TB-Kifaya


THE SūRAT AL-KIFĀYA

The Surah of the Sufficiency

of

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

Translation Stephen N. Lambden

1982+ 2014.

[0]

This is the Sūrat al-kifāya  (Sura of the Sufficiency). It was assuredly sent down on the part of the True One (min al-ḥaqq) regarding the question of knowledge  (fī jawāb al-`ilm).  In the Name of God, who, no God is there except Him. And He is God who was Powerful over all things.

 

[I]

[1]

O people of the letter "H" (al-hā')!

[2] Hearken unto the melody of the Crimson Leaf  (waraqat al-ḥamrā')  in the Paradise of the Divine Cloud (jannat al-`amā') for He, verily, is the Light  [of] the Radiant Temple [Sinaitic] (haykal al-sa[i]nā') Who acteth on behalf of God, as a Manifest Light unto the worlds  (nūr an mubīn an). [4] Bear witness unto the Countenance of the theophany (ṭal`at al-ẓuhūr) through the Robe of Light (qamīṣ al-nūr)  which is evident beyond Mount Qāf, at the right-hand side of the Mount [Sinai] (al-ṭūr). [5] He, assuredly, is the True One (al-ḥaqq) who hath ever been the very essence of the divine Unicity (jawhar al-aḥadiyya) which is the Camphor Fount  (`ayn al-kafur). [6] Emerge ye, at the behest of God, from your dwelling places then enter the garden of the inmost heart (ḥadiqat al-fū'ād) [7] This is  indeed  the Abode of Light (bayt al-nūr) at this the time of heedlessness before the Citadel  [Object] of  fervent Devotion (madīnat al-ghayūr). [8] This is but a dewdrop from the oceans of the divine Logos-Command (aḥbar al-amr)  which hath been inscribed in the Tablet of Life (lawḥ al-hayāt),  the very essence of the celestial Fire (jawhar al-nūr). [9] If thou should desire to attain the presence of the Countenance of God (ṭal`at Allāh = Yaḥyā ?) then rise up unto the heaven of the atmosphere (hawā ' al-samā') so that thou may hearken unto the Call of the Almighty Bird (dīk al-jabbār), [saying] `There is none other God save Him, the One, the Subduer'. And He is God Who hath ever been of  All- Encompassing Power over all things.

[II]

[1]

O people of the earth!

[2] Hearken unto the Call of the Leaf of the Divine Ipseity (waraqat al-huwiyya) which springeth up  from the Tree of all-Eternity (shajarat al-azaliyya), [3] [and] which groweth up within the All-Enduring  Realm (min arḍ al-ṣamadiyya) warbling captivating divine verses to the effect that, [4] `He, assuredly is the True One (al-ḥaqq); no God is there save Him'. He is God Who hath ever been independent of all the worlds.

[III]

 [1]

O denizens of the Celestial Cloud! (ahl al-`amā')

[2] This is the Paradise of the Divine Oneness (jannat al-aḥadiyya), the Orchard of Eternality (ḥadīqat al-azaliyya). [3] Then dwell therein with the permission of God; there is none other God save Him. And He is God Who hath ever been cognizant of all things. [4] So hearken ye unto the melody of the  ecstasy inducing Voice (taghannā al-injidhāb) which cometh from the Countenance (ṭal`at) of One  seated upon the Couch of Divine Nearness (sarīr al-iqtirāb), [5] the Point of the Theophany (nuqṭat  al-ẓuhūr), the Inmost Secret (sirr al-buṭūn), the Secreted Essence of the Book (mustassir al-kitāb). [6] This to the effect that He is indeed the True One (al-ḥaqq) besides Whom there is none other. And He  is God Who hath ever been witness unto all things.

[IV]

[1]

Wherefore doth God reorient thee towards the two motionless [letter] "A"s [Bahā'-Allāh and Yaḥya?]  (alifayn al-rākidayn) to the end that ye may realize that he hath ever been powerful over all things. [2] Should thou become  aware of the Evident Temple (haykal al-jahr) within thine inmost Heart (fū'ād) [3] thou would surely find composure from God such that thou would  bear witness that God is assuredly  the All-Sufficient Who hath ever been a mawlā  ("Patron") over the totality of the worlds. [4] Enter ye then the House of Light (bayt al-nūr), the Snow-White Land (arḍ al-bayḍā'), the Crimson Pillar (rukn al-ḥamrā'), the Firmly Established Abode (tamakkun al-dār) (cf. Q.10:25) which is the Abode of the  Hereafter , [eschatological era] (dār al-ākhira), the Primal Mystery (sirr al-ūlā) which is assuredly the  Source of Life (al-ḥaywān) inscribed in the Mother Book (umm al-kitāb).

[V]

[1]

Should thou become aware of but a single melody of the Divine Utterance [2] thou would assuredly  find repose and be protected from grandiose suppositions (al-subuḥāt) and vain allusions (al-ishārāt)   from the dissent of the veiled One (fitna al-`amīyā').

[VI]

[1]

O people of the Concourse!

