This religion is formally called the Baha'i Faith. It was
originally considered a break-away sect of Islam, but has since grown to
be a world-wide faith. Mirza Ali Muhammed (born 1819) assumed the tile
Bab which means the one who foretells the arrival of the new prophet.
He formed a movement called Babists. He was murdered in 1850 by religious
zealots who felt that Islam should be preserved at all costs in its then
One of the Bab's followers Mirza Husayn Ali Nuri (1817-1892) believed himself
to be the anticipated prophet. He assumed the title Baha' U'llah, and spent
most of his adult life in jail or exile. His son Abdu'l Baha (1844-1921)
took over leadership of the movement after his father's death.
The religion came to North America in 1893. There are now about 6 million
members in over 200 countries. There are 14,730 followers of
the Bah'ai Faith in Canada (1991 Census) The Baha'is are still looked upon
by many Muslims as a breakaway sect of Islam. They are heavily persecuted
in some areas because of this.
Baha'i's believe that God is transcendent and unknowable. However, He has
sent a series of prophets to mankind, each with a new revelation. They are:
Moses, Buddha, Zoroaster, Confucius, Jesus Christ, Mohammed, Hare Krishna,
Bab and Baha' U'llah. They see a basic unity in many of the major religions
of the world; all religions are seen to have a part of the truth. The Baha'i
Faith is an attempt to unify all of the world's great religions.
Unlike most religions which attempt to preserve the past, Baha'i Faith
beliefs promoted major evolutionary change when originated in the 19th
century: gender equality, world government, freedom of expression, world
peace. Followers are heavily involved in promoting these concepts today.
The Supreme House of Justice in Haifa, Israel is the top governing body.
National Spiritual Assemblies of 9 elected members each govern the local
groups, which are called Spiritual Assemblies. There are no clergy,
sacraments or rituals. Members:
- pray each day
- observe the 9 holy days
- fast 19 days a year
- do not consume alcohol or other drugs
- make at least one pilgrimage to the world headquarters
Most were written by Baha' U'llah. They are: The Book of Certitude,
Hidden Words, The Most Holy book, Seven Valleys, and about 100
The year begins on March 21, approximately at the spring equinox. Other
seasonal days of celebration are:
- April 21, 29 & May 2 Baha' U'llah's calling and mission
- May 23 Bab' calling
- May 29 Death of Baha' U'llah
- July 9 Death of Bab
- October 20 Birth of Bab
- November 12 Birth of Baha' U'llah
You can consult:
for more information about the Baha'i Faith.
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