The Bahá’í community of the United Kingdom comprises over 7,000 Bahá’ís who, with a few thousand friends and neighbours, are working together to contribute to the spiritual and material progress of our society. Together they are striving to establish a pattern of community life that embodies the principle of the oneness of humanity.
Members of the British Bahá’í community are representative of the country’s rich cultural and ethnic diversity, and live throughout the United Kingdom, from rural Cornwall or the Shetland Islands, to large metropolitan cities like London, Manchester and Glasgow.
Bahá'u'lláh’s vision of the oneness of humanity can best be achieved through the transformation of both our individual and collective lives.
Prayer and worship are central aspects of Bahá’í life, both as individuals and as a community. The Bahá’í Writings state that prayer, in its highest form, is an expression of love and gratitude for one’s Creator. Prayer can be likened to food for the soul and is a means of attracting divine assistance and blessings. Prayer is not limited to words, but is a state of being that, ultimately, finds expression in our deeds.
In diverse settings, Bahá’ís gather with their friends and neighbours to pray and reflect upon the Bahá’í Sacred Texts. These simple gatherings generate a spirit of collective worship that inspire acts of service and increase the spiritual character of neighbourhoods and communities.
Service is integral to both individual and collective life. We are each called upon to be an active participant of social progress. Through our actions and deeds, and in our work and service to our communities, we strive to contribute to the betterment of society and to develop our intellectual and spiritual capacities.
Service in the Bahá’í community finds expression in the mutual support that we provide one another, as well as in the accompaniment provided by the community and institutional bodies to each individual.
In the United Kingdom, and throughout the world, Bahá’ís, together with their friends and neighbours, are engaging in acts of service that seek to contribute to the transformation of society. Together they work to improve their neighborhoods, their cities and their country through programmes aimed at developing the capacities and capabilities of children, young people and adults.
The Bahá'í belief in the inherent nobility of each human being is intimately connected with the conviction that education, both material and spiritual, has the power to manifest the potential nobility within each person and, most importantly, benefit society.
Over the past few decades, the worldwide Bahá'í community has developed an educational programme that seeks to cultivate the vast and powerful potentialities inherent in every human being. Guided by the principle and goal of universal participation, this educational programme combines personal reflection and group study with acts of service in the community.
Those who participate in this educational programme encompass diverse ages, faiths, worldviews and backgrounds. It is through collaboration with people of all perspectives that greater insights into the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh emerge, furthering the realisation of the oneness of humanity. All are warmly invited to contribute to this process.
Bahá’ís regard children as the most precious treasure a community can possess. In them are the promise and guarantee of the future. This promise is dependent on the type of education that is imparted to our children. In addition to the pursuit of academic knowledge, the Bahá’í community places great emphasis on the spiritual nourishment of children, focusing on the development of spiritual qualities, such as truthfulness, generosity and kindness.
In all localities throughout the United Kingdom, classes are offered to tend to the moral and spiritual development of children between the ages of 5 and 11 years. These classes include short lessons that make use of stories, games, music and the arts to explore the meaning, significance and practice of spiritual qualities.
Young people play an important role in our society. Although sometimes depicted as problematic, the Bahá’í community sees within them altruism, a keen sense of justice, eagerness to learn and a desire to contribute to a better world. Throughout the United Kingdom, young members of the Bahá’í community, together with their friends, participate in neighbourhood groups that focus on developing mental and spiritual capacities, fostering the desire for service, and assisting them to navigate through this crucial period of life. Through a participatory mode of learning, these young participants come to see themselves as agents of positive change in the world.
Together with friends and neighbours, Bahá’ís gather in homes and other informal settings to study and reflect upon the Bahá’í teachings pertaining to individual and societal progress. Through the study of a sequence of courses, spiritual insights are gained and practical skills and capacities developed that place service at the heart of our lives.
Participants of the educational and community building process are naturally inspired to translate insights gained into endeavours that contribute to the material and social wellbeing of their communities. In various settings and at all levels of society, Bahá’ís are working shoulder to shoulder with diverse groups to contribute in the areas of social action and public discourse.
The National Spiritual Assembly and the Local Spiritual Assembly guide the affairs of the Bahá’í community at a national level and local level respectively. These Assemblies are elected bodies comprising of nine members who are elected annually by secret ballot. Each year Bahá’ís over the age of 21 participate in Bahá’í elections, which are free of any trace of electioneering, canvassing, or propaganda.
The Local Spiritual Assembly is also responsible for organising the Nineteen Day Feast, which is the cornerstone of Bahá’í community life. Every nineteen days, Bahá’ís living in a locality gather together for prayers, consultation and fellowship. Through the practice of consultation, diverse perspectives are integrated to develop unity of vision, strengthen bonds of love and inspire individual and collective service.
Bahá’ís commemorate 11 holy days each year. These occasions are usually observed with community gatherings in large or small settings, open to all, with programs befitting the significance of the day.
HOLY DAYS 2016/2017
Naw Rúz - the Bahá’í New Year.
First Day of Ridván (meaning “Paradise” in Arabic) - the most important of the Bahá’í holy days. It is the day on which Bahá’u’lláh declared His mission as a Manifestation of God.
Ninth Day of Ridván - the day on which Bahá’u’lláh’s family joined Him in the Garden of Ridván.
Twelfth Day of Ridván - the day on which Bahá’u’lláh and His family left the garden to travel to Constantinople.
Declaration of the Báb - the anniversary of the Báb’s announcement of His mission in 1844.
Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh - marking the passing of Bahá’u’lláh in 1892.
Martyrdom of the Báb - Who was executed in 1850.
1 November 2016*
21 October 2017*
Birth of the Báb.
2 November 2016*
22 October 2017*
Birth of Bahá’u’lláh.
Day of the Covenant - commemorating Bahá’u’lláh’s appointment of His son, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, as the One to whom His followers should turn after His passing.
Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá - marking the passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in 1921.
Bahá’ís suspend work on all but the last two of these holy days.
* The Bahá’í Holy Days are set according to a solar calendar commencing with the Spring Equinox. However the Holy Days marking the birth days of the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh are set according to a lunar calculation.
OTHER SPECIAL DAYS
Ayyám-i-Há (also known as the Intercalary Days) - a period of celebration devoted to charity, gift-giving and festivities prior to the annual period of fasting.
The month of fasting - during which Bahá’ís from the age of 15 abstain from food and drink between sunrise and sunset. There are exemptions, including for those who are ill, elderly, traveling, pregnant or nursing.
This website is owned by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United Kingdom.
The National Spiritual Assembly is the elected governing body of the Bahá'ís of the UK and is a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee.
Registered in England – Company limited by guarantee No. 355737, Registered Charity (1967) 250851
Registered with the Scottish Charity Regulator (SC041673)
The Assembly also represents the Bahá'í communities of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.
Registered address: 27 Rutland Gate, London SW7 1PD, UK.