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Abstract:
The roles of Sunnah, Hadith, and Ijtihad in Islamic constitutional law, and the development of the Baha'i legal order and its unique approach to law-making.

Parallels Between Islamic and Baha'i laws and Constitutional Principles

by Afshin A. Khavari

1998
Like Islam, the Bahá'í Faith is a religion of the Book where laws and ordinances of God's revelation are recorded in one title for posterity. Therefore a survey of some features of the Quran will implicitly show interesting parallels between the two religions:

The Quran ranks as the most signal of Prophet Muhammad's works. It is the most authoritative guide for Muslims, and the first source of Shariah (reservoir of legal norms in Islam). The authenticity of the Quran is undoubted. The Quran consists of manifest revelation, which is defined as communication from God to prophet Muhammad, conveyed by the Angel Gabriel, in the very words of God. The Quran calls itself huda, or guidance, not just a code of law. Out of over 6,600 ayat (verses), less than 1/10 relate to law and jurisprudence, while the remainder are largely concerned with matters of belief and morality, the five pillars of the faith, and a variety of other themes. Its ideas of economic and social justice, including its legal norms, are on the whole subsidiary to its religious call.

The contents of the Quran are not classified according to different subjects. Ordinances on various topics appear in unexpected places, and no particular order can be ascertained in the sequence of its text. Rulings in the Quran may be conveyed in a text that is either unequivocal and clear, or in a language that is allegorical, allusive and open to different interpretations. These are thus classified as definitive texts(muhkam), that is one which is clear and specific, has only one meaning and admits of no other interpretations; and speculative ordinances (speculative) which are open to varying interpretations. This division into definitive and speculative is an important and distinct feature of Quranic legislation, and a style seen also in the Kitab-i-Aqdas.

Contrary to the above subtle similarities, there are clear distinctions between the two religions. Shoghi Effendi in the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh emphasises the following: "can any passage in the Quran' . . be construed as placing upon unassailable basis the undoubted authority with which Muhammad had, verbally and on several occasions invested His successor?" In contrast, the Kitab-i-Ahd places upon unassailable basis the authority which Abdul-Baha exercised during His ministry, and gave Him permission to interpret the precise role that Shoghi Effendi and the Houses of Justice were to play in Bahá'u'lláh's world order. The Kitab-i-Aqdas in paragraph 32 and 121 also alludes to the authority that Abdul-Baha, Shoghi Effendi and the Administrative Order have and are exercising.

This distinction allows for an interesting look at Islamic and Bahá'í laws outside the Holy Books of the two religions. The reason for doing this is to gain greater insight into the essence of certain ordinances of the Kitab-i-Aqdas.

Therefore part I of this paper looks at the role of Sunnahs and Hadiths in Islamic constitutional law - its origin, status, and content - and seeks to determine whether these features also appear in the Bahá'í faith. In part II a similar examination is undertaken with Ijtihad - being the most important mechanism in Islam capable of enacting laws for the progressive conditions of present day society. This paper concludes with remarks on the development of the Bahá'í legal order, and its unique, united, and progressive approach to law making.

Sunnah

Sunnah is the most important source of Shariah next to the Quran. Sunnah in Arabic implies normative practice, or an established course of conduct. Hadiths refer to narration of the conduct of Prophet Muhammad; or put another way, it is the literature of Muhammaden traditions. Hadiths reflect the social, political and religious ideals of the transmitters of traditions, and of the society and groups they were spokesmen for. A Hadith is the narration and a Sunnah is the example or law deduced from it. An example of Sunnah is the report that two of the companions of Mohammad went on a journey, and when they failed to find water for ablution, they both performed the obligatory prayers with tayammum, that is wiping the hands, face and feet with clean sand. Later, when they found water, one of them performed the prayers again whereas the other did not. Upon their return, they related their experience to the Prophet, who is reported to have approved both courses of action. Hence it became Sunnah Taqririya.

The concept of Sunnah were introduced into the legal theory of Islam by jurists of Iraq around the end of the 1st century after the passing of Muhammad. Sunnahs initially encompassed practices of the community and precedents of the companions, but in the late 2nd century it was restricted to the Sunnah of the Prophets. The proper usage of Sunnah was seen by the Ulema's (clergy) only to extend to the Sunnah of God, or His way of doing things, and the Sunnah of His messenger.

