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1. Baha'u'llah And the New Era: An
2. The Kitab-i-Aqdas: The Most Holy
3. Gleanings from the Writings of
4. Paradise and Paradigm: Key Symbols
5. Release the Sun: An Early History
6. Baha'I Prayers: A Selection of
7. The Babi and Baha'i Religions:
8. In The Glory of the Father: The
9. The Seven Valleys and the Four
10. The Universal Principles of the
11. Baha'i History "The Heroic Age"
12. Baha'i Shrine and Gardens on Mount
13. The Baha'i Faith in America
14. The Baha'i Faith: A Beginner's
15. Baha'i Temple (Postcards of America)
16. An Earthly Paradise: Baha'i Houses
17. Baha'i
18. One Father Many Children: Judaism
19. The splendour of God; being extracts
20. One Common Faith

1. Baha'u'llah And the New Era: An Introduction to the Baha'i Faith
by J. E. Esslemont
Paperback: 333 Pages (2006-10)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$8.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1931847274
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In this compact work, Esslemont comprehensively yet succinctly sets forth the teachings of Baha'u'llah, the Prophet and Founder of the Baha'i Faith. He outlines the religion's early history; explains its theology; incorporates extracts from Baha'i scripture; and provides information on Baha'i spiritual practices. This is essential reading for students of comparative religion. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Good intro to the Baha'i Faith
First a disclaimer.I do NOT share Baha'u'llah's vision for humanity.In particular I am not entirely sure that unity of the human race is necessarily desirable and I am pretty sure that uniformity in language and religion would be a bad thing.Instead I think differences need to be respected.Instead I read this book because when I was a child we had some family friends who were Baha'is from Iran (this was in the middle of Utah).

This book provides first an overview of the history of the Baha'i faith.The main figures here are covered.It describes the religious persecution the groups faced in Persia and Turkey, and it provides a background for understanding the social context for the birth of that religion.

The second part of the book is an overview of Baha'i teachings.It includes attitudes towards prayer, diet, health, marriage, divorce, and so forth.This is a very broad overview and doesn't go into too much detail.

On the whole, I think this is a good book for anyone to read who wants to learn more about the Baha'i faith whether or not one agrees with it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Particularly recommended to those who are trying to figure out whether the Baha'i faith is the right one for them
Who are the Baha'i? "Baha'u'llah and the New Era: An Introduction to the Baha'i Faith" serves to explain this religion to readers, as the Baha'i faith begins to gain much steam in today's world. Elaborating on this faith, its history, its principles, and more, "Baha'u'llah and the New Era" is particularly recommended to those who are trying to figure out whether the Baha'i faith is the right one for them.

4-0 out of 5 stars Imperfect but intriguing
This book has a defined scope. It does not address all the questions of a scholarly mind or an inquisitive mind... but that is not within it's scope. The fact that some reviewers find it does not address all the contemporary questions may be related to a misunderstanding of when this material was written. J. E. Esselmont lived from 1874-1925. Keeping the context of history and the author's personal involvement in the faith, it shares a view of the emerging Baha'i faith by one taken up in the swell of the changes of the day. The author's introduction clearly states that when he first glimpsed the teachings, he was struck by their power and beauty.The author thus disclaims his bias and his position.This is not a dispassionate, dry, recitation of the purports of the day. This is the writing of a man in love with something greater than himself, attempting to put his learning into a context historically and socially.

No book will be perfect, but this one is intriguing. A preview of contents is available by project guttenberg online.

5-0 out of 5 stars UNITY OF THE PLANET
To be a Baha'i simply means to love all the world; to love humanity and try to serve it; to work for universal peace and universal brotherhood." - Abdu'l-Baha

"Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity. Be worthy of the trust of thy neighbor, and look upon him with a bright and friendly face. Be a treasure to the poor, an admonisher to the rich, an answerer to the cry of the needy, a preserver of the sanctity of thy pledge. Be fair in thy judgment, and guarded in thy speech. Be unjust to no man, and show all meekness to all men. Be as a lamp unto them that walk in darkness, a joy to the sorrowful, a sea for the thirsty, a haven for the distressed, an upholder and defender of the victim of oppression. Let integrity and uprightness distinguish all thine acts. Be a home for the stranger, a balm to the suffering, a tower of strength for the fugitive. Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light unto the feet of the erring. Be an ornament to the countenance of truth, a crown to the brow of fidelity, a pillar of the temple of righteousness, a breath of life to the body of mankind, an ensign of the hosts of justice, a luminary above the horizon of virtue, a dew to the soil of the human heart, an ark on the ocean of knowledge, a sun in the heaven of bounty, a gem on the diadem of wisdom, a shining light in the firmament of thygeneration, a fruit upon the tree of humility." - Baha'u'llah

It was an exciting experience.

5-0 out of 5 stars A whole new world
This is an incredible book which outlines the basics of a new, world-wide faith known as Baha'i.It discusses such topics as:

- The unity of science and religion

- The way to peace

- Health and healing

- Prayer

- Education

- Fundamental justice

- Baha'i history and religion

It contains a number of profound ideas and meaningful insights which can be applied to any life and every society, and offers a basic understanding of this young religion.For some, it leads to still greater questions -- the answers of which can be found in other, further reaching books and studies.

I highly recommend this book. ... Read more

2. The Kitab-i-Aqdas: The Most Holy Book
by Baha'u'llah
Paperback: 315 Pages (1993-08)
list price: US$5.95 -- used & new: US$5.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0877432406
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Must read for all Baha'is
As a Baha'i, I found this book to be most useful in understandig Baha'u'llah's plan for a New World Order. It is interesting that a full authorized English Language edition only became available late in the 20th century! It is, of course, essential readig for any Baha'i who wants a deeper and mature understanding of the Cause. Others may be surprised at how modern some of the ideas are considering the date of its inception (equality of men and women, equality of races, mandatory education for all, a unified political body, a unified economic plan, abolishment of religious intolerance, a universal language and script, lasting peace, decline of nationalism replaced by a strict allegiance to humanity as a whole, uification of revealed religions,among others). This only speaks to the divine wisdom of Baha'u'llah as the Founder of what is probably the fasting growing faith world wide. It is worth noting that even today with horrible persecutions of Baha'is in Iran and Egypt, we still consider Muslims our brothers and welcome them in our worship centers and try to visit their Mosques whenever possible and allowable. The basis for this is all exxplained by the Most Holy Book of our Faith. Along with this I would recommend The Kitab-I-Iqan (The Book Of Certitude) in which Baha'u'llah sets forth His theology of progressive revelation and its consequence today. The two go together very well and are constant companions by my side.



5-0 out of 5 stars The foundation for the future world, written back in 1872.
The Baha'i Faith believes in progressive revelation.They have no doubt that there is only one God, and that same God haveprovided us with guidance through out history through educators of mankind such as Moses,Buddha, Christ, Mohammed and Baha'u'llah. Baha'is also feel that thedifferences in religion comes from the social teachings applicable to the era andfrom the land it originated.

In addition to the socialteachings, each religion has its physical expressions of the spiritualteachings, such as prayers andfasting, and that may mark the visualdifferences of religion.

Nonetheless, Baha'is believe that the spiritualfoundations have always remained the same.

Essentially, there should beno conflict between religions, as much as there shouldn't be betweendifferent grades of the same school.

This Book lays the foundations forthe Baha'i social teachings as well as the physical expressions of thespiritual teachings for this day and age.

It is a unique Book even inall the Writings of Baha'u'llah.

One thing to note is that since Baha'isalso believe in following the laws of the land they reside in, someteachings in this book do not apply even to the Baha'is justyet.

However, if the Baha'i Faith's austonition growth continues andfollows the pattern of former religions, this global Faith, and this Bookcould have an effect on establishing the common law for the entireworld.

Though this Book is not a nit picky law book, it provides a framework to social order, starting from the individuals to the family, and tothe rulers of the world. This Book well may be the foundation of the newworld order.

This book was written in 1872, and finally translated intoEnglish with additional notes in 1992.Recommended for all and stronglysuggested to read not as a stand alone book, but with other Writings ofBaha'u'llah, in order to get a better sense of the range of Baha'u'llah'swritings, and to grasp the more spiritual aspect of this Faith. This bookis a must for those who collect and study Baha'i Books.

