The Bahá’í Faith

Bahá’í Laws and Principles

A most important aspect of every religion is the laws that the Manifestation brings to humanity in order to guide it in the right path. Some of these laws and commandments are eternal, others change as humanity progresses and evolves.

Obedience Out of Love

Bahá’u’lláh teaches that one should not think of Bahá’í laws as a series of do’s and don’ts. Instead He tells us that His laws are “the lamps of My loving providence among My servants, and the keys of My mercy for My creatures.”

Observe My commandments, for the love of My beauty
Bahá’u’lláh, The Most Holy Book
Nor should we obey these laws out of fear of punishment, for He clearly has stated in His Most Holy Book:

To clarify these ideas, here are a few examples of Bahá’í laws.

Obligatory Prayers

In the physical world, human beings have to eat everyday. This is a requirement of the human body; if we don’t, we will get sick and quickly die. We can say, then, that eating daily is a law of physical existence which has to be obeyed. In the same way one of the commandments of Bahá’u’lláh is that we should pray every day. Like our body, our soul needs constant nourishment, and prayer provides the nourishment for our spiritual growth. There are many beautiful prayers revealed by the Báb, by Bahá’u’lláh and by `Abdu’l-Bahá which we can say when we are alone or recite in meetings.

I bear witness, O my God, that Thou hast created me to know Thee and to worship Thee. I testify, at this moment, to my powerlessness and to Thy might, to my poverty and to Thy wealth. There is none other God but Thee, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting
Bahá’u’lláh, Short Obligatory Prayer

Some of these prayers are special, and some are obligatory. One obligatory prayer is recited by Bahá’is everyday sometime between noon and sunset. It says:

Backbiting Prohibited

O Companion of My Throne! Hear no evil, and see no evil, abase not thyself, neither sigh and weep. Speak no evil, that thou mayest not hear it spoken unto thee, and magnify not the faults of others that thine own faults may not appear great; and wish not the abasement of anyone, that thine own abasement be not exposed. Live then the days of thy life, that are less than a fleeting moment, with thy mind stainless, thy heart unsullied, thy thoughts pure, and thy nature sanctified, so that, free and content, thou mayest put away this mortal frame, and repair unto the mystic paradise and abide in the eternal kingdom forevermore
Bahá’u’lláh, The Hidden Words

In another commandment, Bahá’u’lláh prohibits backbiting and calumny. This is important because, if you think about it, one of the greatest enemies of unity is backbiting. And unfortunately, it has become an established practice among most of humanity to talk about other people’s faults in their absence. Everybody seems to be concerned with everybody else’s shortcomings, which are made bigger and bigger as they are constantly mentioned. `Abdu’l-Bahá tells us to do just the opposite. If we see ten good qualities in someone and one fault, we should concentrate on the ten, and even if a person has ten faults and only one good quality we should focus on that one quality.

Drinking alcohol: one of the greatest social ills today

O Son of Spirit! I created thee rich, why dost thou bring thyself down to poverty? Noble I made thee, wherewith dost thou abase thyself? Out of the essence of knowledge I gave thee being, why seekest thou enlightenment from anyone beside Me? Out of the clay of love I molded thee, how dost thou busy thyself with another? Turn thy sight unto thyself, that thou mayest find Me standing within thee, mighty, powerful and self-subsisting
Bahá’u’lláh, The Hidden Words

Bahá’u’lláh prohibits the drinking of alcohol and, of course, substance abuse. Drinking alcohol is one of the greatest social ills that exists today in the world. It is one of the most common causes of violence and the ruin of healthy family life. In truth, it is difficult to understand why people would take something that interferes with their minds and makes them lose their ability to think clearly. Drinking makes people capable of acting in shameful ways, when humans have actually been created noble.

Obligation to Educate Children

Therefore, the beloved of God and the maid-servants of the Merciful must train their children with life and heart and teach them in the school of virtue and perfection. They must not be lax in this matter; they must not be inefficient. Truly, if a babe did not live at all it were better than to let it grow ignorant, for that innocent babe, in later life, would become afflicted with innumerable defects, responsible to and questioned by God, reproached and rejected by the people. What a sin this would be and what an omission!

Another commandment of Bahá’u’lláh is about the obligation of parents and society to educate children.

The first duty of the beloved of God and the maid-servants of the Merciful is this: They must strive by all possible means to educate both sexes, male and female; girls like boys; there is no difference whatsoever between them. The ignorance of both is blameworthy, and negligence in both cases is reprovable. ‘Are they who know and they who do not know equal?’

Reflecting on this great commandment, many individual Bahá’í's have decided to do somthing about it. So they hold weekly Bahá’í Children's Classes in their neighbourhood. You are warmly invited to participate, with your children, in these classes which are open to everyone.