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TB Qā'im-Qayyūm II

Qā’im and al-Qayyūm:

Theophany and chronological prophecy in a Tablet of Bahā'Allāh

"Rise up (qūmū) O people (qawm) ! for the victory of God. The Qayyūm  [Bahā’-Allāh] hath assuredly come unto you about whom the Qā'im   [the Bāb] gave glad-tidings...(Bahā'-Allāh, Iqtidarat, 99)."

Introduction Translations

Stephen Lambden UCMerced

In progress 2006-7 + being corrected and updated 2015

In one of his Persian Tablets Bahā’-Allāh  responds to a question about the difference in meaning between al-Qā’im (the Ariser) and al-Qayyūm (the Deity Self-Subsisting) both of which terms are frequently used within messianic and theophanological senses in the Persian and Arabic Babi and Baha;i sacred writings. Portion of this Tablet are cited in Ishraq Khavari (ed.) Mā'idih-yi asmani  4:174 and Fadil-i Mazandarani, Athar  4:530-1 but printed in full in Iqtidarāt wa chand lawḥ-i dīgār ḥaḍrat-i Bahā’-Allāh  (Magnificenes and select other Tablets of of His Holiness Bahā’-Allāh) which was printed  about 8 months after the passing of Bahā’-Allāh in 1892 CE on the 13th Rajab 1310 which corresponds to the January 31st 1893.

The text is found in the following works :

  • Iqtidarāt wa chand lawḥ-i dīgār ḥaḍrat-i Bahā’-Allāh  (Magnificenes and select other Tablets of of His Holiness Bahā’-Allāh),  pp.
  • Ishraq Khavari (ed.) Mā'idih-yi asmani  4:174
  • Fadil-i Mazandarani, Asrar al-athar  4:530-1


Lawḥ-i Qā'im (messianic Ariser) and Qayyūm  (Deity Self-Subsistent).

Baha'-Allah explains the words Qā’im and Qayyūm in numerological terms relative to the time of his advent after the Bāb's declaration in 1260/1844.

"As for what thou hast asked about the difference between al‑Qā’im  and al‑qayyum.  Know that the difference between these two names is just as thou observe between al‑a`ẓam ("the most great") and al‑`aẓīm ("the great"). And this is what My Beloved One [the Bāb] indicated aforetime. We have mentioned this in the Kitāb-i badī` and naught was intended by this except that the people would be informed of the fact that He [the promised one] to be made manifest is to be one greater (a`ẓam) than what hath [previously] appeared (ẓahara) [as the religion of the Bab or the Bāb]. And He, the Qayyūm,  is superior to the Qā’im. This is assuredly the Truth unto which testifieth the Tongue of the All‑Merciful in the heaven of the Bayān (jabarut al‑bayān). Know! then be capable of being detatched through Him from all the worlds.

Wherefore doth the Qā’im call out from the right-side of the heavenly Throne and proclaim:   `O Concourse of the Bayān! By God! This is assuredly the Qayyūm. He hath come unto you with manifest sovereignty. And this is assuredly that "Most Great One" (al-a`ẓam) before whose Countenance (Face wajh) eveyone most great (a`ẓam) and great (`aẓīm) prostrates. Then appropriate not the Greatest Name (al-ism al-a`ẓam)  lest ye manifest arrogance before the Manifestations of His Sovereignty (ẓuhūrāt sulṭānihi). And never attempt to gain ascendency over the Qayyūm save for the sake of his abnegation (li-fanā'ihi) in His Court....

 Say: `O People (qawm)! This is assuredly the Qayyūm. He, verily, is situated beneath your ....

So know thou that the numerical difference [between al-Qā’im and al‑Qayyūm] is 14, and this amounts to the number of al‑bahā' (= 14) when the hamza  ( ء ) is reckoned as six (B =2 + H = 5 + A = 1 + ' = 6 Total = 14) for its form (shakl) is that of a six ( ء ) in the alphabetical mode (qā'idat al‑hindisa[t]).  And if thou recite "al‑Qā’im" and find that the difference (from Qayyūm) is five (5) then this indicates [the letter] al‑hā' (abjad = 5) within [the word] al‑Bahā'. And relative to this station (maqām, or `in this manner') does al‑Qayyūm rise up upon the Throne of His name al‑Qā’im  just as the letter hā'  (= 5) riseth up above [the letter] wāw (= 6).

 And on one [another] level (maqām) the [letter] hamza of Qā’im amounts to six (6)  according to the alphabetical computation (hisāb al‑hindisa[t].)  it  yields the difference which is nine (9). And furthermore, it is this Name (= bahā' = abjad 9 or 14). And through this six [nine] (cf. AA 4:531 al-tis`a) He -- exalted be His sovereignty ‑‑ intended the theophany of the nine (ẓuhūr al‑tis`ah). On this level thou shalt see no difference in the appearance of the two names (ẓāhir al‑ismayn = Qā’im and Qayyūm)..

 By My Life! This difference is a sign of My Greatness for such as do circumambulate the heaven of Bahā' ! This do We demonstrate for thee in concrete (ẓāhir) terms. The inward reality (bāṭin) of the significance of His position as the Qayyūm is that the name al-Qayyūm surpasseth Qā’im in being more elevated (a`raf) though counted among the maintainers (al-Xāfixīn)   ....

 .... [Persian] Know thou that the intention of the Primal Point regarding the [numerical] difference between al-Qā’im and al-Qayyūm and [between] A`ẓam and `Aẓ)īm was the Grandeur (`most-greatness'ṭa`ẓamiyyat) of the forthcoming theophany (ẓuhūr-i ba`d). Regarding the greatness (`aẓīm) and  the position of the  Qayyūm (qayyūmiyyat)  of the eschatological [latter] theophany (ẓuhūr-i ākhir) above the Qā’im and the difference between the "most great" (a`ẓ am) and the  "great" (`aẓīm) it relates to the number of the theophany which is nine... And this Grandeur  (a`ẓamiyyat) and Qayyūm-hood (qayyūmiyyat) is manifest and evident in this theophany (ẓuhūr) and whatsoever was made manifest on His part. For example, the intention of Qayyūm is the theophany of nine (ẓuhūr-i tis`ah) and He is made manifest with the name of Bahā'. And the  magnitude of that Grandeur (a`ẓamiyyat)  is evidenced by the letters (ḥurūf). On one level the hamza of Bahā' is calculated as six  and that of Qā’im as one. So ponder ye upon this for such as signs for the mystic knowers (al-`arifīn)"  (Mā'ida, 4:174).

In this passage Bahā’-Allāh seems to be saying that the Bāb's references to the difference  between al-Qā’im and al-qayyūm ultimately indicate the number nine which has messianic and chronological import. It indicates his personal theophany as Bahā' the abjad numerical value of which is nine. It was also in the year nine (1269/1852-3) that his call took place or the messianic kull al-khayr ("all good") was realized. The abjad value of Qā’im is  142 (hamza = 1) but counting hamza  as 6 it is 147 (Q = 100 + A=1 + ' = 1 [6] + M = 40> total = 142 or 147]) which is numerically 14 or 9 less than that of qayyūm (Q = 100+Y= 10+W =6+ M=40> total= 156). Hamza is normally alocated an abjad value of one but as it resembles one of the shapes of the number six it may be taken as abjad numerical value six. [22]

Difference = 5            Q=100 + A=1 + ء = 1 +Y= 10 + M=40 Total = 151.

Difference= 9             Q=100 + A=1 + ء ' =1 +M=40   Total = 147

Difference = 0            Q= 100+ y=10+ ' =6 +M=40   Total= 156