Furthermore, communication and discovery are limited by the laws of nature to short distances, whereas man, through that inner power of his that discovereth the reality of all things, connecteth the East with the West. This, too, is interfering with the laws of nature.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 338

A mechanism of world inter-communication will be devised, embracing the whole planet, freed from national hindrances and restrictions, and functioning with marvellous swiftness and perfect regularity.

Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, p 203

Most important of all, as with any exploration by Bahá’ís of the beliefs and practices of

their Faith, electronic discussion will serve the interests of the Cause and its members

only as it is conducted within the framework of the Bahá’í Teachings and the truths they

enshrine. To attempt to discuss the Cause of God apart from or with disdain for the

authoritative guidance inherent in these Teachings would clearly be a logical


Universal House of Justice, Guidelines For Internet Communication

The system, so prophetically foreseen sixty years ago by Shoghi Effendi, builds a sense of shared community among its users that is impatient of either geographic or cultural distances.

Universal House of Justice, Century of Light, p 133

According to guidance received from the Bahá’í Internet Agency, although the friends are free to register domain names with the word Bahá’í in them for non-commercial individual initiatives on the internet (such as Bahá’í, offering materials for sale at such sites is inappropriate. We realize that you were probably not aware of this, (and that we need to better educate the community about it), but trust in the near future that you will be able to adjust accordingly your websites [with the word Bahá’í in them]. While you are free to continue using the sites for non-commercial purposes, as personal blogs, sharing perspectives [from the Bahá’í Faith], they should not offer commercial services. Instead, perhaps you could provide a link on these sites to [another domain without the word Bahá’í in it], and the excellent publications and services that you have made available for purchase there. In addition, you might consider creating a section of the site (such asái) where resources and information gathered more specifically for members of the Faith could be found. This would still include the word “Bahá’í” in the domain but would not give the impression that the site was an official one authorized by a Bahá’í institution.

USA-NSA to an individual, 6 January 2011

Adhering to key Bahá’í principles will ensure that our Internet initiatives will combine the necessary features of flexibility, creativity and respect for the Internet user.

Bahá’í Internet Agency, Bahá’í Participation on the Internet: Some Reflections, 2006

As existing institutions and social practices disintegrate around us, the Bahá’í teachings indicate that there is a parallel process at work of creating new structures and tools that enable unifying patterns of collective life to emerge. The Internet appears to be playing a catalytic role in breaking down longstanding geographic, cultural and institutional barriers while facilitating the formation of new communities of interaction that are increasingly global in nature.

Bahá’í Internet Agency, Bahá’í Participation on the Internet: Some Reflections, 2006

At a time when the world is suffering from polarized patterns of thought and behavior,

the Faith’s ability to demonstrate that diversity can exist in a harmonious framework can

serve as a major source of attraction. There are multiple ways to reflect this principle.

The most obvious is to highlight the Bahá’í community’s concrete commitment to

diversity of culture, perspective and action. It should also be kept in mind that disabled

individuals heavily use the Internet, that large portions of Internet users do not have fast,

broadband access, and that some seekers may be illiterate.

Bahá’í Internet Agency, Bahá’í Participation on the Internet: Some Reflections, 2006

Bahá’ís around the globe have made promising strides toward utilizing the Internet as a

new means for proclamation and teaching. There are excellent introductory materials

available on the Internet in English and many other languages including sites such as, sites sponsored by National Assemblies or specialized sites created by

individuals. There is an increasing demand for multilingual materials as the Internet

penetrates a broader cross-section of countries and cultures. New opportunities for the

systematic teaching of the Bahá’í Faith on the Internet are also emerging in both text

based and non-text based media.

Bahá’í Internet Agency, Bahá’í Participation on the Internet: Some Reflections, 2006

By creating an online presence, a local community or cluster can reinforce its existing

teaching and consolidation efforts, particularly those engaged in intensive programs of

growth. An online service could include a calendar of community activities, interactive

mechanisms for responding to questions from interested inquirers who find out about the

Faith from outreach or advertising campaigns, and materials tailored to the interests of

receptive populations. An internal community blog could facilitate the sharing of

experiences and information related to the core activities as well as the tracking of cluster

goals, thereby improving how the community’s human resources are utilized and

deployed. Each community can best determine the combination of Internet and in-person

activities that will best serve its objectives.

Bahá’í Internet Agency, Bahá’í Participation on the Internet: Some Reflections, 2006

Educators have known for a long time that within a group, individuals will respond

differently to each learning methodology. Some individuals learn best through reading,

others through audio formats, and yet others by doing. There is no single right answer on

how to best present a subject. At present, we primarily serve the traditional text-based

learner. Audio, video and other multimedia elements are some ways to add diversity to

our offerings. The arts allow us to introduce another form of diversity that can contain

more tangible devotional or inspirational elements. The Universal House of Justice has

pointed out that “the graphic and performing arts and literature have played, and can play,

a major role in extending the influence of the Cause.” The Internet is well suited to

distribute many of these art forms that have up to now been restricted to in-person


Bahá’í Internet Agency, Bahá’í Participation on the Internet: Some Reflections, 2006

Given that service to others is the primary goal of any Bahá’í activity, the question of how Internet sites can maximize their service to society is very relevant to design and content creation. The essential question to ask is what are the needs or interests of the audience we wish to serve? Service can take many forms. Having the information that people want and making it clear how to find it are perhaps the most important things that sites can provide. In addition to the existence of information we must consider how people can access it. Are we putting unnecessary barriers between the user and the content they want to have? Is the content in the form that the user would prefer? While Bahá’í sites should not be solely defined by what our visitors want, we should take into consideration why they are coming. Certainly not all visitors are the same. Some visitors will represent the media. They may have no personal interest in the Faith other than to write a story on it as part of their work. Others may come out of a profound inclination to find meaning. We want to serve as many audiences as possible, and when a trade-off is required, we should prioritize the potential benefits.

Bahá’í Internet Agency, Bahá’í Participation on the Internet: Some Reflections, 2006

In 2004, the Bahá’í Internet Agency was established by the Universal House of Justice and operates under the guidance of the International Teaching Center, to “[assist] the global Bahá’í community in its use of the internet, [provide] technical support to Bahá’í institutions and [support] promising initiatives of individuals.” For information regarding websites and individual use on the internet, visit the Bahái Internet Agency’s website, or contact the Office of Communications at

USA- NSA, Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies, Chapter 14, p. 26

In a communication to the Bahá’í Internet Agency, the International Teaching Centre

anticipates the creation of an expanding range of quality content about the Bahá’í Faith

“through the flourishing of Web sites, blogs, podcasts, and other appropriate formats, in a

range of key languages.” The Teaching Centre indicates that “the major and most

dynamic thrust is envisaged through the stimulation and support of individual initiatives,

particularly amongst the youth.” Such a process entails fostering creativity and a spirit of

enterprise, as well as learning through trial and error.

Bahá’í Internet Agency, Individual Initiative on the Internet, 2007

Internet initiatives by Bahá’ís should therefore aim to broaden vision concerning challenging spiritual and social questions, shape discourse in a unifying way, and

emphasize the potentialities and promise of the present moment in human affairs. When harnessed in this way, the Internet can become a vehicle for promoting mutual

understanding and learning, serving others, instilling hope about the human condition, and demonstrating rectitude of conduct.

Bahá’í Internet Agency, Responding to Criticism and Opposition on the Internet, 2009

Internet initiatives should of course be carried out in light of Bahá’í principles such as

moderation, courtesy, probity, fairness, dignity, accuracy and wisdom. Promoting mutual

understanding, fellowship and a spirit of cooperation among diverse individuals and

groups is an essential characteristic of all Bahá’í activity. In this respect, the Internet is

yet one more domain in which Bahá’ís should demonstrate “an etiquette of expression

worthy of the approaching maturity of the human race”—a maturity founded on the

“oneness and wholeness of human relationships.”

