The religion segment pieces will be centred on what I encounter on my journey of discovering religions in London. As part of series 12 I will be both presenting and co-producing our Religion Special. It has been, thus far, an enlightening experience, and I hope to share through my articles what I have learned with London360 readers.
Recently I went to Tower Hamlets to interview and learn about the Baha’i faith. Farida and Badi, a married couple who follow the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, gave me an understand of what the Baha’i believe.
In essence, the baha’i believe in equality and harmony, a world in which people work together in order to create a sense of utopia on Earth. Diversity and oneness is the foundation of their belief. They celebrate the beauty of diversity, focusing on how diversity is unity; something to celebrate, not to manipulate in order to create separation and animosity in our world. Not only this, but they perceive religion as a principle that is progressive. It does not remain static but constantly evolves according to the needs of the people at that time. For the baha’i, God is a source that sends down educators. These educators have taken the form of Budda, Mohammed, Jesus Christ, Moses and, most recently, Bahá’u’lláh. It is Bahá’u’lláh who is the educator of our time. This educator guides the people of that time with spiritual writing and leadership in order to enlighten and achieve the unification of mankind.
One of the main principles of the baha’i faith is what they call the ‘Independent Investigation of the Truth.’ Thus, every individual, regardless of their cultural, familial or economic background has the right to mature and achieve an understanding of truth that is utterly subjective. Bahá’u’lláh stated that it is at the age of 15 an individual gains spiritual maturity. It is then, at the age of 15, an individual can search and decide the spiritual path he or she may want to take.
The baha’i also place immense value and importance on community spirit; bringing people together in the community but also ameliorating the lives of those in the community through youth work, support and charitable deeds.
I was then given the privilege to join the baha’i at a devotional prayer meeting. Harmonic music was strummed on the guitar, moments of silence and meditation ensued, and each individual discussed a quote that had enlightened them that week. After this, the community discussed the meaning of life, the meaning of unity, and how to improve humanity as it stands now.
Farida and Badi went into much further depth about the religion, and I would like to save that for the programme itself. Yet, as an individual, it was a genuine pleasure to meet such wonderful people who exuded light and goodness, welcoming open arms and acceptance to me during my filming.
It was saddening to hear that many baha’i are currently being tortured and punished in Iran at this moment in time. It was a realisation of how incredibly lucky we all are to live in London. London is a utopia, I would claim, in many ways. The allowance to explore and preach your faith, the fact that diversity is adored and not shunned, as allowed for this little spot on the Earth to give people the peace and space to be who they want to be and believe in whatever way their spirit leads them.
Tune into ‘London Undercover’ series 12 in order to learn more about this wonderful faith.