Bab, Sayyid ‘ali Muhammad (1819–1850)

Sayyid ‘Ali Muhammad Shirazi (the Bab), a merchant from Shiraz in southern Iran and direct descendant of the prophet Muhammad, was the founder of the Babi movement, the precursor of the Baha'i Faith. Despite the fact that he had had no formal training in Arabic or the religious sciences, the Bab began in 1844 to write Arabic books that he claimed were from God. At first, his claim appeared to be that he was the Bab (lit. “Gate”), the intermediary between the people and the Shi'a messianic figure, Imam Mahdi. He dispersed his first group of 18 disciples (the “Letters of the Living”) to spread the news of his claim, but these were rejected by the senior Shi'a religious leaders, albeit many of his followers ...

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