A Commentary on the Lawḥ-i kull al-ta`ām (The Tablet of All-Food, c. 1854) Pt. II.

A Commentary on the Lawḥ-i kull al-ta`ām (The Tablet of All-Food, c. 1854) Pt. II.

Stephen Lambden UC Merced

In Progress.

Last Uploaded 08-09-2020.

[VIII]

[Interpretations of Qur'an III:93]

[1]

Then know that for this paradisiacal verse [= Q. 3:93], this choice fruit, divine song and heavenly pearl, are subtle meanings endless in their infinitude. [2] I, by the grace and bounty of God, shall sprinkle upon thee something of the superabundance of its meanings that may serve as a memorial for the believers, a guiding light for the estranged, and a stronghold for the agitated.

From Nasut to Hahut and Beyond, An Introduction to Lawh-i kull al-Ta`am IX :

  • Introduction to Lawh-i kull al-Ta`am IXf . From Nasut to Hahut and Beyond - Some Introductory Notes on the Five or more meta- "worlds" in Islamic Cosmology, Philosophy and Mysticism.

[IX]

هاهوت

[Hāhūt, The Apophatic Beyond]

[1]

Then bear thou witness that for "food" (li'l-ta`ām) are diverse levels of meaning;  it must suffice thee, however, that We expound four of them.

[2] It signifieth the realm of the Throne of He-ness [Ipseity] (hāhūt), the Paradise of the Exclusive Divine Oneness (jannat al-aḥadiyya).

[3] None is capable of expounding even a letter of that verse relative to that Paradise. [4] This inasmuch as that realm is that of the  Mystery of Endless Duration (sirr al-ṣamadāniyya), the "I-ness ["I am"] of Exclusive Divine Singularity" (aniyya [ibniyya] al-aḥadāniyya),  the Incomparable Israelicity  (isrā'iliyya al-firdāniyya) and the Resplendent Selfhood (nafsāniyya al-lama`āniyya).  [5]  Its exoteric aspect (ẓāhir) is the  essence of its esoteric aspect (bāṭin) and its esoteric (bāṭin) aspect the essence of its exoteric (ẓāhir) aspect. [6] It is inappropriate that anyone should attempt to elucidate a single letter of it.  [7] God, however, will disclose its mysteries when He willeth unto whomsoever He willeth. [8] And I, verily, in view of My injury and My misery am not informed of even a letter thereof. [8] This inasmuch as the matter cannot be related except on the part of God, its Fashioner and its Originator.

[9] So praise be unto God, its Creator and its Lifegiver above that which those who confess the Unity of God assert. [10] By He in Whose hand is My Soul!  If oceans of Light should surge forth in that realm all who are in the heavens and on earth would assuredly be drowned; save, that is, a number of the Letters of this Dispensation  [theophany] (ẓuhūr), [11] In this respect God beareth sufficient witness  as regards both Me and thee.

IX.1 The Throne of Hahut ("He-ness") and the Meta-Universes Beyond.

 Hāhūt = هاهوت

Hāhūt and Lāhūt in select Islamic Sufis, Poets. Philosopers and Mystics.

The Arabic loanwords Nāsūt and Lāhūt are basically  Syriac (Aramiac) Christological loan words:  nāsūt = Syr. `nāšūthā  and lāhūt =  Syr .`alāhūthā. Hāhūt  generally expressive of the Apophatic Beyondness of the Unknowability of the Godhead or Divine Essence (al-dhat) is modelled in Arabic on these earlier and more common Christological loanwords. It is generally thought that the opening Hā of Hāhūt is expressive of the Arabic letter "H" (=     al-ha', abjad 5)  also being suggestive of the masculine pronoun Huwa  ("He is" [God]) and the Huwiyya or the "He-ness" of the Divine Self-Identity or Ipseity.

Ibn Mansur al-Hallaj (d. 309/922)

Kitab Ta’ wa Sin , [The Letters] "T" (ta') and the "S" (sin) of the Lamp.

