The Surat al-Hajj / Lawh-i Hajj II of Mirza Husayn `Ali Nuri, Baha'-Allah (1817-1892 CE)
The Tablet of Pilgrimage to the House of the Baha'-Allah in Baghdad.
Opening of the Surat al-Hajj II AQA IV:192
The Surat al-Hajj II > the House of Baha'-Allah in Baghdad
Introduction, Notes and completed translations by Stephen Lambden
In progress and under further revision and correction
Last updated 20-10-2015.
Select Mss. printed texts.
- AQA IV: 192-215.
- Amr va Khalq : 109-120.
- Cf. Ganj-i shayigan, 83-4.
Partial Translations and Completed translations
- Shoghi Effendi, GWB: LVII.
- Denis MacEoin, Rituals, App. XXV, pp.163-168. (partial).
- Stephen Lambden: completed, revised and reformatted translation (see below).
Stephen Lambden 2015.
God hath indeed written down for every locality that it should be ennobled with this scriptural Tablet (al-lawh)
He is the Eternal (al-baqi), the Manifest (al-zahir)!
So praised be unto He who hath, in very truth, sent down the verses, revealed by virtue of His Command in whatsoever manner He willeth. No God is there except Him, the Mighty (al-`aziz), the Powerful (al-muqtadar), the Omnipotent (al-qadir).
Below is the MacEoin trans. from Mazandarani, Amr, IV, pp.120-33. It has here been reformatted, adapted, revised and completed by Stephen Lambden, 2015.
MacEoin, Rituals, App. XXV, pp.163-168.
PASSAGE FROM THE SURA AL-HAJJ ON THE RITES OF THE BAGHDAD HOUSE, BY BAHA' ALLAH.
He is the Everlasting, the Manifest.
It is incumbent on whomsoever desireth to tum to the most holy direction, to come into the presence of God, the Mighty, the Knowing, to hearken unto the call of God, to behold His beauty, and to inhale the perfume of God, the Mighty, the Powerful, the Exalted, the Great, that he should go forth from his hath been named "the Abode of Peace" [Dar al-Salam - Baghdad]. And when he arriveth there, let him magnify God (with the phrase Allahu akbar), his Lord, with the tongue of his heart and with his outward tongue until he cometh unto the river. And when he reacheth it, let him put on his best clothes and then perform ablutions as God hath commanded him. And when he washeth his hands, let him say:
"O Lord, this is water that Thou hast caused to flow forth through Thy command in the neighbourhood of Thy sacred House (baytika 'l-haram). As I have washed my hands with it, O my God, at Thy command, wash me, then, from every stain and sin and omission and from all that Thy good-pleasure abhorreth. Thou, verily, art the Mighty, the All-Powerful."
Then let wash his face, saying:
"O Lord, this is my face that Thou hast purified through Thy will. I beseech Thee, then, by the power of the glory of Thy singleness and the wonders of the names of the manifestations of Thy cause, to cleanse it of all save Thee. Guard it, then, from turning to any but Thee or from beholding them that have failed to seek Thy manifest, spotless, mighty, and generous Beauty."
Let him, then, cross the bridge with the dignity and comportment of God, magnifying God (with the phrase Allahu akbar) until he reachesthe end of the bridge. Then let him turn in the direction of the House saying at his first step:
"O Lord, this is the first step that I have set down in the path of Thy good-pleasure and the first pace that I have taken through Thy will. I have fled, O my God, from all directions in the direction of Thy grace and favours, and I have taken flight from myself and my desires and from all save Thee in the direction of Thy bounty and blessings.
O my God, disappoint not them that have hoped for the clouds of Thy mercy and shut not out them that have sought the showers of the glory and generosity. Here am I, O my God!. I have sought Thy House, the House round which circle the dwellers of the Concourse and beyond them the souls of them that are nigh unto Thee among the holy ones. I beseech Thee by the former and by the latter not to prevent my eyes from beholding the wonders of the lights of the holiness of Thy beauty, nor to withhold from my face the manifestations of the breezes that blow from the dawn of Thy meeting, nor to keep back from my heart the fragrances of the glory of Thy revelation and  inspiration. Thou, verily, art the Possessor of bounty and might, of grace and mercy and sovereignty, and Thou, truly, art the Possessor of power and strength and grandeur, and Thou, in truth, art near to answer them that pray to Thee."
Then let him glorify God (with the phrase Allahu abha) and begin to perform the circumambulation. Let him circle about the House seven times, and, when he has completed this action and is come before the door of the House, let him stand and beg forgiveness from God 70 times. Then let him say:
"O my God and my Lord.
