(Baha'i World Centre, 1992)
Filename: KA.ZIP (FN)
Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith, included as one of
the goals of his Ten Year Plan the preparation of a Synopsis and
Codification of the Laws and Ordinances of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas as an
essential prelude to its translation. He himself worked on the
codification, but had not finished it when he died in 1957. The task
was continued on the basis of his work, and the resulting volume was
released in 1973. That publication included, in addition to the
Synopsis and Codification itself and explanatory notes, a compilation
of the passages from the Kitáb-i-Aqdas which had already been
translated by Shoghi Effendi and published in various books. The
Synopsis and Codification covered the text of both the Kitáb-i-Aqdas
and the Questions and Answers which constitutes an appendix to the
Aqdas. In 1986 the Universal House of Justice decided that the time had
come when the preparation of an English translation of the complete
text of the Most Holy Book was both possible and essential and made its
accomplishment a goal of the Six Year Plan 1986-1992. Its publication
in English will be followed by translations in other languages.
has been recognized that the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, being Sacred Scripture,
should be presented in a form which can be read with ease and
inspiration, uncluttered with the footnotes and index numbers that are
common in scholarly texts. Nonetheless, to assist the reader in
following the flow of the text and its changing themes, paragraph
divisions have been added--such divisions not being common in works of
Arabic literature--and these paragraphs have then
been numbered for ease of access and indexing, as well as for
uniformity of reference in all the languages in which the work will be
the text of the Aqdas is a brief compilation of Writings of Bahá'u'lláh
which are supplementary to the Most Holy Book, and a translation of the
Questions and Answers published here for the first time.
Effendi had stated that the English translation of the Aqdas should be
"copiously annotated". The policy followed in preparing the notes has
been to concentrate on those points which might strike a
non-Arabic-speaking reader as obscure or which, for various reasons,
require elucidation or background information. They are not intended to
be a comprehensive commentary on the text beyond these fundamental
notes, which are placed following the Synopsis and Codification, are
numbered sequentially. Each is preceded by a quotation of the passage
to which it relates, and indicates the number of the paragraph in which
this appears. This facilitates cross-reference between the text and the
notes, while making it possible for readers to study the notes without
repeatedly consulting the text, if they so prefer. It is hoped in this
way to meet the needs of readers of a wide range of backgrounds and
The index provides a guide to subjects in all sections of the volume.
significance and character of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas and the range of
subjects it contains have been graphically depicted by Shoghi Effendi
in his history of the first Bahá'í century entitled God Passes By. As
an assistance to the reader, these passages are provided in the section
that immediately follows the introduction. The Synopsis and
Codification, which is republished in this volume, serves as another
aid for obtaining an overview of the Book.
the 149th of the Bahá'í era, marks the Centenary of the Ascension of
Bahá'u'lláh, Bearer of the universal Revelation of God destined to lead
humanity to its collective coming of age. That this occasion should be
observed by a community of believers representing a cross-section of
the entire human race and established, in the course of a century and a
half, in the most remote corners of the globe, is a token of the forces
of unity released by Bahá'u'lláh's advent. A further testimony to the
operation of these same forces can be seen in the extent to which
Bahá'u'lláh's vision has prefigured contemporary human experience in so
many of its aspects. It is a propitious moment for the publication of
this first authorized translation into English of the Mother Book of
His Revelation, His "Most Holy Book", the Book in which He sets forth
the Laws of God for a Dispensation destined to endure for no less than
a thousand years.
the more than one hundred volumes comprising the sacred Writings of
Bahá'u'lláh, the Kitáb-i-Aqdas is of unique importance. "To build anew
the whole world" is the claim and challenge of His Message, and the
Kitáb-i-Aqdas is the Charter of the future world civilization that
Bahá'u'lláh has come to raise up. Its provisions rest squarely on the
foundation established by past religions, for, in the words of
Bahá'u'lláh, "This is the changeless Faith of God, eternal in the past,
eternal in the future." In this Revelation the concepts of the past are
brought to a new level of understanding, and the social laws, changed
to suit the age
now dawning, are designed to carry humanity forward into a world
civilization the splendours of which can as yet be scarcely imagined.
its affirmation of the validity of the great religions of the past, the
Kitáb-i-Aqdas reiterates those eternal truths enunciated by all the
Divine Messengers: the unity of God, love of one's neighbour, and the
moral purpose of earthly life. At the same time it removes those
elements of past religious codes that now constitute obstacles to the
emerging unification of the world and the reconstruction of human
Law of God for this Dispensation addresses the needs of the entire
human family. There are laws in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas which are directed
primarily to the members of a specific section of humanity and can be
immediately understood by them but which, at first reading, may be
obscure to people of a different culture. Such, for example, is the law
prohibiting the confession of sins to a fellow human being which,
though understandable by those of Christian background, may puzzle
others. Many laws relate to those of past Dispensations, especially the
two most recent ones, those of Muhammad and the Báb embodied in the
Qur'án and the Bayán. Nevertheless, although certain ordinances of the
Aqdas have such a focused reference, they also have universal
implications. Through His Law, Bahá'u'lláh gradually unveils the
significance of the new levels of knowledge and behaviour to which the
peoples of the world are being called. He embeds His precepts in a
setting of spiritual commentary, keeping ever before the mind of the
reader the principle that these laws, no matter the subject with which
they deal, serve the manifold purposes of bringing tranquillity to
human society, raising the standard of human behaviour, increasing the
range of human understanding, and spiritualizing the life of each and
all. Throughout, it is the relationship of the individual soul to God
and the fulfilment of its spiritual destiny that is
the ultimate aim of the laws of religion. "Think not", is Bahá'u'lláh's
own assertion, "that We have revealed unto you a mere code of laws.
Nay, rather, We have unsealed the choice Wine with the fingers of might
and power." His Book of Laws is His "weightiest testimony unto all
people, and the proof of the All-Merciful unto all who are in heaven
and all who are on earth".
introduction to the spiritual universe unveiled in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas
would fail in its purpose if it did not acquaint the reader with the
interpretive and legislative institutions that Bahá'u'lláh has
indissolubly linked with the system of law thus revealed. At the
foundation of this guidance lies the unique role which Bahá'u'lláh's
Writings --indeed the text of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas itself--confer on His
eldest son, 'Abdu'l-Bahá. This unique figure is at once the Exemplar of
the pattern of life taught by His Father, the divinely inspired
authoritative Interpreter of His Teachings and the Centre and Pivot of
the Covenant which the Author of the Bahá'í Revelation made with all
who recognize Him. The twenty-nine years of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's ministry
endowed the Bahá'í world with a luminous body of commentary that opens
multiple vistas of understanding on His Father's purpose.
His Will and Testament 'Abdu'l-Bahá conferred the mantle of Guardian of
the Cause and infallible Interpreter of its teachings upon His eldest
grandson, Shoghi Effendi, and confirmed the authority and guarantee of
divine guidance decreed by Bahá'u'lláh for the Universal House of
Justice on all matters "which have not outwardly been revealed in the
Book". The Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice can thus be
seen to be, in the words of Shoghi Effendi, the "Twin Successors" of
Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá. They are the supreme institutions of the
Administrative Order which was founded and anticipated in the
Kitáb-i-Aqdas and elaborated by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in His Will.
the thirty-six years of his ministry, Shoghi Effendi raised up the
structure of elected Spiritual Assemblies--
the Houses of Justice referred to in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, now in their
embryonic stage--and with their collaboration initiated the systematic
implementation of the Divine Plan that 'Abdu'l-Bahá had laid out for
the diffusion of the Faith throughout the world. He also set in motion,
on the basis of the strong administrative structure that had been
established, the processes which were an essential preparation for the
election of the Universal House of Justice. This body, which came into
existence in April 1963, is elected through secret ballot and plurality
vote in a three-stage election by adult Bahá'ís throughout the world.
The revealed Word of Bahá'u'lláh, together with the interpretations and
expositions of the Centre of the Covenant and the Guardian of the
Cause, constitute the binding terms of reference of the Universal House
of Justice and are its bedrock foundation.
to the laws themselves, a careful scrutiny discloses that they govern
three areas: the individual's relationship to God, physical and
spiritual matters which benefit the individual directly, and relations
among individuals and between the individual and society. They can be
grouped under the following headings: prayer and fasting; laws of
personal status governing marriage, divorce and inheritance; a range of
other laws, ordinances and prohibitions, as well as exhortations; and
the abrogation of specific laws and ordinances of previous
Dispensations. A salient characteristic is their brevity. They
constitute the kernel of a vast range of law that will arise in
centuries to come. This elaboration of the law will be enacted by the
Universal House of Justice under the authority conferred upon it by
Bahá'u'lláh Himself. In one of His Tablets 'Abdu'l-Bahá elucidates this
Those matters of major
importance which constitute the foundation of the Law of God are
explicitly recorded in the Text, but subsidiary laws are left to the
House of Justice. The wisdom of this is that the times never remain the
change is a necessary quality and an essential
attribute of this world, and of time and place. Therefore the House of
Justice will take action accordingly...
this is the wisdom of referring the laws of society to the House of
Justice. In the religion of Islám, 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 were undoubtedly thousands of laws which were
unspecified. These were devised by the divines 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 Word would be
destroyed, the unity of the Faith would disappear, and the edifice of
the Faith of God would be shaken.
the Universal House of Justice is explicitly authorized to change or
repeal its own legislation as conditions change, thus providing Bahá'í
law with an essential element of flexibility, it cannot abrogate or
change any of the laws which are explicitly laid down in the sacred
society for which certain of the laws of the Aqdas are designed will
come only gradually into being, and Bahá'u'lláh has provided for the
progressive application of Bahá'í law:
Indeed, the laws of God are
like unto the ocean and the children of men as fish, did they but know
it. However, in observing them one must exercise tact and wisdom...
Since most people are feeble and far-removed from the purpose of God,
therefore one must observe tact and prudence under all conditions, so
that nothing might happen that could cause disturbance and dissension
or raise clamour among the heedless. Verily, His bounty hath surpassed
the whole universe and His bestowals encompassed all that dwell on
earth. One must guide mankind to the ocean of true understanding in a
spirit of love and tolerance. The Kitáb-i-Aqdas itself beareth eloquent
testimony to the loving providence of God.
principle governing this progressive application was enunciated in a
letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to a National Spiritual
Assembly in 1935:
The laws revealed by
Bahá'u'lláh in the Aqdas are, whenever practicable and not in direct
conflict with the Civil Law of the land, absolutely binding on every
believer or Bahá'í institution whether in the East or in the West.
Certain ... laws should be regarded by all believers as universally and
vitally applicable at the present time. Others have been formulated in
anticipation of a state of society destined to emerge from the chaotic
conditions that prevail today... What has not been formulated in the
Aqdas, in addition to matters of detail and of secondary importance
arising out of the application of the laws already formulated by
Bahá'u'lláh, will have to be enacted by the Universal House of Justice.
This body can supplement but never invalidate or modify in the least
degree what has already been formulated by Bahá'u'lláh. Nor has the
Guardian any right whatsoever to lessen the binding effect much less to
abrogate the provisions of so fundamental and sacred a Book.
number of laws binding on Bahá'ís is not increased by the publication
of this translation. When it is deemed timely, the Bahá'í community
will be advised which additional laws are binding upon believers, and
any guidance or supplementary legislation necessary for their
application will be provided.
general, the laws of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas are stated succinctly. An
example of this conciseness can be seen in the fact that many are
expressed only as they apply to a man, but it is apparent from the
Guardian's writings that, where Bahá'u'lláh has given a law as between
a man and a woman, it applies mutatis mutandis between a woman and a
man unless the context makes this impossible. For example, the text of
the Kitáb-i-Aqdas forbids a man to marry his father's wife (i.e. his
stepmother), and the Guardian has indicated that likewise a woman is
forbidden to marry her stepfather. This understanding of the
implications of the Law has far-reaching effects in light of the
fundamental Bahá'í principle of the equality of the sexes, and should
be borne in mind when the sacred Text is studied. That men and women
differ from one another in certain characteristics and functions is an
inescapable fact of nature and makes possible their complementary roles
in certain areas of the life of society; but it is significant that
'Abdu'l-Bahá has stated that in this Dispensation "Equality of men and
women, except in some negligible instances, has been fully and
has already been made of the intimate relationship between the
Kitáb-i-Aqdas and the Holy Books of previous Dispensations. Especially
close is the relationship to the Bayán, the Book of Laws revealed by
the Báb. It is elucidated in the following excerpts from letters
written on behalf of the Guardian:
Shoghi Effendi feels that the unity
of the Bahá'í Revelation as one complete whole embracing the Faith of
the Báb should be emphasized... The Faith of the Báb should not be
divorced from that of Bahá'u'lláh. Though the teachings of the Bayán
have been abrogated and superseded by the laws of the Aqdas, yet due to
the fact that the Báb considered Himself as the Forerunner of
Bahá'u'lláh, we would regard His Dispensation together with that of
Bahá'u'lláh as forming one entity, the former being introductory to the
advent of the latter.
The Báb states that His laws are
provisional and depend upon the acceptance of the future Manifestation.
This is why in the Book of Aqdas Bahá'u'lláh sanctions some of the laws
found in the Bayán, modifies others and sets aside many.
the Bayán had been revealed by the Báb at about the mid-point of His
Ministry, Bahá'u'lláh revealed the Kitáb-i-Aqdas around 1873, some
twenty years after He had received, in the Síyáh-Chál of Tihrán,
the intimation of His Revelation. In one of His Tablets He indicates
that even after its revelation the Aqdas was withheld by Him for some
time before it was sent to the friends in Iran. Thereafter, as Shoghi
Effendi has related:
The formulation by Bahá'u'lláh, in
His Kitáb-i-Aqdas, of the fundamental laws of His Dispensation was
followed, as His Mission drew to a close, by the enunciation of certain
precepts and principles which lie at the very core of His Faith, by the
reaffirmation of truths He had previously proclaimed, by the
elaboration and elucidation of some of the laws He had already laid
down, by the revelation of further prophecies and warnings, and by the
establishment of subsidiary ordinances designed to supplement the
of His Most Holy Book. These were recorded in
unnumbered Tablets, which He continued to reveal until the last days of
His earthly life...
such works is the Questions and Answers, a compilation made by
Zaynu'l-Muqarrabín, the most eminent of the transcribers of
Bahá'u'lláh's Writings. Consisting of answers revealed by Bahá'u'lláh
to questions put to Him by various believers, it constitutes an
invaluable appendix to the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. In 1978 the most noteworthy
of the other Tablets of this nature were published in English as a
compilation entitled Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh revealed after the
years after the revelation of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Bahá'u'lláh had
manuscript copies sent to Bahá'ís in Iran, and in the year 1308 A.H.
(1890-91 A.D.), towards the end of His life, He arranged for the
publication of the original Arabic text of the Book in Bombay.
word should be said about the style of language in which the
Kitáb-i-Aqdas has been rendered into English. Bahá'u'lláh enjoyed a
superb mastery of Arabic, and preferred to use it in those Tablets and
other Writings where its precision of meaning was particularly
appropriate to the exposition of basic principle. Beyond the choice of
language itself, however, the style employed is of an exalted and
emotive character, immensely compelling, particularly to those familiar
with the great literary tradition out of which it arose. In taking up
his task of translation, Shoghi Effendi faced the challenge of finding
an English style which would not only faithfully convey the exactness
of the text's meaning, but would also evoke in the reader the spirit of
meditative reverence which is a distinguishing feature of response to
the original. The form of expression he selected, reminiscent of the
style used by the seventeenth-century translators of the Bible,
captures the elevated mode of
Bahá'u'lláh's Arabic, while remaining accessible to the contemporary
reader. His translations, moreover, are illumined by his uniquely
inspired understanding of the purport and implications of the
both Arabic and English are languages with rich vocabularies and varied
modes of expression, their forms differ widely from one another. The
Arabic of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas is marked by intense concentration and
terseness of expression. It is a characteristic of this style that if a
connotation is obvious it should not be explicitly stated. This
presents a problem for a reader whose cultural, religious and literary
background is entirely different from that of Arabic. A literal
translation of a passage which is clear in the Arabic could be obscure
in English. It therefore becomes necessary to include in the English
translation of such passages that element of the Arabic sentence which
is obviously implicit in the original. At the same time, it is vital to
avoid extrapolating this process to the point where it would add
unjustifiably to the original or limit its meaning. Striking the right
balance between beauty and clarity of expression on the one hand, and
literalness on the other, is one of the major issues with which the
translators have had to grapple and which has caused repeated
reconsideration of the rendering of certain passages. Another major
issue is the legal implication of certain Arabic terms which have a
range of meanings different from those of similar terms in English.
Scripture clearly requires especial care and faithfulness in
translation. This is supremely important in the case of a Book of Laws,
where it is vital that the reader not be misled or drawn into fruitless
disputation. As had been foreseen, the translation of the Most Holy
Book has been a work of the utmost difficulty, requiring consultation
with experts in many lands. Since some one third of the text had
already been translated by Shoghi Effendi, it was necessary to strive
for three qualities in the translation
of the remaining passages: accuracy of meaning, beauty of English, and conformity of style with that used by Shoghi Effendi.
are now satisfied that the translation has reached a point where it
represents an acceptable rendering of the original. Nevertheless, it
will undoubtedly give rise to questions and suggestions which may shed
further light on its content. We are profoundly grateful for the
assiduous and meticulous labours of the members of the Committees whom
we commissioned to prepare and review this translation of the Aqdas and
to compose the annotations. We are confident that this first authorized
English edition of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas will enable its readers to obtain
at least an inkling of the splendour of the Mother Book of the Bahá'í
world has entered the dark heart of an age of fundamental change beyond
anything in all of its tumultuous history. Its peoples, of whatever
race, nation, or religion, are being challenged to subordinate all
lesser loyalties and limiting identities to their oneness as citizens
of a single planetary homeland. In Bahá'u'lláh's words: "The well-being
of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until
its unity is firmly established." May the publication of this
translation of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas lend a fresh impulse to the
realization of this universal vision, opening vistas of a worldwide
UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE
A DESCRIPTION OF THE KITÁB-I-AQDAS BY SHOGHI EFFENDI
TAKEN FROM GOD PASSES BY, HIS HISTORY OF THE FIRST BAHÁ'Í CENTURY
and stupendous as was this Proclamation, it proved to be but a prelude
to a still mightier revelation of the creative power of its Author, and
to what may well rank as the most signal act of His ministry--the
promulgation of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. Alluded to in the Kitáb-i-Íqán, the
principal repository of that Law which the Prophet Isaiah had
anticipated, and which the writer of the Apocalypse had described as
the "new heaven" and the "new earth", as "the Tabernacle of God", as
the "Holy City", as the "Bride", the "New Jerusalem coming down from
God", this "Most Holy Book", whose provisions must remain inviolate for
no less than a thousand years, and whose system will embrace the entire
planet, may well be regarded as the brightest emanation of the mind of
Bahá'u'lláh, as the Mother Book of His Dispensation, and the Charter of
His New World Order.
Revealed soon after Bahá'u'lláh had been transferred to the house of Údí Khammár
(circa 1873), at a time when He was still encompassed by the
tribulations that had afflicted Him, through the acts committed by His
enemies and the professed adherents of His Faith, this Book, this
treasury enshrining the priceless gems of His Revelation, stands out,
by virtue of the principles it inculcates, the administrative
institutions it ordains and the function with which it invests the
appointed Successor of its Author, unique and incomparable among the
world's sacred Scriptures. For, unlike the Old Testament and the Holy
Books which preceded it, in which the actual precepts uttered by the
Prophet Himself are non-existent; unlike the Gospels, in which the few
sayings attributed to Jesus Christ afford no clear guidance regarding
the future administration of the affairs of His Faith; unlike even the
Qur'án which, though explicit in the laws and ordinances formulated by
the Apostle of God, is silent on the all-important subject of the
succession, the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, revealed from first to last by the
Author of the Dispensation Himself, not only preserves for posterity
the basic laws and ordinances on which the fabric of His future World
Order must rest, but ordains, in addition to the function of
interpretation which it confers upon His Successor, the necessary
institutions through which the integrity and unity of His Faith can
alone be safeguarded.
this Charter of the future world civilization its Author--at once the
Judge, the Lawgiver, the Unifier and Redeemer of mankind--announces to
the kings of the earth the promulgation of the "Most Great Law";
pronounces them to be His vassals; proclaims Himself the "King of
Kings"; disclaims any intention of laying hands on their kingdoms;
reserves for Himself the right to "seize and possess the hearts of
men"; warns the world's ecclesiastical leaders not to weigh the "Book
of God" with such standards as are current amongst them; and affirms
that the Book itself is the "Unerring Balance" established amongst men.
In it He formally ordains the institution of the "House of Justice",
defines its functions, fixes its revenues, and designates its members
as the "Men of Justice", the "Deputies of God", the "Trustees of the
All-Merciful"; alludes to the future Centre of His Covenant, and
invests Him with the right of interpreting His holy Writ; anticipates
by implication the
institution of Guardianship; bears witness to the revolutionizing
effect of His World Order; enunciates the doctrine of the "Most Great
Infallibility" of the Manifestation of God; asserts this infallibility
to be the inherent and exclusive right of the Prophet; and rules out
the possibility of the appearance of another Manifestation ere the
lapse of at least one thousand years.
this Book He, moreover, prescribes the obligatory prayers; designates
the time and period of fasting; prohibits congregational prayer except
for the dead; fixes the Qiblih; institutes the Huqúqu'lláh (Right of
God); formulates the law of inheritance; ordains the institution of the
Mashriqu'l-Adhkár; establishes the Nineteen Day Feast, the
Bahá'í festivals and the Intercalary Days; abolishes the institution of
priesthood; prohibits slavery, asceticism, mendicancy, monasticism,
penance, the use of pulpits and the kissing of hands; prescribes
monogamy; condemns cruelty to animals, idleness and sloth, backbiting
and calumny; censures divorce; interdicts gambling, the use of opium,
wine and other intoxicating drinks; specifies the punishments for
murder, arson, adultery and theft; 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.
from these provisions Bahá'u'lláh exhorts His followers to consort,
with amity and concord and without discrimination, with the adherents
of all religions; warns them to guard against fanaticism, sedition,
pride, dispute and contention; inculcates upon them immaculate
cleanliness, strict truthfulness, spotless chastity, trustworthiness,
hospitality, fidelity, courtesy, forbearance, justice and fairness;
counsels them to be "even as the fingers of one hand and the limbs of
one body"; calls upon them to arise and serve
His Cause; and assures them of His undoubted aid. He, furthermore,
dwells upon the instability of human affairs; declares that true
liberty consists in man's submission to His commandments; cautions them
not to be indulgent in carrying out His statutes; prescribes the twin
inseparable duties of recognizing the "Dayspring of God's Revelation"
and of observing all the ordinances revealed by Him, neither of which,
He affirms, is acceptable without the other.
significant summons issued to the Presidents of the Republics of the
American continent to seize their opportunity in the Day of God and to
champion the cause of justice; the injunction to the members of
parliaments throughout the world, urging the adoption of a universal
script and language; His warnings to William I, the conqueror of
Napoleon III; the reproof He administers to Francis Joseph, the Emperor
of Austria; His reference to "the lamentations of Berlin" in His
apostrophe to "the banks of the Rhine"; His condemnation of "the throne
of tyranny" established in Constantinople, and His prediction of the
extinction of its "outward splendour" and of the tribulations destined
to overtake its inhabitants; the words of cheer and comfort He
addresses to His native city, assuring her that God had chosen her to
be "the source of the joy of all mankind"; His prophecy that "the voice
of the heroes of Khurásán" will be raised in glorification of
their Lord; His assertion that men "endued with mighty valour" will be
raised up in Kirmán who will make mention of Him; and finally, His
magnanimous assurance to a perfidious brother who had afflicted Him
with such anguish, that an "ever-forgiving, all-bounteous" God would
forgive him his iniquities were he only to repent--all these further
enrich the contents of a Book designated by its Author as "the source
of true felicity", as the "Unerring Balance", as the "Straight Path"
and as the "quickener of mankind".
laws and ordinances that constitute the major theme of this Book,
Bahá'u'lláh, moreover, has specifically
characterized as "the breath of life unto all created things", as "the
mightiest stronghold", as the "fruits" of His "Tree", as "the highest
means for the maintenance of order in the world and the security of its
peoples", as "the lamps of His wisdom and loving-providence", as "the
sweet-smelling savour of His garment", and the "keys" of His "mercy" to
His creatures. "This Book", He Himself testifies, "is a heaven which We
have adorned with the stars of Our commandments and prohibitions."
"Blessed the man", He, moreover, has stated, "who will read it, and
ponder the verses sent down in it by God, the Lord of Power, the
Almighty. Say, O men! Take hold of it with the hand of resignation...
By My life! It hath been sent down in a manner that amazeth the minds
of men. Verily, it is My weightiest testimony unto all people, and the
proof of the All-Merciful unto all who are in heaven and all who are on
earth." And again: "Blessed the palate that savoureth its sweetness,
and the perceiving eye that recognizeth that which is treasured
therein, and the understanding heart that comprehendeth its allusions
and mysteries. By God! Such is the majesty of what hath been revealed
therein, and so tremendous the revelation of its veiled allusions that
the loins of utterance shake when attempting their description." And
finally: "In such a manner hath the Kitáb-i-Aqdas been revealed that it
attracteth and embraceth all the divinely appointed Dispensations.
Blessed those who peruse it! Blessed those who apprehend it! Blessed
those who meditate upon it! Blessed those who ponder its meaning! So
vast is its range that it hath encompassed all men ere their
recognition of it. Erelong will its sovereign power, its pervasive
influence and the greatness of its might be manifested on earth."
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IN THE NAME OF HIM WHO IS THE SUPREME RULER OVER ALL THAT HATH BEEN AND ALL THAT IS TO BE
first duty prescribed by God for His servants is the recognition of Him
Who is the Dayspring of His Revelation and the Fountain of His laws,
Who representeth the Godhead in both the Kingdom of His Cause and the
world of creation. Whoso achieveth this duty hath attained unto all
good; and whoso is deprived thereof hath gone astray, though he be the
author of every righteous deed. It behoveth every one who reacheth this
most sublime station, this summit of transcendent glory, to observe
every ordinance of Him Who is the Desire of the world. These twin
duties are inseparable. Neither is acceptable without the other. Thus
hath it been decreed by Him Who is the Source of Divine inspiration.
whom God hath endued with insight will readily recognize that the
precepts laid down by God constitute the highest means for the
maintenance of order in the world and the security of its peoples. He
that turneth away from them is accounted among the abject and foolish.
We, verily, have commanded you to refuse the dictates of your evil
passions and corrupt
desires, and not to transgress the bounds which the Pen of the Most
High hath fixed, for these are the breath of life unto all created
things. The seas of Divine wisdom and Divine utterance have risen under
the breath of the breeze of the All-Merciful. Hasten to drink your
fill, O men of understanding! They that have violated the Covenant of
God by breaking His commandments, and have turned back on their heels,
these have erred grievously in the sight of God, the All-Possessing,
the Most High.
ye peoples of the world! Know assuredly that My commandments are the
lamps of My loving providence among My servants, and the keys of My
mercy for My creatures. Thus hath it been sent down from the heaven of
the Will of your Lord, the Lord of Revelation. Were any man to taste
the sweetness of the words which the lips of the All-Merciful have
willed to utter, he would, though the treasures of the earth be in his
possession, renounce them one and all, that he might vindicate the
truth of even one of His commandments, shining above the Dayspring of
His bountiful care and loving-kindness.
From My laws the sweet-smelling savour of My garment can be smelled,
and by their aid the standards of Victory will be planted upon the
highest peaks. The Tongue of My power hath, from the heaven of My
omnipotent glory, addressed to My creation these words: "Observe My
commandments, for the love of My beauty." Happy is the lover that hath
inhaled the divine fragrance of his Best-Beloved from these words,
laden with the perfume of a grace which no tongue can
describe. By My life! He who hath drunk the choice wine of fairness
from the hands of My bountiful favour will circle around My
commandments that shine above the Dayspring of My creation.
not that We have revealed unto you a mere code of laws. Nay, rather, We
have unsealed the choice Wine with the fingers of might and power. To
this beareth witness that which the Pen of Revelation hath revealed.
Meditate upon this, O men of insight!
have enjoined obligatory prayer upon you, with nine rak'áhs, to be
offered at noon and in the morning and the evening unto God, the
Revealer of Verses. We have relieved you of a greater number, as a
command in the Book of God. He, verily, is the Ordainer, the
Omnipotent, the Unrestrained. When ye desire to perform this prayer,
turn ye towards the Court of My Most Holy Presence, this Hallowed Spot
that God hath made the Centre round which circle the Concourse on High,
and which He hath decreed to be the Point of Adoration for the denizens
of the Cities of Eternity, and the Source of Command unto all that are
in heaven and on earth; and when the Sun of Truth and Utterance shall
set, turn your faces towards the Spot that We have ordained for you.
He, verily, is Almighty and Omniscient.
that is hath come to be through His irresistible decree. Whenever My
laws appear like the sun in the heaven of Mine utterance, they must be
faithfully obeyed by all, though My decree be such as to cause the
heaven of every religion to be cleft asunder. He doeth what He
pleaseth. He chooseth, and none
may question His choice. Whatsoever He, the Well-Beloved, ordaineth,
the same is, verily, beloved. To this He Who is the Lord of all
creation beareth Me witness. Whoso hath inhaled the sweet fragrance of
the All-Merciful, and recognized the Source of this utterance, will
welcome with his own eyes the shafts of the enemy, that he may
establish the truth of the laws of God amongst men. Well is it with him
that hath turned thereunto, and apprehended the meaning of His decisive
have set forth the details of obligatory prayer in another Tablet.
Blessed is he who observeth that whereunto he hath been bidden by Him
Who ruleth over all mankind. In the Prayer for the Dead six specific
passages have been sent down by God, the Revealer of Verses. Let one
who is able to read recite that which hath been revealed to precede
these passages; and as for him who is unable, God hath relieved him of
this requirement. He, of a truth, is the Mighty, the Pardoner.
doth not invalidate your prayer, nor aught from which the spirit hath
departed, such as bones and the like. Ye are free to wear the fur of
the sable as ye would that of the beaver, the squirrel, and other
animals; the prohibition of its use hath stemmed, not from the Qur'án,
but from the misconceptions of the divines. He, verily, is the
All-Glorious, the All-Knowing.
have commanded you to pray and fast from the beginning of maturity;
this is ordained by God, your Lord and the Lord of your forefathers. He
exempted from this those who are weak from illness or age, as a bounty
from His Presence, and He is the Forgiving, the Generous. God hath
granted you leave to prostrate yourselves on any surface that is clean,
for We have removed in this regard the limitation that had been laid
down in the Book; God, indeed, hath knowledge of that whereof ye know
naught. Let him that findeth no water for ablution repeat five times
the words "In the Name of God, the Most Pure, the Most Pure", and then
proceed to his devotions. Such is the command of the Lord of all
worlds. In regions where the days and nights grow long, let times of
prayer be gauged by clocks and other instruments that mark the passage
of the hours. He, verily, is the Expounder, the Wise.
have absolved you from the requirement of performing the Prayer of the
Signs. On the appearance of fearful natural events call ye to mind the
might and majesty of your Lord, He Who heareth and seeth all, and say
"Dominion is God's, the Lord of the seen and the unseen, the Lord of
hath been ordained that obligatory prayer is to be performed by each of
you individually. Save in the Prayer for the Dead, the practice of
congregational prayer hath been annulled. He, of a truth, is the
Ordainer, the All-Wise.
hath exempted women who are in their courses from obligatory prayer and
fasting. Let them, instead, after performance of their ablutions, give
praise unto God, repeating ninety-five times between the noon of one
day and the next "Glorified be God, the
Lord of Splendour and Beauty". Thus hath it been decreed in the Book, if ye be of them that comprehend.
travelling, if ye should stop and rest in some safe spot, perform
ye--men and women alike--a single prostration in place of each unsaid
Obligatory Prayer, and while prostrating say "Glorified be God, the
Lord of Might and Majesty, of Grace and Bounty". Whoso is unable to do
this, let him say only "Glorified be God"; this shall assuredly suffice
him. He is, of a truth, the all-sufficing, the ever-abiding, the
forgiving, compassionate God. Upon completing your prostrations, seat
yourselves cross-legged--men and women alike--and eighteen times repeat
"Glorified be God, the Lord of the kingdoms of earth and heaven". Thus
doth the Lord make plain the ways of truth and guidance, ways that lead
to one way, which is this Straight Path. Render thanks unto God for
this most gracious favour; offer praise unto Him for this bounty that
hath encompassed the heavens and the earth; extol Him for this mercy
that hath pervaded all creation.
God hath made My hidden love the key to the Treasure; would that ye
might perceive it! But for the key, the Treasure would to all eternity
have remained concealed; would that ye might believe it! Say: This is
the Source of Revelation, the Dawning-place of Splendour, Whose
brightness hath illumined the horizons of the world. Would that ye
might understand! This is, verily, that fixed Decree through which
every irrevocable decree hath been established.
Pen of the Most High! Say: O people of the world! We have enjoined upon
you fasting during a
brief period, and at its close have designated for you Naw-Rúz as a
feast. Thus hath the Day-Star of Utterance shone forth above the
horizon of the Book as decreed by Him Who is the Lord of the beginning
and the end. Let the days in excess of the months be placed before the
month of fasting. We have ordained that these, amid all nights and
days, shall be the manifestations of the letter Há, and thus they have
not been bounded by the limits of the year and its months. It behoveth
the people of Bahá, throughout these days, to provide good cheer for
themselves, their kindred and, beyond them, the poor and needy, and
with joy and exultation to hail and glorify their Lord, to sing His
praise and magnify His Name; and when they end --these days of giving
that precede the season of restraint--let them enter upon the Fast.
Thus hath it been ordained by Him Who is the Lord of all mankind. The
traveller, the ailing, those who are with child or giving suck, are not
bound by the Fast; they have been exempted by God as a token of His
grace. He, verily, is the Almighty, the Most Generous.
are the ordinances of God that have been set down in the Books and
Tablets by His Most Exalted Pen. Hold ye fast unto His statutes and
commandments, and be not of those who, following their idle fancies and
vain imaginings, have clung to the standards fixed by their own selves,
and cast behind their backs the standards laid down by God. Abstain
from food and drink from sunrise to sundown, and beware lest desire
deprive you of this grace that is appointed in the Book.
hath been ordained that every believer in God, the Lord of Judgement,
shall, each day, having washed his hands and then his face, seat
himself and, turning unto God, repeat "Alláh-u-Abhá" ninety-five times.
Such was the decree of the Maker of the Heavens when, with majesty and
power, He established Himself upon the thrones of His Names. Perform
ye, likewise, ablutions for the Obligatory Prayer; this is the command
of God, the Incomparable, the Unrestrained.
have been forbidden to commit murder or adultery, or to engage in
backbiting or calumny; shun ye, then, what hath been prohibited in the
holy Books and Tablets.
have divided inheritance into seven categories: to the children, We
have allotted nine parts comprising five hundred and forty shares; to
the wife, eight parts comprising four hundred and eighty shares; to the
father, seven parts comprising four hundred and twenty shares; to the
mother, six parts comprising three hundred and sixty shares; to the
brothers, five parts or three hundred shares; to the sisters, four
parts or two hundred and forty shares; and to the teachers, three parts
or one hundred and eighty shares. Such was the ordinance of My
Forerunner, He Who extolleth My Name in the night season and at the
break of day. When We heard the clamour of the children as yet unborn,
We doubled their share and decreased those of the rest. He, of a truth,
hath power to ordain whatsoever He desireth, and He doeth as He
pleaseth by virtue of His sovereign might.
Should the deceased leave no offspring, their share
shall revert to the House of Justice, to be expended by the Trustees of
the All-Merciful on the orphaned and widowed, and on whatsoever will
bring benefit to the generality of the people, that all may give thanks
unto their Lord, the All-Gracious, the Pardoner.
the deceased leave offspring, but none of the other categories of heirs
that have been specified in the Book, they shall receive two thirds of
the inheritance and the remaining third shall revert to the House of
Justice. Such is the command which hath been given, in majesty and
glory, by Him Who is the All-Possessing, the Most High.
the deceased should leave none of the specified heirs, but have among
his relatives nephews and nieces, whether on his brother's or his
sister's side, two thirds of the inheritance shall pass to them; or,
lacking these, to his uncles and aunts on both his father's and his
mother's side, and after them to their sons and daughters. The
remaining third of the inheritance shall, in any case, revert to the
Seat of Justice. Thus hath it been laid down in the Book by Him Who
ruleth over all men.
the deceased be survived by none of those whose names have been
recorded by the Pen of the Most High, his estate shall, in its
entirety, revert to the aforementioned Seat that it may be expended on
that which is prescribed by God. He, verily, is the Ordainer, the
have assigned the residence and personal clothing of the deceased to
the male, not female,
offspring, nor to the other heirs. He, verily, is the Munificent, the All-Bountiful.
the son of the deceased have passed away in the days of his father and
have left children, they will inherit their father's share, as
prescribed in the Book of God. Divide ye their share amongst them with
perfect justice. Thus have the billows of the Ocean of Utterance
surged, casting forth the pearls of the laws decreed by the Lord of all
the deceased should leave children who are under age, their share of
the inheritance must be entrusted to a reliable individual, or to a
company, that it may be invested on their behalf in trade and business
until they come of age. The trustee should be assigned a due share of
the profit that hath accrued to it from being thus employed.
of the estate should take place only after the Huqúqu'lláh hath been
paid, any debts have been settled, the expenses of the funeral and
burial defrayed, and such provision made that the deceased may be
carried to his resting-place with dignity and honour. Thus hath it been
ordained by Him Who is Lord of the beginning and the end.
This is that hidden knowledge which shall never change, since its
beginning is with nine, the symbol that betokeneth the concealed and
manifest, the inviolable and unapproachably exalted Name. As for what
We have appropriated to the children, this is a bounty conferred on
them by God, that they may render thanks unto their Lord, the
Merciful. These, verily, are the Laws of God; transgress them not at
the prompting of your base and selfish desires. Observe ye the
injunctions laid upon you by Him Who is the Dawning-place of Utterance.
The sincere among His servants will regard the precepts set forth by
God as the Water of Life to the followers of every faith, and the Lamp
of wisdom and loving providence to all the denizens of earth and
Lord hath ordained that in every city a House of Justice be established
wherein shall gather counsellors to the number of Bahá, and should it
exceed this number it doth not matter. They should consider themselves
as entering the Court of the presence of God, the Exalted, the Most
High, and as beholding Him Who is the Unseen. It behoveth them to be
the trusted ones of the Merciful among men and to regard themselves as
the guardians appointed of God for all that dwell on earth. It is
incumbent upon them to take counsel together and to have regard for the
interests of the servants of God, for His sake, even as they regard
their own interests, and to choose that which is meet and seemly. Thus
hath the Lord your God commanded you. Beware lest ye put away that
which is clearly revealed in His Tablet. Fear God, O ye that perceive.
people of the world! Build ye houses of worship throughout the lands in
the name of Him Who is the Lord of all religions. Make them as perfect
as is possible in the world of being, and adorn them with that which
befitteth them, not with images and effigies. Then, with radiance and
joy, celebrate therein the praise of your Lord, the Most Compassionate.
