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COLLECTIONProvisional translations
TITLEGarden of Justice (Ridvan al-'adl)
AUTHOR 1 Bahá'u'lláh
CONTRIB 1Juan Cole, trans.
NOTES First posted to Talisman in 1996. Also online at

Another partial translation of Garden of Justice can be found at (S. Lambden, 2013).

See also Baha'u'llah's Paradise of Justice: Commentary and Translation (C. Buck and A. Masumian, 2014/2018).

TAGSBaghdad, Iraq; Iraq; Lawh-i-Ridvanul-Adl (Tablet of the Paradise of Justice)
CONTENT This is the Garden of Justice.

In the name of God, the Just, the Wise.

[1] This is a tablet wherein God hath sent forth His name, the Just, and hath breathed the spirit of equity into the temples of all created things. Thereby might all preserve pure justice and judge themselves and others, nor transgress against it to the extent of a blemish on a date pit.

[2] O this Name! We have rendered Thee one of the suns of Our most beautiful names between the heavens and the earth. Shed Thine illumination upon all things created by Thy powerful and wondrous lights, that perhaps the people might gather under Thy penumbra and cast the darkness behind them, and shine with Thy holy and luminous rays. O this Name! We have made Thee the source of Our justice among those of Our servants who have drawn near. By means of Thee, the justice of every just one is made manifest and our servants who are advancing toward Us have been emblazoned with Thine ornament.

[3] O this Name! Beware lest this station entice Thee away from submission in the presence of God, the Mighty, the Omnipotent. Know that Thy relationship to Us is the same as that of any other, and there is no difference between Thee and aught else created between the heavens and the earth. For when We seated Ourselves upon the throne of justice, We created the contingent creatures by a Word from Us. Thus was Thy Lord wise with regard to all things. And we raised some of the names up to the realm of eternity as a bestowal of grace from Us, for, verily, We are Powerful, Exalted, Mighty and Wondrous. Say: Verily, no relationship exists between Him and His creation. Praised may He be above all that He hath created and all that of which Our servants make mention. The relationship that binds, which is mentioned in the tablets, only appeared from His Will, which was sent forth from His Volition, and which in turn was generated by My all-encompassing and irrevocable decree.

[4] We have, however, chosen Thee out especially and exalted Thee in this tablet, that Thou mightest give thanks to Thy Lord and be among those who have attained detachment. Beware lest the exaltation of Thy name become a barrier between Thee and God, Thy Lord and the Lord of the Worlds. Verily, We exalt whoever We please by Our decree, and verily, We are Powerful to accomplish whatever We purpose and Sovereign in achieving what We wish. See nothing in Thyself save the effulgence of the sun of the commanding Word, which rose from the horizon of the lips of the Will of Thy Lord, the Merciful, the Compassionate. See in Thine essence neither power or might, neither movement nor stillness, save what deriveth from the decree of God, the King, the All-Powerful, the Omnipotent. Move with the breeze of Thy Lord, the Exalted, the Most Glorious, not with the gales that blow from the direction of self and passion. Thus doth the Most High Pen command Thee, that Thou mightest act accordingly. Beware lest Thou be like the one whom We adorned with the ornament of the names in the realm of creation, for when he gazed upon himself and the exaltation of his name, he turned against the very God Who created and nourished him, and plummeted from the highest of stations to the lowest of the low.

[5] Say: The names are as garments, with which we array whoever We please among Our devoted servants, and which We strip from whoever We desire by Our command, for verily We are the Omnipotent, the Sovereign, the Omniscient. We give our servants now, at the time of Our withdrawal, the same counsel we offered them at the time of bounty. Thus, know the command of thy Lord and be completely assured that nothing can detract from Our Potency, and that the hand of Power shall never be chained up, if thou art among those who know. Say: The glory of each name that knoweth its Lord and hath not transgressed against His law increaseth every moment, and at every instant there shineth upon it the sun of the loving-kindness of its Lord, the Forgiving, the Generous; and it ascendeth by the ladder of detachment unto a station that shall never reveal aught but its Creator nor speak save by His leave, nor move save by His Will. Verily, He is the Mighty, the Just, the Knowing, the Wise.

[6] O this Name! Take pride within Thyself, insofar as We have made Thee the dawning-place of Our justice in all the worlds. We shall dispatch from Thee manifestations in the realm, whereby the pavilions of tyranny shall be folded up and the carpet of justice rolled out between the heavens and the earth. By means of them, God shall efface the traces of despotism from the world and adorn all corners of the earth with their names among the worlds. Because of them, the mouth of visible and invisible being broke into a smile. They are the mirrors of My justice among My servants and the dawning places of My names among My creation. By them, the hands of oppression are cut off, and the right arm of the Cause is strengthened. Thus have We decreed in this preserving and sanctified tablet.

