In 1953 Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Baha’i 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 Kitab-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 Kitab-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 Kitab-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. It has been
recognized that the Kitab-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 published.
Following the text of the Aqdas is a brief compilation of
Writings of Baha’u’llah which are supplementary to the Most
Holy Book, and a translation of the Questions and Answers
published here for the first time.
Shoghi 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
The 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 interests.
The index provides a guide to subjects in all sections of
The significance and character of the Kitab-i-Aqdas and the
range of subjects it contains have been graphically depicted
by Shoghi Effendi in his history of the first Baha’i 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.
This year, the 149th of the Baha’i era, marks the Centenary
of the Ascension of Baha’u’llah, 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 Baha’u’llah’s advent. A further testimony to the
operation of these same forces can be seen in the extent to
which Baha’u’llah’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.
Of the more than one hundred volumes comprising the sacred
Writings of Baha’u’llah, the Kitab-i-Aqdas is of unique
importance. "To build anew the whole world" is the claim and
challenge of His Message, and the Kitab-i-Aqdas is the
Charter of the future world civilization that Baha’u’llah
has come to raise up. Its provisions rest squarely on the
foundation established by past religions, for, in the words
of Baha’u’llah, "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.
In its affirmation of the validity of the great religions of
the past, the Kitab-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
The Law of God for this Dispensation addresses the needs of
the entire human family. There are laws in the Kitab-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 Bab embodied in the Qur’an and the
Bayan. Nevertheless, although certain ordinances of the
Aqdas have such a focused reference, they also have
universal implications. Through His Law, Baha’u’llah
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
Baha’u’llah’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".
An introduction to the spiritual universe unveiled in the
Kitab-i-Aqdas would fail in its purpose if it did not
acquaint the reader with the interpretive and legislative
institutions that Baha’u’llah has indissolubly linked with
the system of law thus revealed. At the foundation of this
guidance lies the unique role which Baha’u’llah’s
Writingsindeed the text of the Kitab-i-Aqdas itself—confer
on His eldest son, Abdu’l-Baha. 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 Baha’i Revelation made with all who
recognize Him. The twenty-nine years of Abdu’l-Baha’s
ministry endowed the Baha’i world with a luminous body of
commentary that opens multiple vistas of understanding on
His Father’s purpose.
In His Will and Testament Abdu’l-Baha 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 Baha’u’llah 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 Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l-Baha. They are
the supreme institutions of the Administrative Order which
was founded and anticipated in the Kitab-i-Aqdas and
elaborated by Abdu’l-Baha in His Will.
During 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 Kitab-i-Aqdas, now in
their embryonic stage—and with their collaboration initiated
the systematic implementation of the Divine Plan that
Abdu’l-Baha 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 Baha’is throughout the world.
The revealed Word of Baha’u’llah, 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. As 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 Baha’u’llah Himself. In one of His Tablets
Abdu’l-Baha elucidates this principle:
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 same,
for 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...
Briefly, this is the wisdom of referring the laws of society
to the House of Justice. In the religion of Islam,
similarly, not every ordinance was explicitly revealed; nay
not a tenth part of a tenth part was included in the Text;
although all matters of major importance were specifically
referred to, there 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 Baha’i 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.
Although the Universal House of Justice is explicitly
authorized to change or repeal its own legislation as
conditions change, thus providing Baha’i law with an
essential element of flexibility, it cannot abrogate or
change any of the laws which are explicitly laid down in the
The society for which certain of the laws of the Aqdas are
designed will come only gradually into being, and
Baha’u’llah has provided for the progressive application of
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
Kitab-i-Aqdas itself beareth eloquent testimony to the
loving providence of God.
The 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 Baha’u’llah in the Aqdas are, whenever practicable and
not in direct conflict with the Civil Law of the land,
absolutely binding on every believer or Baha’i 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
Baha’u’llah, 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 Baha’u’llah. 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.
The number of laws binding on Baha’is is not increased by
the publication of this translation. When it is deemed
timely, the Baha’i community will be advised which
additional laws are binding upon believers, and any guidance
or supplementary legislation necessary for their application
will be provided.
In general, the laws of the Kitab-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 Baha’u’llah 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 Kitab-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
Baha’i 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-Baha has
stated that in this Dispensation "Equality of men and women,
except in some negligible instances, has been fully and
Mention has already been made of the intimate relationship
between the Kitab-i-Aqdas and the Holy Books of previous
Dispensations. Especially close is the relationship to the
Bayan, the Book of Laws revealed by the Bab. It is
elucidated in the following excerpts from letters written on
behalf of the Guardian:
Shoghi Effendi feels that the unity of the Baha’i Revelation
as one complete whole embracing the Faith of the Bab should
be emphasized... The Faith of the Bab should not be divorced
from that of Baha’u’llah. Though the teachings of the Bayan
have been abrogated and superseded by the laws of the Aqdas,
yet due to the fact that the Bab considered Himself as the
Forerunner of Baha’u’llah, we would regard His Dispensation
together with that of Baha’u’llah as forming one entity, the
former being introductory to the advent of the latter.
The Bab states that His laws are provisional and depend upon
the acceptance of the future Manifestation.
This is why in the Book of Aqdas Baha’u’llah sanctions some
of the laws found in the Bayan, modifies others and sets
aside many. Just as the Bayan had been revealed by the Bab
at about the mid-point of His Ministry, Baha’u’llah revealed
the Kitab-i-Aqdas around 1873, some twenty years after He
had received, in the Siyah-Chal of Tihran, 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 Baha’u’llah, in His Kitab-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 provisions
of His Most Holy Book. These were recorded in unnumbered
Tablets, which He continued to reveal until the last days of
His earthly life...
Among such works is the Questions and Answers, a compilation
made by Zaynu’l-Muqarrabin, the most eminent of the
transcribers of Baha’u’llah’s Writings. Consisting of
answers revealed by Baha’u’llah to questions put to Him by
various believers, it constitutes an invaluable appendix to
the Kitab-i-Aqdas. In 1978 the most noteworthy of the other
Tablets of this nature were published in English as a
compilation entitled Tablets of Baha’u’llah revealed after
Some years after the revelation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas,
Baha’u’llah had manuscript copies sent to Baha’is 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.
A word should be said about the style of language in which
the Kitab-i-Aqdas has been rendered into English.
