Papers delivered at the ‘Irfán Colloquium Session #46 (English)

Bosch Bahá'í School: California USA

May 1–4, 2003.

Theme: "Studies in the Writings of The Báb and 'Abdu'l-Bahá Section I, and Seminar on Qayyúmu'l-Asmá"

'Abdu'l-Bahá's Commentary on Bismilláh     edit

by Ghasem Bayat

Báb's Commentary on the Hadith al-Haqíqa (The Hadith about the Ultimate Reality): or the Tradition of Kumayl ibn Ziyad, al-Nakha'i     edit

by Stephen Lambden

The Hadíth al-Haqíqa ("Tradition concerning Ultimate Reality") or Hadíth Kumayl is the record of an alleged (Arabic) conversation between the first Shí'í Imám, `Alí b. Abí Tálib (d.40/661) and his Shí`í associate, the one-time governor of Hít (Iraq), Kumayl ibn Ziyád ibn Nahíd ibn Haytham ibn Sa'd ibn Malik ibn al-Nakha'í. (d. c.81 / 701) whose shrine is located at wadí al-salám near Najaf (Iraq) (al-Mufíd, K. al-Irshád). It has to do with the nature and definition of of al-haqíqa which is often (loosely) translated as "Reality" or "Ultimate Reality".

The hadíth al-haqíqa is a well-known tradition much discussed and highly influential in Shí'í Islamic philosophy and mysticism as well as many times registered in Bábí-Bahá'í scripture. It has been commented upon by the early Shaykhí leaders as well as many gnostic (irfani) or esoterically minded thinkers among them Hájí Mullá Hádí Sabziwárí (d. c.1295/ 1878). He had occasion to comment upon the Hadíth al-haqíqa in various of his works including the recently republished (new edition) of his 'Commentary on the Most Beautiful Names of God'.

The hadíth al-haqíqa has several times been (partially) translated into English, once by the Cambridge orientalist Edward G. Browne (d.1926) and again by the American Presbyterian missionary Dwight M Donaldson (d.1976) whose article has been published in the periodical Muslim World.

In his commentary on the hadíth al-haqíqa the Báb introduces it as follows:

In commentary upon the 'Tradition about Reality' (hadíth al-haqíqa) which has it that Kumayl ibn Zíyyád al-Nakha'í was riding one day behind {imam]'Alí (upon Him be peace) on his she-camel (náqa). And Kumayl said 'O my Master, what is al-haqíqa ("Reality")?' [Imám] 'Alí upon Him be peace replied, 'What have you to do with Reality?' He [Kumayl] responded,'Am I not a custodian of thy secret (sáhib al-sirrika)? He ['Ali] said,'Yes! but what merely sprinkles down upon thee overfloweth abundantly through me.' Subsequently 'Ali gives several somewhat cryptic definitions of al-haqíqa (Reality). The final definition refers to the subh al-azal ("Morn of Eternity") and is the ultimate source of the title of Mirza Yahya (c. 1834-1912) (Per.) Subh-i Azalpeace) on his she-camel (náqa). And Kumayl said 'O my Master, what is al-haqíqa ("Reality")?' [Imám] 'Alí upon Him be peace replied, 'What have you to do with Reality?' He [Kumayl] responded,'Am I not a custodian of thy secret (sáhib al-sirrika)? He ['Ali] said,'Yes! but what merely sprinkles down upon thee overfloweth abundantly through me.' Subsequently 'Ali gives several somewhat cryptic definitions of al-haqíqa (Reality). The final definition refers to the subh al-azal ("Morn of Eternity") and is the ultimate source of the title of Mirza Yahya (c. 1834-1912) (Per.) Subh-i Azal

Among the imamological and other senses given the Hadíth Kumayl by the Báb is that it revolves around the high station of Imam 'Ali, whose Logos-Self is represented as the creative genesis of Being and a divine effulgence which mediates divine realities in the world of creation.

The Báb from very early in his mission cited and gave importance to the Hadíth Kumayl. He cited it in his early Risála fi'l-sulúk ("Treatise on the Path") as he did later in his (Persian) Dalá'il-i sab`ih (Seven Proofs) where it is also given an interesting imamological exegesis.

In this presentation an attempt will be made to sum up the Báb's interpretations of al-haqíqa (Ultimate Reality) in the light of their Shí'í - Shaykhí background. A few of Bahá'u'lláh's interpretations of passages in the Hadíth al-haqíqa will also be briefly summed up.

Báb's Response to a Question about Lawh-i-Mahfúz (Preserved Tablet), The     edit

by Stephen Lambden

In this presentation a synopsis and partial translation will be given of the brief (2 page), relatively unknown Arabic treatise of the Báb on the meaning of al-lawh al-mahfuz (The Preserved Tablet). This along with some aspects of the Islamic and Shaykhí background.

The phrase al-lawh al-mahfuz occurs once only in the Qur'an. It is at Qur'an 85: [21] 22 that we read, "Nay! It is a Glorious Qur'an (qur'an majid) in a Preserved Tablet (lawh mahfuz)". The idea of an archetypal, heavenly repository of the human destinies and the divine Word, a "Preserved Tablet" is pre-Islamic. It is early on found in pre-Christian Jewish sources such as the Book of Jubilees (2nd cent. BCE).

Qur'an 85:22 or phrases within it have been much commented upon by Islamic, especially Sufi and Shaykhí writers, with the respect to its deep, esoteric meanings, cosmological implications and position as a celestial repository of the sacred books and locale of the mysteries of fate and human destiny.

Dimensions of the "Preserved Tablet" have been much commented upon by Islamic mystics and philosophers. The influential mystic and exegete Ibn al-`Arabi d.638/1240) in his al-Futuhat al-makkiyya (Meccan Revelations) and other works, for example, associated the Lawh Mahfuz with the "Supreme Pen" (al-qalam al-a`la) and "The Universal Logos-Soul" (al-nafs al-kulliyya) as well as the beginning of existence (Futuhat 1:139;3:399, etc). His disciple, the Shi'ite Sufi `Abd al-Karim al-Jili (d. 832/1428) has a complex section on al-lawh al-mahfuz (Presreved Tablet) in section 42 of his seminal al-Insan al-Kamil... (The Perfect Man). There "Preserved Tablet" is seen to be indicative of the "Divine Light" (nur ilahi) which is "My Divine Reality" (haqqi) transfigured in the domain of human witness [testimony] (mashad) " before God's "creation" or "creatures" (al-Insan, 146.

At the very outset the Báb's commentary identifies the Báb himself, the manifestation of God (mazhar-I ilahi), as being the Lawh Mahfuz (Preserved Tablet) as a "Most Great Tablet" (al-lawh al-akbar). This Báb's work also reflects the abovementioned Islamic esoteric traditions; as well, most notably, as the sometimes arcane Khutba al-tutunjiyya (The Sermon of the Gulf) ascribed to Imam `Alí (d.40/661), an oration which both the Báb and Báhá'u'lláh (like Shaykh Ahmadal-Ahsa'i and Sayyid Kazim Rashti), regarded very highly.

It will also be shown in this paper that the influence of the qur'anic expression Lawh Mahfuz (Preserved Tablet) is evident throughout the Bábí-Bahá'í revelations. In, for example, Bahá'u'lláh's Surat al-Qadir (The Surah of the Omnipotent) addressed to "the Sun of My Name al-Qadir" around 1866, we read at the outset (after its prescript and basmalah),

"Then Praised be unto He Who decreed the destined measures (muqadir) of all things in Mighty, Preserved Tablets (al-lwah`izz mahfuz)" (AQA 4:317-320).

Baha'i Writings and the Process of Philosophy     edit

by Ian Kluge

According to the Bahá'í Writings, all parts of creation are in a perpetual state of flux, actualizing their potentials, growing or decaying, advancing or retreating. History, both biological and human-cultural, is an evolutionary process that culminates in super-natural or spiritual developments in humankind. Given such foundations, this paper provides an introductory examination of the Bahá'í Writings in relationship to modern process philosophy as seen, for example, in the work of such thinkers as Whitehead, Hartshorne, Cobb and de Chardin, and examines some of the issues related to the formulation a unique Bahá'í version of process thought. Other issues to be examined include the nature and role of God and the Manifestation, emergent evolution, being and becoming, substance, essence, form, potential, causality and organicism.
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Exploring Insights from the Rational and the Sacred in Moral Action: Kant's Metaphysics of Morals and the Limits of Pure Reason     edit

by Shahla Maghzi

The story of the "deep and still existing dichotomy between the rational and the sacred"1 which arose during the Enlightenment, can be seen reflected in the work of Immanuel Kant (1724-1804). His compelling insights into the necessity of a moral law, subsequent attempt to derive universal moral law from a theory of categorical imperative, and final acknowledgement of the limits of pure reason alone to achieve this aim, demonstrate the longing yet limits of a purely rational approach to provide ultimate answers to questions of moral definition and incentive. In response to the questions raised by Kant, the paper will explore selections from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá' as well as contemporary historians that address the relevance of thoughtful and tolerant inquiry into both rational and sacred insight as the foundation for cultivating knowledge and volition as a basis for moral action.

1 The Institute for Studies in Global Prosperity, "Science, Religion and Development: Some Initial Considerations" (1997-2003).

From Secret of Divine Civilization to Treatise on Politics     edit

by Muin Afnani

The book of Madaníyyah, "The Secret of Divine Civilization", was written by the Master in Akka in 1875 at the instruction of Bahá'u'lláh. In a Tablet, written in the voice of Bahá'u'lláh's secretary, it is stated that one day the Blessed Beauty asked The Most Great Branch to write an epistle on the causes of the rise and decline of civilization. When Bahá'u'lláh saw the book of Madaníyyah He expressed His exceeding gladness for what `Abdu'l-Bahá had written.

To the casual reader it may appear that this book is addressed to the King and the people of Iran in the 19th century. However, the true audiences are political leaders and people of the world. Hence, this is a treatise on the causes of rise and decline of civilization. The significance of this book becomes more apparent when we consider the reform movements taking place in Iran, as well as the oppositions to reform, in the latter decades of that century. Using the particular context of Iran in the 19th century 'Abdu'l-Bahá addresses the objections levied against reform. However, in addressing each particular objection He explains the factors causing decline of civilization in general, and the conditions necessary for its progress.

Roles and responsibilities of political leaders, duties and responsibilities of citizens, the role of religion in civilization, religion vs. state, and qualifications necessary for true leaders are among the topics addressed extensively in this magnificent book. Aside from these topics, this book could be studied from linguistic point of view. To cite one example, throughout this work 'Abdu'l-Bahá has quoted from Persian and Arabic sayings and poetry, many of which had become forgotten or archaic by then.

The book of Síyyásíyyah, "The Political Treatise," was written about the year 1893, a year after Bahá'u'lláh's ascension. This book has not been translated, however, its content is very much similar to "The Secret of Divine Civilization," and it is much shorter. In this book the Master in a very clear language talks about the ruinous results of interference of the clergy in politics, and gives historical examples. The significance of this book becomes more evident when one considers the following sets of events in the last decade of the 19th century:

1. The sociopolitical environment of Iran (and the Middle East) leading to significant changes in the next few decades.

2. The activities of Azali Covenant breakers (followers of Mírzá Yahyá Azal) who were active in politics.

The large growth of the Bahá'í community of Iran in this period and the need for its protection.

