TB Amwaj

Lawḥ-i Amvāj

(The Tablet of the Waves)

 Introduction, Provisional Translation  and Select  Notes,

Stephen N. Lambden UCMerced.

1980? - Revised 2006 +2015

    The Persian (+ Arabic) text of the Lawḥ-i amvāj  (Tablet of the Waves) translated below is that published in the Cairo printing Majmu`ih-yi alwāḥ-i mubarākih-yi ḥadrat-i Bahā'-Allāh  (1338/1920 ) 362-364  (rep. Wilmette, Illinois: BPT., 1987) and also exists in numerous unpublished manuscripts. The Arabic word amwāj   (Persian  amvāj ) is the plural of mawj  (= Per. mavj) meaning,  `wave', `billow'.. etc. The title Lawḥ-i Amvāj  is derived from the fact that Bahā'-Allāh states, towards the beginning of the Tablet, that the "Ocean of the [Bahā'ī] Exposition" (baḥr-i bayān) is characterized by the "waves" or "billows"  of the revelatory "Ocean" of Demonstrative Proof and Pure Bounty" (burhān va faḍl).  Four ethico-religious billowing "waves" of divine revelation are set forth, four "waves" of the Ocean of Revelation which metaphorically enshrine various religio-ethical principles consonant with the realization of the eschatological "Day of God". In summary, the religio-ethical "waves" are:  

  • [1] The advent of the "Day" of Bahā'-Allāh  is the appearance of the eschatological "Day of God" (yawm Allah)  predicted in the sacred books of the world. In view of this theophany people should manifest the light of true unity.
  • [2] The spiritual importance of trustworthiness (amānat) is very great. On the Day of God it is the most befitting quality believers should manifest and possess.
  • [3] Humankind should not in any way compromise the sanctity and transcendent uniqueness of the Godhead, the unknowable, incomprehensible God Who is theologically `Wholly Other'.  
  • [4] The totally of believers, the "concourse of lovers" should abandon unspiritual ways and highlight the importance of lofty deeds in the name of Bahā'-Allāh.

    The Lawḥ-i amvāj concludes with a wholly Arabic prayer for the protection of the Bahā'ī  friends and the illuminative potency of their good works on the Day of God.

        This 3-4 page Persian [+ Arabic] Tablet most probably dates to the mid. -late West Galilean (`Akkā = Acre) period (1868-1892), perhaps between 1875 and 1890. The exact date of the Lawḥ-i amvāj  and the person to whom it is addressed is currently unknown although the Cairo printing (p. 412) names  a certain `Āqā Siyyid Yaḥyā  (cf. Ishrāq Khavārī, Ganj-i shayīgān, 186) who obviously should not be  confused with the  Bābī martyr Siyyid Yaḥyā-i Darabī, entitled Vaḥīd (Peerless) (d.126X /85X).

       Though there is no complete English Bahā'ī authorized translation of this Tablet of Bahā'-Allāh  a few lines are found in the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice's compilation, Trustworthiness (London: BPT.,1987) where we read, 

"O people! The goodliest vesture in the sight of God is trustworthiness. All Bounty and honor be upon every soul which hath been adorned with this greatest of adornments". (p.1). 

    This may be compared with my own more literalistic translation below (= II). It is the word amānat,  here  translated trustworthiness, could also have been correctly rendered   `honesty' or 'sincerity'.  It appears that another ( official?)  translation into Turkish by Mecdi Inan is also extent (see  "Hz. Bahaullah' in Levihleri" (Istanbul,1974).

 This page corrects a number of minor errors found or introduced into the BWC provisional translations list where my translation of June 2001 can be found. The Roman numerals indicating pericopae, paragraphs or sections and the versification by square bracketed numbers are not part of the original Persian (and Arabic) text of the Lawḥ-i amvāj.  They are included for the purposes of reference and commentary.  

 Lawḥ-i Amvāj  (Tablet of the Waves)

[0]

 He is Herald of good Tidings, the Gracious, the Noble!

