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Houses of Worship

The House of Worship (also known as "Lotus Temple") in New Delhi, India
By Arian Zwegers, via Wikimedia Commons

Houses of Worship

The proper name of a Bahá’í House of Worship is “Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, which means “Dawning Place of the Mention of God”. This is where Bahá’ís meet together to pray, and is the central focus for the community. There is at least one Bahá’í House of Worship on each continent. There are Houses of Worship in Australia, Chile, Germany, India, Panama, Samoa, Uganda and USA. National and local ones are also starting to be built as the number of Bahá’ís increases.

Where in each House of Worship is the Greatest Name symbol?
On the front of each door
Inside the top of the dome
Just above each window
Inlaid in the floor
It can only be seen by looking up to the highest point. The Greatest Name refers to an invocation in Arabic, “Ya Baha’u’l-Abha,” which means, “O Glory of the All Glorious,” which is often displayed in calligraphic form in Bahá'í homes and places of Bahá'í activity.
As circumstances permit, the Bahá’í Houses of Worship will all have associated institutions. What will they include?
A cultural centre for the dramatic arts
A shopping mall
A Bahá’í museum
Social Institutions such as schools, hospitals, universities
‘Abdu’l-Bahá said that the House of Worship is “also connected with a hospital, a drug dispensary, a travellers’ hospice, a school for orphans, and a university for advanced studies”. These philanthropic institutions are open to those of all religions or none.
The House of Worship in India is often known as the “Lotus Temple” because it is built in the shape of a lotus flower. It has won awards for its innovative architecture. Why was this design chosen?
Because it was a challenge
Because it would impress visitors
Because the lotus flower is recognised as a symbol of purity by the different religions in India
Because a lotus flower has nine petals
It has become a well-known tourist destination as well as a popular place for local people to pray and meditate.
Where was the first Bahá’í House of Worship built?
Tehran, Iran
Baghdad, Iraq
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
Wilmette, Illinois (U.S.A.)
The building of the House of Worship was begun in 1902 and took five years to complete. There was a large Bahá’í community of some thousands there at the time because many Bahá’ís from northern Iran had sought refuge after suffering years of persecution in their homeland. The House of Worship was seized by the Soviet government in 1928. It was converted into a museum in 1938, the building was damaged in an earthquake in 1948, and what was left was demolished in 1963.
Who is allowed to preach at the House of Worship?
Anyone who wants to
Nobody at all
The Secretary of the local Bahá’ís
The oldest person present
There are no Bahá’í priests, and no sermons are given, the building is there for the praise of God.
Which musical instruments may be played in a House of Worship?
Only stringed instruments
Only acoustic instruments
Just the organ
Only the human voice is used (a solo voice or a choir).
The Bahá’í House of Worship is a domed building. How many sides should it have?
‘Abdu’l-Bahá indicated that the House of Worship should have nine sides, nine avenues and nine entrances. The number nine is associated with unity.
Who pays for the building of a Bahá’í House of Worship?
Just the Bahá’ís
Voluntary subscription by anyone
Multi-national companies, through sponsorship
Charities that support the Bahá’í principles
The cost of construction and maintenance of a Bahá’í House of Worship can only be paid for by Bahá’ís through donations to the Bahá’í Fund.
Which Scriptures can be read in services in the House of Worship?
Only the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh
Only the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh and `Abdu’l-Bahá
Any Scriptures from the Abrahamic religions
Any of the world’s Scriptures
Scriptures of the Zoroastrian, Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Bábi and Bahá’í faiths are read, sung or chanted.
Who is allowed into a House of Worship?
Bahá’ís only
Adult Bahá’ís only
Bahá’ís and their guests
Everybody, of any Faith or none, is welcome.


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

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