Baha'i World Faith

The Baha'i World Faith claims to be a religion of unique

relevance to the modern world. Few cults are better adapted to

the mentality of the 20th century than this one. Its emphasis

upon rationalism, human rights, international peace, education,

equality of the sexes, and the eradication of all forms of

prejudice gives the Baha'i Faith a very broad base of appeal. The

Baha'i cry for one world religion appeals to the ecumenical

spirit of the age, especially in light of the continuing

insistence that Baha'is are in perfect harmony with the Christian

Faith. We will look into several areas of this cult.


The Baha'i World Faith has had its headquarters on Mt.

Carmel in Haifa, Israel, since 1949. In America the center for

the Baha'is is in Wilmette, Illinois, where a 3 million dollar

temple draws over 100,00 visitors a year according to their

spokesmen. Additional temples are located in Frankfurt, Germany;

Kampala, Uganda; and Sidney, Australia. Though each one is

different, they are all nine-sided (Nine has religious

significance to Baha'is) and each is covered with a dome.

Since they are convinced they have a message the entire

world should hear, Baha'is have a strong missionary emphasis.

They are active in more than 250 countries, and though world wide

missionary work has been limited to the 20th century, total

membership totals over 5 million. The 60's and the 70's witnessed

very strong growth, especially in the United States (special

emphasis in California), where a large percentage of the

membership consists of minorities and youth. California

membership constitutes over 25% of the membership of Baha'i.

The Baha'is have three levels of administration. A minimum

of nine believers is sufficient to constitute a local spiritual

assembly, which elects a nine member administrative body each

year. These centers have no clergy or house of worship. They

employ only teachers who conduct "Firesides" or discussion groups

in homes or Baha'i centers. The second level of Baha'i is the

National Spiritual Assembly of nine members elected each year by

the delegates to the faith's national conventions. The very top

level is the UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE, which is another nine

member body elected every FIVE years by the national spiritual

assemblies throughout the world. Although the House of Justice

serves presently as the governing body for a "world" religion,

its ultimate intention is to serve as the FINAL GOVERNING



It is amazing that most of the various texts found on this

faith are duplicates of the media handed out by BAHA'I

themselves! You will note here, however, that the author makes

careful examination of the HISTORICAL record and the BIBLICAL

record (if existent) to arrive at our text files. We can do no

different, so we stay away from Encyclopedia Brittanica, etc. and

look to History for the history of this cult.

Iran, the birthplace of the Baha'i Faith, has long been a

Muslim nation. The Persians (present day Iran) embraced the

Shi'ite sect of Islam rather than the larger, more democratic

Sunni sect, which is the more traditional form of Islam. The

Shi'ites believe that Ali, the son-in-law of Muhammad and the

last of the four universally recognized caliphs (rulers of the

faith in temporal matters), was succeeded to the caliphate by

twelve of his descendants, called Imams. The Shi'ite sect, alone,

recognizes these twelve as divinely appointed leaders of Islam,

and they came to be regarded as sinless, supernatural beings. The

twelfth Imam mysteriously disappeared without leaving an heir,

and the belief began in the Shi'ites that he was still alive and

would one day return as the Messiah, or Mahdi. In addition, some

schools among the Shi'ites began to teach that the Imams were

manifestations of deity, a belief against orthodox Islam, which

denies even the possibility of divine incarnation.

Periodically, especially during times of oppression, men

would arise claiming to be the Hidden Imamorhis appointed channel

of grace. This was especially true in the early nineteenth

century when political and religious reform was badly needed in

Persia and when the 1,000 years that Shi'ite tradition affirmed

would pass between the disappearance and return of the Hidden

Imam was nearly completed. One such man was Shaykh Amad al-Ahsa,

whose followers were called "Shaykhis." He and his successor,

Sayyid Kazim, were both called Bab (The gate between the Hidden

Imam and mankind). They claimed to be in contact with the Hidden

Imam and proclaimed that he would soon become manifest.

After the death of Kazim, the sect became divided between

those who believed that the new successor was Hajji Karim Khan of

Kirman and a much larger faction which followed Sayyid Ali

Muhannad of Shiraz. The latter proclaimed in 1844 that he was the

Bab, a manifestation of God, the Mahdi for whom all had waited.

The first group continued under the name of Shaykhis; the latter

were called Babis.

Sayyid Ali Muhammad of Shirazwas born in 1820, descendant of

the family of Muhammad. He was quiet and modest and, as he grew

older, became studious and pious. He made a pilgrimage to the

shrine of the Imams near Bagdad, where he met Sayyid Kazim and

became strongly influenced by Shaykhi doctrine. When Kazim died,

the movement temporarily lacked a leader. Becoming convinced of

his own divine mission, the Bab gathered eighteen "apostles,"

whom he called the "Letters of the Living." They began to

proclaim vigorously his "divine" identity and mission, which met

with varying response in different cities. Some eagerly accepted

the "good news," while others reacted with hostility And, in some

cases, violence. " the History of Islam, putting forward a


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