Thursday, 26 June 2014

An Arabic prayer of Siyyid ʿAlī Mūḥammad Shīrāzī, the Bāb (d. 1850) for the Night of Power (laylat’ul-qadr)

See also, here and above.



The following below is a full translation as well as the Arabic typescript of Siyyid ʿAlī Mūḥammad Shīrāzī, the Bāb’s prayer for the Night of Power (laylat’ul-qadr), held by Twelver Shīʿi sources as occurring on the 23rd of the holy month of Ramaḍan. The prayer comes from the collection entitled Ṣaḥīfah Makhzūna (The Epistle of the Treasure-House) and is alternatively known as Duʿā-i-Ṣaḥīfah (Epistle of Prayer). According to MacEoin (Sources, 59-60) this is an early work from mid 1844 (1260 AH) and is contemporaneous with the commentary on the Quranic chapter (or Sūrah) of Joseph (12), i.e. Qayyūm al-Asmā’ (‘The Peerless’ or ‘Self-Subsisting Names’), within whose text it is obliquely referred. 
Two texts have been consulted for the typescript: MSS. CUL (Cambridge), Add. 3704 (06) and Princeton, Babi collection (Islamic Manuscripts – Third Series – no. 25), Volume 25. Digital scans of the relevant pages of both texts have been offered below. There are minor discrepancies between the two readings, as will become apparent on a careful perusal, and it should be noted that in grammar and vocalization solecisms do occur quite frequently in both. The typescript strives to balance these readings. In one significant place this has been marked <> with the ()  inside it indicating our own addition of the particle (bi-) to correct the reading. Otherwise the passage makes no sense. While the matter of the Bāb’s faulty grammar has been hotly debated endlessly, it should be noted that the introduction of copyist errors and textual corruptions in reading are also quite a common feature throughout most of the Bābī corpus and in nearly all currently available MSS.
The translation, of course, remains provisional. In the translation additions of words augmenting the reading have been placed inside square brackets []. The two Quranic quotations which occur have been placed inside round brackets () with the single instance of curly brackets {} indicating the insertion of the particle in the abovementioned disputed passage of the Arabic text. While maintaining the King Jamesian diction that is our usual practice for translating such items, the translation has also striven for literalness as much as possible. But this has often been impossible to sustain. Nevertheless the general sense of the passage has been kept.


Translation
In the Name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful!
Praise be unto God the Creator of the Heavens and the earth, no other god is there besides Him, the Tremendous, the Wise! O God, Lord of the Night of Power Who hath rendered it greater than a thousand months, I beseech Thee, O my God, by Thy Beneficence that Thou mayest determine within this Night; from the effusing inspirations of Thy Glory and the stations of Thy Holiness; what Thou hast irrevocably originated over it in the morn and eve upon Muḥammad and the Family of Muḥammad, Thy blessings be upon Them, and that Thou mayest show us mercy through Them within this blessed Night in which the Qur’ān was Revealed to Thy Beloved, Muḥammad, Thy blessings be upon Him and upon His Righteous Successors! Verily Thou art the possessor of the Primordial Benevolence and the Mighty Graciousness! Thy Bounty is Grace and Thy Authorization is Justice! Thou bestoweth Thy Benevolence upon whosoever Thy willeth however Thy willeth, and Thou debarreth from it whosoever Thy willeth in whatsoever manner Thou willeth! Verily Thou art God to which no other god is there besides Thee!
Thou hath ordained Thy Authorization with mercy; for the [infinite] capacity of Thy Benevolence is indeed acknowledged by us wherein Thy Authorization in the past was truly by [just] recompense for that which hath indeed come into our hands [from Thee], for Thou art God, the Just in decree and the One Praised in action and the One obeyed in the Command! Thou hast not determined for anyone [anything] save other than contentment as it was in [the presence of] Thy State of Splendor! Verily whosoever is not [content] with Thy decree is divested, and whosoever is contented with Thy Authorization is indeed praiseworthy [al-maḥmūd i.e. invested]! O my God, this is a night wherein within the Book it hath been accounted as its exaltation, and Thou hath apportioned it by Thy Right in order to dignify me by Thy Nearness and that Thou mayest inspire me with Thy Remembrance!
