- Published: Tuesday, 13 March 2012 01:13
Originating in Persia (modern Iran) in the nineteenth century, the Bahai Faith’s central figure was Mirza Hoseyn Ali Nuri (1817-92), a member of the Persian nobility, who was known as Bahaullah (or Baha Allah), a title that means "The splendor of God." The term "Bahai" means "follower of the splendor." Bahaullah’s mission was heralded by Siyyid Mirza Ali-Muhammad (the Bab) who began teaching in Shiraz in 1844 about the imminent emergence of a divine prophet foretold in all scriptures. Consequently the Bab and thousands of his followers were martyred at the urging of militant orthodox forces.
In response to the seeds of expectation that had matured through the revelation of the Bab, Bahaullah, who had been among the Bab’s ardent admirers, in 1853 confided to his followers and proclaimed publicly in 1863 that he was the prophet foretold by the Bab. In the years until his 1892 death in Akka, Palestine, Bahaullah produced a great number of treatises on mystical, spiritual, social, and ethical subjects, which he presented as divine revelations. The purpose of his revelation, he stated, was to provide the divine guidance required for humanity's spiritual and social well-being as it comes of age as a global society.
Bahai Temple in New Delhi, India
Bahai Beliefs. The premise of the Bahai faith is a path toward unity. Bahais acknowledge a divine purpose to creation and the existence of a creator who remains infinitely beyond the comprehension of man and thus essentially unknowable. Whatever knowledge we possess of the divine has been "dispensed" from that ultimate source by a series of prophetic figures, including the few known to history: Adam, Krishna, Buddha, Zoroaster, Abraham, Moses, Christ, Muhammad, and most recently the Bab and Bahaullah. This view of religious history as "progressive revelation" acknowledges the role of each of the revealed religions in the development of civilization, upholds the divine station of prophets and attributes to human error and folly the divisions and conflicts that have emerged in their names.