Bahai News Baha'i's commemorate 150th anniversary of the birth of their faith--
Monday, December 23, 2002
Baha'i's commemorate 150th anniversary of the birth of their faith
By ROBERT THAGGARD and LEY SCHLEICH-For the Frontiersman
This is a special season for members of several religions throughout the
world and here in the Valley. Christians are celebrating Advent and preparing for Christmas; Jews have concluded their Chanukah tradition. The
Islamic holy month of Ramadan recently ended. It is indeed an especially spiritual time of year for many.
This month the nearly 6 million
worldwide members of the Baha'i Faith are concluding a four-month long observance marking the 150th anniversary of the events surrounding
the origins of their faith.
It was in August of 1852 that the founder of the Baha'i Faith, Bahá'u'lláh, was overwhelmed
with the message of the oneness of God and humanity while unjustly imprisoned in a subterranean dungeon near Tehran, Persia (now Iran).
Recognized as a leader of a growing religious community that was departing from the orthodox Islamic traditions, Bahá'u'lláh was
perceived by government and religious authorities as a threat to the existing order.
Unbeknownst to Bahá'u'lláh, a deranged
person attempted to murder of the king of Persia and this became an excuse to condemn Him to the Siyah-Chal (Dark Pit).
in the loathsome, foul-smelling and gloomy dungeon lasted four months, during which Bahá'u'lláh received a most powerful
Described in His own words, "though the galling weight of the chains and the stench-filled air allowed Me but little
sleep, still in those infrequent moments of slumber I felt as if something flowed from the crown of My head over My breast, even as a mighty
torrent that precipitateth itself upon the earth from the summit of a lofty mountain. Every limb of My body would, as a result, be set
Following His release from this prison Bahá'u'lláh continued to proclaim His message despite being banished from
Tehran to Baghdad, then to Istanbul and Adrianople, and finally to the prison city of Ákká in Israel.
Imprisoned or in exile for a total
of 40 years, still He taught the principles of the singleness of God, the unity of religions, the oneness of mankind and elements of the
foundation for world peace. He won the hearts of hundreds of people, who became the first Baha'i's, and He won the admiration of vast
numbers of people who did not recognize His station. Today Baha'i's are guided by the principles revealed by Bahá'u'lláh
and recorded in extensive volumes of His writings just a century and a half ago. More particularly, Baha'i's believe in:
The individual's sacred duty to investigate truth The essential harmony of science and religion The elimination of
prejudice of all kinds The equality of men and women The importance of universal education Spiritual solutions
to economic problems The need for an international auxiliary language A world federation to uphold world
Illinois Representative Mark Steven Kirk addressed the U.S. Congress in October with these words, "On the 150th anniversary of
Bahá'u'lláh's imprisonment and the founding of the Baha'i Faith, we salute along with the American Bahá''
community the ideals of universal brotherhood, peace, cooperation, and understanding espoused by Bahá'u'lláh. These are Baha'i
values, they are American values, and they are universal values."
Baha'i Faith members in the Mat-Su Valley, along with members
of the faith throughout the state of Alaska have been engaged in activities to commemorate the origins of their faith for the last four
The campaign has three main aspects: gatherings to recall Bahá'u'lláh's imprisonment in the Siyah-Chal and
render artistic expressions of His sufferings for mankind; individual initiatives to establish study groups to explore the aims and purposes of
Bahá'u'lláh's redemptive mission; and special efforts to eliminate backbiting from the community, as backbiting is considered
one of the greatest human afflictions, one which Bahá'u'lláh stated, "quencheth the light of the heart, and extinguisheth the
life of the soul."
Locally, a public informational and devotional event featuring a documentary video of
Bahá'u'lláh's life and teachings will be held on Sunday, Dec. 29 at 2 p.m. at the MTA Building in Palmer.
interested in more information can call 373-0623. Information about the Baha'i Faith is available at www.bahai.org.
©Copyright 2002, Frontiersman (Alaska)
Return to: UGA Baha'i Association's Home Page
Baha'i News Archives' Index
This page was designed by Sohayl Moshtael suggestions, and news submissions are welcome, and
The content and opinions expressed on this Web page do not necessarily reflect the views of nor are they endorsed by the
University of Georgia or the University System of Georgia.
Page last updated/revised 021224