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Translated from the Arabic by N. Wahid Azal Bayan1 !ublications " #$$%
BioBio-Bibliogra&hical 'etails and (ntroduction
Sayyid )Ali *uhammad +the Bab+ Shirazi. LawhLawh-i Vasaya. ,Will and Testament- *s. *s in &ri.ate hands/ re&rinted0 1ast 2ansing0 *(3 H-Bahai0 #$$1-. 4eferences3 *ac1oin0 Sources for Early Babi Doctrine and History0 &&. 50 161. Notes3 Will and Testament of the Bab0 for Subh-i Azal ,Hadrat-i Thamarih-. Also found on &&. 7-1$# of Majmu`ih- i !thar-i Hadrat-i !`la ,+8ollected 2etters of the Bab+-. Volume 5%. 5% (ran National Baha9i Archi.es !ri.ate !rinting3 Tehran0 c. 1 :: ,;rom the H-Bahai &age for the Will and Testament of the Bab-. A.ailable at3 htt&3<<===.h-net.org<>bahai<are&rint<bab<S-?<.asaya<.asaya.htm The follo=ing testamentary e&istle is one of t=o documents currently a.ailable to us by Siyyid Ali *uhammad Shirazi0 the Bab ,d.1@7$-0 =ritten sometime bet=een mid to late ,&ossibly the summer of- 1@% and early 1@7$0 a&&ointing *irza Aahya Nuri Subh-i Azal ,d.1 1#- as his successor and .icegerent. (n A&&endiB (V of his translation of the Ne= History ,TariCh,TariCh-i-DadidDadid- ,Amsterdam3 1 :7-0 1.E. Bro=ne re&roduces a facsimile and translation of a much shorter e&istle as the testamentary de&osition1 a&&ointing Azal. Ho=e.er this document &roduced by Bro=ne is not the chief testamentary de&osition
(Translation) “God is Great with the Uttermost Greatness” “This is a letter on the part of God, the Protector, the Self-Existent, to God, the Protector, the Self-Existent. “Say, `All originate from God.’ Say, All return unto God.’ “This is a letter from `Ali before Nabil, God’s Reminder unto the Worlds, unto Him whose name is equivalent to the Name of the One [Wahid=28=Yahya, Subh-i-Azal’s name], God’s Reminder unto the World’s. “O Name of the One, keep what hath been revealed in the Beyan, and what hath been commanded, for verily thou art a Mighty way of Truth.” [Signature], p.429.
and its &ro.enance and ranC in the hierarchy of corres&ondences bet=een the Bab and Azal remains some=hat uncertain to me. (t is0 no doubt0 .ery im&ortant0 but not as central as the follo=ing document translated belo= =hich is the definiti.e testamentary e&istle. As of this &ublication there are no= three 1nglish translations. The first =as com&leted by one of the grandsonFs of Subh-i Azal0 Dalal Azal0 for the !resbyterian missionary William *c1l=ee *iller =hile the latter =as researching for his booC The BahaFi ;aith3 (tFs History and Teachings ,!asadena3 1 :%-. *iller collected o.er fourteen-hundred &ages of corres&ondence =ith Dalal Azal G a highly fruitful corres&ondence =hich included facsimiles0 translations and selections from letters0 tracts0 e&istles and histories ,many of a highly eB&ository and contro.ersial naturebelonging both to the history and literature of Babism as =ell as BahaFism G all of =hich =as de&osited by *iller before his death as a s&ecial collection Cno=n as AzalFs Notes in the !rinceton Hni.ersity 2ibrary ,see folders I#50 I#: and I#@-. Dalal AzalFs translation has not been consulted here ,nor to my Cno=ledge has it e.er been &ublished in full any=here#-0 but a JuicC &erusal by the &resent translator of a co&y of AzalFs Notes re.eals some .ery minor solecisms and slight misreadings on his &art. Kf course0 gi.en the BabFs highly idiosyncratic Arabic and the abundance of grammatical and syntactical irregularities0 such things can be Juite easily forgi.en him. As all those =ho ha.e stee&ed themsel.es in His =ritings Cno=0 =ading through the BabFs Arabic can sometimes become a &ure labour of lo.e. His !ersian often isnFt any better. Ho=e.er a solid bacCground in the batini and T=el.er ShiFite gnostic as =ell as the Sufi literary oeu"re of (slamicate can often hel& to deci&her the other=ise im&enetrable and enigmatic meanings ,or LmeanderingsF- being con.eyed behind the out=ard0 eBoteric a&&earance of the teBt by that great Shirazi saint0 thaumaturge0 messiah and &ro&het in the original languages. As the late Henri 8orbin =ould ha.e it about the other gnostic traditions of (slamicate0 one needs to be LinitiatedF into the =ritings of the Bab0 as it =ere0 to truly gras& the =onderfully &rofound and com&leB #Hermetic$ ta&estry of his thought. The intentional0 almost 'adaesJue and sometimes Doycean0 idiosyncrasies in his use of language can &erha&s be regarded as the Cey to such an initiationM A modern 'erridean or ;oucaultian literary theorist solidly trained in the teBts of this gnostic tradition of high (slamicate0 &articularly the heterodoBies60
See Miller pp.74-75 for a brief quotation of Jalal Azal’s translation. I.e. the more radical interpretations of Ibn `Arabi, such as those by Iranian Awhaduddin Balyani and the Andalusian Ibn Sab’in; the ghulat/extremist movements such as the early Kaysaniyyah and the Qarmatiyyun; the post-Fatimid ‘reformed’ Nizari Isma’ilism of Alamut under Hassan II; the Musha’sha’ hyper-Shi’ite Sufism of Khuzistan or that of the Kubrawi Sufi shaykhs Siyyid Muhammad Nurbakhsh and
and =ho =ould also be a&&reciati.e and sym&athetic to it0 =ould ha.e an absolute eB&lorati.e field day ,maybe e.en of an e&i&hanic CindM- These understudied teBts are also a gold mine for any researcher in com&arati.e religions0 es&ecially of com&arati.e gnosticisms. (t is most unfortunate that 8orbin0 nor his successors liCe 8hristian Dambet0 e.er sa= beyond their Heideggerrian biases and thereby acCno=ledge the &otential of Babism0 as Babism is in so many =ays the LreformedF %iyamati Nizari (smaFilism of Alamut to the factor of tenM The second translation is one recently &osted on the yahoo&rou's BahaFi list TariCh ,History- by Australian based (ranian BahaFi scholar0 'r. Se&ehr *anuchehri0 and Cindly for=arded to the &resent translator by another member of that list. The indi.idual in Juestion has asCed to remain anonymous. *anuchehriFs translation also suffers from solecisms and misreadings. Ho=e.er his misreadings are more serious than Dalal AzalFs0 but only slightly. The &roblem =ith *anuchehriFs translation is really one about trying to mediate a difficult style into 1nglish =ithout &ossibly ha.ing a bacCground in the matriB by =hich the message is being mediated through and an 1nglish diction to mediate it =ith. 2iCe the ga&s in Dalal Azal0 this can be forgi.en him as =ell. ( belie.e that in general he has understood the intention of =hat is being stated in the teBt reasonably =ell. But the de.il seems to be in the details of his translation0 as it =ere0 and it is in the details =here the serious solecisms and misreadings ha.e occurred. That said0 my criticisms of *anuchehriFs translation are only meant for the s&ecialist and for those trained in the minutiae of high literary Arabic and0 s&ecifically0 Babi teBts. Although a .ery short =orC com&ared to others in the BabFs &rodigious literary out&ut0 in the o&inion of the &resent translator0 after the Arabic and !ersian Bayans and some of the early =ritings of the Bab0 liCe the %ayyum$ul-!sma and Dala$il Saba$0 this Will and Testament should be regarded as a central document of Babi doctrine (ua soteriology. (t is also a &rofoundly eB&losi.e and highly charged &olitical document "is)-"is the claims of AzalFs ri.al and older ste&-brother0 *irza Husyan Ali Nuri BahaF ,d.1@ #-. !ending the translation of the letters of the Bab to Husayn Ali%0 =here He clearly s&eaCs to Husayn Ali as an inferior and instructs him to taCe the best &ossible
his successor Siyyid Ali Hamadani; the Hurufiyyah and the Nuqtawiyyah; the oeuvre of Siyyid Haydar Amuli, Ibn Abi Jumhur al-Ahsa’i al-Bahrayni, Rajab Bursi and, above all, Shaykh Ahmad Ahsa’i, et al. 4 Not to mention the Epistle of the Aunt (Tanbih’u-Na’imin) and an even more important refutation of the claims of Baha’ by the Bab’s second wife and sister of the murdered (by the Baha’i Nasir the Arab) prominent Witness of Azal in Baghdad, Mulla Rajab Ali Qahir of Isfahan (d.1863-4/5?).
care of Azal ,see item I61 in AzalFs Notes-0 this document is the hedge that can &otentially &ose some of the most serious and thorny Juestions against the legitimacy of the claims of Husayn Ali BahaF to being the Babi messiah0 or man yu*hiruhu$Llah ,He =hom Eod shall maCe *anifest-. ;or ob.ious reasons0 the BahaFis ha.e generally a.oided addressing this testament in any direct =ay0 and =hene.er they ha.e attem&ted it0 their arguments ha.e lacCed all credibility and ha.e been among the most s&urious0 ridiculous0 bigoted0 bogus0 &olemical0 trans&arently sectarian and totally unso&histicated of ty&e. The o&inions recently eB&ressed by Eerman based fundamentalist (ranian BahaFi scholar0 Armin 1schraghi0 on the TariCh list are a case in &oint. (t seems that the only t=o mutually eBclusi.e &ositions that the BahaFis ha.e e.er been able to muster is that it is either a forged or inter&olated document0 or ,more humorously- that their institutional bureaucracy in Haifa0 (srael has not .erified its authenticity G as if the final arbiter of the authenticity of ri.al Babi teBts is a leadershi& =hose &olitical interests lie eBclusi.ely in denying such authenticityM Amusingly0 and in the all too ty&ical fashion of BahaFi ,&seudo--intellectual schizo&hrenia0 they canFt seem to maCe u& their minds as to =hether it is forged or inter&olated and ha.e consistently shifted bacC and forth bet=een the t=o &ositions =hene.er it suits =hate.er argument seems to hold s=ay at the timeM ;ortunately0 ho=e.er0 they ha.e ne.er offered any substantial e.idence G or any e.idence at all0 for that matterM - for these loaded0 contentious and e.idently .acuous charges. Thus0 such claims0 together =ith countless others similar0 must no= be relegated to the richly stocCed shel.es in the =arehouses of the BahaFi myth maCing historiogra&hical &ublishing industry of =hite=ash0 obfuscation0 bo=dlerization of teBts0 intentional deceit and systematic historical conflation0 malicious and confused &olemical fundamentalist sectarian &ro&aganda0 i.e. the dustbin of history. Throughout the translation ( ha.e attem&ted to bring out the ele.ated language of the original as =ell as stri.en for readability. Whene.er a &assage is other=ise obscure in a literal translation0 into the o.erall conteBt of the &assage ( ha.e read either an entire &hrase or =ord0 or =ords0 =hich ( ha.e then &laced inside bracCets NO. 2iCe the Bab0 ( ha.e deliberately chosen to flout some rules of ,in this case0 LEn&lishFdiction and grammar and ha.e s=itched bacC and forth bet=een using Lthee0 ye0 thou0 thineF and LyouF and Lyour$0 etc. Any solecisms and mistranslations are my o=n. *ay this translation0 =hich ( humbly dedicate as a gift to the !eo&le of the Bayan0 assist in the &rocess of .indicating for e&hochal &osterity the .eracity of the 1ternal ;ruit0 *irza Aahya Nuri Subh-i Azal ,magnified be His 1ternality-.