Verily, by His
remembrance the eye is cheered and the heart is filled with light.
Lord hath ordained that those of you who are able shall make pilgrimage
to the sacred House, and from this He hath exempted women as a mercy on
His part. He, of a truth, is the All-Bountiful, the Most Generous.
people of Bahá! 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.
Reflect, O people, on the grace and blessings of your Lord, and yield
Him thanks at eventide and dawn. Waste not your hours in idleness and
sloth, but occupy yourselves with what will profit you and others. Thus
hath it been decreed in this Tablet from whose horizon hath shone the
day-star of wisdom and utterance. The most despised of men in the sight
of God are they who sit and beg. Hold ye fast unto the cord of means
and place your trust in God, the Provider of all means.
kissing of hands hath been forbidden in the Book. This practice is
prohibited by God, the Lord of glory and command. To none is it
permitted to seek absolution from another soul; let repentance be
between yourselves and God. He, verily, is the Pardoner, the Bounteous,
the Gracious, the One Who absolveth the repentant.
ye servants of the Merciful One! Arise to serve the Cause of God, in
such wise that the cares and sorrows caused by them that have
disbelieved in the Dayspring of the Signs of God may not afflict you. At
the time when the Promise was fulfilled and the Promised One made
manifest, differences have appeared amongst the kindreds of the earth
and each people hath followed its own fancy and idle imaginings.
the people is he who seateth himself amid the sandals by the door
whilst coveting in his heart the seat of honour. Say: What manner of
man art thou, O vain and heedless one, who wouldst appear as other than
thou art? And among the people is he who layeth claim to inner
knowledge, and still deeper knowledge concealed within this knowledge.
Say: Thou speakest false! By God! What thou dost possess is naught but
husks which We have left to thee as bones are left to dogs. By the
righteousness of the one true God! Were anyone to wash the feet of all
mankind, and were he to worship God in the forests, valleys, and
mountains, upon high hills and lofty peaks, to leave no rock or tree,
no clod of earth, but was a witness to his worship--yet, should the
fragrance of My good pleasure not be inhaled from him, his works would
never be acceptable unto God. Thus hath it been decreed by Him Who is
the Lord of all. How many a man hath secluded himself in the climes of
India, denied himself the things that God hath decreed as lawful,
imposed upon himself austerities and mortifications, and hath not been
remembered by God, the Revealer of Verses. Make not your deeds as
snares wherewith to entrap the object of your aspiration, and deprive
not yourselves of this Ultimate Objective for which have ever yearned
all such as have drawn nigh
unto God. Say: The very life of all deeds is My good pleasure, and all
things depend upon Mine acceptance. Read ye the Tablets that ye may
know what hath been purposed in the Books of God, the All-Glorious, the
Ever-Bounteous. He who attaineth to My love hath title to a throne of
gold, to sit thereon in honour over all the world; he who is deprived
thereof, though he sit upon the dust, that dust would seek refuge with
God, the Lord of all Religions.
layeth claim to a Revelation direct from God, ere the expiration of a
full thousand years, such a man is assuredly a lying impostor. We pray
God that He may graciously assist him to retract and repudiate such
claim. Should he repent, God will, no doubt, forgive him. If, however,
he persisteth in his error, God will, assuredly, send down one who will
deal mercilessly with him. Terrible, indeed, is God in punishing!
Whosoever interpreteth this verse otherwise than its obvious meaning is
deprived of the Spirit of God and of His mercy which encompasseth all
created things. Fear God, and follow not your idle fancies. Nay,
rather, follow the bidding of your Lord, the Almighty, the All-Wise.
Erelong shall clamorous voices be raised in most lands. Shun them, O My
people, and follow not the iniquitous and evil-hearted. This is that of
which We gave you forewarning when We were dwelling in 'Iráq, then
later while in the Land of Mystery, and now from this Resplendent Spot.
not dismayed, O peoples of the world, when the day-star of My beauty is
set, and the heaven of My tabernacle is concealed from your eyes. Arise
My Cause, and to exalt My Word amongst men. We are with you at all
times, and shall strengthen you through the power of truth. We are
truly almighty. Whoso hath recognized Me will arise and serve Me with
such determination that the powers of earth and heaven shall be unable
to defeat his purpose.
peoples of the world are fast asleep. Were they to wake from their
slumber, they would hasten with eagerness unto God, the All-Knowing,
the All-Wise. They would cast away everything they possess, be it all
the treasures of the earth, that their Lord may remember them to the
extent of addressing to them but one word. Such is the instruction
given you by Him Who holdeth the knowledge of things hidden, in a
Tablet which the eye of creation hath not seen, and which is revealed
to none except His own Self, the omnipotent Protector of all worlds. So
bewildered are they in the drunkenness of their evil desires, that they
are powerless to recognize the Lord of all being, Whose voice calleth
aloud from every direction: "There is none other God but Me, the
Mighty, the All-Wise."
Rejoice not in the things ye possess; tonight they are yours, tomorrow
others will possess them. Thus warneth you He Who is the All-Knowing,
the All-Informed. Say: Can ye claim that what ye own is lasting or
secure? Nay! By Myself, the All-Merciful, ye cannot, if ye be of them
who judge fairly. The days of your life flee away as a breath of wind,
and all your pomp and glory shall be folded up as were the pomp and
glory of those gone before you. Reflect, O people! What hath become of
your bygone days, your lost
centuries? Happy the days that have been consecrated to the remembrance
of God, and blessed the hours which have been spent in praise of Him
Who is the All-Wise. By My life! Neither the pomp of the mighty, nor
the wealth of the rich, nor even the ascendancy of the ungodly will
endure. All will perish, at a word from Him. He, verily, is the
All-Powerful, the All-Compelling, the Almighty. What advantage is there
in the earthly things which men possess? That which shall profit them,
they have utterly neglected. Erelong, they will awake from their
slumber, and find themselves unable to obtain that which hath escaped
them in the days of their Lord, the Almighty, the All-Praised. Did they
but know it, they would renounce their all, that their names may be
mentioned before His throne. They, verily, are accounted among the
the people is he whose learning hath made him proud, and who hath been
debarred thereby from recognizing My Name, the Self-Subsisting; who,
when he heareth the tread of sandals following behind him, waxeth
greater in his own esteem than Nimrod. Say: O rejected one! Where now
is his abode? By God, it is the nethermost fire. Say: O concourse of
divines! Hear ye not the shrill voice of My Most Exalted Pen? See ye
not this Sun that shineth in refulgent splendour above the All-Glorious
Horizon? For how long will ye worship the idols of your evil passions?
Forsake your vain imaginings, and turn yourselves unto God, your
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.
not in your hours of trial, neither rejoice therein; seek ye the Middle
Way which is the remembrance of Me in your afflictions and reflection
over that which may befall you in future. Thus informeth you He Who is
the Omniscient, He Who is aware.
not your heads; God hath adorned them with hair, and in this there are
signs from the Lord of creation to those who reflect upon the
requirements of nature. He, verily, is the God of strength and wisdom.
Notwithstanding, it is not seemly to let the hair pass beyond the limit
of the ears. Thus hath it been decreed by Him Who is the Lord of all
and imprisonment are decreed for the thief, and, on the third offence,
place ye a mark upon his
brow so that, thus identified, he may not be accepted in the cities of
God and His countries. Beware lest, through compassion, ye neglect to
carry out the statutes of the religion of God; do that which hath been
bidden you by Him Who is compassionate and merciful. We school you with
the rod of wisdom and laws, like unto the father who educateth his son,
and this for naught but the protection of your own selves and the
elevation of your stations. By My life, were ye to discover what We
have desired for you in revealing Our holy laws, ye would offer up your
very souls for this sacred, this mighty, and most exalted Faith.
wisheth to make use of vessels of silver and gold is at liberty to do
so. Take heed lest, when partaking of food, ye plunge your hands into
the contents of bowls and platters. Adopt ye such usages as are most in
keeping with refinement. He, verily, desireth to see in you the manners
of the inmates of Paradise in His mighty and most sublime Kingdom. Hold
ye fast unto refinement under all conditions, that your eyes may be
preserved from beholding what is repugnant both to your own selves and
to the dwellers of Paradise. Should anyone depart therefrom, his deed
shall at that moment be rendered vain; yet should he have good reason,
God will excuse him. He, in truth, is the Gracious, the Most Bountiful.
Who is the Dawning-place of God's Cause hath no partner in the Most
Great Infallibility. He it is Who, in the kingdom of creation, is the
Manifestation of "He doeth whatsoever He willeth". God hath reserved
this distinction unto His own Self, and
ordained for none a share in so sublime and transcendent a station.
This is the Decree of God, concealed ere now within the veil of
impenetrable mystery. We have disclosed it in this Revelation, and have
thereby rent asunder the veils of such as have failed to recognize that
which the Book of God set forth and who were numbered with the
every father hath been enjoined the instruction of his son and daughter
in the art of reading and writing and in all that hath been laid down
in the Holy Tablet. He that putteth away that which is commanded unto
him, the Trustees are then to take from him that which is required for
their instruction if he be wealthy and, if not, the matter devolveth
upon the House of Justice. Verily have We made it a shelter for the
poor and needy. He that bringeth up his son or the son of another, it
is as though he hath brought up a son of Mine; upon him rest My glory,
My loving-kindness, My mercy, that have compassed the world.
hath imposed a fine on every adulterer and adulteress, to be paid to
the House of Justice: nine mithqáls of gold, to be doubled if
they should repeat the offence. Such is the penalty which He Who is the
Lord of Names hath assigned them in this world; and in the world to
come He hath ordained for them a humiliating torment. Should anyone be
afflicted by a sin, it behoveth him to repent thereof and return unto
his Lord. He, verily, granteth forgiveness unto whomsoever He willeth,
and none may question that which it pleaseth Him to ordain. He is, in
truth, the Ever-Forgiving, the Almighty, the All-Praised.
lest ye be hindered by the veils of glory from partaking of the crystal
waters of this living Fountain. Seize ye the chalice of salvation at
this dawntide in the name of Him Who causeth the day to break, and
drink your fill in praise of Him Who is the All-Glorious, the
have made it lawful for you to listen to music and singing. Take heed,
however, lest listening thereto should cause you to overstep the bounds
of propriety and dignity. Let your joy be the joy born of My Most Great
Name, a Name that bringeth rapture to the heart, and filleth with
ecstasy the minds of all who have drawn nigh unto God. We, verily, have
made music as a ladder for your souls, a means whereby they may be
lifted up unto the realm on high; make it not, therefore, as wings to
self and passion. Truly, We are loath to see you numbered with the
have decreed that a third part of all fines shall go to the Seat of
Justice, and We admonish its men to observe pure justice, that they may
expend what is thus accumulated for such purposes as have been enjoined
upon them by Him Who is the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. O ye Men of
Justice! Be ye, in the realm of God, shepherds unto His sheep and guard
them from the ravening wolves that have appeared in disguise, even as
ye would guard your own sons. Thus exhorteth you the Counsellor, the
differences arise amongst you over any matter, refer it to God while
the Sun still shineth above the horizon of this Heaven and, when it
hath set, refer ye to whatsoever hath been sent down by Him. This,
verily, is sufficient unto the peoples of the world. Say: Let not your
hearts be perturbed, O people, when the glory of My Presence is
withdrawn, and the ocean of My utterance is stilled. In My presence
amongst you there is a wisdom, and in My absence there is yet another,
inscrutable to all but God, the Incomparable, the All-Knowing. Verily,
We behold you from Our realm of glory, and shall aid whosoever will
arise for the triumph of Our Cause with the hosts of the Concourse on
high and a company of Our favoured angels.
peoples of the earth! God, the Eternal Truth, is My witness that
streams of fresh and soft-flowing waters have gushed from the rocks
through the sweetness of the words uttered by your Lord, the
Unconstrained; and still ye slumber. Cast away that which ye possess,
and, on the wings of detachment, soar beyond all created things. Thus
biddeth you the Lord of creation, the movement of Whose Pen hath
revolutionized the soul of mankind.
ye from what heights your Lord, the All-Glorious, is calling? Think ye
that ye have recognized the Pen wherewith your Lord, the Lord of all
names, commandeth you? Nay, by My life! Did ye but know it, ye would
renounce the world, and would hasten with your whole hearts to the
presence of the Well-Beloved. Your spirits would be so transported by
His Word as to throw into commotion the Greater World--how much more
this small and petty one! Thus have the showers of My bounty been
poured down from the heaven of My loving-kindness, as a token of My
grace, that ye may be of the thankful.
penalties for wounding or striking a person depend upon the severity of
the injury; for each degree the Lord of Judgement hath prescribed a
certain indemnity. He is, in truth, the Ordainer, the Mighty, the Most
Exalted. We shall, if it be Our Will, set forth these payments in their
just degrees--this is a promise on Our part, and He, verily, is the
Keeper of His pledge, the Knower of all things.
it is enjoined upon you to offer a feast, once in every month, though
only water be served; for God hath purposed to bind hearts together,
albeit through both earthly and heavenly means.
lest the desires of the flesh and of a corrupt inclination provoke
divisions among you. Be ye as the fingers of one hand, the members of
one body. Thus counselleth you the Pen of Revelation, if ye be of them
the mercy of God and His gifts. He enjoineth upon you that which shall
profit you, though He Himself can well dispense with all creatures.
Your evil doings can never harm Us, neither can your good works profit
Us. We summon you wholly for the sake of God. To this every man of
understanding and insight will testify.
ye should hunt with beasts or birds of prey, invoke ye the Name of God
when ye send them to pursue their quarry; for then whatever they catch
shall be lawful unto you, even should ye find it to have died. He,
verily, is the Omniscient, the All-Informed. Take heed, however, that
ye hunt not to excess. Tread ye the path of justice and equity in all
things. Thus biddeth
you He Who is the Dawning-place of Revelation, would that ye might comprehend.
hath bidden you to show forth kindliness towards My kindred, but He
hath granted them no right to the property of others. He, verily, is
self-sufficient, above any need of His creatures.
anyone intentionally destroy a house by fire, him also shall ye burn;
should anyone deliberately take another's life, him also shall ye put
to death. Take ye hold of the precepts of God with all your strength
and power, and abandon the ways of the ignorant. Should ye condemn the
arsonist and the murderer to life imprisonment, it would be permissible
according to the provisions of the Book. He, verily, hath power to
ordain whatsoever He pleaseth.
hath prescribed matrimony unto you. Beware that ye take not unto
yourselves more wives than two. Whoso contenteth himself with a single
partner from among the maidservants of God, both he and she shall live
in tranquillity. And he who would take into his service a maid may do
so with propriety. Such is the ordinance which, in truth and justice,
hath been recorded by the Pen of Revelation. Enter into wedlock, O
people, that ye may bring forth one who will make mention of Me amid My
servants. This is My bidding unto you; hold fast to it as an assistance
people of the world! Follow not the promptings of the self, for it
summoneth insistently to wickedness and lust; follow, rather, Him Who
is the Possessor of all created things, Who biddeth you to show forth
piety, and manifest the fear of God. He, verily, is independent
of all His creatures. Take heed not to stir up mischief in the land
after it hath been set in order. Whoso acteth in this way is not of Us,
and We are quit of him. Such is the command which hath, through the
power of truth, been made manifest from the heaven of Revelation.
hath been laid down in the Bayán that marriage is dependent upon the
consent of both parties. Desiring to establish love, unity and harmony
amidst Our servants, We have conditioned it, once the couple's wish is
known, upon the permission of their parents, lest enmity and rancour
should arise amongst them. And in this We have yet other purposes. Thus
hath Our commandment been ordained.
marriage may be contracted without payment of a dowry, which hath been
fixed for city-dwellers at nineteen mithqáls of pure gold, and
for village-dwellers at the same amount in silver. Whoso wisheth to
increase this sum, it is forbidden him to exceed the limit of
ninety-five mithqáls. Thus hath the command been writ in majesty
and power. If he content himself, however, with a payment of the lowest
level, it shall be better for him according to the Book. God, verily,
enricheth whomsoever He willeth through both heavenly and earthly
means, and He, in truth, hath power over all things.
hath been decreed by God that, should any one of His servants intend to
travel, he must fix for his wife a time when he will return home. If he
return by the promised time, he will have obeyed the bidding of his
Lord and shall be numbered by the Pen of His behest
among the righteous; otherwise, if there be good reason for delay, he
must inform his wife and make the utmost endeavour to return to her.
Should neither of these eventualities occur, it behoveth her to wait
for a period of nine months, after which there is no impediment to her
taking another husband; but should she wait longer, God, verily, loveth
those women and men who show forth patience. Obey ye My commandments,
and follow not the ungodly, they who have been reckoned as sinners in
God's Holy Tablet. If, during the period of her waiting, word should
reach her from her husband, she should choose the course that is
praiseworthy. He, of a truth, desireth that His servants and His
handmaids should be at peace with one another; take heed lest ye do
aught that may provoke intransigence amongst you. Thus hath the decree
been fixed and the promise come to pass. If, however, news should reach
her of her husband's death or murder, and be confirmed by general
report, or by the testimony of two just witnesses, it behoveth her to
remain single; then, upon completion of the fixed number of months, she
is free to adopt the course of her choosing. Such is the bidding of Him
Who is mighty and powerful in His command.
resentment or antipathy arise between husband and wife, he is not to
divorce her but to bide in patience throughout the course of one whole
year, that perchance the fragrance of affection may be renewed between
them. If, upon the completion of this period, their love hath not
returned, it is permissible for divorce to take place. God's wisdom,
encompassed all things. The Lord hath prohibited, in a Tablet inscribed
by the Pen of His command, the practice to which ye formerly had
recourse when thrice ye had divorced a woman. This He hath done as a
favour on His part, that ye may be accounted among the thankful. He who
hath divorced his wife may choose, upon the passing of each month, to
remarry her when there is mutual affection and consent, so long as she
hath not taken another husband. Should she have wed again, then, by
this other union, the separation is confirmed and the matter is
concluded unless, clearly, her circumstances change. Thus hath the
decree been inscribed with majesty in this glorious Tablet by Him Who
is the Dawning-place of Beauty.
the wife accompany her husband on a journey, and differences arise
between them on the way, he is required to provide her with her
expenses for one whole year, and either to return her whence she came
or to entrust her, together with the necessaries for her journey, to a
dependable person who is to escort her home. Thy Lord, verily,
ordaineth as He pleaseth, by virtue of a sovereignty that overshadoweth
the peoples of the earth.
a woman be divorced in consequence of a proven act of infidelity, she
shall receive no maintenance during her period of waiting. Thus hath
the day-star of Our commandment shone forth resplendent from the
firmament of justice. Truly, the Lord loveth union and harmony and
abhorreth separation and divorce. Live ye one with another, O people,
in radiance and joy. By My life! All that are on earth shall
pass away, while good deeds alone shall endure; to the truth of My
words God doth Himself bear witness. Compose your differences, O My
servants; then heed ye the admonition of Our Pen of Glory and follow
not the arrogant and wayward.
heed lest the world beguile you as it beguiled the people who went
before you! Observe ye the statutes and precepts of your Lord, and walk
ye in this Way which hath been laid out before you in righteousness and
truth. They who eschew iniquity and error, who adhere to virtue, are,
in the sight of the one true God, among the choicest of His creatures;
their names are extolled by the Concourse of the realms above, and by
those who dwell in this Tabernacle which hath been raised in the name
is forbidden you to trade in slaves, be they men or women. It is not
for him who is himself a servant to buy another of God's servants, and
this hath been prohibited in His Holy Tablet. Thus, by His mercy, hath
the commandment been recorded by the Pen of justice. Let no man exalt
himself above another; all are but bondslaves before the Lord, and all
exemplify the truth that there is none other God but Him. He, verily,
is the All-Wise, Whose wisdom encompasseth all things.
yourselves with the raiment of goodly deeds. He whose deeds attain unto
God's good pleasure is assuredly of the people of Bahá and is
remembered before His throne. Assist ye the Lord of all creation with
works of righteousness, and also through wisdom and utterance. Thus,
indeed, have ye been commanded
in most of the Tablets by Him Who is the All-Merciful. He, truly, is
cognizant of what I say. Let none contend with another, and let no soul
slay another; this, verily, is that which was forbidden you in a Book
that hath lain concealed within the Tabernacle of glory. What! Would ye
kill him whom God hath quickened, whom He hath endowed with spirit
through a breath from Him? Grievous then would be your trespass before
His throne! Fear God, and lift not the hand of injustice and oppression
to destroy what He hath Himself raised up; nay, walk ye in the way of
God, the True One. No sooner did the hosts of true knowledge appear,
bearing the standards of Divine utterance, than the tribes of the
religions were put to flight, save only those who willed to drink from
the stream of everlasting life in a Paradise created by the breath of
hath decreed, in token of His mercy unto His creatures, that semen is
not unclean. Yield thanks unto Him with joy and radiance, and follow
not such as are remote from the Dawning-place of His nearness. Arise
ye, under all conditions, to render service to the Cause, for God will
assuredly assist you through the power of His sovereignty which
overshadoweth the worlds. Cleave ye unto the cord of refinement with
such tenacity as to allow no trace of dirt to be seen upon your
garments. Such is the injunction of One Who is sanctified above all
refinement. Whoso falleth short of this standard with good reason shall
incur no blame. God, verily, is the Forgiving, the Merciful. Wash ye
every soiled thing with water that hath undergone no
alteration in any one of the three respects; take heed not to use water
that hath been altered through exposure to the air or to some other
agent. Be ye the very essence of cleanliness amongst mankind. This,
truly, is what your Lord, the Incomparable, the All-Wise, desireth for
hath, likewise, as a bounty from His presence, abolished the concept of
"uncleanness", whereby divers things and peoples have been held to be
impure. He, of a certainty, is the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Generous.
Verily, all created things were immersed in the sea of purification
when, on that first day of Ridván, We shed upon the whole of creation
the splendours of Our most excellent Names and Our most exalted
Attributes. This, verily, is a token of My loving providence, which
hath encompassed all the worlds. Consort ye then with the followers of
all religions, and proclaim ye the Cause of your Lord, the Most
Compassionate; this is the very crown of deeds, if ye be of them who
hath enjoined upon you to observe the utmost cleanliness, to the extent
of washing what is soiled with dust, let alone with hardened dirt and
similar defilement. Fear Him, and be of those who are pure. Should the
garb of anyone be visibly sullied, his prayers shall not ascend to God,
and the celestial Concourse will turn away from him. Make use of
rose-water, and of pure perfume; this, indeed, is that which God hath
loved from the beginning that hath no beginning, in order that there
may be diffused from you what your Lord, the Incomparable, the
hath relieved you of the ordinance laid down in the Bayán concerning
the destruction of books. We have permitted you to read such sciences
as are profitable unto you, not such as end in idle disputation; better
is this for you, if ye be of them that comprehend.
kings of the earth! He Who is the sovereign Lord of all is come. The
Kingdom is God's, the omnipotent Protector, the Self-Subsisting.
Worship none but God, and, with radiant hearts, lift up your faces unto
your Lord, the Lord of all names. This is a Revelation to which
whatever ye possess can never be compared, could ye but know it.
see you rejoicing in that which ye have amassed for others and shutting
out yourselves from the worlds which naught except My guarded Tablet
can reckon. The treasures ye have laid up have drawn you far away from
your ultimate objective. This ill beseemeth you, could ye but
understand it. Wash from your hearts all earthly defilements, and
hasten to enter the Kingdom of your Lord, the Creator of earth and
heaven, Who caused the world to tremble and all its peoples to wail,
except them that have renounced all things and clung to that which the
Hidden Tablet hath ordained.
is the Day in which He Who held converse with God hath attained the
light of the Ancient of Days, and quaffed the pure waters of reunion
from this Cup that hath caused the seas to swell. Say: By the one true
God! Sinai is circling round the Dayspring of Revelation, while from
the heights of the Kingdom the Voice of the Spirit of God is heard
yourselves, ye proud ones of the earth, and hasten ye unto Him." Carmel
hath, in this Day, hastened in longing adoration to attain His court,
whilst from the heart of Zion there cometh the cry: "The promise is
fulfilled. That which had been announced in the holy Writ of God, the
Most Exalted, the Almighty, the Best-Beloved, is made manifest."
kings of the earth! The Most Great Law hath been revealed in this Spot,
this scene of transcendent splendour. Every hidden thing hath been
brought to light by virtue of the Will of the Supreme Ordainer, He Who
hath ushered in the Last Hour, through Whom the Moon hath been cleft,
and every irrevocable decree expounded.
are but vassals, O kings of the earth! He Who is the King of Kings hath
appeared, arrayed in His most wondrous glory, and is summoning you unto
Himself, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting. Take heed lest pride
deter you from recognizing the Source of Revelation, lest the things of
this world shut you out as by a veil from Him Who is the Creator of
heaven. Arise, and serve Him Who is the Desire of all nations, Who hath
created you through a word from Him, and ordained you to be, for all
time, the emblems of His sovereignty.
the righteousness of God! It is not Our wish to lay hands on your
kingdoms. Our mission is to seize and possess the hearts of men. Upon
them the eyes of Bahá are fastened. To this testifieth the Kingdom of
Names, could ye but comprehend it. Whoso followeth his Lord will
renounce the world and all that is therein;
how much greater, then, must be the detachment of Him Who holdeth so
august a station! Forsake your palaces, and haste ye to gain admittance
into His Kingdom. This, indeed, will profit you both in this world and
in the next. To this testifieth the Lord of the realm on high, did ye
but know it.
great the blessedness that awaiteth the king who will arise to aid My
Cause in My kingdom, who will detach himself from all else but Me! Such
a king is numbered with the companions of the Crimson Ark--the Ark
which God hath prepared for the people of Bahá. All must glorify his
name, must reverence his station, and aid him to unlock the cities with
the keys of My Name, the omnipotent Protector of all that inhabit the
visible and invisible kingdoms. Such a king is the very eye of mankind,
the luminous ornament on the brow of creation, the fountainhead of
blessings unto the whole world. Offer up, O people of Bahá, your
substance, nay your very lives, for his assistance.
Emperor of Austria! He Who is the Dayspring of God's Light dwelt in the
prison of 'Akká at the time when thou didst set forth to visit the Aqsá
Mosque. Thou passed Him by, and inquired not about Him by Whom every
house is exalted and every lofty gate unlocked. We, verily, made it a
place whereunto the world should turn, that they might remember Me, and
yet thou hast rejected Him Who is the Object of this remembrance, when
He appeared with the Kingdom of God, thy Lord and the Lord of the
worlds. We have been with thee at all times, and found thee clinging
unto the Branch and heedless of the Root. Thy Lord,
verily, is a witness unto what I say. We grieved to see thee circle
round Our Name, whilst unaware of Us, though We were before thy face.
Open thine eyes, that thou mayest behold this glorious Vision, and
recognize Him Whom thou invokest in the daytime and in the night
season, and gaze on the Light that shineth above this luminous Horizon.
O King of Berlin! Give ear unto the Voice calling from this manifest
Temple: "Verily, there is none other God but Me, the Everlasting, the
Peerless, the Ancient of Days." Take heed lest pride debar thee from
recognizing the Dayspring of Divine Revelation, lest earthly desires
shut thee out, as by a veil, from the Lord of the Throne above and of
the earth below. Thus counselleth thee the Pen of the Most High. He,
verily, is the Most Gracious, the All-Bountiful. Do thou remember the
one+F1 whose power transcended thy power, and whose station excelled
thy station. Where is he? Whither are gone the things he possessed?
Take warning, and be not of them that are fast asleep. He it was who
cast the Tablet of God behind him when We made known unto him what the
hosts of tyranny had caused Us to suffer. Wherefore, disgrace assailed
him from all sides, and he went down to dust in great loss. Think
deeply, O King, concerning him, and concerning them who, like unto
thee, have conquered cities and ruled over men. The All-Merciful
brought them down from their palaces to their graves. Be warned, be of
them who reflect.
+F1 Napoleon III
have asked nothing from you. For the sake of God We, verily, exhort
you, and will be patient as We have been patient in that which hath
befallen Us at your hands, O concourse of kings!
ye, O Rulers of America and the Presidents of the Republics therein,
unto that which the Dove is warbling on the Branch of Eternity: "There
is none other God but Me, the Ever-Abiding, the Forgiving, the
All-Bountiful." Adorn ye the temple of dominion with the ornament of
justice and of the fear of God, and its head with the crown of the
remembrance of your Lord, the Creator of the heavens. Thus counselleth
you He Who is the Dayspring of Names, as bidden by Him Who is the
All-Knowing, the All-Wise. The Promised One hath appeared in this
glorified Station, whereat all beings, both seen and unseen, have
rejoiced. Take ye advantage of the Day of God. Verily, to meet Him is
better for you than all that whereon the sun shineth, could ye but know
it. O concourse of rulers! Give ear unto that which hath been raised
from the Dayspring of Grandeur: "Verily, there is none other God but
Me, the Lord of Utterance, the All-Knowing." Bind ye the broken with
the hands of justice, and crush the oppressor who flourisheth with the
rod of the commandments of your Lord, the Ordainer, the All-Wise.
people of Constantinople! Lo, from your midst We hear the baleful
hooting of the owl. Hath the drunkenness of passion laid hold upon you,
or is it that ye are sunk in heedlessness? O Spot that art situate on
the shores of the two seas! The throne of tyranny hath,
verily, been established upon thee, and the flame of hatred hath been
kindled within thy bosom, in such wise that the Concourse on high and
they who circle around the Exalted Throne have wailed and lamented. We
behold in thee the foolish ruling over the wise, and darkness vaunting
itself against the light. Thou art indeed filled with manifest pride.
Hath thine outward splendour made thee vainglorious? By Him Who is the
Lord of mankind! It shall soon perish, and thy daughters and thy widows
and all the kindreds that dwell within thee shall lament. Thus
informeth thee the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.
banks of the Rhine! We have seen you covered with gore, inasmuch as the
swords of retribution were drawn against you; and you shall have
another turn. And We hear the lamentations of Berlin, though she be
today in conspicuous glory.
nothing grieve thee, O Land of Tá,+F1 for God hath chosen thee to be
the source of the joy of all mankind. He shall, if it be His Will,
bless thy throne with one who will rule with justice, who will gather
together the flock of God which the wolves have scattered. Such a ruler
will, with joy and gladness, turn his face towards, and extend his
favours unto, the people of Bahá. He indeed is accounted in the sight
of God as a jewel among men. Upon him rest forever the glory of God and
the glory of all that dwell in the kingdom of His revelation.
Rejoice with great joy, for God hath made thee
"the Dayspring of His light", inasmuch as within thee was born the
Manifestation of His Glory. Be thou glad for this name that hath been
conferred upon thee--a name through which the Day-Star of grace hath
shed its splendour, through which both earth and heaven have been
will the state of affairs within thee be changed, and the reins of
power fall into the hands of the people. Verily, thy Lord is the
All-Knowing. His authority embraceth all things. Rest thou assured in
the gracious favour of thy Lord. The eye of His loving-kindness shall
everlastingly be directed towards thee. The day is approaching when thy
agitation will have been transmuted into peace and quiet calm. Thus
hath it been decreed in the wondrous Book.
Land of Khá!+F1 We hear from thee the voice of heroes, raised in
glorification of thy Lord, the All-Possessing, the Most Exalted.
Blessed the day on which the banners of the divine Names shall be
upraised in the kingdom of creation in My Name, the All-Glorious. On
that day the faithful shall rejoice in the victory of God, and the
disbelievers shall lament.
must contend with those who wield authority over the people; leave unto
them that which is theirs, and direct your attention to men's hearts.
Most Mighty Ocean! Sprinkle upon the nations that with which Thou hast
been charged by Him Who is the Sovereign of Eternity, and adorn the
temples of all the dwellers of the earth with the vesture of His laws
through which all hearts will rejoice and all eyes be brightened.
Should anyone acquire one hundred mithqáls of gold, nineteen mithqáls
thereof are God's and to be rendered unto Him, the Fashioner of earth
and heaven. Take heed, O people, lest ye deprive yourselves of so great
a bounty. This We have commanded you, though We are well able to
dispense with you and with all who are in the heavens and on earth; in
it there are benefits and wisdoms beyond the ken of anyone but God, the
Omniscient, the All-Informed. Say: By this means He hath desired to
purify what ye possess and to enable you to draw nigh unto such
stations as none can comprehend save those whom God hath willed. He, in
truth, is the Beneficent, the Gracious, the Bountiful. O people! Deal
not faithlessly with the Right of God, nor, without His leave, make
free with its disposal. Thus hath His commandment been established in
the holy Tablets, and in this exalted Book. He who dealeth faithlessly
with God shall in justice meet with faithlessness himself; he, however,
who acteth in accordance with God's bidding shall receive a blessing
from the heaven of the bounty of his Lord, the Gracious, the Bestower,
the Generous, the Ancient of Days. He, verily, hath willed for you that
which is yet beyond your knowledge, but which shall be known to you
when, after this fleeting life, your souls soar heavenwards and the
trappings of your earthly joys are folded up. Thus admonisheth you He
in Whose possession is the Guarded Tablet.
Various petitions have come before Our throne
from the believers, concerning laws from God, the Lord of the seen and
the unseen, the Lord of all worlds. We have, in consequence, revealed
this Holy Tablet and arrayed it with the mantle of His Law that haply
the people may keep the commandments of their Lord. Similar requests
had been made of Us over several previous years but We had, in Our
wisdom, withheld Our Pen until, in recent days, letters arrived from a
number of the friends, and We have therefore responded, through the
power of truth, with that which shall quicken the hearts of men.
O leaders of religion! Weigh not the Book of God with such standards
and sciences as are current amongst you, for the Book itself is the
unerring Balance established amongst men. In this most perfect Balance
whatsoever the peoples and kindreds of the earth possess must be
weighed, while the measure of its weight should be tested according to
its own standard, did ye but know it.
eye of My loving-kindness weepeth sore over you, inasmuch as ye have
failed to recognize the One upon Whom ye have been calling in the
daytime and in the night season, at even and at morn. Advance, O
people, with snow-white faces and radiant hearts, unto the blest and
crimson Spot, wherein the Sadratu'l-Muntahá is calling: "Verily, there
is none other God beside Me, the Omnipotent Protector, the
ye leaders of religion! Who is the man amongst you that can rival Me in
vision or insight? Where is he to be found that dareth to claim to be
My equal in
utterance or wisdom? No, by My Lord, the All-Merciful! All on the earth
shall pass away; and this is the face of your Lord, the Almighty, the
have decreed, O people, that the highest and last end of all learning
be the recognition of Him Who is the Object of all knowledge; and yet,
behold how ye have allowed your learning to shut you out, as by a veil,
from Him Who is the Dayspring of this Light, through Whom every hidden
thing hath been revealed. Could ye but discover the source whence the
splendour of this utterance is diffused, ye would cast away the peoples
of the world and all that they possess, and would draw nigh unto this
most blessed Seat of glory.
This, verily, is the heaven in which the Mother Book is treasured,
could ye but comprehend it. He it is Who hath caused the Rock to shout,
and the Burning Bush to lift up its voice, upon the Mount rising above
the Holy Land, and proclaim: "The Kingdom is God's, the sovereign Lord
of all, the All-Powerful, the Loving!"
have not entered any school, nor read any of your dissertations.
Incline your ears to the words of this unlettered One, wherewith He
summoneth you unto God, the Ever-Abiding. Better is this for you than
all the treasures of the earth, could ye but comprehend it.
interpreteth what hath been sent down from the heaven of Revelation,
and altereth its evident meaning, he, verily, is of them that have
perverted the Sublime Word of God, and is of the lost ones in the Lucid
It hath been enjoined upon you to pare your nails,
to bathe yourselves each week in water that covereth your bodies, and
to clean yourselves with whatsoever ye have formerly employed. Take
heed lest through negligence ye fail to observe that which hath been
prescribed unto you by Him Who is the Incomparable, the Gracious.
Immerse yourselves in clean water; it is not permissible to bathe
yourselves in water that hath already been used. See that ye approach
not the public pools of Persian baths; whoso maketh his way toward such
baths will smell their fetid odour ere he entereth therein. Shun them,
O people, and be not of those who ignominiously accept such vileness.
In truth, they are as sinks of foulness and contamination, if ye be of
them that apprehend. Avoid ye likewise the malodorous pools in the
courtyards of Persian homes, and be ye of the pure and sanctified.
Truly, We desire to behold you as manifestations of paradise on earth,
that there may be diffused from you such fragrance as shall rejoice the
hearts of the favoured of God. If the bather, instead of entering the
water, wash himself by pouring it upon his body, it shall be better for
him and shall absolve him of the need for bodily immersion. The Lord,
verily, hath willed, as a bounty from His presence, to make life easier
for you that ye may be of those who are truly thankful.
is forbidden you to wed your fathers' wives. We shrink, for very shame,
from treating of the subject of boys. Fear ye the Merciful, O peoples
of the world! Commit not that which is forbidden you in Our Holy
Tablet, and be not of those who rove distractedly in the wilderness of
none is it permitted to mutter sacred verses before the public gaze as
he walketh in the street or marketplace; nay rather, if he wish to
magnify the Lord, it behoveth him to do so in such places as have been
erected for this purpose, or in his own home. This is more in keeping
with sincerity and godliness. Thus hath the sun of Our commandment
shone forth above the horizon of Our utterance. Blessed, then, be those
who do Our bidding.
everyone hath been enjoined the writing of a will. The testator should
head this document with the adornment of the Most Great Name, bear
witness therein unto the oneness of God in the Dayspring of His
Revelation, and make mention, as he may wish, of that which is
praiseworthy, so that it may be a testimony for him in the kingdoms of
Revelation and Creation and a treasure with his Lord, the Supreme
Protector, the Faithful.
Feasts have attained their consummation in the two Most Great
Festivals, and in the two other Festivals that fall on the twin
days--the first of the Most Great Festivals being those days whereon
the All-Merciful shed upon the whole of creation the effulgent glory of
His most excellent Names and His most exalted Attributes, and the
second being that day on which We raised up the One Who announced unto
mankind the glad tidings of this Name, through which the dead have been
resurrected and all who are in the heavens and on earth have been
gathered together. Thus hath it been decreed by Him Who is the
Ordainer, the Omniscient.
the one who entereth upon the first day of the month of Bahá, the day
which God hath consecrated to this Great Name. And blessed be he who
evidenceth on this day the bounties that God hath bestowed upon him;
he, verily, is of those who show forth thanks to God through actions
betokening the Lord's munificence which hath encompassed all the
worlds. Say: This day, verily, is the crown of all the months and the
source thereof, the day on which the breath of life is wafted over all
created things. Great is the blessedness of him who greeteth it with
radiance and joy. We testify that he is, in truth, among those who are
The Most Great Festival is, indeed, the King of Festivals. Call ye to
mind, O people, the bounty which God hath conferred upon you. Ye were
sunk in slumber, and lo! He aroused you by the reviving breezes of His
Revelation, and made known unto you His manifest and undeviating Path.
ye, in times of sickness, to competent physicians; We have not set
aside the use of material means, rather have We confirmed it through
this Pen, which God hath made to be the Dawning-place of His shining
and glorious Cause.
had formerly laid upon each one of the believers the duty of offering
before Our throne priceless gifts from among his possessions. Now, in
token of Our gracious favour, We have absolved them of this obligation.
