The Long Obligatory Prayer:
The Mystical Dimension

By Todd Lawson

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #83
Center for Bahá'í­ Studies: Acuto, Italy
July 3–6, 2008
(see list of papers from #83)

    Prayer and fasting have a long history in the religious life of humanity. The focus of this talk is prayer in general and specifically the Long Obligatory Prayer revealed by Bahá'u'lláh. An attempt will be made to put into historical and symbolic context the various postures and body movements associated with the prayer. Attention will also be given to the meaning and significance of various key ideas and terms found in the prayer: the Daysprings of the Invisible Essence, veils, the fire of love, the stranger, annihilation, here am I, here am I! It will be seen that this prayer honours and affirms the venerable tradition of Islamic prayer service (salát) and at the same time reconfigures and reorients it.

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