Saturday, July 8, 2000
Bahai Faith to Celebrate a Founding Figure
On Sunday, members of the Bahai faith will commemorate the death of Siyyid 'Ali Mohammed, one of the founding figures of the religion. Known as the Bab, which means the Gate in Persian, he was born in 1819 in Shiraz, Iran. The Bab was a Persian merchant known for his generosity to the poor.
In 1844, the Bab announced that he was Islam's promised Qa'im, "He Who Will Arise." His coming, the Bab explained, represented the portal through which the Messenger of God would soon appear. That prophecy is believed to have been fulfilled when a nobleman and follower of the Bab named Mirza Husayn 'Ali took the name Baha'u'llah, and announced in 1863 that he was the Promised One.
In some respects, the Bab's role can be compared to that of John the Baptist in Christianity. His primary mission was to prepare for the coming of Baha'u'llah. The Bab attracted followers, rapidly stirring opposition from the Persian government. On July 9, 1850, the Bab was arrested and executed.
The Bahai faith has an estimated 5 million adherents worldwide. There are about 5,000 active Bahai members in Southern California. Bahais honor all religions and emphasize the unity of humankind. For more information on planned observances or the Bahai faith, contact the Los Angeles Bahai Center at 5755 Rodeo Road, near La Cienega Boulevard. (323) 933-8291.
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