Fatima, widow of the Bab

Fatima, widow of the Bab; another one was her current husband;

and two were "Letters of the Living" that were appointed by the

Bab. The murderers were never punished nor disowned by

Baha'u'llah. The conflict between the two parties became so

fierce that the Turkish government separated them, sending Babis

to Cypress and the Baha'is to Akka in Palestine.

Baha'is often claim that Baha'u'llah was imprisoned most of

his life. He was in exile and was not free to leave Akka, but for

the most of his stay in Akka he was free to move about and owned

palaces and gardens that were purchased with funds supplied by

his followers in Iran and other countries.

Baha'u'llah's claim to be God put him under the difficult

pressure of having to play and live up to that role during the

twenty-six years of his life that followed. Contrary to his

previous custom, in Akka he lived largely in seclusion. No one

was allowed to visit him except by special permission.

One writer of this time wrote: "each visitor was carefully

prepared for his audience with the Manifestation of God. He was

told that what he saw when he came into the Divine Presence would

depend on what he was himself - If he was a material person he

would see only a man, but if he was a spiritual being he would

see God. When his expectations had been sufficiently aroused, the

pilgrim was led into the presence of Baha'u'llah and was

permitted to gaze a few moments upon the "Blessed Perfection",

care being taken that the visitation should end before the spell

was broken. Baha'u'llah, however, did not encourage the Baha'is

in their desire to visit him..there was too great a risk of their

seeing and hearing things in Akka which might weaken their faith.

There was a saying among the Baha'is of Iran that "whosoever went

to Akka lost his faith."

In Akka Baha'u'llah recognized that the Bab had designed his

religion in a manner suitable only to Persia. He also saw that

the Bab's vision of world wide theocracy was unrealistic. Thus,

in order to promote the universal aspirations of the Babi/Baha'i

religion, Baha'u'llah ignored many of the Bayan's injunctions and

sought to make the faith appealing to the Christians and Muslims

in the lands to which the religion had spread. Baha'u'llah

appealed to members of these faiths out of their own scriptures,

claiming not only to be the one whom the Bab foretold, but also

the return of the Shi'ite Hidden Imam, the return of Christ, AND

the Comforter whom Jesus said would come.

Baha'u'llah wrote numerous epistles called "tablets" to

believers, rulers, the Pope in Rome and other religious leaders.

He also wrote longer treatises. All are considered to be the word

of God. In all, these works number over 100. Baha'is have no

definite Canon of scripture. A small book called the AQDAS is

considered the most important of Baha'u'llah's writings, and yet

no authoritative translation of the Arabic has ever been

published. One Arabic scholar refers to them as "rehash of the


The essence of Baha'u'llah's message is aptly summarized

thus: "His writings reached the outside world. They advocated a

broad religious view upholding the unity of God and the essential

harmony of all prophesy when rightly understood. He called upon

all religions to unite, for every religion contains some truth

because all prophets are witnesses to the one Truth that Baha'ism

supremely represents. The human race is under one God and will be

united through his spirit when the Baha'i cause is known and


Baha'u'llah WARNED that NO NEW MANIFESTATION would come for

1,000 YEARS! "Whoever claims Command before completion of a

thousand years is a false liar....Whoever explains this verse or

interprets it in any other way than that plainly sent down, he

will be deprived of the Spirit and Mercy of God."

This warning is interesting because Baha'u'llah had

previously taken this very liberty with the Bab's writings, but

realizing someone after him could do just what he had done, he

forbade anyone else from taking the same liberty.

Baha'u'llah died a natural death in 1892 at the age of 74.

It is reported that between the years 1866 and 1891 about 31

Baha'is were killed in Iran.


With the death of the Divine Manifestation, leadership of

the Baha'i movement passed to Baha'u'llah's oldest son, Abbas

Effendi, who took the name Abdul Baha (Servant of Baha). Abdul

Baha was born on May 23, 1844, which is reputed to be the same

day that the Bab made his fateful declaration of deity.

While he never claimed to be an actual Manifestation of God,

Abdul Baha proclaimed that he was the "Center of the Covenant."

Though Baha'u'llah would have objected, Abdul insisted that only

HE was the sole rightful interpreter of his father's writings and

that his writings were OF EQUAL AUTHORITY with those of

Baha'u'llah. Most of the faithful gladly accepted these claims,

as to them it meant the divine manifestation of Baha'u'llah was

continuing with them through his son. However, an opposition

party arose headed by Abdul's brother, Mizra Mohammad Ali, who

had been appointed second in succession by his father. The

opposition contended that Baha'u'llah had never made provision

for his successor to take such absolute authority, and that, in

fact, only a Manifestation could rightfully claim such authority.

The opposition called themselves Unitarians and called the rest

"Violators of the Covenant. "Most of Baha'u'llah's family members

sided with the Unitarians, believing that Abdul was a self-

seeking opportunist. In return, Abdul excommunicated them and

deprived them of the funds that Baha'u'llah had arranged for them

to receive. The conflict grew extremely bitter, even to the point

of violence. The schism was especially significant because it

centered around two sons of Baha'u'llah, his appointed

successors. The Unitarians never became a strong movement and

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