by Baharieh Rouhani Ma’ani
An In-depth Study of the Lives of Women Closely Related to the Báb and Baháulláh.
Women of the Middle East in the 19th century are generally absent from the pages of history. Even their names are not recorded. They have no voice. They are invisible.
The women closest to the twin Manifestations, the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh, are especially enigmatic.
What were they like as children? What was it like to live in the family of the Manifestation of God? What did they think about the new Revelations from God? How did they respond to the suffering and persecution that came upon them? So little is known.
Baharieh Maani decided to rectify this. Her task was formidable. There is little published about these women and documents are rare.
Over two and half decades she worked to gather all the known information about the women whose lives were intertwined with those of the Manifestations of God for this age ? mothers, wives, sisters, daughters. Looking beyond published sources, she was given permission by the Universal House of Justice to consult original documents in the Bahá’í International Archives and to make provisional translations of more than 50 Tablets, letters, memoirs and papers not previously published in English, many never before published in any language.
The result is an engaging and readable book that provides a unique and intriguing insight into the lives and circumstances of the women who played such important yet unseen roles in shaping the early history of the Bábí and Bahá’í religions. Mrs Maani has made the invisible visible.
Correction: on page 63 the sentence: After Mírzá ?abíbulláh Afnán, two of his sons, Abul-Qásim Afnán and Abul-?asan Afnán, served as custodians. should read: After Mírzá ?abíbulláh Afnán, two of his sons, Mírzá Abul-Qásim Afnán and Siyyid ?asan Afnán, served as custodians.