TB Sahar + Ism A`zam

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ مِنْ بَهَائِكَ

An untitled Tablet of Bahā'-Allāh identifying and celebrating the word Bahā' in the Du`ā al-saḥar with himself as the Greatest Name of God.

Trans. Stephen Lambden UCMerced.

This wepage is being revised and corrected. 2015.

Persian text in Behmardi, ed. La`ali-yi Ḥikmah II:183.

 بسمي الذي به اشرق نور البيان من أفق الامكان

يا أيها الناظر الى الوجه والمذكور لدى العرش ا مروز لسان برهان درملكوت  البيان باين كلمهء مباركهء عليا،   ،اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي   أَسْأَلُكَ مِنْ بَهَائِكَ بِأَبْهَاهُ  وَكُلُّ بَهَائِكَ بَهِيٌّ هذا اسم الله الاعظم الذي اخبر به حجة الله و برهانه ، لعمري ما ظهر ذكر ولا بيان اصرح من ذلك طوبى، للمنصفين،  هدا اسم ارتعدت منه فرائص المشركين   واطمئنت به افئدة المقربين، أقبل وقل   الملك والملكوت فى فبضة  قدرة الله و رب العالمين  الذي لم تمنعه الصفوف ولا اقوى جنود العالم يفعل  ما يشاء ويحكم ما يريد وهو العزيز الحميد.

 In My Name through which the Light of Exposition (nūr al-bayān) hath radiated forth from the Horizon of Possibility (ufq al-imkān).

 O Thou who gazest towards the [Divine] Countenance and are one mentioned nigh the Divine Throne! Today  the Tongue of the Proof  in the Kingdom of Exposition (malakūt al-bayān) giveth utterance to this Elevated, Blessed, Word (kalimat-i mubāraka-i `ulyā') :

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ مِنْ بَهَائِكَ بِأَبْهَاهُ

 ...وَكُلُّ بَهَائِكَ بَهِيٌّ، اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ بِبَهَائِكَ كُلِّهِ

"O my God! I beseech Thee by Thy Bahā' (Splendor) at its most Splendid (abhā') for all Thy Splendor (bahā') is truly resplendent (bahiyy)..."

This is the Greatest Name of God (ism Allāh al-a`ẓam) which was announced by the proof of God (hujjat Allāh) and His evidence [the messianic Imam]. By My Life! There hath not appeared  either any mention (dhikr) nor any evidence (bayān) more lucid (aṣraḥ) than this.

Blessed then be such demand justice (ṭubā li'l-munṣifiyyin)!

This is a Name through which the limbs of the unbelievers (farā'iṣ al-mushrikīn) hath been made to quake and whereby the hearts of those who are nigh unto God (afida al-muqarrabīn) hath been made tranqil. So draw ye nigh and say: `The Kingdom and the Kingdom of God (al-mulk wa'l-malakūt) are in the grasp of the power of God, the Lord of all the worlds! He it is whom the [ military] ranks (al-ṣufūf) cannot hold back nor the powers of the hosts of the world (junūd al-`alam) overpower him. He doeth whatsoever He willeth and ordaineth whatsoever He pleaseth for He is One Mighty, Praiseworthy" 

Trans. Lambden from Behmardi, ed. La`ali-yi Ḥikmah II:183.

Some Notes on context

The Opening words of the Du`ā  Saḥar or  دعاء البهاء Supplication of Glory-Beauty (al-bahā'), A  Ramaḍān Dawn Prayer of the 5th Imam Muhammad al-Bāqir are:

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ مِنْ بَهَائِكَ بِأَبْهَاهُ

 ...وَكُلُّ بَهَائِكَ بَهِيٌّ، اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ بِبَهَائِكَ كُلِّهِ

 

The following paragraph introduces the Du'ā al-Saḥar  in Muhammad Baqir Majlisī's  (d. 1111/1699-1700) Kitāb Zad al-ma'ād: ("The Book of the Knapsack for the Eschaton")

As for the worthy, greatly respected supplication (du'a), it has been related that his highness [ the tenth] Imam [`Ali al-] Riḍā [d. 203/818] stated that this is a supplication that his highness [the fourth] Imam Muhammad Bāqir [d. c. 126/743]  would recite in the mornings. He would say that if people knew the greatness ('azamat)  of this supplication before God, the speed with which it would [enable the devotee to] be answered, they would certainly kill each other with swords in order to obtain it  And if I took an oath that the ism Allāh aI-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name of God) is in this prayer, I would be stating the truth.  Thus, when you recite this supplication, recite it with all concentration and humility and keep it hidden from other  than his people [i.e. non-Shi'is]... (Majlisī,  K. Zad,  mss. folio 63b).

 The dawn prayer referred to here is ascribed to the fifth Imam Muhammad al-Bāqir (d. c.126/743) and exists in several versions. The text can be found in numerous Twelver Shi`i devotional compilations often in sections dedicated to the Ramaḍān period. Perhaps its most famous printing is in the Mafatīḥ al-Jinān ("Keys of the Paradises") a very large (795 pages + indexes) devotional compilation by  the twelver Shī`ī scholar Shaykh `Abbās al-Qummī (d. 1319/1901). In various of the numerous editions and printings of this book the Du`ā' al-Saḥar  is referred to and indexed as the  Du`ā' al-Bahā' (lit. `The Supplication of Splendor-Glory-Beauty'). In introducing this supplication al-Qummī writes, outlining the pious actions to be carried out during Ramaḍān period,

"One should supplicate by means of the Mighty, Substantial Devotional (al-Du`ā' al-`azim al-sha`n) which has been transmitted by [the eighth Imam `Alī ] al-Riḍā' [d. 203/818]... He stated, "It is the Supplication (al-du`ā') of [the fourth Imam Muhammad] al-Bāqir [d.c. 126/743] for the dawn times (asḥār) of the month of Ramaḍān" (Mafatih, [reprinted] Beirut: Dār Iḥyā al-Turath al-`Arabī, 1422/2001, p.221).   

 Different versions of the Du`ā' al-Saḥar/Du`ā' al-Bahā' are footnoted by al-Qummi in his Mafatih al-Jinan. He writes: "We are found a transmission from [Imam Ja`far] al-Sadiq [d.c. 148/765] in the Du`ā' yawm al-Mubahalah ["Supplication for the Day of Mutual Execration] which differs from the above [printed text]. Note also the differences between the recension (nakhsh) of the Shaykh [al-Ṭā`ifa = Abu Ja`far Muhammad ibn Ḥasan al-Ṭūsī (d. 460/1067)] and the recension (nakhsh) of the Sayyid [Add] (p.221 fn.1). These two aforementioned Shi`i authorites, al-Ṭūsī and al-Sayyid [ADD] then cite somewhat different versions of the Du`ā' al-Saḥar/Du`ā' al-Bahā'. The naskh of the Sayyid is probably that contained in the مصباح المتهجد  Misbāḥ al-Mutahijjad [al-Kabir] ("The [Greater] Lamp of the Nightly Vigil") of  al-Ṭūsī.  Add here...

As far as the  text of the Du`ā' yawm al-Mubāhalah  -- printed, for example, in the Mafatīḥ al-Jinān see ed. cited pp. 320-323 and the Miṣbāḥ of  Taqī al-Dīn al-Kaf`āmī (d. 900/1494-5) editions  Beirut, 1414/1994, pp. 911-918 and Beirut, 1425/2004, pp. 879-881) -- transmitted by Ja`far al- Ṣādiq see my note and translation at :

The Du`ā' al-Saḥar is recited by Shi`i Muslims at dawn times during the fasting month of Ramaḍān. This amazing prayer was very precious to the Bab who quoted or re-revealed it numerous times in his Kitab-i Panj Sha`n (Book of the Five Grades) and Kitab al-asma’ (Book of Names). His naming of the months of the Babi-Bahā'ī year is closely related to various of the divine attributes found within this and related versions of the Dawn Prayer.

