• Issue: February 1993
  • Designer: R. Salomon
  • Stamp size: 30.8 x 30.8 mm
  • Plate no.: 175
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: E. Lewin-Epstein Ltd.
  • Method of printing: Offset

The Haifa-Akko area has the distinction of being the international centre of the Bahai Faith. Originating in Persia (Iran) in 1844, the Faith is an independent religion now established throughout the planet. The Encyclopedia Britannica Yearbook for 1988 shows the Bahai Faith as among the most widely diffused religions on earth, second only to Christianity.

In August 1868, the Faith's founder, Bahaullah, was brought as a prisoner and exile to the then Ottoman penal colony of Akko. Today, His shrine, set amid the beautiful gardens of Bahji ("Delight") just north of Akko is the centre of devotion for the Bahai Faith's five million members throughout the world.

Toward the end of His life, Bahaullah visited Haifa three times, in August 1883, in April 1890, and in the summer of 1891. On the last occasion He pointed out the site on the slopes of Mount Carmel that He had chosen for the burial place of His Herald, the Bab, martyred in 1850 during the early persecution of the young Faith in Persia. The mausoleum, now surmounted by a golden dome, has become Haifa's landmark.

At that time, too, Bahaullah indicated that Mount Carmel would become the location of His Faith's international administrative headquarters. The first two imposing marble structures of this developing complex now stand amidst magnificent gardens adjoining the Shrine of the Bab. The larger of the two is the Seat of the Universal House of Justice, the governing body of the Bahai world. Work is underway on a building programme which will add three more monumental edifices, as well as a series of terraces rising from the foot of Mount Carmel to the Shrine of the Bab and beyond to the ridge of the mountain.

The Bahai Faith is an independent religion, rather than a sect of one of the other belief systems; its teachings, laws, and institutions derive solely from the revealed writings of Bahaullah. Its central belief is that humankind is one people and that the day for the unification of the human family has dawned. It sees all the world's religions as equally valid stages in the progressive revelation of God's will and as the principal impulses in the advancement of civilisation. Equality of the sexes, the essential harmony of science and religion, economic justice, and the establishment of world government are among the principles it promotes.

The Bahai community has no clergy, but is governed by councils elected at local, national, and international levels. It enjoys full consultative status with ECOSOC and UNICEF as an international non-governmental organization, and collaborates with a wide range of United Nations agencies throughout the world. In 1988, the Bahai World Centre signed a formal accord with the government of Israel, which has the character of an international agreement. Among its provisions are a formal recognition of the Universal House of Justice as Head of the Faith and Trustee of the Bahai Holy Places and endowments in the Haifa-Akko area.

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Bahai world centre Haifa, Israel