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Bahá’ís Commemorate Martyrdom of the Báb

The Báb

All around the globe, Bahá’ís will observe the Martyrdom of the Báb at noon on July 10th, believing that He set in motion a fresh cycle of progressive revelation to humanity.

The Báb’s story began less than two centuries ago. The Báb (which means Gate) began his new Faith in 1844, stirring message, which heralded the future appearance of a great, worldwide revelation, rapidly caught fire in that very tradition-bound Shi’a Muslim culture.

At first just a few people learned about the Báb, but then thousands and tens of thousands began to become Bábis, radically breaking away from their society’s Islamic traditions and practices. The Bábi Faith’s very existence called into question the authority of Persia’s Islamic religious leaders. In fact, the rapid growth of the Bábi Faith challenged the basic underpinnings of Persian society.

The Báb

The proclamation of the Báb attracted thousands of followers in a short time. Fearful of the Bab’s growing influence caused by His proclamation and teachings, which called for spiritual and moral renewal, religious and political leaders arose to oppose and persecute the Báb and His followers.

A mere six years after the Bab’s announcement of his new Faith, the government ordered the execution of this young, intensely charismatic messenger, only thirty one years old at the time. More than 20,000 of His followers were killed in several waves of brutal persecution. Though guilty of no crime, the Báb was arrested, beaten, exiled and imprisoned by the authorities. Then He was executed in public by a firing squad in the city of Tabriz in northwest Persia.

This all happened when people began flocking to the Báb’s new spiritual teachings. Because the Báb called for revolutionary changes to the prevailing system of religious belief and governance, and because he taught the unity of all religions, the authorities feared that this dynamic new challenge and its growing support would soon sweep them from power.

Báb started a progressive new Faith in the midst of one of the world’s most corrupt and backward societies. He suffered enormously as a result, but even after his gruesome execution the Babi Faith paved the way for the global emergence of the Baha’i Faith, just as John the Baptist did for Jesus’s new Faith at the beginning of the Christian era.