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Siyyid `Alí Muḥammad Shírází (Persian: سيد علی ‌محمد شیرازی) (October 20, 1819 – July 9, 1850) was the founder of Bábism, and one of three central figures of the Bahá'í Faith. He was a merchant from Shíráz, Persia, who at the age of twenty-four (on May 23, 1844) claimed to be the promised Qá'im (or Mahdi). After his declaration he took the title of Báb (Arabic: باب‎) meaning "Gate". He composed hundreds of letters and books (often termed tablets) in which he stated his messianic claims and defined his teachings, which constituted a new sharí'ah or religious law. His movement eventually acquired tens of thousands of supporters, was virulently opposed by Iran's Shi'a clergy, and was suppressed by the Iranian government leading to thousands of his followers, termed Bábís, being persecuted and killed. In 1850 the Báb was shot by a firing squad in Tabríz aged thirty.

Bahá'ís claim that the Báb was also the return of Elijah and John the Baptist, that he was the "Ushídar-Máh" referred to in the Zoroastrian scriptures,[1] and that he was the forerunner of their own religion. Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, was a follower of the Báb and claimed to be the fulfillment of his promise that God would send another messenger.

Contents

Life

Early life

Siyyid `Alí Muḥammad Shírází was born on October 20, 1819, in Shiraz to a middle-class merchant of the city. His father was Siyyid Muhammad Ridá, and his mother was Fátimih Bagum (1800-1881), a daughter of a prominent merchant in Shiraz (she later became a Bahá'í). His father died while he was quite young and the boy was raised by his maternal uncle, Hájí Mírzá Siyyid `Alí, who was also a merchant.[2][3] He is a descendant from Muhammad through Imam Husayn through both his parents.[4][5][6] Sometime between when he was 15 and 20, he joined his uncle in the family business, a trading house, and became a merchant in the city of Bushehr, Iran near the Persian Gulf.[2][7] Some of his earlier writings suggest that he did not enjoy the family business and instead applied himself to the study of religious literature.[7] A contemporary described him as "very taciturn, and [he] would never utter a word unless it was absolutely necessary. He did not even answer our questions. He was constantly absorbed in his own thoughts, and was preoccupied with repetition of his prayers and verses. He is described as a handsome man with a thin beard, dressed in clean clothes, wearing a green shawl and a black turban."[8]

An English physician described the young man as "He was a very mild and delicate-looking man, rather small in stature and very fair for a Persian, with a melodious soft voice, which struck me much"[9]

Marriage

In 1842 he married Khadíjih-Bagum (1822–1882); he was 23 and she was 20.[7] She was the daughter of a prominent merchant in Shíráz. The marriage proved to be a happy one,[10] and they had one child, a boy named Ahmad who died the year he was born (1843).[10] The pregnancy nearly put Khadíjih Bagum's life at stake and she never conceived again. The young couple occupied a modest house in Shíráz along with the Báb's mother. Later, Khadíjih Bagum would become a Bahá'í.

The Shaykhi movement

In the 1790s in Persia, Shaykh Aḥmad (1753–1826) began a religious movement within Shi'a Islam. His followers, who became known as Shaykhis, were expecting the imminent appearance of the Qá'im of the House of Muhammad, also called the Mahdi. After the death of Shaykh Ahmad, leadership was passed on to Sayyid Kázim of Rasht (1793–1843).

Around 1839–40 the Báb went on pilgrimage to Iraq, and stayed mostly in and around Karbala. There he is believed to have met the leader of the Shaykhis, Sayyid Kázim, who showed a high regard for him.[2] He is believed to have attended some of Siyyid Kazim's lectures; however, this period is almost entirely undocumented.[7]

As of his death in December 1843, Sayyid Kázim had counselled his followers to leave their homes to seek the Mahdi, who according to his prophecies would soon appear.[2] One of these followers, named Mullá Husayn, after keeping vigil for forty days in a mosque, travelled to Shiraz, where he met the Báb.[11]

Declaration to Mullá Husayn

Soon after he arrived in Shiraz, Mullá Husayn came into contact with the Báb. On the night of May 23, 1844 Mullá Husayn was invited by the Báb to his home; on that night Mullá Husayn told him that he was searching for the possible successor to Siyyid Kázim, the Promised One, and the Báb told Mullá Husayn privately that he was Siyyid Kázim's successor and the bearer of divine knowledge.[7]

The room where the Declaration of the Báb took place on May 23, 1844.

After some consideration, Mullá Husayn became the first to accept the Báb's claims as the gateway to Truth and the initiator of a new prophetic cycle;[2][7] the Báb had replied in a satisfactory way to all of Mullá Husayn's questions and had written in his presence, with extreme rapidity, a long commentary of Surih of Joseph, which has come to be known as the Qayyúmu'l-Asmá' and is considered the Báb's first revealed work.[2]

Letters of the Living

Mullá Husayn was the Báb's first disciple. Within five months, seventeen other disciples of Siyyid Káẓim had independently recognized the Báb as a Manifestation of God.[12] Among them was one woman, Fátimih Zarrín Táj Baragháni, a poetess, who later received the name of Táhirih (the Pure). These 18 disciples were later to be known as the Letters of the Living and were given the task of spreading the new faith across Iran and Iraq.[7] The Báb emphasized the spiritual station of these 18 individuals, who along with himself, made the first "Unity" of his religion[13] (In Arabic the term "unity" (Wáhid) has a numerical value of 19 using Abjad numerals). The Báb, in his book the Persian Bayán, gives the metaphorical identity of the letters of the living as the Fourteen Infallibles in Shí'í Islam (Muhammad, the Twelve Imams, and Fatimah) and the four archangels.[13] In some ways, they parallel the Twelve Apostles of Christ.[14]

Proclamation

In his early writings, the Báb appears to identify himself as the gate (báb) to the Hidden Twelfth Imam, and later he begins to explicitly proclaim his station as that of the Hidden Imam and a new messenger from God.[15] Rather than being a discontinued or evolving consciousness, Saiedi states that the works of the Báb is unitary throughout, and that the gradual disclosure of the Báb's identity is defined by the principle of unity in diversity of all reality.[15]

The Báb stood on this pulpit in the Masjid-i-Vakíl, addressing the populace of Shiraz in September 1846

In the Báb's early writings, the exalted identity he was claiming was unmistakable, but because of the reception of the people, his writings appear to convey the impression that he is only the gate to the Hidden Twelfth Imam.[15] To his circle of early believers, the Báb was equivocal about his exact status, gradually confiding in them that he was not merely a gate to the Hidden Imam, but the Manifestation of the Hidden Imam and the Qa'im himself.[16] During his early meetings with Mullá Husayn, the Báb described himself as the Master and the Promised One; he did not consider himself just Siyyid Kazim's successor, but claimed a prophetic status, with a sense of deputyship delegated to him not just from the Hidden Imam, but from Divine authority;[17] His early texts, such as the Commentary on the Surih of Joseph, used Quranic language that implied divine authority and identified himself effectively with the Imam.[7][18] When Mullá `Alí Basṭámí, the second Letter of the Living, was put on trial in Baghdad for preaching about the Báb, the clerics studied the Commentary on the Surih of Joseph, recognized in it a claim to divine revelation, and quoted from it extensively to prove that the author had made a messianic claim.[18]

However in his early phase of his declaration to the public, the title báb was emphasized as that of that of the gate leading to the Hidden Imam, as the Báb had told his early believers not to fully disclose his claims and reveal his name.[19] The approach of laying claim to a lower position was intended to create a sense of anticipation for the appearance of the Hidden Imam as well as avoiding persecution and imprisonment because a public proclamation of mahdihood could have swiftly brought a condemnation of death upon the Báb.[19] After a couple months, as the Báb observed a further acceptance and readiness among his believers and the public, he gradually moved his public claim to that of the Hidden Imam.[19] Then in his final years he publicly announced his station as a Manifestation of God; in his trial, he boldly proclaimed himself, in the presence of the Heir to the Throne of Persia and other notables, to be the Promised One.[19][20] The adoption of a cautious policy had managed to attract much attention with as little possible controversy in the early months of his public declarations.[19]

The gradual unfoldment of his claims, however, did cause some confusion, both in the public and for some of his believers. A number of his early believers had instantly recognized his station as a messenger from God with divine authority and this resulted in confusion and disagreement within the Bábi community.[19] Also, even when the Báb had intended to convey his message with caution, many of his followers such as Táhirih were openly declaring the coming of the promised Hidden Imam and Mahdi.[19]

Travels and imprisonment

After the eighteen Letters of the Living had recognized him, the Báb and the eighteenth Letter of the Living, Quddús, left on a pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, the sacred cities of Islam.[7] In Mecca, the Báb wrote to the Sharif of Mecca, Custodian of the Kaaba, proclaiming his mission. After their pilgrimage, the Báb and Quddús returned to Bushehr, Iran.[3]

