Tafsīr al-ḥurūfāt al-muqaṭṭa`āt (Commentary on the Isolated Letters) of Baha'-Allah.

Tafsīr al-ḥurūfāt al-muqaṭṭa`āt  (Commentary on the Isolated Letters) or Lawḥ-i āyah-yi nūr   (Tablet about the Light Verse) of Mīrzā Ḥusayn `Alī Nūrī Bahā'-Allāh (1817-1892). Part II.

Introduction and revised translation, Pt. II.

Stephen N. Lambden

1980s -now being reformatted and further revised 2007+ 2015. Last updated 14-05-2015.

 A more detailed introduction and partially annotated translation and reproduction of a good [Haifa supplied] Arabic ms. will erelong appear in the [new] periodical, Syzygy: A Journal of Bābī-Bahā'ī Studies 2/1.  The forthcoming translation corrects and supersedes two earlier (partial) postings on H-Bahā'ī (from Wed, 10 Sep 1997 12:37; April 1998) of about one third of the translation. These earlier versions should be consigned to the Bābī-Bahā'ī geniza (`sacred repository'). The version posted here is also still in progress and will doubtless contains errors in need of correction. It was last slightly revised early 2004.

Incorporated below are a few (rather speedily pasted together) details from my paper `Light, Letters and Alchemy: Dimensions of the Lawḥ-i ḥurūfāt al-muqaṭṭa`āt  ("Tablet of the Isolated [Isolated] Letters") of Mīrzā Ḥusayn `Alī Bahā'-Allāh (1817-1892 CE).' first (partially) presented at the last Californian Bosch Bahā'ī Mysticism Conference (1998) and from my Traces from the Musk Scented Pen.. In making the translation I have consulted three further mss. along with the (only) printed text (it is riddled with errors) found in vol. 4 of `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāvarī's compilation Mā'idih-yi āsmānī  4: 49-88.

INTRODUCTORY NOTE

 The forty or more page wholly Arabic mid-Iraq period (? c. 1857-8?) scriptural tablet of Mīrzā Ḥusayn `Alī Bahā'-Allāh (1917-1892 CE) known as the Lawḥ-i āyah-yi nūr  ("Tablet about the Light Verse [Q. 24:35]") in various sources is also entitled Tafsīr [Lawḥ-i] ḥurūfāt al-muqaṭṭa`āt  ("Commentary [Tablet] on the Isolated Letters"). This since it (among other things) contains a detailed non-literal exegesis of both the well-known and much commented upon qur'ānic Light Verse (Q. 24:35) and select al-ḥurūfāt al-muqaṭṭa`āt (loosely, `isolated letters'). It was written in reply to questions posed by the early Bābī-believer and Bahā'ī martyr [Ḥajjī] Āqā Mīrzā [Āqā] Rikab-Sāz Shīrāzī, about whom relatively little seems to be known.

 Rikab-Sāz Shīrāzī was presumably a trader in saddles / riding equipment. He is known to have been much occupied with copying and studying Bābī-Bahā'ī scripture despite illness in his later years. It was in the context of clerical and local governmental anti-Bahā'ī activity that a fatwa for his death was issued by the Shīrāzī mujtahid Shaykh Ḥusayn-i Nazim, stigmatized as al-Ẓālim (`The Tryant') by Bahā'-Allāh. He was put to death in Shiraz in 1288/1871 along with Mashadī Muhammad Nabīl and Mashadī [Rafi`] Ja`far-i Khayyāt (Mazandarani, ZH VI:857-9; Ishrāq Khāvarī, Ganj, 21-2; GPB:200).

 To date the text of the Lawḥ-i ḥurūfāt.. has neither been befittingly published (no critical edition exists) nor authoritatively translated by Bahā'ī agencies. A complete though wholly inadequate printing of the Arabic exists in volume 4 pages 49-86 of Ishrāq Khavrari's compilation of Bahā'ī scripture entitled Mā'idih-yi āsmanī -- the mss source on which this printing is based is not indicated (cf. also the partial printing in Ganj, 46-49). Three futher mss. texts are known to the present writer including (at least) one (Haifa supplied) in the hand of Bahā'-Allāh's important amanuensis Zayn al-Muqarrabīn This is not to say that the following prov. trans' is based upon a critical edition; there being probable errors in all mss seen.

 

Tafsīr [al-] ḥurūfāt al-muqaṭṭa`āt

The Commentary on the Isolated Letters.

Prov. trans.  Stephen N. Lambden, 1980s+ April 1998, 2004. Being further revised 2015. 

Last updated 17-05-2015.

 This translation to some extent corrects and supersedes my earlier posting on H-Bahā'ī (from Wed, 10 Sep 1997 12:37) of about one third of the translation. The earlier version should be binned or consigned to the Bābī-Bahā'ī geniza (`sacred repository'). The version posted here is also still in progress and will doubtless contains errors in need of correction. In due course I shall gradually type out  the Zayn (Haifa supplied) ms. (and attach a PDf) and only indicate alternative readings with an asterisk (*). This in preparation for  a semi-critical edition based on four printed and mss. versions to  appear in Syzygy  2:1 (forthcoming) . It will be obvious that the occasional transliteration will be inadequate and highly selective.  In making the translation I have consulted three further mss along with the (only) printed text (it is riddled with errors) found in vol. 4 of `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāvarī's compilation Ma'ida-yi āsmanī pp. 49-88. 

 Tafsīr al-ḥurūfāt al-muqaṭṭa`āt

(Commentary on the Isolated Letters)

Arabic text according to a ms. in the hand of Zayn al-Muqarrabīn in a BWC, Haifa supplied photocopy.

[0]

لأ اله الا هوالعلىالاعلى*   

         There is no God except Him, the Elevated, the Transcendent

[or Ma'idih 4:XX =]

بسم اللّه البهیّ الابهی

[In the Name of God, the Splendid, the All-Glorious]

               [I]              

   [1] 

 الحمد للّه الّذی خلق الحروفات فی عوالم العَمَاء خلف سُرادقات القدس

   فی رفارف الاسنی* ثم ّ اسقاهن ّ من كأوس البقآء  فيما قدر فی الواح القضآء 

Praise be to God who created the letters (al-ḥurūfāt)  in the worlds of the divine Cloud (`awālim al-`amā') beyond the pavilions of holiness (surādiqāt al-qūds)  in the lofty heights  of the most resplendent sphere (rafā'rif al-asnā) then gave them to drink from the Goblet of eternal subsistence  as ordained in the Tablets of the divine Decree  (alwāḥ al-qiḍā').

[2]

ليحيی بهن افئدة المقرّبين فی جبروت القضإء

This that He might bring life to the inmost hearts  of those who are nigh unto God in the Omnipotent sphere of Divine realization  (jabarūt al-qiḍā').

[3]

 ثمّ اقمصهن قميص السوداء لما قدر بتقديره الازلية  فی مكمن القدَر علی قباب الحمراء فيما سب العلمبان يستر ماء الحيوان فی ظلمات عوالم الاسماء عند سدرة المنتهی

 He then clothed the letters in a black robe in accordance with what was decreed through the measure of His eternality respecting  the possibilities of divine foreordination (qadar).  This relative to the [fate regulating] crimson domes (qibāb al-ḥamrā')    and to the status of  [explicit] knowledge for  He has concealed the Water of Life in the shadows of the worlds of Names  nigh unto the Lote-Tree of the Extremity (sidrat al-muntahā').  [4] He then caused them [the letters] to descend into the Kingdom of the Divine Will (malakūt al-inshā') in the atmosphere of the Divine Decree (hawa' al-qiḍa')  whereupon a great Cry was heard from the Most-Exalted Realm thus addressing the Primordial Pen (al-qalam al-awwalī), [5] `O Pen! Set down the mysteries of pre-existence (asrār al-qidam) upon the Perspicuous, Snow-White Tablet  (al-lawḥ al-munīr al-bayḍā').'

 [II]

 [1] On account of this Cry (al-nidā') was the Pen stupefied with intense yearning for 70,000 years  according to the computations of such as calculate these things.  [2] When it recovered from its having swooned away according to the further operations of the  Divine Decree, it wept crimson tears for 70,000 years.  [3] Then it stood up erect between the hands of God at a time which was neither preceded by the decree of firstness in the beginning nor by the decree of lastness in the end. [4] While it was burning in the fire of separation on account of the cessation of the most-sweet  Cry, there appeared within its tears a black hue (lawn al-sawda')  in the heavenly sphere of fidelity (jabarūt al-wafā').  [5] A black teardrop sprinkled down upon the Tablet whereupon the Point (al-nuqṭa)   was made manifest in the world of origination (`ālam al-badā').  [6] This Point assumed the primordial shape upon the mirrors of the letters in the beings of the Names.  [7]  The [Arabic letter] "A" (al-alif) received it  [within itself] before all the other letters, in the [pre-eternal]  elemental particles of things  (fi dharr al-ashyā')  for thus did this Divine Point take on the form of this Eternal [Arabic letter]  "A" (alif).  [8]  This inasmuch as the merciful breezes blew upon it from the Source of Singleness whereupon the  Countenance of the Divine Singularity  (wajh al-wahidiyya)  was disclosed from behind the Green Veils.  [9]  The substance (body, temple, form.. haykal) of the Point was made manifest  in the shape of the letter "A"  (al-alif)  "A"  and rose up from the Tablet for the promotion of the Most-Exalted, Most-Great Cause of God  in the world of Names and Attributes. [10]  This is a station (maqām) [by virtue of] which the reality of the Divine Will (al-mashiyya)  was clothed in the nominal robe and invested in the garment of qualificative attributes in the City of Grandeur.

[III]

[1] When this upright letter  "A" (al-alif)  was established upon the Luminous Tablet  it was again transfigured with renewed splendor whereupon the isolated letters  (al-ḥurūfāt al-muqaṭṭa`āt)  shone forth in the primordial theophanies  (awwal al-ẓuhūrāt)  in order that they might be an evidence of  the worlds of incomparability and command  in the Citadels of  origination.  [2] Then there appeared from these [Isolated] Letters which shone forth from the Primordial [letter] "A" (al-alif al-awwliyya)  in the first of the theophanies, the worlds of delineation and multiplicity.  [3]  They were differentiated, separated and isolated then gathered together,  reconciled, united and linked together.  [4] Then assembled words and compounded letters appeared in the worlds of creation in the forms of Names and Attributes (hayākil al-asmā' wa'l-ṣifāt).

[IV]

[1]  Wherefore was the completion of the creation of the worlds of dominion  and the Predestined Ornament (ṭarāz al-qadariyya) among the  manifestations of existing beings, to the end that all things might demonstrate, through the tongue of their inmost realities, that He, verily, is the Eternal, the Enduring,  the Creator, the Powerful, the Mighty, the Sovereign. [2]  And [they might testify to the fact] that `Alī before Muhammad  [the Bāb] is the Manifestation of the Divine Essence (maẓhar al-dhāt) and the Manifestation of the Divine Attributes (maẓhar al-ṣifāt)  from whom existence derives and unto whom beings return.  [3]  And that he [the Bāb] is the one from whose beneficent Logos-Self (nafsihi al-mannn)  is the Breath of the All-Merciful (nafas al-rahman)  for thereby were created the realities of the essences and the receptive dispositions  (ḥaqā'iq al-jawhariyyāt al-qābiliyyāt)  in the world of being as well as the manifestations of existing beings in the worlds of existence.  [4] The Mirrors [of the Bayān] that speak of Him and the Letters [of the Living] that cry out about Him  are foremost in the creation of God; the source of outward things and the refuge [point of return]  for the servants [of God] in the [eschatological] Day of Dispersion. [5] In this way God hath distinguished them above the rest of the creatures in the worlds of preexistence (`awālim al-qidam). [6] Through them it was that the Lights shone forth,  the moons gleamed, the suns shed splendor and the stars were evident. [7] They all testify of Him and demonstrate Him such that there is no distinction between Him and between them except that they were created by His Command,  were raised up in accordance with His Intention, and were assembled through His Power.  [8] They are those through whom is the cyclic scheme (tadūr al-adwār); the revolving of the spheres of existence  (takūr al-akwār) and [the ones] through whom the Trees of the Divine Unity sprung up  and the incomparable fruits were made manifest.

[V]

[1] Through them are the rains of detachment sent down until the Point returns to its original station  after revolving around itself and arriving at its place whereupon the end returns unto the beginning.  [2] Then the Primal Call was raised up from the Furthermost Tree with the splendor of the Sun once again. [3] And this is that which the Dove hath sung in the midst of Eternity in this singular Night in which [4] the Fire of the Divine Oneness hath been ignited from the Tree of Sinai in the shade of the most-ancient Name  [5] and the Eternal Secret which [or who] was named the Living (al-ḥayy), the Pre-existent (al-qadim) in the Qayyūm al-asmā'  [6] in order that every manifestation may bear witness in the secret recesses of their hearts unto the secret things, that He, verily, is the Mighty, the Powerful, the Protector, the Bestower.

[VI]

[1]

This is a book from the [Arabic letter] "B" (   al-bā') before the [Arabic letter] "H" (   al-hā')  [= Bahā'-Allāh]  unto those who have believed in God and have attained unto the lights of guidance  for the purpose of bringing them unto the Pavilion of Holiness (surādiq al-quds)  and drawing them nigh unto a Seat (maq`ād)  to which none who disbelieve in God have attained. [2] And to this testify the Embodiments of Names (hayākil al-asmā')  in the Cities of Attributes (madā'in al-ṣifāt) and beyond them also the angels of holiness. [3] Say: `In the cooing of the Dove upon the branches, the soaring of the Doves of Holiness, the surging of the Sea of Singleness, the uplifting of the Clouds of Wisdom,  the descent of the Rains, the gushing of the Rivers from the rocks [4] and in the establishment of the Temple of Eternity upon the Throne of Lights are signs unto those who gaze upon the realities of things with the eye of God.' [5] Ponder therefore, O concourse of lovers, upon the creation of the heavens and of the earth, then within yourselves that you might be guided by the Manifestations of Power unto the Lights of Guidance in the Days of the Divine Countenance.

[VII]

[1]

We received a communication [letter] (kitāb) from the letter "Q"   حرف القاف  ( ḥarf al-qāf  = ق   qāf  ) who had journeyed from his self and emigrated unto God, the Protector, the Self-Subsisting. [2] He attained unto the regions of holiness and entered the Egypt of certitude (miṣr al-īqān)  in a place wherein the Fire of God (nār Allāh)  blazed up beyond the veils of Light  and in which the Luminary of Singleness (sirāj al-aḥadiyya )  was ignited in a mighty, concealed Lamp.  [3] Thus are those to be preferred who have  left their homes for the love of God above those who failed to turn  towards the precincts of holiness  in the City which those who are nigh unto God  have circumambulated. [4] In his letter there was enquiry about mysteries  (asrār) which none among the creatures hath anticipated;  the veil on the face of which none among humankind hath drawn aside and which hath not been comprehended by the mystic knowers.

[VIII]

[1]  Then know thou that that which thou hast asked concerning the "Light Verse" [Qur'ān 24:35] which was sent down upon Muhammad,  the Messenger of God aforetime, concerns a verse the comprehension of which  the worlds cannot sustain.  [2] Even if whatever lieth within God's knowledge became "Pens"  and all that has been decreed  became oceans of "Ink" and the Fingers of Might wrote [its mysteries] for all time, this would not suffice to exhaust even a single letter of the meaning of this honorable and blessed verse  which hath been revealed by the Tongue of Grandeur. [3] Nevertheless, I shall cause to be sprinkled down upon thee a dewdrop from the fathomless ocean of the sea of knowledge and wisdom in order that thou might be amongst those who have hastened  to the plains of knowledge and who have drunk deep of the goblet of Divine Favour from the hand of the Youth  seated upon the Throne of Paradise.

[IX]

[1] When, for Moses, the appointed term in the Midian of the Divine Will was completed he returned to his people and entered the environs of Sinai in the Holy Vale at the right-hand side of the region of Paradise by the precincts of the Eternal Realm. [2] He heard the Call from the Most-Exalted Realm, from the retreat of the Divinity Ipseity (shaṭr al-huwiyya ),  [3] O Moses! Behold! What do You see? I verily, am God! your Lord and the Lord of your fathers, Ishmael, Isaac and Jacob.` [4] Then Moses veiled his face out of the fear of God, the Mighty, the Powerful, the Self-Subsisting.

[X]

[1] Again was Moses  summoned before the shores of the Ocean of Grandeur in the Crimson Dome:  "Lift up. O Moses, Your head!". [2] When he lifted it up he saw a Light, blazing and luminous from the Furthermost Tree in the Verdant [Green] Vale. [3] Wherefore was he guided by the Most-Great Guidance from the Fire kindled from the Eternal Lote-Tree.  [4] Then did he doff the sandals of desire and detached himself from the dominion of this world and of the hereafter.  [5] All this was what God had decreed for him even as thou hath been informed in the scriptural Tablets.  [6] Wherefore was his Cause raised up and his remembrance exalted.  [7] He was among those who turned their faces by the lights of the Fire towards the paths of Justice.  [8] And this is what was ordained for Moses son of `Imran in the Dome of Time (qubbat al-zamān) [as thou would know]  if thou are of such as are informed. [9] Thus hath borne witness the Paran of Love nigh the Paran of Fire in the Horeb of Holiness and the Sinai of Nearness  if thou should  scan the Pages of Justice (ṣaḥā'if al-`adl) with the eye of God.

[XI]

 [1]  When the veils of Singleness were uncovered and the lights of the Divine Unity shone forth in the Muhammedan countenance [= Muhammad]  the Fire of the Divine Ipseity (nār al-huwiyya) was ignited for His Logos-Self,  in His Logos-Self, through His Logos-Self and the Fire of the [Divine] Lote-Tree  blazed up in his breast. [2]  He was seized by the pangs of love and the yearnings of desire on all sides and he heard the Call of God from the Tree of [the Perfect] Man (shajarat al-insān) in his inmost Being, `He, verily is Thou [Who] art God,  the King, the Protector, the Mighty, the Holy'. [3] This is what was ordained for Muhammad  in the realm of the Spirit in a realm [station] unto which the hearts of those of old did not draw nigh. [4] Thus do we mention unto thee something of the mysteries of knowledge  and the jewels of wisdom  perchance the people might be enkindled  and illumined by the Fire of God in the Lote-Tree of the Remembrance (sidrat al-dhikr).

[XII]

 [1] When Muhammad the Messenger of God  desired to make mention of this most-exalted station in order that he might inform them [his people, the Jews] of the mysteries of the Divine Unity (asrār al-aḥadiyya)  in the Tree of his Logos-Self (shajarat nafsihi) and might enable them to be independent of the Fire which shone forth in the Sinai of the Decree (sina' al-ḥukm) upon the Moses of the Cause (mūsā al-amr),  God inspired unto him this luminous verse  [Q. 24:35] that it might be a proof unto those who were given the Torah and a guidance unto those who were guided by the lights of guidance in the Muhammedan Lote-Tree. [2] And God commanded Moses  to announce unto the people this [Muhammadan] Sinai in this Aḥmadian spot (al-buq`a al-aḥmadiyya). [3] Unto this beareth witness that which  was revealed in the Book:

"We verily sent Moses with Our signs [and the command to]  `Bring out the [thy] people from the darkness into the light and announce unto them the Days of God" (cf. Qur'ān 14:5).

[4] This is that which was inscribed in the Tablets  if you are of those who are informed. [5] He indeed is the one who gave tidings unto the people concerning His [eschatological] Days; how attainment unto his station might be realized  [as would be clear]  should thou be numbered among such as comprehend.

[XIII]

[1] Know thou that when Moses became aware of the Fire of the Tree (nār al-shajara) about the shore of the right-hand side  of the [sacred] Vale  he was guided by it and was among those who, with the permission of God,  have entered the Blessed Spot  (buq`at al-mubāraka). [2] Aforetime it was the case that if Muhammad became familiar  with some reality or something interacted [touched] with him as Fire (min nar) he made it Light (nūr) unto whomsoever are in the heavens and upon the earth. [3] And he guideth unto this Light  (al-nūr)  whomsoever he willeth among His creatures. [4] Such is what was inscribed in the  [Archetypal] Book (al-kitab)  and which thou recite through the Criterion (al-furqan = the Qur'ān). [5] Then know thou that the locus (maqām) of the "Niche" (mishkat) in this [Light] verse (Q. 24:35) is His Logos-Self (nafs; = Muhammad) and that the "Lamp" (miṣbāḥ)  is his resplendent heart (qalbihi al-munīr). [6] The "Glass" (zijaj) is his sanctified Person  [Temple, Body] (haykalihi al-qudsiyya) in which the Lamp of the Divine Singularity (siraj al-aḥadiyya) shines forth.  [7] The "Light" (al-nūr) is ignited and radiates splendor from Muhammad, for from him derives the splendor of all who are in the heavens and on the earth.  [8] Wherefore do We mention this unto thee that thou might be illuminated by means of this "Light" (al-nūr) in the [eschatological] Days of the Spirit (ayyam al-rūḥ).

[XIV]

[1] After this "Light" (al-nūr) had shone forth  in the Muhammedan "Lamp" (miṣbāḥ al-muhammadiyya), was ignited in the Aḥmadian "Niche" (mishkat al-aḥmadiyya) and the creation of the Unique One (al-aḥadiyya : the Bāb)  was completed throughthe creation of the pre-existent Temple  (haykal al-qadmiyya),  God hath decreed that he might remind the people  about the Encounter with Him [God] at the time of the latter resurrection (qiyāmat al-ukhra) and give them tidings of a Holy, Laudable Reality  in a locale in which the concourse of the Elevated  Ones and the Spirits of the cherubic Beings (`those who are nigh unto God')(arwāḥ al-muqarribīn)shall be gathered together.   [2] Therein shall be uplifted the clouds of Divine Bounty and through the rejoicing of God the believers shall be made to greatly rejoice.  [3] This is what was promised in mighty,  Preserved Tablets (alwāḥ `izz maḥfūẓ) in which He says, exalted be His sovereignty,

"The Day when your Lord shall come or certain of the signs of your Lord" (cf. Q. 6:158).

[4] And this is what all who are in the heavens and on the earth were promised about him [the theophany of the Bāb] to the end that all might bear witness within themselves that this One is certainly the True One (al-ḥaqq); no God is there except Him. [5] He undoubtedly is the Ultimately Real (al-ḥaqq), the One Aware of things Unseen  (`allām al-ghuyūb).

[XV]

[1]  Then know [thou of] the station of he who came in the garment of `Alī [= the Bāb or `a sublime robe'; bi-qamīṣ `alīyy]  upon clouds of Light (ghamam min al-nūr) and that Muhammad, the Messenger of God was an announcer of the glad-tidings of the Encounter [Meeting] with Him on a Day in which the righteous shall greatly rejoice on his account. [2] Know also that after he came unto them with manifest signs the slanderers spoke against him and treated him in such wise that the Pen is loathe to dwell upon it. [3] And God beareth witness unto this even if thou do not so testify. [4] They disbelieved in him and denied him and among them was one who slandered God  accusing him of enchanting the people. [5] Thus were they veiled from the Encounter with God; did not assist him in his Cause and failed to turn in the direction of the Countenance unto which those who are nigh unto God have turned.

[XVI]

[1] And thou, O Concourse of the Bayān! Render thanks unto God in that he hath bestowed his bounty upon thee in such wise that thou hast been enabled  to known His Logos-Self (nafs = the Bāb) and were ennobled through  attaining the Encounter with God (liqā'-Allāh). [2] He, in very truth, raised thee up and sent down unto thee that which enabled thee to be free of those who disbelieved and inclined to associate gods with God  even though all expected the advent of His Days  and all were heirs to the promise of His coming. [3]  Wherefore know that We have,  in very truth, awakened thee, raised thee up and ennobled thee through the divine Grace inasmuch as We gave thee  a refuge in the precincts of knowledge (shāṭī al-`ilm), instructed thee in the paths of gnosis  (subul al-`irfān) and drew thee nigh unto a Fire (nār)  through which the hearts of those who have believed in God, their Lord  and trusted in Him  were at every moment made to blaze

[XVII]

[1]  Then know that the significance  of the [Light] verse  (Q. 24:35) cannot be [understood] except that We should instruct thee through the Truth [through the True One?]  since none shall comprehend it save those who were patient in God and inasmuch as none shall understand it except those who were sincere. [2] This is from the [divine] Bounty which  hath neither beginning nor end. [3] Yet thou, O thou hopeful petitioner,  during these days in which the Sun of Bounty hath shone forth from  the Dawning-Place of Singularity (mashriq al-aḥadiyya )  and the Lamp of the Divine Ipseity (siraj al-huwiyya) hath shed splendor in the Niche of Holiness  (mishkat al-qudsiyya), shall not witness [the significance of] this [Light] verse save in a Temple (haykal) which God  has secreted beyond the Pavilion of Might in the beloved heights of divine nearness. [4] Do  thou not witness how God hath caused His Logos-Self (nafs) to radiate through the Fire of His Own Logos-Self  (nafs),  in the Eternal "Niche" (mishkat al-baqā')  and preserved it in the "Lamp" of Power  (miṣbāḥ al-qudrat) between the earth and the heavens; lest the breezes of ungodliness should blow upon it  and there be manifest therefrom the Light (al-nūr)  from behind the 70, 000 veils [of light and darkness] according to a prescribed measure [to the extent of the eye of-the needle] and [how] He caused to radiate from the Glasses the possibilities of existence (zujajat wujud al-mumkinat). [5] This in such wise that they may all give account about God, their Creator in view of the theophany  (tajallī) upon them of this Divine Light (al-nūr al-ilāhiyya).

[XVIII]

[1] This is what We bring to thine attention  of the wonders of hidden knowledge in order that at every moment thou might render thanks unto God thy Lord  as also all the believers. [2] This to the end that thou might be contented within thyself in that thou be oriented towards a region upon which not a single footstep of the creatures hath attained;  save those, that is, those who are at every moment consumed by the fire of love and unto which none have drawn nigh except such as are detached from all that is within the mighty domain of the Divine command (jabarut al-amr) and in the world of creation and who, with the permission of God,  tread the paths of submission. [3] Thus have We given thee sufficient through that which We have expounded for thee  relative to this sanctified verse. [4] We have abridged the elucidation of its significances  in that We have previously commented upon it  in diverse ways and modes which have astonished the intellects of mystic knowers.

[5] Be satisfied with what hath been sent down for thee in this blessed Night  (cf. laylat al-qadr) which God hath set aside among nights  as one in which He hath decreed every affair  as something ordained [sealed] before One Mighty, Self-Subsisting. [6] If this be deemed that which the Pen of Might hath written down upon these Perspicuous Tablets, then return unto what was previously inscribed  by a mighty, evident Finger,  since in the Lote-Tree of the Words (sidrat al-kalimat) through the Fire of Singleness  (nūr al-aḥadiyya ) hath blazed forth, and none shall grasp it save such as profess the unity of God [7] On its branches are Doves all of which were created from the Fire of the Divine Ipseity (nūr al-huwiyya); and none doth hear their cooing  save those who are detached.

[8]

By God!

If thou should make careful observation thou would assuredly become informed of all branches of knowledge according to what hath been inscribed in these Tablets  and be free from all except Him. This, verily, is the certain truth.

