Encyclopedia of Religion
and Society

William H. Swatos, Jr. Editor

Table of Contents | Cover Page  |  Editors  |  Contributors  |  Introduction  |  Web Version


Syncretistic religion founded in Iraq in 1863 around the teachings of a Persian named Bahú'u'lláh, who is viewed by believers to be the latest in a line of prophets that includes Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad. The coming of a new prophet had been predicted by Siyyid 'Alí Muhammad in Persia in the 1840s. Authorities executed him for his teachings in 1850. A monotheistic religion, Baha'i promotes the idea of a united social order and a federated system of international relations. The faith encourages religious tolerance and opposes racial and sexual discrimination. There are approximately 17,000 congregations, or Local Spiritual Assemblies, worldwide, including approximately 1,000 in the United States, where the National Spiritual Assembly is located in Wilmette, Illinois. The world headquarters is in Haifa, Israel. Baha'is have suffered religious persecution, particularly in Iran in the past two decades.

Peter Kivisto

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