On Tue, 5 Sep 1995, Juan R Cole wrote:
> I had pointed out that in the Islamic, Babi and Baha'i
> Revelation (wahy) is only received by Prophets, whereas other, lesser
> holy figures receive inspiration (ilham).
No question on Revelation. Shoghi Effendi wrote:
With the ascension of Baha'u'llah the Day-Star of Divine
guidance ... had mounted its zenith in Adrianople,
had finally sunk below the horizon of 'Akka, never to
rise again ere the complete revolution of one thousand
years. The setting of so effulgent an Orb brought to a
definite termination the period of Divine Revelation --
the initial and most vitalizing stage in the Baha'i era.
On the other hand:
From such clear and formally laid down statements,
incompatible as they are with any assertion of a claim
to Prophethood, we should not by any means infer that
`Abdu'l-Baha is merely one of the servants of the
Blessed Beauty, or at best one whose function is
to be confined to that of an authorized interpreter
of His Father's teachings.
And the Guardian confirms that 'Abdu'l-Baha has not
only interpreted the
Aqdas, He has supplemented it:
That Baha'u'llah in His Book of Aqdas, and later
`Abdu'l-Baha in His Will--a document which confirms,
supplements, and correlates the provisions of the
The Document establishing that Order, the Charter of
world civilization, which may be regarded in some of its
features as supplementary to no less weighty a Book
than the Kitab-i-Aqdas ...
I would see the Guardian as comparable to the Imams;
I'm not sure if
there is support for that in a Text, or if it's just pilgrim notes.
The Master seems to be in a unique station not only
spiritually, but in
terms of this particular capacity.
Thanks for your thoughts.
From Alethinos@aol.comWed Sep 6 11:14:14 1995
Date: Wed, 6 Sep 1995 01:21:37 -0400
Subject: Now that storms have passed . . .
Now that a number of serious storms have passed, including
this last about
women and the Universal House of Justice, perhaps we can address some issues
which combine scholarship and a call to action.
What I am suggesting is that we resume discourse on
the issue of America's
Spiritual Destiny. In the process of reviewing the Guardian's writings
concerning this topic I believe we will actually answer quite a few of the
nagging questions that keep popping up here on Talisman.
I suggest this change because this is something that
we, as individuals, as
community members, and as *scholars* here on Talisman can actually *do*
something about. Of course there are other issues which can and do demand
both scholarly attention AND a call to action. We need to discuss those also.
The desperate need to awaken the American continent
(and IMO by first
reawakening the American Baha'i Community) is a very pressing concern. This
is something that we _can_ and _need_ to affect a change in . . . it is
critical to the development of the World Order - now.
And I dare say, that in the process of intelligently
and actively dealing
with this thorny mega-issue, we will, along the way, resolve many of the
seemingly perplexing problems that so far seem to make the rounds here on
Talisman, without ever becoming resolved.
From Sen.Mcglinn@rl.rulimburg.nlWed Sep 6 11:16:13
Date: Wed, 6 Sep 95 10:10:43 EZT
Subject: mutatis mutandis
I think k129 is clear enough regarding the burial rings: the
Bab had revealed different verses for men and women
(Persian Bayan VIII:11, Persian text given in Browne's
index in the Nuqtatu'l-Kaf (LXXXVIII), English translation
in his summary, in Moojen's 'Selections...' p 399),
Baha'u'llah now replaces these with one verse for both men
and women. Moreover, the Bayan had specified different
verses of greetings for men and women, and different forms
for the talismans (pentacles and circles). So it would have
been a reasonable question to ask, 'does this verse apply to
men and women?', which Baha'u'llah answers in advance by
specifying that it does.
Re adultery, it would of course be reasonable, in the
context of the different treatment of sexual misdemeanours
by men and women in Middle Eastern societies (also in
western societies, of course, but that's not relevant to the
revelation of the Aqdas) to expect that the punishment
would apply only to women, or the fine would be only for
men with something really nasty being reserved for women.
Again, Baha'u'llah specifies that it does apply equally. I
wonder if 'men and women' in this case (and in Q93) might
also have the meaning of 'adults'??
There are many more laws which are expressly said to
apply to men and women. K14 stipulates that the verse
used (for missed obligatory prayers) is for men and women.
K67 stipulates that patience, in the case of believers whose
spouses go AWOL, is praiseworthy for both men and
women. K72 stipulates that trade in slaves, both men and
women, is forbidden. Q3 specifies that the marriage verse is
the same for men and women.
Another example is the age of maturity, which is stipulated
as being the same (Q93, q20). The Bayan (VIII:18) had
ordained fasting from the age of puberty, which of course
would be later for most boys than for girls.
The notes to the Aqdas also state that the requirement
engage in an occuption (k33) applies to both men and
I don't think this means that the other laws do not
equally to men and women: it's a general principle which is
so startling, and in some cases different to the Bayan, that
it has to be repeated in many places.
From Sen.Mcglinn@rl.rulimburg.nlWed Sep 6 11:17:48
Date: Wed, 6 Sep 95 10:12:59 EZT
Subject: Sonja, re Women & UHJ
Greetings from Sonja van Kerkhoff
I've been very busy getting some installations working
for an exhibition
which is why I am only now coming in on the discussion on women on
The House & feminism.
Re: Suzanne's posting where she says
I think there are very few women, now and possibly in the future,
who have a "hard time swallowing" the legislation. We're Baha'is and
accept the decision of the House as correct - for now - as the House,
we know, is infallible.
It's a great hurdle for me, and I have never swallowed
but rather this felt like a thorn in my side and one that I could never
'explain' away to any of my friends (male or female) who were
concerned about this inconsistency in the principle of equality.
Then in Christchurch in 1988 I heard the paper, The
service of women,
and suddenly it felt like the noon-day sun had come and I felt a lot
happier as a Bahai. Before that I really felt sometimes that I was living
a half-lie, not quite sure if Baha'u'llah really was for equality or not,
etc, and not really knowing because I'd discovered that half of the
Bahai-heresay was not the only interpretation of things anyway. I was
just hoping for a way out and a way to feel honest with myself-
So it may seem that there are few that have a hard time
fact that no women may serve on The House, but that's because they 1)
don't declare (I really don't know if I would have declared if I had've
known about this. I am glad that I didn't, but on the other hand feel it
is unjust that people who are aware of equality/feminism, etc, are then
expected to accept something like this as a test, while those that have
no problems with a society with only males at the head, could even feel
that this is the norm.): 2) or get sick of being given 100's of reasons
why women cannot serve, 3) or are just sick of not seeing any hope,
and so avoid discussing the issue.
Thanks to that paper I do see hope and I spread this
hope around as
much as I can, when the need arises, and do not have to feel like a
hypocrite any more.
In response to Kevin Haines:
I don't think it is any more disrespectful to take into account the
cultural background/influences on Baha'u'llah and his Writings, than to
do this with any member of the Universal House of Justice or with the
members as a whole. I am not judging the diversity as a good or bad
thing but rather saying that it does have an affect on how The House as
a whole would tend to look at issues, and I believe there would be a
significant enrichment to this process if there were women on this body
I see Bob's statement about The House trying to avoid the issue fo the
service of women differently from you because I know they banned the
paper "Service of Women" from publication without giving any reason
and when repsectfully asked for a reason, we were told (in a letter) that
"they were disappointed" in us without giving any specifics. So the only
message we understood from this exchange was that they were avoiding
We just don't know why, and that was some years ago, so things
could've changed. Bob did not say anything in his posting about
cowardice or prejudice- and we would not either.
I am so grateful that in the meantime I had access to
that paper so that
I could think about these issues, but felt sorry that not more people
could read this and discuss it. Not to say whether there should be
women or not, but at least to have as much information as possible to
try to come to a wiser/deeper understanding, and banning a text from
publication, only served to hinder this.