[1]

This  Day, the Archetypal [Mother] Book (umm-i kitāb)  proclaims before the faces of the companions that the very Alpha and the Omega (mabdā va ma[’ā]b)  of realization constitutes awareness that, [2] `In reality these Days have ever been peerless and without comparison!' [3] Blessed be the souls that are in no way held back from God the True One [Ultimately Real] (al-ḥaqq) by the clamourings of their contemporaries! [4] Rather, do they rise up on the Right Path  (ṣiraṭ)  ornamented with the qualities of trustworthiness (amānat)  and religious piety  (diyānat)  which are among the hallmarks of the fear of God (taqwā Allāh). [5]  His eminence the servant of 9 (= `Abd al- [9 = abjad ] Bahā'?) - upon whom be My Bahā'  (Splendour) and My Bounty --  proceeded in the direction [s] of the saintly ones (al-awliyā). [6]  We wholeheartedly sought (bā ṭalab-i-kāmil)  graciously supplicated (istidā`-yi faḍl) and requested for every one of them from the heaven of Bounty and Bestowal that which shall be the cause and reason of their eternal remembrance (dhikr-i abadī) and perpetual laudation  (thanā-yi sarmadī). [7] Wherefore is the Ocean of the Exposition (baḥr-i bayān) manifest through the Waves of Demonstrative Proof (amvāj-i burhān) and the Pure Bounty  of the Desired One of all the worlds  (faḍl-i maqṣūd -i `alamīn).

[I]

Every specific Wave crieth out a given directive (dhikrī).

The First Wave utters the words:

"O Concourse of saintly ones (al-awliyā)!

Unto My Days thou hast attained, the mention of which, most of the sacred Books of the world have been ornamented. Today thou ought to manifest something of  the Light of Unity (bi-nūr-i ittihād) that all the world, whether of the East or of the West, might be illumined by that Light".

[II]

    The Second Wave utters the words:

 "O People! 

The most befitting vesture (aḥsan al-ṭarāz) in the sight of God in this Day is trustworthiness (amānat). All Bounty and Providence (faḍl va `aṭā) be upon every soul that  hath been adorned with this most great adornment (ziynat-i kubrā).

[III]

      The Third Wave utters the words:

An Enlivening Spirit (ruḥ an)  be upon thee,  O people of Bahā! Thou should  manifest that which will confirm the transcendent sanctity of His Divine Essence (taqdīs-i dhātīyyih) from any likeness or inappropriate similitudes (`an al-mithl wal-amthāl)  as well as uphold the transcendence of His Being from all that hath either been said or will ever be said about Him  (`ammā qilā wa qāl).  

[IV]

     The Fourth Wave utters forth [the words];

 "O Concourse of Lovers!

Cast Aside! whatsoever debases thee and take thou firm hold of whatsoever elevates thee  through this Name which hath caused the wafting of the Fragrant Breeze of God (`arf Allāh),  the Mighty, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting!"

[V]

 [1] Praise be unto Thee, O my God, my Master and My Support! [2] Preserve Thy saintly ones (awliyā) from the evil of Thine enemies and render them victorious through the hosts of Thy Power and Thy Sovereignty. [3] Do Thou make every single one of their deeds to be a Lamp (sirāj  an) among the deeds of whomsoever is upon Thine earth, such that it might transform darkness into Light. [4] Thou art indeed the King of this Divine Theophany (mālik al-ẓuhūr) and the Judge on this the Day of Gathering (ḥakīm al-nushūr).  [5] No God is there except Thee, the Ultimately Real One (al-ḥaqq), the Knower of things unseen (allām al-ghuyūb).

 ♦

Select Notes

[0:5-6] The reference at this point in the Lawḥ-i amvāj  to his "eminence the servant of 9" may allude to `Abd al-Bahā', though a reference to some other servant of Bahā'-Allāh may also possible  This person apparently proceeded in the direction[s] of the "saintly ones" (al-awliyā), possibly indicating this person's journeying  to visit their resting places in order to supplicate God on their behalf or through them. 

[V:4] the reference to the "Judge on this the Day of Gathering (ḥakīm al-nushūr)"   alludes to the Qur'ān. The verbal noun nushūr  occurs 5 times in the Qur'ān (Q. 25:3(4), 40 (42), 47(49); 35:9 (10) and 67:15. In these texts it means 'uprising' or 'ressurection'.