On Sunday, the Bahá’ís of The Gambia marked the
200th anniversary of the birth of Bahá’u’lláh, the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith,
with a celebration at the Baha’i National Centre on Bertil Harding Highway,
opposite the Independence Stadium.
Bahá’u’lláh (1817-1892) was a spiritual teacher Who announced in 1863 that He was the bearer of a new revelation from God. His teachings have spread around the world, forming the basis of a process of social transformation and community building which is unique in its global scope and the diversity of participants.
This bicentenary program was a celebration of the transformative impact of Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings on the lives of families, neighborhoods and communities around the country and the world. Bahá’u’lláh’s vision of the oneness of humanity is an antidote to the racial prejudice and materialism that are corroding the world’s societies.
“Now more than ever we need positive models of social change that bring people together rather than divide them,” said Bagha Shams. “This is what we are celebrating today, on the anniversary of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh.”
The bicentenary celebration included interfaith prayers, performances and talks by local Bahá’ís, a video of activities around the country, and a film on the life of Bahá’u’lláh and Bahá’í beliefs.
To learn more, please visit bahaigambia.com, or call 719 1817.
What is the Bicentenary of Bahá’u’lláh?
This bicentenary is a celebration of the transformative impact of Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings on the lives of families, neighborhoods and communities around the country and the world. This Festival is not an event but a series of activities generated at the grassroots level all around the world, which reinforce Bahá’u’lláh’s vision of the oneness of humanity and empower participants to contribute. Activities around the world include drama, music, art exhibits, storytelling, service projects, prayer and devotional programs.
Who is Bahá’u’lláh?
Bahá’u’lláh (1817-1892), whose name means “The Glory of God,” is considered by millions around the world as the Divine Educator for this age, Whose coming was foretold by all of the Divine Messengers of the past. In His writings, Bahá’u’lláh outlines a framework for the development of a global civilization which takes into account both the spiritual and material dimensions of human life. His teachings, centered around the recognition of the oneness of humanity, offer a compelling vision of a future world united in justice, peace, and prosperity.
Bahá’u’lláh’s coming was heralded by the Báb (1819-1850), meaning “the Gate.” The Báb declared His Divine Mission in 1844, which is considered the beginning of the Bahá’í Era--a new cycle of human history and social evolution.
What did Bahá’u’lláh teach?
Called by different names throughout the ages, the eternal God, the Creator of the universe, is limitless, all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving. God is one. The reality of God is beyond human understanding, though we may find expressions of God’s attributes in every created thing. “The peoples of the world, of whatever race or religion, derive their inspiration from one heavenly Source, and are the subjects of one God.” --Bahá’u’lláh
One Human Family
Beyond all differences of culture, class or ethnicity, regardless of differences in customs, opinions or temperaments, every individual is a member of one gloriously diverse human family. Each unique soul has a role to play in carrying forward an ever-advancing material and spiritual civilization. “Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch. Deal ye one with another with the utmost love and harmony, with friendliness and fellowship…” --Bahá’u’lláh
One Unfolding Religion
Humanity’s spiritual, intellectual and moral capacities have been cultivated by the successive Founders of the world’s religions--the Manifestations of God—among them Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus Christ, Muhammad, and most recently, the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh. Each religion originates from God and is suited to the age and place in which it is revealed. In essence, the religion of God is one and is progressively unfolding. “This is the changeless Faith of God, eternal in the past, eternal in the future.”--Bahá’u’lláh
The Bahá’í Faith originated in Iran in the mid-19th century. In less than 200 years it has become a universal faith present in every country in the world with adherents from virtually every national, ethnic, religious and tribal background.
A Movement of Personal and Social Transformation
The international Bahá’í community, numbering more than five million, is quite possibly the most diverse organized body of people on the planet. United by their belief in Bahá’u’lláh, and inspired by His teachings, members strive to live out the twofold moral purpose of transforming their own characters while simultaneously contributing to the advancement of society. Bahá’u’lláh taught that religion is a cohesive force in society and a system of knowledge that has, together with science, propelled the advancement of civilizations
The writings of the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh are considered by Bahá’ís to have been revealed by God. As the creative Word of God, these sacred writings have the power to touch the deepest recesses of our hearts and transform us and the world around us. The Bahá’í writings address the needs of the age and offer inspiration for individuals working to better themselves and their communities. Bahá’u’lláh enjoined His followers to read daily from the Sacred Texts, “Immerse yourselves in the ocean of My words, that ye may unravel its secrets, and discover all the pearls of wisdom that lie hid in its depths.”
Bahá’ís consider work done in the spirit of service to humanity as the highest form of worship. Prayer, offered both in private and in the company of others, is regarded as essential spiritual nourishment, providing inspiration for positive personal and social change. Individuals pray daily and observe an annual period of fasting.The Bahá’í Faith has no clergy or sacraments, and has very simple practices for life transitions such as marriage and funerals.
The affairs of the Bahá’í community are administered, without clergy, through institutions established by Bahá’u’lláh to foster universal participation and to diffuse knowledge, love, and unity. This administrative order includes both elected and appointed institutions at local, national, and international levels. Non-partisan elections and collective decision-making are hallmarks of Bahá’í administration. These and other principles constitute a model of just and unified global governance.