This article is to introduce the Baha’i Faith and the bicentenary celebration world-wide of the birth of the Bab. Let’s also celebrate today which was designated by the United Nations as the INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE GIRL CHILD (Friday, October 11th)
There was once a woman, a Persian woman named Tahirih ( Ta-ha-ray), a renowned poetess as recorded in that part of the worlds history. She has become most widely known for her declaration “You can kill me as soon as you like but you cannot stop the emancipation of women…” Her intuitive knowledge was extraordinary.
When I was in Chicago (taking a class near the Baha’i House of Worship in Wilmette a few years ago) I heard about a major theatre production that was being presented to share the story of Tahirih’s life, and the gift she gave women when she unveiled herself in that part of the world in the mid 1800’s. This theatre production was not done by followers of her religion, so it appears their research was secular.
My personal association to Tahirih is through my religion, my faith. She went on to proclaim “…I am the blast of the trumpet, I am the call of the bugle. Like Gabriel I will awaken sleeping souls.”
The first half of the 19th century was a period of messianic expectation in the Islamic world, as was the case in Christendom. These events are also recorded in secular historical accounts.
In 1844 the Bab (which means the Gate) announced Himself and His mission from God. Tahirih was one of the first to recognize Him and to believe in His mission. Tens of thousands of His followers were killed and martyred.
In 1850 the government and the clergy of Iran combined to accomplish the Babs execution by a firing squad. That, in itself, is a long and miraculous story. Tahirih was strangled to death in 1852.
The death of the Herald of a New Era. The Bab had also announced the close succession of “Him Whom God shall make Manifest”.
In 1863 Baha’u’llah (which means the Glory of God) announced Himself and declared His mission and station to the world. Baha’u’llah proclaimed that the prophetic cycle in humanities religious history had now ended and the day of fulfillment had now arrived. It is as the Christians pray, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
As you can imagine many Baha’is (which means followers of the light) and believers of the Bab and Baha’u’llah also believe in the spiritual messages from One God as revealed to Abraham, Moses, Zoroaster (The religion of the wise men guided by the stars to baby Jesus) and Jesus Christ, Muhammed and in other parts of the world Buddha, Krishna and many more.
For many Indigenous and Native American people here in South Dakota there was the White Buffalo Calf Woman who is sacred and brought the spiritual message of the seven sacred rites to the people. Sacred women are present throughout religious and spiritual history, (if his-story we need more of her-story written also). It was the Maiden of Heaven who appeared to Baha’u’llah before he announced His mission and station to the world. Tahirih was one of the first to herald the mission of the Bab , the Herald of a New Era.
Much of the religious text is written in masculine form. I believe it is meant universally because I believe God our Creator is an unknowable essence. I believe we seek with our hearts and “The heart is the dwelling of eternal mysteries.” (from the Baha’i writings).
Also from the Baha’i writings….
O Son of Being!
Love Me, that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee. Know this, O servant.
For more information about the Baha’i Faith please call 1-800-22-UNITE or go to www.us.bahai.org