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3 years ago  ::  Nov 24, 2011 - 9:23AM #1
Lilwabbit
Posts: 2,892

Some 150 years ago Persia (Iran) witnessed an almost literal re-enactment of scenes that had occurred in Roman Judaea some two millennia earlier. Persia was about to boil over and, as a result, a new religion had been all but vanquished. As a fluke of fate or fortune, its message had managed to reach beyond the borders of Persia and Ottoman Turkey -- the two empires whose two kings and religious orthodoxies were the principal persecutors of the new religion.


A score of unbiased and notable first-hand observers of Qajaric Persia in the 19th century, not the least of which were Lord Curzon of Kedleston and Comte de Gobineau, would attest in their voluminous accounts to the two decades of violent turmoil in Persia following the peaceful revelation of the Báb. The subsequent revelation of Bahá'u'lláh resulted in more pogroms and mob-violence against the new religion. In Iran, the Bahá'ís, its largest religious minority, are still persecuted for their Faith.


Siyyid Ali Muhammad, a young merchant in Shíraz, was well-known in his hometown for his humility, fervour in prayer, taciturn disposition and honesty in his business dealings. A fervent messianic expectation of the Mahdi had reached the city with the arrival of 18 young theological students who had espoused the Shaykhi school of Shí'ah Islam. On May the 23rd in the year 1844, at the age of twenty-five, this Siyyid shared what he regarded a precious secret to the first of these youth arriving in the city. The clandestine interview took place in the Siyyid's house in the dead of night. Mullá Husayn, his youthful guest, was a student of scriptural prophecies and a Shaykhi who had recently been awarded the prestigious title of a 'mujtahid'. Upon his arrival to Shiráz, Mullá Husayn had been seen by the said Shirázi merchant in the city's outskirts. The visitor was cordially invited to stay at his house for the night. While serving his guest tea from a silver samovar, the host, almost casually, related that he is none other than the Promised One of all ages foretold by all the Prophets of old. He declared he is the one they have come to seek. The merchant took the title of the Báb, “the Gate”. Mullá Husayn later wrote that the love and kindness of his young host was so pure and true that if he had no other claim to greatness, his virtue alone would have sufficed to convince him.

The Shírazi youth revealed to Mullá Husayn and the rest of his initial 18 disciples that his only purpose was to prepare the way for the imminent appearance of an even greater Messenger --“Him Whom God shall make manifest.” But he also cautioned that to embrace his cause was to put oneself in mortal peril. He warned that his public announcement was destined to result in violent persecution, nation-gripping bloodshed and, eventually, his own martyrdom at the hands of the Persian priestly elite. A bold claim to Messengership in succession to Muhammad, him who was deemed the 'final prophet', would undoubtedly be met with violent persecution by the orthodox Shí’áh clerics of Persia. Thousands of adherents, from all walks of life, were to flock to his Cause in a short period of time, despite a near-certain prospect of violent persecution, torture and death. The Báb's declaration, quite understandably, caused alarm amongst the Orthodox Shí'íte clergy. But the brutal persecution of the Báb's followers, the Bábis, was prompted neither by fairness nor necessity.



The intuitive learning, the flawless appearance, the powerful words and the heartfelt courtesy of the Báb stirred Mullá Husayn to his depths. Fully aware of the mortal perils ahead, he spontaneously arose to proclaim the young merchant’s bold claim and forthwith dispatched, under the Báb’s instructions, on horseback to the capital Tehran. As to his mission to the capital, the Báb offered Mullá Husayn only these veiled words: “A secret lies hidden in that city. When made manifest, it shall turn the earth into paradise.”


