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The Scriptural Tablet of Baha'u'llah - Lawh-i Masjid al-Aqsa.

BAHĀ’-ALLĀH THE MASJID AL-AQṢĀ,

(“THE FURTHERMOST MOSQUE”):

AN UNTITLED PROCLAMATORY TABLET OF  THE WEST GALILEAN (ACRE) PERIOD.

 

 Stephen N  Lambden UC Merced.

Last updated November 12 2004 + 04-07-2022

IN PROGRESS AND UNDER REVISION

Qur'an 17:1 - the Masjid al-aqsa = ٱلْمَسْجِدِ ٱلْأَقْصَا

(Q. 17:1) Glorified be He Who transported His servant by night from the Sacred-Holy-Inviolable Mosque (ٱلْمَسْجِدِ ٱلْحَرَامِ al-masjid al-haram [in Mecca]) to the furthermost Mosque (in Jerusalem = the "new Jerusalem" in Acre, Palestine-Israel) whose precincts (hawl) We have blessed that We might show him something of Our Signs (ayati-na).  He is indeed the All-Hearing (al-sami`), All-Seeing (al-basir)".

The Arabic Tablet of Baha'-Allah  translated below is from from the text printed in :

  • Kitāb-i mubīn 1st ed. Bombay 1308/1898 pp, 201-203.
  • Athar-i qalam-i a'lā, vol 1, pp. 245-249. 2nd ed. BPT., Iran 120 BE/1964. 3rd ed. 153 BE/1996. Dundas, Ontario [Canada]: Persian Institute for Baha'i Studies,

During the West-Galilean or Acre (`Akka') period of his religious ministry Baha'-Allah (d. 1892) claimed to be a personification of the Masjid al-Aqsa, the "Furthermost Mosque" referred to in Qur'an 17:1 as well as the Meccan Ka`bah (bayt al-haram) and the Jerusalem Temple. That these edifices would be rebuilt or re-established in eschatological times as  predicted in various Biblical texts and Islamic traditions. See, for example, Baha'u'llah,  Lawh-i Hartik [Hirtik = German sirname Hardegg]  (late 1871 or early 1872 (= AH 1288–1289) or Tablet to the one-time Templar leader  David George Hardegg where we read in its third paragraph  [III]

[1] O Thou informed mystic knower and insightful religious leader! [Hardegg]... [4] Land and sea hath rejoiced at the Beneficence of God. [5] The nations were given the promise regarding the appearance of the Healer of Infirmities. He, assuredly, is the expected Builder of the Temple (bani al-haykal). [6] Blessed be such as are possessed of mystic knowledge. [7] When the appointed time came, [Mount] Carmel cried out, trembling as if shaken by the breezes of the Lord, ‘Blessed be such as hearken!’

See further:

The  Masjid al-Aqsa in the Qayyum al-asma' of the Bab (1818-1850)

There are many other scriptural books, treatises and Tablets of the Bab and Baha'u'llah in which the Masjid al-Aqsa Qur'anic motif is utilized and interpreted. This Qur'an rooted phrase occurs a few times in the first major post-declaration (after July 22-3 1844) writing  of the Bab. In the 68th Surah or chapter of his neo-Qur'anic  Qayyum al-asma', the Tafsir Surat Yusuf (mid. 1844/1260 AH) - later rewriting and commenting on Q. 12:67- entitled the Surat al-Ra`d (The Surah of Thunder) there is a probably messianic related reference to the Masjid al-Aqsa  when the Bab  writes

آلمص 

ذكر رحمة ربّك الّذی لا اله الّا هو فی نفسك نفس الولیّ الّذی قد كان فی امّ الكتاب عليّا ه اللّه قد نزّل هذ الكتاب بالحقّ النّاس حقّ الذّكر بانّ اللّه قد كان بكلّ شیء عليماً ه فاستمع لما اوحی اليك من ربّك انّی انا اللّه لا اله الّا انا فاعبدنی و اقم الصّلوة لذكری و طوفوا بالبيت حافيّن حول العرش و سبّحوا للّه فی المسجد الاقصی لدی الذّكر فانّ اللّه قد جعل العرش فی امّ الكتاب باسم الباب مكتوباً ه اللّه الّذی لا اله الّا هو الحقّ بالحقّ يقول ما من نفس قد زار الذّكر بعد موته الّا كمن زار الرّب علی العرش و هذا صراط اللّه العلیّ قد كان فی امّ الكتاب محتوماً ه

A-L-M-S

[The isolated letters here in this 68th Surat al-Ra`d of the QA echo the Qur'anic A-L-M-R set of four letters prefixing the Qur'anic Surat al-Ra`d, Q. 13. `The Surah of Thunder']

The Remembrance of the Mercy of thy Lord (dhikr rahmat rabbika) is He who, no God is there except Him! In thy Logos-Self is the Logos-Self of the Wali (the Intimate of God) who, in the Mother [Archetypal] Book (umm al-kitab) is one Elevated / one named `Ali [the Bab]. God hath indeed sent down, in very Truth, this Book for the people, regarding the Reality of the [occulted or messianic] Dhikr (Remembrance) for God hath ever been All-Knowing about Everything (bi-kull shay').

