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A Letter of Tahirah, Qurrat al-`Ayn to Mulla Husayn Bushru'i,

Alleged Image of Tahirah + Specimin Khatt (Script) of Tahira

A Letter of Tahirah, Qurrat al-`Ayn (`Solace of the Eyes') to Mulla Husayn Bushru'i, Jinab-i Bab al-Bab (The Gate of the Gate), Trans Lambden, 2020.

Translation Stephen Lambden October 2020.

From the Arabic text printed in Nostatullah Mohammad Hosseini, Jinab-i Tahirah (Dundas, Ontario, Canada, 157 BE., / 2000 CE), pp. 423-427.

In Progress 15-10-2020.

A Letter of Tahirah to Mulla Husayn'

Fāṭima Baraghānī, Qurrat al-`Ayn, Ṭāhira or Ṭāhirih (The Pure One)  (c. 1817-1852) became a Babi or follower of the Bab during the first year of his prophetic ministry (1260/1844) and shone forth as a brilliant light in the firmament of elevated Babi believers. Her Persian poetry is now internationally famous but her amazingly eloquent Arabic religious prose is less well-known and hence under appreciated. Hopefully, the following translation will provide a faint glimmer of her literary genius.  While her addressee Mulla Husayn Bushru'i (d. 1849) is counted the first of the eighteen major disciples of the Bab known  as the  `Letters of the Living' (Hurufat-i Hayy), she is reckoned the seventeenth and only female among thier number. During his lifetime the Bab gave her great prominence often counselling male believers to submit to her  insight and revolutionary spirit. She was fearless and intellectually foremost as this precious letter serves to indicate.

To the Court of Sanctity (sahat al-quds) [Mulla Husayn Bushru'i], Master of all the worlds (mawla al-`alamin)! The one stationed over the Twin Gulfs (al-waqif `ala al-tutunjayn). May the blessings of God be upon him so as to increase his nobility.

In the Name of God,

the Elevated (al-`aliyy), the  Gracious (al-jawad), the Beneficient (al-muhsin)!

May Peace from the Peaceful One (al-salam min al-salam) be upon he unto whom the directive of Peace (hukm al-salam) returns. And may Peace (al-salam) from the  Court of his Holiness (sahat quds) be upon whomsoever singles him out for his Self (nafs) purifies him from the need for evidential proofs aside from his own Self, the very Reality of Might (haqiqat al-`izz) and the Treasury of Peacefulness (ma'din al-salam), the Peace (al-salam), that is, that radiates forth from Him along with the Brilliance  issuing from Him. He is indeed (huwa) he who is of Him (huwa) for there is no differentiation between "him" and "Him" (huwa) except that He (huwa) expresses His own Logos-Self (nafs) and His own kind (jins) as well as being  the Joy-Bringer for His distress (mufarraj karb) and the Ordainer [Judge, Determiner] (qadi) for His Religion (din)! He is indeed the well-spring of the Divine Majesty (yanbu`  al-jalala), the manifestation of Power (mazhar al-qudrat), the treasury of Peace (ma`din al-salam) and the fountainhead of  Munificence  (manba` al-karama), Magnificence (al-karama) and Sanctity (al-taqdis).

He [Mulla Husayn]  is one radiantly shining (al-mutasha`sha`a), the very benediction of brilliance (salwat al-mutala`mi) from the Divine Veil  (al-hijab) which is especially elevated above such as claimed precedence through compliance (bi'l-ijaba). Though they had gazed upon knowledge (al-diraya),  attained unto His Gate (bab) and had a deep understanding of His Eminence, they passed away through His self-annihilation (fana'),   yet failed to comprehend the determinants of resurrective regeneration. Nay rather! they entered the Abyss of the Divine Univity (lujjat al-ahadiyya)  though they did not even vision before themselves any semblance save that generated by their own seemingly elevated selves! They saw with the eye of God (`ayn Allah) as they gazed forth -- may be blessings of God be upon them -- and elevated be the gravitas of their Master (mawla) above that which they assert.

Praised be to God who hath guided us unto the Supreme Remembrance (al-dhikr al-akbar) to the end that we may assuredly be enabled to guide others; otherwise, to what end should God guide us for in God is entrance and in God is utterance, and in God is the rising up for the assistance of His Proof (hujjat). There is neither power nor strength save in God, the Exalted, the All-Mighty.

Glorified he He who hath cast bounty upon  this insignificant one [Tahirah], beyond whatever might be estimated, and raised her up above the Mount Sinai of Benevolence and Glory (fawq tur al-manna wa'l-baha') for He enabled her to vision the verses of the Radiant One (ayat al-mushriqa) issuing from a Sign of His Countenance (aya wajh), the Exalted, the Most Supreme (al-`aliyy al-a`la). And praise be unto He who enabled her to be enraptured by the Sanctified Court (sakht qudsihi) and ennobled me through the Visage of His Remembrance (tal`at dhikr). He it is who caused me to be drowned in the surging ocean of His love (tamtam hubb) and purified me from the mere glimpse of anything other than Him.

His indeed is the Praise  (al-hamd) which is a Praise most radiantly brilliant (sha`sha`aniyya an). And for Him is the Gratitude (al-shukr) which is a Gratitude of utter transcendence (muta`aliyy an) one of supreme Perpetuity      (sarmadaniyya an). Glorified then be God by virtue of that "We" (ana) and this mighty station (al-maqam al-`uzma) which exists on account of His Might (`izzat) for if He had not enabled me to take firm hold of His Grace (fadl), I would be but one non-existent (ma`dum an) on the Day of the Divine Presence (yawm al-hudur).

My Lord and my Master,  my Cave and my Support, O Thou Who, Magnified be Thy Majesty as befits the Bayan and the greatness of Thine Honour as befits its Exposition (al-tibyan), I do testify that the Gate of Thy Gnosis (bab ma`rifatikum) is bolted shut (masdud) before the people of the contingent realm (ahl al-imkan) yet flung wide-open for whomsoever is positioned (waqif) nigh the Bab of the Bayan (bi-bab al-bayan). Such that is as gaze forth with the Eye of the Prototypical Divine Entities (`ayn al-ayyan) for God hath indeed purified thee from mere similitudes (al-mithliyya), sanctified thee from phantasma (shubbhiyya) and made thee to be purified beyond any notion of connectedness (al-iqtiran).

So Blessed! then Blessed! be whomsoever hath been nullified through thy self-annihilation (fana') yet come to life on account of the water (al-ma') which descended from the Heaven of Thy Laudation! Blessed! furthermore, be whomsoever He gave precedence through the divine  Providence (al-`inaya),  made to arrive at the carpet of Thy Glory (bisat jalal),  to gaze upon the Traces of Thy Beauty (athar jamalika) and to hearken unto the Call of the Dove (nida' al-warqa') upon the Trees (dawhat) of the Sidrat al-Muntaha (Lote-Tree of the Extremity) expressive of Thy Bounty (fadl) and of Thy Baha' (Glory-Beauty), for such is my Gate (babi) and my Archetype [Mother] (ummi) expressive of whatsoever is within the Knowledge of my Lord!

What is it then that could be more glorious than thy Dhikr (Remembrance), Thy Dhikr indeed! And what more majestic than thy laudation (al-thana'), Thy Laudation (al-thana') indeed! Or what more transcendent (a`la) then thy might (qadr), Thy Might (qadr) indeed! Through Thee was the Spirit of Holiness (ruh al-quds) [Quddus] taken up to the Paradise of the Goblet (jinan al-saghura) via the orchards (hada'iq) nigh the village(s) of the theophany (bi'l-akura al-zuhur). And through Thee was the Light (al-nur) sent down upon the Sinaitic Mount (al-tur). And through Thee was made manifest the "Sacred Book Inscribed" (kitab mastur) in the  "Scroll Outstretched" (raqq manshur)! [Q. 52:3]. Upon Thee be the Peace of God (salam Allah), the Exalted, the All-Forgiving.

I do testify that He hath indeed taken a covenant (`ahd) with respect to Thy Love (muhabbat) with every individualized atom of existence (dharrat al-wujud) and as pertains to the exegiences of obedience to Thee (alzam ta`atika) with everything that hath emerged in the world of manifest existence (`alam al-shuhud).

O my Lord (sayyidi) and my Master (mawla)! May God be forgiving of the mighty (al-`azim) for the inadequacies of their association with thee and for the stuttering nature of their utterance (al-talajluj) nigh the Dawning-Place of  the Remembrance of thee, my Gate (babi), for whatsoever is within the knowledge of my Lord! Thine enraptured being (jadhdhabiyyat) hath indeed cried out to me  and thy Grace (fadl) hath served to lift me up! Otherwise by God! I am nothing at all unless I be enlivened nigh thy countenance (tal`at) and be empowered, set in motion in  thy Presence (mahdar)!

And I beseech God, for complete forgiveness (al-afuw) through thy Bounty, O my Lord (mawla), through the very Spirit (ruh) of the people of the Spirit (ahl al-ruh), [accept me] as thy ransom (fida'), O Proof for the those perplexed (dalil al-muttahayyirin), O Treasure of those given to disputation (kanz al-munqatqarin [?]), O  Citadel of those who seek shelter (hisn al-lala'idhin [?]), O Proof of God (hujjat Allah), the Ruler (al-malik), the Just (al-`adl), the Perspicuous (al-mubin) , a Gateway of His Purity (bab safiyy) and of His Beloved (mahbub), the Judge of the  Day of God (dayyan yawm al-din)! 

O my Master (mawla)! With what tongue can I befittingly supplicate thee when my tongue hath been struck dumb on account of rebellious insubordination ( al-ma`asi)? With what face can I encounter thee when my face hath assuredly been re-created through trespasses (al-dhunub)? How then can I supplicte thee given the "I am I myself" (ana ana) and how can I not supplicate thee given the "Thou art Thou thyself" (anta anta)? How then can I cry out nigh the Court of thy Holiness (sakht al-quds) the very moment [ when I am but] the negation of existence (la wujud) with my mention [my Dhikr, Remembrance] (dhikri) before thee? How can I be silent before thy Coutenance (wajh) when the supplicant of thy Mystery (sirr) hath ever been detatched therefrom?