Bahá’í Internet Agency, Individual Initiative on the Internet, 2007

It is important to recognize that virtually all social issues can be viewed through a political lens or perspective. Comments relating to contemporary social questions can be easily misconstrued by readers as being either supportive or critical of particular political ideologies or interests. A letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi underscores this point: “By the principle of non-interference in political matters we should not mean that only corrupt politics and partial and sectarian politics are to be avoided. But that any pronouncement on any current system of politics connected with any government must be shunned. We should not only take side with no political party, group or system actually in use, but we should also refuse to commit ourselves to any statement which may be interpreted as being sympathetic or antagonistic to any existing political organization or philosophy.” Hence, while sharing insights from the Bahá’í teachings concerning the advancement of society, it is best to focus on relevant spiritual principles and practices that can impact processes of social transformation. Even then, we may still have to make it clear that our views represent a multifaceted understanding of social change and not an endorsement of any external group’s position. As always, reliance on quotations from the Writings will serve to underscore the essential spiritual perspective being offered by the Faith.

Bahá’í Internet Agency, Bahá’í Participation on the Internet: Some Reflections, 2006

Many Bahá’ís have been active on the Internet from its earliest days. The richness and

variety of the content produced through individual and institutional initiatives have

served to raise awareness of the Bahá’í Faith and its basic beliefs, aims and activities. As

it is evident that new developments on the Internet are giving expressing to key Bahá’í

principles, the possibility of having far greater impact in promoting Bahá’í ideals and

concepts for human well-being lies within reach.

Bahá’í Internet Agency, Bahá’í Participation on the Internet: Some Reflections, 2006

One of the hallmarks of the Internet is that user participation is welcomed and is even a

source of value. In fact, the Internet standards that make the Internet technically possible

are the result of consultation. There are many forms of consultation that can be applied to Bahá’í Internet initiatives. Some web sites and blogs will be more amenable to consultative exchange than others. Providing mechanisms of interaction with visitors will add a dynamic element to a site or blog, and can more effectively remove obstacles in recognizing the station of Bahá’u’lláh. It is also desirable to look for ways to incorporate consultation into the design and content creation processes for new web sites.

Bahá’í Internet Agency, Bahá’í Participation on the Internet: Some Reflections, 2006

The concept of the equality between the sexes is so well accepted in popular discourse

that, in the main, it has become a basic axiom of social existence. Of course, that does

not mean that equality has been achieved. Visitors to a Bahá’í-inspired site or blog will

observe the subtle clues that demonstrate the Bahá’í commitment to this principle. We

should make sure that not only do our photos of the Bahá’í community have a balance of

genders, but men and women are shown in comparable roles. In addition, interactive

mediums should, wherever possible, adequately give voice to the perspectives of both


Bahá’í Internet Agency, Bahá’í Participation on the Internet: Some Reflections, 2006

The internet presents powerful and exciting opportunities for creativity, service, and individual initiative, which challenges the Bahá’í community to rise to a higher level of maturity. It demands a heightened level of sensitivity to and awareness of the needs of the global community and of respect for the values and problems of other cultures as Bahá’ís learn to utilize this “mechanism for world inter-communication” in ways that are consistent with the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh and the vision of the Guardian.

USA- NSA, Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies, Chapter 14, p. 25

The oneness of humanity is a principle that the world is seeking without knowing it—the

“monarch of all aspirations.” Authoritative Bahá’í texts and statements of Bahá’í

institutions address many contemporary issues and how they require global solutions.

