Baha’i Sabbath: Mashiyyat 17, 174 B.E. (10/13/2017)

And now, concerning His words: And He shall send His angels….”  By angelsis meant those who, reinforced by the power of the spirit, have consumed, with the fire of the love of God, all human traits and limitations, and have clothed themselves with the attributes of the most exalted Beings and of the Cherubim.  That holy man, Sadíq, in his eulogy of the Cherubim, saith: There stand a company of our fellow-Shí’ihs behind the Throne.Divers and manifold are the interpretations of the words behind the Throne.”  In one sense, they indicate that no true Shí’ihs exist.  Even as he hath said in another passage: A true believer is likened unto thephilosopher’s stone.”  Addressing subsequently his listener, he saith: Hast thou ever seen the philosopher’s stone?”  Reflect, how this symbolic language, more eloquent than any speech, however direct, testifieth to the non-existence of a true believer.  Such is the testimony of Sádiq.  And now consider, how unfair and numerous are those who, although they themselves have failed to inhale the fragrance of belief, have condemned as infidels those by whose word belief itself is recognized and established.

And now, inasmuch as these holy beings have sanctified themselves from every human limitation, have become endowed with the attributes of the spiritual, and have been adorned with the noble traits of the blessed, they therefore have been designated as angels.”  Such is the meaning of these verses, every word of which hath been expounded by the aid of the most lucid texts, the most convincing arguments, and the best established evidences.

As the adherents of Jesus have never understood the hidden meaning of these words, and as the signs which they and the leaders of their Faith have expected have failed to appear, they therefore refused to acknowledge, even until now, the truth of those Manifestations of Holiness that have since the days of Jesus been made manifest.  They have thus deprived themselves of the outpourings of God’s holy grace, and of the wonders of His divine utterance.  Such is their low estate in this, the Day of Resurrection!  They have even failed to perceive that were the signs of the Manifestation of God in every age to appear in the visible realm in accordance with the text of established traditions, none could possibly deny or turn away, nor would the blessed be distinguished from the miserable, and the transgressor from the God-fearing.  Judge fairly: Were the prophecies recorded in the Gospel to be literally fulfilled; were Jesus, Son of Mary, accompanied by angels, to descend from the visible heaven upon the clouds; who would dare to disbelieve, who would dare to reject the truth, and wax disdainful?  Nay, such consternation would immediately seize all the dwellers of the earth that no soul would feel able to utter a word, much less to reject or accept the truth.  It was owing to their misunderstanding of these truths that many a Christian divine hath objected to Muhammad, and voiced his protest in such words: If Thou art in truth the promised Prophet, why then art Thou not accompanied by those angels our sacred Books foretold, and which must needs descend with the promised Beauty to assist Him in His Revelation and act as warners unto His people?”  Even as the All-Glorious hath recorded their statement: Why hath not an angel been sent down to him, so that he should have been a warner with Him?

Such objections and differences have persisted in every age and century.  The people have always busied themselves with such specious discourses, vainly protesting:Wherefore hath not this or that sign appeared?”  Such ills befell them only because they have clung to the ways of the divines of the age in which they lived, and blindly imitated them in accepting or denying these Essences of Detachment, these holy and divine Beings.  These leaders, owing to their immersion in selfish desires, and their pursuit of transitory and sordid things, have regarded these divine Luminaries as being opposed to the standards of their knowledge and understanding, and the opponents of their ways and judgments.  As they have literally interpreted the Word of God, and the sayings and traditions of the Letters of Unity, and expounded them according to their own deficient understanding, they have therefore deprived themselves and all their people of the bountiful showers of the grace and mercies of God.  And yet they bear witness to this well-known tradition: Verily Our Word is abstruse, bewilderingly abstruse.”  In another instance, it is said: Our Cause is sorely trying, highly perplexing; none can bear it except a favorite of heaven, or an inspired Prophet, or he whose faith God hath tested.”  These leaders of religion admit that none of these three specified conditions is applicable to them.  The first two conditions are manifestly beyond their reach; as to the third, it is evident that at no time have they been proof against those tests that have been sent by God, and that when the divine Touchstone appeared, they have shown themselves to be naught but dross.

