Outline of the Bahá'í Faith

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The following outline is provided as an overview of and a topical guide to the Bahá'í Faith.

Bahá'í Faithmonotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. In the Bahá'í Faith, religious history is seen to have unfolded through a series of divine messengers, each of whom established a religion that was suited to the needs of the time and the capacity of the people. Humanity is understood to be in a process of collective evolution, and the need of the present time is for the gradual establishment of peace, justice and unity on a global scale.

Nature of the Bahá'í Faith[edit]

The Bahá'í Faith can be described as all of the following:

Beliefs of the Bahá'í Faith[edit]

  • Bahá'í teachings
  • God in the Bahá'í Faith – the Bahá'ís believe that God is One
  • Bahá'í Faith and the unity of humanity – the Bahá'ís believe that all humans are equal in the sight of God
  • Bahá'í Faith and the unity of religion – the Bahá'ís believe there is but one religion, slowly revealed by God
  • Progressive revelation – the idea that God progressively reveals the truth through prophets or Manifestations of God
  • Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh – refers to two separate binding agreements between God and man: a Greater Covenant, made between every messenger from God and his followers concerning the next dispensation, and a Lesser Covenant that concerns successorship of authority within the religion after the messenger dies
  • Nineteen Day Feast – regular community gatherings, occurring on the first day of each month of the Bahá'í calendar (and so most often nineteen days apart from each other)
  • Prayer – two distinct concepts: obligatory prayer and devotional prayer (general prayer). Both types of prayer are composed of reverent words which are addressed to God, and the act of prayer is one of the most important Bahá'í laws for individual discipline.

Social principles of the Bahá'í Faith[edit]

History of the Bahá'í Faith[edit]

  • Bahá'í history – had its background in two earlier movements in the nineteenth century, Shaykhism and Babism.
  • Bahá'í timeline – a timeline showing the significant points in the history of the Bahá'í faith
  • Bahá'í/Bábí split – The Bahá'í/Bábí split occurred when most Bábís accepted Bahá'u'lláh as the messiah of the Báb's writings, leading them to become Bahá'ís, and leaving a remnant of Bábís who became known as Azalis.
  • Bábís – a religious movement that flourished in Persia from 1844 to 1852,
  • Shaykh Ahmad – the founder of a 19th-century Shi`i school in the Persian and Ottoman empires, whose followers are known as Shaykhís.
  • Shaykhism – an Islamic religious movement founded by Shaykh Ahmad in early 19th century Qajar Iran. It began from pure Shi‘a doctrine of the end times and the day of resurrection.
  • Letters of the Living – primary followers of the Báb some of whom are remembered prominently in the Bahá'í Faith
  • Persecution of Bahá'ís – Bahá'ís are seen as apostates from Islam, and, according to some, must choose between repentance and death
  • Bahá'í Faith by country – the spread of the religion across countries and within countries

Culture of the Bahá'í Faith[edit]

Institutions of the Bahá'í Faith[edit]

  • Bahá'í administration – The supreme governing institution of the Bahá'í Faith is the Universal House of Justice
  • Shoghi Effendi – the head of the religion, termed the Guardian, from 1921 until his death in 1957.
  • Universal House of Justice – the supreme governing institution of the Bahá'í Faith, a legislative institution.
  • Spiritual Assemblies – a term given by `Abdu'l-Bahá to refer to elected councils that govern the Bahá'í Faith.
  • Bahá'í House of Worship – a significant place of worship and service open to all people

Texts and scriptures of the Bahá'í Faith[edit]

Key scripture[edit]

  • Kitáb-i-Aqdas – a central book of the Bahá'í Faith written by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the religion.
  • Kitáb-i-Íqán – the primary theological work of the followers of the Bahá'í Faith
  • The Hidden Words(Kalimát-i-Maknúnih) – a collection of short utterances, 71 in Arabic and 82 in Persian
  • The Seven Valleys – a book written in Persian by Bahá'u'lláh

From The Báb[edit]

  • Persian Bayán – one of the principal scriptural writings of the Báb, the founder of Bábi religion, written in Persian
  • Arabic Bayán – a book written by the Báb around 1848. Its larger sister book is the Persian Bayán. The work is incomplete, containing only eleven Vahids.
  • Selections from the Writings of the Báb – a book of excerpts from notable works of the Báb, the forerunner-Prophet of the Bahá'í Faith.

