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(born Oct. 20, 1819, or Oct. 8, 1820, Shiraz, Irandied July 9, 1850, Tabriz) Iranian religious leader who founded the Babi religion and was one of the central figures of Baha'i. The son of a merchant, he was influenced by the Shaykhi school of Shi'ite Islam. In 1844 he wrote a commentary on the surah of Joseph in the Qur'an and declared himself the Bab (Arabic: Gateway) to the hidden imam. Later he would claim to be the imam himself, and finally a divine manifestation. The same year he assembled 18 disciples, who spread the new faith in the various Persian provinces. He had popular support but was opposed by members of the religious class, and he was arrested near Tehran in 1847 and imprisoned. Meeting at Badasht in 1848, his followers, the Azali, formally broke with Islam. The Bab was executed by a firing squad at Tabriz in 1850.
Variants of BAB, THE
Bab, the orig. Mirza 'Ali Muhammad of Shiraz
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