The holiest spot on earth to the Baha'i is Bahji, just outside of Akka (Biblical Achor or Acco), Israel. The second is Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel. These two face each other across the Plain of Sharon. If you are familiar with the Bible's Isaiah, these might ring a bell.
It is hard to give exact figures here. The site Adherents.com (linked below) tracks tendencies in religious affiliation; as of February 2011, it indicated 7 million Bahá'ís worldwide. However, this site also emphasizes that it is hard to give precise figures, for different reasons.
There are certain Muslim countries where Baha'is are persecuted, so their number of followers aren't recorded. In Iran, for instance, the Baha'i Faith is the largest minority religion but the number isn't confirmed. 7+ million is an estimated number of Baha'is worldwide. Unlike most other religions, however, the Baha'i Faith does not include children (who must eventually decide their own path to God) in the rolls. It could be viewed that, if this were so, the number of estimated Baha'is would easily rise to nearer 20 million in the short span of 167 years since its beginnings.
In it's short 164 year history the Baha'i Faith is the second most wide spread religion next to Christianity. The Baha'i Faith though has not been divided into sects or schisms. there is only one Baha'i Faith no matter where in the world you travel.
As of 2012 (168-year history), the Baha'i Faith is comprised of more than 2,100 ethnic and tribal groups residing in more than 230 countries and territories.
Although Babism and the Baha'i Faith share a history, they are two separate religions. In 1844 a young Persian merchant proclaimed himself to be "the Bab" (the Gate), a Messenger from God whose mission was to unseal the Sacred Texts of the past and to prepare the world for the imminent appearance of "One greater than" himself "Whom God will make manifest." His major Book was called the Bayan ("the Explanation"). His ministry lasted seven years and His followers were known as the Bab'is. Within a year after the Bab's martyrdom, in 1852, a descendant of Abraham (and Katurah) and the Sasanian kings of Persia proclaimed Himself to be Baha'u'llah (the glory of God), the "Promised One of the Age." His voluminous writings are the core of the Baha'i Faith. The only relativity now between the religions is that 1] the inception of the Baha'i Faith dates to 1844 with the appearance of the Bab; 2] Baha'u'llah instituted the calendar of The Bab, which Baha'is still follow; and 3] certain of the Bab's laws Baha'u'llah incorporated into His own Kitab'i-Aqdas (Book of Laws), while abrogating most of them.
Members of the Bahá'í Faith consider the Bahá'í Faith as an independent religion. I see no reason to call it a "cult".
The Baha'i Faith is an established and recognized world religion with consultative status at the United Nations.
Depends on which country you are in, there are many places and many things you can do in pursuing Baha'i scholarship. One of which is in any Irfan Colloquia held in the US, Germany and Italy. Its the place to be ! visit www.irfancolloquia.org www.centrostudibahai.com www.europeanbahai.com www.europeanbahai.wordpress.com www.bahai.org
There is no specific way of dressing for members of the Baha'i Faith.
In the Kitab-I-Aqdas (The Most Holy Book) The law of Baha'ullah states the following
159 "...The Lord hath relieved you, as a bounty on His part, of the restrictions that formerly applied to clothing and to the trim of the beard. He, verily, is the Ordainer, the Omniscient. Let there be naught in your demeanour of which sound and upright minds would disapprove, and make not yourselves the playthings of the ignorant. Well is it with him who hath adorned himself with the vesture of seemly conduct and a praiseworthy character. He is assuredly reckoned with those who aid their Lord through distinctive and outstanding deeds.
In the Notes (175) explaining this Law this is the explanation
Many rules about dress had their origins in the laws and traditional practices of the world's religions. For example, the Shí'ih clergy adopted for themselves a distinctive headdress and robes and, at one time, forbade the people to adopt European attire. Muslim practice, in its desire to emulate the custom of the Prophet, also introduced a number of restrictions with regard to the trim of the mustache and the length of the beard
Bahá'u'lláh removed such limitations on one's apparel and beard. He leaves such matters to the "discretion" of the individual, and at the same time calls upon the believers not to transgress the bounds of propriety and to exercise moderation in all that pertains to dress.
The 2005 World Christian Encyclopedia estimates the Bahá'í population of the Philippines at about 247,500, or 0.3% of the national population. It can/should be assumed that the number has risen to some degree since then. The official website of the Baha'is of the Philippines is linked below.
It is monotheistic.
There are no man-made customs in the Baha'i Faith - although cultural influences do exist in various parts of the world. There are, however, Holy Day celebrations and commemorations, times of gift-giving, fasting, daily prayer, daily reading of the Holy Writings, simple marriage ceremony requirements, consultation in all matters, holding meetings the first day of the Baha'i Month (there is a new calendar of 19 months of 19 days - each month is named after an attribute of God, such as Glory, Beauty, etc), etc. which are all mandated, in writing, by Baha'u'llah, the Founder of the Faith.
check out www.bahai.org as as starting point for your search for answers.
Pornographic or otherwise offensive ones.
There are actually two answers to this question... Figuratively:
In 1844, Siyyid 'Ali-Muhammad announced in Shiraz, Persia, that he was the Bab (the Gate), a Messenger of God in his own right but forerunner of Another to come having an even greater Revelation. Among his many works was the writing of al-Bayan (the Explanation), the instituting of certain laws, and establishment of a new calendar. His religion was known as Babism. Literally:
Shortly after martyrdom of the Bab, Mirza Husayn-'Ali was in Tihran's Siyah-Chal prison for being a Bab'i (follower of the Bab) when he received God's Revelation that He was to usher in the "Era of [Prophetic] Fulfillment." In 1852 Baha'u'llah shared this information only with his immediate family. Upon release from prison, he and his family were banished by the Shah to Baghdad and it was at Baghdad, in 1863, that Baha'u'llah publicly proclaimed his station. Because Baha'u'llah abrogated only certain of the Bab's laws while incorporating others into His own Kitab'i-Aqdas (Book of Laws), and instituted the Bab's calendar, the Twin Manifestations and Their two religions are closely interwoven. The Bab'i/Baha'i calendar begins in 1844 and that is the year considered to be the inception of the Baha'i Faith.
They are just called Baha'i.
Although the Baha'i Faith is recognized by the symbol of a nine-pointed star, the five-pointed star originated with the Báb (the Gate), the first of the Twin Manifestations of God who appeared in the mid-1800's (the second being Bahá'u'lláh). History accounts that the pentagram of a five-pointed star was used by the Báb in some of His Tablets and Writings. It was one of the Shi'ite Islamic prophesies as to how the awaited One would be recognized. It's supposed to represent the divine but human (head, arms, legs) "Temple" of God's Manifestation on earth.
Members of the Baha'i Faith are not "so" homophobic, nor are they homophobes to begin with. Baha'i law is very specific that ALL persons, without caveat, are to be treated lovingly and equally as fellow children of God. Two other specific laws, however, are that all unmarried persons practice chastity and that sodomy is forbidden (regardless of sexuality). This has created suspected homophobia amongst some homosexuals but it is not a reality within the Baha'i community, which includes homosexuals among its adherents.
No, it isn't hierarchal. Baha'u'llah, Prophet-founder of the Baha'i Faith, provided in His Will for the establishment of an administrative order within the Faith. Elections are annually and uniformly held on a global scale for the nine members of each Local Spiritual Assembly and each National Spiritual Assembly, and every five years for the nine members of the Universal House of Justice on Mt. Carmel in Haifa.
Yes, there are homes that belong to Baha'is in Wilmette, IL, as well as a Baha'i Home for the Aged. The Baha'i House of Worship in Wilmette is located at Linden and Sheridan. See http://www.bahai.us/bahai-temple
The Baha'i Faith is a religion which exists independently of all other religions. As such it has its own calendar and its own holy days. The majority of believers therefore do not necessarily feel that they need to celebrate the holy days of other religions. However, the Baha'i Faith also believes that all religions extend from the same source (eg, God) and that its primary goal is to foster unity amongst all religions. The Founder of the Faith, Baha'u'llah (Arabic: Glory of God), taught that followers should consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship. It is therefore not only permitted but encouraged that believers can take part in the festivals of other religions. The only restriction would be taking part in sacraments which declare one's religion, such as communion. Thus, a Baha'i can attend a Christmas Mass, sing carols, close one's eye in prayer, experience the radiance, but would not take communion.
There is no clergy in the Baha'i Faith. Baha'is believe, according to the Faith's Scriptures, that mankind has gone through many spiritual stages since its genesis, and is now sufficiently spiritually mature that clergy is no longer required to lead a "flock" like sheep. Every Baha'i is held personally responsible by God for studying the Scriptures and obeying God's laws.
Yes, the Baha'i Faith is a monotheistic religion. Monotheism is a belief in only one God. The Baha'i Faith truly believe in the oneness of God which does not put one major religion over another.
The Bahai Scriptures look forward to a world continuing, and eventually becoming a much nicer place to live, with the end of war and poverty, and universal education, equal rights for women and minorities, the rule of law ... They see the apocalyptic and Judgement Day scenarios of some earlier scriptures as metaphorical representations of the end of the old world order and the beginning of the new world order. One world is passing away, and a new one is being born.
"The wonders of His [God's] bounty can never cease, and the stream of His merciful grace can never be arrested. The process of His creation hath had no beginning, and can have no end. In every age and cycle He hath, ... recreated all things, ... (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 61)
There are believers (bahÃ¡'Ãs) in every country of the world. On the other hand, no country currently has a bahÃ¡'Ã majority. Countries with large numbers of bahÃ¡'Ãs include Iran, India, the United States, and Bolivia.
Each person is required to live his own life. Faith, and what you as a person do about it is an individual thing. All of us can share our thoughts with each other, but not tell each other what is right. Only Scripture can do that.
According to Baha'i scripture, each person is responsible for his/her own path to God. No one, including a spouse or a parent, has the right to force their personal beliefs upon another soul. For instance, a person might be raised in the home of a Christian or a Buddhist or a Muslim. It is the responsibility of the individual as a youth or adult to independently investigate/study the teachings of world religions (or at least the one they profess to believe in) and make an informed decision as to its fulfilment of prophesies.
There are roughly 7+ million Baha'is worldwide, who can be found everywhere from Mongolia to the Pacific Islands, from the Middle East to the Americas.