- Are there Bahá’í activities in Canada in which I can participate?
- How is the Canadian Bahá’í community organized?
- How do Bahá’ís worship?
- How do Canadian Bahá’ís relate to other religions?
- How are Bahá’í activities and projects funded?
- What is the Bahá'í view of marriage and family life?
- Are there any sects or branches of the Bahá’í Faith?
- Do Bahá’ís have places of worship?
Bahá'ís have regular meetings for worship, and social and educational activities for children, youth, and adults, which are open to all. Bahá’ís gather in study circles to explore the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh in a participatory setting. There are also classes for the spiritual education of children and youth, activities for service, observances of Bahá’í holy days and other events to which all are welcome. Informal gatherings, sometimes referred to as “fireside meetings,” provide an intimate setting for asking questions and learning more about the Faith.
To find out about activities in your area, contact your local Bahá’í community.
How is the Canadian Bahá’í community organized?
The collective life of the Canadian Bahá’í community is administered by nine-member consultative bodies that are democratically elected by secret ballot at the local, regional and national levels, without nomination or electioneering. They are called Local Spiritual Assemblies, Regional Bahá’í Councils and the National Spiritual Assembly.
Women and men 21 years of age and over are eligible to vote and to be elected to these bodies. The Bahá’í Faith has no clergy.
Bahá’ís worship God by refining their inner and outer characters through prayer and meditation, through the study and application of the divine teachings, and through active service to their communities. They privately recite one of three obligatory prayers each day, as prescribed by Bahá’u’lláh. The Bahá’í scriptures offer much guidance on the uses of prayer and contain many prayers for various purposes and occasions. Moreover, work, arts, and crafts, when performed in the spirit of service are, according to the Bahá’í teachings, a form of worshipping God.
How do Canadian Bahá’ís relate to other religions?
Bahá’u’lláh exhorted Bahá’ís to associate with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship. Canadian Bahá’ís have long been active in the interfaith movement, promoting harmony and understanding between the religions.
All activities of the Bahá’í community are supported by the voluntary contributions of individual believers. Bahá’ís neither seek nor accept funds from external sources for activities that relate to the internal development of the Bahá’í community.
The family is the basic unit of social life, and the progress of society depends on soundly functioning families. Monogamous marriage between a man and a woman is the foundation of family life. Bahá’u’lláh described marriage as “a fortress for well-being and salvation” and identified the rearing of children as the primary, though not the only, purpose of marriage.
The Bahá’í Faith is protected from division by a Covenant established by Bahá’u’lláh. Instituted to preserve the unity of His followers and prevent schism after His passing, the Covenant obliged all Bahá’ís to turn to His eldest son, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the appointed interpreter of His teachings, for guidance, then to Shoghi Effendi, Guardian of the Faith until his passing in 1957, and subsequently to the Universal House of Justice, the elected international council. Despite rare efforts by individuals to usurp authority for themselves, the Bahá'í world community is a single, organically united body, free of schisms or factions.
Bahá’u’lláh called for houses of worship of great beauty to be built eventually in every locality where Bahá’ís reside, surrounded by institutions of social service. To date, seven have been built — at least one on each continent. While their architectural styles differ, they share certain features, such as nine sides and entrances, (nine being the highest digit, symbolizing completeness or unity), and are set in magnificent gardens. These temples are places for individual prayer and meditation, as well as collective worship, where sacred scriptures are recited and sung. Bahá’í houses of worship are open to all, regardless of religion or belief.