The Bab's Persian Bayan
Translations of Shaykhi, Babi and Baha'i Texts, No. 4 (July, 1997 - )

The Persian Bayan of Sayyid `Ali Muhammad Shirazi, the Bab


trans. Dr. Denis MacEoin

The Eighth Chapter of the Second Unity.

In explanation of the reality of death, that it is a reality.

The substance of this chapter is that there are in the sight of God,
unnumbered meanings of "death", which none but He can remunerate. One of
these meanings in outward terminology is the death that all men shall
taste, which takes place at the time when the spirit is taken away from the
human soul. Whatever meaning is given to death before God is true.

But the "death" to the truth of which all are obliged to testify is not
this death which is well known to men, but rather that death in the
presence of the tree of reality (which involves dying to) all save him.
This death is established only in five degrees : either the phrase there is
no God but He (la ilaha illa huwa) or there is no God but I (la ilaha illa
ana) or, there is no God but God (la ilaha illa 'llah), or there is no God
but thee (la ilaha illa anta) or, there is no God but He in whom all are
confident (la ilaha illa 'lladhi kullun bihi mawqinun). The reality of
death is that at the time of the appearance of the Tree Of Oneness, unto
whom these five degress belong, all beings die, whether by negating
negation or affirming affirmation. Even if the oceans of the heavens and
the earth and what lies between them were to become ink, it would not be
sufficient to recount all that lies hidden in this subtle mystery.

The essence of the matter is that who so possesses no will but the will of
him who God shall manifest, and no volition but his volition, and no
destiny but his destiny, and no fate but his fate, and no premition but his
premition, and no time appointed but his time appointed and no book but his
book, such a man has at that moment understood the meaning of death. For
his will is the essence of the will of God, and his volition the essence of
the volition of God, and his destiny the essence of the destiny of God, and
his fate the essence of the fate of God, and his premition the essence of
the premition of God, and his appointed time the essence of the appointed
time of God, [p.34] and his book the essence of the book of God.

Likewise, in the case of the point of the Bayan, who so died testified that
death is a reality otherwise what he had read of the Quran and of prayers
would have been on no benefit to him. How many individuals said that death
was a reality, and yet their wills were not his will, so that they became
worthless and the falsity of their words was made manifest in the sight of
God. And so it continued until it reached the degree of the book, so that
his book, which is identical to the book of God, was sent down upon those
individuals who regarded themselves as the most learned of their age. The
pen is ashamed to mention what they committed, and yet by night and by day
they said death is a reality and acted in accordance with his previous book
and proclaimed themselves as believers in the face of Islam, and expended
their knowledge, and took hold of whatever God had decreed for him in the
Qur'an, through the relationship which they claimed for themselves (with
God?), but which had, in fact, been severed. And all the time their very
breaths were not lawful for them, for they did not draw them out of faith
in God. Such is the fruit of knowledge of the book of God that is not
accompanied by action. As they understood (the meaning of) death, they
were not of opposed their own confession, for they confess that it is a
reality, yet remained veiled from the conditions of him through whom that
reality is itself made real. This is that very death that benefits all men
upon the day of resurrection and afterwards in the interworld (Barzakh),
until the reappearance of the Son of Reality. The term "interworld" refers
to (the period) between two revelations and not to the popular meaning
related to the condition of men after their physical death. This latter
(i.e. their fate after death) is not a matter (the knowledge of which) has
been imposed on men as a duty (by God), for, after their deaths, God alone
knows what shall be their destiny but they are obliged to know that in
which they believe. Should anyone voyage upon the ocean of death, he shall
become wondrous things that are neither number nor end. Thus, for example,
had someone died in the days of the messenger of God, he would have beheld
all the conditions relating to who so did not believe in Mohammed : from
the world of pure abstraction (tajarrut) to that of limitation (tahaddud),
they are nothing but absolute negation and the essence of hell fire. (And
he would have beheld) all the conditions relating to who so believed in the
Mohamed : from the world of pure abstraction to the furthest limits of (the
realm of) limitation, they are the conditions of the Tree of Affirmation
and the Paradise of Prophet hood. The first of these was not dead but the
second was but because the second had not died he had passed into
nothingness within negation, whereas, since the second had died, he had
endured in affirmation. So, in this day there has been manifested the
fruit of the deaths of them that believe [p.35] in the degree to which they
mention is loved by God and by his creation that believes in him. All the
believers in this day originate from the multiplication of such as them.
(Also manifest) is the fruit of the failure of the unbelievers to die, in
that no mention whatever is made of them. And should the numbers be
multiplied, those who would be thus produced would not be pleased with such
a relationship and would even declare themselves free of any connection
with them. Or, in this day, should they utter falsehoods against the
primal tree their very words shall seek to be free of them and shall demand
God's punishment upon them.

