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The Kitáb-i-Íqán

  • Author:
  • Bahá’u’lláh

  • Source:
  • US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1989 pocket-size edition
  • Pages:
  • 257
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Pages 201-220

[Pages 201–220]

were to be found revealed and manifest in that Riḍván of resplendent glory. That Book constitutes an abiding testimony to its people after Muḥammad, inasmuch as its decrees are indisputable, and its promise unfailing. All have been enjoined to follow the precepts of that Book until “the year sixty” 1 —the year of the advent of God’s wondrous Manifestation. That Book is the Book which unfailingly leadeth the seeker unto the Riḍván of the divine Presence, and causeth him that hath forsaken his country and is treading the seeker’s path to enter the Tabernacle of everlasting reunion. Its guidance can never err, its testimony no other testimony can excel. All other traditions, all other books and records, are bereft of such distinction, inasmuch as both the traditions and they that have spoken them are confirmed and proven solely by the text of that Book. Moreover, the traditions themselves grievously differ, and their obscurities are manifold.
Muḥammad, Himself, as the end of His mission drew nigh, spoke these words: “Verily, I leave amongst you My twin weighty testimonies: The Book of God and My Family.” Although many 202 traditions had been revealed by that Source of Prophethood and Mine of divine Guidance, yet He mentioned only that Book, thereby appointing it as the mightiest instrument and surest testimony for the seekers; a guide for the people until the Day of Resurrection.
With unswerving vision, with pure heart, and sanctified spirit, consider attentively what God hath established as the testimony of guidance for His people in His Book, which is recognized as authentic by both the high and lowly. To this testimony we both, as well as all the peoples of the world, must cling, that through its light we may know and distinguish between truth and falsehood, guidance and error. Inasmuch as Muḥammad hath confined His testimonies to His Book and to His Family, and whereas the latter hath passed away, there remaineth His Book only as His one testimony amongst the people.
In the beginning of His Book He saith: “Alif. Lám. Mím. No doubt is there about this Book: It is a guidance unto the God-fearing.” 2 In the disconnected letters of the Qur’án the mysteries of the divine Essence are enshrined, and within their 203 shells the pearls of His Unity are treasured. For lack of space We do not dwell upon them at this moment. Outwardly they signify Muḥammad Himself, Whom God addresseth saying: “O Muḥammad, there is no doubt nor uncertainty about this Book which hath been sent down from the heaven of divine Unity. In it is guidance unto them that fear God.” Consider, how He hath appointed and decreed this self-same Book, the Qur’án, as a guidance unto all that are in heaven and on earth. He, the divine Being, and unknowable Essence, hath, Himself, testified that this Book is, beyond all doubt and uncertainty, the guide of all mankind until the Day of Resurrection. And now, We ask, is it fair for this people to view with doubt and misgiving this most weighty Testimony, the divine origin of which God hath proclaimed, and pronounced it to be the embodiment of truth? Is it fair for them to turn away from the thing which He hath appointed as the supreme Instrument of guidance for attainment unto the loftiest summits of knowledge, and to seek aught else but that Book? How can they allow men’s absurd and foolish sayings to sow the seeds of distrust in their minds? How can they any longer idly contend that a certain person hath 204 spoken this or that way, or that a certain thing did not come to pass? Had there been anything conceivable besides the Book of God which could prove a more potent instrument and a surer guide to mankind, would He have failed to reveal it in that verse?
It is incumbent upon us not to depart from God’s irresistible injunction and fixed decree, as revealed in the above-mentioned verse. We should acknowledge the holy and wondrous Scriptures, for failing to do this we have failed to acknowledge the truth of this blessed verse. For it is evident that whoso hath failed to acknowledge the truth of the Qur’án hath in reality failed to acknowledge the truth of the preceding Scriptures. This is but the manifest implication of the verse. Were We to expound its inner meanings and unfold its hidden mysteries, eternity would never suffice to exhaust their import, nor would the universe be capable of hearing them! God verily testifieth to the truth of Our saying!
In another passage He likewise saith: “And if ye be in doubt as to that which We have sent down to Our Servant, then produce a Súrah like it, and summon your witnesses, beside God, if ye are men 205 of truth.” 3 Behold, how lofty is the station, and how consummate the virtue, of these verses which He hath declared to be His surest testimony, His infallible proof, the evidence of His all-subduing power, and a revelation of the potency of His will. He, the divine King, hath proclaimed the undisputed supremacy of the verses of His Book over all things that testify to His truth. For compared with all other proofs and tokens, the divinely-revealed verses shine as the sun, whilst all others are as stars. To the peoples of the world they are the abiding testimony, the incontrovertible proof, the shining light of the ideal King. Their excellence is unrivalled, their virtue nothing can surpass. They are the treasury of the divine pearls and the depository of the divine mysteries. They constitute the indissoluble Bond, the firm Cord, the Urvatu’l-Vuthqá, the inextinguishable Light. Through them floweth the river of divine knowledge, and gloweth the fire of His ancient and consummate wisdom. This is the fire which, in one and the same moment, kindleth the flame of love in the breasts of the faithful, and induceth the chill of heedlessness in the heart of the enemy.
O friend! It behooveth us not to waive the injunction 206 of God, but rather acquiesce and submit to that which He hath ordained as His divine Testimony. This verse is too weighty and pregnant an utterance for this afflicted soul to demonstrate and expound. God speaketh the truth and leadeth the way. He, verily, is supreme over all His people; He is the Mighty, the Beneficent.
Likewise, He saith: “Such are the verses of God: with truth do We recite them to Thee. But in what revelation will they believe, if they reject God and His verses?” 4 If thou wilt grasp the implication of this verse, thou wilt recognize the truth that no manifestation greater than the Prophets of God hath ever been revealed, and no testimony mightier than the testimony of their revealed verses hath ever appeared upon the earth. Nay, this testimony no other testimony can ever excel, except that which the Lord thy God willeth.
In another passage He saith: “Woe to every lying sinner, who heareth the verses of God recited to him, and then, as though he heard them not, persisteth in proud disdain! Apprise him of a 207 painful punishment.” 5 The implications of this verse, alone, suffice all that is in heaven and on earth, were the people to ponder the verses of their Lord. For thou hearest how in this day the people disdainfully ignore the divinely-revealed verses, as though they were the meanest of all things. And yet, nothing greater than these verses hath ever appeared, nor will ever be made manifest in the world! Say unto them: “O heedless people! Ye repeat what your fathers, in a bygone age, have said. Whatever fruits they have gathered from the tree of their faithlessness, the same shall ye gather also. Ere long shall ye be gathered unto your fathers, and with them shall ye dwell in hellish fire. An ill abode! the abode of the people of tyranny.”
In yet another passage He saith: “And when he becometh acquainted with any of Our verses he turneth them to ridicule. There is a shameful punishment for them!” 6 The people derisively observed saying: “Work thou another miracle, and give us another sign!” One would say: “Make now a part of the heaven to fall down upon us”; 7 and 208 another: “If this be the very truth from before Thee, rain down stones upon us from heaven.” 8 Even as the people of Israel, in the time of Moses, bartered away the bread of heaven for the sordid things of the earth, these people, likewise, sought to exchange the divinely-revealed verses for their foul, their vile, and idle desires. In like manner, thou beholdest in this day that although spiritual sustenance hath descended from the heaven of divine mercy, and been showered from the clouds of His loving kindness, and although the seas of life, at the behest of the Lord of all being, are surging within the Riḍván of the heart, yet these people, ravenous as the dogs, have gathered around carrion, and contented themselves with the stagnant waters of a briny lake. Gracious God! how strange the way of this people! They clamour for guidance, although the standards of Him Who guideth all things are already hoisted. They cleave to the obscure intricacies of knowledge, when He, Who is the Object of all knowledge, shineth as the sun. They see the sun with their own eyes, and yet question that brilliant Orb as to the proof of its light. They behold the vernal showers descending upon them, and yet seek an evidence of that 209 bounty. The proof of the sun is the light thereof, which shineth and envelopeth all things. The evidence of the shower is the bounty thereof, which reneweth and investeth the world with the mantle of life. Yea, the blind can perceive naught from the sun except its heat, and the arid soil hath no share of the showers of mercy. “Marvel not if in the Qur’án the unbeliever perceiveth naught but the trace of letters, for in the sun, the blind findeth naught but heat.”
