“Praise be to God, the Desire of the World…”

What follows is my provisional translation (in other words, not official or authorized; see here for more) of a Tablet from Baháʼuʼlláh, the original text of which is published in Áthár-i-Qalam-i-Aʻlá, vol. 6, pp. 194–7.

The italicized sentences represent the words of Mírzá Áqá Ján, Baháʼuʼlláh’s amanuensis. Language revealed in the voice of Mírzá Áqá Ján is a common feature of Baháʼuʼlláh’s tablets (cf. Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baháʼuʼlláh, vol. 1, pp. 40–42).

In the Name of Our Lord, the Most Holy, the Most Mighty, the Most High, the Most Glorious

Praise be to God, the Desire of the World, a praise which is immeasurably above the understanding of all that dwell on earth. He, verily, hath reserved calamity for His loved ones. Well is it with them who are truly devoted—those servants who have sought to scale the heights of tribulation until they reach the very pinnacle—for they are indeed the loved ones of God, exalted be His glory.

Their gaze is, and hath ever been, fixed upon the Supreme Horizon. Adversities have failed to prevent them from turning towards Him, and hardships have been powerless to hinder their acceptance of Him. Rather, the misfortunes and calamities of the world have only strengthened that fire of love, and increased the intensity of its flame. Should any one, in truth, become aware of the ever-changing and transient nature of this world, he shall never be disheartened by the things therein, nor ever be deprived of gladness and peace. He would derive his joy from God alone, and live his life wholly for the sake of God. The declaration “Verily, we are God’s” would be his perpetual companion, and its consequence “to Him shall we return” his intimate friend. [1]

When a heart is illumined by the light of recognition—and filled with the remembrance, the praise, the love, and the fellowship of the Almighty, exalted be His glory—it shall have no room to accommodate the sorrows of the world, nor any spot where the dust of calamity may settle.

Lauded be Thy Name, O Thou Who art the Light of the world, the Illuminer of the world, the Subduer of the world, and the Dispeller of the sorrows of men! I beseech Thee by Thy Most Great Name, through which the gentle winds of the dawn of Thy bounty have wafted over Thy servants, to assist Thine Afnáns [2] to stand before Thy countenance, and to help them hold fast to what hath been ordained for them through Thy generosity and favor. Protect them, then, from the wickedness of Thine enemies, and shield them from the clamor of them who have disbelieved in Thee and in Thy signs. I beseech Thee, O Thou Who art the Lord of all being, and the King of the seen and the unseen, to fling open the doors of Thy bounty before their faces, that the breezes of Thine utterance may carry them away to a station where they shall neither be saddened by the affairs of this world and its defilements, nor disheartened by the deeds of those who have turned away from Thy Supreme Horizon. Assist these souls, O my God, to attain unto that which will draw them nigh unto Thee at all times. Thou art, in truth, the All-Possessing, the Most High. May My spirit be a sacrifice for thy mention and a ransom for thy servitude.

On different occasions, two letters from thee were received, each of which was a key to unlocking the cities of loving-kindness, fellowship, and vigilance. Upon reading them and becoming apprised of their contents, I sought the Presence of the Blessed Beauty and conveyed the messages to Him. Thereupon He said, blessed and exalted be His utterance:

O My Afnán! Upon thee be My glory and My tender mercies. Reflect thou upon the calamities that have befallen the Essence of Truth, and likewise upon the vicissitudes that beset the Prophets aforetime. The rapture of Divine loving-kindness seized Them in such wise that the hardships of this world seemed to Them as banquets of joy and delight. The world’s rejection of Them hath never hindered Them from turning unto God, nor deprived Them of the greatest happiness. Such was the sweetness of the Utterance of the All-Merciful, and that which had been ordained for those Prophets, that the world was as nothing to Them. They strove, at every moment, to soar on the wings of joy and ascend unto the realm of nearness unto God, which is indeed even as the realm of the Presence of God itself. If all the worlds of existence and their affairs were confined only to this world, They would have never submitted Themselves to Their enemies. I swear by the Sun of Truth Which hath risen and shineth above the horizon of this Prison! Those Essences of Being have, from eternity, so wholly resigned and submitted Themselves to the Will of God that the oppression and cruelty of the peoples of the world have been powerless to deter Them from Their steadfastness in the Cause of God.

Since thy heart hath become linked with the Most Great Ocean, thou dost now see the world and the things men possess as mere shadows that will soon fade away and perish. Perhaps that which hath befallen thee will cause the hidden bounties of God to be made manifest. Thou hast walked in the ways of God, and what befell thee took place after thou didst reach the station of certitude and embrace His Cause. Through it, perchance, will occur that which will solace the eyes and gladden the hearts. None can fathom the mysteries of God’s consummate wisdom, and unto this testifieth this Wronged One in this remote Prison.

