Todd Lawson: “Blessed Beauty in Islam, Joseph as Divine Manifestation (Understanding the Báb’s Audience)”
The Islamic philosophic or mystical tradition, frequently indistinguishable from the Islamic tradition in general, has long been distinguished by the intensity with which it venerates and celebrates certain specific divine teachings from the Qur’án or the Hadith on the spiritual value of beauty. “God is beautiful and loves beauty” is just one such teaching. There are countless others. The purpose of this web talk is to link the Islamic veneration of beauty with the coming of the new revelation of the Báb and, later, Bahá’u’lláh, who is widely known and referred to by Bahá’ís as the Blessed Beauty. The study of “beauty” as such is, of course, impossibly broad. In the course of the web talk we will focus on two aspects, revelation and manifestation as “messengers” of divine beauty. First, there will be a summary and elucidation of the aesthetic dimension of the Qur’anic revelation. Secondly, we will present the Islamic belief that Joseph, the subject of the Báb’s proclamatory Commentary introduced in web talk #1, was a unique embodiment of both spiritual and physical divine or blessed beauty. Muhammad, prophet and divine manifestation (and founder of Islam) is seen by the Islamic tradition as a reappearance of such spiritual and moral beauty. As we know, the Bahá’í Faith emphasizes the quality of beauty as elements of both the revelation and person of the divine manifestations, the Báb and Bahá’ú’lláh. The role of beauty as religious or spiritual value, then, may be seen to be inherited, enriched and universalized by the Bahá’í revelation.

Jul 21, 2019 02:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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