The Promised One of the Bayán:
* See The Dawn-Breakers.
against the Bábís. Hájí Asadu'lláh, the father of Khátún Ján, was dragged from his sick-bed and at an advanced age was made to walk in chains, for a distance of no less than one hundred and seventy kilometres, in company with his fellow prisoners to a Tihrán prison. Concerning their fate Nabíl writes:
No sooner were the captives delivered into the hands of the mischief-makers than they set about gratifying their feelings of implacable hatred towards them. On the first night after they had been handed over to their enemies, Hájí Asadu'lláh, the brother of Hájí Alláh-Vardí and paternal uncle of Muhammad-Hádí and Muhammad-Javád-i-Farhádí, a noted merchant of Qazvín who had acquired a reputation for piety and uprightness which stood as high as that of his illustrious brother, was mercilessly put to death. Knowing full well that in his own native town they would be unable to inflict upon him the punishment they desired, they determined to take his life whilst in Tihrán in a manner that would protect them from the suspicion of murder. At the hour of midnight, they perpetrated the shameful act, and the next morning announced that illness had been the cause of his death. His friends and acquaintances, mostly natives of Qazvín, none of whom had been able to detect the crime that had extinguished such a noble life, accorded him a burial that befitted his station.1The tragic martyrdom of Hájí Asadu'lláh and others was the signal for further persecutions in Qazvín. The house of the Farhádís was plundered and all their belongings confiscated. Muhammad-Hádíy-i-Farhádí, a nephew of Hájí Asadu'lláh and the husband of Khátún Ján, had to leave the city for his own safety and went to Tihrán.
In the meantime Táhirih, by the order of an implacable enemy, was confined to the house of her father and constantly watched by certain women whose task it was to ensure that she did not leave her room except for performing her daily ablutions. As the situation became worse, the enemy planned to end the life of Táhirih. Concerning this Nabíl writes:
1. Nabíl-i-A'zam, The Dawn-Breakers, p. 201 (Brit.), p. 281 (U.S.).
The failure of the Sháh and of his government to inflict immediate punishment upon the malefactors encouraged them to seek further means for the gratification of their relentless hatred towards their opponents. They now directed their attention to Táhirih herself, and resolved that she should suffer at their hands the same fate that had befallen her companions. While still in confinement, Táhirih, as soon as she was informed of the designs of her enemies, addressed the following message to Mullá Muhammad, who had succeeded to the position of his father and was now recognized as the Imám-Jum'ih of Qazvín: ' "Fain would they put out God's light with their mouths: but God only desireth to perfect His light, albeit the infidels abhor it" [Qur'án 9:33]. If my Cause be the Cause of Truth, if the Lord whom I worship be none other than the one true God, He will, ere nine days have elapsed, deliver me from the yoke of your tyranny. Should He fail to achieve my deliverance, you are free to act as you desire. You will have irrevocably established the falsity of my belief.' Mullá Muhammad, recognizing his inability to accept so bold a challenge, chose to ignore entirely her message, and sought by every cunning device to accomplish his purpose.2Mullá Muhammad, mentioned by Nabíl, was the chief enemy of the Bábís in Qazvín. It is interesting to note that he was the cousin and husband of Táhirih. But soon after Táhirih became a follower of Siyyid Kázim, a rift came between them. Táhirih left her husband and lived with her father. When she became a follower of the Báb, this rift became much greater. When she returned to Qazvín after having championed the Cause of the Báb, Mullá Muhammad invited her to come and stay in his house. She sent this message to him:
Say to my presumptuous and arrogant kinsman, 'If your desire had really been to be a faithful mate and companion to me, you would have hastened to meet me in Karbilá and would on foot have guided my howdah all the way to Qazvín. I would, while journeying with you, have aroused
2. Nabíl-i-A'zam, The Dawn-Breakers, p. 203 (Brit.), pp. 283-4 (U.S.).
you from your sleep of heedlessness and would have shown you the way of truth. But this was not to be. Three years have elapsed since our separation. Neither in this world nor in the next can I ever be associated with you. I have cast you out of my life for ever.' 3During the time that Táhirih was confined in her home, the only person who managed to keep in touch with her was Khátún Ján. She went to her house almost every day, sometimes disguised as a beggar and sometimes as a washer-woman who would do her washing in the public waterway nearby. By this regular contact she performed an important function in bringing news to and from Táhirih. She also managed to smuggle in food during the time that the enemies were bent upon taking the life of Táhirih, and there was every possibility that they might attempt to poison her food. And finally she played a significant role, together with her husband Muhammad-Hádí, in rescuing her beloved lady from imprisonment.
