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Rashh III - A Brief Commentary upon the Rashh-i `Ama' of Baha'-Allah

رَشْح  عَمَاء 

A Brief Commentary upon the Rashh-i `Ama'

("The Sprinkling of the Theophanic Cloud")

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

Stephen N. Lambden

First written 1982. Later revisions and supplements 1990s, 2006, 2014, 2020.


Last partially updated 09-08-2020.

The following notes are not intended to be an extended commentary on the Rashḥ-i `amā'. Only a few points of doctrinal and philological interest will be noted along with the several important variant readings contained in a number of unpublished manuscripts  including that reproduced in the Iran National Bahā'ī Archives Manuscript (Xerox) Collection (INBMC) vol. 36 (see above).



This heading Ar. Huwa  is translated "He is God". It is the third person masculine pronoun هُوَ huwa meaning "He is"  and precedes its unstated object اللَّهُ Allāh, the  Islamic proper Name of God. This phrase is very common in Islamic literatures. It is also often prefixed to thousands of Persian and Arabic Prayers and Tablets of the Bab, Bahā-`Allāh, `Abd al-Bahā' and others. The latter has interpreted it as implying the incompehensibility of the Godhead.

The Arabic هُوَ is frequent in the Qur'an and in Sufi circles is often chanted within theistic incocations forming part of the practise of Dhikr ("Remembrance"). An example of this kind of invocation with هُوَ within the writings of Baha'-Allah would be the refrain found  within the  Lawh-i Nāqūs  لوح  نَاقوُس , the Tablet of the Bell, or (after thie Arabic refrain itself) Lawḥ-i subhanika yā-hū ("Tablet of Praised be Thou, O He!) which is to be dated to 1280/1863 CE.,  the period of Bahā'-Allāh's residence in Istanbul (Constantinople). It opens as follows : 

In Thy Name "He" for Thou, verily, art "He".

 O "He"!

O Monk of the Divine Unicity!

(rāhib al-aḥadiyya)

Strike the Bell! (al-nāqūs) for the Day of God hath been realized and the Beauty of the Divine Might  (jamāl al-`izz) hath been enthroned upon a Throne of Luminous Holiness.

   سبحانكَ يَاهُوَ ياهُوَ هُو يَاهُو          

So Praised be Thou O "He"!

O Thou Who art "He" Who is "He"!

O Thou besides Whom there is none other than "He".

In a number of his letters or alwah (Tablets, sing. lawh)`Abd al-Bahā'  has explained some basic theological significances of huwa in Bābī -Bahā'ī scripture.

For further details see: “Huwa-Hiya" / "He–She-It is”, the Huwiyya (Divine Ipseity) and some aspects of re-created Basmalas within Babi-Baha’i Literary Commencements :



 رَشْح  عَمَاء  اَز  جَذْب   مَا  مِريِزَد

rashḥ-i `amā'  āz jadhbih-yi mā mīrīzad

On account of Our Rapture the Sprinkling of the Theophanic Cloud [Cloud of Unknowing] (rashḥ-i `amā' ) rains down.

In this opening line Bahā'-Allāh indicated that it is "from" or "on account of (Per.)  اَز  (āz) his جَذْبح   jadhbih, "rapture" or alternatively, `spiritual ecstacy', `winning-ways' or possibly `Enraptured Self') that the "Sprinkling of the Cloud of Unknowing" (rashḥ-i `amā')  rains down. The implication may be that his mystical experiences whilst imprisoned in the Sīyāh Chāl ("Black Pit" dungeon) in Tehran had precipitated the outpouring of grace from the sphere of the Unseen, the Divine Cloud. His deep communion with God had actualized the outpouring of spiritual favours from the realm or cloud of the dark mist enveloping his occulted Beloved.

The iḍāfa (genitive) construction rashḥ-i `amā'  has been translated `Theophanic Cloud' though this has been translated `Sprinkling of the Cloud of Unknowing', an insightful translation first suggested by Denis MacEoin. The phrase `Cloud of Unknowing' is, of course, the title of an anonymous 14th century English mystical treatise. Other possible translations of Rashh-i `ama might, for example, be `The Outpouring of the Divine Cloud'. `The Effusion of the Theophanic Cloud', `The Sprinkling of the Divine Cloud', etc.

The Hadith of al-`Ama'




It terms of roots or origins there may be some connection between the Islamic mystical concept of `amā`  and early biblical and Jewish notion of a transcendent, occulted Deity.

In the angelology of the originally proto-Judaic Samaritan faction, the divine כָּבוֹד  kabod, is the theophanic or radiant "glory" of the Divine Being as it is in the Hebrew Bible (see Ezekiel 1, 10, etc ; see JSS 2002).

Also of central background interest in connection with the tradition of `amā'  (cited above) are various pre-Islamic Patristic Christian expressions of apophatic (negative) theology, theological meditations upon that fact that the spiritual aspirant can only befittingly affirm what God is not,   thereby experiencing the `way of negation'. The writings of Gregory of Nyssa (c.330-395) contain important materials in this respect. For him Exodus 24:15ff and 20:21 (among other texts) have to do with the sublimity of the experience of God's incomprehensibility. The former text refers to the "thick darkness" or  "dark cloud" (Heb.) עֲרָפֶל  (araphel) where "God was" (Exodus 20:21, Deut. 4:1,  5:22; II Sam 22:10; 1 Kings 8:12; II Chron. 6:1; Job 22:13, 38:9; Psalm 18:9, 97:2; Isaiah 60:2, etc)

The aforementioned rendering `Cloud of Unknowing' might be a good way of alluding to some of the contextualized, theological senses of `amā in the poem of Baha'-Allah. This bearing in mind that a thick or diaphanous "cloud" is one of the basic senses of `amā. Linked with "unknowing" it could thus be taken to suggest a number of historical and theological observations including, for example:

  • (a) for Bābīs (the followers of the Bab) the recently martyred Bāb (d. 1850 CE) existed in a hidden spiritual world and was considered the hidden or "occulted" source of Divine inspiration;
  • (b) the unknown nature of Bahā'-Allāh's `messianic secret' at the time of the composition of the Rashḥ-i `amā' (c. 1852 CE) might be alluded to by means of the term `amā' ;
  • (c ) the fact that in various Sufi and certain Bābī-Bahā'ī texts `amā' is indicative of the depths of God's interiority, the hiddeness of His essence (dhāt) or the enwrapped and beclouded nature of the ultimate reality of Divinity.

A prophetic hadith and some Islamic uses of the term `amā' as a theophanic cloud.

Many Islamic uses of the term`amā' are best viewed as rooted in a tradition ascribed to the Prophet Muhammad. 

In the theosophical Sufism of the school of Ibn al-`Arabi (d. Damascus, 638/1240) `amā'  became a key cosmological-theological term. It occurs fairly frequently in the writings of the Great Shaykh, in for example, his massive Futuhat al-Makkiyya  ("Meccan Openings"). It is found, for example in Ibn al-`Arabi's Kitāb al-asfār `an natā'ij al-asfār (Book of the Journeys from the Consequences of the Journeys) which begins:

Praise be to God, the One Existing in the Cloud (al-kā'in fī'l-`amā' ); the One depicted through the enthronement of the Glory of His Essence (bi' l-istiwā jalāl dhātihi) subsequent to His non-manifestation (lit.) [vacuity, voidness; farāghihi); He Who created His earthly realm as well as His heavenly spheres; the One Who revealed the Qur`ān in the Night of Power (laylat al-qadr) ... (Rasāil, II tract1, XX).

For further details see the associated Appendix on this Website about the term `ama in Islamic and Babi-Baha'i literaures.

The section on al-`ama in the al-insan al-kamil of `Abd al-Karim al-Jili *

Know thou that al-`Ama' (the "Cloud") is indicative of the Reality of Realities (haqiqat al-haqa'iq) which can in no way be characterized with any certainty (b'l-haqqiyya)  nor by means of anything within creation (b'l-khalqiyya). It is an Essence Unalloyed (dhat mahd) for it cannot be associated with any level be it reality related (haqqiyya) or pertaining to createdness (khalqiyya). Yet  it should not be bypassed as a non-entity (li-`adm), something without relatedness, incapable of depiction or just nameless (wasf an wa la asma an) for this is the meaning of his [Muhammad's] - upon him be blessings and peace - statement, "al-`Ama' (the Cloud) above it no air (hawa') and below it no air (hawa')". That is to say not a "Reality" (haqq) and nor something created (khalq).


rashḥ  ("sprinkling")

The governing verbal noun َرَشْح    = rashḥ  is derived from an Arabic root (R-SH-Ḥ). The basic verbal form signifies, `to sweat', `to leak', `to percolate', `to trickle', `to distill', `to exude', 'to drop', ' to moisten' or to 'sprinkle', etc. Hence rashḥ = "a sprinkling"; alternatively, "a showering", "a dewdrop" (Lane X: xxf Steingass XXX; Weir XXX). Not found in the Qur'ān this governing verbal noun rashḥ ("sprinkling") occurs quite frequently in both verbal and nominal forms in Bābī-Bahā'ī scripture. It has its background in Islamic literatures. A significant occurrence in the imperfect verbal form yarshḥahu is to be found in the well-known Shi`i  Ḥadīth Kumayl  or  Ḥadīth al-ḥaqīqa.

Before making five pronouncements as to the deep secrets of ḥaqq ("reality") Imām `Alī at one point said to his fellow traveller Kumayl ibn Ziyād al-Nakha'i in reponse to his imploring him for guidance,

"Nay, verily, I will answer the call of such as are troubled, and will sprinkle upon thee somewhat of the overflowing fulness of the Station of the Truth; receive it from me according to thy capacity, and conceal it from such as are unworthy to share it" (trans. Browne, TN:328 cf. Donaldson, 1938:255f ).

In the course of commenting upon a line of the Khuṭba al-ṭutunjiyya (A Sermon of the Gulf) ascribed to Imām `Alī (d. 40/661) , Sayyid Kāẓim Rashtī (d. 1260/1844) has occasion to cite and comment upon that line from the Ḥadīth Kumayl in which the word rashḥ occurs. Commenting upon rashḥ he writes:

.. says `Yea! What sprinkles (yarshaḥu) from you overflows from me" [Hadith Kumayl].. . This rashḥ ("sprinkling") is [by virtue of] the ink (al-midād) through which he delineated created things (al-khalq) through the Prophets (al-anbiyā) and other besides them in view of the fact that they created through the sprinkling (al-rashḥ [of the ink of the Divine Pen]) and a sprinkling of the sprinkling (rashḥ al-rashḥ) and a sprinkling of the sprinkling of the sprinkling (rashḥ rashḥ al-rashḥ).. (Sh-ṭutunjiyya, 239).

Among the verbal and nominal forms deriving from the root r-sh-h found in the writings of the Bāb. In the following oath from a Persian Tablet of Bahā-Allāh its author uses the plural form of rashḥ in association with the `Ocean of mystic meanings' : ... I swear by the sprinklings (rashḥāt) of the Ocean of Mystic Meaning! (baḥr-i ma`ānī) ).. (INBMC XX:450) It is likely that the word rashḥāt ("sprinklings") here indicates the effusions or "sprinklings" of "drops" (articulations) of divine revelation replete with interior meaning. Bahā'-Allāh would thus seem to swear by his own power of divine revelation.

The Arabic verbal noun عَمَاء = `amā'

The governed noun `amā' is derived from the Arabic root amiya the basic sense of which is `to become blind, to be obscure'. `Amā' could thus be translated "blindness", "secrecy", "obscurity" (etc.) though it also has the sense of `cloud', possibly `heavy and thick clouds (which hide and obscure) or (the opposite!) light diaphanous clouds. The key theologically loaded occurrence of the word عَمَاء (`amā' ) is that found in the `Ḥadīth of the Cloud (al‑`amā’) which records Muhammad’s response to a question posed by Abū Razīn al‑`Aqīlī (d. ) about God’s location "before he created the creation", the reply being,

 كان في عَمَاء فوقه هواء و تحته هواء   

He [God] was in عَمَاء (`amā’ , a "cloud") with no air above it [Him] and no air below it [Him].

Then he created His Throne upon the [cosmic] Water (cited al‑Ṭabarī, Tārīkh, 1:36).

This influential prophetic tradition was regarded as "especially sound" by the famed and highly respected Muhammad ibn Jarir al‑Ṭabarī (224–310 AH = 839–923 CE)      author of the massive Sunni Qur'an commentary and a very detailed Tarikh al-rusul wa'k-muluk (History of Prophets and Kings). It was also cited in early Shi`i contexts such as the Akhbār al-zamān (Documentations of the Era) of al-Mas`udi (d. p. 67)... ADD

The above translated reply to the cosmological-theological question of Abū Razīn al‑`Aqīlī probably originally expressed the conviction that God was hidden and Self-subsisting in His own Being. It perhaps indicated that before His work of creation He was in obscurity, enshrouded in the `cloud’ of His own Being or wrapped in enveloping, dark mist. The `Hadith of the cloud' can be regarded as an Isra'iliyyat type tradition in that it appears to reflect biblical cosmology and Jewish and/or Christian post-biblical theological traditions about the nature, place and gravitas of the divine Being. This ḥadīth appears to reflect passages in the Hebrew Bible where God is said to dwell in "the thick darkness" (Heb. הָעֲרָפֶל ha-araphel,  Exod.  20:21b) and whose theophany was at times in a "pillar of cloud" (Exod. 33:9ff; cf. 1 Kings 8:12; Ps. 97:2; Jud. 13:22). It is also strongly reminiscent of dimensions of the apophatic ("negative") theological speculations of the Cappadocian church father Gregory of Nyssa (d. c. 395 CE) some of whose works were early translated into Arabic. In his On the Life of Moses this creative biblical exegete states that the "divine cloud" which led the Israelities (Exod. 13:31‑2) was "something beyond human comprehension" (Life of Moses, tr. 38; cf. Philo, Vit. Mos. I.29.166). Through the influence of the above cited Islamic tradition of the cloud upon his cosmology, Ibn al‑`Arabī made considerable use of the term `amā’ (lit. "blindness", "cloud") and of genitive phrases containing it (al‑Futūḥāt; 1:148; 2:310; 3:430 etc; al‑Ḥakīm, al‑Mu`jam, 820f ). ADD

        The Bāb in his early Qayyūm al-asmā' (mid. 1844 CE) also makes frequent use of the term `amā’ and related genitive expressions (100+ times). In this highly work the Bāb included addresses to a mysterious ahl al‑`amā’ (denizens of the Divine cloud) associated with the celestial Sinaitic realm (Lambden1984;1988).


A commentary on the `Tradition of `amā’’ was specifically written by the Bāb for Sayyid Yaḥyā Dārābī, Vaḥīd (d.1850 CE).  Baha'Allah  likewise utilized this terminology extensively. His first major poetical writing was entitled Rashḥ‑i `amā’ (`The Sprinkling of the Divine Cloud’, late 1852) after its opening hemstitch

The Bāb and Bahā'-Allāh were both significantly influenced by the hadith of `amā'  tradition and its interpretation in theosophical Sufism. Bahā'-Allāh's earliest extant work is entitled, Rashḥ-i `amā' ("The Sprinkling of the Divine Cloud" 1269/ late 1852). The term `amā' (loosely = "cloud") is quite frequent in their writings. In Bāb) -Bahā') scripture - as in Sufi interpretations - it is sometimes (though not always) indicative of the hidden and unknowable essence of God.

In one of his early epistles the Bāb comments in some detail on the `tradition of `amā' -- quoted in the form: "God was in `amā' (a "cloud") above it air and below it air". He states that this tradition indicates God's isolated independence. The term al-`amā' ("the cloud") only inadequately indicates the divine dhāt ("Essence"). In his interpretation, the Bāb seems to underline God's absolute otherness to such an extent that the term `amā' only indirectly hints at His transcendent unknowability. God's nafs ("Self") and dhāt ("Essence") are probably to be thought of as created and hypostatic realities indicative of, yet ontologically distinguishable from, His uncreated and absolute Ipseity. For the Bāb `amā' ("cloud") indicates God's absolute otherness. It is derived from al-`amā or al-`amān ("blindness", "unknowing") for vision is blinded before God's Face and eyes are incapable of beholding His Countenance.

For the Bāb the `ḥadīth of `amā' also enshrines the mysteries surrounding the Sinaitic theophany (see Qur'ān 7:142). It was not the dhāt al-azal, the eternal unknowable Essence of God that appeared in the malakūt al-`amā' (celestial realm of `amā' ) and radiated forth through the Divine Light on Mount Sinai, but an amr (= lit. "command" or "Logos-Event" which God created from nothing. The theophany on the Mount was not the manifestation in `amā'` as God's absolute essence,not a monistic type theophany of he Divine Essence' (tajallī al-dhāt) but the disclosure of the Divine Light (nūr) "unto, through and in His Logos-Self (nafs), the Manifestation of God. The Bāb clarifies his interpretation of the modes of the divine theophany including the `theophany of the Divine Essence' (tajallī al-dhāt) found in certain Sufi treatises. Such a theophany does not involve a manifestation of the Divine Essence understood as a "cloud" or anything else.


سِّر وَفَاء از نَغمِه ما ميريزد

sirr-i vafā āz naghmih-yi mā mīrīzad

"The mystery of fideity pours forth from Our melody"

        In the second hemistich of the first line of the Rashḥ-i `amā' the genitive construction سِّر وَفَاء  sirr-i vafā parallels and rhymes with rashḥ-i `amā'. Here translated "Mystery of Fidelity" it might also be rendered "Secret of Faithfulness" or perhaps, something like, "Inwardly Loyal [One]". It is probably expressive of God's absolute faithfulness in connection with the pre-eternal covenant or that aspect of His Being which is indicative of His continuing to guide mankind. That the "Mystery of Fidelity" poureth forth from "Our Melody" may be understood to signify that Bahā'-Allāh's revealing divinely inspired verses (`melodies') is expressive of and originates in the sphere of the mystery of God's loyal pledge to guide His creatures.

        The terms sirr and vafā' are extremely common in the writings of the Bāb and Bahā'-Allāh though the genitive expression sirr-i vafā' (Per./ Arab. = sirr al-wafā') is not. It is, however, found in Bahā'-Allāh's Lawḥ-i kull al-ṭa`ām (A Tablet of All Food, c. 1854 CE);

"Since at this moment the Ant of Servitude hides in the Vale of the Divine Unicity (wādī al-aḥadiyya) in this Night, with mystic fidelity (bi'l-sirr al-wafā'), I desire to (further) expound that verse (Qur'ān 3:87)..". (Mā'idih 4:274)

The paragraph in which these lines occur is, unfortunately, obscure. It appears that Bahā'-Allāh expresses his desire to explain Qur'ān 3:87 (still further -- to Mīrzā Kamāl al-Dīn Naraqi) ) despite his inner mystical withdrawal towards God in the light of his being oppressed by his fellow Bābis.

        In the Bāb's writings the genitive expression ADD     (wādī al-aḥadiyya) is indicative of the Sinaitic heights in which the pre-eternal covenant was made. It is the celestial sphere which is the mystic retreat of exalted beings ( i.e. the Hidden Imam, the celestial Imam Husayn, the Bāb) who represent God. As the "Ant of Servitude" Bahā'-Allāh has inwardly withdrawn into this heavenly realm. This during the "Night" (= the period following the Bāb's martyrdom?) with a mystic fidelity" (or "the Trusted Secret", "Interior Loyalty" or "Heartfelt Loyalty"). The implication may be that during a period of spiritual darkness (= "Night") Bahā'-Allāh's mystic withdrawal is an expression of his inner loyalty to the Bāb (who exists in the celestial realm).  On the other hand the phrase al-sirr al-wafā' might allude to the person of the Bāb himself or that sphere which is expressive of his (the Bāb's) continuing to be the focal centre of inspiration; one mystically faithful with respect to continuing to guide leading Bābis.
        Only a detailed study of the terms used in the opening line of the Rashḥ-i `amā' as they occur in Babi -Bahā') scripture will serve to clarify its meaning , though it should be borne in mind that there is always the danger of reading too much into an essentially poetical work. It may be that the expressions rashḥ-i `amā= and sirr-i wafā' (in line 1) are indicative of the Bāb as the celestial source of divine inspiration and guidance; the one who, subsequent to his martyrdom (1850) existed in the exalted heavenly realm or `cloud of unknowing' (`amā') and is inwardly faithful (wafā') in terms of being a source of guidance.

 In certain Bābī and Bahā'ī texts the sphere of `amā' is associated with celestial beings and with the person of the occulted or hidden (and expected 12th) Imam, Imam Husayn, the Dhikr (The Remembrance = the Bāb) as well as with such leading Bāb) as Bahā'-Allāh. Wafā' in many such texts is also used in connection with the sphere of transcendent realities, the sphere of the `Sinaitic mysteries' or that heavenly realm where the primordial divine theophany took place and the pre-eternal covenant was made. Sirr-i wafā', if it is not an allusion to the person of the Bāb, could be indicative of the secret of that sphere in which God or exalted beings are faithful to or mindful of the primordial covenant regarding the truth of the Bābī religion or the person of Bahā'-Allāh.

In his  Muṣibāt-i ḥurūfāt-i `allīyyīn ("The Calamities of the Exalted Letters" c. 1857-8?) Bahā'-Allāh speaks of the adverse effect his sufferings had upon his power of Divine Revelation, upon the naghamāt al-wafā' ("melodies of fidelity") uttered by the "Nightingale [Dove] of the Command" (warqā' al-amr = Bahā'-Allāh) (see Ad`īyih 229).  At the beginning of his difficult 77th Persian Hidden Word' ( text in Ad`ī yih, 471-2; Shoghi Effendi [trans.] Hidden Words, 48-9) there is reference to the "beauty of the immortal Being" (jamāl haykal-i baqā' = Bahā'-Allāh himself?) repairing from the "emerald height of fidelity" (`aqabih-i zumurradī -yi wafā') unto the region of the sidrat al-muntahā (`The Lote-Tree of the Extremity')  which is said to exist in the all-highest Paradise where he weeps in the presence of exalted beings. This on account of the fact that he waited expectant on the "hill of faithfulness" (`aqabih-i wafā') but did not inhale the "fragrance of fidelity" (ra'iḥih-i wafā') from "them that dwell on earth" (ahl-i arḍ). Written in about 1857 this `Hidden Word' almost certainly has to do with Bahā'-Allāh's disillusionment with his fellow Bāb) s (and contemporaries in general) and his claims and role in his attempts to regenerate them. His being on the "emerald height of fidelity" or expectantly waiting on the "hill of faithfulness" probably indicates his mystically dwelling in that sphere where a pre-eternal covenant was made regarding his person and which his contemporaries had forgotton -- they did not turn to him; Bahā= u= lāāh did not inhale the "fragrance of fidelity" to the Bāb or his person from those around him. The time, however, as the latter half of this abstruse text indicates, had not arrived for the full disclosure of his claims.

This explanation makes sense inasmuch as emerald is the third of the four colours mentioned in the Bāb's writings (details cannot be given here) and qadr the third of the seven `Causes of Creation' (see for example Saḥīfa yi- `adliyya, 161). In the light of the foregoing it should also be noted that the genitive expression "atmosphere of fidelity" (hawā' al-wafā') occurs in the Arabic section of Bahā'-Allāh's `Tablet of the Holy Mariner' (Lawḥ-i mallāḥ al-quds, 1863) ( see Mā'idih 4:335f [337]).

Perhaps then, the second hemistich of the first line of the rashḥ-i `amā` indicates that Bahā'-Allāh's revealing verses is a sign of the truth of the primordial covenant regarding divine guidance.


از باد صبا مشك خطا گشته پديد  :  اين نفحه خوش از جعده ما ميريزد

The musk of Cathay hath appeared from the zephyr;  

this Sweet-Scented Breeze wafts down from Our Ringlet.

        In this second line Bahā'-Allāh apparently alludes to his inspired verses as a gentle breeze or zephyr (bād-i 7 abāout of which the fragrance of the "Musk of Cathay" (mishk-i khaṭā) had wafted. The English word musk (derived from the Persian mishk / mushk) denotes an odoriferous resin obtained from the male musk-deer or the scent derived from it. Cathay.  خطا  khaṭā describes that region in China from which high quality musk was obtained. In classical Persian poetry the "Divine Beloved" is commonly pictured as a beautiful woman or maiden with musk-scented hair. In his Halih Halih Halih yā bishārat Bahā'-Allāh speaks of the "Maid of Eternity" (ḥūr-i baqā`) appearing with "musky tresses" (ADD -yi mishkīn). Here it is from or on account of his "Ringlet" (ja`dih) that a perfumed or sweet-scented breeze is diffused. He, in other words, represents himself as a beautiful houri ( a divine maiden) worthy of spiritual love. Such sensual imagery is not uncommon in Bahā'-Allāh's poetical writings.


شمس طراز از طلعت حق كرده طلوع

shams-i ṭarāz az ṭal`at-i ḥaqq kardih ṭalū`

"The ornamented Sun hath arisen from the Countenance of the True One"

Here it is on account of or from the طلعت حق ( "Countenance of the True One") (= Bahā'-Allāh ?) that the شمس طراز ("Sun of Oppulence" = the reality of Bahā'-Allāh's self-disclosure) has arisen.


سّر حقيقت بين كز وجهه ما ميريزد

See thou that the Mystery of Reality rains down from Our Face!

sirr-i ḥaqiqat bīn kaz vajhih mā  mīrīzad

It is on account of or from  وجهه ما   "Our Face" (= Bahā'-Allāh) that the سّر حقيقت    ("Mystery of Reality" sirr-i ḥaq) qat) is revealed. The genitive expression sirr-i ḥaqqiqat probably derives from the Xth line of the well-known ḥadith Kumayl Where we read:


In his commentary on the ḥadi th Kumayl the Bāb



بحر صفا از موج لقا كرده خروش

اين طرفه عطا از جذبه ها ميريزد

Out of a Wave of the Ocean of the Meeting with God

the Sea of purity has cried out;

On account of Our rapture this Precious favour pours forth.


baḥr-i āz mawj-i liqā, kardih khurūsh

A Out of a Wave of the Ocean of the Meeting with God the Sea of Purity has cried out

In the first hemistich of this line Bahā'-Allāh probably represents himself as one of the waves (sing. mawj = wave, billow, surging) of the eschatological لقا the "encounter" or "meeting" with God; the liqā'-Allāh predicted in the Qur'ān.

Qur'ān 13:12 ADD

In Bābī-Bahā'ī theology the "meeting with God" is understood to mean attaining the presence of his Divine Manifestation. The  لقاء الله   the eschatoloical "Encounter with God" was interpreted by the Bāb in terms of attaining  the "meeting" with him (Dalā'il-i Sab`ih 31ff and 57). To attain the presence of Bahā'u'llah is to experience the "meeting with God". In view of this the "Sea of Purity" (baḥr-i safā') has cried out (karda khurūsh-- or raised a shout in announcement of this means of attaining the "meeting with God" ?).

 In place of karda khuruh (so Mā'idih 4) INBMC 36 (see above) has karda ADD "has been made manifest". If this is the correct reading the implication would be that the "Sea of Purity" (baḥr-i safā') represents Bahā'-Allāh whose presence is an expression, a "wave" of the "Meeting with God" (mauj-i liqā'): the first hemistich of line 4 might thus be translated;

"Out of [or from] the Wave of the Meeting [with God] the Ocean of Purity [= Bahā'-Allāh ?] has been manifested"


اين طرفه عطا از جذبه ها ميريزد

On account of Our rapture this Precious favour pours forth.

The second hemistich of line 4 probably indicates that on account of Bahā'-Allāh's rapture (جذبه   āz jazdhbih mā; cf. line 1) the طرفه عطا  ṭurfa-i `aṭā' ,"Precious Favour" of the "meeting with God" (through him?) is available.

Though the text is unclear it may be that the INBMC 36 text has the reading "On account of the Rapture of [the one represented by the letter]  ه (hā') this Precious Favour rains down ( ميريزد ) If this is the case it may be that Bahā'-Allah representing himself or the Bāb as the letter ه (hā') (= the first letter of هُوَ = "He is" indicative of Divinity) whose rapture is related to the appearance of the "Precious Favour" (see also on lines 5, 7, 9 and 13).


بهجت مل از نظره  گل شد ظاهر   

 اين رمز مليح از رنّه را ميريزد

At the sight of the Rose was the delight of the wine apparent;

This sweet Cipher rains down through the ringing-sound of  [the letter]  "R" ( ر = rā').

بهجت مل از نظره  گل شد ظاهر   

 biḥjat-i mull[?] āz na- rih-i gull shud zāhir    

In the first hemistich of this line Bahā'-Allāh probably represents himself as theگل      gull, "Rose" at whose sight delight of the مل  mul  the "wine"  of spiritual intoxication derives its potency. In his Lawḥ-i gull-i ma`nawī (Tablet of the Ideal Rose c.1865-6) similar imagery is used.    Bahā'-Allāh is pictured as the  "Ideal Rose" in the "Divine Riḍwān" to whom the "nightingales" (= the Bābi's) should turn (see AQA. 4:336-8).


 اين رمز مليح از رنّه را ميريزد

This sweet Cipher rains down through the ringing sound of  [the letter]  "R" ( ر = rā').

īn ramz-i ma' āz rannih-rā'  mirizad

Here it is syntactically and metrically extremely unlikely that the Arabic-Persian را  indicates the letter  "R"  ر  (rā')  as the Persian object marker. It is more likely that the را  (rā') of را   رنّه  is the  As INBMC 36 indicates,  having  ء (= ḥamza) indicative of the genitive.   رنّه را  is a genitive construction and should be read rannih-' rā' meaning "Joyful Song [or wailing?] of the (Persian-Arabic) letter  را  rā'. The question thus arises as to what or whom is meant by the letter  را  . Several possibilities present themselves. It is most likely that the  را   indicates the initial letter of an Arabic-Persian word indicative of either an abstract reality or a person such as  the Bāb or a leading Bābi whose title begins with this letter.  

A definite possibility is that the  را  of   را  رنّه    indicates رب = Rabb = "Lord" understood as the (heavenly) Bāb himself or perhaps Bahā'-Allāh as his "return". Both "Lord" and Bāb have identical abjad (numerical) values [202] -- a point made explicitly by the Bāb in his Letter to Muhammad Shāh (see INBMC 64:[123-126], 110).

Lord  = رب 202  :   R ر=  200 + B=   2 =   ب  Total = 202;

على `Alī =  110 = +   محمد  = Muhammad = 92: Total = 202 .

The significance of  رنّه را could also be considered in the light of the following. را  (Rā'), being the first letter of   (= ra'ī s = "Chief"), could be seen to be an allusion to Shaykh Aḥmad al-Ahsā'īs interpretation of the  inverted letter wāw (= Arabic w spelled in full) element in such Shi`i  graphical forms of the al-ism al-a`zam ("greatest name" of God),. Thus, for example,


For Shaykh Aḥmad the                  was understood to be an inverted letter wāw,       =  و with an `extended tail' .  This cryptic sigla  is alluded  to the                al-Kitāb al-aqdas (c. 1873) of Bahā'-Allāh as the "mystery of inversion before the Symbol of the Ruler" (sirr al-tankis li-ramz al-ra'is). This might at first sight seem a somewhat unlikely suggestion but it must be borne in mind that :

  • (1) Shaykh Ahmad's description of the wāw  in the Shi`i  greatest name diagram as the sirr al-tankīs li-ramz al-ra'īs was understood by Bahā'-Allāh (in his later writings) to allude to his own advent and was related (by Shaykh Aḥmad himself as well as Bahā') writers) to the commencement of the dispensation of the Qā'im (the Bāb) .
  • (2) Bahā'-Allāh apparently represents himself as "this Sweet Cipher" ( ADD  ramz-i maliḥ) -- the word ramz ("cipher") being in genitive relationship with ra''is (= "chief") in Shaykh Aḥmad's statement.
  • (3) In line with Shaykh Aḥmad's relating the sirr al-tankis li-ramz al-ra'is with successive cycles of divine disclosure and the advent of the Qā'im lines 6-9 those following line (5) of the Rashḥ-i `amā' are oriented around the theme of the new cycle of fulfillment;
  • (4) If          (= "Rapture of Hā'") is the correct reading in line 4 then ADD = "Joyful Song of Rā'") (cf. the expression ADD "Sweet Cipher") would parallel each other and might be taken to indicate the letters and   which together spell       (cf. lines 7 & 8).

 If the third of these three proposed explanations of را   rā'   is correct then it may be deduced that Bahā'-Allāh is alluding to himself as the "Cipher" (ramz) of the "Chief" (ra'is = the Bāb? or God?) whose divine commission is related to the "mystery of inversion" (sirr al-tankīs) understood to be indicative of a new phase in the Bābī dispensation. Alternatively,  Bahā'-Allāh may be representing himself as the "Chief" (ra'is > rā') whose "joyful song" (revealing verses ?) is expressive of the "sweet Cipher" (ramz-i maliḥ) of his secret theophanic status.




 The Treasury of Love (ganjinih-yi ḥubb) appears  hid in the Bosom;

This Love's Treasure (ganj-i mahabbat) cascades as Pearls of Fidelity (durr-i vafā mīrīzad).


نقره ناقوری جذبه لاهوتی

 naqrih-’ nāqūrī jadhbih-yi lāhūtī

The Stunning Trump! The Celestial Rapture!

  In the first hemistich of this line Bahā’u’lāh mentions the eschatological Trumpet Blast (naqrih-i  nāqūrī) and the anticipated "Celestial Rapture" (jadhbih-yi lāhūtī = the rejoicing in the highest heavenly realm as a result of the eschatological disclosure?) which, we learn from the second hemistich, both rain down or are heard (?) as a single (Trumpet] blast ADD = nafkha ) from the "firmament of Heaven" ( ADD jaww al-samā’).  As a result of the arrival the Bābī dispensation and the new though basically secret messianic claims of Bahā’-Allāh, the eschatological consummation is being announced in the heavenly realms. It may be indicated that the predicted (see below) twin eschatological Trumpet Blasts have become one stunning event through the person of Bahā’-Allāh, the “spiritual “return” of the Bāb and the life giving second “blast”  of the “Trumpet”; another  divine revelation of the Word of God  (?).

That "The Stunning Trump", "The Trumpet Blast", "Blow on the Trumpet", or the like is the sense of 

نقره ناقوری  may be deduced from Qur'ān 74:8 which reads:

"And when the Trumpet is sounded"

It is only in this Qur'ānic verse that  nāqūr, “theTrumpet / Bugle” and the passive verbal form  ,  nuqira (= `to be sounded, blown into' - both from the same Arabic root [N-Q-R]) occur. Elsewhere in the Qur'ān other Arabic terms are used to indicate the eschatological “Trumpet” (most often    ṣūr  x 11) or `Trumpet Blasts -  whlch herald the onset of the last "Hour", the “resurrection”,  “assembling”, “judgement” and “encounter with God” (see Qur'ān 6:73; 18:99; 20:102; 23:103; 27:89; 36:51; 50:19; 69:13; 78:18 and 39:68 (= twin `trumpet blasts'). In the genitive expression ADD  the governing verbal noun     is probably to be read     (naqra) and understood to mean (lit.) "the blowing (in the Trumpet; naqrih-' nāqūrī).

 In the section on `The blowing into the Trumpet (nafah al-ṣūr) and the annihilation of the world (fanā’ al-dunyā’) in Majlisi’s Biḥār al-anwār 2 (6:316ff) this verse of the Qur’ān is commented upon in the following manner:

“Concerning His saying - exalted be He -- “And when the Trumpet is sounded (ADD” (Q. 74:18); the meaning is `When the Trumpet is blown into (     )’ which [Trumpet] resembles  the form of the Horn (`Bugle',  `Trumpet’;     ,  ka-hay’it al-būq) .And it is said that this is the first blast  (`blowing’      ; cf. Rashḥ line 6b) [of the Trumpet] which signalizes the commencement of the universal, catastrophic terror (al-shadda  al-hā’ila al-`āmma).  It is [also] said that upon the second blast [of the Trumpet] God brings to life the creation [creatures] (ADD) and causes the resurrection to come about” (Biḥār,  6:373).”

Islamic eschatological traditions contain many further details about the various Trumpet blasts of the latter days. The occurrence of ADD nafḥa is quite common in eschatological traditions which make mention of the end-time blowing into the trumpet. In his Risāla al-Qatifiyya,  for example, Shaykh Aḥmad responds to a various questions of Shaykh Aḥmad ibn Sāliḥ ibn Tūq al-Qatfī including one about the eschatological “return” (rujū`) unto God.  He mentions that God will commission the four (Arch)angels and command Isrāfīl to blow (nafkha) into the Trumpet (al-ṣūr) etc (Ahsa'i,  JK 1/2:135).

In certain writings of the Bāb and in a great many of the (later) writings of Bahā’-Allāh there are references to the motif of the eschatological trumpet blast(s) -- which is rooted in Jewish and Christian apocalyptic literature (refer for example, Isaiah 27:13, Zech. 9:14, Targ. Ps. Jon Num 23:21; 1 Thess. 4:16, I Cor 15:52, Rev. 8-11, Matt. 24:31). Particularly interesting  in the light of line 6a of the Rashḥ-i `amā’  is the Bāb’s reference in his (Persian?) Ṣaḥīfa-yi `adlīya  , to the various signs indicative of the onset of the `last days' including the announcement that  ".. the Trumpet hath been sounded in the domain of the [Divine]  theophany (`land of Manifestation’; nuqira al-nāqūr fī ard al-ẓuhūr)" (Saḥīfa-yi `adlīya, 4).

Bahā’-Allāh has interpreted the various Qur'ānic texts that mention `Trumpet Blasts'  in the light of the advent of the Bāb and his own person, mission and revelation. In his Sūrat al-aḥṣāb  (c. 1864) for example, he writes:

Say: By God! The greatest Trump (sūr al-akbar) hath been made manifest in this Trumpet (al-nāqūr)  which, in very truth, hath cried out. It hath been sounded (nuqira) and will cry out between the heavens and the earth with the most elevated shout..". (Ṣūrat al-aḥṣāb in AQA 4:11)

 Such passages could be greatly multiplied. There are at least 50-100 passages in Bahā’-Allāh's writings in which the motif of the eschatological Trumpet(s) is utilised to express his eschatological outpouring of divine revelation (wahy).


 اين هردو بيك نفحه از جوّ سما ميريزد

īn har dū bi-yik nafkhḥih āz jaww-i samā[’] mirīzad

In the Firmament of Heaven they twain rain down as a Single Blast.

Bahā’-Allāh, as noted, speaks of the "Stunning Trump" and the "Celestial Rapture" as both being heard as a single ADD , "blast" (nafkhih) in the "Firmament of Heaven" (jaww al-samā'). The occurrence of  an eschatological “blast” is variously referred to and  interpreted in numerous later writings of Bahā’-Allāh.

 The expression ADD( jaww al-samā' ) occurs once in the Qur'ān (16:81) as that part of the sky in which birds soar motionless. In Bābī-Bahā'ī scripture   جوّ   jaww  meaning `firmament', `air', `atmosphere', `sky') is frequently used in mystical cosmological contexts; in connection with the hierarchy of celestial or metaphysical realms. As the governing noun in a variety of genitive expressions it is quite common in the writings of the Bāb (See, for example, Qayyūm al-asmā'  (Browne Coll. MS Or F. 11); LXXVII. fol. 135a; LXXXIV. fol. 145b; LXXXVI. fol. 150b; XC. fol.15ob; CIX. fol. 195a.


دور انا هو از چهره ما كرده بروز

dawr-i anā hu[wa] āz chahreh mā kurdeh bi-rūz 

On account of Our Visage the dispensation of "I am He" has commenced;

 In the first hemistich of this line Bahā’-Allāh expresses the thought that on account of his "Visage" (chahrah (Per.) = [alternatively], `face', `countenance', `mein') or in view of the existence of the Bābī community a new "dispensation" (dawr [alternatively], `time', `age', `cycle' `era') of Divine disclosure has commenced; that of the "I am He" (Arab. ADD ānā huwa).  The utterance "I am He" is indicative of the claim "I am God" or "I am Divine"; the onset of the Day of God voiced by His manifestation.

 In view of the Bābī conviction that the appearence of the Bāb  inaugurated the cycle of the eschatological advent of Divinity certain Bābī's, like the Bāb, claimed (secondary)  Divinity -- not  absolute identity with the transcendent and unknowable Godhead. The Bāb himself conferred (secondary)  “Divinity” and “Lordship” upon a good many of his leading disciples. Quddūs, ²āḥira, Mīrzā Yaḥyā and other leading Bābīs thus claimed divinity and lordship and were addressed by the Bāb as if they were the "self" (nafs)  "essence" (dhāt)  and "being" (kaynunīya)  of the Godhead. That this was the case may, among many other sources, be gathered from Bahā’-Allāh's Lawḥ-i Sarrāj  (c. 1867). In this lengthy Persian treatise Bahā’-Allāh at one point argues that the cycle of prophethood (nubuwwa)  ended in the "year sixty" (= 1260 AH = 1844 CE) when the Bābī cycle began. He states that this year marked the "commencement of the theohany of God (awwal ẓuhūr Allāh)" (Lawh-i Sarraj in Ma'idih 7:69). Countering the leadership role and preeminence claimed by Mīrzā Yaḥyā he quotes a number of passages from the Bāb's writings in which leading Bābī's are spoken of in highly exalted terms. He states that "Divinity" (ulūhīya)  and "Lordship"  (rubūbīya),  described as the "greatest of stations" (a`ẓam-i maqāmāt),  were bestowed by the Bāb "on any individual he desired" (bi-har nafsīkih iradih [Refer Mā’idih, 7:64]).

 The words "I am He" ( ADD)  and "He is He" (  ADD) in line 7 of the Rashḥ-i `amā'  are derived from various Shī`ī traditions (aḥadīth) expressive of the exalted status or (subordinate) divinity of the Prophet Muḥammad and the Imāms. One such tradition, quoted by Bahā’-Allāh in his Jawāhir al-asrār  (late 1850's) reads:


"I, verily, am He [God] and He [God] is I [Myself] except that He is He [Himself] and I am I [Myself]" (Jawāhir al-asrār  in AQA 3:36)

Similar traditions are quoted elsewhere in his writings including the following hadīth cited by, Bahā’-Allāh in his  Kitāb-i īqān,  75:

             "I am He [God] Himself and He [God] is I Myself" .

 An utterance attributed to the Prophet Muhammad in Bahā’-Allāh's Lawh-i Shaykh (= ESW, 52) reads as follows:


“Manifold are Our relationships with God. At one time We are He Himself, and He is We Ourself at another He is He and We are We."  

            Expressions derived from these traditions are quite common in the writings of the Bāb and Bahā’-Allāh. In Bahā’-Allāh's Lawḥ-i kull al- ṭa`ām (1854) the word "food" (ṭa`ām)  is given a variety of esoteric interpretations relative to the well-known hierarchy of metaphysical realms ([Hāhūt] Lāhūt, Jabarūt, Malakūt  and Nasūt). In the realm of Lāhūt,  the "Paradise of Endless Duration", "food" is equated with the "station" (maqām)  of "He is He”  ( ADD ) which is the sphere of (the claim of) identity with God beyond duality. In that of Jabarūt,  the "Paradise of the Divine Uniqueness", it is associated with the "station" (maqām)  of "Thou are He and He is Thou" (ADD ADD ) which is the sphere of (the claim to) distinct Divinity. (Lawh-i Kull al-ta`ām  in Mā’idih 4: 265ff) .In the light of such texts it may be deduced that the phrases "I am He" and "He is He" in the Rashḥ-i `amā' are indicative of the exalted claims made by leading Bābīs -- or Bahā’-Allāh in particular -- in the light of the commencement of a new phase in the Bābī cycle of the theohany of Divinity.

