The term al-Haqq
and Theophanic claims of the Mazhar-i ilahi (Manifestation of God) in Babi-Baha'i Sacred Writings.
Stephen N. Lambden UCMerced.
Being updated - in progress 2017 = Last updated 30-07-2017.
The Bābī-Bahā’ī religions are categorically theistic or Reality-Truth-God centered. Within their religious universe of discourse, the multi-named yet unfathomable Deity revered by humanity, communicates Truth-Reality from age to age in conformity with evolving human capacity and the allotted measure of Divine Providence. For Bahā’is, on a theologically non-personal level, Ḥaqq as Ultimate Reality should perhaps be viewed as the unfathomable apophatic Deity or unknowable Essence, the “Godhead” beyond or Essence of Essences (dhāt al-dhāt), the absolute Truth (al-ḥaqq al-muṭlaq) or Ultimate Reality (ḥaqq al-ḥaqq). On a “lower” cataphatic or mediatory level, Ḥaqq has to do with the still largely unknowable Divine communicator, the (Per.) maẓhar-i ilāhī, the divine Manifestation of God. It is this latter, locus of al-Ḥaqq who communicates al-ḥaqq (Reality) through his transcendent yet earth-born “Logos-person” (nafs) and revelation (waḥy). This Messenger of God is al-ḥaqq and communicates al-ḥaqq, Reality or Truth, from the realms beyond to the worlds of being.
al-Ḥaqq الحق in the writings of the Bab.
As indicated above, the word al-ḥaqq is very frequent in the writings of the Bāb in weighty messianic and theological contexts. In occurs hundreds of times in his first major work, the Qayyām al-asmā' (Self-Subsisting of the Divine Names) (mid. 1844, 400+pp). Therein this word is even more frequent that it is in the Qur'an. Diverse phrases incorporating the word al-ḥaqq are an integral part of the saj`, the Arabic versified, rhyming prose of the Bab. For the Bab this style in his large quasi-tafsir volume may be said to underline, the veracity and revealed nature of this neo-qur'anic yet exegetical text.
In his foundational Qayyum al-asma' then, the Bab uses the word al-haqq very frequently, something like XXX times. He specifically gave its eighty-fifth Surah ( = QA. LXXXV) the title سورة الحق Sūrat al-Haqq (The Surah of the Ultimate Reality). In the rhyming Arabic prose of the Qayyum al-asma' numerous phrases centering upon or revolving the around the God-Reality centered word al-haqq, are very common. The commentary section of the three or four page Sūrat al-Haqq, contains a claim to be al-Haqq tooted in Q. 20:114a (see QA 85: verse 6) and commences :
 Praised be to God Who hath, in very truth (bi'l-haqq), sent down the Book (al-kitab) unto His servant (`ala `abd) [ the Bab] to the end that he be, throughout [all] the worlds (`awalim), a manifestation of the similitudes (mazhar al-amthal), made manifest, in the greatest truth (bi'l-haqq al-akbar), according to pure justice (`ala qist al-khalis).  We did indeed fashion thee [the Bab] in worlds of holiness (`awalim al-quds) as a praiseworthy (mahmud an) Pillar expressive of Glorification (rukn an al-tasbih) and a Throne expressive of Magnitude (`arsh `ala al-takbir).
 So hearken unto My Call al-nida') through the Gate (`ala al-bab), about [from] the precincts of the Gate (min hawl al-bab), [saying] `I am indeed the Ruler [King] (al-malik), the True One (al-haqq)' [cf. Q. 20:114a] for I was, in truth, in very truth, one Self-Subsisting (qayum an).  I indeed am, in very truth (bi'l-haqq) as befits the Divine Command [Cause], [elevated] above the all-surrounding [letter] Alif, the "A" (`ala alif al-muhit) for I was, as befits the Truth, according to the Truth (bi'l-haqq `ala al-haqq) one Divinely Sanctioned (mahhkum an).  Thou, in very truth (bi'l-haqq), with the permission of God, the Praiseworthy One (al-hamid), are the Pillar of Legitimacy (rukn al-tahlil) and central Locus of Glorification (markaz al-tamjid), for thou were as one Divinely Sanctioned (mahhkum an).
