Monday, 3 December 2012

Nāṣir-i-Khusrow and cosmic hierarchies in Ismā 'ilism: translation of the 67th section of khwān al-ikhwān (the Feast of the Brethren)

Nāṣir-i-Khusrow Qubādīānī (d. 1088)

The following piece was summarized by Henry Corbin in several places including Cyclical Time and Isma'ili Gnosis, see especially pp. 36-37. To date, our translation appears to be the only full length translation of this entire section of the following work by Nāṣir-i-Khusrow. 

Note on translation: Transliterations from Persian are placed inside round brackets () as are some elaborations. Alternative readings and a few elaborations have been placed inside square brackets [] with words or phrases italicized inside single quotation marks ['']. Ellipses ... indicate the omission of Nasir-i-Khosrow's Persian paraphrase of the Qur'anic verse or akhbār he has quoted just before in the original Arabic. Where they occur these have not been translated. Instead the discussion resumes from the point where the Persian paraphrase ends.  Translations from the Qur'an are amended translations from Pickthall’s (usually a single word or two changed from Pickthall's orginal). A literal rendering has been striven for but in several instances this has not been possible.


The Sixty-Seventh Section

A discussion regarding the affirmation [or ‘proof’] of the three surpassing spiritual [or ‘divine’] branches [or ‘subdivisions’] (far‘-i-rūḥānī) [viz. hypostases]: the Predecessor (jadd), the Opening [or ‘Victory’] (fatḥ) and Imagination (khayāl)

The spiritual [or ‘divine’] [world] (rūḥānī) may be understood by reason of [or ‘in comparative juxtaposition with’] the material world by the proofs set according to the (metaphysical) limits (ḥudūd) established by the most high God. So we say to the inquirers of the science of divine reality [or ‘truth’] (juyandigān-i-‘ilm-i-ḥaqīqat), by the command of the masters [or ‘divinities’] of truth (khodāvandān-i-ḥaqq), upon them be peace, that we find the material world [divided] into two foundations (du aṣl). One is its beneficent [or ‘active cause ’] (fā’ida dahanda), which is the world of bodies (ā‘lam-i-jirmānī) that is [‘illustrated’ or ‘exemplified by’] the planetary constellations (aflāk) and the stars (anjum). The other is the beneficiary [‘receptacle’, or ‘causal effect’] (fā’ida pazīr) that are the four elements (ṭabā‘iya-i-chahārgāna), which occur under the planetary constellations.

We will find [all] generation [or ‘origination’] (zāyish) to occur from among the male and female [dyads] of this threefold [progression], whether mineral, vegetable or animal; so, therefore, we hold the material world to be divided into these five parts: two from it in the rank (manzilat) of mother and father (mādar va pidar), and three from them in the rank of children (farzandān). As such this condition conclusively proves that the supernal [spiritual] world (ā‘lam-i-‘uluvvī) is likewise divided into five parts: two from it in the rank of heaven and earth (āsmān va zamīn) and three among them in the rank of generated outcomes (ḥāṣil āmadigān). And he testifies to the correctness [or ‘truth’] of the saying in this [following] statement made by the Messenger, upon him be peace: “Between my Lord and I there are five intermediaries (wasā’iṭ): Gabriel (jibrā’īl), Michael (mikā’īl), Raphael (isrāfīl), the Tablet (al-lawḥ) and the Pen (al-qalam)”…

The esoteric exegesis (tawīl) of this report (khabar) is this, that the Omnipotent Lord (parvadigār) wishes, by the command [or ‘cause’] (amr) of the Creator (bārī), for the complete appearance of the cause (amr) to come forth from the path of the Resurrector (qā’im), upon him be the most excellent salutations; and the prophets, upon them be peace, from that portion of which they [each] acquired from the command of the Creator, informed creation regarding the [future] appearance of the Resurrector and so put the dread into them; and it is for this reason that they are known as prophets because they have informed the creation of the coming Resurrector.

The pure [‘legitimate,’ ‘holy’ or ‘chaste’] (pārsā) prophets are those proclaimers  (khabar dahandegān); for the most high God identified the prophets as the ones who proclaim. For this reason they appraised creation of the [coming] Resurrector and called creation to him; and the Resurrector, upon him be the most excellent salutations, was announced from its  [God’s?] essence (az ẓāt-i-ū khabar khand) inasmuch as he is the [one] proclaimed from the command [or ‘cause’] of the Creator, glory be to him, just as he uttered [or ‘commanded by’], his words: “Whereof do they question one another regarding the mighty news concerning which they are in disagreement” (Qur’ān 78:1-3) …

And many of the people say that it is a day the duration of which is fifty-thousand years. It is the day wherein the most high God shall hold creation to account; and one group largely hold that this indicates the Mahdī who shall come and reveal the religion of God and convert all infidels to Islām. Another group mostly say that this report indicates the Executor [or ‘legatee’] (waṣī) of the Messenger, upon him be peace. The folk of truth [or ‘reality’] (ahl-i-ḥaqīqat) generally agree that the proclamation refers to that person by reason of whose announcement the prophets, upon them be peace, have been named as necessary.

The chosen (muṣtafā) Messenger, upon him be peace, has told us in the aforementioned report that ‘Between God and I there are five intermediaries’ and the first to be mentioned was Gabriel, who is a proximate angel (firishtih-i-muqarrab) and is the envoy (safīr) between God and his prophets. Then he mentioned Michael whose majesty and power is greater than the majesty and power of Gabriel.  Then he mentioned Raphael whereby the commands of God are issued from the reception of his tablet; then the Tablet was mentioned and then the Pen, in this order as we stated, such that from these five intermediaries, each being mightier and nobler than the next, he mentioned them [one after another] with the one lower in rank [or ‘one farther behind’] (bāzpas tar) [indicated] before the higher; and from this [arrangement] the lowest in rank [or ‘one farthest behind’] (bāzpas tarīn) is to the most high God the nearest (nazdīktar ast), [that is] by the nearness of knowledge (‘ilm) and not of interval [or ‘distance’] (musāfat); since it is fitting that Gabriel, who is the fifth (metaphysical) limit, should be an angel from the most high God. And the Pen, which is the first (metaphysical) limit, is a pen lifeless and without knowledge; and the Tablet is a lifeless ledger upon which nothing can be written.

So we say, that from the spiritual world the Pen is in the rank [or ‘descends from the grade’] (manzilat) of the heavenly world within [or ‘into’] the material world, which is the Universal Intellect (‘aql-i-kull) who (ū) encompasses both worlds just as the heavens encompass the material world. And the Tablet is in the rank [or ‘descends from the grade’] (manzilat) of the earth within the material world, and that is the Universal Soul (nafs-i-kull) who is the beneficiary [or ‘receptacle’] (pazīrandih) of the powers of the Universal Intellect and the manifester of its beneficial determinants [or ‘activities’] (fā’ida-hā) in the eternal life (‘umr-i-jāvīdī) just as the earth is the manifester (padīd ārandih) of the beneficial determinants [or ‘activities’] of the heavens and beneficiary [or ‘receptacle’]  for its powers in the perishable life (‘umr-i-fānī).

