An Exposition of the Tablet of the World (Lawh-i-Dunyá)

By James B. Thomas

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #40
Bosch Bahá'í School: California, USA
May 23–26, 2002
(see list of papers from #40)

published in Lights of Irfan, volume 4, pages 141-150
© 2003, ‘Irfán Colloquia

    In an effort to fully appreciate the historical significance of the Tablet of the World, this essay first portrays the developing conditions in Persia and in the world that preceded the Lawh-i-Dunyá. It then expounds the salient points of the Tablet.

    In Iran, the leading Divines objected to anything western in spite of obvious technological achievements that might bring about improved living conditions. This harks back to the days when 'Abdu'l-Bahá was encouraged to write 'The Secret Of Divine Civilization' twenty-six years before when the Shah was trying to make an attempt to modernize the country. When occasional compromises were discussed they were presented in such fragmented ways that progress was stillborn.

    The world, on the other hand, was ruled by European powers at a time when spectacular technological advances were on a collision course with political corruption. A historical review leading up to the state of European affairs in the late eighteen hundreds is presented as a backdrop to the potency of Bahá'u'lláh's pen. The second industrial revolution was in full swing in 1891 when Bahá'u'lláh wrote "this mighty and wondrous Tablet" and it was in stark contrast to the backward looking conditions in Persia, a land that had such a, glorious past.

    In the Tablet Bahá'u'lláh first addresses the degradation of Persia with solutions by which its spiritual plight can be overcome. He then broadens His solutions to encompass all of mankind with five steps, the first being promotion of the Lesser Peace. He emphasizes the need of a common language, adherence to unity, children's education and, in Persia, the need for modern agriculture. All this is in contrast to the unbeliever's focus on the shedding of blood, the burning of books, the shunning of followers of other religions and extermination of other communities. He declares that the affairs of men should be committed to the care of just kings and presidents and of the Trustees of the Universal House of Justice. He also admonishes the people of God to incline their hearts unto the counsels of the Incomparable Friend. He then appeals to God to graciously aid His servants. Finally, He assures that the Glory proceeding from God rests upon the people of Baha.

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