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Ḥadith al-Ḥaqiqa IV


فی تفسير حديث الحقيقه 

Tafsīr Ḥadīth al-Ḥaqīqa IV

The Ḥadith al-Ḥaqiqa (Tradition Regarding Ultimate Reality) IV : In the writings of the Bab, early Babis and the writings of Baha'-Allah and his successors.

Stephen N. Lambden UC Merced.

In progress and under revision 2015.

Further Writings of the Bab.

The Risala fi'l-suluk (Treatise on the Path [ to God]).


Extract from a ms. of the Risāla fi'l-suluk (INBA 6006C, 74) citing a phrase from the Hadith al-ḥaqīqa.

The Bab from very early in his mission cited, interpreted and gave importance to the Ḥadīth Kumayl.  At one point in his description of the condition of the wayfarer on the Path to God in his early Risāla fi'l-suluk ("Trestise on the Path [to God") ( 1844-5) he advises throwing aside limited relationships with the divine, the uncovering or rending of the subuḥāt al-jalāl (the splendors of the Divine Glory) mentioned in the Hadith Kumayl. This phrase seems to be understood relative to the abandoning of a self-centered appropriation of the gravitas or splendors of the Divine Glory; a human transcending of the limiting aspects of self-glorification or the blinding hybris of a false self-divinization. There may also be allusion to the attaining of an elevated angelic condition when the veils are discarded if the Arabic text of the phrase `alā mulk al-karīm ("noble dominion")  is  to be pointed as `alā malak al-karīm meaning "noble angel", perhaps  a deeper aspect to the isharat  ("allusions") implicit in the Hadith Kumayl. 

In making the above points the Bab slightly rewrites and interprets on a human level the following phrase of the Hadith Kumayl الحقيقة كشف سبحات الجلال من غير اشارة   The approach to God or true Reality (al-ḥaqīqa) involves a kashf process, an unveiling or loss of self-importance and the abandoning of self-glorification in journeying towards the madīnat al-waḥdat ("City of Oneness"), where the goal of  a  true relationship with God can be realized. The phrase من غير اشارة  "without ishārāt allusions" seems to be interpreted as the state of having cast aside idle fancies or vain imaginings, possibly as engendered by the folly of following false or limited Sufi guides.

The Bab also makes allusion to the Hadith Kumayl when the links spiritual attainment to the dawning forth of the "Light of the Morning (nūr al-subḥ) from the haqīqat or reality of the individual on the Path tom God. We have a kind of demythologization of key lines in the Hadith Kumayl: 


Extract from a mss. of the Risāla fi'l-suluk (IBA 6006C., 74) citing a phrases from the Hadith al-ḥaqīqa

So when you are travelling on this Path (al-suluk) the Gate of God (bab Allah) shall be opened up unto your self-soul (nafs) and you may anticipate elevation unto a noble dominion [or `to the status of] a noble angel'] (`alā mulk [malak] al-karīm). For the people of insight (ahl al-baṣīra) [Sufis?] [such] are the subtle allusions (ishārāt laṭīfa)! Wherefore cast then aside the subuḥāt al-jalāl ("[the splendors of the majesty"] "vainglories of majesty") including (ḥattā) the "allusions" (ishārāt) [which are mere]  vain imaginings (al-mawhūmāt), and tear away [also] the veils (al-astār). Be then attracted through the Divine Unicity [the Imams?] (al-aḥadiyya) which is an attribute of the Divine Unity (ṣifat al-tawḥīd) until the Light of the Morning (nūr al-subḥ) rise up from the ? of thy reality (ḥaqīqat) when [you shall] enter the madīnat al-waḥdat ("City of Oneness").  So disregard thy people [Sufi type guides?] and quench the lamp (al-sirāj) of all that veils you from God, exalted be He" (trans. Lambden,cf. also Lawson trans. : ).

From the foregoing it will be evident that the Bab understood subuḥāt al-jalāl ("the splendors of the Divine Glory/ Glorious Theophany") as indicative of the need to be free of human limitations  as opposed  to something like an uncovering of the splendors of an abstracted or apophatic Divine Glory (subuḥāt al-jalāl min ghayr al-ishara). Approaching God means abandoning  Sufi-type human guides and limitations and turning to the loci of the Divine Unity. The "lamps"  of human guides are to be quenched before the greater guidance of the "Sun" that shines within the true reality of the wayfarer alive to imamological and Divine guidance. 

 See further Lawson

The Sahifa bayn al-haramayn (Epistle Between the Two Shrines).

The Sahifa bayn al-haramayn (Dec 25th ,1260/1844-5) of the Bāb also contains a number of arcane references to the Ḥadīth Kumayl.  

فانّك قد تراه ؟ بعيداً و انّی قد اراه قريباً

Thus you, have you seen Him?  From afar off, one remote! While I have indeed seen Him, From close at hand, proximate!

ان اتّق اللّه و ارحم نفسك و ادخل باذن اللّه  فی مدينة ربّك و قل حطة ؟  

Then fear God! and exercise supreme mercy upon your self! Enter then, with the permission of God, into the City of thy Lord, and exclaim

  ان اكشف من هذا الباب سبحات الدّلائل من غيراشارة علی سبيل ما علّم علیّ عبده كميل بن زيّاد النّخعی علی صراط قويم قد نزّل من الفؤاد قريباً  و ان اردت الاشارة فقد حرّم عليك لقائه و كنت عند اللّه فی ارض الحدّ مكتوباً   هذه ما نزّل اليك من كتاب

 The Persian Bayān (1848 CE), pp. 62-3

نانچه اگر امروز كسی در احاديث فتنه و امتحان نظر نمايد مشاهده مينمايد كه

 چقدر اوليای حق از برای نجات اين خلق در يوم ظهور اهتمام

فرموده چنانچه مدققين (؟) نظر در كتاب خود ذكر نموده كه ظهور حضرت ۴ ظهور حقيقت

مسئول عنها است كه در حديث كميل مذكور است ولی يهدی اللّه من يشإ و يدخل الجنة

من يريد اينست حقيقت جنت

 در عالم حيات و بعد از موت لا يعلم الا اللّه هنا لك ما لا عين رات و لا اذن

سمعت و لا خطر علی قلب بشر قد خلق اللّه فيها من كل  ما كل عنه من فضله سائلون و

اگر ابحر سموات مداد گردد و كل اشيإ قلم و كل ذيروح كاتب هر آينه شيئ از اشيإ

جنت بعد از موت را نتوانند درك نمود و مدار آن مدار همين جنتی اس

Persian Dalā'il-i sab`ih (Seven Proofs)

 In his Persian Dalā'il-i sab`ah (Seven Proofs) which may have been written to a Shaykhi enquirer, the Bab registers the well-known five (or so) definitions of ḥaqīqa ("ultimate reality") communicated by Imam `Alī in the Hadith Kumayl. They are seen as prophetic intimations of aspects of the five successive years of the  mission of the Bab  (1260-1265/6 AH = 1844-1849[50] CE). 

 و نظر نموده در اجوبه مرفوعين قبلين يقين مينمائی   كه در حديث كميل ديده بر اينكه ظهور موعود منتظر. همان ظهور حقيقت مسئول عنه است

  • (I) (1260 / 1844-1845) . درسنه اول

. كشف سبحات الجلال من غير اشارة  ببين    

 Then observe in the first year "the revelation of the splendors of the Divine Majesty without a sign" (EGB TN: 329)

  • (II) (1845-6) Then in the second year: و درثانی

  محو الموهوم و صحو المعلوم

"The obliteration of the fanciful and the clearing of the known"

  • Then in the third  year (1846-7)  و درثالث  

هتك الستر لغلبة السر

"The rending of the veil by the triumph of the mystery"

