Tablet to the Sultan [Alí Páshá]
by Bahá'u'lláhpublished in Bahá'í Scriptures, pages 88-94
New York: 1923
originally revealed as "Súriy-i-Ra'ís".
SURIY-I-RA'IS, TABLET [TO THE] MINISTER TO THE SULTAN
O Ra'is! Hear the Voice of God, the Protecting, Self-existing King. Verily, He crieth between the earth and heaven and summoneth all to the Most Glorious Outlook. Neither doth thy croaking prevent Him, nor the barking of those who are around thee, nor the hosts of the worlds.
The world hath been kindled by the Word of thy Lord, El-Abha. It is softer than the breath of the east wind, and hath appeared in the form of man; and by it God hath quickened His advancing servants. In the inner part of this Word there is a water whereby God hath purified the hearts of those who came unto Him, who were negligent in mentioning aught else save Him; and thus have We brought them nigh to the Outlook of His Great Name. We have caused this water to descend upon the dead, and they are looking toward the shining and brilliant Beauty of God.
O Chief! Thou hast committed that by reason of which Muhammad, the Prophet of God, lamenteth in the highest heaven. And the world hath made thee proud in such wise that thou hast turned away from the face of Him by whose light the people of the Supreme Assembly are illumined, and thou shalt find thyself in manifest loss. And thou didst unite with the Persian Minister in opposition to Me, after that I came unto you from the rising-place of greatness and might, with a matter whereby the eyes of those near to God are consoled. By God, this is a Day wherein the fire speaketh through all things: "The Beloved of the two worlds hath come!" And on the part of everything an interlocutor of the matter hath sprung up to listen to the Word of thy Lord, the Precious, the Knowing. Verily, should We come out from the Garment which We have worn for the sake of your weakness, all, whosoever is in the heaven and on the earth, would not hesitate to redeem Me by their souls, and to this thy Lord beareth witness; but no one hears Him save those who have severed themselves from the world, through the love of God, the Mighty, the Powerful.
Dost thou imagine that thou canst quench the fire which God hath kindled in the horizons? No, by Himself, the True One, wert thou of those who know! Rather, by that which thou hast done, its burning is increased, and its blaze; and it shall encompass the earth and whosoever is thereupon. Thus hath the matter been decreed and whosoever is in the heavens or upon the earth could not withstand His command. And the Land of the Mystery (Adrianople) and what is beside it shall be changed, shall pass out of the hands of the Sultan of Turkey, and commotions shall appear, lamentations shall arise and corruptions shall become manifest on all sides, and matters shall be altered by reason of that which hath come upon the hearts from the hosts of the oppressors. The authority shall be changed, and to such an extent shall the matter become grievous that the sandheaps in the desolate hills shall lament and the trees in the mountains weep, and blood shall flow from all things, and thou shalt see the people in great disturbance.
O Chief! We have revealed Ourselves to thee once in Mt. Tina (near Baghdad), and once in Mt. Ranita, and also in this Blessed Spot; but thou didst not take any notice, become of that by reason of which thou didst follow thy lust and become one of the heedless.
Look! And then remember when Mohamet came with manifest signs on the part of One Mighty and Wise. The people would have stoned Him in the public places and streets, and they denied the signs of God, thy Lord and the Lord of thy fathers who were there. And the learned denied Him; then those factions who followed them, and after them the kings of the earth, as thou hast heard in the stories of those who were aforetime. And of these was Kisra (the Sasanian king). Unto him He sent a kind letter inviting him to God and forbidding him from polytheism; and verily, thy Lord hath knowledge of all things. Verily he made himself great against God, and tore up the letter, because he followed his passion, the lust. Is he not of the people of hell? Was Pharaoh able to hinder God by exercising his dominion, when he relied on the earth and was of the disobedient? We have indeed manifested the Interlocutor (Moses), from Pharaoh's house in spit of his will; verily, We were able to do this. And remember when Nimrod kindled the fire of polytheism, whereby he would burn the Friend of God (Abraham). Verily, We calmed the fire by the truth and brought upon Nimrod manifest grief. Say: Verily, the oppressor (King of Persia) slew the Beloved of the worlds (the Bab) that he mighty thereby extinguish the light of God among His creatures and hinder mankind from the pure water of life in the days of his Lord, the Mighty, the Kind. We have made the matter manifest in the country and elevated His mention (the Bab's) among the unitarians. Say: The Servant hath assuredly come to vivify the world and bring to union whosoever is upon the surface of the earth. That which God willeth shall overcome and thou shalt see the earth as the garden of El-Abha; thus hath it been written by the Pen of Command in an irrevocable Tablet. Leave the mention of the Chief; then mention the Friend who became accustomed to the love of God and separated Himself from those who associated other things with God and were lost. He rent asunder the veils in such wise that the people of paradise heard the rending thereof. Glory be to God, the King, the Knower, the Wise.
