Introduction by Joshua Hall
Bahá’u’lláh revealed His Súrah of Visitation in honor of Mullá Husayn and addressed it to Mullá Husayn’s sister, Varaqatu’l-Firdaws (Leaf of Paradise). The tablet consists of a number of different portions, each of which proceeds into the other in a natural transition.
In His exordium, Bahá’u’lláh names the tablet and states that it is “sent down from the realm of grace for the name of God, the First”, that being Mullá Husayn, for the purpose of visitation at his burial site by his sister and the believers. The overall style is similar to that used by the Báb in His tablets of visitation in memory of the Imams, and Bahá’u’lláh employs throughout a rhyming prose termed saj` in Arabic, which is very moving in its effect in the original and cannot be fully expressed in translation.
After the short exordium, Bahá’u’lláh tells of His reality in the worlds of God and identifies Himself with the prophets and holy ones of former ages. He relates the hardships that befell them and the oppression to which they were subjected by their respective adversaries. For example, Able is slain at the hands of Cain, Abraham is opposed by Nimrod, Moses challenged by Pharaoh, Christ crucified by the Jews, and Muhammad persecuted by the Meccans. Bahá’u’lláh then weaves the narrative of His own ministry from the intimation of His mission in Tehran to the later unveiling of His station to the Bábis and the world. He speaks of the malice in the hearts of those claiming faith in the Báb, affirms His being assisted by God and confirms His own sovereignty.
After this narrative, Bahá’u’lláh formally addresses Mullá Husayn's sister, the “Leaf of Paradise”, and assures her of her exalted station in having recognized God in His Manifestation and in her relation to Mullá Husayn. With vivid imagery, Bahá’u’lláh illustrates Mullá Husayn's eminence, saying that it was through him that “the ensigns of salvation were manifested, the sun of grace dawned, the moon of bounty rose, and the Ancient Beauty was established on the throne of His name, the Exalted, the Sublime”.
Then begins the visitation portion of the tablet. Bahá’u’lláh instructs the Leaf of Paradise to magnify and glorify God, after which she is to recite the rest of the tablet, which praises Mullá Husayn and serves as an eloquent affirmation of his unique station.
But one quotation should suffice for demonstrating both Bahá’u’lláh's high regard for Mullá Husayn as well as the august language in which this tablet is revealed:
“I testify that you are the first light to dawn from the beauty of God's unity and the first sun to rise from the horizon of divinity. Were it not for you, the beauty of the Essence would have remained concealed and the mysteries of eternity would not have been revealed”.
Bahá’u’lláh closes His Súrah of Visitation with an impassioned supplication, in which the suppliant beseeches God by Mullá Husayn, asking for divine grace, mercy and bestowal, and ending with a request for God's forgiveness and a confirmation of His generosity, munificence and benevolence.
The entire work is marked both by its distinct portions as well as its organic unity, and is a testimony to the sublimity of Bahá’u’lláh's Word and the loftiness of Mullá Husayn's station in the dispensation of the Báb.
Another translation and introduction of the Súrah of Visitation, by William McCants, can be found here: The Wronged One.