Montreal, October 26, 2022 - Bahá'ís around the world and believers in the various neighbourhoods of Montreal are celebrating these two joyous events on October 25 and 26 this year. These two celebrations are intimately linked because the life and message of the Báb centred on the imminent appearance of another divine messenger: Bahá'u'lláh.

Each year, the anniversaries of the birth of the Báb and that of Bahá'u'lláh are observed as twin holy days, since they followed each other within a day, according to the calendar in use in Persia at that time.

The life and teachings of the Báb mark a turning point in human history. Born Siyyid Ali-Muhammad in 1819, he took the name Báb, which means "the Gate" in Arabic. His public mission, from 1844 to 1850, represented a spiritual revolution that overturned the prevailing social, political, and religious order in Persia, opening the door to the new unifying vision of Bahá'u'lláh.

The Báb was a messenger of God in the succession of divine teachers who have come down through the centuries, including Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus and Muhammad. The Báb appeared at a time in history when the cultures and peoples of the world were coming together as never before. The nineteenth century witnessed a series of changes in the economic, political, scientific, and cultural spheres so profound that one prominent historian has called it the century of "world transformation."

When he was only 25 years old, the Báb heralded the end of one religious era and the beginning of another. He inaugurated an independent religion with its own laws and sacred texts, including the Persian Bayán. In a short time, he attracted thousands of followers among the Persians. His public mission, which lasted only six short years, had far-reaching consequences.

On such occasions, it is customary to take a retrospective look at Bahá’u’lláh's life and work. The highlights of this retrospective focus on the major moments in Bahá’u’lláh's life - his birth on November 12, 1817 in Tehran, his life as a young prince before he took over the leadership of the Bábi movement, and the four-decade-long road of exile, imprisonment, and persecution, during which he revealed himself to his followers as the promised one foretold by the scriptures.

Bahá’u’lláh was born in Tehran on November 12, 1817, into a wealthy and distinguished family, a descendant of the Sassanid dynasty (a Persian dynasty, originally from Fars, which at the time constituted a vast empire stretching from Persia to Mesopotamia).

Although he did not attend any school, he showed astonishing wisdom and knowledge from his childhood. At the age of 13 he was clarifying religious questions that were totally obscure to the theologians of his time.

When he was 22, his father died. He was offered the high position at court that was customary in those days. He refused this honour and devoted himself to the poor and needy of society.

The Prime Minister of the time said that he could not understand him, but that he was destined for some high mission.

In 1844, at the age of 27, Bahá’u’lláh boldly embraced the new faith proclaimed by the Báb. It is noteworthy that these two great educators, though living at the same time, never met.

After imprisonment and banishment, Bahá’u’lláh openly announced his prophetic mission in 1863 in Baghdad. During his exile, Bahá’u’lláh wrote, dictating day and night, writings, tablets and prayers, keeping several secretaries busy transcribing everything.

Bahá’u’lláh ended his life in the Holy Land having bequeathed to humanity a new spiritual revelation. His life, work, and influence are comparable to those of the great messengers of God, such as Abraham, Krishna, Moses, Buddha, Christ, and Muhammad. For Bahá'ís, Bahá’u’lláh is the last of the messengers of God in this succession.

Photos: Bahá'í World Centre Archives, the Báb's Birthplace in Shiraz (top) and Bahá'u'lláh's Birthplace in Tehran.


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