Consultation (Bahá'í practice)

Consultation is a special way of discussing problems and making decisions used by Bahá'ís.

The word consult generally means to talk about something, consider all the facts, and make a decision. To Bahá'ís, consultation also means:

  • everyone prays before they discuss
  • not preferring one idea over another until all the ideas have been discussed
  • not repeating the same things over and over
  • making a decision at the end that everyone supports
  • if everyone cannot agree, then everyone votes, and the idea that gets the most votes is used
  • if someone disagrees with the decision, they act as if they agreed with it until new facts are known (no one undermines the decision of the group)
  • if new facts are discovered, or the idea is tried and does not work so well, the group can consult again and consider the new things they know

Consultation is used by Bahá'í elected leaders when they gather in councils to make sure no one person gets to decide everything. Married people consult with their husband or wife to solve difficulties in the marriage. Parents and children may consult, teachers and students may consult, and Bahá'ís all consult as a community when they get together every nineteen days.