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Prophet-Founder of the Bahá'í Faith and the Manifestation of God for this Day. He was born Mirza Husayn-'Ali on 12 November 1817 to a noble family of Núr in Mazindaran, Iran. His mother was Khadijih Khanum and his father Mirza Buzurg-i-Vazir, a courtier. Bahá'u'lláh was a descendant of the last Sassanian king, Yazdigird III.
He became a follower of the Báb in 1844 at the age of twenty-seven, when the Báb sent Mulla Husayn to tell Him of the new Revelation. Although Bahá'u'lláh and the Báb never met, they corresponded. As Mirza Husayn-'Ali, Bahá'u'lláh became known as a Bábí leader, and His leadership was especially shown at the Conference of Badasht, after which He was known by the name of Bahá. Bahá'u'lláh suffered from the persecution waged against the Bábís at the time and was made to endure imprisonment and the bastinado.
After an attempt on the Shah's life by two misguided Bábis, in 1853 Bahá'u'lláh was imprisoned for four months in an underground prison known as the Siyah-Chal in Tihran. It was there He first received a revelation, through a dream of a Maid of Heaven, that He was the One promised by the Báb.
Bahá'u'lláh was released from prison but banished from Iran. He chose to go to Baghdad accompanied by some members of His family and companions. After their arrival in Baghdad the community of believers was disrupted by the actions of Mirza Yahya, Bahá'u'lláh's disloyal brother. Bahá'u'lláh departed for a period of solitary retreat in the mountains of Sulaymaniyyih until He was persuaded to return in March 1856.
Upon His return He became the recognized spiritual leader of the Bábis. His influence spread and the Persian government persuaded the Ottoman Sultan 'Abdu'l-'Aziz to banish Bahá'u'lláh further. On the eve of His departure from Baghdad for Constantinople, in the Garden of Ridván, in April-May 1863, Bahá'u'lláh declared to His followers that He was the Promised One foretold by the Báb. The Ridvan Festival is celebrated as the holiest and most significant of Bahá'í Holy Days. Bahá'u'lláh departed for Constantinople and soon afterwards was banished to Adrianople where He publicly proclaimed His Mission, addressing His proclamation to the kings and rulers of the earth and calling on them to establish world peace, justice and unity.
Because of the disloyal Mirza Yahya's plotting against Bahá'u'lláh, the Turkish authorities condemned Bahá'u'lláh to perpetual imprisonment in the prison-city of 'Akká. There He was at first subjected to strict confinement for two years in the barracks, during which time He suffered the death of His son Mirza Mihdi. In spite of the hardship and isolation, from 'Akká He continued His proclamation to the rulers of the earth and the revelation of the foundation-principles which would bring about a new world order of society founded on the unity of mankind, equality and justice.
Bahá'u'lláh and His family, including His Son, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, were moved to a succession of houses in the city, notably the houses of 'Udi Khammar, where Bahá'u'lláh revealed the Kitdb-i-Aqdas, His Book of Laws, and the House of 'Abbúd. In 1877 Bahá'u'lláh took up residence in the Mansion of Mazra'ih for two years, and then moved to the Mansion of Bahji where He ascended at the age of seventy-four on 29 May 1892. In His Will, the 'Book of My Covenant', Bahá'u'lláh named His eldest son, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, as His successor and authorized Interpreter of His Teachings.
Bahá'u'lláh's Writings are considered by Baha'ís to be revelation from God and some 15,000 of His Tablets have so far been collected. His major works include The Most Holy Book (Kitáb-i-Aqdas), The Hidden Words (Kalimát-i-Maknunih), The Book of Certitude (Kitáb-i-Iqán), The Seven Valleys, The Four Valleys, the Surih of the Kings (Suriy-i-Muluk), the Tablets to the kings and rulers, the Tablet of the Branch (Suriy-i-Ghusn), The Tablet of Wisdom (Lawh-i-Hikmat), The Tablet of the Proof (Lawh-i-Burhán), The Tablet of the World (Lawh-i-Dunyá), The Words of Paradise (Kalimát-i-Firdawsiyyih), Glad-Tidings (Bisharát), Ornaments (Tarázát), Effulgences (Tajalliyát), Splendours (Ishráqát), The Tablet of Carmel (Lawh-i-Karmil) and Epistle to the Son of the Wolf.
Momen, Wendi (Ed.): A Basic Bahá'í Dictionary. George Ronald, 1989. ISBN 0-85398-230-9