Images of Christ in the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, The: (cross-published as Occasional Papers Vol. 1)     edit

by Maryam Afshar

`Abdu'l-Bahá in his talks and letters addressed to the believers of the West referred most of the time to Christ. His audience being in majority Christians could better relate to, and understand, the Master's message through Christian examples.

If we consider the chronology of the events, 'Abdu'l-Bahá started addressing some Christian subjects in his talks given at table in Akka during 1904-1906 to guests and pilgrims from Christian background compiled in Some Answered Questions.

When 'Abdu'l-Bahá started his journey to Europe in September 1911 and to the United States in April 1912 his goal was to proclaim for the first time the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh to the Christian West. Inevitably allusions to Christ were numerous.

'Abdu'l-Bahá has drawn a parallel between Christ and Bahá'u'lláh and also he has elucidated the meaning of some of Christ's words and explained the main traditional Christian doctrine such as incarnation, resurrection, trinity, baptism, etc In doing so he has brought a new, refreshing and eye-opening view on these subjects.

'Abdu'l-Bahá has also addressed the prophecies on the coming of Christ, but the image of Christ that 'Abdu'l-Bahá has depicted in his talks and letters is multifarious. This presentation will examine the following facets: Christ as Manifestation of God, the Word of God, the Unifier, the Sun of Truth, and the Educator-Teacher.

This paper has been published as Occasional Papers Volume 1.

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Introduction to the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, An     edit

by Amin Banani

Introduction to the Writings of the Bab, An     edit

by Habib Riazati

  1. Scope of the Writings of the Báb
    1. In term of the number of works in the light of statements made by the Báb, Bahá'u'lláh, 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi
    2. Various modes
    3. Major woks of different periods
  2. The challenges concerning the authenticity of the Writings of the Báb
    1. Quotations made by others.
    2. Known works that are lost.
    3. Works attributed to the Báb by DEDUCTIVE references made by Bahá'u'lláh, 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi
    4. Titles known but not EXACTLY identified
  3. The impact of the Báb on the Islamic tradition
  4. The relationship of the Writings of the Báb to Bahá'u'lláh
    1. Historical connectivity
    2. Content analysis
  5. Publication of the Writings of the Báb
    1. The directive of 'Abdu'l-Bahá concerning the publication of the Báb's Writings
    2. INBA volumes, BA series
    3. EGB collection
    4. PU library
    5. UCLA library
    6. BLM collection
  6. Bahá'í publications

Panel Presentation on "Qayyúmu'l-Asmá'"     edit

by Muin Afnani and Stephen Lambden, and Habib Raizati

The Qayyúm al-Asmá' of the Báb, with special reference to the Súrat al-Mulk (QA.1 'The Surah of the Dominion') and the Surat Husayn (QA. 5 'The Surah of Husayn')
Stephen N. Lambden

The Qayyúm al-Asmá' is the first major work of Sayyid 'Ali Muhammad the Báb (1819-1850 CE) which he commenced at the time of his declaration to Mulla Husayn Bushrui, his first disciple or Letter of the Living. It is wholly in Arabic, extending for more than 300 pages and divided up into 111 surahs, because each surah except the first comments usually in rewritten form upon one of the 111 surahs in the Qur'an.

The phrase Qayyúm al-Asmá' , when literally translated, would mean 'the Self-Subsisting of the Divine Names,' and this most probably indicates the centrality of the divine Joseph to this important revelation, because the word 'Qayyúm ' and the name 'Joseph' both have an identical abjad, or numerical value, of 156. Within the text of the Qayyúm al-Asmá' itself, many claims of the Báb are directly or indirectly voiced. At this time, he held a 'messianic secret' only obliquely indicating his very exalted status. He represents himself as a servant (`abd) of the Hidden Imam, otherwise occasionally known as the Dhikr (Remembrance), who both symbolizes the messianic and divine persona of the Báb and as the Most Great Remembrance, for Bahá'ís an allusion to the person of Bahá'u'lláh. The Qayyúm al-Asmá' is a fascinating kaleidoscope of messianic, cabalistic, theological and other dimensions of the inner meanings of the Qur'an itself. It represents itself as the ta'wil (inner, esoteric dimension) of the Qur'an, which would be divulged in the new age initiated by the theophany of the Qa'im (promised messianic 'ariser') spoken about in various Shi'i traditions.

