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Static Wikipedia: Italiano -Inglese (ridotta) - Francese - Spagnolo - Tedesco - Portoghese
 
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Bahá'í Faith

From Wikipedia, a free encyclopedia written in simple English for easy reading.

Home of the Universal House of Justice in Haifa, Israel, the council that leads the Bahá'ís
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Home of the Universal House of Justice in Haifa, Israel, the council that leads the Bahá'ís

The Bahá'í Faith is a religion founded in the 1800's by Bahá'u'lláh who was born in Tehran, Iran. Followers of this religion call themselves Bahá'ís. The name Bahá'u'lláh is arabic for "The Glory of God". Glory means importance and beauty and brightness.[1] Bahá'ís believe that Bahá'u'lláh represents God, and so he shows people God's importance, beauty, and brightness.

Bahá'ís believe in one God, and that Bahá'u'lláh carried a message from God. Bahá'u'lláh said that he was not the only one to carry a message from God, and that the people who started the other great religions also represented and carried messages from God, such as Jesus, Moses, Abraham, Muhammad, Krishna, the Buddha and others. He called these people "Manifestations of God." Because God is greater than the whole universe, Bahá'u'lláh said that human beings can't completely know God. He said that God wants people to know as much about him as they can. Bahá'u'lláh wrote that God sends special people to manifest (show) himself to ordinary humans. Because Bahá'ís believe that the God they pray to is the same God that Abraham spoke to, they believe that they are also an Abrahamic religion.

Contents

[edit] History

[edit] Early days

The Bahá'í Faith really began in 1844 when a man called the Báb, which mean "gate" in arabic, said he had a message from God. He said that his job was to make sure that people were ready for the most important message that God would send soon. This started a religion and people who followed this religion were called Bábís. Many people became Bábís in Iran, and this made the government of Iran and the muslim priests very upset. Eventually the Báb was arrested and eventually killed.

Bahá'u'lláh, before he said he had a message from God was part of the religion of the Báb, and became very famous among the Bábís. When the Báb was killed, some Bábís got very angry and tried to kill the king of Iran, even after Bahá'u'lláh told them not to. When they were caught, the government put many Bábís in jail, including Bahá'u'lláh. While in jail, Bahá'u'lláh saw an angel he called the "maid of heaven", who told him that he had to carry a message from God to the people. She said that God would rescue and protect him so that he could deliver this message. Eventually he was released from jail and the government of Iran made him move to Baghdad, which was then controlled by the king of the Ottoman Empire.

[edit] Bahá'u'lláh's announcement

While he was in Baghdad, he had many problems and made many friends. The government of Iran was unhappy that he seemed to be successful in Baghdad, and so they asked the Ottoman government to move him further away from Iran. When he was about to leave, in 1863, he held a festival for 12 days on a small island in the Tigris river, which he called Ridvan, which means paradise. There he told some of his closest friends and family that he had a message of God, and that eventually the whole world would know.

Eventually the Ottoman government sent him to many cities, including Constantinople, Adrianople, Alexandria, and eventually Akka. He was in one jail or another this whole time, and the city of Akka had a big wall around it, and it was one big jail. While he was in Baghdad, and after, he wrote many books and letters to answer questions that his friends and followers asked him. At one point he was poisoned, so that he couldn't write anymore because his hands shook so badly. After that, he had someone write down what he said. When he was even older, his oldest son, `Abdu'l-Bahá arranged to have him move into a house near Mount Carmel, and he stayed there until he finally died in 1992.

[edit] After Bahá'u'lláh

After he died, people followed `Abdu'l-Bahá. Bahá'u'lláh had written that `Abdu'l-Bahá had special powers, and that God would make sure that if `Abdu'l-Bahá explained anything that Bahá'u'lláh said, then the Bahá'ís should believe that explanation. `Abdu'l-Bahá also wrote a lot of letters and gave talks, and eventually visited Paris, London, Montreal, New York City, San Francisco and other cities in the west. This helped the Bahá'í Faith to spread in Europe and North America. He died in 1921. He left a will, where he told the Bahá'ís to follow his grandson, Shoghi Effendi.

Shoghi Effendi was born in 1900 and was only a young man when his grandfather died and he became the leader of the Bahá'ís. He helped make the different agencies and councils that run the Bahá'í Faith today, and organized the religion in many ways. He also wrote many books and letters to explain the teachings of his grandfather and great-grandfather. He lived until 1957 and died in England.

