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COLLECTIONEssays and short articles
TITLESuicide and the Bahá'í Faith
ABSTRACTInspired by the death of David Kelly, see Prepared by a group of Bahá'í physicians who prefer to remain anonymous.
TAGSDavid Kelly; Death; Ethics; Suicide
CONTENT In view of the recent discussion by the media on the attitude of the Bahá’í Faith to suicide (e.g. Suicide is Always a Tragedy in The Guardian, 7/27/2003), the following should be considered:
  1. The act of suicide is strongly condemned in the Bahá'í teachings, and alongside the other world religions, it is "forbidden". However, Bahá'ís do not adopt a condemnatory attitude toward those who commit suicide.
  2. Such an act does not mean that the person “has ceased to be a Bahá’í” or lose their entitlement to a Bahá’í funeral and memorial service.
  3. The Bahá’í teachings on suicide need to be understood in the context of beliefs on the purpose of life and the afterlife. For Bahá’ís, the purpose of life is to develop one’s spiritual capacity and, in so doing, contribute to “an ever-advancing civilization”. Bahá’ís believe in an afterlife, of which little is known. It is thought to be a spiritual existence, and those that die retain their individuality in the afterlife and potentially continue to develop spiritually.
  4. Bahá’ís believe that the Ultimate Reality, what some religions call God, is omniscient and merciful, and will deal with every soul justly. Bahá’ís have no knowledge of the nature by which the Ultimate Reality will deal with individuals: “The manner in which the Supreme Being, in His Justice as well as in His Mercy, will deal with every individual soul is a mystery unknown to us on this earthly plane”. In some cases, the Bahá’í teachings indicate that God will be merciful and forgiving. For example, in response to an early Bahá’í who committed suicide, the Bahá’í writings stated: “He will be immersed in the ocean of pardon and forgiveness and will become the recipient of bounty and favour.”

  1. Letters of behalf of Shoghi Effendi, dated 29 March 1945 cited in Lights of Guidance.
  2. Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, page 200-1.
  3. See also and

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