When, in the year 1270 (i.e. 1260), just as the Tree of Reality had
advanced so had they (the unbelievers) become lower and even more severe
(in their disbelief). But, since the manifestations have become numerous,
only the Proof that is manifested (directly) on the part of God is able to
distinguish between them, for he recognises all things in their own places
and should he wish to distinguish between an atom of hell and an atom of
paradise, he is able to do so.

Should unworthy thoughts concerning the point of the Bayan enter the mind
of anyone, at that very instant he shall not be decreed as dead. The
matter is as delicate as that - nay, it is even more delicate. None shall
take heed save they that are possessed of insight.

The signification of death is valid from the essence of the exultation of
God's singleness down to the furthest degree of limitation, to such an
extent that, should someone find a letter "B" or an "A" should have been
written, and should he proceed to remove the "B" and write the word
correctly such an action is a deed of the angel of death for he is manifest
in it but if he leaves things as they are, the letter "B" shall cease
loosely, call upon God, its Lord, saying : "take my spirit from me and
cause me to live". And, if God should wish to answer its prayer, he shall
inspire one of his holy ones to take from the letter its spirit as a "B" (
) and to give it the spirit of an "A" ( ) whereupon it will be possible to
read the word for before that its meaning had been altered. Thus, after
the word "Allah", the word "A'zam" (greater) requires an "A", but, if it is
written with a "B" the meaning will not be apparent. The same holds true
in every general and every particular interest as the people of insight are

Even if there were to be found on this paper a tiny mention of non
whiteness, were you to erase it that would be a death wherein would lie the
life of this tablet. In its own degree, this is the same as removing from
a man's soul something that causes harm to his faith. Should someone who
does not believe in God possess a tablet, he who says "I am dead" must be
dead to it, nor should he pay any attention to it, for it belongs to the
degrees of hellfire and rests therein. But if he should behold a tablet in
the possession of one who believes in God, [p.36] he must preserve it as he
preserves his own self, or it belongs to the degrees of light. This is a
matter of which, at the same moment that it is more manifest than any
revelation, is more hidden than any concealment.

Who so understands death is eternally dead in the presence of God, for he
wishes only what God wishes, and that is to die in the presence of the
point of the Bayan, for that which God wills may only be manifested through
his will. This is the reality of death unto who so has desired to die in
God. God is not created in the world of existence anything more glorious
than death with him.

All believe that their will is the will of him whom God shall manifest, but
when he appears they will not remain faithful to their love and to their
word. In the same way, those w ho believed in the Qur'an convince
themselves that, if Mohammed were to return to this world, they would not
respond to his words by saying "why" or "wherefore". But he did return in
a more exultant manner than that of his first appearance which was his
"second creation" ( ) after his "first creation", whereupon all who said
"Mohammed is the messenger of God" remained veiled from him and failed to
believe in him. They did not even accept for him what they accept for
their own selves concerning their relationship to Islam. Had they accepted
even that, they would not have committed what they committed, for that is
what no Muslim would accept for another Muslim. This is the state of men
in the eyes of God.

His prophet hood is confirmed in this day are the same things whereby it
was confirmed previously and yet all were unveiled from him. The number of
those who relate themselves to his faith can't be computed, and yet when he
returns the believed in him only those whom God willed, until there
appeared what appeared. For them that had failed to recognise him, there
is no hell fiercer than their condition of being veiled from him who made
Islam their religion and mainly for Qur'an their book. There is no honour
for anyone in the next life unless he has attained to the presence of his
Lord and spread abroad his messages and detached himself from all but him,
so far as he was able. This is an honour whereon all pride themselves.

If someone should say "we did not recognise him at the beginning of his
revelation", it will be replied that "it has been confirmed before all men
that he was the first to respond in the world of pre-existence (fi
'l-dharr), when God said unto him "Am I not your Lord?" and he replied
"Yes. Praised be thee. No God is there but thee; thou, indeed, art the
Lord of all worlds"'. And if they should say 'we did not recognise the
revelation of God', (it would be pointed out that) the Qur'an, which is the
book of God, and which all declare in this day to be the book of God, is in
the possession of all men. As soon as they heard or saw the diverses of
God have been revealed by a certain person, no doubt or uncertainty
remained for the possessors of intellect that that individual was the
manifest of person of God and that the previous verses had been (revealed)
by him, even if the later verses were his. [p. 37]

