Splendours of the Revelation



The Tablet of Ishráqát* was addressed to Jalíl-i-Khú'í, a coppersmith who lived in the province of Ádhirbáyján and was a well-known believer. It was revealed in answer to his questions, particularly those on the subject of supreme infallibility. He had the inestimable privilege of attaining the presence of Bahá'u'lláh, and became the recipient of many bounties from Him.

But Jalíl deprived himself of all the blessings which were showered on him, and perished spiritually. After the ascension of Bahá'u'lláh, he violated the Covenant and joined hands with Muhammad-'Alí,† the Arch-breaker of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh. He was influenced by Jamál-i-Burújirdí, who was foremost among the Covenant-breakers in Persia and had the ambition of becoming the undisputed leader of the community in that country. We have already given a brief account of his infamous career, his swift downfall and eventual extinction.‡ About four years after the ascension of Bahá'u'lláh, Jamal went to Ádhirbáyján, appointed Jalíl as his agent in the area and urged him to meet the believers secretly and sow the seeds of Covenant-breaking among them. Jalíl was further encouraged when


* The full text of this Tablet has been translated into English and published in Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, pp. 101-34.

† For more information about him see God Passes By and Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vols. 1, 2 and 3.

‡ For further information see vol. 2.

[CLUI: Ishráqát]
Muhammad-'Alí despatched to Ádhirbáyján a series of letters against the Centre of the Covenant.

In the meantime the Master sent Ibn-i-Abhar, one of the Hands of the Cause, to the area to assist the believers to remain steadfast in the Covenant. Jalíl failed to make appreciable headway in his subversive activities; the believers in Ádhirbáyján stood firm, rallied around 'Abdu'l-Bahá and defended the Cause of God heroically from the onslaught of the unfaithful.

In AH 1315 (AD 1897-8) 'Abdu'l-Bahá addressed a lengthy Tablet known as the Lawh-i-Hizár Baytí (Tablet of One Thousand Verses) to Jalíl. In this celebrated Tablet He showers upon him much loving-kindness, exhorts him to faithfulness in the Cause, explains in detail the authenticity of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh, sets forth convincing proofs in support of His argument and provides one of the most illuminating insights into the subject of the Covenant as a whole. We have referred to this Tablet and discussed an important subject contained in it in a previous volume.* Writing at a time of great agitation and danger in the Holy Land and wishing not to add fuel to the fire already lit by the Covenant-breakers, which threatened to engulf the community of the believers, the Master sent a trusted servant of the Cause, Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarghání, to Tabríz, the capital of Ádhirbáyján, with instructions to read aloud the full contents of the Tablet to Jalíl, but not to hand him a copy. Jalíl heard this highly enlightening Tablet in full but, alas, the lust of leadership had blinded his eyes and stopped his ears. He later witnessed the futility of his efforts and died in ignominy.

The Tablet of Ishráqát revealed by Bahá'u'lláh in his honour contains some of the choicest fruits of His Revelation. Towards the end of the Tablet Bahá'u'lláh outlines some of His basic teachings and principles under nine headings, each one designated as an 'Ishráq' (Splendour). The first few paragraphs of this Tablet are revealed in a language of mystery, the unravelling of which depends partly upon a deep understanding of Islámic theology and its terminology and of the Arabic language, and


* see vol. 1, p. 127n.

partly upon the individual's insight into the inner significances of the words of Bahá'u'lláh. For these reasons, and in order not to enter into unauthorized interpretation of the Holy Writings, we refrain from discussing these. However, there is a certain Tablet by 'Abdu'l-Bahá (in Persian)1 which may help the reader to appreciate the significance of some of Bahá'u'lláh's statements.

Bahá'u'lláh Addresses the People of the Bayán

In the Tablet of Ishráqát Bahá'u'lláh refers to the Báb as the 'Point', the 'Herald of His Name and the Harbinger of His Great Revelation'. He affirms that God ordained the Báb 'to be an ocean of light for the sincere' and 'a flame of fire to the froward' among the people.

The advent of every Manifestation of God brings about the same situation. His coming causes humanity to be divided into believers and unbelievers. This is similar to the holding of a school examination. When the students enter into the examination hall, they all have equal status, but as they walk out the division has already taken place as some have passed the examination while others have failed. Similarly the appearance of the Manifestation of God is the harbinger of universal testing. Before His appearance all humanity is placed on the same plane, but as soon as the Manifestation of God reveals Himself, some are elevated to a higher plane by embracing His Cause while others are left behind.

