Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh Revealed in Honor of Hand of the Cause Jináb-i-Ibn-i-Abhar

By Vahid Rafati

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #111
Centre for Bahá'í Studies: Acuto, Italy
June 30 – July 3, 2012
(see list of papers from #111)

    Approximately thirty Tablets revealed by Bahá'u'lláh in honour of Ibn-i-Abhar, a Hand of the Cause of God, have so far been identified. These range in length from as little as four lines to fifteen pages. While most of the longer Tablets were revealed by Bahá'u'lláh under the signature of Mirza Aqa Jan, the shorter ones are written by Bahá'u'lláh Himself. The Tablets are written in the Persian and Arabic languages, with some written in a mixture of the two. Although the majority of these Tablets are undated, those that are dated were revealed around 1298 to 1307AH/1880-1890. This, however, by no means suggests that the exact duration of Bahá'u'lláh's revelation of the Tablets to Ibn-I Abhar was restricted to those years.

    The collection of Ibn-i-Abhar's Tablets can be characterized as one of the richest sources of information on a vast range of topics related to different aspects of the Bahá'í Faith, particularly during the last two decades of Bahá'u'lláh's life. Social, communal and individual issues are reported by Ibn-i-Abhar to Bahá'u'lláh and received His attention, comments and explanations. Historical events of the Faith, such as the martyrdom of Badí` and the King and the Beloved of the Martyrs; principles of Bahá'í ethics; steadfastness in the face of opposition and persecution; unity among the believers, and the significance of teaching and serving the Faith are but a few topics of the main topics addressed in Ibn-i-Abhar's Tablets. Many prayers, all in Arabic, are also revealed within those Tablets. It should also be noted that in Ibn-i-Abhar's longer Tablets, one will find dozens of smaller Tablets that are revealed in honour of those individuals whose mentions were made by Ibn-i-Abhar in his letters to Bahá'u'lláh.

    In addition to the Tablets that are directly revealed for him, Ibn-i-Abhar's services to the Cause, his qualifications and his efforts in the teaching, promotion, and consolidation of the Faith as a distinguished member of the Bahá'í community and a Hand of the Cause of God are repeatedly referred to in tens of Tablets that Bahá'u'lláh wrote to the Bahá'ís around Persia. He was also the recipient of Tablets from Abdu'l-Bahá.

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