Article

Baha'i Faith

Farshid Kazemi

in Islamic Studies

ISBN: 9780195390155
Published online December 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195390155-0165
Baha'i Faith

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The Baha’i faith is a post-Islamic religion and one of the world’s youngest faiths, founded by the Iranian prophet and nobleman Mirza Husayn-ʿAli Nuri, Baha’u’llah (or Baha’-Allah, Ar. “Glory of God”) (b. c. 1817–d. 1892). The religion emerged from the messianic matrix of the Babi movement (Babism), which had developed from Shaykhism (shaykhiyya) within Twelver Shiʿi (Ithna ʿashari) Islam, in mid-19th-century Iran. Baha’is believe that Baha’u’llah is the latest, but not the last, in a series of prophets or messengers—termed “Manifestations of God” (mazhar ilahi ) in Baha’i lexicon—whose appearance has ushered in the longed-for millennial peace and fulfilled the scriptural promises of the world’s religions. For Baha’is, the various prophets or “manifestations”—which include figures such as Moses, Zoroaster, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, the Bab, and Baha’u’llah—appear cyclically according to the needs of the time and subsequently provide teachings suited for the given age in which they live. According to Baha’is, the most important of these needs in this era is the realization of the oneness of God, the essential unity of all religions, and the oneness of humanity. Thus, according to Baha’i doctrine, Baha’u’llah has appeared for the current cycle of humanity and has provided the basis for the establishment of a new spiritual and temporal order (Nazm-i Badi). Baha’is are variously considered to be unbelievers (kufar), apostates (murtad), or heretics (zindiq) by the Shiʿite establishment in Iran and have been persecuted in their native homeland until the present. Baha’is comprise the largest religious minority in Iran, with close to three hundred thousand members across the country. Since its inception, the religion has grown steadily, and, along with Christianity, it is considered to be one of the world’s most geographically widespread religions. At present, it is estimated that there are approximately six million Baha’is living around the world.

Article.  16248 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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