Papers delivered at the ‘Irfán Colloquium Session #18 (English)

Trent Park Campus: London, England

August 21–24, 1998.

Analytical Study of the Covenant in the Lawh-i-Ahmad (Arabic), An     edit

by Todd Lawson

The Tablet of Ahmad is identified as one of the more powerful of Bahá'u'lláh's Writings. I would like to explore the nature of this power through a close examination of the vocabulary and style of the text. The starting point for this discussion will be a discussion of words which are directly connected with divine authority. In the process we will observe also the way in which the four elements and pairs of opposites appear in the prayer and offer some provisional conclusions on the significance of this for a broader understanding of the Bahá'í teachings.

Best of Stories (Ahsan al-Qasas), The: Joseph Motifs and the Bábí-Bahá'í Interpretation of the Joseph Narrative     edit

by Stephen Lambden

The person and story of Joseph is important in both the Bible (Genesis 37-50) and the Qur'án (sura 12) where the account of this patriarch-prophet is the longest qur'anic narrative — an aspect of the "best of stories" (ahsan al-qasas). In Sunni and Shi'i Islamic sources Joseph is pre-eminently a model of righteous piety (al-siddiq) and a paragon of handsome beauty (husn; jamal). The latter hagiographical motif is, for example, indicated in the Shi'i Tafsir núr al-thaqalayn ('Commentary [expressive] of the Light of the Twin Weights') of al-Huwayzj (d. 1112/1700) where it is recorded that the sixth Twelver Imam, Muhammad al-Baqír (d.c. 126/743) stated that "Whoso reciteth the Sura of Joseph each day or during every night will be raised up by God on the Day of Resurrection such that their beauty (jamal) will be consonant with the beauty of Joseph..." (11:408). Qur'án 12:4 records the dream-vision of Joseph; "Behold, Joseph said to his father: 'O my father! I saw eleven stars, and the sun and the moon, I saw them bowing down before me!'" Among the interpretations of this verse are the following words again from the fifth Twelver Imam, "The inner sense (al-ta'wil) of this dream-vision (al-ru'ya') is that he [Joseph] will rule Egypt; and there shall enter before him his father [Jacob/Israel] and his brothers. As for the "sun" (al-shams) it is Rachael (Rahil) the mother of Joseph while the "moon" (al-qamar) is Jacob (Yaqúb). Now the eleven stars (alkawákib) are his [eleven] brothers. When they entered before him they prostrated in gratitude before God alone; the moment they caught sight of him was that of the prostration before God." (cited Bahrani, Kitáb al-burhan, 11:243).

The Shi'i imamological understanding of the Joseph narrative is registered in various authoritative traditions (ahadíth; khabar) and tafsir works. Aspects of its non-literal (allegorical-typological...) exegesis had messianic implications relative to the ghayba ("occultation") and eventual advent or "return" of the expected (hidden 12th) Imam. This provides the background to the Bábí-Bahá'í interpretation of the Joseph narrative which is often eschatological; messianic and theophanological.

The first major work of Sayyid 'Alí Muhammad, the Báb, (1819-1850 CE) was (loosely speaking) a tafsir (exegetical) work composed in mid-1844 CE (=1260 AH). It is variously (among other titles) known as the Tafsir Sura Yusuf (Commentary on the Sura of Joseph) and Qayyum al-asma' (lit. 'Self-Subsisting [Deity] of the Names') — the divine attribute Qayyum and the personal name Yusuf have an identical numerical (abjad) value (=156). A fairly lengthy (roughly 300+ pages) wholly Arabic work this revelatory, partially rewritten neo-tafsir frequently contains non-literal, often imamologically and eschatologically oriented expository rewrites of most of the 111 verses of the twelfth Surat Yusuf of the Qur'án. A novel 'Bábí Qur'án,' it was communicated by the Báb speaking with the voice of God as the earthly representative of the hidden (messianic) Imam. This new sacred book is modelled upon and very closely related to the Qur'án though it transcends it in being overtly Shi'i, sometimes Sufistic, mystical-qabbalistic and suggestive of an all but realized eschatological hope. The Qayyum al-asma' is thus more of a remodelling or partial rewriting of select pericopae ('paragraphs') of the Islamic holy book than a commentary in the classical sense of say that of Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari (d. 310/923) or 'Alí al-Tabarsi (d. 548/1114). It is usually towards the end of the new suras of the Báb's Qayyum al-asma' that a verse of the qur'anic Joseph narrative is exegetically or (more precisely) eisegetically rewritten. One is reminded of such Jewish targumic often paraphrastic, interpretive (Aramaic) 'translations' of the Hebrew Bible-such as that referred to as the Targum Pseudo-Jonathan.

The Báb's initial remarks on the Qur'ánic story of Joseph are found in the Vth chapter of his Tasfir which is entitled Sura Husayn. Here the dream-vision of Joseph (Q. 12:4) is cited and commented upon. Among other things, it is asserted that God intended by Joseph the nafs, the "Logos-Self" of the Messenger (=Muhammad) and the "fruit of the [womb of the] the Virgin" (thamarat al-batu'l) by which Fatimah's son, the martyred and expected to "return" [Imam] Husayn (4/626-61/680) is intended. The sun, moon and eleven stars seen by Joseph in his vision symbolize Fatima (="the sun"), Muhammad (="the moon") and the [Twelver] Imams (presumably 'Ali Hasan al-Askari = "the stars'; see Q 12:7). The twelve Imams are also representative of the 12 letters of the kalimat al-tawhid, the Islamic affirmation of the Divine Unity (= the 12 letters of la ilaha ila Allah = 'There is none other god but God').

In his later writings the Báb associated the beauteous Joseph (Yu'suf al-bahá) with the Bábí messiah figure man yuzhiruhu'lláh ("He Whom God shall make manifest") as well as with an expected theophany of Imam Husayn. It was in this light that Bahá'u'lláh came to claim to be the 'True Joseph: the returned Husayn and an incarnation of baha as that 'beauty-glory' which he identified with the greatest Name of God (al-ism Allah al-a'zam).

For Bahá'ís Joseph was a Manifestation of God. His life story prefigures and reflects that of Bahá'u'lláh. Just as Joseph was abandoned by his jealous brothers and subsequently imprisoned so was Bahá'u'lláh rejected by his half-brother Mirza Yahya Núrí (c.1830-1912) and incarcerated by the Ottoman authorities for several decades of the nineteenth century. In this paper these and related themes and motifs will be sketched and analysed.

Chain of Prophecy, The: Progressive Revelation as a Theory of Relativity     edit

by Zaid Lundberg

From a scientific perspective, the 19-20th centuries witnessed unprecedented paradigm shifts with the emergence of the theory of evolution and the quantum and relativity theories. Today, these three highly successful theories are well established, but in combination, they have radically altered the scientific understanding of man and nature. The theory of evolution dramatically shifted the Christian conception of man as static and disconnected to a more dynamic and connected paradigm. With the theories in physics, diverse phenomena, which had been previously seen as separate and irreconcilable, were gradually and systematically unified. If the theory of evolution contributed with concepts of dynamism and connectedness, the theories of physics aspired for an underlying unity amidst a perplexing diversity of entities.

The nineteenth century also witnessed the emergence of the scientific study of religion, which was greatly influenced by the nascent theory of evolution. Attempts were made which tried to encompass religions in grand evolutionary schemes. Such attempts have, however, been gradually and systematically discredited. With the rise and popularization of modern physics, certain attempts have also been made to understand religion from both quantum theory and relativity. Yet, from a scientific perspective, no theory of religion has had similar success, nor has it contributed to any paradigm-shift in our understanding of man and religion. Still, however, attempts, since the Parliament of Religions (1893) and similar subsequent endeavors, work for religious dialogue and aim to reconcile religious diversity.

From a Bahá'í perspective, the nineteenth century is especially interesting, not only because the Bahá'í Faith is concurrent with the above mentioned scientific paradigms and sciences, but because it is seen as a new religious paradigm in the history of world religions. The Bahá'í Faith not only stresses a highly evolutionary and dynamic perspective of religion, but also emphasizes an underlying unity of religious diversity. Moreover, it ultimately aspires to unify seemingly irreconcilable religions, nations and peoples.

