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TB The Lawḥ-i Qinā' (Tablet of the Veil), c. 1871


لوح قناء



Epistle to Baha'-Allah to the Kirmani Shaykhi leader

Hajji Mirza Muhammad Karim Khan Kirmani

(1225-1288 AH= 1810-1871 CE)

Stephen N. Lambden 1983 -under revision and completion 2017.

Last updated 07-08-2017.


    Hajjī Mīrzā Muhammad Karīm Khān Kirmānī (1810-1871) came to be regarded by a proportion of the Shaykhī admirers or followers of Shaykh Aḥmad al-Ahsā'ī (d. 1243/1826) and his successor, the second Shaykhī leader Sayyid Kazim Rashtī  (who died intestate on the last day of 1843 or first day of 1844 / 9th Dhu'l-Hijja 1259) and who did not become Bābīs,  as the first Kirmani (or third) Shaykhi leader. The Lawḥ-i Qinā'  (`Tablet of the Veil’) of Bahā’-Allāh is primarily addressed to this polymathic and polemical opponent of the Bābī‑ Bahā’ī religions, the Kirmani Shaykhī leader Karīm Khān Kirmānī (d.1871). The important text was most probably written sometime between c.1869‑and 1872 CE.

Mss. and printed texts.

The text of the Lawḥ-i Qinā' has been printed several times, most importantly in Majmu`a-yi alwāḥ i mubāraka (see PDf above).   It opens with a neo-basmala with follows with an address to the first Kirmani Shaykhi leader - the third after Shaykh Ahmad (d. 1826) and Sayyid Kazim Rashti (d.1843) - Hajjī Mīrzā Muhammad Karīm Khān Kirmānī (1810-1871).

Mss and printed texts of the Arabic and Persian scriptural `Tablet of the Veil' can be located in, for example,

  • MS. in INBMC 
  • Iqtadarat wa chand Lawh-i digar ... 190-212. PDf.
  • Majmū`a-yi alwāh-I mubāraka [MAM] ... Cairo,1920;  rep. Wilmette, Ilinois: BPT., 1978, pp. 67-87. PDf.

Select references to the Lawḥ-i Qinā'.

Ishraq Khavari, Ganj-i shayigan, p.186.


The opening words of the Lawḥ-i qinā' (The Tablet of the Veil):

Opening lines as printed in Majmū`a-yi alwāh-i mubāraka... (Cairo), 67. 


Lambden Translation (MAM:67ff):


In the Name of God, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.



O thou [Karīm Khān Kirmānī]  who hath a reputation for knowledge but is actually one standing at the brink of the abyss of ignorance. We have heard that thou became acquainted with the Truth-True One (al-haqq) [the Bab] yet turned aside from one of His beloved ones [= Quddus] who delivered unto thee a Noble Communication  (kitab an karim an) [a letter of the Bab] in order to facilitate thy guidance unto God, thy Lord and the Lord of  all the worlds. Thou turned aside from him and followed after the pathways of the ignorant ones (al-jahilin).


Lawḥ-i qinā' (The Tablet of the Veil) conclusion.

The Lawḥ-i Qinā' concludes as follows with reference to a complex work of Shaykh Ahmad which previously brought to him in Iraq (between 1953 and 1863) by a certain Mirza Husayn Qummi and on which he had declined to write a tafsir or commentary.

Concluding lines before the appendix as printed in Majmū`a-yi alwāh-i mubāraka... (Cairo), pp.84-5.

Shaykhi Ahmad and the sirr al‑tankīs ("Mystery of the [Great] Reversal") li‑ramz al‑ra`īs ("by virtue of the mystery [enigma] of the Ruler".

In the Lawḥ-i Qinā' , Bahā’-Allāh  also cites and comments upon a reply by Shaykh Aḥmad to a question about the phrase "the Qā'im exists in the loins" written in 1783 CE. In this treatise of al-Ahsa'i, makes reference to the sirr al‑tankīs ("Mystery of the [Great] Reversal") li‑ramz al‑ra`īs ("by means of the enigma of the Ruler" and will be translated and commented upon below. This appendid section (MAM: 85-87) commences (with an Islamic basmala)  and ends as follows: