Allah-u-Abha (LOP XII, Notes 104-110)

Let him then repeat the Greatest Name thrice, and bend down with hands resting on the knees [XII]

104) As mentioned previously, (see Note 55), the form of the Greatest Name repeated in the Long Obligatory Prayer is 'Allah-u-Abha.'

The lesson of humility may well be regarded as the overarching theme of the long Obligatory Prayer. Performing the long Obligatory Prayer simultaneously evokes and expresses an attitude of humility through a variety of forms. In addition to raising one's hands in supplication at different junctures, one bows down, hands resting on the knees, two times during the prayer, the second time, while praising God for being enabled to "bow down before Thy Lordship" and "humble myself before Thy Godhead.”

“Every soul that walketh humbly with its God, in this Day, and cleaveth unto Him, shall find itself invested with the honor and glory of all goodly names and stations.”

(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings, LXXXII, p. 159)

“Be ... a fruit upon the tree of humility.”

(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings, CXXX, p. 285)

“Humility exalteth man to the heaven of glory and power, whilst pride abaseth him to the depths of wretchedness and degradation.”

(Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 64)

" behoveth the people of truth that the signs of humility should shine upon their faces..."

(Baha'u'llah, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 59)

“Humble thyself before Me, that I may graciously visit thee.”

(Baha'u'llah, Arabic Hidden Words, No. 42)

Praise be to Thee, O my God, that Thou hast aided me to remember Thee and to praise Thee [XII]

105) We praise God for aiding us in praising Him. One of the most important ways in which God has aided us in remembering Him was by revealing the obligatory prayers and making them obligatory.

"I render Thee thanks, O Thou Who hast lighted Thy fire within my soul, and cast the beams of Thy light into my heart, that Thou hast taught Thy servants how to make mention of Thee, and revealed unto them the ways whereby they can supplicate Thee, through Thy most holy and exalted tongue, and Thy most august and precious speech. But for Thy leave, who is there that could venture to express Thy might and Thy grandeur; and were it not for Thine instruction, who is the man that could discover the ways of Thy pleasure in the kingdom of Thy creation?"

(Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations, p. 283)
"My remembrance of Thee, O my God, quencheth my thirst, and quieteth my heart...

"I give thanks to Thee, O my God, that Thou hast suffered me to remember Thee. What else but remembrance of Thee can give delight to my soul or gladness to my heart?"

(Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations, p. 195)

O servants! Lifeless is the body that is bereft of a soul, and withered the heart that is devoid of the remembrance of its Lord. Commune with the remembrance of the Friend and shun the enemy. Your enemy is such things as ye have acquired of your own inclination, to which ye have firmly clung, and whereby ye have sullied your souls. The soul hath been created for the remembrance of the Friend; safeguard its purity.

(Baha'u'llah, The Tabernacle of Unity, p. 68) [Emphasis added.]

See Notes 33, 34, 58.

hast made known unto me Him Who is the Dayspring of Thy signs, and hast caused me to bow down before Thy Lordship, and humble myself before Thy Godhead [XII]

106) "We cannot know God directly, but only through His Prophets. We can pray to Him, realizing that through His Prophets we know Him, or we can address our prayer in thought to Baha'u'llah, not as God, but as the Door to our knowing God.

"We find God only through the Intermediary of His Prophet. We see the Perfection of God in His Prophets. Time and space are physical things: God, the Creator is not in a 'place' as we conceive of place in physical terms. God is Infinite Essence, the Creator. We cannot picture Him or His state; if we did, we would be His equals, not His creatures. God is never flesh, but mirrored in the attributes of His Prophets, we see His divine characteristics and perfections."

(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, 9 October 1947)

Say: Lordship is My Name, whereof I have created manifestations in the world of being, while We Ourself remain sanctified above them, would ye but ponder this truth. And Godhead is My Name, whereof We have created exponents whose power shall encompass the people of the earth and make them true worshippers of God, could ye but recognize it. Thus should ye regard all Our Names, if ye be endued with insight.

