11

Truths of His Cause

Tarázát

The Tablet of Tarázát* was revealed in honour of an individual believer whose identity has not as yet been discovered. In the same fashion as in the preceding Tablets of Ishráqát, Bishárát and Tajallíyát, Bahá'u'lláh here reveals some of His choicest teachings and exhortations. The Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh are always full of significances. Every line, every word of His Writings is pregnant with meaning.† Some are easily comprehended and some become apparent to a believer through prayer and meditation, and detachment from all earthly things.‡ The opening paragraphs of this Tablet contain many levels of meaning.

In My Name, which standeth supreme above all names

Praise and glory beseem the Lord of Names and the Creator of the heavens, He, the waves of Whose ocean of Revelation surge before the eyes of the peoples of the world. The Day-Star of His Cause shineth through every veil and His Word of affirmation standeth beyond the reach of negation. Neither the ascendancy of the oppressor nor the tyranny of the wicked hath been able to thwart His Purpose. How glorified is His sovereignty, how exalted His dominion!

Great God! Although His signs have encompassed the

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* The text of this Tablet is translated in full into English, see Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, pp. 33-44.

† Bahá'u'lláh states that the meaning of the Word of God cannot be exhausted. For further information see vol. 1, p. 32.

‡ For further discussion see vol. 3, pp. 94-6.

world and His proofs and testimonies are shining forth and manifest as the light, yet the ignorant appear heedless, nay rather, rebellious. Would that they had been content with opposition. But at all times they are plotting to cut down the sacred Lote-Tree. Since the dawn of this Revelation the embodiments of selfishness have, by resorting to cruelty and oppression, striven to extinguish the Light of divine manifestation. But God, having stayed their hands, revealed this Light through His sovereign authority and protected it through the power of His might until earth and heaven were illumined by its radiance and brightness. Praise be unto Him under all conditions.1
A perusal of these utterances brings into focus a vast difference between the vision of Bahá'u'lláh and that of mankind. While outwardly He was living an austere life as an exile, confined in one of the most desolate cities of the world, bitterly opposed by two powerful despots of the Islámic world, His followers severely persecuted, Himself a target of attacks by enemies from within and without, His Cause in utter obscurity and His own person unknown to the nations and peoples of the world, Bahá'u'lláh's vision of His Cause was so glorious that in the above passage He states that the waves of the ocean of His Revelation 'surge before the eyes of the peoples of the world'.

Knowing the reality of His own Mission and being at the centre of the Orb of God's Revelation, Bahá'u'lláh could see the end in the beginning. While others cannot observe anything but darkness surrounding the world, He beholds the rays of the Sun of Truth enveloping the earth. Proclaiming these glad-tidings, He declares in these words the triumph of His Cause: 'God...revealed this light through His sovereign authority and protected it through the power of His might until the earth and heaven were illumined by its radiance and brightness.'

This contrast may be attributed to the fact that in the sight of God there is no past, present or future. All three are the same. We may appreciate this if we examine the relationship between the sun and our planet. For those who live on earth there is a concept of time in relation to the sun. But if one could live in the

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1. Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 33.
sun there would be no passage of time as experienced on earth. The Manifestation of God and His knowledge of the future may be likened to an experienced farmer who can see, in his mind's eye, inside a tiny seed a large tree laden with fruit. He knows that once it is sown in the soil, the seed will germinate and a tree will begin to grow in its place.

There are many stories attributed to Bahá'u'lláh, 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi which further illustrate this point. For example, Dr Habíb Mu'ayyad has left to posterity the following account in his memoirs. It describes in vivid terms the vision of 'Abdu'l-Bahá about the future of Mount Carmel and the Shrine of the Báb. When 'Abdu'l-Bahá spoke these ords Mount Carmel was a heap of rocks and uninhabited; today much of His vision has been fulfilled.

On one occasion when 'Abdu'l-Bahá was strolling in the gardens {near the Shrine of the Báb} His eyes were focused upon the sea and the city of 'Akká for some time. After a few moments of silence, He said, 'I have seen many places abroad, but nowhere has the fresh air and the beautiful scenery of the Shrine of the Báb.* Ere long this mountain will become habitable. Many fine buildings will be built on it. The Shrine of the Báb will be constructed in the most exquisite fashion and will appear with the utmost beauty and magnificence. Terraces will be built from the bottom of the mountain to the top. Nine terraces from the bottom to the Shrine and nine terraces from the Shrine to the summit. Gardens with colourful flowers will be laid down on all these terraces. A single street lined with flower beds will link the seafront to the Shrine. Pilgrims who arrive by ship will be able to see the dome of the Shrine from a long distance out at sea. The kings of the earth, bare-headed, and the queens, will walk up the street of the Shrine carrying bouquets of flowers. With bowed heads they will arrive as pilgrims, and prostrate themselves at the sacred threshold...2
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* At the time the Shrine of the Báb consisted of six rooms built in stone.

† These are not the exact words of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, but they are very close to what he had said.


2. Khátirát-i-Habíb, vol. 1, p. 81.
The same chronicler has recounted that on another occasion 'Abdu'l-Bahá spoke on the same subject to a number of believers in the Holy Land:

...The future of Mount Carmel is very bright. I can see it now covered all over with a blanket of light. I can see many ships anchored at the Port of Haifa. I can see the kings of the earth with vases of flowers in their hands walking solemnly toward the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh and the Báb with absolute devotion and in a state of prayer and supplication. At the time that they put a crown of thorns on His head, Christ could see the kings of the earth bowing before Him, but others could not see this.

And now I can see not only powerful lamps which will floodlight this mountain brightly, but I can also see Houses of Worship, hospitals, schools, homes for the handicapped, orphanages and all the other humanitarian institutions erected on Mount Carmel.3*

These prophecies, of which many have been fulfilled, amply demonstrate that the chosen ones of God behold the past and the future in the present. All the persecutions that a heedless generation can heap upon Him will not deter Him from executing His purpose. He speaks and acts with authority and confidence because He sees victory in defeat and glory in abasement. With one believer in a country He envisages a whole nation embracing His Faith. And in the end all His visions come true, He becomes victorious and His Cause spreads throughout many nations.

This is the story of all the Manifestations of God. In this day the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, in spite of the opposition from its enemies, has spread throughout the world. Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Faith, encouraged the believers to pioneer to virgin territories of the globe. As each one arrived at his post he hailed that historic event as the spiritual conquest of that country and announced the Bahá'í pioneer as its conquerer. He saw in one individual believer the whole country entering the Faith. He was

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* Again, these words are not the exact words of 'Abdu'l-Bahá.


3. Khátirát-i-Habíb, vol. 1, p. 449.
the spiritual gardener, guided by Bahá'u'lláh. He planted the seed of the Cause in many lands, and from the very start he had the vision to see that it would grow into a mighty tree.

There is a passage in the opening paragraph of the Tablet of Tarázát which is significant in its implications:

The Day-Star of His Cause shineth through every veil and His Word of affirmation standeth beyond the reach of negation.4
Everything which is derived from the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, be it His words, His teachings, His laws or His Covenant, are all revealed in the affirmative. And everything which comes from the ungodly, the enemies and the Covenant-breakers, are all in the negative. In the Tablet of Salmán Bahá'u'lláh explains that in the Islámic Dispensation the letter of negation stood above that of affirmation. Those among the followers of Muhammad who disregarded His wishes about the appointment of His successor and violated His wishes after His passing, dominated over the faithful ones and ruled over them for centuries. In that same Tablet Bahá'u'lláh gives the reasons for this and emphatically states that in this Dispensation He has taken out the letter of negation and substituted for it the letter of affirmation, meaning that the enemies of the Cause, and particularly the Covenant-breakers, will never be able to dominate or rule over the community of the Most Great Name. 'This is a day that shall not be followed by night', is a promise of Bahá'u'lláh.

