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Principles for Progress

Essays on Religion and Modernity by `Abdu'l-Bahá

410 pages
Amsterdam University Press
"This book presents three of the works of Abdu.l-Bah., son of the founder of the Bah..i Faith, dealing with social and political issues. In The Secret of Divine Civilization (1875) Abdu.l-Bah. supports the administrative and broader social reforms of Mirz. Hosayn Kh.n, but looks mainly for organic reform through the efforts of Iranian intellectuals to waken and educate the masses. In this work, Abdu.l-Bah. gives virtuous and progressive Islamic clerics a leading role among these intellectuals, indeed most of his appeals are directed specifically to them. A Traveller's Narrative (1889/90) is an authoritative statement of the broad lines of Bah.'i social and political thinking. The Art of Governance (1892/93) was written as Iran entered a pre-revolutionary phase, and ideas that we recognise today as the precursors of political Islam were spreading. It sets out the principles underlying the ideal relationship between religion and politics and between the government and the people. In addition to presenting the first parallel text translations of these works, the Persian texts incorporate notes on variants in the early published sources. An introduction outlines the intellectual and political landscape from which Abdu.l-Bah. wrote, and in which his expected readers lived. "
Author Bio
S. McGlinn is an independent scholar who writes and translates in the fields of Bahai studies, Iranian studies and Islamic studies.