Praise be unto Thee for having shown Thy kindness and generosity to me in that Thou hast caused me to stand in the spot wherein naught is seen but the tokens of the glory of the sovereignty of Thy oneness and naught is witnessed save the flashes of the lights of the sun of Thy beauty. I beseech Thee by Thee and by Thy Self to purify me from the mire of the world and from its vanities and to burn from the surface of my heart the veils that have
kept me back from entering into the floods of the oceans of the glory of Thy unity and have shut me out from entry into the fields of the holiness of union with Thee and meeting Thee. O Lord, forgive me and my parents and my brethren and my family and my kinsfolk, those of them that have believed in Thee and in Thy most great verses in he manifestation of Thy most exalted Beauty. Thou, verily, art the Mighty, the Beneficent."
Let him, then, walk with the utmost gravity and glorify God (with the phrase Allahu abha) until he reacheth the gate, then let him stand and say:
"O my God, this is the spot wherein Thou didst lift up Thy voice and in which Thy proof was made manifest and Thy signs shone forth and Thy beauty rose above the horizon and Thy verses were sent down and Thy command was made visible and Thy name was raised up and Thy mention was spread abroad and Thy power was made perfect and
Thy sovereignty was exalted above all that are in the heavens and the earth."
Let him, then, address the House and its land and its walls and all that is upon it, saying:
"Blessed be thou, O House, inasmuch as God hath made Thee the spot whereon His feet have trodden.
Blessed be thou, O House, inasmuch as the glances of the glory of His greatness have fallen upon thee.
Blessed be thou, O House, inasmuch as God hath singled thee out and made thee a dwelling-place for His own Self and a location wherein to establish His sovereignty. No earth hath surpassed thee, unless it be the earth that God hath chosen above all the shrines of the world, by that which hath been written down by His Pen, the Preserver.
Blessed be thou, O House, inasmuch as through thee God distinguish between the fortunate and the wretched from this day unto the day whereon the All-Merciful shall shine forth with the lights of a wondrous  holiness.
Blessed be thou, blessed be thou, inasmuch as God hath made thee the balance for them that believe in His unity and the uttermost abode of them that know Him, and hath sanctified thee from the knowledge of them that hate Him and them tha~ disbelieve in Him, in such wise that none may enter thee save the behever whose heart God hath tried in its faith, nor may any be able to approach thee save him from whom there are wafted the breezes of the praise of God.
Blessed be thou inasmuch as God hath singled thee out for them among His servants' that are nigh unto Him and them among His creatures that are devoted to Him. None may touch thee save them that have utterly detached themselves from all that are in the heavens and the earth, in whose hearts there is naught but the radiance of the lights of the glory of His oneness and in whose inner beings there is naught but the manifestations of the effulgences of the holiness of His eternity. This is a station for which God hath chosen thee, wherein thou shouldst pride thyself above all the worlds.
Blessed be thou and him that built thee and raised thee up and served thee and carried water unto thy roses, and blessed be he that hath entered thee and he that hath gazed upon thee and he that hath discovered from thee a breath of the robe of the Joseph of God, the Mighty, the Powerful. I bear witness that he that hath entered within thee, God shall cause him to enter the holy sanctuary on the day whereon the Beauty of the Essence shall be established upon a mighty throne, and He shall forgive the sins of him that taketh refuge in thee and entereth beneath thy shadow, and shall fulfil his needs and shall raise him up on the Day of Resurrection with such beauty that his kindred of both past and future shall be illumined by it."
Let him, then, prostrate himself with his face upon the dust of the gate and call upon his Lord like one that is detached and repentant, relating himself to God and saying:
"O Lord, I am he that hath acted wrongly towards .Thee and rejected Thy beauty, for my self and my desires preoccupied me. Thou, venly, art the Knowing, the All-Informed.
O Lord, since I have recognized Thy Self, I seek pardon for my former state and for whatever appeared from my tongue and wentforth from my mouth and entered into my thoughts. I have returned unto Thee with all my bemg; Thou, verily, art the Forgiving, the Compassionate.
O Lord, when Thou didst make known unto me the places of Thy command and didst awaken me from my sleep and my heedlessness, I set forth from my house in the direction of Thy House turning my eyes towards Thy bounty and Thy forgiveness Thou, verily, art the Most Merciful of the Merciful.
O Lord I have come unto Thee with that sin that was heavier than all that is in the heavens and the earth and greater than the creation of all existence, until I have stood before the gate of Thy House, from which no sinner hath been turned away disappointed; I have bowed myself down upon its dust, humbling myself  before Thy beauty, abasing myself before Thy sovereignty, and making myself as nothing in Thy presence.
O Lord, have mercy on me through Thy compassion and graciousness and ordain, then, for me a seat of truth by Thy side. Make me, then, one of Thy servants that have turned in repentance unto thee. 0 Lord, forgive me my sins and my transgressions and all that my hands have committed. Thou, verily, art the Mighty, the Generous."
