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Gems of the Mysteries
Part Two
Part Three

Original title: Jawahiru'l-Asrar
Written by Baha'u'llah in the Baghdad period
Translated by Juan Cole
Introduction by Juan Cole

Gems of the Mysteries is a book-length tablet in which Baha'u'llah discusses important themes of his revelation. These themes are summarised in the Baha'i World Centre's introduction to the work: "the cause of the rejection of the Prophets of the past; the danger of a literal reading of scripture; the meaning of the signs and portents of the Bible concerning the advent of the new manifestation; the continuity of divine revelation; intimations of Baha'u'llah's own approaching declartion; the significance of such symbolic terms as 'the Day of Judgement', 'the Resurrection', 'attainment to the Divine Presence', and 'life and death'". Baha'u'llah discusses many of these themes in greater detail in his later work, the Book of Certitude. Gems of the Mysteries also outlines seven stages in the spiritual journey to God. These stages are similar to those outlined in Baha'u'llah's earlier work, the Seven Valleys.


Part One

Herein lie gems of the mysteries associated with the stages along the mystical path, for whoever desires to draw near unto God, the Almighty, the All-Forgiving. Blessed are the righteous who quaff from these waters.

[1] O wayfarer upon the paths of justice, whose eyes are fixed upon the countenance of grace, your letter arrived, apprising me of your question and bearing to my ears the melodies of your breast that issued from the canopies of your inmost heart. Behold, the clouds of the divine Will have gathered, that they might rain down upon you showers of wisdom and cleanse you of all that you had previously acquired. Thus might you turn your face away from the realm of contradictions and toward the sanctuary of divine unity, so that you can attain the sacred wellspring and drink from it. In this way will your soul find tranquility, your thirst be quenched and your breast soothed, and thus will you enter the ranks of those who are, at this time, guided by the light of God.

[2] In these days, the hounds and jackals of the land have surrounded me and I have concealed myself in the nest of my mystery. I am therefore forbidden from revealing the wonders of God's knowledge, the gems of his wisdom, and the splendors of his power that he has bestowed upon me. Nevertheless, I do not wish to disappoint one who has arisen before the shrine of grandeur, and who desires to enter the abode of everlasting life and to soar into the heavens of this manifestation at the dawn of the divine decree. Therefore, I shall mention to you some of that with which God has honored me, but only to the extent that souls can bear it and minds can endure it, lest the hateful raise an uproar and the hypocrites hoist their standards. I call upon God to aid me therein, insofar as he is the most merciful of the merciful and he give unto those who ask of him.

[3] First of all, you must contemplate the reasons for which the diverse communities now dwelling upon the earth failed to recognize the messengers whom God sent forth by his power, whom he commissioned to establish his cause and whom he rendered the lamp of his pre-eternity in the niche of divine unity. Why did they turn away from them, oppose them, contend with them, and wage war upon them? By what proof did they refuse to acknowledge either their mission or their authority? Rather, they disbelieved in them and poured out invectives upon them, finally murdering them or driving them into exile.

[4] O wanderer in the wilderness of knowledge and passenger on the ark of wisdom, if you remain ignorant of the answer to this question, you will never attain to the station of faith, nor will you acquire certitude concerning the Cause of God, the manifestations of his Command, the Dawning-Places of his decree, the Repositories of his revelation and the Mines of his knowledge. You would join the ranks of those who failed to struggle for the Cause of God, who never inhaled the fragrance of faith from the cloak of certainty, and who never scaled the heights of God's oneness or attained to the stations of divine uniqueness in the temples of his praise and the essences of abstraction.

[5] Therefore, O my friend, strive to attain a knowledge of this station, that your heart may be freed from the veils enveloping it, and that you might be among those whose sight God has made sharp. Then will you witness the origins of the realm of power and discover the mysteries of the kingdom of God and the signs of divinity even in the realms of humanity. You will arrive at the station wherein you can see no defect in the creation, or any flaw in the heavens and the earth. Now that the discussion has reached this pathless and most exalted station, and we have made this difficult and sublime allusion, know that because such peoples as the Jews and the Christians failed to recognize the inner meaning of the divine Word or to comprehend that which God has promised them in his Book, they denied the Cause of God, shunned his messengers and rejected his proofs. Had they gazed at the proof itself, rather than following those of their clergy and rulers who were only scoundrels and reprobates, they would have attained to the repository of guidance and piety. Then would they have quaffed from the waters of life in the city of the All-Merciful, in the garden of the All-Praised, and in the reality of paradise. However, they failed to behold the proof with their own eyes, with which God endowed them, and coveted other than what he desired for them in his grace. For this reason, they grew remote from the canopies of his nearness and were denied the fountain of union with him and the spring of his favor. They were dead, enwrapped in the shrouds of their base selves.