The above cited and translated scriptural Tablet of Baha'-Allah clearly identified the words baha' in the Dawn Prayer with the Mightiest or Greatest Name of God (ism Allāh al-a`ẓam). In many of his Arabic and Persian scriptural Tablets (alwāḥ) Bahā’-Allāh  cites or partially cites the opening lines of the Ramadan Du`a al-Sahar often utilizing its terminology in benedictions upon Babi-Bahā'i persons. In an untitled  Persian Tablet  headed  `He is the Powerful,  the Transcendent, the Sanctified, the Exalted, the All-Glorious, a benediction is uttered upon the young Bahā'i martyr Āqā Buzūrg-i Khurasānī (executed 1871 CE) who was entitled Badī` ("Wonderful") in which the slightly modified phrase (the 2nd person suffix and the bi are  omitted)  `alay-hu min kull bahā' abha-hu   ("upon him be all the Bahā' at its Most Splendid (abhā)...

 Bahā'-Allāh likewise several times commented upon this Arabic prayer and frequently alluded to it. Certain passages within his Tablets addressed to Samandar (e.g. Ayat-i bayyinat, No. 152 see below), for example,  quote sections of the first line of this prayer . Thus, referring to Samandar in one Tablet Baha’u’llah says,

if the substance of this letter were sent to the beloved of the inmost heart of his eminence Samandar, may the fire of divine love be upon him, through all of the Bahā' (glory) at its most splendid (abha-hu) ...  (Ayat-i bayyinat, No. 152 pp.[318-9], 319).

Another slightly variant example is found within a section of  text extant within a mss. Tablet of Baha'u'llah to Hadrat-i ism-i Zayn [al-Muqarrabin] dated 18th Dhu'l-Hijjah 1300 (=18th October 1883 CE):

"His eminence Ism-Allah jim-mim ["J" "M" = Jamal = Jamal-i Burujirdi (?)], upon him be of the fullness of Bahā' (Splendor) at its most Splendid (abhā'-hu)..." (Brit. Library mss. Or 15700, 4).

The opening line of the Dawn Prayer of Muhammad al-Baqir contains no less than five terms derived from the same triliteral root from which the verbal noun bahā'  and the superlative abhà (all-glorious) is derived, including bahiyy (= `resplendent', `radiant', `glorious', `luminous', etc.). Bahā'-Allāh drew attention to this in a number of his Arabic and Persian scriptural Tablets. For an example URL:

 

 دعاء البهاء

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ مِنْ بَهَائِكَ بِأَبْهَاهُ

 ...وَكُلُّ بَهَائِكَ بَهِيٌّ، اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ بِبَهَائِكَ كُلِّهِ

O my God!

I beseech Thee by Thy Bahā' (Splendor) at its most splendid (abhā') for all Thy Splendor (bahā') is truly resplendent (bahiyy). I, verily, O my God! beseech Thee by the fullness of Thy Splendor (bahā').

 That this prayer contained the al-ism al-a`zam (Greatest Name [of God]) was specifically stated by the certain of the Shī`ī Imams -- though exactly which name of God is not specified. Shī`ī Muslims thus believe that this prayer is very powerful on account of the Greatest Name being within it. So too Bahā'īs who identify the Greatest Name with its first major divine attribute al-bahā' (= "splendour", "glory", "radiance"...). That person who reads it is supposed to have their wishes granted by God. In one of his Tablets Baha-Allah has  referred to this Du`ā saḥar  of Muhammad al-Baqir  as the Lawh-i baqā ("The Tablet of Eternity") and stated that all should have recognized him on account of the opening words (cited above and below also).

 

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