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|1902 12 Oct
||Birth of `Abdu'l-Hamíd Ishráq-Khávarí, Bahá'í scholar, author and translator, in Mashhad.
||Abdul-Hamid Ishraq-Khavari; Bahai scholars; Births and deaths
|1942 (The early 20th Century)
The publication in 1865 of the Comte de Gobineau’s (1816-1882),Les Religions et Les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale created an interest in Europe. A scholar that was inspired by Gobineau was E.G.Browne. He travelled to Iran and also visited Bahá’u’lláh in Akka in the latter days of His life. He translated two histories of the new religion and published two other books as well as a number of articles. He also made an important collection of manuscripts that he gave to Cambridge University Library. Bahá'ís have criticized Browne's work for being too sympathetic to Azal, Baha'u'llah's half-brother and implacable enemy. A.L.M. Nicolas (1864-1939) was a French consular official in Iran who researched and wrote a biography of the Báb as well as translating three of the Báb's major works into French.
Just as the Báb was the centre of the scholarly interests of Gobineau, Browne and Nicolas, some Russian scholars who were more interested in Bahá'u'lláh. Baron Viktor Rosen (1849-1908), the director of the Oriental Department of the University of St. Petersburg was assisted by Aleksandr Tumanski (1861-1920). He spent a great deal of time with the Bahá'í community of Ashkhabad and with Mirza Abu'l-Fadl Gulpaygani. Although he did not write as much as Browne or Nicolas, what he did write was derived from a very deep and thorough investigation.
There was much interest in scholarship in the early days of the Faith because almost all of the most important disciples of the Báb were Islamic religious scholars, as were many of the leading converts to the Bahá'í Faith in later years. The most important of these was the above mentioned Mirza Abu'l-Fadl Gulpaygani (1844-1914). He was learned in the Zoroastrian and Jewish scriptures and spent some time in the Christian West at the request of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá prior to His visit.
During the 1930s to 1960s, a second generation of Iranian Bahá'í scholars, such as Fadil Mazandarani (1881-1957), 'Abdul-Hamid Ishraq-Khavari (1902-1972), and 'Azizu'llah Sulaymani (1901-1985) systematized Bahá'í theology and law, developed aids for scholars such as dictionaries of Bahá'í terminology, and wrote histories and biographies. This was of course a more traditional style of scholarship than is current in the West, but it continues to be useful to all present scholars.
The above-described initial flurry of interest in the Bábí and Bahá'í religions in the West was not sustained and from the 1920s to the 1970s, there were no Western scholars who were as deeply engaged as the above-named ones and only a handful of studies that can be said to have done much to advance knowledge. From the 1970s onward, there gradually emerged a new stream of scholars who can be said to be a fusion of the above two groups, the Western and the Bahá'í scholars. This new generation of scholars mostly began as Bahá'ís, although some have subsequently left the religion. They use Western academic methodology and most operate from within Western universities but they have access to insider information and resources. Apart from these individuals, the Bahá'í Faith has been very little studied by Western scholars of religion.
A word must also be said about what passes for scholarship on the Bahá'í Faith in Iran and to a lesser extent in the rest of the Middle East. Bahá'ís have been persecuted in many Middle Eastern countries and rejected by Islamic leaders, and one form of this discrimination has involved the manipulation of information. For most of the last 100 years, deliberately distorted or falsified information and documents have been created mostly by some within the Islamic religious establishment and then distributed as though these were facts about the Bahá'í Faith. Since the Bahá'ís have had no ability to respond to this material in the Middle East, these distortions have gradually become accepted in the Middle East as the truth. One example is the forged memoirs of Count Dolgorukov, the Russian ambassador to Iran in the 1840s to 1850s.
This and other contradictions were so clearly spurious that even some Iranian scholars debunked them when they were first published in the 1940s. But despite this, they are often regularly cited by Middle Eastern writers up to the present day as though they are a reliable source for the history of the religion.
