October 20, 2017 By Ibrahim K.Turay
Followers of Baha’is, a religion that has existed in Sierra Leone since 1959, have yesterday (19 October, 2017) celebrated a bicentenary of the birth of their founder and prophet, Baha’u’llah.
At a press conference held at their main centre, New Signal Hill Road in Freetown, Engineer Alfred Momodu, who served as the chairman of the occasion, gave a brief history about the birth of the prophet.
He said Baha’u’llah was born in Iran on 12th November 1817 and was well known by the people of Iran, noting that he was at the age of 27 when he started spreading his region in Iran.
“Because Iran was an Islamic state, the people decided to exile him from the country and he fled to Syria. He was imprisoned in Syria for over a decade before he was exile,” he explained. He disclosed that he was imprisoned in the city of Akka in the Ottoman Province of Syria, in what is now Israel.
Annually, he said, Bahá’ís around the world elect local, regional, and national spiritual assemblies that govern the affairs of the religion.
Daniel Parkinson Boima, member of the Baha’is faith, said the faith established in Sierra Leone in 1959 and has a total number of worshippers of about three hundred and two (302).
“We do not discriminate any religion, we believe that all religions are from God, and we believe that all the prophets of God came with the same message that God is one and every human being will face judgment day,” he said.
He said the Baha faith also performs ablutions before prayers, adding that they have three forms by which they observe prayers.
“We have short, middle and long forms of prayer. The short form prayer can be done in morning, the middle in the afternoon while the long in the evening,” he disclosed.
Also, Dr. Isatou Hyde Forster mentioned that the Baha faith is not different from other religions, noting that they believe in the oneness of God, and that they attend pilgrimage as the Muslims do every year.
She however stated that they attend their pilgrimage in Iran where there main temple centre is situated.
Hawa Wekesa also talked about the establishment of Baha and reiterated that they have forty-one (41) worshipping centres in the country.
“KITAB-I AQDAS, which is the most holy book, is the Law Book of the Baha faith. Baha faith also does not have clerics. Everyone prays by him/herself but we can only pray together when our member dies,” she explained.