Writings and Teachings of the Bab

later explicated in his later writings: The body of the Bab is the gate to the 12 th Imam. His soul is the 12 th Imam, his intellect is the prophet, and his heart is the source of divine revelation. (Saiedi Gate 102-103) B. Five Modes of Revelation Another typology of his own writings is a key for understanding the substantive worldview of the Bab. He divides his writings into five modes (sha’n) of revelation. These are the divine verses, prayers or supplications, interpretations and sermons, rational and philosophical explanations, and Persian works. 9Persian Bayan 6:1) The last mode acts as an integrative form of the other four. The four modes of revelation are significant because they unveil the truth of the Bab as well as the structure of reality. Unlike Islam in which these four modes of revelation were revealed by different sacred figures throughout centuries of Islamic dispensation, all four modes of revelation are revealed by the Bab himself throughout the six years of his revelation. As he explains, divine verses belong to the divinity of the Manifestation of God, the prayers belong to the prophethood or servitude of the Manifestation, interpretations pertain to the Imams, and the rational explanations belong to the gates or special scholars. (Persian Bayan 3:16) According to the Bab, the last two modes of revelation, namely interpretations and rational explanations, are derivatives and elaborations of the first two modes of revelation. Therefore, interpretations are commentaries on the divine verses, and rational explanations are in fact unveiling of the truth of the prayers, both emphasizing the spiritual quest to discover the infinite within the finite. (Persian Bayan 2:15) However, the two primary modes of revelation, namely divine verses and prayers are descriptions of the truth of the Manifestation of God. The Point or the Manifestation, possesses two stations. On the one hand a prophet is a pure mirror in whom nothing can be see except the revelation of God. On the other hand, this mirror is different from the Sun in heaven. The first aspect is the divinity of the Manifestation, and the second is its servitude. Manifestation or the Point is therefore the unity of divinity and servitude. Everything else is also a reflection of the Point, possessing within itself both divinity and servitude. (Persian Bayan 4:1) The ultimate truth of everything is its divinity, namely the revelation of God within it. While things are different from each other by their various finite characteristics, the ultimate truth and identity of everything is the sign of God which is present within them. All things therefore, are both one and many. Unity in diversity defines the metaphysics of being. C. Three Stages of Revelation Writings of the Bab can also be divided chronologically into three stages. (Saiedi Gate) During the first stage, the interpretive stage, the defining form of revelation is interpretation. The most important work of this stage is his Commentary on the Surih of Joseph which was written during 40 days beginning on the first night of his declaration on 23 rd of May 1844. Another major work of this period is his Commentary on the Surih of Cow, which began a few months before his declaration and continued to be revealed during his trip to Mecca and Medina. (Lawson Tafsir) During this stage he wrote hundreds of works, including The Book of Spirit (Kitab al-Ruh), Commentary on the opening phrase of the Quran or bismillah, Epistle Revealed between the twin Shrines (Sahifiyi Bayn al-Haramayn) a number of prayer books including Epistle on the Devotional Deeds of the Year (Sahifiyi A’mali Sanih) and Hidden Treasured Epistle (Sahifiyi Makhzunih), and a Commentary on the Occultation Prayer (Shari Dunay Hayat). It is important to note that at the end of this first stage, the Bab himself organizes all his numerous works up to that point into four books and ten epistles. The four books are Commentary on the Surah of Cow, The Book of Spirit, A collection of fifty of his Tablets, and his Commentary on the Surah of Joseph.

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