Great God!  Notwithstanding their acceptance of the truth of this tradition, these divines who are still doubtful of, and dispute about, the theological obscurities of their faith, yet claim to be the exponents of the subtleties of the law of God, and the expounders of the essential mysteries of His holy Word.  They confidently assert that such traditions as indicate the advent of the expected Qá’im have not yet been fulfilled, whilst they themselves have failed to inhale the fragrance of the meaning of these traditions, and are still oblivious of the fact that all the signs foretold have come to pass, that the way of God’s holy Cause hath been revealed, and the concourse of the faithful, swift as lightning, are, even now, passing upon that way, whilst these foolish divines wait expecting to witness the signs foretold.  Say, O ye foolish ones!  Wait ye even as those before you are waiting!

Were they to be questioned concerning those signs that must needs herald the revelation and rise of the sun of the Muhammadan Dispensation, to which We have already referred, none of which have been literally fulfilled, and were it to be said to them: Wherefore have ye rejected the claims advanced by Christians and the peoples of other faiths and regard them as infidels,knowing not what answer to give, they will reply: These Books have been corrupted and are not, and never have been, of God.”  Reflect: the words of the verses themselves eloquently testify to the truth that they are of God.  A similar verse hath been also revealed in the Qur’án, were ye of them that comprehend.  Verily I say, throughout all this period they have utterly failed to comprehend what is meant by corrupting the text.

Yea, in the writings and utterances of the Mirrors reflecting the sun of the Muhammadan Dispensation mention hath been made of Modification by the exalted beingsandalteration by the disdainful.”  Such passages, however, refer only to particular cases.  Among them is the story of Ibn-i-Súríyá.  When the people of Khaybar asked the focal center of the Muhammadan Revelation concerning the penalty of adultery committed between a married man and a married woman, Muhammad answered and said: The law of God is death by stoning.”  Whereupon they protested saying: No such law hath been revealed in the Pentateuch.Muhammad answered and said: Whom do ye regard among your rabbis as being a recognized authority and having a sure knowledge of the truth?”  They agreed upon Ibn-i-Súríyá.  Thereupon Muhammad summoned him and said: I adjure thee by God Who clove the sea for you, caused manna to descend upon you, and the cloud to overshadow you, Who delivered you from Pharaoh and his people, and exalted you above all human beings, to tell us what Moses hath decreed concerning adultery between a married man and a married woman.”  He made reply: O Muhammad! death by stoning is the law.Muhammad observed: Why is it then that this law is annulled and hath ceased to operate among the Jews?”  He answered and said: When Nebuchadnezzar delivered Jerusalem to the flames, and put the Jews to death, only a few survived.  The divines of that age, considering the extremely limited number of the Jews, and the multitude of the Amalekites, took counsel together, and came to the conclusion that were they to enforce the law of the Pentateuch, every survivor who hath been delivered from the hand of Nebuchadnezzar would have to be put to death according to the verdict of the Book. Owing to such considerations, they totally repealed the penalty of death.”  Meanwhile Gabriel inspired Muhammad’s illumined heart with these words:  They pervert the text of the Word of God.

This is one of the instances that have been referred to.  Verily by  pervertingthe text is not meant that which these foolish and abject souls have fancied, even as some maintain that Jewish and Christian divines have effaced from the Book such verses as extol and magnify the countenance of Muhammad, and instead thereof have inserted the contrary.  How utterly vain and false are these words!  Can a man who believeth in a book, and deemeth it to be inspired by God, mutilate it?  Moreover, the Pentateuchhad been spread over the surface of the earth, and was not confined to Mecca and Medina, so that they could privily corrupt and pervert its text.  Nay, rather, by corruption of the text is meant that in which all Muslim divines are engaged today, that is the interpretation of God’s holy Book in accordance with their idle imaginings and vain desires.  And as the Jews, in the time of Muhammad, interpreted those verses of the Pentateuch, that referred to His Manifestation, after their own fancy, and refused to be satisfied with His holy utterance, the charge of pervertingthe text was therefore pronounced against them.  Likewise, it is clear, how in this day, the people of the Qur’án have perverted the text of God’s holy Book, concerning the signs of the expected Manifestation, and interpreted it according to their inclination and desires.

In yet another instance, He saith: A part of them heard the Word of God, and then, after they had understood it, distorted it, and knew that they did so.  This verse, too, doth indicate that the meaning of the Word of God hath been perverted, not that the actual words have been effaced.  To the truth of this testify they that are sound of mind.

