Introduction to Ode of the Dove

Ode of the Dove (Qasidah al-Warqa’iyyah)

Ode of the Dove (alternatively, Ode of the Nightingale) is a poem of 127 verses, which was written by Baha’u’llah while he lived in Sulaymaniyyah. It is a mystical work based on the style and form of Ibn al-Farid’s famous "Poem of the Mystic’s Progress".


In late 1852, Baha'u'llah was imprisoned in the Tehran dungeon known as the Siyah Chal during a wave of violence against the Babi community.[1] The persecution began after a small group of Babis reacted to the government's execution of the Bab by attempting to assassinate the shah. While Baha'u'llah was in prison, he experienced the first of many visions he had of the celestial woman, or houri, who was to bring him his revelation. Describing that first vision, he says that he heard a sweet voice above him and, when he looked up, he saw a celestial woman in the air in front of him. She was so full of joy that her soul shone and her cheeks glowed. She pointed to his head and called to everyone in heaven and earth, saying: "By God! This is the Best-Beloved of the worlds, and yet ye comprehend not. This is the Beauty of God amongst you, and the power of His sovereignty within you, could ye but understand."[2] Baha'u'llah wrote the poem Sprinkling of the Cloud Beyond Being about these visions and their spiritual significance.

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