Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • Benjamin Beit-HallahmiEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_65

The history of the Bahais presents us with a fascinating case study in religious, cultural, and psychological transformation. It starts with the appearance of the Babis, a millenarian group of Islamic origins, which developed out of the messianic Shiite tradition, founded by Ali Muhammad (1819–1850) of Shiraz, Iran, known as the Bab. Ali Muhammad proclaimed himself to be the Bab (gate) in 1844, a 1,000 years after the disappearance of the twelfth imam, according to Islamic Shiite tradition. (In the Shiite Muslim tradition, Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiya, who disappeared (or died) in 880 CE, is the Hidden Imam, who is in hiding and would come back one day to restore peace and justice.) The Bab, in Shiite lore, was supposed to announce the coming of one greater than himself, who would open a new era of peace and justice. At first, Mirza’s claim was welcomed, but when he started deviating from the Islamic tradition, the reaction was violent. In 1848, the Babis declared publicly their secession...

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  1. Bahá’u’lláh. (1989). The Kitáb-i-Íqán. Wilmette: US Bahá’í Publishing Trust.Google Scholar
  2. Bahá’u’lláh. (1992). The Kitáb-i-Aqdas. Haifa: Bahá’í World Centre.Google Scholar

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael