A group of Arlington Baha’is, joined by a Chilean guest, gathered in the evening of May 22, 2014 to commemorate the Declaration of the Bab, marking 170 full years since the beginning of the Baha’i Faith!
The gathering continued with spiritually-uplifting conversations about the momentous event which took place 170 years ago in the city of Shiraz, Iran, and concluded with songs and the reading of the potent Tablet of Visitation at 10:31 pm — two hours and 11 minutes after sunset — the moment when the Bab informed His first disciple of His mission.
“I am,” thrice exclaimed the Báb, “I am, I am, the promised One! I am the One whose name you have for a thousand years invoked, at whose mention you have risen, whose advent you have longed to witness, and the hour of whose Revelation you have prayed God to hasten. Verily I say, it is incumbent upon the peoples of both the East and the West to obey My word and to pledge allegiance to My person.”
Two hours after sunset on May 22, Arlington Bahá’ís along with countless others throughout the world celebrated through programs consisting of prayers, songs, and story-telling a momentous event which marks the beginning of the Bahá’í Faith and the inauguration of a new spiritual era.
On the evening of May 22, Baha’is throughout the world commemorate the Declaration of the Bab, which took place in this room (pictured) in the Persian city of Shiraz in 1844.
The Báb—born Siyyid `Alí-Muhammad in Shiraz, Persia (now Iran)—announced on May 22, 1844, that He was the bearer of a Divine Revelation which would prepare humanity for the advent of the Promised One of all religions.
That Promised One, the Báb declared, was destined to usher in the age of justice, unity and peace promised in all the other world religions. Bahá’u’lláh, one of the Báb’s leading advocates, announced in April 1863 that He was the Divine Messenger the Báb had promised.
The Báb’s announcement in the middle of the 19th century came at a time when many Christians were expecting the return of Christ based on their reading of Biblical prophecy. Simultaneously, half way around the world, in the Middle East, many followers of Islam were also expecting their Promised One to appear. A new spiritual era was about to begin.
Those who had met the Báb were struck by the beauty of His being and grace. His voice, particularly, when chanting the tablets and prayers He revealed, possessed a sweetness that captivated the heart.
Against the backdrop of widespread moral breakdown in Persian society, the Báb’s assertion that He was the Bringer of a new Revelation from God and His call for spiritual and social renewal aroused both hope and excitement among the masses and hostility among the religious and political leaders of His day.
He quickly attracted thousands of followers.
Soon the Báb and His followers were persecuted by the religious and political leaders. The Bab was imprisoned, exiled, beaten and finally executed. The followers, by the thousands, were tortured and martyred.
Today, the Bahá’í Faith has more than five million followers from every part of the world, drawn from every class of society and nearly every religion. In the United States, the Bahá’í Faith now has about 160,000 adherents.
On May 22, 1844 two hours after sunset, Siyyid ‘Alí-Muhammad announced that He was the bearer of a new Divine Revelation which would prepare humanity for the coming of the Promised One of all religions. Siyyid ‘Alí-Muhammad took the title “the Báb” which means “the Gate”. The Báb stated that His purpose was to prepare mankind for this next Divine Messenger who would usher in a time where peace and harmony would be established on earth and humankind will live in prosperity.
Bahá’u’lláh, announced in April 1863 that He was the Divine Messenger the Báb had promised. Today Bahá’ís all over the world celebrate the anniversary of the Báb declaration of His mission on the evening of May 22 and during the day of May 23. May 23 is one of the nine holy days Bahá’ís suspend work or school.
Here in Arlington, we will be commemorating this very important date with friends in Fairfax East and Mount Vernon on Friday May 22. To find out more about these celebrations or to join us, please contact us. Everyone is welcome to attend these celebrations.