Tag Archives: Bab

Bicentennial of the birth of Bahá’u’lláh, 22nd of October 2017

In recent years, the Bahá’í world received instructions from their administrative head (The Universal House of Justice) to start using the “Badi calendar” for the celebrations of their Holy days. This changes things…some dates now fluctuate year to year; kind of like Easter. For instance, most notably the Birth of The Báb and Bahá’u’lláh are now TWIN HOLY DAYS! That means they are celebrated on two consecutive days. These days will range over the next 10 years between mid October to mid November. Other holy days like the New Year, the Intercalary Days, the Festival of Ridván, and the 19 Day Feasts also change but they only fluctuate a little from being a day forward or a day earlier depending on when the New Year was celebrated on that year.

Now, this post is about the Bicentennial of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh, the Manifestation of God for Today. It’s a big deal. He was born in Tehrán on November 12th 1817 – 200 years later, we are going to have celebrations ALL OVER THE WORLD!

I am just very excited about these events and I am sure lots of creative mids will be at work to make something uplifting and dignified. Make sure you check out where the celebration nearest to you will be next year 🙂

For those not yet very familiar with Bahá’u’lláh’s life, you can read about His life here and from His Pen here. He is the Manifestation of God for today and the attributes of His Blessed Person can be clearly seen and distinguished through the accounts and history of His life.

Photo credit: Adib Roy

Photo credit: Adib Roy


The Declaration of The Báb. A Bahá’í Holy Day.

The Báb was the Herald of the new Revelation. He prepared the peoples for the coming of Him “Whom God will make Manifest”. In other words, He did not only have the enormous task of being a Messenger of God but He also prepared His followers (known then as Babis) to be able to recognize the Manifestation of God that would soon make Himself manifest to them.

So, for the Baha’is, the Declaration of The Báb marks the beginning of the Baha’i era. 23rd of May 1844 is when it happened and this is the story of the blessed night related by Mulla Husayn and documented on The Dawn-Breakers: Nabíl’s Narrative of the Early Days of the Bahá’í Revelation, p. 676:

“‘We soon found ourselves standing at the gate of a house of modest appearance. He knocked at the door, which was soon opened by an Ethiopian servant. “Enter therein in peace, secure,”were His words as He crossed the threshold and motioned me to follow Him. His invitation, uttered with power and majesty, penetrated my soul. I thought it a good augury to be addressed in such words, standing as I did on the threshold of the first house I was entering in Shíráz, a city the very atmosphere of which had produced already an indescribable impression upon me. Might not my visit to this house, I thought to myself, enable me to draw nearer to the Object of my quest? Might it not hasten the termination of a period of intense longing, of strenuous search, of increasing anxiety, which such a quest involves? As I entered the house and followed my Host to His chamber, a feeling of unutterable joy invaded my being. Immediately 55 we were seated, He ordered a ewer of water to be brought, and bade me wash away from my hands and feet the stains of travel. I pleaded permission to retire from His presence and perform my ablutions in an adjoining room. He refused to grant my request, and proceeded to pour the water over my hands. He then gave me to drink of a refreshing beverage, after which He asked for the samovar and Himself prepared the tea which He offered me.

Overwhelmed with His acts of extreme kindness, I arose to depart. “The time for evening prayer is approaching,” I ventured to observe. “I have promised my friends to join them at that hour in the Masjid-i-Ílkhání.” With extreme courtesy and calm He replied: “You must surely have made the hour of your return conditional upon the will and pleasure of God. It seems that His will has decreed otherwise. You need have no fear of having broken your pledge.” His dignity and self-assurance silenced me I renewed my ablutions and prepared for prayer. He, too, stood beside me and prayed. Whilst praying, I unburdened my soul, which was much oppressed, both by the mystery of this interview and the strain and stress of my search. I breathed this prayer: “I have striven with all my soul, O my God, and until now have failed to find Thy promised Messenger. I testify that Thy word faileth not, and that Thy promise is sure.”