- See further, Qayyum al-asma', Sūrat al-Haqq (The Surah of the Ultimate Reality).
The mid. 1844 neo-qur’anic Qayyūm al-asmā’ of the Bab does not cite Qur’ān 54:2 which registers the cleaving or spitting of the moon - traditionally a miracle attributed to the Prophet Muhammad - in at least two sūras, interesting exegetical commentary relative to the person or Pen (al-qalam) and undisclosed Name of the Bāb. It also clearly identifies al-haqq ("Truth", Reality") with the Bab as the eschatological messianic Dhikr (Remembrance) with whom it also associates the Hallajian type phrase انّی انا الحقّ : inanni al-al-haqq (I am indeed al-haqq, the Deity-Reality-Truth)
Qayyūm al-asmā’ Surat al-Qalam (The Sura of the Pen) = LXXI (71).
ه يا اهل العرش اسمعوا ندائی من هذه الشّجرة المباركة
انّی انا اللّه الّذی لا اله الّا هو قد اجريت القلم علی اللوح الاكبر بانّ الذّكر
لحقّ كما انّی انا الحقّ فاتّقوا من الرّدّ فانّ كلمة اللّه العلیّ قد كان فی
امّ الكتاب كبيراً ه و انّا نحن لمّا قد امرنا القلم باسمه انشقّت من الهيبة و
قد خرّت علی العرش ساجداً للّه القديم و هو اللّه كان بكلّ شیء عليماً
O people of the Divine Throne! (al-`arsh)! Hearken ye unto My Call (nidā’) from this blessed Tree (al-shajarat al-mubaraka), `I verily am God who, no God is there except Him. The Pen (al-qalam) hath indeed scribed forth upon the Supreme Tablet (al-qalam al-akbar) to the effect that the Dhikr is indeed the the Truth al-ḥaqq, like unto the inanai ana al-ḥaqq (I am the True One [God])! So fear ye the refutation thereof (al-radd) for the Elevated Word of God (kalimat Allāh) was [ever] Mighty within the Mother Book (umm al-kitāb). When We commanded the Pen (al-qalam) to express his Name (bi-ismihi) it was انشقّت من الهيبة cleft in twain (inshaqqat) [Q 54:2] through awesome fear (min al-hayba) and it fell down nigh the Divine Throne (al-`arsh) prostrating before God, the Ancient. And He is God who hath ever been knowledgeable of everything.
In the 90th Sura of the Qayyum al-asma', the Sūrat al-Tathlith (The Surah of the Threefold [Talisman]) Sūrat al-Qital (The Surah of the [Eschatological] Killing) on Qur'ān 12: 90, the Bab, after referring to himself as `Alid Arabian Youth (al-ghulām al-`arabā al-alawwā) adds that he is, in very truth, al-Haqq (the True One [from God]) as well the revealer of His Book from God, the al-Haqq, the True One" adding that he is the al-Qayyūm (Deity Self-Subsisting) or eschatological Joseph (= abjad, al-Qayyum = 156), manifest unto all the worlds.
"I, verily, am God, Who, no God is there except Me. I created Paradise for the people of love through My Word (kalimatī), this `Alid Arabian Youth (al-ghulām al-`arabā al-alawwā) in very truth, the True one. I originated the Fire (al-nār) from the shadow of Paradise for the people who dispute His Word and His Book which was sent down on the part of God, the True One. And I, verily, am al-Qayyūm, manifest unto all the worlds" (QA 90:363).
