History

Who: The Bahá’í Faith was founded by Mirza Husayn ‘Ali Nuri, or Bahá’u’lláh (1817-1892), considered to be the most recent in a line of Divine Messengers, or Messengers of God. He was succeeded by his son, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (1844-1921), who was followed by Shoghi Effendi (1897-1957).

What: A Bahá’í is a follower of Bahá’u’lláh. Bahá’ís believe that humanity is a single race that must unify in a global society, and that God, through history, is breaking down the barriers of race, class, creed and nation. Bahá’u’lláh called himself a Divine Messenger, and taught that the founders of all the major world religions, including Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Zoroaster, Christ and Muhammad, were also Divine Messengers. Each brought a successive revelation of the same God, with the purpose of unifying humanity into a peaceful, global society.

When: The Bahá’í Faith was founded in 1844. Its history began with Siyyid ‘Alí-Muhammad, or the Báb, a mystical Muslim merchant who lived from 1819-1850. The Báb claimed to be a divine messenger, and later to be the prophecied Hidden Imam. Imams were the spiritual leaders of the Shi’ite Muslims in Iran and Iraq. Prophecies arose about the return of the Hidden Imam after the final Imam went into hiding in the 10th century CE. The Báb’s claim to be that Hidden Imam, and his growing popularity, caused conflict with the Shiah leaders and clerics of the time. He was eventually assassinated in Azerbaijan in 1850, an event which came to be known as the Martyrdom of the Báb. Before his death, the Báb prophesied about a coming deliverer, “Him Whom God Will Make Manifest”. Several years after the Martyrdom of the Báb, Bahá’u’lláh claimed to be that deliverer.

Where: The Bahá’í Faith began in Persia (Iran), but now has adherents across the world. It has Houses of Worship in the United States, Panama, Uganda, Germany, India, Australia, and Samoa. The largest Bahá’í communities are located in India, Iran, theUnited States, Malaysia, Brazil, Kenya, Zaire/Congo, Uganda, and Bolivia. The Universal House of Justice, the ruling body of the Bahá’í faith worldwide, is located in Israel.