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Abstract:
History and themes of and personages related to Baha'u'llah's Tablets of the Baghdad period (1853-63), including a graphical chronology.
Notes:
Prepared as a project for the Wilmette Institute.

Timeline to the Baghdad Period:
Themes of Early Tablets and Historical Personages Related to them

by Kathryn Brown, Sharon Davis, and Karen Johnson

2000
Contents:
  1. Timeline of the Baghdad Period
  2. Historical Personages Related to Early Tablets
  3. Themes of Early Tablets
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Historical Personages Related to Early Tablets

  1.    Haji Mirza Kamalu'd-Din of Naraq

    This man was a Babi who became dissatisfied with the leadership of Mirza Yahya, and sought explanation of Bahá'u'lláh for a Qur'anic verse in late 1853 or early 1854. This was the first occasion of Bahá'u'lláh responding in writing to a question; the reply, "The Tablet of All Food," was revealed in Arabic. The recipient was so illumined, uplifted, and inspired by the tablet that he immediately recognized the station of Bahá'u'lláh as the Manifestation ['Him Whom God shall make manifest']. However, Bahá'u'lláh cautioned him to not divulge this truth at this time. He was a devoted follower until his death in 1881, and is credited as the first person to recognize the divinity of Bahá'u'lláh. It is also interesting to note that his great-grandfather, Haji Mulla Mihdi, wrote of the martyrdom of Imam Hysayn , which deeply touched the Bab.

  2.    Mirza Aqa Jan

    He was the amanuensis (secretary or scribe) of Bahá'u'lláh, and served him for 40 years. He met Bahá'u'lláh at the age of 16, and was among the first to be aware of Bahá'u'lláh's station as Manifestation of God. Mirza Aqa Jan was honored to be present during the Revelations, and is described as writing so rapidly that the sound of the pen was shrill, and the ink was not dry when the page was completed. He is credited for recording and preserving many of the Writings, but after Bahá'u'lláh's death, he did not support the Covenant and turned against Abdul Baha; he died in 1901.

  3.    Mirza Yahya

    Mirza Yahya, Bahá'u'lláh's younger half brother (also known as Subh-i-Azal) was appointed to serve as the leader of the Babis after the Bab's death. As he was a teenager, being 13 years younger than Bahá'u'lláh, this appointment was to divert attention from Bahá'u'lláh during the time of persecution. After Bahá'u'lláh went into exile from Persia to Iraq (Baghdad), Mirza Yahya followed to that city. However, the youth went into seclusion, kept his location and identity a secret, and failed to provide leadership for fear of persecution at a time many Babis were martyred. Mirza Yahya competed with Bahá'u'lláh by claiming prophethood for himself, attempted to murder Bahá'u'lláh with poison, and made false accusations against Bahá'u'lláh which lead to the imprisonment at Akka. Mirza Yahya died in exile in Cyprus in 1912.

  4.    Siyyid Muhammad-i-Isfahani

    This man influenced Mirza Yahya to oppose Bahá'u'lláh, and was known as the Antichrist of the Bahá'í Revelation. He, as well as Mirza Yahya, married the Bab's widow for purposes of credibility. He was sent with the Bahá'ís to Akka, where he continued to plot mob attacks against Bahá'u'lláh, resulting in his murder by seven Bahá'ís, which caused further oppression to Bahá'u'lláh.

  5.    Abdul-Q'asim-i-Hamadani

    He was a Muslim who was the only person to go with Bahá'u'lláh into the remote areas of Kurdistan during His time of retreat there. Hamadani brought Bahá'u'lláh money and supplies on occasion, and maintained the role of a merchant. When Hamadani was killed in 1855, while traveling to bring supplies to Bahá'u'lláh, news of his death indicated to the family the location of Bahá'u'lláh.

  6.    Shaykh Ismail

    Shaykh Ismail was the leader of the Khaledi Sufis at Sulaymaniyyih, who recognized Bahá'u'lláh's unusual gifts. He received a long poem of which 127 of 2000 verses were preserved as the others identified Bahá'u'lláh's divinity too directly for this early time of the Revelation. This work, called Poem of the Dove, is an example of the Sufi style of writing used by Bahá'u'lláh until 1863 when His declaration was made.   

  7.    Mirza Musa

    Mirza Musa was Bahá'u'lláh's younger brother, who helped to locate Him in Sulaymaniyyih for His return to Baghdad in 1856. Also known as Aqay-i-Kalim, he loyally served Bahá'u'lláh, hid the remains of the Bab in Tehran, lived in exile with Bahá'u'lláh, served as communicator with officials and religious leaders, and died in Akka in 1887.

  8.    Shaykh Sultan

    This man, at the request of his son-in-law Mirza Musa, searched for Bahá'u'lláh for two months, and accompanied His return to the family and followers in Baghdad.

  9.    Haji Mirza Musay-i-Javahiri

  10.    Haji Mirza Hadi

    Haji Mirza Hadi, father of Haji Mirza Musay-i-Javahiri, was a Persian nobleman who migrated to Baghdad and sat at the feet of Bahá'u'lláh in humility despite his wealth and position.

    Haji Mirza Musay-i-Javahiri, referred to as Letter of Eternity, provided the house of Bahá'u'lláh in Baghdad. This building, called the House of God or Most Great House is to be a site for pilgrimage

  11.    Shaykh Muhyid-Din and

  12.    Shaykh Abdur-Rahman

    Shaykh Muhyid-Din, a Sufi judge in Kurdistan, was in correspondence with Bahá'u'lláh upon His return to Baghdad . Bahá'u'lláh wrote The Seven Valleys in reply to his question.   

    Shaykh Abdur-Rahman, the leader of the Qadiriyyih Sufis, received the Four Valleys in correspondence from Bahá'u'lláh.   

  13.    Mirza Aqay-i-Rikab-Saz

    This man, an early martyr of the Faith, was the recipient of the Tablet of the Verse of Light, as he had requested that Bahá'u'lláh interpret the isolated letters at the chapter beginnings of the Qur'an. He was devoted to the Bab, unshakable in his faith despite persecution, and did meet Bahá'u'lláh in Iraq.

  14.    Shaykh Salman

    Shaykh Salman, a faithful disciple from the village of Hindiyan, received the tablet The City of Unity. His original name was Shaykh Khanjar prior to being named Salman by Bahá'u'lláh. This name was chosen in replication of Muhammad giving the name Salman to a beloved follower named Ruz-bih.

    Shaykh Salman had an important and essential role in dissemination of the Writings in Persia when Bahá'u'lláh was exiled to Baghdad in Iraq. This man, known as "Messenger of the Merciful," was the first messenger to come to Iraq from Persia, and continued the courier function for 40 years. He traveled thousands of miles on foot, delivering letters to Bahá'u'lláh and returning with tablets to the believers, despite active searches along the border to block the communication. In later years, he continued this function for Abdu'l Baha.

    Shaykh Salman had stamina, endured hardship and mistreatment, and lived in poverty. Although illiterate and unable to read the messages, he had spiritual depth and wisdom, and was known for his purity of heart. For protective reasons, the names of recipients of the tablets were not written on them. Shaykh Salman would have someone read the messages to him, and through understanding of the content, he would know the person to receive it. Throughout his years of service, this simple and primitive man never lost a single message to confiscation. His wisdom was so respected that his judgment was honored in decisions to allow audiences of the believers with Bahá'u'lláh. [Revelations of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 1, pages 109-114]

  15.    Mirza Muhammad-i-Vazir

  16.    Maryam

    Mirza Muhammad-i-Vazir was a cousin of Bahá'u'lláh's. The tablet The Exalted Letters was written in his memory, for his grieving wife Havva and sister Maryam, for their consolation. This deceased cousin was "the very first among the family of Bahá'u'lláh to have been converted by Him to the Babi Faith in the province of Nur in 1844." [Revelations of Bahá'u'lláh, vol.1, pages 122-3] Maryam assisted in Bahá'u'lláh's care after His release from prison in the Siyah-Chal. She was active in His care, and was a devoted follower. Although family responsibilities prevented her from ever seeing Bahá'u'lláh again after His exile, He wrote to her with sincere affection, and named her Crimson Leaf. After her death, Bahá'u'lláh wrote a special tablet in her membory.

  17.    Princess Shamsi-i-Jihan

    The Tablet of the Test was written in honor of Princess Shams-i-Jihan, also known as Fitnih. She came to be a believer through her friendship with Tahirih. She had an audience with Bahá'u'lláh, and was named The Leaf of Paradise.

  18.    Siyyid Jafar-i-Yazdi   

  19.    Haji Muhammad-Taqi   

  20.    Zaynu'l Abidin Khan   

  21.    Shaykh Abdul Husayn-i-Tihrani

  22.    Mirza Buzurg Khan

    The tablet Suriy-i-Nush was revealed in honor of Siyyid Jafar-i-Yazdi, who was a distinguished divine taught the Faith by Vahid, an early Babi. Since Siyyid Jafar was eloquent and highly respected, his public teaching resulted "in a great multitude" joining the Faith. Subsequently, the government and religious leaders joined in persecution with resulting martyrdom of many, including Vahid. Siyyid Jafar was captured and treated with disgrace, despite his position, by Zaynu'l Abidin Khan, the Governor of Nayriz, who was intent on torturing the remaining Babis.

    The military presence required for persecution of the Babi's had resulted in food shortage in the area. As the hungry people came to acquire their allotment of corn, they were required to spit on Siyyid Jafar's face. Despite this degradation, "he remained calm and resigned throughout his ordeal and manifested a spirit of sublime joy and love and thankfulness towards those who offended him." To those who hesitated to engage in this action against him, Siyyid Jafar encouraged them as he knew of their needs. Later, he was subjected to public beatings, which continued daily until observers contributed money as a "ransom" to temporarily stop the abuse. [Revelations of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 1, pages 138-141]

    Siyyid Jafar's companion, Haji Muhammad-Taqi, was a wealthy and respected man from Nayriz. He served the function of a banker in his community, and provided funds for the Babis. He applied his funds for propagation of the message of the Bab and supported Vahid and his followers during the persecution of the Babi community. Although he survived the siege of the fort, his properties were confiscated, and he was tortured daily by being thrown into a pool and then beaten by sticks and poles until the water was red with blood. This continued until the governor's wife, after a significant dream, secretly arranged for their escape. They both later were able to visit with Bahá'u'lláh and receive His blessings directly.

    In the Suriy-i-Nush Tablet, Bahá'u'lláh refers to Shaykh Abdul Husayn-i-Tihrani, an evil and vindictive enemy who allied with Mirza Buzurg Khan, the Persian Consul in Baghdad. These men hired an assassin, who twice intended to shoot Bahá'u'lláh, but could not commit the murder and dropped the gun. These men also organizaed a meeting of the religious leaders in opposition to the Babi's , but were afraid to meet directly with Bahá'u'lláh themselves. In this Tablet, they are described as wicked and depraved. Their schemes eventually influenced the Shah to request the Ottoman government to move Bahá'u'lláh from Baghdad into further exile. [Revelations of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 1, pages 143-147]

  23.    Siyyid Mirza Husayn-i-Mutavalli

    Siyyid Mirza Husayn-i-Mutavalli was the recipient of the Tablet Shikkar-Shikan-Shavand. This man was a Babi who had been with 300 others under the leadership of Quddus at the Tabarsi fort, where they were attacked and starved. When the army was retreating, Siyyid Husayn betrayed the Babis by sending a message to the commander regarding their weakness and small numbers. As this resulted in resumption of attacks, he then deserted to the enemy. He is known for striking Quddus before the leader's martyrdom. However, he again rejoined the Babi's, was with Bahá'u'lláh in the prison of Siyah-Chal, came to Baghdad, and later was a supporter of Mirza Yaya.

  24.    Siyyid Yusuf-i-Sidihi

    Siyyid Yusufi-i-Sidihi was a wise and learned religious leader of the Shi'ahs in Najaf. This man was honored by the Tablet The Essence of Mysteries, which was written in answer to a series of questions he posed regarding the fulfillment of prophesy of Islam. Based on this Tablet, he recognized the divinity of Bahá'u'lláh. The answers so impressed him, that upon a later meeting with Bahá'u'lláh he became a Babi, and was then rejected by his friends who threw him out of their house.

  25.    Khal-i-Akbar or Haji Mirza Siyyid Muhammad

    The Book of Certitude was revealed in Persian and Arabic in 1862 in Baghdad to the eldest maternal uncle of the Bab, Haji Mirza Siyyid Muhammad, also known as Khal-i-Akbar. This man was not convinced that his nephew was the Promised One of Islam, and was not converted until Bahá'u'lláh answered his specific questions.

Themes of Early Tablets

In the early tablets of 1853-57, Bahá'u'lláh's messages included several themes:

  1.   His suffering at the hands of men and His willingness to sacrifice all for God
  2.   Indirectly identifying Himself and His station through symbolic references
  3.   The splendor and promise of this new day; the significance of the time
  4.   His experience of the Divine and praise and glorification of God
  5.   Standards of conduct and expectations for commitment of the Babi community


These works reflected the Sufi style until 1863.

Rashh-i-Ama: Sprinkling from a Cloud

Revealed in Persian, refers to the outpouring of Revelation, the release of spiritual energies, the descent of Spirit.

Revealed in the Siyah-Chal in Tehran, the dungeon where Babi's were held, between August and December, 1852.

A short tablet of only 19 lines, this is the first tablet of Revelation, and the only one to be revealed in Bahá'u'lláh's homeland of Persia (Iran).

It is a poem of celebration, joy, and exultation; it celebrates the release of Divine Energies, and it identifies

Bahá'u'lláh as God in the form of joyful proclamation.

Lawh-i-Kullu't-Ta'am: Tablet of All Food

The tablet interpreted the Qur'anic verse "All food was allowed to the children of Israel."

It was revealed in Arabic in late 1853 or early 1854 in Baghdad, in response to a request by Haji Mirza Kamalu'd-Din of Naraq, who was disappointed by Mirza Yahya interpretation. This was the first time He responded to a question in writing, and was the first tablet revealed in Baghdad. It was written and chanted by Bahá'u'lláh Himself, and had such an impact on Mirza Kamalu'd-Din that he recognized Bahá'u'lláh's divinity, but was requested to not announce this awareness at that time.

The content of this tablet included

  1.   "food" symbolizes knowledge of and recognition of the Manifestation of God
  2.   the wealth of meaning encoded symbolically in scriptural language that those with pure hearts recognize
  3.   description of schemata of many spiritual worlds and this mortal world (5 total
  4.   the nature of God as unknowable Essence, with our knowledge of God being accessed through the Manifestation
  5.   identification of three stations of existence: God, Manifestation, and Creation
  6.   Manifestation as source of spiritual sustenance, the "food"



This work is significant in that it is the first explanation of the concept of Manifestation of God and the relationship of that station to God, which introduced the theological basis of the Bahá'í Faith to be fully developed in later writings.

Tablets Revealed in Kurdistan

While Bahá'u'lláh was in seclusion in the Kurdistan area, between April 1854 and March 1856,

He was in contact with the Sufi's near the town of Sulaymaniyyih. These tablets were not written to a specific person, but were spontaneous prayers, expressing His dedication and service to God, His sorrowful suffering, and His mystical experience of the Revelation. He also began the description of the expectations for character and commitment of His followers.

Qasidiy-i-Varqaiyyih; Ode of the Dove

Dove refers to Bahá'u'lláh as the Manifestation of God

This poem was revealed in Arabic between 1854 and 1856 in Sulaymaniyyih, in response to the Sufi's request for a poem in the same meter and rhyme as a classic ode, as further and conclusive proof of His divinity. In response, Bahá'u'lláh wrote 2,000 verses, of which He retained only 127 as the rest were beyond the capacity of the listeners at that time. The quality of His response confirmed that His gifts were of Divine Source.

