A view of the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh
near Akka, Israel.
Bahá'u'lláh became a follower of the Báb, His Forerunner, in 1844 at the age of twenty-seven. Although Bahá'u'lláh and the Báb never met, they corresponded. Bahá'u'lláh became known as a Bábi leader, and as a consequence suffered from the persecution waged against the Bábis in the 1840s and 1850s. He was imprisoned and suffered the bastinado. In 1853 Bahá'u'lláh was imprisoned for four months in an underground prison in Tehran known as the Siyah-Chal. It was there, through a vision of a Maid of Heaven, that He first received the revelation that He was the One promised by the Báb.
Bahá'u'lláh was released from prison but banished from Persia to Baghdad accompanied by some members of His family and companions. There He became the recognized spiritual leader of the Bábis. His influence continued to spread, and so the Persian government persuaded the Ottoman Sultan, Abdu'l-Aziz, to banish Bahá'u'lláh to Constantinople (today Instanbul, Turkey). On the eve of His departure from Baghdad in April 1863, Bahá'u'lláh declared to His followers that He was the Promised One foretold by the Bab. This period of twelve days, known as the Ridvan Festival, is celebrated as the holiest and most significant of Bahá'i Holy Days.
After four months in Constantinople, Bahá'u'lláh was further banished to Adrianople (today Edirne, Turkey) where He publicly proclaimed His Mission. From Adrianople, Bahá'u'lláh proclaimed His Mission to the Kings and rulers of the world, calling on them to establish world peace, justice, and unity.
After four years in Adrianople, the Turkish authorities, in 1868, condemned Bahá'u'lláh to perpetual imprisonment in the prison city of Akka in Palestine (today northern Israel). There He was subjected to strict confinement for two years, during which time His youngest son, Mirza Mihdi, died in an accident. In spite of the hardship and isolation, Bahá'u'lláh continued His proclamation to the rulers of the world, including the Queen of England, the Czar of Russia, the Emperor of France, and others. He also continued to reveal the principles and teachings that would bring about a new world order and the unity of mankind.
From 1870, Bahá'u'lláh and His family, including His eldest Son, `Abdu'l-Báha, were moved to a succession of houses in the city of Akka. In the house of Udi Khamar, Bahá'u'lláh revealed the Kitab-i-Aqdas, His Book of Laws. In 1877 Bahá'u'lláh was allowed to leave the prison-city. He took up residence in the Mansion of Mazra'ih for two years, and then moved to the Mansion of Bahji, just north of Akka.
From Adrianople and later from Acre, Bahá'u'lláh addressed a series of letters to the rulers of His day that are among the most remarkable documents in religious history. They proclaimed the coming unification of humanity and the emergence of a world civilization. The kings, emperors, and presidents of the nineteenth century were called upon to reconcile their differences, curtail their armaments, and devote their energies to the establishment of universal peace.
Bahá'u'lláh passed away at Bahjí on May 29, 1892, at the age of seventy-four, and is burried there. In His will, the Book of the Covenant, Bahá'u'lláh named His eldest son, `Abdu'l-Bahá, as His successor and authorized Interpreter of His teachings. His teachings had already begun to spread beyond the confines of the Middle East, and His Shrine is today the focal point of the world community which these teachings have brought into being.
- The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.
- The best beloved of all things in My sight is justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me.
- My love is My stronghold; he that entereth therein is safe and secure.
- Breathe not the sins of others so long as thou art thyself a sinner.
- Thy heart is My home; sanctify it for My descent.
- I have made death a messenger of joy to thee; wherefore dost thou grieve?
- Make mention of Me on My earth that in My heaven I may remember thee.
- O rich ones on earth! The poor in your midst are My trust; guard ye My trust.
- The source of all learning is the knowledge of God, exalted be His glory, and this cannot be attained save through the knowledge of His Divine Manifestation. The essence of abasement is to pass from under the shadow of the Merciful, and seek the shelter of the Evil One.
- The essence of all that We have revealed for thee is justice, is for man to free himself from idle fancies and imitation, discern with the eye of oneness His glorious handiwork, and look into all things with a searching eye.
- The source of all good is trust in God, submission unto His command, and contentment in His holy will and pleasure.
- The essence of wisdom is the fear of God, the dread of His scourge, and punishment, the apprehension of His justice and decree.
- The essence of religion is to testify unto that which the Lord hath revealed, and follow that which He hath ordained in His mighty Book.
- The source of all glory is acceptance of whatsoever the Lord hath bestowed, and contentment with that which God hath ordained.
- The essence of love is for man to turn his heart to the Beloved One, and sever himself from all else but God, and desire naught save that which is the desire of his Lord.
- The source of courage and power is the promotion of the Word of God, and steadfastness in His love.
- The essence of faith is the fewness of words and abundance of deeds; he whose words exceed his deeds, know verily his death is better than his life.
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