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BAHA’I. The word baha’i is the adjectival form of the Arabic word baha’, which means “glory” or “splendor.” From early times this was recognized as one of the extra-Qur’anic attributes of God, as is evident, for example, in a tafsir attributed to the sixth Shi’i Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (d. 765) in which the ba’ of the basmalah is glossed as standing for the glory of God (baha’ Allah), or in a hadith of the prophet Muhammad: “The red rose is of the glory of God (al-ward min baha’ Allah).” At present the word is most usually associated with a religion that arose out of the rubble of the collapsed Babi movement of mid-nineteenth-century Iran. As such, Baha’i refers to a follower of Baha’ Allah (Baha’u’llah; Mirza Husayn `Ali Nuri, 181’7-1892) a title he assumed during an important meeting of Babis convened by him near the hamlet of Badasht, not far from Alamut in north western Iran, in 1848. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the affairs of the movement associated with the name of the Bab, who was at the time, as a result of his messianic activities, imprisoned by order of the Qajar state in the mountains of Azerbaijan. Present also was Tahirah, the famed Babi heroine whose daring behavior scandalized many of the ardent religionists gathered there.

Origins. To speak of the origin of the Baha’i faith, the designation for the movement preferred by its present leadership and adherents -although one sometimes encounters “the Baha’i religion” (but never “Bahaism”-is not an altogether easy task, even if we were to concentrate only on the historical origins. We must also address the problem of essential origins, for in the Baha’i answer to this question much of the true nature of the religion is revealed. In a sense it is easier to deal with this second question, whose answer, like all good religious dogma, is completely innocent of irony and ambiguity.

We do not know the occasion of the first usage of the term “Baha’i” to describe a follower or the teaching of Baha’ Allah, but we can be reasonably sure in setting the date at around the years 1866-1868. These years found the exiled Babi community, resident in Edirne since December 1863, divided in its loyalty between the two half-brothers Baha’ Allah and Mirza Yahya Subh-i Azal (“Morn of Eternity,” a title with deep roots in Shi’i Islam). The title was bestowed upon the latter by the Bab, who had also designated him as the head of the Babi religion. He seems to have been universally regarded as such for a few years after the execution of the Bab in 1850. The split was the result of differing interpretations of the Bab’s prophecy of the coming of one who would have the authority to alter the Bab’s laws. Subh-i Azal and his followers put the event far into the future, but in 1866 an event known in Baha’i sources as “the Most Great Separation” was instigated by Baha’ Allah; as a result, those who were loyal to Azal were separated from those who were loyal to Baha’. It was at this time that Baha’ Allah publicly and unambiguously (in contrast to his first announcement to a small group of intimate friends prior to his departure from Baghdad for Constantinople in 1863) claimed to be man yuzhiruhu Allah or “he whom God shall manifest,” the figure mentioned in numerous places in the Bab’s writings, especially his Persian Bayan, and interpreted by Babes to be the focus of the Bab’s eschatology. There is no question that Baha’ Allah was the more able leader and the more popular and charismatic of the two, as is evidenced by the undisputed fact that most of the Babis chose to be designated as “the people of Baha’ ” (ahl-i Baha’). It was now that the Baha’ Allah proclaimed the obsolescence of Babism and promulgated a new and distinct religion. The exact nature of this break may be seen by comparing the basic teachings of the Baha’i Faith with those of Babism. The fact that both latterday religions are variations on a basic revealed ethical monotheism-Islam-and that monotheism’s distinctive articulation by the Twelver Shi’i community, will also be evident.

Baha’ Allah died in May 1892 near the prison city of `Akka (Acre) in Ottoman Syria, where he and his followers had been sent by the Ottoman authorities in 1868 in response to the conflicts brought about in the community between the two half-brothers. (Subh-i Azal and his comparatively few followers had been sent to Famagusta.) Although the first two years of this exile were passed in intense hardship in wretched prison conditions, eventually Baha’ Allah and his family were permitted to take up residence outside the city, although technically remaining prisoners. We do not know the exact number of Baha’is surrounding Baha’ Allah at this time; certainly the majority of the community remained in Iran. Most of the affairs of the community and the religion (usually referred to as the Cause of God, amr Allah) were entrusted to the care of Baha’ Allah’s eldest son, ‘Abbas, known as `Abd al-Baha’ (“Servant of Baha’,” 1844-1921), leaving his father free to attend to a huge correspondence and the composition of religious works, all of which is considered by Baha’is to be divine revelation. `Abd al-Baha’ was appointed by his father in his will to be the “center of the Covenant.” (On the basic Baha’! teaching of the Covenant, see below.) `Abd al-Baha’ had already distinguished himself as a tireless disciple of his father and commanded enormous respect both within an outside the Baha’i community. At his death in Haifa, it is estimated that his funeral was attended by over “ten thousand people including dignitaries of the Muslim, Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Jewish, and Druze communities as well as the British High Commissioner and the Governors of Jerusalem and Phoenicia” (Hatcher and Martin, 1984, p. 61). In 1892, however, a conflict arose in which another son of Baha’ Allah, Muhammad `Ali, disputed his father’s will. As a result, most of Baha’ Allah’s relatives were effectively excommunicated, and for a while the fledgling religious movement was divided. Those who recognized `Abd al-Baha’s authority were in the majority, while those who followed his brother eventually dwindled to insignificance (see Eric Cohen, “The Baha’i Community of Acre,” Folklore Research Centre Studies (Jerusalem) 3 [1972]: 119-141)–despite the fact that it was one of the latter who was responsible for bringing Baha’! teachings to the United States in 1894. `Abd al-Baha’ came to be the focus of devotion for the community, and his rank is that of perfect exemplar of the Baha’i life. His authority was absolute in all matters of belief and interpretation of his father’s writings. He himself wrote several works, such as The Secret of Divine Civilization, a critique of modern (especially Persian) society, and A Traveler’s Narrative, a history of the Bab! movement. In addition, a number of transcriptions of his talks have been published, including The Promulgation of Universal Peace and Some Answered Questions. It is as a result of his stewardship that the Baha’i Faith came to be firmly established in the West through his correspondence with the small Baha’i community that had been established in Chicago in 1894, and through an eighteen month visit to North America in 1912. This was to have a dramatic effect on the fortunes of the new religion:

The emergence of small communities of Baha’is in North America and Europe during the 1890s marked a profoundly significant advance in the development of the Baha’i religion. Although comprising no more than a few thousand individuals, these early Western communities represented a major expansion beyond the existing cultural boundaries of the Baha’i community, demonstrating the cultural adaptability of the religion and securing a fresh base for further expansion (Smith, 1987, p. 100)

With this foundation the Baha’i Faith began consolidating in earnest its identity as a world religion distinct and separate from the parent Twelver Shi`i Islam and its heresy, Babism. The writings of Baha’ Allah had laid the groundwork for a kind of cosmopolitanism/universalism, distinguished by a lack of ambiguity and concern with recondite Islamic Shi`i theosophical arcana, which prepared his followers for the ever-expanding vision represented first by the religious liberalism of `Abd al-Baha and later by the consolidation and systematization of this liberal vision by the latter’s grandson Shoghi Effendi Rabbani (1897-1956), known as the Guardian of the Cause of God (vali -yi amr Allah), terminology still fresh from the Shi`i matrix. With the expansion of the vision also came an expansion of numbers. It is difficult to know exactly, but current statistics place the worldwide Baha’i population at around 5 million (see Smith and Momen, 1989, p. 72). The vast majority of Baha’is are found in the so-called “Third World,” the largest national community being in India, where one of seven existing Baha’i temples (mashriq al-adhkar, “dawning place of the remembrances [or praises, of God]”) was recently dedicated on the outskirts of Delhi.