 [XIX]

[1] Now regarding  that which thou enquired  of the isolated letters  (hurufat al-muqaṭṭa`āt) in the writings and the scriptures (al-ṣaḥā'if wa'l-zubūrāt). [2] Know thou that every single one of these letters are  assuredly signs  (ayat) unto such as are informed. [3] In them are ciphers (rumuzat), allusions (isharat), deep significances (ma`ānī) and testimonies (dalalat) not a letter of which can be grasped save by those who tread the path of God's good-pleasure and delight in the Riḍwān of knowledge [4] From all eternity hath their mysteries been hidden in the Storehouses of Infallibility (kanā'iz al-`ismat), sealed with the Seal of Power (bi-khitm al-qudrat) and veiled in the Veil of Might  (bi-qina' al-`izzat); [5]  though at this moment hath their Seal been broken in view thy  capacity, and thy desire and in accordance with what the people are capable of understanding. [6] This such that those to whom hath been given the guidance which cometh from God, might assuredly testify that everything created exists by virtue of an Embodied Reality [theophany] ( fi haykal) who, in very truth, crieth out [Divine guidance], for around Him do circumambulate all the Elevated Letters (al-hurufat al-`a[i]liyya) and the compounded words (al-kalimat al-jami`ah) as thou would realize if thou should [truly] comprehend.

[XX]

[1]

Then know thou that those letters  in the station of the Names  give testimony unto eternal levels of Being  without beginning  (al-kaynunat al-azaliyyat), the realities of the Divine Oneness (al-haqā'iq al-aḥadiyyat)  and the pristine sublimities of the Divine Ipseity (sawazij al-huwiyya) the like of which thou dost recite in the Criterion  (al-furqān= the Qur'ān).  [2] He [God] saith -- magnified be His Light -- at the commencement of the Book  [= the Qur'an]:

 

 

"Alif, Lām, Mīm. ["A"- "L"- "M"]. 

This is a Book about which there is no doubt. It is a guidance unto the pious" (Q. 2:1-2).

[3]

In this place God hath designated His Beloved One [= Muhammad] by these extended, isolated letters (al-hurūfat al-munbasit al-muqaṭṭa`āt) as a means of confirming such as hath soared upon the wings of detachment in the atmosphere of the Spirit.

[4]

O Muhammad!

That "Book" (hadha kitāb) is indicative of the Book of thine own Logos-Self (kitāb nafsika) which deriveth from a Hidden, Preserved Book (kitāb ghayb maḥfūẓ) which hath not been understood by anyone save God. [5] All the Books (kutub) derive therefrom  if thou art of such as are confirmed. [6] And this is from a[n Archetypal] Book in which is distinguished the knowledge of all that hath been and will be and by means of which the rightly-guided ones are guided. [7] All that which was revealed from the beginning which hath no beginning of the various Books and the Scriptures (al-kutub wa'l-zubur) are but a letter of "that Book" (dhalik al-kitāb). [8] And none are informed of this save such as have [mi`rāj-like] ascended on the Buraq [celestial Steed] of Might (buraq al-`izz) unto the atmosphere of divine nearness (haw'a al-qurb). [9] Everything is capable of being registered on the level of description (maqam al-wasf) except this Hidden Book (al-kitab al-maknūn) which is abstracted beyond all that can be characterized and all that those who describe things can depict. [10] And He creates from it all that hath been and will be through His saying,

 

 "Be! And it is!" (Q. 6:73 etc).

[XXI]

[1]

Then know that ["that] "Book" (kitāb) signifies the Logos-Self (nafs) of Muhammad in which all mysteries (asrār) hath been inscribed  by the Pen of God (qalām Allāh), the Protector, the Mighty, the Self-Subsisting. [2] This to the end that thou should testify to the fact that there is no God except Him,  the King, the Protector, the Beloved One. [3] Thus has it been sent down aforetime,

 "Read! the Book of thine own Self [for this Dayit suffices to reckon against thee]" (Q. 17:15a).

[4] This is a "Book" which suffices those who have believed and which enables them to attain unto the precincts of a Treasured Name [5] And on another level reference is made to a Book which was, in very truth, sent down upon him  and which God made to be a Distinguisher  [Criterion] (al-furqan)  between such as have believed  and such as have disbelieved in their Lord, as accords with [divine] justice.

[XXII]

[1]  And on another level know thou that God named His Beloved One  [Muhammad]  by means of the composite letters  (al-hurūfāt al-murakkabat) and the compounded words  (al-kalimat al-jami`at)  the like of which thou do utter through his Names, Muhammad, Aḥmad and Maḥmud  in the Kingdom of Names (malakūt al-asmā').  [2]  Thus He named him by means of extended letters  (al-hurūfāt al-munbasīṭa)  and Isolated characters (al-ruqūmāt al-muqaṭṭa`ah[āt])  in order that all possessed of some knowledge of God  might acknowledge that all the Most-Beautiful Letters  (al-hurufat al-abha')  and the Most Beautiful Names  (al-asma al-husnā')  were created for him  such that nothing appears from the Beloved One  [= Muhammad] except that He hath thereby intended His Beloved [Muhammad / Baha'-Allah].  [3] And this indeed is His Beloved One as thou would realize  if thou should observe with the eye of the spirit.  [4]  The utterance is confirmed in the light of that which the Dove of Timeless Eternality (warqa' al-azaliyya)  daily crieth out,  `Supplicate ye! for his are the Most Beautiful Names  (al-asmā' al-husna').'  [5]  This indeed is what was sent down aforetime  and which thou dost recite during his days; the same also do most of the people recite  (see Q. 7:179[180]).

[XXIII]

[1] Then know thou that God is the One Who created by means of these extended, Isolated letters (al-hurufat al-munbasitah al-muqatta`ah) aspects of a Name of His Beloved One (fi ism habibihi) which is an expression of the essential realities of the extendedness (jawhariyyat al-munbasitah) and of the subtle, elevated, pristine characteristics (al-sadhijat al-rafi`ah` al-latifah) the like of which thou do witness  in the Mirrors which reflect the Muhammadan Sun [= the Twelver Imams] (shams al-muhamadaniyya). [2] Wherefore did He create in his Name through the Sacred Words (al-kalimat al-mubarakah) the Blessed Definitive Temples (hayakil al-mahdud) from the elements of the Divine Singularity (`anasir al-wahidiyya) wholly in accordance with their respective degrees of reflecting this Sun (al-shams).[3] Then ponder upon the creation of the heavens and of the earth in order that thou might be aware that every [Divine] Name is in the shadow of his [Muhammad's ?] Name and every [Divine] Attribute (ṣifāt) is but a shadow of his Attribute. [4] Be assured that everything lies within the grasp of his power and is created from the Letters of his Name (hurufat ismihi) and be thou reckoned among such as have discerned with the eye of God (`ayn Allāh) the manifestations of  Divine artistry (mazāhir al-sana`).

[XXIV]

[1] And on another level the [isolated Arabic letter]  "A" (alif)  represents the Absolute Divinity (al-uluhiyya al-muṭaqah). [2] The [isolated letter]      "L" (al-lām)  represents the Absolute Wilāya ("Providential Overseership") al-wilāya al-muṭlaqah) which is realized through His "Logos- Self" (nafs); actualized (al-qa'ima) through His saying, "Thy waliyy ("Patron") is [only] God" (Q. 5:55a). [3] This is by virtue of the Mighty, Praiseworthy Trusteeship (wilāya al-`aziz al-maḥmūd).   [4] The [isolated, Isolated letter]       "M" (al-Mīm) is expressive of the Muhammandan Actuality [Beingness] (al-kaynūnah al-muhammadiyya) and the Aḥmadī Modality (al-ṭarāz al-aḥmadiyya). [5] And God addressed him [Muhammad] by means of these [isolated]  letters to the end that all might attain certitude for everything that He expounds is of importance, is communicated through created languages or made meaningful relative to the earthly originated domain  (arḍ al-inshā'iyya). [6] All of this appears in the Muhammadan garment (qamīṣ al-muhammadiyya) and thus doth the Dove (al-warqā') warble forth on every level the melodies of the Spirit perchance thou might comprehend something of what is communicated unto thee.

[XXV]

[1]

By God!

If I desired to expound these three levels [of interpretation] relative to these three [isolated] letters [A-L-M] [numerous] scriptural Tablets (al-alwah) would in no wise suffice [to register their sigificances]; insufficient ink would be available such that it would prove necessary to select on every level something of what thou art capable of apprehending. [2] This inasmuch as the moment for the Pen (al-qalām) to write even a [single] letter is beyond my grasp in the light of [the actions of] such as have disbelieved and added gods to God. [3] And this since the shackling of this Youth (al-ghulām) [Bahā'-Allāh] seems something  conspired within their breasts; the Youth who reposes in the region of Iraq (shatr al-`Iraq), summons all unto progressand orients himself towards the horizon of the Divine Singularity(afaq al-aḥadiyya ) by virtue of the splendours of the radiance of the [mystic] Horizons [4] These matters do We mention unto thee relating to the mysteries of the Cause (asrar al-amr) perchance thou might be attentive. [5] Wherefore! By he in whose hand is the Logos-Self of Ḥusayn! If it were not for the fact that the dangerous ways of the practitioners of dissimulation (ahl al-nifaq = [proto-] Azali Bābis?) had inhibited me mention would have been made in the scriptural Tablet (al-lawh) of that which would enable thee to be detached from all that is in the heavens and on the earth and enable thee to attain unto a station which no ear hath ever heard and no eye hath ever perceived. [6] Such an ever-flowing bounty can never by surpassed! even if it should flow out from the beginning which hath no beginning unto the end for which no end can be perceived. [7] This in that the Fountainhead of this Divine Watercourse this Ocean of the Divine Singularity (al-bahr al-aḥadiyya) is none other than the Reality of the Lordly Bounty (haqiqat fadl al-rabbaniyya), the very Beingness of the knowledge of Perpetuity (kaynunah `ilm al-samadaniyya). [8] In view of this how could it ever be that this delicious, ever-flowing Reality could be exhausted? [9] Nay rather! By my Lord! it shall  never cease; neither shall it pass away for there shall be made manifest through it what shall give testimony unto Us and in addition also the witness of  the denizens of the Supreme Concourse (sukkan mala' al-a`la). [10] How can the  Bounty of God ever be terminated? Or the Divine Grace be cut off on His part? [11] Nay! By the very Lord of the of the  heavens and of the earth! His Mercy hath ever preceded all things and His Bounty hath forever circumambulated all existence!

[XXVI]

[1]

Say: O People!

This is an expression of His Bounty which He sends down unto thee, the rains of divine Wisdom from the clouds of knowledge. [2]  It's effect wafts over all realms of possible being to the end that they might be enabled to enter the Riḍwān of Holiness (riḍwān al-quds) and be clothed in garment of Eternal Subsistence (qamīṣ al-baqā'). [3]  Ponder ye, therefore, upon the mysteries of this Divine Bounty.

[4]

Say: `O people!

You were asleep upon the bedclothes and failed to rise up from the couches of heedlessness (maqā'id al-ghaflat) when there dawned forth the Sun of the Divine Love (shams al-ḥubb). [5] When, that is, all mouldering bodies (al-ajsad  al-ramīmah)  were resuscitated through its energizing effect you were as a frozen ice-mountain  (al-jabal al-bard)  failing to melt down with the beaming radiance of this celestial [Sinaitic] Fire (al-nar)  when all who dwelt within the lofty heights of Paradise (rafārif al-khuld) were set ablaze thereby.

[XXVII]

[1]

Say: O People!

Thou failed to hearken unto this servant (al-`abd) possessed of certitude in God (al-muqin bi-Allāh) for, through this Luminary (al-siraj) didst thou become aware of the gradations of mystical love (marātib al-ḥubb). [2] How magnificently is he enkindled with the Fire of Love (nūr al-ḥubb) and how fiercely does he at every moment burn up through the fire of His [Own] Logos-Self (nar al-nafsihi). [3] Wherefore, should  thou be set ablaze through the wonders of the Remembrance (bada'`i al-dhikr). [4] So hearken thou [within thine own selves] and supplicate God within [regarding His mystery] (fi sirrihi) with a tongue dedicated unto Him [5] [Wherefore] say, `O my God and my Master (sayyid)! I supplicate Thee through Thy Luminary (siraj) whom Thou didst make to be sanctified above the Lamp (al-miṣbāḥ) in that Thou raised me up in the assemblage of the lovers in a locale  wherein mention is made of the Name of God, the Mighty, Help in Peril, the One Promised.' [6] The One that is, Who, in very truth, shall come upon a cloud-canopy of fire (`ala zill min al-nar) and about whom circumambulate the angels of the sacred Cause (mala'ikat al-amr). [7] At this will the cloud[s] of holiness be upraised and the Dove (al-warqa') warble out accents the like which of shall enrapture the inmost hearts of the cherubic beings who are nigh unto God (af'idat al-muqarribīn).

[XXVIII]

 [1]

Say: O People!

Hearken unto My Speech! Realize the importance (qadr) of these days and hold ye firm unto the brilliant, hidden Thread (al-khayt). [2] Be not entrapped by this mortal world (al-dunya') and its embellishments and do not allow thyself to be saddened by adversity or disoriented on account of what may harm thee through such as have disbelieved and turned away from God, the Mighty, the Beloved One. [3] Be among the choicest of creatures who would not be held back by any hindrance of the hinderer, veiled by the baseness of the censurer or witheld by antagonisms of an antagonist; even though, as thou wouldst realize, all who dwell on earth should oppose them. [4] Such persons are among those who do not orient themselves in the direction of any single Countenance and are unconcerned with anything in the created domain (al-mulk). [5] And were such persons to chance upon cities of gold they would assuredly, even as the lightening, flee therefrom. [6] They would in no way be entangled therewith but render glory in the exuberance of their detachment [7] These are such that when the verses of thy Lord are recited unto them, the Fire of the  Divine Singularity (nūr al-aḥadiyya ) is generated within their hearts and their limbs are made to quake with spiritual yearning (al-shawq). [8] Their very countenances prostrate before God, the King, the Help in Peril, the Mighty, the Most Holy. [9] Everything aforementioned, regarding such as is evidenced in the inmost disposition of those who are truly detached, do We cast upon thee perchance thou might with thine own eyes speedily attain unto the shore of the Divine Bounty (shaṭī` al-fadl).

[XXIX]

[1] Then know thou that on another level God intends by these [isolated] letters (al-ḥurūfāt) the  mysteries indicative of the[chronological] fulfillment [of prophecy] (asrār ilā nihāyāt) by means of which He alludes unto the period of the concealment of the [expected eschatological] Beauty (ikhfā' al-jamāl) behind pavilions of Glory (surādīqat al-jalāl) the like of which is evidenced in the recorded traces (āthār) of the [twelver] Imams of the Criterion (a'imma al-furqān). [2] [Thus, for example, the words] [3] Wherefore should  thou, in like manner, observe and be informed of such [chronological] mysteries in all the [isolated] letters (al-ḥurūfāt)  until the moment (ḥīn,  abjad = 68 = 1268?] when there shall beam forth the [messianic] Lights of a sacred, beloved Dawn (fajr quds maḥbūb).

[XXX]

[1]

Say: `Thou, O Concourse of the Bayān!

Behold all of this [latter interpretation] is relevant to the levels of the creatures and of things originated (maratib al-khalq wa'l-ibda`); to manifestations of things computed (mazahir al-ijad) and brought into being (al-ikhtira`). [2] It is otherwise with respect to those levels (`modes of interpretation'; maqamat) which God made to be a locus (maḥall an) for his sacred, theophanic self-manifestations (li-tajalliyyāhi al-qudsiyya). [3] Such [levels of significance] are totally beyond the merest allusion; account thereof can never be intimated nor evidenced by means of any indication (dalalah). [4] They [the Letters] all lie within the Abode of Holiness (maqarr al-quds) where they assuredly await Realization (fulfillment) (li-wāqifūn).

[XXXI]

[1]

Say:

`O Concourse of the Criterion!

(al-furqan = the Qur'ān)

The [isolated] letters (al-ḥurūfāt)  have ascended unto their respective stations (mawaqif) and the Words (al-kalimat) unto their seats of repose (maqa'id) yet thou [Muslims], up until this very moment, have failed to perceive anything at all! [2] Hast thou not heard of the [eschatological] "Day when the Crier [Herald] (al-munad) shall cry out" (= Q. 50:41[40]a)? [3] And hast thou not heard of the [eschatological, devastating ] "Shout" (al-saiha) with the very Truth (bi'l-ḥaqq)? (see Q. 50:42[41] etc) [4] How is it that until this very moment thou hast remained lifeless in the veils of thine own selves? [5] Rise up then! from the resting places of heedlessness (marāqid al-ghaflah), ignorance (al-jahl) and hostility (baghda') then proceed unto the Remembrance of God (dhikr Allāh) for such is best for thee if thou desirest to return unto the precincts of the divine nearness (awtān al-qurb). [6] And dost thou not consider bygone centuries with repect to what befell some [persons] in view of the fact that they opposed the Messengers of God (rusul Allāh) and rejected their verses (or `signs'; ayat)? [7] Consequent upon this God did not commission any Messenger (min rasul) save He was sent down with a [conclusive] Proof (hujjat) before which [even] the mature (al-balighun) were incapacitated. [8] And He hath given tidings to every Messenger (rasul); news of the sent Messenger (rasul) who shall come after him. [9] And all were assuredly promised about his [forthcoming] advent.

[XXXII]

[1]

So observe such as were given the Torah aforetime!

Unto them was Moses raised up and they were given good news from God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting; [good news that is] about a Prophet who would come after him (cf. Deut. 18:15,18). [2] But when Moses came unto them with the rod of the Command (`aṣā al-amr) and the Paran of Love (fārān al-ḥubb) they turned aside from him [Moses] and they said, "This is naught but a crazed magician (sāhir majnūn)." [3] And they disavowed him and debated with him; they disputed with him until innumerable years passed by and God lifted him up through His command and enabled him to attain unto a [place] station (maqam) which was ordained for him. [4] Thus were matters implemented through His wisdom (hikmat) and His Proof (burhan) was established; those who had disbelieved, added gods to God and without justification acted tyranically and were [consequently] were cut off. [5] Just as thou, even today, uttereth supplications for Moses and such as hath believed in him and curse Pharoah and his hosts.[6] Thus do We narrate for thee something of the narrative of establisghed Reality (qaṣaṣ al-ḥaqq) perchance thou might be mindful in the Days of God! 

[XXXIII]

[1] Then Moses gave the people tidings of he who would appear after him. [2] And when Jesus came unto them with manifest, sacred expositions (bayyināt quds mashhūd ) they waxed proud against him and said, "Thou art not that [expected] one but naught except a man bewitched (rajul mashur)." [3] Subsequently, Jesus gave glad-tidings of a prophet (nabī) who would come after him by means of mighty, laudable allusions (bi-ishārāt `izz maḥmūd). [4] Thus, when Muhammad, the Messenger of God (rasul Allāh) came unto them they rejected him and disavowed him. [5] They said, `This is naught but a man feeble against God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.' [6] And when he was lifted up unto God they gathered together in support of his Cause just as thou dost witness today. [7] And they all in the light of what had befallen him [Muhammad] were made to weep and evinced humility, then cursed such as wronged him [Muhammad]. [8] And the moment he was raised up unto Sublime Intimacy (`Transcendent Partnership'; rafiq al-a`la) and had ascended unto the furthermost Lofty Heights (rafārif al-quṣwā) he promised the people the one who would come subsequently. All of the people of the Criterion (malā' al-furqān = Muslims) are affirmative of that.

[XXXIV]

[1]  And the Cause (al-amr) was in motion and the appointed times (mudda) transpired until there came about the advent of `Alī before Muhammad [= the Bāb] with brilliant signs ([verses] āyāt wāḥidāt) and dazzling proofs (ḥujaj bāhirāt); with solid arguments (dalā'il muḥkamāt) and resplendent testimonies (barāhin lā'ihāt). [2] Yet did all wax proud before God regarding his Cause [Bābism] despite the fact that they were all promised the Meeting with Him (God; liqā'ihi). [3] Unto this testifieth all that was inscribed in Preserved Tablets (alwāḥ al-maḥfūẓ) just as thou dost recite in the Book [the Qur'ān].  [4] This in that when God sealed prophethood (khatama al-nubuwwat) through His Beloved One (ḥabīb = Muhammad, the khātam al-nabbiyīn  "Seal of the prophets" in Q. 33:40b) he gave the servants the glad-tidings of the Encounter with Him [God] and thus was the matter definitively resolved (khatama al-makhtūm). [5] Then when God came [unto them] in the shadows of the clouds (fi zulal al-ghamam, Q.2:210),  breathed into the Trumpet of the Cause (nafakha fi sur al-amr; cf. Q.18:99; etc), split the Heaven asunder (insḥaqqat al-sama'  cf. Q.55:37 ; 69:16; 84:1) and crushed the mountains to dust (Q.56:5; 69:14, etc), did all retreat back upon their heels (cf. Q.3:144; 6:71..) continuing to await the Encounter [Meeting] with Him [God]. [6] This just as the Jews and the Christians continue to await that which they were promised aforetime; from that day until this very moment they all remain in a state of [eschatological] expectation! [7] How many Messengers (rusul) hath God, in very truth, sent unto them after Moses up until this moment? [8] The Jews failed to perceive this and have for all these years stated that `He [the Messiah] shall come in a subsequent year  (fi sanat ukhra !' [9] Know therefore their measure (maqadir) and the measure of such as are enshadowed within their own their own shadow (fi zill anfusihim).[10] So observe those who join partners with God! the nature of their past ways and what they are still doing today. [11] In this way do We graciously aid thee in distinguishing every particular [prophetic] announcement (al-naba') and lay before thee what hath befallen the Messengers of God. [12] This to the end that thou be informed about the mysteries of the Cause (asrār al-amr) and be numbered among such as are today reckoned among those who have entered neath the shadow of the Face (zilal al-wajh); such as God hath elevated to a station which is known to His Own Logos-Self after which all had calumniated against Him.

[XXXV]

[1] At this moment do We return unto what We had previously mentioned and establish anew the garment of mystic meaning (qamīṣ al-ma`ānī) upon the repositories of the words (hayākil al-kalimat) which are pristine (mujarrad), unprecedented (bad`)  and multi-faceted (mansūj). [2] This that thou might become certain about the fact that the timing of the Cause (zamān al-amr) is in the grasp of One Powerful, Awesome (marhūb) and One capable, should He so will, of initiating change [revolution] (munqalib). [3] Thus, when His Cause came unto all who are in the created dominion, there occurred revolution for all were overturned.

[XXXVI]

[1] Then know that were I to make mention of the [mystical] meaning of the [letter] "A" (ma`ānī al-alif) which was revealed at the commencement of the Book (al-kitab = the Qur'ān 2:1) according to that which was ordained therein of the pearls of hidden knowledge (lū`lū` `ilm maknūn), it would assuredly cause the swooning away of all who inhabit the heavens and the earth; save, that is, such as are immersed within the surging waves (ṭamṭām) of the Ocean of the Divine Power (yawm al-qudrat) in the proximity of the divine Countenance (muqābalat al-wajh). [2] These are such persons as are leagued against the dogs of the earth (kilāb al-ard) which seize Us [me] with the clutches of enmity and reject the bounty which hath descended from a cloud raised up in the name of God (bi-ism Allāh) that quencheth the thirst of those who are consumed in the Paran of Separation (fārān al-firāq) nigh the unto the raging Fire (fawārān al-nār). [3] Some of them would assuredly expire and this to the extent that even if the spirit of life (rūḥ al-ḥaywān) were breathed into them they would not even come alive again [lit. `be able to crawl..']. [4] But a very few of them would quaff from the Life-giving Spring (al-ma`īn al-ḥayawān) which floweth in the shadows of these words and would glorify God their Creator in that He hath caused to shine upon them from the direction of `Iraq the Luminosity of the Horizons (nayyīr al-āfāq) following the swooning away of the spirits and their subsequent recovery (thumma afāq)!

[XXXVII]

[1] Know therefore that the people have been scattered in view of the fact that they were given to disputation. [2] And thus was sent down aforetime unto Muhammad, the Messenger of God (rasul Allāh) that ["] And only a handful of My servants evinced gratitude.["] [3] Yet, in spite of all this, it is beloved to Us [me] that I should give special attention to the one who striveth in the way of God, journeyeth towards Him, and migrateth unto Him. [4] In this light do I cast, according to the capacity of such among the servants [of God] who can bear it, of those souls who can sustain and of such intellects as can fathom it, what might serve as a memorial and an expression of glad-tidings (tadhkirat wa bisharat) unto the servants and [unto] those who desire to hasten unto the Abode of Peace (dār al-salām = Baghdad) and enter beneath the shade of the Tree of Reunion (shajarat al-wasl).  [5] Hearken then unto what is revealed (w-ḥ-y) unto thee in this blessed [Sinaitic] Spot (buq`at al-mubarakat) from this all-eternal [Sinatic] Tree [Bush] (al-shajarat al-sarmadiyya) which is not consumed by Fire (mā qabasa `anhā al-nār)(cf. Exod. 3:2b) [6] Unto this do none draw nigh except such as circumambulate about its domain and, with His consent, sacrifice themselves in His path thereafter rendering thanks.

[XXXVIII]

 [1] Know thou then that the [isolated] letter  ا  "A"  (Alif) is, on a certain level a herald [indicative] (bashir) of His Greatest Name (al-ism al-a`ẓam) which is Allāh ["God" 1st letter = "A"]. [2] The  ل   [isolated letter] "L" (lām) is an aspect of His Hidden Knowledge (min `ilmihi al-maknūn). [3] The   م [isolated letter] "M" (mīm) indicateth his Name the Bestower (al-mu`ṭi). [4] That is to say [A-L-M] [semi-acrostically indicates the sentence], `I am God, the Most-Informed (al-a`lām), the Bestower (al-mu`ṭi). [5] And these Names are what God hath singled out for His own Logos-Self (bi-nafsihi) at the commencement of the Book (al-kitāb =  Q. 2:1). [6] By this means doth He accomplish that which He desireth and none can ever know the nature of what He desireth nor outstrip Him in His knowledge. [7] And We one and all are certain and confident of this matter.

[XXXIX]

[1] Now on another level God, glorified be He, intendeth by the  ا  [letter] "A" (alif)  of the [isolated letters A-L-M] the Oneness of His Essence (aḥadiyya  dhātihi). [2] By the  ل   [letter] "L" (lām) [is indicated] the wilāya (providential custodianship)  of His  ولى walī  (intimate authority, custodian, legatee, guardian, etc)  for the [letter] "L" (lām) is the letter indicative of al-wilāya (one representative of special custodianship) if thou art of such are informed. [3] By the  م  [isolated letter] "M" (mīm) is indicated the prophethood (nubuwwa) of His Beloved (ḥabīb, = Muhammad] for this letter ("M") is the letter of  prophethood (nubuwwa) as is indicated by the fact that it appears at the beginning of the name of His Messenger (= Muhammad) just as thou dost witness. [4] And the letter of the wilāya (ḥarf al-wilāya custodianship = "L") hath precedence over the letter of Prophethood (ḥarf al-nubuwwa  =  M)[5] This so that those possessed of heartfelt vision testify to the fact that  this is an expression of eschatological glad-tidings (bishāra min ba`d) unto all who inhabit the heavens and the earth for he who succeeded Muhammad (= the Bāb) hath in his mighty name (= `Alī Muhammad) the name of wilāya  (custodianship..) (ism al-wilāya) [=`Alī] precede  the name of prophethood (ism al-nubuwwa) [= Muhammad] just as thou art aware in [the Bāb's name] `Ali before Muhammad (`Ali Muhammad = the Bāb). [6] Evidence of this is furnished by the second verse of the Criterion (al-furqan = the Qur'ān) which, in very truth, was revealed as follows, "No doubt is there about this Book wherein there is guidance for the godfearing who believe in the Unseen (al-ghayb)" (Q. 2:2). [7] Now the "Unseen" (al-ghayb) doth not relate to the era (`asr) of Muhammad except through `Alī before Nabīl [= Muhammad = the Bāb] if thou be of those who believe in this "Unseen" (al-ghayb). [8] Through this "Unseen" (al-ghayb) did God take a covenant (al-`ahd), by virtue of the very [pre-eternal] constituent atoms of the Criterion (the Qur'ān = Muslims; fi dharr al-furqan), with all such as inhabit the heavens and the earth; though most of the peoples remain devoid of comprehension.