The first chapter of the Qayyúm al-Asmá' was entitled 'Surat al-Mulk' or the Surah of the Dominion, by the Báb himself. The reason for this title relates to the fact that mulk (dominion or kingdom or sovereignty, etc.)the Arabic word has several shades of meaningenshrines meanings which are indicative of global rulership of the earth, which the Báb proclaimed was now returning to the custody of God Himself through the custody of the messianic Twelfth Imam, Dhikr, or their servant the Báb. A common Qur'anic and Islamic expression, al-mulk li-llahi (the Kingdom belongeth to God), indicates that the Kingdom of God (to use a Biblical expression), the rulership of the world and of human hearts, is being or will be established in its fullness. The well known Bahá'í prayer "God grant that the light of unity..." includes the words 'and the seal the kingdom is God's may be stamped on the brow of all its peoples' makes the hopes of the Báb also the aim of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh, namely global ascent to the sovereignty of God part of the divine plan. These themes and other aspects of the Surah of the Dominion (QA.1) will be detailed in this presentation.

The first chapter of the Qayyúm al-Asmá' which deals with the story of Joseph, is the fifth surah, which is known as the Surat Husayn. A few words about the Biblical patriarch and Qur'anic prophet Joseph follow. The person and story of Joseph is important in both the Bible (Genesis 37-50) and the Qur'an (surah 12, 111 verses) where the account of this patriarch-prophet is the longest qur'anic narrative an aspect of the "best of stories" (ahsan al- qassass). In Sunni and Shi`i Islamic sources Joseph is pre-eminently a model of righteous piety (al-siddiq) and a paragon of handsome beauty (husn; jamal). The latter hagiographical motif is, for example, indicated in the Shi`i Tafsir nur al-thaqalayn (`Commentary [expressive] of the Light of the Twin Weights') of al-Huwayzi (d. 1112/1700) where it is recorded that the sixth Twelver Imam, Abi `Abdu'llah, Ja`far al-Sadiq (d. c. 126/743) stated that "Whoso reciteth the Surah of Joseph each day or during every night will be raised up by God on the Day of Resurrection such that their beauty (jamal) will be consonant with the beauty of Joseph..." (II:408). Qur'an 12:4 records the dream-vision of Joseph; "Behold, Joseph said to his father:`O my father! I saw eleven stars, and the sun and the moon, I saw them bowing down before me!'". Among the interpretations of this verse are the following words again from one of the Twelver Imams, "The inner sense (al-ta'wil) of this dream-vision (al-ru'ya) is that he [Joseph] will rule Egypt; and there shall enter before him his father [Jacob-Israel] and his brothers. As for the "sun" (al-shams) it is Rachael (Rahil) the mother of Joseph while the "moon" (al-qamar) is Jacob (Ya`qub). Now the eleven stars (al-kawakib) are his [eleven] brothers. When they entered before him they prostrated in gratitude before God alone; the moment they caught sight of him was that of the prostration before God." (cited Bahrani, Kitab al- burhan, II:243).

The Shí'í imamological understanding of the Joseph narrative is registered in various authoritative traditions (ahadith; khabar) and tafsir works. Aspects of its non-literal (allegorical-typological... ) exegesis had messianic implications relative to the ghayba ("occultation") and eventual advent or "return" of the expected (hidden 12th) Imam. This provides the background to the Bábí-Bahá'í interpretation of the Joseph narrative, which is often eschatological, messianic and theophanological.

