Bahá'í Faith

Bahá'í Faith

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The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

 religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

 founded by Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh , born ' , was the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. He claimed to be the prophetic fulfilment of Bábism, a 19th-century outgrowth of Shí‘ism, but in a broader sense claimed to be a messenger from God referring to the fulfilment of the eschatological expectations of Islam, Christianity, and...

 in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories.

In the Bahá'í Faith, religious history is seen to have unfolded through a series of divine messengers, each of whom established a religion that was suited to the needs of the time and the capacity of the people. These messengers have included Abraham
Abraham
Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

, the Buddha
Gautama Buddha
Siddhārtha Gautama was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. In most Buddhist traditions, he is regarded as the Supreme Buddha Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम; Pali: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher from the Indian...

, Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 and others, and most recently the Báb
Báb
Siyyid `Alí Muḥammad Shírází was the founder of Bábism, and one of three central figures of the Bahá'í Faith. He was a merchant from Shíráz, Persia, who at the age of twenty-four claimed to be the promised Qá'im . After his declaration he took the title of Báb meaning "Gate"...

 and Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh , born ' , was the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. He claimed to be the prophetic fulfilment of Bábism, a 19th-century outgrowth of Shí‘ism, but in a broader sense claimed to be a messenger from God referring to the fulfilment of the eschatological expectations of Islam, Christianity, and...

. In Bahá'í belief, each consecutive messenger prophesied of messengers to follow, and Bahá'u'lláh's life and teachings fulfilled the end-time
Eschatology
Eschatology is a part of theology, philosophy, and futurology concerned with what are believed to be the final events in history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity, commonly referred to as the end of the world or the World to Come...

 promises of previous scriptures. Humanity is understood to be in a process of collective evolution, and the need of the present time is for the gradual establishment of peace, justice and unity on a global scale.

The word "Bahá'í" is used either as an adjective to refer to the Bahá'í Faith or as a term for a follower of Bahá'u'lláh. The word is not a noun meaning the religion as a whole. It is derived from the Arabic Bahá, meaning "glory" or "splendour". The term "Bahaism" (or "Baha'ism") has been used in the past, but the generally accepted name for the religion is the Bahá'í Faith.

Beliefs


Three core principles establish a basis for Bahá'í teachings and doctrine: the unity of God, the unity of religion
Bahá'í Faith and the unity of religion
The Unity of Religion is a core teaching in the Bahá'í Faith that states that there is a fundamental unity of many of the world's religions. The principle states that the teachings of the major religions are part of a single plan directed from the same God...

, and the unity of humankind
Bahá'í Faith and the unity of humanity
The Bahá'í Faith and the unity of humanity is one of the central teachings of the Bahá'í Faith. The Bahá'í teachings state that since all humans have been created in the image of God, God does not make any distinction between people regardless of race or colour. Thus, because all humans have been...

. From these postulates stems the belief that God periodically reveals his will through divine messengers, whose purpose is to transform the character of humankind and develop, within those who respond, moral and spiritual qualities. Religion is thus seen as orderly, unified, and progressive from age to age.

God




The Bahá'í writings describe a single, personal, inaccessible, omniscient, omnipresent, imperishable, and almighty God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 who is the creator of all things in the universe. The existence of God and the universe
Universe
The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary and similar terms include the cosmos, the world and nature...

 is thought to be eternal, without a beginning or end. Though inaccessible directly, God is nevertheless seen as conscious of creation, with a will and purpose that is expressed through messengers termed Manifestations of God.

Bahá'í teachings state that God is too great for humans to fully comprehend, or to create a complete and accurate image of, by themselves. Therefore, human understanding of God is achieved through his revelations via his Manifestations. In the Bahá'í religion God is often referred to by titles and attributes (for example, the All-Powerful, or the All-Loving), and there is a substantial emphasis on monotheism
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

; such doctrines as the Trinity
Trinity
The Christian doctrine of the Trinity defines God as three divine persons : the Father, the Son , and the Holy Spirit. The three persons are distinct yet coexist in unity, and are co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial . Put another way, the three persons of the Trinity are of one being...

 are seen as compromising, if not contradicting, the Bahá'í view that God is single and has no equal. The Bahá'í teachings state that the attributes which are applied to God are used to translate Godliness into human terms and also to help individuals concentrate on their own attributes in worshipping God to develop their potentialities on their spiritual path. According to the Bahá'í teachings the human purpose is to learn to know and love God through such methods as prayer
Prayer in the Bahá'í Faith
Prayer in the Bahá'í Faith refers to two distinct concepts: obligatory prayer and devotional prayer . Both types of prayer are composed of reverent words which are addressed to God, and the act of prayer is one of the most important Bahá'í laws for individual discipline...

, reflection
Introspection
Introspection is the self-observation and reporting of conscious inner thoughts, desires and sensations. It is a conscious and purposive process relying on thinking, reasoning, and examining one's own thoughts, feelings, and, in more spiritual cases, one's soul...

 and being of service to humankind.

Religion


See also: Progressive revelation

Bahá'í notions of progressive religious revelation result in their accepting the validity of most of the world's religions, whose founders and central figures are seen as Manifestations of God. Religious history is interpreted as a series of dispensations
Dispensationalism
Dispensationalism is a nineteenth-century evangelical development based on a futurist biblical hermeneutic that sees a series of chronologically successive "dispensations" or periods in history in which God relates to human beings in different ways under different Biblical covenants.As a system,...

, where each manifestation brings a somewhat broader and more advanced revelation
Revelation
In religion and theology, revelation is the revealing or disclosing, through active or passive communication with a supernatural or a divine entity...

, suited for the time and place in which it was expressed. Specific religious social teachings (for example, the direction of prayer, or dietary restrictions) may be revoked by a subsequent manifestation so that a more appropriate requirement for the time and place may be established. Conversely, certain general principles (for example, neighbourliness, or charity) are seen to be universal and consistent. In Bahá'í belief, this process of progressive revelation will not end; however, it is believed to be cyclical. Bahá'ís do not expect a new manifestation of God to appear within 1000 years of Bahá'u'lláh's revelation.

Bahá'í beliefs are sometimes described as syncretic
Syncretism
Syncretism is the combining of different beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought. The term means "combining", but see below for the origin of the word...

 combinations of earlier religious beliefs. Bahá'ís, however, assert that their religion is a distinct tradition with its own scriptures
Bahá'í literature
Bahá'í literature, like much religious text, covers a variety of topics and forms, including scripture and inspiration, interpretation, history and biography, introduction and study materials, and apologia...

, teachings
Bahá'í teachings
The Bahá'í teachings represent a considerable number of theological, social, and spiritual ideas that were established in the Bahá'í Faith by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the religion, and clarified by successive leaders including `Abdu'l-Bahá, Bahá'u'lláh's son, and Shoghi Effendi, `Abdu'l-Bahá's...

, laws
Bahá'í laws
Bahá'í laws are laws and ordinances used in the Bahá'í Faith and are a fundamental part of Bahá'í practice. The laws are based are authenticated texts from Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, and also includes subsequent interpretations from `Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi, and...

, and history
Bahá'í history
Bahá'í history is often traced through a sequence of leaders, beginning with the Báb's May 23, 1844 declaration in Shiraz, and ultimately resting on an administrative order established by the central figures of the religion. The religion had its background in two earlier movements in the...

. While the religion was initially seen as a sect of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, most religious specialists now see it as an independent religion, with its religious background in Shi'a Islam
Shi'a Islam
Shia Islam is the second largest denomination of Islam. The followers of Shia Islam are called Shi'ites or Shias. "Shia" is the short form of the historic phrase Shīʻatu ʻAlī , meaning "followers of Ali", "faction of Ali", or "party of Ali".Like other schools of thought in Islam, Shia Islam is...

 being seen as analogous to the Jewish context in which Christianity was established. Muslim institutions and clergy, both Sunni
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

 and Shia, consider Bahá'ís to be apostates from Islam, which has led to Bahá'ís being persecuted
Persecution of Bahá'ís
The persecution of Bahá'ís is the religious persecution of Bahá'ís in various countries, especially in Iran, where the Bahá'í Faith originated and the location of one of the largest Bahá'í populations in the world...

