The Bahá’í Faith

Bahá’í Community Life

Invitation to Join

It is important at this point to emphasise that we are inviting you to join a religion and not just accept a collection of nice ideals. In fact, the Bahá’í Faith is a very organised religion whose aim is nothing less than the unification of the entire human race.

It will be helpful for you to think of the work of the Bahá’ís as the building of a world civilisation. The Universal House of Justice explains that there are three participants in this work, each with a very important role.

First Participant: Individual

The first participant is the individual believer. It is the duty of this individual to remain firm in the Covenant, to strive daily to bring his or her life in line with Bahá’u’lláh’s Teachings, and to serve humanity, always conscious of the fact that life does not end with death and that one’s relation with God is eternal.

After death, our souls become free and continue to progress towards God for all eternity. Our lives here are very much like the life of an infant in the womb of the mother. For some nine months the child develops faculties - eyes, ears, hands and so on - to be used later in this world. In the same way, we are to develop here the spiritual faculties that we need to progress in the other worlds of God.

Of course, we do not achieve our purpose by just thinking about it. We have to work, serve our fellow human beings, and share the knowledge we gain with others.

Second Participant: Community

The second participant is the community. Human beings were not created to exist alone. We live in communities and must work together to build the new civilization. The Bahá’i community closest to you is the local one which in Perth consists of the Bahá’is within each of the local government areas. It is in the local community where we learn to cooperate with one another, to grow together and become united.

In addition to being members of the local community, we are also members of the national community and then the worldwide Bahá’í community which is constantly expanding and attracting people from every religious background, race and nationality.

Third Participant: Institutions

The institutions of the Faith, the Universal House of Justice explains, represent the third participant in the building of the new civilisation. This is a profound subject which is so intimately linked with the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh.

Included in the commandments of Bahá’u’lláh are many related to the way society should be organised. In the past, the Manifestations of God have not said much about how their followers should organise themselves and people have had to discover how to do this by themselves. But, in the case of the Bahá’í Faith, Bahá’u’lláh has brought His own Administrative Order, which means that He has told us what institutions we must create, how they should function, and how humanity should be governed.

As already mentioned the Universal House of Justice is the supreme institution of the Bahá’í Faith which is elected by the Bahá’is world-wide every 5 years. In each country, Bahá’is elect once a year the National Spiritual Assembly, and in each locality, the Local Spiritual Assembly. This is the institution that you will get to know the soonest.

No Clergy

There are no priests or clergy in the Bahá’í Faith, and it is the Local Spiritual Assembly that guides the affairs of the community and watches over the well-being of the individual believers.

Spiritual Assemblies

A Local Spiritual Assembly consists of nine members elected in a prayerful atmosphere by secret ballot by all the adult believers in the community. Spiritual Assemblies are extremely important to Bahá’is. Through them we learn how human affairs are to be administered and how a new order can be established in society, an order which is to be known as the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh.