An Overview of the Bahá'í Writings on Iran (Part 1)

By Mina Yazdani

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #88
Bosch Bahá'í School: Santa Cruz, California, USA
May 28 – June 1, 2009
(see list of papers from #88)

    This presentation is based on the speaker's study of issues related to the social situation of Iran, drawing on the published Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, `Abdu'l-Bahá, and Shoghi Effendi, and as described in the presenter's book Uzá'-i- Ijtimá`í-i Iran dar `ahd-i- Qájár az khilál-i- áthár-i-mubárakah-yi Bahá'í [Iran at the Time of the Qájár Dynasty: A Perspective from the Bahá'í Sacred Writings], Hamilton: Association for Bahá'í Studies in Persian, 2003.

    The presentation addresses a number of relevant questions: What were the events in Iran to which the Bahá'í writings were responding? During which time periods were most such references to Iran made? What is the nature of the content of these writings? What guidance and recommendations was offered for the improvement and development of Iran? What duties were assigned to Bahá'ís in the service of Iran? What is the future which the Bahá'í writings envision for Iran?

    With these factual issues clarified, the speaker goes on to suggest that, based on the reason for their appearance, the Bahá'í Writings pertaining to Iran can be tentatively categorized under two headings: a) those focusing on the development and progress of Iran, irrespective of the immediate situation of Bahá'ís living in that country; and b) those passages revealed or written during the phases of heightened persecution of Bahá'ís in Iran, which almost invariably correspond to episodes of socio-political unrest in the country, such as 1300AH/1883, 1308AH/1891, and 1321AH/1903, and the period of the Constitutional Revolution (1324—29AH/1906—1911). The investigation of the Writings in the former category helps us develop a better understanding of Bahá'u'lláh's vision of the future of humanity at large; while the study of the latter provides us with an understanding of the history of the Faith in the first century of Bahá'í era (B.E.), and tools to conceptualize a Bahá'í reading of the history of Iran in Qájár era.

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