- In what kinds of activities are Bahá’ís involved for the benefit of others?
- What is the Bahá’í vision for the future?
- Do Bahá’ís suffer persecution?
- What is the Bahá’í position on the status of women?
- How do Bahá’ís view the environmental crisis?
- What is the Bahá’í view of human rights?
- What is the Bahá’í attitude toward poverty?
- What is the Bahá’í concept of work?
- What is the Bahá’í attitude towards science and technological progress?
The life of a Bahá'í is dedicated to personal and social transformation, which Bahá'u'lláh teaches is the true purpose of religion. Bahá'ís are committed to building the capacity of individuals and to learning, through community-based efforts, how to better effect change and improve society.
Empowering individuals and fostering their initiative are, thus, basic elements of social and economic development in fields such as education, agriculture, and public health. These efforts are motivated by Bahá’u’lláh’s call for the establishment of the unity of humankind, which requires eliminating racial and other forms of prejudice, promulgating the equality of the sexes, adopting a universal standard of human rights, ensuring education for all, and recognizing the harmony between religion and science.
Bahá'í representatives are also engaged in numerous organizations of civil society, focusing particularly on human rights, freedom of religion, the equality of women and men, and social and sustainable development.
The Bahá’í vision of the future derives from a fundamental understanding that human beings have been created to “carry forward an ever-advancing civilization.” This advancement is propelled by the coming of Messengers of God from age to age. Bahá’u’lláh proclaimed that the time has arrived for humanity in all its diversity to realize its potential to live as one united people, empowered through His Revelation to establish a world society based on justice and peace.
The earliest followers of Bahá’u’lláh and of His Forerunner, the Báb, met with brutal opposition incited by the clergy and were killed in the thousands. Today, the Bahá’í Faith still suffers severe repression in Iran, the land of its birth. The approximately 300,000 Bahá’ís in Iran constitute its largest non-Muslim religious minority, and in recent years many have been killed, imprisoned, and deprived of employment and education solely because of their religious beliefs. Bahá’ís have also been persecuted in the past under fascist and communist regimes.
The Bahá’í writings clearly indicate that there is no spiritual difference between women and men and no basis — moral, biological, or social — for discrimination because of gender. Consequently, an essential equality of rights and opportunity between the two sexes is upheld and promoted.
Bahá’ís see the environmental crisis as one of a number of issues requiring a profound change in human behaviour. They believe that humanity is in a turbulent period of transition towards a unified global society. Humanity will be able to live in harmony with their natural environment when equal attention is paid to its spiritual and material wellbeing.
Human rights are the birthright of every person and must be applied according to a universal standard.
For Bahá’ís, these rights derive from the emphasis in Bahá’u’lláh’s writings on justice. Justice is the linchpin for a world society that is dedicated to achieving the unity of humanity and can be secured only by recognizing the indispensability of equal rights for all. At the individual level, these rights are reinforced by the Bahá’í teaching that one should be fair in one’s dealings and to others.
Bahá’u’lláh taught that extremes of wealth and poverty are not conducive to a just society and must be eliminated. Bahá’ís understand that with the emergence of a culture of work as service to humankind, supported by such means as just governance and universal education, the problem of poverty will be overcome.
Work performed in the spirit of service to humanity is a form of worship. Every Bahá’í is enjoined to engage in a trade, craft, or profession to earn their livelihood and serve their community.
Bahá’ís view science and religion as two complementary systems of knowledge, which throughout history have been the most powerful instruments for the investigation of reality and the advancement of society. They regard the harmonious interaction of science and religion, each operating within its proper sphere, as one of the prerequisites for the establishment of a peaceful and just society.
Technology is a fruit of the scientific system of knowledge, and its development should be undertaken for the progress and wellbeing of humanity.