Read: Brief History of the BahÂ'i Faith

Bahá'í History can be divided into seven periods thus far. The first three periods form the Apostolic or Heroic Age. The first epoch centres around the youthful and gentle Bab [meaning the Gate, also known as the Forerunner of the Ancient Beauty], Whose brief tumultuous Ministry prepared the way for the long-awaited coming of the promised Messenger of God. The second epoch is centered about the majestic, powerful and awe-inspiring figure of Bahá'u'lláh [meaning the Glory of God, also known by the titles: The Blessed Perfection, The Ancient Beauty], the Promised One of all religions. Having given up a life of extreme wealth and ease, He promoted the Message of the Bab, only later to learn that He Himself was the Promised One foretold by the Bab and by the religions of the past. Enduring 40 years of exiles and imprisonments, and under nearly impossible circumstances, surrounded by enemies and their plots, lies and intrigues, He revealed God's Message for this Day. The third epoch revolves around the ministry of 'Abdu'l-Bahá [meaning servant of the Glory, i.e. of the Glory of God] and eldest son of Bahá'u'lláh. Sharing His Father's exiles and imprisonments, 'Abdu'l-Bahá became the perfect example of His Father's Teachings and today is known as the Exemplar and Interpreter of the Bahá'í Faith, The Most Great Branch, The Master, and The Center of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant.

The last four periods comprise the Formative Age. The first epoch of the Formative Age "witnessed the birth and the primary stages in the erection of the framework of the Administrative Order of the Faith". "That epoch was characterized by a twofold process aiming at the consolidation of the administrative structure of the Faith and the extension of the range of its institutions." --Citadel of Faith, p. 5. The second epoch extended that twofold process, extending the range of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Divine Plan and culminating with the election of the Universal House of Justice. The third epoch, characterized by rapid growth, concluded with the beginning of the Faith's emergence from obscurity into the larger arena of public notice, fueled in no small part by the persecution of the Bahá'í's in the land of It's birth. The fourth (and present) epoch began with the increased maturation of the administrative institutions from the local spiritual assemblies up to and including the Universal House of Justice which is now engaged in a vast expansion of the World Center. This epoch will also witness the complete emergence of the Faith from obscurity and vastly greater involvement in the social and economic development of the world.

This brief guide provides a chronological view of the more significant events in the history of the religion. The chronology has been pieced together from a broad array of historical sources which will one day be listed at the end.

Shoghi Effendi's system of transliteration is used throughout to most accurately display Persian and Arabic names. HTML does not permit full accuracy in this regard, as it does not support all the necessary characters. Here is a brief pronunciation guide to assist the reader:

Bahá'u'lláh is pronounced: Ba (as in back) - haw - o (as in short) - law. Wherever you see a, think a as in arm. ' indicates a pause. Mirza is pronounced: Meerzaw. Whenever you see i, think ee as in meet. Bahá'í would therefore be Ba - haw - (brief pause) - ee; in this context the i means of, as in follower of. Quddus is pronounced: Khodoos. Whenever you see u think oo as in moon. Don't worry too much about the Q - it is a guttural sound that doesn't come naturally to Anglophones . Unless you have heard Arabic or Persian, just treat it like a K.

First Epoch of the Heroic Age: 1844-1853: The Ministry of the Bab, the Forerunner

Second Epoch of the Heroic Age: 1853-1892: The Ministry of Bahá'u'lláh

Third Epoch of the Heroic Age: 1892-1921: The Ministry of 'Abdu'l-Bahá v2.7 (213613) © 2005 - 2021 Emanuel V. Towfigh & Peter Hoerster | Imprint | Change Interface Language: DE