Basic Teachings. A starting point for a discussion of Baha’i belief is the doctrine or principle (the preferred term) known as “progressive revelation.” In its basic structure, the idea is not substantially different from similar “theologies of progress’ advanced during the latter half of the nineteenth century from certain Christian quarters (cf. George W. Stocking, Victorian Anthropology, New York and London, 1987, p. 189ff.). It is as follows: God, the eternal and unchangeable utterly transcendent, has from the beginning that has no beginning made “his” will known to his creation through chosen beings, in human form, who are known to history as prophets and messengers. Indeed, these figures, inasmuch as they have revealed divine laws and verities and inasmuch as their lives and persons are qualitatively different from others, that is to say holy, may be considered personifications of the divine will (a specific teaching which owes much to the theosophical synthesis known as hikmat-i ilahi, dating from the Safavid period). It is, in short, a further elaboration of a distinctively Islamic logos doctrine. The main difference is that the series of prophets that began with Adam and ended with Muhammad represents, in the Baha’i view, a completed cycle of prophecy. With the proclamation of the Bab in 18.44 a new cycle was inaugurated, known as the “cycle of fulfillment.” Students of Islamic religious movements may see here a variation on the basic Shi’i view which sees revelatory prophecy (nubuwah) as having ended with Muhammad but nonetheless maintains the continuance of absolute religious authority in the institution of the imamate through the spiritual prerogatives and dignities represented by the word walayah (guardianship), which was passed on to each of the twelve imams in succession and which rendered them infallible (ma’sum) in all matters. The distinctive Isma`ili teaching of cycles (adwar) is also of interest here; it may have left its influence indirectly through the metaphysical synthesis of the Shaykhlyah, a Twelver Shi’i movement intimately connected with the rise of the Babi religion. It is important to observe that in the Baha’i teaching the finality of Muhammad’s prophet hood (khatam al-nabiyin, Qur’an 33.40) is maintained, while room is made for the appearance of a new revelator of God’s will. The terminology changes accordingly. Rather than referring to themselves by the Qur’anic words “prophet” (nabi) or “messenger” (rasul), the two recent figures are most commonly called divine manifestations (mazhar ilahi), a term that derives from the wahdat al-wujud (“oneness of being”) school associated with Ibn al-`Arabi (d. 1240). It may be laboriously, though accurately, translated as “place where divinity is caused to appear.” In the Baha’i view, all previous prophets and messengers were divine manifestations; those whom we know about include all those recognized by the Qur’an, together with Zoroaster, Gautama Buddha, and presumably others such as Krishna. The continuance of this divine contact with humanity represents God’s fulfillment of a great covenant or promise never to leave his creation alone and without divine guidance. Many of these ideas are unobjectionable to Islam or Shiism as such; however, it was the Bab’s propagation of a new shad `ah and the eventual supplanting of this by an even newer code of holy laws, together with the claim that both the Bab and Baha’ Allah were, despite the different terminology, functionally of the same status as the prophet Muhammad, which has caused the movement to be seen as heretical and ultimately non-Islamic.

The primary purpose of life is to know and love God. This can be done most perfectly by knowing and loving his most recent manifestation. It is most perfectly expressed through obedience to the laws and principles revealed by the same. Thus the Baha’i teaching that God has created humanity in order to carry on an ever advancing civilization is directly and inextricably related to prophetic history. While it is certainly possible to read the Qur’an as propounding such a view (indeed, both the Bab and Baha’ Allah were Muslims), the revelatory authority acknowledged by Baha’is for this interpretation makes it binding and not open to debate. Baha’is expect other divine manifestations to appear. There also seems to be no special hierarchy among the manifestations: they are essentially or ontologically equal. Baha’ Allah uses the example of the sun and its rising at different places on the horizon: in reality, it is always the same sun, but nonetheless it makes sense to refer to the sun of yesterday, the sun of today, and so on (Baha’ Allah, 1931, pp. 21, 43-44, 161). The Baha’i Faith is the ancient religion of God whose exact historical origin none knows. History makes sense only when seen as the gradual unfolding of the divine plan, or the revelation of the mind of God.

Baha’ Allah wrote numerous works in Arabic and Persian, all of which are considered divine revelation and as abrogating the Bab’s revelation, which had already, according to Baha’i belief, abrogated the Qur’an and the Islamic shari `ah. Among the most important of these are the Kitab-i igan and Al-kitab al-aqdas, the Most Holy Book. In addition, Baha’ Allah revealed numerous prayers. Not all of his approximately one hundred works have been translated.

From the early twentieth century a number of principles have been put forth as an answer to the question “What do Baha’is believe?” They include the oneness of God; the oneness of humanity; the oneness of religion; independent investigation of truth; abandonment of prejudice and superstition; harmony of science and religion; equality of men and women; universal education; social/economic justice; the spiritual basis of society; and an auxiliary international language.

