Bahá’u’lláh, which is a title that means “the Glory of God” in Arabic, was born in November 1817 in Tehran, Iran. As a young child, he displayed signs of grandeur and wisdom.
After the death of His father, a minister in the court of the Sháh, Bahá’u’lláh declined the ministerial career in the government that was available to Him. Instead of pursuing a life of power and leisure, He chose to devote His energies to a range of philanthropic and charitable actions which earned Him, by the early 1840s, renown as “father of the poor.”
Throughout His life, both before He arose to proclaim His Cause, and after, He faced many tribulations: He was first imprisoned in Tehran; following that, He was exiled four times. His last place of exile was in Akká, a prison-city in Palestine, governed by the Ottoman Empire. His life was one of suffering, exile and prosecutions.
All the efforts made by the governments to silence Bahá’u’lláh were in vain. The further He was exiled, the more people were attracted to His teachings, power and majesty. Despite being persecuted, Bahá’u’lláh revealed the Word of God for forty years and brought love and spiritual energy to the world.
Bahá’u’lláh passed away in 1892. For Bahá’ís, His Shrine is the holiest spot on earth. It is located near Akká.
In 1844, a young merchant announced that He was the bearer of a message destined to transform humanity. At a time when His country, Iran, was undergoing widespread moral breakdown, His message aroused excitement and hope among all classes, rapidly attracting thousands of followers. He took the name “The Báb”, meaning “the Gate” in Arabic.
With His call for spiritual and moral reformation, and His attention to improving the position of women and the lot of the poor, the Báb’s prescription for spiritual renewal was revolutionary. At the same time, He founded a distinct, independent religion of His own, inspiring His followers to transform their lives and carry out great acts of heroism. His mission, which was to last only six years, was to prepare the way for the coming of Bahá’u’lláh.
The Báb was born in 1819, and His revolutionary message caused the anger and persecution of civil and religious authorities. He was martyred in 1850 by a regiment of soldiers. His followers retrieved his remains, hid them and kept them safe for several years. He was finally buried on the slopes of Mount Carmel, at the spot designated by Bahá’u’lláh Himself.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the eldest Son of Bahá’u’lláh and born in 1844, became the Bahá’í Faith’s leading exponent at the death of His Father, renowned as a champion of social justice and an ambassador for international peace. Bahá’u’lláh in His Writings ensured that His religion would never suffer the same fate as others that split into sects after the deaths of their Founders and that unity was upheld. He instructed all to turn to His eldest Son, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, not only as the authorized interpreter of the Bahá’í Writings but also as the perfect exemplar of the Faith’s spirit and teachings.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s extraordinary qualities of character, His knowledge and His service to humanity offered a vivid demonstration of Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings in action, and brought great prestige to the rapidly expanding community throughout the world. He devoted His ministry to furthering His Father’s Faith and to promoting the ideals of peace and unity. He encouraged the establishment of local Bahá’í institutions, and guided nascent educational, social and economic initiatives. After His release from a lifetime of imprisonment, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá travelled to Egypt, Europe and North America. Throughout His life, He presented with brilliant simplicity, to high and low alike, Bahá’u’lláh’s prescription for the spiritual and social renewal of society. He passed away in November 1921, a century ago.
To gain a fuller appreciation of Bahá’í beliefs you may wish to visit the Bahá’í Reference Library where you can read the Writings of the Báb, Bahá’u’lláh, and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as well as volumes written by Shoghi Effendi and a selection of statements and communications of the Universal House of Justice.