(n the Name of Eod the Sublime0 the *ost HolyM
K Name of the !re-1ternal ,Azal-0 .erily ( testify to this that there is no other god besides *e0 the dearly !recious0 the Best Belo.ed. And0 then0 ( testify to this that there is no other god besides Thee0 the !reser.er0 the !eerless. Say3 Eod created all that =hich He created from a firstness =ithout a firstness to Him and all things He creates by a lastness =ithout a lastness to Him in order to *anifest His o=n Self. This is the 8ause of Eod unto that =hich He has created and unto =hat He shall create. (n His &resence Eod commands the *anifestation of His Self about all things ho= He &leases by His No=nO command0 for .erily He is the Pno=er0 the Wise. When you art cut off from this Throne recite the .erses that your 2ord causes to be ins&ired in your heart3 .erses =hich are a reminder from His &resence0 for .erily He is the !reser.er0 the !eerless. And to thy self and for the &ious belie.ers of Eod say0 .erily ( am Eod and there is no other god besides *e0 the Pno=er0 the !o=erful0 or if you so desire0 say0 .erily ( am Eod and there is no other god besides *e0 the (naccessible So.ereign. And ( testify to *yself that .erily ( am the 2i.ing =ho abides in the Horizon of S&lendour. HarCen unto all =ho in.oCe *e by *y 4emembrance for .erily ( am the greatest of all =ho are in.oCed. And =hosoe.er attains the &resence of the Throne of your 2ordNshi&O has .erily attained the &resence of Eod0 the !reser.er0 the !eerless0 for there is no greater re=ard for him other than this if he truly be of the certain/ therefore0 ( testify that Eod is Eracious
Bismillah Al-Amna’ Al-Aqdas. This is my insertion and it does not occur in the INBA text.
abo.e all that &ossesses graciousness. He does not lo.e anyone bearing =itness to the Throne =ith the s&eech of his 2ord unless it be by the most s&lendorous Nof tonguesO in that =hich He has created in the dominion by His &ermission0 for .erily He is the *unificent abo.e all that &ossesses munificence. Eod desires that the thrones of reality5 be =ra&&ed in silCen =hite and then &laced in coffins of s&arCling crystal0 and then0 if it be feasible0 to be buried beneath the most elegantly &recious stones =hich ha.e e.er been created0 as this is Nfor &ur&ose of the a&&rehension of the reality of theO state of all those =hose dust are interred therein0 if they truly be of those =ho consider. And Eod does not desire those =ho ha.e belie.ed in Eod and His signs to be buried other=ise. (f they are unable to bury in such =ise0 tell them to use cotton and &lace Nthe bodyO in a =ooden coffin/ then0 after the days of internment0 to dis&erse the most lofty of these &recious stones Nato& the gra.eO0 if they truly be of the considerate. And this NcommandO is for the &ur&ose of the li.ing so that their hearts may reQoice therein. Be &resent bet=een *y 'i.ine hands =hen you are able among the &o=erful Nof the earthO and &roclaim the 8ause of your 2ord to the =orlds. 8all them to that =hich hath been sent do=n in the Bayan through the &ers&icuous &aths of lofty might. *ention *y beauteousness for those =ho ha.e belie.ed in *e and then *y &erfections so that there be no dissension in the 8ause of Eod lest those =ho are u&on the &ath of the true belie.ers stray. And if in your days Eod should manifest one liCe unto you0 He is accounted by Eod as the one singular inheritor of the 8ause. And if He does not manifest it0 for certain Eod does not =ish that His Self be Cno=n and so the decree of the =hole 8ause returns to Eod0 your 2ord and the 2ord of the =orlds. 8ommand the Witnesses =ho are among the most Eod fearing in the 8ause of their 2ord0 those =ho shall not transgress
The bodies of the dead.