Respect for anyone or any institution comes from having
trust/faith to question it as well. We must obey as Bahais but I believe
we must question as well. I'd even say it was a must!
Asking any question or making a deduction about something
"providing guidance," but rather being part of an exchange of ideas and
progress. I don't believe for a minute that The House lives in vaccuum
nor would it wish to.
It's not a case of making the Bahai Faith palatable but rather true to its
principles, and one of those is equality.
From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Sep 6 11:27:48 1995
Date: Wed, 6 Sep 1995 08:46:26 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Timothy A. Nolan" <email@example.com>
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Subject: Re: revelation and inspiration
"[G. Brent Poirier]" <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes:
> I would see the Guardian as comparable to the Imams;
I'm not sure if
> there is support for that in a Text, or if it's just pilgrim notes.
I once asked Marzieh Gail about the station of the legitimate
She said the Guardian had told her that the Imams were Guardians.
She said the Guardian did not elaborate on that statement, so she felt she
Tim Nolan email@example.com
From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Sep 6 11:32:27 1995
Date: Wed, 6 Sep 1995 10:13:19 -0500 (CDT)
From: Saman Ahmadi <email@example.com>
To: talisman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: mutatis mutandis
Thanks for the explanations - there goes my theory... may be.
I was trying to see if the following idea held:
1) For laws which were already discussed in previous
and treated men and women differently, Baha'u'llah in the Aqdas explicity
ordains a change to the law that applies to men and women equally
2) For laws which He affirms from previous dispensations,
applies them to males or females - in the same manner that they
appeared in prior revelations
3) For laws unique to the Baha'i Faith, Baha'u'llah
to males only - allowing Abdul Baha and Shoghi Effendi to interpret
them to have broader meaning if and when necessary
From email@example.comWed Sep 6 11:47:59 1995
Date: Wed, 6 Sep 1995 11:27:29 -0400 (EDT)
From: Juan R Cole <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Timothy A. Nolan" <email@example.com>
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Subject: Re: revelation and inspiration
As for `Abdu'l-Baha being more than a "mubayyin" or
Baha'u'llah's Writings, that is obvious (though it is the one station he
insisted on when denying to the US Baha'is that he was anything more than
the Servant of Baha).
It is also obvious that the pattern of his life, and
supplement those of Baha'u'llah.
However, he was not endued with the authority to legislate
divine legislation (shari`ah); since such authority depends on receiving
Revelation (wahy), it is out of the question.
Moreover, there are inconsistencies over time in his
statements on some
issues (and between some of his statments and those of the Guardian), and
the question for contemporary Baha'is
must be how to decide to which of these to give the greatest weight. I
am simply saying that in the case of inconsistencies, 1) one should look
again at exactly what Baha'u'llah said, as the Author of Divine Revelation;
and 2) one should take into account the authority of the Universal House
of Justice to legislate on unclear issues.
The generality of American Baha'is appear to think that
inconsistencies as I have mentioned do not exist, and Baha'i law can be
settled by finding an apposite quote and "reading off" a position from
it. This is highly inadequate as a theory of jurisprudence, and will be
found moreso as the Baha'i community grows in size and complexity and as
we become more deepened in the complex history and development of Baha'i
As for the Guardian being like an Imam, note that the
title in Persian
for both is Vali-yi Amru'llah, "Guardian of the Cause of God."
cheers Juan Cole, History, University of Michigan
From S.N.Lambden@newcastle.ac.ukWed Sep 6 11:52:31
Date: Tue, 5 Sep 1995 23:25:43 +0100
From: Stephen Lambden <S.N.Lambden@newcastle.ac.uk>
Subject: "Land of the Red Sand-dune"
Among other things Sen recently requested a
gloss on the phrase
"land of the Red Sand-dune" as it occurs in a writing of the Bab. I got
rather carried away with this now extended gloss -- due to (Gk)
*glossalalia* or something! Perhaps I am but one of those who spend their
time multiplying a "single point".