O Dove! Hear the voice of El-Abha in this night whereon the military officers were assembled against Us, while We were in great joy. O that Our blood might be shed on the surface of the earth in the way of God and that We might be cast on the ground, for this is My desire and the desire of him who hath Me in view and who hath ascended unto My kingdom, the marvellous, the most wonderful. Know then, O servant, that one day We found the friends of God confronted by transgressors. The troops beset all gates and prevented the servants of God from entrance and exit, and were of the oppressors. And the friends of God and His family were left without food in the first night. Thus did it befall those for whose sake was created the world and what is therein. Shame upon them, and upon those who command them to do evil! And God shall consume their lives with fire -- and verily, He is the fiercest of avengers. Men gathered around the house and the eyes of Islam and the Christians wept and the sound of wailing arose betwixt heaven and earth, because of that which the oppressors had wrought. Verily, We found the Assembly of the Son (Christians) more bitter in their weeping than those of other creeds, and therein are indeed signs to the thoughtful. And one from among the friends has sacrificed himself and cut his throat by his own hand from the love of God. This is the like of which We have not heard from former ages. This is what God hath set apart for this Manifestation as showing forth His Power, for, verily, He is the Mighty, the Powerful. And he whose throat was cut in Iraq (Baghdad), verily, he is the beloved of martyrs and their sultan. And that which appeared from him was the proof of God unto all creatures. The beloved of God are those in whom the Word of God taketh effect and who taste the sweetness of commemoration, and upon whom the fragrance of union hath taken hold in such wise that they separate themselves from whosoever is upon the earth and advance to the Face with brilliant countenances; and though they have committed that which God never permitted, yet God pardoneth them as a favor on His part; verily, He is the pardoner, the merciful. The attraction of the Most Powerful hath overpowered them in such wise that it seized from their hands the reins of option, until they ascended into the station of presence and disclosure, before God, the Precious, the Wise. Say: the Servant hath left this world, but He put every tree and stone in charge of the trust which God shall bring forth with the truth. Thus the True One hath come and the matter hath been decreed on the part of the Designer, the Wise, whose commands the hosts of heaven and earth could not withstand, nor could all the kings and rulers withhold Him from that which He willeth. Say: Calamities are as oil for this lamp and through them its light increaseth, were ye of those who know. Say: All oppositions displayed by the oppressors are indeed as heralds to this matter and by such the appearance of God and His affair have been widely spread among the people of the world. Blessed are ye by reason of that whereby ye left your homes and travelled over the country for the love of God, your Lord, the Mighty, the Pre-existent, until ye came and entered into the Land of Mystery (Adrianople) on a day wherein the fire of oppression was kindling and the raven of separation was crying out. Ye are the participators in My calamities, because ye were with us on a night wherein the hearts of the unitarians were disturbed. Ye entered the land in Our love, and ye left it by Our command. By God, it beseemeth the earth, through you, to make itself great against heaven! How precious is this great and exalted beauty! O ye birds of Eternity, ye were withheld from your nests in the Cause of the Lord, the Unconstrained. Verily, He will make for you lodgings under the wings of the grace of your Lord, the Merciful. Blessed are they who know.
