The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.
According to Baha’i belief, the most recent messenger and manifestation of God is Baha’u’llah, the prophet and founder of the Baha’i Faith.
Baha’u’llah – a title that means “the Glory of God” – refers to Mirza Husayn-Ali, an early follower of the Bab who was born in Tehran, imprisoned, then exiled successively to Baghdad, Constantinople, Adrianople, and finally to Akka.
Baha’u’llah passed away in 1892, and his remains are entombed in a shrine outside Akka in northern Israel, considered as the Qiblih – the point of adoration, or the most holy site – by the worldwide Baha’i community.
Born into a noble family, Mirza Husayn-Ali had the opportunity to succeed his father, Mirza Buzurg, who served as a vizier and as a governor under the king of Persia, Muhammad Shah. In 1839 when Mirza Husayn-Ali was 22, his esteemed father died, but the youth had no desire for inherited public office and rejected the opportunity to take his place. He would continue the rest of his life to reject any sort of public position, focusing all his attention instead on spiritual concerns, whether in helping the poor in his midst or preparing for that time when he himself would receive the first intimations of his own revelation.
As with Christ, Muhammad, and the Bab, the upbringing of Mirza Husayn-Ali and the stories associated with his childhood – this one from historian H.M. Balyuzi’s King of Glory – demonstrate Baha’u’llah’s inherent knowledge and uncanny wisdom:
When Baha’u’llah was a child of five or six years, He dreamt that He was in a garden where huge birds were flying overhead and attacking Him, but they could not harm Him; then went to bathe in the sea, and there he was attacked by fishes, but they too could cause Him no injury. Baha’u’llah related this strange dream to His father, and Mirza Buzurg sent for a man who claimed to interpret dreams. After making his calculations, he told Mirza Buzurg that the expanse of the sea was this world in its entirety, and the birds and fishes were the peoples of the world assailing his Son, because He would promulgate something of vital importance related to the minds of men. But they would be powerless to harm Him, for He would triumph over them all to achieve a momentous matter.
A Letter from the Bab
Soon after declaring his station to Mulla Husayn in May of 1844, the Bab sent this first of his followers on a strategic mission – to take a scroll wrapped in cloth containing a letter from the Bab to “Him Whom God will Manifest.” To accomplish this, Mulla Husayn was told by the Bab to travel from Shiraz “towards the north, and visit on your way Isfahan, Kashan, Qum, and Tihran.” The Bab went on to explain that Mulla Husayn should:
Beseech almighty Providence that He may graciously enable you to attain, in that capital, the seat of true sovereignty, and to enter the mansion of the Beloved. A secret lies hidden in that city. When made manifest, it shall turn the earth into paradise. My hope is that you may partake of its grace and recognize its splendour.
Mulla Husayn made his way to Tehran as instructed by the Bab. Ultimately, he succeeded in delivering this same scroll to Mirza Husayn-Ali by securing the aid of a young student who served as intermediary for this purpose. Upon reading the tablet conveyed to him by the young student, Baha’u’llah reacted with instant recognition of the station of the Bab, the author of the message. The report of the student to Mulla Husayn, as told in Nabil’s The Dawn-Breakers, described the event:
Unfolding the scroll, He glanced at its contents and began to read aloud to us certain of its passages. I sat enraptured as I listened to the sound of His voice and the sweetness of its melody. He had read a page of the scroll when, turning to His brother, He said: “Musa, what have you to say? Verily I say, whoso believes in the Qur’an and recognizes its Divine origin, and yet hesitates, though it be for a moment, to admit that these soul-stirring words are endowed with the same regenerating power, has most assuredly erred in his judgment and has strayed far from the path of justice.”
From this point on, Baha’u’llah was a staunch follower of the Bab, just as Christ initially followed his herald John the Baptist, and immediately began promulgating the Babi Cause throughout his native province of Mazindaran.
Contemplate with thine inward eye the chain of successive Revelations that hath linked the Manifestation of Adam with that of the Bab. I testify before God that each one of these Manifestations hath been sent down through the operation of the Divine Will and Purpose, that each hath been the bearer of a specific Message, that each hath been entrusted with a divinely-revealed Book and been commissioned to unravel the mysteries of a mighty Tablet. The measure of the Revelation with which every one of them hath been identified had been definitely fore-ordained.