Resurrection and the World to Come

As for what thou hast asked regarding “the origin” and “the return,” “resurrection” and “assembling for judgment,” “the bridge,” “paradise,” and “hell”: all of them are real, the truth of which none can doubt. Verily, a person of certitude and insight perceiveth all these ranks and stations with the inner and outer eye at every moment, for he is not limited by time nor deprived of grace. If thou soarest in the heavens of divine grace, thou shalt witness creation happening at every moment and in all things, regardless of whether in the past or in the future, and shall behold all that appeareth and transpireth in everything, for His grace hath never been reserved for one thing over another and never shall be.

However, the divine meaning of “assembling for judgment,” “resurrection,” “paradise,” “hell,” and similar expressions mentioned in the divine tablets is limited to the time of the Manifestation. Notice, for example, that at the time of the Manifestation the tongue of God speaketh a Word, and from this Word that cometh from his mouth paradise, hell, the bridge, and everything thou hast asked and not asked are revealed and disclosed. Every soul who hath attained certitude hath crossed the bridge and attained the paradise of good-pleasure. In like manner, it joineth the assemblage of the near ones and the elect and is mentioned before God among the people of paradise, the exalted ones, and those who are steadfast. Every soul that hath opposed the Word of God is in hell and is among the people of negation and wickedness who assemble in the shade of those who join partners with God. These stations appear when the Word appeareth.

As for souls who attain the good pleasure of God and His Cause, they shall obtain recompense for their works in the world to come after their spirits leave their bodies. For in this world they do not have the capacity for more, even if all the divine worlds have ever, and will ever, circumambulate this world. In each world, however, there is an ordained and prescribed mission for each soul. Think not that what hath been mentioned in the book of God is a sham. Exalted is He above that! I swear by the sun of the horizon of inner meanings that, in truth, none of the paradises are alike. Paradise in the first life is His good-pleasure and entering His Cause.

After the ascent of the believers from this world, they attain the peerless paradises and are blessed with innumerable bounties. Those paradises are the fruits of the actions that were undertaken in this world. Hast thou noticed that if one of His servants serveth another soul and beareth a hardship for its sake, he receiveth a recompense and compensation for what he did? How can the Bountiful One be free to issue commands for His servants to obey and later withhold the wonders of His mercy from them? Far, far be it from His glory and exalted, exalted is He above what His servants fancy about Him.

In short, today all of these stations are manifest. Therefore, happy is the soul that attaineth the Abha paradise, which is the most exalted paradise. If there be ears that are cleansed and souls who have attained, then make mention of the wonders of the divine bounties at every moment so all may be freed and purified from everything they have perceived, known, and seen and turn toward the Most Pure, the Most Sublime Vision.

But of what avail! Despite the teachings of the Point of the Bayan (may the souls of all else but Him be His sacrifice), these servants did not advance from the station of the clot to the station of the lump of flesh, much less to the station of acquiring a body and further stations that have never been mentioned (cf. Qur’an 23:14).

Alas for those who change God’s grace unto them and by their own existence prevent the heaven of inner meanings from disclosing their manifestations and qualities. Behold the state of these creatures and be of those who bear witness.

Briefly, paradise and hell in this earthly life have been, and will ever be, recognition and opposition. After the ascent of the spirit, it shall reach the peerless paradises or arrive at the fire that hath no likeness, which are the fruits of the actions of those who have recognized or opposed. However, none but God can ever perceive these stations.

For the believer He hath created stations far beyond what hath been heard of the wonders of the immeasurable divine bounties ordained in the paradises of eternal glory. Likewise, He hath ordained for the opponent eternal torments of which none hath heard their like.

Verily, we bear witness that the bridge hath been upraised in truth, and the criterion established with justice! The manifestations have assembled, the evidences have appeared, the trumpet hath sounded, the horn hath blown, the hell-fire hath blazed, and paradise hath drawn close! The herald hath cried out, the heavens have folded up, the earth hath spread out, the breeze of God hath wafted, and the Spirit of God hath gone forth! The heavenly maidens have been adorned, the heavenly youth have been beautified, the palaces have been erected, and the chambers have been festooned! The buried have risen, the lofty have been brought low, and the lowly have been raised aloft! The sun hath darkened, the moon hath split, the stars have fallen, the waters have flooded, the grapes have been plucked, and the fruits have been gathered! The verses have descended, the deeds of those who oppose have been erased, and the actions of those who recognize have been affirmed! The preserved tablet hath appeared in truth, the written tablet hath spoken with bounty, and the Object of wonders, the Beloved of creation, He who is worshiped on earth and in heaven, hath appeared in the form of the Youth, whereupon the tongues of all things say: praise be God, the most wondrous of Creators!

