Community and administration

Entries about Baha'i community life, about Baha'i administration, and about how the two intersect.

Abdu’l-Baha on religious law and the House of Justice

{josquote} principle, the Baha’i Faith is similar to Christianity, whose scriptures also specify only a few laws.{/josquote}

This tablet by Abdu’l-Baha, dated around 1899, responds to detailed questions, “concerning the wisdom of referring some important laws to the House of Justice.” Abdu’l-Baha replies that, in principle, the Baha’i Faith is similar to Christianity, whose scriptures also specify only a few laws.

The Bahai Faith, he says, has little connection to worldly concerns. Religion’s primary function is to refine characters and bring light in darkness. However the Bahai scriptures do specify some foundations of our religious law, leaving subsidiary matters to the divinely-inspired House of Justice, which can make ‘cultural laws,’ (ahkaam madaniyyih) in accordance with time and circumstance. In Islam, this power was in the hands of diverse divines, resulting in conflicting rules. In the Bahai Faith, only the rulings of the Houses of Justice are binding, and the Houses of Justice change their rulings from time to time. This principle applies to a local, national or international House of Justice.

Abdu’l-Baha gives two examples of the advantage of flexibility in religious law: the forbidden degrees of marriage and the punishments for breaches of the religious law. The first should be decided by the House of Justice according to social customs and medical requirements, wisdom, and suitability for human nature (the first three of which are specific to a time and place). Punishments likewise cannot remain the same forever, as can be seen in Judaism and Islam, where the punishments specified in scripture are no longer socially acceptable.

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Baha'i lady's legacy

Baha'i Temple archivist Margaret Anderson with a typewriter that belonged to founder Hyde Dunn.

THE founder of the Baha’i faith was celebrated in a service on Sunday at the iconic, white-domed Ingleside temple.

The temple is one of seven around the world, the nearest temples being in Samoa and New Delhi, India.

The celebrations marked the anniversary of the passing of Clara Dunn, who introduced the Baha’i faith to Australia in 1920 with her husband Hyde Dunn.

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Hossain Danesh Heavily Promoted By NSA

Hossain Danesh

Never let it be said that the NSA doesn’t take care of one of its own.

After losing his license to practice medicine in Ontario, due to several patients of his coming forward with allegations of sexual abuse, Hossain Danesh was protected by the NSA and given a plum job running Landegg Academy in Switzerland. That was a comfortable, out of the way posting. Especially since it allowed him to put the distance of half the world between himself and what had transpired recently.

Danesh then applied his considerable executive talent to that organization. The result? Landegg closed its doors in 2005 declaring bankruptcy. So Danesh headed back to Canada. Now that 16 years have passed, washing away most people’s memories, it seems that he is ready for his newest public incarnation. And he is being heavily promoted by the NSA.

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New Counsellors Appointed by UHJ

Borna Noureddin

The Universal House of Justice recently announced the new round of continental board of Counsellors. The full list is below.

Of those newly appointed is Borna Noureddin. Noureddin was until this appointment a member of the Canadian National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Canada.

He was elected to the post initially to replace a retiring Don (Otto) Rogers in 2007 and since then he has been re-elected at every consecutive election providing him with a four year heritage at the NSA of Canada. Last year he was also the Chairperson of the NSA of Canada.

It is relatively rare to see a move between the two arms of the Baha’i institutions. A few years ago Counsellor David Smith was relieved of his position as a Counsellor to be first elected to the local assembly of Toronto and then a short time later to the National Spiritual Assembly. Unlike his peers who have spent an average of 9 consecutive years on the body, Smith was a member for just two years.

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Government spends $15M on domestic violence training for religious leaders

His Excellency President Bharrat Jagdeo addressing religious leaders at the opening session of a training seminar on Domestic violence at the National Cultural Centre

Government will be spending $15M to train religious leaders in a faith-based approach to deal with domestic violence. President Bharrat Jagdeo disclosed this today at a press conference at his office.

He said that Guyana has passed some of the most advanced legislation in the world as it relates to domestic violence. However, he pointed out that adequate training and the much required sensitivity to the issue is also necessary.

“We plan to correct this deficiency and we think that the best partner in doing this is the religious community,” President Jagdeo said.

Approximately 600 members of the Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Rastafarian, and Bahai faiths will undertake the training, that will be conducted by New York based established inter-faith counselling service provider on domestic violence, led by Dr. Cecil Mercurius.

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See also, President calls for balance between economic prosperity and morality.