New religion Essay

This essay has a total of 2233 words and 9 pages.


new religion





The Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith proclaims itself to be the youngest of the independent world religions.
Its roots stem from Iran during the mid-nineteenth century. This new faith is primarily
based on the founder, Bahá'u'lláh, meaning 'the Glory of God'. Bahá'ís (the believers) in
many places around the world have been heavily persecuted for their beliefs and
differences and have been branded by many as a cult, a reform movement and/or a sect of
the Muslim religion. The Bahá'í Faith is unique in that it accepts the teachings of what
they believe to be all the divine messengers, these are Abraham, Moses, Zoroaster, the
Buddha, Jesus and Muhammad. The faith believes each messenger is equally authentic of the
one living God. This is in line with what is called progressive revelation. What is
meant by progressive revelation is that, "Bahá'ís believe that this series of
interventions by God in human history has been progressive, each revelation from God more
complete than those which preceded it, and each preparing the way for the next." The
teachings of these messengers are seen as a path for people's salvation. With each new
messenger, more is revealed by God. Like a long journey or novel, the ones who were
before prepared the way for the next, and with the next making it more complete. "Like
Muslims, Bahá'ís believe that God is One. God "manifests" his will to humanity through
the series of messengers whom Bahá'ís call "Manifestations of God". This purpose is to
provide perfect guidance for both all encompassing spiritual growth and the unification of
all societies. Bahá'ís believe that all of these religions are each one part of a divine
plan.

The Faith first appeared in Persia (which is now Iran), where Islam was the dominating
religion. It grew out of Islam much like Christianity had bloomed out of Judaism. The
new believers religious ideas were based on the Qur'án, and believed that within the
Qur'án, that the prophecies of it were being fulfilled. Initially Islamic clergy saw the
followers as "Muslim Heretics". And from these "Heretics", the first phase of the Faith
was laid down; it was to become known as the Bábí Faith. The progenitors of the Faith
were direct descendants of the Imams (Shiah chosen leaders). Tension grew between the
Sunni and Shiah sects due to differences in belief of what leadership should prevail and
rule after Muhammad's death. The first Sunni dynasty gained power twenty-nine years after
Muhammad's death, and at once began putting the Imams to death, these descendents of
Muhammad believed that it was them who should continue with Muhammad's teachings and
assume the leadership of the people. With the persecution of the Imams, Shiah tradition
says a young child, known as the twelfth Imam, was concealed to avoid execution. He was
then to be known as the 'Hidden Imam'. For a period of sixty-nine years following his
disappearance, the Hidden Imam was said to have communicated secretly with his followers
through arbitrators, who took the title of bábs (gate). With the passing of the bábs, the
title was passed on to a newly appointed one. The fourth and last báb refused or was
unable to appoint a new successor and it was therefore implied that the matter to be left
in the hands of God.

On May 23, 1844 in the city of Shiraz, a man named Siyyid Ali Muhammad announced that he
was the promised final Báb. To the Muslim clergy the claims made by this man were a
threat to the foundation of Islam. The Báb's (Siyyid) mission was that he was the long
awaited Imam Mahdi (the Guided One), the messenger of God, the one to free the Bábí's
(followers of the Shiah sect, awaiting for the new Imam) from the Islamic Shari'ah (canon
law). With this threat, uneasiness occurred and outbreaks of violence ensued, armed
forces were then sent to crush this Bábí movement. The Báb was executed in 1852, and
while thousands of Bábí 's were also slaughtered at this time, the Faith at this point
barely hung on to the edge of existence. The Bábs mission appeared to have ended in
failure.

A handful of Bábí's escaped the massacre from 1848-1852, and among them was a noble man
named Mirza Husayn 'Ali'. Mirza was a devoted Bábí and one of the first to proclaim his
faith to the Báb. These few believers' freedom ended in 1852 when the government captured
the remaining of these Bábí's. The Bábí's were placed in what was known in the East, as
the most horrible jail to ever exist. It was given the name 'the Black Pit', by all who
knew of it. It was here that Mirza would sit with chains around his legs, arms and neck
for four months. With each passing day, a new Bábí would fall to the hands of an
executioner. It was during these four months, that Mirza gained the title

Bahá'u'lláh (the Glory of God), and contemplated his full mission. The experience in the
'Black Pit' set in motion a process of religious revelation which, over the next forty
years, led to the production of hundreds of books, tablets and letters. This material
forms the core of the sacred scripture of the Bahá'í Faith. In these writings,
Bahá'u'lláh outlined a framework for the reconstruction of all human society at all
levels: spiritual, moral, economic, political and philosophical.

At the end of his four-month jail term, Bahá'u'lláh began his life of banishment. His
journey of exile began in Baghdad following Istanbul, Edirine and finally Acre, Israel. In
each new city Bahá'u'lláh would gain the reputation as a spiritual and gifted teacher,
which drew listeners, followers and believers of all social class backgrounds.
Bahá'u'lláhs growing influence excited intense fear and suspicion in the minds of the Shah
and his government under Islamic rule. Shortly before the move to Istanbul, Bahá'u'lláh
prayed in a garden on the Tigris River, known to Bahá'ís as the garden of Ridvan
(Paradise). It was in this garden that he announced to his closet followers that he was
"He Whom God Will Make Manifest", the universal messenger of God promised by the Báb and
by the scriptures of the earlier divine religions. Bahá'í history refers to Bahá'u'lláhs
experience in the "Black Pit" as the dawning of his revelation (this event is still
celebrated around the world as the chief festival of the Faith). With each attempt made
by the Shah and his party to banish Bahá'u'lláh from country to country, Bahá'u'lláh left
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