Twin Birthdays for Twin Manifestations

For centuries, the peoples of the world have awaited the Promised Day of God, a Day when peace and harmony would be established on earth. The dawn of this new Day witnessed the appearance of not one but two Manifestations of God, the Bab and Baha’u’llah, Whose Revelations released the spiritual forces destined to transform society. 

A “Manifestation of God” is a Baha’i concept used to define an intermediary between God and humanity, or what is commonly referred to as a Messenger or Prophet. The term “Twin Manifestations” refers to the unprecedented Revelation of the Bab and Baha’u’llah in rapid succession of one another.

The Babi Faith burned bright for six years, until the martyrdom of its Founder, the Bab, in 1850 plunged the young Faith into disarray. Though the Bab was a Manifestation of God and the Founder of a great religion, He also perceived Himself to be a forerunner and had ardently urged His followers to seek out the second Manifestation, cryptically referred to as “He Whom God shall make manifest,” who would emerge “in less than the twinkling of an eye” after His own mission, to complete the unique appearance of twin Manifestations in a single age.

Amongst the devote followers of the Bab was Mirza Husayn-Ali, who later took the title of Baha’u’llah, meaning the Glory of God. Baha’u’llah and the Bab never met and only ever exchanged letters.

It was not until 1863, nineteen years after the inception of the Babi Faith (thirteen since the Bab’s death), that Baha’u’llah publicly declared Himself as not only the One promised by the Bab, thus yielding that Faith’s “destined fruit and revealing its ultimate purpose” but indeed, He proclaimed to be the Promised One of all Ages.

To Israel He was neither more nor less than the incarnation of the “Everlasting Father,” the “Lord of Hosts” come down “with ten thousands of saints”; to Christendom Christ returned “in the glory of the Father,” to Shi’ah Islam the return of the Imam Ḥusayn; to Sunni Islam the descent of the “Spirit of God” (Jesus Christ); to the Zoroastrians the promised Shah-Bahram; to the Hindus the reincarnation of Krishna; to the Buddhists the fifth Buddha.1

With the birth of the Baha’i Faith the realization of two related but independent religions arising within one age was actualized.

All the peoples of the world are awaiting two Manifestations, Who must be contemporaneous; all wait for the fulfillment of this promise. In the Bible the Jews have the promise of the Lord of Hosts and the Messiah; in the Gospel the return of Christ and Elijah is promised. In the religion of Muḥammad there is the promise of the Mihdi and the Messiah, and it is the same with the Zoroastrian and the other religions.2

The reason behind this rapid succession, and the unprecedented bounties released by the Revelation of Twin Manifestations, remains a mystery.

“That so brief an interval,” He [Baha’u’llah], moreover has asserted, “should have separated this most mighty and wondrous Revelation from Mine own previous Manifestation is a secret that no man can unravel, and a mystery such as no mind can fathom. Its duration had been foreordained.”3

Abdu’l-Baha sets forth conclusively the true relationship between the twin Founders of the Faith, with this illuminating explanation:

The Revelation of the Bab may be likened to the sun […] The station of Baha’u’llah’s Revelation, on the other hand, is represented by […] the sun’s mid-summer and highest station. By this is meant that this holy Dispensation is illumined with the light of the Sun of Truth shining from its most exalted station, and in the plenitude of its resplendency, its heat and glory.4

The notion of “Twin Manifestations of God” is a concept fundamental to Baha’i belief, as the mission of the Bab and Baha’u’llah are inextricably linked: The Bab’s mission was to prepare the way for the coming of “He Whom God shall make manifest,” who eventually appeared in the person of Baha’u’llah. For this reason, both the Bab and Baha’u’llah are revered as central figures of the Baha’i Faith. Together these twin Luminaries would usher in an age of peace and justice promised in all the world’s religions.

It has been prophesied that in the time of these two Manifestations the earth will be transformed, the world of existence will be renewed. Justice and truth will encompass the world; enmity and hatred will disappear; all causes of division among peoples, races and nations will vanish; and the cause of union, harmony and concord will appear.5

Further cementing the bond between these two Manifestations is the celebration of their Twin Birthdays. “The Festival of the Twin Birthdays” or “Twin Holy Days” celebrates the birth of the Bab on the first day of Muharram in the Islamic calendar (20 October 1819) and the birth of Baha’u’llah on the second day of Muharram (two years prior, on 12 November 1817). Regarding the Twin Birthdays, Baha’u’llah has stated:

These two days are accounted as one in the sight of God.6

This year, with the worldwide adoption of the Badi calendar the two-day celebration of their births, the only Baha’i holy days following a lunar calendar, occurs on November 1st and 2nd. My local Baha’i community will be hosting a picnic with games and activities on the 1st and on the 2nd an informative dinner with presentations and activities will allow the Baha’i community, along with all our family and friends to joyously celebrate the birth of these twin Luminaries. How do you or your community plan on celebrating the Twin Birthdays?


