Redbridge’s estimated forty Baha’i celebrate commencement of religion 150 years ago

Shrine of the Bab on Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel

Shrine of the Bab on Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel - Credit: Archant

A celebration with music, prayer and food was held by the Baha’i community on Monday in celebration of the commencement of their religion in 1863.

Carol Weaver

Carol Weaver - Credit: Archant

There are an estimated 40 people in Redbridge who are of the Baha’i faith, which started with the Baha’u’llah prophethood.

The Ridvan festival marks when Baha’u’llah stayed in the Ridvan garden for 12 days after being exiled from the Ottoman Empire.

Ridvan, which means paradise in Persian, is just outside of Baghdad in Iraq.

Carol Weaver, secretary of the committee of Baha’is, said: “In 1863 Baha’u’llah revealed a message from God and we believe that he is a profit like Jesus and Mohammed. The message he brought was of equality of men and women.”

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Baha’u’llah, which means glory of God, was born in 1817 and emphasised the importance of humanity as a whole and not to heed national boundaries.

He was imprisoned in both the Persia and Ottoman authorities and was eventually imprisoned in Palestine for 24 years.

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“He revealed the message of equality and coming together and to look at the world, not as individual countries, but as a whole as a planet,” Ms Weaver added. “Each person is responsible for their own spirituality.”

The 12 day festival began at sunset on April 20 and ended on Thursday.

On the first day of the festival, the committee which governs each community was elected.

In the Baha’i faith there is not one spiritual leader but a committee of nine people which are elected by anonymous ballot each year.

This is also a national committee elected on that day as well as an international committee which is elected every five years.

Ms Weaver said: “Nine adults aged over 21 make our committee. They are the local spiritual assembly.

“They are responsible for significant events and community meetings. If you have a problem you can go to them.”

There are an estimated six million people worldwide who are Baha’i.

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