interpretation and elucidation

All research or scholarship questions
jimhabegger
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interpretation and elucidation

Postby jimhabegger » Thu Apr 03, 2008 4:06 am

The House of Justice does not interpret. It elucidates. What difference does that make, in practice? I've thought of an image that might help.

Think of the elucidations of the House of Justice as a reading lamp, and the scriptures of the Faith as a book you're reading. The lamp can help you see what you're reading more clearly, if your head doesn't block the light.

Jim

Ahsan_al_Hadees
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Re: interpretation and elucidation

Postby Ahsan_al_Hadees » Tue May 27, 2008 4:56 pm

Dear Bahai Friends,

I have a question here. Can the successors of Bahaullah interpret Bahaullah's tablets and surahs? If yes plz provide me with the reference/references.

Regards,
Ahsan

brettz9
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Re: interpretation and elucidation

Postby brettz9 » Tue May 27, 2008 8:16 pm

Yes, the successors (which is not the same as descendants), 'Abdu'l-Baha and the Guardians (Shoghi Effendi being the first and only) can interpret.

Paragraphs 121 and 174 establish 'Abdu'l-Baha as Successor (even Mirza Muhammad-Ali had no way around this).

Paragraph 9 of the Kitab-i-Ahd ('Abdu'l-Baha was known as the Most Mighty Branch) and The Tablet of the Branch also speaks to this (though the latter is an older translation).

This tablet might also be taken to indicate 'Abdu'l-Baha's station.

The Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha establishes the institution of the Guardianship and with Shoghi Effendi as 'Abdu'l-Baha's immediate successor and interpreter.

Paragraph 42 of the Kitab-i-Aqdas anticipates the possibility that the line of Guardians could end before the House of Justice was established (as happened by the passing of Shoghi Effendi).

best wishes,
Brett

Ahsan_al_Hadees
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Re: interpretation and elucidation

Postby Ahsan_al_Hadees » Wed May 28, 2008 6:05 am

Dear Brett,

Can you specifically paste that reference where it is written by Bahaullah that his book and laws can be interpret by the Successors/Guardians please.

Regards,
Ahsan

brettz9
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Re: interpretation and elucidation

Postby brettz9 » Wed May 28, 2008 10:18 am

Baha'u'llah did not explicitly state that the Guardians could interpret (though He did anticipate the institution of Guardianship--see below), but He did indicate that 'Abdu'l-Baha could interpret (Whose station was even higher than a Guardian):

O people of the world! When the Mystic Dove will have winged its flight from its Sanctuary of Praise and sought its far-off goal, its hidden habitation, refer ye whatsoever ye understand not in the Book to Him Who hath branched from this mighty Stock.

(Baha'u'llah, Kitab-i-Aqdas, par. 174)


Obviously, by being told by Baha'u'llah to refer what we do not understand to His Son, it means Baha'u'llah's Son can interpret His Book.

Since Baha'u'llah appointed 'Abdu'l-Baha (also in the other passages I referred to), and since 'Abdu'l-Baha indicated the Guardians could interpret, thus indirectly Baha'u'llah did so as well. Baha'u'llah also Himself directly indicated that there would be a Guardianship (Aghsan refers to the male descendants of Baha'u'llah):

Endowments dedicated to charity revert to God, the Revealer of Signs. None hath the right to dispose of them without leave from Him Who is the Dawning-place of Revelation. After Him, this authority shall pass to the Aghsán, and after them to the House of Justice--should it be established in the world by then--that they may use these endowments for the benefit of the Places which have been exalted in this Cause, and for whatsoever hath been enjoined upon them by Him Who is the God of might and power. Otherwise, the endowments shall revert to the people of Bahá who speak not except by His leave and judge not save in accordance with what God hath decreed in this Tablet--lo, they are the champions of victory betwixt heaven and earth--that they may use them in the manner that hath been laid down in the Book by God, the Mighty, the Bountiful.

(Baha'u'llah, Kitab-i-Aqdas, par. 42)


best wishes,
Brett

Ahsan_al_Hadees
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Re: interpretation and elucidation

Postby Ahsan_al_Hadees » Wed May 28, 2008 11:04 am

Dear Brett,

You gave reference as under:

O people of the world! When the Mystic Dove will have winged its flight from its Sanctuary of Praise and sought its far-off goal, its hidden habitation, refer ye whatsoever ye understand not in the Book to Him Who hath branched from this mighty Stock.

(Baha'u'llah, Kitab-i-Aqdas, par. 174)


This reference should be a proof for all covenant breakers that Abdul Baha, one day, had to be the successor. Why did Mirza Muhammad Ali could not ponder over it? Do you know what was his major clash with Abdul Baha?

Regards,
Ahsan

brettz9
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Re: interpretation and elucidation

Postby brettz9 » Wed May 28, 2008 2:55 pm

There wasn't much "wiggle room" for him, since Baha'u'llah's "Book of the Covenant" was so clear.

Far from being allayed by the provisions of a Will which had elevated him to the second-highest position within the ranks of the faithful, the fire of unquenchable animosity that glowed in the breast of Mírzá Muhammad-`Alí burned even more fiercely as soon as he came to realize the full implications of that Document. All that `Abdu'l-Bahá could do, during a period of four distressful years, His incessant exhortations, His earnest pleadings, the favors and kindnesses He showered upon him, the admonitions and warnings He uttered, even His voluntary withdrawal in the hope of averting the threatening storm, proved to be of no avail. Gradually and with unyielding persistence, through lies, half-truths, calumnies and gross exaggerations, this "Prime Mover of sedition" succeeded in ranging on his side almost the entire family of Bahá'u'lláh, as well as a considerable number of those who had formed his immediate entourage.....

To friend and stranger, believer and unbeliever alike, to officials both high and low, openly and by insinuation, verbally as well as in writing, they represented `Abdu'l-Bahá as an ambitious, a self-willed, an unprincipled and pitiless usurper, Who had deliberately disregarded the testamentary instructions of His Father; Who had, in language intentionally veiled and ambiguous, assumed a rank co-equal with the Manifestation Himself; Who in His communications with the West was beginning to claim to be the return of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who had come "in the glory of the Father"; Who, in His letters to the Indian believers, was proclaiming Himself as the promised Sháh Bahrám, and arrogating to Himself the right to interpret the writing of His Father, to inaugurate a new Dispensation, and to share with Him the Most Great Infallibility, the exclusive prerogative of the holders of the prophetic office. They, furthermore, affirmed that He had, for His private ends, fomented discord, fostered enmity and brandished the weapon of excommunication; that He had perverted the purpose of a Testament which they alleged to be primarily concerned with the private interests of Bahá'u'lláh's family by acclaiming it as a Covenant of world importance, pré-existent, peerless and unique in the history of all religions; that He had deprived His brothers and sisters of their lawful allowance, and expended it on officials for His personal advancement; that He had declined all the repeated invitations made to Him to discuss the issues that had arisen and to compose the differences which prevailed; that He had actually corrupted the Holy Text, interpolated passages written by Himself, and perverted the purpose and meaning of some of the weightiest Tablets revealed by the pen of His Father; and finally, that the standard of rebellion had, as a result of such conduct, been raised by the Oriental believers, that the community of the faithful had been rent asunder, was rapidly declining and was doomed to extinction.
And yet it was this same Mírzá Muhammad-`Alí who, regarding himself as the exponent of fidelity, the standard-bearer of the "Unitarians," the "Finger who points to his Master," the champion of the Holy Family, the spokesman of the Aghsán, the upholder of the Holy Writ, had, in the lifetime of Bahá'u'lláh, so openly and shamelessly advanced in a written statement, signed and sealed by him, the very claim now falsely imputed by him to `Abdu'l-Bahá, that his Father had, with His own hand, chastised him. He it was who, when sent on a mission to India, had tampered with the text of the holy writings entrusted to his care for publication. He it was who had the impudence and temerity to tell `Abdu'l-Bahá to His face that just as Umar had succeeded in usurping the successorship of the Prophet Muhammad, he, too, felt himself able to do the same. He it was who, obsessed by the fear that he might not survive `Abdu'l-Bahá, had, the moment he had been assured by Him that all the honor he coveted would, in the course of time, be his, swiftly rejoined that he had no guarantee that he would outlive Him. He it was who, as testified by Mírzá Badí'u'lláh in his confession, written and published on the occasion of his repentance and his short-lived reconciliation with `Abdu'l-Bahá, had, while Bahá'u'lláh's body was still awaiting interment, carried off, by a ruse, the two satchels containing his Father's most precious documents, entrusted by Him, prior to His ascension, to `Abdu'l-Bahá. He it was who, by an exceedingly adroit and simple forgery of a word recurring in some of the denunciatory passages addressed by the Supreme Pen to Mírzá Yahyá, and by other devices such as mutilation and interpolation, had succeeded in making them directly applicable to a Brother Whom he hated with such consuming passion. And lastly, it was this same Mírzá Muhammad-`Alí who, as attested by `Abdu'l-Bahá in His Will, had, with circumspection and guile, conspired to take His life, an intention indicated by the allusions made in a letter written by Shu'á'u'lláh (Son of Mírzá Muhammad-`Alí), the original of which was enclosed in that same Document by `Abdu'l-Bahá.
...
More specifically Bahá'u'lláh had, referring to Mírzá Muhammad-`Alí in clear and unequivocal language, affirmed: "He, verily, is but one of My servants... Should he for a moment pass out from under the shadow of the Cause, he surely shall be brought to naught." Furthermore, in a no less emphatic language, He, again in connection with Mírzá Muhammad-`Alí had stated: "By God, the True One! Were We, for a single instant, to withhold from him the outpourings of Our Cause, he would wither, and would fall upon the dust."

(Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 248)


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