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The Tafsir al-Ha' (Commentary upon the Letter "H") I of the Bab

INBAMC 67: 4. Extract from Index Heading referring to the Tafsir al-Ha'...

Introductory Note on the Tafsrir al-Ha'  No.1 of the Bab

In Progress 08-02-2021.

Select Manuscripts of the Tafsir al-Ha' I (Commentary on the Letter Ha' I). 

  • Tehran Baha'i Archives INBA 3006C pp.2-58.
  • Tehran Baha'i Archives INBA 4002C - listed by MacEoin as in "private possession" (Sources, 199).
  • Tehran Baha'i Archives INBA 6010C pp.224-274 = [as INBMC 14:231-283 below?]
  • Tafsir al-Ha' I (Commentary on the Letter Ha'). INBMC 14:231-283.
  • Tafsir al-Ha' I (Commentary on the Letter Ha'). INBMC 53:81-125.
  • Tafsir al-Ha' I (Commentary on the Letter Ha'). INBMC 67: 4-52.
  • Tafsir al-Ha' I (Commentary on the Letter Ha'). INBMC 86: 99-154

It appears that each of these six or seven ms. listed above is followed by the so-called Tafsir al-Ha' II (Commentary on the Letter Ha' II) which extends for in excess of thirty ms. pages in NBMC 67 (see MacEoin Sources, 199 and the Tafsir al-Ha' II webpage on this site).

The Tafsir al-Ha' (Commentary upon the Letter "H") I of the Bab is an early (c. 1261/1845) commentary of the Arabic letter "H" (ه) extending for almost fifty pages (in one mss INBMC 67: 4-52). With an abjad value of five, this fifth letter of the Arabic alphabet has the same numerical value as the word Bab (2+1+2 = 5) itself. It appears to have been written shortly after the Tafsir Surat al-Kawthar for Sayyid Yahya Darabi (b. Yazd c.1226/1811, d. Nayrīz, 1266/1850)  which is referred to within it (67: XX). This quite lengthy text cites several key Islamic traditions the exegesis of which was central to the theology and proclamation of the Bab. It is marked by a deep though clear articulation of the apophatic theology of the Bab as often closely related to though distinct from that of the school of Ibn al-`Arabi (d.638/1240) with its al-`ayān al-thābita, "immutable entities" and the gradual "outreach" through the divine tajalli (glorious self-revelation) of the isolated ahadiyya of the Divine Oneness. For the Bab its theological locus is the Nafs-Allah. the Logos-Self of God centered in the mazhar-i ilahi, the primordial Manifestation of God representative of the Mashiyyat Allah. the Will of God. 


On the  al-`ayān al-thābita, the "immutable entities" and the translation see Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila, "The Immutable Entities and Time" Paper read at the 18th Annual USA Symposium of the Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi Society, New York, 15–16 October 2005. Printed in the Journal of the Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi Society, Vol. XXXIX, 2006.  Online at


The Tafsir al-Ha' (Commentary upon the Arabic Letter "H") No. I of the Bab.

Opening Lines from Tafsir al-ha' No.1 - INAMC 67 p. 4.

Stephen Lambden UC Merced,

In Progress 24-03-2021

Beta Translation in progress.

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


[1] Praise be to God who made the Ornament (ṭarāz) of the Regenerative Tablets (al-alwāḥ al-ibdā`a) to be  the Ornament (ṭarāz) of the Alif (letter "A") standing upright (al-qā'im) betwixt the two Letters (al-harfayn) [two B's of the Bab] [2] for it shone resplendent and beamed forth on account of its shattering Dawntime (sh-q-q; form X)* and its interrogative Dynamic (n-t-q; form X)! [3] Then did God make it to be a sign of His Own Logos-Self through His Own Logos-Self (li-nafsihi bi-nafsihi) outside of its being touched by the theophanic Fire expressive of His [Own] Beingness (kaynuniyya)! [4] Thus indeed was it so willed in times past as it was  determined and decreed  subsequently. [5] I was empowered and I  was terminated! [6] Then I was delayed and I was informed and I was given wisdom! [7] Then were  the horizons filled therewith!

Notes on I

* At I: [2] here INBMC 53: 81 line 2 has sh-f-q [form X] not sh-q-q form X] which might indicate an `evening glow' or have to do with compassion. affection or inner piety - form X is not normally used!


[1] Praised be to God who did indeed make this letter to be rounded [fourfold] (k-`-b] by virtue of the two letters [ 2 rounded letters "b"s within the word Bab]. This since there shone forth (l-w-h) that which beamed out (l-w-h) from the Light of the Sun of Pre-Eternity (min nur shams al-azal) ...


[67:11] ... Thus the Imam - upon him be peace - stated, "Haqq (Ultimate Reality/God) and the created realm (al-khalq) are not three between two or a three aside from two. Such is evident unto whomsoever God enables to witness the creation of the heavens and the earth and then the creation of His own Logos-Self (nafs). God Himself is sufficient witness thereof.

And whomsoever [He Who] descends by virtue of the al-`ayān al-thābita ("Immutable Entities") within [bypassing] the Divine Essence (fi'l-dhat) does not thereby express the immutability of His knowledge (`ilm), exalted be He. It is thus as if this descent involved everything (al-kull) save whatsoever God so willed! Such is absolute blasphemy (shirk  mukhtass) according to the school of the family of God (madhhab al Allah = Imami Shi`ism), may peace be upon them. It it so since the mention of  [hypostatic] "otherness" (ghayriyya) is ...