Writings and Teachings of the Bab

preoccupied with selfish and materialistic concerns, forgetting their own spiritual identity and truth. This state of self-forgetfulness and self-alienation is symbolized by the idea of the occultation of the Twelfth Imam. The age of occultation is the age of tyranny and injustice because the essence of tyranny is none other than the negation of spiritual values and the reduction of self to the level of beasts. That is why the emancipation from tyranny and the realization of the age of freedom require the reawakening of human spiritual consciousness in such a way that one’s potential spiritual powers become operative at the level of one’s concrete life. This return to one’s spiritual identity is symbolically presented as the return of the Twelfth Imam. (The Bab, Commentary on Occultation 70) E. Human Freedom and Justice of God Unlike most of the Sunni Muslims who tended to believe in divine determinism, the Shi’is affirmed some freedom for human beings. The Bab argues that human actions are simultaneously a product of the divine will (existence) and human choice and determination (essence). (Saiedi Gate 210-16) In addition to this dialogical view of human action, the Bab historicized this same concept. Divine action takes the form of historically-specific revelation of God in a new religious culture. Therefore, whatever happens within a spiritual community is simultaneously a product of individual choices, and the normative structures rooted in that particular revelation. (Persian Bayan 2:8, 4:1) Concept of human freedom and its dialogical structure become inseparable from the dialogical and historical character of religion and society. In other words, the Bab introduces, for the first time, a mystical form of the sociological consciousness. New Hermeneutics The Bab believes that the word of God has infinite meanings because it is a creative and living force. Yet, among these infinite meaning there is one meaning that is the most authentic. This supreme meaning is discovered through the gaze of unity. Thus, the real meaning of the text becomes accessible through ignoring the differences of letters, words, sentences, paragraphs and chapters of the text. Therefore, the reader sees the divine text as pure unity, as one point. This one point is nothing but the utter pure revelation of God which is the truth of the divine text. Yet, the truth of everything is this pure revelation of God. Consequently, not only various parts of the sacred text, but also various divine books are all one and the same. This common truth of all scriptures is nothing but the truth of all beings, the truth of all prophets. (Saiedi Gate 48-65) At its highest level of hermeneutics, the supreme meaning of every statement in any sacred scripture is one and the same: all books are one and the same, all religions are one and the same, all humans are one and the same. Hermeneutics becomes the art of discovering and unveiling the truth of everything. Human Nobility In the past, human identity was usually defined in terms of the characteristics that separate us from each other. Likewise, in the postmodern approach, human identity is defined in terms of one’s gender, ethnicity, language, class, age, nationality, culture and the like. The writings of the Báb propose an entirely different philosophy. For the Báb, humans are spiritual beings, and this means that a human being consists of two aspects. One aspect is what distinguishes us from each other, whereas the other aspect affirms our common unity. In the language of the Báb, the two aspects of human being are called essence and existence, or servitude and divinity. Like mirrors, the real truth of all people lies in the fact that an identical image is reflected in them. (Persian Bayan 4:1) The Báb, therefore, intends to create a

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