These principles were articulated in this form in the West and as a result of `Abd al-Baha’s stewardship of the new community. The question of how much this formulation was influenced through dialogue with Christian leaders is an important but as yet little-studied one. But the purpose of these principles and others, such as the abolition of holy war and any notions of exclusivity-such as the “chosen people” or “people of the Book” (ahl al-kitab)-is the establishment of world unity, the achievement of which represents “the coming of age of the entire human race . . . marking the last and highest stage in the stupendous evolution of man’s collective life on this planet” (Shoghi Effendi, 1938, p. 163). Baha Allah is reported to have said, during one of the four interviews conducted with him in 1890 by E. G. Browne:

That all nations should become one in faith and all men as brothers; that the bonds of affection and unity between the sons of men should be strengthened; that diversity of religion should cease, and differences of race be annulled what harm is there in this? . . . Yet so it shall be; these fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the `Most Great Peace’ shall come. . . . Do not you in Europe need this also? Is not this that which Christ foretold? . . . Yet do we see your kings and rulers lavishing their treasures more freely on means for the destruction of the human race than on that which would conduce to the happiness of mankind. . . . These strifes and this bloodshed and discord must cease, and all men be as one kindred and one family. . . . Let not a man glory in this, that he loves his country; let him rather glory in this that he loves his kind. (Quoted in Smith, 1987, p. 76.)

Taking a lesson perhaps from Islamic religious history, Baha’ Allah sought to ensure the doctrinal and administrative unity of his religion by explicitly appointing his successor and outlining the basic components of Baha’i institutions. The doctrine or principle of the Covenant is central to this and consists of two major parts. The first is the great covenant, mentioned above, representing God’s promise never to leave humanity alone and without guidance to carry forward an “ever advancing civilization.” That this promise has been honored is seen in the succession of prophets and messengers who have been responsible for particular stages in this mighty development. The most recent proof of this covenant is Baha’ Allah, whose life and message have the special purpose of establishing a universal theology of history and giving humanity the necessary moral, ethical, and spiritual guidance to realize the unit of the human race. The second is a series of “lesser” covenants that have functioned within this framework and pertain directly to the laws and teachings of each of the divine messengers and the obligation of their audience to recognize their divine authority and to follow their laws. In the case of the Baha’i Faith, the covenant has become a distinctive religious institution because it is through this that the unity of the religion has been safeguarded: fulfillment of the covenant entails recognition of the transmission of authority first to `Abd al-Baha’, then to Shoghi Effendi, and finally to the Universal House of Justice.

Baha’i Administration and the Covenant. The Baha’i view is that all religions have been promulgated to establish and affirm unity but have only partially achieved their goal because these religions have themselves fallen prey to disunity. Through the Covenant, for which `Abd al-Baha is the recognized Center, the unity of the Baha’i Faith has with few exceptions been impressively maintained. Despite localized activities by “covenant breakers” (naqidin, another term from Shiism), the vast majority of Baha’is recognize the infallible authority of the Universal House of Justice, the governing body of the Baha’i world community established in 1963 with headquarters in Haifa, Israel. This institution is provided for in Baha’ Allah’s al-Kitab al -Agdas and more specifically in `Abd al-Baha’s Will and Testament. It was originally to have functioned as the supreme body in conjunction with another institution, the Guardianship, after his death. Although `Abd al-Baha died in 1921, Shoghi Effendi postponed calling an election for a Universal House of Justice in order first to establish a broader basis of local and national communities. Between 1921 and 1963 two international bodies were established under the direct guidance of Shoghi Effendi: an International Baha’i Bureau, based in Geneva from 1925 to 1957, and the International Baha’i Council with eight members appointed in 195o by Shoghi Effendi, which is seen as the precursor for the eventual establishment of the Universal House of Justice. Between December 1951 and October 1957 twenty-seven Hands of the Cause of God were appointed, as further discussed below.

The Baha’i Faith puts much emphasis on what it calls “the administrative order.” The institutional features of this order include, at the top, the Universal House of Justice, which is infallible and divinely inspired in its rulings and legislative activity. Beneath this supreme body are two distinct but interrelated hierarchies of administrative authority known respectively as “the rulers” and “the learned.” The institutions of the rulers consist of National Spiritual Assemblies and their respective committees and conventions and Local Spiritual Assemblies. In the future these Assemblies will come to be called Houses of Justice as well. Since the 1920s it has been the practice that wherever nine or more adult Baha’is reside, a Local Spiritual Assembly should be formed, either by a vote of the entire community or through acclamation. In countries and other broader jurisdictions where a sufficient number of Local Assemblies exist, a National Assembly should be formed by means of election through delegates to a National Convention held every year in April. By 1983 there were 135 National Spiritual Assemblies and 24,714 Local Spiritual Assemblies. In addition, there were 112,776 localities where Baha’is resided but where there were not yet sufficient numbers to form Assemblies (Smith 1987, pp. 168-169). The institutions of the “learned” also proceed from the Universal House of Justice (in the absence of a Guardian); the first rank here is the Hands of the Cause. As only the Guardian can appoint these, this institution will end when the last of these die. Continental Boards of Counselors at present assist the Hands of the Cause (in 1993 only three of the original twenty-seven appointees were living). These boards are in turn assisted by Auxiliary Boards and their assistants. The Universal House of Justice and all national and local Spiritual Assemblies are elected, the first body every five years, the remaining two yearly. All elections take place on the first day of the festival Rizvan. For a clear discussion of the relationship between the “rulers” and the “learned,” including the existence of these institutions not with standing the Baha’i ban of the clerical class, see Smith and Momen (1989).

