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TAGS: Abdul-Baha, Writings and talks of; Lawh-i-Ismael (Tablet to Ismael on Annihilation in God); Mysticism; Sacrifice; Self-annihilation (fana); Servitude
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Short mention of faná', the mystical annihilation of the self, "which is none other than being a total sacrifice in His Lordship."

Tablet to Ismael on Annihilation in God (Lawh-i-Ismael)

by Abdu'l-Bahá

translated by Khazeh Fananapazir
[1]He is the All Glorious!

O illustrious[2] Ismael! All the friends of God should be as a sacrifice unto the One true God. This means that they should sacrifice and immolate all that pertaineth to them for the Beauty of God so that in this way they may reach the state of annihilation in God,[3] which is none other than being a total sacrifice in His Lordship.[4] This entails renouncing one’s own wishes, one’s own good pleasure, and desire and servitude to the servants of the Abhá Beauty, may my life be a ransom unto His loved ones!

   For His own Essence of Oneness is sanctified above the servitude of any one in the world of humanity. He is independent of the thralldom of others. Thus, one must become engaged in the servitude of His servants.[5] This then is the truth of servitude unto Him.

   When the beauty of this station becomes resplendent in the assemblage of the friends, then unity and concord, harmony, and primal oneness will reveal their faces and beauty, like unto the Countenance of the One Well-Beloved.

   Say then: O lovers of the All Merciful! This is the time of unity and agreement and this age is the age of oneness and detachment. Be ye loving towards one another. Serve each other. I am your first servant. I have priority in being a thrall unto you.

   I swear by the Ancient Beauty! May my spirit, my essence, my very being be a sacrifice unto His friends! That my face is ever illumined by serving the friends of the One true God and my nostrils are fragrant with the breath wafted by the love of His lovers.

   My utmost hope and aspiration lies in this: that I serve each and every one of the friends. This is the balance. Upon you be His Glory!

    ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’ Abbas.
    [1]This provisional title added by the present editor. Tablet is published in  Makátib Vol. 4, pp. 14-15. (MW’s note)

    [2] Jalil is translated as illustrious, eg. “... This illustrious [jalil] Being uplifted His Cause in the Most Great Prison. From this Prison His light was shed abroad; His fame conquered the world, and the proclamation of His glory reached the East and the West.” (Some Answered Questions, p. 36) (KF’s note, expanded slightly by MW)

    [3] Fana fi Alláh (KF’s note)

    [4] The notion of renouncing oneself is a message found in all previous dispensations, e.g. the Hindu devotee must be “Surrendering in thought all actions to Me, regarding Me as the Supreme and resorting to steadfastness in understanding, do thou fix thy thought constantly on Me.” (Bhagavad Gita, Chap. 17); no devotee can become a true yogi unless they subdue the self (Chap. 12) and renounce their own purposes (Chap. 6); the Awakened Buddhist delights in practicing renunciation (Dhammapada, v. 181); The Prophet Micah writes: “what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8); Jesus tells the disciples: “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 18:4); James commands the early church, “Submit yourselves therefore to God . . . Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” (James 4:7,8); in Islám, the believer is exhorted to submit themselves to Alláh: “Who can be better in religion than one who submits his whole self to God, does good, and follows the way of Abraham the true in Faith?” (Qur’án 4:125). “Whoever submits his whole self to God, and is a doer of good, has grasped indeed the most trustworthy hand-hold..” (Qur’án 31:22). In this Dispensation, however, the conception is very strong; Bahá’u’lláh declares: “It behoveth thee to consecrate thyself to the Will of God. . . . So complete must be thy consecration, that every trace of worldly desire will be washed from thine heart. This is the meaning of true unity.” (Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 338) (MW’s note).

    [5] Cf. Qur’án 4:36, 5:3, Galatians 5:13.

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