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COLLECTIONLetters from the Universal House of Justice
TITLEYá 'Aliyyu'l-A'lá
AUTHOR 1 Research Department of the Universal House of Justice
ABSTRACTOn the meaning and correct transliteration of "Yá 'Aliyyu'l-A'lá" (O Thou Most High"), where it can be found, and if it is an invocation to the Báb.
NOTES Original transmitted by email and shared with permission of recipient. See also a scanned image of the original.
TAGS* Báb, Writings of; Greatest Name; Translation; Transliteration; Words and phrases; Ya Aliyyull Ala

To: The Universal House of Justice
Date: 3 October 1991

The Research Department

Yá 'Aliyyu'l-A'lá

In her e-mail message of 2 September 1991, ... has written to ask about the meaning and correct transliteration of "Yá 'Aliyyu'l-A'lá" and where it can be found. She also asks if it is an invocation to the Báb.

The Research Department has located the invocation "Yá 'Aliyyu'l-A'lá" in two places. It appears in a Tablet of 'Abdu'l-Bahá on page 312 of "Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá" (Haifa: Bahá'í World Centre, 1962), and in a letter of the beloved Guardian found in "Messages to the Bahá'í World, 1950-1957" (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1971), page 153. The spelling used by the Guardian is given above, and accords with the system of transliteration which he established (found in any volume of "The Bahá'í World"). We note that the rendering printed in "Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá" contains a misplaced inverted comma.

The translation of "Yá 'Aliyyu'l-A'lá", as rendered by Shoghi Effendi in 1921 when he translated the above mentioned Tablet of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, is "O Thou Most High".1 We note that in his letter of 1953, also referenced above, he chose to leave "Ya 'Aliyyu'l-A'la" in the original language, as did the Universal House of Justice when they later published the Master's Tablet in "Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá".

In Islamic tradition, al-'Ali, "The Most High One", is one of the names of God.2 Thus, a Muslim might use "Yá 'Aliyyu'l-A'lá" to call upon God. However, in Bábí and Bahá'í tradition, especially as 'Alá was the Báb's name, "Yá 'Aliyyu'l-A'lá" is understood to be an invocation to the Báb.

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    1. See "Star of the West", vol. 12, no. 13, 4 November 1921, p. 229.

    2. See Robert Stade, "Ninety-Nine Names of God in Islam", a translation of the major portion of Al-Ghazálí's "Al-Maqsad Al-Asná (Ibadan, Nigeria: Daystar Press, 1970), pp. 72-75.

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