Shaykh al-Islam al-Baha’i’s Ode in Praise of the Twelfth Imam (as)

Below, we have translated the famous Arabic qaṣīdah for the Twelfth Imām al-Mahdī (may Allah hasten his reappearance) composed by the Safavid scholar Bahā’ al-Dīn al-‘Āmilī (1547-1621 AD; may God have mercy upon him) also known as Shaykh al-Bahā’ī. Al-Bahā’ī was one of the most illustrious Shī’ah polymath ever known; in addition to being the most elite religious jurisconsult of the Safavids designated with the title Shaykh al-Islām, he was also a pioneering mathematician, engineer, astronomer, literarian, mystic, and philosopher. He was the teacher of several prominent luminaries of the Shī’ah world, including the philosopher Mullā Ṣadrā, the mufassir Fayḍ al-Kāshānī, and the muḥaddith Muḥammad Taqī al-Majlisī (may God have mercy on them all). This poem, which he entitled “The Means of Triumph and Asylum in Praising the Master of the Time,” (wasīlat al-fawz wa al-amān fī madḥ ṣāḥib al-zamān)  is considered one of the grand literary masterpieces written in praising Imām al-Mahdī (as). Such was its fame that even the Ḥanafī literarian and scholar Aḥmad al-Manīnī (1697-1798 AD) appraised it and wrote a commentary expounding its meanings. In more recent times, the Iraqi literarian Ja’far al-Naqdī (1886-1950 AD) also wrote a commentary on the poem. In addition to our translation, we have furnished this work with footnotes derived from these two commentaries. As Shaykh al-Bahā’ī was an impeccable scholar, many of his stanzas are rooted in the Qur’ān and Ḥadīth; as such, we have highlighted this in the footnotes. On the commemoration of his birth anniversary, we dedicate this translation work to the Awaited Savior; may he accept our humble endeavor.


