Bahai News - Baha'i community observes martyrdom of the Bab Last modified at 5:53 p.m. on Friday, July 6, 2001

Baha'i community observes martyrdom of the Bab

By Floyd Lee
The Capital-Journal

The anniversary of martyrdom of a central figure of the Baha'i Faith, a messenger of God called the Bab, will be observed Monday by the local Baha'i community.

The Martyrdom of the Bab is a holy day, observed on July 9 every year by Baha'i members around the world. Local Baha'i congregants will commemorate the event at 11 a.m. Monday at 603 S.W. 8th St.

"It is another example of how the world rejects those who bring messages from God -- they are considered crazy, heretics, troublemakers, and often killed," said Duane Herrmann, a representative of the Baha'i community in Topeka.

"Despite their death," Herrmann said, "their message spreads and the power of their words changes lives and civilizations."

In the Baha'i faith, the Bab, which literally means, "the Gate," is the messenger of God who prepared people for the coming of Baha'u'llah, the Promised One of all religions. On May 23, 1844, a young Persian merchant named Siyyid 'Ali Muhammad announced that he had been sent by God to prepare people for the coming of a divine teacher, the Promised One. Traveling throughout Persia, proclaiming new religious laws and new social norms, the Bab soon gathered a following of thousands.

Opposition arose from religious and governmental authorities, and he was imprisoned and eventually sentenced to death by firing squad. At noon on July 9, 1850, the sentence was carried out, but the Baha'i faith continued to spread.

Among the foremost supporters of the Bab was a young nobleman named Mirza Husayn 'Ali. He had been given the title "Baha'u'llah", or "the Glory of God," by the Bab himself. Imprisoned because of his beliefs in1852, Baha'u'llah had a vision while in prison, a revelation that he was the Promised One the Bab had proclaimed. Although he spent his life in exile or in prison, Baha'u'llah continued to spread the teachings of the Baha'i faith, especially through his writings. He died in 1892.

"The Bab's mission was a turning point of humanity," Herrmann said. "Those things that were prophesied in the Old Testament and the Koran are coming to pass."

The Baha'i faith teaches the oneness of God, the unity of the world's religions, and equality of both gender and race. There are an estimated 6 million adherents worldwide in 120,000 localities.

©Copyright 2001, The Topeka Capital-Journal

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