Baha'i Faith


Baha'i (bähä´ē, –hī´, bə–), religion founded by Baha Ullah (born Mirza Huseyn Ali Nuri) and promulgated by his eldest son, Abdul Baha (1844–1921). It is a doctrinal outgrowth of Babism, with Baha Ullah as the Promised One of the earlier religion. The Baha'i faith holds that God can be made known to humankind through manifestations that have come at various stages of human progress; prophets include Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, the Bab, and Baha Ullah. Baha'is believe in the unity of all religions, in universal education, in world peace, and in the equality of men and women. An international language and an international government are advocated. Emphasis is laid upon simplicity of living and upon service to the suffering. The teachings spread in the 20th cent., particularly in Africa. The center of the faith in the United States is the great house of worship at Wilmette, Ill. The administrative center of the world faith is in Haifa, Israel, the site of Baha Ullah's tomb. There are some 5 million Baha'is in the world, with the largest communities in India and Iran. Prior to the Iranian revolution (1979) there were about 1 million Iranian Baha'is, who, despite widespread societal discrimination, had generally prospered. Under the Iranian Islamic republic, which regards the religion as an Islamic heresy, Baha'i is banned; Baha'i religious institutions were closed, and Baha'i property confiscated. Baha'is were removed from government posts, thousands were imprisoned, and several hundred were executed, and systematic persecution of Iranian Baha'is has continued into the 21st cent.

See S. Effendi, The Promised Day Is Come (rev. ed. 1980); P. Smith, The Baha'i Religion (1988).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Baha'i Faith: Selected full-text books and articles

Understanding the Baha'i Faith By Wendi Momen; Moojan Momen Dunedin Academic Press, 2006
Baha'i and Globalisation By Margit Warburg; Annika Hvithamar; Morten Warmind Aarhus University Press, 2006
The Baha'I Faith in America By William Garlington Praeger, 2005
Yemen's Baha'is Keep Faith amid Conflict, Crackdown By Pellot, Brian The Christian Century, Vol. 134, No. 1, January 4, 2017
Religious Minorities in Iran By Eliz Sanasarian Cambridge University Press, 2000
Situation of the Baha'i Minority in Iran and the Existing Legal Framework By Milani, Shahin Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 69, No. 2, Spring-Summer 2016
The Baha'i Faith and Its Relationship to Islam, Christianity, and Judaism: A Brief History By Berry, Adam International Social Science Review, Vol. 79, No. 3-4, Fall-Winter 2004
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