Tablet of Visitation for the Báb

By William McCants

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #38
Louhelen Baha'i School: Michigan, USA
October, 2001
(see list of papers from #38)

published in Lights of Irfan, volume 3, pages 83-94
under new title
"The Wronged One: Shí'í Narrative Structure in Bahá'u'lláh's Tablet of Visitation for Mullá Husayn"
© 2002, ‘Irfán Colloquia

    Most Bahá'ís know of only one Tablet of Visitation for the Báb, which is comprised of several brief selections from Bahá'u'lláh's writings compiled by Nabíl at the request of `Abdu'l-Bahá. In a well-known volume of Persian and Arabic Tablets, however, there exists a hitherto untranslated Tablet of Visitation revealed by Bahá'u'lláh for the Báb. The Tablet is important not only for its devotional content, but also as a eulogy of the Báb written by one who so closely identified Himself with His Forerunner's mission and as a creedal statement pertaining to the station of the Báb and His metaphysical relationship with Bahá'u'lláh.

    In this paper, an English translation of the Tablet will be presented, preceded by a brief discussion of the practice of zíyára in Islam, particularly in the Shi'i community. The performance of the zíyára for the Báb will be discussed and the Tablet will be compared with other Tablets of Visitation written by Bahá'u'lláh. Finally, the various motifs present in the Tablet will be examined.

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