Fifty Baha’i Principles of Unity: A Paradigm of Social Salvation | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 18, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1354-8697
  • E-ISSN: 2040-1701



The Baha’i Faith, a young world religion, offers principles of unity – from family relations to international relations – as a paradigm for social salvation. These principles may be studied within the analytic prism of an ‘illness/cure’ approach to religious soteriologies – a conceptual model in the phenomenology of religions popularized by Stephen Prothero. World religions are systems of salvation, liberation or harmony. Their respective offers of salvation, liberation or harmony respond directly to the human predicament, as defined by each religion. If humanity is plagued by sin, then Christianity’s redemptive offer of salvation from sin makes perfect sense. Early Buddhism’s offer of liberation – from the fundamental problem of suffering – also fits perfectly in this model. In the Baha’i religion, the plight facing the world is profound estrangement at all levels of society. Therefore the social salvation that the Baha’i religion offers are precepts and practices that augment unity and harmony, as Baha’u’llah proclaims: ‘The distinguishing feature that marketh the pre-eminent character of this Supreme Revelation consisteth in that We have … blotted out from the pages of God’s holy Book whatsoever hath been the cause of strife, of malice and mischief amongst the children of men, and have … laid down the essential prerequisites of concord, of understanding, of complete and enduring unity’. After reviewing Raymond Piper’s typology, fifty (50) Baha’i principles of unity are enumerated and briefly described: types of unity propounded by Baha’u’llah in the Tablet of Unity (Lawḥ-i Ittiḥād); types of unity forecast by ‘Abdu’l-Baha in the ‘The Seven Candles of Unity’; and types of unity articulated by Shoghi Effendi – a splendid array of understudied elements of the Baha’i social gospel. Since the present study is a first extended survey – of the notion of unity vis-à-vis the Baha’i Faith, based squarely on authenticated primary sources – results are preliminary, not definitive.


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