Bahai News -- Bahai leader buried
Sunday, 23 January, 2000, 15:01 GMT
Bahai leader buried
A Bahai temple in New Delhi|
By religious affairs correspondent Jane Little
The funeral has taken place in Israel of the last surviving member of the holy family of the Bahai faith.
Madame Ruhiyyah Rabbani, who died in Haifa on Wednesday at the age of 90, had a major impact on the growth of the faith.
Hundreds of Bahais from all over the world are expected to attend.
|The faith has its roots in the Islamic Babi movement|
|It is an amalgam of world religions that includes Muslim, Christian and Jewish Theology|
|It teaches that although God is unknown, he is revealed in the teachings of Abraham, Moses, Zoroaster, Buddah, Jesus Christ
|The overall purpose of the faith it to bring about the oneness of humanity|
|Bahai believe there is only one creator and that the spiritual truth of all religions is the same|
This marks the passing of an era for the Bahai religion.
Madame Rabbani was the childless widow of the late Shoghi Effendi Rabbani, the great-grandson of Baha'u'llah, who founded the
faith in 19th-century Persia.
The religion has no clergy, but Madame Rabbani was known as a Hand of the Cause, appointed to provide moral and educational guidance.
And she achieved great respect in her own right.
The Bahai world headquarters in Haifa|
Born Mary Sutherland Maxwell in Canada, she married the head of the world faith in 1937 and was left to secure its future
after his death 20 years later.
Expansion of faith
She played a key role in establishing an elected governing body in Haifa, and saw the faith expand from 40 countries to 190
She travelled for much of the last 35 years, including a four-year journey by Land Rover throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
She produced films, wrote books and poetry and lectured widely in several languages.
The Bahai faith is based on the unity of God, of all religions and of humanity, and Madame Rabbani helped create a global
solidarity between the now six million Bahais.
Ye are all leaves of one tree and the fruits of one branch|
Few civil rights
But the community still suffers persecution in its land of origin. Bahais in Iran have few civil or religious rights.
More than 200 have been executed since the 1979 revolution, often accused of converting Muslims to what is regarded as a
Madame Rabbani will be buried in a garden across from her home in Haifa. Her husband was buried in Britain.
According to Bahai tradition, a body must be buried within an hour's journey of the place where the person died.
©Copyright 2002, BBC (UK)
Page last updated/revised 021127
Return to the Bahá'í Association's Main Web Page