Baha’u’llah, whose name in Persian means ‘Glory of God’, was born on 12 November 1817 to a wealthy, highly respected minister in the court of the Shah of Iran, displayed signs of extraordinary spirituality from childhood.
In 1844 Baha’u’llah responded to the call from Shiraz, Iran, of the Bab, who claimed to be the bearer of a revelation from God and the herald of that Manifestation awaited by all religionists. As with thousands of followers of the Bab who were persecuted and put to death, so was Baha’u’llah imprisoned in a dark vermin-infested dungeon, to await execution.
His four-month long incarceration in that siyah chal transmuted Him from a mere mortal into a divine being. In His own words: “One night in a dream these exalted words were heard: ”Verily we shall render Thee victorious by Thyself and by Thy pen.” Providentially saved, Baha’u’llah and His family were exiled as prisoners in 1852, first to Baghdad and in subsequent stages to the prison colony of Akka, Palestine.
While in Baghdad, in April 1863, He declared His mission as the Promised One, the Centre of convergence of all faiths. He suffered forty years’ imprisonment and died in 1892. His grave in Bahji, Akka, Israel, is a pilgrim centre for Baha’is worldwide.
Baha’ullah unfolded his view of God’s design of a planet administered by a federal system of world government and a world parliament with population-based representation. A world executive, judiciary and army to enforce its decisions. A planet whose natural resources are equitably distributed. A global economy with a single world currency. A universal, holistic system of education, with two languages: a world language and a national tongue.
Underscoring the unity of religion and of the Manifestations of God, Baha’u’llah cautioned: “Beware, O believers in the unity of God, lest ye be tempted to make any distinction between any of the Manifestations of His Cause, or to discriminate against the signs that have accompanied and proclaimed their Revelation. Whoso maketh the slightest possible difference between their persons, their messages, ... hath disbelieved in God...”