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Switch to Forum Live View Station of Prophet David?
3 years ago  ::  Jan 20, 2015 - 2:02PM #1
world citizen
Posts: 6,480
These appear to be conflicting statements in the Writings about the station of the Biblical David, but are they really?

None of the many Prophets sent down, since Moses was made manifest, as Messengers of the Word of God, such as David, Jesus, and others among the more exalted Manifestations who have appeared during the intervening period between the Revelations of Moses and Muhammad, ever altered the law of the Qiblih.  (Baha'u'llah, "The Kitab-i-Iqan," p. 51)

The Manifestations of universal Prophethood Who appeared independently are, for example, Abraham, Moses, Christ, Muhammad, the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh. But the others who are followers and promoters are like Solomon, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel.  ('Abdu'l-Baha, "Some Answered Questions," p. 164)
Blessed is he who mingleth with all men in a spirit of utmost kindliness and love.  ~Baha'u'llah
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3 years ago  ::  Jan 22, 2015 - 5:50AM #2
Lilwabbit
Posts: 3,409

Jan 20, 2015 -- 2:02PM, world citizen wrote:

These appear to be conflicting statements in the Writings about the station of the Biblical David, but are they really?

None of the many Prophets sent down, since Moses was made manifest, as Messengers of the Word of God, such as David, Jesus, and others among the more exalted Manifestations who have appeared during the intervening period between the Revelations of Moses and Muhammad, ever altered the law of the Qiblih.  (Baha'u'llah, "The Kitab-i-Iqan," p. 51)

The Manifestations of universal Prophethood Who appeared independently are, for example, Abraham, Moses, Christ, Muhammad, the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh. But the others who are followers and promoters are like Solomon, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel.  ('Abdu'l-Baha, "Some Answered Questions," p. 164)



A valid question indeed! As you know, some Muslims even regard David as a "rasul" (i.e. "Messenger" in the Qur'anic sense) since the Qur'án confirms him bringing a Book (the Psalms). Bahá'u'lláh Himself in the following passage seems to tacitly put the same David in a lesser category and yet refers to these lesser manifestations of God as both "Prophets and Messengers". Unlike many Islamic scholars that were caught up by certain Qur'anic expressions, for Bahá'u'lláh "Prophets" and "Messengers" (even "Manifestations") were clearly interchangeable terms:


"It should first be noted that in one sense the stations of the Prophets of God differ one from another. For instance, consider Moses. He brought forth a Book and established ordinances, whilst a number of the Prophets and Messengers who arose after Him were charged with the promulgation of His laws, insofar as they remained consonant with the needs of the age. The books and chronicles annexed to the Torah bear eloquent testimony to this truth." (Bahá'u'lláh, Tabernacle of Unity, p. 17) 


The idea that there are indeed two different stations ("lesser" and "greater") of messengers/prophets/manifestations seemed more relevant for Bahá'u'lláh than permanently fixing particular linguistic terms to distinguish these categories. We might as well call "Lesser Prophets" as "Lesser Manifestations" or "Lesser Messengers" and still be essentially referring to the very same category of holy beings. Bahá'u'lláh's use of these terms should, therefore, not be confused with that of Muslim scholars or even the Qur'án. The Word is truly creative and unbound by the past!


Perhaps we may conclude from all of the above, as well as the context of the Íqán citation you provided, that your citation is not discussing the theological station of greater or lesser prophets. Rather it discusses the complete freedom of a later Manifestation (in this case Muhammad) to abrogate time-honoured commandments enjoined many Manifestations ago. Commandments which, indeed, haven't been altered until Muhammad by any prophet in between (greater and lesser alike).


Having said that, the Writings also highlight that while lesser in station, the lesser prophets are theologically still regarded in their nature as "One and the same person" with the other prophets:


"The Prophets "regarded as One and the same person" include the Lesser Prophets as well, and not merely Those Who Bring a "Book". The station is different, but they are Prophets and Their nature thus different from that of ours." (From a letter, dated February 8, 1949, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer; Lights of Guidance, p. 498)


Hence it makes perfect sense that the Writings sometimes lump different categories of prophets together and other times treats them separately as distinctive categories. Perhaps Bahá'u'lláh wished to challenge the rigid and categorical use of language and ideas commonplace amongst Muslim scholars by highlighting the higher truth of unity. That in their divine nature the Manifestations are not two categories at all -- not even separate beings -- but indeed "one and the same person".


Kind regards,


Wabbit


P.S. The Báb also refers to a second David that existed before Moses which 'Abdu'l-Bahá confirms.

