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Notes:
Outline prepared as part of Wilmette Institute notes and commentary on the Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh.

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Tablet to the Sultan [Nasiri'd-Din Shah]:
Tablet study outline

by Jonah Winters

1999
Leiden List to the Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh entry:
Lawh-i-Sultán, (Tablet to the King of Persia, to AQA1 66-96; Alw-Braz 145-201; Leiden Ms Or 4970 item 6 or 7; Rosen2 195-216 (with numerous glosses); Lawh-i-Mubarak-i-Sultán-i-Iran (with notes by Azízulláh Sulaymani), 132 BE, and repr. India, 158 pages. Another edition not sighted publ. Egypt 1940. According to a letter from Mírzá Sa'id Khán to Mírzá Husayn Khán, the original of this Tablet was sent to the latter, so it may be in Ottoman archives. Arabic and Persian, long. Sections trans. PB 57-60; PDC 39-41, 44, 72; self-citations in ESW 11, 39. Full text trans. by Browne in Traveller's Narrative, 112ff and in the appendix beginning 390. The appendix translates the portions of the tablet which are not cited by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in the version of TN which Browne had. But in the Persian edition of TN 'Abdu'l-Bahá cites the whole tablet (?). Browne indicates variant readings, but the Sulaymani edition has significant phrases missing in TN. Rosen2 192 also gives Bahá'u'lláh's instructions to Badí', and describes the Mss (part of Ms247) in St Petersburg. These instructions and the excordium not cited in TN are produced in Browne's edition of TN 390f, with the Persian of the instructions. Browne's trans. of the instructions reprinted in Balyuzi, Bahá'u'lláh King of Glory 299 and TahRB3 176. Part of the Arabic exordium also trans. in ESW 11, 39, and PB 57f, with only minor differences in translation. Full translation, comprised of Browne's and the Guardian's combined, available online at http://bahai-library.com/provisionals. Mentioned GPB 170, 171-2; discussed in Browne, The Bábís of Persia, their Literature and Doctrines, JRAS XXI 958-60; TahRB2 337-40, 346-57, TahRB3 109, 174- 203.

Name of Tablet in Arabic or Persian:
Lawh-i-Sultán, or Lawh-i-Mubarak-i-Sultán-i-Iran

Translation into English:
Tablet of the Sultán, or Tablet to the Blessed King of Iran. Parts of this Tablet have been authoritatively translated by the Guardian in _Promised Day is Come_ 39-41, 44, 72. See also _Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh_ 57-60. Bahá'u'lláh also cited Himself in what came to be authoritatively translated, the _Epistle to the Son of the Wolf_, 11 and 39. E.G. Browne translated the full text in the original edition of _Traveller's Narrative_, 112ff. and in the appendix beginning 390. Sen McGlinn has compiled the Guardians' text and Browne's translation to provide a full text, available online at http://bahai-library.com/provisionals/tablet.to.shah.html.

Significance of Name:
Named after the recipient, Nasiri'd-Din Sháh, the Sultán of Iran

Tablet was revealed in:
Arabic and Persian

Name of Recipient:
Nasiri'd-Din Sháh

Reason for Revelation of the Tablet:
Proclamation of the revelation; chastisement of the Sháh.

Date of Revelation:
Though not delivered until early-mid 1869 (see _A Basic Bahá'í Chronology_, 89), the Tablet was revealed shortly before leaving Adrianople, i.e. late 1867-mid 1868 (see ibid., 78).

Place of Revelation:
Revealed in Adrianople, delivered from Akká.
As a note of interest, it is because of the epistles to the Rulers that the house from which they were issued was titled "the house of Amru'lláh," the house of "God's command."

Style, subject, and genre of the Tablet: [?]
Style: Tablet with the tone of authority

Subject:
Tablets concerning matters of government and world order, and those addressed to the kings; Tablets exhorting men to education, goodly character and divine virtues; Tablets dealing with social teachings.

Genre: Letter/epistle to an individual

Voice of Tablet: Voice of Tablet: [?]
Bahá'u'lláh as the Manifestation of God

Outline Contents of Tablet
      "...Bahá'u'lláh explains His Station as the One Who has "the knowledge of all that hath been." He asks the Sháh to be just in his treatment of his citizens, especially the Bahá'ís, and to beware of those who claim to love him for their own benefit. He explains that if the Sháh saw clearly he would not value his earthly sovereignty but rather abandon it for nearness to God.

      In the untranslated portion of the Tablet, Bahá'u'lláh explains that distinction for man lies in his deeds of righteousness, not in the pomp and grandeur of this world. He also offers to meet with the divines and argue His Cause if given the opportunity. He points out the insincerity of the clergy and explains the courage of the Báb'i martyrs. Throwing away ones life is not a sane choice but most of the martyrs were all distinguished and virtuous. The choice of martyrdom could only have been because of the love for God burning in their breasts. In spite of this ardor, Bahá'u'lláh assures the Sháh that He has counseled them to abandon strife and the use of the sword in defending their Faith. He relates His suffering and the suffering of the Bahá'ís and prophesies the ultimate victory of His Faith..."

Principal themes of the Tablet:

Some of the themes, in no particular order, are: the Proclamation of the Revelation; the proper role and behavior of leaders; the challenge to the Sháh and all of humanity to accept the message; proofs of His mission; the beginning of the end of the power of the divines; the renunciation of violence, to be replaced by the "sword of wisdom and utterance"; victory is won by good deeds and a pure life; Bahá'u'lláh's own sufferings and His willingness to sacrifice everything He has for His Cause; proclaiming the firm faith of His followers.

Tablet's relationship to any other tablets:

Themes of this Tablet are, by and large, similar to those in the other Tablets to other monarchs and rulers, most of which were also revealed around the same period.

(1) Quotes Persian Hidden Words numbers 24, 25, 28 & 30 and explains to whom they apply.
(2) Part of this Tablet is quoted in Epistle to the Son of the Wolf (the part in which He recounts His experience with the Holy Spirit).


A brief discussion of the Tablet and the fate of its deliverer, Badí', can be found in _God Passes By_, 199. A more detailed history is in _Bahá'u'lláh: King of Glory_, 293-310. The most comprehensive treatment is in Taherzadeh's _Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh_ vol. 3, 176-192.
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