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In Commemoration of the Martyrdom of the Báb, the Herald of the Bahá’í Faith

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The Shrine of the Báb in Haifa, Israel

“His life is one of the most magnificent examples of courage which it has been the privilege of mankind to behold…” – Tribute to the Báb by the 19th Century French writer A.L.M. Nicolas

At the hour of noon, on the 9th of July, Bahá’ís all over the world will gather throughout their communities to commemorate the martyrdom of the Báb, the Herald of the Bahá’í Faith.

The Báb was born on October 20, 1819 in Shiraz, Iran, and whilst we know very little of the early days of the Person of the Báb, Shoghi Effendi describes Him as:

“…infinite in His tenderness, irresistible in His charm, unsurpassed in His heroism, [and] matchless in the dramatic circumstances of His short yet eventful life.”

In the middle of the 19th century—one of the most turbulent periods in the world’s history—the Báb announced that He was the bearer of a message destined to transform the life of humanity. His mission, which was to only last six short years, was to prepare humanity for the coming of a Manifestation of God Who would usher in the age of peace foretolled in all of the world’s religions. The Writings of the Báb Himself are all a direct testament to “Him Whom God shall make manifest”, Bahá’u’lláh. The Báb affirms that:

“Of all the tributes I have paid to Him Who is to come after Me, the greatest is this, My written confession, that no words of Mine can adequately describe Him, nor can any reference to Him in My Book, the Bayan, do justice to His Cause.”

The Báb’s call for spiritual and moral transformation, His assertion of the equality of men and women, His championing of justice for the oppressed, and the attention He gave to the plight of the poor and downtrodden revolutionised the lives of the populace of Iran. His message and increasing popularity amongst the masses of people evoked unease and commotion within the government and religious authorities. The Báb was charged with heresy and was ordered, at the youthful age of 31, together with one of His faithful companions, to be executed by a firing squad of 750 soldiers in a public square in Tabriz.

“Had you believed in Me, O wayward generation,” were the last words of the Báb to the gazing multitude as the regiment was preparing to fire the final volley, “every one of you would have followed the example of this youth, who stood in rank above most of you, and willingly would have sacrificed himself in My path. The day will come when you will have recognised Me; that day I shall have ceased to be with you.”

An eyewitness to the execution describes the following:

“The very moment the shots were fired, a gale of exceptional severity arose and swept over the whole city. A whirlwind of dust of incredible density obscured the light of the sun and blinded the eyes of the people. The entire city remained enveloped in that darkness from noon till night. Even so strange a phenomenon… was unable to move the hearts of the people of Tabriz, and to induce them to pause and reflect upon the significance of such momentous events.”

Omid Djalili joins MPs in urgent appeal to release Baha’i leaders in Iran

Padideh Sabeti, (left), Mark Durkam MP (centre) and Omid Djalili (left)

Padideh Sabeti, (left), Mark Durkam MP (centre) and Omid Djalili (left)

Actor and comedian, Omid Djalili, joined Members of Parliament Mark Durkan and Jim Shannon, together with members of the House of Lords and House of Commons, faith leaders, members of civil society, activists, and representatives of the Baha’i community on May 10 in an urgent appeal for the immediate release of the seven leaders of the Baha’i Faith who are imprisoned in Iran.

 

Mark Durkan MP hosted the event as part of a global campaign marking the eighth anniversary of the imprisonment of the Baha’i leadership in Iran. “The imprisonment of the Baha’i leaders in Iran is a violation of fundamental human rights,” said Mr Durkan during the event at parliament on May 10. “It is simply unacceptable that these seven innocent leaders are in prison because of their beliefs. On this, the eighth anniversary of their imprisonment, I’m calling for their immediate release.”

 

Mr Djalili added: “This campaign is coming in the context of a new global consciousness of human rights. These seven people are as important as anything else going on in the world today. Enough is enough, release the Baha’i seven now.”

 

Padideh Sabeti, Director of the Office of Public Affairs for the UK Baha’i Community, shared that under Iran’s own penal code, the seven are overdue for conditional release. “Under its own laws Iran has an obligation to release the Baha’i seven,” Ms Sabeti said.

Photo display of the Baha'i seven (centre), the Baha'i leaders who were executed (left) and those that 'disappeared' (right)

Photo display of the Baha’i seven (centre), the Baha’i leaders who were executed (left) and those that ‘disappeared’ (right)

Arrested in 2008, the seven Baha’is are amongst the longest serving prisoners of conscience in the world today. Their imprisonment is reminiscent of the disappearance and execution of previous Baha’i leadership councils in the 1980s, whose cases were highlighted in a photographic display at the event.

 

Supporters of the campaign have been urged to back the campaign by using the hashtag #ReleaseBahai7Now.

Naw-Ruz: A time for Renewal, Hope and Joy

On March 20th this year, Bahá’ís throughout the United Kingdom, and around the world, celebrated the festival of Naw-Ruz, th
e Baha’i new year.

The Bahá’í new year falls on the day of the vernal equinox in the earth’s Northern Hemisphere and the autumnal equinox in the Southern Hemisphere – the day when the sun’s light strikes the equator directly and illuminates every continent equally. Naw-Ruz is also celebrated by various faith communities around the world.

Naw-Ruz marks the end of the Bahá’í month of fasting, a nineteen-day period each year during which adult Bahá’ís abstain from food and drink between sunrise to sunset each day.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá describes how Naw-Ruz serves as a symbolic reminder of the unity of religions and the spiritual springtime the Divine Educators have brought to humanity.

The Bahá’í community of the United Kingdom was most grateful to receive the good wishes from various government and civil society organisations, including the Department for Communities and Local Development (DCLG) and the Interfaith Network for the UK.

In their message to the Bahá’í community, the DCLG wrote wishing “all [their] friends in the Zoroastrian, Ismaili and Baha’í communities a very happy new year,” further writing that they “hope that everyone enjoys their Nowruz celebrations, the dawn of spring, and the renewal, hope and joy that it brings. Let the light of wisdom shine ever bright.

 

 

 

 

 

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