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Chapter 23

Divine Unity as relates to the Independent Prophets and Dependent/Lesser Prophets.

LXXXIV. Regard thou the one true God as One Who is apart from, and immeasurably exalted above, all created things. The whole universe reflecteth His glory, while He is Himself independent of, and transcendeth His creatures. This is the true meaning of Divine unity. He Who is the Eternal Truth is the one Power Who exerciseth undisputed sovereignty over the world of being, Whose image is reflected in the mirror of the entire creation. All existence is dependent upon Him, and from Him is derived the source of the sustenance of all things. This is what is meant by Divine unity; this is its fundamental principle.

Some, deluded by their idle fancies, have conceived all created things as associates and partners of God, and imagined themselves to be the exponents of His unity. By Him Who is the one true God! Such men have been, and will continue to remain, the victims of blind imitation, and are to be numbered with them that have restricted and limited the conception of God.

He is a true believer in Divine unity who, far from confusing duality with oneness, refuseth to allow any notion of multiplicity to becloud his conception of the singleness of God, who will regard the Divine Being as One Who, by His very nature, transcendeth the limitations of numbers.

The essence of belief in Divine unity consisteth in regarding Him Who is the Manifestation of God and Him Who is the invisible, the inaccessible, the unknowable Essence as one and the same. By this is meant that whatever pertaineth to the former, all His acts and doings, whatever He ordaineth or forbiddeth, should be considered, in all their aspects, and under all circumstances, and without any reservation, as identical with the Will of God Himself. This is the loftiest station to which a true believer in the unity of God can ever hope to attain. Blessed is the man that reacheth this station, and is of them that are steadfast in their belief.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 166-167

XXI. O Salman! The door of the knowledge of the Ancient Being hath ever been, and will continue for ever to be, closed in the face of men. No man's understanding shall ever gain access unto His holy court. As a token of His mercy, however, and as a proof of His loving-kindness, He hath manifested unto men the Day Stars of His divine guidance, the Symbols of His divine unity, and hath ordained the knowledge of these sanctified Beings to be identical with the knowledge of His own Self. Whoso recognizeth them hath recognized God. Whoso hearkeneth to their call, hath hearkened to the Voice of God, and whoso testifieth to the truth of their Revelation, hath testified to the truth of God Himself. Whoso turneth away from them, hath turned away from God, and whoso disbelieveth in them, hath disbelieved in God. Every one of them is the Way of God that connecteth this world with the realms above, and the Standard of His Truth unto every one in the kingdoms of earth and heaven. They are the Manifestations of God amidst men, the evidences of His Truth, and the signs of His glory.
--Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 49

This is that which Salmán[2] and 'Abú Dharr[3] related of the utterances of the Commander of the Faithful, 'Alí [Imam Ali] - Peace be upon Him!

'Alí said:

He whose acceptance of my guardianship is based on external reality more than internal truth, he is that one "whose balance will be light"[4] Those whose scale will be light, their souls will be in perdition.[5] O Salmán! The faith of no believer will attain perfection unless and until he recognizeth Me with luminousness. If he attaineth unto this, then he hath truly attained faith; he is the one whose heart is tested with true faith, whose breast is dilated in true Islám and whose faith is based on discernment. He who is convicted of shortcoming in this cognition - he will be a doubter, immersed in disbelief.

O Salmán! and O Jandáb![6] In truth, recognition of Me in luminousness is the recognition of God,[7] and Recognition and knowledge of God is indeed knowledge of Me; this is what is meant by sincere devotion.[8] Mankind was not ordered by God to seek naught except to attain unto this unity.[9] They were commanded to worship but One God.[10] And they have been commanded no more than this: "To worship God, offering Him sincere devotion, being true (in faith), to establish regular prayer; and to practice regular charity; and that is the Religion Right and Straight."[11]

"Worshipping God" is belief in Divine Unity. "Sincere devotion" and "being true in Faith"[12] is confession of the Prophethood of the Prophet. "Establishing Prayer" is my Guardianship and Friendship.[13] He who pledges fealty and friendship unto Me hath truly established the obligatory prayer. Yet, this matter is hard, exceedingly hard! "Regular charity" in the above verse is confession to the Imámate. All this is the true religion.[14]

