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COLLECTIONSBahá'í Writings, Books
TITLESummons of the Lord of Hosts
AUTHOR 1 Bahá'u'lláh
PUB_THISBahá’í World Centre
ABSTRACTA collection of the tablets of Baháʼu'lláh, written to the kings and rulers of the world during his exile in Adrianople and in the early years of his exile to the fortress town of Acre.
NOTES Original digital version provided by the Bahá'í World Center, online at Add or read links or comments pertaining to The Summons of the Lord of Hosts here.
TAGS* Bahá'u'lláh, Writings of; Czar Alexander II; Fuad Páshá; Lawh-i-Fuad (Tablet to Fuad Pasha); Lawh-i-Rais (Tablet to Sultan Ali Pasha); Lawh-i-Sultan (Tablet to Nasirid-Din Shah); Napoleon III; Nasirid-Din Sháh; Peace; Pope Pius IX; Queen Victoria; Summons of the Lord of Hosts (book); Suriy-i-Haykal (Surih of the Temple); Suriy-i-Muluk (Surih to the Kings); Suriy-i-Rais (Tablet to Sultan Ali Pasha); Tablet to Czar Alexander II; Tablets to kings and rulers; World peace

  Introduction                                  i     
  Suriy-i-Haykal/ Surih of the Temple           1     
      Pope Pius IX                             54     
      Napoleon III                             67     
      Czar Alexander II                        83     
      Queen Victoria                           88     
      Nasiri'd-Din Shah/ Lawh-i-Sultan         96     
  Suriy-i-Ra'is                               139     
  Lawh-i-Ra'is                                159     
  Lawh-i-Fu'ad                                175     
  Suriy-i-Muluk/ Surih to the Kings           183     
  Endnotes                                    237     
  Note on the translation                     241     
  Key to passages translated     
         by Shoghi Effendi                    243     
  Index                                       253


The years following Bahá'u'lláh's arrival in Adrianople witnessed His Revelation's attainment, in the words of Shoghi Effendi, of ``its meridian glory'' through the proclamation of its Founder's message to the kings and rulers of the world. During this relatively brief but turbulent period of the Faith's history, and in the early years of His subsequent exile in 1868 to the fortress town of `Akká, He summoned the monarchs of East and West collectively, and some among them individually, to recognize the Day of God and to acknowledge the One promised in the scriptures of the religions professed by the recipients of His summons. ``Never since the beginning of the world'', Bahá'u'lláh declares, ``hath the Message been so openly proclaimed.''

The present volume brings together the first full, authorized English translation of these major writings. Among them is the complete Súriy-i-Haykal, the Súrih of the Temple, one of Bahá'u'lláh's most challenging works. It was originally revealed during His banishment to Adrianople and later recast after His arrival in `Akká. In this version He incorporated His messages addressed to individual potentates -- Pope Pius IX, Napoleon III, Czar Alexander II, Queen Victoria, and Násiri'd-Dín Sháh.

It was this composite work which, shortly after its completion, Bahá'u'lláh instructed be written in the form of a pentacle, symbolizing the human temple. To it He added, as a conclusion, what Shoghi Effendi has described as ``words which reveal the importance He attached to those Messages, and indicate their direct association with the prophecies of the Old Testament'':

Thus have We built the Temple with the hands of power and might, could ye but know it. This is the Temple promised unto you in the Book. Draw ye nigh unto it. This is that which profiteth you, could ye but comprehend it. Be fair, O peoples of the earth! Which is preferable, this, or a temple which is built of clay? Set your faces towards it. Thus have ye been commanded by God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.

During the last years of His ministry Bahá'u'lláh Himself arranged for the publication for the first time of definitive versions of some of His principal works, and the Súriy-i-Haykal was awarded a prominent position among them.

Of the various writings that make up the Súriy-i-Haykal, one requires particular mention. The Lawh-i-Sultán, the Tablet to Násiri'd-Dín Sháh, Bahá'u'lláh's lengthiest epistle to any single sovereign, was revealed in the weeks immediately preceding His final banishment to `Akká. It was eventually delivered to the monarch by Badí`, a youth of seventeen, who had entreated Bahá'u'lláh for the honour of rendering some service. His efforts won him the crown of martyrdom and immortalized his name. The Tablet contains the celebrated passage describing the circumstances in which the divine call was communicated to Bahá'u'lláh and the effect it produced. Here, too, we find His unequivocal offer to meet with the Muslim clergy, in the presence of the Sháh, and to provide whatever proofs of the new Revelation they might consider to be definitive, a test of spiritual integrity significantly failed by those who claimed to be the authoritative trustees of the message of the Qur'án.

Included in this collection, as well, is the first full translation of the Súriy-i-Mulúk or Súrih of the Kings, which Shoghi Effendi described as ``the most momentous Tablet revealed by Bahá'u'lláh in which He, for the first time, directs His words collectively to the entire company of the monarchs of East and West''. It sets forth both the character of His mission and the standard of justice that must govern the exercise of their rule in this Day of God:

Lay not aside the fear of God, O kings of the earth, and beware that ye transgress not the bounds which the Almighty hath fixed. Observe the injunctions laid upon you in His Book, and take good heed not to overstep their limits. Be vigilant, that ye may not do injustice to anyone, be it to the extent of a grain of mustard seed. Tread ye the path of justice, for this, verily, is the straight path.

The Tablet introduces some of the great themes that were to figure prominently in the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh over the next two and a half decades: the obligation of those into whose hands God has entrusted civil authority to institute the reign of justice, the necessity for the reduction of armaments and the resolution of conflicts among nations, and an end to the excessive expenditures that were impoverishing these rulers' subjects.

Surveying the principal contents of Bahá'u'lláh's majestic call to the kings and rulers of the world, Shoghi Effendi has written:

The magnitude and diversity of the theme, the cogency of the argument, the sublimity and audacity of the language, arrest our attention and astound our minds. Emperors, kings and princes, chancellors and ministers, the Pope himself, priests, monks and philosophers, the exponents of learning, parliamentarians and deputies, the rich ones of the earth, the followers of all religions, and the people of Bahá -- all are brought within the purview of the Author of these Messages, and receive, each according to their merits, the counsels and admonitions they deserve. No less amazing is the diversity of the subjects touched upon in these Tablets. The transcendent majesty and unity of an unknowable and unapproachable God is extolled, and the oneness of His Messengers proclaimed and emphasized. The uniqueness, the universality and potentialities of the Bahá'í Faith are stressed, and the purpose and character of the Bábí Revelation unfolded.

The summary draws attention to Bahá'u'lláh's uncompromising indictment of the conditions of human society for which its leadership is held primarily responsible:

Episodes, at once moving and marvellous, at various stages of His ministry, are recounted, and the transitoriness of worldly pomp, fame, riches, and sovereignty, repeatedly and categorically asserted. Appeals for the application of the highest principles in human and international relations are forcibly and insistently made, and the abandonment of discreditable practices and conventions, detrimental to the happiness, the growth, the prosperity and the unity of the human race, enjoined. Kings are censured, ecclesiastical dignitaries arraigned, ministers and plenipotentiaries condemned, and the identification of His advent with the coming of the Father Himself unequivocally admitted and repeatedly announced. The violent downfall of a few of these kings and emperors is prophesied, two of them are definitely challenged, most are warned, all are appealed to and exhorted.

In a Tablet, the original of which has been lost, Bahá'u'lláh had already condemned, in the severest terms, the misrule of the Ottoman Sultán `Abdu'l-`Azíz. The present volume includes, however, three other Tablets which address two ministers of the Sultán, whose selfish and unprincipled influence played an important role in Bahá'u'lláh's successive banishments. The Súriy-i-Ra'ís, which addresses `Alí Páshá, the Ottoman Prime Minister, was revealed in August 1868 as the exiles were being moved from Adrianople to Gallipoli, and exposes unsparingly the abuse of civil power the minister had perpetrated. The Lawh-i-Ra'ís, which also contains passages directed to `Alí Páshá, was revealed shortly after Bahá'u'lláh's incarceration in the citadel of `Akká and includes a chilling denunciation of the character of the Minister. The third Tablet, the Lawh-i-Fu'ád, revealed in 1869 shortly after the death of Fu'ád Páshá, the Ottoman Minister to whose machinations it refers, describes the spiritual consequences of the abuse of power, and foretells the imminent downfall of his colleague, `Alí Páshá, and the overthrow of the Sultán himself -- prophecies that were widely circulated and whose dramatic fulfilment added greatly to the prestige of their Author.

It seems especially appropriate, as Bahá'u'lláh's influence penetrates ever more deeply the life of the larger society throughout the world, that the full texts of these great Tablets should now be available for a broad readership. We express to the committees who were commissioned to undertake and review these translations the deep gratitude we feel for the care and sensitivity they have brought to the task. Bahá'ís will recognize key passages from several of the Tablets that were introduced to the West by Shoghi Effendi. His translations into English of the Bahá'í Holy Texts provide an enduring standard for the efforts of those who rise to the challenge of preparing appropriate renderings into English of these treasures of the Faith.

The Universal House of Justice

Click on any of the numbers below to go to a page of Summons of the Lord of Hosts (or visit this Contents page for finding a listing of paragraph numbers):
    Title   Contents

    Introduction   i   ii   iii   iv   v   vi   vii

    Súriy-i-Haykal   1   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53

    Pope Pius IX   54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66

    Napoleon   67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82

    Czar Alexander II   83 84 85 86 87

    Queen Victoria   88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95

    Násiri'd-Dín Sháh   96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137

    Súriy-i-Ra'ís   139 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157

    Lawh-i-Ra'ís   159 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173

    Lawh-i-Fu'ád   175 177 178 179 180 181

    Súriy-i-Mulúk   183 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235

    Endnotes   237 238 239 240

    Note on the Translation   241

    Key to Passages Translated by Shoghi Effendi   243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252

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