. Bahá'ís, themselves, describe their faith as an independent world religion, differing from the other traditions in its relative age and in the appropriateness of Bahá'u'lláh's teachings to the modern context. Bahá'u'lláh is believed to have fulfilled the messianic expectations
Eschatology
Eschatology is a part of theology, philosophy, and futurology concerned with what are believed to be the final events in history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity, commonly referred to as the end of the world or the World to Come...

 of these precursor faiths.

Human beings




The Bahá'í writings state that human beings have a "rational soul", and that this provides the species with a unique capacity to recognize God's station and humanity's relationship with its creator. Every human is seen to have a duty to recognize God through His messengers
Manifestation of God
The Manifestation of God is a concept in the Bahá'í Faith that refers to what are commonly called prophets. The Manifestations of God are a series of personages who reflect the attributes of the divine into the human world for the progress and advancement of human morals and civilization...

, and to conform to their teachings. Through recognition and obedience, service to humanity and regular prayer and spiritual practice, the Bahá'í writings state that the soul becomes closer to God, the spiritual ideal in Bahá'í belief. When a human dies, the soul passes into the next world, where its spiritual development in the physical world becomes a basis for judgment and advancement in the spiritual world. Heaven and Hell are taught to be spiritual states of nearness or distance from God that describe relationships in this world and the next, and not physical places of reward and punishment achieved after death.

The Bahá'í writings emphasize the essential equality of human beings, and the abolition of prejudice. Humanity is seen as essentially one, though highly varied; its diversity of race and culture are seen as worthy of appreciation and acceptance. Doctrines of racism, nationalism, caste, social class and gender-based hierarchy are seen as artificial impediments to unity. The Bahá'í teachings state that the unification of humankind is the paramount issue in the religious and political conditions of the present world.

Summary


Shoghi Effendi
Shoghi Effendi
Shoghí Effendí Rabbání , better known as Shoghi Effendi, was the Guardian and appointed head of the Bahá'í Faith from 1921 until his death in 1957...

, the appointed head of the religion from 1921 to 1957, wrote the following summary of what he considered to be the distinguishing principles of Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh , born ' , was the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. He claimed to be the prophetic fulfilment of Bábism, a 19th-century outgrowth of Shí‘ism, but in a broader sense claimed to be a messenger from God referring to the fulfilment of the eschatological expectations of Islam, Christianity, and...

's teachings, which, he said, together with the laws and ordinances of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas
Kitáb-i-Aqdas
The Kitáb-i-Aqdas is a central book of the Bahá'í Faith written by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the religion. The work was written in Arabic under the Arabic title , but it is commonly referred to by its Persian title, Kitáb-i-Aqdas , which was given to the work by Bahá'u'lláh himself...

constitute the bedrock of the Bahá'í Faith:

Social principles


The following principles are frequently listed as a quick summary of the Bahá'í teachings. They are derived from transcripts of speeches given by `Abdu'l-Bahá
`Abdu'l-Bahá
‘Abdu’l-Bahá , born ‘Abbás Effendí, was the eldest son of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. In 1892, `Abdu'l-Bahá was appointed in his father's will to be his successor and head of the Bahá'í Faith. `Abdu'l-Bahá was born in Tehran to an aristocratic family of the realm...

 during his tour of Europe and North America in 1912. The list is not authoritative and a variety of such lists circulate.
  • Unity of God
  • Unity of religion
    Bahá'í Faith and the unity of religion
    The Unity of Religion is a core teaching in the Bahá'í Faith that states that there is a fundamental unity of many of the world's religions. The principle states that the teachings of the major religions are part of a single plan directed from the same God...

  • Unity of humankind
    Bahá'í Faith and the unity of humanity
    The Bahá'í Faith and the unity of humanity is one of the central teachings of the Bahá'í Faith. The Bahá'í teachings state that since all humans have been created in the image of God, God does not make any distinction between people regardless of race or colour. Thus, because all humans have been...

  • Equality between men and women
    Bahá'í Faith and gender equality
    One of the fundamental teachings of the Bahá'í Faith is that men and women are equal, and that the equality of the sexes is a spiritual and moral standard that is essential for the unification of the planet and the unfoldment of peace. The Bahá'í teachings note the importance of implementing the...

  • Elimination of all forms of prejudice
    Bahá'í Faith and the unity of humanity
    The Bahá'í Faith and the unity of humanity is one of the central teachings of the Bahá'í Faith. The Bahá'í teachings state that since all humans have been created in the image of God, God does not make any distinction between people regardless of race or colour. Thus, because all humans have been...

  • World peace
    World peace
    World Peace is an ideal of freedom, peace, and happiness among and within all nations and/or people. World peace is an idea of planetary non-violence by which nations willingly cooperate, either voluntarily or by virtue of a system of governance that prevents warfare. The term is sometimes used to...

  • Harmony of religion and science
    Bahá'í Faith and science
    A fundamental principle of the Bahá'í Faith is the harmony of religion and science. Bahá'í scripture asserts that true science and true religion can never be in conflict. `Abdu'l-Bahá, the son of the founder of the religion, stated that religion without science leads to superstition and that...

  • Independent investigation of truth
  • Principle of Ever-Advancing Civilization
  • Universal compulsory education
    Bahá'í Faith and education
    The theme of education in the Bahá'í Faith is given emphasis. Its literature gives a principle of universal and compulsory education, which is identified as one of key principles alongside monotheism and the unity of humanity....

  • Universal auxiliary language
    Bahá'í Faith and auxiliary language
    The Bahá'í Faith teaches that the world should adopt an international auxiliary language, which people would use in addition to their mother tongue. The aim of this teaching is to improve communication and foster unity among peoples and nations...

  • Obedience to government and non-involvement in partisan politics unless submission to law amounts to a denial of Faith.
  • Elimination of extremes of wealth and poverty


With specific regard to the pursuit of world peace
World peace
World Peace is an ideal of freedom, peace, and happiness among and within all nations and/or people. World peace is an idea of planetary non-violence by which nations willingly cooperate, either voluntarily or by virtue of a system of governance that prevents warfare. The term is sometimes used to...

, Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh , born ' , was the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. He claimed to be the prophetic fulfilment of Bábism, a 19th-century outgrowth of Shí‘ism, but in a broader sense claimed to be a messenger from God referring to the fulfilment of the eschatological expectations of Islam, Christianity, and...

 prescribed a world-embracing collective security
Collective security
Collective security can be understood as a security arrangement, regional or global, in which each state in the system accepts that the security of one is the concern of all, and agrees to join in a collective response to threats to, and breaches of, the peace...

 arrangement as necessary for the establishment of a lasting peace.

Mystical teachings


Although the Bahá'í teachings
Bahá'í teachings
The Bahá'í teachings represent a considerable number of theological, social, and spiritual ideas that were established in the Bahá'í Faith by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the religion, and clarified by successive leaders including `Abdu'l-Bahá, Bahá'u'lláh's son, and Shoghi Effendi, `Abdu'l-Bahá's...

 have a strong emphasis on social and ethical issues, there exist a number of foundational texts that have been described as mystical. The Seven Valleys
Seven Valleys
The Seven Valleys is a book written in Persian by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. The Four Valleys was also written by Bahá'u'lláh, and the two books are usually published together under the title The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys...

is considered Bahá'u'lláh's "greatest mystical composition." It was written to a follower of Sufism
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

, in the style of `Attar, a Muslim poet, and sets forth the stages of the soul's journey towards God. It was first translated into English in 1906, becoming one of the earliest available books of Bahá'u'lláh to the West
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

. The Hidden Words
Hidden Words
Kalimát-i-Maknúnih or The Hidden Words is a book written in Baghdad around 1857 by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith...

is another book written by Bahá'u'lláh during the same period, containing 153 short passages in which Bahá'u'lláh claims to have taken the basic essence of certain spiritual truths and written them in brief form.

Covenant



The Bahá'í teachings speak of both a "Greater Covenant", being universal and endless, and a "Lesser Covenant", being unique to each religious dispensation. The Lesser Covenant is viewed as an agreement between a Messenger of God and his followers and includes social practices and the continuation of authority in the religion. At this time Bahá'ís view Bahá'u'lláh's revelation as a binding lesser covenant for his followers; in the Bahá'í writings being firm in the covenant is considered a virtue to work toward. The Greater Covenant is viewed as a more enduring agreement between God and humankind, where a Manifestation of God is expected to come to humanity about every thousand years, at times of turmoil and uncertainty.