Baha’i Calendar: Feasts and Holy Days. An integral factor in the establishment of a Baha’i identity has been the adoption of a new calendar that had been put forth by the Bab in his Persian Bayan. This is a solar calendar of nineteen nineteen-day months. On the first day of each of these months Baha’is observe their feasts, a time when the community gathers to read or listen to the sacred word, to consult on local activities and plans, and to associate with each other in fellowship. The names of these months are taken from a well-known Ramadan prayer, the Du’a’ al-Baha’, ascribed to the fifth Shi`i imam, Muhammad al-Baqir.

In addition there are several Holy Days observed throughout the year, usually through commemorative meetings or community-minded events. Both non Baha’is and Baha’is participate together at Holy Day functions (non-Baha’is are prohibited from attending the nineteen-day feast). New Year’s Day is the ancient Iranian Nawruz, which becomes the first day of the first Baha’i month. The Baha’i Era began with the Bab’s declaration, which has been precisely fixed as having occurred at 2 hours and 11 minutes after sunset on 23 May 1844. The nine Holy Days on which work is suspended are the Feast of Nawruz (Baha’i New Year), 21 March; the Feast of Rizvan (Declaration of Baba’ Allah), 21 April-2 May; the Declaration of the Bab, 23 May; the Ascension of Baha’ Allah, 29 May; the Martyrdom of the Bab, 9 July; the Birth of the Bab, 20 October; the Birth of Baha’ Allah, 12 November; the Day of the Covenant, 26 November; and the Ascension of `Abdu’l-Baha’, 28 November.

Although Baha’is have no dietary restrictions, they do observe a yearly fast which takes place for the entire month of `Ala’. During these nineteen days Baha’is who have attained the age of majority (fifteen) are required to abstain from food and drink between dawn and sunset. Other laws and prohibitions for Baha’is include obligatory prayer, abstention from the non medical use of drugs and alcohol, and the prohibition of backbiting. These and other laws are established in the Kitab al-aqdas, an authorized English translation of which was published for the first time in 1993.

Current Status. According to the most recent statistics, the worldwide Baha’i community includes approximately 6 million people. There are 165 National Spiritual Assemblies, while the total number of countries, significant territories, and island where Baha’is reside is 233. Worldwide there are approximately 20,000 local Spiritual Assemblies. Baha’i literature has been translated into 802 different languages, and there are 2,112 different minority and ethnic groups represented. Throughout the world there are seven Houses of Worship, and sites are owned by Baha’is for another 125. There are approximately 950 schools or other educational projects, seven radio stations, and 670 social and economic development projects. In the United States there are roughly seven thousand localities where Baha’i reside, 1,700 local Spiritual Assemblies, and five schools and institutes serving an approximate population of 120,000 (figures from the Canadian Baha’i Office of Public Information, March 1994.) The largest Baha’i community is in India.

[See also Babism; and the biographies of the Bab and Baha’ Allah.]

BIBLIOGRAPHY

`Abdu’l Baha’ [`Abbas Effendi]. A Traveller’s Narrative Written to Illustrate the Episode of the Bab. Translated by Edward G. Browne. Cambridge, 1892.

`Abdu’l Baha’ [‘Abbas Effendi]. The Secret of Divine Civilization. Translated by Marzieh Gail. Wilmette, Ill., 1970.

`Abdu’l Baha’ [‘Abbas Effendi]. The Promulgation of Universal Peace (1922). 2 vols. in 1. Wilmette, Ill., 1982.

The Bab [‘Ali Muhammad Shirazi]. Le Beyan persan. 4 vols. Translated by A. L. M. Nicolas. Paris, 1911-1914. French translation of the Bab’s book of laws.

