The Bahá'í Faith is a religion teaching the essential worth of all religions, and the unity and equality of all people. Established by Bahá'u'lláh in 1863, it initially grew in Iran and parts of the Middle East, where it has faced ongoing persecution since its inception. Currently it has between 5 and 7 million adherents, known as Bahá'ís, spread out into most of the world's countries and territories.
It grew from the mid-19th-century Bábí religion, whose founder taught that God would soon send a prophet in the manner of Jesus or Muhammad. In 1863, after being banished from his native Iran, Bahá'u'lláh announced that he was this prophet. He was further exiled, spending over a decade in the prison city of Akka in the Ottoman province of Syria, in what is now Israel. Following Bahá'u'lláh's death in 1892, leadership of the religion fell to his son `Abdu'l-Bahá (1844–1921), and later his great-grandson Shoghi Effendi (1897–1957). Bahá'ís around the world annually elect local, regional, and national Spiritual Assemblies that govern the affairs of the religion, and every five years the members of all National Spiritual Assemblies elect the Universal House of Justice, the nine-member supreme governing institution of the worldwide Bahá'í community, which sits in Haifa, Israel, near the Shrine of the Báb.