Summons of the Lord of Hosts
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|Texts and scriptures
|From the Báb|
|From Shoghi Effendi|
The Summons of the Lord of Hosts is a collection of the tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith, that were 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 `Akká in 1868. Bahá'u'lláh claimed to be the Promised One of all religions and all ages and summoned the leaders of East and West to recognize him as the promised one. The Summons of the Lord of Hosts is the printing of five distinct tablets of this material.
Súriy-i-Haykal (Tablet of the Temple)
- See online text here
The Súriy-i-Haykal (Arabic: سورة الهيكل) or Tablet of the Temple, is a composite work which consists of a tablet followed by five messages addressed to Pope Pius IX, Napoleon III, Czar Alexander II, Queen Victoria, and Naser al-Din Shah Qajar. The messages were written while Bahá'u'lláh was in Edirne (Adrianople) and shortly after its completion, Bahá'u'lláh instructed the Surih and the tablets to the kings be written in the form of a pentacle, symbolizing the human temple and added to it the conclusion:
"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."
Shoghi Effendi, who described the tablet as one of Bahá'u'lláh's most challenging works, writes about the Súriy-i-Haykal, "words which reveal the importance He attached to those Messages, and indicate their direct association with the prophecies of the Old Testament" referring to the prophecy in the Old Testament where Zechariah had promised the rebuilding of the Temple in the End of Times. In the Book of Zechariah it is recorded:
"And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both." Zechariah 6:12-13
Shoghi Effendi, in The Promised Day is Come (pp. 47–8), refers to this rebuilding of the temple as fulfilled in the return of the Manifestation of God in a human temple. Throughout the tablet, Bahá'u'lláh address the Haykal (the Temple) and explains the glory which is invested in it. Bahá'u'lláh, in response to a question, has stated that the Haykal is the person of Bahá'u'lláh. Adib Taherzadeh has written that "[i]t is fascinating to know that the One Who speaks with the voice of God in this Tablet is identical with the One spoken to."
Regarding the Haykal, Bahá'u'lláh writes that it refers to the human or physical temple of the Manifestation of God (prophets of God). He states that the Manifestation of God is a pure mirror that reflects the sovereignty of God and manifests God's beauty and grandeur to mankind. In essence Bahá'u'lláh explains that the Manifestation of God is a "Living Temple" and every time that Bahá'u'lláh addresses the Haykal he shows a new facet of God's revelation.
The Haykal, which represents the Manifestation of God who spreads the Word of God in the form of a human temple, has members each of whom symbolize one of the signs and attributes of God. To the eyes of the Haykal he asks it to not look at the world of creation, but instead to focus on the beauty of God. To the Haykal's ears Bahá'u'lláh asks it to become deaf to the voices of the ungodly and to listen to the Word of God. To the tongue of the Haykal Bahá'u'lláh states that it has been created to mention the name of God. To the hands of the Haykal Bahá'u'lláh asks them to stretch out upon all humankind and hold within their grasp the reins of God. Finally, Bahá'u'lláh states that from the heart of the Haykal knowledge will emerge and raise scientists who will bring about technological achievements.
Another symbol used by Bahá'u'lláh in describing the Haykal is through the four letters (H, Y, K, and L) that compose the word in the Arabic. Bahá'u'lláh in the tablet explains the spiritual significance of each letter: H is the for Huwiyyah (Essence of Divinity), Y is for Qadír (Almighty), K is for Karím (All Bountiful), and L is for Fadl (Grace).
Regarding the five other messages to the rulers that form the pentacle of the Súriy-i-Haykal, Bahá'u'lláh tells them he is the Manifestation of God for this day, and that they should accept his message. The message to Násiri'd-Dín Sháh, which is the longest message, was delivered to the Shah by Badí‘, a youth who was killed by the Shah shortly thereafter.
