Thursday, December 16, 2010

Paragraph 9

And after Noah the light of the countenance of Hud shone forth above the horizon of creation. For well-nigh seven hundred years, according to the sayings of men, He exhorted the people to turn their faces and draw nearer unto the Ridvan of the divine presence. What showers of afflictions rained upon Him, until at last His adjurations bore the fruit of increased rebelliousness, and His assiduous endeavours resulted in the willful blindness of His people. "And their unbelief shall only increase for the unbelievers their own perdition." [Qur'án 35:39]

After Noah, Baha'u'llah turns our attention to Hud.

The first thing we noticed was the phrase "according to the sayings of men". It's an interesting insertion, that phrase, for it seems to say quite a bit. He is not confirming that Hud was alive for that long, nor is He denying it. In fact, He doesn't even say that this bit of information is from God. He just says that it is according to some people. We were reminded of the beginning of the Lord of the Rings, when the ring fades from history to legend. As there is no written history of Hud from that time, it feels as though there is a mythological element to it.

We feel that the fact He neither confirms nor denies this bit of information implies that it is not all that important. This may be a lesson for us, not to be overly concerned about these sorts of details, whether or not Hud really did live for more than seven hundred years, or whether Noah had seventy or forty-two followers. This is beside the point.

What is important is that after telling us that Hud suffered for trying to guide men back to God, Baha'u'llah says that His teachings "bore the fruit of increased rebelliousness", and His "endeavours resulted in the willful blindness of His people." The people were already rebellious, and became even more so. And their blindness, interestingly enough, was willful.

Here we find ourselves confused. Later on, Baha'u'llah says, "And yet, is not the object of every Revelation to effect a transformation in the whole character of mankind...? For if the character of mankind be not changed, the futility of God's universal Manifestations would be apparent."

How does this relate to Hud? The people remained rebellious, and even became willingly blind.

Noah made a promise that didn't happen. This was a test. Now Hud appears, and nothing comes of His Revelation, except for rebelliousness and blindness. Is this, too, a test? For us?

In Noah's time, the people were wiped out in a flood. In Hud's time, He reminds them about Noah and the flood, but they still don't listen. This time, a great storm comes and wipes them out.

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