Dating of the text. Edward G. Structure and contents. Following indications in the original text for the English translation, Ali Kuli Khan and Shoghi Effendi, not inappropriately, divided the text into two parts KI , part 1, pp. Biblical distortion was, he said, only limited to a few specific instances KI , pp.
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This is the first time these texts have been published since their original publication. The Iqan also served to heighten the adventist fervor current in the Babi community, in anticipation of the advent of a messianic figure foretold by the Bab.
Ahang Rabbani. Briefly, the initial revelation of the Iqan was occasioned by questions posed by the Bab's maternal uncle, Haji Mirza Sayyid Muhammad, on a visit to the holy shrines in Karbala in the Islamic year , or possibly in A. The precise date of this visit will be discussed below. See Denis MacEoin. The questions posed by the Bab's uncle may be summarized as follows: 1 The Day of Resurrection: Will it be corporeal? How will the just be recompensed and the wicked dealt with?
These questions typified the paradox precipitated by the advent of the Bab: the apparent contradiction between a realized eschaton prophecy fulfillment and unrealized popular expectations. Because the Iqan was revealed in direct response to these questions, the book was first known as the Treatise for the Uncle Risala-yi Khal.
The izafa Arabic: idafa is a construct--an enclitic to be precise--used for possessive, partitive, and descriptive purposes. He then uses both symbol and referent together, bound grammatically by the Persian construct, to reinforce his exegesis.
Know thou, that upon whatever hearts the bountiful showers of mercy, raining from the 'heaven' of divine Revelation, have fallen, the earth of those hearts hath verily been changed into the earth of divine knowledge and wisdom. What myrtles of unity hath the soil of their hearts produced! What blossoms of true knowledge and wisdom hath their illumined bosoms yielded! Thus hath He said: 'On the day when the earth shall be changed into another earth' [Q.
Here, eschatological "earth"--in a variant saying of Jesus--has come to signify knowledge and understanding and, generally, the capacity of the human heart to become angelic. Qur'anic Exegesis in the Kitab-i Iqan:. The danger in treating literal verse symbolically is a tendency to disregard the literal authority of the text, thus leading to antinomianism.
Tradition has frequently ignored the opacity of figurative or "ambiguous" verses, and has succumbed to literalist entrapments. The reader is led to understand that such oblique language, even if unmarked for figuration, is entailed in the eschatological symbolism of the Minor Apocalypse of Matthew 24 and in the fantastic and surreal apocalyptic imagery of the Qur'an.
Such non-transparent texts, which are in some sense "dark," may be intertextually interpreted in light of openly metaphorical texts. One example of a rhetorical-style argument is appeal to absurdity. This kind of demonstration points to a logical or phenomenological implausibility were a literal reading of a given text allowed.
Following this, the case is made for a figurative reading. The test for absurdity is an attested procedure of Islamic rhetoric, as instanced in the definition of figuration majaz formulated by the rhetorician Ibn Rashiq d.
Heinrichs, Hand of the Northwind, Here, the figurative reading of a verse must not lead to absurdity. Nor should a literal reading. Such an interpretive move often involves the verdict of absurdity after having overruled the surface meaning of anthropomorphisms in scripture. And now, be fair in thy judgment.
Were this verse to have the meaning which men suppose it to have, of what profit, one may ask, could it be to man? Moreover, it is evident and manifest that no such hand as could be seen by human eye could accomplish such deeds, or could possibly be ascribed to the exalted Essence of the one true God. Nay, to acknowledge such a thing is naught but sheer blasphemy, an utter perversion of the truth" ET, Literal interpretations having thus been overruled, a positive interpretation follows: "On the contrary, by the term "earth" is meant the earth of understanding and knowledge, and by the "heavens" the heavens of divine Revelation.
Reflect thou how, in one hand, He hath, by His mighty grasp, turned the earth of knowledge and understanding, previously unfolded, into a mere handful, and, on the other, spread out a new and highly exalted earth in the hearts of men, thus causing the freshest and loveliest blossoms, and the mightiest and loftiest trees to spring forth in the illumined bosom of man.
On the surface, this would seem to suggest that anyone with metaphoric competence is spiritually pure. But at the level of received interpretation, such symbolic exegesis must first disencumber itself of the preponderant weight of centuries of traditional reading and the clerical authority with which such a reading is enforced. The act of replacing miracle with symbol, and anthropomorphism with metaphor, divests the interpreter of an essentially magical world view. Instead, such a reading places emphasis on ethics and interiority rather than on the miraculous.
The reading he offers is an engagement of spiritual law, portrayed as vivifying the visionary landscape of the heart. The reader, open to a new interpretation, will be open to a fresh source of authority. The Qur'an, tradition hadith and especially the Imami oral legacy khabar [pl. The selective and tendentious use of such authorities is meant to validate what Sunni Islam rejects.
