Descriptions of Bahá'u'lláh and His RevelationJust as the other Messengers from God were persecuted, Bahá'u'lláh was imprisoned for twenty-four years in Akka, Palestine, then a Turkish penal colony. This period of His incarceration began in 1868. In 1868 Sultán `Abdu'-l`Azíz had Bahá'u'lláh sent to the fortress of St. Jean d'Acre (`Akká) in Ottoman Syria to live out the rest of his life there as a prisoner. By then, He had already been a prisoner for fifteen years — an imprisonment which began in the "Black Pit" dungeon, outside Tihran, Persia (Tehran, Iran, today). His confinement continued throughout His thirty-nine year exile from Persia. He endured successive imprisonments in Baghdad, Constantinople, Adrianople and finally in Akka. The far window in the upper right of the prison pictured above, is that of the cell occupied by Bahá'u'lláh, in which He was kept for two years, two months and five days. In the words of Shoghi Effendi, "In the course of His banishment, and particularly in Adrianople and Akka, He formulated the laws and ordinances of His Dispensation, expounded, in over a hundred volumes, the principles of His Faith, proclaimed His Message to the kings and rulers of both the East and the West, both Christian and Muslim, addressed the Pope, the Caliph of Islam, the Chief Magistrates of the Republics of the American continent, the entire Christian sacerdotal order, the leaders of Shi'ih and Sunni Islam, and the high priests of the Zoroastrian* religion. In these writings He proclaimed His Revelation, summoned those whom He addressed to heed His call and espouse His Faith, warned them of the consequences of their refusal, and denounced, in some cases, their arrogance and tyranny. . ." Click here >> to read a short history of His life.
"We spend our lives trying to unlock the mystery of the universe, but there
was a Turkish prisoner, Bahá'u'lláh, in Akka, Palestine, who had the key. . .
Bahá'u'lláh's teachings now present us with the highest and purest form of religious teaching. . .
Very profound, I know of no other so profound."
Leo Tolstoy — 1908
(The Bahá'i World, vol. 13, p. 818 also Tolstoy and the Bahá'i Faith, p. 40)
(The above link is a brief historical introduction to Bahá’u’lláh's life, produced by the Universal House of Justice.)
For more printer-friendly formats click here>> http://www.avalon.net/~lael/bahaullah.htm and here>>
The Prison, in Akka (Akko or Acre), Israel.
In the late 1860s, Baha'i pilgrims walked hundreds of kilometers from Persia through treacherous deserts to this ancient Mediterranean city in what is now northern Israel.
Their goal was to visit Baha'u'llah, the Founder of their Faith, Who was being held in a prison citadel after His banishment to Acre by the Ottoman authorities.
For more of this story, see http://news.bahai.org/story.cfm?storyid=336
"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.... 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."
( * Prof. Edward Granville Browne, Cambridge University scholar, recalling his meeting with Bahá'u'lláh in 1891.
The famed Cambridge orientalist was the only Westerner to meet Bahá'u'lláh and leave a detailed account.)
" ...Thou hast come to see a prisoner and an exile.... We desire but the good of the world and happiness of the nations; yet they deem us a stirrer up of strife and sedition worthy of bondage and banishment.... That all nations should become one in faith and all men as brothers; that the bonds of affection and unity between the sons of men should be strengthened; that diversity of religion should cease, and differences of race be annulled — what harm is there in this?... Yet so it shall be; these fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the 'Most Great Peace' shall come.... Is not this that which Christ foretold?... Yet do we see your kings and rulers lavishing their treasures more freely on means for the destruction of the human race than on that which would conduce to the happiness of mankind.... These strifes and this bloodshed and discord must cease, and all men be as one kindred and one family.... Let not a man glory in this, that he loves his country; let him rather glory in this, that he loves his kind...."
(words spoken by Bahá'u'lláh, recorded by Professor Edward Granville Browne in 1891)
" . . the Promised One of all the world's peoples hath now been made manifest. For each and every people, and every religion, await a Promised One, and Baha'u'llah is that One Who is awaited by all; and therefore the Cause of Baha'u'llah will bring about the oneness of mankind, and the tabernacle of unity will be upraised on the heights of the world, and the banners of the universality of all humankind will be unfurled on the peaks of the earth."
(Selections from the Writings of `Abdu'l-Baha, Page: 101)
The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh
(Proclamations from His Writings)
"Verily I say, this is the Day in which mankind can behold the Face, and hear the Voice, of the Promised One. The Call of God hath been raised, and the light of His countenance hath been lifted up upon men. It behoveth every man to blot out the trace of every idle word from the tablet of his heart, and to gaze, with an open and unbiased mind, on the signs of His Revelation, the proofs of His Mission, and the tokens of His glory.
