Religion — St. Croix
On May 23, Baha'is around the world will celebrate the 167th anniversary of the birth of the Baha'i Faith. The holy day marks the Declaration of the Bab, who in 1844 announced that He was a new divine Messenger, sent to herald a new age for humanity. A 25-year-old merchant at the time of His declaration, Siyyid Ali-Muhammad became known as the Bab, which is Arabic for "gate." He said His mission was to prepare the way for a universal Messenger of God who would soon appear, as predicted in the scriptures of the world's major religions. One of the followers of the Bab, later known as Baha'u'llah, announced in 1863 that He was that Messenger.
Baha'is consider both the Bab and Baha'u'llah to be founders of their faith. The Bab's declaration of His station was made in the city of Shiraz in what is now Iran. He almost immediately attracted a large following, which governmental and religious authorities found threatening. Some 20,000 of His followers were killed, and the Bab Himself was executed by firing squad in 1850 in the northern Iranian city of Tabriz.
The house in Shiraz, Iran, where the Bab first made His announcement, had been preserved as a Baha'i holy site, but in 1979, it was destroyed by a mob aided by revolutionary guards. His remains are entombed in Haifa in a beautiful, golden-domed shrine surrounded by gardens on the side of Mount Carmel.
The Baha'i calendar dates from 1844, with the year 168 B.E. (Baha'i era) now under way. The Declaration of the Bab is one of nine holy days during the year on which Baha'is suspend work.
For more information on the Bahá’í Faith and local activities including study circles, devotional meetings and children’s classes, call 776-7024
or visit the Web site www.bahaivi.org