November 12, 2010

Tablets Revealed by Baha’u’llah during the Baghdad Period (January 1852 – April 1863) – listed alphabetically: Part 1

[Source for the list of Tablets: Geoffry Marks, ‘Call for Remembrance, Connecting the Heart to Baha’u’llah’, pp. 279-280)

Az-Bágh-i-Iláhí (From the Garden of Holiness)

It is an ode revealed not long before the Declaration of Bahá'u'lláh. It is one of His most joyous odes, composed in an exalted style. Each Persian verse is followed by one in Arabic, and the combination of the two creates a rich melody of unsurpassed beauty and enchantment. Its theme is the advent of the Promised Day of God, but to describe its contents is not an easy task, especially in the absence of an English translation.

In each and every line Bahá'u'lláh alludes to Himself and extols His own attributes. He unveils the splendours of His exalted station and, among other designations, refers to Himself as the Lord of all mankind, the Day-star of Truth, the Promise of all ages, the Youth of Paradise, the Quickener of men and the Essence of the Spirit of Truth. This poem is an eloquent description of Bahá'u'lláh's stupendous station, the character of His Mission and the outpourings of His Revelation.

The chanting of this beautiful ode creates an atmosphere of ecstasy and joy. It moves the heart and evokes a feeling of awe and excitement within the soul. No wonder that the companions of Bahá'u'lláh in Baghdad, who chanted it in their gatherings, were carried away into the realms of spirit, completely oblivious of this world and all its peoples. (Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha'u'llah v 1, p. 218)

Báz-Áv-u-Bidih-Jámí (Return and grant a chalice)

Chihár-Vádí (The Four Valleys)

(This Tablet is translated into English by Marzieh Gail in consultation with Ali Quli Khan. It is published by the Bahá'í Publishing Trust, Wilmette, Illinois, 1945, 1952, 1973, 1975, and 1978.)

Another one of Bahá'u'lláh's mystical Writings which was revealed in Baghdad is The Four Valleys. This, too, is an epistle in which Bahá'u'lláh describes the journey of the wayfarer to his ultimate goal. He has divided wayfarers into four groups.

The highest station, the fourth valley, is for 'those who have reached to the beauty of the Beloved One...' 'This is the realm of full awareness, of utter self-effacement... Here love becometh an obstruction and a barrier, and all else save Him is but a curtain... The exalted dwellers in this mansion do wield divine authority... On the high seats of justice, they issue their commands...' They 'abide in the high bowers of splendour above the Throne of the Ancient of Days, and they sit in the Empyrean of Might within the Lofty Pavilion...'

Although Bahá'u'lláh's approach in this epistle is somewhat different from The Seven Valleys, basically it conveys the same truth. The Four Valleys was written for Shaykh Abdu'r-Rahman-i-Karkuki, a learned man and the leader of the Qadiriyyih Order,[ a sect of Sunni Islam] who came in contact with Bahá'u'lláh in Kurdistan. He was a devoted admirer of Bahá'u'lláh, who used to sit at His feet in Sulaymaniyyih and hear His discourses. He also corresponded with Bahá'u'lláh in Kurdistan and, later, in Baghdad. (Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha'u'llah v 1, p. 104)

Ghulámu’l-Khuld (The Youth of Paradise)

Another Tablet of the same nature, but written partly in Arabic and partly in Persian, is the Tablet of Ghulámu'l-Khuld (The Youth of Paradise). It is a very beautiful Tablet, and was revealed by Bahá'u'lláh to celebrate the anniversary of the Declaration of the Báb. Filled with imagery and allegorical language, it conveys clearly the glad-tidings of the coming of Bahá'u'lláh. Alluding to Himself in symbolic terms, He announces the unveiling of His Beauty, glorifies His own Revelation, identifies Himself as the Word upon which depended the souls of all the Prophets of God and His chosen ones, declares to all His companions that He Who was hidden from the eyes of men has now come, asserts that through His coming a breath of life has been wafted over all created things, invites His true lovers to come forward and become united with their Beloved, exhorts them to purify their hearts so that they may be acceptable in His presence, and counsels them to rid themselves of every attachment to this world and to cast away their vain imaginings and superstitions.

Also in this Tablet Bahá'u'lláh testifies to the loftiness of the station of the Báb and affirms that He is the Point from which all knowledge has been generated. (Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha'u'llah v 1, p. 213)

Haft-Vádí (The Seven Valleys)

(This Tablet is translated into English by Marzieh Gail in consultation with Ali Quli Khan. It is published by the Bahá'í Publishing Trust, Wilmette, Illinois, 1945, 1952, 1973, 1975, and 1978.)

One of the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh which was revealed after His return from Sulaymáníyyih is The Seven Valleys. This work stands out as a masterpiece of mystical composition. It was written in response to the questions of Shaykh Muhyi'd-Din, the judge of the town of Khaniqayn, who was a Sufi [An order of Muslim mystics]. Although not a Bábí, he was an admirer of Bahá'u'lláh and had written a letter to Him, expressing certain thoughts and posing some questions in mystical terms.

The theme of The Seven Valleys is the journey of the soul from its abode in this world to the realms of nearness to God. The seven stages in the journey were already familiar to the Sufis, having been described by Faridu'd-Din-i-'Attar, an outstanding exponent of Sufism in its early stages. Bahá'u'lláh elucidates the profound meaning and significance of these seven stages. (Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha'u'llah v 1, p. 95)

Hálih-Hálih-Yá Bishárat (Hallelujah, Hallelujah, O Glad-Tidings)

Another ode in Persian revealed during this period … very similar in its contents to Az-Bágh-i-Iláhí. (Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha'u'llah v 1, p. 219)

Húr-i-'Ujáb (The Wondrous Maiden)

It is in Arabic and is similar to [Ghulámu’l-Khuld (The Youth of Paradise)] …in that it conveys the same glad-tidings, is written in allegorical language and contains the symbolism of the 'Maid of Heaven'.

In it Bahá'u'lláh alludes to the unveiling of His glorious station, asserts that the light of His countenance has been lifted upon men, and states that the outpouring of His Revelation has been so stupendous as to cause the pure in heart to be dumbfounded. He also denounces the perversity and blindness of the unfaithful among His companions. This is an allusion to Mirza Yahya and his associates, who betrayed the Faith of God and caused Bahá'u'lláh much sorrow and pain. (Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha'u'llah v 1, p. 218)