From Bahá'u'lláh[edit]

From `Abdu'l-Bahá[edit]

  • Paris Talks – a book transcribed from talks given by `Abdu'l-Bahá while in Paris.
  • The Secret of Divine Civilization – a book written in 1875 by `Abdu'l-Bahá, addressed to the rulers and the people of Persia.
  • Some Answered Questions – contains questions asked to `Abdu'l-Bahá, son of the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, by Laura Clifford Barney, during several of her visits to Haifa between 1904 and 1906, and `Abdu'l-Bahá's answers to these questions.
  • Tablets of the Divine Plan – 14 letters (tablets) written between September 1916 and March 1917 by `Abdu'l-Bahá to Bahá'ís in the United States and Canada.
  • Tablet to Dr. Forel – a letter of `Abdu'l-Bahá, written in reply to questions asked by Auguste-Henri Forel, a Swiss myrmecologist, neuroanatomist and psychiatrist.
  • Tablet to The Hague – a letter which `Abdu'l-Bahá wrote to the Central Organisation for Durable Peace in The Hague, The Netherlands on 17 December 1919.
  • Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá – A seminal document, written in three stages by `Abdu'l-Bahá.

From Shoghi Effendi[edit]

  • The Advent of Divine Justice – a letter written December 25, 1938 to the Bahá'ís of the United States and Canada, by Shoghi Effendi
  • Bahá'í Administration – a collection of letters and messages from Shoghi Effendi addressed to the Bahá'ís of the United States and Canada from 1922 to 1932.
  • God Passes By – a historical summary of the first century of the Bahá'í Faith
  • World Order of Bahá'u'lláh – a collection of letters and messages from Shoghi Effendi from his ministry as head of the religion

Important figures of the Bahá'í Faith[edit]

Central figures[edit]

Chronologically there have been three individuals who are considered paramount in the religion, though not of equal station

Apostles of Bahá'u'lláh[edit]

The Apostles of Bahá'u'lláh were nineteen eminent early followers of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. Many of them are listed here.

Other influential figures[edit]


  • Hands of the Cause – a select group of Bahá'ís, appointed for life, whose main function was to propagate and protect the Bahá'í Faith.
  • Knights of Bahá'u'lláh – a title given by Shoghi Effendi to Bahá'ís who arose to open new territories to the Faith starting in the Ten Year Crusade.
  • Disciples of `Abdu'l-Bahá – Shoghi Effendi, designated nineteen Western Bahá'ís as Disciples of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and 'Heralds of the Covenant'

Notable individuals[edit]

  • Shoghi Effendi – the appointed head of the Bahá'í Faith from 1921 until his death in 1957, entitled Guardian.
  • Apostles of Bahá'u'lláh – nineteen eminent early followers of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith.
  • Hands of the Cause – a select group of Bahá'ís, appointed for life, whose main function was to propagate and protect the Bahá'í Faith.
  • Martha Root – a prominent traveling teacher of the Bahá'í Faith in the late 19th and early 20th century.
  • Táhirih – born as Fátimih Baraghání she became known as Táhirih, an influential poet and theologian of the Bábí Faith in Iran. Her life, influence and execution made her a key figure of both religions.
  • Mulla Husayn – whose actions began the unfoldment of the history of the religion by encountering the Báb on the evening of May 23, 1844
  • Badí‘ – Mírzá Áqá Buzurg-i-Nishapuri, also known by his title the Pride of Martyrs

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha'u'llah v 3, p. 88

External links[edit]