against the limits &laced by Eod. And .erily there is one Namongst youO in the &resence of your 2ord =hom We taught the gems of =isdom and Cno=ledge0 so recei.e it from Hs through him0 for .erily We are of the Admonishers0 and by the lea.e of your 2ord &ay him as much res&ect as &ossible. Verily the Eates of the Bayan ha.e been &ro&ortioned according to the number of All-Things:. ;rom Hs only ele.en Hnities =ere re.ealed in it in total com&letion. Kne Hnity from the tem&les of nine before the tenth/ ele.en unities mentioned from the &resence of Eod0 the High0 the *ighty. And such is the mention of magnanimity to all by Eod0 and to Him are all returning. And you are all commanded Nto obeyO He =hom Eod shall maCe *anifest0 for He =ill assuredly return to this creation in the other 4esurrection by the So.ereignty of *ighty 1Bcellence.Verily =e are NHisO ser.ants and .erily to Him are =e all &rostrated. He shall carry out =hate.er be His =ill by the &ermission of His 2ord. None shall Juestion Him about His doings but all things shall be Juestioned about =hat they do. And if Eod manifests grandeur in thy days0 manifest the 1ight !aths@ by the &ermission of your 2ord by that =hich you Nrecei.eO of His high generosity. Verily We ha.e &romised to the Throne carrier of your 2ord a &ers&icuous &ath of Hnity =hen the command descended in her &resence 0 for .erily We are of those =ho fulfil N&romisesO. Eod does not &romise anything that He cannot succeed in fulfilling0 for .erily He is the Truthful of the *ost Truthful. And if Eod does not manifest grandeur in thy days0 be &atient =ith =hat hast been sent do=n and do not change e.en a single letter0 for such is the command of Eod in the *ighty BooC.
The numerical value of which is 361. The 8 incomplete Wahid/Unities of the Persian Bayan which Azal began, but did not finish, in his Mutammim al-Bayan (Completion of the Bayan), which ends at Bab 19, Wahid 11. 9 Could this be a reference to Tahirih, one of the Bab’s two wives, or another female believer?
8ommand Nthe belie.ersO by that =hich hath been sent do=n and do not change a single thing that &erchance the &eo&le may guard their faith Nand remainO intact =ithin the 8ause of Eod0 and that until the neBt 4esurrection they may be of the =ell-guarded in the &ers&icuous &aths of Hnity. And 4emember all =hom We ha.e mentioned in Kur e&istle to you0 for .erily We are the &ossessor of the remembrances. And maCe &resent from the NsublimeO im&ressions1$ of Eod se.en Hnities0 for .erily We are of the distinguishers. TaCe one Hnity for yourself then confer the rest of the Hnities to each of those belie.ers =ho reside in the land of ;a and )Ain and Pha and Alif and *im and Paf 11. We shall shortly send o.er to you the one =ho =as in N&ossession ofO the ;irst Hnity of the *ighty BooC1#. The seals of Eod0 your 2ord0 shall also reach you N=ith Kur en.oyO0 so seal them by it and diffuse co&ies of them throughout the =orld. And .erily all of that =hich reaches you of those in Kur name0 command all Nthe belie.ersO by it. And &reser.e yourself0 then &reser.e yourself0 and then that =hich has been sent do=n in the Bayan0 and then =hat =ill be sent do=n to your &resence0 for this =ill suffice until the 'ay of 4esurrection and shall be beneficial for the belie.ers. And .erily the Hnity for the 2and of ;a3 ;a con.ey the =hole Hnity to the name of the High16 so that it may be gi.en to the chosen0 a Hnity that is a remembrance from the &resence of Eod0 the High0 the *ighty. And for the 2and of )Ain3 )Ain Nsend itO to the name of the 1Bcellent1%=ho indeed aided Eod =ith all that he &ossessed in the 'ay of 4esurrection0 and assuredly his station is regarded as a mighty one in the &resence of Eod. And .erily
