The Baha'i Faith
Bahai-ism is the youngest of the world 's religion and one of the fastest growing religions. It uses the best teachings from the major religions of the world and believes that mankind is all one and should live in unity. The religion was founded by Mirza Husayn'Ali who lived in Iran.
A Brief History of the Baha'i Faith
- Bab and Baha'u'llah
Siyyid Mirza"Ali-Muhammad was born in Shiraz in 1819. In 1844 he declared that he was the prophet of God that some Muslims were expecting. He began to attract many followers but angered most Muslims who believed that Muhammad was the last prophet and that there could be none after him.
The Bab as Ali-Muhammad was now called, was arrested and executed by a firing squad in 1850 by a firing squad of 750 soldiers in an attempt to crush his religion.
- 1863 - Thirteen years later Mirza Husayn-'Ali, a follower of the Bab declared himself the messenger of god that the Bab had talked about and began to use the title of "Baha'u'llah " or "Glory of God."
- Baha'u'llah was exiled from Iran to various places within the Ottoman Empire, until finally in 1868, he was sent as a prisoner to the fortress city of Akka in Palestine.
- 1892 - Baha'u'llah passed away in 1892 in Akka. In his will, he appointed his eldest son, Abdu'l-Baha (1844-1921) to lead the Baha'i community and to interpret the Baha'i Writings
Abdu'l-Baha'i in turn appointed his eldest grandson, Shoghi Effendi (1896-1957) as his successor and authorized interpreter of the Baha'i teachings. Shoghi Effendi is known as the Guardian of the Cause.
Today the affairs of the world-wide Baha'i community are administered by the Universal House of Justice which is located at Haifa, Israel. It is responsible for applying the laws of the faith and the growth of the Baha'i community.
There is no clergy in the Baha'i faith. Baha'is have no priest or nuns. They have no sacraments like Christians and they have just three rituals.
- All Baha'is say daily prayers.
- Baha'is have a special prayer for the dead, which is recited at a funeral.
- Baha'is also have a simple marriage rite.
Other than these, the Baha'is do not follow any traditional or ritualistic ceremony, as they beleive that such ceremonies lose meaning when people forget the spiritual purpose behind them.
Local meetings are planned by local Baha'i communities. Baha'i meetings include devotional services, study classes, discussions, social events and the obserrvance of holy days.
A focus of local Baha'i community life is a regular meeting called the "Nineteen Day Feast", which consist of a devotional section, an administrative section and a time for social interaction.
Baha'is believe that the purpose of life is to know and to worship God and to carry forward an ever-advancing civilisation.
Holy Days of Baha'i
Baha'is observe 11 holy days, nine of which are major. Baha'is do not work on major holy days. They celebrate the holy days by organising prayer services.
Of the nine major holy days, the Ridvan Festival is the Most Great Festival. It commemorates Baha'u'llah's announcement that he was the prophet the Bab had promised. This was done in the Garden of Ridvan. The festival is celebrated from 21st April to 2nd May. The first, ninth and twelfth days are considered major holy days. They commemorate the arrival of his family and the departure from Ridvan.
Baha'i Shrine and Gardens, Haifa
The Twelve Social Principles
- The Oneness of God
- The Oneness of religion
- The Oneness of mankind
- Equality of men and women
- Elimination of all forms of prejudice
- World peace kept by a world body
- Harmony of religion and science
- Universal compulsory education
- Obedience to government and non-involvement in politics
- Independent investigation of truth
- The need for a universal auxiliary language
- Elimination of extremes of wealth and poverty and a spiritual solution to economic problems.
Please note: Different list are sometimes found but this embodies the main points
Major Holy Days
- Naw-Ruz: Baha'i New year celebrated on 21 March
- Nineteen Day Feast : Every nineteen days all Baha'is in a community meet at one of the houses or the local meeting hall to celebrate the beginning of a Baha'i month
- Declaration of the Bab: Celebrated from 22-23 May in memory of the day the Bab declared to the world about the coming of Baha'u'llah.
- Ascension of Baha'u'llah: death anniversary of Baha'u'llah observed on 9th July.
- Birth of the Bab: major holy day celebrated on 20th October.
- Birth of Baha'u'llah: celebrated on 12th November
- The Baha'i Temple, Sydney
The Bahai' Temple in Sydney is one of the only seven Houses of Worship in the world and is a prominent and well-known landmark in its region.