a NEW RELIGIOUS MOVEMENT originating from ISLAM and considered HERETICAL by the ORTHODOX. It was founded in Persia by BAHA 'U'LLAH (1817-1892) who suffered imprisonment and exile for his beliefs. Towards the end of his life he lived at Bahji near Acre where he wrote Kitab-i-Iqan (Book of Certitude), which is the book of Baha'u'llah's laws and contains many of the basic teachings of his religion, in addition to numerous other works including the other major doctrinal work the Kitab-i-Aqdas (Most Holy Book) which codifies Baha'i laws. The Iqan was written before Baha'ullah announced himself as a prophet and concentrates on the interpretation of Biblical and Quranic symbolism, the mystical path, theological concepts and issues. GOD is held to be transcendent and unknowable; but makes Himself manifest by His creation and especially by prophets who are a mirror in which God, the will and attributes, are reflected. The movement seeks (1) universal peace, (2) holding to unity of the human race, (3) advocating removal of prejudice, (4) teaching that all religions have an essential unity, and (5) the establishment of an international body similar to the United Nations, (6) the creation and use of a universal language. Before his death he appointed his son, 'Abbas Effendi (ABDU'L-BAHA), as his successor and the recognized interpreter of his writings. 'Abbas Effendi appointed his grandson, Shoghi Effendi, as "The Guardian of the Baha'i Faith" and official interpreter of the religion, he also undertook MISSIONARY work in Europe and America. Today the movement is led by a nine member body, the Universal House of Justice, which is elected every five years from members around the world. The movement has spread widely in Europe, America, Africa and in Eastern countries. The administrative center is at Haifa, Israel.

Concise dictionary of Religion. 2012.

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