Sanjeevni Today

Bahá’ís Celebrate 12th Day of Riḍván, "The King of Festivals"

Sanjeevni Today 01-05-2020 04:10 PM

The Twelfth (Final) Day of Riḍván 2020 (5 Jamál 177 B.E - 1 May, 2020) began at the Sunset of Thursday, 30 April and ends at the Sunset of Friday, 1 May.


The Twelfth (Final) Day of Riḍván 2020 (5 Jamál 177 B.E  - 1 May, 2020) began at the Sunset of Thursday, 30 April and ends at the Sunset of Friday, 1 May.

The Bahá’í day ends and a new one begins at sunset; consequently, the day on which a Feast or 
Holy Day is observed begins at sunset of the day before the Gregorian calendar.

According to the Bahá’ís, while incarcerated in Tehran, Bahá’u’lláh experienced a revelation that He was the Divine Messenger being prophesied by the Prophet-Founder of the Bábism "The Báb" Who is the Prophet-Herald of the Bahá’í Faith.

During His 10 years stay in Baghdad, Bahá’u’lláh started to gain followers even attracting majority of the Báb's followers. He also became too popular and eventually became a threat to the government.

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Bahá’u’lláh was again ordered to be exiled from Baghdad to Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey).

After preparing to leave Baghdad, Bahá’u’lláh temporarily stayed at the Najibiyyih Garden which is located across the Tigris River. He stayed there for twelve days together with His family, a group of friends and followers. 

Though Bahá’u’lláh experienced the revelation years before, it was only during His arrival at the Najibiyyih Garden (Garden of Riḍván) that He declared Himself as the Messenger of God.

Baháʼu'lláh was given an order to relocate to the Ottoman capital of Constantinople.

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The flooding subsided again on the twelfth day, and everyone went across the River to enter the presence of Bahá'u'lláh.

The day at last came to a close, and Bahá'u'lláh announced that He would be leaving the garden of Riḍván.

The departure of Bahá’u’lláh from the Garden of Riḍván, at noon, on the 14th of Dhi’l-Qa‘dih 1279 A.H. (May 3, 1863), witnessed scenes of tumultuous enthusiasm no less spectacular, and even more touching, than those which greeted Him when leaving His Most Great House in Baghdad. “The great tumult,” wrote an eyewitness, “associated in our minds with the Day of Gathering, the Day of Judgment, we beheld on that occasion. Believers and unbelievers alike sobbed and lamented. The chiefs and notables who had congregated were struck with wonder. Emotions were stirred to such depths as no tongue can describe, nor could any observer escape their contagion.”

This news spread; throughout the final day, visitors and the authorities of Baghdad thronged to the Garden to present their final farewells.

ridvan garden

Mounted on His steed, a red roan stallion of the finest breed, the best His lovers could purchase for Him, and leaving behind Him a bowing multitude of fervent admirers, He rode forth on the first stage of a journey that was to carry Him to the city of Constantinople.

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“Numerous were the heads,” Nabil (the Bahá’í Historian) himself a witness of that memorable scene, recounts, “which, on every side, bowed to the dust at the feet of His horse, and kissed its hoofs, and countless were those who pressed forward to embrace His stirrups.” “How great the number of those embodiments of fidelity,” testifies a fellow-traveler, “who, casting themselves before that charger, preferred death to separation from their Beloved!  Methinks, that blessed steed trod upon the bodies of those pure-hearted souls.”

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 “He (God) it was,” Baha’u’llah Himself declares, “Who enabled Me to depart out of the city (Baghdad), clothed with such majesty as none, except the denier and the malicious, can fail to acknowledge.”

As He departed, a cry of sorrow ascended from the garden, and its trees, and leaves, and fruits, and walls, and air, and ground, and pavilion, while the dwellers of the deserts and the wilderness, and even the very dunes and the dust of the earth, rejoiced at His approach.

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These marks of homage and devotion continued to surround Him until He was installed in Constantinople.

Baháʼu'lláh travelled from Baghdad to Constantinople between 3 May and 17 August 1863, accompanied by a large group including family members and followers. 

During the trip, Bahá’u’lláh was treated with respect in the towns He visited, and when He reached Constantinople, He was treated as a government guest.

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Why the Ottoman authorities did not permit His extradition to Persia, but instead invited Him to come to Constantinople, is unclear. 

The reason may have been political because Baháʼu'lláh was viewed as a person of influence. After three and a half months in Constantinople, He was ordered to depart for Adrianople. 

From 1 to 12 December 1863, Baháʼu'lláh? His family and His companions travelled to Adrianople (the "remote prison") ("The Land of Mystery").

Unlike His travel to Constantinople, this journey was in the nature of an exile.

Baháʼu'lláh stayed in Adrianople for four and a half years, and was the clear leader of the newly established Bábí community there.

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The reason for this further move is also unclear. It may have been due to pressure from the Persian ambassador, combined with Baháʼu'lláh's refusal to work with the Ottoman authorities.

It would be here in Adrianople where the sun of His revelation would ascend to its zenith, where He proclaimed the Message of His revelation to the whole world. 

During the next four and a half years, while Bahá’u’lláh lived in Adrianople, He began to proclaim His Message to the Kings and Rulers of the world, announcing that He was the Promised One of all ages. 

One after the other, Bahá’u’lláh turned His attention to the Crowned Heads of Europe and Asia, inviting them to resolve their differences and work for the establishment of world peace. 

These included Napoleon III of France, Kaiser William I of Germany, Tzar Nikolaevich Alexander II of Russia, Sultan Abdu’l-Aziz of the Ottoman Empire, Francis Joseph, Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary, Nasiri’d-Din Shah of Persia, Pope Pius IX of the Roman Catholic Church, and Queen Victoria of the British Empire. 

Although Bahá’u’lláh addressed each one, discussing the specific strengths or weaknesses of their individual policies, He also proclaimed the appearance of a New Messenger of God and outlined the responsibilities of those in power to safeguard the well-being of all people and to use their resources for the establishment of international peace. 

Bahá’u’lláh also counseled disarmament, the cessation of war and the coming together of all the world’s leaders to created a global parliament:

Although not a formal prisoner yet, the forced exile from Baghdad was the beginning of a long process which would gradually move Him into further exiles and eventually to the penal colony of Acre, Palestine.

Later when Baháʼu'lláh was in Acre, He continued writing Tablets (letters) to the leaders of the world including Rulers of America and the Presidents of the republics therein.

Baháʼu'lláh revealed more than 100 volumes of divinely inspired mystical writings, ethical and social teachings, and laws and ordinances. 

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Baháʼu'lláh's passing followed nearly 40 years of exile from His native Iran, first in Baghdad and later in Turkey before His incarceration in Acre in 1868.

The Baháʼí Faith has eleven holy days, which are important anniversaries in the history of the religion. On nine of these holy days, work is suspended. There is no fixed format for any of the holy days, and Baháʼí communities organize their own commemorative meetings.

( Compiled by Jaya Raju Thota)

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