[6] I shall now, by the power and might of God, make reference to some of what was revealed in the former scriptures, and to some of the emblems of the manifestations of divine unity in the temples of his inaccessibility. Thus might you come to know the station of the dawn in this imperishable morn and might witness the flame blazing in the bush that is neither of the East nor of the west. And so might you open your eyes, upon your attainment to your Lord, and mix your heart with hidden grace in these treasured vessels. Then will you offer thanksgiving unto your Lord God, insofar as he has singled you out for his favor and made you one of those who are certain of arriving at the Presence of their Lord.

[7] Here is a passage revealed in past times in the Gospel of Matthew, the first book of the New Testament, which mentions the signs of the manifestation to come after Jesus. He says "And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!"[Matthew 24:19] Then the Dove warbled in the center of eternity and the Bird of the divine throne cried out from the farthest tree, from the lote-tree beyond which there is no passing, saying: "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the earth shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet."[Matthew 24:29-31][1]

[8] In the second Gospel, Mark, the Dove of Holiness spoke in this way, "For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be."[Mark 13:19] Thereafter, he sang just as he had sung before, with no change or alteration. God is the guarantor of what I say.

[9] In the third Gospel, Luke says: "And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars, and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men's ' hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth; for the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift your heads; for your redemption draws near."[Luke 21:25-28]

[10] He prophesies in the Gospel according to John, the fourth book: "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."[John 14:26] he adds, "But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asks me, Whither go you? But because I have said those things unto you. . ."[John 16:5-6] Elsewhere he says, "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you."[John 16:7] Then he affirms: "But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you unto all truth; for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will show you things to come."[16:13]

[11] These have been quotations from a previous revelation. I swear by God, besides whom there is no other God, that I have been succinct. Should I wish to mention all the sayings of the prophets that have been revealed from the realm of grandeur and the divine kingdom of dominion, these would fill pages and volumes before I reached the end of them. In all the revealed books, psalms and scriptures such verses as those I have just cited are to be found. Indeed, even more exalted and momentous sayings exist than those I have adduced and set forth in detail. Did I but wish, I could mention to you all that was revealed in past times, by virtue of the wonders of God's knowledge and power that he has bestowed upon me. However, I have contented myself with the few verses that I have elucidated for you, lest lethargy overtake you in your journey such that you forsake it. Moreover, I wished to spare you all hardship, fatigue, dreariness, and abasement.

[12] Therefore, be equitable and think upon these lofty statements. Then ask those who, with no sign or proof from God, lay claim to knowledge - even though they remain heedless of those days wherein the Sun of knowledge and wisdom dawned forth from the horizon of divinity. This Luminary gives to every discerning one his due and bestows upon whoever merits it his proper portion and station. What do they say of these allusions that defy the comprehension of mortal minds and cause holy souls to swoon when they attempt to fathom the universal wisdom and knowledge of God reposed within them? If the Muslim divines should say that these words are from God and have no figurative interpretation, but must, rather, be understood in an entirely literal fashion, then how can they object to the stance of the unbelievers among the People of the Book? For it is because the latter saw the passages in their Book that we quoted to you, which their clergy explained literally, that they failed to acknowledge God in the manifestations of his unity, the Dawning-Places of his transcendence and the temples of his abstraction. They neither believed in them nor obeyed them, because they did not witness the darkening of the sun, the falling of the stars from the sky to the surface of the earth, and the descent of the angels in visible form into this world. For this reason, they opposed the prophets and messengers, Indeed, when they found the latter diverging from their laws and religion, I am ashamed to relate the accusations they hurled at them. They branded them liars, madmen and infidels lost in error. Consult the Qur'an; you will find mention of all these calumnies, and will attain sure knowledge thereof. From that time to our own, this community has been awaiting the occurrence of the events promised them by their learned and their counselors, asking, "When will these signs appear? We, in truth, at this time believe in them." If the matter were thus, how could you refute their proof and advance any argument in regard to their religion, their understanding of their Books, and what they have heard from their leaders?

[13] If, on the other hand, the Muslim scholars answer that the books possessed by this community, to which they refer as the Gospel and which they attribute to Jesus, the Son of Mary, are not revelations from God and the manifestations of his Self, this would require that the divine bounties had ceased to flow from the Origin of grace. In this case, the Gospel would not have constituted a universal proof for mankind. God's blessing would not have been perfect, his favor would not have continued to shed its radiance and his mercy would not have been all-embracing. For if, when he caused Jesus to ascend into heaven, he also raised up his Book, then on what basis could God remonstrate with his followers in the Judgment Day, or chastise them, as the leaders of religion and the rightly-guided among the learned have written he would?

[14] Therefore, contemplate within yourself. When you see the matter in this way - and we do, as well - then to where can you flee? To whom can you run and to whom turn? In what land can you abide, upon what carpet recline, what road travel with rectitude? When will you sleep, and what will become of you? How will you strengthen your religion and reinforce your submission to it? No, by him who revealed his unity and bore witness to himself concerning his oneness! If he should light within your heart a firebrand from the flames of the love of God, you will not sleep, you will not rest, you will not laugh, and you will not seek comfort. Rather, you will flee to the mountain peaks in search of the court of his nearness, his holiness, and his beauty. You will lament as one bereaved and weep tears of yearning, nor would you return to your home until God had revealed to you his Cause.

[15] You have ascended to the kingdom of guidance and the heaven of godliness. If you wish to comprehend these sacred allusions, to witness the secrets of knowing and to become informed of the comprehensive Word, then it is incumbent upon you to inquire about all this - and about all that comes to you regarding your origin and ultimate destination - from those whom God has rendered Springs of his knowledge, heavens of his wisdom, and Arks of his mystery. For, without these Lights that have dawned from the horizon of the Unknowable essence, the people are unable even to distinguish their right from their left. How, then, will they ascend to the heaven of realities and attain the treasure hold of abstrusities? Therefore, we supplicate God to submerge us in these surging oceans, to encompass us in these spray-laden gales and to bestow upon us a divine stairway for our ascent. In this way might we cleanse our human temples of everything we have acquired from our base selves and divest ourselves of the shameless garments that we have stolen from our peers, that God may clothe us in the cloak of his grace and the raiments of his guidance. Then might he cause us to enter the city of knowledge; for everyone who sets foot therein knows all branches of learning even before he becomes aware of their inner secrets. He comprehends all knowledge and wisdom by means of the mysteries of divinity deposited in the creation - for he reads in the leaf the secrets of the tree. Praise be to God, the Maker and fashioner of the universe, above all that was created and preordained therein.

[16] By God, the Protector, the Almighty, the Self-Subsisting, were I to show you the gates of that city, which were created by the right hand of power and might, you would behold what no one has glimpsed before you, and would witness what no soul besides you has ever discerned. You would understand the obscurities of the proofs and the abstrusities of the allusions, and the secrets of the Alpha in the Point of the Omega would be demonstrated to you. All matters would be made easy for you, fire would be transformed for you into light, knowledge and mercy, and you would recline upon the cushions of holiness. Otherwise, however much we might bestow upon you the gems of mysterious wisdom that lie concealed within the impenetrable depths of these holy and spiritual words, you would remain unable to comprehend even a droplet from the billowing seas of knowledge and the murmuring rivers of glory. You would be recorded among the ignorant in the Mother-Book by the Finger of the Unknowable essence that wields the Pen of divine unity, and you would remain unable to decipher the meaning of a single letter of the Book, and the words of the People of God, concerning the mysteries of the Creation and the Return.

[17] Therefore, be fair, O servant, for though we have never seen you to outward appearing, inwardly we have perceived your love. Then bring yourself into the Presence of the one who, though you see him not, ever watches you, and who, though you know him not, is well-acquainted with you. Can anyone interpret the words quoted above, employing flawless proofs, clear evidence and lucid references, that the heart of the questioner is set at rest? No, by him in whose hands is my soul, no one can ever imbibe even a droplet thereof, save him who enters under the shade of this City. For its pillars have been raised up on the mount of rubies, its walls are of the chrysolite of divine unity, its gates glisten with the diamonds of the Self-Subsisting and its earth is composed of good character.

[18] Now that we have mentioned to you some of the mysteries, though we have left them veiled and concealed, we shall return to the subject of what we know from the past Books, lest your foot stumble in any way. Thus might you attain certainty concerning all that we have sprinkled upon you from the waves of the ocean of life in the realm of divine names and attributes. This matter is recorded in all the Gospels, and is the following: The Spirit (Jesus) spoke forth and told his disciples, "heaven and earth shall pass away; but my words shall not pass away."[Mark 13:31; cp. Matthew 5:17, Luke 16:17] It is apparent to you that the literal sense of these words can only be that these books of the Gospel will continue to exist among mankind forever, that their commandments will never lose their force, and that the proofs, laws, ordinances and decrees enshrined therein will never be effaced. Rather they will persist, ineradicably and eternally.

[19] Therefore, O my friend, purify your heart, illumine your breast and make keen your sight, that you may recognize the songs warbled by the Bird of the Unknowable essence and the melodies cooed by the Doves of holiness in the realm of immortality. Thus might you learn the figurative interpretation of these words and their mysteries. Otherwise, should you interpret them literally, you would find yourself unable to establish the truth of the Cause of the one who succeeded Jesus. You would be unable to convince your opponent, nor could you triumph over the pigheaded among those unbelievers. For it is this verse that those learned in the Gospel employ to prove that it cannot be abrogated. They say, "Should those portents recorded in our Books appear, and the Promised one become manifest, it would be incumbent upon him to rule mankind according to the commandments of the Gospel. Should all those signs prophesied in our scriptures come to pass, and should he enjoin other than what Jesus decreed, we would refuse to draw near unto him or to follow him." For this matter is universally accepted among them.

[20] You witness the same thing in this day among the learned and the ignorant of this people, who raise objections and claim that the sun has not dawned from the west, the crier has not cried out between the heavens and the earth, lands have not been submerged, the Anti-Christ has not appeared, the Sufyani has not yet arisen and the temple has not become manifest in the sun. I have heard with my own ears from one of their divines that, "If all these prophecies are fulfilled, and the hope-for Qa'im appears, and if he decrees other than what was revealed in the Qur'an in regard to the law which we possess, then we shall denounce him as a liar and shall put him to death. We shall never draw near to him or his like." Such words do these deniers utter, even after the Resurrection has occurred, the trumpet blast has sounded, all who are in heaven and on the earth have been assembled, the scale has been set up, the path prepared, the verses revealed, the sun has dawned, the stars have been darkened, the souls have been raised up, the Spirit has been sent forth, the angels have been assembled in serried ranks, paradise has been brought near and the fire has been kindled. All these things have come to pass, yet to this day not one of them has discerned it, as if they were lying dead within their shrouds, save only those who believed and returned to God, and are today rejoicing in the paradise of holiness and faring according to God's good pleasure.

[21] Since all people were enveloped in the thick veils of their base selves, they failed to recognize the melodies of holiness, to perceive the fragrance of grace and to inquire of the People of the Remembrance, even though God had thus commanded them. For God said, and his Word is truth: "Ask the people of the Remembrance, if you know not."[Qur'an 16:43][2] Rather, they turned away from the People of the Remembrance and followed Samiri out of selfish passion. Thus did they grow remote from God's compassion, and failed to attain his beauty on the day of his Presence. For all had eagerly anticipated the day of his appearance, and supplicated God day and night to gather them together before him, that they might be martyred for his sake, led by his guidance and illumined by his radiance.

