Chapter

The Authority of the Feminine and Fatima's Place in an Early Work by the Bab

Tood Lawson

in The Most Learned of the Shiʿa

Published in print August 2001 | ISBN: 9780195137996
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849055 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195137996.003.0007
The Authority of the Feminine and Fatima's Place in an Early Work by the Bab

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This chapter provides some background for the extraordinary degree to which Fatima al-Zahra's religious authority was accepted by her followers and by the Babis in general. The chapter emphasizes the role of Fatima al-Zahra, of whom Tahireh was considered, if not a reincarnation, then certainly a “re-enactment.” It focuses on the Bab's discussion of Fatima in an unpublished Qur', a commentary written before the founding of the Babi movement. Here it becomes clear that Fatima was a symbol and embodiment of the highest possible spiritual rank connected with cosmogony, gnosis, divine love and mercy, knowledge, heroism, and walaya. With the appearance of the highly gifted Tahireh in the midst of the eschatalogical drama that was the Babi movement, the reality of Fatima was made present and Tahireh's own authority was thereby retified.

Keywords: religious authority; Shiʿism; Bab; Fatima al-Zahra; Tahireh; walaya

Chapter.  20522 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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