And he goes on, explaining:

That night, that memorable night, was the eve preceding the fifth day of Jamádiyu’l-Avval, in the year 1260 A.H. It was about an hour after sunset when my youthful Host began to converse with me. “Whom, after Siyyid Kázim,” He asked me, “do you regard as his successor and your leader?” “At the hour of his death,” I replied, “our departed teacher insistently exhorted us to forsake our homes, to scatter far and wide, in quest of the promised Beloved. I have, accordingly, journeyed to Persia, have arisen to accomplish his will, and am still engaged in my quest.” “Has your teacher,” He further enquired, “given you any detailed indications as to the distinguishing features of the promised One?” “Yes,” I replied, “He is of a pure lineage, is of illustrious descent, and of the seed of Fátimih. As to His age, He is more than twenty and less than thirty. He is endowed with innate knowledge. He is of medium height, abstains from smoking, and is free from bodily deficiency.” He paused for a while and then with vibrant voice declared: “Behold, all these signs are manifest in Me!” He then considered each of the above-mentioned signs separately, and conclusively demonstrated that each and all were applicable to His person. I was greatly surprised, and politely observed: “He whose advent we await is a Man of unsurpassed holiness, and the Cause He is to reveal, a Cause of tremendous power. Many and diverse are the requirements which He who claims to be its visible embodiment must needs fulfil. How often has Siyyid Kázim referred to the vastness of the knowledge of the promised One! How often did he say: ‘My own knowledge is but a drop compared with that with which He has been endowed. All my attainments are but a speck of dust in the face of the immensity of His knowledge. Nay, immeasurable is the difference!’” No sooner had those words dropped from my lips than I found myself seized with fear and remorse, such as I could neither conceal nor explain. I bitterly reproved myself, and resolved at that very moment to alter my attitude and to soften my tone. I vowed to God that should my Host again refer to the subject, I would, with the utmost humility, answer and say: “If you be willing to substantiate your claim, you will most assuredly deliver me from the anxiety and suspense which so heavily oppress my soul. I shall truly be indebted to you for such deliverance.” When I first started upon my quest, I determined to regard the two following standards as those whereby I could ascertain the truth of whosoever might claim to be the promised Qá’im. The first was a treatise, which I had myself composed, bearing upon the abstruse and hidden teachings propounded by Shaykh Aḥmad and Siyyid Kázim. Whoever seemed to me capable of unravelling the mysterious allusions made in that treatise, to him I would next submit my second request, and would ask him to reveal, without the least hesitation or reflection, a commentary on the Súrih of Joseph, in a style and language entirely different from the prevailing standards of the time. I had previously requested Siyyid Kázim, in private, to write a commentary on that same Súrih, which he refused, saying: “This is, verily, beyond me. He, that great One, who comes after me will, unasked, reveal it for you. That commentary will constitute one of the weightiest testimonies of His truth, and one of the clearest evidences of the loftiness of His position.”

Incredible! What a blessed night indeed! And what was to follow…

I was revolving these things in my mind, when my distinguished Host again remarked: “Observe attentively. Might not the Person intended by Siyyid Kázim be none other than I?” I thereupon felt impelled to present to Him a copy of the treatise which I had with me. “Will you,” I asked Him, “read this book of mine and look at its pages with indulgent eyes? I pray you to overlook my weaknesses and failings.” He graciously complied with my wish. He opened the book, glanced at certain passages, closed it, and began to address me. Within a few minutes He had, with characteristic vigour and charm, unravelled all its mysteries and resolved all its problems. Having to my entire satisfaction accomplished, within so short a time, the task I had expected Him to perform, He further expounded tome certain truths which could be found neither in the reported sayings of the imáms of the Faith nor in the writings of Shaykh Aḥmad and Siyyid Kázim. These truths, which I had never heard before, seemed to be endowed with refreshing vividness and power. “Had you not been My guest,” He afterwards observed, “your position would indeed have been a grievous one. The all-encompassing grace of God has saved you. It is for God to test His servants, and not for His servants to judge Him in accordance with their deficient standards. Were I to fail to resolve your perplexities, could the Reality that shines within Me be regarded as powerless, or My knowledge be accused as faulty? Nay, by the righteousness of God! it behoves, in this day, the peoples and nations of both the East and the West to hasten to this threshold, and here seek to obtain the reviving grace of the Merciful. Whoso hesitates will indeed be in grievous loss. Do not the peoples of the earth testify that the fundamental purpose of their creation is the knowledge and adoration of God? It behoves them to arise, as earnestly and spontaneously as you have arisen, and to seek with determination and constancy their promised Beloved.” He then proceeded to say: “Now is the time to reveal the commentary on the Súrih of Joseph.” He took up His pen and with incredible rapidity revealed the entire Súrih of Mulk, the first chapter of His commentary on the Súrih of Joseph. The overpowering effect of the manner in which He wrote was heightened by the gentle intonation of His voice which accompanied His writing. Not for one moment did He interrupt the flow of the verses which streamed from His pen. Not once did He pause till the Súrih of Mulk was finished. I sat enraptured by the magic of His voice and the sweeping force of His revelation. At last I reluctantly arose from my seat and begged leave to depart. He smilingly bade me be seated, and said: “If you leave in such a state, whoever sees you will assuredly say: ‘This poor youth has lost his mind.’” At that moment the clock registered two hours and eleven minutes after sunset. That night, the eve of the fifth day of Jamádiyu’l-Avval, in the year 1260 A.H., corresponded with the eve preceding the sixty-fifth day after Naw-rúz, which was also the eve of the sixth day of Khurdád, of the year Nahang. “This night,” He declared, “this very hour will, in the days to come, be celebrated as one of the greatest and most significant of all festivals. Render thanks to God for having graciously assisted you to attain your heart’s desire, and for having quaffed from the sealed wine of His utterance. ‘Well is it with them that attain thereunto.’

At the third hour after sunset, my Host ordered the dinner to be served. That same Ethiopian servant appeared again and spread before us the choicest food. That holy repast refreshed alike my body and soul. In the presence of my Host, at that hour, I felt as though I were feeding upon the fruits of Paradise. I could not but marvel at the manners and the devoted attentions of that Ethiopian servant whose very life seemed to have been transformed by the regenerating influence of his Master. I then, for the first time, recognised the significance of this well-known traditional utterance ascribed to Muḥammad: “I have prepared for the godly and righteous among My servants what eye hath seen not, ear heard not, nor human heart conceived.” Had my youthful Host no other claim to greatness, this were sufficient—that He received me with that quality of hospitality and loving-kindness which I was convinced no other human being could possibly reveal.

He then shares his thoughts and feelings:

I sat spellbound by His utterance, oblivious of time and of those who awaited me. Suddenly the call of the muadhdhín, summoning the faithful to their morning prayer, awakened me from the state of ecstasy into which I seemed to have fallen. All the delights, all the ineffable glories, which the Almighty has recounted in His Book as the priceless possessions of the people of Paradise—these I seemed to be experiencing that night. Methinks I was in a place of which it could be truly said: “Therein no toil shall reach us, and therein no weariness shall touch us”; “No vain discourse shall they hear therein, nor any falsehood, but only the cry, ‘Peace! Peace!’”; “Their cry therein shall be, ‘Glory be to Thee, O God!’ and their salutation therein, ‘Peace!’ And the close of their cry, ‘Praise be to God, Lord of all creatures!’

He then addressed me in these words: “O thou who art the first to believe in Me! Verily I say, I am the Báb, the Gate of God, and thou art the Bábu’l-Báb, the gate of that Gate. Eighteen souls must, in the beginning, spontaneously and of their own accord, accept Me and recognise the truth of My Revelation. Unwarned and uninvited, each of these must seek independently to find Me. And when their number is complete, one of them must needs be chosen to accompany Me on My pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina. There I shall deliver the Message of God to the Sharíf of Mecca. I then shall return to Kúfih, where again, in the Masjid of that holy city, I shall manifest His Cause. It is incumbent upon you not to divulge, either to your companions or to any other soul, that which you have seen and heard. Be engaged in the Masjid-i-Ílkhání in prayer and in teaching. I, too, will there join you in congregational prayer. Beware lest your attitude towards Me betray the secret of your faith. You should continue in this occupation and maintain this attitude until our departure for Ḥijáz. Ere we depart, we shall appoint unto each of the eighteen souls his special mission, and shall send them forth to accomplish their task. We shall instruct them to teach the Word of God and to quicken the souls of men.” Having spoken these words to me, He dismissed me from His presence. Accompanying me to the door of the house, He committed me to the care of God.


The Báb in the Bahá’í Faith – Born on October 20th, 1819.

I think it is important to write about who The Bab was and what He did for humanity. The Bab was the Herald of a New Era in the history of humankind.

The Báb was born in the city of Shiraz in what is today called Iran. He was born into a working class family and while He was a child, after the passing of His father He was raised by His maternal uncle. From the beginning of His Blessed life He showed signs that He was indeed a special and enlightened being. At school he was often challenged when asked to behave like the rest of His peers due to His bright mind and innate knowledge. His school teacher said that he felt unfit to teach Him, He was indeed a very special child.

The Bab followed the family trade and became a well-known merchant in the city for his honesty, love and compassion. When He was a very young man, He received the Revelation of God where God announced to Him what His mission on this earth was.

The Bab was only twenty-five years of age when He proclaimed that He had come as a Manifestation of God for this age and that He was preparing the hearts of the people so that they are able to recognize the coming of the “Promised One of All Ages” that was quickly approaching. He declared to Mulla Husayn on May 23rd 1844. The Ministry of The Bab only lasted a period of six years after which He was martyred in the city of Tabriz in 1850.

The Babi era – later evolving into what we know as the Baha’i era- is best described in the book God Passes By:

May 23, 1844, signalizes the commencement of the most turbulent period of the Heroic Age of the Bahá’í Era, an age which marks the opening of the most glorious epoch in the greatest cycle which the spiritual history of mankind has yet witnessed. No more than a span of nine short years marks the duration of this most spectacular, this most tragic, this most eventful period of the first Bahá’í century.

Clearly, at the time of The Bab’s revelation, His believers were heavily persecuted and martyred in all corners of the Persian region. Thousands of souls gave their lives for their Beloved and their beliefs without hesitation.

The manifestation of The Bab fulfilled many prophecies of the coming of the “Twin Manifestations” (Himself and Baha’u’llah) and He came to the world as a Thief in the Night. This is said because He did not openly proclaim His Station but eighteen souls by themselves and unaided found Him and recognized Him while many others we asleep as we do in the middle of the night.

In the same book as above, written by Shoghi Effendi, is written:

We behold, as we survey the episodes of this first act of a sublime drama, the figure of its Master Hero, the Báb, arise meteor-like above the horizon of Shíráz, traverse the sombre sky of Persia from south to north, decline with tragic swiftness, and perish in a blaze of glory. We see His satellites, a galaxy of God-intoxicated heroes, mount above that same horizon, irradiate that same incandescent light, burn themselves out with that self-same swiftness, and impart in their turn an added impetus to the steadily gathering momentum of God’s nascent Faith.

Gate of Shiraz where The Báb could have met Mullá Husayn in 1844.

The Martyrdom of The Bab

The Bab was martyred in Tabriz, Iran on the 9th of July 1850. Here is a brief recollection of the events that took place that day:

While The Bab was in his prison cell, working with His secretary, an officer suddenly interrupted the conversation to take Him to the place where the execution was to happen. “Not until I have said to him all the things that I wish to say, can any earthly power silence Me” He replied. Careless of the power of these words, the officer carried out his orders and took The Bab, along with one of His followers (Anis -who begged to be martyred with His Beloved) to the courtyard where a large crowd of people were gathered to witness the event.

Both individuals were lifted from the floor and tied to a nail on the wall. 750 armed soldiers were lined on three rows of 250 soldiers each to shoot at the couple. After the order, each row shot their rifles and a large cloud of smoke filled the atmosphere. After it had cleared away, the astonished crowd and frightened army saw Anis standing, unharmed and The Bab gone. A search for Him began, having found Him back in His cell, finishing what he had to say to His secretary. Once He was finished, he told the officers that they could carry out their orders, He was ready.

Once again, He was taken to the courtyard and a new army had to be brought in for the execution (the officer in charge refused to make his men shoot once again). This time, when the order was given, the bullets found their target and the sacred body of The Bab, as well as that one of Anis were destroyed, however, their faces remained almost intact.

Before the regiment opened fire, The Bab addressed the multitude with these Words:

“Had you believed in Me, O wayward generation, everyone of you would have followed the example of this youth, who stood in rank above most of you, and willingly would have sacrificed himself in My path. The day will come when you will have recognized Me; that day I shall ceased to be with you”.

Shrine of The Báb in Haifa, Israel

Detail of the Shrine of The Báb in Haifa, Israel

The twin Manifestations of God in the Baha’i Faith

What is that about?

Well, in the history of the Baha’i Faith, there have been two Manifestations of God that made possible the birth of this new Revelation. The One to appear first was The Bab -that literally translates to “The Gate”. He had this title because He was the “Gate” or the way to Bahá’u’lláh who was to come after Him, a few years later. Now, the closeness of their appearance in the world of humanity has never happened in the past between two Manifestations of God.

To have a better understanding, here is a VERY brief historic recollection from a book called: “The Twin Manifestations” from the Ruhi Institute:

The Báb was born on October 20th 1819 in Shiraz, Iran. He was from a noble family that gave Him the name of Siyyid ‘Ali-Muhammad. Ever since He was a child, He showed signs of innate knowledge, power and greatness. The evening of the 23rd of May 1844, He declared that He was the Promised One when He was only 25 years old. Soon after, as His fame and followers increased numerously, the opposition of the clergy and the government were clearly visible. The Báb endured 6 years of constant persecution, banishment and cruelty that lead to His martyrdom only 6 years after His Declaration -exactly 59 years ago on July 9th 1850 (details of His Martyrdom will appear on my next post). The Báb’s mission was to prepare the people for the coming of “Him Whom God shall make manifest”. Among those blessed souls that recognized His position during His life was Bahá’u’lláh.

Bahá’u’lláh was born in Tehran, Iran the 12th of November 1817. His Name was Mirzá Husayn-‘Ali. Like The Báb, He was also born into a noble and very wealthy family. From His childhood, He showed signs of greatness and wisdom. He did not pay attention to the luxury and comfort He was born into but dedicated His time defending the poor and helping the needy. When The Báb declared, He was 27 years old and three months later He sent The Báb a scroll in which Bahá’u’lláh recognized His Station. As the rest of the followers of The Báb, Bahá’u’lláh endured suffering and persecution in the hands of the opposition of this new Faith that was spreading throughout the region like wildfire.

After the martyrdom of The Báb in Tabriz, Iran, the attacks on the Babis increased looking to exterminate this new religion. Bahá’u’lláh was amongst those that remained steadfast and taught this Faith fiercely. He was a prisoner for 40 years of His Blessed life and was exiled many times. However, it was not all gloomy and sadness for the Babis. During one of His exiles (from Baghdad to Istanbul) and after receiving the revelation from God, Bahá’u’lláh announced in April 1863 that He was the One, the Promised One of all ages! (Baha’is in the world celebrate this Most Great Festival for 12 days from the 21 of April to the 2 of May). Bahá’u’lláh wrote to the kings and rulers of the world during that time, proclaiming to rejoice on that blessed day where a new Messenger of God had come.

Bahá’u’lláh after years and years of imprisonment, cruelty and false accusations left this mortal world near the city of Akka (where he was last exiled to) on the 29th of May 1892.

The Báb, as well as Bahá’u’lláh wrote hundreds of Tablets, prayers and Books. A prayer revealed by The Báb that is very close to my heart is this:

“Is there any Remover of difficulties save God? Say: Praised be God! He is God! All are His servants and all abide by His bidding!”.

%d bloggers like this: