The Bahá’í Faith offers both teacher and student a wealth of insights into the search for a better world. It also illustrates and helps bring into focus the teachings of other religions.
Some broad themes are set out below.
The Warwick Bahá’í Bookshop offers a range of Bahá’í scripture, as well as topic-related books and leaflets. A small range of the leaflets available is listed below. They can also be accessed in electronic format by clicking on the leaflet title.
We would love to hear about your experiences of using any of our materials, so do please let us know how you get on, using the contact form.
Bahá’u’lláh taught that God is unknowable in His essence, but that we should pray and meditate daily in order to develop our own spiritual faculties. The following Powerpoint presentation, though designed for younger students, gives a useful overview of these teachings, and the practices of prayer and meditation as understood by Bahá’ís.
The central teaching of the Bahá’í Faith is that we live in the age when humanity will finally be united as a world civilisation, and where after a period of chaos, some of which we are already seeing, war and strife will be replaced by a world federal system. Current sentiments of national, ethnic, religious and linguistic bases for loyalty will yield to a sense of a single human race, united to advance human society, develop civility and morality, and protect the environment.
Unification of the whole of mankind is the hallmark of the stage which human society is now approaching,” say the Bahá’í writings. “Unity of family, of tribe, of city-state, and nation have been successively attempted and fully established. World unity is the goal towards which a harassed humanity is striving.”
“A world commonwealth in which all nations, races, creeds and classes are closely and permanently united, and in which the autonomy of its state members and the personal freedom and initiative of the individuals that compose them are definitely and completely safeguarded. This commonwealth must, as far as we can visualize it, consist of a world legislature, whose members will, as the trustees of the whole of mankind, ultimately control the entire resources of all the component nations, and will enact such laws as shall be The unity of the human race, as envisaged by Bahá’u’lláh, implies the establishment of a required to regulate the life, satisfy the needs and adjust the relationships of all races and peoples. A world executive, backed by an international Force, will carry out the decisions arrived at, and apply the laws enacted by, this world legislature, and will safeguard the organic unity of the whole commonwealth. A world tribunal will adjudicate and deliver its compulsory and final verdict in all and any disputes that may arise between the various elements constituting this universal system. A mechanism of world inter-communication will be devised, embracing the whole planet, freed from national hindrances and restrictions, and functioning with marvellous swiftness and perfect regularity. A world metropolis will act as the nerve center of a world civilization, the focus towards which the unifying forces of life will converge and from which its energizing influences will radiate. A world language will either be invented or chosen from among the existing languages and will be taught in the schools of all the federated nations as an auxiliary to their mother tongue. A world script, a world literature, a uniform and universal system of currency, of weights and measures, will simplify and facilitate intercourse and understanding among the nations and races of mankind. In such a world society, science and religion, the two most potent forces in human life, will be reconciled, will cooperate, and will harmoniously develop. The press will, under such a system, while giving full scope to the expression of the diversified views and convictions of mankind, cease to be mischievously manipulated by vested interests, whether private or public, and will be liberated from the influence of contending governments and peoples. The economic resources of the world will be organized, its sources of raw materials will be tapped and fully utilized, its markets will be coordinated and developed, and the distribution of its products will be equitably regulated.
National rivalries, hatreds, and intrigues will cease, and racial animosity and prejudice will be replaced by racial amity, understanding and cooperation. The causes of religious strife will be permanently removed, economic barriers and restrictions will be completely abolished, and the inordinate distinction between classes will be obliterated. Destitution on the one hand, and gross accumulation of ownership on the other, will disappear. The enormous energy dissipated and wasted on war, whether economic or political, will be consecrated to such ends as will extend the range of human inventions and technical development, to the increase of the productivity of mankind, to the extermination of disease, to the extension of scientific research, to the raising of the standard of physical health, to the sharpening and refinement of the human brain, to the exploitation of the unused and unsuspected resources of the planet, to the prolongation of human life, and to the furtherance of any other agency that can stimulate the intellectual, the moral, and spiritual life of the entire human race.
