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Chapter 49

The pre-existence of Prophets (Independent Prophets and Dependent/Lesser Prophets).

Whomsoever He ordaineth as a Prophet, he, verily, hath been a Prophet from the beginning that hath no beginning, and will thus remain until the end that hath no end, inasmuch as this is an act of God. And whosoever is made a Vicegerent by Him, shall be a Vicegerent in all the worlds, for this is an act of God. For the will of God can in no wise be revealed except through His will, nor His wish be manifested save through His wish. He, verily, is the All-Conquering, the All-Powerful, the All-Highest."
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 155

God "brought forth His Prophets from the invisible plane [realm of pre-existence] to the visible":

I shall restate here My theme, that perchance this may assist thee in recognizing thy Creator. Know thou that God - exalted and glorified be He - doth in no wise manifest His inmost Essence and Reality. From time immemorial He hath been veiled in the eternity of His Essence and concealed in the infinitude of His own Being. And when He purposed to manifest His beauty in the kingdom of names and to reveal His glory in the realm of attributes, He brought forth His Prophets from the invisible plane to the visible, that His name "the Manifest" might be distinguished from "the Hidden" and His name "the Last" might be discerned from "the First", and that there may be fulfilled the words: "He is the First and the Last; the Seen and the Hidden; and He knoweth all things!" Thus hath He revealed these most excellent names and most exalted words in the Manifestations of His Self and the Mirrors of His Being.
-- Baha'u'llah, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 34

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

Pre-existence of Muhammad (an Independent Prophet), Baha'u'llah (an Independent Prophet) and Imam Ali (the first Dependent Prophet in the era of Muhammad):

Know then that, inasmuch as all the Prophets are but one and the same soul, spirit, name, and attribute, thou must likewise see them all as bearing the name Muhammad and as being the son of Hasan, as having appeared from the Jabulqa of God's power and from the Jabulsa of His mercy. For by Jabulqa is meant none other than the treasure-houses of eternity in the all-highest heaven and the cities of the unseen in the supernal realm. We bear witness that Muhammad the son of Hasan was indeed in Jabulqa and appeared therefrom. Likewise, He Whom God shall make manifest abideth in that city until such time as God will have established Him upon the seat of His sovereignty. We, verily, acknowledge this truth and bear allegiance unto each and every one of them. We have chosen here to be brief in our elucidation of the meanings of Jabulqa, but if thou be of them that truly believe, thou shalt indeed comprehend all the true meanings of the mysteries enshrined within these Tablets.
-- Baha'u'llah, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 36

I am the First and the Last! I am the External and Manifest and I am the Internal and Hidden! I am with the Cycle (kawr) before the Cycle began! I am the Companion of the Dispensation (dawr) before the Dispensation started! I was with the Pen before the Pen and I am with the Tablet prior to the Tablet being revealed! I am the Lord of the First Pre-existence! I am the Lord of Jabulqa and of Jabulsa! I am the Master of Highest Stage (rafraf) and of Bahram! I am the One Who organised existence when there was no heaven as you have them now nor earth as you know it now!
-- Imam Ali, The Sermon of the Twin Gulfs. A provisional translation by K. Fananapazir.
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'the Manifestations of His Beauty no beginning hath beheld, and they will continue to the "End that knoweth no end."'

Have they not heard the melody of that bird of Heaven [Imam Ali], uttering this mystery: "A thousand Fatimihs I have espoused, all of whom were the daughters of Muhammad, Son of Abdu'llah, the 'Seal of the Prophets?'" Behold, how many are the mysteries that lie as yet unravelled within the tabernacle of the knowledge of God, and how numerous the gems of His wisdom that are still concealed in His inviolable treasuries! Shouldest thou ponder this in thine heart, thou wouldst realize that His handiwork knoweth neither beginning nor end. The domain of His decree is too vast for the tongue of mortals to describe, or for the bird of the human mind to traverse; and the dispensations of His providence are too mysterious for the mind of man to comprehend. His creation no end hath overtaken, and it hath ever existed from the "Beginning that hath no beginning"; and the Manifestations of His Beauty no beginning hath beheld, and they will continue to the "End that knoweth no end." Ponder this utterance in thine heart, and reflect how it is applicable unto all these holy Souls.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 166

Pre-existence of the Bab (Independent Prophet).

