“‘Amá is defined as an extremely thin and subtle cloud, seen and then not seen. For shouldst thou gaze with the utmost care, thou wouldst discern something, but as soon as thou dost look again, it ceaseth to be seen. For this reason, in the usage of mystics who seek after truth, ‘Amá signifieth the Universal Reality without individuations as such, for these individuations exist in the mode of uncompounded simplicity and oneness and are not differentiated from the Divine Essence. Thus they are individuated and not individuated. This is the station alluded to by the terms Aḥadíyyih [Absolute Oneness] and ‘Amá. This is the station of the “Hidden Treasure” mentioned in the Ḥadíth. The divine attributes, therefore, are individuations that exist in the Essence but are not differentiated therefrom. They are seen and then not seen. This, in brief, is what is meant by ‘Amá.” (From a previously untranslated Tablet of ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá.)
‘Aṭṭár (ca. 1119–1230) in his Manṭiqu’ṭ-Ṭayr (The Conference of the Birds) has elaborated seven valleys through which the birds pass in search of their king. Bahá’u’lláh refers to ‘Aṭṭár’s scheme of the valleys. Rúmí (1207–1273) alludes to the “seven cities of love” crossed by ‘Aṭṭár.
Majnún means “madman”. This is the title of the celebrated lover of ancient Persian and Arabian lore whose beloved was Laylí. Symbolizing true human love bordering on the divine, the story has been the theme of many Persian romantic poems, most famously that of Niẓámí, written in 1188.
“But for Thee” refers to the Ḥadíth quoted in note 26. “We have failed to know Thee” alludes to a prayer attributed to Muḥammad that says, “We have not known Thee, O God, as Thou oughtest to be known.” “Or even closer” alludes to Qur’án 53:9.
A reference to two Ṣúfí concepts. The doctrine of the unity of existence is commonly ascribed to Ibnu’l-Arabí (1165–1240), that of the unity of appearance to Aḥmad Sirhindí (1564–1624). See ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá, Some Answered Questions, chapter 82.