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The Bahá'í faith is considered by some as the newest World Religion (a new Age conglomeration of beliefs). Their main thrust is unity of all religions and mankind.

Iran is the birthplace of the Bahá'í Faith as it is an offshoot of Islam. However Islam does not accept them as a valid religion. Their faith has it roots in the Shia sect of Islam.

History: This religion began in the 1840's in Persia (presently known as Iran) which is predominantly a Muslim country.  Expectation was running high for the coming of a new Madhi.  In the Shiite sect of Islam they have what are called gates and the Imam. Mohammed's successor was his son- in -law and in turn other successors after him. The 12th Imam was missing and there is a legend that he would come back.

"In May 23, 1844, a radiant youth of Persia, known as the Bab proclaimed his mission of heralding the coming of a mighty Educator who would quicken the souls, illumine the minds, unify the consciences, and remold the customs of mankind," (Bahá'í Teachings For A World Faith, 1972 ed., p. 22).

At that time a prophet arose named Mirza Ali Mohammed of Shiraz took the title to himself to be the Bab, the gate, the foreunner of the one to come (much like John the Baptist was to Christ). Through him people would know about the advent of the coming messenger of God.

The Bab (or "Gate") is where his communication was reopened between the hidden one and his followers and they began to teach that God would soon "make manifest" a World Teacher to unite men and women and usher in an age of peace. The Bab attracted so many followers that the Persian government and the Islamic clergy united to kill Him. And they massacred more than twenty thousand of His followers. The Bab was martyred by Persian Mohammedans on July 9, 1850 at the age of 30.

In 1863, a Persian called Bahá'u'lláh, who claimed to be this prophesied Educator, "...proclaimed to all mankind the advent of a new revelation..." (Bahá'u'lláh: Lord of the New Age, p. 2).  Baha'u'llah announced to the few surviving followers of the Bab that He was the chosen Manifestation of God for this age. Known as the glory of God (Bahá'u'lláh) his followers changed their name from Baba to Bahá'í's to give him honor.  He called upon people to unite; He said that only in one common faith and one order could the world find an enduring peace. He declared that terrible wars would sweep the face of the earth and destroy the institutions and ideas that keep men from their rightful unity.

Bahá'u'lláh died in May 1892 at the age of 75 after 40 years of imprisonment and hardship exiled in his villa near Akka. His son Abbas Effendi succeeded him. In his later years he is known as Abdu’l Baha (the servant of God).

The Bahá'í are eclectic, "Like the founders of other major religions -- Moses, Christ, Muhammad, Buddha, to name a few -- Bahá'u'lláh's Mission is to rekindle man's love for God. But more than that, He is the Promised One of all Religions, whose coming was foretold in all the sacred scriptures," (Welcome to the Bahá'í House of Worship, p. 2).

The Bahá'ís do not believe in clergy. Because the human race has entered an age of maturity, so each individual is able to explore the revelation of God for themselves. Their institutions govern the administrative affairs of the Bahá'í Faith. In each locality, nine-member boards known as Local Spiritual Assemblies are elected annually. There are also National Spiritual Assemblies consisting of nine members. These are elected annually by the representatives of the Bahá'í’s in each country. Internationally there is the Universal House of Justice, centered in Haifa. The Universal House of Justice also consists of nine members who are elected every five years by the members of the National Spiritual Assemblies throughout the world.  The Universal House of Justice has final responsibility for overseeing the international Bahá'í community. The number 9 is significant in that they believe there were 9 religions of the world. So there are 9 sides to their temple.

The Bahá'í are active in United Nations consultations with various goals; minority rights, the status of women, crime prevention, the control of narcotic drugs, disarmament. They are working toward  bringing together the world's economy, having a universal system of education, a universal code of human rights,  and a universal system of currency, weights and measures.  

There are 20,000 Bahá'í communities worldwide, 1,500 Bahá'ís are located here in Hawaii  (June 28 1997 Honolulu Advertiser). 

There are currently about 155 National Spiritual Assemblies throughout the world, approximately 110,000 Bahá'í’s in the United States. They number at 5 million throughout the world in 189 independent countries.





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