In this context, it is particularly the" bedrock of Bahá'í belief" — the doctrine of progressive revelation — which is significant, since it is this doctrine that contains principles of both evolution and unity. Further, one of the most basic features of this doctrine is the idea of a chain of prophecy.

It is argued that the idea of a chain of prophecy can be approached from two opposite, and, seemingly, contradictory points of view: a via positiva — a scientific and exoteric approach which recognizes religion as a highly dynamic and diverse phenomenon, and a via negativa — a religious and esoteric approach which recognizes religion as a highly static and unified phenomenon. The purpose of this paper is to show that the Bahá'í Faith can reconcile a via positiva and a via negativa. Although seen as opposite, they may rather be seen as complementary. In other words, the Bahá'í Faith advocates-as one of its fundamental principles-that science and religion are two different, but complementary, approaches to reality.

Similar to the theory of evolution, which recognizes that all biological life is fundamentally connected and dynamic, the Bahá'í doctrine of progressive revelation emphasizes religious unity and dynamism. Similar to the theory of relativity of physics, which recognizes the speed of light as absolute, and time and space not only as relative and related, but that they form an underlying continuum (the "spacetime continuum"), the Bahá'í doctrine of progressive revelation recognizes God as the absolute, and the various world religions and religious truths are not only seen as relative and related, but they are seen as successive, continuous, and complementary (the "chain of prophecy").

Click here to read this paper online.

Dangers of Silence and the Practice of Responsible Apologetics, The     edit

by Jack McLean

Until the publication of "Des information als Methode" ("Disinformation as Method") (1995) by Udo Schaefer, Nicola Towfiqh and Ulrich Gollmer, the monograph of Bahá'í and "covenant breaker" Frederico Ficicchia's German language edition of The Bahá'í Faith — Religion of the Future? History, Teachings and Organisation, A Critical Inquiry (1981), despite its serious distortions, had been given a positive reception in some academic theological circles in Germany as an authoritative and "standard work" on the Bahá'í Faith. This paper has two main foci: (1) to report and to reflect upon the "the dangers of silence"; i.e. how Ficicchia's book, during the fifteen years following its publication, gained entry into German academic circles as a respectable and authoritative work on the Bahá'í Faith, and (2) to examine the role of apologetics in Bahá'í scholarship which itself is in danger of being perceived as a less than rigorous or sub-scholarly mode of discourse.

German Pietism and the Expectation of the Messiah, 1817 in the Caucasus     edit

by Kamran Ekbal

In 1817, the year in which Bahá'u'lláh was born in the city of Núr on the shores of the Caspian, a large group of German Pietists from the State of Wurttemberg set out on a long and distressing journey to the Caucasus, expecting the advent of the Messiah somewhere in the vicinity of the Caspian region in North Persia. Their journey ended in the Caucasus. The tense situation along the Russian-Persian borders prevented many of them from continuing their migration into Persia.

In the prospering colonies founded by them all along the Caucasus, in Georgia, Armenia, and Azarbaidjan, their strong sense of Messianic expectation deteriorated, but never dried up. From the midst of German Pietism arose soon the new movement of the Templers, who made then their way to Palestine in 1868 curiously enough like in 1817, as if on the very footstep of Bahá'u'lláh. Many of their coreligionists from the Caucasus followed up and joined them in Palestine.

This paper will describe the dramatic events that took place on the eve of the departure of the Wurttemberg Pietists and led to their migration into the Caucasus. It will also portray the Lithwanian Baroness Crudener, "prophetess" of the movement, who played a major role in motivating the people to migrate.

Globalization and Bahá'í Relations to World System of Society     edit

by Margit Warburg

The development of the Bahá'í religion and its teachings on the unification of the world is historically and conceptually congruent with the onset of globalization, as it is viewed by the sociologist of religion, Roland Robertson, one of the most productive scholars in the study of religion and globalization. In my present work on the Bahá'í religion I intend toy apply an overall globalization perspective inspired by Robertson's model of "the global field." This field has four constituents: individuals, national societies, world system of societies (i.e. the international political system of states), and humankind, and I have further developed this into a globalization model for describing Bahá'í orientations within the general global field. With slight modifications my model may be applicable to other globally dispersed religions, e.g. Mormonism, Judaism, or Catholicism.

