ActivitiesBahá'í Activities

According to the Bahá'í Writings, man's highest station, and the ultimate expression of his purpose, is to be of service to mankind:

Think ye at all times of rendering some service to every member of the human race. Pay ye no heed to aversion and rejection, to disdain, hostility, injustice: act ye in the opposite way. Be ye sincerely kind, not in appearance only. Let each one of God's loved ones centre his attention on this: to be the Lord's mercy to man; to be the Lord's grace. Let him do some good to every person whose path he crosseth, and be of some benefit to him. Let him improve the character of each and all, and reorient the minds of men. In this way, the light of divine guidance will shine forth, and the blessings of God will cradle all mankind: for love is light, no matter in what abode it dwelleth; and hate is darkness, no matter where it may make its nest.

Everywhere across the globe Bahá'ís are engaged in establishing spiritual communities through systematic acts of service. In the words of the spiritual and administrative head of the Faith, the Universal House of Justice:

Thousands upon thousands, embracing the diversity of the entire human family, are engaged in systematic study of the Creative Word in an environment that is at once serious and uplifting. As they strive to apply through a process of action, reflection and consultation the insights thus gained, they see their capacity to serve the Cause rise to new levels. Responding to the inmost longing of every heart to commune with its Maker, they carry out acts of collective worship in diverse settings, uniting with others in prayer, awakening spiritual susceptibilities, and shaping a pattern of life distinguished for its devotional character. ... Aware of the aspirations of the children of the world and their need for spiritual education, they extend their efforts widely to involve ever-growing contingents of participants in classes that become centres of attraction for the young ... . They assist junior youth to navigate through a crucial stage of their lives and to become empowered to direct their energies toward the advancement of civilization. And with the advantage of a greater abundance of human resources, an increasing number of them are able to express their faith through a rising tide of endeavors that address the needs of humanity in both their spiritual and material dimensions.

Core Activities

Key among the acts of service in which Bahá'ís are engaged are the following four "core activities":

Devotional MeetingsDevotional meetings.The Bahá'í teachings prescribe daily prayer and intimate communion with God as the foundation for a life devoted to spiritual advancement and service to humanity.

Intone, O My Servant, the verses of God that have been received by thee, as intoned by them who have drawn nigh unto Him, that the sweetness of thy melody may kindle thine own soul, and attract the hearts of all men.

Bahá'í devotional meetings are small gatherings where neighbors and friends of all religions (or no particular religion) come together in collective worship. These meetings provide an opportunity for people from diverse religious, cultural or ethnic backgrounds to learn from and about each other, and allow the residents of a neighborhood to connect on a spiritual level. This in turn helps to create a true sense of community, something that most people desire but have not been able to bring about in their neighborhood.

Children's ClassesChildren's classes.The Bahá'í community places great emphasis on the moral and spiritual education of children and youth, with a focus on providing ongoing opportunities for developing a sense of world citizenship and a lifelong commitment to serving humanity.

Children are the most precious resource a community has. Like young trees, children grow and develop in whatever way they are trained and according to the influences they experience. Bahá'í spiritual education for children is intended to nurture spiritually vibrant and healthy young people who will grow up without prejudice and with a positive, powerful sense that they are important to God and have a role to play in serving humanity.

These small neighborhood-based classes are open to all children, and teach virtues through songs, prayers and stories, which the children then learn to demonstrate through participatory games and activities. Parents are encouraged to participate, or host a children's class in their home. Bahá'í children's class teachers receive special training and use a curriculum that honors all religions and cultures.

Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment ProgramJunior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program (JYSEP). Targeted at boys and girls age 12 through 14, junior youth groups enable youth to learn the life skills they so urgently need to maintain their individual identity and withstand the onslaught of materialism and peer pressure. While these groups have a written curriculum, a significant portion of the time is spent engaged in group activities involving the arts, sports and recreation, service projects, and the exploration of different cultures through crafts, history, music and cuisine. Junior youth groups are guided by trained animators, usually older youth or young adults who mentor the group, facilitate consultation among its members, and help organize its various activities. All activities are designed to foster the spiritual identity of the members in the group, empower them to serve humanity, develop their powers of expression, enhance their spiritual and intellectual capacities, help create a moral structure in their lives, and prepare them to participate effectively in the affairs of their community.

Study CirclesStudy circles. Bahá'í study circles, which are multiplying rapidly throughout the world, are gatherings of people interested in an in-depth, systematic study of the Bahá'í Writings. The purpose of this study is to gain a deeper understanding of the Holy Word, to comprehend its meanings and to find ways to apply the Word to our lives through spiritual transformation and service to humanity.

Each study circle is based on one of seven themes in the curriculum, which is known as the Ruhi series of courses. The courses originated at the Ruhi Institute in Colombia.

Study circle topics include understanding the Bahá'í Writings, the importance of prayer and life after death, learning about the lives of the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh and learning how to facilitate spiritual education of children.

The frequency and duration of each study circle are set by the group; a facilitator, called a tutor, maintains the focus and pace, but does not act as a teacher. At the end of each course, study circle participants are asked to practice what they've learned in the course, always with the help and support of the study circle tutor.

To find a study circle near you, send us an email or call 1-800-22-UNITE.

Social Action and Discourse

All Bahá'í activity is designed to provide a coherent framework for building spiritual communities, and making both adults and youth feel empowered to contribute to the betterment of their neighborhood, their community, their nation and the world. As such, it can be said that there is a social aspect to this activity, since it is focused on improving both the material and spiritual conditions of mankind, and can have a tangible impact at the grassroots level.

Key to addressing the challenges and opportunities facing the world is a positive contribution to the collective discourse about these issues. The Bahá'í Teachings offer a unique perspective on how the peoples of the world can address the difficult challenges facing it at the global, national and local levels, without the antagonism and polarized debate that so unfortunately dominates the discussion in political circles. Anyone who is interested can participate in a sequence of training courses that provides participants with the knowledge, skill and confidence to join others in serving mankind and contributing to a spiritual transformation of society. To learn more, please contact us at info@mesabahai.org.