After some time, preaching by the Letters of the Living led to opposition by the Islamic clergy, prompting the Governor of Shiraz to order the Báb's arrest. The Báb, upon hearing of the arrest order, left Bushehr for Shiraz in June 1845 and presented himself to the authorities. He was placed under house arrest at the home of his uncle until a cholera epidemic broke out in the city in September 1846.[7] The Báb was released and departed for Isfahan. There, many came to see him at the house of the imám jum'ih, head of the local clergy, who became sympathetic. After an informal gathering where the Báb debated the local clergy and displayed his speed in producing instantaneous verses, his popularity soared.[21] After the death of the Governor of Isfahan, who had become his supporter, pressure from the clergy of the province led to the Shah, Mohammad Shah Qajar, ordering the Báb to Tehran in January 1847.[22] After spending several months in a camp outside Tehran, and before the Báb could meet the Shah, the Prime Minister sent the Báb to Tabriz in the northwestern corner of the country, where he was confined.[7]

Fortress of Máh-Kú (2008)

After forty days in Tabriz, the Báb was then transferred to the fortress of Máh-Kú in the province of Azarbaijan close to the Turkish border. During his incarceration there, the Báb began his most important work, the Persian Bayán, which he never finished. Because of the Báb's growing popularity in Máh-Kú and the governor of Máh-Kú converting, the prime minister transferred him to the fortress of Chihríq in April 1848.[2] In that place as well, the Báb's popularity grew and his jailors relaxed restrictions on him. Hence the Prime Minister ordered the Báb back to Tabriz where the government called on religious authorities to put the Báb on trial for blasphemy and apostasy.[7]

Trial

The trial, attended by the Crown Prince, occurred in July 1848 and involved numerous local clergy. They questioned the Báb about the nature of his claims, his teachings, and demanded that he produce miracles to prove his divine authority. They admonished him to recant his claims. There are nine extant eyewitness reports of the trial, of which several may originate from an earlier source. Six of the reports are from Muslim accounts, and portray the Báb in an unfavourable light.[20] There are 62 questions that are found in the nine sources, however eighteen occur in only one source, fifteen in two, eight in three, five in four, thirteen in five, and three in six. Not including "yes" and "he did not answer", there are thirty-five answers, of which ten occur in one source, eight in two, six in three, three in four, two in five, five in six. Only one answer is found in all nine eyewitness sources, where the Báb states that "I am that person you have been awaiting for one thousand years."[20] His claim to Mahdihood was bold and unequivocal.

The trial did not bring a decisive result. Some clergy called for capital punishment, but the government pressured them to issue a lenient judgement because the Báb was popular. The government asked medical experts to declare the Báb insane so that he could not be executed. It is also likely that the government, to appease the religious clergy, spread rumours that the Báb had recanted.[23]

The Shaykh al-Islam (a very prominent local cleric), the champion of the anti-Bábí campaign, who was not at the Báb's trial, issued a conditional death sentence if the Báb was found to be sane. A fatwa was issued establishing the Báb's apostasy and stated "The repentance of an incorrigible apostate is not accepted, and the only thing which has caused the postponement of thy execution is a doubt as to thy sanity of mind."[23]

The crown prince's physician, William Cormick, examined the Báb and complied with the government's request to find grounds for clemency.[20] The physician's opinion saved the Báb from execution for a time, but the clergy insisted that he face corporal punishment instead, so the Báb was bastinadoed (administered twenty lashes to the bottoms of his feet).[23] The official report states that because of his harsh beating, the Báb recanted, apologized, and stated that he would not continue to advance claims of divinity.[24]

While various government sources indicate that the Báb recanted his claim, there is little non-governmental evidence of their validity. Some theorise that the assertions were made to embarrass the Báb and undermine his credibility with the public.[23] There exists an unsigned and undated document that was supposedly written shortly after the Báb's trial in Tabriz where the Báb recants his claims to a divine station. But the language of this document is very different from the Báb's usual style; it could have been prepared by the authorities, but the Báb refused to sign it.[20][23] The Báb was finally ordered back to the fortress of Chihríq.

Execution

The barrack square in Tabriz, where the Báb was executed

In mid 1850 a new prime-minister, Amir Kabir,[25] ordered the execution of the Báb, probably because various Bábí insurrections had been defeated and the movement's popularity appeared to be waning. The Báb was brought back to Tabríz from Chihríq, so that he could be shot by a firing squad. The night before his execution, as he was being conducted to his cell, a young Bábí, Muḥammad-`Alíy-i-Zunúzí, called Anís, threw himself at the feet of the Báb and begged to be killed with him. He was immediately arrested and placed in the same cell as the Báb.

On the morning of July 9, 1850, the Báb was taken to the courtyard of the barracks in which he was being held, where thousands of people had gathered to watch his execution. The Báb and Anís were suspended on a wall and a large firing squad of Christian soldiers prepared to shoot.[7] Numerous eye-witness reports, including those of Western diplomats, recount the result.[26] The order was given to fire and the barracks square filled with musket smoke. When it cleared the Báb was no longer in the courtyard and his companion stood there unharmed; the bullets apparently had not harmed either man, but had cut the rope suspending them from the wall.[27] There was a great commotion, many in the crowd believing the Báb had ascended to heaven or simply disappeared. But the soldiers subsequently found the Báb in another part of the barracks, completely unharmed, giving his final instructions to his secretary. He and Anís were tied up for execution a second time, a second firing squad of Muslim soldiers was ranged in front of them, and a second order to fire was given. This time, the Báb and his companion were killed.[7] In the BábíBahá'í tradition, the failure of the first firing squad to kill the Báb is believed to have been a miracle. Their remains were dumped outside the gates of the town to be eaten by animals. The Báb was 30 years old.

The remains, however, were clandestinely rescued by a handful of Bábis and were hidden. Over time the remains were secretly transported by way of Isfahan, Kirmanshah, Baghdad and Damascus, to Beirut and thence by sea to Acre on the plain below Mount Carmel in 1899.[28] In 1909, the remains were then interred in a special tomb, erected for this purpose by `Abdu'l-Bahá, on Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel. The Bahá'í World Centre is located close to this site and visitors are welcome to tour the gardens.

Succession

In most of his prominent writings, The Báb alluded to a Promised One, most commonly referred to as man yazhiruhu'lláh, "Him Whom God shall make manifest", and that he himself was "but a ring upon the hand of Him Whom God shall make manifest." Within 20 years of the Báb's death, over 25 people claimed to be the Promised One, most significantly Bahá'u'lláh.

Before the Báb's death, he sent a letter to Mírzá Yahyá, titled Subh-i-Azal, which is considered to be his will and testament.[29] The letter is recognized as appointing Subh-i-Azal to be the leader of the Bábí community after the death of the Báb. He is also ordered to obey the Promised One when he appears.[30] At the time Subh-i-Azal was still a teenager, had never demonstrated leadership in the Bábí movement, and was still living in the house of his older brother, Bahá'u'lláh. All of this lends credence to the Bahá'í claim that the Báb appointed Subh-i-Azal the head of the Bábí Faith so as to divert attention away from Bahá'u'lláh, while allowing Bábís to visit Bahá'u'lláh and consult with Him freely, and allowing Bahá'u'lláh to write Bábís easily and freely. Furthermore, there is a long history in Shí`ism of hidden leaders, with their deputies wielding the true power (the four bábs themselves are the first examples of this, as is `Alí-Muhammad's choice of the title "the Báb").

