About the Bahá’í Faith

The Bahá’ís are members of a global community that believes in one loving Creator, one unfolding religion and one human family. The Bahá’í Faith is the youngest of the world’s independent religions. Since its inception in Persia (now Iran) in 1844, it has grown to more than five million followers in 236 countries and territories. Bahá’ís believe that there is one loving, all-powerful and unknowable divine Source for the world’s great religions, and that all humanity is one family.

The religion’s founder, Bahá’u’lláh, whose name means “The Glory of God,” was born into a Persian noble family in 1817. Although born into wealth and luxury, He dedicated His life to feeding and caring for the poor in His native city of Tehran. Bahá’ís regard Him as the latest in the succession of Divine Messengers who founded the world’s major religions.

In His writings, Bahá’u’lláh outlines a framework for the development of a global civilization that takes into account both the spiritual and material dimensions of human life. His teachings, centered around the recognition of the oneness of humanity, offer a compelling vision of an approaching world united in justice, peace, and prosperity. He spent the next 40 years as a prisoner and exile, first to Iraq, then Turkey, and finally to Palestine (now Israel), where His earthly life ended in 1892.

The Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh, Akka, Israel

The central theme of Bahá’u’lláh’s message is that humanity in all its diversity of culture, color, language and creed is one single race, and that the day has come for the world to unify into one global society. In spite of the harsh treatment He received at the hands of the Persian and Turkish governments, He admonished all people to be faithful citizens of whatever country where they reside, to uphold justice and to “possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart.”

“A new life,” Bahá’u’lláh declared, “is, in this age, stirring within all the peoples of the earth.”

Religion progresses over time

Bahá’ís view the world’s major religions as a part of a single, progressive process through which God reveals His will to humanity. Bahá’u’lláh is recognized as the most recent in a line of Divine Messengers that includes Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Zoroaster, Christ and Muhammad. While reaffirming the core ethical principles common to all religions and easily recognizable to the followers of all faiths, Bahá’u’lláh also revealed new laws and teachings to lay the foundations of a global civilization. For example, Bahá’u’lláh boldly asserted that men and women are equal, and emphasized the importance of educating girls in order to unleash the as-yet untapped potential of women in society, and equip them to be the first teachers of their children.

Bahá’u’lláh’s coming was heralded by the Báb (1819–1850), meaning “the Gate.” The Báb proclaimed His divine mission in 1844, which is considered the beginning of the Bahá’í Era — a new cycle of human history and social evolution.

The Shrine of the Báb

Who was The Báb?
Born in Shiraz, a city in southern Iran, on 20 October 1819, the Báb (the Gate) was the symbolic gate between past ages of prophecy and a new age of fulfillment for humanity. His primary purpose was to awaken the people to the fact that a new period in human history had begun, one which would witness the unification of the entire human race and the emergence of a world civilization of spiritual and material prosperity. This great day would be established through the influence of a divinely inspired Educator, whom the Báb referred to as “He Whom God shall make manifest.” It was His own mission, the Báb declared, to herald the coming of this promised Manifestation of God. The Báb explained that the new Manifestation would usher in an age of peace and justice that was the hope of every longing heart and the promise of every religion. The Báb instructed His followers to spread this message throughout the country and to prepare people for this long-awaited day.

More information on The Báb’s life can be found here.


Each year, the Bahá’í community elects local and national councils, known as Spiritual Assemblies. All Bahá’ís 18 and older are eligible to both vote and 21 and over to be elected. Diverse membership, non-partisan elections, and collective decision-making are basic features of the Bahá’í model of leadership. In place of clergy or priesthood, these local assemblies ensure community members feel cared for and connected to one another, and the position is one of responsibility and service to others.

An international council, known as the Universal House of Justice, is elected once every five years.