The Bahá’i Faith

The Official Website of the Bahá’is of the United States: http://www.Bahai.us

The International Website of the Bahá’is of the World: http://info.Bahai.org

Principles and History

Founders and History of the Bahá’i Faith

“The Bahá’í Faith is the youngest of the world’s independent monotheistic religions. Founded in Iran in 1844, it now has more than five million adherents in 236 countries and territories. Bahá’ís come from nearly every national, ethnic and religious background, making the Bahá’í Faith the second-most-widespread religion in the world.

Bahá’ís view the world’s major religions as a part of a single, progressive process through which God reveals His will to humanity. Bahá’u’lláh (1817-1892), the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, is recognized as the most recent in a line of Divine Messengers that includes Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Zoroaster, Christ and Muhammad.

The central theme of Bahá’u’lláh’s message is that humanity is one single race and that the day has come for humanity’s unification into one global society. While reaffirming the core ethical principles common to all religions, Bahá’u’lláh also revealed new laws and teachings to lay the foundations of a global civilization. ‘A new life,’ Bahá’u’lláh declared, ‘is, in this age, stirring within all the peoples of the earth'” (Founders and History).

The Bahá’i Concept of God

The Bahá’í belief in one God means that the universe and all creatures and forces within it have been created by a single supernatural Being” (Principles and History: The Bahá’i Concept of God).

Bahá’u’lláh, the Glory of God

The stations and significance of the three Central Figures—Bahá’u’lláh, the Báb and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá—are among the ‘fundamental verities,’ or truths, of the Bahá’í Faith. Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Faith, told us that understanding and keeping these truths in our hearts can ‘powerfully reinforce the vigor of our spiritual life’ and help protect the Faith from attacks” (Central Figures: Bahá’u’lláh, the Glory of God).

Spiritual Concepts

The principle of the oneness of humankind is the pivot around which all the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh revolve. Bahá’u’lláh taught that humanity, after a long and turbulent adolescence, is at last reaching a stage of maturity in which unity in a global and just society finally can be established. To this end, the Bahá’í Faith prescribes laws of personal morality and behavior, as well as social laws and principles, to establish the oneness of humanity” (Spiritual Concepts).

Worship and Services

“…all effort and exertion put forth by man from the fullness of his heart is worship, if it is prompted by the highest motives and the will to do service to humanity. This is worship: to serve mankind and to minister to the needs of the people. Service is prayer” —‘Abdu’l-Bahá” (Principles and History: Worship and Service).

Worship and Prayer

The Bahá’í teachings prescribe daily prayer and intimate communion with God as the foundation for a life devoted to spiritual advancement and service to humanity” (Worship and Prayer).

Principles and Practices

To become a Bahá’í is to respond to the call of God for this day and to join a global fellowship committed to helping humankind reach the long-promised age of global peace, justice and unity. A person becomes a Bahá’í by recognizing Bahá’u’lláh as the Messenger of God for this age and striving to follow His laws and teachings” (Principles and Practices)

Organization and Leadership

“There is no class of ecclesiastics or clergy in the Bahá’í Faith. Rather, it is administered by a unique combination of freely elected councils and a complementary institution of appointed advisers. This administrative system operates at the local, regional, national, and international levels” (Organization and Leadership).

The Greatest Name and Bahá’i Symbols

“Various visual symbols have been created over the years to represent the Bahá’i Faith or remind us of some central teachings. The Greatest Name–used in several forms, all based on the Arabic root word “Bahá,” meaning glory, splendor or light–is connected in some way to all the most familiar ones.” (Principles and History: The Greatest Name and Bahá’i Symbols).

 

 

Fundamentals for Believers

The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh

This new Order, the Bahá’í teachings affirm, is an evolving vehicle for the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh to provide for the salvation of individuals and unify our faith community” (Fundamentals for Believers: The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh).

The Bahá’i Fast

O Pen of the Most High! Say: O people of the world! We have enjoined upon you fasting during a brief period, and at its close have designated for you Naw-Rúz as a feast. Thus hath the Daystar of Utterance shone forth above the horizon of the Book as decreed by Him Who is the Lord of the beginning and the end. —Bahá’u’lláh, Kitáb-i-Aqdas, para. 16 (The Bahá’i Fast)

Truthfulness

“Beautify your tongues, O people, with truthfulness, and adorn your souls with the ornament of honesty. Beware, O people, that ye deal not treacherously with any one. Be ye the trustees of God amongst His creatures, and the emblems of His generosity amidst His people. They that follow their lusts and corrupt inclinations, have erred and dissipated their efforts. They, indeed, are of the lost. Strive, O people, that your eyes may be directed towards the mercy of God, that your hearts may be attuned to His wondrous remembrance, that your souls may rest confidently upon His grace and bounty, that your feet may tread the path of His good-pleasure. Such are the counsels which I bequeath unto you. Would that ye might follow My counsels!”—Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, section 136 (Truthfulness).

Consultation

The Great Being saith: The heaven of divine wisdom is illumined with the two luminaries of consultation and compassion. Take ye counsel together in all matters, inasmuch as consultation is the lamp of guidance which leadeth the way, and is the bestower of understanding” —Bahá’u’lláh (Consultation).

Chastity

“Say: He is not to be numbered with the people of Bahá who followeth his mundane desires, or fixeth his heart on things of the earth. He is My true follower who, if he come to a valley of pure gold, will pass straight through it aloof as a cloud, and will neither turn back, nor pause. Such a man is, assuredly, of Me. From his garment the Concourse on high can inhale the fragrance of sanctity. … And if he met the fairest and most comely of women, he would not feel his heart seduced by the least shadow of desire for her beauty. Such an one, indeed, is the creation of spotless chastity. Thus instructeth you the Pen of the Ancient of Days, as bidden by your Lord, the Almighty, the All-Bountiful” —Bahá’u’lláh (Chastity).

Obedience

“Think not that We have revealed unto you a mere code of laws. Nay, rather, We have unsealed the choice Wine with the fingers of might and power. To this beareth witness that which the Pen of Revelation hath revealed. Meditate on this, O men of insight!” —Bahá’u’lláh, Kitáb-i-Aqdas, para. 5 (Obedience).

 

Social Action

“Bahá’ís work to build community and advance the processes towards peace in United States and around the world. We are dedicated to creating a peaceful and prosperous world civilization that is based on justice and that provides all human beings with scope to cultivate and express their capacities” (Social Action).

 

Washington Bahá’i History Museum

“The Washington Bahá’í History Museum is quickly becoming a focal point for acquainting people in the Seattle area with how Bahá’í teachings relate to society’s issues. In 2012 the museum’s focus was on the travels through North America a century ago of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, son of Bahá’í founder Bahá’u’lláh, and the themes He emphasized, says Zabine van Ness” (Washington Bahá’i History Museum).

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