the resurrection of all
mankind.

Say: This is the Paradise on whose foliage the wine of utterance hath
imprinted the testimony: "He that was hidden from the eyes of men is
revealed, girded with sovereignty and power!" This is the Paradise, the
rustling of whose leaves proclaims: "O ye that inhabit the heavens and
the earth! There hath appeared what hath never previously appeared. He
Who, from everlasting, had concealed His Face from the sight of creation
is now come." From the whispering breeze that wafteth amidst its branches
there cometh the cry: "He Who is the sovereign Lord of all is made
manifest. The Kingdom is God's," while from its streaming waters can be
heard the murmur: "All eyes are gladdened, for He Whom none hath beheld,
Whose secret no one hath discovered, hath lifted the veil of glory, and
uncovered the countenance of Beauty."
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 31-32

O My servants! Through the might of God and His power, and out of the
treasury of His knowledge and wisdom, I have brought forth and revealed
unto you the pearls that lay concealed in the depths of His everlasting
ocean. I have summoned the Maids of Heaven to emerge from behind the veil
of concealment, and have clothed them with these words of Mine--words of
consummate power and wisdom. I have, moreover, with the hand of divine
power, unsealed the choice wine of My Revelation, and have wafted its holy,
its hidden, and musk-laden fragrance upon all created things. Who else but
yourselves is to be blamed if ye choose to remain unendowed with so great
an outpouring of God's transcendent and all-encompassing grace, with so
bright a revelation of His resplendent mercy?...
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 327

Likewise, in the Hidden Words, He states:
O Son of Man! I loved thy creation, hence I created thee. Wherefore, do thou
love Me, that I may name thy name and fill thy soul with the spirit of life.

`Abdu'l-Bahá, in His commentary on the above-cited tradition, wrote:
O wayfarer in the path of the Beloved! Know thou that the main purpose of
this holy tradition is to make mention of the stages of God's concealment
and manifestation within the Embodiments of Truth, They who are the
Dawning-places of His All-Glorious Being. For example, before the flame of
the undying Fire is lit and manifest, it existeth by itself within itself
in the hidden identity of the universal Manifestations, and this is the
stage of the "Hidden Treasure". And when the blessed Tree is kindled by
itself within itself, and that Divine Fire burneth by its essence within
its essence, this is the stage of "I wished to be made known". And when it
shineth forth from the Horizon of the universe with infinite Divine Names
and Attributes upon the contingent and placeless worlds, this constituteth
the emergence of a new and wondrous creation which correspondeth to the
stage of "Thus I called creation into being". And when the sanctified souls
rend asunder the veils of all earthly attachments and worldly conditions,
and hasten to the stage of gazing on the beauty of the Divine Presence and
are honoured by recognizing the Manifestation and are able to witness the
splendour of God's Most Great Sign in their hearts, then will the purpose of
creation, which is the knowledge of Him Who is the Eternal Truth, become
manifest.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 174

Say: God hath made My hidden love the key to the Treasure; would that ye
might perceive it! But for the key, the Treasure would to all eternity have
remained concealed; would that ye might believe it! Say: This is the Source
of Revelation, the Dawning-place of Splendour, Whose brightness hath
illumined the horizons of the world. Would that ye might understand! This
is, verily, that fixed Decree through which every irrevocable decree hath
been established.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 24

Call out to Zion, O Carmel, and announce the joyful tidings: He that was
hidden from mortal eyes is come! His all-conquering sovereignty is manifest;
His all-encompassing splendour is revealed. Beware lest thou hesitate or
halt. Hasten forth and circumambulate the City of God that hath descended
from heaven, the celestial Kaaba round which have circled in adoration the
favoured of God, the pure in heart, and the company of the most exalted
angels. Oh, how I long to announce unto every spot on the surface of the
earth, and to carry to each one of its cities, the glad-tidings of this
Revelation--a Revelation to which the heart of Sinai hath been attracted,
and in whose name the Burning Bush is calling: "Unto God, the Lord of
Lords, belong the kingdoms of earth and heaven." Verily this is the Day in
which both land and sea rejoice at this announcement, the Day for which
have been laid up those things which God, through a bounty beyond the ken
of mortal mind or heart, hath destined for revelation. Ere long will God
sail His Ark upon thee, and will manifest the people of Bahá who have been
mentioned in the Book of Names.'

Sanctified be the Lord of all mankind, at the mention of Whose name all the
atoms of the earth have been made to vibrate, and the Tongue of Grandeur
hath been moved to disclose that which had been wrapt in His knowledge and
lay concealed within the treasury of His might. He, verily, through the potency
of His name, the Mighty, the All-Powerful, the Most High, is the ruler of all that
is in the heavens and all that is on earth.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 4

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