Posted by: samandal | February 7, 2010

‘Ísá ibn Máryám, II

Díyáfat-i-Mulk, the Feast of Dominion

“Every discerning observer will recognize that in the Dispensation of the Qur’án both the Book and the Cause of Jesus were confirmed … Muhammad, Himself, declared: ‘I am Jesus.’ He recognized the truth of the signs, prophecies, and words of Jesus, and testified that they were all of God. In this sense, neither the person of Jesus nor His writings hath differed from that of Muhammad and of His holy Book … Thus it is that Jesus, Himself, declared: ‘I go away and come again unto you.’”               (Bahá’u’lláh: Book of Certitude, pages 20–21)

Within the Semitic religious traditions of Western Asia and Northern Africa, Bahá’u’lláh appears as a post-Christian claimant to revelation, but the Bahá’í Faith also recognizes ‘Ísá ibn Máryám as an authentic Manifestation of God. Bahá’u’lláh emphasized that the station of Hazrat-i ‘Ísá was uniquely and immeasurably exalted above “all that dwell on earth.” Upon his advent he shed “the splendor of His glory upon all created things,” and by his sacrifice “a fresh capacity was infused into all created things.” Moreover, the all-pervasive power of his influence lent a cultural vigor to the West; his sacrifice sanctified the social evolution of civilization itself.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá referred to him as the “essence” of the Holy Spirit, much as Bahá’u’lláh portrayed the Holy Maiden as the personification of the Bahá’í revelation. Hazrat-i ‘Ísá accedes to the station of Hawá’, but the Báb is now the new Hawá’. If, however, ‘Ísá is the essence of the Holy Spirit, and if the Holy Maiden is the embodiment of the Holy Spirit, then ‘Ísá ibn Máryám is the essence of that embodiment, the Self-Disclosure of God in the station of the Báb, the Spirit of Revelation that rested upon Bahá’u’lláh.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá taught that most of the miracles attributed to ‘Ísá ibn Máryám were to be interpreted symbolically rather than literally. His resurrection was to be understood as a spiritual rather than physical event; it symbolized the rebirth of faith in the hearts of his disciples after the shock of his martyrdom. Biblical theophanies (such as the Angel of the Lord and Pentecostal tongues of fire) are verbal symbols of uncreated realities communicated with by the prophets, not visions of the divine substance. The verbal symbols of the Gospels are not objective symbols; words which symbolize uncreated energies like fire and cloud are not objectively real fires and clouds.