The Bahá’í Faith is a religion followed by several million people in the world, from all countries and all backgrounds.
· All of these people believe in the unity of humanity - that all people matter, and that the world should be run as one country for the benefit of everyone.
· They believe that it is the differences between us which make life interesting, and that we should cherish these differences, not ignore them.
· They believe that there is only one God, though people may call Him by different names. God is something we can never really understand: we can only learn about Him through His creation and His Messengers.
· Bahá’ís believe that there has only ever been one religion - the religion of God. God sent His Messengers to different places at different times so that everyone in the world could hear about Him.
· Bahá’ís follow Bahá’u’lláh, the latest in a long line of Messengers sent by God to show us how we should live our lives. The name Bahá’u’lláh means “Glory of God”. Bahá’u’lláh suffered all of His life to tell us how to build a better life here on earth and in the world to come. He passed to the next world more than a hundred years ago.
· Bahá’ís believe that Moses, Christ, Muhammad, Krishna and Buddha were all Messengers from God.
· These Messengers all said basically the same thing - that we should love God and love one another, that we should be honest, truthful, kind, trustworthy, humble. It was only their social teachings which were different: this is because they were meant for a particular time and place. Now that we are part of a world society, new laws are necessary.
· All of these Messengers promised a time when a great Messenger would come to bring peace to the whole world. Bahá’ís believe that Bahá’u’lláh was that Messenger and that the time for peace is now.
Bahá’ís do everything they can to bring about world peace and world unity. It starts with peace between individuals, but Bahá’ís also work towards Bahá’u’lláh’s plan for an international peace conference for all the governments of the world. It is only when we have peace and co-operation that many of the urgent problems of the world can be solved.
Bahá’ís are very concerned with the state of the world we live in. We need to take a spiritual and unselfish attitude to this earth, for we need to live in harmony with our environment and with each other.
Wherever Bahá’ís live, they try to bring people together and to strengthen the sense of community. This may be in a small way, or in some places it may lead to the creation of a school, or a farming or health project which will benefit the whole community.
Bahá’ís believe that our purpose in this life is to learn, to develop, so that when we move on to the next world we will be closer to God, closer to perfection. Each day a Bahá’í should turn to God in prayer. Each morning and evening he or she should read some of the Bahá’í scriptures, meditate on them, try to really understand them and put them into practice.
There are many books of Bahá’í scripture but here are just a few examples from the Writings:
“Turn all your thoughts toward bringing joy to hearts.”
“See ye no strangers; rather see all men as friends.”
“Breathe not the sins of others whilst thou art thyself a sinner.”
“The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens.”
“Think ye at all times of rendering some service to every member of the human race.”
The regular meeting of each local Bahá’í community is called a “Feast”. This includes prayers, discussion and sharing food together. In each local area Bahá’ís elect an assembly of nine people who look after the welfare of the community. Each country has a national assembly and there is also a world body.
Each community has regular devotional meetings where everyone is welcome to share and enjoy the prayers, readings and music. In a few places in the world there are large Houses of Worship which are open to everyone, whatever their religion.
The children are a very precious part of any community. Bahá’í classes for children focus on moral and spiritual development - here they learn how to be happy and helpful to others. Junior youth (pre-teens and young teenagers) have their own courses and activities, particularly suited to their age group, where they learn to think positively about themselves and about their contribution to the world.
Bahá’ís also join together in study circles where they discuss Bahá’í beliefs, explore how to lead a spiritual life, and learn how to run children’s classes and junior youth groups. Many people who are not Bahá’ís enjoy these courses, where everyone’s opinion is valued. Bahá’ís also have open meetings for those who would like to learn more about the Bahá’í Faith.
· Bahá’ís believe that eventually there will be a world government which will make sure that all countries are treated fairly and that the resources of the planet are used sensibly.
· There will be a world currency and a fair economic and trade system which will ensure that there will no longer be vast differences between rich and poor countries, or rich and poor people.
· Every child in the world will be able to go to school and develop his or her potential.
· Everyone will learn a world language so that we can all understand one another better.
· Women will be treated equally with men and will use their influence to help bring about peace in the world.
When it comes down to it, it is the people of the world who have to change the world. And we can only start with ourselves.
The text of all these leaflets remains the copyright of Warwick Bahá'í Bookshop. The Bookshop is happy for people to download individual copies for their own purposes. Printed copies can be purchased from the Warwick Bookshop. Individuals or communities wishing to translate or print these leaflets in other countries please contact the Bookshop for permission.