Our autumn almanac 12.11.2010 – 18.11.2010
Bahá’u'lláh, which means the glory of God in Arabic, was born Mirza Husayn Ali in 1817 into one of Persia’s most noble and privileged families.
In his early life he had a relatively limited education (which was normal for the class from which he came). He learned horsemanship (he was known as a fine horseman), swordsmanship, poetry and calligraphy (he was also renowned as an excellent poet and calligrapher).
His Islamic education was strictly non-technical, but despite this, his knowledge of Islam (and of other religions) was far beyond what could have been expected of someone from the wealthy governing class.
This is important because Bahá’u'lláh used his limited education to reinforce his claim to divine revelation. He argued that since he had not spent years studying the Qur’an and Arabic, how else could he be able to write as he did in Arabic? And there is no evidence to suggest that he devised his writings through his own intellectual thoughts.
Contact with the Báb
In 1844, just 3 months after the Báb’s declaration, Mulla Husayn carried a scroll of the Báb’s to Bahá’u'lláh.
On reading it, Bahá’u'lláh recognised the claims of the Báb and at the age of 27 became his follower.
From then on, although they never met, Bahá’u'lláh and the Báb were in constant correspondence and when the Báb knew that he would soon die, he sent his pens, seals and papers to Bahá’u'lláh.
It was at Bahá’u'lláh’s explicit instructions that the remains of the Báb were removed from Tabriz to Tihran and hidden in a place of safety.
Two years after the Báb’s death, Bahá’u'lláh was imprisoned in Tihran, accused of taking part in the attempted assassination of the Shah of Persia.
He was put in stocks and, for three days, given neither food nor water.
Other Bábis were imprisoned with him and as they sat in chains, Bahá’u'lláh taught them to chant prayers which were heard by the Shah.
Nov Sun 14
The second Sunday of November is marked by ceremonies at war memorials and cenotaphs to remember those who gave their lives in conflicts.
Nov Mon 15
Shichigosan (7-5-3 festival) (Shinto )
A festival to give thanks for children. Often celebrated on the nearest Sunday to the 15th to allow working parents to take part.
On this day parents take boys of three and five years old and girls of three and seven to give thanks to the gods for a healthy life so far and pray for a safe and successful future.
The festival of Shichigosan is named after the ages of the children taking part – seven (shichi), five (go), three (san).
Nov Wed 17
Eid-Ul-Adha (Muslim )
Festival of Sacrifice marking the day after Arafat. The Day of Arafat is the most important day in the Hajj ritual. This is a four day holiday
This is a four-day public holiday in Muslim countries.
The festival remembers the prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son when God ordered him to.
God appeared in a dream to Ibrahim and told him to sacrifice his son Isma’il. Ibrahim and Isma’il set off to Mina for the sacrifice.
As they went, the devil attempted to persuade Ibrahim to disobey God and not to sacrifice his beloved son. But Ibrahim stayed true to God, and drove the devil away.
As Ibrahim prepared to kill his son God stopped him and gave him a sheep to sacrifice instead.
Ibrahim’s complete obedience to the will of God is celebrated by Muslims each year.
Each Muslim, as they celebrate, reminds themselves of their own submission to God, and their own willingness to sacrifice anything to God’s wishes.
During the festival Muslims who can afford to, sacrifice domestic animals, usually sheep, as a symbol of Ibraham’s sacrifice. (British law insists that the animals must be killed in a proper slaughterhouse.)
The meat is distributed among family, friends and the poor, who each get a third share.