Baha’u’llah 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 Baha’u’llah’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
Although 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
Kitab-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
Sacred 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
We 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
Kitab-i-Aqdas will enable its readers to obtain at least an
inkling of the splendour of the Mother Book of the Baha’i
Our 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 Baha’u’llah’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 Kitab-i-Aqdas lend a
fresh impulse to the realization of this universal vision,
opening vistas of a worldwide regeneration.
THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE
A DESCRIPTION OF THE KITAB-I-AQDAS BY SHOGHI EFFENDI
TAKEN FROM GOD PASSES BY, HIS HISTORY OF THE FIRST BAHA’I
CENTURY Unique 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 Kitab-i-Aqdas. Alluded to in the Kitab-i-Iqan, 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 Baha’u’llah, as the Mother Book of His
Dispensation, and the Charter of His New World Order.
Revealed soon after Baha’u’llah had been transferred to the
house of Udi Khammar (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’an 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 Kitab-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
In 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.
In 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 Huququ’llah (Right of God);
formulates the law of inheritance; ordains the institution
of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkar; establishes the Nineteen Day
Feast, the Baha’i 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. Apart from these provisions Baha’u’llah 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. The 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 Khurasan" will be raised in glorification of their
Lord; His assertion that men "endued with mighty valour"
will be raised up in Kirman 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".
The laws and ordinances that constitute the major theme of
this Book, Baha’u’llah, 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 Kitab-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
IN THE NAME OF HIM WHO
IS THE SUPREME RULER
OVER ALL THAT HATH BEEN
AND ALL THAT IS TO BE
The 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.
They 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.
O 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.
Say: 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.
Think 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!
We have enjoined obligatory prayer upon you, with nine
rak’ahs, 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.
Everything 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 decree.
We 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
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 animals; the prohibition of
its use hath stemmed, not from the Qur’an, but from the
misconceptions of the divines. He, verily, is the
All-Glorious, the All-Knowing.
We 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 hath 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
We 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 creation".
It 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
God 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.
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 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.
Say: 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
This is, verily, that fixed Decree through which every
irrevocable decree hath been established.
O 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-Ruz 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 Ha, and thus they have not been bounded by the limits
of the year and its months. It behoveth the people of Baha,
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 endthese 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.
These 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
It 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
"Allah-u-Abha" 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.
Ye 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.
We 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
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.
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. Such
is the command which hath been given, in majesty and glory,
by Him Who is the All-Possessing, the Most High.
If 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.
Should 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 Omnipotent.
We 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
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, 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
If 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.
Division of the estate should take place only after the
Huququ’llah 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.
Say: 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 Compassionate, 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 heaven.
The Lord hath ordained that in every city a House of Justice
be established wherein shall gather counsellors to the
number of Baha, 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.
O 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.
The 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.
O people of Baha! 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.
The 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.
O 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.
Amongst 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.
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.
Whoso 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 Iraq, then later while in the Land of Mystery,
and now from this Resplendent Spot.
Be 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 to further 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.
The 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."
Say: 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
They, verily, are accounted among the dead.
Amongst 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 Everlasting
Endowments dedicated to charity revert to God, the Revealer
of Signs. None hath the right to dispose of them without
leave from Him Who is the Dawning-place of Revelation. After
Him, this authority shall pass to the Aghsan, 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 Baha 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.
Lament 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.
Shave 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
Exile 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.
Whoso 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.
He 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 heedless.
Unto 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.
God hath imposed a fine on every adulterer and adulteress,
to be paid to the House of Justice: nine mithqals 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,
Beware 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
We 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 foolish.
We 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 Faithful.
Should 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.
O 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.
Know 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
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.
The 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.
Verily, 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.
Beware 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 that
Consider 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.
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. 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.
God 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
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. 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.
God 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 to yourselves.
O 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.
It hath been laid down in the Bayan 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.
No marriage may be contracted without payment of a dowry,
which hath been fixed for city-dwellers at nineteen mithqals
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 mithqals. 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.
It 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.
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 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,
verily, hath 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.
If 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.
Should 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.
Take 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 of God.
It 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.
Adorn yourselves with the raiment of goodly deeds. He whose
deeds attain unto God’s good pleasure is assuredly of the
people of Baha 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
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 the All-Glorious.
God 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 you.
God 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 Ridvan, 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 understand.
God 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 All-Wise, desireth.
God hath relieved you of the ordinance laid down in the
Bayan 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.
O 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.
We 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
This 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
proclaiming: "Bestir 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
O 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.
Ye 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
By 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 Baha 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
How 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 Baha. 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 Baha, your substance, nay
your very lives, for his assistance.
O Emperor of Austria! He Who is the Dayspring of God’s Light
dwelt in the prison of Akka at the time when thou didst set
forth to visit the Aqsa 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.
Say: 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 (Napoleon III) 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.
We 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!
Hearken 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,
O 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.
O 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
Let nothing grieve thee, O Land of Ta,+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 Baha. 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 Tihran "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 illumined.
Erelong 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.
O Land of Kha! 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.
None 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.
O 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 +F1 Khurasan through
which all hearts will rejoice and all eyes be brightened.
Should anyone acquire one hundred mithqals of gold, nineteen
mithqals 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.
Say: 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.
The 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-Muntaha is calling: "Verily, there is none
other God beside Me, the Omnipotent Protector, the
O 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,
We 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.
Say: 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!"
We 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.
Whoso 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 Book.
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.
It 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 their
To 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.
Unto 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.
All 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
Happy the one who entereth upon the first day of the month
of Baha, 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 blissful.
Say: 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.
Resort 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.
God 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.
Blessed 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-Adhkar 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-Adhkar 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.
They 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.
Assist 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.
The 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.
It 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.
Adorn 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 Baha, 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.
When 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.
Consider 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.
Liberty 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
Regard 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
Say: 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 unto 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.
In the Bayan 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.
The 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.
The 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.
The 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 them, and 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 Bayan 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 Bayan. 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.
The 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.
God hath removed the restrictions on travel that had been
imposed in the Bayan. He, verily, is the Unconstrained; He
doeth as He pleaseth and ordaineth whatsoever He willeth.
O 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 creation.
Raise 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.
Call 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
Such 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.
O people of the Bayan! 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.
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+F1 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, +F1 The Bab 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.
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.
Say: By the righteousness of God! I, verily, am His
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, refrain at least from rising
up against Him. By God! Sufficient are the hosts of tyranny
that are leagued against Him!
