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6 years ago  ::  Nov 12, 2008 - 1:30AM #1
JCOverseas
Posts: 165
What does a member of the Baha'i faith do in terms of practicing the faith--daily, weekly, every 19 days? How do they pray--do they face toward Haifa or a simlar place? Do they perform the prayer ritual in the way that Moslems do? (My apologies if these questions sound shockingly ignorant...)
Thank you in advance for your responses!
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 12, 2008 - 1:30AM #2
JCOverseas
Posts: 165
What does a member of the Baha'i faith do in terms of practicing the faith--daily, weekly, every 19 days? How do they pray--do they face toward Haifa or a simlar place? Do they perform the prayer ritual in the way that Moslems do? (My apologies if these questions sound shockingly ignorant...)
Thank you in advance for your responses!
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 13, 2008 - 11:24AM #3
maxmar
Posts: 104
No need for any apologies, Baha'i are always happy to answers questions....

Prayer is one of the most important aspects of the Baha'i Faith:

"O thou spiritual friend! Thou hast asked the wisdom of prayer. Know thou that prayer is indispensable and obligatory, and man under no pretext whatsoever is excused from performing the prayer unless he be mentally unsound, or an insurmountable obstacle prevent him. The wisdom of prayer is this: That it causeth a connection between the servant and the True One, because in that state man with all heart and soul turneth his face towards His Highness the Almighty, seeking His association and desiring His love and compassion. The greatest happiness for a lover is to converse with his beloved, and the greatest gift for a seeker is to become familiar with the object of his longing; that is why with every soul who is attracted to the Kingdom of God, his greatest hope is to find an opportunity to entreat and supplicate before his Beloved, appeal for His mercy and grace and be immersed in the ocean of His utterance, goodness and generosity.
Besides all this, prayer and fasting is the cause of awakening and mindfulness and conducive to protection and preservation from tests...."
    (Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith - Abdu'l-Baha Section, p. 368)

Daily, Baha'is are required to prayer and read the Writings morning and evening.    The believer is free to choose how long a prayer or reading Writings should be.    Believers are also required to recite ONE Obligatory prayer; there are three from which one can choose--Short, Medium or Long.   Before Obligatory prayer one is required to "face the Quiblih"=point of adoration=Akka Israel where Baha'u'llah is buried, and to perform ablutions (wash face & hands).   One is also required to say 95 times "Allah'u'Abha" (Arabic meaning "God the All-Glorious") each day.       If water is not readily available for Obligatory prayer or the Allah'u'Abhas, one can substitute saying 5 times:   "In the name of God, the Most Pure, the Most Pure".

Here are the 3 Obligatory Prayers:     http://www.bahaiprayers.org/obligshort.htm

Believers are also encouraged to meditate---there is no specific form to follow.
"Through the faculty of meditation man attains to eternal life; through it he receives the breath of the Holy Spirit -- the bestowal of the Spirit is given in reflection and meditation.

The spirit of man is itself informed and strengthened during meditation; through it affairs of which man knew nothing are unfolded before his view. Through it he receives Divine inspiration, through it he receives heavenly food.

Meditation is the key for opening the doors of mysteries. In that state man abstracts himself: in that state man withdraws himself from all outside objects; in that subjective mood he is immersed in the ocean of spiritual life and can unfold the secrets of things-in-themselves. To illustrate this, think of man as endowed with two kinds of sight; when the power of insight is being used the outward power of vision does not see.

This faculty of meditation frees man from the animal nature, discerns the reality of things, puts man in touch with God.

This faculty brings forth from the invisible plane the sciences and arts. Through the meditative faculty inventions are made possible, colossal undertakings are carried out; through it governments can run smoothly. Through this faculty man enters into the very Kingdom of God."
    (Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 175)

These daily practices may seem like it would take a lot of time, but in practice it really doesn't.    For me, I find morning the best time after a shower/bath/washing up because the ablutions are taken care of for the 95 Allah'u'Abhas, etc..

Every Baha'i month (once in 19 days), although attendance is not mandatory, believers are strongly encouraged to attend the 19-Day Feast, which is somewhat equivalent to "church".
     
The Feast consists of 3 parts:   1) Devotional (readings and prayers, often music), 2) Administrative (where correspondence, activities, etc. are discussed) and 3) Social (hospitality, refreshments,  and conversation).     In large communities, the Feast may be held in a hall; in small communities the Feast may be held in member's homes.

In reality,  Baha'i practice of prayer, meditation and Feasts truly gives a rhythm to one's life.

Hope this answers your questions, perhaps others have something to add.
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