The year 2017 is the Bicentennial of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh. In 1844, a young merchant from the Iranian City of Shiraz prophesied the coming of a new messenger from God. The prophecy was realised several years late when Bahá’u’lláh, a follower of The Báb, was recognised as the Manifestation of God.
Meaning ‘Glory of God’ in Arabic, Bahá’u’lláh was born Mirza Husayn Ali in Persia in 1817. Despite not studying the Qur’an or the Arabic language in his early years, Bahá’u’lláh grew to become exceptionally knowledgeable about Islam and other faiths. This was a fact that, much later in his life, he would use to argue his claim as the Manifestation of God.
At the age of 27, Bahá’u’lláh became an active follower and correspondent of The Báb after reading his declaration. After The Báb’s death, the Persian authorities sought to diminish Bahá’u’lláh’s growing influence and incarcerated him in the Siyáh-Chál (Black Pit) prison in Tihran. He was later released and banished from the state.
Moving first to Baghdad, then to Adrianople (now Edirne), and Akka (in Syria), it seemed that wherever Bahá’u’lláh went his religious views and growing influence and support caused the consternation of the Islamic authorities. His life was one of constant exile and captivity. Bahá’u’lláh died in Bahji in 1892 and was succeeded by Abdu’l-Bahá, his eldest son. Abdu’l-Bahá was recognised as the first to believe in Bahá’u’lláh’s mission, and the only authoritative interpreter of Bahá’í teachings.
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