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August 5, 2011

Carp 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 Messenger, Bahá’u’lláh.

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.
Carp Bahá'ís commemorate the life of the Báb
The Shrine of the Báb, Mount Carmel, Haifa, Israel.
The Shrine of the Báb, Mount Carmel, Haifa, Israel.

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