Supplementing the presentation of Bahá’í concepts of unity with models and examples of

unity can also greatly enhance an Internet outreach effort. For instance, spotlighting

social and economic development initiatives or the activities of youth engaged in service

can be a compelling way to share information, stories and experiences to inquirers around

the world. We live in an age when many Bahá’í ideals or perspectives are viewed as

naïve or utopian. Concrete examples can infuse these ideals with meaning and

demonstrate the practicality of the Bahá’í approach to social betterment.

Bahá’í Internet Agency, Bahá’í Participation on the Internet: Some Reflections, 2006

The precept of the independent search for truth offers a distinctive point of departure for our Internet efforts. Most religiously oriented web sites and blogs inform the visitor what the truth is according to their doctrines. Exposing inquirers to concepts such as progressive revelation and unity in diversity and that we are there to help them find truth could lead to a transformative experience. While talking about this principle is important, helping the user to carry out their search is equally important. If you are able, provide supporting information in addition to a summary. The Internet has the advantageous characteristic of being able to provide both breadth and depth. Users can choose to read summarized information or can decide to dig deeper into primary sources. One way to do this is to provide links to sources of information on which your site’s content may be based. Perhaps most important of all is to give easy and ready access to the Word of God. Any type of presentation whether in the format of text, audio or video should strive to incorporate verses from the Bahá’í Writings.

Bahá’í Internet Agency, Bahá’í Participation on the Internet: Some Reflections, 2006

The principle of the unity of science and religion is a thematic area where the Faith can contribute much to contemporary dialogues. Showing how rational methods and spiritual values can work in concert to address social challenges can potentially highlight a range of distinct Bahá’í approaches to problem solving. The Bahá’í teachings offer perspectives and insights that undoubtedly will be regarded as novel by many and that can be used as a means of attraction. The design of Bahá’í sites and blogs should also

endeavor to highlight the intimate connection between the powers of the human spirit and the application of knowledge.

Bahá’í Internet Agency, Bahá’í Participation on the Internet: Some Reflections, 2006

There is an ever increasing use by believers of the internet and other available computer based means of communication. These open unlimited possibilities for continuous proclamation and teaching, bringing the Creative Word and the Sacred Writings as well as the ideas of individual believers to hearts and minds everywhere.

International Teaching Center, 11 May 1995, Electronic Communication with Covenant-breakers

Unity in diversity can also relate to the transmission of information. While the web is

clearly a very powerful tool in many parts of the world, it still does not reach the majority

of the world’s population. Opportunities to repurpose Bahá’í-related Internet content to

CD-ROM, MP3 audio files, printed materials and other offline methods should be

explored. Creating good content is difficult; for this reason, Bahá’í materials should be

distributed in as many forms as possible.

Bahá’í Internet Agency, Bahá’í Participation on the Internet: Some Reflections, 2006

When concerns come to the attention of Assemblies about use of the internet by believers, they should be handled with care and restraint, in as limited a manner as possible. The Universal House of Justice has often been asked about list servers and the internet usage. Its general approach has been that these are new and experimental media; that like all media for speech, the Bahá’í principles of consultation, not to mention common sense and courtesy, apply; that the medium seems to be self-regulating and that, by and large, self-regulation has been adequate.

USA- NSA, Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies, Chapter 14, p. 25-26

‘Abdu’l-Bahá writes that “trustworthiness is the bedrock” of the Faith and “the

foundation of all virtues and perfections.” What is true for individuals is also true for

Internet sites, online video presentations, blogs and podcasts. If people don’t trust a site,

its utility as a vehicle for drawing individuals to the Revelation is compromised. There

are several ways to demonstrate trustworthiness in the Internet context. The first is to

make sure that information is accurate. Users are often sensitive to the feeling that they

are being manipulated. Second, any factual information that is presented should be

supported by authoritative sources wherever possible. Third, if any user information is

collected, the site needs to have a clear statement of how such information will be used.

Finally, tone and approach serve to transmit something of the spirit of the Cause.

Bahá’í Internet Agency, Bahá’í Participation on the Internet: Some Reflections, 2006