A world federal system, ruling the whole earth and exercising unchallengeable authority over its unimaginably vast resources, blending and embodying the ideals of both the East and the West, liberated from the curse of war and its miseries, and bent on the exploitation of all the available sources of energy on the surface of the planet, a system in which Force is made the servant of Justice, whose life is sustained by its universal recognition of one God and by its allegiance to one common Revelation—such is the goal towards which humanity, impelled by the unifying forces of life, is moving.”
Much of the Baha’i blueprint for the New World was laid out in letters written by Bahá’u’lláh from the prison city of Akka in Ottoman Palestine. These letters can be studied by students in a way which will broaden their understanding of History, Religion and Philosphy. He urged the monarchs to agree to reduce their armaments, and to raise the standards of their people.
We will be happy to provide support materials to any teacher wanting to address this theme. Please use the contact form to get in touch with us.
The Bahá’í Faith is best known for its teachings on the unification of the world, but the life of the individual believer is much less well-known by the wider public.
A Bahá’í is required to be scrupulously honest in all her dealings. This means not only to be truthful, but also to be trustworthy, to carry out faithfully and effectively whatever one has promised to do. Bahá’u’lláh urges his followers:
“Be ye God’s manifestations of trustworthiness in every land. So perfectly should ye mirror forth this quality that even were ye to travel through cities heaped with gold, your gaze would not for a single moment be seduced by its allure.”
He is also required to be fair and just, even in little things. The best-beloved of all things in God’s sight, says Bahá’u’lláh, is justice.
The requirement to manifest such virtues as justice, truthfulness and trustworthiness is not merely for the sake of the person themselves; it is also a means of providing an example to others:
“Have regard to the good of the world and not to your own selfish desires. O peoples of God! Ye are the shepherds of the world. The sword of upright conduct and a goodly character is sharper than blades of steel.”
While many of the personal virtues required of a Bahá’í are much the same as those laid down for the followers of other religions, there are other teachings which Bahá’u’lláh has introduced or renewed. Bahá’ís are forbidden to drink alcohol or to use habit-forming drugs, save when either are prescribed by a competent physician. Indeed the rooting out of the latter is strongly emphasised as a duty laid upon mankind.
There are also new teachings which depart from the teachings of earlier faiths. This is the day when slavery must be abolished, and the day whereby the equality of men and women must be promulgated and established.
Bahá’ís should if they can marry and form families. “All the virtues must be taught the family”, and a loving home is the source of happiness and balance for the future lives of children raised in one. The choice of marriage partner is left to the young people, but after the couple have chosen each other, they must ask any of their parents who are still alive for permission for the marriage.
Educating one’s children is of paramount importance. There are two things, Baha’u’llah tells us, which God does not forgive; oppression and the failure to educate one’s children. This education is to include, yet not be exclusive to, science, arts, and cognitive and vocational skills. Above all it should be ethical and spiritual, and children should be encouraged to be principled and high-minded. They must be taught to be virtuous, and should be taught about the various manifestations of God and their teachings.
Another element of Baha’i life is to respect all people, regardless of colour, creed or level of education. A Baha’i should regard every human being as a letter from God, and treat them accordingly. Baha’is are also instructed to “Consort with the followers of all religions with joy and fragrance”.
A Bahá’í should also practise her religion. This means attending a “19-Day Feast” (Festival), and Holy Day commemorations, which fall on days significant to Bahá’ís, and voting for (and serving upon if elected) Assemblies. It also means saying one’s daily prayers, reading scripture morning and evening, and telling other people about the Bahá’í Faith.
A wealth of materials are available to help the student who wishes to study the Bahá’í life. Books include The Pattern of Bahá’í Life and Prescription for Living, both available from the Warwick Bahá’í Bookshop. Teachers may also use the contact form to ask us specific questions and gain access to more materials.