Declaration of the Bab

  • In 1844, Siyyid Ali-Muhammad (known by His title, the Bab, which means "the Gate") announced that He was the bearer of a Divine Revelation whose aim was to prepare the world for a Messenger of God--Baha'u'llah. The anniversary of that declaration is celebrated by Baha'is and their friends all over the world.
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The Declaration of the Bab

in Explore > Calendar

On a spring evening on May 22rd, 1844, Siyyid Ali-Muhammad announced that He was the bearer of a Divine Revelation whose aim was to prepare the world for “Him Whom God Shall Make Manifest,” a Messenger of God known as Baha’u’llah. Baha’is refer to Siyyid Ali-Muhammad by His title, the Bab, which is Arabic for “the Gate,” and that eventful evening is celebrated every year by Baha’is around the world.

Zia’s Search – A Book About Mulla Husayn & Spiritual Maturity

May 9, 2024, in Articles > Books, by

Linda Ahdieh Grant is always cooking up wonderful projects! Her most recent work is a book published by Palabra Press about Mulla Husayn and about becoming a youth and reaching the spiritual age of maturity. It’s titled Zia’s Search: Learning from Mulla Husayn. My kiddos and I really love when historical stories and Baha’i concepts are presented through the eyes and questioning minds of contemporary protagonists — for example, we love Linda’s book about Fujita called Sometimes I Made Him Laugh. I’m thrilled Linda was able to share with us all about her latest book!

Can you tell us a little bit about this book?

The central theme of Zia’s Search: Learning from Mulla Husayn is spiritual maturity and the process of preparing oneself for the period of life in which one becomes responsible for one’s spiritual destiny. This theme is explored by 10 year old Zia, the story’s protagonist, along with her older sister who is turning 15 years old in one year. 

In the story, the girls’ parents suggest that they learn more about the qualities and capacities that the first Letter of the Living Mulla Husayn nurtured in himself that allowed him to search for reality and for the Promised One. Three capacities of Mulla Husayn are explored in the story – his obedience, his preparation, and his detachment. Maya, who is a loving older sister, invites 10 year old Zia to join her during the year learning about Mulla Husayn and trying to strengthen their own spiritual capacities.

Linda Ahdieh Grant (L) with her family while on pilgrimage

What inspired you to write it?

This story was inspired by our family’s experience of having two of our children reach the age of spiritual maturity in recent years. It was a thrilling time for them and for us. Imagine our joy when we received a letter from our National Spiritual Assembly when they each turned 14 years old sharing that they were on the threshold of attaining the age of spiritual maturity. The letter urged them to explore elements of this important milestone and talked about spiritual preparation for adulthood. The concepts explored in the letters inspired linking the search of Mulla Husayn to that of a 14 year old approaching the age of maturity.

Who is its audience? What do you hope your readers will take away with them long after they’ve finished reading?

Many Baha’i children already know about Mulla Husayn given his centrality to the early history of the Faith and his station as the first person to recognize the Promised One. He is already an admired hero for many children. We hope that our story will extend that natural admiration for Mulla Husayn to deeper reflection about how we can emulate the spiritual qualities he exhibited during his search for the Promised in our search for reality and truth. While current-day 14 year olds approaching spiritual maturity are not searching for the Promised One, they are searching for the truth and striving to understand what they believe deeply in our hearts. 

For those children who may not have heard of the Baha’i Faith before coming across this story, we feel that learning about the first individual to accept the Revelation of this Dispensation is important for any child’s broad education and will be of interest to a wide audience of families who want for their children to be exposed to a diversity of spiritual heroes and heroines. In this regard, we hope the book will be of interest not only to Baha’is but also to friends of the Faith, especially those who are participating in community building activities. We have made efforts to write the story in a way that the book will be accessible to children from such families as well.

The current cohort of young Baha’is and their peers from around the world have been tremendously blessed to have spent their formative childhood and junior youth years during a time when the network of training institutes has been growing in strength around the world. The impact of children’s classes and the junior youth spiritual empowerment program (JYSEP) and the main sequence of courses are immeasurable on an entire generation and themes from the JYSEP are integrated into the story, including the theme of confirmation, the role of hope, finding joy in service, and more. The JYSEP so beautifully prepares our junior youth for the age of spiritual maturity and for a life of service. This book hopefully will encourage parents to ensure that their children – of all backgrounds – have access to this program. 

How did the team come together on this project?

Goitoom (L) and Linda (R). Linda said, “On a beautiful and long-awaited day in July 2023, we met in person for the first time — amazingly in the gardens of the Shrine of the Bab!”

Around the time that the story was being written, there was a Baha’i World News Service article about artistic works being created to honour the Centenary of Abdu’l-Baha’s Passing. I still vividly remember seeing Goitoom Gebru’s breathtaking artwork for the first time in this article. I reached out to him via Instagram to see if he was interested to collaborate together on a children’s story book and my heart rejoiced when he said yes!

We submitted the manuscript to Palabra Publications, a publisher that is immensely close to all of our hearts, and both Goitoom and I celebrated from afar when we heard that Palabra was interested in publishing the story. The book was possible because of tremendous bonds of love and a commitment to consultation among friends living and serving throughout the world. It was an immense bounty to collaborate with the truly amazing Palabra team, including Ethan Martin who masterfully edited and designed the book. 

We relied on prayer and consultation at every stage! We had the most loving and inspiring zoom calls and Whatsapp conversations and it has been a true joy to work together with everyone who contributed to this endeavour. 

Here is a link to the Baha’i World News Service article so you can see more of the beauty of Goitoom’s artwork! 

A glimpse inside Zia’s Search

What was something you learned in the process of creating this book?

While creating this book, I reflected a great deal on the independent investigation of truth and what it means to recognize a Manifestation of God. 

For all of us, regardless of our age, it is a bounty to have been allowed to recognize Baha’u’llah. In its recent message of December 30, 2021, the Universal House of Justice writes that the recognition of Baha’u’llah is a “singular moment in a person’s spiritual development.” The Supreme Body writes: “Yet to recognize Baha’u’llah as a Manifestation of God and accept the privileges and responsibilities that are uniquely associated with membership in the Baha’i community is a singular moment in a person’s spiritual development, quite distinct from regular involvement in Baha’i activities or voicing support for Baha’i principles.” 

Our hope in crafting this fictional story is to explore this moment of one’s life and to share concepts that help us to appreciate its significance and meaning.

What are you and Goitoom working on now? 

Goitoom is currently focused on creating children’s book illustrations with various authors. Recently, he contributed to the illustrations for A Very Old Neighborhood, a book by Dicy Hall, in collaboration with Manisha Menezes.

Anna Meyers and I have started a small publishing endeavor called One Heart Books and we are working on several projects, including a book of stories of modern-day children inspired by the Example of the Master. I am also collaborating with dear friends and working on a few more stories about heroes and heroines in our history. 

Thank you, Linda, for taking the time to share this with us!

You can purchase Zia’s Search from a variety of book retailers including the US Baha’i Bookstore and Palabra Publications.

Posted by

Sonjel Vreeland

In her innermost heart, Sonjel is a stay-at-home parent and a bookworm with a maxed out library card but professionally she is a museologist with a background in English Literature. She currently lives on Prince Edward Island, an isle in the shape of a smile on the eastern Canadian coast. Sonjel is a writer who loves to listen to jazz when she's driving at night.
Sonjel Vreeland

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