Birth of the Bab: Baha’is commemorate day for ‘the Gate’

Bird's eye view of Shrine of the Bab

The Shrine of the Bab in Haifa, Israel. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

SUNSET SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19: Baha’i parties commence worldwide tonight and tomorrow, as the inclusive adherents celebrate the Birth of the Bab. Born on October 20, 1819, the Bab would eventually become the Herald of the Baha’i Faith; the one who would declare his mission as preparing people of the world for the Promised One (Baha’u’llah). Experts cite several similarities between the Bab and John the Baptist—the Christian who proclaimed the coming of Jesus—yet, in contrast, very little is known about the birth circumstances of the Bab.

On this date, 194 years ago, the Bab was born Siyyid Ali-Muhammad in Persia. The son of two descendants of the Prophet Muhammad, rumors circulated that the young Siyyid was wise beyond his years. Prayerful and meek, Siyyid gained respect from peers and elders alike. At the age of 24, Siyyid first announced the coming Messenger of God; the Promised One awaited for by multiple world religions, according to Baha’is. (Planet Bahai has details.) He changed his name to “Bab,” meaning “the Gate,” and made his life a mission for the Promised One. Six years following his first prophesy, the Bab was executed. The Shrine of the Bab now stands in Haifa, Israel, and attracts throngs of Baha’is on the birth anniversary of the Bab.

Baha’is not in Haifa today mark the Bab’s birthday with prayers, readings, music and social gatherings. (Bahai.us has more.) Baha’u’llah described the Bab this way: “the Herald of His Name and the Harbinger of His Great Revelation, which has caused … the splendor of His light to shine forth above the horizon of the world.”

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