We Bahá’ís don’t have many temples, there are only nine temples in the world, one for each inhabited continent plus Central America and a single local temple.
They are called mašriqu-l-‘aḏkār (مشرق اﻻذكار) which means in Arabic “Dawning-place of the remembrances of God”. The teachings of our Faith means that one day these temples will be at the centre of a number of community facilities for the dedicated to scientific, educational and humanitarian pursuits, like schools and hospitals.
The first temple was built in Ashgabat in Turkmenistan but was later destroyed by the Soviet government. Since then we have built temples in Wilmette in the US, Kampala in Uganda, Sydney in Australia, Frankfurt in Germany, Panama City in Panama, Tiapapata in Samoa, Delhi in India, Santiago in Chile, and a local temple in Battambang in Cambodia.
These temples all follow a similar design philosophy with a nine sided circular shape, and a dome. We don’t display any pictures or statues and as sermons are forbidden in our temples we don’t have any pulpits or alters.
Our temples are open to people of all religions, and people can come and worship God without any restrictions. Only Bahá’í scriptures and prayers as well as those of other religions can be read or chanted in the temple, and we don’t play musical instruments inside.
And very importantly, no sermons can be delivered inside a Bahá’í temple and under no circumstances can there be any ritualistic ceremonies practised.