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Baha'-Allah - Lawh-i Madīnat al-Rida' 1 - Introduction

Lawḥ-i Madīnat al-rida'

(The Tablet of the City of the Radiant Acquiescence)

of Mirza Husayn `Ali Nuri, Baha'-Allah (1817-1892).

Introduction.

In progress, last updated 02-01-2021.

Stephen Lambden UCMerced.

This fairly lengthy Arabic scriptural Tablet of Baha'-Allah opens with the following heading : " This is the Madinat al-Rida', the City of Radiant Acquiescence". Rida' meaning contentment or radiant acquiescence is an important spiritual condition much spoken about in Sufi spiritual treatises and related texts. This heading or title is followed by a new Babi basmala, often used by Baha'-Allah during the mid-late Baghdad (Iraq) period : "In the Name of God, the Elevated, the Most Transcendent" (bismillah al-`aliyy al-a`la). It alludes to the personal name and elevated status of the Bab whose first name was `Ali meaning "Elevated" - cf. the name of the first twelver Imam `Ali ibn Abi Talib (d.40/661). 

Baha'-Allah seems to refer to himself (unless the dh-k-r has verbal sense) as the "Dhikr of the rahmat Allah, the "Mercy of God", as the return of the Bab relative to his major title Dhikr (the messianic "Remembrance"). As the servant of God he was chosen to express this rahmat Allah (Divine Mercy) by or as one among the mala' al-`aliyyin, the "Concourse of the Elevated Ones". As an expression of the Divine Mercy, Baha'-Allah succeeded the Bab, the Remembrance enshrining justice (al-`adl) on the yawh al-qiyama, the Day of Judhement. Another merciful cycle or era has commenced with his being a chosen servant with a very elevated position. This Tablet appears to be described as a portion of a  Book or a letter, communication (kitab) which would cause the people to draw nigh unto a sanctified heavenly court or locale (sahat quds) expressive of perspicacity or religious exposition (mubin).

Within the writings of the Bab there are passages which encho the beginning of the Lawḥ-i Madīnat al-rida' such as the following beatitude from the Kitab al-asma' :

فطوبی للذینهم یتبعون ذات حروف السبع من لدنا و هم بذکر الرحمن هم مؤمنون

So Blessed be those who follow the Essence of the Seven Letters (dhāt ḥurūf al-sab`ah = `Ali Muhammad, the Bab) by virtue of Us for they are indeed believers in the Dhikr of the All-Merciful (dhikr al-rahman)!" (K.Asma' in INBMC 29:434).

 

The text of the Madinat al-Rida' has been printed a number of times:

Manuscripts of the text can be found in the following locations :