Bahá'u'lláh

Bahá'u'lláh

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Bahá'u'lláh born , was the founder of the Bahá'í Faith
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

. He claimed to be the prophetic fulfilment of Bábism
Bábism
The Babi Faith is a religious movement that flourished in Persia from 1844 to 1852, then lingered on in exile in the Ottoman Empire as well as underground. Its founder was Siyyid `Alí Muhammad Shirazi, who took the title Báb—meaning "Gate"—from a Shi'a theological term...

, a 19th-century outgrowth of Shí‘ism, but in a broader sense claimed to be a messenger from God
Manifestation of God
The Manifestation of God is a concept in the Bahá'í Faith that refers to what are commonly called prophets. The Manifestations of God are a series of personages who reflect the attributes of the divine into the human world for the progress and advancement of human morals and civilization...

 referring to the fulfilment of the eschatological
Eschatology
Eschatology is a part of theology, philosophy, and futurology concerned with what are believed to be the final events in history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity, commonly referred to as the end of the world or the World to Come...

 expectations of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, and other major religions.

Bahá'u'lláh taught that humanity is one single race and that the age has come for its unification in a global society. His claim to divine revelation resulted in persecution
Persecution of Bahá'ís
The persecution of Bahá'ís is the religious persecution of Bahá'ís in various countries, especially in Iran, where the Bahá'í Faith originated and the location of one of the largest Bahá'í populations in the world...

 and imprisonment by the Persian and Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 authorities, and his eventual 24-year confinement in the prison city of `Akka
Acre, Israel
Acre , is a city in the Western Galilee region of northern Israel at the northern extremity of Haifa Bay. Acre is one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the country....

, Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

 (present day Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

), where he died. He authored many religious works, most notably the Kitáb-i-Aqdas
Kitáb-i-Aqdas
The Kitáb-i-Aqdas is a central book of the Bahá'í Faith written by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the religion. The work was written in Arabic under the Arabic title , but it is commonly referred to by its Persian title, Kitáb-i-Aqdas , which was given to the work by Bahá'u'lláh himself...

and the Kitáb-i-Íqán
Kitáb-i-Íqán
The Kitáb-i-Íqán is one of many books held sacred by followers of the Bahá'í Faith; it is their primary theological work. One Bahá'í scholar states that it can be regarded as the "most influential Koran commentary in Persian outside the Muslim world," because of its international audience. It is...

.

There are two known photographs of Bahá'u'lláh. Outside of pilgrimage, Bahá'ís prefer not to view his photo in public, or even to display it in their private homes.

Early and family life



Bahá'u'lláh was born on 12 November 1817, in Tehran
Tehran
Tehran , sometimes spelled Teheran, is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With an estimated population of 8,429,807; it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, one of the largest cities in Western Asia, and is the world's 19th largest city.In the 20th century, Tehran was subject to...

, the capital of Persia (Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

). His ancestry can allegedly be traced back to Abraham
Abraham
Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

 through Abraham's wife Keturah
Keturah
According to the Hebrew Bible, Keturah or Ketura was the woman whom Abraham, the patriarch of the Israelites, married after the death of his wife, Sarah. Keturah bore Abraham six sons, Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah....

, to Zoroaster
Zoroaster
Zoroaster , also known as Zarathustra , was a prophet and the founder of Zoroastrianism who was either born in North Western or Eastern Iran. He is credited with the authorship of the Yasna Haptanghaiti as well as the Gathas, hymns which are at the liturgical core of Zoroastrianism...

 and to Yazdigird III
Yazdgerd III
Yazdegerd III or Yazdgerd III was the twenty-ninth and last king of the Sassanid dynasty of Iran and a grandson of Khosrau II . His father was Shahryar, whose mother was Miriam, the daughter of the Byzantine Emperor Maurice...

, the last king of the Sassanid Empire, and also to Jesse
Jesse
Jesse, Eshai or Yishai, is the father of the David, who became the king of the Israelites. His son David is sometimes called simply "Son of Jesse" ....

. His mother was Khadíjih Khánum and his father was Mírzá Buzurg
Mírzá `Abbás Núrí
Mírzá `Abbás-i-Núrí more commonly known as Mírzá Buzurg was the father of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. Mírzá Buzurg was a nobleman from the Persian province of Núr, and worked for a time in the service of Fatḥ-`Alí Sháh....

. Bahá'u'lláh's father, Mírzá Buzurg, served as vizier
Vizier
A vizier or in Arabic script ; ; sometimes spelled vazir, vizir, vasir, wazir, vesir, or vezir) is a high-ranking political advisor or minister in a Muslim government....

 to Imám-Virdi Mírzá, the twelfth son of Fat′h Ali Shah Qajar. Mírzá Buzurg was later appointed governor of Burujird
Borujerd
Borujerd is a city in and capital of Borujerd County, Lorestan Province in western Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 227,547, in 59,388 families....

 and Lorestan, a position that he was stripped of during a government purge when Muhammad Shah
Mohammad Shah Qajar
Mohammad Shah Qajar was king of Persia from the Qajar dynasty .- Rise to power :...

 came to power. After the death of his father, Bahá'u'lláh was asked to take a government post by the new vizier Haji Mirza Aqasi, but declined.

Bahá'u'lláh was married three times. He married his first wife Ásíyih Khánum
Ásíyih Khánum
Ásíyih Khánum was the wife of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. She is viewed by Bahá’ís as the paragon of a devoted mother and wife. She is also known by her titles of Navváb, the Most Exalted Leaf, Búyúk Khánum or Hadrat-i-Khánum. Khánum, is a title usually given to a Persian lady...

, the daughter of a nobleman, in Tehran in 1835, when he was 18 and she was 15. She was given the title of The Most Exalted Leaf and Navváb. His second marriage was to his widowed cousin Fátimih Khánum, in Tehran in 1849 when she was 21 and he was 32. She was known as Mahd-i-`Ulyá. His third marriage to Gawhar Khánum occurred in Baghdad sometime before 1863.

Bahá'u'lláh declared Ásíyih Khánum his "perpetual consort in all the worlds of God", and her son `Abdu'l-Bahá
`Abdu'l-Bahá
‘Abdu’l-Bahá , born ‘Abbás Effendí, was the eldest son of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. In 1892, `Abdu'l-Bahá was appointed in his father's will to be his successor and head of the Bahá'í Faith. `Abdu'l-Bahá was born in Tehran to an aristocratic family of the realm...

 as his vicar. He had 14 children
Bahá'u'lláh's family
Bahá'u'lláh was the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. He was born in 1817 to Khadíjih Khánum and Mírzá Buzurg of Nur , a Persian nobleman, and went on to be a leader in the Bábí movement, and then established the Bahá'í Faith in 1863...

, ten sons and four daughters, of which five sons predeceased him. Bahá'ís regard Ásíyih Khánum and her children Mírzá Mihdí
Mírzá Mihdí
Mírzá Mihdí , given the title Ghusn-i-Athar . Mírzá Mihdí was born Mihdí Núrí in Tehran, and named after a deceased brother of his father.-Biography:...

, Bahíyyih Khánum
Bahiyyih Khánum
Bahíyyih Khánum the only daughter of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, and Ásíyih Khánum. She was born in 1846 with the given name Fatimih Sultan, and was entitled "Varaqiy-i-'Ulyá" or "Greatest Holy Leaf"...

 and `Abdu'l-Bahá' to be the Bahá'í holy family.

Bábí movement



In 1844, a 25 year-old man from Shiraz
Shiraz
Shiraz may refer to:* Shiraz, Iran, a city in Iran* Shiraz County, an administrative subdivision of Iran* Vosketap, Armenia, formerly called ShirazPeople:* Hovhannes Shiraz, Armenian poet* Ara Shiraz, Armenian sculptor...

, , who took the title of the Báb
Báb
Siyyid `Alí Muḥammad Shírází was the founder of Bábism, and one of three central figures of the Bahá'í Faith. He was a merchant from Shíráz, Persia, who at the age of twenty-four claimed to be the promised Qá'im . After his declaration he took the title of Báb meaning "Gate"...

, claimed to be the promised Mahdi
Mahdi
In Islamic eschatology, the Mahdi is the prophesied redeemer of Islam who will stay on Earth for seven, nine or nineteen years- before the Day of Judgment and, alongside Jesus, will rid the world of wrongdoing, injustice and tyranny.In Shia Islam, the belief in the Mahdi is a "central religious...

 of Islam. The movement quickly spread across the Persian Empire and received widespread opposition from the Islamic clergy. The Báb himself was executed in 1850 by a firing squad in the public square of Tabriz at the age of 30 and the community was almost entirely exterminated in 1852–3.

While the Báb claimed a station of revelation, he also claimed no finality for his revelation. In most of his prominent writings, the Báb alluded to a Promised One, most commonly referred to as "Him whom God shall make manifest". The Bayán
Bayán (exposition)
In Bábism, a Bayán , or exposition, denotes the whole body of the works of the Báb, the central one being the Persian Bayán. Some modern Bábís call themselves 'Bayaní' after this title of the Báb's writings. Bahá'ís also see this work as holy, since they consider their founder to be the...

, one of the Báb's works, is essentially a discourse on Him whom God shall make manifest, and the Báb always discussed his own writings in the context of the coming of Him whom God shall make manifest. According to the Báb, this personage, promised in the sacred writings of previous religions would establish the kingdom of God on the Earth; several of the Báb's writings state the coming of Him Whom God shall make manifest would be imminent. In the books written by the Báb he constantly entreats his believers to follow Him whom God shall make manifest when he arrives. The Báb also eliminated the institution of successorship or vicegerency to his movement, and stated that no other person's writings would be binding after his death until Him whom God shall make manifest would appear.

Acceptance of the Báb


Bahá'u'lláh first heard of the Báb
Báb
Siyyid `Alí Muḥammad Shírází was the founder of Bábism, and one of three central figures of the Bahá'í Faith. He was a merchant from Shíráz, Persia, who at the age of twenty-four claimed to be the promised Qá'im . After his declaration he took the title of Báb meaning "Gate"...

 when he was 27, and received a messenger, Mullá Husayn
Mullá Husayn
Mullá Husayn-i Bushru'i , titled Jináb-i-Bábu'l-Báb , was a Persian religious figure, and the first Letter of the Living of the Bábí movement. He died at the Battle of Fort Shaykh Tabarsi, on February 2, 1849...

, telling him of the Báb
Báb
Siyyid `Alí Muḥammad Shírází was the founder of Bábism, and one of three central figures of the Bahá'í Faith. He was a merchant from Shíráz, Persia, who at the age of twenty-four claimed to be the promised Qá'im . After his declaration he took the title of Báb meaning "Gate"...

. Bahá'u'lláh accepted the Báb's claims, becoming a Bábí and helping to spread the new movement, especially in his native province of Núr
Noor, Iran
Nur is a city in and capital of Nur County, Mazandaran Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 21,806, in 6,164 families.Located on the Caspian Sea coast, Nur is one of the oldest cities of west Mazandaran Province...

, becoming recognized as one of its most influential believers. His notability as a local gave him many openings, and his trips to teach the religion were met with success, even among some of the religious class. He also helped to protect his co-religionists, such as Táhirih
Táhirih
Táhirih or Qurratu'l-`Ayn are both titles of Fátimih Baraghání , an influential poet and theologian of the Bábí Faith in Iran. Her life, influence and execution made her a key figure of the religion...

, but did so at some risk, since the aid he was giving led to his being temporarily imprisoned in Tehran
Tehran
Tehran , sometimes spelled Teheran, is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With an estimated population of 8,429,807; it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, one of the largest cities in Western Asia, and is the world's 19th largest city.In the 20th century, Tehran was subject to...

 and enduring bastinado. Bahá'u'lláh, in the summer of 1848, also attended the conference of Badasht in the province of Khorasan
Greater Khorasan
Greater Khorasan or Ancient Khorasan is a historical region of Greater Iran mentioned in sources from Sassanid and Islamic eras which "frequently" had a denotation wider than current three provinces of Khorasan in Iran...

, where 81 prominent Bábís met for 22 days; at that conference where there was a discussion between those Bábís who wanted to maintain Islamic law and those who believed that the Báb's message began a new dispensation, Bahá'u'lláh took the pro-change side, which eventually won out. It is at this conference that Bahá'u'lláh took on the name Bahá.

When violence started between the Bábís and the Qajar government in the later part of 1848, Bahá'u'lláh tried to reach the besieged Bábís at the Shaykh Tabarsi in Mazandaran, but was arrested and imprisoned before he could get there. The following years until 1850 saw the Bábís being massacred in various provinces after the Báb made his claim of being Manifestation of God
Manifestation of God
The Manifestation of God is a concept in the Bahá'í Faith that refers to what are commonly called prophets. The Manifestations of God are a series of personages who reflect the attributes of the divine into the human world for the progress and advancement of human morals and civilization...

 more public.

Síyáh-Chál


After the Báb was executed in 1850, a group of Tehran Bábís, headed by a Bábí known as Azim, who was previously a Shaykhi
Shaykhism
Shaykhism is an Islamic religious movement founded by Shaykh Ahmad in early 19th century Qajar Iran. It began from a combination of Sufi and Shi‘a doctrines of the end times and the day of resurrection. Today the Shaykhi populations retain a minority following in Iran and Iraq...

 cleric, plotted an assassination plan against the Shah Nasser-al-Din Shah, in retaliation for the Báb's execution. The policy was opposed by Bahá'u'lláh, and he condemned the plan, however, any moderating influence that he may have had was diminished since in June 1851 he went into exile to Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

 at the chief minister's request, only returning after Amir Kabir's
Amir Kabir
Amir Kabir , also known as Mirza Taghi Khan Amir-Nezam , also known by the titles of Atabak and Amir-e Nezam; chief minister to Naser al-Din Shah Qajar for the first three years of his reign and one of the most capable and innovative figures to appear in the whole Qajar period...

 fall from power. On 15 August 1852, the radical group of Bábís attempted the assassination of the Shah and failed. The group of Bábís linked with the plan, were rounded up and killed, and, notwithstanding the assassins' claim that they were working alone, the entire Bábí community was blamed and a general pogrom of the Bábí community was started by the Shah. During this time many Bábís were killed, and many of the Bábís who were not killed, including Bahá'u'lláh, were imprisoned in the Síyáh-Chál
Síyáh-Chál
Síyáh-Chál is the common word in Persian language for "dungeon".Historically, siyah-chals were used as a harsher form of incarceration. Typically, such dungeons had no windows or outlets, other than the entrance, consisting of a short stairway into the ground.In Bahá'í history the "Síyáh-Chál"...

 (black pit), an underground dungeon of Tehran.

According to Bahá'u'lláh, it was during his imprisonment in the Síyáh-Chál that he had several mystical experiences, and that he received a vision of a maiden from God
Maid of Heaven
Maid of Heaven refers to a vision that Bahá’u’lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith had of a maiden from God, through whom he received his mission as a Messenger of God.In his Súriy-i-Haykal Bahá’u’lláh describes his vision as follows:...

, through whom he received his mission as a messenger of God and as the one whose coming the Báb had prophesied. After four months in the Síyáh-Chál, owing to the insistent demands of the ambassador of Russia, and after the person who tried to kill the Shah confessed and exonerated the Bábí leaders, the authorities released him from prison, but the government exiled him from Iran. Bahá'u'lláh, instead of accepting the offer of refuge from Russia, chose to go to Iraq in the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

; in 1853 Bahá'u'lláh and his family through the cold of winter travelled from Persia and arrived in Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

 on 8 April 1853.

Baghdad


While the Báb eliminated the institution of successorship or vicegerency to his movement, and stated that no other person's writings would be binding after his death until Him Whom God shall make manifest would appear, he did, however, appoint
Mírzá Yahyá (later known as Subh-i-Azal
Subh-i-Azal
' was a Persian religious leader of Azali Bábism.-Background:Mirza Yahya was born in 1831 to Kuchak Khanum-i-Karmanshahi and Mírzá Buzurg-i-Núrí, in the province of Mazandaran, and a younger-half-brother of Mírzá Husayn `Ali, better known as Bahá'u'lláh...

) as a nominal leader after himself. Mírzá Yahyá had gone into hiding after the assassination attempt on the Shah, and after Bahá'u'lláh's exile to Baghdad, he chose to join his brother there. At the same time, an increasing number of Bábís considered Baghdad the new centre for leadership of the Bábí religion, and a flow of pilgrim
Pilgrim
A pilgrim is a traveler who is on a journey to a holy place. Typically, this is a physical journeying to some place of special significance to the adherent of a particular religious belief system...

s started coming there from Persia.

Mírzá Yahyá's leadership was controversial. He generally absented himself from the Bábí community spending his time in Baghdad in hiding and disguise; and even went so far as to publicly disavow allegiance to the Báb on several occasions. Mírzá Yahyá gradually alienated himself from a large proportion of the Bábís who started to give their alliance to other claimants. During the time that Mírzá Yahyá remained in hiding, Bahá'u'lláh performed much of the daily administration of the Bábí affairs. In contrast to Mírzá Yahyá, Bahá'u'lláh was outgoing and accessible and he was seen by an increasing number of Bábís as a religious leader, rather than just an organizer, and became their centre of devotion.

The development of Bahá'u'lláh being seen as the leader of the Bábís was increasingly resented by Mírzá Yahyá, and he started to try to discredit Bahá'u'lláh. These actions of Mírzá Yahyá drove many people away from the religion and allowed its enemies to continue their persecution. Tensions in the community mounted, and thus in 1854 Bahá'u'lláh decided to leave the city to pursue a solitary life.

Kurdistan


On 10 April 1854, Bahá'u'lláh, leaving his family to the care of his brother Mirza Musa, left with one companion to the mountains of Kurdistan, northeast of Baghdad, near the city of Sulaymaniyah
Sulaymaniyah
Sulaymaniyah is a city in Iraqi Kurdistan, Iraq. It is the capital of Sulaymaniyah Governorate. Sulaymaniyah is surrounded by the Azmar Range, Goizja Range and the Qaiwan Range in the north east, Baranan Mountain in the south and the Tasluje Hills in the west. The city has a semi-arid climate with...

. He later wrote that he left so as to avoid becoming the source of disagreement within the Bábí community, and that his "withdrawal contemplated no return".

For two years, Bahá'u'lláh lived alone in the mountains of Kurdistan. He originally lived as a hermit
Hermit
A hermit is a person who lives, to some degree, in seclusion from society.In Christianity, the term was originally applied to a Christian who lives the eremitic life out of a religious conviction, namely the Desert Theology of the Old Testament .In the...

, dressed like a dervish
Dervish
A Dervish or Darvesh is someone treading a Sufi Muslim ascetic path or "Tariqah", known for their extreme poverty and austerity, similar to mendicant friars in Christianity or Hindu/Buddhist/Jain sadhus.-Etymology:The Persian word darvīsh is of ancient origin and descends from a Proto-Iranian...

 and using the name Darvish Muhammad-i-Irani. At one point someone noticed his penmanship, which brought the curiosity of the instructors of the local Sufi
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

 orders. As he began to take guests, he became noted for his learning and wisdom. Shaykh `Uthmán, Shaykh `Abdu'r-Rahmán, and Shaykh Ismá'íl, leaders of the Naqshbandíyyih
Naqshbandi
Naqshbandi is one of the major Sufi spiritual orders of Sufi Islam. It is considered to be a "Potent" order.The Naqshbandi order is over 1,300 years old, and is active today...

, Qádiríyyih, and Khálidíyyih Orders respectively, began to seek his advice. It was to the second of these that the Four Valleys
Four Valleys (Bahá'í)
The Four Valleys is a book written in Persian by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. The Seven Valleys was also written by Bahá'u'lláh, and the two books are usually published together under the title The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys...

was written. Several other notable books were also written during this time.

In Baghdad, given the lack of firm and public leadership by Mirza Yahya, the Babi community had fallen into disarray. Some Babis, including Bahá'u'lláh's family, thus searched for Bahá'u'lláh, and when news of a man living in the mountains under the name of Darvish Muhammad spread to neighbouring areas, Bahá'u'lláh's family pleaded with him to come back to Baghdad. On 19 March 1856, after two years in Kurdistan he returned to Baghdad.

Return to Baghdad



When Bahá'u'lláh returned to Baghdad he saw that the Bábí community had become disheartened and divided. During Bahá'u'lláh's absence, it had become alienated from the religion because Mirza Yahya had continued his policy of militancy and been unable to provide effective leadership. Mirza Yahya had married the widow of the Báb against the Báb's clear instructions; dispatched followers to the province of Nur for the second attempt on the life of the Shah
Shah
Shāh is the title of the ruler of certain Southwest Asian and Central Asian countries, especially Persia , and derives from the Persian word shah, meaning "king".-History:...

; and instigated violence against prominent Bábís who had challenged his leadership.

After his return to Baghdad, Bahá'u'lláh tried to revive the Bábí community, mostly through correspondence, writing extensively to give the Bábís a new understanding of the Bábí religion. He was soon recognized by the Bábís, as well as government authorities, as the foremost Bábí leader, and there was a growing number of people joining the Bábí movement. He also gained sympathy from government officials and Sunni clerics. Bahá'u'lláh's rising influence in the city, and the revival of the Persian Bábí community, gained the attention of his enemies in Islamic clergy and the Persian government
Qajar dynasty
The Qajar dynasty was an Iranian royal family of Turkic descent who ruled Persia from 1785 to 1925....

. The Persian government asked the Ottoman government
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 to extradite Bahá'u'lláh to Persia, but the Ottoman government refused and instead chose to move Bahá'u'lláh from the sensitive border region to Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

.

Bahá'u'lláh remained in Baghdad for seven years after his return from the mountains near Sulaymaniyah. During this time, he kept hidden his perceived station as the one promised by the Báb and a Manifestation of God
Manifestation of God
The Manifestation of God is a concept in the Bahá'í Faith that refers to what are commonly called prophets. The Manifestations of God are a series of personages who reflect the attributes of the divine into the human world for the progress and advancement of human morals and civilization...

. His writings during this period dealt with a range of themes: some traditional and some containing elements innovative to the Bábí tradition. Many of his writings were letters to individuals, but he also wrote larger pieces including the Book of Certitude
Kitáb-i-Íqán
The Kitáb-i-Íqán is one of many books held sacred by followers of the Bahá'í Faith; it is their primary theological work. One Bahá'í scholar states that it can be regarded as the "most influential Koran commentary in Persian outside the Muslim world," because of its international audience. It is...

, the Hidden Words
Hidden Words
Kalimát-i-Maknúnih or The Hidden Words is a book written in Baghdad around 1857 by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith...

 and the Gems of Divine Mysteries
Gems of Divine Mysteries
Javáhiru’l-Asrár or Gems of Divine Mysteries, is a book by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. The treatise was written in reply to a question from Siyyid Yúsuf-i-Sidihí Isfahání who had asked the question of how the promised Mihdí could have been "transformed" into the Báb...

. Toward the end of his time in Baghdad hints of the unveiling of a messianic secret increased in his writings. Later, when Bahá'u'lláh made his claim to be the promised one and a divine revelator, his writings in Baghdad were also included in the corpus of Bahá'u'lláh's revelation.

Declaration in the Garden of Ridvan


On 21 April 1863, Bahá'u'lláh left Baghdad and entered the Najibiyyih gardens, now known to Bahá'ís as the Garden of Ridván
Garden of Ridván, Baghdad
The Garden of Ridván or Najibiyyih Garden was a wooded garden in what is now Baghdad's Rusafa District, on the banks of the Tigris river...

, near Baghdad. Bahá'u'lláh and those accompanying him stayed in the garden for twelve days before departing for Constantinople. It was during this time that Bahá'u'lláh declared to a small group of his companions his perceived mission and station as a Messenger of God. Bahá'ís regard this period with great significance and celebrate the twelve days that Bahá'u'lláh spent in this Garden as the festival of Ridván
Ridván
Riḍván is a twelve-day festival in the Bahá'í Faith, commemorating the commencement of Bahá'u'lláh's prophethood. It begins at sunset on April 20 and continues until sunset, May 2...

. He referred to the period of messianic secrecy between when he claimed to have seen the Maiden of Heaven in the Síyáh-Chál and his declaration as the ayyam-i butun ("Days of Concealment"). Bahá'u'lláh stated that this period was a "set time of concealment". The declaration in the Garden of Ridván was the beginning of a new phase in the Bábí community which led to the emergence of the Bahá'í Faith
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

 as a distinctive movement separate from Bábísm.

Imprisonment


Bahá'u'lláh was given an order to relocate to the Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 capital of Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

. Although not a formal prisoner yet, the forced exile from Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

 was the beginning of a long process which would gradually move him into further exiles and eventually to the penal colony of Akká, Palestine (now Acre, Israel
Acre, Israel
Acre , is a city in the Western Galilee region of northern Israel at the northern extremity of Haifa Bay. Acre is one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the country....

).

Constantinople


Bahá'u'lláh travelled from Baghdad to Constantinople between 3 May and 17 August 1863, accompanied by a large group including family members and followers. During the trip, he was treated with respect in the towns he visited, and when he reached Constantinople, he was treated as a government guest. Why the Ottoman authorities did not permit his extradition to Persia, but instead invited him to come to Constantinople, is unclear. The reason may have been political because Bahá'u'lláh was viewed as a person of influence. However, Bahá'u'lláh refused to work with the Ottoman authorities. After three and a half months in Constantinople, he was ordered to depart for Adrianople. The reason for this further move is also unclear. It may have been due to pressure from the Persian ambassador, combined with Bahá'u'lláh's refusal to work with the Ottoman authorities.

Adrianople


From 1–12 December 1863, Bahá'u'lláh and his family
Bahá'u'lláh's family
Bahá'u'lláh was the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. He was born in 1817 to Khadíjih Khánum and Mírzá Buzurg of Nur , a Persian nobleman, and went on to be a leader in the Bábí movement, and then established the Bahá'í Faith in 1863...

 travelled to Adrianople. Unlike his travel to Constantinople, this journey was in the nature of an exile. Bahá'u'lláh stayed in Adrianople for four and a half years, and was the clear leader of the newly established Bábí community there. Bahá'u'lláh's growing preeminence in the Bábí community and in the city at large led to a final breach between Bahá'u'lláh and Mirza Yahya. In 1865, Mirza Yahya was accused of plotting to kill Bahá'u'lláh. In contemporary accounts, Mirza Yahya is reported to have tried to have Bahá'u'lláh assassinated at the hands of the barber of the local bath. The barber, Muhammad `Alí of Isfahán, apparently refused and spread word of the danger around the community. Bahá'u'lláh is reported to have counselled "on all patience, quietude and gentleness". This pattern was repeated when, according to the personal account of Ustád Muhammad-`Alíy-i Salmání, Mirza Yahya attempted to persuade him likewise to murder Bahá'u'lláh in the bath. Eventually Mirza Yahya attempted to poison Bahá'u'lláh, an act that left him gravely ill for a time, and left him with a shaking hand for the rest of his life.

After this event in 1866, Bahá'u'lláh made his claim to be Him Whom God Shall Make Manifest public, as well as making a formal written announcement to Mirza Yahya referring to his followers for the first time as the "people of Bahá". After his public announcement, Bahá'u'lláh secluded himself in his house and instructed the Bábís to choose between himself and Mirza Yahya. Bahá'u'lláh's claims threatened Mirza Yahya's position as leader of the religion since it would mean little to be leader of the Bábís if "Him Whom God Shall Make Manifest" were to appear and start a new religion. Mirza Yahya responded by making his own claims, but his attempt to preserve the traditional Bábísm was largely unpopular, and his followers became the minority.

In 1867, Mirza Yahya challenged Bahá'u'lláh to a test of the divine will in a local mosque
Mosque
A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word is likely to have entered the English language through French , from Portuguese , from Spanish , and from Berber , ultimately originating in — . The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration...

 in Adrianople, such that "God would strike down the impostor." Bahá'u'lláh agreed, and went to the Sultan Selim mosque at the appointed time, but Mirza Yahya lost face and lost credibility when he refused to show up. Eventually Bahá'u'lláh was recognized by the vast majority of Bábís as "He whom God shall make manifest" and his followers began calling themselves Bahá'ís
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

.

Writings and letters to the leaders of the world


During his time in Adrianople, Bahá'u'lláh wrote a great deal. One of the main themes during this time was the proclamation of his claimed mission; he instructed some of his followers to take his claims to Bábís in Iran and Iraq who had not heard of his statements, as well as asking the Bahá'ís to be united and detached from the world. He also started to write about distinctive Bahá'í beliefs and practices.

Also, while in Adrianople, Bahá'u'lláh proclaimed the Bahá'í Faith
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

 further by addressing tablets
Tablet (religious)
A tablet, in the religious context, is a term traditionally used for religious texts.Jews and Christians believe that Moses brought the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai in the form of two stone tablets. According to the Book of Exodus, God delivered the tablets twice, the first set having been...

 to the kings and rulers of the world asking them to accept his revelation, renounce their material possessions, work together to settle disputes, and endeavour toward the betterment of the world and its peoples. His first letter was sent to Sultan Abdülaziz
Abdülâziz
Abdülaziz I or Abd Al-Aziz, His Imperial Majesty was the 32nd Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and reigned between 25 June 1861 and 30 May 1876...

 of the Ottoman Empire and his ministers, which was followed by the Tablet of the Kings which was a general address to all rulers. In that latter letter the rulers of the earth were asked to listen to Bahá'u'lláh's call, and cast away their material possessions, and since they were given the reins of government that they should rule with justice
Justice
Justice is a concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, religion, or equity, along with the punishment of the breach of said ethics; justice is the act of being just and/or fair.-Concept of justice:...

 and protect the rights of the downtrodden. He also told the rulers to reduce their armaments and reconcile their differences. The Christian monarchs were also asked to be faithful to Jesus' call to follow the promised "Spirit of Truth."

Later when Bahá'u'lláh was in Akka, he continued writing letters to the leaders of the world including:
  • Pope Pius IX
    Pope Pius IX
    Blessed Pope Pius IX , born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti, was the longest-reigning elected Pope in the history of the Catholic Church, serving from 16 June 1846 until his death, a period of nearly 32 years. During his pontificate, he convened the First Vatican Council in 1869, which decreed papal...

  • Emperor Napoleon III of France
    Napoleon III of France
    Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte was the President of the French Second Republic and as Napoleon III, the ruler of the Second French Empire. He was the nephew and heir of Napoleon I, christened as Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte...

  • Czar Alexander II of Russia
    Alexander II of Russia
    Alexander II , also known as Alexander the Liberator was the Emperor of the Russian Empire from 3 March 1855 until his assassination in 1881...

  • King Wilhelm I of Prussia
  • Queen Victoria
    Victoria of the United Kingdom
    Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India....

     of Great Britain and Ireland
  • Emperor Franz Joseph
    Franz Joseph I of Austria
    Franz Joseph I or Francis Joseph I was Emperor of Austria, King of Bohemia, King of Croatia, Apostolic King of Hungary, King of Galicia and Lodomeria and Grand Duke of Cracow from 1848 until his death in 1916.In the December of 1848, Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria abdicated the throne as part of...

     of Austria-Hungary
  • Sultan ‘Abdu’l-‘Azíz of the Ottoman Empire
  • Násiri’d-Dín Sháh
    Nasser al-Din Shah
    Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar was the King of Iran from September 17, 1848 to May 1, 1896 when he was assassinated. He was the son of Mohammad Shah Qajar and Malek Jahan Khanom, Mahd-e Olia and the third longest reigning monarch king in Iranian history after Shapur II of the Sassanid Dynasty and...

     of the Persian Empire
  • Rulers of America
    Americas
    The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

     and the Presidents of the republics therein

`Akká



With the Bábí community now irrevocably divided, the followers of Mirza Yahya tried to discredit Bahá'u'lláh to the Ottoman authorities, accusing him of causing agitation against the government. While an investigation cleared Bahá'u'lláh, it did bring to the attention of the government that Bahá'u'lláh and Mirza Yahya were propagating religious claims, and, fearing that this might cause future disorder, they decided to again exile the 'Bábí' leaders. A royal command was issued in July 1868 condemning the Bábís to perpetual imprisonment and isolation in far-flung outposts of the Ottoman Empire — Famagusta
Famagusta
Famagusta is a city on the east coast of Cyprus and is capital of the Famagusta District. It is located east of Nicosia, and possesses the deepest harbour of the island.-Name:...

, Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

 for Mirza Yahya and his followers, and `Akká
Acre, Israel
Acre , is a city in the Western Galilee region of northern Israel at the northern extremity of Haifa Bay. Acre is one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the country....

, in Ottoman Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

, for Bahá'u'lláh and his followers.

The Bahá'ís, including Bahá'u'lláh and his family, left Adrianople on 12 August 1868, and, after a journey by land and sea through Gallipoli
Gallipoli
The Gallipoli peninsula is located in Turkish Thrace , the European part of Turkey, with the Aegean Sea to the west and the Dardanelles straits to the east. Gallipoli derives its name from the Greek "Καλλίπολις" , meaning "Beautiful City"...

 and Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, arrived in `Akká on 31 August and were confined in the barracks in the citadel in the city. The inhabitants of `Akká were told that the new prisoners were enemies of the state, of God and his religion, and that association with them was strictly forbidden. The first years in `Akká imposed very harsh conditions with everyone becoming sick, and eventually three Bahá'ís dying. It was also a very trying time for Bahá'u'lláh: Mirzá Mihdí
Mírzá Mihdí
Mírzá Mihdí , given the title Ghusn-i-Athar . Mírzá Mihdí was born Mihdí Núrí in Tehran, and named after a deceased brother of his father.-Biography:...

, Bahá'u'lláh's son, was suddenly killed at the age of twenty-two when he fell through a skylight while pacing back and forth in prayer and meditation
Meditation
Meditation is any form of a family of practices in which practitioners train their minds or self-induce a mode of consciousness to realize some benefit....

. After some time, the people and officials began to trust and respect Bahá'u'lláh, and thus the conditions of the imprisonment were eased and eventually, after Sulṭán `Abdul-`Azíz's death, he was allowed to leave the city and visit nearby places. From 1877 until 1879 Bahá'u'lláh lived in the house of Mazra'ih
Mazra'a
Mazra'a is an Arab town and local council in northern Israel, situated between Acre and Nahariyya on the Mediterranean coast.The local council was founded in 1896 and was incorporated into the Matte Asher Regional Council in 1982, before proclaiming itself an independent local council again in...

.

Final years


The final years of Bahá'u'lláh's life (1879–1892) were spent in the Mansion of Bahjí
Mansion of Bahjí
The Mansion of Bahjí is a term used to describe a summer house in Acre, Israel, where Bahá'u'lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith died in 1892. His shrine is located next to this house...

, just outside `Akká, even though he was still formally a prisoner of the Ottoman Empire. During his years in `Akká and Bahjí, since `Abdu'l-Bahá
`Abdu'l-Bahá
‘Abdu’l-Bahá , born ‘Abbás Effendí, was the eldest son of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. In 1892, `Abdu'l-Bahá was appointed in his father's will to be his successor and head of the Bahá'í Faith. `Abdu'l-Bahá was born in Tehran to an aristocratic family of the realm...

, his eldest son, had taken care of the organizational work, Bahá'u'lláh was able to devote his time to writing, and he produced many volumes of work including the Kitáb-i-Aqdas
Kitáb-i-Aqdas
The Kitáb-i-Aqdas is a central book of the Bahá'í Faith written by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the religion. The work was written in Arabic under the Arabic title , but it is commonly referred to by its Persian title, Kitáb-i-Aqdas , which was given to the work by Bahá'u'lláh himself...

, his book of laws. His other works included letters outlining his vision for a united world, as well as the need for ethical action; he also composed many prayers
Prayer in the Bahá'í Faith
Prayer in the Bahá'í Faith refers to two distinct concepts: obligatory prayer and devotional prayer . Both types of prayer are composed of reverent words which are addressed to God, and the act of prayer is one of the most important Bahá'í laws for individual discipline...

.

In 1890, the Cambridge
Cambridge
The city of Cambridge is a university town and the administrative centre of the county of Cambridgeshire, England. It lies in East Anglia about north of London. Cambridge is at the heart of the high-technology centre known as Silicon Fen – a play on Silicon Valley and the fens surrounding the...

 orientalist
Orientalism
Orientalism is a term used for the imitation or depiction of aspects of Eastern cultures in the West by writers, designers and artists, as well as having other meanings...

 Edward Granville Browne
Edward Granville Browne
Edward Granville Browne , born in Stouts Hill, Uley, Gloucestershire, England, was a British orientalist who published numerous articles and books of academic value, mainly in the areas of history and literature...

 had an interview with Bahá'u'lláh in this house. After this meeting he wrote his famous pen-portrait of Bahá'u'lláh:
"In the corner where the divan met the wall sat a wondrous and venerable figure, crowned with a felt head-dress of the kind called táj by dervishes (but of unusual height and make), round the base of which was wound a small white turban. The face of him on whom I gazed I can never forget, though I cannot describe it. Those piercing eyes seemed to read one's very soul; power and authority sat on that ample brow; while the deep lines on the forehead and face implied an age which the jet-black hair and beard flowing down in indistinguishable luxuriance almost to the waist seemed to belie. No need to ask in whose presence I stood, as I bowed myself before one who is the object of a devotion and love which kings might envy and emperors sigh for in vain!"


