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TITLETablet to the Physician, or Tablet of Medicine (Lawh-i-Tibb): Tablet study outline
AUTHOR 1Jonah Winters
NOTES Outline prepared as part of Wilmette Institute notes and commentary on the Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh.

Add or read quotations or links pertaining to this work here.

TAGS- Outlines and summaries; Health and healing; Lawh-i-Tibb (Tablet to a Physician); Lifestyle
CONTENT Name of Tablet in Arabic or Persian:
Lawh-i-Tibb. This Tablet has been published by the Wilmette Bahá'í Publishing Trust in _Majmu'a-yi Alwah-i Mubaraka_ (Cairo 1920, reprinted Wilmette 1981), pages 222-226.

Translation into English:
Tablet of Medicine, Tablet to a Physician. Not much has been written about this very important Tablet. It also hasn't been translated authoritatively, though a few passages have appeared in John Esslemont's _Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era_ and in the 1984 compilation from the Bahá'í World Centre Research Department _Bahá'í Writings on Some Aspects of Health, Healing, Nutrition and Related Subjects_.

Regarding the language used in the original, the Guardian wrote "The Tablet to a Physician was addressed to a man who was a student of the old type of healing prevalent in the East and familiar with the terminology used in those days, and. He addresses him in terms used by the medical men of those days. These terms are quite different from those used by modern medicine, and one would have to have a deep knowledge of this former school of medicine to understand the questions Bahá'u'lláh was elucidating" (ibid. 58, also cited _Lights of Guidance_ #945).

Significance of Name:
Was revealed to a physician and contains specific teachings regarding medicine, health, and the nature of spiritual healing.

Tablet was revealed in:
The first sentences, most of the Tablet, are in Arabic; the last few are in Persian

Name of Recipient:
Aqa Mírzá Muhammad-Riday-i-Tabib, a physician from Yazd

Reason for Revelation of the Tablet:
The tablet was written in praise of its recipient, and to provide him and the Bahá'ís with a number of teachings about health.

Date of Revelation:
Most probably the early 1870s; date not certain.

Place of Revelation:
'Akká, probably while Bahá'u'lláh was in the house of 'Udi Khammar (1871-73) or of Ilyas Abbud (1873-77)

Tone, subject, and genre of the Tablet:
      Tone: Authoritative.
      Subject: The subject of the tablet deals with matters of learning and knowledge
            concerning medicine and health. At the end of the Tablet Bahá'u'lláh
            also "exhorts men to education, goodly character and divine virtues"
            and "deals with social teachings."
      Genre: Letter addressed to an individual.

Voice of Tablet: [?] Bahá'u'lláh

Outline Contents of Tablet:
In the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh vol. 3, 358-60, Taherzadeh summarizes the contents as follows (I've excerpted this discussion and omitted ellipses):

In the Tablet known as the Lawh-i-Tibb Bahá'u'lláh:
      * advocates medical treatment when it is necessary
      * recommends treating the patient first through diet and resorting to
            medicine if the former proves ineffective
      * enumerates some of the basic prescriptions for good health and gives
            some dietary advice.
      * stresses the importance of contentment under all circumstances
            for good health
      * asserts that grief and sorrow will cause man the greatest misery
      * warns that jealousy will consume the body while anger will burn the liver.
      * exhorts the physician to heal the patient by first turning to God and
            seeking His assistance, and then prescribing the remedy
      * affirms that a physician who has recognized Him and has become
            filled with His love will exert such an influence that his mere
            visit will restore health to the patient [elsewhere phrased by
            Taherzadeh as "the mere visit of a physician who has drunk deep
            of the wine of His love will cure the patient"]
      * praises the science of medicine as being the most meritorious of
            all sciences
      * states that it is the means which God has created for the well-being
            of mankind
      * states the importance of courage and steadfastness in His Cause as
            well as wisdom in teaching it
      * categorically affirms that if the believers had faithfully carried out
            His commandments, the majority of the peoples of the world
            would have embraced His Faith in His days.

Interestingly, Shoghi Effendi also had this to say about the Tablet of Medicine:
      "There is a Tablet of Medicine that Bahá'u'lláh has revealed and which
      is translated into English. That does not contain much of scientific
      informations [sic] but has some interesting advices for keeping
      healthy." (_Light of Divine Guidance_ vol. 2, 21)

Principal themes of the Tablet:
One student provided the following summary of the Tablet's contents, based on Taherzadeh's descriptions:
      1. Bahá'u'lláh advocates medical treatment when necessary, recommending
            treatment first through diet. Should this treatment prove ineffective,
            to resort to medicine:
      2. He enumerates some basic prescriptions for good health and offers dietary
      3. Bahá'u'lláh stresses the following:
            a. contentment under all conditions for good health
            b. asserts that grief and sorrow will cause man the greatest misery
            c. jealousy will consume the body and anger will burn the liver
      4. Bahá'u'lláh exhorts the physician first to turn to God for assistance, then
            prescribe the remedy
      5. The physician who has recognized Bahá'u'lláh and is filled with His love,
            will exert such an influence that a mere visit will restore health to
            the patient
      6. Bahá'u'lláh praises the science of medicine as the most meritorious of all
      7. At the end of this Tablet,Bahá'u'lláh reveals a prayer for healing, one which
            is commonly known and recited by the friends
      8. In this Tablet, Bahá'u'lláh states the importance of courage, steadfastness,
            and wisdom in teaching His Cause
      9. He affirms that if the believers had carried out His commandments, most
            people would have accepted the Faith in His days

Tablet's relationship to other tablets:

1) It is at the end of this Tablet that Bahá'u'lláh reveals one of His most used healing prayers:
      "Thy Name is my healing, O my God, and remembrance of Thee is my remedy.
      Nearness to Thee is my hope, and love for Thee is my companion. Thy mercy
      to me is my healing and my succour in both this world and the world to come.
      Thou, verily, art the All-Bountiful, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise."

2) The Tablet also relates to the few places in the Aqdas in which Bahá'u'lláh prescribes specific practices for health, such as paring the nails, washing the feet, not using drugs or alcohol, and not using Persian pools. In verse 113, Bahá'u'lláh also has this to say:
      Resort ye, in times of sickness, to competent physicians; We have not set
      aside the use of material means, rather have We confirmed it through this Pen,
      which God hath made to be the Dawning-place of His shining and glorious Cause.

3) This was one of a number of Tablets Bahá'u'lláh addressed to Áqá Mírzá Muhammad- Ridáover his lifetime.

4) In _Gleanings_ CVI is included an excerpt from Bahá'u'lláh's Tablet to Maneckji Sahib, in which He says:
      The All-Knowing Physician hath His finger on the pulse of mankind. He perceiveth
      the disease, and prescribeth, in His unerring wisdom, the remedy. Every age hath
      its own problem, and every soul its particular aspiration. The remedy the world
      needeth in its present-day afflictions can never be the same as that which a
      subsequent age may require. Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye
      live in, and center your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements.

5) Abdu'l-Bahá also expands on some Bahá'í teachings on health and healing in _Some Answered Questions_, in a number of his talks, and in some pilgrims' notes.

Biography or bio note of the recipient of the Tablet:
Taherzadeh quotes Hájí Muhammad Tahir-i-Malmiri's description of Muhammad-Riday- i-Tabib from Malmiri's unpublished memoirs (_Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh_ vol. 3, 359):

"One of the early believers who embraced the Faith when Siyyid Yahyáy-i-Darabi, known as Vahid, came to Yazd, was Áqá Mírzá Muhammad-Riday-i-Tabib. He was a skilled and distinguished physician, and an embodiment of grace and steadfastness. The Pen of the Most High revealed the Lawh-i-Tibb in his honour. In that exalted Tablet, Bahá'u'lláh states that the mere visit of a physician who has drunk deep of the wine of His love will cure the patient. Mírzá Muhammad-Ridáwas truly the fulfilment of these words of Bahá'u'lláh. He used to cure the patient by administering very simple remedies. Truly, he possessed wonderful qualities which made him a very special person in the community of the Most Great Name. Owing to his intense piety he became highly disturbed when Mírzá Yahyá broke the Covenant. As a result he was bewildered and stunned; he even became hesitant in the Cause for a short time. Then it was as though Divine Providence sent Mullá Zaynu'l- 'Abidin, a native of Najafabad (he was entitled by Bahá'u'lláh as Zaynu'l-Muqarribin) to Yazd in order to calm his agitation and dispel his doubts. Zaynu'l-Muqarribin at first stayed in the house of this servant in the district of Malamir, but when he learned of the intense anguish and distress that Mírzá Muhammad-Ridáwas subjected to, he changed his residence and stayed in his home instead. Consequently, Mírzá Muhammad-Ridábecame fully aware of the circumstances of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh. He later received many Tablets from the Pen of the Most High, and served the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh with devotion and love till the end of his life. He was about eighty years old when he passed away."
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