Baha'i Library Online

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COLLECTIONBook excerpts
TITLELand of the Lion and the Sun: Personal Experiences, the Nations of Persia — Their Manners, Customs, and Their Belief
AUTHOR 1Absalom D. Shabaz
PUB_THISpublished by the author
ABSTRACT1-paragraph overview of the "new sect" of "the Baáb."
NOTES This complete book is online at

1. Text

[page 49]

The fact, that Mohammedanism in Persia was received under compulsion, and that the people have never taken kindly to it, has given rise to new sects. The most important one during the last thirty years is the Baáb, which has been joined by immense numbers, who profess a mystical faith, which antedates the introduction of Islamism. The Baábys believe in the incarnation and divinity of Christ, and do not allow "polygamy." They are, however, strongly imbued with pantheistic ideas. Mirza Mohammed Ali was the founder of this new religion in Persia. He first came to public notice

[page 50]

in the year 1843, and began the plans of his new religion at the age of 18, but did not reveal it until eight years later. When he had made several pilgrimages to Karbala, Mecca, and Medina, he returned to his native town Shiraz. At first he began to teach his doctrine to his confidential friends, until it was impressed upon their minds and hearts, then he preached to the public of his being the “Mahdi,” the unseen “Imam,” or the prophet to whom the Mohammedans look forward to appear in the last days. Mirza Mohammed Ali, or, in other words, “Mehdeialzaman," the director of the times, claimed that both Christ and Mohammed had prophecied the coming of the last Imam, "Mahdi" (the director), that he would be the ruler of the Mohammedans, and that Islam would be the universal religion. Mirza Mohammed Ali said he was the expected prophet, and that he was inspired and had frequent communications with God in which he was told how to direct his people. He said his divine revelation was the latest, but not the last manifestation of the deity in human form. He, however, was examined and killed by the Persians as a falsifier. The latest manifestation of the deity in human form, according to their belief, is Abbas-Effendi at Acca in Turkey, not very far from Persia, who is recognized as the Son of God. He claims to have 50,000,000 followers, 10,000 of whom are in the United States, converts from the American churches.

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