Bahá'í Library Online
. . . .
.
>>   Biographies Encyclopedia articles
> add tags
Abstract:
Five brief excerpts that reference the Baha'i Faith, with link to article offsite.
Notes:
The following sections are excerpted from the long article at referenceworks.brillonline.com.

Kasravi, Ahmad

by Ali Reza Manafzadeh et al.

published in Encyclopaedia Iranica
New York: Columbia University, 2012/2020
KASRAVI, AḤMAD — (b. Tabriz, 29 September 1890; d. Tehran, 11 March 1946; Figure 1), influential social thinker, prominent historian, a pioneer of Iran’s linguistic studies, well-known social and religious reformer with a sense of prophetic mission, and prolific author.

...

KASRAVI, AḤMAD i. LIFE AND WORK

...

Faithful to his principles, to the end of his life Kasravi remained an unremitting defender of order, national unity, justice, the Constitution, and the modernization of the country. He staunchly opposed everything he considered an obstacle to realizing these ideals. Thus it was that he ventured onto a dangerous path that all the secular intellectuals of his period attempted to bypass. The defiance he would hurl at Shiʿism was unforgivable, not only for the clergy and religious fanatics, but also for the high officials of the country. With the publication of his book Šiʿigari [Shiʿism] in late 1943, he signed his own death warrant. Shortly after its publication, he wrote another book, on Bahaism, called Bahāʾigari, which takes it to be an extension of Shiʿism. The two books complemented each other. Kasravi treats some aspects of Shiʿism in the book on Bahaism. According to him, the messianism on which Bahaism relies is an illusion, contrary to the natural law of the universe. Such a belief prevents men from exercising good behavior, since it is assumed a priori that man can do nothing against the evil that grows from day to day (Kasravi, 1996a, p. 63). In his analysis of this religion, Kasravi appeals generously to reason. He rejects all argument from authority (dalil-e naqli), without which no revealed religion can stand. He intended in part to lift the intellectual obstacles that formed a barrier to national unity and in part to propagate a degree of rationalism in a world where the ancestral culture transmitted by literature and religious faith found it hard, because of its propensity for the irrational, to incorporate scientific thought, the keystone of the incredible success of Western societies.

...

KASRAVI, AḤMAD ii. ASSASSINATION

...

During the period of late 1941 to mid-1945 Kasravi wrote some of his sharpest critique of the clergy and tenets of Shiʿism, Bahaism and Sufism. He became the embodiment of intellectual revision of official religious and cultural thought and the self-appointed, outspoken adversary of the resurgent Islamic movement. Kasravi let it be known through seventeen books and pamphlets, as well as numerous articles in his newspaper Parčam, that he believed the renaissance of political Islam and attempts to hold the government to Islamic law (šariʿa) were hostile to the modern values and institutions espoused by the Constitutional Revolution of 1906, in which Kasravi was a young participant (Kasravi, 1990, pp. 30-33; see above, i, and below, v).

...

KASRAVI, AḤMAD v. AS SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS REFORMER

...

Historical context. Students of the modern history of Iran are presented with two distinctive religious reform movements since the mid-19th century. The first was begun by some disciples of Shaikh Aḥmad Ahsāiʾi and Sayyed ʿAli-Moḥammad Bāb (qq.v.). Later, those influenced by and close to Sayyed Jamāl-al-Din Asadābādi (see afḡāni, jamāl-al-din) used new religious concepts to challenge the established Shiʿite hierarchy as well as the social order. This socio-religious reform movement left two lasting legacies. One was the creation of the Bahai faith (see BAHAISM), and the other was unquestionable, though indirect, influence it had on the 19th-century Modernity Movement and early 20th-century Constitutional Revolution in Iran (see ISLAM IN IRAN xiii. MOVEMENTS IN 20TH CENTURY IRAN).

...

It is evident from Kasravi’s writings during the final years of his life that his assessment of Islam, in particular Shiʿism and to some extent Bahaism, as not based on a desire to return to the origin of Islam and emulate the ‘forefathers’ (as advocated by salafi Muslims). Rather he upheld ḵerad (that is, reason and knowledge) as the most valuable faculty bestowed on mankind by God. But Muslims do not distinguish this faculty—which all should recognize and cherish as a part of a universal creed—as a God-given gift. Instead, they affirm the opposite by believing that the past was better than today, and the future promises no hope (Kasravi, 1943b, pp. 8-9).

...

In Šiʿigari followed by Bahāʾigari (1943c), Kasravi left no doubts that he sought no dialogue with the most ardent proponents of the sanctified belief that the Twelfth Imam (Imām-e zamān) disappeared and will return on the Judgement Day. To him, it made no difference that Shiʿites believed that the Imām-e Zamān is yet to appear and Bahai faithful saw Bāb as personification of the absent Imam. Kasravi wrote that the entire concept of believing in an absent Imam was ludicrous, against reason, and therefore a hindrance to progress and enlightenment (ibid., pp. 138- 45). He saw no shortcuts or back roads toward a modern and secular Iran without an intellectual confrontation with some of the most sacred tenets of the dominant religious thinking (ibid., pp. 224, 233-34).

...

Read the rest of this article online at referenceworks.brillonline.com/entries/encyclopaedia-iranica-online/kasravi-ahmad-COM_11056.

Back to:   Biographies Encyclopedia articles
Home Site Map Forum Links Copyright About Contact
.
. .