Maturity - age of

A father and mother endure the greatest troubles and hardships for their children; and often when the children have reached the age of maturity, the parents pass on to the other world. Rarely does it happen that a father and mother in this world see the reward of the care and trouble they have undergone for their children.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 329)

As a believer of 15 cannot vote he (Shoghi Effendi) sees no reason for including a statement regarding the age of 15 in the By- Laws. A baby can be considered a Bahá’í; 15 is merely the age of maturity for fasting, marriage, etc., and in the case of America, a declaration at that age is invited from the youth in order to protect them, at a future date, from being forced to do active military service.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 64)

As important as it is for parents to exercise their moral authority in assisting the youth not to make unwise decisions, it is also incumbent on the parents as Bahá’ís to give due consideration to the significance of the spiritual impact of the Faith upon the youth and recognize that the youth must have some latitude to respond to the stirring of their hearts and souls, since they, beginning at the age of 15, must assume serious spiritual obligations and duties and are themselves alone ultimately responsible to God for the progress of their own souls. The capacity for mature thinking on the part of youth differs from one to the other and according to age; some attain this ability earlier than others; for some it is delayed. Parents are generally in a position to judge these matters more accurately than others and must consider them in their attempt to guide the youth in their families, but the parents must strive to do so in such a way as not to stifle their children’s sense of spiritual responsibility.
(The Universal House of Justice, 1992 Oct 28, Manner of Appealing to Youth)

As to the age of maturity, voting rights in the Bahá’í Administrative Order are acquired when a believer becomes 21.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 161)

Ask thou God that thou mayest attain to the age of maturity so that thou mayest recognize the beauty and ugliness of deeds and actions. Peace be upon those who follow guidance!
(Compilations, Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 88)

Children, for instance, no matter how good and pure, no matter how healthy their bodies, are, nevertheless, considered imperfect because the power of intellect is not fully manifest in them. When the intellectual power fully displays its influences and they attain to the age of maturity, they are considered as perfect.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 303-304)

Fasting is binding on men and women on attaining
the age of maturity, which is fixed at 15.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Synopsis and Codification of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 38)

Fifteen is the age at which a child attains spiritual maturity, and thus it is at the age of fifteen that a Bahá’í child assumes the responsibility for obeying such laws as those of fasting and prayer, and for affirming of his own volition his faith in Bahá’u’lláh.
(Universal House of Justice, NSA USA - Developing Distinctive Bahá’í Communities)

Having reached the age of fifteen, Bahá’í youth are personally responsible for certain spiritual activities such as observing the obligation of daily prayer, keeping the Fast, and they are invited to participate in Bahá’í youth activities. The significance of the age of maturity, however, goes far beyond the fulfilment of responsibilities. The following extract from a Tablet of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá links the attainment of maturity with the deepening of one’s understanding and comprehension of the realities of life, and the enhancement of one’s very capacity for understanding:
Know thou that before maturity man liveth from day to day and comprehendeth only such matters as are superficial and outwardly obvious. However, when he cometh of age he understandeth the realities of things and the inner truths. Indeed, in his comprehension, his feelings, his deductions and his discoveries, every day of his life after maturity is equal to a year before it.
(Universal House of Justice, Messages of the Universal House of Justice, p. 665, 426.3-3a)

In answer to your letter...concerning the registration of children of Bahá’í parents the Universal House of Justice has instructed us to say that at the present time it prefers to leave the details of such matters to the discretion of each National Spiritual Assembly. One National Assembly, for example, sends a very nice letter to each Bahá’í child in its community on the occasion of its fifteenth birthday (unless, of course, it has reason to doubt that the child in question is a Bahá’í), explaining the meaning of attaining the age of maturity, and extending the good wishes of the Assembly for his or her future services to the Cause. This does not require an active response from every child but does provide each with an opportunity to make his or her position clear if desired.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 155-156)

It is unlawful to become engaged to a girl before she reaches the age of maturity.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Synopsis and Codification of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 39)

It matters not whether they mature later in one country than in another. The command of Bahá’u’lláh is universal, irrespective of any variance in the age of maturity in different countries and among different peoples.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 233)

Marriage is conditioned upon both parties having attained the age of maturity which is fixed at 15.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Synopsis and Codification of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 39)

QUESTION: Concerning the age of maturity with respect to religious duties. ANSWER: The age of maturity is fifteen for both men and women.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 113)

QUESTION: In a treatise in Persian on various questions, the age of maturity hath been set at fifteen; is marriage likewise conditional upon the reaching of maturity, or is it permissible before that time? ANSWER: Since the consent of both parties is required in the Book of God, and since, before maturity, their consent or lack of it cannot be ascertained, marriage is therefore conditional upon reaching the age of maturity, and is not permissible before that time.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 133)

Regarding the age of fifteen fixed by Bahá’u’lláh: this relates only to purely spiritual functions and obligations and is not related to the degree of administrative capacity and fitness which is a totally different thing, and is, for the present, fixed at twenty-one.
(Shoghi Effendi, Principles of Bahá’í Administration, p. 12)

The House of Justice points out that the Assembly must wisely steer a course between seeming to doubt the Faith of a child who has been brought up as a devout Bahá’í on the one hand, and seeming to compel a child to be a member of the Bahá’í community against his will, on the other.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 156)

The Obligatory Prayers are binding on men and women on attaining the age of maturity, which is fixed at 15.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Synopsis and Codification of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 35)

The age of maturity applies only to Bahá’í religious duties as yet. On other matters it is subject to the civil law of each country. The age of administrative maturity in the Bahá’í community has, for the time being, been fixed at 21.
(Universal House of Justice, NSA USA - Developing Distinctive Bahá’í Communities)

The formal prayer [for the dead] and the ring are meant to be used for those who have attained the age of maturity.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Synopsis and Codification of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 62)

The suckling babe passeth through various physical stages, growing and developing at every stage, until its body reacheth the age of maturity. Having arrived at this stage it acquireth the capacity to manifest spiritual and intellectual perfections. The lights of comprehension, intelligence and knowledge become perceptible in it and the powers of its soul unfold.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 285)

Up to the age of 15 years, children are under the direction of their parents.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 154)

Upon attaining the age of fifteen a child becomes spiritually mature and is responsible for stating on his own behalf whether or not he wishes to remain a member of the Bahá’í community. If he does not then reaffirm his faith, he must be treated, administratively, as a non-Bahá’í.
(Universal House of Justice, NSA USA - Developing Distinctive Bahá’í Communities)

While some opportunities for service in the Administrative Order are clearly reserved for those who are over twenty-one years of age, the importance of attaining spiritual maturity at the age of fifteen is that it marks that point in life at which the believer takes firmly into his own hands the responsibility for his spiritual destiny. At age fifteen, the individual has the privilege of affirming, in his own name, his faith in Bahá’u’lláh. For while the children of Bahá’í parents are considered to be Bahá’ís, they do not automatically inherit the Faith of their parents. Therefore, when they come of age, they must, of their own volition, express their belief.
(Universal House of Justice, Messages of the Universal House of Justice, p. 665, 426.2)