The phrase "land of the Red Sand-dune" in the
Arabic original of the
*Sahifa bayn al-haramayn* ("Epistle Between the Two Shrines") is *ard
kathib al-ahmar* (*ard* = earth/land; *kathib* = sand-dune [see
below];*ahmar* = red/crimson). Shoghi Effendi translated *ard kathib
al-ahmar* as "Crimson Hill" (see PDC: 21; see below).
It is worth noting that Fadil-i Mazandarani
in his Babi-Baha'i lexicon
*Asrar al-Athar* ("Traces of the Mysteries") Vol. 4:12 glosses the Arabic
word *kathib* with the Persian *til-i rig* (= "sandhill") and *kathib
as (Persian) *til-i rig-i surkhi* (= "red/crimson sandhill". He also gives
a few examples of the latter phrase some of which I translate below --
others I shall add from my own notes on *kathib* and related phrases.
*ard kathib al-ahmar* has its background in
Qur'anic exegesis and
mystical cosmology- eschatology. The word *kathib* ("sand-ridge/dune/hill")
and associated terms is found , for example, in the works of Ibn `Arabi and
his others of his `school'. From its place in Islamic mysticism --mediated
via early Shaykhism (?) -- did the Bab and Baha'u'llah derive their use of
this expression. The phrase *kathib al-ahmar* ( "red/crimson
sand-dune/hill") and similar expressions occur occasionally in the writings
of both the Bab and Baha'u'llah. They often relate to mystical cosmology
relative to the beatific vision of the Divine (cf. Moses' vision on "Mount
Sinai"). The following notes illustrate the background to this arcane
phrase and highlight the fact that the Bab and Baha'u'llah drew upon the
mystical language of the Islamic esoteric tradition.
The Arabic *hapax legomenon* *kathib* (root
K-TH-B; kathaba = `to
collect together') occurs only at Qur'an 73:14b;
"upon the [eschatological] day when the earth and the
quake and the mountains become a slipping heap of sand (kathib)"
*Kathib* basically means something collected
and can have a special
application to sand; hence *kathib* can mean sandhill; sand-dune;
sand-ridge, hill[ock] etc.
The phrase *kathib al-ahmar* is perhaps rooted
in Qur'an 73:14b
and is found in hadith -- extra-qur'anic revelations known as *hadith
qudsi* ("sacred traditions") -- and in certain Shi`i supplications. One
such Prophetic hadith qudsi of interest records a version of the story of
Moses and the angel of death -- rooted in Jewish legends -- at the close of
which Muhammad says, "If I were there, I would show you his [Moses'] grave
by the side of the road at the red sand-ridge [kathib al-ahmar]." (trans.
W.A. Graham, *Divine Word...* p.158). . For refs to *kathib al-ahmar* in
Sunni hadith see further, Wensinck, *Concordance et indices de la Tradition
Musulmane* Vol. V-VI: 532).
As indicated *kathib* and related expressions
formed with this word
are to be found in the writings of Muhyi al-Din Ibn al-`Arabi (d.1240 CE)
the "Great Shaykh". As Affifi points out in his *The Mystical Philosophy of
Muhyid din ibnul Arabi* (Rep. Lahore: Sh. Muhammad Ashraf, 1964) "...kathib
(sand-hill)..in Muslim "tradition" stands for the place where all people
will assemble on the Day of Judgement." (p.168-9+fn.1). He notes that Ibn
`Arabi relates it to the Divine Reality and has it that for him *kathib*
"is a heap of "white musk" in which all souls will assemble in the "next
In Ibn `Arabi's writimngs furthermore, *kathib*
is associated with
a place from which the vision of God can be contemplated or realized (cf.
