Martyrdom of the Bab: Baha’is mark anniversary, inexplicable events

House of worship white building with gardens in front

A Bahai House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois. Photo by Adib Roy, courtesy of Flickr

Note: Baha’i days begin at sunset.

SUNSET MONDAY, JULY 8: The world’s more than 5 million Baha’is pause to recall the solemn anniversary of their religious founder’s public execution at noon on July 9, for the Martyrdom of the Bab. As one of nine holy days of the year, the Martyrdom of the Bab commemorates the anniversary of an event that occurred on this date in 1850. The events that ensued on the day of his death, however, have left millions in awe for more than a century.

Interested in a Baha’i perspective of the harmony between science and religion? Check out this TEDx talk on YouTube.

PERSIA, BABI AND THE BAB

The era was 19th century Persia, and a man who called himself the Bab—translated, meaning the Gate—had begun attracting followers. Despite attempts by authorities, passion for his Babi religion ran wide and deep. Muhammad Shah would not execute the Bab, but his successor, Nasiri’d-Din Shah, was advised to kill the Bab. And so, it was announced that the Bab, along with any followers, would be executed.

THE EXECUTION AND FINAL CONVERSATION

According to Baha’i tradition: At the time of the Bab’s execution, when the head attendant was ordered to bring the Bab before the chief religious officials of the City of Tabriz to obtain death warrants, the attendant found the Bab in private conversation with his secretary, Siyyid Husayn. The Bab warned that, “Not until I have said to him all those things that I wish to say can any earthly power silence me.”

As the traditional Baha’i story is retold: The Bab was brought to the center of the city to be executed by soldiers, but—as he had promised—not one bullet touched him. Tens of thousands of onlookers, gathering on nearby rooftops and in the streets, were shocked when the Bab’s words rang true. The firing squads had, instead, blown apart the rope that had tied the prisoner. The Bab was nowhere to be found.

After frantic searches, the Bab was discovered in a private room, continuing his previously interrupted conversation with Siyyid Husayn. The Bab announced to them, “I have finished my conversation with Siyyid Husayn. Now you may proceed and fulfill your intention.” Several authorities and soldiers were so shaken by the events that they resigned and refused to have anything further to do with the execution. A new firing squad was drawn and brought to the Bab, and when the regiment opened fire, the Bab was killed.

A small group of Baha’is risked their lives to sneak the Bab’s deceased body into a wooden box, where it remained hidden for almost 60 years before being entombed in a shrine on Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel, where it remains to this day. Today, most Bahai’s observe the holy day with prayers, gatherings and services.

Did you know? A Baha’i House of Worship is open to non-Baha’is as well as Baha’is. Holy scriptures of the world’s religions are recited in Baha’i temples.

 

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Martyrdom of the Bab: Baha’is pray, gather to remember founder

Domed building against blue sky

A Baha’i temple in Uganda. Photo by Philip Songa, courtesy of Flickr

SUNSET SUNDAY, JULY 8: Upward of 5 million Baha’is around the world pause to recall in solemnity the anniversary of their religious founder’s public execution at noon on July 9, for the Martyrdom of the Bab. As one of nine holy days of the year, the Martyrdom of the Bab commemorates the anniversary of an event that occurred on this date in 1850. The events that ensued on the day of his death, however, have left millions in awe for more than a century. (Note: Baha’i days begin at sunset.)

The era was 19th century Persia, and a man who called himself the Bab—translated, meaning the Gate—had begun attracting followers. Despite attempts by authorities, passion for his Babi religion ran wide and deep. Muhammad Shah would not execute the Bab, but his successor, Nasiri’d-Din Shah, was advised to kill the Bab. And so, it was announced that the Bab, along with any followers, would be executed.

THE BAB: EXECUTION AND THE FINAL CONVERSATION

According to Baha’i tradition: At the time of the Bab’s execution, when the head attendant was ordered to bring the Bab before the chief religious officials of the City of Tabriz to obtain death warrants, the attendant found the Bab in private conversation with his secretary, Siyyid Husayn. The Bab warned that, “Not until I have said to him all those things that I wish to say can any earthly power silence me.”

As the traditional Baha’i story is retold: The Bab was brought to the center of the city to be executed by soldiers, but—as he had promised—not one bullet touched him. Tens of thousands of onlookers, gathering on nearby rooftops and in the streets, were shocked when the Bab’s words rang true. The firing squads had, instead, blown apart the rope that had tied the prisoner. The Bab was nowhere to be found.

After frantic searches, the Bab was discovered in a private room, continuing his previously interrupted conversation with Siyyid Husayn. The Bab announced to them, “I have finished my conversation with Siyyid Husayn. Now you may proceed and fulfill your intention.” Several authorities and soldiers were so shaken by the events that they resigned and refused to have anything further to do with the execution. A new firing squad was drawn and brought to the Bab, and when the regiment opened fire, the Bab was killed.

A small group of Baha’is risked their lives to sneak the Bab’s deceased body into a wooden box, where it remained hidden for almost 60 years before being entombed in a shrine on Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel, where it remains to this day. Today, most Bahai’s observe the holy day with prayers, gatherings and services.

IN THE NEWS: COLOMBIA TEMPLE ADVANCES TOWARD COMPLETION

Symbol on white

The Baha’i Greatest Name symbol. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

As announced by the Baha’i Universal House of Justice in 2012, a “local House of Worship”—one of five planned—is nearing completion, in Colombia. Six years ago, the Universal House of Justice announced the building of the first two national Baha’i temples and plans for consultations for the creation of a local House of Worship in five regions of the world; in Colombia, the “crowning piece” of the temple, the Greatest Name symbol, was recently raised to the building’s apex. (Read the story here.) The Greatest Name is a calligraphic representation that is placed in every Baha’i temple, and in the new Colombian temple, the symbol was made to reflect a local ion: the blooming cocoa flower.

Fast fact: A Baha’i House of Worship is open to non-Baha’is as well as Baha’is. Holy scriptures of the world’s religions are recited in Baha’i temples.

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Martyrdom of the Bab: Baha’is mourn founder, recall awe-inspiring events

(Note: Baha’i days begin at sunset.)

Gates open to outdoor gardens, multiple levels

Baha’i gardens in Haifa, Israel. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

SUNSET FRIDAY, JULY 8: At noon on July 9, more than 5 million Baha’is around the world pause to recall in solemnity the anniversary of their religious founder’s public execution, for the Martyrdom of the Bab. As one of nine holy days of the year, the Martyrdom of the Bab commemorates the anniversary of an event that occurred on this date in 1850. The events that ensued on the day of his death, however, have left millions in awe for more than a century.

The era was 19th century Persia, and a man who called himself the Bab—translated, meaning the Gate—had begun attracting followers. Despite attempts by authorities, passion for his Babi religion ran wide and deep. Muhammad Shah would not execute the Bab, but his successor, Nasiri’d-Din Shah, was advised to kill the Bab. And so, it was announced that the Bab, along with any followers, would be executed.

THE BAB’S FINAL WORDS

According to Baha’i tradition: At the time of the Bab’s execution, when the head attendant was ordered to bring the Bab before the chief religious officials of the City of Tabriz to obtain death warrants, the attendant found the Bab in private conversation with his secretary, Siyyid Husayn. The head attendant lectured Siyyid Husayn, but the Bab warned that, “Not until I have said to him all those things that I wish to say can any earthly power silence Me.”

As the traditional Baha’i story is retold: The Bab was brought to the center of the city to be executed by soldiers, but—as he had promised—not one bullet touched him. Tens of thousands of onlookers, gathering on nearby rooftops and in the streets, were shocked when the Bab’s words rang true. The firing squads had, instead, blown apart the rope that had tied the prisoner. The Bab was nowhere to be found.

After frantic searches, the Bab was discovered in a private room, continuing his previously interrupted conversation with Siyyid Husayn. The Bab announced to them, “I have finished My conversation with Siyyid Husayn. Now you may proceed and fulfill your intention.” Several authorities and soldiers were so shaken by the events that they resigned and refused to have anything further to do with the execution. A new firing squad was drawn and brought to the Bab, and when the regiment opened fire, the Bab was killed.

A small group of Baha’is risked their lives to sneak the Bab’s deceased body into a wooden box, where it remained hidden for almost 60 years before being entombed in a shrine on Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel, where it remains to this day. Today, most Bahai’s observe the holy day with prayers, gatherings and services.

NEWS: BAHA’I PERSECUTION AND NEW WEBSITES

Despite the continued persecution of Baha’is in Iran, worldwide awareness of the faith is growing. Multiple world leaders have stepped forward to ask that the Iranian persecutions end, and several new websites have emerged lately that educate readers about both the realities and contributions of the Baha’i faith and its adherents.

According to an article from Bahai.org: “Reflected in the efflorescence of these new sites is the breadth of countries and cultures in the Baha’i world. As each community develops further, its national website will continue to evolve. The list of communities spans across many regions, from Myanmar to Kazakhstan, South Africa to France, Turkey to the Netherlands, and Colombia to the United States.”

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Martyrdom of the Bab: Baha’is recall remarkable events of 1850

White fence in foreground, lit stairway and lit domed building in back, at night

Baha’i Shrine of the Bab, lit up at night. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

TUESDAY, JULY 9: Baha’is lament the death of the Messenger of God at noon today, on the anniversary of the Martyrdom of the Bab. By just 31 years of age, the Bab—whose name means “the gate”—had made his declaration as the forerunner of the Promised One and gathered tens of thousands of followers to the Babi religion. He also sparked fierce oppposition. Before a crowd in a public square in Persia (modern-day Iran), the Bab was put to death on this date in 1850.

In Persia in 1844, the Bab officially declared his mission as the one who would herald the arrival of a Promised One. Almost immediately, thousands flocked to the Bab and his proclamations spread like wildfire. Fearful of his influence, political and religious authorities sought a solution: the Bab would be arrested. At 31, the Bab’s execution was ordered. (Find details at the Baha’i Library.)

Today, Baha’is commemorate the Martyrdom of the Bab with programs and prayers at noon. It is one of nine holidays during which work and school are suspended. (For a meditation on the Martyrdom of the Bab, visit NYBahai.)

NEWS: BAHA’U’LLAH’S HOUSE DESTROYED

Though details remain unclear, the sacred house of Baha’u’llah in Baghdad—known as the Most Great House and a sacred site in the Baha’i faith—has recently been found demolished. (Read the announcement letter from the Baha’i Universal House of Justice.) Baha’u’llah is regarded as the Promised One in the Baha’i faith, and the Most Great House is where he resided for the majority of his exile from Iran. Bani Dugal, the Principal Representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations, commented, “This deplorable act has robbed people throughout the world of a priceless piece of their spiritual heritage.” (Read more here.)

NEWS: WORK CONTINUES ON CHILEAN HOUSE OF WORSHIP

Construction continues on the House of Worship in Santiago, Chile. A new video has been released for the project, made available in English and Spanish, that highlights the link between the project and the local community. Construction on the House of Worship began in 2010, and when finished, the House will be the only one of its kind to serve the South American continent. (Baha’i World News Service has the story.)

*Note: Although Baha’i days begin at sunset, the Martyrdom of the Bab is officially recognized at noon on July 9—the time of the Bab’s execution.

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