Baháʼu’lláh and the Baháʼí Faith

‘Baháʼu’lláh‘ was a Persian religious leader who founded the Baháʼí Faith in the 19th century. He was born in the capital city of Iran, Tehran, in 1817, as Mirza Husayn, and his faith is belief in the monotheistic Abrahamic god, that Islam, Judaism and Christianity worship. What differs Baháʼí Faith to other Abrahamic religions is spiritual unity where God, religion and mankind are as one, and there are no national or cultural barriers. Baháʼí scholars claim that Baháʼu’lláh’s ancestors can be traced back to Abraham, and his name means ‘glory of God’ in Arabic. It’s claimed that his literal works exceeded the Bible by volume of words by 15 times, and during his time living as a nomad in the mountains of Kurdistan north of Baghdad, he extensively wrote.

“Let your vision be world embracing…” – Bahá’u’llá

One of the key figures in the Baháʼí Faith was Báb (Siyyid ʻAlí Muhammad Shírází) who was a Persian merchant who at 24 claimed to be a messenger of god, and after his death, Baháʼu’lláh’s destiny was to start the Baháʼí Faith which merged from the local Islamic faith who directly opposed it. In a vision he claimed he’d been declared as a messenger from god which Báb had prophesied years prior, and upon his return to Baghdad, Baháʼí separated from Bábísm.

As organised religions go, the Baháʼí Faith is a civilised affair, which attempts to break down boundaries; that humanity should grow together without prejudice; equality of sexes; the unity of religion and science; and the importance of education. They believe that god, the Creator of the universe, is all-knowing, all-loving and all-merciful. The literary works of the Baháʼí Faith are vast, and cover many areas like nature, unity of mankind, and humanities collective maturity, and universal peace, and include:

• Hidden Words

• Kitab-I-Iquan (Book of Certitude) (1862)

• The Seven Valleys

“Religion without science is superstition. Science without religion is materialism” – Baháʼu’lláh


The Baháʼí Faith could very much be likened to humanism, other than the fact that a divine creator is involved. They wish for all religions to unite and move humanity forward as one, and endorse love and knowledge, humility and trust.

The Golden Rule

The Golden Rule has been adhered to for thousands of years, and has been adopted by many religions and philosophies, and became widespread amongst philosophers of Ancient Greece, but like most ideologies, it’s been hijacked by Abrahamic faiths, and they believe they have the monopoly on ethics and morality. It’s origin is said to go as far back as Middle Kingdom Egyptian scholars; some 2000 years BCE. The most common version known to modern society is “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” , and is promoted by modern Christianity as words of Jesus, but it was used in the Far East hundreds of years prior by Buddha and Confucius. The Golden rule is all about the use of empathy, and knowing how you’d feel if someone wronged you, and if you wish to be treated with respect, then the respect should be reciprocated, and if you wish I’ll on others, then be prepared to have ill wished upon you.

“Do not do to others what angers you if done to you by others.” – Socrates

People of Abrahamic faiths constantly criticise pagan, or non-believers by claiming that without a god, they have no moral guidelines, and everything is unaccountable, as we have no higher authority, and because of this misconception, they are morally bankrupt. But if a theist, and an atheist, both adopt the golden rule, and treat others with dignity and respect, then how are their moral codes any different? Just because someone worships a god means they are going to be the Good Samaritan, and just because someone doesn’t worship a god doesn’t mean they’re incapable of being the Good Samaritan.

“In happiness and suffering, in joy and grief, we should regard all creatures as we regard our own self.” – Mahavira

However, there is a flaw by adopting the golden rule, and it’s the assumption that another person wishes to be treated as you do, or someone treats you in a way they think is acceptable but you don’t. Do you feel obliged to ask every person that you encounter what their preferences are in relation to how they wish to be treated? Be it only a slight flaw, it’s a flaw nevertheless, but as long as you adopt the foundations of morality, which is empathy, then compassion, humility, understanding and respect become second nature. The golden rule has come under criticism as it doesn’t outline a code of conduct, but do we really need to have a list of requirements on how to behave ethically?

“In nearly every religion I am aware of, there is a variation of the golden rule. And even for the non-religious, it is a tenet of people who believe in humanistic principles.” – Hillary Clinton

The seven deadly sins

The seven deadly sins are a concept that originated within the Catholic Church, and are sometimes known as the seven cardinal sins that lead on to further sinning, and these sins are claimed to be a separation from the Christian god; and they are:

• vanity, or pride

• greed, or covetousness

• lust, or inordinate or illicit sexual desire

• envy

• gluttony

• wrath

• sloth.

The seven Heavenly virtues are said to overcome the sins:

• humility

• charity

• chastity

• gratitude

• temperance

• patience

• diligence

Evagrius Ponticus’, who was a Turkish born, Christian monk devised the eight evil thoughts in the 4th century CE, and it was two centuries later that ‘Pope Gregory I’ turned it into the seven cardinal sins

• Gluttony (γαστριμαργία; gastrimargía);

• Lust or Fornication (πορνεία; porneía);

• Avarice or Love of money (φιλαργυρία; philarguría);

• Dejection or Sadness (λύπη; lúpe);

• Anger (ὀργή; orgé);

• Despondency or Listlessness (ἀκηδία; akedía);

• Vainglory (κενοδοξία; kenodoxía);

• Pride (ὑπερηφανία; huperephanía).

Is there such a thing as sin, or are there certain actions that can be deemed as unethical or immoral? And are the seven cardinal sins absolute?

Pride is the recognition of one’s abilities, and achievements, and produces positive effects. If you pass your exams and become the doctor that you’ve spent so long training to be, you’re going to experience pride in the hard work you’ve achieved. Is pride really a sin, or should you be more humble and thank god, as that’s the reasoning behind pride being a sin as far as I can tell. Take gay pride; or being patriotic; of course people can take it too far, but there’s nothing wrong with being proud of your sexuality or nation.

“A passionate belief in your business and personal objectives can make all the difference between success and failure. If you aren’t proud of what you’re doing, why should anybody else be? – Richard Branson

Greed, or covetousness, is about wanting everything, being materialistic and the desire for wealth and the best of everything, or wanting something that someone else possesses. Be it their wife, their home or their car. One of the most famous televangelists in America is the notorious con artist Kenneth Copeland, who preaches the gospels of Jesus Christ all around America, yet he’s acquired an estimated wealth of $850,000,000, and lives in an extremely lavish estate. Obviously he doesn’t see his vast wealth as a sin, and neither does Pat Robertson who was involved in support of Laurent Gbagbo, who was a dictator in Côte d’Ivoire, and whilst allegedly delivering Christian aid, he was supporting diamond mining in neighbouring Zaire and was in allegiance with Liberian president Charles Taylor.

“Desire of having is the sin of covetousness.” – William Shakespeare

Lust is often seen as a strong sexual desire or interest in something like that shiny new Ferrari that you wish for. Who can honestly say that they’ve never experienced lustful thoughts? The church sees sexual intercourse as a sin unless it’s for reproductive purpose according to Thomas Aquinas, who was a Catholic priest in Italy in the 13th century. Is lust truly a sin, or is it human nature to desire? In his below quote he mentions passions, but a passion is a strong and barely controllable emotion, like lust. But is her referring to the reference of passion meaning to suffer for BBC what one truly loves? Like the passion of Christ?

“Perfection of moral virtue does not wholly take away the passions, but regulates them.” – Thomas Aquinas

Envy is quite similar to greed and lust as it’s about the desire and longing for something, but where it differed is the feeling of contempt towards a person and what they possess. Envy can range from wishing you were also getting on that plane and going on holiday to Hawaii, to bitterness towards someone as they can afford the car that you’ve always wanted. Envy can sometimes result in the act of extreme measures to prevent someone from having what you want yourself. A perfect example of envy is being judgemental towards someone, ie: Paris Hilton, who has everything she could ever wish for, and got it all presented to her without having to wash it. This can make the normal, working class person bitter. But envy is part of human nature, so can something that happens subconsciously really be a sin?

“Do not overrate what you have received, nor envy others. He who envies others does not obtain peace of mind” – Siddhārtha Gautama

Gluttony is about lack of self-control, and can be evident in over consumption of food, or alcohol. In a world where there are needy people, gluttony is not an attractive trait. In Islam, especially during Ramadan, Muslims fast during daylight hours are a self-discipline to teach them the value of what they have. Gluttony can also refer to waste, and seeing no value in living an extravagant lifestyle.

“How can you say you’re trying to spiritually evolve, without even a thought about what happens to the animals whose lives are sacrificed in the name of gluttony?” – Oprah Winfrey

Wrath is an uncontrollable feeling, which can lead to irrationality and immorality, and often stems from grief, or mistreatment. The difference between anger and wrath, is wrath usually involves an explosion of rage, where anger is more of an emotion, which can lead to wrath. It’s interesting that wrath is seen as perhaps the most serious of sins as it can lead to the taking of a life, but the wrath of god; divine chastisement, which was seen during the alleged flood is perfectly acceptable amongst Christians, as he was punishing the sinners with a sin. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

“We Muslims believe that the white race, which is guilty of having oppressed and exploited and enslaved our people here in America, should and will be the victims of God’s divine wrath.” – Malcolm Little

Sloth is perhaps the weakest of sins, and it’s basically reluctance to make an effort, or laziness. The reason it’s classified as a sin is Christians believe humans are more susceptible to Satan’s influence when they are idle, but sloth can also be described as selfishness and a complete disregard for other people’s concerns. It’s a rejection of the moral obligation that’s expected from a social species like mankind, and act of defiance against god.

“Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labor wears, while the used key is always bright.” – Benjamin Franklin

Are the seven deadly sins all that you need to follow to live an ethical, morally sound life, or is this just a basic outline?