How did Baha’is commemorate the birth of Bahá'u'lláh in the Kingdom of Morocco ?

The Baha’i faith is a religion that was established by Bahá'u'lláh in 1863 gathering the essential teachings of all religions and the unity and equality of all people. In October, followers of the Bahá'í faith in Morocco gathered to celebrate two important occasions according to their beliefs, namely the 200th anniversary of the Baha’i founder on the 22nd of October and the birth of Hazrat al-Bab, who proclaimed the status of Mahdi also known as the Twelfth Imam in Islam, on the 21st of the same month.

The Baha’i faith is a religion that was established by Bahá'u'lláh in 1863./Ph. DR
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To know more about how Moroccan Baha’is celebrated the two anniversaries in the Kingdom, Yabiladi interviewed Mohamed Mansouri, a member of the Baha’i Liaison Office in Morocco.

How did you celebrate these two important dates in Morocco ?

Baha’is around the world usually celebrate the two anniversaries in their local communities, or with their friends and relatives. The same thing applies to Baha’is in Morocco. Celebrations took place in different cities around the Kingdom, such as Rabat, Tangier, Tetouan, Fez, Meknes and Agadir.

What are the main rituals of these ceremonies ?

Thank you for asking this question because it allows us to define what a religious celebration means to us. In fact, it is more of an extended bridge for coexistence that gives us the chance to accept other cultures rather than committing to a specific and precise ritual. Therefore, celebrations and festivals are an opportunity for us to introduce the Baha’i faith and the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh, which insist on acceptance and unity. This is why we are keen to share our annual celebrations with our friends and acquaintances. We are commemorating this year the birth of Bahá'u'lláh, who is considered as a messenger of peace and we believe that it is important to make others know about this occasion and participate to it.

To answer your question, Baha’is celebrations are divided into two parts : a spiritual section that includes reciting religious texts and another one where young people, friends and kids gather and snacks are served. We celebrate in a way that brings the physical and spiritual parts together.

Have you had Baha’is from other countries visiting you during these occasions ?

As I mentioned earlier, the festivities took place all over the world and therefore there is no official foreign presence. We have received some Baha’is who happened to be in Morocco during the celebrations and they were welcomed as guests.

Do you have other celebrations other than the two aforementioned ?

Of course we do. In addition to the anniversary of Bahá'u'lláh and the Bab, there is the Naw Ruz : the Baha’i New Year which corresponds to the traditional Persian New Year and occurs on the Vernal equinox. Baha’i communities also gather at the beginning of each month at a meeting called the «Feast» for worship, consultation and socializing.

Do you have a leader or spiritual figure in Morocco?

I think it should be mentioned first that the Baha’i religion forbids priesthood and therefore we don’t have titles such as priest, monk, faqih or imam. The Baha’i religious, educational and social affairs are also managed by nine elected local councils, called Spiritual Assemblies. The latter run the affairs of the religion.

Consequently, there is no authority in the Bahá'í faith. Authority and recognition are only for the institution, and all decisions are taken by a majority after extensive consultation among its members. We believe that justice, manifested in institutions that care for the progress and development of all the peoples of the world, is one of God's greatest gifts to mankind to this day.

Do you have specific places of worship ?

It is important to shed light on an important matter in our religion. Baha’is do not have to gather in public places in order to pray. The Baha'i house of worship is called «Dawning-place of the Mention of God» (Mashriqu'l-Adhkár) and it is open to everybody regardless of their religion and faith. Currently there are seven Bahá'í Houses of Worship, with an eighth one in Chile.

Do you have an idea about the number of Moroccans who embraced the Baha’i faith ?

I have been asked this question several times. We have already stated that we do not have accurate statistics for now on the number of Moroccan Baha’is due to several reasons. Most importantly, there are some people who have recently converted to the Baha’i faith and we don’t know all of them. On the other hand, we don’t really focus a lot on numbers because what matters the most is the sincerity of the message, the learning process and the implementation of teachings advocated by Bahá'u'lláh . 

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