Great indeed is this Day! The allusions made to it in all the sacred Scriptures as the Day of God attest its greatness. The soul of every Prophet of God, of every Divine Messenger, hath thirsted for this wondrous Day. All the divers kindreds of the earth have, likewise, yearned to attain it." (Gleanings, Page: 10-11)
"The Revelation which, from time immemorial, hath been acclaimed as the Purpose and Promise of all the Prophets of God, and the most cherished Desire of His Messengers, hath now, by virtue of the pervasive Will of the Almighty and at His irresistible bidding, been revealed unto men. The advent of such a Revelation hath been heralded in all the sacred Scriptures. Behold how, notwithstanding such an announcement, mankind hath strayed from its path and shut out itself from its glory.
Say: O ye lovers of the One true God! Strive, that ye may truly recognize and know Him, and observe befittingly His precepts. This is a Revelation, under which, if a man shed for its sake one drop of blood, myriads of oceans will be his recompense. Take heed, O friends, that ye forfeit not so inestimable a benefit, or disregard its transcendent station. Consider the multitude of lives that have been, and are still being, sacrificed in a world deluded by a mere phantom which the vain imaginations of its peoples have conceived. Render thanks unto God, inasmuch as ye have attained unto your heart's Desire, and been united to Him Who is the Promise of all nations. Guard ye, with the aid of the one true God - exalted be His glory - the integrity of the station which ye have attained, and cleave to that which shall promote His Cause. He, verily, enjoineth on you what is right and conducive to the exaltation of man's station. Glorified be the All-Merciful, the Revealer of this wondrous Tablet.
This is the Day in which God's most excellent favors have been poured out upon men, the Day in which His most mighty grace hath been infused into all created things. It is incumbent upon all the peoples of the world to reconcile their differences, and, with perfect unity and peace, abide beneath the shadow of the Tree of His care and loving-kindness. It behoveth them to cleave to whatsoever will, in this Day, be conducive to the exaltation of their stations, and to the promotion of their best interests.... Soon will the present-day order be rolled up, and a new one spread out in its stead. Verily, thy Lord speaketh the truth, and is the Knower of things unseen.
This is the Day whereon the Ocean of God's mercy hath been manifested unto men, the Day in which the Day Star of His loving-kindness hath shed its radiance upon them, the Day in which the clouds of His bountiful favor have overshadowed the whole of mankind. Now is the time to cheer and refresh the down-cast through the invigorating breeze of love and fellowship, and the living waters of friendliness and charity."(Gleanings. . . . , Pages: 5-7)"The time foreordained unto the peoples and kindreds of the earth is now come. The promises of God, as recorded in the holy Scriptures, have all been fulfilled. Out of Zion hath gone forth the Law of God, and Jerusalem, and the hills and land thereof, are filled with the glory of His Revelation. Happy is the man that pondereth in his heart that which hath been revealed in the Books of God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting. Meditate upon this, O ye beloved of God, and let your ears be attentive unto His Word, so that ye may, by His grace and mercy, drink your fill from the crystal waters of constancy, and become as steadfast and immovable as the mountain in His Cause.
. . . This is the Day which the Pen of the Most High hath glorified in all the holy Scriptures. There is no verse in them that doth not declare the glory of His holy Name, and no Book that doth not testify unto the loftiness of this most exalted theme. Were We to make mention of all that hath been revealed in these heavenly Books and holy Scriptures concerning this Revelation, this Tablet would assume impossible dimensions. It is incumbent in this Day, upon every man to place his whole trust in the manifold bounties of God, and arise to disseminate, with the utmost wisdom, the verities of His Cause. Then, and only then, will the whole earth be enveloped with the morning light of His Revelation." (Gleanings, Pages: 12-14)
"O kings of the earth! He Who is the sovereign Lord of all is come. The kingdom is God's, the omnipotent Protector, the Self-Subsisting. Worship none but God, and, with radiant hearts, lift up your faces unto your Lord, the Lord of all names. This is a Revelation to which whatever ye possess can never be compared, could ye but know it."
"Followers of the Gospel," Baha'u'llah addressing the whole of Christendom exclaims, "behold the gates of heaven are flung open. He that had ascended unto it is now come. Give ear to His voice calling aloud over land and sea, announcing to all mankind the advent of this Revelation - a Revelation through the agency of which the Tongue of Grandeur is now proclaiming: `Lo, the sacred Pledge hath been fulfilled, for He, the Promised One, is come!'" "The voice of the Son of Man is calling aloud from the sacred vale: `Here am I, here am I, O God my God!' ... whilst from the Burning Bush breaketh forth the cry: `Lo, the Desire of the world is made manifest in His transcendent glory!'
The Father hath come. That which ye were promised in the Kingdom of God is fulfilled. This is the Word which the Son veiled when He said to those around Him that at that time they could not bear it... Verily the Spirit of Truth is come to guide you unto all truth... He is the One Who glorified the Son and exalted His Cause..." "The Comforter Whose advent all the scriptures have promised is now come that He may reveal unto you all knowledge and wisdom. Seek Him over the entire surface of the earth, haply ye may find Him." (taken from World Order of Baha'u'llah, Pages: 104-105)
(For the full text from which this is taken, see Baha'u'llah's "Tablet to the Christians.")
"The Ancient Beauty hath consented to be bound with chains that mankind may be released from its bondage, and hath accepted to be made a prisoner within this most mighty Stronghold that the whole world may attain unto true liberty. He hath drained to its dregs the cup of sorrow, that all the peoples of the earth may attain unto abiding joy, and be filled with gladness. This is of the mercy of your Lord, the Compassionate, the Most Merciful. We have accepted to be abased, O believers in the Unity of God, that ye may be exalted, and have suffered manifold afflictions, that ye might prosper and flourish. He Who hath come to build anew the whole world, behold, how they that have joined partners with God have forced Him to dwell within the most desolate of cities!" (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, Pages: 99-100)
"He is God, exalted is He, the Lord of Majesty and Power.
A praise which is exalted above every mention or description beseemeth the Adored One, the Possessor of all things visible and invisible, Who hath enabled the Primal Point to reveal countless Books and Epistles and Who, through the potency of His sublime Word, hath called into being the entire creation, whether of the former or more recent generations. Moreover He hath in every age and cycle, in conformity with His transcendent wisdom, sent forth a divine Messenger to revive the dispirited and despondent souls with the living waters of His utterance, One Who is indeed the Expounder, the true Interpreter, inasmuch as man is unable to comprehend that which hath streamed forth from the Pen of Glory and is recorded in His heavenly Books. Men at all times and under all conditions stand in need of one to exhort them, guide them and to instruct and teach them. Therefore He hath sent forth His Messengers, His Prophets and chosen ones that they might acquaint the people with the divine purpose underlying the revelation of Books and the raising up of Messengers, and that everyone may become aware of the trust of God which is latent in the reality of every soul." (Baha'u'llah: Tablets of Baha'u'llah, Page: 161)
"He who is the Unconditioned is come, in the clouds of light, that He may quicken all created things with the breezes of His Name, the Most Merciful, and unify the world, and gather all men around this Table which hath been sent down from heaven." (Baha'u'llah: Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, Page: 46)
"Hear Me, ye mortal birds! In the Rose Garden of changeless splendor a Flower hath begun to bloom, compared to which every other flower is but a thorn, and before the brightness of Whose glory the very essence of beauty must pale and wither. Arise, therefore, and, with the whole enthusiasm of your hearts, with all the eagerness of your souls, the full fervor of your will, and the concentrated efforts of your entire being, strive to attain the paradise of His presence, and endeavor to inhale the fragrance of the incorruptible Flower, to breathe the sweet savors of holiness, and to obtain a portion of this perfume of celestial glory. Whoso followeth this counsel will break his chains asunder, will taste the abandonment of enraptured love, will attain unto his heart's desire, and will surrender his soul into the hands of his Beloved. Bursting through his cage, he will, even as the bird of the spirit, wing his flight to his holy and everlasting nest.
Night hath succeeded day, and day hath succeeded night, and the hours and moments of your lives have come and gone, and yet none of you hath, for one instant, consented to detach himself from that which perisheth. Bestir yourselves, that the brief moments that are still yours may not be dissipated and lost. Even as the swiftness of lightning your days shall pass, and your bodies shall be laid to rest beneath a canopy of dust. What can ye then achieve? How can ye atone for your past failure?
The everlasting Candle shineth in its naked glory. Behold how it hath consumed every mortal veil. O ye moth-like lovers of His light! Brave every danger, and consecrate your souls to its consuming flame. O ye that thirst after Him! Strip yourselves of every earthly affection, and hasten to embrace your Beloved. With a zest that none can equal make haste to attain unto Him. The Flower, thus far hidden from the sight of men, is unveiled to your eyes. In the open radiance of His glory He standeth before you. His voice summoneth all the holy and sanctified beings to come and be united with Him. Happy is he that turneth thereunto; well is it with him that hath attained, and gazed on the light of so wondrous a countenance."(Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, Pages: 320-322)
Baha'i gardens in Haifa, near Akka, Israel
"The Almighty ... hath transformed this Prison-House into the Most Exalted Paradise, the Heaven of Heavens."
(Bahá'u'lláh quoted by Shoghi Effendi in God Passes By, Page: 196)
"Great is thy blessedness, O Akka, in that God hath made thee the dayspring of His Most Sweet Voice, and the dawn of His most mighty signs. (Baha'u'llah: Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, Page: 79)
* "In 1891 Professor E. G. Browne of Cambridge University, England, wrote a book detailing his visit to Akka. This was followed by a second volume in which he quoted extracts from Baha'u'llah's Epistles to the kings and rulers." (`Abdu'l-Baha: Promulgation of Universal Peace, Page: 398)
To read the actual texts of these Epistles to the kings and rulers, see Proclamations of Baha'u'llah.
Here is a link to some Biblically-oriented proofs to support Baha'u'llah's claim to have the Divine authority to bring a new Revelation, and to interpret and fulfill the Revelations of the past: PROOFS (in PowerPoint format)
"You hold in your organization the key that will settle all of our difficulties, real and imaginary."
(George Washington Carver, speaking of the Bahá'í religious community:)
To view some of Baha'u'llah's Writings (click on the following):
The Hidden Words of Baha'u'llah ("This that which hath descended from the realm of glory... revealed unto the Prophets of old... clothed in the garment of brevity....")
The Seven Valleys (A mystical description of the journey or stages in the development of the soul in its approach to God.)
The Book of Certitude (demonstrates the truth of this Faith, explaining, in plain language, the metaphors and symbolism used to "seal" or hide the meanings in the prophesies and Holy Books of the past.)
See an index containing references to some of Baha'u'llah's writings.
Selections from Baha'i Writings and the Bible explaining the "station" of the Manifestation of God.
Comparative explanations of the "Station" of Christ in the Bible and the Baha'i Writings. Also an explanation of a Prophecy of Christ (John 16:12-13), which some Christians miss as a reference to the "Second Coming," but is identified by Baha'u'llah as a significant reference to Himself, as a fulfillment of Christ's "return." The divergent statements of Christ regarding his human and divine conditions are also explained in the Baha'i Writings.
Greg Kagira-Watson's message for Christians and an Open Letter to a Christian TV evangelist.
Additional commentary and links to Baha'u'llah's teachings on various subjects.
The "Return" spoken of by the Prophets.
Christian & Biblical prophesy and Messianic expectation pointing to Baha'u'llah.
Millennial Zeal in anticipation of the Promised One.
The Promise of World Peace.
Tributes from political leaders, royalty and leaders of thought.
Baha'i Pilgrimage to the Holy Land and a "virtual" tour. Other photos of the Baha'i World Center in Israel.
View of the Mediteranean Sea wall near the Most Great Prison with a description of the Prison.
NEW views of the Prison: This holy place has been restored and is open again to pilgrims. ACRE, Israel -- In the late 1860s, Baha'i pilgrims walked hundreds of kilometers from Persia through treacherous deserts to this ancient Mediterranean city in what is now northern Israel. Their goal was to visit Baha'u'llah, the Founder of their Faith, Who was being held in a prison citadel after His banishment to Acre by the Ottoman authorities. For more of this story, see http://news.bahai.org/story.cfm?storyid=336 For slide shows accompanying the story see
http://news.bahai.org/slideshows/prison/history.html and http://news.bahai.org/slideshows/prison/restored.html
What is the Bahá'í Faith? (Introductory web site explains)
The world's second-most widespread religion (statistics)
The Baha'i Houses of Worship-- "Dawning Place of the Mention of God."
Modern-day persecutions of the Baha'is in Iran:
(1) General links <click here and here> General links
(2) Teenage girls executed for teaching children's classes
(3)1984U.N. Human Rights Commission condemns persecution of Baha'is in Iran.
(4) Amnesty International - Report - Baha'i still facing death sentence for religious belief in 1998.
(5) The Mahrami Case - The facts More links on this case.
(6) July 21st, 1998: Bahá'í Executed in Iran. Voice of America editorial
(7) Press release from U.S. Spiritual Assembly, U.S. Senate, etc. linked here. (<< link outdated)
(8) University of Washington student escapes persecution in Iran.
(9) "Revolution brings persecution for minority religions" -- report in the University of Washington newpaper.
(10) September 1998, the Iranian government's Ministry of Information authorized its agents to raid over 500 Baha'i homes and to seize information and equipment used in the Open University or Institute for Higher Learning, which was formed by the Baha'is of Iran to take the place of the education they are denied due to their religious affiliation. Teachers arrested.
(11) History of persecutions (between 1921 & 1999) Also: Some US Congressional and UN resolutions to help protect the Baha'is in Iran.
(12) Another execution in 1998.
2004: Baha'is decry continual destruction of Baha'i holy places as cultural cleansing in Iran.
Links to other web sites:
* link to Zoroastrian religion (for readers not familiar with it)
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