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The Soul and Life after Death

The Soul and Life after Death

When an embryo is developing in its mother’s womb, it has no concept of the life outside the womb that it is preparing for. In the same way, we are preparing ourselves in this physical life for a spiritual life that we can’t fully understand yet. Just as the embryo needs to develop physical limbs and senses for physical life, so our souls must grow and prepare for the next life by developing our spiritual qualities such as kindness and love. In the Bahá’í view then, this life is a preparation for the life hereafter. We are told that our souls will continue to live on after physical death, on an eternal journey towards God.

Because we are spiritual beings, we need to recognise that true happiness is based on spiritual behaviour. We have been created noble and can choose to do good deeds which are worthy of our nobility or focus only on our own selfish desires which bring us down and ultimately lead to unhappiness. Bahá’u’lláh defined prayer as food for the soul – we need its nourishment every day. There are many hundreds of prayers revealed by Bahá’u’lláh, `Abdu’l-Bahá and the Báb, which Bahá’ís may choose to use at any time. Details of obligatory prayer and fasting can be found in the topic “Bahá’í Way of Life – for the Individual”.

Bahá’u’lláh said that we should read some of the Bahá’í Writings each day and then meditate on what we have read. What is the purpose of this?
To learn the passages by heart
To learn the long words used
To understand the passages properly and take them to heart
To enable us to display our understanding
`Abdu’l-Bahá said “Meditation is the key to opening the doors of mysteries.” He said that when you meditate you are speaking with your own spirit. If you turn your mind towards practical things, you will receive knowledge about these. If you concentrate on spiritual things, you will learn about those. There is no particular form of Bahá’í meditation other than those mentioned above.
How did Bahá’u’lláh define evil?
The work of the devil
The influence of an evil god
The influence of the stars
The absence of good
Evil is the absence of good, in the same way that darkness is the absence of light. Sometimes the Bahá’í scriptures refer to the “Evil One” but this generally refers to the self, which seeks to place its own needs above those of others. In this way, every human being has the potential to help the world by doing good, or to cause suffering by choosing not to do good.
When did Bahá’u’lláh say that the soul first becomes linked with the body?
At conception
At the quickening
At birth
At maturity
The qualities of the soul only gradually become apparent as the child grows.
Why did Bahá’u’lláh say humanity was created?
To people the earth
To spread across the galaxy
To know and worship God
To become the same as God
He also said that God created us out of His love for us.
How did Bahá’u’lláh describe the soul?
A sign of God
A mystery
The first thing to recognise its Creator
All of the above
The soul emanates from God and eventually returns to God.
We all experience tests and difficulties. According to the Bahá’í teachings, what is the purpose of these?
To help us turn towards God
To enable us to perfect our souls
To make us realise that material things are not what really matters
All of the above
Tests can be either stumbling blocks or stepping stones, depending on how we respond to them. They are an opportunity to learn and to develop our good qualities.
How did Bahá’u’lláh refer to work which is performed in the spirit of service to others?
Ripples of its greatness will echo down the years
It shows the true spirit of citizenship
It is equivalent in rank to worship
It should be handsomely rewarded
Through this teaching, Bahá’u’lláh explains that we do not need to spend all our time in prayer in order to be spiritual. Bahá’ís do not believe in shutting ourselves away from the world; on the contrary, we should do our best to contribute, through our daily life, to the well-being of all. Our occupation is one way of doing this, however humble it may be.
When we die, our spirit will be freed from the body as a bird is freed from a cage. How did Bahá’u’lláh describe heaven and hell?
Heaven is where the good people go, hell is where the bad people go
Heaven is perpetual happiness, hell is perpetual misery
Heaven is nearness to God, hell is being far away from God
Heaven and hell are here on earth
Our nearness to God in the next world depends on how we progress in this world. When we reach the next world, we will realise how much spiritual progress we have achieved in this world. We will also recognise people we have known and loved. In the meantime we can pray for those who have passed on, and they can pray for us. We can also perform good deeds in their name.
What did Bahá’u’lláh explain happens to the soul after death?
It decomposes, along with the body
It passes into the next world
It transfers itself to another human embryo, to be born again into this life
It transfers itself to the embryo of another creature, to return to this world
The soul will cease to be associated with the body and will continue to progress through all the worlds of God.
Bahá’u’lláh said that Bahá’ís should repeat the phrase “Alláh’u’Abhá” (God is the Most Glorious) every day. How many times did he say it should be repeated?
This is not only an invocation of God, it also helps to induce a state of meditation. It should be said whilst sitting down and turning towards God.


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

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