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Bahais, what is the Covenant?

Discussion in 'Baha'i Faith DIR' started by Sirona, Dec 21, 2019.

  1. Sirona

    Sirona Hindu Wannabe

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    Dear Bahais, what is the Covenant in your religion? From the perspective of an ex-Christian, I dimly recall the Old Testament being called Old Covenant and the New Testament being called New Covenant (no idea whether this terminology is still in use). As for the Muslims, I don't know whether they enter into a covenant with Allah. It's been a while since I read the Quran.

    Thanks for your replies.
     
  2. InvestigateTruth

    InvestigateTruth Well-Known Member

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    Hello Sirona,

    Thanks for the question.
    In Bahai Faith, there is two covenants. The bigger covenant is, a covenant between God and humanity. A covenant has two sides, involving 2 parties. One side of this agreement, is God, who has promised to always provide humanity with His guidance, whenever humanity is in need of a new guidance. The other side of this agreement, is humanity, who promises that whenever God sends a new guidance, they accept and follow God's commandments. This is called the bigger covenant.
    The lesser covenant is more specific in Bahai Faith, and that is the covenant that Bahaullah made with His followers regarding Abdulbaha. Bahaullah said, whenever He leaves this world, after Him, all Bahais are to turn toward Abdulbaha for guidance. So, in Bahai faith, Abdulbaha is the center of covenant.
     
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  3. loverofhumanity

    loverofhumanity Well-Known Member
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    Hello Sirena. Welcome to the Baha’i DIR and thank you for you question.

    Bahá’u’lláh and His Covenant | What Bahá’ís Believe

    A covenant is an agreement between two parties

    My understanding is that there are two covenants.

    The first is the eternal covenant in which God promises to always send Educators to humanity to guide and assist us. So God will never abandon us to ourselves.

    The next Covenant is the one the Educator or Prophet or Avatar makes with His followers that if they obey His laws and teachings certain blessings and benefits will ensue. In that covenant the Educator confirms the Educator which came before and promises a future Educator to His followers who will guide them in the future.

    So for instance Christ confirmed Moses before Him and promised another One Who would appear after Him. Krishna covenanted with His followers that when religion declined He would again manifest Himself to reestablish the principles of religion.

    Christ covenanted, we believe that Muhammad would appear after Him as well as His own return at the end of the age.

    With the Baha’i Covenant, Baha’u’llah covenanted in writing to His followers in His Will and Testament that His Successor was His eldest Son Abdul-Baha and Divine guidance would continue to flow through Him. Abdul-Baha in His Will and Testament appointed Shoghi Effendi His eldest grandson as the Guardian of the Baha’i Faith as well as the Universal House of Justice.

    So according to Bahá’ís we have had uninterrupted infallible Divine Guidance for about 175 years.
     
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  4. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    The best online source of information about the Baha’i Faith is on this website:
    The Bahá’í Faith - The website of the worldwide Bahá’í community

    Bahá’u’lláh and His Covenant

    “These holy Manifestations have been as the coming of springtime in the world…For each spring is the time of a new creation…”— ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

    The Bahá’í Faith began with the mission entrusted by God to two Divine Messengers—the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh. Today, the distinctive unity of the Faith They founded stems from explicit instructions given by Bahá’u’lláh that have assured the continuity of guidance following His passing. This line of succession, referred to as the Covenant, went from Bahá’u’lláh to His Son ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and then from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to His grandson, Shoghi Effendi, and the Universal House of Justice, ordained by Bahá’u’lláh. A Bahá’í accepts the divine authority of the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh and of these appointed successors.

    The Báb »
    (1819-1850)

    The Báb is the Herald of the Bahá’í Faith. In the middle of the 19th century, He announced that He was the bearer of a message destined to transform humanity’s spiritual life. His mission was to prepare the way for the coming of a second Messenger from God, greater than Himself, who would usher in an age of peace and justice.

    Bahá’u’lláh »
    (1817-1892)

    Bahá’u’lláh—the “Glory of God”—is the Promised One foretold by the Báb and all of the Divine Messengers of the past. Bahá’u’lláh delivered a new Revelation from God to humanity. Thousands of verses, letters and books flowed from His pen. In His Writings, He outlined a framework for the development of a global civilization which takes into account both the spiritual and material dimensions of human life. For this, He endured 40 years of imprisonment, torture and exile.

    Abdu’l-Bahá »
    (1844-1921)

    In His will, Bahá’u’lláh appointed His oldest son, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, as the authorized interpreter of His teachings and Head of the Faith. Throughout the East and West, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá became known as an ambassador of peace, an exemplary human being, and the leading exponent of a new Faith.

    Shoghi Effendi »
    (1897-1957)

    Appointed Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, His eldest grandson, Shoghi Effendi, spent 36 years systematically nurturing the development, deepening the understanding, and strengthening the unity of the Bahá’í community, as it increasingly grew to reflect the diversity of the entire human race.

    The Universal House of Justice »
    (established 1963)

    The development of the Bahá’í Faith worldwide is today guided by the Universal House of Justice. In His book of laws, Bahá’u’lláh instructed the Universal House of Justice to exert a positive influence on the welfare of humankind, promote education, peace and global prosperity, and safeguard human honour and the position of religion.
     
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  5. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    A “Covenant” being in this case an understanding and Will which was left by Baha’u’llah and later Abdul-Baha for the believers in the Cause to provide for their guidance. A Covenant has been defined as:

    “A Covenant in the religious sense is a binding agreement between God and man, whereby God requires of man certain behaviour in return for which He guarantees certain blessings, or whereby He gives man certain bounties in return for which He takes from those who accept them an undertaking to behave in a certain way. There is, for example, the Greater Covenant which every Manifestation of God makes with His followers, promising that in the fulness of time a new Manifestation will be sent, and taking from them the undertaking to accept Him when this occurs.”

    Covenant

    One of the best sites online dealing with the Covenant can be found at

    The Baha’i Covenant | The Covenant of Baha’u'llah

    There are two main Covenants in the history of the Faith that consist of (1) the Book of the Covenant of Baha’u’llah appointing Abdul-Baha as the Center of the Covenant and later (2) the Will and Testament of Abdul-Baha recognizing Shoghi Effendi as the Guardian and the Universal House of Justice.

    I will quote from Baha’i sources themselves here:

    KITÁB-I-‘AHD (Book of the Covenant)

    “The Will of the divine Testator is this: It is incumbent upon the Aghsán, the Afnán and My Kindred to turn, one and all, their faces towards the Most Mighty Branch. Consider that which We have revealed in Our Most Holy Book: ‘When the ocean of My presence hath ebbed and the Book of My Revelation is ended, turn your faces toward Him Whom God hath purposed, Who hath branched from this Ancient Root.’ The object of this sacred verse is none other except the Most Mighty Branch [‘Abdu’l-Bahá]. Thus have We graciously revealed unto you Our potent Will, and I am verily the Gracious, the All-Powerful. Verily God hath ordained the station of the Greater Branch [Muḥammad ‘Alí] to be beneath that of the Most Great Branch [‘Abdu’l-Bahá]. He is in truth the Ordainer, the All-Wise. We have chosen ‘the Greater’ after ‘the Most Great’, as decreed by Him Who is the All-Knowing, the All-Informed.”

    Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh Revealed After the Kitáb-i-Aqdas

    Excerpts from the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá:

    O my loving friends! After the passing away of this wronged one, it is incumbent upon the Aghsan (Branches), the Afnan (Twigs) of the Sacred Lote-Tree, the Hands (pillars) of the Cause of God and the loved ones of the Abha Beauty to turn unto Shoghi Effendi -- the youthful branch branched from the two hallowed and sacred Lote-Trees and the fruit grown from the union of the two offshoots of the Tree of Holiness, -- as he is the sign of God, the chosen branch, the guardian of the Cause of God, he unto whom all the Aghsan, the Afnan, the Hands of the Cause of God and His loved ones must turn. He is the expounder of the words of God and after him will succeed the first-born of his lineal descendants.

    “The sacred and youthful branch, the guardian of the Cause of God, as well as the Universal House of Justice, to be universally elected and established, are both under the care and protection of the Abha Beauty, under the shelter and unerring guidance of His Holiness, the Exalted One (may my life be offered up for them both). Whatsoever they decide is of God. Whoso obeyeth him not, neither obeyeth them, hath not obeyed God; whoso rebelleth against him and against them hath rebelled against God; whoso opposeth him hath opposed God…”

    The Will And Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
     
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