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.

Posted in Baha'u'llah, Islam | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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).

Posted in Baha'u'llah, fasting, ritual | 10 Comments

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 maketh 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.

Posted in Baha'u'llah, prayer | 25 Comments


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)

Posted in Bab, prayer | 48 Comments

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.

Posted in Baha'u'llah, Islam | 18 Comments

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.

Posted in Baha'u'llah, revelatory text | 13 Comments

Shaking of the Limbs

We were walking in the prison of Akka, detached from what hath been created in the world of being and speaking forth in praise of the King of Names.  Whereupon You commanded me to praise You with that which fulfilled the testimony of God to all others besides Him and manifested His proof to those in the heavens and the earth.  When the irresistible summons came from the Eternal King, my limbs quaked for fear of God, the Help in Peril, the Almighty, the Most Powerful, the All-Knowing.  I began to weep in such wise that all created things wailed and the daysprings of names cried out–this on account of the people I saw opposing him through whom the scriptures and tablets were adorned.

Baha’u’llah, April 1874, to Shams al-`Ulama in Nishapur


O Lord!  At the time of revelation, you see my pen moving and my limbs trembling.

Baha’u’llah in a prayer for `Abdu’l-Baha

Both passages are quoted by Vahid Rafati in Kayfiyyat nuzul vahy, 14.

Posted in Baha'u'llah, prophetic consciousness | 15 Comments

Life on Other Planets

Endless are the planets for each fixed star, and each of these planets is but one of the worlds of the Creator.  Who is able to number the hosts of your Lord on those planets or enumerate the crafts of His servants on them?

Baha’u’llah, quoted in Amr va Khalq, 1:137.

As for your question about moons in which you ask if the moons that circle around fixed suns through the power of attraction are creations like terrestrial creations, know that in the explicit text of the Qur’an God set forth a clear, sufficient statement that will delight the ears that hear it.  He said: “…the creation of the heavens and the earth and the creatures that He scattered among them” (Q 42:29).  He explicitly states that there are beings in them that move according to the divine Will.  As for the specific character of those beings–whether they are like terrestrial beings, or airy, fiery beings, or fiery beings–their natures differ and the balance of their elements diverge.  The composition of those beings differs according to their essences.

`Abdu’l-Baha, quoted in Amr va Khalq, 1:146

Posted in alien life, Baha'u'llah, `Abdu'l-Baha | 14 Comments

Proofreading the Revelation, Pt. 2

Your letter reached the Most Great Being, and the servant in attendance, on behalf of the Countenance, responds to what you have asked about the divine verses:

O Zayn!   The short answer to what you asked about the verses is that changes have been preserved because in the early days, the grammatical rules of the people were never observed at the time of the revelation.  Today, these rules are observed on account of wisdom.  Therefore, if a tablet was recited before the Countenance previously, and he reveals in some places something different than what he revealed previously, this has to do with outer expression.  In reality, both things that were revealed have been and will be correct.

In the Land of the Mystery, he had intended to reveal grammatical rules that are in the divine knowledge so that everyone would understand.  He delayed on account of onrushing sorrows, continuous concerns, and successive tribulations.


On the occasions when most of the tablets were revealed, it was impossible to review them, and that which flowed from the pen of the servant attending the Countenance was dispersed near and far.  Therefore, it is possible that in some cases there were omissions or additions and a little disappeared since no one is able to completely edit what is revealed at the time of revelation.  Asking about these instances has been and will be beloved, although in the eyes of the Prisoner a new revelation is more beloved than referring to what was revealed previously.  Referring to him (for a new revelation) has priority and is easiest, and he is the causer of causes.

Khadim Allah (Mirza Aqa Jan), on behalf of Baha’u’llah, to Zayn al-Muqarrabin.  Amr va Khalq, 2:105-7.

Posted in Baha'u'llah, grammar, revelatory text | 43 Comments

Proofreading the Revelation

As for the scribes and the differences between the manuscripts they prepared, this is what has shown forth from the horizon of elucidation in answer (to your question):

O Zayn!  The verses of God were revealed in such manner that no one was able verify them at the time of their revelation and those that were revealed in Iraq and Adrianople were never reviewed.  The servant attending the throne [Khadim Allah] is often able to look them over, according to his capacity.  Nevertheless, he has been absentminded in some places, and what the scribes copy is frequently contradictory.  The people’s condition is such that they do not know if those things that contradict (their grammatical rules) were revealed by the holy court or were a result of the inattention of the scribes.

It is known that what is revealed by the Truth is the truth, in which there is no doubt.  However, since Jinab-i Nazir, upon him be the glory of God, wanted to publish some of (our) books, we commanded the Greater Branch [Muhammad `Ali] and the servant in attendance [Khadim Allah] to compare them and to report those things that contradicted (the grammatical rules of) the people since most humans have not and do not understand and are unaware of the process of revelation.  On account of this review, souls did not perish, although “oppressors only increase in loss.”

The Surih-yi Haykal was revealed in the Land of Mystery and later renewed in that land.  This is what has been recorded before.  Verily, He is the Renewer, the Knower, the Informed.

Khadim Allah (Mirza Aqa Jan), on behalf of Baha’u’llah, in response to Zayn al-Muqarribin, Baha’u’llah’s most trusted scribe.  Asrar al-athar, 4:92-3.  “Jinab-i Nazir” is Hajji Mirza Abu al-Qasim Nazir, mentioned in Balyuzi’s King of Glory (396-8) and in Ali Kuli Khan’s pilgrim’s notes; the latter says Nazir worked with Muhammad `Ali against `Abdu’l-Baha (see the section on “Muhammad Ali in India”).

Posted in Baha'u'llah, grammar, revelatory text | 72 Comments