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Rashh IV - The Mysteries of `Amā' , the Theophanic Cloud - عَمَاء



 Stephen Lambden,  UCMerced.

Frist written 1980s. Being revised 2017.

The word  عَمَاء is of tremendous importance in the theology and cosmology of Islamic mysticism as it is in the writings of Sayyid `Ali Muhammad Shirazi (1819-1850), Mirza Husayn `Ali Nuri and others. The former Persian born messianic claimants made frequent use of `ama'  in a wide-range of their many Persian and Arabic writings. The first major works of both the Bab and Baha'-Allah contain this word. It is scores of time found in theologically suggestive genitive expressions within the mid. 1844 Qayyum al-asma' (Self-Subsisting Deity of the Names') or Tafsir Surat Yusuf (Commentary on the Surah of Joseph = Qur'an 12) of the Bab. Within this 300-400 page weighty neo-qur'anic text`ama' is, among other things,  associated with the cosmological depths of the theophanic pit into which Jospeh was "thrown".

The Rashh-i `Ama' (c. 1852-3) dating less than a deacde afte the former work of the Bab (1844), derives its title on account of the theophanic centrality of the word  عَمَاء  "cloud", the second word of its first hemistitch. Therein it may be suggestive of the beclouded mazhar-i ilahi (Manifestation of God), of the messianic secret of Baha'-Allah, the founder of the Baha'i religion who initially appeared in the guise of a prominent follower of the Bab. From concealed "servitude" he ultimately emerged from the "cloud" concealing his claim to an elevated theophanic identity.

The  URLs above to my old website are in the process of being updated and replaced.

The URLs above lead to work in progress that is now (2017>) gradually being updated, corrected  and finalized on this website. This work is a in part a revision of an Appendix about the word عَمَاء =`ama' from my 1984 translation and commentary of the Rashh-i `ama of Baha'-Allah which first appeared in the  Bahā'ī Studies Bulletin  (Newcastle upon Tyne, UK) vol. 3:2 (Sept.1984) just over thirty years ago.