TB Hardegg 1
Painting of the Templar Colony, c. 1877
Select Notes in Commentary on the Lawh-i Hartik
Stephen N. Lambden
Under revision and completion 2015.
In these comments Roman and other numerals indicate the paragraphs and verses into which the translation of the Lawḥ‑i Hartīk has been divided for the purpose of commenting. They are not indicated in the original Arabic.
The following paragraphs selectively comment upon lines and phrases in the Lawḥ‑i Hartīk. This Tablet to a one time leader of the Tempelgesellschaft must be viewed as one of the most important writings of Bahā’-Allāh addressed to a Christian. Fairly brief and wholly in Arabic some of the deep, exegetical Bahā’ī doctrinal teachings are succinctly registered therein. A number of biblical texts and eschatological prophecies are alluded to. In his Lawḥ-i Hartīk Bahā’-Allāh claims to be the architect and locus of the new spititual Temple of His new Cause; the communicator and personification of a non‑concrete, spiritual edifice which is the "New Jerusalem".
In this opening paragraph Bahā’-Allāh acknowledges Hardegg's no longer extant letter. He refers to himself, as frequently in his writings of the Adrianople and `Akkā periods of his ministry (1863‑92), as al-maẓlūm, the "Oppressed One" or "Wronged One". Hardegg's sincerity is recognized and God is beseeched that the Templer leader might come to understand the nature of Bahā 'u'llāh's claims and writings.
Hardegg is next advised to consider the kalimat Allāh, the "Word of God" (II:1) by which Bahā’-Allāh's own writings are probably meant, including this scriptural Tablet, the Lawḥ‑i Hartīk, in which the call to faith is set forth. Alternatively, it may be that the Injīl (Evangelion, Gospels, `New Testament’) is intended in which important, universally relevant guidance is to be found. A lesson can be learned, for example, from the story of the call of the first disciples of Jesus which Bahā’-Allāh next alludes to (II:2f).
L. Hartīk II:2 most probably alludes to the person and example of Simon [ Symeon] Peter, "the Rock" (Aramaic, kêpā' , Cephas, Gk, petros, see Jn 1:42) the centrally important apostle of Jesus (b. Bethsaida ?? BCE?, martyred Rome? c. 64 CE) who had a position of preeminence in the synoptic Gospels. He is regarded by Catholic and some other Christians as the first Pope. Some Shī `ī Muslims and Bahā'īs see him as the legitimate successor ("centre of the covenant") of Jesus.
Following Islamic (Shī`ī) traditions it is presupposed that Peter was the first to believe in Jesus. Bahā ’u’llāh refers to him as "the first of those [Christians] who believed in the Spirit" (al‑ruḥ = Jesus). He became a believer as a result of his being affected by the "Word" or teachings of Jesus and straightaway abandoned his worldly pursuits. A similar coming to faith through attraction to the "Word of God" should be evident among the devotees of Bahā’-Allāh who are referred to as "the fishes of the Most Great Ocean".
L. Hirtīk II:2f is thus most probably related to the account of the call of the first disciples in Matt 4:18f ( paralleled in Mk 1:16f, Lk 5:1f; cf. Jn 1:42). The Matthean account of Simon Peter's coming to faith in Jesus is recounted as follows:
"As he [Jesus] walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Immediately they left their boats and followed him." (Matt 4:18‑20).
Peter's faith was instantaneous. It is indicated that such as aspire to faith in Bahā’-Allāh, the "fishes of the Most Great Ocean", should be similarly detached from their worldly concerns. The expression al-baḥr al-a`ẓam ("Most Great Ocean") most probably refers to the massive oceanic‑like expanse of Bahā’-Allāh’s writings, his perhaps over 20,000 Arabic and Persian revealed alwāḥ, scriptural revelations or "Tablets". From the depths of its spiritual magnitude Baha’i devotees derive their inner life or "swim". "Most Great Ocean" is a fairly common expression in the writings of Bahā’-Allāh. There exists, for example, interesting imagery associated with the "ocean" (Ar. al-bahr) for example, in Bahā’-Allāh’s Lawḥ ‑i Hawdaj ( Tablet of the Howdah) or Samsum . Its mention in connection with Peter is very likely inspired by the previously cited narrative of the call of Jesus to his first apostles, Peter, Andrew, James and John, who were all fishermen.
Reference is made in several of Bahā'u'lāh's writings to Peter and to his ready acceptance of Jesus as compared with Jesus' rejection by his more learned contemporaries. In the Lawḥ-I Pāp (Tablet to the Pope), for example, Bahā’-Allāh in the course of an address to the "people of the Gospel", refers to Mk 1:17 (= Matt 4:19, cf.Lk 5:10b ),
"Verily he [Jesus] said: "Come ye after Me, and I will make you to become fishers of men." In this day, however, We say, "Come ye [after Me] that We may make you to become quickeners of mankind." Thus hath the Decree been ordained in a Tablet inscribed by the Pen of Command" (Alvāḥ.. mulūk.. 76, trans. Shoghi Effendi, PDC:31).
At L. Hartīk III:1f Bahā’-Allāh draws Hardegg's attention to the fulfilment of various biblical prophecies and their relationship to the appearance of an expected messiah in Syria‑Palestine, the Holy Land. He warns that it is "base passion", self‑generated human own limitations, that have prevented humankind from turning towards God, from acknowledging Bahā’-Allāh’s claims.
"Land and sea (al-barr wa'l-baḥr)
The phrase, "Land and sea (al-barr wa'l-baḥr) have rejoiced at the beneficence of God...(bi-birr Allāh)" probably signifies that everything in the cosmos was exhilirated at the advent of Bahā’-Allāh. The opening words, al-barr wa'l-baḥr ( "Land and sea") are qur'ānic. These two nouns occur together three times in Sūrat al‑An`ām ("Cattle", Qur'ān, 6:59,63,97), once in Sūrat al‑Rūm ("The Greeks", see Qur'ān, 3O:41; cf Kassis, 334) and three times elsewhere (see 10:22 ; 17:70 ; 27:63 ); cf. Kassis, 316‑7). In Arberry's translation Qur'ān, 6:59f reads,
"With Him [God] are the keys of the Unseen; none knows them but He. He knows what is in land and sea (al-barr wa'l-bar); not a leaf falls but He knows it...
Say: Who delivers you from the shadows of land and sea (al-barr wa'l-baḥr)?... Say:`God delivers you from them...’ It is He [God] who has appointed for you the stars, that by them you might be guided in the shadows of land and sea (al-barr wa'l-baḥr)." (Arberry, 127,128,132)
The relevant background verse in the Sūrat al‑Rūm ("Greeks" 30) is as follows, "Corruption has appeared in the land and sea (al-barr wa'l-baḥr), for that men's own hands have earned, that He may let them taste some part of that which they have done, that haply so they may return." (Arberry, 415)
It thus seems clear from these qur'ānic verses that al-barr wa'l-baḥr primarily indicates everything, all earthly regions whether terrestrial or oceanic.
The Arabic phrase al-barr wa'l-baḥr is also found in the writings of the Bāb. Drawing on the Qur'ān in sūra LXVI of his first major work, the Qayyūm al‑asmā' (= QA ., mid. 1844 CE), for example, the Bāb states that God set the "stars" (al‑nujūm) in the "horizon of heaven" that the tracks over "land and sea" might be known, be seen as astronomical guides (QA LXVI:267). As in the Lawḥ‑i Hirtīk, the phrase al-barr wa'l-baḥr ("land and sea") is used in many other of Bahā’-Allāh’s Tablets. The following lines come from an address to `Alī Akbar: "We desire to make mention of he who hath been named `Alī Akbar, who hath turned unto the Supreme Horizon and traversed land and sea (al‑birr wa'l‑baḥr) into order to attain the shore of the Most‑Great Ocean [=Bahā’-Allāh]" (AQA 2:57).
In the Arabic Lawḥ-i Karmil (Tablet of [Mt.] Carmel c. 1891) the words of the Lawḥ‑i Hiktīk are echoed for it is written, "Verily this is the Day in which both land and sea rejoice at this announcement" (Arabic text TB. 1980:2, trans. Shoghi Effendi GWB: 16.). The words "at this announcement" have been added by Shoghi Effendi in order to make sense of the Arabic phrase in English translation. Finally, in this connection, it is stated in an address to Shaykh Muhammad Tāqī Najafī (d.1914) in the Epistle to the Son of the Wolf (Lawḥ‑ i ibn‑I dh'ib),
"O Shaykh! Seek thou the shore of the Most Great Ocean, and enter, then, the Crimson Ark which God hath ordained in the Qayyūm‑I‑Asmā for the people of Bahā. Verily, it passeth over land and sea. He that entereth therein is saved, and he that turneth aside perisheth" (Lawḥ‑i Shaykh, 164; trans. Shoghi Effendi, 139).
The "Healer of Infirmities" (muttahir al-`ilāl) - the "Builder of the Temple" (bānī al‑haykal).
At Lawḥ‑i Hiktīk III:5 we read that nations were given the promise concerning the advent of the muttahir al-`ilāl ( "Healer of Infirmities") who in the Arabic is rhythmingly identified with the bānī al‑haykal ("Builder of the Temple"). This line directly addresses biblically rooted Templar expectations about a New eschatological (third) Temple which is associated with hopes regarding a latter day healing possibly through a divine theophany or the second advent of Christ. The epithet "Healer of Infirmities" most likely alludes to those biblical promises which reflect the idea that in eschatological times God Himself or a messianic saviour will purify humankind of their sicknesses, will heal their infirmities.
In addition to the verses cited above, see, for example 53:5; 57:19; 58:8; 61:1‑2 and Jer. 33:6.
This expected salvific healing process reflects and perfects the New Testament work of Christ who initiated a spiritual healing at his first coming. In this conection refer also Mk.1:29ff; 10:13; Matt. 8:17; 10:1f; 11:5; 12:28; Lk 4:19; 5:15, 17; 7:22 and 11:20. The "healing" ministry of Jesus is to be fully and universally realized at the millennial era of his second advent. Worth citing at this point are a few prophecies contained in various the books of the Hebrew Bible (NKJ trans.) and in the Book of Revelation which anticipate an eschatological healing:
Moreover the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, And the light of the sun will be sevenfold, As the light of seven days, In the day that the LORD binds up the bruise of His people And heals the stroke of their wound (Isa. 30:26).
Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard (Isa. 58:8).
'Behold, I will bring it health and healing; I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth (Jer. 33:6).
But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness (Heb. šemeš ṣədaqah) shall arise With healing (Heb. מַרְפֵּא marpēh) in his wings (בִּכְנָפֶיהָ) And you shall go out And grow fat like stall‑fed calves (Mal. 4:1 [Heb. 3:20] )
In the middle of its street [of the New Jerusalem], and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations (Rev. 22:2).
It may well be that the above verse of the New Testament Apocalypse or Book of Revelation, communicated from the celestial Jesus by John of Patmos (d. c.100?), implies a global healing promised to all nations in the millennial age. It could lie behind Lawḥ‑i Hiktīk III:5a. Here the advent of the muttahir al-`ilāl ( "Healer of Infirmities") is associated with the building of the "Temple" (haykal) which is the millennial "New Jerusalem". For Baha’is it is the "New Jerusalem" of the Baha’i religion as the fulfillment of a promise made to all nations. The "leaves" of the unitative Baha’i teachings of the "Tree" of the new religion of Bahā’-Allāh were promulgated for "the healing of the nations" (Rev. 22:2b).
At the beginning of his Persian Lawḥ-i Qarn (Centennial Tablet), a lengthy letter addressed to the Bahā'īs of the East dated 101 BE/ 1944-5 (see ) Shoghi Effendi lists various titles assumed by or attributed to Bahā’-Allāh including, as in the Lawh-i Hirtīk, "The Healer of Infirmities" (muttahir al-`ilāl) and "The Builder of the Temple" (bani al-haykal) (Lawḥ-i Qarn, 1). These titles were commented upon by the Iranian Baha’i scholar `Abd al-Hamīd Ishrāq Khāvarī (1902‑1972) in his Raḥīq-i makhtūm (The Sealed Wine), a two volume commentary on the aforementioned Centennial Tablet of Shoghi Effendi. In his comment on muttahir al-`ilāl Ishrāq Khāvarī notes that the prophets of the children of Israel gave the glad-tidings of the advent of the "Lord of Hosts" (Bahā’-Allāh) who will heal all sicknesses and infirmities. In this connection he quotes Isaiah 35:4-6 (in Persian) in illustration of an expected eschatological healing The first three verses of Isaiah 35 read as follows:
"(1) The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. (2) It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellancy of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD [Ar. ], and the excellancy of our God [Ar. baha’‑ Allah). (3) Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees."
