Bab K-Ruh 0

The Kitāb al-rūḥ (The Book of the Spirit) of the Bāb.

The Kitab al-ruh (Book of the Spirit), Introduction, Extant mss., Notes.

Stephen Lambden 2003/ 2008/2015.

IN PROGRESS

Last modified 22-09-2016.

The Kitāb al-rūḥ  (The Book of the Spirit) of the Bab.

Incorrectly thought by Muhammad Nabil-i Zarandi (d. 1892 CE) to be lost (Dawnbreakers, 137) the early Kitāb al-rūḥ (`Book of the Spirit’) of the Bāb is partially extant in a few rare  mss. (cf. MacEoin, Sources, xx).  It is referred to by the Sayyid `Ali Muhammad Shirazi, the Bab (1819-1850), its author,  as "the greatest of books" (a`ẓam al-kutub; Mazandāranī KZH III:44). The Bab  wanted this seminal work to be delivered  it to all the `ulamā’, the religious leaders or divines of his day.  Apparently written in the course of his return from pilgrimage in Rajab, 1261/July 1845 the Bāb's Kitab al-ruh (Book of the Spirit), like his Qayyūm a/-asmā' , is distinctly neo-qur'anic in having successions of Arabic Surahs and sometimes associated isolated letters. Only partially extant Kitab al-ruh  was apparently divided up into no less than 700 Surahs commencing with the standard Islamic basmala  and (qur'anic) isolated letters. The complete Kitāb al-rūḥ apparently exists in 700 sūras  or 7,000 verses  and is also known as the Kitāb al-`adl  (The Book of Justice)...

At least two partial mss. are known to the present writer. The extracts translated below are from the longest extant mss. select Surahs of which are scanned and inserted above my tentative and provisional translation.

Incorrectly thought by Muhammad Nabil-i Zarandi (d. 1892 CE) to be lost (Dawnbreakers,137) the early Kitāb al-rūḥ (The Book of the Spirit) of  Sayyid `Ali Muhammad Shirazi, the Bab (1819-1850), is partially extant in at least five mss. :  (1) Haifa IBA (i);  (2) Haifa IBA (ii); (3) Haifa IBA (iii); (4) Tehran INBA  4011C: 69-100 +61-173(??) ; (5) Tehran INBA 7005C (nd. 415 Suras) (so MacEoin, Sources,  189). It is referred to by its author,  as a'ẓam al-kutub ("the most supreme of books" (see Mazandāranī K-ZH III:44).  The Bab  wanted this seminal work to be delivered  to all the `ulamā’,  the religious leaders or divines of his day. He refers to it in his Kitāb al-`ulamā'  as a sunstantial work expressive of the batin or deep sense of the Qur'an (batin al-qur'an) and of the Hidden Scroll (Sahifa maknuna):  

"We indeed sent down in the Kitāb [Ṣaḥīfa Bayn] al-Ḥaramayn [Book/Epistle Between the Two Shrines]  the decree (hukm) of the [messianic] Dhikr-Allah (Remembrance of God) [= the Bab] nigh the [Meccan] Ka`ba in the Masjid al-Haram (Sanctified Mosque) though whomsoever He [God] willed disputed the sending of the Dhikr-Allah (Remembrance of God) for such persons were numerous in certain of the lands (al-bilad). So recite ye what We sent down in that Book unto such as have assented unto Our Cause (amr) for this is indeed in conformity with the decree of the Tablet [of Destiny] (hukm al-lawh) as [is clear] unto those who are numbered among the righteous (al-sadiqin).

Then recite ye the Kitab al-Ruh (Book of the Spirit)! We indeed sent it down upon the Ocean [on a ship] (`ala al-bahr) [at the time of] the return of the Dhikr (Remembrance) [the Bab from pilgrimage] in seven hundred Surahs [containing] well-established, clear expository verses (ayat muhkamat bayyinat) [expressive of the] deep sense of the Qur'an (batin al-qur'an) and of the Hidden Scroll (Sahifa maknuna) from the Path (sabil) of the custodians of Exposition (ahl al-bayan)..." (Kitāb al-'ulamā' in INBMC 67: 212-3 and Afnan `Ahd-i A`la, 109).

