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TB L-Ruya' I



The Lawḥ-i Ru'yā

(Tablet of the Vision) of Bahā'-Allāh

Lawḥ-i ru'yā   (The Tablet of the Vision) Introduction and Commentary.

Stephen Lambden UCMerced. 1990s.

 The Lawḥ-i ru'yā was revealed in the House of `Udí Khammār in `Akkā (Acre) for an apparently Bahā'í believer referred to by Bahā'-Allāh as "My Name" (= Ḥusayn?). In various sources this Tablet is said to date nineteen years prior to the ascension of Bahā'-Allāh in 1308 AH/1892 CE and to the (eve of) the anniversary of the birthday of the Bāb in the year to 1290 AH or March 1st 1873 CE. The influence of the Qayyūm al-asmā' of the Bab can be seen, especially the Sūrat al-huriyya (Surah of the Maiden) sections of which which are interpreted in Bahā'ī sources as allusive of Bahā'-Allāh himself.

        A four or so page wholly Arabic Tablet, the Lawḥ-i Ru'yā is a multi-faceted, largely commemoratory Tablet which opens with the following paragraph in which a heavenly vision (Arabic = ru'yā) is introduced and headed by the words, "In My Name, that warbleth upon the twigs (afnān)" -- the word afnān perhaps being suggestive of the "twigs" or "branches" of the Tree of the family of the Bāb;

"O My Name! Hearken unto My Call which cometh from the precincts of the heavenly Throne (al-`arsh) that it might enable thee to attain unto the coastline of an opulent Ocean; the fathomless deep of which no swimmer (sābbaḥ) hath ever attained. And Thy Lord is assuredly One Knowing and Generous. [2] We indeed desired to cast Our Bounty upon thee by making mention of that which We visioned. [3] This to the end that thou mayest witness the Luminous World (al-`ālam al-nūrānī) in this nether world of darkness (al-`ālam al-ẓalmānī) and be firmly assured that for Us there is many a world within this mortal world. Then render thanks unto Thy Lord, the Well-Informed. [4] If He desired that He might cause the rays of the Sun to appear from a tiny atom (al-dharat) or disclose the waves of the ocean from a mere droplet (al-qatra), He is assuredly capable of this; even as He hath enabled the knowledge of what was and what is to emerge from a single Point (al-nuqṭa) !".

 Speaking as if enthroned upon the celestial "Throne" (al-`arsh), Bahā'-Allāh states that he is going to recount his vision (ru'yā). This that the recepient of the Tablet might thereby gain a glimpse of the next world of lights while yet in this mortal world. The following thirteen paragraphs (II-XIV) of the Tablet recount aspects of a mystical vision centering upon the symbolic tale of a "Luminous Maiden" (waraqat al-nūrānī)  clad in a "snow-white robe" and appearing as the "full moon" (al-badr).

 This "Maiden" primarily symbolizes the Reality of the Bāb whose birthday is being allusively commemorated and Who, as a Manifestation of God, is mystically "One" with Bahā'-Allāh, the "the Temple of God" (see X) . The relationship of oneness and heraldship between the Bāb and Bahā'-Allāh  is also celebrated in the course of the symbolic vision; as for, example, in [VIII]

"We investigated the depth of her Countenance and discovered the Hidden Point (al-nuqṭah al-mastúrah) neath the Veil of Unicity (hijāb al-wāḥdiyya), radiating forth from the horizon of her Bosom (ufq al-jayb). ."

Note also these lines,

"Then did the Temple of God (haykal Allāh) [=Baha'-Allāh] rise up and walk forth [2] whereon the Maiden [= the Bāb] also did walk along behind, listening, trembling and enraptured at the verses of her Lord".

"Exalted be God, her Originator (mawjuduhā), for no eye hath ever beheld anything like unto her!"

 Towards the end of the vision (para. XIV) there is, according to the interpretation of `Abd al-Bahā, a figurative prophecy of Bahā'-Allāh's ascension. We read of a "most secreted mystery" (al-sirr al-mustasirr),(a phrase quite frequent in the Qayyūm al-asmā)  foreshadowing the passing of Bahā'-Allāh into the worlds of the afterlife;

Thereupon did the Maiden [= the Bab] bow her head and place her Countenance upon her two fingers.It was as if the new Moon [= the Bab] (al-hilāl) was conjoined with an wholly full Moon [= Bahā'-Allāh] (al-badr al-tamām). Thereupon she wailed and exclaimed, `May all in existence be a sacrifice for Thy woes (balā'), O Sovereign of earth and heaven!  Wherefore didst Thou set Thyself amongst such as are in the city of `Akkā'? Hasten Thou! Unto Thine other realms (mamālikaka al-ukhrā); unto [Thy] retreats on high (al-maqāmāt) whereon the eyes of the people of names have never fallen.' ...  With this prophetic allusion to his leaving this mortal world, Bahā'-Allāh comments by stating, "At this We smiled"!

 The Lawḥ-i ru'yā' concludes with a plea that its symbolism be contemplated by the Bahā'is, the "possessors of knowledge among the companions of the Crimson Ark (aṣhāb ṣafinat al-ḥamrā')." It is clearly stated that the Tablet was "a commemoration (al-dhikr)" which "coincided with the day in which the Herald (mubashshir = the Bāb)was born, who cried out after My [Bahā'-Allāh's] Remembrance (bi-dhikrí) and Our Sovereignty (sulṭānī)."  The Bāb had given the people news of the manifestation and identity of Bahā'-Allāh, the guarded mystery of the"Greatest Name" of God. The Day of God was honoured with another dispensation: the Bahā'ī Faith followed that of the Bāb. The people were tested and "thunderstruck" with bewilderment. Yet, all might attain truth, for "This Day every seeker attaineth the Desied One (al-maqṣūd), every mystic aspirant (`ārif) achieveth Real Gnosis (al-ma`rúf) and every wayfarer reacheth the Straight Path." A brief prayer of thanksgiving concludes the Tablet.