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Fire Tablet:
Tablet Study Outline

Name of Tablet in Arabic or Persian:

Translation into English:
The words "Lawh-i-Qad-Ihtaraqa'l-Mukhlisun" literally mean "The Tablet of 'The Faithful Ones (Mukhlisun) have burned (qad ... ihtaraq),'" which is translated authoritatively as "the hearts of the sincere are consumed in the fire..."

The Tablet has been translated and published a number of times. For more information, see Bahá

Significance of Name:
The name could be seen as deriving either from the first line, "Indeed the hearts of the sincere are consumed in the fire of separation," or from the last line, "Should all the servants read and ponder this, there shall be kindled in their veins a fire that shall set aflame the worlds."

Tablet was revealed in:
Arabic, in rhyming verse ("saj")

Name of Recipient:
Hájí Siyyid 'Alí-Akbar-i-Dahájí, a nephew of Siyyid Mihdí Ismu'lláhu'l-Mihdí ("Ismu'lláh-Mihdí" means "the name of God the Guided-One [ ism - u' - Alláh - Mahdi ]).

Reason for Revelation of the Tablet:
This Tablet was revealed in answer to a letter from Alí-Akbar-i-Dahájí. Bahá'u'lláh tells Alí-Akbar that this Tablet will enable him to breathe the fragrance of His meekness and also know of the sufferings that Bahá'u'lláh and His followers have endured. To Alí-Akbar's uncle, Siyyid Mihdíy-i-Dahájí, Bahá'u'lláh added that He revealed the Fire Tablet to create feelings of joy in Alí-Akba and to ignite in his heart a love of God.

One student adds the following insights into the context in which the Fire Tablet was revealed:
"In order to appreciate and possibly understand the reason for the revelation of the Fire Tablet, it is important to look at the situation within the community at that time, and how the Bahá'í community was impacted by these situations which were instigated by the Covenant breakers. A small band of Covenant breakers was determined to undermine and destroy Bahá'u'lláh and His Cause. This enmity was triggered by jealousy, thereby attempting to discredit Bahá'u'lláh and His followers in the eyes of the community. A situation which caused further sorrow for Bahá'u'lláh (and more significantly) involved a plot to be carried out by a few Bahá'ís. The aim of this plot was to end the vicious activities of the Covenant breakers, even though Bahá'u'lláh forbid them not to initiate any of their plans (a counsel which was ignored, hence Bahá'u'lláh's retreat from the community). It is during this time that the Fire Tablet is revealed. Its revelation can be viewed as a means of Bahá'u'lláh 'pouring out His heart'."

Questions asked that are answered in Tablet:
We don't know of any particular question that was asked, but the Tablet was revealed in answer to a letter written by Hájí Siyyid Alí-Akbar-I-Dahájí to Bahá'u'lláh.

One might also note that this Tablet is constructed as a series of (possibly rhetorical) questions Bahá'u'lláh asks, and the end of the Tablet could be seen as an answer to these.

Date of Revelation:
Late 1871. See A Bahá'í Chronology, p.95.

Place of Revelation:
Akká, while Bahá'u'lláh was living in the house of Udi Khammar.

Other Tablets revealed at about the same time:
Tablets revealed around this time include Lawh-i-Ahbab, Lawh-i-Manikchi Sahib, Lawh-i-Haft Pursish, Lawh-i-Ru'ya, Lawh-i-Pisar 'Amm, Súriy-i-Haykal, Tablets to Queen Victoria, Czar Alexander II, Pope Pius IX, Lawh-i-Fu'ád, a Tablet of Ridván, Lawh-i-Ra'ís, and the second Lawh-i-Salmán.

Style, subject, and genre of the Tablet: [?]
      Tone: This Tablet seems to contain both tones. In the first part, Bahá'u'lláh speaks with a tone of servitude, meekness and supplication, but towards the end His tone becomes one of command and authority
      Subject: Mystical Writings.
      Genre: Poem (Arabic rhyming verse); prayer

Voice of Tablet: [?] Bahá'u'lláh first speaks as a person addressing God, and then as the voice of God replying. Taherzadeh writes that "Bahá'u'lláh has revealed this Tablet in a very special way. 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." (Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh vol. 3, p. 227)

Outline Contents of Tablet:
Student #58 prepared a literary analysis of the Fire Tablet's contents, which I paraphrase here.

In the first 28 couplets Bahá'u'lláh laments His sufferings. The pattern of the couplets is this: The lament; "Where is...?" (the contrast), followed by "O (attribute of God)," as in the example "Where is the gleaming of the light of Thy Countenance, O Beloved of the worlds?"

About half-way through, the form changes briefly for three lines, from "Canst thou see any who have championed Thy Self..." to "Now doth My pen halt..." This functions as a break or a pause.

Then the original form is repeated, a contrast of problem and a plea for a solution, for eight couplets.

Then the Voice of God responds to Bahá'u'lláh for 12 couplets. This is also in a contrasting style, but this time the positive side of the pair is given. For example, the images of cold and hot in "Were it not for the cold... How would the heat of Thy words prevail..." Other contrasting pairs used here include loneliness and oneness; calamity/patience; seeing hate/overlooking it; abasement/glory. The Voice of God transforms the lament step by step, showing the value and importance of sacrificing, of being patient, of overlooking sins. Bahá'u'lláh is also given various titles or attributes by the Voice of God, such as "O Pride of the worlds."