The Holy Qur'án hath testified that true Faith is recognition of divine unity and confession to both the Prophet and the Imámate. He who attaineth unto both hath fulfilled his faith. A true believer is the one who does not reject any matter pertaining to Us, for God Himself hath dilated His Breast such that He may accept all. He will not doubt or be mistrustful. He who cavileth why and wherefore becometh a disbeliever. We are, verily, the Cause of God![15]

O Salmán! O Jandáb![16] Verily, God hath made me His Trustee over His creation and His Vicegerent on His earth, in His territories, and over His servants. He hath given Me what no artist can depict and no man of understanding can truly comprehend. If thou wert to know Me in this fashion, thou shalt attain unto true belief.[17]

O Salmán! God, exalted be He saith: "Nay, seek God's help with patient perseverance and prayer: it is indeed hard except to those who bring a lowly spirit."[18] "Patient perseverance" is Muhammad and "Prayer" is my Wilayat.[19] Thus, that is why God hath declared it is hard. He doth not reveal the Two[20] are hard. In truth, My Guardianship is perplexing only to those who bring a lowly spirit. These latter are they who have sought discernment using the light of My guidance.

O Salmán! We are the Mystery of God[21] that shalt not remain hidden. We are His light that shalt never be extinguished, His Grace that is expected from none other save Him. Muhammad is our first, Muhammad our last, Muhammad our all![22] Muhammad is our first, Muhammad our last, Muhammad our all. He who recognizeth Us in this regard hath, in truth, consummated his Faith.

O Salmán, and O Jandáb! Muhammad and I were the Light that was voicing forth the divine eulogy before any other reality started to praise Him. We were the cause of illumination unto all creation. This one Light was divided by God into two portions, the Chosen "Mustafa"[23], and His Vicegerent, "Murtada"[24], and vouchsafed unto creation. God, exalted be His Glory, said to each half, "Be Muhammad!", "Be 'Alí!"[25] It is thus that the Prophet said: "I am from 'Alí and 'Alí is from Me. None can give forth My Trust but Myself and 'Alí."[26] This refers to our unity in the worlds of Light and Spirit. Similar is this divine utterance: "and If He dieth or is slain."[27] "Dieth" refers to the passing away of the Prophet. "Slain" refers to the martyrdom of the Successor[28], for the Two are one Entity, one Signification and one Light. Their unity is in purpose and attributes. They are different in Their corporeal entity and their Names. But in the world of spirit, They are One Spirit. In Spirit, He said, "Thou art the Spirit within My Limbs." In the world of bodies, He saith: "Thou art of Me and I am of Thine. Thou shalt inherit after Me."
-- Imam Ali, The Sermon of Ma'rifat bin-Nurániyyat (Recognition with Luminousness). Translation by K. Fananapazir.
Full text available at:

If we ponder a while over the Qur'anic verses and proofs, and the traditional accounts which have come down to us from those stars of the heaven of Divine Unity, the Holy Imams, we shall be convinced of the fact that if a soul is endowed with the attributes of true faith and characterized with spiritual qualities he will become to all mankind an emblem of the outstretched mercies of God. For the attributes of the people of faith are justice and fair-mindedness; forbearance and compassion and generosity; consideration for others; candor, trustworthiness, and loyalty; love and loving-kindness; devotion and determination and humanity. If therefore an individual is truly righteous, he will avail himself of all those means which will attract the hearts of men, and through the attributes of God he will draw them to the straight path of faith and cause them to drink from the river of everlasting life.
--Abdu'l-Bahá, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 55

XXIV. Beware, O believers in the Unity of God, lest ye be tempted to make any distinction between any of the Manifestations of His Cause, or to discriminate against the signs that have accompanied and proclaimed their Revelation. This indeed is the true meaning of Divine Unity, if ye be of them that apprehend and believe this truth. Be ye assured, moreover, that the works and acts of each and every one of these Manifestations of God, nay whatever pertaineth unto them, and whatsoever they may manifest in the future, are all ordained by God, and are a reflection of His Will and Purpose. Whoso maketh the slightest possible difference between their persons, their words, their messages, their acts and manners, hath indeed disbelieved in God, hath repudiated His signs, and betrayed the Cause of His Messengers.
--Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 59

