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Bahá’í Way of Life - The Community

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Bahá’í Way of Life - The Community

As with any religion, there is a pattern to the community life and there are practices which are common to Bahá’ís throughout the world. This section includes questions relating to community life and also to matters of personal status (‘Rites of Passage’).

1.
Bahá’ís are not allowed to enter into an arranged marriage. However, once the couple have chosen one another, what is the next stage?
They have to wait for a year
They choose a date for the wedding
They must obtain their parents’ permission
They choose the rings
This requirement helps to preserve unity within the marriage and within the extended family. Bahá'ís understand that the family is the basic unit of society. Unless this all-important building block is healthy and unified, society itself cannot be healthy and unified. The Bahá'í writings say that married couples should strive to become "loving companions and comrades and at one with each other for time and eternity..."
2.
On the first day of each Bahá’í month, there is a meeting of each local Bahá’í community, at which they pray together, discuss matters of concern to the community and then have a social gathering. What is this meeting called?
The Monthly Service
The Community Day
The Nineteen Day Feast
The Day of Spirituality
It is called this because it happens once in each nineteen-day period. The Feast always consists of three parts – spiritual, administrative and social – in that order.
3.
If a Bahá'í marriage fails, divorce is permitted, although it is strongly discouraged. If Bahá'ís choose to seek a divorce, they must spend a period of time living apart and attempting to reconcile. How long must they wait?
6 months
A year
2 years
5 years
If a divorce is still desired after that year, it is then granted, dependent on the requirements of civil law. This "year of patience," as it is known to Bahá'ís, is supervised by the local Spiritual Assembly, the local Bahá'í governing council.
4.
How does a person indicate that he or she would like to join the Bahá’í community?
By expressing a willingness to undergo an initiation ceremony
By completing a sequence of courses
By declaring their belief in Bahá’u’lláh as a messenger of God, and their willingness to follow his teachings
By paying a subscription fee and signing a membership form
There is no ritual for anyone of any age, including children born into a Bahá’í family. These children then have the opportunity to confirm their belief at the age of 15.
5.
Bahá’u’lláh said that when a person dies, the body should be buried wearing a ring inscribed with a particular verse and there is also a special prayer to be said at the funeral. What other stipulation did he make?
The body should be wrapped in a green shroud
The body should be buried less than an hour’s journey from the place of death
All the person’s valuable possessions should also be placed in the grave
The surviving spouse should inherit everything
This avoids the practice of transporting the body for miles to be buried near a particular shrine. The inscription on the burial ring is, “I came forth from God, and return unto Him, detached from all save Him, holding fast to His Name, the Merciful, the Compassionate.”
6.
The Bahá’í calendar is based on the solar year and consists of nineteen months plus 4 extra days (or 5 in a leap year). How many days are there in a Bahá’í month?
18
19
20
21
Each month has a name, and most of the names reflect an attribute of God, e.g. Beauty, Glory, Might. The extra days are celebrated as the festival of Ayyám-i-Há which is a time of charity, hospitality and giving of gifts.
7.
There are nine Holy Days during the year on which work should be suspended. Most of them commemorate historical events but one of them is Bahá'í new year (known as Naw Rúz). When does this fall?
1st January
The March equinox
April 5th
The winter solstice
This usually falls on March 21st.
8.
Which is the most important Bahá’í festival?
Naw Rúz
The 12 Days of Ridván
The Birth of Bahá’u’lláh
The Declaration of the Báb
This commemorates the period of time (21 April to 2 May 1863) during which Bahá’u’lláh announced his mission to his followers and is therefore a very joyous occasion. Bahá’u’lláh called this festival “The King of Festivals”.
9.
What is sometimes used as a greeting by the Bahá’ís?
Alláh-u-Akbar
Alláh-u-Abhá
God be with you
Peace be with you
This translates as “God is the Most Glorious” and is related to the word Bahá in Bahá’u’lláh. Bahá'ís sometimes greet one another by saying this, and it can also be said in prayer or meditation.
10.
Bahá’ís may marry…
Members of any religion (or none)
Only other Bahá’ís
Bahá’ís, Christians, Muslims or Jews
Bahá’ís or Muslims
The marriage ceremony consists of one sentence to be repeated by the bride and groom in front of witnesses. The couple usually add prayers and readings of their choice. They may include any aspects of local culture they wish as part of the celebration (e.g. a tiered cake, music, dancing, etc)

 

Author:  National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United Kingdom

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