The Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh at Bahjí, Israel, is the holiest place on Earth for Bahá’ís.

The Bahá’í Faith is a major world religion found in nearly every country and territory, making it the second most globally widespread religion. It was founded by a Persian nobleman known as Bahá’u’lláh, which means “Glory of God” in Arabic. He taught that all people are part of one human family and that it’s time for us to live in peace.

Bahá’u’lláh was born as Mírzá Husayn-‘Alí, in 1817, to a noble family in Tihrán, Persia (now Iran). From childhood, it was clear that Bahá’u’lláh was unique. He didn’t attend school, yet He was remarkably wise. He understood difficult religious teachings, and He was always kind and generous.

As a young man, Mírzá Husayn-‘Alí was offered an important job in the government, but He didn’t accept it. Instead, He shared His time and money with those in need. People called Him “Father of the Poor.” 

When He was 27 years old, Bahá’u’lláh became a follower of a Messenger of God called the Báb (“the Gate” in Arabic). The Báb taught that a new Messenger of God would soon appear. The Persian authorities wanted to stop the Báb’s growing faith. They persecuted thousands of His followers, called Bábís. In 1852, Bahá’u’lláh was put in heavy chains and thrown into a filthy dungeon called the “Black Pit,” along with other Bábís. Each day, a Bábí prisoner was killed.

In that terrible prison, Bahá’u’lláh had a divine vision. He began to reveal sacred writings. In time, He announced that He was the Messenger of God that the Báb had foretold. He taught that all major religions come from one God and that humanity must put an end to prejudice and disunity. He wrote, “Consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship.” 

Over the next 40 years, Bahá’u’lláh was exiled and imprisoned for His teachings. Despite officials’ attempts to stop His faith, Bahá’u’lláh won the hearts of people everywhere He went. When Bahá’u’lláh passed away on May 29, 1892, He left a will naming His eldest son, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, as the interpreter of His writings and leader of the Bahá’í Faith.

Today, more than five million Bahá’ís around the globe work toward Bahá’u’lláh’s vision for a united world.

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