In another passage He saith: “And when Our clear verses are recited to them, their only argument is to say, ‘Bring back our fathers, if ye speak the truth!’” 9 Behold, what foolish evidences they sought from these Embodiments of an all-encompassing mercy! They scoffed at the verses, a single letter of which is greater than the creation of heavens and earth, and which quickeneth the dead of the valley of self and desire with the spirit of faith; and clamoured saying: “Cause our fathers to speed out of their sepulchres.” Such was the perversity and pride of that people. Each one of these verses is unto all the peoples of the world an unfailing testimony and a glorious proof of His truth. Each of them verily sufficeth all mankind, 210 wert thou to meditate upon the verses of God. In the above-mentioned verse itself pearls of mysteries lie hidden. Whatever be the ailment, the remedy it offereth can never fail.
Heed not the idle contention of those who maintain that the Book and verses thereof can never be a testimony unto the common people, inasmuch as they neither grasp their meaning nor appreciate their value. And yet, the unfailing testimony of God to both the East and the West is none other than the Qur’án. Were it beyond the comprehension of men, how could it have been declared as a universal testimony unto all people? If their contention be true, none would therefore be required, nor would it be necessary for them to know God, inasmuch as the knowledge of the divine Being transcendeth the knowledge of His Book, and the common people would not possess the capacity to comprehend it.
Such contention is utterly fallacious and inadmissible. It is actuated solely by arrogance and pride. Its motive is to lead the people astray from the Riḍván of divine good-pleasure and to tighten the reins of their authority over the people. And yet, in the sight of God, these common people are 211 infinitely superior and exalted above their religious leaders who have turned away from the one true God. The understanding of His words and the comprehension of the utterances of the Birds of Heaven are in no wise dependent upon human learning. They depend solely upon purity of heart, chastity of soul, and freedom of spirit. This is evidenced by those who, today, though without a single letter of the accepted standards of learning, are occupying the loftiest seats of knowledge; and the garden of their hearts is adorned, through the showers of divine grace, with the roses of wisdom and the tulips of understanding. Well is it with the sincere in heart for their share of the light of a mighty Day!
And likewise, He saith: “As for those who believe not in the verses of God, or that they shall ever meet Him, these of My mercy shall despair, and these doth a grievous chastisement await.” 10 Also, “And they say, ‘Shall we then abandon our gods for a crazed poet?’” 11 The implication of this verse is manifest. Behold what they observed after the verses were revealed. They called Him a poet, scoffed at the verses of God, and exclaimed saying: 212 “These words of his are but tales of the Ancients!” By this they meant that those words which were spoken by the peoples of old Muḥammad hath compiled and called them the Word of God.
Likewise, in this day, thou hast heard the people impute similar charges to this Revelation, saying: “He hath compiled these words from the words of old;” or “these words are spurious.” Vain and haughty are their sayings, low their estate and station!
After the denials and denunciations which they uttered, and unto which We have referred, they protested saying: “No independent Prophet, according to our Scriptures, should arise after Moses and Jesus to abolish the Law of divine Revelation. Nay, he that is to be made manifest must needs fulfil the Law.” Thereupon this verse, indicative of all the divine themes, and testifying to the truth that the flow of the grace of the All-Merciful can never cease, was revealed: “And Joseph came to you aforetime with clear tokens, but ye ceased not to doubt of the message with which He came to you, until, when He died, ye said, ‘God will by no means raise up a Messenger after Him.’ Thus God misleadeth him who is the transgressor 213 the doubter.” 12 Therefore, understand from this verse and know of a certainty that the people in every age, clinging to a verse of the Book, have uttered such vain and absurd sayings, contending that no Prophet should again be made manifest to the world. Even as the Christian divines who, holding fast to the verse of the Gospel to which We have already referred, have sought to explain that the law of the Gospel shall at no time be annulled, and that no independent Prophet shall again be made manifest, unless He confirmeth the law of the Gospel. Most of the people have become afflicted with the same spiritual disease.
Even as thou dost witness how the people of the Qur’án, like unto the people of old, have allowed the words “Seal of the Prophets” to veil their eyes. And yet, they themselves testify to this verse: “None knoweth the interpretation thereof but God and they that are well-grounded in knowledge.” 13 And when He Who is well-grounded in all knowledge, He Who is the Mother, the Soul, the Secret, and the Essence thereof, revealeth that which is the least contrary to their desire, they bitterly oppose Him and shamelessly deny Him. These thou 214 hast already heard and witnessed. Such deeds and words have been solely instigated by leaders of religion, they that worship no God but their own desire, who bear allegiance to naught but gold, who are wrapt in the densest veils of learning, and who, enmeshed by its obscurities, are lost in the wilds of error. Even as the Lord of being hath explicitly declared: “What thinkest thou? He who hath made a God of his passions, and whom God causeth to err through a knowledge, and whose ears and whose heart He hath sealed up, and over whose sight He hath cast a veil—who, after his rejection by God, shall guide such a one? Will ye not then be warned?” 14
Although the outward meaning of “Whom God causeth to err through a knowledge” is what hath been revealed, yet to Us it signifieth those divines of the age who have turned away from the Beauty of God, and who, clinging unto their own learning, as fashioned by their own fancies and desires, have denounced God’s divine Message and Revelation. “Say: it is a weighty Message, from which ye turn aside!” 15 Likewise, He saith: “And when 215 Our clear verses are recited to them, they say, ‘This is merely a man who would fain pervert you from your father’s worship.’ And they say, ‘This is none other than a forged falsehood.’” 16
Give ear unto God’s holy Voice, and heed thou His sweet and immortal melody. Behold how He hath solemnly warned them that have repudiated the verses of God, and hath disowned them that have denied His holy words. Consider how far the people have strayed from the Kawthar of the divine Presence, and how grievous hath been the faithlessness and arrogance of the spiritually destitute in the face of that sanctified Beauty. Although that Essence of lovingkindness and bounty caused those evanescent beings to step into the realm of immortality, and guided those destitute souls to the sacred river of wealth, yet some denounced Him as “a calumniator of God, the Lord of all creatures,” others accused Him of being “the one that withholdeth the people from the path of faith and true belief,” and still others declared Him to be “a lunatic” and the like.
In like manner, thou observest in this day with what vile imputations they have assailed that Gem 216 of Immortality, and what unspeakable transgressions they have heaped upon Him Who is the Source of purity. Although God hath throughout His Book and in His holy and immortal Tablet warned them that deny and repudiate the revealed verses, and hath announced His grace unto them that accept them, yet behold the unnumbered cavils they raised against those verses which have been sent down from the new heaven of God’s eternal holiness! This, notwithstanding the fact that no eye hath beheld so great an outpouring of bounty, nor hath any ear heard of such a revelation of lovingkindness. Such bounty and revelation have been made manifest, that the revealed verses seemed as vernal showers raining from the clouds of the mercy of the All-Bountiful. The Prophets “endowed with constancy,” whose loftiness and glory shine as the sun, were each honoured with a Book which all have seen, and the verses of which have been duly ascertained. Whereas the verses which have rained from this Cloud of divine mercy have been so abundant that none hath yet been able to estimate their number. A score of volumes are now available. How many still remain beyond our reach! How many have been plundered and have fallen into the 217 hands of the enemy, the fate of which none knoweth.
O brother, we should open our eyes, meditate upon His Word, and seek the sheltering shadow of the Manifestations of God, that perchance we may be warned by the unmistakable counsels of the Book, and give heed to the admonitions recorded in the holy Tablets; that we may not cavil at the Revealer of the verses, that we may resign ourselves wholly to His Cause, and embrace wholeheartedly His law, that haply we may enter the court of His mercy, and dwell upon the shore of His grace. He, verily, is merciful, and forgiving towards His servants.
And likewise, He saith: “Say, O people of the Book! do ye not disavow us only because we believe in God and in what He hath sent down to us, and in what He hath sent down aforetime, and because most of you are doers of ill?” 17 How explicitly doth this verse reveal Our purpose, and how clearly doth it demonstrate the truth of the testimony of the verses of God! This verse was revealed at a time when Islám was assailed by the infidels, 218 and its followers were accused of misbelief, when the Companions of Muḥammad were denounced as repudiators of God and as followers of a lying sorcerer. In its early days, when Islám was still to outward seeming devoid of authority and power, the friends of the Prophet, who had turned their face toward God, wherever they went, were harassed, persecuted, stoned and vilified. At such a time this blessed verse was sent down from the heaven of divine Revelation. It revealed an irrefutable evidence, and brought the light of an unfailing guidance. It instructed the companions of Muḥammad to declare the following unto the infidels and idolators: “Ye oppress and persecute us, and yet, what else have we done except that we have believed in God and in the verses sent down unto us through the tongue of Muḥammad, and in those which descended upon the Prophets of old?” By this is meant that their only guilt was to have recognized that the new and wondrous verses of God, which had descended upon Muḥammad, as well as those which had been revealed unto the Prophets of old, were all of God, and to have acknowledged and embraced their truth. This is the testimony which the divine King hath taught His servants. 219
In view of this, is it fair for this people to repudiate these newly-revealed verses which have encompassed both the East and the West, and to regard themselves as the upholders of true belief? Should they not rather believe in Him Who hath revealed these verses? Considering the testimony which He Himself hath established, how could He fail to account as true believers them that have testified to its truth? Far be it from Him that He should turn away from the gates of His mercy them that have turned unto and embraced the truth of the divine verses, or that He should threaten those that have clung to His sure testimony! He verily establisheth the truth through His verses, and confirmeth His Revelation by His words. He verily is the Powerful, the Help in peril, the Almighty.
And likewise, He saith: “And had We sent down unto Thee a Book written on parchment, and they had touched it with their hands, the infidels would surely have said ‘This is naught but palpable sorcery.’” 18 Most of the verses of the Qur’án are indicative of this theme. We have, for the sake of brevity, mentioned only these verses. Consider, 220 hath anything else besides the verses been established in the whole Book, as a standard for the recognition of the Manifestations of His Beauty, that the people might cling to, and reject the Manifestations of God? On the contrary, in every instance, He hath threatened with fire those that repudiate and scoff at the verses, as already shown.
Therefore, should a person arise and bring forth a myriad verses, discourses, epistles, and prayers, none of which have been acquired through learning, what conceivable excuse could justify those that reject them, and deprive themselves of the potency of their grace? What answer could they give when once their soul hath ascended and departed from its gloomy temple? Could they seek to justify themselves by saying: “We have clung to a certain tradition, and not having beheld the literal fulfilment thereof, we have therefore raised such cavils against the Embodiments of divine Revelation, and kept remote from the law of God?” Hast thou not heard that among the reasons why certain Prophets have been designated as Prophets “endowed with constancy” was the revelation of a Book unto them? And yet, how
1. The year 1260 A.H., the year of the Báb’s Declaration.   [ Back To Reference]
2. Qur’án 2:1.   [ Back To Reference]
3. Qur’án 2:23.   [ Back To Reference]
4. Qur’án 45:5.   [ Back To Reference]
5. Qur’án 45:6.   [ Back To Reference]
6. Qur’án 45:8.   [ Back To Reference]
7. Qur’án 26:187.   [ Back To Reference]
8. Qur’án 8:32.   [ Back To Reference]
9. Qur’án 45:24.   [ Back To Reference]
10. Qur’án 29:23.   [ Back To Reference]
11. Qur’án 37:36.   [ Back To Reference]
12. Qur’án 40:34.   [ Back To Reference]
13. Qur’án 3:7.   [ Back To Reference]
14. Qur’án 45:22.   [ Back To Reference]
15. Qur’án 38:67.   [ Back To Reference]
16. Qur’án 34:43.   [ Back To Reference]
17. Qur’án 5:62.   [ Back To Reference]
18. Qur’án 6:7.   [ Back To Reference]