A Year Amongst the Persians

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  • United States
  • English

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Edward Granville Browne, born in Stouts Hill, Uley, Gloucestershire, England, was a British orientalist who published numerous articles and books of academic value, mainly in the areas of history and literature. His works are respected for their scholarship, uniqueness, and style. He published in areas which few other Western scholars had explored to any sufficient degree. He used a language and style that showed high respect for everybody, even toward those he personally did not view in positive light. In A Year Amongst the Persians (1893) he wrote a sympathetic portrayal of a Persian society which few Westerners had ever seen, including a frank account of the effects of opium. It did not attract the attention it deserved at the time of its initial publication, but after his death in 1926 it was reprinted and became a classic in English travel literature. A Year Amongst the Persians includes moving accounts of the Bahá’í community in Iran. Concerning his meetings with the Bahá’ís of Iran, Browne writes: “The memory of those assemblies can never fade from my mind; the recollection of those faces and those tones no time can efface. I have gazed with awe on the workings of a mighty Spirit, and I marvel whereunto it tends”.
Edward G. Browne referred to Bahá’ís as Bábís, but this was a mistake on his part. Siyyid ‘Alí-Muhammad-i-Shírází (1819-1850), known as the “Báb”, which is Arabic for “Gate”, proclaimed that He was the Promised One of Islám. He declared His mission in 1844 and was executed by the Persian government in 1850. His followers were known as Bábís. The Báb also proclaimed that He was the Gate, Herald and Forerunner of an even greater Manifestation of God who would come after Him, the Promised One of all religions and Return of Christ in the Glory of the Father. In 1863, Mírzá Husyan-‘Alí-yi-Núrí (1817-1892), known as Bahá’u’lláh (Arabic for “The Glory of God”), proclaimed that He was the Promised One foretold by the Báb. By the time Browne arrived in Iran, most Bábís had already accepted Bahá’u’lláh as
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