ESSENTIAL REQUISITES FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH
This compilation of the following writings from the Central Figures of the Faith is composed with the humble intention of providing a basic primer on the daily focal points & practices of living life as a fully engaged Bahá’í,
Bahá’u’lláh has stated quite clearly in His Writings the essential requisites for our spiritual growth, and these are emphatically repeated by Abdu’l-Bahá in His talks and Tablets. One can summarize them briefly in this way:
- The recital each day of one of the Obligatory Prayers with pure-hearted devotion.
- The regular reading of the Sacred Scriptures, specifically at least each morning and evening, with reverence, attention and thought.
- Prayerful meditation on the Teachings, so that we may understand them more deeply, fulfill them more faithfully, and convey them more accurately to others.
- Striving every day to bring our behavior more into accordance with the high standards that are set forth in the Teachings.
- Teaching the Cause of God.
- Selfless service in the work of the Cause and in the carrying on of our trade or profession.
(The above except from the 1983-09-01 Universal House of Justice compilation, Meditation, Prayer, and Spiritualization)
The essential daily practice of Bahá’í prayer is reciting one prayer out of the set of the three obligatory prayers. The recital serves on a daily basis the purpose of renewing a refreshing personal communion with the ultimate reality of the divine. Bahá’u’lláh revealed the set of obligatory prayers that are in use today. A variety of three different prayers were unveiled: a short prayer for the recital at noon; a longer prayer to be repeated three times with the first time being in the morning between sunrise and noon, the second time in the afternoon between noon and sunset, and the third time in the evening from sunset till two hours after sunset; and the long prayer to be recited once anytime within twenty-four hours.
In place of every Obligatory Prayer that has been missed the believer is to kneel and bowing forehead to the ground, say “Glorified be God, the Lord of Might and Majesty, of Grace and Bounty”, or only “Glorified be God”. After the requisite number of prostrations, sit cross-legged and repeat eighteen times “Glorified be God, the Lord of the kingdoms of earth and heaven.”
Ablutions (the washing of hands & face) are required before reciting any obligatory prayers in a place that must be clean. When water is unavailable or unsafe for washing, the specifically revealed verse to be recited five times in place of ablutions is: “In the Name of God, the Most Pure, the Most Pure.” Qiblih (The point of adoration to face when offering obligatory prayer) The Báb said that when revealed, the faithful should face in prayer He Whom God shall make manifest. Presently, that
makes Bahá’u’lláh’s shrine the Qiblih. It is obligatory to face the Qiblih while reciting any of the three obligatory prayers.
Repetition of The Most Great Name – Alláh’u’Abhá.
Bahá’u’lláh has commanded the faithful to repeat “Alláh’u’Abhá” (“God is Most Glorious”) 95 times every day while facing the Qiblih after performing ablutions. When said immediately after the obligatory prayer, repetition of ablutions is not required.
Recitation of Verses
Every Bahá‟í must “recite ye the verses of God every morning and evening.” Any of the Bahá’í Sacred Writings by the Central Figures of the Faith (the Báb, Bahá’u’lláh, and `Abdu’l-Bahá) may be used. Bahá’u’lláh emphasizes this obligation by placing it in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas to reinforce that the faithful must fulfill this daily pledge. Meditation Abdu’l-Bahá says that “while you meditate you are speaking with your own spirit. In that state of mind you put certain questions to your spirit and the spirit answers: the light breaks forth and the reality is revealed.”
“Bring thyself to account each day ere thou art summoned to a reckoning; for death, unheralded, shall come upon thee & thou shalt be called to give account for thy deeds.” – Bahá’u’lláh