May 2, 2016

The Fire Tablet was revealed by Baha’u’llah in a special way – an explanation by ‘Adib Taherzadeh

Bahá'u'lláh revealed this Tablet in a special way in order that the mind of man, limited and finite as it is, may be able to reflect and meditate on the sufferings heaped upon the Manifestation, and at the same time see a glimpse of His All-Glorious Being. It seems as if it is His human Person, as distinct from the Manifestation of God, that recounts His afflictions and dwells on the iniquities perpetrated by His enemies. Then comes the voice of God and Bahá'u'lláh's response to it.

But in reality, Bahá'u'lláh, the Supreme Manifestation of God, cannot be divided into two. His human nature and divine spirit are so mingled together that at no time can He be regarded as a man devoid of the Most Great Spirit which always animated Him. It cannot be assumed that at times a Manifestation of God ceases to be a Manifestation and becomes purely a man. On the contrary, He is always a Manifestation of God, although He often hides His glory and appears to be like an ordinary human being. To appreciate this indivisibility, let us consider man with his two natures. We observe that whereas man combines within himself the animal and the spiritual natures, yet he is always a man and at no time can he be considered to be a pure animal devoid of the human spirit or temporarily become robbed of his powers as a man. Similarly, the Manifestation of God can never be divided into separate parts.

Probably the basic reason that Bahá'u'lláh in the Fire Tablet has spoken with the voice of man is to enable the believers to appreciate how grievous were the attacks launched against Him, and how much His companions suffered when they were unable to attain His presence. In the opening passages, Bahá'u'lláh refers to this separation between Him and His loved ones and invokes the Almighty to succour and comfort them.

Indeed the hearts of the sincere are consumed in the fire of separation: Where is the gleaming of the light of Thy Countenance,
O Beloved of the worlds?

Those who are near unto Thee have been abandoned in the darkness of desolation: Where is the shining of the morn of Thy reunion, O
Desire of the worlds?

The bodies of Thy chosen ones lie quivering on distant
sands:Where is the ocean of Thy presence, O Enchanter of the

In other passages Bahá'u'lláh alludes to His withdrawal from everyone, such as when he refers to Himself being 'veiled by evil suggestions', or when He states that the 'sea of grace is stilled', and 'the door leading to the Divine Presence is locked'.

In this Tablet one comes across statements clearly referring to the evil doings of Siyyid Muhammad and his henchmen. He  refers to them as the 'infidels' who 'have arisen in tyranny', describes their activities as the 'barking of dogs', the 'whisperings of Satan', states that through their deeds 'the lamps of truth and purity, of loyalty and honour, have been put out', and affirms that through their evil spirit 'the leaves are yellowed by the poisoning winds of sedition'.

Bahá'u'lláh expatiates on His sufferings in this Tablet. He makes mention of 'abasement' and 'sorrows' which have afflicted Him, states that His 'Face is hidden in the dust of slander' and that His 'robe of sanctity is sullied by the people of deceit'. These heart-rending passages are clear references to the effects of the vast campaign of misrepresentation and slander carried out by Siyyid Muhammad against Bahá'u'lláh in public, and bear ample testimony to the harrowing afflictions which had been heaped upon Him.

Having dwelt on His sufferings, Bahá'u'lláh then, as the 'Tongue of Grandeur', replies to Himself. These are among His utterances:

We have made abasement the garment of glory,
And affliction the adornment of Thy temple, O Pride of
the worlds.

Thou seest the hearts are filled with hate,
And to overlook is Thine, O Thou Concealer of the sins
of the worlds.

When the swords flash, go forward!
When the shafts fly, press onward! O Thou Sacrifice of
the worlds.

In this Tablet Bahá'u'lláh invokes the wrath of God for His enemies, when He asks, 'Where is the lion of the forest of Thy might?' 'Where is the meteor of Thy fire?' or 'Where are the signs of Thy avenging wrath?' God is loving and forgiving, but occasionally He appears in His wrath. One of these occasions is when some individual opposes His Manifestation while knowing who He is and the station He occupies.

Whereas the Manifestation of God can invoke the wrath of God upon such people, man has no right to do so. In this Dispensation Bahá'u'lláh has forbidden His followers to condemn other men.

In one of His Tablets revealed in 'Akká, Bahá'u'lláh refers to this subject. He quotes the following passage from the Fire Tablet: 'The necks of men are stretched out in malice; Where are the swords of Thy vengeance...', and states that although outwardly these words seem to contradict the teaching of God for this age and invoke His wrath and vengeance, they are not meant to advocate contention and strife. Rather, such statements were made in order to convey the enormity of the sufferings caused by a few wicked people. Their transgressions reached such proportions that the Pen of the Most High was made to lament in the way it did.

Having clarified the reasons for invoking the wrath of God, Bahá'u'lláh in this Tablet warns the believers against using such terms as a pretext for creating strife and sedition. He exhorts them to unity, love and compassion toward all the peoples of the world, states that the hosts which can render the Cause of God victorious are praiseworthy deeds and an upright character and asserts that the commander of these hosts is the fear of God...

In the Fire Tablet we observe two different features of Bahá'u'lláh. The first is the station of sovereignty and lordship, a station exalted above the world of man. In this station He is not affected by the tumult and conflicts of this life, because He is animated by the Most Great Spirit which makes Him independent of all things except God. The other station is that of meekness and submission to God. This is a station in which Bahá'u'lláh is referred to in many of His Tablets as the 'Wronged One of the World'. In this station He submits Himself to His enemies, welcomes sufferings and accepts bondage and imprisonment so that mankind in this Dispensation may become freed from the fetters of tyranny and oppression and attain the light of unity. 
- Adib Taherzadeh  (The Revelation of Baha'u'llah vol. 3)