Holy day marks 116th anniversary of the passing of Baha’u’llah

28 May 2008

ACRE, Israel — Four hundred Baha’i pilgrims will be among the thousand followers of Baha’u’llah from around the world who gather at His burial site on 29 May at 3 a.m. to commemorate the 116th anniversary of His passing.

Around the globe, tens of thousands more will turn their faces in the direction of the same shrine – for Baha’is, the holiest spot on earth – in remembrance of the night in 1892 that Baha’u’llah passed away at His home near Acre in the Holy Land.

His remains were entombed on the same property, now a site of pilgrimage for members of the Baha’i Faith the world over.

Many of those who attend the program at the Shrine of Baha’u’llah will also be able to visit His home, the Mansion of Bahji, for a few minutes of private prayer in the very room where He spent His final hours.

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The quadrant of the gardens at Bahji nearest the Shrine of Baha’u’llah is known as the Haram-i-Aqdas – the most holy sanctuary. A thousand Baha’is will be seated in chairs set up in the outer ring for a program of prayers and readings to commemorate the anniversary of His passing, after which they will form a long procession to circumambulate the shrine.

The room is maintained exactly as it was during the time of Baha’u’llah – even a pair of His shoes is there for the pilgrims to see.

Baha’u’llah was born in Tehran, Iran, but He and a large group of His followers were banished from their native land in 1853 and forced to go first to Baghdad, then on to what was the Ottoman Empire and the remote prison city of Acre.

Pilgrims also are able to visit His prison cell in the old walled city and three houses, including the one at Bahji, where He eventually was able to stay when authorities eased the stricter confinement of the prison barracks.

Baha’is believe that Baha’u’llah is the Messenger of God for this age, the most recent in a line of divine educators that includes Buddha, Jesus, Krishna, Mohammed, Moses, and Zoroaster, among others.

The anniversary of the Ascension of Baha’u’llah is one of nine holy days on which Baha’is suspend work.