The Exordium to the Persian Bayan of Sayyid `Ali Muhammad Shirazi, the Bab (1819-1850 CE).
Trans. MacEoin + Lambden Revisions, Notes and Transliteration.
The Exordium to the Persian Bayan
Translation Denis MacEoin posted Sun, 13 Jul 1997 21: 19:58 +01 OO (BST), with select Modifications, Notes and Transliteration by Stephen Lambden 2019.
In progress, last updated 10-02-2019.
ln the Name of God, the Inaccessible, the Most Holy.
Praise and sanctification are due to the regal substance of holiness, glory, and majesty, Who has existed eternally and will continue to exist in the being of His own Essence, Who has always been and always will be exalted in His own eternity, far above the comprehension of all things. He did not create the sign of His knowledge within any other being other than by means of the incapacity of all things to know Him; nor did He shine forth upon any other thing other than through His own Self. He has, therefore, always been lifted high above association with any other thing, and He brought all things into existence in order that they might all confess before Him on the Day of Resurrection within the being of their true selves that He has neither peer nor equal, nor rival, nor likeness, nor similitude.
No, He has been and remains alone in the dominion of His own Godhood, He has been and remains glorified in the soveriegnty of His own Lordship. Nothing else has ever recognized Him as He deserves to be recognized, nor can anything ever hope to do so, for whatever mention of existence they might apply to Him would itself have already been created by the soveriegn power of His own Will, and He Himself would already have shone forth on it with His own Self upon the exalted heights of His Throne. He created the sign of His knowledge within the depths of all things in order that they might be sure that He is the First and the Last, the Manifest and the Hidden, the Creator and the Sustainer, the Powerful and the Knowing, the Hearing and the Seeing, the One Who Suries and the One Who Raises the Dead, the Giver of Life and the Giver of Death, the Mighty and the Inaccessible, the Exalted and the All-Highest. He it is Who has never guided and will never guide anyone unless it be to the exaltation of His glorification and the sublimity of His praise and the inaccessibility of His Oneness and the elevation of His magnification.
No beginning is there for Him save in His own primacy, and no end is there for Him save in His own finality. And all things have acquired their essences according to what He has ordained or shall ordain within them through His own Essence, and they have taken on reality through His Being. Through it God began the creation of ail things, and through lt He will return the creation of all things to Himself. Ali the beautiful names have existed for lts sake, and it is for lts sake that they continue to exist. The depths of His Essence are sanctified from all names and descriptions, and the purity of His Reality is lifted up above every splendour and every exaltation, and His naked Essence is far above any inaccessibility or altitude. He is the First, but He cannot be known as such; He is the Last, but He cannot be adequately decsribed as such; He is the Outward, but He cannot be characterized as such; He is the lnward, but He cannot be grasped as such.
And He is the first to believe in Him Whom God Shall Manifest (man yuzhiru-hu Allah), and He is the first to have believed in him who has appeared. He is a single thing, through whose creation ail things are created, and through whose sustenance ail things are sustained, and through whose death the death of all things is manifested, and throiugh whose life the lite of all things is manifested, and through whose resurrection the resurrection of all things is manifested.
The eye of creation has never seen nor shall it ever see anything like Him, whether in the past or in the future. He is the Name of the Essence (ism al-huwiyya) and the Face of Lordship that resides within the shadow of the Countenance of Divinity and gives token of the sovereignty of the Divine Singleness. If I only knew that ail things might taste His love, I would not even mention the Fire, for Hell was created in its essence according to what is within it and what is upon it, for the sole reason that it did not bow down before Him. Otherwise, were ail things to taste His love, they would be light created from light within light unto light upon light. God guides to His light whomever He wishes, and God lifts up to His light whomever He wills. He is the One Who begins and the One to Whom all things return in the end (see Q. 24:35, the `Light verse').
He it is for Whom God, the One, the Single, through the manifestation of His own Self, created seventeen persans who were brought into being before the creation of all other things, out of His own Person. He then caused the sign of their recognition to reside in the realities of all beings, in order that all things might bear witness in their inmost essences to the truth that He is the primai Unity, the One who lives for all eternity. He has not commanded anyone among the contingent beings other than to know its own self and the singleness of the depths of its own reality. For all others but Him are nothing but His creatures, brought into being through His command. Both creation and command belong to Him, in the past and in the future. He is Lord of ail the worlds.
