Bahá’í faith – An Introduction
The Bahá’í faith is one of the youngest among major religions of the world and is an abrahamic religion like Islam, Christianity etc. It was founded by Bahá’u’lláh in Iran in 1863 and grew out of Shi’a branch of Islam. Progressive revelation is the difference between Islam and Bahá’í where they believe that more revelations from God will come at specific points of time. Bahá’í faith preaches that God manifests himself throughout human history at various times to reveal his word through messengers. Bahá’í faith centers around the belief that Bahá’u’lláh is the last prophet of God.
Some of the major principles of the Baha’i Faith include:
- The Oneness of Humanity
- The Independent Investigation of the Truth
- The Foundation of all the Worlds Religions is One
- Religion Must be the Source of Unity
- Religion and Science Must Be in Accord with Each Other
- Men and Women Are Equal
- The Removal of Prejudices of All Forms
- The Establishment of Universal Peace
- Compulsory Implementation of a Universal Education
- Establishment of a Divine Economy with a Spiritual Foundation
One major distinguishing part of Bahá’í faith from the other abrahamic religions is the importance paid to betterment of all humanity. Bahá’í faith teaches that all human beings have souls that are immortal and transcendent. That all of humanity belongs to a single race and that despite all differences between humanity, there should never be discrimination between races or sexes.
One of the few faiths to recognize all other faiths as true and legal, Bahá’ís accept the divinity of Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad etc. Bahá’ís don’t believe that God can take reincarnations in the human form and that God doesn’t have a danger.
Often confused with Islam, prayer forms a central part of Bahá’í spiritual life. People can either pray directly to God, or through his messenger Bahá’u’lláh. There is also a lot of emphasis on meditation and contemplation over a person’s daily dealings. Prayer is obligatory for all people above 15 years. It consists of three prayers – a short one recited every day between noon and sunset, a medium one recited thrice a day in the morning, noon and evening and a long one that can be recited at any time of the day. The prayers must be made in a clean place and people face the shrine of Bahá’u’lláh. People who are old or ill are exempted from the prayers. However, Bahá’u’lláh also stretched on the piety of mind and actions and taught that only rituals and prayers won’t solve any problems if not done with a pure mind and devotion.
Some of the holy days in Bahá’í faith include the Nineteen Day Feast where on the first day of each Bahá’í month, the community gathers for a feast in the Bahá’í community hall, Birth of the Báb on 20th October, Martyrdom of the Báb on 9th July at noon, Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh, on 29th May, at 3am. Declaration of the Báb on 22-23 May, Naw-Rúz the Bahá’í new year which falls at the spring equinox, Nineteen Day Fast immediately before the Bahá’í New Year, and Ridván from sunset 21 April to sunset 2 May.