The Land of Za'farán (ard-i-za'farán) in the Bábí-Bahá'í Scriptures

By Farshid Kazemi

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #89
Center for Bahá'í Studies: Acuto, Italy
June 28 – July 1, 2009
(see list of papers from #89)

    One of the more obscure visionary landscapes in the spiritual topography of Islamic gnosis and mysticism, which has also found mention in the Bábí-Bahá'í scriptures, is a perfumed and redolent earth, called the land of Saffron/Za'farán, or ard-i-za'farán. This term in its current linguistic form (ard-i-zafarán), seems to first appear in the work of the great 13th century Sufi mystic Ibn al-`Arabi's magnum opus, the Futuhát al-Makiyya, in which it figures as one of the lands or earths in the ard al-haqiqa, or the Land of the Reality, which according to him belongs to the Imaginal World or the 'álam al-khayál. Since the publication of Vahid Rafati's paper (which we shall translate here as an appendix to this paper (see appendix 1), on this mysterious `earth' and its significance in the Bábí-Bahá'í scriptures, there has been but only a few passing references to this paradisiacal land by other scholars. In this paper by way of an introduction we will do an assessment of the background of this term with the hope of adding other possible insights into the significance and genealogy of this visionary geography, particularly its messianico-eschatological significance, within the Bábí-Bahá'í scriptural cosmos.

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