The Earth is but one country, and Humankind is its citizenry...
These words of Mirza Husayn-'Ali-i-Nuri (1817-1892), known to
Baha'is as the Baha'u'llah (Glory of God) summarize the thrust of the
Baha'i faith toward the unity of all humankind. He was preceded by his
mentor, Siyyid 'Ali-Muhammad (1819-1850), who declared himself to be the
Bab (Gate) after a Shi'ite Muslim concept, on May 23, 1844 in Shiraz,
Persia (now Iran). The Baha'is consider this event to be the founding of
their religion, which is as different from its origins in Islam as Islam is from its orgins in Judaism and Christiantity.
In 1866, after years of persecution (both the Bab and the
Baha'u'llah were imprisoned, and the Bab was executed in 1850), the
Baha'u'llah declared himself to be the new Messenger of God for this
age, whose coming had been predicted by the Bab. He left the world a
large number of writings, including The Kitáb-i-Aqdas (The Most Holy
Book), and the Kitáb-i-Íqán (The Book of Certitude) as major theological
works, and the Hidden Words and the Seven Valleys as mystical
treatises. He died under imprisonment in Akka in what was then the
Ottoman Empire, but is now Israel. The Baha'u'llah left a will which
made his eldest son, Abbas Effendi, also known as Abdu'l Baha (Servant
of Baha) the next leader of the Baha'i faith. He eventually passed
leadership to his eldest grandson, Shoghi Effendi.
After him, leadership
has passed to the Universal House of Justice, currently located in
Baha'i worship takes place in the homes of individual Baha'is
or rented quarters. There are seven Baha'i temples in the world (one for
each continent). Baha'is believe that the scriptures of Judaism,
Christianity, Islam and other religions are sacred, and that the
Prophets sent by God for each Age include Adam, Krishna, Buddha, Y'shua
of Nazareth (Jesus), Muhammad, the Bab and the Baha'u'llah. Baha'is do
not have clergy.
Baha'i Faith on Wikipedia
Baha'i Faith in the US