Bahá'u'lláh (1817-1892)

Founder of the Bahá'í Faith

A view of the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh
near Akka, Israel.
Bahá'u'lláh, the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá'í Faith, was born on November 12, 1817 to a noble family in the province of Mazindaran, Persia (Iran). His mother was Khadijih Khanum and his father Mirza Buzurg-i-Vazir, a member of the royal court. Bahá'u'lláh,'s family could trace its lineage to the ruling dynasties of Persia's imperial past (Yazdigird III, a 7th century king of the Sassanid Dynasty,) and was endowed with wealth and vast estates. Turning His back on the position at court which these advantages offered Him, Bahá'u'lláh became known for His generosity and kindliness which made Him deeply loved among His countrymen.

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.

Some Words of Bahá'u'lláh

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