[XL]

[1] Know therefore in what manner the Bird of the Throne (dīk al-`arsh) extendeth its tongue and warbleth in the lofty heights of Eternal Subsistence (rafāraf al-baqā') informing thee of that through which thou shouldst find thy minds calmed, thy souls  refreshed and thine hearts delighted. [2] Through this also should the believers in the Divine Oneness (al-muwāḥḥidun) be exhilarated. [3] Know then! the greatness of this Cause (al-amr) for God hath made mention of it at the very beginning of His Book [the Qur'ān, 2:1] and at the very commencement of His address with His Beloved One [Muhammad]. [4] In spite of this these profligate souls [Muslims] broke the covenant of God (naqisu `ahd Allāh) violated His testament (mithāq) and repudiated His Proof (burhān). [5] Not satisfied with all this they did unto him [the Bāb] what shattereth the very patience of the truly patient.  [6] Thus do We inform thee of the mysteries of the Cause if thou dost hearken with the ears of sanctity.

[XLI]

[1]

So by God!

Shouldst thou ponder upon the ل   "L" (lām) which was sent down between the two [isolated] letters (al-ḥarfayn  = "A" and "M") thou wouldst assuredly attain everything that thou desirest for the  ل   "L" (lām) hath the form of three [letters] (hai`atihi thalatha, = لام  = l+ā+m) [when spelled out in full], as accords with the reckoning of the practitioners of computation in their examination thereof. [2] The latter [persons] thus assign to its reality (nafs) three [letters]; that is, [1] the  [letter]  ل  "L" (al-lām), [2] the [letter] ا "A" (al-alif)  and [3] the [letter] م  "M" (al-mīm). [3] It [the isolated letter "L"]  thus combines within itself everything about which we might be questioned [regarding the A-L-M]. [4] The [letter] م  "M" (al-mīm)  appeareth within its reality (nafs) and this is an evidence of its being self-contained  (istighna') as thou wouldst realize if thou shouldst soar in the firmament of self-sufficiency (hawā' al-tajrīd) and the expanse of the Divine Oneness (fadā' al-tawhīd). [5] In view of this do the proof seekers (al-mustadillun) demonstrate the fact that "He, verily, no God is there save Him" (innahu la ilaha ila huwa). [6] He, verily, hath ever been  exclusively One (wāḥid) in His Essence (dhāt), One in His Attributes (ṣifāt), One in His Name (ism), One in His [cosmological-alchemical] handiwork (san`a). [7] Could there possibly be any God other than He?

Say:

`Praised be God! There is no God other than He'.

[8] And we, one and all, before Him and His handiwork (san`a) do stand in bewildered awe (mutahayyirun). [9] Through this are the veils of blasphemous idolatry (hijabat al-shirkiyya) burned up, the intimations of self-guidance dissipated and the banners of the champions of the Divine Oneness upraised.

[XLII]

[1] Ponder now upon the  ا  "a" (al-alif) which God placed in an intermediary position between the ل  "L" (al-lām) and the م  "m" (al-mīm) [in the isolated letter "L"  لام   = l+ā+m]. [2] Such is what cannot be comprehended through discernment  nor fathomed by means of knowledge (al-`ilm) even if all such as inhabit the heavens should consider this matter for an eternity of eternities (fi azal al-azal). [3] [In the effort to comprehend] The very doors of the mystical senses (abwāb al-ma`ānī) of  this all-perpetual letter (al-ḥarf al-samadani) would be bolted and the portals of explication (abwab al-alfaz) would be opened that thou might  make due progress should thou hearken aright!

[XLIII]

[1] Know then that should  thou make this divine "A" (al-alif al-ilahi) to revolve about its self (nafsihi) there would be manifest two upright "A"s (al-alfayn al-qa'imayn). [2] And then after that if thou should  raise them both up unto [the value of] the tens (al-`asharat) then there would be manifest the number of twice ten (= twenty; `adad al-`asharayn; 1+1 = 2 X10 = 20). [3] Then   would surely be made manifest the [letter] ك  "K" (al-kāf; abjad = 20) of the [creative imperative] command [=  كُن  kun = "Be!"] by means of which the "Temples of the Divine Unity" (hayākil al-tawḥīd), the Manifestations of Singleness (maẓāhir al-tafrid) and the loci of abstracted reality (mawāqi` al-tajrid) were called into being. [4] And this [creative "K" as the imperative كُن ] actualized the  [qur'ānic] "and it is" (fa-yakun) [=  كُن فَيَكُونُ  kun fa-yakūn, "Be and it is!", Q. 2:115; 3:42; 6:72 etc.] before it was associated with the supportive letter ن  "N"  (bi-rukn al-nūn) [as thou dost know] if thou art of such as are informed. [5] Following this conjoining [of ك  "K" and   ن   "N" as the creative imperative  كُن  ] the modalities (al-ishārat) were created in the worlds of limitation (`awālim al-taḥdīd) as well as the concrete [worldly] testimonies (dalalat al-mulkiyya) in the worlds of constructed reality (`awālim al-tarkib). [6] Unto this do testify such as are privy to the knowledge of the mysteries of wisdom (ulu al-`ilm asrār al-ḥikmat) the like of which hath streamed forth from a manifest and mighty Pen (qalām `izz mashud).

[XLIV]

[1]  Know then that all of the [Isolated] Letters (al-ḥurūfāt) and the Words (al-kalimāt) return unto this all-eternal [letter] "A" (al-alif al-samadani) and this Lordly Cipher (al-raqm al-rabbani) [as would be evident to thee] if thou should  observe with the vision of the heart [2] It assuredly is a manifestation of the Letters (maẓhar al-hurufat) without it being [in the least] alluded to (min ghayr al-ishara alayihi). [3] And thus was the knowledge which originateth with Him, in very truth, sent down should  thou estimate correctly and be of such as comprehend. [4] Otherwise beseech God, thy Lord that He instruct thee in His knowledge and proffer unto thee what shall enable thee to be independent of such as resist guidance by the verses [signs] of God (bi- āyat Allāh), who do amble in the shadowy enclaves of the abysmal deep  and are engulfed therein from all directions by waves of hellfire  causing them to sweat profusely though utterly failing to realize [spiritual] intimacy.

[XLV]

[1]

Observe now!

the mysteries which are deposited in this [letter] "A" (al-alif) for in all the Letters (al-ḥurūfāt) are theophanies (tajalliyyāt) of this "A" (al-alif). Then observe ye this! [2] Witness ye, for example, that in this [letter]  ا  "A" (al-alif)  is the [letter]  ب  "B"  (ḥarf al-bā') in an humbled, innocent condition (bi- khuḍū` a barā'a), utterly prostrate upon the dust its whole being manifesting fear before God (khushū` an  li-lāhī ) as thou mayest observe if thou beholds its shape (Arabic  ا  "A" =   ب  "B", leveled, turned on its side). [3] Subsequently was it [the locus of "A" / "B"] manifested in the Temple of [the letter] د  "D" (haykal al-dāl) exhibiting its prostration (al-rukū`) before God, the Help in Peril, the Beloved One (note the bent, prostrate shape of the Arabic letter "D", د  .  And [4] And when it has prostrated itself before God the essence of the [letter]   ص   Ṣād  (`ayn al-ṣād) was made manifest. [5] From this there floweth the [Cosmic] Watery Expanse (al-mā') through which God reviveth all who exist within the heavens and on the earth in the category of creatures (marātib al-khalq) [as would be evident] if thou should scrutinize  the constituent nature of the creatures (āthār al-khalq).

[6] Wherefore be informed that all the Letters (al-ḥurūfāt) and all of the creatures are in this light subject to such theophany on account of the theophanic transformations of this [letter] "A" (tajalliyyāt hadhā al-alif) which is manifested within diverse [letter-shaped] receptacles (hayākil al-mukhtalifa) evident unto thee if thou should examine the [diverse forms of] the letters of the alphabet (al-ḥurūfāt  al-hijā'iyya).

[XLVI]

[1] And when it came about that God desired to manifest the theophanic transformations (tajalliyyāt) of this [letter] "A" (al-alif) there radiated forth upon these [primordial] letters  a theophanic disclosure of His likeness [image](tajallī an min mithālihi). [2] As a result all these [primordial] letters(al-ḥurūfāt)  were effected by the [creative imperative] كُن   "Be!" (kun) and their very garments (qamā'id, `outer forms') were made manifest. [3] If they should sanctify their own selves from these transient embodiments (al-ishārat al-maḥdudat) they would one and all  exist in the [disembodied] form (haykal) of this [letter] "A" (al-alif) and [when necessary] would arise in accordance with their respective forms. [4] And should thou desire to witness a  theophanic self-disclosure (tajallī) of this [letter] "A" (al-alif), rising up (al-qā'ima) in the [primordial essence of the] letters  (al-ḥurūfāt)  according to their [own] shape and its [own] subsistent being (qiyāmihi) thou shouldst assuredly evince certitude  within thyself for it [the "A"] doth assuredly arise up above all things

[XLVII]

[1] Then observe the devolved cryptic dimensions (al-ruqūmāt) [of the letter[s] "A"] just as thou dost witness their [mundane] numerical-alphabetical aspect (a`dād al-handasa). [2] This [letter] "A" (al-alif), for example, if thou submerge it in the oceans of the decads (abḥār al-`asharāt) the "A" would appear,[maintaining] its own shape through the replication of the [Primordial] "Point" (bi-ziyādat al-nuqṭa) [as 2 dots] and from it would appear the [letter]  ې  "Y" (al-yā') for its numerical value is ten (yā' = abjad 10 = 1 & 0) according to the manner of enumeration in which thou dost calculate.  [3] In like manner, if thou shouldst cause the letter "A" (al-alif),  to ascend unto the heaven of the hundreds it would appear in its very essence through the compounding of the dual "Points" (ziyādat al-nuqatayn) such that thou would, this moment observe the letter ق  "Q" (al-qāf)  [again with 2 dots] [4] Wherefore is it that it the letter "A" (al-alif)  traverseth until it terminateth at the end of numerical computation  (ākhir al- `addād) when the letter "A" (ḥarf al-alif) appeareth on the fourth level [of the thousands] (rutbat al-rābi`) [again] through the compounding of the [Primoridal] "Points" (bi-ziyādat al-niqāt). [5] Wherefore is there manifest the numerical reckoning of the thousands (`adād al-alīf). [6] In this respect thou shalt observe the letter  غ     "Gh" (al-ghayn; abjad = 1,000).

[XLVIII]

[1] Then witness thou in what manner the tokens of the Divine Unity (āthār al-tawḥīd) become evident in the Omnipotent realm of the Letters (jabarūt al-ḥurūfāt) such that thou might bear witness in  the horizons of the realms of possibility (āfāq al-mumkināt) and the selves possessed of intellectuality (anfus al-ma`qulat) [cf. Q. XX :XX] the fact that He is God and that there is none other God save Him and [that] all return unto Him. [2] So when the locus ["Self"] (nafs) of the [letter] "A" (ḥarf al-alif) became evident in the first of the letters as well as the last of them,  there appeared in its essence (dhat), through the tongue of their inmost reality (bi-lisān sirrihi), [the words] "He is the First and the Last, the Seen and the Hidden" (huwa al-awwā al- akhir al-ẓāhir al-bāṭin) (= Q. 57:3.. ). [3] And all in this respect were one as regards the unity of their Creator [= the "A"] for before Him were they prostrate. [4] On that level (al-maqām) He appropriated to this [letter] "A" (al-alif) all the [other emergent] Letters (al-ḥurufāt) and thus was the theophany (tajallī ) of this [letter] "A" (al-alīf) [ made manifest] through its own Self (bi-nafsihi) upon [all] the [other] Letters [as thou would evident] if thou were [of such as are] enraptured in the Riḍwān of the Divine Unity (riḍwān al-tawḥīd). [5] At any given moment what applieth to the [letter]  ا   "A" (alif an)  is truly affirmed of the letter ب  "B"  (ḥarf al-ba'); and the reverse also may be observed. [6] Then be aware of the "Points" (al-niqāṭ) which are increased relative to it [the "A"] on all of its levels and degrees.  [7] This is that which establisheth the outward forms (al-ishārat) which it [the "A"] assimilateth in the expression  of its [alphabetic] self-manifestations (tanzilāt tajalliyātihi) to the end that the people realize that He alotteth them [= the "Points" in "A" = the various letters] in accordance with their varying capacity (miqdār) and according to what is ordained for them relative to it. [8] Otherwise, if it were in its [alphabetical] mode and it [= the "Points" in the "A" = various letters] failed to become clothed in the garment of [alphabetic] limitation (qamīṣ al-ḥudūd) it would prove incomprehensible unto the inmost hearts of such as are possessed of discernment as well as unfathomable unto those possessors of intellect.

[XLIX]

[1] Then witness an [alphabetical] self-manifestation  (tajalli) of this [locus of the letter] "A" (al-alif) within thine own self! for thou, verily, at the moment in which thou hearken and envision [this "A"] thou shall cry out whatsoever thou desire inasmuch as no single affair hold thee back and no single action obstructs thee just as thou witnesseth all that within thine own selves. [2] And in like manner experience something of the Divine Names (fāshida fi 'l-asmā') at the moment when the Divine Name "the Hearing" (ism al-samī`) is confirmed for thee. [3] In consequence there will [also] be confirmed for thee the Divine Name the "Seer" (ism al-baṣīr) and likewise further Divine Names  if, that is, thou shouldst gaze within thy selves with  unblemished  vision (bi-`uyūn al- ṣāfiyya). [4] And all of this [may transpire] relative to Divine Attributes (ṣifāt) which all the people up till this moment return unto their Creator (khāliq) for they lack [insightful awareness].  [5] So testify [also] within thyself that all of these Divine Attributes hath been created within His dominion and He casteth them out upon such of His servants as He willeth for He, verily, no God is there save Him. [6] He would not be comprehended in any respect through  thine own comprehension neither would He be understood in any fashion after the manner in which thou doth understand. [7] Nay rather! He created these various levels [abilities]  in the realities (anfus) of His servants to the end that thereby they all might become informed of the fact that He, verily, created the Names (al-asmā') but hath ever been sanctified therefrom; and He fashioned the Attributes (al-ṣifāt) but hath ever remained abstracted therefrom. [8]  There indeed is no Originator (mubdi`) other than Him for His is the Logos-Command (al-amr) and the Creation (al-khalq) for were not all created through His Logos-Command (bi-amrihi). [9] Wherefore shouldst [thou] exclaim:`So exalted be God, the King, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting. So exalted be God, the Omnipotent, the Creator, the Powerful, the Mighty, the Beloved One.'