In his Lawḥ ‑I Ibn ‑I Dhi`b ("Epistle to the Son of the Wolf") Bahā’-Allāh cites Isaiah 35:1‑3a and comments upon their lucidity relative to predicting his latter‑day theophany or manifestation.
In the KJV or Authorized version the abovementioned verses of Isaiah read:
 Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.  Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.  Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. (Isa. 36:4-6).
These verses of the book of Isaiah, however, do not contain the non‑biblical expression "Healer of Infirmities"(muttahir al-`ilāl) either in the original Hebrew or in the major Arabic or Persian translations. The are those verses of Isaiah cited in the New Testament in connection with Jesus’ ministry (e.g. Matt 11:5) though they might also be applied to the person of Bahā’-Allāh as the Return of Christ.
It seems unlikely, as Ishrāq Khāvarī held, that the title "Healer of Infirmities" (muttahir al-`ilāl) is embedded in Isaiah 35:4‑6. It is a specific phrase in these verses, Isa 35:4b, which was cited by Baha'-Allah as a prophetic allusion to his divine theophany or manifestation :
"Behold your God will come"
“Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” (Isaiah 35:4).
Having made this point Ishrāq Khāvarī cites a passage from an untitled Tablet of Bahā'u'llāh which closely parallels part of paragraph III of the Lawḥ-i Hirtīk. It reads as follows:
The hill of God (kaum Allāh, i.e. Mt. Carmel ) hath trembled (ihtizaz) on account of the breeze of the meeting with God. It, verily, hath been named [Mt] Carmel and crieth out, "The Builder of the Temple (bānī al-haykal) hath assuredly come as hath the "Healer of Infirmities" (muttahir al-`ilal). Blessed be those who have attained (cited Rahiq, 2:527).
Commenting on bānī al-haykal in Raḥiq ‑i makhtūm (vol. 1:289-91) Ishrāq Khāvarī draws attention to Malachi chapter 3:1a which he quotes in Persian translation: "…the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his Temple (haykal).." Though the expression bānī al-haykal does not occur here he asserts that this verse predicts the coming of the Builder of the Temple (bānī al-haykal) as the eschatological manifestation of Divinity (i.e. Bahā’-Allāh). This in that the Persian translation (cited by Ishrāq Khāvarī) states, "..the Lord..will..come to his [own] temple" (khudāvand..bi-haykal-i khud.. khāhad āmad; cf. the Hebrew is XXX ).
Malachi 3:1f, Ishrāq Khāvarī further asserts, does not as Christians maintain, refer to Jesus the Messiah. This since Malachi 3:5 refers to God's coming "for judgement" and inasmuch as Jesus, according to John 3:18 and 12:47, taught that he had not come to "condemn the world" or to "judge the world". It is Bahā’-Allāh he contends who is referred to in the 3rd chapter of the book of Malachi. His herald the Bāb is also referred to in Malachi 3:1 as the messenger (rasul) who will "prepare the way" before the advent of Bahā’-Allāh (refer, RM l: 290). Having made these comments Ishrāq Khāvarī refers to Shoghi Effendi's The Promised Day is Come (lawḥ-i mubarak yaum al-mī`ād) and again quotes the passage paralleling the Lawḥ-i Hartīk (paragraph III, translated above) which he notes was addressed to followers of the Messiah, to Christians (Rahīq Makhtūm 1:290) .
Biblical expectations seem to be alluded to in the Lawḥ‑i Haktīk III:5, Bahā’-Allāh doubtless wished to indicate to Hardegg and others that Templer hopes associated with the rebuilding of the Jerusalem Temple or its spiritual counterpart found their realization in Him. Bahā’-Allāh thus represented himself as the builder of the eschatological "Temple".
In the excellent, comprehensive article “Temple” by Meyers in the sixth volume of the Anchor Bible Dictionary (vol 6:350-369) something of the linguistic developments of the word “Temple” can be gleaned:
“The English word “temple,” as used to denote the central religious building in Jerusalem, comes from a Latin word (templum). In English translations, “temple” is used to translate the Hebrew word hêkāl, which is used in the phrase hêkāl Yahweh. The word hêkāl is related to similar terms in Ugaritic and Canaanite and is based on the Akkadian word ekallu. The Akkadian in turn comes from Sumerian ê-gal, meaning “great house.” The connotation of this etymology is that a temple is a large building, or palace. It signifies a residence; and when used with the name of the deity, it indicates that the building is conceived of as a residence for that deity" (Freedman, D. N. 1996, c1992. The Anchor Bible Dictionary. Doubleday: New York).
We thus see that there were developments from Sumerian ê-gal and the Akkadian ekallu to the Semitic Hebrew word for Temple which is הֵיכָל hêkāl, corresponding also to the related Semitic language هَيْكَل haykal which also has a wide range of senses ranging from from (Lane Lexicon).
The first Israelite Jerusalem temple was that of Solomon (10th cent. BCE) which was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. The second rebuilding resulted in the Herodian Temple ( ) which was again destroyed by the Romans around 70 CE. The latter-day again renewed “Temple” is the third or eschatological Temple. For Baha’is this is a spiritual "Temple" (haykal). Bahā’-Allāh understood it to be Himself, the divine Logos‑Self or Person (nafs) of Bahā’-Allāh. This is for example, clear in Bahā’-Allāh’s weighty Surat al‑Haykal where we at one point read,
The Arabic word for Temple is haykal which is very frequently used with a variety of senses in Babi‑Baha’i scripture. In Baha’i scripture the "Temple" of the "Person" of Bahā’-Allāh is representative of the edifice of his religion. Symbolically it is the "New Jerusalem" of the Bahā’ī Cause. This is in line with the following verse of the New Testament apocalypse, the Revelation ascribed to John of Patmnos,
"And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it" (Rev. 21:22)".