Verily, He 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, the Generous.
He 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 is the One Who will under all
‘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
Consort 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 are ended.
Take 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
It hath been enjoined upon you to purify your means of
sustenance and other such things through payment of Zakat.
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.
It 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.
Ye 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 mithqals 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.
Recite 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.
Teach 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-Adhkars.
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
Ye 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.
Should 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
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, 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.
Gambling 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.
Whensoever 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.
Behold, 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 recognize 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,
"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".
Blessed 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.
It 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 outstanding deeds.
Promote 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, the All-Wise.
Blessed 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.
Were 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.
Whoso 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".
O Land of Kaf and Ra!+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
O 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
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.
Beware 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
O 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.
Call ye to mind Karim, 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.
Tear 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
We, 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
Happy are ye, O ye the learned ones in Baha. 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.
O people of the world! When the Mystic Dove will have winged
its flight from its Sanctuary of Praise and sought its
far-off goal, its hidden habitation, refer ye whatsoever ye
understand not in the Book to Him Who hath branched from
this mighty Stock.
O 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.
O people of the Bayan! 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.
Take 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 Abode!
This 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.
Beware lest aught that hath been revealed in the Bayan
should keep you from your Lord, the Most Compassionate. God
is My witness that the Bayan 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.
Whatsoever ye understand not in the Bayan, 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.
The 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.
Immerse 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
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 creatures.
Say: 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.
Say: 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. Beware lest 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
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
This 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!
This 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
Burden 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 mithqals of gold. Observe ye
that which hath been enjoined upon you in this Tablet, and
be not of those who overstep its limits.
O 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.
It 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 understanding!
SOME TEXTS REVEALED
A number of Tablets revealed by Baha’u’llah after the
Kitab-i-Aqdas contain passages supplementary to the
provisions of the Most Holy Book. The most noteworthy of
these have been published in Tablets of Baha’u’llah revealed
after the Kitab-i-Aqdas. Included in this section is an
extract from the Tablet of Ishraqat. 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,
THE TABLET OF ISHRAQAT
THE EIGHTH ISHRAQ
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.
O 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.
O people of Baha! 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
(Tablets of Baha’u’llah revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas)
LONG OBLIGATORY PRAYER
TO BE RECITED ONCE IN
Whoso 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 except Thee.
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.
Let 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,
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
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 earth below.
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
Protect us, we beseech Thee, O my Lord, from the hosts of
idle fancies and vain imaginations. Thou, in truth, art the
Mighty, the All-Knowing.
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 Baha’u’llah, 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. Bahji, Akka), 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
Let him, then, bend down, with hands resting on the knees,
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 Baha’u’llah, 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 this
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
(Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah, 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.
Deal 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.
Let him, then, repeat six times the greeting "Allah-u-Abha",
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.
(If the dead be a woman, let him say: This is Thy handmaiden
and the daughter of Thy handmaiden, etc...)
(Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah, CLXVII)
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
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 Bayan. 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 Abha Beauty was at the hour of dawn
on the second day of the month of Muharram, 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.
ANSWER: For men: "We will all, verily, abide by the Will of
God." For women: "We will all, verily, abide by the Will of
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 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 Kitab-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 categories 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
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 Huququ’llah
ANSWER: The basic sum on which Huququ’llah is payable is
nineteen mithqals of gold. In other words, when money to the
value of this sum hath been acquired, a payment of Huquq
falleth due. Likewise Huquq is payable hen the value, not
the number, of other forms of property reacheth the
prescribed amount. Huququ’llah is payable no more than once.
A person, for instance, who acquireth a thousand mithqals of
gold, and payeth the Huquq, 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 Huquq, as it was the first time. The Primal Point hath
directed that Huququ’llah 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
9. QUESTION: Which is to take precedence: the Huququ’llah,
the debts of the deceased or the cost of the funeral and
ANSWER: The funeral and burial take precedence, then
settlement of debts, then payment of Huququ’llah. 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
Kitab-i-Aqdas but enjoined in the Suriy-i-Hajj.
ANSWER: All are charged with obedience to the Kitab-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 mithqals 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
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 and devotions?
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’an: "Whichever way ye turn,
there is the face of God."
15. QUESTION: Concerning the remembrance of God in the
Mashriqu’l-Adhkar "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 that year?
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
20. QUESTION: Concerning the age of maturity with respect to
ANSWER: The age of maturity is fifteen for both men and
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
ANSWER: This prostration is to compensate for bligatory
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
Bayan 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 Bayan, 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
23. QUESTION: Concerning the punishment of the adulterer and
ANSWER: Nine mithqals 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 mithqal +F1 This relates to the minimum
duration of a journey which exempts the +F1 traveller from
fasting is equivalent to nineteen nakhuds in accordance with
the specification of the Bayan.
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
26. QUESTION: Concerning the dowry.
ANSWER: Regarding dowry, the intention of contenting oneself
with the lowest level is nineteen mithqals 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
ANSWER: By pilgrimage to the sacred House, which is enjoined
upon men, is intended both the Most Great House in Baghdad
and the House of the Primal Point in Shiraz; pilgrimage to
either of these Houses sufficeth. They may thus make
pilgrimage to whichever lieth nearer to the place where they
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 Kitab-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 Baha, 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-Ruz.
ANSWER: The Festival of Naw-Ruz 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 Bab occurreth during
the Fast, what is to be done?
ANSWER: Should the feasts celebrating the Twin Birthdays or
the Declaration of the Bab fall within the month of fasting,
the command to fast shall not apply on that day.
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
Kitab-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
Kitab-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 Huququ’llah is revealed in
the Kitab-i-Aqdas. Is the residence, with the accompanying
fixtures and necessary furnishings, included in the property
on which Huquq 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
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
tumans, payeth the Huquq 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 Huquq is
due—must such a person pay Huquq or not?
ANSWER: In such an event the Huquq is not payable.
45. QUESTION: If, after payment of Huquq, this same sum of
one hundred tumans is lost in its entirety, but subsequently
regained through trade and business dealings, must Huquq be
paid a second time or not?
ANSWER: In this event as well, payment of Huquq is not
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 the ablution.
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
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
ANSWER: The use of five cloths is intended.
57. QUESTION: Concerning disparities between certain
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
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 Kitab-i-Aqdas obligatory prayer hath
been enjoined, consisting of nine rak’ahs, 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 Kitab-i-Aqdas
concerneth a different Obligatory Prayer. Some years ago a
number of the ordinances of the Kitab-i-Aqdas including that
Obligatory Prayer were, for reasons of wisdom, 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 not?
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
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 Huququ’llah 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 Huququ’llah, 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 Ala’, is this permissible or not;
and if he hath vowed or pledged himself to such a fast, is
this valid and acceptable?
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 Baha it is from the age of
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
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 Huququ’llah, 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 Huquq 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 Divine
83. QUESTION: Concerning the definition of "morning", "noon"
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 Names.
84. QUESTION: Is it permissible for a believer to marry an
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." (Qur’an 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
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
89. QUESTION: In the holy Tablets it hath been revealed that
when someone acquireth the equivalent of nineteen mithqals
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
Huquq is due again, or would it be due on any increase?
ANSWER: Any amount added to nineteen is exempt from Huquq
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 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, 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 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
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 Huququ’llah,
or are they covered by the same ruling as the household
ANSWER: They are covered by the same ruling as the household
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 of Days.
97. QUESTION: Concerning the washing of the feet in winter
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 saddened.
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 Huquq on real estate which
yieldeth no profit.
ANSWER: The ordinance of God is that real estate which hath
ceased to yield income, that is, +F1 Adrianople from which
no profit accrueth, is not liable to payment of Huquq. 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
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 Aba Badi’, 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
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 Kitab-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 Everlasting.
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’an, 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
107. In one of the Tablets He, exalted be His words, hath
revealed: And in the matter of Zakat, We have likewise
decreed that you should follow what hath been revealed in
CODIFICATION OF THE
LAWS AND ORDINANCES OF
SUMMARY OF CONTENTS
I. THE APPOINTMENT OF ABDU’L-BAHA AS THE SUCCESSOR OF
BAHA’U’LLAH AND INTERPRETER OF HIS TEACHINGS
A. Turn towards Him
B. Refer to Him
II. ANTICIPATION OF THE INSTITUTION OF THE GUARDIANSHIP
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 SYNOPSIS AND CODIFICATION
I. THE APPOINTMENT OF ABDU’L-BAHA AS THE SUCCESSOR OF
BAHA’U’LLAH AND INTERPRETER OF HIS TEACHINGS
A. The faithful are enjoined to turn their faces towards the
One "Whom God hath purposed, Who hath branched from this
B. The faithful are bidden to refer whatsoever they do not
understand in the Baha’i 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 Baha’i Revelation.
2. The Qiblih:
a. Identified by the Bab with "the One Whom God will make
b. The appointment made by the Bab is confirmed by
c. Baha’u’llah ordains His resting-place as the Qiblih after
d. Turning to the Qiblih is mandatory while reciting the
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
a. Those who are ill.
b. Those who are over 70.
c. Women in their courses provided they perform their
ablutions and repeat a specifically revealed verse 95 times
5. The Obligatory Prayers should be offered individually.
6. The choice of one of the three Obligatory Prayers is
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
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
b. For every Obligatory Prayer fresh ablutions must be
c. Should two Obligatory Prayers be offered at noon one
ablution for both prayers is sufficient.
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
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.
11. Determining the times fixed for Prayer:
a. Reliance on clocks is permissible in determining the
times for offering the Obligatory Prayers.
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.
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.
13. Congregational prayer is forbidden except the Prayer for
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
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
1. The sublime station occupied by fasting in the Baha’i
2. The period of fasting commences with the termination of
the Intercalary Days, and ends with the Naw-Ruz Festival.
3. Abstinence from food and drink, from sunrise to sunset,
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
iii. Those who break their journey for less than 19 days.
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.
v. Those who reach home during the Fast must commence
fasting from the day of their arrival.
b. Those who are ill.
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
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.
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.
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 mithqals of pure gold for
city-dwellers, and 19 mithqals 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 mithqals.
iv. It is preferable that a man content himself with the
payment of 19 mithqals 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
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 Kitab-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.
o. If 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
mithqals 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 her.
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. children 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 Bab, is
doubled by Baha’u’llah,
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
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 Justice.
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 trustee.
i. The inheritance should not be divided until after the
payment of the Huququ’llah (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-Baha’i 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-Baha’i 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
Huququ’llah and the discharge of his debts.
D. Miscellaneous Laws, Ordinances and Exhortations
1. Miscellaneous Laws and Ordinances:
d. The Mashriqu’l-Adhkar
e. Duration of the Baha’i Dispensation
f. Baha’i Festivals
g. The Nineteen Day Feast
h. The Baha’i Year
i. The Intercalary Days
j. The age of maturity
k. Burial of the dead
l. Engaging in a trade or profession is made obligatory and
is exalted to the rank of worship
m. Obedience to government
n. Education of children
o. The writing of a testament
p. Tithes (Zakat)
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
ii. Slave trading
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
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
3. Miscellaneous Exhortations:
a. To associate with the followers of all religions with
b. To honour one’s parents
c. Not to wish for others what one does not wish for one’s
d. To teach and propagate the Faith after the ascension of
e. To assist those who arise to promote the Faith
f. Not to depart from the Writings or to be misled by those
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
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
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
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
V. SPECIFIC ADMONITIONS, REPROOFS AND WARNINGS Addressed to:
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
5. William I, King of Prussia
6. Francis Joseph, Emperor of Austria
7. The people of the Bayan
8. Members of parliaments throughout the world
VI. MISCELLANEOUS SUBJECTS
1. The transcendent character of the Baha’i Revelation
2. The exalted station of the Author of the Faith
3. The supreme importance of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, "The Most
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
7. The 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"
9. The 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 Bab regarding "He Whom God will make
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
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 Baha
19. Assurance of forgiveness to Mirza Yahya should he repent
20. Apostrophe addressed to Tihran
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
24. Condemnation of those who allow pride in their learning
to debar them from God
25. Prophecies relating to Khurasan
26. Prophecies relating to Kirman
27. Allusion to Shaykh Ahmad-i-Ahsa’i
28. Allusion to the Sifter of Wheat
29. Condemnation of Haji Muhammad-Karim Khan
30. Condemnation of Shaykh Muhammad-Hasan
31. Allusion to Napoleon III
32. Allusion to Siyyid Muhammad-i-Isfahani
33. Assurance of aid to all those who arise to serve the
1. the sweet-smelling savour of My garment # 4
This is an allusion to the story of Joseph in the Qur’an 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 Baha’i Writings to refer
to the recognition of the Manifestation of God and His
Baha’u’llah, 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 Bab, in the
Qayyumu’l-Asma’, identifies Baha’u’llah 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-Baha had aroused in His
half-brother, Mirza 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. # 5
The consumption of wine and other intoxicants is prohibited
in the Kitab-i-Aqdas (see notes 144 and 170).