Almost coinciding with the fore-mentioned challenge which Táhirih delivered to Mullá Muhammad concerning her release, Bahá'u'lláh in Tihrán summoned to His presence Muhammad-Hádíy-i-Farhádí, who had fled from Qazvín, and directed him to return there immediately and carry out the rescue operation which He had planned.* This is how Nabíl describes this episode:
Muhammad-Hádí was charged to deliver a sealed letter to his wife, Khátún Ján, and instruct her to proceed, in the guise of a beggar, to the house where Táhirih was confined; to deliver the letter into her hands; to wait awhile at the entrance of her house until she should join her, and then to hasten with her and commit her to his care. 'As soon as Táhirih has joined you,' Bahá'u'lláh urged the emissary,
* Áqá Muhammad-Hádí served Táhirih in many other ways. For instance, he was among those who accompanied her to Badasht and there acted as a guard at the gate of the garden which was assigned to her by Bahá'u'lláh. For details of the conference of Badasht, see The Dawn-Breakers.
3. Nabíl-i-A'zam, The Dawn-Breakers, p. 195 (Brit.), pp. 273-5 (U.S.).
'start immediately for Tihrán. This very night, I shall despatch to the neighbourhood of the gate of Qazvín an attendant, with three horses, that you will take with you and station at a place that you will appoint outside the walls of Qazvín. You will conduct Táhirih to that spot, will mount the horses, and will, by an unfrequented route, endeavour to reach at daybreak the outskirts of the capital. As soon as the gates are opened, you must enter the city and proceed immediately to My house. You should exercise the utmost caution lest her identity be disclosed. The Almighty will assuredly guide your steps and will surround you with His unfailing protection.' 4The manner in which Muhammad-Hádí carried out the rescue operation with the help of Khátún Ján is described in detail by Shaykh Kázim-i-Samandar:*
Táhirih was confined in the house of her father. Mullá Muhammad, her cousin and husband, was trying to poison her but had no access. None of the friends, with the exception of the eldest daughter of the late Hájí Asadu'lláh [Khátún Ján] who was truly devoted to her, was able to communicate with her. Khátún Ján contrived several plans and disguised herself in various forms. Posing as a washer-woman carrying her washing or appearing as a beggar, she managed to contact Táhirih and take food to her. This was important since Táhirih was taking precautions about the food which was given to her in the house, and consequently she was living under difficult circumstances.
* One of the Apostles of Bahá'u'lláh. More details of his life will be given in vol. III.
† Áqá Muhammad-Hádíy-i-Farhádí, the husband of Khátún Ján. (A.T.)
4. Nabíl-i-A'zam, The Dawn-Breakers, pp. 203-4 (Brit.), p. 284 (U.S.).
letter to her. After reading the letter Táhirih indicated that she would shortly come out of the house. She joined them about one hour later. Áqá Hádí and his wife immediately took Táhirih to the house of their neighbour, a certain Áqá Hasan-i-Najjár [carpenter] who was a friend, a reliable confidant and one whom nobody suspected of harbouring her.
* He was not a Bábí, but a faithful friend of Áqá Hádí and his confidant. He was a tradesman in the bazaar who understood the secret nature of the mission, and accepted to carry it out in spite of the dangers it entailed. (A.T.)
† On the outskirts of Tihrán. (A.T.)
One of Bahá'u'lláh's residences in Adrianople.
said to Táhirih: 'I don't dare to get into this bed while dressed in this way.' But she persuaded him to sleep and assured him that God would soon provide him with a bed as luxurious as that.
* This was possibly the village of Qúch-Hisár owned by Bahá'u'lláh. (A.T.)
† In those days, money was only in the form of coins and there were no banking facilities. People used to carry the coins in bags. Wealthy people often had to carry their bags of money on horses. On all His journeys for the promotion of the Cause of God in Persia, Bahá'u'lláh was accompanied by the friends and servants and it was He who provided all the finance and entertained His guests. (A.T.)