And the [relationship of the] Intelligence (‘aql) to the Pen is illustrated in such a fashion, that until the [writer’s] [straight] line (khaṭṭ) actually appear [that is, be drawn], it (i.e. the straight line) is unknown because the [potential] line within the pen issues from the soul of the person although a person’s soul bears no [direct ontological] resemblance or connection to the pen just as the Creator’s cause [or ‘command’], glory be to him, is attached to the Intelligence without the Intelligence [necessarily] enjoying any attachment or connection to the ipseity (huvīyat) of the Creator, glory be to him, other than as the function of the manifestation of the existents from the Intelligence in the same manner as a piece of writing is obtained from the pen; for however much the wise have written [or ‘described’] how all things appear from the pen, they have also understood that whatsoever the pen should write is nothing other than it’s submission (farmān bardārī) [to the hand which holds it]; inasmuch as that which is written is the substance (māyih) of the soul of the writer [‘administrator’ or ‘secretary’] (dabīr). They have also understood that the [generation of the] created beings, which all issue from the Intelligence as the Intelligence’s effects, is likewise nothing but [the effects of this] submission [to the Creator]. This is the command of the Creator, glory be to him, which is far from the attributes of the Intelligence because whatsoever descends is from him.

And the [relationship of the] Soul to the Tablet has been characterized as the appearance of the line from the pen upon the tablet; and unless there be a tablet, neither will there take form the strength [or ‘power’] which appears from the soul of the writer by the pen. In the same manner the beneficial determinants [or ‘activities’] of the Intelligence did not take effect in the Soul and manifest within the two worlds [in any form] otherwise; and the individual [or ‘individuated’] souls of the people always gives testimony to this state for that reason, that the Intelligence is not found in the world other than among the soul of a people who have accepted it, such that there may be found [among the people] those giving discourse distinguishing between the Intelligence and the Soul; and those skills [or ‘crafts’] (ṣa‘nat-hā) which the people are able to undertake - which are those apparent traces of the Intelligence - that is the partial Soul (nafs-i-juz’ī).

So it is established that the Tablet is the Universal Soul, and it is apparent that the heavens are the supernal [spiritual] world of the Intelligence, and the earth is the supernal [spiritual] world of the Soul. As such from these five (metaphysical) limits to which the Messenger of God referred, upon him peace, ‘Between God and I there are five intermediaries’, two limits were indicated as being attributes equal (bārābar) to two pillars (du rukn) of the material world, with three (metaphysical) limits as the remainder, equal to three originations (zāyish) which has resulted in the world; and these are, Raphael, Michael and Gabriel who are equal to three originations (zāyish) of the material world which are the mineral, vegetable and animal.

So we say, just as the origination of the material world first resulted [in the appearance of] the mineral, and after it the vegetable and after that the animal, it is necessary that from these two mighty (metaphysical) limits the first should be the Predecessor (jadd), and after it the Opening (fatḥ) and after that the Imagination (khayāl). Therefore, from the [the perspective of the] spiritual world (ā‘lam-i-rūhānī), the Predecessor (jadd) is equivalent to the mineral in the material world; the Opening (fatḥ), from [the perspective of the] the spiritual world, is equivalent to the vegetable in the material world; and the Imagination (khayāl), from [the perspective of the] the spiritual world, is equivalent to the animal in the material world. And each of these three originations of the material world are divided into two parts such that the mineral is [divided into] two parts as being either purified [or ‘refined’] (qudākhtanī) or unpurified [or ‘turbid’]; and the vegetable is [divided into] two parts, it is either fruitful (bārvar) [or ‘plentiful’] or it is barren; and likewise the animal, it is either rational (nāṭiq) or it is irrational.

This condition is proof that each of these three spiritual limits leaves a trace [or ‘effect’] (athar) in the two worlds. And the spiritual world [itself] is like a refined pearl which always remains in its own state whereas the material world resembles an unrefined pearl whose condition is in [a state of] gyration (gardandih) which does not [always] remain in the same condition. The spiritual world is like the fertile [‘fruitful’ or ‘plentiful’] vegetable in so far as its resultant beneficial determinants [or ‘activities’] at all times survive [‘subsist’, ‘effectuate’ or ‘remain’] (bāqī) whereas the material world is as an unripe vegetable where no resultant beneficial determinant [or ‘activity’] has occurred. The spiritual world is like a living creature who speaks (sokhangu) inasmuch as its substance is [derived] from the divine cause [or ‘command’] [which generated it] - in so far as it is defined by words and in action - whereas the material world is like a living creature who is mute [or ‘incapable of speech’] just like quadrupeds desiring [to speak but are incapable of it] (righbat-i-satūrān) and those like them.

The consequence [‘trace’ or ‘effect’] of each (metaphysical) limit among these three spiritual limits in the supernal (spiritual) world is for it to become a beneficiary [or ‘receptacle’] of the (metaphysical) limit which is higher [or ‘better’] (bartar) than it; and its effect in the material world is to make that beneficent [force] reach that (metaphysical) limit below it; because, we say, the Predecessor (jadd) becomes the beneficiary of the power of the cause [or ‘causation’] of Soul (nafs), and from this, in its descent from [or ‘effusion below’] (furūd) itself, it makes it reach the Opening (fatḥ); and the Opening (fatḥ) becomes the beneficiary of the Predecessor (jadd), and from this, in its descent from [or ‘effusion below’] itself, it makes it reach the Imagination (khayāl); and the Imagination (khayāl) becomes the beneficiary of the Opening (fatḥ), and from this in its descent from [or ‘effusion below’] itself, it makes it reach the Speaker (nāṭiq); and the Speaker (nāṭiq) holds the same rank in the material world which the Intelligence (‘aql) holds in the spiritual world.

Therefore, from the beneficent [cause] of the Imagination (khayāl), who is higher [or ‘better’] than it, and to which it has served as the beneficiary [or ‘receptacle’], the Speaker (nāṭiq) conveys [or ‘transmits’] to the Executor (waṣī) whose descent [or ‘effusion’] is like the example of the beneficial reception (pazīroftan) by the Intelligence from the Cause [or ‘command’] and its transmission to the Universal Soul (nafs-i-kullī); for within the supernal (spiritual) world the Executor (waṣī) is as the same as [or ‘corresponds to’] the station (rutba) of Soul (nafs). As such, from the beneficent [cause] of the Speaker (nāṭiq), who is higher [or ‘better’] than it, the Executor (waṣī) transmits to the Imām, who is below it [in rank], like the example of the beneficial reception (pazīroftan) by the Soul (nafs) from the Intelligence (‘aql) and its transmission to the Predecessor (jadd); and in the material world the Imām occupies the rank (manzilat) which is the same as the [rank of the] Predecessor (jadd) in the spiritual world.

Given this, from the beneficent [cause] of the Executor (waṣī), who is higher [or ‘better’] than it, the Imām transmits to his own Gate [or ‘threshold’] (bāb), who is below it [in rank], like the example of the beneficial reception by the Predecessor (jadd) from the Universal Soul (nafs-i-kullī) and its transmission to the Opening (fatḥ); and in the material world the Gate [or ‘threshold’] (bāb) of the Imām holds the same rank which the Opening (fatḥ) holds in the supernal [spiritual] world. As such, from the beneficent [cause] of the Imām, who is higher [or ‘better’] than it, the Gate [or ‘threshold’] (bāb) transmits to the Proof (ḥujjat), who is below it [in rank], like the example of the beneficial reception by the Opening (fatḥ) from the Predecessor (jadd) and its transmission to the Imagination (khayāl). Therefore, within the material world, the Proof (ḥujjat) occupies the same rank as the Imagination (khayāl) in the spiritual world; and there is no passage (gozar nīst) by [or ‘after’? the transmission of] the Proof (ḥujjat) to the Aid (ta’yīd), and [over to] its descending (furūd) beneficiaries (pazīrandigān), [because] the commands [or ‘causes’] can be adduced [openly?] by reception and not by ciphers (ramz).

