The Evolving Claims and Titles of Mirza Husayn `Ali Nuri, Baha'-Allah (1817-1892 CE).

The Evolving Claims and Titles of Mirza Husayn `Ali Nuri, Baha'-Allah (1817-1892 CE). 

Stephen Lambden UCMerced,

In progress 1980s+ 2017

Last uploaded : 21-05-2017.

Mirza Husayn `Ali Nuri was the fourth son of Mirza `Abbas Nuri known as Mirza Bururg (d. 1839) and his second wife Khadijah Khánum  (b.1822 near Takur in the Mazandaran province, d. September 15, 1882)  who were both of Persian Shi`i descent.  The father was a vizier ("governor") to the royal prince Imam-Virdi Mírza, the twelfth son of Fath `Ali Shah (d. Isfahan 1834 r. 1797-1834) the  second Qajar ruler, king, or Shah of Persia. Baha'-Allah's date of birth was November 12th 1817 his parentally conferred name being the twofold Husayn `Ali, both names rooted in those of two of the most important Twelver Shi`i  Imams.

Baha'-Allah's claims range from humble  expressions of servitude before God and the rest of humanity, to claims which are expressive of his manifesting or representing God in his position as a mediator between the apophatic Unknowable or Ultimate Godhead, the Wholly Beyond, and the rest of humanity or the worlds of creation. His humanity as a Persian born man is never overuled, though His claimed Divine, Pre-Existent Reality, a manifestation of the (Arabic-Persian) nafs ("Logos-Self") or Personna of the Godhead, is countless times celebrated in his extensive Arabic and Persian writings spanning the forty year period c. 1852 to the year of his passing at Acre in May 1892. His expressions of Divinity are always that of a divinity subordinate to the incomprehensible Divinity Beyond everything. Like earlier messengers of God and an array of spiritually intoxicated Sufis and sages, He may claim "I am God" but this never implies that he is He Himself, the Ultimate Reality. One can discern something of an evolution in Baha'-Allah's claims though many are implicit from the earleist days of his coming forth as one comissioned by God.

Many of the claims of Baha'-Allah expressed as titles or epithets, are rooted in Jewish, Christian and/ or Islamic or Abrahamic religious traditions. He sometimes claimed in the context of equality or eschatological "return", levels of spiritual "identity" with past founder prophets, philosophers or theologians, with great religious figures and thinkers of past ages. In attempting to attract followers from the Abrahamic religions, he found it necessary to make claims which echoed, matched or went beyond those of occupying the centre of the faith and devotion of whatever community was addressed. There are hundreds of claims to be the eschatological  "return" of past prophets of messengers of God. Baha'-Allah often claimed that aspects of his life such as rejection, exile and suffering, echoed the lives of such past luminaries as Moses, Jesus, Muhammad and others. 

The  Baha'i theology of the claims.

In his persian Kitab-i Iqan ("Book of Certitude" , c. 1861 CE), Baha'-Allah set forth an apophatic theology of the transcendent unknowability of the Absolute Deity, and articulated the dual status of His-Hers-Its Messengers (rasul) or Manifestations of God (mazhar-i ilahi). They all occupy both a human position of `ubudiyya (servitude) and a divine status of  ilahiyya (Divinity). All, furthermore, have an "essetial unity" such that they can claim "oneness" with each other or to be the "return" of each other. Each having an indivualized name, personna and cultural background they, at different times, utter claims on these seemingly incompatible, though actually unitative lines : claims, that is, within the spheres of humanity and servitude or of divinity and omnipotence. This also in the light of their diverse religious missions and the limitations of human language at the times and places of their advent. Other related factors, such as their recipients vocabulary, intellectual capacity, and geographical location come into play, "they have voiced an utterance that would conform to the requirements of the occasion" (Kitab-i iqan, 198) :

We have already in the foregoing pages assigned two stations unto each of the Luminaries arising from the Daysprings of eternal holiness. One of these stations, the station of essential unity, We have already explained. “No distinction do We make between any of them.” 14 The other is the station of distinction, and pertaineth to the world of creation and to the limitations thereof. In this respect, each Manifestation of God hath a distinct individuality, a definitely prescribed mission, a predestined Revelation, and specially designated limitations. Each one of them is known by a different name, is characterized by a special attribute, fulfils a definite Mission, and is entrusted with a particular Revelation. Even as He saith: “Some of the Apostles We have caused to excel the others. To some God hath spoken, some He hath raised and exalted. And to Jesus, Son of Mary, We gave [p. 177] manifest signs, and We strengthened Him with the Holy Spirit.” 15  (Kitab-i iqan, pp. 176-7)

In this same work, Baha'-Allah speaks of the elevated divine position of the messengers in the following way:

"It hath ever been evident that all these divergences of utterance are attributable to differences of station. Thus, viewed from the standpoint of their oneness and sublime detachment, the attributes of Godhead, Divinity, Supreme Singleness, and Inmost Essence, have been and are applicable to those Essences of being, inasmuch as they all abide on the throne of divine Revelation, and are established upon the seat of divine Concealment. Through their appearance the Revelation of God is made manifest, and by their countenance the Beauty of God is revealed. Thus it is that the accents of God Himself have been heard uttered by these Manifestations of the divine Being" (Kitab-i iqan, pp. 177-8).

And of their second human status he writes,

"Viewed in the light of their second station—the station of distinction, differentiation, temporal limitations, characteristics and standards, —they manifest absolute servitude, utter destitution and complete self-effacement. Even as He saith: “I am the servant of God. 16 I am but a man like you.” 17 (Kitab-i iqan, p.178).

As regards Baha'-Allah's own position of servitude in his Kitab-i iqan, he at one point refers to himself as "this unlearned and humble Servant". Similar lowly claims of humility and self-effacement are scattered throughout hundreds of Persian and Arabic writings as indeed are claims the divinity and Lordship. 

The Claims and Titles of the Bab and Baha'-Allah

It may also be noted at this point that certain of the titles claimed by Baha'-Allah are the same, or modified forms of those claimed by the Bab. The two contemporary messianic claimants, sometimes made identical claims such as the claim of Husayniyya, to reprersent or be the "return" of the third Imam Husayn, to Qayyumiyya, to represent the eschatological manifestation of the subordinate Deity Self-Subsisting, and the claim to the  mukallim al-tur (the "Speaker on the Mount"), the one who discoursed with Moses at the time of the divine theophany on Mount Sinai. From the Iraq-Baghdad period and beyond, Baha'-Allah thought of himself and often claimed to be the spiritual raj`at or  "return" of the Bab whom he probably never met in the flesh but with whom he had a very special spiritual inner relationship : 

He Who heralded the light of Divine Guidance [Baha'-Allah], that is to say the Primal Point [the Bab]... in the days when He was journeying to Maku, attained to outward seeming the honour of meeting Bahá'u'lláh, albeit this meeting was concealed from all" (Tablet of Baha'-Allah / Khadimu’llah,  to Mirza `Ali Muhammad Varqa in Ma’ida IV: 154)

Some comments on the twenty or so titles of Baha'-Allah listed by Shoghi Effendi Rabbani (d.1957) in his book God Passes By (p.94) with occasional reference to the around forty others set forth in the Persian-Arabic version, known as `The Lawh-i Qarn' (Centennial Tablet).

In many of his works and letters Shoghi Effendi had occasion to set down various of the titles assumed by Baha'-Allah over the forty year period of his religious ministry (1852-1892 CE).  The weighty English language centennial summary of Babi-Baha history, from 1844-1944, written by Shoghi Effendi (the grandson of Baha'-Allah and head of the religion he founded from 1921-1957), entitled God Passes By ...  includes an important summary of twenty or so key titles claimed by Baha'-Allah. There are around forty, sometimes identical titles or claims listed in the slightly later or subsequent Persian  Naw Ruz 101 version known as the Lawh-i qarn (Centennial Tablet):

See : http://hurqalya.ucmerced.edu/node/3081/

[00] Mirza Husayn `Ali Nuri,  Baha'-Allah

= میرزا حسین علی نوری‎‎

In  God Passes By, the Baha'i Guardian has it that  his parentally bestwed name Husayn `Ali,  which is distinctly imamological, and thus significant on Islamic religious  lines. Yet this name is both Islamic and Christian in the light of New Testament prophecy contained in the Christian apocalypse, the book of the Revelation of John, the last book in the cannonical New Testament. He thus viewed the  name as being a combination of the names of the third Imam Husayn - viewed by Baha'is as "the most illustrious of the successors of the Apostle of God- the "brightest star" shining in the "crown" mentioned in the Revelation of St. John" [see Rev.     ] (GPB:   ) and of the first Imám `Alí, the Commander of the Faithful [Amir al-Muminin], regarded as "the second of the two "witnesses" extolled in that same Christian Apocalypse, the Book of Revelation" [see Rev.     ] (GPB:  ). 

Shoghi Effendi writes, "He was formally designated Bahá'u'lláh, an appellation specifically recorded in the Persian Bayán, signifying at once the glory, the light and the splendor of God" (GPB: XXX). XX other titles are listed in God Passes By. They are, with brief comments and religious roots and Arabic and/ or Persian transliteration set forth in 

  • GPB = God Passes By.   Wilmette:  BPT, 1987 pp.
  • GPB* = Kitāb‑I qarn‑i badī`. Dundas, Ontario: rev. ed. 1992. Persian tr. of GPB by  N. Mavaddat.
  • Lawh-i qarn-i ahibbā-yi sharq.
  • Ishraq Khavai, Rahiq-i makhtum.

Major titles of Baha'-Allah are also set down by Shoghi Effendi in his the Lawh-i qarn-i ahibbā-yi sharq (Centennial Tablet to the Beloved Ones [Baha'is] of the East' written shortly after the English God Passes By. The forty or so titles and claims found  in the 101 BE /1944-5 Lawh-i qarn,  will be listed and commented upon in the section dedicated this work though there are several parallels with the nineteen titles listed in the earlier English God Passes By.

The titles of Baha'-Allah in God Passes By  and those in the Lawh-i qarn.

All of these twenty or so titles selected by Shoghi Effendi in his God Passes By, are rooted in Zoroastrian, Jewish, Christian, Islamic and / or Babi literatures. A few are contained in the Bible, the Qur'an, the Bayan, or various hadith texts known within twelver Shi`ism and other Sunni-Shi`i Islamic and related communities. While the English God Passes By (= GPB) contains around twenty titles of Baha'-Allah,  the Persian-Arabic Lawh-i Qarn (= L-Qarn) sets forth about forty or roughly twice the number of the English. Some titles are duplicated, or nearly so, and some not at all. They are in their order based on GPB with parallels or near parallels in the Lawh-i qarn - unique or non-duplicated names or titles from this latter source will not be listed here :

  • GPB No. 1 "Lord of Lords" cf, رب الملكوت rabb al-malakut ("Lord of the Kingdom") or No. 29 in L-Qarn.
  • GPB No. 2  "The Most Great Name" = L-Qarn No.3, al-ism al-a`zam ("The Most Great Name").
  • GPB No. 5 "The Hidden Name" = L-Qarn No.9, al-ism al-maknun ("The Hidden Name").
  • GPB No. 6 "The Preserved Treasure" cf. L-Qarn Pt.1 kanz makhfi ("The Hidden Treasure").
  • GPB No. 7 "He who God will make manifest" = L-Qarn No. 31 man yuzhiru-hu Allah.
  • GPB No. 8 "The Most Great Light" = ? L-Qarn No.1 A`zam Nur  (A/The Most Great Light").
  • GPB No. 9 "The All-Highest Horizon" cf. L-Qarn No.29 nayyir al-ufaq ("The Lumninous Horizon").
  • GPB No. 12 "The Pre-Existent Root" = L-Qarn No. 11 , al-asl al-qadim,  "The Pre-Existent Root".
  • GPB No. 13 "The Self Subsistent" = L. Qarn No. 30 (more fully) "the One Manifest (al-zahir) with the Name al-Qayyum (the Self-Subsistent").
  • GPB No. 14 "The Day-Star of the Universe" = ? L-Qarn No. 29 the "Brightness of the Horizons" nayyir al-ufaq.
  • GPB No. 15 "The Great Announcement" = L-Qarn No. 12 al-naba' al-`azim ("The Great Announcement"). 
  • GPB No. 16 "The Speaker on Sinai" = L-Qarn No. 18 mukallim al-tur {"The Speaker on the Mount [Sinai]".
  • GPB No. 18 "The Lord of the Covenant" = L-Qarn No.  27 sahib al-`ahd ("The Lord of the Covenant").