Áqá Hádí in front of Táhirih. At this time Bahá'u'lláh arrived, and Táhirih finished writing. Bahá'u'lláh asked for the bag of money. He opened it and called Áqá Qulí to come forward. He then told him to hold out the hem of his garment, as He was about to pour some coins into it. As an act of courtesy and politeness Áqá Qulí hesitated to comply with Bahá'u'lláh's orders. Thereupon, his friend Áqá Hádí persuaded him to obey Bahá'u'lláh's instructions. So Áqá Qulí held out the hem of his garment and Bahá'u'lláh pushed His own hand nine times into the bag and emptied each handful onto his out-stretched cloak. As Bahá'u'lláh was pouring the coins out, Áqá Qulí for one brief moment wished in his heart that the coins were gold! Bahá'u'lláh instantly responded by saying: 'We give you enough to take you to Qazvín, the money for your wedding feast will reach you later. In any case it is your own fault, you put the gold in the bottom!' 5Áqá Qulí went home and delivered the letters of Táhirih. If he had arrived any later there would have been great trouble, as his kinsmen had already become suspicous and were making enquiries about him from Khátún Ján. The faithfulness with which Áqá Qulí served Táhirih pleased Bahá'u'lláh and, as He had promised him, soon after God bestowed upon him wealth and position. He became one of the influential men in Qazvín. Later, he went to live in Tihrán and till the end of his life he remained a friend of the Faith.
Khátún Ján, who had performed such heroic deeds during the life of Táhirih, was plunged into grief and consternation when her beloved heroine was martyred. Some time after this she also lost her husband, Muhammad-Hádí. But these calamaties did not quench the fire of faith which was burning within her breast. She continued to serve the Cause of God with fervour and enthusiasm. The seed of the love of Bahá'u'lláh had been sown in the heart of Khátún Ján by the hand of Táhirih, who had recognized His station from the early days. Consequently Khátún Ján turned to Bahá'u'lláh with stainless
5. Shaykh Kázim-i-Samandar, Táríkh-i-Samandar, pp. 362-6.
faith and devotion throughout her life. Her sisters and some other members of the family also remained steadfast in His Cause. From the days of Baghdád, Khátún Ján used to receive Tablets from Bahá'u'lláh. This great bounty continued and when in Adrianople, at a time of greatest crisis, when He was so viciously attacked by the unfaithful, Bahá'u'lláh revealed the Lawh-i-Bahá in her honour, and poured out His heart to her.
In this Tablet He condemns the actions of the people of the Bayán, those who had arisen to take His life and inflicted upon Him so much suffering. He grieves that they had broken the Covenant of God, likens them to the followers of Islám who persecuted the Báb, stigmatizes them as the hosts of Satan, admonishes them for having ignored the commandments of God, and rebukes them for having caused the eyes of God to weep. He refers to Himself as Abraham in the hands of Nimrod, Christ in the midst of the Jews and Joseph betrayed by his brethren and thrown into a well.
It is in this Tablet that Bahá'u'lláh refers to His followers as the 'people of Bahá'. He calls on them to enter the 'Ark of God' which sails upon the 'Crimson Sea', an Ark which is exclusively intended for them. This is a reference to the words of the Báb revealed in the Qayyúmu'l-Asmá' in which He refers to the 'people of Bahá' as the 'companions of the Crimson-coloured Ark'. In the Writings, the 'Ark' is usually a designation for the Cause of God and the Covenant. The term 'people of Bahá' signifying the followers of Bahá'u'lláh as distinct from the 'people of the Bayán', the followers of the Báb, was first used in Adrianople when the 'Most Great Separation' took place. Those faithful to the Covenant of the Báb clearly identified themselves as Bahá'ís and those who broke His Covenant and followed Mírzá Yahyá were referred to as Bábís and sometimes Azalís. Consequent upon this, the greeting 'Alláh-u-Akbar' (God is the Most Great) which was used by the Bábís as a salutation among themselves was changed into 'Alláh-u-Abhá' (God is the Most Glorious). Bahá'u'lláh affirms that every word revealed in the Lawh-i-
[Most Great Separation], vol. 2 p. 165
[CLUI: Bahá'u'lláh as Joseph]
Bahá may be regarded by all mankind as ample testimony to the truth of His Cause. He further states that from the horizon of the Words revealed in that Tablet, innumerable suns of effulgent glory have appeared, suns which illumine the worlds of God and whose numbers are inscrutable to all except God. He exhorts the people of Bahá to turn the mirror of their hearts to their rays and become illumined by them.
Khátún Ján, for whom the Lawh-i-Bahá was revealed, longed to attain the presence of her Lord. At last her prayers were answered. Accompanied by her daughter and son-in-law, Hájí Hasan-i-Zargar, she travelled to 'Akká and for some time basked in the sunshine of His love and protection.
The home of Hájí Asadu'lláh, the father of Khátún Ján, is one of the historic sites in Qazvín. Before the appearance of the Báb it was the focal point of Shaykhí activity in that city. No less a person than Shaykh Ahmad-i-Ahsá'í * had stayed in that house. Later, it became the centre of Bábí and Bahá'í gatherings. Within its walls many eminent heroes of the Faith such as Táhirih, Quddús, Vahíd and several others had been entertained. In one of its basement rooms, Áqá Muhammad-Hádí had made swords for the defenders of the fortress of Shaykh Tabarsí,† swords which are rumoured to have been tested by Quddús and Vahíd when they passed through that town. Khátún Ján and her two sisters, who had inherited this house, donated it to the Cause. In a letter to Bahá'u'lláh they expressed the desire that it might be used as a Mashriq'ul-Adhkár.‡ Bahá'u'lláh accepted their gift and approved of their intention.
† The scene of many battles between three hundred and thirteen Bábís, the heroic defenders of the fortress, and the forces of the army--battles which were forced upon the Bábís and resulted in the defeat of a powerful army. Later most of its defenders were martyred. For more information, see The Dawn-Breakers.
‡ Literally 'the dawning-place of the mention of God', a Bahá'í House of Worship.
Among the Writings which appear to have been revealed by Bahá'u'lláh in the house of Ridá Big during His two-months' withdrawal was the Lawh-i-Rúh (Tablet of the Spirit) in Arabic. Like many of His Tablets in this period, it has two major themes: one, the proclamation of His mission and the unveiling of His exalted station; the other, the opposition, the treachery and the wickedness of those Bábís who inclined towards Mírzá Yahyá and to whom Bahá'u'lláh has often referred as 'those who have joined partners with God'.
Denouncing the odious deeds perpetrated by these people, Bahá'u'lláh describes in tender language the anguish of His heart in that lonely house. He rebukes them for having inflicted upon God Himself such afflictions that He had to hide the glory of His countenance after it had been unveiled to men. Their evil actions had dishonoured His name among the people; He recalls, too, the humiliating incident when once He had to answer the door personally to the Governor of the City as there was no one available to serve Him; on that day the whole of creation wept at this abasement, while the hearts of those nigh unto God melted at this degradation.*
In the Lawh-i-Rúh, Bahá'u'lláh dwells further on the wickedness of Mírzá Yahyá and those who had gathered around him. Addressing a faithful believer named 'Alí, He refers to their plot to take His life in spite of the fact that His unceasing help and protection for over a decade had spread their fame widely. When they discovered their impotence to carry out their sinister designs, they pleaded innocence and began to spread
* We can appreciate this statement if we reflect on the humiliation to the institution of kingship, if a king had to usher in his visitors in person. Apart from the fact that Bahá'u'lláh was the Supreme Manifestation of God, and His loved ones and disciples were always ready to wait on Him with the utmost devotion, the customs of the time demanded that a man of eminence should have several servants in his household. It was inconceivable that a person of high position would ever take part in the actual running of his house.
[Lawh-i-Rúh] God Passes By, p. 171
false accusations against Him by attributing their own crimes to His person. Characterizing them as bond-slaves of the Kingdom of Names who pride themselves on their own positions, He prophesies that God will soon reduce them to utter nothingness until no trace will be left of them.
These words of Bahá'u'lláh have already been fulfilled. Whereas in the early days of the Faith, there were many who were misled by Mírzá Yahyá and raised the standard of rebellion against the Cause of God, in this day they have been reduced to insignificance.
In this Tablet Bahá'u'lláh foretells the triumph of His Cause when, ere long, God will raise up a new creation under its shadow. In another passage, He asserts that God will send down His hosts armed with power and might to assist the Manifestation of His own Self, and will cause the realities of the Prophets and Messengers to arise and serve His Cause.
Similar statements are found in other Tablets. In one of His Writings,6 speaking of the greatness of His Revelation and the tests which accompany it, Bahá'u'lláh affirms that the realities of the Prophets and Manifestations of God were tested in this day. As we survey the history of the Cause, we come across certain truths which may stagger the imagination. The Báb, whose Revelation was described by Bahá'u'lláh as 'Mine Own Revelation', stated that the Letters of the Living* had the station of the Holy Imáms in the Islámic Dispensation.7 In one of His Tablets8 the Báb, enumerating the powers, the attributes and the exalted station of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest',† states that in the day of His Manifestation anyone whom He might appoint as a Prophet of God would be regarded as a Prophet from the beginning that has no beginning till the end that has no end. He further states that the will of God would never be realized except through the will of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest'.
