"TABLET OF THE HAIR"
The Tablet of the Hair of Mirza Husayn `Ali Nuri Baha'-Allah (1817-1892 CE).
With Interlinear Arabic text and occasional Expositoy Notes.
Stephen Lambden UCMerced.
In progress, correction and completion, 1986, 2007-8, 2015.
The undoubtedly authentic Arabic scriptural Tablet of Baha'-Allah popularly known in the West as the 'Tablet of the Hair' takes its name from the words which follow its opening huwa al-aziz ("He is the Almighty"), namely "My hair is my Messenger" ADD ARABIC This and related alwah probably date from the Iraq or Baghdad years of Baha'-Allah's forty year prophetic ministry.
Extract from the Lambden, Sinaitic Mysteries, 128-9
'It has been noted that Baha'u'llah associates the zulf or "ringlets" of the Divine Beloved with the flames of the Sinaitic Fire. Though most likely written considerably later than the MathnawĪ, there are a number of his writings in which his own "ringlets," "locks," and "tresses" of hair are linked with Sinaitic imagery. In one epistle he speaks of his hair as "My Messenger," "My Phoenix," "My Cord," and "My Veil" while introducing paragraphs expressive of his position as intermediary between God and man. While Sufi poets celebrated [p.129] the tresses of the Divine Beloved, Baha'u'llah came to express his claims in terms of the symbolic senses of his flowing locks of hair:
My hair is My Phoenix. Therefore hath it set itself upon the blazing fire of My Face and receiveth sustenance from the garden of My Countenance. This is the station wherein the Son of `Imrān [Moses] removed from the feet of selfish desire the coverings of attachment to all else but Him and was illumined by the splendors of the Light of Holiness in the undying Fire kindled by God, the Potent, the Gracious, the Ever-Forgiving.
O denizens of the everlasting Realm! Let your ears be attentive to the stirrings of this restless and agitated hair, as it moveth upon the Sinai of Fire, within the precincts of Light, this celestial Seat of divine Revelation. Indeed, there is no God besides Me . . . p.178
Every single hair of Mine head calleth out that which the Burning Bush uttered on Sinai (= from the 2nd Tablet to Napoleon III cited ESW:53).
As the Being who spoke from the Burning Bush or Sinaitic Fire Baha'-Allah pictures his hair as having uttered the declaration of divinity heard by Moses.
In my 1987-8 article on the Sinaitic Mysteries I cited the following note from the American Baha'i news:
Note: This tablet was printed in the December 1938 issue of the U.S. Baha'i News, No. 121 p. 11, in which the accompanying note states: "This is the Tablet read by Mrs. Thomas Collins in presenting at the Convention the Guardian's gift of locks of Baha'-Allah's Hair. The Tablet is shared with the believers with the Guardian's permission." Though the translation had been approved by Shoghi Effendi, it was more recently sent to the Baha'i World Center to verify its authenticity. The translation given here is based on an authorized translation from the Baha'i World Center :
TABLET OF THE HAIR
He is the Almighty!
My hair is my Messenger!
It is calling aloud at all times upon the branch of fire within the hallowed and luminous Garden of Paradise, that perchance the inmates of the realm of creation may detach themselves from the world of dust and ascend unto the retreats of nearness — the Spot where the Fire seeketh illumination from the light of the countenance of God, the Glorious, the Powerful.
O ye that have consecrated yourselves to this Fire!
Sing ye melodies, pour out sweet tones, rejoice with exceeding gladness and make haste to attain the presence of Him Who is the Object of adoration, bearing witness that no God is there besides God, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise, the All-Compelling.
He is the God of Wisdom!
My hair is My Phoenix!
Therefore hath it set itself upon the blazing fire of My Face and receiveth sustenance from the garden of My Countenance. This is the station wherein the Son of "Imran" (Moses) removed from the feet of selfish desire the coverings of the attachment to all else but Him and was illumined by the splendours of the Light of holiness in the undying Fire kindled by God, the Potent, the Gracious, the Ever-Forgiving.
He is the Most Excellent, the Best Beloved!
A lock of My hair is My Cord. He who layeth fast hold on it shall never to all eternity go astray, for therein is his guidance to the splendours of the Light of His beauty.
He is God!
My hair is My Veil whereby I conceal My beauty, that haply the eyes of the non-believers among My servants may not fall upon it. Thus do We conceal from the sight of the ungodly the glorious and sublime beauty of Our Countenance
He is the Eternal!
My hair beareth witness for My beauty that verily I am God and that there is none other God but me. In My ancient eternity I have ever been God, the One, the Peerless, the Everlasting, the Ever-living, the Ever-Abiding, the Self-Subsistent.
O denizens of the everlasting Realm!
Let your ears be attentive to the stirrings of this restless and agitated hair, as it moveth upon the Sinai of Fire, within the precincts of Light, this celestial Seat of divine Revelation. Indeed there is no God besides me. In My most ancient pre-existence I have ever been the King, the Sovereign, the Incomparable, the Eternal, the Single, the Everlasting, the Most Exalted.
O peoples of the heavens and of the earth!
Were ye to sanctify your ears ye would hear My hair proclaim that there is none other God except Him, and that He is One in His Essence and in everything that beareth relationship unto Him. And yet how fiercely have you cavilled at this beauty; not withstanding that the outpourings of His grace have encompassed all that dwell in the billowing oceans of His Revelation and Creation. Be ye fair therefore in your judgement concerning His upright Religion, for the love of this Youth who is riding high upon the snow-white She-Camel betwixt earth and heaven; and be ye firm and steadfast in the path of Truth.
Select Expository Notes.
VII: "this Youth who is riding high upon the snow-white She-Camel betwixt earth and heaven" . The motif of the snow-white she-camel can be found in Shi`i literatures. In for example, the