Dates for assembly

4th July 2003 at 01:00
Bah 'i holy day

July 9: Martyrdom of the B b

To some, the Bah 'i faith is a cult; to others it is one of the great world religions.

In 1844, a Muslim merchant who lived in Persia (present-day Iran) began to preach that the day of God was at hand. He named himself the B b or "gate", saying that (like John the Baptist) he was the forerunner of one greater than himself. For a while, he remained a Muslim.

As his teaching spread, the shah or ruler of Persia began to fear a revolution and put the B b in prison. In 1850 he was taken before a firing squad. When the smoke of the shots cleared, the B b was nowhere to be seen.

He was found back in his cell, unharmed and teaching a disciple. When he had finished, he told the guards to do their duty. This time he was killed.

After his death, one of his followers, called Baha'u'llah, was also put in prison. On his release, he walked to Baghdad and there continued the B b's teaching. He became the founder and leader of the Bah 'i faith.

Bah 'is believe all religions are chapters of the same book and each prepares the way for the next one: Krishna, the Buddha, Moses, Muhammad, Jesus, the B b and Baha'u'llah are all considered prophets of the one God.

Bah 'is hope for world peace and say daily prayers but have no priests, do not drink or smoke and believe everyone should marry.

Today there are some five million Bah 'is around the world with 6,000 living in Britain. The symbol of the faith is a nine-pointed star.

Follow-up On major holy days, Bah 'is do no work just as, traditionally, Christian holy days were always observed as "holidays". Discuss what is the purpose of a modern holiday. Why do we need them?

Accounts of the martyrdom of the B b can be found at and at


Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today