Bahá'ís in Jamaica celebrate 200th anniversary

Bahá'ís in Jamaica celebrate 200th anniversary

Sunday, October 20, 2019

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The Bahá'í community in Jamaica will this month join Bahá'ís all around the world in observance of the 200th anniversary of the birth of their founder, the Báb, and his forerunner and founder of the Bahá'í religion, Baha'u'llah.

Established in 1863, the Bahá'í Faith initially grew in Persia or what is known as modern-day Iran, and parts of the Middle East, where it has faced ongoing persecution since its inception.

Currently, there is estimated to be between five and eight million adherents of the Bahá'í Faith spread across most of the world's countries and territories.

The faith grew from the mid-19th century Bábí religion, whose founder the Báb taught that God would soon send a messenger, whose coming is promised in all the religions of the past.

In 1863, after being banished from his native Persia, Bahá'u'lláh announced that he was this messenger.

Bahá'ís believe that the divine will of God is conveyed to humanity through a series of messengers of God, divine educators who have appeared in the past, hundreds of years apart, and will continue at intervals of a thousand or more years in the future.

Bahá'u'lláh taught that religion is orderly and progressively revealed by one God through His Manifestations. These Manifestations of God are compared to pure mirrors who reflect the attributes and will of God onto this material world and are the founders of the major world religions throughout history.

Among these educators are Krishna, Zoroaster, the Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh.

Adherents of the Bahá'í Faith regard the major religions as fundamentally unified in purpose which is to educate humankind and to carry forward the advancement of civilisation, a local member of the Bahá'í Faith told the Jamaica Observer.

“At the heart of Bahá'í teachings is the goal of a unified world in which the prosperity of all nations, races, creeds, and classes are ensured,” said Whyte.

Their messages, she explained, when examined in their pure form, are very similar in their fundamental spiritual values but significantly different in the social laws applicable to the period in which they appear.

Among the persons who brought Baha'u'llah's teachings to Jamaica was Dr Malcolm King, a Jamaican who had become a Bahá'í while living in the United States. King came to Jamaica in 1942 to teach the Bahá'í Faith, it was through his efforts that the first Bahá'í group was formed in Kingston.

Former governor general of Jamaica, Sir Howard Cooke, who was a notable follower of the Bahá'í Faith, first proclaimed a National Bahá'í Day in Jamaica on July 25, 2003 and it has been an annual event for local members ever since.

The main meetings will be held at Bahá'í centres in Kingston, Yallahs, Montego Bay and Kitson Town on the evening of October 28, starting at 7:00 pm.

Members of the public are invited to attend.

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