With unity as an essential teaching of the religion, Bahá'ís follow an administration
Bahá'í administration
The Bahá'í administration or Bahá'í administrative order refers to the administrative system of the Bahá'í Faith.It is split into two parts, the elected and the appointed...

 they believe is divinely ordained, and therefore see attempts to create schisms and divisions as efforts that are contrary to the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh. Schisms have occurred over the succession of authority, but any Bahá'í divisions
Bahá'í divisions
The Bahá'í Faith has had challenges to leadership, usually, at the death of every head of the religion. The vast majority of Bahá'ís have followed a line of authority from Bahá'u'lláh to `Abdu'l-Bahá to Shoghi Effendi to the Custodians to the Universal House of Justice. Sects diverging from this...

 have had relatively little success and have failed to attract a sizeable following. The followers of such divisions are regarded as Covenant-breaker
Covenant-breaker
A Covenant-breaker or the act of Covenant-breaking is a term used by Bahá'ís to refer to a particular form of heresy. Being declared a Covenant-breaker by the head of the Faith — which since 1963 refers to the elected nine-member Universal House of Justice, the governing body of the Bahá'ís....

s and shunned, essentially excommunicated
Excommunication
Excommunication is a religious censure used to deprive, suspend or limit membership in a religious community. The word means putting [someone] out of communion. In some religions, excommunication includes spiritual condemnation of the member or group...

.

Canonical texts



The canonical texts are the writings of the Báb
Báb
Siyyid `Alí Muḥammad Shírází was the founder of Bábism, and one of three central figures of the Bahá'í Faith. He was a merchant from Shíráz, Persia, who at the age of twenty-four claimed to be the promised Qá'im . After his declaration he took the title of Báb meaning "Gate"...

, Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh , born ' , was the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. He claimed to be the prophetic fulfilment of Bábism, a 19th-century outgrowth of Shí‘ism, but in a broader sense claimed to be a messenger from God referring to the fulfilment of the eschatological expectations of Islam, Christianity, and...

, `Abdu'l-Bahá
`Abdu'l-Bahá
‘Abdu’l-Bahá , born ‘Abbás Effendí, was the eldest son of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. In 1892, `Abdu'l-Bahá was appointed in his father's will to be his successor and head of the Bahá'í Faith. `Abdu'l-Bahá was born in Tehran to an aristocratic family of the realm...

, Shoghi Effendi
Shoghi Effendi
Shoghí Effendí Rabbání , better known as Shoghi Effendi, was the Guardian and appointed head of the Bahá'í Faith from 1921 until his death in 1957...

 and the Universal House of Justice
Universal House of Justice
The Universal House of Justice is the supreme governing institution of the Bahá'í Faith. It is a legislative institution with the authority to supplement and apply the laws of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, and exercises a judicial function as the highest appellate institution in the...

, and the authenticated talks of `Abdu'l-Bahá. The writings of the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh are considered as divine revelation, the writings and talks of `Abdu'l-Bahá and the writings of Shoghi Effendi as authoritative interpretation, and those of the Universal House of Justice as authoritative legislation and elucidation. Some measure of divine guidance is assumed for all of these texts. Some of Bahá'u'lláh's most important writings include the Kitáb-i-Aqdas
Kitáb-i-Aqdas
The Kitáb-i-Aqdas is a central book of the Bahá'í Faith written by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the religion. The work was written in Arabic under the Arabic title , but it is commonly referred to by its Persian title, Kitáb-i-Aqdas , which was given to the work by Bahá'u'lláh himself...

, literally the Most Holy Book, which is his book of laws, the Kitáb-i-Íqán
Kitáb-i-Íqán
The Kitáb-i-Íqán is one of many books held sacred by followers of the Bahá'í Faith; it is their primary theological work. One Bahá'í scholar states that it can be regarded as the "most influential Koran commentary in Persian outside the Muslim world," because of its international audience. It is...

, literally the Book of Certitude, which became the foundation of much of Bahá'í belief, the Gems of Divine Mysteries
Gems of Divine Mysteries
Javáhiru’l-Asrár or Gems of Divine Mysteries, is a book by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. The treatise was written in reply to a question from Siyyid Yúsuf-i-Sidihí Isfahání who had asked the question of how the promised Mihdí could have been "transformed" into the Báb...

, which includes further doctrinal foundations, and the Seven Valleys
Seven Valleys
The Seven Valleys is a book written in Persian by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. The Four Valleys was also written by Bahá'u'lláh, and the two books are usually published together under the title The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys...

 and the Four Valleys which are mystical treatises.

History

Bahá'í timeline
Bahá'í timeline
The following is a basic timeline of the Bábí and Bahá'í religions emphasizing dates that are relatively well known. For a more comprehensive chronology see the references at the bottom.- 1826 :...


>1844 The Báb declares his mission in Shiraz, Iran
>1850 The Báb is publicly executed in Tabriz, Iran
>1852 Thousands of Bábís are executed
> Bahá'u'lláh is imprisoned and forced into exile
>1863 Bahá'u'lláh first announces his claim to divine revelation
> He is forced to leave Baghdad for Constantinople, then Adrianople
>1868 Bahá'u'lláh is forced into harsher confinement in `Akká, Palestine
>1892 Bahá'u'lláh dies near `Akká
> His will appointed `Abdu'l-Bahá as successor
>1908 `Abdu'l-Bahá is released from prison
>1921 `Abdu'l-Bahá dies in Haifa
> His will appoints Shoghi Effendi as Guardian
>1957 Shoghi Effendi dies in England
>1963 The Universal House of Justice is first elected

Bahá'í history follows a sequence of leaders, beginning with the Báb
Báb
Siyyid `Alí Muḥammad Shírází was the founder of Bábism, and one of three central figures of the Bahá'í Faith. He was a merchant from Shíráz, Persia, who at the age of twenty-four claimed to be the promised Qá'im . After his declaration he took the title of Báb meaning "Gate"...

's May 23, 1844 declaration in Shiraz, Iran
Shiraz, Iran
Shiraz is the sixth most populous city in Iran and is the capital of Fars Province, the city's 2009 population was 1,455,073. Shiraz is located in the southwest of Iran on the Roodkhaneye Khoshk seasonal river...

, and ultimately resting on an administrative order established by the central figures of the religion. The tradition was mostly isolated to the Persian and Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 empires until after the death of Bahá'u'lláh in 1892, at which time he had followers in 13 countries of Asia and Africa. Under the leadership of his son, `Abdu'l-Bahá, the religion gained a footing in Europe and America, and was consolidated in Iran, where it still suffers intense persecution
Persecution of Bahá'ís
The persecution of Bahá'ís is the religious persecution of Bahá'ís in various countries, especially in Iran, where the Bahá'í Faith originated and the location of one of the largest Bahá'í populations in the world...

. After the death of `Abdu'l-Bahá in 1921, the leadership of the Bahá'í community entered a new phase, evolving from a single individual to an administrative order with both elected bodies and appointed individuals.

The Báb




On May 23, 1844 Siyyid `Alí-Muhammad of Shiraz, Iran proclaimed that he was "the Báb" ( "the Gate"), referencing his later claim to the station of Mahdi
Mahdi
In Islamic eschatology, the Mahdi is the prophesied redeemer of Islam who will stay on Earth for seven, nine or nineteen years- before the Day of Judgment and, alongside Jesus, will rid the world of wrongdoing, injustice and tyranny.In Shia Islam, the belief in the Mahdi is a "central religious...

, the Twelfth Imam of Shi`a Islam
Shi'a Islam
Shia Islam is the second largest denomination of Islam. The followers of Shia Islam are called Shi'ites or Shias. "Shia" is the short form of the historic phrase Shīʻatu ʻAlī , meaning "followers of Ali", "faction of Ali", or "party of Ali".Like other schools of thought in Islam, Shia Islam is...

. His followers were therefore known as Bábís
Bábism
The Babi Faith is a religious movement that flourished in Persia from 1844 to 1852, then lingered on in exile in the Ottoman Empire as well as underground. Its founder was Siyyid `Alí Muhammad Shirazi, who took the title Báb—meaning "Gate"—from a Shi'a theological term...

