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History 2 - Bahá’u’lláh (1817-1892)

Entrance to the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh, burial place of the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, near Akka, Israel. To Bahá’ís, it is the holiest spot on earth.
© Baha’i World Centre

History 2 - Bahá’u’lláh (1817-1892)

Bahá’u’lláh is regarded as the Prophet-founder of the Bahá’í Faith and the Manifestation of God for today. He was born Mírzá Husayn-‘Alí on 12 November 1817 to a noble family of Nur in Mazandaran, Iran. He became a follower of the Báb in 1844 and became a Bábí leader. Persecutions raged against Bábís in 1852 and Bahá’u’lláh was imprisoned in an underground dungeon where he first received a revelation that he was the promised one foretold by the Báb. On his release, he and his family were banished from Iran through the Ottoman Empire for the next 15 years, culminating in his imprisonment in the prison city of Akka. The last years for Bahá’u’lláh were spent under house arrest at the mansion of Bahji, near Akka, where he passed away in 1892, aged 74. The writings of Bahá’u’lláh comprise thousands of letters (called Tablets) and several books, many of which have been translated into English.

1.
Which Cambridge orientalist studied and wrote about the Bábí and Bahá’í Faiths, and was the only European to meet Bahá’u’lláh and write a pen-portrait of him?
Ernest Rutherford
J.C. Maxwell
E.G. Browne
Charles Melville
Professor E.G. Browne was Sir Thomas Adam’s Professor of Arabic at Cambridge from 1902. He met Bahá’u’lláh in 1890 and wrote a well-known description of him which began: “The face of him on whom I gazed I can never forget, though I cannot describe it. Those piercing eyes seemed to read one's very soul; power and authority sat on that ample brow...”
2.
Why was Bahá’u’lláh put in an underground dungeon called the Siyáh Chál in Tehran in the summer of 1852?
He didn’t believe in Muhammad
He caused a riot
He was a notable Bábi
He criticised the government
His imprisonment followed an attempt on the life of the Shah by two misguided Bábís. He was one of 38 notable Bábís thrown into prison for at least 4 months.
3.
As Bahá’u’lláh prepared to leave Tehran in January 1853, he was offered safe passage by a minister to a neighbouring country. Which country was this?
Afghanistan
Russia
Pakistan
Turkey
The Russian minister, Prince Dolgorukov, invited Bahá’u’lláh to go to Russia. He declined the offer however and continued his exile to Iraq.
4.
Where can an original photograph taken of Bahá’u’lláh be seen?
The House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois.
The Bahá'í Archives building, Haifa
The Topkapi Museum, Istanbul
The British Museum
This photograph was taken in 1868 when Bahá’u’lláh was in Adrianople. The original can be seen by Bahá’ís as part of the pilgrimage programme in Haifa.
5.
Which book written by Bahá’u’lláh sets out laws, ordinances and exhortations concerning subjects such as prayer, fasting, marriage, pilgrimage and holy days?
Kitáb-i-Aqdas
Kitáb-i-Iqán
Kitáb-i-Asmá’
Lawh-i-Hikmat
The title of this book means ‘The Most Holy Book’. It was written in 1873 while Bahá’u’lláh was confined in Akka. It was written in response to questions from Bahá'ís about which laws should be followed in their daily lives.
6.
What does the name ‘Bahá’u’lláh’ mean?
Son of God
Glory of God
Manifestation of God
Chosen One of God
In Islam there is a tradition that among the various names of God, one is the greatest. Bahá’ís believe that the Greatest Name of God is ‘Bahá’, which means glory, splendour or light.
7.
Which book did Bahá’u’lláh reveal in Baghdad and is considered the ‘inner essence’ of what had been revealed by the prophets of the past?
The Seven Valleys
The Book of Certitude
The Hidden Words
The Tablet of Wisdom
The book was revealed in 1858 as Bahá’u’lláh “paced, wrapped in his meditations” along the banks of the river Tigris.
8.
Whilst in the Siyáh Chál, Bahá’u’lláh witnessed a vision where he was told that he was the Manifestation of God for this age. What form did this ‘vision’ take?
A Maiden
The burning bush
The angel Gabriel
A dove
It was during ‘infrequent moments of slumber’ that Bahá’u’lláh first received divine revelation when the Holy Spirit appeared to him in the form of a Maiden of Heaven.
9.
From 1853 to 1868 Bahá’u’lláh was banished across the Ottoman Empire. What was the order of cities along the route of this exile?
Tehran, Baghdad, Ankara, Cyprus, Akka
Tehran, Baghdad, Adrianople (Edirne), Constantinople (Istanbul), Akka
Tehran, Baghdad, Adrianople, Constantinople, Akka
Tehran, Baghdad, Constantinople, Adrianople, Akka
Bahá'u'lláh spent 10 years in Baghdad, a few months in Constantinople, 5 years in Adrianople and the remainder of his life in or near Akka in the Holy Land.
10.
Between 1868 and 1870 Bahá’u’lláh wrote letters to the various kings and rulers of that time proclaiming his Faith, including one addressed to the ‘Rulers of America.’ Which of the following received a letter from Bahá’u’lláh?
Queen Victoria
Pope Pius IX
Tsar Alexander II of Russia
All of the above
In his letter to Queen Victoria, Bahá’u’lláh praised her for ending slavery and for putting government into the hands of the people.

 

Author:  National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United Kingdom

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