Sen McGlinn's blog

                                  Reflections on the Bahai teachings

Learned – honour them

To: GG,
Subject: RE: [bbst] Prog. Rev.
Date sent: Fri, 13 Mar 2009

On 13 Mar 2009 at 9:25, Davis, Rob wrote:

> Maybe there is a paradigm shift with the Faith of Baha’u’llah though
> in that power has pretty much been taken away from the leaders and
> given to the people, so maybe it will not follow that pattern of the
> educated trying a new social innovation then the masses following
> suit.
> Isn’t this precisely what makes the Faith unique for this Age? That
> it will be the grassroots that influences the leaders of thought and
> not the other way around? That was the case with Mirza Abul Fadl (
> and was Muslim but was influenced by a “lowly Babi” and so was won
> over to the Faith that way.

In fact a disproportionate number of the Babis came from clerical and
educated backgrounds: see Table on page 72.
This shows that 37% of the participants at Tabarsi were ulama (muslim
learned men), and almost 50% of the prominent people in the movement
were ulama. The only other large group were the merchants, accounting
for about 11% of the prominent Babis. Baha’u’llah boasts of this
distinction in the Iqan:

“In this most resplendent Dispensation, however, this most mighty
Sovereignty, a number of illumined divines, of men of consummate
learning, of doctors of mature wisdom, have attained unto His Court,
drunk the cup of His divine Presence, and been invested with the
honour of His most excellent favour. They have renounced, for the sake
of the Beloved, the world and all that is therein. We will mention the
names of some of them, that perchance it may strengthen the
faint-hearted, and encourage the timorous.

Among them was Mulla Husayn, who became the recipient of the
effulgent glory of the Sun of divine Revelation. But for him, God
would not have been established upon the seat of His mercy, nor
ascended the throne of eternal glory. Among them also was Siyyid
Yahya, that unique and peerless figure of his age,

Mulla Muhammad Aliy-i-Zanjani
Mulla Aliy-i-Bastami
Mulla Sa’id-i-Barfurushi
Mulla Ni’matu’llah-i-Mazindarani
Mulla Yusuf-i-Ardibili
Mulla Mihdiy-i-Khu’i
Siyyid Husayn-i-Turshizi
Mulla Mihdiy-i-Kandi
Mulla Baqir
Mulla Abdu’l-Khaliq-i-Yazdi
Mulla Aliy-i-Baraqani

and others, well nigh four hundred in number, whose names are all
inscribed upon the “Guarded Tablet” of God.”

While authority in the community is taken from the learned and vested
in elected institutions of ordinary believers, the learned still have
a role as leaders of thought:

Respect ye the divines and learned amongst you, they whose conduct
accords with their professions, who transgress not the bounds
which God hath fixed, whose judgments are in conformity with His
behests as revealed in His Book. Know ye that they are the lamps
of guidance unto them that are in the heavens and on the earth.
They who disregard and neglect the divines and learned that live
amongst them — these have truly changed the favor with which God
hath favored them.
(Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 128)

The Great Being saith: The man of consummate learning and the sage
endowed with penetrating wisdom are the two eyes to the body of
mankind. God willing, the earth shall never be deprived of these
two greatest gifts.
(Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 170)

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