Humanity is in need of a vision …
…that unites all the peoples of the world. Such a vision unfolds within the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, the Prophet Founder of the Bahá’í Faith. Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings form the basis of the Bahá’í Faith, and inspires individuals and communities to strive to translate His teachings into action for the betterment of society.
A united, just and peaceful society that celebrates and embraces the diversity of the human family, supported by a spiritual and moral framework, is now well within our grasp.
What Bahá’ís Believe
God the Unknowable Essence
“O SON OF MAN! I loved thy creation, hence I created thee. Wherefore, do thou love Me, that I may name thy name and fill thy soul with the spirit of life.”
Through His eternal love of us, God is the Creator of all things. Though His essence is far beyond the understanding of any mortal mind, we find expressions of His attributes in every created thing and we receive God’s guidance through the Divine Educators, or Manifestations of God. Their teachings help us to know God and our purpose, and fill us with the knowledge and capacity we need to progress materially and spiritually.
Oneness of Religion
“This is the changeless Faith of God, eternal in the past, eternal in the future.”
Throughout the ages, God has sent Divine Educators to guide humanity. These Educators known as Manifestations of God—among them Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus Christ, Muhammad, and, in more recent times, the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh — came to cultivate humanity’s spiritual, intellectual and moral capacities. The teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, the latest and Promised One of these Messengers, states that a just and peaceful world is now possible and His Writings outline a framework for the development of a global civilization.
Oneness of Humankind
“Be ye as the fingers of one hand, the members of one body. Thus counseleth you the Pen of Revelation…”
The conviction that we belong to one human family is at the heart of the Bahá’í Faith. As humanity undergoes a transitional stage from infancy into collective maturity, the ruinous prejudices and traditions of the past are slowly being eroded away in light of new fundamental truths about the nature and purpose of human beings, which serves to guide the construction of new social structures and essential relationships that would ensure the spiritual and material well-being of everyone. The unification of the human race is the hallmark that humanity is approaching age of maturity.
What Bahá’ís do: Responding to the call of Bahá’u’lláh
“The fundamental purpose animating the Faith of God and His Religion is to safeguard the interests and promote the unity of the human race, and to foster the spirit of love and fellowship amongst men.”
The Revelation of God has an effect on the whole world. The Word of God has a potency to motivate and change the human soul. Humanity has to learn to understand Its use – for the transformation of individuals, community and society. The change called for by Bahá’u’lláh, calls for a reconceptualization, a rethinking of relationships such that they embody the principle of the oneness of mankind. Throughout Singapore, in a mode characterized by a humble posture of learning, Bahá’ís engage in an educational process whose purpose is to assist individuals to deepen their understanding of Bahá’u’lláh teachings, so as to gain the spiritual insights and practical skills they need to contribute to the betterment society. All are welcomed to participate in this educational process, through a number of interconnected activities, to create a new pattern of how society can be.
“Thousands upon thousands, embracing the diversity of the entire human family, are engaged in systematic study of the Creative Word in an environment that is at once serious and uplifting”
– The Universal House of Justice
A study circle is a group that meets regularly, to discuss the Bahá’í writings in the educational process, with the objective of elevating thoughts and raising capacity in people to walk a practical path of service that contributes to the betterment of humanity. Anyone aged fifteen or older, whether a Bahá’í or not, is welcome to take part. All participants in this process are seen as collaborators and active agents of their own learning. A habit of consultation is gradually developed in these study sessions; where all advance in knowledge on equal footing. As more and more people become committed to the vision of individual and collective transformation fostered by the courses, capacity is gradually built in the community to reflect a pattern of life that places at its heart service and worship.
Junior Youth Groups
“While global trends project an image of this age group as problematic, lost in the throes of tumultuous physical and emotional change, unresponsive and self-consumed, the Bahá’í community – in the language it employs and the approaches it adopts – is moving decidedly in the opposite direction, seeing in junior youth instead altruism, an acute sense of justice, eagerness to learn about the universe and a desire to contribute to the construction of a better world.”