It is a verysweet, strong and deep Book that stimulates the mind and soul, in this newdispensation.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Book of Laws- The Most Holy Book.
Again, the Book of Laws- The Most Holy Book ... Read more

3. Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah
by Bahaullah
Paperback: 431 Pages (2005-12-10)
list price: US$12.00 -- used & new: US$6.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1931847223
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Lauded and glorified art Thou, O Lord, my God! How can I make mention of Thee, assured as I am that no tongue, however deep its wisdom, can befittingly magnify Thy name, nor can the bird of the human heart, however great its longing, ever hope to ascend into the heaven of Thy majesty and knowledge. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars A good way to be introduced to Baha i ideas
This book is a compendium of writings of Bahaullah, the founder of the Baha'i Faith.The Baha'i ideas of the universality of religion and the necessity of unity among people are well presented in these excerpts from the many writings of Bahaullah.

This book does not set forth all the religious practices of the Baha'i Faith, nor does it purport to give one a complete picture of all aspects of the faith.Instead, the "gleanings" seem chosen to present some of the core Baha'i ideas in the words of the founder of the faith.The Baha'i ideas of the core of truth in all religions, the ongoing nature of spiritual prophecy, and the ineffable mystery of God are fascinating reading.The fact that this faith arose in the 19th Century makes its founders' writings seem much more modern and accessible thansome older religious writing.

As one reads other works about Baha'i practice, one might offer the critique of this work that the excerpts really tell the reader more about the ideals of Baha'ism and not enough about the day to day reality of how Bahaullah felt the faith should be practiced.This is very much a starting point for one interested in Baha'i ideas rather than a comprehensive guide. Still, if you want a good idea of many core Baha'i concepts, you'll find this a readable set of writings.

This book won't tell you "everything you need to know about Baha'is", but it is interesting for the non-believer as well as for the believer to give a picture window into this faith.

5-0 out of 5 stars The 'heart' of Baha'u'llah's teachings are found here!
"Gleanings from the Writing of Bahá'u'lláh", first published in 1939, is a thorough and inclusive compilation of many of the essential teachings of Bahá'u'lláh (1817-1892).It has become a part of most Bahá'íspersonal libraries. It contains a complete index and glossary, so that mostaspects of His teachings can be looked up, such as 'life after death',Bahá'u'lláh's station and that of Muhammad, Christ, and Moses, the purposeof creation, Mankind's obligations and their waywardness, etc.He makesHis own station clear with words such as these: "O Jews!If ye beintent on crucifying once again Jesus, the Spirit of God, put Me to death,for He hath once more, in My person, been made manifest unto you." His words are so powerful in most of the book that they virtually demand tobe read aloud.The compiler and translator, Shoghi Effendi, Bahá'u'lláh'sgreat-grandson, organized the book generally into thirds.First focusingon Bahá'u'lláh's station, next on the unknowable Divinity of God, then Hiswords to His believers calling them to the highest moral and spiritualstandards and to the unbelievers that they detach themselves from allacquired knowledge and search for Truth themselves.All that Christ saidHe could not reveal (John 16:12) can be found here!

This book is a repetitious tedious read by a devout and sincere persian mystic from the Moslem tradition. This is evident from the many similarities of his ideas and Mohammeds(with a few minor improvements). It would take the reader a long time to separate the little useful information from the flowery endless praises of God. It will no doubt be many years before we see the rest of his writings, and what they all mean. The emphasis on world unity is a great and worthy cause. The curse laid upon "anyone who claims to be a prophet within the next thousand years"(at end of book), is very questionable and hard to take seriously. Showing the writers limited understanding of the flow and history of world religion, and shows a serious sense of insecurity with any other spiritual influences.A continuation of the Islamic concept of the latest revelation being the most advanced is erronous also contradicts all religious history. This principle of exclusivity(our scripture is the only truth in this age), is a most devisive and intolerant religious approach, and has been the cause of most of religion's cruel attacks on the rest of the world fo the last two millenia. It must be based upon a total misconception of God's Great Plan.

For further reading: MAN'S ETENAL QUEST..&..THE BHAGAVAD GITA.

5-0 out of 5 stars "The Book of God is wide open, and His Word is
summoning mankind unto Him." "The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens." "So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth. "These are just a few of the soul-stirring statements to be found in this compilation of spiritual gems selected from the treasury of the writings of Baha'u'llah, the Prophet-Founder of the Baha'i Faith.Themes explored in these profoundly spiritual and often mystical writings include (but are no means limited to) the nature of God, his purpose in creating human beings, the relationship of human beings to their Creator, and the role played by the Manifestations of God (Divine messengers through whom the Creator has revealed himself to humanity throughout history). The passages in this collection were personally selected and translated from the original Persian and Arabic into English by Shoghi Effendi Rabbani, the great-grandson of Baha'u'llah who headed the Faith from 1921-1957.This book is an indispensable resource for anyone with a serious interest in investigating the claims of this new religion, which has spread from its roots in the Middle East to encircle the globe in a little over 100 years. ... Read more

4. Paradise and Paradigm: Key Symbols in Persian Christianity and the Baha'i Faith (Studies in the Babi and Baha'i Religions, V. 10)
by Christopher Buck
Paperback: 430 Pages (1999-05-13)
list price: US$31.95 -- used & new: US$9.62
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0791440621
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In a novel approach that the author terms "symbolic paradigm analysis," Paradise and Paradigm offers a "theoretically modular" systematic comparison of two "Persian" religions: early Syriac Christianity as the foundation of the East Syrian "Church of the East" (the Nestorian Church of Persia) and the Baha'i Faith, a new world religion. The author compares the hymns of the greatest poet of early Christianity, Saint Ephrem the Syrian, and the richly imagistic writings of the founder of the Baha'i religion, Bahaullah. The book employs an original analytic technique in the creation of "symbolic profiles" constructed on Ninian Smart's dimensional model of religion. As Buck skillfully demonstrates, formal similarities between any two religions are best comprehended in terms of paradigmatic differences, which nuance all parallels through a process of symbolic transformation. Buck also shows the communal reflexivity of paradise imagery in representing the ideal faith-community in both traditions. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Published Reviews of Paradise and Paradigm
Paradise and Paradigm is the first academic comparison of the Bahá'í Faith and Christianity. Dr. Buck, a Pittsburgh attorney and former professor at Michigan State University (2000-2004), Quincy University (1999-2000), Millikin University (1997-1999), and Carleton University (1994-1996), compares the "key symbols" and "root metaphors" found in the sacred writings of Bahá'u'lláh with their counterparts in the hymns of St. Ephrem the Syrian (the greatest Christian poet of Late Antiquity) and other writings of early Persian Christianity. The approach is original and the results are fascinating.

*Highlights of published reviews*:

*If the Baha'i Faith has a specialist in comparative religion, it is Christopher Buck. ... This volume is certainly ... the best comparative work on the Bahá'í Faith and another religious tradition that has yet appeared, and may serve as a model for future such studies.
-- William Collins, Bahá'í Studies Review (2002).

*As a piece of Baha'i scholarship it remains unparalleled. In terms of academic comparative efforts involving the Baha'i Faith, Buck's book is a pioneering work."
-- Daniel Grolin, H-Net Reviews in the Humanities and Social Sciences (July 2000).

*This is a provocative and ground-breaking work. Its careful attention to methodology and its attempt to work through the project with the attitude of experimentation will provide a significant impulse to the study of religion."
-- Andrew Rippin, University of Toronto Quarterly (2002).

*Paradise and Paradigm is a goldmine of information about two relatively little studied but fascinating developments in Middle Eastern religious history.
-- John Renard, Middle East Studies Association Bulletin (2000).

*It opens new possibilities for comparison and suggests new methodological approaches.
-- Kathleen McVey, International Journal of Middle East Studies (2003).

*This book is a model of comparison, an eye-opener ... and quite a useful and revealing account of the Báhá'í [religion]."
-- William Paden, University of Vermont.

*It is a must for university libraries and for faculty/graduate student readers of the Christian, Islamic and Baha'i traditions. It is a model for careful comparative analysis between religions.
-- Harold Coward, University of Victoria.

5-0 out of 5 stars Paradise and Paradigm now available!

PARADISE AND PARADIGM Key Symbols in Persian Christianity and the Baha'i Faith Christopher Buck.

Comparing paradise imagery in two Persian religions, early Syriac Christianity and the Baha'i Faith, this work contributes to religious studies methodology by introducing "symbolic paradigm analysis."

