Passages from "The Dispensation of Baha'u'llah"

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Posted by Jonah on October 18, 1999 at 00:07:17:

In Reply to: the Bab posted by ard on October 17, 1999 at 08:35:40:

Hi. Probably the best starting point is Shoghi Effendi's treatise on Baha'i theology called "The Dispensation of Baha'u'llah," reprinted in the compilation _The World Order of Baha'u'llah_. This is from that compilation, pages 123-128.



Dearly-beloved friends! That the Bab, the inaugurator of the
Babi Dispensation, is fully entitled to rank as one of the self-sufficient
Manifestations of God, that He has been invested with
sovereign power and authority, and exercises all the rights and
prerogatives of independent Prophethood, is yet another fundamental
verity which the Message of Bahá'u'lláh insistently proclaims
and which its followers must uncompromisingly uphold.
That He is not to be regarded merely as an inspired Precursor of
the Bahá'í Revelation, that in His person, as He Himself bears
witness in the Persian Bayan, the object of all the Prophets gone
before Him has been fulfilled, is a truth which I feel it my duty
to demonstrate and emphasize. We would assuredly be failing in
our duty to the Faith we profess and would be violating one of its
basic and sacred principles if in our words or by our conduct we
hesitate to recognize the implications of this root principle of Bahá'í
belief, or refuse to uphold unreservedly its integrity and demonstrate
its truth. Indeed the chief motive actuating me to undertake
the task of editing and translating Nabil's immortal Narrative has
been to enable every follower of the Faith in the West to better
understand and more readily grasp the tremendous implications of
His exalted station and to more ardently admire and love Him.
There can be no doubt that the claim to the twofold station ordained
for the Bab by the Almighty, a claim which He Himself has
so boldly advanced, which Bahá'u'lláh has repeatedly affirmed, and to
which the Will and Testament of Abdu'l-Baha has finally given
the sanction of its testimony, constitutes the most distinctive feature
of the Bahá'í Dispensation. It is a further evidence of its uniqueness,
a tremendous accession to the strength, to the mysterious power
and authority with which this holy cycle has been invested. Indeed
the greatness of the Bab consists primarily, not in His being the
divinely-appointed Forerunner of so transcendent a Revelation, but
rather in His having been invested with the powers inherent in the
inaugurator of a separate religious Dispensation, and in His wielding,
to a degree unrivaled by the Messengers gone before Him, the
scepter of independent Prophethood.
The short duration of His Dispensation, the restricted range
within which His laws and ordinances have been made to operate,

supply no criterion whatever wherewith to judge its Divine origin
and to evaluate the potency of its message. "That so brief a span,"
Bahá'u'lláh Himself explains, "should have separated this most
mighty and wondrous Revelation from Mine own previous Manifestation,
is a secret that no man can unravel and a mystery such as
no mind can fathom. Its duration had been foreordained, and no
man shall ever discover its reason unless and until he be informed of
the contents of My Hidden Book." "Behold," Bahá'u'lláh further
explains in the Kitab-i-Badi', one of His works refuting the arguments
of the people of the Bayan, "behold, how immediately upon
the completion of the ninth year of this wondrous, this most holy and
merciful Dispensation, the requisite number of pure, of wholly consecrated
and sanctified souls had been most secretly consummated."
The marvelous happenings that have heralded the advent of the
Founder of the Babi Dispensation, the dramatic circumstances of
His own eventful life, the miraculous tragedy of His martyrdom,
the magic of His influence exerted on the most eminent and powerful
among His countrymen, to all of which every chapter of Nabil's
stirring narrative testifies, should in themselves be regarded as
sufficient evidence of the validity of His claim to so exalted a station
among the Prophets.
However graphic the record which the eminent chronicler of
His life has transmitted to posterity, so luminous a narrative must
pale before the glowing tribute paid to the Bab by the pen of
Bahá'u'lláh. This tribute the Bab Himself has, by the clear assertion
of His claim, abundantly supported, while the written testimonies
of Abdu'l-Baha have powerfully reinforced its character
and elucidated its meaning.
Where else if not in the Kitab-i-Iqan can the student of the
Babi Dispensation seek to find those affirmations that unmistakably
attest the power and spirit which no man, except he be a Manifestation
of God, can manifest? "Could such a thing," exclaims
Bahá'u'lláh, "be made manifest except through the power of a
Divine Revelation and the potency of God's invincible Will? By the
righteousness of God! Were any one to entertain so great a Revelation
in his heart the thought of such a declaration would alone
confound him! Were the hearts of all men to be crowded into his
heart, he would still hesitate to venture upon so awful an enterprise."
"No eye," He in another passage affirms, "hath beheld so great an
outpouring of bounty, nor hath any ear heard of such a Revelation
of loving-kindness... The Prophets `endowed with constancy,'

whose loftiness and glory shine as the sun, were each honored with
a Book which all have seen, and the verses of which have been duly
ascertained. Whereas the verses which have rained from this Cloud
of divine mercy have been so abundant that none hath yet been able
to estimate their number... How can they belittle this Revelation?
Hath any age witnessed such momentous happenings?"
Commenting on the character and influence of those heroes and
martyrs whom the spirit of the Bab had so magically transformed
Bahá'u'lláh reveals the following: "If these companions be not the
true strivers after God, who else could be called by this name?...
If these companions, with all their marvelous testimonies and wondrous
works, be false, who then is worthy to claim for himself the
truth?... Has the world since the days of Adam witnessed such
tumult, such violent commotion?... Methinks, patience was revealed
only by virtue of their fortitude, and faithfulness itself was
begotten only by their deeds."
Wishing to stress the sublimity of the Bab's exalted station as
compared with that of the Prophets of the past, Bahá'u'lláh in that
same epistle asserts: "No understanding can grasp the nature of His
Revelation, nor can any knowledge comprehend the full measure of
His Faith." He then quotes, in confirmation of His argument, these
prophetic words: "Knowledge is twenty and seven letters. All that
the Prophets have revealed are two letters thereof. No man thus far
hath known more than these two letters. But when the Qa'im shall
arise, He will cause the remaining twenty and five letters to be made
manifest." "Behold," He adds, "how great and lofty is His station!
His rank excelleth that of all the Prophets and His Revelation
transcendeth the comprehension and understanding of all their
chosen ones." "Of His Revelation," He further adds, "the Prophets
of God, His saints and chosen ones, have either not been informed,
or, in pursuance of God's inscrutable decree, they have not disclosed."
Of all the tributes which Bahá'u'lláh's unerring pen has chosen
to pay to the memory of the Bab, His "Best-Beloved," the most
memorable and touching is this brief, yet eloquent passage which
so greatly enhances the value of the concluding passages of that
same epistle. "Amidst them all," He writes, referring to the afflictive
trials and dangers besetting Him in the city of Baghdad, "We
stand life in hand wholly resigned to His Will, that perchance
through God's loving kindness and grace, this revealed and manifest
Letter (Bahá'u'lláh) may lay down His life as a sacrifice in the
path of the Primal Point, the most exalted Word (the Bab). By

Him, at Whose bidding the Spirit hath spoken, but for this yearning
of Our soul, We would not, for one moment, have tarried any longer
in this city."
Dearly-beloved friends! So resounding a praise, so bold an assertion
issued by the pen of Bahá'u'lláh in so weighty a work, are
fully re-echoed in the language in which the Source of the Babi
Revelation has chosen to clothe the claims He Himself has advanced.
"I am the Mystic Fane," the Bab thus proclaims His station in the
Qayyumu'l-Asma', "which the Hand of Omnipotence hath reared.
I am the Lamp which the Finger of God hath lit within its niche
and caused to shine with deathless splendor. I am the Flame of that
supernal Light that glowed upon Sinai in the gladsome Spot, and lay
concealed in the midst of the Burning Bush." "O Qurratu'l-'Ayn!"
He, addressing Himself in that same commentary, exclaims, "I
recognize in Thee none other except the `Great Announcement'--the
Announcement voiced by the Concourse on high. By this name, I
bear witness, they that circle the Throne of Glory have ever known
Thee." "With each and every Prophet, Whom We have sent down
in the past," He further adds, "We have established a separate
Covenant concerning the `Remembrance of God' and His Day.
Manifest, in the realm of glory and through the power of truth,
are the `Remembrance of God' and His Day before the eyes of the
angels that circle His mercy-seat." "Should it be Our wish," He
again affirms, "it is in Our power to compel, through the agency of
but one letter of Our Revelation, the world and all that is therein
to recognize, in less than the twinkling of an eye, the truth of
Our Cause."
"I am the Primal Point," the Bab thus addresses Muhammad
Shah from the prison-fortress of Mah-Ku, "from which have been
generated all created things... I am the Countenance of God
Whose splendor can never be obscured, the light of God whose
radiance can never fade... All the keys of heaven God hath
chosen to place on My right hand, and all the keys of hell on My
left... I am one of the sustaining pillars of the Primal Word of
God. Whosoever hath recognized Me, hath known all that is true
and right, and hath attained all that is good and seemly... The
substance wherewith God hath created Me is not the clay out of
which others have been formed. He hath conferred upon Me that
which the worldly-wise can never comprehend, nor the faithful
discover." "Should a tiny ant," the Bab, wishing to stress the limitless
potentialities latent in His Dispensation, characteristically

affirms, "desire in this day to be possessed of such power as to be
able to unravel the abstrusest and most bewildering passages of the
Qur'an, its wish will no doubt be fulfilled, inasmuch as the mystery
of eternal might vibrates within the innermost being of all created
things." "If so helpless a creature," is Abdu'l-Baha's comment on
so startling an affirmation, "can be endowed with so subtle a capacity,
how much more efficacious must be the power released through
the liberal effusions of the grace of Bahá'u'lláh!"
To these authoritative assertions and solemn declarations made
by Bahá'u'lláh and the Bab must be added Abdu'l-Baha's own incontrovertible
testimony. He, the appointed interpreter of the utterances
of both Bahá'u'lláh and the Bab, corroborates, not by implication
but in clear and categorical language, both in His Tablets and in
His Testament, the truth of the statements to which I have already
In a Tablet addressed to a Bahá'í in Mazindaran, in which He
unfolds the meaning of a misinterpreted statement attributed to
Him regarding the rise of the Sun of Truth in this century, He
sets forth, briefly but conclusively, what should remain for all time
our true conception of the relationship between the two Manifestations
associated with the Bahá'í Dispensation. "In making such a
statement," He explains, "I had in mind no one else except the Bab
and Bahá'u'lláh, the character of whose Revelations it had been my
purpose to elucidate. The Revelation of the Bab may be likened to
the sun, its station corresponding to the first sign of the Zodiac--
the sign Aries--which the sun enters at the Vernal Equinox. The
station of Bahá'u'lláh's Revelation, on the other hand, is represented
by the sign Leo, the sun's mid-summer and highest station. By this
is meant that this holy Dispensation is illumined with the light of
the Sun of Truth shining from its most exalted station, and in the
plenitude of its resplendency, its heat and glory."
"The Bab, the Exalted One," Abdu'l-Baha more specifically
affirms in another Tablet, "is the Morn of Truth, the splendor of
Whose light shineth throughout all regions. He is also the Harbinger
of the Most Great Light, the Abha Luminary. The Blessed Beauty
is the One promised by the sacred books of the past, the revelation
of the Source of light that shone upon Mount Sinai, Whose fire
glowed in the midst of the Burning Bush. We are, one and all,
servants of their threshold, and stand each as a lowly keeper at their
door." "Every proof and prophecy," is His still more emphatic
warning, "every manner of evidence, whether based on reason or

on the text of the scriptures and traditions, are to be regarded as
centered in the persons of Bahá'u'lláh and the Bab. In them is to be
found their complete fulfillment."
And finally, in His Will and Testament, the repository of His
last wishes and parting instructions, He in the following passage,
specifically designed to set forth the guiding principles of Bahá'í
belief, sets the seal of His testimony on the Bab's dual and exalted
station: "The foundation of the belief of the people of Baha (may
my life be offered up for them) is this: His holiness the exalted
One (the Bab) is the Manifestation of the unity and oneness of God
and the Forerunner of the Ancient Beauty (Bahá'u'lláh). His holiness,
the Abha Beauty (Bahá'u'lláh) (may my life be offered up as
a sacrifice for His steadfast friends) is the supreme Manifestation
of God and the Day-Spring of His most divine Essence." "All
others," He significantly adds, "are servants unto Him and do His

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