Say: O God, My God! Thou seest Me turning toward Thee and holding fast unto Thee. Thou beholdest, moreover, the helplessness of Thy loved ones and the ascendancy of Thy foes, and the tyranny they have committed in Thy cities. I beseech Thee by the movement of Thy most sublime Pen, through Which Thou hast subdued all created things, and by the potency of Thy wondrous Signs, to help Me to achieve that which will draw Me near unto Thee. Thou seest Me, O Lord, hemmed in by sorrows. I entreat Thee to send down upon Me, from the heaven of Thy bounty, that which will make Me able to soar in Thine atmosphere, enraptured by Thy Signs, and driven to seek Thee as My Refuge.

Ordain for Me, O Lord, with Thy most sublime Pen, that which will profit Me in every world of Thy worlds. I am the One, O my God, Who hath acknowledged Thy unity and Thy singleness. Thy knowledge is all-encompassing, and it surely surpasseth Mine own. Thou knowest what will exalt Me and cause Me to accomplish that which is pleasing and acceptable unto Thee. Thou, verily, art the Lord of the Throne on high and of earth below. No God is there but Thee, the Almighty, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.


[1] A reference to Qur’án 2:156.

[2] Maternal relatives of the Báb, the forerunner to Baháʼuʼlláh.


A typed version of the complete text of this tablet appears below (punctuation and Arabic vocalization mine).

بِسْمِ رَبِّنَا ٱلْأَقْدَسِ ٱلْأَعْظَمِ ٱلْعَلِيِّ ٱلْأَبْهَىٰ

حمد مقدّس از عرفان اهل امکان مقصود عالميان را لايق و سزاست که بلا را مخصوص اولياء قرار فرمود. طوبى از براى مقرّبين يعنى نفوسى که بسُلَّمِ بلا بذروۀ علياء ارتقا جسته‌اند ايشانند اولياى حق جلّ جلاله

لازال به‌ افق اعلی ناظر بوده و هستند بأساء ايشان‌ را از توجّه منع ننمود و ضرّاء از اقبال باز نداشت بلکه حوادث عالم و مصيبات آن نار محبّت را مدد نمود و بر شعله افزود. هر نفسى فى الحقيقه بر تغيير و تبديل و فناى عالم آگاه شود او را هيچ شئ از اشياء پژمرده ننمايد و از روح و ريحان باز ندارد. فرحش باللّه است و عيشش للّه. همدمش انّا‌ للّه و مصاحبش انّا‌ اليه راجعون

بعد از آنکه قلبى به‌ انوار معرفت منوّر شد و از ذکر و ثنا و محبّت و مودّت حق جلّ جلاله پر گشت ديگر محلّ باقى نه تا احزان عالم و کدورات نازله در آن وارد شود و يا داخل گردد

سُبْحَانَكَ يَا نُورَ ٱلْعَالَمِ وَمُنَوِّرَ ٱلْعَالَمِ وَمُسَخِّرَ ٱلْعَالَمِ وَمُذْهِبَ أَحْزَانِ ٱلْأُمَمِ أَسْأَلُكَ بِٱلْاِسْمِ ٱلْأَعْظَمِ ٱلَّذِي بِهِ سَرَتْ نَسَمَاتُ فَجْرِ عِنَايَتِكَ عَلَیٰ عِبَادِكَ بِأَنْ تُؤَيِّدَ أَفْنَانَكَ عَلَیٰ ٱلْحُضُورِ أَمَامَ وَجْهِكَ وَٱلتَّمَسُّكِ بِمَا قُدِّرَ لَهُمْ بِجُودِكَ وَأَلْطَافِكَ. ثُمَّ ٱحْفَظْهُمْ مِنْ شَرِّ أَعْدَائِكَ وشَمَاتَةِ ٱلَّذِينَ کَفَرُواْ بِكَ وَبِآيَاتِكَ. أَسْأَلُكَ يَا مَالِكَ ٱلْوُجُودِ وَسُلْطَانَ ٱلْغَيْبِ وَٱلشُّهُودِ بِأَنْ تَفْتَحَ عَلَیٰ وُجُوهِهِمْ أَبْوَابَ عِنَايَتِكَ لِتَجْذَبَهُمْ نَفَحَاتُ بَيَانِكَ إِلَیٰ مَقَامٍ لَا تَحْزَنُهُمْ شُئُونَاتُ ٱلدُّنْيَا وَکُدُورَاتُهَا وَلَا تَخْمُدُهُمْ أَعْمَالُ ٱلَّذِينَ أَعْرَضُواْ عَنْ أُفُقِكَ ٱلْأعْلَیٰ. ثُمَّ وَفِّقْهُمْ يَا إِلٰهِي عَلَیٰ مَا يُقَرِّبُهُمْ إِلَيْكَ فِي کُلِّ ٱلْأَحْوَالِ. إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ ٱلْغَنِيُّ ٱلْمُتَعَالُ. رُوحِي لِذِکْرِکُمِ ٱلْفِدَاءُ وَلِخِدْمَتِکُمِ ٱلْفِدَاءُ.

دو دستخط حضرتعالی از قبل و بعد رسيد هر يک مفتاحى بود از براى مدائن محبّت و مودّت و توجّه. و بعد از قرائت و اطّلاع قصد مقام اعلی نموده تلقاء وجه عرض شد قوله تبارک و تعالی

يا افنانى عليک بهائى و عنايتى در بلاياى وارده بر نفس حق و همچنين آنچه بر انبياء وارد شد تفکّر نما. جذب محبّت الهى چنان اخذشان نمود که بلايا و رزاياى عالم نزدشان مائدۀ فرح و سرور محسوب. اعراض عالم و انکار امم ايشان را از اقبال منع ننمود و از فرح اکبر باز نداشت از حلاوت بيان رحمن و ما‌ قُدِّرَ لَهُمْ عالم را معدوم و مفقود مشاهده مى‌نمودند. در هر حين به‌ اجنحه ابتهاج قصد‌ معراج که مقام قرب و لقاست مى‌فرمودند و‌ اگر عوالم و شئوناتش منحصر به‌ اين عالم‌ بود هرگز خود را بين ايادى اعداء تسليم نمى‌نمودند. قسم به‌ آفتاب حقيقت که از افق سماء سجن مشرق و لائح است لازال آن جواهر وجود در مقام تسليم و رضا واقف و قائم بودند بشأنى که ظلم و تعدّى اهل عالم ايشان را از استقامت بر‌ امر باز نداشت

چون قلب به‌ بحر اعظم متصّل شد عالم و ما عند النّاس را بمثابۀ ظلّ مشاهده نمايد که عنقريب فانى شود و زوال پذيرد. شايد آنچه وارد شده بر شما سبب و علت ظهورات عنايات غيبيّه الهيّه شود. شما به‌ او منسوبيد. آنچه بر شما وارد شده بعد از ايقان و اقبال بوده لَعَلَّ يَحْدَثُ بِذٰلِكَ مَا تَقَرُّ بِهِ ٱلْعُيُونُ وَتَفْرَحُ بِهِ ٱلْقُلُوبُ. بر اسرار حکمت بالغه احدى مطّلع نه يَشْهَدُ بِذٰلِكَ هٰذَا‌ ٱلْمَظْلُومُ فِي هٰذَا ٱلْسِّجْنِ ٱلْبَعِيدِ

قُلْ إِلٰهِي إِلٰهِي تَرَانِي مُقْبِلَاً إِلَيْكَ وَمُتَمَسِّکَاً بِكَ وَتَرَىٰ ضَعْفَ أَوْلِيَائِكَ و‌َقُوَّةَ أَعْدَائِكَ و‌َظُلْمَهُمْ فِي بِلَادِكَ. أَسْأَلُكَ بِحَرِکَةِ قَلَمِكَ ٱلْأعْلَیٰ ٱلَّذِي بِهِ سَخَّرْتَ ٱلْأشْيَاءَ وَبِنُفُوذِ آيَاتِكَ ٱلْکُبْرَىٰ بِأَنْ تُؤَيِّدَنِي عَلَیٰ مَا يُقَرِّبُنِي إِلَيْكَ. أَي رَبِّ تَرَانِي فِي بُحْبُوحَةِ ٱلْأَحْزَانِ. أَسْأَلُكَ بِأَنْ تَنْزِلَ لِي مِنْ سَمَاءِ عَطَائِكَ مَا يَجْعَلُنِي طاَئِرَاً فِي هَوَائِكَ وَمُنْجَذِبَاً بِآيَاتِكَ وَلَائِذَاً بِحَضْرَتِكَ

أَي رَبِّ قَدِّر‌ْ لِي مِنْ قَلَمِكَ ٱلْأعْلَیٰ مَا يَنْفَعُنِي فِي کُلِّ عَالِمٍ مِنْ عَوَالِمِكَ. أَنَا ٱلَّذِي يَا إِلٰهِي ٱعْتَرَفْتُ بِوَحْدَانِيَّتِكَ وَفَرْدَانِيَّتِكَ. سَبَقَنِي عِلْمُكَ ٱلْمُحِيطُ وَتَعْلَمُ مَا يَرْفَعُنِي وَيُوَفِّقُنِي عَلَیٰ مَا تُحِبُّ وَتَرْضَىٰ. إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ مَالِكُ ٱلْعَرْشِ و‌َٱلثَّرَىٰ. لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ ٱلْمُقْتَدِرُ ٱلْعَلِيمُ ٱلْحَکِيمُ