Sayyid Kāzim Rashtī - an extract from his Sharh al-Qaṣīda al-Lāmiyya

 

 

 

Sayyid Kāzim Rashtī -  Some extracts from his Sharh al-Qaṣīda al-Lāmiyya

Trans. Stephen N. Lambden 1990s revised UC Merced 2018.

Under revision - last updated 17-09-2018.

Sayyid Kāzim al-Husayni al-Rashtī (d. 1259/ 1843) utilized the rich imagery of the Light verse and commented thereon in various of his numerous writings. In his 1258/1842 Qasida al-lāmiyya ("Ode rhyming in the letter "L" -- original ode by `Abd al-Baqi Afandi al-Māwsuli, d. 1204/1789), for example, in the course of commenting upon the exalted status of the seventh Imām, Imām Musā al-Kāzim (d. XXX/799 CE), the Sayyid several times quotes and comments upon Q. 24:35a. Imam Musā is referred to as a "Dawning-Point for the Light of wilāya ("Divime Intimacy") (nur walāya), one positioned or stationed before the theophany of the Sun of Prophethood [= Muhammad] (wāqif li-zuhur shams al-nubuwwah). A quotation [from al-Kāzim] is then cited to the effect that the Supernal Light (al-nur) is [both] the Divine Radiance (al-diyā') and the Divine Splendour [Beauty] (al-bahā'). Sayyid Kāzim then cites the first clause of the "Light verse" -- "God is the Light of the heavens and of the earth" (Q. 24:35a) and comments that the "Light" (al-nur) which is associated with "the Name" (al-ism), is in reality, the very Causitive Reality (al-`ilyā [`ulliya]) for :

outwardly it is the Cause which is effective through the Divinity (bi'l-uluhiyya)  It is the Greatest, Greatest Name" (al-ism al-a`zam al-a`zam). He saith -- glorified be He -- "God is the Light of the heavens and of the earth" (Q. 24:35a)  and the Light relateth to the Name which is the Cause [Causitive Reality]; outwardly it is the Cause through by virtue of the [Imamocentric] wilāya ("Intimacy Friendship, Custodianship-Guardianship"). It is the Greatest, Greatest Name. It is the Name  through which God created the heavens and the earth. By means of it He created the  mountains  of the created realms (jabalāt al-khalā'iq) whereby also He created the jinn, and human beings.

 And it is the First Light (al-nār al-awwal) which hath the First Name and the Elevated [Primordial] Reality (al-ism al-awwal wa'l-haqiqah al-`aliyā). And He said, glorified be He, "Praise be unto God Who created the heavens and appointed the darknesses [shadows] and the light" (Q. 6:1a). And this "Light" (al -nur) is constitutive of (ma`jul)  of that "Light" (al-nur) and its effect [trace] (ātharihi) and its created expression (makhluq). It [Q,6:1a] hath the Name of "the Light (al-nur) being the Secondary Reality (al-haqiqa al-thāniyya) on the level of all enduringness (fi al-rutba[t] al-baqiyya); the Radiant Splendour in terms of Luminosity (al-diyā'`alā al-munir) and the Foundation and Cause (al-asl wa'l-`ilah). Such is expressed in His saying, --exalted be He -- "He made the Sun [to be] al-iyā' ("a Radiance") and the moon a light (nār).." (= Q.10:5a). So the Radiance (al-diyā') is the luminosity (al-munir) for this is an attribute of the luminous Sun (al-shams al-munir). The "Light" (al-nur) is a derivitive aspect (?) just as is the state of the [radiance of the] Moon [?check].

Now as for the Splendour (al-sanā') it is synonymous with the Radiance (al-diyā') and the  Beauteous-Glory (al-bahā')  and the Light (al-nur)... Our Lord and Master Abi `Abd Allāh, Ja`far ibn Muhammad al-Sādiq said... in the Tafsir on the basmala, thst  the [letter] "B" (al-bā') is Bahā'-Allāh and the "S" (al-sin) is Sanā'-Allāh ("The Splendour of God"). Thus doth the bahā' have precedence over [preceed] the sanā' ("The Splendour") we are taught that the sanā' ("The Splendour") is an [subsiduary] aspect (al-sanā' furu`) since the bahā' is foundational (al-bahā' asl). It is thus the case that the al-bahā' has the sense of the al-diyā' (" the Radiance") and the  sanā' ("The Splendour") has the sense of the Light (al-nur)... and it [bahā'] is His Messenger (rasul) and Musā son of Ja`far, Mighty Trees (dawat) of the divine, primordial Olive Tree (al-shajarat al-awwaliyya al-ilāhhiyya al-zaytuniyya) which is neither of the East nor Western. And that Tree (al-sharajah)  is the Tree of Exterior Prophethood (sharajah al-nubuwwah al-zāhira) expressive of wilāya ("Imamocentric Intimacy / Custodianship") (fi'l-wilāya) and it is the Muammadan Reality (al-haqiqat al-Muhammadiyya)... He said, the Great Shaykh [= Shaykh Muhyi al-Din ibn al-`Arabi] in the Futuhāt [al-Makkiyya]  that the Muhammedian Presence (al-hadrat al-muhammadaniyya) is the most proximate [to God] of the presences approaching God (aqrab al-hadrāt ilā Allāh)..."  (Sayyid Kāim, al-Qaida, 000 [unpaginated]) 

