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QA. XIII [13] Sūrat al-Firdaws (The Surah of Paradise) on Qur'ān 12:12


Part  XIII

 سورة الفردوس

  Sūrat al-Firdaws

(The Surah of Paradise) 


Qur'ān 12:12

Translation Stephen N. Lambden

1982-2020 - Under revision - last updated 30-01-2020.


بسم اللّه الرّحمن الرّحيم

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate


"Send him [Joseph] with us [the brothers] tomorrow, to frolic and play; surely we shall be watching over him" (Q.12:12, tr. Arberry).




[Ṭā-Hā-Mīm = T-H-M. Abjad = 9+5+40 = 54].

[4] Blessed be He Who, no God is there except Him. In His hands is the Cause [command, matter, affair] (al-amr). He is indeed God Who hath ever been Powerful over all things. [5] We indeed ordained, in truth, in very truth, a shameful relapse (nuks an) for everyone [cf. Q. 21:65; 54:6]  yet in truth, in very truth, for every challenging difficulty (`usr) there cometh ease (yusr an) [cf. Q. 65 + 98:4-5]. [6] This perchance the people might be informed that the Gate of God (bab Allah) [the Bab] is indeed the True One (al-haqq). And He is God who hath ever been a witness (shahid an) regarding the true believers (al-mum'minin).

     [7] He [the Bab] is indeed the one who made the sun and the moon (al-shams wa'l-qamar) to be two flashing lights of fire (husban min al-nar)  and We decreed for these twain in accordance with the Book of the Cause (kitab al-amr), as accords with the waystations of destiny (manazil al-qadir), which are, in truth, in very truth (`ala al-haqq bi'l-haqq), equitably placed (ta`dil an) at the midmost-heart of the [Sinaitic-theophanic] Fire (qutb al-nar).  [8] Nay Indeed! The sun (al-shams) rises up nigh it for never does the moon (al-qamar) overtake it in its journey. Never does the moon (al-qamar) surpass the sun (al-shams) in its radiance (diya'). For every appointed time (ajal) is prescribed in line with an authorization (al-idhn). There is nothing save its wisdom was authorized in the Mother Book (umm al-kitab) through that Bab! [9] He is the one who made to descend these verses (al-ayat) from the clouds of His Power (saha'ib qudratihi), an Olive Tree (shajarat zaytun)  neither of the East nor of the West, neither earthly nor heavenly, situated upon this [Sinaitic] Mount about the upright alphabetical script [equatorial zone] (khatt al-istiwa') above the pathways of rectitude (subul al-sawa') and sent down, with he permission of the All-Merciful, in the vicinity of the Gate (hawl- al-bab).   


O Servants of the All-Merciful!

Believe ye in God, the True One (al-haqq)! Do not complain about the Cause of the Remembrance (amr al-dhikr) for God is your Lord (mawla), the True One (al-haqq). He is indeed One Powerful over all things. [11] Now We, we expound [clarify] the verses in that Book [the Qur'an] in Truth (bi'l-haqq) for there is no  providential authority (wali) save through insights provided by the people of the Bab. These are they who have ever been covenanted in the Mighty Book of God situated about the theophanic Fire (hawl al-nar). [12]  Such are they who have believed in their Lord, in very truth  upright (qayyim) for they are upon this [Elevated] Path of `Ali (sirat `ali[yy]) true to the rectitude of the Straight Path. [13] They are indeed those who do not prefer another deity aside from God Himself and are are faithful to the covenant of God (`ahd Allah), the True One (al-haqq), praiseworthy (mahmud an) according to the mode of Justice (khatt al-qist). [14] These, with the permission of God, are the Inmates of Paradise (ahl al-firdaws), eternally therein visioning naught except a Spirit upon Spirit (ruh an `ala al-ruh)  on the part of the Elevated Remembrance of God (min `ind dhikr Allah al-`aliyy). And He is indeed God, One Mighty, Magnificent. [15] They are such as exist reclining (muttaka'un) upon the Crimson Heights situated nigh the Bab (Gate). They do not vision therein a sun (shams an) or any atmospheric firmament (hawa') save they encounter the angels (al-mala'ika) through the Elevated Remembrance of God (dhikr Allah al-`aliyy), evident by virtue of the Name of God, the Living One (al-hayy). [16] This is indeed the Day (yawm) promised by God, thy Fashioner, for His servants who proclaim on Our behalf, "Upon them be Peace! Peace! (salam an salam an).     


