“Let your vision be world embracing…” — Bahá’u’lláh
Throughout history, God has sent to humanity a series of divine Educators—known as Manifestations of God—whose teachings have provided the basis for the advancement of civilization. These Manifestations have included Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad. Bahá’u’lláh, the latest of these Messengers, explained that the religions of the world come from the same Source and are in essence successive chapters of one religion from God.
Bahá’ís believe the crucial need facing humanity is to find a unifying vision of the future of society and of the nature and purpose of life. Such a vision unfolds in the writings of Bahá’u’lláh.
The Bahá'í community today numbers some five million members residing in 189 independent countries and 46 territories. Its rich diversity embraces people from most of the planet's races, creeds and cultures, including over 2,100 different ethnic groupings.
There is no clergy in the Bahá'í Faith. Because the human race has entered upon the age of its maturity, each individual is able to explore the revelation of God and to decide on the issues of life through prayer, reflection, and consultation with others. To make this possible, the Bahá'í scriptures have so far been translated into some 800 different languages.
The same principle applies to the community's collective life. Elected councils, designated as Spiritual Assemblies, administer the affairs of the Faith at both local and national levels. All adult believers are equally eligible and election is by secret ballot.
The work of the Faith is entirely supported by voluntary contributions from the members. Giving to the Bahá'í fund is regarded as one of the privileges of membership; the Faith does not accept outside contributions.