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The Báb's Epistle to the 'Ulamá

Oct 15, 2023
Webinar flier featuring webinar date and title (The Bab's Epistle to the Ulama) and a headshot of the presenter, Nima Rafiei.

Throughout His ministry, The Báb wrote many epistles addressed to theologians and seminary students. Among the writings of The Báb, there are two works known as the “Kitábu’l-‘Ulamá” or the “Epistle to the ‘Ulamá”, one which was revealed shortly after His return from the Arabian Peninsula to Iran and is the subject of this presentation.

This work, like many other epistles from the early period of The Báb’s ministry, is in the mode of divine verses and is in Arabic. We will attempt to provide brief historical background on developments in the world of Shí’ism prior to the inception of The Báb’s ministry and discuss the features of this epistle. Among the major themes of this work are the the subtlety of The Báb’s claims to a station greater than representing the hidden twelfth Imam, and the question of intertextuality between His writings and the Qur’án.


Nima Rafiei, MA

Researcher and Translator

Nima Rafiei was born and raised in Minnesota and currently resides in Chicago, Illinois. He received his B.A. in history and political science from the University of Minnesota in 2013 and obtained an M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago in 2021, where he studied both classical and modern Arabic and Persian literature. His interests in Bábí and Bahá'í studies include early mystical writings of Bahá'u'lláh from the Baghdad period and The Báb's commentaries on súrahs of the Qur'án and Islamic oral traditions. He also contributes English translations of Bahá'í texts from the original Arabic and Persian.See Faculty Bio


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