When the Báb appeared He announced the glad-tidings of the coming of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest': Bahá'u'lláh. He prepared His followers for His coming and made of them a new creation worthy to recognize the Supreme Manifestation of God. But when Bahá'u'lláh revealed Himself to humanity in general and to the followers of the Báb in particular, the scene was set for yet another universal test of faith. With the unveiling of Bahá'u'lláh's station, the Bábí community became divided; most of the followers of the Báb embraced His Cause while a small number deprived themselves of His Faith. The Revelation


1. Má'idiy-i-Ásamání, vol. 2, pp. 74-5.
of Bahá'u'lláh became thereby the cause of felicity and bounty for some but brought about remoteness and misery for others. Bahá'u'lláh confirms this process in the Tablet of Ishráqát when He states:

This is the Day that God hath ordained to be a blessing unto the righteous, a retribution for the wicked, a bounty for the faithful and a fury of His wrath for the faithless and the froward. Verily He hath been made manifest, invested by God with invincible sovereignty. He hath revealed that wherewith naught on the earth or in the heavens can compare.2
In this Tablet Bahá'u'lláh rebukes the people of the Bayán, meaning the followers of the Báb, for their waywardness and blindness which had prevented them from recognizing His own mighty Revelation. He admonishes them to cast away their idle fancies and turn with pure hearts to Him. These are some of His words addressed to them:

Fear ye God and abandon vain imaginings to the begetters thereof and leave superstitions to the devisers thereof and misgivings to the breeders thereof. Advance ye then with radiant faces and stainless hearts towards the horizon above which the Day-Star of certitude shineth resplendent at the bidding of God, the Lord of Revelations.3
In the course of these admonitions Bahá'u'lláh mentions the sufferings which had been inflicted on Him, twice in the 'Land of Tá' (Tihrán) and once in the 'Land of Mím' (Mázindarán). * The first time that Bahá'u'lláh was made captive at the hands of his enemies was in Tihrán. This was almost four years after the Declaration of the Báb. His second imprisonment, when the bastinado was inflicted on Him, took place a few months later in Ámul in the Province of Mázindarán. The third imprisonment, the most afflictive of all, was in August 1852 in the Síyáh-Chál of Tihrán.†


* For details see The Dawn-Breakers, pp. 278-9, 368-74.

† see vol. 1, pp. 8-11.

2. Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 103.

3. ibid. p. 105.

The Meaning of 'Infallibility'

Jalíl, for whom the Tablet of Ishráqát was revealed, had asked Bahá'u'lláh to explain for him the meaning of the 'Most Great Infallibility'. In response Bahá'u'lláh reveals these thought-provoking words:

Thou hast asked this Wronged One to remove for thee its veils and coverings, to elucidate its mystery and character, its state and position, its excellence, sublimity and exaltation. By the life of God! Were We to unveil the pearls of testimony which lie hid within the shells of the ocean of knowledge and assurance or to let the beauties of divine mystery which are hidden within the chambers of utterance in the Paradise of true understanding, step out of their habitation, then from every direction violent commotion would arise among the leaders of religion and thou wouldst witness the people of God held fast in the teeth of such wolves as have denied God both in the beginning and in the end...Verily the birds abiding within the domains of My Kingdom and the doves dwelling in the rose-garden of My wisdom utter such melodies and warblings as are inscrutable to all but God, the Lord of the kingdoms of earth and heaven; and were these melodies to be revealed even to an extent smaller than a needle's eye, the people of tyranny would utter such calumnies as none among former generations hath ever uttered, and would commit such deeds as no one in past ages and centuries hath ever committed.4
In this Tablet Bahá'u'lláh describes some aspects of infallibility and makes a distinction between 'conferred' and 'the Most Great' infallibility. The former derives its authority from the latter. We have already discussed this subject in a previous volume* and stated that Bahá'u'lláh possesses the Most Great Infallibility, while He conferred infallibility upon 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice. These are the words of Bahá'u'lláh in the Tablet of Ishráqát:

Know thou that the term 'Infallibility' hath numerous

* vol. 3, pp. 300-305.

4. Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, pp. 106-7.
meanings and divers stations. In one sense it is applicable to the One Whom God hath made immune from error. Similarly it is applied to every soul whom God hath guarded against sin, transgression, rebellion, impiety, disbelief and the like. However, the Most Great Infallibility is confined to the One Whose station is immeasurably exalted beyond ordinances or prohibitions and is sanctified from errors and omissions. Indeed He is a Light which is not followed by darkness and a Truth not overtaken by error. Were He to pronounce water to be wine or heaven to be earth or light to be fire, He speaketh the truth and no doubt would there be about it; and unto no one is given the right to question His authority or to say why or wherefore.5
In many of His Tablets Bahá'u'lláh has made similar statements to those in this Tablet. He states that if He were to explain the inner meaning of His Words, or reveal the exalted station of His own Person or the greatness of His Revelation, then those devoid of true understanding would be so shocked and filled with such anger as to arise in vehement opposition to His Cause and His loved ones. The religious leaders of Islám, and some of the followers of the Báb who were not endowed with true knowledge, used some of Bahá'u'lláh's utterances about the greatness of the Cause in order to misrepresent Him. Later, others both in the East and the West joined in and misrepresented His Writings in order to oppose His Cause. There are innumerable passages revealed by Bahá'u'lláh in which He glorifies the exalted nature of His Revelation.* The immensity of His claims overwhelms the believers and antagonizes His enemies. It is increasingly evident that the generality of mankind is getting further away from the concept of spirituality and religious truth. Added to this is the fact that man's intellectual capacity to understand God and His Manifestations is limited. There are also other barriers in his way such as bias, prejudice of all kinds, vain imaginings, superstition and many more. It is not surprising, therefore, that Bahá'u'lláh, appearing in a society poor in

* For a fuller discusson of this subject see above, pp. 125-39.

5. Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 108.
spiritual perception, should find it necessary to withhold His Pen from revealing the exalted nature of God's power and glory with which He was invested. Indeed, it was man's unworthiness that prompted Bahá'u'lláh to order His amanuensis to obliterate a considerable portion of His Tablets in His own handwriting and cast them into the river during His banishment in 'Iráq.

Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl,* the great Bahá'í scholar, has described an interesting incident which took place when he was residing in Cairo, an incident which sheds further light upon the above subject. Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl emerged in circles of learning and erudition in Cairo as the foremost authority on religious history and teachings. A great many professors and students of the famous Al-Azhar University, as well as many divines and men of culture, crowded into his presence and sat at his feet to partake of his vast knowledge and insight into spiritual matters. This is the story as he himself recounts:

When the Protestant Evangelical Society published the book Maqálih-Fí-Al-Islám (Treatise on Islám), certain of the religious leaders (Muslims) of these parts, such as the erudite Shaykh Badru'd-Dín Al Ghazzí...and others from the fields of Islámic jurisprudence and divinity, suggested to this servant that it would be appropriate, in view of the extent of knowledge of the holy books of ancient faiths which God, exalted be His Glory, has vouchsafed unto him...that he should write an adequate and satisfactory reply to the aforementioned 'treatise' and expose its errors of fact and its historical calumnies so that the weak ones amongst the people might not be misled by its inaccuracies, and doubt might not be implanted in their minds.

To this request I replied: 'Please let me be excused; for there are difficulties in this path which are very hard to overcome. For many years, indeed centuries, the ears of the people of Islám have become accustomed to hearing 'tawdry speech',† and their minds have been nourished on the superficialities of


* For a brief account of his life see vol. 3.

† Refers to Qur'án 6:112. (A.T.)

literalism. Now if the veil be lifted off the true meaning of all the Qur'ánic allusions, and thus all the objections of those who promote doubts among people are cleared away (such as the objections of the 'treatise'), then these very same people who are Muslims in name will rise up in enmity and engage in vehement opposition. They would be content to see the objections and doubts raised by these people not removed from the Qur'án, but retained for ever. They would rather see the standard of the people of Islám be trampled upon by the misguided, than allow that through the emanations of the Supreme Pen (of Bahá'u'lláh) the 'maids' of true meaning step forth out of their 'cloistered mansions'* of the divine verses...so that all the objections be answered and indeed all the thick clouds of criticism and cavilling be dispelled and made to disappear.6
This argument put forward by Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl concerning Islám is valid for other religions too. For example, Christianity as practised today is so far removed from the pure teaching of Christ that if its Founder could return in person He would never be able to reconcile His Faith with all the man-made dogmas and rituals and so many divided churches. Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá have explained in their Writings the reality of Christ, the truth of His Message and the true meaning of the words recorded in the Gospels. But to present the picture of Christianity as given by Bahá'u'lláh in the Kitáb-i-Íqán, or to approach some Christian subjects with the explanations given by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in Some Answered Questions will undoubtedly be met with strong disapproval by many Christians today. It is in fact much more difficult to explain the reality and truth of the Christian Faith to a practising Christian than to an unbiased person of a different background. It is indeed a grievous situation in which the followers of the religions have placed themselves. They have gone astray from the true path which the Manifestations of God laid down for them, and consequently have been unable to recognize the truth of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh. It is concerning such

* Refers to Qur'án 55:72. (A.T.)

6. Kitábu'l-Fará'id, pp. 492-3. An edited version of a translation made by Dr Kházeh Fanánápazir.

Some Answered Questions

people that the Pen of the Most High reveals these despairing words in the Lawh-i-Ishráqát:

They have rejected the bounty of God and His proofs and have repudiated the testimony of God and His signs. They have gone astray and have caused the people to go astray, yet perceive it not. They worship vain imaginings but know it not. They have taken idle fancies for their lords and have neglected God, yet understand not. They have abandoned the most great Ocean and are hastening towards the pool, but comprehend not. They follow their own idle fancies while turning aside from God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.7
Prophecies Fulfilled

Quoting from a Tablet He had revealed previously,* Bahá'u'lláh in the Tablet of Ishráqát enumerates some of the Islámic prophecies concerning the advent of the Day of God. He employs a dialogue between the voice of Truth and the voice of those who are bereft of true understanding and have denied His Cause. There are many passages such as these in this Tablet:

'Have the verses been sent down?' Say 'Yea, by Him Who is the Revealer of clear tokens!...And they say: 'Hath the Catastrophe come to pass?' Say: 'Yea, by the Lord of Lords!' 'Is the Resurrection come?' 'Nay, more; He Who is the Self-Subsisting hath appeared with the Kingdom of His signs.' 'Seest thou men laid low?' 'Yea, by my Lord, the Most High, the Most Glorious!' 'Have the tree-stumps been uprooted?' 'Yea, more; the mountains have been scattered in dust; by Him the Lord of attributes!' They say: 'Where is Paradise, and where is Hell?' Say: 'The one is reunion with Me; the other thine own self, O thou who dost associate a partner with God and doubtest.' They say: 'We see not the Balance.' Say: 'Surely, by my Lord, the God of Mercy! None can see it except

* see below, pp. 372-4, for the manner in which Bahá'u'lláh quotes from His own Writings. The passage that follows is part of a Tablet originally revealed in honour of Hájí Muhammad-Ibráhím, entitled by Bahá'u'lláh 'Muballigh' (teacher, proclaimer). He quotes it again at length in Epistle to the Son of the Wolf.

7. Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 107.
such as are endued with insight.' They say: 'Have the stars fallen?' Say: 'Yea, when He Who is the Self-Subsisting dwelt in the Land of Mystery. Take heed, ye who are endued with discernment!' 8
The falling of stars is a reference to the well-known prophecy of the Gospels concerning the return of Christ, and the 'Land of Mystery' is a designation given by Bahá'u'lláh to the city of Adrianople. We have already described the significance of the falling stars in a previous volume.*

To appreciate the inner meanings of the prophecies quoted in this Tablet referring to the coming of the Lord, one needs to study the Kitáb-i-Íqán. This is the Book in which the mysteries hidden in the heavenly books of past religions are explained and the significance of the prophecies contained in them revealed. Before the revelation of the Kitáb-i-Íqán the purpose and meaning of the words were concealed. With the coming of Bahá'u'lláh the 'time of the end' as prophesied by Daniel was fulfilled:

And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.9
The Kitáb-i-Íqán unsealed the heavenly Books of the past. Like the morning sun which brightens the eye, it illumined the hearts and imparted knowledge and understanding to the minds. Since then many Bahá'í scholars and teachers have written volumes on the interpretation of prophecies given by prophets of the past.

Religion, a Radiant Light

Under the nine headings in the Tablet of Ishráqát known as 'Ishráq' (Splendour), Bahá'u'lláh elucidates some of His teachings 'revealed specially for the rulers and ministers of the world'; teachings which are 'conducive to safety and protection, tranquillity and peace'. In the first Ishráq He attaches the greatest


* see vol. 2, pp. 270-72, and Appendix I.

8. Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, pp. 117-18.

9. Daniel 12:8-9.

importance to religion and describes it as 'a radiant light and an impregnable stronghold for the protection and welfare of the peoples of the world'. He further prophesies that 'should the lamp of religion be obscured, chaos and confusion will ensue, and the lights of fairness and justice, of tranquillity and peace cease to shine'. This is already happening.