Bahá'u'lláh claimed that in 1852, while a prisoner in Tehran, he was visited by a "Maid of Heaven", which symbolically marked the beginning of his mission as a Messenger of God. Ten years later in Baghdad, he made his first public declaration and eventually was recognized by the vast majority of Bábís as "He Whom God shall make manifest". His followers began calling themselves Bahá'ís.[31]

Subh-i-Azal continued to live with or close to Bahá'u'lláh throughout the latter's exiles from Iran to Baghdad and then to Istanbul and Edirne, even though Bahá'u'lláh's claim to be a Manifestation of God in 1863 theoretically rendered moot Subh-i-Azal's authority as the head of the Bábí community. In September 1867, in Edirne, the rival claims to authority came to a head. Subh-i-Azal challenged Bahá'u'lláh to a test of the divine will in a local mosque in Edirne (Adrianople), such that "God would strike down the impostor". Bahá'u'lláh agreed and went to the Sultan Selim Mosque at the appointed time, but Mirza Yahya failed to show up.[32]

Subh-i-Azal's followers became known as Azalis or Azali Bábís. For the Bábís who did not recognize Bahá'u'lláh, Subh-i-Azal remained their leader until his death in 1912. Whether or not he had a successor is disputed. Bahá'í sources report that 11 of the 18 "witnesses" appointed by Subh-i-Azal to oversee the Bábí community became Bahá'ís, as well as his son. The man allegedly appointed by Subh-i-Azal to succeed him, Hadíy-i-Dawlat-Abádí, later publicly recanted his faith in the Báb and Subh-i-Azal.[33]

Ultimately, Bahá'u'llah emerged more successful and nearly all of the Báb's followers abandoned Subh-i-Azal and became Bahá'ís. Today Bahá'ís have several million followers, while estimates of the number of Azalís are generally around one thousand, isolated in Iran.[34]

Teachings

The Báb's teachings can be grouped into three broad stages which each have a dominant thematic focus. His earliest teachings are primarily defined by his interpretation of the Qur'an and other Islamic traditions. While this interpretive mode continues throughout all three stages of his teachings, a shift takes place where his emphasis moves to philosophical elucidation and finally to legislative pronouncements. In the second philosophical stage, the Báb gives an explanation of the metaphysics of being and creation, and in the third legislative stage his mystical and historical principles are explicitly united.[35] An analysis of the Báb's writings throughout the three stages shows that all of his teachings were animated by a common principle that had multiple dimensions and forms.[36]

Writings

Most of the writings of the Báb have been lost. The Báb himself stated they exceeded five hundred thousand verses in length; the Qur'án, in contrast, is 6300 verses in length. If one assumes 25 verses per page, that would equal 20,000 pages of text.[37] Nabíl-i-Zarandí, in The Dawn-breakers, mentions nine complete commentaries on the Qur'án, revealed during the Báb's imprisonment at Máh-Kú, which have been lost without a trace.[38] Establishing the true text of the works that are still extant, as already noted, is not always easy, and some texts will require considerable work. Others, however, are in good shape; several of the Báb's major works are available in the handwriting of his trusted secretaries.[39]

Most works were revealed in response to specific questions by Bábís. This is not unusual; the genre of the letter has been a venerable medium for composing authoritative texts as far back as the Apostle Paul. Three quarters of the chapters of the New Testament are letters, were composed to imitate letters, or contain letters within them.[40] Sometimes the Báb revealed works very rapidly by chanting them in the presence of a secretary and eye-witnesses.

The Archives Department at the Bahá'í World Centre currently holds about 190 Tablets of the Báb.[41] Excerpts from several principal works have been published in the only English-language compilation of the Báb's writings: Selections from the Writings of the Báb. Denis MacEoin, in his Sources for Early Bābī Doctrine and History, gives a description of many works; much of the following summary is derived from that source. In addition to major works, the Báb revealed numerous letters to his wife and followers, many prayers for various purposes, numerous commentaries on verses or chapters of the Qur'án, and many khutbihs or sermons (most of which were never delivered). Many of these have been lost; others have survived in compilations.[42]

The Báb has been criticized for his inconsistent use of correct and incorrect Arabic grammar in his religious works, though in his Arabic letters made very few mistakes.[43] A reason for this inconsistency could be to distinguish those who could not see past the outer form of the words from those that could understand the deeper meaning of his message.[43][44]

Writings before his declaration

Selectionfromthebab.jpg

Todd Lawson noted this in his doctoral dissertation about the Tafsír-i-súrih-i-baqarih or "Commentary on the Surih of the Cow", a work the Báb wrote on a chapter of the Qur'án.[45] This Qur'án commentary was started by the Báb in November or December 1843, some six months before declaring his mission. The first half was completed by February or March 1844; the second half was revealed after the Báb's declaration. It is the only work of the Báb's revealed before his declaration that has survived intact. It also sheds light on the Báb's attitude toward Shí`í beliefs.[46]

Shiraz, May – September 1844

  • The first chapter of the Qayyúmu'l-Asmá' ("Commentary on the Súrih of Joseph")[47] was written by the Báb on the evening of his declaration to Mullá Husayn, May 23, 1844. The entire work, which is several hundred pages in length and is considered to be revelation by Bahá'ís, required forty days to write; it is one of the Báb's longer Arabic works. It was widely distributed in the first year of the Bábí movement, functioning as something of a Qur'án or Bible for the Bábís. In the book the Báb states his claim to be a Manifestation of God, though the claim is disguised with other statements that he is the servant of the Hidden Imám.[48] Táhirih translated the work into Persian.
  • Sahífih-yi-makhzúnih, revealed before his departure for Mecca in September 1844, and consists of a collection of fourteen prayers, mostly to be recited on specific Muslim Holy Days and festivals. Its content remained within the expectations of Islam.[49]

Pilgrimage, September 1844 – June 1845

During his nine and a half month pilgrimage to Mecca, the Báb composed many works:

  • Khasá'il-i-sab`ih: A work composed by the Báb on his sea journey back to Bushehr after his pilgrimage, which listed some regulations to be followed by the Bábí community. A copy of the manuscript probably still exists in Iran.[50]
  • Kitáb-i-Rúḥ ("Book of the Spirit"): This book contains 700 or 900 verses and was written while the Báb was sailing back to Bushehr from pilgrimage. The original was nearly destroyed when the Báb was arrested. Several manuscript copies are extant.[51]
  • Sahífih baynu'l-haramayn ("Treatise Between the Two Sanctuaries"): This Arabic work was written while the Báb traveled from Mecca to Medina in early 1845 and is in response to questions posed to him by a prominent Shaykhí leader.[52]
  • Kitáb-i-Fihrist ("The Book of the Catalogue"): A list of the Báb's works, composed by the Báb himself after he returned from pilgrimage to Mecca, 21 June 1845. It is a bibliography of his earliest writings.[53]

Bushehr and Shiraz, March 1845 – September 1846

The Báb was in Bushehr March through June 1845, then in Shiraz.

  • Sahífih-yi-Ja`fariyyih: The Báb wrote this treatise to an unknown correspondent in 1845. Over a hundred pages in length, it states many of his basic teachings, especially in relation to some Shaykhi beliefs.[54]
  • Tafsír-i-Súrih-i-Kawthar ("Commentary on the Chapter on Abundance"): The Báb wrote this commentary for Siyyid Yahyá Dárábí Vahíd while he was in Shiraz; it is the most important work revealed during the Shiraz period. Though the súrih is only a few lines in length, being one of the shortest in the Qur'án, the commentary on it is over two hundred pages in length. The work was widely distributed, and at least a dozen early manuscripts are extant.[55]

Isfahan, September 1846 – March 1847

  • Nubuvvih khásish: This work, of fifty pages' length, was revealed in two hours in response to a question by Manúchihr Khán. It discusses the special prophethood of Muhammad, an important subject discussed in debates between Muslims and Christians.[56]
  • Tafsír-i-Súrih-i-va'l-`asr ("Commentary on the Chapter on Time and Age"): This is one of the two important works the Báb penned in Isfahan. It was written spontaneously and publicly in response to a request by Mír Sayyid Muḥammad, the chief cleric of the city; much of it was written in one evening, to the astonishment to those present.[57]

Máh-Kú, late summer 1847 – May 1848

The Báb left Isfahán in March 1847, sojourned outside Tehran several months, then was sent to a fortress at Máh-Kú, close to the Turkish border. It witnessed the composition of some of the Báb's most important works.

  • Persian Bayán: This is undoubtedly the most important work of the Báb and contains the mature summary of his teachings. It was composed in Máh-Kú in late 1847 or early 1848. The work consists of nine chapters titled váhids or "unities", which in turn are usually subdivided into nineteen bábs or "gates"; the one exception is the last unity, which has only ten bábs. The Báb explained that it would be the task of "He Whom God shall make manifest" to complete the work; Bahá'ís believe Bahá'u'lláh's Kitáb-i-Iqán to be the completion of the Bayán. Each unity begins with an Arabic summary of its contents, which makes it easier to read than many of the Báb's works. Extracts of this work are published in Selections from the Writings of the Báb; A. L. M. Nicholas translated the entire work into French in four 150-page volumes.[58]
  • Arabic Bayán: This is the shorter and less important of the two Bayáns. It consists of eleven váhids or "unities", each with nineteen bábs or "gates". It offers a succinct summary of the Báb's teachings and laws. It was composed at Máh-Kú in late 1847 or early 1848.[59]
  • Dalá'il-i-Sab'ih ("Seven Proofs"): There are two works by this name, the longer one in Persian, the shorter one in Arabic; both were composed in Máh-Kú in late 1847 or early 1848. Nicholas called the Persian Seven Proofs "the most important of the polemical works that issued from the pen of Sayyid `Alí Muhammad"[60]. The work was written to either a non-Bábí or to a follower whose faith had been shaken, but the recipient's identity is unknown.[citation needed] The Arabic text summarizes the seven proofs found in the Persian text.

Chihríq, May 1848 – July 1850

The Báb spent two years in Chihríq, except for his brief visit to Tabriz for his trial. The works he produced there were more esoteric or mystical and less thematically organized.[61] Two major books were produced, in addition to many minor works:

  • Kitáb-i-Asmá' ("The Book of Names"): This is an extremely long book about the names of God. It was penned during the Báb's last days at Chihríq, before his execution. The various manuscript copies contain numerous variations in the text; the book will require considerable work to reconstruct its original text.[62]
  • Kitáb-i-panj sha'n ("Book of Five Grades"): Having been composed in March and April 1850, this is one of the Báb's last works. The book consists of eighty-five sections arranged in seventeen groups, each under the heading of a different name of God. Within each group are five "grades", that is, five different sorts of sections: verses, prayers, homilies, commentaries, and Persian language pieces. Each group was sent to a different person and was composed on a different day. Thus the work is a kind of miscellany of unrelated material. Some of the sections represent further exposition of basic themes in the Báb's teachings; others consists of lengthy iterations of the names of God, and variations on their roots.[63]

Notes

  1. ^ Shoghi, Effendi (1944). God Passes By. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. pp. 58. ISBN 0877430209. http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/se/GPB/gpb-5.html#pg58. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Bausani, A. (1999). "Bāb". Encyclopedia of Islam. Leiden, The Netherlands: Koninklijke Brill NV. 
  3. ^ a b Balyuzi, H.M. (1973). The Báb: The Herald of the Day of Days. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. pp. 30–41. ISBN 0853980489. 
  4. ^ Balyuzi, H.M. (1973). The Báb: The Herald of the Day of Days. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. pp. 32. ISBN 0853980489. 
  5. ^ "Overview of the Bábi Faith". Bahá'í International Community. http://info.bahai.org/babi-faith.html. Retrieved 2008-04-09. 
  6. ^ "The Genealogy of Bab, showing connection with Bahá'u'lláh's descendants, by Mirza Abid, Published in Nabil's Dawnbreakers". bahai.library.org. http://bahai-library.org/file.php5?file=abid_dawnbreakers_genealogy_babi&language=. Retrieved 2008-04-09. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n MacEoin, Dennis (1989). "Bāb, Sayyed `Ali Mohammad Sirazi". Encyclopædia Iranica. 
  8. ^ Hajji Muhammad Husayn, quoted in Amanat, Abbas (1989). Resurrection and Renewal: The making of the Babi Movement in Iran, 1844-1850. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. pp. 132–33. 
  9. ^ H.M. Balyuzi, The Bab - The Herald of the Day of Days, p. 146
  10. ^ a b H.M. Balyuzi, Khadijih Bagum - Wife of the Bab
  11. ^ Balyuzi, pp. 13.
  12. ^ "The Time of the Báb". BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/bahai/history/bab_2.shtml. Retrieved 2006-07-02. 
  13. ^ a b Amanat, Resurrection and Renewal, 191.
  14. ^ Momen, Moojan (1995). "Bahá’u’lláh’s prophetology: archetypal patterns in the lives of the founders of the world religions". Bahá'í Studies Review 5 (1). 
  15. ^ a b c Saiedi, Nader (2008). Gate of the Heart. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. pp. 19. ISBN 978-1-55458-035-4. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=XTfoaK15t64C&printsec=frontcover&dq=Understanding+the+Writings+of+the+B%C3%A1b&cd=1#v=onepage&q=&f=false. 
  16. ^ Amanat, Abbas (2000). "Resurgence of Apocalyptic in Modern Islam". in Stein, Stephen J.. The Encyclopedia of Apocalypticism, vol. III: Apocalypticism in the Modern Period and the Contemporary Age.. New York: Continuum. pp. 241–242. ISBN 0826412556. 
  17. ^ Amanat, Resurrection and Renewal, 171.
  18. ^ a b Amanat, Resurrection and Renewal, 230-31.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g Manuchehri, Sepehr (1999). "The Practice of Taqiyyah (Dissimulation) in the Babi and Bahai Religions". Research Notes in Shaykhi, Babi and Baha'i Studies 3 (3). http://www.h-net.org/~bahai/notes/vol3/taqiya.htm. Retrieved 2007-09-23. 
  20. ^ a b c d e MacEoin, Denis (May 1997). "The Trial of the Bab: Shi'ite Orthodoxy Confronts its Mirror Image". Occasional Papers in Shaykhi, Babi and Baha'i Studies 1. http://www.h-net.org/~bahai/bhpapers/babtrial.htm. Retrieved 2006-07-02. 
  21. ^ Amanat, Resurrection and Renewal, 257.
  22. ^ Amanat, Resurrection and Renewal, 258.
  23. ^ a b c d e Amanat, Abbas (1989). Resurrection and Renewal: The Making of the Babi Movement in Iran. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. pp. 390–393. 
  24. ^ Browne, E.G. (1918). Materials for the Study of the Babi Religion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 
  25. ^ Shoghi, Effendi (1944). God Passes By. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. pp. 52. ISBN 0877430209. http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/se/GPB/gpb-5.html#pg52. 
  26. ^ Sir Justin Shiel, Queen Victoria's Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary in Tehran, wrote to Lord Palmerston, the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, on July 22, 1850, regarding the execution. The letter, can be found in its original form as document F.O. 60/152/88 in the archives of the Foreign Office at the Public Records Office in London.
  27. ^ Some accounts say Anís was killed on the first volley; one says that the Báb was dispatched by a sword. See Firuz Kazemzadeh, Kazem Kazemzadeh, and Howard Garey, "The Báb: Accounts of His Martyrdom", in World Order, vol. 8, no. 1 (Fall, 1973), 32. All accounts, even the Muslim ones, concur that the Báb survived the first volley.
  28. ^ Shoghi, Effendi (1944). God Passes By. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. pp. 273–289. ISBN 0877430209. http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/se/GPB/gpb-19.html. 
  29. ^ Last will and testament
  30. ^ Manuchehri (2004)
  31. ^ Cole, Juan. "A Brief Biography of Baha'u'llah". http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jrcole/bahabio.htm. Retrieved 2006-06-22. 
  32. ^ Browne (1918) p. 18. & Salmání (1982) pp. 94-95
  33. ^ Shoghi Effendi (1944) p. 233 & Momen (1991) pp. 99
  34. ^ "Azali". Britannica Concise. http://concise.britannica.com/ebc/article-9356264. Retrieved 2006-10-14. 
  35. ^ Saiedi, Nader (2008). Gate of the Heart. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. pp. 27–28. ISBN 978-1-55458-035-4. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=XTfoaK15t64C&printsec=frontcover&dq=Understanding+the+Writings+of+the+B%C3%A1b&cd=1#v=onepage&q=&f=false. 
  36. ^ Saiedi, Nader (2008). Gate of the Heart. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. pp. 49. ISBN 978-1-55458-035-4. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=XTfoaK15t64C&printsec=frontcover&dq=Understanding+the+Writings+of+the+B%C3%A1b&cd=1#v=onepage&q=&f=false. 
  37. ^ MacEoin, Sources for Early Bābī Doctrine and History, 15.
  38. ^ Denis MacEoin, The Sources for Early Bābī Doctrine and History (Leiden: Brill, 1992), 88.
  39. ^ MacEoin, Sources for Early Bābī Doctrine and History, 12-15.
  40. ^ On letters as a medium of composition of the New Testament, see Norman Perrin, The New Testament: An Introduction, Proclamation and Parenesis, Myth and History (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovitch, 1974), 96-97.
  41. ^ Unpublished letter from the Universal House of Justice. ""Numbers and Classifications of Sacred Writings Texts"". http://bahai-library.com/?file=uhj_numbers_sacred_writings. Retrieved 2006-12-16. 
  42. ^ MacEoin, Sources for Early Bābī Doctrine and History, 15-40.
  43. ^ a b William McCants. ""Arabic Grammar of the Bab, The"". http://bahai-library.com/index.php5?file=mccants_arabic_grammar_bab. Retrieved 2008-03-26. 
  44. ^ Todd Lawson. ""Qur'an Commentary of Sayyid 'Alí Muhammad, the Báb, The (Doctoral dissertation)"". http://bahai-library.com/file.php5?file=lawson_quran_commentary_bab&language=. Retrieved 2008-03-26. 
  45. ^ B. Todd Lawson, The Qur'an Commentary of Sayyid `Alî Muḥammad, the Bab, Ph.D. diss, Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill Univ., Montreal, 1987, 250-51.
  46. ^ MacEoin, Sources for Early Bābī Doctrine and History, 46-47.
  47. ^ Hands of the Cause Residing in the Holy Land, Ed. "Bahá'í Faith, The: 1844-1963". pp. 13. http://bahai-library.com/?file=handscause_statistics_1953-63&chapter=1#13. Retrieved 2006-07-02. 
  48. ^ MacEoin, Sources for Early Bābī Doctrine and History, 55-57.
  49. ^ MacEoin, Sources for Early Bābī Doctrine and History, 59-60.
  50. ^ MacEoin, Sources for Early Bābī Doctrine and History, 61-63.
  51. ^ MacEoin, Sources for Early Bābī Doctrine and History, 61.
  52. ^ MacEoin, Sources for Early Bābī Doctrine and History, 60-61.
  53. ^ MacEoin, Sources for Early Bābī Doctrine and History, 65.
  54. ^ MacEoin, Sources for Early Bābī Doctrine and History, 66-67.
  55. ^ MacEoin, Sources for Early Bābī Doctrine and History, 71; Nabíl-i-Zarandí, The Dawn-breakers, 174-76.
  56. ^ MacEoin, Sources for Early Bābī Doctrine and History, 76-77; Amanat, Resurrection and Renewal, 257; Nabíl-i-Zarandí, The Dawn-breakers, 202-04.
  57. ^ MacEoin, Sources for Early Bābī Doctrine and History, 76.
  58. ^ MacEoin, Sources for Early Bābī Doctrine and History, 83-85.
  59. ^ MacEoin, Sources for Early Bābī Doctrine and History, 85.
  60. ^ MacEoin, Sources for Early Bābī Doctrine and History, 85-88.
  61. ^ MacEoin, Sources for Early Bābī Doctrine and History, 88-94.
  62. ^ MacEoin, Sources for Early Bābī Doctrine and History, 91-92.
  63. ^ MacEoin, Sources for Early Bābī Doctrine and History, 93-95.