سرى البرق من نجد فجدد تذكاري

عهودا بحزوى والعذيب وذي قار

وهيج من أشواقنا كل كامن

وأجّج في أحشائنا لاهب النار

ألا يا لييلات الغوير وحاجر

سقيت بهطال من المزن مدرار

ويا جيرة بالمأزمين خيامهم

عليكم سلام الله من نازح الدار

خليليّ ما لي والزمان كأنما

يطالبني في كل وقت بأوتار

فأبعد أحبابي وأخلي مرابعي

وأبدلني من كل صفو بأكدار

ألم يدر أني لا أذل لخبطه

وإن سامني خسفا وأرخص أسعاري

وإني امرؤ لا يدرك الدهر غايتي

ولا تصل الأيدي إلى سر أغواري

أخالط أبناء الزمان بمقتضى

عقولهم كي لا يفوهوا بإنكاري

وأظهر أني مثلهم تستفزني

صروف الليالي باحتلاء وإمرار

وما علموا أني امرؤ لا يروعني

توالي الرزايا في عشي وإباكر

إذا دك طود الصبر من وقع حادث

فطود اصطباري شامخ غير منهار

تلقيته والحتف دون لقائه

بقلب وقور في الهزاهز صبار

ووجه طليق لا يمل لقاؤه

وصدر رحيب في ورود وإصدار

أأضرغ للبلوى وأغضى على القذى

وأرضى بما يرضى به كل مخوار

وأفرح من دهري بلذه ساعة

وأقنع من عيشي بقرص وأطمار

إذًا لا ورى زندي ولا عز جانبي

ولا بزغت في قمة المجد أقماري

ولا انتشرت في الخافقين فضائلي

ولا كان في المهدي رائق أشعاري

خليفة رب العالمين وظله

على ساكني الغبراء من كل ديار

هو العروة الوثقى الذي من بذيله

تمسك لا يخشى عظائم أوزار

إمام هدى لاذ الزمان بظله

وألقى إليه الدهر مقود خوار

ومقتدر لو كلّف الصمّ نطقها

بأجذارها فاهت إليه بأجذار

علوم الورى في جنب أبحر علمه

كغرفة كف أو كغمسة منقار

فلو زار أفلاطون أعتاب قدسه

ولم يغشه منها سواطع أنوار

رأى حكمة قدسية لا يشوبها

شوائب أنظار وأدناس أفكاري

بإشراقها كل العوالم أشرقت

لما لاح في الكونين من نورها الساري

إمام الورى طود النهى منبع الهدى

وصاحب سر الله في هذه الدار

به العالم السفلي يسمو ويعتلي

على العالم العلوي من غير إنكار

ومنه العقول العشر تبغى كمالها

وليس عليها في التعلم من عار

همام لو السبع الطباق تطابقت

على نقض ما يقضيه من حكمه الجار

لنكّس من أبراجها كل شامخ

وسكن من أفلاكها كل دوار

أيا حجة الله الذي ليس جاريا

بغير الذي يرضاه سابق أقدار

ويا من مقاليد الزمان بكفه

وناهيك من مجد به خصه الباري

أغث حوزة الإسلام واعمرربوعه

فلم يبق منها غير دارس آثار

وأنقذ كتاب الله من يد عصبة

عصوا وتمادوا في عتو وإصرار

يحيدون عن آياته لرواية

رواها أبو شعيون عن كعب أحبار

وفي الدين قد قاسوا وعاثوا وخبطوا

بآرائهم تخبيط عشواء معسار

وأنعش قلوبا في انتظارك قرحت

وأضجرها الأعداء أية إضجار

وخلص عباد الله من كل غاشم

وطهر بلاد الله من كل كفار

وعجل فداك العالمون بأسرهم

وبادر على اسم الله من غير إنظار

تجد من جنود الله خير كتائب

وأكرم عوان وأشرف أنصار

بهم من بني همدان أخلص فتية

يخوضون أغمار الوغى غير فكار

أيا صفوة الرحمن دونك مدحة

كدر عقود في ترائب أبكار

إليك البهائي الحقير يزفها

كغانية مياسة القد معطار

تغار إذا قيست لطافة نظمها

بنفحة أزهار ونسمة أسحار

إذا رددت زادت قبولا كأنها

أحاديث نجد لا تمل بتكرار


The lightning at Najd refreshes my memory

Of Ḥuzwā, ‘Udhayb, and Dhū Qār’s reveries[1]

Its flashes kindle our dormant emotions

Igniting within us such flaming devotion

Oh trysts of the night at Ghuwayr and Ḥājir

Upon you may rains most plentiful shower![2]

Oh folks whose tents by al-Ma’zamayn lay

God’s peace be upon you from one far away![3]

Oh my friends! What is with me that Fate is my rival

As though it is seeking from me some requital?[4]

Seizing my lovers and emptying my pastures,

And then with sorrow replacing my raptures?

Doesn’t it know by its woes I’m not weakened,

If ever my worth it should lessen or cheapen?[5]

For I am a man that Time can’t appraise,

From whom hands retract at the depths of my praise[6]

Midst sons of Time, I jive in concordance

With the scope of their minds, lest they voice their abhorrence;[7]

Pretending as though like them I do shiver

At night’s alterations: some sweet, some bitter

While they do not know I’m a man unimpressioned

By trials through morning and eve, in succession![8]

Though the height of patience by plight may crumble,

The peak of my self-restraint doesn’t rumble:

I charge it, while death looms just adjacent

With a heart so calm, in strife most patient;

And a visage relaxed, by toil not wearied;

And a bosom serene at exit and entry![9]

Should I yield to hardship and pardon repugnance

Like feeble folk who cave to indulgence:

At an hour of passion waxing exultant

Partaking in garments and pastries, abundant?[10]

May my triumph in that case never alight

And never my majesty rise to the heights

May my virtues not spread to the East and the West

And my verses not be to the Mahdī addressed![11]

The Caliph and Shade of the Lord of Creation,

Upon all residing this Earth, every nation![12]

The Firmest Stronghold, whose hem he who grasps

Will never balk once at calamity’s clasp![13]

