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

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Tablet of the Temple (Súratu'l-Haykal):
Wilmette Institute faculty notes

by Iraj Ayman

1999
The word "Haykal" (Temple) in Arabic and Persian comes from a Sumerian root. In Sumerian language it referred to temple (Place of worship) or castle. In Arabic and Persian it has many meanings and connotations in addition to the body or temple of a human being, such as, the face of a human, a statute, tall building or tree, corpulent animal or human being. It is also used as the name of the place of religious sacrifice in the temples or synagogue. In Persian it has also been used for a charm or a refuge.

The word has a rich background in literature and religious texts of all Semitic religions. In the Bábí period the Báb has revealed a number of Súrah-ye Herziyyeh composed of names of God, numbers and cryptographic symbols written in pentacle shape. Bábís were carrying them on their body for protection purposes. The Báb had written these charm-like protection prayers in the pentacle shape for men and in circular shape for women. Therefore in the Bábí period men were referred to as Awlel-Hayakil (Those having or carrying the temples) and women were referred to as Zavatu'l-Dava'ir (Those who are the essence of circles). These Súrahs were referred to as Hayakil (pl.haykal). The Báb has also revealed a Tablet, a book, for Dayyan, by the name of Hayakil which is a commentary on the science of numerology. Bahá'u'lláh has referred to this book in some of his Tablets and the mysteries contained in it.

In the Bahá'í era: Bahá'u'lláh has revealed a charm-like prayer, in pentacle form, for protection. It is called Du'a-ye Haykal (Prayer of Haykal). Bahá'u'lláh in a special Tablet has given the exact and rather elaborate instructions on how this prayer should be copied, in what color and with what kind of ink, and how it should be carried. The instruction even includes the amount of the contribution that should be donated by the person who wants to carry this prayer on himself.

Súrih-ye Haykal is one of the Tablets that was revealed in Akká in 1869. Its original text in Arabic is 88 printed page and contains the texts of a number of Tablets addresses to the Kings and Rulers. It should not be mistaken by Lawh-i-Haykal which contains a selection of extracts from the Tablets addressed to the Kings and Rulers of the world and is written in pentacle form at the instruction of Bahá'u'lláh . Someone had asked Bahá'u'lláh about the addressee of Súrih-ye Haykal. In response, He has stated that both the addresser and the addressee is His own self. This point is also evident from certain statements in the Súrih-ye Haykal. Another indication is in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas para 86: "O King of Berlin! Give ear unto the Voice calling from this manifest Temple." Yet an extra indication that Haykal refers to Bahá'u'lláh is in Hidden Words (Arabic): "The temple of being is My Throne."

It should be also added that Bahá'ís in the East particularly in Persia from the very early days were and still are using "Hakal-i-Mobarak" (The Blessed Temple) when they refer to the central figures of the Faith (the Báb, Bahá'u'lláh, 'Abu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi).

"Haykal" in the Writings have been used to allude to other things as well. At the beginning of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, it refers to the Cause of God: " All praise to Him Who, by the Shield of His Covenant, hath guarded the Temple of His Cause." Bahá'u'lláh In the Tablet of Nasir refers to Mírzá Yahyá as the Haykal-i-Nar (the Temple of Fire). Also in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, para 14, seating cross-legged in original Arabic is seating in the form of Haykal-i-Tawhíd (Tabernacle of Unity).
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