The style of the poem included a dialogue between the voice of the Holy Spirit, referred to as the Maid of Heaven, and the voice of Bahá'u'lláh as the Manifestation, Who is the Bearer of God's message.

The content included

  1.   glorification of the Maid of Heaven
  2.   suffering and cruelty of imprisonment
  3.   determination to face challenges and hardships with the joy of serving God
  4.   requirement of the sacrifice of self and sincerity of commitment
  5.   spiritual source from which all Revelation descends
  6.   spiritual domains of God


HIDDEN WORDS: Guidance for Living

The Hidden Words serves as an ethical work in that it describes the expected relationship with self, others, and with God.

We are encouraged to manage the energies of self by overcoming pride and vanity, working hard, taking account of ourselves, and keeping focus on the things of God.

In relationship with others, we are called upon to avoid all the forms of misuse of power (tyranny, negative speech, lying, exploitation) which would serve to divide us from each other. These guidelines introduce the concept of oneness by focusing on standards of personal conduct prerequisite to unity. Woven throughout the Hidden Words is the imagery of the sanctified and loving heart and the importance of loving as a key to spiritual growth and connectedness to the Beloved.

This work also includes a stern warning to take this guidance seriously, as consequences exist and we will be held accountable for our choices of behavior and the quality of our inner life.

Process of Change

The Hidden Words emphasizes strength of spiritual commitment, intense loving connection between God and persons, and the presence and power of God that assists us in striving toward these goals. In this way we are supported in attaining virtues.

Virtues

Kind heart, justice, nobility, humility, obedience, equality, generosity, responsibility for self/positive to others

Do

    Recognize greatness of God and Love God above all
    Renounce self, overcome materialism and attachment to things of this world
    Choose God and maintain positive relationship with God
    Obey commands
    Sustain faith in tests
    Cleanse self
    Take account of self each day
    Teach others

Don't

    Selfish pleasures, fear death, argue, envy, doubt, rebellion, backbiting

Seven Valleys

This work, revealed in Baghdad for a Sufi judge Shaykh Muhyid-Din, after Bahá'u'lláh's return from seclusion in Sulaymaniyyih between 1856 and 1863. It is considered to be His greatest mystical composition, in which He describes seven stages the seeker experiences in spiritual progress toward the Beloved God.

The word valley is translated from "vaadi", which has several meanings, one of which is the conventional reference to land between mountains, and another indicates a way of thinking. "These seven valleys or stages are the Valleys of Search, Love, Knowledge, Unity, Contentment, Wonderment, True Poverty and Absolute Nothingness.""[Bahá'u'lláh King of Glory, pages 161-163]

Valley l: purification of the heart from conflicting desires

Valley 2: love burns away the ego self with focus on God

Valley 3 knowledge allows understanding of God's guidance in all

Valley 4: perception of God's unity in all creation

Valley 5 in contentment the seeker needs nothing but God

Valley 6: experience of mystical astonishment and ecstasy

Valley 7: loss of self in God

Four Valleys

This work, was also revealed in Baghdad in Persian for a Sufi, Shaykh Abdur-Rahman-i-Karkuti, in approximately 1857. Written in mystical prose, it describes the process of journeying to the goal of knowing the Divine through four successive stages.

The process includes

  1. making oneself pleasing to God by overcoming limitations and increasing devotion
  2. purification of the heart from materialism in order to receive the Light of understanding
  3. surrender of self to the Love of God
  4. conscious awareness of the Divine guidance and authority at work in our lives



Baghdad Tablets

Themes:

  1.   Identification of early believers (recipients and those honored by tablets)
  2.   Identification of enemies of the Faith, sources of plots, intrigue, and murderous intentions
  3.   Fearless declaration of commitment, strength and determination; allegiance to God despite risks
  4.   Description of noble response to tests and suffering which continue as a model for today's time
  5.   Ascendancy of the Faith despite hardship, struggle, and oppression
  6.   Glorification of God; celebration of the mystical wonders of relationship with God
  7.   Spiritual guidance for development of attributes, such as contentment, humility, detachment
  8.   Release of transformative spiritual power into the world
  9.   Explanation of the nature of God and the relationship of God to Manifestation (sun-ray-mirror)
  10.   Eternal life, life unfolding with soul development



