The Baha'i Faith

Basic Facts - Text Version



Progressive Revelation




From the writings of Baha'u'llah:

He hath manifested unto men the Day Stars of His divine guidance... and hath ordained the knowledge of these sanctified Beings to be identical with the knowledge of His own Self. Whoso recognizeth them hath recognized God.

If thou wilt observe with discriminating eyes, thou wilt behold Them all abiding in the same tabernacle, soaring in the same heaven, seated upon the same throne, uttering the same speech and proclaiming the same Faith.


As the human race has developed through time we have gradually understood more clearly the world around us.

During our progress God has sent us Messengers whose Messages were according to our understanding in the time during which we lived.

Bahá'ís believe that the Messenger of God for this moment in time is Baha'u'llah, His forerunner was called The Bab.



The Bab




The title "The Bab" means "The Gate".

The Bab is the Forerunner of Baha'u'llah. He is the Messenger of God Who prepared the people for the coming of Baha'u'llah.

He declared His Mission in 1844 in Persia (Iran). His followers were called Babi's.

The popularity of His teachings was seen as a threat to Islam and after six years of suffering and imprisonment He was martyred. Over 20,000 of His followers also gave their lives for the Faith.



Baha'u'llah




The title "Baha'u'llah" means "The Glory of God".

Baha'u'llah is the Messenger of God for this age and the Promised One of all religions.

He declared His station in 1863, the announcement was of little surprise to many who knew Him.

Baha'u'llah suffered 40 years of torture, imprisonment and exile.

He was exiled from Tehran in Persia (Iran) to Baghdad and then Turkey before being sent to 'Akka, in the Holy Land, where Baha'u'llah passed away in the year 1892.



'Abdu'l-Baha




"'Abdu'l-Baha" means "Servant of Baha"

'Abdu'l-Baha is the eldest son of Baha'u'llah and was appointed by Him as the Interpreter of His teachings and the Centre of His Covenant.

In His youth 'Abdu'l-Baha suffered alongside Baha'u'llah in prison but when older He was able to travel to the West.

'Abdu'l-Baha protected the Baha'i Faith from division and passed on that duty to His grandson, Shoghi Effendi.



The Guardian: Shoghi Effendi




'Abdu'l-Baha appointed Shoghi Effendi as the Guardian of the Baha'i Faith and the only interpreter of Baha'u'llah's teachings after Himself.

The Guardian guided the Baha'is for 36 years and developed the Administrative Order of the Faith throughout the world. He appointed 27 individuals for the task of promoting and protecting the Baha'i Faith and gave them the title "Hands of the Cause of God".

For 6 years after the passing of Shoghi Effendi the Hands of the Cause held the Baha'is together until the Universal House of Justice was established.



Baha'i Administration




In brief it is sufficient to know that there is a Baha'i Administration which Baha'is must obey.


The Universal House of Justice is the supreme governing body of the Baha'i Faith to which all Baha'is may turn. Its nine members are elected by National Spiritual Assemblies from all over the world.

The Universal House of Justice consults on all issues and guides the entire Baha'i world within the light and framework of the teachings of Baha'u'llah.

To continue the work of the Hands of the Cause the Universal House of Justice appointed an International Teaching Centre.

The National Spiritual Assembly in each country is elected every year by delegates at a National Convention. The nine members consult and decide about the affairs of the Faith in that country.

Every city, town and village which has enough adult believers elects a Local Spiritual Assembly to consult on the affairs of the Faith within their community.

All Baha'i Assemblies work within the same framework based on Baha'u'llah's teachings and their decisions should be obeyed by Baha'is. In Baha'i consultation all parties are considered equal.

Individuals are also appointed at various levels to aid in the spread of the Faith and to protect the spiritual health of the Baha'is. They are called Counsellors, Auxiliary Board Members or Assistants to the Auxiliary Board and work closely with the Local and National Spiritual Assemblies.



Unity




The Baha'i Faith teaches...

The Oneness of God

There is only one God

The Oneness of Religion

There is only one religion, progressively Revealed by God

The Oneness of Humanity

All people are equal in the sight of God


The Baha'i Faith is established in virtually every country and territory in the world.

On every continent there is a Baha'i House of Worship, these are open to people of all religions and cultures.

Baha'u'llah wrote: "The Earth is but one country and mankind its citizens."



Principles and Teachings



Basic Principles of the Baha'i Faith

  • The oneness of the world of humanity
  • The foundation of all religion is one
  • Religion must be the cause of unity
  • Religion must be in accord with science and reason
  • Independent investigation of truth
  • Equality between men and women
  • The abolition of all forms of prejudice
  • Universal peace
  • Universal education
  • A universal auxiliary language
  • Spiritual solution of economic problems
  • An international tribunal


    Some Other Teachings

  • We are created as noble and spiritual beings
  • The family is the foundation of human society
  • Marriage is a means for the spiritual development of
    both partners
  • Consultation is a dynamic process for finding truth and
    solving conflicts
  • Living a moral life has a direct influence on our
    spiritual happiness and development
  • The soul continues after death


    Some Laws and Obligations

  • Pray and read the Holy Writings every day
  • Observe the Baha'i Fast from sunrise to sunset
    between March 2-21
  • Teach the Cause of God
  • Contribute to the Baha'i Fund (only Baha'is may do this)
  • Observe Baha'i Holy Days and attend the Nineteen
    Day Feast
  • Consider work as worship
  • Avoid alcoholic drinks and non-medicinal use of drugs
  • Observe chastity before marriage
  • Respect and obey the government of the land
  • Avoid backbiting and gossip



    Becoming a Baha'i




    To be a Baha'i one must...

  • Catch the spark of Faith
  • Know who Baha'u'llah, The Bab and 'Abdu'l-Baha are
  • Be aware that there is an administration which should
    be respected and obeyed
  • Learn the basic teachings of the Faith and endeavour
    to live by its laws


    Becoming a Baha'i is an individual matter of Faith.

    Baha'is do not proselytize, they believe that everybody should discover Baha'u'llah for themself.

    The actual process of becoming part of the Baha'i community varies according to the country in which you live, it often involves a written or spoken declaration that you believe in Baha'u'llah as the Messenger of God for this day and agree to try to obey His laws and institutions.



    From the Baha'i Writings


    God's Love

    O Son of Man! Veiled in My immemorial being and in the ancient eternity of My essence, I knew My love for thee; therefore I created thee, have engraved on thee Mine image and revealed to thee My beauty.

    from the Hidden Words of Baha'u'llah


    Baha'i Unity

    Each sees in the other the beauty of God reflected in the soul, and finding this point of similarity, they are attracted to one another in love... This love will bring the realization of true accord, the foundation of real unity.

    from 'Abdu'l-Baha in Paris Talks


    An Obligatory Prayer
    (to be said daily between noon and sunset)

    I bear witness, O my God, that Thou has created me to know Thee and to worship Thee. I testify, at this moment, to my powerlessness and to thy might, to my poverty and to Thy wealth. There is none other God but Thee, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.

    Baha'u'llah


    A Short Prayer for Guidance

    O God, guide me, protect me, illumine the lamp of my heart and make me a brilliant star. Thou art the Mighty and the Powerful.

    'Abdu'l-Baha



    Follow the links on the Discover Bahá'u'lláh Home Page to find many more writings and prayers from the Bahá'í Faith.

    If you would like to meet Bahá'ís from your area either look at the UK page or mail me and, where ever you are, I will try to put you in touch with your nearest community (please allow a few days for me to do this).