[L]

[1]

O Concourse of the Bayān!

Strive thou in thy spirits  and thy souls in order that thou might attain this station  and be not of such as have failed hold fast unto any one of the Divine Names (ism min al-asmā') and among those who give no attention unto these Divine  Attributes (al-ṣifāt). [2] Be thou not of such as have eyes but fail to perceive anything, for whom a hearing ear is inoperative and who have hearts that fail to comprehend. [3] So testify within thyselves that thou art rising up, sleeping and walking yet retain but a single identity  (bi-shay' wāḥid) for such is an established reality! [4] In spite of this there riseth up from amongst thee the [expression of] the various Divine Names and Attributes (al-asmā' wa'l-ṣifāt) just as thou dost witness and submit unto all of them within thine own selves. [5] And these diverse [divine] names  and numerous attributes were manifest in diverse ways the like of which was decreed for thy selves and were created in thy bodies; perchance thou might ascend within thyself through the [experience of] celestial ascents of [mystical] gnosis (ma`ārij al-irfān). [6] For example, thou dost take an action which is but a single thing even though thou dost name or designate it with all the various names (bi-kull al-asmā'). [7] In reality, in its very essence  [the action] is abstracted from everything that thou speak of or the like of which thou dost [inwardly] make reference to. [8] In turning, however, unto the locus of "hearing" and its root bases, there should be manifest a trace (athar), an attribute (ṣifāt) or a[nother] name (ism),  it would in no wise appear distinct from  that [action]. [9] Likewise, in turning unto the locus of "vision"  and through such of the faculties as are implicit therein,  there would be manifested another trace of a [specific] attribute (ṣifāt). [10] Such is what thou wouldst find relative to thine own selves. [11] It is [also] likewise with respect to the tongue (al-lisān); should the action be oriented towards the tongue there would appear [the power of] speech (al-nuṭq) just [in fact] as thou dost articulate.  [12] And this is the result of focusing upon the outer foundations (aṣbāb al-ẓāhiriyya) [of the various divine Names] in the condition of the human identity (haykal al-bashariyya). [13] And again it is likewise with respect to the interior dimension (al-bāṭin) through the insigthtful vision (bi-baṣar al-bāṭin) [as though would realise] shouldst thou [befittingly] bear witness. [14] For example, in [the association of the action] with the heart, the liver, the spleen, the head and more besides, it is manifested in these diverse situations [resulting in]  diverse names the like of which thou dost name [through] the intellect (al-`aql), the spirit [soul] (al-nafs) and the inmost heart (al-fu'ad).

[LI]

[1] Wherefore be informed of the [alphabetical] theophany (al-tajallī ) of [the letter] "A" within thine  own self (nafs) in spite of the fact that it is a but a single reality (cf. "A" = abjad 1, wāḥid); God makes manifest therefrom the [various] Divine  Names (al-asmā' al-mutaghāyira) and the variegated traces  (al- athar al-mukhtalifa) which result in the realization of the station of mystical apprehension [gnosis] (maqam al-`irfan). [2] And thou shalt witness in this respect that diversity which shall be made manifest  as a result of the differentiation of the locus [cf. "A"=1] and the foundational bases (al-maḥall wa'l-asbāb). [3] Notwithstanding [this differentation] the Manifestor  (mujallī) is One (wāḥid) and the thing manifested (al-tajallī) is [likewise] one (wāḥid) [4]. All of this taketh place within thy self if thou would be insightful and thus be assured that there is none other God save Him. [5] He it is Who fashioned the entirety of the creation; through all of the His [Divine] Names and His [Divine] Attributes (bi-jami` asmā'ihi wa ṣifātihi) as thou wouldst realize if thou didst not blot out within thyselves the wonders of the Divine artistry (badāī'i ` al-ṣan`a). [6] All of this He created in His dominion and made manifest on the level of the created realm (fi maqam al-khalq).

[LII]

[1]

And ye, O Concourse of the Bayān!

Overstep ye not thy limitations! Fear ye God! and appropriate not to thyselves what hath not been ordained  for thee. [2] Be ye not then [such as] elevate their station. [3] We, verily, have clarified for thee that whereby the inmost hearts of the mystic knowers (af'ida al-urafā'), the sages (al-ḥukamā') and the divines (al-`ulāma') were bewildered through the subtle allusions of these words [4] This to the end that through them thou might thereby gain insight and cause all such as are in the heavens and on the earth to drink deep of this flowing spring (al-ma`īn al-jāriyya) in accordance with their [varying] capacities and levels [of mystic progress] (maratib) and in line with that which they are capable of apprehending. [5] Know therefore how this Spiritual [letter] "A" (al-alif al-ruḥānī), this all-enduring Ornament (al-ṭarāz al-samadānī), this Unitative, Upright Thread (al-khayt al-mustaqīm al-aḥadāī ) [Bahā'-Allāh?] hath risen up unto and through its own self in the encouter [with] the denizens of the heavens and of the earth. [6] And at one time it ["A"= Bahā'-Allāh] lifteth up it's head unto heaven, whereupon the Supreme Concourse (malā' al-a`lā)  is enraptured thereby and at another it inclineth it towards the earth whereupon the bodies of the cherubic beings (ajsad al-muqarribīn) are raised up from the sepulchers of extinction (qubur al-fanā'). [7] Wherefore do We deliver unto thee something of that which is inscribed with the fingers of Power upon sacred, Preserved Tablets (alwāḥ quds maḥfūẓ).

[LIII]

[1] Then know furthermore that this upright, established [isolated letter] "A" (al-alif al-mustaqīmah al-rāsikha) hath a similitude (mithāl) in all the worlds; every thread [ray] of its bounty (khayt min `inayatihi) is empowered [2] [Indeed!] Everything that thou dost observe in all that hath been created and will evermore be created, is a [direct] result of its uprightness or its uprising or  a result of its being solidly established, or indeed, of its power or might (quwwat aw qudrat). [3] Know therefore that all of this hath been made manifest by virtue of the [very] uprightness of this Divine [letter] "A" (istiqamat hadha al-alif al-ilahi); and everything is sheltered neath the shadow of this divine "A" (al-alif al-ilahi) and becometh established as a result of its uprightness.

[LIV]

[1]

So by God!

The discourse hath reached a level at which the allusive meanings of knowledge (isharat al-`ilm) and the testimonies of wisdom (dalalat al-hikma) have been set forth. [2] This that thou might be especially thankful unto God, thy Lord during thy days and be numbered among such as turn aside from all upon the earth then incline unto the Beauty of the Divine Oneness (jamāl al-aḥadiyya) in the Robe of Light (qamis al-nūr) [= the Bāb / Yaḥya / Bahā'-Allāh?] beyond the [celestial] Veils [of Light]. [3] Those that is who drink deep of the Wine of mystic Meaning and Spiritual Life from the hands of the Spirit (al-rūḥ = Bahā'-Allāh?) and at every moment do so quaff. [4] And if there should be displayed before them [the spiritually pious] all manner of  [erotic] visions (kull al-tala`āt) and there be manifested unto them females [bedecked] with every adornment and bejewelled trinket (zīna wa ḥaly) they would in no wise be distracted thereby. [5] And if, furthermore, such damsels should enter unto them [the pious, adorned] with bracelets of gold (asāwir al-dhahāb) and mighty flowing robes (jalābīb al-`izzat), [adorned] in silken brocade (al-sundus), [nay indeed] in gilded silk brocade (al-istabraq) and desire to beguile [seduce, snatch] one of them [the pious] or desire that they [damsels] should command the affection (lit. `enter the heart') of anyone of them [the pious], then by God! they [the pious] would prove unwilling and would evince no desire to [even] consider them. [6] (Such would be the case with the pious) even if these female beings should ornament themselves with all [such finery] as is possible in [the spheres of] existence and make use of eye-coloring, evincing [seductively] wholly black lashes [all manner of eye-makeup] (al-akḥāl)! [7] Should, in fact, any one of them [the pious] be confronted with all that is possible [of distractions] on earth be it [even] of gold or of silver or of all the adornments of the earthly domain (zakhārif al-mulk), they would in no wise take note of such things neither would they be inclined thereto.   [8] Such [aforementioned saintly] persons are [indeed] the [chosen] saints of God (awliyā' Allāh) for whom there is neither fear nor sorrow; they stand in dread of no one even if [it should be the case that] all who inhabit the heavens and the earth should rise up against them. [9] They would not be discomforted inasmuch as their hearts, their very selves and their [deep] inmost bosoms have been filled with the wine of the Mercy of God as well as of His love. [10] There is no space within their hearts such that there should enter therein a love for anything other than Him. [11] Thus do We inform thee regarding the sincere ones  perchance thou wilt comprehend their [exalted] nature. [12] And thou shalt follow their mode of behavior so as not to be moved by the tempests of the worldly domain (`awāsaif al-mulk) nor have thy footsteps falter in the violent winds of the course of time (qawāsif al-dahr). [13] Then be thou of such as are resolute in the love of God (ḥubb Allāh).

[LV]

[1] Then know that this [letter] "A" (al-alif) is expressive of mysteries relative to all sciences (kull al-`ulum) inasmuch as God hath bestowed upon it a portion of the wonders of His Bounty. [2] Within it is a foreordainment [measure] of knowledge relative to what hath been and what will be. [3] If, for example, thou deduce the [other] letters (al-ḥurufāt)  which are inner dimensions (sarā'ir) of this [isolated letter] "A" in the light of that which We have divulged unto thee previously of the four levels [implicit] therein and thou write down [the secrets of] its power of articulation (al-istintāq) and after that divide it according to its four divisions (taqsīmāt) and thou apply this according to these [four] divisions in line with its requirement in terms of augmentation and diminution (aI-iqtidā' min al-taraqqī wa'l-tanazzul), of ascent and equilibrium (al-taraffu` wa'l-tasāwī) there shall assuredly appear before thee something of such mysteries as shall astonish the intellects. [4] And thereby will be evident that which thou hast heard regarding the all-encompassing [comprehensive science of]  jafr (al- jafr al-jāmi` )  and thou shalt attain unto the genesis of the sciences (madbā' al-`ulūm).

[LVI]

[1]  So Oh! would that We had found some [receptive] soul meeting with Our approval such that We might bestow upon him what God hath taught Us of His Bounty! [2] But inasmuch as We failed to find such an one did We communicate this unto thee to only to a limited extent; for We restrict the matter somewhat lest there become privy thereto every tyrannical apostate (jabbār mardūd). [3] Know then that these [qur'ānic] isolated letters (al-hurufat al-muqaṭṭa`āt) are on one level an intimate link (ramz) between the enraptured soul and the Beloved One (`āshiq wa'l-mashūq), the lover and the Loved One (habib wa'l-mahbub). [4] And none shall become privy thereto except those whose hearts God hath made repositories of His knowledge and treasuries of His wisdom  [5]  For such is what is hath been anticipated in the knowledge of God, the Help in Peril, the Beloved One.
 

[LVII]

[1] Then know [thou furthermore] that this [isolated letter] "A" (al-alif) is on one level allusive of the Snow-White Earth (al-arḍ al-bayḍā'), [which is] the Brilliant, Most  secreted Light (al-nūr al-durri al-akhfa) [if that ] is thou should desire to be perceptive of the mysteries of the [divine alchemical ] artistry in the sphere of nature (asrār al-sanā` al-ṭabī`ah). [2] And this is the [Snow-White] Earth (al-arḍ) whose basis and being  are derived from the [cosmic] Watery Expanse (al-mā') (as would be evident should  thou apply reason) for it doth exhibit solidity [freeze] when placed within the [cosmic] Watery Expanse (al-ma'). [3] Then praised be to God its Originator (mūjid)! and exalted be He above that which they assert. [4] And should  thou solidify [freeze] and coagulate [thicken] this brilliant  watery substance (al-mā' al-durri) in this Fiery Water (al-mā' al-nārī) and extract the heat (al-harārah) from the [resultant] Golden Fiery Water (al-mā' al-dhahabī al-nārī) there would be united therein the three [realities] which are the Spirit (al-rūḥ ), the Soul (al-nafs) and the Body (al-jasad). [5] And this is what hath not been anticipated by the knowledge of anyone among the people for all are bewildered thereby. [6] It is thus the case that when thou hast coagulated this [Snow-White] Earth (al-arḍ) engendered from the [cosmic] Water (al-mā') there shall appear the Crimson [hue] (al-ḥamrā') in the [cosmic] Water (al-mā') [which] should then be extracted. [7] And when thou hast extracted it [the Crimson Water] thou should find on its surface the residue [dust] of the Fire (ghubra al-nār). [8] That is to say, it should darken at which thou should not be sorrowful for if it is darkened it is perfectly acceptable since God hath transformed this darkness through the Light.  [9] This inasmuch as it is ignited and given radiance with the permission of God, the Help in Peril, the Praised One.

[LVIII]

[1] And this is the Fruit of Holiness (thamarat al-quds) which hath been manifested from the [celestial] Tree (al-shajarat) planted in the Heaven of the celestial spheres (samā' al-aflak) and the Earth of the Intelligences [Intellects] (ard al-`uqul). [2] And this is [also] the Philosopher's Stone (ḥajr al-ḥukamā') and their [alchemist's] Silver (fiḍḍa) and the Coveted Substance [?] (ard al-`ashan) as well as their [alchemist's] Quicksilver [Mercury] (al-zaybaq) and all which they do [synonymously] so designate. [3] And if thou extract it from the Divine Mine [Metal] (ma`din al-ilahi) let something of the Spirit (al-rūḥ) which deriveth therefrom empower [prevail upon] it by virue of its affinity, for the Body (al-jasad) doth not receive the Spirit (al-rūḥ)  which is contrary to it [as thou wouldst know] if thou wert mindful of that which We have bestowed upon thee. [4] And naught shall transpire of the days [of successfully completing the alchemical task] except thou shalt, with the permission of God, [perform the alchemical] whitening [process].

[5]

So strive thou to the utmost degree with respect to its purification such that nothing shall remain therein of the darkness which is the existing impurity (al-fasad). [6] Then thou shalt dry it in the Fire of Virtue (bi-nūr al-salihat) and empower [prevail upon] it with this [same] Spirit (al-rūḥ)  another time. [7] Then set it ablaze in the Fire of Reeds (nār al-qasab) until there riseth up above this [cosmic] Water (al-mā') what [deriveth] from a [greatly] treasured Crimson Oil (duhn aḥmar [an] makhzun).

[LIX]

[1]

By God!

This is indeed a result of the Gold of the Sages [= Philosopher's Stone] (min dhahab al-ḥukamā') over which souls (al-nufus) hath been perplexed and the intellects of the wise (al-hukama') bewildered. [2] Up until this moment, however, none hath attained thereto save those servantswho hath not been distracted by the trappings of the world (zakharif al-dunya') from the [messianic] Remembrance of God (dhikr-Allāh), the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting. [3] This is indeed [known as] the [transformative] Logos-Soul (al-nafs), the Blood (al-damm) and the Red Gum (al-samghat al-ḥamrā') with which he [the divine alchemist] enliveneth the mouldering bodies (ajsad al-ramīm); if, that is, he bloweth thereon with this [life-giving] Spirit (al-rūḥ).

[LX]

[1]

Then thou,

O Assemblage occupied with Alchemical practise!  (malā' al-san`a)

 Seek ye fervently! but be thou conscious of the [dangers of the cosmic] Fire (al-nār) such that thou shalt not bring it to bear upon [the proto-"Gold"] to the extent which results in injury for this [ethereal] Fire (al-nār) doth both decompose  (yufsid) and restore  (yuslih) as thou wouldst know if thou wert befittingly aware. [2] Such is that which We mentioned about the Fire (al-nar), the Gold (al-dhahab), the Soul (al-nafs), the sulphurous Water (mā' al-kibrit), the Divine Water (mā' al-ilāhī) and the Airy Water (mā'  al-hawā').[3] And there applieth unto this [Elixir] all the divine Names and Attributes (al-asmā' wa'l-ṣifāt) in its various inner grades and levels in the light of their appropriate correspondences as indicated by the manifestation of [miscellaneous] hues [colours] and modes of activity (al-alwān wa'l-af`al). [4] Wherefore do We instruct thee to the end that all may attain certitude through this unlettered Iraqi Youth [Bahā'-Allāh] (al-fata al-umm al-`iraq ) possessed of such sciences (li-`ulum) as surpass those of the ancients (al-awwalin) and have never been comprehended by those of this latter period (al-ākhirūn). [5] This perchance their souls might thereby inwardly comprehend and they desist from such idle speculationsas they indulge in this day.

[LXI]

[1]

Wherefore, O my Brother!

should there be manifested for thee upon the surface of the [cosmic] Water (al-mā') this Luminous Child (al-walad al-nūrānī) and this Spiritual Infant (al-tufl al-ruḥānī) then little by little remove it until thy [alchemical] charge (amr) shall be completed for thee. [2] By God! If this [image on the surface of the water] should be envisioned, the [fervent] heat of the [cosmic] Fire (humma al-nār) would bedazzle the sight. [3] Then exalted be the [Divine] [Fashioner] Alchemist (al-sani`),  the Creator, the Omnipotent, the Ruler, the Mighty, the Awesome. [4] This [visage] is indeed of the substance [foundation] of the Spirit (al al-ruh) as well as an established reality (haqiqa). [5] And if it should be designated something else it would [again] be [something] metaphorical(majaz). [6] Through it the bodies of the dead (ajsād al-mayyita) would be brought to life and would rise up from their tombs and be gathered in the domain of reconstitution (arḍ al-tadbīr). [7] Then shall the resurrection of bodies (qiyāmat al-ajsad) be manifest for thee on the Day in which He shall sound the Trumpet (yanfaha fi al-ṣūr), on which the [bodily] garment of the creatures (qamīṣ al-khalā'iq) shall be renewed and all [present] be confrontedby their [past] deeds in the Sanctified Presence (mahdar al-quds) [8] And they shall be punished for all that they have committed of falsehood during their wayward lifetime; they shall discover that they will in every respect be fully recompensed. [9] Wherefore shall the melodies of the Dove be renewed and He replace all [that exists] in the heavens and on the earth. [10] He shall spread out the earth of mystic knowledge [gnosis] (arḍ al-ma`rifa), the Bird of the Divine Oneness (dīk al-aḥadiyya) shall loll [stick its tongue out] and the [true] believers shall at this moment  ride upon the [Steed] Burāq of Light. [11] Should We divulge for thee all that shall take place on this [eschatological] Day the [Sacred] Tablets (al-alwāḥ) would prove unable to bear it and souls would be convulsed thereby. [12] Thus do We refrain from mention thereof and return to Our previous theme to the end that the [Divine] Bounty which derives from God might take precedence and surround such as are clothed in the garment of existence  (qamīṣ al-wujūd).

[LXII]

[1] Then know that thou, if thou combine this [alchemical] Oil (al-duhn) which We have, in truth disclosed for thee, with this [Snow-White] Earth [of Gnosis?] (arḍ [al-ma`rifa]) it would assuredly unite to the extent that it [the Elixir] would be produced; it would indeed be most proximate, closer than if it had been disclosed for thee before thine own vision! This,  if, that is, thou should befittingly carry out this [alchemical] task (al-`amal). [2] Wherefore know thou [appropriately the secrets of] the "Gold" and the "Silver" (al-dhahāb wa'l-fiḍḍā), then the "Sun" and the "Moon" (al-shams wa'l-qamr), the "White Gum" and the "Red [Gum]" (al-samgat al-bayḍā' wa'l-ḥamrā') perchance thou might be befittingly informed. [3] And regarding this they [alchemists] say, `The alchemical work (al-`amal) is naught save the [mystery of] the two most great luminaries' (al-nayyirayn al-a`zamayn)' [= the Sun and the Moon]; just as thou art aware from the books of the people. [4] And in this respect know thou also  that they say that our "Gold" is not the common gold and likewise the "Silver" (al-fiḍḍa) that thou do ordinarily know about. [5] Such "Gold" (dhahab) is indeed that which We have named `Possessed of Dual Wings' (dhu'l-janahayn) for it was a bird soaring in all of the bodies (ta'ir fi'l-ajsad) and [something] designated with all the [various alchemical]  names (al-asmā'). [6]It [the Bird] so designates, for example, the [element] Water (al-mā') to the end that it might stream and flow and it designates Fire (al-nār) so that it might,  by its own nature, heat things up. [7] It likewise, [designates the element] the Earth (al-arḍ) [such that it may might prove inwardly solidified]. [8] Similarly again, it [so designates] the [element] Air (al-hawa') such that it might effect combination (li-ijtima'); a uniting of what is within it [?] [9] All such as are perceptive of the mysteries of nature (asrār al-al-tabi`at) bear witness [unto] the [truth of] this matter. [10] Such are among those who have attained detachment from what is other than God and have been enabled to orient themselves towards Him; towards attaining unto a transcendent station (maqām al-a`lā).

[LXIII]

[1] Then know furthermore that this radiant [elixiroial], fiery Oil (al-duhn al-musha`sha`a al-nari) is assuredly the Crown of Crowns (iklil al-akalil), the Divine Crown (iklil al-ilahi) and the Crown of Victory (iklil al-ghalbat) since, by virtue of it, all of the bodies (al-ajsad) are regenerated [transmuted, transformed]. [2] That is to say, through it are all bodies (al-ajsād) made to recover from viscous, decayed moistness [wetnesses] (al-rutbat al-lazija al-mufsida) and the abysmal, base drynesses (al-yubusat al-muzlima al-radiyya). [3] Through it also, all that hath been created upon the earth will be cured from all diseases. [4] It is assuredly the quintessence of [the divine, Cosmic] Activity (jawhar al-fa`il) from which are established the foundations of the world (qawwam al-`alām). [5] It is [also] the "Heat" without which there would be no motion (al-haraka);  for motion is a result of  the  action which is engendered thereby.   [6] Wherefore know ye that all science [knowledge] is by virtue of the heat (min al-harara) [as thou would realise] if, that is, thou should  ponder the essences of the science [knowledge] of reality (jawahir `ilm al-haqiqa). [7] Assuredly is it the resting-place of the valiant (rahl al-shuj`an), [as well as] the Male Organ (al-dhakar), the Youth (al-shabāb), the Mercury (al-zaibaq), the Orient (al-mashriq), and the Spirit [Soul] (al-rūḥ) which bloweth over the mouldering bones (al-`azam al-ramīma) causing them (with the permission of God, the King, the Powerful, the Self-Subsisting) to rise up.

[LXIV]

[1] Then know thou that the Spirit (al-rūḥ) is naught but the increased density [of the ethereal] Water (al-mā' al-munjamid)upon the face of the snow-white Earth (al-arḍ al-bayḍā'). [2] This results from a directive [Cause-Logos] (amr) from which it doth suddenly appear; even as rapid divine revelation (al-waḥy al-sari`). [3] And God made it [the Spirit] to be triumphant over all things for this is assuredly that which, from time immemorial overshadoweth all things through the shadow of the name of God, the Triumphant (al-ghalib), the Powerful (al-qadir). [4] Manifest therefrom are the traces of power (āthār al-qudrat)  [as thou wouldst observe] if thou should  attain unto this station  (maqām).

[LXV]

 [1] And this snow-white Earth (al-arḍal-bayḍā') is assuredly a [philosopher's] Stone (li-hajar) from which gusheth forth streams  (al-anhār) which are one in their species [gender, class] (hiya waḥdat fi jinsihā) and likewise one in their organized mode (tadbīriha waḥidat) if thou would multiply this oneness  (wāḥid) thou wouldst witness four. [2] It's similitude  (mithāl) is the [isolated letter] "A" (al-alif) the like of which We have already made mention for this [letter] "A" is one in its "Soul" (nafs). [3] It is not subject to enumeration though enumeration does result  from it. [4] Multiplicity emergeth therefrom though thou do yet observe the multiplicity of the worlds of numbers (kathirāt `awālim al-a`dād) through the Countenance of the One (ṭal`at al-wāḥid). [5] This ["A"] is [indeed] the [Philosopher's] Stone (al-hajar) in which the three species (ajnās al-thalālitha) are combined as thou do assuredly testify with thine own eyes, if, that is, thou art experienced in the knowledge [science] of God (`ilm Allāh). [6] It [the "A" = Elixir= Stone =Spirit] is certainly evocative of the "Night of Destiny" (laylat al-qadr; Q. 97:1f) for thereon is a thing determined according to a hidden knowledge (`ilm maknūn). [7] God concealeth it from the inmost hearts of His servants just as the "Night of Destiny" (laylat al-qadr) is concealed from such as fail to gaze with the vision of God (bi-baṣar Allāh) into the realities of things (haqā'iq al-ashyā'). [8] And We compare it [the hidden decree?] to the "Night" (al-layla) because darkness and shadows  (al-sawād wa'l-ẓalima) become manifest therein after the primordial structuring [regulation of fate?] (tadbīr al-awwāl). [9] This resulteth from the shadows  (al-ẓalimat) within which was determined the Water of Life (mā' al-ḥayawān). [10]  Such is of the Reality (al-ḥaqq) about which thou hast heard aforetime.

[LXVI]

[1]

Now Hearken thou! O concourse of the Bayān!

Then ponder upon that which hath been sent down aforetime in the Criterion (al-furqān = the Qur'ān) [regarding the] determination of the threefold shadows; this to the end that thine eyes might be solaced thereby and thou attain unto the acme of that after which the people hath striven in their search. [2] And thou, O thou servant! Know thou that Bahā' [-Allāh] was immortalized (khaḍara, `rendered verdent' as Khiḍr?) when he attained unto the Dawning-Place of Eternal Subsistence (mashriq al-baqā') nigh the Source of this Water (ma`īn al-mā'); [though] he was not concerned therewith neither did he drink therefrom inasmuch as the Spirit [Soul] (al-ruh) reoriented him (qallabahu) through his own Logos-Self (min nafsihi) in a Mighty, Beloved, Right-Hand direction (cf. Q. 18:18). [3] This inasmuch as this Youth (al-fata) [Bahā'-Allāh] desireth not Eternal Subsistence(al-baqā') for his [own] Self  in this earthly domain (al-mulk); [nay, rather!] he extendeth his Logos-Spirit (rūḥ) and all that is before him for the sake of all that inhabit the heavens and the earth. [4] Such is what he hath chosen for his own Self (li-nafsihi) in a state of love before God, the King, the Help in Peril, the Powerful, the Praised One.

[5]

Say: O people! By God!

This servant desireth nothing at all for himself  and seeketh assistance from no one in the earthly domain  save God alone. [6] Unto the truth of this testifieth the Tongue of the Divine Oneness (lisān al-aḥadiyya ) in a concealed, Unseen Pavilion (surādiq ghayb masṭūr).

[LXVII]

[1]

Say: This is the "Lamp" (al-sirāj)

which hath not sought the "Niche" (al-mishkat) from anyone; [2] He doth not take exclusive possession within his own Logos-Self of the [theophanic] Fire (al-nār) and hath not beamed forth by virtue of anything other than God, the Unique, the Mighty, the Transcendent, the Self-Subsisting. [3] Then thank thou God, thy Creator! in that he hath unveiled for thee the mysteries through this resplendent, delimited Pen (al-qalam al-durrī al-mahdud). [4] It [revelation of the Pen] was indeed a thing delimited only by virtue of its self-generated delimitation (maḥdūd an bi-ḥudūdihi) though God maketh to flow therefrom what is unlimited, what hath no extremity for therein thou should indeed witness the mysteries of the [transcendent divine] abstraction (asrār al-tafrīd) in this delimited reality (fi hadhā al-taḥdīd). [10] Such is of the knowledge which God hath taught My Pen! [11] This to the end that all might attain certitude since (with His permission) are the heavens of knowledge (samāwāt al-`ilm) folded up in His right-hand (matwiyyati fi yaminihi) and the earth of wisdom (ard al-ḥikma) (again, with His permission) deposited therein. [12] Yet do all [still wonder whether to] enquire [of Us/Him]after the wonders of His knowledge!

[LXVIII]

[1]  Then know that the first thing that was originated from the genesis of pre-existent Eternity (hadatha min muhdath al-qadim) in the worlds of creation  were the four Elements  (al-`anasir al-arba`ah).[2] According to thy time-honoured and current designation they are(1) Fire (al-nār), (2) Air (al-hawā'), (3) Water (al-mā')  and  (4) Earth (al-arḍ). [3] Thereafter appeared the four Natures (Gk stoicheia [elements] usuqusāt al-arba`ah) which, as thou do enumerate  and know  [them], are (1) "Hotness" (al-harara), (2) "Wetness" (al-rutūbah),  (3) "Coldness" (al-burūdah) and (4) "Dryness" (al-yubūsah). [4] Hence, when thou do mix and combine them there is manifested for every one of them two pillars (ruknayn); thus, relative to the Fire (li'l-nār), it is [the two `elements']   (1) Hotness (al-harara) and (4) Dryness (al-yubūsah). [5] And it is likewise for the three remaining [Elements, al-`anasir) about which fundamentals (al-qawā'id) thou shouldst acquaint thyself. [6] Through them did God create all that does exist in the worlds of creation  be they transcendental realities or things mundane (al-`ulwiyyat wa'l-sufliyyat), which is all that maintains through time due [equilibrium] [the] balance of their natures (taba'[y]i`uhu)  just as thou witnesseth in the sun and the moon. [7]  And whatever fails  to maintain [the] requisite balance of their natures does speedily perish just as thou can observe in the lower worlds of creation (`awālim al-suflā).

[LXIX]

[1] Strive thou then to become aware of the diverse aspects of the harmonious balance associated with the metals [minerals] (al-mu`tadila min al-ma`ādin). [2] Such will prove more straightforward of being regulated relative to the [accomplishment of the alchemical] task (ashal tasbīr an fi'l-`amal); if that is, thou act appropriately for the [alchemical] process (al-amr) is not actualized save through separation (tafsīl), purification (tathīr) and [re-] combination (tazwīj). [3] This is in conformity with the reality about which all the Prophets (al-anbiyā') have spoken forth. [4] And thou, when thou become aware of the foundational reality of nature (uss al-tabi`a) pertaining to the divine metal [mineral] (min ma`din al-ilāhiyya) take therefrom only according to thy requirement then refine [distill] it though the Water of Life (qattirhā bi-mā' al-ḥayy) which lieth within its nature and is the very closest of things within and relative to it (aqrab al-ashya' bi-hā wa li-hā). [5] This such that the foundational nature is transmuted and becomes snow-white (bayḍā'), of pristine purity (naqiyya). [6] Then allow the [internal] "water" to empower it [the transformed foundational reality] (thumma sallit `alayha al-ma') and produce [moisture] dew therefrom, (wa-dha`aha fi 'l-nada) until, to a limited extent, this [resultant] foundational reality (al-uss) is subject to differentiation [transmutation]. [7] And [thus will] this [interactive cosmic] Spirit (al-rūḥ) [ = "Water"] reconfigure this "Earth"  [8] After that place it [the reconfigured `Earth'] in darkness until it is mixed and reconstituted into a single reality whereupon [thou should] coagulate [thicken] it upon a gentle fire and repeat this [process] twice or even more times; the process, that is, of coagulation (al-`aqd)  and differentiation  (al-hall)  for such is especially in conformity with reality if thou desire to operate in this way. [9] If thou should prove incapable of this, then cause this [instrisic] "water" (al-mā') to empower this "earth" substance (al-arḍ) then maintain it in the differentiated state  until this [internal] Water (al-mā')  is reconstituted [as something] snow-white (bayda'), of pristine purity (naqiyya). [10] Thereafter wax this [new] "earth" (al-ard) with this [instinsic] "water" (bi'l-ma') such that thou shalt attain to the utmost degree according to thy desire. [11] Then differentiate it after the waxing process (al- tashmi`) for the final stage of the waxing process (muntaha al-tashmi`) was the first state of differentiation (maqam al-hall). [12] After the differentiation  thou shalt coagulate  it and then shall the [alchemical] work of the Moon (`amal al-qamar) be completed and thou shalt witness the power of God (qudrat Allāh) with thine own vision; if that is thou wouldst come to realization in accordance with that which We have stipulated in this Tablet.  [13] In such manner shalt thou perform the [alchemical] task for knowledge [necessarily] preceeds the [alchemical] work (al-`aml).

[LXX]

[1]

Heed ye! Heed ye! O Concourse of the Bayān!

Before ye take [alchemical] action with respect to all that We have taught thee, do not carry out this matter. [2] Such is My [Our] advice unto thee so hearken ye! if that is, thou desire to tread the paths of Reality. [3] Then know thou that foundational reality  [is a term which] might designate the "water" (al-mā') for the "water" (al-mā') is the basis of the [alchemical] operations (al-asl fi al-a`mal) from which cometh the pure Oil (al-duhn al-safi); whatsoever is oiled therewith shall never be [destructively] set ablaze. [4] This is indeed of the "Water" (al-mā') through which God giveth live unto the "earth" (al-ard) after its death and from which the revivification [resurrection] (al-nushur) is realized [5] Some there are among the Prophets (al-anbiya') who are sages (al-hukama') [alchemical initiates] such as were wholly self-sufficient through this "water" (al-mā') by virtue of [the performance of] this [alchemical] work (`aml). [6] They extracted by means of it whatsoever they desired  according to the superlative procedures (ghayat al-quswā) and [the mysteries of] this [alchemy] is of the real, the hidden science (`ilm ḥaqq maktūm). [7] Whoso acknowledgeth [the truth of] this is numbered among such as hath had their hearts examined for faith by God and been taught by God about the Mercury (al-zaibaq) and its unique oneness. [8] This [alchemical secret] is a treasurewhich hath assuredly been sealed with the Seal of God. [9] And if thou desire  to [perform] the [alchemical] task of the Sun (`aml al-shams) relative to the [production of] gold (al-dhahab) then return ye to this body (al-jasad) which is of the Pure Oil (min al-duhn al-safi). [10] This [Oil] is that which We hath mentioned aforetime and which We designated the "Gold of the people" (dhahab al-qawm) and the "Sulphur of the Ultimately Real" (kibrīt al-ḥaqq) for thou art bewildered over the performance of the [alchemical] task

[LXXI]

[1] By God! We mentioned for thee all of the aspects of the [alchemical] work (kull al-a`mal)  and cast upon thee science such as hath not been available to any soul aforetime. [2] And thou shalt bear witness thereto in both thy spirits and thy souls if thou art truly perceptive [3] We have mentioned unto thee what is a clarification of the miscellaneous allusions pertaining to the [theory of the] balance of the qualities [of the foundational nature of things] for whosoever hath become privy thereto hath assuredly become insightful [successful] through the superlative Divine bounty (bi'l-`inaya [ghayat] al-quswā) through this Lordly Wisdom and this Divine Bestowal [as thou wouldst know] if thou wert truly aware.

[LXXII]

[1] Thus at this moment have We cast upon thee what will make thee independent of such as have been devoted to the [alchemical] art (al-san`a). [2] Know then that if thou should understand that the [alchemical] matter (al-amr) is naught save what is accomplished  through "Mercury" and "Sulphur" (min al-zaibaq al-kibrīt) [3] then thou would realize also that these two are [alchemically] represented by the "Sun" and the "Moon" (fi al-shams wa'l-qamar) which are [in the symbolic language of certain alchemists] "Gold" and "Silver" (al-dhahab wa'l-fiḍḍah). [4] Know [thou] also that salt (milh) is saline (malīh) in the subsistent constituency of bodies (tahlil al-ajsad) since thou [pl.] shall in no wise find better that it for the sake of [obtaining] Gold  [as would be evident] if, that is thou should [carefully] examine all aspects of the[constituent alchemical realities of] things. [5] This in that within the spiritual essence of their nature is a universal archetype (munasibat kulliyya) which is not fully explicable through the pen even if thou should write for the duration of thy lifetime. [6] And thou, if thou should produce this salt from its source mine, then distill [filter] it and disassociate the lime (kils) which is produced and generated there from until it become a single Reality [unique Spirit] (nafs an waḥdat) and a durable Oil (duhn an thabit); then, by God! thou would attain unto the summit of knowledge and the apex of whatsoever is known.  [7] This  since within the salts (al-amlah) are secreted the inmost mysteries of concealed hidden things  like unto the penultimate sciences which thou might witness treasured up within purified hearts. [8] [The realization of] Such [truth] is [indeed] an aspect of the reality of certitude (ḥaqq al-yaqīn) after which all the people, being destitute thereof,  do assuredly wander aimlessly in the vale of ignorance.

[LXXIII]

[1] Thus doth the Dove of Knowledge warble in beloved, ecstatic accents upon the branches of wisdom [2] In this respect have We communicated sufficiently; though We remain fearful of the [disclosure of the alchemical] matter (al-amr) which We have unveiled for thee in sublime, lucid allusions  (even though none shall attain thereto save through the love of God and of his chosen ones).  [3] This is what this Supreme Pen bestoweth upon thee in these specified Tablets (al-alwāḥ al-ma`dud) though thou, if thou should hearken unto My bounty,  would seek from God what would render thee self-sufficiently independent of gold and silver. [4] By God! Should thou befittingly hearken [unto what hath just been communicated] thou would realize that this is the very furthermost degree of the [mysteries of the alchemical] matter (al-amr). [5] This inasmuch as gold and silver maketh none truly self-sufficient [wealthy]. [6] Nay rather! they increase [naught but] poverty (al-faqr)  [as thou would realize] if thou should befittingly observe!  [7] Yet, relative to this matter, do We make supplication for thee to the end that thou be made self-sufficiently independent of all such as inhabit the heavens and the earth. [8] This that is, if thou should take firm hold of the thread of the [reality of the alchemical] matter (khayt al-amr) contained in this discourse.

[LXXIV]

[1] Then know [thou] that this [letter] "A" (al-alif) was revealed at the beginning of the Criterion (al-furqan) [= the Qur'ān] and We, verily, have expounded it for thee by means of subtle allusions such as render intellects speechless. [2] It, verily, hath been created by means of the [letter] "A" (al-alif) which was revealed in the Bayān on the part of God, the Help in Peril, the Exalted, the Self-Subsisting. [3] Yet before Him [the Ultimate God] is it [the letter "A"]  something non-existent as would be evident if thou should ponder over its mysteries. [4] [And if thou consider the matter] on another level it [the "A"] represents His [God's] Logos-Self and His Essence (fi maqām kana nafsihi wa dhātihi) [as would be evident] if thou should enter into the pavilion of the divine Unity (surādiq al-tawḥīd).

[LXXV]

[1] And relative to this matter know thou  the station of this straight, upright [letter] "A" (maqām al-alif al-qā'ima al-mustaqīma) on the Day on which God will commission [raise up] the gems of knowledge  through a sanctified, expected Point [= the Bāb]. [2] [So too shall it be] When man yuẓhiru-hu Allah ("Him Whom God shall make manifest" = the Bābi messiah) shall come upon the cloud of knowledge and power (`ala sahab al-`ilm wa'l-qudrat) with the angels of the Cause (malā'ikat al-amr) at his right-hand and when all in the heavens and on the earth shall swoon away at the [judgemental] thunderbolt (sayqa) of that Day. [3] On that [eschatological] Day shall the pillars of the creatures  be seized with trembling and all be overtaken with turmoil at the Majesty of the Cause of God (amr Allāh). [4] So shall there be joyous felicitation for such as have attained unto [the presence of] His Beauty (jamāl); then, in his presence, enter into the Paradise of Holiness  [5] Should they at that instant be commanded to do something they would neither say "why?" or "wherefore?"  [6] In the light of what they had been commanded they would  assuredly speed on and not be at all fearful regarding the [inhibiting limitations of] the concourse of the Bayān; they would be as a suckling infant galloping forward at the bosom of the Mercy of God. [7] They would neither vacillate over anything  nor be fearful of anyone. [8] And if all in the [concourse of the] Bayān or another religious community should [attempt to] hinder them they would not be held back, neither would they be made to turn aside in consequence of any [single] thing. [9] They would not even open their eyes towards anyone for they would [be forever] gazing upon the pristine [divine, messianic] Beauty (arf al-jamāl).

[10]

Now do We beseech God that He render Us successful  and beware ye of the factions which do circle  around him;  such as are present upon his carpet and who give heroic  testimony in his presence to the effect that He, verily, is assuredly the Powerful, the Giver, the Mighty, the Beloved One.

 


 

Select Notes in Commentary and Exposition

Stephen Lambden 1990s - 2015.  

 The reading at xxx:xx is attested by a majority of mss. Thus, for example, the words "With the expiration of "Alif-Lām-Mīm-Ṣād" (= cf. Q . 2:1 [7:1]; abjad 71 [161] ) through to "Alif-Lām-Mīm-Ra'" [see Q.13; abjad 271] the [ 7 sets of Isolated letters [?] total = 1,267 = 1,260 AH = 1844 CE) the Mahdi [Bāb] shall rise up". [19] Wherefore shouldst thou, in like manner, observe and be informed of such [chronological] mysteries in all the [isolated] letters (al-hurufat) until the moment (hin) [cf. abjad = 68 = 1268?] when there shall beam forth the [messianic] Lights of a sacred, beloved Dawn (fajr quds mahbub)" add Bāb refs...