After Shoghi Effendi died, the Bahá'ís didn't have leaders for six years, because Shoghi Effendi hadn't left a will. Shoghi Effendi did have helpers, who did not think they were allowed to lead the Bahá'ís, so they helped the Bahá'í Community follow the last plan that Shoghi Effendi left them, and at the end of that plan, in 1963, they organized and election to form the Universal House of Justice, which Bahá'u'lláh wrote about. The Universal House of Justice has led the Bahá'ís ever since.

[edit] Holy books

Bahá'u'lláh wrote many books and letters, and `Abdu'l-Bahá (whose name means "Servant of Glory") also wrote many books and letters which Bahá'ís see as special. Finally, Bahá'u'lláh's great-grandson Shoghi Effendi wrote lots of books and letters which Bahá'ís use to better understand the writings of Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá.

Bahá'ís also believe that the Bible, the Qur'an, and other books from other religions are special, but don't read them as much as they read the writings of Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá.

[edit] Beliefs

Some important Bahá'í beliefs are:

  • Bahá'u'lláh came to make all humans be one family
  • There is only One God, but he has many names
  • All the great religions have the same source (God)
  • God treats all humans as equal
  • God treats men and women as equal
  • Prejudices (unkind beliefs about people without knowing them first) should be fixed
  • Nations should learn to get along and co-operate
  • Science and religion don't have to disagree, because they're looking at the same world from two different sides.
  • People should try to learn the truth for themselves
  • Everyone should get an education (to school or learn another way)
  • The world should have one extra language that everyone understand

[edit] Community

[edit] People

There are between 3,000,000 and 6,000,000 Bahá'ís in the world, of all peoples and languages. Anyone who believes in Bahá'u'lláh and wants to follow his lessons and join his community can be a Bahá'í. Bahá'ís can be rich or poor, old or young. The Bahá'í Faith looks different in different countries, because there are few rituals, so Bahá'ís can include their own culture in the way they celebrate Bahá'í events, say prayers, etc.

Bahá'ís meet every nineteen (19) days in a meeting called a "Feast". There doesn't have to be food, but there usually is. These meetings start with prayers and usually someone reads aloud some holy writings. Sometimes there is music and song, sometimes plays, sometimes just quiet time or meditation. After this time, which Bahá'ís call the "devotional" time in a feast, they have a community discussion. All sorts of topics can be discussed here that are important to the members. Bahá'ís say that this is a "consultative" time, where Bahá'ís can consult with each other. After this, there is a social time, where people can share food, drink (not alcohol), and sometimes here there is also music, or plays, or presentations, or other entertainment. This time is just so that the Bahá'ís in that city can get to know each other and become better friends.

[edit] Temples and Bahá'í Centers

Bahá'ís often don't have one place they get together, except in large cities. In smaller places they usually get together in each others' houses. Some larger cities have "Bahá'í Centers" which can be used for community meetings, classes, or for meetings of committees and other councils. (see Institutions below)

In a very few cities in the world, there are Bahá'í temples. These temples are on each continent. One day the Bahá'ís plan to have temples in every city, but for now there are only a few special temples. Each temple has nine sides, and has a dome. Inside the temple people pray or sing to God or praise God. The Bahá'ís try to keep the temples very clean and orderly so that nothing will distract people from the prayers.

[edit] Institutions

Bahá'ís are organized in a world-wide community. They do not have priests. Everyone is responsible for their own prayers. Bahá'ís are also responsible for reading their holy books for themselves and for learning about their religion. Baha'is elect leaders for their community, to help organize their activities, and to deal with problems between members, and to decide things that aren't obvious from the scriptures. These are called Spiritual Assemblies, but will one day be called Houses of Justice.

There is one House of Justice, which Bahá'ís call the Universal House of Justice, which leads the whole world-wide Bahá'í community. Bahá'ís elect this House of Justice every five years, but only once each year for National and Local Spiritual Assemblies.

Bahá'í elections are different from many kinds of elections in democracies. Bahá'í elections do not have parties, and Bahá'ís are not allowed to say that they're better than other people, the way people have to in election campaigns. At the elections, Bahá'ís pray and read scripture, and then they write down nine names on a piece of paper and drop it in a container. No one is allowed to ask who another person voted for, and no one is allowed to tell who they voted for. The nine people with the most votes become the new Spiritual Assembly or House of Justice.