In the late nineteenth century, Bahá’u’lláh likened people of African descent to the “pupil of the eye” through which the “light of the spirit shineth forth.” This essay argues that the “pupil of the eye” metaphor is a deeply consequential, distinguishing feature of the transformative social and spiritual system laid out in Bahá’u’lláh’s Revelation. Studying the nexus of capitalism, race, and intellectual history, the essay historicizes Bahá’u’lláh’s elevating metaphor, arguing that it amounts to a forceful refutation of anti-blackness and thus a dismantling of one of modernity’s pivotal ideologies. Ultimately, the essay demonstrates that the unique integrity and coherence of Bahá’u’lláh’s system for the creation of universal unity and justice is especially manifest through analytical contemplation of the “pupil of the eye” metaphor.
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Copyright © 2019 Derik Smith