The Shrine of the Báb in Haifa, Israel

Key terms and facts

Name of the religion and of the organization – the Bahá’í Faith

The Bahá’í Faith is an independent world religion.

A member is called a Bahá’í (plural: Bahá’ís). It is also correct to say that someone is a “member of the Bahá’í Faith,” a “follower of the Bahá’í Faith,” a “follower of Bahá’u’lláh,” or a member of the Bahá’í community of a given locality.

The term “Bahá’í International Community” refers to the non-governmental organization that represents the worldwide Bahá’í community. It has been registered with the United Nations as a nongovernmental organization since 1948. It currently has consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social council (ECOSOC) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), as well as accreditation with the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI). The Bahá’í International Community collaborates with the UN and its specialized agencies, as well as member states, inter- and non-governmental organizations, academia, and practitioners. It has Representative Offices in Addis Ababa, Brussels, Geneva, Jakarta, and New York.

Founder of the Bahá’í Faith – Bahá’u’lláh

Bahá’ís consider Bahá’u’lláh to be the most recent in a line of great religious teachers, or Messengers of God, that includes Abraham, Buddha, Jesus Christ, Krishna, Muhammad, Moses, Zoroaster, and others. Bahá’u’lláh – the name is Arabic for “Glory of God” – was born in 1817 in Tehran, Iran, and passed away in 1892 in Acre, Israel. The coming of Bahá’u’lláh was announced by the Báb (Arabic for “Gate”), also considered by Bahá’ís to be a divine Messenger.

Year of founding – 1844

There are a number of important dates in the establishment of the Bahá’í Faith, but the first announcement by the Báb of the new religion came in 1844.

Head of the religion – the Universal House of Justice

The Universal House of Justice is the international governing council of the Bahá’í community, an elected body of nine men. Its seat is at the Bahá’í World Centre in Haifa, Israel. Around the world, in almost all countries, a National Spiritual Assembly oversees the affairs of the Bahá’í Faith in that country, and Local Spiritual Assemblies oversee local affairs.