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Martyrdom of the Báb

In 1844, Siyyid 'Ali-Muhammad announced that he was the gateway to a new era for humankind. He called himself the Báb, which means "the Gate" in Arabic, and said he was a Messenger of God who came to prepare his followers for a greater Messenger who would share divine teachings that would bring humanity together in order to create justice and bring an era of universal peace. The Báb gained followers over the next six years while advocating for the poor, universal education, the study of science, and the advancement of women. But the leaders of the state religion in Persia did not approve of him, and he was imprisoned and tortured, as were many of his followers. In 1850, a new prime minister ordered him to be put to death. The date of the execution was July 9th, the date on which we mark the Martyrdom of the Báb.

One of the Báb's followers, Anis, wanted to die by his side, and an Armenian firing squad lined up and shot both of them in the public courtyard outside of where they were being held in Tabriz, Persia. Or so it was at first thought. When the guns fell silent, Anis was unharmed and the Báb had vanished. He was found in his cell, completing a letter. Because of the apparent miracle, the soldiers refused to try to kill him again. A new regiment was called in, they fired on the Báb and Anis, and this time they both died. Their bodies were thrown in a moat on the edge of town.

The Báb's followers, the Bábí community, rescued the bodies and kept them until 1909, when they buried them in a shrine at Mount Carmel, in present-day Haifa, Israel. One of the Báb's followers, Baha’u’llah, tried to keep the Bábí community together after his death. He revealed himself as the Messenger of God that the Báb had prophesied. His teachings form the foundation of the Bahá'í faith. On Martyrdom of the Báb, Bahá'ís read special prayers at noon, the time of the day that the Báb's execution was scheduled for. It is also a day of rest for Bahá'ís, and some make pilgrimages to the Shrine of the Báb.

How to Observe Martyrdom of the Báb

Some ways to observe the day include:

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