The Fire Tablet (Lawh-i-Ihtiraq) and the Tablet of the Land of Ba (Lawh-i-Arz-i-Ba)
First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #22
August 27–29, 1999
(see list of papers from #22)
These are two tablets of Bahá'u'lláh revealed in the early 'Akká period and relating to specific historical episodes. In this presentation, therefore, we will discuss both the content and the historical context of these tablets.
The first tablet is generally called "The Fire Tablet" in the West while in the Middle East it is referred to by its opening words "Qad lhtaraq al-Mukhlisn." It contains a revealing and compelling glimpse of the turmoil caused within Bahá'u'lláh's inner being at the time when the problems with the Azalis in 'Akká were coming to a head towards the end of 1871. It is in the form of an exchange between Bahá'u'lláh and God. Bahá'u'lláh laments His present condition and implores God's intervention. God responds by encouraging Bahá'u'lláh's fortitude in the face of His tribulations, pointing out that these events are indeed part of God's plan and are necessary if God's purpose is to be fulfilled. The abasement and tribulations suffered by God's Manifestation is the means whereby the glory and sovereignty of God can eventually be demonstrated.
The second tablet was revealed by Bahá'u'lláh on the occasion of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's visit to Beirut in 1879. This journey was undertaken at the express invitation of Midhat Páshá, the famous reforming Turkish statesman who was at this time the governor of Syria. On this journey, 'Abdu'l-Bahá met other individuals such as Shaykh Muhammad 'Abduh, who were also to play an important part in the reform movements of the Middle East. In this tablet, Bahá'u'lláh praises 'Abdu'l-Bahá greatly. This tablet thus forms an important component in the series of tablets starting with the Tablet of the Branch and culmination in the Book of the Covenant in which Bahá'u'lláh clearly indicates the high station of the person whom He would appoint as His successor and the Center of the Covenant.
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