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Lawh-i Fitnah (The Tablet of the Test-Tribulation-Enchantment), Translation and Commentary

     لوح فتنة 

Lawh-i Fitnah

The Tablet of the Test-Tribulation-Enchantment.

of

Mirza Husayn `Ali Nuri, Baha'u'llah (1817-1892 CE), Translation with occasional Notes and Commentary.

Stephen Lambden UC Merced

Beta trans. In progress and under revision. Last updated - 30-08-2022.

Baha'i sources have it that this Arabic scriptural Tablet was addressed to a grand-daughter of Fath `Ali Shah (d. 24th Oct. 1834 CE) who assumed the pen-name Fitnah (Enchantment, Calamity, Test...). She came to be associated with Fatimah Baraghani (d. 1852 CE), a daughter of the Qazvini cleric Muhammad Salih Baraghani (b. Baraghan near Qazvin c. 1200/1785  or  1167/1753 or 1174/1760 - d. Karbala [now in Iraq] c. 1271/ 1854-5 CE) and Amineh Ṣalihi Baraghani. The father was a fairly prolific Usuli Shi`i Mujtahid who  around 1817, founded the long-lasting Ṣalihiyya madrasah in Qazvin. Fatimah came to be entitled Tahirah (the Pure One) and Qurrat al-`Ayn (Solace of the Eyes). A  fervent Babi  from mid-late 1260/1844, she somehow, prior to her death in 1852, came in contact with Shams-i Jihan, Fitnah who  also interacted with Mirza Yahya Nuri (d. Famagusta, Cyprus, 1912) and Baha'u'llah (d. Acre, Palestine, 1892) in the early 1850s (exactly when appears unknown). The exact date of the Lawh-i Fitnah is also unknown but would appear to date to the mid. late 1850s or early 1860s, most likely pre-1864.

Select Mss. and printed editions of the original Arabic text.

  • INBMC 81, pp. 80-87 . PDf. Ms. Lawh-i Fitnah - INBMC 81.
  • Pdf Lawh-i Fitnah INBMC-81.pdf
  • Add Add
  • PDf. Lawh-i Fitnah - Ma'idah  IV 261-265 [152-4].PDf :
  • Lawh-i Fitnah - Ma'idah IV 261-265 [152-4].pdf
  • Also `Ocean of Lghts' -Baha'i website: لوح الفتنة - Ocean Of Lights  https://oceanoflights.org/bahaullah-st-037-ar
  • Rahiq-i makhtun vol.1 pp.206-209. `Abd al-Hamid Ishraq Khavari (ed. and comp.),
  • PDf.
  • See also Steven Phelps, Loom of Reality Version 2.02 (3rd Nov. 2020): "Writings and Reported Utterances of Bahá’u’lláh" : "BH00637. Lawh-i-Fitnih (Tablet of the Test). 1200 words, mixed".

`Abd al-Hamid Ishraq Khavari (ed. and comp.), Mā’idah-yi Asmanī vol. IV 261-265. This ureliable 129 BE/1972-3 printed test has some obvious errors and omissions when compared with better mss. The PDf above is a retyped version].

    لوح فتنة 

[0]

A Note on the Ms text of the Lawh-i Fitnah  in INBMC 81:80f

The  Lawh-i Fitnah in ms. INBMC 81 follows a scriptural Tablet about sacred days or Ridwan (= INBMC:76-80)  the bracketed line below ( "It hath indeed radiated forth from the Dawning-Place of a Mighty Name (mashriq ism `azim) [Baha'u'llah] is the end of the previous text not the beginning of the Lawh-i Fitnah. The  opening Huwa and/or basmala or introductory section (s) of the Lawh-i Fitnah ( if they exist) are absent and might have been lost. It would be unusual if Baha'u'llah simply commenced with the  address ان يا فتنة البقاء

  ان يا فتنة البقاء فانتظری فتنة اللّه المهيمن القيّوم

بانّها سيأتيكم بالحق فها قد اتاكم حينئذ بالحق فاشهدون  و انّها لفتنة   يفصل بين الكاف و النّون و يميز بين الكل من يومئذ الی يوم الذی يظهر مرة اخری فی ايام بدع موعود بظهورغيب ذاته و كنه بقائه فی سنة المستغاث و ان هذا الحق محتوم ان ذلك من فتنة يأخذ كل الممكنات من كل غيب و شهود

[I]

O Eternally Captivating One [Eternal Tribulation] (Fitnah al-Baqā’)!

