The Bab and the Perspective of the Heart

The Bab and the Perspective of the Heart Nader Saiedi

1. According to Foucault, traditional cultures and religious discourse have been based on a perspective that he calls it the epistemology or perspective of resemblance. This means that the relation of various social groups to each other resembles the relation of God to his creatures. Therefore, the absolute superiority of God to his servants becomes the model for various forms of social hierarchy in society. For example, the relation of men to women becomes a repetition of the relation between God and his creatures. Similarly, the relation of owners of slaves to slaves mirrors the relation of God to the world. Relation of the king to his subjects, relation of the believers to the non-believers, relation of the priests and mullahs to the ordinary believers are also a repetition of the relation of God to the creatures. We can see that in this perspective all forms of inequality and oppression are justified in the name of God and religion. In fact, the appearance of this perspective is that it sees everything from a spiritual perspective and it is in this way that it rationalizes various forms of injustice and bigotry. But from the point of view of the writings of the Bab and Baha’u’llah, such perspective is not a spiritual perspective. Rather, it is the perspective of the jungle, namely a materialistic perspective that sees humans as objects and beasts struggling for existence in a meaningless and cruel world. Both the Bab and Baha’u’llah reject this perspective of resemblance and replace it with a perspective of the heart. The perspective of the heart sees the entire reality as the mirrors of divine attributes. It is the perspective of reflection and revelation (Tajalli). Therefore, the truth of everything and everyone is ultimately one and the same, and that is the reflection of divine attributes. In this way all become sacred, all become beautiful and all become endowed with rights. Not only humans become all equal, nature has also its own right. Nature is a reflection of God, and therefore it has to be protected and respected. I give an example: In his book Kitab al-Asma’ (the Book of Divine Names), the Bab discusses various names of God. One of these names is the name Zari’ namely the farmer, the peasant, or the cultivator. The Bab says that the people think that only humans are farmers, and that the farmers are the lowest occupational group in society. He says that this is not true. The supreme farmer is God. God is the best farmer because he plants the seeds of his words in the heart and soul of the people. They should purify the soil of their heart so that this seed would instantly grow in to a mighty tree and yield fruits. Then the Bab says that both the kings and the famers are reflections of the names and attributes of God. Consequently, people should treat the farmers with the same dignity and respect that they treat their kings. Both are equal and both are reflections of divine names and attributes. Here we are in the realm of the heart. In everything nothing is seen but God and his attributes. Therefore, all become equal, sacred and beautiful. 2. Writings of the Bab can be divided in three stages. In the first stage the dominant element is interpretation of the Qur’anic chapters. The second stage discusses philosophy and metaphysics. The third stage legislates new laws, and abrogates previous religions. In all these stages the Bab writes on the basis of the perspective of the heart. As an example, here I briefly discuss the approach to interpretation in the writings of the Bab: The first expression of the presence of the perspective of the heart in his commentaries is the very act of interpretation by the Bab. His early writings, for example his Commentary on the

Made with FlippingBook flipbook maker