[Photo: The dome of the Bahá’í House of Worship in Wilmette, a northern suburb of Chicago, with Esm Azam (Greatest Name) symbol ]
The Baha’is of Silicon Valley will celebrate the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh at 6:30pm, on Wednesday, November 12, at the Quinlan Center, in the city of Cupertino.The event is open to all.
Bahá’u’lláh, which means the glory of God in Arabic, was born Mirza Husayn Ali on the second day of the month of Muharram 1233 A.H. (November 12th, 1817), into one of Persia’s most noble and privileged families.He was the eldest son of Mírzá Abbás of Núr, a vazír (minister) in the court of Mohammad Shah Qajar.
In His early life He had a relatively limited education (which was normal for the class from which He came). He learned horsemanship (He was known as a fine horseman), swordsmanship, poetry and calligraphy (He was also renowned as an excellent poet and calligrapher).
In 1844, just 3 months after the Báb’s declaration, Bahá’u’lláh recognised the claims of the Báb and at the age of 27 became His follower.
Two years after the Báb’s death, Bahá’u’lláh was imprisoned in Tehran. Bahá’u’lláh was jailed underground in a prison with a very significant name: the Siyáh-Chál, or Black Pit. It had previously been a reservoir for the public bath.
His experiences in this dreadful place have close parallels with the descendent of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove on Jesus, the appearance of the Angel Gabriel to Muhammad in the cave on Mount Hira, and the enlightenment of the Buddha under the Bo tree.
The Bábis were often tortured and killed but the authorities were reluctant to kill Bahá’u’lláh.The prime minister of Persia decided that it was preferable for Bahá’u’lláh to be banished from the state and He was released from prison in 1853. He was stripped of His wealth and possessions and travelled to Baghdad with His wife.
Bahá’u’lláh and His family arrived in Baghdad, Iraq, in 1853 where He stayed for 10 years.Bahá’u’lláh wrote 3 important books in Baghdad: Kalimat Maknooneh (Hidden Words), Kitab-i-Iqan (Book of Certitude) (1862), and Haft Vaadi (The Seven Valleys).In them, He emphasised the importance of the spiritual paths and outlined the religious goals of the spiritual life. Soon He was recognised as the pre-eminent Bábi leader.
Bahá’u’lláh then left Baghdad as a prisoner of the Ottoman Empire and travelled ultimately to Adrianople (now known as Edirne).In Adrianople, where He stayed from 1863-1868, Bahá’u’lláh began to reveal himself to His followers and to religious and civic leaders as the one promised by the Báb and, in so doing, formally established His mission.
The Bábi community became the Bahá’í community, and their focus centered on the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh.Bahá’u’lláh arrived in Akka, (formerly part of the Ottoman Empire and now present day Israel) in August 1868, so fulfilling prophecies made by Muhammad, and by Jewish prophets about the importance of the city.
At this time, Bahá’u’lláh wrote to the monarchs of Europe, including Napoleon III, the Czar of Russia, Francis-Joseph of Austria and Pope Pius IX, to proclaim His mission.
It was during this period that the Bahá’í greeting Allah-u-Abha (God is All-Glorious) came into use.
In time, the townspeople and officials of the town began to recognise and be drawn to Bahá’u’lláh’s wisdom and spirituality – as had happened in Baghdad, Constantinople and Adrianople – and gradually, the terms of His imprisonment were relaxed.
In 1877, following the overthrow of the Sultan Abdulaziz, Bahá’u’lláh could leave the city and He moved to nearby Mazraih and later that year to Bahji. Apart from visits to Mount Carmel, He spent the rest of His life at Bahji and died there in 1892.
His eldest son, Abdu’l-Bahá, was appointed His successor. He was recognised as the first to believe in Bahá’u’lláh’s mission, and the only authoritative interpreter of Bahá’í teachings.