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Bahai Religion And Its Religious Practices
Baha'i Religion and History
The Baha'i religion was founded about one hundred and fifty years ago. Baha'i Faith, as it is popularly known, is among the fastest growing in the world.
It has more than five million followers from every country and corner of the world and is the second most popular religion, only second to Christianity.
The concept of this religion is unity and peace. The belief is not dissimilar to the Christian belief, where they both believe in one God, however, the similarities are a little distorted when it comes to people, as Baha'i believes that there is only one human race as opposed to the the belief in many races. Their main message is that of humanity.
How Baha'i Faith was founded
It was a wealthy Persian who abandoned his princely possessions and life of luxury that caught the attention of thousands of people across the globe. Baha'ullah left his riches behind to dwell amongst the poor facing persecution and deprivation. His actions were seen as a humanitarian gesture.
Facing much adversity and humiliation he brought home a message of peace and unity. Claiming to be a messenger for God, Baha'ullah's work and influence equaled that of Moses, Buddha, Christ and other divine messengers.
Unlike other religions, Baha'i stands out among all. It is the only religion that has withstood division into sects and has remained one united entity despite having over ten thousand locations throughout the world.
Religious Holidays of Baha'i
The Baha'i Faith like any other religion has their holy days and days of observances. There are nine holidays, one period of fasting and two days of special observance where persons still go out to work.
March 2 - 21 - Nineteen days of fasting.
This is a time of renewal and meditation where members come together to read scriptures and talk to each other and meditate. There is no consumption of any kind between sunrise and sundown. Most believers will not take any solid or liquid for the nineteen days of fast. This period of fast is said to be a preparation for the coming year which begins on the last day of fasting.
March 21 - Baha'i New Year.
This is known as the Naw-Ruz the fist day of the Iranian New year which is in the month of Farvardin, the first month of the year. Naw-Ruz is a National Holiday observed by all religions in Iran. However for the Baha'i it is observed as The Day of God or The Day of The Coming of The Promised One. The Baha'i makes it a spiritual celebration commencing in prayer and scripture ending with a feast, being also the ending of the nineteen days of fasting.
The Ridvan Festival -
The Ridvan Festival is the observance of the time Baha'ullah spent in the garden called Ridvan in the 1863. It is also known as the 'Most Great Festival' and also marks the declaration of Baha'ullah being as Prophet.
The period of celebration is twelve days but three in particular are declared as Holy Days, as follows:-
April 21 - First Day of Ridvan Festival
April 29 - Ninth Day of Ridvan Festival
May 2 - Twelfth Day of Ridvan Festival
These three days in particular are celebrated in observance of the time he entered the garden, the time his family joined him in the garden and their departure form the garden of Ridvan.
May 23 - Declaration of the Bab -
The story began in 1783 when Shaykh Ahmad-i-Ahsá'í began to travel through Persia declaring that the Great Day was coming. The Great Day would be the day the the Promised One (the Qa'im) would come.
Shaykh Ahmad-i-Ahsá'í was a learned man and his knowledge and teachings impressed many scholars and clergymen thus gaining him pupils. One such pupil was Siyyid Kázim-i-Rashtí, his favorite and eventually his successor.
When Shaykh Ahmad-i-Ahsá'í died in 1826, Siyyid Kázim-i-Rashtí continued to spred the message. Kazim died in 1843 and his brother Mullá Husayn continued to spread the message. It was Mulla who met a young man, Siyyid Ali Muhammad, who revealed himself as the Promised One after passing two tests that would prove the revelation of the Qa'im. This happened on May 22, 1844.
It was Muhammad who declared himself the Bab, also known as the Qa'im or the Promised One. The Promised one was but the Gate who foretold that there was but another to come after him that would be The Messenger.
May 29 - Ascension of Baha'ullah -
Baha'ullah died at the age of 75, on May 29, 1892.
July 9 - Martyrdom of the Bab -
The Bab was executed on July 9, 1850 around noon after being imprisoned for three years. The only day in history that is similar in comparison was the day Jesus was crucified.
October 20 - Birth of the Bab -
Marks the birth of Siyyid Ali Muhammad. He is also known as the 'John the Baptist' of the Baha'i Faith as he Heralded the coming Baha'ulla.
November 12 - Birth of Baha'ullah -
The birthday of Baha'ullah, two years before the Bab
November 26 - Day of the Covenant (Work not suspended) -
The son of Baha'ullah was born on May 23. He was also declared his father's successor on that same day. When Baha'ullah died, some Baha'is wished to celebrate his birthday. Abdu'l-Baha refused, stating that May 23 belonged to the Bab. After a lot of persuasion he declared November 26 as a day they could celebrate if they wanted to, with a stipulation that they still go out to work.
November 28 - Ascension of Abdu'l-Baha (work not suspended) -
Abdu'l-Baha was knighted by Queen Victoria in World War 1 for humanitarian services. He passed away on this day at about 1:15 in the morning.
A quote by Shoghi Effendi about the passing of Abdu'l-Baha
At 1:15 A.M He arose, and, walking to a table in His room, drank some water, and returned to bed. Later on, He asked one of His two daughters who had remained awake to care for Him, to lift up the net curtains, complaining that He had difficulty in breathing. Some rose-water was brought to Him, of which He drank, after which He again lay down, and when offered food, distinctly remarked: "You wish Me to take some food, and I am going?" A minute later His spirit had winged its flight to its eternal abode, to be gathered, at long last, to the glory of His beloved Father, and taste the joy of everlasting reunion with Him.
Find out more about the Baha'i Religion
- Planet Baha\'i
Planet Baha'i is a communty-based resource on the Baha'i Faith and Baha'i living. Use our resources and share our discussions.
- Encyclopedia Article: Naw-Ruz: The Baha\'i New Year