Sahifiy-i-Shattiyyih: Book of the River

This tablet, revealed in Persian in Baghdad , uses the image of the Tigris River to illustrate the power of the Faith, which is similar to a river in that it rushes onward over obstacles and opposition, and breaks up existing institutional structures. This tablet emphasizes the triumph and ascendancy of the Faith, despite apparent struggles. The river analogy is also used to exemplify the concept that although God's bounty pours out like the flowing of water, each of us receives a measure according to our capacity.

This tablet discusses the role of miracles of the Prophets, and indicates that miracles only convince the witnesses, and are therefore not conclusive proof. In contrast, the Revelation of the Word of God is the convincing evidence of Divinity that endures.

Bahá'u'lláh also expresses his personal struggle at that time, with reluctance to write more fully due to the expected negative, jealous reaction of his competitors and enemies, such as Mirza Yahya and Siyyid Muhammad-i-Isfahani.

Madinatu'r-Rida: City of Radiant Acquiescence

This tablet, revealed in Arabic, emphasizes contentedly accepting the Will of God, without resentment of suffering and struggle. Believers were encouraged to let go of attachment to this world's temporary pleasures, be humble and patient, and commit fully to God. It serves as a teaching of necessary attributes in preparation for the challenges to be faced in coming years.

Madinatu't-Tawhid: The City of Divine Unity

This tablet was revealed for Shaykh Salman, the courier who carried messages for 40 years from the exiled Bahá'u'lláh to believers remaining in Persia. It focuses on the oneness of God, the nature of God as Unknowable Essence, and the role of the Manifestations in making God's attributes accessible to people. He also explained the similarity of function among Manifestations, while indicating differences in intensity.

This tablet affirms man's freedom of choice and validates that differing forms of worship are acceptable to God.

The role of Manifestation is explained with the metaphor of sun (God), light ray (Holy Spirit), and mirror (Manifestation).

Suriy-i-Qadir: Surih of the Omnipotent

In this tablet, Bahá'u'lláh speaks of releasing the power of Spirit in the world, that is accessible to believers, according to personal capacity. They can then accomplish goals and overcome resistance, by having the Power of God within themselves. However, believers were also cautioned against pride and self-serving materialism as misdirection of efforts.

Hurufat-i-Allin: The Exalted Letters

This tablet, which focuses on the unfoldment of life and the process of death, was written for his cousins, Maryam and Havva, at their time of grief and loss of their brother and husband, Mirza Muhammad-i-Vazir. The tablet was originally Arabic, translated later into Persian.

In this writing, Bahá'u'lláh not only describes the development of the physical life from seed, to embryo, to being, but also outlines spiritual unfoldment. The spiritual process includes recognition of the Manifestation, suffering, renunciation, devotion, and deepening the spirit.

This tablet, often read upon death of a believer, encourages us all to reflect upon death in order to prepare ourselves for the next life through purification and dedication. Comfort to the bereaved was provided through the affirmation of the immortality of the soul and the focus on God rather than this material world.

Lawh-i-Huriyyih: Tablet of the Maiden

This tablet is described as "inexpressible, mysterious and soul-stirring." "Its perusal moves the heart and evokes feelings of excitement and wonder within the soul." [Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh vol. 1, pages 124-126] It is written as dialogue between the Manifestation (Bahá'u'lláh) and the Holy Spirit (Maid of Heaven). Reference is made to both the wonderous experience of God, and to the afflictions and struggles of the time in Baghdad.

Lawh-i-Ayiy-i-Nur: Tablet of the Verse of Light

Revealed in Arabic, this tablet is also known as Interpretation of the Isolated Letters. It was written in response to Mirza Aqay-i-Rikab-Saz, later martyred to the Faith. The explanation focused on the deeper meanings of letters at the beginning of chapters of the Qur'an, which have numerical value, hidden truths, and profound implications.

