Bahá'í History can be divided into seven periods thus far. The first
three periods form the Apostolic or Heroic Age. The first
centres around the youthful and gentle Bab [meaning the Gate,
also known as the Forerunner of the Ancient Beauty], Whose brief
tumultuous Ministry prepared the way for the long-awaited coming of the
promised Messenger of God. The second epoch
centered about the majestic, powerful and awe-inspiring figure of
Bahá'u'lláh [meaning the Glory of God, also known by the titles: The
Blessed Perfection, The Ancient Beauty], the Promised One of all
religions. Having given up a life of extreme wealth and ease, He promoted
the Message of the Bab, only later to learn that He Himself was the
Promised One foretold by the Bab and by the religions of the past.
Enduring 40 years of exiles and imprisonments, and under nearly impossible circumstances,
surrounded by enemies and their plots, lies and intrigues, He revealed
God's Message for this Day. The third epoch
around the ministry of 'Abdu'l-Bahá [meaning servant of the Glory, i.e. of
the Glory of God] and eldest son of Bahá'u'lláh. Sharing His Father's
exiles and imprisonments, 'Abdu'l-Bahá became the perfect example of His
Father's Teachings and today is known as the Exemplar and Interpreter of
Bahá'í Faith, The Most Great Branch, The Master, and The Center of
The last four periods comprise the
Formative Age. The first epoch
of the Formative Age
"witnessed the birth and the primary stages in the erection of the framework of the Administrative Order of the Faith".
"That epoch was characterized by a twofold process aiming at the
consolidation of the administrative structure of the Faith and the
extension of the range of its institutions." --Citadel of Faith, p.
The second epoch
extended that twofold
process, extending the range of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Divine Plan and culminating
with the election of the Universal House of Justice. The third epoch
, characterized by rapid growth, concluded with the beginning of the
Faith's emergence from obscurity into the larger arena of public notice,
fueled in no small part by the persecution of the Bahá'í's in the land of
It's birth. The fourth (and present) epoch
began with the increased maturation of the
administrative institutions from the local spiritual assemblies up to and
including the Universal House of Justice which is now engaged in a vast
expansion of the World Center. This
epoch will also witness the complete emergence of the Faith from
obscurity and vastly greater involvement in the social and economic
development of the world.
This brief guide provides a
chronological view of the more significant events in the history of the
religion. The chronology has been pieced together from a broad array of
historical sources which will one day be listed at the end.
Effendi's system of transliteration is used throughout to most accurately
display Persian and Arabic names. HTML does not permit full accuracy in
this regard, as it does not support all the necessary characters. Here is
a brief pronunciation guide to assist the reader:
pronounced: Ba (as in back) - haw - o (as in short) - law. Wherever you
see a, think a as in arm. ' indicates a pause. Mirza is pronounced:
Meerzaw. Whenever you see i, think ee as in meet. Bahá'í would therefore
be Ba - haw - (brief pause) - ee; in this context the i means of, as in
follower of. Quddus is pronounced:
Khodoos. Whenever you see u think oo as in moon. Don't worry too much
about the Q - it is a guttural sound that doesn't come naturally to
Anglophones . Unless you have heard Arabic or Persian, just treat it like
12 Nov 1817 Birth of Bahá'u'lláh [Mirza
Husayn-'Ali] in Tihran, to one of the wealthiest families in
Persia. Bahá'u'lláh, never having attended school, is taught
calligraphy, riding, classical poetry and a good reading knowledge of the
Qur'an which was customary for a nobleman's son at that time.
20 Oct 1819 Birth of the Bab [Siyyid 'Ali-Muhammad] in
pre-1844 Bahá'u'lláh becomes known
as "The Father of the Poor" for His generosity and care of the needy. His
father dies in 1839. Bahá'u'lláh was asked to take His father's
place in the government but Bahá'u'lláh refuses the position.
22 May 1844 Declaration of the mission of the Bab in
Shiraz to Mulla Husayn at 2 hours, 11 minutes after
sunset (technically, 23 May - new day begins after sunset).
23 May 1844 Birth of 'Abdu'l-Bahá ['Abbas Effendi], eldest
son of Bahá'u'lláh
soon after: The Bab instructed Mulla
Husayn to journey through Persia and Iraq and deliver a scroll to One Who
is worthy. The reputation of Bahá'u'lláh convinces him that
He is the intended recipient. Bahá'u'lláh reads the scroll
and immediately becomes a follower of the Bab.
12 Dec 1844 The Bab, accompanied by His foremost disciple
Quddus, undertakes a pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina where He performs
His first public declaration of His divine mission.
Mar 1845 The Bab returns to Shiraz.
Teachings cause commotion among the populace, especially the clergy.
soon after: The Shah commands the erudite Vahid
to investigate the Bab's claims. Vahid becomes a leading disciple.
Hujjat, another dignitary of the realm, also becomes a leading
The anxiety among the clergy increases.
Sep 1846 The Bab journeys to Isfahan, accorded
honours by the people. Death warrant issued by the local high clergy. The
Bab journeys to Kashan and Tabriz, receives enthusiastic reception
by the people.
23 Sep 1846 The Bab is arrested in Shiraz at the
house of His uncle. The Shah, prompted by his top advisor,
Haji Mirza Aqasi, has the Bab
incarcerated at the fortress of Mah-ku in the mountains of Adhirbayjan
for nine months. The local populace, at first hostile, comes
to revere Him. The Bab reveals one of His great works, the Bayan.
1 Apr 1847 Bahá'u'lláh sends a letter and gifts to the
Bab in Mah-ku.
20 Mar 1848 Mulla Husayn arrives at Mah-ku to see the
10 April 1848 Due to the great influence He was having with the people
of the area, the Bab is transferred to prison in Chirig, a
Kurdish area hostile to Persians. Here too many leading citizens become
followers. The Bab is arraigned in Tabriz where He
dramatic public declaration of His Station. He is returned to Chirig.
Jun 1848 Conference of Badasht. Organized, directed and hosted by
Bahá'u'lláh and attended by 81 of the Bab's
leading followers, the Babi Faith for the first time becomes
understood by It's followers as a religion distinct from Islam.
Bahá'u'lláh bestows a new name upon each participant and with
no contact, the Bab later confirms and uses those same names [note:
the new names are the ones being used in this account]. Tahirih [the
pure] pronounces the equality of women and publicly removes her veil.
Bahá'u'lláh reconciles the participants following this great
controversy, facilitating their understanding of this new religion.
21 Jul 1848 Mulla Husayn hoists the Black Standard and marches
from Mashad with 202 fellow disciples to assist Quddus in Mazindaran.
4 Sep 1848 Muhammad Shah, intending to order death of
Bahá'u'lláh, dies, succeeded by 17-year old Nasiri'd-Din Shah. Haji Mirza
antagonist of the Bab [the Antichrist of
the Babi Faith], is expelled from the capital.
10 Oct 1848 Mulla Husayn and the 202 fellow disciples are besieged
at Shaykh Tabarsi, eventually surrounded by twenty thousand soldiers.
Nov 1848 Quddus arrives at Fort Tabarsi after Mulla
Husayn secured his release from Sari.
Dec 1848 Bahá'u'lláh imprisoned and tortured
- 10 May 1849 The siege at Shaykh Tabarsi ends in betrayal when
a promise of "no harm", signed on a Qur'an, is broken. The
Babis are tortured, mutilated and massacred.
16 May 1849 Martyrdom of Quddus in Barfurush.
soon after: A force of 5000 men begin extermination
of Babis, confiscating possessions, destroying houses, grizzly
tortures, mutilations and executions - all inspired by religious
inflamed by the clergy. 1800 Babis martyred in Zanjan
including men, women and children. Hujjat is martyred. The famous Seven
of Tihran are martyred.
29 June 1850 Vahid is mutilated and killed in Nayriz.
9 Jul 1850 Attempted execution of the Bab in Tabriz
by a firing squad of 750 soldiers in front of 20,000 witnesses fails. The
Bab vanishes in the smoke and is found later completing His final
instructions to His amanuensis. The leader of the first firing squad
to try again. A second attempt is made using a new leader at noon, this
successfully. A gale force wind, earthquake, cholera and famine
follow. One third of the firing squad later die in
an earthquake, the remainder
are executed for mutiny. The bodies of the Bab and Anis are
retrieved as directed by Bahá'u'lláh and ultimately interred
at the Shrine of the Bab on the slope of Mt. Carmel, Israel.
30 Aug 1851 Bahá'u'lláh arrives in Karbila, Iraq
- the start of a 10 month pilgrimage. Continues to spread the Bab's
15 Aug 1852 Two crazed Babis attempt to kill Nasiri'd-Din Shah. They are
executed on the spot. Nationwide
reign of terror sweeps Persia. Anyone suspected of being Babi
are killed in unspeakably gruesome and inhumane manners. Many European
witness and record the events. The nominee of the Bab, Mirza
Yahya, half-brother of Bahá'u'lláh, flees [note: the
Bab appointed him as His figurehead to deflect attention away from
Bahá'u'lláh]. Upon hearing news of the assassination attempt,
Bahá'u'lláh rides to the military post in Niyavaran. He is arrested and
marched in chains, bare
headed and bare footed to the Siyah-Chal of Tihran
meaning the Black Pit, it was "an abominable pit that had once
served as a reservoir of water for one of the public baths" of Tihran].
Here He was surrounded by criminals with His feet in mighty stocks and
weighed done by a mighty chain, a chain so infamous that it had it's own
name. Tahirih is executed. Her last words: "You can kill me as soon as
like, but you cannot stop the emancipation of women". Bahá'u'lláh
is now the sole survivor from among the leaders of the Babi
Faith. No one would sign His death warrant out of fear that His execution
would spark riots throughout Persia. Instead, it was hoped that he would
die in this loathsome prison. This was not to be.
Aug - Nov 1852 In the Siyah-Chal,
Bahá'u'lláh receives His Intimation that He is the Messenger
of God for this Day. He leads the prisoners in song so loud that the Shah
hears the singing from his palace. One by one, most of the other
Babis chained with Him are executed. By now, an approximate
total of 20,000 Babis had been martyred. Bahá'u'lláh
is poisoned, but survives. Bahá'u'lláh's family and Russian
Minister Prince Dolgorouki demonstrate the complete innocence of
Bahá'u'lláh in the matter of the assassination attempt.
Bahá'u'lláh is released after four months of imprisonment,
carrying the deep marks of the chains throughout the remainder of His
recognizes the full impact of the station of His Father.
Bahá'u'lláh bestows upon His Son the designation "Mystery of
12 Jan 1853 Bahá'u'lláh is banished, chooses Baghdad
for His place of exile. His wealth is confiscated and properties
His youngest son is left behind with relatives because of the lack of
and the harsh winter travel.
8 Apr 1853 Bahá'u'lláh arrives in Baghdad.
Mirza Aqa Jan is the first to recognize Him as
the Promised One. Bahá'u'lláh achieves great fame because of
the love He shows the people and because of the great Writings He
He is shown veneration by the populace. Mirza Yahya,
prodded by Siyyid Muhammad [the Antichrist of the Bahá'í Faith], begins
to discredit Bahá'u'lláh out of jealousy.
10 Apr 1854 Bahá'u'lláh leaves for the mountains of
Kurdistan (Sulaymaniyyih) so that He would not be a
source of disunity among the Babis. Here he stays nearly two
years in isolation, except for brief visits to a local town for
Villagers who have contact with Him spread word of Him and are magnetized
with His love. Meanwhile, under Mirza Yahya's direction, the Babi
community degenerates. Out of desperation, 25 men
claimed to be the Promised One foretold by the Bab. 'Abdu'l-Bahá,
heartbroken by His Father's absence, passes time by copying and
the Bab's Writings.
19 Mar 1856 Fame of a man in the mountains of Kurdistan, had
reached Baghdad. Bahá'u'lláh's family realized this
man is Bahá'u'lláh
and pleads for His return. He does return
to Baghdad on this day and begins to rebuild the Babi
community. The community grows in size and respect.
1856 Bahá'u'lláh reveals The Seven
Valleys. Later reveals The Four Valleys.
1858 Bahá'u'lláh reveals the Hidden
circa 1860 Bahá'u'lláh applies for Ottoman nationality - obtains
Turkish passports. Bahá'u'lláh's attendant is convinced to
murder Him as He bathed, but struck by awe in His presence and remorse,
flees. Later, the same man approaches Bahá'u'lláh with a pistol,
but again, in His presence, drops the pistol and flees. Famous meeting
between Bahá'u'lláh and clergy of several different faiths,
in which the clergy concedes Bahá'u'lláh's knowledge and wisdom.
They ask Him to perform a miracle as a final proof. Bahá'u'lláh
agrees, but says they must all agree to one miracle (for the Cause of God
is not a sideshow with hourly miracles) and put in writing that upon
completion of the miracle, they must confess
the truth of His Cause. The clergy could
not agree on a miracle and drop the challenge. 'Abdu'l-Bahá, now 15,
visits the local mosques and has dialog with the learned and Himself
famous for His wisdom.
- circa 1861-2 Bahá'u'lláh reveals The Book of Certitude
21 Mar 1863 Bahá'u'lláh reveals the Tablet of the Holy
Mariner, in which He reveals gloomy predictions. Prompted by the
of the clergy and the Persian Consul General of Baghdad,
Bahá'u'lláh was invited to Istanbul on March 26th and given
a sum of money for the journey by the Governor of Baghdad.
Bahá'u'lláh accepts the invitation but gives all the money
to the poor.
22 April 1863 Public declaration of the mission of Bahá'u'lláh
in the Garden of Ridvan [meaning Paradise, then known as the Garden
of Najibiyyih] in Baghdad on the shores of the
Tigris River, nineteen years after the Bab's declaration, which fulfills
the Bab's prophecy.
3 May 1863 Bahá'u'lláh, 11 family members and 26
disciples depart for Constantinople at noon. During the journey, they are
accorded enthusiastic receptions wherever they stopped, being preceded by
the government cavalry, flags flying and drums beating.
13 Aug 1863 Bahá'u'lláh departs by steamer from the port
of Samsun to Constantinople.
16 Aug 1863 Arrival in Constantinople [the Sublime Porte] at noon.
The house provided was too small. Within a month they were relocated to
quarters. The Persian government is extremely upset with the
and kindness shown by the Sultan toward Bahá'u'lláh, Who was
received as a guest. Finally the Sultan was unable to resist the
pressure and issues the edict of banishment to the remote Adrianople
day Edirne). Bahá'u'lláh sends His first of many letters to
the Kings and rulers of the world, to Sultan 'Abdu'l-'Aziz.
12 Dec 1863 Arrival in Adrianople [the Land of Mystery] after a bitterly
cold 12 day journey. Here, Bahá'u'lláh publicly announces His
mission, both to His followers and to the world in letters to the Kings,
rulers, religious leaders and mankind in general including elected
Most Babis accept Him and become known as Bahá'ís.
Note that Bahá'u'lláh's presence in Constantinople and Adrianople
were the first time in recorded world history that a Manifestation of God
set foot on European soil. Here, His revelation rose to its zenith; He is
shown great respect by local officials, the diplomatic corps, and
communities. Among those addressed by Bahá'u'lláh at this time
were: Napoleon III, the Czar, Queen Victoria, the Pope, the Sultan and
Shah. In most cases, Bahá'u'lláh declares His Mission and makes
demands of the ruler and states the consequences should He be rejected.
but Queen Victoria reject Him, and all but Queen Victoria succumb to
and humiliation, including Pope Pius IX.
