Kenya

BAHÁ’Í COMMUNITY

What is the Bahá’í Faith?

The Bahá’í Faith originated in Persia in the mid-19th century. The Faith was founded by Bahá’u’lláh (1817-1892), Whose title means “the Glory of God.” Bahá’ís regard Him as the latest in the succession of Divine Educators who founded the world’s major religions. He is the Promised One They Foretold. In His writings, Bahá’u’lláh outlines a framework for the establishment of a global civilization which takes into account both the spiritual and material dimensions of human life. His teachings, centered on the recognition of the oneness of humanity, offer a compelling vision of an approaching world united in justice, peace, and prosperity.

Bahá’u’lláh’s coming was heralded by the Báb (1819-1850), meaning “the Gate.” The Báb proclaimed His divine mission in 1844, which is considered the beginning of the Bahá’í Era – a new cycle of human history and social evolution.

Sacred writings 

The writings of the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh are considered by Bahá’ís to have been revealed by God. As creative Word of God, these sacred writings have the power to touch the deepest recesses of our hearts and transform us and the world around us. The Bahá’í writings address the needs of the age and offer inspiration for individuals working to the better themselves and their communities. Bahá’u’lláh enjoined His followers to read daily from sacred texts: “Immerse yourselves in the ocean of My words, that ye may unravel its secrets, and discover all the pearls of wisdom that lie hid in its depths.”

Structure

The affairs of the Bahá’í community are governed by institutions established by Bahá’u’lláh. This Administrative Order comprises both elected and appointed institutions at local, national, and the international levels. Nonpartisan elections, without nominations or campaigns and conducted by secret ballot, and collective decision making are hallmarks of Bahá’í administration. These and other principles constitute a model of just and unified global governance.

Under the guidance of the Universal House of Justice, elected bodies, known as the Local Spiritual Assemblies and National Spiritual Assemblies, tend to the affairs of the Bahá’í community at local and national levels respectively, exercising legislative, executive and judicial authority. While the Bahá’í Administration Order places authority in elected bodies, the system also counts on the wisdom and experience of individuals.

An institution of appointed individuals of proven capacity, the institution of the Counselors, functions under the guidance of the Universal House of Justice, nurturing the Bahá’í community from the grassroots to the international level.

Local Bahá’í house of worship

The Bahá’í House of Worship (temple) is dedicated to joining the worship of God with service to humanity. The structure is open to all people and it is the central edifice of an institution known as a Mashriqu’l-Adhkar or “Dawning Place of the Mention of God.” In the fullness of time, the House of Worship will be surrounded by other structures dedicated to serving the needs of the community: learning institutions, convention facilities and other humanitarian and social service agencies.

Worship

Daily prayer, offered both in private and in company of others, is regarded by Bahá’í’s as essential spiritual nourishment, providing inspiration for personal and social change. Bahá’ís consider work done in the spirit of service to humanity as the highest form of worship. Individuals pray daily and observe an annual 19-day period of fasting during daylight hours. The Bahá’í Faith has no clergy or sacraments, and has simple practices for life’s rites of passage, such as marriage and funerals.