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QA. XIX [19] Sūrat al-Sina' on Q. 12:18


Part  XIX


      سورة السيناء  

  Sūrat al-Sinā'

(The Surah of  Mount Sinai) 


Qur'ān 12:18

Translation Stephen N. Lambden

1982-2020 - Last updated and corrected 05-04-2020.


بسم اللّه الرّحمن الرّحيم

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate


"And they brought his shirt with false blood on it. He said, 'No; but your spirits tempted you to do somewhat. But come, sweet patience! And God's succour is ever there to seek against that you describe.'" (Q. 12: 18 Trans. Arberry). 




[Abjad 1+30+40+200+1 = 272]

[4]  Hearken unto the Call of thy Lord upon Mount Sinai (jabal al-sina'), "He, no God is there save Him". And I verily am the Exalted One (`aliyy) [cf. `Ali]  secretly veiled (mastur an) in the Mother [Archetypal] Book (umm al-kitab) according to what God hath ordained.  [5] God hath indeed sent down the Book (al-kitab) according to the Greatest Truth (bi'l-haqq al-akbar) unto His Word (kalimat) to the end that He might teach the people that God hath made the Fire to be safeguarded (mahfuz an) in the Point of Ice (al-nar fi nuqtat al-thalj). [6] We indeed made made the Dhikr (Remembrance) on Our part, in Truth, in very Truth, to be one elevated (marfu` an). [7] We, we in very Truth, made him before God to be one of established high rank (makin an) and one transcendent (`aliyy an).


اتّقوا عباد اللّه

Be ye Godfearing! O servants of God!

God hath not recognized thy deeds aside from those characterized by the love (al-hubb) which derives from His love [the love of Him] (min hubbihi), even, that is, to a minute degree (shay' an qalil an)! 


 اعلمواعباد اللّه

So be ye Informed! O servants of God!

We favoured Our servant (`abd) [the Bab] beyond many (`ala kathir) even such as We created of special  excellence (tafdil an). [10] This that ye might be aware that God doeth whatsoever He willeth and ordaineth whatsoever He desireth as, in Truth, in very Truth, is evident (mashhud an). [11]  We, we indeed cast benovolence upon thee [the Bab] in thy youthful servility (sighar) at the Command of God (min amr Allah), the Exalted (al-`aliyy). Such was the decree (hukm) as ordained (qadiyy an) in the Archetypal [Mother] Book (umm al-kitab). [12] And We, we revealed for thee [the Bab] in [thy] maturity [older times of significance] (al-kabr/ kubr/ kibar) this Book (kitab), a Book, in Truth, in very Truth, [now] in evidence [witnessed] (mashhud an).  [13] And God did indeed draw close thy Cause (amr) within [unto] Us (fi-na). The [Qur'anic eschatological] promise (al-wa`d) was indeed fulfilled (maf`ul an)  in the Archetypal [Mother] Book (umm al-kitab). [14] And We, we indeed bestowed upon thee, in Truth, in very Truth, a Book (kitab an), according to the Mystery (al-sirr) evident within the Mystery [observable yet inwardly made manifest] (`ala al-sirr fi'l-sirr mashhud an).

[15]  And We are indeed the Sinaitic Speaker (al-mutakallim) situated beyond [behind] thee (min wara'ika), in Truth, in very Truth, with the permission of God, One Exalted, One Powerful (al-`aliyy al-quwwiyy an).  [16] So let the servants [of God] proclaim Our Cause (amr) according to what God Himself, in Truth, in very Truth, hath desired relative to thee [the Bab], one Praiseworthy (mahmud an). 


اعلموا عباد الرّحمن

So Know ye well. O servants of the All-Merciful!

