Guidance from the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States.
Welcome! It is often difficult to think about burying a loved one or preparing for your own burial, needless to say most people neglect this life event that all will travel. Consequently, there can be additional stress during an already stressful time.
What You Need to Know
Begin with the basics by understanding what Bahá'í Burial Law is and what the differences are between believers of the West versus our Persian friends.
If you want to read the full guidance from the National Spiritual Assembly yourself, the following pdf file is provided free with permission from the National Spiritual Assembly. The Bahá'í burial information is located on www.usbnc.org under Administrative Tools, Guidelines for Spiritual Assemblies-Chapter 14. Click Here to Download
Here are the Basics
On the US Bahá'í Administrative Website it states, "Although the following requirements are not binding on the Western believers, they are binding on the Persian believers. Assemblies should become familiar with them to be able to provide guidance to the Persian believers and to prepare the Western believers for the time when they are made binding. At present, Western believers are free to observe these requirement or not as they wish."
Throughout the years since the formation of Forlora, Inc., I have time and again received the unfortunate frantic call or email from a Bahá'í who needs burial supplies within one to two days and they are trying to figure out what they are supposed to do. More often than not we are able to get the burial shroud and/or information to them but the cost is so very high and the stress of the possibility that inclement weather or other unforeseen event may delay the arrival of their order.
Understanding Bahá'í i Burial Law will help you gain knowledge before the fact, for yourself, for the Bahá'í community, and possibly a loved one.
What are the requirements for Western Believers?
Requirements for the Western Believers include the Following:
The body should not be embalmed
The body should not be transported more than an hours journey from the place of death
The body must be buried - not cremated
The Prayer for the Dead is to be recited for a Bahá'í 15 years and older
Of course, Western believers may choose to follow all of the Bahá'í Burial Law and many do so.
Requirements Not Currently Binding on the Western Believers:
Washing the body and wrapping it in a shroud of silk or cotton
Placing a Bahá'í burial ring on the finger (or in the coffin) of a Bahá'í who has reached the age of 16 years or older
Placing the body in a coffin of stone, fine hard wood, or crystal
Body buried with the feet facing the Qiblih, (East)
I highly recommend individuals and Local Spiritual Assemblies consider purchasing and having a burial shroud and burial ring on hand for oneself or for another Baha'i in your community. Believe me when I say, that you may be the person lending a hand to someone in need.
Want to learn more about Pre-Planning and useful tips? Click Here to Learn More!