Wherefore, let it not be concealed from anyone who looks on these words that God has caused the creation of the Qur'an to return on the Day of Judgement through the manifestation of His own Self upon that Day. Whereupon, He has created all things freshly, as if they had all just been brought into existence at that very instant. For all that has ever been created was for the Day of the appearance of God, for He it is in which all things reach their end, and He it is in Whom they achieve their destiny. After He manifested Himself through the appearance of the signs of His power, there can be no doubt at all that all things have reached the Divine Presence in that state of perfection which they are capable of attaining. God, may He be praised and glorified, has created the Primal Will once more, and through lt He has created ail things. And, since all things have been mentioned in a new creation, this is a proof that His creation has neither beginning nor end. Wherefore, there has never been a situation in which God was Lord and there were no created beings to worship Him. God has existed eternally in the exaltation of His Holiness, and all others have existed in the degradation of their own limitations.
The beginning of the creation of all things at this instant, which is a Friday, has taken place through the words God has uttered. His Holiness, the Lord of Glory, brought this new creation into being through His own decree and caused it to rest beneath His shadow in order that it may return to Him. For there can be no doubt that God brings that creation into existence and then makes it return to Himself. God, indeed, is powerful over ail things. He structured the creation of all things according to the number of 'All Things', through the decrees which He caused to corne down from the court of His holiness and which He caused to shine forth from the sun of His own bounty, in order that all things, through the mention of all things, might reach a state of perfection for the sake of the manifestation of the next resurrection, so that He might reward each thing with the reward due ta all things. If this reward should turn out to be that of rejection, it will be part of His justice; if it should turn out to be that of acceptance, that will be on account of His grace, for His knowledge of all things before the existence of ail things is identical to His knowledge of them after their coming into being; and His power over all things before their creation is the same as His power over them after their creation. From all eternity, God has possessed knowledge of all things and power over them. To Him belong the most beautiful names, both before and after; all that is in the heavens and all that is on eareh and all that lies between them recites His praise. No god is there but He, the Powerful, the Beloved. Behold with the eyes of certitude how the gates of the religion of the Bayan have been arranged according to the number of All Things [kull shay' , abjad 361]. ln the shadow of each gate, by God's permission, the angels that belong to the heavens and to the earth and ta all that lies between, are bowing down, praising, santifying, glorifying, and magnifying Him, as they carry out their tasks on His behalf. On the day of the appearance of God, which is the appearance of the Point of the Bayan, all things shall return to Him when it draws to its close. And if blessed individuals to the number of All Things [kull shay' , abjad 361] should return ta Him, the fruit of all things will have been manifested in His presence. Blessed be he that is raised up on the Day of Resurrection before God, for God will welcome him from one of the gates of all things, inasmuch as he is the essence of that soul ta which anyone who has believed in the Bayan shall return, on account of what he has performed in that gate. Wherefore, listen ta that, then hasten, then hasten, then hasten, then hasten, for God is the swiftest of reckoners.
If all the gates of all things [kull shay' , abjad 361] should not appear before Him, then He will decree the return of the creation of the Bayan, and will fold up in His hand all the heavens that have been lifted up within it, just as in the Qur'an a multiplicity of gates without number were rendered even more numerous before those who believed in Him, and yet at the moment when God decreed the return of the creation of the Qur'an, there was no-one in His presence but a single individual, who becomes one of the gates of the decree of the Remembrance before Him. Thus God performs whatever He wishes and decrees whatever He desires. He shall not be asked of His doings, but all shall be asked of all that they do.
At the moment when the creation of the Qur'an returned and the creation of all things [kull shay' , abjad 361] in the Bayan commenced, the dwelling-place of the Point, who is the Manifestation of Lordship, was upon the Land of the name Basit [ the Open Locality = Maku]. Whereupon, the heavens that had been raised up in the Qur'an were all folded up and returned to the Primal Point. None bears witness to that but God and he that is with Him, although He did not send down in the Qur'an any subject more important than that of the resurrection and its revelation. God is the Reckoner of the number of souls who had believed in the religion of the Qur'an. And at the moment of return, out of all these souls, there was only one soul in God's presence, who became the number of Ali Things [kull shay' , abjad 361]; and the creation of all things [kull shay' , abjad 361] took place in a second creation at the command of God, the Exalted. Wherefore, watch over your souls, O people of the Bayan, lest you be veiled from God your Lord, though you desire day and night ta sanctify yourselves.