. As the Báb's teachings spread, which the Islamic clergy saw as a threat, his followers came under increased persecution and torture. The conflicts escalated in several places to military sieges by the Shah's army. The Báb himself was imprisoned and eventually executed in 1850.

Bahá'ís see the Báb as the forerunner of the Bahá'í Faith, because the Báb's writings introduced the concept of "He whom God shall make manifest
He whom God shall make manifest
He whom God shall make manifest is a messianic figure in the religion of Babism. The messianic figure was repeatedly mentioned by the Báb, the founder of Babism, in his book, the Bayán. The Báb described the messianic figure as the origin of all divine attributes, and stated that his command was...

", a Messianic figure whose coming, according to Bahá'ís, was announced in the scriptures of all of the world's great religions, and whom Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, claimed to be in 1863. The Báb's tomb
Shrine of the Báb
The Shrine of the Báb is a structure in Haifa, Israel where the remains of the Báb, founder of Bábism and forerunner of Bahá'u'lláh in the Bahá'í Faith, have been laid to rest; it is considered to be the second holiest place on Earth for Bahá'ís, after the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh in Acre...

, located in Haifa, Israel
Haifa
Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 268,000. Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, Daliyat al-Karmel and Nesher...

, is an important place of pilgrimage
Bahá'í pilgrimage
A Bahá'í pilgrimage currently consists of visiting the holy places in Haifa, Akká, and Bahjí at the Bahá'í World Centre in Northwest Israel. Bahá'ís do not have access to other places designated as sites for pilgrimage....

 for Bahá'ís. The remains of the Báb were brought secretly from Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 to the Holy Land and eventually interred in the tomb built for them in a spot specifically designated by Bahá'u'lláh.

Bahá'u'lláh



Mírzá Husayn `Alí Núrí was one of the early followers of the Báb, and later took the title of Bahá'u'lláh. He was arrested and imprisoned for this involvement in 1852. Bahá'u'lláh relates that in 1853, while incarcerated in the dungeon of the Síyáh-Chál
Síyáh-Chál
Síyáh-Chál is the common word in Persian language for "dungeon".Historically, siyah-chals were used as a harsher form of incarceration. Typically, such dungeons had no windows or outlets, other than the entrance, consisting of a short stairway into the ground.In Bahá'í history the "Síyáh-Chál"...

 in Tehran
Tehran
Tehran , sometimes spelled Teheran, is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With an estimated population of 8,429,807; it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, one of the largest cities in Western Asia, and is the world's 19th largest city.In the 20th century, Tehran was subject to...

, he received the first intimations that he was the one anticipated by the Báb.

Shortly thereafter he was expelled from Tehran
Tehran
Tehran , sometimes spelled Teheran, is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With an estimated population of 8,429,807; it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, one of the largest cities in Western Asia, and is the world's 19th largest city.In the 20th century, Tehran was subject to...

 to Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

, in the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

; then to Constantinople (now Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

); and then to Adrianople (now Edirne
Edirne
Edirne is a city in Eastern Thrace, the northwestern part of Turkey, close to the borders with Greece and Bulgaria. Edirne served as the capital city of the Ottoman Empire from 1365 to 1453, before Constantinople became the empire's new capital. At present, Edirne is the capital of the Edirne...

). In 1863, at the time of his banishment from Baghdad to Constantinople, Bahá'u'lláh declared his claim to a divine mission to his family and followers. Tensions then grew between him and Subh-i-Azal
Subh-i-Azal
' was a Persian religious leader of Azali Bábism.-Background:Mirza Yahya was born in 1831 to Kuchak Khanum-i-Karmanshahi and Mírzá Buzurg-i-Núrí, in the province of Mazandaran, and a younger-half-brother of Mírzá Husayn `Ali, better known as Bahá'u'lláh...

, the appointed leader of the Bábís who did not recognize Bahá'u'lláh's claim. Throughout the rest of his life Bahá'u'lláh gained the allegiance of most of the Bábís, who came to be known as Bahá'ís. Beginning in 1866, he began declaring his mission as a Messenger of God in letters to the world's religious and secular rulers, including Pope Pius IX, Napoleon III, and Queen Victoria
Victoria of the United Kingdom
Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India....

.

In 1868 Bahá'u'lláh was banished by Sultan Abdülâziz
Abdülâziz
Abdülaziz I or Abd Al-Aziz, His Imperial Majesty was the 32nd Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and reigned between 25 June 1861 and 30 May 1876...

 a final time to the Ottoman penal colony of `Akká
Acre, Israel
Acre , is a city in the Western Galilee region of northern Israel at the northern extremity of Haifa Bay. Acre is one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the country....

, in present-day Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

. Towards the end of his life, the strict and harsh confinement was gradually relaxed, and he was allowed to live in a home near `Akká, while still officially a prisoner of that city. He died there in 1892. Bahá'ís regard his resting place at Bahjí
Mansion of Bahjí
The Mansion of Bahjí is a term used to describe a summer house in Acre, Israel, where Bahá'u'lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith died in 1892. His shrine is located next to this house...

 as the Qiblih
Qiblih
In the Bahá'í Faith the Qiblih is the location that Bahá'ís should face when saying their daily obligatory prayers, and is fixed at the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh, near `Akká, in present day Israel; approximately at ....

 to which they turn in prayer each day.

`Abdu'l-Bahá



`Abbás Effendi was Bahá'u'lláh's eldest son, known by the title of `Abdu'l-Bahá (Servant of Bahá). His father left a Will that appointed `Abdu'l-Bahá as the leader of the Bahá'í community, and designated him as the "Centre of the Covenant", "Head of the Faith", and the sole authoritative interpreter of Bahá'u'lláh's writings. `Abdu'l-Bahá had shared his father's long exile and imprisonment, which continued until `Abdu'l-Bahá's own release as a result of the Young Turk Revolution
Young Turk Revolution
The Young Turk Revolution of 1908 reversed the suspension of the Ottoman parliament by Sultan Abdul Hamid II, marking the onset of the Second Constitutional Era...

 in 1908. Following his release he led a life of travelling, speaking, teaching, and maintaining correspondence with communities of believers and individuals, expounding the principles of the Bahá'í Faith.

Bahá'í administration



Bahá'u'lláh's Kitáb-i-Aqdas
Kitáb-i-Aqdas
The Kitáb-i-Aqdas is a central book of the Bahá'í Faith written by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the religion. The work was written in Arabic under the Arabic title , but it is commonly referred to by its Persian title, Kitáb-i-Aqdas , which was given to the work by Bahá'u'lláh himself...

and The Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá
Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá
A seminal document, written in three stages by `Abdu'l-Bahá. Several sections were written under imminent threat of harm. The first section was probably written in 1906....

are foundational documents of the Bahá'í administrative order. Bahá'u'lláh established the elected Universal House of Justice
Universal House of Justice
The Universal House of Justice is the supreme governing institution of the Bahá'í Faith. It is a legislative institution with the authority to supplement and apply the laws of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, and exercises a judicial function as the highest appellate institution in the...

, and `Abdu'l-Bahá established the appointed hereditary Guardianship and clarified the relationship between the two institutions. In his Will, `Abdu'l-Bahá appointed his eldest grandson, Shoghi Effendi
Shoghi Effendi
Shoghí Effendí Rabbání , better known as Shoghi Effendi, was the Guardian and appointed head of the Bahá'í Faith from 1921 until his death in 1957...

, as the first Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith.

Shoghi Effendi throughout his lifetime translated Bahá'í texts; developed global plans for the expansion of the Bahá'í community; developed the Bahá'í World Centre
Bahá'í World Centre
The Bahá'í World Centre is the name given to the spiritual and administrative centre of the Bahá'í Faith. The World Centre consists of the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh near Acre, Israel, the Shrine of the Báb and its gardens on Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel, and various other buildings in the area...

; carried on a voluminous correspondence with communities and individuals around the world; and built the administrative structure of the religion, preparing the community for the election of the Universal House of Justice. He died in 1957 under conditions that did not allow for a successor to be appointed.

At local, regional, and national levels, Bahá'ís elect members to nine-person Spiritual Assemblies
Spiritual Assembly
Spiritual Assembly is a term given by `Abdu'l-Bahá to refer to elected councils that govern the Bahá'í Faith. Because the Bahá'í Faith has no clergy, they carry out the affairs of the community...

, which run the affairs of the religion. There are also appointed individuals
Institution of the Counsellors
The Counsellors are part of the administrative order of the Bahá'í Faith, and are part of a greater administrative branch called the Institution of the Counsellors, established by the Universal House of Justice in 1968....

 working at various levels, including locally and internationally, which perform the function of propagating the teachings and protecting the community. The latter do not serve as clergy
Clergy
Clergy is the generic term used to describe the formal religious leadership within a given religion. A clergyman, churchman or cleric is a member of the clergy, especially one who is a priest, preacher, pastor, or other religious professional....

, which the Bahá'í Faith does not have. The Universal House of Justice, first elected in 1963, remains the successor and supreme governing body of the Bahá'í Faith, and its 9 members are elected every five years by the members of all National Spiritual Assemblies. Any male Bahá'í, 21 years or older, is eligible to be elected to the Universal House of Justice; all other positions are open to male and female Bahá'ís.

International plans


In 1937, Shoghi Effendi
Shoghi Effendi
Shoghí Effendí Rabbání , better known as Shoghi Effendi, was the Guardian and appointed head of the Bahá'í Faith from 1921 until his death in 1957...

 launched a seven year plan for the Bahá'ís of North America, followed by another in 1946. In 1953, he launched the first international plan, the Ten Year World Crusade
Ten Year Crusade
The Ten Year World Crusade was launched by Shoghi Effendi in an effort to facilitate an organized expansion of the Bahá'í Faith....

. This plan included extremely ambitious goals for the expansion of Bahá'í communities and institutions, the translation of Bahá'í texts into several new languages, and the sending of Bahá'í pioneers
Pioneering (Bahá'í)
A pioneer is a volunteer Bahá'í who leaves his or her home to journey to another place for the purpose of teaching the Bahá'í Faith. The act of so moving is termed pioneering. Bahá'ís refrain from using the term "missionary"...

 into previously unreached nations. He announced in letters during the Ten Year Crusade that it would be followed by other plans under the direction of the Universal House of Justice, which was elected in 1963 at the culmination of the Crusade. The House of Justice then launched a nine year plan in 1964, and a series of subsequent multi-year plans of varying length and goals followed, guiding the direction of the international Bahá'í community.

Annually, on April 21, the Universal House of Justice sends a ‘Ridván
Ridván
Riḍván is a twelve-day festival in the Bahá'í Faith, commemorating the commencement of Bahá'u'lláh's prophethood. It begins at sunset on April 20 and continues until sunset, May 2...

’ message to the worldwide Bahá’í community, which generally gives an update on the progress made concerning the current plan, and provides further guidance for the year to come. The Bahá'ís around the world are currently being encouraged to focus on capacity building through children's classes, youth groups, devotional gatherings, and a systematic study of the religion known as study circles
Bahá'í study circle
The term study circle has become common terminology in the Bahá'í Faith to describe a specific type of gathering for the study of the Bahá'í teachings, with an emphasis on "promoting the well-being of humanity."...

. Further focuses are involvement in social action and participation in the prevalent discourses of society. The years from 2001 until 2021 represent four successive five-year plans, culminating in the centennial anniversary of the passing of `Abdu'l-Bahá
`Abdu'l-Bahá
‘Abdu’l-Bahá , born ‘Abbás Effendí, was the eldest son of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. In 1892, `Abdu'l-Bahá was appointed in his father's will to be his successor and head of the Bahá'í Faith. `Abdu'l-Bahá was born in Tehran to an aristocratic family of the realm...

.

Demographics



A Bahá'í published document reported 4.74 million Bahá'ís in 1986 growing at a rate of 4.4%. Bahá'í sources since 1991 usually estimate the worldwide Bahá'í population to be above 5 million. The World Christian Encyclopedia estimated 7.1 million Bahá'ís in the world in 2000, representing 218 countries.

From its origins in the Persian and Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 Empires, by the early 20th century there were a number of converts in South
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

 and South East Asia, Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, and North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

. During the 1950s and 1960s, vast travel teaching
Pioneering (Bahá'í)
A pioneer is a volunteer Bahá'í who leaves his or her home to journey to another place for the purpose of teaching the Bahá'í Faith. The act of so moving is termed pioneering. Bahá'ís refrain from using the term "missionary"...

 efforts brought the religion to almost every country and territory of the world. By the 1990s, Bahá'ís were developing programs for systematic consolidation on a large scale, and the early 21st century saw large influxes of new adherents around the world. The Bahá'í Faith is currently the largest religious minority in Iran.

According to The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2004
World Almanac
In 1993 Scripps sold the Almanac to K-III .The World Almanac was sold to Ripplewood Holdings' WRC Media in 1999. Ripplewood bought Reader's Digest and the book was then produced by the World Almanac Education Group, which was owned by The Reader's Digest Association...

:
The Bahá'í religion was listed in The Britannica Book of the Year (1992–present) as the second most widespread of the world's independent religions in terms of the number of countries represented. Britannica claims that it is established in 247 countries and territories; represents over 2,100 ethnic, racial, and tribal groups; has scriptures translated into over 800 languages; and has seven million adherents worldwide 2002. Additionally, Bahá'ís have self-organized
Bahá'í administration
The Bahá'í administration or Bahá'í administrative order refers to the administrative system of the Bahá'í Faith.It is split into two parts, the elected and the appointed...

 in most of the nations of the earth.

The Bahá'í religion was ranked by the FP magazine as the world's second fastest growing religion by percentage (1.7%) in 2007.

Laws




The laws of the Bahá'í Faith primarily come from the Kitáb-i-Aqdas
Kitáb-i-Aqdas
The Kitáb-i-Aqdas is a central book of the Bahá'í Faith written by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the religion. The work was written in Arabic under the Arabic title , but it is commonly referred to by its Persian title, Kitáb-i-Aqdas , which was given to the work by Bahá'u'lláh himself...

, written by Bahá'u'lláh. The following are a few examples of basic laws and religious observances.
  • Prayer in the Bahá'í Faith
    Prayer in the Bahá'í Faith
    Prayer in the Bahá'í Faith refers to two distinct concepts: obligatory prayer and devotional prayer . Both types of prayer are composed of reverent words which are addressed to God, and the act of prayer is one of the most important Bahá'í laws for individual discipline...

     consists of obligatory prayer and devotional (general) prayer. Bahá'ís over the age of 15 must individually recite an obligatory prayer
    Obligatory Bahá'í prayers
    Obligatory Bahá'í prayers are prayers which are to be said daily by Bahá'ís according to a fixed form decreed by Bahá'u'lláh. Prayers in the Bahá'í Faith are reverent words which are addressed to God, and refers to two distinct concepts: obligatory prayer and devotional prayer . The act of prayer...

     each day, using fixed words and form. In addition to the daily obligatory prayer, believers are directed to daily offer devotional prayer
    Prayer in the Bahá'í Faith
    Prayer in the Bahá'í Faith refers to two distinct concepts: obligatory prayer and devotional prayer . Both types of prayer are composed of reverent words which are addressed to God, and the act of prayer is one of the most important Bahá'í laws for individual discipline...

     and to meditate and study sacred scripture. There is no set form for devotions and meditations, though the devotional prayers written by the central figures of the Bahá'í Faith and collected in prayer books are held in high esteem. Reading aloud of prayers from prayer books is a typical feature of Bahá'í gatherings.
  • Backbiting
    Backbiting
    Backbiting or tale-bearing is to slander someone in their absence — to bite them behind their back. Originally, backbiting referred to an unsporting attack from the rear in the blood sport of bearbaiting....

     and gossip
    Gossip
    Gossip is idle talk or rumour, especially about the personal or private affairs of others, It is one of the oldest and most common means of sharing facts and views, but also has a reputation for the introduction of errors and variations into the information transmitted...

     are prohibited and denounced.
  • Adult Bahá'ís in good health should observe a nineteen-day sunrise-to-sunset fast
    Nineteen Day Fast
    The Nineteen-Day Fast is a nineteen-day period of the year, during which members of the Bahá'í Faith adhere to a sunrise-to-sunset fast. Along with obligatory prayer, it is one of the greatest obligations of a Bahá'í, and its chief purpose is spiritual; to reinvigorate the soul and bring the...

     each year from March 2 through March 20.
  • Bahá'ís are forbidden to drink alcohol
    Alcoholic beverage
    An alcoholic beverage is a drink containing ethanol, commonly known as alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are divided into three general classes: beers, wines, and spirits. They are legally consumed in most countries, and over 100 countries have laws regulating their production, sale, and consumption...

     or to take drugs, unless prescribed by doctors.
  • Sexual intercourse
    Sexual intercourse
    Sexual intercourse, also known as copulation or coitus, commonly refers to the act in which a male's penis enters a female's vagina for the purposes of sexual pleasure or reproduction. The entities may be of opposite sexes, or they may be hermaphroditic, as is the case with snails...

     is only permitted between a husband and wife, and thus premarital and homosexual intercourse are forbidden. (See also Homosexuality and the Bahá'í Faith)
  • Gambling
    Gambling
    Gambling is the wagering of money or something of material value on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money and/or material goods...

     is forbidden.
  • Fanaticism
    Fanaticism
    Fanaticism is a belief or behavior involving uncritical zeal, particularly for an extreme religious or political cause or in some cases sports, or with an obsessive enthusiasm for a pastime or hobby...

     is forbidden.
  • Adherence to ritual
    Ritual
    A ritual is a set of actions, performed mainly for their symbolic value. It may be prescribed by a religion or by the traditions of a community. The term usually excludes actions which are arbitrarily chosen by the performers....

     is condemned, with the notable exception of the obligatory prayers.
  • Abstaining from partisan
    Partisan (political)
    In politics, a partisan is a committed member of a political party. In multi-party systems, the term is widely understood to carry a negative connotation - referring to those who wholly support their party's policies and are perhaps even reluctant to acknowledge correctness on the part of their...

     politics is required.


While some of the laws from the Kitáb-i-Aqdas are applicable at the present time and may be enforced to a degree by the administrative institutions, Bahá'u'lláh has provided for the progressive application of other laws that are dependent upon the existence of a predominantly Bahá'í society. The laws, when not in direct conflict with the civil laws of the country of residence, are binding on every Bahá'í, and the observance of personal laws, such as prayer
Prayer in the Bahá'í Faith
Prayer in the Bahá'í Faith refers to two distinct concepts: obligatory prayer and devotional prayer . Both types of prayer are composed of reverent words which are addressed to God, and the act of prayer is one of the most important Bahá'í laws for individual discipline...

 or fasting, is the sole responsibility of the individual.

Marriage



The purpose of marriage in the Bahá'i faith is mainly to foster spiritual harmony, fellowship and unity between a man and a woman and to provide a stable and loving environment for the rearing of children. The Bahá'í teachings on marriage call it a fortress for well-being and salvation and place marriage and the family as the foundation of the structure of human society
Society
A society, or a human society, is a group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations...

. Bahá'u'lláh highly praised marriage, discouraged divorce and homosexuality, and required chastity
Chastity
Chastity refers to the sexual behavior of a man or woman acceptable to the moral standards and guidelines of a culture, civilization, or religion....

 outside of marriage; Bahá'u'lláh taught that a husband and wife should strive to improve the spiritual life of each other. Interracial marriage
Interracial marriage
Interracial marriage occurs when two people of differing racial groups marry. This is a form of exogamy and can be seen in the broader context of miscegenation .-Legality of interracial marriage:In the Western world certain jurisdictions have had regulations...

 is also highly praised throughout Bahá'í scripture.

Bahá'ís intending to marry are asked to obtain a thorough understanding of the other's character before deciding to marry. Although parents should not choose partners for their children, once two individuals decide to marry, they must receive the consent of all living biological parents, even if one partner is not a Bahá'í. The Bahá'í marriage ceremony is simple; the only compulsory part of the wedding is the reading of the wedding vows prescribed by Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh , born ' , was the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. He claimed to be the prophetic fulfilment of Bábism, a 19th-century outgrowth of Shí‘ism, but in a broader sense claimed to be a messenger from God referring to the fulfilment of the eschatological expectations of Islam, Christianity, and...

 which both the groom and the bride read, in the presence of two witnesses. The vows are "We will all, verily, abide by the Will of God."

Work


Monasticism
Monasticism
Monasticism is a religious way of life characterized by the practice of renouncing worldly pursuits to fully devote one's self to spiritual work...

 is forbidden, and Bahá'ís attempt to ground their spirituality in ordinary daily life. Performing useful work, for example, is not only required but considered a form of worship. Bahá'u'lláh prohibited a mendicant and ascetic
Asceticism
Asceticism describes a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from various sorts of worldly pleasures often with the aim of pursuing religious and spiritual goals...

 lifestyle. The importance of self-exertion and service to humanity in one's spiritual life is emphasised further in Bahá'u'lláh's writings, where he states that work done in the spirit of service to humanity enjoys a rank equal to that of prayer and worship in the sight of God.

Places of worship




Most Bahá'í meetings occur in individuals' homes, local Bahá'í centers, or rented facilities. Worldwide, there are currently seven Bahá'í Houses of Worship with an eighth under construction in Chile. Bahá'í writings refer to an institution called a "Mashriqu'l-Adhkár" (Dawning-place of the Mention of God), which is to form the center of a complex of institutions including a hospital, university, and so on. The first ever Mashriqu'l-Adhkár in `Ishqábád, Turkmenistan, has been the most complete House of Worship.

Calendar



The Bahá'í calendar is based upon the calendar established by the Báb. The year consists of 19 months, each having 19 days, with four or five intercalary days
Ayyám-i-Há
Ayyám-i-Há refers to a period of four or five intercalary days in the Bahá'í calendar, where Bahá'ís celebrate the Festival of Ayyám-i-Há...

, to make a full solar year
Tropical year
A tropical year , for general purposes, is the length of time that the Sun takes to return to the same position in the cycle of seasons, as seen from Earth; for example, the time from vernal equinox to vernal equinox, or from summer solstice to summer solstice...

. The Bahá'í New Year corresponds to the traditional Persian New Year, called Naw Rúz
Bahá'í Naw-Rúz
Naw-Rúz in the Bahá'í Faith is one of nine holy days for adherents of the Bahá'í Faith worldwide and the first day of the Bahá'í calendar occurring on the vernal equinox, around March 21...

, and occurs on the vernal equinox, March 21, at the end of the month of fasting. Bahá'í communities gather at the beginning of each month at a meeting called a Feast
Nineteen Day Feast
The Nineteen Day Feasts are regular community gatherings, occurring on the first day of each month of the Bahá'í calendar . Each gathering consists of a Devotional, Administrative, and Social part...

 for worship, consultation and socializing.

Each of the 19 months is given a name which is an attribute of God; some examples include Bahá’ (Splendour), ‘Ilm (Knowledge), and Jamál (Beauty). The Bahá'í week is familiar in that it consists of seven days, with each day of the week also named after an attribute of God. Bahá'ís observe 11 Holy Days throughout the year, with work suspended on 9 of these. These days commemorate important anniversaries in the history of the religion.

Symbols




The symbols of the religion are derived from the Arabic word Bahá’ ( "splendor" or "glory"), with a numerical value
Abjad numerals
The Abjad numerals are a decimal numeral system in which the 28 letters of the Arabic alphabet are assigned numerical values. They have been used in the Arabic-speaking world since before the 8th century Arabic numerals...

 of 9, which is why the most common symbol is the nine-pointed star. The ringstone symbol and calligraphy of the Greatest Name are also often encountered. The former consists of two five-pointed stars interspersed with a stylized Bahá’ whose shape is meant to recall the three onenesses, while the latter is a calligraphic rendering of the phrase Yá Bahá'u'l-Abhá ( "O Glory of the Most Glorious!").The five-pointed star is the symbol of the Bahá'í Faith. In the Bahá'í Faith, the star is known as the Haykal , and it was initiated and established by the Báb
Báb
Siyyid `Alí Muḥammad Shírází was the founder of Bábism, and one of three central figures of the Bahá'í Faith. He was a merchant from Shíráz, Persia, who at the age of twenty-four claimed to be the promised Qá'im . After his declaration he took the title of Báb meaning "Gate"...