That thou art nigh God (bi'llah) through this Bab, in Truth,  truly pious [God fearing] (taqiyy an).  [18] God hath indeed cast favour upon thee beyond that of all the worlds through Our Cause (amr).  [19] So follow ye what He hath revealed unto Our servant (`abd) [the Bab] in this Book (al-kitab), the directives (ahkam), in Truth, in very Truth,  pertinent to all the worlds. [20] And God hath not desired of thee, in this thy Day, aught, in Truth, in very Truth,  except His constant (thibat an) remembrance [mention]. [21] Did not the All-Merciful promise thee [the coming of] His days (ayyam), an admonition [warning, recollection] (tadhkir an) pertaining to this Bab? [22] Is it not that We said unto thee that relative to Us in every successive generation (khalf), in Truth in very Truth, there is disobedience (`adul an) that for thee constitutes thy disbelieving in Our verses; if that is thou should, in very Truth, [attempt to] be hidden away  (khafiyy an)  from God, the Exalted (al-`aliyy), the Powerful (quwiyy). [23] God hath indeed willed that there be in this Book relative to Our Cause (amr), in Truth, in very Truth, a hidden mystery (sirr an), regarding Our mystery, a hidden secret indeed (min sirri-na  sirr an)! This to the end that the people might enter, in Truth, in very Truth, the houses of God (buyut Allah) prostrating and in submissive humility (sujjad an wa dhull an) through My entrances [Gates] (abwabi).

[24] God hath intended by the "man of the House" (rijal al-bayt) Our primordial Shi`i party (shi`ati-na al-awwalin). Those, that is, who were upright (qawwam an) [outstanding] in the vicinity of the Bab (hawl al-bab). [25] We, verily, we lifted up Our Party (shi`ati-na) above the Heights [Ramparts] (al-a`raf) [cf. Q. 7:46-48] which, in Truth, in very Truth are in the vicinity of the Bab (hawl al-bab), a "Man" (rijal an) whom the totality people cannot fathom despite their mark (bi-sima-hum) [being "on their foreheads  through [pious] prostration", Q. 48:29], with the permission of God, the Exaled (al-`aliyy), in Truth an expression of the deep purity (al-khalis), of persons of deeply discerning perspicacity (afras an).


يا عبيد السّوء

O Worshippers of the One Upright ["perfect"] (`abid al-sawway')!

It is not befitting that thou should thyselves not believe in that Bab (Gate) publicly (jihar an). before God, the Exalted (al-`aliyy), in very Truth, One Powerful? [27] Did We not create thee and were thou not counted among the ones mentioned (al-madhkurin) in the Mother [Archetyal] Book (umm al-kitab) in the vicinity of the Bab (hawl al-bab), specifically recollected (madhakkir an)? [28] Was it not the case that We numbered thee and guided thee according to the Truth, on a Powerful Pathway (sabil an)? [29] Did we not sustain thee according to the Truth through much of the Bountiful Grace of God (fadl Allah), the One Exalted (`aliyy)? [30] God indeed made the Cause (amr) of Our servant (`abd) [the Bab], in Truth, in very Truth, to be Unique (wahid an), near-at-hand (qarib an)!

[31] So ye should anticipate the Victory of God (nasr Allah) through thyselves and when Our Cause (amr) draws nigh it will come all of a sudden (baghtat an), in very Truth, Mighty, Mighty indeed (al-`azim `azim an)! [32] This Day assuredly concerns the True One (haqq) from thy Lord! Hereafter thou shalt not rule through thine own selves according to the knowledge of the Book (al-kitab) even, in Truth, in very Truth,  to the extent of but a letter detatched therefrom (maqtu`a an)! [33]  Wherefore is the King [Ruler] (al-malik) this Day, the True One (al-haqq) through the All-Merciful (lil-rahman) [God] and thou shalt never, in Truth,  shine brilliantly with inspired eloquence ( ?? nutq an wa huma an).  This, in Truth, in very Truth,  is the [Exalted] Path of `Ali (sirat `ali /aliyy) [the Bab] in the Mother [Archetyal] Book (umm al-kitab). [34] God hath decreed that this Path (al-sirat) be nigh the Theophanic Fire (al-nar), in very Truth, straight and Supremely Pure (al-khalis wa mustaqim an).

[35] And they do enquire, "At what time[where then] is He (huwa] [God coming] (mata huwa)? Say: "He is He" (huwa huwa)! representing [nigh] God! It may thus be that it is the [advent of the]  Cause of God (amr Allah), something very near- at- hand (qarib an)!


