Who was ! Báb? The Báb was born in southern Persia on October 20th, 1819. He was a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad and entitled to wear the green turban of His descendency. The Báb is also the forerunner of Baháulláh. They are considered twin Manifestations. The Bábs mission was to prepare humanity for the coming of an age of transformation by purifying the people’s hearts so they could recognize the One for Whom the whole world was waiting. The Báb was thus the "Door" through which this long-awaited universal Manifestation (Baháulláh ) would appear.
"e W#tings of ! BábTablets, meditations, and prayers ﬂowed effortlessly from His lips. In one extraordinary period oftwo days, His writings exceeded in quantity the entire text of the Quran, which represented thefruit of 23 years of Muhammads prophetic output, this is regarded as one of the proofs of Hisdivine inspiration.He freely used new word structures and other variations ofaccepted speech giving the reader an opportunity to break out offamiliar patterns of perception and stretch their intellectuallimits. In 1848 at His trial in Tabriz, He was charged forviolating the rules of grammar. Regardless of these charges, theBáb reminded those who followed Him, that God is the Creatorof language and shapes it according to a divine purpose.Ultimately, the Writings of the Báb created a new ageemphasizing purity of heart rather than acts of religious piety,an inner condition of spirituality in all aspects of daily life, andtruth gained by independent investigation and not by blindimitation of the edicts of a clergy, but by personal effort, prayer,meditation, and detachment.
Why was ! Báb ma$yred? The teachings of the Báb were in direct opposition to orthodox concepts and shattered the authority of the Islamic Republic and it’s politically powerful clergy of the time. A literalistic understanding of the Quran and the belief that personal salvation comes through imitation of clerical mentors, plus an unbending conviction that there will be no other Prophets after Muhammad had unthinkable consequence for the Báb. The Báb declared that Prophets appear over and over and will do so forever. That each one reveals a message appropriate for the time and the people in order to further the development of humankind. As human consciousness recognizes and responds to each Divine Messenger, the spiritual, moral, and intellectual capacities steadily develop, thus preparing the way for Gods next Manifestation.Those opposed to the Báb argued that He was not only a heretic, but a dangerous rebel.Consequently, those in power began attempts at suppression. The Báb’s followers had their homespillaged and destroyed and great numbers were put to death. The Báb was imprisoned, deported,judged before tribunals and endured horrendous indignities. Despite all attempts at repression,however, the movement progressed.
"e Báb’s Ma$yrdomOn the 9th of July, 1850, the Báb fell victim to the fanatical fury of Hispersecutors, along with a devoted young man named Muḥammad ‘Alí,who passionately begged to be martyred alongside Him.They were led to a scaffold in the old barracks square of Tabríz. A spikewas driven into a pillar. The two were suspended by ropes under theirarms in such a way that the head of Muḥammad ‘Alí rested against thebreast of his beloved.The night before His executionthe Báb said: “Tomorrow youshall witness what God hasdecreed." The pillar on the right marked with an X is where the Báb was hung and shot.
A regiment of seven hundred and ﬁfty soldiers lined up.Thousands of people were present to witness the event.The soldiers received the order to ﬁre...and the thundering sound of bullets ﬁlled the air.The smoke from the guns was so thick it momentarily darkened the sky.When the smoke cleared,the crowd and the soldiers were stunned...Muḥammad ‘Alí was unharmed and the Báb had disappeared!
Stunned and frightened the guards were ordered to search for the Báb. He was found backin His cell giving ﬁnal instructions to one of His followers. Several of the guardsremembered earlier in the day, when they had come to take Him to be executed, the Bábhad warned them that no earthly power could silence Him until He had ﬁnished all that Hehad to say. When these same guards arrived this second time, the Báb calmly announced:"Now you may proceed to fulﬁll your intention." Having witnessed what they believed to be a miracle and terriﬁed of the wrath of God the ﬁrst regiment of soldiers vehemently refused to ﬁre...
A second ﬁring squad was assembled and ordered toshoot. This time the bodies of the pair were shattered,their bones and ﬂesh mingled into one mass,yet their faces were untouched! It is said their facesreﬂected a peaceful and serene demeanor.Immediately a gale of unusual ferocity blew up,engulﬁng the city and raising a thick cloud of dust thatblotted out the light of the sun until nightfall.
In the darkness of the storm, the bodies were thrown in ditch outside the city andguards were posted at the site.However, the Bábís (followers of the Báb) managed to retrieve the remains that night.The guards protected the Bábi’s by telling their superiors they saw the corpses beingdevoured by wild animals.Safeguarding the remains of the Báb and His fellow-martyr, the Bábís secretly kepttheir remains in a plain wooden box which remained hidden in various places overmany decades.
