Bahá’ís Commemorated 171st Anniversary of the Martyrdom of The Báb

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Shrine of Bab

Compiled by 
Jaya Raju Thota, India
 ( JRT, India)

On Friday, July 9, 2021 (17 Raḥmat, 178 B.E.) Bahá’ís throughout the world commemorated the 171st Anniversary of the Martyrdom of "The Báb, ", the Prophet-Herald of the Baha’i Faith with prayers and special programs at noon on 9th July, 2021.

The Báb, whose name means "The Gate" in Arabic, had declared on May 23, 1844 that He was a Messenger of God sent to prepare the way for the long-awaited Promised One of all religions who would come to establish an Age of Universal Peace. 

In 1863 Bahá’u’lláh announced publicly that He was that Promised One of all the past religions.

The Báb, attracted tens of thousands of people to His teachings, more than twenty thousands of whom were killed in brutal persecutions that swept Iran. 

The Báb,  was immediately beset by severe persecutions by religious and government forces who saw Him as a threat to their authority.

The Báb was exiled to the mountains of Azerbaijan, imprisoned in the fortresses of Mah-Ku and Chihriq, and eventually executed in 1850 in the provincial capital city of Tabriz.

At the age of 31, the Báb,  and one of His disciples who begged to share His martyrdom were executed by a firing squad of 750 soldiers in a public square in Tabriz.

At least ten thousand people witnessed a miraculous event in the Baha’i history – the public martyrdom of the The Báb by the Persian government.

More than 20,000 of His followers were also killed in several waves of brutal persecution.

Today, the sacred remains of the Báb,  rest on Mount Carm Haifa, Israel, at the heart of the Spiritual and Administrative Centre of the Baha’i Faith. 

The Shrine dedicated to His name, and the carefully maintained surrounding gardens, have been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are open to everyone as a place for prayer and meditation.

The anniversary of the martyrdom of the Báb,  is also one of the nine    Bahá’i Holy Days when Bahá’ís suspend work.

Here is an account which is in line with the common Baháʼí Faith view by historian H.M. Balyuzi, a Hand of the Cause of God, who published several carefully researched histories about the Baháʼí Faith and its central figures:

"Sam Khan approached the Bab: 'I profess the Christian Faith and entertain no ill will against you. If your Cause be the Cause of truth, enable me to free myself from the obligation to shed your blood.' 

To this, the Báb replied: 'Follow your instructions, and if your intention be sincere, the Almighty is surely able to relieve you from your perplexity.'

The Báb and His disciple were suspended by ropes from a nail in the wall, the head of Mirza Muhammad-'Ali resting on the breast of the Báb. Seven hundred and fifty soldiers were positioned in three files. Roofs of the buildings around teemed with spectators.

Each row of soldiers fired in turn. The smoke from so many rifles clouded the scene. When it lifted the Báb was not there. Only His disciple could be seen, standing under the nail in the wall, smiling and unconcerned. Bullets had only severed the ropes with which they were suspended. Cries rang out from the onlookers: 'The Siyyid-i-Báb has gone from our sight!'"

A frantic search followed. The Báb was found, sitting in the same room where He had been lodged the night before, in conversation with His amanuensis. That conversation had been interrupted earlier in the day. Now it was finished and He told the farrash-bashi to carry out his duty. But the farrash-bashi was terror-stricken and ran away, nor did he ever return to his post. Sam Khan, for his part, told his superiors that he had carried out the task given to him; he would not attempt it a second time. So Aqa Jan Khan-i-Khamsih and his Nasiri regiment replaced the Armenians, and the Báb and His disciple were suspended once again at the same spot. The Nasiri regiment fired. The bodies of the Báb and His disciple were shattered, and their flesh was united.— H.M. Balyuzi

It is with such thoughts in mind that Bahá’ís enter into collaboration, as their resources permit, with an increasing number of movements, organizations, groups and individuals, establishing partnerships that strive to transform society and further the cause of unity, promote human welfare, and contribute to world solidarity.

– THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

For many years after His death, the remains of the Báb were secretly transferred from place to place until they were brought to their final resting place at the Shrine of the Báb in Haifa on the middle terrace of the Baháʼí Gardens.

The anniversary of this event is commemorated by members of the Baháʼí Faith at noon on Rahmat 17 (of the Baháʼí Calendar - i.e., July 9 or July 10). It is one of nine Holy Days when work is suspended.

Beloved Master ʻAbdu'l-Bahá says:

This day is the day of the Martyrdom of His Holiness the Exalted One [the Bab], may My spirit be a sacrificed unto His sanctified blood.

This Day is the day in which this Sun of Truth concealed itself behind the clouds of mercy.

This Day is the day in which this luminous Orb did set!

This Day is the day in which that pure and refined Being fell upon and rolled onto the blood-soaked earth.

This Day is the day in which His hate-free Breast, like unto a spotless mirror, was riddled by thousands of bullets!

This Day is the day in which that Divine Lamp became severed from its physical frame!

This Day is the day in which the lamentations of the Concourse on High are raised.

This Day is the day in which the inhabitants of the Kingdom, with tearful eyes and throbbing hearts, weep and moan!

The Bahá’í Faith is established in more than 100,000 localities in virtually every country and territory around the world.