The Bahai gardens Haifa Israel

Moshe Cohen

Joined March 2008

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The Bahá’í Faith is a religion founded by Bahá’u’lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are about six million Bahá’ís in more than 200 countries and territories around the world.

According to Bahá’í teachings, religious history has unfolded through a series of God’s messengers who brought teachings suited for the capacity of the people at their time, and whose fundamental purpose is the same. Bahá’u’lláh is regarded as the most recent, but not final, in a line of messengers that includes Abraham, Moses, Zoroaster, Buddha, Krishna, Jesus, Muhammad and others. Bahá’u’lláh’s claim to fulfill the eschatological promises of previous scriptures coincides with his mission to establish a firm basis for unity throughout the world, and inaugurate an age of peace and justice, which Bahá’ís expect will inevitably arise.

The Shrine of the Báb is a structure in Haifa, Israel where the remains of the Báb, founder of Bábism and forerunner of Bahá’u’lláh in the Bahá’í Faith, have been laid to rest; it is considered to be the second holiest place on Earth for Bahá’ís. Its precise location on Mount Carmel was designated by Bahá’u’lláh himself to his eldest son, `Abdu’l-Bahá, in 1891. `Abdu’l-Bahá planned the structure, which was designed and completed several years later by his grandson, Shoghi Effendi.

Crowning the design, as anticipated by `Abdu’l-Bahá, is a dome, which is set on an 18-windowed drum. That, in turn, is mounted on an octagon, a feature suggested by Shoghi Effendi. An arcade surrounds the stone edifice.

The Universal House of Justice is the supreme governing institution of the Bahá’í Faith. Its nine members are elected every five years by an electoral college consisting of all the members of each National Spiritual Assembly. It is a legislative institution with the authority to supplement and apply the laws of Bahá’u’lláh and exercises a judicial function as the highest appellate institution in the Bahá’í administration.

The Seat of the Universal House of Justice and its members reside in Haifa, Israel, on the slope of Mount Carmel. It was alluded to in the writings of Bahá’u’lláh and `Abdu’l-Bahá, and was officially established in 1963 as the culmination of the Ten Year Crusade.

The books and documents published by the Universal House of Justice are considered authoritative and its legislative decisions are considered infallible to Bahá’ís .

Haifa is the largest city in Northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of about 267,800. The city is a seaport located on Israel’s Mediterranean coastline in the Bay of Haifa. It is located about 90 kilometres (56 mi) north of Tel Aviv and is the major regional center of the north of Israel.

Haifa has a long history dating back to Biblical times. Built on the slopes of the historic Mount Carmel, the city was known in the 3rd century CE as a dye making center. Over time, it has fallen under the rule of the Byzantines, Arabs, Crusaders, Ottomans, Egyptians, and British and today is home to a mixed population of Jews and Arabs, as well as to the Bahá’í World Centre. The city also has a restored German Colony built by Templers who arrived here in 1868. The city has two world-class academic institutions, the University of Haifa and the Technion, and now plays an important role in Israel’s hi-tech industry with a number of hi-tech parks, including the oldest and largest in the country. Traditionally, however, the city was an industrial center based around the port and oil refinery, the towers of which long symbolised the city.

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