Bahai a religious sect founded by Mirza Hossain Ali (1817-1892) of Iran, known as Baha'ullah. Baha'ullah was a follower of Syed Ali Mohammad, better known as Bab, who proclaimed himself as the Mehdi and declared the advent of a messenger through whom Allah would reveal Himself. Bab was killed publicly by a firing squad in Tabriz, Iran, in 1850, along with a good number of his followers. Mirza Hossain Ali then declared himself to be the promised messenger and founded the Bahai religion. Baha'ullah was imprisoned and then exiled for life in the prison city of Akka in Palestine. Baha'ullah nominated his eldest son Abdul Baha (1844-1921) to be the leader of the Bahais.
The Bahai headquarters are in Haifa, Israel. Since 1963, its affairs have been administered by elected councils, called Spiritual Assemblies at the local and the national levels and the Universal House of Justice at the international level.
Bahais believe that when human affairs reach a crisis, God sends his manifestation. They believe that Baha'ullah was the latest of divine manifestations that include krishna, gautam buddha, Moses, Zoroaster, jesus Christ, muhammad (Sm) and Bab. Once every 19 days, the Spiritual Assembly along with the other members of the community get together and try to resolve material and spiritual problems. Bahais believe in the unity of all mankind and in the equality of men and women. Everyone is free to enter their places of worship where the holy books of all major religions are kept and recited. The name of the Bahai's Holy Book is Kitabul Aqdas. Another important book is Kitab-e-Ikkan.
In 1878, a Bahai preacher passed through dhaka and chittagong on his way to Burma from Kolkata. The campaign for Bahai religion in Bangladesh started at Chittagong. A Bengali group from Chittagong accepted the Bahai faith while in Burma. The first Spiritual Assembly of Bahais (The Dhaka Assembly) was formed in Bangladesh in 1952. The National Bahai Centre was established at Shantinagar, Dhaka in 1971. [Meer Mobashsher Ali]