What is Bahai?

The Baha’i faith is not “yet another” religion to add to the mix of existing belief systems. It reveals the matrix within which religion, as a whole, can be seen as one changeless faith of God, with successive chapters, all part of the same book, all part of the human journey of the spiritual education of humanity.

The purpose of religion, according to the Baha’i teachings, is to bring humanity to a realization of it’s own essential oneness and to remove the barriers that have keep individual realization of potential from blossoming in the past. Any system claiming to be a religion that does not promote love and unity, is according to Baha’u’llah, not religion, but rather the opposite.

Throughout history, a series of divine Educators—known as Manifestations of God—have provided teachings that become the basis for the advancement of civilization. These Manifestations have included Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad. Bahá’u’lláh, the latest of these Messengers, explained that the religions of the world come from the same Source and are in essence chapters of one religion from God.

Religion, moreover, is not a series of beliefs, a set of customs; religion is the teachings of the Lord God, teachings which constitute the very life of humankind, which urge high thoughts upon the mind, refine the character, and lay the groundwork for man’s everlasting honour. – Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 52.

Bahá’ís believe the crucial need facing humanity is to find a unifying vision of the future of society and of the nature and purpose of life. Such a vision unfolds in the writings of Bahá’u’lláh.

“The fundamental purpose animating the Faith of God and His Religion is to safeguard the interests and promote the unity of the human race, and to foster the spirit of love and fellowship amongst men.”— Bahá’u’lláh

Humanity’s oneness is both the goal and the operating principle of Bahá’u’lláh’s revelation. Bahá’u’lláh compared the world of humanity to the human body. Within this organism, millions of cells, diverse in form and function, play their part in maintaining a healthy system. Similarly, harmonious relationships among individuals, communities, and institutions serve to sustain society and allow for the advancement of civilization.

When our essential relationships are considered in the light of our common oneness, we form our words and actions in ways that strengthen rather than weaken the bonds of love and unity.

This is how Baha’u’llah’s teachings inform some of our essential relationships – imagine a world where these kinds of relationships dominate the minds and hearts of society! It would be a world where human potential, innovation and discoveries would be continuously flourishing.

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