(Baha'u'llah, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 24) [Emphasis added.]

Dayspring See Note 13.

"Godhead: The essential and divine nature of God."

Webster's II New Riverside University Dictionary

Praise be to Thee, O my God that Thou...hast caused acknowledge that which hath been uttered by the Tongue of Thy grandeur [XII]

107) This part of a paean of thankfulness to God appears to refer to the honor of accepting and recognizing that the Revelation of Baha'u'llah is the Word of God.

Let him then rise and say: O God, my God! My back is bowed by the burden of my sins, and my heedlessness hath destroyed me. Whenever I ponder my evil doings and Thy benevolence [XIII]

108) Regarding “evil doings”:

'By "the tree of good and evil" is meant the material world, for the heavenly realm of the spirit is pure goodness and absolute radiance, but in the material world light and darkness, good and evil, and all manner of opposing realities are to be found.'

(Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, 30.3, pp. 138-39)

“…as to evil, there is no doubt that it exerts a very strong influence both in this world and in the next.”

(From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, 1 November 1934)

“We must never take one sentence in the Teachings and isolate it from the rest…We know absence of light is darkness, but no one would assert darkness was not a fact. It exists even though it is only the absence of something else. So evil exists too, and we cannot close our eyes to it, even though it is a negative existence. We must seek to supplant it by good…”

(From letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, 4 October 1950)

Recommended: The Metropolis of Satan - Evil and the Devil in Baha'i/ Christian Dialog, by Gary L. Matthews, Stonehaven Press, 1998

my heart melteth within me, and my blood boileth in my veins [XIII]

109) Colorful mental pictures enlist the imagination, one of the five spiritual powers. See Note 7.

Among the many images in the Long Obligatory Prayer:
  • “clinging to Thy cord”
  • “my spirit hath been stirred up within my limbs and members”
  • “knocking at the door of Thy grace”
  • “seeking the river of everlasting life from the hands of Thy bounty”
  • “the birds of the hearts of them who are devoted to Thee”
  • “my heart melteth within me and my blood boileth in my veins”
  • “my longing hands are ashamed to stretch forth”
By Thy Beauty, O Thou the Desire of the World! [XIII]

110) The word "beauty" occurs three times in the Long Obligatory Prayer. Here, capitalized, the attribute or title "Beauty" holds especially powerful meaning for Baha'is.

'Baha'u'llah is the Most Great Beauty. In Arabic the phrase "Most Great Beauty" is Manzar-al-Akbar, which literally means the Most Great Manzar, the object of all gazing and looking at, the object whose beauty is being admired. That Shoghi Effendi translated the phrase Manzar-al-Akbar as the "Most Great Beauty" establishes a connection between this phrase and the Arabic word jamal, which means beauty. The early believers often referred to Baha'u'llah as "Jamal-i-Mubarak", the "Blessed Beauty". This was one of His well-known titles.'

(H. Richard Gurinsky, Learn Well This Tablet, p. 94.)

Another frequent designation for Baha'u'llah in the Baha'i writings is the "Ancient Beauty."

Next: "Inclusion"


  1. A footnote on page 27 of the 1981 edition of Some Answered Questions, refers to Baha'u'llah:

    "He is also called Jamal-i-Qidam, the Preexistent, or Ancient Beauty."

    This interjection of "Preexistent" clarified for me in what sense "Ancient" may be intended.

  2. All eight of the instances in the Long Obligatory Prayer where one raises one's hands in praise, exaltation or supplication are in the first half of the prayer.

    The phrase "my longing hands are ashamed to stretch forth toward the heaven of Thy bounty" occurs in the latter half of the prayer. For some, it is as if there is a progression of realization in the course of the prayer. Praise of God is constant throughout -- perhaps, God willing, by the end of the prayer it becomes coupled with ever deeper humility and submission.