Then let him raise his head and seek forgiveness from God with this mighty, this great invocation:
"O Lord, I seek forgiveness from Thee by my tongue and my heart and my soul and my mind and my spirit and my
body and my corporeality and my bones and my blood and my skin. Thou, verily, art the Forgiving, the Merciful.
And I seek forgiveness from Thee, O my God, by the invocation whereby the fragrances of mercy have blown upon the people of rebellion and through which the sinful have been clothed in the beauteous garment of Thy forgiveness.
And I seek forgiveness from Thee, O my King, by the invocation whereby the power of Thy clemency and Thy grace is made manifest and whereby the sun of loving-kindness and bounty shineth forth above the forms of the sinful.
And I seek forgiveness from Thee, O Forgiver of my sins and my Creator, by the invocation whereby the wrongdoers
hasten in the direction of Thy pardon and graciousness and through which the seekers stand at the gate of Thy mercy, O Thou the Merciful and Compassionate.
And I seek forgiveness from Thee, O my Lord, by the invocation that Thou hast made a fire that burneth away all sins and rebelliousness from every one that hath repented and returned to Thee, regretting what he hath done, weeping over his actions, and secure in Thee, and through which the bodies of all created things are purified from the defilement of sins and wrongful actions and from all that Thy mighty and all-wise Self abhorreth."
Then let him enter into the House with dignity and tranquillity, as if he beholds God in the realm of His command and the kingdom of His House, until he enters the courtyard (al-sahn) and comes before the qibla that was singled out for the raising up of the throne of might upon it. The let him raise his hands and tum his gaze in the direction of His bounties and say:
"I bear witness in this place where I stand that there is no god but Him alone; no companion is there for Him nor likeness nor peer nor rival nor deputy nor equal nor similitude; and that the Primal Point (nuqta al-ula [sic], the Bab) is His servant, His glory, His might, His greatness, His reality, His power, His sovereignty, His majesty, His kingship, His strength, His honour, His nobility, His benevolence, and that through him His beauty shone forth and His face was purified and His proof rose above the horizon and His evidence was perfected and His argument was completed and His signs were made luminous, and through him all that are in the heavens and on the earth were raised to life and they that are in the kingdom of command and creation were resurrected, and through him the breezes of holiness were wafted upon all the worlds.
And I bear witness that he whom God shall manifest [i.e. Baha' Allah] is the truth, no doubt is there concerning him; he is come with the lights of a wondrous holiness, and through him are recreated the heavens and the earth and the people of the former and the latter generations. Blessed is he that hath attained unto his days and that entereth his gate and is honoured with meeting him and circleth around him and prostrateth himself before him and visiteth the dust of his feet and standeth in his presence and is of them that arise."
Then let him say:
"O Lord, this is Thy House wherein the breezes of Thy bounty and generosity have wafted and wherein Thou hast shone forth in the innermost heart of mystery upon all the manifestations of Thy names and the dawning-places of Thine attributes. None is informed of this save Thee, the All-Knowing.
O Lord, this is Thy House from which the signs of Thy grace have been made manifest unto all the worlds and wherein there befell Thee what befell Thee on the part of them that believed and them that disbelieved. Thou, verily, wast patient in all this, notwithstandmg Thy power and Thy sovereignty. Thou, truly art the Knowing, the Wise, the Mighty, the Powerful.
O Lord, this is the spot whereon Thou didst walk with Thine ancient feet and wherein Thou didst raise up Thy voice and Thy melodies and didst make heard my .call and Thy singing, with wondrous and honeyed tones.
O Lord this is the spot wherein Thou didst sit upon the Throne of all created things and didst exalt Thyself through the tongue of Thy power above all that are m the heavens and on earth.
O Lord, this is the spot wherein Thy gaze was turned in the direction of Thy bounty and wherein oceans of power surged within Thy hidden and concealed and guarded word.
O Lord, this is the spot wherein was Thy cause within the mystery of mysteries, and wherein Thou didst not move Thy lips as Thou didst wish, and wherein Thou didst conceal Thy radiant face, and wherein Thou wast hidden in the most utter concealment and behind the densest of veils, in such wise that none among all creation recognized Thy Self.
O Lord, this is Thy House that was shamed after Thee by thy servants, who looted whatever was therein and plundered all that was within it; thus did they dishonor Thee and make war against Thee in their heart of hearts and break Thy covenant and shatter Thy bond; yet didst Thou conceal all this and didst pass over them through thy wondrous bounty.
O Lord, divest me not of the bounty of Thy protection, nor take from me the garment of Thy favor and pardon, nor cause me to be far removed from the precincts of Thy mercy, nor deprive me of the fountain of Thy exalted grace.
Oh Lord, sanctify me from all save Thee and bring me near unto Thy Self and honor me with meeting Thee. Thou, verily, out the Powerful, the Knowing, the Understanding, the Bringer  to life, the Vivifier, the Slayer.
