Houses of Worship
Bahá’u’lláh designated Bahá’í Houses of Worship as spiritual gathering places for prayer and meditation around which will cluster social, humanitarian, educational, and scientific institutions. Eight continental and two local Bahá’í Houses of Worship have been built.
The physical structure of a House of Worship comprises a central building—a House of Worship—along with several dependencies. While the House of Worship forms the focal point of worship in a geographical area, its purpose is not solely to provide a place for prayer. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá explained that, through the provision of education, healthcare and other services it is also to support the social and economic progress of the community and afford shelter, relief and assistance to those in need. In this connection, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá anticipated that subsidiary branches—such as a hospital, school, university, dispensary, and hospice—would gradually be added to a House of Worship. Bahá’u’lláh refers to the House of Worship as a Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, Arabic for “dawning place of the mention of God.”
Bahá’í Houses of Worship are located in:
- Wilmette, Illinois, United States. Opened in 1953.
- Kampala, Uganda. Opened in 1961.
- Sydney, Australia. Opened in 1961.
- Frankfurt, Germany. Opened in 1964.
- Panama City, Panama. Opened in 1972.
- Apia, Samoa. Opened in 1984.
- New Delhi, India. Opened in 1986.
- Santiago, Chile. Opened in 2016.
- Battambang, Cambodia. Opened in 2017.
- Norte del Cauca, Colombia. Opened in 2018.
Plans are underway to build national Houses of Worship in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Papua New Guinea. Local Houses of Worship are also being constructed in Bihar Sharif, India; Matunda Soy, Kenya; and Tanna, Vanuatu. At the local level, meetings for worship are held regularly in Bahá’í centers and in the homes of believers all over the world.