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Babism /

Baha'i: Shrine of Bab, Haifa, Israel.
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Baha'i: Shrine of Bab, Haifa, Israel.

(Shiraz 1819 or 1821- Tabriz 1850) Founder of Babism, in 1844.
Bab is the name which Sayyid Ali Muhammad took in 1844. Ali Muhammad was the son of a merchant and worked as one himself, while he occupied himself with religious questions. After a pilgrimage to Karbala he declared himself a reformer of Islam. This was on June 11, 1844. The message of Ali Muhammad was not badly received, and soon he began to acquire followers. The first was Husayn.
While Ali Muhammad was out on a trip to Mecca, he wrote down divine revelations. On his return he included in the Shi'i creed that he himself was the one who mirrored God, so that God could be seen by man. By now the followers of Bab faced persecution by the local governor of Shiraz.
Bab took Islam as his starting point, but redefined many of the regulations, and polygamy and concubinage were forbidden. But Bab wanted to have all religions join together and recognize him as spiritual leader, thus beginning a new era for humankind.
Initially, Bab gathered 18 disciples, one of whom was a woman. Gradually, he had great success in spreading his message throughout Persia. But when Nasser ad-Din Shah took power in 1848, he began strong persecution of Bab and his followers. Two years of civil war resulted, yet Bab himself was not part of this rebellion. His party finally lost, and he was executed in 1850 in Tabriz.

By Tore Kjeilen