DGLnotes—Bahāʾī studies section

The Bahāʾī terraces and Shrine of the Bāb in Ḥaifa, Israel.
The Bahāʾī terraces and Shrine of the Bāb in Ḥaifa, Israel. [Source: D Gershon Lewental (DGLnotes)]

The Bahāʾī faith emerged in Iran during the mid-Nineteenth Century as a new religion within the Abrahamic monotheistic faith tradition, focusing on human unity and equality. Although the faith and its prophet-founder, Bahāʾ-Ollāh (also Baháʾu’lláh, born Mīrzā Ḥusayn-ʿAlī Nūrī, 1817–1892) came from Iran, persecution brought them to ʿAkko (Acre) and Ḥaifa (Haifa) in Ottoman Palestine, where the leadership of the faith has remained ever since. For nearly a century, the families and descendants of Bahāʾ-Ollāh and many of his early followers continued to live and thrive in the land, as it passed from the Ottomans to the British to the Israelis. I have conducted extensive research on the relations between the Bahāʾī community and British, Jewish, and Israeli authorities at the Israel State Archives and present general information on the Bahāʾī faith, original studies, and primary sources and other resource materials below.

Table of contents

General information on the Bahāʾī faith

  • Interview: ‘The Bahaʾi: Yet another world religion based in the Holy Land’,
    interview by Gilad Halpern, TLV1, ‘Tel-Aviv Review’ podcast, 07 October 2016.
    The Bahāʾī gardens in Haifa, Israel. (Credit: Miriam Alster/FLASH90.)
    ‘Dr. D Gershon Lewental, an Israel Studies professor at the University of Oklahoma, gives host Gilad Halpern an overview of the Bahaʾi religion—an offshoot of Shiʿa Islam that set up shop in the Holy Land (albeit not in Jerusalem, thankfully). They discuss its relationship with the local ethnic groups under the different regimes.’ (from TLV1.fm)
  • More coming soon.
  • Bahāʾī-related notes and studies

  • Genealogy of the founders of the Bahāʾī faith and their descendants, 24 October 2011.
    Early Bahāʾīs, including several sons of Bahāʾ-Ollāh.
    Genealogy has occupied an important place within Bahāʾī history and theology, serving to support further the faith’s claims to embody and succeed prior religious traditions. This article presents several genealogical charts that detail both the ancestry of the central figures of the Bahāʾī holy family, as well as their descendants down to the present day. Links are also provided to other online genealogical charts relating to Bahāʾī faith.
  • The Bahāʾī community in the Holy Land, forthcoming.
  • Primary sources and texts

  • Browne’s List of descendants of Mīrzā ʿAbbās Nūrī, 01 August 2012.
    Mīrzā Yaḥyā Nūrī (known as Ṣobḥ-e Azal, 1831–1912), with three of his sons.
    In his 1918 work, Materials for the study of the Bábí religion, the noted Orientalist Edward Granville Browne (1862–1926) reproduced a list of descendants of Mīrzā ʿAbbās Nūrī (known as Bozorg-e Vazīr, d. 1839), the father of the founder of the founder of the Bahāʾī faith, which had been compiled in June 1912 by ʿAbbās Nūrī’s grandson Mīrzā Ebrāhīm Khān. This list provides an early account of the genealogy of the Bahāʾī holy family.
  • Upcoming talks and lectures

    Please note that not all of these events are open to the general audience; please check with the organisers to confirm.
  • 08 May 2024, 14.15—‘Category imperative: The Establishment of the Bahāʾī Department in the Israeli Ministry for Religious Affairs’’ (47th annual conference of the Middle East & Islamic Studies Association of Israel): Open University, Raʿanannah, Israel.
  • 15 May 2024, 16.30—‘Shoghi Effendi and the development of Bahāʾī-Israeli relations’’ (Il Condominio Italian Bahāʾī forum): Rome, Italy (Zoom).
  • 06 June 2024, 18.30—‘Crisis of authority and authority during crisis: Shoghi Effendi’s succession and the State of Israel’ (Hebrew University Chair in Bahaʾi Studies Public Lecture): Hebrew University, Jerusalem (Zoom).
  • 13 August 2024, 9.30—‘The Return of Iran: Iranian nationalist rhetoric during the Iran-Iraq War’ (14th biennial conference of the Association for Iranian Studies): Mexico City, Mexico.
  • Past events ► click to expand