The Báb's interpretation of the motifs in the dream of Joseph go way beyond this Shi'i interpretation expressed by Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq. In QA V, the dream-vision of Joseph (Q. 12:4) is cited and commented upon. Among other things, it is asserted that God intended by Joseph the nafs, the "Logos-Self" of the Messenger (= Muhammad) and the "fruit of the [womb of the] the Virgin" (thamarat al-batul) by which Fatimah's son, the martyred and expected to "return" [Imam] Husayn (4/626-61/680) is intended. The sun, moon and eleven stars seen by Joseph in his vision symbolize Fatima (= "the sun"), Muhammad (= "the moon") and the [Twelver] Imams (presumably 'Ali ... > Hasan al- Askari = "the stars"; see Q.12:7). The twelve Imams are also representative of the 12 letters of the kalimat al-tawhid, the Islamic affirmation of the Divine Unity (= the 12 letters of la ilaha ila Allah = 'There is none other god but God').

In certain of his later writings such as his Kitáb al-Asmá' ' ("Book of Names") the Báb associated the beauteous Joseph (Yúsuf al-bahá) with the Bábí messiah figure manyuzhiruhu'llah ("He Whom God shall make manifest") as well as with an expected theophany of Imam Husayn. It was in this light that Bahá'u'lláh came to claim to be the `True Joseph', the returned Husayn and an incarnation of baha as that `beauty-glory' which he identified with the greatest Name of God (al-ism Allah al-a`zam).

Bahá'u'lláh frequently expressed his claims through an allegorical-mystical use of Joseph motifs. He referred to himself as the "Ancient [Pre-existent] Beauty (jamal al-qidam) and frequently, for example, (directly or indirectly) highlighted his theophanological Joseph-like "Beauty" (baha, jamal, husn, ) and associated resplendent "Garment[s]" diffusing an exquisite, captivating eschatological scent. One of the major features of many of the Tablets of the Edirne [Adrianople] period (1863-68 CE; e.g. Lawh-i Sarráj; Lawh-i Sayyáh and Súrat al-Qamís) is the presence of Joseph motifs; often rooted in Persian poetry and the Qayyúm al-Asmá'. Numerous elevated proclamatory claims are framed in terms of a new Joseph theophany.

For Bahá'ís Joseph was a Manifestation of God. His life story pre-figures and reflects that of Bahá'u'lláh. Just as Joseph was abandoned by his jealous brothers and subsequently imprisoned so was Bahá'u'lláh rejected by his half-brother Mirza Yahya Nuri (c.1830-1912) and incarcerated by the Ottoman authorities for several decades of the nineteenth century. In this paper these and related themes and motifs including that of the Joseph's (traditionally) "coat of many colours" (Heb. ketnot passim; Gen. 37:3b; so AV [KJV] of 1611) or scent diffusing "garment" (Arabic, qamis) will be sketched and analysed.

Service, Joy and Sacrifice: An Essay on Commentaries by 'Abdu'l-Baha'     edit

by James B. Thomas

Throughout the many talks that 'Abdu'l-Bahá gave to all types of audiences in His travels, He consistently interspersed the subjects of service and sacrifice. These presuppose basic choices that one must make in changing one's life from predominately self interest to one of sharing. Moreover, such sharing and service must occur well beyond an individual's 'comfort zone' to have any significance. This essay deals with the human resistance to such change and the unexpected but uplifting rewards that follow. It further emphasizes the fact of our spiritual nature and the challenge we face in recognizing that fact. In the process of shifting a personal paradigm from self-interest to concern for others, a spiritual transformation will often follow.

'Abdu'l-Bahá describes four significant levels of sacrifice and identifies physical/spiritual types. The ultimate goal is to attain the 'station of sacrifice'. Within this context, 'Abdu'l-Bahá provides a supreme example of a life of service to God and to humankind. He expounds upon the meaning of suffering and the mystery of sacrifice.

References are made to the Heroic Age of the Bahá'í Dispensation and the extraordinary sacrifices by the early believers. Early centuries of Christianity are also mentioned. The unconditional faith that the many heroes of religion expressed provides tremendous inspiration for today. 'Abdu'l-Bahá brings all of this into focus in His unique style, a style that connects us to our own deep purposes in life.

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Tablet of the Seeker and Prerequisites of the Mi'ráj: The Kitáb-i-Iqán and the Irshád al-'Avám     edit

by Sholeh A. Quinn

The much-loved so-called "Tablet of the True Seeker" in Bahá'u'lláh's Kitáb-i Íqán contains a list of spiritual qualities necessary to attain the status of the "true seeker." Immediately before this section, Bahá'u'lláh makes reference to a work entitled the Irshád al-`Avám, by Karim Khan Kirmani. Describing how he came to receive a copy of this book and read a portion of it, he offers a sharp critique of the work, criticizing in particular the author's section on the mi`ráj.

This paper will examine in close detail that portion of the Irshád al-'Avám that Bahá'u'lláh discusses in the Kitáb-i-Íqán, including a comparison of Karim Khan Kirmani's prerequisites for understanding the mi'ráj and Bahá'u'lláh's list of prerequisites for attaining the status of "true seeker."

Unity and Progressive Revelation: Comparing Bahá'í Principles with the Basic Concepts of Teilhard de Chardin     edit

by Wolfgang Klebel

About a decade before Teilhard de Chardin's death (1881-1955) and the posthumous publishing of his books, Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith wrote these words in 1949:

"The world has at least the thinking worldcaught up by now with all the great and universal principles enunciated by Bahá'u'lláh over 70 years ago, and so of course it does not sound "new" to them. But we know that the deeper teachings, the capacity of His projected World Order to re-create society, are new and dynamic. It is these we must learn to present intelligently and enticingly!" 1

This catching up of the "thinking world" with the Bahá'í Principles will be the point of comparison of this paper, which attempts to "correlate with the Bahá'í teachings" the corresponding concepts of Teilhard de Chardin, whose books created a sensation in European intellectual circles when they were first published. This correlation will allow to compare the Faith with the "progressive movements of today" and promote the study of the "Bahá'í teachings more deeply." (Shoghi Effendi2) In the following nine chapters these points of comparison will be made:

Bahá'í Principles Teilhard's Basic Concepts
1 Unity in diversity Unification and differentiation
2 Independent Investigation The phenomenon of Man in the Unity of science and religion cosmos (a purely and simply scientific treatise)
3 Progressive Revelation "The God of Evolution," "Christ the Evolver"
4 Evil and God's providence Evil and Evolution
5 Man's position in the universe "Hominization" of the universe
6 Attraction and love as principle of Reality Love and reason as principle of existence in "spirit-matter"
7 Service to an ever advancing civilization Service in a "religion of the Earth"
8 Return of Christ in Bahá'u'lláh "Christ must be born again"
9 Manifestations of God The cosmic Christ"


1 Copyright Wolfgang Klebel, 2003

2 Compilations: Importance of Deepening, Page: 152 (Bahá'í Library CD-ROM)

3 "Shoghi Effendi has for years urged the Bahá'ís (who asked his advice, and in general also) to study history, economics, sociology, etc., in order to be au courant with all the progressive movements and thoughts being put forth today, and so that they could correlate these to the Bahá'í teachings. What he wants the Bahá'ís to do is to study more, not to study less. The more general knowledge, scientific and otherwise, they possess, the better. Likewise he is constantly urging them to really study the Bahá'í teachings more deeply. One might liken Bahá'u'lláh's teachings to a sphere; there are points poles apart, and in between the thoughts and doctrines that unite them." Excerpt from letters written by Shoghi Effendi: 19 April 1947, The Importance of Deepening, pages 228-229.

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