[22] Yet when he came with a sign and a proof from God they castigated him as an infidel, heaped abuse upon him and treated him in such a manner that I cannot bear to relate it, nor could you stand to hear it. At this point, the Pen laments and the quill weeps and shrieks. If you listen with the ear of your true self, by God, you will hear the wailing of the inhabitants of the heavens. And if you remove the veil from your eyes you will see that the celestial maidens have fainted and that the spirits have swooned, beating their own faces while seated upon the earth. Alas, alas for what befell the manifestation of the Self of God, and for what they wrought towards him and his loved ones, such as none has treated another, no infidel has treated a believer, and no believer has treated an infidel. Alas, alas, the temple of Eternal Life has seated himself upon the black earth, the Holy Spirit has groaned aloud in the highest heavens and the pillars supporting the Throne in the most sublime realm of divinity have crumbled. In the Crimson land the life of being has suffered alteration, and in the Yellow Realm the tongue of the Nightingale has been struck dumb.

[23] Away with them and their deeds, and with all that they professed to know! Listen then to what the Dove warbled concerning them, with the most wondrous and excellent of melodies and the most perfect and invincible of songs, that they may be afflicted from this day until that Day when the people are resurrected to join the Lord of the Worlds. In past times they prayed for victory over the unbelievers, but when that of which they knew came unto them, they disbelieved in him. The malediction of God be upon these false ones! This is their station and their portion in this world of vanities and they shall be returned to the torment of hellfire. They will find for themselves neither friend nor supporter.

[24] Be not veiled by all that was revealed in the Qur'an, and by what you have heard of the sayings of the Suns of sinlessness and the Moons of grandeur, concerning the corruption and alteration of the text by the hateful. These words of their referred only to some particular verses, which they specified. Despite my inability and unworthiness, I could, should I so desire, mention to you such passages. However, this would cause us to digress from our purpose, in such a way that we would diverge from the outstretched path, would flounder in the world of limitations and would depart from what is beloved in the court of the All-Praised. You who are being mentioned in this outspread parchment, and who are seeking enlightenment in this unrelieved darkness! Insofar as God has shed his effulgence upon you through the lights of the Sinai of manifestation, therefore purify yourself from all the evil hints and polytheistic intimations you learned in past times, that you might discover the fragrance of everlasting life from the Joseph of faithfulness, and enter the Egypt of the Unknowable essence. Thus might you perceive the sweet-smelling and glorious breezes wafting from this shining white tablet, insofar as the pen has inscribed upon it the enigmas of pre-existence concerning the names of God, the Exalted, the Most High. In such a way may your name be recorded on the sacred tablets among those who attained certitude.

[25] O you who are, all unknowing, present before this servant: you must recognize that whoever desires to traverse the stages of ascent into the mysteries must undertake a religious struggle to the full extent of his power and ability. In this way, the means of arriving at valid methods of proof will become clear. If he finds that someone claims to have a Cause from God, and possesses a proof from his Lord that surpasses the capabilities of all mankind, he has no choice but to follow all of his commands, sayings, and ordinances - even should he declare the sky to be the earth, and the earth to be the sky, or says that the former is above the latter or the latter below the former. He might ordain change or alteration, for he assuredly has been informed of the mysteries of the divine essence, the symbols of the Unseen and the laws of God. Were all human beings from the various nations to put into practice the principle to which we have just referred, their affairs would be facilitated. Moreover, these expressions and allusions would not prevent them from attaining the bounteous, divine names and attributes. If they had been aware of this principle, they would not have denied the blessings of God, nor would they have warred upon, struggled against and rejected the prophets. Such expressions also occur in the Qur'an, if you would but meditate upon it.

[26] Know that with such words God tests and sifts his servants. He thereby distinguishes the believer from the infidel, the detached from the worldly, the beneficent from the wrongdoer, the pious from the sinner, and so forth. As the dove of the invisible essence warbled, "Do men think when they say `we believe' they shall be let alone and not be put to proof?"[Qur'an 29:2] It is incumbent on one who journeys unto God and who emigrates for his sake to sever himself from all who are in the heavens and on earth, and to restrain his soul from all save him. Then will the gates of loving-kindness be thrown open before his face, and the breezes of divine affection be directed at him. If he strictly adheres to the essence of the explanations and interpretations we have shared with him, he will understand all the allusions that are made in these verses. God will cause his peace to descend upon his heart, and will give him tranquillity.

[27] In regard to such ambiguous revealed words, then, seek to understand the question you have asked of this servant. He, in truth, is seated in a place of degradation; he walks upon the earth only as a stranger, such as will find for himself neither helper nor intimate, neither beloved nor defender. He will remain dependent upon God and will say at all times, "In truth we are from God and in truth, unto him shall we return." Moreover, our reference to these words as "ambiguous" was solely for the benefit of those who never ascended to the horizon of guidance or attained to the heights of mystical insight in the sanctuaries of divine providence. Otherwise, for those who know the events associated the Cause and who witness the secrets of successorship, insofar as God has revealed these to them, all the verses are clear and all allusions are precise. They resolve the enigmas that are clothed in the garments of these words as easily as you perceive the heat of the sun and the moistness of water, or, rather, with greater ease. Exalted be God above what we have mentioned of his lovers, and above the mention they make of him.

[28] Now that we have reached this sublime station and attained this lofty summit, insofar as from the Pen has flowed the greatest loving-kindness from God, the Exalted, the Most High, we wish to describe for you some of the stations along the path of the servant to his creator. Thus will everything you desired be revealed to you, and thus will his proof be made universal and his grace complete.

[29] Know that at the beginning of his journey unto God, it is necessary for the wayfarer to enter the Garden of Search. In this journey, it is incumbent on the seeker to sever himself from all besides God and to close his eyes to all who are in the heavens and upon the earth. his heart should contain neither hate towards any creature nor love for anyone, such as might prevent him from attaining the sanctuary of beauty. He must sanctify his soul from the veils of grandeur. It is his duty to avoid feelings of superiority to others because of the vanities of this world, the outward knowledge, and so forth, with which God has favored him. He should beseech the Eternal Truth with the utmost earnestness and endeavor, that God might instruct him in the paths to his grace and the ways of his beneficence; for he is the best of helpers for his servants. His Word is true: "whoever makes efforts for us, in our ways we shall assuredly guide him."[Qur'an 29:69] Consider also the saying, "Fear God and God will teach you." In this stage of the journey, the wayfarer perceives changes, alterations, differences and contradictions. He sees the wonders of divinity in the mysteries of the creation, and discovers paths of guidance and divine highways. This is the station of seekers and the means of ascent for pilgrims.

[30] When the seeker advances beyond this station, he enters the City of Love and Allurement. Then do the gales of love blow and the spiritual breezes waft. In this station, the rapture of longing and the fragrances of ecstasy overtake the wayfarer in such a way that he no longer distinguishes right from left, land from sea, desert from mountain. Every instant he is consumed in the flames of yearning and upon every horizon he burns from separation's cruel tyranny. He races up the Mount Paran of love and the Horeb of attraction. one moment he laughs, the next he weeps; at some times he is tranquil and at others he grows disturbed. He cares about nothing and no command can deter him, nor any law restrain him. He awaits the bidding of his Lord in the beginning and the end. Every moment he expends his spirit, every second he sacrifices his soul and exposes his breast to the spears of the enemy. He extends his neck for the sword of the divine decree, and kisses the hands of his executioner.

[31] The seeker gives all his possessions, that he might sacrifice his spirit, soul and body in the path of his Lord, though this must be with his Beloved's permission rather than out of selfish passion. You find him cold in fire and dry in water. He lives in every land and fares upon every road. Whoever comes into contact with him in this state discerns in him the torrid heat of love. He walks upon the heights of detachment and speeds through the valleys of inaccessibility, his eyes ever awaiting the wonders of his Lord's compassion and the vision of his beauty's radiance. Blessed are they that attain. This is the station of the lovers and the rank of the enraptured.

Notes

[1] Baha'u'llah appears to have been using, in the 1850s and 1860s, a local Baghdad manuscript of the Alexandrian Vulgate Arabic translation of the Bible, which contained a few copyist errors, thus giving "powers of the earth" instead of the correct "heaven". (Juan Cole)

[2] In its original context, this verse of the Qur'an advised the Mecca unbelievers to consult with Jews and Christians, possessors of holy books (reminders or remembrances of God) if they did not believe Muhammad's stories about the monotheistic prophets. Baha'u'llah here seems to say that the advice extends to a consideration of the Gospel verses he quoted earlier, which Muslims had disregarded. (Juan Cole)



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