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Religion that developed in Iran around Mirza 'Ali Muhammad's claim (1844) to be the Bab. Its beliefs are set forth in the Bayan, a holy book written by the Bab, which proclaims a universal law in place of all existing religious legal codes. Babism originated as a messianic movement in Shi'ite Islam. In 1867 the movement split, with the Azalis remaining faithful to the original teachings of the Bab and those of his successor Sobh-e Azal. Most Babis accepted the leadership of Sobh-e Azal's half-brother Baha' Ullah, and under him the Baha'i faith was developed.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Babism, visit Britannica.com.