Bahá’ís across the world are anticipating Oct. 29, 2019 − the 200th anniversary of the birth of the herald of the Bahá’í faith, the Báb. The Báb, (a title that means the Gate) is a special Luminary who was born in October 1819 in Shiraz, Iran, and he prepared the way for Bahá’u’lláh, prophet founder of the Bahá’í faith.

This is a brief introduction to a most inspiring personage who brought a revitalizing message for humankind. In 1844, he called for a new path and new way of being for humanity. The key point of his message that I find so inspiring is that the world would be set on a new path of spiritual prosperity moving toward a new world civilization. A civilization that demanded the equality of women and men, the recognition of the oneness of humanity, and improving the life of the poor. The Báb also revealed that there would be someone new after him called him whom God shall make manifest. His message was revolutionary and he inspired thousands of people who were searching for justice and a new way of life. This spiritual revolution brought severe consequences from the authorities and they combined forces to wipe out the message of the Báb.

Their strategy was to banish the Báb from place to place and to imprison him. It did not work because the Báb’s message spread like a wildfire across an oppressed environment. The opponents also went after his followers, called Bábi’s, and thousands were imprisoned and killed. Eventually, the Báb was sentenced to be executed on July 9, 1850, in Tabriz, Iran. His life of courage inspired millions. He promised to humanity that there would be another after him that would usher in a new period of peace and tranquility. That personage is Bahá’u’lláh − the glory of God.

Another point of inspiration for me is how his message was revealed. First, a young man named Mulla Husayn had been searching for the promised one. One night in May, 1844, Mulla Husayn met a man who revealed to him that he was indeed the promised one. However, before the revelation could be shared, the Báb told him − “O thou who art the first to believe in me! Verily I say, I am the Báb, the gate of God... Eighteen souls must, in the beginning, spontaneously and of their own accord, accept me and recognize the truth of my revelation.” The rest is history as those other 18 exceptional souls independently recognized the station of the Báb on their own and dedicated their lives to him. If you are interested, you must read about these precious 19 souls called “The Letters of the Living.” They still inspire today.

This historical introduction leaves out the specific prayers, calendars, and writings that the Báb left for us to live by. He introduced the Bábi calendar, which Bahá’ís continue to use today. There is one prayer that I committed to memory as a child and that I know has been put to music in countless diverse languages across the planet. It has a special potency and goes like this:

“Is there any remover of difficulties save God? Say: Praised be God! He is God! All are his servants, and all abide by his bidding!”

Another favorite of mine is a prayer for protection. A portion of the prayer is this:

“In the name of God, the Lord of overpowering majesty, the all-compelling. Hallowed be the Lord in whose hand is the source of dominion. He createth whatsoever he willeth by his word of command ‘Be,’ and it is. His hath been the power of authority heretofore, and it shall remain His hereafter. He maketh victorious whomsoever he pleaseth, through the potency of his behest. He is in truth the powerful, the almighty. Unto him pertaineth all glory and majesty in the kingdoms of revelation and creation and whatever lieth between them... Say: God sufficeth unto me; he is the one who holdeth in his grasp the kingdom of all things. Through the power of his hosts of heaven and earth and whatever lieth between them, he protecteth whomsoever among his servants he willeth. God, in truth, keepeth watch over all things. Immeasurably exalted art thou, O Lord! Protect us from what lieth in front of us and behind us, above our heads, on our right, on our left, below our feet and every other side to which we are exposed. Verily, thy protection over all things is unfailing.”

Please join us in celebrating the life of the Báb. Celebrations will be posted and all are welcome.

Educator and writer Nanette Missaghi shares this space with Dr. Bernard E. Johnson, Beryl Schewe and the Revs. Rod Anderson and Timothy A. Johnson. “Spiritually Speaking” appears weekly.

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