Bahá'u'lláh's Rash-i `ama' is a Persian poem of 19 couplets which takes its name from the opening words of its first hemistich. Widely regarded by Bahá'ís as the earliest extant example of divine revelation (Bahá'í scripture) it was composed during the time of its author's imprisonment in the *Siyah Chal* ("Black Pit") dungeon in Tehran; that is, at some time during the latter half of the year 1852 CE (= early 1269 AH). It was, Bahá'u'lláh in his later writings has stated, during the "year nine" (= 1269 AH/ Oct. 15th 1852 > October 4th 1853) that he underwent profound mystical experiences and resolved to attempt to regenerate the demoralised Bábí community.
It seems likely, as most Bahá'í writers have maintained, that the Rash-i `ama' is expressive of Bahá'u'lláh's own assumption of a leading role within the Bábí community. To what extent, however, Bahá'u'lláh therein alludes to the theophanic status he later explicitly claimed (from the early 1860's CE) is not entirely clear bearing in mind the extravagant claims made by many leading Bábís in the 1850's, the poetic nature of this work, and the possibility that he is representing himself as a channel through which the celestial and eschatological Bábí spirit flows. He certainly at this stage makes no explicit claim to be "Him whom God would make manifest" (man yuzhiruhu'lláh, the expected Bábí messiah) and could be understood to be representing himself as a leading Bábí rather than claiming to be the inaugurator of a new (though at this stage secret) religious dispensation. One would probably not be going too far if one supposed that in the Rash-i `ama' the `messianic secret' of Bahá'u'lláh is all but divulged; though in cryptic, esoteric terms.
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