Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tablet of Ahmad, Section 2, Part 1

For many years now, whenever I have been asked to talk a little about the Tablet of Ahmad, I have usually focussed on the first section. Why? Because it is what I knew the best. It was a fairly simple and straightforward look at the verbs in that paragraph, and how they foreshadowed the rest of the Tablet, outlining it, if you will. You can read my initial article about that here.

Since that time, I have been asked on numerous occasions to look at the rest of it. I gotta tell you, though, it makes me a bit nervous. I mean, I feel like I had a bit of an insight that first time around, so will be I get another one this time? No clue. Oh well. Nothing like trusting in God and taking that leap. In public. With people watching. Or reading, as the case may be.

You may recall that I like to think of this Tablet as divided into four sections, with Ahmad's name doing the dividing. So, the second part is as follows:
O Ahmad! Bear thou witness that verily He is God and there is no God but Him, the King, the Protector, the Incomparable, the Omnipotent. And that the One Whom He hath sent forth by the name of Ali [The Bab] was the true One from God, to Whose commands we are all conforming.

Say: O people be obedient to the ordinances of God, which have been enjoined in the Bayan by the Glorious, the Wise One. Verily He is the King of the Messengers and His book is the Mother Book did ye but know.

Thus doth the Nightingale utter His call unto you from this prison. He hath but to deliver this clear message. Whosoever desireth, let him turn aside from this counsel and whosoever desireth let him choose the path to his Lord.

O people, if ye deny these verses, by what proof have ye believed in God? Produce it, O assemblage of false ones.

Nay, by the One in Whose hand is my soul, they are not, and never shall be able to do this, even should they combine to assist one another.
To begin, I just want to remind you that I see this whole section within the context of that first paragraph. We can see Baha'u'llah moving from a broad proclamation in the beginning to a call. In particular, He is "calling the believers in the Divine Unity to the court of the Presence of the Generous One", and I will be looking at this section in that light.

Oh, and I should also give you the regular reminder that I am not writing this from any authoritative position. I'm just giving my own take on it, and you can agree or not, as you will.

Here, He seems to be giving Ahmad a mission: to bear witness to God, and remind the people that the Bab was a true Messenger from Him. Well, this seems fairly straightforward, given that He is already "calling the believers". But let us not forget the climate in which Ahmad was asked to do this: torture and execution were the most likely outcome for him.

But for now, for the sake of brevity, let's grant him wisdom, and presume that he is only talking amongst the believers.

What is he telling them? What powers does he draw upon to carry out this noble task? And how does all this help us in our teaching work? As usual, I think the answers can be found to the second and third questions in the attributes of God that Baha'u'llah puts in at this point: "the King, the Protector, the Incomparable, the Omnipotent".

First of all, God is the King, and we are His subjects. But we are not just His subjects, for we were created in His image. This, to my way of thinking, makes us noble. There is an inherent nobility that we draw upon when we are delivering His message, and it is this that helps make the message a bit more attractive, initially, to some people. There is something about the dignity of the nobles that is inherently attractive. Of course, once people begin to see the message for themselves, it is the message that continues the attraction, not the individual. It is also worth noting that when we recognize this same nobility within all whom we meet, this sense of attraction becomes that much stronger all around.

The seccond attribute here is "the Protector". This seems to go in many directions, for surely God is protecting us from harm when we carry out His work. Oh, and I don't mean physical harm, for of what concern is that? No, I mean spiritual harm. Just knowing that we are helping deliver this incredible message will aid us in doing this very scary task.

But I think there is another dimension to it. As a teacher of the Cause, I believe that we have some responsibility to those we are teaching. We have to be careful, almost protect them, if you will. Remember, Baha'u'llah tells us that "an enlightened man of wisdom should primarily speak with words as mild as milk". Why would this be, if not to protect the hearer from "spiritual indigestion"? Too often have I said too much about Baha'u'llah when introducing the Faith to someone, and only later wished that I had had the wisdom to have said less. Even now, when writing to different people, I am often a bit too blunt with my words, regretting it in hindsight.

There seems to be another pointer in that direction from the Guardian, in The Advent of Divine Justice. In that book, he is describing the movement of an individual from never having heard about the Baha'i Faith to proclaiming "his unqualified acceptance of whatever has been ordained by Bahá'u'lláh". It is only then, "as soon as that stage has been attained", that we are to "introduce him to the body of his fellow-believers". Why would that be, if not for their protection from the inadvertant tests that we impose upon each other?

The third attribute that Baha'u'llah mentions here is that of "the Imcomparable". Aside from the obvious fact that there is nothing that even comes close to comparing with the scope and depth of Baha'u'llah's teachings, I see this as a reminder to be on my best behaviour. Although I cannot imagine it happening, especially to me, 'Abdu'l-Baha did say, "If any one of you enters a city he must become the center of attraction because of the sincerity, faithfulness, love, honesty, fidelity, truthfulness and loving-kindness of his disposition and nature toward all the inhabitants of the world, that the people of the city may all cry out: 'This person is unquestionably a Bahá'í; for his manners, his behavior, his conduct, his morals, his nature and his disposition are of the attributes of the Bahá'ís.'" This, to me, speaks of that attribute of incomparableness, and I can only hope to begin to think about striving towards it.

The last of those attributes offered here is that of "the Omnipotent". Although God is truly the Omnipotent, we, too, have power, and nothing should deter us from our work.

These four attributes, when combined, will be a powerful force aiding us in our teaching work.

Finally, after all of that, Ahmad is pointedly reminded that he is speaking to Babis. At this point, it would be so easy to turn away from, or perhaps even disregard, the Bab, in favour of Baha'u'llah. But no, we are not to do that. The Bab is a Messenger, sent by God, and we are all conforming to His teachings, even Baha'u'llah. He had not yet revealed His laws, and it was to the Bab's laws that He was turning.

This, to me, is also a message about how we should regard the Messengers of the past, each and every one of Them. They should be held in the highest regard, and we should always strive to conform to the spirit of Their laws.

But this post has gone on long enough. I'll continue it later. As usual, feedback is always welcome.


  1. This is very nice article I like this blog
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  2. Dear writer, i came to know about the 'Tablet of Ahmad' in 1976. I have read it and applied with intense when there was nobody to heip me & my late mum at that time. the tabley worked as amiracle within a few ours. We got back what we thought never going to come back. I strongly suggest the faithfull to use this tablet in times of need...bye!