Writings and Teachings of the Bab

recognition of them that God can be known. Writings of the Bab redefine the meaning of prophethood, religion, and revelation. All prophets of God are one and the same. These Manifestations of God are like pure mirrors. God is the Sun, whose reflection in the mirrors of various Manifestations defines the truth of them. Furthermore, there is no end for the revelation of God in the form of new religions. There is no final revelation, no final religion, and no final prophet. Religion becomes a dialogical phenomenon. Religion is not an absolute and eternally-binding imposition of the Will of God on humans. Rather, it is the product of the interaction of the will of God with the historical stage of development of humanity. Since humans are historical and changing, religion is also a dynamic and progressive reality. One of the most significant and central expressions of this dialectical and historical concept is his concept of irtifa’. According to the Báb, each new religion is an irtifa’ of the previous religion. The word irtifa’ , which means both cancellation and elevation, is used by the Báb as his key conceptual term to convey the unity of two opposite meanings. (Persian Bayan 3:3) On the one hand a new religion is the negation and abrogation of the previous religion. On the other hand, the new religion is the same previous religion which appears in a higher more elevated form. The word irifa’ in the writings of the Bab conveys the same meaning that is offered by Hegel’s category of Aufhebung. (Hegel Philosophy) C. Day of Resurrection The Bab reinterprets the prevalent ideas about the day of resurrection, heaven, and hell. According to him, heaven and hell are not confined to human beings. Instead, all things have their own heavens and hells. For all things, heaven, the Báb maintains, is the state of the realization of its own potential. Likewise, hell is the deprivation of a thing from realizing its perfection. Not only humans but also all beings in nature are manifestations of divine attributes. Consequently, all things are beautiful and sacred, and nature is also endowed with moral rights. All things yearn to attain the state of their own perfection, which is their paradise. Humans are obligated to help everything, including the realm of nature, to achieve its paradise. (Persian Bayan 4:11, 5:4) In regard to human beings, paradise is the state of the realization of one’s spiritual potentialities. Since humans are historical beings and since there is no end to their spiritual advancement, therefore, heaven and hell are also dynamic and historical phenomena. The Day of Resurrection is not the end of history. Instead, it is the day of the revelation of a new prophet of God who begins a new stage of development of human history. (Persian Bayan 2:8) D. The Occultation of the 12 th Imam In one of his works, Commentary on the Occultation Prayer, the Báb provides an alternative interpretation for the Shi’i concept of the occultation of the Twelfth Imam. Shi’is believe that the 12 th Imam had disappeared from the eyes of the people 12 centuries ago, that he is still physically alive in the world, and will appear again when the world is filled with injustice. (Saiedi, The Phenomenology of Occultation). According to the Báb, God has created the primordial truth of human beings in the utmost state of perfection and nobility. This idea, namely the original spiritual perfection and powers of all human beings is symbolically represented as the birth and the childhood of the Twelfth Imam. However, despite its potential nobility and glory, human beings in the course of their ordinary pursuits, become

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