Baha’u’llah, from a tablet to Sayyid Yusuf Isfahani, INBA 38:140-143

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Other Prophets

As regards the other religions in the texts of Baha’u’llah and in the books of the loved ones like the book of Mirza Abu al-Fadl, as well as my writings, they have explicitly mentioned his holiness Zoroaster, his holiness Buddha, Brahma, and Confucius. In the beginning, the foundation of his holiness Zoroaster and his holiness Buddha very much agreed, but afterwards there was distortion and change.

Methinks thou hast not seen the tablets and books that have been written about this. If thou art able to obtain the book published by Mirza Abu al-Fadl, it is sufficient. Be thou satisfied that the teachings of Baha’u’llah are universal teachings and that thou art aided by the potency of the Word of God, the breaths of the Holy Spirit, and a heavenly power.

At most, thou hast seen the published writings of his holiness Baha’u’llah. Published tablets relative to unpublished tablets are very partial. The foundations of the divine religions are one. That foundation shall become universal through the power of his holiness Baha’u’llah.

Abdu’l-Baha, Makatib Abdu’l-Baha 3:378-9; Amr va Khalq 2:71.

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Respect Scriptures by Publishing Fewer of Them

Briefly, the greatest matter today is teaching the Cause of God and diffusing the divine fragrances. This is accomplished by elucidation and sparkling exposition, not by the publication of books and the dissemination of tablets; nay rather, publishing and making more tablets available dishonor God’s scriptures. Observe that once the Qur’an was printed, it was used to wrap medicine in perfume stores. Likewise, notice to what extent it hath been published and disseminated, becoming available to other religious communities and recited by them. Thou hast heard of no one who hath become a believer in His Holiness the Messenger (may my life be his sacrifice) by reciting the Qur’an, whether he be a Christian, a Jew, or from some other sect. People are guided by elucidation and exposition, not by the promulgation of a book, the dissemination of tablets, and the publication of scriptures. The divine scriptures should be respected and honored accordingly.

`Abdu’l-Baha, Muntakhabati 6:1.

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Infallibility and Adam’s Sin

Thou hast asked about the infallibility of the ancient prophets. The Holy Manifestations uttered that which was revealed unto them and not that which they desired. They are the manifestation of “God warns you to beware of His Self” (Q 3:28), or rather, the Self of God that hath established the divine precepts. They are exalted above the recognition of others and sanctified from the vain imaginings of the people of doubts and idle fancies. Refer to the divine texts, which explicitly mention the Most Great Infallibility that is their right, whether in the verses of the Most Exalted One (the Bab), or in the clarifying verses of the Abha Beauty, such as the tablet of visitation for the Prince of Martyrs (Imam Husayn), upon him be salutations and praise.

As for the meaning of “Adam disobeyed” (Q 20:121) and the verse “what is past of thy sin and what is to come” (Q 48:2), this is a station in which the good works of the righteous are the misdeeds of the near ones, and “Thine existence is a sin to which no sin compareth.” A soft breath revealeth the mirror’s surface, and imaginary dust cloudeth the eye.

The Most Exalted One (the Bab) hath said, “In mine eyes, seeking the love of Thy nearness is like idolatry in the eyes of others.” If, God forbid, it can be said that seeking divine nearness is sinful and idolatrous, then the Holy Manifestations are not the manifestation of the Most Great Infallibility. We ask forgiveness of God for such a thought! They are infallible, protected, sanctified, and safe-guarded.

Abdu’l-Baha, Muntakhabati 6: 366-7. The line “Thine existence is a sin to which no sin compareth” is often quoted by Sufis without attribution. My thanks to Iskandar Hai for his help rendering the sentence beginning “A soft breath….”

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Tablet of Tribulations

Baha’u’llah rarely compares his sufferings to those of Muhammad, preferring instead to parallel his mistreatment to that of Muhammad’s martyred grandson Husayn. But the comparison with Muhammad is apt if for no other reason than both men lived long lives as self-proclaimed prophets and died peacefully in their beds.

One of the few places Baha’u’llah makes the comparison is in the “Tablet of Tribulations,” written between 1863 and Baha’u’llah’s death in 1892. Here is my translation of the tablet (revised as of Sept. 28, 2016), along with the original Arabic and Persian text. Suggestions for improvement are very welcome.

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Fasting and God’s Throne

The All-Glorious, the Most Great

Praise be to Him Who sent down the commandment as He willed.  Verily, He ordains whatsoever He desires.  O My loved ones!  Observe that which you have been commanded in the Book.  Fasting has been decreed for you in the month of loftiness.  Fast for the sake of your Lord, the All-Powerful, the Most High, and abstain from sunrise to sundown.  Thus hath the Beloved commanded you on behalf of God, the Almighty, the Unrestrained.  None may overstep the bounds and precepts of God and none may follow their own idle fancies.

Blessed are those who observe My commandments for love for My beauty and woe to them who are ignorant of the dawning-place of the divine command in the days of their Lord, the All-Powerful, the All-Compelling.  Those who have circled ’round the throne for a number of years have fasted.  Thus hath your Ancient Lord informed you that you may perform that which you have been commanded to observe, unless you are travelling or sick.  This is My grace to My servants.

O people!  Cling to that which shall profit you in this world and the next and follow not those who wander in the wilderness of error.  Thank your Lord that you have been mentioned before the throne and that the gaze of thy Lord, the All-Powerful, Beneficent, has turned toward you.

Baha’u’llah, in La’ali’ al-hikma 1:28.  (My thanks to Omid Ghaemmaghami for the reference.)  The portion from “Praise be to Him…” to “…the days of their Lord, the All-Powerful, the All-Compelling” is translated (differently) in a compilation on obligatory prayer and fasting (xiii).

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Prayer for Pregnancy

I beseech Thee, O Lord of all being and Possessor of things visible and invisible, to bestow on me a righteous child so it may remember Thee on Thine earth and glorify Thee throughout Thy realm.  If Thou makest me by this tablet independent of every trace, fruit, and mention, my prayer at that time would be that which Thy chosen ones have uttered: “Lord, leave me not alone, for Thou art the best of Heirs.”

Baha’u’llah, quoted in Amr wa Khalq, 4:69.  The quote is from Qur’an 21:89 in which Zechariah asks God to cure his wife’s infertility.

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Allahumma

O God, Praised and Holy!  O God, Merciful and Kind!  Remove us from difficulties by Thy grace and favor.  Verily, Thou art Merciful and Kind.

The Bab, quoted in Nasa’im al-rahman, 5.  English-speaking Baha’is know this prayer from the song “Allahumma,” after the first word of the prayer, meaning “O God!”  The phrase “remove us from difficulties” is an imperative, farrij, derived from the same Arabic root and form as the “remover of difficulties,” mufarrij, mentioned in the Bab’s prayer of that name.

The transliteration of the original Arabic of “Allahumma,” with a literal translation, is as follows:

allahumma [O God] ya subbuhu [O praised one] ya quddusu [O holy] ya rahmanu [O merciful] ya mannanu [O kind one]. farrij [comfort] lana [for us] bil-fadli [by grace] wa’l-ihsani [and favor]. innaka [truly, you are] rahmanun [merciful] mannanun [kind].

The musical version Baha’is are familiar with was written by a Persian and is usually performed by a Persian singer, which accounts for a number of differences from the Arabic text.  Here’s a representative example:

Allahumma yá Subúhun yá Quddus yá Hannánu yá Mannán. Farrij Laná Bi’l-Fazli Va’l-Ihsán.  Innaka Rahmanu Mannán. (source)

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Peace Be upon Muhammad

Peace and blessings be upon the day-spring of His names, the dawning-place of His attributes, the well-spring of His knowledge, the source of His cause, and the manifestation of His laws and commandments.  By him, the law of monotheism was affirmed in the world and the secret of oneness was established among the nations.  By him, God opened the gate of hope for those in the heavens and earth.  By him, the light appeared and the secret of Sinai was divulged.   But for him who was named Muhammad in the kingdom of names, the eternal mysteries would not have been revealed and the station of the nations would not have been upraised.

