O le Maota Tapua'i Bahá’í
~ The Bahá’í House of Worship ~
“Build in all countries houses of worship in the name of Him Who is the Lord of all religions… Then, celebrate there, with joy and gladness, the praise of your Lord, the Most Compassionate.”
“Ia fausia ni maota tapua'i i atunu'u uma i le suafa o Ia o le Ali'i O tapua'iga uma... Ona manatuaina lea, i le olioli ma le fiafia, le vi'iga o Lou Ali'i, le Agalelei Silisili.”
“Ia i Lau Afio le Vi’iga, Le Atua e, ona o Lau Faifa’aaliga o le Alofa i tagata soifua! O Lau Afio, o lo matou Ola ma le Malamalama, ta’ita’i atu Au auauna i Lou Ala, ma fa’atamaoaigaina i latou i Lau Afio ma fa’asa’oloto mai mea uma vagana Oe.”
“Glory be unto Thee, O God, for Thy Manifestation of Love to mankind! O Thou, who art our Life and Light, guide Thy servants to Thy Way, and make them rich in Thee and free from all save Thee.”
E valu Maota Tapua‘i Bahá’í i le lalolagi ma e iva faitoto‘a i malumalu ta‘itasi ina ‘ia mafai ona ulufale tagata uma o le lalolagi.
There are eight Bahá’í Houses of Worship in the world and each has nine entrances through which all of humanity may enter.
Wilmette, Illinois, USA
O le Maota Tapua‘i
‘Ua fausiaina lenei Maota Tapua‘i Bahá’í mo tapua‘iga sa‘oloto moni i le Atua a so‘o se ituaiga o tagata, lanu, gagana ma talitonuga uma lava. O le mafua‘aga lea o le faitauina o so‘o se Tusituisiga Pa‘ia mai Tapua‘iga ‘ese‘ese i sauniga uma e faia i lenei Maota Tapua‘i, ae lē mafai ona faitauina ai ni tusitusiga mai so‘o se tagata. O nei fo‘i sauniga e tu‘u sa‘o lava e aunoa ma ni fa‘atinoga e pei ona masani ai isi Tapua‘iga. E leai ni faifeau po o ne failauga fa‘au‘uina i le Fa‘atuatuaga Bahá’í. O le Maota Tapua‘i e tatalaina mo tagata uma e faia ai a latou talosaga ma manatunatuga loloto i le Atua.
E lē aoina ni tupe. Ae ‘ua na‘o tagata talitonu Bahá’í lava e fa‘atagaina e foa‘i mo fa‘aputuga tupe a le Fa‘atuatuaga. I le talitonuga fa‘a Bahá’í o se fa‘aeaea ma se fa‘amanuiaga fa‘apitoa fa‘aleagaga lava lea. O foa‘i uma fo‘i e faia fa‘alilolilo atoa ma le loto malie.
O le Maota Tapua‘i Bahá’í i Samoa sa fa‘apaiaina i le tausaga 1984. E iva faitoto‘a e ulufale ai i totonu, ma o le fa‘ailoga lea o le aufa‘atasiga o tagata soifua uma i so‘o se lanu, tapua‘iga, atunu‘u ma itua‘iga uma lava. O nofoa i le ogātotonu o le Maota, o lo o alo tonu i Laufanua Pa‘ia. O le vāega i luga i le ogātotonugalēmū o le fa‘aofuofu, o lo o tūsia ai le fa‘ailoga o le Suafa Aupito Silisili‘ese. O vi‘ivi‘iga ia i le Atua i le gagana fa‘a-Arapi, ma ua fa‘aliliuina fa‘apenei: “O Lau Afio, o le Mamalu o Mamalu Uma Lava.”
ONE OF ONLY EIGHT IN THE WORLD, the Bahá’í' House of Worship of Samoa is a place of prayer and meditation open to peoples of all backgrounds. Since its dedication in 1984 it has received thousands of visitors from all points of the globe. With nine symmetrical sides and entrances, the distinctive architecture of the House of Worship embodies grace and beauty. Particularly striking is the main auditorium, with its majestic dome soaring 28 meters (92 feet) high and inset with converging lines of mirrored glass.
The House of Worship rises out of 20 acres of carefully maintained prayer gardens, which are host to more than 60 species of flowers, plants, and trees all native to Samoa. Interspersed with footpaths and bridges, the gardens can be the scene for personal reflection, or simply a stroll through the natural beauty of Samoa.
Also located on the grounds are the Visitors’ Information Center for those interested in knowing more about the House of Worship or the Bahá’í Faith, a book and gift shop, and toilet facilities.
