The following is a translation by Adib Masumian and me of a Persian prayer by the erudite and esteemed early Bahá’í scholar Mírzá Abu’l-Fadl; the original text was published in the prelude of his last work, the Kashfu’l-Ghitá. The original Persian exemplifies a supreme mastery of composition, one which Adib and I have endeavored to evince in our translation. We are both indebted to the solicitude of Naeem Nabiliakbar in his proofreading of this work, and are grateful for his invaluable suggestions.
View interlinear file with the original Persian
Persian Prayer by Mírzá Abu’l-Fadl
Translation by Adib Masumian and Joshua Hall
O blessed Providence, King of the world, Sovereign of the earth! We are but a handful of distressed souls seeking solace from Thee, and a lonesome band desiring refuge with Thee. In the darkness of the world, set a lamp before the lost; amidst the hardships of the times, make clear the path to tranquility.
With Thy heavenly waters, wash away the filth of perversity from our hearts, and purge our eyes from the dust and chaff of covetousness and captiousness. In Thy grace and bounty, shine Thy supernal light upon our souls; in Thy solicitude and generosity, cast the ray of Thy celestial splendor upon our spirits; and with the light of knowledge and insight, illumine the eyes of the blind.
O blessed Providence! I desire naught from my tongue but to praise Thee, naught from my mouth but to worship Thee. With mine ear, I hearken unto Thy voice, and from Thy voice I perceive the song of Thy praise. Of what use to me is writing, if it not be done in praise of Thee? And if they disclose not Thy secret, if they celebrate not Thy praise, what then would proceed from my hand and my tongue?
O Sovereign of the earth! Since there can neither be any end to praise of Thee, nor any limit to worship of Thee, better would it be for me to close the book of my praise and worship of Thee with the words of Thy servant of old:
My Lord, my King! Evince Thy munificence and overlook my sins
By reason of the privation Thou seest, the shame Thou knowest
Only in the hope of obeying Thee, do I wish for life in the body
If there be not this wish, better, then, that I should perish!
In the beginning, Thou didst deliver me unto the felicity of guidance
What if, in the end, Thou wert to honor me with a martyr’s death?