Mirza Ali Mohammed (181950) of Shiraz, Persia, assumed title Bab (Gate); proclaimed himself reformer of Islam 1844. Gained many followers (Babists) but was imprisoned and executed by Persian govt. 1850. In 1863 Bahaullah (Splendor of God), follower of the Bab, proceeded to formulate the sect's teachings while confined in Palestine by Turkish govt. After Bahaullah's death in 1892 his oldest son, Abdul Baha, Turkish prisoner till 1908, carried on; visited US 1912; d. Haifa 1921.
Bahaism is represented in Am. since the Chicago World's Fair of 1893. A magnificent temple, Mashrak-el-Azkar (The Dawning Point of the Commemorations of God), was erected at Wilmette, Illinois; designed by Louis J. Bourgeois; is 9-sided, with intricate ornamentation of exquisite beauty, was dedicated in 1942, and is open to the 9 great religions.
Bahaism has no professional clergy, no ritualistic service; proclaims itself a call to religious unity; and sets up as basic Bahai teachings: the oneness of mankind, independent investigation of truth, equality of men and women, universal peace, universal education, spiritual solution of the economic problem, a universal language, an international tribunal.
See also Shi'ites.
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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