[7] O that Name! We have rendered Thee an ornament for rulers. Blessed are they if they adorn their temples with Thee, do justice among the people with pure truth and right, and make their decrees in accordance with what God hath ordained in His mighty and pre-existent Book. No ornament was ordained for them better than Thee, and by Thee their sovereignty is made manifest, their mention is exalted, and their names are commemorated in the kingdom of God, the Mighty, the Great. Whoso hath deprived himself of Thee is naked between the heavens and the earth even if attired in all the silk in the world. O concourse of monarchs, array your heads with the crowns of justice, that all regions of the land might be illumined by their light. Thus do We command you, out of Our grace upon you. O concourse of kings, God shall make manifest in the land rulers who shall repose upon cushions of justice and decree for the people that which they decree for themselves. These are the flower of My entire creation.

[8] O people, clothe your bodies in the robes of justice, for it becometh all souls, if ye be among those who know. So, to, is it with good manners and fairness, and We require both in most of the tablets, that ye may act accordingly. Verily, He hath only commanded Our soul to perform what is best for it and will benefit it in this world and the next. He is able, in Himself, to dispense with the actions of all others and with the insight of the learned and the perspicacious. Verily, God hath by this name in this tablet shed His effulgence on all things. Blessed are they who are illumined by its rays; and those who have attained it - they are Our servants who have drawn near. Verily, We have, with the hands of might, planted in this garden the trees of justice and watered them with the springs of grace. Each one of them shall bring forth its fruits. Thus hath the matter been irrevocably decreed. We are by Ourselves the Ordainer of decrees.

[9] O manifestations of justice, when the gales of might blow, summon the people of the Bayan and remind them of this Great, this Most Great Announcement. Then ask them, "O people, by what proof have ye believed in `Ali (the Bab) and yet have rejected the One of Whom He gave glad tidings in all the tablets. Examine matters critically, O ignorant ones. Fear God, O concourse of the heedless! Do ye assert your faith in My Herald while disbelieving in My own Self, the Mighty, the Wise? Your likeness is as those who believed in John, the Prophet, who proclaimed to the people the kingdom of God. But when the Word (Jesus) became manifest, they rejected and slandered Him. The malediction of God be upon the wrong-doers! John had called the servants each and every day in His loudest voice, and concluded with them the Covenant of the Word of God, prophesying to them that they would attain His presence. In the end, John sacrificed His own life out of love for that glorious and wondrous Soul. But when the veil was rent and the Most Great Word appeared, they opposed Him, and said, "He has transgressed against the commandments of John." Thus have their base selves deceived them, insofar as they were deprived of meeting their Lord, the Mighty, the Powerful.

[10] Among the idolaters was he who said, "The message of the son of Zachariah hath not yet been vindicated in the land, nor hath His sovereignty been established among the servants throughout the countries. Before it is established, no other should arise." Thereby did he display haughtiness toward the Spirit (Jesus) and he joined the opposition to Him.

[11] Another said, "John baptized the people with water, but the one who hath appeared baptizeth only with the spirit and associateth with sinners," just as ye hear similar sayings from the people of the Bayan in these days. They repeat the charges of the former, nay, they say what none hath ever said before. Woe unto those who follow the idolaters.

[12] Say: O people of the Bayan, stand ashamed before the Beauty of your Lord, the All-Merciful, Who hath appeared in the center of the cosmos with evident and perspicuous proof. The One who came to you aforetime named `Ali (the Bab) gave you the glad tidings that ye would attain My presence, and informed you of My Self. He did not move save out of love for Me, nor exhale save that He breathed My mention, the Mighty, the Wondrous. He informed you that all illumined ones would be cast into the shade by His glory, and every woman with a suckling babe would forsake her newborn, and every woman with a burden in her womb would cast her burden. Thus hath the matter been revealed from the kingdom of the Will of thy Lord, the Exalted, the Omniscient.

[13] And when the Hour came, at a time when ye were heedless thereof, and the beauty of the Beloved dawned forth from the horizon of the Will of your Lord, the Powerful, the Almighty, ye turned away from Him and opposed Him, rejecting His signs and joining partners with His Self. Then ye desired to shed His holy, pure, potent and unattainable blood. O people, fear God, and do not circumscribe the Cause of God with the limitations of your own selves. Verily, He decreeth, as He pleaseth, His command. He is, verily, the Help in Peril, the Mighty, the Omnipotent. Say: By God, He speaketh in My breast, calleth out in My spirit, and uttereth by My tongue. Verily, He it is Who wakened Me by the breezes of His Cause and inspired Me to speak forth between the heavens and the earth. Say: By God, the Mighty, the Exalted: Thus might I be among you and hear from you what no ear hath ever heard aforetime. But God made Me manifest in truth and I was enjoined to worship none but Him and to remind you of what is best for you in the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. Had this matter been in My hands, I would not have manifested Myself among those idolaters, but He, verily, chooseth and doeth as He pleaseth, and decreeth what He willeth.

[14] O people, look not upon Me through your eyes or the eyes of your leaders, for by God, the Eternal Truth, that shall never profit you in any way, even should ye appeal for help to the first creatures to be created. Rather, look upon My beauty with My eyes, for if ye gaze with the eyes of anyone else, ye will never know Me. Thus hath the matter been revealed in the tablets of God, the Almighty, the Glorious, the Wise. Say: O people, I do not call out among you by Myself or for Myself. Rather, He calleth out as He willeth to His Self and to His servants. To this beareth witness My wailing and My plaints, and the lament of My heart, if ye be equitable. Can the dove caught up in the gales of the Will of God regain her balance? Nay, by Him Who caused Me to speak forth with the truth! Rather, they move her as they will. He, verily, decreeth that which He desireth. Her motion, and her agitation in herself, bear witness to her truth, if ye but knew. Look, O people, at the change undergone by the reed pipe that falleth into the fingers of the Will of its Lord, into which the breath of the All-Praised bloweth. Can it be silent in itself? Nay, by your Lord, the Mighty, the Beneficent. Rather, He will cause to appear from it divers melodies, according to His wish, for He is, verily, the Glorious, the Sovereign, the Powerful. Or, can the sun rise above the horizon of the Cause without giving light, or can it deny things its illumination? Nay, by the Self of Baha, every fair-minded and perceptive person will bear witness thereto.

[15] Say: O people, the Most High Pen is moved by the fingers of the power of your Lord, the Exalted, the Most Glorious. This was not from Me, rather from God, your Lord and the Lord of your ancient forebears. And you, O concourse of idolaters! Do ye oppose this Pen, or the One Who wieldeth it by His sovereignty? Say, woe unto you! What ye have done hath bewildered the concourse of the worlds. Then, the eye of justice weepeth for My Self, and the Reality of Justice lamenteth the harm and tribulations that have befallen Me, and crieth out at what hath been perpetrated against Me by those who were created by My Will, who pride themselves in having stood in My presence, and who sought blessings in the very earth trodden by My powerful and unattainable feet.

[16] O manifestation of Justice! Verily, I make My plaint unto Thee concerning those who disbelieved and joined partners with God after they had been promised to My Self in all the tablets, and in a tablet that God preserved in the treasure hold of His impregnability, and guarded it from the eyes of all His creatures. Say: O people! Behold, ye have arrived in the Garden and have discerned a rose. Smell it, if ye perceive therefrom the fragrance of perfume. Fear God, reject Him not, nor be of those who knew and then denied, and fell into disbelief. If any persons could be found with a sense of smell, they would perceive in everything that hath appeared from Me the fragrance of God, the Sanctified, the Almighty, the Generous.

[17] O manifestations of this Name, ye were created by My decree and were sent forth by My volition. Beware lest this station deprive you of humility in the presence of your Lord, the Glorious, the Omniscient, on a Day when God cometh in the shadows of the clouds with great dominion; when the spirit of life is breathed into the people of the universe; when the Garden is adorned by My name, the Mighty, the Munificent; when human beings are renewed by the adornment of the All-Merciful; and when all things are arrayed with the robe of the names by the Creator, the Wondrous. Verily, ye were created for that Day. Fear God, and deprive not yourselves of that sublime grace. O ye who are named after that name: Let not the names beguile you on that Day. Hasten unto the precincts of grace, even if the clouds of the Cause rain down upon you all the darts of wrath. Beware lest ye restrain yourselves therefrom for less than an instant. On that Day, no one shall possess anything; and on that Day, the decree shall belong to God, the Omnipotent, the All-Wise.

