for obligatory prayer, it hath been sent down by the Pen of the Most High in
such wise that it setteth ablaze the hearts and captivateth the souls and minds
"Thou hast written concerning
obligatory prayer. Such prayer is binding and mandatory for everyone?it is like
unto a ladder for the souls, a lamp unto the hearts of the righteous, and the
water of life from the garden of paradise. It is a clear duty prescribed by the
A Bahá'í should say
an Obligatory Prayer each day from the age of maturity, which is 15, until
reaching the age of 70. The Bahá'í day starts and ends at sunset, so one
Obligatory Prayer should be said between one sunset and the next.
A Bahá'í must face
the Qiblih while saying an Obligatory Prayer. The Qiblih is the place
where Bahá'u'lláh is buried. This is in Bahji in the Holy Land, so when in
Britain it means facing south-east.
As an Obligatory
Prayer is a personal prayer, it is better to say it in private.
Before a Bahá'í says
an Obligatory Prayer he or she must wash the hands and then the face in hot or
cold water. This is called ablutions and is a symbolic way of purifying oneself
before turning to God. If there is no water, or if using water would harm the
face or hands, the person can repeat instead five times "In the Name of God,
the Most Pure, the Most Pure".
Ablutions must be
performed, even if the person has just had a bath.
Choice of Prayers
Each day a Bahá'í can
choose one of the three daily Obligatory Prayers: the short, medium or long one.
The Short Obligatory
Prayer should be said between noon and sunset each day and should be said whilst
The Medium Obligatory
Prayer should be said three times a day: between sunrise and noon, between noon
and sunset, and from sunset till two hours after sunset. More details can be
found in a prayer book.
The Long Obligatory
Prayer can be said at any time, between one sunset and the next.
In countries in the
extreme north or south, where the length of days and nights varies greatly,
clocks and watches are used, instead of sunrise or sunset. In Britain we use
sunrise and sunset.
A person who is "weak from illness" need not say an Obligatory Prayer.
a person is travelling or in danger, it is not possible to say an Obligatory
Prayer. When a safe place is reached, for each prayer missed the person must
kneel down with forehead on the floor and say "Glorified be God, the Lord of Might and Majesty, of Grace and Bounty". After this he or she must sit
cross-legged and repeat 18 times "Glorified be God, the Lord of
the kingdoms of earth and heaven."
Women need not say
Obligatory Prayers during a period. Instead, each day they should perform their
ablutions and then repeat 95 times "Glorified be God, the Lord of Splendour
and Beauty". In this case a day means between one noon and the next.
Bahá'ís should read
something from the Writings of the Báb or Bahá'u'lláh every morning and evening.
It does not have to
be a long passage, what matters is the spirit in which it is read.
Bahá'u'lláh said we
should meditate on what we have read. In other words, to think deeply about it,
try to understand it and take it to heart.
of the Greatest Name
This is another form of
meditation. The repetition can help to bring a state of deep relaxation during
which spiritual insights may be realised.
The Greatest Name is "Alláh-u-Abhá" which means "God the All-Glorious".
Every day a Bahá'í
should repeat the Greatest Name 95 times. It may be helpful to use prayer beads
to keep count.
Ablutions must be
performed before repeating the Greatest Name (the same as for the Obligatory
If repeating the
Greatest Name immediately before or after saying an Obligatory Prayer, ablutions
are only needed once, not twice.
The Greatest Name
should be said whilst sitting down and facing the Qiblih (the place where
Bahá'u'lláh is buried -- see under Obligatory Prayers).
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.