He, of a truth, is the Most Generous, the All-Bountiful.
is he who, at the hour of dawn, centring his thoughts on God, occupied
with His remembrance, and supplicating His forgiveness, directeth his
steps to the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár and, entering therein, seateth
himself in silence to listen to the verses of God, the Sovereign, the
Mighty, the All-Praised. Say: The Mashriqu'l-Adhkár is each and
every building which hath been erected in cities and villages for the
celebration of My praise. Such is the name by which it hath been
designated before the throne of glory, were ye of those who understand.
who recite the verses of the All-Merciful in the most melodious of
tones will perceive in them that with which the sovereignty of earth
and heaven can never be compared. From them they will inhale the divine
fragrance of My worlds--worlds which today none can discern save those
who have been endowed with vision through this sublime, this beauteous
Revelation. Say: These verses draw hearts that are pure unto those
spiritual worlds that can neither be expressed in words nor intimated
by allusion. Blessed be those who hearken.
ye, O My people, My chosen servants who have arisen to make mention of
Me among My creatures and to exalt My Word throughout My realm. These,
truly, are the stars of the heaven of My loving providence and the
lamps of My guidance unto all mankind. But he whose words conflict with
that which hath been sent down in My Holy Tablets is not of Me. Beware
lest ye follow any impious pretender. These Tablets are embellished
with the seal of Him Who
causeth the dawn to appear, Who lifteth up His voice between the
heavens and the earth. Lay hold on this Sure Handle and on the Cord of
My mighty and unassailable Cause.
Lord hath granted leave to whosoever desireth it that he be instructed
in the divers tongues of the world that he may deliver the Message of
the Cause of God throughout the East and throughout the West, that he
make mention of Him amidst the kindreds and peoples of the world in
such wise that hearts may revive and the mouldering bone be quickened.
is inadmissible that man, who hath been endowed with reason, should
consume that which stealeth it away. Nay, rather it behoveth him to
comport himself in a manner worthy of the human station, and not in
accordance with the misdeeds of every heedless and wavering soul.
your heads with the garlands of trustworthiness and fidelity, your
hearts with the attire of the fear of God, your tongues with absolute
truthfulness, your bodies with the vesture of courtesy. These are in
truth seemly adornings unto the temple of man, if ye be of them that
reflect. Cling, O ye people of Bahá, to the cord of servitude unto God,
the True One, for thereby your stations shall be made manifest, your
names written and preserved, your ranks raised and your memory exalted
in the Preserved Tablet. Beware lest the dwellers on earth hinder you
from this glorious and exalted station. Thus have We exhorted you in
most of Our Epistles and now in this, Our Holy Tablet, above which hath
beamed the Day-Star of the
Laws of the Lord, your God, the Powerful, the All-Wise.
the ocean of My presence hath ebbed and the Book of My Revelation is
ended, turn your faces toward Him Whom God hath purposed, Who hath
branched from this Ancient Root.
the pettiness of men's minds. They ask for that which injureth them,
and cast away the thing that profiteth them. They are, indeed, of those
that are far astray. We find some men desiring liberty, and priding
themselves therein. Such men are in the depths of ignorance.
must, in the end, lead to sedition, whose flames none can quench. Thus
warneth you He Who is the Reckoner, the All-Knowing. Know ye that the
embodiment of liberty and its symbol is the animal. That which
beseemeth man is submission unto such restraints as will protect him
from his own ignorance, and guard him against the harm of the
mischief-maker. Liberty causeth man to overstep the bounds of
propriety, and to infringe on the dignity of his station. It debaseth
him to the level of extreme depravity and wickedness.
men as a flock of sheep that need a shepherd for their protection.
This, verily, is the truth, the certain truth. We approve of liberty in
certain circumstances, and refuse to sanction it in others. We, verily,
are the All-Knowing.
True liberty consisteth in man's submission unto My commandments,
little as ye know it. Were men to observe that which We have sent down
them from the Heaven of Revelation, they would, of a certainty, attain
unto perfect liberty. Happy is the man that hath apprehended the
Purpose of God in whatever He hath revealed from the Heaven of His Will
that pervadeth all created things. Say: The liberty that profiteth you
is to be found nowhere except in complete servitude unto God, the
Eternal Truth. Whoso hath tasted of its sweetness will refuse to barter
it for all the dominion of earth and heaven.
the Bayán it had been forbidden you to ask Us questions. The Lord hath
now relieved you of this prohibition, that ye may be free to ask what
you need to ask, but not such idle questions as those on which the men
of former times were wont to dwell. Fear God, and be ye of the
righteous! Ask ye that which shall be of profit to you in the Cause of
God and His dominion, for the portals of His tender compassion have
been opened before all who dwell in heaven and on earth.
number of months in a year, appointed in the Book of God, is nineteen.
Of these the first hath been adorned with this Name which overshadoweth
the whole of creation.
Lord hath decreed that the dead should be interred in coffins made of
crystal, of hard, resistant stone, or of wood that is both fine and
durable, and that graven rings should be placed upon their fingers. He,
verily, is the Supreme Ordainer, the One apprised of all.
inscription on these rings should read, for men: "Unto God belongeth
all that is in the heavens and on the earth and whatsoever is between
He, in truth, hath knowledge of all things"; and for women: "Unto God
belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth and whatsoever is
between them, and He, in truth, is potent over all things". These are
the verses that were revealed aforetime, but lo, the Point of the Bayán
now calleth out, exclaiming, "O Best-Beloved of the worlds! Reveal Thou
in their stead such words as will waft the fragrance of Thy gracious
favours over all mankind. We have announced unto everyone that one
single word from Thee excelleth all that hath been sent down in the
Bayán. Thou, indeed, hast power to do what pleaseth Thee. Deprive not
Thy servants of the overflowing bounties of the ocean of Thy mercy!
Thou, in truth, art He Whose grace is infinite." Behold, We have
hearkened to His call, and now fulfil His wish. He, verily, is the
Best-Beloved, the Answerer of prayers. If the following verse, which
hath at this moment been sent down by God, be engraved upon the
burial-rings of both men and women, it shall be better for them; We, of
a certainty, are the Supreme Ordainer: "I came forth from God, and
return unto Him, detached from all save Him, holding fast to His Name,
the Merciful, the Compassionate." Thus doth the Lord single out
whomsoever He desireth for a bounty from His presence. He is, in very
truth, the God of might and power.
Lord hath decreed, moreover, that the deceased should be enfolded in
five sheets of silk or cotton. For those whose means are limited a
single sheet of either fabric will suffice. Thus hath it been ordained
by Him Who is the All-Knowing, the All-Informed.
It is forbidden you to transport the body of the deceased a greater
distance than one hour's journey from the city; rather should it be
interred, with radiance and serenity, in a nearby place.
hath removed the restrictions on travel that had been imposed in the
Bayán. He, verily, is the Unconstrained; He doeth as He pleaseth and
ordaineth whatsoever He willeth.
peoples of the world! Give ear unto the call of Him Who is the Lord of
Names, Who proclaimeth unto you from His habitation in the Most Great
Prison: "Verily, no God is there but Me, the Powerful, the Mighty, the
All-Subduing, the Most Exalted, the Omniscient, the All-Wise." In
truth, there is no God but Him, the Omnipotent Ruler of the worlds.
Were it His Will, He would, through but a single word proceeding from
His presence, lay hold on all mankind. Beware lest ye hesitate in your
acceptance of this Cause--a Cause before which the Concourse on high
and the dwellers of the Cities of Names have bowed down. Fear God, and
be not of those who are shut out as by a veil. Burn ye away the veils
with the fire of My love, and dispel ye the mists of vain imaginings by
the power of this Name through which We have subdued the entire
up and exalt the two Houses in the Twin Hallowed Spots, and the other
sites wherein the throne of your Lord, the All-Merciful, hath been
established. Thus commandeth you the Lord of every understanding heart.
Be watchful lest the concerns and preoccupations
of this world prevent you from observing that which hath been enjoined
upon you by Him Who is the Mighty, the Faithful. Be ye the embodiments
of such steadfastness amidst mankind that ye will not be kept back from
God by the doubts of those who disbelieved in Him when He manifested
Himself, invested with a mighty sovereignty. Take heed lest ye be
prevented by aught that hath been recorded in the Book from hearkening
unto this, the Living Book, Who proclaimeth the truth: "Verily, there
is no God but Me, the Most Excellent, the All-Praised." Look ye with
the eye of equity upon Him Who hath descended from the heaven of Divine
will and power, and be not of those who act unjustly.
then to mind these words which have streamed forth, in tribute to this
Revelation, from the Pen of Him Who was My Herald, and consider what
the hands of the oppressors have wrought throughout My days. Truly they
are numbered with the lost. He said: "Should ye attain the presence of
Him Whom We shall make manifest, beseech ye God, in His bounty, to
grant that He might deign to seat Himself upon your couches, for that
act in itself would confer upon you matchless and surpassing honour.
Should He drink a cup of water in your homes, this would be of greater
consequence for you than your proffering unto every soul, nay unto
every created thing, the water of its very life. Know this, O ye My
are the words with which My Forerunner hath extolled My Being, could ye
but understand. Whoso reflecteth upon these verses, and realizeth what
hidden pearls have been enshrined within them, will, by the
righteousness of God, perceive the fragrance of the All-Merciful
wafting from the direction of this Prison and will, with his whole
heart, hasten unto Him with such ardent longing that the hosts of earth
and heaven would be powerless to deter him. Say: This is a Revelation
around which every proof and testimony doth circle. Thus hath it been
sent down by your Lord, the God of Mercy, if ye be of them that judge
aright. Say: This is the very soul of all Scriptures which hath been
breathed into the Pen of the Most High, causing all created beings to
be dumbfounded, save only those who have been enraptured by the gentle
breezes of My loving-kindness and the sweet savours of My bounties
which have pervaded the whole of creation.
people of the Bayán! Fear ye the Most Merciful and consider what He
hath revealed in another passage. He said: "The Qiblih is indeed He
Whom God will make manifest; whenever He moveth, it moveth, until He
shall come to rest." Thus was it set down by the Supreme Ordainer when
He desired to make mention of this Most Great Beauty. Meditate on this,
O people, and be not of them that wander distraught in the wilderness
of error. If ye reject Him at the bidding of your idle fancies, where
then is the Qiblih to which ye will turn, O assemblage of the heedless?
Ponder ye this verse, and judge equitably before God, that haply ye may
glean the pearls of mysteries from the ocean that surgeth in My Name,
the All-Glorious, the Most High.
Let none, in this Day, hold fast to aught save that
which hath been manifested in this Revelation. Such is the decree of
God, aforetime and hereafter--a decree wherewith the Scriptures of the
Messengers of old have been adorned. Such is the admonition of the
Lord, aforetime and hereafter--an admonition wherewith the preamble to
the Book of Life hath been embellished, did ye but perceive it. Such is
the commandment of the Lord, aforetime and hereafter; beware lest ye
choose instead the part of ignominy and abasement. Naught shall avail
you in this Day but God, nor is there any refuge to flee to save Him,
the Omniscient, the All-Wise. Whoso hath known Me hath known the Goal
of all desire, and whoso hath turned unto Me hath turned unto the
Object of all adoration. Thus hath it been set forth in the Book, and
thus hath it been decreed by God, the Lord of all worlds. To read but
one of the verses of My Revelation is better than to peruse the
Scriptures of both the former and latter generations. This is the
Utterance of the All-Merciful, would that ye had ears to hear! Say:
This is the essence of knowledge, did ye but understand.
now consider what hath been revealed in yet another passage, that
perchance ye may forsake your own concepts and set your faces towards
God, the Lord of being. He+F1 hath said: "It is unlawful to enter into
marriage save with a believer in the Bayán. Should only one party to a
marriage embrace this Cause, his or her possessions will become
unlawful to the other, until such time as the latter hath converted.
+F1 The Báb
however, will only take effect after the exaltation of the Cause of Him
Whom We shall manifest in truth, or of that which hath already been
made manifest in justice. Ere this, ye are at liberty to enter into
wedlock as ye wish, that haply by this means ye may exalt the Cause of
God." Thus hath the Nightingale sung with sweet melody upon the
celestial bough, in praise of its Lord, the All-Merciful. Well is it
with them that hearken.
people of the Bayán, I adjure you by your Lord, the God of mercy, to
look with the eye of fairness upon this utterance which hath been sent
down through the power of truth, and not to be of those who see the
testimony of God yet reject and deny it. They, in truth, are of those
who will assuredly perish. The Point of the Bayán hath explicitly made
mention in this verse of the exaltation of My Cause before His own
Cause; unto this will testify every just and understanding mind. As ye
can readily witness in this day, its exaltation is such as none can
deny save those whose eyes are drunken in this mortal life and whom a
humiliating chastisement awaiteth in the life to come.
By the righteousness of God! I, verily, am His+F1 Best-Beloved; and at
this moment He listeneth to these verses descending from the Heaven of
Revelation and bewaileth the wrongs ye have committed in these days.
Fear God, and join not with the aggressor. Say: O people, should ye
choose to disbelieve in Him,+F2 refrain
+F1 The Báb's
at least from rising up against Him. By God! Sufficient are the hosts of tyranny that are leagued against Him!
He+F1 revealed certain laws so that, in this Dispensation, the Pen of
the Most High might have no need to move in aught but the glorification
of His own transcendent Station and His most effulgent Beauty. Since,
however, We have wished to evidence Our bounty unto you, We have,
through the power of truth, set forth these laws with clarity and
mitigated what We desire you to observe. He, verily, is the Munificent,
hath previously made known unto you that which would be uttered by this
Dayspring of Divine wisdom. He said, and He speaketh the truth: "He+F3
is the One Who will under all conditions proclaim: `Verily, there is
none other God besides Me, the One, the Incomparable, the Omniscient,
the All-Informed.'" This is a station which God hath assigned
exclusively to this sublime, this unique and wondrous Revelation. This
is a token of His bounteous favour, if ye be of them who comprehend,
and a sign of His irresistible decree. This is His Most Great Name, His
Most Exalted Word, and the Dayspring of His Most Excellent Titles, if
ye could understand. Nay more, through Him every Fountainhead, every
Dawning-place of Divine guidance is made manifest. Reflect, O people,
on that which hath been sent down in truth; ponder thereon, and be not
of the transgressors.
+F1 The Báb
+F2 The Báb
with all religions with amity and concord, that they may inhale from
you the sweet fragrance of God. Beware lest amidst men the flame of
foolish ignorance overpower you. All things proceed from God and unto
Him they return. He is the source of all things and in Him all things
heed that ye enter no house in the absence of its owner, except with
his permission. Comport yourselves with propriety under all conditions,
and be not numbered with the wayward.
hath been enjoined upon you to purify your means of sustenance and
other such things through payment of Zakát. Thus hath it been
prescribed in this exalted Tablet by Him Who is the Revealer of verses.
We shall, if it be God's will and purpose, set forth erelong the
measure of its assessment. He, verily, expoundeth whatsoever He
desireth by virtue of His own knowledge, and He, of a truth, is
Omniscient and All-Wise.
is unlawful to beg, and it is forbidden to give to him who beggeth. All
have been enjoined to earn a living, and as for those who are incapable
of doing so, it is incumbent on the Deputies of God and on the wealthy
to make adequate provision for them. Keep ye the statutes and
commandments of God; nay, guard them as ye would your very eyes, and be
not of those who suffer grievous loss.
have been forbidden in the Book of God to engage in contention and
conflict, to strike another, or to commit similar acts whereby hearts
and souls may be
saddened. A fine of nineteen mithqáls of gold had formerly
been prescribed by Him Who is the Lord of all mankind for anyone who
was the cause of sadness to another; in this Dispensation, however, He
hath absolved you thereof and exhorteth you to show forth righteousness
and piety. Such is the commandment which He hath enjoined upon you in
this resplendent Tablet. Wish not for others what ye wish not for
yourselves; fear God, and be not of the prideful. Ye are all created
out of water, and unto dust shall ye return. Reflect upon the end that
awaiteth you, and walk not in the ways of the oppressor. Give ear unto
the verses of God which He Who is the sacred Lote-Tree reciteth unto
you. They are assuredly the infallible balance, established by God, the
Lord of this world and the next. Through them the soul of man is caused
to wing its flight towards the Dayspring of Revelation, and the heart
of every true believer is suffused with light. Such are the laws which
God hath enjoined upon you, such His commandments prescribed unto you
in His Holy Tablet; obey them with joy and gladness, for this is best
for you, did ye but know.
ye the verses of God every morn and eventide. Whoso faileth to recite
them hath not been faithful to the Covenant of God and His Testament,
and whoso turneth away from these holy verses in this Day is of those
who throughout eternity have turned away from God. Fear ye God, O My
servants, one and all. Pride not yourselves on much reading of the
verses or on a multitude of pious acts by night and day; for were a man
to read a single verse with joy and radiance
it would be better for him than to read with lassitude all the Holy
Books of God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting. Read ye the
sacred verses in such measure that ye be not overcome by languor and
despondency. Lay not upon your souls that which will weary them and
weigh them down, but rather what will lighten and uplift them, so that
they may soar on the wings of the Divine verses towards the
Dawning-place of His manifest signs; this will draw you nearer to God,
did ye but comprehend.
your children the verses revealed from the heaven of majesty and power,
so that, in most melodious tones, they may recite the Tablets of the
All-Merciful in the alcoves within the Mashriqu'l-Adhkárs.
Whoever hath been transported by the rapture born of adoration for My
Name, the Most Compassionate, will recite the verses of God in such
wise as to captivate the hearts of those yet wrapped in slumber. Well
is it with him who hath quaffed the Mystic Wine of everlasting life
from the utterance of his merciful Lord in My Name--a Name through
which every lofty and majestic mountain hath been reduced to dust.
have been enjoined to renew the furnishings of your homes after the
passing of each nineteen years; thus hath it been ordained by One Who
is Omniscient and All-Perceiving. He, verily, is desirous of
refinement, both for you yourselves and for all that ye possess; lay
not aside the fear of God and be not of the negligent. Whoso findeth
that his means are insufficient to this purpose hath been excused by
God, the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Bounteous.
Wash your feet once every day in summer, and once every three days during winter.
anyone wax angry with you, respond to him with gentleness; and should
anyone upbraid you, forbear to upbraid him in return, but leave him to
himself and put your trust in God, the omnipotent Avenger, the Lord of
might and justice.
have been prohibited from making use of pulpits. Whoso wisheth to
recite unto you the verses of his Lord, let him sit on a chair placed
upon a dais, that he may make mention of God, his Lord, and the Lord of
all mankind. It is pleasing to God that ye should seat yourselves on
chairs and benches as a mark of honour for the love ye bear for Him and
for the Manifestation of His glorious and resplendent Cause.
and the use of opium have been forbidden unto you. Eschew them both, O
people, and be not of those who transgress. Beware of using any
substance that induceth sluggishness and torpor in the human temple and
inflicteth harm upon the body. We, verily, desire for you naught save
what shall profit you, and to this bear witness all created things, had
ye but ears to hear.
ye be invited to a banquet or festive occasion, respond with joy and
gladness, and whoever fulfilleth his promise will be safe from reproof.
This is a Day on which each of God's wise decrees hath been expounded.
the "mystery of the Great Reversal in the Sign of the Sovereign" hath
now been made manifest. Well is it with him whom God hath aided to
the "Six" raised up by virtue of this "Upright Alif"; he, verily, is of
those whose faith is true. How many the outwardly pious who have turned
away, and how many the wayward who have drawn nigh, exclaiming: "All
praise be to Thee, O Thou the Desire of the worlds!" In truth, it is in
the hand of God to give what He willeth to whomsoever He willeth, and
to withhold what He pleaseth from whomsoever He may wish. He knoweth
the inner secrets of the hearts and the meaning hidden in a mocker's
wink. How many an embodiment of heedlessness who came unto Us with
purity of heart have We established upon the seat of Our acceptance;
and how many an exponent of wisdom have We in all justice consigned to
the fire. We are, in truth, the One to judge. He it is Who is the
manifestation of "God doeth whatsoever He pleaseth", and abideth upon
the throne of "He ordaineth whatsoever He chooseth".
is the one who discovereth the fragrance of inner meanings from the
traces of this Pen through whose movement the breezes of God are wafted
over the entire creation, and through whose stillness the very essence
of tranquillity appeareth in the realm of being. Glorified be the
All-Merciful, the Revealer of so inestimable a bounty. Say: Because He
bore injustice, justice hath appeared on earth, and because He accepted
abasement, the majesty of God hath shone forth amidst mankind.
hath been forbidden you to carry arms unless essential, and permitted
you to attire yourselves in silk. The Lord hath relieved you, as a
bounty on His part, of the restrictions that formerly applied to
clothing and to
the trim of the beard. He, verily, is the Ordainer, the Omniscient. Let
there be naught in your demeanour of which sound and upright minds
would disapprove, and make not yourselves the playthings of the
ignorant. Well is it with him who hath adorned himself with the vesture
of seemly conduct and a praiseworthy character. He is assuredly
reckoned with those who aid their Lord through distinctive and
ye the development of the cities of God and His countries, and glorify
Him therein in the joyous accents of His well-favoured ones. In truth,
the hearts of men are edified through the power of the tongue, even as
houses and cities are built up by the hand and other means. We have
assigned to every end a means for its accomplishment; avail yourselves
thereof, and place your trust and confidence in God, the Omniscient,
is the man that hath acknowledged his belief in God and in His signs,
and recognized that "He shall not be asked of His doings". Such a
recognition hath been made by God the ornament of every belief and its
very foundation. Upon it must depend the acceptance of every goodly
deed. Fasten your eyes upon it, that haply the whisperings of the
rebellious may not cause you to slip.
He to decree as lawful the thing which from time immemorial had been
forbidden, and forbid that which had, at all times, been regarded as
lawful, to none is given the right to question His authority. Whoso
will hesitate, though it be for less than a moment, should be regarded
as a transgressor.
hath not recognized this sublime and fundamental verity, and hath
failed to attain this most exalted station, the winds of doubt will
agitate him, and the sayings of the infidels will distract his soul. He
that hath acknowledged this principle will be endowed with the most
perfect constancy. All honour to this all-glorious station, the
remembrance of which adorneth every exalted Tablet. Such is the
teaching which God bestoweth on you, a teaching that will deliver you
from all manner of doubt and perplexity, and enable you to attain unto
salvation in both this world and in the next. He, verily, is the
Ever-Forgiving, the Most Bountiful. He it is Who hath sent forth the
Messengers, and sent down the Books to proclaim "There is none other
God but Me, the Almighty, the All-Wise".
Land of Káf and Rá!+F1 We, verily, behold thee in a state displeasing
unto God, and see proceeding from thee that which is inscrutable to
anyone save Him, the Omniscient, the All-Informed; and We perceive that
which secretly and stealthily diffuseth from thee. With Us is the
knowledge of all things, inscribed in a lucid Tablet. Sorrow not for
that which hath befallen thee. Erelong will God raise up within thee
men endued with mighty valour, who will magnify My Name with such
constancy that neither will they be deterred by the evil suggestions of
the divines, nor will they be kept back by the insinuations of the
sowers of doubt. With their own eyes will they behold God, and with
their own lives will they render
Him victorious. These, truly, are of those who are steadfast.
concourse of divines! When My verses were sent down, and My clear
tokens were revealed, We found you behind the veils. This, verily, is a
strange thing. Ye glory in My Name, yet ye recognized Me not at the
time your Lord, the All-Merciful, appeared amongst you with proof and
testimony. We have rent the veils asunder. Beware lest ye shut out the
people by yet another veil. Pluck asunder the chains of vain
imaginings, in the name of the Lord of all men, and be not of the
deceitful. Should ye turn unto God and embrace His Cause, spread not
disorder within it, and measure not the Book of God with your selfish
desires. This, verily, is the counsel of God aforetime and hereafter,
and to this God's witnesses and chosen ones, yea, each and every one of
Us, do solemnly attest.
Call ye to mind the shaykh
whose name was Muhammad-Hasan, who ranked among the most learned
divines of his day. When the True One was made manifest, this shaykh,
along with others of his calling, rejected Him, while a sifter of wheat
and barley accepted Him and turned unto the Lord. Though he was
occupied both night and day in setting down what he conceived to be the
laws and ordinances of God, yet when He Who is the Unconstrained
appeared, not one letter thereof availed him, or he would not have
turned away from a Countenance that hath illumined the faces of the
well-favoured of the Lord. Had ye believed in God when He revealed
Himself, the people would not have turned aside from
Him, nor would the things ye witness today have befallen Us. Fear God, and be not of the heedless.
lest any name debar you from Him Who is the Possessor of all names, or
any word shut you out from this Remembrance of God, this Source of
Wisdom amongst you. Turn unto God and seek His protection, O concourse
of divines, and make not of yourselves a veil between Me and My
creatures. Thus doth your Lord admonish you, and command you to be
just, lest your works should come to naught and ye yourselves be
oblivious of your plight. Shall he who denieth this Cause be able to
vindicate the truth of any cause throughout creation? Nay, by Him Who
is the Fashioner of the universe! Yet the people are wrapped in a
palpable veil. Say: Through this Cause the day-star of testimony hath
dawned, and the luminary of proof hath shed its radiance upon all that
dwell on earth. Fear God, O men of insight, and be not of those who
disbelieve in Me. Take heed lest the word "Prophet" withhold you from
this Most Great Announcement, or any reference to "Vicegerency" debar
you from the sovereignty of Him Who is the Vicegerent of God, which
overshadoweth all the worlds. Every name hath been created by His Word,
and every cause is dependent on His irresistible, His mighty and
wondrous Cause. Say: This is the Day of God, the Day on which naught
shall be mentioned save His own Self, the omnipotent Protector of all
worlds. This is the Cause that hath made all your superstitions and
idols to tremble.
We, verily, see amongst you him who taketh hold
of the Book of God and citeth from it proofs and arguments wherewith to
repudiate his Lord, even as the followers of every other Faith sought
reasons in their Holy Books for refuting Him Who is the Help in Peril,
the Self-Subsisting. Say: God, the True One, is My witness that neither
the Scriptures of the world, nor all the books and writings in
existence, shall, in this Day, avail you aught without this, the Living
Book, Who proclaimeth in the midmost heart of creation: "Verily, there
is none other God but Me, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise."
concourse of divines! Beware lest ye be the cause of strife in the
land, even as ye were the cause of the repudiation of the Faith in its
early days. Gather the people around this Word that hath made the
pebbles to cry out: "The Kingdom is God's, the Dawning-place of all
signs!" Thus doth your Lord admonish you, as a bounty on His part; He,
of a truth, is the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Generous.
ye to mind Karím, and how, when We summoned him unto God, he waxed
disdainful, prompted by his own desires; yet We had sent him that which
was a solace to the eye of proof in the world of being and the
fulfilment of God's testimony to all the denizens of earth and heaven.
As a token of the grace of Him Who is the All-Possessing, the Most
High, We bade him embrace the Truth. But he turned away until, as an
act of justice from God, angels of wrath laid hold upon him. Unto this
We truly were a witness.
the veils asunder in such wise that the inmates of the Kingdom will
hear them being rent.
This is the command of God, in days gone by and for those to come.
Blessed the man that observeth that whereunto he was bidden, and woe
betide the negligent.
of a certainty, have had no purpose in this earthly realm save to make
God manifest and to reveal His sovereignty; sufficient unto Me is God
for a witness. We, of a certainty, have had no intent in the celestial
Kingdom but to exalt His Cause and glorify His praise; sufficient unto
Me is God for a protector. We, of a certainty, have had no desire in
the Dominion on high except to extol God and what hath been sent down
by Him; sufficient unto Me is God for a helper.
are ye, O ye the learned ones in Bahá. By the Lord! Ye are the billows
of the Most Mighty Ocean, the stars of the firmament of Glory, the
standards of triumph waving betwixt earth and heaven. Ye are the
manifestations of steadfastness amidst men and the daysprings of Divine
Utterance to all that dwell on earth. Well is it with him that turneth
unto you, and woe betide the froward. This day, it behoveth whoso hath
quaffed the Mystic Wine of everlasting life from the Hands of the
loving-kindness of the Lord his God, the Merciful, to pulsate even as
the throbbing artery in the body of mankind, that through him may be
quickened the world and every crumbling bone.
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.
Pen of the Most High! Move Thou upon the Tablet at the bidding of Thy
Lord, the Creator of the Heavens, and tell of the time when He Who is
the Dayspring of Divine Unity purposed to direct His steps towards the
School of Transcendent Oneness; haply the pure in heart may gain
thereby a glimpse, be it as small as a needle's eye, of the mysteries
of Thy Lord, the Almighty, the Omniscient, that lie concealed behind
the veils. Say: We, indeed, set foot within the School of inner meaning
and explanation when all created things were unaware. We saw the words
sent down by Him Who is the All-Merciful, and We accepted the verses of
God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting, which He+F1 presented unto
Us, and hearkened unto that which He had solemnly affirmed in the
Tablet. This we assuredly did behold. And We assented to His wish
through Our behest, for truly We are potent to command.
people of the Bayán! We, verily, set foot within the School of God when
ye lay slumbering; and We perused the Tablet while ye were fast asleep.
By the one true God! We read the Tablet ere it was revealed, while ye
were unaware, and We had perfect knowledge of the Book when ye were yet
unborn. These words are to your measure, not to God's. To this
testifieth that which is enshrined within His knowledge, if ye be of
them that comprehend; and to this the tongue of the Almighty doth bear
witness, if ye be of those who understand. I swear by God, were We to
lift the veil, ye would be dumbfounded.
+F1 The Báb
heed that ye dispute not idly concerning the Almighty and His Cause,
for lo! He hath appeared amongst you invested with a Revelation so
great as to encompass all things, whether of the past or of the future.
Were We to address Our theme by speaking in the language of the inmates
of the Kingdom, We would say: "In truth, God created that School ere He
created heaven and earth, and We entered it before the letters B and E
were joined and knit together." Such is the language of Our servants in
Our Kingdom; consider what the tongue of the dwellers of Our exalted
Dominion would utter, for We have taught them Our knowledge and have
revealed to them whatever had lain hidden in God's wisdom. Imagine then
what the Tongue of Might and Grandeur would utter in His All-Glorious
is not a Cause which may be made a plaything for your idle fancies, nor
is it a field for the foolish and faint of heart. By God, this is the
arena of insight and detachment, of vision and upliftment, where none
may spur on their chargers save the valiant horsemen of the Merciful,
who have severed all attachment to the world of being. These, truly,
are they that render God victorious on earth, and are the
dawning-places of His sovereign might amidst mankind.
lest aught that hath been revealed in the Bayán should keep you from
your Lord, the Most Compassionate. God is My witness that the Bayán was
sent down for no other purpose than to celebrate My praise, did ye but
know! In it the pure in heart will find
only the fragrance of My love, only My Name that overshadoweth all that
seeth and is seen. Say: Turn ye, O people, unto that which hath
proceeded from My Most Exalted Pen. Should ye inhale therefrom the
fragrance of God, set not yourselves against Him, nor deny yourselves a
portion of His gracious favour and His manifold bestowals. Thus doth
your Lord admonish you; He, verily, is the Counsellor, the Omniscient.
ye understand not in the Bayán, ask it of God, your Lord and the Lord
of your forefathers. Should He so desire, He will expound for you that
which is revealed therein, and disclose to you the pearls of Divine
knowledge and wisdom that lie concealed within the ocean of its words.
He, verily, is supreme over all names; no God is there but Him, the
Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.
world's equilibrium hath been upset through the vibrating influence of
this most great, this new World Order. Mankind's ordered life hath been
revolutionized through the agency of this unique, this wondrous
System--the like of which mortal eyes have never witnessed.
yourselves in the ocean of My words, that ye may unravel its secrets,
and discover all the pearls of wisdom that lie hid in its depths. Take
heed that ye do not vacillate in your determination to embrace the
truth of this Cause--a Cause through which the potentialities of the
might of God have been revealed, and His sovereignty established. With
faces beaming with joy, hasten ye unto Him. This is the changeless
Faith of God, eternal in the past, eternal in the future.
Let him that seeketh, attain it; and as to him that hath refused to
seek it--verily, God is Self-Sufficient, above any need of His
This is the infallible Balance which the Hand of God is holding, in
which all who are in the heavens and all who are on the earth are
weighed, and their fate determined, if ye be of them that believe and
recognize this truth. Say: This is the Most Great Testimony, by which
the validity of every proof throughout the ages hath been established,
would that ye might be assured thereof. Say: Through it the poor have
been enriched, the learned enlightened, and the seekers enabled to
ascend unto the presence of God. Beware lest ye make it a cause of
dissension amongst you. Be ye as firmly settled as the immovable
mountain in the Cause of your Lord, the Mighty, the Loving.
O source of perversion! Abandon thy wilful blindness, and speak forth
the truth amidst the people. I swear by God that I have wept for thee
to see thee following thy selfish passions and renouncing Him Who
fashioned thee and brought thee into being. Call to mind the tender
mercy of thy Lord, and remember how We nurtured thee by day and by
night for service to the Cause. Fear God, and be thou of the truly
repentant. Granted that the people were confused about thy station, is
it conceivable that thou thyself art similarly confused? Tremble before
thy Lord and recall the days when thou didst stand before Our throne,
and didst write down the verses that We dictated unto thee--verses sent
down by God, the Omnipotent Protector, the Lord of might and power.
the fire of thy presumptuousness debar thee from attaining to God's
Holy Court. Turn unto Him, and fear not because of thy deeds. He, in
truth, forgiveth whomsoever He desireth as a bounty on His part; no God
is there but Him, the Ever-Forgiving, the All-Bounteous. We admonish
thee solely for the sake of God. Shouldst thou accept this counsel,
thou wilt have acted to thine own behoof; and shouldst thou reject it,
thy Lord, verily, can well dispense with thee, and with all those who,
in manifest delusion, have followed thee. Behold! God hath laid hold on
him who led thee astray. Return unto God, humble, submissive and lowly;
verily, He will put away from thee thy sins, for thy Lord, of a
certainty, is the Forgiving, the Mighty, the All-Merciful.
is the Counsel of God; would that thou mightest heed it! This is the
Bounty of God; would that thou mightest receive it! This is the
Utterance of God; if only thou wouldst apprehend it! This is the
Treasure of God; if only thou couldst understand!
is a Book which hath become the Lamp of the Eternal unto the world, and
His straight, undeviating Path amidst the peoples of the earth. Say:
This is the Dayspring of Divine knowledge, if ye be of them that
understand, and the Dawning-place of God's commandments, if ye be of
those who comprehend.
not an animal with more than it can bear. We, truly, have prohibited
such treatment through a most binding interdiction in the Book. Be ye
the embodiments of justice and fairness amidst all creation.
Should anyone unintentionally take another's life,
it is incumbent upon him to render to the family of the deceased an indemnity of one hundred mithqáls of gold. Observe ye that which hath been enjoined upon you in this Tablet, and be not of those who overstep its limits.
members of parliaments throughout the world! Select ye a single
language for the use of all on earth, and adopt ye likewise a common
script. God, verily, maketh plain for you that which shall profit you
and enable you to be independent of others. He, of a truth, is the Most
Bountiful, the All-Knowing, the All-Informed. This will be the cause of
unity, could ye but comprehend it, and the greatest instrument for
promoting harmony and civilization, would that ye might understand! We
have appointed two signs for the coming of age of the human race: the
first, which is the most firm foundation, We have set down in other of
Our Tablets, while the second hath been revealed in this wondrous Book.
hath been forbidden you to smoke opium. We, truly, have prohibited this
practice through a most binding interdiction in the Book. Should anyone
partake thereof, assuredly he is not of Me. Fear God, O ye endued with
SOME TEXTS REVEALED BY BAHÁ'U'LLÁH
SUPPLEMENTARY TO THE KITÁB-I-AQDAS
A number of Tablets revealed by
Bahá'u'lláh after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas contain passages supplementary to
the provisions of the Most Holy Book. The most noteworthy of these have
been published in Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh revealed after the
Kitáb-i-Aqdas. Included in this section is an extract from the Tablet
of Ishráqát. The text of the three Obligatory Prayers referred to in Questions and Answers and the Prayer for the Dead mentioned in the Text are, likewise, reprinted here.
[THIS PAGE IS INTENTIONALLY BLANK.]
THE TABLET OF ISHRÁQÁT
THE EIGHTH ISHRÁQ
This passage, now written by
the Pen of Glory, is accounted as part of the Most Holy Book: The men
of God's House of Justice have been charged with the affairs of the
people. They, in truth, are the Trustees of God among His servants and
the daysprings of authority in His countries.
people of God! That which traineth the world is Justice, for it is
upheld by two pillars, reward and punishment. These two pillars are the
sources of life to the world. Inasmuch as for each day there is a new
problem and for every problem an expedient solution, such affairs
should be referred to the House of Justice that the members thereof may
act according to the needs and requirements of the time. They that, for
the sake of God, arise to serve His Cause, are the recipients of divine
inspiration from the unseen Kingdom. It is incumbent upon all to be
obedient unto them. All matters of State should be referred to the
House of Justice, but acts of worship must be observed according to
that which God hath revealed in His Book.
people of Bahá! Ye are the dawning-places of the love of God and the
daysprings of His loving-kindness. Defile not your tongues with the
cursing and reviling of any soul, and guard your eyes against that
which is not seemly. Set forth that which ye possess. If it be
favourably received, your end is attained; if not, to
protest is vain. Leave that soul to himself and turn unto the Lord, the
Protector, the Self-Subsisting. Be not the cause of grief, much less of
discord and strife. The hope is cherished that ye may obtain true
education in the shelter of the tree of His tender mercies and act in
accordance with that which God desireth. Ye are all the leaves of one
tree and the drops of one ocean.
(Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas)
LONG OBLIGATORY PRAYER
TO BE RECITED ONCE IN TWENTY-FOUR HOURS
wisheth to recite this prayer, let him stand up and turn unto God, and,
as he standeth in his place, let him gaze to the right and to the left,
as if awaiting the mercy of his Lord, the Most Merciful, the
Compassionate. Then let him say:
O Thou Who art the Lord of all
names and the Maker of the heavens! I beseech Thee by them Who are the
Daysprings of Thine invisible Essence, the Most Exalted, the
All-Glorious, to make of my prayer a fire that will burn away the veils
which have shut me out from Thy beauty, and a light that will lead me
unto the ocean of Thy Presence.
Let him then raise his hands in supplication toward God--blessed and exalted be He--and say:
O Thou the Desire of the world and the Beloved of
the nations! Thou seest me turning toward Thee, and rid of all
attachment to anyone save Thee, and clinging to Thy cord, through whose
movement the whole creation hath been stirred up. I am Thy servant, O
my Lord, and the son of Thy servant. Behold me standing ready to do Thy
will and Thy desire, and wishing naught else except Thy good pleasure.
I implore Thee by the Ocean of Thy mercy and the Day-Star of Thy grace
to do with Thy servant as Thou willest and pleasest. By Thy might which
is far above all mention and praise! Whatsoever is revealed by Thee is
the desire of my heart and the beloved of my soul. O God, my God! Look
not upon my hopes and my doings, nay rather look upon Thy will that
hath encompassed the heavens and the earth. By Thy Most Great Name, O
Thou Lord of all nations! I have desired only what Thou didst desire,
and love only what Thou dost love.
Let him then kneel, and bowing his forehead to the ground, let him say:
Exalted art Thou above the
description of anyone save Thyself, and the comprehension of aught else
Let him then stand and say:
Make my prayer, O my Lord, a
fountain of living waters whereby I may live as long as Thy sovereignty
endureth, and may make mention of Thee in every world of Thy worlds.
Let him again raise his hands in supplication, and say:
O Thou in separation from Whom hearts and souls
have melted, and by the fire of Whose love the whole world hath been
set aflame! I implore Thee by Thy Name through which Thou hast subdued
the whole creation, not to withhold from me that which is with Thee, O
Thou Who rulest over all men! Thou seest, O my Lord, this stranger
hastening to his most exalted home beneath the canopy of Thy majesty
and within the precincts of Thy mercy; and this transgressor seeking
the ocean of Thy forgiveness; and this lowly one the court of Thy
glory; and this poor creature the orient of Thy wealth. Thine is the
authority to command whatsoever Thou willest. I bear witness that Thou
art to be praised in Thy doings, and to be obeyed in Thy behests, and
to remain unconstrained in Thy bidding.
him then raise his hands, and repeat three times the Greatest Name. Let
him then bend down with hands resting on the knees before God--blessed
and exalted be He--and say:
Thou seest, O my God, how my
spirit hath been stirred up within my limbs and members, in its longing
to worship Thee, and in its yearning to remember Thee and extol Thee;
how it testifieth to that whereunto the Tongue of Thy Commandment hath
testified in the kingdom of Thine utterance and the heaven of Thy
knowledge. I love, in this state, O my Lord, to beg of Thee all that is
with Thee, that I may demonstrate my poverty, and magnify Thy bounty
and Thy riches, and may declare my powerlessness, and manifest Thy
power and Thy might.
Let him then stand and raise his hands twice in supplication, and say:
There is no God but Thee, the
Almighty, the All-Bountiful. There is no God but Thee, the Ordainer,
both in the beginning and in the end. O God, my God! Thy forgiveness
hath emboldened me, and Thy mercy hath strengthened me, and Thy call
hath awakened me, and Thy grace hath raised me up and led me unto Thee.
Who, otherwise, am I that I should dare to stand at the gate of the
city of Thy nearness, or set my face toward the lights that are shining
from the heaven of Thy will? Thou seest, O my Lord, this wretched
creature knocking at the door of Thy grace, and this evanescent soul
seeking the river of everlasting life from the hands of Thy bounty.
Thine is the command at all times, O Thou Who art the Lord of all
names; and mine is resignation and willing submission to Thy will, O
Creator of the heavens!
Let him then raise his hands thrice, and say:
Greater is God than every great one!
Let him then kneel and, bowing his forehead to the ground, say:
Too high art Thou for the
praise of those who are nigh unto Thee to ascend unto the heaven of Thy
nearness, or for the birds of the hearts of them who are devoted to
Thee to attain to the door of Thy gate. I testify that Thou hast been
sanctified above all attributes and holy above all names. No God is
there but Thee, the Most Exalted, the All-Glorious.
Let him then seat himself and say:
I testify unto that whereunto
have testified all created things, and the Concourse on high, and the
inmates of the all-highest Paradise, and beyond them the Tongue of
Grandeur itself from the all-glorious Horizon, that Thou art God, that
there is no God but Thee, and that He Who hath been manifested is the
Hidden Mystery, the Treasured Symbol, through Whom the letters B and E
(Be) have been joined and knit together. I testify that it is He whose
name hath been set down by the Pen of the Most High, and Who hath been
mentioned in the Books of God, the Lord of the Throne on high and of
Let him then stand erect and say:
O Lord of all being and
Possessor of all things visible and invisible! Thou dost perceive my
tears and the sighs I utter, and hearest my groaning, and my wailing,
and the lamentation of my heart. By Thy might! My trespasses have kept
me back from drawing nigh unto Thee; and my sins have held me far from
the court of Thy holiness. Thy love, O my Lord, hath enriched me, and
separation from Thee hath destroyed me, and remoteness from Thee hath
consumed me. I entreat Thee by Thy footsteps in this wilderness, and by
the words "Here am I. Here am I" which Thy chosen Ones have uttered in
this immensity, and by the breaths of Thy Revelation, and the gentle
winds of the Dawn of Thy Manifestation, to ordain that I may gaze on
Thy beauty and observe whatsoever is in Thy Book.
Let him then repeat the Greatest Name thrice, and bend down with hands resting on the knees, and say:
Praise be to Thee, O my God,
that Thou hast aided me to remember Thee and to praise Thee, and hast
made known unto me Him Who is the Dayspring of Thy signs, and hast
caused me to bow down before Thy Lordship, and humble myself before Thy
Godhead, and to acknowledge that which hath been uttered by the Tongue
of Thy grandeur.
Let him then rise and say:
O God, my God! My back is bowed
by the burden of my sins, and my heedlessness hath destroyed me.
Whenever I ponder my evil doings and Thy benevolence, my heart melteth
within me, and my blood boileth in my veins. By Thy Beauty, O Thou the
Desire of the world! I blush to lift up my face to Thee, and my longing
hands are ashamed to stretch forth toward the heaven of Thy bounty.
Thou seest, O my God, how my tears prevent me from remembering Thee and
from extolling Thy virtues, O Thou the Lord of the Throne on high and
of earth below! I implore Thee by the signs of Thy Kingdom and the
mysteries of Thy Dominion to do with Thy loved ones as becometh Thy
bounty, O Lord of all being, and is worthy of Thy grace, O King of the
seen and the unseen!
Let him then repeat the Greatest Name thrice, and kneel with his forehead to the ground, and say:
Praise be unto Thee, O our God, that Thou hast
sent down unto us that which draweth us nigh unto Thee, and supplieth
us with every good thing sent down by Thee in Thy Books and Thy
Scriptures. Protect us, we beseech Thee, O my Lord, from the hosts of
idle fancies and vain imaginations. Thou, in truth, art the Mighty, the
Let him then raise his head, and seat himself, and say:
I testify, O my God, to that
whereunto Thy chosen Ones have testified, and acknowledge that which
the inmates of the all-highest Paradise and those who have circled
round Thy mighty Throne have acknowledged. The kingdoms of earth and
heaven are Thine, O Lord of the worlds!
(Prayers and Meditations by Bahá'u'lláh, CLXXXIII)
MEDIUM OBLIGATORY PRAYER
TO BE RECITED DAILY, IN THE MORNING, AT NOON, AND IN THE EVENING
Whoso wisheth to pray, let him wash his hands, and while he washeth, let him say:
Strengthen my hand, O my God,
that it may take hold of Thy Book with such steadfastness that the
hosts of the world shall have no power over it. Guard it, then, from
meddling with whatsoever doth not belong unto it. Thou art, verily, the
Almighty, the Most Powerful.
And while washing his face, let him say:
I have turned my face unto
Thee, O my Lord! Illumine it with the light of Thy countenance. Protect
it, then, from turning to any one but Thee.
Then let him stand up, and facing the Qiblih (Point of Adoration, i.e. Bahjí, 'Akká), let him say:
God testifieth that there is
none other God but Him. His are the kingdoms of Revelation and of
creation. He, in truth, hath manifested Him Who is the Dayspring of
Revelation, Who conversed on Sinai, through Whom the Supreme Horizon
hath been made to shine, and the Lote-Tree beyond which there is no
passing hath spoken, and through Whom the call hath been proclaimed
unto all who are in heaven and on earth: "Lo, the All-Possessing is
come. Earth and heaven, glory and dominion are God's, the Lord of all
men, and the Possessor of the Throne on high and of earth below!"
Let him, then, bend down, with hands resting on the knees, and say:
Exalted art Thou above my
praise and the praise of anyone beside me, above my description and the
description of all who are in heaven and all who are on earth!
Then, standing with open hands, palms upward toward the face, let him say:
Disappoint not, O my God, him
that hath, with beseeching fingers, clung to the hem of Thy mercy and
Thy grace, O Thou Who of those who show mercy art the Most Merciful!
Let him, then, be seated and say:
I bear witness to Thy unity and
Thy oneness, and that Thou art God, and that there is none other God
beside Thee. Thou hast, verily, revealed Thy Cause, fulfilled Thy
Covenant, and opened wide the door of Thy grace to all that dwell in
heaven and on earth. Blessing and peace, salutation and glory, rest
upon Thy loved ones, whom the changes and chances of the world have not
deterred from turning unto Thee, and who have given their all, in the
hope of obtaining that which is with Thee. Thou art, in truth, the
Ever-Forgiving, the All-Bountiful.
(If anyone choose to recite instead of the long verse
these words: "God testifieth that there is none other God but Him, the
Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting," it would be sufficient. And
likewise, it would suffice were he, while seated, to choose to recite
these words: "I bear witness to Thy unity and Thy oneness, and that
Thou art God, and that there is none other God beside Thee.")
(Prayers and Meditations by Bahá'u'lláh, CLXXXII)
SHORT OBLIGATORY PRAYER
TO BE RECITED ONCE IN TWENTY-FOUR HOURS, AT NOON
I bear witness, O my God, that
Thou hast created me to know Thee and to worship Thee. I testify, at
moment, to my powerlessness and to Thy might, to my poverty and to Thy wealth.
There is none other God but Thee, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.
(Prayers and Meditations by Bahá'u'lláh, CLXXXI)
PRAYER FOR THE DEAD
O my God! This is Thy servant
and the son of Thy servant who hath believed in Thee and in Thy signs,
and set his face towards Thee, wholly detached from all except Thee.
Thou art, verily, of those who show mercy the most merciful.
with him, O Thou Who forgivest the sins of men and concealest their
faults, as beseemeth the heaven of Thy bounty and the ocean of Thy
grace. Grant him admission within the precincts of Thy transcendent
mercy that was before the foundation of earth and heaven. There is no
God but Thee, the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Generous.
him, then, repeat six times the greeting "Alláh-u-Abhá", and then
repeat nineteen times each of the following verses:
We all, verily, worship God.
We all, verily, bow down before God.
We all, verily, are devoted unto God.
We all, verily, give praise unto God.
We all, verily, yield thanks unto God.
We all, verily, are patient in God.
the dead be a woman, let him say: This is Thy handmaiden and the
daughter of Thy handmaiden, etc...)
(Prayers and Meditations by Bahá'u'lláh, CLXVII)
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
[THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY BLANK.]
1. QUESTION: Concerning the Most Great Festival.
ANSWER: The Most Great Festival
commenceth late in the afternoon of the thirteenth day of the second
month of the year according to the Bayán. On the first, ninth and
twelfth days of this Festival, work is forbidden.
2. QUESTION: Concerning the Festival of the Twin Birthdays.
ANSWER: The Birth of the Abhá
Beauty+F1 was at the hour of dawn on the second day of the month of
Muharram,+F2 the first day of which marketh the Birth of His Herald.
These two days are accounted as one in the sight of God.
3. QUESTION: Concerning the Marriage Verses.+F3
ANSWER: For men: "We will all,
verily, abide by the Will of God." For women: "We will all, verily,
abide by the Will of God."
4. QUESTION: Should a man go on a journey without
specifying a time for his return--without indicating, in other words,
the expected period of his absence--and should no word be heard of him
thereafter, and all trace
+F2 First month of the Islamic lunar calendar
+F3 In Arabic the two verses differ in gender
of him be lost, what course should be followed by his wife?
ANSWER: Should he have omitted to
fix a time for his return despite being aware of the stipulation of the
Kitáb-i-Aqdas in this regard, his wife should wait for one full year,
after which she shall be free either to adopt the course that is
praiseworthy, or to choose for herself another husband. If, however, he
be unaware of this stipulation, she should abide in patience until such
time as God shall please to disclose to her his fate. By the course
that is praiseworthy in this connection is meant the exercise of
5. QUESTION: Concerning the holy verse: "When We heard
the clamour of the children as yet unborn, We doubled their share and
decreased those of the rest."
ANSWER: According to the Book of
God, the estate of the deceased is divided into 2,520 shares, which
number is the lowest common multiple of all integers up to nine, and
these shares are then distributed into seven portions, each of which is
allocated, as mentioned in the Book, to a particular category of heirs.
The children, for example, are allotted nine blocks of 60 shares,
comprising 540 shares in all. The meaning of the statement "We doubled
their share" is thus that the children receive a further nine blocks of
60 shares, entitling them to a total of 18 blocks all told. The extra
shares that they receive are deducted from the portions of the other
of heirs, so that, although it is revealed, for instance, that the
spouse is entitled to "eight parts comprising four hundred and eighty
shares", which is the equivalent of eight blocks of 60 shares, now, by
virtue of this rearrangement, one and a half blocks of shares,
comprising 90 shares in all, have been subtracted from the spouse's
portion and reallocated to the children, and similarly in the case of
the others. The result is that the total amount subtracted is
equivalent to the nine extra blocks of shares allotted to the children.
6. QUESTION: Is it necessary that the brother, in
order to qualify for his portion of the inheritance, be descended from
both the father and the mother of the deceased, or is it sufficient
merely that there be one parent in common?
ANSWER: If the brother be descended
from the father he shall receive his share of the inheritance in the
prescribed measure recorded in the Book; but if he be descended from
the mother, he shall receive only two thirds of his entitlement, the
remaining third reverting to the House of Justice. This ruling is also
applicable to the sister.
7. QUESTION: Amongst the provisions concerning
inheritance it hath been laid down that, should the deceased leave no
offspring, their share of the estate is to revert to the House of
Justice. In the event of other categories of heirs, such as the father,
mother, brother, sister and teacher being similarly absent, do their
shares of the inheritance also revert to the House of Justice, or are
they dealt with in some other fashion?
ANSWER: The sacred verse sufficeth.
He saith, exalted be His Word: "Should the deceased leave no offspring,
their share shall revert to the House of Justice" etc. and "Should the
deceased leave offspring, but none of the other categories of heirs
that have been specified in the Book, they shall receive two thirds of
the inheritance and the remaining third shall revert to the House of
Justice" etc. In other words, where there are no offspring, their
allotted portion of the inheritance reverteth to the House of Justice;
and where there are offspring but the other categories of heirs are
lacking, two thirds of the inheritance pass to the offspring, the
remaining third reverting to the House of Justice. This ruling hath
both general and specific application, which is to say that whenever
any category of this latter class of heirs is absent, two thirds of
their inheritance pass to the offspring and the remaining third to the
House of Justice.
8. QUESTION: Concerning the basic sum on which Huqúqu'lláh is payable.
ANSWER: The basic sum on which Huqúqu'lláh is payable is nineteen mithqáls
of gold. In other words, when money to the value of this sum hath been
acquired, a payment of Huqúq falleth due. Likewise Huqúq is payable
when the value, not the number, of other forms of property reacheth the
prescribed amount. Huqúqu'lláh is payable no more than once. A person,
for instance, who
acquireth a thousand mithqáls of gold, and payeth the
Huqúq, is not liable to make a further such payment on this sum, but
only on what accrueth to it through commerce, business and the like.
When this increase, namely the profit realized, reacheth the prescribed
sum, one must carry out what God hath decreed. Only when the principal
changeth hands is it once more subject to payment of Huqúq, as it was
the first time. The Primal Point hath directed that Huqúqu'lláh must be
paid on the value of whatsoever one possesseth; yet, in this Most
Mighty Dispensation, We have exempted the household furnishings, that
is such furnishings as are needed, and the residence itself.
9. QUESTION: Which is to take precedence: the Huqúqu'lláh, the debts of the deceased or the cost of the funeral and burial?
ANSWER: The funeral and burial take
precedence, then settlement of debts, then payment of Huqúqu'lláh.
Should the property of the deceased prove insufficient to cover his
debts, the remainder of his estate should be distributed among these
debts in proportion to their size.
10. QUESTION: Shaving the head hath been forbidden in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas but enjoined in the Suriy-i-Hájj.
ANSWER: All are charged with
obedience to the Kitáb-i-Aqdas; whatsoever is revealed therein is the
Law of God amid His servants. The injunction on pilgrims to the sacred
House to shave the head hath been lifted.
11. QUESTION: If intercourse take place between a
couple during their year of patience, and they become estranged again
thereafter, must they recommence their year of patience, or may the
days preceding the intercourse be included in the reckoning of the
year? And once divorce hath taken place, is it necessary that a further
period of waiting be observed?
ANSWER: Should affection be renewed
between the couple during their year of patience, the marriage tie is
valid, and what is commanded in the Book of God must be observed; but
once the year of patience hath been completed and that which is decreed
by God taketh place, a further period of waiting is not required.
Sexual intercourse between husband and wife is forbidden during their
year of patience, and whoso committeth this act must seek God's
forgiveness, and, as a punishment, render to the House of Justice a
fine of nineteen mithqáls of gold.
12. QUESTION: Should antipathy develop between a
couple after the Marriage Verses have been read and the dowry paid, may
divorce take place without observance of the year of patience?
ANSWER: Divorce may legitimately be
sought after the reading of the Marriage Verses and payment of the
dowry, but before the consummation of the marriage. In such
circumstances there is no need for observance of a year of patience,
but recovery of the dowry payment is not permissible.
13. QUESTION: Is the consent of the parents on both sides
prerequisite to marriage, or is that of the parents on one side
sufficient? Is this law applicable only to virgins or to others as well?
ANSWER: Marriage is conditional upon
the consent of the parents of both parties to the marriage, and in this
respect it maketh no difference whether the bride be a virgin or
14. QUESTION: The believers have been enjoined to
face in the direction of the Qiblih when reciting their Obligatory
Prayers; in what direction should they turn when offering other prayers
ANSWER: Facing in the direction of
the Qiblih is a fixed requirement for the recitation of obligatory
prayer, but for other prayers and devotions one may follow what the
merciful Lord hath revealed in the Qur'án: "Whichever way ye turn,
there is the face of God."
15. QUESTION: Concerning the remembrance of God in the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár "at the hour of dawn".
ANSWER: Although the words "at the
hour of dawn" are used in the Book of God, it is acceptable to God at
the earliest dawn of day, between dawn and sunrise, or even up to two
hours after sunrise.
16. QUESTION: Is the ordinance that the body of the
deceased should be carried no greater distance than one hour's journey
applicable to transport by both land and sea?
ANSWER: This command applieth to distances
by sea as well as by land, whether it is an hour by steamship or
by rail; the intention is the hour's time, whatever the means of
transport. The sooner the burial taketh place, however, the more
fitting and acceptable will it be.
17. QUESTION: What procedure should be followed on the discovery of lost property?
ANSWER: If such property be found in
the town, its discovery is to be announced once by the town crier. If
the owner of the property is then found, it should be delivered up to
him. Otherwise, the finder of the property should wait one year, and
if, during this period, the owner cometh to light, the finder should
receive from him the crier's fee and restore to him his property; only
if the year should pass without the owner's being identified may the
finder take possession of the property himself. If the value of the
property is less than or equal to the crier's fee, the finder should
wait a single day from the time of its discovery, at the end of which,
if the owner hath not come to light, he may himself appropriate it; and
in the case of property discovered in an uninhabited area, the finder
should observe a three days' wait, on the passing of which period, if
the identity of the owner remain unknown, he is free to take possession
of his find.
18. QUESTION: With reference to the ablutions: if,
for example, a person hath just bathed his entire body, must he still
perform his ablutions?
ANSWER: The commandment regarding ablutions must, in any case, be observed.
19. QUESTION: Should a person plan to migrate from
his country, and his wife be opposed and the disagreement culminate in
divorce, and should his preparations for the journey extend until a
year hath passed, may this period be counted as the year of patience,
or should the day the couple part be regarded as the starting-point of
ANSWER: The starting-point for
computation is the day the couple part, and if, therefore, they have
separated a year before the husband's departure, and if the fragrance
of affection hath not been renewed between the couple, divorce may take
place. Otherwise the year must be counted from the day of his
departure, and the conditions set forth in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas observed.
20. QUESTION: Concerning the age of maturity with respect to religious duties.
ANSWER: The age of maturity is fifteen for both men and women.
21. QUESTION: Concerning the holy verse: "When
travelling, if ye should stop and rest in some safe spot, perform ye
... a single prostration in place of each unsaid Obligatory Prayer..."
ANSWER: This prostration is to
compensate for obligatory prayer omitted in the course of travel, and
by reason of insecure circumstances. If,
at the time of prayer, the traveller should find himself at rest
in a secure place, he should perform that prayer. This provision
regarding the compensating prostration applieth both at home and on a
22. QUESTION: Concerning the definition of a journey.+F1
ANSWER: The definition of a journey
is nine hours by the clock. Should the traveller stop in a place,
anticipating that he will stay there for no less than one month by the
Bayán reckoning, it is incumbent on him to keep the Fast; but if for
less than one month, he is exempt from fasting. If he arriveth during
the Fast at a place where he is to stay one month according to the
Bayán, he should not observe the Fast till three days have elapsed,
thereafter keeping it throughout the remainder of its course; but if he
come to his home, where he hath heretofore been permanently resident,
he must commence his fast upon the first day after his arrival.
23. QUESTION: Concerning the punishment of the adulterer and adulteress.
ANSWER: Nine mithqáls
are payable for the first offence, eighteen for the second, thirty-six
for the third, and so on, each succeeding fine being double the
preceding. The weight of one mithqál
+F1 This relates to the minimum duration of a journey which exempts the traveller from fasting
is equivalent to nineteen nakhuds in accordance with the specification of the Bayán.
24. QUESTION: Concerning hunting.
ANSWER: He saith, exalted be He: "If
ye should hunt with beasts or birds of prey" and so forth. Other means,
such as bows and arrows, guns, and similar equipment employed in
hunting, are also included. If, however, traps or snares are used, and
the game dieth before it can be reached, it is unlawful for consumption.
25. QUESTION: Concerning the pilgrimage.
ANSWER: It is an obligation to make
pilgrimage to one of the two sacred Houses; but as to which, it is for
the pilgrim to decide.
26. QUESTION: Concerning the dowry.
ANSWER: Regarding dowry, the
intention of contenting oneself with the lowest level is nineteen mithqáls of silver.
27. QUESTION: Concerning the sacred verse: "If, however, news should reach her of her husband's death", etc.
ANSWER: With reference to waiting a
"fixed number of months" a period of nine months is intended.
28. QUESTION: Again inquiry hath been made about the teacher's share of the inheritance.
ANSWER: Should the teacher have
passed away, one third of his share of the inheritance reverteth
to the House of Justice, and the remaining two thirds pass to the deceased's, and not the teacher's, offspring.
29. QUESTION: Again inquiry hath been made about the pilgrimage.
ANSWER: By pilgrimage to the sacred
House, which is enjoined upon men, is intended both the Most Great
House in Baghdád and the House of the Primal Point in Shíráz;
pilgrimage to either of these Houses sufficeth. They may thus make
pilgrimage to whichever lieth nearer to the place where they reside.
30. QUESTION: Concerning the verse: "he who would take into his service a maid may do so with propriety."
ANSWER: This is solely for service
such as is performed by any other class of servants, be they young or
old, in exchange for wages; such a maiden is free to choose a husband
at whatever time she pleaseth, for it is forbidden either that women
should be purchased, or that a man should have more wives than two.
31. QUESTION: Concerning the sacred verse: "The Lord
hath prohibited ... the practice to which ye formerly had recourse when
thrice ye had divorced a woman."
ANSWER: The reference is to the law
which previously made it necessary for another man to marry such a
woman before she could again be wedded to her former husband; this
practice hath been prohibited in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas.
32. QUESTION: Concerning the restoration and
preservation of the two Houses in the Twin Spots, and the other sites
wherein the throne hath been established.
ANSWER: By the two Houses is
intended the Most Great House and the House of the Primal Point. As for
other sites, the people of the areas where these are situated may
choose to preserve either each house wherein the throne hath been
established, or one of them.
33. QUESTION: Again inquiry hath been made about the inheritance of the teacher.
ANSWER: If the teacher is not of the
people of Bahá, he doth not inherit. Should there be several teachers,
the share is to be divided equally amongst them. If the teacher is
deceased, his offspring do not inherit his share, but rather two thirds
of it revert to the children of the owner of the estate, and the
remaining one third to the House of Justice.
34. QUESTION: Concerning the residence which hath been assigned exclusively to the male offspring.
ANSWER: If there are several
residences, the finest and noblest of these dwellings is the one
intended, the remainder being distributed amongst the whole body of the
heirs like any other form of property. Any heir, from whichever
category of inheritors, who is outside the Faith of God is accounted as
non-existent and doth not inherit.
35. QUESTION: Concerning Naw-Rúz.
ANSWER: The Festival of Naw-Rúz
falleth on the day that the sun entereth the sign of Aries,+F1 even
should this occur no more than one minute before sunset.
36. QUESTION: If the anniversary either of the Twin
Birthdays or of the Declaration of the Báb occurreth during the Fast,
what is to be done?
ANSWER: Should the feasts
celebrating the Twin Birthdays or the Declaration of the Báb fall
within the month of fasting, the command to fast shall not apply on
37. QUESTION: In the holy ordinances governing
inheritance, the residence and personal clothing of the deceased have
been allotted to the male offspring. Doth this provision refer only to
the father's property, or doth it apply to the mother's as well?
ANSWER: The used clothing of the
mother should be divided in equal shares among the daughters, but the
remainder of her estate, including property, jewellery, and unused
clothing, is to be distributed, in the manner revealed in the
Kitáb-i-Aqdas, to all her heirs. If, however, the deceased hath left no
daughters, her estate in its entirety must be divided in the manner
designated for men in the holy Text.
38. QUESTION: Concerning divorce, which must be preceded
+F1 The vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere
by a year of patience: if only one of the parties is inclined toward conciliation, what is to be done?
ANSWER: According to the commandment
revealed in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, both parties must be content; unless
both are willing, reunion cannot take place.
39. QUESTION: In connection with the dowry, what if
the bridegroom cannot pay this sum in full, but instead were to
formally deliver a promissory note to his bride at the time of the
wedding ceremony, on the understanding that he will honour it when he
is able to do so?
ANSWER: Permission to adopt this practice hath been granted by the Source of Authority.
40. QUESTION: If during the year of patience the
fragrance of affection be renewed, only to be succeeded by antipathy,
and the couple waver between affection and aversion throughout the
year, and the year endeth in antipathy, can divorce take place or not?
ANSWER: In each case at any time
antipathy occurreth, the year of patience beginneth on that day, and
the year must run its full course.
41. QUESTION: The residence and personal clothing of
the deceased have been assigned to the male, not female, offspring, nor
to the other heirs; should the deceased have left no male offspring,
what is to be done?
ANSWER: He saith, exalted be He:
"Should the deceased leave no offspring, their share shall revert to
the House of Justice..." In conformity
with this sacred verse, the residence and personal clothing of the deceased revert to the House of Justice.
42. QUESTION: The ordinance of Huqúqu'lláh is
revealed in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. Is the residence, with the accompanying
fixtures and necessary furnishings, included in the property on which
Huqúq is payable, or is it otherwise?
ANSWER: In the laws revealed in
Persian We have ordained that in this Most Mighty Dispensation the
residence and the household furnishings are exempt--that is, such
furnishings as are necessary.
43. QUESTION: Concerning the betrothal of a girl before maturity.
ANSWER: This practice hath been
pronounced unlawful by the Source of Authority, and it is unlawful to
announce a marriage earlier than ninety-five days before the wedding.
44. QUESTION: If a person hath, for example, a
hundred tumáns, payeth the Huqúq on this sum, loseth half the sum in
unsuccessful transactions and then, through trading, the amount in hand
is raised again to the sum on which Huqúq is due--must such a person
pay Huqúq or not?
ANSWER: In such an event the Huqúq is not payable.
45. QUESTION: If, after payment of Huqúq, this same sum of one hundred tumáns is lost in its entirety, but
subsequently regained through trade and business dealings, must Huqúq be paid a second time or not?
ANSWER: In this event as well, payment of Huqúq is not required.
46. QUESTION: With reference to the sacred verse,
"God hath prescribed matrimony unto you", is this prescription
obligatory or not?
ANSWER: It is not obligatory.
47. QUESTION: Supposing that a man hath wed a certain
woman believing her to be a virgin and he hath paid her the dowry, but
at the time of consummation it becometh evident that she is not a
virgin, are the expenses and the dowry to be repaid or not? And if the
marriage had been made conditional upon virginity, doth the unfulfilled
condition invalidate that which was conditioned upon it?
ANSWER: In such a case the expenses
and the dowry may be refunded. The unfulfilled condition invalidateth
that which is conditioned upon it. However, to conceal and forgive the
matter will, in the sight of God, merit a bounteous reward.
48. QUESTION: "A feast hath been enjoined upon you..." Is this obligatory or not?
ANSWER: It is not obligatory.
49. QUESTION: Concerning the penalties for adultery, sodomy, and theft, and the degrees thereof.
ANSWER: The determination of the degrees of these penalties rests with the House of Justice.
50. QUESTION: Concerning the legitimacy or otherwise of marrying one's relatives.
ANSWER: These matters likewise rest with the Trustees of the House of Justice.
51. QUESTION: With reference to ablutions, it hath
been revealed, "Let him that findeth no water for ablution repeat five
times the words `In the Name of God, the Most Pure, the Most Pure'": is
it permissible to recite this verse in times of bitter cold, or if the
hands or face be wounded?
ANSWER: Warm water may be used in
times of bitter cold. If there are wounds on the face or hands, or
there be other reasons such as aches and pains for which the use of
water would be harmful, one may recite the appointed verse in place of
52. QUESTION: Is the recitation of the verse revealed to replace the Prayer of the Signs obligatory?
ANSWER: It is not obligatory.
53. QUESTION: With reference to inheritance, when
there are full brothers and full sisters, would half-brothers and
half-sisters on the mother's side also receive a share?
ANSWER: They receive no share.
54. QUESTION: He saith, exalted be He: "Should the
son of the deceased have passed away in the days of his father and have
left children, they will inherit their
father's share..." What is to be done if the daughter hath died during the lifetime of her father?
ANSWER: Her share of the inheritance
should be distributed among the seven categories of heirs according to
the ordinance of the Book.
55. QUESTION: If the deceased be a woman, to whom is the "wife's" share of the inheritance allotted?
ANSWER: The "wife's" share of the inheritance is allotted to the husband.
56. QUESTION: Concerning the shrouding of the body of
the deceased which is decreed to comprise five sheets: does the five
refer to five cloths which were hitherto customarily used or to five
full-length shrouds wrapped one around the other?
ANSWER: The use of five cloths is intended.
57. QUESTION: Concerning disparities between certain revealed verses.
ANSWER: Many Tablets were revealed
and dispatched in their original form without being checked and
reviewed. Consequently, as bidden, they were again read out in the Holy
Presence, and brought into conformity with the grammatical conventions
of the people in order to forestall the cavils of opponents of the
Cause. Another reason for this practice is that the new style
inaugurated by the Herald, may the souls of all else but Him be offered
up for His sake, was seen to be marked by substantial latitude in
adherence to the rules of
grammar; sacred verses therefore were then revealed in a style
which is for the most part in conformity with current usage for ease of
understanding and concision of expression.
58. QUESTION: Concerning the blessed verse, "When
travelling, if ye should stop and rest in some safe spot, perform ye
... a single prostration in place of each unsaid Obligatory Prayer": is
this compensation for the Obligatory Prayer missed by reason of
insecure circumstances, or is obligatory prayer completely suspended
during travel, and doth the prostration take its place?
ANSWER: If, when the hour of
obligatory prayer arriveth, there be no security, one should, upon
arrival in safe surroundings, perform a prostration in place of each
Obligatory Prayer that was missed, and after the final prostration, sit
cross-legged and read the designated verse. If there be a safe place,
obligatory prayer is not suspended during travel.
59. QUESTION: If, after a traveller hath stopped and
rested it is the time for obligatory prayer, should he perform the
prayer, or make the prostration in its stead?
ANSWER: Except in insecure circumstances omission of the Obligatory Prayer is not permissible.
60. QUESTION: If, due to missed Obligatory Prayers, a
number of prostrations are required, must the verse be repeated after
each compensating prostration or not?
ANSWER: It is sufficient to recite
the designated verse after the last prostration. The several
prostrations do not require separate repetitions of the verse.
61. QUESTION: If an Obligatory Prayer be omitted at home, is it to be compensated for by a prostration or not?
ANSWER: In answer to previous
questions it was written: "This provision regarding the compensating
prostration applieth both at home and on a journey."
62. QUESTION: If, for another purpose, one hath
performed ablutions, and the time of obligatory prayer arriveth, are
these ablutions sufficient or must they be renewed?
ANSWER: These same ablutions are sufficient, and there is no need for them to be renewed.
63. QUESTION: In the Kitáb-i-Aqdas obligatory prayer
hath been enjoined, consisting of nine rak'áhs, to be performed at
noon, in the morning and the evening, but the Tablet of Obligatory
Prayers+F1 appeareth to differ from this.
ANSWER: That which hath been
revealed in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas concerneth a different Obligatory Prayer.
Some years ago a number of the ordinances of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas
including that Obligatory Prayer were, for reasons of wisdom,
+F1 The Tablet containing the three Obligatory Prayers now in use
recorded separately and sent away together with other sacred
writings, for the purposes of preservation and protection. Later these
three Obligatory Prayers were revealed.
64. QUESTION: In determining time, is it permissible to rely on clocks and watches?
ANSWER: It is permissible to rely on clocks and watches.
65. QUESTION: In the Tablet of Obligatory Prayers,
three prayers are revealed; is the performance of all three required or
ANSWER: It is enjoined to offer one of these three prayers; whichever is performed sufficeth.
66. QUESTION: Are ablutions for the morning prayer
still valid for the noonday prayer? And similarly, are ablutions
carried out at noon still valid in the evening?
ANSWER: Ablutions are connected with
the Obligatory Prayer for which they are performed, and must be renewed
for each prayer.
67. QUESTION: Concerning the long Obligatory Prayer,
it is required to stand up and "turn unto God". This seemeth to
indicate that it is not necessary to face the Qiblih; is this so or not?
ANSWER: The Qiblih is intended.
68. QUESTION: Concerning the sacred verse: "Recite ye the verses of God every morn and eventide."
ANSWER: The intention is all that
hath been sent down from the Heaven of Divine Utterance. The prime
requisite is the eagerness and love of sanctified souls to read the
Word of God. To read one verse, or even one word, in a spirit of joy
and radiance, is preferable to the perusal of many Books.
69. QUESTION: May a person, in drawing up his will,
assign some portion of his property--beyond that which is devoted to
payment of Huqúqu'lláh and the settlement of debts--to works of
charity, or is he entitled to do no more than allocate a certain sum to
cover funeral and burial expenses, so that the rest of his estate will
be distributed in the manner fixed by God among the designated
categories of heirs?
ANSWER: A person hath full
jurisdiction over his property. If he is able to discharge the
Huqúqu'lláh, and is free of debt, then all that is recorded in his
will, and any declaration or avowal it containeth, shall be acceptable.
God, verily, hath permitted him to deal with that which He hath
bestowed upon him in whatever manner he may desire.
70. QUESTION: Is the use of the burial ring enjoined exclusively for adults, or is it for minors as well?
ANSWER: It is for adults only. The Prayer for the Dead is likewise for adults.
71. QUESTION: Should a person wish to fast at a time
other than in the month of 'Alá', is this permissible or not; and
if he hath vowed or pledged himself to such a fast, is this valid and
ANSWER: The ordinance of fasting is
such as hath already been revealed. Should someone pledge himself,
however, to offer up a fast to God, seeking in this way the fulfilment
of a wish, or to realize some other aim, this is permissible, now as
heretofore. Howbeit, it is God's wish, exalted be His glory, that vows
and pledges be directed to such objectives as will profit mankind.
72. QUESTION: Again a question hath been asked
concerning the residence and personal clothing: are these to revert, in
the absence of male offspring, to the House of Justice, or are they to
be distributed like the rest of the estate?
ANSWER: Two thirds of the residence
and personal clothing pass to the female offspring, and one third to
the House of Justice, which God hath made to be the treasury of the
73. QUESTION: If, upon completion of the year of
patience, the husband refuseth to allow divorce, what course should be
adopted by the wife?
ANSWER: When the period is ended
divorce is effected. However, it is necessary that there be witnesses
to the beginning and end of this period, so that they can be called
upon to give testimony should the need arise.
74. QUESTION: Concerning the definition of old age.
ANSWER: To the Arabs it denoteth the
furthest extremity of old age, but for the people of Bahá it is from
the age of seventy.
75. QUESTION: Concerning the limit of fasting for someone travelling on foot.
ANSWER: The limit is set at two
hours. If this is exceeded, it is permissible to break the Fast.
76. QUESTION: Concerning observance of the Fast by people engaged in hard labour during the month of fasting.
ANSWER: Such people are excused from
fasting; however, in order to show respect to the law of God and for
the exalted station of the Fast, it is most commendable and fitting to
eat with frugality and in private.
77. QUESTION: Do ablutions performed for the Obligatory Prayer suffice for the ninety-five repetitions of the Greatest Name?
ANSWER: It is unnecessary to renew the ablutions.
78. QUESTION: Concerning clothes and jewellery which
a husband may have purchased for his wife: are these to be distributed,
after his death, amongst his heirs, or are they specially for the wife?
ANSWER: Aside from used clothing, whatever there may be, jewellery or otherwise, belongeth to
the husband, except what is proven to have been gifts to the wife.
79. QUESTION: Concerning the criterion of justness
when proving some matter dependent on the testimony of two just
ANSWER: The criterion of justness is
a good reputation among the people. The testimony of all God's
servants, of whatever faith or creed, is acceptable before His Throne.
80. QUESTION: If the deceased hath not settled his
obligation to Huqúqu'lláh, nor paid his other debts, are these to be
discharged by proportionate deductions from the residence, personal
clothing and the rest of the estate, or are the residence and personal
clothing set aside for the male offspring, and consequently the debts
must be settled from the rest of the estate? And if the rest of the
estate is insufficient for this purpose, how should the debts be
ANSWER: Outstanding debts and
payments of Huqúq should be settled from the remainder of the estate,
but if this is insufficient for the purpose, the shortfall should be
met from his residence and personal clothing.
81. QUESTION: Should the third Obligatory Prayer be offered while seated or standing?
ANSWER: It is preferable and more fitting to stand in an attitude of humble reverence.
82. QUESTION: Concerning the first Obligatory Prayer
it hath been ordained, "one should perform it at whatever time one
findeth oneself in a state of humbleness and longing adoration": is it
to be performed once in twenty-four hours, or more frequently?
ANSWER: Once in twenty-four hours is
sufficient; this is that which hath been uttered by the Tongue of
83. QUESTION: Concerning the definition of "morning", "noon" and "evening".
ANSWER: These are sunrise, noon and
sunset. The allowable times for Obligatory Prayers are from morning
till noon, from noon till sunset, and from sunset till two hours
thereafter. Authority is in the hand of God, the Bearer of the Two
84. QUESTION: Is it permissible for a believer to marry an unbeliever?
ANSWER: Both taking and giving in
marriage are permissible; thus did the Lord decree when He ascended the
throne of bounteousness and grace.
85. QUESTION: Concerning the Prayer for the Dead:
should it precede or follow the interment? And is facing the Qiblih
ANSWER: Recital of this prayer
should precede interment; and as regards the Qiblih: "Whichever way ye
turn, there is the face of God."+F1
+F1 Qur'án 2:115
86. QUESTION: At noon, which is the time for two of
the Obligatory Prayers--the short midday prayer, and the prayer to be
offered in the morning, noon, and evening--is it necessary in this case
to perform two ablutions or would one suffice?
ANSWER: The renewal of ablutions is unnecessary.
87. QUESTION: Concerning the dowry for
village-dwellers which is to be of silver: is it the bride or
bridegroom who is intended or both of them? And what is to be done if
one is a city-dweller and the other a village-dweller?
ANSWER: The dowry is determined by
the dwelling-place of the bridegroom; if he be a city-dweller, the
dowry is of gold, and if he be a village-dweller, it is of silver.
88. QUESTION: What is the criterion for determining
if one is a city-dweller or a village-dweller? If a city-dweller taketh
up residence in a village, or a village-dweller in a city, intending to
settle permanently, what ruling is applicable? Is the place of birth
the deciding factor?
ANSWER: The criterion is permanent
residence and, depending on where this is, the injunction in the Book
must be observed accordingly.
89. QUESTION: In the holy Tablets it hath been revealed that when someone acquireth the equivalent of nineteen mithqáls of gold, he should pay the Right of God on that
sum. Might it be explained how much of this nineteen should be paid?
ANSWER: Nineteen out of one hundred
is established by the ordinance of God. Computation should be made on
this basis. It may then be ascertained what amount is due on nineteen.
90. QUESTION: When one's wealth exceeds nineteen, is
it necessary for it to increase by a further nineteen before Huqúq is
due again, or would it be due on any increase?
ANSWER: Any amount added to nineteen
is exempt from Huqúq until it reacheth a further nineteen.
91. QUESTION: Concerning pure water, and the point at which it is considered used.
ANSWER: Small quantities of water,
such as one cupful, or even two or three, must be considered used after
a single washing of the face and hands. But a kurr+F1 or more of water
remaineth unchanged after one or two washings of the face, and there is
no objection to its use unless it is altered in one of the three
ways,+F2 for example its colour is changed, in which case it should be
looked upon as used.
92. QUESTION: In a treatise in Persian on various questions, the age of maturity hath been set at fifteen; is
+F1 This refers to a volume of approximately one half of a cubic metre
+F2 Colour, taste and smell
marriage likewise conditional upon the reaching of maturity, or is it permissible before that time?
ANSWER: Since the consent of both
parties is required in the Book of God, and since, before maturity,
their consent or lack of it cannot be ascertained, marriage is
therefore conditional upon reaching the age of maturity, and is not
permissible before that time.
93. QUESTION: Concerning fasting and obligatory prayer by the sick.
ANSWER: In truth, I say that
obligatory prayer and fasting occupy an exalted station in the sight of
God. It is, however, in a state of health that their virtue can be
realized. In time of ill-health it is not permissible to observe these
obligations; such hath been the bidding of the Lord, exalted be His
glory, at all times. Blessed be such men and women as pay heed, and
observe His precepts. All praise be unto God, He who hath sent down the
verses and is the Revealer of undoubted proofs!
94. QUESTION: Concerning mosques, chapels and temples.
ANSWER: Whatever hath been
constructed for the worship of the one true God, such as mosques,
chapels and temples, must not be used for any purpose other than the
commemoration of His Name. This is an ordinance of God, and he who
violateth it is verily of those who have transgressed. No harm
attacheth to the builder, for he
hath performed his deed for the sake of God, and hath received and will continue to receive his just reward.
95. QUESTION: Regarding the appointments of a place
of business, which are needed for carrying on one's work or profession:
are they subject to the payment of Huqúqu'lláh, or are they covered by
the same ruling as the household furnishings?
ANSWER: They are covered by the same ruling as the household furnishings.
96. QUESTION: Concerning the exchange of property
held in trust for cash or other forms of property, to guard against
depreciation or loss.
ANSWER: Regarding the written
question on the exchange of property held in trust to guard against
depreciation and loss, such exchange is permissible on condition that
the substitute will be equivalent in value. Thy Lord, verily, is the
Expounder, the Omniscient, and He, truly, is the Ordainer, the Ancient
97. QUESTION: Concerning the washing of the feet in winter and summer.
ANSWER: It is the same in both
cases; warm water is preferable, but there can be no objection to cold.
98. QUESTION: A further question on divorce.
ANSWER: Since God, exalted be His glory, doth
not favour divorce, nothing was revealed on this issue. However,
from the beginning of the separation until the end of one year, two
people or more must remain informed as witnesses; if, by the end, there
is no reconciliation, divorce taketh place. This must be recorded in
the registry by the religious judicial officer of the city appointed by
the Trustees of the House of Justice. Observance of this procedure is
essential lest those that are possessed of an understanding heart be
99. QUESTION: Concerning consultation.
ANSWER: If consultation among the
first group of people assembled endeth in disagreement, new people
should be added, after which persons to the number of the Greatest
Name, or fewer or more, shall be chosen by lot. Whereupon the
consultation shall be renewed, and the outcome, whatever it is, shall
be obeyed. If, however, there is still disagreement, the same procedure
should be repeated once more, and the decision of the majority shall
prevail. He, verily, guideth whomsoever He pleaseth to the right way.
100. QUESTION: Concerning inheritance.
ANSWER: Regarding inheritance, that
which the Primal Point hath ordained--may the souls of all else but Him
be offered up for His sake--is well pleasing. The existing heirs should
receive their allotted shares of the inheritance, while a statement of
the remainder must be submitted to
the Court of the Most High. In His hand is the source of
authority; He ordaineth as He pleaseth. In this regard, a law was
revealed in the Land of Mystery,+F1 temporarily awarding the missing
heirs' inheritance to the existing heirs until such time as the House
of Justice shall be established, when the decree concerning this will
be promulgated. The inheritance, however, of those who emigrated in the
same year as the Ancient Beauty, hath been awarded to their heirs, and
this is a bounty of God bestowed upon them.
101. QUESTION: Concerning the law on treasure trove.
ANSWER: Should a treasure be found,
one third thereof is the right of the discoverer, and the other two
thirds should be expended by the men of the House of Justice for the
welfare of all people. This shall be done after the establishment of
the House of Justice, and until that time it shall be committed to the
keeping of trustworthy persons in each locality and territory. He, in
truth, is the Ruler, the Ordainer, the Omniscient, the All-Informed.
102. QUESTION: Concerning Huqúq on real estate which yieldeth no profit.
ANSWER: The ordinance of God is that real estate which hath ceased to yield income, that is,
from which no profit accrueth, is not liable to payment of Huqúq. He, verily, is the Ruler, the Munificent.
103. QUESTION: Concerning the holy verse: "In
regions where the days and nights grow long, let times of prayer be
gauged by clocks..."
ANSWER: The intention is those
territories that are remote. In these climes, however, the difference
in length is but a few hours, and therefore this ruling doth not apply.
104. In the Tablet to 'Abá Badí', this holy verse
hath been revealed: "Verily, We have enjoined on every son to serve his
father." Such is the decree which We have set forth in the Book.
105. And in another Tablet, these exalted words have
been revealed: O Muhammad! The Ancient of Days hath turned His
countenance towards thee, making mention of thee, and exhorting the
people of God to educate their children. Should a father neglect this
most weighty commandment laid down in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas by the Pen of
the Eternal King, he shall forfeit rights of fatherhood, and be
accounted guilty before God. Well is it with him who imprinteth on his
heart the admonitions of the Lord, and steadfastly cleaveth unto them.
God, in truth, enjoineth on His servants what shall assist and profit
them, and enable them to draw nigh unto Him. He is the Ordainer, the
106. He is God, exalted be He, the Lord of majesty
and power! The Prophets and Chosen Ones have all been commissioned by
the One True God, magnified be His glory, to nurture the trees of human
existence with the living waters of uprightness and understanding, that
there may appear from them that which God hath deposited within their
inmost selves. As may be readily observed, each tree yieldeth a certain
fruit, and a barren tree is but fit for fire. The purpose of these
Educators, in all they said and taught, was to preserve man's exalted
station. Well is it with him who in the Day of God hath laid fast hold
upon His precepts and hath not deviated from His true and fundamental
Law. The fruits that best befit the tree of human life are
trustworthiness and godliness, truthfulness and sincerity; but greater
than all, after recognition of the unity of God, praised and glorified
be He, is regard for the rights that are due to one's parents. This
teaching hath been mentioned in all the Books of God, and reaffirmed by
the Most Exalted Pen. Consider that which the Merciful Lord hath
revealed in the Qur'án, exalted are His words: "Worship ye God, join
with Him no peer or likeness; and show forth kindliness and charity
towards your parents..." Observe how loving-kindness to one's parents
hath been linked to recognition of the one true God! Happy they who are
endued with true wisdom and understanding, who see and perceive, who
read and understand, and who observe that which God hath
revealed in the Holy Books of old, and in this incomparable and wondrous Tablet.
107. In one of the Tablets He, exalted be His words,
hath revealed: And in the matter of Zakát, We have likewise decreed
that you should follow what hath been revealed in the Qur'án.
SYNOPSIS AND CODIFICATION OF THE LAWS AND ORDINANCES OF THE KITÁB-I-AQDAS
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SUMMARY OF CONTENTS
I. THE APPOINTMENT OF 'ABDU'L-BAHÁ AS THE SUCCESSOR OF BAHÁ'U'LLÁH AND INTERPRETER OF HIS TEACHINGS
A. Turn towards Him
B. Refer to Him
II. ANTICIPATION OF THE INSTITUTION OF THE
III. THE INSTITUTION OF THE HOUSE OF JUSTICE
IV. LAWS, ORDINANCES AND EXHORTATIONS
C. Laws of Personal Status
D. Miscellaneous Laws, Ordinances and Exhortations
V. SPECIFIC ADMONITIONS, REPROOFS AND WARNINGS
VI. MISCELLANEOUS SUBJECTS
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SYNOPSIS AND CODIFICATION
I. THE APPOINTMENT OF 'ABDU'L-BAHÁ AS THE SUCCESSOR OF BAHÁ'U'LLÁH AND INTERPRETER OF HIS TEACHINGS
faithful are enjoined to turn their faces towards the One "Whom God
hath purposed, Who hath branched from this Ancient Root".
faithful are bidden to refer whatsoever they do not understand in the
Bahá'í writings to "Him Who hath branched from this mighty Stock".
II. ANTICIPATION OF THE INSTITUTION OF THE GUARDIANSHIP
III. THE INSTITUTION OF THE HOUSE OF JUSTICE
A. The House of Justice is formally ordained.
B. Its functions are defined.
C. Its revenues are fixed.
IV. LAWS, ORDINANCES AND EXHORTATIONS
1. The sublime station occupied by the Obligatory Prayers in the Bahá'í Revelation.
2. The Qiblih:
a. Identified by the Báb with "the One Whom God will make manifest".
b. The appointment made by the Báb is confirmed by Bahá'u'lláh.
c. Bahá'u'lláh ordains His resting-place as the Qiblih after His passing.
d. Turning to the Qiblih is mandatory while reciting the Obligatory Prayers.
3. The Obligatory Prayers are binding on men and women on attaining the age of maturity, which is fixed at 15.
4. Exemption from offering the Obligatory Prayers is granted to:
a. Those who are ill.
5. The Obligatory Prayers should be offered individually.
b. Those who are over 70.
c. Women in their courses provided they perform their ablutions and repeat a specifically revealed verse 95 times a day.
6. The choice of one of the three Obligatory Prayers is permissible.
7. By "morning", "noon" and "evening", mentioned
in connection with the Obligatory Prayers, is meant respectively the
intervals between sunrise and noon, between noon and sunset, and from
sunset till two hours after sunset.
8. The recital of the first (long) Obligatory Prayer, once in twenty-four hours is sufficient.
9. It is preferable to offer the third (short) Obligatory Prayer while standing.
a. Ablutions must precede the recital of the Obligatory Prayers.
b. For every Obligatory Prayer fresh ablutions must be performed.
c. Should two Obligatory Prayers be offered at noon one ablution for both prayers is sufficient.11. Determining the times fixed for Prayer:
d. If water is unavailable or its use
harmful to the face or hands, the repetition, five times, of a
specifically revealed verse is prescribed.
e. Should the weather be too cold the use of warm water is recommended.
f. If ablutions have been performed for
other purposes, their renewal prior to the recital of the Obligatory
Prayer is not required.
g. Ablutions are essential whether a bath has been taken previously or not.
a. Reliance on clocks is permissible in determining the times for offering the Obligatory Prayers.
12. In case of danger, whether when travelling or
not, for every Obligatory Prayer not offered a prostration and the
recital of a specific verse is enjoined, to be followed by the
repetition, eighteen times, of another specific verse.
b. In countries situated in the extreme
north or south, where the duration of days and nights varies
considerably, clocks and timepieces should be relied upon, without
reference to sunrise or sunset.
13. Congregational prayer is forbidden except the Prayer for the Dead.
14. The recital, in its entirety, of the Prayer for
the Dead is prescribed except for those unable to read, who are commanded to repeat the six specific passages in that Prayer.
15. The Obligatory Prayer to be thrice repeated,
three times a day, at morn, noon and evening, has been superseded by
three Obligatory Prayers subsequently revealed.
16. The Prayer of the Signs has been annulled,
and a specifically revealed verse substituted for it. The recital of
this verse is not however obligatory.
17. Hair, sable, bones and the like do not nullify one's prayer.
1. The sublime station occupied by fasting in the Bahá'í Revelation.
2. The period of fasting commences with the termination of the Intercalary Days, and ends with the Naw-Rúz Festival.
3. Abstinence from food and drink, from sunrise to sunset, is obligatory.
4. Fasting is binding on men and women on attaining the age of maturity, which is fixed at 15.
5. Exemption from fasting is granted to:
i. Provided the journey exceeds 9 hours.
ii. Those travelling on foot, provided the journey exceeds 2 hours.
iii. Those who break their journey for less than 19 days.
6. Vowing to fast (in a month other than the one
prescribed for fasting) is permissible. Vows which profit mankind are
however preferable in the sight of God.
iv. Those who break their journey
during the Fast at a place where they are to stay 19 days are exempt
from fasting only for the first three days from their arrival.
b. Those who are ill.
v. Those who reach home during the Fast must commence fasting from the day of their arrival.
c. Those who are over 70.
d. Women who are with child.
e. Women who are nursing.
f. Women in their courses, provided they perform their ablutions and repeat a specifically revealed verse 95 times a day.
g. Those who are engaged in heavy
labour, who are advised to show respect for the law by using discretion
and restraint when availing themselves of the exemption.
C. Laws of Personal Status
a. Marriage is highly recommended but not obligatory.
b. Plurality of wives is forbidden.
c. Marriage is conditioned upon both parties having attained the age of maturity which is fixed at 15.
d. Marriage is conditioned on the consent of both parties and their parents, whether the woman be a maiden or not.
e. It is incumbent upon both parties to
recite a specifically revealed verse indicating their being content
with the will of God.
f. Marriage with one's stepmother is forbidden.
g. All matters related to marriage with one's kindred are to be referred to the House of Justice.
h. Marriage with unbelievers is permitted.
i. The period of engagement must not exceed 95 days.
ii. It is unlawful to become engaged to a girl before she reaches the age of maturity.
j. The Dowry:
i. Marriage is conditioned on payment of a dowry.
ii. The dowry is fixed at 19 mithqáls of pure gold for city-dwellers, and 19 mithqáls of silver for village-dwellers, depending on the permanent residence of the husband, and not of the wife.
iii. It is forbidden to pay more than 95 mithqáls.
iv. It is preferable that a man content himself with the payment of 19 mithqáls of silver.
v. If the full payment of dowry is
not possible the issue of a promissory note is permissible.
k. Should either party, following the
recital of the specifically revealed verse and the payment of the
dowry, take a dislike to the other before the marriage is consummated,
the period of waiting is not necessary prior to a divorce. The taking
back of the dowry, however, is not permitted.
l. The husband must fix for his wife
the time of his return when intending to travel. If, for a legitimate
reason, he is prevented from returning at the appointed time, he must
inform her and strive to return to her. If he fails to fulfil either
condition, she must wait 9 months, after which she may remarry, though
it is preferable for her to wait longer. If news of his death or murder
reaches her, and the news is confirmed by general report or by 2
reliable witnesses, she may remarry after the lapse of 9 months.
m. If the husband departs without
informing his wife of the date of his return, and is aware of the law
prescribed in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, the wife may remarry after waiting a
full year. If the husband is unaware of this law, the wife must wait
until news of her husband reaches her.
n. Should the husband, after the
payment of the dowry, discover that the wife is not a virgin, the
refund of the dowry and of the expenses incurred may be demanded.
the marriage has been conditioned on virginity the refund of the dowry
and of the expenses incurred may be demanded and the marriage
invalidated. To conceal the matter, however, is highly meritorious in
the sight of God.
a. Divorce is strongly condemned.
b. If antipathy or resentment develop on
the part of either the husband or the wife, divorce is permissible,
only after the lapse of one full year. The beginning and end of the
year of waiting must be testified by two or more witnesses. The act of
divorce should be registered by the judicial officer representing the
House of Justice. Intercourse during this period of waiting is
forbidden, and whoever breaks this law must repent and pay the House of
Justice 19 mithqáls of gold.
c. A further period of waiting after divorce has taken place is not required.
d. The wife who is to be divorced as a
result of her unfaithfulness forfeits the payment of the expenses
during the waiting period.
e. Remarrying the wife whom one has
divorced is permissible, provided she has not married another person.
If she has, she must be divorced before her former husband can remarry
f. If at any time during the waiting
period affection should recur, the marriage tie is valid. If this
reconciliation is followed
by estrangement and divorce is again desired, a new year of waiting will have to be commenced.
g. Should differences arise between
husband and wife while travelling, he is required to send her home, or
entrust her to a dependable person, who will escort her there, paying
her journey and her full year's expenses.
h. Should a wife insist on divorcing her
husband rather than migrate to another country, the year of waiting is
to be counted from the time they separate, either while he is preparing
to leave, or upon his departure.
i. The Islamic law regarding remarriage with the wife whom one has previously divorced is abrogated.
a. Inheritance falls into the following categories:
1,080 out of 2,520 shares
2. husband or wife 390 " 2,520 "
3. father 330 " 2,520 "
4. mother 270 " 2,520 "
5. brother 210 " 2,520 "
6. sister 150 " 2,520 "
7. teacher 90 " 2,520 "
b. The share of the children, as allotted by the Báb, is doubled by Bahá'u'lláh,
+F1 The method of dividing the estate is to be applied in cases of intestacy. See item o. in this section
and an equal portion correspondingly reduced from each of the remaining beneficiaries.
i.In cases where there is no issue
the share of the children reverts to the House of Justice to be
expended on orphans and widows and for whatever will profit mankind.
ii. If the son of the deceased be dead and leave issue, these will
inherit the share of their father. If the daughter of the deceased be
dead and leave issue, her share will have to be divided into the seven
categories specified in the Most Holy Book.
d. Should one leave offspring but either
part or all of the other categories of inheritors be nonexistent, two
thirds of their shares reverts to the offspring and one third to the
House of Justice.
e. Should none of the specified
beneficiaries exist, two thirds of the inheritance reverts to the
nephews and nieces of the deceased. If these do not exist, the same
share reverts to the aunts and uncles; lacking these, to their sons and
daughters. In any case the remaining third reverts to the House of
f. Should one leave none of the aforementioned heirs, the entire inheritance reverts to the House of Justice.
g. The residence and the personal clothing
of the deceased father pass to the
male not to the female offspring. If there be several residences the
principal and most important one passes to the male offspring. The
remaining residences will together with the other possessions of the
deceased have to be divided among the heirs. If there be no male
offspring two thirds of the principal residence and the personal
clothing of the deceased father will revert to the female issue and one
third to the House of Justice. In the case of the deceased mother all
her used clothing is to be equally divided amongst her daughters. Her
unworn clothing, jewels and property must be divided among her heirs,
as well as her used clothing if she leaves no daughter.
h. Should the children of the deceased be
minors their share should either be entrusted to a reliable person or
to a company for purposes of investment, until they attain the age of
maturity. A share of the interest accrued should be assigned to the
i. The inheritance should not be divided
until after the payment of the Huqúqu'lláh (The Right of God), of any
debts contracted by the deceased and of any expenses incurred for a
befitting funeral and burial.
j. If the brother of the deceased is from
the same father he will inherit his full allotted share. If he is from
another father he will inherit only two thirds of his
share, the remaining one third reverting to the House of Justice. The same law is applicable to the sister of the deceased.
k. In case there are full brothers or full sisters, brothers and sisters from the mother's side do not inherit.
l. A non-Bahá'í teacher does not inherit.
If there should be more than one teacher, the share allotted to the
teacher is to be equally divided among them.
m. Non-Bahá'í heirs do not inherit.
n. Aside from the wife's used clothing
and gifts of jewellery or otherwise which have been proven to have been
given her by her husband, whatever the husband has purchased for his
wife are to be considered as the husband's possessions to be divided
among his heirs.
o. Any person is at liberty to will his
possessions as he sees fit provided he makes provisions for the payment
of Huqúqu'lláh and the discharge of his debts.
D. Miscellaneous Laws, Ordinances and Exhortations
1. Miscellaneous Laws and Ordinances:
d. The Mashriqu'l-Adhkár
e. Duration of the Bahá'í Dispensation
f. Bahá'í Festivals
g. The Nineteen Day Feast
h. The Bahá'í Year
i. The Intercalary Days
j. The age of maturity
k. Burial of the dead
in a trade or profession is made obligatory and is exalted to the rank
m. Obedience to government
n. Education of children
o. The writing of a testament
p. Tithes (Zakát)
q. Repetition of the Greatest Name 95 times a day
r. The hunting of animals
s. Treatment of female servants
t. The finding of lost property
u. Disposition of treasure trove
v. Disposal of objects held in trust
x. Definition of just witnesses
i. Interpretation of the Holy Writ
vii. Use of pulpits
viii. The kissing of hands
ix. Confession of sins
x. Plurality of wives
xi. Intoxicating drinks
xix. Congregational prayer, except for the dead
xx. Cruelty to animals
xxi. Idleness and sloth
xxiv. Carrying arms unless essential
xxv. Use of public pools in Persian baths
xxvi. Entering a house without the owner's permission
xxvii. Striking or wounding a person
xxviii. Contention and conflict
xxix. Muttering sacred verses in the street
xxx. Plunging one's hand in food
xxxi. Shaving one's head
xxxii. Growth of men's hair beyond the lobe of the ear
2. Abrogation of specific laws and ordinances of previous Dispensations, which prescribed:
a. Destruction of books
3. Miscellaneous Exhortations:
b. Prohibition of the wearing of silk
c. Prohibition of the use of gold and silver utensils
d. Limitation of travel
e. Offering priceless gifts to the Founder of the Faith
f. Prohibition on questioning the Founder of the Faith
g. Prohibition against remarrying one's divorced wife
h. Penalizing whoever causes sadness to his neighbour
i. Prohibition of music
j. Limitations upon one's apparel and beard
k. Uncleanliness of divers objects and peoples
l. Uncleanliness of semen
m. Uncleanliness of certain objects for purposes of prostration
a. To associate with the followers of all religions with fellowship
b. To honour one's parents
c. Not to wish for others what one does not wish for one's self
d. To teach and propagate the Faith after the ascension of its Founder
e. To assist those who arise to promote the Faith
f. Not to depart from the Writings or to be misled by those who do
g. To refer to the Holy Writ when differences arise
h. To immerse one's self in the study of the Teachings
i. Not to follow one's idle fancies and vain imaginations
j. To recite the holy verses at morn and at eventide
k. To recite the holy verses melodiously
l. To teach one's children to chant the holy verses in the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár
m. To study such arts and sciences as benefit mankind
n. To take counsel together
o. Not to be indulgent in carrying out the statutes of God
p. To repent to God of one's sins
q. To distinguish one's self through good deeds
i. To be truthful
ii. To be trustworthy
iii. To be faithful
iv. To be righteous and fear God
v. To be just and fair
vi. To be tactful and wise
vii. To be courteous
viii. To be hospitable
ix. To be persevering
x. To be detached
xi. To be absolutely submissive to the Will of God
xii. Not to stir up mischief
xiii. Not to be hypocritical
xiv. Not to be proud
xv. Not to be fanatical
xvi. Not to prefer one's self to one's neighbour
xvii. Not to contend with one's neighbour
xviii. Not to indulge one's passions
xix. Not to lament in adversity
xx. Not to contend with those in authority
xxi. Not to lose one's temper
xxii. Not to anger one's neighbour
r. To be closely united
s. To consult competent physicians when ill
t. To respond to invitations
u. To show kindness to the kindred of the Founder of the Faith
v. To study languages for the furtherance of the Faith
w. To further the development of cities and countries for the glorification of the Faith
x. To restore and preserve the sites associated with the Founders of the Faith
V. SPECIFIC ADMONITIONS, REPROOFS AND WARNINGS
y. To be the essence of cleanliness:
i. To wash one's feet
ii. To perfume one's self
iii. To bathe in clean water
iv. To cut one's nails
v. To wash soiled things in clean water
vi. To be stainless in one's dress
vii. To renew the furnishings of one's house
1. The entire human race
2. Crowned heads of the world
3. The concourse of ecclesiastics
4. The Rulers of America and Presidents of the Republics therein
5. William I, King of Prussia
6. Francis Joseph, Emperor of Austria
7. The people of the Bayán
8. Members of parliaments throughout the world
VI. MISCELLANEOUS SUBJECTS
1. The transcendent character of the Bahá'í Revelation
2. The exalted station of the Author of the Faith
3. The supreme importance of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, "The Most Holy Book"
4. The doctrine of the "Most Great Infallibility"
5. The twin
duties of recognition of the Manifestation and observance of His Laws,
and their inseparability
6. The end of all learning is the recognition of Him Who is the Object of all knowledge
blessedness of those who have recognized the fundamental verity "He
shall not be asked of His doings"
8. The revolutionizing effect of the "Most Great Order"
selection of a single language and the adoption of a common script for
all on earth to use: one of two signs of the maturity of the human race
10. Prophecies of the Báb regarding "He Whom God will make manifest"
11. Prediction relating to opposition to the Faith
12. Eulogy of the king who will profess the Faith and arise to serve it
13. The instability of human affairs
14. The meaning of true liberty
15. The merit of all deeds is dependent upon God's acceptance
16. The importance of love for God as the motive of obedience to His Laws
17. The importance of utilizing material means
18. Eulogy of the learned among the people of Bahá
19. Assurance of forgiveness to Mírzá Yahyá should he repent
20. Apostrophe addressed to Tihrán
21. Apostrophe addressed to Constantinople and its people
22. Apostrophe addressed to the "banks of the Rhine"
23. Condemnation of those who lay false claim to esoteric knowledge
24. Condemnation of those who allow pride in their learning to debar them from God
25. Prophecies relating to Khurásán
26. Prophecies relating to Kirmán
27. Allusion to Shaykh Ahmad-i-Ahsá'í
28. Allusion to the Sifter of Wheat
29. Condemnation of Hájí Muhammad-Karím Khán
30. Condemnation of Shaykh Muhammad-Hasan
31. Allusion to Napoleon III
32. Allusion to Siyyid Muhammad-i-Isfahání
33. Assurance of aid to all those who arise to serve the Faith
1. the sweet-smelling savour of My garment
This is an allusion to the
story of Joseph in the Qur'án and the Old Testament, in which Joseph's
garment, brought by his brothers to Jacob, their father, enabled Jacob
to identify his beloved long-lost son. The metaphor of the fragrant
"garment" is frequently used in the Bahá'í Writings to refer to the
recognition of the Manifestation of God and His Revelation.
in one of His Tablets, describes Himself as the "Divine Joseph" Who has
been "bartered away" by the heedless "for the most paltry of prices".
The Báb, in the Qayyúmu'l-Asmá', identifies Bahá'u'lláh as the "true
Joseph" and forecasts the ordeals that He would endure at the hands of
His treacherous brother (see note 190).
Likewise, Shoghi Effendi draws a parallel between the intense jealousy
which the preeminence of 'Abdu'l-Bahá had aroused in His half-brother,
Mírzá Muhammad-'Ali, and the deadly envy "which the superior excellence
of Joseph had kindled in the hearts of his brothers".
2. We have unsealed the choice Wine with the fingers of might and power.
The consumption of wine and other intoxicants is prohibited in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas (see notes 144 and 170).
to the use of "wine" in an allegorical sense--such as being the cause
of spiritual ecstasy--is found, not only in the Revelation of
Bahá'u'lláh, but in the Bible, in the Qur'án, and in ancient Hindu
For example, in the Qur'án the
righteous are promised that they will be given to drink of the "choice
sealed wine". In His Tablets, Bahá'u'lláh identifies the "choice Wine"
with His Revelation whose "musk-laden fragrance" has been wafted "upon
all created things". He states that He has "unsealed" this "Wine",
thereby disclosing spiritual truths that were hitherto unknown, and
enabling those who quaff thereof to "discern the splendours of the
light of divine unity" and to "grasp the essential purpose underlying
the Scriptures of God".
of His meditations, Bahá'u'lláh entreats God to supply the believers
with "the choice Wine of Thy mercy, that it may cause them to be
forgetful of any one except Thee, and to arise to serve Thy Cause, and
to be steadfast in their love for Thee".
3. We have enjoined obligatory prayer upon you
In Arabic, there are several
words for prayer. The word "salát", which appears here in the original,
refers to a particular category of prayers, the recitation of which at
specific times of the day is enjoined on the believers. To
differentiate this category of prayers from other kinds, the word has
been translated as "obligatory prayer".
states that "obligatory prayer and fasting occupy an exalted station in
the sight of God" (Q and A 93). 'Abdu'l-Bahá
affirms that such prayers are "conducive to humility and
submissiveness, to setting one's face towards God and expressing
devotion to Him", and that through these prayers "man holdeth communion
with God, seeketh to draw near unto Him, converseth with the true
Beloved of his heart, and attaineth spiritual stations".
The Obligatory Prayer (see note 9) referred to in this verse has been superseded by the three Obligatory Prayers later revealed by Bahá'u'lláh (Q and A 63).
The texts of the three prayers currently in use, together with
instructions regarding their recital, are to be found in this volume in
Some Texts Supplementary to the Kitáb-i-Aqdas.
A number of the items in Questions and Answers deal
with aspects of the three new Obligatory Prayers. Bahá'u'lláh clarifies
that the individual is permitted to choose any one of the three
Obligatory Prayers (Q and A 65). Other provisions are elucidated in Questions and Answers, numbers 66, 67, 81, and 82.
The details of the law concerning obligatory prayer are summarized in section IV.A.1.-17. of the Synopsis and Codification.
4. nine rak'áhs
A rak'áh is the recitation of
specifically revealed verses accompanied by a prescribed set of
genuflections and other movements.
Obligatory Prayer originally enjoined by Bahá'u'lláh upon His followers
consisted of nine rak'áhs. The precise nature of this prayer and the
specific instructions for its recitation are unknown, as the prayer has
been lost. (See note 9.)
a Tablet commenting on the presently-binding Obligatory Prayers,
'Abdu'l-Bahá indicates that "in every word and movement of the
Obligatory Prayer there are allusions, mysteries and a wisdom that man
is unable to comprehend, and letters and scrolls cannot contain".
Effendi explains that the few simple directions given by Bahá'u'lláh
for the recital of certain prayers not only have a spiritual
significance but that they also help the individual "to fully
concentrate when praying and meditating".
5. at noon and in the morning and the evening
Regarding the definition of the
words "morning", "noon" and "evening", at which times the currently
binding medium Obligatory Prayer is to be recited, Bahá'u'lláh has
stated that these coincide with "sunrise, noon and sunset" (Q and A 83).
He specifies that the "allowable times for Obligatory Prayers are from
morning till noon, from noon till sunset, and from sunset till
two hours thereafter". Further, 'Abdu'l-Bahá has stated that the morning Obligatory Prayer may be said as early as dawn.
The definition of "noon" as the
period "from noon till sunset" applies to the recitation of the short
Obligatory Prayer as well as the medium one.
6. We have relieved you of a greater number
The requirements for obligatory
prayer called for in the Bábí and Islamic Dispensations were more
demanding than those for the performance of the Obligatory Prayer
consisting of nine rak'áhs that was prescribed in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas
(see note 4).
the Bayán, the Báb prescribed an Obligatory Prayer consisting of
nineteen rak'áhs which was to be performed once in a twenty-four-hour
period--from noon of one day to noon of the next.
Muslim prayer is recited five times a day, namely, in the early
morning, at midday, in the afternoon and evening, and at night. While
the number of rak'áhs varies according to the time of recitation, a
total of seventeen rak'áhs are offered in the course of a day.
When ye desire to perform this prayer, turn ye towards the Court of My
Most Holy Presence, this Hallowed Spot that God hath ... decreed to be
the Point of Adoration for the denizens of the Cities of Eternity
The "Point of Adoration", that
is, the point to which the worshipper should turn when offering
obligatory prayer, is called the Qiblih. The concept of Qiblih has
existed in previous religions. Jerusalem in the past had been fixed for
this purpose. Muhammad changed the Qiblih to Mecca. The Báb's
instructions in the Arabic Bayán
The Qiblih is indeed He Whom God will make manifest; whenever He moveth, it moveth, until He shall come to rest.
This passage is quoted by Bahá'u'lláh in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas
(# 137) and confirmed by Him in the
above-noted verse. He has also indicated that facing in the direction
of the Qiblih is a "fixed requirement for the recitation of obligatory
prayer" (Q and A 14 and 67). However, for other prayers and devotions the individual may face in any direction.
8. and when the Sun of Truth and Utterance shall set, turn your faces towards the Spot that We have ordained for you
Bahá'u'lláh ordains His
resting-place as the Qiblih after His passing. The Most Holy Tomb is at
Bahjí, 'Akká. 'Abdu'l-Bahá describes that Spot as the "luminous
Shrine", "the place around which circumambulate the Concourse on High".
In a letter written on his
behalf, Shoghi Effendi uses the analogy of the plant turning in the
direction of the sun to explain the spiritual significance of turning
towards the Qiblih:
...just as the
plant stretches out to the sunlight--from which it receives life and
growth--so we turn our hearts to the Manifestation of God, Bahá'u'lláh,
when we pray; ... we turn our faces ... to where His dust lies on this
earth as a symbol of the inner act.
9. We have set forth the details of obligatory prayer in another Tablet.
The original Obligatory Prayer
had "for reasons of wisdom" been revealed by Bahá'u'lláh in a separate
Tablet (Q and A 63). It was not released to the believers in His lifetime, having been superseded by the three Obligatory Prayers now in use.
after the Ascension of Bahá'u'lláh, the text of this prayer, along with
a number of other Tablets, was stolen by Muhammad-'Ali, the
Arch-breaker of His Covenant.
10. the Prayer for the Dead
The Prayer for the Dead (see
Some Texts Supplementary to the Kitáb-i-Aqdas) is the only Bahá'í
which is to be recited in congregation; it is to be recited by one believer while all present stand in silence (see note 19). Bahá'u'lláh has clarified that the Prayer for the Dead is required only when the deceased is an adult (Q and A 70),
that the recital should precede the interment of the deceased, and that
there is no requirement to face the Qiblih when saying this prayer (Q
and A 85).
details concerning the Prayer for the Dead are summarized in the
Synopsis and Codification, section IV.A. 13.-14.
11. six specific passages have been sent down by God, the Revealer of Verses
The passages that form part of
the Prayer for the Dead comprise the repetition of the greeting
"Alláh-u-Abhá" (God is the All-Glorious) six times, each followed by
nineteen repetitions of one of six specifically revealed verses. These
verses are identical with those in the Prayer for the Dead revealed by
the Báb in the Bayán. Bahá'u'lláh added a supplication to precede these
Hair doth not invalidate your prayer, nor aught from which the spirit
hath departed, such as bones and the like. Ye are free to wear the fur
of the sable as ye would that of the beaver, the squirrel, and other
In some earlier religious
Dispensations, the wearing of the hair of certain animals or having
certain other objects on one's person was held to invalidate one's
prayer. Bahá'u'lláh here confirms the Báb's pronouncement in the Arabic
Bayán that such things do not invalidate one's prayer.
13. We have commanded you to pray and fast from the beginning of maturity
Bahá'u'lláh defines the "age of
maturity with respect to religious duties" as "fifteen for both men and
women" (Q and A 20). For details of the period of fasting, see note 25.
14. He hath exempted from this those who are weak from illness or age
The exemption of those who are
weak due to illness or advanced age from offering the Obligatory
Prayers and from fasting is explained in Questions and Answers.
Bahá'u'lláh indicates that in "time of ill-health it is not permissible
to observe these obligations" (Q and A 93). He defines old age, in this context, as being from seventy (Q and A 74).
In answer to a question, Shoghi Effendi has clarified that people who
attain the age of seventy are exempt, whether or not they are weak.
from fasting is also granted to the other specific categories of people
listed in the Synopsis and Codification, section IV.B.5. See notes 20, 30 and 31 for additional discussion.
God hath granted you leave to prostrate yourselves on any surface that
is clean, for We have removed in this regard the limitation that had
been laid down in the Book
The requirements of prayer in
previous Dispensations have often included prostration. In the Arabic
Bayán the Báb called upon the believers to lay their foreheads on
surfaces of crystal when prostrating. Similarly, in Islám, certain
restrictions are imposed with regard to the surface on which Muslims
are permitted to prostrate. Bahá'u'lláh abrogates such restrictions and
simply specifies "any surface that is clean".
Let him that findeth no water for ablution repeat five times the words
"In the Name of God, the Most Pure, the Most Pure", and then proceed to
Ablutions are to be performed
by the believer in preparation for the offering of obligatory prayer.
They consist of washing the hands and face. If water is unavailable, the
repetition five times of the specifically revealed verse is prescribed. See note 34 for a general discussion of ablutions.
in earlier Dispensations for the provision of substitute procedures to
be followed when no water is available are found in the Qur'án and in
the Arabic Bayán.
In regions where the days and nights grow long, let times of prayer be
gauged by clocks and other instruments that mark the passage of the
This refers to territories
situated in the extreme north or south, where the duration of days and
nights varies markedly (Q and A 64 and 103). This provision applies also to fasting.
18. We have absolved you from the requirement of performing the Prayer of the Signs.
The Prayer of the Signs is a
special form of Muslim obligatory prayer that was ordained to be said
in times of natural events, like earthquakes, eclipses, and other such
phenomena, which may cause fear and are taken to be signs or acts of
God. The requirement of performing this prayer has been annulled. In
its place a Bahá'í may say, "Dominion is God's, the Lord of the seen
and the unseen, the Lord of creation," but this is not obligatory (Q
and A 52).
19. Save in the Prayer for the Dead, the practice of congregational prayer hath been annulled.
Congregational prayer, in the
sense of formal obligatory prayer which is to be recited in accordance
with a prescribed ritual as, for example, is the custom in Islám where
Friday prayer in the mosque is led by an imám, has been annulled in the
Bahá'í Dispensation. The Prayer for the Dead (see note 10)
is the only congregational prayer prescribed by Bahá'í law. It is to be
recited by one of those present while the remainder of the party stands
in silence; the reader has
no special status. The congregation is not required to face the Qiblih (Q and A 85).
