The Bahá'í Faith in Malwa:
A Study of a Contemporary Religious Movement
The Bahá'í World Faith is a contemporary religious movement which at the present time is supporting propagation activities in over three hundred countries and dependencies throughout the world. It is classified as a religious movement because its teachings and assertions of authority are claimed to be derived from the Sacred specifically, an omnipotent and transcendent God, as manifested in the personage of a prophet figure known by the title 'Bahá'u'lláh' (the Glory of God). Since its early years of inception in nineteenth century Persia, the Bahá'í Faith has received very little scholarly attention. Outside of the pioneering efforts of the famed Cambridge Orientalist, E. G. Browne, whose work on the early history of the Bíbí-Bahá'í movement stands unequalled, the Faith has been virtually bypassed as a topic of academic research. Even in Browne's time his work on an 'insignificant sect of Islam' brought him criticism. Browne felt, however, that a record of the early years of the Faith's development would be invaluable if it were later to evolve into an established world religion. The rapid expansion of the Bahá'í Faith in recent years has justified Browne's efforts. Since the time of his work, however, many new developments have taken place within the movement. From its tumultuous beginnings in nineteenth century Persia the Bahá'í Faith has over the past 130 years developed into an internationally recognized world religion with headquarters in Haifa, Israel, and functioning communities on every continent of the globe. It is no longer a 'Persian' religion, but an international organization whose doctrines and institutions are influencing millions of people from many different cultural backgrounds. This fact alone should make the movement one of interest to the student of comparative religion, and it was with such thoughts that the author decided to investigate the present day activities of the Bahá'í Faith.
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