Bahá'u'lláh (Persian بهاء الله : meaning "Glory of God") (November 12, 1817 - May 29, 1892), was the founder of the Bahá'í Faith who claimed to fulfill the eschatological expectations of the Abrahamic religions, as well as Zoroastrianism, the Indian religions, and all other religions. Bahá'ís see Bahá'u'lláh as the initiator of a new world order, as well as the "supreme Manifestation of God".
Bahá'u'lláh authored many religious works, most notably the Kitáb-i-Aqdas and the Kitáb-i-Íqán. He died in Bahjí in present-day Israel, and is buried there.
In 1844, a 25-year-old man from Shiraz, Siyyid Mírzá `Alí-Muhammad, who took the title of the Báb (Arabic; meaning "The Gate"), claimed to be the promised Mahdi of Islam. The movement quickly spread across the Persian Empire and received widespread opposition from the Islamic clergy. The Báb himself was executed in 1850 by firing squad at the age of 30 and the community was almost entirely exterminated in 1852-1853.
While the Báb claimed a station of revelation, he also claimed no finality for his revelation. A constant theme in his works, especially the Persian Bayan was that of the great Promised One, the next embodiment of the Primal Will, whom the Báb termed He whom God shall make manifest, promised in the sacred writings of previous religions would soon establish the Kingdom of God on the Earth. In the books written by the Báb he constantly entreats his believers to follow He whom God shall make manifest when he arrives.
Bahá'u'lláh was born on November 12, 1817, in Tehran, the capital city of Persia, in present-day Iran. His mother was Khadíjih Khánum and his father was Mírzá Buzurg. Bahá'u'lláh's father, Mírzá Buzurg, served as vizier to Imám-Virdi Mírzá, the twelfth son of Fat′h Ali Shah Qajar. Mírzá Buzurg was later appointed governor of Burujird and Lorestan, a position that he was stripped of during a government purge when Muhammad Shah came to power. After his father died, Bahá'u'lláh was asked to take a government post by the new vizier Haji Mirza Aqasi, but he declined the position. Bahá'u'lláh had three concurrent wives by the names of Navváb, Fatimih and Gawhar. He had fourteen children, ten sons and four girls, of which five sons predeceased him.
At the age of 28, Bahá'u'lláh received a messenger, Mullá Husayn, telling him of the Báb, whose message he accepted, becoming a Bábí. Bahá'u'lláh began to spread the new cause, especially in his native province of Núr, becoming recognized as one of its most influential believers. His notability as a local gave him many openings, and his teaching trips were met with success, even among some of the religious class. He also helped to protect his co-religionists, such as Táhirih, but did so at some risk, since the aid he was giving led to his being temporarily imprisoned in Tehran and enduring bastinado. Bahá'u'lláh, in the summer of 1848, also attended the conference of Badasht in the province of Khorasan, where 81 prominent Babis met for 22 days. At that conference, where there was a discussion between those Babis who wanted to maintain Islamic law and those who believed that the Báb's message, began a new dispensation—Bahá'u'lláh took the pro-change side, which eventually won out. It is at this conference that Bahá'u'lláh took on the name Baha.
When violence started between the Babis and the Qajar government in the later part of 1848, Bahá'u'lláh tried to reach the besieged Babis at the Shaykh Tabarsi in Mazandaran, but was arrested and imprisoned before he could get there. The following years until 1850 saw the Babis being massacred in various provinces after the Báb made his claim of being Manifestation of God more public.
In 1852, two years after the execution of the Báb, Bahá'u'lláh met briefly with a couple radical Babi leaders and learnt of an assassination plan against the Shah, Nasser-al-Din Shah, in retaliation for the Báb's execution. Bahá'u'lláh condemned the plan, but on August 15, 1852 Babis attempted the assassination of the Shah and failed. Notwithstanding the assassins' claim that they were working alone, the entire Bábí community was blamed, and a slaughter of several thousand Bábís followed. Many of the Bábís who were not killed, including Bahá'u'lláh, were imprisoned in the Síyáh-Chál (Black Pit), an underground dungeon of Tehran.
According to Bahá'u'lláh, it was during his imprisonment in the Síyáh-Chál that he had several mystical experiences, and that he received a vision of a Maiden from God, through whom he received his mission as a Messenger of God and as the One whose coming the Báb had prophesied. After four months in the Síyáh-Chál, owing to the insistent demands of the Ambassador of Russia , and after the person who tried to kill the Shah confessed and exonerated the Bábi leaders, the authorities released him from prison, but the government exiled him from Iran. Bahá'u'lláh chose to go to Iraq in the Ottoman Empire and arrived in Baghdad in early 1853.
Subh-i-Azal had been appointed by the Báb to lead the Bábí community, and had been travelling around Persia in disguise. He decided to go to Baghdad and join the group using funds given to him by Bahá'u'lláh.
An increasing number of Bábí's considered Baghdad the new center for leadership of the Bábí religion, and a flow of pilgrims started coming there from Persia. However, as time went on, people began to look to Mírzá Yaḥyá for leadership less and less, and instead saw Bahá'u'lláh as their leader.
Mírzá Yaḥyá, as the appointed leader of the Bábís, started to try to discredit Bahá'u'lláh and further divided the community. The actions of Mírzá Yaḥyá drove many people away from the religion and allowed its enemies to continue their persecution.
On April 10 1854 Bahá'u'lláh, without telling anyone his purpose or destination, left with one companion to the mountains of Kurdistan, north-east of Baghdad, near the city Sulaymaniyah. He later wrote that he left so as to avoid becoming the source of disagreement within the Bábí community.
For two years Bahá'u'lláh lived alone in the mountains of Kurdistan dressed like a dervish and using the name Darvish Muhammad-i-Irani. At one point someone noticed his remarkable penmanship, which brought the curiosity of the instructors of the local Sufi orders. As he began to take guests, he became noted for his learning and wisdom. Shaykh `Uthmán, Shaykh `Abdu'r-Rahmán, and Shaykh Ismá'íl, undisputed leaders of the Naqshbandíyyih, Qádiríyyih, and Khálidíyyih Orders respectively, began to seek his advice and admire him. It was to the second of these that the Four Valleys was written. Several other notable books were also written during this time.
In Baghdad, given the lack of firm and public leadership by Mirza Yahya, the Babi community had fallen into disarray. Some Babis, including Bahá'u'lláh's family, thus searched for Bahá'u'lláh, and when news of a wise man living in the mountains under the name of Darvish Muhammad spread to neighbouring areas, Bahá'u'lláh's family pleaded with him to come back to Baghdad, which he did.
When Bahá'u'lláh returned to Baghdad he saw that the Bábí community had become disheartened and divided. In the time of Bahá'u'lláh's absence, the Baghdad community had become alienated with the religion since Mirza Yahya had proceeded to marry the widowed wife of the Báb against the clear instructions left by him  and dispatched followers to the province of Nur for the second attempt on the life of the Shah. A few Babis went so far as refuting Mirza Yahya's claims to successorship, advancing counter-claims, and disseminating their own writings.
Bahá'u'lláh remained in Baghdád for seven more years. During this time, while keeping his perceived station as the Manifestation of God hidden, he taught the Báb's teachings. He published many books and verses, which he called revelations, including the Book of Certitude and the Hidden Words.
Bahá'u'lláh's rising influence in the city, and the revival of the Persian Bábí community gained the attention of his enemies in Islamic clergy and the Persian government.  They were eventually successful in having the Ottoman government exile Bahá'u'lláh from Baghdad to Constantinople.
On April 22, 1863, Bahá'u'lláh left Baghdad and entered the Garden of Ridván near Baghdad. Bahá'u'lláh and those accompanying him would stay in the garden for 12 days before departing for Constantinople. It was during his time in the Garden of Ridván that Bahá'u'lláh declared to his companions his perceived mission and station as a Messenger of God. Today Bahá'ís celebrate the twelve days that Bahá'u'lláh was in the Garden of Ridván as the festival of Ridván.
The 11 years of messianic secrecy that passed between when Bahá'u'lláh claimed to have seen the Maiden of Heaven in the Síyáh-Chál and this declaration are referred to by Bahá'í chroniclers and by Bahá'u'lláh himself as ayyam-i butun ("Days of Concealment"). Bahá'u'lláh stated that this period was a "set time of concealment."
As mentioned previously, Bahá'u'lláh was given an order to relocate to the Ottoman capital of Constantinople (now Istanbul). Although not a formal prisoner yet, the forced exile from Baghdad was the beginning of a long process which would gradually move him into further exiles and eventually the penal colony of Akká, Palestine (now Acre, Israel).
Bahá'u'lláh and his family, along with a small group of Bábís, stayed in Constantinople for only four months. (One source  states there were 75 people all together.) During this time the Persian Ambassador in the court of the Sultan mounted a systematic campaign against Bahá'u'lláh. He was thus exiled to Adrianople (now Edirne), but before leaving he wrote a Tablet to the Sultan, the contents of which are unknown, but Shamsi Big, who delivered the letter, gave the following report:
During the month of December 1863, Bahá'u'lláh and his family embarked on a twelve-day journey to Adrianople. Bahá'u'lláh stayed in Adrianople for four and a half years. Mirza Yahya, upon hearing Bahá'u'lláh's words in a Tablet read to him, challenging him to accept Bahá'u'lláh's Revelation, offered a counter-claim that he was the one whom the Báb had prophesied about. This caused a break within the Bábí community, and the followers of Bahá'u'lláh became known as Bahá'ís, while the followers of Mirza Yahya, also known as Subh-i-Azal ("Morning of Eternity") became known as Azalís. While in Adrianople, Bahá'u'lláh was poisoned and nearly died. His hand was left shaking for the rest of his life. Bahá'í historical texts, and contemporary accounts, report that Subh-i-Azal was directly behind the poisoning.   Later, followers of Azal made the counter-claim that Bahá'u'lláh had accidentally poisoned himself while trying to poison others. 
