“O My handmaid! Concern not thyself with that which is outwardly apparent…”

What follows is my provisional translation (in other words, not official or authorized; see here for more) of a passage from a Persian Tablet of Baháʼuʼlláh. The original Persian text has been published in Máʼidiy-i-Ásmání, vol. 8, p. 35. I would like to thank Omid Ghaemmaghami for sharing his insights on this passage, which helped inform the provisional translation below.

According to a note by Vahid Rafati—published in ʻAndalíb, no. 64, p. 44—this Tablet was addressed to the daughter of Áqá ʻAbdu’r-Rasúl Qumí, who was martyred in Baghdád in 1868 at the hands of those who were opposed to the Baháʼí Faith.

O My handmaid! Concern not thyself with that which is outwardly apparent; fix thy gaze, rather, upon that which lieth within. Look thou upon the beauty of God’s loved ones with His eye. Should one not be possessed of an attractive appearance, know thou that inwardly they possess a beauty that arouseth the envy of every beloved one. Physical beauty is loved by self and passion, while spiritual beauty is loved by God. Which, then, wouldst thou choose? That which the Beloved Himself would choose hath, assuredly, ever been and will ever be the desire of His loved ones.

Know thou that physical beauty is but a property of this world, and that this world appeareth to be decked with ornaments and replete with comeliness, yet it causeth the feet of them who gaze upon such things to falter.

On a certain day, one of the loved ones of God perceived the world in its most beautiful outward form. Beholding this sight, he remarked, “Thou appearest to be well-adorned and pleasing.” At that very moment, he received inspiration from God, which prompted him to say, “Reveal thy true form unto me.” And when he beheld the world in this state, he fled in terror therefrom, and sought refuge with God from its appearance and its odors.

Should the loved ones of God not be accepted by their fellow men, they will, of a certainty, be accepted by God—and were those loved ones to appear in their true form, I swear by God that none would have the power to behold the dazzling light that would emanate from their faces. God, verily, is a sufficient witness unto Me.

A scan of the original Persian text of this passage appears below.