In the KJV Zechariah 6:12 reads "Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD (hekhal Y‑H‑W‑H).
It is interesting that the originally Sumerian word (e‑gal) as a Semitic loanword came, among other things, to signfy "Temple" in both biblical Hebrew hekhal (which often indicates the Jerusalem Temple in the Hebrew Bible, ) and Arabic haykal.
The bānī al‑haykal ("Builder of the Temple").
And now a comment upon the phrase bānī al‑haykal ("Builder of the Temple", see III: 5b) with which or whom the "Healer of Infirmities" is identified. The bānī al‑haykal is the true builder of the new, eschatological Temple (haykal) not fashioned made by human hands. There are a number of texts in the Hebrew Bible that predict the future restoration of the (Jerusalem) Temple. They were doubtless known to Hardegg and the Templers. One such text, most likely the one alluded to by Bahā’-Allāh in the passage under discussion (III:5) occurs in Zechariah 6:12-13a. This text reads, with the Van Dyck Arabic tralation indicated in italics, "Thus says the Lord of hosts (rabb al‑junud) , `Behold, the man whose name is the Branch (al‑ghuṣn): for he shall grow up in his place, and he shall build the Temple of the Lord ( wa yabna haykal al‑rabb ) . It is he who shall build the temple of the Lord, (fa‑huwa yaynī haykal al‑rabb) and shall bear royal honour (al‑jalāl) and shall sit and rule upon his throne (kursī).." . This text twice indicates that the "Branch" will be the one who will rebuild (B‑N‑Y) the Temple. The same Arabic root as "Builder" (= B‑N‑Y) is twice used as it occurs in the Lawḥ‑i Hirtīk’s phrase bānī al‑haykal ("Builder of the Temple" III: 5b). This text is thus most likely that alluded to by Bahā’-Allāh in his Sūrat al-Haykal ("The Sūra of the Temple" c.1873; several recensions late 1860s , early 1870s) when he claims :
" Thus have We built the Temple (haykal) with the hands of power and might, could ye but know it. This is the Temple (haykal) promised unto you in the Book (al-kitāb = the Hebrew Bible). Draw ye nigh unto it. This is that which profiteth you, could ye but comprehend it. Be fair, O peoples of the earth! Which is preferable, this, or the temple which is built of clay? Set your faces towards it. Thus have ye been comanded by God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting." (Kitāb-i mubīn, 128. trans. Shoghi Effendi, PDC:47).
Another verse of the Hebrew Bible ZECH 5 + GPB
This passage from the Sūrat al-Haykal clearly has it that the haykal (Temple) to be built in the latter‑days is the Word or person of Bahā’-Allāh who is personified in the Sūrat al- Haykal. Indeed, Bahā’-Allāh ordered that this Tablet, which incorporates the complete text of five of Bahā’-Allāh's Tablets to the secular and religious leaders of various nations or communities - his  Tablet to the Pope (Pius IXth); ,the Tablet to Napoleon;  Tablet to the Czar [Alexander II];  Tablet to Queen Victoria and  the Tablet to Nāṣir al-Dīn Shāh (Lawḥ-i Sulṭān) - should be written up in the form of a pentacle (five pointed star) representative of the "New Jerusalem" or eschatological Temple of his Cause.
The expected new Temple was thus seen by Bahā’-Allāh as a "spiritual Temple". In part mindful of Templer new Temple expectations through Hardegg's association with the Bahā'īs, Bahā’-Allāh came to teach that his own revelation or person consitiuted the Temple predicted in such Biblical texts as Zech 6:12f (cf. Shoghi Effendi, GPB:213).
And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God ( Gk. δόξα τοῦ θεοῦ = Bahā’- Allāh ) did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof (AV tr).
III:7 The trembling and proclamation of Mt. Carmel
At Bahā’-Allāh III:7 states that with the coming of the appointed time "Carmel cried out, trembling as if shaken (ihtizāz) by the breezes of the Lord." As a result of his appearance in `Akkā the not far distant holy mountain, Mt. Carmel, has been convulsed, deeply affected. The mountain, as it were, testifies to the power of his Word or presence. This line calls to mind and may have been inspired by those passeges in the Hebrew Bible which associate God, the Lord of Hosts with Mt.Carmel. Such texts sometimes have eschatological implications. They tell of God’s influence upon this mountain. In Amos 1:2 we read, for example, "The Lord will roar from Zion, and utter his Voice from Jerusalem; and the habitations of the shepherds shall mourn, and the top of Carmel shall wither." This text was certainly known to Bahā’-Allāh. He quotes it in his Lawh-i Ibn‑i Dhi'b (Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, c. late 1891) where he identifies the true Zion as well as Jerusalem and Palestine with the `Akkā-Haifa area (see Lawh-i Shaykh.. 71 trans. ESW:170). The idea that the earth or its people would tremble (ihtizāz) at the eschatological Manifestation of God, the theophany of the Lord of Hosts is indicated in the Bible. Joel 2:1 and 3:16 are good examples,
"Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming, it is near..The Lord roars from Zion and utters his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth shake.." (cf.also Haggai 2:6f).
When Bahā’-Allāh speaks of Mt. Carmel trembling (ihtizāz) and crying out in the line of the Lawḥ-i Hirtīk quoted above (III:7) he probably means that Mt. Carmel cries out and trembles with joy as a result of his nearness and the cosmic, the penetrating influence of his revealed word. Having quoted several biblical texts Bahā’-Allāh writes in his Lawh-i Ibn‑i Dhi'b (Epistle to the Son of the Wolf):
"This Day all the signs have appeared. A Great City hath descended from heaven, and Zion trembleth (muhtazz) and exulteth (masrūr) with joy at the Revelation of God (ẓuhūr‑i ḥaqq), for it hath heard the Voice of God on every aide" ( ibid.170 trans. ESW:145).
