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Notes:
Presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #34, Bosch Bahá'í School (May 18-20, 2001).

Mirrored with permission from irfancolloquia.org/34/thomas_fire.


An Exposition on the Fire Tablet by Bahá'u'lláh

by James B. Thomas

published in Lights of Irfan, Book 3, pages 173-184
Wilmette, IL: Irfan Colloquia, 2002
Abstract:

This tablet reveals a mystical intercourse between the twin stations of Bahá'u'lláh, human and divine, that expresses a powerful message of victory and great promise. To understand the Fire Tablet it is essential to know of events and conditions pertaining to the Bahá'í Faith that preceded the time of the writing of the tablet. In Adrianople, Mírzá Yahyá and Siyyid Muhammad provoked catastrophic events within the Bahá'í community that resulted in exile to 'Akká. Their actions would escalate in that prison and would cause great harm to the Faith,

In the past Bahá'u'lláh had always regenerated the Bábís by His pen, beginning with His release from the Síyáh-Chál. In 'Akká He was burdened with conditions greater than any experienced in Baghdad, Constantinople or Adrianople. Sedition, tyranny, despair, separation, divisiveness and degradation were compounded by the death of His youngest son. In this milieu of torment Bahá'u'lláh revealed the Lawh-i-Ihtiráq, or the Fire Tablet. It is reviewed in three parts. First, Bahá'u'lláh describes conditions of abject sorrow followed by invocations to God and then refers to God by His attributes. This exposition clarifies these conditions by references to other writings. Second, God answers the call of Bahá'u'lláh in powerful terms explaining why such conditions exist and addresses Bahá'u'lláh with endearing terms. Third, God is answered by Bahá'u'lláh in provocative terms, bursting through the ashes of despair with the triumph of sacrifice. The tablet was revealed in 1871 for a young devotee named Haji Siyyid 'Alí-Akbar.
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