June 18, 2023 will mark 40 years since 10 Baha’i women were hanged in Shiraz. Their only ‘crime’ was their refusal to renounce their beliefs in a faith that promotes the principles of gender equality, unity, justice, and truthfulness. This collection highlights Baha’i Blog content relating to the ongoing persecution of Baha’is in Iran.
Abdu’l-Baha: The Perfect Exemplar is a new scholarly work by Dariush Lamy. Among its 350 pages, you’ll find an overview of the Life of Abdu’l-Baha. The books also provides us with a glimpse into the profundity and scope of Abdu’l-Baha’s Writings. As this year is a time for profound reflection on Abdu’l-Baha, I’m sure Dariush’s book will be valuable to those who read and study it.
Dariush graciously agreed to tell us about his book and this is what he shared:
Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Of course! I was raised in a Baha’i family and was fortunate from an early age to be in close proximity with the great scholars of the Faith in Iran. I started reading and researching Baha’i literature and published many articles in different Persian Baha’i and non-Baha’i magazines. I have studied architecture and then continued my graduate studies in Islamic studies at UCLA to help with my research in the Baha’i Writings.
Baha’i Blog: Could you please tell us a little about your book?
My book is the result of about 10 years of research. I had to start rereading everything that has been available from published and unpublished materials about Abdu’l-Baha, everything that has to do directly or indirectly with Abdu’l-Baha in Persian, Arabic and English languages. For the last 50 years no book has been written about Abdu’l-Baha in English or Persian like this. The last one was Mr. Balyuzi’s book in English and Mr. Hooshang Mahmudi’s book in Persian. Now, 50 years later, my book presents a comprehensive biography of Abdu’l-Baha and His major Writings, thereby making available some materials in English for the first time.
Baha’i Blog: What inspired you to write it?
The love of Abdu’l-Baha inspired me to write this book. I think this kind of book needs to have love as an ingredient to be successful. Once you read His life and His life style and the details of His Writings it takes you to a totally different world. Everything about Abdu’l-Baha is very uplifting and moving. Someone who has not attended any school and wrote thousands of Writings with a very moving and high caliber can penetrate your mind and your heart. Digging into the details of His Writings is an exceptional experience.
Baha’i Blog: What was something that you learned in the process?
I learned that my research had to be supported with facts and reliable documents and sources. I learned that I can not understand Abdu’l-Baha’s personality without knowing His environment, culture and the circumstances in which He was living and writing. I learned that His main desire was fuelled by His love for Baha’u’llah and serving humanity. In summary, I learned that I could come up with four main pillars to explain Him: love, servitude, knowledge and service to humanity.
Baha’i Blog: How has writing this book impacted your thoughts and reflections during this special year?
When I started to do research for this book about 10 years ago, I had no deadline. But, then I realized that 2021 is the 100th anniversary of His Passing and I had to finish it in such a time that it would be available in 2021 and fortunately, I was successful. This year is the time to reflect on His 77 years of service. He is someone whose humbleness has impacted me greatly. He calls His followers His friends that He loves very much, and He makes sure everyone in contact with Him leaves happy and uplifted.
Baha’i Blog: What do you hope people will take away with them, long after they finish reading?
More important than anything else, I hope people who read this book will fall in love with Abdu’l-Baha or, at least get one step closer to Him. In order to fall in love with someone, you need to know them well: knowing different aspects of His life, services, Writings and know everything about Him. Once you feel that love in your heart, I am sure it will stay with you for a long time. But this would be a jump start and needs to be nurtured by a continuation of reading His Writings.
Baha’i Blog: What word of encouragement might you have for other aspiring Baha’i authors?
Two main points: One you have to love what you are writing about, as that will keep you going. And second, do not have any expectations from anyone or anything. This is a road that will change your life and take you to places that were not possible to explore before. One of the main ingredients for writing is to love doing it.
Baha’i Blog: Thank you, Dariush, for telling us about your book.
In her innermost heart, Sonjel is a stay-at-home parent and a bookworm with a maxed out library card but professionally she is a museologist with a background in English Literature. She currently lives on Prince Edward Island, an isle in the shape of a smile on the eastern Canadian coast. Sonjel is a writer who loves to listen to jazz when she's driving at night.