Bahá'ís commemorate the life of the Báb
By Nousha Ram
On Saturday July 9th close to 50 adults, youth and children residing in
Ottawa’s west end gathered at noon for a neighborhood commemoration of
a Bahá’í Holy Day, joining millions of Bahá'ís worldwide. Prayers, a
video presentation, and the reading of a Letter from the Báb (whose
title means the 'gate' in Arabic) to the Shah of Iran in 1848 were part
of the program. The devotional program reminded the participants of the
life and execution of one of humanity’s most fascinating spiritual
teachers, known to history as the Báb, and was followed by a potluck
lunch and an opportunity for the participants to socialize.
Most people know that Bahá’u’lláh was the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith.
Fewer, however, might know that there was another Prophet who is also
closely associated with the Bahá’í Faith. The Báb was born in
Shiraz, Iran, in 1819 as Siyyid ‘Ali-Muhammad. In 1844, He announced
that He was the Promised One foretold in the world’s religions and that
His mission was to prepare people for the imminent coming of the Divine
Irrespective of one's own beliefs the drama surrounding the emergence
of the Báb on Iran’s national stage, and the series of events that led
to his ultimate execution, is awe-inspiring. For Bahá’ís, it is a
recent example of one of God's divine teachers who faced persecution
and self-sacrifice in order to restore spiritual life to humanity. (Read
the story of the life of the Báb)
At noon on July 9th 1850, by order of the government, the Báb was
executed in the public square of Tabriz, in northern Iran. The story of
his execution and events surrounding the Báb’s short, but extraordinary
life, were told in news reports that reached Europe. His remains were
later brought to Mount Carmel, in Haifa, Israel. Much later, an
exquisite shrine with a golden dome was built over the tomb. This
building has become one of the best known landmarks of northern Israel
and is a place of pilgrimage for Bahá’ís from all over the world.
The anniversary of the martyrdom of the Báb is one of nine holy days
when Bahá’ís suspend work.
The Shrine of the Báb, Mount Carmel, Haifa, Israel.