The purpose of this website is to offer the essential verities of the Baha’i Faith, pointing to, we hope, a step on a reader’s spiritual quest. We dedicate these pages to a hunger and thirst after righteousness.
Baha’u’llah teaches that all the Divine Religions, those religions brought by a Manifestation of God, are of two parts:
the essential spiritual portion that is the same for all divine religions and unchanging, forever; and the secondary, or mundane, portion which deals with issues of society, wills, laws and ordinances, marriage, etc.
These foundations of the Religion of God, which are spiritual and which are the virtues of humanity, cannot be abrogated; they are irremovable and eternal, and are renewed in the cycle of every Prophet. (Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 47)
The spiritual aspect of the Baha’i Faith, in common with all divine religions, begins with an intimate bond between a man and his Creator. Religion, by definition, is that bond:
Religion according to “… popular etymology among the later ancients (Servius, Lactantius, Augustine) and the interpretation of many modern writers connects it with religare ‘to bind fast’ (see rely), via notion of ‘place an obligation on,’ or ‘bond between humans and gods.’”
Before that bond can form, a man needs to become aware of his need for God. This need may not be recognized as a hunger for God, in fact it is more likely to be a distaste for the man’s own spiritual and moral condition. The man may come to hate his Self. This is often the first step to “hungering and thirsting after righteousness.” As the “seeker” comprehends his true unworthiness and his God’s overarching Love and Grace, the seeker will, often, cry out to his Lord, as the Lord and Master of him; thereby entering the bliss of servitude. Naturally, this process can take as many forms as there are seekers. However, without this aspect of the Faith, the Baha’i Faith has no spiritual foundation.
The essence of all religions is the Love of God, and it is the foundation of all the sacred teachings. (Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 81)
Many Baha’is will say something to the effect — “That individual aspect is not necessary today, the Faith today focuses on community.” It may be true that the mighty spiritual aspects of the Baha’i Faith — being led and taught by the Spirit of God, the second birth or baptism in the Holy Spirit, etc. – are not emphasized these days, but the communal aspects — world unity, peace, etc. — cannot occur without the Spirit of God operating in the lives of individuals.
These foundations of the Religion of God, which are spiritual and which are the virtues of humanity, cannot be abrogated; they are irremovable and eternal, and are renewed in the cycle of every Prophet.
(Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 47)
We, as Baha’is, must live and teach all aspects of the Faith.
“The believers, and particularly those who have not had sufficient experience in teaching, should be very careful in the way they present the teachings of the Cause. Sincerity, devotion and faith are not the sole conditions of successful teaching. Tactfulness, extreme caution and wisdom are equally important. We should not be in a hurry when we announce the message to the public and we should be careful to present the teachings in their entirety and not to alter them for the sake of others. Allegiance to the Faith cannot be partial and half-hearted. Either we should accept the Cause without any qualification whatever, or cease calling ourselves Bahá’ís. The new believers should be made to realize that it is not sufficient for them to accept some aspects of the teachings and reject those which cannot suit their mentality in order to become fully recognized and active followers of the Faith. In this way all sorts of misunderstandings will vanish and the organic unity of the Cause will be preserved.” (To Mrs. Shahnaz Waite, June 12, 1933.)
(Shoghi Effendi, Extracts from the USBN)
“Concerning the idea of the Bahá’í World Order and the proper emphasis which should be laid on the social aspect of the Faith; the Guardian feels the necessity for all teachers to stress the fact that the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh can, under no circumstances, be divorced from the spiritual principles and teachings of the Cause; that the social laws and institutions of the Faith are inseparably bound up and closely interwoven with the moral and spiritual principles enunciated by Bahá’u’lláh, Who, Himself, indeed, has time and again emphasized the underlying oneness and the identity of purpose of all His spiritual, doctrinal, and social teachings. The Friends, while emphasizing both of these aspects, should, in particular, point out that they constitute parts of one and the same plan, and elements of a single, divine and world-embracing system.”
(Shoghi Effendi, Directives from the Guardian, p. 67)