The Bahá'í Faith is founded on the teachings of its founder, Bahá'u'lláh (1817-1892). The founder taught spiritual values that he hoped would bring about the unification of global society.
An Overview of Beliefs
Members of the Bahá'í Faith believe that humanity is a single race and they seek to eliminate racial, religious and class barriers in the hope of achieving a universal civilization. They believe the thing that unites all people is their invisible, rational and everlasting soul.
Views on Death and the After-Life
In accordance to their view that the soul of an individual is of greatest importance, members of the Bahá'í Faith believe it is immortal. Bahá'u'lláh wrote: "Know thou of a truth that the soul, after its separation from the body, will continue to progress until it attaineth the presence of God, in a state and condition which neither the revolution of ages and centuries, nor the changes and chances of this world, can alter. It will endure as long as the Kingdom of God, His sovereignty, His dominion and power will endure."
Members of the Bahá'í Faith do not believe in incarnation, but have a unique view that this world is a womb for their development as they prepare to enter the spiritual world. They believe that the human soul continues to be an individual and conscious entity after death and souls of the departed are aware of each together and drawn together by their love.
Mourning and Funeral Rites
The only requirement for a Baha’i funeral service is that all stand while the "Prayer for the Dead" is recited. There is no clergy in the Baha’i faith, so any practitioner may do this. Other than that, family members are free to choose any kind of observance that they desire. One of the hallmarks of a Baha’i funeral service is that they are simple and dignified.
In addition to the funeral, members of the Baha’i faith often memorialize the departed person by holding informal gatherings where they share their love for him or her, pray and read from the writings of Bahá'u'lláh.
Whenever possible, a member of the Baha’i faith should be buried with their feet facing the Holy Land. Normally the tombstone as the symbol of the Baha’i faith on it, which is a nine pointed star.
How to Express your Condolences
Members of the Baha’i faith do not have any special methods of expressing their condolences. As with most groups, it is always appropriate to share your sense of loss with the family and friends of the deceased. This should be done in person if possible or by letter if necessary. A card of condolence is far better than a email, but a text message should be considered inappropriate. Condolences should be directed to a surviving spouse, the adult children of the deceased, of the family member you know best.
Important note: The statements made about beliefs and rites are general in nature and may vary by sect, denomination, country or ethnic group. The information provided here is intended as an overview, and if you have questions about specific matters you should contact the clergy or other person conducting the funeral service. If you read anything in this section that differs from the beliefs in your tradition, please contact us so we can update this page.