Another important early use of al-haqq in the writings of the Bab, is found towards the beginning of his early, Bushire dispatched, Arabic epistle to Muhammad Shah Qajar (d.1848 CE) :
اقرء كتاب ذكر اسم ربك الذی له اله الا هوالعی الكبيروانه لكتاب لاريب فيهقد نزل من لدن امام مبين وانه لهوالحق فی السموات والارض يدعوالناس الی دين الله الخالص من حكم قسطاس قويم وانه لهو السر فی صحف النبيين و المرسلين يلتو آيات ربك عن شجرةالسينإ ان لا اله الا هو
 Recite the Book [Epistle] of the Remembrance of thy Lord Who, no God is there except Him, the Exalted, the Mighty.  Such is indeed a Book about which there is no doubt for it was sent down on the part of a Manifest Imam (imām mubīn).  He is assuredly the True One (al-ḥaqq) throughout the heavens and the earth who summons the people unto the pure religion of God (dīn Allah al-khāliṣ) as accords with a Balance which is assured (qusṭās qawwīm).
Here the "Manifest Imam" (imām mubīn) whom the Bab repesents is "assuredly the True One" (al-ḥaqq) who communicates to all mankind the new, pure religion of God in the eschatological age. The also Bab presupposes his or the hidden Imam or Dhikr (Remembrance) as being al-Haqq, towards the beginning of his early Kitab al-Ruh (Book of the Spirit, mid. 1845) which opens as follows:
The Kitāb al-rūḥ
In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate
This Book is a Dhikr (Remembrance) from God according to the Decree of a wondrous servant [the Bāb] (`abd badī`). He is assuredly the True One (al-ḥaqq) within the heavens and the earth.
Kitab al-Fihrist (The Book of the Index) dating to 21st June 1845
The word al-haqq occurs no less than four tmes in association with the variously titles Hidden, messianic Imam or the Bab himself at the commencement of the Kitab al-Fihrist (The Book of the Index) :
ذلك الكتاب ذكر من الله في حكم عبد بديع قد نزل من لدن بقية الله امام حق قديم و انه لهو الحق في السموات و الارض
لا يعزب من علمه شيیءِ و لا يحيط بذكره خلق و انه لكتاب قد نزل من لدن بقية الله امام حق قديم و انه لهو الحق في السموات و الارض
This Book is a Remembrance from God (Dhikr min Allāh) containing a directive (ḥukm) of a wondrous servant. It is indeed a Book which hath come down from the [messianic] Remnant of God (Baqiyyat-Allāh), an Imam, al-ḥaqq the True. One, Ancient of Days (ḥaqq qadīm). It [He] is indeed an expression of the al-ḥaqq the Real Truth for whomsoever exist in the heavens and on the earth. No single thing escapes His knowledge and naught created can encompass His [messianic] Remembrance (Dhikr). It assuredly is a Book which was sent down on the part of the (messianic) Baqiyyat-Allāh (Remnant of God) from [a true Imam] before al-haqq, the Real One, the Ancient of days (ḥaqq qadīm). It most assuredly enshrines al-ḥaqq, the Real Truth in [both] the heavens and upon the earth.
In his very well-known Arabic Tablet of Aḥmad (c.1865?), Bahā'-Allāh refers to the Bāb in the following way,
"He [the Bāb] is al-ḥaqq ("the True One") and his Book is the Mother Book (umm al-kitāb) did ye but know" (Bahā' ī Prayers, XX ).