On 9 May 1892, Bahá'u'lláh contracted a slight fever which grew steadily over the following days, abated, and then finally took his life on 29 May 1892. He was buried in the shrine
Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh
The Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh, located in Bahjí near Acre, Israel, is the most holy place for Bahá'ís and represents their Qiblih, or direction of prayer...

 located next to the Mansion of Bahjí.

Claims


Bahá'u'lláh stated that he was a messenger of God, and he used the term Manifestation of God
Manifestation of God
The Manifestation of God is a concept in the Bahá'í Faith that refers to what are commonly called prophets. The Manifestations of God are a series of personages who reflect the attributes of the divine into the human world for the progress and advancement of human morals and civilization...

 to define the concept of an intermediary between humanity and God. In the Bahá'í writings, the Manifestations of Gods are a series of interrelated personages who speak with a divine voice and who reflect the attributes of the divine into the human world for the progress and advancement of human morals and civilization. The Manifestations of God, as explained by Bahá'u'lláh, are not incarnations of God, but have a two-fold station; one which is the divine in that they reveal God's attributes, but not God's essence, and one which is human in that they represent the physical qualities of common man, and have human limitations. Bahá'u'lláh wrote that God will never manifest his essence into the world.

In Bahá'u'lláh's writings he writes in many styles including cases were he speaks as if he was instructed by God to bring a message; in other cases he writes as though he is speaking as God directly. In his writings, Bahá'u'lláh's style changes frequently, where in some cases he is speaking as the messenger of God, and then it changes to as if he were speaking as God.

Some have taken Bahá'u'lláh's style of writings to conclude that Bahá'u'lláh had claimed divinity
Divinity
Divinity and divine are broadly applied but loosely defined terms, used variously within different faiths and belief systems — and even by different individuals within a given faith — to refer to some transcendent or transcendental power or deity, or its attributes or manifestations in...

. Bahá'u'lláh, however, states himself that the essence of God will never descend into the human world. Statements where Bahá'u'lláh speaks with the voice of God are meant that he is not actually God, but that he is speaking with the attributes of God.

Bahá'u'lláh declared, as the most recent Manifestation of God, that he was the "Promised One" of all religions, fulfilling the messianic
Messiah
A messiah is a redeemer figure expected or foretold in one form or another by a religion. Slightly more widely, a messiah is any redeemer figure. Messianic beliefs or theories generally relate to eschatological improvement of the state of humanity or the world, in other words the World to...

 prophecies found in world religions. He stated that his claims to being several messiahs converging in one person were the symbolic, rather than literal, fulfilment of the messianic and eschatological
Eschatology
Eschatology is a part of theology, philosophy, and futurology concerned with what are believed to be the final events in history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity, commonly referred to as the end of the world or the World to Come...

 prophecies found in the literature of the major religions. Bahá'u'lláh's eschatological claims constitute six distinctive messianic identifications: from Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

, the incarnation of the "Everlasting Father" from the Yuletide prophecy of Isaiah 9:6, the "Lord of Hosts"; from Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, the "Spirit of Truth" or Comforter predicted by Jesus in his farewell discourse of John 14-17 and the return of Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

 "in the glory of the Father"; from Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of prophet Zoroaster and was formerly among the world's largest religions. It was probably founded some time before the 6th century BCE in Greater Iran.In Zoroastrianism, the Creator Ahura Mazda is all good, and no evil...

, the return of Shah Bahram Varjavand, a Zoroastrian messiah predicted in various late Pahlavi
Parthian language
The Parthian language, also known as Arsacid Pahlavi and Pahlavanik, is a now-extinct ancient Northwestern Iranian language spoken in Parthia, a region of northeastern ancient Persia during the rule of the Parthian empire....

 texts; from Shi'a Islam
Shi'a Islam
Shia Islam is the second largest denomination of Islam. The followers of Shia Islam are called Shi'ites or Shias. "Shia" is the short form of the historic phrase Shīʻatu ʻAlī , meaning "followers of Ali", "faction of Ali", or "party of Ali".Like other schools of thought in Islam, Shia Islam is...

 the return of the Third Imam, Imam Husayn
Husayn ibn Ali
Hussein ibn ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib ‎ was the son of ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib and Fātimah Zahrā...

; from Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

, the return of Jesus (Isa
Islamic view of Jesus
In Islam, Jesus is considered to be a Messenger of God and the Masih who was sent to guide the Children of Israel with a new scripture, the Injīl or Gospel. The belief in Jesus is required in Islam, and a requirement of being a Muslim. The Qur'an mentions Jesus twenty-five times, more often, by...

); and from Bábism
Bábism
The Babi Faith is a religious movement that flourished in Persia from 1844 to 1852, then lingered on in exile in the Ottoman Empire as well as underground. Its founder was Siyyid `Alí Muhammad Shirazi, who took the title Báb—meaning "Gate"—from a Shi'a theological term...

, He whom God shall make manifest
He whom God shall make manifest
He whom God shall make manifest is a messianic figure in the religion of Babism. The messianic figure was repeatedly mentioned by the Báb, the founder of Babism, in his book, the Bayán. The Báb described the messianic figure as the origin of all divine attributes, and stated that his command was...

.

While Bahá'u'lláh did not himself directly claim to be either the Hindu
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 or Buddhist
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 messiah, he did so in principle through his writings. Later, `Abdu'l-Bahá stated that Bahá'u'lláh was the Kalki avatar, who in the classical Hindu Vaishnavas
Vaishnavism
Vaishnavism is a tradition of Hinduism, distinguished from other schools by its worship of Vishnu, or his associated Avatars such as Rama and Krishna, as the original and supreme God....

 tradition is the tenth and final Avatar
Avatar
In Hinduism, an avatar is a deliberate descent of a deity to earth, or a descent of the Supreme Being and is mostly translated into English as "incarnation," but more accurately as "appearance" or "manifestation"....

 (great incarnation) of Vishnu
Vishnu
Vishnu is the Supreme god in the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism. Smarta followers of Adi Shankara, among others, venerate Vishnu as one of the five primary forms of God....

 who will come to end The Age of Darkness and Destruction
Kali Yuga
Kali Yuga is the last of the four stages that the world goes through as part of the cycle of yugas described in the Indian scriptures. The other ages are Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga and Dvapara Yuga...

. Bahá'ís also believe that Bahá'u'lláh is the fulfilment of the prophecy of appearance of the Maitreya
Maitreya
Maitreya , Metteyya , or Jampa , is foretold as a future Buddha of this world in Buddhist eschatology. In some Buddhist literature, such as the Amitabha Sutra and the Lotus Sutra, he or she is referred to as Ajita Bodhisattva.Maitreya is a bodhisattva who in the Buddhist tradition is to appear on...

 Buddha, who is a future Buddha who will eventually appear on earth, achieve complete enlightenment, and teach the pure Dharma. Bahá'ís believe that the prophecy that Maitreya will usher in a new society of tolerance and love has been fulfilled by Bahá'u'lláh's teachings on world peace. Bahá'u'lláh is believed to be a descendant of a long line of kings in Persia through Yazdgerd III
Yazdgerd III
Yazdegerd III or Yazdgerd III was the twenty-ninth and last king of the Sassanid dynasty of Iran and a grandson of Khosrau II . His father was Shahryar, whose mother was Miriam, the daughter of the Byzantine Emperor Maurice...

, the last monarch of the Sasanian Dynasty
Sassanid Empire
The Sassanid Empire , known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr and Ērān in Middle Persian and resulting in the New Persian terms Iranshahr and Iran , was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, ruled by the Sasanian Dynasty from 224 to 651...

; he also asserted to be a descendant of Abraham
Abraham
Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

 through his third wife Keturah
Keturah
According to the Hebrew Bible, Keturah or Ketura was the woman whom Abraham, the patriarch of the Israelites, married after the death of his wife, Sarah. Keturah bore Abraham six sons, Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah....

.

Succession


After Bahá'u'lláh died on 29 May 1892, the Will and Testament of Bahá'u'lláh named `Abdu'l-Bahá as Centre of the Covenant
Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh
Covenant in the Bahá'í Faith refers to two separate binding agreements between God and man. A Covenant in the religious sense is a binding agreement made between God and man wherein a certain behaviour is required of man and in return God guarantees certain blessings...

, successor and interpreter of Bahá'u'lláh's writings. This appointment given to `Abdu'l-Bahá
`Abdu'l-Bahá
‘Abdu’l-Bahá , born ‘Abbás Effendí, was the eldest son of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. In 1892, `Abdu'l-Bahá was appointed in his father's will to be his successor and head of the Bahá'í Faith. `Abdu'l-Bahá was born in Tehran to an aristocratic family of the realm...

 was a cause of jealousy within Bahá'u'lláh's family
Bahá'u'lláh's family
Bahá'u'lláh was the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. He was born in 1817 to Khadíjih Khánum and Mírzá Buzurg of Nur , a Persian nobleman, and went on to be a leader in the Bábí movement, and then established the Bahá'í Faith in 1863...

. Bahá'u'lláh also stated that another one of his sons

{{Bahá'í}}
Bahá'u'lláh (bɑːhɑːˈʊlə; {{lang-ar|بهاء الله}}, "Glory of God"; 12 November 1817 – 29 May 1892), born {{transl|Bahai|Mírzá Ḥusayn-`Alí Núrí}} ({{lang-fa|میرزا حسینعلی نوری}}), was the founder of the
Bahá'í Faith
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

. He claimed to be the prophetic fulfilment of Bábism
Bábism
The Babi Faith is a religious movement that flourished in Persia from 1844 to 1852, then lingered on in exile in the Ottoman Empire as well as underground. Its founder was Siyyid `Alí Muhammad Shirazi, who took the title Báb—meaning "Gate"—from a Shi'a theological term...

, a 19th-century outgrowth of Shí‘ism, but in a broader sense claimed to be a messenger from God
Manifestation of God
The Manifestation of God is a concept in the Bahá'í Faith that refers to what are commonly called prophets. The Manifestations of God are a series of personages who reflect the attributes of the divine into the human world for the progress and advancement of human morals and civilization...

 referring to the fulfilment of the eschatological
Eschatology
Eschatology is a part of theology, philosophy, and futurology concerned with what are believed to be the final events in history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity, commonly referred to as the end of the world or the World to Come...

 expectations of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, and other major religions.

Bahá'u'lláh taught that humanity is one single race and that the age has come for its unification in a global society. His claim to divine revelation resulted in persecution
Persecution of Bahá'ís
The persecution of Bahá'ís is the religious persecution of Bahá'ís in various countries, especially in Iran, where the Bahá'í Faith originated and the location of one of the largest Bahá'í populations in the world...

 and imprisonment by the Persian and Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 authorities, and his eventual 24-year confinement in the prison city of `Akka
Acre, Israel
Acre , is a city in the Western Galilee region of northern Israel at the northern extremity of Haifa Bay. Acre is one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the country....

, Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

 (present day Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

), where he died. He authored many religious works, most notably the Kitáb-i-Aqdas
Kitáb-i-Aqdas
The Kitáb-i-Aqdas is a central book of the Bahá'í Faith written by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the religion. The work was written in Arabic under the Arabic title , but it is commonly referred to by its Persian title, Kitáb-i-Aqdas , which was given to the work by Bahá'u'lláh himself...

and the Kitáb-i-Íqán
Kitáb-i-Íqán
The Kitáb-i-Íqán is one of many books held sacred by followers of the Bahá'í Faith; it is their primary theological work. One Bahá'í scholar states that it can be regarded as the "most influential Koran commentary in Persian outside the Muslim world," because of its international audience. It is...

.

There are two known photographs of Bahá'u'lláh. Outside of pilgrimage, Bahá'ís prefer not to view his photo in public, or even to display it in their private homes.

Early and family life


{{Main|Bahá'u'lláh's family}}
Bahá'u'lláh was born on 12 November 1817, in Tehran
Tehran
Tehran , sometimes spelled Teheran, is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With an estimated population of 8,429,807; it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, one of the largest cities in Western Asia, and is the world's 19th largest city.In the 20th century, Tehran was subject to...

, the capital of Persia (Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

). His ancestry can allegedly be traced back to Abraham
Abraham
Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

 through Abraham's wife Keturah
Keturah
According to the Hebrew Bible, Keturah or Ketura was the woman whom Abraham, the patriarch of the Israelites, married after the death of his wife, Sarah. Keturah bore Abraham six sons, Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah....

, to Zoroaster
Zoroaster
Zoroaster , also known as Zarathustra , was a prophet and the founder of Zoroastrianism who was either born in North Western or Eastern Iran. He is credited with the authorship of the Yasna Haptanghaiti as well as the Gathas, hymns which are at the liturgical core of Zoroastrianism...

 and to Yazdigird III
Yazdgerd III
Yazdegerd III or Yazdgerd III was the twenty-ninth and last king of the Sassanid dynasty of Iran and a grandson of Khosrau II . His father was Shahryar, whose mother was Miriam, the daughter of the Byzantine Emperor Maurice...

, the last king of the Sassanid Empire, and also to Jesse
Jesse
Jesse, Eshai or Yishai, is the father of the David, who became the king of the Israelites. His son David is sometimes called simply "Son of Jesse" ....

. His mother was Khadíjih Khánum and his father was Mírzá Buzurg
Mírzá `Abbás Núrí
Mírzá `Abbás-i-Núrí more commonly known as Mírzá Buzurg was the father of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. Mírzá Buzurg was a nobleman from the Persian province of Núr, and worked for a time in the service of Fatḥ-`Alí Sháh....

. Bahá'u'lláh's father, Mírzá Buzurg, served as vizier
Vizier
A vizier or in Arabic script ; ; sometimes spelled vazir, vizir, vasir, wazir, vesir, or vezir) is a high-ranking political advisor or minister in a Muslim government....

 to Imám-Virdi Mírzá, the twelfth son of Fat′h Ali Shah Qajar. Mírzá Buzurg was later appointed governor of Burujird
Borujerd
Borujerd is a city in and capital of Borujerd County, Lorestan Province in western Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 227,547, in 59,388 families....

 and Lorestan, a position that he was stripped of during a government purge when Muhammad Shah
Mohammad Shah Qajar
Mohammad Shah Qajar was king of Persia from the Qajar dynasty .- Rise to power :...

 came to power. After the death of his father, Bahá'u'lláh was asked to take a government post by the new vizier Haji Mirza Aqasi, but declined.

Bahá'u'lláh was married three times. He married his first wife Ásíyih Khánum
Ásíyih Khánum
Ásíyih Khánum was the wife of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. She is viewed by Bahá’ís as the paragon of a devoted mother and wife. She is also known by her titles of Navváb, the Most Exalted Leaf, Búyúk Khánum or Hadrat-i-Khánum. Khánum, is a title usually given to a Persian lady...

, the daughter of a nobleman, in Tehran in 1835, when he was 18 and she was 15. She was given the title of The Most Exalted Leaf and Navváb. His second marriage was to his widowed cousin Fátimih Khánum, in Tehran in 1849 when she was 21 and he was 32. She was known as Mahd-i-`Ulyá. His third marriage to Gawhar Khánum occurred in Baghdad sometime before 1863.

Bahá'u'lláh declared Ásíyih Khánum his "perpetual consort in all the worlds of God", and her son `Abdu'l-Bahá
`Abdu'l-Bahá
‘Abdu’l-Bahá , born ‘Abbás Effendí, was the eldest son of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. In 1892, `Abdu'l-Bahá was appointed in his father's will to be his successor and head of the Bahá'í Faith. `Abdu'l-Bahá was born in Tehran to an aristocratic family of the realm...

 as his vicar. He had 14 children
Bahá'u'lláh's family
Bahá'u'lláh was the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. He was born in 1817 to Khadíjih Khánum and Mírzá Buzurg of Nur , a Persian nobleman, and went on to be a leader in the Bábí movement, and then established the Bahá'í Faith in 1863...

, ten sons and four daughters, of which five sons predeceased him. Bahá'ís regard Ásíyih Khánum and her children Mírzá Mihdí
Mírzá Mihdí
Mírzá Mihdí , given the title Ghusn-i-Athar . Mírzá Mihdí was born Mihdí Núrí in Tehran, and named after a deceased brother of his father.-Biography:...

, Bahíyyih Khánum
Bahiyyih Khánum
Bahíyyih Khánum the only daughter of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, and Ásíyih Khánum. She was born in 1846 with the given name Fatimih Sultan, and was entitled "Varaqiy-i-'Ulyá" or "Greatest Holy Leaf"...

 and `Abdu'l-Bahá' to be the Bahá'í holy family.

Bábí movement


{{Main|Bábism}}
In 1844, a 25 year-old man from Shiraz
Shiraz
Shiraz may refer to:* Shiraz, Iran, a city in Iran* Shiraz County, an administrative subdivision of Iran* Vosketap, Armenia, formerly called ShirazPeople:* Hovhannes Shiraz, Armenian poet* Ara Shiraz, Armenian sculptor...

, {{transl|Bahai|Siyyid Mírzá `Alí-Muḥammad}}, who took the title of the Báb
Báb
Siyyid `Alí Muḥammad Shírází was the founder of Bábism, and one of three central figures of the Bahá'í Faith. He was a merchant from Shíráz, Persia, who at the age of twenty-four claimed to be the promised Qá'im . After his declaration he took the title of Báb meaning "Gate"...

, claimed to be the promised Mahdi
Mahdi
In Islamic eschatology, the Mahdi is the prophesied redeemer of Islam who will stay on Earth for seven, nine or nineteen years- before the Day of Judgment and, alongside Jesus, will rid the world of wrongdoing, injustice and tyranny.In Shia Islam, the belief in the Mahdi is a "central religious...

 of Islam. The movement quickly spread across the Persian Empire and received widespread opposition from the Islamic clergy. The Báb himself was executed in 1850 by a firing squad in the public square of Tabriz at the age of 30 and the community was almost entirely exterminated in 1852–3.

While the Báb claimed a station of revelation, he also claimed no finality for his revelation. In most of his prominent writings, the Báb alluded to a Promised One, most commonly referred to as "Him whom God shall make manifest". The Bayán
Bayán (exposition)
In Bábism, a Bayán , or exposition, denotes the whole body of the works of the Báb, the central one being the Persian Bayán. Some modern Bábís call themselves 'Bayaní' after this title of the Báb's writings. Bahá'ís also see this work as holy, since they consider their founder to be the...

, one of the Báb's works, is essentially a discourse on Him whom God shall make manifest, and the Báb always discussed his own writings in the context of the coming of Him whom God shall make manifest. According to the Báb, this personage, promised in the sacred writings of previous religions would establish the kingdom of God on the Earth; several of the Báb's writings state the coming of Him Whom God shall make manifest would be imminent. In the books written by the Báb he constantly entreats his believers to follow Him whom God shall make manifest when he arrives. The Báb also eliminated the institution of successorship or vicegerency to his movement, and stated that no other person's writings would be binding after his death until Him whom God shall make manifest would appear.

Acceptance of the Báb


Bahá'u'lláh first heard of the Báb
Báb
Siyyid `Alí Muḥammad Shírází was the founder of Bábism, and one of three central figures of the Bahá'í Faith. He was a merchant from Shíráz, Persia, who at the age of twenty-four claimed to be the promised Qá'im . After his declaration he took the title of Báb meaning "Gate"...

 when he was 27, and received a messenger, Mullá Husayn
Mullá Husayn
Mullá Husayn-i Bushru'i , titled Jináb-i-Bábu'l-Báb , was a Persian religious figure, and the first Letter of the Living of the Bábí movement. He died at the Battle of Fort Shaykh Tabarsi, on February 2, 1849...

, telling him of the Báb
Báb
Siyyid `Alí Muḥammad Shírází was the founder of Bábism, and one of three central figures of the Bahá'í Faith. He was a merchant from Shíráz, Persia, who at the age of twenty-four claimed to be the promised Qá'im . After his declaration he took the title of Báb meaning "Gate"...

. Bahá'u'lláh accepted the Báb's claims, becoming a Bábí and helping to spread the new movement, especially in his native province of Núr
Noor, Iran
Nur is a city in and capital of Nur County, Mazandaran Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 21,806, in 6,164 families.Located on the Caspian Sea coast, Nur is one of the oldest cities of west Mazandaran Province...

, becoming recognized as one of its most influential believers. His notability as a local gave him many openings, and his trips to teach the religion were met with success, even among some of the religious class. He also helped to protect his co-religionists, such as Táhirih
Táhirih
Táhirih or Qurratu'l-`Ayn are both titles of Fátimih Baraghání , an influential poet and theologian of the Bábí Faith in Iran. Her life, influence and execution made her a key figure of the religion...

, but did so at some risk, since the aid he was giving led to his being temporarily imprisoned in Tehran
Tehran
Tehran , sometimes spelled Teheran, is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With an estimated population of 8,429,807; it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, one of the largest cities in Western Asia, and is the world's 19th largest city.In the 20th century, Tehran was subject to...

 and enduring bastinado. Bahá'u'lláh, in the summer of 1848, also attended the conference of Badasht in the province of Khorasan
Greater Khorasan
Greater Khorasan or Ancient Khorasan is a historical region of Greater Iran mentioned in sources from Sassanid and Islamic eras which "frequently" had a denotation wider than current three provinces of Khorasan in Iran...

, where 81 prominent Bábís met for 22 days; at that conference where there was a discussion between those Bábís who wanted to maintain Islamic law and those who believed that the Báb's message began a new dispensation, Bahá'u'lláh took the pro-change side, which eventually won out. It is at this conference that Bahá'u'lláh took on the name Bahá.

When violence started between the Bábís and the Qajar government in the later part of 1848, Bahá'u'lláh tried to reach the besieged Bábís at the Shaykh Tabarsi in Mazandaran, but was arrested and imprisoned before he could get there. The following years until 1850 saw the Bábís being massacred in various provinces after the Báb made his claim of being Manifestation of God
Manifestation of God
The Manifestation of God is a concept in the Bahá'í Faith that refers to what are commonly called prophets. The Manifestations of God are a series of personages who reflect the attributes of the divine into the human world for the progress and advancement of human morals and civilization...

 more public.

Síyáh-Chál


After the Báb was executed in 1850, a group of Tehran Bábís, headed by a Bábí known as Azim, who was previously a Shaykhi
Shaykhism
Shaykhism is an Islamic religious movement founded by Shaykh Ahmad in early 19th century Qajar Iran. It began from a combination of Sufi and Shi‘a doctrines of the end times and the day of resurrection. Today the Shaykhi populations retain a minority following in Iran and Iraq...

 cleric, plotted an assassination plan against the Shah Nasser-al-Din Shah, in retaliation for the Báb's execution. The policy was opposed by Bahá'u'lláh, and he condemned the plan, however, any moderating influence that he may have had was diminished since in June 1851 he went into exile to Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

 at the chief minister's request, only returning after Amir Kabir's
Amir Kabir
Amir Kabir , also known as Mirza Taghi Khan Amir-Nezam , also known by the titles of Atabak and Amir-e Nezam; chief minister to Naser al-Din Shah Qajar for the first three years of his reign and one of the most capable and innovative figures to appear in the whole Qajar period...

 fall from power. On 15 August 1852, the radical group of Bábís attempted the assassination of the Shah and failed. The group of Bábís linked with the plan, were rounded up and killed, and, notwithstanding the assassins' claim that they were working alone, the entire Bábí community was blamed and a general pogrom of the Bábí community was started by the Shah. During this time many Bábís were killed, and many of the Bábís who were not killed, including Bahá'u'lláh, were imprisoned in the Síyáh-Chál
Síyáh-Chál
Síyáh-Chál is the common word in Persian language for "dungeon".Historically, siyah-chals were used as a harsher form of incarceration. Typically, such dungeons had no windows or outlets, other than the entrance, consisting of a short stairway into the ground.In Bahá'í history the "Síyáh-Chál"...

 (black pit), an underground dungeon of Tehran.

According to Bahá'u'lláh, it was during his imprisonment in the Síyáh-Chál that he had several mystical experiences, and that he received a vision of a maiden from God
Maid of Heaven
Maid of Heaven refers to a vision that Bahá’u’lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith had of a maiden from God, through whom he received his mission as a Messenger of God.In his Súriy-i-Haykal Bahá’u’lláh describes his vision as follows:...

, through whom he received his mission as a messenger of God and as the one whose coming the Báb had prophesied. After four months in the Síyáh-Chál, owing to the insistent demands of the ambassador of Russia, and after the person who tried to kill the Shah confessed and exonerated the Bábí leaders, the authorities released him from prison, but the government exiled him from Iran. Bahá'u'lláh, instead of accepting the offer of refuge from Russia, chose to go to Iraq in the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

; in 1853 Bahá'u'lláh and his family through the cold of winter travelled from Persia and arrived in Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

 on 8 April 1853.

Baghdad


While the Báb eliminated the institution of successorship or vicegerency to his movement, and stated that no other person's writings would be binding after his death until Him Whom God shall make manifest would appear, he did, however, appoint
Mírzá Yahyá (later known as Subh-i-Azal
Subh-i-Azal
' was a Persian religious leader of Azali Bábism.-Background:Mirza Yahya was born in 1831 to Kuchak Khanum-i-Karmanshahi and Mírzá Buzurg-i-Núrí, in the province of Mazandaran, and a younger-half-brother of Mírzá Husayn `Ali, better known as Bahá'u'lláh...

) as a nominal leader after himself. Mírzá Yahyá had gone into hiding after the assassination attempt on the Shah, and after Bahá'u'lláh's exile to Baghdad, he chose to join his brother there. At the same time, an increasing number of Bábís considered Baghdad the new centre for leadership of the Bábí religion, and a flow of pilgrim
Pilgrim
A pilgrim is a traveler who is on a journey to a holy place. Typically, this is a physical journeying to some place of special significance to the adherent of a particular religious belief system...

s started coming there from Persia.

Mírzá Yahyá's leadership was controversial. He generally absented himself from the Bábí community spending his time in Baghdad in hiding and disguise; and even went so far as to publicly disavow allegiance to the Báb on several occasions. Mírzá Yahyá gradually alienated himself from a large proportion of the Bábís who started to give their alliance to other claimants. During the time that Mírzá Yahyá remained in hiding, Bahá'u'lláh performed much of the daily administration of the Bábí affairs. In contrast to Mírzá Yahyá, Bahá'u'lláh was outgoing and accessible and he was seen by an increasing number of Bábís as a religious leader, rather than just an organizer, and became their centre of devotion.

The development of Bahá'u'lláh being seen as the leader of the Bábís was increasingly resented by Mírzá Yahyá, and he started to try to discredit Bahá'u'lláh. These actions of Mírzá Yahyá drove many people away from the religion and allowed its enemies to continue their persecution. Tensions in the community mounted, and thus in 1854 Bahá'u'lláh decided to leave the city to pursue a solitary life.

Kurdistan


On 10 April 1854, Bahá'u'lláh, leaving his family to the care of his brother Mirza Musa, left with one companion to the mountains of Kurdistan, northeast of Baghdad, near the city of Sulaymaniyah
Sulaymaniyah
Sulaymaniyah is a city in Iraqi Kurdistan, Iraq. It is the capital of Sulaymaniyah Governorate. Sulaymaniyah is surrounded by the Azmar Range, Goizja Range and the Qaiwan Range in the north east, Baranan Mountain in the south and the Tasluje Hills in the west. The city has a semi-arid climate with...

. He later wrote that he left so as to avoid becoming the source of disagreement within the Bábí community, and that his "withdrawal contemplated no return".

For two years, Bahá'u'lláh lived alone in the mountains of Kurdistan. He originally lived as a hermit
Hermit
A hermit is a person who lives, to some degree, in seclusion from society.In Christianity, the term was originally applied to a Christian who lives the eremitic life out of a religious conviction, namely the Desert Theology of the Old Testament .In the...

, dressed like a dervish
Dervish
A Dervish or Darvesh is someone treading a Sufi Muslim ascetic path or "Tariqah", known for their extreme poverty and austerity, similar to mendicant friars in Christianity or Hindu/Buddhist/Jain sadhus.-Etymology:The Persian word darvīsh is of ancient origin and descends from a Proto-Iranian...

 and using the name Darvish Muhammad-i-Irani. At one point someone noticed his penmanship, which brought the curiosity of the instructors of the local Sufi
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

 orders. As he began to take guests, he became noted for his learning and wisdom. Shaykh `Uthmán, Shaykh `Abdu'r-Rahmán, and Shaykh Ismá'íl, leaders of the Naqshbandíyyih
Naqshbandi
Naqshbandi is one of the major Sufi spiritual orders of Sufi Islam. It is considered to be a "Potent" order.The Naqshbandi order is over 1,300 years old, and is active today...

, Qádiríyyih, and Khálidíyyih Orders respectively, began to seek his advice. It was to the second of these that the Four Valleys
Four Valleys (Bahá'í)
The Four Valleys is a book written in Persian by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. The Seven Valleys was also written by Bahá'u'lláh, and the two books are usually published together under the title The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys...

was written. Several other notable books were also written during this time.

In Baghdad, given the lack of firm and public leadership by Mirza Yahya, the Babi community had fallen into disarray. Some Babis, including Bahá'u'lláh's family, thus searched for Bahá'u'lláh, and when news of a man living in the mountains under the name of Darvish Muhammad spread to neighbouring areas, Bahá'u'lláh's family pleaded with him to come back to Baghdad. On 19 March 1856, after two years in Kurdistan he returned to Baghdad.

Return to Baghdad



When Bahá'u'lláh returned to Baghdad he saw that the Bábí community had become disheartened and divided. During Bahá'u'lláh's absence, it had become alienated from the religion because Mirza Yahya had continued his policy of militancy and been unable to provide effective leadership. Mirza Yahya had married the widow of the Báb against the Báb's clear instructions; dispatched followers to the province of Nur for the second attempt on the life of the Shah
Shah
Shāh is the title of the ruler of certain Southwest Asian and Central Asian countries, especially Persia , and derives from the Persian word shah, meaning "king".-History:...

; and instigated violence against prominent Bábís who had challenged his leadership.

After his return to Baghdad, Bahá'u'lláh tried to revive the Bábí community, mostly through correspondence, writing extensively to give the Bábís a new understanding of the Bábí religion. He was soon recognized by the Bábís, as well as government authorities, as the foremost Bábí leader, and there was a growing number of people joining the Bábí movement. He also gained sympathy from government officials and Sunni clerics. Bahá'u'lláh's rising influence in the city, and the revival of the Persian Bábí community, gained the attention of his enemies in Islamic clergy and the Persian government
Qajar dynasty
The Qajar dynasty was an Iranian royal family of Turkic descent who ruled Persia from 1785 to 1925....

. The Persian government asked the Ottoman government
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 to extradite Bahá'u'lláh to Persia, but the Ottoman government refused and instead chose to move Bahá'u'lláh from the sensitive border region to Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

.

Bahá'u'lláh remained in Baghdad for seven years after his return from the mountains near Sulaymaniyah. During this time, he kept hidden his perceived station as the one promised by the Báb and a Manifestation of God
Manifestation of God
The Manifestation of God is a concept in the Bahá'í Faith that refers to what are commonly called prophets. The Manifestations of God are a series of personages who reflect the attributes of the divine into the human world for the progress and advancement of human morals and civilization...

. His writings during this period dealt with a range of themes: some traditional and some containing elements innovative to the Bábí tradition. Many of his writings were letters to individuals, but he also wrote larger pieces including the Book of Certitude
Kitáb-i-Íqán
The Kitáb-i-Íqán is one of many books held sacred by followers of the Bahá'í Faith; it is their primary theological work. One Bahá'í scholar states that it can be regarded as the "most influential Koran commentary in Persian outside the Muslim world," because of its international audience. It is...

, the Hidden Words
Hidden Words
Kalimát-i-Maknúnih or The Hidden Words is a book written in Baghdad around 1857 by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith...

 and the Gems of Divine Mysteries
Gems of Divine Mysteries
Javáhiru’l-Asrár or Gems of Divine Mysteries, is a book by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. The treatise was written in reply to a question from Siyyid Yúsuf-i-Sidihí Isfahání who had asked the question of how the promised Mihdí could have been "transformed" into the Báb...

. Toward the end of his time in Baghdad hints of the unveiling of a messianic secret increased in his writings. Later, when Bahá'u'lláh made his claim to be the promised one and a divine revelator, his writings in Baghdad were also included in the corpus of Bahá'u'lláh's revelation.

Declaration in the Garden of Ridvan


On 21 April 1863, Bahá'u'lláh left Baghdad and entered the Najibiyyih gardens, now known to Bahá'ís as the Garden of Ridván
Garden of Ridván, Baghdad
The Garden of Ridván or Najibiyyih Garden was a wooded garden in what is now Baghdad's Rusafa District, on the banks of the Tigris river...

, near Baghdad. Bahá'u'lláh and those accompanying him stayed in the garden for twelve days before departing for Constantinople. It was during this time that Bahá'u'lláh declared to a small group of his companions his perceived mission and station as a Messenger of God. Bahá'ís regard this period with great significance and celebrate the twelve days that Bahá'u'lláh spent in this Garden as the festival of Ridván
Ridván
Riḍván is a twelve-day festival in the Bahá'í Faith, commemorating the commencement of Bahá'u'lláh's prophethood. It begins at sunset on April 20 and continues until sunset, May 2...

. He referred to the period of messianic secrecy between when he claimed to have seen the Maiden of Heaven in the Síyáh-Chál and his declaration as the ayyam-i butun ("Days of Concealment"). Bahá'u'lláh stated that this period was a "set time of concealment". The declaration in the Garden of Ridván was the beginning of a new phase in the Bábí community which led to the emergence of the Bahá'í Faith
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

 as a distinctive movement separate from Bábísm.

Imprisonment


Bahá'u'lláh was given an order to relocate to the Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 capital of Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

. Although not a formal prisoner yet, the forced exile from Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

 was the beginning of a long process which would gradually move him into further exiles and eventually to the penal colony of Akká, Palestine (now Acre, Israel
Acre, Israel
Acre , is a city in the Western Galilee region of northern Israel at the northern extremity of Haifa Bay. Acre is one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the country....

).

Constantinople


Bahá'u'lláh travelled from Baghdad to Constantinople between 3 May and 17 August 1863, accompanied by a large group including family members and followers. During the trip, he was treated with respect in the towns he visited, and when he reached Constantinople, he was treated as a government guest. Why the Ottoman authorities did not permit his extradition to Persia, but instead invited him to come to Constantinople, is unclear. The reason may have been political because Bahá'u'lláh was viewed as a person of influence. However, Bahá'u'lláh refused to work with the Ottoman authorities. After three and a half months in Constantinople, he was ordered to depart for Adrianople. The reason for this further move is also unclear. It may have been due to pressure from the Persian ambassador, combined with Bahá'u'lláh's refusal to work with the Ottoman authorities.

Adrianople


From 1–12 December 1863, Bahá'u'lláh and his family
Bahá'u'lláh's family
Bahá'u'lláh was the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. He was born in 1817 to Khadíjih Khánum and Mírzá Buzurg of Nur , a Persian nobleman, and went on to be a leader in the Bábí movement, and then established the Bahá'í Faith in 1863...

 travelled to Adrianople. Unlike his travel to Constantinople, this journey was in the nature of an exile. Bahá'u'lláh stayed in Adrianople for four and a half years, and was the clear leader of the newly established Bábí community there. Bahá'u'lláh's growing preeminence in the Bábí community and in the city at large led to a final breach between Bahá'u'lláh and Mirza Yahya. In 1865, Mirza Yahya was accused of plotting to kill Bahá'u'lláh. In contemporary accounts, Mirza Yahya is reported to have tried to have Bahá'u'lláh assassinated at the hands of the barber of the local bath. The barber, Muhammad `Alí of Isfahán, apparently refused and spread word of the danger around the community. Bahá'u'lláh is reported to have counselled "on all patience, quietude and gentleness". This pattern was repeated when, according to the personal account of Ustád Muhammad-`Alíy-i Salmání, Mirza Yahya attempted to persuade him likewise to murder Bahá'u'lláh in the bath. Eventually Mirza Yahya attempted to poison Bahá'u'lláh, an act that left him gravely ill for a time, and left him with a shaking hand for the rest of his life.

After this event in 1866, Bahá'u'lláh made his claim to be Him Whom God Shall Make Manifest public, as well as making a formal written announcement to Mirza Yahya referring to his followers for the first time as the "people of Bahá". After his public announcement, Bahá'u'lláh secluded himself in his house and instructed the Bábís to choose between himself and Mirza Yahya. Bahá'u'lláh's claims threatened Mirza Yahya's position as leader of the religion since it would mean little to be leader of the Bábís if "Him Whom God Shall Make Manifest" were to appear and start a new religion. Mirza Yahya responded by making his own claims, but his attempt to preserve the traditional Bábísm was largely unpopular, and his followers became the minority.