A basic principle which applies to all religions is that there is a special relationship between a religion and the one which appears immediately after it. When a new Manifestation of God appears, the spirit of faith is extinguished in the older religion and at the same time is breathed into the new one. For instance, with the coming of Christ, the Jewish Faith lost its vigour and vitality; these were instilled into the Christian Faith. In the Qur'án it is stated:

Unto every nation there is a preordained term; therefore when their term is expired, they shall not have respite for an hour, neither shall they be anticipated.10
This means that every Dispensation has a beginning and an end. The Bahá'í Dispensation began with the advent of the Báb and all the major religions of the world lost a great deal of their spiritual power. The influence which they used to exert upon the hearts of men has been diminishing with every passing day. A contributing factor to this process has been the inability of religious leaders to adhere to the fundamental truths enshrined in each religion. Instead of understanding the reality of their religions and explaining the verities of their Faiths to their followers, they have, in their ignorance, introduced so many dogmas and man-made interpretations that the light of true religion has become obscured. Consequently many intelligent and honest people have discarded religion altogether and have swelled the ranks of agnostics and atheists. No one can blame a person, endowed with commonsense, who rejects the claim of certain religious leaders that the body of Christ rose into space, or that one day the stars shall fall upon the earth!

It is only since the coming of Bahá'u'lláh and through His


10. Qur'án 7:34.
Writings that the true meaning of all the abstruse passages in the Holy Books of past religions are so clearly explained that not a single statement remains which would appear contrary to reason and commonsense. Indeed, it is one of the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh that religious truth and scientific theories must be in harmony. But unfortunately religious leaders, through their lack of understanding of true religious teachings, have widened the gap between religion and science. Today, the word 'religion' is generally associated with ignorance, narrow-mindedness and vain imaginings by a vast number of enlightened people. On the other hand, some have made a mockery of religion by creating sects which have proved to be nothing short of nests of corruption and profiteering. The sacredness of many religious acts, which were the mainstay of communities in olden times, have now been either completely eroded or corrupted, expediently transformed into political or commercial activities. It is for this reason that in introducing the Bahá'í Faith to the public, the followers of Bahá'u'lláh will have to explain that the word 'religion' as commonly understood by people is not applicable to the Faith. It is a religion in its pure form and freed from corruption or adulteration. This is one of the distinguishing features of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh.

Today, when the light of religion is fading away, the prophecy of Bahá'u'lláh in the 'First Ishráq' has been fulfilled. 'Chaos and confusion' have indeed ensued, and 'the lights of fairness and justice, of tranquillity and peace' have ceased to shine. This process will continue and the world's horizons become darker until the warnings by Bahá'u'lláh issued over a hundred years ago come to pass. We have already quoted this passage:

The world is in travail, and its agitation waxeth day by day. Its face is turned towards waywardness and unbelief. Such shall be its plight, that to disclose it now would not be meet and seemly. Its perversity will long continue. And when the appointed hour is come, there shall suddenly appear that which shall cause the limbs of mankind to quake. Then, and

only then, will the Divine Standard be unfurled, and the Nightingale of Paradise warble its melody.11
These words of Bahá'u'lláh foreshadow great sufferings in store for mankind. It is important to appreciate that these sufferings are not visited upon humanity as vengeance on the part of God. On the contrary, they are entirely man-made and the consequences of man's own actions. For God has created man in His own image, which means that He has bestowed upon man His attributes. He has also given him free-will. He has created laws which govern the relationship of all things--cause and effect, action and reaction, reward and punishment. These laws are part of God's creation. Where people live and act in unity, the result is peace and harmony. Where they disregard this basic principle and groups of people rise up in enmity against each other the result is destruction and suffering. It is not God's pleasure that millions die in war or perish through starvation. All these calamitous happenings are the product of man disobeying the laws and teachings of God which have been revealed in this age.

In many of His Tablets Bahá'u'lláh has confirmed that a great part of human suffering is man-made. In a Tablet12 He states that the peoples of the world are encompassed by punishment for their deeds, and at each period this punishment manifests itself in a different form. In another Tablet13 He states that God has created all human beings to recognize His great Revelation in this day, but their failure to embrace His Cause is in itself a chastisement for their deeds. Reward and punishment are the mainstay of human society; this is the law of creation and cannot be altered.

Elsewhere in a Tablet14 Bahá'u'lláh declares that people are the bondslaves of vain imaginings and corrupt desires. God enables them to busy themselves with their idle fancies and worldly affections as a punishment* in their lives.

In another Tablet He states:

Had the world been of any worth in His sight, He surely would never have allowed His enemies to possess it, even to

* For further discussion see vol. 3, pp. 294-7.

11. Gleanings, LXI.

12. Unpublished compilation, National Archives Committee, no. 41, p,. 331.

13. Áthár-i-Qalam-i-A'lá, vol. 5, pp. 113.

14. ibid. vol. 4, p. 19.

the extent of a grain of mustard seed. He hath, however, caused you to be entangled with its affairs, in return for what your hands have wrought in His Cause. This, indeed, is a chastisement which ye, of your own will, have inflicted upon yourselves, could ye but perceive it. Are ye rejoicing in the things which, according to the estimate of God, are contemptible and worthless, things wherewith He proveth the hearts of the doubtful?15
But the main purpose of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh is to instil into the hearts of men a measure of God's love and endow their souls with the spirit of faith. Only when this happens on a universal scale will man-made sufferings and calamities be replaced by the Most Great Peace. When humanity attains to this exalted state and the causes of disunity are thus eliminated, then trials and tribulations will be limited to those which God ordains for each individual. The sufferings which come from God are essential for the spiritual development of the soul. Whereas manmade sufferings today are intolerable, God-sent ordeals and difficulties are never imposed upon a soul beyond its capacity.

Numerous are the exhortations of Bahá'u'lláh to His followers in the Tablet of Ishráqát urging them to follow the teachings of God. The following passage, which also appears in the Bishárát, demonstrates the exalted nature of these exhortations:

O people of Bahá! Ye are the dawning-places of the love of God and the daysprings of His loving-kindness. Defile not your tongues with the cursing and reviling of any soul, and guard your eyes against that which is not seemly. Set forth that which ye possess. If it be favourably received, your end is attained; if not, to protest is vain. Leave that soul to himself and turn unto the Lord, the Protector, the Self-Subsisting. Be not the cause of grief, much less of discord and strife. The hope is cherished that ye may obtain true education in the shelter of the tree of His tender mercies and act in accordance with that which God desireth. Ye are all the leaves of one tree and the drops of one ocean.16

15. Gleanings, CIII.

16. Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 129.

["O people of Bahá..."] The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 91
In each Ishráq of the Tablet of Ishráqát Bahá'u'lláh reveals some of His weighty counsels to mankind in general and to His followers in particular. He enjoins upon all mankind to establish the Lesser Peace,* urges His followers to 'observe God's holy commandments', reminds them that the Cause of God will become victorious through 'praiseworthy deeds and upright character', addresses special counsels to the Universal House of Justice (the supreme body ordained by Bahá'u'lláh which came into being in 1963), affirms that its members 'have been charged with the affairs of the people', refers to it 'all matters of state', and asserts that this instruction is to be considered as 'part of the Most Holy Book'. He moreover affirms that justice is 'upheld by two pillars, reward and punishment', counsels 'everyone regarding the instruction and education of children', announces the purpose of religion to be the establishment of 'unity and concord amongst the peoples of the world', forbids His followers to make religion the cause of dissension and strife, advocates the adoption of a universal auxiliary language, and enjoins upon the Trustees of the House of Justice 'either to choose one language from among those now existing or to adopt a new one'.

It is interesting to note that in the Tablet of Bishárát Bahá'u'lláh enjoins upon the governments of the world to adopt the international language. These two statements, which seem to be contradictory, may be regarded as two different stages in bringing about a world auxiliary language. The first stage will be the adoption of a universal language by the governments, while the second will have to wait until such time that the Universal House of Justice has emerged as the supreme institution of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh and its authority is recognized. It is only then that it can possibly reconsider the choice of the language so as to either retain the one chosen by the governments or alter it altogether.

In one of His Tablets17 revealed in 'Akká, Bahá'u'lláh emphasizes the importance of adopting the auxiliary international


* For further discussion of this subject see vol. 3, pp. 314-15.

17. Nafahát-i-Quds, pp. 5-8.

["Select ye a single language..."] The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, ¶189

["The third Glad-Tidings..."] Bishárát

language ordained in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. He states that its implementation will provide a means for safeguarding the unity of the human race and will facilitate intercourse and understanding among the peoples of the world. In this Tablet Bahá'u'lláh praises the Arabic language for its expressiveness and eloquence, and remarks that no other language can match its vast possibilities. He further states that God would be pleased if all the peoples of the world were to speak the Arabic language. But He does not require humanity necessarily to adopt it as the international language; rather He leaves the choice to the appropriate institutions.