Namely, the Persian Bayan. Athar also means works or traces but I have deliberately chosen to translate it in such fashion as it retains an elevated quality of its own. 11 Fars, `Iraq, Khurasan, Azarbaijan, Mazandaran and Kashan. 12 This possibly refers to Mulla Abdu’l-Karim Qazvini, the Primal Point’s scribe and amanuensis, who a few months shortly before the Supreme Lord’s execution in July 9 1850 in Tabriz, was entrusted with the task to deliver over to Azal the seals and writings of the Primal Point including this Will and Testament. 13 Ali 14 Nabil
indeed =e ha.e ele.ated Nthe &ri.ilegeO for them =ho eB&ended for Hs of the right of the amount for Nthe &ayment ofO their fifth17 in the Bayan as a bounty0 for .erily We are of the bountiful. And for the 2and of Pha3 Pha con.ey 15 it to the name the Sincerely Truthful 0 and to the 2and of Alif0 Alif Nsend itO to 1: the name the *ightiness of the *erciful . And for the 2and of *im3 *im o.er there to the one =ho is among the most staunch in faith0 and to the 2and of Paf con.ey it to the name of your 2ord0 the 1ternally Beneficent1@. (t is not &ermissible for you to &ossess more than one unity0 and all must be content therein. And as for those tablets of the .erses of Eod0 the !reser.er0 the !rotector3 &reser.e it and do not send them to any &erson other than the sincerely &ious belie.ers of Eod. And .erily the creation of the hea.ens and the earth and =hat is bet=een them does not com&are to a single Hnity from Nthe BayanO0 if anyone NtrulyO be gnostically cognizant of it1 . And taCe refuge =ith Eod from e.ery o&&ressing tyrant until Eod manifests from His &resence that =hich =ill cause e.eryone to reQoice. Say3 He is the Victorious o.er His creation and He is the !reser.er0 the !eerless. And if the name of the Secure#$ be of the &ious0 send to him the talismanic tem&le#1 of greatness. He is one =ho =ill aid thee in the religion of Eod by .irtue of his Nassociation =ith theO the &o=erful And .erily indeed We ha.e made the distributor of the tablets## =hich ha.e been =ritten of the .erses of Eod a s&lendorous deli.erance to the Kne
Khoms, the Islamic version of the tithe, which is a fifth of the income and in Twelver Shi’ite Islam is regarded as the right of the Imam of the Age, i.e. the Bab. 16 Saddiq Saddeeq 17 Izzi’ Rahim 18 Jawad al-Jaweed. 19 I have deliberately chosen to translate `arifin in such fashion rather than the weaker ‘knowledgeable’, etc., which does not convey the noetic, intuitive sense and meaning the word is used here. 20 Aman 21 Haykal, i.e. Talisman. 22 A reference to Agha Siyyid Husayn Yazdi, the Primal Point’s other scribe and amanuensis.
Su&reme#6. Then0 he can taCe for himself a great talismanic tem&le#% and eB&end the due among those =ho are in the &resence of Eod Naccounted as theO the eB&ectant.
Verily ( am the !roof of Eod and His 2ightM #$#
;riday0 *arch 1
23 Al-Wahid al-A’la, an elevated title granted to Azal, to be juxtaposed with the Bab’s own title, Rabb-e A’la (the Supreme Lord). This honorific address by the Bab to Azal conclusively demonstrates that he believed that he and Azal were one, and as such categorically shatters the Baha’i position for good, especially as articulated in the pseudo-historical hagiographical screed by Shoghi Effendi Rabbani entitled God Passes By. 24 Haykal. 25 This is the ‘seal’ of the Primal Point (i.e. inni ana hujjat’ullah wa nurihu). It does not occur at the end of the INBA text. However, it does occur in another version in private hands which was shown to me by a member of the Bayani community in Brisbane, Australia. I have inserted it together with the numerical value of Ali (110) and Muhammad (92), 202, which occurs in that manuscript.
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