In 1867, Mirza Yahya challenged Bahá'u'lláh to a test of the divine will in a local mosque
Mosque
A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word is likely to have entered the English language through French , from Portuguese , from Spanish , and from Berber , ultimately originating in — . The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration...

 in Adrianople, such that "God would strike down the impostor." Bahá'u'lláh agreed, and went to the Sultan Selim mosque at the appointed time, but Mirza Yahya lost face and lost credibility when he refused to show up. Eventually Bahá'u'lláh was recognized by the vast majority of Bábís as "He whom God shall make manifest" and his followers began calling themselves Bahá'ís
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

.

Writings and letters to the leaders of the world


During his time in Adrianople, Bahá'u'lláh wrote a great deal. One of the main themes during this time was the proclamation of his claimed mission; he instructed some of his followers to take his claims to Bábís in Iran and Iraq who had not heard of his statements, as well as asking the Bahá'ís to be united and detached from the world. He also started to write about distinctive Bahá'í beliefs and practices.

Also, while in Adrianople, Bahá'u'lláh proclaimed the Bahá'í Faith
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

 further by addressing tablets
Tablet (religious)
A tablet, in the religious context, is a term traditionally used for religious texts.Jews and Christians believe that Moses brought the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai in the form of two stone tablets. According to the Book of Exodus, God delivered the tablets twice, the first set having been...

 to the kings and rulers of the world asking them to accept his revelation, renounce their material possessions, work together to settle disputes, and endeavour toward the betterment of the world and its peoples. His first letter was sent to Sultan Abdülaziz
Abdülâziz
Abdülaziz I or Abd Al-Aziz, His Imperial Majesty was the 32nd Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and reigned between 25 June 1861 and 30 May 1876...

 of the Ottoman Empire and his ministers, which was followed by the Tablet of the Kings which was a general address to all rulers. In that latter letter the rulers of the earth were asked to listen to Bahá'u'lláh's call, and cast away their material possessions, and since they were given the reins of government that they should rule with justice
Justice
Justice is a concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, religion, or equity, along with the punishment of the breach of said ethics; justice is the act of being just and/or fair.-Concept of justice:...

 and protect the rights of the downtrodden. He also told the rulers to reduce their armaments and reconcile their differences. The Christian monarchs were also asked to be faithful to Jesus' call to follow the promised "Spirit of Truth."

Later when Bahá'u'lláh was in Akka, he continued writing letters to the leaders of the world including:
  • Pope Pius IX
    Pope Pius IX
    Blessed Pope Pius IX , born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti, was the longest-reigning elected Pope in the history of the Catholic Church, serving from 16 June 1846 until his death, a period of nearly 32 years. During his pontificate, he convened the First Vatican Council in 1869, which decreed papal...

  • Emperor Napoleon III of France
    Napoleon III of France
    Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte was the President of the French Second Republic and as Napoleon III, the ruler of the Second French Empire. He was the nephew and heir of Napoleon I, christened as Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte...

  • Czar Alexander II of Russia
    Alexander II of Russia
    Alexander II , also known as Alexander the Liberator was the Emperor of the Russian Empire from 3 March 1855 until his assassination in 1881...

  • King Wilhelm I of Prussia
  • Queen Victoria
    Victoria of the United Kingdom
    Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India....

     of Great Britain and Ireland
  • Emperor Franz Joseph
    Franz Joseph I of Austria
    Franz Joseph I or Francis Joseph I was Emperor of Austria, King of Bohemia, King of Croatia, Apostolic King of Hungary, King of Galicia and Lodomeria and Grand Duke of Cracow from 1848 until his death in 1916.In the December of 1848, Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria abdicated the throne as part of...

     of Austria-Hungary
  • Sultan ‘Abdu’l-‘Azíz of the Ottoman Empire
  • Násiri’d-Dín Sháh
    Nasser al-Din Shah
    Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar was the King of Iran from September 17, 1848 to May 1, 1896 when he was assassinated. He was the son of Mohammad Shah Qajar and Malek Jahan Khanom, Mahd-e Olia and the third longest reigning monarch king in Iranian history after Shapur II of the Sassanid Dynasty and...

     of the Persian Empire
  • Rulers of America
    Americas
    The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

     and the Presidents of the republics therein

`Akká



With the Bábí community now irrevocably divided, the followers of Mirza Yahya tried to discredit Bahá'u'lláh to the Ottoman authorities, accusing him of causing agitation against the government. While an investigation cleared Bahá'u'lláh, it did bring to the attention of the government that Bahá'u'lláh and Mirza Yahya were propagating religious claims, and, fearing that this might cause future disorder, they decided to again exile the 'Bábí' leaders. A royal command was issued in July 1868 condemning the Bábís to perpetual imprisonment and isolation in far-flung outposts of the Ottoman Empire — Famagusta
Famagusta
Famagusta is a city on the east coast of Cyprus and is capital of the Famagusta District. It is located east of Nicosia, and possesses the deepest harbour of the island.-Name:...

, Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

 for Mirza Yahya and his followers, and `Akká
Acre, Israel
Acre , is a city in the Western Galilee region of northern Israel at the northern extremity of Haifa Bay. Acre is one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the country....

, in Ottoman Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

, for Bahá'u'lláh and his followers.

The Bahá'ís, including Bahá'u'lláh and his family, left Adrianople on 12 August 1868, and, after a journey by land and sea through Gallipoli
Gallipoli
The Gallipoli peninsula is located in Turkish Thrace , the European part of Turkey, with the Aegean Sea to the west and the Dardanelles straits to the east. Gallipoli derives its name from the Greek "Καλλίπολις" , meaning "Beautiful City"...

 and Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, arrived in `Akká on 31 August and were confined in the barracks in the citadel in the city. The inhabitants of `Akká were told that the new prisoners were enemies of the state, of God and his religion, and that association with them was strictly forbidden. The first years in `Akká imposed very harsh conditions with everyone becoming sick, and eventually three Bahá'ís dying. It was also a very trying time for Bahá'u'lláh: Mirzá Mihdí
Mírzá Mihdí
Mírzá Mihdí , given the title Ghusn-i-Athar . Mírzá Mihdí was born Mihdí Núrí in Tehran, and named after a deceased brother of his father.-Biography:...

, Bahá'u'lláh's son, was suddenly killed at the age of twenty-two when he fell through a skylight while pacing back and forth in prayer and meditation
Meditation
Meditation is any form of a family of practices in which practitioners train their minds or self-induce a mode of consciousness to realize some benefit....

. After some time, the people and officials began to trust and respect Bahá'u'lláh, and thus the conditions of the imprisonment were eased and eventually, after Sulṭán `Abdul-`Azíz's death, he was allowed to leave the city and visit nearby places. From 1877 until 1879 Bahá'u'lláh lived in the house of Mazra'ih
Mazra'a
Mazra'a is an Arab town and local council in northern Israel, situated between Acre and Nahariyya on the Mediterranean coast.The local council was founded in 1896 and was incorporated into the Matte Asher Regional Council in 1982, before proclaiming itself an independent local council again in...

.

Final years


The final years of Bahá'u'lláh's life (1879–1892) were spent in the Mansion of Bahjí
Mansion of Bahjí
The Mansion of Bahjí is a term used to describe a summer house in Acre, Israel, where Bahá'u'lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith died in 1892. His shrine is located next to this house...

, just outside `Akká, even though he was still formally a prisoner of the Ottoman Empire. During his years in `Akká and Bahjí, since `Abdu'l-Bahá
`Abdu'l-Bahá
‘Abdu’l-Bahá , born ‘Abbás Effendí, was the eldest son of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. In 1892, `Abdu'l-Bahá was appointed in his father's will to be his successor and head of the Bahá'í Faith. `Abdu'l-Bahá was born in Tehran to an aristocratic family of the realm...

, his eldest son, had taken care of the organizational work, Bahá'u'lláh was able to devote his time to writing, and he produced many volumes of work including the Kitáb-i-Aqdas
Kitáb-i-Aqdas
The Kitáb-i-Aqdas is a central book of the Bahá'í Faith written by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the religion. The work was written in Arabic under the Arabic title , but it is commonly referred to by its Persian title, Kitáb-i-Aqdas , which was given to the work by Bahá'u'lláh himself...

, his book of laws. His other works included letters outlining his vision for a united world, as well as the need for ethical action; he also composed many prayers
Prayer in the Bahá'í Faith
Prayer in the Bahá'í Faith refers to two distinct concepts: obligatory prayer and devotional prayer . Both types of prayer are composed of reverent words which are addressed to God, and the act of prayer is one of the most important Bahá'í laws for individual discipline...

.

In 1890, the Cambridge
Cambridge
The city of Cambridge is a university town and the administrative centre of the county of Cambridgeshire, England. It lies in East Anglia about north of London. Cambridge is at the heart of the high-technology centre known as Silicon Fen – a play on Silicon Valley and the fens surrounding the...

 orientalist
Orientalism
Orientalism is a term used for the imitation or depiction of aspects of Eastern cultures in the West by writers, designers and artists, as well as having other meanings...

 Edward Granville Browne
Edward Granville Browne
Edward Granville Browne , born in Stouts Hill, Uley, Gloucestershire, England, was a British orientalist who published numerous articles and books of academic value, mainly in the areas of history and literature...

 had an interview with Bahá'u'lláh in this house. After this meeting he wrote his famous pen-portrait of Bahá'u'lláh:
"In the corner where the divan met the wall sat a wondrous and venerable figure, crowned with a felt head-dress of the kind called táj by dervishes (but of unusual height and make), round the base of which was wound a small white turban. The face of him on whom I gazed I can never forget, though I cannot describe it. Those piercing eyes seemed to read one's very soul; power and authority sat on that ample brow; while the deep lines on the forehead and face implied an age which the jet-black hair and beard flowing down in indistinguishable luxuriance almost to the waist seemed to belie. No need to ask in whose presence I stood, as I bowed myself before one who is the object of a devotion and love which kings might envy and emperors sigh for in vain!"


On 9 May 1892, Bahá'u'lláh contracted a slight fever which grew steadily over the following days, abated, and then finally took his life on 29 May 1892. He was buried in the shrine
Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh
The Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh, located in Bahjí near Acre, Israel, is the most holy place for Bahá'ís and represents their Qiblih, or direction of prayer...

 located next to the Mansion of Bahjí.

Claims


Bahá'u'lláh stated that he was a messenger of God, and he used the term Manifestation of God
Manifestation of God
The Manifestation of God is a concept in the Bahá'í Faith that refers to what are commonly called prophets. The Manifestations of God are a series of personages who reflect the attributes of the divine into the human world for the progress and advancement of human morals and civilization...

 to define the concept of an intermediary between humanity and God. In the Bahá'í writings, the Manifestations of Gods are a series of interrelated personages who speak with a divine voice and who reflect the attributes of the divine into the human world for the progress and advancement of human morals and civilization. The Manifestations of God, as explained by Bahá'u'lláh, are not incarnations of God, but have a two-fold station; one which is the divine in that they reveal God's attributes, but not God's essence, and one which is human in that they represent the physical qualities of common man, and have human limitations. Bahá'u'lláh wrote that God will never manifest his essence into the world.

In Bahá'u'lláh's writings he writes in many styles including cases were he speaks as if he was instructed by God to bring a message; in other cases he writes as though he is speaking as God directly. In his writings, Bahá'u'lláh's style changes frequently, where in some cases he is speaking as the messenger of God, and then it changes to as if he were speaking as God.

Some have taken Bahá'u'lláh's style of writings to conclude that Bahá'u'lláh had claimed divinity
Divinity
Divinity and divine are broadly applied but loosely defined terms, used variously within different faiths and belief systems — and even by different individuals within a given faith — to refer to some transcendent or transcendental power or deity, or its attributes or manifestations in...

. Bahá'u'lláh, however, states himself that the essence of God will never descend into the human world. Statements where Bahá'u'lláh speaks with the voice of God are meant that he is not actually God, but that he is speaking with the attributes of God.

Bahá'u'lláh declared, as the most recent Manifestation of God, that he was the "Promised One" of all religions, fulfilling the messianic
Messiah
A messiah is a redeemer figure expected or foretold in one form or another by a religion. Slightly more widely, a messiah is any redeemer figure. Messianic beliefs or theories generally relate to eschatological improvement of the state of humanity or the world, in other words the World to...

 prophecies found in world religions. He stated that his claims to being several messiahs converging in one person were the symbolic, rather than literal, fulfilment of the messianic and eschatological
Eschatology
Eschatology is a part of theology, philosophy, and futurology concerned with what are believed to be the final events in history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity, commonly referred to as the end of the world or the World to Come...

 prophecies found in the literature of the major religions. Bahá'u'lláh's eschatological claims constitute six distinctive messianic identifications: from Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

, the incarnation of the "Everlasting Father" from the Yuletide prophecy of Isaiah 9:6, the "Lord of Hosts"; from Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, the "Spirit of Truth" or Comforter predicted by Jesus in his farewell discourse of John 14-17 and the return of Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

 "in the glory of the Father"; from Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of prophet Zoroaster and was formerly among the world's largest religions. It was probably founded some time before the 6th century BCE in Greater Iran.In Zoroastrianism, the Creator Ahura Mazda is all good, and no evil...

, the return of Shah Bahram Varjavand, a Zoroastrian messiah predicted in various late Pahlavi
Parthian language
The Parthian language, also known as Arsacid Pahlavi and Pahlavanik, is a now-extinct ancient Northwestern Iranian language spoken in Parthia, a region of northeastern ancient Persia during the rule of the Parthian empire....

 texts; from Shi'a Islam
Shi'a Islam
Shia Islam is the second largest denomination of Islam. The followers of Shia Islam are called Shi'ites or Shias. "Shia" is the short form of the historic phrase Shīʻatu ʻAlī , meaning "followers of Ali", "faction of Ali", or "party of Ali".Like other schools of thought in Islam, Shia Islam is...

 the return of the Third Imam, Imam Husayn
Husayn ibn Ali
Hussein ibn ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib ‎ was the son of ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib and Fātimah Zahrā...

; from Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

, the return of Jesus (Isa
Islamic view of Jesus
In Islam, Jesus is considered to be a Messenger of God and the Masih who was sent to guide the Children of Israel with a new scripture, the Injīl or Gospel. The belief in Jesus is required in Islam, and a requirement of being a Muslim. The Qur'an mentions Jesus twenty-five times, more often, by...

); and from Bábism
Bábism
The Babi Faith is a religious movement that flourished in Persia from 1844 to 1852, then lingered on in exile in the Ottoman Empire as well as underground. Its founder was Siyyid `Alí Muhammad Shirazi, who took the title Báb—meaning "Gate"—from a Shi'a theological term...

, He whom God shall make manifest
He whom God shall make manifest
He whom God shall make manifest is a messianic figure in the religion of Babism. The messianic figure was repeatedly mentioned by the Báb, the founder of Babism, in his book, the Bayán. The Báb described the messianic figure as the origin of all divine attributes, and stated that his command was...

.

While Bahá'u'lláh did not himself directly claim to be either the Hindu
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 or Buddhist
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 messiah, he did so in principle through his writings. Later, `Abdu'l-Bahá stated that Bahá'u'lláh was the Kalki avatar, who in the classical Hindu Vaishnavas
Vaishnavism
Vaishnavism is a tradition of Hinduism, distinguished from other schools by its worship of Vishnu, or his associated Avatars such as Rama and Krishna, as the original and supreme God....

 tradition is the tenth and final Avatar
Avatar
In Hinduism, an avatar is a deliberate descent of a deity to earth, or a descent of the Supreme Being and is mostly translated into English as "incarnation," but more accurately as "appearance" or "manifestation"....

 (great incarnation) of Vishnu
Vishnu
Vishnu is the Supreme god in the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism. Smarta followers of Adi Shankara, among others, venerate Vishnu as one of the five primary forms of God....

 who will come to end The Age of Darkness and Destruction
Kali Yuga
Kali Yuga is the last of the four stages that the world goes through as part of the cycle of yugas described in the Indian scriptures. The other ages are Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga and Dvapara Yuga...

. Bahá'ís also believe that Bahá'u'lláh is the fulfilment of the prophecy of appearance of the Maitreya
Maitreya
Maitreya , Metteyya , or Jampa , is foretold as a future Buddha of this world in Buddhist eschatology. In some Buddhist literature, such as the Amitabha Sutra and the Lotus Sutra, he or she is referred to as Ajita Bodhisattva.Maitreya is a bodhisattva who in the Buddhist tradition is to appear on...

 Buddha, who is a future Buddha who will eventually appear on earth, achieve complete enlightenment, and teach the pure Dharma. Bahá'ís believe that the prophecy that Maitreya will usher in a new society of tolerance and love has been fulfilled by Bahá'u'lláh's teachings on world peace. Bahá'u'lláh is believed to be a descendant of a long line of kings in Persia through Yazdgerd III
Yazdgerd III
Yazdegerd III or Yazdgerd III was the twenty-ninth and last king of the Sassanid dynasty of Iran and a grandson of Khosrau II . His father was Shahryar, whose mother was Miriam, the daughter of the Byzantine Emperor Maurice...

, the last monarch of the Sasanian Dynasty
Sassanid Empire
The Sassanid Empire , known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr and Ērān in Middle Persian and resulting in the New Persian terms Iranshahr and Iran , was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, ruled by the Sasanian Dynasty from 224 to 651...

; he also asserted to be a descendant of Abraham
Abraham
Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

 through his third wife Keturah
Keturah
According to the Hebrew Bible, Keturah or Ketura was the woman whom Abraham, the patriarch of the Israelites, married after the death of his wife, Sarah. Keturah bore Abraham six sons, Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah....

.

Succession


After Bahá'u'lláh died on 29 May 1892, the Will and Testament of Bahá'u'lláh named `Abdu'l-Bahá as Centre of the Covenant
Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh
Covenant in the Bahá'í Faith refers to two separate binding agreements between God and man. A Covenant in the religious sense is a binding agreement made between God and man wherein a certain behaviour is required of man and in return God guarantees certain blessings...

, successor and interpreter of Bahá'u'lláh's writings. This appointment given to `Abdu'l-Bahá
`Abdu'l-Bahá
‘Abdu’l-Bahá , born ‘Abbás Effendí, was the eldest son of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. In 1892, `Abdu'l-Bahá was appointed in his father's will to be his successor and head of the Bahá'í Faith. `Abdu'l-Bahá was born in Tehran to an aristocratic family of the realm...

 was a cause of jealousy within Bahá'u'lláh's family
Bahá'u'lláh's family
Bahá'u'lláh was the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. He was born in 1817 to Khadíjih Khánum and Mírzá Buzurg of Nur , a Persian nobleman, and went on to be a leader in the Bábí movement, and then established the Bahá'í Faith in 1863...

