Saturday, October 20, 2007

Birth of the Báb

Well here is a religion I know absolutely nothing about: Bahá'í. Baha'is believe in the unity of all humankind, and therefore the unity of all religions. They reject prejudice and stress ethical teachings such as world peace, education, and sexual equality. They believe that God is unknowable, but that God's presence and works are evident in the creation of the world and existence of prophets such as Adam, Jesus and Muhammed. The faith founded in Iran in the mid 1800's by Mirza Husayn Ali (1817-1892), better known as Baha'ullah.

"Birth of the Báb" is one of the 11 Holy Days for the Bahá'í faith, celebrated every October 20.

The Báb (meaning "the gate") was a religious leader and prophet who was a direct descendant of the prophet Muhammad. As John the Baptist did for Jesus, the Báb prepared the way for Bahá'u'lláh. Both the Báb are viewed as manifestations of God, although the Báb himself said his mission was subordinate to Bahá'u'lláh's.

The Báb was born Siyyid 'Alí-Muhammad on October 20, 1819 in Persia (Iran). When he was young, he showed great intuitive knowledge of the Spirit and astonished his teachers. When he was 25, he declared his mission to his first disciple. He preached social and religious reform, and foretold the coming of a new age of human development. He had many followers but was persecuted by the dominant Muslim clergy. He was arrested more than once, imprisoned, and eventually publicly executed by firing squad.

On this holiday, work is suspended and joyous meetings are held that include prayers and devotional readings.


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