Principles of Bahá'í Theology in the Tablet of Salmán
First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #18
Trent Park Campus: London, England
August 21–24, 1998
(see list of papers from #18)
Two Tablets revealed by Bahá'u'lláh, addressed to Salmán, have so far been published. Both of them are revealed in Persian. A short biography of Shaykh Salmán whom Bahá'u'lláh named "Messenger of the Merciful" is recorded by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in Memorials of the Faithful (1). One Tablet is revealed in Adrianople and the other in 'Akká. The former is over thirty pages long and is one of the "most significant among Bahá'u'lláh's Writings" (2). A summary of this Tablet is rendered by Adib Taherzadeh in The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, Volumes I and II (3). English translations by Shoghi Effendi of some selected parts of this Tablet appear in Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh (4).
This Tablet, among other topics, contains the explanation of some of the fundamental issues related to the Bahá'í theology. Some such principles inferred from this Tablet are:
The language used in this tablet is rich with poetic and mystical terminology and expressions used in Islamic mysticism.
- Words of God are sealed treasuries of the divine knowledge
- The letters of negation and affirmation in connection to the Covenant
- Bahá'í concept of the relationship between the Creator and humankind
- The total encompassment of the Will of God
- The significances of the names and attributes in the realm of God and in the world of creation
- Bahá'í interpretation of reunion with God and the concepts of unity vs. diversity
- The nature of belief and disbelief
In addition to Iqán, The Seven Valleys and The Four Valleys, some of the Tablets revealed in Adrianople contain further explanations of some of the main topics of the Tablet of Salmán. For example, Lawh-i-Nuqti for the supreme power of the Words of God, Lawh-i-Násir, Lawh-i-Sarraj and Súriy-i-'Ibad for the nature of belief and disbelief.
1. 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Memorials of the Faithful. Translated and annotated by Marzieh Gail. Wilmette, Illinois: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1971.
2. Taherzadeh, Adib. The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh. Oxford, UK.: George Ronald, 1977, Vol. II, p. 283.
4. Bahá'u'lláh. Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh. Translated by Shoghi Effendi. Wilmette, Illinois: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, rev, edn. 1953, sections XXI, CXLVIII, CLIV.
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