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"The magic touch of progress": 'Abdu'l-Bahá on Social Transformation
Based on "The Secret of Divine Civilization," his Treatise on Politics (Risalih-yi Siyasiyyih) and unpublished letters of ‛Abdu’l-Bahá written in Ottoman Turkish, this talk discusses the contributions of ‛Abdu’l-Bahá to the reform discourse in Iran and the Ottoman Empire. His discourse will be dealt within the framework of Bahá’u’lláh’s own claim as “World Reformer” which he expounds in various Writings, especially those revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas.

All this Bahá’í perspective will be presented against the historical background of the development of reforms in the Ottoman Empire and Iran where generations of forward looking intellectuals and statesmen have discussed and applied their progressive ideas for the betterment and transformation of society. Within this context especially the relationship between ‛Abdu’l-Bahá and Ottoman reformers and his attempt to infuse Bahá’í thoughts into the Ottoman and Iranian reform movement shall be described.

Mar 27, 2021 12:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Speakers

Necati Alkan
I was born in Turkey and educated in Germany where I received a PhD in History from the Ruhr University of Bochum (2004). I spent a year at SOAS in London (1999-2000), taught at a university in Istanbul, the University of Erfurt, Germany and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem/Israel where I was visiting scholar at the Chair in Baha'i Studies. I have been at the University of Bamberg, Germany, since 2015, where I have pursued my research about the Alawis in the late Ottoman Empire within the context of religious conversion efforts by Protestants and the Sunni missionary project of the Ottomans. Currently, I am part of the Transottomanica Project within which I am studying Ottoman perceptions of the Arab scholar Ibn Khaldun's view of history. I also served at the Research Department of the BWC in Haifa, where I translated Ottoman documents about the Baha'i Faith and Turkish letters of 'Abdu'l-Baha. I have published articles about late Ottoman history in prestigious academic journals.