O people of the Bayán! We, verily, set foot within the School of God when ye lay slumbering; and We perused the Tablet while ye were fast asleep. By the one true God! We read the Tablet ere it was revealed, while ye were unaware, and We had perfect knowledge of the Book when ye were yet unborn. These words are to your measure, not to God's. To this testifieth that which is enshrined within His knowledge, if ye be of them that comprehend; and to this the tongue of the Almighty doth bear witness, if ye be of those who understand. I swear by God, were We to lift the veil, ye would be dumbfounded.

Take heed that ye dispute not idly concerning the Almighty and His Cause, for lo! He hath appeared amongst you invested with a Revelation so great as to encompass all things, whether of the past or of the future. Were We to address Our theme by speaking in the language of the inmates of the Kingdom, We would say: "In truth, God created that School ere He created heaven and earth, and We entered it before the letters B and E were joined and knit together." Such is the language of Our servants in Our Kingdom; consider what the tongue of the dwellers of Our exalted Dominion would utter, for We have taught them Our knowledge and have revealed to them whatever had lain hidden in God's wisdom. Imagine then what the Tongue of Might and Grandeur would utter in His All-Glorious Abode!
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 83-84

Pre-existence of Bahá'u'lláh (Independent Prophet).

127. Joy unto him who, in this Day, casts away that which is possessed by the people, and holds fast to that which is commanded on the part of God, the King of names and the Creator of things -- The One who hath come from the heaven of Pre-existence with the Greatest Name, and with a power that the hosts of the earth fail to withstand: whereunto testifies the Mother-Book in the highest station.

128. The first splendor which hath shone forth from the Sun of Truth is the knowledge of God -- exalted is His glory! -- and the knowledge of the King of Pre-existence cannot be attained except by knowing the Greatest Name. He is the Speaker of the Mount who is established and seated upon the throne of Manifestation, and He is the hidden, invisible One, the concealed Mystery.
-- Excerpt from the writings of Bahá'u'lláh

Pre-existence of Muhammad (Independent Prophet) and the Holy Imams (Dependent/Lesser Prophets (Branches) of Muhammad):

Salman! We are the Mystery of God [Sirru'llah] that shall not remain hidden. We are His light that shall never be extinguished, His Grace that is not to be expected from any one but Him. Muhammad is our first, Muhammad our last, Muhammad our all.

Muhammad is our first, Muhammad our last, Muhammad our all. He who recognises us in this regard has consummated the Faith in truth.

O Salman and O Jandab! 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 in two portions and vouchsafed unto creation the Chosen "Mustapha" Prophet Muhammad and His Vicegerent in Whom He was well pleased "Murtada". God, exalted be His Glory, said to each half "Be Muhammad" "Be 'Ali". The Imperative is Kun the letters B and E. It is thus that the Prophet said: " I am from 'Ali and 'Ali is from Me. None can give forth my Trust but Myself and 'Ali".
-- Imam Ali, Sermon of Ma'rifat bin-Nuraaniyyat (Recognition with Luminousness) - a provisional translation by K. Fananapazir.

Hast thou not heard what hath been said aforetime: "Muhammad is our first, Muhammad our last, Muhammad our all"? And elsewhere: "They all proceed from the same Light"?
-- Baha'u'llah, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 30

And were they all [Manifestations of God] to proclaim, "I am the Seal of the Prophets," they, verily, utter but the truth, beyond the faintest shadow of doubt. For they are all but one person, one soul, one spirit, one being, one revelation. They are all the manifestation of the "Beginning" and the "End," the "First" and the "Last," the "Seen" and the "Hidden" -- all of which pertain to Him Who is the Innermost Spirit of Spirits and Eternal Essence of Essences.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 54

The following Tradition is attributed to the Prophet: 'God created 'Ali and me from one light before the creation of Adam... then He split (the light) into two halves, then He created (all) things from my light and 'Ali's light.'[5]

The First Imam, 'Ali, is reported to have said: 'God is one; He was alone in His singleness and so He spoke one word and it became a light and He created from that light Muhammad and He created me and my descendants (i.e. the other Imams), then He spoke another word and it became a Spirit and He caused it to settle upon that light and He caused it to settle on our bodies. And so we are the Spirit of God and His Word... and this was before He created the creation.[6]
-- cited in, Introduction to Shi'i Islam, Moojan Momen p. 148-149

Pre-existence of the Holy Imams (Dependent/Lesser Prophets):

As for the station of the Imams and of the near ones at the threshold of grandeur, it is that of spiritual honor and glory. Their right is to the authority of the All-Merciful, and their crown of glory is the dust of the divine path. Their gleaming scepter is the lights of the bounty of God. Their royal throne is the seat of hearts, and their exalted and great crown is in the kingdom of God. They are the monarchs of the world of spirit and heart, not that of water and clay. They are sovereigns of the realm of the placeless, not of the graveyards of the contingent world. No one can usurp or plunder this glorious station or this pre-existent grandeur.
--`Abdu'l-Bahá's "Treatise on Leadership" (a provisional translation by Juan Cole)
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Pre-existence of Abdu'l-Bahá (Branch):

Say: Verily, the ocean of pre-existence hath branched forth from this most great Ocean. Blessed, therefore, is he who abides upon Its shores, and is of those who are established thereon. Verily, this most sacred temple of Abha  -- -the Branch of Holiness -- - hath branched forth from the Sadratu'l-Muntaha. Blessed is whosoever sought shelter beneath it and is of those who rest therein.

Say: Verily, the branch of command hath sprung forth from this root which God hath firmly planted in the ground of the will, the limb of which has been elevated to a station which encompasses all existence. Therefore, exalted be He for this creation, the lofty, the blessed, the inaccessible, the mighty!

O ye people! Draw nigh unto It, and taste the fruits of its knowledge and wisdom on the part of the mighty, the knowing One. Whosoever will not taste thereof shall be deprived of the bounty, even though he hath partaken of all that is in the earth  -- - were ye of those who know.

Say: Verily a word hath gone forth in favor from the most great Tablet and God has adorned It with the mantle of Himself, and made it sovereign over all in the earth and a sign of His grandeur and omnipotence among the creatures; in order that, through it, the people shall praise their Lord, the mighty, the powerful, the wise; and that, through it, they shall glorify their creator and sanctify the self of God which standeth within all things. Verily, this is naught but a Revelation upon the part of the wise, the ancient One!

Say: O people, praise ye God, for its Manifestation, for verily it is the most great favor upon you and the most perfect blessing upon you; and through Him every moldering bone is quickened. Whosoever turns to Him hath surely turned unto God, and whosoever turneth away from Him hath turned away from My beauty, denied My proof and is of those who transgress. Verily, He is the remembrance of God amongst you and His trust within you, and His manifestation unto you and His appearance among the servants who are nigh. Thus have I been commanded to convey to you the message of God, your Creator; and I have delivered to you that of which I was commande His messengers, and then His holy servants.
-- Baha'u'llah, Tablet of the Branch

Pre-existence of the Bab (Independent Prophet) and Bahá'u'lláh (Independent Prophet).

O congregation of the Bayán, and all who are therein! Recognize ye the limits imposed upon you, for such a One as the Point of the Bayán Himself hath believed in Him Whom God shall make manifest, before all things were created. Therein, verily, do I glory before all who are in the kingdom of heaven and earth.
-- The Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 168

Pre-existent Maids of Heaven (Dependent/Lesser Prophets of Baha'u'llah) announcing the declaration of Bahá'u'lláh in the invisible realm as Baha'u'llah declares his Prophethood on earth.

Say: This is the Paradise on whose foliage the wine of utterance hath imprinted the testimony: "He that was hidden from the eyes of men is revealed, girded with sovereignty and power!" This is the Paradise, the rustling of whose leaves proclaims: "O ye that inhabit the heavens and the earth! There hath appeared what hath never previously appeared. He Who, from everlasting, had concealed His Face from the sight of creation is now come." From the whispering breeze that wafteth amidst its branches there cometh the cry: "He Who is the sovereign Lord of all is made manifest. The Kingdom is God's," while from its streaming waters can be heard the murmur: "All eyes are gladdened, for He Whom none hath beheld, Whose secret no one hath discovered, hath lifted the veil of glory, and uncovered the countenance of Beauty."

Within this Paradise, and from the heights of its loftiest chambers, the Maids of Heaven have cried out and shouted: "Rejoice, ye dwellers of the realms above, for the fingers of Him Who is the Ancient of Days are ringing, in the name of the All-Glorious, the Most Great Bell, in the midmost heart of the heavens. The hands of bounty have borne round the cup of everlasting life. Approach, and quaff your fill. Drink with healthy relish, O ye that are the very incarnations of longing, ye who are the embodiments of vehement desire!"
-- Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 31

The "temples of pre-existence" and "chaste maidens of beauty bearing flagons brimming with the water of life" are the pre-existent Dependent/Lesser Prophets of Baha'u'llah (The sun, The Maiden of Eternity).

The sun has risen over the sacred horizon, and the concourse on high has been illumined by its radiance. The scent of musk has diffused from the knolls of sanctity, perfuming the temples of pre-existence. Happy is he who adorns himself with these fragrances! The luminary of the Cause has risen in the midst of the sky, and has taken the form of a full moon, brilliant in its whiteness. Concourse of the near ones, seek to be illumined by its splendor! Say: The throne has been established behind the pavilion of majesty, and about it circle chaste maidens of beauty bearing flagons brimming with the water of life. Blessed is the person who attains to sprinkled droplets thereof. Say: The Maiden of Eternity has uncovered Beauty itself with a gut-wrenching gaze. Blessed is the one who is struck by her glance! Say: The voice of God has been heard from the sanctuary of eternity, and the hearts of the mystic knowers have been enthralled by its melodies.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Surah of the Companions (a provisional translation by Juan Cole).

"covenanted with Thee, from time immemorial" -- covenant represented by the pre-existent Dependent/Lesser Prophet of Baha'u'llah, also referred to as the Maid of Heaven.

Say: Step out of Thy holy chamber, O Maid of Heaven, inmate of the Exalted Paradise! Drape thyself in whatever manner pleaseth Thee in the silken Vesture of Immortality, and put on, in the name of the All-Glorious, the broidered Robe of Light. Hear, then, the sweet, the wondrous accent of the Voice that cometh from the Throne of Thy Lord, the Inaccessible, the Most High. Unveil Thy face, and manifest the beauty of the black-eyed Damsel, and suffer not the servants of God to be deprived of the light of Thy shining countenance. Grieve not if Thou hearest the sighs of the dwellers of the earth, or the voice of the lamentation of the denizens of heaven. Leave them to perish on the dust of extinction. Let them be reduced to nothingness, inasmuch as the flame of hatred hath been kindled within their breasts. Intone, then, before the face of the peoples of earth and heaven, and in a most melodious voice, the anthem of praise, for a remembrance of Him Who is the King of the names and attributes of God. Thus have We decreed Thy destiny. Well able are We to achieve Our purpose.

Beware that Thou divest not Thyself, Thou Who art the Essence of Purity, of Thy robe of effulgent glory. Nay, enrich Thyself increasingly, in the kingdom of creation, with the incorruptible vestures of Thy God, that the beauteous image of the Almighty may be reflected through Thee in all created things and the grace of Thy Lord be infused in the plenitude of its power into the entire creation.

If Thou smellest from any one the smell of the love of Thy Lord, offer up Thyself for him, for We have created Thee to this end, and have covenanted with Thee, from time immemorial, and in the presence of the congregation of Our well-favored ones, for this very purpose.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 283

Pre-existence of Christ (Independent Prophet):


"And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was."

There are two kinds of priorities: one is essential and is not preceded by a cause, but its existence is in itself, as, for example, the sun has light in itself, for its shining is not dependent on the light of other stars. This is called an essential light. But the light of the moon is received from the sun, for the moon is dependent on the sun for its light; therefore, the sun, with regard to light, is the cause, and the moon becomes the effect. The former is the ancient, the precedent, the antecedent, while the latter is the preceded and the last.

The second sort of preexistence is the preexistence of time, and that has no beginning. The Word of God is sanctified from time. The past, the present, the future, all, in relation to God, are equal. Yesterday, today, tomorrow do not exist in the sun.

In the same way there is a priority with regard to glory--that is to say, the most glorious precedes the glorious. Therefore, the Reality of Christ, Who is the Word of God, with regard to essence, attributes and glory, certainly precedes the creatures. Before appearing in the human form, the Word of God was in the utmost sanctity and glory, existing in perfect beauty and splendor in the height of its magnificence. When through the wisdom of God the Most High it shone from the heights of glory in the world of the body, the Word of God, through this body, became oppressed, so that it fell into the hands of the Jews, and became the captive of the tyrannical and ignorant, and at last was crucified. That is why He addressed God, saying: "Free Me from the bonds of the world of the body, and liberate Me from this cage, so that I may ascend to the heights of honor and glory, and attain unto the former grandeur and might which existed before the bodily world, that I may rejoice in the eternal world and may ascend to the original abode, the placeless world, the invisible kingdom."
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 116

14. As 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." The purport of this saying is that at that time the people will lament because of the absence of the Sun of Divine Beauty, the Moon of Knowledge and the Stars of Intuitive Wisdom; then it will be witnessed that the face of the Promised One and the beauty of the Adored One will descend from heaven riding upon a cloud; that is, that Divine Beauty will appear from the heavens of the Supreme Will, in the human temple. The purpose of "heaven" is none other than to demote the exaltation and loftiness which is the station of the appearance of those Daysprings of Holiness and Dawning-places of Pre-existence. Although these ancient Beings outwardly appear from the wombs of mothers, yet in reality they descend from the heavens of command; and although they dwell upon the earth, yet they recline upon the couch of significances; and while walking among the servants, they soar in the skies of nearness. They journey in the land of spirit without the motion of foot and fly upward to the summit of oneness without wing. In every breath they traverse the world of creation east and west, and in every moment pass through the kingdom of the seen and unseen. They are sent forth from the loftiness of the power of the King of Pre-existence and from the exaltation of the Will of the most great Ruler. Therefore He says He shall "descend from heaven."
-- Compilations, Baha'i Scriptures, p. 22

The following is a passage about the Manifestations of God (the Prophets) and their pre-existence.

Every one who is endowed with a clear insight will behold that They (the Manifestations) were created before the creation of heaven and earth, and that this has ever been the Throne of the Merciful, and will forever be as it was; that there is no relation, connection, similarity or reference between that Throne and all else save it, and that all things testify with their inmost tongue; "Verily, these (bodies) are the Thrones of the Merciful One." They have no like in creation, nor any equal in the world of emanation. From their elements all have appeared in such wise that thou wilt find that, verily, from their Fire fire hath appeared in the universe and hath spoken in the Blessed Branch of Unity, in the lofty Sinai of Moses the Interlocutor, and that from their Waters thou findest every soul living and immortal. So, likewise, after this manner, consider its other elements; but with manifest certainty. This was the mention of the place whereon He was established. How much above this, then, will be the station of His Chair, and that upon which He stands? (The Prophets.) All that which We have revealed and mentioned unto thee in this Tablet is according to the language of the people of creation; otherwise, by the One in the grasp of Whose Power are all things, verily, We have utterances concerning this station such as are not befitting to mention in these days, during which the people have differed, and have cast the Lord of Lords behind them, and have made an idol by the hands of lust, and have circled around it and become of those who are attached to it.
-- Baha'u'llah, Lawh-i-Zuhúr, Tablet of the Manifestation - Provisional translation by an unknown author.

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