These statements may well stagger the imagination. How
* The first eighteen disciples of the Báb.
6. Quoted by Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice, p. 67.
7. The Báb, quoted by Bahá'u'lláh in Má'idiy-i-Ásamání, vol. VII, p. 213.
8. The Báb, Natíjatu'l-Bayán, p. 12.
ever, if we reflect upon the Cause of God we realize that Bahá'u'lláh has ushered in the Day of God, a Day that all the Prophets and Messengers of the past were longing to attain. His Revelation is the Revelation of God Himself, the Heavenly Father spoken of by Christ. Let us for a moment examine the station of Bahá'u'lláh in the light of the New Testament. Christ was manifested in the station of the Son. This does not mean that God, the Inaccessible, the All-Glorious, had a physical son. Such a literal interpretation would reduce God from the realm of the Infinite to that of the finite. In His essence He is exalted above all things, even His own attributes. Therefore, when Christ spoke about His station as the Son of God, He was establishing a relationship. He introduced Himself as the Son, and God as the Heavenly Father. A son who appears in public on behalf of his father must possess two major signs. He must have the authority of the father and manifest similar characteristics which he has inherited from him. In order to demonstrate the source of His authority, Christ chose to describe Himself as the Son of God and portrayed God as the Father. The terms 'Son' and 'Father' are both figurative in the New Testament.
Christ also made it clear that it was the Father who sent Him.
For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.9He also made it clear that He would return in the 'glory of the Father'.
For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels...10From those and many similar statements we can deduce that the same Heavenly Father who sent Christ will Himself be revealed.
9. John, xii. 49.
10. Matthew, xvi. 27.
Bahá'u'lláh, in many Tablets, has clearly proclaimed His station as that of the Father. Addressing the religious leaders of Christendom, He declares
O concourse of bishops!...He Who is the Everlasting Father calleth aloud between earth and heaven. Blessed the ear that hath heard, and the eye that hath seen, and the heart that hath turned unto Him Who is the Point of Adoration of all who are in the heavens and all who are on earth...11And in another Tablet He announces this joyful tiding:
He, verily, is come with His Kingdom, and all the atoms cry aloud: 'Lo! The Lord is come in His great majesty!' He Who is the Father is come, and the Son (Jesus), in the holy vale, crieth out: 'Here am I, here am I, O Lord, My God!' whilst Sinai circleth round the House, and the Burning Bush calleth aloud: 'The All-Bounteous is come mounted upon the clouds!' 12As we have already observed, the Reality of God is indivisible. In the world of creation, His Essence is manifested through His attributes. But in his own domain His Essence and attributes are one and the same. To describe Him by any attribute is tantamount to bringing Him down into the realm of limitations. These are the words of Bahá'u'lláh as He extols the Almighty in His inaccessible heights of glory.
Too high art Thou for the praise of those who are nigh unto Thee to ascend unto the heaven of Thy nearness, or for the birds of the hearts of them who are devoted to Thee to attain to the door of Thy gate. I testify that Thou hast been sanctified above all attributes and holy above all names. No God is there but Thee, the Most Exalted, the All-Glorious.13We know that God is the Source of all things and their Creator, but we can never know how He brings this about in the realm of His Essence. Even the Manifestations of God have
11. Bahá'u'lláh, quoted in The Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 93.
12. ibid., p. 27.
13. Bahá'u'lláh, Prayers and Meditations, clxxxiii.
no knowledge of this, for they have no access to His Reality. However, in this world there is a pattern for creation in so far as all things come into being through some means. For example, man comes to this world through the instrumentality of parents, although the power which causes his birth, and which proceeds from the realms of God, remains unknowable. If we presume that this power emanates from the Essence of God itself, then such an assertion, as already observed, is tantamount to limiting Him. Yet we know that all things must be generated from God Himself. This is the point where we realize that our minds can never fathom these realities. The way is completely barred for the finite to seek direct knowledge of the Infinite.
From the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh it appears that all the powers and attributes which God bestows upon creation emanate from the 'Kingdom of His Revelation'. Through the instrumentality of this kingdom, life, both physical and spiritual, is conferred upon all created things. It is from this kingdom that all the Revelations of God have originated and His Manifestations been sent down. Bahá'u'lláh explains in a Tablet14 that although outwardly the Manifestation of God has many limitations, inwardly He dwells in the world of the Absolute, free from all limitations. This world of the Absolute, however, is different from the realm of God himself and, in relation to it, has its limitations.
The Lord of the 'Kingdom of Revelation' is Bahá'u'lláh, the Supreme Manifestation of God whose advent in the station of the Father has been promised in the Heavenly Books. This statement should not be misconstrued so as to contradict the basic principle of the oneness of the Manifestations of God. We have already referred to this theme in the former volume.* The Manifestations of God are the same in essence, but differ in the intensity of their Revelations. This is similar to an individual who retains the same identity, although he grows and develops his powers and capacities progressively.
* See vol. 1, pp. 64-7.
14. Bahá'u'lláh, Má'idiy-i-Ásamání, vol. VII, pp. 142-3.
In the Lawh-i-Rúh Bahá'u'lláh states that nothing can be found on earth or in heaven that will enrich mankind except to come under the shadow of His Cause. He further testifies that in this day, the value of one's faith in God depends on recognition of Bahá'u'lláh and enlightenment through His Revelation. To illustrate this, He uses the analogy of an unlit lantern, which does not serve its purpose and is of little value though it be made of the most exquisite crystal. If we reflect upon these words we may conclude that man's salvation in any age depends on his acceptance of the guidance given by God for that time in history.
Bahá'u'lláh has made similar statements in other Tablets. For example the opening paragraph of Bahá'u'lláh's most Holy Book declares in unequivocal language that the first duty of man to God is to recognize His Manifestation.
The first duty prescribed by God for His servants is the recognition of Him Who is the Dayspring of His Revelation and the Fountain of His laws, Who representeth the Godhead in both the Kingdom of His Cause and the world of creation. Whoso achieveth this duty hath attained unto all good; and whoso is deprived thereof, hath gone astray, though he be the author of every righteous deed. It behoveth every one who reacheth this most sublime station, this summit of transcendent glory, to observe every ordinance of Him Who is the Desire of the world. These twin duties are inseparable. Neither is acceptable without the other. Thus hath it been decreed by Him Who is the Source of Divine inspiration.15In one of the most beautiful passages of the Lawh-i-Rúh the voice of the Spirit from the Kingdom on high proclaims the exalted station of Bahá'u'lláh, and in moving language announces Him as the 'Beauty of the Adored One', the 'Trust of God' among the people, 'Soul of God Himself' manifested to His servants, 'God's Treasure' for all who are in heaven and on earth, the 'Word of God' for mankind, 'The Light of God'
15. Bahá'u'lláh, quoted in Synopsis and Codification of the Laws and Ordinances of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 11.
["The first duty..."] The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, ¶1, Gleanings From The Writings Of Bahá'u'lláh CLV, The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 3 p. 292
in the Kingdom of His Revelation, 'He Who enshrines within Himself such mysteries one word of which if revealed would rend the heavens asunder'. Designations such as these and many more are attributed to Bahá'u'lláh from the unseen realms of Glory. The voice of the Spirit continues to extol His station to such an extent that He tries to prevent it from revealing any further, but finds it to be endowed with the power of God and impossible to silence.
In the Lawh-i-Rúh is another fascinating scene in which the Pen of Bahá'u'lláh figuratively plays a major part. In this dialogue the Pen begins to lament while held between the fingers of Bahá'u'lláh and entreats His Lord to be allowed to disclose unto all created things one Word from the hidden mysteries of God so that the dwellers of the Kingdom might learn that of which no one has ever been informed. It appeals to the fingers of Bahá'u'lláh not to restrain it from vivifying the whole of creation with the living waters which from time immemorial have flowed within its inner being. It longs to be permitted to rend asunder the veils from the face of His Cause so that the ignorant may witness its glory. Seeing that Bahá'u'lláh is without a helper and afflicted with suffering, it seeks permission to lend Him assistance by using the power which the Almighty has bestowed upon it, a power which is generated by its mere movement and which is capable of subduing the whole of creation. It expresses amazement at Bahá'u'lláh's patience and forbearance in spite of His omnipotence and might, knowing that if He wished, He could, through the utterance of one Word, enable all mankind to arise for the service of His Cause. The Pen continues to plead in this vein with much earnestness and devotion, until the Tongue of Grandeur* exhorts it to restrain itself, not to divulge the mysteries of God's Revelation and to exercise patience under all circumstances.
In the Lawh-i-Rúh, Bahá'u'lláh counsels His loved ones to be united through the love of God, and to be as one soul in
many bodies. He assures them that this act alone will defeat their enemies. He emphatically censures sedition, discord and division among the believers and warns that should they transgress they will harm the Cause of God.
A Tablet which confirms this statement is the Lawh-i-Laylatu'l-Quds* which was revealed in Adrianople in honour of Darvísh Sidq-'Alí and has as its theme the unity between the believers. Bahá'u'lláh in this Tablet exhorts His followers to be united in such wise that all traces of division and estrangement may vanish from among them. The following passages translated by Shoghi Effendi and included in Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh are extracted from the Lawh-i-Laylatu'l-Quds:
The Most Great Name beareth Me witness! How sad if any man were, in this Day, to rest his heart on the transitory things of this world! Arise, and cling firmly to the Cause of God. Be most loving one to another. Burn away, wholly for the sake of the Well-Beloved, the veil of self with the flame of the undying Fire, and with faces, joyous and beaming with light, associate with your neighbour. Ye have well observed, in all its aspects, the behaviour of Him Who is the Word of Truth amidst you. Ye know full well how hard it is for this Youth to allow, though it be for one night, the heart of any one of the beloved of God to be saddened by Him.
* When incarcerated in the barracks of 'Akká, one evening Bahá'u'lláh revealed a certain Tablet and referred to that evening as 'Laylatu'l-Quds' (Holy Night). But the Lawh-i-Laylatu'l-Quds revealed in Adrianople is not to be confused with that later Tablet.
worthy character. Let your principal concern be to rescue the fallen from the slough of impending extinction, and to help him embrace the ancient Faith of God. Your behaviour towards your neighbour should be such as to manifest clearly the signs of the one true God, for ye are the first among men to be re-created by His Spirit, the first to adore and bow the knee before Him, the first to circle round His throne of glory. I swear by Him Who hath caused Me to reveal whatever hath pleased Him! Ye are better known to the inmates of the Kingdom on high than ye are known to your own selves. Think ye these words to be vain and empty? Would that ye had the power to perceive the things your Lord, the All-Merciful, doth see--things that attest the excellence of your rank, that bear witness to the greatness of your worth, that proclaim the sublimity of your station! God grant that your desires and unmortified passions may not hinder you from that which hath been ordained for you.16The thought of disunity had been so distressing to Bahá'u'lláh that in this Tablet He pours out His heart, saying that He would rather be afflicted with fresh calamities every day than see despondency and ill-feeling among the believers.
One of the outstanding counsels of Bahá'u'lláh in this Tablet concerns the manner in which two individuals should act towards each other. The spiritual principle upon which Bahá'u'lláh's advice is based constitutes one of the fundamental verities governing the creation of man. He states that nothing in this world can harm a man of insight. His integrity and exalted station will never be affected by whatever may befall him in this life. For when such a man shows love and humility towards another man for the sake of God, it is as if he has loved God and humbled himself before Him. This will cause the bounties and blessings of God to descend upon him and he will be rewarded for his deeds. If the other individual, however, reacts in the opposite way and treats his fellow man with contempt and pride, such an action will never affect the man whom he has despised, but will be regarded as showing
16. Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, section cxlvii.
hatred and arrogance towards God, and for this he will receive his punishment.
In one of His Tablets17 Bahá'u'lláh states that in this Dispensation God has condemned those who create sedition and show malice towards people. Should a person be inclined to harm another, it is as if he has arisen against God to harm Him.
This teaching of Bahá'u'lláh throws a new light upon, and opens up an exciting approach to, human relationships. It confers upon the individual a great insight into the world of realities, enabling him to rid himself effectively of hatred, prejudice and many other vices often displayed by human beings in their association with one another. For example, a soul becomes offended when he is wrongly criticized and his actions denounced. In the normal course of events this can often lead to coolness, alienation, bitterness and even hatred between people. Unwarranted criticism and false accusations can place so much pressure upon the individual as to bring him to the point of utter destruction and complete breakdown. But when a person believes in the words of Bahá'u'lláh and sincerely follows this exalted teaching, his attitude towards his fellow man will completely change and he will become immune to this danger. For he knows that falsehood, enmity and malice can never affect him as long as he puts his trust in God, while the misdeeds of the offenders are directed towards God Who will punish them for their actions.
When a person reaches this stage of maturity and discernment, he will neither be discouraged by undue criticism, nor pleased with praise and glorification. It is always the ego which feels offended in the former case and gratified in the latter. The above-mentioned teaching of Bahá'u'lláh helps the individual to subdue his ego. The mere consciousness of the fact that one is acting against God in condemning and attacking his fellow man, is sufficient to deter him in the pursuit of such reprehensible behaviour. It also enables him to realize that as long as he turns to God, the forces of evil will never be able to harm him in any way.
