Who was Baha’u’llah? A better question might be, “Who is Baha’u’llah?” because he still inspires millions of children, youth and adults throughout the world today.
How does one person still inspire millions of others almost a hundred and twenty-five years after his passing?
Like thousands of great personages who left their mark on the progress of humanity, Baha’u’llah’s Faith impels humanity toward a glorious and fulfilling future. Baha’u’llah’s teachings live on long after his passing in 1892, and have even more meaning in today’s world as they did when he revealed them in the 19th Century
Baha’is believe that Baha’u’llah is one of those great revelators of history, like the Christ, Muhammad, Buddha, Krishna, the Bab and others. His coming was announced by the tragic figure of the Bab in mid-19th-century Persia, who was executed by a regiment of 750 riflemen for heralding the advent of a new universal prophet of God. Baha’u’llah was the one whom the Bab referred to as “Him Whom God Shall make Manifest” and who guided the early Babis through decades of cruel and inhumane persecution at the hands of a fanatical Muslim clergy, government and populace:
Dominating the entire range of this fascinating spectacle towers the incomparable figure of Baha’u’llah, transcendental in His majesty, serene, awe-inspiring, unapproachably glorious. – Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 97.
In April, 1863, in the Garden of Ridvan on a small island in the Tigris River outside Baghdad, Baha’u’llah announced to his followers that he was in fact the one foretold by the Bab, whose world order would “revolutionize” the fortunes of humankind. More than five million adherents today, in over 100,000 localities, work to promote Baha’u’llah’s central message: It is time for the human race to unite and put an end to its ruinous, childish and warring ways. Baha’u’llah taught that the age of maturity of the whole human race is at hand, when humanity can at last live in peace, harmony and prosperity.
The name Baha’u’llah is a title which means “the Glory of God,” fulfilling many passages of the Bible and other scriptures. The titles “Ancient of Days” and “the Ancient Beauty” signify his wisdom, sagacity, and unity with the one Creator. “The Lord of Hosts” signifies his station as lord of the age, and the “New Jerusalem come on the clouds” fully denotes his new revelation direct from God to all humankind.
I testify before God to the greatness, the inconceivable greatness of this revelation. Again and again have We in most of Our Tablets borne witness to this truth, that mankind may be roused from its heedlessness. – Baha’u’llah, ibid., p. 103.
The “inconceivable greatness of this revelation” derives its inspiration from Baha’u’llah’s teachings for a world bereft of direction and unity, for a humanity floundering between realizing its own greatness and wallowing in its own depravities. All humanity recognizes that the present-day order is “lamentably defective,” that a new day and a new message is required to change humanity’s fortunes and keep it off the present path of its own destruction.
Baha’u’llah claims to have brought that new day and new message, openly and forthrightly proclaimed for all to examine. It is a new day precisely because “all the Dispensations of the past have attained their highest, their final consummation,” in this fresh revelation brought by Baha’u’llah:
That which hath been made manifest in this pre-eminent, this most exalted Revelation, stands unparalleled in the annals of the past, nor will future ages witness its like. – Ibid., pp. 103-104.
Baha’u’llah’s claim to the followers of all other religions is nothing less than astonishing:
Followers of the Gospel. Behold the gates of heaven are flung open. He that had ascended unto it is now come. Give ear to His voice calling aloud over land and sea, announcing to all mankind the advent of His Revelation…” And to the Jewish people, “whilst from the Burning Bush breaketh forth the cry: ’lo, the sacred Pledge hath been fulfilled, for He, the Promised One, is come!”’ And, “The Father hath come. That which ye were promised in the Kingdom of God is fulfilled.” And to the followers of Muhammad, Baha’u’llah doth cry, “Had Muhammad, the Apostle of God, attained this Day, He would have exclaimed, ‘I have truly recognized Thee, O Thou the Desire of the Divine Messengers!’” – Ibid., pp. 104-105.
Yes, these are startling claims that Baha’u’llah made. His life, the beauty of his teachings, his thousands of books and tablets, and his millions of faithful followers give credence to them. They are all freely available for your study and perusal.