Bahá’í funeral ceremonies

bahai funeral traditions

The Bahá’í faith is one which originated in 19th century Persia (modern day Iran) and espouses the importance of seeing all humans and humanity as spiritually united. In terms of funerals and funeral ceremonies the basic composition is very simple and according to reference libraries and most followers in the area it is intended that it remain this way. This is in part down to the relative youthfulness of the faith in comparative terms. Relatively little by way of rigid tradition has built up and as such there is no major requirement for special considerations or particular rituals other than a simple prayer.

What’s different about a Bahá’í funeral and lead up to the funeral?

Unlike many differing religious faiths and traditions the Bahá’í faith does not appear to have many strict rules around the conduct of anyone at the time immediately before death. As with many groups what appears to be important is that the dying person is surrounded by friends and family. As their is no clergy in the Bahá’í faith so each service and funeral can be unique and different. Once the person has died the body is washed and on occasion a special ring is placed on the forefinger of the deceased. Embalming or cremation is uncommon and the caskets are usually made of hardwood.

Where does a Bahá’í ceremony take place?

Unlike many other faiths there is no strict location requirement for Bahá’í funerals. The main stipulations for the funeral is that the reading of one prayer called “The prayer of the dead”, preferably but not strict use of a Bahá’í cemetery and that the body be buried towards Qiblih, or toward Akka and Bahá’u’lláh’s own resting places (all considered special places in the faith).

What normally happens at a Bahá’í funeral and what do non observers need to know?

The Bahá’í faith is relatively open and relaxed in relation to traditions and rituals for funerals. Apart from the inclusion of “The prayer for the dead” their really are not too many other strong rules. The remainder of the customs are just customs and do not need to be conducted in strict accordance in order for the ceremony to be considered Bahá’í. With clothes there are no special rules however it can be customary in a lot of locations to wear sombre colours. Flowers are also generally accepted.

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