Writings and Teachings of the Bab

new culture in the world. In this culture people see themselves and others as the reflections of divine attributes, a divinity that is common to all human beings. This spiritual culture requires the nobility and dignity of all human beings. Comparing the social rank of farmers with kings, in his work the Kitab al-Asma’ (the Book of Divine Names), the Báb argues that farmer / cultivator is one of the supreme names of God. God is a farmer because he plants the seeds of his divine words in the hearts of human beings. Humans must purify the soil of their souls so that these seeds will yield fruit. He continues that since peasants, who are apparently the lowest rank in society, are a reflection of divine names, and since princes are also a reflection of divine names, therefore, people should treat farmers exactly in the same way that they treat their kings. Both are one reality and both are living by God’s bidding. (Kitab al-Asma’ 383) Another expression of the same logic is the spiritual approach to language in the writings of the Báb. He teaches that in thinking of anything, we should examine the alphabetical letters that constitute its name. We should then take each letter of that name as an abbreviation of one of the names of God. In this way we can see everything as the embodiment of various divine attributes. Everything becomes sacred and beautiful, because it is a reflection of divinity. (Persian Bayan 5:9) The Báb sees humans as noble beings who are endowed with the inherent capacity to think for themselves and, therefore, are obligated to engage in the independent investigation of truth. This means that no human being should be dependent on other humans to investigate the spiritual truth. Two major expressions of this idea are the elimination of the clerical authority and the replacement of word in place of the miracles. The writings of the Báb eliminated the clerical institution and prohibited them from mounting the pulpit. He finds such ascent, as well as the seating of the people beneath the cleric, an insult to the dignity of all human beings. (Persian Bayan 7:11) He also prohibits congregational prayer which requires following the clerical leader of the prayer. According to the Báb, worship of God does not require human mediation, and all must engage in prayer with the purity of their own heart. Even when the Báb makes an exception in the case of the prayer for the dead, he emphasizes that no one should stand ahead of others. All must stand in equal rows to honor the deceased. (Persian Bayan 9:9) One of the central teachings of the Báb is that miracles, as the breaking of the laws of nature, have no relevance to the mission of the prophet—which is the spiritual and moral education of humanity. Therefore, miracles cannot function as a true evidence of truth. The rejection of the obsessive Shi’i preoccupation with miracles, was intended by the Báb to remove a great obstacle against the progress of society towards rationalism, and was intended to purify the realm of religion from superstition and a magical orientation. The supreme miracle of God belongs to the realm of spirit, namely the divine words. Humans are all directly responsible to study the word of God, meditate upon it and independently make their own judgment. (Persian Bayan 2:1, 2:14, 2:16, 6:8) Ethics The writings of the Báb offer a universal ethical maxim. He says that human deeds should be done ‘for the sake of God and for the sake of his creatures.’ ( Saiedi Gate 302-3 ) Human action should be motivated by the desire to serve the human race as well as all beings, rather than being a means for attainment of one’s selfish desires. (Persian Bayan 7:2) He states that the divine providence of God is

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