[3] The word Baha' in select Prophetic traditions and early Islamic literatures.

 

[3]

The word Baha' in select Prophetic traditions and early Islamic literatures.

Stephen Lambden UCMerced.

In progress 1980s-2017.

The linguistic history, semantic field and multifarious occurrences of the word bahá' in Arabic and Persian Islamic literatures have yet to be systematically researched. It is a word which does not occur in the Qur'án and is not among the traditional ninety nine "most beautiful names"  of God (al-asmá' al-uná; see Qur'án 7:179). It is thus considered "hidden". The Arabic word bahá' was not unknown prior to the advent of Bahá'u'lláh. It's explicit identification with the "Greatest Name" however, despite Islámic traditions to this effect, was not widely recognized. As the secret of the hundredth name of God, Bahá' is often alluded to in Bahá'u'lláh's Tablets as the "Hidden Name" and the "Greatest Name".  

SELECT ALLEGEDLY  PRE-ISLAMIC USES OF BAHA'  IN DIVINE TRADITIONS AND ISLAMIC LITERATURES.

Du`á Umm Dawúd ("The Supplication of the Mother of David").

It is likewise reckoned that Imám Ja`far al-Sádiq stayed that the "Greatest Name" is contained in the so-called Du`á Umm Dawúd ("Supplication of the Mother of David"). Towards the commencement of this quite lengthy supplication found in many Shi`i devotional compilations we read,

"Unto Thee [God] be Bahá' ("Glory").." (Qumí, Mafátíh al-jinan, 199).

MISCELLANEOUS PROPHETIC TRADITIONS.

 

Radí al-Dín ibn Tawús (1193-1266 CE).

The Lifeblood of the Supplications.. (Muhaj al-da`wát..)  is a compilation of prayers attributed to the Prophet Muhammad and the Twelver Imáms compiled by Radí al-Dín ibn Tawús (1193-1266 CE). Within it is an Arabic prayer attributed to the Prophet Muhammad which came to be entitled Du`a al-hujub ("The Supplication of the Veils"). [18] It contains the following line which associates the word bahá' with the Sinaitic theophany [19]:

"I beseech Thee [God] by the Names (al-asmá')   through which Thou didst manifest Thy glory (tajallayta)  before the Speaker [al-kalím, Moses] upon the mighty mountain [Sinai]. When sunbeams of the light of the Veils [of Light hiding the Divinity] were manifested from the bahá' ("splendour")  of the Divine Grandeur (al-`azimat)  such that the mountain was levelled.." (cf. Qur'án 7:143). [20]

Bahá'u'lláh, it will be recalled, mystically identified himself with the Divine Being Who conversed with Moses on the Sinai of inner realization. Relative to Bábí-Bahá'í scripture the use of the word bahá' ("splendour/glory") here for the divine theophany upon Sinai, is prophetically significant (see below). It is of interest that in one of his writings the Báb identified the "Greatest Name" with the Divine Reality which appeared to Moses on Sinai (INBA. MS 6003C 173-188). Indeed, in his Qayyúmu'l-asmá  súra 77 he also reckoned the vehicle of this Divine manifestation the "Light of Bahá'"  (cf. below).

The Prophet Muhammad and the word Baha' in the Du`á al-Jawshan al-kabír ("Greater Supplication of Jawshan").

 Islamic Tradition has it that the third Imám Husayn related that the "Greatest Name" was contained in the Prophet Muhammad's Du`á al-Jawshan al-kabír ("Greater Supplication of Jawshan").  In this prayer God is addressed as One possessed of bahá' ("Glory"; see Qummí Mafátíh, 131ff).

Tradition, furthermore, has it that Imam Ḥusayn related that the "Greatest Name" was said to be contained in the Prophet Muhammad's Du`ā al-Jawshan al-kabīr ("Greater Supplication of Jawshan").  In this prayer God is addressed as One possessed of bahā' ("Glory" ; see Qummī Mafātī, 131ff) -- it is likewise reckoned that Imām Ja`far al-Sādiq had it that the "Greatest Name" is contained in the so-called Du`ā Umm Dawūd ("Supplication of the Mother of David") near the beginning of which we read, "Unto Thee [God] be Bahā' ("Glory").." (Qummī, Mafātī, 199).