A Look at the Imagery and Parables Used in the Persian Tablet of Ahmad

By Foad Seddigh

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #135
Louhelen Bahá'í­ School: Davison, Michigan
October 8–11, 2015
(see list of papers from #135)

    The Persian Tablet of AhÌ£mad is neither a long Tablet by any standard nor is a short Tablet. It was revealed by Bahá'u'lláh in Adrianople in the second year of His sojourn in that city, and is addressed to a believer in the cause of the Báb, named AhÌ£mad from Káshán. AhÌ£mad was one of the four brothers who pursued life in four different directions; one became a famous martyr in the Bayán Dispensation, another one became a devoted servant of Bahá'u'lláh, the third one never showed any interest in the claims of the Báb or Bahá'u'lláh. However AhÌ£mad travelled to Baghdád and resided there and was among those who were exiled to Adrianople with Him; and he had an ample opportunity to associate with Bahá'u'lláh and gain wisdom and receive spiritual bounties from Him. But, instead he was much like a man who did not differentiate between pearl and stone, an imagery used in the Tablet, became inclined towards Mirzá YahÌ£yá Azal. At the end, he despite much association with the Blessed Perfection, failed to recognize His Beauty. This Tablet is addressed to AhÌ£mad and discusses the conditions for eternal salvation. In this Tablet, Bahá'u'lláh warns him against idle fancies and vain imaginings which are great obstacles in the way of recognition of the truth. Tablet of AhÌ£mad is written in a lucid and simple language. One cannot find even one reference to Qur'ánic verses and past Islamic traditions, Persian or Arabic poems and verses, historical facts, Arabic prose, references to the past philosopher's opinions, references to mystics and their beliefs; though there are several hints. The most important objective for this Tablet, seems to be the persuasion of AhÌ£mad to recognize the station of Bahá'u'lláh, through the means of reasoning. In this Tablet, He refers to the recognition of God and states that it is nothing more than the recognition of His manifestation. Practically the whole content of the Tablet is applicable to the peoples of the world who have abandoned searching for the truth in this time or any period of time.

    As of now, we do not have an authorized translation of the Tablet into English. However, the Guardian translated selected passages from this Tablet which constitute half of the Tablet. The author made an effort to provisionally translate the remaining passages in a manner and style which would be compatible with those of the Guardian. This provisional translation will be used in the discussions of this paper.

    In this tablet the use of imagery and the use of parables are very prominent. Often times for clarifying a point, particularly abstract subjects, one might resort to the use of the images familiar in the material world; this is the case for the Persian Tablet of Aḥmad. These two features in particular, but not exclusively, will be discussed in this paper.

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