RELIGION

 

RELIGION_Baha'i  
(A handbook of religion was published by the Foundation for Pluralism in August 2004. All the groups were given the same set of questions, and some are really silly like denominations in Atheism.  Here is the production of such writings from Atheism to Zoroastrianism and every one in between; it is in two parts, essence of the faith and general information about it. We invite you to send your suggestions to suggestions@foundationforpluralism.com  for updates and new information.- Please send us the preferred websites to be linked at the bottom - THE INFORMATION IS IN TWO PARTS)

PROFILE & ESSENCE

The Bahá’í Faith

Compiled by: Regina & Kevin Rafraf

Traditional Greetings: Alláh-u-Abhá  (means God is the most Glorious)

Origins: 1844 in Persia (now Iran)

Originator: Bahá’u’lláh (means the Glory of God)

People who shaped the religion:  The Báb (Prophet-Herald), Bahá’u’lláh (Prophet-Founder) and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (The eldest son of Bahá’u’lláh and the Authorized Interpreter and Center of the Bahá’í Covenant).

People who wrote the books: The Báb (Prophet-Herald), Bahá’u’lláh (Prophet-Founder) and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (Authorized Interpreter and Center of the Bahá’í Covenant).

Who is worshiped?  God, the Unknowable Essence and Bahá’u’lláh, the Prophet Founder of the Bahá’í Faith.

Holy Books (Original Language): Kitáb’i’Aqdas (The Most Holy Book).  Bahá’u’lláh has written over hundred volumes of Books.  The Bahá’í Sacred Scriptures are revealed in Arabic and Persian, and have been translated into over 800 languages.  

Holy Places of Worship: Shrine of the Báb in Haifa, Israel and Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh in Akká, Israel (Akká is a suburb of Haifa).

Key Tenets: Unity of God; oneness of religions; unity of His Prophets and the oneness and wholeness of the entire human race.

Prayer Rituals:  There are no rituals in the Bahá’í Faith.  However, there are obligatory prayers that all Bahá’ís over the age of 15 are required to say each day.

Current Leadership:  There is no clergy in the Bahá'í Faith. Bahá’u’lláh abolished priesthood, because the human race has entered upon the age of its maturity, each individual is able to study and explore the revelation of God by himself/herself, and to decide on the issues of life through prayer, reflection, and consultation with others. The Bahá’í Faith has an administrative order, which includes institutions at all levels of the society: internationally, nationally and locally.  The local and national institutions (Local Spiritual Assemblies and National Spiritual Assemblies) are elected annually and the international institution (The Universal House of Justice) is elected every 5 years.

Decision Makers:  The local, national and international institutions, which are democratically elected by Bahá’ís throughout the world.

Interpretations:  ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (Authorized Interpreter and Center of the Bahá’í Covenant) and Shoghi Effendi (The great grandson of Bahá’u’lláh and the Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith). They both have passed away.

Myths:  There are no myths in the Bahá’í Faith.

Denominations:  There are no denominations in the Bahá’í Faith.  The Covenant revealed by Bahá’u’lláh and the institutions that He brought into being, have protected the Bahá’í Faith from division and denominations.

Major Festivals: Naw-Rúz (March 21):  Bahá’í New Year’s Day.  Astronomically fixed to commence the year on the spring equinox.  One  of  the  nine  holy  days  of  the  year  where  work  is  suspended.  

Festival  of  Ridván  (April  21-May 2):  Annual  Bahá'í  festival  commemorating  the  12  days  (April 21-May 2, 1863)  when  Bahá'u'lláh,  the  prophet-founder  of  the  Bahá'í  Faith,  resided  in  a  garden  called  Ridván  (Paradise)  in  Baghdad,  Iraq.   At  this  time  He  publicly  proclaimed  His  mission  as  God's  messenger  for  this  age.   The  first  (April 21),  ninth  (April 29),  and  twelfth  (May 2) days  are  celebrated  as  holy  days  where  work  is  suspended. 

Declaration  of  the  Báb  (May 23):  Bahá'í  commemoration  of  May  23,  1844,  when  the  Báb,  the  prophet-herald  of  the  Bahá'í  Faith,  announced  in  Shiraz,  Persia,  that  He  was  the  herald  of  a  new  messenger  of  God.   One  of  the  nine  holy  days  of  the  year  where  work  is  suspended.

Ascension  of  Bahá'u'lláh  (Anniversary,  May 29):  Bahá'í  observance  of  the  anniversary  of  the  death  in  exile  of  Bahá'u'lláh,  the  prophet-founder  of  the  Bahá'í  Faith  on  May  29,  1892.   One  of  nine  holy  days  of  the  year  where  work  is  suspended.    

Martyrdom  of  the  Báb  (July 9):  Bahá'í  observance  of  the  anniversary  of  the  execution  by  a  firing  squad,  July  9,  1850,  in  Tabriz,  Persia,  of  the  30-year-old  Mirza  Ali  Muhammad,  the  Báb,  the  prophet-herald  of  the  Bahá'í  Faith.   One  of  the  nine  holy  days  of  the  year  where  work  is  suspended.

Birth  of  the  Báb  (October 20):  Bahá'í  observance  of  the  anniversary  of  the  birth,  October  20,  1819,  in  Shiraz,  Persia,  of  Mirza Ali  Muhammad,  who  later  took  the  title  "the  Báb"  or  "the  gate."   The  Báb  was  the  prophet-herald  of  the  Bahá'í  Faith.   One  of  the  nine  holy  days  of  the  year  where  work  is  suspended.        

Birth  of  Bahá'u'lláh  (November 12):  Bahá'í  observance  of  the  anniversary  of  the  birth  of  Bahá'u'lláh  (born  Mirza  Husayn  Ali)  on  November  12,  1817,  in  Núr,  Persia.   Bahá'u'lláh,  which  means  the  "Glory  of  God",  was  the  prophet-founder  of  the  Bahá'í  Faith.   One  of  the  nine  holy  days  of  the  year where  work  is  suspended.

Dietary Laws:  There are no dietary laws in the Bahá’í Faith.  Alcohol, narcotics and mind-altering drugs are forbidden in the Bahá’í Faith.  

Sensitivities:  We are encouraged to practice tolerance, unity in diversity, and love for all of humanity.

What is not polite?  One of the main purposes of our life is to acquire virtues, such as honesty, love, kindness, trustworthiness, humility, patience, generosity, etc.  Anything contrary to these virtues and attributes is not polite.

Customs from birth to death:  Bahá’ís born in a Bahá’í family are automatically enrolled in the Bahá’í Faith.  There are prayers for the unborn, for newborns, for children, youth, adults, and parents.  The age of maturity is 15 years old.  All Bahá’ís who wish to marry must ask for the consent of their living parents.  Regarding the departed, there are special prayers that have been revealed for the progress of the soul.  Memorials are a solemn occasion, yet also a celebration of the next life, since physical death is viewed as a spiritual birth into a “more abundant life.”

Textual support for Pluralism:  This quote from Bahá’u’lláh proclaims the Oneness of all Religions:

“It is clear and evident to thee that all the Prophets are the Temples of the Cause of God, Who have appeared clothed in diver’s attire. 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. Such is the unity of those Essences of Being, those Luminaries of infinite and immeasurable splendor! Wherefore, should one of these Manifestations of Holiness proclaim saying: "I am the return of all the Prophets," He, verily, speaketh the truth. In like manner, in every subsequent Revelation, the return of the former Revelation is a fact, the truth of which is firmly established.”

(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 50)

World Population: Over 6 million

US population:  Over 140, 000

North Texas Population:  We have 1500 – 2000 Bahá’ís in North Texas and they represent over 10 nationalities and ethnicities.                                                                                        

Compiled by Kevin and Regina Rafraf from the Baha’i Community of Dallas. Terms are descriptive and may not be precise.  Your suggestions will be considered for 2nd edition.  When you read the scriptures, beware of the raw translations and apparent meaning of it.  Please make an attempt to understand from a perspective that it is God’s word and God will not be mean to any one.  If there is malice, it is not the right translation. Material is not copyrighted, as it belongs to all. However we request that you give credit to the author of the text and the foundation for pluralism.com. If reproduced, please produce it in its entirety.   

ESSENCE OF BAHAI FAITH

The Bahá’í Faith

Bahá'ís believe that there is only one God. God makes Himself known to mankind through an intermediary, the Manifestation of God. Krishna, Moses, Zoroaster, Buddha, Christ, Muhammad are some of the previous Messengers or Manifestations of God. Bahá’ís believe that Bahá'u'lláh is the most recent of these Messengers.

God as the Divine Physician from age to age diagnoses the ills of mankind and prescribes the remedy. He reveals the remedy through the Manifestation for our age. All true religions share common spiritual teachings such as the Golden Rule, i.e. that we should do unto others as we would have others do unto us. However, the social or practical teachings of the religions must differ since the needs of our time differ from those of a previous time. The central theme of Bahá'u'lláh's message is the oneness of humanity. He proclaimed that humanity is one single race and that the day has come for its unification in one global society. One of the purposes of the Bahá'í Faith is to help make this possible.

The Bahá’í World Community : The Bahá'í Faith is the youngest of the world's independent religions. The Bahá'í community today numbers some six million members resident in 189 independent countries and 46 territories. Its rich diversity embraces people from most of the planet's races, creeds and cultures, including over 2,100 different ethnic groupings. The Bahá'í scriptures have so far been translated into some 800 different languages and dialects. 

God: The Unknowable Essence : Bahá'u'lláh taught that God is the Creator of the universe and its Absolute Ruler. His nature is limitless, infinite and all-powerful. It is therefore impossible for mortal men and women, with limited intellect and finite capacities, to directly comprehend or understand the Divine Reality, Its motives or the way It operates.

Bahá’u’lláh : Bahá’ís believe that Bahá'u'lláh, (1817-1892), which means the “Glory of God,” is the Messenger of God for this age and the Promised One of all religions. Bahá'u'lláh suffered nearly 40 years of imprisonment and was exiled from Persia to Iráq, Constantinople, Adrianople, and finally to the prison city of 'Akká (modern day Acre, Israel). He revealed laws, ordinances and principles to guide the human race through the difficult transition of adolescence to maturation. He addressed the rulers of the world calling upon them to establish the great peace that for which mankind has been longing. The central theme of Bahá'u'lláh's Teachings is unity.

The Báb : The Báb, which means the “Gate,” is the Forerunner of Bahá'u'lláh. He is the Messenger of God Who prepared the way for the coming of Bahá'u'lláh, reminiscent of John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus Christ. As a 25 year old youth, the Báb declared His mission in 1844 in Persia. For six years, He suffered persecution and imprisonment at the hands of the ruler and religious leaders until He was executed in 1850. The Báb proclaimed that the great Messenger of God [Bahá’u’lláh] anticipated by followers of all religions would arrive and usher in the era of peace.

Progressive Revelation (Evolutionary Nature of Religion) : Bahá’ís view religion as a progressive, evolutionary process which needs to be updated as humanity evolves mentally, socially and spiritually. Every so often a new Messenger is sent to expand and update religious teachings. These Messengers bring essentially the same spiritual teachings to mankind, in a form that meets the needs of the people of Their time. Bahá’ís believe that Bahá’u’lláh has brought an updated message for mankind today. He has written:

Some Bahá’í Principles

¨       The Oneness of God

¨       The Oneness of Mankind

¨       The Oneness of Religion

¨       Independent investigation of truth

¨       Religion: a source of unity

¨       Religion: progresses (Progressive Revelation)

¨       Religion: harmony with science and reason

¨       Consultation as a means for resolving differences

¨       An international auxiliary language

¨       Universal education

¨       The elimination of all forms of prejudice

¨       Equality of women and men

¨       The abolition of the extremes of wealth and poverty

¨       Universal peace

Some Laws and Obligations: Every Bahá'í should strive each day to bring him/herself closer in line with the lofty Divine standard. Bahá'ís pray daily, read from the Sacred Writings each morning and evening, observe the Fast from sunrise to sunset from March 2 through 21, consider work as a form of worship, share the message of the Bahá'í Faith with others, avoid alcoholic drinks and drugs, observe Bahá'í marriage, obey the government and not participate in partisan politics, avoid backbiting and gossip, observe Bahá'í Holy Days, and contribute to the Bahá'í Fund.

Leadership in the Bahá’í Faith: There is no clergy in the Bahá'í Faith. Bahá’u’lláh abolished priesthood, because the human race has entered upon the age of its maturity, each individual is able to study and explore the revelation of God by himself/herself, and to decide on the issues of life through prayer, reflection, and consultation with others. The Bahá’í Faith has an administrative order, which includes institutions at all levels of the society: internationally, nationally, and locally.

Preferred Website Links:

www.Bahaifaith.org

 

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