Flora Teckie Correspondent
The Bahá’ís of Harare, and thousands of other Baha’is communities around the world, are preparing to celebrate the 200-year anniversary of the birth of Baha’u’llah in October of this year.
The celebration being planned in Harare will be a multi-cultural event as observed in many other parts of the world. The celebration will at the same time reflect the character of the local community.
Born in Persia, in 1817, Bahá’u’lláh began at age 27 an undertaking that has gradually captured the imagination and loyalty of several million people from virtually every race, culture, class, and nation on earth.
Bahá’u’lláh is regarded by the Bahá’ís as the most recent in the line of the Messengers of God.
He delivered a new Revelation from God to humanity.
Thousands of verses, letters and books flowed from His pen. In His Writings, He outlined a framework for the development of a global civilization which takes into account both the spiritual and material dimensions of human life.
As in the case of the other Messengers of God, Bahá’u’lláh was the direct recipient of Revelation from God. Revelation, in the Bahá’í view, is the infallible and direct conveyance of God’s creative Word that is accessible only to the Messengers of God who transmit it to mankind.
This innate, divinely revealed knowledge enables them to establish laws and teachings that correspond to human needs and conditions at a given time in history.
Bahá’u’lláh’s Writings offer spiritual guidance as well as directives for personal and social conduct.
They are designed to reshape the divisive society of the present world and usher in an era of universal peace. The belief and conviction that we all belong to one human family is at the heart of the Bahá’í Faith.
The principle of the oneness of humankind is “the pivot round which the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh revolve…”.
A unity that welcomes and honours the full diversity of mankind
The belief in oneness of humanity does not imply uniformity.
Rather, the Bahá’í Writings affirm the principle of unity in diversity.
More than the mere tolerance of differences or celebration of superficial aspects of diverse cultures, the diversity of the human family should be the cause of abiding love and harmony, “as it is in music where many different notes blend together in the making of a perfect chord”.
With unity, a unity that welcomes and honours the full diversity of mankind, the problems which face humanity today, can be solved.
In this regard Bahá’u’lláh writes: “The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established” and”So powerful is the light of unity,” is His further testimony, “that it can illuminate the whole earth”.
The Bahá’í Faith recognises the divine origin of all the major world religions and honours and reveres their Founders. It emphasises that the purpose of religion is the promotion of unity and fellowship, acknowledges its essential harmony with science. It asserts the principle of equal rights, opportunities and privileges for men and women, insists on the provision of education for everyone and prescribes independent search for truth as a primary duty.
It provides the necessary administrative agencies for the establishment and safeguarding of a permanent and universal peace.
Bahá’í beliefs also address such essential themes as the freedom from all types of prejudice, the inherent nobility of the human being, the progressive revelation of religious truth, the crucial need for development of spiritual qualities, the importance of integrating worship and service, the centrality of justice to all human endeavours, and the dynamics of the relationships that are to bind together individuals, communities, and institutions as humanity advances towards its collective maturity.
The worldwide Baha’i community, composed of people from virtually every racial, ethnic and religious background, is working to give practical expression to Bahá’u’lláh’s vision of a peaceful and prosperous world.
They endeavour to improve their own lives and contribute to the advancement of civilisation.
Preparations for celebration include programs for betterment of our communities
As part of the preparations for the celebration, the Bahá’í community of Harare and others around the world are offering programs for moral and spiritual enrichment and well-being of individuals and their communities. They are also planning gatherings to study the life and mission of Bahá’u’lláh, films and audio-visual presentations about the significance of the day we live in, and how our communities can be transformed through the influence of divine teachings.
The programs for moral and spiritual enrichment of individuals include the systematic study and deep reflection upon the Creative Word of God, in small groups, in order to build capacity for serving humanity; devotional gatherings which are aimed at connecting the hearts with their Creator; neighbourhood children’s classes that offer lessons aimed at laying the foundations of a noble and upright character; and groups that strive to assist young teens (junior youth) to navigate a crucial stage of their lives and become empowered to direct their energies toward the advancement of civilisation.
The systematic study of the Creative Word of God helps the individual to obtain a more adequate understanding of God’s Revelation and to translate God’s teachings into reality. The aim is to apply knowledge to effect individual and collective transformation.
These programmes also build capacity for serving humanity. The study programmes for adults and youth, the classes for junior youth and children, and devotional gatherings are open to all.
Bahá’ís – whether through their involvement in the life of the local community, their efforts of social action, or in the course of their studies, occupations, or professional activities – strive to participate fruitfully in discourses of society. They take part in such discourses that are concerned with various aspects of humanity’s well-being and progress. Bahá’í- inspired agencies also contribute to discourses associated with aspects of social and economic development relevant to their work.
Harare Bahá’í community welcomes every one to join hands with them in building better communities and creating a peaceful and prosperous world civilization, the ultimate goal being the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth.