Baha’u’llah on Poverty and God’s Love of the Poor

What follows is my provisional translation (in other words, not official or authorized; see here for more) of a Tablet of Baháʼuʼlláh. Multiple versions of this Tablet have been published, and there are textual variations among some of them; the translation below and the original typescript underneath it are based on the version published in ʻAndalíb, no. 60, p. 3.

According to Faramarz Ashraf, this Tablet was revealed for a Bahá’í of Qazvin by the name of Mírzá Riḍá Jabbárí. Ashraf describes the circumstances of its revelation in his history of the Bahá’ís of Qazvín, Yárán-i-Qazvín, Munjadhibán-i-Jamál-i-Mubín (Táríkh-i-Amr-i-Bahá’í dar Qazvín), p. 129. When Jabbárí accepted the Bahá’í Faith, his family—who was influential, powerful, and well-known—made life exceedingly difficult for him. They condemned him as an infidel, took his wife and children away from him, and drove him out of his home. After some discussion and consultation, the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Qazvín deemed it necessary to send him to the villages near Qazvín (among them Ishtihárd, it seems) to educate the Bahá’í children. It was at this time that Jabbárí wrote a petition to Bahá’u’lláh, describing how upset and destitute he was. Based on a comment by Mansur Farzaneh, the grandson of Mírzá Riḍá Jabbárí, Faramarz Ashraf writes that Bahá’u’lláh revealed the Tablet below in response to Jabbárí’s petition.

In the Name of Him Who is the All-Seeing, the Ever-Abiding

God grant, O Riḍá, that thou art illumined with the splendors of the light of the Sun of Truth, and that thou art voicing the praise of the Incomparable Friend, steadfast in His love and ready to serve His Cause.

If thou be poor, know that the All-Possessing is with thee. When this Wronged One was shackled with chains and fetters in the Land of Ṭá, and for two days had had neither sustenance of any sort nor a single cent to His name, He was nonetheless, at that very moment, the richest of all the world’s peoples. He Who hath derived His wealth from the utmost poverty, and hath neither been dispirited nor ashamed by the indignity and humiliation that the world hath heaped upon Him as He treadeth the path of the Cause of the Ancient King, hath ever been and continueth to be with thee. Sorrow not, for a myriad delights are in store; do not despair, for endless joy is sure to follow. There are countless doors in this very world; please God, the finger of His Will may open them, and thou mayest behold new worlds within this one.

God hath always loved the poor and hath ever been their companion. Sorrow not if thou be seated upon the dust; the Lord of the throne is with thee. Grieve not if thou be hungry; the gaze of Him Who sendeth down the celestial banquet is fixed on thee. Despair not if thou hast no lamp at night; He Who is the source of light Himself is by thy side. I befriend every indigent one, and sit with every needy one; I turn to every victim of oppression, and behold every sufferer of anguish. The delectable sweetness of the words of the All-Merciful changeth the bitter pains of this fleeting world and reduceth them to nothingness. Well is it with him who hath inhaled the fragrance of Mine utterance, and persevered with patience in My straight path. Praise be to God, the Lord of the worlds.

A typescript of the original text of these passages appears below (all punctuation and Arabic vocalization mine).

به نام بینندۀ پاینده

یا رضی انشاءالله از تجلّیات انوار آفتاب حقیقت منوّر باشی و بذکر دوست یکتا ناطق و بر حبّش ثابت و بر امرش قائم.

اگر فقیری غنی با تو است. وقتی که این مظلوم در زیر غُلّ و زنجیر در ارض طا بود در حالتی که دو روز بر او گذشت و چیزی بلب نرسید و دیناری با او نبود در آن حین اغنی العالم بوده. کسی که غنای او در منتهیٰ درجۀ فقر حاصل و از ذلّت و ننگ عالم در سبیل امر مالک قدم دلتنگ و خَجِل نه با تو بوده و هست. غم مخور سرورها از پی؛ دلتنگ مباش فرح بی‌منتها از عقب. در نفس این عالم ابواب لاتحصی موجود؛ انشاءالله باصبع اراده بگشاید و عوالم جدیده در این عالم مشاهده گردد.

او فقیر را دوست داشته و دارد و با او مجالس و مؤانس. اگر بر تراب جالسی غم مخور؛ مالک عرش با تو است. اگر گرسنه‌ای محزون مباش؛ مُنزِل مائده بتو ناظر. اگر شب بی‌چراغی، دلتنگ مشو؛ مطلع نور حاضر. إِنِّی اُوَانِسُ مَعْ کُلِّ فَقِیرٍ وَ اقْعُدُ مَعْ کُلِّ مِسْکِینٍ وَ اتَوَجَّهُ إِلَی کُلِّ مَظْلُومٍ وَ انْظُرُ کُلَّ مَکْرُوبٍ. لذّت بیان رحمن و حلاوت آن تلخی‌های دنیای فانیه را مبدّل فرماید و زائل نماید. طُوبَی لِمَنْ وَجَدَ عَرْفَ بَیَانِی وَ تَمَسَّکَ بِالصَّبْرِ فِی سَبِیلِی الْمُسْتَقِیمِ. اَلْحَمْدُللهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِینَ.