Declaration of Bahá'u'lláh Gleaming through the Tablet of Patience

By Foad Seddigh

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #121
Louhelen Bahá'í­ Center: Davison, Michigan, USA
October 10–13, 2013
(see list of papers from #121)

    This paper takes a closer look at Súriy-i-Sabr (Surih Sabr), to which references are made by other names. This Tablet of Bahá'u'lláh, which has been revealed on the first day of Ridván 1863, and has great significance among the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, is the subject of the study of this paper.

    In order to understand the contents of this Tablet better, one needs to review the events in the life of Bahá'u'lláh in the last few weeks prior to his exile to Istanbul (Constantinople) and Adrianople (Edirnih). Sabr is an Arabic word meaning patience, and Súriy-i-Sabr (Surih Sabr) derives its name from the attribute of 'patience' which is the starting theme of this Tablet. Troubles might come in one's path as a test for which patience is needed. In such occasions, one needs to be steadfast and loyal to one's Lord. The relationship between troubles in the path of God, and being steadfast in such instances on one hand, and divine tests on the other, have come under scrutiny in this paper. Ayyúb (Job) is one of the prophets of Israel who has exhibited these qualities, and his life is synonymous with patience. Bahá'u'lláh, while stating the story of the life of Ayyúb (Job) in this Tablet, writes some passages which may be interpreted as a statement of His own revelation from the tongue of Ayyúb. These statements have been identified in this paper. In this Tablet, the life history of Ayyúb is briefly mentioned and in this paper expanded. Ayyúb is also, a name which has been conferred by Bahá'u'lláh on a person who showed this attribute in the path of God and was steadfast in allegiance to his Lord, the Bab. He is Hájí Muhammad-Taqí Nayrízí, who was no longer living when this Tablet was revealed. This tablet has immortalized his life. This paper touches upon the sacrifices of this devoted believer.

    A summary of the content of the Tablet, without much explanation has been presented. Names of the persons and localities which appeared in the Tablet have been discussed. Significance of the devotion and heroic acts of Siyyid Yahyá Dárábi, Vahíd, in Nayríz has been discussed, and offering his life for his beloved, the Exalted One, the Primal Point, has been compared to the martyrdom of the Imám Husayn, to which a reference has been made in the Tablet. Similarities between the lives of these two spiritual towers have been drawn. Although, in the Tablet topics such as: Seal of Prophets, Beholding the Countenance of God, Appearance of God in the Shelter of Clouds, attaining the presence of God, Great Announcement, the Hour, Day of Resurrection, the Trumpet Call, and clarification of other puzzling references in the past scriptures, particularly the holy Qur'an, etc, have been discussed, none-the-less, these topics have been dealt with in greater details, in books such as the 'Kitáb-i-Íqán, Book of Certitude', and ' Jems of Divine Mysteries' which were revealed before this Tablet.

    However, topics such as these, important as they may seem, which are presented in the Tablet, do not constitute the significance of this Tablet. Rather, the significance of this Tablet lies in clarifying the manner of announcement of the station of Bahá'u'lláh, when He left Baghdad, and in references made to His station as the Promised One of the Dispensation of the Báb. There is no such phrases as: I am 'Him Whom God shall make manifest' in this Tablet which clearly would proclaim and pronounce that he is "the Promised One of the Bayán." Though He announces a new Light is being shed upon the world and a new Song is being sung, but it seems, He realizes that the time is not ripe for making the announcement openly, clearly and widely. References to His station and the new religion of God in this Tablet all have been discussed in this paper and have been analyzed. There are several passages in the Tablet which clearly indicate that those pure souls who expected Him to put a claim to a station, needed to wait and be patient. He also stresses that once He has made this announcement, it is not proper for them to hesitate for a moment, and if they stop for a moment, despite their long patience, the pronouncement of 'patient one' no longer can be applied to them.

    In the Tablet, there is a reference to Qayyúmu'l-Asmá. In this paper, Qayyúmu'l-Asmá has been discussed and the references made in the Tablet regarding 'two names', 'two dawning places', 'two mysteries' , etc. have been traced and identified in Qayyúmu'l-Asmá. In the Tablet, there is no mention of the name of the arch enemy of the 'Light of God', the half-brother of Bahá'u'lláh, Yahyá Azal. But there are several references to him such as the "Calf" and 'Samirí'. These references have been identified and explained. At the end of the Tablet, Bahá'u'lláh bids farewell to the friends in elevating and exalting words in a manner that may be interpreted as something profound, as a result of this separation, will happen. But, he does not pinpoint what that would be. This is indeed, a reference to the announcement of His station as the Promised One of the Bayán in an unequivocal manner in Adrianople which lead to the rebellion of His half- brother, Yahyá Azal . In this paper, His parting words and their meanings have been analyzed.

    Also, there has been a prophecy and warning regarding the 'birds of darkness' which will start flying in the absence of the light which is in reality the 'Light of His Countenance'. These passages have been identified and their meanings have been discussed. In the Tablet there are several references to Himself with names such as the 'the Nightingale of Paradise', the 'Beauteous Countenance of Eternity', etc. A list of these names have been compiled and presented in the paper.

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