Posted by: samandal | September 21, 2009

Bahá’u’lláh, I

International Day of Peace

Bahá’u’lláh (Arabic, Splendor of God) is the religious title of Mírzá Husayn-‘Alí Núrí (1817–92), prophet-founder of the Bahá’í Faith.

Bahá’u’lláh was born on 12 November 1817 in Tihrán, the scion of Mírzá ‘Abbás, an aristocrat from Núr in Mázandarán, whose family traced its ancestry back to the last Sassanian king of Iran, Yazdigird III. He was a descendant of the prophets Ibráhím (through his third wife, Katurah) and Zartosht. As a youth he showed strong mystical and pietistic tendencies, and in 1844 converted to Bábism. He married his first wife, Ásíyih, in 1835, and his second wife, Fátimih, in 1849. All three of his eldest children (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahiyyih Khánum, Mírzá Mihdí) were born in Tihrán.

The most renowned of the Bábís, Bahá’u’lláh was prominent in the faith. He was the main figure in the assembly of Badasht, a three-week conference of eighty-one Bábís held in 1848, where he assumed the title Bahá. Bahá’u’lláh was arrested after he tried to join the Bábís at Tabarsí, and taken to Ámul, where he was bastinadoed. After the defeat of the Bábís at Fort Tabarsí, the Báb then appointed Mírzá Yahyá Subh-i-Azal, younger half-brother of Bahá’u’lláh, as his interlocutor on behalf of the movement, a stratagem to shield and divert attention away from Bahá’u’lláh.

“I have pledged Myself not to forgive any man’s injustice.”                       (Bahá’u’lláh: Persian Hidden Word, number 64)

Mírzá Taqí Khán Amír Kabír, the first of Násiru’d-dín Sháh’s prime ministers, induced Bahá’u’lláh to retire to the Shí‘í shrines in the Iraqi city of Karbalá in June 1851. After his fall from authority, Bahá’u’lláh returned to Iran at the invitation of Amír Kabír’s replacement, Mírzá Áqá Khán Núrí. After the abortive attempt in August 1852 on the life of Násiru’d-dín Sháh by the Bábí leader Mullá Shaykh ‘Alí Turshízí, all prominent Bábís, chief among them Bahá’u’lláh, who lived with the prime minister’s brother at the time, were arrested.

Bahá’u’lláh was imprisoned in the underground cellars of Síyáh-Chál (Persian, Black Pit, a disused cistern), his feet in stocks, his neck weighed down with the notorious chains of Qara-Guhar (51 kg in weight) and Salásil. It was here that he experienced the series of visions that marked the commencement of his mission. In one of his visions, he beheld a heavenly maiden (húrí beheshtí) who announced his mission to the entire creation. This heralded the birth of the Bahá’í revelation: a new conception of the relationship between humankind and the numinous.