Organization of the Bahá'í Faith

Seat of the Universal House of Justice, Haifa, Israel
Seat of the Universal House of Justice, governing body of the Bahá'ís, in Haifa, Israel. David Haslip

The Bahá'í Faith has no clergy or authoritative leaders comparable to an imam, bishop or pope. Instead, democratically-elected assemblies govern the Bahá'í community at local, national, and international levels.

Governance of the Bahá'í community begins with the local spiritual assembly, which has jurisdiction over all local affairs of the Bahá'í community. There are over 20,000 local spiritual assemblies in the world today.

The electoral process to the spiritual assembly is specifically designed to exclude parties, factions, nominations, and campaigning for office.

Bahá'ís elect delegates to a national convention each year. The national convention then elects a national spiritual assembly, which has jurisdiction over the Bahá'í community of an entire country.

The national spiritual assemblies periodically form an international convention, where they elect members of a supreme governing body known as the Universal House of Justice.

Headquartered at Haifa, Israel, the Universal House of Justice applies the laws promulgated by Bahá'u'lláh and legislates on matters not covered in the sacred texts. For example, in 2014, it decreed the dates of certain Bahá'í holidays.