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Religion Library: Baha'i

Sacred Space

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Pilgrimages to the Haifa-'Akka area are performed on an organized basis, and pilgrims must apply to go. The standard pilgrimage lasts nine days and the pilgrims are guided round the various sites in the Haifa-'Akka area associated with the central figures of the Baha'i Faith; they also spend much personal time in the shrines. There are no set rituals of pilgrimage but there are special prayers (called Tablets of Visitation) that are recited when in the shrines.

Part of the Tablet of Visitation recited in the Shrines of Baha'u'llah and the Bab

I bear witness, moreover, that through Thy beauty the beauty of the Adored One hath been unveiled, and through Thy face the face of the Desired One hath shone forth, and that through a word from Thee Thou hast decided between all created things. . .

I bear witness that he who hath known Thee hath known God, and he who hath attained unto Thy presence hath attained unto the presence of God. Great, therefore, is the blessedness of him who hath believed in Thee, and in Thy signs, and hath humbled himself before Thy sovereignty, and hath been honored with meeting Thee, and hath attained the good pleasure of Thy will, and circled around Thee, and stood before Thy throne . . .

I bear witness that the eye of creation hath never gazed upon one wronged like Thee. Thou wast immersed all the days of Thy life beneath an ocean of tribulations. At one time Thou wast in chains and fetters; at another Thou wast threatened by the sword of Thine enemies. Yet, despite all this, Thou didst enjoin upon all men to observe what had been prescribed unto Thee by Him Who is the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.

There are a few other sites of international importance, such as the House of Baha'u'llah in Edirne in European Turkey and the grave of Shoghi Effendi in London; these are often visited especially by the Baha'is living in certain Muslim countries who cannot visit Israel. In addition, there are a number of buildings and graves that are of national importance and are often visited by the Baha'is of a particular country, such as, for example, places that 'Abdu'l-Baha visited in North America and Europe.

Many of the larger Baha'i communities have a Baha'i center, which acts as a meeting hall for Baha'is and often also has offices for local Baha'i institutions. Their function is mainly practical however, although the name that is given to them, Haziratu'l-Quds, means "the sacred fold." While Baha'is will not usually have any room in their house dedicated solely as a sacred space with holy images and so forth, they will often have an area that they use for their prayers and meditations.

 

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