Bahaism XE "Bahaism"

Date: Aug 14, 2019

Bahaism XE "Bahaism" , which appeared in Iran in the middle of the nineteenth century, is one of the youngest world religions. The Baha’i XE "Baha'i" Faith XE "Baha’i Faith" , including various religious doctrines, is, nonetheless, an independent religion XE "religion" . Furthermore, Bahaism sublimates not only religious issues XE "tenets" but also scientific researches. Baha’is XE "Baha’is" , followers of Bahaism, are highly encouraged to study the science XE "science" and theology to eliminate the prejudiced attitude towards other doctrines.

The Baha’i XE "Baha'i" Faith XE "Baha’i Faith" emerged in 1844 on the background of Shi’i XE "Shi’i" Islam XE "Islam" . The followers of the early movement were called Babis XE "Babis" , and the religion XE "religion" was initially called Babism XE "Babism" . Thirteen years later Baha'u'llah XE "Baha'u'llah" , the founder of the modern Baha'i Faith XE "Baha'i Faith" , proclaimed himself the last prophet XE "prophet" and initiated the new doctrine XE "doctrine" . After the death of Baha'u'llah, his son Abdu’l-Baha XE "Abdu’l-Baha" systemized father’s teachings and consolidated Bahaism XE "Bahaism" all over the world. Now, there are numerous communities XE "communities" including millions of followers.

There are several significant aspects XE "aspects" that distinguish the Baha’i XE "Baha'i" Faith XE "Baha’i Faith" from Islam XE "Islam" and Christianity XE "Christianity" . First of all, the goal XE "goal" of Baha’i XE "Baha'i" religion XE "religion" is to unify all nations, create the world peace, XE "world peace" and equalize men and women. Considering the current political situation and historical experience, such aspects of Baha’i XE "Baha'i" religion are vital for the existence of the world. Moreover, some Islam countries are still practicing killings of women and their abuse, while Baha’is, just XE "Baha’is" like Christians, XE "Christians" oppose such behaviors.

The major distinction of the Baha’i XE "Baha'i" Faith XE "Baha’i Faith" from Islam XE "Islam" XE "Christianity" is the belief that after Muhammad XE "Muhammad" there was one more prophet XE "prophet" , Baha'u'llah XE "Baha'u'llah" . Christianity, on the other hand, XE "Bible" does not accept the concept of the prophet existence. Another distinguishing aspect XE "aspect" of Bahaism XE "Bahaism" is its unique vision of the world’s globalization. Thus, the Baha’i XE "Baha'i" Faith strives for the removal of boundaries between the rich and poor by both spiritual XE "spiritual" and actual solutions. The obligatory education and universal language are among the aspects of Baha’i teachings XE "aspects" . According to the Baha’i XE "Baha'i" Faith, such aspects are directed to build the peaceful, united, and intelligent global society, free of any prejudices, XE "prejudice" including the religious ones.

Aspects of Bahaism XE "Bahaism"

Bahaism XE "Bahaism" appeared two centuries ago, and became the youngest and the most interesting religion XE "religion" movement in the Islamic world XE "Islamic world" . Nevertheless, it was born within Islam XE "Islam" religion and soon became an independent doctrine XE "doctrine" . It spread fast to almost every part of the world uniting people from various social, racial, and cultural environments. The new faith XE "faith" is neither a cult nor a sect, but based on teachings of Baha’u’llah XE "Baha'u'llah" distinctive creed. Bahaism is not a metaphysical XE "metaphysical" discipline, it does not generalize the teaching of other religions, and it was not created artificially. Moreover, starting from the middle of nineteenth century, Bahaism has the status of world’s recognized and independent religion.

The current research paper examines various aspects XE "aspects" of Baha’i XE "Baha'i" teachings and compares it to Islam XE "Islam" and Christianity XE "Christianity" . It is crucial to note that the forefront of the Baha’i XE "Baha'i" teachings is the unity of humanity XE "unity of the humanity" . Adherents of Bahaism XE "Bahaism" claim that all human races should unite into one joint family. Baha’u’llah XE "Baha'u'llah" , the founder of the Baha’i XE "Baha'i" Faith XE "Baha’i Faith" , explains historical events as the God XE "God" ’s attempt to spread the knowledge among the mankind XE "mankind" that human races are undivided and unique species. According to the followers of the religion XE "religion" , the historical events with the Baha’i XE "Baha'i" Faith XE "faith" in the center are the major attributes of the evolution XE "evolution" of a global civilization.

