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Welcome to the David Victor Vector blog. This is blog that covers religious observances around the world international affairs and global business. This blog describes religious holidays for most major religions as well as raising issues dealing with globalization, international business ethics, cross-cultural business communication and political events affecting business in an integrated world economy. I look forward your discussion and commentary on these articles and subjects. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Birth of the Báb

The Bahai'i holiday of the Birth of the Báb takes place on October 20.

The Birth of the Báb is a holiday on which Baha’i’s do not work which for some would include missing classes.  The holiday is often observed by visits to the Temple and by the recitation of the Prayer of the Tablet of the Visitation.

Iranian Revolutionary Guards destroying
the Birthplace of the Báb in Shiraz in 1979

The Báb was born on October 20, 1844 as Siyyid Ali-Muhammed in Shiraz, Iran (at that time Persia).  The building of the Birthplace of the Báb in Shiraz, Iran was also a point of pilgrimage until it (along with all other Baha’i holy sites) were destroyed in the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

The title “The Báb” means “the Gate” as he foretold the coming of “He whom God shall make manifest” (that is, the Bahá'u'lláh, the religion’s founder).  The Báb is also called “The Herald” by Baha’i’s, who sometimes make the comparison of the role of the Bab in Baha’iism to that of John the Baptist in Christianity. As Dale E. Lehman explains on the website Planet Baha’i:

Unlike John, however, He founded an independent religion and claimed equal station with Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. Bahá'ís view the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh both as "Manifestations of God" even though by the Báb's own testimony His mission was subordinate to Bahá'u'lláh's.

In addition to parallels with Christianity, Baha’i’s emphasize that the Báb was a direct descendant of the Moslem Prophet Mohammed on both his mother’s and father’s side. 

Fromer site of the
Declaration of the the Báb
before its destruction by
Iranian Revolutionary Guards
in 1979
The Báb declared himself to be "the Gate" on May 23, 1844. The room where he made this proclamation was a pilgrimage site among Bahai'is until the building in which it was located was destroyed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in 1979 as part of their formal persecution of the Bahai'is.

The Shrine of the Báb
Haifa, Israel 

After attracting tens of thousands of followers, the Báb was considered a threat to the government leaders and clerics of Persia’s Qajar dynasty. After being imprisoned and brutally beaten, the Báb was put to death by firing squad for heresy in 1850 in Tabriz (in what is now Iran but was then Persia).

After his martyrdom, thousands of his followers – called Bábís – were persecuted and approximately 20,000 were killed.  During this period,  the Báb’s remains were smuggled out of Persia to the Baha’i holy city of Haifa, Israel.

The Shrine of the Báb in Haifa houses the remains of the Báb. In 2008, the Shrine of the Báb was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. Today, the Shrine of the  Báb is the location of a major Bahai'i pilgrimage, especially on the Birthday of the Báb.

Further Reading
Bahai'i Topics, "The Báb,"  http://info.bahai.org/the-bab.html

"Bahai'is to mark the Birth of the Bab," Bahai'i World News Service: http://news.bahai.org/story/659

"The Coming of the Báb," BBC Religions: http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/bahai/history/bab_1.shtml#section_2

Dale E. Lehman, "The Birth of the Báb," Planet Bahai'i, http://www.planetbahai.org/cgi-bin/articles.pl?article=16

Clip Art Sources

Opening Bahai'i star clip art: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Bahai_star.svg&page=1

Iranian Revolutionary Guards destroying the Birthplace of the Báb in Shiraz in 1979: http://media.bahai.org/subjects/7204/details/

Shrine of the Báb: http://media.bahai.org/subjects/locations/holy_places_hai/shrine_bab/8003/details

Fomer site of the Declaration of the the Báb: http://media.bahai.org/subjects/locations/other_holy/7140/details