Many religions address their message to humankind in general, and interaction with the world system of societies is not of particular doctrinal significance (although it may be important in practice). For the Bahá'ís however, the relations to the world system of societies occupy a prominent position in both Bahá'í theology and Bahá'í actions. Bahá'u'lláh's letters to the kings convey both acceptance and rejection of the existing world system of societies and of the world order maintained by this system. The balance between acceptance and rejection has since the time of 'Abdu'l-Bahá been an important theme in the messages from the Bahá'í leadership and the practice endorsed hereby. By and large, there was a sway from an emphasis on acceptance in the period when 'Abdu'l-Bahá travelled to the West, to an emphasis on rejection from the 1930s during the ministry of Shoghi Effendi. This had consequences for Bahá'í priorities in relation to the involvement in public affairs was played down in a climate of Bahá'í millenarian critique of society. With the 1985 document, The Promise of World Peace, a Bahá'í reorientation took place towards more emphasis on acceptance and active interaction with the world system of societies, first and most represented by UN system. This historical development will be illustrated with examples ranging from statements by the Bahá'í leadership to specific incidence of Bahá'í practice.

Lawh-i-Sultán: Tablet to the King of Persia     edit

by Manuchehr Salmanpour

The Lawh-i-Sultan of Iran, Bahá'u'lláh's Tablet to Nasiri'd-Din Shah, is the longest among several of His letters addressed to the kings and rulers of the world. This Tablet has been revealed partly in the Persian and partly in the Arabic languages. It was revealed in Adrianople and dispatched to the Sultan from 'Akká.

It deals with various religious subjects and principally contains a direct and unbiased proclamation to the king about the truth of God's new revelations as well as the tribulations engulfing Bahá'u'lláh and His followers.

Overview of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh During the Istanbul-Adrianople Period, An     edit

by Iraj Ayman

The immensity of Bahá'u'lláh's revelation during the Adrianople period, as testified by Himself and recorded by eyewitnesses, is beautifully summarized by Shoghi Effendi in the following paragraph:

A period of prodigious activity which, in its repercussions, outshone the vernal years of Bahá'u'lláh's ministry. "Day and night," an eye-witness has written, "the Divine verses were raining down in such number that it was impossible to record them. Mirza Aqa Jan wrote them as they were dictated, while the Most Great Branch was continually occupied in transcribing them. There was not a moment to spare." "A number of secretaries," Nabíl has testified, "were busy day and night and yet they were unable to cope with the task. Among them was Mirza Baqir-i-Shirizi. He alone transcribed no less than two thousand verses every day. He labored during six or seven months. Every month the equivalent of several volumes would be transcribed by him and sent to Persia. About twenty volumes, in his fine penmanship, he left behind as a remembrance for Mirza Aqa Jan." Bahá'u'lláh, Himself, referring to the verses revealed by Him, has written: "Such are the outpourings...from the clouds of Divine Bounty that within the space of an hour the equivalent of a thousand verses hath been revealed." "So great is the grace vouchsafed in this day that in a single day and night, were an amanuensis capable of accomplishing it to be found, the equivalent of the Persian Bayan would be sent down from the heaven of Divine holiness." "I swear by God!" He, in another connection has affirmed, "In those days the equivalent of all that hath been sent down aforetime unto the Prophets hath been revealed." "That which hath already been revealed in this land (Adrianople)," He, furthermore, referring to the copiousness of His writings, has declared, "secretaries are incapable of transcribing. It has, therefore, remained for the most part untranscribed." (1)

Some of the Tablets are known by specific names or titles. About forty-four of such Tablets were definitely revealed during Istanbul-Adrianople period. Out of them thirty-four Tablets have so far been published in original Persian or Arabic languages and a few of them, totally or in parts, are available in authorized English translations. This presentation attempts to present a brief sketch of the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh during this period.


1. Shoghi Effendi. God Passes By. Wilmette, Illinois: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1971, Page 171

Practice of Pilgrimage, The: A Comparative Review     edit

by Per-Olof Akerdahl

Pilgrimage is an expression of religious belief that exists in most religions throughout history. It has been an important part in the creation of a religious identity, as it has made it possible for the individual believer to show his or her identity in practical life and to come closer to the centre of revelation of that religion.