. The Báb and Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh , born ' , was the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. He claimed to be the prophetic fulfilment of Bábism, a 19th-century outgrowth of Shí‘ism, but in a broader sense claimed to be a messenger from God referring to the fulfilment of the eschatological expectations of Islam, Christianity, and...

 wrote various works in the form of a pentagram
Pentagram
A pentagram is the shape of a five-pointed star drawn with five straight strokes...

.

Socio-economic development




Since its inception the Bahá'í Faith has had involvement in socio-economic development beginning by giving greater freedom to women, promulgating the promotion of female education as a priority concern, and that involvement was given practical expression by creating schools, agricultural coops, and clinics.

The religion entered a new phase of activity when a message of the Universal House of Justice dated 20 October 1983 was released. Bahá'ís were urged to seek out ways, compatible with the Bahá'í teachings, in which they could become involved in the social and economic development of the communities in which they lived. Worldwide in 1979 there were 129 officially recognized Bahá'í socio-economic development projects. By 1987, the number of officially recognized development projects had increased to 1482.

United Nations


Bahá'u'lláh wrote of the need for world government
World government
World government is the notion of a single common political authority for all of humanity. Its modern conception is rooted in European history, particularly in the philosophy of ancient Greece, in the political formation of the Roman Empire, and in the subsequent struggle between secular authority,...

 in this age of humanity's collective life. Because of this emphasis the international Bahá'í community has chosen to support efforts of improving international relations
International relations
International relations is the study of relationships between countries, including the roles of states, inter-governmental organizations , international nongovernmental organizations , non-governmental organizations and multinational corporations...

 through organizations such as the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

 and the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

, with some reservations about the present structure and constitution of the UN. The Bahá'í International Community
Bahá'í International Community
The Bahá'í International Community, or the BIC, is an international non-governmental organization representing the members of the Bahá'í Faith; it was first chartered in March 1948 with the United Nations, and currently has affiliates in over 180 countries and territories.The BIC seeks to "promote...

 is an agency under the direction of the Universal House of Justice in Haifa, and has consultative status with the following organizations:
  • United Nations Economic and Social Council
    United Nations Economic and Social Council
    The Economic and Social Council of the United Nations constitutes one of the six principal organs of the United Nations and it is responsible for the coordination of the economic, social and related work of 14 UN specialized agencies, its functional commissions and five regional commissions...

     (ECOSOC)
  • United Nations Children's Fund
    United Nations Children's Fund
    United Nations Children's Fund was created by the United Nations General Assembly on December 11, 1946, to provide emergency food and healthcare to children in countries that had been devastated by World War II...

     (UNICEF)
  • World Health Organization
    World Health Organization
    The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

     (WHO)
  • United Nations Development Fund for Women
    UNIFEM
    The United Nations Development Fund for Women, commonly known as UNIFEM was established in December 1976 originally as the Voluntary Fund for the United Nations Decade for Women in the International Women's Year. Its first director was Dr. Margaret Snyder, Ph.D...

     (UNIFEM)
  • United Nations Environment Programme
    United Nations Environment Programme
    The United Nations Environment Programme coordinates United Nations environmental activities, assisting developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies and practices. It was founded as a result of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in June 1972 and has its...

     (UNEP)


The Bahá'í International Community has offices at the United Nations in New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 and Geneva
Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

 and representations to United Nations regional commissions and other offices in Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa is the capital city of Ethiopia...

, Bangkok
Bangkok
Bangkok is the capital and largest urban area city in Thailand. It is known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon or simply Krung Thep , meaning "city of angels." The full name of Bangkok is Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom...

, Nairobi
Nairobi
Nairobi is the capital and largest city of Kenya. The city and its surrounding area also forms the Nairobi County. The name "Nairobi" comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nyirobi, which translates to "the place of cool waters". However, it is popularly known as the "Green City in the Sun" and is...

, Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

, Santiago
Santiago, Chile
Santiago , also known as Santiago de Chile, is the capital and largest city of Chile, and the center of its largest conurbation . It is located in the country's central valley, at an elevation of above mean sea level...

, and Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

. In recent years an Office of the Environment and an Office for the Advancement of Women were established as part of its United Nations Office. The Bahá'í Faith has also undertaken joint development programs with various other United Nations agencies. In the 2000 Millennium Forum
Millennium Development Goals
The Millennium Development Goals are eight international development goals that all 193 United Nations member states and at least 23 international organizations have agreed to achieve by the year 2015...

 of the United Nations a Bahá'í was invited as the only non-governmental speaker during the summit.

Persecution




Bahá'ís continue to be persecuted in Islamic countries, as Islamic leaders do not recognize the Bahá'í Faith as an independent religion, but rather as apostasy
Apostasy
Apostasy , 'a defection or revolt', from ἀπό, apo, 'away, apart', στάσις, stasis, 'stand, 'standing') is the formal disaffiliation from or abandonment or renunciation of a religion by a person. One who commits apostasy is known as an apostate. These terms have a pejorative implication in everyday...

 from Islam. The most severe persecutions have occurred in Iran
Bahá'í Faith in Iran
The Bahá'í Faith in Iran is the country's second-largest religion after Islam and the birthplace of the three central figures of the religion – The Báb, Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá...

, where over 200 Bahá'ís were executed between 1978 and 1998, and in Egypt
Bahá'í Faith in Egypt
The Bahá'í Faith in Egypt has a history over a century old. Perhaps the first Bahá'ís arrive in 1863. Bahá'u'lláh, founder of the religion, was himself briefly in Egypt in 1868 when on his way to imprisonment in `Akká. The first Egyptians were converts by 1896...

. The rights of Bahá'ís have been restricted to greater or lesser extents in numerous other countries, including Afghanistan
Bahá'í Faith in Afghanistan
The Bahá'í Faith in Afghanistan began in 1880s with visits by Bahá'ís. However it wasn't until the 1930s that any Bahá'í traveled there. A Bahá'í Local Spiritual Assembly was elected in 1948 in Kabul and after some years was re-elected in 1969...

, Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

, and several countries in sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa as a geographical term refers to the area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara. A political definition of Sub-Saharan Africa, instead, covers all African countries which are fully or partially located south of the Sahara...

.

Iran


The marginalization of the Iranian Bahá'ís by current governments is rooted in historical efforts by Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 clergy to persecute the religious minority. When the Báb started attracting a large following, the clergy hoped to stop the movement from spreading by stating that its followers were enemies of God. These clerical directives led to mob attacks and public executions. Starting in the twentieth century, in addition to repression that impacted individual Bahá'ís, centrally directed campaigns that targeted the entire Bahá'í community and institutions were initiated. In one case in Yazd
Yazd
Yazd is the capital of Yazd Province in Iran, and a centre of Zoroastrian culture. The city is located some 175 miles southeast of Isfahan. At the 2006 census, the population was 423,006, in 114,716 families....

 in 1903 more than 100 Bahá'ís were killed. Bahá'í schools, such as the Tarbiyat boys' and girl's schools in Tehran, were closed in the 1930s and 40s, Bahá'í marriages were not recognized and Bahá'í texts were censored.

During the reign of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavi, Shah of Iran, Shah of Persia , ruled Iran from 16 September 1941 until his overthrow by the Iranian Revolution on 11 February 1979...

, to divert attention from economic difficulties in Iran and from a growing nationalist movement, a campaign of persecution against the Bahá'ís was instituted. An approved and coordinated anti-Bahá'í campaign (to incite public passion against the Bahá'ís) started in 1955 and included the spreading of anti-Bahá'í propaganda on national radio stations and in official newspapers. In the late 1970s the Shah's regime consistently lost legitimacy due to criticism that it was pro-Western. As the anti-Shah movement gained ground and support, revolutionary propaganda was spread that some of the Shah's advisors were Bahá'ís. Bahá'ís were portrayed as economic threats, supporters of Israel and the West, and societal hostility for the Bahá'ís increased.

Since the Islamic Revolution
Iranian Revolution
The Iranian Revolution refers to events involving the overthrow of Iran's monarchy under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and its replacement with an Islamic republic under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the...

 of 1979 Iranian Bahá'ís have regularly had their homes ransacked or been banned from attending university or holding government jobs, and several hundred have received prison sentences for their religious beliefs, most recently for participating in study circles
Bahá'í study circle
The term study circle has become common terminology in the Bahá'í Faith to describe a specific type of gathering for the study of the Bahá'í teachings, with an emphasis on "promoting the well-being of humanity."...