Written at sea during the course of his return from pilgrimage some time before Rajab, 1261/July 1845, the Kitab al-ruh (Book of the Spirit), like the Qayyūm al-asmā' of the Bab and other early writings, is distinctly neo-qur'anic in having successions of Arabic Surahs often with new forms of associated isolated letters. Only partially extant the Kitab al-ruh  was apparently divided up into no less than 700 Surahs (around 10 or so verses in length, see below) commencing with the standard Islamic basmala  and a few (qur'anic type) isolated letters. The complete Kitāb al-rūḥ is also known as the Kitāb al-`adl  (The Book of Justice).

Note also the following comments of MacEoin on the Kitab al-Ruh:

According to Nicolas [the Kitab al-ruh]... was seized at the time of the Bāb's arrest en route for Shlraz and thrown into a well there.79 That copy was subsequently rescued by what Nicolas calls 'pious hands', but was by then in a seriously damaged condition. 80

Some sort of text [of the Kitab al-ruh] seems to have been available a little later, when the Bāb was in Isfahan, since he recommends its perusal in a letter to the governor, Manūchihr Khan. 81 (MacEoin, Sources, XX)

The Kitab al-Ruh was thus written at sea during the course of the return journey of the Bab from pilgrimage. According to the Khutba al-Jidda (Khutba at Jeddah) the Bab departed from Jeddah by boat on this return journey on 24th Safar 1261 or March 4th 1845 (see Kh-J VII: 15). It took a few months before arriving in Bushire then travelling on to Shiraz. It was during these few months at sea that the Kitab al-Ruh must have been written; most likely between early March 1845 and early May 1845. The exact date of composition of the Kitab al-Ruh remains unknown.

The Kitāb al-Rūḥ (Book of the Spirit), like the Qayyūm al-asmā' of the Bāb and other early writings, is distinctly neo-qur'anic in having successions of Arabic Surahs often with new forms of associated isolated letters. Only partially extant the Kitāb al-Rūḥ  was apparently divided up into no less than 700 Surahs (around 10 or so verses in length, see below) commencing with the standard Islamic basmala  and a few (qur'anic type) isolated letters. The complete Kitāb al-rūḥ  aslo appears to have been known as the Kitāb al-`adl  (The Book of Justice).

Note also the following useful notes of MacEoin on the Kitāb al-Rūḥ:

According to Nicolas [the Kitāb al-Rūḥ]... was seized at the time of the Bāb's arrest en route for Shlraz and thrown into a well there.79 That copy was subsequently rescued by what Nicolas calls 'pious hands', but was by then in a seriously damaged condition.80  Some sort of text [ of the Kitāb al-Rūḥ] seems to have been available a little later, when the Bāb was in Isfahan, since he recommends its perusal in a letter to the governor, Manūchihr Khan.81 (Sources, 61).

Excerpts from the Kitāb al-Rūḥ  ('The Book of the Spirit', mid. 1845)

Trans. Stephen Lambden 2009.

From two incomplete  ms. in the possession of `Abu'l-Qasim Afnan.

The extracts translated below are from the longest extant mss. Select Surahs of which are scanned from the ms. and inserted above my tentative and provisional translation. 

The Kitāb al-rūḥ (mid. 1845).  

[0]

 In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate

Alif-Lām-Mim-Rā'.

[1]

This Book is a Dhikr (Remembrance)  from God according to the Decree of a wondrous servant [the Bāb] (`abd badī`). He is assuredly the True One (al-ḥaqq) within the heavens and the earth.

Kitāb al-Rūḥ Sūrah 1

[0]

In the name of God, the Merciful the Compassionate.

[1] Praised be unto He Who sent down the Book (Kitāb), therein a directive (ḥukm) [pertinent to] everything (kull shay'), a guidance (hudā) from before God unto the such people as do hearken. [2] It is assuredly a revelation (tanzīl) on the part of `Alī [Muhammad Shirazi] (the Bab), [one] Mighty (ḥakim), Innovative [Wondrous] (badi`). [3] Say: This is a Book (Kitāb) about which there is no doubt. Its verses have been singled out on the part of [One] Mighty (ḥakim), Innovative [Wondrous] (badi`). [4] Say: `I am indeed a Dhikr (Remembrance) from before thy Lord, the All-Merciful, Who, no God is there except Him. [5] I supplicate Thee that they serve none other than Him for such is the Upright Religion of God (dīn Allāh) in a Preserved Book (kitāb hafīẓ).

[6] Say: `O Thou Concourse! Know thou that God hath desired in this Book (kitāb) the [proclamation of] the directive (ḥukm) of the [Sinaitic] Tree (shajarat) on this Primal Mount (fī al-ṭūr al-awwāl), `No God is there except Him'. [7] So serve ye Him and celebrate the verses of His [messianic] Dhikr (Remembrance). [8] The [eschatological] "Hour" (al-sā`at) is indeed nigh, about this there is no doubt whatsoever [cf. Q. 22:7; 43:16]. [9] The Command of God (amr Allah) is in this respect a matter questioned (mas'ūl an) [cf. Q. 17:34]. [10] Say: And since the Dhikr (Remembrance) of the Name of thy Lord when they refuse to believe in the hereafter (al-akhira).

Further excerpts from the Kitab al-Ruh ('The Book of the Spirit', mid. 1845)

Trans. Stephen Lambden 2009.

Kitāb al-Rūḥ Sūrah XXXI (31)

Translated by Stephen Lambden from an unpublished mss. in the possession of the late `Abu'l-Qasim Afnan (d. 2000):

  [1]

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

[2]

 Ṭā-Sin-Mīm.

 [3] The [Messianic] Remembrance (Dhikr) of the Name of thy Lord in the Day of the Command (yawm al-amr) is before the Crimson Tree (li-lshajarat al-hamra'). He, verily, no God is there except Him. [4] Say: So be in awe [fear, terror] of Me! [= Q.2:40b]  [5] We did indeed take the Covenant (`ahd) of [the messianic] Dhikr (Remembrance) of the Name of thy Lord with everything (min kulli shay') that they in no wise draw nigh unto the Crimson Tree (shajarat al-ḥamrā') lest they be [numbered] among such as are depraved [corrupt] (al-khasirīn). [6] Yet did Adam and his spouse [Eve] (zawj) draw nigh unto that [Crimson] Tree (shajarat) and were thus [numbered] among the evildoers (al-ẓālimīn) [cf. Q. 2:35].  

[7] And We indeed reckon that they [the first couple] fell [unto] the Vale of Holiness (wādī al-muqaddas) and [thereafter] did indeed serve God, perchance thou [aware of this] might evince mercy. [8] Wherefore do We inspire Thee [the Bāb] through the children of the unseen [occulted Twelver Imams?] (min abnā' al-ghayb) that the people might believe in the verses of Thy Lord and be [numbered] among the contrite [submissive, humble. God-fearing] (al-khashi`īn). [9] We sent down the command unto Adam that he should supplicate Thy Lord from the vicinity of the House (shaṭr al-bayt)! [the Meccan Ka`ba?]

[10] Say: We did indeed forgive the pair of them [Adam and Eve such] that they drew nigh unto Us [to the degree] that they both be [recorded] in the Archetypal [Mother] Book (umm al-Kitāb) among such as are given to servitude (`ābidīn).

Below are extracts from a USA MESA (2000) paper on the hurufat al-muqatta`ah in the writings of the Bāb.

In a paper about the isolated letters of the Q. delivered at a Mesa conference in the year 2000, I summed up and translated aspects of a few portions of the Kitāb al-Rūḥ. What follows is thus a few notes on the these isolated letters in select early writings of the Bāb --  including the Kitāb al-Rūḥ and the K. al-Fihrist -- some of these notes have been updated and the translations supplemented or completed (e.g. K-Rūḥ Sura XXXI): 

Kitāb al-Rūḥ Surah 1

In the name of God, the Merciful the Compassionate.

Alif-Lam-Mīm-Ra' (A-L-M-R) .

This Kitāb (book, communication) is a Remembrace (Dhikr) from God expressive of a directive from a wondrous servant ('abd badī' = the Bāb)...

 The Arabic Kitāb al-fihrist ('The Book of the Index', 21st. June 1845) commences as follows

The Kitab al-Fihrist (Book of the Index) dating a little later in 1845 than the Kitab al-Ruh  also commences with the basmalah, then the same four isolated letters as in Kitab al-Ruh Surah :

In the name of God, the Merciful the Compassionate.

Alif-Lam-Mīm-Ra' (A-L-M-R).

 This is a Book from God containing the directive of a wondrous servant [the Bāb]. It, assuredly, is a Book which was sent down on the part of the Baqīyyat-Allah (Remnant of God... 

That we here in both instances have the isolated letters A-L-M-R (abjad 271) might suggest the messianic fulfillment for these specific letters, the seventh set in the Qur'an, Surah 13 (Thunder) are en qur'anic isolated letters which collectively allude to  the date of the advent of the Qa'im, namely A-L-M  (Q.2) till A-L-M-R (Q. 13) = 1,267 = 1260 AH = 1844 CE.  This because a well-known hadîth relayed by Abī Lubayd Makhzumi  reckons that the date of the parousia of the messianic Qa'im is indicated through the abjad-numerical value of the seven sets of qur'anic isolated letters from Q. 2 (A-L-M)  up till Q. 13 ( A-L-M-R). It may well be that by using A-L-M-R the Bāb means to draw attention to the messianic prediction realized with A-L-M-R  (see further below).

Kitāb al-Rūḥ Surah 2

While not all of the surahs of the Kitāb al-Rūḥ (Book of the Spirit) are prefixed with isolated letters, surah  three (two?) commences as follows:

In the name of God, the Merciful the Compassionate.

Ṭā-Hā'.

(From) the Remembrance of thy Lord unto the Primal Leaf (l'l-waraqat al-awwal). Say: God, no god is there except Him.

Why the qur'anic Ṭā-Hā' (abjad = 14) isolated letters should be used here is not clear unless the abjad value 14 is indicative of the Shī`ī holy family (12 Imams + Muhammad and Fātima).

Kitāb al-Rūḥ Surah 4

The fourth surah likewise has isolated letters:

In the name of God, the Merciful the Compassionate.

H-[S]-M.

A Dhikr (Remembrance) from myself unto the snow-white leaf (li-1- waraqat al-al-bayda') the the Crimson (al-hamra').

Kitāb al-Rūḥ Surah 11.

Then the eleventh Surah:

In the name of God, the Merciful the Compassionate.

A-L-M-R.

The Remembrance of God (Dhikr Allah) unto the Blessed Leaf (al-waraqat al-mubaraka) from the Yellow Tree (shajarat al-sufrā'), no God is there except Him....

Kitāb al-rūḥ (Book of the Spirit) 14

Then in the fourteenth Surah of the K. AI-Rūḥ an occurrence of the six times occurring qur'anic H-M (= Q. Surahs 40; 41; 43; 44;45;46)

In the name of God, the Merciful the Compassionate.

Ha-Mîm.

The Remembrance of God (Dhikr Allah) unto the Blessed Leaf (li-l-waraqat al-mubaraka) from the Yellow Tree (shajarat al-sufrā'), No God is there except Him....

Kitāb al-rūḥ (Book of the Spirit) 16

In the name of God, the Merciful the Compassionate.

Ha-Mim.

A sending down from a Noble Book (kitāb Karīm). Say unto the those engaged in striving (jihad? li'1-jihidîn) amongst you. Let it commence [flow]! in a Book of God.....

Kitāb al-rūḥ (Book of the Spirit) 17

Then there is found after the basmalah  A-L-M-S (as in Q. Surah 7) there occurs in the seventeenth surah of the K. AI-Rūḥ:

In the name of God, the Merciful the Compassionate.