Sunnahs were memorised by the followers of Muhammad since He forbid recording of it to prevent confusion with contents of the Quran. His companions would refer points in the Quran to Him for clarification, but such clarification is unbeknown in relation to Sunnah. Therefore transmission of the Sunnah has caused different versions of the one and same Hadith to be reported by people whose understanding or interpretation of a particular Hadith is not identical. The scope of ikhtilaf, or disagreement over Sunnah is therefore more extensive than that which exists regarding the Quran. Disagreement in relation to the Quran has been over interpretations, but disagreement over the Sunnah extends not only to questions of interpretations but also to authenticity and proof.

Authority in the Quran

There are three different types of Sunnahs: first the Sunnah may consist of rules that merely confirm and reiterate contents of the Quran; in which case the rules concerned originate in the Quran and are merely corroborated by the Sunnah. In the second variety: Sunnah may clarify ambivalent ordinances in the Quran, qualify absolute statements, or outline the specifics of general principles. To give an example with regard to the contract of sale - the Quran merely declares sale to be unlawful as opposed to riba (that is forbidden). The general principle has later been elaborated by a Sunnah which expounded on the detailed rules of Shariah concerning sale, including its condition, varieties, and sales which might amount to forbidden matters. These two varieties of Sunnahs between them comprise the largest bulk of material. The third variety may consist of rulings on which the Quran is silent, in which case ordinances in question originate in the Sunnah itself. This variety neither confirm nor oppose the Quran, and its contents cannot be traced back to the Holy Book.

The Quran, it is generally held, validates the use of all three types of Sunnahs mentioned above. The word Sunnah and its plural Sunnan are used 15 times in the Quran as references to the exemplary conduct of the Prophet, later interpreted to point to His Sunnah. Although nothing directly points to the word Sunnal-al-Nabi meaning Prophetic Sunnah. In addition, there is further support in the Quran in that it enjoins obedience to the Prophet and makes it a duty of the believers to submit to His judgment and His authority without question.

In the Quran it is stated: "and whatever the messenger gives you, take it, and whatever he forbids you, abstain from it." From this and other similar passages the Ulema (clergy) have concluded that to refer the judgment of a dispute to God means recourse to the Quran, and referring it to the Messenger means recourse to the Sunnah.

Bahá'u'lláh, it is stated in the Kitab-i-Aqdas, has been designated with the Most Great Infallibility; this is affirmed, among other places, in the Tablet of Ishraqat. Abdul-Baha in Some Answered Questions interprets the significance of the Most Great Infallibility, and asserts that "whatever emanates from Them is identical with truth, and conformable to reality," and "whatever They say is the word of God, and whatever they perform is an upright action."

The concept of Sunnah was initially related to the transmission or propagation of Arab custom, and was later replaced with the sayings of Muhammad. However, there is no direct statement in the Quran which confers on Muhammad a station of infallibility similar to that found in relation to Bahá'u'lláh. On this cursory glance, it would appear that there are even stronger grounds in the Bahá'í Faith for establishing the equal of Sunnah. Since, the sayings and actions of Bahá'u'lláh appear to be designated with a particular kind of infallibility not found in Islam.

In addition, the station conferred upon Abdul-Baha - the perfect exemplar of His teachings, and the unerring interpreter of the writings of Bahá'u'lláh - clearly qualifies Him for the job of creating and enunciating Sunnahs. One must surely wonder why no mention has been made in our Faith with regard to materials equivalent to a Sunnah or Hadith - traditions.

The non-existence of Sunnahs in the Bahá'í Faith

Abdul-Baha in one of His speeches in America notes, that in past centuries nations of the world have imagined that the law of God demanded blind imitation of ancestral forms of belief and worship. He points that Muslims have been held in the bondage of traditionary forms and ceremonials, and have cast aside and forsook the basic foundations of the religion of God which has ever been the principle of love, unity and the fellowship of humanity. He further notes that we are now living in this most radiant century wherein human perceptions have developed and investigations of real foundations characterise mankind. It is therefore implicit in this statement that we must study the writings to comprehend what the intent of its author has been, and not try and assess the Scriptures according to traditionary forms of thought. "No good but only evil can come from taking the responsibility for the future of God's cause into our own hands and trying to force it into ways that we wish it to go regardless of the clear texts and our limitations."

We therefore need to examine if there are clear and explicit principles in the Bahá'í writings which would make illegitimate the use of precepts similar to that of the Sunnah and Hadith in Islam! Our investigation is improved if we examine in finer detail two particular aspects of Sunnah before we analyse Bahá'í principles on this matter:

1)There is no dispute in Islamic Jurisprudence over the occurrence of extensive forgery in Hadith and Sunnah literature. The Ulema of Hadith are unanimous on this, and some have gone so far as to affirm that in no other branch of Islamic sciences has there been so much deliberate forgery as in the Hadith and Sunnah. Some of the notorious fabricators of Hadith's were Abdal-Karim, who confessed that he had fabricated 4,000 ahadith in which halal (acceptable) was rendered haram (forbidden) and haram was rendered halal. Also Zanadiqah is recorded to have fabricated a total of 14,000 ahadith's.

2)Which hadith is actually part of the Shariah (laws) has been subject to speculation: (a) for instance deciding whether Sunnah which partakes in specialised or technical knowledge, such as medicine, commerce and agriculture is to be held peripheral to the main function of the prophetic mission and is, therefore, not a part of the Shariah. (b) whether an action of the Prophet was strictly personal (and therefore not a part of Shariah) or was intended to set an example for others to follow. It is known that at times the Prophet acted in a certain way which was in accord with the then prevailing custom of the community. For instance, the Prophet kept His beard at a certain length and trimmed his moustache. The majority of Ulema have viewed this not as mere observance of a familiar custom, but as an example for the believers to follow. Others have held the opposite view by saying that it was part of the social practice of the Arabs which was designed to prevent resemblance to the Jews and some non-Arabs who used to shave the beard and grow the moustache.

Principle based examination

At the apex of Bahá'u'lláh's new world order stands the principle of unity; if the manifestation of the Messiah was synonymous with universal mercy, the manifestation of Bahá'u'lláh is synonymous with the unity of humankind. Following from this, it is also possible to illustrate that unity is a prominent theme reflected in Bahá'í legal and constitutional principles.

The following two points re-enforce this idea: (1) the writings of Bahá'u'lláh are authentic, and can be collated in numerous volumes. (2) Abdul-Baha and Shoghi Effendi have left for posterity many letters, tablets, and books which interpret the writings of Bahá'u'lláh, and only their works are authoritative. The strict nature of this principle is evinced by looking at the value placed on the use of pilgrim notes. Abdul-Baha and Shoghi Effendi have both prohibited the use of pilgrim notes as authoritative materials. Abdul-Baha for instances states: 'thou hast written concerning the pilgrims and pilgrims' notes. Any narrative that is not authenticated by the Text should not be trusted. Narratives, even if true, cause confusion. For the people of Baha, the Text and only the Text, is authentic." Shoghi Effendi also states that we must "attach no importance to the stories told about Abdul-Baha or to those attributed to him by the friends. These should be regarded in the same light as the notes and impressions of visiting pilgrims. They need not be suppressed, but they should not also be given prominence or official recognition." There is also an absolute prohibition against anyone propounding 'authoritative' or 'inspired' interpretations of the writings of Bahá'u'lláh.

This notion unprecedented in religious history may be referred to as 'unity in doctrine.' More generally stated as the Covenant, 'unity in doctrine' is broadly expressive of two conditions: (1) the channel through which Bahá'í Sacred Scriptures and its authoritative interpretations have been revealed to humanity are characterised by their oneness and purity; (2) actual Holy Texts of our faith remain authentic and untampered by human elements.

The importance of unity in doctrine should not be underestimated: it helps preserve the identity of Bahá'u'lláh's Faith, maintains the integrity of His laws, and is therefore like a pivot sustaining the unity and design of Bahá'u'lláh's new world order. It allows for unity in administration - which as a living organism allows our faith to adapt itself to the needs of an ever-changing society. It helps to firmly maintain the intact jurisdiction and legislative power of the Universal House of Justice, which as Abdul-Baha in His Will and Testament declares: "unto the Most Holy Book, every one must turn, and all that is not expressly recorded therein must be referred to the Universal House of Justice."

The purity and absolute nature of the above principles are incompatible with the general nature and aim of Sunnahs explained above. This incompatibility is further perceivable when one examines the three types of Sunnah in Islam namely: verbal, actual and tacitly approved materials. Verbal Sunnah consist of the sayings of Mohammad on any subject; actual Sunnah of the Prophet consists of His deeds and actual instructions, such as the way he performed the fast, or the transactions he concluded such as the sale and giving of loans. The tacit approval of the Prophet was inferred from His silence and lack of disapproval, or from His express approval and verbal confirmations.

The tacit approval of laws and principles are alluded to by Abdul-Baha in His tablets where he states, that the absence of Writings is in effect the of permission in relation to a matter. However, our Faith excludes verbal and actual approval of matters as principles of Bahá'í jurisprudence. We may be correct in assuming that Bahá'u'lláh's intentions were that His actual, verbal or tacit approval of matters and events of His times may not have been appropriate for the times of today or the future. Since times never remain the same, for change is a necessary quality and an essential attribute of this world, and of time and place. This allows the Universal House of Justice in the course of time, when appropriate, to enact or legislate laws that suite the conditions of the time.

Therefore by looking at the Sunnah and Hadith of Islam, we see legal and constitutional principles in the Bahá'í Faith taking on new shapes and meanings. It appears that Bahá'u'lláh intends to wieve a strong net from the fabric of law which will be capable of supporting the structure of His new world order. It seems also that the net is intended to sieve matters which may distort the structure and design of the society which His Revelation is expected to establish.

Ijtihad

Next to the Quran and the Prophets Sunnah, Ijtihad is the most important source of Islamic law. It is a process through which continuous development of the Muslim community is achieved, and the main instrument for interpreting the divine message and relating it to the changing conditions of society. Various other sources of Islamic law, like consensus of opinion, analogy, juristic preference, considerations of public interest, etc. are all manifestations of Ijtihad, albeit with procedural differences. Therefore all the non-revealed proofs of Shariah are embodiments of the single phenomenon of Ijtihad. Individuals involved in Ijtihad must be a Mujtahid - a rank given to some learned jurists - and therefore self exertion by a layman is precluded.

Ijtihad is generally concerned with practical rules of Shariah which usually regulates the conduct of a competent person who is in full possession of his faculties. Ijtihad may be applied to materials in the Quran or Sunnah that is (1)authentic but speculative in meaning; (2)of doubtful authenticity, but definitive in meaning, and (3)speculative in respect to both authenticity and meaning. Ijtihad doesn't apply to evidence which is decisive both in respect of authenticity and meaning.

In the Bahá'í Faith, because of the existence of unity in doctrine discussed previously, the equivalent of Ijtihad could not apply to matters (the three points raised above) that it normally would in Islam. That is, next to Abdul-Baha and the Shoghi Effendi, no one else is vested with the power to undertake authoritative interpretations of the Bahá'í Sacred Writings. Abdul-Baha in one of His Tablets clearly rules out Ijtihad as a method of expanding on laws and regulations; He states that 'conclusions and deductions of individual learned men and scholars have no authority in the Bahá'í faith. The reason being that differences would definitely arise, and there would be schism, division and dispersion in the Bahá'í faith if each asserted what was right. The unity of the Faith would disappear, and its edifice would be shaken.

Corollary to this, two concomitant forces are at play filling what would seem to be a gap in Bahá'í administration and legislative mechanisms: (1)the Most Holy Book contains laws and ordinances that are generally stated, and many areas of law and order are not even raised in the Kitab-i-Aqdas; (2)the Universal House of Justice as the legislative assembly of the Bahá'ís of the world is vested with power to enact laws and ordinances when seen appropriate. They specify matters that are general, and enact ones which are not outwardly expressed in the Kitab-i-Aqdas. The Universal House of Justice, declares Bahá'u'lláh 'will be verily inspired by God with whatsoever He willeth and He verily is the provider, the omniscient.'

Another marked contrast with Islam's Ijtihad is that individual's, even if they are to attain the highest of stations cannot authoritatively interpret or enact laws in the Bahá'í Faith. The Universal House of Justice states: "a clear distinction is made in our Faith between authoritative interpretation and the interpretation or understanding that each individual arrives at for himself from his study of its teachings. While the former is confined to the Guardian, the latter according to the guidance given to us by the Guardian himself, should by no means be suppressed." It is therefore explicit in Bahá'u'lláh's cause that institutions are key players in the legislative mechanism, and that the Universal House of Justice sits at the apex of this spectrum.

We can perhaps perceive the wisdom of the above points as we trace through the application of Ijtihad to the three categories mentioned above. An example of Ijtihad concerning evidence that is definitive of proof but speculative of meaning is the Quranic text in Sura al-Baqarah: "the divorced women must observe three courses upon themselves." There is no doubt concerning the authenticity of this text as the Quran is authentic throughout. However its meaning, in particular the precise meaning of the word 'courses', is open to speculation. Courses is a homonym meaning both menstruation and the clean periods between menstruation. Whereas Imam Abu Hanifah and Ibn Hanbal have adopted the former, Imam Shafii and Malik have adopted the latter meaning, and their respective Ijtihad leads them to correspondingly different results. Such examples of conflict on interpretations and views are endless in Islamic Jurisprudence.

Therefore if Bahá'u'lláh's order is to withstand the pressure of divided and conflicting administrative tools as seen in Islam, unity in administration corollary to unity in doctrine is essential. In fact, through the establishment of the Universal House of Justice, the Bahá'í Faith is expected to expand and adapt itself as a united living organism to the needs of an ever changing society. This theme originates in the Kitab-i-Aqdas and is carried through the sacred Scriptures of the Faith; it is unity in administration that maintains continuos divine guidance for the new world order which the Bahá'í faith is intending to establish; it is unity in administration that distinguishes Bahá'í legal and constitutional structures and principles from its theocratic, democratic, and socialist counterparts; it is unity in administration that discards of the idea of having non-authoritative interpretations of Sacred Texts influencing the life of the Bahá'í community.

Conclusion

The presence of Sunnah and Ijtihad in Islamic legal and constitutional structure has enriched Islamic development of its community. The non-existence of similar notions in the Bahá'í Faith must not imply that development will in any way be impaired; what it seems to imply, as discussed in this paper, is that the underlying ideas and principles of the two religions are not the same; their aims and purposes in this time in societies history are different; and naturally jurisprudence and the development of the two communities administrative and legal order will be different.

The Bahá'í faith intends to distinguish itself through its unity; it perceives the unity of its community life as a crucial element in its development. Therefore, the legal and constitutional order designed by Bahá'u'lláh has ingrained unity as its guiding principle, and Bahá'u'lláh's revelation strictly legislates for this. Therefore the notions of unity in administration and unity in doctrine outlined in this paper are ways of seeing how unity as a principle functions in the Bahá'í legal order.

End Notes

1- Muslims of all denominations consider the Quran as Allah's work, and do not therefore attribute the final composition of the Quran to Muhammad. Muhammad did not write, or Allah did not reveal through Him any other sacred texts.

2- It must be noted that only Shi'a Muslims believe in 5 pillars, they are: Touhid, which refers to divine unity; Nabowah is Prophethood; Adl is justice; Imamah refers to successorship-Imams; and Ma'ad which means resurrecsion. The number of pillars Sunnis believe in are between 1 to 3: either Touhid, or Touhid and Nabowah, or Touhid, Nabowah and Ma'ad.

3- The contrast for instance between paragraph 119 and 190 may illustrate this point. Paragraph 119 in a speculative fashion alludes to the prohibition of drugs, and paragraph 190 strictly and definitively prohibits the use of opium (Bahá'u'lláh., Kitab-I-Aqdas (1992) Haifa: Bahá'í World Centre, at 62, 190). Although any further discussions of the structure and style of the Kitab-i-Aqdas is outside the scope of this paper.

4- Effendi.S., The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, (1991, first pocket sized edition). Wilmette, Illinois: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, at 21.

5- Bahá'u'lláh., Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, a Compilation: Kitab-I-Ahd (1986: first published). New Delhi: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, at 279.

6- Bahá'u'lláh., Kitab-I-Aqdas (1992). Haifa: Bahá'í World Centre, at 30, 63.

7- Burton.J., The Collection of Quran, (1977) Cambridge University Press, at 5.

8- Cited in: Muhammad.H., Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence (1991). Cambridge Islamic Texts Society, at 132.

9- id, at 120.

10- id, at 112.

11- Muhammad., The Koran (1983 rev ed). Oxford University Press, at 314:14.

12- Bahá'u'lláh., Kitab-I-Aqdas (1992). Haifa: Bahá'í World Centre, at 36.

13- Bahá'u'lláh, Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, a Compilation: Ishraqat (1986: first published). at 222. Bahá'u'lláh writes that: "Praise be unto God Who hath made the Most Great Infallibility the shield for the temple of His Cause in the realm of creation, and hath assigned unto no one a share of this lofty and sublime station - a station which is the vesture which the fingers of transcendent power have woven for His august Self. Ibid.

14- Abdul-Baha., Some Answered Questions (1981 rev. ed). Wilmette, Illinois: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, at 173.

15- Effendi.S., The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, (1991, first pocket sized edition). Wilmette, Illinois: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, at 134.

16- However, the categories noted in Supra text 8 would not apply inflexibly to what Abdul-Baha was strictly permitted to do.

17- Some of the writings of Bahá'u'lláh that have been translated into english are: Epistle to the Son of the Wolf. (1953 rev. edn) Trans. by Shoghi Effendi. Wilmette, Illinois: Bahá'í Publishing Trust; The Hidden Words (rev. edn 1954) Trans. by Shoghi Effendi. Wilmette, Illinois: Bahá'í Publishing Trust; Kitab-i-Iqan. The Book of Certitude (rev. edn 1974) trans. by Shoghi Effendi. Wilmette, Illinois: Bahá'í Publishing Trust; Prayers and Meditations by Bahá'u'lláh (6th RP 1974) Trans. by Shoghi Effendi. Wilmette, Illinois: Bahá'í Publishing Trust; Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas (1978) Compiled by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice and translated by Habib Taherzadeh with the assistance of a committee at the Bahá'í World Centre. Haifa: Bahá'í World Centre; The Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh to the Kings and Leaders of the World (1967). Haifa: Bahá'í World Centre.

18- Some of the tablets and letters of Abdul-Baha and Shoghi Effendi which are interpretations of the Sacred Writings of Bahá'u'lláh and have been translated into english are: Abdul-Baha. Foundations of World Unity (1979). Wilmette, Illinois: Bahá'í Publishing Trust; Abdul-Baha. Paris Talks: Addresses Given By Abdul-Baha in Paris in 1911-12 (1951). London: Bahá'í Publishing Trust; Abdul-Baha. Selections from the writings of Abdul-Baha (1978). Compiled by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, translated by a Committee at the Bahá'í World Centre and by Marzieh Gail. Haifa: Bahá'í World Centre; Abdul-Baha. Some Answered Questions (rev. edn. 1981). Compiled by Laura Clifford Barney. Wilmette, Illinois: Bahá'í Publishing Trust; Abdul-Baha. Will and Testament of Abdul-Baha (1944) Wilmette, Illinois: Bahá'í Publishing Committee; Shoghi Effendi. The Advent of Divine Justice (rev edn 1963) Wilmette, Illinois: Bahá'í Publishing Trust; Shoghi Effendi. Bahá'í Administration (5th rev edn 1968). Wilmette, Illinois: Bahá'í Publishing Trust; Shoghi Effendi. Citadel of Faith: Messages to America 1947-1957 (RP 1980) Wilmette, Illinois: Bahá'í Publishing Trust; Shoghi Effendi. God Passes By (1944). Wilmette, Illinios: Bahá'í Publishing Trust; Shoghi Effendi. The Promised Day is come (rev. edn 1961). Wilmette, Illinois: Bahá'í Publishing Trust; Shoghi Effendi. World Order of Bahá'u'lláh (rev. edn. 1955). Wilmette, Illinois: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. 19- The point may be approached from another angle, that there is an absolute prohibition against anyone propounding 'authoritative' or 'inspired' interpretations of the writings of Bahá'u'lláh.

20- Bahá'ís at the time of Abdul-Baha and Shoghi Effendi would visit the Bahá'í Holy land in Israel; during such visits they would record what said by these key figures in the Bahá'í dispensation. These recorded materials are known as pilgrim notes, and they cover numerous topics and themes.

21- Abdul-Baha: from a previously untranslated Tablet. Found in: Hornsby.H (compiler), Lights of Guidance (1988, 2nd ed). Bahá'í Publishing Trust: India, at 438.

22- From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada, October 2, 1935. Found in: Hornsby.H (compiler), Lights of Guidance (1988, 2nd ed) Bahá'í Publishing Trust: India, at 439. The following is also testimony to this point: "Shoghi Effendi has often said that the notes of the pilgrims should be for their own personal use and bear absolutely no authority. What he desires to convey to the friends at large he will always say in his general letters." From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, January 23 1980. Found in: Hornsby.H (compiler), Lights of Guidance (1988, 2nd ed) Bahá'í Publishing Trust: India, at 438.

23- Universal House of Justice., The Compilation of Compilations: Establishment of the Universal House of Justice (1963-1990), Vol I. Maryborough: Australian Print Group, at 350. It is outside the scope of this paper to prove the notion that unity in doctrine is a unique feature not outlined in previous religious history.

24- The Covenant Shoghi Effendi writes in God Passes By: 'is a divinely ordained instrument provided by Bahá'u'lláh to direct and canalise the forces let loose by the heaven sent process [the revelation of Bahá'u'lláh], and to ensure the harmonious and continuos operation after the ascension of Bahá'u'lláh' (Effendi.S., God Passes By (1987). Illinois: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, at 237).

25- To be discussed later.

26- The Will and Testament of Abdul-Baha, cited in: Taherzadeh.A., The Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh (1992). Oxford: George Ronald, at 423.

27- Abdul-Hamid Ishraq Khavari.(Compiler), Maidiy-i-Asamani: A compilation of Bahá'í Writings. (1972). 9 vols. and one index volume. Tihran: Bahá'í Publishing Trust.

28- Ijtihad is defined as the total expenditure of effort made by a jurist in order to infer, with a degree of probability, the rules of Shariah from the detailed evidence in the sources.

29- As to the nature and rules governing this point see supra text 19-22.

30- Translated from an untranslated tablet: Wellspring of Guidance: Messages 1963-1968, pp 84-86 (The Universal House of Justice, A compilation (1984), UC Bahá'í Publishing Trust, at 11-12). Also found in the Kitab-i-Aqdas, at 5.

31- ibid. The complete texts of the passage reads: "Briefly, this is the wisdom of referring the laws of society to the House of Justice. In the religion of Islam, similarly, not every ordinance was explicitly revealed; nay not a tenth part of a tenth part was included in the Text; although all matters of major importance were specifically referred to, there was undoubtedly thousands of laws which were unspecified. These were devised by the divine of a later age according to the laws of Islamic jurisprudence, and individual divines made conflicting deductions from the original revealed ordinances. All these were enforced. Today this process of deduction is the right of the body of the House of Justice, and the deductions and conclusions of individual learned men have no authority, unless they are endorsed by the House of Justice. The difference is precisely this, that from the conclusions and endorsements of the body of the House of Justice whose members are elected by and known to the worldwide Bahá'í community, no differences will arise; whereas the conclusions of individual divines and scholars would definitely lead to differences, and result in schism, division, and dispersion. The oneness of the World would be destroyed, the unity of the Faith would disappear, and the edifice of the Faith of God would be shaken."

32- ibid.

33- The Universal House of Justice in a letter addressed to an individual Bahá'í on The Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice. Extracted in: Taherzadeh.A., The Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh (1992). Oxford: George Ronald, at 436-437.

34- Muhammad.H., Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence (1991). Cambridge Islamic Texts Society, at 324.

35- Universal House of Justice., The Compilation of Compilations: Establishment of the Universal House of Justice (1963-1990). Maryborough: Australian Print Group, at 350.

36- It is outside the scope of this paper to discuss how the faith is distinguished from other kinds of administration such as the theocratic, democratic and socialist methods suggested.

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