Todd Lawson, The Qur’an and Islam: Explorations from a Baha’i Perspective

The Bahá’í Faith teaches that apart from its own vast body of Divine Revelation, the Qur’án is the only other completely authentic scripture currently available to humanity. The Bahá’í Writings, whether from Bahá’u’lláh, The Báb, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Beloved Guardian or the House of Justice are characterized by a consistent and powerful admiration for, references to, and quotations from the Qur’án. It is therefore true to say that there is much Qur’án in the Bahá’í Teachings. During these webinars, we will study the form and contents of the Qur’án as a subject of importance in itself and as a way of deepening our knowledge of the Bahá’í Faith.

1. Sunday, April 9, 2017
“The Qur’an: The First Book in Arabic”

1 Form and Contents
2 Interpretation: Exegesis and Understanding
3 Hadith

Watch on YouTube: Web Talk #1

Supplementary Materials for Download (PDF files, unless otherwise noted)
1. Selected Readings on Islam
2. Baha’u’llah’s Prayer for Islam
3. ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Prayer for the Ottoman State
4. Benjamin Franklin on the building of a non-denominational meeting house in Pennsylvania
5.a) Question and Answer on the topic of the Jinn (Genie): Q and A on Jinn
5.b) Excerpt from Encyclopaedia of the Qur’an
6. Note from Todd Lawson on Translations of the Qur’an
7. Culture: Mistaken Identity (BBC Radio 4 Reith Lecture by Kwame Anthony Appiah)


2. Sunday, April 16, 2017
“The Qur’án in the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh & the Báb”

1 The Báb
2 Bahá’u’lláh
3 Interpretation as Revelation & the Hermeneutic Spiral

Watch on YouTube: Web Talk #2


3. Sunday, April 23, 2017
“The Qur’anic Epic & the Creation of Humanity”

1 Epic
2 Apocalypse
3 Progressive Revelation: A Theory of Modernity

Watch on YouTube: Web Talk #3
Kwame Anthony Appiah, Philosopher, cultural theorist and novelist (Reith Lectures, BBC Radio 4)

Supplementary Materials for Download (PDF files). Files with EQ in the name are from the Encyclopaedia of the Qur’án: McAuliffe, Jane Dammen., ed. Encyclopaedia of the Qurʼan. 6 vols. Leiden: Brill, 2001-2006.


Todd Lawson is Professor Emeritus of Islamic Thought, University of Toronto. He has been a Bahá’í since 1968 and has been a member, since 1975, of the Association for Bahá’í Studies who this year awarded him the distinguished book award for his study of the Qayyúm al-asmá, Gnostic apocalypse in Islam (Routledge 2012) Todd has published numerous articles and books on the relationship between the Bahá’í Faith and Islam, Qur’an Commentary, Sufism and Shi’ism, his most recent being . He lives in Montreal with his wife, daughter and grandchildren.

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