Diwan

Abū Ṭālib al-Makkī (d. 386/996) was an important early generator of certain of the five Aramaic Syriac-rooted “worlds” as drawn of by Baha’-Allah. This in his Arabic works

Qūt al-Qulūb  = “The Nourishment of the Hearts” . In the lengthy Sufi manual we do not find the terms Malakut, Lahut or Hahut. Jabarut  is there though as we shall see this realm was sometimes reinterpreted by Ibn al-`Arabi and others.

Though published in Cairo in 1964 under his name,  al-Makki's less known (its ascription to him is dounted) is the

`Ilm al- Qulūb = “The Knowledge of the Hearts”.  A few of the five cosmological terms are used here though not it seems, all five.

Muhyi al-Din Ibn al-`Arabi (d. 638/1240)

al-Futuhat al-Makkiyya;

Kitab al-Mim wa'l-Waw wa'l-Nun (`Book of the M, the W and the N')

Insha al-Dawa'ir

Fusus al-Hikam; 

Sayyid Haydar-i Amuli (b. Amul, 1319- d. Najaf, 1385).

Tafsir al-Muḥīṭ al-aʿẓam wa'l-bahr al-makhdam ... (The Mighty Supreme  ...

Jāmiʿ al-asrār wa manbaʿ al-anwār  ( The Compendium of Secrets and the Dource of the Lights)

Naṣṣ al-nuṣūṣ (The Text of Texts), a commentary on the Fusus al-Hikam (The Bezels of Wisdom) of Muhyi al-Din Ibn al- 'Arabi

Majma' al-asrar wa Manba' al-anwar (Compendium of Secrets and the Source of the Lights).

 

Lāhījī, Shams al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Yaḥyā (d. 918/1507).

مفاتیح الاعجاز فى شرح گلشن راز  = Mafatih al-`Ijaz fi Sharh-i Gulshan-i Raz (The Keys for the Inimitability of the Rose-Garden of Mystery) is a lengthy Persian commentary upon the well-known Gulshan-i Raz  of Muhammad / Maḥmūd Ibn-ʻAbd-al-Karīm Shabistarī ibn `Abd al-Karim Shabistari (b. near, Tabriz 687/1299-d. after 1340)

Maḥmūd Ibn-ʻAbd-al-Karīm  ibn Yaḥyā Shabistarī;

Ed and trans Edward H Whinfield

The mystic rose garden : the Persian text, with an Engl. transl. and notes, chiefly from the commentary of Muhammad Bin Yahya Lahiji'. London : Trübner, 1880.

Gulshan-i raz, ed. S. Muwahhid, Majmu’a-i athar-i Shaykh Mahmud Shabistari, Tehran: Kitabkhana-i tahuri, 1986.

Mafatih al-`Ijaz fi Sharh-i Gulshan-i Raz. ed.  Muhammad Rida Buzurgi Khaliqi and Uffat Karbasi. Tehran: Intisharat-i Zawwar, 5th ed. 1383/  

`Abd al-Razzāq al-Lāḥījī (d. c.1072/1662).

Tafsir

Hahut in early poetical writings of Baha'-Allah

In the fourteenth couplet of the early, c.1852 CE Rashh-i `ama' (The Sprinkling of the Theophanic Cloud), we read of a relationship between Baha'u'llah and the elevated Divine  realms of Lahut and Hahut as well as Nasut and  the transcendent sphere of `ama', the theophanic cloud of unknowing in which God is hidden pending glorious  tajalli or Self-revelation:

[14]

طلعت لاهوتی بين حوری هاهوتی بين

 جلوه ناسوتی بين كز سّر عما ميريزد   

Observe the Deified-Lahut related Countenance!

Behold the God-like/ Hahut related Maiden, Houri (huri)!

See thou that the terrestrial Effulgence  rains down from the mysterious depth of the Theophanic Cloud!

The Persian Poem of Baha'-Allah, Ishq az sidra-yi a`la amad ba shu`la-i farani amad.

با شعله فارانی عشق از سدره اعلی آمد

"Rapture came forth from the Most Transcendent Lote-Tree with the firebrand from Mount Paran! It came also with the Cup of Calamity (jām-i balā) from the Court of Glorification (sāḥat-i subḥānī)”.

A few couplets later God addresses Baha’u’llah in the following manner :

Loosely translated we read, “… O Messianic Spirit (ruh-i masiha’i),

Nāsūt (this world) is for Thy “Day” (bi-ruz-i tu)!

Lāhūt (the Divine world) is for Thy Theophany (zuhūr-i tu)! 

Hāhūt (the Apophatic Beyond) is for Thy Presence (hudūr-i tu)!

O Jewell of the All-Merciful (gawhar-i rahmani) …

Translation Stephen N. Lambden 2014.  From the text printed in Ma’ida-yi Asmanī, vol 4. pp. 179-184.

The five "worlds" of developed Islamic mystical Cosmology

[1] ناسوت عالم Nāsūt.  The world  which is this "mortal world".

[2]عالم ملکوت    The world of Malakūt, "the world of the angels, “the Kingdom of God”.

[3] عالم جبروت  The world of Jabarūt, `the sphere of the Divine Omnipotence or celestial Powers". 

[4] عالم لاهوت    The world of Lāhūt. "the Realm of the Divine Theophany".

[5] عالم هاهوت   Hāhūt , “the Apophatic realm of the Unknowable Godhead” or of the Essence of Divinity (dhāt Allāh).

IX.2b  Commentary "Food" as the "the Paradise of the Exclusive Divine Oneness (jannat al-aḥadiyya).

 

[2] It signifieth the realm of the Throne of He-ness [Ipseity] (hāhūt), the Paradise of the Exclusive Divine Oneness (jannat al-aḥadiyya).

 

The late Toshihiko Izutsu in his 1971 The Concept and Reality of Existence sums matters up with great clarity when he writes,

"Theologically it ["The Absolute", self-revealing God] is dhat Allah, i.e. the very Essence of God as He is supposed to be before He is described by any Attribute at all... And since It infinitely transcends all relative distinctions, it is indescribable and ineffable. It is therefore essentially unknown and unknowable. It is a great Mystery (ghaib). The utmost we can say of this stage is that it is "one", not in the numerical sense but absolutely, in the sense that nothing is visible, nothing is discernible. Technically this stage is known as the stage of ahadiyah or "absolute Oneness" (1971:48).

Having made this point this writer observes that there are those who do not see in ahadiyah "the ultimate metaphysical stage". They include Dawud Qaysari (d. 1350) and `Abd al-Karim al-Jili (          ). They do not equate ahadiyya  "directly with "existence " itself in its "absolute purity" because it transcends all conditions (p. 49). It should be ultra-apophatic, a non-conditioned "Mystery of Mysteries". Thus it might be better defined as "the stage of the first self-determination (ta'ayyun awwal) of the Absolute" (ibid). Yet, it is from al-ahadiyya that the Absolute prompts existence to issue  forth by virtue of the al-fayd al-aqdas, the "Most Sacred Emanation" as a result of which the secondary stage of  wāhidiyya ("inclusive oneness") is realized. . 

IX.3  Commentary

IX.4f Commentary

 

[4] This inasmuch as that realm is that of [a] the  Mystery of Endless Duration (sirr al-ṣamadāniyya), [b] the "I-ness ["I am"] of Exclusive Divine Singularity" (aniyya [ibniyya] al-aḥadāniyya) ...  

[a] The  Mystery of Endless Duration (sirr al-ṣamadāniyya),

[b] The "I-ness ["I am"] of Exclusive Divine Singularity" (aniyya al-aḥadāniyya), 

[c] the Incomparable Israelicity  (isrā'iliyya al-firdāniyya)

[d] and the Resplendent Selfhood (nafsāniyya al-lama`āniyya).  

[5]  Its exoteric aspect (ẓāhir) is the  essence of its esoteric aspect (bāṭin) and its esoteric (bāṭin) aspect the essence of its exoteric (ẓāhir) aspect.

Cf. Rajab al-Bursi, Mashariq..

 

[6] It is inappropriate that anyone should attempt to elucidate a single letter of it.  

The "I-ness ["I am"] of Exclusive Divine Singularity" (aniyya al-aḥadāniyya), 

In the  preamble or khutba ("prefatory oration") prefacing his pre-declaration, early 1844 CE., Tafsir Surat al-Baqara (Commentary on the Surah oif the Cow, Q. II) : the Bab refers to the concept of aniyya

 [1] Praised be to God Who manifested himself (tajalla) unto the spheres of existent Being (al‑mumkināt) through the ornament of the disengaged Point (bi‑ṭaraz al‑nuqṭat al‑mumfaṣilat) sprung out of the Abyss of Origination (lujjat al‑ibdā’) unto, in and  towards Existent Being...  [3] Through it He created Dual modality (zawjiyya) and He created "I‑ness" [Individuality] (al‑aniyya). [4] And the Divine Will (al‑mashiyya) was mentioned through the Dhikr of the Eternal [Cosmic] alphabet, (bi‑dhikr al‑handasah al‑azaliyya) which is other than God. [5] And it, it is indeed (fa‑hiya hiya) the Primordial Eternity (al‑azaliyya al‑awwaliyya) without termination of eternality. [6] Nay rather! It, it is [indeed] the Dawning Place of the Sun of the Inclusive Divine Oneness  (shams al‑ahadiyya) glistening forth from the Eternal Perpetuity (al‑ṣamadāniyya al‑bāqiyya) through the Eternity of the Divine Ipseity (bi‑baqā’ al‑huwiyya) [which is] of the realm of Divine Omnipotence (al‑jabarūtiyya)...

 

`Abd al-Karām al-Jīlī [Gilānī]  (d. c. 832/ 1428) on Huwiyya.

To return to an aspect of the theology surrounding the letter “H” of the Huwa (“He is”)  and of the closely related word  Huwiyya indicative of the Divine Ipseity. [27]  It can first be noted that there is a section on هوية (huwiyya = “He-ness”) in the important, foundational al-Insān al-kāmil.. ("The Perfect Man [Human]") of the key disciple of Ibn al-`Arabī named `Abd al-Karām al-Jīlī [Gilānī]  (d. c. 832/ 1428).  This important Persian Shī`īte Sufī writes in this work:

"The Ipseity of the Ultimately Real [True One] (God; huwiyya al-ḥaqq):  this indicates His hiddenness (ghayb), the manifestation of which is impossible save by means of the totality of the [Divine] Names and Attributes. This since their Reality alludeth unto the interiority of the Divine Uniqueness (bāṭin al-wāḥidiyya); it alludeth unto His Being (kūn) and His Essence (dhāt) by means of His Names and Attrubutes: `The Ipesity (al-huwiyya) is the hiddenness of the Divine Essence which is Uniquely One (wāhid)” (Jīlī, al-Insān [1956] 1: 96-7 trans. Lambden).

The reading ibniyya "Sonship"

[X]

اللاهوت

[Lāhūt, The sphere of the Divine]

[1]

It ["food" al-ta`ām] signifieth the realm of the Paradise of Endless Duration (jannat al-ṣamadiyya), the Throne of the Divine Realm (`arsh al-lāhūt),  the Snow-White Light (nūr al-baydā'). [2] It is the station (maqām) of "He is He Himself" (huwa huwa) and there is none other save Him (huwa). [3] This Paradise is allotted unto those servants who are established upon the Seat of Glory (kursi al-jalāl), who quaff liquid camphor (mā' al-kāfur) nigh unto the All-Beauteous One (tilqā' al-jamāl), and who recite the verses of Light (āyāt al-nūr) in the Heaven of Manifest Justice (samā' al-`adāl). [4] Thereby are they enraptured and from that "food" (al-ta`ām) derive comfort.

Commentary on X:1

1.A. Paradise of Endless Duration,= jannat al-ṣamadiyya.

1.B.The Throne of the Divine Realm, `arsh al-lāhūt.

In the eighth couplet of the probably c. 1862-3 Persian poem of Baha'-Allah entitled, Halih, Halih, halih yā Bishārat (Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, O Glad-Tidings) we read:

This sweet Davidic voice (naghmih-yi dāwūdī) came from the Divine Lote-Tree (sidrah-yi lāhūtī), with the messianic Spirit (rūḥ-i masīḥhā) ... (Per. text in Ganj, 34).

Here Baha'u'llah represents himself as coming from the sidrah-yi lāhūtī, the Divine Lote-Tree, the Lotus-Tree of the highest heaven with "the Messianic Spirit" the rūḥ-i masīḥhā, the Jesus-like Spirit, an early claim to be the "return" or second coming of Jesus. He comes as a Divine figure from the realm of the Divine, that of Lāhūt.

1.C. The Snow-White Light, nūr al-baydā'.

Commentary on X:2

The station (maqām) of "He is He Himself" (huwa huwa)

Commentary on X:3

[3] This Paradise is allotted unto those servants who are established upon the Seat of Glory (kursi al-jalāl), who quaff liquid camphor (mā' al-kāfur) nigh unto the All-Beauteous One (tilqā' al-jamāl), and who recite the verses of Light (āyāt al-nūr) in the Heaven of Manifest Justice (samā' al-`adāl).

Commentary on X:4

 

 

[XI]

[Jabarūt, the Omnipotent Realm]

[1]

 It signifieth the Paradise of the Inclusive Divine Unicity (jannat al-wāḥidiyya), the Golden [Yellow] Land (ard al-sufra'), the surging Depths of realm of the Divine Omnipotence (tamātam al-Jabarūt). [2] It is the realm of "Thou art He [God] ( anta huwa) and He [God] is Thou" (wa huwa anta) allotted unto those servants who do not cried out except with the  permission of God; who act according to His command and ever restrain themselves in accordance with His Wisdom (hikmat) [3] -- just as God hath described them [in the Qur'an] for they are the honoured servants of whom it is written: "They speak not till He hath spoken; and they do His bidding" (Q. 21:27).

[XII]

[Malakūt, the Kingdom of God]

[1]

It ["food" al-ta`ām] signifieth the Paradise of Justice (jannat al-`adl),  the Verdent [Green] Land (ard al-khudra'), the Fathomless Deep of Kingdom of God (qamaqam al-malakūt) [2] allotted to those servants whom "neither traffic nor merchandise beguile from the remembrance of God" (Q. 24:27) since they are the companions of the Light (ashab al-nur). [3] They enter therein with the permission of God and find rest upon the Carpet [Expanse] of the Almighty (bisat al-`izz).

[XIII]

[Nasūt, the Human-Mortal Realm]

[1]

It ["food" al-ta`ām] signifieth the realm of the Paradise of the Divine Bounty (jannat al-fadl), the Crimson Land (ard al-hamrā'),  the Yellow Secret (sirr al-sufrā'),  the Snow-White Mystery (mustansirr al-baydā') and [2] the Point of human realm  (nuqtat al-nasūt). In it are the proofs of the Remembrance (adila' al-dhikr) supreme (akbar),  if you are of those who are informed.

[XIV]

[1]

Ah! Alas! Then Ah! Alas!

If the Primal Point were alive in these days and witnessed My grief he would assuredly, at all times, comfort Me, treat Me tenderly, and fill Me with ardent joy. At every moment would he strengthen Me. [2] So Ah! Alas! Would that I had died after him, before these days, or were one quite forgotten, consigned to oblivion.

[3]

Say: O Thou Concourse! Comfort me!

Do not calumniate Me or hasten My affair for I am a servant who hath believed in God and in His signs [or verses], and there doth not remain of My days except a few. [4] God, My Lord, is sufficient protector against you since he sufficeth Me and sufficeth he whom he desired aforetime.  [5] Sufficient is the careful account of His own Self. [6] Lord! Pour out patience upon Me and make Me victorious over the disbelieving peoples who do not cry out except in accordance with their own delusions or move except as their idle fancies prompt them. [7] Say: It is not for you to ask why it is this way for you neither comprehend nor understand.

[XV]

[1]

O Thou Faithful One!

When the breezes of love spilled over from the right-side of the Sinaitic Tree you were turned to the right and to the left; [2] in that place, in the Cave of Light, you were protected with the permission of God, the Exalted, for He is God, Powerful over all things. [3] And you acknowledged and understood all that We expounded for you. Then bear witness that We desire to expound further. [4] Then know that the significance of "food" is the essence of knowledge; that is, all branches of learning. [5] "Israel" signifieth the Primal Point and the "children of Israel" He whom God, on His part, made a Proof unto the people in these days. [6] " Except what Israel made unlawful for itself [or himself]"; that is, that which the Primal Point made unlawful for his elevated ones and his servants. [7] Then bear witness that all that God decreed in the Book through His command and His power of interdiction is the truth about which there is no doubt. [8] It is incumbent upon all to act in conformity therewith and to assent thereto. [9] Let not the actions of those who have been  spreading wickedness in the land veil you. They suppose that they are rightly guided.  [10]  Nay! By the Lord of the Realm of the Divine Cloud! They are liars and calumniators. [11] The nature of that party is such that they should never be allowed to eat even barley in these days.  [12] How then, can they possibly be allowed to eat what God hath forbidden in the Book? So praised be He, praised be He above that which those who make association [ascribe partners to God] assert.

Commentary on [XV]

The person addressed here as "O Thou Faithful One!" would seem to be Kamal al-Din Naraqi for whom this text was written or revealed by Baha'u'llah around 1854 CE or slightly earlier. His personal experience of disillunsionment with the inadequate tafsir on Q. 3:93 of Mirza Yahya Nuri the then leader of the Babis, his faith challenge is pictured by means of a comparison with the trials of the seven sleepers or ashab al-kahf, the "comanions of the Cave" whose story is contained in Qur'an 18:  and interpreted by the Bab in his Qayyum al-asma' and elsewhere (see QA.     ).

When the breezes of love spilled over from the right-side of the Sinaitic Tree you were turned to the right and to the left; [2] in that place, in the Cave of Light, you were protected with the permission of God, the Exalted, for He is God, Powerful over all things. [3] And you acknowledged and understood all that We expounded for you. Then bear witness that We desire to expound further.

XV: 4f Qur'an 3:93 further interpreted.

[4] Then know that the significance of "food"  (al-ta`ām) is the essence of knowledge; that is, all branches of learning. [5] "Israel" signifieth the Primal Point and the "children of Israel" He whom God, on His part, made a Proof unto the people in these days. [6] " Except what Israel made unlawful for itself [or himself]"; that is, that which the Primal Point made unlawful for his elevated ones and his servants. [7] Then bear witness that all that God decreed in the Book through His command and His power of interdiction is the truth about which there is no doubt. [8] It is incumbent upon all to act in conformity therewith and to assent thereto. [9] Let not the actions of those who have been  spreading wickedness in the land veil you. They suppose that they are rightly guided.  

[10]  Nay! By the Lord of the Realm of the theophanic Cloud (al-`ama')! They are liars and calumniators. [11] The nature of that party is such that they should never be allowed to eat even barley in these days.  [12] How then, can they possibly be allowed to eat what God hath forbidden in the Book? So praised be He, praised be He above that which those who make association [ascribe partners to God] assert.

 

[XVI]

[1]

O Thou Friend!

Since you were irradiated through the orient light of the radiance of the splendours of the Morn of Eternity (subh al-azal) -- the lights of which [or, of whom] have filled the horizons  [2]  -- and been captivated by the winning ways of the Light of Endless Duration -- the traces of which [or, of whom] have appeared upon the Temples of the Orient Light -- [3] then know that the intention of "food" in these days in which the Sun shineth in the centre of Heaven and the Lamp of Eternality hath shed splendour upon the Luminary of the Realm of Theophanic Cloud, is none other than the Bearer of the Cause. [4] "Israel" in this connection, signifieth the Primal Will by means of which God created all who are in the heavens and on the earth and what is between them. [5] The "children of Israel" are those servants who were captivated by the Light of that Primal Will in the "year sixty" (= 1260 AH = 1844 CE) and thereafter  until the "Day" on which He shall assemble the people before the Lord of the Worlds. [7] God desireth not that anyone be oppressed but the people wrong their own selves. [8] So know that the Light of God hath ever been established upon the Throne of Favour and will ever remain the like of what it was; though the people neither comprehend nor bear witness. [9] Since We have lifted you up to the summit of the Mount of Light, elevated you to the peak of the Mount of Servitude in the Land of Exhilaration, [10] enabled you to drink deep of the Water of the Divine Oneness from the Camphor Fount at the hand of the All-Beauteous Joseph, [11]  and given you rest in the Cradle of Tranquillity about which the Gladsome Ant sang forth -- therein your spirit enlivened, your soul delighted and your essence gladdened -- [12] then thank God Who created you aforetime by a command on His part and made you to be numbered among those servants who are rightly guided through the verses of God.