Those religions from the Middle East that can be called Prophet religions have some traits in common regarding pilgrimage and because of this it is meaningful to discuss three different goals of pilgrimage: the prophet grave, the centre of the world, and the outer symbol of theocracy. In this discussion I have chosen to take up Judaism, Christianity, Islam and the Bahá'í Faith. This discussion will form a background to a discussion on the meaning of pilgrimage in the Bahá'í Faith, especially as an agent to form the Bahá'í identity among the Bahá'ís in general and especially among the pilgrims.

Click here to read this paper online.

Principles of Bahá'í Theology in the Tablet of Salmán     edit

by Iraj Ayman

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:
  • 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
The language used in this tablet is rich with poetic and mystical terminology and expressions used in Islamic mysticism.

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.

3. Ibid.

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.

Religion and the Arts: The Cyclical Theory in the Bahá'í Faith     edit

by Moojan Momen

Art is a sensitive indicator of the spiritual state of a society. It can, because of its sensitivity, pick up changes before they are evident in other areas. In the Christian world, the art of the Renaissance had picked up the change to a more naturalistic more materialistically-oriented world at the beginning of the fifteenth century, long before it became evident in the political and scientific sphere.

In the Bahá'í teachings there is the concept of a spiritual cycle in which religion goes through a spring-time, summer, autumn, and winter. In this paper, it has been suggested that the art associated with each religion can be seen to reflect and parallel this religious cycle.

In the spring-time vigour of a religion, when there is the sense of a direct contact between the individual believer and the Transcendent, the art tends to be in the form of simple symbols representing eternal spiritual truths. With the passing of time and, in particular, with the emergence of a religious professional class and of a religion of love and devotion, the art moves towards being more representational. The icon shows the form of the founder of the religion, but in a traditional form, stressing still the spiritual and eternal aspects. The third stage in the development of religious art sees the emphasis change to a naturalistic and" life-like" representation of the founder of the religion. Here the spiritual aspects are suppressed in favour of human emotions and of the physical surroundings. While the symbolic and iconic art sought to act as a support for meditation and contemplation of spiritual truths, to take the human being up into the spiritual realm, naturalistic art emphasises the human and emotional, bringing the spiritual and heavenly down to earth.

In this paper, examples are presented from Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism to demonstrate this process of the evolution of religious art (although it has not proceeded equally in all religions). It is suggested that we may be seeing the evidences of a new spiritual spring-time emerging in the tendency in modern art to move away from figuration and naturalism and towards more abstract, symbolic art.

Sociopolitical Conditions of the Ottoman Empire in the Nineteenth Century     edit

by Kamran Ekbal

Ottoman Society in the nineteenth century was a society in transition. The modernization process initiated by the social and administrative reforms of the Tanzimat, changes in patterns of social and religious organization (Millet-system), imperialist policies of the Great Powers and the rise of separationist movements, from Egypt through the Levant and Greece to the Balkans, characterize this period of political unrest and tension in Ottoman history. In this context the history of Edirne (Adrianople) will be taken into special consideration.

Tablet of the Fear of God [Righteousness, Piety...], The     edit

by Stephen Lambden

The fairly brief (4-5pp) wholly Arabic Lawh al-Tuqá (Persian Lawh-i-Tuqá — Tablet of the Fear of God [Righteousness, Piety...]) is published in the original Arabic but it has neither been translated into any other language nor commented upon in any Bahá'í publication — only rarely receiving cursory or passing mention. Though the exact date of this Tablet is unknown, internal evidence suggests that it should be dated to the latter part of the Edirne [Adrianople] period after the break with Mirza Yahyá (c. 1866-7?). The Tablet has the following revelatory prescript of Bahá'u'lláh Himself:

"This is the Lawh al-Tuqa ("Tablet of the Fear of God"). Therein He mentioneth the servant of God who hath been named Nabíl before Taqí to the end that it be a memorial (tadhkirah) for him and a remembrance for whomsoever is protected within the shadow of His Lord, the Elevated. Such is indeed an expression of great good (khayr 'azim)."

