Bahá'í Faith
Bahai star

Central figures

The Báb · `Abdu'l-Bahá

Key scripture
Kitáb-i-Aqdas · Kitáb-i-Íqán

The Hidden Words
The Seven Valleys


Administrative Order
The Guardianship
Universal House of Justice
Spiritual Assemblies


Bahá'í history · Timeline
Bábís · Shaykh Ahmad

Notable individuals

Shoghi Effendi
Martha Root · Táhirih
Badí‘ · Apostles
Hands of the Cause

See also

Symbols · Laws
Teachings · Texts
Calendar · Divisions
Pilgrimage · Prayer

Index of Bahá'í Articles

The Bahá'í Faith emphasizes the unity of humanity transcending all divisions of race, nation, gender, caste, and social class, while celebrating its diversity. Bahá'u'lláh wrote:

"The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens."

His son `Abdu'l-Bahá adds that the "unification of mankind" has now become "the paramount issue and question in the religious and political conditions of the world." The Bahá'í writings affirm the biological, political, and spiritual unity of humankind, while noting that they are not necessarily expected to arise simultaneously.

Biological unity

The Bahá'í writings state that differences between various races, nations, and ethnic groups are either superficial (e.g. skin color) or the result of differences in background or "education".

"World order can be founded only on an unshakeable consciousness of the oneness of mankind, a spiritual truth which all the human sciences confirm. Anthropology, physiology, psychology, recognise only one human species, albeit infinitely varied in the secondary aspects of life. Recognition of this truth requires abandonment of prejudice -- prejudice of every kind -- race, class, colour, creed, nation, sex, degree of material civilization, everything which enables people to consider themselves superior to others."
The Universal House of Justice, 1985 Oct, The Promise of World Peace
"Throughout the animal kingdom we do not find the creatures separated because of colour. They recognise unity of species and oneness of kind. If we do not find colour distinction drawn in a kingdom of lower intelligence and reason, how can it be justified among human beings especially when we know that all have come from the same source and belong to the same household? In origin and intention of creation mankind is one. Distinctions of race and colour have arisen afterward."
`Abdu'l-Bahá, Bahá'í World Faith - `Abdu'l-Bahá Section, p. 268 [1]

A recurrent Bahá'í image is of a garden, in which various species of flowers coexist harmoniously in a common aesthetic unity, suggesting that the recognition of the biological unity of mankind does not mean uniformity, and that racial and ethnic diversity will exist, and should be celebrated.

"The world of existence is like unto an orchard and humanity is like unto the trees. All these trees are planted in the same orchard, reared through the heat of one sun, watered with one rain. We must be the cause of the adornment of this orchard. The world of humanity is like unto a rose garden and the various races, tongues and people are like unto contrasting flowers. The diversity of colors in a rose-garden adds to the charm and beauty of the scene as variety enhances unity."
`Abdu'l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 183.
"When you enter a rose-garden the wealth of colour and variety of floral forms spread before you a picture of wonder and beauty. The world of humanity is like a garden and the various races are the flowers which constitute its adornment and decoration."
`Abdu'l-Bahá, Foundations of World Unity, p. 34. [2]

Elimination of prejudice

A basic Bahá'í teaching is "the elimination of all forms of prejudice," which refers to not only the elimination of racial prejudice but also that of other forms of prejudice such as gender discrimination.

Political unity

The Bahá'í writings proclaim a glorious future Golden Age in which the whole earth is united under a world federal government, which is to arise in two stages: the first is the "Lesser Peace," a time when world leaders

"...establish a board of international arbitration; that from all nations and governments of the world there should be delegates selected for a congress of nations which should constitute a universal abitral court of justice to settle international disputes."
`Abdul-Bahá, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 203. [3]

In the more distant future there will arise the "Most Great Peace," a time when

"Warfare and strife will be uprooted, disagreement and dissension pass away and universal peace unite the nations and peoples of the world. All mankind will dwell together as one family, blend as the waves of one sea, shine as stars of one firmament, and appear as fruits of the same tree."
`Abdul-Bahá, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 145. [4]

Bahá'ís expect that while ethnic and cultural diversity will continue to exist, humanity's first allegiance will be with the human race rather than any subsidiary group such as race, nation, or ethnic group. There will be an end not only to war, but even to inter-group rivalry.

Spiritual unity

For Bahá'ís, the unity of humanity is not a distant prospect, but a present reality. Globalization represents not only the progressively greater manifestation of this principle, but also humankind's progressively greater perception of the bonds which already unite it. The Bahá'í Faith aspires to provide a model for the ideal interaction among the various peoples of the world, and thus a viable spiritual basis for the united world which is to come.

Unity in diversity

Bahá'ís affirm the desirability of the principle of "Unity in diversity", which states that while recognizing the unity of humankind, cultural diversity should be celebrated.

"The diversity in the human family should be the cause of love and harmony, as it is in music where many different notes blend together in the making of a perfect chord. If you meet those of a different race and colour from yourself, do not mistrust them and withdraw yourself into your shell of conventionality, but rather be glad and show them kindness."
`Abdu'l-Bahá: Quoted in Advent of Divine Justice, p.32. [5]
"Bahá'ís should obviously be encouraged to preserve their inherited cultural identities, as long as the activities involved do not contravene the principles of the Faith. The perpetuation of such cultural characteristics is an expression of unity in diversity."
Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 553.

Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith states that the purpose of Bahá'u'lláh's teachings is not to stifle national autonomy or to suppress diversity, but to create a wider loyalty to that of humankind:

"Let there be no misgivings as to the animating purpose of the world-wide Law of Bahá'u'lláh. Far from aiming at the subversion of the existing foundations of society, it seeks to broaden its basis, to remold its institutions in a manner consonant with the needs of an ever-changing world. It can conflict with no legitimate allegiances, nor can it undermine essential loyalties. Its purpose is neither to stifle the flame of a sane and intelligent patriotism in men's hearts, nor to abolish the system of national autonomy so essential if the evils of excessive centralization are to be avoided. It does not ignore, nor does it attempt to suppress, the diversity of ethnical origins, of climate, of history, of language and tradition, of thought and habit, that differentiate the peoples and nations of the world. It calls for a wider loyalty, for a larger aspiration than any that has animated the human race. It insists upon the subordination of national impulses and interests to the imperative claims of a unified world. It repudiates excessive centralization on one hand, and disclaims all attempts at uniformity on the other. Its watchword is unity in diversity."
Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 41. [6]

See also


  • Hatcher, William S. and Martin, J. Douglas (1998). The Bahá'í Faith: The Emerging Global Religion. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. ISBN 0877432643. 

External links

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