Ascension of Baha’u’llah: Baha’is recall peaceful end of an ardous life

White house with elaborate details surrounded by palm trees, gardens, a stone path and short stone pillars

The Shrine of Baha’u’llah, shown above, is the holiest site in the Baha’i faith. Photo released via Wikimedia Commons

SUNSET WEDNESDAY, MAY 28: A life of tumult, hardship and grueling journeys came to a quiet end today, as Baha’is mark the Ascension of Baha’u’llah. One of nine holy days on the Baha’i calendar, the Ascension took place at the location now regarded as most holy by the Faith: the Mansion of Bahji, outside Akko (Acre), Israel. At approximately 3 a.m. on May 29, 1892, Baha’u’llah’s earthly life ended, and he was buried in a small stone building adjacent to the mansion. Today, the mansion, house and surrounding gardens make up the Shrine of Baha’u’llah; the Shrine was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2008.

At the start of his 75 years, Baha’u’llah had a life of luxury: He was born into a noble family in Persia, and given all of life’s material necessities. Soon, though, it became noticeable that a wealthy life wouldn’t satisfy Baha’u’llah, and he became renowned for his works of charity. When news of the Bab reached him, he immediately became a follower of the emerging Babi religion. (Learn more from Planet Baha’i and the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States.) Baha’u’llah was imprisoned, tortured and nearly put to death before a revelation came to him—the revelation that he was the Promised One, foretold by the Bab.

Released from prison, Baha’u’llah’s belongings were taken and he was banished to Baghdad. Through the following years, Baha’u’llah would continue to preach messages of God, despite multiple exiles and constant threats. By the end of his life, Baha’u’llah had penned approximately 100 volumes and had shaped a new faith, before passing his duties onto a successor: his eldest son, Abdu’l-Baha. Following a short illness, Baha’u’llah died in Acre. (Read how one Baha’i keeps Baha’u’llah’s memory alive in reflections at Baha’i Blog.) It was recorded that, in the week after his death, “… a vast number of mourners, rich and poor alike, tarried to grieve with the bereaved family [of Baha’u’llah] … Notables … Shi’ahs, Sunnis, Christians, Jews and Druzes, as well as poets, ulamas and government officials …”

(Originally published at readthespirit.com, an on line magazine covering religion, spirituality, values and interfaith and cross-cultural issues.)

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