6 Tablets and Writings of Baha'u'llah for the Martyrdom of the Bab
Selections from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh for the Bahá’í Holy Day of the Martydom of the Bab
The observance of holy days occupies a central place in every religion. Through their commemoration, the calendar year becomes the stage on which the signal events associated with the life and ministry of the divine Manifestations of God are annually remembered and honoured. This remembrance has both a personal dimension, providing a time for reflection on the significance of these events, and a social dimension, helping to deepen the identity and foster the cohesion of the community.
Here are 6 selections from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh revealed specifically for, or otherwise relating to the Martyrdom of the Bab Holy Day. The selections represent different revelatory modes, each reflecting facets of the greatness, the preciousness, and the peerless nature of this Day in which all the promises and prophecies of the past have been fulfilled—this sacred Day “whereon God hath made His own Self known and revealed it unto all who are in the heavens and on earth”. Some of the Tablets and excerpts presented are addressed to the body of Bahá’u’lláh’s followers and are expressed in a celebratory and uplifting tone, occasionally with repeated refrains, while others were revealed to individual believers, sometimes with a mention of the specific circumstances of their revelation or the names of the recipients. Many are among His best-known works and have long been familiar to readers of His Writings in the original languages.
Give ear, O My servant, unto that which is being sent down unto thee
Give ear, O My servant, unto that which is being sent down unto thee from the Throne of thy Lord, the Inaccessible, the Most Great. There is none other God but Him. He hath called into being His creatures, that they may know Him, Who is the Compassionate, the All-Merciful. Unto the cities of all nations He hath sent His Messengers, Whom He hath commissioned to announce unto men tidings of the Paradise of His good-pleasure, and to draw them nigh unto the Haven of abiding security, the Seat of eternal holiness and transcendent glory.
Some were guided by the Light of God, gained admittance into the court of His presence, and quaffed, from the hand of resignation, the waters of everlasting life, and were accounted of them that have truly recognized and believed in Him. Others rebelled against Him, and rejected the signs of God, the Most Powerful, the Almighty, the All-Wise.
Ages rolled away, until they attained their consummation in this, the Lord of days, the Day whereon the Day-Star of the Bayán manifested itself above the horizon of mercy, the Day in which the Beauty of the All-Glorious shone forth in the exalted person of ‘Alí-Muḥammad, the Báb. No sooner did He reveal Himself, than all the people rose up against Him. By some He was denounced as one that hath uttered slanders against God, the Almighty, the Ancient of Days. Others regarded Him as a man smitten with madness, an allegation which I, Myself, have heard from the lips of one of the divines. Still others disputed His claim to be the Mouthpiece of God, and stigmatized Him as one who had stolen and used as his the words of the Almighty, who had perverted their meaning, and mingled them with his own. The Eye of Grandeur weepeth sore for the things which their mouths have uttered, while they continue to rejoice upon their seats.
“God”, said He, “is My witness, O people! I am come to you with a Revelation from the Lord, your God, the Lord of your fathers of old. Look not, O people, at the things ye possess. Look rather at the things God hath sent down unto you. This, surely, will be better for you than the whole of creation, could ye but perceive it. Repeat the gaze, O people, and consider the testimony of God and His proof which are in your possession, and compare them unto the Revelation sent down unto you in this Day, that the truth, the infallible truth, may be indubitably manifested unto you. Follow not, O people, the steps of the Evil One; follow ye the Faith of the All-Merciful, and be ye of them that truly believe. What would it profit man, if he were to fail to recognize the Revelation of God? Nothing whatever. To this Mine own Self, the Omnipotent, the Omniscient, the All-Wise, will testify.”
The more He exhorted them, the fiercer grew their enmity, till, at the last, they put Him to death with shameful cruelty. The curse of God be upon the oppressors!
A few believed in Him; few of Our servants are the thankful. These He admonished, in all His Tablets—nay, in every passage of His wondrous writings—not to give themselves up in the Day of the promised Revelation to anything whatever, be it in the heaven or in the earth. “O people!” said He, “I have revealed Myself for His Manifestation, and have caused My Book, the Bayán, to descend upon you for no other purpose except to establish the truth of His Cause. Fear ye God, and contend not with Him as the people of the Qur’án have contended with Me. At whatever time ye hear of Him, hasten ye towards Him, and cleave ye to whatsoever He may reveal unto you. Naught else besides Him can ever profit you, no, not though ye produce from first to last the testimonies of all those who were before you.”