From the above correlation it is clear that eight of the titles of Baha'-Allah in God Passes By are duplicated (they are emboldened in the list above) in the Lawh-i Qarn. Five or so God Passes By titles may have a parallel though this is uncertain. Of the forty titles in the L-Qarn about thirty-two are unique to this work. GPB and the L-Qarn contain roughly 20+32 titles totaling 52 titles though this, of course is by no means a list of the totality of titles, names and attributes claimed by Baha'-Allah. There are to be numbered in the many hundreds or thousands. One of the purposes of messiaic claimants or Messengers / Manifestations of God is to inform humanity of their religious status relative to past sacred literatures and to add new or unique dimensions consonant with their special messages. The twenty titles in GPB derive from five religious backgrounds [1] Zoroastrianism [2] Israelite religion+Judaism [3] Christianity - The New Testament [4] Islam and the Qur'an and Hadith literatures and [5] the religion of the Bab.

For the Lawh-i Qarn titles with some further notes and comments see :

GOD PASSES BY :  SOME  TITLES OF BAHA'-ALLAH AS LISTED BY SHOGHI EFFENDI.

[0] Baha'-Allah بهاء الله = Baha' + Allah.

The  most important title of Husayn `Ali Nuri is  Baha'-Allah. It is listed as No.5 in the Lawh-i Qarn of Shoghi Effendi. This genitive phrase is a combination of a word indicative of  radiant, splendid or luminous Glory, Baha'  joined with the Semitic-Arabic Islamic designation of the personal Deity, Allah,  meaning "the God" ( al+ilah, the "h" being a feminine ending!). The phrase Baha'-Allah can be seen as a combination of two words which are both viewed as expressions of the  al-ism al-a`zam, the supreme or greatest Name of God. For Baha'is, as explicitly stated by Baha'-Allah in his Lawh-i hurufat al-muqatta`ah, and in numerous Islamic traditions and sources, Allah is the surpreme or mightiest Name of God. So too, for Baha'is, the Arabic word Baha'.

Exactly  why  Mīrzā Ḥusayn `Alī Nūrī  saw fit to adopt the Persian honorific laqab  jināb-i Bahā  in the 1840s and the later the more complete Arabic title Bahā’-Allāh ("The Refulgent Splendor [Beauty] of God) as expressions of the al-ism al-a`zam or ism Allāh al-a`ẓam has not been researched either from the history of religions standpoint or from the standpoint  of a phenomological exposition of  Bābī-Bahā’ī theology. The supreme or Mightiest Name of God (Heb. ha-shem ha-gadol) concept has largely Jewish origins being also related to Hellenistic magic and Islamic theology and esotericism. These and related ideas doubtless shaped aspects of the background (s) of the Bābī- Bahā’ī developments of the ism al-a`zam motif.

Thousands of times  in his Persian and Arabic writings, Baha'-Allah refers to himself as being a personification of Baha' (= radiant glory, splendor, beauty and light, etc). This word and its cogantes have a long history in related semitic languages - Hebrew, Syriac, Mandaic, etc - ancient Abrhamic writings and Islamic literatures being thousands of times in one way or another registered in a variety of contexts including the title medieval Islamic laqab or title Baha' al-Din (The Glory of Religion). Baha'-Allah referred to it as the "Hidden Name" because it was not included among the classic 99 Names of God registed in a well-known prophetic tradition relayed from Abu Hurayra and Imam `Ali. He highlighted its occurence in millennium or so old Shi`i hadith, most notably in the opening section of the Dawn Prayer for the Muharram, fasting period, the Du'ā al-Saḥar or Du`a al-Bahā' ascribed to the fifth twelver Imam Muhammad al-Bāqir (d. c.126/743):  

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ مِنْ بَهَائِكَ بِأَبْهَاهُ

 ...وَكُلُّ بَهَائِكَ بَهِيٌّ، اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ بِبَهَائِكَ كُلِّهِ

"O my God!

I beseech Thee by Thy Bahā' (Splendor) at its most Splendid (abhā') for all Thy Splendor (bahā') is truly resplendent (bahiyy)..."

In this prayer God is supplicated through His name al-bahā' at its "most splendid" (abha) and "glorious" (al-bahiyy). It is a prayer many times cited and re-revealed by the Bab  and is a prayer for Baha'is encapsulating the al-ism al-a`zam and predicting the person of Baha'-Allah himself who referred to it as Lawh-i baqā ("The Tablet of Eternity").   

For some details see, for example, this website as :

It will be appropriate here to cite here from the Tablet of Baha'-Allah to George David Hardegg, the Lawh-i Hartik [Hirtik],  where the letters constituting the Arabic word  بهاء =  Bahā' (b+h+a)  and the word for "Peace" ( = Ar. صُلْح  ṣulḥ) are associated: 

[1] Know thou that We saw the exterior letter Ṣād  ( ص ) in the word "Peace" ( = Ar. صُلْح  ṣulḥ). [2] It, verily, was adorned with the ornament of the upright letter "A" (= ا ) and is what hath assuredly been mentioned in an Outspread Tablet. [3] And this matter was completed  through the letter "H" (ه)  after which it was united to the leveled letter "A" (alif  = — )  which was adorned with the Point  ( •  of the letter "B" = ب)  from which the Treasured Name, the Hidden Mystery and the  Guarded Symbol (بهاء =  Bahā')  emerged. [5] It, verily, is the Point ( ) from which existence hath appeared and unto which it hath returned.

[1] "The Lord of Lords" = رب الارباب

"To Israel He was neither more nor less than the incarnation of the “Everlasting Father,” the “Lord of Hosts” come down “with ten thousands of saints” ..." (GPB:94).

This title, Lord of Hosts" or rabb al-junud, is not listed in the Lawh-i Qarn of Shoghi Effendi; perhaps because it would be less meaningful to a community not deeply familiar with biblical terminology. The title رب الملكوت rabb al-malakut ("Lord of the Kingdom") is. however. title No. 29 in this centennial work. The word Lord frequently translates titles of the Bab and Baha'-Allaha few expressions of which can be outlined here.

The English word "Lord" is very well known as a reference to the Divinity or Godhead. It translates several different Hebrew and Greek words in the Bible, most notably, for example, "Lord" translates the Hebrew יהוה  / יְהוָ֣ה , the tetragrammaton YHWH  (perhaps, Yahweh, loosely, "Jehovah" a bowlderized version of YHWH) as well as the occurence in יְהוָ֣ה צְבָא֔וֹת YHWH seba'ot, which is usually rendered "the Lord of Hosts" - which is one of the biblically-rooted titles of Baha'-Allah. "Lord" also translated  Adonai ("Lord") which was often used in order to circumvent the illicit pronunciation of the Tetragrammation seen in Judaism as indicative of the supremely holy personal God of Israel. In the New Testament "Lord" often translates the Gk. κύριος `ho kyrios  which often refers to Jesus,  cf. the phrase, the Lord Jesus Christ. In the context of biblical prophecy "Lord" is used of Baha'-Allah as the "Lord of Hosts" in the Hebrew Bible, and in the New Testament as  "Lord of the Vineyard" (see below).

The Qur'anic Arabic word for "Lord" is rabb which is used of God - "He is God thy Lord" ( Allah rabbikum; Q. 39:6; cf. Q. 40:27) - in this holy book almost 1,000 times (approx. 981times). Qur'anic phrases such as "Lord of all the worlds" (rabb al-`alamin) (Q.1:2 [1]), "Lord of the seven heavens" (rabb al-samawat al-sabi`), "Lord of the Mighty Throne" (rabb al-`arsh al-`azim) (Q. 23:86), "Lord of the East and of the West" (rabb al-shariq wa'l-maghrib) (Q. 70:40 +73:9), "Lord of the Rising Dawn" (rabb al-falaq) (Q. 113:1), "Lord of Glory"  indicate that God is a Powerful Lordm for "Glorious is thy Lord, the Lord of Might" (subhana rabbika rabb al-`izzat) (Q. 37:180). Lord is synonymous with Allah the Godhead and many of the divine attributed as descriptive of God as Lord.  From primordial times God covenanted with human beings who were asked to affirm that He is their "Lord" (Q. 7:142) who will be met - "they will have to meet their Lord" (rabbihim) (Q. 2:46) - visioned or encountered on the Day of Resurrection".

Various qur'anic verses and  Islamic traditions anticipate the advent or vision of the "Lord" (al-rabb) in the latter-days or time of the end. In the Surah of the Resurrection we read :

“Some faces that Day shall be radiant (nadira) gazing towards their Lord ( إِلَىٰ رَبِّهَا نَاظِرَةٌ )." (al-Qiyama, 75:22-23, cf. Q. 83:15).

This Qur'anic verse presupposes that pious souls will come to see "their Lord" on the "Day of Resurrection", when, that is, they arise from the "dead" or a state of impiety and ignorance.

Various Sunni and Shi`i traditions have it that the Lord will be visioned on the Day of Resurrection or Judgement, for Baha'is the era of the missions of the Bab and Baha'-Allah who were personally interacting with humanity for more than fifty years. One example reads,

 Isma'il al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated the following prophetic hadith from Abu Hurayra who recorded that some people enquired: “O Messenger of God, will we see our Lord on the Day of Resurrection?” The Messenger of God replied, “Do you doubt that you see the moon on the night when it is full?” They said, “No, O Messenger of  God.” He said, ‘Do you doubt that you see the sun when there is no cloud?” They said, “No, O Messenger of  God.” He said, “You will see Him likewise".

A similar hadith, again transmitted by  Isma'il al-Bukhari and Muslim but from Jarir ibn `Abd-Allah reads:

Jarir ibn `Abd-Allah said: “We were sitting with the Prophet [Muhammad], gazing at the moon on the night of the fourteenth (of the month). He said, ‘You will see your Lord with your own eyes just as you are looking at this (moon), without any doubt that you are seeing Him.’”

See further, John Renard, Islamic theological themes : a primary source reader, University of California Press, 2014, page 209f.

In his Lawh-i ibn-i dhi`b (Epistle to the Son of the Wolf), Baha'-Allah cites (in summary form) a line from this hadith as coming from the Prophet Muhammad:

“Ye, verily, shall behold your Lord as ye behold the full moon on its fourteenth night.”

Drawing on the above passages, Shoghi Effendi wrote in his God Passes By :

"The plenitude of His glory the Apostle of God had, moreover, as attested by Bahá’u’lláh Himself, compared to the “full moon on its fourteenth night.” (GPB: 97).

The implication is that this brilliant theophany prefigures the coming of the "Lord" as the advent of the Bab and/or Baha'-Allah himself. In claiming rububiyya "Lordship", Bahā'u'llāh remained in line with the statement of the sixth Imam, Ja`far al-Ṣādiq : "Servitude (al-`ubūdiyya) is a substance the essence of which is Lordship  (al-rubūbiyya)." His Lorship, as we shall see, was secondary to the Deity and Lorship of the Ultimate Godhead.

The Bab as al-rabb, the "Lord".

In certain of his writings, including one of his commentaries on the Light Verse (Q. 24:35),  the Bab observed that the abjad numerical value of his name `Ali Muhammad is 202, like that of the Arabic word rabb (= 200+2 = 202) meaning "Lord"). The Bāb ultimately came to identify himself (as the expected Imam or Qā'im, or as one claiming independent prophethood and subordinate divinity) with the "Lord" (rabb) who addressed Moses from the Burning Bush. In one of his epistles to Muhammad Shāh (d. 1848) we read:

When Moses… asked God that which he asked [to see Him], God revealed His glory (tajallā) upon the Mountain (al-jabal) through the Light of one belonging to the party of `Alī [the Cherub] just as hath been made clear in that famous tradition [of Imam Ja`far] … By God! This was my Light (nūrī) for the numerical value of my name [`Alī Muhammad; i.e., 202] corresponds to that of the name of the "Lord" (rabb, also 202). Thus God, praised be He, said, "And when He revealed His glory (tajallī) before the Mountain… " (see Qur’ān 7:143b)  Text here translated from INBMC vol. 64 (pp. 103/5126), p. 109-110. Cf. Taherzadeh, SWB. pp. 11, 17 for a partial translation of this "Epistle of the Bāb to Muhammad Shāh" Cf. also  Qur’ān 29:69)

It may also be noted here that in his Arabic Bayān II.1,  the Bāb is addressed by God (so it seems) as "O letter of al-rā' and al-bā' presumably identifying him as rabb, "the Lord" in the light of the numerical equivance of his name as explained above.  Like "King of kings, "Lord of Lords"  is a grammatical construction indicating a supreme king or Lord like the semitic superlative genitive phrase  "holy of holies", meaning supremely holy. The "Lord of Lords" is thus indicative, for Baha'is,  of  a supreme "Lord", the eschatological manifestation of the Deity on the Day of God when the "Lord of hosts" will communicate with his people. .

In his Kitab-i badi` (Wondrous book, c. 1867) Baha'-Allah through his amaneunsis Mirza Khadim-Allah, calls upon his hearers to hearken unto the prophetic call of the Bab as   ربّ علیّ اعلیthe rabb `aliyy al-a`la ("The Transcendent, Most Elevated Lord") and to himself as   ربّ الاعلی rabb al-a`la (The Lord Transcendent) (K-Badi`, 61, 43). In this same work the Bab is also often referred to as the ربّ الاعلی rabb al-a`la (The Lord Transcendent) as well as   ربّ الارباب (rabb al-arbab), the "Lord of lords" (K-Badi`, 73) and Baha'-Allah further refers to himself as rabb al-ummam,  ربّ الامم  ("The Lord of the Nations') in this Kitab-i badi` (p.44).

The "Lord" with 10,000 of saints : Deuteronomy 33:2  and the Du`a al-Simat,

"To Israel He was neither more nor less than the incarnation of the “Everlasting Father,” the “Lord of Hosts” come down “with ten thousands of saints” ..." (GPB:94).

Deuteronomy chapter 33 records words attributed to Moses when he blessed the "sons of Israel" (12 tribes) shortly before his death. Non‑Deuteronomic sayings about the tribes (llth‑8th cent. BCE?) are framed by an archaic poem (= 33:2‑5+26‑29), a psalm of praise celebrating God as King of Israel who gives victory to his people and destroys their enemies through his terrible theophany (cf. Judges 5:4; Ps 68:7; Habb 3:3f). It is the opening lines of this archaic and obscure poem, Deut 33:2, which have provided an important testimonia, a  prophetic proof text for both Muslims and Bahá'ís and contains the reference to the “with ten thousands of saints” cited  above from God Passes By ( p.94). The difficult Hebrew text (MT) of Deut 33:2 and the RSV English translation are as follows:

"He [Moses] said, The Lord came from Sinai, and dawned from Seir upon us, he shone forth from Mount Paran, he came from the ten thousands of holy ones [saints], with flaming fire at his right hand."

This text is closely related to a portion of the Shi`i Islamic supplication attributed to Imám `Alí (d. 40/661) known as the Du`a al-simát  ("Prayer of the Signs").

I beseech Thee, O my God! by Thy Glory (majd)  through which Thou did converse with Thy servant and Thy messenger Moses son of `Imrān in the sanctified [Sinaitic] regions (al-muqaddisīn) beyond the ken of the cherubim (al-karūbiyyin), above the clouds of Light beyond the Ark of the Testament (al-tābūt al-shahāda) within the Pillars of Light.  And in Mount Sinai (tur sina') and Mount Horeb (jabal al-hurib) in the sanctified Vale (al-wad al-muqaddas), in the Blessed Spot (al-buq'at al-mubaraka) in  the direction of the Mount [Sinai] (al-ṭūr)  situated at the right-hand side of the Bush [Tree]. And likewise [he conversed] in the land of Egypt through nine Luminous Verses (āyāt  bayyināt)...

"And by Thy Glory (    ) which appeared on Mt. Sinai and through which you [God] conversed with your servant and your messenger Moses son of `Imrán; and by your rising up in Seir [= Jesus] and your manifestation on Mt. Paran [- Muhammad]; and by the myriads of [ Babi-Baha'i] holy ones  (       ) and the hosts of the sanctified angels."

The coming of the Lord here is interprted in Baha'i sources as a reference to the eschatological advent of Baha'-Allah whose 10,000 or more "saints" were the Babi-Baha'i worthies or martyrs. As early as 1888 in his Sharh-i áyát‑i muvarrikha  ("Commentary on the Chronological Proof Texts"), Mirza Abu al-Fadl Gulpaygání (1833-1914) paraphrases the last clause of Deut 33:2  in such a way as to teach that Bahá'-Alláh came with "myriads of holy ones" (hizár hizár muqaddas)  and with a fiery law (sharí`at-i átishín) perhaps having in mind Bahá'u'lláah's  al-Kitáb al‑Aqdas  written and compiled between 1868 and c.1873 so that the world may attain universal salvation and beatitude (see Gulpaygání, Sharh ayat, 1925 Shanghai ed. 27-29). 

And cry not unto any other god along with God. There is no God except Him. Everything will perish (halik) save His countenance (wajh). His is the command, and unto Him ye will be brought back" (Q. 28:88).

In his Kitab-i aqdas (para. 101) Baha'-Allah alludes to the Qur'an 28:88 and specifically refers to himself as the "face of your Lord (wajh rabbika) before which all on earth shall pass away:

O ye leaders of religion! (ma`shar al-`ulama') Who is the man amongst you that can rival Me in vision or insight (al-mukashafa wa'l- `irfan)? Where is he to be found that dareth to claim to be My equal in utterance or wisdom (al-hikmat wa'l-tibyan)? No, by My Lord, the All-Merciful! All on the earth shall pass away; and this is the face of your Lord (wajh rabbika), the Almighty, the Well-Beloved" (Kitab-i aqdas Para. 101. Ar, p.99; trans. 1992 p. 56-57).

O peoples of the world! Give ear unto the call of Him Who is the Lord of Names (malik al-asma'), Who proclaimeth unto you from His habitation in the Most Great Prison: “Verily, no God is there but Me, the Powerful, the Mighty, the All-Subduing, the Most Exalted, the Omniscient, the All-Wise.” In truth, there is no God but Him, the Omnipotent Ruler of the worlds. (Kitab-i aqdas Para. 132. Ar, p. 123; trans. 1992 p. 66).
.

[2] "The Most Great Name" and the word Baha' (Glory).

الاسم الاعظم  - البهاء 

This title is found as   No. 3 in the Lawh-i Qarn of Shoghi Effendi where the more or less synonymous  al-ism al-maknun, the "Hidden Name" is No. 9. In Arabic "the Most Great Name" or "Greatest Name"  it is usually spelled (with the definite article)  al-ism al-a`zam Per. ism-i a`zam. This is an Islamic and Babi reference to a supreme, long-secreted Name of God.

The Lawḥ-i nāqūs  ("Tablet of the Bell")

The wholly Arabic Lawḥ-i nāqūs  ("Tablet of the Bell") or (after the constant refrain) Lawḥ-i subhanika yā-hū ("Tablet of Praised be Thou, O He!) is probably to be dated to arounbd 1280/1863 CE., or to the period of Bahā'-Allāh's residence in Istanbul (Constantinople). Towards the beginning of this scriptutal Tablet we find reference to elevated claims occasionally reflecting those presupposed in the decade or so earlier early Rashh-i `ama'. Claims to be the "Beauty of the Divine Ipseity (jamāl al-huwiyya)", the eschatological trumpet (al-sūr) heralding the new theophany (al-ẓuhūr) associated with the linking of the letters "H" (al-hā' ) and "B" fundamental to the, for Baha'is, personification of the al-ism al-a`zam (Greatest Name) being Baha' : 

O Angel of Light! (malak al-nūr)! Sound the trumpet (al-sūr) in this theophany (al-ẓuhūr) for the letter "H" (al-hā' ) rideth upon a mighty, pre-existent letter ["B"] (bi-ḥarf `izz qadīm).

Here and elsewhere in the Lawḥ-i nāqūs, Bahā'-Allāh alludes to that portion of the Sūrat al-huriyya  (`Sura of the Maiden' , the 29th sura of the Qayyūm al-asmā' mid. 1844 CE) in which the Bāb makes reference to the partial yet stunning theophanic disclosure of a veiled, silken clad houri characterised by respelndent beauty (al-bahā). Both lines 4 and 5, furthermore seem to allude to the person of Bahā'-Allāh as a conjunction or incarnation of the letters "B and "H" which constitute that Beauty-Splendour (Bahā) which, according to a well-known prophetic hadīth (greatly beloved of Rūzbihān Baqlī Shīrāzī d.1209 CE) which is his pre-existent Reality. The prophet Muhammad is reckoned to have said:  al-ward al-aḥmar min bahā' Allāh, "The Red Rose is expressive of the Beauty-Splendor of God" 

Thus in the following lines we read :

O Nightingale of Resplendence! (`andālib al-sanā')! Warble upon the twigs in this Riḍwān according to the Name of the One Beloved (al-ḥabīb) for the Roseate Beauty (jamāl al-ward) hath been manifested from behind a thick curtain (hijāb ghalīz).

O Nightingale of Paradise! (bulbul al-firdaws)! Sing out upon the branches in this wondrous era (zamān badī`) for God hath divulged himself (tajalla Allāh) unto all that inhabit the created dominion (al-mulk).

O Denizens of the Kingdom of  Divine Names! (malakūt al-asmā'). Ornament ye the very uttermost Heights (rafārif al-aqsā')  [of Paradise] for the Greatest Name hath ridden upon a sanctified, mighty Cloud.

The Lawḥ-i Hawdaj  [Sāmsūn]

In the Lawh-i Samsun or Lawh-i Howdah, we have the following pertinent lines expresssing Baha'-Allah's ckaim to be the eschatoplogical personification of the al-ism al-a`zam, the Greatest Name  for this scriptural Tablet opens as follows :

[1] These are verses which were disclosed in the Pavilion of Eternity and the Howdah of Holiness  at the moment when the Greatest Name (ism-i a`zam) arrived at the precinct of majesty (shatr al-subhan) in the land of Sāmsūn, at the shore of a mighty ocean (bahr azim).

Kitab-i aqdas (c. 1873).

Let your joy be the joy born of My Most Great Name (ismi al-a`zam), a Name that bringeth rapture to the heart, and filleth with ecstasy the minds of all who have drawn nigh unto God. We, verily, have made music as a ladder for your souls, a means whereby they may be lifted up unto the realm on high  [Supreme Horizon] (al-ufq al-a`la)... Para. 51 Ar. p.49. 1992 trans. p. 38).

He [the Bab] hath previously made known unto you that which would be uttered by this Dayspring of Divine wisdom. He said, and He speaketh the truth: “He [Baha'-Allah] is the One Who will under all conditions proclaim: ‘Verily, there is none other God besides Me, the One, the Incomparable, the Omniscient, the All-Informed.’” This is a station which God hath assigned exclusively to this sublime, this unique and wondrous Revelation. This is a token of His bounteous favor, if ye be of them who comprehend, and a sign of His irresistible decree. This is His Most Great Name (ismihi al-a`zam), His Most Exalted Word (kalimat al-`ulya) and the Dayspring of His Most Excellent Titles (matla` asma'-hu al-husna), if ye could understand. Nay more, through Him every Fountainhead, every Dawning-place of Divine guidance is made manifest. Reflect, O people, on that which hath been sent down in truth; ponder thereon, and be not of the transgressors" (Kitab-i aqdas, Para. 143 Ar. p. 136. 1992 trans. p.71).

In paragraph 150 of the Kitab-i aqdas the existence of the "Name" of Baha'-Allah is likened to a theophanic disclosure capable of reducing mountains to dust, just as Moses was dumbfounded at the Sinaitic theophany.

"Well is it with him who hath quaffed the Mystic Wine of everlasting life from the utterance of his merciful Lord in My Name (al-ismi) —a Name through which every lofty and majestic mountain hath been reduced to dust" (Kitab-i aqdas, Para. 150 Ar. p. 144. 1992 trans. p.74).

[3] "The Ancient Beauty".

 جمال القدم

The title "The Ancient Beauty" as jamal al-qidam occurs as No.2 in the Lawh-i Qarn of Shoghi Effendi. In Persian it is often  jamal-i qidam ("the ancient Beauty"). For Baha'is it is al-qidam because it has always been the source of spiritual jamal ("Beauty") manifested by prophets and messengers from the beginning.  There is an Islamic tradition, "All that is beautiful (jamil) comes from the Beauty of God (jamal Allah)".There are thouands of references in  both Arabic and Persian scriptural Tablets to the Beauty of Baha'-Allah, his jamal or his husn, etc.. He is pictured as  the stunningly spiritually beautiful new Joseph, the paragon of beauty (jamal) in the Qur'an and numerous other Islamic literatures such as the Qisas al-anbiya' (Stories of the Prophets).

Lawh-i Naqus (1863)

[9] O Denizens of the Kingdom! (ahl al-malakut) Chant ye in the Name of the Beloved One (al-mahbūb)  for the Beauty of the Cause (jamāl al-amr) hath sparkled forth from behind ornamented, luminous veils.

[20] O Concourse of enraptured lovers! (malā' al-ushshāq)! Good news for thy selves in that the separation (al-firāq)  is completed and the promised Testament (al-mithāq)  hath come to pass; the Loved One (al- ma`shūq) hath been manifested with a mighty, transcendent Beauty (jamāl `izz manī`).

Lawḥ-i Hawdaj  [Sāmsūn]

I: [1] The times of reclining in the Howdah of Holiness hath been completed and the Beauty of the Divine Ipseity [Essence] (jamal al-huwiyya_ hath emerged unto a mighty, noble panorama...

VI: [3] O Ship of Holiness! Rejoice within thyself for a Beauty, mighty and transcendent (jamal `izz muni` in) hath come upon thee.

[XIII] : [1] Say: `This is assuredly the Divine Bounty (al-fadl) which hath inclined all the atoms (al-dharat) towards the Beauty of the Divine Essence (jamal al-huwiyya).

In the Edirne period (c.1866) Lawh-i baha' (INBA Vol. 35:71f)  Baha'-Allah writes,

"O Ancient Beauty! lnform the servants of that which We mentioned unto thee beyond the pavilion of eternity. Unveil then, to an infinitessimal degree, something of the beauty of the mysteries from the enshrouding veils that none may take cognisance therof save evey sagacious, pure and learned one." ((Lawh-i Baha', Arabie. Text in INBMC Vol. 35:72.)

He dwells on his sufferings and rejection by the Babïs.

"The All-Beauteous Joseph crieth out at the time when he hath been cast beneath the talons of the wolf and he shall assuredly seek assistance from his lovers perchance one [of them] shall arise for his victory/protection and be such as contribute to victory.."

In the Lawh-i ruh (c. mid 1866) Tablet of the Spirit dating to the Edirne period (AQA 4:126f) we also read :

"Say: By God this Youth (al-ghulam) was cast into the well of envy (bi'r al-hasad) and hatred (wa'l-baghda'). O would that there were a traveller (sayyarat) of his bucket perchance thereby th Sun of His Beauty might radiate forth from the Horizon of this well (al-bi'r) the depth of which is that between the heaven and the earth"  (AQA 4:130)

"Say: 0 People! Commemorate this Beauty who was cast in the well of darkness (bi'r al-zama') (ibid AQA 4:136)

Risala su'al wa jawab Q. 100.

"The inheritance, however, of those who emigrated in the same year as the Ancient Beauty, hath been awarded to their heirs, and this is a bounty of God bestowed upon them" (Q&A -Q.100). 

[4] "The Pen of the Most High"

القلم الاعلى

In Arabic this title is often expressed in Perso-Arabic as qalam al-a`la for al-qalam al-a`la or in Persian qalam-i a`la which has also been translated  "Pen of the Most High" or "the Supreme Pen". Common in the writings of Baha'-Allah this  motif of the Divine Pen (al-qalam) of Divine Revelation is thousands of times mentioned in his Persian and Arabic scriptural Tablets.

It was with a primordial Divine Pen that, according to the Qur'an and Islamic tradition, God wrote upon the pre-existent, heavenly Guarded Tablet, the  al-lawh al-mahfuz, the "Tablet of Destiny" or "Preserved Tablet" referred to in the Surat al-Buruj of the Qur'an (Q. 85:22). In numerous universal histories and Qisas al-`anbiya' and related literatures the primorial Pen is described. This motif of the primordial Pen with which God scribed the future of the cosmos and of human destiny, has important Abrahamic and  Islamic roots. It is mentoned in many Islamic accounts of the beginning of creation. In Baha'i sacred writings the Pen is symbolic of the person and power of revelation of Baha'-Allah.

In the second paragraph Kitab-i aqdas we read :

We, verily, have commanded you to refuse the dictates of your evil passions and corrupt desires, and not to transgress the bounds which the Pen of the Most High hath (al-qalam al-a`la) fixed, for these are the breath of life unto all created things" (Para 2 p.3 ; trans. 1992, 24-2).

Further references to the "Pen of the Most High" in the Kitab-i aqdas include :

O Pen of the Most High! ( al-qalam al-a`la). Say: O people of the world! We have enjoined upon you fasting during a brief period" (Kitab-i aqdas, Para 17 p.17 ; trans. 1992, 24-25).

O Pen of the Most High ( al-qalam al-a`la)! Move Thou upon the Tablet (al-lawh) at the bidding of Thy Lord (rabbika), the Creator of the Heavens, and tell of the time when He Who is the Dayspring of Divine Unity purposed to direct His steps towards the School of Transcendent Oneness" (Kitab-i aqdas, Para 175 p.166 ; trans. 1992, 83).

We may cite at this point from the Tablet of Baha'-Allah known as the Lawh-i Burhan (Tablet of the Proof), addressed to Shaykh Muhammad Baqir Najafi whom he entitled "the Wolf", a Shi`i cleric responsable for writing a fatwa decreeing the death or martyrdom of the King of Martyrs and the Beloved of Martyrs.

Thine iniquity hath made Gabriel to groan, and hath drawn tears from the Law of God, through which the breezes of justice have been wafted over all who are in heaven and on earth. Hast thou fondly imagined that the judgement thou didst pronounce hath profited thee? Nay, by Him Who is the King of all Names! Unto thy loss testifieth He with Whom is the knowledge of all things as recorded in the preserved Tablet (lawh hafiz). When thou didst pen thy judgement, thou wast accused by thy very pen (qalam). Unto this doth bear witness the Pen of God, the Most High ( qalam Allah al-a`la), in His inaccessible station. (MAM: 55; trans.TBAA:206-7)

The qalam-i a`la or  "Pen of the Most High" is Baha'-Allah's locus of inspiration and divine revelation, the vehicle through which God communicates his will (al-mashiyyat). Scriptural Tablets and religious directives are scribed or communicated through the Pen of the Most High, the power of the revelation (wahy) of Baha'-Allah deriving from the Ultimate Godhead. In writing down or dictating through a scribe or amanuensis the Pen of the Most High of Baha'-Allah is active.

The Bab answered a question about the `Preserved Tablet' and Baha'-Allah wrote a Surat al-qalam.

In the Kitab-i aqdas  (c. 1873) Arabic.

Lawh-i Dunya (The Tablet of the World) - Text Majmu`a-yi alwah-i mubaraka [= MAM],  285- 301, trans. Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh Revealed After the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, [= TBAA]. Wilmette BPT., 1988; = TBAA) : 83-97. In this important Tablet the phrase qalam-i a`la translated `Pen of Glory' or `Pen of the Most High' occurs seven times :

"Through the movement of Our Pen of glory (qalam-i a`la = `Pen of the Most High') We have, at the bidding of the omnipotent Ordainer, breathed a new life (ruh-i jadid) into every human frame, and instilled into every word a fresh potency. All created things proclaim the evidences of this world-wide regeneration. This is the most great, the most joyful tidings imparted by the Pen of this Wronged One (qalam-i mazlum) to mankind" (MAM: 286-7; trans. TBAA:84).

"It is incumbent upon every man, in this Day, to hold fast unto whatsoever will promote the interests, and exalt the station, of all nations and just governments. Through each and every one of the verses which the Pen of the Most High (qalam-i a`la) hath revealed, the doors of love (muhabbat) and unity (ittihad) have been unlocked and flung open to the face of men" (MAM: 289. trans. TBAA: 87).

"All praise be to the one true God—exalted be His glory—inasmuch as He hath, through the Pen of the Most High (qalam-i a`la), unlocked the doors of men’s hearts. Every verse which this Pen hath revealed is a bright and shining portal that discloseth the glories of a saintly and pious life, of pure and stainless deeds.. (MAM: 291; trans. TBAA 88-89)

Were men to strictly observe that which the Pen of the Most High ( qalam-i a`la ) hath revealed in the Crimson Book (sahifa-' hamra'), they could then well afford to dispense with the regulations which prevail in the world. Certain exhortations have repeatedly streamed forth from the Pen of the Most High (qalam-i a`la) that perchance the manifestations of power and the dawning-places of might may, sometime, be enabled to enforce them. (MAM: 293; trans. TBAA 90).

the Pen of the Most High ( qalam-i a`la )  (TBAA: 294; trans. TBAA:    ).

My Pen of the Most High or           ( qalami-yi a`la )  (TBAA: 297; trans. TBAA:    ).

(TBAA: 300; trans. TBAA:    ).

Note also that in the `Tablet of the World' we find the use of phrases  qalam-i ism-i a`zam, "Pen of the Most Great Name" (MAM:290; trans. TBAA. 88)  and  qalam-i malik (MAM: 293), translated "Pen of the Lord of creation" (TBAA: 89).

[5] "The Hidden Name".

الاسم المكنون  =  اسم المكنون

This title of Baha'-Allah, "The Hidden Name" occurs as title No. 9 in the Lawh-i Qarn of Shoghi Effendi. In  Arabic it is written al-ism al-makun (see above) or in Persian  ism-i maknun.

We have  here a second title of Baha'-Allah relating to the Name of God concept. It is assumed or Baha'-Allah himself announced that he was  a personification of a divine Name which  is maknun or hidden away by which the word Baha' is frequently intended. This since this `Greatest or Supreme Name of God was not acknowledged as being of central theological importance. This perhaps because it is not among the well-known 99 Islamic Names of God spelled out in the tradition relayed through Abu Hurayra or in Shi`i circles through Imam `Ali or others among the twelver Imams. These 99 Names usually begin with Allah (= no.1) and end with another divine Name or Attribute thiough the word Baha' is neither among them now is it used in the Qur'an. Hence it is theologically  "hidden" though on an historical level and pertanining to the millennium and more of Islamic historical and literary developments it was not especially rare or hidden. cf. the Islamic titles Baha'- al-Din meaning the Glory-Splendor of Religion'. The father of Muhammad al-Balkhi or  Jalal al-Din Rumi (d. 1273 CE) was  referred to as        

[6] "The Preserved Treasure"

الكنز المخفي   al-kanz al-makhfi ("The Hidden Treasure").

The titel al-kanz al-makhfi is used of God in the preamble to the Lawh-i Qarn of Shoghi Effendi though not in its list of titles of Baha'-Allah unless it is also indicative of him in his positon of representative of the Goidhead. In Arabic  "The Preserved Treasure" title might then be related to the opening words of a famous hadith qudsi (Divine, Sacred Utterance) ascribed to the ancient Israelite prophet David beginning, [kuntu] Kanz an makhfiyy an  or `[I was a ] Hidden Treasure',  though these words are usually understood to be indicative of the Ultimate Godhead.

Paragraph fifteen of the Kitab-i aqdas contains a fascinating exegesis of "Hidden Treasure" tradition:

Say: God hath made My hidden love (hubbi al-maknun) the key to the Treasure (miftah al-kanz) would that ye might perceive it! But for the key (al-miftah), the Treasure would to all eternity have remained concealed; would that ye might believe it! Say: This is the Source of Revelation (matla al-wahi), the Dawning-place of Splendor (mashriq al-ishraq), Whose brightness hath illumined the horizons of the world. Would that ye might understand! This is, verily, that fixed Decree through which every irrevocable decree hath been established (Kitab-i aqdas Para 15 p.15 trans. 1992 p. 24).

Paragraph 164 of the Kitab-i aqdas also contains the line : "With Us is the knowledge of all things, inscribed in a lucid Tablet (lawh mubin)"  (Kitab-i aqdas Para 164 p.154 trans. 1992 p. 78) and in paragraph 185 we read of various claims of Baha'-Allah including onr to be the "Treasure of God" :

"This is the Counsel of God (nush Allah); would that thou mightest heed it! This is the Bounty of God (fadl Allah); would that thou mightest receive it! This is the Utterance [Remembrance] of God (dhikr Allah); if only thou wouldst apprehend it! This is the Treasure of God (kanz Allah); if only thou couldst understand!"(Kitab-i aqdas Para 185 p.177 trans. 1992 p. 87).

As a young man ? `Abd al-Baha' wrote a detailed commentary on the `Hidden Treasure' tradition.

 

[7] "He Whom God will make manifest"

من يظره الله = man yuzhiru-hu Allah

In Arabic  "He Whom God will make manifest" is man yuzhiru-hu Allah which is many times used by the Bab for his immediate successor or later manifestations nof God who found future religiious cycles. In the Lawh-i Qarn of Shoghi Effendi it is title No. 31. The Bab anticipated many future theophanies of `Him whom God  will make manifest'. It is many hundreds of times used by the Bab in his writings and became especially frequent in the writings of the last few years of his religious ministry, 1848-1850 as reflected in his Persian Bayan, Kitab-i panj sha`n and the very late Haykal al-Din.

A few examples are :

Kitāb-i Panj  Sha’n (The Book of the Five Modes [of Revelation]) 

I/1 Ayat, Arabic verses perhaps for man yuẓhiru-hu Allāh

[20] This is a Book from God unto man yuẓhiru-hu Allāh (Him whom God shall make manifest) for He, verily, no God is there save I Myself, the Deity Generative of Double Deity... [24] And whoso desireth that they might fathom I, Myself, let them rather attempt to comprehend [the messianic] man yuẓhiru-hu Allah (Him whom God shall make manifest) for such assuredly constituteth the Book (kitab) which is Towering in Lofty Heights (mashtamikh), Lofty indeed (shamīkh)... [46]  With that [messianic figure] man yuẓhiru-hu Allāh  (Him whom God shall make manifest) are expository verses (āyāt bayyināt) the [like of which] all the worlds are incapable of producing. [47] All the [Divine] Names (al-asmā') were assuredly created for the sake of that Logos-Word (kalimat) even if only a few come to [true] remembrance [of Him]...[55] And if this [claim] comes from One about whom thou hast supplicated from the beginning which hath no beginning until the end which hath no end, this is [the messianic figure] man yuẓhiru-hu Allāh  (Him whom God shall make manifest)...

The Kitāb-i Panj Sha`n very strongly underlines in several paragraphs  the fact that religion will ever be renewed. It is today a central Bābī‑Bahā’ī teaching that future divine messengers (rusul) or maẓhar-i ilāhī  (divine manifestations) will, for many thousands of years, found  and progressively renew  the eternal religion of God (= "Islam").

.. And after the [Dispensation of the] Bayān it is [the manifestation of]  [1] man yuẓhiru‑hu Allāh  (Him whom God will make manifest).  And after man yuẓhiru‑hu Allāh [1] man yuẓhiruhu Allāh [2].  And after man yuẓhiru‑hu Allāh [2] man yuẓhiru‑hu Allāh  [3]. And after man yuẓhiru‑hu Allāh,  [3] man yuẓhiru‑hu Allāh [4]  And after man yuẓhiru‑hu Allāh  [4] man yuẓhiru‑hu Allāh  [5] And after man yuẓhiru‑hu Allāh [5] man yuẓhiru‑hu Allāh  [6] And after man yuẓhiru‑hu Allāh  [6]  man yuẓhiru‑hu Allāh [7].  And after man yuẓhiru‑hu Allāh [7] man yuẓhiru‑hu Allāh [8] And after man yuẓhiru‑hu Allāh [8] man yuẓhiru‑hu Allāh [9]... (K. Panj: 314‑5, cf. 397).

[8] The "Most Great Light".

اعظم نور سطع ولاح من مطلع الاشراق علىالافاق  = a`zam nur ...

The phrase a`zam nur above refers to Baha'-Allah as the first title in the opening paragraph about him in the Lawh-i qarn of Shoghi Effendi. It can be translated, "The Most Great Light" or "A Most Great Light".

As the Arabic  al-nur al-a`zam  (Most Great Light)  and nayyir-i a`zam (Most Great Luminary) are titles used by Baha'-Allah himself in various Tablets including, for example, the sixth Taraz (Ornament) of his Acre period Lawh-i Tarazat (Ornaments) : 

O people of the Bayán! Fear ye the merciful Lord...  I swear by the life of Him Who is the Desire of the world (al-maqsud)! Were a man to ponder in his heart he would, free of all attachment to the world, hasten unto the Most Great Luminary ( nayyir-i a`zam) and would purge and purify himself from the dust of vain imaginings and the smoke of idle fancy" (Lawh-i Tarazat (Ornaments), 6th Taraz, MAM:156 BE/2000 CE 2nd ed. 22; trans. TBAA: 41).

Cf. Kitab-i aqdas: Para 85.

O Emperor of Austria!

He Who is the Dayspring of God’s Light  (matla` al-nur al-ahadiyya) dwelt in the prison of ‘Akká at the time when thou didst set forth to visit the Aqṣá Mosque. Thou passed Him by, and inquired not about Him by Whom every house is exalted and every lofty gate unlocked" (Kitab-i aqdas: Para 85. p. 82 trans 1992 p. 50).

[9] The "All-Highest Horizon".

Per. ufq-i a`la   Ar.   al-ufq al-a`la 

In Arabic  "The All-Highest Horizon" is  al-ufq al-a`la and in Persian ufq-i a`la.  A similar title listed in the Lawh-i qarn ( No. 28) is nayyir al-ufaq, نیر الافاق  meaning the "Lumninous Horizon". Various titles of the Bab and Baha'-Allah are related to the horizon of the world or to the heavenly horizon. The Arabic word for  "horizon" occurs in a few key Qur'anic verses, including the following: 

We will show them Our signs in the horizons (al-afaq) and within themselves (anfusihim) until it becomes clear to them that it is the Truth (al-haqq). Is it not then sufficient concerning your Lord (bi-rabbika)  that He is, surely Witness over all things (kulli shay')?

Extracts from two Devotional Tablets of Baha'-Allah

Purify, O my God, the hearts of Thy creatures with the power of Thy sovereignty and might, that Thy words may sink deep into them. I know not what is in their hearts, O my God, nor can tell the thoughts they think of Thee. Methinks that they imagine that Thy purpose in calling them to Thine all-highest horizon is to heighten the glory of Thy majesty and power" (cited from Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, No. CXVI,  trans. Shoghi Effendi, 197-8).

I beseech Thee, O my God, by the splendor of Thy luminous brow and the brightness of the light of Thy countenance, which shineth from the all-highest horizon, to attract me by the fragrance of Thy raiment, and make me drink of the choice wine of Thine utterance. Thou seest me, O my God, holding to Thy Name, the Most Holy, the Most Luminous, the Most Mighty, the Most Great, the Most Exalted, the Most Glorious, and clinging to the hem of the robe to which have clung all in this world and in the world to come."(cited from Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, No. CLXXVII,  trans. Shoghi Effendi, 289).

The following extract from a Tablet of Baha'-Allah associates the Prophet Muhammad with the "all-highest Horizon" :

“Wert thou to hear with Mine ear ... thou wouldst hear how ‘Alí [the Báb] bewaileth Me in the presence of the Glorious Companion, and how Muḥammad weepeth over Me in the all-highest Horizon, and how the Spirit [Jesus] beateth Himself upon the head in the heaven of My decree, by reason of what hath befallen this Wronged One at the hands of every impious sinner.” (cited The Promised Day Is Come 1980 ed. p.9).

Lawh-i Ishaqat (Tablet of Splendors) :

"If all that which Thou hast sent down in glorification of this Most Great Remembrance, this Great Announcement, were to stream forth from the wellspring of Thy most august Pen, the inmates of the cities of knowledge and understanding would be dumbfounded, except such as Thou wouldst deliver through the potency of Thy might and wouldst protect as a token of Thy bountiful favour and Thy grace. I bear witness that Thou hast in truth fulfilled Thy pledge and hast made manifest the One Whose advent was foretold by Thy Prophets, Thy chosen ones and by them that serve Thee. He hath come from the heaven of glory and power, bearing the banners of Thy signs and the standards of Thy testimonies. Through the potency of Thine indomitable power and strength, He stood up before the faces of all men and summoned all mankind to the summit of transcendent glory and unto the all-highest Horizon, in such wise that neither the oppression of the ecclesiastics nor the onslaught of the rulers was able to deter Him" (        trans. TBAA.,  1988 ed. 115).

The Book of the Covenant - Kitab-i `ahd

Although the Most High Horzon (Per. ufq-i a`la) is devoid of trivial possessions of the earth, we have nevertheless bequeathed unto out heirs a noble and peerless heritage withij the treasure house of trust and resignation" (MAM: 388. trans. XXX+ Cov. B : No.60, p.56).

Great is the Day, and mighty the Call! In one of Our Tablets We have revealed these exalted words: ‘Were the world of the spirit to be wholly converted into the sense of hearing, it could then claim to be worthy to hearken unto the Voice that calleth from the Supreme Horizon (Per. ufq-i a`la)" (ESW: 361citing the third leaf of the Kalimat-i firdawsiyya (Leaves of Paradise',  trans. Shoghi Effendi,  XXX).

The Abha Horizon (ufq al-abhā')

Another important horizon related title of Baha'-Allah is the Abha Horizon (ufq al-abhā'), a phrase found in the writings of the Bab and occuring on certain of Probably Edirne period "seals" of Baha'-Allah. In his wasiyyat-nama the Bab writes:

 "God testifieth unto His Own Self, through His Own Self (li‑nafsī bi-nafsī) that I, verily, am One that liveth in the Abhā Horizon (bi‑innāni anā hayy fī al‑ufuq al‑abhā).

For some details, see below the Bab section on this website:

From a Tablet of Baha'-Allah celebrating the greatness of the Most Exalted Leaf :

Happy art thou, O My handmaiden, and My Leaf, and the one mentioned in My Book, and inscribed by My Pen of Glory in My Scrolls and Tablets. …Rejoice thou, at this moment, in the most exalted Station and the All-highest Paradise, and the Abhá Horizon, inasmuch as He Who is the Lord of Names hath remembered thee. We bear witness that thou didst attain unto all good, and that God hath so exalted thee, that all honor and glory circled around thee.” (Tablet of Baha'-Allah cited Shoghi Effendi, Messages to America, 1947 ed., p. 34).

[10] "The Most Great Ocean".

  بحرالاعظم  / البحر  الاعظم

The tenth of Shoghi Effendi's list of twenty major titles of Baha]-Allah is al-bahr al-a`zam "The  Most Great Ocean" =  بحرالاعظم  / البحر  الاعظم . This title can be found the early Edirne Surat al-Ashab (The Surah of the Companions) :

Say: the seas of eternity have billowed at this Most Great Ocean! No one hath attained unto its shore, how much less to its tempestous depths; save that is such as have clung unto the Ark of Sanctity that hath sailed thereon. So let them board them in My Name." (AQA 4: XXX, trans Cole revised Lambden).

Note also the important late Adrianople or early Acre period (c. 1867-8) reference in the Surat al-ghusn ( Surah of the Branch) written for Mirza `Ali Rida'  Mustawfi, which Baha'-Allah signed and sealed in his own handwriting and in which the successorship of `Abd al-Baha is registered. A few paragraphs therein we read :

Say: Verily, the ocean of pre-existence hath branched forth from this most great Ocean. Blessed, therefore, is he who abides upon Its shores, and is of those who are established thereon. There hath branched from this Sidrat al-Muntaha (Lote Tree of the Extremity / Beyond which there is no passing) this sacred and glorious Being, this Branch of Holiness; well is it with him that hath sought His shelter and abideth beneath His shadow. Verily the Limb of the Law of God hath sprung forth from this Root which God hath firmly implanted in the Ground of His Will, and Whose Branch hath been so uplifted as to encompass the whole of creation." (trans. cited from The Covenant of Baha'u'llah, 1st ed. 1950, p. 49 + partial trans. Shoghi Effendi, "The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh" (1934) in World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, pp. 134-5).

Ocean imagery is very common in the writings of Baha'-Allah, the "Most Great Ocean" which  issues forth sacred, elevated progeny and "waves" of Divine revelation.

