The Persian Bayān - Introduction, Extant mss. and Translations.

بيان فارسى Bayan-i-Farsi 

Opening lines from Ms in the UCLA Library: Special Collections. Box 97, MSS 741.

The Persian Bayān Introduction, Extant mss. and Translations.

The Persian Bayān


Many themes unmentioned or only touched upon in the Dalā'il‑i sab`a are expounded in the Bāb's incomplete though much lengthier Bayān‑i Fārsī  (Persian Bayān). This work, the most systematic, important and best‑known book in the massive Bābī canon, contains much that is representative of the Bāb's developed thought; his new laws, rituals and regulations, his socio‑political and economic concerns and ambitions, his qabbalistic, esoteric and other doctrinal speculations as well as detailed non‑literal interpretations of Shī`ī apocalyptic eschatology. No attempt can be made here to summarize the contents of this allegedly inimitable book.

The Persian Bayān supersedes the Qur'ān with which it is essentially identical (see II:1, 15‑16). Deliberately incomplete it is subject to the future confirmation of man yuẓhiru-hu Allāh  (see III:3, etc). It may simply be noted that within it the Bāb reaffirms his "gatehood" (bābiyyā  II:l) and  claims to be identical with/ the "return" of Imām Husayn whose eschatological advent was predicted in numerous Shī`ī traditions (IV:5). In addition he claimed to occupy the rank of (subordinate) Godhead (II:11; IV:l0. cf.III:2). Yet he is a "servant" subject to physical death (lX.l). As one devoid of formal learning and whose grammar should not be criticized, he reckons that he had revealed 100‑500,000 verses. 2  

MacEoin in Appendix 1 of his Sources (pp. 181-184) lists the following 49 mss.

Bayan-i Farsi

  • 1. Cambridge, Browne F.13 7 = Sent by the Azali writer Shaykh Ahmad Ruhi Kirmani, 1891.
  • 2. Cambridge, Browne F.l2 (dated before 128211865). 8  = Given to Browne in Rafsanjan, 22 August 1888. It seems to have been transcribed before 22 Muharram 1282/ 17 June 1865,