Anticipate ye the [advent of the] Test-Trial-Tribulation of God (fitnah Allāh), the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting. [2] So Behold! He / It shall indeed, in very Truth, this moment appear before thee for thus do they all bear witness! [3] Such is indeed a Fitnah (Test-Trial-Tribulation) that it  even separateth between the letter “K” (al-kāf) and the letter “n” (al-nūn) [= the Qur'anic creative imperative kun = "Be!")! [4] And it distinguishes between [absolutely] everything (al-kull) from this moment until the "Day" when the latter, eschatological times shall be made manifest; during  that is  the creative, promised days (ayyām bada` maw`ūd), resulting in the Manifestation of the Unseen dimension of His Essence (bi-ẓuhūr ghayb dhāti-hi), His very Being (kawni-hi) which is His Eternity (baqā’). [5] This in the year of `He Who is Invoked’ (al-mustaghāth, abjad 2001) for this is the Truth which is sealed up (al-ḥaqq makhtūm). [6] It will come as a result of the Fitnah (Tribulation) which will assume all possible forms, incorporating everything whether they now be  something hidden or manifest (ghayb wa shuhūd).
 

[II]

قل ان ذلك من فتنة تضطرب فيها النّفوس و تذهل فيها العقول و تنفطر بها سموات العلم و الحكمة و تنشق اراضی العزّ و القدرة ثمّ تندك بها جبال المجد و النّور

[1]

Say: Such is of this Fitnah (Test-Trial-Tribulation [of God])!

[2] By virtue of it souls (al-nufus) shall be devastated and it will confound the intellects (al-`uqūl)!              [3] Thereat shall the heavens of knowledge and wisdom (samawāt al-`ilm wa'l-hikmat) be cleft asunder !. [4] Indeed! it will shatter the domains [lands] of might and power (al-`izz wa'l-qudrat). [5] Then furthermore, shall  the mountains of Glory and Light (jibāl al-majd wa'l-nūr) thereby summon thee,

[III]

قل ان ذلك من فتنة يزلزل بها اعراش العظمة و ينقلب بها اهل سرادق الرفعة ثمّ يتحير بها فی قدس البقاء ملاء الرّوح

[1]

Say: Such is of this Fitnah (Test-Trial-Tribulation)!

[2] By virtue of it the thrones of the Mighty (a`rash al-azimat) shall be shaken up! [3] And it will cause the denizens of the Pavilions of Exaltedness (ahl al-suradiq al-raf`at) to be disturbed [upturned]!  [4] Then, furthermore, it shall cause astonishment in the Sanctity of Eternity (qud[u]s al-baqa'), [the realm of] the Concourse of the Spirit[s] (malā' al-ruh)! .  

[IV]

قل ان ذلك لمن فتنة تظلم بها شموس الضياء و تخفسف اقمارالعماء ثمّ تسقط بها فی سموات الامر انجم العلوم

[1]

Say: Such is of this Fitnah (Test-Trial-Tribulation)!

[2] By virtue of it there shall indeed come about a blackening [darkening] of the Suns of the Radiant Orb (shumush al-diyā') [3] as well as an eclipse (kh-s-f) of the Moons of the Theophanic Cloud (aqmar al-`amā'). [4] Then shall it precipitate a falling away within the heavens of the Cause (samawat al-amr), of the very stars of erudition (anjum al-`ulum)!

[V]

قل ان ذلك من فتنة يمتحن اللّه بها كل الذّرات ثمّ كل الموجودات ثمّ كل من فی الارضين و السّموات ثمّ كل العالمون

[1]

Say: Such is of this Fitnah (Test-Trial-Tribulation)!

[2] By virtue of it God shall put to the test every single atom within existence (kull al-dharrat). [3] Then in fact, all the realms of existence (kull al-mawjudāt)! [4] Then again all that are within the earths [below] (al-ardin) and the heavens above (al-samawat)! [5] Then furthermore such as exist within all the worlds (kull al-`alamun)!

[VI]

و ان ذلك من فتنة يفتن بها عباد مكرمون ثمّ عباد مخلصون ثمّ ملائكة المقربون  ثمّ اهل ملاء العالمون

[1]

Such is of this Fitnah (Test-Trial-Tribulation)!

[2] By virtue of it He shall thereby test the honourable servants (`ibad al-mukramun), [3] then also the sincere, upright servants (`ibād al-mukhlisun). [4] Then furthermore. the angelic host (malā'ikat) of such as are nigh unto God (al-muqarrabin)! [5] Then also the people of the Concourse of all the worlds (ahl malā' al-`alamun),

[VII]

قل ان ذلك من فتنة يمحص فيها كلّ من يدعی المحبة و الايمان باللّه المهيمن العلی المحبوب بهذ الجمال الممتنع البهی المحبوب

[1]

 Say:  Such is of this Fitnah (Test-Trial-Tribulation)!

