The Bahá’í Faith
Mark A. Foster, Ph.D.
The Persianized Arabic for the Bahā’ī Faith is al-Dīn Bahā’ī. Indeed,
the normative Arabic term for Bahā’ī, al-Bahā’īyah (roughly, Bahāism),
is rarely used by members of the religion. The word itself is usually
transliterated, or Romanized, as Bahá’í, rather than as Bahā’ī, and it
can refer either to the religion itself or to one of its adherents.
Etymologically, Bahá’í is the adjectival form of the Arabic, Bahá’
(Bahā'), known as al-Ism al-A‘zam (the Greatest Name), and it may be
translated as glory or splendor. Bahá’ is also the short version of one
of the titles of the Founder of the religion (Mīrzā Ḥusayn 'Alī Nūrī),
Bahā' Allāh (generally transliterated as Bahá’u’lláh), and it can be
rendered as either Glory or Splendor of God.
The word, Faith, in Bahá’í Faith, is a translation of the Arabic, Dīn (al-
Dīn). However, Dīn is is a term with no precise English equivalent.
Approximations would be way of life or, perhaps, way of obedience. It
it also frequently rendered as religion.
Copyright 2010 Mark A. Foster, Ph.D. All rights reserved.