***

I give peace and blessings to the first point that appeared from the Mother Book and the first utterance divulged from the will of our Lord, the Merciful.  In Malakut he was named Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, and in Jabarut he was named Ahmad.  In Lahut he possesses all the beautiful names and exalted attributes because God made him a mirror of His names and attributes, His manifestation and revelation, and His will and desire.  Verily, he still calls to monotheism and proclaims the name of God in the world of sanctity.

***

Peace and blessings be upon him at whose revelation Batha (Mecca) rejoiced and by the scents of whose shirt all humanity was perfumed.  He it is who came to protect the servants from all that harms them in the world of creation.  Exalted, exalted is his station above the conception of Your creatures and the mention of all created things.  By him the canopy of order was upraised in the world and the banner of divine knowledge unfurled among the nations.

***

Peace and blessings be upon him by whom every monotheist discovered the scent of the Merciful in the world of being and by whom the banner of the knowledge of monotheism was raised amidst the religions.  He was called by the beautiful names in the kingdom of names and by Muhammad in the world of creation.

***

Peace and blessings be upon the lord of the world and the cause of the nations’ existence, by whom God revealed the Qur’an and distinguished between truth and falsehood until the day of resurrection.

***

Praise be to God Who made His remembrance and praise the feast table of His saints, and His love and good-pleasure their paradise.  He is the Incomparable, the One.  The atoms bore witness to His grandeur and sovereignty and all created things testified to His might and power.  Verily, He manifested His names and attributes in a temple, made him a mirror of His Own Self reflecting His knowledge and power, and named him Muhammad.  But for him, the eternal mysteries would not have been revealed and the fragrances of revelation would not have been diffused among the nations.  Through him, God manifested His cause and carried out His decree.  It behooves those immersed in the depths of mystic knowledge to glorify this most great remembrance, this manifestation of the Ancient of Days, and it behooves those who wield authority among the nations to sing his praise.  Upon him be the blessings that shine forth from the horizon of the loving-kindness of our Lord, the Merciful…

Baha’u’llah, from passages compiled in Mukhtarat min al-nusus al-baha’iyya fi bayan maqam Muhammad, #2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9.

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Seals of the Prophet

  1. No god but God, the sovereign, the truth, the resplendent.  His servant Husayn-`Ali
  2. No god but God, the sovereign, the truth, the resplendent.  Husayn-`Ali
  3. Baha’u’llah
  4. My evidence is my self, my proof is my cause, and my testimony is my radiant beauty.
  5. The prison belongs to God.
  6. He is the glory of God to those in the kingdom of command and creation and the lamp of guidance to those in the heavens and the earth.
  7. I am the wronged one, the imprisoned, the stranger, the alone.
  8. To God belongs the dominion of the king of eternity.  The spirit exalts whom it wills by its glory and abases whom it wills by its decree and gives what it wills to whomever it wills.  Verily, it wills what it wills for whom it wills.  Verily, it does whatsoever it wills, and it is truly self-subsisting and supreme over all things.
  9. Verily, God testified of Himself through His self that I am living in the most glorious horizon.  Whereupon I announce to all things that verily I am God, no god is there but me, the almighty, the exalted, the mighty, the incomparable.
  10. From the horizon of the decree has dawned a sun on which the most glorious pen has inscribed:  The prison belongs to the dawning-place of the verses, who appeared through God’s authority and sovereignty over those in the heavens and the earth.
  11. My inner and outer beings call to each other, saying:  There is no king but me, the truth, the knower of things unseen.
  12. The ancient beauty has been established upon the most great throne.  Whereupon the tongue of grandeur and majesty that belongs to the lote-tree beyond which there is no passing addressed those in earth and heaven, saying:  By my grandeur and my beauty!  He who was hidden for all eternity in the treasuries of might and power has appeared!  Verily, he is the beloved who has come to revivify the worlds.
  13. Husayn and `Ali
  14. God bears witness that there is no god but Him, the powerful, the beloved.
  15. The lights of the countenance have shown forth from the dawning-place of eternity.  No god is there but Him.  Verily, He is the glorious, the most glorious.
  16. Husayn-`Ali, His hopeful servant, Husayn-`Ali
  17. Verily, I am the face of God, the most luminous.
  18. The tongue of the most glorious proclaims in the kingdom of creation: Sovereignty belongs to God, the incomparable, the single, the exalted, the most exalted.

Translation of the seals Baha’u’llah affixed to his tablets.  The text of Arabic originals are collected by Vahid Rafati in Kayfiyyat-i nuzul-i vahy, 16-7.

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