Scripture

Relationship between the names and the attributes

I'm writing an introduction to Surah of the Almighty and I've just written a paragraph discussing in general terms the relationship between the names and the attributes. My source is a paragraph from Baha'u'llah's "Tafsír-i-Hu", translated by Keven Brown and quoted in his "Creation" essay, Section 3. I wish someone would translate the whole tafsir!

I thought I'd post here what I've written, because I have not found this information in any other place. Baha'is talk about the names and attributes of God, but the only place I've ever found information about what they are as a reality is in Keven's essay. What I've explained here is just a simple version of what is an endlessly complex topic.

Here is the paragraph from "Tafsír-i-Hu":

Full story...

Memorising a hidden word

White Smart on the gate, with the orchard in the background

Life out here in the country is much quieter than it was in the city. Days go by where Steve and I don't see anyone except each other. It has meant that I now have the space to learn some of the writings. I haven't set myself huge goals, like learning long passages. I have contented myself with a hidden word at a time and found that to be more than enough.

The hidden word I've been most recently working on is Persian Hidden Word number 70:

"O son of worldliness! Pleasant is the realm of being, wert thou to attain thereto; glorious is the domain of eternity, shouldst thou pass beyond the world of mortality; sweet is the holy ecstasy if thou drinkest of the mystic chalice from the hands of the celestial Youth. Shouldst thou attain this station, thou wouldst be freed from destruction and death, from toil and sin."

Full story...

Introduction to Surah of Sacrifice (Surat'udh-Dhibh)

Historical background

Surat'udh-Dhibh, which translates as Surah of Sacrifice, is a letter Baha'u'llah wrote in Edirne to Muhammad Isma'il Kashani, who had been given the title 'Dhabih' (the Sacrifice) by the Bab. The surah is not to be confused with a letter Baha'u'llah wrote in Akka to the same person, which is titled Surat'udh-Dhabih, Surah of the Sacrificed. This second surah was translated by Shoghi Effendi and appears as section CXV in Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah.

Dhabih was one of three Babi brothers from Kashan, the other two being Haji Mirza Jani, who was martyred in Tehran in 1852,[1] and Haji Mirza Ahmad, who went on to become a Baha'i and then an Azali (a follower of Azal).[2] Dhabih was a follower of Shaykh Ahmad Ahsa'i, the founder of Shaykism, and his successor Haji Siyyid Kazim Rashti. Many Shaykhis became Babis after the death of Siyyid Kazim and the subsequent declaration of the Bab in 1844.

Full story...

Principles of pre-existence

The following is the beginning of my attempt to explain the ideas of pre-existence that Abdu'l-Baha discusses in chapter 80 of Some Answered Questions: "Real Pre-existence". It's not finished, but is enough to make a worthy blog entry. It is certainly meaty! Heaven knows, I saw stars trying to work it out.

Full story...

The functioning of the human spirit

Human spirit has a beginning but no end

Abdu'l-Baha describes the human spirit as "phenomenal". By this, he means that it is preceded by a cause. It comes into existence when the body's elements are combined in the womb in accordance with the laws of nature. It does not exist before that.

However, unlike the other spirits in nature, the human spirit does not cease to exist when the body's elements decompose. This is because the human spirit is, as explained in the previous section, a "divine sign"; that is, it is a sign of the perfections of God in the phenomenal world. In addition to that, the human spirit is the state of perfection in the phenomenal world and, as such, it cannot cease to exist. Without the human spirit, the phenomenal world would have no purpose.

Full story...