And now, with reference to His words: "And then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." These words signify that in those days men will lament the loss of the Sun of the divine beauty, of the Moon of knowledge, and of the Stars of divine wisdom. Thereupon, they will behold the countenance of the promised One, the adored Beauty, descending from heaven and riding upon the clouds. By this is meant that the divine Beauty will be made manifest from the heaven of the will of God, and will appear in the form of the human temple. The term "heaven" denoteth loftiness and exaltation, inasmuch as it is the seat of the revelation of those Manifestations of Holiness, the Day-springs of ancient glory. These ancient Beings, though delivered from the womb of their mother, have in reality descended from the heaven of the will of God. Though they be dwelling on this earth, yet their true habitations are the retreats of glory in the realms above. Whilst walking amongst mortals, they soar in the heaven of the divine presence. Without feet they tread the path of the spirit, and without wings they rise unto the exalted heights of divine unity. With every fleeting breath they cover the immensity of space, and at every moment traverse the kingdoms of the visible and the invisible. Upon their thrones is written: "Nothing whatsoever keepeth Him from being occupied with any other thing;" and on their seats is inscribed: "Verily, His ways differ every day."[1] They are sent forth through the transcendent power of the Ancient of Days, and are raised up by the exalted will of God, the most mighty King. This is what is meant by the words: "coming in the clouds of heaven." [1 Qur'an 55:29.]
--Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 66

XXVIII. Happy is the man who will arise to serve My Cause, and glorify My beauteous Name. Take hold of My Book with the power of My might, and cleave tenaciously to whatsoever commandment thy Lord, the Ordainer, the All-Wise, hath prescribed therein. Behold, O Muhammad, how the sayings and doings of the followers of Shi'ih Islam have dulled the joy and fervor of its early days, and tarnished the pristine brilliancy of its light. In its primitive days, whilst they still adhered to the precepts associated with the name of their Prophet, the Lord of mankind, their career was marked by an unbroken chain of victories and triumphs. As they gradually strayed from the path of their Ideal Leader and Master, as they turned away from the Light of God and corrupted the principle of His Divine unity, and as they increasingly centered their attention upon them who were only the revealers of the potency of His Word, their power was turned into weakness, their glory into shame, their courage into fear. Thou dost witness to what a pass they have come. Behold, how they have joined partners with Him Who is the Focal-Point of Divine unity. Behold how their evil doings have hindered them from recognizing, in the Day of Resurrection, the Word of Truth, exalted be His glory. We cherish the hope that this people will henceforth shield themselves from vain hopes and idle fancies, and will attain to a true understanding of the meaning of Divine unity.

The Person of the Manifestation hath ever been the representative and mouthpiece of God. He, in truth, is the Day Spring of God's most excellent Titles, and the Dawning-Place of His exalted Attributes. If any be set up by His side as peers, if they be regarded as identical with His Person, how can it, then, be maintained that the Divine Being is One and Incomparable, that His Essence is indivisible and peerless? Meditate on that which We have, through the power of truth, revealed unto thee, and be thou of them that comprehend its meaning.
--Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 69

Praised be Thou, O Lord my God! I implore Thee by Them Who are the Tabernacles of Thy Divine holiness, Who are the Manifestations of Thy transcendent unity and the Day-Springs of Thine inspiration and revelation, to grant that Thy servants may not be kept back from this Divine Law which, at Thy will and according to Thy pleasure, hath branched out from Thy most great Ocean. Do Thou, then, ordain for them that which Thou didst ordain for Thy chosen ones and for the righteous among Thy creatures, whose constancy in Thy Cause the tempests of trials have failed to shake, and whom the tumults of tests have been powerless to hinder from magnifying Thy most exalted Word -- the Word through Which the heavens of men's idle fancies and vain imaginations have been split asunder. Thou art, verily, the Almighty, the All-Glorious, the All-Knowing.
--Bahá'u'lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá'u'lláh, p. 27

Praise be unto God Who hath made the Most Great Infallibility the shield for the temple of His Cause in the realm of creation, and hath assigned unto no one a share of this lofty and sublime station -- a station which is a vesture which the fingers of transcendent power have woven for His august Self. It befitteth no one except Him Who is seated upon the mighty throne of 'He doeth what He pleaseth'. Whoso accepteth and recognizeth that which is written down at this moment by the Pen of Glory is indeed reckoned in the Book of God, the Lord of the beginning and the end, among the exponents of divine unity, they that uphold the concept of the oneness of God.

