Baha’i friends are welcome to add their information and suggestions to this blog.
(This is the half part, I will write more in the next part in 2 days)
General Guidelines for Bahá’i Marriage
• Consent to the marriage from all living biological parents of the couple is required, regardless of whether the parents are Baha’is or not, It is important to note that the consent of parents required by Bahá’i law is to the marriage of the parties and not to the Bahá’i ceremony.
• If any parent resides abroad, the letter of consent should be authenticated by the National or Local Assembly of that country and forwarded to the Assembly.
• When consent of the couple’s parents has been obtained, the Local Spiritual Assembly where the marriage will take place must be contacted to authorize the marriage. If there is no Local Spiritual Assembly In the locality, a neighbouring Local Spiritual Assembly can be approached. Otherwise, the marriage will be under the aegis of the State / Regional Council.
• As a courtesy, the Assembly should be given sufficient time for notification, generally at least 30 days.
• The couple must choose two trustworthy witnesses of the marriage ceremony. The witnesses may be Baha’is or non-Baha’is, but in any case, they must be acceptable to the Spiritual Assembly.
• The bridegroom and the bride, before two witnesses, must state “We will all, verily, abide by the Will of God.”
• Marriage of Two Bahá’is — “The instructions of the beloved Guardian are clear on this point. When two Bahá’is are married they may not be married by the religious ceremony of another Faith.” (Letter from the Universal House of Justice, dated May 20, 1968, to a National Spiritual Assembly).
• If there is more than one marriage ceremony, for example a Baha’i marriage, another religious ceremony (if one of the couple is not a Baha’i) and/or a civil ceremony (if the couple wishes to have one) then all the ceremonies MUST be held on the same day and there should be no intervening night. “As to the holding of the Bahá’i and civil marriage ceremonies on the same day, as the consummation of the marriage should not take place until both ceremonies have been held, a night should not intervene between the two ceremonies’
(Letter from the Universal House of Justice, dated April 23, 1971) “As long as both the Bahà’i and the other religious (whatever it may be) ceremony are both performed prior to the consummation of the marriage, we do not mind which ceremony is performed first. It should be left to the individuals concerned to decide among themselves.” (Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, August 9, 1945).
• Failure of Bahá’is to knowingly comply with the above procedures may subject them to the removal of their Baha’i administrative rights.
• After the bride and bridegroom and the two witnesses sign the marriage certificate, two representatives of the Assembly will sign the certificate indicating that Bahá’i procedures have been followed.
• Once the marriage ceremony is completed, the couple is strongly advised to get the marriage registered from the Registrar of Marriages. This registration may be done after 24 hour period, since it is merely a registration and not a ceremony.
Extracts on Laws Governing Bahá’i Marriage
Marriage Between Two Bahá’i Can Be A Potent Force in the Lives of Other
“A marriage between two souls, alivle to the Message of God in this day, dedicated to the service of His Cause, working for the good of humanity, can be a potent force in the lives of others and an example and inspiration to other Bahá’is, as well as to nonbelievers.” (From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an Individual believer, August 4, 1943)
The Law of Parental Consent is to Strengthen Family Relationships
Bahá’u’lláh has clearly stated the consent of all living parents is required for a Bahá’i marriage. This applies whether the parents are Bahá’is or non-Bahá’is divorced for years or not. This great law He has laid down to strengthen the social fabric, to knit closer the ties of the home, to place a certain gratitude and respect in the hearts of children for those who have given them life and sent their souls out on the eternal journey toward their Creator. We Bahá’is must realize that in present-day society the exact opposite process is taking place: youri people care less and less for their parents wishes, divorce is considered a natural right, and obtained on the flimsiest and most unwarrantable and shabby pretexts.
People separated from each other, especially if one of them has had full custody of the children are only too willing to belittle the importance of the partner in marriage also responsible as a parent for bringing those children into this world.
The Bahá’is must, through rigid adherance to the Bahá’i laws and teachings, combat these corrosive forces which are so rapidly destroying home life and the beauty of family relationships, and tearing down the moral structure of society.” (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada, October25, 1947)
Consent of Parents Law of Great Importance Affecting the Foundation of Human Society
“In many cases of breach of marriage laws the believers apparently look upon the law requiring consent of parents before marriage as a mere administrative regulation, and do not seem to realize that this is a law of great importance affecting the very foundations of human society. Moreover they seem not to appreciate that in the Bahá’i Faith the spiritual and administrative aspects are complementary and that the social laws of the Faith are as binding as the Purely spiritual ones.” (From a letter of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States, August29, 1965)
Circumstances Under Which Parental Consent for Bahá’i Marriage Not Required
“In reply to your letter about the problem of…. who is unable to locate the natural father of her fiance we are glad to offer you the following guidance:
“The only circumstances under which parental. consent for Bahá’i marriage is not required are the following:
1. If the parent is dead.
2. If the parent has absented himself to the degree that he can be adjudged legally dead.
3. If the parent is certified insane and therefore legally Incompetent to give consent
4. If the parent is a Covenant-breaker.
5. It is possible under Baha’i Law, in certain very rare cases, to recognize that a state of disownment exists. All such cases should be referred to the Universal House of Justice.
(Letter from the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of Alaska, May30, 1971)
will be continued…..