Moses' Sinaitic vision). Thus in *al-Futuhat al-Makiyya* ("The Meccan
Openings"; Vol. 3:426) there is reference to *kathib al-ru'ya* (lit. "the
sandhill of the vision"). At the beginning of the third of the mystical
odes which make up the *Tarjuman al-ashwaq* (written 1215 CE) we read, "O
my two friends, pass by al-Kathib and turn towards La`la` and seek the
waters of Yalamlam.." (Arabic, Nicholson, 16, trans. 53). Ibn `Arabi
himself glossed *al-Kathib* as "the place of contemplation"( ibid, 54).
One of Ibn `Arabi's works is entitled *Kitab
al-tarajim* ("The Book
of the Translations/Interpretations"). It has a paragraph headed, "Section
concerning the Translation of Sand-dune" = *Bab al-tarajim al-kathib*). Six
senses-- four subtle meanings (latifa) and two allusive ones (ishara) --
are spelled out. Very roughly translated this section begins,
"Subtle meaning (latifa): 'Footsteps which are not established
Sand-ridge (al-kathib)' indicates people on the Day of Resurrection who
will be about the White Sand-ridge (fi'l-kathib al-abyad) nigh the Vision
of God (ru'yat Allah), Exalted be He."
Another work of Ibn `Arabi is entitled *Risalat
yumnah sahib al-khalwa min al-asrar* ("Treatise on the Lights in the
Secrets Granted One Who Undertakes the Retreat" 1205 CE) -- translation
Rabia Terri Harris, *Journey to the Lord of Power* ( East West
Publications: London and the Hague, 1981). In this work various "Realms"
(mawatin) are spoken about six of which are foundational. It is the case --
in Ibn `Arabi's own words -- that "The sixth Realm is the Sand Dune outside
the Garden." ( Harris, 27). These "Realms" are basaically an
incomprehensible multiplicity "And in each of these Realms are places which
are Realms within Realms, and the realization of them in their multiplicity
is not within human power." (Ibn `Arabi, ibid).
`Abd al-Karim al-Jili (d.c. 1408/17 CE) has
commented on Ibn
`Arabi's *Risala al-anwar..* in his *al-Isfar `an risala al-anwar.." ("The
Unveiling of the `Treatise on ther Lights.."). On "The sixth Realm is the
Sand Dune [Kathib]." al-Jili comments, "It is a hill of white musk where
the creatures are at the time of the vision of God Glorious and Exalted. It
is "Outside the Graden" because it is in the Graden of Eden which is the
stronghold and citadel outside the other Gardens. The majority of people
will not enter the Presence and Qualities of the King except by virtue of
visiting this place." (trans. Rabia Terri Harris, 76).
WRITINGS OF THE BAB
An example of the phrase under discussion exists
in (one of) the Bab's
*Tafsir al-ha'* ("Commentary on the Letter H"):
"And if this day thou fail to differentiate
your right-hand from
your left-hand (?) on account of the splendous of the intimate subtleties
(subuhat al-daqa'iq) and the recondite allusions (isharat al-raqa'iq) it is
not seemly that thou journey unto God in the land of the Crimson Hill (`Red
Sand-Dune' *ard kathib al-ahmar*)." (cited Mazandarani, *Athar al-asrar*
A similar example of *kathib al-ahmar* in the
Bab's writings is
found in the *Tafsir Sura `wa'l-asr!'* ("Commentary on the Sura of 'By the
Forenoon!'" Q.113) where we read,
"Then cometh the fifty-sixth letter which is
the letter "B"
indicating the distress of God (bila' Allah) over the life of the world
before the denizens of Paradise. Again it indicateth the distress of God
(bila' Allah) before the people of Ridwan. Then also it is the distress of
God (bila' Allah) before the people of the Crimson Hill (`red sand-dune'
*ard kathib al-ahmar*)..." (text in INBMC 69:60).
WRITINGS OF BAHA'U'LLAH
In what may be an early Tablet of Baha'u'llah (or the Bab?) we read,
"O letter "H" (h.a')! Hearken unto the call
of the letter "H"
(al-ha' = huwiyya = the Manifestation of God?) which crieth out in the
Crimson Hill (`Sand-Dune'; kathib al-ahmar) which is the station wherein
the decree of foreordainment (hukm al-qadar) is terminated." (Arabic text
cited Mazandarani Asrar 4:13).
In his Tablet to `Ali Pasha (d.1871 CE) known
as the (Arabic)
Lawh-i Ra'is ("Tablet of the Leader") Baha'u'llah predicts the fall of the
Sultan of Turkey and the disruption of Ottoman authority. This to the
degree that even nature would be made to lament. Baha'u'llah refers to the
fact that "the kathib ("Sand-dune") in the high hills (kathib fi'l-hid.ab)
will wail, the trees in the mountains lament and blood to be made to flow
from everything." (text MAM:89).
One of the Tablets to Salman contains the beatitude:
such as proceed upon the Crimson Hill (`Sand-dune', kathib al-ahmar).
The phrase *ard kathib al-ahmar* also occurs
in the *Surat al
muluk* ("Sura of the Kings" c. 1867 CE);
"O kings of the earth! Give ear unto the Voice
of God, calling from
this sublime, this fruit-laden Tree that hath sprung up out of the Crimson
Hill (ard kathib al-ahmar) upon the Holy [Sinaitic] Plain, intoning the
words:"There is none other God but He, the Mighty, the All-Powerful, the
All-Wise." This is the [Sinaitic] Seat (lit. locale; buq`a) which God hath
blessed...Within it the Call of God can be heard from the Elevated
Lote-Tree of Holiness [Baha'u'llah].." (see further my essay *Sinaitic
Mysteries...* SBBR V:137-8 & fn 200).
FROM A TABLET OF `ABDU'L-BAHA'
A Persian Tablet of `Abdu'l-Baha' to Aqa Mirza
Fadl Allah contains
an explanation of some key terms -- found in certain of Baha'u'llah's
"By the crimson land (ard-i hamra') and crimson
ahmar) is intended the station of the Divine Accomplishment (maqam-i qida')
for, in the technical terminology of the people of God (ahl Allah = Sufis),
snow-white (bayda') indicateth the station of the Divine Will (maqam-i
mashiyyat) while green (khidra') signifieth the station of the Divine
Foreordainment (maqam-i qadar). Crimson (ahmar) indicateth the station of
the Divine Accomplishment (maqam-i qida') and yellow (sifra') the station
of the Divine Completion (maqam-i imda'). Wherefore is it that crimson land
(ard-i hamra') signifieth the station of the most-great martyrdom
(shahadat-i kubra')." (Text in Ma'ida-yi asmani 2:48 + AA 4:17).
The phrase *ard kathib al-ahmar* is found in
the writings of the
Bab and Baha'u'llah. It is rooted in Islamic cosmology, theosophy and
mysticism. A celestial region is indicated where the contemplative is
capable of experiencing the vision of God. To attain the "land of the
crimson Sandhill" is to attain the possibility of the eschatological
Stephen N. Lambden
From Alethinos@aol.comWed Sep 6 17:49:06 1995
Date: Wed, 6 Sep 1995 11:58:37 -0400
Subject: Re: revelation and inspiration
In a message dated 95-09-06 04:43:20 EDT, you write:
>His contributions in the Will and Testament must be seen as judicial
>activism rather than as formal legislation.
Dear Mr. Cole:
I have always followed your posts with intense interest.
I am curious. What
do you see as the implications that might come from this statement? I teach
U.S. Constitutional law (history of) and your terms, *judicial activism* and
*formal legislation* are of course heavily loaded legal phrases.
From Alethinos@aol.comWed Sep 6 17:50:27 1995
Date: Wed, 6 Sep 1995 11:54:36 -0400
Subject: Re: Now that storms have passed . . .
Thanks to the people who have responded so quickly to my suggestion.
Since this subject already has a history (including,
Jonathan, a series of
*storm tracks* of its own) I want to ask everyone how best to *continue* on
with the discussion. We have had quite a tussle over the issues of
*individualism* and *materialism* and the concept of *axiology*.
My personal goal is to NOT allow this to become a subject
quarterbacks* - this discourse should, no - must(!) be an immediate prelude
to _Action_ in the American Baha'i Community. Otherwise why bother with
discourse - there are far more interesting things to discuss - personal
favorites that Nima, Mark and others know I would love to spend more time
discussing: Platonic concepts in the Writings, dreams and mystical
experiences, the concept of law in the Baha'i Community, now and in the near
future . . . but for me these wonderful things must take a back seat, for the
moment, to the very real and pressing concern of our Community and its
I am open to all suggestions.
From PIERCEED@sswdserver.sswd.csus.eduWed Sep 6 17:55:19
Date: Wed, 6 Sep 1995 11:11:44 PST8PDT
From: "Eric D. Pierce" <PIERCEED@sswdserver.sswd.csus.edu>
Subject: Re: Now that storms...(consultation, movements, complacency)
* Start a discussion track on the 1920's message from
in which he quotes Baha'u'llah and Abdul-Baha concerning the
spiritual foundation of administration (pre-requisites for
consultation, etc.). There was a book that a Alaskan Baha'i
(Kelsoe?) published about 10 years ago based mostly on pages
20-25 (?) of "Baha'i Administration" which contains the well
known "clash of opinions" statement as well as the "Evil One"
quote I mentioned a few months ago. Thanks to a former staffer
at the national center, I now have a hardcopy of the BWC research
department's paper on the term "Evil One" that I can type up and
post if there is interest.
Everyone probably knows the above stuff, but maybe a reiteration
is in order? the list rules state that talisman is not a deepening,
so I don't now what the appropriate format would be. I'm not good
at doing running commentary, so I hope someone else will take it up.
* Examine our assumptions about how internal "movements"
(ebb and flow) within the community. Is there a way of defining
a current "crisis" that is consistent with the guidance that has
been given by the Supreme Body, the Guardian and Abdu'l-Baha to
the american (or other) community?
* Is an email list really conducive to use as a ~direct~
overcoming the complacency that has tainted the hearts and
of stimulating renewed commitment and sacrifice?
The following story (sorry it is not uplifting) is representative
of what I have perceived/experienced as part of "the problem".
Several years ago, a number of communities and assemblies
into some interminable wrangling about the best way to organize
children's classes. After sitting on the sidelines and watching
them "duke it out" (scathing letters between LSAs, shouting
matches at intercommunity school committee meetings, behind the
scenes plots and rumor mongering by various interest groups)
over the course of months, I realized that it was pretty absurd
to try to set up a Baha'i school to teach childen unity when
the adults have absolutely little or no *REAL* idea of how to
implement it themselves.
BTW, as far as I could tell, it was not a "liberal vs.
conservative" problem, it was a "ego vs. ego" problem. So much
for the middle class value system as a fertile place for the
mass planting of the seedlings of the New World Order.
Of course, none of the above detracts from the imperishable
glory and power of the Cause.
> From: Alethinos@aol.com
> Date sent: Wed, 6 Sep 1995 11:54:36 -0400
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: Re: Now that storms have passed . . .
> Thanks to the people who have responded so quickly
to my suggestion.
> Since this subject already has a history (including, Jonathan, a series of
> *storm tracks* of its own) I want to ask everyone how best to *continue* on
> future . . . but for me these wonderful things must
take a back seat, for the
> moment, to the very real and pressing concern of our Community and its
> apparent stagnation.
> I am open to all suggestions.
> jim harrison
From email@example.comWed Sep 6 17:59:25 1995
Date: Wed, 6 Sep 1995 12:08:45 -0700
From: DEREK COCKSHUT <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re Women's Emancipation was Seed of Creation.
