Gate of the Heart: Understanding the Writings of the Bab

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Gate of the Heart: Understanding the Writings of the Bab. BY NADER SAIEDI. Baha'i Studies Series, vol. 1. Waterloo, Ont.: WILFRID LAURIER UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2008. Pp. viii 423. $85.

Since the Victorian era of the great Western Islamicists and Orientalists, very few modern academics have been bold enough to write about the life and writings of Sayyid 'Ali Muhammad Shirazi (1819-50 C.E.), the early Qajar-era, Persian-born, messianic claimant widely known as the Bab or 'Gate' (primarily to the occulted twelfth Imam). Even fewer have attempted to translate his numerous, notoriously complex Arabic and Persian writings, the knowledge of which is indispensable to a proper comprehension of the short-lived religion that he founded in 1260/1844. The Bab was executed by a firing squad in Tabriz in 1850, but within a few years his post-Islamic religion was resurrected in a new form by Mirza Husayn 'Ali Nuri (1817-92), the founder of the now globally diffused Baha'i religion.

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