Immersed in the high Imamology of Twelver Shiʿi gnosis, the writings of Siyyid ʿAlī Muḥamad Shīrāzī, the Bāb (d. 1850) display some of the most interesting Joycean and Dadaesque (while thoroughly unconventional) usages of the Arabic language by any noted heresiarch in the whole of Islamic history wherein the themes, language, stylisms and sonorisms of the Qurʾān are literally made to explode beyond themselves into lucidly articulated Arabic glossolalia, theurgically located, in the permutation of the names and attributes of the divinity qua the doxologies of a post-Islamic scripture. Together with a brief history of the Bābī movement, in this presentation a few samples from the Bāb’s Book of the Names of All-Things (kitāb asmāʾ kullu-shayʾ) and the Book of the Five Grades (kitāb panj shaʾn) will be discussed and offered in the original as well as in translation.
Wahid Azal is an independent practitioner, scholar of Islamic magical and occult texts and manuscripts, and an expert on the post-Islamic gnostic religion of the Bayān. He is also an activist and the Grand Shaykh of the Fatimiya Sufi Order. Recently widowed, he lives with his daughter in Berlin.