. Bahá'u'lláh also stated that another one of his sons

{{Bahá'í}}
Bahá'u'lláh (bɑːhɑːˈʊlə; {{lang-ar|بهاء الله}}, "Glory of God"; 12 November 1817 – 29 May 1892), born {{transl|Bahai|Mírzá Ḥusayn-`Alí Núrí}} ({{lang-fa|میرزا حسینعلی نوری}}), was the founder of the
Bahá'í Faith
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

. He claimed to be the prophetic fulfilment of Bábism
Bábism
The Babi Faith is a religious movement that flourished in Persia from 1844 to 1852, then lingered on in exile in the Ottoman Empire as well as underground. Its founder was Siyyid `Alí Muhammad Shirazi, who took the title Báb—meaning "Gate"—from a Shi'a theological term...

, a 19th-century outgrowth of Shí‘ism, but in a broader sense claimed to be a messenger from God
Manifestation of God
The Manifestation of God is a concept in the Bahá'í Faith that refers to what are commonly called prophets. The Manifestations of God are a series of personages who reflect the attributes of the divine into the human world for the progress and advancement of human morals and civilization...

 referring to the fulfilment of the eschatological
Eschatology
Eschatology is a part of theology, philosophy, and futurology concerned with what are believed to be the final events in history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity, commonly referred to as the end of the world or the World to Come...

 expectations of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, and other major religions.

Bahá'u'lláh taught that humanity is one single race and that the age has come for its unification in a global society. His claim to divine revelation resulted in persecution
Persecution of Bahá'ís
The persecution of Bahá'ís is the religious persecution of Bahá'ís in various countries, especially in Iran, where the Bahá'í Faith originated and the location of one of the largest Bahá'í populations in the world...

 and imprisonment by the Persian and Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 authorities, and his eventual 24-year confinement in the prison city of `Akka
Acre, Israel
Acre , is a city in the Western Galilee region of northern Israel at the northern extremity of Haifa Bay. Acre is one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the country....

, Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

 (present day Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

), where he died. He authored many religious works, most notably the Kitáb-i-Aqdas
Kitáb-i-Aqdas
The Kitáb-i-Aqdas is a central book of the Bahá'í Faith written by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the religion. The work was written in Arabic under the Arabic title , but it is commonly referred to by its Persian title, Kitáb-i-Aqdas , which was given to the work by Bahá'u'lláh himself...

and the Kitáb-i-Íqán
Kitáb-i-Íqán
The Kitáb-i-Íqán is one of many books held sacred by followers of the Bahá'í Faith; it is their primary theological work. One Bahá'í scholar states that it can be regarded as the "most influential Koran commentary in Persian outside the Muslim world," because of its international audience. It is...

.

There are two known photographs of Bahá'u'lláh. Outside of pilgrimage, Bahá'ís prefer not to view his photo in public, or even to display it in their private homes.

Early and family life


{{Main|Bahá'u'lláh's family}}
Bahá'u'lláh was born on 12 November 1817, in Tehran
Tehran
Tehran , sometimes spelled Teheran, is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With an estimated population of 8,429,807; it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, one of the largest cities in Western Asia, and is the world's 19th largest city.In the 20th century, Tehran was subject to...

, the capital of Persia (Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

). His ancestry can allegedly be traced back to Abraham
Abraham
Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

 through Abraham's wife Keturah
Keturah
According to the Hebrew Bible, Keturah or Ketura was the woman whom Abraham, the patriarch of the Israelites, married after the death of his wife, Sarah. Keturah bore Abraham six sons, Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah....

, to Zoroaster
Zoroaster
Zoroaster , also known as Zarathustra , was a prophet and the founder of Zoroastrianism who was either born in North Western or Eastern Iran. He is credited with the authorship of the Yasna Haptanghaiti as well as the Gathas, hymns which are at the liturgical core of Zoroastrianism...

 and to Yazdigird III
Yazdgerd III
Yazdegerd III or Yazdgerd III was the twenty-ninth and last king of the Sassanid dynasty of Iran and a grandson of Khosrau II . His father was Shahryar, whose mother was Miriam, the daughter of the Byzantine Emperor Maurice...

, the last king of the Sassanid Empire, and also to Jesse
Jesse
Jesse, Eshai or Yishai, is the father of the David, who became the king of the Israelites. His son David is sometimes called simply "Son of Jesse" ....

. His mother was Khadíjih Khánum and his father was Mírzá Buzurg
Mírzá `Abbás Núrí
Mírzá `Abbás-i-Núrí more commonly known as Mírzá Buzurg was the father of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. Mírzá Buzurg was a nobleman from the Persian province of Núr, and worked for a time in the service of Fatḥ-`Alí Sháh....

. Bahá'u'lláh's father, Mírzá Buzurg, served as vizier
Vizier
A vizier or in Arabic script ; ; sometimes spelled vazir, vizir, vasir, wazir, vesir, or vezir) is a high-ranking political advisor or minister in a Muslim government....

 to Imám-Virdi Mírzá, the twelfth son of Fat′h Ali Shah Qajar. Mírzá Buzurg was later appointed governor of Burujird
Borujerd
Borujerd is a city in and capital of Borujerd County, Lorestan Province in western Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 227,547, in 59,388 families....

 and Lorestan, a position that he was stripped of during a government purge when Muhammad Shah
Mohammad Shah Qajar
Mohammad Shah Qajar was king of Persia from the Qajar dynasty .- Rise to power :...

 came to power. After the death of his father, Bahá'u'lláh was asked to take a government post by the new vizier Haji Mirza Aqasi, but declined.

Bahá'u'lláh was married three times. He married his first wife Ásíyih Khánum
Ásíyih Khánum
Ásíyih Khánum was the wife of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. She is viewed by Bahá’ís as the paragon of a devoted mother and wife. She is also known by her titles of Navváb, the Most Exalted Leaf, Búyúk Khánum or Hadrat-i-Khánum. Khánum, is a title usually given to a Persian lady...

, the daughter of a nobleman, in Tehran in 1835, when he was 18 and she was 15. She was given the title of The Most Exalted Leaf and Navváb. His second marriage was to his widowed cousin Fátimih Khánum, in Tehran in 1849 when she was 21 and he was 32. She was known as Mahd-i-`Ulyá. His third marriage to Gawhar Khánum occurred in Baghdad sometime before 1863.

Bahá'u'lláh declared Ásíyih Khánum his "perpetual consort in all the worlds of God", and her son `Abdu'l-Bahá
`Abdu'l-Bahá
‘Abdu’l-Bahá , born ‘Abbás Effendí, was the eldest son of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. In 1892, `Abdu'l-Bahá was appointed in his father's will to be his successor and head of the Bahá'í Faith. `Abdu'l-Bahá was born in Tehran to an aristocratic family of the realm...

 as his vicar. He had 14 children
Bahá'u'lláh's family
Bahá'u'lláh was the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. He was born in 1817 to Khadíjih Khánum and Mírzá Buzurg of Nur , a Persian nobleman, and went on to be a leader in the Bábí movement, and then established the Bahá'í Faith in 1863...

, ten sons and four daughters, of which five sons predeceased him. Bahá'ís regard Ásíyih Khánum and her children Mírzá Mihdí
Mírzá Mihdí
Mírzá Mihdí , given the title Ghusn-i-Athar . Mírzá Mihdí was born Mihdí Núrí in Tehran, and named after a deceased brother of his father.-Biography:...

, Bahíyyih Khánum
Bahiyyih Khánum
Bahíyyih Khánum the only daughter of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, and Ásíyih Khánum. She was born in 1846 with the given name Fatimih Sultan, and was entitled "Varaqiy-i-'Ulyá" or "Greatest Holy Leaf"...

 and `Abdu'l-Bahá' to be the Bahá'í holy family.

Bábí movement


{{Main|Bábism}}
In 1844, a 25 year-old man from Shiraz
Shiraz
Shiraz may refer to:* Shiraz, Iran, a city in Iran* Shiraz County, an administrative subdivision of Iran* Vosketap, Armenia, formerly called ShirazPeople:* Hovhannes Shiraz, Armenian poet* Ara Shiraz, Armenian sculptor...

, {{transl|Bahai|Siyyid Mírzá `Alí-Muḥammad}}, who took the title of the Báb
Báb
Siyyid `Alí Muḥammad Shírází was the founder of Bábism, and one of three central figures of the Bahá'í Faith. He was a merchant from Shíráz, Persia, who at the age of twenty-four claimed to be the promised Qá'im . After his declaration he took the title of Báb meaning "Gate"...

, claimed to be the promised Mahdi
Mahdi
In Islamic eschatology, the Mahdi is the prophesied redeemer of Islam who will stay on Earth for seven, nine or nineteen years- before the Day of Judgment and, alongside Jesus, will rid the world of wrongdoing, injustice and tyranny.In Shia Islam, the belief in the Mahdi is a "central religious...

 of Islam. The movement quickly spread across the Persian Empire and received widespread opposition from the Islamic clergy. The Báb himself was executed in 1850 by a firing squad in the public square of Tabriz at the age of 30 and the community was almost entirely exterminated in 1852–3.

While the Báb claimed a station of revelation, he also claimed no finality for his revelation. In most of his prominent writings, the Báb alluded to a Promised One, most commonly referred to as "Him whom God shall make manifest". The Bayán
Bayán (exposition)
In Bábism, a Bayán , or exposition, denotes the whole body of the works of the Báb, the central one being the Persian Bayán. Some modern Bábís call themselves 'Bayaní' after this title of the Báb's writings. Bahá'ís also see this work as holy, since they consider their founder to be the...

, one of the Báb's works, is essentially a discourse on Him whom God shall make manifest, and the Báb always discussed his own writings in the context of the coming of Him whom God shall make manifest. According to the Báb, this personage, promised in the sacred writings of previous religions would establish the kingdom of God on the Earth; several of the Báb's writings state the coming of Him Whom God shall make manifest would be imminent. In the books written by the Báb he constantly entreats his believers to follow Him whom God shall make manifest when he arrives. The Báb also eliminated the institution of successorship or vicegerency to his movement, and stated that no other person's writings would be binding after his death until Him whom God shall make manifest would appear.

Acceptance of the Báb


Bahá'u'lláh first heard of the Báb
Báb
Siyyid `Alí Muḥammad Shírází was the founder of Bábism, and one of three central figures of the Bahá'í Faith. He was a merchant from Shíráz, Persia, who at the age of twenty-four claimed to be the promised Qá'im . After his declaration he took the title of Báb meaning "Gate"...

 when he was 27, and received a messenger, Mullá Husayn
Mullá Husayn
Mullá Husayn-i Bushru'i , titled Jináb-i-Bábu'l-Báb , was a Persian religious figure, and the first Letter of the Living of the Bábí movement. He died at the Battle of Fort Shaykh Tabarsi, on February 2, 1849...

, telling him of the Báb
Báb
Siyyid `Alí Muḥammad Shírází was the founder of Bábism, and one of three central figures of the Bahá'í Faith. He was a merchant from Shíráz, Persia, who at the age of twenty-four claimed to be the promised Qá'im . After his declaration he took the title of Báb meaning "Gate"...

. Bahá'u'lláh accepted the Báb's claims, becoming a Bábí and helping to spread the new movement, especially in his native province of Núr
Noor, Iran
Nur is a city in and capital of Nur County, Mazandaran Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 21,806, in 6,164 families.Located on the Caspian Sea coast, Nur is one of the oldest cities of west Mazandaran Province...

, becoming recognized as one of its most influential believers. His notability as a local gave him many openings, and his trips to teach the religion were met with success, even among some of the religious class. He also helped to protect his co-religionists, such as Táhirih
Táhirih
Táhirih or Qurratu'l-`Ayn are both titles of Fátimih Baraghání , an influential poet and theologian of the Bábí Faith in Iran. Her life, influence and execution made her a key figure of the religion...

, but did so at some risk, since the aid he was giving led to his being temporarily imprisoned in Tehran
Tehran
Tehran , sometimes spelled Teheran, is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With an estimated population of 8,429,807; it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, one of the largest cities in Western Asia, and is the world's 19th largest city.In the 20th century, Tehran was subject to...

 and enduring bastinado. Bahá'u'lláh, in the summer of 1848, also attended the conference of Badasht in the province of Khorasan
Greater Khorasan
Greater Khorasan or Ancient Khorasan is a historical region of Greater Iran mentioned in sources from Sassanid and Islamic eras which "frequently" had a denotation wider than current three provinces of Khorasan in Iran...

, where 81 prominent Bábís met for 22 days; at that conference where there was a discussion between those Bábís who wanted to maintain Islamic law and those who believed that the Báb's message began a new dispensation, Bahá'u'lláh took the pro-change side, which eventually won out. It is at this conference that Bahá'u'lláh took on the name Bahá.

When violence started between the Bábís and the Qajar government in the later part of 1848, Bahá'u'lláh tried to reach the besieged Bábís at the Shaykh Tabarsi in Mazandaran, but was arrested and imprisoned before he could get there. The following years until 1850 saw the Bábís being massacred in various provinces after the Báb made his claim of being Manifestation of God
Manifestation of God
The Manifestation of God is a concept in the Bahá'í Faith that refers to what are commonly called prophets. The Manifestations of God are a series of personages who reflect the attributes of the divine into the human world for the progress and advancement of human morals and civilization...

 more public.

Síyáh-Chál


After the Báb was executed in 1850, a group of Tehran Bábís, headed by a Bábí known as Azim, who was previously a Shaykhi
Shaykhism
Shaykhism is an Islamic religious movement founded by Shaykh Ahmad in early 19th century Qajar Iran. It began from a combination of Sufi and Shi‘a doctrines of the end times and the day of resurrection. Today the Shaykhi populations retain a minority following in Iran and Iraq...

 cleric, plotted an assassination plan against the Shah Nasser-al-Din Shah, in retaliation for the Báb's execution. The policy was opposed by Bahá'u'lláh, and he condemned the plan, however, any moderating influence that he may have had was diminished since in June 1851 he went into exile to Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

 at the chief minister's request, only returning after Amir Kabir's
Amir Kabir
Amir Kabir , also known as Mirza Taghi Khan Amir-Nezam , also known by the titles of Atabak and Amir-e Nezam; chief minister to Naser al-Din Shah Qajar for the first three years of his reign and one of the most capable and innovative figures to appear in the whole Qajar period...

 fall from power. On 15 August 1852, the radical group of Bábís attempted the assassination of the Shah and failed. The group of Bábís linked with the plan, were rounded up and killed, and, notwithstanding the assassins' claim that they were working alone, the entire Bábí community was blamed and a general pogrom of the Bábí community was started by the Shah. During this time many Bábís were killed, and many of the Bábís who were not killed, including Bahá'u'lláh, were imprisoned in the Síyáh-Chál
Síyáh-Chál
Síyáh-Chál is the common word in Persian language for "dungeon".Historically, siyah-chals were used as a harsher form of incarceration. Typically, such dungeons had no windows or outlets, other than the entrance, consisting of a short stairway into the ground.In Bahá'í history the "Síyáh-Chál"...

 (black pit), an underground dungeon of Tehran.

According to Bahá'u'lláh, it was during his imprisonment in the Síyáh-Chál that he had several mystical experiences, and that he received a vision of a maiden from God
Maid of Heaven
Maid of Heaven refers to a vision that Bahá’u’lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith had of a maiden from God, through whom he received his mission as a Messenger of God.In his Súriy-i-Haykal Bahá’u’lláh describes his vision as follows:...

, through whom he received his mission as a messenger of God and as the one whose coming the Báb had prophesied. After four months in the Síyáh-Chál, owing to the insistent demands of the ambassador of Russia, and after the person who tried to kill the Shah confessed and exonerated the Bábí leaders, the authorities released him from prison, but the government exiled him from Iran. Bahá'u'lláh, instead of accepting the offer of refuge from Russia, chose to go to Iraq in the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

; in 1853 Bahá'u'lláh and his family through the cold of winter travelled from Persia and arrived in Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

 on 8 April 1853.

Baghdad


While the Báb eliminated the institution of successorship or vicegerency to his movement, and stated that no other person's writings would be binding after his death until Him Whom God shall make manifest would appear, he did, however, appoint
Mírzá Yahyá (later known as Subh-i-Azal
Subh-i-Azal
' was a Persian religious leader of Azali Bábism.-Background:Mirza Yahya was born in 1831 to Kuchak Khanum-i-Karmanshahi and Mírzá Buzurg-i-Núrí, in the province of Mazandaran, and a younger-half-brother of Mírzá Husayn `Ali, better known as Bahá'u'lláh...

) as a nominal leader after himself. Mírzá Yahyá had gone into hiding after the assassination attempt on the Shah, and after Bahá'u'lláh's exile to Baghdad, he chose to join his brother there. At the same time, an increasing number of Bábís considered Baghdad the new centre for leadership of the Bábí religion, and a flow of pilgrim
Pilgrim
A pilgrim is a traveler who is on a journey to a holy place. Typically, this is a physical journeying to some place of special significance to the adherent of a particular religious belief system...

s started coming there from Persia.

Mírzá Yahyá's leadership was controversial. He generally absented himself from the Bábí community spending his time in Baghdad in hiding and disguise; and even went so far as to publicly disavow allegiance to the Báb on several occasions. Mírzá Yahyá gradually alienated himself from a large proportion of the Bábís who started to give their alliance to other claimants. During the time that Mírzá Yahyá remained in hiding, Bahá'u'lláh performed much of the daily administration of the Bábí affairs. In contrast to Mírzá Yahyá, Bahá'u'lláh was outgoing and accessible and he was seen by an increasing number of Bábís as a religious leader, rather than just an organizer, and became their centre of devotion.

The development of Bahá'u'lláh being seen as the leader of the Bábís was increasingly resented by Mírzá Yahyá, and he started to try to discredit Bahá'u'lláh. These actions of Mírzá Yahyá drove many people away from the religion and allowed its enemies to continue their persecution. Tensions in the community mounted, and thus in 1854 Bahá'u'lláh decided to leave the city to pursue a solitary life.

Kurdistan


On 10 April 1854, Bahá'u'lláh, leaving his family to the care of his brother Mirza Musa, left with one companion to the mountains of Kurdistan, northeast of Baghdad, near the city of Sulaymaniyah
Sulaymaniyah
Sulaymaniyah is a city in Iraqi Kurdistan, Iraq. It is the capital of Sulaymaniyah Governorate. Sulaymaniyah is surrounded by the Azmar Range, Goizja Range and the Qaiwan Range in the north east, Baranan Mountain in the south and the Tasluje Hills in the west. The city has a semi-arid climate with...

. He later wrote that he left so as to avoid becoming the source of disagreement within the Bábí community, and that his "withdrawal contemplated no return".