And when after the lapse of a few years the heaven of Divine decree was cleft asunder, and the Beauty of the Báb appeared in the clouds of the names of God, arrayed in a new raiment, these same people maliciously rose up against Him, Whose light embraceth all created things. They broke His Covenant, rejected His truth, contended with Him, cavilled at His signs, treated His testimony as falsehood, and joined the company of the infidels. Eventually, they determined to take away His life. Such is the state of them who are in a far-gone error!
And when they realized their powerlessness to achieve their purpose, they arose to plot against Him. Witness how every moment they devise a fresh device to harm Him, that they may injure and dishonour the Cause of God. Say: Woe be to you! By God! Your schemings cover you with shame. Your Lord, the God of mercy, can well dispense with all creatures. Nothing whatever can either increase or diminish the things He doth possess. If ye believe, to your own behoof will ye believe; and if ye believe not, ye yourselves will suffer. At no time can the hand of the infidel profane the hem of His Robe.
O My servant that believest in God! By the righteousness of the Almighty! Were I to recount to thee the tale of the things that have befallen Me, the souls and minds of men would be incapable of sustaining its weight. God Himself beareth Me witness. Watch over thyself, and follow not the footsteps of these people. Meditate diligently upon the Cause of thy Lord. Strive to know Him through His own Self and not through others. For no one else besides Him can ever profit thee. To this all created things will testify, couldst thou but perceive it.
Emerge from behind the veil, by the leave of thy Lord, the All-Glorious, the Most Powerful, and seize, before the eyes of those who are in the heavens and those who are on the earth, the Chalice of Immortality, in the name of thy Lord, the Inaccessible, the Most High, and quaff thy fill, and be not of them that tarry. I swear by God! The moment thou touchest the Cup with thy lips, the Concourse on high will acclaim thee saying, “Drink with healthy relish, O man that hast truly believed in God!”, and the inhabitants of the Cities of Immortality will cry out, “Joy be to thee, O thou that hast drained the Cup of His love!”, and the Tongue of Grandeur will hail thee, “Great is the blessedness that awaiteth thee, O My servant, for thou hast attained unto that which none hath attained, except such as have detached themselves from all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth, and who are the emblems of true detachment.”
Announce unto My servants the advent of the One Who came unto them with the power of truth bearing the name of ‘Alí, Who dawned above the horizon of holiness with the splendours of a cherished glory, and from Whose right hand flowed the crystal streams of the spirit, laying bare the wonders of a hidden knowledge.
“O people!” He declared, “The clouds of wisdom have been lifted and God hath revealed His Cause. This is that which ye were promised in all the Scriptures. Fear ye God and hasten unto Me. I am, O people, a scion of your Prophet. I have brought unto you verses that bewilder the minds of them that perceive, and this is but a token of God’s proof and testimony. Deny them not at the prompting of your idle fancies, and be fair in your judgement. They verily proceed from the religion of God that hath been sent down unto you through the power of truth, would that ye might believe!
“I swear by God, O people! I wish only to rid your religions of all that hath in this day become the cause of contention. These verses, O people, are the breezes of the spirit that are wafting over you and would transmute your mortal condition into eternal life, could ye but fix your gaze upon them. O people! The tree of knowledge hath yielded its fruit upon this everlasting Lote-Tree; the Primal Point hath been unfolded; and the Word of God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting, hath been fulfilled. O people! The beauty of His countenance hath been revealed, the veils have been parted, the Nightingale hath warbled its melody, the Mount of holiness hath been made resplendent, and all who are in the heavens and on the earth have been illumined, could ye but see with the eye of the spirit!”
But the people made reply, saying: “We deem Thee a speaker of falsehood; nor do we discern in Thine acts that which we had been promised in the books of our forefathers. Never would we follow Thee, even wert Thou to produce for us all the signs of the world.”
“O concourse of men!” He declared, “Fear ye God and consider that which He hath ordained to be His immutable proof and abiding testimony unto all that dwell in the heavens and on the earth, did ye but know it. O people! The truth of all that ye have been awaiting, and all that ye have heard from your forefathers and your divines, is established only through these verses. And these, verily, are the verses of holiness that have been vouchsafed unto all who are in the heavens and on the earth, even as ye yourselves can behold.
“If ye believe not in these verses, how then can ye be assured of the truth of your own religion in this day or establish it in the eyes of others? The day is fast approaching when the world and all that it containeth will have perished, and when ye shall stand in the holy court of His presence. Take heed, O people, lest ye be swayed by the elaborate pronouncements of your divines or misconceive the truth of the matter. Hearken unto My counsels and repudiate not the exhortations of God.”
The more He extolled the remembrance of God, the greater they waxed in their oppression, until all the divines pronounced sentence against Him, save those that were acquainted with the precepts of God, the All-Glorious, the Best-Beloved. Matters came to such a pass that they united to put Him to death. They suspended Him in the air, and the hosts of misbelief flung at Him the bullets of malice and hatred, piercing the body of the One unto Whom the Holy Spirit is a humble servant, the dust of Whose feet is the object of adoration of the Concourse on high, and from Whose very sandals the inmates of Paradise seek a blessing. Whereupon the inhabitants of the unseen realm wept sore beneath the pavilion of eternity, the pillars of the Throne trembled, the inmost realities of all things were stirred into commotion, and the divine Tree received its full measure of His gleaming blood which was shed upon the earth.
Erelong will God reveal the mystery of this Tree, make it to flourish through the power of truth, and cause it to intone: “Verily I am God, there is none other God but Him. All are My servants whom We have created to carry out My bidding, and by My bidding they all, verily, abide.”
This, in truth, is that which We pledged Ourself aforetime to accomplish: to show favour unto those who were brought low in the land and to humble them that have waxed proud. At no time did We send an Apostle, a Prophet, or a Vicegerent whom these wicked souls did not oppose, even as ye witness how these workers of iniquity are raising objections in this day.
Nor have the people ever rejected the truth except after their divines rejected it, and swelled with pride before God, and sought to dispute His verses. Thus did the rejection of the leaders give rise to the rejection of those who followed them in their selfish desires. None among these divines ever bore allegiance unto the new Revelation, save for those who could gaze with the eye of holiness, whose hearts God had tested and proved true for His recognition, to whom He hath given to drink from that chalice of holiness sealed with the musk of the spirit, and who were intoxicated by the wine of certitude which they had quaffed from that chalice. These, verily, are they whom the angels of Paradise will glorify in the garden of eternity and who will delight at every moment in a joy and gladness born of God.
No Prophet have We ever raised up except that He was repudiated by the divines whilst they prided themselves in their learning, even as they do in this day. Say: O concourse of divines! Do ye worship the Calf and abandon the One Who hath created you and taught you that which ye knew not?
O people of the earth! Ponder the state of these workers of iniquity, what they have wrought in the past, and what they pursue in this day. Say: If He Who hath come unto you with clear verses be not the True One from God, even as ye proclaim this day from your seats of worldly honour, then by what proof can ye establish the truth of Muḥammad, Whom we sent aforetime? Be fair in your judgement, O concourse of ill-wishers!
Dost thou imagine, O Minister of the Sháh in the City that I hold within My grasp the ultimate destiny of the Cause of God? Thinkest thou that My imprisonment, or the shame I have been made to suffer, or even My death and utter annihilation, can deflect its course? Wretched is what thou hast imagined in thine heart! Thou art indeed of them that walk after the vain imaginings which their hearts devise. No God is there but Him. Powerful is He to manifest His Cause, and to exalt His testimony, and to establish whatsoever is His Will, and to elevate it to so eminent a position that neither thine own hands, nor the hands of them that have turned away from Him, can ever touch or harm it.
Dost thou believe thou hast the power to frustrate His Will, to hinder Him from executing His judgement, or to deter Him from exercising His sovereignty? Pretendest thou that aught in the heavens or in the earth can resist His Faith? Nay, by Him Who is the Eternal Truth! Nothing whatsoever in the whole of creation can thwart His Purpose. Cast away, therefore, the mere conceit thou dost follow, for mere conceit can never take the place of truth. Be thou of them that have truly repented and returned to God, the God Who hath created thee, Who hath nourished thee, and made thee a minister among them that profess thy faith.
Know thou, moreover, that He it is Who hath, by His own behest, created all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth. How can, then, the thing that hath been created at His bidding prevail against Him? High is God exalted above what ye imagine about Him, ye people of malice! If this Cause be of God, no man can prevail against it; and if it be not of God, the divines amongst you, and they that follow their corrupt desires and such as have rebelled against Him will surely suffice to overpower it.
Hast thou not heard what a man of the family of Pharaoh, a believer, hath said of old, and which God recounted unto His Apostle, Whom He hath chosen above all human beings, and entrusted with His Message, and made the source of His mercy unto all them that dwell on earth? He said, and He, verily, speaketh the truth: “Will ye slay a man because he saith my Lord is God, when he hath already come to you with proofs of his mission? And if he be a liar, on him will be his lie, but if he be a man of truth, part at least of what he threateneth will fall upon you.” This is what God hath revealed unto His Well-Beloved One, in His unerring Book.
And yet, ye have failed to incline your ears unto His bidding, have disregarded His law, have rejected His counsel as recorded in His Book, and have been of them that have strayed far from Him. How many those who, every year, and every month, have because of you been put to death! How manifold the injustices ye have perpetrated—injustices the like of which the eye of creation hath not seen, which no chronicler hath ever recorded! How numerous the babes and sucklings who were made orphans, and the fathers who lost their sons, because of your cruelty, O ye unjust doers! How oft hath a sister pined away and mourned over her brother, and how oft hath a wife lamented after her husband and sole sustainer!
Your iniquity waxed greater and greater until ye slew Him Who had never taken His eyes away from the face of God, the Most Exalted, the Most Great. Would that ye had put Him to death after the manner men are wont to put one another to death! Ye slew Him, however, in such circumstances as no man hath ever witnessed. The heavens wept sore over Him, and the souls of them who are nigh unto God cried out for His affliction. Was He not a Scion of your Prophet’s ancient House? Had not His fame as a direct descendant of the Apostle been spread abroad amongst you? Why, then, did ye inflict upon Him what no man, however far ye may look back, hath inflicted upon another? By God! The eye of creation hath never beheld your like. Ye slay Him Who is a Scion of your Prophet’s House, and rejoice and make merry while seated on your seats of honour! Ye utter your imprecations against them who were before you, and who have perpetrated what ye have perpetrated, and remain yourselves all the time unaware of your enormities!
Be fair in your judgement. Did they whom ye curse, upon whom ye invoke evil, act differently from yourselves? Have they not slain the descendant of their Prophet as ye have slain the descendant of your own? Is not your conduct similar to their conduct? Wherefore, then, claim ye to be different from them, O ye sowers of dissension amongst men?
And when ye took away His life, one of His followers arose to avenge His death. He was unknown of men, and the design he had conceived was unnoticed by any one. Eventually he committed what had been preordained. It behoveth you, therefore, to attach blame to no one except to yourselves, for the things ye have committed, if ye but judge fairly. Who is there on the whole earth who hath done what ye have done? None, by Him Who is the Lord of all worlds!
O Salmán! Say: O people! Tread ye in the path of the one true God and ponder the ways and words of Him Who is the Manifestation of His ancient Being, that perchance ye may attain unto the Wellspring of the living waters of the All-Glorious. Were believers and non-believers to occupy the same station, were the worlds of God to be confined to this ephemeral plane, never would My previous Manifestation have surrendered Himself into the hands of His foes or laid down His life as a sacrifice. I swear by the dawning-light of this Cause that were the people to grasp the barest intimation of the fervour and longing which overcame that sovereign Beauty when His celestial Temple was suspended in the air, all would, in the intensity of their own yearning, offer up their souls in the path of this Manifestation of supernal glory. Indeed, sugar is the portion of the parrot, while dung is the share of the beetle; the crow hath no part in the warbling of the nightingale, and the bat fleeth the rays of the sun.
This is the Súrih of Remembrance, sent down as a token of grace, that perchance the people of the Bayán might renounce that which they possess, turn towards the right hand of justice, shake off the slumber of wayward desires, and seek, through the power of truth, a path to their Lord, the Most Exalted, the All-Glorious.
In the name of God, the Most Holy, the Most Exalted, the Most High!
This is a Missive from the Primal Point unto them that have believed in God, the One, the Peerless, the Almighty, the All-Knowing, wherein He addresseth those among the people of the Bayán who have vacillated in this Cause, that haply they may apprehend the wondrous words of God and forsake the couch of heedlessness in this shining and resplendent morn.
Say: We, verily, bid you in Our Book not to advance yourselves before those from whose ranks would appear He Who is the Beloved of every understanding heart and the Object of the adoration of the denizens of earth and heaven. Moreover, We commanded you, should ye attain the presence of God, to stand before Him and to utter on My behalf these mighty and exalted words: “Upon Thee, O Glory of God, and upon Thy kinfolk, be the remembrance of God and the praise of all things at every moment before and after Ḥín.” We honoured the people of the Bayán with these words, that they might ascend thereby unto the heights of holiness and be numbered with the blest. Yet they have so utterly forsaken Our injunction that not a single one among them hath appeared in His presence as We had commanded in Our Tablets. Nay rather, from every side they have hurled at Him the darts of malice. And at this, I, and the denizens of the Kingdom of grandeur, and beyond them the Faithful Spirit, have wept sore.
Say: O people! Be abashed before My Beauty. He that hath appeared with the power of truth is indeed the Glory of the worlds, could ye but perceive it. He, verily, is the Glory of God; upon Him be the remembrance of God and His praise, and the praise of the Concourse on high, and of the dwellers of the everlasting realm, and of all things at all times. Beware lest ye become veiled by aught that hath been created in heaven or on earth. Hasten unto the paradise of His good-pleasure and be not of them that slumber.
Say: His beauty is in truth My beauty, and His Self is Mine own Self, and all that We revealed in the Bayán is for the sake of His wondrous and resistless Cause. Fear ye God, and dispute not with the One Whose advent We heralded and Whose Revelation We announced unto you. I established a covenant with you concerning His mission ere I covenanted with you regarding Mine own, and unto this all things bear witness, even if ye were to deny it. By the righteousness of God! Through but a single one of His melodies the realities of all things were reborn, and through another the hearts of His favoured ones were filled with rapture. Take heed lest anything debar you from Him Whose presence is the same as Mine own. He sacrificed Himself in My path even as I sacrificed Myself in His path for the love of His glorious and incomparable beauty.
Say: But for Him the word “love” would never have been written, nor would the letters of the name of the Beloved have been joined together, nor would creation itself have been brought into being, would that ye might understand! But for Him I would never have surrendered Myself into the hands of the ungodly nor consented to be suspended in the air. By God! I have borne, in My love and yearning for Him, that which no other Prophet or Messenger hath borne, and I have acquiesced to bear all this Myself, that He might never be made to endure aught that would sadden His most kind and tender, His most pure and sanctified heart. We admonished you throughout the Bayán not to be the cause of grief to any soul, that haply no sorrow should ever befall Him. Otherwise, why would I have exhorted you and occupied Myself with your care, O assemblage of wavering ones? I intended in the Bayán none other than Him, I extolled no praise but His praise, and I uttered no name save His most blessed and most exalted, His most holy and most wondrous name.
I swear by My life! If I have made mention of “lordship”, I have intended only His lordship over all things. If the word “divinity” hath ever flowed from My pen, I have intended naught but His divinity in relation to the world; and if an allusion to the “Desired One” hath proceeded therefrom, I have had none other in mind than Him. So too, in regard to the word “Beloved”, He, indeed, is My Beloved and the Beloved of every understanding heart. If I have spoken of “prostration”, I have meant only prostration before His exalted, His glorious and sublime Countenance. If I have praised any soul, Mine aim hath only been to celebrate His praise. And if I have bidden the people to act, My sole purpose hath been that they should act in accordance with His good-pleasure on the day of His Manifestation. Unto this beareth witness whatsoever was sent down unto Me from the kingdom of My Lord, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.
I have made all things conditional upon His approval and pleasure. He it is, in truth, Who is the Lord of the worlds and the Object of the desire of every searching soul. Were ye to open your eyes, ye would verily behold the Manifestations of “He doeth whatsoever He willeth” worshipping under His shadow. Yet ye have done to Him what even the people of the Qur’án dared not do to Myself, nor the Jews to Christ. Alas, alas! My heart is consumed with anguish and My soul groaneth at what hath befallen My Beloved at the hands of the infidels. Woe unto you for your faithlessness, O concourse of oppressors! We, verily, created faithfulness and courtesy for His sake, that perchance ye would not commit, in the time of His appearance, aught that would cause Mine inner reality and the realities of all things to lament. But ye have transgressed that which was laid down in the Book of God, the King, the Most Exalted, the Most Great. Ye have rent asunder the veil of restraint and cast aside the vesture of propriety, and ye have committed that which the Pen of creation is abashed to recount before the dwellers of earth and heaven.
Alas, alas, for that which ye have inflicted upon this wronged, this banished and forsaken Soul! Nor do I know what ye will inflict upon Him hereafter. Nay, by Myself, the All-Knowing! I do verily know, for with Me is the knowledge of all things in a Tablet that God hath shielded from the gaze of those who have joined partners with Him. We apprised Him aforetime of the things that have befallen or will befall Him, even though He Himself is well informed of all that the hearts of men conceal. For nothing can escape His knowledge, and whatever hath been created by a mere word from His mouth can never slip from His grasp. No God is there but Him, the Peerless, the Creator, the Quickener, the Destroyer.
Say: O people! Should it be His desire to cause all the dwellers of earth and heaven to become an abiding testimony of His truth, this would assuredly be within His power. And this, verily, would be easy and possible unto Him. He it is Who created the paradise of the Bayán for His own sake. From Him have all things proceeded and unto Him will they all return, did ye but know it. Yet, I swear by Him in Whose hand is the kingdom of creation, ye deny Him the right to designate Himself by a single one of the divine names, even though He it is at Whose mighty and exalted behest all names and their kingdom were created!
Alas, alas, for your negligence, O people of the Bayán! Alas, alas, for your blindness, O concourse of the faithless! For, prompted by self-conceit and vainglory, ye have ascribed the station of successor to one of His enemies and have contended thereby with God, the Author of all religions aforetime and hereafter. Thus have ye returned to the arguments of the people of the Qur’án, notwithstanding that We prohibited you from uttering a single word in His presence save by His leave. God knoweth and testifieth to the truth of My words. Contemplate, therefore, your condition and the measure of your understanding. Woe betide you, and your thoughts, and your judgement, O ye that are in grievous loss! Know ye not that We have rolled up that which the people possessed, and have unfolded a new order in its place? Blessed, then, be God, the sovereign King, the Unfolder, the Almighty, the Most Generous.
Say: O people, cease your slander of Me. No word have I spoken except in praise of this Revelation; no breath have I drawn but for the love of its Author; and nowhere have I turned My face save towards His shining and luminous Countenance. I have made the Bayán and all that was revealed therein to be as a leaf in the celestial garden that belongeth unto Him, the Protector, the Gracious, the Almighty. Beware lest ye appropriate it and surrender it to him who, in pursuit of self and desire, seeketh to shed My blood anew and who contendeth with God. We, verily, unfolded the Bayán from a single word and returned it again to that same word, bidding it to appear before the Throne of Him Who is the All-Knowing, the All-Wise, that He might behold His former creation and take delight therein. Be fair, then, in your judgement: Is it the prerogative of the Author of that word to lay hand upon it, or of any other soul? What hath made you so blind, O concourse of veiled ones?
We, verily, enjoined the people of the Bayán to wear silken garments and to be immaculate in their person and dress, that His gaze might not fall upon aught that would displease Him. Likewise, every provision that hath been expounded in Our perspicuous Book is but for His sake, were ye to judge fairly. We created the heavens and the earth and all that lieth between them for His loved ones, how much more for the sake of His most resplendent, His most glorious and radiant beauty. And yet ye have laid hold on that which We have destined for Him and seized upon it to rej