The Guiding Imām, with whom Time seeks shelter,

To whom Fate Itself its reins does surrender![14]

His might is such that should he charge numbers

To utter, they’d recount all of their wonders;[15]

In the sea of his knowledge, the wisdom of mortals

Is like a mere handful—a pelican’s morsel![16]

If Plato could visit his threshold of glory

And was not dazed by his blaze—so holy—

He’d see hallowed wisdom, not interweaved

By thoughts mundane or fancies conceived;[17]

A wisdom by which all worlds are ablaze

Whose light fills both realms by its luminous rays![18]

Imām of all men; in insight, the mountain

God’s secret keeper; of guidance, the fountain![19]

Through him, this netherworld soars in pride

Over the Heavens, persisting on High;

From him the Ten Intellects seek their perfection

Never ashamed to pursue his instruction;[20]

If all Seven Heavens would ever collude

To renege the law which he should conclude,

Its zodiacs high would be upended

And its cosmic orbits would be suspended![21]

Oh Proof of God: by whom Destiny

Does not ordain but by what you decree![22]

Oh One who does wield the Keys of Time:

How God has endowed you such favors divine![23]

Aid this faith’s enclave and liven its pasture

Whose runes do lie on the brink of disaster,

Do save God’s Book from the reach of a group

Perverse in their aims, beyond all rebuke;

Who twist His Signs through riwāyahs bizarre

By unknown folk traced to Ka’b al-Aḥbār;[24]

Who use qiyas with blunders gigantic

Like a camel myopic, hobbling frantic![25]

Enliven those hearts in pangs for your advent

Who face from your foes such hideous torment!

Pray save God’s slaves from every oppressor

And clean God’s lands from truth’s suppressors![26]

Do hasten—may all the worlds be your ransom:

Advance right away, God’s name being your anthem!

You’ll find from God’s forces the bravest battalions

Helpers most noble and cadres most valiant:[27]

Midst them are Banī Hamdān, sincere;

Who charge into battle: without any fear![28]

Oh God’s most elect: accept my acclaim

Like pearls strung on the necks of pure dames:

The wretch al-Bahā’ī does send her your way

Like a bride with her lustrous beauty in sway;

Whose envy is stirred when her pristine rhyme

Is likened to roses or zephyrs, refined;

Lines—when repeated—surge high in their marvel

Like tales of Najd: not dulled by recital![29]


[1] In the classical style of Arabic poetry, Shaykh al-Bahā’ī begins his poem with a rhapsody (al-tashbīb), nostalgically recalling the memories of his loved ones. The pre-classical and classical Arab poets would often employ this device as an attention-grabber for their nomadic audience, who would seethe in excitement on hearing several geographical locations in succession. Al-Bahā’ī  employs the traditional method of recalling the toponymy wherein he used to frequent the meeting of his lovers: Najd (the fertile highland between Syria, Iraq, and Ḥijāz), Ḥuzwā (a terrain in the Arabian Desert), ‘Udhayb (a travel station near Kūfah), and Dhī Qār (a famous battleground where the Arabs won over the Persians in pre-Islamic times). However, there is way more here than what meets the eye: al-Bahā’ī was a prominent master of the mystical tradition of Ibn ‘Arabī, and like his predecessor uses this eastern topography instead with mystico-religious significance. In the ‘irfānī mystical parlance, “lightning” is a mystical epiphany; “Najd” is equivalent with the Muḥammadan knowledge; and “Ḥuzwā” represents the remote and pristine residence of the Beloved (in this case, the Ahl al-Bayt). ‘Udhayb is a reference to Imām Ḥusayn (as) when he stopped in ‘Udhayb on his way to Karbalā and Dhī Qār is a location where Imām ‘Alī delivered a famous sermon (cf. Nahj al-Balāghah sermon 33). Al-Bahā’ī has therefore appropriated this classical toponymy to symbolize his mystical nostalgia for the Ahl al-Bayt and their teachings. For more details regarding this phenomenon in Arabic poetry, please see “The Zephyrs of Najd: The Poetics of Nostalgia in the Classical Arabic Nasīb” by Jaroslav Stetkevych.