[18] Say: O people, be faithful to the covenant of God, and break not the pact to which ye swore in the world of pre-existence, in the Presence of God, the Mighty, the Glorious, the All-Knowing. Say: Then open your eyes! By God, the Eternal Truth, He hath resurrected all on that Day, at that time. And God hath come in the shadows of the clouds. Blessed be God, the Dispatcher, the Mighty, the Exalted, the Great. Then shall all who are in the heavens be stricken with fear, and all the people of the concourse on High shall lament, save for the one who hath been taken by the hand of the Most Glorious by virtue of His mighty, exalted and most high Sovereignty, the one who hath had the veils obscuring his sight torn by the fingers of the divine decree, and the one whom God hath delivered from those who were in doubt about attaining the presence of God, the King, the Mighty, the Beauteous.

[19] Say: By God, all the names have undergone an alteration, the wailing of all things hath gone up, and every soul is agitated, save those resurrected by the breaths of the All-Merciful that have wafted from the precincts of Your Lord, the Compassionate. For it hath wakened them from their slumber and cleansed them of the defilement of the idolaters. O Tongue of Pre-existence, cause the verses to flow, since the ears of the people shall never be able to hear what was revealed from the heaven of Thy creation and the fundament of Thy Will. Therefore, bestow upon them, according to their capacity, the mention of Thy doings. Verily, that is manifest justice.

[20] O people of the earth, know that justice hath planes, stations and meanings beyond reckoning, but we shall sprinkle upon you spray from this ocean so as to purify you from the filth of tyranny and render you among the sincere. * Know verily that the essence of justice and the source thereof are both embodied in the ordinances prescribed by Him Who is the Manifestation of the Self of God amongst men, if ye be of them that recognize this truth. He doth verily incarnate the highest, the infallible standard of justice unto all creation. Were His law to be such as to strike terror into the hearts of all that are in heaven and on earth, that law is naught but manifest justice. The fears and agitation which the revelation of this law provokes in men's hearts should indeed be likened to the cries of the suckling babe weaned from his mother's milk, if ye be of them that perceive. Were men to discover the motivating purpose of God's Revelation, they would assuredly cast away their fears, and, with hearts filled with gratitude, rejoice with exceeding gladness. * [1] Say: Even though autumn gales denude the trees of their spring ornamentation, they do so only so that other adornments might appear. Thus hath the matter been decreed by the Mighty, the Omnipotent.

[21] By justice every deserving person is given his due. This occureth as ye witness it in the manifestations of being, not as most of the people have alleged. Then ponder, that ye might know the intent of that which hath been revealed from the wondrous Pen. Say: The justice of the One at whom the pillars of tyranny have been shaken and the stanchions of idolatry have crumbled consists in the affirmation of this Manifestation in this Dawn, wherein the sun of Baha' hath risen above the horizon of eternity with evident dominion. Whoso disbelieveth in Him hath departed out of the citadel of justice, and his name is recorded among the wrongdoers in mighty and guarded tablets. Whoso accomplisheth all the deeds in the heavens and the earth and doeth justice among the people until the end that hath no end, yet hesitates in this Cause, hath wronged himself and is among the unjust. Await, O people, the days of justice. Verily, they have come in truth! Beware lest ye veil yourselves therefrom, or join the ranks of the heedless.

[22] Say: O people, array your temples with the adornment of justice. Then judge by what God hath decreed in the tablets and be not among the transgressors. Say: Should anyone take a drink of water at My command, that is better than the worship of all who are on the earth. For God will never accept the deed of anyone save if it is embellished with the ornament of My permission among the worlds. Observe, O people, what We have ordained in the tablets, for it hath been revealed from the kingdom of God, the Help in Peril, the Mighty, the Powerful. Whoso averteth his gaze upon perceiving the fragrance of the garment of My name, the All-Merciful, will, verily, see in all things the signs of his Lord, the Just, the Wise.

[23] O Pen of the Most High, send forth the servant named Rida after Nabil as one of the manifestations of justice in the realm of creation. Verily, his justice lieth in his belief in God, which is not equaled by the justice of the heavens and the earth. O servant, listen to the shrill sound of the Pen of the Most High. Then gather the people on the shore of the Most Great Ocean, which hath appeared by virtue of this ancient and pre-existent name. Safeguard the servants of the All-Merciful, lest the countenances of insight be bruised by the blows of the allusions of Satan's manifestations. Thus hath thy Lord, the Glorious, the Beneficent, commanded thee. Observe what thou hast been commanded by the Mighty, the Beauteous. Be as a high wall between the Magog of idolatry and the hosts of the All-Merciful, lest the hordes transgress their bounds. Thus was the matter revealed from the kingdom of the decree of thy Lord, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. Verily, We have made thee a reminder from Us among our servants, and rendered thee a fortress for Our creatures among the worlds, that thou might preserve them from the darts of allusions and remind them of this Announcement, whereat the temples of the names have quavered, faces are covered with dust, the earth of grandeur hath been cleft, and the fruits have fallen from every towering, unshakable tree.

[24] Blessed art thou, insofar as thou hast shattered the graven image of idle fancy with the power of thy Lord, and thou has cast off from thy temple the cloak of blind obedience, adorning it instead with the robe of divine unity by means of this holy, blessed, exalted and all-encompassing name. Then know that the concourse of the Bayan rose in opposition to their Lord, the Compassionate, and rejected the One in Whom they believed - after We had counseled them in all the tablets not to veil themselves by means of anything created between the heavens and the earth. Among them is he who disbelieved in Me, yet reciteth My words, and among them is he who taketh pride in books revealed on My behalf aforetime. Say: Today, were all who are in the heavens and on earth to be loaded down with priceless Books, from which the breaths of my Cause and the fragrance of My love did not waft, they shall never be mentioned in the Presence of God, thy Lord and the Lord of the worlds. Say: Woe unto you, O people! All that which descended from the heaven of the Bayan was revealed for the sake of My mention and in praise of Me, if ye be of them that know. Say: Woe is you, insofar as ye have broken the covenant of God and tossed it behind you, and returned to your abode in the deepest abyss.

[25] O My Name, I am left alone among the concourse of the Bayan, after the Bayan was only revealed for the sake of the mention of My wronged and peerless Self. O people, fear God! By God, the Primal Point never drew a breath save that He mentioned Me, never spoke save to praise Me, nor was the beloved of His heart any other than My radiant and illumined Beauty. Know that the idolaters have attributed wrongdoing to the One from Whom the temples of justice were sent forth, and by Whom the lights of grace dawned. This is what the malefactors have wrought towards Me. This land will undergo an alteration because of their iniquity, and affairs shall be thrown into disarray. Thus doth the All-Knowing tongue of truth inform you. The tablets of hellfire have been distributed in all the lands, and the manifestation of Satan passeth by you with a book. Therefore, say: O servants of the All-Merciful, leave them behind and turn your faces toward the Word of God, the Invincible, the Wondrous. For all that was revealed from all pre-eternity and all that descendeth from the glorious and exalted Firmament doth not equal a single letter thereof.

[26] O My Name, purify My servants from the breaths of anyone but Me and attract them by the wonder of My melodies and words. Then cause them to soar into the heavens of My nearness and good-pleasure. Perhaps they will set out toward the sanctuary of My glory and the house of My grandeur. Thus hath it been revealed in truth, for, verily, this is a revelation from thy Lord, the Exalted, the Knowing. Then forbid them from shedding blood. We have proscribed it in all the tablets, but they have made the laws of God a laughingstock and left behind the fortress of the Cause, and were among the heedless. But the harm wrought by their deeds redounds upon the root of the tree. The matter was thus, if thou art among those who hear. Those who contend and fight with the people have departed out of the Garden of Justice and are accounted among the wrongdoers in the tablets of the Mighty, the Preserver. And those who have been martyred in the path of God in these days are among the most exalted of beings. For they mentioned God out loud, insofar as the multitude of enemies did not deter them from making mention of God, their Creator, until they met martyrdom and were among those who attained. When their spirits ascended, they were greeted by the entire Concourse on High, bearing the standards of the Cause. Thus was the matter decreed in truth by the Powerful, the Wise.

[27] Say: O My God and My Lord, Thou art the One Who planted the trees of justice in the garden of Thy Cause and Thy Wisdom. Then safeguard them, O My God, from the tempests of fate and the thunderbolts of calamity, that their branches and twigs might be uplifted in the shadow of Thy grace and the precincts of Thy mercy. Then cause to dwell in their leafy shade, O My God, the sincere ones among Thy creatures and the near ones among Thy servants. Thou art, verily, the Forgiving, the Compassionate. We have created the Garden of Justice by Our power and might and dispatched it unto thee with the fruits of the Glorious, the Wondrous. Then taste of its fruits and rest in the shade of its foliage, shielded from the fire of the idolaters. Thereby hath the bounty bestowed upon thee been completed, that thou mightest be among the thankful. Praise be to God, the Lord of the worlds.

    [1] The passage between asterisks in paragraph 20 was translated by Shoghi Effendi and can be found in Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, section LXXXVIII.

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