Lawh-i-Fitnih: Tablet of the Test

This Arabic tablet was revealed for Princess Shams-I-Jihan, known as Fitnih. In this tablet, Bahá'u'lláh discusses the testing of all of creation, with none exempt. He indicates that learned ones with knowledge, such as religious leaders, will be fall like stars from the heaven, and that what is in hearts will be exposed. Although these concepts continue to have relevance today, He was specifically referring to the challenging activities of dissenters and Covenant breakers.

Suriy-i-Nush

This tablet was revealed in Arabic in Baghdad to honor Siyyid Ja'far-i-Yazdi who had experienced torture and persecution. In this tablet, written at a time of great danger for Bahá'u'lláh, He speaks of Himself as Divine, and describes the suffering and persecution of previous Manifestations, who were also not recognized by the political and religious leaders of Their times. Bahá'u'lláh also denounced Shaykh Abdul-Husayn-i-Tihrani as wicked, depraved, and Satan-like in a powerful statement.

Shikkar-Shikan-Shavand

This tablet was written as a commitment to face the presenting dangers, as all Manifestations have endured

Suffering and abuse. Instead of hiding in a safe place, Bahá'u'lláh affirmed trust in God and "welcomed adversities in order that mankind may be freed and united." [Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh vol. 1, page 148]

Bahá'u'lláh also declared to Siyyid Hysayn, a Babi deserter, betrayer, and enemy of Bahá'u'lláh, that he would not be successful in his evil plans to harm the Cause and the person of Bahá'u'lláh. This tablet was written at a time of great intrigue, danger, and malicious use of power.

Javahiru'l-Asrar: The Essence of Mysteries

This tablet was revealed in Arabic for Haji Siyyid Muhammad-I-Isfahani, a wise and learned man who recognized Bahá'u'lláh's divine nature from the nature of His writing. This work refers to the active assassination plots and political schemes surrounding Bahá'u'lláh's community.

It also gives guidance for spiritual development, with emphasis on humility rather than pride. He also interprets the scriptures of older religions. He explains the qualities that are necessary for recognition of God's truth: "man will see in all things the signs of God, will become humble, never exalting himself above others, and at all times will regard himself as being in the presence of his Lord." [Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh vol. 1, page 152] The process of spiritual development contained in this work is similar to that of Seven Valleys in that the metaphor of valley is used for stages. However, the names of the valleys are somewhat different from those in Seven Valleys, and include Search, Love, Unity, Wonderment, Annihilation of self, Eternal Life, and That which is Beyond.

Kitab-i-Iqan [Book of Certitude]

This major work was revealed in Persian and Arabic in 1862 in Baghdad to the eldest maternal uncle of the Bab, Haji Mirza Siyyid Muhammad, also known as Khal-i-Akbar. This book, considered to be the spiritual completion of the Bayan, was revealed in two days and nights. It is considered a work of central significance in the Bahá'í Faith, with a treasured copy in the handwriting of Abdul Baha.

Themes include:

  1.   Linking of Babi Dispensation with Bahá'u'lláh's Revelation by writing to the Uncle about the concept of Manifestation before the public declaration two years later
  2.   Honoring the Station of the Bab and the significance of His mission
  3.   Interpretation of the Bible and the Qur'an to establish validity of His station through scriptural explanation
  4.   Explanation of the concept of Manifestations of God, the exalted station of the Manifestations of God
  5.   The continuity of revelation , relating all religions to common Source, and unifying all Prophets under the concept of Progressive Revelation
  6.   Lamentation of the suffering and cruelties experienced by Divine Messengers throughout the ages
  7.   Explanation of the resistance of those in power to His message based on their own investment in existing institutional power and asset
  8.   Warning of the interference of acquired learning in acceptance of His station, and the limitation of blindly following leaders
  9.   Guidance to believers including clear directions for personal conduct, how to act in the world despite hardship and abuse, guidance regarding ego based materialism and detachment, avoidance of pride and seeking for glory, caution regarding negativity among believers
  10.   Preparation of believers for tests which distinguish the sincere from the false
  11.   Emphasis on purity of heart as a basis for understanding rather than acquired knowledge and intellectual training.
  12.   Unifying all mankind into one family under the guidance of harmony and truth.
  13.   Preparation of the faithful for tests through systematic persecution
  14.   Preparation of the faithful for strength of faith in the face of betrayal within their community
  15.   Guidance for believers regarding standards of personal conduct and detachment from worldly desires
  16.   Joyful announcement of the Station of Bahá'u'lláh
  17.   Affirmation of the continuity of Revelation throughout all Prophets
  18.   Establishment of the Covenant as a basis for loyalty, with consequences for betrayal



Subhana-Rabbiya'l-A'la [Praise to the Exalted Lord]

This Tablet in Arabic was revealed in honor of Haji Mirza Musay-i-Javahiri, known as Harf-i-Baqa [Letter of Eternity]. This Tablet guides Mirza Musa, the Letter of Eternity, to detach himself from the material world, and warns of tests of the faithful. Its allusive language requires listening with the heart.

Lawh-i-Ghulamu'l-Khuld [The Youth of Paradise]

This Tablet, written in both Arabic and Persian, was revealed to celebrate the anniversary of the Declaration of the Bab. It honors the Bab as the source of all knowledge, the Point from which all knowledge comes, as were all previous Prophets of God. In allegorical language, this Tablet also announces, identifies, and declares the joyful arrival of His own Revelation. It continues the guidance of preparation of the hearts of believers by detachment from worldly and ego-based ideas.

Hur-i-Ujab [The Wondrous Maiden]

This Tablet, in Arabic, continues the theme of unveiling his Station in allegorical and celebratory language. It also refers to the blindness of the unfaithful ones (Mirza Yahya).

Az-Bagh-i-Ilahi [From the Garden of Holiness]

This joyous ode alternates Persian and Arabic verses, thus creating a response of ecstasy, excitement, and rapture in those who chanted it at a feast hosted by Abdu'l Baha who was then 18 years old. The verses reveal the exalted Station of Bahá'u'lláh, who was moved by the intensity of the group and joined the gathering with a blessing of rose water.

Lawh-i-Ayyub [Tablet of Job], a.k.a. Suriy-i-Sabr [Surih of Patience]

This Tablet, in Arabic, was revealed in honor of Haji Muhammad-Taqi, a wealthy supporter of the Bab. This Tablet describes the persecution and martyrdom in Nayriz, with brutality toward the women and children who survived, as well as the atrocity of carrying the heads of martyrs on lances in a parade to Shiraz.

This tablet honors Vahid, one of the Letters of the Living, and supports the believers of Nayriz with encouragement to demonstrate virtues in their lives and to be firm in faith despite persecution. This lengthy Tablet explains the virtues of patience, overcoming desire, fortitude with suffering, and preparation for tests which would try their faith.

Bahá'u'lláh revealed this Tablet on the night before his departure from Iraq in preparation of the believers for separation from Him. He affirmed the continuity of Divine Revelation and asserted the idea that His Cause will gather the human race in unity.

Tablet of the Holy Mariner

This Tablet, with two parts in Arabic and Persian, was revealed on the fifth of Naw-Ruz in 1863 outside Baghdad. Only the Arabic part has been translated to English. Its sorrowful content preceded the Governor's direction that Bahá'u'lláh was to go to Constantinople. This Tablet forecasts future events of betrayal, and has the theme of man's unfaithfulness to God's Covenant. Its symbolic language requires meditative reflection for understanding, serves as a reference point for reminding believers of the necessity of loyalty to the Covenant when under challenge, and sets the stage for removal of the opposition from the Cause. It warns of those who would foolishly depict themselves as godlike and "above their stations" and describes the suffering and grief He experiences upon betrayal by believers.

This Tablet refers to Bahá'u'lláh as the Holy Mariner, to believers as dwellers in the ark, the ark as the Cause of God and the Covenant as source of protection and safety. In this Tablet, Baha'u' llah defines his Station, and states that denial of Him is denial of all previous Prophets.

It continues the guidance of purification of the heart, overcoming self and passion, and faithful strength of conduct.

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