Another Tablet in which Bahá'u'lláh proclaims some of His basic teachings is the Kalimát-i-Firdawsíyyih (Words of Paradise).* This Tablet was revealed about two years before His ascension in honour of His trusted disciple Hájí Mírzá Haydar-'Alí. Bahá'u'lláh's exhortations and counsels in this Tablet are no less soul-stirring and significant than those in His other Tablets mentioned previously in this book.

In this Tablet Bahá'u'lláh calls upon 'the People of Bahá to render the Lord victorious through the power of their utterance and to admonish the people by their goodly deeds and character'. He declares that man will be exalted through 'honesty, virtue, wisdom and saintly character'; considers the 'fear of God' to be 'a sure defence and a safe stronghold for all the peoples of the world';† enjoins upon the world's rulers, its divines and the wise 'to uphold the cause of religion' and regard it as 'the chief instrument for the establishment of order in the world and of tranquillity amongst its peoples'; acclaims the greatness of His Day;‡ counsels His followers 'to adhere tenaciously to unity and concord'; urges them 'to labour diligently in promoting the Cause of God'; admonishes the 'men of wisdom among nations' to shut their 'eyes to estrangement', to fix their 'gaze upon unity', to 'cleave tenaciously unto that which will lead to the well-being


* A full translation of this Tablet is published in Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, pp. 57-80.

† For a further discussion on this subject see above pp. 27-8.

‡ see above, pp. 125-39.

[Kalimát-i-Firdawsíyyih] God Passes By, p. 216
and tranquillity of all mankind'; declares that 'this span of earth is but one homeland and one habitation'; asserts that the 'basis of world order hath been firmly established upon reward and punishment';* warns that the world's corruptions, so deeply rooted, cannot be purged 'unless the peoples of the world unite in pursuit of one common aim and embrace one universal faith'; advocates that 'schools must first train the children in the principles of religion';† urges the establishment of a universal language; and states that 'in all matters moderation is desirable', explaining that 'if a thing is carried to excess, it will prove a source of evil'.

Furthermore, in the Kalimát-i-Firdawsíyyih Bahá'u'lláh disapproves of 'living in seclusion or practising asceticism',‡ saying that these practices are 'sprung from the loins of idle fancy', or 'begotten of the womb of superstition', and that they 'ill beseem men of knowledge'. He also refers to the mystics,§ 'some of whom indulge in that which leadeth to idleness and seclusion'. He condemns their way of life which 'lowereth man's station and maketh him swell with pride', and teaches that 'man must bring forth fruit. One who yieldeth no fruit is, in the words of the Spirit [Jesus], like unto a fruitless tree, and a fruitless tree is fit but for fire.'

Most of these teachings extracted from the Kalimát-i-Firdawsíyyih have already been mentioned in other Tablets and quoted in more detail in this book.

In this Tablet Bahá'u'lláh authorizes the members of the Universal House of Justice 'to take counsel together regarding those things which have not been outwardly revealed in the Book', and commands them 'to ensure the protection and safeguarding of men, women and children'.

Bahá'u'lláh has revealed the laws of this Dispensation, which must last for at least one thousand years. These laws are described


* For an explanation of the need for punishment see vol. 3, pp. 294-7.

† see vol. 3, pp. 326-331.

‡ see vol. 2, pp. 34-7, and above, pp. 162-3.

§ see vol. 2, pp. 24-8.

as the warp and woof of His World Order, and no one can abrogate them except the next Manifestation of God. But there are some laws which Bahá'u'lláh, through His wisdom, has not ordained. Some of these are temporary and may be changed with the passage of time. The Universal House of Justice has the authority to enact such laws. It can also resolve any matters which are not specified in the Writings, as well as deciding on the application of the laws revealed by Bahá'u'lláh.*

Expounding the greatness of His Revelation, Bahá'u'lláh reveals these thought-provoking words in the Kalimát-i-Firdawsíyyih:

O people of God! Great is the Day and mighty the Call! In one of Our Tablets We have revealed these exalted words: 'Were the world of the spirit to be wholly converted into the sense of hearing, it could then claim to be worthy to hearken unto the Voice that calleth from the Supreme Horizon; for otherwise, these ears that are defiled with lying tales have never been, nor are they now fit to hear it.' Well is it with them that hearken; and woe betide the wayward.1
These words clearly indicate that no one in this world is worthy to embrace the Cause of God. How immeasurable is the gap between the immensity of the 'world of the spirit...wholly converted into the sense of hearing', and the feebleness of a human being. How vast is the difference between the glory of God's heavenly Revelation and the human's attachments to earthly things. That some have recognized the station of Bahá'u'lláh in this Day and embraced His faith is due to the bounty of God and not man's worthiness. Creation has come into being through the bounty of God, and not through His justice; so has His Revelation. Man, a finite being, does not merit such a glorious gift from his Creator. To this a Bahá'í testifies every day when he performs one of the Obligatory Prayers:

...O God, my God! Thy forgiveness hath emboldened me, and Thy mercy hath strengthened me, and Thy call hath

* see vol. 3, pp. 275-94

1. Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 64.
awakened me, and Thy grace hath raised me up and led me unto Thee. Who, otherwise, am I that I should dare to stand at the gate of the city of Thy nearness, or set my face toward the lights that are shining from the heaven of Thy will? Thou seest, O my Lord, this wretched creature knocking at the door of Thy grace, and this evanescent soul seeking the river of everlasting life from the hands of Thy bounty. Thine is the command at all times, O Thou Who art the Lord of all names; and mine is resignation and willing submission to Thy will, O Creator of the heavens!2
Although man is unworthy, he can nevertheless become an embodiment of heavenly attributes once he attires himself with the vesture of faith. For it is through having faith and believing in the manifestation of God for this age that the individual becomes the recipient of divine assistance from on high.

'Abdu'l-Bahá is reported to have said these words in the course of His parting address to the first group of western pilgrims who visited Him in 'Akká in 1899:

And now I give you a commandment which shall be for a covenant between you and Me--that ye have faith; that your faith be steadfast as a rock that no storms can move, that nothing can disturb, and that it endure through all things even to the end; even should ye hear that your Lord has been crucified, be not shaken in your faith; for I am with you always, whether living or dead, I am with you to the end. As ye have faith so shall your powers and blessings be. This is the balance--this is the balance--this is the balance.3
In the Kalimát-i-Firdawsíyyih Bahá'u'lláh issues these challenging words to the divines:

Say: O concourse of divines! Pronounce ye censure against this Pen unto which, as soon as it raised its shrill voice, the kingdom of utterance prepared itself to hearken, and before whose mighty and glorious theme every other theme hath paled into insignificance? Fear ye God and follow not your idle fancies and corrupt imaginings, but rather follow Him Who is

2. Long Obligatory Prayer, Prayers and Meditations no. 183.

3. Quoted by May Maxwell, An Early Pilgrimage, p. 40.

come unto you invested with undeniable knowledge and unshakeable certitude.4
The 'shrill voice' of the Pen of Bahá'u'lláh has been raised amidst the peoples of the world, but few have yet been awakened by its clarion call proclaiming to all mankind the advent of the Day of God. The significance of the term 'shrill voice of the Pen' which repeatedly appears in the Writings has been briefly explained in a previous volume.* The term 'kingdom of utterance' also appears in many of Bahá'u'lláh's Writings. The word 'Kingdom' has been used by Bahá'u'lláh to express the spiritual realms of God which are beyond the understanding of man. For instance, we come across such terms as 'the Kingdom of Revelation', 'the Kingdom of Creation', 'the Kingdom of divine power', 'the Kingdoms of earth and heaven', 'the Kingdom of glory', 'the Kingdom of names', and more. That the 'Kingdom of utterance'--the realm from which the word of God is revealed--has 'prepared itself to hearken' to the outpourings of the 'Supreme Pen' is an amazing statement, and an indication of the greatness of Bahá'u'lláh's Revelation. He further reveals these words:

The Ocean of utterance exclaimeth and saith: 'O ye dwellers on the earth! Behold My billowing waters and the pearls of wisdom and utterance which I have poured forth. Fear ye God and be not of the heedless.'

In this Day a great festival is taking place in the Realm above; for whatsoever was promised in the sacred Scriptures hath been fulfilled. This is the Day of great rejoicing. It behoveth everyone to hasten towards the court of His nearness with exceeding joy, gladness, exultation and delight and to deliver himself from the fire of remoteness.5

In a Tablet6 revealed in 1887-8 to Hájí Áqá Muhammad-i-'Aláqih-band, one of His devoted followers in Yazd, Bahá'u'lláh states that when He is revealing the verses of God all the inmates of the highest Paradise, and the Concourse on High, present themselves before Him to hear His Voice raised between earth

* see vol. 1, p. 35.

4. Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, pp. 61-2.

5. ibid. pp. 78-9.

6. Unpublished compilation, National Archives Committee, no. 28, p. 292.

and heaven. In another Tablet He testifies that if the divines and men of learning were able to be in His presence* when revelation of the Word of God takes place, they would be so influenced as to be left with no other choice but to acknowledge the truth of His Cause. To another believer, Bahá'u'lláh intimates in a Tablet7 that if he were present at the time of revelation he would be so exhilarated that his soul would take its flight into the realms of the spirit which are hidden from the eyes of men.

In one of His Tablets8 Bahá'u'lláh discloses the intensity with which the verses of God have been sent down in this Dispensation. From the tone of this Tablet is appears that it was revealed towards the end of His earthly life. In it He states that His amanuensis, Mírzá Áqá Ján, used to take down the verses of God which were revealed continuously from morning till evening. He describes how in earlier days He had been engaged in revealing the Words during both day and night, and would only interrupt His utterances in order to attend to other matters. In those days, He affirms, the Tongue of Grandeur was continually revealing the verses of God. But now, at the time of revealing this Tablet, He intimates that owing to physical weakness He has had to bring His utterances to a close after one hour of revelation. But whenever He resumes, all the members of His body will be activated and the verses of God will transform His whole Being. This condition of physical weakness Bahá'u'lláh attributes to the sufferings inflicted on Him by the people of tyranny. They have been the cause of the withholding of the further diffusion of divine fragrances among mankind. But he assures the recipient of this Tablet that until His spirit takes its flight to His other Dominions, the Tongue of Grandeur shall continue to speak and the Pen of the Most High move upon His Tablets.

In the Kalimát-i-Firdawsíyyih as in His other Tablets Bahá'u'lláh rebukes the people of the Bayán, the followers of Mírzá Yahyá, for their waywardness and ignorance. He thus addresses them:


* For further information see vol. 2, p. 254.

7. Áthár-i-Qalam-i-A'lá, vol. 5, p. 63.

8. ibid. vol. 1, p. 309.

Glorified be God! One wondereth by what proof or reason the disbelievers among the people of the Bayán have turned away from the Lord of being. In truth the station of this Revelation transcendeth the station of whatever hath been manifested in the past or will be made manifest in the future.9
And then he makes this statement which may only be described as astounding:

Were the Point of the Bayán* present in this day and should He, God forbid, hesitate to acknowledge this Cause, then the very blessed words which have streamed forth from the wellspring of His Own Bayán would apply to Him. He saith, and His word is the truth, 'Lawful is it for Him Whom God will make manifest to reject him who is the greatest on earth.' Say, O ye that are bereft of understanding! Today that Most Exalted Being is proclaiming: 'Verily, verily, I am the first to adore Him.' How shallow is the fund of men's knowledge and how feeble their power of perception. Our Pen of Glory beareth witness to their abject poverty and to the wealth of God, the Lord of all worlds.10
He also addresses Mírzá Yahyá, His unfaithful brother, in these challenging words reminding him of earlier days when he used to take down the words of Bahá'u'lláh and with His permission disseminate them among the Bábís in his own name as the leader of the Bábí community:

Say: O Yahyá (Azal), produce a single verse, if thou dost possess divinely-inspired knowledge. These words were formerly spoken by My Herald Who at this hour proclaimeth: 'Verily, verily, I am the first to adore Him.' Be fair, O My brother. Art thou able to express thyself when brought face to face with the billowing ocean of Mine utterance? Canst thou unloose thy tongue when confronted with the shrill voice of My Pen? Hast thou any power before the revelations of Mine omnipotence? Judge thou fairly, I adjure thee by God, and call to mind when thou didst stand in the presence of this Wronged One and We dictated to thee the verses of God, the

* The Báb. (A. T.)

9. Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, pp. 74-5.

10. ibid. p. 75.

Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting. Beware lest the source of falsehood withhold thee from the manifest Truth.11
Another person, a Muslim, who is rebuked by Bahá'u'lláh in this Tablet is Hájí Mullá Hádíy-i-Sabzavárí, a noted philosopher of the time and a renowned poet, who died in 1873. He was the author of several books on divine philosophy, and his works are available both in verse and prose. In one of his poems Mullá Hádí boasts about his own spiritual perception. It is believed that Moses heard the voice of God from the Burning Bush; Mullá Hádí states in his poem that nowadays there is no Moses around and the voice 'I am God' can be heard from every tree. It is because of this claim that Bahá'u'lláh in several of His Tablets condemned this man as worthless, as he had failed to hearken to His voice in this great Day of God. He thus refers to him in the Kalimát-i-Firdawsíyyih:

The sage of Sabzivár hath said: 'Alas! Attentive ears are lacking, otherwise the whisperings of the Sinaic Bush could be heard from every tree.' In a Tablet to a man of wisdom who had made enquiry as to the meaning of Elementary Reality, We addressed this famous sage in these words: 'If this saying is truly thine, how is it that thou hast failed to hearken unto the Call which the Tree of Man hath raised from the loftiest heights of the world? If thou didst hear the Call yet fear and the desire to preserve thy life prompted thee to remain heedless to it, thou art such a person as hath never been nor is worthy of mention; if thou hast not heard it, then thou are bereft of the sense of hearing.' In brief, such men are they whose words are the pride of the world, and whose deeds are the shame of the nations.

Verily We have sounded the Trumpet which is none other than My Pen of Glory, and lo, mankind hath swooned away before it, save them whom God pleaseth to deliver as a token of His grace. He is the Lord of bounty, the Ancient of Days.12

A person who is remembered with affection in the Kalimát-i-Firdawsíyyih is Mírzá Abu'l-Qásim-i-Faráháni, entitled Qá'im-Maqám. He is not named, but is referred to in this Tablet as

11. Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, pp. 75-6.

12. ibid. p. 61.

'Prince of the City of Statesmanship and Literary Accomplishment'. He was a contemporary of Bahá'u'lláh's father and a faithful friend of his, highly acclaimed at the court of Fath-'Alí Sháh* for his wisdom, uprightness, benevolence, courage and dignity as well as his learning and knowledge. He was a highly gifted writer whose compositions are considered to be among the best in the literary field. As a statesman he was very capable; 'Abdu'l-Bahá has described him as foremost in the whole of Persia. He became Prime Minister in 1821 and continued to hold this position until the reign of Muhammad Sháh (1834-48). In a country where injustice and corruption were rife he upheld standards of justice and honesty. As a result his enemies conspired against him, poisoned the mind of the monarch and made him believe that his Prime Minister was about to overthrow him. These falsehoods gained credibility and Muhammad Sháh became filled with fear. In 1835 Qá'im-Maqám was executed in Tihrán by his orders.

In the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh one can hardly find a word of praise directed at any of the authorities in Persia. The tribute He has paid to Qá'im-Maqám is unique, and indicative of the greatness of this man. Bahá'u'lláh finds that no actions on the part of Muhammad Sháh were more heinous than the banishment of the Báb to the fortress of Máh-Kú and the murder of Qá'im-Maqám.

But God rewards His faithful servants in mysterious ways. One of Qá'im-Maqám's grandsons, Mírzá Áqá Khán (entitled Qá'im-Maqámí) had inherited all the outstanding qualities of his paternal grandfather. He was the embodiment of dignity, benevolence and courage, a man of culture and erudition. He grew up in the luxurious home of his ancestors in Arák. On one of his teaching trips, Siyyid Asadu'lláh-i-Qumí, a renowned teacher of the Faith,† arrived in Arák. The father of Mírzá Áqá Khán, being an open-minded and liberal person, invited Siyyid


* Reigned 1797-1834.

† see above, pp. 185-6.

Asadu'lláh to his home knowing that he was a Bahá'í teacher. At that time Mírzá Áqá Khán was a youth and an enthusiastic Muslim. He became highly indignant that his father was entertaining a Bahá'í in the house, and decided to put an end to it. Believing that he would win the good-pleasure of God if he killed a Bahá'í, he proceeded to attack Siyyid Asadu'lláh, but the latter through his charm and loving personality succeeded in calming him down. Soon in that same house Mírzá Áqá Khán found himself sitting spellbound at the feet of Siyyid Asadu'lláh, listening to his words as he produced proofs of the authenticity of the station of Bahá'u'lláh. So profound and convincing were his arguments and so radiant his spirit that Mírzá Áqá Khán and his cousin both became ardent believers.

As time went by Mírzá Áqá Khán became a truly outstanding Bahá'í. To the nobility and courage of his character was now added the power of faith. He arose to serve the Cause with a zeal and devotion which few among his contemporaries could match. At first he began to earn a modest living and became independent of his father's wealth, but soon he was faced with serious financial difficulties. Then he had a dream: Bahá'u'lláh appeared to him, pointed to a hill nearby, and directed him to dig out some valuable relics which were buried on the side of the hill. Believing his dream to be true, Mírzá Áqá Khán carried out the excavation and recovered a great quantity of priceless relics and jewels. He thus became one of the richest men in Arák and the most influential of its residents. Throughout his long years of life he used his enormous wealth and influence to further the interests of the Cause he loved and served so well. Although he was wealthy, he lived a very simple life. He was a tower of strength for the believers and a guide and refuge for the downtrodden and the needy. His generosity, magnanimity and care for the welfare of people earned him the love and respect of the public in general and the Bahá'ís in particular.

In a Tablet addressed to him13 'Abdu'l-Bahá states that his grandfather, Qá'im-Maqám, is rejoicing in the Abhá Kingdom, for God has enabled his grandson to become a sign of guidance to


13. Dated AH 1339.



Áqá Khán was the grandson of Qá'im-Maqám and an eminent Bahá'í

the people, a bearer of the standard of the Kingdom and a manifestation of the bounties of heaven.

Kalimát-i-Firdawsíyyih was revealed about two years before the passing of Bahá'u'lláh, as we have said. Yet in it He reveals these prophetic words which were realized decades later through the discovery of nuclear energy:

Strange and astonishing things exist in the earth but they are hidden from the minds and the understanding of men. These things are capable of changing the whole atmosphere of the earth and their contamination would prove lethal.14
It is noteworthy that in 1911 in Paris in the course of a conversation with Viscount Arawaka, the Japanese Ambassador to Spain, 'Abdu'l-Bahá spoke these words:

Scientific discoveries have increased material civilization. There is in existence a stupendous force, as yet, happily, undiscovered by man. Let us supplicate God, the Beloved, that this force be not discovered by science until spiritual civilization shall dominate the human mind. In the hands of men of lower material nature, this power would be able to destroy the whole earth.' 15
In a previous volume* there is a reference to the words of Bahá'u'lláh concerning the discovery of alchemy, the transmutation of elements, which He links with the coming of a great calamity for the whole world. It is known that the transmutation of elements is now possible through certain nuclear processes.

The following passage in the Kalimát-i-Firdawsíyyih needs some explanation. In many Tablets revealed during the latter part of His Ministry Bahá'u'lláh describes to some of His faithful disciples the anguish of His heart because of the misdeeds of a few of His so-called followers who had joined hands with the supporters of Mírzá Yahyá in Constantinople in attempting to dishonour the good name of the Faith and its Author. This distressing episode brought great sorrow to Bahá'u'lláh towards the end of His earthly life.


* see vol. 2, p. 268.

14. Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 69.

15. Quoted by Lady Blomfield, The Chosen Highway, p. 184.

[transmutation of elements]: The Kitáb-i-Aqdas Note 194; The Kitáb-i-Íqán p. 157; The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 1 p. 86, vol. 2 p. 268.

O thou who hast turned thy gaze towards My face! In these days there occurred that which hath plunged Me into dire sadness. Certain wrong-doers who profess allegiance to the Cause of God committed such deeds as have caused the limbs of sincerity, of honesty, of justice, of equity to quake. One known individual to whom the utmost kindness and favour had been extended perpetrated such acts as have brought tears to the eye of God. Formerly We uttered words of warning and premonition, then for a number of years We kept the matter secret that haply he might take heed and repent. But all to no purpose. In the end he bent his energies upon vilifying the Cause of God before the eyes of all men. He tore the veil of fairness asunder and felt sympathy neither for himself nor for the Cause of God. Now, however, the deeds of certain individuals have brought sorrows far more grievous than those which the deeds of the former had caused. Beseech thou God, the True One, that He may graciously enable the heedless to retract and repent. Verily He is the Forgiving, the Bountiful, the Most Generous. 16
The 'one known individual' mentioned above is a certain Muhammad-'Alíy-i-Isfahání, not to be confused with Siyyid Muhammad-i-Isfahání, the Anti-Christ of Bahá'u'lláh's Revelation. A brief account of this episode is given in Chapter 25.


16. Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, pp. 59-60.