Tablets with Mystical and Philosophical Themes

By Muin Afnani

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #24
Louhelen Bahá'í School: Michigan, USA
October 8–12, 1999
(see list of papers from #24)

    Tablet of Hikmat (Wisdom)

    This Tablet is arguably the most important philosophical Tablet of Bahá'u'lláh. In the early centuries of Islam, in particular during the Abbasid dynasty, many works of famous Greek philosophers were translated into Arabic and Islamic scholars studied these texts. Gradually, Islamic philosophers developed their own version of philosophy along with specific terminologies and concepts. In this Tablet Bahá'u'lláh addresses a number of such concepts and terms. For instance, Bahá'u'lláh explains the concept of creation using terminology of Islamic philosophers. In addition to philosophical issues, this Tablet contains many other important concepts such as the station of a human being, moral values, spiritual teachings, the concept of moderation, and so on. The recipient of this Tablet was the peerless scholar and teacher of the Faith, Aqa Muhammad-i-Qa'iní, known as Nabíl-i-Akbar, upon whom 'Abdu'l-Bahá conferred the station Hand of the Cause after his passing. This Tablet is entirely in Arabic.

    Tablet of Ru'ya (Vision)

    This Tablet was revealed in the early period of 'Akká, in 1873, on the occasion of the anniversary of the birth of the Báb. In this Tablet, similar to His other mystical writings such as Tablet of Maiden of Heaven, Ode of Varqá'íyyih, and Bahá'u'lláh's Mathnavi (poetry), Bahá'u'lláh describes His encounter with the Maiden of Heaven (Húrí). This Tablet is replete with mystical terminology, allegories, and poetic words and phrases which Bahá'u'lláh has used to draw a beautiful mystical vision before our eyes. Húrí laments at the tribulations of the Blessed Beauty and invites Him to leave this physical world and ascend to the realms above. Similar to some of His other mystical Tablets, here Bahá'u'lláh uses the concept of hair in a fascinating and mystical way. This Tablet is entirely in Arabic.

    Tablet of Burhán (Proof)

    This Tablet was revealed shortly after the martyrdoms of the King and the Beloved of the Martyrs. It is. addressed to Shaykh Muhammad-Báqir, stigmatized by Bahá'u'lláh as the Wolf; he was the cleric who issued the death sentence of these two illustrious servants of Bahá'u'lláh. In very strong language Bahá'u'lláh addresses the Wolf and his associate, Mir Muhammad-Husayn, another cleric who led the Friday prayer in mosque and addressed by Bahá'u'lláh as the She-Serpent, warning them of the consequences of their actions. Yet, the Blessed Beauty counsels them and invites them to take lessons from the fates of Sultán 'Abdu'l-'Azíz of the Ottoman Empire and Napoleon III, who refused the summons of God. This Tablet is entirely in Arabic.

    Tablet of Haykal (Temple)

    This is one of the most fascinating writings of Bahá'u'lláh in which He addresses the Temple, which is none other than His own Person. In a mystical tone Bahá'u'lláh addresses the limbs of the Temple, explaining the function and purpose of each and describing the glory and majesty with which the Temple is endowed. He also describes in a mystical language the secrets of the letters which compose the word Haykal. This is a long Tablet comprising a range of concepts such as Bahá'u'lláh's station, the new (spiritual) race of human beings to be created under the influence and education of the Word of God, His conversation with the Maiden of Heaven, the potentialities of the Word of God, the significance and advancement of science, the activities of the of the covenant breakers, reference to the next manifestation of God, and so on. This Tablet is entirely in Arabic.

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