Category Archives: Holidays

Observing the Martyrdom of the Bab

On July 9, members of the Bahá’í Faith from all over the world commemorate the anniversary of the Martyrdom of the forerunner of Baha’u’llah who held the title of the Báb (“the gate” in Arabic).  This is one of only nine holy days on which members of the Faith suspend work and school.  Today in Pasadena members of Baha’i communities from throughout the San Gabriel Valley gathered to mark this solemn occasion.

The following is a brief overview and account of the events of this Sacred day for Baha’is:

In Persia (now Iran)  in 1844, the Báb declared that His mission was to herald the imminent arrival of the long-awaited Promised One, the Messenger of God Who would usher in the age of universal peace and transform the world. That Messenger was Bahá’u’lláh , Who in 1863 announced that He was God’s Messenger for this age.

The proclamation of the Báb attracted thousands of followers in a short time. Fearful of the Báb’s growing influence caused by His proclamation and teachings, which called for spiritual and moral renewal, religious and political leaders arose to oppose and persecute the Báb and His followers

More than 20,000 of His followers were killed in several waves of brutal persecution. Though guilty of no crime, the Báb was arrested, beaten, exiled and imprisoned by the authorities. On July 9, 1850, at the age of 31, He was executed in public by a firing squad in the city of Tabriz in northwest Persia.

The story of the events surrounding the Báb’s martyrdom has captured the interest of many because an apparent miracle was performed in the midst of tragic circumstances and in the presence of thousands of witnesses. The following is an account of the events surrounding this Sacred Day authored by Shoghi Effendi in his historical account of the early years of the Baha’i Faith entitled “God Passes By“:

The farrash-bashi had abruptly interrupted the last conversation which the Báb was confidentially having in one of the rooms of the barracks with His amanuensis Siyyid Husayn, and was drawing the latter aside, and severely rebuking him, when he was thus addressed by his Prisoner: “Not until I have said to him all those things that I wish to say can any earthly power silence Me. Though all the world be armed against Me, yet shall it be powerless to deter Me from fulfilling, to the last word, My intention.” To the Christian Sam Khan — the colonel of the Armenian regiment ordered to carry out the execution — who, seized with fear lest his act should provoke the wrath of God, had begged to be released from the duty imposed upon him, the Báb gave the following assurance: “Follow your instructions, and if your intention be sincere, the Almighty is surely able to relieve you of your perplexity.”

Sam Khan accordingly set out to discharge his duty. A spike was driven into a pillar which separated two rooms of the barracks facing the square. Two ropes were fastened to it from which the Báb and one of his disciples, the youthful and devout Mirza Muhammad-‘Ali-i-Zunuzi, surnamed Anis, who had previously flung himself at the feet of his Master and implored that under no circumstances he be sent away from Him, were separately suspended. The firing squad ranged itself in three files, each of two hundred and fifty men. Each file in turn opened fire until the whole detachment had discharged its bullets. So dense was the smoke from the seven hundred and fifty rifles that the sky was darkened. As soon as the smoke had cleared away the astounded multitude of about ten thousand souls, who had crowded onto the roof of the barracks, as well as the tops of the adjoining houses, beheld a scene which their eyes could scarcely believe.

The Báb had vanished from their sight! Only his companion remained, alive and unscathed, standing beside the wall on which they had been suspended. The ropes by which they had been hung alone were severed. “The Siyyid-i-Báb has gone from our sight!” cried out the bewildered spectators. A frenzied search immediately ensued. He was found, unhurt and unruffled, in the very room He had occupied the night before, engaged in completing His interrupted conversation with His amanuensis. “I have finished My conversation with Siyyid Husayn” were the words with which the Prisoner, so providentially preserved, greeted the appearance of the farrash-bashi, “Now you may proceed to fulfill your intention.” Recalling the bold assertion his Prisoner had previously made, and shaken by so stunning a revelation, the farrash-bashi quitted instantly the scene, and resigned his post.