O Lord, cause me to attain unto that which Thou hast willed for those of Thy servants that are nigh unto Thee. Ordain, then, for me the best of what Thou hast ordained for the sanctified among Thy chosen ones."
Let him then be silent within himself and be at rest in his innermost being. Then let him tum in his heart and with his hearing in the direction of the House. If he should discover the fragrance of God and hear His call, he may be assured within himself that God has forgiven him his sins and has passed over him and relented towards him and beholdeth him as on the day whereon he was born of his mother. But if he should not discover the fragrance of God, the Mighty, the Powerful, let him
Perform again the ritual on this day or one another day until he discovereth it and heareth [the call). This is that which hath been decreed by the pen of a glorious and wise one upon the tablets of a hidden holiness. Thus doth God open the gates of grace and bounty unto the face of the heavens and the earth, that perchance men may not denyh themselves of the mercy of God and His bounteousness. This, venly, is true guidance and a remembrance from us unto all the worlds.
(Amr, IV, pp.109-17)
GWB LVII trans. Shoghi Effendi
When thou art departed out of the court of My presence, O Muḥammad, direct thy steps towards My House (Baghdád House), and visit it on behalf of thy Lord. When thou reachest its door, stand thou before it and say: Whither is the Ancient Beauty gone, O most great House of God, He through Whom God hath made thee the cynosure of an adoring world, and proclaimed thee to be the sign of His remembrance unto all who are in the heavens and all who are on the earth? Oh! for the former days when thou, O House of God, wert made His footstool, the days when in ceaseless strains the melody of the All-Merciful poured forth from thee! What hath become of thy jewel whose glory hath irradiated all creation? Whither are gone the days in which He, the Ancient King, had made thee the throne of His glory, the days in which He had chosen thee alone to be the lamp of salvation between earth and heaven, and caused thee to diffuse, at dawn and at eventide, the sweet fragrance of the All-Glorious?
Where, O House of God, is the Sun of majesty and power Who had enveloped thee with the brightness of His presence? Where is He, the Dayspring of the tender mercies of thy Lord, the Unconstrained, Who had established His seat within thy walls? What is it, O throne of God, that hath altered thy countenance, and made thy pillars to tremble? What could have closed thy door to the face of them that eagerly seek thee? What hath made thee so desolate? Couldst thou have been told that the Beloved of the world is pursued by the swords of His enemies? The Lord bless thee, and bless thy fidelity unto Him, inasmuch as thou hast remained His companion through all His sorrows and His sufferings.
I testify that thou art the scene of His transcendent glory, His most holy habitation. Out of thee hath gone forth the Breath of the All-Glorious, a Breath that hath breathed over all created things, and filled with joy the breasts of the devout that dwell in the mansions of Paradise. The Concourse on high, and they that inhabit the Cities of the Names of God, weep over thee, and bewail the things that have befallen thee.
Thou art still the symbol of the names and attributes of the Almighty, the Point towards which the eyes of the Lord of earth and heaven are directed. There hath befallen thee what hath befallen the Ark in which God’s pledge of security had been made to dwell. Well is it with him that apprehendeth the intent of these words, and recognizeth the purpose of Him Who is the Lord of all creation.
Happy are those that inhale from thee the sweet savors of the Merciful, that acknowledge thine exaltation, that safeguard thy sanctity, that reverence, at all times, thy station. We implore the Almighty to grant that the eyes of those who have turned away from thee, and failed to appreciate thy worth, may be opened, that they may truly recognize thee, and Him Who, through the power of truth, hath raised thee up on high. Blind, indeed, are they about thee, and utterly unaware of thee in this day. Thy Lord is, verily, the Gracious, the Forgiving.
I bear witness that through thee God hath proved the hearts of His servants. Blessed be the man that directeth his steps toward thee, and visiteth thee. Woe to him that denieth thy right, that turneth away from thee, that dishonoreth thy name, and profaneth thy holiness.
Grieve not, O House of God, if the veil of thy sanctity be rent asunder by the infidels. God hath, in the world of creation, adorned thee with the jewel of His remembrance. Such an ornament no man can, at any time, profane. Towards thee the eyes of thy Lord shall, under all conditions, remain directed. He, verily, will incline His ear to the prayer of every one that visiteth thee, who will circle around thee, and calleth upon Him in thy name. He, in truth, is the Forgiving, the All-Merciful.
I beseech Thee, O my God, by this House that hath suffered such change in its separation from Thee, that bewaileth its remoteness from Thy presence, and lamenteth Thy tribulation, to forgive me, and my parents, and my kindred, and such of my brethren as have believed in Thee. Grant that all my needs be satisfied, through Thy bounty, O Thou Who art the King of Names. Thou art the most Bountiful of the bountiful, the Lord of all worlds.