A Tablet of Baha’u’llah on His Exile to Akka and the Transience of Royal Majesty

What follows is my provisional translation (in other words, not official or authorized; see here for more) of a Tablet of Baháʼuʼlláh, the original text of which has been published in Áthár-i-Qalam-i-Aʻlá, vol. 1 (1996), pp. 23233. A facsimile of the original Tablet is available hereI am grateful to Amir Vojdani, the great-great-grandson of Mír ʻAbdu’r-Raḥím Qamṣar, for whom this Tablet was revealed, for sharing it with me and allowing me to make it publicly accessible. 

In the Name of God, Who ordaineth whatsoever He pleaseth

O thou who art remembered before the Throne! Know that the infidels made captives of My kindred and My loved ones in ʻIráq, and caused them to enter another land. Thus doth the fire of hatred continue to burn within their breasts. They then turned with blackened faces unto the countenances of resplendent light, removing us from the Land of Mystery[1] and bringing us into ʻAkká, the most desolate of all the cities of the world. And when we entered the Prison,[2] such people laid hold on its door as had failed to detect the fragrance of faith wafting from the city of certitude, and upon whose hearts the breezes of holiness had not blown. Three consecutive months passed, and we had yet to set foot in a bathhouse. Such is the account of what this Youth suffered at the hands of them that rejected the gift of God after it was sent down. By God! We lamented not what befell us then, nor do we now through the power of God and His might. O would that every calamity in His path may befall Me alone! I swear by His glory that I yearn for them all in His love and the manifestation of His Cause.

Both adversity and prosperity shall pass away, while that which endureth is with thy Lord. Where is the royal seat of the one who built the Sadír,[3] or the one who wished to ascend to the heavens?[4] Whither are gone the pharaohs and the kings of the past? Where are to be found their trellised gardens, their dwellings furnished with rugs? Where is he who nourished himself with limpid water, and whom the fairest of women would circle round? What hath become of their thrones and their crowns, their pomp and their majesty? Lo, they have fallen from their fortresses unto their graves. By My life! Could all humanity hear the cries of even one from among them, they would renounce the world and turn toward the Dayspring of Glory. Hath not the time come for the sleeping to waken, and the heedless to be roused to vigilance? Do they, too, imagine that they will not go; that they shall not be interred in their tombs, gathered on the morrow, and asked of their doings? Far from it! Theirs are vain imaginings, theirs the nethermost abode, and no protector will they find for themselves unless they return to God, the Lord of creation.

My pen hath been stopped and My body confined to prison. I have set My face unto the Most Exalted Horizon while the serpent hasteneth behind Me. Erelong shall the veil be lifted, and soon will My companions take their leave. Thus have We related unto thee the stories of this Youth pertaining to that which hath been and shall be, notwithstanding that We were prevented from the mention and explanation thereof. Say: By the righteousness of God! Never shall this Youth be deterred from the remembrance of God, even if all the peoples of the earth should cavil at Him.

As for thee, sorrow not on any account. Make mention of thy Lord; He is with thee and will aid thee with His sovereign might. He, in truth, is the Guardian of them that remember Him.

Say: O people of Bahá! I swear by God that this is the day in which the devoted shall stand erect, and the doubters be put to flight. Say: It behoveth you in such days as these to demonstrate your certainty and steadfastness, as well as your love for your Lord, the All-Merciful, and your support for His Cause amidst His servants. He, verily, will protect you through the power of truth; He indeed is potent over all things.

Convey My greetings to My loved ones, then gather them together upon the shore of the sea[5] and call them to heedfulness at every moment. Praised be God, the Lord of the worlds.

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[1] Edirne.

[2] The Most Great Prison in ʻAkká.

[3] One of two magnificent palaces (the other being the Khawarnaq) built by the Lakhmid Arab king al-Nuʻmán I ibn Imruʼ al-Qays for his Sassanid overlord, Yazdgird I.

