Grading outline on the Tablet of Ahmad

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Posted by Jonah on February 04, 1999 at 06:43:40:

In Reply to: Query regarding circumstances surrounding revelation of the Tablet of Ahmad posted by Fred Baringer on February 03, 1999 at 14:40:00:

Hi, Fred. We recently studied this Tablet in the Wilmette Insitute, so I prepared a grading key for the homework. I don't know if it'll help at all, but here it is: -Jonah

Name of Tablet in Arabic or Persian: Lawh-i-Ahmad (Arabic)

Translation into English: Tablet of/for Ahmad (Arabic). Shoghi Effendi translated this Tablet in 1924 with the assistance of Dr. Esslemont. It has been published in many prayer books and in _Prayers and Meditations_.

Significance of Name: Named after its recipient

Tablet was revealed in: Arabic

Name of Recipient: Ahmad, a native of Yazd

Reason for Revelation of the Tablet:
Taherzadeh explains the story as follows: "After Baha'u'llah's departure from Constantinople, Ahmad remained in Baghdad and served the Faith in that city with great devotion. However, in his heart he was longing to attain the presence of his Lord again. After some time, he could no longer bear to stay away and so he set off for Andrianople. When he arrived in Constantinople, Baha'u'llah sent him a Tablet which is now universally known as the Tablet of Ahmad. On reading this Tablet, Ahmad knew what was expected of him. He surrendered his own will to Baha'u'llah's and instead of completing his journey to Andrianople and attaining the presence of his Lord, he returned to Persia with the sole purpose of teaching and propagating the Message of Baha'u'llah to the Babi community." ( _Revelation of Baha'u'llah_ vol. 2, 113)

Questions asked that are answered in Tablet: N/A

Date of Revelation: 1865, just before Baha'u'llah was poisoned

Place of Revelation: It was revealed in Adrianople, and Ahmad received the Tablet in Constantinople.

Role of Amanuensis or Secretary: Baha'u'llah wrote this Tablet Himself; as Taherzadeh mentions, "a cursory glance at the original Tablet makes it clean that Baha'u'llah wrote this before He was poisened by Mirza Yahya" [i.e., His handwriting wasn't shaky]. Manuscripts of the Tablet in the hand of 'Abdu'l-Baha also exist.

Other Tablets revealed at about the same time:
Baha'ullah revealed the Tablet of the Holy Mariner in March 1863, the Lawh-i-Ayyub in April 1863, the Suriy-i-Hawdaj in May 1863, the Mathnavi-i-Mubarak and the Tablet of the Bell in autumn 1863, and the Suriy-i-Amr and the Tablet of Baha circa March 1866, just before the Most Great Separation.

Style, subject, and genre of the Tablet:
I. Tone of Tablet
1. Tablets with the tone of command and authority.
II. Subject Covered by Tablet
1. Writings dealing with interpretation of the old Scriptures, religious beliefs and doctrines of the past.
3. Mystical Writings.
6. Tablets exhorting men to education, goodly character and divine virtues.
III. Literary Genre of Tablet:
1. Letter to an individual.
5. Prayer.

Voice of Tablet: Baha'u'llah

Outline Contents of Tablet:
[The following outline is adapted from that provided by one student]:
(1) Refers to Himself as the "Nightingale of Paradise" and proclaims
the greatness of His Revelation...
(2) Proclaims the Himself as "that Most Great Beauty through
whom truth shall be distinguished from error and the wisdom
of every command shall be tested."
(3) Proclaims unequivocally the truth of the Bab's Revelation, calls
Him the "King of the Messengers" and His Book [the Persian
Bayan] the "Mother Book," and calls everyone to obedience to its
(4) Refering to Himself again as the "Nightingale", He states that He
has issued His call and it is now up to everyone to either
"turn aside" from His counsel or to "choose the path" to
their Lord.
(5) Warns that if the people deny the truth of what He saying, then
they can never offer proof even of their belief in God.
(6) Tells Ahmad to remember His bounties as well as His days and His
sufferings in "this remote prison" [Adrianople]
(7) Counsels Ahmad to steadfastness in His love, thereby fortifying him
to be able to withstand anything in His Path.
(8) Counsels him in the matter of how he should be to others: "a flame
of fire" to His enemies and a "river of life eternal" to
His loved ones.
(9) Counsels him to have certitude.
(10) Tells him not to be troubled by afflictions or degradation
suffered in His Path, but rather to "rely upon God."
(11) Speaks about the blindness of the people who are "bereft of
discernment," blaming it on their delusions and their
(12) Warns that "he who turneth away from this Beauty hath also turned
away from the Messenges of the past and showeth pride towards
God from all eternity to all eternity."
(13) Promises special blessings to those who read and chant this
(14) Praises and glorifies God.

Principal themes of the Tablet:
The identification of Baha'u'llah as the Manifestation, that He is "The One Whom God shall make manifest"; a tribute to the Bab, whose followers Baha'u'llah is here concerned with teaching; the proof of a Manifestation is His Words; steadfastness enables Baha'u'llah's followers to be able to withstand any test in His Path; one must not be troubled by afflictions by rely upon God; one who turns away from Baha'u'llah also turns away from all previous Manifestations; special blessings come to those who read and chant this Tablet.

Comment on the Tablet's relationship to any other tablets.
A second "Tablet of Ahmad" was revealed in Persian at about the same time. This one was for a different Ahmad, Haji Mirza Ahmad of Kashan, who later became a follower of Mirza Yahya.
This other Tablet also counsels reliance upon God and mentions the blindness of the people, though in the Persian one Baha'u'llah includes the recipient in the category of heedless ones.

Biography or bio note of the recipient of the Tablet:
Taherzadeh provides a detailed biography of Ahmad in _Revelation of Baha'u'llah_ vol. 2, 107-115.

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