[XVII]

[1]

Now, at this moment, I cease not to complain of my sorrow and anguish unto God for He alone acknowledgeth My anxiety, is aware of My plight and heareth My lamentation. [2] By He Who hath made the Bird[s] of Light to soar aloft in the Land of the Theophany! [3] None is to be found as dejected as I, for now do I dwell at the point of dust in obscure ignonimy. [4] There is no possessor of Spirit in the Dominion of God except he weepeth over Me to the degree that the heavens are well-nigh cleft asunder, the earth split open and the mountains levelled. [5] This inasmuch as the eye of time hath not seen anyone as oppressed as I. [6] And I, verily, have been patient and forbearing;

have sat between the hands of God, trusted in Him and committed the affair unto Him, perchance He might comfort Me and protect Me from all that the people have committed.

[XVIII]

[1]

Then know, O Kamal!

If I should expound that verse [Qur'an 3: 93] from this day until the days find their consummation in  al-Mustaghath ("the One Invoked for Help", abjad 2001] --which is the Day when the people will rise up before the Countenance of the Living One, the Wondrous, the extent to which God would favour me through His grace and bounty [with numerous explanations] could not be estimated. [2] This inasmuch as the Mystery of the Divine Oneness hath been set in motion, the Ocean of Endless Duration hath surged and the Countenance of Light in the Heavens of the Realm of Unknowing hath beamed forth from the right side of the Tree of the Command. [3] This, in these days, in which the Sun of Manifestation hath risen in unique manner though the people are neither cognisant of its magnitude nor mindful of its subtlety. [4] So Ah! Alas!

If they [the people] could but perceive, the Proof would never be hidden from them nor the Favour be beyond their grasp. [5] Say: It is not for you to ask why it is so lest you join partners with God Who created you  and aided you through a Light from before Him;  if, that is, you are of those who truly believe.

[XIX]

[1]

Give ear, O Kamal!

to the voice of this lowly, this forsaken ant, that hath hid itself in its hole, and Whose desire is to depart from your midst, and vanish from your sight, by reason of that which the hands of men have wrought. [2] God, verily, hath been witness between Me and His servants. God it is Who beareth witness unto Me in all respects. [3] So Ah! Alas! If the Last Point, the Countenance of My Love, Quddus were alive he would assuredly weep over my plight and would lament that which hath befallen me. [4] And I, for My part, would at this moment beseech his eminence and supplicate his holiness that he would enable Me to ascend unto the court of His might and recline on the cushion of his sanctity as I was wont to do in those days [now past] when I was free of the aforementioned misfortunes. [5] O Lord! Cast patience upon Me and make Me to be victorious over the transgressors.  

[XX]

[1]

O Thou Faithful One!

If you be of those who dwell in the Snow-White Forest, the Isle of the Criterion (al-furqan), then know that "food" signifieth al-wilāya ("Divine Providence, etc) the "Custodianship" which God decreed for His people. [2] The intention of "Israel" in this connection is the Point of the Criterion (al-furqan) and of the "children of Israel" His trustees [= the Imams] who succeeded Him [Muhammad] and by means of Whom God recompenseth His righteous servants. [3] And if you be of those who dwell in the Crimson Isle, the Orchard of the Exposition (al-Bayan), then know that We abandon the "food" [of the Islamic wilāya?] and desire the Primal Point [the Bab], the Pure Wine of the Divine Oneness in an elevated station. [4] The intention of "Israel" in this connection is the Last Countenance [= Quddus ?], the Mystery of Endless Duration in an elevated station [5] and the Countenance of Light, the Disengaged Manifestation, the Temple of the Divine Oneness [= Mīrzā Yahya?) in an elevated station whom the aggressors caused to be imprisoned in the land and concealed in the cities. [6] So praised be God above that which the hands of the People commit. And God is not unaware of the actions of the people.

