Bahá’í beliefs address such essential themes as:
The oneness of God and religion
The oneness of humanity and freedom from prejudice
The inherent nobility of the human being
The development of spiritual qualities
The integration of worship and service
The fundamental equality of the sexes, the harmony between religion and science The centrality of justice to all human endeavors
The importance of education
In addition to these core themes, progressive revelation of religious truth delineates all teachings of all the previous Divine Teachers or Prophets. The dynamics of the relationships that are to bind together individu- als, communities, and institutions as our humanity advances towards its collective maturity is also an essen- tial theme of the Bahá’í Faith.
The nine-pointed star is used as an emblem representing the number ‘”9 ’”, the highest digit. Nine symboliz- es comprehensiveness, culminations, and ‘9’ has exact numerical value of ‘Bahá’ (in the numerology con- nected with the Arabic alphabet) and ‘Bahá’ is the name of the Revealer of the Bahá’í Faith, Bahá’u’lláh.
In the year 1863, in what is now modern day Iraq, Bahá’u’lláh declared his mission as the next manifestation in a long line of previous manifestations. He began to share the new message entrusted to Him. He was re- jected by the ruling elite, imprisoned, tortured, and banished from His homeland. A series of harsh exiles brought Bahá’u’lláh to what is now modern day Israel.
Before Bahá’u’lláh’s passing, He revealed his last Will and Testament naming the line of succession referred to as the Covenant, from Him to His Son ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and then to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s grandson, Shoghi Ef- fendi, and then to Universal House of Justice, ordained by Bahá’u’lláh.
A Bahá’í accepts the divine authority of the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh and of these appointed successors.
Customs and People
Realization of the principle of the oneness of humanity is at once the goal and operating principle of Bahá’u’lláh’s revelation.
Bahá’u’lláh compared the world of humanity to the human body. Within this organism, millions of cells, diverse in form and function, play their part in maintaining a healthy system. Similarly, harmonious relation- ships among individuals, communities, and institutions serve to sustain society and allow for the advance- ment of civilization.
The energy that Bahá’ís devote to enhancement of institutional capacity and the care with which they follow the evolution and development of administrative processes and structures is not motivated simply by a wish to increase the efficiency with which the Bahá’í community’s own affairs are managed. Bahá’ís recognize that these processes and structures are a necessary contribution to the new social order envisaged by Bahá’u’lláh, and they will foster a new mature humanity who will attend to its political, social, and cultural affairs.
Bahá’ís observe these special occasions:
Naw-Rúz (first day of the Bahá’í calendar)
Ridván (12-day festival commemorating the commencement of Bahá’u’lláh’s prophethood in
which the first, ninth and twelfth days have special significance)
Declaration of the Báb
Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh
Martyrdom of the Báb
Birth of the Báb
Birth of Bahá’u’lláh; the Day of the Covenant
Ayyám-i-Há (Intercalary Days)
Prayer is integral to Bahá’í life, whether at the level of the individual, the community, or the institutions. Bahá’ís turn their hearts in prayer to God repeatedly throughout the day—imploring His assistance, suppli- cating Him on behalf of loved ones, offering praise and gratitude, and seeking divine confirmations and guidance.
Bahá’ís also host gatherings in which friends, Bahá’ís and others alike, unite together in prayer, often in one another’s homes. Devotional meetings such as these serve to awaken spiritual susceptibilities within the par- ticipants, and in concert with the acts of service they perform, lead to a pattern of community life that is infused with the spirit of devotion and focused on the attainment of spiritual and material prosperity.
For More Information
Bahá'í Reference Library: http://www.bahai.org/library/
Bahá'ís of the United States: https://www.bahai.us