The Three Stages of Divine Revelation

By Guy Sinclaire

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #28
London School of Economics: London, England
July 14–16, 2000
(see list of papers from #28)

    In a summary of the major themes of the Kitáb-i-Íqán, Shoghi Effendi states that Bahá'u'lláh "adumbrates and distinguishes between the three stages of divine Revelation." This paper locates Bahá'u'lláh's discussion of three kinds of revelation in the text of the Íqán, and proceeds to explore the implications of Shoghi Effendi's assertion that they constitute stages in a process of revelation, Our exploration of this theme commences with an examination of two kinds of revelation or "outpouring" which are commonly recognised in Islamic mysticism; in particular, in the works of Muhyi'd-Din Ibn 'Arabi and his followers. This paper concludes that, in the Kitáb-i-Íqán, Bahá'u'lláh extends and modifies this Sufi cosmogonic scheme, in particular placing greater emphasis on the role of the Manifestation of God in the Divine act of creation.

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