Celebrating the 138th Anniversary of the declaration of the Báb

'Verily I say I am the Báb, the Gate of God ...'

'Báb ,' a Persian word, literally means 'the gate'. It is the title by which the Prophet-Herald of the Bahá'í Faith is known all over the world. The Báb  first declared His Mission to Mullah Hussayn in the year1844 in Iran. To commemorate the day, the Bahá'ís celebrate the anniversary of the declaration of the Báb  on May 23rd (i.e. May 22nd, at about two hours after sunset).

Mullah Hussayn was one of the small band of people who believed that the advent of the 'Promised One' of all religions and peoples was imminent. They had been prepared to seek out and recognize the promised One, when he should declare himself, through the insight and devotion of two learned men Shaikh Ahmed and Siyyid Kazim.

On the death of Siyyid Kazim, Mullah Hussayn consulted with his relatives and friends and after many days of fasting and prayer set out to seek the Promised One. He records that he felt drawn to the city of Shiraz 'as if by a magnet' and that one evening, he was greeted by a strange youth of radiant countenance who wore a green turban and who greeted him as a life long friend. He invited Mullah Hussayn to his house and offered him the traditional hospitality.

Later, when Mullah Hussayn arose to depart, with extreme courtesy and clam the youth bid him to stay saying that it was the will of God.

That night, much oppressed, both by the mystery of this interview and the stress and strain of his search Mullah Hussayn prayed to God that he might be guided to the Promised One. What followed next is reproduced here in the words of Mullah Hussain himself :

'That night, that memorable night, was the eve of twenty-third of May, 1844.

'It was about an hour after sunset when my youthful host began to converse with me "Whom, after Siyyid Kazim," he asked me, "do you regard as his successor and your leader."

"At the hour of his death," I replied, "our departed teacher insistently exhorted us to forsake over homes, to scatter far and wide in quest of the promised beloved. I have, accordingly journeyed to Persia, have arisen to accomplish his will, and am still engaged in my quest."

"Has your teacher, "he further inquired, "given you any detailed indications as to the distinguishing  features of the promised one?"

"Yes," I replied, "he is of a pure lineage, is of illustrious descent, and of the seed of Fatimih. As to his age, he is more than twenty and less than thirty. He is endowed with innate knowledge. He is of mediocre height, abstains from smoking, and is free from bodily deficiency."

'He paused for a while and then with vibrant voice declared "Behold, all these signs are manifest in me !"

Mullah Hussayn was overwhelmed by this declaration. Throughout that night, he sat at the feet of his master, listening to his proofs, spellbound by the power and charm of his utterance. Before departing, in the early morning, his host addressed to him these words. 

"O thou who art the first to believe in me ! Verily I say I am the Báb , the Gate of God, and thou art the Báb -ul-Báb , the gate of that Gate. Eighteen souls must, in the beginning, spontaneously and of their own accord, accept me and recognize the truth of my revelation."

With in a few days of the Báb 's declaration, 17 people had, by their own spontaneous efforts, found him and recognized his station. These with Tahirih, the heroine poetess who accepted him without meeting him were called the 'letters of the living.' They were the first disciples and were given the task of penetrating the spiritual darkness of their degenerate country.

-Anil Sarwal, Editor