Sen's daily

March 26, 2014

Document of Baha’u’llah’s manumission of a slave published

Filed under: Bahai community,Religion and modernity — Sen @ 23:12, March 2014

BahaiTeachings has announced the discovery and translation of a document that has both historical and scriptural importance for Bahais: the prayer in which Baha’u’llah frees (manumits) a slave, presumed in this article to be Isfandiyar [but there is conflicting evidence ~Sen], and explains why slavery is inherently wrong.

Mirza Buzurg, Baha’u’llah’s father owned a number of slaves. Baha’u’llah apparently inherited his father’s slaves when Mirza Buzurg died in 1839, and set them free. Dr. Nader Saiedi has discovered Baha’u’llah’s written, autobiographical account, in Arabic and provided a provisional translation into English. This remarkable Tablet is cast in the form of a prayer:

Sanctified art Thou, O my God! At this moment, one slave (mamlūk) is standing before another slave and seeks, from him, his freedom.

Yet his owner, himself, is naught but a slave of Thee, a servant in Thy Threshold, and absolute nothingness before the manifestations of Thy Lordship.

Standing before Thee, I bear witness, at this very moment, to that which Thou hast testified by Thyself for Thyself, that verily Thou art God and there is none other God but Thee …

All mighty kings are mere slaves before the gate of Thy grace, and all the wealthy are the essence of poverty in the shore of Thy holy dominion, and all the exalted are abject lowliness within the glorified court of Thy bounty.

Notwithstanding this, how then can this slave claim for himself ownership of any other human being? Nay, his existence is a mere crime, graver than any sin in Thy kingdom …

And now, O my God, since that servant hath asked from this servant his freedom, therefore, I call Thee to witness, at this moment, that I am setting him free in Thy path, liberating him in Thy name, and emancipating his neck from the chain of servitude, so that he may serve Thee in the daytime and in the night season, longing that my neck would never be relieved from the cord of Thy servitude.

This verily is my most cherished desire and my supreme end. – Baha’u’llah, unpublished Tablet (A08212). Provisional translation by Nader Saiedi.

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Older items can be found in the archive, here. Even older news is here.


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