According to B. When the twelfth Imam was said to have been occulted in the Islamic year , his absence was reconstituted as a mystical presence, such that the now Hidden Imam was continued to exercise spiritual sovereignty. The Bab eventually claimed to be the "return" of the Hidden Imam. This is a profound statement. Its implications are far-reaching. Phenomenologically speaking, revelation is somewhat tradition-bound.
Despite the historical improbability of a Twelfth Imam, the existence of traditions attesting his occultation and eventual return created a kind of messianic determinism, in which a body of speculation represented as Imami akhbar raised fantastic and thus unrealistic expectations about any future religious renewal.
But the formality had to be taken with the utmost seriousness. These systematizations, propounded in the tafsir prologues, are illuminating. These native programmatic statements reveal the extent to which Akhbari interpretations of the Qur'an are characteristically Imamocentric.
Lawson epitomizes four tafsir prologues, from the following Akhbari works: 1 Kitab tafsir nur al-thaqalayn by 'Abd 'Ali al-Huwayzi d. Hawting and A. Shareef; London and New York: Routledge, It pertains to all people at all times. So also is adherence to both the clear muhkam and the ambiguous mutashabih verses of the Qur'an. God's covenant regarding it was imposed on all creation. The conditions of walaya--of revelation and inspired guidance respectively personified in the Prophet and in his patrilineal successors, the Imams--was set forth in all scriptures and was made obligatory for all nations.
Such a textual, or anti-textual argument is not once adduced in the Book of Certitude. There is no taghyir but rather corrupt tafsir. These are also elucidated through metaphorical "linguistic" interpretation al-majaz al-lughawi. This systematization of Akhbari exegetical principles illuminates the immediate context of the Book of Certitude. The revelation of the Bab simply constitutes the new locus of spiritual authority, an authority-transfer cast in terms of eschatological prerogative.
This transfer is legitimated in terms of prophetic "fulfillment. The first is historical and doctrinal. It is nostalgic and purist. The Imams are revered. Various traditions ascribed to them are adduced as proof texts.
This is a patently Akhbari procedure. It was institutionally spent. The Book of Certitude shares Akhbari concerns over authority, but looks ahead in historical time and in sacred time to a post-quranic and post-Imamite Dispensation. Such concerns preoccupied the immediate audience at least. In Defense of the Bab and the Babi Qur'an:.
Lawson concludes: "This points to one of the most remarkable results of the Akhbari project, namely the transformation of the Qur'an text into 'another Qur'an. Lawson remarks: "We see the 'logical' culmination of this process in the Qur'an commentaries of the Bab d. In this later phase of commentary, it is virtually impossible to distinguish between commentary, text, reader, God, Prophet, and Imam. It is now possible to explain, in retrospect, how it was theoretically possible for a new authority claim to be asserted without appearing to usurp the authority of the Qur'an.
Such a procedure was effected through Akhbari exegesis, in which the exegesis, invoking the authority of sacred Imami tradition, functionally supersedes the text it is intended to elucidate.
Through the Bab, a new eschatological landscape was outspread, canopied by a new heaven of faith. The Book of Certitude further reified this symbolic universe. Overcoming the Doctrine of the "Seal of the Prophets":. Affirming that Muhammad was indeed the last prophet within the "Prophetic Cycle" or Adamic Cycle kur-i Adam , a new epoch of human history was said to have commenced with the advent of the Bab.
And were they all to proclaim: "I am the Seal of the Prophets," they verily utter but the truth Through an associative equivalence, Muhammad's uniqueness as the "Seal of the Prophets" is distributed among all other Messengers of God as an equally applicable title, relatively speaking. The Qur'anic encounter with God:.
Just as Muhammad is said to "manifest" the Deity, so must the Qur'anic eschatological "God" or "Presence of God" represent a mediated Deity. Across the horizon of history this Mediator stands. The Qur'an is thought to contain cryptic hints of this eschatological figure. A theology of transcendence will not allow the cryptic references in the Qur'an to the "Presence of God" to be anthropomorphic. To this attainment to the presence of the immortal King testify the verses of the Book The one true God is My witness!
Nothing more exalted or more explicit than "attainment unto the divine Presence" liqa' Allah hath been revealed in the Qur'an And yet, through the mystery of the former verse, they have turned away from the grace promised by the latter In Sunni Islam, the Mahdi literally, the "Guided One" is a restorer who is to reestablish a just theocracy under Islamic law.
The Bab identified with this figure. Oblique self-disclosures:.
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Fazel Naghdy. It is not an interpretation or a critical analysis of the content of the book. Neither does it provide any personal opinion. It is called a tutorial as it attempts to simulate, as much as possible, the tutor-tutored relationship in a self-paced personal study. The size and complexity of each chapter reflects the content and intricacy of the issues addressed in the paragraphs included therein.
About this document click for more. The following are a selection of such quotations:. In fact, all the Scriptures, and the mysteries thereof are condensed into this brief account. So much so that were a person to ponder it a while in his heart, he would discover from all that hath been said the mysteries of the Words of God, and would apprehend the meaning of whatever hath been manifested by that ideal King. Epistle to the Son of the Wolf , cf. These sanctified Beings in one station are all one.