The Word as the Source of Knowledge
The Word of God
In response to a request by a certain Shaykh Mahmúd, a Muslim divine of 'Akká who later embraced the Faith, (He made a compilation of all the traditions attributed to the Prophet of Islám concerning the sacredness of the city of 'Akká) Bahá'u'lláh revealed a Tablet in which, commenting on the 'Súriy-i-Va'sh-Shams' in the Qur'án, He disclosed heavenly vistas of knowledge concerning the Word of God. Every word sent down from the heaven of Divine Revelation, He stated, is filled with soft-flowing rivers of divine mysteries and wisdom. Bahá'u'lláh also gave in detail, in response to the questioner, several meanings pertaining to the word 'sun', adding that this word has so many other meanings that if ten secretaries were to record His explanations for a period of one or two years, He would still not exhaust its significance.
The following verses are taken from this Tablet to Shaykh Mahmúd:
Know assuredly that just as thou firmly believest that the Word of God, exalted be His glory, endureth for ever, thou must, likewise, believe with undoubting faith that its meaning can never be exhausted. They who are its appointed interpreters, they whose hearts are the repositories of its secrets, are, however, the only ones who can comprehend its manifold wisdom. Whoso, while reading the Sacred Scriptures, is tempted to choose therefrom whatever may suit him with which to challenge the authority of the Representative of God among men, is, indeed, as one dead, though to outward seeming he may walk and converse with his neighbours, and share with them their food and their drink.
O, would that the world could believe Me! Were all the things that lie enshrined within the heart of Bahá, and which the Lord, His God, the Lord of all names, hath taught Him, to be unveiled to mankind, every man on earth would be dumbfounded.
How great the multitude of truths which the garment of words can never contain! How vast the number of such verities as no expression can adequately describe, whose significance can never be unfolded, and to which not even the remotest allusions can be made! How manifold are the truths which must remain unuttered until the appointed time is come! Even as it hath been said: 'Not everything that a man knoweth can be disclosed, nor can everything that he can disclose be regarded as timely, nor can every timely utterance be considered as suited to the capacity of those who hear it.'
Of these truths some can be disclosed only to the extent of the capacity of the repositories of the light of Our knowledge, and the recipients of Our hidden grace. We beseech God to strengthen thee with His power, and enable thee to recognize Him Who is the Source of all knowledge, that thou mayest detach thyself from all human learning, for, 'what would it profit any man to strive after learning when he hath already found and recognized Him Who is the Object of all knowledge?' Cleave to the Root of Knowledge, and to Him Who is the Fountain thereof, that thou mayest find thyself independent of all who claim to be well versed in human learning, and whose claim no clear proof, nor the testimony of any enlightening book, can support. - Baha'u'llah
Not only do the words uttered by the Manifestations have inner meanings but even a single letter contains divine mysteries and significances. There is a well-known tradition in Islám--attributed to 'Alí, the first Imám and the lawful successor of Muhammad--that the essence of all the Scriptures of past Dispensations is to be found in the Qur'án, that the Qur'án itself is contained in the opening chapter, that this chapter is embodied in the first verse, that the first verse in its entirety is included in the first letter (B),* and that all that is within this letter is condensed in the dot beneath it. This clearly indicates that the Word of God is transcendental in its nature and far beyond the comprehension of men.
The Báb, the Forerunner of Bahá'u'lláh, has revealed voluminous Writings on the interpretation and the inner significances of some individual letters. For instance, in His commentary on the 'Súriy-i-V'al-'Asr', one of the chapters of the Qur'án, He devoted no less than three thousand verses in explanation of the significance of the first letter 'V' of that Súrih. Bahá'u'lláh has also revealed wonderful Tablets in which He has dwelt on the interpretation of individual letters.
* The letter B in Arabic