For two years, Bahá'u'lláh lived alone in the mountains of Kurdistan. He originally lived as a hermit
Hermit
A hermit is a person who lives, to some degree, in seclusion from society.In Christianity, the term was originally applied to a Christian who lives the eremitic life out of a religious conviction, namely the Desert Theology of the Old Testament .In the...

, dressed like a dervish
Dervish
A Dervish or Darvesh is someone treading a Sufi Muslim ascetic path or "Tariqah", known for their extreme poverty and austerity, similar to mendicant friars in Christianity or Hindu/Buddhist/Jain sadhus.-Etymology:The Persian word darvīsh is of ancient origin and descends from a Proto-Iranian...

 and using the name Darvish Muhammad-i-Irani. At one point someone noticed his penmanship, which brought the curiosity of the instructors of the local Sufi
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

 orders. As he began to take guests, he became noted for his learning and wisdom. Shaykh `Uthmán, Shaykh `Abdu'r-Rahmán, and Shaykh Ismá'íl, leaders of the Naqshbandíyyih
Naqshbandi
Naqshbandi is one of the major Sufi spiritual orders of Sufi Islam. It is considered to be a "Potent" order.The Naqshbandi order is over 1,300 years old, and is active today...

, Qádiríyyih, and Khálidíyyih Orders respectively, began to seek his advice. It was to the second of these that the Four Valleys
Four Valleys (Bahá'í)
The Four Valleys is a book written in Persian by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. The Seven Valleys was also written by Bahá'u'lláh, and the two books are usually published together under the title The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys...

was written. Several other notable books were also written during this time.

In Baghdad, given the lack of firm and public leadership by Mirza Yahya, the Babi community had fallen into disarray. Some Babis, including Bahá'u'lláh's family, thus searched for Bahá'u'lláh, and when news of a man living in the mountains under the name of Darvish Muhammad spread to neighbouring areas, Bahá'u'lláh's family pleaded with him to come back to Baghdad. On 19 March 1856, after two years in Kurdistan he returned to Baghdad.

Return to Baghdad



When Bahá'u'lláh returned to Baghdad he saw that the Bábí community had become disheartened and divided. During Bahá'u'lláh's absence, it had become alienated from the religion because Mirza Yahya had continued his policy of militancy and been unable to provide effective leadership. Mirza Yahya had married the widow of the Báb against the Báb's clear instructions; dispatched followers to the province of Nur for the second attempt on the life of the Shah
Shah
Shāh is the title of the ruler of certain Southwest Asian and Central Asian countries, especially Persia , and derives from the Persian word shah, meaning "king".-History:...

; and instigated violence against prominent Bábís who had challenged his leadership.

After his return to Baghdad, Bahá'u'lláh tried to revive the Bábí community, mostly through correspondence, writing extensively to give the Bábís a new understanding of the Bábí religion. He was soon recognized by the Bábís, as well as government authorities, as the foremost Bábí leader, and there was a growing number of people joining the Bábí movement. He also gained sympathy from government officials and Sunni clerics. Bahá'u'lláh's rising influence in the city, and the revival of the Persian Bábí community, gained the attention of his enemies in Islamic clergy and the Persian government
Qajar dynasty
The Qajar dynasty was an Iranian royal family of Turkic descent who ruled Persia from 1785 to 1925....

. The Persian government asked the Ottoman government
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 to extradite Bahá'u'lláh to Persia, but the Ottoman government refused and instead chose to move Bahá'u'lláh from the sensitive border region to Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

.

Bahá'u'lláh remained in Baghdad for seven years after his return from the mountains near Sulaymaniyah. During this time, he kept hidden his perceived station as the one promised by the Báb and a Manifestation of God
Manifestation of God
The Manifestation of God is a concept in the Bahá'í Faith that refers to what are commonly called prophets. The Manifestations of God are a series of personages who reflect the attributes of the divine into the human world for the progress and advancement of human morals and civilization...

. His writings during this period dealt with a range of themes: some traditional and some containing elements innovative to the Bábí tradition. Many of his writings were letters to individuals, but he also wrote larger pieces including the Book of Certitude
Kitáb-i-Íqán
The Kitáb-i-Íqán is one of many books held sacred by followers of the Bahá'í Faith; it is their primary theological work. One Bahá'í scholar states that it can be regarded as the "most influential Koran commentary in Persian outside the Muslim world," because of its international audience. It is...

, the Hidden Words
Hidden Words
Kalimát-i-Maknúnih or The Hidden Words is a book written in Baghdad around 1857 by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith...

 and the Gems of Divine Mysteries
Gems of Divine Mysteries
Javáhiru’l-Asrár or Gems of Divine Mysteries, is a book by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. The treatise was written in reply to a question from Siyyid Yúsuf-i-Sidihí Isfahání who had asked the question of how the promised Mihdí could have been "transformed" into the Báb...

. Toward the end of his time in Baghdad hints of the unveiling of a messianic secret increased in his writings. Later, when Bahá'u'lláh made his claim to be the promised one and a divine revelator, his writings in Baghdad were also included in the corpus of Bahá'u'lláh's revelation.

Declaration in the Garden of Ridvan


On 21 April 1863, Bahá'u'lláh left Baghdad and entered the Najibiyyih gardens, now known to Bahá'ís as the Garden of Ridván
Garden of Ridván, Baghdad
The Garden of Ridván or Najibiyyih Garden was a wooded garden in what is now Baghdad's Rusafa District, on the banks of the Tigris river...

, near Baghdad. Bahá'u'lláh and those accompanying him stayed in the garden for twelve days before departing for Constantinople. It was during this time that Bahá'u'lláh declared to a small group of his companions his perceived mission and station as a Messenger of God. Bahá'ís regard this period with great significance and celebrate the twelve days that Bahá'u'lláh spent in this Garden as the festival of Ridván
Ridván
Riḍván is a twelve-day festival in the Bahá'í Faith, commemorating the commencement of Bahá'u'lláh's prophethood. It begins at sunset on April 20 and continues until sunset, May 2...

. He referred to the period of messianic secrecy between when he claimed to have seen the Maiden of Heaven in the Síyáh-Chál and his declaration as the ayyam-i butun ("Days of Concealment"). Bahá'u'lláh stated that this period was a "set time of concealment". The declaration in the Garden of Ridván was the beginning of a new phase in the Bábí community which led to the emergence of the Bahá'í Faith
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

 as a distinctive movement separate from Bábísm.

Imprisonment


Bahá'u'lláh was given an order to relocate to the Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 capital of Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

. Although not a formal prisoner yet, the forced exile from Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

 was the beginning of a long process which would gradually move him into further exiles and eventually to the penal colony of Akká, Palestine (now Acre, Israel
Acre, Israel
Acre , is a city in the Western Galilee region of northern Israel at the northern extremity of Haifa Bay. Acre is one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the country....

).

Constantinople


Bahá'u'lláh travelled from Baghdad to Constantinople between 3 May and 17 August 1863, accompanied by a large group including family members and followers. During the trip, he was treated with respect in the towns he visited, and when he reached Constantinople, he was treated as a government guest. Why the Ottoman authorities did not permit his extradition to Persia, but instead invited him to come to Constantinople, is unclear. The reason may have been political because Bahá'u'lláh was viewed as a person of influence. However, Bahá'u'lláh refused to work with the Ottoman authorities. After three and a half months in Constantinople, he was ordered to depart for Adrianople. The reason for this further move is also unclear. It may have been due to pressure from the Persian ambassador, combined with Bahá'u'lláh's refusal to work with the Ottoman authorities.

Adrianople


From 1–12 December 1863, Bahá'u'lláh and his family
Bahá'u'lláh's family
Bahá'u'lláh was the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. He was born in 1817 to Khadíjih Khánum and Mírzá Buzurg of Nur , a Persian nobleman, and went on to be a leader in the Bábí movement, and then established the Bahá'í Faith in 1863...

 travelled to Adrianople. Unlike his travel to Constantinople, this journey was in the nature of an exile. Bahá'u'lláh stayed in Adrianople for four and a half years, and was the clear leader of the newly established Bábí community there. Bahá'u'lláh's growing preeminence in the Bábí community and in the city at large led to a final breach between Bahá'u'lláh and Mirza Yahya. In 1865, Mirza Yahya was accused of plotting to kill Bahá'u'lláh. In contemporary accounts, Mirza Yahya is reported to have tried to have Bahá'u'lláh assassinated at the hands of the barber of the local bath. The barber, Muhammad `Alí of Isfahán, apparently refused and spread word of the danger around the community. Bahá'u'lláh is reported to have counselled "on all patience, quietude and gentleness". This pattern was repeated when, according to the personal account of Ustád Muhammad-`Alíy-i Salmání, Mirza Yahya attempted to persuade him likewise to murder Bahá'u'lláh in the bath. Eventually Mirza Yahya attempted to poison Bahá'u'lláh, an act that left him gravely ill for a time, and left him with a shaking hand for the rest of his life.

After this event in 1866, Bahá'u'lláh made his claim to be Him Whom God Shall Make Manifest public, as well as making a formal written announcement to Mirza Yahya referring to his followers for the first time as the "people of Bahá". After his public announcement, Bahá'u'lláh secluded himself in his house and instructed the Bábís to choose between himself and Mirza Yahya. Bahá'u'lláh's claims threatened Mirza Yahya's position as leader of the religion since it would mean little to be leader of the Bábís if "Him Whom God Shall Make Manifest" were to appear and start a new religion. Mirza Yahya responded by making his own claims, but his attempt to preserve the traditional Bábísm was largely unpopular, and his followers became the minority.

In 1867, Mirza Yahya challenged Bahá'u'lláh to a test of the divine will in a local mosque
Mosque
A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word is likely to have entered the English language through French , from Portuguese , from Spanish , and from Berber , ultimately originating in — . The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration...

 in Adrianople, such that "God would strike down the impostor." Bahá'u'lláh agreed, and went to the Sultan Selim mosque at the appointed time, but Mirza Yahya lost face and lost credibility when he refused to show up. Eventually Bahá'u'lláh was recognized by the vast majority of Bábís as "He whom God shall make manifest" and his followers began calling themselves Bahá'ís
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

.

Writings and letters to the leaders of the world


During his time in Adrianople, Bahá'u'lláh wrote a great deal. One of the main themes during this time was the proclamation of his claimed mission; he instructed some of his followers to take his claims to Bábís in Iran and Iraq who had not heard of his statements, as well as asking the Bahá'ís to be united and detached from the world. He also started to write about distinctive Bahá'í beliefs and practices.

Also, while in Adrianople, Bahá'u'lláh proclaimed the Bahá'í Faith
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

 further by addressing tablets
Tablet (religious)
A tablet, in the religious context, is a term traditionally used for religious texts.Jews and Christians believe that Moses brought the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai in the form of two stone tablets. According to the Book of Exodus, God delivered the tablets twice, the first set having been...

 to the kings and rulers of the world asking them to accept his revelation, renounce their material possessions, work together to settle disputes, and endeavour toward the betterment of the world and its peoples. His first letter was sent to Sultan Abdülaziz
Abdülâziz
Abdülaziz I or Abd Al-Aziz, His Imperial Majesty was the 32nd Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and reigned between 25 June 1861 and 30 May 1876...

 of the Ottoman Empire and his ministers, which was followed by the Tablet of the Kings which was a general address to all rulers. In that latter letter the rulers of the earth were asked to listen to Bahá'u'lláh's call, and cast away their material possessions, and since they were given the reins of government that they should rule with justice
Justice
Justice is a concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, religion, or equity, along with the punishment of the breach of said ethics; justice is the act of being just and/or fair.-Concept of justice:...

 and protect the rights of the downtrodden. He also told the rulers to reduce their armaments and reconcile their differences. The Christian monarchs were also asked to be faithful to Jesus' call to follow the promised "Spirit of Truth."

Later when Bahá'u'lláh was in Akka, he continued writing letters to the leaders of the world including:
  • Pope Pius IX
    Pope Pius IX
    Blessed Pope Pius IX , born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti, was the longest-reigning elected Pope in the history of the Catholic Church, serving from 16 June 1846 until his death, a period of nearly 32 years. During his pontificate, he convened the First Vatican Council in 1869, which decreed papal...

  • Emperor Napoleon III of France
    Napoleon III of France
    Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte was the President of the French Second Republic and as Napoleon III, the ruler of the Second French Empire. He was the nephew and heir of Napoleon I, christened as Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte...

  • Czar Alexander II of Russia
    Alexander II of Russia
    Alexander II , also known as Alexander the Liberator was the Emperor of the Russian Empire from 3 March 1855 until his assassination in 1881...

  • King Wilhelm I of Prussia
  • Queen Victoria
    Victoria of the United Kingdom
    Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India....

     of Great Britain and Ireland
  • Emperor Franz Joseph
    Franz Joseph I of Austria
    Franz Joseph I or Francis Joseph I was Emperor of Austria, King of Bohemia, King of Croatia, Apostolic King of Hungary, King of Galicia and Lodomeria and Grand Duke of Cracow from 1848 until his death in 1916.In the December of 1848, Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria abdicated the throne as part of...

     of Austria-Hungary
  • Sultan ‘Abdu’l-‘Azíz of the Ottoman Empire
  • Násiri’d-Dín Sháh
    Nasser al-Din Shah
    Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar was the King of Iran from September 17, 1848 to May 1, 1896 when he was assassinated. He was the son of Mohammad Shah Qajar and Malek Jahan Khanom, Mahd-e Olia and the third longest reigning monarch king in Iranian history after Shapur II of the Sassanid Dynasty and...

     of the Persian Empire
  • Rulers of America
    Americas
    The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

     and the Presidents of the republics therein

`Akká



With the Bábí community now irrevocably divided, the followers of Mirza Yahya tried to discredit Bahá'u'lláh to the Ottoman authorities, accusing him of causing agitation against the government. While an investigation cleared Bahá'u'lláh, it did bring to the attention of the government that Bahá'u'lláh and Mirza Yahya were propagating religious claims, and, fearing that this might cause future disorder, they decided to again exile the 'Bábí' leaders. A royal command was issued in July 1868 condemning the Bábís to perpetual imprisonment and isolation in far-flung outposts of the Ottoman Empire — Famagusta
Famagusta
Famagusta is a city on the east coast of Cyprus and is capital of the Famagusta District. It is located east of Nicosia, and possesses the deepest harbour of the island.-Name:...

, Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

 for Mirza Yahya and his followers, and `Akká
Acre, Israel
Acre , is a city in the Western Galilee region of northern Israel at the northern extremity of Haifa Bay. Acre is one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the country....

, in Ottoman Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

, for Bahá'u'lláh and his followers.

The Bahá'ís, including Bahá'u'lláh and his family, left Adrianople on 12 August 1868, and, after a journey by land and sea through Gallipoli
Gallipoli
The Gallipoli peninsula is located in Turkish Thrace , the European part of Turkey, with the Aegean Sea to the west and the Dardanelles straits to the east. Gallipoli derives its name from the Greek "Καλλίπολις" , meaning "Beautiful City"...

 and Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, arrived in `Akká on 31 August and were confined in the barracks in the citadel in the city. The inhabitants of `Akká were told that the new prisoners were enemies of the state, of God and his religion, and that association with them was strictly forbidden. The first years in `Akká imposed very harsh conditions with everyone becoming sick, and eventually three Bahá'ís dying. It was also a very trying time for Bahá'u'lláh: Mirzá Mihdí
Mírzá Mihdí
Mírzá Mihdí , given the title Ghusn-i-Athar . Mírzá Mihdí was born Mihdí Núrí in Tehran, and named after a deceased brother of his father.-Biography:...

, Bahá'u'lláh's son, was suddenly killed at the age of twenty-two when he fell through a skylight while pacing back and forth in prayer and meditation
Meditation
Meditation is any form of a family of practices in which practitioners train their minds or self-induce a mode of consciousness to realize some benefit....

. After some time, the people and officials began to trust and respect Bahá'u'lláh, and thus the conditions of the imprisonment were eased and eventually, after Sulṭán `Abdul-`Azíz's death, he was allowed to leave the city and visit nearby places. From 1877 until 1879 Bahá'u'lláh lived in the house of Mazra'ih
Mazra'a
Mazra'a is an Arab town and local council in northern Israel, situated between Acre and Nahariyya on the Mediterranean coast.The local council was founded in 1896 and was incorporated into the Matte Asher Regional Council in 1982, before proclaiming itself an independent local council again in...

.

Final years


The final years of Bahá'u'lláh's life (1879–1892) were spent in the Mansion of Bahjí
Mansion of Bahjí
The Mansion of Bahjí is a term used to describe a summer house in Acre, Israel, where Bahá'u'lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith died in 1892. His shrine is located next to this house...

, just outside `Akká, even though he was still formally a prisoner of the Ottoman Empire. During his years in `Akká and Bahjí, since `Abdu'l-Bahá
`Abdu'l-Bahá
‘Abdu’l-Bahá , born ‘Abbás Effendí, was the eldest son of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. In 1892, `Abdu'l-Bahá was appointed in his father's will to be his successor and head of the Bahá'í Faith. `Abdu'l-Bahá was born in Tehran to an aristocratic family of the realm...

, his eldest son, had taken care of the organizational work, Bahá'u'lláh was able to devote his time to writing, and he produced many volumes of work including the Kitáb-i-Aqdas
Kitáb-i-Aqdas
The Kitáb-i-Aqdas is a central book of the Bahá'í Faith written by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the religion. The work was written in Arabic under the Arabic title , but it is commonly referred to by its Persian title, Kitáb-i-Aqdas , which was given to the work by Bahá'u'lláh himself...

, his book of laws. His other works included letters outlining his vision for a united world, as well as the need for ethical action; he also composed many prayers
Prayer in the Bahá'í Faith
Prayer in the Bahá'í Faith refers to two distinct concepts: obligatory prayer and devotional prayer . Both types of prayer are composed of reverent words which are addressed to God, and the act of prayer is one of the most important Bahá'í laws for individual discipline...

.

In 1890, the Cambridge
Cambridge
The city of Cambridge is a university town and the administrative centre of the county of Cambridgeshire, England. It lies in East Anglia about north of London. Cambridge is at the heart of the high-technology centre known as Silicon Fen – a play on Silicon Valley and the fens surrounding the...

 orientalist
Orientalism
Orientalism is a term used for the imitation or depiction of aspects of Eastern cultures in the West by writers, designers and artists, as well as having other meanings...