So hearken ye then unto that which thy Lord hath divinely inspired thee [to proclaim],

انّی انا اللّه لا اله الّا انا

"I, I am indeed God! No God is there except I, Myself!

So serve Me and rise up in prayer before the Remembrance (li'l-Dhikr) [or My Dhikr] and circumumbulate the House (al-bayt) barefooted nigh the Divine Throne ( حافيّن حول العرش , hafiyyin hawl al-`arsh). Be prostrate before God in the Masjid al-Aqsa (the Furthermost Mosque) in the proximity of the Dhikr (al-dhikr) for He made the Divine Throne to be inscribed (maktub an) with the name of the Bab in the Mother-Archetypal Book (umm al-kitab)!" (QA INBMC III:136). 

In Qayyum al-asma' XCI [91] we find the following verse:

يا اهل الحبّ فاسمعوا ندائی من نور الفؤاد لدی المسجد الاقصی حول عرش اللّه العلیّ بالحقّ علی الحقّ و هو اللّه كان عزيزاً قديماً ه

O People of Love! (ahl al-hubb).

Hearken ye unto My Call from the Light of the Inmost Heart (nur fu'ad) before the Masjid al-Aqsa (المسجد الاقصی)  adjacent, in Truth, in very Truth, to the Elevated Throne of God (hawl `arsh Allah). And He is God, One Mighty (al-`aziz), Pre-Existent (al-qadim)" (QA 91 in ms. INBMC III:184-5).

Here the Bab appears to address Sufis as the people or community of love - perhaps Dhahabi of Shiraz - informing them about his eschatological Call emanating from his inmost heart which is associated with the Masjid al-Aqsa (المسجد الاقصی) close to the celestial Divine Throne (al-`arsh). His Call is from the very highest regions within and frpm the cosmos on high.

We may also note here that the Qayyum al-asma' or the Tafsir Surat Yusuf contains several references to the المسجد الحرام  the Masjid al-Haram though they cannot all be examined here:

Qayyum al-asma' Surah IV [4] the

و انّ الحقّ قد عرّفه فی المسجد الحرام رؤية العدل فی الحقّ الاكبر اكفرت بالّذی قد خلقك من تراب ثمّ من نطفة ثمّ سوّيك (سواك) رجلاً محدوداً ه

The One True God (al-haqq) initiated Him [the Bab] in  the al-Masjid al-Haram, the Sacred-Holy-Inviolable Mosque [in Mecca] with a vision of Justice (ru'yat al-`adl) evocative of the Greatest Truth (fi al-haqq al-akbar) for some came to disbelieve  in He who created thee from dust (turab) then from the Point (al-nuqta) then what is other than thee, a man  delimited (rijal an mahdud an)...   (QA, IV ms. INBMC III:10. See also QA XLI in INBMC III: 76 ; QA LXXXVIII [88] INBMC III:179; QA. XCIX [99] Surat al-Jihad, INBMC III:203).

In his Tablet in commemoration of the Birthday of the Bab, the Arabic  Lawh-i Mawlud,  we find the following paragraph interestingly ending with reference to the "Furthermost, Habitation" (al-maqarr al-a`lā al-aqsā) which may presuppose the Acre-Haifa region being associated with the Masjid al-Aqsa:

[VI]

[1] At this did the Supreme Pen ( al-qalam al-a`lā) swoon away and proclaim, `O such as cannot be described through the Divine Names (al-asmā’)! [2] I shrink back at Thy Sovereignty (sulṭān), the Help in Peril (al-muhaymin) throughout both earth and heaven, for I created by virtue of Thy Generative Powers (bi-ibdā`ika). [3] How then can I possibly determine what hath not been disclosed of Thy Generative Powers (al-ibdā`)? [4] In spite of this and Thy Might (`izzat), if I should make mention of whatsoever Thou didst inspire Me, We would doubtless enumerate whatsoever is pertinent to the realms of possibility (al-mumkināt) with joyfulness and delight (faraḥ wa’l-ibtihāj)! [5] Wherefore hath the Ocean of Thine Exposition (Bayān) surged in this Most Radiant Locale (maqām al-asnā) and this Supreme, Furthermost, Habitation (al-maqarr al-a`lā al-aqsā).

 

THE LAWH-I MASJID AL-AQṢĀ.

Lambden Beta Translation 1980s, 2004 + 05-03-2022,

IN PROGRESS.

Text from Kitab-i Mubin, pp. 201-203.