Finally, in 1909 their remains were laid to rest in a beautiful shrine on the slopes of Mt. Carmel.On the evening of that day in 1909, `Abdul-Baháby the light of a single lamp, in circumstancesboth solemn and moving, laid the wooden casketcontaining the remains of the Báb and Hiscompanion to rest.`Abdul-Bahá, had cast aside his turban, removedhis shoes and thrown off his cloak, bending lowover the open sarcophagus, with his silver hairwaving about his head, his face transﬁgured andluminous, rested his forehead on the woodencasket and sobbing aloud, wept with such griefthat all those who were present wept with him.
Inﬂuence of ! Life and Messa& of ! Báb on Europe The Bab’s inﬂuence was felt even in Europe. Writing in the American periodical Forum in 1925, the French literary critic Jules Bois remembered the extraordinary impact the story of the Báb’s execution had on Europe: “All Europe was stirred to pity and indignation.... Among the littérateurs of my generation, in the Paris of 1890, the martyrdom of the Báb was still as fresh a topic as it had been with the ﬁrst news of His death. We wrote poems about Him. Sarah Bernhardt entreated Catulle Mendès for a play on the theme of this historic tragedy. Writers as diverse as Joseph Arthur de Gobineau, Edward Granville Browne, Ernest Renan, Aleksandr Tumanskiy, A.L.M. Nicolas, Viktor Rosen, Clément Huart, George Curzon, Matthew Arnold, and Leo Tolstoy were affected by the spiritual drama that had unfolded in Persia during the middle years of the nineteenth century.”The complete sincerity of the Bábi’s, their fearless disregard of death and tortures undergone for the sakeof their religion, their ﬁrm conviction in the truth of their faith, their admirable conduct towardsmankind and especially towards their fellow-believers, constituted the strongest factors for the attentionfrom the West.
How are ! Bábi and Báha’i Fais connected?The Báb prepared the people for the coming of Baháulláh. He wrote many times of thecoming appearance of a second Messenger from God, one who would be far greater than theBáb, and whose mission would be to usher in the age of peace and justice. The nearlysimultaneous appearance of two Manifestations of God, Baháulláh states, “is a mystery suchas no mind can fathom”.The Báb and Baháulláh it is said did not meet in person, but corresponded with each other.Shortly before the Báb was martyred He sent His personal belongings to Baháulláh for safekeeping.Since the Báb prepared His followers most were ready to follow Baháulláh as fervently asthey had followed the Báb. Very quickly the Bábi’s merged with the Bahá’i’s.
Early Bábi and Báha’i Ma$yrsEdward Granville Brownes concluding remarks in a major article in Religious Systems of theWorld, published in 1892, speaks of the martyrs:“It is not a small or easy thing to endure what these have endured, and surely what they deemedworth life itself is worth trying to understand. I say nothing of the mighty inﬂuence which, as Ibelieve, the Bábi faith will exert in the future, nor of the new life it may perchance breathe intoa dead people; for, whether it succeed or fail, the splendid heroism of the Bábi martyrs is a thingeternal and indestructible.”Thousands of the Bábs followers were put to death in a horriﬁc series of massacres. Theextraordinary moral courage and heroism demonstrated by the Bábis in the face of such anonslaught and the nobility of the Bábs life and teachings has became legendary.
Tahirah an early Babi ma$yr Tahirih was born in 1817 into a learned Muslim family. Women were secluded and restricted on all fronts. Most were not educated and lived to serve the men in their family. They bore children, looked after the household and rarely left the conﬁnes of their homes. They were not in any way permitted to play a social role. In fact, the only way they could learn about society’s affairs was through the men in their immediate family. Tahirih knew the Báb brought an independent revelation with a new set of laws, such as the inclusion of women in society. Following a series of events at Badasht, Tahirih appeared among the male participants of this conference without her hejab or head scarf, and, quoting from the Koran, she said: "I am the blast of the trumpet, the call of the bugle, like Gabriel I will awaken sleeping souls." Everyone was in disbelief. This act and what it symbolized shocked the participants, causing one man to cut his own throat while others unsheathed their swords to kill her. The news of her actions reached the authorities and resulted in her arrest in 1849. The Shah ordered her to recant her beliefs. She refused. Finally, she was examined and her death sentence issued. Her last statement was: "You can kill me as soon as you like, but you cannot stop the emancipation of women.”
Bahá’í ‘s are (ill being persecuted and ma$yred Few Incidents are more shocking than the hanging of ten young Bahá’í women in Shiraz on June 18, 1983. Their crime: teaching religious classes to Bahá’í children— the equivalent of being “Sunday school” teachers in the West. The most recent cases of persecution, are the imprisonment of Irans seven Bahá’í leaders and the continued detention of 12 staff and faculty members of the Bahá’í Institute for Higher Education.From it’s beginnings to the current day, the persecution of the early Bábi’s and contemporaryBahá’í’s has never stopped. Today, there is an International outcry with formal demands to stop theexecutions and imprisonments, yet this horror of religious persecution continues.