The Bab [`Al! Muhammad Shiraz!]. Selections from the Writings of the Bab. Translated by Habib Taherzadeh et al. Haifa, 1982.

Baha’ Allah [Mirza Husayn `Al! Nfiri]. The Kitab-i-Iqan: The Book of Certitude, Revealed by Bahd’u’llah. Translated by Shoghi Effendi. Wilmette, Ill., 1931. Baha’ Allah’s most influential work, clarifying the Baha’i principle of “progressive revelation” and the deep influence of ShN Islam (especially its theosophic dimension) on the formation of Baha’! belief. For other important works, such as The Hidden Words, The Seven Valleys, and others available in English, see Collins, below.

Baha’ Allah [Mirza Husayn ‘Ali Nun]. The Kitab-i-Agdas; The Most Holy Book. Haifa, 1992.

Balyuzi, H. M. `Abdu’l-Baha: The Centre of the Covenant of Bahd’u’llah. Oxford, 1971. The Bab: The Herald of the Day of Days. Oxford, 1973. Bahd’u’lldh: The King of Glory. Oxford, 1980. Biographies written in the finest tradition of scholarly hagiography and essential reading for the early history of the Baha’! Faith and its central figures as perceived by followers.

Collins, William P. Bibliography of English-Language Works on the Babi and Baha’t Faiths, 1844-1985. Oxford, 1990. Meticulous bibliographic guide with many annotated entries, containing virtually everything of any importance to do with the subject in English, including a lengthy section on anti-Baha’! polemic. Replaces all earlier attempts.

Effendi, Shoghi. The World Order of Bahd’u’lldh: Selected Letters (1938) 2d rev. ed. Wilmette, Ill., 1974. Perhaps the best statement on the current religious vision held by the worldwide Baha’! community, written in a distinctively elevated and luxurious English. Hatcher, William S., and J. Douglas Martin. The Baha’i Faith: The Emerging Global Religion. New York, 1984. Concise and reliable introductory description of current Baha’! belief and practice, written by proponents.

Nabil-i-A’zam [Muhammad Nabil Zarand!]. The Dawn-Breakers: Nabil’s Narrative of the Early Days of the Baha’i Revelation (1932). Translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi. Wilmette, Ill., 1974 Standard history of the Babi religion written by an early convert to the religion of the Bab who would become one of the more illustrious disciples of Baha’u’llah. Edited, translated, and annotated with introductory material, appendices, bibliographies, and photographs by the first and only Guardian of the Baha’i Faith. Invaluable resource for scholars of the movement, as well as a kind of sacred history for the Baha’is.

Rabbani, Ruhiyyih. The Priceless Pearl. London, 1969. Biography of Shoghi Effendi by his widow, lovingly told with consummate grace and humanity, providing a wealth of detail not found elsewhere. Smith, Peter. The Babi and Baha’i Religions: From Messianic Shi’ism to a World Religion. Cambridge, 1987. The first detailed examination of the subject, from a sociology of religious perspective. Smith announces his commitment to the Baha’! Faith and at the same time raises questions that might disturb unreflected belief in the religion.

Smith, Peter, and Moojan Momen. “The Baha’i Faith, 1957-1988: A Survey of Contemporary Developments.” Religion 19 (1989): 6391.

Stockman, Robert. The Baha’i Faith in America. Wilmette, Ill., 1985. The first scholarly discussion of the subject, illuminating the profound relationship between American Protestantism and the development of Baha’! thought.

Universal House of Justice. Wellspring of Guidance: Messages, 19631968. Wilmette, Ill., 1969. Important collection of documents from the first term of the supreme authority of the Baha’! Faith, resolving several potentially controversial issues.

Universal House of justice, comp. A Synopsis and Codification of the Laws and Ordinances of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, the Most Holy Book of Baha’u’llah. Haifa, 1973. Apart from those who read Arabic, the Baha’is have been without a canonical edition of their most holy book until 1993. This book was the only indication of its contents until that time.

Universal House of Justice. The Promise of World Peace. Haifa, 1985. The most recent articulation of the Baha’i approach to world peace by the supreme religious authority, addressed to the non-Baha’i world and marking the beginning of the United Nations International Year of Peace in 1985.

B. TODD LAWSON

Azhar Niaz Article's Source: http://islamicus.org/bahai/
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