 

  1. Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, US Baha’i Publishing Trust, 1979, p94 http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/se/GPB/gpb-7.html.utf8?query=twin%7Cmanifestation&action=highlight#gr7 []
  2. Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, US Baha’i Publishing Trust, 1990, p39 http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/ab/SAQ/saq-10.html []
  3. Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, US Baha’i Publishing Trust, 1979, p92 http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/se/GPB/gpb-7.html.utf8?query=twin%7Cmanifestation&action=highlight#gr7 []
  4. Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, US Baha’i Publishing Trust, 1979, pp99-100 http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/se/GPB/gpb-7.html.utf8?query=twin%7Cmanifestation&action=highlight#gr7 []
  5. Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, US Baha’i Publishing Trust, 1990, p39 http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/ab/SAQ/saq-10.html []
  6. Baha’u’llah, The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Baha’i World Centre, 1992, p225 http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/b/KA/ka-155.html []

About the Author

Kamelia

Kamelia is a Baha'i and a mother of two. She studied Law, Accounting and Children's Services, but spends most of her days now trying to navigate her way through motherhood. She is particularly interested in early childhood education and Baha'i scholarship.

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Discussion 12 Comments

  1. Thank you Kamelia. I think you mean six years:”The Babi Faith burned bright for nine years, until the martyrdom of its Founder, the Bab, in 1850 plunged the young Faith into disarray.”

    It was nine years later in 1863 when Baha’u’llah left Iran for exile in Iraq.

  2. Respectfully, it’s a happy accident that your note also contains a typo. 🙂 No doubt, you meant to write that Baha’u’llah was exiled from Iran in 1853.

    My understanding is that the Babi revelation was essentially in effect for 9 years (1844-1853), before reaching its zenith. Around then, Baha’u’llah was visited by the Most Great Spirit during His imprisonment in the Black Pit (Siyah-Chal).

    It was 19 years, in total (1844-1863), before Baha’u’llah declared His station and mission, thus inaugurating the Baha’i dispensation. This was in 1863, on the eve of His further exile from Iraq to Turkey. (http://www.bahaullah.org/)

    In conclusion: Much love to everyone. Hope you have a joyful commemoration of the Twin holy days.

    1. I had the same understanding as you regarding the nine years. In this particular case however given the post specifically refers to the Bab’s Martydom then six years would be more appropriate to quote. Thanks for shedding further light on the topic.

      1. Oops, I made my own mistake when posting. My reply was initially in response to Hooshang, above.

        Yes, the only reason (really) that I was commenting is that the numbers nine & nineteen hold symbolic and/or mystical significance in the Twin revelations.

        For example, from “An Introduction to the Baha’i Faith,” by Peter Smith (2008), p. 188, footnote 3:

        “Various aspects of the Babi religion were structured in units of nineteen in accordance with the occult numerology used by the Bab, in which nineteen was the numerical value of the words for ‘(divine) unity’ (wahid) and ‘absolute being’ (wujud), as well as comprising the number of letters in the Islamic formulae, Bismi’llah ar-rahman ar-rahim (‘In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate’).”

  3. The island of Kauai, Hawaii celebrates today, November 1.
    5:30 PM at Wongs Restaurant, Hanapepe
    All welcome to enjoy fellowship, food and fun!
    Music by The Goats

  4. November 2, 2016

    Yesterday I had a minor clean up in my house and a simple snack with
    some junior youths. Our semestral break is until today. So i’m thankful
    we don’t have work and class in school. I was able to observe the Twin Holidays. Allahúábha!

  5. Comment concerning the sentence in the second paragraph:
    A “Manifestation of God” is a Baha’i concept used to define an intermediary between God and humanity, or what is commonly referred to as a Messenger or Prophet.
    ———————————————–
    Baha’u’llah was indeed the first to use the term “Manifestation of God”. He uses it interchangeably with the term Messenger of God (“Rassool”). These terms are different and distinct from the term Prophet (“Nabi”). Muhammad identified Himself as both a Messenger of God (Rassool) and a Prophet (Nabi) and claimed to be the “Seal of the Prophets” to mark the end of the Adamic (Prophetic) Cycle, during which a series of Messengers and Prophets have prepared the way to the Bab (Gate) “The Point” that marks the beginning of the Dispensation of Baha’u’llah.

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