Sam Khan, likewise, remembering, with feelings of awe and wonder, the reassuring words addressed to him by the Báb, ordered his men to leave the barracks immediately, and swore, as he left the courtyard, never again, even at the cost of his life, to repeat that act. Aqa Jan-i-Khamsih, colonel of the body-guard, volunteered to replace him. On the same wall and in the same manner the Báb and His companion were again suspended, while the new regiment formed in line and opened fire upon them. This time, however, their breasts were riddled with bullets, and their bodies completely dissected, with the exception of their faces which were but little marred. “O wayward generation!” were the last words of the Báb to the gazing multitude, as the regiment prepared to fire its volley, “Had you believed in Me every one of you would have followed the example of this youth, who stood in rank above most of you, and would have willingly sacrificed himself in My path. The day will come when you will have recognized Me; that day I shall have ceased to be with you.”

The very moment the shots were fired a gale of exceptional violence arose and swept over the city. From noon till night a whirlwind of dust obscured the light of the sun, and blinded the eyes of the people. In Shiraz an “earthquake,” foreshadowed in no less weighty a Book than the Revelation of St. John, occurred in 1268 A.H. which threw the whole city into turmoil and wrought havoc amongst its people, a havoc that was greatly aggravated by  the outbreak of cholera, by famine and other afflictions. In that same year no less than two hundred and fifty of the firing squad, that had replaced Sam Khan’s regiment, met their death, together with their officers, in a terrible earthquake, while the remaining five hundred suffered, three years later, as a punishment for their mutiny, the same fate as that which their hands had inflicted upon the Báb. To insure that none of them had survived, they were riddled with a second volley, after which their bodies, pierced with spears and lances, were exposed to the gaze of the people of Tabriz. The prime instigator of the Báb’s death, the implacable Amir-Nizam, together with his brother, his chief accomplice, met their death within two years of that savage act.

On the evening of the very day of the Báb’s execution, which fell on the ninth of July 1850 (28th of Sha’ban 1266 A.H.), during the thirty-first year of His age and the seventh of His ministry, the mangled bodies were transferred from the courtyard of the barracks to the edge of the moat outside the gate of the city. Four companies, each consisting of ten sentinels, were ordered to keep watch in turn over them. On the following morning the Russian Consul in Tabriz visited the spot, and ordered the artist who had accompanied him to make a drawing of the remains as they lay beside the moat. In the middle of the following night a follower of the Báb, Haji Sulayman Khan, succeeded, through the instrumentality of a certain Haji Allah-Yar, in removing the bodies to the silk factory owned by one of the believers of Milan, and laid them, the next day, in a specially made wooden casket, which he later transferred to a place of safety… No sooner had the news of the transfer of the remains of the Báb and of His fellow-sufferer been communicated to Bahá’u’lláh than He ordered that same Sulayman Khan to bring them to Tihran, where they were taken to the Imam-Zadih-Hasan, from whence they were removed to different places, until the time when, in pursuance of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s instructions, they were transferred to the Holy Land, and were permanently and ceremoniously laid to rest by Him in a specially erected mausoleum on the slopes of Mt. Carmel.

Thus ended a life which posterity will recognize as standing at the confluence of two universal prophetic cycles, the Adamic Cycle stretching back as far as the first dawnings of the world’s recorded  religious history and the Bahá’í Cycle destined to propel itself across the unborn reaches of time for a period of no less than five thousand centuries. The apotheosis in which such a life attained its consummation marks, as already observed, the culmination of the most heroic phase of the Heroic Age of the Bahá’í Dispensation. It can, moreover, be regarded in no other light except as the most dramatic, the most tragic event transpiring within the entire range of the first Bahá’í century. Indeed it can be rightly acclaimed as unparalleled in the annals of the lives of all the Founders of the world’s existing religious systems.

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Pasadena celebrates the Declaration of the Bab this Friday, May 23rd


On May 23, the Bahá’ís of Pasadena will join Bahá’ís throughout the world in observing the anniversary of the Declaration of the Báb, the Prophet-Herald of the Bahá’í Faith.

The Pasadena Bahá’í community’s celebration of the Declaration of the Báb will be held at a private home starting at 8pm on Friday. The event is open to the general public. Please contact this blog for the address.

