In May of 1844, a young man, Mirza Ali Muhammad, in the city of Shiraz, Iran, proclaimed that he was both a Prophet of God and the Forerunner of One even greater who would lead mankind into the Promised Day. He called himself the Bab, which means the Gate or Door, and explained that his task was to close the door on an old cycle of religion, the cycle of prophecy, and open the door on a new cycle, the cycle of fulfillment.
His announcement attracted many followers and created immediate controversy in the Moslem world. During the next two decades over twenty thousand of his followers, known as Bab’is, were tortured and executed for heresy by the religious and governmental rulers of Iran. After years of imprisonment by the government and examination by ecclesiastic leaders, the Bab was executed in 1850. But even after His death, authorities could not suppress His Teachings or destroy the Bab’i Faith.