Bábism or Bábíism (, Babiyye), also known as the Bábi, Bâbi, or Bábí faith, was a new religious movement that flourished in Persia from 1844 to 1852, then lingered on in exile in the Ottoman Empire, especially Cyprus, as well as underground. Its founder was ʿAli Muhammad Shirazi, who took the title Báb ( "Gate") out of the belief that he was the gate to the Twelfth Imam. The Bábí movement signaled a break with Islam and started a new religious system. While the Bábí movement was violently opposed and crushed by the clerical and government establishments in the country in the mid-1850s, the Bábí movement led to the founding of the Bahá'í Faith which sees the religion brought by the Báb as a predecessor to their own religion. "The relative success of Bahaism inside Iran (where it constitutes the largest religious minority) and in numerous other countries, where it claims the status of an independent religion, gives renewed significance to its Babi origins", as Bahaism continued many aspects of the earlier sect.
The Collaborative International Dictionary
Babism \Bab"ism\, Babiism \Bab"i*ism\, n. The doctrine of a modern religious pantheistical sect in Persia, which was founded, about 1844, by Mirza Ali Mohammed ibn Rabhik (1820 -- 1850), who assumed the title of Bab-ed-Din (Per., Gate of the Faith). Babism is a mixture of Mohammedan, Christian, Jewish, and Parsi elements. This doctrine forbids concubinage and polygamy, and frees women from many of the degradations imposed upon them among the orthodox Mohammedans. Mendicancy, the use of intoxicating liquors and drugs, and slave dealing, are forbidden; asceticism is discountenanced. -- Bab"ist, n.
n. The doctrine of a pantheistical religious sect, founded in Persia in 1844 by Mirza Ali Mohammed ibn Rabhik (1820-1850), who assumed the title of Bab-ed-Din ("Gate of the Faith"). It combines Muslim, Christian, Jewish, and Parsi elements, and forbids concubinage, polygamy, mendicancy, slave-dealing, and the use of intoxicating liquors and drugs.
Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary
1850; see Baha'i.