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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. As you know, 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. We believe that the promised hour has come and that Bahá’u’lláh 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.”
Bahá'u'lláh is the Messenger of God for this millennium and the Founder of the Bahá'í Faith. He taught that there is one God Who progressively reveals His will to humanity. Each of the great religions brought by the Messengers of God -- Moses, Buddha, Krishna, Jesus, Muhammad, Zoroaster -- represents a successive stage in the spiritual development of civilization. Bahá'u'lláh, the most recent Messenger in this line, has brought teachings that address the moral and spiritual challenges of the modern world.
The central principles of our Faith are:
There are, of course, a few others -- Other Beliefs and Principles
We invite you to learn more about the Bahá'í Faith -- its perspective of the past, its understanding of the present, and its vision of the future.
The Bahá'í Faith . . . proclaims the necessity and the inevitability of the unification of mankind. . . . It, moreover, enjoins upon its followers the primary duty of an unfettered search after truth, condemns all manner of prejudice and superstition, declares the purpose of religion to be the promotion of amity and concord, proclaims its essential harmony with science, and recognizes it as the foremost agency for the pacification and the orderly progress of human society. It unequivocally maintains the principle of equal rights, opportunities and privileges for men and women, insists on compulsory education, eliminates extremes of poverty and wealth, abolishes the institution of priesthood, prohibits slavery, asceticism, mendicancy and monasticism, prescribes monogamy, discourages divorce, emphasizes the necessity of strict obedience to one's government, exalts any work performed in the spirit of service to the level of worship, urges either the creation or the adoption of an auxiliary international language, and delineates the outlines of those institutions that must establish and perpetuate the general peace of mankind.
Bahá'u'lláh's Writings can be found at the International Baha'i website.
How do Bahá'ís view other religions?
"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." ~Bahá'u'lláh
With the coming of the millennium, the crucial need facing the human race is to find a unifying vision of the nature of man and society. Such a vision unfolds in the writings of Bahá'u'lláh.
The driving force behind the civilizing of human nature, Bahá'u'lláh asserts, has been successive interventions of the Divine in history. It has been through this influence that the innate moral and spiritual faculties of humanity have been gradually developed and the advancement of civilization made possible. Associated with the missions of such transcendent figures as Krishna, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad, the phenomenon is an ever-recurring one; it is without beginning or end because it is fundamental to the evolutionary order itself.
Although nurtured by the process, humanity has never understood it. Instead, people have constructed around each episode in their spiritual experience a separate religious system. Throughout history the religious impulse has been hobbled by the resulting contradictions and bitter conflicts.
Bahá'u'lláh compares the maturation of the human race as a whole to the experience of its individual members who struggle, successively, through the stages of infancy, childhood, and adolescence. Today, humanity has entered on its collective coming-of-age, endowed with the capacity to see the entire panorama of its development as a single process. The challenge of maturity is to accept that we are one people, to free ourselves from the limited identities and creeds of the past, and to build together the foundations of global civilization.
The power that is awakening this consciousness throughout the world is the universal Revelation of God promised in all the scriptures of mankind's past. Its spokesman is Bahá'u'lláh whose teachings provide a blueprint for the social organization of the planet and whose growing influence is the great untold story of our time.
"Compose your differences, and reduce your armaments, that the burden of your expenditures may be lightened, and that your minds and hearts may be tranquillized. Heal the dissentions that divide you, and ye will no longer be in need of any armaments except what the protection of your cities and territories demandeth." ~ Bahá'u'lláh
When Bahá'ís say that the various religions are one, they do not mean that the various religious creeds and organizations are the same. Rather, they believe that there is only one religion and all of the Messengers of God have progressively revealed its nature. Together, the world's religions are expressions of a single unfolding Divine plan.
If you'd like to compare your current beliefs to those of seventeen major world religions, click here. The Beliefnet website is not associated with the Bahá'í Faith.
For Bahá'ís of Jewish background, Bahá'u'lláh is the appearance of the promised "Lord of Hosts" come down "with ten thousand of saints." A descendent of Abraham and a "scion from the root of Jesse," Bahá'u'lláh has come to lead the way for nations to "beat their swords into plowshares." For a brief discussion of some Jewish prophecies, see the Prophecy Fulfilled website.
For Bahá'ís of Buddhist background, Bahá'u'lláh fulfils the prophecies for the coming of "a Buddha named Maitreye, the Buddha of universal fellowship" who will, according to Buddhist tradition, bring peace and enlightenment for all humanity. They see the fulfillment of numerous prophecies, such as the fact that the Buddha Maitreye is to come from "the West," noting the fact that Iran is West of India. For the relationship between Buddhist doctrine and the Baha'i Faith, look here. For a detailed discussion of Buddhist prophecies, see the Prophecy Fulfilled website.
For Bahá'ís of Hindu background, Bahá'u'lláh comes as the new incarnation of Krishna, the "Tenth Avatar" and the "Most Great Spirit." He is "the birthless, the deathless" the One who, "when goodness grows weak," returns "in every age" to "establish righteousness" as promised in the Bhagavad-Gita. For a detailed discussion of Hindu prophecies, see the Prophecy Fulfilled website.
For Bahá'ís of Christian background, Bahá'u'lláh fulfils the paradoxical promises of Christ's return "in the Glory of the Father" and as a "thief in the night." That the Faith was founded in 1844 relates to numerous Christian prophecies. Bahá'ís note, for example, that central Africa was finally opened to Christianity in the 1840s, and that event was widely seen as fulfilling the promise that Christ would return after "the Gospel had been preached 'to all nations.'" In Bahá'u'lláh's teachings Bahá'ís see fulfillment of Christ's promise to bring all people together so that "there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." For a detailed discussion of Christian prophecies, see the Prophecy Fulfilled website.
For Bahá'ís of Muslim background, Bahá'u'lláh fulfils the promise of the Qur'án for the "Day of God" and the "Great Announcement," when "God" will come down "overshadowed with clouds." They see in the dramatic events of Bábi and Bahá'í history the fulfillment of many traditional statements of Muhammad, which have long been a puzzle. For more detail, see Islam and the Baha'i Faith website.