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Original title: Subhana Rabbiyya'l-A`la

Also known as Tablet of Eternity (Lawh-i Harf al-Baqa')

Translated by Juan Cole

 

[1] Letter of eternity, put on the bridal trousseau of detachment and walk upon the exalted brocade runner;
          praised be my Lord, the most high.

[2] This is the earth of immortality, upon which trod the foot of one of the saints;
          praised be my Lord, the most high.

[3] Do not let the comings and goings of this world sadden you, then ascend to the realm of faithfulness;
          praised by my Lord, the most high.

[4] You have a place with me in the most glorious pavilions--
          praised be the one who created and made--

[5] Wherein you shall hear the melodies of paradise above the farthest lote-tree--
          praised be my Lord, the most high--

[6] And shall drink therein red wine from the beauty of God, the most radiant--
          praised be the one who created and made--

[7] And find therein a cornucopia of the fruits of sanctity--
          praised be my Lord, the most high--

[8] And shall fly to every corner thereof on sapphire wings, in the kingdoms of the spirit--
          praised be the one who created and made--

[9] And shall give voice therein with every tune to the songs of immortality--
          praised be my Lord, the most high.

[10] You shall be attracted by the glances of loveliness in resplendent chambers;
          praised be the one who created and made.

[11] Behold, you shall discover within yourself the lights of guidance and immerse yourself in the great fathomless sea--
           praised be my Lord, the most high--

[12] And shall be nourished by the fruits of the spirit from the farthest tree--
          praised by the one who created and made--

[13] And shall hear the call of God in the audible melody issuing from silence;
          praised be my Lord, the most high.

[14] Say: The houri of immortality descended once more to accept this beautiful, glittering moon;
           praised be the one who created and made;

[15] She grasped the crimson tumbler in her right hand--
          praised be my Lord, the most high--

[16] In order to pour for whoever accepts this delight in that garden of good pleasure;
          praised be the one who created and made.

[17] She raised her right hand and leaned on her left leg--
          praised be my Lord, the most high--

[18] Then her arched eyebrow appeared, like a keen scimitar, and she slashed with it at hearts and insides;
           praised be the one who created and made.

[19] She shrugged her shoulders, uncovering ebony tresses beneath her white veil, coiled like a blacksnake;
          praised be my Lord, the most high.

[20] Behold, it swallowed up everyone, from those in the heavens to those beneath the earth--
           praised be the one who created and made--

[21] And returned being to nothingness;
          praised be my Lord, the most high.

[22] At one time she revealed her face, and at another she concealed it;
           praised be the one who created and made.

[23] Behold, she uncovered the creation of the spirits and returned the decree to its realization;
          praised be my Lord, the most high.

[24] Then after that she covered the faces once more lest eternity be annihilated by that crimson scene;
          praised be the one who created and made.

[25] Then she lifted the hem of her black veil from her radiant brow, revealing the brilliance of the new;
           praised be my Lord, the most high.

[26] She said, "Am I not the beauty of the beloved in the midst of the forenoon sky?" And, behold, the visage of grandeur cried out with the lips of the beauty of being, saying, "Yes, and again, yes!"
          praised be the one who created and made.

[27] See, the essences of spirit dance in the temples of immortality at having secretly appeared;
           praised be my Lord, the most high.

[28] The hearts of the sincere are attracted by her luminous rays;
          praised be the one who created and made.

[29] The minds of the holy ones are distracted at how she descends and ascends;
          praised be my Lord, the most high.

[30] Behold, the crier called out in the midst of the air at the center of appearance;
          praised be the one who created and made.

[31] She said, "By the Lord of the heavens! A glance at her is better than possessing this world and the next."
           Praised be my Lord, the most high.

[32] Then she rose, and the most great resurrection took place;
          praised be the one who created and made.

[33] She seated herself, and the hearts of the insightful quaked;
           praised be my Lord, the most high.

[34] Thereafter she brought from behind her hair a tablet of green chrysolite;
          praised be the one who created and made.

[35] She read out one letter from among the tablet's lofty symbols and behold, the spirits issued from the temple of names;
          praised be my Lord, the most high.

[36] Then she pointed with her middle finger and all the religions from Adam to Jesus were annihilated;
           praised be the one who created and made.

[37] She moved, after that, time and again, and behold, the sun split in the heavens of command;
          praised be the one who created and made.

[38] She bared her head and a ringlet of hair dangled on her breast;
          praised be my Lord, the most high.

[39] The voice of God was manifest in the strands of her hair, making mention of her Lord, the exalted, the most high;
           praised be the one who created and made.

[40] Behold, the sign of night appeared from her dusky locks and the sign of day from her white brow;
          praised be my Lord, the most high.

[41] She voiced thereby the call of holiness in the paradise of presence;
           praised be the one who created and made.

[42] She said, "You shall be subjected to temptations, companions of virtue;"
           praised be my Lord, the most high.

[43] "You shall be denied access to the shrine of beauty in the Ka`bah of unknowability;"
          praised be the one who created and made.

[44] That was inscribed on the tablet of immortality by the most high pen;
           praised be my Lord, the most high.

[45] Therein is wisdom from the mysteries that you neither see nor witness;
          praised be the one who created and made.

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