. Bahá'í cemeteries have been desecrated and property seized and occasionally demolished, including the House of Mírzá Buzurg, Bahá'u'lláh's father. The House of the Báb in Shiraz
Shiraz, Iran
Shiraz is the sixth most populous city in Iran and is the capital of Fars Province, the city's 2009 population was 1,455,073. Shiraz is located in the southwest of Iran on the Roodkhaneye Khoshk seasonal river...

, one of three sites to which Bahá'ís perform pilgrimage
Bahá'í pilgrimage
A Bahá'í pilgrimage currently consists of visiting the holy places in Haifa, Akká, and Bahjí at the Bahá'í World Centre in Northwest Israel. Bahá'ís do not have access to other places designated as sites for pilgrimage....

, has been destroyed twice.

According to a US panel, attacks on Bahá'ís in Iran have increased since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became president. The United Nations Commission on Human Rights
United Nations Commission on Human Rights
The United Nations Commission on Human Rights was a functional commission within the overall framework of the United Nations from 1946 until it was replaced by the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2006...

 revealed an October 2005 confidential letter from Command Headquarters of the Armed Forces of Iran to identify Bahá'ís and to monitor their activities. Due to these actions, the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights
United Nations Commission on Human Rights
The United Nations Commission on Human Rights was a functional commission within the overall framework of the United Nations from 1946 until it was replaced by the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2006...

 stated on March 20, 2006, that she "also expresses concern that the information gained as a result of such monitoring will be used as a basis for the increased persecution of, and discrimination against, members of the Bahá'í faith, in violation of international standards. The Special Rapporteur is concerned that this latest development indicates that the situation with regard to religious minorities in Iran is, in fact, deteriorating."

On May 14, 2008, members of an informal body known as the "Friends" that oversaw the needs of the Bahá'í community in Iran were arrested and taken to Evin prison
Evin Prison
Evin House of Detention is a prison in Iran, located in Evin, northwestern Tehran. It is noted for its political prisoners' wing, where prisoners have been held both before and after the 1979 Iranian Revolution...

. The Friends court case has been postponed several times, but was finally underway on January 12, 2010. Other observers were not allowed in the court. Even the defence lawyers, who for two years have had very minimal access to the defendants, had difficulty entering the courtroom. The chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom said that it seems that the government has already predetermined the outcome of the case and is violating international human rights law. Further sessions were held on February 7, 2010, April 12, 2010 and June 12, 2010. On August 11, 2010 it became known that the court sentence was 20 years imprisonment for each of the seven prisoners which was later reduced to ten years. After the sentence, they were transferred to Gohardasht prison
Gohardasht Prison
Gohardasht Prison is a prison in Gohardasht, a town in the northern outskirt of Karaj, approximately 20 km west of Tehran and is also known as "Rajai Shahr"....

. In March 2011 the sentences were reinstated to the original 20 years.

On January 3, 2010, Iranian authorities detained ten more members of the Baha'i minority, reportedly including Leva Khanjani, granddaughter of Jamaloddin Khanjani, one of seven Baha'i leaders jailed since 2008 and in February, arrested his son, Niki Khanjani.

The Iranian government claims that the Bahá'í Faith is not a religion, but a political organization, and hence refuses to recognize it as a minority religion. However, the government has never produced convincing evidence supporting its characterization of the Bahá'í community. Also the government's statements that Bahá'ís who recanted their religion would have their rights restored, attests to the fact that Bahá'ís are persecuted solely for their religious affiliation. The Iranian government also accuses the Bahá'í Faith of being associated with Zionism
Zionism
Zionism is a Jewish political movement that, in its broadest sense, has supported the self-determination of the Jewish people in a sovereign Jewish national homeland. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish state...

 because the Bahá'í World Centre
Bahá'í World Centre
The Bahá'í World Centre is the name given to the spiritual and administrative centre of the Bahá'í Faith. The World Centre consists of the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh near Acre, Israel, the Shrine of the Báb and its gardens on Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel, and various other buildings in the area...

 is located in Haifa, Israel. These accusations against the Bahá'ís have no basis in historical fact, and the accusations are used by the Iranian government to use the Bahá'ís as "scapegoats". In fact it was the Iranian Shah who banished Bahá'u'lláh from Persia to the Ottoman Empire and he was later exiled by the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, at the behest of the Persian Shah, to territories further away from Iran and finally to Acre
Acre, Israel
Acre , is a city in the Western Galilee region of northern Israel at the northern extremity of Haifa Bay. Acre is one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the country....

 in Syria, which only a century later was incorporated into the state of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

.

Egypt


Bahá'í institutions and community activities have been illegal under Egyptian law since 1960. All Bahá'í community properties, including Bahá'í centers, libraries, and cemeteries, have been confiscated by the government and fatwa
Fatwa
A fatwā in the Islamic faith is a juristic ruling concerning Islamic law issued by an Islamic scholar. In Sunni Islam any fatwā is non-binding, whereas in Shia Islam it could be considered by an individual as binding, depending on his or her relation to the scholar. The person who issues a fatwā...

s have been issued charging Bahá'ís with apostasy
Apostasy
Apostasy , 'a defection or revolt', from ἀπό, apo, 'away, apart', στάσις, stasis, 'stand, 'standing') is the formal disaffiliation from or abandonment or renunciation of a religion by a person. One who commits apostasy is known as an apostate. These terms have a pejorative implication in everyday...

.

The Egyptian identification card controversy
Egyptian identification card controversy
The Egyptian identification card controversy is a series of events, beginning in the 1990s, that created a de facto state of disenfranchisement for Egyptian Bahá'ís, atheists, agnostics, and other Egyptians who did not identify themselves as Muslim, Christian, or Jewish on government identity...

 began in the 1990s when the government modernized the electronic processing of identity documents, which introduced a de facto requirement that documents must list the person's religion as Muslim, Christian, or Jewish (the only three religions officially recognized by the government). Consequently, Bahá'ís were unable to obtain government identification documents (such as national identification cards, birth certificates, death certificates, marriage or divorce certificates, or passports) necessary to exercise their rights in their country unless they lied about their religion, which conflicts with Bahá'í religious principle. Without documents, they could not be employed, educated, treated in hospitals, travel outside of the country, or vote, among other hardships. Following a protracted legal process culminating in a court ruling favorable to the Bahá'ís, the interior minister of Egypt released a decree on April 14, 2009, amending the law to allow Egyptians who are not Muslim, Christian, or Jewish to obtain identification documents that list dash in place of one of the three recognized religions. The first identification cards were issued to two Bahá'ís under the new decree on August 8, 2009.

Reactions


Bernard Lewis
Bernard Lewis
Bernard Lewis, FBA is a British-American historian, scholar in Oriental studies, and political commentator. He is the Cleveland E. Dodge Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University...

 states that the Muslim laity and Islamic authorities have always had great difficulty in accommodating post-Islamic monotheistic religions such as the Bahá'í Faith, since the followers of such religions cannot be dismissed either as benighted heathens, like the polytheists of Asia and the animists of Africa, nor as outdated precursors, like the Jews and Christians. Moreover, their very existence presents a challenge to the Islamic doctrine of the finality of Muhammad's revelation.

See also



  • Bahá'í apologetics
    Bahá'í apologetics
    Apologetics is the branch of theology which seeks to defend a religion's tenets through reasoned argument. Bahá'ís generally believe that the proof of the truth of the religion can be found through independent investigation...

  • Bahá'í Faith in fiction
    Bahá'í Faith in fiction
    The Bahá'í Faith has appeared in fiction in multiple forms. The mention of the Bahá'í Faith, prominent members, or even individual believers have appeared in a variety of fictional forms including science fiction, and fantasy, as well as styles of short stories, novelettes, and novels, and even...

  • Bahá'í orthography
    Bahá'í orthography
    Bahá'í orthography refers to the standardized system of orthography when rendering Persian or Arabic words into English in the literature of the Bahá'í Faith...

  • Bahá'í Terraces
    Terraces (Bahá'í)
    The Terraces of the Bahá'í Faith, also known as the Hanging Gardens of Haifa, are garden terraces around the Shrine of the Báb on Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel. They are one of the most visited tourist attractions in Israel. The architect is Fariborz Sahba from Iran...

    , the Hanging Gardens of Haifa
  • List of Bahá'ís

External links