QAYYŪM AL-ASMĀ' OF THE BĀB.
(The Surah of the Gate)
Introductory Note 1982-2014
Stephen N. Lambden
Spanning 2-3 pages of Arabic text Qayyūm al‑asmā' surah XVII (17) is entitled the Sūrat al-Bab (The Surah of the Gate). This (non-qur'anic) title reflects Shi`i imamological and messianic perspectives and alludes to the early title of Sayyid `Ali Muhammad Shirazi, known as he Bāb or Gate to the hidden Imam and to Divine knowledge. In neo-qur'anic fashion it commences with the basmala then cites (as verse 2) Qur'an 12:16 which, in its original context, has to do with Joseph's brothers returning to their father Jacob-Israel to report the loss of Joseph to a wolf (see Q.12:17ff). Verse 3 (of the QA) consist of the six isolated letters A-L-M-`-R-A ( an extension of the qur'anic A-L-M ) having an abjad value of 242.
For the Bab the first verbal word commencing Q. 12:16, namely ََجَا indicating "to come", straightway resonates with reminders of the coming or advent of the messianic Bab through whom communication with the occulted Dhikr is possible.