The Bab and Baha'-Allah often claimed subordinate "divinity" - Haqq, Allah, etc - but never pictured themselves as the incarnations or the Essence of the Godhead. The Bab hundreds, if not thousands of times, repeatedly distanced himself from the unknowable apophatic Deity. His new basmala stated this clearly as the centerpiece of His apophatic theology -Bismillah al-amna` al-aqdas = "In the Name of God, the Most Inaccessible [Apophatic], the Supremely Holy [Sacred] - but did not shink from representing himself as an eschatological manifestation of God (Allah, Rabb, etc) on the latter-day `Day of God'. In his Kitab-i panj sha`n (Book of the Five Modes [of Revelations]), for example, he even used a superlative of the Arabic Allah (loosely, A-Allah) in highlighting the transcendence of the divinity or of the future messianic person of man yuzhiru-hu Allah ("Him Whom God shall make Manifest"). He sometimes included key disciples in an eschatolgical pleroma of subordinate Divinity and wrote letters "min Allah ila Allah = from God to God". Baha'-Allah did similarly as reflected in his Lawh-i Haqq and other weighty theological communications a few of which will be succinctly referred to below.
al-Ḥaqq الحق in the writings of the Baha'-Allah.
Like Ḥusayn ibn Manṣūr al-Hallāj (d. 304/ 922), Shah Isma'il I (1487-1524 CE) and other Sufis and theophanic claimants, the Bab and Bahā'-Allāh explicitly claimed to be al-ḥaqq. This obliquely for Baha'-Allah as early as his Rashh-i `ama', then slightly later more explicitly in his Az bagh-i ilāhī ("From the Garden of God" c. 1860?; see below) and other writings.
Bahā’-Allāh in his Rashh-i `Ama' (line 8a)
كوثر حق از كاسه دل گشته هويدا
kawthar-i haqq āz kāsah-’ dil gashtih huvīdā ...
From the Goblet of the Heart, the Kawthar ("Fount") of Haqq (Reality) hath appeared;
Bahā’-Allāh in his very early Rashh-i `ama' (line 8a cited above) states that from the كاسه دل , "Goblet of the Heart" (kāsa ' dil) the كوثر حق , kawthar-i ḥaqq ("Kawthar of Reality-Divinity...") has been made manifest. The meaning is probably that the spring or fount of real truth wells out from the centre of his being or that of the Bab. It is a kawthar as a Fount of "abundance" (see Qur'ān 108:1). In Islamic literatures it is usually understood to signify a fountain which gushes forth in Paradise. It occurs quite frequently in Bābī-Bahā'ī scripture. Whatever the exact sense of kawthar-i ḥaqq in is in the Rashh-i `ama, it is would seen to indicate the `stream of spiritual reality' that flows out of the heart of the Bābī Cause through Bahā’-Allāh.
The word kawthar here is in genitive relationship with ḥaqq which could be translated in a variety of ways: "God", "Absolute Truth", or "Reality", "Ultimate Reality" etc. It is very frequently used in Bābī-Bahā'ī scripture though it is not always clear how it is best translated. The first section of Bahā’-Allāh's Lawḥ-i ḥaqq (c. mid. 1850s-early 1860s?) provides good examples of the dhikr type (repetitive) use of this important term.
Az bagh-i ilāhī ("From the Garden of God", c. mid. 1850s or c. 1860?)
Citation from āz bagh-i ilāhī INBMC 35: 458
"Ah! Ah! This is indeed the Mighty Decree (qadar `uzmani)! This is the Great Destiny (`azm qadrani)!
This is the Pre-Eternal Legion [Army] (jaysh-i abadani) for the Essence of the Spirit of the True One (jawhar-i ruh-i haqq) hath come as the Destroyer of the idols (hadim-i asnam) with the Trumpet of "I am the True One" (ba sur-i `ana al-Haqq)! (trans. Lambden from INBMC 36:458; for the full text see INBMC 36:457-60 Pdf. on this website).
In the Lawh-i az bagh-i lāhī Bahā’-Allāh thus claims to have appeared with the "Trumpet of `I am al-ḥaqq' (bā ṣūr-i anā al-ḥaqq). The above lines would seem to refer to Baha'-Allah and/or the Bab, perhaps with an army of others (as divine aspects of the Bab-Baha'i pleroma of divinity), as those who sound the proclamation of the eschatological trumprt blast (Ar. sur = "trumpet") at which the "idols" of humanity are destroyed.
