On November 12th, Baha’is celebrate the birth of Baha’u’llah, the Founder of the Baha’i Faith. Baha’u’llah, whose title means “the Glory of God” in Arabic, brought divine teachings for the unification of humankind.
Born in Tehran, Iran, Baha’u’llah’s given name was Husayn Ali. He was the son of a wealthy government minister and enjoyed a privileged childhood. He was knowledgeable beyond His years, although He did not receive a formal education. Baha’u’llah was renowned for His wisdom, and His opinion was sought on countless subjects including intricate spiritual and theological questions from leading religious figures in Iran.
After the death of His father in 1839, Baha’u’llah was offered His father’s ministerial position but He declined, choosing instead to pursue a variety of philanthropic services for which He had, by that time, become known as the “father of the poor.”
Baha’u’llah was an early follower of the Bab, the leader of a religious movement that shook the social foundations of Persia in the 1840s. Like many other members of the Babi religion, He was persecuted for His faith. In 1852, Baha’u’llah received a divine revelation while imprisoned in Tehran. Upon His release from prison, He was exiled to several places in the Ottoman Empire. While in exile in Baghdad, Baha’u’llah declared His divine mission as the bearer of new spiritual teachings foretold by the Bab. He was exiled with members of His family and other followers to the prison city of Akka in what is now Israel.
Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings proclaim the unity of religion and the fundamental oneness of humanity, and contain prescriptions for the personal and societal requirements of a future global society.
Baha’u’llah taught that humanity is undergoing a transition to its age of maturity, and that the peaceful unification of the humanity is now possible. Some examples of Baha’u’llah’s principles for achieving a peaceful, just and unified society include the abandonment of all forms of prejudice; the equality of women and men; the unity of religious truth; the elimination of extremes of poverty and wealth; the establishment of universal education; and the recognition that true religion is in harmony with reason and science.
Some 30,000 Baha’is and their friends will commemorate the Birth of Baha’u’llah in their communities and neighbourhoods across Canada. Baha’i holy days such as the Birth of Baha’u’llah include gatherings with prayers and celebrations to which all are welcome.