References

Bahá'í resources

Other resources

External links


BAB may refer to:

See also



Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The path to guidance is one of love and compassion, not of force and coercion. This hath been God’s method in the past, and shall continue to be in the future!

The Báb باب‎ [Siyyid `Alí Muhammad سيد علی ‌محمد‎ ] (20 October 18199 July 1850) the founder of Bábism, was a merchant from Shiraz, Persia, who at the age of twenty-five claimed to be a new and independent Manifestation of God and the promised Qá'im (or Mihdí). After his declaration he took on the title of the Báb meaning the "Gateway", by which he is primarily known. Several years after his execution by firing squad Bahá'u'lláh claimed to fulfill the Báb's prophecy of "He whom God shall make manifest" and founded the Bahá'í Faith.

See also: Bahá'í Faith, and Bahá'u'lláh

Contents

Sourced

Tablet to ‘Him Who Will Be Made Manifest’

  • This is an epistle from this lowly servant to the All-Glorious Lord — He Who hath been aforetime and will be hereafter made manifest. Verily He is the Most Manifest, the Almighty.
  • Glorified is He before Whom all the dwellers of earth and heaven bow down in adoration and unto Whom all men turn in supplication. He is the One Who holdeth in His grasp the mighty kingdom of all created things and unto Him shall all return. He is the One Who revealeth whatsoever He willeth and by His injunction ‘Be Thou’ all things have come into being.
  • This is an epistle from the letter ‘Thá’ unto Him Who will be made manifest through the power of Truth — He Who is the All-Glorious, the Best Beloved — to affirm that all created things as well as myself bear witness for all time that there is none other God but Thee, the Omnipotent, the Self-Subsisting; that Thou art God, there is no God besides Thee and that all men shall be raised up to life through Thee.
From all eternity I have indeed recognized Thee and unto all eternity will ever do so through Thine Own Self and not through any one else besides Thee.
  • From all eternity I have indeed recognized Thee and unto all eternity will ever do so through Thine Own Self and not through any one else besides Thee. Verily Thou art the Source of all knowledge, the Omniscient. From everlasting I have besought and unto everlasting will beseech forgiveness for my limited understanding of Thee, aware as I am that there is no God but Thee, the All-Glorious, the Almighty.
  • I beg of Thee, O my Best Beloved, to pardon me and those who earnestly seek to promote Thy Cause; Thou art indeed the One Who forgiveth the sins of all mankind.
  • I bear witness that Thou art the Most Manifest, the Omnipotent, the Ever-Abiding; that of all things that exist on earth and in the heavens nothing whatsoever can frustrate Thy purpose and that Thou art the Knower of all things and the Lord of might and majesty.
  • Every Manifestation is but a revelation of Thine Own Self, with each of Whom we have truly appeared and we bow down in adoration before Thee. Thou hast been, O my Best Beloved, and shalt ever be my witness throughout bygone times and in the days to come. Verily, Thou art the All-Powerful, the Ever-Faithful, the Omnipotent.
  • I have testified to Thy oneness through Thine Own Self before the dwellers of the heavens and the earth, bearing witness that, verily, Thou art the All-Glorious, the Best Beloved. I have attained the recognition of Thee through Thine Own Self before the dwellers of the heavens and the earth, bearing witness that Thou art in truth the Almighty, the All-Praised.
  • I have extolled Thine overpowering majesty through Thine Own Self before the dwellers of the heavens and the earth, bearing witness that, verily, Thou and Thou alone art the Lord of might, the Eternal One, the Ancient of Days.
    Hallowed and glorified art Thou; there is none other God but Thee and in truth unto Thee do we all return.

Second Tablet to ‘Him Who Will Be Made Manifest’

  • He is God, no God is there but Him, the Almighty, the Best Beloved. All that are in the heavens and on the earth and whatever lieth between them are His. Verily He is the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.
  • This is a letter from God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting, unto God, the Almighty, the Best Beloved, to affirm that the Bayán and such as bear allegiance to it are but a present from me unto Thee and to express my undoubting faith that there is no God but Thee, that the kingdoms of Creation and Revelation are Thine, that no one can attain anything save by Thy power and that He Whom Thou hast raised up is but Thy servant and Thy Testimony.
  • Thou art verily the Lord of grace abounding. Thou dost indeed suffice every created thing and causest it to be independent of all things, while nothing in the heavens or on the earth or that which lieth between them can ever suffice Thee.
    Verily Thou art the Self-Sufficient, the All-Knowing; Thou art indeed potent over all things.

Tablet to the First Letter of the Living

  • This is that which We have revealed for the First Believer in Him Whom God shall make manifest, that it may serve as an admonition from Our presence unto all mankind.
  • In the Name of the Almighty, the Best Beloved.
    Lauded and glorified is He Who is the sovereign Lord of the kingdoms of heaven and earth and whatever is between them. Say, verily unto Him shall all return, and He is the One Who guideth at His Own behest whomsoever He pleaseth. Say, all men beseech His blessings and He is supreme over all created things. He is indeed the All-Glorious, the Mighty, the Well-Beloved.
  • God hath in truth testified in His Book and so also have testified the company of His angels, His Messengers and those endued with divine knowledge, that thou hast believed in God and in His signs and that everyone is guided aright by virtue of thy guidance. This is indeed a boundless grace which God, the Ever-Living, the Self-Subsisting, hath graciously conferred upon thee aforetime and will confer hereafter. And since thou didst believe in God before the creation, He hath in truth, at His own behest, raised thee up in every Revelation. There is no God but Him, the Sovereign Protector, the All-Glorious.
  • It behooveth you to proclaim the Cause of God unto all created things as a token of grace from His presence; no God is there but Him, the Most Generous, the All-Compelling.
  • Say: All matters must be referred to the Book of God; I am indeed the First to believe in God and in His signs; I am the One Who divulgeth and proclaimeth the Truth and I have been invested with every excellent title of God, the Mighty, the Incomparable. Verily I have attained the Day of the First Manifestation and by the bidding of the Lord and as a token of His grace, I shall attain the Day of the Latter Manifestation
  • I render thanks and yield praise unto God for having been chosen by Him as the Exponent of His Cause in bygone days and in the days to come; there is none other God save Him, the Glorified, the All-Praised, the Ever-Abiding. Whatever is in the heavens and on the earth is His and through Him are we guided aright.