The subject of 'affirmation' and 'negation' is a deep and fascinating one, but to discuss it any further would result in the repetition of some of the contents of previous volumes, as we have referred to this subject in detail previously.*

In the same opening paragraph, Bahá'u'lláh refers to the 'ascendancy of the oppressor' and the 'tyranny of the wicked'. These terms often appear in the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh. In one of His Tablets revealed in 1882-35 He categorically states that the terms revealed in the Writings such as 'veils', 'oppressors', 'wicked ones', 'embodiments of tyranny' and any other word from

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* see vol. 2, pp. 286-90.


4. Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 33.

5. Unpublished compilation, National Archives Committee, no. 41, p. 241.

which the odour of wrath is inhaled, means the divines and religious leaders* the world over, those who appear to be walking in the pathway of error.

Several themes of the Tablet of Tarázát are taken up in Tablets already described in preceding chapters. These include the celebrated passage about trustworthiness,† Bahá'u'lláh's exhortations to associate with all kindreds and peoples of the earth, and the commandment to study arts and sciences. In this Tablet Bahá'u'lláh asserts that 'in this Day whatsoever serveth to reduce blindness and to increase vision is worthy of consideration'.6 He also states that 'keenness of understanding is due to keenness of vision'. He exhorts His followers to adorn themselves with the 'saintly attributes and character of the Concourse on High', urges them to fix their gaze 'under all conditions upon justice and fairness', admonishes them not to 'deny any soul the reward due to him', advises them to appreciate the craftsmanship of the people of the West, asks them to treat such craftsmen with deference, and enjoins on them not to 'defile their tongues with abuse'.

In this Tablet, too, Bahá'u'lláh grieves that 'truthfulness and sincerity are sorely afflicted in the clutches of falsehood, and justice is tormented by the scourge of injustice', observes that corruption has spread throughout the world, deplores the arming of the nations and the clashing of the swords, describes the pages of newspapers as the 'mirror of the world', and delineates guidelines for their editorial staff, urging the 'writers thereof to be purged from the promptings of evil passions and desires and to be attired with the raiment of justice and equity. They should enquire into situations as much as possible and ascertain the facts, then set them down in writing.' How vast is the difference between these guidelines and the system which prevails at present!

Towards the end of the Tablet of Tarázát, Bahá'u'lláh turns

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* Concerning Bahá'u'lláh's condemnation of religious leaders see the Kitáb-i-Íqán and vol. 1, pp. 163-4.

† see above, p. 17.


6. Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 35.
His attention, as He has done in many other Tablets, to the people of the Bayán who had followed the promptings of their own selves and passions, and denied the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh whom the Báb designated 'Him Whom God shall make manifest'. Bahá'u'lláh particularly addresses Hádíy-i-Dawlat Ábádí in this Tablet. He was at the time Mírzá Yahyá's representative in Persia and later became his successor. He was a Muslim clergyman in Isfahán who became a Bábí in the early days of the Faith and followed Mírzá Yahyá when the latter announced himself as the Báb's successor. Very corrupt and ambitious, Hádí succeeded in misleading some of the Bábís to follow Mírzá Yahyá. He instilled into the minds of his supporters much falsehood about the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh. Although the followers of Mírzá Yahyá were very few in number, Bahá'u'lláh admonishes them lovingly in innumerable Tablets to leave the path of error and turn to the Cause of God. He likewise addresses Hádí in many of His Tablets, as in this one, and invites him to open his eyes to find the truth. But Bahá'u'lláh's exhortations fell on deaf ears.

In the Tablet of Tarázát Bahá'u'lláh addresses the followers of Mírzá Yahyá in these words:

O people of the Bayán! It is men like unto Hádí Dawlat Ábádí who, with turban and staff, have been the source of opposition and hindrance and have so grievously burdened the people with superstitions that even at the present time they still expect the appearance of a fictitious person from a fictitious place. Be ye warned, O men of understanding.7
In this passage Bahá'u'lláh warns the followers of the Bayán that Hádí is misleading them just as the Muslim clergy misled the Islámic people. They had led the Shí'ah community to believe that the Qá'im, the Promised One, had been living for more than a thousand years in an underground city to which no one had access. The clergy promise their followers that one day this fictitious person will come out of this fictitious place and rule over the faithful.

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7. ibid. p. 42.
[Mírzá Hádí Dawlat-Ábádí] Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 87
In this Tablet Bahá'u'lláh reminds Hádí of his despicable act in recanting his faith. He alludes to this by rebuking him for being two-faced. These are His words:

O Hádí! Be thou of one face in the path of God. When in company with the infidels, thou art an infidel and with the pious, thou art pious. Reflect thou upon such souls as offered up their lives and their substance in that land, that haply thou mayest be admonished and roused from slumber. Consider: who is to be preferred, he who preserveth his body, his life and his possessions or the one who surrendereth his all in the path of God? Judge thou fairly and be not of the unjust. Take fast hold of justice and adhere unto equity that perchance thou mayest not, for selfish motives, use religion as a snare, nor disregard the truth for the sake of gold.8
In the year AH 1306 (AD 1888) a believer of wide repute by the name of Mírzá Ashraf* was martyred in Isfahán. Soon afterwards the Mujtahid of the city, Shaykh Muhammad-Taqí, known as the 'Son of the Wolf', demanded the death of Hádí, whereupon the latter ascended the pulpit in a mosque in Isfahán and recanted his faith in public. This recantation of faith was followed by a series of imprecations which he hurled, in the most vile language, at the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh. Shaykh Muhammad-Taqí was satisfied by Hádí's performance and absolved him of the charges made against him of being a Bábí. The news of his recantation was publicized throughout the city and reached the ears of many people far and near.

In the Tablet known as Kalimát-i-Firdawsíyyih† Bahá'u'lláh refers to Hádí in these words:

The disbelievers among the people of the Bayán are like the followers of the Shí'ih sect and walk in their footsteps. Leave them to their idle fancies and vain imaginings. They are in
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* For a brief account of his martyrdom see below, pp. 385-6. He should not be confused with Mírzá Ashraf of Zanján to whose martyrdom reference is made in vol. 2, pp. 223-30.

† see below, ch. 15.


8. Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 42.
truth accounted with the lost in the Book of God, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. The Shí'ih divines, one and all, are now engaged in reviling and denouncing the True One from their pulpits. Gracious God! Dawlat-Ábádí too hath followed suit. He ascended the pulpit and gave voice to that which hath caused the Tablet to cry out in anguish and the Pen to wail. Meditate upon his conduct and the conduct of Ashraf--upon him be My glory and My tender mercy--and likewise consider those loved ones who hastened to the place of martyrdom in My Name, and offered up their lives in the path of Him Who is the Desire of the world.9
In spite of such shameful conduct, which was widely discussed in various circles in the country, Hádí continued his leadership of the Azalís, the followers of Mírzá Yahyá in Persia. For some years the Pen of Bahá'u'lláh continued to admonish Hádí and urge him to change his ways. These are a few lines gleaned from some lengthy passages in the Tablet of Tarázát exhorting him to follow the path of Truth.

O Hádí! Give ear unto the Voice of this trustworthy Counsellor: direct thy steps from the left unto the right, that is turn away from idle fancy unto certitude. Lead not the people into error. The divine Luminary shineth, His Cause is manifest and His signs are all-embracing. Set thy face towards God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting. Renounce thy leadership for the sake of God and leave the people unto themselves. Thou art ignorant of the essential truth, thou art not acquainted therewith.10
Hádíy-i-Dawlat-Ábádí soon passed on to the realm of ignominy and extinction. His influence utterly failed to undermine the foundation of the Cause of God; but it stained the annals of the Faith and armed a few misguided souls, enabling them to arise in opposition to the Supreme Manifestation of God. Their action resembled that of darkness challenging the sun.

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9. Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 79.

10. ibid. p. 42.