Lawh-i Naqus [17] :  O oceans of the earth! (buhūr al-ard)! Be stilled of thy tempestuous waves for the Crimson Sea (al-bahr al-ahmar) surgeth through an innovative directive (bi-amr badī`).

Lawh-i Mallah al-quds (Tabet of thr Holy Mariner) : "O Holy Mariner! Bid thine ark of eternity appear before the Celestial Concourse, Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!"

The Lawḥ-i Hawdaj  [Sāmsūn]

In the third paragraph of the Lawh-i Howdah which is related to the slightly earlier Lawh-i mallah al-quds, the 'Tablet of the Holy Mariner' we read: [1] O Holy Mariner! (mallāḥ al-quds)! The promise hath come to pass  just as We promised thee through a sure and knowing Tongue. [2] So be of good cheer within thyself that the Logos-Self of God which is naught save Him might embark upon the Ark through this novel yet ancient Command.

The Kitab-i aqdas c. 1873.

In the Kitab-i aqdas Baha'-Allah is addressed as the bahr al-a`zam, the Most Great or Most Mighty Ocean"we read:

O Most Mighty Ocean (bahr al-a`zam)!

Sprinkle (rashsh) upon the nations that with which Thou hast been charged by Him Who is the Sovereign of Eternity, and adorn the temples of all the dwellers of the earth with the vesture of His laws 55 through which all hearts will rejoice and all eyes be brightened." ( Aqdas Para. 96 page 94; trans Para. 96  p. 54).

Happy are ye, O ye the learned ones in Bahá (ma`shar al-`ulama' fi'l-baha'). By the Lord! Ye are the billows of the Most Mighty Ocean (al-bahr al-a`zam), the stars of the firmament of Glory (anjam sama' al-fadl), the standards of triumph (al-nasr) waving betwixt earth and heaven. Ye are the manifestations of steadfastness amidst men and the daysprings of Divine Utterance to all that dwell on earth. Well is it with him that turneth unto you, and woe betide the froward. This day, it behoveth whoso hath quaffed the Mystic Wine of everlasting life from the Hands of the loving-kindness of the Lord his God, the Merciful, to pulsate even as the throbbing artery in the body of mankind, that through him may be quickened the world and every crumbling bone ( Aqdas Para. 174 page 164; trans Para. 173  p. 82).

[11] "The Supreme Heaven" -   مينوى اعظم 

Persian : Mainyu [Minu]-yi A`zam  (lit, `The Greatest Mainyu' = the Holy and Beneficient Spenta Mainyu....

The Persian Zoroastrian related title  "The Supreme Heaven" (mainyu [minu]-yi a`zam)  is not found in the Lawh-i Qarn. cf. though GPB. No. 9 "All-Highest Horizon: and L-Qarn No. 29, "The Brightness-Luminosity of the Horizons" (nayyir al-ufaq). It would appear to be a Zoroastrian rooted title found in the Acre period Lawh-i Haft Pursish (Tablet of the Seven Questions), a Tablet in reply to questions of the prominent Zoroastrian of Yazd named Ustad Javan Mard and perhaps dating to the 1880s. In reply to question four about the late messianic Shah Bahram we read :

O friend! Whatsoever hath been announced in the Books hath been revealed and made clear. From every direction the signs have been manifested. The Omnipotent One (yazdan) is calling, in this day, and announcing the appearance of the Supreme Heaven (minu-yi a`zam). The world hath been illumined with the splendours of His Revelation, yet how few are the eyes that can behold it! (Baha'u'llah,  Test in MAM: 243-4; trans. Shoghi Effendi, PDC: 77/193 + The Proclamation of Baha'u'llah, 106 + Tabernacle of Unity, 3/10 p. XXX).

The Zoroastrian Yazdan Deity in this passage is translated  "Omnipotent One" by Shoghi Effendi.

The figure whom the Yazdan sends is referred to as mainyu [mayna /minu ...] translated "heaven" by Shoghi Effendi. To this name is added the Arabic superlative adjective  a`zam meaning `Most Great' or Supreme. Spenta Mainyu is the creation and an aspect of the supreme holiness or Lord Ahura Mazda ("The Wise Lord"), brought into being to oppose the evil Angra Mainyu ("Evil Spirit") or Ahriman. Mainyu thus has two dimensions in Zoroastrain sacred literatures : Spenta Mainyu (loosely) "The Holy-Bounteous Spirit" and Angra Mainyu ("The Evil Spirit"). In Yasht 19.46ff, Angra Mainyu and Spenta Mainyu battle for possession of the xᵛarənah or khvaraenah, the radiant, supernatural "divine glory" which prefigures certain Babi-Baha'i aspects of the  word baha' including the radiant messianic divine "glory" in Babi-Baha'i messianic sacred writ. The word  مينو Mainyu here means "mind", or "spirit" etc. For Baha'-Allah the Supreme of greatest divine "Mind" (mainyu) is his eschatological personna opposed to the Angra Mainyu or forces of evil. 

Summing up some statements in the Gāthās  of Zoroaster, Mary Boyce writes in her article Ahura Mazda in the Encyclopedia Iranica:

In one Gathic verse he [Ahura Mazdā] is said to have achieved creation by his “thought” (Y. 31.11), but elsewhere his instrument is said to have been his Holy or Bounteous Spirit, Spənta Mainyu (Y. 44.7; 31.3; 51.7). The relationship between Ahura Mazdā and the Holy Spirit is theologically as subtle and hard to define as that between Yahweh and the Holy Spirit in Judaism and Christianity; and it has been repeatedly argued that Christian doctrine owes a debt in this respect to Zoroastrianism. Spənta Mainyu appears as the active principle by which Ahura Mazdā accomplished the acts of creation. It is also through Spənta Mainyu that he “comes to the world” (Y. 43.6), and so can be immanent in the wise and just man (cf. Y. 33.6): “ Ahura Mazda,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/7, pp. 684-687.An updated version of the above is available online at: 

See further J. Duchesne-Guillemin, `Ahriman' in Encyclopaedia Iranica, 1, New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul, [writen and updated 1984+2011] 670-3.

 

[12] "The Pre-Existent Root".

al-asl al-qadim = الاصل القدیم

In the Arabic of the Kitab-i aqdas and the Kitab-i ahd where this "Most Holy Book" is cited, this title is spelled al-asl al-qadim, "The Ancient Root" or "The Pre-Existent Root" . In the Lawh-i Qarn this is title, al-asl al-qadim, is title No.11.

The pre-existence Baha'-Allah and other divine Manifestations (maẓāhar ) is presupposed and affirmed in numerous Bābī- Bahā’ī texts. This by virtue of their divine Logos-like Reality, their primordial nafs (Identity-Self-Soul). The multi-faceted Islamic doctrine of the pre-existent (Per.) nūr-i Muḥammadiyya ("Muhammadan Light") was foundational and is applied by Baha'is to all of the maẓhar-i ilāhī. Like Jesus the Bābī- Bahā’ī maẓhar can all utter such words as "before Abraham was I am" (Jn. 8:58b) or claim a central, pre-existent role in the origins of existence.

In his al-Kitab al-ahdi or Kitab-i `ahd (Book of the Covenant), Baha'-Allah cites the passage from his al-Kitab al-aqdas (Most Holy Book) in which he refers to himself as the "Ancient Root" or "Pre-Existent Root" (al-asl al-qadim) (TBAA: 221). He comments "Consider that which We have revealed in Our Most Holy Book: ‘When the ocean of My presence hath ebbed and the Book of My Revelation is ended, turn your faces toward Him Whom God hath purposed, Who hath branched from this al-asl al-qadim, Ancient Root [Pre-Existent Root].’ The object of this sacred verse is none other except the Most Mighty Branch [‘Abdu’l-Bahá]" (Kitab-i `ahd, original text cited MAM: 402 + Dawr-i Baha'i / Dispensation, 1988 Persian trans., page 58; TBAA:221-2). 

In the Kitab-i aqdas itself we read at Para. 121

‘When the ocean of My presence hath ebbed and the Book of My Revelation is ended, turn your faces toward Him Whom God hath purposed, Who hath branched from this al-asl al-qadim, Ancient Root  [Pre-Existent Root].’ (Arabic p.115, 1992 trans p. 63).

An older translation of this Aqdas passage contained in the book Baha'i Scriptues edited by Horace Holley (1st ed. 1923) translates,

Reflect upon that which is revealed in My Book, the Aqdas: "When the Ocean of My Presence hath disappeared and the Book of Origin is achieved to the end, turn your faces towards Him whom God hath purposed, Who hath branched from this Pre-Existent Root."  (Baha'i Scriptures, p. 260)

In a Tablet to Bahiyya Khanum, the eldest daughter of Baha'-Allah, we also read :

This Book is from before Us to her who hath heard and attained, and she hath sprung from this Pre-Existent Root, and hath appeared in My Name, and hath tasted My Most Holy and Wonderful Saliva. We have given her to drink from My Sweetest Mouth, and once from the Mighty and Shining Kawther. May My Glory and the Fragrance of My Shining Garment be upon her " (Compilations, Baha'i Prayers 9, p. 9)

[13] "The Self-Subsistent" / "Self-Subsisting" - القیوم

الظاهر باسم القیوم.

 In the Lawh-i Qarn No. 30 this title of Baha'-Allah has the extended form, الظاهر باسم القیوم  meaning "the One Manifest (al-zahir) with the Name al-Qayyum (the Self-Subsistent"). The Qur;anic Arabic Divine Attribute  "Self-Subsistent"  is al-qayyum which certain western Christian missionaries and others followed by Shoghi Effendi translated "Self Subsisting". al-Qayyum, indicates the Deity who is Self-Subsisting as One who maintains and supports the cosmic realms and all creation.  In its original Arabic/Persian this title is the Arabic al-Qayyum which, in Qur'anic Arabic, has been translated since the 18th century as "Self-Subsistent" or "Self-Subsisting".

Rise up (qūmū) O people (qawm)! for the victory of God (naṣrat Allāh). The Qayyūm, Theophany Self-Subsisting [Bahā'u'llāh] hath assuredly come unto you, about whom the Qā'im [the messianic Ariser, the Bāb] gave glad-tidings... (Bahā’u’llāh, Iqtidarat, 99).

Al-Qayyūm in the eschatology of the Bāb.

The earliest major work of the Bāb, his Tafsīr sūra yūsuf  ("Commentary on the Surah of Joseph"; mid. 1844) is also known as both the Aḥsan al-qia (`Best of Stories') after Qur’ān 12:3 and the Qayyūm al-asmā'. Exactly why it has this latter designation is related to Shi`i messianism for the Bab further related to the fact that Qayyūm  and Joseph (Ar. Yūsuf)  have the same abjad (numerical) value; namely 156:

  • Qayyūm =  Q + Y + U + M = 100 + 10 + 6 + 40 = 156
  • Yusuf = Joseph = Y + U + S + F = 10 + 6 + 60 + 80 = 156

There exists an important Tablet of the Bāb in reply a question posed by his disciple Mullā Muhammad Bāqir (the thirteenth `Letter of the Living') about the expected Bābī messiah figure man yuẓhiru-hu Allāh. It commences

The Splendour which cometh from God (al-bahā' min Allāh) -- exalted be His Remembrance -- be upon `Him Whom God shall make  manifest (man yuẓhiru-hu Allāh)' -- exalted be His command -- and upon whomsoever is created through His command, for naught can be seen in Him except what God hath caused to be manifested unto Him, through Him, by virtue of His Utterance, `Verily, no God is there save Him, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting (al-qayyūm)...  And I say that He, verily, is the Qayyūm:  for that one is a Manifestation of one of those staunch through the unfolding of His Oneness (qawwām bisā aḥadiyyatihi)" (cited Gulpayigani et al., Kashf al-ghitā,  439f).

For further details see this website at :

[14] "The Day-Star of the Universe".

This title perhaps in Arabic matla` al-`alam,  "The Day-Star of the Universe", does not seem to be registered in the Lawh-i Qarn. cf. Revelation 22:16 "Morning Star". Unless that is it is a rendering of the "Brightness of the Horizons" nayyir al-ufaq,  نیر الافاق  which is title No. 29 in the Lawh-i Qarn (cf. above GPB No.9).

166. O servant of Baha! Be self-sacrificing in the path of God, and wing thy flight unto the heavens of the love of the Abha Beauty, for any movement animated by love moveth from the periphery to the centre, from space to the  198  Day-Star of the universe"   (`Abdu'l-Baha, Selections, 197)
 

[15] "The Great Announcement".

