Lebanon

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The Bahá'í Faith has a following of at least several hundred people in Lebanon dating back to 1870.[1] The community includes around 400 people, with a centre in Beit Merry and cemeteries in Mashghara and Khaldeh. The Association of Religion Data Archives (relying on World Christian Encyclopedia) estimated some 3,515 Bahá'ís in 2005.[2]

History[edit]

The first Bahá'ís who came to present day Lebanon were Iranians who came in the 1870s. The founder of the Bahá'í Faith, Bahá'u'lláh, was exiled to Acre, which was at the time was part of the same Ottoman province, or vilayet, of Beirut.

In 1894 a Lebanese Christian doctor, Dr. Ibrahim Khayru'llah, converted to the Bahá'í Faith whilst studying in Cairo. After Bahá'u'llúh wrote a specific tablet to him, he moved to Chicago in the United States and was instrumental in converted many of the early Bahá'í followers there.[3]

A Shi'ite Imam in the southern village of Mashghara, Sheikh Ja’afar Al-Tahhan, converted to the Bahá'í Faith in 1923, and that village is now the centre of the community, with the only Lebanese Local Spiritual Assembly. [1]

Ottoman subdivisions when the first Bahá'ís came to Lebanon

The Encyclopedia of the Orient reported that there were 4,000 Bahá'ís living in Lebanon, or around 0.13% of the population. [4]

In 1968, a prominent Bahá'í academic, Suheil Bushrui became a visiting professor at the American University of Beirut. In the 1980s he was appointed an advisor by President Amine Gemayel, indicating how Bahá'ís are accepted.[4]

Treatment[edit]

The Baha'i Faith is not one of the 18 recognised sects in Lebanon, so many Bahá'ís are officially listed according to the religion of their ancestors, mostly Shiite.[4] Bahá'í marriages are therefore not recognised, so Bahá'ís tend to travel to Cyprus to have a civil wedding, which is recognised when they return. Other than that, Bahá'ís are allowed to practice their religion in public without any problems.[1]

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Baha’i faith in Lebanon, Al Nahar (newspaper), 2009-09-12
  2. "Most Baha'i Nations (2005)". QuickLists > Compare Nations > Religions >. The Association of Religion Data Archives. 2005. http://www.thearda.com/QuickLists/QuickList_40c.asp. Retrieved 2011-02-28. 
  3. God Passes By, Shoghi Effendi, 1944 - see God Passes By,
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Lebanon: Situation of Baha'is, Government of Canada, 2004-04-16


This article is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 Unported License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Bahá'í Faith in Lebanon.