Bahá'í Faith in Bahrain

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The Bahá'í Faith in Bahrain begins with a precursor movement, the Shaykhís coming out of Bahrain into Iran.[1] Abu'l-Qásim Faizi and wife lived in Bahrain in the 1940s.[2] Around 1963 the first Local Spiritual Assembly of Bahrain was elected in the capital of Manama.[3] In the 1980s, many anti-Bahá'í polemics were published in local newspapers of the Bahrain.[4] Recent estimates count some 1,000 Bahá'ís or 0.2% of the national population[5] or alittle more by Association of Religion Data Archives estimated there were some 1800 Bahá'ís in 2005.[6]

Early Phase[edit]

The founder of the Shaykhí movement, Shaykh Ahmad, was born in 1753, in the region known as Al-Bahrain or Al-Ahsa, which is on the Arabian peninsula near to modern Bahrain. Details of this are provided in an early Bahá'í publication, The Dawn-Breakers.[1] Abu'l-Qásim Faizi and wife lived in Bahrain in the 1940s; they found one convert in the seven years of their stay.[2] A documented community existed by 1949[7] The community acquired a center in Manama in 1954. It was a two-story building and rented home to care taking Bahá'ís and families. In keeping with Bahá'í teachings the Bahá'ís of Bahrain bury their dead and were first granted a cemetery at the time of Sheikh Salman Al-Khalifa, in the year 1955.[8] Around 1963 the Bahá'ís of Bahrain had organized a Bahá'í Local Spiritual Assembly in the capital of Manama, a national center, and was a member of a regional National Spiritual Assembly across Arabia.[3] In 1968 another center was purchased which served until 1993 when another center was acquired.

Perhaps easing the social situation in Bahrain is the fact that the Bahá'ís believe in the truth message of the Prophet Muhammad, and the health and Quran, and in all texts dealing with the Prophet Muhammad as holy, a Manifestations of God, and this is reflected in the Mtbaih, a cultural behavior. Followers of the religion do not talking about it, do not intervene in political affairs as it is something forbidden in the religion, and that they deal with the wider community peacefully, respectful of their prayer times and days of fasting.

Oppressed community[edit]

Traditionally the Ministry of Islamic Affairs had repeatedly denied the Bahá'í community's request for a license to operate. The Ministry of Islamic Affairs stated that the religion is an offshoot of Islam. According to its official interpretation of Islam, the government regards the core beliefs of Baha'is to be blasphemous and consequently illegal, and therefore the Ministry refuses to recognize the religion, but it allows the community to gather and worship freely.[9][10] In the 1980s, many anti-Bahá'í polemics were published in local newspapers of the Bahrain.[4]

Current status[edit]

Recent estimates count some 1,000 Bahá'ís, or 0.2% of the national population[5] or a little more by Association of Religion Data Archives estimated there were some 1800 Bahá'ís in 2005.[6] Bahá'ís reported they have not sought official recognition from the government; however, the group maintained a functioning cemetery on land donated by the government, as well as the center they established in 1963, and land for a future Bahá'í temple - indeed the government authorized the publication and public discussion of a book by a Bahraini citizen on the Baha'i community.[11] Newspapers in Bahrain and elsewhere in the region reported on the Egyptian identification card controversy, with many going into long explanations about the Bahá'í Faith around 2006.[12] Circa 2009 there were about twenty-two graves in a walled off Bahá'í cemetery, set off by a water fountain according to a pattern established by `Abdu'l-Bahá, who recommended setting a water fountain in the middle of cemeteries. A film called "School" was shown at the Dawn Breakers International Film Festival in 2009.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Nabíl-i-Zarandí (1932). Shoghi Effendi (Translator), ed. The Dawn-Breakers: Nabíl’s Narrative (Hardcover ed.). Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. p. 2. ISBN 0-900125-22-5. 
  2. ^ a b Universal House of Justice (1986). In Memoriam. The Bahá'í World. XVIII. Bahá'í World Centre. p. 663. ISBN 0-85398-234-1. 
  3. ^ a b The Bahá'í Faith: 1844-1963: Information Statistical and Comparative, Including the Achievements of the Ten Year International Bahá'í Teaching & Consolidation Plan 1953-1963, Compiled by Hands of the Cause Residing in the Holy Land, pages 25, 26, 58.
  4. ^ a b MacEoin, Denis; William Collins. "Anti-Baha'i Polemics". The Babi and Baha'i Religions: An Annotated Bibliography. Greenwood Press's ongoing series of Bibliographies and Indexes in Religious Studies. pp. entries #157, 751, 821. Retrieved 2010-04-28. 
  5. ^ a b Kjeilen, Tore, ed. (2008), "Baha'i", Looklex Encyclopedia, an expansion of Encyclopaedia of the Orient, Online, Looklex Encyclopedia 
  6. ^ a b "Most Baha'i Nations (2005)". The Association of Religion Data Archives. 2005. Archived from the original on 14 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-28. 
  7. ^ Smith, Peter (Dec 2014). Carole M. Cusack; Christopher Hartney, eds. "The Baha'i Faith: Distribution Statistics, 1925–1949". Journal of Religious History: 1–18. doi:10.1111/1467-9809.12207. ISSN 1467-9809. Retrieved Dec 3, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Waiting for the formal recognition of Baha'is and their institutions in Bahrain". Al-Waqt Newspaper (in Arabic). Bahrain. April 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-29. 
  9. ^ "Bahrain: International Religious Freedom Report 2005". United States Department of State: Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. 2009-10-26. Archived from the original on 1 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-28. 
  10. ^ "The Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief; Restrictions on Religious Freedom" (PDF). The Tandem Project. First Session U.N. Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review. April 7–18, 2008. p. 4. Retrieved 2010-04-28. 
  11. ^ "Bahrain: International Religious Freedom Report 2009". United States Department of State: Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. 2009-10-26. Archived from the original on 31 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-28. 
  12. ^ "The Situation of the Bahá'í Community of Egypt". Persecution of the Bahá'ís Egypt. Bahá'í International Community. May 2007. Retrieved 2010-04-28. 

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