Epistle to Muhammad Sháh

  • 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; and whosoever hath failed to recognize Me, hath turned away from all that is true and right and hath succumbed to everything evil and unseemly.
  • By My life! But for the obligation to acknowledge the Cause of Him Who is the Testimony of God ... I would not have announced this unto thee... All the keys of heaven God hath chosen to place on My right hand, and all the keys of hell on My left...
  • I swear by God, the Peerless, the Incomparable, the True One: for no other reason hath He — the supreme Testimony of God — invested Me with clear signs and tokens than that all men may be enabled to submit to His Cause.
  • God beareth Me witness, I was not a man of learning, for I was trained as a merchant. In the year sixty God graciously infused my soul with the conclusive evidences and weighty knowledge which characterize Him Who is the Testimony of God — may peace be upon Him — until finally in that year I proclaimed God’s hidden Cause and unveiled its well-guarded Pillar, in such wise that no one could refute it. ‘That he who should perish might perish with a clear proof before him and he who should live might live by clear proof.’
He who doeth good unto Me, it is as if he doeth good unto God, His angels and the entire company of His loved ones...
  • He who doeth good unto Me, it is as if he doeth good unto God, His angels and the entire company of His loved ones. He who doeth evil unto Me, it is as if he doeth evil unto God and His chosen ones. Nay, too exalted is the station of God and of His loved ones for any person’s good or evil deed to reach their holy threshold. Whatever reacheth Me is ordained to reach Me; and that which hath come unto Me, to him who giveth will it revert. By the One in Whose hand is My soul, he hath cast no one but himself into prison. For assuredly whatsoever God hath decreed for Me shall come to pass and naught else save that which God hath ordained for us shall ever touch us. Woe betide him from whose hands floweth evil, and blessed the man from whose hands floweth good. Unto no one do I take My plaint save to God; for He is the best of judges. Every state of adversity or bliss is from Him alone, and He is the All-Powerful, the Almighty.
  • Were I to remove the veil, all would recognize Me as their Best Beloved, and no one would deny Me. Let not this assertion astound Your Majesty; inasmuch as a true believer in the unity of God who keepeth his eyes directed towards Him alone, will regard aught else but Him as utter nothingness. I swear by God! I seek no earthly goods from thee, be it as much as a mustard seed. Indeed, to possess anything of this world or of the next would, in My estimation, be tantamount to open blasphemy. For it ill beseemeth the believer in the unity of God to turn his gaze to aught else, much less to hold it in his possession. I know of a certainty that since I have God, the Ever-Living, the Adored One, I am the possessor of all things, visible and invisible...

The Persian Bayán

He hath moreover deposited within the realities of all created things the emblem of His recognition, that everyone may know of a certainty that He is the Beginning and the End, the Manifest and the Hidden
  • In the Name of God, the Most Exalted, the Most Holy. All praise and glory befitteth the sacred and glorious court of the sovereign Lord, Who from everlasting hath dwelt, and unto everlasting will continue to dwell within the mystery of His Own divine Essence, Who from time immemorial hath abided and will forever continue to abide within His transcendent eternity, exalted above the reach and ken of all created beings. The sign of His matchless Revelation as created by Him and imprinted upon the realities of all beings, is none other but their powerlessness to know Him. The light He hath shed upon all things is none but the splendour of His Own Self. He Himself hath at all times been immeasurably exalted above any association with His creatures. He hath fashioned the entire creation in such wise that all beings may, by virtue of their innate powers, bear witness before God on the Day of Resurrection that He hath no peer or equal and is sanctified from any likeness, similitude or comparison. He hath been and will ever be one and incomparable in the transcendent glory of His divine being and He hath ever been indescribably mighty in the sublimity of His sovereign Lordship. No one hath ever been able befittingly to recognize Him nor will any man succeed at any time in comprehending Him as is truly meet and seemly, for any reality to which the term ‘being’ is applicable hath been created by the sovereign Will of the Almighty, Who hath shed upon it the radiance of His Own Self, shining forth from His most august station. He hath moreover deposited within the realities of all created things the emblem of His recognition, that everyone may know of a certainty that He is the Beginning and the End, the Manifest and the Hidden, the Maker and the Sustainer, the Omnipotent and the All-Knowing, the One Who heareth and perceiveth all things, He Who is invincible in His power and standeth supreme in His Own identity, He Who quickeneth and causeth to die, the All-Powerful, the Inaccessible, the Most Exalted, the Most High. Every revelation of His divine Essence betokens the sublimity of His glory, the loftiness of His sanctity, the inaccessible height of His oneness and the exaltation of His majesty and power. His beginning hath had no beginning other than His Own firstness and His end knoweth no end save His Own lastness.
    • I, 1
From eternity unto eternity this Tree of divine Truth hath served and will ever serve as the throne of the revelation and concealment of God among His creatures, and in every age is made manifest through whomsoever He pleaseth.
  • The revelation of the Divine Reality hath everlastingly been identical with its concealment and its concealment identical with its revelation. That which is intended by ‘Revelation of God’ is the Tree of divine Truth that betokeneth none but Him, and it is this divine Tree that hath raised and will raise up Messengers, and hath revealed and will ever reveal Scriptures. From eternity unto eternity this Tree of divine Truth hath served and will ever serve as the throne of the revelation and concealment of God among His creatures, and in every age is made manifest through whomsoever He pleaseth. At the time of the revelation of the Qur’án He asserted His transcendent power through the advent of Muḥammad, and on the occasion of the revelation of the Bayán He demonstrated His sovereign might through the appearance of the Point of the Bayán, and when He Whom God shall make manifest will shine forth, it will be through Him that He will vindicate the truth of His Faith, as He pleaseth, with whatsoever He pleaseth and for whatsoever He pleaseth. He is with all things, yet nothing is with Him. He is not within a thing nor above it nor beside it. Any reference to His being established upon the throne implieth that the Exponent of His Revelation is established upon the seat of transcendent authority...
    He hath everlastingly existed and will everlastingly continue to exist. He hath been and will ever remain inscrutable unto all men, inasmuch as all else besides Him have been and shall ever be created through the potency of His command. He is exalted above every mention or praise and is sanctified beyond every word of commendation or every comparison. No created thing comprehendeth Him, while He in truth comprehendeth all things. Even when it is said ‘no created thing comprehendeth Him’, this refers to the Mirror of His Revelation, that is Him Whom God shall make manifest. Indeed too high and exalted is He for anyone to allude unto Him.
    • II, 8
It is better to guide one soul than to possess all that is on earth...
  • It is better to guide one soul than to possess all that is on earth, for as long as that guided soul is under the shadow of the Tree of Divine Unity, he and the one who hath guided him will both be recipients of God’s tender mercy, whereas possession of earthly things will cease at the time of death. The path to guidance is one of love and compassion, not of force and coercion. This hath been God’s method in the past, and shall continue to be in the future!
    • II, 16
  • There is no paradise more wondrous for any soul than to be exposed to God’s Manifestation in His Day, to hear His verses and believe in them, to attain His presence, which is naught but the presence of God, to sail upon the sea of the heavenly kingdom of His good-pleasure, and to partake of the choice fruits of the paradise of His divine Oneness.
    • II, 16
  • I swear by the most sacred Essence of God that but one line of the Words uttered by Him is more sublime than the words uttered by all that dwell on earth. Nay, I beg forgiveness for making this comparison. How could the reflections of the sun in the mirror compare with the wondrous rays of the sun in the visible heaven? The station of one is that of nothingness, while the station of the other, by the righteousness of God — hallowed and magnified be His Name — is that of the Reality of things...
    • III, 12
  • If in the Day of His manifestation a king were to make mention of his own sovereignty, this would be like unto a mirror challenging the sun, saying: ‘The light is in me’. It would be likewise, if a man of learning in His Day were to claim to be an exponent of knowledge, or if he who is possessed of riches were to display his affluence, or if a man wielding power were to assert his own authority, or if one invested with grandeur were to show forth his glory. Nay, such men would become the object of the derision of their peers, and how would they be judged by Him Who is the Sun of Truth!
    • III, 12
  • I swear by the most holy Essence of God — exalted and glorified be He — that in the Day of the appearance of Him Whom God shall make manifest a thousand perusals of the Bayán cannot equal the perusal of a single verse to be revealed by Him Whom God shall make manifest.
    • V, 8
  • Know thou of a certainty that every letter revealed in the Bayán is solely intended to evoke submission unto Him Whom God shall make manifest, for it is He Who hath revealed the Bayán prior to His Own manifestation.
    • V, 8
  • God desireth not to see, in the Dispensation of the Bayán, any soul deprived of joy and radiance. He indeed desireth that under all conditions, all may be adorned with such purity, both inwardly and outwardly, that no repugnance may be caused even to themselves, how much less unto others.
    • V, 14
  • There is no paradise, in the estimation of the believers in the Divine Unity, more exalted than to obey God’s commandments, and there is no fire in the eyes of those who have known God and His signs, fiercer than to transgress His laws and to oppress another soul, even to the extent of a mustard seed. On the Day of Resurrection God will, in truth, judge all men, and we all verily plead for His grace.
    • V, 19
  • The One true God may be compared unto the sun and the believer unto a mirror. No sooner is the mirror placed before the sun than it reflects its light. The unbeliever may be likened unto a stone. No matter how long it is exposed to the sunshine, it cannot reflect the sun.
    • VI, 4
  • On that Day whatever cause prompteth the believer to believe in Him, the same will also be available to the unbeliever. But when the latter suffereth himself to be wrapt in veils, the same cause shutteth him out as by a veil. Thus, as is clearly evident today, those who have set their faces toward God, the True One, have believed in Him because of the Bayán, while such as are veiled have been deprived because of it.
    • VI, 4
  • God hath, at all times and under all conditions, been wholly independent of His creatures. He hath cherished and will ever cherish the desire that all men may attain His gardens of Paradise with utmost love, that no one should sadden another, not even for a moment, and that all should dwell within His cradle of protection and security until the Day of Resurrection which marketh the dayspring of the Revelation of Him Whom God will make manifest.
    • VI, 16
Fire and paradise both bow down and prostrate themselves before God. That which is worthy of His Essence is to worship Him for His sake, without fear of fire, or hope of paradise.
  • Worship thou God in such wise that if thy worship lead thee to the fire, no alteration in thine adoration would be produced, and so likewise if thy recompense should be paradise. Thus and thus alone should be the worship which befitteth the one True God. Shouldst thou worship Him because of fear, this would be unseemly in the sanctified Court of His presence, and could not be regarded as an act by thee dedicated to the Oneness of His Being. Or if thy gaze should be on paradise, and thou shouldst worship Him while cherishing such a hope, thou wouldst make God’s creation a partner with Him, notwithstanding the fact that paradise is desired by men.
    Fire and paradise both bow down and prostrate themselves before God. That which is worthy of His Essence is to worship Him for His sake, without fear of fire, or hope of paradise.
    • VII, 19
  • The most acceptable prayer is the one offered with the utmost spirituality and radiance; its prolongation hath not been and is not beloved by God. The more detached and the purer the prayer, the more acceptable is it in the presence of God.
    • VII, 19
  • The acts of Him Whom God shall make manifest are like unto the sun, while the works of men, provided they conform to the good-pleasure of God, resemble the stars or the moon... Thus, should the followers of the Bayán observe the precepts of Him Whom God shall make manifest at the time of His appearance, and regard themselves and their own works as stars exposed to the light of the sun, then they will have gathered the fruits of their existence; otherwise the title of ‘starship’ will not apply to them. Rather it will apply to such as truly believe in Him, to those who pale into insignificance in the day-time and gleam forth with light in the night season.
    Such indeed is the fruit of this precept, should anyone observe it on the Day of Resurrection. This is the essence of all learning and of all righteous deeds, should anyone but attain unto it. Had the peoples of the world fixed their gaze upon this principle, no Exponent of divine Revelation would ever have, at the inception of any Dispensation, regarded them as things of naught. However, the fact is that during the night season everyone perceiveth the light which he himself, according to his own capacity, giveth out, oblivious that at the break of day this light shall fade away and be reduced to utter nothingness before the dazzling splendour of the sun.
    • VIII, 1
  • The light of the people of the world is their knowledge and utterance; while the splendours shed from the glorious acts of Him Whom God shall make manifest are His Words, through whose potency He rolleth up the whole world of existence, sets it under His Own authority by relating it unto Himself, then as the Mouthpiece of God, the Source of His divine light — exalted and glorified be He — proclaimeth: ‘Verily, verily, I am God, no God is there but Me; in truth all others except Me are My creatures. Say, O My creatures! Me alone, therefore, should ye fear’.
    • VIII, 1
The Day of Resurrection is a day on which the sun riseth and setteth like unto any other day. How oft hath the Day of Resurrection dawned, and the people of the land where it occurred did not learn of the event.
  • The Day of Resurrection is a day on which the sun riseth and setteth like unto any other day. How oft hath the Day of Resurrection dawned, and the people of the land where it occurred did not learn of the event. Had they heard, they would not have believed, and thus they were not told!
    • ** VIII, 9
  • When the Apostle of God appeared, He did not announce unto the unbelievers that the Resurrection had come, for they could not bear the news. That Day is indeed an infinitely mighty Day, for in it the Divine Tree proclaimeth from eternity unto eternity, ‘Verily, I am God. No God is there but Me’. Yet those who are veiled believe that He is one like unto them, and they refuse even to call Him a believer, although such a title in the realm of His heavenly Kingdom is conferred everlastingly upon the most insignificant follower of His previous Dispensation.
    • VIII, 9
  • Consider with due attention, for the path is very strait, even while it is more spacious than the heavens and the earth and what is between them.
    • IX, 3