Bahá'u'lláh then responds that He has heard God's call and is now radiant and ready to sacrifice for His Lord.

The last two verses function as a sort of "coda," i.e. a formal end. The penultimate verse is an apostrophe (an aside) addressed to Alí-Akbar, saying that he now knows what Bahá'u'lláh has suffered. The last verse is the promise that all who read this Tablet carefully will be "set on fire," a metaphor expressing a rekindled enthusiasm and love for Bahá'u'lláh and His Cause.

Principal themes of the Tablet:
The overall themes seem to be obedience to Bahá'u'lláh's teachings and the consequence of being disobedient, as well as patience and steadfastness, particularly in the face of tests and difficulties such as the believers were then facing.
1. The great number of afflictions descending upon Bahá'u'lláh at the time this Tablet was written
2. The tremendous power with which this Tablet is invested
3. The sorrow which such Covenant-breaking brings to the hearts of Manifestations of God
4. The indivisibility of the Manifestation of God... that is, that His human nature and His divine spirit are mingled together, and at no time is this not true
5. The deceit and treachery of Siyyid Muhammad and his followers.
6. Bahá'u'lláh invokes the wrath of God against these infidels
7. He clarifies in another Tablet that the reason for this supplication is to call attention to the tremendous sufferings that can be created when a few evil men disregard the commandments of God.
8. People are enjoined to practice unity, love and compassion towards all on earth

Biography or bio note of the recipient of the Tablet:
There are two personnages connected with this Tablet, the recipient, Hájí Siyyid 'Alí-Akbar-i-Dahájí, and his uncle, Siyyid Mihdíy-i-Dahájí Ismu'lláh.

Taherzadeh quotes a description of 'Alí-Akbar-i-Dahájí by Muhammad-Tahir-i-Malmiri in volume 2, pp. 274-75, which I excerpt here:
      "'The late Hájí Siyyid Alí-Akbar-i-Dahájí was one of the early believers. Seldom has there been a soul so distinguished and pious as he. He was a nephew of Siyyid Mihdí, the Ismu'lláh ...Physically he was very handsome and had a sweet melodious voice. One might say that whenever he chanted the Words of God, even the Concourse on high and the Denizens of the Kingdom of Abha were exhilarated by his voice... I have never heard anyone chant so beautifully as he did. He attained the presence of the Blessed Beauty several times and became the recipient of Bahá'u'lláh's infinite favours and bounties. His relationship with Him was truly that of a lover and the Beloved. There are many Tablets revealed in his honour. Notable among them is the Tablet of Ihtiráq. [the Fire Tablet] ...Hájí Siyyid Alí-Akbar passed away in Tihrán on his way back from the Holy Land after having attained the presence of Bahá'u'lláh for the last time. After his death, Bahá'u'lláh indicated that He was so attached to Hájí Siyyid Alí-Akbar that He wished the name of this believer mentioned in His presence. He thereafter instructed that henceforth his uncle Siyyid Mihdí, the Ismu'lláh, be called Siyyid Alí-Akbar.'"

Taherzadeh writes about Siyyih Mihdí in volume 2, pp. 118-19 and 272-74, which I excerpt here:
      "There were [those] who remained in the Faith for several decades, although from the beginning it became clear to many that they were corrupt and sinful men. Notorious among them were Jamál-i-Burújirdí, entitled by Bahá'u'lláh, Ismu'lláhu'l-Jamál (The Name of God, Jamál), and Siyyid Mihdíy-i-Dahájí entitled Ismu'lláhu'l-Mihdí (The Name of God, Mihdí). For many years these ambitious and deceitful men were foremost among the teachers of the Faith and their fame spread throughout the community. However, their hypocrisy was known to those who were close to them. Bahá'u'lláh concealed their faults, revealed many Tablets for each of them, exhorted them to faithfulness and nobility and with forbearance and magnanimity overlooked their shortcomings. However, He admonished them for some of their actions which were harmful to the Faith.... Siyyid Mihdí was entitled by Bahá'u'lláh Ismu'lláhu'l-Mihdí (The Name of God, He Who is Guided). He was one of the famous teachers of the Cause during Bahá'u'lláh's ministry, but like Jamál-i-Burújirdí, who was also entitled 'Ismu'lláh', was a proud and ambitious man who in the end broke the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh and rebelled against Abdu'l-Bahá...
      Siyyid Mihdí was a native of Dahaj in the province of Yazd. He attained the presence of Bahá'u'lláh in Baghdad, Adrianople and Akká and received His unfailing bounties. Like Jamál, he travelled widely throughout Persia and was much honoured by the believers. Yet people who were endowed with discernment found him to be insincere, egotistical and deeply attached to the things of this world...
      During His ministry, Bahá'u'lláh concealed the faults and wrongdoings of Siyyid Mihdí. In His Tablets He showered His loving-kindness upon him and exhorted him to sincerity, purity and detachment. There is scarcely a Tablet revealed in his honour in which these points are not emphasized. When Bahá'u'lláh left Baghdad for Constantinople, He bade Siyyid Mihdí move into His house and become its caretaker."

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