In the Beginning:
An Analysis of the Opening Chapters of the Báb's Qayyum al-asma

By Sholeh Quinn

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #95
Bosch Bahá'í School: Santa Cruz, California, USA
May 19–23, 2010
(see list of papers from #95)

    In his Qayyum al-asmá, the Báb discusses numerous themes and addresses various audiences of people. The purpose of this paper is to examine more closely the themes and the addressees in the opening chapters of this important text. Chapter One of the Qayyum al-asmá, entitled the "Surat al-mulk" is primarily concerned with kings and notions of kingly authority. Here, the Báb lays out certain instructions to kings, describing in what ways they should come to his assistance. He also outlines the nature of their power and authority.

    Chapter Two of the Qayyum al-asmá, the "Surat al-'ulamá," addresses clerics, or members of Iran's religious classes. Here the Báb comments on certain clerical scriptural and legal practices of interpretation. The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast the notions of kingly and clerical authority and responsibilities as expressed by the Báb in the Qayyum al-asmá, and to place those ideas within historical context. The paper will conclude with a discussion of the first two chapters of the Qayyum al-asmá in relationship to those chapters immediately following them.

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