Posted by: samandal | October 16, 2010

Zikr’u’lláh, I

Díyáfat-i-‘Ilm, the Feast of Knowledge

“‘Ísá ibn Máryám was seen leaving the house of a prostitute. Someone said to him, ‘Rúh’u’lláh, what are you doing in the house of this woman?’ ‘It is the sick that a physician visits,’ he replied.”

The belief that God (Alláh) has a supremely powerful name is a doctrine that is rooted within the Judaeo-Christian and the Islamic-Bahá’í religious traditions. The word Bahá (Splendor), which is held in the Bahá’í Faith to be the essence of this name, does not occur in the Qur’án nor is it among the traditional ninety-nine “most beautiful names” of God (al-asmá’ al-husná’). As the secret cipher of the hundredth name of God, who dwelleth alone in himself, it is thus considered “hidden.”

The word Bahá in its superlative form Abhá (Most Luminous) is the ism-i-a‘zam (Most Holy Name), the very quintessence of the Divine Name, the “word of power” by whose splendor the holy prophet Músá experienced the luminous Sinaitic theophany. ‘Ísá ibn Máryám, through the recitation of Abhá, resurrected the dead. Indeed, the word Abhá itself enshrines the “treasures of the names” (kunúz-i-asmá’), for as the manifested form of God (shabda), it signifies the first of the effulgences of God (tajallíyát Alláh), beyond which there is nought.

Zikr is an Arabic word that means “remembrance.” In its preliminary stage, zikr takes the form of mantra, a repetition of one of the names of God. However, the Bahá’í zikr (Alláh’u’Abhá) has both a denotative and a connotative interpretation. The denotative interpretation of Alláh’u’Abhá is “God is Most Luminous,” whereas the connotative is “I seek the One, the Light Divine, who is hidden within my heart.” Alláh signifies “Veiled One,” while Abhá signifies “Hidden Splendor,” as in the hadíth qudsí (divine utterance) “I was a Hidden Splendor Who yearned to be revealed.”

The inhalation phase of the zikr (prána váyu) represents the process of expansion, fullness, ascent and inspiration, while the exhalation phase of the zikr (apána váyu) represents the process of contraction, emptiness, descent and expiration. Inhalation pertains to the breath of God that kindles the ember of the heart, while exhalation pertains to the fire of God that ignites the flame of the heart. Thus the expansion and contraction of one’s station will not cease until one’s appointed time, for God dwells between the inhalation and the exhalation within a hijáb hidden from the illusions of the mind.


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