Lambden - The Sinaitic Mysteries - Writings of Baha'-Allah (1817-1892 CE).

 

 

طور سيناء

The Sinaitic Mysteries of the Eschatological Theophany

in the Writings of Mirza Husayn `Ali Nuri, Baha'-Allah (1817-1892 CE).

During the forty year period 1852-1892, Bahā'u'llāh wrote or dictated in excess of fifteen thousand Persian and Arabic "Tablets" (alwāḥ), some of them titled "revelations" of considerable length. Selected passages within this massive corpus of as yet little studied and largely unpublished Bahā’ī scripture will be discussed in loose chronological order.
Of the major writings of Bahā'u'llāh, only one nineteen line Persian poem, The Sprinkling of the Divine Cloud (Rasḥ-i `amā), dates from prior to its author's exile to Iraq. This exquisite piece, composed in a dungeon in Tehran in late 1852, contains Sinaitic imagery in its sixteenth couplet. Bahā'u'llāh bids his fellow Bābis observe his exalted status and power of revelation in the following terms:

Observe the Fire of Moses (ātish-i mūsā)!
Behold the Snow-White Brightness (bayḍa[t]-i bayḍā)! See thou
that the Sinaitic Bosom (sāna-yi sīnā') streameth forth from the
Radiant Palm (kaff-i sanā). 124

It is indicated that within his mystic being Bahā'u'llāh manifested the Sinaitic Fire and Moses' white hand. (See Exodus 4:6-7 and Qur’ān 7:105, etc.) The radiance that shone forth from the "Sinai" of Moses' "bosom" (or interior self) shines [110] forth from the "Palm" or "Hand" of the person of Bahā'u'llāh. Such claims are made in many of the poetical and other writings of Bahā'u'llāh, some of which will be quoted below. 125

124 Rashḥ-i `amā’, line 16. Text in Ishrāq-Khāvarī Mā'ida-yi āsmānī (Henceforth MA), Vol. 4. (pp. 184-186), p.186.
125 For further details and a full provisional translation of the Rashḥ-i `amā', see S. Lambden, "An Early Poem of Mīrzā Ḥusayn `Alī Bahā'u'llāh."

The `Iraq Period (1853-1863).

The Tablet of All Food (Lawḥ-i kull a-a'ẓam) is basically a mystical commentary on Qur’ān 3:93, written just prior to Bahā'u'llāh's withdrawal to Iraqi Kurdistan (late 1853 or early 1854) and primarily addressed to Hājjī Mīrzā Kamāl al-Dīn Narāqī (d. c. 1881), a Bābī. 126 Though Sinaitic motifs are present at several points in this Arabic epistle the following paragraph is of particular interest: 127

Since, at this moment, the fire of love surgeth in the heart of al-bahā' (Bahā'u'llāh), the Dove of Servitude singeth in the Heaven of the Divine Cloud, the Bird (lit., Hoopoe; hudhud) of Light warbleth in the midst of the firmaments, the Sinaitic Tree (shajarat al-ṭūr) burneth of itself through the Fire (nār) of its own self above the Ark of the Testimony (tābūt al-shahāda) beyond (Mount) Qāf [in] the Land of Realization (ard al-imdā'), and the Ant of Servitude (nimlat al-`ubūdiyya) hideth in the Vale of the Divine Oneness (wādī al-aḥadiyya) in this "Night" with mystic fidelity, I desire to [further] expound that verse [Qur’ān 3:93]. 128

Here Bahā'u'llāh relates his God-given power to expound the Qur’ān to his ability to transcend earthly limitations and identify with the Sinaitic sphere of his celestial Self. The "Sinaitic Tree" of his spiritual Self is located beyond the mythic Mount Qāf and, like the Burning Bush which was not consumed, generates its own spiritual "Fire" in the "Land of Realization." As the "Ant of Servitude" faithful to the primordial covenant, Bahā'u'llāh takes mystic refuge

126 For further details and a full provisional translation of the "Tablet of All Food," see S. Lambden, "The Tablet of All Food."
127 See my provisional translation of the "Tablet of All Food' in the article mentioned in fn 126, pp. 30, 32, 33.
128 Text in MA 4:274.

during the dark "night" of the period following the Bāb's martyrdom in the Sinaitic "Vale of the Divine Oneness" where divine guidance is available just as it was for Moses. Such, without going into details, appears to be the sense of these somewhat abstruse lines. [111]
During the period of his residence in Sulaymaniyyih in the mid-1850s, Bahā'u'llāh was invited by resident Sufis to compose an ode in the meter and rhyme of Ibn al-Farād's "Ode Rhyming in the Letter Tā' " (Qaṣida al-tā'iyya) or Poem of the Way (Naẓm al-sulūk). This led him to compose around 2,000 Arabic verses and to select 127 of them for circulation. These verses came to be known as the "Ode of the Dove" (al-Qaṣīda al-warqā'iyya). Well characterized as a "fusion of Sufi mysticism with Bābī theological and eschatological teachings," 129 the Ode of the Dove lauds a divine feminine Being who is the locus of prophetological perfections and the beloved celestial "Self" of Bahā'u'llāh (so it seems). Composed in about 1855, the first part of the Ode of the Dove associates the divine Beloved with Moses/Sinai motifs and events. In line 5, her radiance (lum'a) is said to have been responsible for the manifestation of the Sinai of Eternity (ṭūr al-baqā'), and her brilliance (ghurra) the cause of the theophany (tajallī) of the Sinaitic Light of
129 So J. R. Cole in his excellent essay "Bahā'u'llāh and the Naqshbandī Sufis." Bahā'u'llāh's "Ode of the Dove" is published in MA, Vol. 4, pp. 197-209 and in Athār-i qalam-i a`lā, Vol. 3, pp. 196-215 (+ Commentary).

Splendor (nār al-bahā'). 130 Line 8 contains allusions to the quranic accounts of the call of Moses mystically understood:
The very Countenance of Guidance was guided by the Light of her Countenance;
It was through the Fire of her effulgent face that the Self of the Speaker (Moses, nafs al-kalām) was purified. 131
In his Persian commentary on select parts of the Ode of the Dove, Bahā'u'llāh himself expounds this line by setting forth an interesting allegorical account of Moses' call. His comment begins: 132
When Moses purified and sanctified the "foot" (rijl) of His Heavenly Self (lit., Merciful Self; nafs-i raḥmāniyya) which had been deposited in the human temple (haykal-i bashariyya) from the [two] "sandals" (na`layn) of incidental imaginings and drew out the "Hand" of Divine Power from the "Fold" (or "Bosom"; jayb) of Grandeur within the "Cloak" (ridā') of Nobility, he arrived at the [112] holy, goodly, and blessed "Vale" (wādī) of the heart (qalb) which is the seat (lit., locale; buq`a) of the throne (`arsh) of the All-Enduring Theophany (tajallī-yi samadāniyya) and the scene of the Mighty and Lordly Proclamation (taḥallā). And when he reached that region of the Mount (arḍ-i ṭūr) which formed an expanse to the right side of the Luminous Spot (buq`at-i nūr), he inhaled and caught the
130 Qaṣīda…, line 5. Text in Bahā'u'llāh, Athār-i qalam-i a`lā (henceforth AQA), Vol. 3:198.
131 Ibid., line 8. Text in AQA, Vol. 3, p. 197.
132 As indicated the full text of Bahā'u'llāh's commentary on select words and lines of the Ode of the Dove is printed in AQA, Vol. 3.

fragrance of the Spirit from the Eternal Dawning-Place and perceived the Lights of the Eternal Presence from all directions, though directionless. 133
It is here presupposed that Moses' doffing of his "sandals" was his detaching himself from the "incidental imaginings" of his lower self, such that the "foot" of his Divine Self was purified. His snow-white "hand" symbolizes the Divine Power which he manifested from the interior "fold" or "bosom" of the "cloak" of his nobility. The Sinaitic "Vale" entered by Moses was the mystical sphere of his "heart" where he experienced the Divine Theophany (tajallī). From the region of the "Mount" within himself, he caught the fragrance of the Holy Spirit and perceived the "Lights" of divinity. Qur’ān 7:143 is interpreted as an allegory of Moses' interior identification with his Divine Self.
Bahā'u'llāh's mystical midrash continues:
From the warmth of the fragrance of divine love and the "flames" (or firebrands; qabasāt) of the faggots (jadhwāt) of the [Sinaitic] Fire of the Divine Oneness the "Light" of the Divine Identity ("He [God]-ness"; huwiyya) was ignited and blazed forth in the "Lamp" (miṣbāḥ) of His [Moses'] heart, after the veils of the "glass" of [limited] selfhood ("I-ness"; aniyya) had been removed. And after the effacement of the[se] opposing [internal] stations [within Moses] had been realized, he arrived at the "Vale" of Everlasting
133 Text in AQA 3:197.

Awareness (wādī saḥw-yi abadiyya) through [drinking deep of] the Wine of Reunion with the Peerless Countenance and the Pure Beverage of [attainment to] the Eternal Presence. 134 [113]
These lines are rooted in Qur’ān 20:9ff., 27:7ff., and 28:29ff. (cited above) and in the "Light Verse" (Qur’ān 24:35). Moses, perceiving a "Fire" (nār), desired to approach what he thought was a "burning brand" ([shihāb] qabas) or a "faggot" (jadhwa) in the hope of gaining warmth or guidance. For Bahā'u'llāh this episode symbolizes Moses' being warmed and set ablaze within himself by the divine love such that his divine identity (huwiyya) subsumed his personal identity (aniyya). With the effacement of this limited selfhood, Moses attained the Sinaitic "Vale" (wādī) which symbolizes a state of perpetual sobriety or mindfulness, inasmuch as he had drunk of the mystic "wine" of union with the divine.
Further developing the same allegory, Bahā'u'llāh continues:
On account of [His] enraptured yearning for the Attainment of God's Presence (liqā'), He [Moses] became aware of the City of Eternal Delight (madīna-yi dhawq-i baqā'); "He entered the City at a time when its inhabitants were heedless," [Qur’ān 28:15a], observed the "Fire" of the Pre-Existent God (nār allāh al-qadīm), and beamed forth through the "Light" of Almighty God (nār Allāh al-a`ẓam; cf. Qur’ān 24:35; 21:48) just as He [Moses] said to His household, "Tarry ye here; I observe a fire." [Qur’ān 20: 10a, 27:7a, 28:29a].
134 Text in ibid., p. 197-98.

And when He [Moses] discovered and beheld the Countenance of Guidance leading unto primordial subtleties in the "Tree" (shajara) which is neither of the East nor of the West [see Qur’ān 24:35a], the perishable, ephemeral Visage [within Moses] (wajh-i fāni-yi ghayriyya) was ennobled and glorified through attainment unto the permanent All-Enduring Visage (wajh-i bāqi-yi aḥmadiyya) For He could perceive the transcendent, wondrous Visage of Guidance in the blazing "Fire" that was hidden in the inmost hearts [of celestial souls like Moses] (af'ida-yi ghaybiyya). It is thus that He [Moses] said: "… or I shall find at the fire guidance." [Qur’ān 20:10b]. 135
Spiritually desirous of attaining the divine Presence, Moses, we are informed, became aware of a celestial "City" [114] symbolic of the state of "permanent abiding" (in God) (baqā'). On entering this "City," or attaining the highest mystical goal, he perceived the Sinaitic "Fire" and radiated its "Light" (cf. Exodus 34:29ff.) as implied in Qur’ān 20:10a, spiritually interpreted. Having identified with the "Tree" mentioned in Qur’ān 24:35 (seen as the Sinaitic "Tree"), he discovered the "Visage of Guidance" as a result of which he transcended the mystical state of fanā' ("nullification" of human limitations) and assimilated that of baqā' ("permanent abiding" in God). The mysterious "Visage of Guidance" was mirrored in the Sinaitic Fire hidden in the "inmost hearts" of great souls like Moses, as alluded to in Qur’ān 20:10--reflected in line 8 of the Ode of the Dove--in terms of Moses' vision of the "Visage of
135 Ibid., p.198.

Guidance" in the "Fire" of the Sinaitic "Tree" within the Israelite Prophet and his transition from the state of fanā' to that of baqā' which is the highest goal of classical Islamic mysticism. 136
In the latter part of his commentary on line 8 of the Ode of the Dove Bahā'u'llāh quotes Qur’ān 36:80--"[the God] Who produced fire (nār an) for you out of the Green Tree (al-shajarat al-akhar)"--and underlines the depths of mystic wisdom hidden in this verse. Then, commenting on and developing his spiritual interpretation of Moses' Sinaitic experiences, he adds:
By all that hath been mentioned of the level of guidance and the [mystical] stations of the purification of the self [within] (nafs) on the level of Moses . . . naught is intended save the manifestation of these glorious theophanies (tajalliyāt) in the exterior world ('ālam-i ẓāhir). In reality that Holy One [Moses] hath ever been and will ever continue to be guided by the Guidance of God. Nay rather! It was from Him that the very Sun of Guidance beamed forth and the Moon of the Divine Bounty was made manifest. From the depths of His being the [Sinaitic] "Fire" (nār) of Divinity (huwiyya) was ignited and from the "Light" (nār) of His brow the all-enduring radiance (ḍiyā-yi aḥmadiyya) was illumined. The very utterance of [115] that Holy One when questioned by Pharoah about the one killed serveth to resolve any doubts [in this respect] for He [Moses] replied:
136 Cf. A. Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions of Islam, p. 142ff. (+ Index). Worth consulting in terms of the connection between the theology of the "Face" or "Visage" (wajh) and the Sinaitic "Fire" (nār) is the Bāb's unpublished Commentary on the Tradition, "We are the Face of God" (Tafsīr nahnu wajh Allāh) contained in INBA MS 6006C., pp. 69-70 (Photocopy in my possession).

"Indeed, I performed [that deed; i.e., murder or manslaughter] and was reckoned among such as erred. And I fled from you because I feared you [Pharoah]. But my Lord gave me wisdom and numbered me among the Messengers." [Qur’ān 26:20-21]. 137
Bahā'u'llāh here makes it clear that Sufi-type interpretations of Moses' Sinaitic experiences, in which Moses becomes archetypal of transformations within his "self" or of the advanced mystic, do not really apply to Moses the great Prophet of God. The esoteric interpretations he has given to quranic texts are to be understood in terms of the manner in which theophanic disclosures (tajalliyyāt) are appropriated on a worldly level. As a Messenger of God, Moses was himself the locus of the Sinaitic Fire or Light. Outwardly he was a self-confessed murderer, but inwardly a Messenger of God favored with wisdom. 138
Moses/Sinai motifs occur in several further lines of the Ode of the Dove. At line 42, allusion is made to Qur’ān 20:10 when the Sinaitic Fire of the Divine Beloved is depicted as being of far greater moment than the mere "firebrand" (qabasa) seen by Moses:
137 Text in AQA 3:198.
138 It should be noted that Moses' murder of the Egyptian overseer is given a variety of--sometimes esoteric--interpretations in Bahā’ī scripture.

Compared to the Light of my mystery, the mystery of existence is but an ant;
Beside the Fire of my love, the blazing Fire is but a firebrand. 139
In line 46, the female Beloved is pictured as the Divine Being whose theophany before the mountain is described in Qur’ān 7:143:
At my glance the Moses of Eternity (mūsā al-baqā') swooned away;
And at my radiance the Mount (ṭūr) among mountains (al-jibāl) crumbled to dust. 140 [II6]
Her theophany was so stunning that even the archetypal Moses in the most elevated mystic state of "permanent abiding" in God fell into a swoon and the very Sinaitic Mount was levelled. According to line 100, the supernal brilliance of the Sinai Theophany was as naught compared to the glory of the Heavenly Maiden. Bahā'u'llāh has his Divine Beloved declare:
The most-glorious splendor of the Mount (abhā bahā' al-ṭūr) seemeth to Me mere dross;
The most-brilliant radiance of the Light (asnā ḍiyā' al-nūr) appeareth to Me but a shadow. 141
139 Qaṣīda, line 42. Text in AQA, Vol. 3, p. 203. Cf. the interlinear comment of Bahā'u'llāh.
140 Qaṣīda, line 46. Text in ibid., p. 204. Cf. the interlinear comment of Bahā'u'llāh
141 Qaṣīda, line 100. Text in ibid., p. 210. See further Qaṣīda, line 43(b), (Text AQA, Vol. 3, p. 204) and line 111 (Text in ibid., p. 211) and the lengthy comment of Bahā'u'llāh on line 117 (Text in ibid., p. 212).

Moses/Sinai motifs are associated with the Divine Beloved in a good many other poetical and mystical writings of Bahā'u'llāh dating from the period of his withdrawal in Kurdistan (1854-1856) or the following few years. In the fifteenth couplet of his Persian Ode "The Cupbearer of the Invisible Eternity" (c 1855), Bahā'u'llāh's celestial Beloved is pictured as one about whom the "Mount of Moses" (ṭūr-i mūsā) circumambulates. 142 In another poem Moses is said to have hastened to meet her on Sinai: "Out of love for her cheek, Moses hasteneth in the Mystic Mount (ṭūr-i ma`anī)." 143 She is said to have appeared from the Sinaitic sphere--"The Beloved came with the flame of [Mt.] Paran (shu`lay-i fārān) from the most elevated Lote-Tree (sidra-yi a`lā)"-- and to have been manifested through the Sinaitic "Fire", the archetypal "Moses," and the "Trumpet of 'I am Divine' " (the words of the Sinaitic declaration of divinity). 144 In a forty-one-couplet Persian poem, Bahā'u'llāh underlines the loftiness of her discourse in the following terms: "From her `Tree,' I heard that subtlety which Moses did not hear from the Lote-Tree on Sinai (sidra-yi sīnā')." 145 So powerful is the fiery "water" of the stunning Divine Cupbearer
142 Refer, Sāqā az ghayb-i baqā', line 10. Text in MA, Vol. 4, p. 210.
143Text in MA, 4:176-78 (line 7[a] of the poem beginning, Bā jānān jān hamā daryāft… ).
144 Text in MA, 4:179-30. See lines I and 4. Cf., also line 17.
145 Text in MA, 4: 188, 192. See line 27.

(sāqā) that but a "firebrand" (jadhwa) ignited from its flame in the Sinaitic Lote-Tree would suffice to throw one hundred Imranite Moseses into a state of bewildered astonishment. 146 Celebrating the spiritually intoxicating and eschatological [117] consequences of the Divine Beloved's rhythmic chant "O He!" (yā hū), Bahā'u'llāh in yet another Persian poem associates the burning of the "firebrand" (jadhwa) of this invocation on Sinai with the "Moses of the soul" (mūsā-yi jān) falling into a swoon on the "Mystic Mount" (ṭūr-i ma'anī). 147
In explaining the mysteries of the "Light Verse" (Qur’ān 24:35) in his Commentary on the Detached Letters (of the Qur’ān) Tafsīr ḥurūfāt al-muqaṭṭa`ah (c. 1857-8?), Bahā'u'llāh sets forth an interesting mystically oriented account of the call of Moses which begins: 148
When Moses had completed the appointed term in the Midian of Origination (madyan al-inshā'), He returned to His people and entered the environs of Sinai in the Holy Vale (wādī al-quds) at the right side of the spot of Paradise (buq`at al-firdaws) nigh unto the Shore of Eternity (shāṭī al-baqā'), whereupon He heard the [divine] call from the Supreme Realm, from the retreat of the Divine Ipseity (shaṭr al-huwiyya):
146 See the poem beginning Sāqā bidih ābā… in MA, 4:192-4, line 4. Cf. also line 11.
147 See the poem beginning, Mastand bulbulān zi naghmay-i yā hāy-i ā in MA, Vol. 4, pp. 194-6, lines 5-6.
148 The text of Bahā'u'llāh's Commentary on the Detached Letters is printed in MA, Vol. 4, pp. 49-80. Cf., the more reliable text in INBA. Xerox coll., Vol. 36 (also consulted).

"O Moses! Behold! What dost thou see? I, verily, am God your Lord and the Lord of-Thy fathers Ishmael, Isaac, and Jacob."
Moses then veiled his face out of fear of God, the Mighty, the Powerful, the Self-Subsisting. 149
This paragraph is rooted in the quranic accounts of the call of Moses, and in Qur’ān 7:143. Moses' appointed term in Midian symbolizes a period of mystic initiation or "origination." The Holy Vale is located to the "right side" of Paradise and the form of the declaration of divinity is indebted to Qur’ān 7:143 and 2:133 (where mention is made of "God of thy fathers Abraham, Ishmael, and Isaac….").
After mentioning Moses' veiling his face, Bahā'u'llāh's account continues as follows:
Again was He [Moses] summoned before the Shore of the Ocean of [the Divine] Grandeur in the Crimson Dome (qubbat al-amrā'): "Lift up, O Moses, your head!"
[118] And when He lifted it up, He saw a Light (nūr) blazing and radiant from the Furthermost Tree (shajarat al-quṣwā) in the Green Vale (wādī al-khuḍrā'). Thus was He guided unto the Most Great Guidance through the Fire (nār) kindled from the Lote-Tree of Eternity (sidrat al-baqā'). He then doffed the [two] sandals of base passion (na`layn al-hawā') and detached Himself from the latter stage (the hereafter) and [from] this first stage (this world).
All this is that which God had decreed for Him [Moses], even as thou hast been informed in the [scriptural] Tablets. Thus
149 Text in MA, 4: 53-4.

was His Cause raised up and His remembrance exalted. He [Moses] was among those who, through the Lights of the [Sinaitic] Fire, turned their faces towards the paths of justice. Such is that which was ordained for Moses, son of `Imrān [Amram], in the Dome of Time (qubbat al-zamān), if thou are of such as are informed. Unto this beareth witness the Paran of Love (fārān al-ḥubb) upon the Paran of Fire (fārān al-nār) in the Horeb of Holiness (hūrīb al-quds) and the Sinai of Nearness (sīnā' al-qurb), if thou shouldst scan the Scrolls of Justice with the eye of God. 150
Going beyond the quranic accounts, Bahā'u'llāh here has God summon Moses from the celestial sphere and command him to lift up his veiled face. On so doing, Moses visions the Light emanating from the Sinaitic Tree depicted as the "Furthermost Tree" in a green or verdant "Vale." He was thus guided to the Sinaitic Fire kindled in the "Lote-Tree of Eternity" and doffed both his sandals on approaching it (an act symbolic of his detachment from all limitations). Such events were foreordained and are described in Scripture. The very Sinaitic realities witness their veracity.
Having outlined in esoteric tone the episode of the call of Moses, Bahā'u'llāh goes on to relate these Sinaitic events to the person and call of the Prophet Muhammad and to the Light Verse (Qur’ān 24:35). He states that the countenance of the Arabian Prophet beamed with the "Light of the Divine Oneness" (nār al-aḥadiyya). The "Fire of the Divine Ipseity" (nār al-huwiyya)
150 Text in ibid., p. 54.

was kindled in his "Self" (nafs) and the "Fire [119] of the Lote-Tree" (nār al-sidrat) blazed forth in his breast. In a state of spiritual rapture he, like Moses, heard the call from the "Tree of humanity" (shajarat al-insān) in his being in the form: "He, verily, is Thou Who art God, the King, the Protector, the Mighty, the Holy." As the mouthpiece of God, Muhammad experienced and proclaimed his divinity within the Sinai of his celestial "Self."
This, Bahā'u'llāh says, Muhammad wanted to communicate to the Jews. He desired that his contemporaries understand that Sinaitic events had again come to pass within his "Self" and that he occupied an exalted station. If the Jews could realize that the "mysteries of the Divine Oneness (asrār al-aḥadiyya) now shone forth in the "Tree of his Self" (shajarat nafsihi), they would be able to detach themselves from "the Fire (al-nār) which was revealed in glory (tajallat) in the Sinai of the Decree (sinā' al-ḥukm) unto the Moses of the Cause (mūsā al-amr)" and convert from Judaism to Islam. It was to this end that God inspired Muhammad with the Light Verse, which was "a proof unto those who were given the Torah and a guidance unto those who were guided by the Lights of Guidance in the Muhammadan Lote-Tree" (sidrat al-Muhammadiyya, the Prophet Muhammad). 151
151 See ibid., pp. 54-5.

In the Commentary on the Detached Letters, Bahā'u'llāh further teaches that God commanded Moses to inform his followers about the advent of the Prophet Muhammad, to announce unto the Jews "this [Islamic] Sinai in this Aḥmadian [Sinaitic] locale (al-buq`a al-Aḥmadiyya, the Prophet Muhammad)." This is indicated in the following quranic verse: "We, verily, sent Moses with our signs [and the command to]: `Bring the people from the darkness unto the light (an-nār) and announce unto them the Days of God.'" (Qur’ān 14:5) Bahā'u'llāh also explains that while Moses was guide by the "Fire of the [Sinaitic] Tree in the region of the right side of the Vale" and was among those who entered the "blessed locale" (al-buq`a al-mubāraka), the Prophet Muhammad was [I20] capable of transforming fire (nār) into light (nār) and guiding whomsoever he desired unto this light. Key terms in the Light Verse are symbolic of the being of the Arabian Prophet:
Then know that the position (or station; maqām) of the "Niche" in this verse is His Self (nafs), the "Lamp" His resplendent heart and the "Glass" His sanctified [human] temple (haykal) in which the luminary of the Divine Oneness beams forth. The "light" (al-nār) shines forth and radiates from Him [Muhammad] and from Him derives the splendor of all who are in the heavens and upon earth.152
152 Text in ibid., p. 55.

For Bahā'u'llāh, Moses' Sinaitic experience of God took place again in the being of the Prophet Muhammad whose exalted status is indicated in the Light Verse. The Sinaitic "Tree" and "Fire" correspond to the "Blessed Tree" or Olive and to the "Light"--viewed as the Muhammadan Light (nār al-Muhammadiyya) - of Qur’ān 24:35. 153
Originally entitled the "Scroll of Fāṭimah" (Ṣaḥīfa-yi Fāṭimiyya) and consisting of a collection of Persian and Arabic utterances couched in the form of the "Divine Saying" (ḥadīth qudsī), a few of Bahā'u'llāh's subsequently titled "Hidden Words" (Kalimāt-i maknānih, c. 1857-8) utilize Moses/Sinai imagery. 154 In the sixtieth Arabic Hidden Word, Bahā'u'llāh exhorts the "Son of Man" (ibn al-insān, human beings collectively) to mystically repeat the miracle of Moses' snow-white hand. By putting his "hand" into the divine "bosom" (jayb), man may experience the radiant theophany of God from his own bosom:
O Son of Man!
153 See further Commentary on the Detached Letters, text in ibid., p. 55ff.
154 For the text of The Hidden Words, see Majmā'ay-i alwā-i mubāraka (Henceforth, MAM), p.17ff. (Arabic), 373ff. (Persian). Shoghi Effendi's English translation of the text has been published many times. In the notes to follow, I refer to Bahā'u'llāh, The Hidden Words (London: Bahā’ī Publishing Trust, 1932[1975

Put thy hand into My bosom, that I may arise above thee, radiant and resplendent. 155
The sixty-third Arabic Hidden Word reads as follows: [121]
O Son of Man!
The light (al-nār) hath shone on thee from the horizon of the sacred Mount (al-ṭūr) and the spirit of enlightenment (rūḥ al-sanā’) hath breathed in the Sinai of thy heart. Wherefore free thyself from the veils of idle fancies and enter into My court, that thou mayest be fit for everlasting life (al-baqā') and worthy to meet Me (al-liqā’). Thus may death not come upon thee, neither weariness nor trouble. 156
The implication is that human beings should, having experienced the light of the Divine Theophany in the Sinaitic sphere of their hearts (presumably in mystic preeternity), purify themselves so as to be fit for immortal life and the eschatological encounter with God.
Islamic theologians and mystics have, on the basis of certain Qur’ānic texts (for example, Qur’ān 7:172ff. and 20:115), written about God's taking of a covenant with human souls in primordial times or in mystic preeternity, a covenant which mankind came to forget or ignore. In his seventy-first Persian
155 Text in MAM, p. 29; trans., Bahā'u'llāh, The Hidden Words, p. 18. In the quranic account (20:18-25; 28:33-36) of the episode of the epiphany on Mount Sinai, there is mention of two signs that were given to Moses so that he could demonstrate his power to Pharoah: his rod that turned into a serpent, and his hand which turned white when he drew it out of his jayb (bosom, sleeve, cloak).
156 Text in ibid., p. 30, trans., Bahā'u'llāh, The Hidden Words, P. 19

Hidden Word, Bahā'u'llāh alludes to this ancient covenant and refers to the region where it was made as "Mount Paran" (jabal fārān, mystically, Mt. Sinai) in the "hallowed precincts of Zaman" or the "blessed [Sinaitic] locale of Time" (buq`a-yi mubāraka-yi zamān):
O My Friends!
Call ye to mind that covenant (`ahd) ye have entered into with Me upon Mount Paran, situate within the hallowed precincts of Zamān. I have taken to witness the concourse on high and the dwellers of the city of eternity yet now none do I find faithful unto the covenant. Of a certainty pride and rebellion have effaced it from the hearts, in such wise that no trace thereof remaineth. Yet, knowing this I waited and disclosed it not. 157
Though this Hidden Word cannot be discussed in detail, it should be noted that `Abdu'l-Bahā has commented on it in [122] several of his epistles. In one Arabic letter, he identifies the covenant made on Mt. Paran with that made with all human souls outside of time (cf. zamān). The great Messengers of God make a covenant about the Prophet who will succeed them: "Consider Moses, He who conversed with God. Verily, upon Mount Sinai, Moses entered into a Covenant regarding the Messiah [Jesus] with all those souls who would live in the day of the Messiah. And those souls, although they appeared many centuries after Moses, were nevertheless--so far as the
157 Text in ibid., p. 394; trans., Bahā'u'llāh, The Hidden Words, pp. 46-7

Covenant, which is outside time, was concerned--present there with Moses. The Jews, however, were heedless of this and remembered it not, and thus they suffered a great and clear loss." 158 In a Persian letter, this same covenant is identified as that made by the "Supreme Pen" (Bahā'u'llāh) in the primordial Sinaitic realm; "the Blessed Spot (buq`at-i mubāraka), the Paran of the love of God (fārān-i muḥabbat Allāh), the Dome of Time (qubbat-i zamān)." 159 What `Abdu'l-Bahā apparently had in mind was his father's covenant appointing him as the head of the Bahā’ī community, for in another Persian letter he writes: "This Covenant and Testament is that which the Blessed Beauty [Bahā'u'llāh] made with the Supreme Pen in the Holy Land in the shade of the Tree of Life and which became known after his ascension [in 1892]." 160 Mount Paran in the Sinaitic sphere of the "Dome of Time" is interpreted as the "Holy Land"; the Mount Carmel/`Akkā-Haifa area (mystically, the "New Sinai"), where Bahā'u'llāh wrote his Book of My Covenant (Kitāb al-ahdī) appointing `Abdu'l-Bahā his successor. 161
158 Translation cited from 'Abdu'l-Bahā, Selections, p. 207.
159 Persian text cited in Payām-i bahā'i, No. 25, p. 4
160 Text in MA, Vol. 2, p. 56
161 For some further details about the interpretation of this Hidden Word, see Payām-i bahā'i, No. 25, p. 4. Cf. MA, 9:133.

Bahā'u'llāh's well-known Book of Certitude (Kitāb-i āqān, c. 1861-2) contains an interesting paragraph about the mission and rejection of Moses. It begins:
And when His [Abraham's] day was ended, there came the turn of Moses. Arrned with the rod of celestial dominion (`aṣa-yi amr), adorned with the white-hand of divine knowledge (bayā-yi ma'rifat [I23] and proceeding from the Paran of the love of God (fārān-i muḥabbat-i ilāhiyya), and wielding the serpent of power and everlasting majesty (thu`bān-i qudrat wa shawkat-i aḥmadāniyya), He shone forth from the Sinai of light (sīnā'-yi nūr) upon the world. 162
Here motifs associated with Moses' Sinaitic encounter with God and miraculous powers are, in Sufi fashion and by means of genitive expressions, made vehicles for the expression of the mystic greatness of the Israelite Prophet.
In illustration of God's manner of testing his creatures, Bahā'u'llāh also narrates the story of Moses' murder of an Egyptian and of his flight to Midian where he entered the service of Shu`ayb, (the biblical Jethro in many Islamic sources):
While returning [from Egypt to Midian], Moses entered the holy vale (wādī-yi mubāraka), situate in the wilderness of Sinai, and there beheld the vision of the King of Glory (sulṭān-i aḥadiyya) from the
162 Text in Kitāb-i igān, pp. 8-9; trans., Bahā'u'llāh, The Kitāb-i iqān, The Book of Certitude, p. 8

"Tree that belongeth neither to the East nor to the West." [Qur’ān 24:35] There he heard the soul-stirring and spiritual call from the lordly and enkindled Fire, bidding him to shed upon Pharaohic souls the light of divine guidance. 163
The Burning Bush is here the "Tree" neither of the East nor the West of the Light Verse, from which Moses beheld the "Sovereign of the Divine Oneness" or (loosely) "King o Glory." Read in context, it will be evident that Bahā'u'llāh' account spills over into allegory and goes beyond the quranic texts. 164
Like the Book of Certitude, Bahā'u'llāh's Arabic epistle to the Bābī Sayyid Ja`far Yazdī, the Sura of the Counsel (Sūrat al-nush, c. 1861-2) opens with an account of the rejection of various past messengers of God. The account of Moses' ca]l reads as follows: 165
Then . . . We sent Moses . . . We caused Him to attain unto the Precinct of Holiness (shāi al-quds) in the seat of Paradise (buq`at [124] al-firdaws) and enabled Him to enter the Sinai of the Cause (sīnā' al-amr) and the Horeb of the Spirit (hūrīb al-rūḥ). Then We cried out unto Him from beyond the 70,000 veils; from the Lote-Tree of Eternity (sidrat al-baqā') by the majestic ocean of the fathomless deep: "O Moses! I, verily, am God, Thy Lord and the Lord of Thy fathers, Ishmael, Isaac and Jacob." This is My Beauty
163 Text in ibid., p. 42; trans., ibid., p. 35 (adapted).
164 For full details, see text pp. 41-3; trans., pp. 35-6.
165 A good but not very legible text of Bahā'u'llāh's Sura of the Counsel is contained in INBA. Xerox coll., Vol. 36, pp. 242-68 and an incomplete and unreliable text in the same series Vol. 87, pp. 127. I have consulted both texts, but shall refer to the former only in the notes to follow.

(jamālā) which We have unveiled before Thee. So behold! What dost Thou see?" Thus have We bestowed Our Bounty upon Thee and completed Our favor unto Thee. Thou shouldst become inflamed with this [Sinaitic] Fire (al-nār) that perchance, in the Days of God, the people might be set ablaze with the fire of love (nār al-ḥuhb). 166
Here, as in the Commentary on the Detached Letters (see above), Moses' call is transcendentalized. It is understood to have been Moses' visionary experience of the God of the patriarchs. Moses heard God's call from beyond the seventy thousand veils which, according to a well-known Islamic tradition, surround Him. He had a vision of the unveiled Beauty (jamāl) of God (cf. Qur’ān 7:143) and was commissioned to communicate to his contemporaries something of the radiance of the Sinaitic Fire (al-nār) and to infuse into their hearts the fire of love, to the end that they might be receptive to truth in eschatological times when God, the Sinaitic Speaker, will be manifested. As in other writings of Bahā'u'llāh, the Sinaitic Fire is reckoned to have been the fire of the love of God experienced by Moses. Moses' mission is to communicate this "fire" of love for the Sinaitic Divinity to his contemporaries.
166 Text in INBMC (= Xerox coll.) Vol. 36, pp. 247-8.

His vision was an esoteric experience of the eschatological Savior or the person of the Bāb. 167
In the Sura of the Counsel and other writings, Bahā'u'llāh pictures the call to prophethood of various messengers of God in Sinaitic terms. Noah for example, is said to have come from the "Paran of Light" (fārān al-nār) only to have been rejected by his contemporaries. 168 In the Sura of Patience (Sūrat al-Ṣabr, 1863) the call of the prophet Job is expressed in the following terms: 125]
… We gave him [Job] refuge in the shade of the Tree of Holiness (shajarat al-quds) in his inmost heart (fu'ād). We caused him to witness the [Sinaitic] Fire (al-nār) which was ignited and beamed forth in his inmost reality and We manifested the theophanic glory (tajallaynā) before him, through and unto his own Self (nafs) and made him to cry out in the blessed region of the Throne (buq`a lit., spot or locale) of God (fī buq`at Allāh burika awlihā) [cf. Qur’ān 27:7ff.], "He, verily, is God, thy Lord and the Lord of all things. Wherefore is He One, Powerful, Self-Subsisting."
And when his [Job's] face was illumined by the Fire (al-nār) which blazed forth within him, We clothed him in the garment of
167 Cf. text in ibid., p. 248, where Bahā'u'llāh states: "Then We commanded him [Moses] that he should mention unto them [his contemporaries] My [God's] Days; the moment to come (min ba`da al-ān) [cf. Qur’ān 38:88] when veils shall be burned away through Our power and the Countenance of the Spirit (al-ṭal'at al-rūḥ) shall come in clouds of light [cf. Qur’ān 2:210] with the name of `Alī [`Ali Muhammad, the Bāb]; as [thou knowest] if thou art of those that are informed." Here Moses' mission is to announce unto the peoples the eschatological advent of the Bāb.
168 See text in ibid., p. 244.

prophethood and commanded him that he direct the people unto the Shore of Bounty and Grace. 169
Like that of Moses, Job's call was his interior experience of God. The suffering prophet experienced the Divine Theophany (cf. Qur’ān 7:143) and went forth with beaming countenance having been illumined by the Sinaitic Fire within himself.
Towards the end of his days in Baghdad, Bahā'u'llāh composed a considerable number of poetic, devotional, and rhythmic writings that all but spell out his claim to independent prophethood and leadership of the Bābā community. Certain of these writings are rich in Moses/Sinai motifs. In "Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice! O Glad Tidings" (Halih Halih Halih, Yā bishārat, late 1862 or early 1863?) for example, we read:
The Maid of Eternity came from the Exalted Paradise; . . .
With Snow-White Hand, with Raven Locks, like the Dragon [rod
in the form of a serpent] of Moses she came; . . .
With Guiding Light from the Morn of Meeting [with God], with
Mount Sinai she came; …
This Eternal Countenance came with Snow-White Hand from the
Divine Command … 170
169 Text in Ishrāq Khāvarī, Risāla ayyām-i tis`ah, p. 282
170 For the text and full provisional translation, see Lambden, "A Tablet of Bahā'u'llāh of the Late Baghdad Period."

Possibly composed around the same time are the following select lines from an unpublished poetic composition which may have been written by Bahā'u'llāh for his disciple Darvāsh Sidq-`Alī Qazvīnī (d. `Akkā c. 1880 ?): [126]
The Sinaitic Lote-Tree crieth out with the tongue of "I, verily, am God";
So, Blessed be thou who hast hearkened unto its melodies.
The Divine Fire blazeth forth from the Sinaitic Lote-Tree
And saith to the Moses of spirit, "I, verily, am God, thy God and the God of all the worlds";
So, Blessed be thou who hast, through the ear of Reality, hearkened unto its intimate discourse and hast, through the eye of the Fire, visioned such flames as are within it.
This is the Tree of Holiness which hath been planted in the Sinai of the Spirit and crieth out, "He, verily, is God, no God is there except Him";
So, Blessed be the one who hath hearkened unto its sweet songs, sought shelter beneath its shade, and derived sustenance from its fruits. 171
Like the Bāb, Bahā'u'llāh came to express his claim to Prophethood by representing himself as the Sinaitic "Tree," "Fire," and "Speaker." A good many writings of the late Baghdad and early Adrianople (Edirne) period are written in a rhyming Arabic prose and express a Sinaitic theology which
171Text (beginning Shams-i jamāl-i ilāhī.) in INBA, Xerox coll., Vol. 32: 31-4 (lines 4, 12 and 25).

echoes that of the Qayyūm al-asmā'. Of interest in this respect are the following extracts from an untitled epistle:
Say: O People! Hearken unto the Call of God from this Elevated and Blessed Tree (shajarat, Bahā'u'llāh) which hath sprung up from the Land of Holiness…" He, verily, is God, no God is there except Him." Thus was the [divine] Command made manifest from the Tree of Fire (Burning Bush, or shajarat al-nār) in the Luminous [Sinaitic] Seat (lit., Locale of Light; buq`at al-nūr) . . .
Say: He hath revealed His glory (tajallā) upon this Tablet (lawḥ) through the Beloved Lights of Holiness (anwār al-quds).
Say: When God revealed His glory upon the Mountain it was crushed to dust … but God made this Tablet the scene of His Theophany (tajallā) at this moment. He revealed His glory (tajallī) upon it through the Ancient Beauty (jamāl al-qadām, Bahā'u'llāh) in accordance with that which was manifested from this Pen. 172 [127]
Among other points of interest it should be noted that Bahā'u'llāh here contrasts the inability of the Sinaitic mountain to withstand the Divine Theophany with his power of revelation as the vehicle of the Divine Theophany.
The Constantinople-Adrianople Period (1863-1868).
Several important writings of Bahā'u'llāh date from the four-month period that he spent in Constantinople (Istanbul) during the latter part of 1863.
172 Text in INBA, Xerox coll., Vol. 36, p. 24. Cf. also the epistles of Bahā'u'llāh in ibid., pp. 87-8 (to the sister of Hajī Sayyid Muhammad) and p. 93 (to Sayyid Muhammad Kāẓim in al-Ṣād [Isfahān]).

The well-known Mathnawī of over three hundred couplets was composed during these months at the Ottoman capital. 173 Like several of the poetic writings of the late Baghdad period, it is rich in Moses/Sinai imagery. In line 15, the Divine Beloved is pictured as the source of the Sinaitic light: from her "cheek" the "lights of the Mount" (anwār-i ṭūr) may be witnessed. 174 The Divine Beloved alludes to the tremendous spiritual power of Bahā'u'llāh's not-yet-fully-disclosed revelation in the following terms at line 184ff.:
O Bahā'u'llāh! As Thy Fire was kindled, the harvest of the existence of the lovers was burned up. A single spark from such a Fire Thou didst cast upon the hearts. And lo! one-hundred thousand Lote-Trees Thou didst cause to spring up upon Sinai. Thus within every heart there appeared many a Lote-Tree.
O Moses! Thou shouldst hasten to this spot, rushing headlong so that Thou mayest behold with all Thy being the mystic fire of God and thus escape from the Copts. 175
If Bahā'u'llāh disclosed the full measure of the Sinaitic "fire" of his revelation human hearts would be devastated. A mere spark of this "fire" is powerful enough to kindle onehundred-thousand Sinaitic Lote-Trees. It could result in Lote-Trees springing up in all human hearts such that seekers after
173 The text of Bahā'u'llāh's Mathnawī is printed in AQA, Vol 3, pp. 160-192.
174 See Mathnavī, line 15, in AQA, Vol. 3, p. 161. Cf., line 41 in ibid., p. 164.
175 Mathnavī, lines 184-187, in AQA, Vol. 3, p. 178.

truth--symbolized by Moses--could envision the Beloved One, and thus escape from the forces of the lower self or ungodliness--symbolized by the Copts (that is, Egyptians, enemies of Moses). [128]
Symbolizing the spiritual wayfarer, Moses is addressed by the Divine Beloved at line 197ff. of the Mathnawī. He is exhorted to come up to the "Mount of the Beloved" (ṭūr-i jān) bereft of "shoe" (na`l) and "cloak" (rāda'), or "naked" (`uryān) of the trappings of this world. This, so that he might be initiated into the "secrets of the [Sinaitic] Fire" (asrār-i nār), "the Fire which emergeth from the ringlet of the Friend" (zulf-i yār) and which consumes all (limited) aspects of the lover's being. It was the "Fire" of the "ringlet" of the Divine Beloved that was manifested on Mount Paran (fārān, symbolically, Sinai). 176
As in the Ode of the Dove, several lines of Bahā'u'llāh's Mathnawī picture the Divine Beloved as manifesting the perfections of Moses and the glory of Sinai to a superlative degree. The "staff" or "rod" (`aṣā') of Moses, it is indicated, was derived from the tree of an orchard or fashioned from water and clay. That of the Heavenly Maiden, on the other hand, was a "sword" in the "Hand of the Absolute" which originated with the "Command of the Absolute." It is associated with the Sinaitic Fire kindled from her Flame and
176 See Mathnavī, lines 197-201, in AQA, Vol. 3, pp. 179-80.

capable of burning away the veils of perfidy and falsehood. The Fire of Moses was manifest from the Lote-Tree of the Divine Beloved. It was her bosom which was the mystic Sinai and her Fire that was the Sinaitic "Light of the Friend" (nār-i dāst). She manifested the Snow-White Palm or Hand and enshrined the Mount in her heart. 177
It has been noted that Bahā'u'llāh associates the "ringlets" (zulf) of the Divine Beloved with the flames of the Sinaitic Fire. Though most likely written considerably later than the Mathnawī, there are a number of his writings in which his own "ringlets," "locks," and "tresses" of hair are linked with Sinaitic imagery. In one epistle he speaks of his hair as "My Messenger," "My Phoenix," "My Cord," and "My Veil" while introducing paragraphs expressive of his position as intermediary between God and man. While Sufi poets celebrated [I29] the tresses of the Divine Beloved, Bahā'u'llāh came to express his claims in terms of the symbolic senses of his flowing locks of hair:
My hair is My Phoenix. Therefore hath it set itself upon the blazing fire of My Face and receiveth sustenance from the garden of My Countenance. This is the station wherein the Son of `Imrān [Moses] removed from the feet of selfish desire the coverings of attachment
177 For full details, see Mathnavī, lines 202-219, in AQA, Vol. 3, pp. 180-182. See also lines 109 (p. 171); 119 (p. 172); 232 (p. 183); 266 (p. 186); and 319 (p. 192).

to all else but Him and was illumined by the splendors of the Light of Holiness in the undying Fire kindled by God, the Potent, the Gracious, the Ever-Forgiving.
O denizens of the everlasting Realm! Let your ears be attentive to the stirrings of this restless and agitated hair, as it moveth upon the Sinai of Fire, within the precincts of Light, this celestial Seat of divine Revelation. Indeed, there is no God besides Me …178
Every single hair of Mine head calleth out that which the Burning Bush uttered on Sinai. 179
As the Being who spoke from the Burning Bush or Sinaitic Fire Bahā'u'llāh pictures his hair as having uttered the declaration of divinity heard by Moses.
During the almost five years that Bahā'u'llāh resided at Edirne (Adrianople, between 1863 and 1868), he wrote or dictated a large number of revelations and gradually disclosed the full measure of his claims. Many of the epistles written during these years contain paragraphs expressive of a Sinaitic theology and expound such eschatologically oriented verses of the Qayyūm al-asmā' and other writings of the Bāb as have already been discussed.
178 Translation from an inclusion accompanying a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to Mr. James Norquay, dated February 4, 1981. Extracts from this "Tablet" of Bahā'u'llāh were read at a Bahā’ī Convention held in the United States when some locks of Bahā'u'llāh's hair were presented as a gift from Shoghi Effendi (see [American] Bahā'i News, No. 121 (Dec. 1938) p. 11 [including an older translation]).
179 From Bahā'u'llāh's Tablet to Napoleon III (early `Akkā period), partly trans. by Shoghi Effendi, as cited in Bahā'u'llāh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 53..

Qur’ān 7:143 and that paragraph of the twenty-eighth Sura of the Qayyūm al-asmā' related to this verse are interpreted in terms of Bahā'u'llāh's manifestation as the following select annotated translations must suffice to illustrate: [130]
a) From the Sura of the Servants (Sūrat al-`ibād, c. 1864):
… And when the set time of concealment was fulfilled, We manifested from behind the myriad veils of light an infinitesimal glimmer of a light of the lights of the Face of the Youth, and lo, the dwellers of the Realms above fell into a swoon … 180
Bahā'u'llāh here alludes to his advent in terms of the theophany of the light of his "Face" which caused celestial souls to swoon away. It is implied that the eschatologically oriented paragraph of Qayyūm al-asmā', Sura 28, found fulfillment during the Baghdad period of his ministry, when only a few Bābās were privy to his divine status.
b) From the Sura of the Robe (Sūrat al-qamīṣ, c. 1865):
O Delight of the Spirit! The polytheists have been in doubt about Thy Cause, despite the fact that We enabled Thee [Bahā'u'llāh] to cry out in the accents of the Remembrance (al-dhikr) before the
180 Text in AQA, Vol. 4, p. 25; trans. Bahā'u'llāh, Gleanings, pp. 74-5 (No. XXXI; adapted).

Dawning-Place of Light in this Theophany (al-ẓuhūr) which hath beamed forth in this Mount (al-ṭūr) …
O denizens of Existence! Hearken unto the melodies of God in the midst of the Garden of Paradise from the Lote-Tree of Holiness (sidrat al-quds; Bahā'u'llāh) planted in the Land of Za'farān (Saffron) by the Hand of the All-Merciful.
Say: By God! A single melody therefrom caused the Theophany (tajallī) of the Light (al-nūr) to appear upon the Elevated Mount, on the Sinai of Holiness (sīnā al-quds) beyond the Abyss of Intimacy (lujjat al-uns) before Moses, the Speaker, situate in the Heights of Eternity nigh unto the Lote-Tree of the Extremity through this Blazing, Yellow [Sinaitic] Fire (al-nār). "I, verily, am God, thy Lord and the Lord of thy forefathers. Verily, He hath encompassed all the worlds." 181
It is here presupposed that Bahā'u'llāh speaks with the voice of the Remembrance whose advent is anticipated by the Bāb at various points in the Qayyūm al-asmā'. Like the Remembrance, he reveals verses from the "Mount" of his being in the new Bahā’ī theophany or dispensation (ẓuhūr). From [131] the "Land of Saffron (zafarān)"--by which the saffron colored Sinaitic Light or the town of Adrianople might be indicated 182 --he, as the "Lote Tree of Holiness," voices divine melodies. Through him the theophany of the Sinaitic Light was realized before Moses (cf. Qur’ān 7:143), for he
181 Text in AQA 4:34,36
182 See further below, p.130ff.

proclaimed his divinity from the all-encompassing blazing, yellow light of the Sinaitic Fire.
In the lines following those translated above, Bahā'u'llāh `dwells on the stunning results of his theophany before Moses. He speaks of his manifestation as that of the "Beauty of God" (jamāl Allāh) before which all souls in the dominion of God were thunderstruck or fell into a swoon. Alluding to the yellow color of the Sinaitic Light, he also pictures himself as the "Yellow Thread" (al-khayt al-ṣafrā') which he explains: " … hath beamed forth in this Heaven; divulged glory (tajallī) upon this Divine Cloud (al-`amā'), and been made manifest in crimson hue (bi-lawn al-ḥamrā') in the midst of this Eternity (al-baqā')." 183 The implication is that the glory of Bahā'u'llāh's theophany was the radiating of the yellow Sinaitic light and the crimson Sinaitic fire mentioned in the Qayyūm al-asmā' and other writings of the Bāb.
Clear reference to Qur’ān 7:143 and to Qayyūm al-asmā' 28, is made in the following excerpt from the Sura of the Robe:
Say: By God! The Primal Beauty (jamāl al-ūlā) hath once again been made manifest and hath shed the glory (tajallī) of but an infinitesimal glimmer of a light (nār) of the lights (anwār) of His Face upon such as inhabit the heavens and the earth. And, lo, before this
183 See for details, Bahā'u'llāh, Sura of the Robe, text in AQA, Vol. 4, pp. 36-37.

effulgent and transcendent Beauty (al-jamāl; Bahā'u'llāh), the inhabitants of the Mount (a-āriyyān) swooned away upon the Elevated Mount (al-ṭūr) after We had announced this Cause unto them in mighty, preserved Tablets. So recite thou all that which hath been revealed by Our Primal Beauty [the Bāb] in the Qayyūm al-asmā' [Sura 28] that thou mayest comprehend the secret of the Cause regarding this Mystery which was veiled behind many mysteries. 184 [132]
As the return of the "Primal Beauty" manifest in the Bāb, Bahā'u'llāh claims to have divulged the glory (tajallā) of a mere glirnmer of the Sinaitic lights of his Face. This stunning theophany, anticipated in the Qayyūm al-asmā', caused the mysterious Sinaites or "inhabitants of the Mount" (al-ṭūriyyūn) to swoon away.
At yet another point in the Sura of the Robe, we read:
… then purify the mirrors of thine hearts that the theophany of the lights of this Beauty (al-jamāl) may be realized …
Say: By God! The inhabitants of the Mount (al-ṭūriyyūn) have fallen into a swoon on the Sinai of the Cause (sīnā al-amr). The denizens of the heavenly Kingdom (lit. realm of Unknowing; al-`amā'iyyūn) have taken flight before this Divine Lion [cf. Qur’ān 74:51]. Spiritual souls (al-rūḥiyyūn) expire on account of this Terror which hath unsettled all things; save those who have been seized by the Hand of the Divine Bounty on the part of One Mighty and Powerful. 185
184 Text in AQA 4:50
185 Text in ibid., p. 56. Cf. also ibid., pp. 46, 49, 52, 54.

The inhabitants of Sinai or the Mount, among other exalted beings, have been powerfully influenced by the manifestation of Bahā'u'llāh.
c) From the Sura of the Divine Bounty (Sūrat al-Faḍl, c. 1865?):
The manifestations of existence (maẓāhir al-wujūd) hath assuredly been humbled before My Sovereignty. All traces hath been obliterated before My Sign. All skins have been made to creep on account of My overpowering Majesty. Before the manifestation of the Lights of My beaming, sanctified, mighty and luminous Face, the inhabitants of the Mount (al-ṭūriyyūn) were annihilated upon the Elevated Sinai. 186
Alluding to various eschatological prophecies contained in the Qur’ān and to Qayyūm al-asmā', Sura 28, Bahā'u'llāh here underlines the exaltedness of his theophany. [133]
d) From the Sura of the Wrathful One (Sūrat al-qahār, c. 1867.?):
Hearken unto that which We sent down through the tongue of 'Alā before Nabāl [the Bāb] …
We, verily announced [in Qayyūm al-asmā', Sura 28] unto the servants [the Bābīs] Our latter manifestation [Bahā'u'llāh]. And we manifested the Mystery (as-sirr) to an infinitesimal degree such that the dwellers on the Mount (al-ṭūriyyūn) were made to expire. When We manifested Our Self once again with the name of Abhā (the Most Glorious), We decreed that the Mystery be fully disclosed. Before We manifested it, however, the dwellers on the Mount (al-
186 Translated from an unpublished manuscript (photocopy in this author’s possession).

ṭūriyyūn) swooned away, just as thou hast heard, for thou art one possessed of a hearing ear. But in spite of this [theophany], these souls [Bābās] did not restrain themselves. They opposed Us ... 187
Part of Qayyūm al-asmā', Sura 28, is quoted here--after the first sentence translated above--and commented upon in this interesting Tablet. The "dwellers on the Mount" (al-ṭūriyyūn), who swooned away and then expired before the Sinaitic disclosure of the "Mystery" of Bahā'u'llāh's divinity, are identified as followers of the Bāb, a number of whom came to oppose the emergent Bahā’ī revelation. Bahā'u'llāh pictures himself as the return of the Bāb, with the name abhā' (the all-glorious; the superlative of bahā', glory), who gradually disclosed the secret of his theophany.
Reference to the "dwellers on the Mount" and other exalted beings is also made in the following paragraph from the Sura of the Wrathful One:
Say: O Concourse of heedlessness! By God! This Bird is capable of warbling innumerable melodies; accent upon accent and song upon song. Should but one of them be disclosed, even to an infinitesimal degree, the spiritual souls (al-rūḥiyyūn), the dwellers on the Mount (a-āriyyān), the illumined ones (al-nūriyyūn), and also [134] the denizens of the heavenly Kingdom (al-`amā'iyyūn) would assuredly swoon away upon the dust of heedlessness and annihilation; save him whom God, by the Hand of Divine Favor, safeguarded through
187 Translated from an unpublished manuscript (photocopy in my possession

this Youth [Bahā'u'llāh], made manifest with the name "Abhā" in the Kingdom of Names. 188
e) From the Sura of the Exposition (Sūrat al-bayān, c. 1867?)
Say: The Revelation sent down by God (lit., the latter turn; karrat al-ukhrā) hath most surely been repeated, and the outstretched Hand of Our Power hath overshadowed all that are in the heavens and all that are on the earth. We have, through the power of truth, the very truth, manifested an infinitesimal glimmer of Our impenetrable Mystery, and lo, they that have recognized the radiance of the Sinaitic Splendor (lit., the denizens of the Mount; al-ṭūriyyūn) expired, as they caught a lightning glimpse of this Crimson Light (al-nūr al-ḥamrā') enveloping the Sinai of Our Revelation (lit., the Sinaitic locale; buq`at al-sīnā'). Thus hath He Who is the Beauty of the All-Merciful (jamāl al-raḥmān) come down in the clouds of His testimony, and the decree [been] accomplished by virtue of the Will of God, the All-Glorious, the All-Wise. 189
In this paragraph Bahā'u'llāh clearly links his advent with the "latter turn" or eschatological cycle anticipated in Qayyūm al-asmā' 28. With the disclosure of a mere glimmer of his "Mystery," the "denizens of the Mount" (al-ṭūriyyūn, Bābīs) expired. This in view of the theophany of the "Crimson Light" emanating from the Sinaitic "Fire" of Bahā'u'llāh's celestial Being.
188 As fn. 187 above
189 Text in AQA, Vol. 4, p. 110; trans., Bahā'u'llāh, Gleanings, p. 281 (No. CXXIX; adapted).

f) From Untitled Writings of the Adrianople Period:
The Mount dwellers (al-ṭūriyyūn) have assuredly swooned away on the Elevated Mount al-ṭūr). The denizens of the heavenly Kingdom (al-`amā'iyyūn) upon the Transcendent Sinai have assuredly [135] expired. Indeed, all things have been disrupted within themselves save a number of the Letters of the love of My Name, the Protector, the Self-Subsisting. 190
Say: By God! The Sovereign of Words hath assuredly come upon the clouds of the verses, and lo, the words of every contentious polytheist were thunderstruck . . . The dwellers on the Mount (al-ṭūriyyūn) have assuredly expired upon the Elevated Sinai before the manifestation of the Lights (anwār) of My resplendent, sanctified, mighty and luminous Face. 191
These quotations from major and untitled epistles of Bahā'u'llāh expressive of the fulfillment of the prophetic paragraph of Qayyūm al-asmā' 28 could easily be multiplied. Within many of his revelations of the Adrianople period, Bahā'u'llāh proclaims his mission in terms of the stunning effects of the Sinaitic theophany of his "Light" or of the divine "Beauty" of his "Face." The swooning away, or expiration, of such lofty souls as inhabit the "Mount" sometimes expresses the bewilderment of the Bābās upon coming to a knowledge of the nascent Bahā’ī revelation. Just as Moses fell into a swoon
190 From an epistle of Bahā'u'llāh to Fatḥ al-A`ẓam, text in INBA. Xerox coll., Vol. 83 (pp. 242-3) p. 242.
191 From an epistle of Bahā'u'llāh to Dhabīḥ, in ibid. (pp. 24754) p. 249.

at the time of the theophany before the mountain, so were Bābīs stupefied before the glory of Bahā'u'llāh's claim to prophethood. Some, it is indicated, died the spiritual "death" of apostasy by rejecting the revelation of the one who claimed to be the "return" of the Bāb with the name of abhā' (Bahā'u'llāh). 192
192 In his Lawḥ-i Sarrāj (c. 1867) Bahā'u'llāh, it is worth noting responds to various questions relating to the position of his half brother Mīrzā Yaḥyā Nūrī (d. 1912). At one point within this lengthy Persian treatise he quotes Qayyūm al-asmā' 28, and he argues that the "latter turn" (karrat al-ukhrā) has come about through his reveelation, and underlines the fulfillment of that line in which the Bāb anticipates the "death" or "annihilation" of the "dwellers on the Mount" (ṭūriyyān). This in order to illustrate the fall of Mīrzā Yaḥyā, the one time "Blessed Fruit" [of the Bayān] (thamara ṭūbā) who, he states, had been transformed into a mere "wild gourd" or "colocynth" (hanzal). Elevated Bābās became satanic souls and exalted Sinaites lost their lofty status as a result of failing to sustain the impact of the Bahā’ī theophany (see MA, Vol. 7:14-15. Cf., also Bahā'u'llāh, Lawḥ-i naṣīr in MAM [pp. 166-202] p. 192).
At a number of points in his English writings, Shoghi Effendi has referred to Bahā'u'llāh's interpretation of Qayyūm al-asmā' XXVIII. In, for example, his letter to the Bahā’īs of the West dated Feb. 8, 1934, and known as The Dispensation of Bahā'u'lla'h, he quotes the prophetic lines from this sura as words of the Bāb addressed to Bahā'u'llāh (see p. 10). In another letter dated June 30, 1952, he refers to the birth of the Bahā’ī revelation in terms of Bahā'u'llāh's mystical experiences in the Siyāh Chāl dungeon in Tehran; mentioning, "The radiance of God's infant light shining within the walls of that pestilential Pit…" and adding that this was a "radiance, an infinitesimal glimmer of which [see QA. XXVIII], as the Founder of the Faith [Bahā'u'llāh], Himself, later testified, caused the dwellers of Sinai [ṭūriyyūn] to swoon away…" (See Messages to the Bahā’ī World, 1950-1957, p.34).

Only a few further notes can be set down at this point about passages within writings of the Adrianople period that are illustrative of the general Sinaitic theology of Bahā'u'llāh's claims. There exist, for example, a large number of texts in which Bahā'u'llāh represents himself as a celestial Bird that warbles on the branches of the Sinaitic Tree, or the Lote-Tree. At one point in the Sura of the Servants (Sūrat al-Aḥṣāb, c. 1864) we read: [136]
Say: The Lote-Tree of the Spirit (sidrat al-rūḥ) hath been lifted up upon the Sinai of eternity (sinā al-baqā') and upon its branches the Nightingale of Pre-Existence warbleth in the most melodious notes193
In the Sura of Blood (Sūrat al-damm, c. 1865?) and other writings, Bahā'u'llāh speaks of Sinaitic events as being repeated within his own Being:
O People! By God! I have not cried out among you out of base passion. Nay, rather! according to that which the Speaker on the Mount uttereth in My sanctified most pure heart. 194
Not only did Bahā'u'llāh claim that the Sinaitic voice of inspiration spoke from within his inner Self but, in such revelations as the Sura of the Pen (Sūrat al-qalam, c. 1865?), he taught that created things would themselves utter "that which the Tree of the Mount (shajarat al-ṭūr) uttered in the Land of Manifestation (arḍ al-ẓuhūr) unto Moses, the Interlocutor, in the Blessed Holy
193 Text in AQA 4:14
194 Text in ibid.,p. 62.

Vale," if they were influenced by "but a letter" of what was revealed through him. 195
In his lengthy Tablet of the Spirit (Lawḥ al-rūḥ, c. 1866), Bahā'u'llāh refers to himself as "this Tree (al-shajara) which hath sprung up from the Sinai of the All-Merciful" (sīnā' al-raḥmān) and characterizes his revelation as "this Musk which hath been sprinkled upon this Camphor Tablet during this theophany (al-ẓuhūr) around which both the Seat of the Mount (lit., locale of the Mount; buq`at al-ṭūr) and the Sinai of Light (sānā' al-nūr) circumambulate." 196 In his Tablet of the Execration (Lawḥ-i mubāhalah, c. 1866), he refers to himself as the "Palm [of the hand of Moses] which God made snow-white unto all the worlds" and the "Rod" (of Moses) capable of swallowing all creatures. 197 He identifies himself in his Tablet of Ashraf (Lawḥ-i Ashraf, c. 1867?) as the one who enabled the followers of the Bāb to "draw nigh unto the sacred strand at the right-side (shāṭr al-ayman) of the Seat [137] (buq`a; lit., spot or locale) of Paradise [cf. Qur’ān 28:30], the region in which the [Sinaitic] Fire (al-nār) crieth in manifold accents, `There is none other God besides Me, the All-
195 Text in ibid., p. 261. Cf., Bahā'u'llāh, Lawḥ-i sarrāj in MA, 7:25.
196 Text in AQA, Vol. 4, pp. 126, 133.
197 Text in MA. Vol. 4. p. 297; also using a variant reading in ms. A00198 held at the Bahā’ī World Center. Cf., Bahā'u'llāhl Khādimu'llāh, Lawḥ-i istināq in ibid., pp. 223-4

Powerful, the Most High.' "198 In this latter passage, it is indicated that identification with Bahā'u'llāh amounts to identification with the Sinaitic Fire which utters the declaration of divinity. It calls to mind one of the lines of Bahā'u'llāh's Tablet of the Youth of Paradise (Lawḥ ghulām al-khuld, c. 1863): "O beloved ones! The Fire of the Sinai of Love (nār-i sīnā'-yi `ishq) shineth resplendent." 199
Bahā'u'llāh's Surah of the Kings (Sūrat al-muluk, 1867) is without doubt one of the most important writings of the Edirne-Adrianople period. Its author expresses his claims in Sinaitic terms in an address to the "kings of the earth" at the beginning of this forthright Arabic revelation:
O kings of the earth! Give ear unto the Voice of God, calling from this sublime, this fruit-laden Tree (al-shajarat) that hath sprung out of the Crimson Hill (arḍ kathīb al-ḥamrā') upon the Holy [Sinaitic] Plain, intoning the words: "There is none other God but He, the Mighty, the All-Powerful, the All-Wise." This is the [Sinaitic] Seat (lit., locale; buq`a) which God hath blessed... Within it the Call of God can be heard from the Elevated Lote-Tree of Holiness [Bahā'u'llāh]. "Fear God, O concourse of kings, and suffer not yourselves to be deprived of this most sublime grace." 200
198 Text in MAM., p.214.
199 Text in Ishrāq-Khāvarī, Risāla ayyām-i tis`ah, p. 98.
200 Text in Bahā'u'llāh Alwāḥ Bahā'u'llāh... / Kitāb-i haykal (Lithographed: Bombay 1308 A.H.) p. 210, trans. Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come p.21. For examples of the Bāb's use of the expression "Crimson Hill" see Ṣāḥifa bayn al

In this address, Bahā'u'llāh clearly refers to himself as the Sinaitic "Tree" or "Lote-Tree" which is the vehicle of divine revelation. 201He speaks of this "Tree" of his Being as having grown up from the "Crimson Hill," literally, "Land of the Red Sand Ridge" (arḍ kathib al-ḥamrā'), and of himself as the Sinaitic "Locale" or "Spot" (buq`a). References to the Crimson Hill (kathīb al-ḥamrā'; al-aḥmar) are found in a good many of the writings of the Bāb and Bahā'u'llāh, more often than not in Sinaitic contexts. The expression appears to be rooted [138] in the idea that the heights of the "Mount" radiate the crimson light of the Sinaitic Fire. In the mystical geography of the Sinaitic realm, where revelation originates and the Divine Theophany may be experienced, stands the "Crimson Hill."
While the Bāb associates the eschatological theophany with the radiating of "the fierce and crimson Light" in the twenty-eighth surah of the Qayyūm al-asmā', Bahā'u'llāh quite frequently characterizes the Sinaitic sphere of his revelation as being in one way or another "crimson" (ḥamrā'; aḥmar). Apart from such passages from his writings as will be quoted below and which illustrate this point, it must suffice here to note that his epistle to
ḥaramayn (Browne coll. MS. F7), pp. 53, 66; Tafsīr Sūrat al-aṣr (in INBA, Xerox coll., Vol. 69), pp. 62-3. Cf., also Qur’ān 73:14.
201 On the Sidra and Sidrat al-Muntaha see Lambden, http://www.hurqalya.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/baha'i%20encyclopedia/SIDRAH-SI...

Shaykh Kāẓim-i Samandar in which the address to the Ottoman statesman Fu'ād Pasha (d. 1869) begins as follows: "We summon thee from beyond the Sea of the Divine Grandeur, upon the Crimson Land (al-arḍ al-aḥmar) at the Horizon of the Affliction: `There is no God except Him, the Mighty, the Munificent.'" 202
The West Galilean (loosely, Acre, `Akkā period, 1868-1892).
Most of the major, and very many minor, writings of Bahā'u'llāh of the West Galilean (or Acre-`Akkā) period contain passages informed by Sinaitic imagery or motifs. During the twenty-four years that the Bahā’ī Prophet spent in western Galilee, he drew on and expounded, sometimes in great detail, both biblical, quranic, and Bābī texts that recount or relate to the call of Moses and his Sinaitic experiences.
In what must amount to several hundred of his epistles of the West Galilean (Acre, `Akkā ) period, Bahā'u'llāh identified himself with "He Who conversed with Moses" (mukallim Mūsā) from the Sinaitic Tree (al-shajarat); that is, with the Divine Being whose advent was predicted by Imām `Alī in the Sermon of the Gulf (al-khuṭba al-ṭutunjiyya, see above). In one of his epistles to Mīrzā `Alī Ashraf `Andalīb, Bahā'u'llāh wrote:
202 Text in AQA, Vol. 2, p. 35. See also INBA, Xerox coll., vol. 81, pp. 148-152, esp. 151, Tablet of Bahā'u'llāh to Ṣādiq.

O `Alī! He who wast named `Alī [Imām `Alī] gave thee the glad-tidings and announced unto thee this Promised Day. He said--and his saying is the truth: "Anticipate ye the theophany of Him [139] Who conversed on the Mount (mukallim al-ṭūr)." By God! This is assuredly He, and He crieth aloud. God, verily, hath come in the, shadows of the clouds [see Qur’ān 2:210], but the people hav failed to comprehend. 203
On similar lines are the following select excerpts from various other Persian and Arabic writings of the `Akkā period:
By the life of Our Lord! Today He Who conversed on the Mount (mukallim al-ṭūr) is made manifest and hath proclaimed His Word. The Hidden Mystery (sirr-i maknūn), the Treasured Secret (ghayb-i makhzūn) [i.e., Bahā'u'llāh] hath been revealed. 204
Say, this is the Day when the Speaker on Sinai (mukallim al-ṭūr) hath mounted the throne of Revelation (`arsh al-ẓuhūr) and the people have stood before the Lord of the worlds. 205
203 From an untitled epistle of Bahā'u'llāh/Khādimu'llāh dated 1293 A.H./1876-7, text in MA, Vol. 7 (pp. 174-255) p. 207. In this epistle Bahā'u'llāh defends his claim to divinity (ulāhiyya). He states at one point that all the Holy Books have it that "His Holiness the Self-Subsisting (Ḥarat-i Qayyūm) [the eschatolo,gical manifestation of God] will in that `Day' give voice to the word `I am God'…" (See pp. 207-8 and cf., below p. 66f.).
204 From Bahā'u'llāh's Lawḥ-i ishraqāt; text in Majmū'a az alvāḥ-i Jamāl-i Aqdas-i Abhā (henceforth TB), p. 61, trans., Bahā'u'llāh, Tablets of Bahā'u'llāh revealed after the Kitāb-I Aqdas (henceforth TB [Eng.]), p. 107. Cf., also TB [Eng.], pp. 104, 111, 106.
205 From an epistle of Bahā'u'llāh to `Andalīb, text in AQA, Vol. 2 : 26; cf., also p. 28.

O Concourse of the earth! The Day of victory hath arrived, and He Who conversed on the Mount (mukallim al-ṭūr) hath been made manifest. 206
The second ṭarāz (Ornament) is to consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship, to proclaim that which the Speaker on Sinai (mukallim al-ṭūr) [Bahā'u'llāh] hath set forth and to observe fairness in all matters. 207
"The first tajallī (theophanic radiance) which hath dawned from the Day-Star of Truth is the knowledge of God … And the knowledge of the King of everlasting days can in no wise be attained save by recognizing Him Who is the Bearer of the Most Great Name [Bahā'u'llāh]. He is, in truth, the Speaker on Sinai (mukallim-i ṭūr) Who is now seated upon the throne of Revelation (`arsh-i ẓuhūr). He is the Hidden Mystery (ghayb-i maknūn) and the Treasured Symbol (sirr-i makhzūn). 208
At one point in his "Medium [Daily] Obligatory Prayer," Bahā'u'llāh bids his devotees bear witness to the fact thal God has "manifested Him [Bahā'u'llāh] Who is the Day Spring of Revelation, Who conversed on Sinai (mukallim al-ṭūr), through whom the Supreme Horizon hath been made to [140] shine, and
206 From Bahā'u'llāh's Ṭarazāt (II); text in TB, p. 18, trans. TB [Eng.], pp. 35-6.
207 From Bahā'u'llāh's Lawḥ-i tajalliyāt; text in TB. p. 27, trans., TB [Eng.], p. 50. See further MA, Vol. 7, p. 139 (Epistle of Bahā'u'llāh to Mullā `Alī Bajistānī).
208 Text in Ishrāq Khāvarā, Abwāb al-Malakūt, p. 2f; trans., Bahā'u'llāh, Prayers and Meditations of Bahā'u'llāh, p. 241.

the Lote-Tree beyond which there is no passing (sidrat al-qayyūm) [lit., Lote Tree of the Self-Subsisting] hath spoken". 209
In another prayer, in which details are given of the travels of Mīrzā Yaḥyā Ṣarrāf, Bahā'u'llāh refers to this pilgrim's arrival at Acre -`Akkā when he was present before his "Face" (al-wajh) and heard from the "Person of the Manifestation (nafs al-ẓuhūr) and He Who Conversed on the Mount (mukallim al-ṭūr)" that which the Son of `Imrān [Moses] heard on the "Mount" (al-ṭūr) of God's "mystic knowledge" (`irfān). 210 Attainment to the presence of Bahā'u'llāh is identified as attainment to the presence of the Divine Being who spoke with Moses. Bahā'u'llāh divulged that which Moses heard from the "Mount." He disclosed his divinity to all peoples:
Every discerning eye can, in this Day, perceive the dawning light of God's Revelation, and every attentive ear can recognize the Voice that was heard from the Burning Bush (nidā-yi mukallim-i ṭūr). 211
This is the Day whereon human ears have been privileged to hear what He Who conversed with God [Moses] heard upon Sinai . 212
209 From an epistle of Bahā'u'llāh written in honor of Mīrzā Yaḥyā Ṣarrāf, son of Karbalā'ī Muhammad asan Qazvīnī; text in Samandar, Tārīkh-i Samandar (pp. 297-314), p. 298 (MA, Vol. 4, p.371).
210 Bahā'u'llāh, untitled epistle cited in Muntakhabātī az āthār-i Ḥaḍrat-i Bahā'u'llāh (henceforth Muntakhabātī.), p. 174; trans., Shoghi Effendi, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahā'u'llāh, p. 270 (CXXVI).
211 Idem., cited in Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice, p. 66.

Call thou [Muhammad Jawād Qazvānī] to mind when thou were in My [Bahā'u'llāh's] company, within the Tabernacle of Glory, and didst hear from Me that which He Who conversed with God [Moses] heard upon the Sinai of divine knowledge (ṭūr al`irfān).. 213
The people of the world are now hearing that which Moses did hear, but they understand not. 214
It was through his claim to be the "Speaker on the Mount" (mukallim al-ṭūr) that Bahā'u'llāh--like the Bāb--taught that Sinaitic events had been repeated through his manifestation:
Say: Through this theophany (al-ẓuhār) the episode of the Mount (ḥadīth al-ṭūr) hath again come to pass. The Trumpet (al-ṣūr) hath
212 Idem., from an epistle to Muhammad Jawād Qazvānā (Ism-i Jād); text in TB, p. 149; trans. TB [Eng.], p. 242.
213 Idem., text in TB, p. 172, trans. TB [Eng.], p. 265. Cf. also, among many other similar passages in epistles of Bahā'u'llāh, Lawḥ-i burhān (text in TB. pp. 125-133): "Present thyself before Me [Bahā'u'llāh] that thou mayest hear the mysteries which were heard by the Son of `Imrān [Moses] upon the Sinai of Wisdom (ṭūr al-`irfān)" (text in TB, p. 129, trans., Taherzadeh, TB [Eng.], p. 210). Note that here, as elsewhere, Bahā'u'llāh uses the genitive expression ṭūr al-`irfān (Sinai / Mount of Wisdom [Gnosis]) since `irfān (wisdom/gnosis) rhymes with the name of Moses' father `Imrān (Amram) -- the term `irfān also indicating the mystical significance of Sinai / the Mount. See further, for example, Bahā'u'llāh Tablet of Visitation for Imām Ḥusayn (in Ishraq-Khāvarī, ed., Risāla Ayyām-i Tis`a, pp. 235-244).
214 From an epistle of Bahā'u'llāh to `Andalīb (and other Bahā’īs), text in AQA 2:23.

[141] been sounded and the servants have risen up before God, the Mighty, the Loving. 215
The episode of Sinai (ḥadīth al-ṭūr) hath been reenacted in this Revelation (al-ẓuhūr) and He Who conversed [on the Mount] (al-mukallim) is calling aloud: "Verily, the Desired One is come, seated upon the throne of certitude, could ye but perceive it." He hath admonished all men to observe that which is conducive to the exaltation of the Cause of God and will guide mankind unto His Straight Path. 216
Mystically speaking, Moses has again attained the presence of the Lord through the manifestation of Bahā'u'llāh:
Today the Voice of the All-Merciful hath been raised up from the Kingdom of Utterance (bayān). He who conversed with God (kalām] [Moses] hath attained unto the Lord [Bahā'u'llāh]. 217
This is the Day in which He Who held converse with God [Moses] hath attained the [Sinaitic] light of the Ancient of Days [Bahā'u'llāh] … 218
215 From an untitled epistle of Bahā'u'llāh, text in TB. p. 154, trans. TB [Eng.], p. 248 (adapted).
216 From an epistle of Bahā'u'llāh cited in MA, Vol. 8, p. 63. Cf., also ibid., pp. 73, 75.
217 From an epistle of Bahā'u'llāh cited in MA, Vol. 8, p. 63. Cf., also ibid., pp. 73, 75.
218 From an untitled epistle of Bahā'u'llāh, text in TB, p. 147; trans. TB [Eng.], p. 239. See also, Bahā'u'llāh's Persian Tablet of Aḥmad (MAM, p. 317 and p. 330), Lawḥ-i Sarrāj (MA, Vol. 8, p. 25), and Sūrat al-asmā' (Iqtidārāt, p. 90).

While, according to Qur’ān 7:143, Moses was informed by his Lord of the impossibility of direct vision of him -- "Said He,`Thou shalt not see Me (lan taranī)'" -- in such epistles as the following Bahā'u'llāh affirms, in the light of his advent, the possibility of visioning the "Speaker on the Mount":
In this Day … the faculty of sight calleth aloud, "Verily this is my Day, for I behold the Dayspring of glory shining resplendent at the bidding of Him Who is the Ordainer, the All-Powerful." Blessed the ear that hath heard the call, "Behold, and thou shalt see Me (inẓar taranī) and happy the eye that hath gazed upon the most wondrous Sign dawning from this luminous horizon. 219
Certain of Bahā'u'llāh's Tablets to the Kings, written shortly after the exile to the Holy Land (1868), contain paragraphs of considerable interest in terms of the Sinaitic claims [142] of the Bahā’ī Prophet. In, for example, the Tablet to Napoleon III (c. 1869) we read:
Give ear, O King [Napoleon], unto the Voice that calleth from the [Sinaitic] Fire (al-nār) which burneth in this verdant Tree (al-shajarat al-khuḍrā'), on this Sinai (al-buq`at al-muqaddasa al-bayḍā'), beyond the Everlasting City (qulzum al-baqā): "Verily there is none other God but Me, the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Merciful!" … Set your faces towards Him [Bahā'u'llāh] on this Day which God hath exalted above all other days, and whereon the All-Merciful hath shed the splendor of His effulgent glory (tajallī) upon all who are in
219 Text in Bahā'u'llāh, Alwāḥ-i nāzilah khitāb bih mulūk wa ru'asā-yi arḍ (see fn. 200 above; henceforth, Alwaḥ nāzilih) pp. 97-8; trans., Shoghi Effendi, cited in The Proclamation of Bahā'u'llāh, pp. 18-19.

heaven and all who are on earth . . . The voice of the Burning Bush (shajarat al-ṭūr) is raised in the midmost heart of the world, and the Holy Spirit calleth aloud among the nations: "Lo, the Desired One is come with manifest dominion!" 220
As the Divine Being who uttered the declaration of divinity from the "Tree" on the "Mount," Bahā'u'llāh communicates his message from a "new Sinai" located above "the hallowed and snow-white [Sinaitic] Spot" beyond the "Everlasting City," or (literally) the "Abyss of Eternity" (qulzum al-baqā'). Through him God has disclosed his glory (tajallī) as he did before the "mountain" in the presence of Moses. (See Qur’ān 7:143.)
With Bahā'u'llāh's arrival in the Holy Land, the Acre-`Akkā-Haifa-Mt. Carmel region where he resided came to be pictured in his writings in terms of the mystic geography of the Sinaitic sphere. References to this region as the "snow-white Spot" or the "Crimson Spot" appear to express the idea that it was irradiated with that brilliant whiteness which shone from Moses' hand (mystically the Divine light) and by the crimson light of the Sinaitic "Fire." This, in view of Bahā'u'llāh being the locus of Sinaitic realities and the "Speaker on the Mount.". In several of his writings, Bahā'u'llāh clearly associates the Holy
220 From an epistle of Bahā'u'llāh, text in Muntakhabātī, p. 221; trans. Gleanings, p. 343 (CLXIII).

Land or the Acre-/Akka-Haifa-Mt. Carmel area with the Sinaitic Vale (wādī) or "Snow-white Spot": [143]
This Holy Land (arāḍī-yi muqaddasa) hath been mentioned and extolled in all the sacred Scriptures (kutub-i ilāhī) …This is the promised Land in which He Who is the Revelation of God was destined to be made manifest. This is the [Sinaitic] Vale of God's unsearchable decree (wādī-yi qaḍā), the snow-white Spot (arḍ-i baqā'), the Land of unfading splendor (buq`a-yi nūrā'; lit. Iuminous Spot). 221
… "Holy Vale" (al-wād al-muqaddas), "the Land of the Assembling" [for judgement] (arḍ al-maḥshar), "Snow-White Spot" (buq`at al-bayḍā'): these three terms refer to the `Akkā region (arḍ-i `Akkā').222
In an epistle to Hājjī Mīrzā Ḥaydar-`Alī (d. 1920), Bahā'u'llāh expressed the nature and scene of his Sinaitic claims as follows:
… from the right bank of the Holy Vale (min shāṭī al-wād al-ayman) [Qur’ān 28:30] in the Luminous Spot (al-buq`a al-nūrā') beyond the Ocean of Grandeur (qulzum al-kubriyā) from the Lote-Tree beyond
221 From Bahā'u'llāh's Tablet of the Interrogation (Lawḥ-i istinṭāq), text in MA, Vol. 4., pp. 220-60), p. 259. Cf., the epistle of Bahā'u'llāh printed in MA, Vol. 7 (pp. 174-255; dated 1293 A.H./ 1876-7), p. 190, where the cryptic reference in the Lawḥ-i sayyāh (an epistle of Bahā'u'llāh of the late Adrianople period) to the "Vale of Nabīl" (wād al-nabīl) is interpreted in terms of the region around `Akkā (N.B. in abjad, Nabīl = 92, as does `Akkā and the name Muhammad; cf., also Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 184).
222 Text in TB, p. 153; cf. trans. TB [Eng.], p. 246.

which there is no passing, We call aloud unto thee saying: In truth there is no God but Me, the All-Knowing, the All-wise. 223
The epistle (c.1869) to the Czar of Russia, Alexander II, contains a passage in which Jesus is pictured as acknowledging Bahā'u'llāh's advent as the Father in the Holy Vale (the `Akkā-Haifa area?). Personified Sinai, it is stated, circumambulates his residence while the Burning Bush asserts the parousia of divinity:
He Who is the Father (al-ab) is come, and the Son [Jesus] in the holy vale (al-wād al-muqaddas) crieth out: "Here am I, here am I, O Lord, my God," whilst Sinai (al-ṭūr) circleth round the House (al-bayt), and the Burning Bush (al-shajarat) calleth aloud: "The All-Bounteous (al-wahhāb) is come mounted upon the clouds!" 224 [I44]
At the very beginning of his epistle to Queen Victoria (c. 1869), Bahā'u'llāh boldly invites the queen to hearken unto his declaration of divinity from the Sinaitic Lote-Tree:
O Queen in London! Incline thine ear unto the voice of thy Lord, the Lord of all mankind, calling from the Divine Lote-Tree (al-sidrat): "Verily, no God is there but Me, the Almighty, the All-Wise!" 225
223 Text in Alwāḥ nāzilih, p. 122; trans., Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come, p. 33.
224 Text in ibid., p. 131; trans., Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come, p. 34.
225 See Bahā'u'llāh, al-Kitāb al-aqdas, text in al-Ḥsanī Al-Bābiyyū p. 118; trans., Shoghi Effendi in Synopsis and Codification, p. 18.

Though essentially a volume of laws and ordinances, Bahā'u'llāh's Most Holy Book (al-Kitāb al-aqdas, c. 1873) contains several passages in which its author expresses his claims in Sinaitic terms. Within it Moses is, mystically speaking, said to have attained his presence. Mount Sinai is pictured as "circling round the Dayspring of [Bahā'u'llāh's] Revelation." 226 At one point, humankind is exhorted to advance "… with snow-white faces (wujūh bayḍā') and radiant hearts (qulūb nūrā) unto the blessed and crimson Spot (al-buq`a al-mubārraka al-ḥamrā' = Acre/ `Akkā' region) wherein the Lote-Tree beyond which there is no passing (sidrat al-muntahā, Bahā'u'llāh) is calling, `Verily, there is none other God beside Me, the Omnipotent Protector, the Self-Subsisting!'" 227 Bahā'u'llāh, furthermore, refers to himself as the one who caused the Sinaitic Lote-Tree to "lift up its voice upon the Mount (al-ṭūr) rising above the Holy Land (al-arḍ al-mubārraka) and proclaim- `The Kingdom is God's, the sovereign Lord of all, the All-Powerful, the Loving. 228
It has been noted above in connection with Sinaitic terminology occuring in the Surat al-Qamīṣ (Surah of the Robe) that the expression "Land of Saffron"
226 Bahā'u'llāh, al-Kitāb al-aqdas, text in ibid., p. 121; trans., Shoghi Effendi in Synopsis and Codification, pp. 22-3.
227 Idem., al-Kitāb al-aqdas, text in ibid., p. 121; trans., Shoghi Effendi in Synopsis and Codification, p. 23
228 Text in TB, p. 80 (cf. "Errata" issued by the Bahā’ī World Centre, Haifa [n.d.]); trans., TB [Eng.], p. 137.

might (in certain contexts) be indicative of the saffron-colored Sinaitic light or the town of Adrianople (see above). As this phrase occurs in epistles of Bahā'u'llāh of the West Galilean (`Akkā) period, it doubtless also has more mystical import. In Bahā'u'llāh's Tablet of Wisdom (Lawḥ-i ḥikmat, c. 1876?), Aqā Muhammad Qā'inī (Nabil-i Akbar) is addressed as follows: [145]
O Muhammad! Hearken unto the Voice proceeding out of the Realm of Glory (shaṭr al-kubriyā), calling aloud from the celestial Tree (al-sidra) which hath risen up above the Land of Za`farān (land of saffron; arḍ al-za`rfarān): "Verily, no God is there but Me, the Omniscient, the Wise. 229
Doubtless responding to an enquiry about the significance of the "Lote Tree" (sidrat) and "Land of Saffron" mentioned in this or another of his epistles, Bahā'u'llāh has explained that: "The Holy Tree (sidrat) is, in a sense, the Manifestation of the One True God, exalted be He. The Blessed Tree in the land of za`farān referreth to the land which is flourishing, blessed, holy and all-perfumed, where that Tree hath been planted." 230 The quranic term "Lote-Tree" is, then, symbolic of the great Prophets or Manifestations of God, including Bahā'u'llāh. The place of their residence or where the "Lote-Tree" is
229 From an epistle of Bahā'u'llāh cited in "Errata" to TB [Eng.], p. 137.
230 Cf. fn. 00

planted is the sacred "Land of Saffron." 231 As already indicated, both the "Lote-Tree" and "Land of Saffron" are often used in Sinaitic contexts. Throughout his ministry Bahā'u'llāh, in one way or another, referred to himself as the "Lote-Tree" which is equated with the Sinaitic "Tree" (al-shajarat) or "Burning Bush." While for example, Bahā'u'llāh refers to himself as the "Lote-Tree of God" (sidrat Allāh) in his Sura of the Arabs (Sūrat al-A`rab, early Acre-`Akkā' period?), God addresses him in the following terms in his Sura of the Temple (Sūrat al-haykal, c. 1873-4?):
"O Thou Temple! … We have made Thee [Bahā'u'llāh] the Lote-Tree of Munificence to whomsoever is in the heavens and on the earth."232
Hundreds of such passages occur in writings of the West Galilean (`Akkā) period.
In a number of his epistles of the West Galilean (`Akkā) period Bahā'u'llāh refers to and comments upon a line from one of the poems of the poet and philosopher Ḥājī Mullā Hādī, Ḥakīm Sabziwārī (d. 1873). As quoted in the Bahā’ī Prophet's Words of Paradise (Kalimāt-i firdawsiyya, late `Akkā period) it reads as follows:
231 Refer, Bahā'u'llāh, Sūrat al-a`rāb, text in AQA, Vol. 4, p. 215 (cf., also pp. 217, 219); idem., Sūrat al-haykal, text in ibid., p. 290.
232 Text in TB. p. 33, trans., TB [Eng.], p. 61.

"Alas! Attentive ears are lacking, otherwise the [146] whisperings of the Sinaitic Bush (sidra-yi ṭūr) could be heard from every tree (shajarat)."233
For Bahā'u'llāh, these words indicate the widespread incapacity of his contemporaries to acknowledge or mystically perceive his being the One Who spoke from Mount Sinai. In the Tablet of the Ground of Being (or Elemental Reality) (Lawḥ-i basīt al-ḥaqīqa, early or middle `Akkā period), it is stated that Sabziwārī's poem indicates the non-existence of a "Moses" capable of hearing the murmur of the Sinaitic declaration of divinity ("I, verily am God"), but implies that mystic knowers might attain a rank in which their "eye" is illumined by beholding the "lights of the effulgence of the Agent of the [Sinaitic] Theophany (anwār-i tajallī-yi mujallā)" and their "ears" made capable of hearing the Sinaitic Call. 234 Like other Shī`ī mystics, Sabziwarī did not become a Bahā’ī. Bahā'u'llāh considered that he had failed to "hearken unto the call which the Tree of Man (sidra-yi insān; Bahā'u'llāh) raised from the loftiest heights of the world" and that his words exceeded his deeds. 235
233 See Bahā'u'llāh, Lawḥ-i basīṭ al-ḥaqīqa, text in MA, Vol. 7, p. 145.
234 From Bahā'u'llāh's Kalimāt al-firdawsiyya citing (unique recension), Lawḥ-i basīṭ al-ḥaqīqa , text in TB, p. 33, trans., TB [Eng.], p. 61.
235 Refer, Bahā'u'llāh, From Bahā'u'llāh's Kalimāt al-firdawsiyya citing (unique recension), Lawḥ-i basīṭ al-ḥaqīqa , text in TB, p. 33, trans., TB [Eng.], p. 61., text in MA, Vol. 7, p. 146.

In the later Arabic section of the Tablet of the Ground of Being, Bahā'u'llāh exhorts a certain Ḥusayn to inform one who had posed a question that he is capable of enabling him to attain a station in which he would see naught in the world save "the theophany of the presence of the Ancient One" (tajallī ḥaḍrat al-qadīm, Bahā'u'llāh) and hear the declaration of divinity from the Lote-Tree. He also refers to himself as the One Who cried out from the Sinaitic "Fire" (al-nār). From the "luminous Lote-Tree raised up above the Crimson Spot (al-buq`at al-ḥamrā', `Akkā/Acre?)" he uttered the words,
"O People! Hasten in heartfelt manner unto the precinct of the Beloved One [Bahā'u'llāh]." 236
In certain epistles then, Bahā'u'llāh quotes, comments upon and expresses his claims in the light of a line from one of the poems of Ḥakīm Sabziwārī. Apart from the two Tablets (alwā) referred to above, there exists another in which Bahā'u'llāh equates the "Speaker" (al-kalīm, Moses) with such [147] souls as are given to celebrating his position as the "Remembrance" (al-dhikr) and claims that through his "Reality" (al-ḥaqīqa)--which permeates all "realities" (al-ḥaqā'iq) -- all things assert his divinity by crying out, "No God is there except Him." Sabziwarī's poem and failure to come to faith are commented upon in the following terms:
236 From an Epistle of Bahā’u’llāh cited MA 4: 95.

And among them stands he who claimed that he had heard from every tree (shajara) that which was heard by the One Who conversed with God (al-kalīm; Moses). But when the times were fulfilled and the Lote-Tree [Bahā'u'llāhl cried aloud between earth and heaven, We found him [Sabziwarī] thunderstruck upon the dust. 237
In order to highlight the greatness of his person and revelation, Bahā'u'llāh not infrequently personified Mt. Sinai and the Sinaitic Lote-Tree during the West Galilean (`Akkā) period of his ministry. He pictured them as, for example, circumambulating his residence and testifying to the sublimity of his Cause. In the Most Holy Tablet (Lawḥ-i aqdas), we read: "Sinai (al-ṭūr) circleth round the House (al-bayt) and the Burning Bush (al-shajarat) calleth aloud: `He Who is the Desired One is come in His transcendent majesty. [i.e., Christ has returned'" 238 These words are closely paralleled in the earlier and already quoted Tablet to the Czar of Russia (see above) and anticipate Bahā'u'llāh's exhortation:
… O peoples of the earth … Purge ye your ears and set your hearts towards Him that ye may hearken to the most wondrous Call which hath been raised from Sinai (al-sīnā'), the habitation of your Lord, the Most Glorious (al-abhā') [Bahā'u'llāhl. It will, in truth, draw you nigh unto the [Sinaiticl Spot (maqām) wherein ye will perceive the splendor of the light of His Countenance (anwār al-wajh, lit., the
237 Text in TB, p. 5; trans. TB [Eng.], p. 11.
238 Text in TB, p. 6; trans. TB [Eng.], pp. 12-13.

lights of the Face [of Bahā'u'llāhl) which shineth above this luminous Horizon." 239 [148]
While in an epistle to a certain Jawād, Bahā'u'llāh pictures personified Mount Sinai as exclaiming, "Verily, the Lord of Revelation is come," 240 he elsewhere represents this mountain as weeping over his plight. 241 In his highly allegorical Tablet of the Vision (Lawḥ-i ru'yā, March 1, 1873), Mount Sinai personified is said to have cried out--in the light of Bahā'u'llāh's manifestation--"The Kingdom is God's … the All-Wise." 242 On similar lines is the following extract from an epistle of Bahā'u'llāh to the aforementioned Bahā’ī poet `Andalāb:
This is the Day in which all things have been ennobled through the lights of the Theophany (anwār al-ẓuhūr) [of Bahā'u'llāh]; though most of the people are to be numbered among the heedless. The [Sinaitic] Mount (al-ṭūr) crieth out before the Theophany (al-ẓuhūr) [Bahā'u'llāh] and summoneth all unto the One round whom the Messengers [of God] circumambulate (maṭāf al-mursalīn) [Bahā'u'llāh]." 243
239 Text in ibid., p. 146; trans. TB [Eng.], p. 237
240 Text in ibid., p. 157; trans. TB [Eng.], p. 251.
241 Text in AQA, Vol. 2. p. 176.
242 Text in ibid., p. 2.
243 Text in TB, p. 129; trans. Shoghi Effendi in TB [Eng.], p. 210.

At one point in his Tablet of the Proof (Lawḥ-i burhān, early 1880s), Bahā'u'llah exhorts the anti-Bahā’ī Shī`ī cleric Shaykh Muhammad Bāqir (d. 1883) to present himself before Him, that he might hear "the mysteries which were heard by the Son of `Imrān [Moses] upon the Sinai of Wisdom (ṭūr al-`irfān)." 244 After quoting these words in his epistle to Muhammad Bāqir's equally antagonistic son, Shaykh Muhammad Taqī Najafī (d. 1914), the Epistle to the Son of the Wolf (Lawḥ-i ibn-i dhi'b, c.1891), Bahā'u'llāh sets forth certain words of the "true Faith" in which both "Sinai" and "the Bush are personified and pictured as addressing words of considerable interest to the followers of the Bāb or the "people of the Bayān":
Thereupon hath the cry and the lamentation of the true Faith been raised once again, saying: "Verily Sinai (al-ṭūr) calleth aloud and saith: `O people of the Bayān! Fear ye the Merciful. Indeed [149] have I attained unto Him Who conversed upon me (mukallimī) [Bahā'u'llāh], and the ecstasies of my joy have seized the pebbles of the earth and the dust thereof.' And the Bush (al-sidra) exclaimeth: `O people of the Bayān! Judge ye fairly that which hath in truth been manifested. Verily the Fire (al-nār) which God revealed unto the One Who conversed with Him (al-kalīm) [Moses]
244 Text in Bahā'u'llāh, Lawḥ-i mubāraka khiṭāb bih Shaykh Muhammad Tāqī Isfahānī (henceforth Lawḥ-i Shaykh;), pp. 100, 101; trans., Shoghi Effendi in Bahā'u'llāh Epistle to the Son of the Wolf (henceforth ESW), p. 86.

is now manifested. Unto this beareth witness every man of insight and understanding.' 245
At another point in the Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, the "voice and lamentation of the true Faith" is pictured as uttering the words: "This is the Day whereon Sinai (al-ṭūr) hath smiled at Him Who conversed upon it [Bahā'u'llāh], and [Mount] Carmel at its Revealer and the Sidrat [Lote-Tree] at Him Who taught it". 246 Bahā'u'llāh's theophany as the "Speaker on the Mount" had, figuratively speaking, caused the Mount to smile with joy. In the same work, personified Sinai is also said to have exclaimed: "He that discoursed upon Me (mukallāmī) is come with evident signs and resplendent tokens". 247
The Claim to Divinity.
During the latter years of the `Akkā period, Bahā'u'llāh dictated a number of sometimes lengthy epistles in which key aspects of his Sinaitic theology are discussed in the light of allegations that he had uttered blasphemy by claiming to be an incarnation of the Absolute Godhead. Anti-Bābā mullas, unaware of the subtleties of Bahā’ī theophanology, took Bahā'u'llāh's oft-voiced claim to represent the eschatological advent of
245 Ibid., p. 46; trans. ESW. p. 38.
246 Ibid., p. 205; trans. ESW. p. 173.
247 Text in TB, p. 26; trans. TB [Eng.], p. 49.

Divinity, and to have uttered the words "I, verily am God…" or the like, as the "Speaker on the Mount," as sure signs of the perfidy of the Bahā’ī Prophet and of the heretical nature of the Bahā’ī religion. The uninitiated came to view and refer to Bahā'u'llāh as the "God of the Persians." They were unaware that he had explained in his "revelations" that one of the significances of the doctrine of the Divine Unity (at-tawhād) is that the great Manifestations
[150] of God mirror forth the names and attributes of God such that all scriptural statements about God revolve around their transcendent Being. It was not commonly understood that Bahā'u'llāh's claim to "Divinity" and "Lordship" was not a claim to identity with the transcendent and unknowable Godhead as he himself made perfectly clear in innumerable Tablets.
The following notes on select writings of the late West Galilean (`Akkā') period must suffice to illustrate some of the detailed aspects of Bahā'u'llāh's own clarification of his Sinaitic theology and claim to divinity.
a) The Tablet of Effulgences (Tajalliyāt):
The important work which bears this title was written for a staunch Iranian Bahā’ī named Ustād `Alī Akbar Bannā (d. Yazd 1903). It consists of a prolegomenon and four sections on diverse themes, each of which constitutes an "Effulgence" or "Theophany" (tajallī) from the pen or person of Bahā'u'llāh. In the prolegomenon, Bahā'u'llāh refers to "that which the people of tyranny ascribe unto Me in My days" and mentions that some among them say, "He hath laid claim to divinity (ar-rubūbiyya, lit., "Lordship")." 248 While the first tajallī includes reference to his claim to be the "Speaker on Sinai," the fourth tajallī takes up the issue of the claim to "Divinity" (ulūhiyya), "Lordship" (rubūbiyya), and the like. After alluding to the importance of his person and revelation as the "Lote-Tree and its fruits" and again referring to himself as the "Speaker on Sinai" (mukallim al-ṭūr) Bahā'u'llāh states:
Say O people, if ye judge fairly and equitably, ye will testify to the truth of whatsoever hath streamed forth from the Most Exalted Pen [i.e., Bahā'u'llāh's writings]. If ye be of the people of the Bayān [the Bābīs], the Persian Bayān will guide you aright and will prove a sufficient testimony unto you; and if ye be of the people of the Qur’ān [Muslims], ponder ye upon the Revelation on [151] Sinai (tajallī) and the Voice from the Bush (sidrat) which came unto the Son of `Imrān [Moses]. 249
It is indicated that the truth of the revelation and claims of Bahā'u'llāh would be clear to Bābīs who derive guidance from the Bāb's Persian Bayān and to Muslims who are mindful of the quranic accounts of the Sinai theophany (of Qur’ān 7:143) and of the call of Moses. God "revealed his glory" (tajallī) before the "Mount" and declared His divinity from the "Bush." As the
248 Text in ibid., p. 28; trans. TB [Eng.], p. 52.
249 Text in ibid., p. 29; trans., TB [Eng.], p. 53.

manifestation of God, Bahā'u'llāh has accomplished the same and should, it is implied, be accepted by Muslims who are aware of the quranic precedent.
God, Bahā'u'llāh continues to argue, intended that human beings be mature enough to accept and understand his elevated claims. Heedless souls, however, have failed to come to faith: "That which they accepted from the [Sinaitic] Bush (shajara) they now refuse to accept from Him who is the [Lote-] Tree of the world of existence (sidra-yi wujūd) [Bahā'u'llāh]." 250 People, in other words, can accept that God proclaimed His divinity through a "Bush," but cannot accept Bahā'u'llāh's "I, verily am God," or the like. Followers of the Bāb, furthermore, should bear in mind that: "Most of the peoples of the earth attest the truth of the blessed Word (kalimat-i mubāraka) that hath come forth from the Bush (shajara)." 251 They acknowledge the truth of the scriptural accounts of the Sinaitic declaration of divinity. Unbelieving Bābās should thus feel humbled that they have failed to acknowledge Bahā'u'llāh's position as the "Speaker on Sinai." They should bear in mind that he would not have "breathed a word" of his claim to divinity had not the
250 Ibid
251 Persian Bayān 8:1, cited TB, p. 29; trans., TB [Eng.], p. 53. Cf. H. Taherzadeh (trans.,) Selections from the Writings of the Bāb, pp. 97-98. Bahā'u'llāh quotes and comments upon Persian Bayān 8:1 in terms of his claim to divinity in a fairly large number of his epistles of the late Adrianople and `Akkā periods.

Bāb praised him so highly and, for example, written of him in his Persian Bayān (VIII:1): "He is the One Who shall proclaim under all conditions, `Verily, verily, I am God, no God is there but Me, the Lord of all created things…" 252 Such, in summary, if I understand it correctly, is the substance of Bahā'u'llāh's fourth tajallī. [152]
b) The Tablet of the Essence of Praise (Lawḥ-i jawhar-i ḥamd): 253
This unpublished Persian Epistle which is largely addressed to the people of the world collectively opens with a paragraph in which God's supreme transcendence and essential incomprehensibility are clearly and categorically set forth. The next few paragraphs contain many points of interest and serve to underline the elevated status of the Manifestations or Messengers of God. The "Blessed and Primordial Word (kalimat) which shone forth from the Dawning-Place of the Will (mashiyya) of the King of the Divine Oneness [God]" as the agent of creation is equated with the "Self" (nafs) of the
252 I have and shall refer to this untitled epistle of Bahā'u'llāh after its opening words (jawhar-i ḥamd…). It has not been published, though reference has been made to two mss, one of them photostatically reproduced in INBA. Xerox coll., Vol. 35, pp. 161-8.
253 In addition to the passages from Bahā'u'llāh's Epistle to the Son of the Wolf which will be summed up or commented upon in the following paragraphs, see further, ESW, pp. 8, 18, 25, 40, 43, 65, 96, 114, 140, 141, 146, 147, 152, 156.

Manifestation of God. As the exclusive intermediaries between God and creation, the great Prophets represent the Godhead and express His divinity. Prophecies about the eschatological advent of God refer to them and to Bahā'u'llāh in particular for, as the "Most Great Theophany" (ẓuhūr i- a`ẓam), he has been manifested in every age and cycle with a particular Name, and appeared on the "Day of God." Despite the fact that "He Who Conversed with the Speaker (mukallim-i kalim) [Moses]" disclosed the "Greatest Name" (ism-i a`ẓam) or identity of Bahā'u'llāh, souls have remained veiled from him.
About half way through his Tablet of the Essence of Praise, Bahā'u'llāh mentions how different religious factions have been held back from faith on account of his various claims to "Prophethood" (nubuwwa), "Guardianship" (wilāya), and "Divinity" (ulūhiyya). He expresses astonishment that Jews, Christians, and other communities in possession of a Holy Book object to his claim to divinity and writes: "Say: O thou who art dumb! Hast thou not heard the Call of God from the [Sinaitic] Tree (al-shajara) raised up from the Luminous Spot (al-buq`a al-nūrā), "No God is there except Him." Then consider this and be not such as hearken but fail to comprehend ". It is implied that Bahā'u'llāh's claim to divinity was foreshadowed on Sinai. [153]
In defending the legitimacy of his claim to divinity, Bahā'u'llāh also quotes and comments on that line of the "blessed Sermon of the Gulf which shone forth from the horizon of the heaven of guardianship [Imam `Alī]" in which the advent of "He Who conversed with Moses" (mukallim mūsā) on Sinai is mentioned. He stresses the importance of this prophecy and declares that through it "all the peoples of the world were given the glad-tidings of the [eschatological] manifestation of God (ẓuhūr Allāh)." Referring to himself, he explains: "Today He Who conversed with Moses (mukallim mūsā) hath appeared and hath cried out, `I, verily am God.'" That a Prophet of God would be made manifest and make such claims is, Bahā'u'llāh also argues, anticipated in various Islamic traditions (ḥadīth) and quranic texts. The "Day of Resurrection" is the time of the rising up of the "Manifestation of the Self of God" (maẓhar-i nafs Allāh).
c) Epistle to the Son of the Wolf (Lawḥ-i ibn-i dhi'b):
This epistle to Shaykh Muhammad Taqī Najāfī has already been mentioned and quoted from. It is fairly rich in Sinaitic and related theological materials 254 and contains an important section on the question of
254 Text in Lawḥ-i Shaykh, p. 49; trans. ESW, p. 41 (cf. fn. 224 above). Worth noting at this point is the fact that in his Lawḥ-i milād-i ism-i a`ẓam (text cited in MA, Vol. 4, pp. 342-346), Bahā'u'llāh wrote, "…He [Bahā'u'llāh] hath been born Who neither begeteth nor is begotten." (See Qur’ān 112:3; originally designed to counter Christian incarnationalism [p. 344]). This claim of Bahā'u'llāh is a striking illustration of the Bahā’ī doctrine that whatsoever is said about God in the Holy Books revolves around the transcendent "Logos-Self" of the Manifestation or Messenger of God; God in his essence being unknowable and absolutely transcendent.