Hearken ye unto the songs of the Ant of endless Duration (nimlat al-ṣamadiyya) [2] which warbleth  with the verses of the Divine Unicity (āyāt al-aḥadiyya) indicative of the fact that [3] `He is indeed the True One (al-ḥaqq), the Point of the Divine Cloud [Beclouded Realm] (nuqṭat al-`amā'), the locus of the  Divine Ipseity' (jawhar al-huwiyya). [4] So exalted be God, the King, the True One, Who hath ever been powerful over all things.

[VII]

[1] This is the Call of the Hoopoe of Servitude (hudhud al-`ubudiyya) [Bahā'-Allah] in the heaven of  manifest Justice (samā' al-`adl) who stands before the All-Glorious one (al-jalāl) [= Yaḥyā ?] [2] He,  verily, is the one Hidden (al-ghayb), though the Pure Wine of the Theophany (sirf al-ẓuhūr), the  Mystery of the All-Beauteous One (sirr al-jamāl). [3] So praised be He, He is God Who hath ever been witness unto all things.

[VIII]

[1]

O denizens of the Celestial Cloud (ahl al-`amā')!

Guard [purify] thyselves lest ye be agitated within on account of the delusive Grandiosity (al-subuḥāt)  and Subtle Profundities (al-ishārāt) [2] and their negative [prohibitory] aspects and their authoritative  tone for [3] such is an expression of justice (ḥukm al-`adl) from the clouds of the divine Graciousness  (ghamām al-faḍl) inasmuch as the same hath ever been revealed according to a heaven  sent wisdom (ḥukm min al-samā?).

[IX]

[1]

O ye denizens of the realms of Being! (ahl al-akwān)

Eat ye of the succulent fruit (thamarat al-muthmirat) of the Crimson Tree (shajarat al-ḥamrā') which hath been planted in the land of realization (arḍ al-imḍā'), [2] the Point of Origination (nuqṭat  al-badā'), [3] the Mystery of the [eschatological] end-time(sirr al-khatm) and the secreted mystery of the Divine Decree (mustasirr al- qaḍā') [= Yaḥyā ?]

[X]

[1] Such is the decree of the Book which originates with God and hath ever been sealed up (makhtūm) in the Mother Book (umm al-kitāb). [2] Issue forth then from your habitations in order that you might  be present in the Sanctum of holiness (ḥaram al-quds), the Intimate threshold of the celestial Cloud  (`amā ' al-uns) [3] whose decree hath, with the express permission of God, the Exalted One,ever been  witnessed in the Tablet of the Heart (lawḥ al-fu'ād).

[XI]

[1] So Bear thou witness! O concealed Letter (ḥarf al-ghayb).

that the Logos-Soul of Knowledge (nafs  al-`ilm) is the pristine wine of the Theophany (ṣirf al-ẓuhūr) expressed in the Book of God (kitāb  Allāh) a single letter of which hath not been grasped by anyone. [2] Such hath ever, on the part of God, the Lord of all the worlds, been inscribed in the Tablet of the Divine Decree (lawḥ al-amr). [3] With Him is the knowledge of the heavens and of the earth and what lieth between them as well as the knowledge of all things (`ilm kulli shay'i) for He Who is God hath ever been knowledgeable of all  things (kulli shay'). [4] He it is Who, through the knowledge of what is being sent down from heaven, whatsoever is drawn out from the earth as well as that which rageth  about upon it, goeth forth from it and approacheth it was assuredly part of His knowledge which hath  ever been preserved on the part of God, the Exalted, in the Book of Light (kitāb al-nūr) [of Yaḥyā?] [5] Then bear witness that the essence of origination (jawhar al-ibdā`) is He Who is the locus of  knowledge (jawhar al-`ilm) in the realms of existence (al-imkān). [6] Wherefore is it that the essence  of knowledge regarding the Divine Essence (al-`ilm fī al-dhāt) is [focused in] the very Logos-Self of  the Divine Essence (nafs al-dhāt). [7] No one knoweth how He is save Him for He is God Who hath ever  seen witness of all things (kulli shay'). [8] He is the One Who giveth victory unto whomsoever He pleaseth through the [exalted?] angels of Light (malā'ikat al-nūr).

[XII]

[1] Such an one is assuredly the divine Theophany (al-ẓuhūr),  the Pillar of Praise (rukn al-tamḥīd), the  Mystery of divine Glorification (sirr al-tamjīd) [2] about the figurehead [brow] of  aloneness (jibhat  al-tajrīd), the cloud of Isolated Uniqueness (`amā' al-tafrīd) who yet hath ever, in very truth, been  manifestly apparent. (mashūd an). [3] With him is the knowledge of the scriptural Tablets (`ilm  al-alwāḥ) and the knowledge of all things (`ilm kull shay') in the Book of the Spirit (kitāb al-rūḥ) [4] though the people are without the capacity to witness even a token (ramz an) thereof though God is He Who hath ever been knowledgeable of all things (kull shay'). [5] So praised be unto He with whom  is the Kingdom of the verses (malakūt al-āyāt) which He sendeth down in whatever manner he  pleaseth by virtue of a command on His part. He is God who hath ever been the One Who taketh account (ḥāsīb) of all things.