 Edward Granville Browne
Edward Granville Browne
Edward Granville Browne , born in Stouts Hill, Uley, Gloucestershire, England, was a British orientalist who published numerous articles and books of academic value, mainly in the areas of history and literature...

 had an interview with Bahá'u'lláh in this house. After this meeting he wrote his famous pen-portrait of Bahá'u'lláh:
"In the corner where the divan met the wall sat a wondrous and venerable figure, crowned with a felt head-dress of the kind called táj by dervishes (but of unusual height and make), round the base of which was wound a small white turban. The face of him on whom I gazed I can never forget, though I cannot describe it. Those piercing eyes seemed to read one's very soul; power and authority sat on that ample brow; while the deep lines on the forehead and face implied an age which the jet-black hair and beard flowing down in indistinguishable luxuriance almost to the waist seemed to belie. No need to ask in whose presence I stood, as I bowed myself before one who is the object of a devotion and love which kings might envy and emperors sigh for in vain!"


On 9 May 1892, Bahá'u'lláh contracted a slight fever which grew steadily over the following days, abated, and then finally took his life on 29 May 1892. He was buried in the shrine
Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh
The Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh, located in Bahjí near Acre, Israel, is the most holy place for Bahá'ís and represents their Qiblih, or direction of prayer...

 located next to the Mansion of Bahjí.

Claims


Bahá'u'lláh stated that he was a messenger of God, and he used the term Manifestation of God
Manifestation of God
The Manifestation of God is a concept in the Bahá'í Faith that refers to what are commonly called prophets. The Manifestations of God are a series of personages who reflect the attributes of the divine into the human world for the progress and advancement of human morals and civilization...

 to define the concept of an intermediary between humanity and God. In the Bahá'í writings, the Manifestations of Gods are a series of interrelated personages who speak with a divine voice and who reflect the attributes of the divine into the human world for the progress and advancement of human morals and civilization. The Manifestations of God, as explained by Bahá'u'lláh, are not incarnations of God, but have a two-fold station; one which is the divine in that they reveal God's attributes, but not God's essence, and one which is human in that they represent the physical qualities of common man, and have human limitations. Bahá'u'lláh wrote that God will never manifest his essence into the world.

In Bahá'u'lláh's writings he writes in many styles including cases were he speaks as if he was instructed by God to bring a message; in other cases he writes as though he is speaking as God directly. In his writings, Bahá'u'lláh's style changes frequently, where in some cases he is speaking as the messenger of God, and then it changes to as if he were speaking as God.

Some have taken Bahá'u'lláh's style of writings to conclude that Bahá'u'lláh had claimed divinity
Divinity
Divinity and divine are broadly applied but loosely defined terms, used variously within different faiths and belief systems — and even by different individuals within a given faith — to refer to some transcendent or transcendental power or deity, or its attributes or manifestations in...

. Bahá'u'lláh, however, states himself that the essence of God will never descend into the human world. Statements where Bahá'u'lláh speaks with the voice of God are meant that he is not actually God, but that he is speaking with the attributes of God.

Bahá'u'lláh declared, as the most recent Manifestation of God, that he was the "Promised One" of all religions, fulfilling the messianic
Messiah
A messiah is a redeemer figure expected or foretold in one form or another by a religion. Slightly more widely, a messiah is any redeemer figure. Messianic beliefs or theories generally relate to eschatological improvement of the state of humanity or the world, in other words the World to...

 prophecies found in world religions. He stated that his claims to being several messiahs converging in one person were the symbolic, rather than literal, fulfilment of the messianic and eschatological
Eschatology
Eschatology is a part of theology, philosophy, and futurology concerned with what are believed to be the final events in history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity, commonly referred to as the end of the world or the World to Come...

 prophecies found in the literature of the major religions. Bahá'u'lláh's eschatological claims constitute six distinctive messianic identifications: from Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

, the incarnation of the "Everlasting Father" from the Yuletide prophecy of Isaiah 9:6, the "Lord of Hosts"; from Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, the "Spirit of Truth" or Comforter predicted by Jesus in his farewell discourse of John 14-17 and the return of Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

 "in the glory of the Father"; from Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of prophet Zoroaster and was formerly among the world's largest religions. It was probably founded some time before the 6th century BCE in Greater Iran.In Zoroastrianism, the Creator Ahura Mazda is all good, and no evil...

, the return of Shah Bahram Varjavand, a Zoroastrian messiah predicted in various late Pahlavi
Parthian language
The Parthian language, also known as Arsacid Pahlavi and Pahlavanik, is a now-extinct ancient Northwestern Iranian language spoken in Parthia, a region of northeastern ancient Persia during the rule of the Parthian empire....

 texts; from Shi'a Islam
Shi'a Islam
Shia Islam is the second largest denomination of Islam. The followers of Shia Islam are called Shi'ites or Shias. "Shia" is the short form of the historic phrase Shīʻatu ʻAlī , meaning "followers of Ali", "faction of Ali", or "party of Ali".Like other schools of thought in Islam, Shia Islam is...

 the return of the Third Imam, Imam Husayn
Husayn ibn Ali
Hussein ibn ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib ‎ was the son of ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib and Fātimah Zahrā...

; from Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

, the return of Jesus (Isa
Islamic view of Jesus
In Islam, Jesus is considered to be a Messenger of God and the Masih who was sent to guide the Children of Israel with a new scripture, the Injīl or Gospel. The belief in Jesus is required in Islam, and a requirement of being a Muslim. The Qur'an mentions Jesus twenty-five times, more often, by...

); and from Bábism
Bábism
The Babi Faith is a religious movement that flourished in Persia from 1844 to 1852, then lingered on in exile in the Ottoman Empire as well as underground. Its founder was Siyyid `Alí Muhammad Shirazi, who took the title Báb—meaning "Gate"—from a Shi'a theological term...

, He whom God shall make manifest
He whom God shall make manifest
He whom God shall make manifest is a messianic figure in the religion of Babism. The messianic figure was repeatedly mentioned by the Báb, the founder of Babism, in his book, the Bayán. The Báb described the messianic figure as the origin of all divine attributes, and stated that his command was...

.

While Bahá'u'lláh did not himself directly claim to be either the Hindu
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 or Buddhist
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 messiah, he did so in principle through his writings. Later, `Abdu'l-Bahá stated that Bahá'u'lláh was the Kalki avatar, who in the classical Hindu Vaishnavas
Vaishnavism
Vaishnavism is a tradition of Hinduism, distinguished from other schools by its worship of Vishnu, or his associated Avatars such as Rama and Krishna, as the original and supreme God....

 tradition is the tenth and final Avatar
Avatar
In Hinduism, an avatar is a deliberate descent of a deity to earth, or a descent of the Supreme Being and is mostly translated into English as "incarnation," but more accurately as "appearance" or "manifestation"....

 (great incarnation) of Vishnu
Vishnu
Vishnu is the Supreme god in the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism. Smarta followers of Adi Shankara, among others, venerate Vishnu as one of the five primary forms of God....

 who will come to end The Age of Darkness and Destruction
Kali Yuga
Kali Yuga is the last of the four stages that the world goes through as part of the cycle of yugas described in the Indian scriptures. The other ages are Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga and Dvapara Yuga...

. Bahá'ís also believe that Bahá'u'lláh is the fulfilment of the prophecy of appearance of the Maitreya
Maitreya
Maitreya , Metteyya , or Jampa , is foretold as a future Buddha of this world in Buddhist eschatology. In some Buddhist literature, such as the Amitabha Sutra and the Lotus Sutra, he or she is referred to as Ajita Bodhisattva.Maitreya is a bodhisattva who in the Buddhist tradition is to appear on...

 Buddha, who is a future Buddha who will eventually appear on earth, achieve complete enlightenment, and teach the pure Dharma. Bahá'ís believe that the prophecy that Maitreya will usher in a new society of tolerance and love has been fulfilled by Bahá'u'lláh's teachings on world peace. Bahá'u'lláh is believed to be a descendant of a long line of kings in Persia through Yazdgerd III
Yazdgerd III
Yazdegerd III or Yazdgerd III was the twenty-ninth and last king of the Sassanid dynasty of Iran and a grandson of Khosrau II . His father was Shahryar, whose mother was Miriam, the daughter of the Byzantine Emperor Maurice...

, the last monarch of the Sasanian Dynasty
Sassanid Empire
The Sassanid Empire , known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr and Ērān in Middle Persian and resulting in the New Persian terms Iranshahr and Iran , was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, ruled by the Sasanian Dynasty from 224 to 651...

; he also asserted to be a descendant of Abraham
Abraham
Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

 through his third wife Keturah
Keturah
According to the Hebrew Bible, Keturah or Ketura was the woman whom Abraham, the patriarch of the Israelites, married after the death of his wife, Sarah. Keturah bore Abraham six sons, Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah....

.

Succession


After Bahá'u'lláh died on 29 May 1892, the Will and Testament of Bahá'u'lláh named `Abdu'l-Bahá as Centre of the Covenant
Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh
Covenant in the Bahá'í Faith refers to two separate binding agreements between God and man. A Covenant in the religious sense is a binding agreement made between God and man wherein a certain behaviour is required of man and in return God guarantees certain blessings...

, successor and interpreter of Bahá'u'lláh's writings. This appointment given to `Abdu'l-Bahá
`Abdu'l-Bahá
‘Abdu’l-Bahá , born ‘Abbás Effendí, was the eldest son of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. In 1892, `Abdu'l-Bahá was appointed in his father's will to be his successor and head of the Bahá'í Faith. `Abdu'l-Bahá was born in Tehran to an aristocratic family of the realm...

 was a cause of jealousy within Bahá'u'lláh's family
Bahá'u'lláh's family
Bahá'u'lláh was the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. He was born in 1817 to Khadíjih Khánum and Mírzá Buzurg of Nur , a Persian nobleman, and went on to be a leader in the Bábí movement, and then established the Bahá'í Faith in 1863...

. Bahá'u'lláh also stated that another one of his sons {{transl
Mírzá Muhammad `Alí
Mírzá Muhammad `Alí was one of the sons of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. He was born from his father's second wife, Fatimih Khanum, whom Bahá'u'lláh married in Tehran in 1849, and she was later known as Mahd-i-'Ulya....

 was subordinate and second in rank after `Abdu'l-Bahá. `Abdu'l-Bahá's appointment as Bahá'u'lláh's successors was readily accepted by almost all Bahá'ís, as the appointment was written and unambiguous, and `Abdu'l-Bahá had already proved himself a capable and devoted assistant. {{transl|Bahai|Mírzá Muḥammad `Alí}}, however, insisted that `Abdu'l-Bahá was exceeding his powers, and started a rebellion, at first covert, and then public to discredit `Abdu'l-Bahá. {{transl|Bahai|Mírzá Muḥammad `Alí}}'s actions, however, were rejected by the majority of the Bahá'ís. Due to this conflict, `Abdu'l-Bahá later ex-communicated him as a covenant-breaker
Covenant-breaker
A Covenant-breaker or the act of Covenant-breaking is a term used by Bahá'ís to refer to a particular form of heresy. Being declared a Covenant-breaker by the head of the Faith — which since 1963 refers to the elected nine-member Universal House of Justice, the governing body of the Bahá'ís....

. The conflict was not long lived; after being alienated by the Bahá'í community, Muhammad Ali died in 1937 with only a handful of followers.

Works


{{Main|List of writings of Bahá'u'lláh}}
Bahá'u'lláh wrote many books, tablets
Tablet (religious)
A tablet, in the religious context, is a term traditionally used for religious texts.Jews and Christians believe that Moses brought the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai in the form of two stone tablets. According to the Book of Exodus, God delivered the tablets twice, the first set having been...

 and prayers, of which only a fraction has been translated into English until now. There have been 15,000 works written by him identified so far; many of these are in the form of short letters, or tablets, to Bahá'ís. The total volume of his works are more than 70 times the size of the Qur'an and more than 15 times the size of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.

The books and letters written by Bahá'u'lláh cover religious doctrine, the proclamation of his claims, social and moral teachings as well as Bahá'í laws; he also wrote many prayers. Jináb-i-Fádil-i-Mázindarání, analyzing Baha'u'llah's writings, states that he wrote in the different styles or categories including the interpretation of religious scripture, the enunciation of laws and ordinances, mystical writings, writings about government and world order, including letters to the kings and rulers of the world, writings about knowledge, philosophy, medicine, and alchemy, writings calling for education, good character and virtues, and writing about social teachings. All of his works are considered by Bahá'ís to be revelation
Revelation
In religion and theology, revelation is the revealing or disclosing, through active or passive communication with a supernatural or a divine entity...

, even those that were written before his announcement of his prophetic claim. Some of his better known works that have been translated into English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 include Gleanings
Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh
Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh is a compilation of selected tablets and extracts from tablets by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith...

, the Hidden Words
Hidden Words
Kalimát-i-Maknúnih or The Hidden Words is a book written in Baghdad around 1857 by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith...

, the Kitáb-i-Aqdas
Kitáb-i-Aqdas
The Kitáb-i-Aqdas is a central book of the Bahá'í Faith written by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the religion. The work was written in Arabic under the Arabic title , but it is commonly referred to by its Persian title, Kitáb-i-Aqdas , which was given to the work by Bahá'u'lláh himself...

 and the Kitáb-i-Íqán
Kitáb-i-Íqán
The Kitáb-i-Íqán is one of many books held sacred by followers of the Bahá'í Faith; it is their primary theological work. One Bahá'í scholar states that it can be regarded as the "most influential Koran commentary in Persian outside the Muslim world," because of its international audience. It is...

.

Photographs and imagery



There are two known photographs of Bahá'u'lláh. This photo was taken for passport purposes while he was in Adrianople (present day Edirne
Edirne
Edirne is a city in Eastern Thrace, the northwestern part of Turkey, close to the borders with Greece and Bulgaria. Edirne served as the capital city of the Ottoman Empire from 1365 to 1453, before Constantinople became the empire's new capital. At present, Edirne is the capital of the Edirne...

) and is reproduced in William Miller
William McElwee Miller
William McElwee Miller was an American missionary to Persia, and author of several books.Born in Middlesboro, Kentucky, Miller received a M.A. in 1913 from Washington and Lee University, and a B.D. in 1919 from Princeton Theological Seminary...

's book on the Bahá'í Faith. Copies of both pictures are at the Bahá'í World Centre
Bahá'í World Centre
The Bahá'í World Centre is the name given to the spiritual and administrative centre of the Bahá'í Faith. The World Centre consists of the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh near Acre, Israel, the Shrine of the Báb and its gardens on Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel, and various other buildings in the area...

, and one is on display in the International Archives building, where the Bahá'ís view it as part of an organized pilgrimage
Pilgrimage
A pilgrimage is a journey or search of great moral or spiritual significance. Typically, it is a journey to a shrine or other location of importance to a person's beliefs and faith...

. Outside of this experience Bahá'ís prefer not to view this photo in public, or even to display it in their private homes, and Bahá'í institutions have requested the press not to publish the image in the media.

Bahá'u'lláh's image is not, itself, offensive to Bahá'ís. However, Bahá'ís are expected to treat the image of any Manifestation of God
Manifestation of God
The Manifestation of God is a concept in the Bahá'í Faith that refers to what are commonly called prophets. The Manifestations of God are a series of personages who reflect the attributes of the divine into the human world for the progress and advancement of human morals and civilization...

 with extreme reverence. According to this practice, they avoid depictions of Jesus or of Muhammad
Depictions of Muhammad
The permissibility of depictions of Muhammad, the founder of Islam, has long been a concern in the history of Islam. Oral and written descriptions are readily accepted by all traditions of Islam, but there is disagreement about visual depictions....

, and refrain from portraying any of them in plays
Play (theatre)
A play is a form of literature written by a playwright, usually consisting of scripted dialogue between characters, intended for theatrical performance rather than just reading. There are rare dramatists, notably George Bernard Shaw, who have had little preference whether their plays were performed...

 and drama
Drama
Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance. The term comes from a Greek word meaning "action" , which is derived from "to do","to act" . The enactment of drama in theatre, performed by actors on a stage before an audience, presupposes collaborative modes of production and a...

. For example, copies of the photographs are displayed on highly significant occasions, such as six conferences held in October 1967 commemorating the centenary of Bahá'u'lláh's writing of the Suriy-i-Mulúk (Tablet to the Kings), which Shoghi Effendi
Shoghi Effendi
Shoghí Effendí Rabbání , better known as Shoghi Effendi, was the Guardian and appointed head of the Bahá'í Faith from 1921 until his death in 1957...

 describes as "the most momentous Tablet revealed by Bahá'u'lláh". After a meeting in Adrianople, the Hands of the Cause
Hands of the Cause
The Hands of the Cause of God, Hands of the Cause, or Hands were a select group of Bahá'ís, appointed for life, whose main function was to propagate and protect the Bahá'í Faith...

 travelled to the conferences, 'each bearing the precious trust of a photograph of the Blessed Beauty, which it will be the privilege of those attending the Conferences to view.'

The official Bahá'í position on displaying the photograph of Bahá'u'lláh is:
"There is no objection that the believers look at the picture of Bahá'u'lláh, but they should do so with the utmost reverence, and should also not allow that it be exposed openly to the public, even in their private homes."
(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, 6 December 1939)


While the above passage clarifies that it is considered disrespectful to display his photograph to the public, regarding postings on other websites the Bahá'í World Centre
Bahá'í World Centre
The Bahá'í World Centre is the name given to the spiritual and administrative centre of the Bahá'í Faith. The World Centre consists of the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh near Acre, Israel, the Shrine of the Báb and its gardens on Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel, and various other buildings in the area...

 has written:
"For Bahá'ís, the photograph of Bahá'u'lláh is very precious and it should not only be viewed but also handled with due reverence and respect, which is not the case here [on a non-Bahá'í web site]. Thus, it is indeed disturbing to Bahá'ís to have the image of Bahá'u'lláh treated in such a disrespectful way. However, as the creator of the site is not a Bahá'í, there is little, if anything, that can be done to address this matter. We hope these comments have been of assistance."
(Office for Public Information, 4 September 1999, Photo of Bahá'u'lláh on Web Site)

External links


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{{Use dmy dates|date=September 2010}}
{{Persondata
|NAME=Bahá'u'lláh
|ALTERNATIVE NAMES= {{transl|Bahai|Mírzá Ḥusayn-`Alí Núrí}} (real name), {{lang|ar|بهاء الله‎}} {{Ar}}
|SHORT DESCRIPTION=Founder of the Bahá'í Faith
|DATE OF BIRTH=12 November 1817
|PLACE OF BIRTH=Tehran
Tehran
Tehran , sometimes spelled Teheran, is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With an estimated population of 8,429,807; it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, one of the largest cities in Western Asia, and is the world's 19th largest city.In the 20th century, Tehran was subject to...

, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...


|DATE OF DEATH=29 May 1892
|PLACE OF DEATH=Acre, Israel
Acre, Israel
Acre , is a city in the Western Galilee region of northern Israel at the northern extremity of Haifa Bay. Acre is one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the country....


}}
{{DEFAULTSORT:Bahaullah}}