The chosen Messenger, the salutations of God be upon him and his household, likened and equated these material limits with the spiritual limits so that by demonstrations the wise may discern the material limits and understand the spiritual limits thereby; this, so that each person may determine their own limit and testify to the correctness of this assertion in the words of the chosen Messenger, the salutations of God be upon him and his household, who said: “I took from five and I was given by five”…

The material world is not nor has it ever been bereft of a single person [or ‘body’] whose eyes have not been afflicted (chashm zaḥm) without (divine) Aid (ta’yīd) from the supernal (spiritual) world connecting with them such that creation and the world may thereby endure by this (divine) Aid (ta’yīd). And such a person is either a prophet (payāmbar) in his own time (zamān-i-khod) or an Executor (waṣī) within his own era (‘asr-i-khīsh); or he may be an Imām among his children during his own days (ruzgār-i-khīsh) and the transmitter of the (divine) Aid (ta’yīd) from the cause [or ‘command’] of the Creator, glory be to him. To the prophet belongs the cycle of the (metaphysical) limit (dawr-i-ḥadd ast) and the transmitter of the (divine) Aid (ta’yīd) to the Executor (waṣī). During his (i.e. the Executor’s) era (‘asr) the Messenger is the Opening (fatḥ) and the transmitter of the (divine) Aid (ta’yīd). To the Imām during his days he (i.e. the Messenger) is [or ‘belongs’] the Imagination (khayāl); and in the material world other than these three (i.e. the Messenger, the Executor and the Imām) no one else is the recipient [or ‘beneficiary’] of the (divine) Aid (ta’yīd).

And testimony to the truth of this claim regarding the world is this, that luminosity (rushanā’ī) in the world is based on three foundations (sih aṣl): one is from the sun, who (ū) is warm [or ‘possesses heat’], is luminous and is subsistent. It (i.e. the sun) can be likened to the Predecessor (jadd) who is the beneficiary [or ‘receptacle’] of the Universal Soul, which is the foundation (aṣl) and not the branch (far‘); and [from this] it bestows upon the Opening (fatḥ) which is the branch and not the foundation (far‘). And the other [foundations of] luminosity in the world are from the moon and the stars, who possess luminosity and subsistence but not heat; and this is like the example of the Opening (fatḥ) who is the beneficiary of the Predecessor (jadd); and [from this] it bestows upon the branch which is the Imagination (khayāl). Another source of luminosity in the world is fire which possesses heat and luminosity but is not subsistent, and it can be likened to the Imagination (khayāl) which is the beneficiary of the spiritual branch (far‘-i-rūhānī) and bestows upon the material foundation (asl-i-jismānī) which is the Speaker (nāṭiq).

Therefore, just as within the material world luminosity is [or ‘derives’] from these three masters [or ‘divinities’] of light (khudāvandān-i-nūr) – i.e. the sun, the moon, the stars and in third place, fire, each possessing its own [unique] condition - likewise is luminosity [derived] within the world of religion from these three masters [or ‘divinities’] of spiritual light: one being the Predecessor (jadd), the other the Opening (fatḥ) and the third the Imagination (khayāl), each possessing its own condition in reception of the command [or ‘cause’] and its transmission thereby, just as we have explained.

And testimony from the soul of humanity, to that which it is more complete an originator of the material world, rests upon the evidence of these three spiritual branches wherein the soul of humans is the couple [or ‘dyad’] (juft) of the Intelligence, and whereby from their material bodies their activities (fi ‘l-hā) always become apparent. It has three powers each of which stands [in the function of] completing the two forms [or ‘faces’] (ṣūrat) of humanity, one being the material form and the other the spiritual form. Each of these three powers possessed by humanity is the form of the powers of the (divine) Aid (ta’yīd) and is equivalent to the Predecessor (jadd); and the other is the sensual [or ‘concupiscent’] power (shahvānī) which is equivalent to the Opening (fatḥ) while the third is the power of speech which is equivalent to the Imagination (khayāl).

We have compared the lesser world (ā‘lam-kahīn), which is humanity, to the spiritual world, and since we made the world of religion equivalent to the souls of humanity, we say that the Speaker (nāṭiq) is equivalent to the vegetative soul (nafs-i-nāmīya) of humanity, and its source [‘basis’ or ‘foundation’] (asās) is equivalent to the sensual [or ‘concupiscent’] soul of humanity. The Imām is equivalent to the rational [or ‘speaking’] soul (nafs-i-nāṭiqa) of humanity for the reason that it (i.e. the rational soul) has been present from the outset of [each] person’s physical existence, which from infancy grows [or ‘develops’] like the vegetable [to maturity]; for just as the Speaker (nāṭiq) is the commencement [or ‘initiation’] of the world of religion, which appears from him, religion and the sensual [or ‘concupiscent’] soul are the (separate) intervals (miāna) of the beinghood (būdash) of humanity who [in their unawakened or unspiritualized state] focus [or ‘search’] for food and drink [or ‘wine’] and then attain better than it (i.e. transcend their sensual condition) (bihtar az ān guzīdan gīrad). Just as the source [‘basis’ or ‘foundation’] (asās) of the esoteric exegesis of the truth (tawīl-i-ḥaqq) makes the wise voracious [or ‘greedy’] (ḥarīṣ) to separate truth from error, so too does the [common] peoples endeavours [or ‘search’] for physical [or ‘ego satiating’] food (ghazā-i-nafsānī) make them voracious [or ‘greedy’] (ḥarīṣ).

The rational [or ‘speaking’] soul (nafs-i-nāṭiqa) is the last [stage to manifest] in humanity, and once it has appeared [or ‘manifested’] humanity has been completed in its beinghood (būdash), which is something the soul itself knows, just as the Imām in its (i.e. the soul’s) finality [or ‘the last Imām’, i.e. the Qā’im] is its support [or ‘refuge’] (mu’ayyad) because it is he who delivers humanity from annihilation (fanā’) to subsistence (baqā’). The ciphers and metaphors of the Speaker (nāṭiq) can in truth be adduced to indicate the recognition of the Imām; for just as the rational [or ‘speaking’] soul is more eminent than other souls, so too is the Imām greater than other ranks. And testimony to the truth of this utterance is this, that the rank of the Imām is the rank of the master [or ‘divinity’] of the Resurrection (qīyamat), upon him be peace, for all the Speakers (nāṭiqān) of creation have called [creation] towards him; and it was because of the eminence and rank of the imamate that the most high God proclaimed that on the day of Resurrection every people shall be called to its Imām: upon the day wherein we shall call every people to their Imām” (Qur’ān 17:71)…and he did not say [instead] ‘we shall call them [on that day] to their messengers’.

We have explained [or ‘delineated’] the discussion around the demonstration of three spiritual branches, which are the subsistence of the material world and the edifice of the world of religion, which is [or ‘subsists’] by their intercession [or ‘intermediation’] in that measure [or ‘degree’] to which the initiate (mustajīb) who knows the way may speak of the awakening.

13 Azar 1391 shamsī
3 December 2012 CE

Saturday, 7 July 2012

A short prayer by Subh-i-Azal invoking Light

Continuing to read carefully through the Princeton Bābī collection, I recently came across the following beautiful prayer by Ṣubḥ-i-Azal which is found on folios 84a-85a of volume 24 (formerly no. 242). The Arabic typescript given is by me from the the PDF of the mss. The prayer is quoted as an extensive appendix to the volume and is entitled Istidlālīya (Demonstrations/Proofs) which are rebuttals by the Azali Babi figure and Witness of the Bayān, Abā Waḥīd Ḥajjī Sayyid Muḥammad of Isfahān (murdered by the Baha'is in Acre 1869), to the claims of the Bahā’ī founder and patriarch Mīrzā Ḥusayn ʿAlī Nūrī Bahā’u’llāh (d. 1892). The PDF uploaded to the Princeton page was missing folio 85a-b so in early May 2012 I wrote the mss. librarians at Princeton and they graciously sent me a PDF of the folio missing from the PDF of the microfilms they have uploaded to the page. 
Note: this prayer by Subh-i-Azal is from his work entitled Ṣahīfa Abhajīya (The Epistle of Utmost Joy), a Baghdad era work. A photocopy of a ms. from the compilation INBA (Iranian National Baha'i Archives) #1 contains this work in the unmistakable handwriting of Ṣubḥ-i-Azal himself – this work has been mistakenly attributed to the Bāb in INBA vol.1 - and two-thirds of the prayer occurs on pp.58a-59b of the PDF and is entitled duʿā al-nūr (The Prayer of Light). Per the opening in the INBA ms., the prayer is meant to be recited at dawn and is held to possess nine forms of spiritual provision (rizq). One entire leaf of the ms. is missing from this INBA vol.1 compilation such that our prayer abruptly ends after the invocation yā nūr yā jamīl yā nūr (O Light, O Beauteous, O Light...). The Princeton copy appears to be the complete transcription. 31 May 2013

Here below is the Arabic typescript and my provisional translation of this prayer.

Princeton 242: now Islamic Manuscripts – Third Series – volume 24, 84a-85a.

Typescript and English translation 
by N. Wahid Azal

بسم الله البرّ العطوف
اللهمّ يا بديع يا منيع يا رفيع يا سلطان يا رحمن يا حيّ يا قيّوم يا ذا الجلال و الاكرام يا ذا الجمال و الاعظام يا ذا النّور و البهاء يا ذا الطلعة و العلاء يا ذا العزّة و الكبرياء يا ذا القدرة و البقاء يا نور يا قدّوس يا نور يا سبّوح يا نور يا قيّوم يا نور يا بدّوح يا نور يا اوّل يا نور يا آخر يا نور يا ظاهر يا نور يا باطن يا نور يا عالى يا نور يا قادر يا نور يا مُقدّر يا نور يا مُصوّر يا نور يا مُسهل يا نور يا مُسبّب يا نور يا ميّسر يا نور يا مفّرح يا نور يا مفرّج يا نور يا مكثّر يا نور يا مهوّر يا نور مطوّر يا نور مكوّر يا نور يا مهيّمن يا نور مهوّن يا نور يا مبيّن يا نور يا مُلقّن يا نور يا مكوّن يا نور يا شديد يا نور يا وحيد يا نور يا واسع يا نور يا رافع يا نور يا دافع يا نور يا وسيع يا نور يا شفيع يا نور يا سميع يا نور يا رفيع يا نور يا كائن يا نور يا كيؤن يا نور يا كيّان يا نور يا ديّان يا نور يا لقّان يا نور يا سبحان يا نور يا قدسان يا نور يا عظمان يا نور يا مُعطى يا نور مُعلى يا نور يا مغني يا نور يا مكنّز يا نور يا مسطّع يا نور يا مجمل يا نور يا منعم يا نور يا مفضّل يا نور يا فاضل يا نور يا ناعم يا نور يا ناور يا نور يا ساطع يا نور يا لامع يا نور يا وارث يا نور يا مبعث يا نور يا غيّاث يا نور يا مغيث يا نور يا مستغاث يا نور يا معين يا نور يا بصير يا نور يا باصر يا نور يا ناصر يا نور يا نصّار يا نور يا فاطر يا نور يا ساتر يا نور يا غافر يا نور يا قاهر يا نور يا ساخر يا نور يا جابر يا نور يا مطلع يا نور يا مفتح يا نور يا بدىّ يا نور يا بادىء يا نور يا جميل يا نور يا جليل يا نور يا فضيل يا نور يا نبيل يا نور يا صريخ يا نور يا غوّاث يا نور يا غوث يا نور يا بذّاخ يا نور يا باذخ يا نور يا شامخ يا نور يا سميع يا نور يا مقتدر يا نور يا مفطّر يا نور يا مهيّمن’ يا نور يا خير الفاتحين يا نور يا خير الناصرين يا نور يا خير الحاسبين يا نور يا خير الجامعين يا نور يا خير الرازقين اسئلك بنورك و بهائك و جمالك و جلالك ان تفتّح لنا ابواب فضلك و توسع في رزقنا من قبل و من بعد في كلّ حين من خزائن منّك و احسانك’ انّك وسعت رحمتك من في السّماوات و الارض و انّك كنت على كلّشئ قديراً

In the Name of God the All-Good, the All-Giving!
O my God, O Wondrous, O Invulnerable, O Elevated, O Ruler, O Compassionate, O Alive, O Peerless! O Possessor of Majesty and Grace! O Possessor of Beauty and the uttermost Mightinesses! O Possessor of the Light and the Splendour! O Possessor of the Visage and the crowning Highnesses! O Possessor of the Tremendousness and the ultimate Greatnesses! O Possessor of the Power and the Subsistence! O Light, O Holy! O Light, O Glorified! O Light, O Peerless! O Light, O Baddúḥ! O Light, O First! O Light, O Last! O Light, O Manifest! O Light, O Hidden! O Light, O High! O Light, O Capable! O Light, O Predestiner! O Light, O Giver of Form! O Light, O Giver of Ease! O Light, O Giver of Cause! O Light, O Facilitator! O Light, O Giver of Joy! O Light, O Giver of Relief! O Light, O Giver of Increase! O Light, O Destroyer! O Light, O Developer! O Light, O Encircler! O Light, O Protector! O Light, O Alleviator! O Light, O Exemplifier! O Light, O Prompter! O Light, O Giver of Being! O Light, O Intense! O Light, O One! O Light, O Pervasive! O Light, O Elevator! O Light, O Repeller! O Light, O Vast! O Light, O Healer! O Light, O Hearer! O Light, O Sublime! O Light, O Existentiator! O Light, O Entifier! O Light, O Cosmocrator! O Light, O Judge! O Light, O Ultimate Encounter! O Light, O Glorified! O Light, O Sanctified! O Light, the Most Mighteous of the Mighty! O Light, O Bestower! O Light, O Exalter! O Light, O Self-Sufficient! O Light, O Maker of Treasures! O Light, O Giver of Radiation! O Light, O Adorner! O Light, O Benefactor! O Light, O Eminent in Beneficence! O Light, O Distinguished! O Light, O Giver of Grace! O Light, O Giver of Light! O Light, O Dazzling! O Light, O Irradiator! O Light, Inheritor! O Light, O Causer! O Light, O Helper! O Light, O Aider! O Light, O Aid Invoked! O Light, O Specifier! O Light, O Seeing! O Light, O Seer! O Light, O Victorious! O Light, the Most Victorious! O Light, O Creator! O Light, O Coverer! O Light, O Forgiver! O Light, O Triumphant! O Light, O Irradiant! O Light, O Compelling Predestiner! O Light, O Well-Informed! O Light, O Unlocker! O Light, O Dawning! O Light, O Commencer! O Light, O Beautiful! O Light, O Majestic! O Light, O Gracious! O Light, O Noble! O Light, O Helper! O Light, O Succorer! O Light, O Succoring! O Light, O Splendiferous! O Light, O Splendid! O Light, O Lofty! O Light, O Hearing! O Light, O Competent! O Light, O Fashioner! O Light, O Protector! O Light, O Best of all the Victorious! O Light, O the Best of all Reckoners! O Light, O Best of all Comprisers! O Light, O Best of all Sustainers! I ask Thee by Thy Light and Thy Splendour and Thy Beauty and Thy Majesty That Ye open to us the gates of Thy grace and expand for us our sustenance from before and after in every moment from the treasuries of Thy Bounty and Elegances! Verily thy mercy encompasseth whatsoever is in the Heavens and in the earth, for verily Thou art powerful over all-things!


INBA 1 (partial)

Princeton 24

Princeton 3

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Regarding John Walbridge's recent article

John Walbridge

(Revised, December 2014)

I have known John Walbridge of Indiana University since early 1995. I started reading him earlier than that beginning with his Science of Mystic Lights a few years before I made his virtual acquaintance online via the listserv I have read all of his published writings dealing with Suhrawardī and the Illuminationist school. Likewise I have read the originals of most of the texts he has written about and translated, whether in scans of manuscripts or in the printed editions. My complaint to one side regarding his somewhat obtuse treatment of Suhrawardī and the Illuminationist school (especially with his translation together with the late Hossein Ziai of the Ḥikmat al-Ishrāq as the Philosophy of Illumination, not to mention in his two monographs Leaven of the Ancients and the Wisdom of the Mystic East), I was completely flabbergasted recently to learn when reading his recent journal piece entitled THE DEVOTIONAL AND OCCULT WORKS OF SUHRAWARDI THE ILLUMINATIONIST, in Ishraq no.2 2011, 80-97, that not a single reference or acknowledgement was forthcoming in the entire article to Henry Corbin’s work previously undertaken on this material of Suhrawardī’s. Corbin has so far been the only person to have provided a complete, analytical treatment and translation in French of Suhrawardī’s prayers and occult invocations to the planetary intelligences, which is the subject of Walbridge's article.
It should be noted that Walbridge’s piece is the published version of a presentation he gave at the 2009 annual MESA (Middle East Studies Association) conference. In late 2010, after being informed by Reza Pourjavady in email about the presentation, I emailed John Walbridge himself about his paper at MESA, also inquiring him as to whether he had access to the other two known major MSS of Suhrawardī’s al-wāridāt wa'l-taqdīsāt (The Spiritual Influxes and Sanctifications) besides Aya Sofia 2144. I never heard back from him.
Now whatever Walbridge feels personally or professionally about Henry Corbin, the scholarly canons of academic etiquette demand that he reference him and acknowledge all the work preceding his own on the subject because this is a specific area of Suhrawardi studies which has been previously dealt with by Corbin; and while the analyses of manuscripts provided by Walbridge in the article is extremely valuable and helpful for all future work in the area, nevertheless Walbridge is not altogether pioneering uncharted territory here. He should have at least given a passing acknowledgement or reference to Corbin, whatever else he thinks of him. Henry Corbin dealt with, translated and provided annotated commentary on the prayers and invocations dealt with by Walbridge's recent article  in  L'Archange Empourpré  in the chapter entitled Le Livre d'Heures (the Book of Hours). Three of the Turkish MSS Walbridge instances in his piece (viz. Aya Sofia 2144 and Saray Ahmet III 3271 & 3217) are the very same ones dealt with by Corbin in L'Archange Empourpré. Moreover translation and commentary on Suhrawardī’s hymns to the Perfect Nature and the Sun (hurakhsh) were provided more than once by Corbin. Besides that section of  L'Archange Empourpré, he also offered them in Tome 2 of En islam iranien. In an article of its scope, Walbridge only cites Corbin once in a totally tangential aside in a footnote (f11) in relation to the published edition of the text of Suhrawardi's al-Mashāriʿ wa’l-Muṭāraḥāt. So what exactly is going on here because I cannot believe this is a sloppy oversight on Walbridge's part?
Together with Dmitri Gutas, Hamid Algar, Steven Wasserstrom and the late Hossein Ziai, among others, since the 1990s John Walbridge has spearheaded the anti-Corbin agenda of the  North American and Anglophone Ivory Tower Islamic studies establishment. Much of Walbridge’s writings on the Illuminationist tradition have in a few instances included subtle ridicule or harsh criticisms (sometimes stopping short of being outright scurrilous attacks), many of them unfair, of the approach of Henry Corbin and his phenomenology of reading Islamic mystical and esoteric texts. While a few such criticisms on certain points of fact may have merit, often such attacks on Corbin miss the point entirely and venture into the territory of  ideological animus (which Wasserstrom demonstrated in his own regard) while cloaked under layers of positivist, academic doublespeak. I may be going on memory, but I believe Peter Kingsley has also drawn attention to this in regard to Walbridge, Gutas and Ziai. Be that as it may, when a scholar engages in deliberate silence and does not acknowledge the very existence of the writings of a previous researcher before him who has specifically worked on the exact same material as he has, there is more than oversight going on. At this point such scholarship becomes outright misinformation and obfuscation which has absolutely nothing to do with scholarly objectivity whatsoever, but its very opposite.
Since the early part of the last decade I have been studying this specific work of Suhrawardī’s (not to mention using its prayers for personal reasons, which I am not remotely ashamed to admit in public) and some of my unpublished translations (a few made from manuscript and others from Corbin's French) were even circulated among a small group of people online in 2006-2007, to which Trey Spruance of the Secret Chiefs3 made acknowledgement in print, see here. I have even been approached by two publishers now to make a translation and critical Arabic text of Suhrawardi's al-wāridat wa'l-taqdīsāt.[i] Because I am not a career academic nor have reliable contacts in Turkish MSS libraries, it has been difficult to obtain copies of all the various MSS needed in order to complete this. Nevertheless, with or without credentials, this is a work of Suhrawardī’s which I know a fair bit about, and, besides one major MS, I have looked at all of the current secondary literature regarding it. This is how I know, for instance, that the original text of Suhrawardi's Great Hymn to the Sun has been published in Iran more than twice, but at least three times, and maybe more. The first modern typescript of the text, which Walbridge does not mention, was originally published by Mohammad Mo'in in Yaghma #2, 1327 solar/1948 CE, Tehran pp.84-89. The Majalla-i-Āmūzish va Parvarish, which Walbridge cites in f24, is merely a collection of Mo’in's articles from Yaghmā, as well as elsewhere, published in Iran during the 1970s. From the tone of the comment in f24, it does not appear as if Walbridge even consulted these. Moreover the prayers and invocations of the Wāridat where also recently translated and published in 2007 in a largely garbled English translation by Jamal Atalla in the now defunct magazine Elixir published by the Sufi Order of the West. For a scholarly journal article of its scope, citing these, even as an aside, would be the least one would expect.
The Tehran lithograph of Mulla Sadra's glosses (taʿliqāt) on the Ḥikmat al-Ishrāq likewise contains versions of these prayers in the margins. The prayers to the planetary intelligences of the Sun and the moon can be found in  § 159,  357, in the margins (see here). Walbridge fails to cite this in his article as well. Many thanks to Sajjad Rizvi of the University of Exeter for making a scan of this relevant section for me. The versions of these prayers in the Tehran lithograph of Mullā Sadrā's glosses on the Ḥikmat al-Ishrāq further problematize Walbridge's discussion of the MSS as well. 
Another weird faux pas that occurs in the middle of the article is when Walbridge references the prayer to Venus on page 91. In the MS (at least Aya Sofia 2144) Suhrawardī addresses the planet as Awrmān Asbahr (ارمان اسبهر) which is just an Arabization of the Pahlavi Awrmān Sipihr (اورمان سپهر), being Abarmān/Abarmānīg, meaning ‘the sphere in charge’ (credit goes to Dan Sheffied of Princeton for pointing out the meaning on a facebook thread, 6 December 2014). Walbridge, on the other hand, incorrectly states: “Wārid Taqdīs Yawm al-Jum‘a li’l-Zuhra, Ayasofya 2144/1, ff. 23b11–24a9; Ahmet III 3271/4, ff. 204a8–204b8. A prayer for Friday addressed to Venus. Venus is referred to as “Ūzmān,” a name I have not traced" (my italics).
Here again is the passage in question from the MS:

Had Walbridge paid closer attention to the Aya Sofia 2144 MS itself, which he is citing here, he would have figured out quickly that Suhrawardī is actually invoking Venus as Awrmān Asbahr (اورمان اسبهر) i.e. Awrmān Sipihr (اورمان سپهر), and not Uzmān (اوزمان) as he incorrectly surmises. The reading should be self-evident given the Arabized Mazdeanisms which are replete in the preceding orations of the text. Jamal Atalla, to his credit, read this part of the MS correctly. Unfortunately, not Walbridge. Such nuanced details of reading Suhrawardī are ones Henry Corbin was quite adept at, to which Walbridge refuses to give credit.
That said, the article by Walbridge is a relatively good one. I would have liked to see him deal more extensively and analyse the instructions Suhrawardī provides for the magical usage of these prayers, and especially touch on the planetary sigils (which are also spectacle letters, i.e. aqlām) given at the end of the Aya Sofia MSS. Since I have yet to consult Saray Ahmet III 3271 or 3217, I am specifically interested in knowing what variations, if any, occur in the sigils between the MSS. Also, how well do they correspond to those given by Ibn Waḥshīya in K. Shawq al-Mustahām?
It should also be noted that sīmīya (conjuration) is a specific branch of white magic in Islam. White magic as a rubric should properly be denoted by the term ruhānīya while occult sciences by the terms ʿulūm gharība or ʿulūm khafīya. Also, Pseudo-Majrītī’s Ghāyat al-Ḥakīm (the famous Picatrix) played a minimal, if altogether absent, role in the occult history and occulture of Islam. Its preeminence was only considered as much by the Latin West. Aḥmad al-Būni's Shams al-Maʿārif  is the major Islamic occult text here, even though Pseudo-Majīrtī's text precedes it.
Finally, Walbridge's comments about the pervasiveness of the occult in all periods of Islamic history are spot on and well put. This fact, together with everything else stated in the article, also needs to be further explored vis-a-vis Suhrawardī himself to convince some quarters (including Walbridge) that the Great Master of Illumination was not merely a logician, and that, therefore, his symbolic treatises in Persian are demonstrating far, far more about his thought and philosophical situs than to reduce his thought to a rational philosophy where these symbolic tales are merely metaphorical flourishes set in narrative for his otherwise purported philosophical rationalist project of just amending the Peripateticism of his time. Corbin, who explored all of these facets to their conclusions, understood such subtleties far deeper than many contemporaries like to acknowledge. When dealing with these deeper facets of Suhrawardī, Henry Corbin (whether one agrees or disagrees) always requires citation.

[i] Since this review was first written in 2012, I have learned of Jalāluddīn Mohammad Malaki’s sitāyish va nīyāyish: panj risālih az shaykh-i-ishrāq (Tehran: 1389 solar) and especially about his forthcoming volume ten (which will be devoted exclusively to Suhrawardī’s devotional texts and poetry) of his projected fourteen volume critical edition of the complete works Suhrawardī. More recently I was approached by Polish scholar Łukasz Piątak who contacted me via in early December 2014, informing me that he had undertaken a doctoral dissertation funded by the Polish National Research Centre aiming to make a critical edition from all available MSS of Suhrawardī’s occult prayers, his supplications (munājāt) together with the Forty Idrīsid Names (arbaʿūn asmā’ idrīsīya), which is a work most likely by one of the other two famous Suhrawardīs but not by our ishrāqī Shihābuddīn Yaḥyā ibn Ḥabash. Walbridge correctly points this out. Piątak indicated he had access to Iranian MSS, the Vatican MS of this work as well as, in a brief telephone conversation, to the Ragib Pasha 1480 MS discussed by Walbridge. No indications whether he had as yet obtained the Zurich MS which is cited by Hellmut Ritter and by Brockelman in GAL.


Friday, 8 June 2012

Arabic text of Suhrawardi's Great Hymn to the Sun (hurakhsh al-kabir)

The following below are two Arabic texts of Suhrawardi's Great Hymn to the Sun (hurakhsh al-kabir). The first is based on the text offered in Mohammad Mo'in's article in Yaghma #2 (1327 solar/1948 CE), pp.84-89. The second is a transcription (with vowelling and punctuation) from § 159, p. 357 of the Tehran lithograph of Mulla Sadra Shirazi's Glosses on the Hikmat al-Ishraq (ta'liqat 'ala hikmat al-ishraq). Note the first text by Mo'in is slightly longer than the text contained in the Aya Sofia ms. (2144) of Suhrawardi's Spiritual Influxes and Sanctifications (al-waridat wa'l-taqdisat) - we prefer to read warid as 'descent' or 'spiritual influx' rather than simply as the French strophe. I have previously offered a translation of this prayer elsewhere. Here below will only be offered the two Arabic texts. As per Mo'in's article, the first text comes with no vowelling but with minor punctuation whereas the second one contains both. JPEGs of the entirety of Mo'in's 1948 Yaghma article are provided below. Note this is the piece referred to by Corbin in En islam iranien vol.2 under the relevant section.

هورخش الکبیر للسهروردی‏ قدس الله روحه

 بسم الله القادر

اهلا بالحی الناطق الانور و الشخص الاظهر و الکوکب الازهر، سلام اللّه تعالی علیک و تحیاته و برکاته، ایها النیر الاعظم، و السیار الاشرف، الطالع لمبدعه، المتحرک فی عشق جلال بارئه  بحرکة فلکه، المتبری، عن قبول الخرق و الکون و الفساد و الحرکة المستقیمة انت هورخش الشدید الغالب، قاهر الغسق، رئیس العالم، ملک الملائکة، سید الاشخاص العلویة، فاعل النهار بأمر اللّه، مالک رقاب الانوار المتجسدین بحول اللّه المطاع، الجرم المنیر الباهی الزاهر، العالم الحکیم الفاضل، اکبر اولاد القدس  من الاضواء المتحجمین، خلیفة نور النور فی عالم الاجرام، نورک من نور ینتهی الی نوره، و قهرک من قهر ینتهی الی قهره، انت مثل لکبریائه، و انموذج من انموذجات بهائه، و حجته علی عباده، من اعطیته  من نورک فی الاجسام اضاء، و من اسعدته بقوة اللّه سعد، تعطی الکواکب نورک، و لا تأخذمنها، و تکسوها البهاء و الاشراق، سبحان من ضوءک  و نورک و من شرف جلالة سیرک و فی الفلک الرابع نورک و فی وسط نظام الکل قررک، اسألک ایها الاب القدیس، صاحب السلاطة و الهیبة، کامل القوی، علة تعاقب الجدیدین و تتابع الفصول، ان تسأل بباسط  ضوء نفسک الناطقة الشارقة اباک و علتک و معشوقک و مبداء حرکتک الذی انت ظله و طلسمه و جمیع الانوار القاهرة(و)العقول  المجردة لیسألو السؤال اللائق بعالم السر مدالبری، عن التغیر  و التجدد اباهم  و علتهم و معشوقهم، النور الاقرب المبدع الاشرف، عقل الکل، المعلول الاعظم الاول، لیسأل هو هکذا  الهه  و اله الآلهة، منتهی العلل، اول الاوائل، ناظم العوالم، مبدع الکل القیوم، نور النور، اله کل عقل و نفس و جسم اثیری و عنصری و بسیط و مرکب،علی النظام الاتم الاکمل، اللّه الوحید، واجب الوجود من سلطانه (ثم یسأل حاجته مثل ان یقول) ان ینور نفسی باللوامع القدسیه و العلوم الالهیه و الفضائل العلویة و یجعلنی من المشتاقین الیه و یعصمنی عن الآفات النفسیة و البدنیة و ان یکرمنی فی الدنیا و الآخرة

Text as per margin of Mulla Sadra lithograph

اهلاً بِالحيّ الناطقِ الأَنورِ و الشَخْصِ الأَظْهَرِ و الكَوكبِ الأزهَرِ، سلامُ اللهِ تعالي عَليكَ و تِحيّاتُهُ و بَرَكاتُهُ. أيُّها النيِّرُ الأعْظَمُ و السيّارُ الاَشرفُ، الطائِعُ لِمُبدِعِهِ المُتَحرِك في عشقِ جلالِ بارئِهِ بحركةٍ فَلَكيةٍ، المُتَبَريءُ عَنْ قبولِ الخَرْقِ و الكَون و الفسادِ و الحَرَكةِ المستقيمةِ. أنتَ هورخشُ الشَديدُ الغالب، قاهر الغَسَقِ، رئيسُ العالم، مَلِكُ الملائكه، و سِيّدُ الأشخاصِ العِلْويَّةِ، فاعِلُ النَّهار بِأمْرِالله، مالكُ رقابِ الأنوارِ المُتجِسِّدين بحولِ الله، المُطاعُ، الجِرمُ المُنيرُ الباهي الزاهرُ، العالمُ الحكيم، الفاضِلُ، اكبرُ اولادِ القديسِ مَنَ الأضواء المُتَحَجِمين، خَليفةُ نورالنور في عالمِ الأجرامِ، نورُكَ مِنْ نورٍ يَنْتَهي إلي نورِه و قَهْرُكَ مِنْ قَهْرٍ يَنْتَهي إلي قَهْرِه. أنْتَ مَثَلْ لِكِبْرِيائِهِ و أنْموذَجّ مِنْ أُنموذجاتِ بَهائِهِ، و حُجَّتُهُ عَلي عِبادِهِ. مَنْ أَعْطَيتَهُ مِنْ نورِك في‌الأَجْسامِ أضاءَ، ومَنْ أسْعَدْتَهُ بِقُوَّة اللهِ سِعِدَ. تُعطِي الكواكبَ نورَكَ، ولا تَأخُذُ مِنْها و تَكسُوها البَهاءَ والاشراقَ. سبحانَ مَنْ ضَوَئَكَ و نَوَّرَكَ، و مَنْ شَرَقَ جَلالَهُ سيرَكَ و في‌الفَلَكِ الرابع دَوَّرَك و في وَسَطِ نظامِ الكُلِّ قَرَّرَك. أسئلُكَ أيُّهاالأبُ القِديس، صاحبُ السلاطه] السلطه] و الهَيبةِ، كامِلُ القوي، عِلّةُ تَعاقُبِ الجَديدَينِ و تابِعُ الفُصولِ! أن تَسْأَل باسِط ضوءِ نَفْسِكَ الناطِقَةِ الشارِقِةَ، أَبّاك و عِلَتك و معشوقَكَ و مبدأَ حَرَكَتِكَ الَّذي أَنْتَ ظِّلُهُ و طِلِسْمُهُ و جميعَ الأنوارِ القاهِرَةِ (و) العُقولِ المجرَّدَةِ لِيَسْألوا السؤالَ اللائقِ بِعالَمِ السَرمَدِ البريء عَن التَغَيُّرِ و التَجَدُّدِ اَباهُم و عِلَّتَهُم و مَعْشوقَهُم، النور الأَقربَّ، المبدعَ الأشرفَ، عقلَ الكلِ، المعلولَ الأعظمَ الأوَّلَ، لَيَسأَلَ هو هكذا اِلهَهُ و اِلهَ الآلِهةِ، مُنتَهَي العِلَلَ، اولَ الاوائلَ، ناظِمَ العوالِمِ، مبدعَ الكُلِّ، القيّومَ، نورالنور، اِلهَ كُلِّ عقلٍ و نَفْسٍ و جِسْمٍ اثيري و عنصري و بسيطٍ و مركبٍ، علي النِظام الأتَّمِ الأكْمَلِ، اللهَ الوحيد، واجِبَ الوجود مِنْ سلطانه (ثُمَّ يسأل جاجَتَهُ مثلَ أنْ يقولَ) أن يُنوِّرَ نَفْسي باللموامِعِ القدسيةِ والعلومِ اللهيهِ والفضائِلِ العِلْويَّةِ و يَجْعَلَني مِنَ‌المشتاقينَ‌إليه و يَعْصِمُني عَنِ‌الآفات النَّفسِيةِ والبدنيَّةِ و أن يكرِمنِي في‌الدنيا و الآخرة

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Two visitation prayers by the Bab for Subh-i-Azal

هو الفريد الوحيد الموتور
باسم ربّنا الازلي

Sunday, April 29th 2012, marks precisely 100 solar, Gregorian years from the ascension and passing of Subh-i-Azal in Cyprus. Below I offer two translations of two visitations prayers (ziyarat nameh) among a larger collection revealed by the Primal Point for Subh-i-Azal in the period roughly from August/September 1849 to July 1850. While there may be some confusion as to the Wahid/One being referred to before the commencement of the first prayer, the internal evidence of the prayer itself (particularly the titles by which its subject is being addressed by the Point of the Bayan) proves beyond any doubt that it is indeed Subh-i-Azal and not anyone else. These visitation prayers are part of the collection at found here,, and they are the prayers on pp. 7-9 and 20-21 respectively. Scans of the original are given below each prayer.