Reference 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 Baha’u’llah, but in the Bible, in the
Qur’an, and in ancient Hindu traditions.
For example, in the Qur’an the righteous are promised that
they will be given to drink of the "choice sealed wine". In
His Tablets, Baha’u’llah 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". In one of His meditations, Baha’u’llah 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 # 6
In Arabic, there are several words for prayer. The word
"salat", 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".
Baha’u’llah states that "obligatory prayer and fasting
occupy an exalted station in the sight of God" (Q and A 93).
Abdu’l-Baha 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 Baha’u’llah (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 Kitab-i-Aqdas. A number of
the items in Questions and Answers deal with aspects of the
three new Obligatory Prayers. Baha’u’llah 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
The details of the law concerning obligatory prayer are
summarized in section IV.A.1.-17. of the Synopsis and
4. nine rak’ahs # 6
A rak’ah is the recitation of specifically revealed verses
accompanied by a prescribed set of genuflections and other
The Obligatory Prayer originally enjoined by Baha’u’llah
upon His followers consisted of nine rak’ahs. The precise
nature of this prayer and the specific instructions for its
recitation are unknown, as the prayer has been lost. (See
In a Tablet commenting on the presently-binding Obligatory
Prayers, Abdu’l-Baha 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".
Shoghi Effendi explains that the few simple directions given
by Baha’u’llah 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 #
6 Regarding the definition of the words "morning", "noon"
and "evening", at which times the currently binding medium
Obligatory Prayer is to be recited, Baha’u’llah 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-Baha 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 # 6
The requirements for obligatory prayer called for in the
Babi and Islamic Dispensations were more demanding than
those for the performance of the Obligatory Prayer
consisting of nine rak’ahs that was prescribed in the
Kitab-i-Aqdas (see note 4).
In the Bayan, the Bab prescribed an Obligatory Prayer
consisting of nineteen rak’ahs which was to be performed
once in a twenty-four-hour period—from noon of one day to
noon of the next.
The 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’ahs varies according
to the time of recitation, a total of seventeen rak’ahs are
offered in the course of a day.
7. 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 # 6
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 Bab’s instructions in the Arabic Bayan were:
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 Baha’u’llah in the Kitab-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
8. and when the Sun of Truth and Utterance shall set, turn
your faces towards the Spot that We have ordained for you #
Baha’u’llah ordains His resting-place as the Qiblih after
His passing. The Most Holy Tomb is at Bahji, Akka.
Abdu’l-Baha 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, Baha’u’llah, 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. # 8
The original Obligatory Prayer had "for reasons of wisdom"
been revealed by Baha’u’llah 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. Shortly after the Ascension of Baha’u’llah, 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 # 8
The Prayer for the Dead (see Some Texts Supplementary to the
Kitab-i-Aqdas) is the only Baha’i obligatory prayer which is
to be recited in congregation; it is to be recited by one
believer while all present stand in silence (see note 19).
Baha’u’llah 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).
Further details concerning the Prayer for the Dead are
summarized in the Synopsis and Codification, section IV.A.
11. six specific passages have been sent down by God, the
Revealer of Verses # 8
The passages that form part of the Prayer for the Dead
comprise the repetition of the greeting "Allah-u-Abha" (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 Bab in the Bayan. Baha’u’llah added a
supplication to precede these passages.
12. 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 animals # 9
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.
Baha’u’llah here confirms the Bab’s pronouncement in the
Arabic Bayan that such things do not invalidate one’s
13. We have commanded you to pray and fast from the
beginning of maturity # 10
Baha’u’llah 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 # 10
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. Baha’u’llah
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. Exemption 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.
15. 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 Bayan the Bab
called upon the believers to lay their foreheads on surfaces
of crystal when prostrating. Similarly, in Islam, certain
restrictions are imposed with regard to the surface on which
Muslims are permitted to prostrate. Baha’u’llah abrogates
such restrictions and simply specifies "any surface that is
16. 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. # 10
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. Antecedents in earlier Dispensations for the
provision of substitute procedures to be followed when no
water is available are found in the Qur’an and in the Arabic
17. 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. # 10
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
18. We have absolved you from the requirement of performing
the Prayer of the Signs. # 11
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 Baha’i 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. # 12
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 Islam
where Friday prayer in the mosque is led by an imam, has
been annulled in the Baha’i Dispensation. The Prayer for the
Dead (see note 10) is the only congregational prayer
prescribed by Baha’i 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.
There is no prescribed way for the recital of the many other
Baha’i 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
...although the 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. # 13
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 Bayan, 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 Baha’u’llah (see
The Universal House of Justice has clarified that the
provisions in the Kitab-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 Baha’u’llah
has granted these exemptions for good reason.
The prescribed exemption from obligatory prayer, originally
related to the Obligatory Prayer consisting of nine rak’ahs,
is now applicable to the three Obligatory Prayers which
21. 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 Obligatory Prayer # 14
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.
Baha’u’llah 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 # 14
The Arabic expression "haykalu’t-tawhid", translated here as
"cross-legged", means the "posture of unity". It has
traditionally signified a cross-legged position.
23. Say: God hath made My hidden love the key to the
Treasure # 15
There is a well-known Islamic tradition concerning God and
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 Baha’i Writings. For example, in one of His
prayers, Baha’u’llah reveals:
Lauded 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
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
Likewise, in the Hidden Words, He states:
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-Baha, in His commentary on the above-cited tradition,
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! # 16
"Pen of the Most High", "the Supreme Pen" and "the Most
Exalted Pen" are references to Baha’u’llah, illustrating His
function as Revealer of the Word of God.
25. We have enjoined upon you fasting during a brief period
# 16 Fasting and obligatory prayer constitute the two
pillars that sustain the revealed Law of God. Baha’u’llah 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.
