TB Lawh-i [Muhammad `Ali] Sayyah I Introduction

The Lawh-i  [Muhammad `Ali] Sayyah 

("The Tablet of the Traveler")

of Mirza Husayn `Ali Nuri, Baha'-Allah (1817-1892).

 

Introduction, Mss. Texts and Translation

Stephen Lambden, UCMerced.

 198X + 2005-Under revision 2015

The Lawḥ-i Sayyāḥ  "Tablet of the Traveler" or "Courier" is also known (for reasons that are nor clear) as the Sūrat al-widād ("The Sura the Love"). It is to be dated to the early Edirne [Adrianople] period (c.1864/5?) and is wholly in Arabic being primarily addressed to Mullā [Hajjī] Muhammad `Alī-yi Sayyāh Maḥallatī, known as Adā Gāzal [Turk.(?) =`Illustrious [Good of] Name' Per. nāknām (Ganj, 79] Marāghihā (d. Cyprus August 4th 1871).

The wholly Arabic text of the Lawh-i Sayyah can be found in :

  • INBMC 36:53-60. Stephen N. Lambden (Rev. May 1998),
  • Add
  • Lambden Haifa, BWC supplied text (Feb. 1987)

 

A Note on Lawh-i Sayyah XX"Xf.

 The expression wādī al-nabīl (lit. `illustrious vale' or "Vale of Nabīl") in a mystical passage towards the end of this Tablet has been interpretated by Bahā'-Allāh himself as prophetic of  `Akkā (Acre in Ottoman Palestine) his final place of exile. This in the light of the fact that the numerical (abjad) value of the words Nabīl and the place name `Akkā  both equal 92. The pasage in question is as follows:

When [in fact] We discovered them in this state We wept over them and over Our [My] isolation and Our [My] withdrawal and We withdrew from them even as the [gentle] wafting of the zephyr from a sanctified, exquisitely inhabited (?) Riḍwān  until We arrived in the Vale [Wādī] of Nabīl [= abjad 92 = abjad `Akkā'] (wādī al-nabīl).  Such [This] is the rivulet [spring] (al-ma`āyn) by virtue of which Salsabīl cascadeth  upon this Name from which the Kingdom of Names (malakūt al-asmā') hath appeared for it was supremely sanctified from depiction in all worlds."


 In a lengthy untitled Persian Tablet composed almost a decade later, in a Tablet of the (mid. 1293/1876-7) `Akkā period, Bahā'u'llāh at one point states after citing and interpreting various Bābī writings and biblical texts,

"Wherefore in the Land of Mystery (arḍ al-sirr = Edirne, Adrianople] was it [`Akkā, Palestine, Holy Land, Bahā'-Allāh] designated by the Tongue of Grandeur [in the Lawḥ-i Sayyāh) as the Vale of Nabīl (wād[ī] al-nabīl) and this is that Vale (wād[ī) in which the Call [Voice] of the prophets (nidā' jamā`-yi anbiyā')  was raised up..." (MA 7:[174-255], 190)

 Referring to this matter in his God Passes By, Shoghi Effendi writes,

Bahā'u'llāh himself, as attested by Nabīl in his narrative, had as far back as the first years of His banishment to Adrianople, alluded to that same city [`Akkā] in his Lawḥ-i Sayyāh, designating it as the "Vale of Nabīl,"...

"Upon Our arrival We were welcomed with banners of light, whereupon the Voice of the Spirit cried out saying: "Soon will all that dwell on earth be enlisted under  these banners.'" (GPB:184).