Correspondence re Aqdas, Sentence #5

(From an earlier discussion)
Date: Sat, 8 Apr 1995
From: Juan R Cole
Subject: Aqdas verse 2

1. xxxx wanted to know the difference between "law" and "ordinance". Is it correct to suggest that ordinance refers to those commands that relates individual to his God (e.g. prayer, fasting) and laws related to such commands that define the relationship of the individual to society (eg. marriage, inheritance law)?"

A. I do not believe that Baha'i translations usually retain consistent technical terms such that it would be possible to make a firm distinction between "law" and "ordinance."

In Arabic, the words referring to laws do have specific connotations. Hukm" or ahkam" is very general, just "law" or "laws." (In other contexts it can also mean "ruling, judgment"). On the other hand hadd or hudud in Islamic law has the technical sense of a legal punishment. Al-Hudud are the punishments imposed for breaking moral or criminal laws. In Islam, giving lashes (or stoning) to adulterers would be one of the hudud.

2. When the Bab refers to kasr-i hudud, does hudud in Islamic jurisprudence refer to the penalty portion of the law or to the law itself? (In other words, did the Bab abrogate the laws or the penalties associated with them?)"

A. The phrase kasr al-hudud presumably has to do with breaking such laws. I would be very surprised if the phrase originated with the Bab, who after all prescribed such hudud and was rather strict about them. But many Babis in the Interregnum were antinomians, and the phrase could have had wide currency.

Kitab-i-Aqdas Multilinear Translation table of contents
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