The mention of the "Nabíl before Taqí" here corresponds to the name Muhammad Taqi — the numerical (abjad) value of Nabíl and Muhammad being identical (=92). There were numerous Bábís and Bahá'ís with this fairly common name. The identity of the (probably staunch Bábí) named Muhammad Taqí referred to in this Tablet is not known with certainty. He had not written to Bahá'u'lláh but happened to be mentioned by him. This Tablet was revealed that he and others might be comforted and not slip on the spiritual Path.

The latter component of the name of the person referred to in this Tablet, Taqi (=taqiyy, 'God-fearing,' 'Pious,' 'Devout'...) is derived from the same Arabic triliteral root (W-Q-Y [cf. VIII = T-Q-W]) as the verbal-noun, Tuqa which designates the Tablet itself — a word expressive of 'Righteous Piety,' 'Devoutness,' or the 'Fear of God.' The fear of God (tuqá, taqwá... + many synonyms) is an important ethical concept within the major Abrahamic religions (Judaism and Christianity and Islam) and has an important place in the Qur'án and in Sufi spirituality. It is also many times mentioned in both Bábí and Bahá'í scripture. Its central importance is evident in the late 'Akká period Tablet, the Persian Lawh-i-Dunya (Tablet of the World, c. 1890?) of Bahá'u'lláh where we at one point read: "Cleave unto taqwa righteousness, O people of Baha! This, verily, is the commandment which this Wronged One [al-mazlúm = Bahá'u'lláh] hath given unto you, and the first choice of his unrestrained Will for everyone of you." (Persian Text, Majmu'ih... 48; trans. Shoghi Effendi, TB:86).

Not at all a cringing terror before an Almighty Creator, tuqá/tawqí, the 'fear of God' in Bahá'í spirituality is an inner quality which is closely related to the human conscience and to self-knowledge. It is an elevated quality intimately associated with wisdom and with actions expressive of genuine piety, righteousness, humility and love.

The 'Tablet of the Fear of God' begins with an affirmation of the continuing, the post-Bábí divine revelation of verses. This that Bábís and other persons might orient themselves "upon a path unto the vicinity of the Spirit (al-rúh) nigh the Throne of their Lord ('arsh)...; be receptive to the Bahá'í message as revealed by Bahá'u'lláh. The people, the primarily Bábí audience, should "Fear God! (ittaqú'lláh)" in humility before the divine Beauty (jamal) with the [new] name of Bahá' (bi-ism al-baha') in the realm of Eternal Subsistence (jabarút al-baqá')." This new messenger is identical with the Báb. Humbly turning towards him is a befitting sign of receptivity to the outpourings of divine grace.

Eschatological signs mentioned in the Qur'án have been fulfilled. Revolutionary changes have been effected and the invitation is made to enter and travel in "the Crimson Ark (fulk al-hamrá')" representative of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh. This to the end that a lofty goal might be attained which is guarded from the aspersions cast by unbelieving Bábís and others.

Allusion is made to the inadequacy of such persons as Mirza Yahyá Núrí (c. 1830-1914) and their known failure to accept the claim of Bahá'u'lláh; to "one who publicly turned aside from God." Others consider that new revelations are not in conformity with the fitra, " the natural human disposition." They do not feel right about it even though the God-given innate disposition was created by the very revealed Word of God itself. Still others accuse Bahá'u'lláh of magic or sorcery. These are fallacious accusations made against all the prophets and messengers of the past.

The original spiritual creation of Mirza Yahyá is recounted in symbolic language as is his being accorded the "Most Beautiful Names" of God and elevated unto a station (maqám) which resulted in his being greatly renowned among a wide spectrum of peoples. This resulted in his pride and public renunciation of the Logos-like "Self of God" (Bahá'u'lláh).

Further paragraphs of the Lawh-i-Tuqa several times call peoples to righteous piety and honesty; to the "fear of God." The strong and allusive language of the this Tablet quite frequently echoes that of the Qur'án; Bábís should not make the errors which Muslims made in rejecting the Báb. This Tablet is primarily a call to the followers of the Báb to make the transition to faith in Bahá'u'lláh despite the hostile attitude of his half-brother, the one-time leading Bábí Mirza Yahyá.