– The Universal House of Justice
The junior youth spiritual empowerment programme is a Bahá’í-inspired educational programme, for those between the ages of 12 and 15, that seeks to release the burgeoning intellectual and spiritual powers of adolescents and direct their innate capacities towards service to humanity. The programme is based on a group that meets regularly in an environment of mutual support for the exploration of reality; where junior youth are assisted to recognize the positive and negative forces in society, developing the ability to make decisions based on strong moral structures and enhancing the power of constructive expression. Junior youth groups are usually facilitated by youth (animators), who are participants of study circles and have taken on the responsibility for the development of those younger than themselves.
“Among the greatest of all services that can possibly be rendered by man to Almighty God is the education and training of children…”
A fundamental role of the family is to raise children who can assume responsibility for both their own spiritual growth and their participation in the advancement of civilization. The education of children is not only the responsibility of the parents but also of the community. To support and address the concerns of parents and tend to the needs of the children in a neighbourhood, regular children’s classes, open to all, are conducted in collaboration with their families. These classes are conducted by participants of the study circles, concerned with the well-being of the next generation, as an expression of service to their community. The teachings of the Bahá’í Faith are drawn upon to develop spiritual faculties and lay the foundation of a noble and upright character. These classes nurture the hearts and minds of children and help them think, reflect, and apply spiritual principles such as kindness, love, unity, and truthfulness. A love for humanity and for the teachings of all faiths is inspired in the children.
“There is nothing sweeter in the world of existence than prayer… The most blessed condition is the condition of prayer and supplication.”
Prayer is an essential part of life, whether at the level of the individual, community, or institutions. Responding to the inmost longing of every heart to commune with its Creator, Bahá’ís organise devotional meetings, often in one another’s home, to unite with others in prayer. There are no rituals; no one individual has any special role. Meetings consist largely of reading prayers and passages from the Bahá’í sacred texts in an informal yet respectful atmosphere and may include uplifting music and songs. Such meetings serve to awaken spiritual susceptibilities, engender a profound sense of unified purpose, and in concert with the acts of service they perform, lead to a pattern of community life that is infused with the spirit of devotion and focus on the attainment of spiritual and material prosperity.
“Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and centre your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements.”
Social Action can range from the most informal efforts of limited duration to more complex social and economic development programmes. Bahá’í efforts of social action seek to promote the social and material well-being of people from all walks of life, whatever their beliefs or background. For Bahá’ís, social change is not a project that one group of people carries out for the benefit of another. Social action is pursued with the conviction that every population should be able to trace the path of its own progress. They are usually carried out by small groups of individuals in a locality where the courses of the educational programme offered at the grassroots level are well-established. The service projects organized by the junior youth groups and Bahá’í children’s classes are some examples of grassroots initiatives. Whatever their nature, they aim at improving some aspects of the social and economic life in the community.
Participation In The Discourses Of Society
As part of its ongoing efforts to contribute to public welfare at the level of thought, the Bahá’í community participates in the discourses of society at the local, national, and international level. This participation entails joining in efforts with individuals, groups, and organizations in the numerous social spaces where thought, public opinion, and policy evolve.
Inspired by the teachings of the Bahá’í Faith, Bahá’ís collaborate and partner with organizations and groups striving to overcome challenges facing communities, through the application of spiritual principles. Through a posture of learning and consultation, they also eagerly share insights from their efforts to apply Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings towards the advancement of civilization in various social spaces.
The Bahá’í community of Singapore contributed a paper entitled “Rethinking the Role of Religion – in the midst of our changing aspirations and increasing diversity” to Our Singapore Conversation and contributed actively in various dialogue sessions. Presently, the Office of External Affairs represents the Bahá’í community in Singapore in participating in a number of national-level spaces concerned with strengthening social bonds and harmony.
Who are the Bahá’ís?
“So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth.”
Bahá’u’lláh’s vision of unity resonates with the hearts of people and empowers individuals and communities, whether Bahá’ís or not, to see themselves as active agents of change in contributing collectively to the betterment of society.
Animated by the principle of the oneness of humankind, Bahá’ís engage in efforts to ensure the well-being of all, taking great care to avoid the pitfalls of exclusivity. All are welcome to be part of the community building process taking place and to walk together on this path of service to humanity.
The Bahá’í Faith is established in nearly every nation, with representatives from about 2,100 ethnic groups, indigenous tribes, and races, which cuts across social and economic backgrounds. The Bahá’í community’s distinctive unity results from a unique system of institutions, which guide the community through freely elected governing councils at the local, national and international levels.