“O thou who lovest the Abhá Beauty! It is said that when Abraham was cast into the blazing fire…”

What follows is my provisional translation (in other words, not official or authorized; see here for more) of a Tablet of ʻAbdu’l-Bahá that appears in INBA 13:221.

CAVEAT: I have seen several different versions of this Tablet (refer to Phelps catalog ID no. AB09426), all with slight variations in wording here and there. On 20 April 2020, I wrote to the Research Department at the Baháʼí World Center to ask if they could identify any one of them as the definitive version; on 2 June 2020, they replied: “The Archives at the World Centre has the same versions of the Tablet of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá that begins “Ay ‘áshiq-i-rúy-i-Bahá gúyand chun Ibráhím-i-khalíl” that you have. At this point it is not possible to determine which one can be considered the definitive version” (see their full response to me here). As the version of the text which appears in INBA 13 seemed the most correct to me, that is the one on which I based my provisional translation.

He is the All-Glorious

O thou who lovest the Abhá Beauty! It is said that when Abraham was cast into the blazing fire, Gabriel called out, “Hast Thou any need?”* And Abraham replied, “Nay, not from thee! God knoweth my state, and this sufficeth me more than my asking Him.”**

Thou, too, shouldst set thy face towards Him Who is at once the Unseen and the All-Glorious, and say:

O Knower of my secrets all
The One Who guides the righteous thrall
O Friend of every soul who’s free
My life be offered up for Thee!

O Ravisher replete with grace
With rosy cheek and moon-white face
O Lord so good and kind to me
My life be offered up for Thee!

Thou knowest well my every need
Though hidden well Thou be indeed
At every moment may this be:
My life be offered up for Thee!


* See Qurʼán 21:68.

** From a ḥadíth.

A typescript of the original Persian and Arabic text of this Tablet appears below. It is based almost entirely on the version of this Tablet that appears in INBA 13:221, with the exception of one word toward the end, where I have changed the دلی (dilí), which occurs in that source text and I believe to be a scribal error, to the more intelligible دمی (damí) to match every other extant version of the Tablet but this one.


ای عاشق روی بها، گويند چون ابراهيم خليل را در آتش سعير انداختند جبرئيل ندا کرد: «هل لک حاجة؟» خليل جليل جواب فرمود: «امّا اليک فلا؛ کفی عن سؤالی علمه بحالی.» تو نيز توجه بحضرت غيب ابهی کن و بگو: «ای واقف اسرار، ای هادی ابرار، ای مونس احرار، جانم بفدايت؛ ای دلبر دلجو، ای گلرخ مَه‌رو، ای سروَر خوشخو، جانم بفدايت؛ حاجت تو بدانی، هر چند نهانی؛ در هر دمی آنی، جانم بفدايت.» ع ع