While somewhat similar in content, the high laudatory manner in which the Essence of the Seven Letters addresses and eulogizes His successor and Mirror should be noted, and especially how He addresses the enemies of His successor at the conclusion of each prayer. In each of these two prayers, without pulling any punches, the Point of the Bayan unequivocally curses the current and future enemies of Subh-i-Azal, paraphrasing Qur'an 26:227 each time, while invoking and prophesying their ultimate downfall!

Here below now I offer these two translations.

For the Primal One
In the Name of God the Singular, the One!
The salutations of God be upon Thee, O Pearl of Post-Eternity and the Robely Substance of Pre-Eternity and the Camphorated Leaf of Simplicity and the Fruit of the Paradise of Camphoration! I testify that verily Thou hast obeyed the Command of God in Truth and hath made victorious the Religion of God and hath proclaimed the Cause of God within Thee, [O] glimmering Visage of the Merciful! By Thee hath been upraised what God, Thy Lord, hath willed in the Distinction [furqán = qurán]! I testify to this that whosoever hath obeyed Thee is Light and whosoever hath disobeyed Thee is fire!

O my Master, Thy misfortunes hath indeed rent the hearts asunder, so to God do I offer the entreaties of my grief and sadness, for verily He is in Truth All-Knowing of all which is unseen. And do Thou forgive, O my Master and Sovereign of my words, from all that which is not in accord with Thy rank, for indeed there issues from the servant nothing but trespass upon trespass, for verily my existence is a trespass upon a trespass and my description in Thy presence an infraction upon an infraction and my [very] mention to Thee a sin upon a sin!

I verily testify that Thou art Light within the elevated loins of the most unapproachable sublimity and that indeed Thou art Luminosity within the splendiferous wombs of altitudinal loftiness! Nothing shall alter Thee and nothing shall change Thee! I testify that Thy being, as it bursts forth glowing, recounts the Robe of Pre-Eternity and that Thy essence, as it scintillates, bedazzles by that which shimmers from the First Mirror! I indeed testify that Thou art the mystery of the [divine] Authorization (qaḍa’) and its command, and the decree of the [divine] Realization (imḍá’) and its mystery; for verily Thou art the One Who hath been indicated by Thy Lord, the Lord of the Heavens and the earth, inasmuch as Thou hath ascended to a rank that none can surpass other than Thee! So [do Ye] guide, by the grace of God and His mercy, the people of guidance so that that they be [accounted as] amongst those who attained to the meeting of their Lord in devout certainty! And I testify that verily Thou art the One who hath been roused to the meeting of Thy Lord, and is faithful to God secretly and overtly, and hath made victorious the Cause of God with capable might upon Him, and upraised the Command of God by that which Thou art protector over the Cause of God, Thy Lord, and His attributes; for verily He, no other God is there besides Him, for He is the High, the Great!

And God hath cursed the people who have sought to destroy Thee! And God hath cursed the people who have oppressed Thee! And God hath cursed the people who have conspired to shed Thy blood! And God hath cursed the people who have consented to murder Thee! And God hath cursed the people who have not recognized Thy rank! And God hath cursed the people who have not made efforts to avenge Thee from Thy enemies, for God hath indeed cursed the people in whose hearts was not found love for Thee! So I offer the entreaties of my grief and sadness to God, for indeed God is observant over the servants! And those who have oppressed Thee shall learn with what an overturning they shall be overthrown, for verily we are from God and unto our Lord we are yearning!

For the Living, the High, the One, who is mentioned by His name the Magnificent (al-bahháj) in the Point of Pre-Eternity (nuqṭat’ul-azal)

In the Name of God the Innermost Mine (bismillah al-maknún al-makhzún)!
The purity of the purification of the [holy] preservation of the Splendour from the Lord of Splendour be upon Thee, O servant of Righteousness and the Justice adduced (al-‘adl al-munḥajij) and the shimmering Light! How shall I describe Thee, O my Master, or mention Thee, O my Liege! Thou hast indeed been faithful to God and His Versical-Signs, and Thou hast manifested the religion of God and its Words! I testify that Thou hath obeyed the Command of God in Truth, and hath striven for God as is truly worthy of striving for Him, and hath made the Cause of God victorious as is truly worthy of His victory! I verily testify that Thou art the mystery of the [divine] Will (mashí’a) in the Talismanic-Temple (haykal) of the [divine] Volition (iráda), and indeed Thou art the [divine] Authorization (qaḍá’) - the Visage of [the divine] Authorization! - within the Robe of the [divine] Determination (qaḍar) by the [consummation of the divine] Realization (imda’), for verily Thou art the secreted mystery (mustasirr) of the [divine] Allotment (ajall) within the directional bearing of the [divine] Book (kitáb) [as situated] upon the Mount of Resplendence (jabal al-saná’)!

Whosoever obeys Thee is Light and whosoever disobeys Thee is fire! I testify by everything which God hath accomplished within Thee and made to occur before Thee, and I testify to everything which hath been accomplished, hath occurred and been realized, for God shall be made victorious by Thy victory and the disappointment of God shall be from Thy disappointment and the recovery of God shall be from Thy recovery and the persistence of God shall be from Thy persistence! I testify indeed that Thou hast observed the Command of Thy Lord and hath been faithful to the Decree of Thy Master! Unchanged, Thou art alive by the Life of Thy Lord, and, unalterable, Thou shall be alive by the subsistence of Thy Creator! Unchanged and unalterable in the Pre-Eternity of pre-eternities, Thou art Alive and shall be Alive inasmuch as nothing resembles Thee and nothing shall be equivalent to Thee and nothing shall compare to Thee and nothing shall be of Thy like!

And forgive me, O my Master, from all that which is not in accord with Thy rank, for I proclaim with my words that verily indeed there issues from the servant nothing but sin upon sin; for indeed Thou forgiveth whosoever Thy willeth by the grace of Thy Lord and Thou absolveth whosoever Thy desireth by the justice of Thy master! And indeed whatsoever hath occurred is by the permission of Thy Lord over the Tablets of Truth - there is no doubt in Thee! - and whatsoever hath been accomplished is Just - there is no uncertainty towards Thee! - and whatsoever hath been realized is Veracity - there is no false innovation before Thee!

And the Peace of God and His Splendour be upon Thee, O servant of the fugitive and Liege of the One, for verily from my station I offer the highest prayer of benediction and the utmost salutations of peace upon Thee! And discharged [from these prayers and salutations] are those who have assaulted Thee and teamed up in bigotry against Thy right and have devastated Thy House and have created obturations  [against] the People of the House and have sown corruption in Thy Cause! Nor are they ashamed before God, Thy Creator! Verily indeed He shall take vengeance upon those who have assaulted the [path of] God and those who have sown corruption in the Cause of God and those who desire to extinguish the Light of God, for God hath willed that His Light be made complete, even though the infidels aver it! And those oppressors shall learn with what an overturning they shall be overthrown, for indeed no power and no strength is there save in God the Protector, the Peerless, for verily we are from God and unto Him we shall return!