Organization and Leadership
There is no class of ecclesiastics or clergy in the Bahá’í Faith. Rather, it is administered by a unique combination of freely elected councils and a complementary institution of appointed advisers. This administrative system operates at the local, regional, national, and international levels.
Guided by principles laid down in the writings of Bahá’u’lláh, Bahá’ís have established a distinctive system of global self-governance that both protects personal freedom and safeguards the prerogatives of the community as a whole, striking a singular balance between individual initiative and the common good.
This dynamic arrangement is in many ways far more “democratic” than the methods by which most parliaments or other representational systems operate. And yet, because of its distinctive procedures and principles, it avoids the processes of manipulation, factionalism, and partisanship that have become features of other systems of governance worldwide.
Bahá’í elections exclude any form of electioneering or nomination. Yet they offer every individual elector the widest possible choice of candidates. At the age of 21 Bahá’ís become eligible to serve on elected institutions of the Bahá’í administrative order. These elected bodies are vested by the Bahá’í sacred writings with legislative, judicial, and executive functions.
The appointed branch of the Bahá’í administrative order is entrusted with propagating and protecting the Faith. It is the responsibility of individuals serving in an appointed capacity to counsel, stimulate and encourage individual Bahá’ís and elected institutions.
The idea of a covenant between man and God is familiar to the followers of many religions. …more
The Baha’i Faith has no clergy. Bahá’í governing bodies are elected at the local, national, and international levels, and are complemented by an appointed body of advisors. …more
Baha’is elect their governing bodies at the international, national and local levels using a unique electoral system without candidacies, nominations, campaigning, or electioneering. …more
The nine-member governing body of the U.S. Bahá’í community is elected by delegates gathered at an annual National Convention. …more
“This new-born Administrative Order incorporates within its structure certain elements which are to be found in each of the three recognized forms of secular government, without being in any sense a mere replica of any one of them, and without introducing within its machinery any of the objectionable features which they inherently possess. It blends and harmonizes, as no government fashioned by mortal hands has as yet accomplished, the salutary truths which each of these systems undoubtedly contains without vitiating the integrity of those God-given verities on which it is ultimately founded.”— Shoghi Effendi