If Thou had not created me, I would not be a thing; and if Thou had not inspired me, I would be unable to draw nigh unto Thy Tremendousness! So accept me completely unto Thee, O my God, for I am fleeing from myself unto Thy presence! And I testify to Thee that verily Thou art God, to which no other god is there besides Thee, the possessor of Beneficence and Grace; and I testify that Muḥammad and His Family are Thy ones beloved: Those Thou hast created for Thyself and selected for Thy Love and Those Thou hast chosen for Thy gnosis, Those regarding whose honoured sincerity Thou hast stated: “The Esteemed Servants! They do not precede Him in Word but act only by His Command” (Qur’ān 21: 26-7), so blessings, O God, be upon Them just as is Their right!
And I testify with all, O my God, just as the Book indeed hath testified, that I have not answered with what I have willed expect just as Thou hast willed it and that I have not responded except in the manner that Thou hast loved; and sufficient with Thee, and whosoever with him is the knowledge of the Book, is witness! O my God, mighty is my offense with Thee and great is my blame in Thy presence, for I am a contemptible vassal, the least of those to be accounted in Thy Book, the Well-Protected! So by Thy Tremendousness and by Thy Majesty through which Thou hast tormented me by [means of] all of Thy influencing powers which Thou hast fashioned, and by all the indignities Thou hast seized upon me with what Thy knowledge envelops; for indeed I proclaim in Thy attendance, as Thy [true] servants testify, that verily Thou art God and no other god is there besides Thee! Thy Decree is Just and Thy Action is Truth and Thy Proof decisive, for the conveyance of Thy [holy] transmission is manifest! And this is the Command from Thee to me, [a Command] True; for all that is and is not, that is [merely] a requital of a glance of omission from Thy Remembrance and an oversight [by us] of some of Thy commands, because verily Thou art God the One Who remains unchanged, and “nothing is like unto Him” (Qur’ān  42: 11), and what is other than Thee is Thy creation and within Thy grasp! 
Glorified art Thou, O my God, Thy action is grace, and not a single thing can withstand Thy justice at the very beginning of its existence, so how can it thwart this Justice afterwards? Therefore, ah then ah, in that Thy decree towards me is by Justice, so by Thy Tremendousness and by Thy Majesty and by the Truth of Muḥammad and the Family of Muḥammad, the greatest of Thy ones beloved, indeed I cling to Thy cord [of hope] and I indeed anchor myself to Thy Beneficence! And I beseech Thee to bless Muḥammad and the Family of Muḥammad just as is Thy due, and that I be accounted by Thy Predetermined Authorization as being amongst the People of Thy Love within this Noble Night, from which nothing is stripped, for to it belongs all good that Thy knowledge envelops as well as immaculate preservation from all evil in what Thy Book hath enumerated! Thou art the possessor of Beneficence and the Favouring Kindnesses and the Mightiness and the Greatness!
Thy Countenance, O my God, is my request and Thy bestowal is my path and the invocation of Thy beloved ones is the solace of my eyes! So O, no other god is there besides Thee, I beseech Thee by Thy Mighty Reality and Thy Primordial Majesty [{and by} Thy Mercy] that Thou determine for me in this, the Mighteous Night which Thou hast determined for Thy vicegerent Providential Guides of proximity for the [occasion of the] visitation of Thy Sanctified House and the entrance into the witnessing of Thy Magnanimous Proof and the halting place of the sacred rite and the stations, and what Thy knowledge encompasses of Thy innovative magnanimities whose envelopment does not equal Thee! Thou art the possessor of the Mighty Grace, bestowing it upon whosoever Thou willeth howsoever Thou willeth; and no other god is there besides Thee, the Primordial, the Possessor of the utmost yearning Sympathy!
O my God, I call upon Thee just as Thou hast inspired me, so answer me just as Thou hast promised me; and do Thou not disappoint this lamenting plaint! Glorified be our Lord, the Lord of the Throne beyond attribution, and salutations be upon the Messengers, and praise be unto God the Lord of the worlds!

Arabic text

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرّحمنِ الّرحيمِ اَلحَمْدُ للهِ فاطِرِ الَسّماواتِ وَ الاَرْضِ لا اِلهَ اِلّا هُوَ العَزيزُ الحَكيمُ اَللّهُمَّ رَبَّ لَيْلَةَ القَدرِ وَ جاعِلُها خَيْراً مِنْ اَلفِ شَهْرٍ فَاَسْاَلُكَ يا اِلهي بِجُودِكَ اَنْ تُقَدِّرَ في هذِه الَلْيّلَةِ مِنْ نَفَحاتِ مَجْدِكَ وَ مَقاماتِ قُدْسِكَ ما اَنْتَ مُبْدِعُها لَمْ تَزَلْ لِمحُمّدٍ وَ آلِ محُمّدٍ صَلواتُكَ عَلَيْهِم  بِالغُدُوِّ و الاصالِ وَ اَنْ تَرْحَمْنا بِهِم في هذِه الَلْيّلَةِ المُبارَكَةِ الَّتي قَدْ نَزَلَتْ فيها القُرآنَ عَلَى حَبْيبِكَ محُمّدٍ صَلَواتُكَ عَلَيْهِ وَ عَلَى اَوْصِيآئهِ المَرْضِيّيْن اِنَّكَ ذُو المَنَّ القَديمِ وَ الفَضْلِ العَظيمِ عَطآؤُكَ فَضْلٌ و قَضائُكَ عَدْلٌ تَمُنُّ عَلَى مَنْ تَشَاءُ كَمَا تَشَاءُ و تَمْنَعُ عَمَّنْ تَشَاءُ لمِا تَشَاءُ اِنّكَ اَنْتَ اللهُ الّذي لا اِلهَ اِلّا اَنْتَ اَنْ تَحْكمُ َ قَضَائُكَ بِالرَّحْمَةِ فَاَهْلِيّةُ جُودِكَ قَدْ اَدْرَكَنا و اَنْ تَمْضِيَ قَضائُكَ بِالجزآء عَلَى ما قَدْ قَدَّمَتْ اَيْدينا فَاَنْتَ اللهُ العادِلُ في الحُكمِ و المَحمُودُ في الفِعْلِ وَ المُطاعِ في الاَمْرِ لا تُقدِّرُ لِاحدٍ اِلّا الرِّضآءَ كَمَا كان مِنْ شَأنِكَ البَهاءُ اِنَّ المَحْرُومَ مَنْ غَيَّرَ حُكْمَكَ و اِنَّ المحَمُود مَنْ رَضِيَ عَلَى قَضَائُكَ يا اِلهي هَذِهِ لَيْلَةَ ما اَحْصَى الكِتابُ اَشْرَفَها فَاُقْسِمُكَ بِحَقَكَ اَنْ تُشَرِّفَني بِقُربِكَ وَ اَنْ تُلْهَمِني بِذِكْرِكَ لَوْ لا خَلَقْتَني لَمْ اَكُ شيئاً وَ لَوْ لا تُلْهِمَني ما قَرَبْتُ عِزّاً فَاَقْبِلْتُ يا اِلهي بِكُلّي اِليْكَ وَ هَرَبَتُ مِنْ نَفْسي لَدَيْكَ وَ اُشْهِدُكَ بِاَنَّكَ اَنْتَ اللهُ الّذي لا اِلهَ اِلّا اَنْتَ ذُوْ الجُود وَ الفَضْلِ وَ اَشْهَدُ اَنّ محُمّداً وَ آلِهُ اَحِبّآؤُكَ الّذَينَ اخْتَرْتَهُم لِنَفْسِكِ وَ اَجْتَبَيْتَهُم لِمُحَبَّتِكَ وَ اصْطَفَيْتَهُم  لِمَعْرِفَتِكَ وَ تَقُولُ في صِدْقِهِم عِبادٌ مُكْرَمُون لا يَسْبِقُونَهُ  بِالقَوْلِ وَ هُم بِامرِهِ يَعْمَلُونَ، فَصَلِّ اَللّهُمَّ عَلَيْهِم كَمَا يَسْتَحِقُّونَ وَ اَشْهَدُ لِكُلِّ يا اِلهي كَمَا قَدْ شَهِدَ الكِتابُ ما اَجَبْتُ اَنْ اَشآءَ اِلّا كَما تَشاءُ وَ لا اَنْ اَجَبْتُ اِلّا كَما تُحِبُّ وَ كَفِيَ بِكَ وَ مَنْ عِنْدَهُ عِلْمُ الكِتابِ شَهيداً، يا اِلهي قَدْ عَظُمَتْ جُرْمي فيكَ وَ كَبُرَتْ تَقْصيري لَديْكَ وَ اَنا العَبدُ الّذَليلُ اَقَلُّ مِما يُحْصى كِتابُكَ اَلحَفيظ فَبِعِزَّتِكَ وَ جَلالَتِكَ اَنْ تُعَذِبْنى بِجَمْيِع سَطْواتُكَ اَلّتي اَنْتَ جاعِلُها وَ اَنْ تَاخُذَني بِكُلِّ نَقَماتِكَ اَلّتي يُحيْطُ عِلْمُكَ بِها فَلَقَدْ نَطَقَتُ في مَحْضَرِكَ و شَهِدَ عِبادُكَ بِاَنَّكَ اَنْتَ اللهُ لا اِلَه اِلّا اَنْتَ حُكْمُكَ عَدْلٌ وَ فِعْلُكَ حَقٌ وَ حُجَتُكَ بالَغَةٌ وَ اَعْلامُ تَبْليغِكَ ظاهِرَةٌ وَ ذلِك الاَمرُ مِنْكَ عَلَيّ حَقٌ وَ ما كانَ وَ لا يَكُونُ كُلُّ ذلِك جَزآءُ لَمْحَةٍ مِنْ سَهْوِ ذِكْرِكَ وَ اِغْفالٍ مِنْ بَعْضِ اَمْرِكَ لِاَنَّكَ اَنْتَ اللهُ الّذي لَمْ يَزَلْ كانَ وَ لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيءٌ وَ ما سِواكَ قَدْ كانَ خَلقُكَ وَ في قَبْضَتِكَ، سُبْحانَكَ يا اِلهي فِعْلُكَ فَضْلٌ وَ لا طاقَةَ لِشيءٍ في بَدْءِ وُجُودِه بِعَدْلِكَ فَكَيَفَ اَسْتَقَرَّ بَعْدَهُ بِالعَدْلِ فَـآهُ ثُمَّ آهُ اَنْ تَحْكُمَ لي بِالعَدْلِ فَبِعِزَّتِكَ وَ جَلالَتِكَ وِ بِحَقّ مُحَمَّدٍ وَ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ خَيْرَ اَحِبّائِكَ قَدْ اِعْتَصَمْتُ بِـحَبْلِكَ وَ قَدْ لُذْتُ بِـجُودِكَ وَ اَسْاَلُكَ اَنْ تُصَلّي عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ كَمَا اَنْتَ اَهْلُهُ وَ اَنْ تُقَدِّر لِاَهْلِ مـُحَبَّتِكَ في هذه اللَيْلَةِ الشَّريفةِ بِقَضائِكَ المـُحْتُومَةِ الّتي لا مَرَّد لها لها كُلَّ الخَيْرِ ما تُحَيْطُ بِهِ عِلْمُكَ وِ العِصْمَةَ عِنْ كُلِّ الشَّر ما اَحْصَى كِتابُكَ اِنَّكَ ذُو الجُودِ وَ الآلاءِ وَ العَظَمَةِ وَ الكِبْرياءِ وَجْهُكَ يا اِلهي مَطْلَبي وِ عَطِيُّتَكَ مَقْصَدي وَ ذِكْرُ اَحِبّائِكِ قُرَّةَ عَيْني فَيا لا اِلَه الّا اَنْتَ اَسْاَلُكَ بـِحَقِّكَ العَظْيمِ وَ جَلالِكَ القديم <(ﺑِــ)رَحْمَتَكَ> اَنْ تُقَدِّرَ لي في هذِه اَللَيْلَةَ العَظيمةِ ما تُقَدِّرِ لِاوْليآئِكَ المُقَرَّبينَ مِنْ زيارةِ بَيْتِكَ الحرامِ وِ الوُرودِ في مِشاهِدِ حُجَجِكَ الكِرامِ وَ الوُقُوفِ في المَشْعَرِ وَ المقامِ وَ ما يـُحيْطُ عِلْمُكَ مِنْ كَراماتِكَ البَدْيعةِ الّتي لا يـُحيْطُ بِها سِواكَ اِنَّكَ ذُو الفَضْلِ العَظْيمِ لِمـَن تَشاءِ كَمَا تَشَاءُ وَ لا اِلَه اِلّا اَنْتَ القَديمُ ذُو الاِحْانِ يا اِلهي اَدْعُوكَ كَمَا اَلْهَمْتَني فَاَسْتَجِب لي كَمَا وَعَدْتَني اِنَّكَ لا تـُخلِفُ الميادِ، سُبْحانَ رَبّنا رَبِّ العَرْشِ عمَّا يَصِفُونَ وَ سَّلامٌ عَلَى المُرسْلينَ وَ الحَمْدُ اللهِ ربِّ العَالمين