Súriy-i-Ra'ís (Tablet to the Chief)
- See online text here
The Súriy-i-Ra'ís (Arabic: سورة الرئيس), or Tablet of the Chief, which addresses `Alí Páshá, the Ottoman Prime Minister, was written in August 1868, when Bahá'u'lláh and the other Bahá'ís were being exiled from Adrianople to Gallipoli to their final destination of the prison city of Akká. The Súriy-i-Ra'ís, written in Arabic, was revealed in honour of Haji Muhammad Isma'il-i-Kashani, a faithful believer of Bahá'u'lláh. In the tablet, Bahá'u'lláh writes about `Alí Páshá's claimed abuse of civil power.
In the tablet, Bahá'u'lláh tells `Alí Páshá, whom he calls chief, to listen to the voice of God, and that no power on earth can prevent him from proclaiming God's message and from achieving his purpose. Bahá'u'lláh further accuses `Alí Páshá of conspiring with the Persian Ambassador to harm him, and forecasts that because of this injustice he will find himself with a "manifest loss." Furthermore, Bahá'u'lláh compares `Alí Páshá with those who rose up against previous prophets, such as Nimrod against Abraham, Pharaoh against Moses, and the Persian Emperor against Muhammad.
"Land of Mystery (Adrianople) and what is beside it ... shall pass out of the hands of the King, and commotions shall appear, and the voice of lamentation shall be raised, and the evidences of mischief shall be revealed on all sides."
Another topic discussed in the tablet is that Bahá'u'lláh glorifies his own revelation, and prophesies that it will encompass the entire earth. Regarding his revelation he wrote:
"Had Muhammad, the Apostle of God, attained this Day, He would have exclaimed: 'I have truly recognized Thee, O Thou the Desire of the Divine Messengers!' Had Abraham attained it, He too, falling prostrate upon the ground, and in the utmost lowliness before the Lord thy God, would have cried: 'Mine heart is filled with peace, O Thou Lord of all that is in heaven and on earth! I testify that Thou hast unveiled before mine eyes all the glory of Thy power and the full majesty of Thy law!'... Had Moses Himself attained it, He, likewise, would have raised His voice saying: 'All praise be to Thee for having lifted upon me the light of Thy countenance and enrolled me among them that have been privileged to behold Thy face!"
Bahá'u'lláh also describes the nature of the soul. He explains that if the soul acquires spiritual qualities in this world it will move towards God. After physical death it will separate from the body and live in the worlds of God, but if the soul does not acquire spiritual attributes it will be far from God.
Concerning the significance of the Suriy-i-Ra'is, Bahá'u'lláh, in a later tablet, wrote that from the moment the Súriy-i-Ra'ís was written the world has been in constant tribulation and that an immense cataclysmic process has been set in motion, and he warns that only remedy is that people accept his message. (Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 38)
Lawh-i-Ra'ís (Tablet of the Chief)
- See online text here
The Lawh-i-Ra'ís (Arabic: لوح الرئيس) or Tablet of the Chief, is also addressed to `Alí Páshá. Bahá'u'lláh wrote this tablet in Persian shortly after his incarceration in Akká soon after the death of three of his followers.
In the second tablet, to `Alí Páshá, Bahá'u'lláh further rebukes `Alí Páshá for acts which Bahá'u'lláh claims are cruel, and compares him to those who had opposed the prophets of the past. Bahá'u'lláh states that `Alí Páshá's true motives are self, passion and power, and blames him for visiting a number of cruelties on innocent people including sending women and young children to prison. He also writes about the treatment that the Bahá'ís were given when incarcerated in Akká, which he states was inhumane, including receiving no food and water, causing two deaths. Bahá'u'lláh also informs `Alí Páshá that if he would change course and accept Bahá'u'lláh's message, he would become transformed, but if he continues his ways God will chastise him from all directions.
