Since its inception in 1844, the Bahá’í Faith has embraced adherents from virtually every country and every ethnic, cultural and socio-economic group. With more than five million followers, it is among the fastest-growing of the world’s religions and the most geographically widespread independent religion after Christianity.
A Bahá’í means a follower of Bahá’u’lláh, the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith. A central doctrine of the Bahá’í Faith is Progressive Revelation which refers to the belief that religious truth is revealed by God progressively and cyclically over time through a series of divine Messengers. Although the essential spiritual truths remain the same, the social teachings of each revelation are tailored to suit the needs of the time and place of their appearance. Bahá’í’s therefore believe that the prophet founders of all the world’s major religions are Messengers of God and none should be regarded as greater than another.
Bahá’u’lláh is the most recent in a line of divine Messengers including Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad and the Báb. The Báb (1819 -1850) was the Prophet-Herald of the Bahá’í Faith. His mission, which was to last only six years, was to prepare the way for the coming of a Messenger of God Who would usher in the age of peace and justice promised in all the world’s religions. Bahá’u’lláh (1817- 1892) was born in Persia (now Iran) to a noble family; however, after announcing His universal message of peace and
unity to the people of Persia, was subjected to torture, imprisonment and exile for over 40 years at the hands of the Persian and Ottoman Governments. He and His family were exiled from Persia to Palestine (now Israel) often
under unbearable circumstances. He is buried within the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh, located in Bahjí near Akka, Israel.
This is the most holy place for Bahá’í’s and a key pilgrimage destination.
Bahá’u’lláh teaches that humanity, which has collectively come of age, has to become united in a peaceful global society, built on fundamental principles including:
• oneness of humanity and the abandonment of all forms of prejudice
• essential unity of the world’s great religions
• harmony between science and religion
• equal opportunities, rights and privileges for men and women universal education
• adoption of an international auxiliary language
• independent search for truth, free from prejudices
• application of spiritual principles to eliminate extremes of wealth and poverty
• establishment of a world federation based on security and justice for all