Religion in Canada

Baha'i in Canada

The Bahá'í Faith was founded in Iran in the mid 19th century by Mirza Hosyn Ali Nuri, known as Bahá'u'lláh (Arabic for "Glory of God") (1817-1892), who is regarded by Bahá'ís as the most recent in the line of divine messengers of God that includes Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Zoroaster, Christ and Mohammed.

Bahá'u'lláh taught that there is one God "who is unknowable and indescribable and whose successive revelations of His will to humanity have been the chief civilizing forces in history. The common purpose of His Divine Messengers has been to bring the human race to spiritual and moral maturity." Baha'i teachings centre on the unity of humanity, the harmony of religion and science, the equality of men and women, and universal peace. Its central theme is that humanity is one single race and that the day has come for humanity's unification in one global society.

The Bahá'í faith has nine holy days when the faithful should not work or attend school. Nineteen-Day Feast: a three-part service held in all Bahá'í communities every 19 days, on the first day of each Bahá'í month. The remaining four intercalary days (five in a leap year), called Ayyám-i-Há, are set aside for hospitality and gift giving.

There are no set doctrines and no single, authoritative Scripture. The church is governed according to the principles set out in an "Administrative Order" written by Bahá'u'lláh. The most holy scriptural text of the Bahá'í faith is the Kitab-i-Aqbas, written by Bahá'u'lláh. The writings of the Báb (prophet and forerunner of Bahá'u'lláh), Bahá'u'lláh, and his son and successor, Abdu'l-Bahá, are all considered sacred texts.

Scriptures of any of the world's great religions may be read in prayer and contemplation.

Bahá'í houses of worship are few - only seven around the world. All are open to all people. A nine-sided structure and central dome, common to all of them, symbolizes both the diversity of the human race and its essential oneness. Apart from these few major centres, Bahá'í communities commonly have no specific places of worship and may meet in members' homes or in a local Bahá'í centre. There is no priesthood or clergy as such. Nine elected members of the community form the Local Spiritual Assembly for the area. While responsible for promoting the faith, the assembly has largely administrative duties and serves as liaison with the National Spiritual Assembly.

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Canada is located in Thornhill , Ontario . The Bahá'í Community of Canada is made up of some 20,000 Canadians from backgrounds that are truly representative of Canada's rich cultural and ethnic diversity, with more than 18% of Canadian Bahá'ís come from First Nations and Inuit backgrounds; another 30% are recent immigrants or refugees. Canadian Bahá'ís live in every province and territory and are spread among 1200 localities.

Canadian Bahá'ís have the conviction that "the future of Canada , whether from a material or spiritual standpoint, is very great." Not merely the result of the Bahá'í experience in Canada, this forecast of Canada's promising future is a part of Bahá'í sacred text, written in what Bahá'ís refer to as The Tablets of the Divine Plan , which was penned by one of the three Central Figures of their Faith, 'Abdu'l-Bahá , who visited Montreal in 1912.

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