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Clues that could provide a date for the revelation of Baha'u'llah's "Tablet of Ishraqat." Includes part of Sen McGlinn's original query to which the House.
Transmitted by email. Submitted by and name retained with permission of recipient.

Ishraqát, Tablet of, Date of Revelation

by / on behalf of Universal House of Justice


1. Letter from Sen McGlinn to an internet listserver

Can anyone help with a date for the composition of the Ishraqat, specifically the eighth Ishraqat? Taherzadeh gives no date, but indicates that Jalil-i-Khu'i attained the presence of Bahá'u'lláh, although the tablet was not necessarily revealed at that time (but see p. 116 para 2 and p. 117 para 3). Pages 119-20, and the fact of having a double introduction to the tablet, may indicate that the composition was compounded - perhaps partly extempore, in response to questions, and partly a compilation of previously revealed tablets. The passage regarding interest on p 133 is apparently simply copied over from the earlier tablet to Zaynu'l-Muqarrabin, leaving his name in place in the final blessing. This part is thus not revealed to Jalil-i-Khu'i in person. Can anyone date the tablet to Zaynu'l-Muqarrabin?

Possible internal indications are given below. Can anyone relate these to events? I have excluded references, such as that on p 121, to events before the promulgation of the Aqdas in 1873. The reference on p 125 is the most promising and exact, if anyone has the relevant date.

p 106:
"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."

p 122:
One day of days We repaired unto Our Green Island.

- This would be after 1877, if Bahá'u'lláh remained imprisoned in Akka for nine years.

p 123:
When those who had for years been hiding behind the veils perceived that the horizon of the Cause was resplendent and that the Word of God was all-pervasive, they rushed forth and with swords of malice inflicted such harm as no pen can portray nor any tongue describe.

p 125:
The robber occupieth the seat of the protector and guard, and the position of the faithful is seized by the traitor. A year ago an oppressor ruled over this city, and at every instant caused fresh harm.

- would this date it one year after Tawfiq's successor, whose name I don't know, had departed. Does anyone know names and dates?
p 131:

Such as have turned away from the Cause of God are diligently seeking to collect the Holy Writings of this Revelation; and they have already, through gestures of friendship, managed to secure certain of these Writings from those who held them in their possession.

- Sen

2. Response from the House of Justice


To: The Universal House of Justice
Date: 2 April 1996
From: Research Department

In an email message of 9 February 1996, Mr. Sen McGlinn asks about the date on which the Tablet of Ishraqat, specifically the Eighth Ishraq, was revealed. He observes that none of the sources available to him in English provide a date, and that unless the date was recorded by the amanuenses, it is his assumption that "a dating would have to be based on correlating internal indications with historical events". To this end, Mr. McGlinn cites a number of passages from the Tablet of Ishraqat containing allusions to historical events and he requests the assistance of the Research Department in investigating this matter.1 We offer the following information based on our study of the resources available at the Bahá'í World Centre:

- In a Tablet of some 40 pages addressed to Varqa, which appears to have been revealed over a period of more than a month and which bears on its final page the date 19 Muharram 1303 A.H. (29 October 1885), Bahá'u'lláh informs Varqa that on 9 Dhi Qa'dih 1302 (21 August 1885), a very long Tablet has been revealed for Jalil-i-Khu'i on the Most Great Infallibility. This date actually forms part of the text of the Tablet to Varqa. Since the Most Great Infallibility is a theme discussed at great length in the Tablet of Ishraqat, it seems likely that it is to this Tablet that Bahá'u'lláh is referring.

The Tablet to Varqa has not, to date, been published, nor translated into English.

- 1885 as the date of the revelation of the Tablet of Ishraqat would appear to receive some additional support from the fact that Bahá'u'lláh, in a Tablet revealed on 24 Safar 1304 A.H. (22 November 1886), employs a sentence that is also found in the Ishraqat.2 The sentence is as follows:

A year ago an oppressor ruled over this city, and at every instant caused fresh harm.3

In the Tablet of Ishraqat, this sentence occurs after the discussion of the Most Great Infallibility, in the section that introduces the individual Ishraqat.

- With regard to the particular historical event alluded to in the above passage, it is our view that the person referred to could well be Muhammad-Yusuf Pasha whose hostility is attested to in "God Passes By".4 In "Bahá'u'lláh, the King of Glory", Balyuzi provides details of what transpired.5

- The earliest transcription of the Tablet of Ishraqat that is held in the International Bahá'í Archives is dated 12 `Izzat 44 B.E. (1888). The transcription is by Zaynu'l-Muqarrabin.

In the course of trying to determine the date of the revelation of the Tablet of Ishraqat, we gleaned the following information which may be of interest to Mr. McGlinn concerning the structure of this Tablet:

- Included in the Tablet of Ishraqat is a quotation from a Tablet Bahá'u'lláh had earlier revealed in honour of Haji Muhammad-Ibrahim concerning some of the Islamic prophecies about the Day of God.6 He explains to Jalil-i-Khu'i that

These are verses We sent down previously, and We have sent them unto thee, that thou mayest be acquainted with what their lying tongues have spoken, when God came unto them with might and sovereignty.7

We have not, to date, been able to find a date for the revelation of the Tablet to Haji Muhammad-Ibrahim. The same excerpt from this Tablet also appears in "Epistle to the Son of the Wolf" (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1988), pp. 131-34.8

- The passage on Trustworthiness is also found in the Tablet of Tarazat and in a Tablet addressed to Haji Mirza Buzurg-i-Afnan (and perhaps in other Tablets as well).9 This is the passage in which Bahá'u'lláh states: "One day of days We repaired unto Our Green Island". In a Tablet addressed to Haji Amin, Bahá'u'lláh indicates that a "Tablet of Trustworthiness" had been revealed in A.H. 1296 (around 1879).10 The date of the revelation of the Tablet of Tarazat was Dhi'l-Hajjih 1305 (approximately 1888).

- Bahá'u'lláh responds to Jalil-i-Khu'i's question concerning "interest and profit on gold and silver" by quoting from a Tablet that had been previously revealed in honour of Zaynu'l-Muqarrabin.11 We have not, so far, been able to determine the date on which this Tablet was revealed.

    1. See "Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh Revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas" (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1995), p. 122, p. 123, p. 125, p. 131.
    2. This Tablet is published in "Athar-i-Qalam-i-A'la" (Tihran: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 132 B.E.), vol. 6, pp. 51-59. It has not, as yet, been translated into English.
    3. "Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh Revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas", p. 125.
    4. See "God Passes By" (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1987), p. 232.
    5. H. M. Balyuzi, "Bahá'u'lláh: The King of Glory" (Oxford: George Ronald, 1991). See pp. 366-371.
    6. "Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh Revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas", pp. 117-119.
    7. ibid., pp. 119-20.
    8. For a discussion, see Adib Taherzadeh, "The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh" (Oxford: George Ronald, 1987), vol. 4, pp. 153-54, p. 405.
    9. "Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh Revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas", pp. 121-22.
    10. See "The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh", vol. 4, pp. 16-17.
    11. "Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh Revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas", pp. 132-33.
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