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Probably the most-asked question here on BahaiTeachings.org is “How do I become a Baha’i?” One recent e-mail from a seeker in India said it this way: “I want to be a member of your beautiful religion. How can I do that?”

Abdu’l-Baha once said,

“A Baha’i is someone who loves and serves all humanity.”

To take that next step, and go beyond being a Baha’i in spirit, you may feel ready to actively seek out others who can help you address the urgent needs of the human family together. Before you do that, though, you’ll want to look into your own heart.

Because basically, becoming a Baha’i is a heartfelt, spiritual and deeply personal decision. You really become a Baha’i once you begin believing in Baha’u’llah and in the Baha’i teachings. Since the Baha’i Faith has no clergy or initiation or baptism, becoming a Baha’i simply means making the purely individual commitment that you want to try to follow Baha’u’llah’s teachings.

This deep decision usually occurs after an inner process of searching for spiritual wisdom and guidance; discovering the Baha’i teachings and exploring them; beginning to recognize and love Baha’u’llah and His message of the unity of all people and the renewal of one world faith; and coming to identify with the inner mystical truths as well as the progressive social goals of the Baha’i Faith.

For some people, traveling the path of search takes a lifetime, but for others, their recognition of the truth of the Baha’i teachings happens instantaneously. There is no prescribed duration, no typical timeline, no right or wrong pathway of search here – everyone walks their own spiritual road and makes their own decision.

And once you’ve traveled that mystical path, you may be ready to become a Baha’i.

The actual physical process of becoming a Baha’i, of joining the Baha’i community and signing on as a member of the Faith, is very simple. It varies from country to country, depending on civil and religious laws, but in most countries you simply sign a Baha’i declaration card, which typically says something like this:

I wish to become a member of the Baha’i community. I accept Baha’u’llah as the Bearer of God’s Message for this Day and will endeavour to follow His teachings and the Baha’i way of life. I also accept the authority of the institutions which administer the affairs of the Baha’i community. (Australian Baha’i declaration card)

Baha’u’llah said that Baha’is should not proselytize, or try to convert anyone to the Baha’i Faith forcefully or without their consent. That means becoming a Baha’i is entirely voluntary and completely up to you. No other person can condition or determine what you believe.

Bahai Declaration CardWhen you sign a Baha’i declaration card, you’ll be joyfully welcomed into a local Baha’i community, and become part of the worldwide Baha’i community, as well. But that powerful moment of recognition, when you decide to be a Baha’i, happens first in your heart. In essence, becoming a Baha’i means falling in love with beauty, unity, peace and justice, the hallmarks of Baha’u’llah’s Revelation. This important spiritual milestone in your life, making the decision to recognize God’s Messenger, can bring you great peace, joy and freedom.

Baha’u’llah praised this process in very elevated and exalted terms:

The first duty prescribed by God for His servants is the recognition of Him Who is the Day Spring of His Revelation and the fountain of His laws… It behooveth every one who reacheth this most sublime station, this summit of transcendent glory, to observe every ordinance of Him Who is the Desire of the world. These twin duties are inseparable. Neither is acceptable without the other. – The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 19.

When you become a Baha’i, you join millions of Baha’u’llah’s followers around the globe. You enter a beautiful garden of kindred souls that includes every color, ethnicity, class and nationality. You recognize the Manifestation of God for this day. Most importantly, you take the next step on a spiritual path meant to prepare your soul for its eternal journey.

8 Comments

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  • Angel Shining
    Sep 08, 2018
    I give up, I was replying to linda but it keeps going under karen ---anyway I am becoming a Baha'i next week!!
  • Karen Jentz
    Jun 02, 2016
    The newer US declaration card is much more beautiful and doesn't include the last phrase. More in keeping with the spirit of the beginning of the article.
  • Linda Pearce
    Jun 02, 2016
    As I understand it anyone who serves humanity is a Baha'i. The rest is invented mumbo-jumbo that we have come to believe is the truth.
    • Angel Shining
      Sep 08, 2018
      oops it went up there---i was trying to say yes I imagine Bahai in spirit .....
  • Patricia Righolt
    Apr 16, 2016
    Is it possible to be a Bahá'í and to remain a member of an another religion?
    • Barbara Neafcy
      Oct 24, 2017
      You need not give up your belief in your previous faith, for example, Christianity. In fact or course central to the Baha'i belief is acceptance of the oneness of all of the Religions. I would be a negligient Baha'i if I said that I would accept Baha'ullah, but not Muhammad, Christ but not Buddha. We accept all of them but in our daily religious practice we have moved up to a higher grade in school so to speak, where the teachings of the past simply lay the foundation that our Baha'i education is built upon, and so our daily living ...incorporates these new teachings. Membership in a specific parish, mosque or synagogue would be discouraged, but a friendly visit to any house of worship is encouraged.
      Read more...
    • Laura Beatts-Rattray
      Jul 07, 2016
      I have a friend who is in this boat. I am trying to find out for myself and will let you know when I find some Writings on the subject
  • James Howden
    Sep 20, 2013
    This is a sane, gentle and spirited approach to the question of belief moving toward adherence. This is lovely and clear, yet it definitely puts the cart (formal membership in a community, with all the service opportunities that provides) behind the horse (hearty recognition of Baha'u'llah and a willingness to follow). Nicely done, again.