One of the outstanding proponents of the Bab’i Faith was Mirza Husayn Ali, a member of an extremely wealthy and powerful noble family in Iran. Because of His beliefs He was cast into prison in 1852. While still in prison, He received a revelation a few months later that He was the Manifestation foretold by the Bab, but He told no one.
Then He and his entire family were stripped of all their wealth and possessions and exiled from Iran to Baghdad, Iraq. He did not publicly proclaim His station as a Manifestation of God until 1863. He and His family were eventually exiled further to the Turkish penal colony of Akka in Palestine (now Israel). There they remained under various levels of arrest and imprisonment until the death of Baha’u’llah in 1892.
Through all these years of imprisonment and exile, Baha’u’llah promulgated His teachings of love, unity, justice, and universal peace which spread throughout the Middle East. His task was to close the door on an old cycle of religion, the cycle of prophecy, and open the door on a new era, the cycle of fulfillment. He also united His followers into a strong Baha’i community. Baha’u’llah revealed a vast treasury of scripture in the form of books, letters, and verbal discourses, transcribed by secretaries and personally authenticated by Him. As a result, Baha’is have the most extensive and authentic collection of sacred scripture in the history of religion.
Baha’u’llah’s teachings and the example of His life touched all who met him. His passing was mourned throughout Israel and the Middle East by religious leaders, government leaders, and people from all walks of life.
In His will and testament, Baha’u’llah established a means of continuing spiritual leadership for His Faith when he appointed his eldest son, Abdu’l-Baha, to a unique station as His successor and The Center of His Covenant.