A Bábí Da'ira, printed in gold and incorporating script in the Báb's own hand.
Bábism (Persian: بابیه Babiyye or "the Bábí Faith") is a religious movement that flourished in Persia from 1844 to 1852, then lingered on in exile in the Ottoman Empire (especially Cyprus) as well as underground. Its founder was Sayyid `Alí Muhammad Shirazi, who took the titleBáb—meaning "Gate"—from a Shi'i theological term. Unlike other Islamic messianic movements, the Bábí movement signalled a break with Islam and attempted to start a new religious system. While the Bábí movement was violently opposed and crushed by the clerical and government establishments in the country in the mid-1850s, the Bábí movement led to the founding of the Bahá'í Faith which sees the religion brought by the Báb as a predecessor to their own religion, and gives a renewed significance to the Bábí movement.
The barrack square in Tabriz, where the Báb was executed
On the morning of July 9, 1850 in Tabriz, a young Persian merchant known as the Báb was charged with apostasy and shot by order of the Prime Minister of the Persian Empire. The events surrounding his execution have been the subject of controversy among researchers, and are regarded as miraculous by Bahá'ís, who consider him to be a Manifestation of God.
The Báb and one of his companions were suspended on a wall and a large firing squad prepared to shoot. When the smoke cleared after the first firing of bullets, the Báb was missing. Reports continue by stating that the Báb was found back in his prison room finishing dictation to his secretary. Other sources, which include Persian and European reports, give a variety of accounts, some in agreement with the miracle-like Bahá'í story, and some indicating a less miraculous event. All agree that he survived the first firing squad, and was killed by the second.
Selections from the Writings of the Báb is a book of excerpts from notable works of the Báb, the forerunner-Prophet of the Bahá'í Faith. It was compiled and published in 1976 by the Universal House of Justice.
Before this publication, an authentic comprehensive selection of the Báb's writings had not been available to the Bahá'ís of the West. The Báb's writings were reviewed by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, and the selected passages were translated by Habib Taherzadeh, with the assistance of a translating committee.
Siyyid `Alí Muḥammad Shírází (/ˈseɪ.jədˈæ.liː.moʊˈhæ.məd.ʃiˈrɑːzi/, Persian: سيد علی محمد شیرازی; October 20, 1819 – July 9, 1850) was the founder of Bábism, and one of three central figures of the Bahá'í Faith. He was a merchant from Shíráz, Persia who, at the age of twenty-four (on May 23, 1844), symbolically claimed to be the promised Qá'im (or Mahdi). After his declaration he took the title of Báb (/ˈbɑːb/, Arabic: باب) meaning "Gate" or "Door". He composed hundreds of letters and books (often termed tablets) in which he stated his messianic claims and defined his teachings, which constituted a new sharí'ah or religious law. His movement eventually acquired tens of thousands of supporters, was opposed by Iran's Shi'a clergy, and was suppressed by the Iranian government, leading to the persecution and killing of thousands of his followers, called Bábís. In 1850, at the age of thirty, the Báb was shot by a firing squad in Tabriz.
Bahá'ís claim that the Báb was also the spiritual return of Elijah and John the Baptist, that he was the saoshyant referred to in the Zoroastrian scriptures,and that he was the forerunner of their own religion. Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, was a follower of the Báb and claimed to be the fulfillment of his promise that God would send another messenger.