1864 Bahá'u'lláh is poisoned by
His half brother, Mirza Yahya. He was seriously ill for a month and was
left with a shaking hand until the end of His life. (Today, you can see
effects of the poisoning in the penmanship of Bahá'u'lláh,
preserved in the Bahá'í archives in Haifa.) Mirza
Yahya has the well poisoned which provided water to
1865 Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'
Asie Centrale by the Comte de Gobineau is published, making
the West aware of the Bab. 'Abdu'l-Bahá becomes known by all
as "The Master".
some time later Bahá'u'lláh reveals the Tablet of Ahmad
for Ahmad-i-Yazdi, a resident of Baghdad, who travels throughout
Persia confirming that Bahá'u'lláh is the Promised One of all ages (part
of the proof he gave was a written statement by the Bab
"which declared that 'He Whom God shall make manifest' would bear the
12 Aug 1868 Mirza Yahya [who had been given the
title Subh-i-Azal (Morning of Eternity) by the Bab), responded to
Bahá'u'lláh's public claim by also claiming he was a messenger
of God. Due to the plotting,scheming and intrigues by Mirza
Yahya (who was the constant willing tool of Siyyid Muhammad), the
Sultan banishes Bahá'u'lláh and His companions to 'Akka,
while Mirza Yahya and his party (the Azalis)
are sent to Cyprus. Bahá'u'lláh and 66 of His followers departs
from Adrianople, initially for Gallipoli. Additionally, the government
that four of the Azalis would accompany the Bahá'í group
and vice versa. Siyyid Muhammad was one of the four to accompany
Bahá'u'lláh. The lies and calumnies
Yahya and Siyyid Muhammad damaged the prestige of the Faith in the
eyes of its western admirers such as E. G. Browne and A.L.M. Nicolas (the
French Diplomat and translator of the Persian and Arabic Bayans). Yahya
later died with no followers
left to give him a burial as either
a Babi or Bahá'í.
21 Aug 1868 Bahá'u'lláh departs from Gallipoli by steamer
for Haifa and then by sail to 'Akka.
31 Aug 1868 Arrival in 'Akka [the Most Great Prison, today known
as Acre], a prison city
for which it was said at that time that should a
bird fly over it, the bird would surely fall to the ground dead for its
air. During the first short while, almost all the prisoners became ill
malaria, dysentery or other sicknesses. 'Abdu'l-Bahá tended to all
the sick even though he himself contracted an illness. Bahá'u'lláh
predicts that one day He will pitch His tent on Mt. Carmel. Three
to their illnesses.
2 Sep 1868 The Governor of 'Akka visits the "desperate criminals"
and is deeply impressed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá. He is moved to improve their
conditions. Another visitor states that "such pure and sanctified souls
never before been seen in 'Akka". Meanwhile, Siyyid Muhammad and Aqa Jan
Big, the source of all the lies to the authorities, convinced
some guards to move their quarters to overlook the land gate so that they
could identify anyone who arrived if they were Bahá'í and thus
warning the guards, the pilgrims who had walked for weeks would be turned
back without even a glimpse of Bahá'u'lláh through His cell
23 Jun 1870 Mirza Mihdi (the Purest Branch,
Bahá'u'lláh's youngest son) falls through a skylight in the
prison. Bahá'u'lláh offers to heal him but Mirza
Mihdi instead offers his life as a sacrifice so that those who desire
may undertake pilgrimages. Bahá'u'lláh accepts and the Purest
Branch dies at age 22. 70 years later, his body is entombed in the
Gardens on Mount Carmel.
4 Nov 1870 Release from prison barracks to
house within 'Akka
(the house of 'Udi Khammar). This house was attached to the
house of 'Abbud. The partition between them was later removed and became
known as simply the house of 'Abbud.
23 Jan 1872 Murder of Siyyid Muhammad (the one who had constantly
manipulated Mirza Yahya into his cowardly acts), Aqa
Jan Big and another companion Covenant-breaker in 'Akka in
retaliation for their persecutions. Bahá'u'lláh had forbidden
any act of retaliation, but seven of His tormented companions succumbed.
An army of men descended upon the Bahá'ís. The seven guilty
men were confined for several years. The remainder were confined for six
months. The distress caused to Bahá'u'lláh of this event was immeasurable:
"That which can make Me ashamed is the conduct of such of My
followers as profess to love Me".
Aug - Sep 1872 Marriage of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Munirih
Khanum. Four of their daughters survived the long imprisonment and
distinguished themselves in their lives dedicated to service.
- 1873 A new governor of 'Akka is appointed.
This one was captivated by 'Abdu'l-Bahá and saw through the ploys
of the antagonists. He asked Bahá'u'lláh what he could do of
service: Bahá'u'lláh requested that the aqueduct be restored
to operation. Bahá'u'lláh reveals the Kitab-i-Aqdas
[the Most Holy Book, the Book of Laws and Ordinances of the Bahá'í
Faith]. In this Book is also found many more addresses to the rulers of
world and is the culmination of His formal declaration. The Bahá'í
transformed into a respected community and Bahá'ís
were allowed to open up shops.
1875 The new governor is transferred, expresses
his sorrow at his separation from Bahá'u'lláh and His son.
June 1877 Departure from 'Akka for the Mansion of
His first visits to the Ridvan Garden.
Sep 1879 Occupation of the Mansion of Bahji [Joy].
Bahá'u'lláh increasingly delegates affairs of the
Bahá'í community toward 'Abdu'l-Bahá, helping the community
to become gradually accustomed
to 'Abdu'l-Bahá's role after
1883 Visit by Bahá'u'lláh to Haifa
1886 Death of Bahá'u'lláh's wife
Navvab in 'Akka
April 1890 Edward Granville Browne of Cambridge University, interviews
Bahá'u'lláh and visits
with 'Abdu'l-Bahá at Bahji.
Spring 1890 and summer 1891 Two more visits by Bahá'u'lláh
to Haifa; revelation of the Tablet of Carmel; Bahá'u'lláh's
identification of the site of the future Shrine of the Bab.
1891 Bahá'u'lláh's revelation of
the Epistle to the Son of the Wolf
1892 Revelation of the
Book of the Covenant], the last Tablet revealed.
29 May 1892 Ascension of Bahá'u'lláh at 8 hours after
(approximately. 3AM) in Bahji, 'Akka.
1892 Unsealing and reading of Bahá'u'lláh's
Kitab-i-'Ahd at Bahji.
'Abdu'l-Bahá ["the Centre of
the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh", "the Master",
"the Most Mighty
Branch", "the Exemplar"] is appointed as the interpreter
of His teachings
and the source of authority in all affairs of the faith.
Muhammad-'Ali [also a son of
Bahá'u'lláh, designated The Greater Branch, second in rank
to 'Abdu'l-Bahá and
half-brother of 'Abdu'l-Bahá] undertakes
covert campaign to discredit
'Abdu'l-Bahá and assume leadership of
the Bahá'í Faith. 'Abdu'l-Bahá
chooses to keep silent
and protect the community
23 Sep 1893 First public mention of the Bahá'í Faith
West. In a session of the World's Parliament of Religions, the Reverend
George A. Ford, a Syrian missionary, reads a paper talking about
Feb 1894 Dr. Ibrahim George Khayru'llah, having
arrived in New York in 1892, moves to Chicago and
seeks out people interested
in the Bahá'í Message.
Chase becomes first American
Bahá'í. 'Abdu'l-Bahá confers upon him the
Louisa A. Moore becomes a Bahá'í, given the title "Banner",
i.e. Banner of the Cause, and
is later designated by the Guardian as "the
mother teacher of the West".
She marries Edward Getsinger and becomes Lua
Getsinger. Mrs. Phoebe
Hearst, wife of Senator George F. Hearst, was taught
by Lua Getsinger during one of Mrs. Getsinger's extensive
1 Mar 1897 Shoghi Effendi, eldest
grandson of 'Abdu'l-Bahá,
is born of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's eldest daughter in
the House of Abdu'llah
Pasha.. He is descended from Bahá'u'lláh on his mother's side
and related to the Bab on
his father's side.
1898 Phoebe Hearst organizes historic
of 15 early American Bahá'ís to meet 'Abdu'l-Bahá. By
there are hundreds of Bahá'ís in America. The
arrive in 'Akka 10 Dec 1898. The hearts of the pilgrims are set
by the love of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, so much so that some believe
'Abdu'l-Bahá is the return of Jesus Christ. 'Abdu'l-Bahá corrects
saying that He is the Servant of Bahá. Robert Turner, the
black butler of Mrs. Hearst, shown great kindness by
later becomes the first black Bahá'í on the American
May Ellis Bolles is asked to teach the Faith in Paris.
Khayru'llah, also among the pilgrims, sought
endorsement of his presentation of the Bahá'í Faith.
'Abdu'l-Bahá corrects his misconceptions and urged him to seriously
the Bahá'í Writings. Khayru'llah refuses.
31 Jan 1899 Remains of
the Bab finally arrive at Mt. Carmel.
'Abdu'l-Bahá begins construction of a befitting resting-place.
1899 First Bahá'í centre in Europe
established in Paris.
Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant, establishes pact with Mirza
Muhammad-'Ali and works against 'Abdu'l-Bahá, trying to seize
control of the Faith in the West. Almost none
of the American Bahá'ís
follow his lead; they remain faithful to
would continue spreading his poison for two
decades, but unsuccessful, finally
1901 'Abdu'l-Bahá and His family, until this time
to venture in the area, are once again confined to the prison walls
'Akka as a consequence of His enemies representation to the authorities
that 'Abdu'l-Bahá was constructing a
fort (in reality, the mausoleum)
and building an army (in reality, just
visiting pilgrims). He directs attention
to correspondence while in
prison and visits and assists the needy and the
sick of 'Akka.
summer 1901 May Ellis Bolles teaches Thomas Breakwell, first British
1902 May Ellis Bolles weds
Maxwell, designer of the superstructure of the Shrine
of the Bab,
becomes May Maxwell. They establish their home in Montreal,
7 Jun 1903 'Abdu'l-Bahá reveals Tablet calling for
the erection of a Temple in America.
1904 First commission appointed by the Turkish
the charges leveled against 'Abdu'l-Bahá.
The Spanish Consul offers Him
safe passage to any foreign port, but
'Abdu'l-Bahá refuses, saying He must abide by whatever the ruling.
1907 A second commission, composed of four corrupt
finally reaches a decision and announces that the charges against
'Abdu'l-Bahá have been substantiated and that He
was to be exiled
or executed. Upon their return to Turkey, the Young
Turk Revolution seizes
hold and the four commissioners flee.
1908 Purchase of some land for the future House of Worship in Wilmette,
1908 Some Answered Questions by Laura Clifford
Barney published, based on her interviews of
her four pilgrimages. The Young Turk Revolution
frees all prisoners of the
Ottoman Empire, including 'Abdu'l-Bahá in
September, Who is finally
free to leave Palestine. 'Abdu'l-Bahá drafts His Will and Testament,
two principal institutions of the Faith (the Guardianship -
authority for the interpretation of the Bahá'í teachings,
Universal House of Justice - the primary legislative and administrative
authority of the Bahá'í community). He begins
to focus on building
the international community and the establishment of
in North America and Persia, the forerunners of the
future local Houses of
28 Nov 1928 Construction begins on the first Bahá'í House
Worship ('Ishqabad, Russia).