The three daily Obligatory Prayers are to be recited individually, not in congregation.
is no prescribed way for the recital of the many other Bahá'í prayers,
and all are free to use such non-obligatory prayers in gatherings or
individually as they please. In this regard, Shoghi Effendi states that
friends are thus left to follow their own inclination, ... they should
take the utmost care that any manner they practise should not acquire
too rigid a character, and thus develop into an institution. This is a
point which the friends should always bear in mind, lest they deviate
from the clear path indicated in the Teachings.
20. God hath exempted women who are in their courses from obligatory prayer and fasting.
Exemption from obligatory
prayer and fasting is granted to women who are menstruating; they
should, instead, perform their ablutions (see note 34)
and repeat 95 times a day between one noon and the next, the verse
"Glorified be God, the Lord of Splendour and Beauty". This provision
has its antecedent in the Arabic Bayán, where a similar dispensation
In some earlier
religious Dispensations, women in their courses were considered
ritually unclean and were forbidden to observe the duties of prayer and
fasting. The concept of ritual uncleanness has been abolished by
Bahá'u'lláh (see note 106).
Universal House of Justice has clarified that the provisions in the
Kitáb-i-Aqdas granting exemptions from certain duties and
responsibilities are, as the word indicates, exemptions and not
prohibitions. Any believer is, therefore, free to avail himself or
herself of an applicable exemption if he or she so wishes. However, the
House of Justice counsels
that, in deciding whether to do so or not, the believer should use
wisdom and realize that Bahá'u'lláh has granted these exemptions for
prescribed exemption from obligatory prayer, originally related to the
Obligatory Prayer consisting of nine rak'áhs, is now applicable to the
three Obligatory Prayers which superseded it.
When travelling, if ye should stop and rest in some safe spot, perform
ye--men and women alike--a single prostration in place of each unsaid
Exemption from obligatory
prayer is granted to those who find themselves in such a condition of
insecurity that the saying of the Obligatory Prayers is not possible.
The exemption applies whether one is travelling or at home, and it
provides a means whereby Obligatory Prayers which have remained unsaid
on account of these insecure circumstances may be compensated for.
has made it clear that obligatory prayer "is not suspended during
travel" so long as one can find a "safe spot" in which to perform it (Q
and A 58).
Numbers 21, 58, 59, 60, and 61 in Questions and Answers amplify this provision.
22. Upon completing your prostrations, seat yourselves cross-legged
The Arabic expression
"haykalu't-tawhíd", translated here as "cross-legged", means the
"posture of unity". It has traditionally signified a cross-legged
23. Say: God hath made My hidden love the key to the Treasure
There is a well-known Islamic tradition concerning God and His creation:
I was a Hidden Treasure. I wished to be made known, and thus I called creation into being in order that I might be known.
References and allusions to
this tradition are found throughout the Bahá'í Writings. For example,
in one of His prayers, Bahá'u'lláh reveals:
be Thy name, O Lord my God! I testify that Thou wast a hidden Treasure
wrapped within Thine immemorial Being and an impenetrable Mystery
enshrined in Thine own Essence. Wishing to reveal Thyself, Thou didst
call into being the Greater and the Lesser Worlds, and didst choose Man
above all Thy creatures, and didst make Him a sign of both of these
worlds, O Thou Who art our Lord, the Most Compassionate!
Likewise, in the Hidden Words, He states:
Thou didst raise Him up to occupy Thy throne before all the people of
Thy creation. Thou didst enable Him to unravel Thy mysteries, and to
shine with the lights of Thine inspiration and Thy Revelation, and to
manifest Thy names and Thine attributes. Through Him Thou didst adorn
the preamble of the book of Thy creation, O Thou Who art the Ruler of
the universe Thou hast fashioned! (Prayers and Meditations by
O Son of Man! I
loved thy creation, hence I created thee. Wherefore, do thou love Me,
that I may name thy name and fill thy soul with the spirit of life.
'Abdu'l-Bahá, in His commentary on the above-cited tradition, wrote:
O wayfarer in the
path of the Beloved! Know thou that the main purpose of this holy
tradition is to make mention of the stages of God's concealment and
manifestation within the Embodiments of Truth, They who are the
Dawning-places of His All-Glorious Being. For example, before the flame
of the undying Fire is lit and manifest, it existeth by itself within
itself in the hidden
identity of the
universal Manifestations, and this is the stage of the "Hidden
Treasure". And when the blessed Tree is kindled by itself within
itself, and that Divine Fire burneth by its essence within its essence,
this is the stage of "I wished to be made known". And when it shineth
forth from the Horizon of the universe with infinite Divine Names and
Attributes upon the contingent and placeless worlds, this constituteth
the emergence of a new and wondrous creation which correspondeth to the
stage of "Thus I called creation into being". And when the sanctified
souls rend asunder the veils of all earthly attachments and worldly
conditions, and hasten to the stage of gazing on the beauty of the
Divine Presence and are honoured by recognizing the Manifestation and
are able to witness the splendour of God's Most Great Sign in their
hearts, then will the purpose of creation, which is the knowledge of
Him Who is the Eternal Truth, become manifest.
24. O Pen of the Most High!
"Pen of the Most High", "the
Supreme Pen" and "the Most Exalted Pen" are references to Bahá'u'lláh,
illustrating His function as Revealer of the Word of God.
25. We have enjoined upon you fasting during a brief period
Fasting and obligatory prayer
constitute the two pillars that sustain the revealed Law of God.
Bahá'u'lláh in one of His Tablets affirms that He has revealed the laws
of obligatory prayer and fasting so that through them the believers may
draw nigh unto God.
Effendi indicates that the fasting period, which involves complete
abstention from food and drink from sunrise till sunset, is
period of meditation and prayer, of spiritual recuperation, during
which the believer must strive to make the necessary readjustments in
his inner life, and to refresh and reinvigorate the spiritual forces
latent in his soul. Its significance and purpose are,
therefore, fundamentally spiritual in character. Fasting is symbolic,
and a reminder of abstinence from selfish and carnal desires.
Fasting is enjoined on all the
believers once they attain the age of 15 and until they reach the age
of 70 years.
A summary of the
detailed provisions concerning the law of fasting and of the exemptions
granted to certain categories of people is contained in the Synopsis
and Codification, section IV.B.1.-6. For a discussion of the exemptions from fasting see notes 14, 20, 30 and 31.
nineteen-day period of fasting coincides with the Bahá'í month of
'Alá', usually 2-20 March, immediately after the termination of the
Intercalary Days (see notes 27 and 147), and is followed by the feast of Naw-Rúz (see note 26).
26. and at its close have designated for you Naw-Rúz as a feast
The Báb introduced a new calendar, known now as the Badí' or Bahá'í calendar (see notes 27 and 147).
According to this calendar, a day is the period from sunset to sunset.
In the Bayán, the Báb ordained the month of 'Alá' to be the month of
fasting, decreed that the day of Naw-Rúz should mark the termination of
that period, and designated Naw-Rúz as the Day of God. Bahá'u'lláh
confirms the Badí' calendar wherein Naw-Rúz is designated as a feast.
is the first day of the new year. It coincides with the spring equinox
in the northern hemisphere, which usually occurs on 21 March.
Bahá'u'lláh explains that this feast day is to be celebrated on
whatever day the sun passes into the constellation of Aries (i.e. the
vernal equinox), even should this occur one minute before sunset (Q and
A 35). Hence Naw-Rúz could fall on 20, 21, or 22 March, depending on the time of the equinox.
Bahá'u'lláh has left the details of many laws to be filled
in by the Universal House of Justice. Among these are a number of
matters affecting the Bahá'í calendar. The Guardian has stated that the
implementation, worldwide, of the law concerning the timing of Naw-Rúz
will require the choice of a particular spot on earth which will serve
as the standard for the fixing of the time of the spring equinox. He
also indicated that the choice of this spot has been left to the
decision of the Universal House of Justice.
27. Let the days in excess of the months be placed before the month of fasting.
The Badí' calendar is based on
the solar year of 365 days, 5 hours, and 50 odd minutes. The year
consists of 19 months of 19 days each (i.e. 361 days), with the
addition of four extra days (five in a leap year). The Báb did not
specifically define the place for the intercalary days in the new
calendar. The Kitáb-i-Aqdas resolves this question by assigning the
"excess" days a fixed position in the calendar immediately preceding
the month of 'Alá', the period of fasting. For further details see the
section on the Bahá'í calendar in The Bahá'í World, volume XVIII.
28. We have ordained that these ... shall be the manifestations of the letter Há
Known as the Ayyám-i-Há (the
Days of Há), the Intercalary Days have the distinction of being
associated with "the letter Há". The abjad numerical value of this
Arabic letter is five, which corresponds to the potential number of
"Há" has been given several spiritual meanings in the Holy Writings,
among which is as a symbol of the Essence of God.
29. these days of giving that precede the season of restraint
Bahá'u'lláh enjoined upon His
followers to devote these days to feasting, rejoicing and charity. In a
letter written on
Shoghi Effendi's behalf it is explained that "the intercalary days are
specially set aside for hospitality, the giving of gifts, etc.".
30. The traveller ... not bound by the Fast
The minimum duration of a
journey which exempts the believer from fasting is defined by
Bahá'u'lláh (Q and A 22 and 75). The details of this provision are summarized in the Synopsis and Codification, section IV.B.5.a.i.-v.
Effendi has clarified that while travellers are exempt from fasting,
they are free to fast if they so wish. He also indicated that the
exemption applies during the whole period of one's travel, not just the
hours one is in a train or car, etc.
The traveller, the ailing, those who are with child or giving suck, are
not bound by the Fast; they have been exempted by God as a token of His
Exemption from fasting is granted to those who are ill or of advanced age (see note 14), women in their courses (see note 20), travellers (see note 30)
and to women who are pregnant and those who are nursing. This exemption
is also extended to people who are engaged in heavy labour, who, at the
same time, are advised "to show respect to the law of God and for the
exalted station of the Fast" by eating "with frugality and in private"
(Q and A 76). Shoghi Effendi has indicated that the
types of work which would exempt people from the Fast will be defined
by the Universal House of Justice.
32. Abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sundown
This relates to the period of
fasting. In one of His Tablets, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, after stating that
fasting consists of abstinence from food and drink, further indicates
that smoking is a form of "drink". In Arabic the verb "drink" applies
equally to smoking.
33. It hath been ordained that every believer in God ... shall, each day ... repeat "Alláh-u-Abhá" ninety-five times.
"Alláh-u-Abhá" is an Arabic
phrase meaning "God the All-Glorious". It is a form of the Greatest
Name of God (see note 137). In Islám there is a
tradition that among the many names of God, one was the greatest;
however, the identity of this Greatest Name was hidden. Bahá'u'lláh has
confirmed that the Greatest Name is "Bahá".
various derivatives of the word "Bahá" are also regarded as the
Greatest Name. Shoghi Effendi's secretary writing on his behalf
The Greatest Name
is the Name of Bahá'u'lláh. "Yá Bahá'u'l-Abhá" is an invocation
meaning: "O Thou Glory of Glories!". "Alláh-u-Abhá" is a greeting which
means: "God the All-Glorious". Both refer to Bahá'u'lláh. By Greatest
Name is meant that Bahá'u'lláh has appeared in God's Greatest Name, in
other words, that He is the supreme Manifestation of God.
The greeting "Alláh-u-Abhá" was
adopted during the period of Bahá'u'lláh's exile in Adrianople.
repetition of "Alláh-u-Abhá" ninety-five times is to be preceded by the
performance of ablutions (see note 34).
34. Perform ye ... ablutions for the Obligatory Prayer
Ablutions are specifically
associated with certain prayers. They must precede the offering of the
three Obligatory Prayers, the daily recitation of "Alláh-u-Abhá"
ninety-five times, and the recital of the verse prescribed as an
alternative to obligatory prayer and fasting for women in their courses
(see note 20).
prescribed ablutions consist of washing the hands and the face in
preparation for prayer. In the case of the medium Obligatory Prayer,
this is accompanied by the
recitation of certain verses (see Some Texts Revealed by Bahá'u'lláh Supplementary to the Kitáb-i-Aqdas).
ablutions have a significance beyond washing may be seen from the fact
that even should one have bathed oneself immediately before reciting
the Obligatory Prayer, it would still be necessary to perform ablutions
(Q and A 18).
no water is available for ablutions, a prescribed verse is to be
repeated five times (see note 16), and this provision is extended to those for whom the use of water would be physically harmful (Q and A 51).
detailed provisions of the law concerning ablutions are set out in the
Synopsis and Codification, section IV.A.10.a.-g., as well as in Questions and Answers numbers 51, 62, 66, 77 and 86.
35. Ye have been forbidden to commit murder
The prohibition against taking another's life is repeated by Bahá'u'lláh in paragraph 73 of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. Penalties are prescribed for premeditated murder (see note 86).
In the case of manslaughter, it is necessary to pay a specified
indemnity to the family of the deceased (see Kitáb-i-Aqdas, # 188).
36. or adultery
The Arabic word "ziná", here
translated as "adultery", signifies both fornication and adultery. It
applies not only to sexual relations between a married person and
someone who is not his or her spouse, but also to extramarital sexual
intercourse in general. One form of "ziná" is rape. The only penalty
prescribed by Bahá'u'lláh is for those who commit fornication (see note
77); penalties for other kinds of sexual offence are left to the Universal House of Justice to determine.
37. backbiting or calumny
Backbiting, slander and
dwelling on the faults of others have been repeatedly condemned by
Bahá'u'lláh. In the
Hidden Words, He clearly states: "O Son of Being! How couldst thou
forget thine own faults and busy thyself with the faults of others?
Whoso doeth this is accursed of Me." And again: "O Son of Man! Breathe
not the sins of others so long as thou art thyself a sinner. Shouldst
thou transgress this command, accursed wouldst thou be, and to this I
bear witness." This strong admonition is further reiterated in His last
work, "the Book of My Covenant": "Verily I say, the tongue is for
mentioning what is good, defile it not with unseemly talk. God hath
forgiven what is past. Henceforward everyone should utter that which is
meet and seemly, and should refrain from slander, abuse and whatever
causeth sadness in men."
38. We have divided inheritance into seven categories
The Bahá'í laws of inheritance
apply only in case of intestacy, that is, when the individual dies
without leaving a will. In the Kitáb-i-Aqdas (# 109),
Bahá'u'lláh instructs every believer to write a will. He elsewhere
clearly states that the individual has full jurisdiction over his
property and is free to determine the manner in which his or her estate
is to be divided and to designate, in the will, those, whether Bahá'í
or non-Bahá'í, who should inherit (Q and A 69). In this connection, a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi explains that:
...even though a
Bahá'í is permitted in his will to dispose of his wealth in the way he
wishes, yet he is morally and conscientiously bound to always bear in
mind, while writing his will, the necessity of his upholding the
principle of Bahá'u'lláh regarding the social function of wealth, and
the consequent necessity of avoiding its over-accumulation and
concentration in a few individuals or groups of individuals.
This verse of the Aqdas
introduces a lengthy passage in which Bahá'u'lláh elaborates the Bahá'í
law of inheritance.
In reading this passage one should bear in mind that the law is
formulated with the presumption that the deceased is a man; its
provisions apply, mutatis mutandis, when the deceased is a woman.
system of inheritance which provides for distribution of the deceased's
estate among seven categories of heirs (children, spouse, father,
mother, brothers, sisters, and teachers) is based on the provisions set
out by the Báb in the Bayán. The major features of the Bahá'í laws of
inheritance in the case of intestacy are:
1. If the deceased is a father and his estate includes a personal residence, such residence passes to the eldest son (Q and A 34).
2. If the deceased has no male descendants, two thirds of the
residence pass to his female descendants and the remaining third passes
to the House of Justice (Q and A 41, 72). See note 42 concerning the levels of the institution of the House of Justice to which this law applies. (See also note 44.)
3. The remainder of the estate is divided among the seven categories of
heirs. For details of the number of shares to be received by each
group, see Questions and Answers, number 5, and Synopsis and Codification, section IV.C.3.a.
4. In case there is more than one heir in any category the share
allotted to that class should be divided between them equally, be they
male or female.
5. In cases where there is no issue, the share of the children reverts to the House of Justice (Q and A 7, 41).
6. Should one leave offspring, but either part or all of the other
categories of heirs be non-existent, two thirds of their shares revert
to the offspring and one third to the House of Justice (Q and A 7).
7. Should none of the specified categories exist, two
thirds of the
estate revert to the nephews and nieces of the deceased. If these do
not exist, the same shares revert to the aunts and uncles; lacking
these, to their sons and daughters. In any case the remaining third
reverts to the House of Justice.
8. Should one leave none of the aforementioned heirs, the entire estate reverts to the House of Justice.
9. Bahá'u'lláh states that non-Bahá'ís have no right to inherit from their Bahá'í parents or relatives (Q and A 34).
Shoghi Effendi in a letter written on his behalf indicates that this
restriction applies "only to such cases when a Bahá'í dies without
leaving a will and when, therefore, his property will have to be
divided in accordance with the rules set forth in the Aqdas. Otherwise,
a Bahá'í is free to bequeath his property to any person, irrespective
of religion, provided however he leaves a will, specifying his wishes."
It is always possible, therefore, for a Bahá'í to provide for his or
her non-Bahá'í partner, children or relatives by leaving a will.
Additional details of the laws
of inheritance are summarized in the Synopsis and Codification, section
39. to the brothers, five parts ... to the sisters, four parts
Questions and Answers amplifies
the provisions of the law as it relates to the shares of the
inheritance allocated to the brothers and sisters of the deceased. If
the brother or sister is from the same father as the deceased, he or
she will inherit his or her full allotted share. If, however, the
brother or sister is from another father he or she will inherit only
two thirds of the allotted share, the remaining one third reverting to
the House of Justice (Q and A 6). Further, in the case where the deceased has full brothers or full sisters
among his heirs, half-brothers and half-sisters from the mother's side do not inherit (Q and A 53). The half-brothers and half-sisters will, of course, be due to receive inheritance from their own father's estate.
40. the teachers
In a Tablet, 'Abdu'l-Bahá
compares teachers who are involved with the spiritual education of the
child to the "spiritual father" who "endoweth his child with
everlasting life". He explains that this is the reason that "teachers
are listed among the heirs" in the "Law of God".
specifies the conditions under which the teacher inherits and the share
he or she receives (Q and A 33).
41. When We heard the clamour of the children as yet unborn, We doubled their share and decreased those of the rest.
In the Báb's laws of
inheritance the children of the deceased were allotted nine parts
consisting of 540 shares. This allocation constituted less than a
quarter of the whole estate. Bahá'u'lláh doubled their portion to 1,080
shares and reduced those allotted to the other six categories of heirs.
He also outlines the precise intention of this verse and its
implications for the distribution of the inheritance (Q and A 5).
42. the House of Justice
In referring to the House of
Justice in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Bahá'u'lláh does not always explicitly
distinguish between the Universal House of Justice and the Local House
of Justice, both of which institutions are ordained in that Book. He
usually refers simply to "the House of Justice", leaving open for later
clarification the level or levels of the whole institution to which
each law would apply.
Tablet enumerating the revenues of the local treasury, 'Abdu'l-Bahá
includes those inheritances for which
there are no heirs, thus indicating that the House of Justice referred
to in these passages of the Aqdas relating to inheritance is the local
43. Should the deceased leave offspring, but none of the other categories of heirs
Bahá'u'lláh clarifies that
"This ruling hath both general and specific application, which is to
say that whenever any category of this latter class of heirs is absent,
two thirds of their inheritance pass to the offspring and the remaining
third to the House of Justice" (Q and A 7).
We have assigned the residence and personal clothing of the deceased to
the male, not female, offspring, nor to the other heirs.
In a Tablet, 'Abdu'l-Bahá
indicates that the residence and personal clothing of a deceased man
remain in the male line. They pass to the eldest son and in the absence
of the eldest son, they pass to the second-eldest son, and so on. He
explains that this provision is an expression of the law of
primogeniture, which has invariably been upheld by the Law of God. In a
Tablet to a follower of the Faith in Persia He wrote: "In all the
Divine Dispensations the eldest son hath been given extraordinary
distinctions. Even the station of prophethood hath been his
birthright." With the distinctions given to the eldest son, however, go
concomitant duties. For example, he has the moral responsibility, for
the sake of God, to care for his mother and also to consider the needs
of the other heirs.
clarifies various aspects of this part of the law of inheritance. He
specifies that if there be more than one residence, the principal and
most important one passes to the male offspring. The remaining
residences will, together with the other possessions of the deceased,
have to be divided among the heirs (Q and A 34), and He indicates that in the absence of male offspring, two thirds of the
principal residence and the personal clothing of the deceased father
will revert to the female issue and one third to the House of Justice
(Q and A 72).
Further, when the deceased is a woman, Bahá'u'lláh states that all her
used clothing is to be equally divided amongst her daughters. Her
unworn clothing, jewels and property must be divided among her heirs,
as well as her used clothing if she leaves no daughter (Q and A 37).
Should the son of the deceased have passed away in the days of his
father and have left children, they will inherit their father's share
This aspect of the law applies
only in the case of the son who predeceases his father or mother. If
the daughter of the deceased be dead and leave issue, her share will
have to be divided according to the seven categories specified in the
Most Holy Book (Q and A 54).
If the deceased should leave children who are under age, their share of
the inheritance must be entrusted to a reliable individual
The word "amín", translated in
this paragraph as "reliable individual" and "trustee", conveys in
Arabic a wide range of meanings connected principally with the idea of
trustworthiness, but signifying also such qualities as reliability,
loyalty, faithfulness, uprightness, honesty, and so forth. Used in
legal parlance "amín" denotes, among other things, a trustee,
guarantor, custodian, guardian, and keeper.
Division of the estate should take place only after the Huqúqu'lláh
hath been paid, any debts have been settled, the expenses of the
funeral and burial defrayed
Bahá'u'lláh specifies that the
order of precedence for payment of these expenses is first the funeral
and burial expenses, then the debts of the deceased, then the
Huqúqu'lláh (see note 125) (Q and A 9).
He also specifies that when applying the estate to these, payment must
first be made out of the residue of the estate and then, if this is
insufficient, out of the residence and personal clothing of the
deceased (Q and A 80).
48. This is that hidden knowledge which shall never change, since its beginning is with nine
In the Arabic Bayán the Báb
described His inheritance law as being "in accordance with a hidden
knowledge in the Book of God--a knowledge that shall never change or be
replaced". He also stated that the numbers by which the division of the
inheritance was expressed had been invested with a significance
intended to aid in the recognition of Him Whom God will make manifest.
"nine" mentioned here is represented in the Arabic text by the letter
"Tá", which is its equivalent in the abjad notation (see Glossary).
It is the first element of the Báb's division of inheritance, where He
designates "nine parts" as the share of the children. The significance
of nine lies in its being the numerical equivalent of the Greatest Name
"Bahá", alluded to in the next part of this verse as "the concealed and
manifest, the inviolable and unapproachably exalted Name". (See also
49. The Lord hath ordained that in every city a House of Justice be established
The institution of the House of
Justice consists of elected councils which operate at the local,
national and international levels of society. Bahá'u'lláh ordains both
the Universal House of Justice and the Local Houses of Justice in the
Kitáb-i-Aqdas. 'Abdu'l-Bahá, in His Will and Testament, provides for
the Secondary (National or Regional) Houses of Justice and outlines the
method to be pursued for the election of the Universal House of
In the verse cited above, the reference is to the Local
House of Justice, an institution which is to be elected in a locality
whenever there are nine or more resident adult Bahá'ís. For this
purpose, the definition of adult was temporarily fixed at the age of 21
years by the Guardian, who indicated it was open to change by the
Universal House of Justice in the future.
and Secondary Houses of Justice are, for the present, known as Local
Spiritual Assemblies and National Spiritual Assemblies. Shoghi Effendi
has indicated that this is a "temporary appellation" which,
the position and aims of the Bahá'í Faith are better understood and
more fully recognized, will gradually be superseded by the permanent
and more appropriate designation of House of Justice. Not only will the
present-day Spiritual Assemblies be styled differently in future, but
they will be enabled also to add to their present functions those
powers, duties, and prerogatives necessitated by the recognition of the
Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, not merely as one of the recognized religious
systems of the world, but as the State Religion of an independent and
50. the number of Bahá
The abjad numerical equivalent
of "Bahá" is nine. The Universal House of Justice and the National and
Local Spiritual Assemblies currently have nine members each, the
minimum number prescribed by Bahá'u'lláh.
51. It behoveth them to be the trusted ones of the Merciful among men
The general powers and duties
of the Universal House of Justice, the National Spiritual Assemblies
and the Local Spiritual Assemblies and the qualifications for
membership are set forth in the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh and
'Abdu'l-Bahá, in the letters of Shoghi Effendi, and in the elucidations
of the Universal House of Justice. The major
functions of these institutions are outlined in the Constitution of the
Universal House of Justice, and in those of the National and Local
52. take counsel together
Bahá'u'lláh has established
consultation as one of the fundamental principles of His Faith and has
exhorted the believers to "take counsel together in all matters". He
describes consultation as "the lamp of guidance which leadeth the way"
and as "the bestower of understanding". Shoghi Effendi states that the
"principle of consultation ... constitutes one of the basic laws" of
the Bahá'í Administrative Order.
In Questions and Answers, number 99,
Bahá'u'lláh outlines an approach to consultation and stresses the
importance of achieving unanimity in decision-making, failing which the
majority decision must prevail. The Universal House of Justice has
clarified that this guidance concerning consultation was revealed
before Spiritual Assemblies had been established and was in answer to a
question about the Bahá'í teachings on consultation. The House of
Justice affirms that the emergence of Spiritual Assemblies, to which
the friends may always turn for assistance, in no way prohibits them
from following the procedure outlined in Questions and Answers. This
approach may be used by the friends, should they wish, when they desire
to consult on their personal problems.
53. Build ye houses of worship throughout the lands
The Bahá'í House of Worship is
dedicated to the praise of God. The House of Worship forms the central
edifice of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár (the Dawning-place of the
Praise of God), a complex which, as it unfolds in the future, will
comprise in addition to the House of Worship a number of dependencies
dedicated to social, humanitarian, educational, and scientific
pursuits. 'Abdu'l-Bahá describes the
Mashriqu'l-Adhkár as "one of the most vital institutions
in the world", and Shoghi Effendi indicates that it exemplifies in
tangible form the integration of "Bahá'í worship and service".
Anticipating the future development of this institution, Shoghi Effendi
envisages that the House of Worship and its dependencies "shall afford
relief to the suffering, sustenance to the poor, shelter to the
wayfarer, solace to the bereaved, and education to the ignorant". In
the future, Bahá'í Houses of Worship will be constructed in every town
54. The Lord hath ordained that those of you who are able shall make pilgrimage to the sacred House
Two sacred Houses are covered by this ordinance, the House of the Báb in Shíráz and the House of Bahá'u'lláh in Baghdád. Bahá'u'lláh has specified that pilgrimage to either of these two Houses fulfils the requirement of this passage (Q and A 25, 29). In two separate Tablets, known as Suriy-i-Hájj (Q and A 10),
Bahá'u'lláh has prescribed specific rites for each of these
pilgrimages. In this sense, the performance of a pilgrimage is more
than simply visiting these two Houses.
the passing of Bahá'u'lláh, 'Abdu'l-Bahá designated the Shrine of
Bahá'u'lláh at Bahjí as a place of pilgrimage. In a Tablet, He
indicates that the "Most Holy Shrine, the Blessed House in Baghdád and the venerated House of the Báb in Shíráz"
are "consecrated to pilgrimage", and that it is "obligatory" to visit
these places "if one can afford it and is able to do so, and if no
obstacle stands in one's way". No rites have been prescribed for
pilgrimage to the Most Holy Shrine.
55. and from this He hath exempted women as a mercy on His part
In the Bayán, the Báb enjoined
the ordinance of pilgrimage once in a lifetime upon those of His
followers who were financially able to undertake the journey. He stated
that the obligation was not binding on women in order to spare them the
rigours of travel.
Bahá'u'lláh likewise exempts
women from His pilgrimage requirements. The Universal House of Justice
has clarified that this exemption is not a prohibition, and that women
are free to perform the pilgrimage.
56. to engage in some occupation
It is obligatory for men and
women to engage in a trade or profession. Bahá'u'lláh exalts
"engagement in such work" to the "rank of worship" of God. The
spiritual and practical significance of this law, and the mutual
responsibility of the individual and society for its implementation are
explained in a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi:
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 mendicity 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.
In one of His Tablets,
'Abdu'l-Bahá states that "if a person is incapable of earning a living,
is stricken by dire poverty or becometh helpless, then it is incumbent
on the wealthy or the Deputies to provide him with a monthly allowance
for his subsistence.... By `Deputies' is meant the representatives of
the people, that is to say the members of the House of Justice." (See
also note 162 on mendicancy.)
response to a question concerning whether Bahá'u'lláh's injunction
requires a wife and mother, as well as her husband, to work for a
livelihood, the Universal House of Justice has explained that
Bahá'u'lláh's directive is for the friends to be engaged in an
occupation which will profit themselves and others, and that homemaking
is a highly honourable and responsible work of fundamental importance
retirement from work for individuals who have reached a certain age,
Shoghi Effendi in a letter written on his behalf stated that "this is a
matter on which the International House of Justice will have to
legislate as there are no provisions in the Aqdas concerning it".
57. The kissing of hands hath been forbidden in the Book.
In a number of earlier
religious Dispensations and in certain cultures the kissing of the hand
of a religious figure or of a prominent person was expected as a mark
of reverence and deference to such persons and as a token of submission
to their authority. Bahá'u'lláh prohibits the kissing of hands and, in
His Tablets, He also condemns such practices as prostrating oneself
before another person and other forms of behaviour that abase one
individual in relation to another. (See note 58.)
58. To none is it permitted to seek absolution from another soul
confession to, and seeking absolution of one's sins from, a human
being. Instead one should beg
forgiveness from God. In the Tablet of Bishárát, He states
that "such confession before people results in one's humiliation and
abasement", and He affirms that God "wisheth not the humiliation of His
Shoghi Effendi sets
the prohibition into context. His secretary has written on his behalf
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.
The Universal House of Justice
has also clarified that Bahá'u'lláh's prohibition concerning the
confession of sins does not prevent an individual from admitting
transgressions in the course of consultations held under the aegis of
Bahá'í institutions. Likewise, it does not preclude the possibility of
seeking advice from a close friend or of a professional counsellor
regarding such matters.
59. Amongst the people is he who seateth himself amid the sandals by the door whilst coveting in his heart the seat of honour.
Traditionally in the East it
has been the practice to remove sandals and shoes before entering a
gathering. The part of a room farthest from the entrance is regarded as
the head of the room and a place of honour where the most prominent
among those present are seated. Others sit in descending order towards
the door, by which the shoes and sandals have been left and where the
most lowly would sit.
60. And among the people is he who layeth claim to inner knowledge
This is a reference to people
who claim access to esoteric knowledge and whose attachment to such
them from the Revelation of the Manifestation of God. Elsewhere
Bahá'u'lláh affirms: "They that are the worshippers of the idol which
their imaginations have carved, and who call it Inner Reality, such men
are in truth accounted among the heathen."
How many a man hath secluded himself in the climes of India, denied
himself the things that God hath decreed as lawful, imposed upon
himself austerities and mortifications
These verses constitute the
prohibition of monasticism and asceticism. See the Synopsis and
Codification, section IV.D. 1.y.iii.-iv.
In the Words of Paradise Bahá'u'lláh amplifies these provisions. He
states: "Living in seclusion or practising asceticism is not acceptable
in the presence of God," and He calls upon those involved to "observe
that which will cause joy and radiance". He instructs those who have
taken up "their abodes in the caves of the mountains" or who have
"repaired to graveyards at night" to abandon these practices, and He
enjoins them not to deprive themselves of the "bounties" of this world
which have been created by God for humankind. And in the Tablet of Bishárát,
while acknowledging the "pious deeds" of monks and priests, Bahá'u'lláh
calls upon them to "give up the life of seclusion and direct their
steps towards the open world and busy themselves with that which will
profit themselves and others". He also grants them leave "to enter into
wedlock that they may bring forth one who will make mention of God".
62. Whoso layeth claim to a Revelation direct from God, ere the expiration of a full thousand years
The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh
will last until the coming of the next Manifestation of God, Whose
advent will not take place before at least "a full thousand years" will
have elapsed. Bahá'u'lláh cautions against ascribing to "this verse"
anything other than its "obvious meaning", and in one of His
Tablets, He specifies that "each year" of this thousand year period
consists of "twelve months according to the Qur'án, and of nineteen
months of nineteen days each, according to the Bayán".
The intimation of His Revelation to Bahá'u'lláh in the Síyáh-Chál
of Tihrán, in October 1852, marks the birth of His Prophetic Mission
and hence the commencement of the one thousand years or more that must
elapse before the appearance of the next Manifestation of God.
This is that of which We gave you forewarning when We were dwelling in
'Iráq, then later while in the Land of Mystery, and now from this
The "Land of Mystery" refers to
Adrianople, and "this Resplendent Spot" is a reference to 'Akká.
Amongst the people is he whose learning hath made him proud ... who,
when he heareth the tread of sandals following behind him, waxeth
greater in his own esteem
In the East, the practice has
been for followers of a religious leader, out of deference, to walk a
pace or two behind him.
The Nimrod referred to in this
verse is, in both Jewish and Islamic traditions, a King who persecuted
Abraham and whose name became symbolic of great pride.
"Aghsán" (plural of Ghusn)
is the Arabic word for "Branches". This term is used by Bahá'u'lláh to
designate His male descendants. It has particular implications not only
for the disposition of endowments but also for the succession of
authority following the passing of Bahá'u'lláh (see note 145)
and of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Bahá'u'lláh, in the Book of His Covenant,
appointed 'Abdu'l-Bahá, His eldest son, as the Centre of His Covenant
and the Head of the Faith. 'Abdu'l-Bahá, in His Will and Testament,
Shoghi Effendi, His eldest grandson, as the Guardian and Head of the Faith.
This passage of the Aqdas, therefore, anticipates the succession of chosen Aghsán
and thus the institution of the Guardianship and envisages the
possibility of a break in their line. The passing of Shoghi Effendi in
1957 precipitated the very situation provided for in this passage, in
that the line of Aghsán ended before the Universal House of Justice had been established (see note 67).
67. revert to the people of Bahá
Bahá'u'lláh provides for the possibility that the line of Aghsán
would terminate prior to the establishment of the Universal House of
Justice. He designated that in such a situation "endowments shall
revert to the people of Bahá". The term "people of Bahá" is used with a
number of different meanings in the Bahá'í Writings. In this instance,
they are described as those "who speak not except by His leave and
judge not save in accordance with what God hath decreed in this
Tablet". Following the passing of Shoghi Effendi in 1957, the Hands of
the Cause of God directed the affairs of the Cause until the election
of the Universal House of Justice in 1963 (see note 183).
68. Shave not your heads
In some religious traditions it
is considered desirable to shave one's head. The shaving of the head is
forbidden by Bahá'u'lláh, and He makes it clear that the provision
contained in His Súriy-i-Hájj requiring pilgrims to the Holy House in Shíráz to shave their heads has been superseded through this verse of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas (Q and A 10).
69. it is not seemly to let the hair pass beyond the limit of the ears
Shoghi Effendi has made clear
that, unlike the prohibition on shaving the head, this law forbidding
the growing of the
hair beyond the lobe of the ear pertains only to men. The application
of this law will require clarification by the Universal House of
70. Exile and imprisonment are decreed for the thief
Bahá'u'lláh states that the
determination of the degree of penalty, in accordance with the
seriousness of the offence, rests with the House of Justice (Q and A 49).
The punishments for theft are intended for a future condition of
society, when they will be supplemented and applied by the Universal
House of Justice.
on the third offence, place ye a mark upon his brow so that, thus
identified, he may not be accepted in the cities of God and His
The mark to be placed on the
thief's forehead serves the purpose of warning people of his
proclivities. All details concerning the nature of the mark, how the
mark is to be applied, how long it must be worn, on what conditions it
may be removed, as well as the seriousness of various degrees of theft
have been left by Bahá'u'lláh for the Universal House of Justice to
determine when the law is applied.
72. Whoso wisheth to make use of vessels of silver and gold is at liberty to do so.
In the Bayán the Báb allowed
the use of gold and silver utensils, thus abrogating the Islamic
condemnation of their use which stems not from an explicit injunction
of the Qur'án but from Muslim traditions. Bahá'u'lláh here confirms the
73. Take heed lest, when partaking of food, ye plunge your hands into the contents of bowls and platters.
This prohibition was defined by
Shoghi Effendi as "plunging one's hand in food". In many parts of the
world it has
been customary to eat with the hands from a communal bowl.
74. Adopt ye such usages as are most in keeping with refinement.
This is the first of several
passages referring to the importance of refinement and cleanliness. The
original Arabic word "látafah", rendered here as "refinement", has a
wide range of meanings with both spiritual and physical implications,
such as elegance, gracefulness, cleanliness, civility, politeness,
gentleness, delicacy and graciousness, as well as being subtle,
refined, sanctified and pure. In accordance with the context of the
various passages where it occurs in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, it has been
translated either as "refinement" or "cleanliness".
75. He Who is the Dawning-place of God's Cause hath no partner in the Most Great Infallibility.
In the Tablet of Ishráqát, Bahá'u'lláh affirms that the Most Great Infallibility is confined to the Manifestations of God.
in Some Answered Questions is devoted to an explanation by 'Abdu'l-Bahá
of this verse of the Aqdas. In this chapter He stresses, among other
things, the inseparability of essential "infallibility" from the
Manifestations of God, and asserts that "whatever emanates from Them is
identical with the truth, and conformable to reality", that "They are
not under the shadow of the former laws", and "Whatever They say is the
word of God, and whatever They perform is an upright action".
76. Unto every father hath been enjoined the instruction of his son and daughter in the art of reading and writing
'Abdu'l-Bahá, in His Tablets,
not only calls attention to the responsibility of parents to educate
all their children, but He also clearly specifies that the "training
and culture of daughters is more necessary than that of sons", for
girls will one
day be mothers, and mothers are the first educators of the new
generation. If it is not possible, therefore, for a family to educate
all the children, preference is to be accorded to daughters since,
through educated mothers, the benefits of knowledge can be most
effectively and rapidly diffused throughout society.
77. God hath imposed a fine on every adulterer and adulteress, to be paid to the House of Justice
Although the term translated
here as adultery refers, in its broadest sense, to unlawful sexual
intercourse between either married or unmarried individuals (see note 36
for a definition of the term), 'Abdu'l-Bahá has specified that the
punishment here prescribed is for sexual intercourse between persons
who are unmarried. He indicates that it remains for the Universal House
of Justice to determine the penalty for adultery committed by a married
individual. (See also Q and A 49.)
one of His Tablets, 'Abdu'l-Bahá refers to some of the spiritual and
social implications of the violation of the laws of morality and,
concerning the penalty here described, He indicates that the aim of
this law is to make clear to all that such an action is shameful in the
eyes of God and that, in the event that the offence can be established
and the fine imposed, the principal purpose is the exposure of the
offenders--that they are shamed and disgraced in the eyes of society.
He affirms that such exposure is in itself the greatest punishment.
House of Justice referred to in this verse is presumably the Local
House of Justice, currently known as the Local Spiritual Assembly.
78. nine mithqáls of gold, to be doubled if they should repeat the offence
A mithqál is a unit of weight. The weight of the traditional mithqál used in the Middle East is equivalent to 24
nakhuds. However, the mithqál used by the Bahá'ís consists of 19 nakhuds, "in accordance with the specification of the Bayán" (Q and A 23). The weight of nine of these mithqáls equals 32.775 grammes or 1.05374 troy ounces.
relation to the application of the fine, Bahá'u'lláh clearly specifies
that each succeeding fine is double the preceding one (Q and A 23);
thus the fine imposed increases in geometrical progression. The
imposition of this fine is intended for a future condition of society,
at which time the law will be supplemented and applied by the Universal
House of Justice.
79. We have made it lawful for you to listen to music and singing.
'Abdu'l-Bahá has written that
"Among certain nations of the East, music was considered
reprehensible". Though the Qur'án contains no specific guidance on the
subject, some Muslims consider listening to music as unlawful, while
others tolerate music within certain bounds and subject to particular
There are a number
of passages in the Bahá'í Writings in praise of music. 'Abdu'l-Bahá,
for example, asserts that "music, sung or played, is spiritual food for
soul and heart".
80. O ye Men of Justice!
It has been elucidated in the
writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi that, while the membership
of the Universal House of Justice is confined to men, both women and
men are eligible for election to Secondary and Local Houses of Justice
(currently designated as National and Local Spiritual Assemblies).
81. The penalties for wounding or striking a person
upon the severity of the injury; for each degree the Lord of Judgement
hath prescribed a certain indemnity.
While Bahá'u'lláh specified that the extent of the penalty
depends upon "the severity of the injury", there is no record of His
having set out the details of the size of the indemnity with regard to
each degree of offence. The responsibility to determine these devolves
upon the Universal House of Justice.
82. Verily, it is enjoined upon you to offer a feast, once in every month
This injunction has become the
basis for the holding of monthly Bahá'í festivities and as such
constitutes the ordination of the Nineteen Day Feast. In the Arabic
Bayán the Báb called upon His followers to gather together once every
nineteen days to show hospitality and fellowship. Bahá'u'lláh here
confirms this and notes the unifying role of such occasions.
and Shoghi Effendi after Him have gradually unfolded the institutional
significance of this injunction. 'Abdu'l-Bahá emphasized the importance
of the spiritual and devotional character of these gatherings. Shoghi
Effendi, besides further elaborating the devotional and social aspects
of the Feast, has developed the administrative element of such
gatherings and, in systematically instituting the Feast, has provided
for a period of consultation on the affairs of the Bahá'í community,
including the sharing of news and messages.
answer to a question as to whether this injunction is obligatory,
Bahá'u'lláh stated it was not (Q and A 48). Shoghi Effendi in a letter written on his behalf further comments:
Nineteen Day Feasts is not obligatory but very important, and every
believer should consider it a duty and privilege to be present on such
If ye should hunt with beasts or birds of prey, invoke ye the Name of
God when ye send them to pursue their quarry; for then whatever they
catch shall be lawful unto you, even should ye find it to have died.
By this law, Bahá'u'lláh
greatly simplifies practices and religious regulations of the past
relating to hunting. He has also stated that hunting with such weapons
as bows and arrows, guns, and the like, is included in this ruling, but
that the consumption of game if it is found dead in a trap or a net is
prohibited (Q and A 24).
84. hunt not to excess
While hunting is not forbidden
by Bahá'u'lláh, He warns against excessive hunting. The Universal House
of Justice will, in due course, have to consider what constitutes an
excess in hunting.
85. He hath granted them no right to the property of others.
The injunction to show kindness
to Bahá'u'lláh's kindred does not give them a share in the property of
others. This is in contrast to Shí'ih Muslim practice, in which lineal descendants of Muhammad are entitled to receive a share of a certain tax.
Should anyone intentionally destroy a house by fire, him also shall ye
burn; should anyone deliberately take another's life, him also shall ye
put to death.
The law of Bahá'u'lláh
prescribes the death penalty for murder and arson, with the alternative
of life imprisonment (see note 87).
His Tablets 'Abdu'l-Bahá explains the difference between revenge and
punishment. He affirms that individuals do not have the right to take
revenge, that revenge is despised in the eyes of God, and that the
motive for punishment is not vengeance, but the imposition of a penalty
for the committed offence. In Some Answered Questions,
He confirms that it is the right of society to impose punishments on
criminals for the purpose of protecting its members and defending its
With regard to this provision,
Shoghi Effendi in a letter written on his behalf gives the following
In the Aqdas
Bahá'u'lláh has given death as the penalty for murder. However, He has
permitted life imprisonment as an alternative. Both practices would be
in accordance with His Laws. Some of us may not be able to grasp the
wisdom of this when it disagrees with our own limited vision; but we
must accept it, knowing His Wisdom, His Mercy and His Justice are
perfect and for the salvation of the entire world. If a man were
falsely condemned to die, can we not believe Almighty God would
compensate him a thousandfold, in the next world, for this human
injustice? You cannot give up a salutary law just because on rare
occasions the innocent may be punished.
The details of the Bahá'í law
of punishment for murder and arson, a law designed for a future state
of society, were not specified by Bahá'u'lláh. The various details of
the law, such as degrees of offence, whether extenuating circumstances
are to be taken into account, and which of the two prescribed
punishments is to be the norm are left to the Universal House of
Justice to decide in light of prevailing conditions when the law is to
be in operation. The manner in which the punishment is to be carried
out is also left to the Universal House of Justice to decide.
relation to arson, this depends on what "house" is burned. There is
obviously a tremendous difference in the degree of offence between the
person who burns down an empty warehouse and one who sets fire to a
school full of children.
Should ye condemn the arsonist and the murderer to life imprisonment,
it would be permissible according to the provisions of the Book.
Shoghi Effendi, in response to
a question about this verse of the Aqdas, affirmed that while capital
permitted, an alternative, "life imprisonment", has been provided
"whereby the rigours of such a condemnation can be seriously
mitigated". He states that "Bahá'u'lláh has given us a choice and has,
therefore, left us free to use our own discretion within certain
limitations imposed by His law". In the absence of specific guidance
concerning the application of this aspect of Bahá'í law, it remains for
the Universal House of Justice to legislate on the matter in the future.
88. God hath prescribed matrimony unto you.
Bahá'u'lláh, in one of His
Tablets, states that God, in establishing this law, has made marriage
"a fortress for well-being and salvation".
The Synopsis and Codification, section IV.C.1.a.-o.,
summarizes and synthesizes the provisions in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas and
Questions and Answers concerning marriage and the conditions under
which it is permitted (Q and A 3, 13, 46, 50, 84, and 92), the law of betrothal (Q and A 43), the payment of the dowry (Q and A 12, 26, 39, 47, 87, and 88), the procedures to be adopted in the event of the prolonged absence of a spouse (Q and A 4 and 27), and sundry other circumstances (Q and A 12 and 47). (See also notes 89-99.)
Beware that ye take not unto yourselves more wives than two. Whoso
contenteth himself with a single partner from among the maidservants of
God, both he and she shall live in tranquillity.
While the text of the
Kitáb-i-Aqdas appears to permit bigamy, Bahá'u'lláh counsels that
tranquillity and contentment derive from monogamy. In another Tablet,
He underlines the importance of the individual's acting in such a way
as to "bring comfort to himself and to his partner". 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the
authorized Interpreter of the Bahá'í Writings, states that in the text
of the Aqdas monogamy is in effect enjoined. He elaborates this theme
in a number of Tablets, including the following:
Know thou that
polygamy is not permitted under the law of God, for contentment with
one wife hath been clearly stipulated. Taking a second wife is made
dependent upon equity and justice being upheld between the two wives,
under all conditions. However, observance of justice and equity towards
two wives is utterly impossible. The fact that bigamy has been made
dependent upon an impossible condition is clear proof of its absolute
prohibition. Therefore it is not permissible for a man to have more
than one wife.
Polygamy is a very ancient
practice among the majority of humanity. The introduction of monogamy
has been only gradually accomplished by the Manifestations of God.
Jesus, for example, did not prohibit polygamy, but abolished divorce
except in the case of fornication; Muhammad limited the number of wives
to four, but making plurality of wives contingent on justice, and
reintroducing permission for divorce; Bahá'u'lláh, Who was revealing
His Teachings in the milieu of a Muslim society, introduced the
question of monogamy gradually in accordance with the principles of
wisdom and the progressive unfoldment of His purpose. The fact that He
left His followers with an infallible Interpreter of His Writings
enabled Him to outwardly permit two wives in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas but
uphold a condition that enabled 'Abdu'l-Bahá to elucidate later that
the intention of the law was to enforce monogamy.
90. he who would take into his service a maid may do so with propriety
Bahá'u'lláh states that a man
may employ a maiden for domestic service. This was not permissible
under Shí'ih Muslim practice unless the employer entered into a
marriage contract with her. Bahá'u'lláh emphasizes that the "service"
referred to in this verse is solely "such as is performed by any other
class of servants, be they young or old, in exchange for wages" (Q and
A 30). An employer has no sexual rights over his
maid. She is "free to choose a husband at whatever time she pleaseth", for the purchase of women is forbidden (Q and A 30).
91. This is My bidding unto you; hold fast to it as an assistance to yourselves.
While marriage is enjoined in
the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Bahá'u'lláh clarifies that it is not obligatory (Q
and A 46). Shoghi Effendi, in a letter written on
his behalf, also declared that "marriage is by no means an obligation",
and he affirmed that "in the last resort, it is for the individual to
decide whether he wishes to lead a family life or live in a state of
celibacy". If a person has to wait a considerable period of time before
finding a spouse, or ultimately must remain single, it does not mean
that the individual is thereby unable to fulfil his or her life's
purpose, which is fundamentally spiritual.
92. We have conditioned it ... upon the permission of their parents
In a letter written on his
behalf, Shoghi Effendi has commented on this provision of the
clearly stated the consent of all living parents is required for a
Bahá'í marriage. This applies whether the parents are Bahá'ís or
non-Bahá'ís, divorced for years or not. This great law He has laid down
to strengthen the social fabric, to knit closer the ties of the home,
to place a certain gratitude and respect in the hearts of the children
for those who have given them life and sent their souls out on the
eternal journey towards their Creator.
93. No marriage may be contracted without payment of a dowry
The Synopsis and Codification, section IV.C.1.j.i.-v., summarizes the main provisions concerning the dowry. These provisions have their antecedents in the Bayán.
The dowry is to be paid by the bridegroom to the bride. It is fixed at 19 mithqáls of pure gold for city-dwellers, and 19 mithqáls of silver for village-dwellers (see note 94).
Bahá'u'lláh indicates that, if, at the time of the wedding, the
bridegroom is unable to pay the dowry in full, it is permissible for
him to issue a promissory note to the bride (Q and A 39).
the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh many familiar concepts, customs and
institutions are redefined and take on new meaning. One of these is the
dowry. The institution of dowry is a very ancient practice in many
cultures and takes many forms. In some countries it is a payment made
by the parents of the bride to the bridegroom; in others it is a
payment made by the bridegroom to the parents of the bride, called a
"bride-price". In both such cases the amount is often quite
considerable. The law of Bahá'u'lláh abolishes all such variants and
converts the dowry into a symbolic act whereby the bridegroom presents
a gift of a certain limited value to the bride.
94. for city-dwellers at nineteen mithqáls of pure gold, and for village-dwellers at the same amount in silver
Bahá'u'lláh specifies that the
criterion for determining the dowry payment is the location of the
permanent residence of the bridegroom, not of the bride (Q and A 87, 88).
95. Whoso wisheth to increase this sum, it is forbidden him to exceed the limit of ninety-five mithqáls... If he content himself, however, with a payment of the lowest level, it shall be better for him according to the Book.
In answer to a question about
the dowry, Bahá'u'lláh stated:
is revealed in the Bayán, in respect to those residing in cities and
villages, is approved and should be carried out. However, in the
Kitáb-i-Aqdas mention is made of the lowest
level. The intention is nineteen mithqáls of silver,
specified in the Bayán for village-dwellers. This is more pleasing unto
God, provided the two parties agree. The purpose is to promote the
comfort of all, and to bring about concord and union among the people.
Therefore, the greater the consideration shown in these matters the
better it will be... The people of Bahá must associate and deal with
each other with the utmost love and sincerity. They should be mindful
of the interests of all, especially the friends of God.
'Abdu'l-Bahá, in one of His
Tablets, summarized some of the provisions for determining the level of
the dowry. The unit of payment mentioned in the extract, cited below,
is the "vahíd". One vahíd is equivalent to nineteen mithqáls. He stated:
City-dwellers must pay in gold and village-dwellers in silver. It
dependeth on the financial means at the disposal of the groom. If he is
poor, he payeth one vahíd; if of modest means, he payeth two vahíds; if
well-to-do, three vahíds; if wealthy, four vahíds; and if very rich, he
giveth five vahíds. It is, in truth, a matter for agreement between the
bridegroom, the bride, and their parents. Whatever agreement is reached
should be carried out.
In this same Tablet,
'Abdu'l-Bahá encouraged the believers to refer questions concerning the
application of this law to the Universal House of Justice, which has
"the authority to legislate". He stressed that "it is this body which
will enact laws and legislate upon secondary matters which are not
explicit in the Holy Text".
96. should any one of His servants intend to travel, he must fix for his wife a time when he will return home
If the husband leaves without
informing his wife of the date of his return, and no news of him
reaches her and all trace of him is lost, Bahá'u'lláh has stated that,
should the husband have been aware of the law prescribed in the
the wife may remarry after waiting a full year. If, however, the
husband was unaware of the law, the wife must wait until news of her
husband reaches her (Q and A 4).
97. it behoveth her to wait for a period of nine months, after which there is no impediment to her taking another husband
In the event of the husband's
failure, either to return at the end of the specified period of time or
to notify his wife of a delay, the wife must wait nine months, after
which she is free to remarry, though it is preferable for her to wait
longer (see note 147 for the Bahá'í calendar).
states that, in such circumstances, should news reach the wife of "her
husband's death or murder", she must also wait nine months, prior to
remarrying (Q and A 27). 'Abdu'l-Bahá, in a Tablet,
has further clarified that the nine months' waiting period following
news of the husband's death applies only if the husband had been away
at the time of his death, and not if he dies while at home.
98. she should choose the course that is praiseworthy
Bahá'u'lláh defines "the course
that is praiseworthy" as "the exercise of patience" (Q and A 4).
99. two just witnesses
Bahá'u'lláh sets out "the
criterion of justness" in relation to witnesses as "a good reputation
among the people". He states that it is not necessary that the
witnesses should be Bahá'ís since "The testimony of all God's servants,
of whatever faith or creed, is acceptable before His Throne" (Q and A 79).
Should resentment or antipathy arise between husband and wife, he is
not to divorce her but to bide in patience throughout the course of one
Divorce is strongly condemned in the Bahá'í Teachings. If,
however, antipathy or resentment develop between the marriage partners,
divorce is permissible after the lapse of one full year. During this
year of patience, the husband is obliged to provide for the financial
support of his wife and children, and the couple is urged to strive to
reconcile their differences. Shoghi Effendi affirms that both the
husband and wife "have equal right to ask for divorce" whenever either
partner "feels it absolutely essential to do so".
Questions and Answers, Bahá'u'lláh elaborates a number of issues
concerning the year of patience, its observance (Q and A 12), establishing the date of its beginning (Q and A 19 and 40), the conditions for reconciliation (Q and A 38), and the role of witnesses and the Local House of Justice (Q and A 73 and 98).
In relation to the witnesses, the Universal House of Justice has
clarified that in these days the duties of the witnesses in cases of
divorce are performed by the Spiritual Assemblies.
detailed provisions of the Bahá'í laws on divorce are summarized in the
Synopsis and Codification, section IV.C.2.a.-i.
101. The Lord hath prohibited ... the practice to which ye formerly had recourse when thrice ye had divorced a woman.
This relates to a law of Islám
set out in the Qur'án which decreed that under certain conditions a man
could not remarry his divorced wife unless she had married and been
divorced by another man. Bahá'u'lláh affirms that this is the practice
which has been prohibited in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas (Q and A 31).
He who hath divorced his wife may choose, upon the passing of each
month, to remarry her when there is mutual affection and consent, so
long as she hath not taken another husband ... unless, clearly, her
Shoghi Effendi states, in a letter written on his behalf, that
the intention of "the passing of each month" is not to impose a
limitation, and that it is possible for a divorced couple to remarry at
any time after their divorce, so long as neither party is currently
married to another person.
103. semen is not unclean
In a number of religious traditions and in Shí'ih Muslim practice semen has been declared ritually unclean. Bahá'u'lláh has here dispelled this concept. See also note 106 below.
104. Cleave ye unto the cord of refinement
'Abdu'l-Bahá refers to the
effect of "purity and holiness, cleanliness and refinement" on the
exaltation of "the human condition" and "the development of man's inner
reality". He states: "The fact of having a pure and spotless body
exercises an influence upon the spirit of man." (See also note 74.)
105. Wash ye every soiled thing with water that hath undergone no alteration in any one of the three respects
The "three respects" referred
to in this verse are changes in the colour, taste or smell of the
water. Bahá'u'lláh provides additional guidance concerning pure water
and the point at which it is considered unsuitable for use (Q and A 91).
106. God hath ... abolished the concept of "uncleanness", whereby divers things and peoples have been held to be impure.
The concept of ritual
"uncleanness", as understood and practised in some tribal societies and
in the religious communities of certain earlier Dispensations, has been
abolished by Bahá'u'lláh. He states that through His Revelation "all
created things were immersed in the sea of purification". (See also
notes 12, 20, and 103.)
107. first day of Ridván
This is a reference to the
arrival of Bahá'u'lláh and His companions in the Najíbíyyih Garden
outside the city of
Baghdád, subsequently referred to by the Bahá'ís as the
Garden of Ridván. This event, which took place thirty-one days after
Naw-Rúz, in April 1863, signalized the commencement of the period
during which Bahá'u'lláh declared His Mission to His companions. In a
Tablet, He refers to His Declaration as "the Day of supreme felicity"
and He describes the Garden of Ridván as "the Spot from which He shed
upon the whole of creation the splendours of His Name, the
All-Merciful". Bahá'u'lláh spent twelve days in this Garden prior to
departing for Istanbul, the place to which He had been banished.
Declaration of Bahá'u'lláh is celebrated annually by the twelve-day
Ridván Festival, described by Shoghi Effendi as "the holiest and most
significant of all Bahá'í festivals" (see notes 138 and 140).
108. the Bayán
The Bayán, the Mother Book of
the Bábí Dispensation, is the title given by the Báb to His Book of
Laws, and it is also applied to the entire body of His Writings. The
Persian Bayán is the major doctrinal work and principal repository of
the laws ordained by the Báb. The Arabic Bayán is parallel in content
but smaller and less weighty. When describing the Persian Bayán in God
Passes By Shoghi Effendi indicated that it should be regarded
"primarily as a eulogy of the Promised One rather than as a code of
laws and ordinances designed to be a permanent guide to future
written: "The Bayán hath been superseded by the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, except
in respect of such laws as have been confirmed and mentioned in the
109. the destruction of books
In the Tablet of Ishráqát
Bahá'u'lláh, referring to the fact that the Báb had made the laws of
the Bayán subject to His sanction, states that He put some of the Báb's
laws into effect "by embodying them in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas in different
words", while others He set aside.
With regard to the destruction
of books, the Bayán commanded the Báb's followers to destroy all books
except those that were written in vindication of the Cause and Religion
of God. Bahá'u'lláh abrogates this specific law of the Bayán.
As to the nature and severity of the laws of the Bayán, Shoghi Effendi
in a letter written on his behalf provides the following
The severe laws
and injunctions revealed by the Báb can be properly appreciated and
understood only when interpreted in the light of His own statements
regarding the nature, purpose and character of His own Dispensation. As
these statements clearly reveal, the Bábí Dispensation was essentially
in the nature of a religious and indeed social revolution, and its
duration had therefore to be short, but full of tragic events, of
sweeping and drastic reforms. Those drastic measures enforced by the
Báb and His followers were taken with the view of undermining the very
foundations of Shí'ih orthodoxy, and thus paving the way for
the coming of Bahá'u'lláh. To assert the independence of the new
Dispensation, and to prepare also the ground for the approaching
Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, the Báb had therefore to reveal very severe
laws, even though most of them were never enforced. But the mere fact
that He revealed them was in itself a proof of the independent
character of His Dispensation and was sufficient to create such
widespread agitation, and excite such opposition on the part of the
clergy that led them to cause His eventual martyrdom.
110. We have permitted you to read such sciences as are profitable unto you, not such as end in idle disputation
The Bahá'í Writings enjoin the
acquisition of knowledge and the study of the arts and sciences.
admonished to respect people of learning and accomplishment, and are
warned against the pursuit of studies that are productive only of
His Tablets Bahá'u'lláh counsels the believers to study such sciences
and arts as are "useful" and would further "the progress and
advancement" of society, and He cautions against sciences which "begin
with words and end with words", the pursuit of which leads to "idle
disputation". Shoghi Effendi, in a letter written on his behalf,
likened sciences that "begin with words and end with words" to
"fruitless excursions into metaphysical hair-splittings", and, in
another letter, he explained that what Bahá'u'lláh primarily intended
by such "sciences" are "those theological treatises and commentaries
that encumber the human mind rather than help it to attain the truth".
111. He Who held converse with God
This is a traditional Jewish
and Islamic title of Moses. Bahá'u'lláh states that with the coming of
His Revelation "human ears have been privileged to hear what He Who
conversed with God heard upon Sinai".
The mountain where the Law was revealed by God to Moses.
113. the Spirit of God
This is one of the titles used in the Islamic and Bahá'í Writings to designate Jesus Christ.
114. Carmel ... Zion
Carmel, the "Vineyard of God",
is the mountain in the Holy Land where the Shrine of the Báb and the
seat of the world administrative centre of the Faith are situated.
is a hill in Jerusalem, the traditional site of the tomb of King David,
and is symbolic of Jerusalem as a Holy City.
115. the Crimson Ark
The "Crimson Ark" refers to the
Cause of Bahá'u'lláh. His followers are designated as the "companions
of the Crimson Ark", lauded by the Báb in the Qayyúmu'l-Asá'.
O Emperor of Austria! He Who is the Dayspring of God's Light dwelt in
the prison of 'Akká at the time when thou didst set forth to visit the
Francis Joseph (Franz Josef,
1830-1916), Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary, made a pilgrimage
to Jerusalem in 1869. While in the Holy Land he failed to take the
opportunity to inquire about Bahá'u'lláh Who at that time was a
prisoner in 'Akká (Acre).
Aqsá Mosque, literally, the "Most Distant" Mosque, is referred to in
the Qur'án, and has become identified with the Temple Mount in
117. O King of Berlin!
Kaiser William I (Wilhelm
Friedrich Ludwig, 1797-1888), the seventh king of Prussia, was
acclaimed first Emperor of Germany in January 1871 at Versailles in
France, following the victory of Germany over France in the
118. the one whose power transcended thy power, and whose station excelled thy station
This is a reference to Napoleon
III (1808-1873), the Emperor of the French, who was regarded by many
historians as the most outstanding monarch of his day in the West.
addressed two Tablets to Napoleon III, in the second of which He
clearly prophesied that Napoleon's kingdom would be "thrown into
confusion", that his "empire
shall pass" from his hands, and that his people would experience great "commotions".
a year, Napoleon III suffered a resounding defeat, at the hands of
Kaiser William I, at the Battle of Sedan in 1870. He went in exile to
England, where he died three years later.
119. O people of Constantinople!
The word here translated as
"Constantinople" is, in the original, "Ar-Rúm" or "Rome". This term has
generally been used in the Middle East to designate Constantinople and
the Eastern Roman Empire, then the city of Byzantium and its empire,
and later the Ottoman Empire.
120. O Spot that art situate on the shores of the two seas!
This is a reference to
Constantinople, now called Istanbul. Located on the Bosphorus, a strait
about 31 kilometres long which links the Black Sea and the Sea of
Marmara, it is the largest city and seaport of Turkey.
was the capital of the Ottoman Empire from 1453 until 1922. During
Bahá'u'lláh's sojourn in this city, the tyrannical Sultan 'Abdu'l-'Azíz
occupied the throne. The Ottoman Sultans were also the Caliphs, the
leaders of Sunní Islám. Bahá'u'lláh anticipated the fall of the
Caliphate, which was abolished in 1924.
121. O banks of the Rhine!
In one of His Tablets written
before the First World War (1914-1918), 'Abdu'l-Bahá explained that
Bahá'u'lláh's reference to having seen the banks of the Rhine "covered
with gore" related to the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871), and that
there was more suffering to come.
God Passes By Shoghi Effendi states that the "oppressively severe
treaty" that was imposed on Germany following its defeat in the First
World War "provoked `the
lamentations'" of Berlin "which half a century before, had been ominously prophesied".
122. O Land of Tá
"Tá" is the initial letter of
Tihrán, the capital of Iran. Bahá'u'lláh has often chosen to represent
certain place names by reference to their initial letter. According to
the abjad system of reckoning, the numerical value of Tá is nine, which
equals the numerical value of the name Bahá.
123. within thee was born the Manifestation of His Glory
This is a reference to the birth of Bahá'u'lláh in Tihrán on 12 November 1817.
124. O Land of Khá!
A reference to the Iranian province of Khurásán and neighbouring areas, which include the city of Ishqábád (Ashkhabad).
125. Should anyone acquire one hundred mithqáls of gold, nineteen mithqáls thereof are God's and to be rendered unto Him
This verse establishes
Huqúqu'lláh, the Right of God, the offering of a fixed portion of the
value of the believer's possessions. This offering was made to
Bahá'u'lláh as the Manifestation of God and then, following His
Ascension, to 'Abdu'l-Bahá as the Centre of the Covenant. In His Will
and Testament, 'Abdu'l-Bahá provided that the Huqúqu'lláh was to be
offered "through the Guardian of the Cause of God". There now being no
Guardian, it is offered through the Universal House of Justice as the
Head of the Faith. This fund is used for the promotion of the Faith of
God and its interests as well as for various philanthropic purposes.
The offering of the Huqúqu'lláh is a spiritual obligation, the
fulfilment of which has been left to the conscience of each Bahá'í.
While the community is reminded of the
requirements of the law of Huqúq, no believer may be approached individually to pay it.
number of items in Questions and Answers further elaborate this law.
The payment of Huqúqu'lláh is based on the calculation of the value of
the individual's possessions. If a person has possessions equal in
value to at least nineteen mithqáls of gold (Q and A 8), it is a spiritual obligation to pay nineteen percent of the total amount, once only, as Huqúqu'lláh (Q and A 89).
Thereafter, whenever one's income, after all expenses have been paid,
increases the value of one's possessions by the amount of at least
nineteen mithqáls of gold, one is to pay nineteen percent of this increase, and so on for each further increase (Q and A 8, 90).
categories of possessions, such as one's residence, are exempt from the
payment of Huqúqu'lláh (Q and A 8, 42, 95), and specific provisions are outlined to cover cases of financial loss (Q and A 44, 45), the failure of investments to yield a profit (Q and A 102) and for the payment of Huqúq in the event of the person's death (Q and A 9, 69, 80). (In this latter case, see note 47.)
extracts from Tablets, Questions and Answers, and other Writings
concerning the spiritual significance of Huqúqu'lláh and the details of
its application have been published in a compilation entitled
Various petitions have come before Our throne from the believers,
concerning laws from God... We have, in consequence, revealed this Holy
Tablet and arrayed it with the mantle of His Law that haply the people
may keep the commandments of their Lord.
"For a number of years",
Bahá'u'lláh states in one of His Tablets, "petitions reached the Most
Holy Presence from various lands begging for the laws of God, but We
held back the Pen ere the appointed time had come." Not until twenty
years from the birth of His Prophetic Mission in the Síyáh-Chál of Tihrán
had elapsed did Bahá'u'lláh reveal the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, the Repository of
the laws of His Dispensation. Even after its revelation the Aqdas was
withheld by Him for some time before it was sent to the friends in
Persia. This divinely purposed delay in the revelation of the basic
laws of God for this age, and the subsequent gradual implementation of
their provisions, illustrate the principle of progressive revelation
which applies even within the ministry of each Prophet.
127. crimson Spot
This is a reference to the
prison-city of 'Akká. In the Bahá'í Writings the word "crimson" is used
in several allegorical and symbolic senses. (See also note 115.)
128. the Sadratu'l-Muntahá
Literally "the furthermost
Lote-Tree", translated by Shoghi Effendi as "the Tree beyond which
there is no passing". This is used as a symbol in Islám, for example in
the accounts of Muhammad's Night Journey, to mark the point in the
heavens beyond which neither men nor angels can pass in their approach
to God, and thus to delimit the bounds of divine knowledge as revealed
to mankind. Hence it is often used in the Bahá'í Writings to designate
the Manifestation of God Himself. (See also note 164.)
129. the Mother Book
The term "Mother Book" is
generally used to designate the central Book of a religious
Dispensation. In the Qur'án and Islamic Hadíth, the term is used
to describe the Qur'án itself. In the Bábí Dispensation, the Bayán is
the Mother Book, and the Kitáb-i-Aqdas is the Mother Book of the
Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh. Further, the Guardian in a letter written
on his behalf has stated that this concept can
also be used as a "collective term indicating the body of the Teachings
revealed by Bahá'u'lláh". This term is also used in a broader sense to
signify the Divine Repository of Revelation.
130. Whoso interpreteth what hath been sent down from the heaven of Revelation, and altereth its evident meaning
In several of His Tablets,
Bahá'u'lláh affirms the distinction between allegorical verses, which
are susceptible to interpretation, and those verses that relate to such
subjects as the laws and ordinances, worship and religious observances,
whose meanings are evident and which demand compliance on the part of
As explained in notes 145 and 184,
Bahá'u'lláh designated 'Abdu'l-Bahá, His eldest Son, as His Successor
and the Interpreter of His Teachings. 'Abdu'l-Bahá in His turn
appointed His eldest grandson, Shoghi Effendi, to succeed Him as
interpreter of the holy Writ and Guardian of the Cause. The
interpretations of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi are considered
divinely guided and are binding on the Bahá'ís.
existence of authoritative interpretations does not preclude the
individual from engaging in the study of the Teachings and thereby
arriving at a personal interpretation or understanding. A clear
distinction is, however, drawn in the Bahá'í Writings between
authoritative interpretation and the understanding that each individual
arrives at from a study of its Teachings. Individual interpretations
based on a person's understanding of the Teachings constitute the fruit
of man's rational power and may well contribute to a greater
comprehension of the Faith. Such views, nevertheless, lack authority.
In presenting their personal ideas, individuals are cautioned not to
discard the authority of the revealed words, not to deny or contend
with the authoritative interpretation, and not to engage in
controversy; rather they should
offer their thoughts as a contribution to knowledge, making it clear that their views are merely their own.
131. approach not the public pools of Persian baths
Bahá'u'lláh prohibits the use
of the pools found in the traditional public bath-houses of Persia. In
these baths it was the custom for many people to wash themselves in the
same pool and for the water to be changed at infrequent intervals.
Consequently, the water was discoloured, befouled and unhygienic, and
had a highly offensive stench.
132. Avoid ye likewise the malodorous pools in the courtyards of Persian homes
Most houses in Persia used to
have a pool in their courtyard which served as a reservoir for water
used for cleaning, washing and other domestic purposes. Since the water
in the pool was stagnant and was not usually changed for weeks at a
time, it tended to develop a very unpleasant odour.
133. It is forbidden you to wed your fathers' wives.
Marriage with one's stepmother
is here explicitly prohibited. This prohibition also applies to
marrying one's stepfather. Where Bahá'u'lláh has expressed a law
between a man and a woman it applies mutatis mutandis as between a
woman and a man unless the context should make this impossible.
and Shoghi Effendi confirmed that, while stepmothers are the only
category of relatives mentioned in the text, this does not mean that
all other unions within a family are permissible. Bahá'u'lláh states
that it devolves upon the House of Justice to legislate "concerning the
legitimacy or otherwise of marrying one's relatives" (Q and A 50). 'Abdu'l-Bahá has written that the more distant the blood-relationship between the couple the
better, since such marriages provide the basis for the physical
well-being of humanity and are conducive to fellowship among mankind.
134. the subject of boys
The word translated here as
"boys" has, in this context, in the Arabic original, the implication of
paederasty. Shoghi Effendi has interpreted this reference as a
prohibition on all homosexual relations.
Bahá'í teachings on sexual morality centre on marriage and the family
as the bedrock of the whole structure of human society and are designed
to protect and strengthen that divine institution. Bahá'í law thus
restricts permissible sexual intercourse to that between a man and the
woman to whom he is married.
a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi it is
No matter how
devoted and fine the love may be between people of the same sex, to let
it find expression in sexual acts is wrong. To say that it is ideal is
no excuse. Immorality of every sort is really forbidden by Bahá'u'lláh,
and homosexual relationships He looks upon as such, besides being
against nature. To be afflicted this way is a great burden to a
conscientious soul. But through the advice and help of doctors, through
a strong and determined effort, and through prayer, a soul can overcome
Bahá'u'lláh makes provision for
the Universal House of Justice to determine, according to the degree of
the offence, penalties for adultery and sodomy (Q and A 49).
135. To none is it permitted to mutter sacred verses before the public gaze as he walketh in the street or marketplace
This is an allusion to the
practice of certain clerics and religious leaders of earlier
Dispensations who, out of
hypocrisy and affectation, and in order to win the praise of their
followers, would ostentatiously mutter prayers in public places as a
demonstration of their piety. Bahá'u'lláh forbids such behaviour and
stresses the importance of humility and genuine devotion to God.
136. Unto everyone hath been enjoined the writing of a will.
According to the Teachings of
Bahá'u'lláh, the individual has a duty to write a will and testament,
and is free to dispose of his estate in whatever manner he chooses (see
affirms that in drawing up his will "a person hath full jurisdiction
over his property", since God has permitted the individual "to deal
with that which He hath bestowed upon him in whatever manner he may
desire" (Q and A 69). Provisions are set out in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas for the distribution of inheritance in the case of intestacy. (See notes 38-48.)
137. the Most Great Name
As explained in note 33,
the Greatest Name of God can take various forms, all based on the word
"Bahá". The Bahá'ís in the East have implemented this injunction of the
Aqdas by heading their wills with such phrases as "O Thou Glory of the
All-Glorious", "In the name of God, the All-Glorious" or "He is the
All-Glorious" and the like.
All Feasts have attained their consummation in the two Most Great
Festivals, and in the two other Festivals that fall on the twin days
This passage establishes four
great festivals of the Bahá'í year. The two designated by Bahá'u'lláh
as "the two Most Great Festivals" are, first, the Festival of Ridván,
which commemorates Bahá'u'lláh's Declaration of His Prophetic Mission
in the Garden of Ridván in Baghdád during twelve days in April/May 1863 and is referred to by Him as "the
King of Festivals" and, second, the Báb's Declaration, which occurred in May 1844 in Shíráz. The first, ninth and twelfth days of the Festival of Ridván are Holy Days (Q and A 1), as is the day of the Declaration of the Báb.
"two other Festivals" are the anniversaries of the births of
Bahá'u'lláh and the Báb. In the Muslim lunar calendar these fall on
consecutive days, the birth of Bahá'u'lláh on the second day of the
month of Muharram 1233 A.H. (12 November 1817), and the birth of the
Báb on the first day of the same month 1235 A.H. (20 October 1819),
respectively. They are thus referred to as the "Twin Birthdays" and
Bahá'u'lláh states that these two days are accounted as one in the
sight of God (Q and A 2). He states that, should they fall within the month of fasting, the command to fast shall not apply on those days (Q and A 36). Given that the Bahá'í calendar (see notes 26 and 147)
is a solar calendar, it remains for the Universal House of Justice to
determine whether the Twin Holy Birthdays are to be celebrated on a
solar or lunar basis.
139. the first day of the month of Bahá
In the Bahá'í calendar the
first month of the year and the first day of each month are given the
name "Bahá". The day of Bahá of the month of Bahá is thus the Bahá'í
New Year, Naw-Rúz, which was ordained by the Báb as a festival and is
here confirmed by Bahá'u'lláh (see notes 26 and 147).
addition to the seven Holy Days ordained in these passages of the
Kitáb-i-Aqdas, the anniversary of the Martyrdom of the Báb was also
commemorated as a Holy Day in the lifetime of Bahá'u'lláh and, as a
corollary to this, 'Abdu'l-Bahá added the observance of the Ascension
of Bahá'u'lláh, making nine Holy Days in all. Two other anniversaries
which are observed, but on which work is not suspended, are the Day of
the Covenant and the anniversary of the Passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. See
the section on the Bahá'í calendar in The Bahá'í World, volume XVIII.
140. The Most Great Festival is, indeed, the King of Festivals
A reference to the Ridván Festival (see notes 107 and 138).
God had formerly laid upon each one of the believers the duty of
offering before Our throne priceless gifts from among his possessions.
Now ... We have absolved them of this obligation.
This passage abrogates a
provision of the Bayán which decreed that all objects unparalleled of
their kind should, upon the appearance of Him Whom God will make
manifest, be rendered unto Him. The Báb explained that, since the
Manifestation of God is beyond compare, whatever is peerless in its
kind should rightfully be reserved for Him, unless He decrees otherwise.
142. the hour of dawn
With reference to attending dawn prayers in the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár,
the Bahá'í House of Worship, Bahá'u'lláh has explained that, although
the actual time specified in the Book of God is "the hour of dawn", it
is acceptable at any time from "the earliest dawn of day, between dawn
and sunrise, or even up to two hours after sunrise" (Q and A 15).
These Tablets are embellished with the seal of Him Who causeth the dawn
to appear, Who lifteth up His voice between the heavens and the earth.
Bahá'u'lláh repeatedly affirms
the absolute integrity of His Writings as the Word of God. Some of His
Tablets also bear the mark of one of His seals. The Bahá'í World,
volume V, p. 4, contains a photograph of a number of Bahá'u'lláh's
144. It is inadmissible that man, who hath been endowed with reason, should consume that which stealeth it away.
There are many references in the Bahá'í Writings which
prohibit the use of wine and other intoxicating drinks and which
describe the deleterious effect of such intoxicants on the individual.
In one of His Tablets, Bahá'u'lláh states:
lest ye exchange the Wine of God for your own wine, for it will stupefy
your minds, and turn your faces away from the Countenance of God, the
All-Glorious, the Peerless, the Inaccessible. Approach it not, for it
hath been forbidden unto you by the behest of God, the Exalted, the
'Abdu'l-Bahá explains that the
Aqdas prohibits "both light and strong drinks", and He states that the
reason for prohibiting the use of alcoholic drinks is because "alcohol
leadeth the mind astray and causeth the weakening of the body".