O Servants of the All-Merciful!

Have We not made, in very Truth,  the earth (al-ard) for thee to be something spread out (mastuh)? [cf.Q. 88:20; Isaiah 40:1ff). And We decreed the heaven (al-sama') to be above you well-guarded [preserved] (mahfuzan) about the centre of the Divine Throne (markaz al-`arsh). [18] And We, with the permission of God, the Ancient of days [Pre-existent] (al-qadim), created thee, in truth, in a manner involving a variety of stages (atwaran). [19] What for thee would it be if thou should not return dignified before God, the Mighty? [20] What for thee would it be if We should make the sea  to swell up (masjur an) before thee? [Q. 52:6] [21] Did We not make of the earth (al-ard) something barren and desolate [humbled]? [cf. Q.41:39b] to the end that thou [pl.] should move away therefrom? Whatsoever thou should manage to cultivate for thyselves will be through the bounty of the Gate (min fadl al-Bab), an expression of gratitude before God, the True One! [22] What would there be for thee if thou should fail to believe in the Elevated Dhikr (Remembrance) of God, the True One? In truth but a little! [23] What would there be for thee if thou should lie outside of the Truth [True One] (al-haqq) regarding the verses of God, (ayat Allah) the One Praised, yet considered haughty (mustakabir), one ridiculed (sikhri an ) [by those] opposed to the True Way (al-haqq).  [24] Hellfire (al-nar) shall indeed encompass these [wayward ones] in the very abyss of the Ark (qa`r al-tabut). This with the permission of One Exalted (`aliyy). He is God who hath ever been One All-Knowing, Pre-Existent [Ancient of Days]. [25] God hath indeed prepared for the unbelievers amongst thee a determination of Justice (khatt al-`adl), in very Truth, an eternal punishment, in Truth  something excruciatingly painful.

[26] And should the brothers of Joseph say unto their father [Jacob-Israel], "In truth [the True One] sent our brother [Joseph] with us [at dawn time] tomorrow (ghad) according to an inscribed mystery relating to thy mystery (sirr min sirrika al-mastur) secreted about the inscribed alphabetical line (al-satr mastur an); [see Q.12:12] [27]. And we [brothers] assuredely desired that we  in very truth be with Joseph tomorrow (ghad), in very Truth manifest with the True One (al-haqq) about the theophanic Fire (al-nar); the One that is whom God decreed  to be therein. Thus do we assert! This is the [eshatological] Day (al-yawm) before which the Greatest Word (al-kalimat al-akbar) is, in Truth, in very Truth, nigh the Fourfold Mystery (`ala sirr al-murabba`) [Jacob-Israel  or the returned Muhammad, Joseph = Husayn] before God, the Pre-Existent [Ancient of Days] (al-qadim). He who, no God is there except Him. And He is God who hath ever been witness unto everything.

[28] And thus did they [the Imams] say, "O our father [Jacob-Israel] send him [Joseph = Husayn = the Bab], in very Truth, with us [brothers] tomorrow (ghad an) perchance he should dwell within the Point of Ice (nuqtat al-thalj) abount the [Sinaitic] Mount of  Coolness [Hail-Ice] (jabal al-bard) situated about the Point of Renuion (nuqtat al-wasl) relative to the entity (bi-shay') from the Point of  theophanic Fire (nuqtat al-nar), from the Point of Justice (nuqtat al-`adl) about, in Truth, in very Truth, the celestial Water of Separation (ma' al-fisal)!  This since we [brothers = Imams] were indeed, in very Truth, nigh him [Joseph = Husayn= te Bab] preserved  (hafiz an) through God, the One Praised (al-hamid). [29] And thus will our [Shi`i] party ask of us [brothers], in Truth in very Truth, about the manifestation-theophany of Our [religious] Cause (zuhur amrika) centering upon this the Greatest Gate (al-bab al-akbar). This aside from a single letter (harf) multiplied by virtue of the knowledge of this Book (`ilm al-kitab kathir an). [30] Thus did they [the brothers of Jospeh = Husayn] say, "Send him with us [brothers] tomorrow (ghad an) for he shall "frolic [enjoy himself] and play" (yarta` wa yal`ab = يرتع و يلعب) [Q.12:12b] for we [brothers], in Truth, in very Truth, shall safeguard and preserve (hafiz mahfuz an ) [Q,12:12b] his religious Cause (amr) by virtue of the Gate (bab) which is Mighty in God (`ala al-bab al-azim bi-llahi).

[31]  So Praised be God respecting their patience (sabr) regarding the [coming of the] Gate before the Gate (al-bab li'l-bab) [cf. Q.12:67] in the Point before the Gate nigh God, the Exalted, the Humble (l-llahi al-`aliyy al-qalil an), [32] And we [brothers = twelver Imams] have indeed taught our knowledge (`ilm) regarding that which none knew aside from us and the Person [Logos-Self] of the Bab (nafs al-bab) for God hath ever been, in very Truth,  All-Knowing regarding every single thing.

[33]  So will ye not contemplate the creation of the heavens and of the earth and also contemplate, in Truth, in very Truth thine own selves, in Truth  with subtelty [lightly, lively, moderately] (khafif an). [34]  God did not, in Truth, in very Truth, create the heavens and the earth and whatsoever lieth between them in out of vanity [falsely] (batil an), for amusement (`abth an). [34] He is indeed God, the True One; no god is there save Him.  God desired naught from thee save that ye serve none other than Him, humbly sincere (khalis an), in Truth, in very Truth, upon the Path of this Bab (Gate). [35] And God hath ever been One Self-Sufficient (ghani an) beyond all the worlds. [36]. God is indeed the One Worshipped (al-ma`bud). [37] No God is there except Him alone.  [38] There is no uncertainty respecting Him.  [39] He is in very Truth, the True One, One way beyond all the worlds.  [40] If there should in Truth be a god aside from Him such would surely lead thee to disputation aside from the real Truth tending towards a trinitarian position (thulth an) aside from the [monotheistic] Truth (al-haqq).



Stephen Lambden

I am of course conscious that the versification of 42 verses usually marked by an accusative ending is forced and not obvious in this final paragraph - verses [41] and [42] seem lacking. Perhaps elements of the earlier personal versification are incorrect.

Tentative interpretive indications have been placed in square brackets.

QA 13:17, "Have We not made, in very Truth,  the earth (al-ard) for thee to be something spread out (mastuh)?" The word mastuh (root  s-t-h) here occurs once (a hapax legomenon) in a verbal form in the Meccan Surah al-Ghashiyya (The Overpowering) Q. 88:20 :

waila al-ard kayfa sutihat

"And the earth (al-ard) how it was spread out (sutiha)"

It is predicted in the biblical book of Isaiah 40: 1-4 that the earth will be levelled or outspread; so too in the New Testament citations (see Matt 3:3 and parallels). These texts may account for its Qur'anc occurence :

Prepare the way of the Lord (YHWH) - an eschatological prediction of preparation for the Divine advent.

Isaiah chapter 40:3ff

"3 A voice of one calling: “Prepare the way for the LORD in the wilderness; make a straight highway for our God in the desert.

כָּל־גֶּיא֙ יִנָּשֵׂ֔א וְכָל־הַ֥ר וְגִבְעָ֖ה יִשְׁפָּ֑לוּ וְהָיָ֤ה הֶֽעָקֹב֙ לְמִישֹׁ֔ור וְהָרְכָסִ֖ים לְבִקְעָֽה׃

4 Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill made low [levelled]; the uneven ground will become smooth, and the rugged land a plain. 5 And the glory of the LORD (kavod YHWH) will be revealed, and all humanity together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken."

[31]  So Praised be God respecting their patience (sabr) regarding the [coming of the] Gate before the Gate (al-bab li'l-bab) ... The twelfth Imam or Qa'im as the Bab came 1,000 years or so after the dhaybat-i sughra and the ghaybat-i kubra, c. 260/874 until 1260/1844 - a long time to await the  promised one, needing much sabr (patience).