Bahai Faith

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. ligion. The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens. Other Bha’ principles are the independent investigation of truth, equality of men and women, harmony of science and religion, elimination of extremes of wealth and poverty, universal peace, a world commonwealth of nations, a universal auxiliary language, spiritual solutions to economic problems, and universal education. Along with the main focus of unity, Bah’u’llh also stressed the importance of honesty, chastity, generosity, trustworthiness, purity of motive, service to others, deeds over words and work as a form of worship.

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What was unlawful and forbidden included lying, killing, stealing, gambling, backbiting and adultery. Bah’u’llh also gave special close attention to the problem of prejudice. He expressed to all, that prejudice created disunity between groups, which in turn leads to social unrest, war, and even genocide. Bah’s are specifically counseled to make an active effort to rid themselves of all prejudices and superstitions about human nature. A letter written to fellow Bah’s during his time in exile proclaims that We are all created of the same dust, that no one should exalt himself over another. Equality was another main concern and objective, Bah’u’llh stressed that women have the intellectual abilities of men and will in the future demonstrate their capacity.

The Faith believes the only reason why women have not yet reached this level of achievement, is because they have not received adequate educational and social opportunities. Women and men are fully equal in the sight of God, and society must recognize this in order to progress. Bah’u’llh urged to assure the education of all children. If financial difficulties prevented this in a family, the preference must be given to the education of female children. This accomplishes two major objectives.

It assists women to overcome the handicap of the past inequalities and it also assures that since mothers are the first teachers in society (children), the next generation will greatly benefit. It was in Acre that Bah’u’llhs most important work was written. Known among Bah’s by its Persian name, the Kitab-i-Aqdas (the most holy book), this book of laws and principles was written to be observed by his followers.

These laws included daily prayer and meditation along with the basic principles and teachings that followers must obey. Many of these rules and principles are similar and related to many of the other great religions.The Faith proclaims that these teachings and rules have been updated by the newest of God’s messengers in order to bring a new enlightenment and prosperity to all of humankind. Bah’u’llh emphasized that the primary purpose of God revealing His Will is to effect a transformation in the character of humankind, to develop within those who respond, the moral and spiritual qualities that are latent within human nature.

With the Bah’ prayers, which are very important for spiritual growth, at least one of the three main obligatory prayers is to be said once a day, but not before one washes their hands and face. While praying, one is to face the Point of Adoration, which is the direction towards Bahji, Akk where Bah’u’llh’s grave is placed, and which is the most holy of places for Bah’s. Other laws include the use of alcohol and narcotic drugs, which are strictly forbidden, unless used for medicinal purposes. It is believed that the substances do harm to the higher physical and mental faculties, therefore stunting any spiritual development.As for tobacco, it is not forbidden, but it is strongly criticized due to the harming of one’s gift of health and prosperity that God has given. Bah’s are required to fast (to have no food or water) from the second day of March to the twenty-first day, nineteen days in length, from sunrise to sunset. The fast is viewed as a time of spiritual preparation and regeneration for the believers and for the new year called Naw Ruz, which follows the nineteen day fast.

The calendar followed by the Faith differs from a Christian calendar. It consists of nineteen months each having nineteen days, making a total of 361 days. On the nineteenth day, a celebration called a ‘Feast’ partakes among the Bah’ community.

It is here that they pray, sing, promote, encourage and consult with one another about the Faith. There is no Clergy and the Faith has no Priest, Mullah, or Rabbi leading the believers, it is left up to each individual believer to find their own self worth with God and not to be lead or influenced by others. Many faiths have a particular type of symbol, there is no official Bah’ symbol, but a nine pointed star is often used. Nine is the highest numerical digit and as such, the Faith believes that a nine-pointed star portrays comprehensiveness, culmination and perfection. Bah’s believe that again another messenger will come. The writings of the Faith proclaim it will be approximately one thousand years after the proclamation of Bah’u’llh.For forty-eight years Bah’u’llh was persecuted, exiled and shunned for his message and teachings of unity. Many Christians, Muslims and non-religious converted willingly to his message, while many judged and scorned him, just like many past societies had done to other messengers sent by God.

Bah’u’llh taught his followers the importance of educating oneself of other religious beliefs. Education is the only way to rid oneself of ignorance. With an open mind, acceptance of change and differences will only benefit humanity.On May 29th 1892 at the age of seventy-five Bah’u’llh passed away in the comfort of freedom in his final residency, Bahji (Joy). Shortly before his death, he appointed his first born son, ‘Abdu’l-Bah (servant of Baha) to continue the works of God, and to ensure the new message of faith amongst the believers continues and to prosper. Many of the people who met with Bah’u’llh, all had fascinating stories and memories of him.

One such person was an American foreigner who was travelling the East for adventure and experience. This is a quote from the American who spent time amongst the Bah’s and who was also fortunate enough to meet Bah’u’llh. In the corner where the divan met the wall sat a felt head-dress of the kind called ‘taj’ by dervishes, round the base of which was a small white turban.The face of him on whom I gazed I can never forget, though I cannot describe it. Those piercing eyes seemed to read one’s very soul, power and authority sat on that ample brow. No need to ask in whose presence I stood.

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