Shoghi Effendi indicates that the fasting period, which
involves complete abstention from food and drink from
sunrise till sunset, is
...essentially a 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
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. The nineteen-day period
of fasting coincides with the Baha’i month of Ala’, 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-Ruz (see note 26).
26. and at its close have designated for you Naw-Ruz as a
feast # 16
The Bab introduced a new calendar, known now as the Badi’ or
Baha’i calendar (see notes 27 and 147). According to this
calendar, a day is the period from sunset to sunset. In the
Bayan, the Bab ordained the month of Ala’ to be the month of
fasting, decreed that the day of Naw-Ruz should mark the
termination of that period, and designated Naw-Ruz as the
Day of God. Baha’u’llah confirms the Badi’ calendar wherein
Naw-Ruz is designated as a feast.
Naw-Ruz is the first day of the new year. It coincides with
the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere, which usually
occurs on 21 March. Baha’u’llah 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-Ruz could fall on 20, 21, or 22 March, depending
on the time of the equinox.
Baha’u’llah 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 Baha’i calendar. The
Guardian has stated that the implementation, worldwide, of
the law concerning the timing of Naw-Ruz 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. # 16
The Badi’ 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 Bab did not
specifically define the place for the intercalary days in
the new calendar. The Kitab-i-Aqdas resolves this question
by assigning the "excess" days a fixed position in the
calendar immediately preceding the month of Ala’, the period
of fasting. For further details see the section on the
Baha’i calendar in The Baha’i World, volume XVIII.
28. We have ordained that these ... shall be the
manifestations of the letter Ha # 16
Known as the Ayyam-i-Ha (the Days of Ha), the Intercalary
Days have the distinction of being associated with "the
letter Ha". The abjad numerical value of this Arabic letter
is five, which corresponds to the potential number of
The letter "Ha" has been given several spiritual meanings in
the Holy Writings, among which is as a symbol of the Essence
29. these days of giving that precede the season of
restraint # 16
Baha’u’llah 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 # 16 The minimum
duration of a journey which exempts the believer from
fasting is defined by Baha’u’llah (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.
Shoghi 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.
31. 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. # 16
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 # 17
This relates to the period of fasting. In one of His
Tablets, Abdu’l-Baha, 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 "Allah-u-Abha" ninety-five times.
"Allah-u-Abha" is an Arabic phrase meaning "God the
All-Glorious". It is a form of the Greatest Name of God (see
note 137). In Islam there is a tradition that among the many
names of God, one was the greatest; however, the identity of
this Greatest Name was hidden. Baha’u’llah has confirmed
that the Greatest Name is "Baha".
The various derivatives of the word "Baha" are also regarded
as the Greatest Name. Shoghi Effendi’s secretary writing on
his behalf explains that The Greatest Name is the Name of
Baha’u’llah. "Ya Baha’u’l-Abha" is an invocation meaning: "O
Thou Glory of Glories!". "Allah-u-Abha" is a greeting which
"God the All-Glorious". Both refer to Baha’u’llah. By
Greatest Name is meant that Baha’u’llah has appeared in
God’s Greatest Name, in other words, that He is the supreme
Manifestation of God.
The greeting "Allah-u-Abha" was adopted during the period of
Baha’u’llah’s exile in Adrianople.
The repetition of "Allah-u-Abha" ninety-five times is to be
preceded by the performance of ablutions (see note 34).
34. Perform ye ... ablutions for the Obligatory Prayer # 18
Ablutions are specifically associated with certain prayers.
They must precede the offering of the three Obligatory
Prayers, the daily recitation of "Allah-u-Abha" 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).
The 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
Baha’u’llah Supplementary to the Kitab-i-Aqdas). That
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). When
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).
The 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 # 19
The prohibition against taking another’s life is repeated by
Baha’u’llah in paragraph 73 of the Kitab-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 Kitab-i-Aqdas,
36. or adultery # 19
The Arabic word "zina", 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 "zina" is rape. The only
penalty prescribed by Baha’u’llah 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
37. backbiting or calumny # 19
Backbiting, slander and dwelling on the faults of others
have been repeatedly condemned by Baha’u’llah. 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 # 20
The Baha’i laws of inheritance apply only in case of
intestacy, that is, when the individual dies without leaving
a will. In the Kitab-i-Aqdas (# 109), Baha’u’llah 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 Baha’i or non-Baha’i, who should inherit (Q
and A 69). In this connection, a letter written on behalf of
Shoghi Effendi explains that:
...even though a Baha’i 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
Baha’u’llah 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 Baha’u’llah elaborates the Baha’i 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.
The 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 Bab in
the Bayan. The major features of the Baha’i 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
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. Baha’u’llah states that non-Baha’is have no right to
inherit from their Baha’i 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
Baha’i 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 Baha’i 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 Baha’i to provide for his or her non-Baha’i
partner, children or relatives by leaving a will.
Additional details of the laws of inheritance are summarized
in the Synopsis and Codification, section IV.C.3.a.-o.
39. to the brothers, five parts ... to the sisters, four
parts # 20
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 # 20
In a Tablet, Abdu’l-Baha 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".
Baha’u’llah 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. # 20 In
the Bab’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. Baha’u’llah 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 # 21
In referring to the House of Justice in the Kitab-i-Aqdas,
Baha’u’llah 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.
In a Tablet enumerating the revenues of the local treasury,
Abdu’l-Baha 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 one.
43. Should the deceased leave offspring, but none of the
other categories of heirs # 22 Baha’u’llah 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).
44. We have assigned the residence and personal clothing of
the deceased to the male, not female, offspring, nor to the
other heirs. # 25
In a Tablet, Abdu’l-Baha 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.
Baha’u’llah 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, Baha’u’llah 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).
45. 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 # 26
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).
46. If the deceased should leave children who are under age,
their share of the inheritance must be entrusted to a
reliable individual # 27
The word "amin", 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 "amin" denotes, among
other things, a trustee, guarantor, custodian, guardian, and
47. Division of the estate should take place only after the
Huququ’llah hath been paid, any debts have been settled, the
expenses of the funeral and burial defrayed # 28
Baha’u’llah 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
Huququ’llah (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 # 29
In the Arabic Bayan the Bab 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.
The "nine" mentioned here is represented in the Arabic text
by the letter "Ta", which is its equivalent in the abjad
notation (see Glossary). It is the first element of the
Bab’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 "Baha", alluded to in the next part of this
verse as "the concealed and manifest, the inviolable and
unapproachably exalted Name". (See also note 33.)
