Writings and Teachings of the Bab

Typology of His Writings The Bab himself provides at least two different form of typology of his writings. A. Early and Later Writings

The first typology is a chronological one. In Persian Bayan he divides his writings in to two stages. (Persian Bayan 6:1) His early writings prior to his exile to Maku are ambiguous about his real claim, intending to prepare the people for the subsequent unveiling of his true station. Divine purpose and meaning, therefore, is less explicit in those writings. Muslims in general believed that Muhammad is the last prophet and Islam is the last and eternal religion. The Shi’is awaited a millenarian cosmic event when the hidden twelfth Imam would appear with his sword and purify the world from Non-Shi’i believers. The declaration of the Bab in 1844 was exactly one thousand Islamic (lunar) years after the occultation of that Imam who was supposed to be physically living but hidden during this millennium. The Bab not only believed himself to be a new prophet who would abrogate Islam and bring a new religion, he also claimed to be the truth of that Hidden Imam even though he was born 25 years prior to his declaration in the city of Shiraz. His claim, therefore, was a total reversal of the fundamental religious assumptions prevalent among Iranian Muslims, and at first he had to present his new ideas in a relatively concealed way. Therefore, during the first stage of his writing (May 1844-April 1847) he wrote as if he was the Gate (Bab) to the Hidden 12 th Imam. (Saiedi Gate ch. 3) It was a few months prior to the last three years of his ministry that he unveiled the truth of his claim in his writings. The Persian Bayan represents the beginning of this second stage. In the very first chapter of the Persian Bayan he claims that he is a prophet who has brought a new religion, that his revelation constitutes the day of Judgment, that all prophets are one and the same, that his religion is a preparation of humanity for the coming of a next prophet, and that religion is an ever living, dynamic, historical and progressive reality. (Persian Bayan 1:1) Although these two stages are very different, they both express a common spiritual worldview. The language of the first stage uses the familiar Islamic categories, whereas the second stage creates novel symbols related to the new revelation. For examples the first 18 believers of the Bab who were previously called Sabiqun (those who have preceded others in faith,) are now called the Letters of the Living (Huruf-i- Hayy). (Persian Bayan 1:2) While previously the expected 12 th Imam appeared to be the object of awaiting, the writings of the second stage speak of the next Manifestation of God as ‘He Whom God shall make manifest,’ and define the entire revelation of the Bab as a preparation for that subsequent revelation. Complex relations between categories like the point, the letters, one, nineteen, and all things are among the new concepts of his revelation where he is uniting a mystical discourse with a historical consciousness. At the same time, both stages replace miracles with the word as the supreme proof of his truth. (Seven Proofs) It is the revelation of divine verses, the words of God, through the Bab that is the ultimate miracle of the Bab. From the very first day of his declaration, the Bab announced that he can reveal divine verses ceaselessly as the proof of his truth. The very fact that so many of his early works were written in the form of divine verses was a clear indication of his real claim in those early times. According to the Qur’an no one can bring divine verses except God. This meant that no one except the prophet of God can bring divine verses. Although he apparently called himself the gate to the 12 th Imam, his revelation of divine verses indicated that he is a prophet of God far above the station of any Imam. The ceaseless revelation of the divine verses by the Bab hinted at the same fact which was

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