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The Bab - Ṣaḥīfa bayn al-ḥaramayn - Introduction, Mss. Notes

Ṣaīfa bayn al‑ḥaramayn from TBA. Ms. 6004c, 348.


The Ṣaḥīfa bayn al-ḥaramayn

("The Treatise [written] between the Two Shrines [Mecca and Medina]") of the Bab.

Introduction, Notes and mss.

Stephen Lambden, UCMerced - In progress-last uploaded 21-10-2016.


According to the TBA. Ms. 6004C, 348.,  the ms. in the Cambridge University Library (F7[9]) and a ms. in the Majlis Library (Tehran;  No. 1448, see below), this early work of the Bab dating to 1261 AH/mid. January 1845, begins [omitting some variant and alternative readings]  as follows:

Kitab [Sahifa] bayn al-Haramayn

("The Book [Treatise] revealed between the Two Shrines [Mecca and Medina]").

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

This Book (Kitab) was inded sent down within the sacred [holy] land (`ala al-ard al-muqaddas) between the Two Shrines [Mecca and Medina] on the part of one Elevated (`aliyy/`Ali), Praiseworthy [All-Wise] (hamid in [hakim]). It hath indeed been set forth through the instrumentality of the Dhikr (messianic Remembrance) (`an yad al-dhikr) as the Straight Pathway of God (sirat Allah) between the heavens and the earth. This in responce to the petition of the questioner (du`a al-sa'il), Hajji Sayyid `Ali Kirmani, regarding [seven aspects of the] well-established verses (ayat al-muhkamat). [It was sent down]  with the express permission of God  and as accords with manifest [well-balanced] scales [of justice] (qistas in mubin in). And this perchance it might instruct the believers about the Elevated Word (kalimat al-`ulya) within the seven mathani (twice repeated, cf. Q. Surah 1) and the Mighty Qur'an.

Such [was indeed set forth] with the permission of thy Lord, through the leaves [pages] of this Sahifa (Treatise) (waraqat tilka al-sahifa) [extant] within this Noble Sanctuary (mashhad al-karim). Such until, that is, the onlookers (al-nazirun) have indeed born witness unto these revealed verses (ayat al-nazila)  from the Sinaitic Tree (min shajarat al-sina'), the established Proof of God (hujjat Allah)  unto the devotees [people] of the twin originators (ahl al-nishatayn) [of the new era of Shaykhism = Shaykh Ahmad al-Ahsa'i and Sayyid Kazim Rashti], to the end that, one and all, might enter the Gate of the Twin Gulfs (bab al-tutunjayn) as accords with well-established proofs (bayyinat muhkamat) from God, assuredly for the elevation of the Ultimately Real (al-haqq), the One Manifest (al-mubin).

As noted by E.G. Browne at the beginning of CUL. Ms F 7 (9), the Leyden ms. (see below) opens as follows (I translate Browne's Arabic handwriting) :

This wondrous Ṣaḥīfa was propagated between the two shrines [Mecca and Medina] in reply to such questions as were posed by  [Mirza Muhammad Husayn] al-Muhit [ `the all-encompassing', al-Kirmani] and Sayyid `Ali al-Kirmani.

Notes and Introduction

Stephen Lambden - last uploaded 19-10-2016,

During the course of his pilgrimage the Bāb wrote several important works and a large number of epistles, several of which are listed in his Kitāb al‑fihrist (add URL). Foremost among the writings of this period is the Ṣaḥīfa bayn al‑ḥaramayn (Epistle between the two Shrines) datng to Muḥarram 1261/ mid‑January 1845. This Arabic work was in part composed in reply to questions posed by Mīrzā Muhammad Ḥusayn, Muḥīṭ‑ i Kirmānī (a prominent Shaykhī) ( ADD) to whom the Bāb had announced certain claims near the ḥajar al‑aswad   (black stone) in the Ka`ba on the 15th of Dhu'l‑Ḥijja 1260 (December 25th 1844). In this work the Bāb refers to himself as the dhikr Allāh (remembrance of God) and the fatā al‑`arabī (Arabian youth) as well as the kalimat al‑`amā'ayn ("doubly beclouded Word") and "the khaṭṭ al‑qā'im ("Upright [alphabetical]  trace", cf. the Arabic letter "A") between the worlds subject at all times to inspiration from the Spirit" (al‑rūḥ) (Ḥaramayn, F7 (9): fol6f). Apart from discussions of such subjects as the paths of the stars and the science of talismans, the Ṣāḥifa bayn al‑ḥaramayn  contains a fair amount of material illustrative of the Bāb's marked interest in `ilm al‑fiqh (jurisprudence). Throughout his ministry the Bāb set forth in great detail sometimes novel regulations to be observed by the (ultra‑) pious adherent of what, by 1848, had evolved into the revolutionary new Bābī shari`a (law).  