 A-L-M-S.

A remembrance of thy Lord (dhikr rabbuka) on the Day of permission (? yawm al-udhn) unto the Blessed Leaf (li'l-waraqat al-mubaraka from the Sinatic Tree (shajarat al-tur): 'God, not Giod is there except Him though most of the people are entirely unaware! Say: 0 thou concourse! [of Muslims?] This is the Sirat Allah (Path of God)...

Kitāb al-rūḥ (Book of the Spirit) 24

In the name of God, the Merciful the Compassionate.

A-L-M-S.

A Remembrance of thy Lord in the countenance of the inmost heart (wahj al-fu'ad)...

Kitāb al-rūḥ (Book of the Spirit) 26

Next in surah twenty-six of the K. AI-Rūḥ  A-L-M-R-[A] occurs, a set also found in the Qayyūm al-asmā' with an abjad value of 231[2] (see above).

In the name of God, the Merciful the Compassionate.

 A-L-M-R-[A].

A revelation on the part of One Mighty, Wise. He it is who set the Ark (al-fulk) upon the [Cosmic] Water (al-ma') and sent out [transmitted] the breezes [breaths] just as He hath willed, no God is there save Him.

Say: Fear ye then God! We have assuredly sent down the [ancient] scrolls (al-suhuf), the Gospel (al-injīl) and the Qur'an perchance the people might be guided by the verses of God. The Sanctification [glorification] (al-subbah) hath assuredly risen up with the permission of thy Lord.

Say: God is indeed the Creator of everything ('all things', kuilu shay'), no God is there except Him. I am but a servant [ of God?] ('abd [Allah] upon this Sirat (Path) perchance you will come to know. The permission hath indeed come unto the Leaf (al-waraqa) Vnat you shall call me to remembrance nigh the Dawning-Place of the Snow-white Thread (mat la' khayt al-baydā') perchance you shall be shown mercy (or return). Those have indeed disbelieved who assert that certain of the verses of the Book [of the Bāb] are [as] the words of the Qur'an (kalimat al-qur'an). Say: God is indeed exalted [far beyond] the like of what they assert [s-f-y; in Sufi fashion?].. (Complete S. 24 mss. 84).

Kitāb al-rūḥ (Book of the Spirit) 28

Next in surah twenty-eight of the K. AI-Rūḥ A-L-M-R-A occurs, a set  also found in the Qayyūm al-asmā'  with an abjad  va\ue of 232 (see above). Thus sura 28 has the Basmalah then A-L-M (as Q.x 6 see above):

In the name of God, the Merciful the Compassionate.

A-L-M

The Remembrance of the countenance of the Name of thy Lord.....

Kitāb al-rūḥ (Book of the Spirit) 29

In the name of God, the Merciful the Compassionate.

 T-H (as Q. 20 only):

The Dhikr Allah unto the crimson Leaf (waraqat al-hamra') [revealed] from the right-hand side of the Throne of God - no God is there except Him- sent down by One Mighty, Wise. Follow then what was revealed (w-h-y) unto you on the part of God. [Glorify then God] May God hasten [his advent]. He [the Qa'im-Dhikr] hath assuredly come though most of the people are not aware....

Kitāb al-rūḥ (Book of the Spirit) 31

 

 

In the name of God, the Merciful the Compassionate.

 T-S-M (as Q. x2 26 & 28):

The Remembrance of thy Lord on the Day of the Command unto the Crimson Tree (li'l-shajarat al-hamra'), God, no God is there except Him.

Say: Commit ye austerity (R-H-B)! We indeed took a covenant [regarding] the Remembrance of the Name of thy Lord with every thing (min kuilu shay'). This to the effect that you should not draw nigh the Tree of the Cosmic Ocean (shajarat al-mā') lest they might be numbered among the depraved (al-khasirn).Despite this directive Adam and his wife did indeed draw nigh that Tree (al-shajarat) and were numbered among the wayward (al-zâlimîn). We thus said 'Then did [they] fall down [from the Paradise] of holiness (al-muqaddas)'. Whereupon did they serve God perchance they might attain mercy/ return (?). Wherefore is this among the tales of the unseen which We reveal unto theesuch that the people might believein the verses of thy Lord and might be numbered among the   (Al-khasha'in?). We assuredly send down the command to Adam that he should tirn away from (??) thy Lord from the Shore of the House (shatral-bayt). Say: We assuredly forgave the two of them such they they both might draw near. We indeed regarded them as [pious] servants [of God] in the Archetypal Book (umm al-Kitāb).....

Kitāb al-rūḥ (Book of the Spirit) 32

In the name of God, the Merciful the Compassionate.

T-H (as Q.x2 26 &28)

The Dhikr Allah is in the the Snow-white Leaf [Dove] (waraqat al-baydā'). Then from the Yellow Tree (shajarat al-sufrā') [ was heard the words], 'God, no God is there except Him'. Mention in the Book, Joseph Our servant! In the Archetypal Book (umm al-Kitāb) he is before Us (ladayna), among such as prostrate themselves. We, verily, we unveil (k-sh-f) in the night [sleep] (al-nam) the verses of thy Lord. And We send down revelation (w-h-y) unto him. Should the gaze be oriented towards the Face of Heaven you would witness the Sun and the Moon and the Stars before Thee before the witness. And when he witnessed the decree (al-hukm) from before he who.. He verily sent divine inspiration from the precincts of the House (shatr al-bayt),,, Our servant that you might be numbered among those possessed of certitude. Say: when he heard of thy Lord.. 

Kitāb al-rūḥ (Book of the Spirit) 34

In the name of God, the Merciful the Compassionate.

A-L-M [as Qur'an x6]:

The Remembrance of God is in the [Sinaitic] Fire and among such as are round about it. Say: God no God is there except Him, the Exalted, the Great. The likeness of the Sinaitic Tree (shajarat al-tur) before God is as this my Remembrance (DhirkT). Say: God, no God is there except Him....

  • 36 K. Rūḥ surah 36 = Basmalah then T-H: (Q)
  • 38 K. Rūḥ surah 38 = Basmalah then A-L-M: (Q)
  • 39 K. Rūḥ surah 36 = Basmalah then T-S-M: (Q) 41 K. Rūḥ surah 41 = Basmalah then T-S-M (Q)
  • 43 K. Rūḥ surah 43 = Basmalah then H-M (Q)

Kitāb al-rūḥ (Book of the Spirit) 44

In the name of God, the Merciful the Compassionate.

 A-L-M (Q) [49 K.

Rūḥ surah 49:90 = Basmalah then

The Remembrance of thy Lord on the Day of actualization (al-udhn) is the Snow-White Tree (shajarat al-bayd'), the Yellow Leaf (waraqat al-sufrā').

Say: God, no God is there except Him... p.95 ..they disbelieve who say that God, He is the Messiah (al-masîh). Say: Glorified and exalted be He[God]! Jesus son of Mary was naught except a riwa'u (?) originated through / from Our command. He assuredly sent him with the Justice (bi'l-'adi) and the Book .... We revealed it as an inner exegesis (ta'wīl) of the Qur'an that the people might understand. This indeed is the the Sirat (Path) of thy Lord in the heavens and on the earth..

  • 55 K. Rūḥ surah 55 = Basmalah then A-L-M (Q
  • 57 K. Rūḥ surah 57 = Basmalah then T-S-M (Q)
  • 58 K. Rūḥ surah 58 = ........................A-L-M (Q)
  • 59 K. Rūḥ surah 59 .............Allah.,, then A-L-M-S (? Q)
  • 61 K. Rūḥ surah 61 ....................... then H-M (Q)
  • 62 K. Rūḥ surah 62 = .....................then A-L-M (Q)
  • 63 K. Rūḥ surah 63 =...................... then A-L-M-R (Q)
  • 65 K. Rūḥ surah 65 = ..................... then T-S-M (Q)