The first to respond is the first of created beings, even as was said in
the past, that the first to respond was Mohammed, who was the first to be
created. So all in this day confess that, if they say that the response
took place in the world of pre-existence, this is that same world, for the
realm above the throne of heaven is identical to the earth on which the
manifestation of God dwells. From eternity God has regarded his nearness
to his creation and his distance from them as being the same. No single
thing is nearer to him than any other thing, nor is anything further
removed from him than any other, whether it be the throne that rests above
the heavens, as the possessors of fantasies claim, or the dwelling place of
the tree that speaks forth on behalf of God. This belief [that some are
nearer and some further] is pure fancy and imagination. In the terminology
of them that dwell among the concourse of reality, the meaning (of the
throne) is that same place of revelation [i.e. the body of the
manifestation]. In the same way, all say, when they perform the pilgrimage
to (the shrinal) the Prince of Martyrs [Husayn], those words that are
written in the tradition : "who so visits Husayn with a full understanding,
it is as if he has visited God upon his throne". It is manifest to the
possessors of intelligence that that is the very locus of the throne of
God, and that he is the throne of Mohammed, the messenger of God. It is as
if no-one has been observed to progress beyond the world of limitations.

Whatever is heard concerning all the worlds is realised within this world.
Thus, for example, the Prince of Believers ('Ali), on whom be peace, became
the first to believe in Mohammed within this world. This is an evidence
that he was a believer in all the worlds. All these latter are made real
beneath the shadow of this world and to manifest here before them that are
possessed of intelligence. Blessed be he who beholds all things in their
reality and does not imagine a fanciful matter that has no reality in the
eyes of God or of them that possess intelligence. The outward appearance
of the divine essence has ever been and ever shall be identical with its
concealment and its concealment identical with its outward appearance.
Whatever is mentioned concerning the "appearance" of God (Zuhur Allah)
refers to the Tree of Reality, which is a token of none but him. That is a
tree which has been and is responsible for sending forth all the divine
messengers and causing all the books to descend. He has been and ever
shall be the throne of God's revelation and concealment in the world of
creation. In every age, God has manifested him in accordance with his own
desire, just as at the time of the revelation of the Qur'an, he revealed
his power through the manifestation of Mohammed. Likewise, at the time of
the revelation of the Bayan, he revealed his power through the point of the
Bayan, and he shall affirm his religion through him whom he shall manifest
at the time of his appearance, as he wishes, for what he wishes, unto what
he wishes.

He it is [p.38] who has been with all things, although nothing has been
with him; and he it is who is within nothing nor is he above anything, nor
is he with anything. What has been mentioned concerning his seating
himself upon the throne (Qur'an ) refers to the seating of his
manifestation of his power, and not this physical throne which is a chair
or a seat set above the earth or the crystalline sphere (falak-i atlas) or
the sphere of the throne within the heavens.

He has been and ever shall be without beginning or end, and none has known
or every shall know him, for all save him have been created by his command
and shall be created thereby. He is exalted above every mention and
station, and sanctified above every description and likeness. Nothing can
comprehend him, but he comprehends all things. ( ) Indeed, the words
nothing can comprehend him refer to the mirror of his revelation, which is
he whom he shall manifest. [or "whom he manifests".] He is too glorious
and too exalted for any indicator to point towards him.

He whom he shall manifest is the first being whom he created, and any
mention of his Heart refers to his heart. Both he and his heart were
created by him from all eternity, God was Lord with none over whom to
exercise his Lordship; from eternity God was a divinity with none to
worship him as such; from eternity, God was powerful, was none over whom to
exercise his power; from eternity, God was knowing, with none whom he might
know; from eternity God was single, with none to be numerated besides him.
These last words, "from eternity, God was single, with to be enumerated
besides him" apply to the time when, in the revelation of him whom God
shall manifest the number of unity (i.e. 19) will have placed a faith in
him and made their hearts tokens of his singleness (wahdaniyyat) - none
shall be enumerated save them. All (other) names and attributes are the
same. Do not gaze upon the limitations, for from all eternity, God was

If you have not attained to servitude concerning this is revelation, you do
at least confess to the truth of the first revelation (i.e. of Mohamed),
and you behold all names and attributes in the Messenger of God. If you
should wish to say He is the King, you will see that there are those in his
community who consider themselves his servants, and yet the sovereignty of
his own self is exalted above being mentioned in the same breath as this
king (Muhammad Shah?). And if you should wish to say he is powerful, you
will behold the possessors of might dwelling beneath the shadow of
obedience unto him and priding themselves in the confession that they
belong to his community. And yet the power of his own essence is exalted
above any connection with this power. And if you should wish to say He is
knowing, you will see them that are possessed of knowledge priding
themselves on the relationship to him, [p.39] and yet the knowledge that
belongs to his essence is exalted above any connection with even the most
learned of these scholars. And if you should wish to say He is a judge you
will see a great many possessors of judgement who pride themselves on
ruling beneath the shadow of his decree. And yet the judgement of his role
of nature is exalted above any connection with the manifestations of these
judges who rule on his behalf. Look with your own eye in the same manner
upon all the names and attributes. At the moment when uncertainties
"knowing", there is, nevertheless, none who knows but he. Or if he has
power in a certain matter, there is, nevertheless, none with power but he.
For in every revelation, that which guides men to that revelation are his
conditions. Thus, for example, should you consider from the first
revelation, which was that of the first Adam, and to the end which has no
end, you will behold nothing possessed of existence save through God nor
will you be able to recognise the manifestation of divinity except through
the tree of his revelation which is the Primal Will. Nothing else is
possible within the contingent realm.