While in Adrianople, Bahá'u'lláh proclaimed the Bahá'í Faith further by addressing Tablets to the kings and rulers of the world asking them to accept his revelation, renounce their material possessions, work together to settle disputes, and endeavor towards the betterment of the world and its peoples. Some of these leaders include:
The disagreements between the Bahá'ís and the Azalís allowed the Ottoman and Persian authorities to exile Bahá'u'lláh once again. One morning, without any notice, soldiers surrounded Bahá'u'lláh's house and told everyone to get ready to depart to the prison-city of `Akká, Palestine. Bahá'u'lláh and his family left Adrianople on August 12, 1868 and after a journey by land and sea arrived in `Akká on August 31. The inhabitants of `Akká were told that the new prisoners were enemies of the state, of God and his religion, and that association with them was strictly forbidden.
The first years in `Akká imposed very harsh conditions on, and held very trying times for, Bahá'u'lláh. Mirzá Mihdí, Bahá'u'lláh's son, was suddenly killed at the age of 22 when he fell through a skylight while pacing back and forth in prayer and meditation. After some time, the people and officials began to trust and respect Bahá'u'lláh, and thus the conditions of the imprisonment were eased and eventually, after Sultan `Abdu'l-`Aziz's death, he was allowed to leave the city and visit nearby places. From 1877 until 1879 Bahá'u'lláh lived in the house of Mazra'ih.
The final years of Bahá'u'lláh's life (1879-1892) were spent in the Mansion of Bahjí, just outside `Akká, even though he was still formally a prisoner of the Ottoman Empire. During his years in `Akká and Bahjí, Bahá'u'lláh produced many volumes of work including the Kitáb-i-Aqdas.
In 1890 the Cambridge University orientalist Edward Granville Browne had an interview with Bahá'u'lláh in this house. After this meeting he wrote his famous pen-portrait of Bahá'u'lláh:
On May 9, 1892 Bahá'u'lláh contracted a slight fever which grew steadily over the following days, abated, and then finally took his life on May 29, 1892. He was buried in a Shrine located next to the Mansion of Bahjí.
Bahá'u'lláh declared that he was the "Promised One" of all religions, fulfilling the messianic prophecies found in world religions. He stated that his claims to being several messiahs converging one person were the symbolic, rather than literal, fulfilment of the messianic and eschatological prophecies found in the literature of the major religions. Bahá'u'lláh's eschatological claims constitute six distinctive messianic identifications: from Judaism, the incarnation of the "Everlasting Father" from the Yuletide propechy of Isaiah 9:6, the "Lord of Hosts"; from Christianity, the "Spirit of Truth" or Comforter predicted by Jesus in his farewell discourse of John 14-17 and the return of Christ "in the glory of the Father"; from Zoroastrianism, the return of Shah Bahram Varjavand, a Zoroastrian messiah predicted in various late Pahlavi texts; from Shi'a Islam the return of the Third Imam, Imam Husayn; from Sunni Islam, the return of Jesus, Isa; and from Bábism, He whom God shall make manifest.
While Bahá'u'lláh did not claim himself to be either the Hindu or Buddhist messiah, he did so in principle through his writings. Later, `Abdu'l-Bahá stated that Bahá'u'lláh was the Kalki avatar, who in the classical Hindu Vaishnavas tradition is the tenth and final avatar (great incarnation) of Vishnu who will come to end The Age of Darkness and Destruction. Bahá'ís also believe that Bahá'u'lláh is the fulfilment of the prophecy of appearance of the Maitreya Buddha, who is a future Buddha who will eventually appear on earth, achieve complete enlightenment, and teach the pure Dharma. Bahá'ís believe that the prophecy that Maitreya will usher in a new society of tolerance and love has been fulfilled by Bahá'u'lláh's teachings on world peace. Bahá'u'lláh is believed to be a descendant of a long line of Kings in Persia through Yazdgerd III, the last monarch of the Sasanian Dynasty; he also asserted to be a descendant of Abraham through his third wife Keturah.
When Bahá'u'lláh died, he left a Will and Testament, which stated the following in regard to succession:
The favor given to `Abdu'l-Bahá was a cause of jealousy within Bahá'u'lláh's family. Muhammad `Alí insisted that he should be the one to lead the Bahá'í community. This period is considered by Bahá'ís as one of the most difficult tests of the early years of the Faith.
Due to the conflict with his half brother, `Abdu'l-Bahá ex-communicated him as a Covenant-breaker. The division was not long lived. After being alienated by the Bahá'í community, Muhammad Ali died in 1937 with only a handful of followers.
Bahá'u'lláh wrote many books, tablets and prayers, of which only a fraction has been translated into English until now. He revealed thousands of tablets with a total volume more than 70 times the size of the Qur'an and more than 15 times the size of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Below are some that have been translated to English:
Jináb-i-Fádil-i-Mázindarání, analyzing Baha'u'llah's writings, states that he wrote in the following list of styles or categories:
All links retrieved December 7, 2012.
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