[2] By virtue of it shall He shall closely examine  all who summon unto love (al-muhabbat) and faith (al-ayman) in God, the Help in Peril, the Exalted, the One Beloved! This by means of this Beauty (al-jamal), the One Impenetrable (al-mumtani`), the Glorious One (al-bahiyy), the Beloved One (al-mahbub)!

[VIII]

و ان ذلك من فتنة ينخمد بها نار القدس ثمّ ينجمد ماء الحقيقة ثمّ يهتز سدرات النّور و يموتن الطوريون

[1]

Such is of this Fitnah (Test-Trial-Tribulation)!

[2] By virtue of it shall He come to extinguish the Fire of Holiness (nar al-quds)! [3] Then shall He freeze up [solidify] the Water of Reality (mā' al-haqiqa)! [4] Then also will He  set in motion [stir up] the lote-trees of the blazing hell-fire (sidrāt al-nār) and cause the dwellers of the Mount [Sinai] (al-turiyyun) to expire!

[IX]

قل ان ذلك من فتنة يأخذ كل عارف سليم و كل بالغ حكيم و كل مدبر عليم و كل ملك امين ثمّ كل نبی رسول

[1]

 Say: Such is of this Fitnah (Test-Trial-Tribulation)!

[2] By virtue of it He shall snatch away [dispense with] every unimpared `Ārif  [perfect gnostic, mystic wayfarer](`ārif salīm), [3] and every profound Sage (bāligh ḥakīm) [or `mature adept' etc ], [4] every learned Director (mudabbir `alim) and [5] every righteous Ruler (kull malik amin)! [6] Then furthermore,  every prophet (nabi),[as well as every] sent Messenger (rasul). 

[X]

قل ان ذلك من فتنه تضطرب بها كل الافاق و يمحص بها النّاس كلّهم اجمعون و يفرق بعض عن بعض كفرق الارض و السّماء

[1]

 Say:  Such is of this Fitnah (Test-Trial-Tribulation)!

[2] By virtue of it He shall strike all the Horizons, [3] And will thereby put to the test the totality of the people, all gathered together. [4] And He will thus differentiate between some of them and others. [5] This even as the difference between earth and heaven (al-ard wa'l-sama')!

[XI]

بل اشد من ذلك فتعالی اللّه مظهر هذه الفتنه المحتوم و بذلك فرق ما فرق فی زمن كل النبيون و المرسلون و من قبلهم فی زمن التی لن يحيط بها علم البالغون و سيفرق بذلك كل ما يفرق فی زمن الاخرون

[1] Nay rather! As a result [of the Fitnah] It shall be severly challenging. So Exalted be God the Manifestation of this Fitnah (Test-Trial-Tribulation) which is sealed up [destined to be realized] (al-makhtum). [2] Thereby indeed shall He even differentiate between  the differences between the [varying] eras of  all the [past] prophet figures (zamin kull al-nabiyyun) and sent-Messengers (al-mursalun). [3] This as well as what pre-dated them during those times which cannot ever be [fully] comprehended by persons of  mature learning (al-baligun). [4] Thereby, furthermore, will He [also] differentiate between such differences as exist throughout times [persons] to come (al-akhirun).

[XII]

و ان هذا السرّ غيب مكنون قد ستر فی كنائز قدس محفوظ و لايعرف ذلك الّا من اتاه اللّه بصرا كان عن ابصار الحديد مستور و ان ذلك من بصر لو يبصرون بها اهل عوالم الحقيقه ثمّ اهل مكامن الامر فی سرائر العزة ليشهقون فی انفسهم يقشعرون فی ذواتهم و لن يستطيعن ان يشهدون

[1] This situation is something secret (al-sirr), concealed and hidden (ghayb maknūn)! [2]  It hath ever been concealed in the Treasuries of Holiness (kanā'iz al-quds), something preserved (mahfūz). [3] None shall ever fathom it except whomsoever God alotteth insight (basir an) of a special kind,  an insight which is piercing and penetrating.  [4] Such would indeed be an insight which, if the denizens of the worlds of Reality (`awalim al-haqiqat) and the inhabitants of the secret recesses of the Cause (ahl al-makamin), on the couches of Might (sarā'ir al-`izzat), could vision thereby. [5] If they should so witness they would indeed exhibit a mighty sigh within themselves and creep with terror thereat in their inner beings, never submitting thereto. 