[XXI]

[1]

Since, at this moment, the fire of love surgeth in the heart of al-Bahā’ [Baha'u'llah], the Dove of Servitude singeth in the Heaven of the Divine Cloud and the Bird (Hoopoe) of Light warbleth in the midst of the firmaments, [2] the Sinaitic Tree burneth of itself through the Fire of its own self above the Ark of the Testimony beyond Mount Qaf, [in] the Land of Realization, [3] and the Ant of Servitude hideth in the Vale of the Divine Oneness in this "Night" with mystic fidelity, wherefore do I desire to further expound that verse [Qur'an 3:87]. [4] This inasmuch as God hath, at this moment, informed me about it through His grace and bounty. And He, verily, is the Mighty, the Generous. [5] Then bear witness that "food" signifieth the Ocean of the Unseen which is hidden in the Scrolls of Light and treasured up in the Inscribed Tablets. [6] "Israel" signifieth the Manifestation of the Command in these days and the "children of Israel" the people of the Bayan. [7] And that "food" was allowed for them [the Babis]; that is, for all who desire to ascend unto the Heaven of Bounty and to drink of the Water of Manifestation [or Pure Water] from that Cup, the Goblet of Servitude, which resembleth naught but a shadow in the land. [8] I, however, ask God's forgiveness on account of that limitation. So praised be God, One worthy of praise and mighty beyond the attempts of the negligent to describe Him.

[XXII]

[1]

So Ah! Alas! If there should surge upon me a sprinkling from the Ocean of Divine Authorization, from the Sovereign of the Realm of the Divine Cloud and King of Glory, [2] I would expound that verse [Q. 3:87] with the accents of the spiritual ones, the sanctified myriads, and the melodies of the enraptured ones. [3] Since I have not inhaled, however, the fragrance of realization or accomplishment then that which I have already set forth for you must suffice you; for it is sufficient proof unto those who were, in the days of their Lord, given to remembrance. [4] In view of the fact that you have sought and derived warmth from the Fire of Love and have found pleasure in the charm of the trace of ink in these apposite Tablets, then bear witness and be assured that I Bahā'-Allah] have claimed naught but servitude to God, the True One. [5] And God is my arbitrator against that which the people falsely allege. [6] Say: `Woe unto you on account of that which your hands have committed; hereafter shall you be brought before the Knower of  that which is hidden and that which is manifest [see Q.9:106b] and assuredly, in this respect, be questioned.'

[7]

Say: `O People of the Concourse!

Be not astonished at the handiwork of God, the mercy of God and His blessings upon you, if you are of those who are informed. [8] Fear ye God! and know that the handiwork of God radiates forth in the image[s?] of the Lamp of Eternality among the artistry of the people. How is it that you neither consider this nor bear witness unto it?'

[XXIII]

[1]

Then Ah! Alas! By He Who hath restrained the dove of sorrow in the breast of al-Bahā' [-Allāh]! [2] All that I have witnessed from the day on which I first drank the pure milk from the breast of My mother until this moment hath been effaced from my memory in consequence of that which the hands of the people have committed. [3] And God is aware of all that pertains to the people though they are not informed.

[4] Say: `O People of the Realm of the Divine Cloud! Issue forth from your habitations and present yourselves in the Sanctum of Light, the manifest Divine Cloud, the most-great House of God, as hath been decreed, with the permission of God, the Exalted, Who beareth witness, in the Tablet of the Heart.'

[XXIV]

[1]

I, verily, conclude this discourse in that the Dove of Light sang forth aforetime at the moment of its [His] arrival in the Land of Exhilaration and warbled with the accents of the heart. [2] And you know, O my beloved, that, for the sake of God, I desired authorization since patience, on account of my love for the unveiled beauty of God, had departed from me. [3] And you know that a son of adultery willfully desired to shed My blood. [4] Nay, by the presence of Thy Might! I do not pledge allegiance unto him, either in secret or publicly. [5] It is God alone Who causeth the day of the spilling of My blood to draw nigh and when My tears shall be sprinkled upon the dust. [6] So, O would that this My day were the day of the shedding of my blood, for my ardent desire is for the soil. [7] So praised be God, One Worthy of Praise and Mighty, above that which the associators assert with respect to His description. And praise be to God, Wondrous Lord of all the Worlds.

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