Dalá’Il-I-Sab‘ih

The Seven Proofs

  • Thou hast asked concerning the fundamentals of religion and its ordinances: Know thou that first and foremost in religion is the knowledge of God. This attaineth its consummation in the recognition of His divine unity, which in turn reacheth its fulfilment in acclaiming that His hallowed and exalted Sanctuary, the Seat of His transcendent majesty, is sanctified from all attributes. And know thou that in this world of being the knowledge of God can never be attained save through the knowledge of Him Who is the Dayspring of divine Reality.
  • In every nation thou beholdest unnumbered spiritual leaders who are bereft of true discernment, and among every people thou dost encounter myriads of adherents who are devoid of the same characteristic. Ponder for a while in thy heart, have pity on thyself and turn not aside thine attention from proofs and evidences. However, seek not proofs and evidences after thine idle fancy; but rather base thy proofs upon what God hath appointed. Moreover, know thou that neither being a man of learning nor being a follower is in itself a source of glory. If thou art a man of learning, thy knowledge becometh an honour, and if thou art a follower, thine adherence unto leadership becometh an honour, only when these conform to the good-pleasure of God.
  • Thy letter hath been perused. Were the truth of this Revelation to be fully demonstrated with elaborate proofs, all the scrolls that exist in the heaven and on the earth would be insufficient to contain them.
    However, the substance and essence of the subject is this, that there can be no doubt that from everlasting God hath been invested with the independent sovereignty of His exalted Being, and unto everlasting He will remain inaccessible in the transcendent majesty of His holy Essence. No creature hath ever recognized Him as befitteth His recognition, nor hath any created being ever praised Him as is worthy of His praise. He is exalted above every name, and is sanctified from every comparison. Through Him all things are made known, while too lofty is His reality to be known through anyone but Him. The process of His creation hath had no beginning and can have no end, otherwise it would necessitate the cessation of His celestial grace. God hath raised up Prophets and revealed Books as numerous as the creatures of the world, and will continue to do so to everlasting.
  • If thou art sailing upon the sea of God’s Names, which are reflected in all things, know thou that He is exalted and sanctified from being known through His creatures, or being described by His servants. Everything thou beholdest hath been called into being through the operation of His Will. How can such a created thing, therefore, be indicative of His essential oneness? God’s existence in itself testifieth to His Own oneness, while every created thing, by its very nature, beareth evidence that it hath been fashioned by God. Such is the proof of consummate wisdom in the estimation of those who sail the ocean of divine Truth.
  • If, however, thou art sailing upon the sea of creation, know thou that the First Remembrance, which is the Primal Will of God, may be likened unto the sun. God hath created Him through the potency of His might, and He hath, from the beginning that hath no beginning, caused Him to be manifested in every Dispensation through the compelling power of His behest, and God will, to the end that knoweth no end, continue to manifest Him according to the good-pleasure of His invincible Purpose.
  • In the time of the First Manifestation the Primal Will appeared in Adam; in the day of Noah It became known in Noah; in the day of Abraham in Him; and so in the day of Moses; the day of Jesus; the day of Muḥammad, the Apostle of God; the day of the ‘Point of the Bayán’; the day of Him Whom God shall make manifest; and the day of the One Who will appear after Him Whom God shall make manifest. Hence the inner meaning of the words uttered by the Apostle of God, ‘I am all the Prophets’, inasmuch as what shineth resplendent in each one of Them hath been and will ever remain the one and the same sun.

The Kitáb-I-Asmá

The Book of Names

  • Say, He Whom God shall make manifest is indeed the Primal Veil of God. Above this Veil ye can find nothing other than God, while beneath it ye can discern all things emanating from God. He is the Unseen, the Inaccessible, the Most Exalted, the Best Beloved.
    • XVI, 17
  • O ye that are invested with the Bayán! Denounce ye not one another, ere the Day-Star of ancient eternity shineth forth above the horizon of His sublimity. We have created you from one tree and have caused you to be as the leaves and fruit of the same tree, that haply ye may become a source of comfort to one another. Regard ye not others save as ye regard your own selves, that no feeling of aversion may prevail amongst you so as to shut you out from Him Whom God shall make manifest on the Day of Resurrection. It behooveth you all to be one indivisible people; thus should ye return unto Him Whom God shall make manifest.
    • XVI, 19
  • Those who have deprived themselves of this Resurrection by reason of their mutual hatreds or by regarding themselves to be in the right and others in the wrong, were chastised on the Day of Resurrection by reason of such hatreds evinced during their night. Thus they deprived themselves of beholding the countenance of God, and this for no other reason than mutual denunciations.
    • XVI, 19
  • O ye that are invested with the Bayán! Ye should perform such deeds as would please God, your Lord, earning thereby the good-pleasure of Him Whom God shall make manifest. Turn not your religion into a means of material gain, spending your life on vanities, and inheriting thereby on the Day of Resurrection that which would displease Him Whom God shall make manifest, while ye deem that what ye do is right. If, however, ye observe piety in your Faith, God will surely nourish you from the treasuries of His heavenly grace.
    • XVI, 19
  • Beware lest ye suffer one another to be wrapt in veils by reason of the disputes which may, during your night, arise among you as a result of the problems ye encounter or in consideration of such matters as your loftiness or lowliness, your nearness or remoteness.
    Thus have We firmly exhorted you — a befitting exhortation indeed — that haply ye may cleave tenaciously unto it and attain thereby salvation on the Day of Resurrection.
    • XVI, 19
  • Should a person lay claim to a cause and produce his proofs, then those who seek to repudiate him are required to produce proofs like unto his. If they succeed in doing so, his words will prove vain and they will prevail; otherwise neither his words will cease nor the proofs he hath set forth will become void. I admonish you, O ye who are invested with the Bayán, if ye would fain assert your ascendancy, confront not any soul unless ye give proofs similar to that which he hath adduced; for Truth shall be firmly established, while aught else besides it is sure to perish.
    • XVII, 11
  • Wert thou to open the heart of a single soul by helping him to embrace the Cause of Him Whom God shall make manifest, thine inmost being would be filled with the inspirations of that august Name. It devolveth upon you, therefore, to perform this task in the Days of Resurrection, inasmuch as most people are helpless, and wert thou to open their hearts and dispel their doubts, they would gain admittance into the Faith of God.
    • XVII, 15
  • Take heed to carefully consider the words of every soul, then hold fast to the proofs which attest the truth. If ye fail to discover truth in a person’s words, make them not the object of contention, inasmuch as ye have been forbidden in the Bayán to enter into idle disputation and controversy, that perchance on the Day of Resurrection ye may not engage in argumentation, and dispute with Him Whom God shall make manifest.
    • XVII, 16
  • On the Day of Resurrection when He Whom God will make manifest cometh unto you, invested with conclusive proofs, ye shall hold His Cause as being devoid of truth, whereas God hath apprised you in the Bayán that no similarity existeth between the Cause of Him Whom God will make manifest and the cause of others. How can anyone besides God reveal a verse such as to overwhelm all mankind? Say, great is God! Who else but Him Whom God will make manifest can spontaneously recite verses which proceed from His Lord — a feat that no mortal man can ever hope to accomplish?
    • XVIII, 3
  • How great hath been the number of those who have falsely laid claim to a cause within Islám, and ye followed in their footsteps without having witnessed a single proof. What evidence can ye then produce in the presence of your Lord, if ye do but meditate a while?
    Take ye good heed in your night lest ye be a cause of sadness to any soul, whether ye be able to discover proofs in him or not, that haply on the Day of Resurrection ye may not grieve Him within Whose grasp lieth every proof. And when ye do not discern God’s testimony in a person, he will verily fail in manifesting the power of Truth; and God is sufficient to deal with him. Indeed on no account should ye sadden any person; surely God will put him to the proof and bring him to account. It behooveth you to cling to the testimony of your own Faith and to observe the ordinances laid down in the Bayán.
    • XVIII, 3
  • O ye unto whom the Bayán is given! Be ye vigilant lest in the days of Him Whom God shall make manifest, while ye consider yourselves as seeking God’s pleasure, in reality ye persist in that which would only displease Him, even as did those who lived in the days of the Primal Point, to whom it never occurred that they were seeking things which ran counter to that which God had purposed.
    • XVI, 13
  • O ye who are invested with the Bayán! Regard not yourselves as being like unto the people to whom the Qur’án or the Gospel or other Scriptures of old were given, since at the time of His manifestation ye shall stray farther from God than did they. If ye happen to shut yourselves out it would never cross your minds that ye were shut out from Him. It behooveth you to consider how the people unto whom the Qur’án was given were debarred from the Truth, for indeed ye will act in a like manner, thinking that ye are doers of good. If ye perceive the degree of your deprivation of God, ye will wish to have perished from the face of the earth and to have sunk into oblivion. The day will come when ye will earnestly desire to know that which would meet with the good-pleasure of God but, alas, ye shall find no path unto Him. Ye, even as camels that wander aimlessly, will not find a pasture wherein ye may gather and unite upon a Cause in which ye can assuredly believe. At that time God shall cause the Sun of Truth to shine forth and the oceans of His bounty and grace to surge, while ye will have chosen droplets of water as the object of your desire, and will have deprived yourselves of the plenteous waters in His oceans.
    • XVI, 13
  • Let no one among you say that God hath withheld the outpouring of His bounty unto you, for assuredly God’s mercy unto those to whom the Bayán is given hath been fulfilled and completed until the Day of Resurrection. Would that ye might believe in the signs of God.
    • XVI, 13
  • Since thou hast faithfully obeyed the true religion of God in the past, it behooveth thee to follow His true religion hereafter, inasmuch as every religion proceedeth from God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.
  • I swear by the life of Him Whom God shall make manifest! My Revelation is indeed far more bewildering than that of Muḥammad, the Apostle of God, if thou dost but pause to reflect upon the days of God. Behold, how strange that a person brought up amongst the people of Persia should be empowered by God to proclaim such irrefutable utterances as to silence every man of learning, and be enabled to spontaneously reveal verses far more rapidly than anyone could possibly set down in writing. Verily, no God is there but Him, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.
    • XVI, 18.
  • As to those who have debarred themselves from the Revelation of God, they have indeed failed to understand the significance of a single letter of the Qur’án, nor have they obtained the slightest notion of the Faith of Islám, otherwise they would not have turned away from God, Who hath brought them into being, Who hath nurtured them, hath caused them to die and hath proffered life unto them, by clinging to parts of their religion, thinking that they are doing righteous work for the sake of God.
    • XVII, 2
  • Ye spend all your days contriving forms and rules for the principles of your Faith, while that which profiteth you in all this is to comprehend the good-pleasure of your Lord and unitedly to become well-acquainted with His supreme Purpose.
    • XVII, 2
  • On that Day ye will continue to rove distraught, even as camels, seeking a drop of the water of life. God will cause oceans of living water to stream forth from the presence of Him Whom God shall make manifest, while ye will refuse to quench your thirst therefrom, notwithstanding that ye regard yourselves as the God-fearing witnesses of your Faith. Nay, and yet again, nay! Ye will go astray far beyond the peoples unto whom the Gospel, or the Qur’án or any other Scripture was given. Take good heed to yourselves, inasmuch as the Cause of God will come upon you at a time when you will all be entreating and tearfully imploring God for the advent of the Day of His Manifestation; yet when He cometh ye will tarry and will fail to be of those who are well-assured in His Faith.
    Beware lest ye grieve Him Who is the Supreme Manifestation of your Lord; verily, He can well afford to dispense with your allegiance unto Him. Be ye careful and bring not despondency upon any soul, for surely ye shall be put to proof.
    • XVII, 2
  • Say, He Whom God shall make manifest will surely redeem the rights of those who truly believe in God and in His signs, for they are the ones who merit reward from His presence. Say, it is far from the glory of Him Whom God shall make manifest that anyone should in this wise make mention of His name, if ye ponder the Cause of God in your hearts. Say, He shall vindicate the Cause through the potency of His command and shall bring to naught all perversion of truth by virtue of His behest. Verily God is potent over all things.
  • Fear ye God that ye may not identify yourselves with aught but the truth, inasmuch as ye have been exalted in the Bayán for being recognized as the bearers of the name of Him Who is the eternal Truth.
    • XVII, 4
  • Verily God is able to convert light into fire whenever He pleaseth; surely He is potent over all things. And were He to declare a person whom ye regard alien to the truth as being akin thereto, err not by questioning His decision in your fancies, for He Who is the Sovereign Truth createth things through the power of His behest. Verily God transmuteth fire into light as He willeth, and indeed potent is He over all things. Consider ye how the truth shone forth as truth in the First Day and how error became manifest as error; so likewise shall ye distinguish them from each other on the Day of Resurrection.
    • XVII, 4

Attributed

  • Is there any Remover of difficulties save God? Say: Praised be God! He is God! All are His servants and all abide by His bidding!

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