  Huwa = Per. Hū 


 The Arabic term `Huwiyya'  is an abstract word that was originally "coined in order to express in Arabic the nuances of Greek philosophy" (Goichon, `Huwiyya' EI2 III:644). It occurs in the so-called `Theology of Aristotle', Ibn Sinā and in numerous later mystical writers. In Islamic theosophy and mysticism as well as in Bābī and Bahā'ī texts the Arabic letter "H" (hā') is sometimes taken to indicate the Divine Essence (al-dhāt) or Hiddenness of God and given a range of qabbalistic, cosmological and esoteric significances. it is the first letter of the personal pronoun "He/It is" (huwa)  and the last letter in the word Allāh (God) (cf. Schimmel, 1975:270).  The Arabic third person masculine pronoun huwa  = `He/It [God] is' is many times used of God (Allāh) in the Qur'ān.  An extended form of it, huwiyya  (lit. "He-ness"), indicates the Divine Self Identity or Ipseity. In medieval and later Islamic mysticism, as well as in numerous Bābí and Bahā'í texts, it is used to denote the transcendent Divinity, the exalted Manifestation of God. In his al-Futūḥūt al-Makiyya (“Meccan Revelations “)  and other works, Ibn `Arabí  (d.1270 CE) frequently uses huwiyya   alone or in construct form with other words such as  huwiyya al-aḥadiyya  ("the He-ness of the Divine Oneness"); huwiyya al-ḥaqq  ("The He-ness of the True One").    For the Great Shaykh huwiyya  indicates the Divine Essence: "huwiyya  ("He-ness")... signifies the Unseen Reality (al-haqīqat al-ghaybiyya; Futūḥāt  II:130); the "Reality [al-ADD    Haqīqat]  in the world of the Unseen" (Iṣṭilāḥāt,  cited al-Jurjānī. 1985:395; cf. Chittick 1989:394). In his Iṣṭilāḥāt  ("Sufi Lexicon") Ibn `Arabí also interpreted Hū  ("He") to signify "the Unseen [God] (al-ghayb)  Whom it is not fitting to observe" (cited al-Jurjānī 1985:395).

There is a section on huwiyya ("He-ness") in the important al-Insān al-kāmil..  ("The Perfect Man..") of `Abd al-Karīm al-Jīlī (d.c. 832/1428). This Persian Shī`īte Sufi writes in this work:

"The Ipseity of the True One (God; huwiyya al-ḥaqq):  this indicates His hiddenness (ghayb),  the manifestation of which is impossible save by means of the totality of the [Divine] Names and Attributes. This since their Reality alludeth unto the interiority of the Divine Uniqueness (bāṭin al-wāḥidīya);  it alludeth unto His Being (kun) and His Essence (dhāt)  by means of His Names and Attributes: `The Ipseity (al-huwiyya)  is the Hiddenness of the Divine Essence which is Uniquely One (wāḥid)' (Jīlī, 1956 1:96,97). 

Also related to the Arabic letter "h" (hā') and  huwa  (`He is') is the designation of the Divine Essence Hāhūt,  (loosely) `the sphere of the Divine Ipseity'. Traditionally it lies `above' and `beyond' the ever more elevated succession of spheres or `worlds', [1] Nāsūt  ("this Mortal World"); [2] Malakūt  ("the world of the angels or the Kingdom [of God]"); [3] Jabarūt  (`the sphere of the divine decrees or celestial Powers"); [4] Lāhūt  ("the realm of the Divine theophany"). The term Hāhūt is modelled on the names of these `realms' -- themselves rooted in Christian Aramaic/Syriac theological terminology (see Arnaldez, `Lāhūt and Nāsūt'). References to Hāhūt  are found in the writings of Muslim theosophical writers and mystics. It indicates the inaccessible sphere of the Wholly Other, the Divine Essence.  


كور هوهو از نفحه ما ميريزد

kūr-i hū [huwa]-i hū [huwa] āz nafḥih mā mīrīzad

The cycle of "He is He" pours forth from Our Trumpet-Blast .

            In the second hemistich of line 7 the word , etc.   نفحه  occurs in connection with the realization of the "cycle" (kawr) of  هوهو= ( Arab.) Huwa  Huwa = (Per.) Hū-i Hū meaning ”He [God] is He [God]". نفحه pointed nafḥih means a "breeze", "gust", "breath" or "(perfumed) fragrance" .  The word   نفحه occurs only once in theQur’ān; at 21:46 in what appears to be the context of a warning to persons unable to appreciate Qur’ānic revelation -- apparently signifying a “breath” or “blast” of the Divine Punishment:

“If but a breath   ( نفحه nafḥa ) of Thy Lord’s chastisement  touched them, they would surely say,  `Alas for us! We were evildoers.” (Trans. Arberry).

             Among the occurences of nafḥa  ([Trumpet] “blast”) in the writings of Bahā’-Allāh is that in one of the Tablets to the Christian physician Fāris Effendi (early 1870s ?) where Bahā’-Allāh states : 

 “Take ye hold of the Goblet of Eternity in the Name of thy Lord, the King of Names. Then drink therefrom and say,`Unto thee be praise, O Thou Chalice of mystic knowers. The breath ( ADD nafḥa ) hath been wafted and the Breeze ADD nasama)  hath blown. From Zion hath appeared that which was hidden and from Jerusalem is heard the Voice of God, the One, the Incomparable, the Omnisicient.”  

(The section in italics is translated by Shoghi Effendi in his The Promised Day is Come 77).

  Here Bahā’-Allāh seems to allude to his power of divine  Revelation; the wafting of the “Breath” of divine revelation reverberating in the “Trumpet” blast of the Word of God. The revelation of the Kitāb-i aqdas (“Most Holy Book”) is very likely intended (for details see Lambden BSB 7/3-4:22ff esp. 29-30).

 Also worth noting in connection with the 7th line of the Rashh-i `amā'  (cf. also lines 6 and 9) in the fact that there may be allusion to an Islamic tradition to the effect that the expected Qā'im would utter a "Word" which would cause those of high rank in the Shī`ī hierarchy to "flee in consternation" (cf. Qur'ān 80: 33f.;101: 1ff., etc.) (Zarandī  Dawn-Breakers'  10-11. cf. Taherzadeh,  RB  1:46). In a number of his writinga of the `Akkā' period (1868-92; and possibly earlier) Bahā’-Allāh has identified this "Word" with the declaration ADD ("I am He [God]") uttered by himself  in place of  ADD  ("He is God”) and a sign of the greatness of the Bābī-Bahā'ī cycle which is the "Day of God" See also  the passage from a Tablet of Bahā’-Allāh quoted in English translation in TB: 257-9.

 Instead of ADD (“Our [Trimpet] Blast”?) INBMC, it is important to note, has      ADD  which may be translated, "the Overflowing of [the letter] “B” (bā’)". If this is the correct reading, as may well be the case, then the second hemistich of line 7 should be translated:

 “On account of the Overflowing of [the letter] "B" (Bā')  the cycle of "He is He" poureth forth".

            In Bābi-Baha'ī theology the letter “B” (bā' =  BI = ADD ; the first letter of the basmala)  is given a wide range of meanings. It is often, for example, symbolic of the locus of being from which cosmological realities and prophetic cycles originate. In the above version of line 7 of the Rashḥ-i `amā'  it may be indicative of the person of the Bāb from whom spiritual forces emanate or "overflow" such that the cycle of the claim to Divinity beyond duality is extended through Bahā’-Allāh and/or other leading Bābīs.


كوثر حق از كاسه دل گشته هويدا

kawthar-i haqq āz kāsa-’ dil gashtih huvīdā (??)

From the Goblet of the Heart the Kawthar   ("Fount") of Reality has appeared;

Here Bahā’-Allāh first states that from the ADD , "Goblet of the Heart" (kāsa ' dil)  the ADD , "Kawthar of Reality" (kawthar-i  ḥaqq)  has been made manifest. The meaning is probably that the spring or fount of real truth wells out from the centre of his being. The word kawthar means "abundance" (see Qur'ān 108:1). In Islamic literatures it is usually underatood to signify a fountain which gushes forth in Paradise. It occurs quite frequently in Bābī-Bahā'ī acripture.

 In his Tafsīr ṣūrat al-kawthar  (Commentary on Qur'ān sūra 108) the Bāb, (apart from alloting a variety of meaning to the individual letters which make up this word) identifies kawthar  with the Prophet Muḥammad, Imām `Alī, Fāṭima, Ḥasan, Ḥusayn and the other Shī`ī Imāms, in the light of its signifying the "Water of Life" (mā' al-ḥayawān)  which flows into and sustains inner human realities (Refer, Tafsīr ṣūrat al-kawthar , Browne Coll. MS Or F.10[7]), fols. 16(b)ff; 34(b)ff; 96ff).

 As noted, the word kawthar  is in genitive relationship with ḥaqq   which could be translated in a variety of ways: "God", "Absolute Truth", or "Reality", "Ultimate Reality" etc. It is very frequently used in Bābī-Bahā'ī scripture though it is not always clear how it is best translated. The first section of Bahā’-Allāh's Lawḥ-i ḥaqq  (c. 1860-63?) provides good examples of the dhikr  type (repetitive) use of this important term.  The  Lawh-i ḥaqq  is published in Ishrāq Khāvarī (ed.)  Ganj..  37-40. It should alao be noted that both the Bāb and Bahā'-Allah claimed to be the manifestation of al-ḥaqq.  (See for example, QA  LVII (fol.97), Lawh-i az bagh-i lāhī (Ms where Bahā’-Allāh at one point claims to have appeared with the "Trumpet of `I am al-ḥaqq' (bā ṣūr-i anā al-ḥaqq)]). Whatever the exact sense of kawthar-i ḥaqq,  it is would seen to indicate  the `stream of spiritual reality' that flows out of the heart of the Bābī Cause through Bahā’-Allāh.

 Apart from the Rashḥ-i `amā'  there are a good many other writings of Bahā’-Allāh in which the word Kawthar is used in the sense of his own person or the Bahā'ī revelation. In, for example, his `Tablet to the Pope' (Pius IXth; c 1869) Bahā’-Allāh writes:

"O Pope! Rend the veils asunder. He who is the Lord of Lords [Bahā’-Allāh] is come.. On his right hand floweth the Kawthar of grace (kawthar al-faÞl)  and on his left the Salsabīl of justice (salsabīl al-`adl).”

(Text in Alwaḥ-i nāzilah-yi khiṭāb bi muluk wa ru'asā-yi ard  (Tehran 124 Badī`), pp.73-4; trans. (adapted) Shoghi Effendi, PDC (Wilmette 1980), 31.)


 وين ساغر شهد از لعل بها ميريزد

va-īn sāghir shahad āz la`al-i bahā’ mīrīzad

Out of the Vermilion Lips of Bahā'  this Cup of Honey poureth forth.

            The exact sense of the second hemistich of line 8 is not clear to me.  لعل بها   may, as indicated in the translation, signify some­thing like the "vermilion Lips of Bahā'", the "Ruby [Redness] of Bahā'" or the "Red Wine of Bahā'". The translation "Glorious Ruby" (as a "gem", "lips" or "wine") is also possible. In view of the occurrence of   ساغر شهد (sāghar-i shahd/shuhd   = "cup of honey") it seems most likely that  لعل بها   is indicative of Bahā’-Allāh's  "Vermilion Lips". The connection between   “     ”)  and   ADD ( lab, “lip”) is clear in the 225th line of Bahā’-Allāh’s Mathnawī-yi mubārak  (Blessed Mathnavi, c.1863) where the expression  ADD  lab-i la`lish (“     ADD            ”) occurs.  This inasmuch as the sometimes sweet saliva of prophets and Imāms was believed to be the vehicle for the transmission of divine grace. This is well illustrated in various accounts of the imamologically informed dreams of the young Shaykh Aḥmad al-Ahsā’ī. His leading disciple and successor Sayyid Kāẓim Rashtī (d.1843/4) in his  ADD   recounts as follows:      

 “He saw our Lord Hasan in a dream, and the Imam put his tongue in his mouth  and shared with him his saliva, which was sweeter than honey and more fragrant than musk, but burning hot... His longing grew so extravagant, his love so overwhelming, that he forgot to eat or drink, imbibing just enough to stay alive. He left of mixing with the people, and his heart continually oriented itself toward God... Then he had a true vision of the Messenger of God, who gave him to drink of his saliva, which tasted and smelled like that of the Imam, but was icy cold. When he regained consciousness, the flames within him had subsided, and loving-kindness descended upon him. He learned from them knowledge and enigmas, and dawning rays of light shone over the horizon of his heart. The new knowledge did not derive solely from his visions, but rather when he awoke he began finding evidence for it in the Qur'an, and in the sayings and deeds related of the Prophet and of the Imams. “ (trans. Cole 1996)

 It appears then, that in the second hemistich of line 8, Bahā’-Allāh pictures himself as a beautiful divine maiden with vermilion lips from which the honey of spiritual grace is transmitted. Also worth noting in connection with the imagery alluded to in the 8th line of the Rashḥ-i `amā'  is the following extract from a Tablet of Bahā’-Allāh to his daughter Bahiyya Khanum (late `Akka period ?):

 "She hath.. tasted the sweet savours of My holy, My wonderous pleasure [lit.? My holy, My wondrous saliva (rudābī)  ?]. At one time We gave her to drink from My honeyed Mouth, at another caused her to partake of My mighty, My luminous Kawthar.." (text and trans. in Bahíyyih Khānúm v +  [text facing] 93). (cf. also, Veccia Vaglieri, EQ \ O(.H)usayn... 612;  Ayoub, Redemptive Suffering,   75f)

 Of interest in the light of the above is the occurrence of ADD  (la`l-i namakīn) in the fourth line of Bahā’-Allāh's Halih.. Yā Bishārat (late 1862 -- early 1863). At the beginning of this Persian poem, which is expressive of Bahā’-Allāh's claim to leadership of the Bābī commwnity and intimate communion with God through a celestial maiden (  ADD Hūr = his transcendent Self?), the "Maid of Eternity" (hūr-i baqā')  is pictured as appearing with "harp and song", "crimson goblet", "amorous glances", "the taste of annihilation", "dance and song" and (line 4) "with musky tresses and beautiful vermilion lips" ( ADD  ). Since ADD  in the genitive expression   XXXXX  (la`l-i namakīn)  probably means "beautiful" (lit. salty) it is likely that it is descriptive of the lips of the divine maiden.  (On the Halih Halih.. Yā Bishārat see my article (text included) in BSB 2/ 3 (Dec. 1983) 105-110).

 In the first hemistich of the 7th line of another Persian poetical work (of the Iraq period?  printed in Mā’idih  4:188-192  forty one couplets long. It begins but-i mā āmad bā baṭi wa bādih= “ Our Idol came with goblet and wine”)  Bahā’-Allāh likens the  ADD (apparently) "[her] beautiful vermilion lips" (la`l-i namakīnish) of the Divine Maiden (XXXX(.h)ūr) to choice red rubies obtained from Central Asia XXXXXX  (yāqūt-i badakhshān) (refer Mā’ida 4:188).


يوم خدا از جلوه رب شد ظاهر

The "Day of God" has been fully realized on account of the Effulgence of the Lord

The meaning of the first hemistich of this line seems clear enough. It is indicated that the eschatological ADD  "Day of God" (yaum-i khudā)  spoken of in the Qur'ān (as well as the Bible) has been "fully realised" (shud kāmil;  alternatively, "perfected", "completed" INBMC, it should be noted, has    = "made manifest", "appeared" at the end of line 9a.). This on account of the  ADD which may be translated “the effulgence (or, splendour / lustre / brilliance) of the Lord"  and allude to the eschatological advent of Divinity in terms of the theophanic appearence of the Bāb or (more likely) Bahā’-Allāh himself. It is possible that Bahā’-Allāh, in view of his mystical experiences and leading role within the Bābī community, represents himself as the locus of the perfection of the "Day of God" inaugurated by the Bāb.

 Frequent reference to the realization of the "Day of God" is made in the later writings of Bahā’-Allāh. It is identified with the Bābī-Bahā'ī cycle or dispensation in the light of his manifestation (and that of the Bāb) in the station of "Divinity" and "Lordship". In, for example, a letter addressed to Aqā Mīrzā Assad Allāh Nūrī (late `Akkā' period) Bahā’-Allāh writes:

"After the announcement of this blessed "Word" [= "I, verily, am God, no god is there except Me."] the embodiments (`temples’) of blasphemy (hayākil-i shirk)  were distinguished from the embodiments (`temples’) of the people of the Divine Unity (hayākil ahl-i tawḥīd).. The Day of the manifestation of this blessed "Word" hath been named the "Day of God" (from a medium length Persian Tablet of Bahā’-Allāh  in an unpublished, uncatalogued MS -- photocopy in my possession).

  The "Day of God" is the "Day" when Bahā’-Allāh appeared uttering the "blessed "Word", "I, verily am God.." which served to distinguish those who truly acknowledgedhis Divinity and those who rejected him.


  اين نغز حديث از غنه طا ميريزد

īn naghz-i ḥadīth āz ghunnih-yi ṭā’ mīrīzad

Through the warbling of [the letter ] ط   (= ṭā') "Ṭ"  this New Beauty poureth forth.

The second hemiatich of line 9 could be understood in a variety of ways.     SEE DEHKHODA. What exactly the phrase ..   ADD  means is not clear. ADD read as ghunna (>  ADD  ghanna = `to speak through the nose'), probably means reverberating `sound’, `cry’ (of regret? `lament') or most probably the victorious singing or warbling of a heavenly Bird personified as the letter “T” (= Bahā’-Allāh; see below).

 Composed around 1863 in ecstatic celebration of the declaration of the Bāb (in 1260/1844) the Lawḥ-i ghulām al-khuld ( loosely, “Tablet of the Youth of Paradise” ; Text in Ayyām  92-99) contains positive  reference to the joyous singing or  “warbling” of a heavenly Dove (ADD     ; ghannat al-warqā’).   It sings out one version of the constant refrain repeated more then thirty times within the Tablet -- rooted in the imperative at Qur’ān 12:19b -- which reads, “Oh! Good news! For this is the ghulām al-khuld (“Youth of Paradise”) whose like hath never been visioned even by the eyes any one of those [angels] who are nigh unto God (al-muqarrabīn).” 

 The following words are contained in one of the Tablets of Bahā’-Allāh in celebration of the night of his birth and theophany in the world,

 “O denizens of the Supreme Concourse in the realities of RiÞwān! This is indeed the night in which the reality of the All-Merciful was begotton... wherein the Dove (al-warqā’)  hath cried out (nādat)  upon both twigs and branches... and in the midmost heart of Paradise (qubṭ al-jinān)  the Birds of Paradise (ḥamāmat al-firdaws)  have both warbled (ghannat)  and sung (rinnat) ...”  (Ayyām 55-6).

 In a Tablet of the Akkā period there may be an association of G-N-N and lamenting -- or singing?  Quranic rooted titles expressive of eschatological catastrophy are associated with various of the `Tablets to the Kings' (cf. Lambden 1996x; GPB:   ). Among other things, there is a  highlighting of  the stunning, catastrophic power of Bahā’-Allāh’s theophanic "Announcement" (nabā')   along with a suggestive verbal use of the root G-N-N.  At one point then, Bahā’-Allāh states he caused  "heaven to be cleft asunder" (see Q. 55:37; 69:16; 84:1 cf. 54:1; Kassis 1140-1), the "mountains to crumble to dust" ( see Q. 69:14; 89:21; Kassis 366-7) manifested the “greatest terror” (fuzzi` al-akbar; cf Q. 34:23), "eclipsed the moon" (khasaf al-qamar; Q. 75:8), precipitated ”earthquakes amidst the tribes” (fī al-qabā'il; cf. NT Q. cf. KI: ) caused the “stars to fall” (        NT    Q.   ) and  “darkened the lumninary of idle fancy” (nayyīr al-mawhūm?). This  caused  “the Dove (al-warqā')  to wail [sing?) (ghannat)  upon the branches of the Lote-Tree beyond which there is no passing (afnān sidrat al-muntahā)”   And to utter the announcement, “The Kingdom belongeth to God, your Lord and the Lord of all the worlds." (cf. Q.     )..." (IQ:300).     

 At one point in Bahā’-Allāh’s Lawḥ-i Ishrāqāt  (“Tablet of Splendours” c.ADD ) there is a more or less parallel, rhyming  celebration of the divine theophany as the advent of Bahā’-Allāh.  Eschatological signs are being fulfilled for “Through His [Bahā’-Allāh’s] potency the foundations of religions have quaked and the Nightingale of Utterance (`andalīb al-bayān) hath warbled its melody (ADD   ghanna )  upon the highest branch of true understanding (afnān ghuṣn al-irfān)..”   (TB 61 trans. 107). The context is again one of eschatological fulfillment involving theophany and catastrophe or transformation.  The precise verbal sense of  ADD   ( = singing / warbling or lamenting?) is again unclear though the context probably suggests a song of eschatological victory.

 That a celestial bird or birds will proclaim a post-catastrophe eschatological victory is also apparent in the well-known (exttract from the) Persian Tablet to Muḥammad Ibrahīm Khalīl-i Qazvīnī (c. 1878 / 1925 AH );

 "The world is in travail (munqalab  = vn VII. lit. `turned upside down') and its agitation (inqilāb  `overthrow', `alteration')  waxeth day by day. Its face is turned toward waywardness and unbelief. Such shall be its plight that to disclose it now would not be meet and seemly. Its perversity will long continue. And when the appointed hour is come, there shall suddenly appear that which shall cause the limbs (lit. `flanks of the body') of mankind (farā'is al-`ālam)  to quake (again R-`-D  VII = `tremble' ). Then, and only then, will the [Divine] Standard  be unfurled (lit. `the signs, banners ' al-ā`lam) will be lifted up'  and the Nightingale of Paradise (lit. `anādil = `nightingales') warble its melody (tagharrad? > GH-R-D?)."  (GWB:83/118).

 Here the verbal sense of the root Gh-R-D parallels that of the Gh-N-N (see above) and indicates the  warbling of a bird.  If we may understand the  ADD “lament of ²ā’” in the light of these later passages it could be understood to be indicative of Bahā’-Allāh’s song of eschatological victory. This is an eschatological victory despite the  “catastrophic”  Siyāh Chāl  imprisonment! Escahtological victory celebrated by a celestial  “bird” (= Bahā’-Allāh) follows eschatological catastrophe.

In this hemistitch  ط   (= ṭā'/ "Tā'" = the letter “Ta”) could signify a variety of localities, persons or other things. The following are a few possibilities-:

  • 1) Tehran (  ADD  being its first letter) as in a good many later writings of Bahā’-Allāh.
  • 2) Bahā’-Allāh himself (  ط   (= ṭā')  = abjad 9 like  Baha' 
  • 3) Tāhirah ( = Ar. “The Pure One”) a title of Fāṭima Baraghānī (1817-1852 CE )  the 17th  `Letter of the Living’ and  Bābī martyr and poetess;  ط   (= ṭā')  (“Ta“) being the first letter of this her title Tāhira.
  • 4) Quddūs (“The Holy One”) or Muhammad `Alī Barfurushī (18ADD-18xx).

             Since it was in the Siyāh Chāl (“Black Pit”) in Tehran that the  Rashḥ-i `amā’  was composed it would seen likely that signifies the "lament of Tehran”. This could indicate-:

  • a) the lament of Tehran personified,
  • b) the lament of those Bābīs imprisoned with Bahā’-Allāh in Tehran ; or,
  • c) the lament of Bahā’-Allāh himself as one imprisoned in Tehran.

 The latter possibility (c) may well be the right one. If so the second hemistich of line 9 might be understood to signify that Bahā’-Allāh's crying out in the Sīyāh Chāl dungeon in Tehran is an expression of the "New Beauty" (naghz-i ḥadīth)  of his person or power to reveal veraes: such might also be the meaning if "²ā'" is used as a cipher for ADD  ( = Bahā’-Allāh). Less likely (?) would be the suggeation that Bahā’-Allāh is representing himself as the "New Beauty" or leader of the Bābīs (of Tehran) in view of ²āhira's (= "²ā’") recent or imminent execution (in Tehran c. late 1852).


  طفح بهائی بين رشح عمائی بين

ṭafḥ-i bahā’ī bīn, rashḥ-i `amā’ī bīn.

Observe the Glorious Overflowing! Behold the Beclouded Sprinkling !

 At this point it may be noted that the first hemistich of lines 10-18 of the Rashḥ-i amā'’ consist of genitive expressions followed by the Peraian imperative bīn  =  which I have variously translated "Observe!", "Behold!", "See thou!". While in lines 1-9 Bahā’-Allāh relates his status to the realization of eschatological realities and events, in lines 10-18 (to generalize) he appears to announce his elevated rank. It could be argued that the major theme of the Rashḥ-i amā'  is that of God's continuing to guide the Bābī community through the person of Bahā’-Allāh. Expected eschatological events have come to pass such that divine guidance continues to flow down from the heavenly realm.

 At line 10a, the phrase  طفح بهائی بين    (“Observe the Glorious Overflowing”) probably alludes to the person of Bahā’-Allāh as the one from whom spiritual grace flows forth in abundance - an alternative translation might be, "Observe what overfloweth from Bahā'!" The parallel (adjacent)  rhyming phrase رشح عمائی بين rashḥ-i `amā'ī  bīn  (“Observe the Beclouded Sprinkling!”)  reflects line 1a.  implying that one should observe what sprinkles down from Bahā’-Allāh as the divine `Cloud of Unknowing' or revealer of verses (cf. on lines 1 and 19).

  The use of the verbal nouns طفح ṭafḥ  (= "Overflowing") and  رشح rashḥ  (= "Sprinkling") here and in line 19 is doubtless rooted in their occurence in the Hadīth Kumayl  (see above ). At one point in certain versions of this tradition Kumayl ibn Ziyād asks Imān `Alī what constitutes al-ḥaqīqa  (= "absolute reality"). In response to this question the Imām initially asks Kumayl what he has got to do with al-ḥaqīqa  that he should be so bold as to pose such a question. Kumayl then asserts that he is a companion of `Alī's secret and is told by the latter that this is true but that  ADD


(Text cited from the Bāb's Tafsīr sūrat al-baqara (Tehran Bahā'ī Archives MS 6014 C), 74 (b).

 ...  that which overflows from me [Imām `Alī] only sprinkles down upon you [Kumayl]..".  In saying this Imām `Alī apparently indicates that his own capacity for mystic knowledge is great while Kumayl's is limited: divine knowledge spills over from his being while it only sprinkles down upon that of Kumayl.

 Thus, in the light of what is said in the ḥ}adīth Kumayl, the l0th line of the Rashḥ-i amā',  may be said to represent Bahā’-Allāh as the one from whom the fulness of divine knowledge rains down. On account of his revealing verses (= the "Melody of God" laḥn-i khudā)  the "Glorious Overflowing" and "Beclouded Sprinkling" both find simultaneous realization  (cf. Bahā’-Allāh's, al-qaṣida al-warqā'īya: line 109  in Mā’idih  4: 207) as the second hemistitch (10:b), 



   كين جمله زيك نغمه از لحن خدا ميريزد

kā-īn jumlih [a]z yik naghmih az laḥn-i khudā mīrīzad. 

Through the Melody of God all this pours  forth as a single Song.



بين طلع منزه بين

Observe the Eternal Moon! Behold the Pristine Ascendant Sun!                         

māhī sarmad bīn; ṭal`-i munazah bīn.

                 māhī sarmad   is  here translated "Eternal Moon" and      ṭal`-i munazah,  “Pristine Ascendent [Sun]".  If this (tentative) translation of these genitive expreions is correct, Bahā’-Allāh probably indicates that both the "Sun" of prophethood and the "Moon" of guardianship shine forth from his interior being.  It may well be, however, that mahi  is the common Persian word for “fish” and that             should be rendered “Eternal Fish” though this would seem to me to be much less probable given that tal` is often related to the ascendant sun.


   صدر ممرّد بين كز عرش علا ميريزد  

ṣadr-i mumarrad bīn; ka-[a]z `arsh-i `alā mīrīzad


            Bahā’-Allāh is here the ADD   ṣadr-i mumarrad or "Pure Breast"  alternatively, the `Purified / Clear / Translucent / Lustrous / Pellucid Breast / Heart or Bosom . Qur'ān 27:44 registers the only occurance of the passive participle mumarrad  in the Islamic holy book.  From it he pours forth spiritual grace from (his seat on -- or the one seated on) the  عرش علا          `arsh-i `alā', the "Elevated Throne".   

            In his Lawḥ-i naṣīr   (c. 1867?)  Bahā’-Allāh mentions that "He [Bahā’-Allāh] crieth out according to that which the Most Great Spirit (rūḥ) al-a`ẓam)  uttereth in his purified, most-pristine breast (fī ṣadrahu al-mumarrad al-aṣfā)"   (refer MAM:196; cf. Ṣūrat al-haykal ?? in AQA 4:(268-300) 286, 287, 288).


 نخله طوبی بين رنّه ورقا بين

Behold the Blessed Palm-Tree! Witness the cooing of the Dove!

         nakhla[t]-i ṭūbā bīn; rinnih-yi warqā bīn

            I have translated  نخله طوبی   nakhla[t]-i ṭūbā, "Blessed Palm-Tree" and    رنّه ورقا rinnih-yi warqā,  "Melody of the Dove". In describing himself as a "Palm-Tree" Bahā’-Allāh is probably alluding to Qur'ān 19: 23ff (cf. Qur'ān 13:28) where it is narrated that the Virgin Mary retired to a distant place and gave birth to Jesus near a palm-tree (nakhla)  which subsequently (miraculously) provided her with ripe dates (cf. Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew XX.lff). The "Blessed Palm-Tree" may be thought of as a symbol of prophethood; the tree of reality which proffers the `fruit' of spiritual nourishment.

            In certain Shī`ī traditions (ḥadīth)  and in the writings of such Sufi thinkers as Ibn al-`Arabī (d. 638 / 1240), the palm-tree (nakhla)  is given a variety of esoteric meanings. Created from the surplus clay from which Man / Adam was made and being feminine in Arabic the nakhla  is, for the Great Shaykh, symbolic of the Celestial Earth, the Divine Feminine, "Adam's Sister", the Mystic Eve. In the VIIIth book of his al-Futūḥāt al-makkīya  ("Meccan Openings/Revelations" ) he writes:

"Know that when God created Adam who was the first human organism to be constituted, and when he had established him as the origin and archetype of all human bodies, there remained a surplus of the leaven of the clay. From this surplus God created the palm tree, so that this plant [nakhla,  palm tree being feminine] is Adam's sister; for us therefore it is like an aunt on our father's side. In theology it is so described and is compared to the faithful believer. No other plant bears within it such extraordinary secrets as are hidden in this one" (Trans. H.Corbin 1977: 136).

For further details on the significance of the palm-tree mentioned in Qur'ān 19:23ff see p. 309.fn's 4-5. It should also be noted that the Divine Beloved is pictured as the marvellous palm-tree in Sufi poetry (cf. A. Schimmel,1980:88)

            The ninth Sūrat al-sirr  ("The Sūra of the Mystery" on Q. 12:8) of the Qayyum al-asma' of the Bab contains lines based upon the 19th sūra of the Qur’ān in which the Bāb seems to identify himself as one named `Alī  with the sacred   نخله     (“Palm-Tree”), laden with the “fresh dates”  of divine guidance;

O servants of the All-Merciful!

 Shake ye, by the leave of God, your Lord, the True One, the trunk of this Palm-Tree which God, in very truth, established in the Mother Book as `Alī  [`One Exalted']. He [God] is the One Who, on His part, maketh, in very truth, fresh ripe dates to fall unto yourselves (see Qur'ān 19:25). We, verily, pointed [or: signalled] to His Remembrance (dhikr)  on behalf of the All-Merciful on a Day reckoned ancient in the Mother Book (cf. Q.19:29). And you (pl.) on that Day shall not be a thing forgotten in the Book and not one completely forgotton in the precincts of the theophanic [Sinaitic] Fire (cf. Q. 19:23).  And you shall not say, `How can he [the Bab] speak on behalf of God when his age, in very truth, is no more than twenty and five?' Hearken ye [unto me]! By the Lord of the heaven and of the earth! I, verily, am a servant of God (`abd Allāh). He [God] hath given me clear, signs from the presence of the expected Remnant of God (baqiyyat Allāh al-muntaẓir).  This is my Book which, in verv truth, was inscribed in the Mother Book in the presence of God. And He, verily, hath made me blessed wheresoever I may be, and hath enjoined on me [the observance of the obligatory] prayer and fortitude [or: patience] so long as I shall live on earth amongst you.' (see Q. 19:29-31).

            If Rashḥ line 12a is an invitation to recognize or spiritually behold the recently martyred Bāb, line 12b would seem to be a call to refer to identify with person and message of Bahā’-Allāh.

            Both the Bāb and Bahā’-Allāh frequently refer to themselves as a ورقا warqā'  (loosely) "Dove" ( actually female  pigeon); that is, an heavenly bird that coos on the branches of the celestial Tree (i.e. reveals heavenly verses). The invitation to `Behold the Melody of the Dove!' is an invitation to experience the verses revealed by Bahā’-Allāh.


غنّه ابهی بين كز لمع صفا ميريزد

See thou that the All-Glorious Lament rains down from the Brilliance of Purity!

The second hemistich of line 12 indicates that the revelation of Bahā’-Allāh the   غنّه ابهی ghunna-yi abhā', the "All-Glorious Lament [Song]" , rains down from the   lam`-i safā' , the "Brilliancy of Purity" (alternatively, `Glittering / Flashing / Splendour / Shinlng of the Limpidity / Clearness / Felicity / Serenity -- it is unlikely that    is here indicative of the mountain near Mecca. As the (Arabic) superlative of bahā'  (= "glory / glorious") abhā'  indicates the person of Bahā’-Allāh or the nature of the "Lament [Song] which derives from him --   could be translated "Lament [Song] of the All-Glorious"). The  لمع صفا   flows down from that (heavenly) sphere which radiates the "Brilliancy of Purity" (?).


غنّه ابهی بين كز لمع صفا ميريزد

See thou that the All-Glorious Lament rains down from the Brilliance of Purity!

The second hemistich of line 12 indicates that the revelation of Bahā’-Allāh the   غنّه ابهی     ghunna-yi abhā', the "All-Glorious Lament [Song]" , rains down from the   lam`-i safā' , the "Brilliancy of Purity" (alternatively, `Glittering / Flashing / Splendour / Shinlng of the Limpidity / Clearness / Felicity / Serenity -- it is unlikely that    is here indicative of the mountain near Mecca. As the (Arabic) superlative of bahā'  (= "glory / glorious") abhā'  indicates the person of Bahā’-Allāh or the nature of the "Lament [Song] which derives from him --   could be translated "Lament [Song] of the All-Glorious"). The  لمع صفا   flows down from that (heavenly) sphere which radiates the "Brilliancy of Purity" (?).


عراقی بين دفّ حجازی بين

    Observe the Iraqi Harmony! Behold the Hijazi Tambourine!

     ahang-i `iraqī bīn, daff-i ḥijāzī bīn.

Bahā’-Allāh here represents himself as communicating the           āhang-i `iraqī,  "Iraqi Melody"  and the    حجازی  دفّ   daff-i ḥijāzi  "Hijazi Tambourine (`Drumbeat’)  the heavenly melody and rhythm the like of which was produced in, belongs to, or is expressive of Iraq and the Hijaz (= Ottoman Iraq [`iraq-i ajam + `iraq-i `arab] and Mecca, Medina and the adjacent territories). His person and revelation communicate the highest good symbolized by the most blessed Islamic regions. The Hijaz was, of course, the scene of the mission of the Prophet Muhammad. Iraq harbours the shrines of Imam `Ali (Najaf), Imām Husayn (Karbala), Imām Mūsā and Imām Muhammad Taqī (Kazimayn) and Imām `Alī Naqī and Imam Hasan Askarī  (Samarra).

In several of his later writings Bahā’-Allāh, in various ways, describes himself as `Hijazi' and `Iraqi'. With his exile to Iraq (Baghdad) such ways of referring to himself took on a concrete dimension. In his Lawḥ-i Madinat al-Tawḥīd  (late Baghdad period) he, at one point writes:

Caller (al-munād)  crieth out in the midst of the immortal realm and the Dove of Hijaz [= Bahā’-Allāh] warbleth in the region of Iraq (fī shatr al-`iraq)  summoning all unto concord..." (Text in Mā’idih 4: 326-7).

In the 17th line of his Halih Halih Halih yā bishārat  (1862-3), possibly alluding to his exile from Iran to Iraq, Bahā’-Allāh states:


“This Hijazi Falcon came with `Iraqi accents from the forearm of the Shāh (or King)."  (Text inGanj  34.).

            In the Persian section of his Lawḥ-i  bulbul al-firāq  (`”Tablet of the Nightingale of Separation”; mid 1863 This Table was written at the time of Bahā’i’llāh’s departure from Baghdad to Constantinople. it may be noted at this point, Bahā’-Allāh reminds his devotees that he had, in his earlier Tablets (alwāḥ)  anticipated that the "Iraqi Bird" (ṭair-i `iraqī)  = Bahā’-Allāh) which sings with the "Melody of Hijaz" (ahang-i ḥijāz)  would hasten on elsewhere or sing out in another accent.(i.e. leave Iraq) ( Ibid.: 44. cf. also Bahā’-Allāh, Lawh-i Gull-i Ma`nawī  in AQA. Vol, 4. pp. 326-8).

In place of   "Behold the Hijazi Tambourine”, INBMC appears to read   ADD    "Behold the Rhythmic Drumbeat!" (reading: daff-i nawā'ī or  alternatively `Melodious Tambourine.').



كف الهی بين كز جذبه لا ميريزد

 Kaff-i ilāhi bīn; k-[a]z jadhbih-yi lā mīrīzad.

See thou that the Rapture of "No" (lā' ) rains down from the Divine Hand!

The second hemistich of the 13th line of the Rashḥ-i `amā'   literally indicates that the    jadhba' lā  (loosely) "Rapture of  لا   (lā' ), "No!"   flows down "from" the كف الهی  the "Divine Hand"     kaff-i ilāhī  - literally,  "the Divine Palm of the Hand".  “Divine Hand [Palm]" for   كف kaff,  is used in Bahā’-Allāh's writings (as doubtless in the Rashḥ-i `amā'  here) in order to indicate the "Snow-White Hand" of Moses who, on Sinai, heard the declaration of Divinity (cf. line 16 and the note).

What exactly is here meant by the  كف الهی بين    is not obvious. If the  is a cipher for  لا  is Lāhūt  (cf. line 6) the rapture of heavenly beings might be intended ("”Lā"  being the first two letters of Lāhūt  = the celestial realm of the Divine theohany). It is more likely, however, that      "La" is the Arabic particle of negation which stands at the beginning of the Kalimat al-ṭawḥīd,  =   لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا ٱللَّٰهُ   = [= "No"] ilāha illa' Allāh  = "There is No (lā )  god is there except God (Allah).

The motif of the miraculous `snow-white' palm or hand is Sinaitic as is that of God's voicing his absolute Divinity which is indicated by "Lā".  Bahā’-Allāh apparently conflates the white brightness of Moses' "palm" with the Sinaitic Fire from which the declaration of Divinity was heard -- mystically speaking the interior being or "heart" of Moses himself, the locus of "Divinity" in exalted Prophets. There is a connection between the `snow-white' palm' motif and the declaration of Divinity (see further below on line 16. cf. Bahā’-Allāh, Baz Av Bidih Jāmī`  (Ma'idah 4: 186-7) line 10 (p.187); Qasīda al-warqā'īya (in ibid. pp. 197-209) line 43 (p.201); Qur'ān 20:14).

            As far as I am aware the only other use of the  لا     (= "No") in Bahā’-Allāh's writings comparable to its occurrence in line 13 of the  Rashḥ-i `amā',  is in the 11th line of the Halih.. yā bishārat;


"This Song of the Spirit came to the lovers from the Nightingale of  Lā"  (Ishrāq Khāvarī, Ganj-i Shāyīgān:  34).

            Bahā’-Allāh apparently speaks of his coming with the "Song of the Spirit" from the "Nightingale of Lā". It may be that he is to be thought of as the "Nightingale of Lā" which utters the "Song of the Spirit" in order to attract the "lovers" (= the Bābīs) to himself. Since Sinaitic imagery clusters around line 11 (see lines 10 and 12) his song may be "No god is there except Me" (or the like) indicated by the use of  لا  Lā".

             Lying behind Bahā'-Allāh's use of   لا  "Lá'"  (= "No") in the Rashḥ-i `amā’ and the Halih..Yā bishārat  is perhaps the cryptic and mystical use of this Arabic particle in classical Sufi poetry. In her Mystical Dimensions of Islam,  Schimmel writes:

.Special importance is attributed [in Sufi poetry] to the connection lām-alif,  lá, which if read   لا  as one word, means lā  "no", and is thus the first word of the [Islamic] profession of faith. The lām-alif, though combined of two letters, was often regarded as a single letter and endowed with special mystical meaning. It is most commonly a metaphor for the closely embracing lovers who are two and one at the same time. Because of its shape the letters lām-alif  or the word lā  لا  has often been compared to a sword, particularly the dhu'l-fiqār, `Alí's famous two-edged sword, or to scissors: "I made mute the tongue of speaking with the scissors of lā"  (B [=Rúzbihán Baqlí, "Sharh-i Shahiyat,"..  Ed. H. Corbin (Tehran & Paris 1966), paragraph] 196). The believer is expected to cut all but God with the sword of lā,  i.e., with the sword of the shahāda,  "there is no deity but God."  Whatever is created should be destroyed by the powerful sword of lā,  "no". That is, however, only the first step in the path of the Muslim mystic -- he has to go upward (bā lā),  to reach the illā,  "save God" which is achieved, in Arabic writing, by putting an alif before the lā   لا  ..." (Schimmel 1978:419)

The same writer in the course of clarifying an aspect of the theology of Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī explains that the,

.. constant tension between negation and affirmation, of being naughted and being quickened, was symbolized by many Sufis, and thus by Rúmí, in the words of the profession of faith. The     لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا ٱللَّٰهُ  [ = Lā [= "No"] ilāha illa' Allāh] formula lá iláha illá Alláh  `There is no deity but God' offered itself to the poets and mystics as the best, indeed a Divine symbol for expressing their spiritual journey. The lá  points to the negation of everything besides God, including man's own wishes and ambitions, his own self; it is a fiery word which indeed `burns the two worlds' [Diwan 155/1768]. The poet [Rumi] therefore calls man to dig out his heart and cast the net of the heart into the ocean of lá  [Mathnawi VI. 1376]...Rumi may also speak of the torrent `lá' which carries away joy and pain, gain and loss, fear and hope, body and soul [Diwan 152/1743]. But only the preparatory stage: Who knows God (iláh)?  Someone who is saved from the lá.  And who goes from the lá,  say? The lover who has experienced afflication, (balá)  [Diwan 2406/ 25415].

Love is the power which annihilates everything in the world. This is expressed in rather strong language in the story of the Queen of Sheba

Gardens and castles and the water of the river became before the eye like an ash-house through love, Love in the moment of overpowering and anger makes lovely things hideous for the eye. The jealousy of love makes every emerald look like a leek: that is the inner meaning of lá. [Mathnawí  IV. 865]

The very moment man is captured by Divine love, he sees nothing but God, everything is negated, cut off, swept away; only the Beloved --illa Alláh remains. Then the lover will `cut the head of the lá, and reach the illá' [Diwan 212/ 2372], or will ask the beloved to consider him to be a lá  and to transform him into an illá  [Diwan 1912/20116] i.e. to see him as nothing and bring him to true exiatence in and through God...

Rumi praises Shams al-Din saying:

Whoever found help from your hand, became an illá'í  (a positive affirmant of God) without the vestige of lá;  [Diwan 2725/ 28944]

 but in another verse he calls himself `intoxicated by negation, not by positive affirmation' [Diwan 336/ 3640], which shows, once again, his inconsistency in the use of images, which change according to his spiritual stage."  (Schimmel 1980:320-1; see also 185, 308-9;315, 351).

 As one point in her As Throuigh A Veil  Schimmel also writes,

“The predilection of mystical poets for contrasting pairs of  concepts shows itself also in another frequently used phrase,  namely the bipartite profession of faith, lā ilāha illā Allāh.  This formula is used by many Sufi orders as dhikr, and has been  connected by lbn `Arabi with Divine breathing: lā ilāha,  "there  is no deity" is the existentialization of the world which is outside God, and illā  Allāh, "save God," is the taking back of the   Divine breath into the eternal and unchangeable Divine essence. In the poets' eyes, lā, which looks in its graphic form like `Ali's famous two-edged sword Dhu'l-fiqar, or like scissors or a broom, serves to clean the heart from everything that is not God, for the full realization of mystical tauhīd  was the goal of all mystical poets. Therefore the lā was even compared, by Jami, to a crocodile which swallows everything that is not God.

After "cleaning the house with the broom of 'no'" the poets recognized God everywhere, as their favorite Koranic  phrase states: ''Whithersoever ye turn there is the Face of God"  (Sura 2/l09). This experience (or, in many cases, the imitation  of this experience) led the poets to sing that God manifests Himself under different guises, as the color of the bottle colors the water in it, an image Junaid had used and 'Attar had repeated in a fine passage in the Ushturnāma..” [`Attar, Ushturnāma, 137-9] (Schimmel 1982:59-60).

Also lying behind Bahā’-Allāh's use of لا  lā (“no”)  in the  Rashḥ-i `amā'   are a variety of complex qabbalistic passages in the writings of the Bāb -- associated لا "Lā" with (for example) the kalimat al-tawḥīd  (which  contains three different letters -- alif, lām and hā', the lām following the alif   = the source of all the letters and being followed by hā'   which can symbolize the temple of prophethood) and also begins with لا  "Lā" (= "No"). which lies at the heart of hia qabbalistic system and enshrines the alphabetic potencies which are the locus of prophethood -- the letter alif; --Alif, the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, is the gematric primogenitor (its abjad value is one) of all the other letters. Lām is its primary manifestation in the all-highest realm. cf. the Qur'ānic disconnected letters  Alif. Lām. Mīm. Having an abjad value of 30 it indicates the period Moses spent on Mount Sinai (see Qur'ān 7:142 and for example, the Bāb, Tafsīr sūrat wa'l-asr in  INBMC 69:41; Tafsīr sūrat   al-kawthar, Browne Coll: MS. Or.F.10[7]), fol.19(b)  the Christian derivation of the symbol of the cross (seen as an heretical image of God as "the third of three") and a host of arcane mysteries surrounding the gematric significances of the letter add  "L" (Lām).  Details cannot be gone into here. The reader is referred to the Bāb's comments on the letter lām  of  li-rabbika   (= "to the Lord", Qur'ān 108:2) and its association with   لا  "Lā"  in the Tafsīr sūrat al-kawthar.

            Understood in the light of the Sufi use of  لا   lā  “no” -- certainly reflected in the Bāb's qabbalistic interpretations of the kalimat al-tawḥd -- the second hemistich of line 13 of the Rashḥ-i `amā’  could be understood in a variety of ways:

  • a) The  جذبه لا    jadhbih-i lā, the "Rapture of lā"   is that of Bahā'-Allāh himself, as a lover perfectly united with the Beloved or one before whom all else is mystically  annihilated. His spiritual ecstacy derives from the "Divine Hand" which is symbolic of the sphere of the affirmation of Divinity. It is important to note that the   جذبه لا derives from the  كف الهی  kaff-i ilāhī , the sphere of `affirmation', indicated by the use of ilāhī  (“divine”/ ”Divinity”/”God”).
  •  b) the "rapture of lā"  is that of the lovers (Bābīs), those in the `sphere of negation' whose spiritual love and mystic nullification is fuelled by the person of Bahā'-Allāh as  the "Divine Hand"; the Divinity before whom all are `annihilated'.

        It is of considerable interest that INBMC reads  jadhba ' thā, "the Rapture of thā'"  and not   "the Rapture of Lā". If this is the correct reading or that of an early (alternative) version of line 13 (second hemistich) of the Rashh-i `amā' it is most likely an allusion to the leadership role of the Bāb or his appointee Mīrzā Yaḥyā Nūrī  (c. 1830-1912) Bahā’-Allāh's half-brother  -- he was appointed by the Bāb and generally considered to be the (nominal) leader of the Bābī community after the Bāb's martyrdom in 1850. Yaḥyā was initially supported in this role by by Bahā’-Allāh.  He was referred to by the Bāb as al-thamara = "the Fruit [of the Dispensation of the Bayān]". Since the first letter of thamara  is thā' ( BM ) Yaḥyā used this letter as a means of self-identification. In his early Kitāb al-wāhid (early 1850's?) he very frequently refers to himself as al-thā'.  (On the Kitāb al-wāhid  and the use of the see Appendix.)

      Assuming that jadhba ' thā', thā'  is an early reading and does allude to the person of Mīrzā Yaḥyā the second hemistich of line 13 -- which could be translated, "See thou that the Rapture of thā'  raineth down from the Divine Hand [Palm]"  -- might mean-:

  • a) Bahā’-Allāh acknowledges the leadership role of Mirza Yahya whose revealed verses originate in the Sinaitic heights, the "Divine Hand [Palm".
  • b) As the half-brother and (outwardly -- in the early 1850's) mouthpiece of Yahya, Bahā’-Allāh alludes to himself as the   jadhba ' thā'  whose revealed verses originate in the Sinaitic heights, the "Divine Hand [Palm]" 
  • c) Bahā’-Allāh expresses his superiority to Yaḥyā by alluding to himself as the real "Fruit" of the Bayān or the "Divine Hand [Palm]" which is the Sinaitic source of Yaḥyā's inspiration.

        Only further research will suggest which of these possibilities might be correct -- assuming of course that   the thā'  is not a late (post-1850's) Azalī interpolation, unlikely though this is, and that   jadhba ' thā' is not used in the general sense of thamara without there being allusion to Yaḥyā's person. Important in this respect would be the examination of more mss. of the Rashḥ-i `amā':  bearing in mind possible scribal errors, divergent reidings originating in oral transmission and/or the existence of several recensions of the Rashḥ-i `amā'  originating with Bahā’-Allāh himself.


 طلعت لاهوتی بين حوری هاهوتی بين  

ṭal`at-i lāhūtī bīn : ḥūrī-yi hāhūtī  bīn

Observe the Deified Countenance! Behold the God-like Maiden!

The first two imperative expressions appear to picture Bahā’-Allāh as the طلعت لاهوتی , ṭal`at-i lāhūtī ("Deified Countenance") and the حوری هاهوتی ḥūrī-yi hāhūtī , "God-like Maiden”. The adjectival forms of  لاهوت lāhūt and هاهوت hāhut imply that he possesses an exalted status for, in the hierarchy of metaphysical realms in that Lāhūt (= the sphere of the Divine theophany) and Hāhūt (= the sphere of the Divine Ipseity; cf. huwa, "He is [God]" and huwiyya = the Divine Ipseity) are uppermost. In Bābī-Bahā'ī literature طلعت ṭal`at frequently has the sense of "countenace" (ie. Face often reflecting the Divine Light). The ṭal`at-i lahūtī, "Deified Countenance" indicates a celestial visage which reflects the Divine theophany and the حوری هاهوتی  ḥūrī -yi hāhūtī , the "God-like Maiden", a feminine being who represents the Divine Ipseity.

References in Bābī-Bahā'ī scripture to the "Divine Maiden" are rooted in the Qur'ānic mention of the houris (Arabic, ḥūr), heavenly maidens who are the companions of the blessed. That such feminine beings are present in paradise originally expressed the fact that the celestial abode is that wherein the most intimate human desires are fulfilled. The houris mentioned in the Qur'ān are ".`spotless virgins, amorous, like of age"  resembling hidden pearls or ruby and coral, with swelling breasts, untouched by men or jinn, who modestly keep their eyes cast down and are enclosed in pavilions...".

These houri or maiden references also have their most immediate background in the writings of the Bab in which the Maiden motif is already developed: see Qayyum al-asma' Surah XXIX = Surat al-huriyya...ADD  URL

In the writings of Bahā’-Allāh divine feminine beings are not infrequently mentioned. Therein they are usually symbolic of spiritual states and perfections. In certain texts a celestial maiden of the houri type personifies the Divine Beloved, the locus of Prophethood or the Holy Spirit as the link between God and His Messengers. Bahā’u’llāh also describes his own spiritual Self as a Divine Maiden.

The five "worlds" of developed Islamic mystical Cosmology

  • [1] ناسوت عالم Nāsūt.  The world  which is this "mortal world".
  • [2]  عالم ملکوت  The world of Malakūt, "the world of the angels, “the Kingdom of God”.
  • [3] عالم جبروت  The world of Jabarūt, `the sphere of the Divine Omnipotence or celestial Powers". 
  • [4] عالم لاهوت    The world of Lāhūt. "the Realm of the Divine Theophany".
  • [5] عالم هاهوت   Hāhūt , “the Apophatic realm of the Unknowable Godhead” or of the Essence of Divinity (dhāt Allāh).

Hahut in early poetical writings of Baha'-Allah

In the fourteenth couplet of the early, c.1852 CE Rashh-i `ama' (The Sprinkling of the Theophanic Cloud), we read of a relationship between Baha'u'llah and the elevated Divine  realms of Lahut and Hahut as well as Nasut and  the transcendent sphere of `ama', the theophanic cloud of unknowing in which God is hidden pending glorious  tajalli or Self-revelation:


طلعت لاهوتی بين حوری هاهوتی بين

 جلوه ناسوتی بين كز سّر عما ميريزد   

Observe the Deified-Lahut related Countenance!

Behold the God-like, Hahut related Maiden, Houri (huri  hahuti)!

See thou that the terrestrial Effulgence  rains down from the mysterious depth of the Theophanic Cloud!

The Persian Poem of Baha'-Allah, Ishq az sidra-yi a`la amad ba shu`la-i farani amad.

با شعله فارانی عشق از سدره اعلی آمد

"Rapture came forth from the Most Transcendent Lote-Tree with the firebrand from Mount Paran! It came also with the Cup of Calamity (jām-i balā) from the Court of Glorification (sāḥat-i subḥānī)”.

A few couplets later God addresses Baha’u’llah in the following manner ; loosely translated we read, “… O Messianic Spirit (ruh-i masiha’i),

  • Nāsūt (this world) is for Thy “Day” (bi-ruz-i tu)!
  • Lāhūt (the Divine world) is for Thy Theophany (zuhūr-i tu)! 
  • Hāhūt (the Apophatic Beyond) is for Thy Presence (hudūr-i tu)!
  • O Jewell of the All-Merciful (gawhar-i rahmani) …"

Translation Stephen N. Lambden 2014.  From the text printed in Ma’ida-yi Asmanī, vol 4. pp. 179-184.

[14b] continued

 جلوه ناسوتی بين كز سّر عما ميريزد  

Jilwih-yi nāsūtī bīn: k[a]z-sirr `amā’ mīrīzad.
See thou that the Terrestrial Effulgence rains down from the Mystery of the Cloud of Unknowing!

Having in line 14 of the Rashḥ-i `amā' called upon the Bābīs to observe himself as the "Deified Countenance" and the "God-like Maiden", Bahā’u’llāh announces that the  جلوه ناسوتی  jilwih-i nāsūtī  ("Terrestrial Effulgence") rains down from the   سّر عما sirr-i `amā' ("Mystery [or Interiority] of the Cloud of Unknowing" ; cf. lines 1 and 10). While in the first hemistich he associates himself with the realms of Lāhūt and Hāhūt  in the second, he speaks of his manifestation in the sphere of Nāsut, the human realm. This in terms of a theohanic precipitation from the interiority of the `Cloud of Unknowing'.


 وجهه باقی بين چهره ساقی بين رق

زجاجی بين كز كوبهء ما ميريزد

Observe the All-Enduring Face! Behold the Visage of the Cupbearer!

 See thou that the Sparkling Draught rains down from Our Goblet!

  In the first hemistich of this line Bahā’u’llāh pictures himself as the وجهه باقی  "All-Enduring Face"   wajhih[t]-i bāqī and the  چهره ساقی  "Visage of the Cupbearer" (chihrih-yi sāqī). The words wijha[t]  (lit. `side', `part' `objective': in Bābī-Bahā'ī scripture it has the sense of wajh    = `visage', `face', `countenance' etc.,) and chihra  have the same meaning; `face', `countenance', `visage' or the like. The use of these terms might be taken to suggest that Bahā’u’llāh is alluding to Qur'ān 55: 26-7:

 "All that is upon it [the earth] shall pass away but the Face of thy Lord (wajh rabbika)  will ever   endure full of majesty and honour."

             Though details cannot be gone into, allusions to this verse are not uncommon in the writings of the Bāb and Bahā’u’llāh. On one level it is interpreted in connection with cyclic prophetology and the realization of the Divine theophany. Because the Bābī-Bahā'ī dispensation is that of the eschatological manifestation of God and the final consummation it is the cycle of the "Face of thy Lord" (the Divine theophany) when (mystically speaking) "all things" (human limitations) are annihilated. In this kind of context the Bāb, Bahā’u’llāh and other leading Bābī's claimed to be manifestations of the "Face" (wajh) ( see for example, Bahā’u’llāh, Halih..Ya Bishārat  lines 16 and  (in Ganj.. pp. 34-5 --   occurs in line 16), Haft Wādī  in AQA. Vol.3:130; trans. Seven Valleys  37; Untitled Letter in AQA. Vol. 6. p. 295f).  In a multitude of Sufi texts the state of fanā' (= annihilation of `self' or the passing away of human limitations) is followed by that of baqā'  (= permament abiding `in God'). Note that in Bahā’u’llāh's Jawāhir al-asrār (c. 1860) reference is made to the "City of Permanency(in God)" (madīnat al-baqā') after that of the "City of Annihilation" (madīnat al-fanā'). In the genitive expression    وجهه باقی  wajhih bāqī  Bahā’u’llāh probably identifies himself as the "Face of God" that endures after the eschatological passing away of human limitations (cf. line 19). He is the        چهره ساقی   chihrih-yi sāqī,  the "Visage of the Cupbearer" who proffers the wine of spiritual beatitude.


رق زجاجی بين كز كوبهء ما ميريزد

          raqq-i zujājī bīn; k[a]z kubih-yi mā[’] mīrīzad.

See thou that the Sparkling Draught rains down from Our Goblet!

What, in the second hemistich of line 15 is meant by   رق زجاجی     is not entirely clear.    زجاجی    zujājī  undoubtedly means something like `made of glass / glassy', `translucent', `crystal', `vitreous'. In Qur'ān 24:35, the "Light Verse", zujajat  is used for the "glass" which is like a "brilliant star" (kawkab durrī)  when the "light" (nūr)  which symbolizes God shines out from the misbah ("lamp") in which it is contained.   رق  pointed riqq (> raqqa i)  may express a condition of servitude, slavery or bondage or, among other things, indicate something `fine', `delicate', `outstretched'; for example, `tortoise!' `tambourine / drum' or `parchment', `vellum', `book',`scroll', `heavenly register', etc.. Pointed raqq   it often has the same range of meanings though, in Bābī-Bahā'ī scripture, most commonly, "[revealed] book, parchment, scripture or volume" (cf. Qur'ān 52:3 -- the only Qur'ānic occurrence of raqq, fī raqqin manshur,  ".. in a scroll unfolded..") (See Mā’idah 4:274). 

            In context "See thou that the  كوبهء ما raineth down from Our Goblet"] one would expect  ADD to signify some kind of clear, limpid, or glasslike liquid. The translation might even be `translucent Scroll'. This especially if   كوبه   =   `delicate' or `thin' in the sense of the beverage (i.e. wine) in the "Goblet" (kuba).  As raqq/ruqq can mean `shallow water'   كوبه  has been translated "Sparkling draught". Such a translation however, presupposes that the imagery is consistent. An alternative rendering (among others) might be-: "See thou that the Crystal Servitude raineth down from Our Goblet". This in the light of the Bābī-Bahā'ī interpretation of the light verse (which cannot be gone into here) and, for example, the following words from Bahā’u’llāh's Lawḥ-i kull al-ṭa`ām:

And that "food" was allowed for them [the Bābīs].. for all who desire to ascend unto the Heaven of Bounty and to drink of the Water of Manifestation from that [or, this] Cup (zujajat, or "Glass"), the Goblet of Servitude (kūb al-`ubūdīya) which resembleth naught but a shadow in the land [= Bahā’u’llāh?]."

             As in the Lawh-i kull al-ṭa`ām, it may be there there are allusions in the Rashh-i `amā'  to Bahā’u’llāh's initial support of the leadership role of Mīrzā Yahyā. The translation "crystal servitude" might suggest this, as indeed a number of other expressions, in this cryptic poem.

         It could ,for example, be argued that the first hemistich of lines 10-17 (in particular) contain reference to the leadership roles of both Mirza Yaḥyā (first imperative expression) and Bahā’-Allāh (second imperative expression) though this would very likely be to go too far.


آتش موسی بين بيضه بيضا بين 

 سينه سينا بين كز كفّ سنا ميريزد

ātish-i mūsā bīn : bayḍih-i bayḍā[’] bīn

 Observe the Fire of Moses! Behold the Snow-White Brightness!

             In this line Bahā’-Allāh expresses his role in the light of motifs rooted in the Biblical and Qur'ānic accounts of the mission of Moses. Sinaitic imagery is much utilised in Bābī-Bāhā'ī scripture and given a wide range of allegorical and mystical interpretations (see Lambden, 1988 for details) . The  آتش موسی  = ātish-i mūsā, "Fire of Moses", indicates the Sinaitic Fire which, mystically speaking, is the fire of Divine Love in the heart of Moses,  the locus of the Being of Moses in which all earthly limitations are consumed. It is the fire of the love of God which radiates from the Divine Messengers. In various writings both the Bāb and Bahā’u’llāh claimed to be the reality or radiance of the Sinaitic Fire (see for example, the Bāb, QA (Browne Coll.MS.) Or. F.11  XXIII (fol.34a); LXXVII (fol.135b); LXXXV (fol.147b); Bahā’-Allāh, Lawh-i burhān  in TB:129).

            The genitive expression   سينه سينا  (loosely) "Snow-White Brightness" (less probably `Snow White-Maiden' or `White Sun', etc)  is doubtless an allusion to the motif of Moses' `snow-white hand' or, more precisely, the radiance emitted by it.  In the light of the use of baydā' in  Qur'ān 35:45-7 for "[crystal-] white [beverage]" it is not impossible, however (though unlikely) that  بيضه  should be translated (something like) "Snow-White / Crystal Draught". 9

For biblical refs. to Moses' "snow-white" hand see

Exodus 4:6-7. cf.9:22; 10:12, 22; 14:16, 27; 17:11;

Qur'ān 7:105, 20:23; 26:32; 27:12; 28:32.

                                 sīnih-yi sīnā [-yi ilāhī] bīn; k[a]z kaff-i sanā

 As indicated above the second hemistich of line 16 is informed by Sinaitic imagery; more specifically a mystic interpretation of the sign of Moses' white-hand. According to the Qur'ānic narratives God commanded Moses to put his hand "close to thy side" (ilā janāhika)  or "into thy bosom" (fī jaybika; see Q. 20:23; 27:12; 28:32) such that when drawn forth it would be (miraculoualy) "white" (bayā')  this would be a sign for Pharoah.

           The genitive expression  سينه سينا   sīnih-yi sīnā  has been translated "Sinaitic Bosom", for, literally "Bosom of Sinai" . This inasmuch as the governing noun sīna  (= `bosom', `breast', `heart') corresponds with the jayb (= `bosom', `breast', `heart', `pocket', `cavity') into which Moses put his hand (see Q. 27:12, 28:32, etc.,) and is allegorically expressive of heart of Mt. Sinai (also     in Qur'ān 23:20) which is esoterically the interiority of the Prophets.

The   kaff-i sanā',  translated "Radiant Palm [or Hand]", corresponds with the "Snow-White Hand" of Moses who is an archetype of all the Prophets including Bahā’u’llāh - in certain Bahā'ī texts; cf. line 13). The meaning then, of the second hemistich of line 16, is that the power symbolised by the "Bosom of Sinai", (the `region' where `Moses' put his `hand' and which made it `white') flows through the person of Bahā’u’llāh who is the "Radiant Palm [Hand]".   It is unlikely, though not impossible, that   سينه سينا  should be translated "Summit of Sinai" since  sīna  can mean the peak or summit of a mountain.
        As with the Sinaitic Fire the motif of the  سينه سينا `snow-white' brightness of Moses' hand (one of the signs of his Prophethood) is frequently mentioned in Bahā’-Allāh's writings. Therein it is often symbolic of the power and light of his divinity drawn forth from the depths of his celestial being. Among other places, these motifs or this imagery is used by Bahā’u’llāh in the second hemistich of the 43rd line of his al-Qasīda al-warqā'iyya  (`The Ode of the Dove', c.1855). Here the `Maid of Heaven' expresses her exalted status by claiming that;

“[It was] from my Palm [Hand] that the Radiant Palm [Hand] was irradiated [lit. `drawn near']."

In explaining the meaning of this line in his commentray on select parts of his Qasida al-warqā’iyya  Bahā’u’llāh refers to Qur'ān 20:22 (+ 27:12; 28:32) (see text and commentary in AQA. III:204).

The following few select quotations must suffice to illustrate Bahā’-Allāh's use of this imagery:

Halih, Halih, Halih , Yā bishārat  (Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah! O Glad-Tidings!

 "The Maid of Eternity came from the Exalted Paradise... With snow-white hand (bā kaff-i bayḍā'), with raven locks, like the dragon/ staff [rod] of Moses she came.. This eternal countenance came with snow-white hand (bā yad-i baydā')   from the Divine Command"  (Bahā’u’llāh, Halih... yā bishārat  lines 1, 7 &16), text in Ganj.. 33f).

Untitled Tablet of Baha'u'llah

"This is the Day in which all things cry out, `Dominion belongeth to God, the Peerless, the Unique'. Burn away the veils of idle-fancies through this Snow-White Hand (al-yad al-bayḍā')  which hath been manifested from the bosom of power and might". (Untitled Tablet of Bahā’u’llāh in Kitāb Haykal / Mubīn  (n.p. [Bombay] 1308 A.H. / 1890-91), p. 357.

Images associated with Moses and Sinai then are much utilised in Bahá'u'lláh's Mathnawī-yi Mubārak  (1863; see especially lines 184-219 in AQA III: 178 -182) -- and other writings of the Iraq and later periods. Expressing the glories of his person and revelation by means of a daring contrast between the old `Moses -Sinai' motifs and those of the new age he at one point (lines 214-5, ibid, p. 181) writes:

The Fire of Moses (atish-i musa) issued forth from His Lote-Tree (sidra)

The Spirit of a hundred Jesus' came forth from Her Breath (nafkha) [211] ...

Her Bosom (sīna) / Radiance (sana) is of Sinai (sīnā[']) and her Fire [Burning Bush] (nar) the Light of the Friend (nur-i dust).

His Palm is Snow-white (kaff-i u bayda') and Her heart is His "Mount" (tur-i u)!

Nay! that Snow-Whiteness (an bayda) came not through any Command (amr)!

But this same Snow-Whiteness (bayda) resulted in a Command (amr)!

(Mathnavi, lines 214-5, [211f.,] AQA III:181)

These lines from the Mathnavi of Baha'u'llah provide a good illustration of the kind of mystical interpretation of `Moses-Sinai' motifs presupposed in line 16 of the Rashh-i `amā'.  Note in particular the association of the "bright radiance" (sana/sanih) or "bosom" (sīna/sīnih) of the Divine Maiden with  Mount Sinai and the motif of the "Snow White Hand or "Palm".


  سينه سينا بين كز كفّ سنا ميريزد

    sinih-yi sīnā-yi ilāhī bīn; k[a]z kaff-i sanā’

See thou that the Sinaitic Bosom rains down from the Radiant Palm.

            As indicated above the second hemistich of line 16 is informed by Sinaitic imagery; more specifically a mystic interpretation of the sign of Moses' white-hand. According to the Qur'ānic narratives God commanded Moses to put his hand "close to thy side" (ilā janāhika)  or "into thy bosom" (fī jaybika; see Q. 20:23; 27:12; 28:32) such that when drawn forth it would be (miraculoualy) "white" (               ) this would be a sign for Pharoah.

            The genitive expression  ADD sīna' sayna'  has been translated "Sinaitic Bosom" -- for, lit., "Bosom of Sinai" . This inasmuch as the governing noun sīna  (= `bosom', `breast', `heart') corresponds with the jayb (= `bosom', `breast', `heart', `pocket', `cavity') into which Moses put his hand (see Q. 27:12, 28:32, etc.) and is allegorically expressive of heart of Mt. Sinai (also ADD  in Qur'ān 23:20) which is esoterically the interiority of the Prophets. The  ADD   kaff-i sanā',  translated "Radiant Palm [or Hand]", corresponds with the "Snow-White Hand" of Moses who is an archetype of all the Prophets including Bahā’u’llāh - in certain Bahā'ī texts; cf. line 13). The meaning then, of the second hemistich of line 16, is that the power symbolised by the "Bosom of Sinai", (the `region' where `Moses' put his `hand' and which made it `white') flows through the person of Bahā’u’llāh who is the "Radiant Palm [Hand]". It is unlikely, though not impossible, that       should be translated "Summit of Sinai" (sīna  can mean the peak or summit of a mountain).

            Among other places, similar imagery is used by Bahā’u’llāh in the second hemistich of the 43rd line of his "Dove's Ode", al-Qa®īda al-warqā'īya  (c.1855 ). Here the `Maid of Heaven' expresses her exalted status by claiming that;


“[It was] from my Palm [Hand] that the Radiant Palm [Hand] was irradiated [lit. `drawn near']."

In explaining the meaning of this line in his commentary on select parts of the Qaṣidah al-warqā’iyya  Bahā’-Allāh refers to Qur'ān 20:22 (+ 27:12; 28:32) (see text and commentary in AQA. 3:204).  

Images associated with Moses and Sinai are much utilised in Bahā'-Allāh's Mathnawī-yi Mubārak  (1863; see especially lines 184-219 in AQA III: 178 -182) -- and other writings of the Iraq and later periods. Expressing the glories of his person and revelation by means of a daring contrast between the old `Moses -Sinai' motifs and those of the new age he at one point (lines 214-5, ibid, p. 181) writes:


These lines provide a good illustration of the kind of mystical interpretation of `Moses -Sinai' motifs presupposed in line 16 of the Rashḥ-i `amā'.  Note in particular the association of the  ADD  "bosom" of the Divine Maiden / Bahá`-Allāh with  ADD Sinai,  and the motif of the "Snow White Hand / Palm" ADD.


ناله مستان بين حالت  بستان

   جذبه هستان بين كز صحن لقا ميريزد

nālih-yi mastān bīn : ḥālih-yi bustān bīn

Observe the State of the Intoxicated! Behold the Verdure of Orchard!

See thou that the Rapture of Existence rains down from the Court of the Meeting with God!

Bahā’-Allāh here refers to himself as one who utters the ناله مستان  nalih-yi mastān,  the "Intoxicating Lament" a piercing cry of complaint that renders its hearers spiritually `drunk' or which expresses his own utterance whilst in a state of spiritual intoxication;  ADD could be translated, "Lament of the [Spiritually] Intoxicated [One]" and indicate Bahā’u’llāh or (perhaps) the denizens of heaven). He is the   حالت  بستان  hālat-i bustān, "Orchard of Ecstasy"; presumably (?) an orchard the fruit of the trees of which, when eaten, leads to spiritual ecstasy.

            If the genitive expressions  ناله and   مستان be translated "Lament of the Intoxicated (Ones)" and "Ecstasy of the Orchard (of the believers ?; or the like) Bahā’u’llāh may be alluding, not to his own condition, but to that of heavenly beings or fellow Bābīs.


  جذبه هستان بين كز صحن لقا ميريزد

jadhbih-yi hastān bīn : k[a]z ṣaḥn-i liqā' bīn.

See thou that the Rapture of Existence rains down from the Court of the Meeting with God!

  The proposed translation of 17a might be said to fit in with the reference to the "Rapture of Existence" (jadhba' hastān)  mentioned in the second hemistich (17b) which is the result of his status and presence. Here the  صحن لقا  ṣaḥn-i liqā'    the "Court of the Meeting [with God"  [= Bahā’u’llāh -- see on line 4). Line 17 need not however, be understood in this way. As noted, Bahā’u’llāh may be referring to himself as at once the "Intoxicating Lament", the "Orchard of Ecstasy" and the "Court of the Meeting [with God]" from whom a spiritual grace pours forth that enraptures all existing things.

INBMC at line 18 appears to read not   urra' bā'ī, "Ba'-  like ringlet" but       ADD (.t)i[a]rzī bā'ī, (loosely) "Elegant / Ornamented Bā’"  (most probabiy a misreading).


طفّ / طفّح ظهوراست اين رشح طهوراست 

ṭaff-i ẓuhūr ast : īn rashḥ-i  ẓuhūr

 This is the Overflowing Theophany! This is the Sprinkling of Manifestation!

Such is the warbling of the Heavenly Birds  which sprinkles  from the Fount of Mystical Death.

As in the first hemistich of line 10 Bahā’u’llāh here uses the term  طفّح  ṭafh  = "overflowing" and rashh = "sprinkling" to express the nature of his manifestation (ẓuhūr). It is indicated that the fulness of the divine grace wells forth from his now manifested Being (see note on line 10). Though once again, the text is unclear, INBMC appears not to have ADD "Overflowing Manifestation" at the beginning of the first hemistich of line 18,  but (?) ADD  ṭaff-i ẓuhūr.  If so and in view of the fact that the verbal noun ṭaff  can mean `full [liquid] measure', the meaning would be essentially the same; that is "Overflowing Manifestation" (or the like).


 غنّ طيوراست اين كز عين فنا ميريزد

      ghann-i ṭuyūr ast :  īn k[a]z `ayn fanā’ mīrīzad

Such is the warbling of the Heavenly Birds  which sprinkles  from the Fount of Mystical Death  

The image of `water pouring forth' is further drawn on in the final hemistich of the Rashh-i `amā'. It is implied that the   ghann-i ṭuyūr "Melody of the [Heavenly] Birds", the celestial music of those nigh unto God (?), is echoed - in a revelation which has its origin in the    ADD `ayn-i fanā',  "The Fount of Annihilation". The genitive expression "Fount of Annihilation" probably signifies an heavenly well or spring which is the source of divine revelation. It may be presupposed that those who drink from it attain the mystic state of the `annihilation' (fanā')  of human limitations -- though not essential being. A Sufi technical term fanā'  usually indicates a human experience rooted in metaphysical reality beyond duality and the limitations of the ego -- consciousness. Beyond this state of `nullification' (fana')  is that of baqā'  a unitative "persistence" or enduring "subsistence" in God (for details see A. Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions...,  p. 142f). Alternatively, Bahā’-Allāh may be alluding to himself as the "Fount of Annihilation" in the sense that his manifestation and revelation lead to the "passing away" (fanā')  of all things before the "permamence (baqā')  of the Bābī cycle of the manifestation of the countenance of Divinity (cf. on line 15).