The Bab's Sahifah-yi `adliyyah in Historical Context

By Sholeh A. Quinn

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #109
Bosch Bahá'í School: Santa Cruz, California, USA
May 16–20, 2012
(see list of papers from #109)

    In 1844, Sayyid `Ali Muhammad Shirazi, "the Bab" (1819-1850), put forth the first of several messianic claims that expanded considerably over time: that he was the representative of the Hidden Imam, and later explicitly claiming to be a manifestation of God. One year later, probably in Shiraz during the summer of 1845, he wrote his Sahifah-yi `adliyyah, a straightforward Persian text and the first major work that he composed in that language. The Sahifah-yi `adliyyah consists of five chapters. In chapter four, the Bab writes emphatically about the need to believe that the Prophet Muhammad's "night journey" (mi`raj) was a literal event. The purpose of this paper is to place the Sahifah-yi `adliyyah in the context of (1) earlier Shaykhi writings on the subject, such as Sayyid Kazim Rashti's Dalil al-mutahayyirin, and (2) a later writing of the Bab himself, in order to reach a better understanding of the Bab's evolving perspectives on the mi`raj.

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