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Introduction:

There are approximately 6,000 Bahá’ís in the UK today with 6.5 million members worldwide.

Central to the Bahá’í Faith is the conviction that all people are equal and share a common destiny.  It is a monotheistic faith that recognises the validity of all the world’s great religions.  The religion was founded approximately 160 years ago, making it the world’s youngest monotheistic faith.  Its founder, Bahá’u’lláh (1817-1892), is regarded by Bahá'ís as the most recent in the line of Messengers of God that stretches back beyond recorded time and that includes Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Zoroaster, Christ, Muhammad and the Báb.

Beliefs and practices:

The central theme of Bahá’u’lláh's message is that humanity is one single race and that the day has come for its unification in one global society. God, Bahá'u'lláh said, has set in motion historical forces that are breaking down traditional barriers of race, class, creed, and nation and that will, in time, give birth to a universal civilisation. The principal challenge facing the peoples of the earth is to accept the fact of their oneness and to assist the processes of unification. Among the principles which the Bahá’í Faith promotes as vital to the achievement of this goal are
• the abandonment of all forms of prejudice
• assurance to women of full equality of opportunity with men
• recognition of the unity and relativity of religious truth
• the elimination of extremes of poverty and wealth with a spiritual solution
• the realisation of universal education
• the responsibility of each person to independently search for truth
• the establishment of a global commonwealth of nations and the adoption of an international auxiliary language.
• recognition that true religion is in harmony with reason and the pursuit of scientific knowledge

Sub-divisions:  The Bahai faith has no major subdivisions.

Scriptures: The writings of Bahaullah and Abdul Baha, Bahais accept the scriptures of all major religions as holy.

Holy Days and Festivals

Compared to a day in the Gregorian calendar, a day in the Bahá’í calendar starts from sunset of the previous day to sunset of the same day.
There are no set practices or services to commemorate the various holy days of the Bahá'ís. Different communities may organise devotional days of prayers and readings appropriate to the day in question.
There are 11 holy days, of which 9 are major holy days.
The holy days require that Bahá'ís refrain from work on the 3 special days of Ridván and all major holy days unless specifically disallowed in their terms of employment. Children are required not to attend school if possible.
Bahá'ís are encouraged not to celebrate the holy days of other religions among themselves.
Holy days on which work should be suspended
• The Ridván Festival — 21 April – 2 May. Bahá’u''lláh ordained this festival as the Most Great Festival and it marks the declaration in the Garden of Ridván in 1863. The 1st, 9th and 12th days of the Ridván Festival are marked major holy days.
• Naw-Rúz (New Year) — 21st March, the first day of spring equinox.
• The Declaration of the Báb — 22rd-23rd May from 2 hours after sunset on the 22nd and it marks the declaration of the mission of the Báb, the herald of Bahá’u’lláh, in 1844.
• Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh — 29th May, at 3am.
• Martyrdom of the Báb — 9th July at noon.
• Birth of the Báb — 20th October.
• Birth of Bahá’u’lláh — 12th November.
Holy days on which work need not be suspended
• Day of the Covenant — 26th November.
• Passing of ‘Abdu’l Bahá — 28th November.
Nineteen-Day Feast
Every nineteen days, on the first day of each of the 19 Bahá'í months, all the Bahá'ís of a particular community meet at the local Bahá'í centre or one of their houses for a spiritual and material feast, gaining spiritual renewal, consulting on issues of community affairs and strengthening friendship. There are 19 such feasts in a year as there are 19 months of 19 days each in a year.
Ayyám-í-Há — 26th February – 1st March. These four or five days do not belong to any of the 19 months of the Badi‘ Calendar and are immediately before the month of fasting, and the Bahá'ís are encouraged to offer hospitality, kindness, and gift giving.

Dietary Requirements

Bahá'ís are forbidden to consume alcohol or take drugs other than for medical reasons.

During 2nd March and 20th March, in the month of ‘Alá, between Ayyám-í-Há and Naw-Rúz, adult Bahá’ís who are able will fast from sunrise to sunset, abstaining from taking food or drink.

Dress Code

There are no religious laws governing specific dress code. Cleanliness and modesty are the keys.

Manchester Contacts:

Bahai centre in fallowfield