Religion founded in Iran in the mid-19th century by Baha' Ullah. It emerged from Babism when in 1863 Baha' Ullah asserted that he was the messenger of God predicted by the Bab. Before his death in 1892, he appointed his son 'Abd ol-Baha to lead the community. The writings of the Bab, Baha' Ullah, and 'Abd ol-Baha form the sacred literature. Worship consists of readings from scriptures of all religions. Baha'i faith proclaims the essential unity of all religions and the unity of humanity. It is concerned with social ethics and has no priesthood or sacraments. Because of its 19 initial disciples, it considers the number 19 sacred, and the calendar consists of 19 months of 19 days (with four additional days). Adherents are expected to pray daily, fast 19 days a year, and keep to a strict ethical code. Baha'i has experienced major growth since the 1960s but has been persecuted in Iran since the fundamentalist revolution of 1979.
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