Papers delivered at the Irfán Colloquium Session #135 (English)
Louhelen Bahá'í School: Davison, MichiganOctober 8–11, 2015.
Alwah-i-Salman: An Introductory Review
by Habib Riazati
This presentation includes introducing Shaykh Salman who served as the messenger between the Blessed Beauty and believers, a general review of some of the important Tablets of Baha’u’lláh addressed to Sheykh Salman, and content analysis of one of those Tablets, Madinatu’l-Tuhid (Tablet of Divine Unity).
Examining Inherent Oneness of Phenomena
by Kamran Sedig
In this session, we will examine conceptualizations of a number of phenomena (science, religion, physical and abstract things, ...) at different levels of granularity. We will look at these through the lens of systems theory. The goal is to highlight how, despite diversity of phenomena, at a deep level they are inherently one.
Haj Mehdi Arjmand: A Biographical Review
by Faris Badii
Annual sessions of Irfan Colloquia were established about 18 years ago in honor and memory of Haj Mehdi Arjmand. Irfan has enjoyed continuous support and sponsorship of the grandchildren of Haj Mehdi Arjmand.
Holy Places and Historic Sites Mentioned in Memorials of the Faithful
by Foad Seddigh
Memorials of the Faithful is not merely a book devoted to the hagiography of some believers and historical narrative of their lives, rather a depository of matchless beauty in Persian writing, an exquisite text of profound meaning, and a testimonial to the devotion to the Cause of God and the Covenant, of some believers among whom were low as well as high in rank, poor and rich, semi-literate and learned. In the book Memorials of the Faithful, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, in the course of portraying the life history of some believers, has cited many villages, cities, and sites, some of which were blessed by the foot-steps of the twin manifestations of God for this age, and others are important due to being the scene of significant historical events of the Faith.
Look at the Imagery and Parables Used in the Persian Tablet of Ahmad, A
by Foad Seddigh
The Persian Tablet of Aḥmad is neither a long Tablet by any standard nor is a short Tablet. It was revealed by Bahá’u’lláh in Adrianople in the second year of His sojourn in that city, and is addressed to a believer in the cause of the Báb, named Aḥmad from Káshán. Aḥmad was one of the four brothers who pursued life in four different directions; one became a famous martyr in the Bayán Dispensation, another one became a devoted servant of Bahá’u’lláh, the third one never showed any interest in the claims of the Báb or Bahá’u’lláh. However Aḥmad travelled to Baghdád and resided there and was among those who were exiled to Adrianople with Him; and he had an ample opportunity to associate with Bahá’u’lláh and gain wisdom and receive spiritual bounties from Him. But, instead he was much like a man who did not differentiate between pearl and stone, an imagery used in the Tablet, became inclined towards Mirzá Yaḥyá Azal. At the end, he despite much association with the Blessed Perfection, failed to recognize His Beauty. This Tablet is addressed to Aḥmad and discusses the conditions for eternal salvation. In this Tablet, Bahá’u’lláh warns him against idle fancies and vain imaginings which are great obstacles in the way of recognition of the truth. Tablet of Aḥmad is written in a lucid and simple language. One cannot find even one reference to Qur’ánic verses and past Islamic traditions, Persian or Arabic poems and verses, historical facts, Arabic prose, references to the past philosopher's opinions, references to mystics and their beliefs; though there are several hints. The most important objective for this Tablet, seems to be the persuasion of Aḥmad to recognize the station of Bahá’u’lláh, through the means of reasoning. In this Tablet, He refers to the recognition of God and states that it is nothing more than the recognition of His manifestation. Practically the whole content of the Tablet is applicable to the peoples of the world who have abandoned searching for the truth in this time or any period of time.
Memorials of the Faithful: The Virtues of Inner and Outer Transformation
by Marlene Koswan
Abdu’l-Baha wrote "The most vital duty, in this day, is to purify your characters, to correct your manners, and improve your conduct".
Memorials of the Faithful: An Introduction
by Faris Badii
Composed in Farsi by Abdu’l-Baha in 1915 and translated into English by Marzieh Gail, “Memorials of the Faithful” is an anthology of biographies of some early believers of the east. During those tumultuous years of WWI when people of the earth, ignorant of their savior, were contending with fire and death, and at a time when followers of Baha’u’llah, for the most part, were temporarily barred from beholding the beauty of its Center of Covenant, bounteous will of the Master graciously moved to immortalize the lives of over ninety God intoxicated men and women. In this presentation, we will consider a general overview of the book along with some select episodes from its contents.
Parallels in the Ministries of Táhirih and St. Paul
by JoAnn Borovicka
In the preface to Memorials of the Faithful – ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s work that immortalizes the lives of sixty-nine early Bahá’ís – Marzieh Gail, the translator, states that the book is more than a collection of brief biographies of early Bahá’ís; it is somehow also a book of personality and character types. With the concept of ‘types’ in mind I compared the stories of the early believers of the Bahá’í Faith as presented in Memorials of the Faithful to the lives of early believers in Christianity as recorded in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. In the course of this study I noticed a striking parallel between the life of Táhirih, the only woman among the Báb’s Eighteen Letters of the Living and the last entry in Memorials of the Faithful, and the life of the Apostle Paul of early Christianity; that being that both are recognized in their respective religions for initiatives that contributed significantly to distinguishing the new Revelation from the old. This paper explores this and other parallels in the lives and ministries of Táhirih and Paul and suggests that, though different in gender and religion and separated by 1800 years, in many ways Táhirih and Paul may be seen as representing a similar type of early believer in a New Dispensation.
Phenomenon of Newly Emerging Entities and the Twofold Process
by Jena Khadem-Khodadad
The following words of Bahá'u'lláh launch this session:I testify that no sooner had the First Word proceeded, through the potency of Thy will and purpose...than the whole creation was revolutionized, and all that are in the heavens and all that are on earth were stirred to the depths. Through that Word the realities of all created things were shaken, were divided, separated, scattered, combined and reunited, disclosing, in both the contingent world and the heavenly kingdom, entities of a new creation...Newly emergent entities arise de novo; they introduce new possibilities and fresh propensities into a system: that which was impossible becomes possible; that which was highly improbable becomes probable. Two examples of newly emergent entities - metaphors - from natural sciences will be offered for reflection: (1) the emergence of oxygen, a significant product of the activity of photosynthetic molecules and (2) the birth of a new star in the physical universe.
Review and Content Analysis of Aflakiyyih, `Abdu’l-Bahá’s Tablet of the Universe, A
by Habib Riazati
Abdu'l-Bahá in the "Lawh-i-Aflákiyyih" translated as "Tablet of the Universe” describes different aspects of what he refers to as "the holy realities" and the reality as "established in both the hidden and manifest worlds", The realities that "capable neither of being defined by limits nor contained within the compass of signs and allusions"; He moreover, describes how through "the power of attraction and propagation," the existence has become manifested and been "set in order" and each and every being has "became the recipients and the manifestations of "the Divine conditions and Eternal signs. Emerging from behind the veils". He furthermore explains how natural "evolution" takes place within the realm of "creation". Lastly Abdu'l-Bahá touches on the various descriptions of the Universe as explained by Ptolemy and Al-Farabi.[The original Tablet in Arabic is published in Makátib-i 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Vol. 1, pages 13-32. There is also a provisional translation of this Tablet that can be found at bahai-library.com/abdulbaha_lawh_aflakiyyih.]
Scientific Insights into "Here Am I": Consciousness and Space-Time
by Mehrdad Ehsani
In the Long Obligatory Prayer of Bahá’u’lláh there is a passage: