Friday, February 22, 2008

The Bahá’í Faith

The Bahá’í Faith is a world religion whose purpose is to unite all the races and peoples in one universal Cause and one common Faith.

Bahá’ís are the followers of Bahá’u’lláh, Who they believe is the Promised One of all Ages. The traditions of almost every peo­ple include the promise of a future when peace and har­mony will be established on earth and humankind will live in prosperity.

Bahá’ís believe that the promised hour has come and that Bahá’u’lláh -Whose title means the Glory of God- is the great Personage Whose Teachings will enable humanity to build a new world. In one of His Writings, Bahá’u’lláh says:

That which the Lord hath ordained as the sovereign remedy and mightiest instrument for the healing of all the world is the union of all its peoples in one universal Cause, one common Faith.” (Gleanings, p. 255)

God is un­knowable in His Essence

Bahá’u’lláh explains that God is un­knowable in His Essence. This means that people should not make images of God in their minds, thinking of Him, for example, as a man. In general, that which has been cre­ated cannot understand its creator.

For instance, a table cannot understand the nature of the carpenter who made it. The carpenter’s existence is totally incomprehensible to the objects he makes.

God is the Creator of all things. He has made the heavens and earth, with its mountains and valleys, its de­serts and seas, its rivers, its meadows and trees. God has created the animals and God has created the human be­ing. The reason behind our creation, is love. Bahá’u’lláh says:

“O Son of Man! I loved thy creation, hence I created thee. Wherefore, do thou love Me, that I may name thy name and fill thy soul with the spirit of life.” (The Hidden Words, Arabic No. 4)

The Eternal Covenant

So although God’s existence is far be­yond our understanding, His love touches our lives and our beings ceaselessly. The way this love flows to us is through His Eternal Covenant. According to this Eternal Covenant, God never leaves us alone and without guid­ance. Whenever humanity moves away from Him and for­gets His Teachings, a Manifestation of God appears and makes His Will and Purpose known to us.

The Manifestation of God

The word “manifest” means to reveal, to bring forth something that was not known before. The Manifestations of God are those special Beings Who reveal to humanity the Word and the Will of God; thus when we listen to Them, we are responding to the Call of God.

There is an example from the physical world that helps us to understand the concept of “Manifestation” as taught by Bahá’u’lláh. In this world, the sun is the source of all warmth and light, without which life would not exist on the planet. Yet the sun itself does not descend to earth, and if we tried to approach it, we would be totally consumed.

But suppose we take a well-polished mirror and point it towards the sun. In it we will see the image of the sun, and the more perfectly polished the mirror, the more perfect the image will be. The Mani­festations of God are like perfect Mirrors that reflect the Light of God in all its Splendor. And all these Mirrors re­flect the same Light. While God is beyond our reach, these perfect Beings come to us from time to time, live among us, give us guidance, and fill us with the energy we need to progress, materially and spiritually.

Bahá’u’lláh is The Manifestation of God for this Age

Bahá’ís believe that all the religions teach the same truth. The only difference between them is that each have appeared in a different time in the history of humanity in order to help people to be educated according to the needs of that time. Bahá’u’lláh’s Teachings are in perfect harmony with the Teachings of all previous religions, such as Christianity, and Islam, but they address the condition of humanity today. If we think for a moment about the plight of humanity, we will agree that the time is right for another Manifestation of God to have appeared. This is a passage from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh that speaks about the Day in which we live:

“This is the Day in which God’s most excellent favors have been poured out upon men, the Day in which His most mighty grace hath been infused into all created things. It is incumbent upon all the peoples of the world to reconcile their differences, and, with perfect unity and peace, abide beneath the shadow of the Tree of His care and loving-kindness.” (Gleanings, p. 6)

Purpose of the Bahá’í Faith: Unity

The aim of the Bahá’í Faith is to unify humanity. Bahá’ís believe that, we are the fruits of one tree and the leaves of one branch. Although we differ from one another physically and emotionally, although we have different talents and capacities, we all spring from the same root; we all belong to the same human family.

Humanity can be likened to a vast garden in which grow side by side flowers of every form, color and perfume. The charm and beauty of the garden lie in this diversity. We should not allow the differences that exist among us—in our physical characteristics, our temperaments, our backgrounds, our thoughts and opinions—to give rise to conflict and strife. We should see the members of the human race as beautiful flowers growing in the garden of humanity and rejoice in belonging to this garden.

“Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch.”

What dose it mean to be a Bahá’í ?

“ To be a Bahá’í simply means to love all the world, to love humanity and try to serve it; to work for universal peace and universal brotherhood.”

What dose a Bahá’í do ?

A Bahá’í is committed to work for unity and peace. In order to build unity a Bahá’í tries to think, talk and act in a way that eliminates all forms of prejudice, promotes justice, equality of women and men, universal education, and human dignity.

Although the oneness of humankind is an undeniable truth, the peoples of earth are so far from it that unifying them is no easy task. Bahá’ís are all striving to bring their thoughts and actions in line with their belief in the oneness of humankind. Bahá’ís are told that, when a thought of war enters their minds, they should immediately replace it with a thought of peace. When a feeling of hate begins to take shape in their hearts, they should immediately replace it with a feeling of love. Bahá’ís should do everything possible to overcome their prejudices. Prejudices of race, color, nationality, culture, religion, and sex, these are among the greatest obstacles to building a better world. This is a passage from the Bahá’í Writings teaches how to walk in the ways of unity and how to help others take the same path.

“Bahá’u’lláh has drawn the circle of unity, He has made a design for the uniting of all the peoples, and for the gathering of them all under the shel­ter of the tent of universal unity. This is the work of the Divine Bounty, and we must all strive with heart and soul until we have the reality of unity in our midst, and as we work, so will strength be given unto us.” (Paris Talks, p. 46)

No comments: