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Central Figures of The Baha'i Faith  

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Central Figures

Baha'is have a special reverance for the Bab, Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu' l-Baha, Who are known as the Central Figures of the Baha'i Faith


The Bab (pronounced 'Bob'; the Gate of God) was born October 20, 1819. He is the inaugurator of the Baha'i Dispensation and the Herald and Forerunner of Baha'u'llah. A Manifestation of God in His own right, the Bab founded an independent religion called the Babi Faith. The Mother Book (chief sacred text) of His revelation is the Bayan (pronounced 'buy-awn'). He came to foretell and prepare the way for the coming of another, greater Manifestation of God, Who would usher in the age of universal peace promised in every major world religion. The Bab announced His  mission on May 23, 1844, in Shiraz, Persia (Iran). He had eighteen disciples called 'Letters of the Living,' whom He sent throughout Persia to prepare people for the coming of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest' - Baha'u'llah. After a brief six-year ministry, the Bab was martyred by a firing squad of 750 soldiers on July 9, 1850, in the city of Tabriz.


Baha'u'llah (pronounced 'Ba-ha-ol-lah:; the Glory of God) is the promised Manifestation of God Whose coming the Bab foretold. Born November 12, 1817, Baha'u'llah was twenty-six years old when the Bab announced His mission. At the time of the Bab's martyrdom in 1850, Baha'u'llah was becoming well known as one of His leading supporters. When, in 1852, two misguided Babis tried to kill the Shah of Persia to avenge the Bab's execution, Baha'u'llah was falsely accused of planning the attempt because of His position of leadership. He was imprisoned and held without trial for four months in the Siyah-Chal (pronounced 'see-ya-chol'; Black Pit) dungeon of Tehran. Baha'u'llah's prophetic mission to unify the human race and establish an age of universal peace was revealed to Him during this time. Thus began a forty-year period of imprisonment and exile that carried Him to Baghdad, Constantinople, Adrianople, and finally the prison-city of 'Akka, Israel. Baha'u'llah announced His mission in the Garden of Ridvan (pronounced 'rezz-van'; Paradise) in Baghdad, between April 21 and May 2, 1863. He revealed the basic teachings, principles, and laws of His Dispensation in over fifteen thousand letters, essays, and books, which form the core of the Baha'i sacred writings. Foremost among His writings is the Kitab-I-Aqdas (pronounced 'ket-awb-eh-ack-dass'; The Most Holy Book). It is the Mother Book of Baha'u'llah's Dispensation and the primary repository of His laws and ordinances. Baha'u'llah passed away on May 29, 1892, at the Mansion of Bahji (pronounced 'Bah-gee'; Delight) near 'Akka.


'Abdu'l-Baha (pronounced 'Ab-dol-Ba-ha'; Servant of the Glory) was Baha'u'llah's eldest son. Born on the night of May 23, 1844, the same night on which the Bab declared His mission, 'Abdu'l-Baha was appointed by Baha'u'llah as His Successor and the divinely inspired authoritative Interpreter of His writings. 'Abdu'l-Baha holds a unique station that may be best described by the title 'Mystery of God,' given to Him by Baha'u'llah. The title identifies His ability to blend and completely harmonize human and divine characteristics. He is also known to Baha'is as 'the Master,' another title given by Baha'u'llah, for He is the perfect Exemplar of Baha'u'llah's teachings and embodies every Baha'i ideal and virtue. Although 'Abdu'l-Baha is not a Manifestation of God, His writings and utterances - in the form of some twenty thousand letters, essays and books -- are considered authoritative and are part of the Baha'i sacred scriptures. 'Abdu'l-Baha shared in Baha'u'llah's exile and spent many years in prison. He served as Baha'u'llah's secretary and was His closest companion and protector, carrying out a great deal of important work on His behalf. 'Abdu'l-Baha wrote a number of books and penned many letters to Baha'is around the world to explain His Father's teachings. Upon Baha'u'llah's passing in 1892, 'Abdu'l-Baha became the Head of the Baha'i Faith. He served in that capacity until His own passing in 1921.


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