Again in another instance, He saith: Woe unto those who, with their own hands, transcribe the Book corruptly, and then say: `This is from God,’ that they may sell it for some mean price.  This verse was revealed with reference to the divines and leaders of the Jewish Faith.  These divines, in order to please the rich, acquire worldly emoluments, and give vent to their envy and misbelief, wrote a number of treatises, refuting the claims of Muhammad, supporting their arguments with such evidences as it would be improper to mention, and claimed that these arguments were derived from the text of the Pentateuch.

The same may be witnessed today.  Consider how abundant are the denunciations written by the foolish divines of this age against this most wondrous Cause!  How vain their imaginings that these calumnies are in conformity with the verses of God’s sacred Book, and in consonance with the utterances of men of discernment!

Our purpose in relating these things is to warn you that were they to maintain that those verses wherein the signs referred to in the Gospel are mentioned have been perverted, were they to reject them, and cling instead to other verses and traditions, you should know that their words were utter falsehood and sheer calumny.  Yea corruptionof the text, in the sense We have referred to, hath been actually effected in particular instances.  A few of these We have mentioned, that it may become manifest to every discerning observer that unto a few untutored holy Men hath been given the mastery of human learning, so that the malevolent opposer may cease to contend that a certain verse doth indicate corruptionof the text, and insinuate that We, through lack of knowledge, have made mention of such things.  Moreover, most of the verses that indicate corruptionof the text have been revealed with reference to the Jewish people, were ye to explore the isles of Qur’ánic

We have also heard a number of the foolish of the earth assert that the genuine text of the heavenly Gospel doth not exist amongst the Christians, that it hath ascended unto heaven.  How grievously they have erred!  How oblivious of the fact that such a statement imputeth the gravest injustice and tyranny to a gracious and loving Providence!  How could God, when once the Day-star of the beauty of Jesus had disappeared from the sight of His people, and ascended unto the fourth heaven, cause His holy Book, His most great testimony amongst His creatures, to disappear also?  What would be left to that people to cling to from the setting of the day-star of Jesus until the rise of the sun of the Muhammadan Dispensation?  What law could be their stay and guide?  How could such people be made the victims of the avenging wrath of God, the omnipotent Avenger?  How could they be afflicted with the scourge of chastisement by the heavenly King?  Above all, how could the flow of the grace of the All-Bountiful be stayed?  How could the ocean of His tender mercies be stilled?  We take refuge with God, from that which His creatures have fancied about Him!  Exalted is He above their comprehension!

Dear friend!  Now when the light of God’s everlasting Morn is breaking; when the radiance of His holy words: God is the light of the heavens and of the earth is shedding illumination upon all mankind; when the inviolability of His tabernacle is being proclaimed by His sacred utterance: God hath willed to perfect His light; and the Hand of omnipotence, bearing His testimony: In His grasp He holdeth the kingdom of all things,is being outstretched unto all the peoples and kindreds of the earth; it behooveth us to gird up the loins of endeavour, that haply, by the grace and bounty of God, we may enter the celestial City: Verily, we are God’s,and abide within the exalted habitation: And unto Him we do return.” It is incumbent upon thee, by the permission of God, to cleanse the eye of thine heart from the things of the world, that thou mayest realize the infinitude of divine knowledge, and mayest behold Truth so clearly that thou wilt need no proof to demonstrate His reality, nor any evidence to bear witness unto His testimony.

O affectionate seeker!  Shouldst thou soar in the holy realm of the spirit, thou wouldst recognize God manifest and exalted above all things, in such wise that thine eyes would behold none else but Him.  God was alone; there was none else besides Him.”  So lofty is this station that no testimony can bear it witness, neither evidence do justice to its truth.  Wert thou to explore the sacred domain of truth, thou wilt find that all things are known only by the light of His recognition, that He hath ever been, and will continue for ever to be, known through Himself.  And if thou dwellest in the land of testimony, content thyself with that which He, Himself, hath revealed: Is it not enough for them that We have sent down unto Thee the Book?  This is the testimony which He, Himself, hath ordained; greater proof than this there is none, nor ever will be: This proof is His Word; His own Self, the testimony of His truth.

Baha’u’llah, exc. fr. – Kitab-i-Iqan/Book of Certitude


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