17. Bahá'u'lláh, Má'idiy-i-Ásamání, vol. IV, p. 352.
The devout Mírzá 'Azízu'lláh-i-Misbáh, a man of great erudition to whom reference has been made in previous chapters, has written these thought-provoking words:
Should they attribute blindness to a person who has seeing eyes, no harm can befall his sight, and should they acclaim the totally blind to be possessed of keen sight, such a compliment would be of no value to him. For, in reality, what is regarded as praiseworthy or condemnatory is the actual possession of sight or lack of it respectively, and not the affirmative or negative comments of people. From this it follows that the only sign of keen sight is when a person pays heed to neither the praise nor the condemnation of others.18'Abdu'l-Bahá states19 that if someone in the presence of Bahá'u'lláh mentioned that there was a slight disunity among the believers in any place, the Blessed Beauty would become so overwhelmed with grief that His face would display the signs of intense pain and displeasure. Many times Bahá'u'lláh affirmed to those who attained His presence, that if He knew that the Cause of God was becoming a source of division between two individuals, He would dispense with it.
The establishment of unity among the believers is the cornerstone of the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh. Without it the Faith and its institutions cannot function, neither can the individual or society make any progress spiritually or materially. Unity between the believers and, in the fullness of time, the unity of mankind, cannot be achieved by expedient measures, by man-made plans, or even by goodwill and understanding on the part of all humanity. By those and similar methods man may establish political unity, but not the unity envisaged by Bahá'u'lláh--a unity which surpasses all human limitations, which binds the hearts and souls of men in a spirit of true brotherhood and which derives its cohesive force from Bahá'u'lláh Himself.
Man is capable of achieving great feats in all fields of human
18. Mírzá 'Azízu'lláh-i-Misbáh, Díván-i-Misbáh, p. 366.
19. 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Má'idiy-i-Ásamání, vol. IX, p. 128.
activity. He can break the laws of nature, travel faster than sound and into space, can create, control and utilize sources of enormous energy. Nor is there any limit to what he can achieve in the future. But he has no power of his own to influence the hearts of men and enable two antagonistic individuals to love one another. If, by himself, he expends all the material resources at his disposal to unite two souls spiritually, he will fail. The uniting of the hearts of men is the function of the Manifestations of God. To this Bahá'u'lláh testifies in one of His Tablets:
Out of the whole world He hath chosen for Himself the hearts of men--hearts which the hosts of revelation and of utterance can subdue. Thus hath it been ordained by the Fingers of Bahá, upon the Tablet of God's irrevocable decree, by the behest of Him Who is the Supreme Ordainer, the All-Knowing.20In another Tablet He states:
Unlock, O people, the gates of the hearts of men with the keys of the remembrance of Him Who is the Remembrance of God and the Source of wisdom amongst you. He hath chosen out of the whole world the hearts of His servants, and made them each a seat for the revelation of His glory. Wherefore, sanctify them from every defilement, that the things for which they were created may be engraven upon them. This indeed is a token of God's bountiful favour.21When Manifestations of God appear, the hearts of Their followers, through the influence of the Word, become united in a bond of oneness. Though previously these souls were enemies, they become as lovers. They are transformed into a new creation and are given the power to influence others and change their hearts. This is the story of all religions. Moses, Christ and Muhammad did this in Their days. Today, only the words of Bahá'u'lláh can change the hearts of men. The followers of Bahá'u'lláh, armed with the power of the creative
20. Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, section cxxviii.
21. ibid., section cxxxvi.
|Word of God, have been able to unite the hearts of millions who were previously enemies. Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, and followers of other religions as well as pagans, agnostics and atheists in all continents of the globe, representatives of every race and almost every tribe, though speaking different languages and coming from different backgrounds, have, in this day, recognized the station of Bahá'u'lláh as the promised Father and become His followers. Through the influence of His Word, hatred and prejudice have vanished from their hearts and been replaced by spiritual unity and universal love for all mankind. This vast, ever-growing, harmoniously functioning world community of Bahá'u'lláh is something unique in the annals of mankind. It constitutes the pattern, and demonstrates the glory and the promise of the Bahá'í Commonwealth of the future. The unbiased observer who looks for proofs of the authenticity of the Message of Bahá'u'lláh may readily find that the power of unity which binds together the Bahá'í community of today is one of the most evident signs of its Founder's glory and divine origin.