Today marks the beginning of the Bahá’í 19-day fast. It is a dawn-til-dusk fast for Baha’i adults and ends on Naw Ruz, our new year.
It is a time for turning your heart and mind to God, so I’ve decided to blog once a day for these 19 days and talk a little bit about the Bahá’í faith. Since the vast majority of my readers are not Bahá’í, I’d love for you to leave some questions in the comments section and I will answer them in the coming days.
So, for starters, how about a crash course? Bahá’í 101.
Bahá’ís believe in progressive revelation. We believe that God, in His wisdom, has offered humankind an unfolding religion that builds over time, sort of parceling out knowledge as we are ready for it. This is sometimes compared to our own life cycle – with our babies and toddlers we start small, use broad concepts. As they grow, we share more, get more detailed, more abstract.
We recognize 9 Manifestations of God, each of whom brought a piece of God’s word: Abraham, Moses, Krishna, Buddha, Zoroaster, Jesus Christ, Mohammad, the Bab, and Bahá’u’lláh. We consider them perfect mirrors who reflect the light of God.
Our faith is founded on the teachings of the most recent manifestation, Bahá’u’lláh.
Our other core beliefs include:
- abandonment of prejudice
- equality of men and women (often described as two wings of one bird)
- elimination of extremes of poverty and wealth
- universal education
- the responsibility of the individual to search for truth
- establish a global commonwealth of nations
- recognition that religion is in harmony with the pursuit of scientific knowledge
Of course, there’s more to it than that and just like any religion it is hard to encapsulate belief into just a few sentences. So, throughout these 19 days I will share more about the faith and will be posting some of my favorite selections from the writings.
To my Bahá’í friends, I hope for you 19 days of peace and prayer.