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LESSON III
LAWS FOR THE INDIVIDUAL

In this Book [Kitáb-i-Aqdas] He ...

  • prescribes the obligatory prayers;
  • designates the time and period of fasting; ...
  • fixes the Qiblih;
  • institutes the Huqúqu'lláh (Right of God);
  • formulates the law of inheritance; ...
  • prescribes monogamy; ...
  • stresses the importance of marriage and lays down its essential conditions;
  • imposes the obligation of engaging in some trade or profession, exalting such occupation to the rank of worship;
  • emphasizes the necessity of providing the means for the education of children; and
  • lays upon every person the duty of writing a testament and of strict obedience to one's government.
    Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 214)


PROHIBITIONS

In this Book [Kitáb-i-Aqdas] He ... prohibits

  • congregational prayer except for the dead;
  • institution of the priesthood; ...
  • slavery,
  • asceticism,1
  • mendicancy,2
  • monasticism,
  • penance,3
  • the use of pulpits and the kissing of hands [of clergy]; ...
  • cruelty to animals,
  • idleness and sloth,4
  • backbiting5 and calumny;6
  • gambling, ...
  • the use of opium, wine and other intoxicating drinks;
  • murder,
  • arson,7
  • adultery,
  • theft,
  • fanaticism,
  • sedition,8
    Shoghi Effendi, GPB, pp. 214-215)
_____________________
1: self-torture and severe abstinence from pleasures and comfort.   2: begging.   3: a sacrament of the Catholic Church involving confession, penalty and absolution by a priest; any voluntary suffering or punishment.   4: laziness.   5: To speak evil of one absent; to maliciously give a false report of one absent.   6: a false statement made to injure someone's reputation.   7: intentionally setting fire to property.   8: creating discontent or commotion against the government; resistance to lawful authority.

... excluded by ... Bahá'u'lláh's writings....

  • the sacrament of baptism, of communion,
  • of confession of sins,
  • of asceticism,
  • of priestly domination,
  • of elaborate ceremonials,
  • of holy war, and
  • of polygamy.
    Shoghi Effendi, World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 22)

... requires total abstinence from

  • all alcoholic drinks,
  • from opium, and from similar habit-forming drugs.
  • It condemns the prostitution1 of art and of literature,
  • the practices of nudism
  • and of companionate marriage,2
  • infidelity in marital relationships, and
  • all manner of promiscuity, of easy familiarity,
  • and of sexual vices3
    Shoghi Effendi, Advent of Divine Justice, p. 30)
_____________________
1: to put to an unworthy or base use.  
2: an association of a man with a woman in cohabitation by mutual consent without the bonds of matrimony – Funk & Wagnall's Dictionary, 1957. "... where there is no legal or religious marriage" (Shoghi Effendi, LOG, p. 382)  
3: (L. from vi, to twist) corruption, fault, defect, evil, crime, immorality.


PRAYER

... in every Dispensation the law concerning prayer hath been emphasized and universally enforced.

Bahá'u'lláh, Kitáb-i-Íqán, p. 39


FASTING

We have commanded you to pray and fast from the beginning of maturity; this is ordained by God,.... He hath exempted from this those who are weak from illness or age,....

Bahá'u'lláh, Kitáb-i-Aqdas, pp. 22-23

In truth, I say that obligatory prayer and fasting occupy an exalted station in the sight of God.

Bahá'u'lláh, KA, Questions and Answers, p. 134))

As regards fasting, it constitutes, together with the obligatory prayers, the two pillars that sustain the revealed Law of God. They act as stimulants to the soul, strengthen, revive and purify it, and thus insure its steady development.

Shoghi Effendi: Directives of the Guardian, p. 27


THE QIBLIH

(Definition from Bahá'í Glossary): Point of Adoration; prayer-direction ... the Most Holy Tomb of Bahá'u'lláh at Bahjí is "the Heart and Qiblih of the Bahá'í world."

see also Shoghi Effendi, GPB, pp. 110, 277

Whoso wisheth to pray, let him ... stand up, and facing the Qiblih (Point of Adoration, i.e. Bahjí, 'Akká), let him say....

Bahá'u'lláh, Prayers and Meditations, pp. 314-315

There is no special physical significance in the remains of the Prophets or relics of Their Persons. But there is a profound spiritual significance in the sense that Their dust was the physical mirror of the greatness of God. In other words we know God through His Prophets, Who have bodies; these bodies – Their very dust – are precious through association. It is natural for people to be touched by a lock of hair or some token of one they loved; how much more should we treasure and feel moved by a relic of the Beloved of God?

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, LOG, p. 508

The embellishment of the Haram-i-Aqdas,* the outer Sanctuary of Bahá'u'lláh's Sepulcher ... has been greatly enhanced through the laying out ... of formal gardens....

Shoghi Effendi, Messages to the Bahá'í World, p. 64
_____________________
* Most holy environs – Bahá'í Glossary, p. 18

A Fund has been inaugurated in anticipation of the adoption of preliminary measures for the ultimate construction of Bahá'u'lláh's Sepulcher in the heart of the Haram-i-Aqdas recently established in the plain of 'Akká.

Shoghi Effendi, MBW, p. 78


THE HUQÚQU'LLÁH

In the Kitáb-i-Aqdas it is further written by Him that those who have a certain amount of income must give one-fifth of it to God the Creator of heaven and earth.

`Abdu'l-Baha, PUP, 2nd ed., p. 217

O friends of `Abdu'l-Baha! The Lord, as a sign of His infinite bounties, hath graciously favored His servants by providing for a fixed money offering (Huqúq), to be dutifully presented unto Him, though He, the True One and His servants have been at all times independent of all created things, and God verily is the All-Possessing, exalted above the need of any gift from His Creatures. This fixed money offering, however, causeth the people to become firm and steadfast and draweth Divine increase upon them. It is to be offered through the guardian of the Cause of God, that it may be expended for the diffusion of the Fragrances of God and the exaltation of His word, for benevolent pursuits and for the common weal.

`Abdu'l-Baha, Will and Testament, p. 15

... participation of individual believers, through contributions directly transmitted to the Holy Land are imperative and beyond the scope of the jurisdiction of National and local Assemblies.

Shoghi Effendi, MBW, p. 14

The paying of the Huqúq is a spiritual obligation; the friends must not be obliged by the Assemblies to pay it, but they should be encouraged to fulfill this spiritual obligation laid upon them in the Aqdas.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, Dawn of a New Day, p. 118

... the Universal House of Justice ... must, in the absence of the Guardian, receive and disburse the Huqúqu'lláh in accordance with the following statement of `Abdu'l-Baha: "Disposition of the Huqúq, wholly or partly, is permissible, but this should be done by permission of the authority in the Cause to whom all must turn."

Universal House of Justice, Wellspring of Guidance, p. 91


INHERITANCE

... a Bahá'í is free to bequeath his property to any person, irrespective of religion, provided however, he leaves a will, specifying his wishes.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, KA, Notes, p. 184

To divide the inheritance as it is prescribed by Bahá'u'lláh we have to divide it into 2,520 shares. But we can also divide it into 42 shares. Then every one of the beneficiaries will take so many of these shares. These numbers form like a highest denominator for the different fractions which represent the shares of the different individuals that will benefit in case of intestacy. In case of the non-existence of one class of inheritors, the Aqdas mentions how it should be divided. As general rule, a part goes to the House of Justice, a part to the children.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, DG, p. 39


EDUCATION

Schools must first train the children in the principles of religion, so that the Promise and the Threat recorded in the Books of God may prevent them from the things forbidden and adorn them with the mantle of the commandments; but this in such a measure that it may not injure the children by resulting in ignorant fanaticism and bigotry.

Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p.68

... in this new cycle, education and training are recorded in the Book of God as obligatory and not voluntary. That is, it is enjoined upon the father and mother, as a duty, to strive with all effort to train the daughter and the son,....

`Abdu'l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, pp.126-127

Therefore, the beloved of God and the maid-servants of the Merciful must train their children with life and heart and teach them in the school of virtue and perfection. They must not be lax in this matter; they must not be inefficient.

`Abdu'l-Baha, TAB, Vol. III, pp. 578-579

In fact Bahá'í education, just like any other system of education is based on the assumption that there are certain natural deficiencies in every child, no matter how gifted, which his educators, whether his parents, schoolmasters, or his spiritual guides and preceptors should endeavor to remedy. Discipline of some sort, whether physical, moral or intellectual, is indeed indispensable, and no training can be said to be complete and fruitful if it disregards this element. The child when born is far from being perfect It is not only helpless, but actually is imperfect, and even is naturally inclined towards evil. He should be trained, his natural inclinations harmonized, adjusted and controlled, and if necessary suppressed or regulated so as to insure his healthy physical and moral development. Bahá'í parents cannot simply adopt an attitude of nonresistance towards their children, particularly those who are unruly and violent by nature. It is not even sufficient that they should pray on their behalf. Rather they should endeavor to inculcate, gently and patiently, into their youthful minds such principles of moral conduct and initiate them into the principles and teachings of the Cause with such tactful and loving care as would enable them to become "true sons of God" and develop into loyal and intelligent citizens of His Kingdom. This is the high purpose which Bahá'u'lláh Himself has clearly defined as the chief goal of every education.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, Bahá'í Education: A Compilation, pp. 65-66


PILGRIMAGE

It was during those same days [1868] that Bahá'u'lláh instructed Nabíl to recite on His behalf the two newly revealed Tablets of the Pilgrimage, and to perform, in His stead, the rites prescribed in them, when visiting the Báb's House in Shiráz and the Most Great House in Baghdad – an act that marks the inception of one of the holiest observances, which, in a later period, the Kitáb-i-Aqdas was to formally establish.

Shoghi Effendi, GPB, pp. 176-177

When thou art departed out of the court of My presence, O Muhammad, direct thy steps towards My House (Baghdad House), and visit it on behalf of thy Lord. When thou reachest its door, stand thou before it and say: Whither is the Ancient Beauty gone, O most great House of God, He through Whom God hath made thee the cynosure of an adoring world ... Blessed be the man that directeth his steps toward thee, and visiteth thee.

Bahá'u'lláh, GWB. pp. 111-114


OBLIGATION TO WORK

It is incumbent upon each one of you to engage in some occupation – such as a craft, a trade or the like. We have exalted your engagement in such work to the rank of worship of the one true God.... Waste not your hours in idleness and sloth, but occupy yourselves with what will profit you and others.

Bahá'u'lláh, Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 30

... ye must give forth goodly and wondrous fruits, that ye yourselves and others may profit therefrom. Thus it is incumbent on every one to engage in crafts and professions,...."

Bahá'u'lláh, Persian Hidden Words, #80

The best of men are they that earn a livelihood by their calling and spend upon themselves and upon their kindred

Bahá'u'lláh, Persian Hidden Words, #82

Please God, the poor may exert themselves and strive to earn the means of livelihood. This is a duty which, in this most great Revelation, hath been prescribed unto every one,....

Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings, p. 202

True reliance is for the servant to pursue his profession and calling in this world....

Bahá'u'lláh, Words of Wisdom, BWF, p. 141

With reference to Bahá'u'lláh's command concerning the engagement of the believers in some sort of profession: the Teachings are most emphatic on this matter, particularly the statement in the Aqdas to this effect which makes it quite clear that idle people who lack the desire to work can have no place in the new World Order. As a corollary of this principle, Bahá'u'lláh further states that mendacity should not only be discouraged but entirely wiped out from the face of society. It is the duty of those who are in charge of the organization of society to give every individual the opportunity of acquiring the necessary talent in some kind of profession, and also the means of utilizing such a talent, both for its own sake and for the sake of earning the means of his livelihood. Every individual, no matter how handicapped and limited he may be, is under the obligation of engaging in some work or profession, for work, especially when performed in the spirit of service, is according to Bahá'u'lláh a form of worship. It has not only a utilitarian purpose, but has a value in itself, because it draws us nearer to God, and enables us to better grasp His purpose for us in this world. It is obvious, therefore, that the inheritance of wealth cannot make anyone immune from daily work.

Shoghi Effendi, Aqdas, Notes, p. 192


MENDICANCY

The most despised of men in the sight of God are they who sit and beg.

Bahá'u'lláh, Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 30

The basest of men are they that yield no fruit on earth. Such men are verily counted as among the dead, nay better are the dead in the sight of God than those idle and worthless souls.

Bahá'u'lláh, Persian Hidden Words, #81

He who ... is looking at the hand of the people to give him something, know ye that I am quit of such a one.

'Abdu'l-Bahá, S of W, Vol. IV, p. 255

... if he were able to work it is not allowable to assist him. Lazy people should not be assisted; otherwise everybody would leave his work and expect others to support him. There would be no end to it.

`Abdu'l-Baha, S of W, Vol. III, No. 11, p. 5


THEFT AND ENTERING WITHOUT PERMISSION

Take heed that ye enter no house in the absence of its owner, except with his permission.

Bahá'u'lláh, Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 72

... no man should enter the house of his friend save at his friend's pleasure, nor lay hands upon his treasures....

Bahá'u'lláh, Persian Hidden Words, #43

... that which maketh My heart and My pen to lament. They that spread disorder in the land, and lay hands on the property of others, and enter a house without leave of its owner....

Bahá'u'lláh, ESW, p. 23

Some have regarded it as lawful to infringe on the integrity of the substance of their neighbor, and have made light of the injunction of God as prescribed in His Book. Evil fall upon them, and the chastisement of God, the All-Powerful, the Almighty, afflict them! ... They who dwell within the tabernacle of God, and are established upon the seats of everlasting glory, will refuse, though they be dying of hunger, to stretch their hands and seize unlawfully the property of their neighbor, however vile and worthless he may be.

Bahá'u'lláh, GWB. pp. 297-299


CONFESSION

Confession of sins and transgressions before human beings is not permissible, as it hath never been nor will ever be conducive to divine forgiveness. Moreover such confession before people results in one's humiliation and abasement, and God – exalted be His glory – wisheth not the humiliation of His servants.

Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 24

We are forbidden to confess to any person, as do the Catholics to their priests, our sins and shortcomings, or to do so in public as some religious sects do. However, if we spontaneously desire to acknowledge we have been wrong in something, or that we have some fault of character, and ask another person's forgiveness or pardon, we are quite free to do so.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, Aqdas, Notes, p. 194


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