BAHÁ’Í HISTORY

A basic introduction into the historical background of the Bahá’í Faith.


The Bahá’í Faith is the youngest of the world’s independent monotheistic religions. Founded in 1844 in Iran, it began with the mission of two Divine Messengers, the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh.

It now has more than six million adherents in 236 countries and territories. Bahá’ís come from nearly every national, ethnic and religious background, making the Bahá’í Faith the second most widespread religion in the world. Bahá’ís view the world’s major religions as a part of a single, progressive process through which God reveals His will to humanity.

The worldwide Bahá’í community, composed of people from virtually every racial, ethnic and religious background, is working to give practical expression to a vision of world unity.

The distinct unity of the Faith stems from explicit instructions given by Bahá’u’lláh that have assured the continuity of guidance following His passing.

The line of succession, referred to as the “Covenant,” proceeded from Bahá’u’lláh to His Son ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to His grandson Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice, an institution ordained by Bahá’u’lláh.

We invite you to learn more about the Bahá’í Faith and benefit from the spiritual and practical insights.


The Báb (1819-1850)

On 23 May, 1844, in Shiraz, Persia, a young man known as the Báb announced the imminent appearance of the next Messenger of God, Bahá’u’lláh, awaited by all the peoples of the world. Although Himself the bearer of an independent revelation from God, the Báb declared that His purpose was to prepare mankind for the coming of Bahá’u’lláh.

Swift and savage persecution at the hands of the dominant Muslim clergy followed this announcement. The Báb was arrested, beaten, imprisoned, and finally on 9 July, 1850 was executed in the public square of the city of Tabriz. Some 20,000 of His followers perished in a series of massacres throughout Persia. Today, the majestic building with the golden dome (picture above), overlooking the Bay of Haifa, Israel, and set amidst beautiful gardens, is the Shrine where the Báb’s earthly remains are entombed.

Learn more about the Báb by visiting the official site.


Bahá'u'lláh (1817-1892)

The Bahá’í Faith is the youngest of the world’s independent religions. The Founder, Bahá’u’lláh, is regarded by Bahá’ís as the most recent in the line of Messengers of God that stretches back beyond recorded time and that includes Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Krishna, Zoroaster, Christ and Muhammad.

The central theme of Bahá’u’lláh’s message is that humanity is one single race and that the day has come for its unification in one global society. God, Bahá’u’lláh said, has set in motion historical forces that are breaking down traditional barriers of race, class, creed, and nation, that will, in time, give birth to a universal civilization. The principal challenge facing the peoples of the earth is to accept the fact of their oneness and to assist the processes of harmony and unification.

One of the purposes of the Bahá’í Faith is to help make this possible. A worldwide community of some five million Bahá’ís, representative of most of the nations, races and cultures on earth, is working to give Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings practical effect. Their experience will be a source of encouragement to all who share their vision of humanity as one global family and the earth as one homeland.

Learn more about Bahá’u’lláh by visiting the official site.


'Abdu'l-Bahá (1844-1921)

From earliest childhood, the eldest son of Bahá’u’lláh, `Abdu’l-Bahá, shared His father’s sufferings and banishments. Bahá’u’lláh appointed Him the one authorised interpreter of the Bahá’í teachings and as Head of the Faith after His own passing. In `Abdu’l-Bahá was seen a perfect example of the Bahá’í way of life.

While `Abdu’l-Bahá was still a prisoner of the Ottomans, the first Bahá’í pilgrims from the western world arrived in Acre in 1898. After His release in 1908, `Abdu’l-Bahá set out on a series of journeys which, in 1911-1913, took Him to Europe and America. There He proclaimed Bahá’u’lláh’s message of unity and social justice to church congregations, peace societies, the members of trade unions, university faculties, journalists, government officials, and many public audiences.

`Abdu’l-Bahá passed away in 1921, having consolidated the foundations of the Bahá’í Faith and greatly expanded its reach. The northern rooms of the Shrine of the Báb, where He is interred, are a place of pilgrimage for Bahá’ís.

Learn more about `Abdu’l-Bahá by visiting the official site.


Shoghi Effendi (1897–1957)

For 36 years, with extraordinary foresight, wisdom and devotion, Shoghi Effendi systematically nurtured the development, deepened the understanding, and strengthened the unity of the Bahá’í community, as it increasingly grew to reflect the diversity of the entire human race.

Under Shoghi Effendi’s direction, the unique system designed by Bahá’u’lláh for administering the affairs of the community evolved rapidly throughout the world. He translated the Bahá’í Scriptures into English, developed the Faith’s spiritual and administrative centre in the Holy Land, and, in the thousands of letters he penned, offered profound insights into the spiritual dimension of civilization and the dynamics of social change, unveiling an awe-inspiring vision of the future towards which humanity is moving.

Learn more about Shoghi Effendi by visiting the official website.


The Universal House of Justice

The Universal House of Justice is a nine-member body, elected every five years by the entire membership of all national Bahá’í assemblies. Bahá’u’lláh conferred divine authority upon the Universal House of Justice to exert a positive influence on the welfare of humankind, promote education, peace and global prosperity, and safeguard human honour and the position of religion. It is charged with applying the Bahá’í teachings to the requirements of an ever-evolving society and is thus empowered to legislate on matters not explicitly covered in the Faith’s Sacred Texts.

Since its first election in 1963, the Universal House of Justice has guided the Bahá’í world community to develop its capacity to participate in building a prosperous global civilization. The guidance provided by the Universal House of Justice ensures unity of thought and action in the Bahá’í community as it learns to translate Bahá’u’lláh’s vision of world peace into reality.

Learn more about the Universal House of Justice by visiting the official website.