Exaltation Shaykh Ahmad and Sayyid Kaim Rashti
The Babi-Baha'i exaltation of Shaykh Aḥmad al-Ahsā’ī (d.1241/1826) and Sayyid Kāzim Rashtī (d.1259/1843), the first Central Figures the Shaykhī branch of Shī`ī Islam.
From the Risāla of Qatil ibn al-Karbal'i translated from the text printed by Mazandarni in K. Zuhur al-haqq vol. III.
In certain of their numerous writings, both the Bab and Baha'-Allah greatly lauded Shaykh Ahmad and Sayyid Kazim Rashti. The latter in his Kitab-i iqan (Book of Certitude, c. 1862) referred to them as the "twin shining lights" and pictured them as the twin harbingers of the Babi-Baha'i religions. The are viewed as persons with prophetic insight who made sometimes arcane predections about the aforementioned founders of the Babi and Baha'i religions. Their numerous, largely Arabic writings are highly valued and occasionally cited.
(1) Extracts from the writings of the Bāb
- The Ziyarat (Visitation) Supplication of the Bab for Shaykh Aḥmad al-Ahsā’ī (d.1241/1826)
This writing of the Bab is full of elevated epiphets for the progenitor of Shaykhism as can be see here :
The Ziyarat-Nama (Visitation Supplication) of the Bab for Shaykh Aḥmad al-Aḥsā’ī (d.1243/1826).
Trans. Stephen Lambden Jan. 2012
From the Ziyarat of the Bab for Shaykh Ahmad
He is the Exalted (al-`alī), the Mighty (al-mutakabīr), the Highest (al-rafī`).
In His Name,
the Hidden (al-maknūn), the Mighty Lord (al-rabb al-`aẓīm).
[Thou Shaykh Aḥmad are] A Quintessence of Peerless Abstraction (jawhar mujarrad), a Pure, Camphorated, Midday Ornament (ṭarz kāfūran ṭahran ẓahran), a Light (nūr) which hath risen up and radiated forth, then scintillated and flashed lightening (abraq), then [generated], furthermore, a gleaming radiance of fathomless depth, then [nay rather a] a radiant brilliance (ḍiyā’) which was raised up aloft beyond the lights (anwār) of the Beauteous Glory of Sanctity (bahā’ quds), the very Garment of the Dawning-Place of that Sacred Presence (haḍrat) which is Unique (aḥad), Peerless (farḍ), Singular (wāḥid), Perpetual (samad). Such was the very Sacred Presence (haḍrat) of Muhammad (cf. Aḥmad), may the blessing of God be upon him and upon His servant, [for he is] the Genesis of Numeration (awwal al-`addad) in the world of Eternity (`ālam al-abad), [through] the Manifestations of the Logos-Self of His Beloved (maẓāhir nafs ḥabīb).
May the quintessences of the eras (jawhariyyāt al-midad) in the world of Ṣarmad [Perpetual Eternality] (fī `ālam al-ṣamad) [the Imams] be upon thee, O Light of Glory-Beauty (nūr al-bahā’), the Dhikr-Remembrance of Regeneration (dhikr al-inshā’) and Mystery of Accomplishment (sirr al-qiḍā’), the Secreted Mystery of Realization (mustasirr al-imḍā’), the Camphor of the Sinaitic Mount (kāfūr ṭūr al-sīnā’), the theophany of the Crimson Pillar (ẓuhūr rukn al-ḥamrā’) and mid-most Locus of Mine inmost heart (buḥbūḥat fū`ādī) which is most beloved (aḥabb) of God, My Lord.
So indeed may [all] this [laudation] be upon thee [Shaykh Aḥmad] O Point of the Gates (nuqṭat al-abwāb) .... See further :
The Ziyarat-Nama (Visitation Supplication) of the Bab for Shaykh Aḥmad ibn Zayn al-Dīn al-Aḥsā’ī (d. 1241/1826).
- The Risāla fi'l-suluk (Treatise on the Pathway to God) has the Bāb refer to Sayyid Kāẓim Rashtī in the following manner:
قد كتبها سيدی ومعتمدی و معلمی الحاج سيد كاظم الرشتی اطال الله بقائه مخصل
"Thus wrote my Lord (sayyidī), my firm support (mu`tammadī) and My teacher (mu`allimī), al-Hajji Sayyid Kāẓim Rashtī may God extend his specified eternality...
- An early letter in reply to various questions
An extract from the Khutbah al-Jiddah (Literary Oration at Jeddah) of the Bab
written in early 1845, the twin exponents of Shi`i Islamic Wisdom.
ولقد اتبعوهم باٌحسان اكثر العلماء من حيث لا يعلمون حكم من اهل البيان حتی قد طلع اليوم بالضياء واضاء الشمس والقمر بحكم الانشاء قد بينا لكم آل الل هفی معرفة الابداع علی سد الانقطاع قطع الامتناع
Since they were unaware of the decree issued by the people of clear exposition (ahl al-bayān) many of the [Shi`i] `ulamā' (divines) imitated them [the Mullā Ṣadra philosophers] in their pursuit of good deeds (bi'l-iḥsān). This until the Day dawned forth in splendour (ḍiyā') and the "sun" and the "moon" shed illumination on account of the decree of Recreation (ḥukm al-inshā'). These twain [the two heavenly orbs = Shaykh Aḥmad al-Aḥsā'ī and Sayyid Kāẓim Rashtī] expounded [the truth respecting] the [Shi`i] family of God (Āl Allāh) established in the gnosis of unprecedented wonders (ma`rifat al-abdā`), discoursing at the very pinnacle of abstraction (sadd al-inqiṭā`), all but beyond impenetrability (qaṭa` al-imtinā`)!
و اكتسبا علی هياكل * معرفتها بما قد شاء الله في حقهما و قد كتبنا بايديهما من حكم القرآن الواح اللوح فی الفوايد و ا للوامع اثاره لتستقر الافئدة من فوايد آياته واضاء الحقائق من لوامع اثاره
And these twain [= Shaykh Aḥmad +Sayyid Kāẓim] acquired the Persona-Temple of their [ the family og God's] gnosis (hayākil al-ma`rifatihā) as accords with whatsoever God had willed respecting their twofold Reality (ḥaqq). And these twain [Shaykh Aḥmad + Sayyid Kāẓim] did write with their two hands something of the judgement of the Qur'ān [in the form of] scriptural Tablets (alwāḥ), such as the Tablet giving the Lessons (lawḥ fi'l-fawā'id) [cf. the Kitab al-Fawa'id and Sharḥ al-Fawā'id of Shaykh Aḥmad] and the Lawāmi` [Husayniyya] ("[Husaynid] Brilliances") [of Sayyid Kāẓim] among their writings (lawāmi` āthārihi). This such that the inmost hearts of the people might be established through the lessons implicit in their verses (min fawā'id al-āyātihi) and the radiance of the realities of the brilliances implicit in their writings.
ولقد اتبعوهما بحكم القدر اهل مستتر ورجعوا الی فطرة الله من حكم القرآن فی شاٌن مقدر فكل قد اكتسبوا نصيبهم من حكم الكتاب واحتمل الاخرون بالافتراٌ بهما علی غير احاطة علم الواضع كمثل الذين قد افتروا علی اولياء الله بغير علم وولا كتاب مبين حتی رجع الكاف فی محل الامر الی منطقة حكمه ودر الادوار ليوم الله فی شاٌن بديع والانوار علی سر منيع قد طلع الانوار من علم العماء وانطق شجرة السيناء فی بحر الثناء واظهر كلمة التسبيح فی ارض الحمراء ٌ
And persons did follow these two in line with the dictates of destiny (ḥukm al-qadr), the people of innermost mystery (ahl al-mustansir) who thereby returned unto their pristine, God-bestowed human condition (fiṭrat Allah) as stipulated in the Qur'ān, on the level of that which is foreordained (fī sha`n al-muqaddar). So all such persons acquired for themselves their destiny (naṣīb) as accords with the decree implicit in the Book. And these latter-day persons (al-ākhirūn) did bear the calumny (bi'l-iftirā') surrounding these twain [Shaykh Aḥmad + Sayyid Kāẓim] as accords with that destiny which was other than something encompassed by the knowledge that concerns what is preordained (`ilm al-wāḍi`). This was after the likeness of such as did slacken, bereft of knowledge, before the chosen ones of God (awliyā' Allāh). They failed to [pay due attention to ] a Manifest Book (kitāb mubīn) such that the letter "K" in the locus of the Cause (al-kāf fī maḥall al-amr) returned unto the sphere of His Decree (minṭaqat ḥukm) and the Cycle of Cycles (dawr al-adwār) [was initiated] with the onset of the Day of God (li-yawm Allāh) in a manner revolutionary (fī sha`n badī`). This when the Lights (al-anwār) did configure according to a transcendent mystery (sirr manī`) for these Lights (al-anwār) dawned forth through the knowledge of the realm of the Divine Cloud (min `ilm al-`amā'). Then did the Sinatic Tree (shajarat al-sīnā') cry out in the Ocean of Laudation (baḥr al-thanā') when there was made manifest the Word of Glorification (kalimat al-tasbīḥ) in the Crimson Land (arḍ al-ḥamrā').
الا يا اٌهل الفوٌاد قد طلع شجرة الصانع والمستسرات الطلايع والشمس اللامع والاسم القاطع هذا النور الذی قد حمل حرف الهاء فی ارض الفوٌاد وخرج من حد الواو فی قلم المداد ذكر الله الذی قد نزل اليه الابات بلسان الله الناطق فی الدلالات ليعلم كل الناس حد مشربهم وحكم هذا الماء البيضاء ٌ وليحمل كل ذی شر كلمة السفلی علی ما قدر فی لوح او ادنی
Wherefore, O people of the inmost heart (ahl al-fū`ād), did the Tree of Creative Potency (shajarat al-ṣāni`) dawn forth with the ascendant, deeply secreted mysteries (al-mustansirrāt ṭalāyi`) along with the Brilliant Sun and the Irrefutable Name (al-ism al-qāṭi`), this Light (al-nūr) which beareth the letter ه "H" (ḥarf al-hā') in the land of the inmost heart (arḍ al-fū'ād). There emerged from the boundary of the letter و "W" (ḥadd al-wāw) through the Pen flowing with Ink (qalam al-midād), the Dhikr-Allāh ("Remembrance of God") who was in receipt of revealed verses in the language of God [= Arabic] (lisān Allāh), one crying out with Proofs to the end that all humanity might know the locale of their drinking-place (ḥadd al-mashrab) and the decree respecting this Snow-white watery Expanse (al-mā' al-bayḍā'). And this to the end that all tainted with the sin of the most depraved utterance (kalimat al-suflā) might bear whatsoever hath been decreed in a Tablet which expresses something even more contemptible (lawḥ aw adna').
كذلك قد نزل الله آيات الطور من مستقر الاعلی ليعلم كل بامره ومفارع وكل سامع وقالع كلمات الفردوس فی لوح القدوس والايات النازلة من مكفهرات العلماء فی ظل الفردوس ليحيی كل الانوار بماء الحيوان من هذا الطمطام المواج ما الكافور بحكم الكتاب ولينكشف كل الاسرار بماء الحمراء من هذا البحر البيضاء ماء الطهور لحكم الله من كلمة الكتاب
Thus was it that God did send down the verses of the Sinaitic Mount (āyāt al-ṭūr) from the Most Transcendent Abode (mustaqarr al-a`lā) to the end that all might be cognizant of His Cause (al-amr) and expound its branches (mufāri`), that all might hear and appreciate the words of Paradise (kalimat al-quds) in the Tablet of Holiness (lawḥ al-quds) and the verses which descend from [the realm of] the dusky zones of the Divine Cloud (mukfahirrāt al-`amā') in the shadow of Paradise. This that all the Luminaries (al-anwār) might bestow life through the Water of Life (mā' al-ḥayawān) which cometh from the crashing crests of the surging waves that are of Camphor (al-kāfūr) as accords with the decree of the Book. This took place that He might unveil all mysteries through the Crimson watery Expanse (mā' al-ḥamrā') from this Snow-White Ocean (al-baḥr al-bayḍā'), the watery Expanse that is purified on account of the Decree of God through the Word of the Book...
See further: Khutba Jidda (The Sermon at Jeddah), Text and Translation: INBMC 91:60-74.
- From a scriptural Tablet of to Bahā'-Allāh to a certain Aḥmad :
Within the bosom of Islam (ṣadr al-islām) many were submerged in the ocean of idle fancies and vain imaginings. Subsequent to the Seal of the Prophets (khātam-i anbiyā’) [= Muhammad] and to the purified [Twelver] Imams (a’imih-yi ṭāhirīn), two souls attained unto the reality of Truth (bi-ḥaqq) and were embellished with the ornament of awareness (bi-ṭarāz-i agāhī); the late Shaykh [Aḥmad al-Ahsā’ī] and Sayyid [Kāzim Rashtī] upon the both of them be the Glory of God, the All-Glorious (bahā’ Allāh al-abhā’).
Confirmation thereof was announced through the Sayyid... (Ar.).. We took refuge with these two [Shaykh Aḥmad and Sayyid Kāzim] and We heard from these twain what hath not been realized by any except God, the Knowing, the Discerning... (cited Ishraq Khavari ed. Ma'ida 4:134-5)
- An extract from the Lawh-i Qinā' (Tablet of the Veil).
In his early 1870s Lawh-i Qina' (Tablet of the Veil) Baha'-Allah refers to Shaykh Ahmad as follows:
"This is the substance of what the most Glorious, most Gracious, the Midmost Day of Islam (zuhr al-islam), and the Ka`bah of the peoples (ka`bah al-anām), the Shaykh Ahmad al-Ahsa'i wrote." etc.