05 Apr 2011
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a Bahá'í?
- Who is Bahá'u'lláh?
- When was the House of Worship constructed?
- Who is the architect?
- Why is the temple shaped like a lotus?
- What is the unique physical feature of the structure of this Temple?
- How was the Temple project funded? Where does the money for its maintenance come from?
- Is this government-owned land? Was there any government grant given for this building?
- Is the Bahá'í Faith a combination or mixture of all religions?
- If there is no clergy in the Bahá'í Faith, how do Bahá'ís practice their religion?
- What does the symbol in the dome of the Prayer Hall signify?
- What is the world population of the Bahá'ís?
- What are some of the main principles of the Bahá'í Faith?
- Where was Bahá'u'lláh from?
- How do Bahá'ís pray?
- What is the purpose of the Bahá'í House of Worship?
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1. What is a Bahá'í?
A Bahá'í is a person who believes in Bahá'u'lláh as the Messenger of God for this age and follows the laws and teachings revealed by Him.
2. Who is Bahá'u'lláh?
Bahá'u'lláh is the Prophet Founder of the Bahá'í Faith. Bahá'ís believe that Bahá'u'lláh is the Manifestation of God for this age and regard Him as the latest in the line of succession of Prophets that God sends us from time to time.
3. When was the House of Worship constructed?
Construction began in 1980 and the House of Worship was dedicated to public worship in January 1987.
4. Who is the architect?
The architect of this House of Worship is Mr. Fariborz Sahba, who is Canadian.
5. Why is the temple shaped like a lotus?
This exquisitely beautiful flower is inseparably associated with worship and religion in India. The lotus flower represents purity. Although often seen in dirty and stagnant water, it symbolizes that every human is born pure, and like the lotus, can rise above the dirt of conflict, of prejudice and differences that surround us, thereby achieving its true station as intended by God.
6. What is the unique physical feature of the structure of this Temple?
The edifice has no pillars or beams. The petals are made of white concrete and are covered by marble. Marble pieces of over 10,000 different sizes have been used in the construction of the Temple. The marble is of Greek origin and was cut and polished in Italy.
7. How was the Temple project funded? Where does the money for its maintenance come from?
This temple was constructed using the voluntary donations of the Bahá'ís of India and abroad. Only Bahá'ís may contribute to the Bahá'í funds. The Temple does not seek any contributions of tickets from its visitors. The House of Worship is a gift from the Bahá'í community to the world.
8. Is this government-owned land? Was there any government grant given for this building?
This property is privately owned and was purchased by the Bahá'í community in 1953. There was no grant sought or received from the government.
9. Is the Bahá'í Faith a combination or mixture of all religions?
No. The Bahá'í Faith is an independent world religion. Like other major world religions, the Bahá'í Faith has Holy Writings, a set of personal laws like those pertaining to prayer and fasting, and social laws like those pertaining to marriage. While Bahá'ís follow the laws and ordinances of Bahá'u'lláh, they recognize and revere the Prophets of other major religions as well.
10. If there is no clergy in the Bahá'í Faith, how do Bahá'ís practice their religion?
The Bahá'í Faith has no priests, ministers or clergy, but conducts its administrative affairs through elected bodies at local, national and international levels. Bahá'í elections are carried out each year through secret ballot without any nomination or canvassing.
11. What does the symbol in the dome of the Prayer Hall signify?
The symbol known to Bahá'ís as the "Greatest Name" represents the three worlds: the world of God, the world of the Manifestations, and the world of man. These three worlds are connected together by the Manifestations of God. The two stars represent the twin Manifestations of God for this age, Bahá'u'lláh and the Báb.
12. What is the world population of the Bahá'ís?
Worldwide there are over 5.5 million Bahá'ís and in India there are over 1.6 million.
13. What are some of the main principles of the Bahá'í Faith?
- The oneness of God, religion and man
- Independent investigation of truth
- The essential harmony of science and religion
- Equality between men and women
- Elimination of prejudice of all kinds
- The abolition of the extremes of wealth and poverty
- Spiritual solutions to economic problems
14. Where was Bahá'u'lláh from?
Bahá'u'lláh was born in Iran. He was born in a Muslim family but was the Founder of an independent religion in the same way that Jesus Christ was born in a Jewish family and Buddha was born in a Hindu family.
15. How do Bahá'ís pray?
Bahá'ís use prayers revealed by Bahá'u'lláh, His forerunner the Báb, and Bahá'u'lláh's son and appointed successor Abdu'l-Bahá. No specific forms of meditation are laid down in the Bahá'í Writings but daily prayer and reading of the Holy Writings are compulsory.
16. What is the purpose of the Bahá'í House of Worship?
The Bahá'í House of Worship is dedicated to the oneness of humanity and religion. It also displays in symbol and action the unity of mankind – the pivotal principle of the Bahá'í Faith. People from all religious backgrounds are welcome here. Each Bahá'í House of Worship will become a centre for social, scientific, educational and humanitarian services, living up to its title of "Dawning Place of the Remembrance of God."