Effendi, in letters written on his behalf, states that this prohibition
includes not only the consumption of wine but of "everything that
deranges the mind", and he clarifies that the use of alcohol is
permitted only when it constitutes part of a medical treatment which is
implemented "under the advice of a competent and conscientious
physician, who may have to prescribe it for the cure of some special
145. turn your faces toward Him Whom God hath purposed, Who hath branched from this Ancient Root
Bahá'u'lláh here alludes to
'Abdu'l-Bahá as His Successor and calls upon the believers to turn
towards Him. In the Book of the Covenant, His Will and Testament,
Bahá'u'lláh discloses the intention of this verse. He states: "The
object of this sacred verse is none other except the Most Mighty
Branch." The "Most Mighty Branch" is one of the titles conferred by
Bahá'u'lláh on 'Abdu'l-Bahá. (See also notes 66 and 184.)
146. In the Bayán it had been forbidden you to ask Us questions.
The Báb forbade His followers
to ask questions of Him Whom God will make manifest (Bahá'u'lláh),
questions were submitted in writing and pertained to subjects worthy of
His lofty station. See Selections from the Writings of the Báb.
removes this prohibition of the Báb. He invites the believers to ask
such questions as they "need to ask", and He cautions them to refrain
from posing "idle questions" of the kind which preoccupied "the men of
147. The number of months in a year, appointed in the Book of God, is nineteen.
The Bahá'í year, in accordance
with the Badí' calendar, consists of nineteen months of nineteen days
each, with the addition of certain intercalary days (four in an
ordinary year and five in a leap year) between the eighteenth and
nineteenth months in order to adjust the calendar to the solar year.
The Báb named the months after certain attributes of God. The Bahá'í
New Year, Naw-Rúz, is astronomically fixed, coinciding with the March
equinox (see note 26). For further details,
including the names of the days of the week and the months, see the
section on the Bahá'í calendar in The Bahá'í World, volume XVIII.
148. the first hath been adorned with this Name which overshadoweth the whole of creation
In the Persian Bayán, the Báb
bestowed the name "Bahá" on the first month of the year (see note 139).
149. The Lord hath decreed that the dead should be interred in coffins
In the Bayán, the Báb
prescribed that the deceased should be interred in a coffin made of
crystal or polished stone. Shoghi Effendi, in a letter written on his
behalf, explained that the significance of this provision was to show
respect for the human body which "was once exalted by the immortal soul
In brief, the Bahá'í law for
the burial of the dead states that it is forbidden to carry the body
for more than one hour's journey from the place of death; that the body
should be wrapped in a shroud of silk or cotton, and on its finger
should be placed a ring bearing the inscription "I came forth from God,
and return unto Him, detached from all save Him, holding fast to His
Name, the Merciful, the Compassionate"; and that the coffin should be
of crystal, stone or hard fine wood. A specific Prayer for the Dead
(see note 10) is ordained, to be said before
interment. As affirmed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the Guardian, this law
precludes cremation of the dead. The formal prayer and the ring are
meant to be used for those who have attained the age of maturity, i.e.
15 years of age (Q and A 70).
regard to the material from which the coffin is to be made, the spirit
of the law is that coffins should be of as durable a material as
possible. Hence, the Universal House of Justice has explained that, in
addition to the materials specified in the Aqdas, there is no objection
to using the hardest wood available or concrete for the casket. For the
present, the Bahá'ís are left free to make their own choices in this
150. the Point of the Bayán
The "Point of the Bayán" is one of the titles by which the Báb referred to Himself.
151. the deceased should be enfolded in five sheets of silk or cotton
In the Bayán, the Báb specified
that the body of the deceased should be wrapped in five sheets of silk
or cotton. Bahá'u'lláh confirmed this provision and added the
stipulation that for "those whose means are limited a single sheet of
either fabric will suffice".
asked whether the "five sheets" mentioned in the law referred to "five
full-length shrouds" or "five cloths which were hitherto customarily
used", Bahá'u'lláh responded
that the intention is the "use of five cloths" (Q and A 56).
the way in which the body should be wrapped, there is nothing in the
Bahá'í Writings to define how the wrapping of the body is to be done,
either when "five cloths" are used or only "a single sheet". At
present, the Bahá'ís are free to use their judgement in the matter.
152. It is forbidden you to transport the body of the deceased a greater distance than one hour's journey from the city
The intention of this command
is to limit the duration of the journey to one hour's time,
irrespective of the means of transport that are chosen to carry the
body to the burial site. Bahá'u'lláh affirms that the sooner the burial
takes place, "the more fitting and acceptable will it be" (Q and A 16).
place of death may be taken to encompass the city or town in which the
person passes away, and therefore the one hour's journey may be
calculated from the city limits to the place of burial. The spirit of
Bahá'u'lláh's law is for the deceased to be buried near where he or she
153. God hath removed the restrictions on travel that had been imposed in the Bayán.
The Báb decreed certain
restrictions on travel which were to remain in force until the advent
of the Promised One of the Bayán, at which time the believers were
instructed to set out, even if on foot, to meet Him, since the
attainment of His presence was the fruit and purpose of their very
Raise up and exalt the two Houses in the Twin Hallowed Spots, and the
other sites wherein the throne of your Lord ... hath been established.
Bahá'u'lláh identifies the "two Houses" as His House in Baghdád, designated by Him as the "Most Great House", and the House of the Báb in Shíráz, both of which have been
ordained by Him as sites of pilgrimage. (See Q and A 29, 32 and note 54.)
Effendi explained that "the other sites wherein the throne of your Lord
... hath been established" refers to those places where the Person of
the Manifestation of God has resided. Bahá'u'lláh states that "the
people of the areas where these are situated may choose to preserve
either each house" wherein He resided, "or one of them" (Q and A 32).
Bahá'í institutions have identified, documented, and where possible,
acquired and restored a number of the historical sites associated with
the Twin Manifestations.
155. Take heed lest ye be prevented by aught that hath been recorded in the Book from hearkening unto this, the Living Book
The "Book" is the record of the
revealed Word of the Manifestations of God. The "Living Book" is a
reference to the Person of the Manifestation.
words contain an allusion to a statement of the Báb in the Persian
Bayán about the "Living Book", which He identifies as Him Whom God will
make manifest. In one of His Tablets Bahá'u'lláh Himself states: "The
Book of God hath been sent down in the form of this Youth."
In this verse of the Aqdas, and again in paragraph 168
of the Aqdas, Bahá'u'lláh refers to Himself as the "Living Book". He
cautions the "followers of every other Faith" against seeking "reasons
in their Holy Books" for refuting the utterances of the "Living Book".
He admonishes the people not to allow what has been recorded in the
"Book" to prevent them from recognising His Station and from holding
fast to what is in this new Revelation.
156. tribute to this Revelation, from the Pen of Him Who was My Herald
The "tribute" that Bahá'u'lláh quotes in this passage is from the Arabic Bayán.
157. "The Qiblih is indeed He Whom God will make
manifest; whenever He moveth, it moveth, until He shall come to rest."
For a discussion of this verse see notes 7 and 8.
It is unlawful to enter into marriage save with a believer in the
Bayán. Should only one party to a marriage embrace this Cause, his or
her possessions will become unlawful to the other
The passage of the Bayán which
Bahá'u'lláh here quotes draws the attention of the believers to the
imminence of the coming of "Him Whom God will make manifest". Its
prohibition of marriage with a non-Bábí and its provision that the
property of a husband or wife who embraced the Faith could not lawfully
pass to the non-Bábí spouse were explicitly held in abeyance by the
Báb, and were subsequently annulled by Bahá'u'lláh before they could
come into effect. Bahá'u'lláh, in quoting this law, points to the fact
that, in revealing it, the Báb had clearly anticipated the possibility
that the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh would rise to prominence before that of
the Báb Himself.
In God Passes
By Shoghi Effendi points out that the Bayán "should be regarded
primarily as a eulogy of the Promised One rather than a code of laws
and ordinances designed to be a permanent guide to future generations".
"Designedly severe in the rules and regulations it imposed," he
continues, "revolutionizing in the principles it instilled, calculated
to awaken from their age-long torpor the clergy and the people, and to
administer a sudden and fatal blow to obsolete and corrupt
institutions, it proclaimed, through its drastic provisions, the advent
of the anticipated Day, the Day when `the Summoner shall summon to a
stern business', when He will `demolish whatever hath been before Him,
even as the Apostle of God demolished the ways of those that preceded
Him'" (see also note 109).
159. The Point of the Bayán
One of the titles of the Báb.
160. Verily, there is none other God besides Me
The Bahá'í Writings contain
many passages that elucidate the nature of the Manifestation and His
relationship to God. Bahá'u'lláh underlines the unique and transcendent
nature of the Godhead. He explains that "since there can be no tie of
direct intercourse to bind the one true God with His creation" God
ordains that "in every age and dispensation a pure and stainless Soul
be made manifest in the kingdoms of earth and heaven". This "mysterious
and ethereal Being", the Manifestation of God, has a human nature which
pertains to "the world of matter" and a spiritual nature "born of the
substance of God Himself". He is also endowed with a "double station":
The first station, which is related to His innermost reality,
representeth Him as One Whose voice is the voice of God Himself... The
second station is the human station, exemplified by the following
verses: "I am but a man like you." "Say, praise be to my Lord! Am I
more than a man, an apostle?"
Bahá'u'lláh also affirms that,
in the spiritual realm, there is an "essential unity" between all the
Manifestations of God. They all reveal the "Beauty of God", manifest
His names and attributes, and give utterance to His Revelation. In this
regard, He states:
Were any of the all-embracing
Manifestations of God to declare: "I am God", He, verily, speaketh the
truth, and no doubt attacheth thereto. For it hath been repeatedly
demonstrated that through their Revelation, their attributes and names,
the Revelation of God, His names and His attributes, are made manifest
in the world...
While the Manifestations reveal
the names and attributes of God and are the means by which humanity has
access to the knowledge of God and His Revelation, Shoghi Effendi
states that the Manifestations should "never ... be identified with
that invisible Reality, the Essence of Divinity itself". In relation to
Bahá'u'lláh, the Guardian wrote that the "human temple that has been
the vehicle of
so overpowering a Revelation" is not to be identified with the "Reality" of God.
the uniqueness of Bahá'u'lláh's station and the greatness of His
Revelation, Shoghi Effendi affirms that the prophetic statements
concerning the "Day of God", found in the Sacred Scriptures of past
Dispensations, are fulfilled by the advent of Bahá'u'lláh:
To Israel He was
neither more nor less than the incarnation of the "Everlasting Father",
the "Lord of Hosts" come down "with ten thousands of saints"; to
Christendom Christ returned "in the glory of the Father"; to Shí'ah
Islám the return of the Imám Husayn; to Sunní Islám the descent of the
"Spirit of God" (Jesus Christ); to the Zoroastrians the promised Sháh-Bahram; to the Hindus the reincarnation of Krishna; to the Buddhists the fifth Buddha.
Bahá'u'lláh describes the
station of "Divinity" which He shares with all the Manifestations of
station in which one dieth to himself and liveth in God. Divinity,
whenever I mention it, indicateth My complete and absolute
self-effacement. This is the station in which I have no control over
mine own weal or woe nor over my life nor over my resurrection.
And, regarding His own relationship to God, He testifies:
I contemplate, O my God, the relationship that bindeth me to Thee, I am
moved to proclaim to all created things "verily I am God"; and when I
consider my own self, lo, I find it coarser than clay!
161. payment of Zakát
Zakát is referred to in the
Qur'án as a regular charity binding upon Muslims. In due course the
concept evolved into a form of alms-tax which imposed the obligation to
give a fixed portion of certain categories of income, beyond specified
limits, for the relief of the poor, for various charitable purposes,
and to aid the Faith of God. The limit
of exemption varied for different commodities, as did the percentage payable on the portion assessable.
states that the Bahá'í law of Zakát follows "what hath been revealed in
the Qur'án" (Q and A 107). Since such issues as
the limits for exemption, the categories of income concerned, the
frequency of payments, and the scale of rates for the various
categories of Zakát are not mentioned in the Qur'án, these matters will
have to be set forth in the future by the Universal House of Justice.
Shoghi Effendi has indicated that pending such legislation the
believers should, according to their means and possibilities, make
regular contributions to the Bahá'í Fund.
162. It is unlawful to beg, and it is forbidden to give to him who beggeth.
In a Tablet 'Abdu'l-Bahá
expounds the meaning of this verse. He states that "mendicancy is
forbidden and that giving charity to people who take up begging as
their profession is also prohibited". He further points out in that
same Tablet: "The object is to uproot mendicancy altogether. However,
if a person is incapable of earning a living, is stricken by dire
poverty or becometh helpless, then it is incumbent on the wealthy or
the Deputies to provide him with a monthly allowance for his
subsistence... By `Deputies' is meant the representatives of the
people, that is to say the members of the House of Justice."
prohibition against giving charity to people who beg does not preclude
individuals and Spiritual Assemblies from extending financial
assistance to the poor and needy or from providing them with
opportunities to acquire such skills as would enable them to earn a
livelihood (see note 56).
163. A fine ... had formerly been prescribed ... for anyone who was the cause of sadness to another
Bahá'u'lláh abrogates the law
of the Persian Bayán concerning the payment of a fine in reparation for
causing sadness to one's neighbour.
164. the sacred Lote-Tree
The "sacred Lote-Tree" is a
reference to the Sadratu'l-Muntahá, the "Tree beyond which there is no
passing" (see note 128). It is used here symbolically to designate Bahá'u'lláh.
165. Recite ye the verses of God every morn and eventide.
Bahá'u'lláh states that the
essential "requisite" for reciting "the verses of God" is the
"eagerness and love" of the believers to "read the Word of God" (Q and
regard to the definition of "verses of God", Bahá'u'lláh states that it
refers to "all that hath been sent down from the Heaven of Divine
Utterance". Shoghi Effendi, in a letter written to one of the believers
in the East, has clarified that the term "verses of God" does not
include the writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá; he has likewise indicated that
this term does not apply to his own writings.
166. Ye have been enjoined to renew the furnishings of your homes after the passing of each nineteen years
Bahá'u'lláh confirms the
injunction in the Arabic Bayán regarding the renewal, every nineteen
years, of the furnishings of one's home, provided one is able to do so.
'Abdu'l-Bahá relates this ordinance to the promotion of refinement and
cleanliness. He explains that the purpose of the law is that one should
change those furnishings that become old, lose their lustre and provoke
repugnance. It does not apply to such things as rare or treasured
articles, antiques or jewellery.
167. Wash your feet
The believers are exhorted in
the Kitáb-i-Aqdas to bathe regularly, to wear clean clothes and
generally to be the essence of cleanliness and refinement. The Synopsis
and Codification, section IV.D.3.y.i.-vii., summarizes the relevant
provisions. In relation to the washing of the feet, Bahá'u'lláh states
that it is preferable to use warm water; however, washing in cold water
is also permissible (Q and A 97).
Ye have been prohibited from making use of pulpits. Whoso wisheth to
recite unto you the verses of his Lord, let him sit on a chair placed
upon a dais
These provisions have their
antecedent in the Persian Bayán. The Báb forbade the use of pulpits for
the delivery of sermons and the reading of the Text. He specified,
instead, that to enable all to hear the Word of God clearly, a chair
for the speaker should be placed upon a platform.
comments on this law, 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi have made it
clear that in the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár (where sermons are
prohibited and only the words of Holy Scripture may be read) the reader
may stand or sit, and if necessary to be better heard, may use a low
moveable platform, but that no pulpit is permitted. In the case of
meetings in places other than the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, it is also
permissible for the reader or speaker to sit or stand, and to use a
platform. In one of His Tablets, when reiterating the prohibition of
the use of pulpits in any location, 'Abdu'l-Bahá has stressed that when
Bahá'ís deliver their speeches in gatherings, they are to do so in an
attitude of utmost humility and self-abnegation.
The activities that are
included in this prohibition have not been outlined in the Writings of
Bahá'u'lláh. As both 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi have indicated, it
is left to the Universal House of Justice to specify the details of
this prohibition. In response to questions about whether lotteries,
betting on such things as horse races and football games, bingo, and
the like, are included under the prohibition of gambling, the Universal
House of Justice has
indicated that this is a matter that will be considered in detail in
the future. In the meantime, the Assemblies and individuals are
counselled not to make an issue of these matters and to leave it to the
conscience of the individual believers.
House of Justice has ruled that it is not appropriate for funds for the
Faith to be raised through lotteries, raffles, and games of chance.
170. the use of opium ... any substance that induceth sluggishness and torpor
This prohibition of the use of opium is reiterated by Bahá'u'lláh in the final paragraph
of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. In this connection, Shoghi Effendi stated that
one of the requirements for "a chaste and holy life" is "total
abstinence ... from opium, and from similar habit-forming drugs".
Heroin, hashish and other derivatives of cannabis such as marijuana, as
well as hallucinogenic agents such as LSD, peyote and similar
substances, are regarded as falling under this prohibition.
'Abdu'l-Bahá has written:
As to opium, it is foul and accursed. God protect us from the
punishment He inflicteth on the user. According to the explicit Text of
the Most Holy Book, it is forbidden, and its use is utterly condemned.
Reason showeth that smoking opium is a kind of insanity, and experience
attesteth that the user is completely cut off from the human kingdom.
May God protect all against the perpetration of an act so hideous as
this, an act which layeth in ruins the very foundation of what it is to
be human, and which causeth the user to be dispossessed for ever and
ever. For opium fasteneth on the soul so that the user's conscience
dieth, his mind is blotted away, his perceptions are eroded. It turneth
the living into the dead. It quencheth the natural heat. No greater
harm can be conceived than that which opium inflicteth. Fortunate are
they who never even speak the name of it; then think how wretched is
O ye lovers of God! In this, the cycle of Almighty God,
violence and force, constraint and oppression, are one and all
condemned. It is, however, mandatory that the use of opium be prevented
by any means whatsoever, that perchance the human race may be delivered
from this most powerful of plagues. And otherwise, woe and misery to
whoso falleth short of his duty to his Lord.
In one of His Tablets
'Abdu'l-Bahá has stated concerning opium: "the user, the buyer and the
seller are all deprived of the bounty and grace of God".
In yet another Tablet, 'Abdu'l-Bahá has written:
hashish you have pointed out that some Persians have become habituated
to its use. Gracious God! This is the worst of all intoxicants, and its
prohibition is explicitly revealed. Its use causeth the disintegration
of thought and the complete torpor of the soul. How could anyone seek
the fruit of the infernal tree, and by partaking of it, be led to
exemplify the qualities of a monster? How could one use this forbidden
drug, and thus deprive himself of the blessings of the All-Merciful?
consumeth the mind and causeth man to commit acts of absurdity, but
this opium, this foul fruit of the infernal tree, and this wicked
hashish extinguish the mind, freeze the spirit, petrify the soul, waste
the body and leave man frustrated and lost.
It should be noted that the
above prohibition against taking certain classes of drugs does not
forbid their use when prescribed by qualified physicians as part of a
171. the "mystery of the Great Reversal in the Sign of the Sovereign"
Shaykh Ahmad-i-Ahsá'í (1753-1831), who was the founder of the Shaykhi
School and the first of the "twin luminaries that heralded the advent
of the Faith of the Báb", prophesied that at the appearance of the
Promised One all things would be reversed, the last would be first, the
last. Bahá'u'lláh in one of His Tablets refers to the "symbol and
allusion" of the "mystery of the Great Reversal in the Sign of the
Sovereign". He states: "Through this reversal He hath caused the
exalted to be abased and the abased to be exalted", and He recalls that
"in the days of Jesus, it was those who were distinguished for their
learning, the men of letters and religion, who denied Him, whilst
humble fishermen made haste to gain admittance into the Kingdom" (see
also note 172). For additional information about Shaykh Ahmad-i-Ahsá'í see The Dawn-Breakers, chapters 1 and 10.
172. the "Six" raised up by virtue of this "Upright Alif"
In his writings, Shaykh Ahmad-i-Ahsá'í placed great emphasis on the Arabic letter "Váv". In The Dawn-Breakers,
Nabíl states that this letter "symbolized for the Báb the advent of a
new cycle of Divine Revelation, and has since been alluded to by
Bahá'u'lláh in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas in such passages as `the mystery of the Great Reversal' and `the Sign of the Sovereign'".
name for the letter "Váv" consists of three letters: Váv, Alif, Váv.
According to the abjad reckoning, the numerical value of each of these
letters is 6, 1 and 6 respectively. Shoghi Effendi in a letter written
on his behalf to one of the believers in the East provides an
interpretation of this verse of the Aqdas. He states that the "Upright
Alif" refers to the advent of the Báb. The first letter with its value
of six, which comes before the Alif, is a symbol of earlier
Dispensations and Manifestations which predate the Báb, while the third
letter, which also has a numerical value of six, stands for
Bahá'u'lláh's supreme Revelation which was made manifest after the Alif.
173. It hath been forbidden you to carry arms unless essential
Bahá'u'lláh confirms an
injunction contained in the Bayán which makes it unlawful to carry
arms, unless it is necessary
to do so. With regard to circumstances under which the bearing of arms
might be "essential" for an individual, 'Abdu'l-Bahá gives permission
to a believer for self-protection in a dangerous environment. Shoghi
Effendi in a letter written on his behalf has also indicated that, in
an emergency, when there is no legal force at hand to appeal to, a
Bahá'í is justified in defending his life. There are a number of other
situations in which weapons are needed and can be legitimately used;
for instance, in countries where people hunt for their food and
clothing, and in such sports as archery, marksmanship, and fencing.
the societal level, the principle of collective security enunciated by
Bahá'u'lláh (see Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, CXVII) and
elaborated by Shoghi Effendi (see the Guardian's letters in The World
Order of Bahá'u'lláh) does not presuppose the abolition of the use of
force, but prescribes "a system in which Force is made the servant of
Justice", and which provides for the existence of an international
peace-keeping force that "will safeguard the organic unity of the whole
commonwealth". In the Tablet of Bishárát, Bahá'u'lláh expresses
the hope that "weapons of war throughout the world may be converted
into instruments of reconstruction and that strife and conflict may be
removed from the midst of men".
another Tablet Bahá'u'lláh stresses the importance of fellowship with
the followers of all religions; He also states that "the law of holy
war hath been blotted out from the Book".
174. and permitted you to attire yourselves in silk
According to Islamic practice,
the wearing of silk by men was generally forbidden, except in times of
holy war. This prohibition, which was not based on the verses of the
Qur'án, was abrogated by the Báb.
175. The Lord hath relieved you ... of the restrictions that formerly applied to clothing and to the trim of the beard.
Many rules about dress had
their origins in the laws and traditional practices of the world's
religions. For example, the Shí'ih clergy adopted for
themselves a distinctive headdress and robes and, at one time, forbade
the people to adopt European attire. Muslim practice, in its desire to
emulate the custom of the Prophet, also introduced a number of
restrictions with regard to the trim of the moustache and the length of
such limitations on one's apparel and beard. He leaves such matters to
the "discretion" of the individual, and at the same time calls upon the
believers not to transgress the bounds of propriety and to exercise
moderation in all that pertains to dress.
176. O Land of Káf and Rá!
Káf and Rá are the first two consonants of Kirmán, the name of a city and province of Iran.
177. We perceive that which secretly and stealthily diffuseth from thee.
This passage is a reference to
the intrigues of a group of Azalís, followers of Mírzá Yahyá (see note 190), associated with the city of Kirmán. They include Mullá Ja'far, his son Shaykh Ahmad-i-Rúhí and Mírzá Áqá Khán-i-Kirmání
(both sons-in-law of Mírzá Yahyá), as well as Mírzá Ahmad-i-Kirmání.
They not only sought to undermine the Faith, but involved themselves in
political intrigues which culminated in the assassination of
178. Call ye to mind the shaykh whose name was Muhammad-Hasan
Shaykh Muhammad-Hasan, one of the leading exponents of Shí'ih Islám, rejected the Báb. The author of voluminous
writings on Shí'ih jurisprudence, he is reported to have died around 1850.
Nabíl, in The Dawn-Breakers, describes the encounter that took place in Najaf between Mullá Alíy-i-Bastamí, one of the Letters of the Living, and Shaykh
Muhammad-Hasan. During the meeting, Mullá 'Alí announced the
manifestation of the Báb and extolled the potency of His Revelation. At
the instigation of the shaykh, Mullá 'Alí was forthwith
pronounced a heretic and expelled from the assembly. He was put on
trial, transported to Istanbul, and condemned to hard labour.
179. a sifter of wheat and barley
This is an allusion to Mullá
Muhammad Ja'far Gandum-Pák-Kun, the first person in Isfahán to accept
the Faith of the Báb. He is mentioned in the Persian Bayán and praised
as one who "donned the robe of discipleship". In The Dawn-Breakers,
Nabíl describes the unreserved acceptance of the Message by the "sifter
of wheat" and his zealous advocacy of the new Revelation. He joined the
company of the defenders of the Fort of Shaykh Tábarsi and perished during that siege.
180. Take heed lest the word "Prophet" withhold you from this Most Great Announcement
Bahá'u'lláh cautions people "of
insight" not to allow their interpretations of the Holy Scriptures to
prevent them from recognizing the Manifestation of God. Followers of
each religion have tended to allow their devotion to its Founder to
cause them to perceive His Revelation as the final Word of God and to
deny the possibility of the appearance of any subsequent Prophet. This
has been the case of Judaism, Christianity and Islám. Bahá'u'lláh
denies the validity of this concept of finality both in relation to
past Dispensations and to His own. With regard to Muslims, He wrote in
the Kitáb-i-Íqán that the "people of the Qur'án ... have allowed the words `Seal of the Prophets' to veil their eyes", "to obscure their
understanding, and deprive them of the grace of all His manifold
bounties". He affirms that "this theme hath ... been a sore test unto
all mankind", and laments the fate of "those who, clinging unto these
words, have disbelieved in Him Who is their true Revealer". The Báb
refers to this same theme when He warns: "Let not names shut you out as
by a veil from Him Who is their Lord, even the name Prophet, for such a
name is but a creation of His utterance."
181. any reference to "Vicegerency" debar you from the sovereignty of Him Who is the Vicegerent of God
The word here translated
"Vicegerency" is, in the original Arabic, "viláyat", which has a range
of meanings including "vicegerency", "guardianship", "protectorship"
and "successorship". It is used in relation to God Himself, to His
Manifestation, or to those who are the appointed Successors of a
In this verse
of the Aqdas, Bahá'u'lláh warns against allowing such concepts to blind
one to the "sovereignty" of the new Divine Manifestation, the true
"Vicegerent of God".
182. Call ye to mind Karím
Hájí Mírzá Muhammad Karím
Khán-i-Kirmání (1810- circa 1873) was the self-appointed leader of the Shaykhí community after the death of Siyyid Kázim, who was the appointed successor to Shaykh Ahmad-i-Ahsá'í (see notes 171 and 172). He dedicated himself to the promotion of the teachings of Shaykh Ahmad. The opinions he expressed became the subject of controversy among his supporters and opponents alike.
as one of the leading savants and prolific authors of his age, he
composed numerous books and epistles in the various fields of learning
that were cultivated
in those times. He actively opposed both the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh, and
used his treatises to attack the Báb and His Teachings. In the Kitáb-i-Íqán,
Bahá'u'lláh condemns the tone and content of his writings and singles
out for criticism one of his works which contains negative allusions to
the Báb. Shoghi Effendi describes him as "inordinately ambitious and
hypocritical" and describes how he "at the special request of the Sháh had in a treatise viciously attacked the new Faith and its doctrines".
183. O ye the learned ones in Bahá
Bahá'u'lláh eulogizes the
learned among His followers. In the Book of His Covenant, He wrote:
"Blessed are the rulers and learned among the people of Bahá."
Referring to this statement, Shoghi Effendi has written:
In this holy cycle the "learned" are, on the one hand, the Hands of the
Cause of God, and, on the other, the teachers and diffusers of His
Teachings who do not rank as Hands, but who have attained an eminent
position in the teaching work. As to the "rulers" they refer to the
members of the Local, National and International Houses of Justice. The
duties of each of these souls will be determined in the future.
The Hands of the Cause of God
were individuals appointed by Bahá'u'lláh and charged with various
duties, especially those of protecting and propagating His Faith. In
Memorials of the Faithful 'Abdu'l-Bahá referred to other outstanding
believers as Hands of the Cause, and in His Will and Testament He
included a provision calling upon the Guardian of the Faith to appoint
Hands of the Cause at his discretion. Shoghi Effendi first raised
posthumously a number of the believers to the rank of Hands of the
Cause, and during the latter years of his life appointed a total of 32
believers from all continents to this position. In the period between
the passing of Shoghi Effendi in 1957 and the
election of the Universal House of Justice in 1963, the Hands of the
Cause directed the affairs of the Faith in their capacity as Chief
Stewards of Bahá'u'lláh's embryonic World Commonwealth (see note 67).
In November 1964, the Universal House of Justice determined that it
could not legislate to make it possible to appoint Hands of the Cause.
Instead, by a decision of the House of Justice in 1968, the functions
of the Hands of the Cause in relation to protecting and propagating the
Faith were extended into the future by the creation of the Continental
Boards of Counsellors, and in 1973 through the establishment of the
International Teaching Centre, which has its seat in the Holy Land.
Universal House of Justice appoints the Counsellor members of the
International Teaching Centre and the Continental Counsellors. Members
of Auxiliary Boards are appointed by the Continental Counsellors. All
these individuals fall within the definition of the "learned" given by
Shoghi Effendi in the statement quoted above.
184. refer ye whatsoever ye understand not in the Book to Him Who hath branched from this mighty Stock
'Abdu'l-Bahá with the right of interpreting His holy Writ (see also
185. the School of Transcendent Oneness
In this verse and the ones
which immediately follow it, Bahá'u'lláh confronts one of the reasons
some of the Bábís rejected His claim to be the Promised One of the
Bayán. Their rejection was based on a Tablet addressed by the Báb to
"Him Who will be made manifest" on the reverse side of which the Báb
had written: "May the glances of Him Whom God shall make manifest
illumine this letter at the primary school." This Tablet is published
in Selections from the Writings of the Báb.
These Bábís maintained that, since Bahá'u'lláh was
two years older than the Báb, it was not possible for Him to receive this Tablet "at the primary school".
here explains that the reference is to events transpiring in the
spiritual worlds beyond this plane of existence.
186. We accepted the verses of God ... which He presented unto Us
In His Tablet addressed to "Him
Who will be made manifest", the Báb characterizes the Bayán as an
offering from Him to Bahá'u'lláh. See Selections from the Writings of
187. O people of the Bayán!
Reference to the followers of the Báb.
188. the letters B and E were joined and knit together
Shoghi Effendi, in letters
written on his behalf, has explained the significance of the "letters B
and E". They constitute the word "Be", which, he states, "means the
creative Power of God Who through His command causes all things to come
into being" and "the power of the Manifestation of God, His great
spiritual creative force".
imperative "Be" in the original Arabic is the word "kun", consisting of
the two letters "káf" and "nún". They have been translated by Shoghi
Effendi in the above manner. This word has been used in the Qur'án as
God's bidding calling creation into being.
189. this new World Order
In the Persian Bayán, the Báb
stated: "Well is it with him who fixeth his gaze upon the Order of
Bahá'u'lláh, and rendereth thanks unto his Lord. For He will assuredly
be made manifest. God hath indeed irrevocably ordained it in the
Bayán." Shoghi Effendi identifies this "Order" with the System
envisages in the Aqdas, in which He testifies to its revolutionizing
effect on the life of humanity and reveals the laws and principles
which govern its operation.
features of the "new World Order" are delineated in the Writings of
Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá and in the letters of Shoghi Effendi and
the Universal House of Justice. The institutions of the present-day
Bahá'í Administrative Order, which constitute the "structural basis" of
Bahá'u'lláh's World Order, will mature and evolve into the Bahá'í World
Commonwealth. In this regard, Shoghi Effendi affirms that the
Administrative Order "will, as its component parts, its organic
institutions, begin to function with efficiency and vigour, assert its
claim and demonstrate its capacity to be regarded not only as the
nucleus but the very pattern of the New World Order destined to embrace
in the fullness of time the whole of mankind".
additional information on the evolution of this new World Order, see,
for example, the letters of Shoghi Effendi published in The World Order
190. O source of perversion!
This is a reference to Mírzá
Yahyá, known as Subh-i-Azal (Morning of Eternity), a younger
half-brother of Bahá'u'lláh, who arose against Him and opposed His
Cause. Mírzá Yahyá was nominated by the Báb to serve as a figure-head
for the Bábí community pending the imminent manifestation of the
Promised One. At the instigation of Siyyid Muhammad-i-Isfahani (see
note 192), Mírzá Yahyá betrayed the trust of
the Báb, claimed to be His successor, and intrigued against
Bahá'u'lláh, even attempting to have Him murdered. When Bahá'u'lláh
formally declared His Mission to him in Adrianople, Mírzá Yahyá
responded by going to the length of putting forward his own claim to be
the recipient of an independent Revelation. His pretensions were
eventually rejected by all but a few, who became known as Azalís (see
note 177). He is described by Shoghi
Effendi as the "Arch-Breaker of the Covenant of the Báb" (see God Passes By, chapter X).
191. remember how We nurtured thee by day and by night for service to the Cause
In God Passes By, Shoghi
Effendi refers to the fact that Bahá'u'lláh, Who was thirteen years
older than Mírzá Yahyá, had counselled him and watched over his early
youth and manhood.
192. God hath laid hold on him who led thee astray.
A reference to Siyyid
Muhammad-i-Isfahani, who is described by Shoghi Effendi as the
"Antichrist of the Bahá'í Revelation". He was a man of corrupt
character and great personal ambition who induced Mírzá Yahyá to oppose
Bahá'u'lláh and to claim prophethood for himself (see note 190).
Although he was an adherent of Mírzá Yahyá, Siyyid Muhammad was exiled
with Bahá'u'lláh to 'Akká. He continued to agitate and plot against
Bahá'u'lláh. In describing the circumstances of his death, Shoghi
Effendi has written in God Passes By:
A fresh danger now clearly threatened the life of
Bahá'u'lláh. Though He Himself had stringently forbidden His followers,
on several occasions, both verbally and in writing, any retaliatory
acts against their tormentors, and had even sent back to Beirut an
irresponsible Arab convert, who had meditated avenging the wrongs
suffered by his beloved Leader, seven of the companions clandestinely
sought out and slew three of their persecutors, among whom were Siyyid
Muhammad and Áqá Ján.
consternation that seized an already oppressed community was
indescribable. Bahá'u'lláh's indignation knew no bounds. "Were We", He
thus voices His emotions, in a Tablet revealed shortly after this act
been committed, "to make mention of what befell Us, the
heavens would be rent asunder and the mountains would crumble." "My
captivity", He wrote on another occasion, "cannot harm Me. That which
can harm Me is the conduct of those who love Me, who claim to be
related to Me, and yet perpetrate what causeth My heart and My pen to
193. Select ye a single language ... adopt ye ... a common script.
Bahá'u'lláh enjoins the
adoption of a universal language and script. His Writings envisage two
stages in this process. The first stage is to consist of the selection
of an existing language or an invented one which would then be taught
in all the schools of the world as an auxiliary to the mother tongues.
The governments of the world through their parliaments are called upon
to effect this momentous enactment. The second stage, in the distant
future, would be the eventual adoption of one single language and
common script for all on earth.
194. We have appointed two signs for the coming of age of the human race
The first sign of the coming of
age of humanity referred to in the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh is the
emergence of a science which is described as that "divine philosophy"
which will include the discovery of a radical approach to the
transmutation of elements. This is an indication of the splendours of
the future stupendous expansion of knowledge.
the "second" sign which Bahá'u'lláh indicates to have been revealed in
the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Shoghi Effendi states that Bahá'u'lláh, "...in His
Most Holy Book, has enjoined the selection of a single language and the
adoption of a common script for all on earth to use, an injunction
which, when carried out, would, as He Himself affirms in that Book, be
one of the signs of the `coming of age of the human race'".
Further insight into this
process of mankind's coming of age and proceeding to maturity is
provided by the following statement of Bahá'u'lláh:
One of the signs of the maturity of the world is that no one will
accept to bear the weight of kingship. Kingship will remain with
none willing to bear alone its weight. That day will be the day
whereon wisdom will be manifested among mankind.
The coming of age of the human
race has been associated by Shoghi Effendi with the unification of the
whole of mankind, the establishment of a world commonwealth, and an
unprecedented stimulus to "the intellectual, the moral and spiritual
life of the entire human race".
The "Servant of Bahá", Abbás
Effendi (1844-1921), the eldest son and appointed Successor of
Bahá'u'lláh, and the Centre of His Covenant.
The ancient Arabic system of
allocating a numerical value to letters of the alphabet, so that
numbers may be represented by letters and vice versa. Thus every word
has both a literal meaning and a numerical value.
Literally the "Gate", the title
assumed by Mírzá 'Alí-Muhammad (1819-1850) after the Declaration of His
Mission in Shíráz in May 1844. He was the Founder of the Bábí Faith and the Herald of Bahá'u'lláh.
Bahá means Glory. It is the
Greatest Name of God and a title by which Bahá'u'lláh is designated.
Also, the name of the first month of the Bahá'í year and of the first
day of each Bahá'í month.
The "Glory of God", title of Mírzá Husayn-'Alí (1817-1892), the Founder of the Bahá'í Faith.
The Bayán ("Exposition") is the
title given by the Báb to His Book of Laws, and it is also applied to
the entire body of His Writings. The Persian Bayán is the major
doctrinal work and principal repository of the laws ordained by the
Báb. The Arabic Bayán is parallel in content but smaller
and less weighty. References in the annotations to subjects found in
both the Persian Bayán and the Arabic Bayán are identified by use of
the term "Bayán" without further qualification.
The "Right of God". Instituted
in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, it is an offering made by the Bahá'ís through the
Head of the Faith for the purposes specified in the Bahá'í Writings.
Literally "the Dawning-place of
the praise of God", the designation of the Bahá'í House of Worship and
A unit of weight, equivalent to
a little over 3 1/2 grammes, used in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas with reference
to quantities of gold or silver for various purposes, usually in
amounts of 9, 19 or 95 mithqáls. The equivalents of these in the
metric system and in troy ounces (which are used in the measurement of
precious metals), are as follows:
9 mithqáls = 32.775 grammes = 1.05374 troy ounces
19 mithqáls = 69.192 grammes = 2.22456 troy ounces
95 mithqáls = 345.958 grammes = 11.12282 troy ounces
computation is based on the guidance of Shoghi Effendi, conveyed in a
letter written on his behalf, which states "one mithqál consists of nineteen nakhuds. The weight of twenty-four nakhuds equals four and three-fifths grammes. Calculations may be made on this basis." The mithqál traditionally used in the Middle East had consisted of 24 nakhuds but in the Bayán this was changed to 19 nakhuds and Bahá'u'lláh confirmed this as the size of the mithqal referred to in the Bahá'í laws (Q and A 23).
A unit of weight. See "mithqál".
The Báb's commentary on the Súrih of Joseph in the
Qur'án. Revealed in 1844, this work is characterized by Bahá'u'lláh as
"the first, the greatest, and mightiest of all books" in the Bábí
Shoghi Effendi (1897-1957),
Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith from 1921-1957. He was the eldest grandson
of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and was appointed by Him as the Head of the Faith.
Literally "the Black Pit". The
dark, foul-smelling, subterranean dungeon in Tihrán where Bahá'u'lláh
was imprisoned for four months in 1852.