In this tablet Bahá'u'lláh also states that while at Gallipoli he sent a message to the Sultan through a Turkish office asking for a face to face meeting where he could convey the truth of his message, and that he would be ready to produce anything the Sultan considered would be proof of the truth of his message. He stated that if in this meeting he fulfilled the Sultan's request, then the Sultan should release all the innocent prisoners. Bahá'u'lláh states that the Sultan never accepted His request.
Lawh-i-Fu'ád (Tablet of Fu'ád Páshá)
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The Lawh-i-Fu'ád (Arabic: لوح الفؤاد) or Tablet of Fu'ád revealed in 1869 was addressed to Shaykh Kázim-i-Samandar, a native of Qazvin, and one the Apostles of Bahá'u'lláh. The tablet was written in Arabic shortly after the death of Fu'ád Páshá, the foreign minister of Ottoman Empire, who was dismissed from his post in 1869 and died shortly thereafter in Nice, France.
Fu'ád Páshá was a close collaborator of the Grand Vizir, `Ali Páshá, who had exiled Bahá'u'lláh to the prison city of Akká. In the tablet, Bahá'u'lláh rebukes Fu'ád Páshá and states that God had taken his life as a punishment for inflicting suffering on Bahá'u'lláh. Bahá'u'lláh states that Fu'ád Páshá's soul will face the wrath of God in the afterlife.
Bahá'u'lláh in the tablet also foreshadows the downfall and the overthrow of both the Sultan and the Grand Vizir `Ali Páshá. Soon thereafter, `Ali Páshá was dismissed from his post, and died in 1871. At this time, opposition to the Sultan started which led to his losing power in 1876, and being killed a few days later.
Fulfillment of the prophecies in the Lawh-i-Fu'ád regarding the downfall of the Sultan and the Grand Vizer played an important role in the conversion of Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl, one of the Bahá'í Faith's foremost scholars.
Other topics discussed in the tablet include the spiritual consequences of the abuse of power as well as Covenant-breaking.
Súriy-i-Mulúk (Tablet of the Kings)
- See online text here
The Súriy-i-Mulúk (Arabic: سورة الملوك), or the Tablet to the Kings is a tablet written by Bahá'u'lláh, addressed collectively to the monarchs of the East and the West. The tablet was written near the year 1870 in Arabic while he was in Adrianople, Turkey.
The tablet has three main themes: the responsibility of kings to accept his message, some general counsel for kings and rulers, and the consequences of not accepting his message. Bahá'u'lláh discloses the character of his mission to the monarchs and tells them to accept his message. He states that he is the Manifestation of God for this age, and that his mission is to unite the human race. He also warns of the consequences of not following his advice. The tablet serves as a third stage of Bahá'u'lláh's claim to the station of He whom God shall make manifest to the world. The first stage consisted of Bahá'u'lláh telling those who accompanied him to Constantinople in the Garden of Ridván; the second stage consisted of Bahá'u'lláh announcing his station to all the members of the Bábí community in Adrianople through various tablets, and the final stage consisted of Bahá'u'lláh proclaiming his claim to the world at large through its kings and rulers.
In the tablet, Bahá'u'lláh first rebukes the kings for their failure to follow the message of the Báb, and then rebukes them further for not having accepted his own message:
"My face hath come forth from the veils, and shed its radiance upon all that is in heaven and on earth; and yet, ye turned not towards Him, notwithstanding that ye were created for Him, O concourse of kings! Follow, therefore, that which I speak unto you, and hearken unto it with your hearts, and be not of such as have turned aside."
Bahá'u'lláh also counsels the kings on the qualities which they must exhibit. These include not laying aside the Fear of God, and following the laws of religion. He states that countries should work towards reducing their differences. In this way, armaments can be reduced which would assure the safety of the world and save money for the governments which can be used for other purposes. He tells the monarchs to limit their extravagance, and instead to live in moderation, so that the burden on their citizens will be lessened, and he tells them to deal justly with everyone, especially the poor. Having counselled the rulers, Bahá'u'lláh warns that if they do not follow his counsels God will chastize them from all directions.
"O kings of Christendom! Heard ye not the saying of Jesus, the Spirit of God, 'I go away, and come again unto you'? Wherefore, then, did ye fail, when He did come again unto you in the clouds of heaven, to draw nigh unto Him, that ye might behold His face, and be of them that attained His Presence? In another passage He saith: 'When He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth.' And yet,behold how, when He did bring the truth, ye refused to turn your faces towards Him, and persisted in disporting yourselves with your pastimes and fancies. Ye welcomed Him not, neither did ye seek His Presence, that ye might hear the verses of God from His own mouth, and partake of the manifold wisdom of the Almighty, the All-Glorious, the All-Wise."
Bahá'u'lláh also addresses Sultan Abd-ul-Aziz, the only monarch addressed individually, and reproves him for entrusting the affairs of his empire to ministers whom he claims are not trustworthy. As for the ministers of the Sultan, Bahá'u'lláh criticizes them for actions which he claims are power-hungry. As for the clergy of Constantinople he denounces them for not investigating Bahá'u'lláh's message, and criticizes them as worshippers of "names" and lovers of leadership; he states that they are spiritually dead. To the philosophers of the world, Bahá'u'lláh sends a warning to them not to become proud of their knowledge, and he states that the essence of wisdom and knowledge is the recognition of the Manifestation of God and his teachings.
In a message to the French Ambassador of Constantinople, Bahá'u'lláh criticizes him for collaborating with the Persian Ambassador to act against him, and claims that the ambassador was not following the teachings of Jesus Christ. As for the Persian Ambassador, Haji Mirza Husayn Khan, Bahá'u'lláh blames him for actions which Bahá'u'lláh claims have caused injustice to himself.
- Bahá'u'lláh (2002) . The Summons of the Lord of Hosts. Haifa Israel: Bahá'í World Centre. p. 137. ISBN 0-85398-976-1.
- Zechariah 6:12-13, King James Version (Oxford Standard, 1769)
- Bahá'u'lláh (2002) . The Summons of the Lord of Hosts. Haifa Israel: Bahá'í World Centre. p. 143. ISBN 0-85398-976-1.
- Bahá'u'lláh (2002) . The Summons of the Lord of Hosts. Haifa Israel: Bahá'í World Centre. p. 149. ISBN 0-85398-976-1.
- Bahá'u'lláh (2002) . The Summons of the Lord of Hosts. Haifa Israel: Bahá'í World Centre. p. 187. ISBN 0-85398-976-1.
- Bahá'u'lláh (2002) . The Summons of the Lord of Hosts. Haifa Israel: Bahá'í World Centre. p. 190. ISBN 0-85398-976-1.
- Bahá'u'lláh (1976). Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. ISBN 0-87743-187-6.
- Bahá'u'lláh (2002) . The Summons of the Lord of Hosts. Haifa Israel: Bahá'í World Centre. ISBN 0-85398-976-1.
- Buck, Christopher (2004). "The eschatology of Globalization: The multiple-messiahship of Bahā'u'llāh revisited". In Sharon, Moshe. Studies in Modern Religions, Religious Movements and the Bābī-Bahā'ī Faiths. Boston: Brill. pp. 143–178. ISBN 90-04-13904-4.
- Hatcher, J.S. (1997). The Ocean of His Words: A Reader's Guide to the Art of Bahá'u'lláh. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. ISBN 0-87743-259-7.
- Effendi, Shoghi (1944). God Passes By. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. ISBN 0-87743-020-9.
- Taherzadeh, A. (1976). The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, Volume 1: Baghdad 1853-63. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. ISBN 0-85398-270-8.
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- Súriy-i-Haykal study guide by USBNC (Word document)
- Bayat, Mohamad Ghasem (2001). "An Introduction to the Súratu'l-Haykal (Discourse of The Temple)". Irfan Colloquia 2. Wilmette, IL: Irfan Colloquia. pp. 11–34.