For this reason did Muḥammad cry out: “No Prophet of God hath suffered such harm as I have suffered.” And in the Qur’án are recorded all the calumnies and reproaches uttered against Him, as well as all the afflictions which He suffered. Refer ye thereunto, that haply ye may be informed of that which hath befallen His Revelation. So grievous was His plight, that for a time all ceased to hold intercourse with Him and His companions. Whoever associated with Him fell a victim to the relentless cruelty of His enemies.
This paragraph continues the discussion of sovereignty, a most fascinating discussion that covers a large section of the book, and was one of the pivotal questions asked by the uncle of the Bab.
Looking at the beginning, though, we are faced with the immediate question of "For what reason?" Well, this brings us back to the previous paragraph in which Baha'u'llah has described the fierce torment that was instigated by the divines of the age against Muhammad, and also, in His day, against the Bab.
Now something that we see here, which we haven't really commented on for a while, is the word "haply", as well as the phrase "Refer ye thereunto". This reminds us very strongly of Part 1, in which we are regularly encouraged to "reflect", "consider the past", "meditate profoundly", and other phrases used to help us remember to consider what we have already learned through religious history.
Do we think this request that we refer to the past Books is a coincidence? Of course not. Baha'u'llah seems to have carefully prepared us for this. He began this whole book by teaching us how to recognize a Manifestation of God, giving plenty of examples from the stories from history that we already knew.. He reminded us to continually look to the past and consider what we are seeing today. He then took a single verse from Jesus, found in Matthew 24, and dissected it phrase by phrase for many paragraphs, showing us just a little of the incredible depths that can be found in that one verse.
Are these not the very tools that we are being encouraged to use here, now?
Beyond that, we also want to remember that this book is supposed a template on how to teach. So if that's the case, then doesn't this mean that we need to help people, not to mention ourselves, become more familiar with the sufferings and trials suffered by both the Bab and Baha'u'llah, not to mention 'Abdu'l-Baha and the Guardian? have we actually done this? Do we know anyone who actually became a recognize Baha'i by studying these denials and tests? Honestly, we don't.
Many times we see this sort of appeal as just a means of playing on people's emotions. But we need to be clear that this is not the case here. Far from it. Instead, it seems to be a fundamental aspect of strengthening one's faith. Way back in paragraph 6, a couple of sentence we love to quote over and over again: "Should you acquaint yourself with the indignities heaped upon the Prophets of God, and apprehend the true causes of the objections voiced by their oppressors, you will surely appreciate the significance of their position. Moreover, the more closely you observe the denials of those who have opposed the Manifestations of the divine attributes, the firmer will be your faith in the Cause of God."
We are amazed, even flabbergasted (love that word), at just how important these first few paragraphs are so important to the rest of the text. We never dreamed that so far into this study we would still be constantly referring back to these same ideas. It just gives us a greater appreciation of this book, and just how tightly knit this entire book really is.