This is the meaning of the words of the Prince of Martyrs, upon who we
peace? "oh my God, I have realised through the diversity of things and the
shifting of conditions that your intention with me is to make yourself
known to me in all things, that I may not remain ignorant of you in
anything." For this is the fruit of the existence of all things that one
should regard all things as coming into existence (Qa'im) through the
primal will, and that one should not behold at anything art else but the
manifestation of God, in accordance with the capacity of the thing which is
the bearer of his self revelation. This (difference of capacity) part, the
relationship of God's revelation is the same to any one thing as to
another. One kind of revelation consists of the verses of God; and from
that same source out of which the divine verse is issued concerning the
prophet hood of a prophet, there are also sent down concerning his
opponent, according to what is fitting. The relationship of these two
revelations to these two things (i.e. the prophet and his opponent) is
exactly the same, except that the first belongs to the highest rank of
affirmation, whereas the second is of the lowest evasement of negation.

If you have observed this truth in the revelation of (mere) words, then you
shall also behold it realised in the revelation of the actuality. I do not
mean to suggest that you can see the essence of God in everything, for that
would be impossible, since he, may his mention be praised, is exalted above
being contained within anyone thing or being connected with it or preceding
it, or following it, or being above it or beneath it. That unto which the
quality of being a "thing" may correctly be applied is God's will
(mashiyyat) which subsists through its own self. From all eternity unto
all eternity all names have been beneath its shadow, while it itself dwells
in the shadow of God.

The station of the will is that of the point of the Bayan, for there is not
manifest within anything ought but [p.40] one of the conditions of his
revelation. He who speaks these words does not intend by them that the
essence of the (divine) will may be seen in everything, which essence is
that of the Messenger of God, but rather that within everything one may see
how its quality of being an existent thing is realised through that
essence. For example, if someone should expend 1000 mithqals of gold in
travelling to the house of God, in such an action nothing may be seen but
the command issued by the Messenger of God on God's behalf. In this same
way, if you should ask, "how was the true nature of the gold brought
about?" it must refer back to a command, which in its turn refers back to
the tree of reality, even though it be in only one of its manifestations.

For there is nothing which can be termed a "thing" except by being made
truly a thing through the will. This latter is self subsistent in God, may
he be praised and glorified. It is the circling kaf (i.e. the first letter
of the creative word kun, "be"), which from all eternity revolves about its
own self. It has been and is a token of God alone, praised and glorified
be he, who possesses the most beautiful names in the kingdom of the heavens
and the earth and what lies between them. No God is there but he the
mighty, the beloved.

Every name possesses a referent to which it applies. If, for example, one
should say God, praise be he and glorified, then he must have to loci of
manifestation which are mentioned before the Primal Will, and which have
from all eternity been established as tokens of him and him alone. Blessed
be he that sees nothing unless he beholds therein the manifestation of his
Lord, who dwells not in anything except through God, who sees nothing but
him, and who believes not concerning God what he believes concerning his
creatures. For God, praised and glorified be he, is not within anything,
nor does he come from anything, nor is he rest upon anything, nor does he
go towards anything, nor is he mentioned by anything. All save him are his
creatures. None but him may know him in the depth of his being, nor may
any other than him extol the oneness of his essence.

To the extent that you have recognised the will, you have recognised none
but its own reality, but to the extent that you have recognised the created
beings, you have only recognised the emanations of the will within them.
God, praised be he and glorified, cannot be known in his essence, nor can
he be comprehended or praised or sanctified. None may find a path under
him, unless by reason of his failure to know him, or by coming to dwell
within the shadow of his singleness and independence. All things have ever
belonged to him in his true nature, his essence, his pure being, his
absoluteness, his firstness, his lastness, his outwardness, his inwardness,
his purity, and his simplicity. That he is, in the highest degree of the
sovereignty of his might, and the brightest elevation of the dominion of
his holiness, exalted above all mention and praise and sanctified above all
description and exaltation.

>From all eternity God was a divinity, single, unique, eternal, alone,
living, mighty, everlasting, unending and trustworthy. He does not take
any consort for himself, nor any Son. All save him are his creatures who
have been brought into being at his command. [p.41]. He is and ever has
been independent of all things in and by himself. How could he not be able
to dispense with all but himself when he is independent in and by his
essence? And how could he not be independent of all but him? Praised be
he and exalted be he as befits the exaltation of his holiness and the
elevation of his mention. He is exalted, exalted.

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