"All things have I willed for you, and you too, for your own sake."
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3 years ago  ::  Jan 22, 2015 - 10:41AM #3
world citizen
Posts: 6,480

Thank you for that excellent response, wabbit.  As always, you bring knowledgeable "food for thought" to the table.  Smile

Blessed is he who mingleth with all men in a spirit of utmost kindliness and love.  ~Baha'u'llah
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3 years ago  ::  Jan 22, 2015 - 7:16PM #4
in_my_opinion
Posts: 4,107

"...The David referred to by the Báb, and stated by Him to have preceded Moses, is not the same one as King David, the father of King Solomon, who lived in the tenth century B.C. and who obviously lived many years, and indeed many centuries after Moses. 'Abdu'l-Bahá has explained this in a Tablet."


 (Shoghi Effendi, Dawn of a New Day, p. 76)


"Concerning the appearance of two Davids; there is a Tablet from 'Abdu'l-Bahá in which He says that just as there have been two Ishmaels, one the son of Abraham, and the other one of the Prophets of Israel, there have appeared two Davids, one the author of the Psalms and father of Solomon, and the other before Moses."


 (Shoghi Effendi, Dawn of a New Day, p. 86)


"Abdu'l-Bahá is the one who has interpreted the reference of the Báb concerning David, by saying that there were two Davids, one of them was the author of the Psalms. The Tablet in which the Master states this is absolutely authentic, but at the moment the original is not available."


 (Shoghi Effendi, Dawn of a New Day, p. 93)

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3 years ago  ::  Jan 25, 2015 - 11:07AM #5
world citizen
Posts: 6,480

Are you both, then, inferring that the "Manifestation" called David — mentioned by Baha'u'llah in the below quote — is probably the David who appeared before Moses rather than the Talmudic David who wrote the Psalms?

Blessed is he who mingleth with all men in a spirit of utmost kindliness and love.  ~Baha'u'llah
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3 years ago  ::  Jan 25, 2015 - 11:25AM #6
Lilwabbit
Posts: 3,409

Jan 25, 2015 -- 11:07AM, world citizen wrote:


Are you both, then, inferring that the "Manifestation" called David — mentioned by Baha'u'llah in the below quote — is probably the David who appeared before Moses rather than the Talmudic David who wrote the Psalms?




Howdy my dearest friend WC,


Was there a quote "below" from Bahá'u'lláh that you meant to cite but accidentally didn't? At least all the quotes from Bahá'u'lláh on this thread mention explicitly the David that came after Moses. In fact I don't think Bahá'u'lláh refers to the other David in any of His Writings. The Báb does and 'Abdu'l-Bahá elaborates on the meaning of the Báb. If I remember correctly, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, in an answer to a question on the Báb's writings, said that just like there were two Ishmaels there were two Davids. The "other" Ishmael is Samuel.


Warm regards from the freezer,


Sam

"All things have I willed for you, and you too, for your own sake."
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3 years ago  ::  Jan 25, 2015 - 12:00PM #7
world citizen
Posts: 6,480

My friend,


I was referring to the cited Words in my opening post, even though Baha'u'llah did define David as being "between the Revelations of Moses and Muhammad":


None of the many Prophets sent down, since Moses was made manifest, as Messengers of the Word of God, such as David, Jesus, and others among the more exalted Manifestations who have appeared during the intervening period between the Revelations of Moses and Muhammad, ever altered the law of the Qiblih.  (Baha'u'llah, "The Kitab-i-Iqan," p. 51)


It was the introduction of this second David (with whom I was unfamiliar) that threw me a curve.


In what other context is the capitalized word "Manifestation" used within the Writings?


Btw, excellent post in DI about the Qur'an!  Thank you!  Smile

Blessed is he who mingleth with all men in a spirit of utmost kindliness and love.  ~Baha'u'llah
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3 years ago  ::  Jan 25, 2015 - 2:08PM #8
in_my_opinion
Posts: 4,107

Jan 25, 2015 -- 12:00PM, world citizen wrote:


My friend,


I was referring to the cited Words in my opening post, even though Baha'u'llah did define David as being "between the Revelations of Moses and Muhammad":


None of the many Prophets sent down, since Moses was made manifest, as Messengers of the Word of God, such as David, Jesus, and others among the more exalted Manifestations who have appeared during the intervening period between the Revelations of Moses and Muhammad, ever altered the law of the Qiblih.  (Baha'u'llah, "The Kitab-i-Iqan," p. 51)


It was the introduction of this second David (with whom I was unfamiliar) that threw me a curve.


In what other context is the capitalized word "Manifestation" used within the Writings?


Btw, excellent post in DI about the Qur'an!  Thank you!  Smile




"None of the many Prophets sent down, since Moses was made manifest, as Messengers of the Word of God, such as David, Jesus, and others among the more exalted Manifestations who have appeared during the intervening period between the Revelations of Moses and Muhammad, ever altered the law of the Qiblih. These Messengers of the Lord of creation have, one and all, directed their peoples to turn unto the same direction. In the eyes of God, the ideal King, all the places of the earth are one and the same, excepting that place which, in the days of His Manifestations, He doth appoint for a particular purpose. Even as He hath revealed: "The East and West are God's: therefore whichever way ye turn, there is the face of God."[1] Notwithstanding the truth of these facts, why should the Qiblih have been changed, thus casting such dismay amongst the people, causing the companions of the Prophet to waver, and throwing so great a confusion into their midst? Yea, such things as throw consternation into the hearts of all men come to pass only that each soul may be tested by the touchstone of God, that the true may be known and distinguished from the false. Thus hath He revealed after the breach amongst the people: "We did not appoint that which Thou wouldst have to be the Qiblih, but that We might know him who followeth the Apostle from him who turneth on his heels."[2] "Affrighted asses fleeing from a lion."[3]
[1 Qur'án 2:115.]
[2 Qur'án 2:143.]
[3 Qur'án 74:50.]


 (Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 51)


The whole passage might lend a clue to the quandary.


It seems as if the concept of Their all being One may answer the question.


The latter third of the paragraph seems intriguingly testing, does it not?


On the other hand reading the sentence, despite its seemingly clear implication, does not completely obviate understandings that allow the second David not to be a Manifestation in the sense of the known Nine.


By generally Muslim reckoning the Psalms would count as a Book, would they not?





Perhaps this whole thing is a question that the Universal House of Justice would guide about?

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3 years ago  ::  Jan 26, 2015 - 3:33AM #9
Lilwabbit
Posts: 3,409

Jan 25, 2015 -- 2:08PM, in_my_opinion wrote:


Jan 25, 2015 -- 12:00PM, world citizen wrote:


My friend,


I was referring to the cited Words in my opening post, even though Baha'u'llah did define David as being "between the Revelations of Moses and Muhammad":


None of the many Prophets sent down, since Moses was made manifest, as Messengers of the Word of God, such as David, Jesus, and others among the more exalted Manifestations who have appeared during the intervening period between the Revelations of Moses and Muhammad, ever altered the law of the Qiblih.  (Baha'u'llah, "The Kitab-i-Iqan," p. 51)


It was the introduction of this second David (with whom I was unfamiliar) that threw me a curve.


In what other context is the capitalized word "Manifestation" used within the Writings?




It seems as if the concept of Their all being One may answer the question.




Indeed it does as Shoghi Effendi clarifies in the passage cited earlier. The Íqán verse above cited by WC explicitly employs the term "Manifestation" in the context of lesser prophets since it refers to "others (i.e. other "Manifestations") who have appeared during the intervening period between the Revelations of Moses and Muhammad". None of these "others" were greater prophets introducing new laws, and David (who also did not introduce new laws) and Jesus (who did abrogate at least two Mosaic laws) were already mentioned to which the term "others" was intended to correlate. As mentioned earlier, the verse does not seem to be too concerned about the exact theological station of the prophets mentioned.


Also the Bahá'u'lláh quote I cited earlier indicates that David was a lesser prophet in Bahá'u'lláh's terminology (one to bring "annexed" texts to the Torah in order to confirm it rather than representing a totally independent revelation). Of course the 'Abdu'l-Bahá quote cited by WC finally confirms that, at least as far as King David is concerned, we are talking about a lesser prophet/messenger/manifestation. The seeming contradiction demonstrated by WC in the OP appears therefore to be fully resolved.


Kind regards,


Wabbit


P.S. In the original Persian and Arabic the term "mazhar" ("Manifestation"), nor any other term for that matter, does not appear capitalized. Shoghi Effendi added the capitalizations for English readers.

"All things have I willed for you, and you too, for your own sake."
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3 years ago  ::  Jan 26, 2015 - 11:00AM #10
world citizen
Posts: 6,480

Great responses, my friends.  Thank you for the clarification.  Smile

Blessed is he who mingleth with all men in a spirit of utmost kindliness and love.  ~Baha'u'llah
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