Baha'i Library Online

See original version at bahai-library.com/uhj_meeting_bab_bahaullah.

COLLECTIONLetters from the Universal House of Justice
TITLEWhether Bahá'u'lláh and the Báb Met, Indications in the Writings and Historical Records Relative to the Question
AUTHOR 1 Universal House of Justice
DATE_THIS1985 Winter
VOLUME5:17
TITLE_PARENTAndalib
ABSTRACTOverview of sources indicating that Bahá'u'lláh and the Báb never met in person.
NOTES Mirrored from bahaistudies.net/meeting.html
TAGS- Báb, The; - Bahá'u'lláh; - Christianity; - Interfaith dialogue; Bahá'u'lláh and the Báb; Iran (documents); Research Department, Questions and answers; Transfiguration (Bible)
 
CONTENT From the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice

Translated from Persian as published in ‘Andalib Magazine, vol. V, no. 17, pp. 20-21.

In view of the fact that some of the friends have held discussions and expressed views as to whether Bahá'u'lláh and the Báb met, the commentary on this question prepared by the Bahá'í World Centre Research Department at the request of the Universal House of Justice on the basis of the sacred writings and historical texts, and thereafter communicated by the Secretariat of the House of Justice, is presented in what follows for the illumination of the friends. (‘Andalib Editorial Board)

The Research Department has received Mr. Ruhu’llah Mudir-Masiha’i’s letter dated 4 December 1985 concerning the question whether Bahá'u'lláh and the Báb met, and has carefully considered the various points he raises.

The only known reference to this matter in the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh occurs in a Tablet of His to Varqa written in the hand, and bearing the signature, of Khadimu’llah, and published in Ma’idiy-i-Asimani, volume 4 (Tihran, Mu’assisiy-i-Milliy-i-Matbu’at-i-Amri, 129 B.E., page 154). In this Tablet, Bahá'u'lláh states that:

He Who heralded the light of Divine Guidance, that is to say the Primal Point -- may the souls of all else but Him be sacrificed for His sake -- in the days when He was journeying to Maku, attained to outward seeming the honour of meeting Bahá'u'lláh, albeit this meeting was concealed from all.

Reference to the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in this regard, however, indicates that that no outward, or physical, meeting took place between Bahá'u'lláh and the Báb, for in a tablet written in response to Jinab-i-Shukuhi (Shiraz), the opening words of which are “O Servant of Baha! Thy detailed letters have successively arrived…”, He states:

The Ancient Beauty -- may my life be offered up for His loved ones -- did not to outward seeming meet His Holiness, the Exalted One, -- may my life be a sacrifice unto Him.

According to an “elucidation” appearing on page 573 of ‘Abdu’l-Husayn Avarih’s Al Kavakibu’d-Durriyyih, volume 1, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá wrote certain observations in the margin of the original handwritten copy of the book, with the purpose of improving and amending it, which “have now been incorporated into the body of the book, adding to its authority and value”. Among these marginal notes which have been incorporated into the text of Al-Kavakibu’d-Durriyyih is the statement that Bahá'u'lláh “definitely never met” the Báb (Al-Kavakibu’d-Durriyyih, volume 1, Cairo, Sa’adat Press, 1923, page 96).

Although the above two explicit texts alone leave no room for doubt that Bahá'u'lláh and the Báb did not meet in the flesh, a further document is extant, written in the hand, and bearing the signature, of the late Jinab-i-Mirza Asadu’llah-i-Qumi, which fully corroborates their purport. In this document, Jinab-i-Mirza Asadu’llah has recorded the following:

I asked ‘Abdu’l-Bahá whether Bahá'u'lláh and the Báb had met in the flesh. “No,” he replied, “they did not meet”.

The late Jinab-i-Ahmad-i-Yazdani, moreover, has recorded the following in a letter addressed by him to the Universal House of Justice:

In this regard I would bring to the attention of the members of the Universal House of Justice that when, in 1920, I was privileged to attain the presence of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and inquired of him, at the request of a number of the friends, whether or not a meeting had taken place between Bahá'u'lláh and the Báb, He explicitly affirmed in reply, “No, they did not meet”.

In addition to the above two texts, and to the statements of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá reported by Mirza Asadu’llah-i-Qumi and Jinab-i-Ahmad-i-Yazadani, the testimony of Nabil’s Narrative, the contents of which were reviewed by Bahá'u'lláh, and which was corrected, amended, translated and propagated by the Guardian, is likewise that Bahá'u'lláh did not meet the Báb, for in this history, which has been characterized by Shoghi Effendi as the “standard for future histories”, Nabil’-i-Zarandi quotes Bahá'u'lláh as having stated to the leading mulla in Amul, who had questioned Him regarding the Mission of the Báb, that “although We had never met Him face to face, yet We cherished, none the less, a great affection for Him. We expressed Our profound conviction that He had, under no circumstances, acted contrary to the Faith of Islam.” (Dawn-Breakers, page 461)

Since it is apparent from these various testimonies that Bahá'u'lláh and the Báb definitely did not meet in the flesh, it becomes necessary to understand Bahá'u'lláh’s Tablet to Varqa as indicating other than an ordinary, physical meeting. The sense of Bahá'u'lláh’s statement in this regard may perhaps be likened to the Gospel account of Christ’s meeting with Moses and Elias on Mount Tabor, since this meeting likewise did not take place in the flesh, and, as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has explained in His interpretation of this accounts:

It is … evident that the spirit has great perception without the intermediary of any of the five senses, such as the eyes or ears. Among spiritual souls there are spiritual understandings, discoveries, a communion which is purified from imagination and fancy, an association which is sanctified from time and place. So it is written and it is evident that this was not a material meeting. It was a spiritual condition which is expressed as a physical meeting. (Some Answered Questions, page 252)

It is hoped that this short explanation will have served fully to elucidate the issue.

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