Baha’u’llah on the Circumstances of the Composition of “The Secret of Divine Civilization”

What follows is my provisional translation (in other words, not official or authorized; see here for more) of a passage from a Tablet of Baháʼuʼlláh. The original text has been published in Safíniy-i-ʻIrfán, vol. 6, p. 10

For the sake of God are performed the deeds of those who have so arisen to serve the Cause that the clamor of the people hath not deterred them, nor hath the cruelty of men made them afraid…

It is good that thou didst send a copy of Madaníyyih;[1] God grant it will prove useful. The reason that work was composed is as follows: One day, the Most Mighty Branch of God[2]—may My spirit, Mine essence, My very being be a sacrifice for the ground which His footsteps have trodden—was standing in the most sublime and most holy Presence[3] when the Tongue of the Ancient of Days,[4] exalted be He, spoke these words:

O Most Mighty Branch! It would be commendable if some pages were written on the causes of the world’s destruction and the means for its reconstruction, in such wise that it would humble the prejudiced to a degree, that this may prepare them to listen to the rustling of the Lote-Tree of utterance which can be heard in this day.

Other themes of this sort were also heard from the Ancient Tongue, and consequently, that Branch of God composed The Secret of Divine Civilization.

Some are of the opinion that governance—which is conducive to the order, the tranquility, and the advancement of the world—is confined only to persons of great renown. How wretched is that which they have imagined! With God is the knowledge of all things in the Lucid Book. The whole of statecraft is concealed in a single remark. Happy are they who have fixed their gaze upon it, and well is it with them that understand. Were they to act in accordance with that which God, magnified be His glory, hath revealed in this connection, all who dwell on earth would behold themselves in a state of peaceful repose. But the eyes are barred from witnessing this, as are the hearts from perceiving it, by reason of what the hands of Our servants have wrought aforetime and will wreak henceforth. Verily, Our Lord is the All-Wise; indeed, He is the Reckoner, the All-Informed…

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[1] A reference to Risáliy-i-Madaníyyih, known in English translation as The Secret of Divine Civilization.

[2] ʻAbdu’l-Bahá. 

[3] That is, the presence of Baháʼuʼlláh.

[4] Again, Baháʼuʼlláh.

A typescript of the original text of this passage appears below.

لله عمل الّذین قاموا علی خدمة الأمر علی شأن ما أقعدهم ضوضآء العباد و ما خوّفهم ظلم من فی البلاد…

این که نسخۀ مدنیّه را ارسال داشتید محبوب است ان شآء الله مُثمِرِ ثمر شود و سبب ترقیم آن آنکه یومی از ایّام حضرت غصن الله الأعظم روحی و ذاتی و کینونتی لتراب قدومه الفدآء در ساحت امنع اقدس اعلی ایستاده بودند لسان قدم به این کلمه ناطق قوله تعالی:

یا غصن اعظم محبوب آن که چند ورقی در سبب و علّت عِمار دنیا و خرابی آن نوشته شود به قسمی که متعصّبین را یک درجه تنزّل دهد تا مستعدّ شوند از برای اصغاء حفیف سدرۀ بیان که الیوم مرتفع است انتهی

و امثال این مضامین از لسان قِدَم اصغا شد لذا حضرت غصن الله رسالۀ مدنیّه را مرقوم فرمودند

بعضی از ناس گمان نموده‌اند که علم سیاست که سبب نظم و اطمینان و عمار عالم است منحصر در نفوس معروفه است فبئس ما توهّموا عنده علم کلّ شیء فی کتاب مبین جمیع سیاست در یک بیان مستور و مکنون است طوبی للنّاظرین و طوبی للعارفین آنچه از حقّ جلّ جلاله در این مقام نازل شده اگر به آن عامل شوند جمیع من علی الأرض خود را فارغ و مستریح مشاهده نمایند ولکنّ الأبصار مُنِعَتْ عن المشاهدة و الأفئدة عن الادراک بما اکتسبت ایادی العباد من قبل و من بعد انّ ربّنا العلیم هو المحصی الخبیر…