  • Then in the fourth year (1847-8)  و در رابع

جذب الاحدية  .لصفة التوحيد  

"The attraction of the Divine Unity through the nature  of the apprehension of its Oneness" (EGB TN:329)

  • Then in the fifth year (1848-9)  . و در خامس

  . ببين و نور مشرق از صبح ازل را . خواهی ديد

. نور اشرق من صبح الازل علی هياكل التوحيد

"A light shining forth from the Morning of Eternity and irradiating the temples of the Unity" (EGB TN:329)


The Hadith Kumayl and the title of Mīrzā Yaḥyā (Per.) صُبْح اَزل  Subḥ‑i Azal  ( = Ar.  صبح الازل  ) Subḥ al-Azal.

The Persian phrase Subh-i Azal (Morn of Eternity) or its Arabic original (subh al-azal) as found in the Hadih Kumayl is quite frequently utilized in the voluminous writings of the Bab. The half-brother of Baha'-Allah Mīrzā Yaḥyā Nuri’s best known title is (Per.) صُبْح اَزل  Subḥ‑i Azal ( = Ar.  صبح الازل  = Subḥ al-Azal = "The Morn of Eternity" ) derives from this (Arabic genitive) phrase in the 5th definitional clause of الحقيقة (= al-ḥaqīqah = Ultimate Reality [God]) in  Imām `Alī's five definitions of reality" (haqīqa)  disclosed to Kumayl ibn Ziyād ibn Nahīk al-Nakhā’ī (d. c. 85/704?).

The Interpretation of the Hadith Kumayl in the Nuqtat al-kaf

This interpretation is summed up by EGB in Appendix II of his 1893 edition of the Tarikh-i Jadid (New History), pp. 329-331, [see above].

Now although certain knowledge is essential to happiness, its attainment is of all things most difficult, even to the favoured companions of God's saints. Thus Kumeyl ibn Ziyad1, one of 'All's chosen disciples, once demanded of his Master, behind whom he was seated on a dromedary, "What is Truth ?" "What hast thou to do with the Truth?" answered 'All, "for verily it is one of God's mysteries, and a jewel out of His treasure-house." Then said Kumeyl, when 'All had spoken for some while after this fashion, "0 my Master, am I not worthy to share thy secret?" "Yes," answered 'All, "but the matter is a great one." "0 my Master," said Kumeyl, "dost thou desire those who beg at the door of thy bounty to be turned away?" "Nay, verily," answered 'All, "I will answer the call of such as are troubled, and will sprinkle upon thee somewhat of the overflowing fulness of the Station of the Truth; receive it from me according to thy capacity, and conceal it from such as are unworthy to share it. 0 Kumeyl, the Truth is the revelation of the splendours of Divine Majesty without a sign." "0 my Master," said Kumeyl, "I understand not thy meaning; explain it to me further." "The effacement of the conjectured, and the clearing of the known," continued 'All. "Explain more fully," demanded Kumeyl. "The rending of the veil by the triumph of tlie mystery," said 'All. "0 my beloved Master," rejoined Kumeyl, "tell me more." ''The attraction of the Divine Unity through the nature of the apprehension of its Oneness,' added 'All. "Tell me more clearly," repeated Kumeyl. Then said 'All, "A light shining forth from the Morning of Eternity and irradiating the temples of the Unity."

