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ARTICLES OF FAITH

Marking 200 years since birth of Baha'u'llah

Bahman Fazeli/Guest Columnist

POSTMEDIA FILE PHOTO Baha'u'llah, founder and prophet of the Baha'i faith.

POSTMEDIA FILE PHOTO Baha'u'llah, founder and prophet of the Baha'i faith.

This year, on Oct. 21st, Baha'is around the world in more than 230 countries will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Baha'u'llah (1817-1892), the Prophet-Founder of the Baha'i Faith. The Bahá'í Faith is the youngest of the world's independent religions. Bahá'ís come from nearly every national, ethnic and religious background. Bahá'u'lláh's name means the "Glory of God", and considered by His followers to be the Universal Manifestation of God who are ushering in a new age of Unity.

Baha'u'llah was born to a prominent Iranian family whose father was in the court of the Shah. Known for his innate knowledge, insight, and wisdom, he was in no need of formal schooling, but received training as a nobleman in riding, using a sword or gun, good manners, calligraphy, poetry, and reading. Despite a lack of education, all who knew Bahá'u'lláh were astonished at his abilities. It was usual for them to say, that "such a child will not live beyond maturity." By the time he was 13, Bahá'u'lláh could discuss any matter, and resolve any problem presented before Him.

In the middle of the 19th century, God summoned Bahá'u'lláh to deliver a new Revelation to humanity. For four decades thousands of verses, letters and books flowed from His pen.

In His writings, He outlined a framework for the development of a global civilization which takes into account both the spiritual and material dimensions of human life.

Bahá'u'lláh suffered 40 years of imprisonment, torture and exile for bringing God's latest message to humanity. Today, His life and mission are becoming increasingly well known across the planet.

Millions of people are learning to apply His teachings to their individual and collective lives for the betterment of the world.

Bahá'ís believe that all humanity was created by one God and we are all part of one human race and that the purpose of life is to know and worship God, to acquire virtues, to promote the oneness of humankind, and to carry forward an ever-advancing civilization.

Some of the other teachings of Baha'u'llah - Equality of men and women, universal compulsory education, harmony of science and religion, independent investigation of truth, oneness of religions (religion is progressive), spiritual solution of economic problems, elimination of all types of prejudices and World peace - are vital for the well-being of mankind.

Exiled by the Ottoman government to Palestine in 1868, Baha'u'llah and his family spent many years imprisoned in the old prison colony and walled fortress of Akka, until authorities relaxed the prison conditions and allowed Baha'u'llah to move. In 1879 Baha'u'llah relocated to a rural property north of Akka called Bahji -- which means "delight" in Arabic -- even though his movements were still restricted under the government's imposition of house arrest. In that place, where Baha'u'llah spent the last dozen years of his life, stands the Shrine of Baha'u'llah, his burial place and, to his followers, the most sacred spot on Earth. Baha'u'llah died in 1892.

Should you wish to know more about the Bahá'í Faith, please visit www.bahai.org or contact lsacobourg@gmail.com

Bahman Fazeli is a member of the Baha'i community of Cobourg