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The Báb, The Gate to the Bahá'í Faith

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The Bahá'í Faith traces its origin to 1844 and the announcement by a young man, Siyyid ‘Ali-Muhammad, in Shiraz, Persia. He took the title of the Báb (meaning “Gate” in Arabic). On May 22, 1844, in Shiraz, Persia (now Iran)— the Báb announced that He was the bearer of a Divine Revelation, which would prepare humanity for the advent of the Promised One foretold by all the world’s religions.

That Promised One, the Báb declared, was destined to usher in the age of justice, unity and peace promised in Judaism, Christianity, Islam and all the other world religions. Baha’u’llah, one of the Bab’s leading advocates, announced in April 1863 that He was the Divine Messenger the Báb had promised.

In some respects, the Báb’s role can be compared to John the Baptist in the founding of Christianity. The Báb was Bahá’u’lláh’s herald: His primary mission was to prepare the way for Bahá’u’lláh’s coming. Accordingly, the founding of the Bábi Faith is viewed by Baha’is as synonymous with the founding of the Bahá'í Faith. The Báb’s announcement in the middle of the 19th century came at a time when many Christians were expecting the return of Christ based on their reading of Biblical prophecy. Simultaneously, half way around the world, in the Middle East, many followers of Islam were also expecting their Promised One to appear.

“The path to guidance is one of love and compassion, not of force and coercion.”

— The Báb


Declaration of the Bab (May 23)

On the evening of May 22, Baha’is throughout the world commemorate the Declaration of the Bab, which took place in this room (pictured) in the Persian city of Shiraz in 1844. Bahá’ís celebrate through prayers and programs where the story of His declaration may be retold. Because the Bahá’í day lasts from sunset to sunset, celebrations are usually held after sunset on May 22 or during the day on May 23. May 23 is one of nine days in the Bahá’í calendar when Bahá’ís suspend work or school.

Martyrdom of the Bab (July 9)

The holy day commemorates the anniversary of the execution of the Bab, the herald of the Baha’i Faith, by a firing squad on July 9, 1850, in Tabriz, Persia. It is one of the nine holy days of the year when work is suspended. There are no prescribed activities for this solemn day, but usually Baha’is will gather to read from the writings and say prayers at noon (the time of the execution).

Birth of the Bab (Oct 20)

This day is an observance of the anniversary of the birth of the Bab on October 20, 1819 in Shiraz, Persia (now Iran). Baha’is observe this Holy Day by abstaining from work. There are no prescribed ceremonies, but gatherings usually involve prayers, devotional readings, music and fellowship. Baha’i days begin at sunset so celebrations may begin the evening of Oct 19.