August 18, 2016

An Epistle of the Báb to Sultan Abdu’l-Majíd

-- provisional translation by Necati Alkan with assistance from Khazeh Fananapazir

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful. Praise be to Him Who hath sent the Book unto whosoever He willeth among His servants. Verily, there is none other God beside Him, the All-Possessing, the All-Praised. In His grasp He holdeth the kingdom of all things. Nothing escapeth His knowledge. There is none other God beside Him. Say: Him do all worship.

Verily, this Book is a command from God unto all who are on earth. Issue forth from your cities for the Covenant of the Remnant of God, the living, the undoubted Leader [Imám]. He is indeed the Book wherein there is no doubt, sent down from the presence of His Servant ‘Alí, the All-Wise.

And He, verily, is ‘Alí, the All-Wise, the Path of God in the heavens and on the earth. He calls the people to the Straight Path at the bidding of thy Lord. He verily is the Mystery of the heavens, Who commands from the Presence of the Remnant of God, the true and undoubted Leader. He, verily, is the Light from the right side of the Mount Sinai in the Book of thy Lord. There is no God but Me. Say: Him do they all fear.

Read the Book of thy Lord, O Majíd, through the command of thy Lord in the preserved Book. Know thou that God hath knowledge of all things in the heavens and on the earth, and that thou art concerning the verdict passed on the messenger [Bastámí, one of the Letters of the Living], possessed of great wrongdoing. Fear God, O thou man! For today no place is there for anyone to flee except he believeth in the signs of God and is accounted among those who worship Him.

We have sent down a Book unto the kings that they learn of the command of the new creation from the presence of the Remnant of God, the just and true Leader. Thus was sent down the Book. Gather them that are possessed of knowledge [‘ulama] in thy presence, and say unto them on behalf of the Remembrance of God: Read ye the Book of God with justice and be ye fair in the presence of God in what it ordaineth. God, verily, ordaineth the Day of Judgment among all with equity. He in truth is the All-Knowing, the All-Powerful.

O concourse [of ‘ulama?]! Bear ye witness that the Testimony of God is completed for you after reading the verses of this Book. God, verily, is the omniscient Witness. O concourse! Fear ye God and judge fairly: Is there any distinction in the sovereignty of God, whether one verse or several verses were to be revealed? Nay, by the Qur’án! We make no distinction between the Messengers of God, and to God do we bow our will. [cf. Qur’an 2:285] If the Qur’án was sent down as a single verse, how could anyone be able to fathom the matter and say something with respect to it and utter such words? Sanctified be God from those who join partners with Him. Sufficient is the Book for this as a witness to all in the heavens and the earth, and God is the omniscient Witness.

Were men to gather in order to read a Book like this, which We have sent down now unto thee, they shall not and never will be able to do this, even if the Jinn were to assist them [cf. Qur’an 7:201] despite their weakness. God is the All-Informed, the All-Knowing.

And We have sent down a Book aforetime; in it are evident verses from Our presence to a people with hearing ears. Verily those who follow the verses of God in truth, they are the rightly guided; and those who follow their vain imaginings, they are the transgressors.

O concourse of the people of Istanbul! Fear God, thy Lord, the Compassionate, regarding this decree. He verily is the Truth, even as ye have believed in the Covenant of God. [cf. Qur’an 51:23] Those who have joined partners with God have followed the command of the Evil One (Tághút) after [some words missing in text], such are rightful owners of the Fire. They will abide therein, [cf. Qur’an 2:39] according to the Book of God. 

God beareth witness to His Servant ‘Alí in the Qur’án. He, verily, is the Path of God in the heavens and on earth. Nothing escapeth His knowledge. He is verily the heir of the Messenger of God [Muhammad] in a lucid Book. The heir of the dominion today is someone from His progeny and a true Leader. He is the One in Whose hand is the kingdom of all creation and all are powerless before His might. And at the behest of the Book all creatures are submissive to Him. If ye have any doubts concerning this Command then depart from the command of the Qur’án.

God hath verily sent down these verses, as He hath sent down the Qur’án to the heart of the Apostle of God, the Seal of the Prophets. And with the permission of God He hath sent down to the heart of Him Whom He hath made the Proof for those in the heavens and on earth. Verily, He is the One who leadeth aright to the Path of God in a lucid Book.

I, verily, am a Servant and have believed in God and His verses and what He hath sent down in the Qur’án from One, mighty and wise. Say: I verily do deliver the Cause with the permission of God from the true and mighty Leader. He is in truth the Mystery in the Mother Book upon an ancient Edifice.

Know ye, O people of the earth, that on this day nobody can escape the Cause of God. All will return to God on the Day of Resurrection. One verse, which We sent down unto you, now equals the verses of the Prophets in accordance with the Book of God. Afterwards, all the people will ask about the proofs of God. We have delivered the Command of your Lord in the Mother of the Cities [Mecca] and to those in her vicinity, in three Books of verses of truth.

Say: Follow the Cause of God that perchance ye may be of them with whom it shall be well. If someone amongst you should die rejecting this Command, verily he is among the people of Fire on the Day of Resurrection and will be amongst those who are gathered [in God’s Presence]. Send thou a Book like unto this Book to the King in that land in golden ink that perchance ye may be among the helpers. He who disbelieveth in our verses and doth not leave his house emigrating to the City of the Remembrance, We shall send down his verdict in the Book, the like of which hath been sent with regard to Abu Lahab in the Qur’án. [Qur’an, Sura 111] Fear God, O concourse, and have mercy on yourselves. And bring not shame upon yourselves should ye have fear of that which hath been revealed unto after God’s decree hath come to and these verses have been recited.

O thou man! Thou hast followed Satan regarding the verdict to imprison the messenger of the Remembrance. Fear God after thou hast read a single wondrous letter from Our Book. Do not repudiate the command of God and send the messenger [back] in accordance with the command We have sent down in the Book addressed to thee according to a mighty and wondrous command. Thou art not aware of the matter of the caliphate. The messenger is a weak servant in those lands. Yet know thou full well that it is We that sent him. We, verily, art potent over all things. We, verily, bear witness unto everything. We, verily, art powerful over all things with the permission of God. Know thou God’s decree and send him after [thou hast read] this Letter. Verily do We write the decree of thy death at thine own hands, and We art aware of what We accomplish. Follow God’s command, O Majíd, and not thine idle imaginings that mislead thee from the path of God. God’s decree is naught but a manifest announcement.

Exalted is God, thy Lord, the Lord of might, from what they do ascribe unto Him. Peace be unto the emigrants and praised be God, the Lord of all worlds!
(Source: Irfan Colloquia conference, London, England, July 19–21, 2002; published in Lights of Irfan, volume 4)