Writings and Teachings of the Bab

universal, and it makes no distinction between believers and non-believers. Even when humans deny God, he continues to provide his bounties to them. According to the Báb, all should follow this same universal ethical model and treat believers and non-believers in the same way. ( Saiedi Gate 302-3 ) One of the main aims of the Báb is the creation of a culture of affirmation in which all see themselves as responsible for the needs and welfare of all others. In his Persian Bayan, he writes that if one receives a letter, or is asked a question, one has to answer it in the most responsive way. He then says that one must go further, and insists that if someone is in need of something, even if he does not ask for help, one should respond to the call of his condition. All must feel obligated to answer the objective needs of all others. (Persian Bayan 6:19) Another expression of this principle is the prohibition of causing grief to anyone. It states that not only one should not cause sorrow for others, but rather, one should bring joy and delight to the hearts of others. (Persian Bayan 4:18) Another ethical teaching of the Bab is the necessity of a spiritual reconstruction in the realm of the economy and industry. He commands that one has to perform his economic and industrial work in the utmost state of perfection. When one engages in productive labor in the highest state of perfection possible at one’s level, one is acting as the image of God. (Kitab al-Asma’ 627) The sacred and spiritual character of humans, therefore, must manifest itself at the most ‘materialistic’ level of social life, namely in the realm of economics and work. This seeking of excellence in work is inseparable from the imperative of refinement and beautification in all things. It is necessary to beautify the world for, as he says, no ordinance is more emphasized in the Bayan than the binding principle of refinement. (Persian Bayan 6:3) F. Expectation of the Promised One Perhaps the most frequently-discussed and emphasized idea in the later writings of the Bab is the advent of the next Manifestation of God and the imperative that all the followers of the Bab must recognize him. This promised One is usually called He Whom God shall make manifest, and sometimes as Baha’u’llah (the Glory of God). While he does not limit the revelation of the Promised One to any pre- determined rule, he sometimes mentions the year nine as the time of his revelation. (Saiedi, Gate of the Heart 344-57) Although the Bab appoints Mirza Yahya Azal as the nominal leader of his community after himself, he frequently emphasizes that when the Promised One appears all the Babis, including any of their leaders, become equal. (Persian Bayan 2:3) At that moment no one is a believer let alone a leader. Anyone who recognizes the Promised One becomes a believer and anyone who turns away from him is a non-believer. The authority of any Babi leader is confined to the time prior to the revelation of the Promised One. (Tablet to Mulla Baqir) The concept of Him Whom God shall make manifest becomes the occasion for two important novel ideas in the writings of the Bab. First, he reinterprets the culture of millenarian expectation. The Shi’i millenarian culture, for example, emphasizes a magical culture in which the true Promised One appears in accordance with all pre-determined traditions, making him first recognizable to the clerics, where the ordinary people should follow the clerics, and therefore, persecution, hatred and killing of a “false claimant” is strongly emphasized. The Bab turns all these ideas upside down. The Promised One rejects traditions, the clerics are the first to oppose him, everyone is independently responsible for recognizing him, and no claimant should be harmed or insulted. The Bab says that even if a claimant is not the real Promised One, but the mere fact that he has attributed himself to the Beloved, requires loving him as well. Culture of awaiting turns into a culture of religious tolerance. (Persian Bayan 4:4, 6:8)

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