When the stream of words reached this stage, the sweet savours of true knowledge were shed abroad and the day-star of divine unity shone forth above the horizon of His holy utterance. Blessed is he whom His Call hath attracted to the summit of glory, who hath drawn nigh to the ultimate Purpose, and who hath recognized through the shrill voice of My Pen of Glory that which the Lord of this world and of the next hath willed. Whoso faileth to quaff the choice wine which We have unsealed through the potency of Our Name, the All-Compelling, shall be unable to discern the splendours of the light of divine unity or to grasp the essential purpose underlying the Scriptures of God, the Lord of heaven and earth, the sovereign Ruler of this world and of the world to come. Such a man shall be accounted among the faithless in the Book of God, the All-Knowing, the All-Informed.

O thou honoured enquirer! [1] We bear witness that thou didst firmly adhere unto seemly patience during the days when the Pen was held back from movement and the Tongue hesitated to set forth an explanation regarding the wondrous sign, the Most Great Infallibility. Thou hast asked this Wronged One to remove for thee its veils and coverings, to elucidate its mystery and character, its state and position, its excellence, sublimity and exaltation. By the life of God! Were We to unveil the pearls of testimony which lie hid within the shells of the ocean of knowledge and assurance or to let the beauties of divine mystery which are hidden within the chambers of utterance in the Paradise of true understanding, step out of their habitation, then from every direction violent commotion would arise among the leaders of religion and thou wouldst witness the people of God held fast in the teeth of such wolves as have denied God both in the beginning and in the end. Therefore We restrained the Pen for a considerable lapse of time in accordance with divine wisdom and for the sake of protecting the faithful from those who have bartered away heavenly blessings for disbelief and have chosen for their people the abode of perdition.
--Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 105

FIX your gaze upon wisdom in all things, for it is an unfailing antidote. How often hath it turned a disbeliever into a believer or a foe into a friend? Its observance is highly essential, inasmuch as this theme hath been set forth in numerous Tablets revealed from the empyrean of the Will of Him Who is the Manifestation of the light of divine unity. Well is it with them that act accordingly.

Centre your attention unceasingly upon that which will cause the Word of God to be exalted. In this Most Great Revelation goodly deeds and a praiseworthy character are regarded as the hosts of God, likewise is His blessed and holy Word. These hosts are the lodestone of the hearts of men and the effective means for unlocking doors. Of all the weapons in the world this is the keenest.

Beseech thou God to graciously assist all men to observe that which His all-glorious Pen hath recorded in the sacred Books and Tablets.

THIS Wronged One doth mention him who hath set his face toward the Incomparable One, the All-Knowing, him who beareth witness unto His unity even as the All-Glorious Pen hath borne witness as it moveth swiftly within the arena of utterance. Blessed is the soul that hath recognized its Lord and woe betide him who hath grievously erred and doubted.

Man is like unto a tree. If he be adorned with fruit, he hath been and will ever be worthy of praise and commendation. Otherwise a fruitless tree is but fit for fire. The fruits of the human tree are exquisite, highly desired and dearly cherished. Among them are upright character, virtuous deeds and a goodly utterance. The springtime for earthly trees occurreth once every year, while the one for human trees appeareth in the Days of God -- exalted be His glory. Were the trees of men's lives to be adorned in this divine Springtime with the fruits that have been mentioned, the effulgence of the light of Justice would, of a certainty, illumine all the dwellers of the earth and everyone would abide in tranquillity and contentment beneath the sheltering shadow of Him Who is the Object of all mankind. The Water for these trees is the living water of the sacred Words uttered by the Beloved of the world. In one instant are such trees planted and in the next their branches shall, through the outpourings of the showers of divine mercy, have reached the skies. A dried-up tree, however, hath never been nor will be worthy of any mention.
--Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 256

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