هو العلیّ العظيم

قد ارتفع ندآء اللّه عن يمين العرش

انیّ انا اللّه الواحد الفرد الاحد

لا تمنعوا اذانكم عن اصغاء كلمة اللّه توجّهوا اليه بقلب طاهر ممرّد انّ الّذی قدّس اذنه ليسمع النّدآء من الشّجرة النّورآء المرتفعة علی البقعة  المباركة الحمرآء تاللّه قد ظهر الموعود باسمه الودود من لدن عزيز معتمد ان اخرجوا من مدائن الأوهام قد اتی سلطان الايقان بنور الرّحمن كذلك قضی الأمر من لدی اللّه الفرد الصّمد قد خضعت الأعناق لظهور نيّرالافاق و غشّت النّاس حجبات النّفاق كذلك نطق لسان الوحی وغرّد تنادی اليوم كلّ الذّرّات قد جاء مليك الأسماء و الصّفات الّذی ما اتّخذ لنفسه شريكاً و لا ولد

[I]

He is the Exalted, the Mighty.

[1]

The Call of God has assuredly been raised up from the right-hand side of the Divine Throne [uttering the words]:

انیّ انا اللّه الواحد الفرد الاحد

[2]

“I, verily, am God, the Unique (al-wāḥid), the Peerless (al-fard), the One (al-aḥad).

[3] Ye shall in no wise inhibit your ears from hearkening unto the Word of God (kalimat Allāh). [4] Then be among such as turn unto Him with a purified heart. [5] Such are assuredly of those who have sanctified their ears for hearkening unto the Divine Call from the Luminous Tree (al-shararat al-nūrā’) raised up upon the Blessed, Crimson Spot (al-buq`at al-mubāraka al-ḥamrā’).

[5]

By God!

قد ظهر الموعود باسمه الودود

The Promised One (al-maw`ūd) has indeed appeared in His Name the All-Loving (al-wadūd) on the part of One Mighty, the One Deliberate. [6] Emerge ye then from the cities of idle fancy for the monarch of Certitude (sulṭān al-īqān) has come with the Light of the All-Merciful (nūr al-raḥmān). [7] Wherefore has the matter been decreed on the part of God the Peerless, the All-Enduring (al-ṣamad). [8] Necks hath been humbly leveled before the theophany (ẓuhūr) of the Luminosity of the Horizons (nayyīr al-āfāq) for the people hath been enveloped in veils of hypocricy (al-nifāq) [9] Under such circumstances did the Tongue of Divine Inspiration (lisān al-waḥy) cry out ever- voicing the words:

[10]

قد جاء مليك الأسماء و الصّفات الّذی ما اتّخذ لنفسه شريكاً و لا ولد

"This is the Day whereon every atom (kull al-dharrāt) utters the cry,

`The King of Names and Attributes hath indeed come, He who took for himself neither a Partner (sharīk an) nor a Son (walad)!'"

[II]

قل العرفان هو عرفان نفسی من فاز به قد فاز باللّه و من انكر انّه ممّن كفر بايات الرّحمن بذلك ينطق لسان العظمة و يشهد ۲۰۲ انّا زيّنا الملكوت باسمائنا و الجبروت باياتنا

[1]

Say: mystical gnosis (al-`ifrān) is assuredly the gnosis of My Logos-Self (ifrān nafsī). [2] Whoso has attained thereto has assuredly attained unto God. And whoso turns away there from is among such as hath disbelieved in the verses of the All-Merciful. [3] Of such account does the Tongue of Grandeur cry out and bears witness, [saying], `We have indeed ornamented the Kingdom of God (al-malakut) with Our Name and the Realm of the Jabarut, the Empyrean-Omnipotent sphere with Our verses

Text from Kitab-i Mubin p.202.

[III]

اتّقوا اللّه يا قوم

و لا تتّبعوا كلّ من كفر و الحد انّی لمسجد الأقصی بينكم و حرم اللّه تلقاء وجوهكم و بيت الحرام للأنام ايّاكم ان تمنعوا انفسكم عمّا قدّر لكم و تكونوا ممّن اعرض عن اللّه و بعد دعوا من فی السّموات والأرض او لم يكفكم اللّه الّذی انطق كلّ شئٍ بسلطانه ما من الهٍ الّا هو له العظمة و الكبرياء و له القدرة و الاستعلاء عنده خزآئن الأسماء ينزّلها علی قدر محدّد انّ الّذين تمسّكوا بالاسماء و اعرضوا عن موجدها اولئك من عبدة الأصنام سوف يعذّبهم اللّه فی عذاب ممدّد

[1]

So Fear ye God O people!

and follow ye not all such as have disbelieved and hindered [true progress].

 for

I am indeed the Masjid al-Aqṣā ("Furthermost Mosque")

among you

انّی لمسجد الأقصی بينكم

[2] and the [Meccan] Sanctuary of God (حرم اللّه ḥaram Allah) before your faces, [3] the Sanctified House (بيت الحرام  = bayt al-ḥaram) before all humankind (al-anām). [4] Beware then lest ye withold thine own selves from hath been ordained for thee and be numbered among such as have turned aside from God

Text from Kitab-i Mubin p. 203.