Shrine of the Bab, Haifa, Israel

Shrine of the Bab, Haifa, Israel

The program commemorates the night of May 23, 1844 when a young man named Mirza ‘Alí-Muhammad declared, in Shiraz, Persia, that he was a prophet of God. He stated that his mission was to prepare the world for the appearance of the Lord of the Age-“Him Whom God shall make manifest.” He took the title, “The Báb,” which means, “The Gate,” and proclaimed that he was the herald of a new cycle in human history, the forerunner of another prophet who would soon usher in an age of world unity and peace. The first disciple of the Báb later wrote of the night when the Báb first declared his mission, “I sat spellbound by His utterance, oblivious of time and of those who awaited me. All the delights, all the ineffable glories, which the almighty has recounted in His Book as the priceless possessions of the people of Paradise-these I seemed to be experiencing.”

Pasadena celebrates the Festival of Ridvan (Paradise)

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The Bahá’í community of Pasadena will get together on Saturday, May 2nd to celebrate the annual Festival of Ridván. The event is open to the general public at the Western Justice Center, 55 S. Grand Ave.

The word “Ridván” means “Paradise.” For twelve days from April 21 to May 2, 1863, Bahá’u’lláh, the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, resided in a garden of Baghdad that he dubbed “the Garden of Ridván”. There Bahá’u’lláh publicly proclaimed his mission as God’s messenger for this age. At the time of his proclamation, Bahá’u’lláh was an exile in Baghdad, banished from his native Persia because of his teachings.

The Festival of Ridván is celebrated by Bahá’ís throughout the world with great joy and fellowship. Bahá’u’lláh wrote of the garden, “This is the Paradise, the rustling of whose leaves proclaims: ‘O ye that inhabit the heavens and the earth! There hath appeared what hath never previously appeared. He Who, from everlasting, had concealed His face from the sight of creation is now come’.”

The Bahá’í Faith teaches the oneness of God, the oneness of religion, and the oneness of mankind. Bahá’ís believe that in every age, God sends a divine educator, a manifestation of God, whose purpose is to restate and renew the eternal truths of religion and to address the specific needs of the age in which he appears. They believe that Bahá’u’lláh is the manifestation of God, whose purpose is to restate and renew the eternal truths of religion and to address the specific needs of the age in which he appears. They believe that Bahá’u’lláh is the manifestation of God for this age in mankind’s evolution. This “spiritual springtime” as it is called in the Bahá’í writings, when the efforts of all the previous messengers of God, such as Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Krishna, Zoroaster, Christ, Muhammad, and Bahá’u’lláh’s prophet-herald, the Báb, will blossom and bear their fruit. Thus, the occurrence of the Festival of Ridván at the height of the spring season bears a special significance for Bahá’ís.

In his writings, Bahá’u’lláh promulgates the equality of men and women, the essential harmony of science and religion, the independent investigation of truth, economic justice based upon spiritual principles, the urgent need for the elimination of all forms of prejudice, universal compulsory education, and international auxiliary language, and a world government for the maintenance of a lasting peace.

Bahá’u’lláh’s exile to Baghdad was the first of several banishments that occurred until his death in 1892. Dismayed by their inability to curb Bahá’u’lláh’s continuing influence and growing Faith, Persian religious and government leaders convinced the officials of the Ottoman Empire to banish Bahá’u’lláh to Adrianople, Constantinople, and finally, to the horrendous prison city of Akka in the Holy Land. Bahá’u’lláh suffered forty years of torture, imprisonment and exile.

The World Center of the Bahá’í Faith is on Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel.

Pasadena Baha’i Naw Ruz video

Happy Baha’i New Year and 1st day of Spring!

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Ayyam-i-Ha video

Ayyam-i-Ha

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Happy Ayyam-i-Ha!

Social Time

Social Time

The Pasadena Baha’i Community held their annual Ayyam-i-Ha celebration at the Western Justice Center on Saturday, February 28th from 6-9pm.

What’s Ayyam-i-Ha?  It’s the Days Outside of Time in the Baha’i calendar (Feb 26-Mar 1).  Traditionally a time of celebration, service, charity, and gift giving:  http://tinyurl.com/bhowht

Tonight’s celebration included a potluck dinner and gifts:  you had to bring a gift for $5 or less to give to someone else there. 

Performing tonight was Eric Harper.  Nura Creitz helped out on “Falling Slowly,” song from the movie “Once.”

Nura and Eric

Nura and Eric