The Bahˇ'Ě Faith arose from Islam, similar to the way Christianity arose from Judaism. It has since grown to be a worldwide faith. It is most
commonly spelled Baha'i, although alternate spellings of Ba'Hai, Bahai, and Bah'ai are sometimes seen.
Siyyid 'Ali-Muhammad (1819-1850 CE) assumed the title Bab which means the Gate. In 1844-MAY-23 He announced the "Declaration of the Bab." He
explained that the purpose of His mission was to herald the arrival of "One greater than Himself", Who would fulfill the prophetic expectations of
all the great religions. This date is regarded as the founding of the Bahˇ'Ě Faith. His followers became known as Babis. 20,000 were martyred for
their beliefs. His movement caused much religious ferment. This led to His execution in 1850 by order of the Shah's chief minister and at the
instigation of Muslim clerics, who saw His movement as a threat to orthodox Islam.
In 1863, one of the Bab's followers, Mirza Husayn-'Ali-i-Nuri (1817-1892), a prominent follower of the Bab to Whom the Bab had given several
indications of His future station, confided to some of his followers and to His eldest son that He was the Manifestation predicted by the Bab. On
1863-APR-21, He began proclaiming his station openly and publicly to the world at large. His assumed title, Baha'u'llah, by which He is generally
known, was the title the Bab used to refer to Him. The last forty years of Baha'u'llah's life were spent in prison or in exile. The last 22 years
were spent in or near Acre, then a prison city. The world headquarters of the Bahˇ'Ě Faith is located in the Holy Land today as a result.
Baha'u'llah's son 'Abdu'l-Baha (1844-1921), was appointed by His father to be leader of the movement after His father's death.
The religion came to North America in 1893. The Bahˇ'Ě Faith states that it currently has about 6 million members worldwide: about 2.5 million
adherents in India and 140,000 in the US. The Canadian census found 14,730 in Canada in 1991. There have been many discussions on Bahˇ'Ě mailing
lists which have tended to estimate a total of 1 million members worldwide. BSome claim that the US figure is grossly inflated, and that the number of
active members might be much lower. Barry Kosmin and Seymour Lachman estimated 28,000 adult US Bahˇ'Ěs in their 1993 book "One Nation Under God."
Fredrick Glaysher estimates 26,600. 1
According to the 1992 Encyclopaedia Britannica Book of the Year, the Bahˇ'Ě Faith has established "significant communities" in more countries and
territories than any other religion except for Christianity. They are organized in 205 areas vs. 254 for Christianity. According to The Baha'i World,
this has increased to 235 countries and territories, including over 2,100 racial, ethnic and tribal groups. They number about 5 million members
The official "Bahˇ'Ě Faith website" is at: www.bahai.org...
National pages are at www.us.bahai.org...
for Americans, and
Bahˇ'Ě faith is still looked upon by many Muslims as a breakaway sect of Islam. Bahˇ'Ěs are heavily persecuted in some countries because of this, in
violation of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights.