After His imprisonment in the Black Pit, Baha’u’llah was exiled to Baghdad. The group arrived in the capital of modern Iraq in the spring of 1853. Baha’u’llah soon left to live in solitude for two years in the mountains of Kurdistan. In 1856 He rejoined the Holy family in Baghdad and wrote among His most important works: the Kitab-i-Iqan (Book of Certitude), the Hidden Words, and the mystical Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys as responses to questions from Sufi mystics.
Baha’u’llah lived in Baghdad off and on for ten years, which is probably why He designated it as one of two sites for Baha’i pilgrimage. But the authorities became wary of Baha’u’llah’s growing influence so they once again banished Him. This time to modern day Istanbul, Turkey (Constantinople).
As the belongings of the household were being prepared for the move, Baha’u’llah retreated to
a small island within the bank the Tigris River [see below for correction]. There, He and a small group of Babis who were devoted to Baha’u’llah camped out in tents for 12 days.
On the 9th day the rest of the Holy family came to join them. The hours passed with Baha’u’llah chanting and revealing verses among the trees and greenery of that garden which was renamed “Ridvan” or Paradise. Some time during those days, we don’t know exactly when, Baha’u’llah explicitly told them that He was the One foretold by the Bab.
Baha’is all over the world celebrate these days with special attention to the first, ninth and last as Baha’i Holy Days.
Could this be the location of the original Ridvan?
Curiosity got the better of me, so with the help of Google Maps, I searched along the section of the Tigris River that runs through Baghdad. There were quite a few ‘small islands’ which could qualify. I chose one of them to show you in the picture on the left.
Want to search for the Garden of Ridvan yourself?
Use the + – to zoom in and zoom out, you can also grab the map and push it around.
Here you go:
Thanks to Don & Steve (see comments below) the site of the Garden of Ridvan is found!
I was wrong to assume it was an island. It was actually situated on the banks of the Tigris River.
It is on the banks of the Tigris River just in front of the present site of the Medical City hospital complex (labels A and B) in the map above. Right now many Iraqis are rushed there for emergency treatment as a result of the violence. Please keep the people of Iraq and the soldiers stationed there in your thoughts and prayers during this Festival of Ridvan.
Right now Baha’is are advised to not travel to Iraq for Baha’i pilgrimage because it is simply too dangerous. But I don’t have any doubts that within our lifetime this will change. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to go and say a few prayers on that spot?