Bahā'u'llāh's claim to divinity. About a quarter of the way through his treatise, Bahā'u'llāh records that either Shaykh Muhammad or some other opponent of the Bahā’ī Cause had suggested that the quranic Sura of the Divine Unity (Sūrat at-tawhīd, Qur’ān 112) be translated [into Persian], to the end that it may be clear to all that "the one true God begetteth not, nor is He begotton." This was with a view to countering the assertions of such "Bābīs" (i.e., Bahā’īs) as "believe in his [Bahā'u'llāh's] Divinity (rubūbiyya, lit., Lordship) and Godhood (or Divinity, ulūhiyya)." 255
Immediately after recording such views, Bahā'u'llāh defends his claim to divinity in the following terms: "This station [Divinity] is the station in which one dieth to himself (fanā' az nafs) and liveth in God (baqā' bi-Allāh)." 256 His exalted [154] claims are indicative of his utter self-effacement before God and not of his own identity with the Absolute Godhead. Outside of an acceptance of the legitimacy of his claim to divinity, the prophetically and mystically understood accounts of the theophany (tajallī) before the Mount, and of the declaration of divinity from the "Bush," loose their meaning--given that the absolute Godhead was not personally involved: "O Shaykh," Bahā'u'llāh asks Shaykh Muhammad Taqī, "How do the [Muslim] divines of this age account
255 Lawḥ-i Shaykh, p. 49; trans. ESW, p. 41.
256 Ibid., p. 50; trans. ESW, p. 41.

for the effulgent glory (tajalliyāt, lit., `theophanic splendors’) which the Sidrat [LoteTree] of Utterance hath shed upon the Son of `Imrān [Moses] on the Sinai of Divine knowledge (ṭūr-i `irfān)? He [Moses] hearkened unto the Word (kalimat) which the Burning Bush (sidrat, lit., Lote-Tree) had uttered, and accepted it; and yet most men are bereft of the power of comprehending this, inasmuch as they have busied themselves with their own concerns, and are unaware of the things which belong to God" 257 Moses, in other words, accepted the claim to divinity made from a "Bush," while souls find it difficult to accept the claim to divinity made by Bahā'u'llāh. This, despite that Islamic tradition which has it that in the latter days souls shall behold "their Lord" as clearly as they behold the "full moon on its fourteenth night" and the prophecy contained in the Sermon on the Gulf (which is again quoted by Bahā'u'llāh.258.
Having made these points, and others besides, Bahā'u'llāh states that the people have failed to perceive his purpose in making reference to his "Divinity" (ulūhiyya) and "Godhood" (rubūbiyya). His having made such claims is perfectly legitimate in the light of claims to "Divinity" made by Muhammad and the Imams (recorded in Shī`ī literatures). Opponents have stirred up controversy, furthermore, by referring to his most elevated claims, without taking into account the fact that other less exalted claims had been disclosed
257 Refer, ibid.; pp. 50, 51; trans. ESW, pp. 41-42.
258 Ibid., p. 53; trans. ESW, p. 44.

by the "Abhā Pen" (Bahā'u'llāh). In order to illustrate his lowliness before God, Bahā'u'llāh writes: "In truth I say, and for the sake of God I declare: This servant, this Wronged One, is abashed to [155] claim for Himself any existence whatever, how much more those exalted grades of being!" 259 His claims to "Servitude" (`ubūdiyya) do not, however, overule his claims to "Divinity" (ulūhiyya). Both sets of claims are made by the Manifestations of God who, though they may say, "I, verily, am God," as representatives of the unknowable Godhead, yet remain servants of that Absolute Being. In explaining such theological subtleties, Bahā'u'llāh quotes the sixth Imam, Ja`far al-Ṣādiq, as having said: "Servitude (al-`ubūdiyya) is a substance the essence of which is Divinity (al-rubūbiyya)." 260 It is in view of such arguments that Bahā'u'llāh can confidently declare in his Epistle to the Son of the Wolf: "The Sun of Utterance beameth forth in this day, above the horizon of bounty, and the radiance of the Revelation of Him Who spoke on Sinai
259 Cited in ibid., p. 131; trans. ESW, p. 111. This tradition is frequently quoted in early Shaykhī literature; sometimes as a means of upholding a doctrine of the subordinationalist divinity of the Imams.
260 Ibid., p. 76; trans. ESW, p. 65.

(nūr-i ẓuhūr-i mukallim-i ṭūr) [Bahā'u'llāh] flasheth and glisteneth before all religions." 261
Bahā 'u 'llāh as YHWH "Jehovah " and Exodus 3:
The majority of the writings of Bahā'u'llāh discussed in the previous pages have contained Sinaitic materials closely related to Islamic and Bābī sources. Other epistles do, however, contain paragraphs in which Bahā'u'llāh interprets and expresses his claims in the light of the biblical account of the call of Moses and theophany of YHWH "Jehovah." With the conversion of a considerable body of Iranian Jewry to the Bahā’ī Faith from the early 1870s, and the publication of Cornelius Van Dyck and Eli Smith's Arabic translation of the Bible (Beirut, 1865) (later editions were available to Bahā'u'llāh), Bahā'u'llāh came to dictate Tablets for Jews directly informed by biblical materials.
A Tablet of Bahā'u'llāh written as if by his amanuensis Mīrzā Āqā Jān Khadīmu'llāh and addressed to a Bahā’ī referred to as Khalīl is of particular interest. Its opening Arabic section was revealed in honor of a certain Ḥakīm --most probably a Jewish convert to the Bahā’ī Faith -- and may be
261 For the text, full provisional translation, and some detailed notes on the Arabic section of this epistle of Bahā'u'llāh, see Lambden, "The Mysteries of the Call of Moses."

characterised as a mystical exegesis of Exodus 3 and 6:3 [156] (Arabic version). 262 Within it, key texts drawn from the biblical account of the call of Moses and relating to God's disclosure of his identity to the patriarchs and to Moses are associated with the disclosure of the Greatest Name (bahā') or identity of Bahā'u'llāh in primordial times (mystic pre-eternity). It opens with a paragraph in which mention is made of the archetypal beauty of the pre-Mosaic Prophets whose creation is linked with God's theophany as "Almighty God," the El Shaddai of Exodus 6:3. 263 The scene is set for mention of God's appearance to Moses and His declaration, "Moses, Moses, I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob" (Exodus 3:4b + 6a Arabic version). Bahā'u'llāh says that Moses was greatly moved by this declaration and "veiled his face, being unable to look at Him [God]." (See Exodus 3:6b + quranic parallels.) On account of it, he swooned away, thunderstruck for a period of 81,000 years (9 x 9 x 1,000; a symbolic figure) until "his Lord" revived him, and he glorified Him for 9,000,000 years (another symbolic figure; cf. Qur’ān 20:14, 7:143b). 264
262 See p. 72ff, and fn. 19 above.
263 Without going into details (see my article mentioned in fn. 261 above) the vast periods of time mentioned by Bahā'u'llāh refer to "mystic preeternity" and are symbolic.
264 For the text, see Lambden, "The Mysteries of the Call of Moses," pp. 42-3/47. Cf., p. 62ff.

Then, called again from the "Supreme Horizon," Moses was commissioned by God to make Him known to His "hidden people" in the celestial realms or "timeless" preeternal sphere. A difficult paragraph follows which forms a kind of counterpart to and transcendentalization of Moses' being called to liberate the Israelites in bondage in Egypt (cf. Exodus 3:7-11 Arabic text) and Exodus 3:13-15 is exegetically paraphrased:
Then the One Who conversed with God [Moses] presented His plight unto the Lord, the Ancient: "If I come unto them [the people] and say to them, "Your Beloved hath sent me unto you," and they ask me "What is His name?", what reply shall I give to them?"
Then did the mighty Divine Realm (lāhūt) quake, the Heavenly Dominion (jabarūt) of Power shake, and the kingdom (malakāt) of loftiness and exaltedness swoon away. The most exalted heaven [157] of heavens trembled by reason of the [divine] call which was raised from the hidden Retreat of [God's] Grandeur. The Voice of the Lord caused every ancient mountain to tremble. [Cf. Qur’ān 7:143]
Say [O Moses, to the people]: "I am He Who is I AM WHO I AM ('ehyeh 'asher 'ehyeh). I AM hath sent me [Moses] unto you." [See Exodus 3:14 Hebrew + Arabic.] O Moses! This Thou shalt say to the thirsty ones who desire the Kawthar (Fount) of union with Me: "YHWH (Jehovah), your Beloved, hath sent Me [Moses] unto you in order that I might give you the glad tidings of His [future] advent, His [spiritual] nearness, and of the [eschatological] attainment of His Presence." 265
265 Translated from an unpublished and uncatalogued manuscript of epistles of Bahā'u'llāh (photocopy in this author’s possession).

It seems to be presupposed in this paragraph that God's making himself known to Moses as "I AM WHO I AM" and YHWH "Jehovah" was with a view to the Israelite Prophet making his presence and future advent as Bahā'u'llāh known to the denizens of the mystic realm. The Divine Being who appeared to Moses and made Himself known as the God of the Patriarchs and YHWH will, Bahā'u'llāh subsequently states, not be known by His name Bahā' (the Greatest Name) until "the end of all ages" (eschatological times). Exodus 3: 13-15 and 6:3 are paraphrased by Bahā'u'llāh so as to express a progressive disclosure of the names of the Divine Being Who spoke from the Burning Bush culminating in the announcement of the expected advent of El Shaddai/YHWH as one bearing the "Hidden Name," Bahā', namely, Bahā'u'llāh.
In a number of his epistles of the late West Galilean (`Akkā) period, Bahā'u'llāh clearly claimed to be YHWH, the Divinity Who conversed with Moses from the burning bush and whose eschatological advent as "YHWH of hosts" ("the Lord of hosts") was predicted by the Israelite prophets. In, for example, the following lines addressed to a Jewish convert to the Bahā’ī Faith named Āqā Jān, Bahā'u'llāh writes:

The Face of the Ancient One [Bahā'u'llāh] hath turned towards the sages (ḥukamā') in the Land of al-hā' and al-mīm [Hamādān, in [158] Iran] and announceth unto them the glad-tidings of the Riḍvān (Paradise) of God, the Lord of all the worlds: "By God! He Who hath been named YHWH "Jehovah" in the Torah hath come. 266
On similar lines is the following extract from an epistle of Bahā'u'llāh to the Bahā’ī poet `Andalīb (and others):
He [Bahā'u'llāh] it is Who, in the Old Testament (Torah) hath been named YHWH "Jehovah". 267
A good many passages are to be found in the Tablets of the late West Galilean (`Akkā) period in which Bahā'u'llāh refers to himself as "the Lord (YHWH) of hosts" (Arabic: rabb al-junūd). One such passage reads as follows:
This is the Day in which He Who cried out on the Mount (munādī al-ṭūr) hath held converse and the Lord of Hosts (rabb al-junūd) proclaimed before all the world: "No God is there except Me, the Mighty, the Knowing." 268
266 Text in AQA, Vol. 2, p. 28; trans. Shoghi Effendi, cited in The Dispensation of Bahā'u'llāh, p. 13 (adapted).
267 Text in ibid., p. 7.
268 See `Abdu'l-Bahā, Tablets of the Divine Plan, pp. 17-23 (Letter of `Abdu'l-Bahā, dated April 19, 20, and 22, 1916).

`Abdu'l-Bahā specifically identified the Biblical "Lord of Hosts" with his father and spoke of the "hosts" as the stalwart members of the Bahā’ī community. 269
CONCLUDING NOTE
In the light of the foregoing it should be clear that Moses/Sinai motifs rooted in the Bible and the Qur’ān were given a wide range of interpretations by the Bāb and Bahā'u'llāh. They reinterpreted, in terms of their respective missions, those quranic texts that narrate the episode of the call of Moses, often presupposing that it has deep allegorical and mystical levels of meaning. While they underlined the incomprehensibility and transcendence of the Absolute Godhead they yet understood the theophany before the Mount recorded in Qur’ān 7:143, and rooted in Exodus 33:18-23, in the light [159] of their own manifestations in eschatological times. Each claimed divinity in the light of God's declaration from the "Tree" or "Burning Bush," and in this respect they made reference to the prophecy attributed to Imām `Alī about the theophany of "He Who Conversed with Moses" on Sinai.
The Bāb's claim to be the "Gate" and Bahā'u'llāh's oft voiced claim to be the "Speaker on Sinai" were made in the light of the typological repetition of the call of Moses in the "Holy Vale." Such are but a few of the key points
269 `Abdu'l-Bahā', cited in Shoghi Effendi, The Dispensation of Bahā'u'llāh, p. 38.

which emerge from the study of the Sinaitic materials within the massive corpus of Bābā and Bahā’ī scripture. Of course, not all the points made in this paper can be discussed here.
Finally, it is important to note that, in addition to the many passages within the writings of the Bāb and Bahā'u'llāh that are expressive of a "Sinaitic theology," there exist certain writings of `Abdu'l-Bahā (d. 1921) and Shoghi Effendi (d. 1957) that contain important exegetical statements. The former, for example, showed himself fully aware of his father's claims when he wrote: "…the Blessed Beauty [Bahā'u'llāh] is the One promised by the sacred Books of the past, the revelation of the Source of light that shone upon Mount Sinai, Whose fire glowed in the midst of the Burning Bush." 270
Shoghi Effendi, to quote but one extract from a letter expressive of his interpretation of the Sinaitic dimensions of Bahā'u'llāh's claims, has stated:
Bahā'u'llāh is not the intermediary between the other Manifestations [of God] and God. Each has His own relation to the Primal Source [God]. But in the sense that Bahā'u'llāh is the greatest Manifestation to yet appear, the One who consummates the Revelation to Moses, He was the One Moses conversed with in the Burning Bush. In other words, Bahā'u'llāh identifies the glory of the God-Head on that occasion with Himself. No distinction can be
270 From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, dated October 19, 1947, cited in The Unfolding Destiny of the British Bahā’ī Community, p. 448.

made amongst the Prophets in the sense that They all proceed [160] from one Source [God], and are of one essence. But their stations and functions in this world are different.
It is clear from this letter that the present Bahā’ī viewpoint is that Bahā'u'llāh's claim to be "He Who conversed with Moses," with its implications of divinity, does not signify that the Founder of the Bahā'i Faith acted as an intermediary between other great Messengers of God and the absolute Godhead; neither, as we have seen, does it assert his own identity with the unknowable God. Rather, as has also been pointed out, it implies that Bahā'u'llāh fulfills the Mosaic faith and appeared on the eschatological "Day of God" as the manifestation, but not incarnation, of divinity.
 

 

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