Maid of Heaven
Maid of Heaven (Arabic: حورية, ḥúrí) refers to a vision that Bahá’u’lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith was said to have had of a maiden from God, through whom he received his mission as a Manifestation of God.
In August 1852, during the height of the persecutions of the followers of the Báb, Bahá’u’lláh was arrested in Tehran with about 30 or more other Bábís. He was cast into the underground dungeon, nearby the court of the Sháh, known as the Síyáh-Chál. In October 1852, after two months had passed in the gloom and stench of the dungeon, Bahá’u’lláh had a vision of a heavenly Maiden. In his Súriy-i-Haykal (Tablet of the Temple) Bahá’u’lláh describes his vision as follows:
- "While engulfed in tribulations I heard a most wondrous, a most sweet voice, calling above My head. Turning My face, I beheld a Maiden — the embodiment of the remembrance of the name of My Lord — suspended in the air before Me. So rejoiced was she in her very soul that her countenance shone with the ornament of the good-pleasure of God, and her cheeks glowed with the brightness of the All-Merciful. Betwixt Earth and Heaven she was raising a call which captivated the hearts and minds of men. She was imparting to both My inward and outer being tidings which rejoiced My soul, and the souls of God's honoured servants. Pointing with her finger unto My head, she addressed all who are in Heaven and all who are on Earth saying: "By God! This is the best beloved of the worlds, and yet ye comprehend not. This is the Beauty of God amongst you, and the power of His sovereignty within you, could ye but understand."
The Maid of Heaven also appears in several tablets of Bahá’u’lláh’s, which include the following: Tablet of the Maiden (Lawh-i-Húrí), Tablet of the Deathless Youth (Lawh-i-Ghulámu’l-Khuld), Tablet of the Holy Mariner (Lawh-i-Malláhu’l-Quds), Húr-i-'Ujáb (Tablet of the Wondrous Maiden), the Súriy-i-Qalam (Súrih of the Pen; 1864–68) and the Tablet of the Vision (Lawh-i- Ru’yá; 1873). The first four of these were written in the Baghdad period (1856–63).
Shoghi Effendi compares the Maid of Heaven with the Holy Spirit as manifested in the Burning Bush of Moses, the Dove to Jesus, the angel Gabriel to Muhammad. Further, Farshid Kazemi discusses links with the Zoroastrian Daena.
Inner reality of Bahá'u'lláh
The Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith, Shoghi Effendi, wrote about the Maiden in God Passes By: "He lauded the names and attributes of His Creator, extolled the glories and mysteries of His own Revelation, sang the praises of that Maiden that personified the Spirit of God within Him". Also, he states that the Most Great Spirit took the form of a 'Maiden'.
- Smith, Peter (2000). "Maid of Heaven". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 230. ISBN 1-85168-184-1.
- Bahá'í International Community (1992). Bahá’u’lláh. Bahá'í World Centre. p. 3.
- Momen, Mojan (2009). "Tehran (Tihrán), Iran". Bahá’í Encyclopedia Project. Evanston, IL: National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States.
- Cameron, Glenn; Momen, Wendy (1996). A Basic Bahá'í Chronology. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. ISBN 0-85398-404-2.
- Bahá’u’lláh, Summons of the Lord of Hosts, pp. 5
- Smith, Peter (2000). "Bahá'u'lláh, writings of". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. pp. 79–86. ISBN 1-85168-184-1.
- Taherzadeh, Adib (1987). The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, Volume 4: Mazra'ih & Bahji 1877-92. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. pp. 223–24. ISBN 0-85398-270-8.
- Abdo, Lil (1994). "Female Representations of the Holy Spirit in Bahá'í and Christian writings and their implications for gender roles". Bahá'í Studies Review. 4 (1).
- Kazemi, Farshid (2013). "Celestial Fire: Bahá'u'lláh as the Messianic Theophany of the Divine Fire in Zoroastrianism". Irfan Colloquia. 14. Wilmette, IL: Irfan Colloquia. pp. 45–123. ISBN 978-3942426183.
- Effendi, Shoghi. God Passes By. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
- Effendi, Shoghi. "The Decisive Hour". bahai.org. Bahai Publishing Trust. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
- Related documents on the Bahá'í Library
- Lambden, Stephen (1996, 2005, 2015). Bābī-Bahā'ī Angelology: The Abrahamic Background with Expository Notes.
- Lambden, Stephen. (2001). Cherubim, Seraphim and Demythologization: Some aspects of Babi-Bahá'i angelology and the mala' al-a`la (Supreme Concourse). ‘Irfán Colloquium #36.
- Sours, Michael W. (1991). The Maid of Heaven, the Image of Sophia, and the Logos: Personification of the Spirit of God in Scripture and Sacred Literature in Journal of Bahá'í Studies.
- Taherzadeh, Adib (1976). The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, Volume 1: Baghdad 1853-63. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. ISBN 0-85398-270-8. (Chapters 9, 12, 14)