Founded in Persia on the twin revelations of the Báb in 1844 and Baha’u’llah in 1863, the Baha’i Faith has since spread to every region, continent and nation. Baha’u’llah’s teachings emphasize justice, and in Persia’s profoundly unjust and corrupt society at the time, they created an uproar. Tortured, exiled and imprisoned for the last forty years of his life for his progressive teachings, Baha’u’llah (a title that means “The Glory of God”) and the early Baha’is suffered severe, genocidal persecution—more than 20,000 died for their beliefs. Even today, many Baha’is in Iran and other Middle Eastern countries still face persecution.
Baha’u’llah’s revelation was preceded by nineteen years by the revelation of another Persian prophet who took the title of the Bab, meaning “the Gate.” The Bab viewed his teachings as a gate between him and the prophet that would appear soon after him. Because of the profound effect the teachings of these two had on Persia (which was rigidly dogmatic in its practice of Islam) the Bab was imprisoned, then executed for heresy. Thousands of his followers faced the same fate. For the same reasons, Baha’u’llah spent forty years in exile and imprisonment, lastly in the prison-city of Akka in Palestine. He suffered a life of torture and deprivation in order to bring the world a new set of spiritual teachings and to renew the universal, changeless spiritual teachings that lie at the core of all revealed religion. Persecuted relentlessly, he still persevered in delivering that message, which has now begun to revolutionize humanity’s future.
The Baha’i Faith is about unity. Specifically, it is about working for unity at all levels of society.
“It is incumbent upon every man of insight and understanding to strive to translate that which hath been written into reality and action…. That one indeed is a man who, today, dedicateth himself to the service of the entire human race. … The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.” — Baha’u’llah
Bahá’u’lláh taught the oneness of God, the unity of humanity and the essential oneness of religion. The Baha’i teachings also promote the agreement of science and religion, the equality of the sexes and the elimination of all prejudice and racism.
Baha’is believe in justice, love, altruism and the sacredness of life, understanding that only through the incorporation of these qualities into our daily lives and our interactions with each other, can a peaceful, unified society, whether at the local or global level, be created. This—the coming of age of humanity—is promised by all the world’s revealed religions. This is what Baha’is worldwide are working toward, and inviting all who long for a supportive, just, and peaceful world to join us in answering the call to work for the future of our species.
Just about anywhere you go on the planet, you’ll find Baha’is—the Baha’i Faith is the world’s second-most widespread religion after Christianity, spanning the globe and working to unite it. Baha’is have no clergy or churches, gathering together in democratically-led communities and welcoming everyone.
The millions of Baha’is in the world come from every ethnicity, nationality, tribe, age, racial group, religious background and economic and social class. Striving to be gentle, peaceful, warm, welcoming and resistant to the disunifying forces so prevalent in the world today, diverse Baha’i communities exist just about everywhere. Baha’is accept the validity of each of the founders and prophets of the major world religions, and believe in the progressive revelation of God’s Faith to humanity.
You do not have to be a declared Baha’i to hold the principles of faith sacred or to act on them. All souls have a part to play in the change that must occur to create a sense of human community . The Universal House of Justice, the global guiding body of the Baha’i community gave expression to this in a recent letter to the Baha’is of the world:
“The task of building a mature, peaceful, just, and united world is a vast undertaking in which every people and nation must be able to participate. The Bahá’í community welcomes all to join in this endeavour as protagonists in a spiritual enterprise that can overcome the forces of disintegration eroding the old social order and give tangible form to an integrative process that will lead to the unfoldment of a new order in its stead.” — The Universal House of Justice, November 28, 2023
“The All-Knowing Physician hath His finger on the pulse of mankind. He perceiveth the disease, and prescribeth, in His unerring wisdom, the remedy. Every age hath its own problem, and every soul its particular aspiration. The remedy the world needeth in its present-day afflictions can never be the same as that which a subsequent age may require. Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and centre your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements.” — Baha’u’llah