1- 800 - 22 - UNITE

For information on the Bahá'í Faith in the USA

Welcome to THE BAHÁ'ÍS -- hosted by www.bahai.com

A Profile of the Bahá'í Faith and its Worldwide Community

Back Home (Cover Page) Next

About :

The Bahá'ís Magazine

Home :
Magazine Cover Page

Contents : Contents
bullet.gif (837 bytes) The Bahá'ís
bullet.gif (837 bytes) Unity in Diversity
bullet.gif (837 bytes) Bahá'u'lláh
bullet1.gif (837 bytes) Social and Moral
bullet1.gif (837 bytes) Spiritual Beliefs of
the Bahá'í Faith
bullet1.gif (837 bytes) A System for
Global Governance
bullet1.gif (837 bytes) A Century of
Growth and
bullet1.gif (837 bytes) New Approaches
to Old Problems
bullet1.gif (837 bytes) Towards the New
World Order

Bahá'u'lláh -- Exile

Upon His release [from the "Black Pit"], Bahá'u'lláh was banished from His native land, the beginning of forty years of exile, imprisonment, and persecution. He was sent first to neighboring Baghdad. After about a year, He left for the mountainous wilderness of Kurdistan, where He lived entirely alone for two years. The time was spent reflecting on the implications of the task to which He had been called. The period is reminiscent of the periods of seclusion undertaken by the Founders of the world's other great Faiths, calling to mind the wanderings of Buddha, the forty days and nights spent by Christ in the desert, and Muhammad's retreat in the cave on Mt. Hira.

In 1856, at the urging of the exiled Bábís, Bahá'u'lláh returned to Baghdad. Under His renewed leadership, the stature of the Bábí community grew and Bahá'u'lláh's reputation as a spiritual leader spread throughout the city. Fearing that Bahá'u'lláh's acclaim would re-ignite popular enthusiasm for the movement in Persia, the Shah's government successfully pressed the Ottoman authorities to send him farther into exile.

In April 1863, before leaving Baghdad, Bahá'u'lláh and His companions camped in a garden on the banks of the Tigris River. From 21 April to 2 May, Bahá'u'lláh shared with those Bábís in His company that He was the Promised One foretold by the Báb--foretold, indeed, in all the world's scriptures.

The garden became known as the Garden of Ridvan, which indicates "paradise" in Arabic. The anniversary of the twelve days spent there are celebrated in the Bahá'í world as the most joyous of holidays, known as the Ridvan Festival.

On 3 May 1863, Bahá'u'lláh rode out of Baghdad, on His way to Constantinople, the imperial capital, accompanied by His family and selected companions. He had become an immensely popular and cherished figure. Eyewitnesses described the departure in moving terms, noting the tears of many scholars, government officials and onlookers and the honor paid to Him by the authorities.

"I have never aspired after worldly leadership. My sole purpose hath been to hand down unto men that which I was bidden to deliver by God..." -- Bahá'u'lláh

After four months in Constantinople, Bahá'u'lláh was sent as a virtual state prisoner to Adrianople (modern Edirne), arriving there on 2 December 1863. During the five years He spent there, Bahá'u'lláh's reputation continued to grow, attracting the intense interest of scholars, government officials and diplomats.

Beginning in September 1867, Bahá'u'lláh wrote a series of letters to the world leaders of His time, addressing, among others, Emperor Napoleon III, Queen Victoria, Kaiser Wilhelm I, Tsar Alexander II of Russia, Emperor Franz Joseph, Pope Pius IX, Sultan Abdul-Aziz, and the Persian ruler, Nasirid-Din Shah.

In these letters, Bahá'u'lláh openly proclaimed His station. He spoke of the dawn of a new age. But first, He warned, there would be catastrophic upheavals in the world's political and social order. To smooth humanity's transition, He urged the world's leaders to pursue justice. He called for general efforts at disarmament and urged the world's rulers to band together into some form of commonwealth of nations. Only by acting collectively against war, He said, could a lasting peace be established.

Continued agitation from opponents caused the Turkish Government to send the exiles to Acre, a penal city in Ottoman Palestine. Acre was the end of the world, the final destination for the worst of murderers, highway robbers and political dissidents. A walled city of filthy streets and damp, desolate houses, Acre had no source of fresh water, and the air was popularly described as being so foul that overflying birds would fall dead out of the sky.

Into this environment, Bahá'u'lláh and His family arrived on 31 August 1868, the final stage in His long exile. He was to spend the rest of His life, 24 more years, in Acre and its environs. At first confined to a prison in the barracks, Bahá'u'lláh and His companions were later moved to a cramped house within the city's walls. The exiles, widely depicted as dangerous heretics, faced animosity from the city's other residents. Even the children, when they ventured outside, were pursued and pelted with stones. As time passed, however, the spirit of Bahá'u'lláh's teachings penetrated the bigotry and indifference. Even several of the town's governors and clergy, after examining the teachings of the Faith, became devoted admirers. As in Baghdad and Adrianople, Bahá'u'lláh's moral stature gradually won the respect, admiration and, even, leadership of the community at large.

It was in Acre that Bahá'u'lláh's most important work was written. Known more commonly among Bahá'ís by its Persian name, the Kitab-i-Aqdas (the Most Holy Book), it outlines the essential laws and principles that are to be observed by His followers, and lays the groundwork for Bahá'í administration. [See page 25]

In the late 1870s, Bahá'u'lláh was given the freedom to move outside the city's walls and His followers were able to meet with Him in relative peace and freedom. He took up residence in an abandoned mansion and was able to further devote Himself to writing.

On 29 May 1892, Bahá'u'lláh passed away. His remains were laid to rest in a garden room adjoining the restored mansion, which is known as Bahji. For Bahá'ís, this spot is the most holy place on earth.

Next pages:

"Excerpted from The Bahá'ís, a publication of the Bahá'í International Community."

Back  |  Top  |  Next

Photo from page 21
When He first arrived in
Acre, Bahá'u'lláh and His
family were confined to
this prison on the shore
of the Mediterranean.

Photo from page 22
Map showing the route
of Bahá'u'lláh's exile.

Photo from page 23
The most holy spot in
the Bahá'í world: Bahji,
the resting place of
Bahá'u'lláh's earthly
remains. Surrounded by gardens, the mansion of Bahji is visited by thousands of   pilgrims every year. Their focus is the small garden house to the right of the main mansion, where Bahá'u'lláh's physical remains are buried.







© Since 1997 www.bahai.com

Thanks for visiting