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TAGS: Abdul-baha, Life of (documents); Azali Babis; Constitutional Movement; Iranian constitution; Politics; Reform; Risaliy-i-Siyasiyyih (Treatise on Leadership); Secret of Divine Civilization (book)
LOCATIONS: Egypt; Iran (documents)
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Abdu’l-Bahá’s orientation toward the Constitutional Revolution of 1906–1911: he embraced the principles of constitutionalism while disapproving of confrontation; real social change needs to start at the moral-ethical level.

`Abdu'l-Bahá and the Iranian Constitutional Revolution:
Embracing Principles while Disapproving Methodologies

by Mina Yazdani

published in Journal of Bahá'í Studies, 24:1-2, pages 47-82
Ottawa, ON: Association for Bahá'í Studies North America, 2014
About: This article explores ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s orientation toward the Iranian Constitutional Revolution (1906–11) and proposes that, deeply rooted in Bahá’u’lláh’s writings and teachings, His attitude was one of embracing the principles of constitutionalism while disapproving the confrontational nature of the interactions. After investigating some passages in the Bahá’í Writings relevant to the topic and discussing (1) ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s efforts to reconcile the majlis and the court of the Shah while urging Bahá’ís to do the same (or withdraw if unsuccessful); (2) His warnings against foreign interference, the involvement of the ‘ulamá in politics, and the role of Yaḥyáyís in the Revolution; (3) His views on obedience to the government and noninterference in partisan politics; and (4) His concern that the Bahá’ís would be scapegoated if they intervened, this article focuses on His view that real social change needs to start at the moral-ethical level, a corollary of spiritual rejuvenation. The article concludes by examining this view as a guideline for Bahá’í action in times of sociopolitical turmoil as exemplified by the April 2011 letter of the Bahá’ís of Egypt to the people of that country.
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