[XIII]

تاللّه الحق ان من هذه الفتنة تخطف ابصار القلوب الغيوب  و تبرق انظار المقدس و الرّوح ثمّ تخسف بها فی سماء الامر اقمرو الروب/ الربوب

[1] So By God! the True One! Should this Fitnah (Test-Trial-Tribulation)  snatch away the insights of the inmost hearts (abṣar al-qulūb al-ghuyūb) and bedazzle the sacred observations (anzar al-muqaddas) and the spirit (al-rūḥ), [2] then thereby shall it eclipse the heaven of the Cause (samā' al-amr), [especially] the disordered moons (aqmar al-rawb).

[XIV]

قل تاللّه فی هذه الفتنة نزل اقدام العارفين الّذين هم يعرفون اللّه باللّه وهم فی اسرار الامر و الخلق فی كل حين ببصر الحديد ينظرون

[1] Say: By God! By virtue of this Fitnah (Test-Trial-Tribulation) the footsteps of the `Ārifin (mystic knowers) shall be made to slip; those that is, who come to know God "in God" (ya`rafūn Allāh bi'llāh). [2] Those that is who, at every moment, consider with perspicious vision (basir al-hadid) the mysteries of the [Divine] Logos-command [Cause] and of creation (asrār al-amr wa'l-khalq)!  

[XV]

فم  قل ان ذلك لفتنة  تهتك فيها استار المسترات و تنكشف اسرار المسررات تظهر بها كنائز الصدور 

[1] Say: This Fitnah (Test-Trial-Tribulation) shall cause the tearing aside of the veils of things concealed (astār al-musattirāt) and the disclosure of the mysteries of matters secreted away (asrār al-musar[r]irāt) [2] for thereby shall be made manifest the Treasuries of the Inmost Breasts (kana'iz al-sudur).

[XVI]

  قل تاللّه سيفتنون فی هذه الفتنه و يلقون فی النار عباد الّذين ما خطرت ببالهم باقل من ذرة نّهم غير اللّه يعبدون

[1] Say: By God! It will come to pass that persons shall be tested due to this Fitnah (Test-Trial-Tribulation)! [2] And they will encounter in hellfire (al-nār) such servants (`ibād) as failed to reaize their [true] intention even to an especially minute degree for they served what is other than  God (?).

[XVII]

قل تاللّه يفتن فی هذه الفتنه حقائق الذين لن يغفلون عن اللّه و امره فی طرفة عين وهم كانوا فی كل حين ان يتذكرون فكيف عباد الذين هم ما عرفوا من هذا الامر الذی ينصعق فيه كل المظاهر الاعلی قدر ما يعرف النملة من زبانية و اولئك هم من جوهر الغفلة عند اللّه لمشهود

[1] Say: By God! He shall test by means of this Fitnah (Test-Trial-Tribulation) the very realities of such as have not been forgiven by God. [2] This even though He only commanded them to the extent that might be glimpsed by an eye (?). [3] And this even though they were at every moment given to remembrance [of God] [4] So how is it then that  there exist servants [of God] who seem unaware of this Cause (amr) and who have swooned away regarding Him, [and thus] regarding all of the Supreme Manifestations [of God] (kull mazāhir al-a`lā)? [5] This to the extent that they are unable to even distinguish the [merest] ant  (al-namlah) from the Guardians of Hell  (al-zabāniyya  [cf. Q. 96:18]), [6] Such are they who exhibit the essence of heedlessness (jawhar al-ghaflah) before God, as is only too evident!   

[XVIII]

قل تاللّه الحق يزل فی هذه الفتنة اقدام كل العارفين من اهل ملاء العالين من قبل ان يلتفتون انفسهم او يفقه قلوبهم او يميزون فی ساذج عرفانهم باعلی جواهر العقول فبعد ما يكشف لهم عماهم فيه يفرطون اذا يصيحون فی انفسهم و يتنعرون فی ذواتهم ثمّ يبكون و يضجون ثم يصرخون و لو يكون لهم ملاء السّموات و الارض من الرّوح و البقاء يريدون ان يفدون و باقل من آن عن هذا الجمال المنيع لايحتجبون

[1] Say: By God! The True One (al-haqq)! It is the case that the footsteps of all of the the `Ārifin (mystic knowers; see XIV above) shall be made to slip on account of this Fitnah (Test-Trial-Tribulation)! [2] Such, that is,  as are among the people of the concourse of the elevated ones (mala' al-`aliyyun) of times past [3] Of their own selves shall they come to desist or be assiduous in their hearts such that they shall weigh up through the  purity of their gnosis (`irfan) with the most elevated essences [jewels] of intellectuality (jawahir al-`uqul). [4] After this there shall be unveiled for them that which they were insolent about! [5] Thus they shall let out a fearful cry within themselves for they shall also scream forth within the very atoms of their being! [6] Then shall they weep and then shall they raise a boisterous clamor! [7]  Then shall they   ... XXX

[XIX]

[1]

 

[XX]

[1]

[XXI]

[1]

 

[XXII]

[1]

 

[XXIII]

[1]

[XXIV]

[1]

[XXV]

[1]

 

IN PROGRESS

 

Last Pages of the Lawh-i Fitnah: 86-7 =

 

87

Then there is a Bird (al-tayr) which circumambulateth about it! Then  there are Lights (anwar) which reveal their Glory [Self-reveal] (tajalli) from it. As Its  boundaries (atraf) do circumambulate it casteth forth manifestly  in multiple directions. 

By God! The Fitnah (Test-Trial-Tribulation [of God])! He is disturbing-alluring  (f-t-n)

 

All of that is a resut of this Fitnah (Test-Trial-Tribulation [of God]) ,,,

....

This is the Naba' al-A`zam, the Most Great Announcement! [cf. Q. 78:2] and the Theophanic Manifestations of the Fitnah - Test-Trial-Tribulation (zuhurat fitnah}, in its Testing-Examination aspect (imtihan) for the Nations [peoples] (li-aqwam) of this Day shall experience it for an Eternity of Eternities (ila abad al-abadan), for a Perpetuity of  Epochs (ṣarmad al-duhur) [shall it continue to endure]. 

By God!  Never shall its remembrance fade away nor shall its specificity seem remote. And even if it should continue on subsequently beyond what God created, being expressed by a totality of 70, 000 oceans [of ink]  chacrterizing its like, then Exalted be God! for [in reality] this woud be but a proscribed diminution thereof (qalil mahdud)!

XXX

 

 

Ā Ī Ū ā ī ū Ḍ ḍ ḥ Ḥ ṣ Ṣ ṭ Ṭ ẓ Ẓ  

Ā Ī Ū ā ī ū Ḍ ḍ ḥ Ḥ ṣ Ṣ ṭ Ṭ ẓ Ẓ     اء ء   ء

 

Select Notes and Commentary

A Note on the Ms text in INBMC 81:80f

He hath indeed radiated forth from the Dawning-Place of a Mighty Name (mashriq ism `azim) :

The above line (image above) is almost certainly not a heading introductory to the Lawh-i Fitnah (Tablet of the Test-Trial-Tribulation), It is the end part of an Arabic Tablet relating to the Feast of God (`id Allah) beginning on page 76 which was apparently addressed to Munir. It contains a repeated refrain about the "Feast of God" (`id Allah) along with references to the sacred Ridwan period (see INBMC 81:76-80). 

Note I:3b.  كُنْ فَيَكُونُ   "Be! And it is!" see Q. 2:117; 3:47, 59, etc!

سدرات النّور    The lote-trees of hellfire - if this is the right trans. it may be an allusion to Babi apostates ...

[XIII]

تاللّه الحق ان من هذه الفتنة تخطف ابصار القلوب الغيوب  و تبرق انظار المقدس و الرّوح ثمّ تخسف بها فی سماء الامر اقمرو الروب/ الربوب

[1] So By God! the True One! Should this Fitnah (Test-Trial-Tribulation)  snatch away the insights of the inmost hearts (abṣar al-qulūb al-ghuyūb) and bedazzle the sacred observations (anzar al-muqaddas) and the spirit (al-rūḥ), [2] then thereby shall it eclipse the heaven of the Cause (sama' al-amr), [especially] the disordered moons (aqmar al-rawb).

The latter phrase, though unlikely,  might be something like "and its moons or white clouds (reading al-rubūb?) [lords?] alike. 

XIII:2       اقمرو الربوب "moons and lords alike" (??).زبوب

[XVIII]

قل تاللّه الحق يزل فی هذه الفتنة اقدام كل العارفين من اهل ملاء العالين من قبل ان يلتفتون انفسهم او يفقه قلوبهم او يميزون فی ساذج عرفانهم باعلی جواهر العقول فبعد ما يكشف لهم عماهم فيه يفرطون اذا يصيحون فی انفسهم و يتنعرون فی ذواتهم ثمّ يبكون و يضجون ثم يصرخون و لو يكون لهم ملاء السّموات و الارض من الرّوح و البقاء يريدون ان يفدون و باقل من آن عن هذا الجمال المنيع لايحتجبون

[1] Say: By God! The True One (al-haqq)!  ...

Hence after that there shall be unveiled for them  their "Theophanic Cloud" (`ama') [Mirza Yahya??] from whom shall be a separation [abandonment, forsaking]. [x] Thereafter they shall ...