  اذ جاؤا اخوة  يوسف علی قميص آيته عند ابيهم بدم رقيق محمّر حول النّار مشهوداً ه

When the brothers of Joseph came upon a garment (qamis) it constituted his [Joseph's] sign [token] (ayat) for their Father [Jacob-Israel] being evidently (mashhud an) [marked] with delicate blood, dyed-crimson (bi-damm raqiq muhammar) nigh the Theophanic Fire (al-nar),


و انّ اللّه قد علّمهم بان دم يوسف قد كان ثار اللّه فی امّ الكتاب مكتوباً ه

And God hath indeed informed them that the blood of Joseph (damm yusuf) hath ever been the blood-revenge of God (thar Allah) inscribed within the Archetypal [Mother] Book (umm al-kitab).     


و انّ اللّه قد جعل توحيد الابواب لدی ذلك الباب الاكبر دماً كذباً علی شج بما قد كان فی امّ الكتاب رقيقاً ه

God assuredly made the oneness of the [former] Gates (tawhid al-abwab) compared to [before] this Greatest Bab (al-bab al-akbar) to be but "false blood" (damm an kadhb an) [Q. 12:18a] upon a skull fracture (shajja) for it [the blood of Joseph] hath ever been delicate (raqiq an) within the Archetypal [Mother] Book (umm al-kitab)  


و انا نحن نقول بل سوّلت لكم انفسكم و بانفسنا امراً فعلی اللّه الصبر و التّكلان بما قد قدّر اللّه فی يوم الذّكر مشهوداً ه

And We, verily, We said: "'No; but your spirits (anfusukum) tempted you to do somewhat (amr an)" (bal sawwalat lakum anfusukum amr an) [= Q.12:18a] So through God be the Patience (al-sabr) and the Fortitude [Trust in God] (tuklan)! This did God evidently (mashhud an) ordain on the Day of the Dhikr (Remembrance)! 


و اللّه المستعان علی امر يوسف الباب و انّا للّه قد كان علی كلّشیء قديراً ه

And God is the One who Assistance is beseeched (al-musta`an)  with respect to the Cause of [the] Joseph, [of] the Bab. And We [stand]  before God for He hath ever been Mighty (qadir an).

Select Notes and comments

Stephen Lambden

Unless my versification is faulty verses [41] and [42] seem not to be present.

QA XIX [19]: 11 :   We, we indeed cast benovolence (mann) upon thee [the Bab] in thy youthful servility (sighar) ... The word sighar here  may also indicative relative, youthful or seeming early "insignificance". 

QA XIX [19]: 36-40. The Joseph, Q. 12:18 Interpretative rewrite.

Compare with the last verses here, translated above, with Surat Yusuf 12:18, on which they are based. The targummic type revelatory rewrite of the Bab transforms this verse:

"And they brought his shirt with false blood on it. He said, 'No; but your spirits tempted you to do somewhat. But come, sweet patience! And God's succour is ever there to seek against that you describe.'" (Q. 12: 18 Trans. Arberry). 

The "delicate blood, dyed-crimson (bi-damm raqiq muhammar)" garment of the new Joseph, the Bab was dyed this colour on account of its nearmess to the Theophanic Fire (al-nar), the burning-bush type locus of revelation. It was not wolf's blood but Joseph's own theophanic, sacrificial blood, It was something (Ar. ) raqiq, refined, delicate, supernatural! It was not the "false blood" (damm an kadhb an) somehow associated with older gates - cf. the four Shi`i Gates of the ghaybat-i sughra (lesser occultation) of traditional Shi`ism or the first two Shaykhi leaders as "gates" - but something related to the new Bab, the new Joseph, the returned Husayn. The "blood" of the new Husayn is suggestive of the eschatological "blood-revenge of God" (thar Allah). A new Day of Judgment has dawned and the new Joseph-Husayn as the Bab demands faith in his theophany. The purity of his being transforms his revelatory "blood" into a faith-demanding, potentially "catastrophic" eschatological "revenge".