20 Mar 1909 'Abdu'l-Bahá inters the
remains of the Bab
on the spot chosen by Bahá'u'lláh years earlier.
1909 First of the tablets of 'Abdu'l-Bahá
published in the West.
1910 Though in very poor health due to
imprisonment, 'Abdu'l-Bahá journeys to Egypt to spread the
11 Aug 1911 'Abdu'l-Bahá sails for Marseille and later
journeys to London (September) and Paris.
In December, He returns to Egypt.
11 Apr 1912 'Abdu'l-Bahá arrives
in New York City at the
request of the American Bahá'ís. Visits many
Chicago where He laid the cornerstone for "the Mother
Temple of the West",
Eliot Maine where Sarah Farmer, founder of Green Acre, later opened her facility
Bahá'í training, and Montreal where He was the guest of
William and May
Maxwell, whose home later became the first Canadian
Bahá'í centre, and
whose daughter Mary was to become the wife
of Shoghi Effendi. During the next 239 days, 'Abdu'l-Bahá spoke at
countless churches, halls and homes on many topics such as the basic
of the Faith, philosophical , moral and spiritual topics, and
spoke to church
congregations, peace societies, trade unions, university faculties, etc.
The talks are later
published as "The Promulgation of Universal Peace".
1 May 1912
'Abdu'l-Bahá lays the foundation stone for
the first Bahá'í House of
Worship in the West at Wilmette,
19 Oct 1912 'Abdu'l-Bahá visits the grave of Thornton
29 Jun 1912 'Abdu'l-Bahá hosts first Unity
Feast at the
Wilhelm properties in W. Englewood, New Jersey.
1912 'Abdu'l-Bahá sails for England,
London, Bristol and Edinburgh. He visits Paris,
Stuttgart, Budapest and Vienna.
May 1913 'Abdu'l-Bahá returns to
5 Dec 1913 'Abdu'l-Bahá returns to Haifa.
By now, 'Abdu'l-Bahá has dismissed all the
pilgrims from the Holy Land. He has predicted a great world conflict.
August 1914 The Great War begins and contact between 'Abdu'l-Bahá
and the West is cut off. 'Abdu'l-Bahá again becomes a prisoner of
Turkish government as a result of the machinations of Mirza
Muhammad-'Ali and again lives under the constant
threat of execution.
1916-1917 Tablets of the Divine Plan, the
mandate for the global expansion
of the Faith, is sent to America.
1918 Shoghi Effendi receives Bachelor
of Arts degree from the American University at Beirut.
23 Sep 1918
'Akka is liberated by British and Indian cavalry
and 'Abdu'l-Bahá is
1919 First Convention of the Covenant held in
York City. Later that year, Shoghi Effendi Rabbani [Rabbani meaning "Divine",
surname given to him by
'Abdu'l-Bahá] was acting as the Master's
secretary, translator and
right-hand man. Shoghi becomes known in "high"
1919 J. E. Esslemont visits for ten weeks, and in 1927
Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era.
27 Apr 1920 'Abdu'l-Bahá's
humanitarian services, having saved
thousands of people from famine in
Palestine after the War due to His personal
organization of extensive
agricultural operations near Tiberias, results
in British Government knighthood.
24 Sep 1920 Excavation
begins for the foundation of the House of Worship,
1920 'Abdu'l-Bahá sends Shoghi Effendi
to Oxford to perfect his
english. Shoghi Effendi believes his
lot in life
to be that of a translator and servant of 'Abdu'l-Bahá.
20 Dec 1920 Construction begins on the House of Worship in
28 Nov 1921 'Abdu'l-Bahá dies after a brief
illness at 1AM in
Haifa. Over ten thousand people, including Muslim, Roman Catholic, Greek
Orthodox, Jewish and Druze
dignitaries, the British High Commissioner and
governors of Jerusalem and
Phoenicia attend. Nine speakers, prominent
representatives of the Muslim,
Christian and Jewish communities, eulogize
His pure and noble life. By now the Bahá'í community has
throughout the Middle East, India and North America but most
still resided in Persia. 'Abdu'l-Bahá's last instructions are
an envelope addressed to Shoghi Effendi.
29 Dec 1921
Shoghi Effendi arrives in Haifa, accompanied by Lady Blomfeld
3 Jan 1922 Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá formally
read. The Guardianship is inaugurated and
Shoghi Effendi is appointed the
first Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith: the
interpreter of the Bahá'í Writings. As interpreter,
analyzed world events in the light of Bahá'í Scriptures
and sent lengthy letters to Bahá'í
communities throughout the
world with his results. He was asked numerous
questions on a broad range
of topics. His answers comprise a significant
portion of the interpretation
Bahá'í Writings. Shunning any personal acknowledgement
or praise, the
Guardian forbid any commemoration of events associated with
his life and
fulfilled his role largely outside of public view; a stark contrast
the charismatic style of 'Abdu'l-Bahá.
Generally speaking, the
Guardian concentrated on: the development of the
Center, the translation and interpretation of Bahá'í
the expansion of the administrative order, and the
implementation of the
divine plan of 'Abdu'l-Bahá.
15 Dec 1922 Shoghi Effendi returns to Holy Land to resume duties
16 Feb 1923 Declaration of the first native Hawaiian
on (Mae Tilton Fantom, Maui).
12 Mar 1923 Shoghi Effendi
calls for the establishment of Loca and
National Bahá'í Funds.
1923 National Spiritual Assemblies
in British Isles, Germany and India.
Spiritual Assembly is formed in
1925 National Spiritual
Assembly is formed in
the United States and Canada (one mutual assembly at this time).
1 Aug 1927 Bahá'í
Summer School opened at Geyserville,
14 Feb 1929 Work
begins on three additional chambers of the Shrine
of the Bab.
Mar 1929 League of Nations Council resolution upholds the
Bahá'í Community's claim to Bahá'u'lláh's house
27 Nov 1929 Restoration of the Mansion at Bahji begins.
15 Jul 1932 Passing of the Greatest Holy Leaf (Bahiyyih
Bahá'u'lláh's daughter, in Haifa. She
loyal stalwart supporter of the Faith and provided Shoghi
Effendi with invaluable
support after his appointment as Guardian.
1934 National Spiritual Assembly is formed in
Persia and Australia.
10 May 1934 Tax exemption for Bahá'í
properties on Mt.
21 Apr 1937 First Seven-Year
Plan launched. Goals: to establish at
least one local spiritual assembly
in every state of the United States and
every province of Canada; to make
certain that at least one Bahá'í
teacher was residing in each Latin American republic; to complete the
design of the first Bahá'í house of worship in North America.
The plan was successfully completed in 1944, the centenary of the
25 Dec 1939 Remains of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Mother (Navvab
- The Most Exalted Leaf) and Brother
(The Purest Branch) interred together
on Mt. Carmel.
21 Apr 1946
Second Seven-Year Plan launched. This plan focused on Europe,
had national spiritual assemblies
in Great Britain and Germany.
It also called for the formation of local
spiritual assemblies in Latin America
and a vast increase in assemblies
in North America. The plan was successfully
completed in 1953, the
centenary of Bahá'u'lláh's Intimation.
15 Dec 1946 Completion of plans for erection of arcade of the Shrine
of the Bab.
Mar 1948 Shoghi Effendi decides to commence work on the Shrine of
the Bab superstructure.
National Spiritual Assembly of the
Bahá'ís of Canada formed.
Special Act of Canadian Parliament is the
first official recognition of
the Bahá'í Faith by any government
9 July 1950 Completion of the Arcade and Parapet of the Shrine of
16 Dec 1950 Mazra'ih leased from Israeli authorities.
1951 The Guardian begins appointing Hands of the
Cause of God
(distinguished believers who were assigned tasks to teach the
Faith and protect its institutions).
1953 Formal dedication of the house of worship at Wilmette, Illinois,
designed by French-Canadian architect Jean-Louis Bourgeois.
1953 Ten Year World Crusade launched,
to conclude in 1963: the
centenary of Bahá'u'lláh's declaration in the
Ridvan.The goal was to extend the Faith to 132 more countries
the existing 120 countries and territories were to be expanded.
Oct 1953 The Shrine of the Bab is
4 Nov 1957 The Guardian dies in England of Asian flu
while on a visit
to purchase furnishings for the Bahá'í archives building
Mt. Carmel. Although provisions permitted successive Guardians, Shoghi
had not appointed one (no
living direct descendants of Bahá'u'lláh
were faithful to His Covenant).
The Guardian had indicated that at the completion
of the Crusade,
conditions were ripe for the election of the Universal House
The Hands of the Cause of God, collaborating with the national
spiritual assemblies, worked to complete the
goals of the Ten Year World
1 Feb 1959 Completion of the
Bahá'í Home for the
Aged in Wilmette, Illinois.
15 Jan 1961
Dedication of the House of Worship in Kampala, Uganda.
16 Sep 1961 Dedication of the House of Worship in
28 Apr 1963 First Bahá'í World Congress
in London, England.
The Hands of the Cause of God, in an unprecedented
gesture of renunciation,
disqualified themselves from eligibility for the
election of the Universal
House of Justice. The nine members of the first
Universal House of Justice
are elected by the members of the 56 existing national spiritual assemblies
the world. The first membership included Bahá'ís of Jewish,
Muslim backgrounds and several ethnic origins.The
Bahá'í Faith, having
withstood the attacks of those who would
destroy it, and those who would fragment it into dozens of sects,
as one unified Faith with one sole living authority: the
of Justice; truly the Day that shall never be followed by
in the Bible.
30 Apr 1963 Presentation of the members of the first Universal House
Justice; reading of its first message in London, England.
1964 The Universal House of Justice launches a Nine Year Plan
to be completed in 1973, the centenary of Bahá'u'lláh's
revelation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas.
26 Apr 1964
Election of the first National Spiritual Assembly of the
4 Jul 1964 Dedication of the Mother Temple of Europe in
19 Feb 1968 First Ruling Monarch to become a Bahá'í accepts
the Faith: His Highness
Malietoa Tanumafili II - Head of State of Western
1969 The Universal House of Justice had appointed 11 Continental
Counsellors to serve the Faith in roles of protection and propagation.
21 April 1970 Eleven more national
spiritual assemblies are formed,
bringing the total to 94.
April 1971 By now, 10,360 Local Spiritual Assemblies exist,and
reside in 46,334 localities.
Dec 1971 Erection of Obelisk on Mt. Carmel to mark site of future
29 April 1972 Dedication of Mother Temple of
Latin America in Panama.
By now, the Spiritual Assembly of Iraq has been
dissolved because of persecution
Bahá'ís in that land.
15 Mar 1973 Mazra'ih is purchased.
Apr 1973 The Universal House of Justice launches a FiveYear Plan.
Jun 1973 Announcement of the establishment of the International
Centre in Haifa.
7 Feb 1974 Announcement of the design for the Permanent Seat
of the Universal
House of Justice.
13 July 1974 Dedication of the John Bosch Bahá'í
School in Santa Cruz, California.
14 Jan 1975 Purchase of
the house of 'Abdu'llah Pasha,
'Abdu'l-Bahá's Holy House in 'Akka and birthplace of Shoghi
Jun 1975 Announcement of beginning of excavation for the Seat of
Universal House of Justice.
12 Sep 1976 His Highness Malietoa
Tanumafili II of Western Samoa visits
Shoghi Effendi's grave in London, England.
1978 Religious fanaticism
in Iran sparks the beginning
of persecution against the Bahá'ís of Iran.
27 Jan 1979 Foundation Stone Ceremony, site of future House of
Western Samoa, with His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili II.
21 Apr 1979 The Universal House of
Justice launches a SevenYear Plan.
31 Jan 1983 Universal House of
Justice occupies its Permanent Seat
on Mt. Carmel.
21 April 1983
In the last five years, the House of
the Bab and
the ancestral home of Bahá'u'lláh in Takur were razed
scores of Iranian Bahá'ís were executed: their crime -
Summer, 1983 Six young women, aged 18-25 were hanged in Shiraz.
were offered freedom if they would recant their Faith. None accepted
that offer. Children are expelled from
schools in Iran for being
21 April 1984 Nine new National
Spiritual Assemblies are formed, bringing
the number to 143. The Bahá'ís
of Iran continue to be
Some six hundred men, women and children are currently in prison.
administrative functions have long been disbanded there.
1 Sep 1984
Dedication of the House of Worship in Apia, Western Samoa.
The Universal House of Justice publishes "The Promise of World
Peace". This statement on peace is formally
presented to virtually all rulers,
whether individuals or parliaments, of
the world and to the leading thinkers
of the world.
17 Nov 1985
Universal House of Justice announces reinterment of the
remains of Mirza Muhammad-Quli (faithful
of Bahá'u'lláh) in new Bahá'í cemetery
looking towards the
Qiblih of the Faith (i.e. the resting place of
21 Apr 1986 The Universal House of Justice launches a SixYear Plan.
3 Aug 1986 Historic visit to Bahá'í World Centre by Sir
Davis, Prime Minister of the Cook Islands for a consultation with
the Universal House of Justice on world
24 Dec 1986 Dedication of the House of Worship of the Indian
in New Delhi, India.
21 April 1987 By now, more than
1 million copies of "The Promise of
World Peace" had been distributed. 200 Iranian Bahá'ís are
prison in Iran.
3 Oct 1987 Bahá'í Faith becomes sixth world
to join Network On Conservation and Religion of the World Wide
Fund for Nature.
Sep 1988 Opening of the Maxwell International Bahá'í
School in British Columbia, Canada.
21 April 1990 By now, two Knights of Bahá'u'lláh had
settled in Sakhalin
Island, the last remaining territory named by Shoghi
Effendi in his Ten
Year Global Plan. A two-year subsidiary teaching plan
is introduced by the Universal House of Justice. The
United States House
of Representatives unanimously adopted a resolution
calling for the
emancipation of the Iranian Bahá'í Community.
March 1992 Word of the secret execution of Mr. Bahman Samandari
in Iran is made known.
21 April 1992
The Holy Year begins, in commemoration of the centenary of
the passing of
Bahá'u'lláh. The Faith is now represented in
every nation on earth. Law
of Huququ'llah takes effect. Last known execution
of a Bahá'í in Iran took place this month.
Nov 1992 Second Bahá'í World Congress held in the
City of the Covenant
(New York City) - attended by 30,000 Bahá'ís.
21 March 1993 The
Most Holy Book (Kitab-i-Aqdas) is published
in English for the first time.
21 Apr 1993 The Universal House
of Justice launches a ThreeYear Plan.
March 1995 World Summit for
Social Development in Copenhagen involving
250 Bahá'ís from more than 40
countries. "The Prosperity of
Humankind", produced by the Bahá'í International Community's
Public Information, was distributed and discussed.
21 April 1995
172 National Spiritual Assemblies are existent.
Sept 1995 The
Fourth World Conference on Women was held in
attended by more than 500 Bahá'ís and an official delegation
from BIC. Also in 1995, the Bahá'í International Community's
Nations Office produced and distributed a statement, entitled "Turning
Point for All Nations", containing proposals for the development of the United
21 Apr 1996 The
Universal House of Justice launches a FourYear Plan.
framework of the Centre for the Study of the Texts and the
the International Archives Building has been raised up and the
work on these buildings has advanced towards
initiation of the exterior and
interior finishing work. The erection of
the permanent seat of the International
Teaching Centre, the third
structure currently being built on the Arc, is
progressing rapidly. Seven terraces below the Shrine of the Bab are
completed, foreshowing the unfolding splendour from the foot to the ridge
of God's Holy Mountain."
This is a work in progress.
More details on the development
of the World
Center will be added when I can do so.
It is my hope that this chronology provides you with an overview which
aid your understanding of the extraordinary circumstances in which
Bahá'í Teachings have been revealed. This is by no means an
exhaustive work; myriads of details have been left out for the sake of
As a suggestion, try viewing this chronology when you pick up one
Bahá'u'lláh's works. Look at His trials and tribulations and
words from The Pen of Glory. How else could such outpourings of
wisdom and love have emanated under such
circumstances from an uneducated
Man except through the Power of God? This
is the first and foremost proof
of the Manifestation of God: His
--J. Thomas Pawlowski