This article examines how ‘Abdu’l-Bahá promoted the arts during His ministry, through His encouragement and support of a prominent artist in the early Bahá’í community. Mishkín-Qalam was the first and most celebrated Bahá’í visual artist from the East. Best known for his calligraphic design of the Greatest Name, his life exemplified the “twofold moral purpose”: through his art, he was able to develop his own inherent spiritual potential as well as make lasting contributions to society. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá employed his artistic
skill in service to some of the most important achievements of His ministry: the interment of the remains of the Báb, the construction of the first Bahá’í House of Worship, and the transcription of Bahá’í literature. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s encouragement might serve as an emerging model for individuals, communities, and institutions of how to engage with artists and the arts, while Mishkín-Qalam’s response stands as an example to artists of how the pursuit of spiritual virtue and excellence in one’s craft can intertwine.
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