 

The phrase qubbat al-zamān ("dome of time").

Stephen Lambden 1980s - revision in progress 2018.

The phrase qubbat a/-zamān ("dome of time") occurs at various points in Bābi amd Bahā'i scripture. It has its background in lslamic/ Shaykhi literatures. At one point in Sharh al-Qasida al-lāmiyya ("Commentary on the Ode Rhyming in the Letter 'L") Sayyid Kāzim Rashti (d. 1259/ 1843) writes :

"Then here is an ultimate done (qubbat ukhra) which is the dome (qubba) of Bala'yān ibn Jūr. It is also named the dome of time (qubbat al-zamān). For this dome (qubba) is both an exterior dimension (zāhir) and an interior dimansion (bātin). With respect to its exterior dimension (zāhir) I relate on the authority of my master, my Sayyid, my Shaykh, my teachar, my helper and my support [= Shaykh Ahmad al-Ahsā'i] - may God elevate his station -- 'And He raised up in the two Abodes (dārayn; dār al-baqā' [= 'the abode of parmanent abiding', Paradise) and dār al-bawār, [= 'the abode of perdltion, Hell]) [which are] His ensigns ('standards', alām), namely Bala'yān ibn Jūr a sage (hakīm) among tha perfect sages possessed of an extendad gardan ('world' ?) in knowledge (reading, dhū al-bāgh tawīl fī'l-'ilm) and one constant in certitude (rasūkh fī'l-yaqīn). So Noah was in a covenant of the Prophet of God[= Muhammad]- peace be upon him. Thus, when he heard about the flood (al-tūfān) and that Noah cried out unto his people and that God promised him that He would destroy them in the flood (al-tūfān), the Sovereign [= Noah?] (al-sultān) said, 'What is the stratagem ('deceptive plot', xilat). Then he said,

'I, verily, am the Son of the Dome (ibn al-qubba) through the stellar observations (al-a~ād) and the divine prescriptions ('incantations', al-'zā'im) and its dacrees (al-ahkām) .through the names (bi-al-asmā) and the spiritual ones (al-ruhāniyyāt) which are most mixed up compounded between the planets [angels] (amzaj bayn al-'ulwiyyan) and things terrestrial (al-sut/iyāt).

And He so disposed that all-encompassing dome (al-qubba al-muxxxx ītat) relative to the solid,
physical city [21st mansion of the moon / starless zone] (bi'l-balda tartīb an ŗabī'ī an) that the flood (al-tūfān) did not enter tharein and the city (al-balda) was unharmed by the innundations (al-gharqa) ... God, exalted be He, did not prevent  Bala'yān ibn Jūr  from imposing that dome (al-qubba) upon tha city to the end that it would be unharrnad by the innundations (al-gharqa) for He, exalted be He, may be reckoned to have desired that He should enable them to see His wisdom (hikma) which He caused to be deposited in the realities of things (haqā'iq al-ashyā')... So He preserved that city (al-baida) from innundations (al-gharqa) by means of that dome (al-qubba).

And He universalized the flood (al-tūfān) and engulfed the city and the servants and none were
secure save the denizens of tha Ark (ahl al-safīnat) and the mighty House (of the Prophet, al-bayt al-mu'azam) and the enclosure secure (al-haram al-amin) which is Mecca. Thus did God name it the House Delivered [Ancient] (al-bayt al-'atiq) ... Thus, whan that city (al-baida) was delivered God, exalted be He, filled it with fear on account of the eyes of the creation / creatures  just as He did to the Paradise of 'Ad . .. . and thare are affairs / occupations/ materials (maxxxJ) which we are not anguished to make mention of the discourse / saying/ opinion.

And Thou designated that dome the dome of time (qubbat al-zamān) on account of its eternity (baqā') and it was made to persist (M.R.R. [X]) simultaneously with time (ma 'a zamān). So it is not ....