The "Great Announcement" :

Qur'an 78:2: 

"Of what shall they enquire about, the Mighty Accouncement (al-naba' al-`azim)'.

See also Qur'an  38:67

"Say: He/ It is the Great [Mighty] Announcement [News]" (Qur'an  38:67).

In his Kitab-i aqdas Baha'-Allah warns aganist being veiled from Him as the "Most Great Announcement" as a result of the word nabi 'Prophet" presumably in the khatam al-nabbiyyin (seal-last-acme of the Prophets") phrase in the Sūrat l-aḥzāb (The Combined Forces) Qur'an 33:40 :

"Take heed lest the word “Prophet” (al-nabi) withhold you from this Most Great Announcement (al-naba' al-a`zam), or any reference to “Vicegerency” ( walaya) debar you from the sovereignty of Him Who is the Vicegerent of God (walayat Allah), which overshadoweth all the worlds.... Say: This is the Day of God, the day in which naught shall be mentioned  save His own [Logos-] Self (nafs)" (Aqdas Para 167 p.159-160 trans 1992 p.80)

Some extracts from the writings of Baha'-Allah :

 

Lawh-i Ishaqat (Tablet of Splendors) :

If all that which Thou hast sent down in glorification of this Most Great Remembrance, this Great Announcement, were to stream forth from the wellspring of Thy most august Pen, the inmates of the cities of knowledge and understanding would be dumbfounded, except such as Thou wouldst deliver through the potency of Thy might and wouldst protect as a token of Thy bountiful favour and Thy grace. (    trans. TBAA.,  1988 ed. 115).

In the Lawh-i Dunya (Tablet of the world there is a reference to Baha-Allah as the naba-i `azim (Great announcement) (MAM:286 trans. TBAA:   ).

Epistle to the Son of the Wolff c. 1891.

Likewise, in the Qur’án He saith: “Of what ask they of one another? Of the Great Announcement (al-naba' al-`azim).” This is the Announcement (naba'), the greatness (`azimat) of which hath been mentioned in most of the Books of old and of more recent times. This is the Announcement (naba') that hath caused the limbs of mankind (fara'is al-`alam) to quake, except such as God, the Protector, the Helper, the Succorer, hath willed to exempt. Men have indeed with their own eyes witnessed how all men and all things have been thrown into confusion and been sore perplexed, save those whom God hath chosen to exempt... O Shaykh! Great is the Cause (amr `azim), and great the Announcement (naba' `azim)! Patiently and calmly ponder thou upon the resplendent signs and the sublime words, and all that hath been revealed in these days, that haply thou mayest fathom the mysteries that are hid in the Books, and mayest strive to guide His servants... 

The blessed Lote-Tree standeth, in this day, before thy face, laden with heavenly, with new and wondrous fruits. Gaze on it, detached from all else save it. Thus hath the Tongue of might and power spoken at this Spot which God hath adorned with the footsteps of His Most Great Name (ismihi al-a`zam) and Mighty Announcement ( naba' ihi al-`azim). (L-i Shaykh/Ibn-i Dhi'b,  169, 179; trans. ESW 1976: 143-4, 152).

At one point in his The Dispensation of Baha'u'lah, Shoghi Effendi at one point writes,

“He[ Baha'u'llah]  it is,” referring to Himself He further proclaims, “Who in the Old Testament hath been named Jehovah, Who in the Gospel hath been designated as the Spirit of Truth, and in the Qur’án acclaimed as the Great Announcement.” (Dispensation, 104).

The Herald, Crier (munad)

 

"And listen for the Day when the Crier (munad) will call out (yunadi) from a place quiet near (makan qarib), The Day when they will, in very truth, hear a  Cry [Trumpet Blast] (al-sayhat) for then will be the Day of the emergence [from the graves = Resurrection]  (yawm al-khuruj) (Qur'an 50:41-2).

In his Lawh-i Ishraqat  (Tablet of Splendours) Baha'u'llah several times refers to the fulfillment of these Qur'anic verses when he proclaims the advent of the eschatological Day: 

"the Day when the immortal Being mounted His throne and the Crier raised His Voice from the haven of security and peace in the holy Vale... Verily, the Crier hath cried out, when the promised time came, and they that have recognized the splendours of Sinai have swooned away in the wilderness of hesitation, before the awful majesty of thy Lord, the Lord of creation" (Ishraqat trans TBAA: 103, 118).

[16] "The Speaker on Sinai" - مكلم الطور .

As mukallim al-tur, مكلم الطور  "The Speaker on the Mount [Sina'i] this title is No. 18.   

The Qur'an related title the "Speaker on Sinai" is usually spelled in Persian as mukallim-i tur/sina'  or in Arabic as mukallim al-tur. This claim of Baha'-Allah, which is many times expressed in Persian and Arabic scriptural Tablets. It is a claim rooted in the Bible, the Qur'an and, most notably, in a prediction ascribed to Imam `Ali ibn Abi Talib (d. 40/661) in a quite lengthy discourse known as the Khutbat al-Tutunjiyya ("Sermon of the Gulf"), This The  خطبة الطتنجية  /  التطنجية  Khuṭbat al-Ṭutunjiyya or Khuṭbat al-Taṭanjiyya (spelling and pointing uncertain), only loosely and inadequately translated as "The Sermon of the Gulf",  is an Arabic sermon, discourse  which contains the following claim:

انا الواقف على الطتنجين

 "I am the one who is stationed over the two Gulfs" (wāqif `alā al-tuṭunjayn)

            Sayyid Kāẓim  commentedupon these words in the following way:

  الطتنج هو الخليج المتشعب من البحر والطتنجين الخليجين منشعبان من البحرالواحد

كما ياتى تفسره من كلام

"The  الطتنج ( ṭ-t-n-j = ṭutunj) is the gulf [or bay, canal, stream] (al-khalīj)  branching out (mutasha``ib) from the [Cosmic] Ocean (al-baḥr). And the twin gulfs (al-ṭutunjayn) are the twin bays-streams, doubly branching out from a single Ocean; just as the exposition of something is expressed through speech... (Sh-Kh-T, 174)".

It is within the Khuṭbat al-Tuṭunjiyya  that the following line is found within the following paragraph XI which commences: 

 [1]

Then he [`Alī] said:

"O Jabir! Thou art with the True One (al-ḥaqq) and shall, henceforth, be with Him. And in Him shall thou pass away. [2] O Jabir! When the [summoning] Bell  (al-nāqūs) shall toll! [3] When the nightmare shall constrain!  (kabasa al-kābūs) [4] When a buffalo (al-jāmūs) shall speak out! [5] Oh! nigh are these wonders, wonders indeed! [6] When the Fire (al-nār) shall be ignited in my sight! [7] When the banner of the house of `Uthmān (al-rāyat al-`uthmāniya)  shall appear in the black wadi (bi-wādī al-sawdā').[8] When Baṣra shall be divided in conflict, some gaining ascendancy over others  and each faction pursuing the other! [9] When the armies of Khurāsān  [in Persia]  shall begin to move,  and when Shu`ayb ibn Ṣāliḥ al-Tamīmī shall succeed  in the interior of Ṭāliqān and Sa'īd al-Susī (of Shusha)  be acknowledged  leader in Khuzistan. [10] And when banner shall be held aloft  by Kurdish Amalekites,  [11]  the Arabs gain ascendancy over the territories of Armenia and the Slavs  (bilād al-arman wa saqallāb) [12] and Heraclius (Byzantine Emperor 610-641 cf. Q 15:38)  submit to Constantinople before the [longstanding] patriarchs of  Sinan (?) (li-baṭāriqa sīnān),

 [13]

فتوقعوا ظهور مكلم موسی من الشجره علی الطور

then anticipate ye the theophany of the Speaker  who conversed with Moses  (ẓuhūr mukallim mūsā) from the Tree upon the Mount [Sinai]  (min al-shajarat `ala al-ṭūr)  for He shall assuredly be outwardly unveiled and publicly celebrated.  [14] Oh! How many a wondrous sign I do not seek to mention and how many indications have I left undivulged for I cannot find a single soul who can bear them.

Kitab-i aqdas

This is the Day in which He Who held converse with God (al-kalim) hath attained the light of the Ancient of Days (anwar al-qadim), and quaffed the pure waters of reunion from this Cup that hath caused the seas to swell. Say: By the one true God! Sinai (al-tur) is circling round the Dayspring of Revelation (matla` al-zuhur) .. (Kitab-i aqdas Para. 50 p.  trans 1992 p. 48).

The Sahifat-Allah (Scroll of God), in ms.

Towards the beginning of this Tablet primarily addressed to members of the Jewish "progeny of the Friend (anba' al-khalil)" [= descendents of Abraham] and "the legacy of the Speaker (warath al-kalim)",  Moses who spoke forth with and on behalf of God, we read as follows :

This is a Book which was sent down from the heaven of the Divine Will of the All-Merciful (sama' mashiyyat al-rahman) unto whomsoever lieth within the realm of Being, to the end that it might cause them to be established [bring them solace] before God, the Lord of all the worlds. This is indeed the Day in which the Light (al-nur) hath radiated forth in view of the fact that the Speaker on the Mount [Sinai] (mukallim al-tur) [Moses = Baha'-Allah] hath been established upon the Throne of the Divine Theophany [Manifestation] (`arsh al-zuhur). And He hath indeed cried out before the countenances within the Dominion [or Rulers, King(s)] (wujuh al-mulk), for unto God belongeth the Might and the Praise. This is the Day in which the Speaker (al-kalim) [Moses] announced the Glad-tidings, then the Spirit (al-ruh) [Jesus] and after him Muhammad, the Messenger of God (rasul Allah) who appeared from the Dawning-Place of the Cause (mashriq al-amr) with Respledent Soverignty (bi-sultan mubin)" (unpublished ms. trans Lambden).

[17] "The Sifter of Men".

The "Sifter of Men" 

Persian Bayan and Kitab-i aqdas.

Among the first believers in the Bab in Isfahan through the efforts of Mulla Husayn Bushru'i was a certain Mulla Ja`far Isfahani, Gandum-Pak-Kuna, the "sifter of wheat" whom the Bab refers to in his Persian Bayan :

“In the land of Sad [Isfahan], which to outward seeming is a great city, in every corner of whose seminaries are vast numbers of people regarded as divines and doctors, yet when the time came for inmost essences to be drawn forth, only its sifter of wheat donned the robe of discipleship. This is the mystery of what was uttered by the kindred of the Prophet Muhammad -- upon them be the peace of God -- concerning this Revelation, saying that the abased shall be exalted and the exalted shall be abased.” (The Báb, Persian Bayan, cited ‘Selections from the Writings of the Báb, XX).

Baha'-Allah himself refers to this conversion in his Kitab-i aqdas, in the address to the “concourse of divines”:

“Call ye to mind the shaykh whose name was Muhammad-Hasan [Najafi], who ranked among the most learned divines of his day. When the True One was made manifest, this shaykh, along with others of his calling, rejected Him, while a sifter of wheat and barley accepted Him and turned unto the Lord. Though he was occupied both night and day in setting down what he conceived to be the laws and ordinances of God, yet when He Who is the Unconstrained appeared, not one letter thereof availed him, or he would not have turned away from a Countenance that hath illumined the faces of the well-favoured of the Lord.” (Baha’u’llah, ‘The Kitab-i-Aqdas, XX).
 

[18] "The Desire of the Nations".

  • The Desire of the Nations = חֶמְדַּ֣ת כָּל הַגּוֹיִ֑ם (Haggai 2:7).

"And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations ( Heb. חֶמְדַּ֣ת כָּל הַגּוֹיִ֑ם־  = ḥemdat  kāl-ha-gōyyim) shall come: and I will fill this house (הַבַּ֤יִת = ha-bayit) with glory ( כָּב֔וֹד = kāḇōḏ), saith the LORD of hosts (יְהוָ֥ה צְבָאֽוֹת = Yahweh  ṣəḇā’ōt)."

The words "Desire[s] of all nations" (Haggai, 2:7aβ = Heb. ḥemdat  kal ha-goyyīm ) in the Van Dyck Arabic translation is mushtahā kull al-umam ("the Desire of all nations") and in one major Persian version  faḍīlat jamī`-yi ummathā, which literally meanss,  `Excellences of all nations".

Kitab-i aqdas Para. 82

Ye are but vassals, O kings of the earth! He Who is the King of Kings hath appeared, arrayed in His most wondrous glory, and is summoning you unto Himself, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting. Take heed lest pride deter you from recognizing the Source of Revelation (mashriq al-zuhur), lest the things of this world shut you out as by a veil from Him Who is the Creator of heaven. Arise, and serve Him Who is the Desire of all nations (al-maqsud), Who hath created you through a word (kalimat) from Him, and ordained you to be, for all time, the emblems of His sovereignty" (Kitab-i aqdas Para 82 p. 79 trans. 1992 p.49),

 Lawh-i Tarazat (Ornaments) "Glory be unto Thee, O Lord of the world and Desire of the nations, O Thou Who hast become manifest in the Greatest Name whereby the pearls of wisdom and utterance 34 have appeared from the shells of the great sea of Thy knowledge, and the heavens of divine revelation have been adorned with the light of the appearance of the Sun of Thy countenance... I swear by the life of Him Who is the Desire of the world!" (opening section + address in the 6th Taraz, trans. TBAA:33-4, 41).

[19] "The Lord of the Covenant" - صاحب العهد، رب المیثاق .

This title  "The Lord of the Covenant" as sahib al-`ahd, the  "Master of the Covenant" is registered as No. 27 in the Lawh-i Qarn, along with rabb al-mithaq "Lord of the Testament", No. 28 in the Lawh-i Qarn (see above)..

Say: 'The light hath shone forth from the horizon of Revelation, and the whole earth hath been illumined at the coming of Him Who is the Lord of the Day of the Covenant!'  (Baha'u'llah, MAM:      ; trans.TBAA.,119)

Supplication! O Lord of the Covenant! O luminous Star of the world! The persecuted 'Abdu'l-Bahá has fallen into the hands of persons who appear as sheep and in reality are ferocious wolves"  (Abdu'l-Baha, `The Last Tablet to America' in Baha'i World Faith, 432)
 

[20] "The Tree beyond which there is no passing".

Sidrat al-muntaha سدرة المنتهی

This title of Baha'-Allah is not listed in the Lawh-i Qarn of Shoghi Effendi.

The exact background to the Qur'anic Sidrat al-Muntahā has yet to be satisfactorily pinned down though it is likely to be related to the biblical "tree of Life" in the garden of paradise and/ or to the the "Sinaitic Tree" or "Burning Bush" (Exodus 3:2 cf. Deut. 33:16). It could be seem to be the Islamic equivalent of the Sinaitic "buning bush" (Heb. Seneh,  Exod 3:2 ) where the divine theophany was to a degree earlier experienced by the Israelite prophet Moses. Like Moses Muhammad had vision of  a "Tree" redolent of the divine mystery. This title of Baha'-Allah listed above by Shoghi Effendi, "The Tree beyond which there is no passing", is the Qur'anic Arabic sidrat al-muntaha which has been variously translated as above or, for example, "The Tree of the Extremity".

The Arabic word  muntahā  is derived from the triliteral verbal root  N-H-W which in its VIIIth form  can, for example, mean, "to terminate, conclude, finish, etc" . The verbal noun muntahā  مُنْتَهَى  could thus be literally translated  "termination", "limit", "extremity", "boundary"  or the like. In genitive relationship with sidrah as in the qur'anic phrase Sidrat al-muntahā =    سِدْرَةِ الْمُنْتَهَى  (Q. 53:14 only), it could thus be literally translated "Lote-Tree of the Boundary", "Lote-Tree of the Limit" ,  "Lote-Tree of the Extremity" or "Lote-Tree beyond which there is no passing".  A modern, eminently straightforward Qur'an Commentary entitled Taisīr al-karīm al-raḥman fī tafsīr kalām al-manān by `Abd al-Rahman ibn Nāṣir al-Sa`idī (d. 1376/1956). puts the matter simply when commenting on Qur'an 53: 14 (=  "nigh the Sidrat al-Muntahā", Lote-Tree of the Extremity) :

"It [the Sidrat al-Muntahā] is a very large Tree (shajarat) beyond the seventh heaven. It is named the Sidrat al-Muntahā because there terminates at it  whatever ascends from the earth and whatever descends [from heaven] including what comes down from God, including waḥy (divine inspiration) and other things besides. Alternatively, [it might be said that this name is due to the fact that]  it is the Uttermost Extremity [Boundary] (intihā') for the knowledge of the creatures approaching it, relative, that is, to its Existent Being [as located] above the heavens and the earth.  So it is al-Muntahā (the Extremity, Boundary) with respect to  [all human] modes of knowledge (`ulūm) or other things besides. And God is best informed [of this matter].  Thus [it was that] Muhammad saw Gabriel in that location (al-makān) which is the domain of the pure and beautiful, elevated [celestial] Souls (maḥall al-arwāḥ al-`uluwiyya al-zakiyya al-jamīliyya)... " (Sa`idi, Tafsir, 819).

In Baha'i circles the first to translate "The Tree beyond which there is no passing" seems to have been `Ali Kuli Khan who in this followed the Christian translator George Sale (1734) . He was followed by Shoghi Effendi who often transliterated this into English as Sadrat al-Muntaha, for Sidrat al-Muntaha. The السِّدْرَةَ Sidrah  (Lote-Tree) and سِدْرَةِ الْمُنْتَهَى the Sidrat al-Muntaha  (Lote-Tree of the Extremity) are several  times mentioned in the Qur'an. In summary, the term sidrah  (pl. [coll.] sidr),  "lote-trees" ) is used four times in three Meccan sūrahs of the Qur'ān (see above), twice in the singular (53:14,16) and twice in the plural (34:16 [15] and 56:28 [27]). The  سِدْرَةِ الْمُنْتَهَى the Sidrat al-Muntaha  (Lote-Tree of the Extremity)  is three times mentioned; in the Sūrat al-Sabā' ("The Surah of Sheba"), Qur'ān 34:16, the Sūrat al-Wāqi'ah ("The Event"), Qur'ān 56:28, and the Sūrat al-Najm ("The Surah of the Star"), Qur'ān 53:13-16 which latter context reads :

 وَلَقَدْ رَآهُ نَزْلَةً أُخْرَى (13) عِندَ سِدْرَةِ الْمُنْتَهَى (14) عِندَهَا جَنَّةُ الْمَأْوَى (15)

      إِذْ يَغْشَى السِّدْرَةَ مَا يَغْشَى (16)

    

[13] I [Muhammad] had indeed seen him [Gabriel] descending another time, [14] nigh the Sidrat al-Muntahā (Lote-Tree of the Extremity"), [15] nearby the Garden of Repose  (jannat al-māwā), [16] when there encompassed the Sidrah (Lote-Tree) that which covered it ... 

It  might also be conjectured on a theological level that this qur'anic "Lote Tree" marks the boundary of the transcendent Godhead whose divine theophany remains something of an apophatic  mystery. God is experienced at the very limit of knowing in the domain of "unknowing". Moses experienced God and spoke to Him but only saw his "back" (Exodus 33:20f), not His "face" (Heb. panim) ( ibid). The Israelite prophet Moses only indirectly experienced God in mysterious and terrifying circumstances. The visionary experience of Muhammad was in some respects similar. While the biblical "burning bush" was not consumed, the qur'anic Lote-Tree could not be bypassed. As will be seen it is the case that in various Tafsir literatures (such as that of al-Tabari ) Moses' encounter with God and the Mi`rāj vision of Muhammad are compared and contrasted (see below).

As far then, as the concrete significance of the word sidrah  goes, Islamic sources  often identify it  as the  shajarat al-nabq ("tree of the nabq  [fruit]")  or Persian  darakht-i kunār  apparently signifying the  wild jujube or "Christ's thorn" (zizyphus spina-christi). This is a tall, stout, tropical tree with dense prickly branches which produce a sweet reddish fruit similar to that of the jujube  (the `unnÿb  [zizyphus vulgaris] fruit (see Qarshayy 3: 246f.; Ṭabarī, Jāmi` al-Bayān  13:52f.; Lane 1:1331 ; Wehr  1103; Lambden, Sinaitic Mysteries : 68-9, 163 fn.32).

There any many Islamic traditions about the location, nature and supernatural dimensions and covering of the Sidrat al-muntaha; its size, its leaves, its bejewelled nature and its water sources, etc. It is located in the highest paradise and neither humans nor angels can travel beyond its uppermost reaches.

In one of his writings the Bab is commanded by God to proclaim his status and

"Say: This, of a certainty, is the Garden of Repose (jannat al-ma'wā [Qur'ān 53:15]), the loftiest Point of adoration, the Sidrat al-muntahā ("Tree beyond which there is no passing") , the Blessed Tree (shajarat al-ṭubā), Most Mighty Sign, the most beauteous Countenance and the most comely Face." (SWB:155).

At times the Bāb identified his Logos-Self or subordinate Divine reality with the Sidrat al-Muntahā. For Baha'is the Sidrat al-muntaha can indicate a personificstion of the mazhar-i ilahi, the Manifestastion of God, his powers and his supra-dimensional outreach. Its "branches" and "leaves" may indicate the progeny of the Bab and Baha'-Allah or elevated Babis and Baha'is. The qur'anic Sidrat al-muntaha occurs thousands of times as a title of Baha'-Allah in his Persian and Arabic writings. A few examples include :

Lawh-i Halih-Halih-Halih Ya Bisharat

A poetical Tablet of Baha'-Allah dating to the end of the Iraq-Baghdad period (1862-3) is entitled Lawh-i Halih-Halih-Halih Ya Bisharat (The Tablet of Hallelujah! Hallelujah, Hallelujah, O Glad Tidings! ) after this frequent refrain. It celebrates his imminent assumption of leadership of the Babi community. Couplet and refrain 8 reads as follows:

[8]

 This sweet Davidic voice came with the Messianic Spirit from the Divine Lote-Tree

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, O Glad Tidings!

هَلِه هَلِه هَلِه يَا بشَارَت

The Sūrat al-Aṣḥāb (The Surah of the Companions, c. 1864 CE)

This early Edirne Tablet was written for Mirza Habīb-Allāh Maraghi'ī (= Āqā-yi Munīb) . As the "Lote-Tree of Bahā'" Baha'-Allah here associates himself with the personified "Lote-Tree"  present in a New Paradise referred to as Riḍwān (lit. "Felicity") which is associated with the divine Person of Baha'-Allah whose parentally bestowed name was Mirza Ḥusayn `Alī, a name of 4 Arabic letters (Ḥ+S+Y=N) then 3 letters (A+L+Y):

Say: The Tent of Pre-existence hath been raised up. And thou, O people of the Bayan [= Babis] withold not thyselves there from. Dwell then at its threshold! By God! The Lote-Tree of Bahā' hath borne fruit in this Riḍwān which hath appeared in the Fourfold Temple (haykal al-tarbi`) (= Ḥusayn) in Triadic form (ha'it al-tathlīth) (= `Alī). O ye denizens of the Arks of Bahā'! Draw then nigh unto it  and find pleasure in its fruits."

See further :  http://hurqalya.ucmerced.edu/node/45

The Sūrat al-Ghuṣn (The Surah of the Branch)

There hath branched from this Sidrat al-Muntaha (Lote Tree of the Extremity / Beyond which there is no passing) this sacred and glorious Being, this Branch of Holiness ... (trans. cited from The Covenant of Baha'u'llah, 1st ed. 1950, p. 49 + partial trans. Shoghi Effendi, "The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh" (1934) in World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, pp. 134-5).

Kitab-i aqdas Para 100

The eye of My loving-kindness weepeth sore over you, inasmuch as ye have failed to recognize the One upon Whom ye have been calling in the daytime and in the night season, at even and at morn. Advance, O people, with snow-white faces and radiant hearts, unto the blest and crimson Spot, wherein the Sadratu’l-Muntahá [Sidrat al-muntaha] is calling: “Verily, there is none other God beside Me, the Omnipotent Protector, the Self-Subsisting!” (Kitab-i aqdas Para 100, p. 99-100 trans. 1992 p. 56).

Give ear unto the verses of God which He Who is the sacred Lote-Tree  ( al-sidrat) reciteth unto you" (Kitab-i aqdas Para 148, p. 141 trans. 1992 p. 73).