The Báb's Dalá'il Sab`ah (Seven Proofs):
Some Introductory Notes

By Stephen Lambden

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #54
Institute of Commonwealth Studies: London, England
July 2–4, 2004
(see list of papers from #54)

Next presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #58
Louhelen Bahá'í School: Davison, Michigan, USA
October 8–11, 2004
(see list of papers from #58)

    It was perhaps towards the middle or latter part of his nine-months imprisonment at Mákú (The Open Mountain) between July 1847 and April 1848 in Persian province of Adhirbayjan (in the NW of Iran), that the Báb revealed the Persian and the shorter Arabic recension of his (Per.) Dalá'il-i Sab`ih (Seven Proofs). These closely related literary works are most centrally concerned with a seven-fold proof of the divinely revealed status of a sacred book, most notably the Qur'an and most centrally the Báb's own now extensive divine revelations which are post-qur'anic yet characterized by the inimitable style of the Islamic Holy Book.

    While the Arabic version is a fairly brief, roughly fourteen page (with 19 or less lines per page) version of the more extensive Persian Seven Proofs spans just over 70 pages. In literary form both of these Persian and Arabic works constitute a variety of Istidláliyya ("Testimonia") text designed to set forth prophetic and other proofs of an Islamic and post-Islamic claim to (Ar.) wahy (divine revelation) and mazhariyya, the status of being a manifestation of God. Primitive Christianity missionary outreach was much facilitated by oral and written collections of prophetic proof texts (= Testimonia) culled from the Hebrew Bible and other sacred writings. In similar fashion both the two Seven Proofs works of the Bab and Bahá'-Alláh's major Istidláliyya best known today as the Kitáb-Íqán (Book of Certitude), are basically Istidláliyya type works. The Báb and Bahá'-Alláh both wrote proofs of the truth of their new religions and encouraged their followers to do likewise.

    The Arabic Seven Proofs is less known and represented in mss. than the Persian Seven Proofs. It has never been translated into any European language and has only been published once in Tehran by Iranian Azali Bábís (in the mid. 1960s?) on the basis of four extant manuscript copies available to them. This wholly Arabic work opens with a Dhikr-type litany of more than 100 versions of basmala (= Bismi'lláh al----- al----- = "In the Name of God, the X, the Y) phrases often terminating with words derived from the Arabic trilateral root F-R-D having connotations of "uniqueness" (= al-fard = also meaning single, alone, solitary, unique, etc). The word expresses the unique, the quintessence of God's tawhid, his "oneness", the Divine Singularity.

    The Arabic Seven Proofs thus begins with a double superlative of F-R-D, namely afrad = "most unique", supremely alone:

    In the Name of God, the Most Unique, the Most Unique

    In the Name of God, the Unique, the Unique
    In the Name of God, the Unique, the Unique
    In the Name of God, the Unique, the Unique

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