[2] Ghuwayr and Ḥājir are watering grounds for pilgrims on the way to Ḥajj; these also are mystical in significance, representing milestones on the path of wayfaring to God. Al-Bahā’ī employs the traditional Arabic benediction of asking for God to pour rain (al-suqyā) on the sweet and secret nights he spent uniting with his loved ones during his mystical journeys.

[3] Al-Ma’zamayn refers to two mountain straits: one between Makkah and Minā and the other between Muzdalifah and ‘Arafah. Al-Bahā’ī again hints at those who have reached the pinnacle of mystical perfection and achieved proximity to God, sending salutations upon them; perhaps this is again a subtle allusion to the Ahl al-Bayt (as).

[4] In the Arabic, the word used for this address is “my two friends!” (khalīlayya). As per the mystical tradition of Ibn ‘Arabī, these two friends mystically represent the intellect and the heart. The poet now transitions into another classical Arabic trope (al-taghazzul): namely complaining about how Time as a personified entity has completely alienated him from his lovers. However, as we shall see, al-Bahā’ī rises above this trope and demonstrates to us how one who is truly deserving to yearn for his Imām (as) should behave in the midst of trials.

[5] This is in fact an allusion to Sūrah al-‘Aṣr, whereby God states that all humankind is in loss by the vicissitudes of Time except those who believe and do righteous deeds. Al-Bahā’ī therefore cleverly employs this rhetorical question, asking how Time could ever demean him when God has guaranteed him victory over its tides.

[6] Al-Bahā’ī alludes here to the famous statement of Imām ‘Ali (as) recorded in Mīzān al-Ḥikmah: “Lo! Your souls have no price except Heaven so do not sell them for less than that!” In other words, the poet recognizes his true value and does not allow his worth to be dictated by the various tribulations that Time unleashes upon him. This is consistent with the ‘irfānī teaching of abstaining from the world and not falling prey to the flattery of people.

[7] The poet alludes to the ḥadīth from the Prophet, “I have been ordered to speak to people at the level of their intellect.” Living among the people (in the station of al-mulk) while traversing the higher realms (al-malakūt) is a classical teaching of ‘irfān, as its initiates are sworn to keep their wayfaring a secret. Al-Bahā’ī makes the reason clear: if people knew the mystical realities he had grasped, they would repudiate him. This theme can also be found in recounting the story of other mystics such as al-Ḥallāj, who was deemed an apostate by many due to his seemingly blasphemous mystical statements.

[8] The poet makes clear his deep understanding drawn from the verse of the Qur’ān in Sūrah al-Ḥadīd: “No calamity occurs on Earth or within yourselves except that it is in a Book before we render it into existence; this is certainly easy for God—so that you do not grieve over what you have lost or become exultant over that which He bestowed you. God does not love any arrogant boaster!” (verses 22-23)

[9] This is again consistent with the Qur’ānic verses that exhort believers to patience, indicating that al-Bahā’ī has fully grasped the Qur’ānic ethos and has reached a status of walāyah (friendship with God) whereby mundane trials do not cause him the least bit of trepidation: “Behold! There is absolutely no fear nor grief for the friends of God.” (Sūrah Yūnus verse 62)

[10] In this rhetorical question, the poet mocks those individuals who satisfy themselves with the luxuries of this world, satisfying themselves in vain merrymaking and sheer entertainment. He calls these individuals “impotent” and implies that true power and grace is found in sincere worship of God, seeking mystical union with Him.

[11] Al-Bahā’ī employs a du’ā against himself, stating that if he has not spiritually transcended vicissitudes of Time, then may he have no status with God and may he have no right to compose any poetry about the Master of the Time: Imam al-Mahdī (as). The poet appears to be alluding to a subtle analogy: just as the Twelfth Imām has extended past the bounds of mortal longevity, al-Bahā’ī must spiritually overcome TIme (i.e. by not indulging in instant gratification) in order to be worthy of addressing him. By extension, al-Bahā’ī implies that during the Imām’s occultation, his supporters must persevere and not allow themselves to be fazed by the length of his absence nor by the transient hardships they face. In Arabic poetry, this line is known as a takhalluṣ, a transition to end the poetic introduction and transition into the main body of the panegyric.