To this day the "intoxicated" identification with or claim to identity with al-Haqq remains highly theologically controversial. For more than millennium wayfarers on the spiriual path have preferred to identify with al-haqiqa ("Reality") rather than claim oneness or identity with al-Haqq ("The Reality of the True Godhead"). We shall see that in Babi-Baha'i theology the Bab and Baha'-Allah explicitly claimed to be Divine in the subordinate sense though this claim was made in explicit terms numerous times in line with their belief that the escatological "Day of God" and the liqa'-Allah (Meeting with God) had been both literally and symbolically realized. This in the light of theiri claiming to be the eschatological mazhar-i ilahi (Manifestation of God). The Unknowable Godhead remains, however, way beyond all that can and cannot be known. The utterly transcendent Deity, He, She, It, X, can never be direectly known or descend into creation.
al-Haqq and the Paraclete ("Comforter") in the Gospel of John
We have already noted that al-Haqq occurs in the semi-ghuluww, Khutbat al-ṭutunjiyya (loosely, "Sermon of the Gulf") ascribed to Imam `Alī (d. 40/661), the first Shī`ī Imam. He, like Jesus in Jn. 14:6, claimed in Arabized Greek to be the "Truth", or proclaim, "I am the Truth" , (Ar.) `-L-Y-U-TH-U-A (Gk. ἀλήθεια= "Truth"). In registering John 14:6, the Arabic version of the Diatessaron of Tatian uses the Arabic al-Haqq ("The Truth-True One") as do some other versions of the Arabic New Testament. In the context of the writings of Baha'-Allah, the Johannine use or promise of a future, messianic al-haqq is important as it is sometimes viewed as prophetic intimation of his person and claims.
In reply to a question of his disciple Thomas about relating to the absent, ascended, celestial Jesus, he is told "I am the Way, the Truth (Gk. (ἡ ἀλήθεια) = Ar. al-Haqq) and the Life" (John 14:6). Later in this same chapter it is recorded :
15 If ye love me, keep my commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
In various Arabic versions of John chapter 14ff , the Paraclete ("Comforter") figure is described as the ruh al-haqq ("Spirit of Truth"). He-It is the one coming from or with the al-Haqq (Truth). Such is the case in Baha'-Allah's citation of John 14:6 in his Jawahir al-asrar (The Essences-Gemes of the Mysteries, c. 1860) where we read:
Arabic text image of the Johannine "the Spirit of Truth coming from the Truth-True One" cited from the Jawahir al-asrar of Baha'-Allah cited in Athar-i Qalam-i A`la vol 3:11.
In numerous of his scriptural alwah ("Tablets") dating to the latter years of his life, Baha'-Allah cited or alluded to this paraclete text viewed as as messianic, theophanic promise. He claimed that he is quintessentially the promised al-Haqq, the Spirit of al-Haqq from or with al-Haqq (the True One/ God/Reality). His claimed that his advent as al-haqq or ruh al-haqq was anticipated in the Gospel of John.
al-Ḥaqq الحق in the writings of `Abd al-Baha' (1844-1921).
At the commencement of the many thousands of the letters or scriptural Tablets of the central figures of the Baha'i religion are very frequently prefixed one or two occurences of هُو Huwa ("He-It-is"). Occasionally one finds this supplemented with al-Haqq as a Divine Attribute. Here is an example from a brief prayer/Tablet in Makatib-i hadrat-i `Abd al-Baha' (vol III) expressive of faith in the messianic, theophanic Reality of Baha'Allah :
He is al-Haqq (the True One).
O Lord! This is thy maidservant who hath believed in Thee and in Thy verses. She was confirmed in her heart, a repository of the Fire of thy Love (muhabbat) for there radiated from her countenance the radiances of the Light of Thy Glad-Tidings. This until she rose up with all its power in the service of the Mashriq al-Adhkar, the Dawning-Place of the Remembrance of God, in Thy Dominion...