Since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, this manufacturing of disinformation and forged material has increased greatly with programs in the media, articles, and books appearing on a frequent basis, especially in the government-run media. The result is that there is almost nothing published in the Middle East that has reliable information about the Bahá'í Faith in it. A little of this sort of scholarship has also appeared in the West; some Christian missionaries, notably Reverend William McElwee Miller(1892-1993)(Also see WOB83) have written anti-Bahá'í material and ex-Bahá'ís have published academic work that is calculated to make the Bahá'í community resemble a cult as portrayed in the anti-cult campaigns that were carried out in the Western media in the 1980s. [The above was copied from the website Patheos and has been edited for brevity. It was contributed by Dr. Natalie Mobini]
See as well the publication of Der Bahā'ismus, Weltreligion der Zukunft?: Geschichte, Lehre und Organisation in Kritischer Anfrage (Bahá'ísm-Religion of the Future? History, Doctrine and Organization: A Critical Inquiry) by Francesco Ficicchia under the auspices of the Central Office of the Protestant Church for Questions of Ideology in Germany.
||Bahai Scholarship; Comte de Gobineau; E.G.Browne; A L M Nicolas; Baron Viktor Rosen; Aleksandr Tumanski; Mirza Abul Fadl Gulpaygani; Fadil Mazandarani; Abdul Hamid Ishraq Khavari; Azizullah Sulaymani; Reverend William McElwee Miller; Francesco Ficicchia; Rosen; Tumanski; Z****
|1972 6 Aug
||‘Abdu’l-Hamíd Ishráq-Khávarí, Iranian scholar, author, translator and promoter of the Bahá’í Faith, passed away. [BW15:520]
For his obituary see BW15:518–20.
||Abdul-Hamid Ishraq-Khavari; In Memoriam; Births and deaths; Bahai scholars
|1981 1 Jan
||The publication of Der Bahā'ismus, Weltreligion der Zukunft?: Geschichte, Lehre und Organisation in Kritischer Anfrage (Bahá'ism-Religion of the Future? History, Doctrine and Organization: A Critical Inquiry) by Francesco Ficicchia under the auspices of the Central Office of the Protestant Church for Questions of Ideology in Germany. This book was distributed by the Protestant Church and became the most widespread book on the Bahá'í Faith in German, and as such was widely accepted as a critical academic publication. At the time of its distribution a decision was taken to not dignify the publication with a rebuttal. This proved to be an error. Making the Crooked Straight was published in 1995 in German and translated/published by George Ronald Publishers in 2000. The purpose of the book, as the name suggests, was to address the distorted views presented in Ficicchia's publication. [MCSintroduction]
||Opposition; Criticism and apologetics; Making the Crooked Straight (book); Bahai Scholarship; A.L.M. Nicolas; E. G. Browne; Baron Viktor Rosen; Aleksandr Tumanski; Mirza Abu'l-Fadl Gulpaygani; Alfred von Kremer
|1993 16 Oct
||The passing of Marzieh Nabíl Carpenter Gail, the second child and eldest daughter of the first Persian-American marriage in the Bahá'í Faith between Persian diplomat Ali-Kuli Khan and Boston debutante Florence Breed. (b. 1 April, 1908) [BW1993-1994p320-321, Find a grave]
See AY91 for ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s praise of her as a child and confirmation and promises for the future. He commented that she had átish (fire) and namak (salt). [AY93]
A translator (Arabic and Persian into English) and author. Poet Roger White would say of his friend: "She is the first lady of Bahá'í literature and I and many writers are indebted to her for leading the way."
Translations include: The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys (1945) and The Secret of Divine Civilization (1957) with her father; Memorials of the Faithful (1971); Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá (1976) with a Committee at the Bahá'í World Centre; My Memories of Bahá'u'lláh (1982).
Author of a dozen Bahá'í and non-Bahá'í books in addition to countless essays, articles, and short stories. Her remembrances of 'Abdu'l-Bahá are contained in The Sheltering Branch (1959), and those of His Exalted Sister in Khanum: The Greatest Holy Leaf (1981).
Many of her essays and pioneering stories are contained in Dawn Over Mount Hira (1976) and Other People, Other Places (1982). As well she wrote “Six Lessons in Islam” (1953), Summon Up Remembrance (1987), Arches of the Years (1991) and, “Bahá'í Glossary” (1955). [Bahá'í Studies Review, Vol 6, 1996]
See Obituary: Marzieh Nabil Carpenter Gail (1908-1993):
Translator and Author, "Patron Saint" of Women Bahá'í Scholars
by Constance M. Chen.
For a more complete list of her writings and translations see Bahai-library.
||San Francisco; United States
||Marzieh Gail; Ali-Kuli Khan; Florence Breed; Bahai scholars; In Memoriam; Births and deaths; First lady of Bahai literature