History of the Bahá’Í Faith
The Bahá’í Faith revolves around three central Figures, the first of whom was a youth, a native of Shíráz, named Mírzá ‘Ali-Muhammad, known as the Báb (Gate), who in May, 1844, at the age of twenty-five, advanced the claim of being the Herald Who, according to the sacred Scriptures of previous Dispensations, must prepare the way for the advent of One greater than Himself, Whose mission would be to inaugurate an era of righteousness and peace, an era that would be hailed as the consummation of all previous Dispensations, and initiate a new cycle in the religious history of mankind.
Swift and severe persecution, launched by the organised forces of Church and State in Iran, precipitated His arrest, His exile to the mountains of Adhírbáyján, His imprisonment in the fortresses of Máh-Kú and Chihríq, and His execution, in July, 1850, by a firing squad in the public square of Tabríz. No less than twenty thousand of his followers were put to death with barbarous cruelty. The remains of the Báb were preserved and concealed for over 60 years and then transferred to the Holy Land.
Mírzá Husayn-‘Alí, surnamed Bahá’u’lláh (the Glory of God), a native of Mázindarán, Whose advent the Báb had foretold, was imprisoned in Tihrán, was banished, in 1852, to Baghdád, and then to Constantinople and Adrianople, and finally to the prison city of ‘Akká, where He remained incarcerated for twenty-four years, and in whose neighborhood He passed away in 1892. In the course of His banishment, and particularly in Adrianople and ‘Akká, He formulated the laws and ordinances of His Dispensation, expounded, in over a hundred volumes, the principles of His Faith, proclaimed His Message to the kings and rulers of both the East and the West, both Christian and Muslim, addressed the Pope, the Caliph of Islám, the Chief Magistrates of the Republics of the American continent, the entire Christian sacerdotal order, the leaders of Shí’ih and Sunní Islám, and the high priests of the Zoroastrian religion.
His eldest son, ‘Abbás Effendi, known as `Abdu’l-Bahá (the Servant of Bahá), appointed by Him as His lawful successor and the authorized interpreter of His teachings. Since early childhood `Abdu’l-Bahá had been closely associated with His Father, shared His exile and tribulations and remained a prisoner until 1908, when, as a result of the Young Turk Revolution, He was released from His confinement. Establishing His residence in Haifa, He embarked soon after on His three-year journey to Egypt, Europe and North America, in the course of which He expounded before vast audiences, the teachings of His Father and predicted the approach of that catastrophe that was soon to befall mankind. He returned to His home on the eve of the First World War, in the course of which He was exposed to constant danger, until the liberation of Palestine by the forces under the command of General Allenby. In 1921 `Abdu’l-Bahá passed away, and was buried in a vault in the mausoleum erected on Mount Carmel, at the express instruction of Bahá’u’lláh, for the remains of the Báb.