Baháʼí Faith History in Turkmenistan

Baháʼí Faith History in Turkmenistan

The Bahai religion originated in Iran in the middle of the 19th century and came to Turkmenistan even before Russian Empire advances into its territory. The religion is monotheistic. The Baha’i philosophy is a syncretic combination of previous religions. They believe that there is only one faith in God, and all the Prophets of God reveal its essence.

The first community of Baha’i followers appeared in the area of Ashgabat back in 1884-1887. The very first Baha’i House of Worship (Mashriqu’l-Adhkar) was built there at the beginning of the 20th century. At that time in Iran, Baha’i followers were persecuted, so they involuntarily lost their homeland, and Ashgabat became a real haven for them.

In the later years of the Russian Empire, the Baha’i religious teachings attracted the attention of scientists and artists. After the establishment of Soviet power in Turkmenistan, Baha’is began to be subjected to religious persecution. As a result, the Baha’i community virtually disappeared, but members who moved to the regions in the 1950s did identify people still practicing the religion.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in late 1991, Bahá’í communities began to rebuild and develop in the countries of the former Soviet Union. However, it is in Turkmenistan that they still remain too small in number, which is why the local community of Baha’i followers does not have official registration.

The Association of Religious Data Archives (based on the World Christian Encyclopedia) estimates that in 2005 there were approximately 1 000 Bahá’ís in whole Turkmenistan.

Baháʼí Faith in Ashgabat

The largest Baha’i community existed in Ashgabat. One of the most prominent members of the community was Mirza Abu’l-Fadl Gulpaygani, an Apostle of Bahá’u’lláh, who lived in Ashgabat off and on from 1889 to 1894. Shortly after moving there, one of the most prominent members of the community was murdered.

Haji Muhammad Rida Isfahani occurred among the Bahá’ís, and Gulpaygani helped the Bahá’í community respond to this event, and he later served as the Bahá’í representative at the trial of the murderers. This event established the independence of the Baha’i Faith from Islam for both the Russian government and the residents of Ashgabat.

Under the protection and freedom granted by the Russian authorities, the number of Bahá’ís in the community grew to 4 000 (1 000 children) by 1918, and for the first time in the world, a real Bahá’í community was established with its own hospitals, schools, workshops, newspaper, cemetery and house of worship. The population of the city at that time ranged from 44 000 to 50 000 people.

This first Baha’i House of Worship named Mashriqu’l-Adhkár was built in the city of Ashgabat. Design for the building began in 1902 and construction was completed in 1908; it was led by Wakilud-Dawlih, another Apostle of Bahá’u’lláh. The House of Worship in Ashgabat has hitherto been the only Bahá’í House of Worship near which humanitarian branches associated with this institution have been built.

This first Baha'i House of Worship was built in the city of Ashgabat.

At the Soviet time the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár in Ashgabat was turned into an art gallery. The 1948 Ashgabat earthquake severely damaged the building of the Baha’i House of Worship and made it unsafe. Heavy rains in the following years weakened the structure. It was demolished in 1963 and then the place was turned into a public park.

Main image source:

Добавить комментарий

Note: Comments on the web site reflect the views of their authors, and not necessarily the views of the bookyourtravel internet portal. You are requested to refrain from insults, swearing and vulgar expression. We reserve the right to delete any comment without notice or explanations.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are signed with *