"The 'vaguest' questions are unasked"

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Posted by Loren ( on November 01, 2002 at 23:30:47:

In Reply to: Re: Another vague question.... posted by Mike on November 01, 2002 at 21:03:37:

Unfortunately, for us, things are not always quite as simple as going to The Most Holy Book, to find out whether or not something is lawful for a Baha'i or not. (It's always a good start though!) For instance, if you are a Baha'i you may eat pork, something which is forbidden in the Qur'an, and which is not mentioned in the Kitab-i-Aqdas whatsoever. But in a less known letter to a particular National Spiritual Assembly the Guardian does mention that it is lawful for a Baha'is to eat pork!

However, in this particular case, The Kitab-i-Aqdas does mention marriage to nonbelievers. It requires a careful reading, and it is actually referring to the Bab's prohibition of marrying a nonbeliever in the Bayan, and not in the context of marriage. BUT, and interestingly enough, this ban was never affected in the time of The Bab himself, (or in the time of Baha'u'llah) as you can see from reading the text of the Aqdas, where it is quoted. Here is the entire verse, followed by the accompanying note:

"139. And 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 (The Bab) hath said: „It is unlawful to enter into marriage save with a believer in the Bayan. 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. This law, 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.š 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.

140 O people of the Bayan, 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 Bayan 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." -Kitab-i-Aqdas pp 69 Ų 70

158. "The passage of the Bayan which Baha‚u‚llah here quotes draws the attention of the believers to the imminence of the coming of „Him Whom God will make manifestš. Its prohibition of marriage with a non-Babi and its provision that the property of a husband or wife who embraced the Faith could not lawfully pass to the non-Babi spouse were explicitly held in abeyance by the Bab, and were subsequently
annulled by Baha'u'llah before they could come into effect. Baha'u'llah, in quoting this law, points to the fact that, in revealing it, the Bab had clearly anticipated the
possibility that the Cause of Baha'u'llah would rise to prominence before that of the Bab Himself. In God Passes By Shoghi Effendi points out that the Bayan „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 generationsš. „Designedly severe in the rules and regulations it imposed,š 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 őthe Summoner shall summon to a stern business‚, when He will ődemolish whatever hath been before Him, even as the Apostle of God demolished the
ways of those that preceded Him‚š (see also note 109)

Other evidence (if more is needed) exists that it is permissible to marry an unbeliever, in letters from the Guardian, and the UHJ, explaining some of the particulars of such a marriage:

„Regarding the question whether it is necessary to obtain the consent of the parents of a non-Baha'i participant in a marriage with a Baha'i as Baha'u'llah has stated that the consent of the parents of both parties is required in order to promote unity and avoid friction, and as the Aqdas does not specify any exceptions to this rule, the Guardian feels that under all circumstances the consent of the parents of both parties is required.š
-From letter written on behalf of the Guardian to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada, August 12, 1941


"The principle of the Baha'i Law requiring parental consent to marriage is that the parents consent to the marriage of the man to the woman concerned. It does not require that they consent to the performance of any particular ceremony. Obviously, where the parents are Baha'is, it is taken for granted that the marriage of a Baha'i couple will be by the performance of the Bah ceremony. In some cases, however, it would be difficult for non-Baha'i parents to give consent to the participation of their son or daughter in a Baha'i religious ceremony, and in these cases the distinction of principle is important. In other words, if the non-Baha'i parents consent to the marriage of the couple, the Baha'i ceremony can be held unless they expressly object to the holding of the Baha'i ceremony, in which case the marriage cannot take place.š
-From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, July 23, 1984

Since they explain the manner in which it can be done, it is reasonable to deduce it can be done. As to whether or not a Baha'i should marry a particular nonbeliever, obviously has to do with numerous other variables, that the believer must consider in light of what is in the teaching about living, and who we should, or should not associate with, etc. But that is a different discussion altogether.

I know this is a rather long post, but hopefully helpful!



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