Celebrating the Birth of the Bab – October 20
Baha’is celebrate the Birth of Baha’u’llah – November 12
“For centuries, all the peoples of the world have awaited the Promised Day of God, a Day when peace and harmony would be established on earth. The dawn of this new Day witnessed the appearance of not one but two Manifestations of God, the Bab and Baha’u’llah, Whose Revelations released the spiritual forces destined to transform society in accordance with the Will of God.” - Ruhi Book 4, The Twin Manifestations
Siyyid ‘Ali Muḥammad (the Bab) was born on October 20, 1819, in Shiraz, Persia (now Iran) to a middle-class merchant. In 1844 He took the name “Bab,” a title that means “Gate” or “Door” in Arabic. His coming, the Bab explained, represented the portal through which the universally anticipated Revelation of God to all humanity would soon appear. The central theme of His major work–the Bayan–was the imminent appearance of a second Messenger from God, one Who would be far greater than the Bab, and Whose mission would be to usher in the age of peace and justice promised in Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and all the other world religions.
The Bab referred to this coming Divine Teacher as “Him Whom God shall make manifest” and stated that “no words of Mine can adequately describe Him, nor can any reference in My Book, the Bayan, do justice to His Cause.” For the Bab, a climacteric in human history had been reached, and He was the “Voice of the Crier, calling aloud in the wilderness of the Bayan” announcing to humanity that it was entering the period of its collective maturity.
Throughout His writings, the Bab warned His followers to be watchful, and as soon as the promised Teacher revealed Himself, to recognize and follow Him. The Bab exhorted them to see with the “eye of the spirit” rather than through their “fanciful imaginations.” To be worthy of “Him Whom God shall make manifest” required entirely new standards of conduct, a nobility of character that human beings had theretofore not achieved: “Purge your hearts of worldly desires,” the Bab urged His first group of disciples, “and let angelic virtues be your adorning…The time is come when naught but the purest motive, supported by deeds of stainless purity, can ascend to the throne of the Most High and be acceptable unto Him…”
In several instances the Bab alluded to the identity of the Promised One: “Well is it with him who fixeth his gaze upon the Order of Baha’u'llah and rendereth thanks unto his Lord. For He will assuredly be made manifest.” And: “When the Day-Star of Baha will shine resplendent above the horizon of eternity it is incumbent upon you to present yourselves before His Throne.”
Mirza Husayn Ali (Baha’u'llah) was born on November 12, 1817, in Tehran, the capital of Persia (Iran). His ancestry dates back to Abraham through His wife Keturah and to the Prophet Zoroaster.
Baha’u’llah first heard of the Bab at the age of 27, through Mulla Husayn, the first of the Bab’s eighteen disciples, and accepted the Bab’s claims, becoming a Babi. He then traveled continuously to help spread the Teachings of the Bab. Due to His notability; He met great success and became recognized as one of the Babi Faith’s most influential believers.
In 1852 Baha’u’llah was arrested for His involvement in the Babi Faith and was imprisoned in the Siyah-Chal (black pit), an underground dungeon of Tehran. Baha’u’llah revealed that it was during his imprisonment in the Siyah-Chal, that He had a vision from the Maid of Heaven and received His mission as a Messenger of God and as the one whose coming the Bab had prophesied.
In some respects, the Bab’s role can be compared to that of John the Baptist in the founding of Christianity. The Bab was Baha’u'llah’s Herald: His principal mission was to prepare the way for Baha’u'llah’s coming. Accordingly, the founding of the Babi Faith is viewed by Baha’is as synonymous with the founding of the Baha’i Faith–and its purpose was fulfilled when Baha’u'llah announced in 1863 that He was the Promised One foretold by the Bab. Baha’u'llah later affirmed that the Bab was “the Herald of His Name and the Harbinger of His Great Revelation which hath caused…the splendour of His light to shine forth above the horizon of the world.” The Bab’s appearance marked the end of the “Prophetic Cycle” of religious history, and ushered in the “Cycle of Fulfillment.”