[IV]

قل هل يخوّفكم البلاء فی سبيل اللّه ربّكم الأبهی او يمنعكم القضاء عن مالك الأسماء ان اخرقوا الأحجاب باسم ربّكم العزيز الوهّاب ثمّ اقبلوا الی وجهٍ خضع له البيان ثمّ سجد تمسّكوا بحبل اللّه و انقطعوا عمّا سويه قد تضوّعت نفحات التّقديس من هذا القميص طوبی لمن اقبل اليها و وجد تجنّبوا يا قوم عن الّذی كفر باللّه انّه هو الشّيطان و قام علی كلّ معبرو مرصد ان اعتصموا باللّه انّه يحفظكم من جنود الاعراض و ينصركم بسلطان من عنده انّه ذو جند مجنّد

[V]

ان اسرعوا يا قوم بقلوبكم الی مطلع البرهان تاللّه انّه ربّكم الرّحمن ايّاكم ان تمنعوا انفسكم عن هذا الفضل الّذی يبقی لكم و لا ينفد كذلك اشرقت عليكم شمس البهاء من افق الكبرياء انّه ربّكم العلیّ الأعلی الّذی اليه اقبلت الذّرات و طافت فی حوله الأيات انّ الّذی اعرض عنه انّه من اهل البغی و الحسد [۲۰۳] قد زيّنّا اليوم كلّ الأشياء بطراز الأسماء كذلك احاط الفضل من فی ملكوت الابداع طوبی لمن عرف و شهد

[VI]

  يا عبد ان استمع النّدآء من شطر الابهی ثمّ الق ما القيناك علی العباد

[1]

O servant! Hearken unto the Call from the All-Glorious Shore (shatr al-abha). Then proffer that which We have cast upon thee unto the servants! 

قل قد ظهر مالك الايجاد و يدعوكم اليه ايّاكم ان تعقّبوا الّذی كفر باللّه و عند قد نزّلنا من سماء البيان مائدة الحكمة و التّبيان طوبی لمن اقبل اليها ويل لمن سمع و جحد قم علی ذكر اللّه و امره بين خلقه ثمّ بشّرهم بهذا النّبأ الّذی كان عظيماً فی ملكوت الأسماء و كبيراً فی مدآئن البقاء انّ الّذی اختاره اللّه لعرفانه انّه يكون باقياً الی الأبد طوبی لمن اضاء من الأنوار الّتی اشرقت من افق هذا اللّوح المقدس الممجّد

 [2]

Say: The King of  Existence (malik al-ayjad)

hath indeed been made manifest and summoneth thee unto Himself. [3] Beware lest ye fall backwards as have such as disbelieved in God  ... [4] We, verily, sent down from the heaven of the Bayan (sama' al-bayan) the Table of Wisdom and Exposition (ma'ida al-hikmat wa'l-tibyan) [cf. Q. 5], [5] So Blessed be whomsoever turneth in its direction! [6] And woe betide whomsoever heareth and contendeth therewith! [6] So rise up for the Remembrance of God (dhikr Allah) and His Cause (amr) amonst His creatures [7] then give them the glad-tidings of this "Announcement" (al-naba') [of the advent of Baha'u'llah] which hath ever been "Mighty" (`azim an) [see. Q. 78:2 al-naba' al-`azim] in the Kingdom of Names (malakut al-asma') and Foremost (kabir an) in the Cities of Eternity (mada'in al-baqa')!  [8] He [Baha'u'llah] is the One whom God selected for His deep Gnosis (`irfan). [9] He is the One who is for All-Eternity, the One Everlasting (al-baqi an ila al-abad). [10] Blessed then be whomsoever sheddeth splendour from the Lights (al-anwar) which hath shone forth from the Horizon of this Sanctified, All-Glorious ]Doxophanous] Scriptural Tablet (al-lawh al-muqaddas al-mumajja[i]d).

[VII]

قل الرّوح قد اتی كما وعدتم و قام لدی العرش و هذا هو المجد ان اقبل بكلّك الی اللّه و كن فی سبيله ممّن سعی و جهد

[1] Say: The Spirit (al-ruh) [Jesus] hath indeed come just as thou were promised! [2] He hath risen up before the Divine Throne (al-`arsh). [3] This is assuredly the [personification of the latter-day] Glory (al-majd) [= New Testament Greek doxa]. [4] He inclineth all of thee towards God. [5] So come ye then to be in His Pathway numbered among such as do strive dilligently and make a concerted effort.