Born on 12 November 1817, Mirza Husain Ali was born in the city of Tehren into a family of wealthy government ministers. He was able to trace his lineage back to the great Iranian rulers in the past. Coming from a Twelver Shi`a background, he received the best of education at that time, studying at a prestigious private school for the children of government diplomats and officials.
In the year 1835, he married the daughter of another nobleman and had three children, one of them named Abdul Bahaa. In the nineteenth century, there was an incredible amount of turmoil in the world of the Twelver Shi`a, many eagerly awaiting the re-appearance of the 12th Imaam, who had disappeared centuries ago in the cave of Samaraa. There were many messianic movements and claims to the title of Mahdi by numerous pretenders. One of these charismatic charlatans was a man by the name of Buzurg-i-Nuri. He claimed himself to be the Baab, the doorway through which the Mahdi would come.
Mirza Husain Ali, along with another student named Yahya, was a devoted follower. Upon the death of Buzurg-i-Nuri, Yahya was slated to be the successor according to the will of the Baab, however through intrigue and other methods, Mirza Husain was able to seize control of the cult. Upon becoming the leader, he began to direct himself to the task of further defining teachings and doctrines of the Baabi cult. After deep contemplation, Mirza Husain Ali proclaimed that the followers of his would be called Bahais and that he was Baha’u’llah, the splendour of Allah and the greatest prophet as of yet sent. He was the Christ of the Christians, the grand bodhisattva of the Buddhists, the final avatar of the Hindus and the Mahdi to the Muslims.
He even proclaimed that there were prophecies about him in the Jain religion! Indeed, he left no prophetic stone unturned. As his claims of prophecy spread and his beliefs became more well-known, the Ottoman governmental authorities came to know of his false claims to prophecy. He and his followers were sent into exile. The city chosen was Acre in today’s Israel. This is where he would live out the remainder of his days, at a penal colony built by the Ottomans for the world’s worst charlatans, murders, fanatic and highway robbers.
On 29 May, 1892, Mirza Husain Ali died. His remains were laid to rest quickly and his place of interment today is known as Bahji, the holiest place on Earth for Bahais. It is a frequent place of visitation as well as pilgrimage for Bahais every year to see the remains of their master.
1. Ultimately Allah is unknowable and humanity will never have a relationship with Him or see Him for that matter.
2. It is Baha’u’llah and not the Prophet Muhammad that is the greatest prophet. Bahais do not accept the primordiality of the Messenger of Allah SAW.
3. There is no Bahai that adheres to one of the Orthodox Schools of law.
4. Paradise and the Fire are seen as states of the mind and not real places with real events in them.
5. The Qur’an is abrogated as a revelation and now it is the works of Baha’u’llah that hold primacy.
6. The Messiah is not to come again, rather this is metaphorical and was referring to Baha’u’llah.
7. There is no Mahdi, as this was only referring to Baha’u’llah.
There are Bahais in some 120 different countries around the world. It has been estimated by the World Christian Encyclopaedia that there are between some 4-7 million Bahais worldwide as of a census taken in the year 2001.
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