In Tehran, upon receiving a letter from Mullá Husayn containing some verses of the Báb, Bahá'u'lláh (1817-1892) embraced the Báb's Message and became one of his most ardent and influential followers due to his high social standing. Since childhood Bahá'u'lláh had gained a reputation as the prodigal son of Mírzá Buzurg, a well-respected minister serving at the Sháh's court. At the age of 27, in the year of the Báb's declaration (1844), he ceased to be a Shí'ah Muslim and became a Bábi. By declaring as a Bábi he forsook all chances of a comfortable life paved for him by the powers-that-be. Even before accepting the Báb he had, at 22 years of age, declined an offer from the Prime Minister (Grand Vizier Hají Mírzá Aqasí) to advance a ministerial career at the Sháh's court. Rather he had chosen to consecrate his home to helping the poor of Tehran with his wife Ásiyyih Khánúm. One of the rooms in his large house was transformed into a ward for tending sick women and children. The couple had earned the twin-titles "the Father of the Poor" and "the Mother of Consolation."


By this time the Sháh (Muhammad Sháh) was intent on interviewing the Báb in person after the Sháh's own religious adviser, a renowned philosopher-scholar Siyyid Yahyá, had thrown himself into the Báb's lot. However, the Sháh was persuaded by the Grand Vizier (Prime Minister) Haji Mírzá Aqasí and the clergy not to invite the Báb to the palace. Some ministers were reported to have feared that the Báb would "bewitch" the Sháh as he had so many other prominent individuals and clergymen in the realm. Siyyid Yahyá was a warning example. At the instigation of the clergy, pogroms, massacres and mob-violence against the Bábis had flared up in most parts of Persia. The Báb himself was imprisoned in a remote location far away from Tehran and put on trial. He was deemed guilty of apostasy and blasphemy, both punishable by death.


After the Báb's incarceration and public execution by a musketry of 750 riflemen in Tabríz in 1850, Bahá'u'lláh was basically left as the only leading Bábi to turn to after the other leading Bábi figures (Mullá Husayn, Quddús, the heroine Táhirih, Hujjat, Siyyid Yahyá) had been killed, and their nominal leader (Mírzá Yahya) had gone into hiding.


Bahá'u'lláh was paraded bare-footed through the streets of Tehran to his prison-dungeon and pelted with stones by the angry crowds on the roadsides. He was thrown into the dungeon of Siyáh-Chál with a 100-pound chain placed on his neck. During his four-month stay in the dungeon, the chains left a permanent imprint on his stature and cut into his flesh.


The Sháh and the ministers expected Bahá'u'lláh to die in the dungeon of Siyáh-Chál under the weight of his chains. The Siyáh-Chál was a former sewage reservoir turned into an underground prison. It was basically a deep underground tunnel (housing some 150 prisoners including 30 Bábis) which had only one outlet. It was so narrow and low that only sitting in a crouching position was possible. Many died in the prison. Much heavier chains were placed on Bahá'u'lláh's shoulders than on the other prisoners. His chains were known by the names Qará-Guhar and Salásil. The mother of the Sháh in particular was insisting on Bahá'u'lláh's immediate execution. According to some reports the Sháh was worried about more prominent martyrs inciting fresh support to Bábism. Most accounts report that Prince Dolgorukov from the Russian Legation intervened on Bahá'u'lláh's behalf, owing to Bahá'u'lláh's excellent reputation as a man of virtue. Prince Dolgorukov is reported to have told the Persian authorities in no uncertain terms that Bahá'u'lláh is not be harmed or Persia shall hear from Russia. As a consequence, the death sentence was not carried out and the Siyáh-Chál sentence was interrupted after four months of stay.


Instead, Bahá'u'lláh was banished from the country and ordered to live under house arrest and imprisonment for the remainder of his life in various parts of the Ottoman Empire, far away from "bewitching" any more Persians. Prince Dolgorukov offered refuge in Russia which Bahá'u'lláh cordially refused. The British offered refuge when Bahá'u'lláh was in Baghdad and later the French offered him assistance whilst he was in Adrianople, which were also politely turned down.


During the shock period following the Báb's martyrdom, some 25 Bábis would claim, with little success, to be the One prophesied by the Báb. Finally (in 1863), in Baghdad under exile, Bahá'u'lláh declared he is none other than the One intended by the Báb. Upon Bahá'u'lláh's announcement, virtually all the Bábis became Bahá'u'lláh's followers (Bahá'ís) and the Bahá'í Faith was born. The Bábi Faith ceased to exist formally as an independent religion.


Bahá'u'lláh declared to have brought a new Message from God to mankind, corresponding to its age-specific needs whilst re-affirming and deepending eternal truths brought by previous Messengers. Here is a summary of Bahá'u'lláh's message conveyed through a collection of short passages from his Writings. Bahá'u'lláh spent most of his life under incarceration, transferred from place to place under the orders of two oriental kings -- the Sháh of Persia and the Sultan of the Ottoman Turkey. The final 24 years of his life were spent in the penal colony of Akka in the Holy Land where the bulk of his revelations occurred and were written down by scribes.



Bahá'u'lláh's prison in Akka


Perhaps one of the most unique acts of Bahá'u'lláh as a prisoner in Adrianople and Akka were the letters he wrote to the most powerful rulers of his time. The prisoner’s letter was delivered to Queen Victoria of Great Britain, Napoleon III of France, Czar Alexander II of Russia, William I the Emperor of a unified Germany, Emperor Francis Joseph of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Rulers of America, Sultan ‘Abdu’l-Azíz of the Ottoman Empire, Násiri’d-Dín Sháh of Persia and Pope Pius IX of the Papal States. None of these potentates were strangers to letters from prisoners asking for royal pardon. But instead Bahá'u'lláh issued them a stern word of warning. These are some of the words in which a Persian prisoner in Ottoman Turkey addressed the kings of the world:


Ye are but vassals, O kings of the earth!


The Kingdom is God’s, the omnipotent Protector, the Self-Subsisting.


Your people are your treasures.


Do not rob them to rear palaces for yourselves; nay rather choose for them that which ye choose for yourselves.


Deal with them with undeviating justice, so that none among them may either suffer want, or be pampered with luxuries. This is but manifest justice.


By them ye rule, by their means ye subsist, by their aid ye conquer. Yet, how disdainfully ye look upon them!


Know ye that the poor are the trust of God in your midst. Watch that ye betray not His trust.


Inquire into their affairs, and ascertain, every year, nay every month, their condition, and be not of them that are careless of their duty.


It behoveth every king to be as bountiful as the sun, which fostereth the growth of all beings, and giveth each its due.


Be united, O Kings of the earth, for thereby will the tempest of discord be stilled amongst you, and your people find rest. Should anyone among you take up arms against another, rise ye all against him, for this is naught but manifest justice.


O ye the elected representatives of the people in every land! Take ye counsel together, and let your concern be only for that which profiteth mankind, and bettereth the condition thereof.


Regard ye the world as a man’s body, which is afflicted with divers ailments, and the recovery of which dependeth upon the harmonizing of all its component elements.


If ye pay no heed unto the counsels . . . We have revealed in this Tablet, Divine chastisement shall assail you from every direction. On that day ye shall have no power to resist Him, and shall recognize your own impotence.


Happy is the man that hearkeneth and observeth My counsel. Woe unto him that faileth to fulfil My wish.


Both the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh would have been pardoned the very moment they would relinquish their claims. Bahá'u'lláh was offered the opportunity of recanting, as well as help from foreign governments throughout his life-sentence, all of which he consistently while cordially refused. Bahá'u'lláh was unwilling to relinquish his claims for personal freedom, and to triumph by temporal ascendancy.


Many a theory could be rationally advanced to explain the unusual acts and dispositions of the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh. Impartial students of history are free to arrive at their own conclusions after careful independent examination. Yet, the fact remains that the foregoing events indeed came to pass in the 19th century Orient, making for one of the most intriguing untold stories of our time.


 



The Shrine of the Báb in Haifa, Israel

"All things have I willed for you, and you too, for your own sake."
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2 years ago  ::  Mar 16, 2012 - 9:34AM #2
Lilwabbit
Posts: 2,892


The Bahá'ís




Bahá'í calligraphy by Mishkin Qalam

"All things have I willed for you, and you too, for your own sake."
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2 years ago  ::  Oct 08, 2012 - 10:47PM #3
hennagirl
Posts: 4

So Bahá'u'lláh claimed to be a prophet?

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2 years ago  ::  Oct 09, 2012 - 2:29PM #4
Aka_me
Posts: 12,106

Oct 8, 2012 -- 10:47PM, hennagirl wrote:

So Bahá'u'lláh claimed to be a prophet?



welcome hennagirl,


the short answer is yes.


the long answer is... not just a prophet but a Major Prophet, in other words a Manifestation of God.


 


minor prophets are typical humans who add a small amount of clarifying information to an existing theology.


major prophets are authorized by God to do away with the old dispensation and create a new dispensation, a new theology, a new order. and major prophets are infallible.

there can be no meaning or value to life, in a universe devoid of meaning and value... because the moment those who knew you are gone, you will never have existed at all.

if you see anyone not screaming at the top of their lungs THE SKY IS FALLING BECAUSE OF GLOBAL WARMING! then for prophet Gore's sake help them see the light that doing so is the only means we have of getting off fossil fuel.
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2 years ago  ::  Oct 10, 2012 - 12:45AM #5
Lilwabbit
Posts: 2,892

Oct 8, 2012 -- 10:47PM, hennagirl wrote:


So Bahá'u'lláh claimed to be a prophet?




Yes, in practice. Technically he never used the term "prophet" about himself but rather coined the term "Manifestation of God" for all the great prophets of the past, including himself. Manifestation of God does not mean God-incarnate but an intermediary being who is sent by God for every age in the form of a man that exemplifies the attributes of God in a form that man can understand.


Your name suggests you're a Muslim? If you are, the following elucidation of the Bahá'í understanding of the Qur'ánic term "the Seal of the Prophets" (khatam al-nabiyyin) might be helpful.


The gist of the Bahá'í position is that 'nabi' literally signifies "a prophecy-maker" or "a news-bringer" ("a bringer of tidings"). The 78th surah of the Qur'án, the Surah of An-Naba (news, tidings), refers to the Day of Judgment as the very "news" or "the tidings" intended throughout the Qur'án. All the "prophets" or "news-bringers" (nabiyyin) brought to mankind the same "news" (an-Naba) of a future Day of Judgment and Reckoning, as described in the 78th surah. In other words, "nabi" in the Qur'ánic sense, is one whom God has sent to "warn" and "inform" mankind about the future Day of Judgment.


Since the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh announced the arrival of the Day of Judgment, they couldn't possibly be 'nabiyyin', prophets who prophecize about a future Day of Judgment. Muhammad was verily the Seal of the Prophets. Bahá'u'lláh is indeed regarded as the Judge on the Day of Judgment, the one to announce that the Day has indeed arrived after millennia of expectation. Since the Day is at hand, the time of its prophecy is obviously over.


As regards the symbolism of the cataclysmic events associated with the Day of Judgment, as Bahá'u'lláh says in the Kitáb-i-Iqán (which is basically a tafsir on the apocalyptic prophecies of the Qur'án and the Gospels), if people were to persist in their expectation of literal cleavings of mountains, heavens folded in God's right hand, literal suns darkening, and literal Christs descending upon clouds, they can well keep on waiting until the end that has no end.


This, in short, is the Bahá'í understanding. A more thorough and scholarly discussion can be found in the following link:


bahai-library.com/articles/jbs.5-3.fazel...


With kind regards,


LilWabbit




"All things have I willed for you, and you too, for your own sake."
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2 years ago  ::  Oct 21, 2012 - 8:38AM #6
in_my_opinion
Posts: 2,759

In a nutshell:


The Holy Spirit fulfills the Promise to Return.

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2 years ago  ::  Oct 31, 2012 - 10:05PM #7
hennagirl
Posts: 4

I want to learn much more about bahuallah's teachings and one day visit a temple(maybe) but I will say that I am not a believer of abrahamic religions nor do I believe in prophets, but I believe that we all are apart from one divinity and that we all have a little piece of god within ourselves, which explains our ability to will things to happen if we believe enough. I do appreciate the peaceful part of the faith and like I said, I would like to learn more about his teachings. thanks and I wish I could be apart of a religion that I could comfortably say its what I truely believe in, but I havent really found anything.

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2 years ago  ::  Nov 01, 2012 - 1:30AM #8
Lilwabbit
Posts: 2,892

Oct 31, 2012 -- 10:05PM, hennagirl wrote:


I do appreciate the peaceful part of the faith and like I said, I would like to learn more about his teachings.




Dear Hennagirl,


Here is a little encapsulation of Bahá'u'lláh's teachings in his own words. I would also recommend that you order The Hidden Words and The Seven Valleys from the Amazon as you seem to see the value of meditation, mysticism and universal spirituality.


Kind regards,


LilWabbit

P.S. The Bahá'í Faith is not strictly Abrahamic nor Dharmic. Bahá'u'lláh recognizes truths in both traditions, but for instance his concept of God probes actually far deeper than both Abrahamic classical "dualism" and the "non-dualist" Hindu Advaita Vedanta. For instance, unlike the dualists, Bahá'u'lláh says God is "nearer unto all things than they are unto themselves". But unlike the non-dualists, Bahá'u'lláh says "no heart can contain" nor bear to directly experience God and that even the notion of "oneness" cannot capture God. Whatever that we think is perfectly "one" and unites us underneath our illusion of "plurality", cannot be God since God is beyond all attributes and descriptions, even "oneness" and "union". God fashioned the very notion of "oneness" and hence God is greater than it. Feel free to join us at the "Discuss Bahá'í" board if you're interested in further discussion on these and other spiritual themes. You do not have to agree with us to be treated well and kindly there!

"All things have I willed for you, and you too, for your own sake."
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2 years ago  ::  Nov 02, 2012 - 2:07PM #9
Aka_me
Posts: 12,106

Nov 1, 2012 -- 1:30AM, Lilwabbit wrote:

Feel free to join us at the "Discuss Bahá'í" board if you're interested in further discussion on these and other spiritual themes. You do not have to agree with us to be treated well and kindly there!



while the "Discuss" boards are a place for debate to occur, they also allow conversation and learning at the same time. the main advantage to going to the "Discuss Baha'i" board is due to having more activity (relatively speaking) than the other boards.


please be aware that all Baha'i have varying degrees of deepening and the only thing "official" are quotes from the writings.

there can be no meaning or value to life, in a universe devoid of meaning and value... because the moment those who knew you are gone, you will never have existed at all.

if you see anyone not screaming at the top of their lungs THE SKY IS FALLING BECAUSE OF GLOBAL WARMING! then for prophet Gore's sake help them see the light that doing so is the only means we have of getting off fossil fuel.
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2 years ago  ::  Nov 02, 2012 - 8:45PM #10
in_my_opinion
Posts: 2,759

Oct 31, 2012 -- 10:05PM, hennagirl wrote:


I want to learn much more about bahuallah's teachings and one day visit a temple(maybe) but I will say that I am not a believer of abrahamic religions nor do I believe in prophets, but I believe that we all are apart from one divinity and that we all have a little piece of god within ourselves, which explains our ability to will things to happen if we believe enough. I do appreciate the peaceful part of the faith and like I said, I would like to learn more about his teachings. thanks and I wish I could be apart of a religion that I could comfortably say its what I truely believe in, but I havent really found anything.



Dear hennagirl,


What in particular would you like to know about the Faith first?

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