The Sacred Nature of Baha'i Houses of Wortship
MetadataShow full item record
Baha'i Houses of Worship are found on every continent in the world except for Antarctica. These temples are regarded as building of architectural splendor throughout the world. They function as places of prayer and meditation, although the daily worship of a Baha'i does not likely occur within these structures. In order to understand the significance of the Baha'i Houses of Worship to the Baha'i's many different aspect of their beliefs and origins must be examined. Are the Baha'i temples sacred or are they secular building with great attention to ascetic beauty in which prayer and meditation are commonplace? This discussion begins with the writings of the celebrated history of religion scholar Mircea Eliade. Eliade expressed in his writings the nature of the sacred. He discussed what is sacred space and how that space is set apart from the mundane world. He further discussed temples in general and how the sacred relates to the temple. His discussions are key in understanding the basic ideas behind the sacred nature of temples in religions throughout the world. The next discussion will focus on the origins of the Baha'i faith. Where did the Baha'is come from historically? The Baha'i Faith is the newest world religion. What kind of ideals did the Baha'is borrow from their historical background? How did these ideals shape the Baha'i Faith as it exists today? The actual beliefs of the Baha'i will be discussed in the section following the origins of the Baha'i Faith. What are the major tenets in the Baha'i Faith? How do these beliefs affect the Baha'i worldview? After these sections, the paper will enter into a lengthy discussion about the history of Baha'i House of Worship construction. Where were the temples built? What kind of architectural concepts did their temples borrow from Islam and which did they intentionally avoid? How has Baha'i House of Worship architecture evolved over time? The final section that will be discussed is the sacred nature of the Baha'i House of Worship. Are the temples sacred? What are the primary elements included in every Baha'i temple? What other key Baha'i beliefs are expressed through temple architecture? How does the Baha'i temple serve the needs of those of the Baha'i Faith? By examining these questions and more, a picture of who the Baha'i are and what the significance is of their Houses of Worship becomes clearer.