The House of Worship is open every day for private meditation and prayer to the public, so feel free to drop in. A public interfaith prayer service is held at the House of Worship every Sunday morning at 10:00am and is open to all, regardless of religious, spiritual, ethnic or cultural background. Sunday services feature prayers and holy writings from a selection of world religions, recited in both English, Samoan and occasionally other international languages, as well as a Samoan choir. Following the service light refreshments are served in the visitors’ center.
The Making of a Temple
The cornerstone of the world’s sixth Bahá’í House of Worship was laid by His Highness Susuga Malietoa Tanumafili II and Hand of the Cause of God Amatu’l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khánum on 27 January 1979. It was officially opened by this same representative of the Universal House of Justice in September of 1984. Like other Bahá’í Houses of Worship, of which there are currently eight. it is an architectural marvel.
His Highness Susuga Malietoa Tanumafili II delivers an address at the dedication of the Bahá’í House of Worship, September 1979. Opposite His Highness is Hand of the Cause of God Amatu’l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khánum.
Panama, Central America
When architect Mr. Husayn Amanat, pictured here holding a model of the Temple, explained his design for the Samoan House of Worship, he used a spiritual metaphor. “In every design”, he said, “the architect looks for the kind of spirit to be created in the ‘body’ of the building. It is the ‘soul’ of the building which affects people.” He was not just looking for accommodation where people could sit and pray, but rather for a way to inspire and uplift their spirit when they enter the house of worship ( Mashríqu’l-Adhkár ).
New Delhi, India
The structure lives and breathes the spirit of the Bahá’í Faith. Bearing semblances to traditional Samoan architecture, the Temple stands as a symbol of the unity of mankind.
Mr. Amanat is a world-renowned Architect of many prestigious buildings not only in Iran, his country of birth, but also in Canada, where he now lives, the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and China. Mr. Amanat was also the Architect of the Administrative Buildings of the Bahá’í World Centre, Haifa, Israel.
For the Temple, Mr. Amanat said he looked for a design which would fit into its environment in terms of shape, color and material. It is not an elaborate building but is in keeping with the uncomplicated and dignified way of life of those among whom it is set. The main hall seats 500 and a cantilevered mezzanine level rings the perimeter providing additional seating for 200 including the choir.
The crowning glory of the structure is its dome: shining white during the day, shimmering at night. The dome was built in a conventional way, cast on site in slabs, but was a very difficult task because of its 31-metre height. Nine separate ribs connect at the apex with glass between the ribs giving worshippers the chance to see the sky through the dome.
Every Bahá’í House of Worship has nine entrances through which all people, regardless of race, religion or class, may enter.
Edited from an original article by Michael V. Day and Gaylene Whenmouth published in Herald of the South magazine, Volume 3, April 1985.
To download a brochure in English about the Bahá'í House of Worship, click here.
TUSITUSIGA i fafo o le Maota Tapua'i
Ia ta’uta’uina a’u i Lo’u lalolagi ina ia mafai ona ou manatua oe i Lo’u lagi.
O le mea silisili ona taua i mea uma lava i La’u silafaga o le faamasinogatonu; ia le liliu ese mai ai pe afai e te mana’o ia te A’u.
O le amataga o le poto ma le atamai uma, o le iloa ole Atua, ia faasisiliina Lona mamalu.
Ua Ou faia le oti ma avefeau o le olioli ia te oe aisea la e te faanoanoa ai?
Aua le manava atu i agasala a isi aua o oe foi o le tagata agasala.
Outou tagata mauoa e o le lalolagi! O tagata matitiva o loo i ai ia te outou o La’u tausiga ia; ia outou leoleoina.
O Lo’u alofa o Lo’u olomalosi; O le tagata e ulufale i ai e saogalemu ma malutia.
Ia i Lau Afio le viiga, Le Atua e, ina ua faaalia Lou alofa i tagata.
O lou loto o Lou aiga; ia faapaiaina mo Lo’u afio atu i ai.
WRITINGS on the outside of the Temple
Make mention of Me on My earth that in My Heaven I may remember thee.
The best beloved of all things in My sight is justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me.
The source of all learning is the knowledge of God, exalted be His glory.
I have made death a messenger of joy to thee wherefore dost thou grieve?
Breathe not the sins of others so long as thou art thyself a sinner.
O ye rich ones on earth! the poor in your midst are My trust, guard ye My trust.
My love is My stronghold; he that enters therein is safe and secure.
Glory be to Thee O God for Thy manifestation of love to mankind.
Thy heart is My home, sanctify it for My descent.
To listen to songs of the Bahá'í House of Worship Choir recorded by visiting Bahá'í Nick Sier in 1999, click here for the entire album or click on a track number below for the different songs.