"I have given this tradition in full because the Babis attach a special significance to it, regarding each of these five obscure utterances of 'Ali as typifying one of the first five years of the Bab's "Manifestation." The text of the tradition, taken from the Bab's "Seven Proofs" (Dala'il-i-sab'a) will be found in the footnote on p. 352 of the second [ fn.1 See Ibn Wadhih (ed. Houtsma), vol. ii, pp. 242—4.]  volume of my Travellers Narrative. Its application is given by Mirza Jani himself in describing the strange out burst of wild pantheism and antinomian ecstasy which characterized the gathering at Badasht, and proved, as it would appear, a cause of offence to not a few of the brethren. "The revelation of the splendours of Divine Majesty without a sign" denotes the first year (a.h. 1260—1) of the "Manifestation," wherein the Bab revealed himself, and declared mysteries transcendental and ineffable. " The effacement of the conjectured, and the clearing of the known" indicates the second year, wherein the doctrine was proclaimed in a simpler and less transcendental manner, because of the weakness of mankind, and wherein orders were issued by the Bab for the effacement or obliteration of the Commentary on the Sura-i-Yusuf  which he had written [1 = .Cf. J. R. A. S. for April, 1892, pp. 267—8.].

 "The rending of the veil by the triumph of the mystery" describes the third year, remarkable for the Badasht conference above alluded to, and the sovereign claims advanced by Hazrat-i-Kuddus (and evidently admitted by many of the Babis, including Haji Mirza Jani) which are adverted to on p. 282 supra. " The attraction of the Divine Unity through the nature of the apprehension of its Oneness," which denotes the fourth year of the "Manifestation," is not, I think, explained by Mirza Jani, but perhaps we may associate it with the appearance of the "Indian Believer" (pp. 242—4 supra). As for the fifth year, therein appeared Mirza Yahya to console the faithful for the loss of Hazrat-i-Kuddus and Jenab-i-Babu'l-Bab, and to assume the position of vicegerent to the "Point," by whom, in allusion to the promise connected with this year, he was entitled Subh-i-Ezel, "the Morning of Eternity*." In this cycle of five years, also, there is a mystery, for 5 is the numerical value of the word Bab, and also of the letter h (a) which stands for Huwiyyat  (ADD),  the Divine Ipseity or Unmanifested Unity, to a knowledge of which man may attain only through such Bab or "Gate," as it is said, "Enter houses by their gates1." [ fn.2Cf. Traveller's Narrative, vol. ii, p. 352, and note 1 thereon. The fact that Mirza Yahya was a native of Nur  in Mazandaran, and that Nur means " Light," certainly did not escape the Bab's notice]

        For, as has been said, man cannot know the Eternal Essence of God, but only the "Manifestation" of the Divine Will, which, from time to time, arises in the spiritual, as the sun in the material, firmament, to dispel the darkness of ignorance and separation. For knowledge implies the establishment of a relation between the knower and the thing known, and for man to attempt to establish such relation between himself and God, as the Sufis do, is sheer presumption, rendering him guilty of the sin of shirk (attributing a partner to God). Wherefore, whenever in the Kur'an or elsewhere mention is made of "the meeting with God" (liqa' Allah), and the like, what is meant is the meeting with one of the "Manifestations" or embodiments of the Divine Will (Mashiyyat). This Primal Will, from time to time incarnating itself, now in Abraham, now in Moses, now in Jesus, now in Muhammad, forms, as it were, an intermediary between man and God. It can be known by man, and It knows God: indeed in one sense It is identical with God, wherefore it is said in a tradition, " Whosoever visiteth Huseyn in his tomb is as one who hath visited God on His Throne." So likewise the Bab said, "Ο 'Ali! None hath known God save I and thou; and none hath known me save God and thou; and none hath known thee save God and I."

        Now all these Theophanies, as I shall henceforth call them, are identical in essence, and differ only in circumstance, just as the sun which shines to-day is the same as that which shone yesterday, or that which will shine to-morrow. We, for the sake of convenience, and having regard only to the accidents of time and place, may speak of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad as different persons, but they are in fact not less identical than the sun which shines to-day and the sun which shone yesterday. These lights of the firmament of Prophethood and Saintship, like the celestial luminaries, have a rising and a setting, a "Manifestation" and an "Occultation."

fn. 1 = Cf. Traveler's Narrative, vol. ii, pp. 227—8.


Baha'-Allah and the Ḥadīth al-ḥaqīqa