The Baha’i Faith, revealed by two successive messengers of God – the Bab and Baha’u’llah – observes the bicentenary of the Bab’s birth today. All around the world, Baha’is will joyously celebrate!
Born two hundred years ago in Shiraz, Persia, the Bab had a short but enormously influential life as the prophet and founder of the Babi Faith and the precursor and herald of Baha’u’llah, the prophet and founder of the Baha’i Faith.
The Bab not only founded a religion, he started a spiritual revolution. In Persia, where he taught his message of love and unity, hundreds of thousands rapidly became followers of the Bab, whose teachings broke the traditional bounds of accepted Islamic dogma and impelled the entire region toward the modern age.
The clergy and the governmental authorities severely persecuted the Bab’s followers, because they broke free of the old traditions, and because the Bab’s teachings so thoroughly challenged orthodoxy and conventional practice. Claiming to be a recipient of divine revelation, the Bab’s esoteric mystical writings compelled his followers to dedicate their entire lives to his new Faith. In prayers like this one, the Bab fervently addressed and praised the Creator:
Thou didst cause Me to bear allegiance unto Thine inaccessible Remembrance, and enabled Me to advance towards the designated station, where Thou didst educate Me through the subtle operations of Thy handiwork and didst nurture Me in that land with Thy most gracious gifts. When that which had been preordained in Thy Book came to pass Thou didst cause Me, through Thy kindness, to reach Thy holy precincts and didst suffer Me, through Thy tender mercy, to dwell within the court of fellowship, until I discerned therein that which I witnessed of the clear tokens of Thy mercifulness, the compelling evidences of Thy oneness, the effulgent splendours of Thy majesty, the source of Thy supreme singleness, the heights of Thy transcendent sovereignty, the signs of Thy peerlessness, the manifestations of Thine exalted glory, the retreats of Thy sanctity, and whatsoever is inscrutable to all but Thee. – The Bab, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 174.
Today, to mark this important bicentenary of the Bab’s birth, all around the globe in every village, town or city where Baha’is live happy celebrations will take place: plays, parties, events, talks, film showings, gatherings and service projects commemorating the Bab’s two-hundredth birthday.
Learn more about the Bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab at Bicentenary.Bahai.org
On the following day, Baha’is will celebrate the 202nd birthday of Baha’u’llah, the prophet and founder of the Baha’i Faith. This year Baha’is celebrate the birthday of the Bab on October 29th, and the birthday of Baha’u’llah on October 30th. Since the Baha’i calendar, originally revealed by the Bab, begins and ends each day at sunset, the two-day celebration will start at dusk on October 28th.
Because they occur in succession, Baha’is call this celebratory 48-hour period the Twin Holy Days, and observe them annually during this joyful season. Like the happy observance of the anniversary of the birth of any prophet of God, these days mark one of the most joyous, delight-filled times of the year all across the global Baha’i community:
God desireth not to see … any soul deprived of joy and radiance. – The Bab, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 80.
They that are endued with sincerity and faithfulness should associate with all the peoples and kindreds of the earth with joy and radiance, inasmuch as consorting with people hath promoted and will continue to promote unity and concord, which in turn are conducive to the maintenance of order in the world and to the regeneration of nations. – Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 35.
Baha’is happily gather and celebrate this way because Baha’u’llah, in his Most Holy Book, asked the Baha’is to always commemorate a feast of unity and joy on each of these two special days, which makes them second in importance in the Baha’i calendar to the Declaration of Baha’u’llah in the garden of Ridvan in 1863 and the Declaration of the Bab in Shiraz in 1844. The two progressively-revealed Faiths, established 19 years apart, have now become one – just as they ask humanity to do.
So on these holy days, Baha’is recognize and honor the advent of the two prophets who made their Faith possible:
This is the day when [the Bab] set foot in this world and illumined it with his light. There is every reason for rejoicing … – Baha’u’llah, quoted by Mirza Habibu’llah Afnan in The Twin Holy Days, p. 37.
Baha’is believe that the Bab, whose title means “the Gate,” opened the way for the advent of a new age of fulfillment and maturation for all humanity. The Bab’s primary mission, to herald the arrival of a divinely-inspired spiritual educator the Bab referred to as “He Whom God shall make manifest,” paved the way for the coming of a new messenger of God: Baha’u’llah.
Just as John the Baptist did, the Bab instructed his followers to prepare for the appearance of a new prophet. Baha’u’llah fulfilled the Bab’s prophecies by inaugurating the Baha’i Faith, which means that The Bab heralded the coming of a new era in human history, one that would witness the emergence of a just, unified, peaceful world civilization.
When Baha’is celebrate these happy occasions, everyone is invited – including you. At the worldwide Baha’i gatherings for the bicentenary of the birth of the Bab today, and the birth of Baha’u’llah tomorrow, happiness and good cheer will prevail. Music will play, friends will come together, children will laugh and warm fellowship will fill the air. Refreshments will definitely be served! If you’d like to celebrate with us, just get in touch with your local Baha’i community.
These Twin Holy Days signal a joyful, celebratory season, when the global Baha’i community comes together to commemorate the advent of their two prophets of God, the Bab and Baha’u’llah, the twin founders of their Faith, and to recognize the dawn of a new era in human unity. Happy bicentenary of the birth of the Bab!