Death and the Afterlife
Bahá’u’lláh confirmed the existence of a separate, rational soul for every human. He taught that life and death are parts of an eternal process of a soul’s growth and evolution. Baha’i teachings state that the soul does not die; it endures everlastingly. When the human body dies, the soul is freed from ties with the physical body and the surrounding physical world and begins its progress through the spiritual world. Bahá’ís understand the spiritual world to be a timeless and placeless extension of our own universe—and not some physically remote or removed place.
Baha’is do not believe in reincarnation or that the soul is reborn in a different body. Baha’u’llah stated that death is reunion with God.
Entry into the next life has the potential to bring great joy. Bahá’u’lláh likened death to the process of birth. He explains: “The world beyond is as different from this world as this world is different from that of the child while still in the womb of its mother.”
The analogy to the womb in many ways summarizes the Bahá’í view of earthly existence. Just as the womb constitutes an important place for a person’s initial physical development, the physical world provides the context for the development of the individual soul. Accordingly, Bahá’ís view life as a sort of workshop, where one can develop and perfect those qualities that will be needed in the next life.
“Know thou of a truth that the soul, after its separation from the body, will continue to progress until it attaineth the presence of God, in a state and condition which neither the revolution of ages and centuries, nor the changes and chances of this world, can alter.”— Bahá’u’lláh