Sayyid Ali Muhammad Shirazi

(d. 1850)

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(d. 1850)

Also known as Bab. Messianic religious leader. First individual in Islamic history to make a serious attempt to break away from Islam in order to found a separate religion with distinct books and laws. Initially claimed to be the gate (bab) or spokesperson for the Hidden Imam of Imami Shiism and an interpreter of the Quran; later he claimed to be the imam in person, and then a divine manifestation. Most of his prophetic career was spent under house arrest or in prison in northwest Iran. Shirazi was shot by a firing squad in 1850. His followers declared a formal break with Islam in 1848, and the movement became known as Babism. Bahais consider Shirazi a forerunner of the founder of their faith, Baha Allah.

See also Babism; Bahais

Subjects: Islam.

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