Ahmad Annis posted a reply on Sept 3rd to a posting
of mine that was in part a rebuttal of his
Seed of Creation theory. I will not snip and repost just reply on a point by point basis.
1: That is the purpose of Talisman amongst others to air views and opinions that is what I
posted. However nobody seems to agree with fully with the theory , despite the vigorous
defense of it by Ahmad. I do not think he is a misogynist, but that the women I have shown
his theory to and those who have posted on Talisman find it offensive. I am not saying Ah
mad has to change his views on the Station of Women as expressed in his theory , I am
saying the theory is wrong , that is my prerogative. Indeed the only person who appears to
endorse somewhat the view that women are by virtue of biology passive in respect of the act
of creation and this relates directly to the spiritual realm is Robert Johnson who for rea
sons unclear appeared to suggest I needed pa help because I had posted for Women.
2:It is a well-established fact in particular from Sufi mysticism regarding the Feminine , the
Maiden who appeared to the Blessed Beauty in the Siyyah Chal , in the Hidden Words
number 77 in the Persian and many other places in our Scripture continue and develop that
theme. The Master and the Guardian used this method to explain matters that were not clear
but not in the manner the theory is expressed in. I have know Moojan for more than 30 years
if he ends his posting with the statement 'I do not happen to agree with his line of argument
however ' it is not a ringing endorsement of the theory. He was simply pointing out that it is
legitimate to use the method , even though in this case the results are erroneous in my
personal opinion. I have no problem with the line of discussion except that the main thrust
acts to the detriment of women that is why I suggested Ahmad reworks his theory so that it
does not come over as offensive. Even then I find it difficult to imagine my self agreeing
3: The method I pointed out is the highest form of study , it is to immerse yourself totally in
the Writings of the Blessed Beauty and the Primal Point. The method I stated as flawed by
comparison is when a person trys to fit the Writings to their own opinions.As Baha'u'llah
states in the Lawh-I-Burhan ' Your sciences shall not profit you in this day , nor your arts ,
nor your treasures , nor your glory. Cast them all behind your backs , and set your faces
towards the Most Sublime Word through which the Scriptures and the Books and this lucid
Tablet have been distinctly set forth.'
4: I can only say the Ladies in Australia must be very forgiving and Ahmad is therefore a
lucky and fortunate man.
5: I was bringing in the wider issue because the theory is related to it.So far Talisman has
not shown a desire to brainstorm on this subject in a meaningful way.
6:On the contrary Men have to change first in order that Women can have the chance to de
velop and change,the initiative rest with Men to start the process. I do not mean that indi
vidual men have not changed, it is just that our Baha'i Communities
still reflect too strongly
the outside world. You can not be a catalyst for change if to all
intents and purposes you
are not a model of example.
7.I did not say I had decided,what a strange remark to make, the
Universal House of Justice
from the Writings available to them ruled there was no way that women
could serve on that
Body.So it is decided , if the ruling changes the House would inform us
. I have to say I can
see no way myself that it could happen , which is why I suggested
Baha'i men are going to
have to demonstrate on a very obvious way in their personal lives the
commitment we all
must have to the spiritual concept of equality, so that it shows in a
practical way in our social
8: In what manner the wisdom will appear we do not know, however as our
derstanding of the Revelation evolves I suspect it will be clear from
the Writings not from
9: I do not know what mistakes you are referring to apart from not
agreeing with you.There
could be spelling and grammar I was in the middle of 2 major sessions
at the school being up
until 2 o'clock and getting up early is not the best situation. I do
not take the posting
personally there is nothing to be offended by in it . Good will has to
be earned men in gen
eral have treated women in a way that promotes negativity your theory
,which you regard as a
concept becomes an issue because of the manner that women are treated.
10: Ahmad needs to understand that it could be in his community women
are given the
proper respect. If the House of Justice writes as they did on Jan 1993
that no Baha'i man
should beat his spouse , we have a problem in our Worldwide Family that
needs to be faced.
Kindest Regards Derek Cockshut.