The Bahai Temple in Uganda
The Bahai Temple in Uganda : has unique architectural design that stands tall in the middle of the green conical dome shape made of tiny glazed mosaic tiles, 9 big pillars and 27 small pillars that support the temple stand up right. The Bahai faith was introduced by a man from Iran called Baha’u’llah in 1844 and his name means “The glory of God” who wrote the Bahai faith and it is a house of worship also known as Mashriq I’-Adhkar, its open to all people in the world acting as a spiritual gathering place. There is one Bahai temple in each continent and Uganda has the mother temple in Africa and this faith was introduced to Uganda in 1951 making it one of Eastern Africa’s earliest Bahai communities. The bahai temple was constructed between years 1956 and 1961 about 60years ago and its located on kikaaya hill 4miles from Kampala on Gayaza road. Bahai temple is one of the unmissable tourism sites while on your city tour in Uganda, with an evergreen compound and the temple has nice gardens where one can have a good view of the city while on a high point.
Laws that govern the Bahai temple and faith
Like any other religion, Bahai as a faith and temple has different rules and regulations that are supposed to be followed while inside and outside the temple not forgetting during prayers. Below are some of the rules;
Family and marriage life
Marriage is not prohibited in the Bahai faith though it’s not obligatory according to the teachings of this faith. However, the marriage of the Bahai faith has requirements and these include partners should be having the approval of their living biological parents and they should be above the age of 15years so as to strengthen ties between the two families. A man and woman who are married are the only ones allowed to have sexual relationships and sexuality is normal in the marriage life since it enhances the relationship. Interracial and interreligious marriages are allowed, divorce is permitted though discouraged and if the couple is unable to reconcile after a year of separation then divorce is granted.
Bahai faith has two distinct types of prayers and these are devotional prayer (general) and the obligatory prayer (individual) and for this prayer you’re supposed to face the Qiblih and it should be recited every day. Prayer is part of the most important act in the Bahai law because it helps in self-discipline and enjoined to pray daily, the Bahai faith prayer is believed to get you closer to God and to Baha‘u’llah, requesting divine assistance. However, the devotional prayer in the Bahai directs believers to meditate and study sacred scriptures. The devotional prayer is written by the central figures of the Bahai faith and collected in prayer books are held in high esteem.
Alcohol and drugs
Except from the doctor’s orders, taking of drugs and drinking alcohol are prohibited in the Bahai faith, God gave human beings reasons which are taken away by intoxicants leading to mind astray. Working in jobs and places that are involved in large-scale sale and manufacturing of alcohol and to avoid from any kind of involvement in the trading of drugs. However, smoking of tobacco is discouraged but not prohibited.
The fasting period in the Bahai faith takes place from March 2nd to 20th March, this fast is a nineteen days period and one has to be in good health ranging from the age of 15 to 70 years and it’s a sunrise to sunset fast without eating and drinking. This fasting works hand in hand with the obligatory prayer and it helps in bringing people closer to God and reinvigorate the soul. However, people who are nursing, menstruating, ill, pregnant, travelling, and engaged in heavy labor are the only ones excused. The fasting is not forced by the Bahai law since it’s an individual spiritual obligation.
Relationships and individuals are damaged by this particular practice and it has a negative effect on the community as well as people involved, it’s considered a sin and hated human characteristic and it’s prohibited by the Bahai law.
The other laws that are talked about in the holy book of the Bahai faith (kitab-i-Aqdas) are;
- Consumption of dead animals is not allowed.
- Saying the greatest name (Baha’u’llah) 95times a day.
- Teaching children the Bahai faith is compulsory for the Bahais
- After death bodies should be wrapped in cotton and put in a coffin made of polished stone with hard wood and it’s forbidden after death to carry the body for more than an hour’s journey from the municipal boundaries where death occurred.
What can one do while at Bahai temple?
Different interesting activities can be done while Bahai Temple are below are some of them;
During this activity individuals in groups gather to share prayers to help them strengthen the unity in the Bahai faith and they share their stories and play music for different individual’s interests. Though purposely these gatherings are mainly for uniting souls present through the power of prayer from different individuals.
With the different tree species and flowers (natural environment) this temple harbors different bird species including the great blue turaco, stripped kingfisher, hadada ibis, grey parrot, grey woodpecker, bronze sunbird, brown parrot among others making it one of the nice destinations for the bird lovers since you can’t fail to spot any of those different birds.
Junior youths believing in the Bahai faith at the age of 11 to 14 years go for camping at Bahai temple and when there, they get involved in youth classes to develop their spiritual intellectual capacities, they are taught to express their powers through drama, art and craft, singing and making of moral decision among others.
Location of Bahai Temple?
This temple is located on Kikaaya hill in Kanyanya 3km north of Kampala approximately 7km on Gayaza road.
How to get to Bahai Temple
The Baha’i temple of Africa is situated on in north Kampala about three miles along Gayaza road in central Uganda. The place can be accessed by road transport from Entebbe airport international airport and its about 46.5 kilometers via Entebbe express high way and it takes about an hour or even less to arrive at Baha’i temple.