[12] This of course is an allusion to the verse of the Qur’ān: “And (recall) when your Lord said to the angels, “I am going to make a vicegerent (khalifah) on the Earth” (Surah Baqarah verse 30). The title of “shade of God” is derived from a ḥadīth also narrated in Sunnī works: “The Sulṭān is the Shade of God on Earth.”

[13] The phrase “al-‘urwah al-wuthqā” used here to refer to the Twelfth Imām (as) is derived from the verse of the Qur’ān: “whoever rejects evil and believes in God has grasped the firmest stronghold that never breaks” (Sūrah Baqarah verse 256). Al-Bahā’ī likens the Imām to the firmest stronghold because true belief in God is embodied in accepting his vicegerent. There is also an indication in this line to the unanimously accepted Prophetic Ḥadīth of the Safīnah of Nūḥ (“The likeness of my Ahlulbayt is like the Ark of Noah: whoever rides it is saved and he who turns from it drowns”).

[14] This line alludes to the aḥādīth narrated in al-Kāfī that the Earth cannot subsist without God’s Proof (al-Ḥujjah). Subjecting Time and Fate to the Imām alludes to his centrality to the existence of the universe, derived of course from the mystical theory of al-insān al-kāmil (“the perfect man”).

[15] Al-Bahā’ī now transitions to describing the power of the Imām, specifically referencing his mathematical expertise. We have adopted a less than literal translation however a more literal one would be as follows: “One so powerful that should he charge imperfect square numbers to pronounce their roots, they would loudly proclaim them.” Imperfect squares are numbers that do not have square roots that are whole integers and therefore need to be approximated. Before the era of calculators, there were cumbersome equations to approximate them by hand. The poet notes that these metaphorically unruly imperfect squares, which impose some difficulties upon the mathematician, would comply immediately and without hesitation to the Imām (as), verbally pronouncing the roots from whence they came upon his command.

[16] This is of course an allusion to the copious Shī’ah ḥadīth that affirm the Imām is the most knowledgeable, as narrated in al-Ṣadūq’s Ma’ānī al-Akhbār: الإمام عالم لا يجهل (“…the Imām is a scholar who is never ignorant…”) and in al-Kāfī:  إن الله لا يجعل حجة في أرضه يسأل عن شئ فيقول لا أدري  (“Indeed God does not appoint a proof on His Earth who is asked and responds “I don’t know””). There is also an allusion to the words of Imam ‘Alī (as) in Nahj al-Balāghah describing Imām Mahdī (cf Sermon 182): “He will be wearing the armor of wisdom, having seized it in all its exigencies with full attention towards it, knowledge of it, and devotion to it…a last remnant (al-baqiyyah) from his Proofs and a vicegerent from the vicegerents of the Prophets.” There are of course other similar riwāyāt in Baṣā’ir al-Darajāt that mention that all possible knowledge is comprised of 27 parts, two of which are extant currently and 25 of which the Imām will bring forth at his advent.

[17] In these lines, al-Bahā’ī turns to his philosophical expertise to praise the Imām; he starts with the Platonic Theory of Forms, which holds that there are abstract ideals that precede particularization in physical reality. In powerful imagery, the poet subjugates Platonic philosophy to the Imām (as), stating that if Plato himself witnessed the Divinely bestowed light of the Imām he would see in it the abstract Forms that he theorized.

[18] This is an allusion to the Neoplatonic Illuminationist school of Shihāb al-Dīn Yaḥyā al-Suhrawardī (ḥikmat al-ishrāq), which holds that light is the basis of reality and that all created beings are but irradiations from it.  Al-Bahā’ī identifies the Imām as the intermediary by which the light of God (nūr al-anwār) illuminates the world, again metaphorically appropriating this philosophy for the Imām’s praises.

[19] It appears that these descriptors are derived from the following ḥadīth describing the Twelfth Imām (as); the former being on the authority of Imām ‘Alī (as) in al-Nu’mānī’s Kitāb al-Ghaybah and the latter on the authority of the Prophet (saw) from al-Ṣadūq’s Kamāl al-Dīn wa Tamām al-Ni’mah:

  1. من بني هاشم، مِن ذروة طود العرب وبحر مغيضها إذا وردت، ومخفر أهلها إذا اتيت، ومعدن صفوتها إذا اكتدرت  

“(He is) from Banī Hāshim: the summit of the mountain of Arabs; the sea amidst its stillwater when (the Arabs) seek drink; the haven for its people when struck by Fate; the source of their purity when they are sullied!”

  1. يا جابر، إن هذا الأمر أمر من الله وسرّ من سرّ الله مطوي عن عباد الله

“Oh Jābir, this affair is from God and a secret from God’s secrets—closed off from the servants of God.”

[20] Al-Bahā’ī now turns his attention to Avicennan metaphysics and its emanative doctrine of the hierarchical “Ten Intellects,” stating that the Imām is superior to them all and that they relent to his authority. Again, there is an allusion to the mystical theory of “The Perfect Man” (al-insān al-kāmil).

[21] The poet appropriates his expertise in astronomy to praise the Imām, pointing out how the celestial entities themselves relent to his authority. The submission of the Heavens and the Earth to the Mahdī is of course in line with our ḥadīth traditions, such as the following on the authority of Imām al-Bāqir as narrated in Baṣā’ir al-Darajāt on the authority of Sawrah bin Kulayb:

أما إن ذا القرنين قد خير السحابين فاختار الذلول وذخر لصاحبكم الصعب. قال: قلت: وما الصعب؟ قال: ما كان من سحاب فيه رعد وصاعقة أو برق فصاحبكم يركبه. أما إنه سيركب السحاب ويرقى في الأسباب أسباب السماوات السبع والأرضين السبع

“Behold! Indeed Dhū al-Qarnayn was given a choice between two clouds and chose the recessive type; hence, the dominant type is preserved for your Master (i.e. Imām Mahdī). I asked him, “What are the dominant (ones)?” He answered, “Those clouds that carry thunder, bolts, and lightning—your Master will mount them. Lo! He will mount them and will ascend (at his discretion) through the paths of the Seven Heavens and the Seven Earths.””

[22] Al-Bahā’ī now turns to address the Imām directly in the second person in a powerful rhetorical device in Arabic known as al-iltifāt (a transition in grammatical person); this is of course in spirit with maintaining a spiritual connection with the Twelfth Imām (as), even in his physical absence. As a famous riwāyah narrated from Imām al-Sajjād in Biḥār al-Anwār states:

إن أهل زمان غيبته، القائلون بإمامته، المنتظرون لظهوره أفضل أهل كل زمان، لان الله تعالى ذكره أعطاهم من العقول والافهام والمعرفة ما صارت به الغيبة عندهم بمنزلة المشاهدة

“Indeed, the people at the era of his occultation—who endorse his imāmah and await his advent—are better than the people of any era because God the Almighty has granted them intellects, insights, and cognizance such that occultation for them has become equivalent to the station of witnessing (him).”

[23] His mention of the Imām holding the Keys of Time is derived from the verse of the Qur’ān where God states: “To Him (God) are the keys of the Heavens and the Earth” (Sūrah Shūrā verse 12). Of course, as the Mahdī is God’s representative and his Ḥujjah on this Earth, his holding the keys to the Divine kingdom is a natural corollary.

