Co-Sponsored by the UCLA Center for the Study of Religion
In 1844, a young merchant from Shiraz, the Bab, claimed to be the fulfillment of the Islamic millenarian expectations. Six years later, he was killed by the order of Iranian political and religious authorities in the city of Tabriz. He was followed by another native of Iran, Baha'u'llah and the founder of the Baha'i Faith, who introduced himself as the reformer of religion, Iran, and the world. Ironically these sacred figures of the Baha'i religion are buried in Haifa and Akko, Israel. Therefore according to Baha'i writings, Akko (Bahji) and Haifa becmae spiritual centers of the Baha'i faith, and the area surrounding the shrine of the Bab became the seat of the administrative center of the Baha'i global community. A small community of close to 700 Baha'is reside for various durations in Haifa and Akko, and make arrangements for the constant flow of Baha'i pilgrims from all over the world to these places. The beautiful gardens at both Haifa and Akko are also popular destinations for Israelis and visitors to Israel of all faiths and nationalities.
This lecture will explore the history of the Babi/Baha'i Faith, its relation to Israel, and its social and spiritual worldview.
Dr. Nader Saiedi received his M.S. in Economics from Pahlavi University in Shiraz, and his Ph.D. in Sociology from University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has taught Sociology at University of Virginia, UCLA, Vanderbilt University, and Carleton College, before joining NELC as the Taslimi professor of Baha’i Studies. His writings have focused on Baha’i studies, social theory and peace studies. Current areas of research interest include the concept of peace in the writings of Baha’u’llah, the impact of the Baha’i faith on the Constitutional Movement in Iran, translation of the Persian Bayan (by the Bab) in English, 19th Century social and political thought in Iran Writings of the Bab and Baha’u’llah, the role of the Baha’is in development and modernization of Iran, and Persian philosophy.
Sponsor(s): Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies, Center for the Study of Religion
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