published in Lights of Irfan, Volume 7, pages 261-284 Wilmette, IL: Irfan Colloquia, 2006
Abstract: Even with this limitation, the paper would be more of a survey rather than an in-depth study. In future, at least two more papers might be prepared covering the periods 1868 -1892, and 1892 -1921.
Beyond the academic aspect, the underlying purpose of such a paper is to provide a historical backbone as a reference for spreading the divine fragrances in Arab lands. The paper will endeavor to see the Faith from a balanced Persian-Arab perspective for the purpose of mitigating the prevailing concept that it is a purely Persian import.
This is a very preliminary synopsis of the framework of the paper. While the nationality of the Central Figures was Persian, the fact
that the first predecessor (Shaykh Ahmad El-Ahsá'í) of the Báb was from an Arab tribe and set out on his mission from Arab land;
that the first formal announcement of the Báb was made in Mecca, the heart of Arab land;
that one of the first Letters of the Living (Mullá 'Alí Bastámí) directed his first steps to an Arab land
that the major declaration of Bahá'u'lláh was in an Arab land;
that most of the period of the Ministry of Bahá'u'lláh was in Arab Land;
that the sacred remains of all three Central Figures of the Faith were interred in Arab land;
that Bahá'u'lláh not only wrote so lovingly to His Arab followers in Baghdad, but pointedly identified Himself with them by calling himself an "Arab Youth";
that the bulk of the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh are in Arabic;
that Bahá'u'lláh stated a clear preference of the Arabic language;
that most of the lifetime of `Abdu'l-Bahá was in Arab lands, with considerable interaction with its dignitaries;
These, and many other considerations, all combine to show that from a historical, cultural and Sacred-Text point of view, the identity of the Faith is a fusion of Persian and Arab origins. Bahá'ís of both cultures, indeed of all cultures, need to be appreciative of this reality.