'Abdu'lláh Buní inventor of soap

All research or scholarship questions
paula
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Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2011 9:41 am

'Abdu'lláh Buní inventor of soap

Postby paula » Sat Feb 02, 2013 4:38 pm

In Secret of Divine Civilization page 104, 'Abdu'l-Baha writes:
"... soap - an article the inventor of which was 'Abdu'lláh Buní, a Muslim..."

The above quote really got me curious, it seemed so oddly placed. Kind of like an aside to the audience. But I know better, there is nothing trivial in any word or phrase in the Writings. So, I tried to research who this man was and found very little. Yet, he had to have importance or 'Abdu'l-Baha wouldn't have mentioned him. Does anyone have any information about 'Abdu'lláh Buní and the invention of soap? I'm also interested in any sources for his writings in English.

Thanks,
Paula

[Edited to add link - B.Z.]

brettz9
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Re: 'Abdu'lláh Buní inventor of soap

Postby brettz9 » Sat Feb 02, 2013 11:38 pm

I don't have any information on 'Abdu'lláh Buní, but as far as the placement of this information, I think the context makes clear that 'Abdu'l-Bahá is trying to rouse the people of Iran for their backwardness and opposition to progress, pointing out the ignorant inconsistency if not hypocrisy of how many so-called pious were simultaneously violating the actual commands of God while opposing scientific exploration and innovation, despite the latter being either indirectly endorsed by Islam or even, as in the case of soap, created within an Islamic civilization. Mentioning that the inventor of soap was a Muslim is an appeal to reason to the loyalists of Islam (and/or Persian nationalists) who are wary of losing their culture or beliefs by adopting ways associated with foreigners.

Of course, 'Abdu'l-Baha is not saying that the invention is only acceptable because it was invented by a Muslim--on the contrary, much of Secret of Divine Civilization is dedicated to showing that Islam supports adopting progressive scientific or social innovations whatever the source. But it ought to appeal to the mindset of the many stubbornly one-sided people who very wrongly think Islam obliges them to rail against everything Western (not altogether unlike the stubbornly partisan Christians, Jews, or materialists today who feel they need to rail against absolutely everything in Islam (or religion or who mock everything about countries like Iran) because of their often however understandable distaste for the excesses committed by no small number of its present-day followers).

paula
Posts: 21
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2011 9:41 am

Re: 'Abdu'lláh Buní inventor of soap

Postby paula » Sun Feb 03, 2013 3:42 pm

Thank you for taking the time to explain 'Abdu'l-Baha's placement of 'Abdu'llah Buni as the inventor of soap. Your explanation made a lot of sense to me. I truly appreciate your posting an answer.


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