Founding Figures

Extracts from Bahá’í UK Community Website

These holy Manifestations have been as the coming of springtime in the world… For each spring is the time of a new creation...
– `Abdu'l-Bahá

The Bahá’í Faith was founded by Bahá'u'lláh in the 19th century. Bahá’ís, who are followers of Bahá'u'lláh, strive to apply His teachings to their daily lives. Bahá’ís believe Bahá'u'lláh to be a Divinely Inspired Educator, entrusted by God to deliver His message to all of humanity for today. Bahá’ís also recognise the Báb as another Divinely Inspired Educator, whose purpose was to prepare humanity for the coming of Bahá'u'lláh.

Both the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh are considered by Bahá’ís to be Manifestations of God, perfect beings whom God sends to humanity to reveal His will and purpose. Although we can never know the essence of God, we can discern, through the Manifestations, His qualities and attributes.

A room in the house of the Báb in Shiráz, now destroyed, where He declared His mission on 23 May 1844.

The Báb - Herald of the Bahá’í Faith (1819—1850)

In 1844, at a time of widespread moral breakdown in Persia, present-day Iran, a young merchant from Shiraz took the title of ‘The Báb’, meaning ‘the Gate’ in Arabic, and announced that He was the bearer of a message destined to transform the life of humanity. He called for spiritual and moral reformation, to improve the position of women and the lot of the poor. As the symbolic gate between past ages of prophecy and a new age of fulfilment for humanity, the Báb founded a distinct independent religion of His own. His revolutionary message of spiritual renewal attracted tens of thousands of followers who became known as Bábí’s.

However He was also the Herald of a new Revelation from God, with a role to prepare the way for the coming of a new Divine Educator, who would usher in the era of peace and justice promised by all religions. The religious authorities of the day, disturbed by the upheaval surrounding the Báb’s message, clamoured for His arrest and imprisonment. He was eventually tried and sentenced to death by firing squad in the town square of Tabriz on 9 July 1850. Twenty thousand of His followers were also killed in a series of brutal massacres throughout Persia.

In 1909, after more than half a century, the Báb’s remains were finally interred in His Shrine on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land, today a sacred place of pilgrimage for Bahá’ís from all over the world.

Bahá'u'lláh - Founder of the Bahá’í Faith (1817—1892)

Bahá'u'lláh, whose title means the Glory of God, proclaimed to be the Promised One foretold by the Báb and prophesised by all the Divine Educators of the past. Bahá'u'lláh was born in 1817 in Tehran, Iran.

From a young age, He was renowned for His extraordinary wisdom, compassion, generosity and commitment to justice. As the son of a nobleman, He was offered a prestigious position in the Court of the Shah, but declined it in favour of a life dedicated to serving the poor, the vulnerable and the oppressed.

"My object is none other than the betterment of the world and the tranquillity of its peoples."
- Bahá'u'lláh
The resting place of Bahá'u'lláh in Bahji, Israel, regarded as the most holy place for Bahá’ís, and a place of pilgrimage.

In the mid-19th century, Bahá'u'lláh arose to proclaim a new Revelation from God. The thousands of letters and volumes of books He revealed, outline a framework for the development of a global civilization that encompasses both the spiritual and material aspects of human life.

These new teachings were met with vehement opposition from the clergy and ruling elite of the time, and Bahá'u'lláh was imprisoned, tortured and exiled for 40 years. Throughout all these hardships, He continued to proclaim His message of oneness and world unity.

During His incarceration, Bahá'u'lláh wrote to the Monarchs and Rulers of the day, including Queen Victoria. In His letters, He proclaimed the advent of a new Divine Revelation and exhorted the world leaders to uphold justice, abolish slavery and oppression, lay down their weapons of war and establish a lasting peace.

Bahá'u'lláh passed away in 1892, and although still a prisoner of the Ottoman Empire, His life and teachings continue to inspire millions of people around the globe to contribute to the betterment of their individual and collective lives.