"This is an extremely powerful contribution to an important part of comparative religions, and will establish its author as a major academic scholar. Its purpose is to compare the symbologies of early pre-Muslim Persian (Sasanian) Christianity, especially in the work of Ephrem the Syrian, with the late nineteenth century Persian religion of the Baha'is, post-Islamic, as centered in the writings of Baha'u'llah. The symbolic center of the comparison is the family of symbols having to do with paradise. Both in its methodology and its scholarly treatments of Persian Christianity and Baha'i Faith, the book is insightful. It gives its subjects allure." -- Robert Cummings Neville, author of The Truth of Broken Symbols

In a novel approach that the author terms "symbolic paradigm analysis," Paradise and Paradigm offers a "theoretically modular" systematic comparison foundation of the East Syrian "Church of the East" (the Nestorian Church of Persia) and the Baha'i Faith, a new world religion. The author compares the hymns of the greatest poet of early Christianity, Saint Ephrem the Syrian, and the richly imagistic writings of the founder of the Baha'i religion, Baha'u'llah. The book employs an original analytic technique in the creation of "symbolic profiles" constructed on Ninian Smart's dimensional model of religion. As Buck skillfully demonstrates, formal similarities between any two religions are best comprehended in terms of paradigmatic differences, which nuance all parallels through a process of symbolic transformation. Buck also shows the communal reflexivity of paradise imagery in representing the ideal faith-community in both traditions.

"This work is a model of comparison, an eye-opener regarding the interesting Syriac Christian traditions, and quite a useful and revealing account of the Baha'i." -- William Paden, University of Vermont

Christopher Buck is Assistant Professor in the Department of Qur'an Commentary in Baha'u'llah's Kitab-i Iqan, the 1996 Baha'i Book of the Year. Buck is also a two-time recipient of the Award for Excellence in Baha'i Studies, presented by the Association for Baha'i Studies.

402 pages April 1999 paperback ISBN 0-7914-4062-1 hardcover ISBN 0-7914-4061-3

State University of New York Press State University Plaza Albany, NY 12246-000

4-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and Comprehensive...if you're up to it.
Paradise and Paradigm, by Dr. Christopher Buck, is possibly one of the most comprehensive and well documented academic works on religion available today.Dr. Buck's nearly exhaustive research on the subject, coupled withnew insights and fascinating new ideas combine to present a must read forany serious student of religion.Even if your interests and studies don'tinvolve Persian Christianity or the Baha'i Faith, Dr. Buck presents newParadigms that provide conceptual tools that no academic student ofreligions can do without.

The only thing that keeps this work fromearning five stars is that it is truly for the Academic.Lay readers willstruggle through terms and ideas that will be unfamiliar to those notversed in the lexicon of academic studies of religion. ... Read more

5. Release the Sun: An Early History of the Bahai Faith
by William Sears
Paperback: 285 Pages (2003-05)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$10.72
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1931847096
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Millennial fervor gripped many people around the worldduring the first half of the nineteenth century.While Christiansexpected the return of Christ, a wave of expectation swept throughIslam that the "Lord of the Age" would appear.Both Christians andMuslims believed that a new spiritual age was about to begin.

In Persia, this messianic expectation reached a dramatic climax on May23, 1844, when a twenty-five-year-old merchant from Shiraz--theBáb--announced that He was the bearer of a long-promised DivineRevelation destined to transform the spiritual life of the human race.Against a backdrop of wide-scale moral decay in Persian society, theBáb's declaration aroused hope and excitement among all classes.Hequickly attracted thousands of followers.Why He did so, and why theevents of over 150 years ago—including the Báb’s execution and themassacre of some 20,000 of His followers—have relevance today, isone of the great and dramatic untold stories of our time. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

1-0 out of 5 stars Not remotely useful
I first read this book over 40 years ago and thought it very fine. In subsequent years, I went on to take degrees related to the subject matter, to write a PhD on the Bab and his movement, and to write many books and articles on the topic. Others have done some academic work on the subject as well. Sears was a TV presenter who knew next to nothing about Babism, took everything from a well-known Baha'i history of limited value, and wrote an entertaining tale that is aimed at converting readers to Baha'ism. If you want a serious and well argued study of this subject, stay away from this book. If you prefer fairy stories, be my guest.

5-0 out of 5 stars An important book to read
At barely thirty, he seemed so young to die. He appeared helpless and gentle, yet confident; a look of contentment on his face as he gazed calmly into the hostile barrels of 750 cocked rifles in the public square in Tabriz, Persia on July 9, 1850. In 1844 there had been great excitement over the return of the Messiah, the promised Christ and on May 23, "The Bab proclaimed that He was the One foretold in all the holy Books of the past. He said that he had come to usher in a new era, a fresh springtime in the hearts of men. His name, the Bab, meant the door or gate. His teaching, he said, was to open the door or the gate to a new age of unity in which men would recognize one God and worship in one religion - the same religion which all of God's prophets had taught from the beginning of time. It would be an age in which all men would live as brothers."

18 people accepted the Bab's teachings. One of these was Tahirih, the Pure, who saw Him in a vision, became a staunch believer, a courageous teacher and finally a martyr. Another, Mullah Sadiq, was so advanced in age that he knew he could not survive the thousand lashes administered for embracing the Faith but although he found the first seven strokes severely painful, he was filled with joy. Suffering, pain and persecution are only unbearable to those who have no purpose in life and no hope for the future. For the love of God pain becomes a pleasure and suffering a means of being closer to God. The Bab traveled to Mecca, but none would listen to his message because they were indifferent, antagonistic or afraid. The governor sent a mounted guard to bring the Bab in chains to Shiraz, believing this would dampen people's enthusiasm for the cause. Meeting the Bab en route, the commander was surprised when the Bab said, "Deliver me into the hands of your master". The commander ordered his escort to permit the Bab to ride ahead as though they were a guard of honor and the people of Shiraz marveled that the escort commanded to bring the Bab in chains, had returned treating him as royalty.

The Bab's gentle manners, refined courtesy and politeness made the governor furious, especially when the Bab reminded him that his duty was to determine the truth about affairs in his region and not make unjust decisions without first investigating personally. Abdul Karim, a man with such a thirst for knowledge that he was elevated to the station of teacher while still a student, was just one of many great figures who visited the Bab and stories of conversions infuriated the governor who was unable to stop the Bab's rising popularity. Meanwhile the disciples spread throughout the country proclaiming the regenerating power of the newborn Revelation. As the authorities became alarmed at the enthusiasm with which the people accepted His message, church and state unleashed a wave of hate and the sands of Persia were stained red. The governor arranged public debates at which the Bab spoke with simplicity, gentleness, charm and extraordinary eloquence. In addition he exposed vices and corruption and pointed out the infidelity of the leaders to their own beliefs; he defeated all with their own Holy Book in His hand. Even orthodox Muhammadans agreed that his eloquence was of an incomparable kind such that no one could imagine without being an eyewitness.

The King and Prime Minister sent Vahid, the most learned, eloquent and influential of all the king's people, with instructions: "Go at once to Shiraz. Interview the Bab. Find out if these tales of wonder we hear are true. Then report to us personally and in all detail what you discover." At the end of the first interview Vahid reported: "Quietly the Bab began to speak. He gave brief but persuasive answers to each of my questions. The conciseness and clarity of his replies excited my admiration and wonder. My feeling of personal superiority vanished. I was embarrassed by my own presumptuousness and pride. I felt so abased that I hurriedly asked permission to retire. I told him: 'If it please God, I shall in my next interview submit the rest of my questions and conclude my inquiry.'" At the second interview Vahid was impressed by the Bab's ability to answer questions not yet asked and at the final interview Vahid decided to ask for a commentary on a very difficult piece of Holy Scripture. Noting that Vahid was powerless to speak, the Bab asked: "Were I to reveal to you the commentary on the Surih of Kawther, would you acknowledge that My words are born of the Spirit of God? Would you recognize that My utterance can in no wise be associated with sorcery or magic?" and with bewildering rapidity and in words of matchless beauty and profound meaning he wrote 2000 verses of commentary. Vahid wrote a full report to the king but did not return to the capital, preferring to travel to all parts of Persia summoning the people with great fervor to accept the new Messenger of God.

Such were the first few months at the beginning of the true six-year story of the establishment of the Bahai Faith that is recognized by the United Nations as an official religion. For anyone who would like to learn more why there are now more than five million Bahais and a presence in every country in the world, there is no better place to start than by reading this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Book
This book was wonderful!I could not put it down, and was amazed with all the trials and tribulations that the Babi's went through.This truly is an inspirational book and I reccomend it to everyone, regardless of age or religion.It is a great book and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

5-0 out of 5 stars Release the Sun
I am re-reading this book and find it even more fascinating than I did the first time.It delves into the history of the beginnings of the Bahai faith from a very human point of view. It is easy to get caught up in thestories of the persons and their personalities that were aware of thecoming of a new age and what it would entail for their people.It tellsthe stories of the men chosen to bring a new faith to mankind; and alsotells the stories of the disciples, both men and women, and faithful in theearly days of the faith. I find myself rivited to page after page of thebook and reading late into the night and agian early in the morning. If thehistory of the beginnings of the Bahai faith, the 1800's and religionsinterests you at all this is a must read book. Enjoy it, please ... Read more

6. Baha'I Prayers: A Selection of Prayers
by Baha'u'llah
 Hardcover: Pages (2002-07)
list price: US$8.95
Isbn: 0877433062
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Pleased
I was very pleased with the condition of the Baha'i Prayer book I purchased.I also received it in a very short time.My thanks to the seller - very trustworthy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Spiritual inspiration and guidance for any faith
Before I found the Baha'i Faith, I had lived and explored may avenues of worship, Christian, Jewish, Yogic, and more. This book of divinely revealed prayers was among my first introductions to Baha'i, and in it I found acompleteness, a unity of spiritual thought that brought together the inneressence of all faiths. Divided into esily searched sections (healing,unity, spiritual qualities, assistance) these gems of prose, each aspowerful as the Lord's Prayer of Christendom, help the reader to approachthe Divine Oneness of God in uplifting, inspiring, Holy Words. Recommendedfor anyone seeking a way to express love for our Creator.

5-0 out of 5 stars Baha'i Prayers are spiritual food for the soul
Baha'is use prayers such as these daily in their journey through this world. Here, prayers are divided up by themes such as aid and assitance, dealing with tests and difficulties, marriage and family life, spiritualguidance, healing, praise and grattitude, and many more. These prayers seta specific tone of elegance and delicate thoughtfulness to daily prayer foranyone who longs for spiritual guidance and awareness in daily life.

5-0 out of 5 stars Strongly recommend to everyone!
More than a source of inspiration! In addition to the beautiful imagery it uses, the prayers inside this book *do* work!

5-0 out of 5 stars On the way up!
Well, "he would recommend this book, wouldn't he!" and yes, I do see your point, but this is more than me just saying "the faith is great!" I really connected with this book long before I became aBaha'i. "Prayer is a ladder by which everyone may ascend toheaven" - Muhammad, and how true that felt when I read the wordsalready familiar to me "lift me up to the heaven of holiness, O Sourceof my Being." I still feel a tremendous uplifting feeling whenever Iso much as open my prayer book, and it is my dearest wish that everyonewill be able to feel themselves ascending to heaven as myself and Muhammadand countless others have. It is such a great bounty of God to be able topray, for it requires such little effort and rewards so much, and theprayers of the Manifestation of God (Prophet) have the greatest power andtruthfulness, while prayers of our own composition are prey to worldliness.I really feel that everyone can benefit immeasurably from prayer, and ofcourse, "how can you think it doesn't work if you haven't triedit?" it really is worth the effort, if possible more! Prayer, I feel,is the best way to start on the path to spirituality, because it can beconsciously done and sustained, and inevitably yields glorious fruits (goodresults), so pray, and let God come to you and assist you on your pathtowards union with Him. ... Read more

7. The Babi and Baha'i Religions: From Messianic Shiism to a World Religion
by Peter Smith
Paperback: 243 Pages (1987-01-01)
list price: US$35.99 -- used & new: US$30.14
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Asin: 052131755X
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The development of the Baha'i Faith from the messianic Babi movement in nineteenth-century Iran to become an independent religion established in many countries and commanding the devotion of people from many different cultures provides a vivid example of religious change in the modern world. The process is more fully documented than that by which any other religion emerged and Peter Smith is able to trace in detail the development of the major beliefs and values in their social and historical contexts. Beginning with the rise of the dissident Babi sect within Shi'i Islam, the book examines the origin of the Baha'i Faith and its dominant religious concerns in Qajar Iran, its initial establishment and subsequent growth in the United States, the development of its administration, and its present global expansion. A conclusion outlines possible future developments. Chronologies of the main events, a glossary and a bibliographical guide add to the usefulness of the book for both students and general readers. ... Read more

8. In The Glory of the Father: The Baha'i Faith and Christianity
by Brian D. Lepard
Paperback: 246 Pages (2008-11)
list price: US$17.00 -- used & new: US$10.78
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Asin: 1931847347
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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1-0 out of 5 stars Fails to convince.
The author states that this faith is a continuation of Christianity as Christianity is a continuation of Judaism. Yet what we really have here is not a continuation of Christianity but a relatively new religion whose supposed prophet cannot prove what he says is true but can only make the startling claim what he is who hesays he is and no more.

When Baha'is state their claims and Christians counter with biblical references showing such claims to be spurious Baha'is then counter that we Christians are much too literal in our application of biblical exegesis. Case in point: Baha'is claim that the resurrection of Jesus Christ was not a literal event but spiritual. Never mind that most of the writers of the New Testament-and many more-witnessed the resurrection and testified to the physicality of such an event. See Luke 24:39 and 1 Corinthians 15:1-9. Another one the author would have us believe is that the raising of Lazarus requires a spiritual interpretation and cannot and should not be understood as a literal event. We are asked to believe that Baha'i beliefs are a continuation of Christianity yet many of the Baha'i doctrines and beliefs cannot be traced back any further than the advent of their prophet and his followers and not before. The appeal is made to symbolism and symbolic imagery as the way to interpret biblical passages supporting their prophet. However, such appeals are always subjective and are rarely, if ever, objective. Baha'is would have us believe that the writers of the Bible were employing symbolism and symbolic imagery when writing but when referencing their own writings they must always be understood as literal and objective. And yet Baha'is would have us believe that they are the only ones who know the correct or true interpretation of what the writers of the Bible wrote. One method of interpretation must be employed for the writings of one faith and a different method of interpretation for the other. The dichotomy is obvious. What we are being asked to believe is that those who wrote the Bible knew that they were writing in such a manner yet failed or neglected to pass on the true meanings of what they wrote. The reason that they did not is they fully expected their readers to understand what they were writing!

We Christians are being told that what we have believed and taught for nearly two millennia is wrong and only now are we being told this. If what they're asking us to believe is right then they should be able to show what they believe has been taught since biblical times yet they can do no such thing. One cannot and should not expect people to jettison core fundamental beliefs which have been believed, taught and expounded upon for nearly two millennia merely at the insistence of some self-proclaimed prophet who now says we should.

They claim that their prophet-Baha'u'llah-is the second coming of Christ. Again biblical facts fail to support such a claim. The Bible states that when Jesus Christ returns every eye shall see Him. Has every eye seen this "Baha'u'llah"? One does not have to think long or hard to know whether or not this has happened. Jesus told those around Him that no one would know when He would return, and that even He Himself would not know when, only God knows. Yet we're told that His return in 1844 was predicted by many Bible scholars. And that "Baha'u'llah" is the promised second coming. Clearly someone must be wrong for both cannot be right.

Baha'is claim that this "Baha'u'llah" is the comforter that is promised in the Bible. Yet the Bible makes it very clear that the promised comforter is a spirit and not a corporeal entity. Luke 24:29; John 14:26; 15:26.
One of the more interesting parts of this book is when the author is writing about the disparity between the rich and poor. The Baha'i answer for this disparity is, "The remedy must be legislative readjustment of conditions." This is nothing more than the redistribution of wealth. Only one word accurately describes the system that would be needed to implement such a remedy and that word is SOCIALISM.

The name "Baha'u'llah" we are told means "Glory of God" and that this is the promised new name the returning Christ would have. This clearly contradicts Scripture because Isaiah 42:8 reads, "I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another..." See also Isaiah 48:11.

So in other words what we have here in this "prophet" is someone that contradicts the Bible who can only prove his claim of being the return of Jesus Christ by employing the most sweeping symbolism and symbolic imagery available as a means of interpreting previous scriptures and who brings to us a faith bearing the banner of socialism. Not a very sure foundation to place one's faith or for pinning ones hope of an afterlife.

5-0 out of 5 stars I'm grateful
With the increasing number of introductory books about the Baha'i Faith becoming available, I wondered which would be most helpful in inspiring my Christian friends to learn about, become friendly toward, and then accept the teachings of this relatively new religion.I need search no further."In the Glory of the Father" is succinct, clear, and concise; yet full enough in its explanations to spur my curiosity to learn more.Dr. Lepard makes you want to learn more and spurs you from question to answer to new questions with forthright, reasonable explanations.Reading this book will broaden and likely redirect you on your spiritual pathways. ... Read more

9. The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys
by Baha'u'llah
Paperback: 65 Pages (1991-03)
list price: US$3.95 -- used & new: US$3.95
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Asin: 0877432279
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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A mystical account of the odyssey of the human soul. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Condition!
The book is in excellent condition and I received it in a timely manner.Now, if they could only read it to me!LOLA+++

5-0 out of 5 stars A book to return to
This little book contains an entire journey.As you grow, the meanings in the text will change for you.It is a book to return to, many times, as your outlook on life changes.

It was written in response to a Sufi mystic during the 19th century.As such, it uses language and references that may be quite uncommon to a 21st century western reader.For a little background, readers should consider the Sufi poem "Conference of the Birds", wherein thirty birds set out to find their Ideal King.At the end of this journey, they are told they must pass through seven valleys, at the end of which they will find their goal.Baha'u'llah comments on these seven stages, and relates them to similar Baha'i concepts of God and spiritual development.

5-0 out of 5 stars This little book is a BIG adventure of the spirit
This little book by Baha'u'llah is a very big statement about the nature of existence and the various conditions of the human soul as it attempts to unravel its mysteries and discover The Ultimate Unknown--God.

While the book is written in the early ministry of the Prophet of the Baha'i religion, it is couched in the language of the Islamic-Sufi-mystic. For the reader new to this style, some of the concepts may at first be unclear or foreign, yet at the same time to the heart it all seems somehow familiar, as the valleys unfold in their mysterious--yet universal and familiar--landscape.

For the Baha'i, this is a basic requirement for the personal library.For the investigator of truth, religious scholar, or mystic, it is the key to a whole new world ideas and insights, full of paradoxical wonder, and yet always simple in its truths.

This is one of the most powerful spiritual works you will likely ever read, and is one of the yet undiscovered classics to be placed among the likes of Rumi, Hafez, Saadi, and Khayyam.

While it is undoubtedly one of the great classics,make no mistake, it is both unique and peerless, among its contemporaries. No small wonder the the Revelations of Baha'u'llah have given birth to one of the fastest growing, and second most wide spread, religious movements--since its inception in 1844--in the world today.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gem from the Treasury of Sufi Mystical Compositions.
This book is a wonderful read for everyone, whether new to the Writings of the founder of the Baha'i Faith, Baha'u'llah or not.

It was written after Baha'u'llah spent 2 years in the wilderness praying and meditating on His mission, like many of the famous messengers from God in the past. This book together with "The Hidden Words of Baha'u'llah" make up the most mystical and amoung the best loved Baha'i Writings.

In "The Seven Valleys" Baha'u'llah writes about the seven stages of the lovers journey on his search for his Beloved: God. Each valley represents a plain of understanding such as Wonder, Love, Unity....

I would recommend this book to everyone who is particularly seeking closeness to the spirit of God, and those who are beginning their research into the Writings of the Baha'i Faith.

4-0 out of 5 stars An interesting book, but not a casual read
Unless you are very familiar with formal Islamic writing you will find this book hard going in a lot of places. However, that given it is a good place to start if you're interested in the writings of Bahaullah. It's reasonably short and filled with many insights on mankind's search for God. Just be sure you're wanting a book to take slowly and study, rather than something easy. ... Read more

10. The Universal Principles of the Reform Bahai Faith
by Baha'u'llah, Abdu'l-Baha
Paperback: 148 Pages (2007-12-14)
list price: US$11.99 -- used & new: US$9.90
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Asin: 0967042100
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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The Universal Principles of the Reform Bahai Faith collects many of the early writings of Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha, published in the West, seeking to restore and preserve their vision of the oneness of God, humanity, and all religions. In addition to all of the 1912 Universal Principles of the Bahai Movement, the book includes Baha'u'llah's Hidden Words, selections known as the Spirit of the Age, an address by Abdu'l-Baha at the Friends' Meeting House in London in 1913, and many Bahai prayers for community and individual worship and meditation.Though beginning in 2004, the Reform Bahai Faith traces its origin to the early Bahais Ruth White, Mirza Ahmad Sohrab, and Julie Chanler, who sought to preserve the Teachings of Abdu'l-Baha after his passing in 1921. They and other early American Bahais understood the Bahai Faith was being turned into an oppressive organization, under what the British Museum document expert Dr. C. Ainsworth Mitchell judged to be a fraudulent will and testament.Baha'u'llah, the Founder of the Bahai Faith, believed in and taught a moderate, universal religion, grounded in a separation of church and state, not a theocracy, and members of the Reform Bahai Faith seek to recover and renew that saving vision for all humanity. The newcomer to the Bahai Teachings will find here a brief but eloquent and inspiring introduction to the Faith of Baha'u'llah, while people already familiar with it will find a refreshing breeze has returned to revivify and uplift the spirit.This book marks the first publication of the Reform Bahai Press, which will publish several more titles during the next few years. ... Read more

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5-0 out of 5 stars The Vintage Wine
One might find validation of this book in the physical volume alone. It satisfies the senses the way books of my grandfather's day did. They were sturdy, dignified, titled with a nineteenth-century font in gold. They were sized to be held comfortably and to travel well in a carriage or train. The pages were creamy and thick, and the printing clear and excellently matched to the page and its content. UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLES qualifies in every sense. It is a book that will survive much passing down.

The content is truly refreshing. Familiar concepts are presented in early translations; nothing is overdone. The authenticity is refreshingly clear. The message of a true "spiritual springtime" leaps off the page, as one would expect of a modern-day revelation from God. This book is proof in itself that the Baha'i Faith was given for all. There are no exceptions for the wealthy or titled; in this book it is clear that Baha'u'llah and His Son 'Abdu'l-Baha were speaking to the world.

Some might argue that Shoghi Effendi, because of his youth, did not do most if any of the translations here, and therefore the translations from the Farsi and Arabic do not have the quality of his later work. I argue that many if not all of the translations were made by men who were there on the spot, companions of Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha, and men of wisdom of years and highly skilled in translation. I believe the livliness of the writings in this book reflects a translation made by a much closer and more highly qualified body of men.

UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLES OF THE BAHA'I FAITH is long overdue. Its reading will give any reader evident proof that the Reform Baha'i movement is historically and spiritually valid. Mainstream Baha'is arguing authenticity and increasingly insistant of approved readings will find nothing to fear. Original translators were, sadly, driven away by administrative infighting after the passing of 'Abdu'l-Baha. It is a joy to have these translations back. Above and beyond the beauty of the words of Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha, the work of these Persian translators is in itself a delight and alone worth the reading. I look forward to future publications from the Reform Baha'i Press.

5-0 out of 5 stars a new view of the baha'i faith
This is a compilation of writings by Baha'u'llah, founder of the Baha'i Faith, and his son Abdu'l-Baha',the Interpreter of the Faith.The materials include prayers, writings, and talks given by Abdul-Baha', including one to a Friends Meeting in London in 1913.A major theme of these selections is that religion and the Cause of God should bring unity, not division.Critics of religion often seem to blame religion for many of society's ills.They should read this book.The teachings of Baha'u'llah are remarkably contemporary, that religion should and must be an impetus for harmony, cooperation, and justice in the world.These teachings offer a plan for what religion and life ought to be about.They answer religion's critics and offer fresh spiritual insights to the seeker. ... Read more

11. Baha'i History "The Heroic Age" (cards)
by Ivan Lloyd
Cards: 9 Pages (2008-01-01)
list price: US$12.00 -- used & new: US$12.00
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Asin: 0965796736
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Historical Baha'i Notecards featuring scenes from the Heroic Age of the Faith. Each box set contains eight different notecards including Vahid's Feast, Tahirih Teaching in Baghdad, The Battle of Ft. Tabarsi and the Conference of Badasht. Etc. The back of each card are descriptions and historic facts from the Dawn-Breakers. Blank inside, making them suitable for any occasion, these unique notecards make great gifts. Complete with envelopes each 5"X7" pack comes in a sturdy see through box. ... Read more

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5-0 out of 5 stars Baha'i History in Pictures
These beautiful cards portray some Baha'i history from the time of the Bab.The pictures on the cards are reproductions of the original paintings which can be seen at Desert Rose Baha'i Institute, just on the border between Casa Grande and Eloy, AZ. ... Read more

12. Baha'i Shrine and Gardens on Mount Carmel, Haifa, Israel: A Visual Journey
Hardcover: 144 Pages (2001)

Isbn: 9650511059
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Oversize 14 X 9 inch Hardbound. Profusely illustrated with color photos; 139 pages ... Read more

13. The Baha'i Faith in America
by William Garlington
Paperback: 248 Pages (2008-02-05)
list price: US$27.95 -- used & new: US$25.00
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Asin: 0742562344
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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The Baha'i Faith in America provides an engaging and accessible overview of one of the world's youngest and fastest growing religions. William Garlington explores the principles of the Baha'i faith and traces the historical development Baha'i faith both worldwide and in the USA. In the process, Garlington reveals a dynamic and highly idealistic faith that is attempting to offer a model of religious community that is compatible with the continuing process of globalization. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars The American Bahai Mixture
Of even more interest to me is Garlington's discussion of the many incidents that have developed in connection with the rise of the Internet during the mid and late `90s since I participated in the long battle to create what is still the only uncensored forum for the discussion of the Bahai Faith, talk.religion.bahai on Usenet. As with China, the Bahai Faith found itself confronted for the first time with a means of communication it couldn't entirely control and silence. Like China, the Bahai Faith has developed an apologetical cadre for monitoring, influencing and controlling discussion on the Internet. Yet the early atmosphere of the talisman mailing list, as with other online forums, was euphoric with new found liberty and freedom for Bahais to speak honestly about the Bahai Faith, setting off paroxysms of outrage and self-righteous allegations by fundamentalists that others were "tending toward covenant breaking," "divisive," "not Bahai," and so on. Much of it, along with other incidents touching on religious freedom, can still be found documented on the Internet through University of Michigan Professor Juan Cole's website, my own, [...], and the Google archive for talk.religion.bahai.

Another shortcoming in Garlington's book is that while his Conclusion acknowledges that "vocal and liberal Bahais" are becoming "an ever-decreasing minority," he fails to examine sufficiently why that is, namely, the extreme and alarming tactics used to drive liberals out of the Bahai Faith, exemplified in the attacks on Ruth White and Ahmad Sohrab-the most vicious shunning and slandering techniques used by perhaps any religion in America today. Official Bahai sources and the Internet abound with examples. Garlington barely scratches the surface of the extent to which "hikmat," so-called wisdom, operates in Bahai history, as do "taqlid," blind obedience, and "takfir," excommunication. Much more needs to be said in this regard.

The real test of any religious ethic is not the treatment of those who keep their mouths closed, never thinking or questioning anything (taqlid), but rather the treatment of those writers and scholars of capacity, deeply grounded in the intellectual history and traditions of their culture. The Bahai Faith has so thoroughly failed that test, especially during the last few decades, that no individual or country should take its claims at face value without reading and reflecting on such books as William Garlington's. It should be noted that the December 2005 Library Journal review of Garlington's book, by William P. Collins, a conservative apologist for Bahai orthodoxy, employs the usual Bahai tactic of discrediting and slandering any dissident opinion, while recommending books that have passed "Bahai review," in reality, censorship. The reader might want to reflect on the fact that William P. Collins is a librarian at the Library of Congress, yet readily uses his position to defend a system of administration regularly attacking the liberal values that make a library worthy of the name possible and to discourage acquisition librarians from ordering Garlington's book.

In his closing paragraph Garlington urges the Bahai leadership to manifest a higher degree of wisdom, echoing all too much for me the practices of "hikmat" that resulted, in the Western world, often in the most cynical manipulation of the "rank and file." Rather, I would say, what's required is a higher level of normal decency, humility, and respect for the individual's freedom and liberty of conscience, along the lines of Isaiah Berlin. It doesn't take much wisdom to realize what kind of world the present arrogant and utopian administration would create. One needs only to look at American Bahai history and the abuse of now countless individuals and families.

While Garlington seldom moves very far beyond the received version of American Bahai history, his book is at least the first written by a scholar trying to discover essentially what Edward Gibbon called the "inevitable mixture of error and corruption" that a religion contracts "in a long residence upon earth," versus the predictably self-serving propaganda of the converted. The publisher Praeger is to be applauded for its commitment to free speech and discussion.


1-0 out of 5 stars Misses the whole point of religious Democracy
Just imagine Baha'u'llah, the Prophet-Founder of the Baha'i Faith, locked in the depths of the most terrible prison in history, banished from city to city, belongings plundered, family murdered, poisoned, and sending a message of revolution and revival of religion to the planet. Suddenly, in walks this Angel, who tells Him, in the midst of the most violent, prejudiced, totalitarian Arab culture on the planet, that He is the next Messenger of God. But wait, You're not just a Messenger, but your Message, in the early 1900s (when US doctors don't have to graduate from college, when there are 3 experimental telegraphs, when there are only 90 miles of paved roads, when the population of Vegas is 45, the life expectancy of a male is 41, stars are not known to be suns, galaxies have not yet been discovered, and the leading cause of death is pneumonia), that He will announce:

--The equality of men and women (at a time and in a culture where female babies are being buried at birth, and women are considered the equivalent of a horse)
--Universal education for children (at a time when children are considered the spawn of Satan)
--World peace and harmony (at a time when conquest was the rule)
--Elimination of the extremes of wealth (ok, so we are going to tell the Arabs they don't possess their wives, and they also have to give up their gold!)
--Racial equality (at a time when "lower" races were also slaves)

And if that isn't enough to have 30,000 believers tortured and killed (which they were, and are in Iran to this day), and which happens when you threaten even ONE of these vicious power-centers, when leaving, the Angel also lets Him know: "And, by the way, you're going to eliminate the clergy, and create the first Democratic Faith on earth." (Long before any Democracy on the planet let women vote). This book misses the whole point of the real Message!

With one snap of the Divine Finger, Baha'u'llah thus eliminates the entire planet's priests, ministers, rabbis and mullahs, and creates the first true DEMOCRATIC religion on the planet! Now, you've seen (eg: reverend Wright and Islamic suicide bombers) how much "followers" are loathe to give up their clergy, and how important it is to have someone else tell you what to believe. Regardless of the ego driven, petty arguments about the birth pangs of the Baha'is, they are still the only true Democratic Religion on the planet, and the elimination of the clergy is as revolutionary and modern now as it was in 1844. To back it up, priests chasing little boys, mullahs creating death warrants, TV ministers having numerous affairs, and accumulating incredible wealth, and many other Signs of the inevitability of independence and democracy in religion are now everywhere. Critics can dismiss the Baha'is as "liberal or conservative," but the revolutionary Truth of their movement is still not even dimly perceived until you consider the stunning new sex, racial, and democratic equalities at their heart.

To the idiots who suggest Iranian youth are not catching fire with this new movement: ask them about Mona, the young Baha'i teacher RECENTLY imprisoned and murdered for her belief. We've only seen the very first ray of this Sun, friends.

5-0 out of 5 stars How refreshing
How refreshing to read a book about a religions where the author is neither promoting not attacking.I found the content to be well balanced and evenly presented, and find Collins' review to be absurd.Collins who is probably a Baha'i is defending where there is no attack.As a student of religion I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting a fair and honest approach to the study of the Baha'i Faith.

2-0 out of 5 stars Readable but disappointing
This work promises to be a neutral academic treatment, but is plagued with some questions about how that neutrality is achieved. While Dr. Garlington gives a good overview of the Baha'i Faith's progressive teachings and a useful history of American polemic against it, he gives disproportionate weight to the viewpoints of a handful of ex-Baha'i critics and disaffected Baha'is. Thus his later chapters on contemporary developments are deprived of the Baha'i community's and institutions' authentic and nuanced voice in the understanding of their own Faith. The critics, if not the author himself, tend to believe that "fundamentalism" is rampant in the Baha'i community. Thus the author quotes as fact one critic's false connections between right-wing Christianity in America and the membership of international Baha'i institutions. In reality, Baha'i institutions advise Baha'is that they should not seek to impose Baha'i requirements on those who are not Baha'is and a national Baha'i educational institution has held courses about how to ensure a spiritual, thinking, non-fundamentalist culture. When treating the controversies fomented by many of these critics, the author draws frequent unfounded conclusions, for example stating that large scale enrollments of African-Americans in the Baha'i Faith in the south around 1970 came to an end because Baha'i "leadership" was unwilling to cope with large numbers of poor and minority members. If this were true, would that same leadership have built a Baha'i institute and a radio station for those believers and continued to emphasize the importance of consolidating their membership? Though I (the reviewer) am a Baha'i, I am able to see from the outsider's viewpoint and understand how contemporary thinking raises some issues to prominence. However, I was personally involved in or observed most of the contemporary issues mentioned in the book. Garlington's informants did not give a complete picture of their interactions with the community and its institutions. The work frequently gives their viewpoints without a full accounting of the Baha'i understanding of the issue at hand, which might make for a richer picture of how the Baha'i tradition applies to daily life and practice. Unfortunately, the work too often characterizes as major crises, controversies that are largely unnoticed among the general Baha'i populace or that are being worked out within the framework of a developing community life.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good book. Appraisal too optimistic. A little on the naive.
William Garlington's THE BAHA'I FAITH IN AMERICA is an important addition to the corpus of writings regarding the history of Baha'ism in the Western world, specifically in America. Refreshingly, it details, for possibly the first time (and objectively and at length at that), the Chicago Reading Room Affair of 1916-21 and Ahmad Sohrab's New History Society fiasco. Garlington brings developments up to the present, including the late 1980s with the DIALOGUE MAGAZINE affair as well as into the 1990s with the talisman@indiana.edu explosion, which I was personally involved with. His appraisal and analysis of these affairs is well presented and articulately broached.

Precisely where this book suffers, in my opinion, is beginning with its preface (which is a near sugar-coated hagiography) and the rather subjective appraisal by the author regarding Baha'ism's present and future state in the West. I am a former Baha'i, hailing from a Persian Baha'i family of six generations on one side, who after he formally resigned in 1996 looked deeply into Baha'ism's past - far, far deeper in fact than Garlington possibly could, because such archaeology requires expert proficiency in Arabic and Persian and access to texts and sources. My investigative research finally led me to find the case presented by the Bayanis (derogatively designated by the Baha'is as "Azalis") not only compelling, but thoroughly and categorically confuting of Baha'ism's entire claim to legitimacy tout court. In my personal opinion, and as history will ultimately prove me right, Baha'ism absolutely has no future whether in the West or in the East for that matter. I would even go so far and state that I believe Baha'ism will eventually go the same way as Manichaeanism.

Its scriptural platitudes aside, clearly Baha'ism has no real agenda working in its favor for our times (whether as a serious spiritual discipline or as progressive social movement). In serious spirituality scenes of a non-traditional nature throughout the West these days, the pole of gravitation is either towards various forms of esotericism, syncretism and the like, or universalisms such as the UU and similar. Christian based entheogenic spiritualities based in South America, such as the Brazilian Santo Daime and UDV, have far better chances of attracting potential converts at present than the Baha'is could possibly hope for. Socially, those who might have been potentially attracted to Baha'ism at one time are now finding comfortable homes among Green activists, human rights workers or other such progressive endeavours. The other problem is that among Baha'isms core constituency, the Iranians in diaspora (esp. the USA), many have begun voting with their feet and hence drifting clear away. The socially ultra-rightwing agenda of the current Baha'i high elite in Israel does not look like it is going to change any time soon or even within the next few generations in fact. Given this, not much is really going for Baha'ism and as such I do not see how one could argue then that Baha'ism has a bright future ahead of it, either in potentia or actuality. In Garlington's alliance with the Baha'i Liberals - those like Cole, Scholl, Lee and others - there is a philosophically problematic position that with a structural shake-up of bureaucratic structures erected by Shoghi Effendi (especially in the elimination of "review") a panacea for all the ills currently beseting Baha'ism can be found. Far from being the case, unless and until these liberals recognize that the ills beseting Baha'ism today are firmly located historically in the 1860s, and then immediately after the death of Husayn 'Ali Nuri Baha' himself in 1892-1930, any struggle on their part now to even attempt to reform an irreformable Baha'ism will result in precisely the experience of the reform movement activists in Iran under Khatami - abject failure! Besides, as the truism goes, bad systems are vulnerable to destruction precisely at the moment when they attempt to reform themselves. Totalitarianisms must be discarded, not reformed. Baha'ism is a form of religious totalitarianism, not just in its current manifestation, but also as expounded in it's author's sciptures. A kindler, gentler Baha'i system is well nigh an oxymoron, and what is to say that if these same liberals were to be at the helm of power they would do any better than the fundamentalists currently in control? Experience proves they wouldn't, and quite possibly would even be worse. Demonstrably, Baha'ism is a bad system. Its spirituality is second (nay, third-) rate compared to that of its parent religion, i.e. the Bayani gnostic faith (Babism), not to mention the High Sufism of Ibn 'Arabi which both are heir to. It's internal and institutional workings and dynamics are more akin to 1930s Soviet style Stalinism than anything remotely palatable to a Western, let alone an American, audience. Given all this, one cannot prognosticate anything for Baha'ism but eventual (and in my opinion, inevitable) doom. As a side note, I find it quite ironic that Juan Cole and Abbas Amanat - two of the foremost names in the Liberal Baha'i cause - where recently attacked in no uncertain terms within a online Persian weekly of the secular Left, Baz-Tab, and characterized as close-minded and self-interested (moghriz) representatives of Baha'ism. It seems the exposes I have been making on USENET over the past few years are fast becoming part and parcel of popular Iranian consciousness in so far as Baha'ism is concerned. Even Abdolkarim Soroush himself - that intellectual doyen of Iranian reform in the early '90s - recently made the comparison in a talk in Tehran of the VF system (wilayat'ul-faqih, absolute guardianship of the jurisprudent) with the Baha'i system. Also it would seem that the current generation of younger Iranians (especially in Iran) are not buying what Baha'ism is offering, either, even in its Liberal re-packaging. If this is so, then a doomed Baha'ism in the land of its birth is ten-folddoomed among any constituency in the West. I hope these liberals one and all see this one day and wake up to smell the coffee and thereby jump off this run away train they insist on clinging to with dear life.

Having said that, this book is an extremely important contribution to the field and should not be underestimated for what it does present between its two covers. The author should be highly commended for his valuable work, and he definitely receives my highest accolades for what he has accomplished in the book. Bravo, Bill!

Wahid Azal
Ecclesia Gnostica Bayani Universalis
Eastern Coast, Australia ... Read more

14. The Baha'i Faith: A Beginner's Guide (Beginner's Guides)
by Moojan Momen
Paperback: 160 Pages (2007-12-05)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$8.52
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Asin: 1851685634
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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In this clear and informative guide, Momen provides a vibrant introduction to all aspects of this fast-expanding faith, which now has over 5.5 million adher ents. From the spiritual development of the individual to the belief in the need for world peace, this gives anyone interested in the contemporary religious landscape an insight into this 150-year old tradition, whose spiritual and social teachings are so much in tune with the concerns of today. ... Read more

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5-0 out of 5 stars Overview of the Baha'iFaith
Moomen has done a beautiful job presenting the Faith clearly and concisely. This is an excellent introduction for someone who hasn't heard of the Faith as well as someone who is familiar with it and would like the information "all in one place". ... Read more

15. Baha'i Temple (Postcards of America)
by Candace Moore Hill
Card Book: 15 Pages (2010-08-23)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.44
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Asin: 0738583987
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The Bahá'í Temple boasts a rich history. ... Read more

16. An Earthly Paradise: Baha'i Houses of Worship around the World
by Julie Badiee
Hardcover: 144 Pages (1992)
list price: US$33.50 -- used & new: US$33.50
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Asin: 085398316X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Bahá'í Houses of Worship around the World
The Baha'i Faith can be summed up in 3 basic principles:the oneness of God, the oneness of humankind, and the oneness of religion.The Baha'i Temple is a visual symbol of the Baha'i teachings of unity, and a monument to the ancient and universal dream, the dream of a world at peace.Each Temple traditionally has 9 sides combined with a central dome.This form is then uniquely blended with the most beautiful indigenous traditions.

At the present time there are Baha'i Houses of Worship on every inhabited continent of the planet.They were all built with a similar purppose, to provide a place of worship and prayer for men and women from whatever creed or background they might come.They were envisioned as centers of unity encircling the planet and beckoning the human race to a new age of toleration and understanding.

These Baha'i Temples standing around the world are located in Wilmette, ner Chicago;Frankfurt, Germany;Sydney, Australia;Samoa in the heart of the Pacific Ocean; Panama City, Central America; Kampala, Uganda (Africa) and New Delhi, India. This attractively produced book describes each of these Temples including the first Baha'i House of Worship which was built in Ishqabad, Turkestan in 1903 (and later demolished).100 years later designs are being submitted for the newest Baha'i House of Worship yet to be built in Chile.

The book takes the form of a series of meditations on various topics:The Language of Symbols; Sacred Spaces; The Garden as Paradise; Water Imagery;The Mountain, the Journey and the Door; Celestial Circles; A Sacred Geometry; an Earthly Paradise; Metaphor for the Manifestation; Universal Symbols;plus Appendices at the end of the book which give a brief history of the Baha'i Faith and some of its basic teachings.In each of the above chapters the author has used examples taken from various religious traditions and beliefs from around the world and there are photos in color and black and white of sacred sites, some familiar and some not so familiar, besides those of the Baha'i Houses of Worship.

It is a beautiful book, unusual in its content, and one to be much appreciated by the student of architectural beauty whether professional or layman.I am delighted to have this book in my own personal library. ... Read more

17. Baha'i
by Margit Warburg
Paperback: 100 Pages (2004-02-15)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$6.00
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Asin: 1560851694
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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There are 100,000 Baha'is in the United States, about five million worldwide including a significant population in Iran, their country of origin. They are also the most persecuted minority in Iran, where they are accused of being heretics by the Shi'i establishment.In fact, Baha'i draws on a diverse heritage that encompasses both East and West. Reflecting their Islamic roots, they observe daily prayers and the reading of sacred texts; a month of fast; pilgrimage to Haifa, Israel, where the religion's relics are preserved; and abstinence from alcohol. They face toward their prophet Baha'u'llah's resting place when praying, which is reminiscent of Muslims facing Mecca to pray.In other ways, the Baha'i religion has dissociated itself from orthodox Shi'ism. Adherents avoid communal prayer, reject the idea of a professional clergy, promote gender equality, and devote a great deal of attention to education, health care, and environmental issues. They work actively through the United Nations system to promote their view of a new world order of peace and harmony that they feel will one day unify humankind across all nations, races, and religions. ... Read more

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5-0 out of 5 stars Holistic, empirical and objective
It is very seldom that so many faces of a religious movement can be captured in some 80 pages (footnotes included).Margit Warburg, associate professor in the sociology of religion at Copenhagen, Denmark, has succeeded in giving a detailed overview of the Baha'i history, doctrine, worship and organisation.

The Baha'i religion has a more universal touch than any other religion in the world today. It is also one of the more liberal religious movements of our day, which since its beginning regarded gender equality a god-given rule, something many religions have had to add to their doctrinal fundaments, yes, even my Lutheran church! At the same time, Warburg is clear about some more restricting nuances of the religion, cause as every religious phenomenon, Baha'i see some exclusiveness in their faith.

The book is divided in five chapters, where the first one being an introduction. The second is about the history of Baha'i, when it was established in 19th century Iran till today. The third is about the doctrine, rituals and ceremonies of the Baha'i. The fourth is a description of the different Baha'i sites in the world (the temples and the Haifa dome) and also about how Baha'i mission looks like - even if it passes unnoticed! The book ends with the fifth chapter, about schisms during Baha'i history, the persecution of Iranian Baha'i and the internal disputes in modern Baha'i, where Warburg evokes the question of academic freedom.

What is exemplary about this book, is its thorough overview and very easy-read style. Warburg has done several studies and inquiries during her 20 years of research about Baha'i, which are referred to in the book, like how many Baha'i do actually fast, if there is any difference between Iranian Baha'i (Baha'i was established in Iran) and Western Baha'i etc. She explains and goes thru almost every perspective of Baha'i expression of faith and show that with each new Baha'i leader or re-organisation there were some opposing fractions, which either continue till today or have vanished. She even describe how the Baha'i services are hold. The services - besides those in the temple - are not open to public (but one nice Baha'i let me in once ...!) It seems that the central government of the Baha'i religion is not totally open about academic freedom, something that is a pity for a tolerant religion like Baha'i; it is not uncommon that many Baha'i marry according to other religion's ceremonies!

I am looking forward to read about the other books in this series, "Studies in contemporary religion", such as Hare Krishna and The Church of Scientology. I highly recommend the book about Baha'i, they are an anonymous feature of our society because they assimilate and want to work with world peace, something that many religions profess doing but never do. This book is far much better than consulting pro- or anti-Baha'i / cult pages cause here it is a scholar writing and discussing the Baha'i with an objective and thorough eye! One should applaud these types of books, cause these can create and facilitate the dialogue between religions.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good book; terrible first review
Midwest Book Review(er) from (Oregon, WI USA) states that the Baha'i faith is a religious faction of Islam -- that is certainly not true, any more than Christianity is today a religious faction of Judaism.

As for the book itself, however, the author has done a fair job of studying the Baha'i faith and presenting it in a concise manner.

5-0 out of 5 stars A very handy pocket guide to this religious heritage
There are over a hundred thousand Baha'is in this country, but relatively few books specifically covering this religion factiion of Islam alone. Margit Warburg's Baha'i is a very handy pocket guide to this religious heritage which accessibly examines the defining history and spiritual foundations of Bahai faith, from its Islamic roots and rituals to its attention to contemporary social issues. ... Read more

18. One Father Many Children: Judaism and the Baha'i Faith
by Burl Barer
Kindle Edition: Pages (2009-10-01)
list price: US$1.00
Asin: B002RAQL7C
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A universal God doesn't reveal an exclusive religion. Judaism and Baha'i affirm the Oneness of God and the fundamental oneness of all humanity.

According to Jewish teaching, God has provided guidance to others besides Israel. "The Father of all mankind has made Himself known to more than one single group of His children," affirms Jakob Petuchowski, Professor of Rabbinics and Jewish Theology at Hebrew Union College, "There is, therefore, no reason for assuming that truth is limited to Judaism. God may have chosen other experiences to reveal Himself to Moslems and Buddhists. My concept of the Messianic future includes the prospect of a united mankind, proclaiming that the `the Lord is One, and His name is One’." ... Read more

19. The splendour of God; being extracts from the sacred writings of the Bahais
by Eric Hammond
Paperback: 130 Pages (2010-08-29)
list price: US$20.75 -- used & new: US$15.31
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Asin: 1177974037
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ENGLAND. ... Read more

20. One Common Faith
by Baha'i International Community
Kindle Edition: Pages (2010-02-22)
list price: US$3.55
Asin: B0039NMP9E
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At Ridván 2002, we addressed an open letter to the world's religious leaders. Our action arose out of awareness that the disease of sectarian hatreds, if not decisively checked, threatens harrowing consequences that will leave few areas of the world unaffected. The letter acknowledged with appreciation the achievements of the interfaith movement, to which Bahá'ís have sought to contribute since an early point in the movement's emergence. Nevertheless, we felt we must be forthright in saying that, if the religious crisis is to be addressed as seriously as is occurring with respect to other prejudices afflicting humankind, organized religion must find within itself a comparable courage to rise above fixed conceptions inherited from a distant past.

Above all, we expressed our conviction that the time has come when religious leadership must face honestly and without further evasion the implications of the truth that God is one and that, beyond all diversity of cultural expression and human interpretation, religion is likewise one. It was intimations of this truth that originally inspired the interfaith movement and that have sustained it through the vicissitudes of the past one hundred years. Far from challenging the validity of any of the great revealed faiths, the principle has the capacity to ensure their continuing relevance. In order to exert its influence, however, recognition of this reality must operate at the heart of religious discourse, and it was with this in mind that we felt that our letter should be explicit in articulating it.
... Read more

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