Explore the history and significance of the Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í Faith. Learn about His teachings, the events leading up to His passing, and how Bahá’ís observe this sacred occasion.
The Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh refers to the passing of Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í Faith, from this earthly realm to the spiritual world. Bahá’u’lláh’s ascension took place on May 29, 1892, in Bahji, near Acre, in what is now modern-day Israel. It is considered a significant event in the Bahá’í Faith and is commemorated annually by Bahá’ís around the world.
Bahá’u’lláh, whose birth name was Mirza Husayn Ali, was a Persian nobleman who proclaimed to be the manifestation of God for this age. He revealed a new religious system that emphasized the unity of humanity, the essential harmony of religions, the importance of justice, and the need for the establishment of a global peace.
During His lifetime, Bahá’u’lláh faced persecution, imprisonment, and exile for His teachings. His ascension marked the end of His earthly mission, but His spiritual influence continues to guide the Bahá’í community and inspire people worldwide.
The Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh is a solemn occasion for Bahá’ís, during which they reflect on the life and teachings of Bahá’u’lláh and commemorate His passing with prayers, gatherings, and acts of service. It is also a time for Bahá’ís to rededicate themselves to the principles and goals of the Bahá’í Faith and to strive for the betterment of humanity.
History of Ascension of Bahau’llah
The history of the Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh is closely intertwined with the life and teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í Faith. Here is a summary of the events leading up to His ascension:
Bahá’u’lláh, whose given name was Mirza Husayn Ali, was born in 1817 in Tehran, Persia (now Iran). In 1863, He declared His mission as the Promised One of all religions and the bearer of a new revelation from God. His teachings emphasized the oneness of humanity, the unity of religions, and the establishment of a global civilization based on justice, equality, and peace.
Due to the perceived threat His teachings posed to the established religious and political authorities, Bahá’u’lláh faced persecution, imprisonment, and exile throughout His life. In 1853, He was arrested and imprisoned in Tehran’s Síyáh-Chál, a subterranean dungeon known as the “Black Pit.”
In 1854, Bahá’u’lláh was transferred to the notorious prison-fortress of Tehran, called the Síyáh-Chál of Ṭihrán, where He experienced a transformative spiritual revelation known as the “Divine Revelation.” It was during this time that Bahá’u’lláh received the first intimations of His mission and the divine purpose for which He was chosen.
After His release from prison, Bahá’u’lláh was exiled from Persia and sent to Baghdad, Iraq, in 1853. During His time in Baghdad, He continued to attract a growing number of followers and gradually revealed His teachings through letters, tablets, and books. His message gained recognition among a diverse range of individuals, including government officials, scholars, and ordinary people.
In 1863, Bahá’u’lláh made a momentous announcement in the Garden of Ridván, located in Baghdad. He declared that He was the Promised One foretold by the Báb, the founder of the Bábí Faith. This declaration marked the birth of the Bahá’í Faith and the beginning of a new religious era.
Subsequently, Bahá’u’lláh was further exiled by the Ottoman Empire to Constantinople (now Istanbul) and then to Adrianople (now Edirne) in present-day Turkey. It was during His time in Adrianople that Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings began to be recognized by a broader international audience, with influential figures and scholars visiting Him and acknowledging the significance of His message.
However, due to political pressure and the machinations of His adversaries, Bahá’u’lláh was again exiled, this time to the prison city of Akka (Acre), in what is now modern-day Israel. Bahá’u’lláh spent the remaining years of His life in Akka and its surrounding area, facing various restrictions and hardships.
On May 29, 1892, Bahá’u’lláh passed away in Bahji, a mansion located just outside Akka. This event is known as the Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh. His passing marked the end of His physical presence but signaled the continuation of His spiritual influence and the enduring impact of His teachings on humanity.
Following His ascension, leadership of the Bahá’í Faith passed to His eldest son, `Abdu’l-Bahá, who further spread His father’s message and played a pivotal role in establishing the Bahá’í administrative order.
What do the Bahaí call God?
In the Bahá’í Faith, God is referred to by various names and attributes. One of the central teachings of the Bahá’í Faith is the belief in the oneness of God, emphasizing that there is only one God who is the source of all creation. The Bahá’í writings use a variety of terms and titles to refer to God, reflecting different aspects of His nature and attributes.
The primary name for God in the Bahá’í Faith is “Alláh,” which is an Arabic word meaning “God.” This term is used to signify the one true God worshipped by Bahá’ís and is recognized as the same God worshipped in other major religions.
Additionally, the Bahá’í writings use a wide range of other names and titles to describe God, such as “the Creator,” “the Almighty,” “the Most High,” “the Eternal,” “the Merciful,” “the All-Knowing,” and “the All-Wise.” These names and attributes reflect different aspects of God’s nature and help to convey the understanding of His characteristics in human language.
The Bahá’í teachings emphasize that God is beyond human comprehension and cannot be fully grasped or defined by human understanding. Bahá’ís believe that God is unknowable in His essence but reveals Himself to humanity through His Manifestations, who are the divine messengers and prophets sent throughout history to guide and educate humanity.
Overall, the Bahá’í understanding of God is that of a loving, compassionate, and all-powerful Creator who is the source of all life and the ultimate reality.
How to Observe Ascension of Bahau’llah
Observing the Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh is a significant event for Bahá’ís and can be done in various ways. Here are some common practices and suggestions for observing this occasion:
- Study and Reflect: Take time to study the life, teachings, and writings of Bahá’u’lláh. Reflect on His messages of unity, justice, and peace. Consider the impact of His life and mission on humanity.
- Prayer and Meditation: Engage in prayer and meditation to connect with the spiritual significance of Bahá’u’lláh’s ascension. Offer prayers of gratitude for His teachings and the guidance He has provided to humanity.
- Commemorative Gatherings: Join or organize gatherings with other Bahá’ís and friends to commemorate the Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh. These gatherings can include prayers, readings from the Bahá’í writings, and discussions about the life and teachings of Bahá’u’lláh.
- Acts of Service: Engage in acts of service and kindness as a way to honor Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings. Consider participating in community service projects, contributing to social and humanitarian initiatives, or supporting causes that align with the principles of the Bahá’í Faith.
- Devotional Programs: Organize or attend devotional programs dedicated to the remembrance of Bahá’u’lláh. These programs can include prayers, readings, music, and other expressions of spirituality.
- Visiting Bahá’í Holy Places: If possible, visit the Bahá’í holy places associated with Bahá’u’lláh’s life, such as the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh in Bahji, Israel, or the House of the Báb in Shiraz, Iran. These locations hold deep significance for Bahá’ís and can provide a unique opportunity for reflection and reverence.
- Study Circles and Discussions: Engage in study circles or participate in discussions centered around the writings of Bahá’u’lláh. Explore His teachings in a group setting and exchange insights and reflections with fellow believers.
Remember that the observance of the Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh is a personal and communal experience. It is an opportunity to deepen one’s understanding of Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings and strive to live according to His principles of unity, justice, and love for all humanity.