Mīrzā Muhammad Husayn Muhit-i  Kirmānī

Hajji Sayyid `Ali Kirmānī

Mīrzā Muḥīṭ‑i Kirmānī, a one time tutor to the two sons of Siyyid Kāẓim Rashtī, made an early and somewhat unsuccessful bid for the leadership of the Shaykhīs in Karbalā and subsequently vacillated between his claim to personal leadership and acceptance of the claims of his nephew Karim Khān Kirmānī (see Zarandī, DB:95).

Extant ms. of the Ṣaḥīfa bayn al‑ḥaramayn (Epistle between the two Shrines). Here I shall cite MacEoin's list of eleven mss. (see Sources, pp.197-8) with some reordering,  additions, corrections, and annotations :

  • (1) Haifa / Iran Baha'i Archives. IBA  (i) dated 1261/1845. Shiraz
  • (2) Haifa / Iran Baha'i Archives. IBA  (ii) dated?? / ??
  • (3) Tehan Baha'i Archives.  ( = TBA.) Ms. 4011C  pp.179-252. Dated 1261/1845 in the hand of Muhammad `Ali.
  • (4) Tehan Baha'i Archives.  ( = TBA.) Ms. 6004C, XXX-XXX.
  • (5) Tehan Baha'i Archives.  ( = TBA.) Ms. 6007C, 348-413. Undated.
  • (6) Ms. Item 2 in Majlis Library ms. No. 12448. This important ms compilation of 14 or more early  treatises (Risalas) of the Bab now held in the Majlis Library Tehran (No. 12448) comes , it seems, from the one-time personal library of a certain Baqir Naraqi which it is dated to 1302/1884-5.
  • (7) Iran National Baha'i Archives Manuscript Collection (INBMC), Vol. no. XXX
  • (8) The Leiden Univ. Library, ms. No. 241410, dated 1263/1847,  Shiraz.

Five Europeans located mss. in the hand of Ridwan `Ali, one of the sons of Mirza Yahya Nuri (d.1914).

  • (9) Cambridge Univ. Library, CUL. Or. 943 (8).  dated 1894 in the hand of Ridwan `Ali, one of the sons of Mirza Yahya Nuri (d.1914).
  • (10) Cambridge. Univ. Library, CUL Or. Ms. F7 (9). This Ms. was given to Edward G. Browne (d.1926) by Claude Cobham in May 1905, also dated July 10th 1907. It is a copy of a ms. most likely made in Cyprus by Ridwan `Ali, one of the sons of Mirza Yahya Nuri, known as Subh-i Azal (The Morn of Eternity). Pdf. of the opening of this Browne ms. with notes in the handwriting of Browne himself: SBH0.pdf
  • (11) London, British Library, BL. Or 5325 also in the hand of Ridwan `Ali.
  • (12) Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, BN 5804, dated 1898, also in the hand of Ridwan `Ali.
  • (13) Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, BN 6248, dated 1904, also in the hand of Ridwan `Ali.

Some further mss. of the Ṣaḥīfa bayn al-ḥaramayn

  • (14) Ms. of the Ṣaḥīfa bayn al-ḥaramayn owned or referred to by A.L. M. Nicolas (so MacEoin, Sources, 198, No. 11).
  • (15)


0n the Ṣaīfa bayn al‑ḥaramayn  refer, MacEoin, 1992:60‑1, 197-8, 249;  Amanat, 1989:246f.