The Báb's Epistle on the Spiritual Journey towards God

By Todd Lawson

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #30
Louhelen Bahá'í School: Michigan, USA
October 6–8, 2000
(see list of papers from #30)

published in Lights of Irfan, volume 3, pages 49-58
© 2002, ‘Irfán Colloquia

republished in Bahá'í Faith and the World's Religions,
© 2005, ‘Irfán Colloquia

    One of the earliest, if not the earliest, extant compositions of the Báb is a brief discussion of the mystic quest, entitled Risála fi's-Sulúk. This work is extremely important for the light it sheds on the Báb's relationship to the Shaykhi movement and to Siyyid Kázim in particular. It was written well before two other early works (Tafsír súrat al-Baqara and Tafsír súrat Yásuf/Qayyum al-Asmá). However, the concerns and topics of this earlier work continue to appear in the Báb's later writings. The discussion will highlight the Qur'ánic verses and the Hadíth that form the basis of the Báb's teaching about the mystic quest in this Epistle, together with some thoughts on the nature of the teaching itself. A preliminary translation will be offered of the entire text and, it is hoped, improved upon by fellow conference attendees.

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