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The Tafsir Surat al-`Asr (Surah of the Afternoon) of the Bāb.

The Tafsīr Sūrat wa'l-`Aṣr of the Bab.


The Qur'anic Surah of `By the Afternoon [Declining Day]', Q. 103.

"[1] [I swear] by the `Aṣr !

Indeed mankind is in a state of loss

[2] Except those who believe and do good works, [3] and exhort one another to truth (bi'l-haqq) and exhort one another to endurance (al-sabr)" (Q. 103).

The Tafsir Surat wa'l-`Asr (Surah of the Afternoon) of the Bāb.

Mss. Printed texts and Translation.

Stephen Lambden UCMerced.

198X - in progress 2015.

Written early on durng his stay in Isfahan for the Imam Jum`ah, Mir Sayyid Muhammad Sultan al-`Ulama', Khatunabadi, several important mss. of this important Qur'an Commentary of the Bab are known. MacEoin in his Sources (p.202) lists ten:

Tafsir surat wa'l-`asr

  • 1. Cambridge, Browne F.9 60
  • 2.London,BL,Or.5112
  • 3. Paris, BN 6531(dated 1911, in the hand of Ridvan `Ali) 61
  • 4. Haifa, IBA (i) (possibly in the hand of Zayn al-Muqarribln)
  • 5. Haifa, IBA (ii) (in the hand of Zayn al-Muqarribln) 62
  • 6. Haifa, IBA (iii) 63
  • 7. Tehran, INBA 6010C, pp. 95-198 = INBMC 14:105-208.
  • 8. Tehran, INBA 7009C, pp. 5-130
  • 9. Iran, INBMC 40, pp. 6-80
  • 10. Iran, INBMC 69, pp. 21-119

MacEoin Notes  60-63.

60. In the Cambridge and British Library texts, the tafsir is followed by a doxology on Faiima, entitled the Tasbih Fatima. It is unclear whether or not this short work is connected to the tafsir. Such a tasbih is not mentioned elsewhere, but a short piece entitled Tasbih-i `Ali is found in  INBA 5014C, pp. 2S3-S7.
61. Together with the KalimlJt-i mutafarriqa of Subb-i Azal.   62. With other works 63. With other works.

The Tafsir Surat wa'l-`Asr (Surah of the Afternoon) of the Bab commences:

Arabic text from INBMC 40:6ff.

Translation with select notes and transliteration.

Stephen Lambden 1980s-2017.

In progress - 20-01-2017.

In the  Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

Praised be to God Who divuged Himself before all realms of Existence through the tokens of His wondrous directives (athar  abda`ihi)  in the Kingdom of the Command  and  of Creation (malakut al-amr wa'l-khalq). This to the end that He might illuminate the Essences of  the Realities of all spheres of Existence (jawhariyyat haqa'iq al-mawjudat) through the illuminative potencies of the verses of the Divine Realm (ayat al-lahut), by virtue, that is, of the glorious transfiguration of the realms of being (kaynuniyyat) expressive of levels of abstraction (mujarradat) through  the verses of the Realm of the Kingdom (ayat al-malakut). At this all may thus testify unto the totality of the realms of the command (muqamat al-amr)  and unto the finality of the seal (ghayat al-khatm) (cf. Q. 33:40).  God Himself doth indeed bear witness unto His Logos-Self, through His [Own] Logos-Self (li-nafs-ihi, bi-nafsihi), for an eternity of eternities, for there is no God except Him. For evermore was all else save Him bereft of existence



"Then regarding the 20th  letter which is [the letter]  ...

"Then regarding the 21st letter which is [the letter]  ...

"Then regarding the 22nd letter which is [the letter]  ...

"Then regarding the 23nd letter which is  the letter "L" (al-lām).:

In his Tafsīr Sura wa’l-`aṣr (" Commentary on the Surah of `By the Afternoon [Declining Day]', Q. 103) the Bab makes an interesting and instructive interpretation of the Lawḥ al-Ḥafīz or Lawḥ al-Mahfuz  when commenting on letter twenty-three, namely the letter "L" (al-lām). :

"Then regarding the 23rd letter which is [the letter] "L" (al-lām).

  • [1] It signifieth on this level al-lawḥ al-a`ẓam (the Most Great Tablet) in which exist all modalities (al-shu’ūn).
  • [2] Then [additionally it] signifieth the lawḥ al-amr (Tablet of the Command) for God did not send down [reveal] a single thing except He had it penned therein.
  • [3] Then [additionally it]  signifies the Lawḥ al-Ḥafīz ("Preserved Tablet") which indicates the actions [deeds] of the totality of all the creatures such as have been encompassed in the knowledge of God.
  • [4] Then [additionally it] signifieth the Lawḥ which God hath assuredly created through the knowledge of `Azrā’īl [Azrael, `The Angel of Death', cf. Q. 32:11] through the constriction of all who are possessed of a spirit [soul] (bi-qaby rūḥ kull dhiya rūḥ). For he gazeth upon it [Lawḥ] at every moment. And he followeth the amr (Cause-command) of His Lord in accordance with what hath been stipulated, with the permissionof God -- exalted and glorified be He -- in the dictates (aḥkam) of that Lawḥ".

In the  commentary iof the Bab,  the  lawh mahfuz (Preserved Tablet) is presented as the "Greatest Tablet" (al-lawḥ al-akbar). This work of the Bab reflects Islamic esoteric traditions, as well, most notably, as the sometimes arcane Khuṭba al-ṭutunjiyya (The Sermon of the Gulf) ascribed to Imam `Ali (d.40/661), an oration which both  Sayyid Kazim Rashti as well as the Bab and Bahā’-Allāh,  regarded very highly.

"Then regarding the 24th letter which is [the letter]  ...


"Then regarding the 25th letter which is [the letter]  ...

"Then regarding the 26th letter which is [the letter]  ...

"Then regarding the 27th letter which is [the letter]  ...

"Then regarding the 28th letter which is [the letter]  ...

"Then regarding the 29th letter which is [the letter]  ...

"Then regarding the 39th letter which is [the letter]  ...