The choice wine, sealed with musk

Some thoughts on the “wine sealed by musk”, mentioned in the Kitáb-i-Íqán:

The source of this reference comes from Qur’án 83:25-26:

And they are given to drink of a sealed wine, whose seal is musk. For the like of this let the travailers travail!

Which is also quoted by Bahá’u’lláh in the second of The Four Valleys:

Wherefore, a man should make ready his heart that it be worthy of the descent of heavenly grace, and that the bounteous Cup-Bearer may give him to drink of the wine of bestowal from the merciful vessel. “For the like of this let the travailers travail!”

There are many references to this wine, all of them likening it to His Revelation:

I have, moreover, with the hand of divine power, unsealed the choice wine of My Revelation, and have wafted its holy, its hidden, and musk-laden fragrance upon all created things.

Think not that We have revealed unto you a mere code of laws. Nay, rather, We have unsealed the choice Wine with the fingers of might and power.

Renounce all created things, and quaff the sealed wine of My remembrance.

Well is it with him… who hath quaffed, with unswerving resolve, and in the name of the Self-Subsisting, the sealed wine of His Revelation.

The seal of the choice Wine of His Revelation hath, in this Day and in His Name, the Self-Sufficing, been broken.

Take heed lest anything deter thee from extolling the greatness of this Day – the Day whereon the Finger of majesty and power hath opened the seal of the Wine of Reunion…

The Best-Beloved is come. In His right hand is the sealed Wine of His name.

One thing to note about the “choice wine” is that the Arabic phrase is “rahíqun makhtúmun”. Rahíq can mean both “exquisite wine”, and nectar, the source of honey. And two of the rivers in paradise are wine and honey…

Now, why is this Wine sealed with musk?

There is a powerful connection in the Writings between discerning scent and a spiritual capacity to recognize the true nature of the Manifestations of God. This connection of fragrance to recognition is also a powerful motif is the story of Joseph, which Bahá’u’lláh references on multiple occasions:

And if, by the help of God, he findeth on this journey a trace of the traceless Friend, and inhaleth the fragrance of the long-lost Joseph from the heavenly messenger, he shall straightway step into the Valley of Love and be dissolved in the fire of love.

Or in the Íqán where Bahá’u’lláh writes:

We seal Our theme with that which was formerly revealed unto Muhammad that the seal thereof may shed the fragrance of that holy musk which leadeth men unto the Ridván of unfading splendour.

`Abdu’l-Bahá also uses the image of the choice wine and the musk:

As to you, O ye loved ones of God! Loose your tongues and offer Him thanks; praise ye and glorify the Beauty of the Adored One, for ye have drunk from this purest of chalices, and ye are cheered and set aglow with this wine. Ye have detected the sweet scents of holiness, ye have smelled the musk of faithfulness from Joseph’s raiment.

And in another place, He associates musk with spiritual revival:

One’s conduct must be like the conduct of Paul, and one’s faith similar to that of Peter. This musk-scented breeze shall perfume the nostrils of the people of the world, and this spirit shall resuscitate the dead.

So, the Wine symbolizes God’s Revelation, and the musk – its beauty, fragrance, and life-giving breath – attracts us to it. This only leaves the question: why is it sealed with this musk? This actually connects to the question of why Noah was given prophecies that God did not fulfill…