[XIII]

 [1]

O people of the earth!

Should  ye desire to become informed of the Reality of Knowledge (ḥaqq al-`ilm) [then] become ye informed of the Countenance of Light  (ṭal`at al-nūr, = Yaḥyā ) [2] Say: `Praised be to God! He is God Who hath ever been exalted beyond the knowledge [gnosis] of the totality of the  Azalīs [proto-Azalī Bābīs?] ( `ilm al-azaliyyīn jamī`an).

[XIV]

[1]

O Letter of the Divine Bounty! (ḥarf al-jūd)

[2]  Say: `Praised be God! He is God, who hath ever been sanctified above the description of such as  are cut off [from him] [3] By the True One! He hath ever been known (ma`rūf an) by virtue of the  Logos-Self of the True One (bi-nafs al-ḥaqq).

[XV]

[1]

O denizens of the Concourse!

Suppose ye not through evil supposition and utter ye not that which ye do not carry out; should, that is, ye aspire to become informed (khabīr an)  of even a letter of the Book of the Divine Cause (bi-ḥarf  min kitāb al-amr)!

[XVI]

[1]

O Countenance of the Divine Bounty! (ṭal`at al-jūd),

Bear thou witness unto the fact that the Essence of thy Divine Bounty (jawhar jūdika) hath never  ceased to be that Divine Bounty (al-jūd) which is prostrate before God, the  All-Mighty, the One   (al-waḥīd).  [2] No God is there save Him. He is God Who hath ever been witness unto all things

[XVII]

[1] Say: Hast thou not born witness unto that  which God sent down aforetime and also thereafter, unto a younger  Beloved One (ḥabīb al-aqall = Mirza Yaḥya? ) [2] for he is none other than the Logos-Self of the Beloved One (nafs al-maḥbūb)

[XVIII]

[1] This in that the Covenant of God (`ahd Allāh) never taketh hold of the iniquitous (al-ẓālimīn), such that is, as are given to denial (al-mumkirīn). [2] This inasmuch as  xxxxxx ?? is assuredly the one before whom prostrate all such as inhabit the heavens and the earth, and what lieth between them. [3] And He is God Who hath ever been a Sustainer (muqīṭ an)  of all things. [4] So praised be He in Whose hand is the Kingdom of the Invisible (malakūt al-ghayb) and the powerful Dominion of the Visible (jabarūt al-shuhūd) [5] He makes manifest whomsoever He wills  through a command on His part. And He, verily, is the True One (al-ḥaqq). There is none other God save Him. [6] He is God Who hath ever been independent of all the worlds [7] He is assuredly the One before Whose knowledge not a single thing, whether in the heavens or on the earth, or what lieth between them, remaineth hidden.[8] And He is God Who hath ever encompassed all things.

Select notes on the Surat al-kifāya 

VI:1 Here Bahā'-Allāh clearly refers to himself as "this lowly, this forsaken ant".  As far as I am aware the only other writing in which Bahā'-Allāh refers to himself as  nimla(t) an "ant" is the Lawḥ-i kull al-ṭa`ām  (Tablet of All Food, c. 1854). The exact source of the motif of the "ant" as applied by Bahā'-Allāh to himself is not clear. It may be that it is rooted in the Bāb's exegesis of Qur'ān 27:15ff (Tafsīr surat al-baqara, 92) Obscure interpretations of qur'ānic verses and prophetological stories are fairly common in Bābī-Bahā'ī  scripture. No less obscure, for example, than Bahā'-Allāh's referring to himself as an "ant" is the Bāb 's equating Imām Alī with the "gnat" mentioned in Qur'ān 2:26. Such metaphorical images may seem obscure, but a close study of the use of Arabic terms indicative of divine attributes in the Lawḥ-i kull al-ṭa`ām leads to the conclusion that leading Bābīs are alluded to themselves in highly evocative ways.

         Several of the writings of Bahā'-Allāh of the Iraq period contain allusions to the exalted status of Quddus and Mirza Yahya. Towards the end of the Sahifa-yi  shaṭṭiyya (c. 1857-8?) for example, we have the following Bābī confession of faith:

 "He verily, no god is there except Him. Alī before Muhammad [= the Bāb ] is the Essence of God (dhāt Allāh) and His All-Enduring Being. Muhammad before `Ali [= Mirza Muhammad `Ali Barfurushi,  Quddūs] is the Treasury of the Cause of God (ma`dan amr Allāh) and His Perpetual Essence. The Countenance of the Living One (tal`at al-ḥayy = Mirzā Yaḥyā?) is the Hidden Retreat of the decree of God (makman ḥukm Allah) and his upright bounty. The Letters of the Living (ḥuruf al-ḥayy) are the first to believe in God and His signs [verses]. And we, one and all, hold fast unto them".

Worth noting  is the fact that the Surat al-kifāya contains several passages parallel to parts of the Lawḥ-i kull al-ṭa`ām  (c. 1854)  ...

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 BIBLIOGRAPHY

Fayḍī, Muhammad `Alī.

  • Kitab  La`alī-yi dirakhshan.  Tehran: BPT., 123 Badā`/ 1967  ( pp. 302-3).