The appearance and development of Baha’i XE "Baha'i" XE "faith" can be traced back to the origins due to the availability and abundance of the empirical data XE "empirical data" . Students of the religious study and theology have a justified interest to the given religion as it XE "religion" is based on a particular aspect XE "aspect" distinctive from Islam XE "Islam" and Christianity XE "Christianity" . Thus, the Baha’i XE "Baha'i" Faith is the conjunction of the religion and science XE "science" , while Islam, for instance, is fully based on the teachings of the prophet XE "prophet" . The current research paper discloses the history of Baha’i XE "Baha'i" religion, its major teachings and aspects XE "aspects" that distinguish Bahaism XE "Bahaism" from Islam and Christianity.

The Definition of Bahaism XE "Bahaism"

The Baha’i XE "Baha'i" Faith XE "Baha’i Faith" is a relatively new and a fast spreading world religion XE "religion" . “The word [Baha'i] is a derivative of the Arabic bah? (light, glory). Bah? in turn refers to Baha'u'llah XE "Baha'u'llah" (the Glory of God XE "God" )” (Garlington, 2005, p. 3). Major teachings of Bahaism XE "Bahaism" include the belief that the religion and the science XE "science" are equally significant for the people’s evolution XE "evolution" and development. Science reveals the materialistic nature of things. Without science, the physical and metaphysical XE "metaphysical" development is impossible. As for the religion, it influences all aspects XE "aspects" of human life: individual, social, and global. It impacts on the family relationship, friendship, and social cohesion. Pure science engenders materialism, while religion grows superstitions XE "superstitions" . According to the Baha’i XE "Baha'i" Faith, science and religion is a perfect combination as it equilibrates one another.

Baha’i XE "Baha'i" doctrine XE "doctrine" is one of the fastest growing religions nowadays. It appeared in Iran in the middle of the nineteenth century. Nevertheless, it has few similarities with the original Islamic doctrine. Thus, according to the Islam XE "religion" , Muhammad XE "Muhammad" was the last prophet XE "prophet" , however, within the Baha’i XE "Baha'i" Faith Baha'u'llah is considered to be the final one. Other historical events preceded the appearance of Bahaism XE "Bahaism" involve both religious and social facets. Acute economical, political, and social transformations alongside with religious expectations contributed to the emergence of a new religion. Moreover, the colonial ambitions of the Western countries created situation where a great tension was put on the traditional religious institutions.

The Historical Background of the Bahaism XE "Bahaism" Development

Alongside with other religions, like Christianity XE "Christianity" or Buddhism XE "Buddhism" , Bahaism XE "Bahaism" emerged and developed on the background of another tenet XE "doctrine" . For instance, Christianity developed from Judaism XE "Judaism" , and Buddhism grew from Hindu XE "Hindu" .

Much as Christianity XE "Christianity" was born out of the messianic expectations of Judaism XE "Judaism" , the religion XE "religion" that was to become the Baha’i XE "Baha'i" Faith XE "Baha’i Faith" arose from eschatological tensions within Islam XE "Islam" . In the same way, however, the Baha’i XE "Baha'i" Faith is entirely independent of its parent religion (Hatcher & Martin, 2002, p. 1).

The Baha’i XE "Baha'i" religion XE "religion" appeared in Iran on the background of Shi’i XE "Shi’i" Islam XE "Islam" in 1844. The followers of the early movement, called Babism XE "Babism" , were “insisting that their leader, Ali Muhammad XE "Muhammad" Shirazi (1819-1850), called the Bab XE "Bab" , was a new prophet XE "prophet" and a source of divine XE "divine" revelations” (Warburg, Hvithamar & Warmind, 2006, p. 9). Such statement in combination with the fast expansion of the new movement led to various hassles of Islamists XE "Islamists" with Babis XE "Babis" (followers of Babism). During the next eight years Iranian government was trying to suppress the Babi XE "Babi" movement, however, its attempts failed. In 1867, Baha'u'llah XE "Baha'u'llah" , the leader of the movement, proclaimed himself a new prophet (Warburg et al., 2006, p. 9). At that time, there were specific messianic predictions XE "messianic predictions" on the return of the Twelfth Imam XE "Twelfth Imam" . According to the Twelver Shi'ism XE "Twelver Shi'ism" , an established Iranian religion, there were twelve successors or Imams XE "Imams" of Muhammad. The Twelfth Imam was considered disappeared, and Shi’ites XE "Shi’ites" were searching for him. Such aspect XE "aspect" of Bahaism XE "Bahaism" intersects with the earlier search of Messiah XE "Messiah" by Jews.

The people’s faith XE "faith" in new prophet XE "prophet" can be explained by both speculations that arose on the background of the return of the Twelfth Imam XE "Twelfth Imam" and acute religion XE "religion" crises that took place in the nineteenth century. Eventually, Babism XE "Babism" transformed into the modern Bahaism XE "Bahaism" due to the steadfast faith of the Baha'i XE "Baha'i" followers in the new self-proclaimed prophet Baha'u'llah XE "Baha'u'llah" . Baha'u'llah abrogated various Babi XE "Babi" ’s dogmas XE "dogmas" and statements. For example, belligerence and punishments of unbelievers XE "unbelievers" were abolished. Despite numerous changes made by Baha'u'llah in the new doctrine XE "doctrine" , there is a clear connection between Babism and Bahaism.

After the death of Baha'u'llah XE "Baha'u'llah" , his son Abdu’l-Baha XE "Abdu’l-Baha" systematized his father’s teachings, and continued spreading the Baha’i XE "Baha'i" Faith XE "Baha’i Faith" outside the Muslim world, namely in the USA, Canada, and West Europe (Warburg et al., 2006, p. 10). However, only after the World War II, Abdu’l-Baha could consolidate the Baha’i XE "Baha'i" religion XE "religion" in these countries. Nowadays, Baha’i XE "Baha'i" communities XE "communities" can be found in many countries worldwide. In India, for instance, Baha’i XE "Baha'i" association has approximately one million adherents. Nevertheless, in Iran, there are only thirty thousand members (Baha’ism, 2007, para. 5). Among all young and developing religions, Bahaism XE "Bahaism" remains one of the most arguable as it has little in common with Islam XE "Islam" and Christianity XE "Christianity" , although, it includes some aspects XE "aspects" from both religions.

Distinguishing Aspects of Bahaism XE "Bahaism" in Comparison with Islam XE "Islam" and Christianity XE "Christianity"

There are several equally important and unique aspects XE "aspects" of Baha’i XE "Baha'i" religion XE "religion" , which distinguish Bahaism XE "Bahaism" from other religions. Teachings of the Baha’i XE "Baha'i" Faith XE "Baha’i Faith" are based on the notion of science XE "science" and religion unity and are outlined in Baha’i XE "Baha'i" writings called the Manifestation of God XE "Manifestation of God" . The manifestations provide humans with an easy guide XE "guide" for the spiritual XE "spiritual" growth, and teach how to build a unified society. For example, Bahaism teaches that numerous human races are components of humanity. Another distinctive aspect XE "aspect" of Bahaism is the belief in harmony of science and religion XE "harmony of science and religion" . The objectivism is a result of comprehensive abstract and physical data existence. In accordance with the Baha’i XE "Baha'i" doctrine XE "doctrine" , any religion that denies the science is doomed to degenerate or engender the ignorance. Hence, the Manifestation of God XE "God" explains the science as a key for understanding the material and metaphysical XE "metaphysical" phenomena.

The Unity of Humankind

An essential aspect XE "aspect" of Baha’i XE "Baha'i" Faith XE "faith" is the belief in the unity of human races. In the doctrine XE "doctrine" , the world of mankind XE "mankind" is compared with the tree, where every leaf or fruit is a man, and every branch is the different nation. However, all branches or human races refer to one tree (Baha’i XE "Baha'i" Faith XE "Baha’i Faith" , 2015, para. 3). Centuries ago, such claim was highly arguable even among Baha’i XE "Baha'i" professes. Nowadays, on the contrary, such argument discloses an essential solution to the political, social, and religious conflicts in the world. Historical events, such as bloody fights and civil wars on religious, economic or political grounds proved the significance of the tolerance XE "tolerance" and unity.

In Islam XE "Islam" and Christianity, XE "Christianity" all races are viewed equal, though there are some exceptions. In the past, for example, the slavery in Christian world was justified by the biblical texts, which were interpreted wrong. In Islam, races are also considered equal, theoretically, but actually, in the majority of Muslim countries Islamists XE "Islamists" are deemed to be more favorable than others.

World Peace and International Government

According to the second aspect XE "aspect" of the Bahai’i Faith XE "Baha'i" writings, the global peace XE "global peace" must be guaranteed by the world government. Thus, there should be an international tribunal created with delegates from all countries. Decisions made by the tribunal must be final and undeniable (Baha’i XE "Baha'i" Faith XE "Baha’i Faith" , 2015, para. 9). Such innovative enterprise will ensure the global peace and prosperity of the entire world. In case, if any government will break the agreement of the global peace, all other delegates must unite and overwhelm it. If such principle will be applied in the entire world, Baha’i XE "Baha'i" argues that even the most hostile nations would become non-hazardous for the world’s peace. Considering the exacerbation of the situation with orthodox Islamists XE "Islamists" , the aspect of the Baha’i XE "Baha'i" Faith defines the possible resolution of the international security problem.

Although, the Baha’i XE "Baha'i" Faith XE "faith" emerged on the background of Islam XE "Islam" and Islam developed from the Christianity XE "Christianity" , the paradox is that Bahaism XE "Bahaism" significantly outgrew the original religions. “The most critical distinguishing feature of the Baha’i XE "Baha'i" Faith XE "Baha’i Faith" compared to other non-Muslim communities XE "communities" is its late birth and rise in the Iranian landscapes” (Brookshaw & Fazel, 2008, p. 162). Hence, the Baha’i XE "Baha'i" Faith is not only one of the youngest but also one of the most tolerant religion XE "religion" movements in the modern world. It combines some features from many religions and performs a precise guidance XE "guidance" in the form of the God XE "God" ’s Manifestations.

The Appearance of God

There is one similarity among Bahaism, Christianity, and Islam: the description of God XE "God" ’s appearance, outlined in the writings. Sharon (2004) claims that God is always portrayed like a human, even though the given religions share the idea that God is transcendent. “Through the monotheistic heritage which these religions [Bahaism, Christianity and Islam] share, either directly or indirectly, they recognize that God is nowhere yet everywhere; and that, above all, He is a personal god—the object of human love, attraction, hope and fear” (Sharon, 2004, p. 9). The concept of the God’s transcendence in the Baha’i Faith can be explained by the influence of the science on the religious tenet.

The Unity of All Religions

Christianity XE "Christians" and Islam XE "Islamists" are fighting for the right to dominate in the world. The History of Crusades XE "Crusades" , which took place in the period between eleventh and fifteenth centuries, shows that Christianity was not a religion XE "religion" of the choice or faith, but forcibly imposed doctrine to the majority of humans. In all times, religious motives were the perfect cover for reveling, fights, and lands conquests. Bahaism encourages all tenets and insists on the equity of all religions.

According to the Baha’i XE "Baha'i" Faith XE "Baha’i Faith" , all divine XE "divine" religions were developed from the one origin. Furthermore, Islam XE "Islam" , Christianity XE "Christianity" , Hindu XE "Hindu" , Judaism XE "Judaism" and other doctrines are equally relevant and true. Although, truth XE "truth" does not accept plurality, Baha’is XE "Baha’is" explain such discrepancy by the distinctions in the human interpretation of God XE "God" ’s manifestations XE "God’s manifestations" . For instance, main aspects of Islam and teachings of the prophet XE "prophet" are outlined in the Quran XE "Quran" . It is enough for Islamists XE "Islamists" to learn the Quran. Nevertheless, Baha’is are required to learn not only Kit?b-i-Aqdas XE "Kit?b-i-Aqdas" , the Holy book XE "Holy book" of the Baha’i Faith, but also the scriptures of other religions, thereby reducing the biased attitude XE "biased attitude" toward them. The abundance of information gives an idea about other tenets, and provides people with the freedom to choose the most appropriate doctrine XE "doctrine" for them XE "tenets" . Often, prejudice XE "prejudice" attitude, based on the religious distinctions, begets wars and justifies the terrorism. The Baha’i XE "Baha'i" Faith, on the contrary, encourages people to the independent search of faith XE "faith" and truth to eliminate any preconception XE "preconception" .

God XE "God" has given man the eye of investigation by which he may see and recognize truth XE "truth" . He has endowed man with ears that he may hear the message of reality and conferred upon him the gift of reason by which he may discover things for himself. This is his endowment and equipment for the investigation of reality (Baha’i XE "Baha'i" Faith XE "Baha’i Faith" , 2015, para. 10).

Targets XE "Goals" of the three religious doctrines differ fundamentally. Among such tenets XE "tenets" , only Christianity XE "Christianity" imposes the faith XE "faith" and limits for a person in his right for independent search. Bahaism XE "Bahaism" , on the contrary, encourages the personal choice of the doctrine XE "doctrine" .

Goals XE "Goals" of the Religion

One more aspect XE "aspect" that distinguishes Bahaism XE "Bahaism" from Islam XE "Islam" and Christianity XE "Christianity" is the target XE "target" of the religion XE "religion" . According to Christianity, all adult people are sinners XE "sinners" , and if the person wants to go to the Heaven XE "heaven" after the earthy existence, he/she must obey the commandments XE "commandments" . Thus, the goal XE "goal" of Christians XE "Christians" is to obey, to live a righteous life XE "righteous life" , and spread the doctrine XE "doctrine" in order to “save” other people from the unrighteous life and hell XE "hell" after the Day of Judgment XE "Day of Judgment" .

Muslims XE "Muslims" are targeting to find the eternal paradise XE "eternal paradise" by following the rules of the Quran XE "Quran" . Primary goals of the Baha’i XE "Baha'i" Faith XE "Baha’i Faith" are the unification of all mankind XE "mankind" , creation of the universal peace, and individual spiritual XE "spiritual" development.

Prophets in Islam XE "Islam" and Bahaism XE "Bahaism"

Muslims XE "Muslims" believe that there were twenty five prophets: Adam as XE "Adam" the first prophet XE "prophet" and Muhammad XE "Muhammad" as the last one. The Baha’i XE "Baha'i" Faith XE "Baha’i Faith" calculates one more prophet Baha'u'llah XE "Baha'u'llah" . As for Christianity, prophets are venerated, but not mentioned in Bible XE "Bible" . Bahaism XE "Bahaism" and Islam consider Jesus XE "Jesus" as one the prophets, while according to Christianity he is a Son of God XE "God" . Moreover, the belief in God in Islam differs from the belief of Christians XE "Christians" XE "Baha’is" . Thus, there is only one hypostasis XE "hypostasis" of God XE "God" in Islam XE "Islam" and three hypostasis of God in Christianity XE "Christianity" : Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit XE "Holy Spirit" . Baha’i XE "Baha'i" Faith XE "Baha’i Faith" is based on the belief in one God. However, its doctrine XE "doctrine" is not limited to the spiritual XE "spiritual" aspect XE "aspect" but includes the science XE "science" , as the major source of the truth XE "truth" . In accordance with Baha’i XE "Baha'i" manifestations, only in the harmony of science and religion XE "religion" the truth can be born.

Aspects of the Gender Discrimination

An attitude toward women also differs in Islam XE "Islam" , Christianity, XE "Christianity" and Baha’i religions. Baha’i XE "Baha'i" followers strive for the equality of men and women. They claim that “the world of humanity possesses two wings, namely man and woman. If one wing remains incapable and defective, it will restrict the power of the other, and full flight will be impossible” (Baha’i XE "Baha'i" Faith, 2015, para. 13). As for Islamic world, the majority of women are significantly limited in their rights. Often, the women are completely illiterate, they have no right to make their own choices and even their clothing is controlled by men. Moreover, Islam allows beating “disobedient” wives and daughters. Within the past decades the situation has changed, but there are still Muslim countries where, the so-called honor killings, are widespread. Christianity, similar to Bahaism XE "Bahaism" , supports the gender equity and fights with any women abuse. Christian women are not limited in rights and opportunities in comparison to Islam women. Moreover, in Christianity females can be nuns.

Religious Prejudice

One more aspect XE "aspect" that distinguishes Bahaism XE "Bahaism" from Islam XE "Islam" and Christianity XE "Christianity" refers to the attitude towards other religions. According to the Baha’i XE "Baha'i" Faith XE "Baha’i Faith" , all religions are equally relevant and crucial. Christianity emerged on the basis of Judaism XE "Judaism" , while Islam developed from Christianity. However, Christianity denies other religions as true ones, as well as Islam claims that other religions are false XE "false" .

Bahaism accepts the right to existence of other doctrines, and eliminated the religious prejudice XE "prejudice" . Furthermore, Baha’is are required to study other religious doctrines, and search for the appropriate and true tenet.

Obligatory Education, Universal Language and Economic Equity

Among other distinguishing aspects XE "aspects" of Baha’i XE "Baha'i" doctrine XE "doctrine" are development of the universal language, establishment of the compulsory education system and even distribution of wealth. Bahaism XE "Bahaism" does not focus only on religious aspects, but involves other global social, political, and economic issues. The Baha’i XE "Baha'i" Faith XE "Baha’i Faith" does not decry the wealth like Christianity XE "Christianity" but proposes the universal solution to the economic problem. Thus, extremely rich people are highly encouraged to share their wealth with the poor. Otherwise, they will be deprived of the eternal happiness. In its turn, eternal happiness is destined for the poor people a priori. Moreover, rich people would be able to accumulate the wealth only to a certain limit determined by the government. Baha’is XE "Baha’is" believe that both the poor and the rich will benefit from such metaphysical XE "metaphysical" and actual economic reforms.

The development of the obligatory education and implementation of the universal language targets to reduce the ignorance, break down the racial barriers, and improve the communication among various nations. According to the Baha’i XE "Baha'i" doctrine XE "doctrine" , every father is obliged to provide his child with the compulsory education. If the parent is unable to do that, the government must provide aid to the family for the child’s education.

Conclusion

The major contributions to the religious life made by Baha’i XE "Baha'i" Faith XE "Baha’i Faith" are the aspects XE "aspects" of equality, unity, and acceptance XE "acceptance" . Christianity XE "Christianity" , Islam XE "Islam" and many other religions are limited and narrowed to ancient concepts, which deny and refuse other doctrines or changes. History shows negative consequences of such religious perception.

The key aspects XE "aspects" of Bahaism XE "Bahaism" , disclosed in the research paper, provide a clear understanding of the limitation of the awareness of the traditional religions’ followers. William Garlington (2005) noted that “denying the plurality of religious truth XE "truth" or focusing on the uniqueness of their own traditions, they are attempting to isolate their followers from the spiritual XE "spiritual" implications of a global worldview” (p. 181). Major aspects of the Baha’i XE "Baha'i" Faith XE "Baha’i Faith" are directed to destroy biased attitude XE "biased attitude" toward various races, equalize economic disparities, and provide all people with equal opportunities. The combination of religion XE "religion" and science XE "science" makes Bahaism truly revolutionary doctrine XE "doctrine" , as it encourages people to think instead of blindly believing. The Baha’i Faith XE "Baha'i" does not rank Islam XE "Islam" or Christianity XE "Christianity" as false XE "false" religions, like they do, but promote them and include their dogmas XE "dogmas" in its own XE "Baha'i" teachings. Baha’is XE "Baha’is" stand for the gender equality, while in Islam XE "Islam" religion XE "religion" , for example, women are still considered as subservient. The equity in education opportunity is another aspect XE "aspect" that distinguishes Bahaism XE "Bahaism" .

Finally, elimination of religious prejudice is one of the most essential aspects of Bahaism. Thus, Christians XE "Christians" are required to study the Bible XE "Bible" and Old and New Testaments XE "Old and New Testaments" , while Islamists XE "Islamists" must study Quran XE "Quran" . However, Baha’is must learn not only the Kit?b-i-Aqdas XE "Kit?b-i-Aqdas" , but also manuscripts of other religions. All distinguishing aspects XE "aspects" of the Baha’i XE "Baha'i" Faith XE "Baha’i Faith" are directed XE "goal" at creation of the global society where the gender equity, freedom of choice, and unity of nations would be established.

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