The meaning of the passage from the Lawh-i Hirtīk (III:7) and the import of these words, though the former text speaks of Mt.Carmel and the latter Zion, would appear to be essentially the same.
In a lengthy Persian Tablet of Bahā’-Allāh of the late West Galilean (`Akkā) period which again contains many Biblical citations, reference is made to the advent of the Day in which trees are attracted, rocks and stones tremble (muhtazz) and quake (mutaḥarrik) and mountains exhibit the greatest joy on account of the arrival of the promised hour. Significantly, this statement about the effect of the arrival of the eschatological hour, is immediately preceded by a quotation from Psalm 99, verses 5-6 which begins, "The Lord reigns: let the Peoples tremble! He sits enthroned upon the cherubim: let the earth awake" (Psalm 99:1) (Refer Ishrāq Khavārī (ed.), Mā'idih 7:191).
III:7 The cry the "Rock" (ṣakhra).
Bahā’-Allāh at III:7 writes that receptive ears would be capable of hearing the cry from the Rock (ṣakhra) which in a loud voice (bi-a`lā al-ṣaiḥa) bears witness unto the "Eternal God." The significance of this line is not immediately clear. It is likely that Bahā’-Allāh indicates that Jerusalem, personified by the "Rock", announces his advent in a loud voice, with a great cry (ṣaiḥa). In his Tablets Bahā’-Allāh not infrequently represents various regions, places or mountains (i.e. Sinai, Carmel, Bethlehem, etc.) as testifying to his advent, acknowledging the truth of his Word or religious claims. The following passages from the al‑Kitāb al-Aqdas (c.1873) and the Lawḥ-i Maqsūd (c.1882) provide something of a parallel to the Lawḥ-i Hirtīk III:8‑9
"Carmel hath, in this Day, hastened in longing adoration to attain His court, whilst from the heart of Zion there cometh the cry: "The promise is fulfilled. That which hath been announced in the holy Writ of God..is made manifest.." .. He it is Who hath caused the Rock (al-ṣakhra) to shout, and the Burning Bush to lift up its voice, upon the Mount rising above the Holy Land, and proclaim: "The Kingdom is God's, the sovereign Lord of all, the All-Powerful, the Loving" (Refer, Aqdas2 [al-Hasanī] 118,121; tr. Shoghi Effendi, Syn & Cod. 18, 23.)
"Magnified be Thy Name, O Lord of all beings and Desire of all created things! I beseech Thee, by Thy Word which hath caused the Burning Bush to lift up its Voice and the Rock (al-ṣakhra) to cry out..to graciously enable Thy servants to recognise what Thou hast ordained for them by Thy bounty and grace." (Lawḥ-i Maqṣūd, in TB* 158, tr. 177.).
Note also the following passage from Bahā'u'll āh's Lawḥ-i Pāp (Tablet to the Pope),
"This is the day whereon the Rock (al-sakhra) crieth out and shouteth and celebrateth the praise of its Lord, the All-Possessing, the Most-High" ( Alvāh-i.. mulūk.. 80; tr. PDC:32).
Shoghi Effendi appears to have understood al-sakhra, "the Rock" in this passage as referring to Peter: since `Peter' is placed in brackets in his translation after the word "Rock" (cf. Matt 16:18).
Similarly, Bahā’-Allāh on occasion represents Jerusalem or the Masjid al-Aqṣā (The Further Mosque cf. Q. 17:1) as being influenced by or testifying to his coming. The following texts are examples:
"The Mosque of Aqṣā vibrateth through the breezes of its Lord, the All-Glorious' (al-abhā) whilst Baḥā [Mecca] trembleth at the Voice of God, the Exalted, the Most-High. Whereupon every single stone of them celebrateth the praise of the Lord, through this Great Name (al-ism al-a`ẓam)." (Lawḥ-i Malikih =Tablet to Queen Victoria, Alvāḥ-i.. Mulūk, 132, trans. PDC:35).
"North and South both vibrate to the call announcing the advent of our Revelation. We can hear the voice of Mecca acclaiming: "All praise to Thee, O Lord my God, the All-Glorious, for having wafted over me the breath redolent with the fragrance of Thy presence!" Jerusalem, likewise, is calling aloud: `Lauded and magnified art Thou, O Beloved of earth and heaven, for having turned the agony of my separation from Thee into the joy of a life-giving reunion!'" (Bahā’-Allāh cited Dispensation.. 15).
In their usual concrete Islamic exegesis the Masjid al-Aqṣā (`The Remote Mosque’) and the al-ṣakhra, the "Rock" are both reckoned to be in Jerusalem (cf. Qur'ān 17:1). In referring to al-ṣakhra Bahā’-Allāh is most likely alluding to the "Rock" over which the Dome of the Rock (qubbat al-ṣakhrā) or Mosque of `Umar which was built in the late 7th century CE. It has traditionally been associated with the first Jerusalem or Solomonic Temple (cf 1 Kings 9:6ff, etc). A great many Jewish, Christian and Islamic traditions about this "Rock" have been handed down. Both Jews and Muslims attributed great sanctity to this "Rock". They associated it with eschatological events. A number of Jewish and Islamic writings speak of an eschatological proclamation, a "trumpet blast" to be made by or in the precincts of the "Rock" (cf. Isa 40:9ff). In such texts as those cited above Bahā’-Allāh probably alludes to such latter day signs.
Allusion may also be made in Bahā’-Allāh writings ‑‑ possibly including the passage from the Lawḥ-i Hirtīk cited above ‑‑‑ to those Qur'ānic texts in which an eschatological announcement, "cry" or "trumpet blast" (ṣaiḥa) is mentioned. Qur'ān 50:41-2 reads, "Listen for the Day in which the Caller (al-munād) will call out from a near place (makān qarīb), the Day when they will hear al-ṣaiha.." (cf.also Qur'ān 11:67 ).
The great Bahā’ī apologist Mīrzā Abū al-Faḍl‑i Gulpāygānī (1844-1914) in his lengthy Kitāb al-Farā'id (written 1898 ) at one point quotes Qur'ān 50:41-2 and comments on this and various traditions about places from which the "Caller" (al-munād) will utter "the cry" (al-saiḥa). He notes that both Sunnī and Shī`ī commentators interpret Qur'ā n 50:41-2 in terms of an eschatological proclamation from the "rock" of the bait al-muqaddas (`Sacred House' = Jerusalem). He identifies this "rock" and the expression bait al-muqaddas with Mt.Carmel. The eschatological call of the Bāb, he adds, in fulfilment of prophetic traditions was raised in Mecca while that of Bahā’-Allāh was raised in the Holy Land. Thus was fulfilled various prophecies which imply the coming of twin messengers of God. Muhammad Bāqir Majlisī records a tradition in his Biḥār al-anwār from the 6th Imam to the effect that Gabriel will be the first to pledge allegiance to the Qā'im. This Shī`ī messiah figure will descend in the form of a white bird, place one foot on Mecca and one foot on the bait al-muqaddas, and then announce the advent of the Cause (al-amr) of God. For Gulpāygānī this tradition indicates the appearance of the Bāb and Bahā’-Allāh in Mecca and in the Holy Land respectively. (Farā’id, 58f).
On the "rock" and various Jewish and Islamic traditions relating to it see, Hirschberg, `The Sources of Muslim Traditions concerning Jerusalem' and Souchek `The Temple of Solomon.. (see bibliography below).
The inverted Arabic W and the reversal of faith status
The general sense of this paragraph of the Lawh-i Hartīk is that the predicted eschatological `reversal' or `inversion' of faith-status has taken place. With the advent of Bahā’-Allāh, in other words, a new standard of religiosity, of spirituality has been disclosed. Outward clerical, ecclesiastical rank and other form of renown are no longer an indication of high spiritual status. Just as unlearned or humble persons like Peter (= "he who was a mere fisher", see above) had responded to Jesus' message while the learned rejected him so likewise with the coming of Bahā’-Allāh have the "first", those of renown in the Kingdom ( = "their exalted ones"), become the"last", those of little consequence in the hierarchy of faith (= "their lowly ones" ). Such an eschatological bi‑polar `inversion' is indicated in a variety of Biblical texts, Islamic traditions as well as in several of the writings of the Bāb (refer for example, Mk 10:31= Matt 19:30, Matt 20:16, Luke 13:30; the Bāb, Persian Bayān, II. 16, 17; VIII. 4.1).
As indicated above Bahā’-Allāh frequently drew attention to the humble origins of Jesus' first disciples. This with a view to warning contemporary religionists of the need for humility and openmindedness in investigating his claims. The following passage in the Tablet to the Pope (Lawḥ-i Pāp) is similar to that in the Lawḥ-i Hirtīk : "Call thou to remembrance Him Who was the Spirit [Jesus], Who, when He came,the most learned of His age pronounced judgement against Him in his own country, whilst he who was only a fisherman [Peter] believed in Him" (Lawh-i pāp (Tablet to the Pope), Alwāh-i nāzilah.., 76; tr Shoghi Effendi PDC:3I).
In the Lawḥ-i Hirtīk, however, the eschatological, bi‑polar reversal of outward faith status is related to a graphic representation of the phrase sirr al‑tankīs li-ramz al-ra'īs ( "the mystery of reversal on account of the symbol of the Ruler"). This phrase was brought to prominence by the great sage and mystical philosopher Shaykh Aḥmad al‑Aḥsā’ī (d.1826). A few background details are necessary before this phrase can be briefly commented upon.
Mention is made in Islamic literatures of a Mightiest or Greatest Name of God (Ar. al‑ism Allāh al-a'ẓam; Per. ism‑i a`ẓam). Closely paralleling Jewish traditions highlighting the power and sanctity of the tetragrammation (Y.H.W.H = Yahweh, trad.= Jehovah). The ilicit pronunciation of the divine Name was viewed as a sacreligious act by pious religionists. According to their Community Rule (Serek ha‑yaḥad) members of the Qumran Jewish faction expelled a member of their group for pronouncing the divine Name inappropriately or frivolously , even if accidentally! (Vermes,70). There have apparently been times when the ineffable Name of God was pronunced in more recvent times. Ignoring the Toraic injunction against "taking the Name of the Lord in vain" (CCXX :xx ) the 17th century messianic claimant Shabbetai Tzevi (d. 1676), to the horror of his contemporaries, uttered the Name in Smyrna. It should be noted that by the examination of ancient biblical and other manuscripts modern biblical scholars have fairly confidently reckoned Yahweh to have been an ancient pronunciation of the tetragrammaton. Traditionally such knowledge, however, was said to have been lost in antiquity
The sanctity of other various notions of the Names of God is important in Islamic tradition. It is held that the Mightiest Divine Name (al-ism al-a`zam) was known only to God and such of the prophets and spiritual elite as he chose to communicate its secrets. Jewish and Islamic traditions reckon that Israelite prophets and other worthies and sages of past times drew upon the supernatural power of the mightiest Name of God. Through knowledge of the Name they are believed to have performed miracles and wonders.
A number of Muslim thinkers, mystics and transcendental philosophers have claimed a knowledge of the secreted Greatest Name of God. The learned Shī’ī scholar and Akhbārī traditionalist Raḍī al‑Dīn Abū’l‑Qāsim Ibn Ṭāwūs (d.664 /1266) is reputed to have been "granted knowledge of the Greatest Name of God (ism Allāh al‑a`ẓam)" which existed in his writings wherein it is "strewn..like shining pearls" (Kohlberg,1992:14‑15). Knowledge of the Greatest Name was said to confer great spiritual power as well as protection from evil and misfortune. Forms of it are frequently found on talismanic devices. Alleged representations of it featured are frequently upon amulets.
Both Sunni and Shī`ī writings contain traditions which either directly or indirectly purport to set forth forms of the "Greatest name of God". Details pertaining to its talismanic or diagrammatic form cannot be gone into here. It should be noted, however, that a dozen or more alphabetic, qabbalistic or cryptographic representations of the Greatest Name of God are found in esoteric Islamic, esoterica, magical‑qabbaliatic and associated literatures (cf. Winckler, 1930). Centrally important are the Shī`ī representations of the Greatest Name of God certain of which are based upon directives spelled out in a tradition ascribed to Imam `Alī b. Abī Ṭālib (d.40/661), the son‑in‑law of the prophet Muhammad. A version of this ḥadīth from `Alī is cited by Muḥyī al‑Dīn Aḥmad b. `Alī al‑Būnī (d. 622 /1225), author of the celebrated Shams al‑Ma`ārif [al‑kubrā] and a master of arcane computations surrounding the Names and Attributes of the Godhead. He reports this tradition from `Alī on the authority of the greatly respected `Father of Islamic exegesis’ (tafsīr) `Abd Allāh ibn `Abbās (d. c.68 /687) which includes a reference to the graphic form of the Mightiest Name of God :
The "inverted [Arabic letter] wāw (w) here is described in a phrase within Imam `Alī’s poetic and graphic description of the sevenfold cipher‑letter‑signs constituting one of the graphic representations of the Greatest Name of God. There follows many diagrammatic examples of the ism Allāh al‑a`ẓam and a translation of the poem of Imam `Alī upon which several representations of it are based:
In the Lawḥ-i Hirtīk, however, the eschatological, bi‑polar reversal of outward faith status is related to a graphic representation of the phrase sirr al‑tankīs li-ramz al-ra'īs ( "the mystery of reversal on account of the symbol of the Ruler"). This phrase was brought to prominence by the great sage and mystical philosopher Shaykh Aḥmad al‑Aḥsā’ī (d.1826). A few background details are necessary before this phrase can be briefly commented upon.
The "inverted [Arabic letter] wāw (w) is the second graphic glyph extending over the other six signs. It has the appearence of an Arabic letter "W" inverted and greatly extended. It is described in as the seventh glyph in the seventh a phrase within Imam `Alī’s poetic and graphic description of the sevenfold cipher‑letter‑signs constituting one of the one of the graphic representations of the Greatest Name of God.
There are many diagrammatic examples of the ism Allāh al‑a`ẓam (Greatest Name) in both Sunni and Shi`i writings and compilations of tradition. A translation of the poem of Imam `Alī upon which many of these graphic ciphers are based is as follows ( as cited and understood by the second leader of the al-Shaykhiyya (Shakhism), Sayyid Kazìm al-Husayni al-Rashti (d. 1259/1843), who quotes the following sevenfold Arabic description of the al-ism al-a'zam ascribed in poetical form to Imam `Ali:
ثلث عُصى صُففَت بعد خَاتم
Three rods (`uṣiyy) in a row [ | | | ] after a seal [khātam = ☆ ]
على رلسها مثل السنان المُقوم
above them  the likeness of a straightened lance [‑‑].
و ميم طميس ابتر
A blind [Arabic letter] Mﻡ (mīm) without a tail;
ثم سُلم كهئة السلام و ليس بسلم
Then a ladder unto all that is hoped for, but which is not a ladder.
Four things like fingers in a row [ IIII ], pointing to good deeds, but without a wrist
And a [letter] "H" (hā ) which is cleft (shaqīq) = [ھ ]
Then an inverted [letter] wāw ( "w" ൦ = و) like the syphon of a phlebotomist (ka‑anbūb ḥajjām, "tube of the cupper") though not a cupping glass (miḥjam)
This poem yields the above cited graphic diagram of the Mightiest Name though without the extra pentalpha in the graphic version cited by Sayyid Kazim (see above). These poetical lines ascribed to Imam `Alī normally often continue (in the short recension) with the following further lines :
 "This is [representative] of the Mighty Name (al‑ism al‑ mu`aẓẓim); If you knew it not aforetime, then know it now!  O bearer of the Mighty Name (ṣāḥib al‑ism al‑`aẓīm), take sufficiency in it, for you shall be preserved from misfortunes and kept safe thereby. It is the Name of God (ism Allāh) ‑‑ exalted be His glory ‑‑ unto all humankind whether pure Arab (faṣīḥ) or non-Arab (a`jam).”
Sayyid Kazim's imamologically oriented commentary on the poetical and graphic Israiliyyat rooted traditions regarding the symbol of the Mightiest Name cannot be discussed in detail save to note that he also draws upon allegedly pre-lslamic dimensions of traditions about the Mightiest Name of God. Rashtī commences his commentary by acknowledging his indebtedness to the upright, pious and sagacious master, named Shaykh Muhammad Ahmad (= Shaykh Ahmad al-Ahsa'i?). Through him he was informed that "certain of the religious communities (al-millī) are aware of portions of the words (al-kalimāt) constituting the Mightiest Name (al-ism al-a'zam)". It is stated that elements of this Name are evident in the "fourteen temples" (hayakil), apparently indicating the Shī`ite pleroma ("fullness") of Muhammad, Fāṭimah and the 12 Imams (`Ali -> Hasan al-Askari).
Differentiated or subdivided into thirteen "letters" after the thirteen individual elements constituting the seven graphic sigla which make up the mightiest Name of God (counting from the initial pentacle (☆ ) to the inverted wāw ( ൦ = و ) eight portions out of the 13 were allegedly known to the pre-lslamic communities. Four elements ("letters") derive from the Tawrat, (the Torah, Hebrew Bible) and four from the Injīl ("Gospel"), the other five derive from the Qur'an (4+4+5 =13). Sayyid Kāzim's explanations of these components of the al-ism al-a'zam are distinctly imamological (Rashtī, Sh-lsm, 271 aff).
The Sayyid further explains how it is that the Torah has four "letters" of the Mightiest Name. He explains that this is so in the light of the following well-known prophetic hadīth , "O 'Alî you are to me after the manner of Aaron to Moses". A typological relationship is thus set up between Moses and Muhammad. Moses [= Muhammad], it is explained, is foundational (aṣl an), the Reality (al-haqîqa), while the Torah (al-tawrat) before him is his essential persona (aṣāla dhāt an). Moses the prophet (al-nabī) is essentially the Moses of the gate of reality upon reality (haqĩqa). In a metaphorical sense the reality of the Torah which was revealed before him consists of four letters which are the four lettered personal name Muhammad (= M-Ḥ-M-D). The manifestation of the name Muhammad before Moses took place at the Sinaitic theophany (tajalli) of the Lord (see Q. 7:143). The agent of this theophany is again said to have been an humanoid individual from among the cherubim (rajal min al-karubiyyïn), evidently one associated with the name Muhammad (Rashtī, Sh-Ism, 273b).
That four letters of the al-ism al-a'zam are found in "the Injīl of Jesus son of Mary", are also commented upon by Sayyid Kāzim. He states, "And he [Jesus] is the likeness (mithal) of [Imam] 'AIī." This typological equation also has to do with the letters of the mightiest Name being imamologically realized. That Imam 'Alî is equated with Jesus finds echoes in the writings of the Bāb ( see Persian Bayan Vlll:2). Five "letter" components of Mightiest Name are also allotted to the Q. They are imamologically understood as representing the pentad of the four twelver Imams,  Ḥasan,  Ḥusayn,  Ja'far al-Sadiq,  Musa and the prophet's daughter  Fatima.
At one point in his commentary on the Khuţba al-ţutunjiyya (Sermon of the Gulf) Sayyid Kāzim also interprets the seven graphic sigla of the Mightiest Name imamologically, as  Muhammad, and six of the Imams,  'Alî,  Fatima  Hasan,  Husayn,  Ja'far and  Mūsā. These seven are indicative of the fullness, the pleroma of the fourteen (= 2x7) immaculate ones (Sh-Ttnj : 53). It is also interesting to note that Sayyid Kāẓìm gives the seventh item, the inverted letter و wāw, a messianic significance stating that it "alludes to the [messianic] Proof (al-hujjat), the son of Ḥasan [al-Askarī, the 11th Imam, d. c. 260/874]". The central (hidden) letter "A" (alif) of the three letters of wāw when spelled out in full (= واوً = W+A+W) represents the Qa'im (messianic Ariser) as one "stationed between the two gulfs (ţutunjayn), the isthmus (barzakh) between the two worlds". This mode of exegesis is also taken up in Bābī-Baha'ī scripture, most notably in the Qayyum ai-asma' of the Bāb and, for example, the al-Kitāb al-aqdas ( "Most Holy Book" c. 1873) and Lawh-i Hartik [Hardegg] of Bahā'u'llāh.
Bahā'ī interpretations of the sirr al-tankīs ("Mystery of reversal") to some extent draw on, though they often go beyond, those which appear to have been envisaged by Shaykh Aḥmad al-Aḥsā'ī and his successor Sayyid Kāẓim Rashtī. They are many and complicated and cannot be discussed in detail here. It must suffice to make a few remarks about the meaning of the sirr al-tankīs.. in connection with the eschatological inversion of faith status or outward rank. As indicated above, the phrase sirr al-tankīs.. ("the mystery of inversion") has to do with the interpretation of the meaning implied in this diagrammatic element found in graphic forms of the Greatest Name of God. In basic terms one might say that the eschatological revolutionary inversion takes place when the personification of the Greatest or Mightiest Name of God becames evident.
Bahā’-Allāh, `Abdu'l‑Bahā and other Bahā'ī writers have given the inverted wāw and its three component letters (when written out in full) cyclic and eschatologically oriented interpretations. Allusion is found to  the six `prophets endowed with constancy' (the first wāw),  the Bāb (the Alif: the Bāb being regarded as the Qā'im ) and  Bahā’-Allāh (the second wāw) Alternatively, as in the Lawh-i Hirtīk, to the reversal of outward human position of status or rank (with the coming of Bahā’-Allāh) is indicated by the inverted, reversed letter W. The fact that the inverted wāw stretches backwards and has an abjad value of six probably led to the idea that the messianic advent of Bahā’-Allāh has reversed the faith‑status or rank of all prefious religionists given the new locus of faith and religiosity. In a letter addressed to a certain Asad [Allāh] Bahā'u'llāh identifies the words, "He shall make their exalted ones their lowly ones and their lowly ones their exalted ones" as an Islamic tradition (ḥadīth), (see Ishraq Khavari, Raḥīq Makhtūm 1:687 and see also Bahā'u'llāh, letter cited Mā’ida 1:14, Ishraq Khavari, Raḥīq. 1:682, 686, 687).
In one of his explanations of the sirr al-tankīs contained in his Lawh-i qina' (Tablet of the Veil) Bahā’-Allāh, as in the Lawh-i Hartīk, relates its mystery to the effect of his revelation and writes, "Thus have We made their exalted ones their lowly ones and their lowly ones their exalted ones. This is the mystery of inversion for the cipher of the chief" ( see Majmū`ih-yi alwāh-I mubārakih, 67ff). Such an interpretation of the sirr al-tankīs is also presupposed in the following passage from Bahā’-Allāh's al‑Kitāb al- Aqdas which was most probably written shortly after the Lawh-i Hartīk:
"Behold, the "Mystery of Great Reversal in the sign of the Sovereign" (sirr al-tank īs li-ramz al-ra'īs) hath now been made manifest. Well is it with him God hath aided to recognize the "Six" raised up by virtue of this "Upright Alif"; he, verily is of those whose faith is true. How many the outwardly pious who have turned away, and how many the wayward who have drawn nigh, exclaiming: "All praise be to Thee, O Thou the Desire of the worlds!" In truth, it is in the hand of God to give what He willeth to whomsoever He willeth, and to withhold what he pleaseth from whomsoever He may wish. He knoweth the inner secrets of the hearts and the meaning hidden in a mocker's wink. How many an embodiment of heedlessness who came unto Us with purity of heart have We established upon the seat of Our acceptance; and how many an exponent of wisdom have We in all justice consigned to the fire. We are, in truth, the One to judge. He it is Who is the manifestation of "God doeth whatsoever He pleaseth", and abideth upon the throne of "He ordaineth whatsoever He chooseth" (Aqdas, al-Hasanī, 127; BWC Aqdas trana. 1992: ¶157 pp. 75‑6.).
 Arab. text cited from al-Būni, Shams, cited Winckler, 1930:69-71 with German trans. 71 ; text and French trans. Anawati, 1967:24, 27; Eng. trans. MacEoin, 1982 [BSB 1/1:4-14] = 1992:93-97 = App. XXIII. I have adapted MacEoin's translation in the light of the other translations and al-Būnī's Shams.