`Abdu'l-Bahá' and the Iranian Constitutional Revolution

By Mina Yazdani

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)

    Addressing Ṭihrán in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Bahá'u'lláh predicts that "[e]relong will the state of affairs within thee be changed, and the reins of power fall into the hands of the people." Elsewhere in His Writings, Queen Victoria is praised for having "entrusted the reins of counsel into the hands of the representatives of the people," assuring her that "thereby the foundations of the edifice" of her affairs would be strengthened and "the hearts of all" that are beneath her shadow "whether high or low" would be "tranquillized." In the same vein, `Abdu'l-Bahá' openly advocates the formation of a representative parliament in His The Secret of Divine Civilization, becoming perhaps the first Iranian to do so. Yet, once the Iranian constitutional movement began, `Abdu'l-Bahá' did not sanction the participation of Bahá'ís in the uprising. This presentation will investigate the Tablets and talks of `Abdu'l-Bahá' that pertain to this period and demonstrate that far from betraying what the enemies of the Faith have called "indifference" or lack of patriotism on the part of Bahá'ís, `Abdu'l-Bahá' in fact endorsed a different mode of participation based on unity and consultation, rather than conflict and contention, between the state and the people.

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