[4] Unlike the previous reference, this one seems more open to interpretation. It might be an allusion to Xerxes I, per the account of Herodotus, who attributes this remark to him in his Histories: “We will make the borders of Persian territory and of the firmament of heaven be the same” (Book 7, chapter 8c, section 1; trans. A. D. Godley (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1920)). Alternatively, it could refer to Nimrod, who is commonly identified as the one who ordered the construction of the Tower of Babel, which was intended to reach the heavens.

[5] As the recipient of this Tablet is not known to have lived near a large body of water at any point in his life, this may be a figurative reference to the Cause of God.

A complete typescript of the Arabic text of this Tablet appears below. 

بسم الله الحاکم على مايريد

ان يا ايّها المذکور لدى العرش فاعلم بانّ المشرکين جعلوا اهلی و احبّتى اسارى من العراق و ادخلوهم فى ديار اخرى و ما سکنت بذلک نار البغضآء فى صدورهم ثمّ توجّهوا بوجوه سودآء الی وجوه نورآء و اخرجونا من ارض السّرّ و ادخلونا فى عکّآء و انّها اخرب مدن الدّنيا کلّها. فلمّا دخلنا السّجن اخذ بابه عبادٌ ما وجدوا رآئحة الايمان من مصر الايقان و ما مرّت علی قلوبهم نسآئم السّبحان قد قضت ثلثة اشهر متواليات و ما دخلنا الحمّام کذلک ورد علی الغلام من الّذين کفروا بنعمة اللّه بعد انزالها. تاللّه انّا ما جزعنا عمّا ورد علينا و لا نجزع بحول اللّه و قوّته. يا ليت ما مسّت البلايا فى سبيله غيرى فو عزّته انا اشتاق کلّها فى حبّه و اظهار امره.

انّ الشّدّة و الرّخآء يمضيان وما يثبت ما عند ربّک. اين سرير من بنى السّدير و اين من اراد ان يرتقى الی الاثير. اين الفراعنة و اين الملوک الماضية اين جنّاتهم المعروشة و بيوتهم المفروشة. اين من شرب الزّلال و تطوف حوله ذوات الجمال. اين اسرّتهم وتيجانهم و شوکتهم و سلطانهم قد نزلوا من معاقلهم الی مقابرهم. فو عمرى لو يسمع النّاس کلّهم صريخ احدٍ منهم ليترکنّ الدّنيا و يتوجّهنّ الی الافق الاعلی. الم يأن للّذين ناموا ان ييقظوا و الّذين غفلوا ان ينتبهوا. هل يظنّون انّهم لا يذهبون و فى اللّحود لا يدخلون و غداً لا يحشرون و لا يسئلون هيهات ظنونهم باطلة و مثويهم هاوية و لا يجدون لانفسهم حامية الّا بان يرجعوا الی اللّه مالک البريّة.

قد منع قلمى و حبس جسدى انّى مقبل الی الافق الاعلی و عن ورآئى حيّة تسعى و سوف يرفع الحجاب و يخرج الاصحاب کذلک قصصنا لک قصص الغلام عمّا کان و يکون بعد الّذى نهينا عن الذّکر والبيان. قل تاللّه لا يمنع الغلام عن ذکر اللّه و لو يعترض عليه من علی الارض کلّها

انّک لا تحزن فى شىء ان اذکر ربّک انّه معک و ينصرک بسلطانه انّه ولىّ الذّاکرين.

قل يا اهل البهآء تاللّه اليوم يومٌ فيه يستقيمنّ المخلصون و يفرّنّ المريبون. قل ينبغى لکم بانّ فى مثل تلک الايّام يظهر ايقانکم و استقامتکم و حبّکم ربّکم الرّحمن ونصرتکم امره بين العباد انّه يحفظکم بالحقّ انّه علی کلّ شىءٍ قدير.

کبّر من قبلی احبّآئى ثمّ اجمعهم علی شاطئ البحر و ذکّرهم فى کلّ حين و الحمد للّه ربّ العالمين.