Siyyid `Alí Muḥammad Shírází ( /ˈseɪ.jədˈæ.liː.moʊˈhæ.məd.ʃiˈrɑːzi/, Persian: سيد علی محمد شیرازی; October 20, 1819 – July 9, 1850) was the founder of Bábism, and one of three central figures of the Bahá'í Faith. He was a merchant from Shíráz, Persia, who at the age of twenty-four (on May 23, 1844) claimed to be the promised Qá'im (or Mahdi). After his declaration he took the title of Báb ( /ˈbɑːb/, Arabic: باب) meaning "Gate". He composed hundreds of letters and books (often termed tablets) in which he stated his messianic claims and defined his teachings, which constituted a new sharí'ah or religious law. His movement eventually acquired tens of thousands of supporters, was opposed by Iran's Shi'a clergy, and was suppressed by the Iranian government, leading to the persecution and killing of thousands of his followers, called Bábís. In 1850, at the age of thirty, the Báb was shot by a firing squad in Tabríz.
Bahá'ís claim that the Báb was also the spiritual return of Elijah and John the Baptist, that he was the "Ushídar-Máh" referred to in the Zoroastrian scriptures, and that he was the forerunner of their own religion. Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, was a follower of the Báb and claimed to be the fulfillment of his promise that God would send another messenger.