O victim of Mine! The Spirit is to thee and to him who rejoiceth by thee and from thee findeth My fragrance and heareth that by reason of which the hearts of the seekers are purified. Thank thou God for that through which thou hast reached the shore of the Most Great Sea and heard the cry of all particles, saying: "This is the Beloved of the World! And the people of the world oppress Him and do not know Him whom they call upon at all times." Those who are heedless and who turned away from Him (the Bab) for the sake of whose Beloved they should sacrifice themselves, are in great loss. How much more then for His brilliant and shining perfection? Although thine heart would assuredly melt at separation from God, be patient, for thou hast with Him a great station. Rather, shalt thou stand before the Face, and We will speak to thee with the tongue of might and power, that which the ears of the sincere were withheld from hearing. Say: Should He speak one word, verily it would be of greater sweetness than the words of all the people of the world. This is a Day unto which had Mohamet, the Prophet of God, attained, He would assuredly say: "We have known Thee, O Desire of all the Apostles!" And had the Friend of God, Abraham, attained it, He would have placed His face upon the earth, humbling Himself, before God, saying: "My heart is at peace, O God of whosoever is in earth and heaven. And Thou hast caused me to behold the kingdom of Thy Command and the dominion of Thy Might; and I bear witness that at Thy Manifestation the hearts of those who advance are at peace!" Had the Interlocutor (Moses) attained it, He would surely say: "Praise be to Thee for that Thou hast shown Me Thy Beauty and hast made Me of those who commune with Thee."
Reflect upon the people and their condition and that which cometh forth from their mouths and what their hands have wrought in this blessed, holy and wonderful Day. Verily, they who did not obey the Command but turned to Satan are of those who are cursed by all things and they are of the people of fire. He who heareth My voice will not be affect whatever by the voice of the people of the world; and he in whom the voice of aught that is beside Me taketh effect, verily, he did not hear My voice; he is indeed deprived of My Kingdom and the empires of My greatness and might and is of those who lose. Grieve not because of that which hath befallen thee. Verily thou hast forborne for the sake of My love what the majority of the servants have never borne; and thy Lord is the All-Knowing, the Informed. And He hath accompanied thee in the courts of law and heard that which hath flowed from the water of thy pen in commemoration of thy Lord, the Merciful. Verily, this is naught but a manifest grace. And God shall raise up one among the kings who shall succor His saints, for He compasseth all things. And He shall put into the hearts of men the love of His saints and this is a decree on the part of the Mighty, the Beautiful. We ask God to make, through thy cry, the breasts of all the servants dilated with joy and to make thee the standard of guidance throughout the empire, and by thee to render the weak victorious. Thou shalt pay no attention to the grunts of the grunters, but leave them to thy Lord, the Pardoner, the Generous. Relate to My beloved the stories of the Servant, of that which Thou hast learned and heard; then deliver to them what We have delivered to thee; verily, thy God will strengthen thee at all times, and He is thy guard. The Supreme Assembly shall magnify thee and the family of God and His household, the leaves who go around the Tree, shall praise thee and remember thee with a marvellous remembrance.
O Pen of Revelation! Remind him whose letter hath come before the Face in this somber night and who travelled over the country until he arrived and entered the city for the purpose of seeking refuge under the protection of the mercy of his Lord, the Mighty, the Powerful, -- in which city he spent the night, awaiting the grace of his Lord; and in the morning, by the command of God, he left the city, on which occasion the servant became sad; and God is a witness to all that I say, saying: "Blessed thou art for that by reason of which thou hast received the wine of revelation from the hand of the Merciful in such wise as made thee deny thine own comfort, and because thou art of those who hasten to the region of Paradise, the day-spring of the signs of thy Lord, the Precious, the Peerless." What a victory it is to him who hath drunk the wine of knowledge from the Countenance of his Lord, and who drinketh again the pure sweetness of this wine! By God, through this wine will the unitarians soar to the heaven of greatness and glory, and imagination will be altered to reality. Grieve not because of that which hath befallen thee. Rely upon God, the Mighty, the Learned, the Wise; and let the corners of the house be founded upon the Books of Revelation; then mention thy Lord and He will make you dispense with all the people of the world. Verily, He chooseth whom He willeth and He is indeed the Beloved of the devout. By God, the Supreme Assembly seeth you and pointeth to you; thus the grace of your Lord hath encompassed you. O would that the people knew that whereof they are neglectful in the Day of God, the Mighty, the Extolled! Give thanks unto God, inasmuch as He hath strengthened thee with the knowledge of Himself and caused thee to enter into His protection on a Day whereon the unbelievers encompassed the people of God and His saints and drove them forth from their houses with evident tyranny. And they desired to bring about a separation between us on the shore of the sea; and verily thy Lord is aware of that which is in the breasts of the unbelievers. Say: Though ye cut off our limbs, the love of God will not depart from our hearts! Verily, we were created for sacrifice; therefore we glory over the worms.