In today’s world Iraq is not usually associated with paradise. However, the Garden of Ridvan (Persian for “Garden of Paradise”) was located just across the Tigris River from Baghdad (where a hospital now stands).
When the Ottoman Empire exiled Bahaullah from Baghdad, this is where he stayed for twelve precious days (from April 21 to May 2, 1863) before beginning his journey to Constantinople. It was during this stay that Bahaullah revealed to his followers “that he was the messianic figure of He whom God shall make manifest whose coming had been foretold by the Bab.”
Bahaullah was considered by many to be “the fulfillment of the eschatological expectations of Islam, Christianity, and other major religions.” His claims to this resulted in years of persecution and imprisonment by both the Persian and Ottoman authorities. He eventually died after a 24-year confinement in Akka, Palestine (now Israel).
Bahaullah taught “that humanity is one single race and that the age has come for its unification in a global society.” There are currently an estimated five to six million international adherents of Bahaullah’s Bahai Faith (“Bahai” being derived from the Arabic word for “glory” – Baha). They consider humanity to be “in a process of collective evolution, and the need of the present time is for the gradual establishment of peace, justice and unity on a global scale.”
The Bahai Faith is monotheistic. It embraces the unity of God, the unity of religion, and the harmony of religion and science. The Bahais of Albany have a very active monthly Calendar of Events that includes weekly Devotions and Fellowship, weekly Music Nights, and monthly Pancakes and Prayers. There will also be a First Day of Ridvan Celebration on April 21 and a Ninth Day of Ridvan Celebration on April 29. These events are held at various locations around the Capital District.