BAHA'I FAITH in Baha'u'llah was the founder of the Baha'i faith. He was born in 1817 in Persia and died in 1892. Baha'is believe him to be the most recent in the line of prophets and messengers from God which started before recorded time and has included the Buddha, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad and Zoroaster. Baha'is believe in one God and that Jesus is His Son and that God sent many prophets, including Jesus and Muhammad. Baha'is have no priests, ministers or prayer leaders, and have very little public ritual. Daily private prayer and study are essential parts of individual Baha'i life, and the Baha'i community meets regularly for worship and consultation. The primary belief is in the oneness of the human race. Bahai's believe all humans are equal, part of God's creation and on a spiritual journey which begins in the womb, continues throughout life and goes on after death. There is no concept of "heaven" or "hell" - at least, not as places. To Baha'is, "heaven" is closeness to God and "hell" is distance from God. Baha'is believe that our actions this life prepare us for the next. Baha'is pray and meditate, hold an annual fast, and study the Baha'i writings which make clear that work done in the spirit of service is equivalent to worship and everything done in service to others takes them closer to God. Baha'is believe that life should be lived to its full extent and believe that God will be merciful to those who have suffered great stress in life. Baha'is pray for the progress of the souls of those who die. Baha'is believe that all the religions come from one divine source, God and have no quarrel with the other religions. There are approximately 500 Baha'is residing across the Republic of Ireland.
Visiting a Baha'i Home
Baha'is in the Republic of Ireland come from many different backgrounds and their homes are likely to refl ect this diversity. Many Baha'i homes will have a framed portrait of Baha'u'llah and a piece of Arabic calligraphy, called the "Greatest Name of God". Both of these should be treated with respect. Baha'is fast during the day for 19 days between 2nd March and 20th March. During this period most Baha'is will be gathering to eat at sunset and where possible a visit during this period (6.00pm -7.00 pm) should be avoided. There are not normally specific rooms or shrines set aside for prayer in a Baha'is home.
There are some basic requirements for the treatment of the dead. These requirements are
o The body is not cremated.
o The body is not transported more than an hour's journey from the place of death to the place of burial.
o A special baha'i prayer for the dead is recited if the deceased is a baha'i of fifteen years of age or more.Baha'is believe that the soul continues to live beyond the death of the body and it passes to another spiritual world. Baha'is also believe that the remains should be treated with the greatest respect because the soul continues to be associated with the body for a period after death.
For further information contact:
The Baha'i Faith, 24 Burlington Road, Dublin 2.