Signs of Prophethood:
An exposition on a Tablet by `Abdu'l-Bahá

By James B. Thomas

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #53
Bosch Bahá'í School: California, USA
May 27–30, 2004
(see list of papers from #53)

published in Lights of Irfan, volume 6, pages 217-236
© 2005, ‘Irfán Colloquia

    In a rather short but particularly moving and powerful tablet `Abdu'l-Bahá defines a series of signs that show incontrovertible evidence of the Lord of Hosts. In a compressed form they cover a vast array of proofs as they apply to the reality of a Divine Messenger in the person of Bahá'u'lláh. This paper elaborates upon the ramifications of the extraordinary evidence of the signs of a Manifestation of God as articulated by `Abdu'l-Bahá in that tablet and is corroborated with exerpts from the Dalail-i-Sabíih (The Seven Proofs) by the Bab. It is also reinforced by Bahá'u'llah in the Kitab-i-Iqan and additional comments by `Abduíl-Bahá in Some Answered Questions.

        The exposition is presented in three steps: First a definition of the form or type of proof utilized is defined by `Abdu'l-Bahá wherein he describes a truly reliable type of proof with respect to four different ways that humans arrive at proofs. These are expounded by the eminent Bahá'i scholar Mirza Abu'l-Fadl as he builds on these criteria with samplings from religions of the past.    

        Second, in the sequence of signs there are shown those that are obviously self-evident whereas others require probing to deeper levels of meaning. For example the references to `clues' and "the anticipation of the righteous" require search and reflection. On the other hand the reference to "the spreading of many and various tidings" is easily verifiable yet this too requires study because it opens doors to deeper mysteries and offers insight to the inquiring mind.

        Third, emphasis is placed on historical confirmation. No Divine Messenger in history has had, in His own time, the impact on the life of man as that of the Prophet for this Day, Bahá'u'lláh.
    Jim Thomas, a retired Aerospace Design Engineer living in La Crescenta, California with wife Ida has been a Bahá'i for twenty-seven years and is currently involved in Bahá'i teaching programs as an Area Coordinator with the Western Regional Training Institute. Travels include teaching efforts in China on two occasions as an Advisory Board member of the Pacific Rim Institute for Development and Education.

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