[24] In the Arabic, a placeholder name (Abū Sha’yūn) is used to emphasize how some rely on ḥadīth that are narrated by unknown individuals; a more literal rendering would be as follows: “Who twist His verses based on a narration narrated by Abū Sha’yūn on the authority of Ka’b al-Aḥbār.” This statement bespeaks of the advanced level that Shaykh al-Bahā’ī had reached in ḥadīth and tafsīr studies. He mirrors the statement of the contemporary scholar Āyatullāh Ja’far al-Subḥānī (may God preserve him) who states: “By God it is a great travesty that many traditionists, jurists, and commentators have knocked upon every door except that of the Ahl al-Bayt—such that they interpret God’s Book based on their own opinions and use analogical presumptions—without an ounce of truth or legitimacy—to give religious edicts. They fill their tafsīrs with Judeo-Christian narrations (al-Isrā’īliyyāt) narrated by the likes of Ka’b al-Aḥbār and Wahb bin Munabbih…indeed, a lack of transmitting such reports in tafsīrs among them was considered a sign of ignorance and lack of proper research. The situation indeed became so severe that even some prominent Shī’ah scholars were duped into this trend.” (Mafāhīm al-Qur’ān Arabic ed., volume 10 page 352)

[25] Al-Bahā’ī employs a very high register of Arabic eloquence (al-balāghah) in this line, using what is known as an eloquent simile in Arabic (al-tashbīh al-balīgh); in Arabic terminology, he does this in the form of a cognate-accusative that clarifies the genus (al-maf’ūl al-muṭlaq al-mubayyin li al-naw’). This syntactic type of simile lends to very powerful imagery: namely he compares the blunders that are made by these folks to the hobbling gallop of a camel that is short-sighted. Short-sighted is even more apt than blind here, as a blind camel often will tread carefully and recognize its limitations, requiring its owner to direct its reins. Al-Bahā’ī therefore compares these folk to a myopic camel who dares to gallop and does not recognize that her abilities fall short of correcting maneuvering across her terrain. Of course, there is an intertextual connection here to the Qur’ānic prohibition which states: “Do not pursue that about which you have no knowledge.” (Surah 17 verse 36)

[26] Al-Bahā’ī continues in his series of hearkening commands for the Imām’s advent (al-istinhāḍ). We have translated al-kuffār here as “truth’s suppressors” considering the original meaning of this word (i.e., those who deliberately endeavor to hide the truth). This is of course in line with the plethora of ḥadīth in both Shī’ah and Sunnī sources that affirm the Mahdī’s Messianic role to fill the world with justice and equity after it had been filled with injustice and oppression.

[27] Al-Bahā’ī is alluding to the following narration about Imām al-Mahdī narrated in Kitāb al-Ghaybah on the authority of Imām al-Ṣādiq (as):

 إذا أذن الإمام دعا الله بأسمه العبراني فأتيحت له صحابته الثلاثمائة وثلاثة عشر قزع كقزع الخريف

When the (Twelfth) Imām is given permission (to emerge), he will invoke God by His name in Hebrew, and his companions 313 in number will gather to him like the cloudlets of autumn.”

[28] Al-Bahā’ī descends from the Yemeni tribe of Banī Hamdān; in the conquest of Yemen, this tribe entirely converted to Islām at the hands of Imām ‘Alī (as) without any conflict. They were known as extremely brave and loyal companions to the Imām to the extent that he praised them immensely stating in some famous lines of poetry stating: “May God bless Banī Hamdān with Paradise; for they are anathema to the foe in battles of death.” (Mawsū’ah al-Imām ‘Alī fī al-Kitāb wa al-Sunnah composed by Shaykh Muḥamad Rayshahrī, volume 12 page 142). The poet therefore simultaneously draws from his illustrious lineage while also alluding to the fantastic precedent that his tribe had set in supporting the first Imām (as).

[29] The poet concludes his poetic masterpiece in an extolment of the beauty of his composition, as is classic in the Arabic poetry tradition. He mentions his penname to stamp the poem with his authorship while also using an epithet to emphasize his humility (al-ḥaqīr, lit. the insignificant). Furthermore, he creates powerful imagery by comparing his composition to a father sending a bride of unrivaled beauty to the Imām (as). He ends the poem brilliantly, tying his composition’s Najdic brilliance back to its first line in mentioning the lightning of Najd.