49. The Lord hath ordained that in every city a House of
Justice be established # 30
The institution of the House of Justice consists of elected
councils which operate at the local, national and
international levels of society. Baha’u’llah ordains both
the Universal House of Justice and the Local Houses of
Justice in the Kitab-i-Aqdas. Abdu’l-Baha, 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 Justice. 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 Baha’is. 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
Local 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, ...as the position and aims
of the Baha’i 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
Baha’u’llah, not merely as one of the recognized religious
systems of the world, but as the State Religion of an
independent and Sovereign Power.
50. the number of Baha # 30
The abjad numerical equivalent of "Baha" is nine. The
Universal House of Justice and the National and Local
Spiritual Assemblies currently have nine members each, the
minimum number prescribed by Baha’u’llah.
51. It behoveth them to be the trusted ones of the Merciful
among men # 30
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 Baha’u’llah and
Abdu’l-Baha, 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 Spiritual Assemblies.
52. take counsel together # 30
Baha’u’llah 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 Baha’i
Administrative Order. In Questions and Answers, number 99,
Baha’u’llah 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 Baha’i 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 # 31
The Baha’i House of Worship is dedicated to the praise of
God. The House of Worship forms the central edifice of the
Mashriqu’l-Adhkar (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-Baha describes the
Mashriqu’l-Adhkar as "one of the most vital institutions in
the world", and Shoghi Effendi indicates that it exemplifies
in tangible form the integration of "Baha’i 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, Baha’i Houses of Worship will be constructed in
every town and village.
54. The Lord hath ordained that those of you who are able
shall make pilgrimage to the sacred House # 32
Two sacred Houses are covered by this ordinance, the House
of the Bab in Shiraz and the House of Baha’u’llah in
Baghdad. Baha’u’llah 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-Hajj (Q and A 10), Baha’u’llah 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. After the passing of Baha’u’llah,
Abdu’l-Baha designated the Shrine of Baha’u’llah at Bahji as
a place of pilgrimage. In a Tablet, He indicates that the
"Most Holy Shrine, the Blessed House in Baghdad and the
venerated House of the Bab in Shiraz" 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 # 32
In the Bayan, the Bab 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. Baha’u’llah 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
56. to engage in some occupation # 33
It is obligatory for men and women to engage in a trade or
profession. Baha’u’llah 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 Baha’u’llah’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, Baha’u’llah 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
Baha’u’llah 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
In one of His Tablets, Abdu’l-Baha 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.)
In response to a question concerning whether Baha’u’llah’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 Baha’u’llah’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 to
Concerning the 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. Baha’u’llah 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 # 34
Baha’u’llah prohibits confession to, and seeking absolution
of one’s sins from, a human being. Instead one should beg
forgiveness from God. In the Tablet of Bisharat, 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 servants".
Shoghi Effendi sets the prohibition into context. His
secretary has written on his behalf that we
...are forbidden 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
The Universal House of Justice has also clarified that
Baha’u’llah’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
Baha’i 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. # 36
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 # 36
This is a reference to people who claim access to esoteric
knowledge and whose attachment to such knowledge veils them
from the Revelation of the Manifestation of God. Elsewhere
Baha’u’llah 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
61. 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 Baha’u’llah 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 Bisharat,
while acknowledging the "pious deeds" of monks and priests,
Baha’u’llah 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 # 37
The Dispensation of Baha’u’llah 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. Baha’u’llah 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’an, and of nineteen months of nineteen days each,
according to the Bayan". The intimation of His Revelation to
Baha’u’llah in the Siyah-Chal of Tihran, 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
63. This is that of which We gave you forewarning when We
were dwelling in Iraq, then later while in the Land of
Mystery, and now from this Resplendent Spot. # 37
The "Land of Mystery" refers to Adrianople, and "this
Resplendent Spot" is a reference to Akka.
64. 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 # 41
In the East, the practice has been for followers of a
religious leader, out of deference, to walk a pace or two
65. Nimrod # 41
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.
66. Aghsan # 42
"Aghsan" (plural of Ghusn) is the Arabic word for
"Branches". This term is used by Baha’u’llah 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 Baha’u’llah
(see note 145) and of Abdu’l-Baha. Baha’u’llah, in the Book
of His Covenant, appointed Abdu’l-Baha, His eldest son, as
the Centre of His Covenant and the Head of the Faith.
Abdu’l-Baha, in His Will and Testament, appointed Shoghi
Effendi, His eldest grandson, as the Guardian and Head of
This passage of the Aqdas, therefore, anticipates the
succession of chosen Aghsan 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 Aghsan ended before the
Universal House of Justice had been established (see note
67. revert to the people of Baha # 42
Baha’u’llah provides for the possibility that the line of
Aghsan 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 Baha".
The term "people of Baha" is used with a number of different
meanings in the Baha’i 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 # 44
In some religious traditions it is considered desirable to
shave one’s head. The shaving of the head is forbidden by
Baha’u’llah, and He makes it clear that the provision
contained in His Suriy-i-Hajj requiring pilgrims to the Holy
House in Shiraz to shave their heads has been superseded
through this verse of the Kitab-i-Aqdas (Q and A 10).
69. it is not seemly to let the hair pass beyond the limit
of the ears # 44 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 Justice.
70. Exile and imprisonment are decreed for the thief # 45
Baha’u’llah 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.
71. 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 # 45 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
Baha’u’llah 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. # 46 In the Bayan the Bab 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’an but from Muslim
traditions. Baha’u’llah here confirms the Bab’s ruling.
73. Take heed lest, when partaking of food, ye plunge your
hands into the contents of bowls and platters. # 46
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. # 46
This is the first of several passages referring to the
importance of refinement and cleanliness. The original
Arabic word "latafah", 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 Kitab-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. # 47
In the Tablet of Ishraqat, Baha’u’llah affirms that the Most
Great Infallibility is confined to the Manifestations of
God. Chapter 45 in Some Answered Questions is devoted to an
explanation by Abdu’l-Baha 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 # 48
Abdu’l-Baha, 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 # 49
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-Baha 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
In one of His Tablets, Abdu’l-Baha 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
The House of Justice referred to in this verse is presumably
the Local House of Justice, currently known as the Local
78. nine mithqals of gold, to be doubled if they should
repeat the offence # 49
A mithqal is a unit of weight. The weight of the traditional
mithqal used in the Middle East is equivalent to 24 nakhuds.
However, the mithqal used by the Baha’is consists of 19
nakhuds, "in accordance with the specification of the Bayan"
(Q and A 23). The weight of nine of these mithqals equals
32.775 grammes or 1.05374 troy ounces.
In relation to the application of the fine, Baha’u’llah
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. # 51
Abdu’l-Baha has written that "Among certain nations of the
East, music was considered reprehensible". Though the Qur’an
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
There are a number of passages in the Baha’i Writings in
praise of music. Abdu’l-Baha, for example, asserts that
"music, sung or played, is spiritual food for soul and
80. O ye Men of Justice! # 52
It has been elucidated in the writings of Abdu’l-Baha 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
81. The 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. # 56
While Baha’u’llah 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 # 57
This injunction has become the basis for the holding of
monthly Baha’i festivities and as such constitutes the
ordination of the Nineteen Day Feast. In the Arabic Bayan
the Bab called upon His followers to gather together once
every nineteen days to show hospitality and fellowship.
Baha’u’llah here confirms this and notes the unifying role
of such occasions.
Abdu’l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi after Him have gradually
unfolded the institutional significance of this injunction.
Abdu’l-Baha 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 Baha’i community,
including the sharing of news and messages.
In answer to a question as to whether this injunction is
obligatory, Baha’u’llah stated it was not (Q and A 48).
Shoghi Effendi in a letter written on his behalf further
Attendance at Nineteen Day Feasts is not obligatory but very
important, and every believer should consider it a duty and
privilege to be present on such occasions.
83. 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. # 60
By this law, Baha’u’llah 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 # 60
While hunting is not forbidden by Baha’u’llah, 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 Baha’u’llah’s kindred
does not give them a share in the property of others. This
is in contrast to Shi’ih Muslim practice, in which lineal
descendants of Muhammad are entitled to receive a share of a
86. 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. # 62
The law of Baha’u’llah prescribes the death penalty for
murder and arson, with the alternative of life imprisonment
(see note 87).
In His Tablets Abdu’l-Baha 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 explanation:
In the Aqdas Baha’u’llah 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 Baha’i law of punishment for murder and
arson, a law designed for a future state of society, were
not specified by Baha’u’llah. 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.
In 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
87. Should ye condemn the arsonist and the murderer to life
imprisonment, it would be permissible according to the
provisions of the Book. # 62
Shoghi Effendi, in response to a question about this verse
of the Aqdas, affirmed that while capital punishment is
permitted, an alternative, "life imprisonment", has been
provided "whereby the rigours of such a condemnation can be
seriously mitigated". He states that "Baha’u’llah 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 Baha’i law, it remains for the
Universal House of Justice to legislate on the matter in the
88. God hath prescribed matrimony unto you. # 63
Baha’u’llah, 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
Kitab-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. 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. # 63
While the text of the Kitab-i-Aqdas appears to permit
bigamy, Baha’u’llah 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-Baha, the authorized Interpreter of the Baha’i
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; Baha’u’llah, 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 Kitab-i-Aqdas but uphold a
condition that enabled Abdu’l-Baha 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
63 Baha’u’llah states that a man may employ a maiden for
domestic service. This was not permissible under Shi’ih
Muslim practice unless the employer entered into a marriage
contract with her. Baha’u’llah 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. # 63
While marriage is enjoined in the Kitab-i-Aqdas, Baha’u’llah
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
92. We have conditioned it ... upon the permission of their
parents # 65
In a letter written on his behalf, Shoghi Effendi has
commented on this provision of the law:
Baha’u’llah has clearly stated the consent of all living
parents is required for a Baha’i marriage. This applies
whether the parents are Baha’is or non-Baha’is, 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
# 66 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 Bayan.
The dowry is to be paid by the bridegroom to the bride. It
is fixed at 19 mithqals of pure gold for city-dwellers, and
19 mithqals of silver for village-dwellers (see note 94).
Baha’u’llah 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).
With the Revelation of Baha’u’llah 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 Baha’u’llah abolishes all such
variants and converts the dowry into a symbolic act whereby
the bridegroom presents a gift of a certain limited value to
94. for city-dwellers at nineteen mithqals of pure gold, and
for village-dwellers at the same amount in silver # 66
Baha’u’llah 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 mithqals... If he content
himself, however, with a payment of the lowest level, it
shall be better for him according to the Book. # 66
In answer to a question about the dowry, Baha’u’llah stated:
Whatever is revealed in the Bayan, in respect to those
residing in cities and villages, is approved and should be
carried out. However, in the Kitab-i-Aqdas mention is made
of the lowest level. The intention is nineteen mithqals of
silver, specified in the Bayan 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 Baha 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
Abdu’l-Baha, 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
"vahid". One vahid is equivalent to nineteen mithqals. He
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 vahid; if of
modest means, he payeth two vahids; if well-to-do, three
vahids; if wealthy, four vahids; and if very rich, he giveth
five vahids. 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-Baha 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 # 67
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, Baha’u’llah has stated that, should the
husband have been aware of the law prescribed in the
Kitab-i-Aqdas, 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
97. it behoveth her to wait for a period of nine months,
after which there is no impediment to her taking another
husband # 67
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 Baha’i calendar).
Baha’u’llah 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-Baha, 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 # 67
Baha’u’llah defines "the course that is praiseworthy" as
"the exercise of patience" (Q and A 4).
99. two just witnesses # 67
Baha’u’llah 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
Baha’is since "The testimony of all God’s servants, of
whatever faith or creed, is acceptable before His Throne" (Q
and A 79).
100. 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 whole year # 68
Divorce is strongly condemned in the Baha’i 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". In Questions and Answers, Baha’u’llah 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.
The detailed provisions of the Baha’i laws on divorce are
summarized in the Synopsis and Codification, section
101. The Lord hath prohibited ... the practice to
which ye formerly had recourse when thrice ye had divorced a
woman. # 68 This relates to a law of Islam set out in the
Qur’an which decreed that under certain conditions a man
could not remarry his divorced wife unless she had married
and been divorced by another man. Baha’u’llah affirms that
this is the practice which has been prohibited in the
Kitab-i-Aqdas (Q and A 31).
102. 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 circumstances change. # 68
Shoghi Effendi states, in a letter written on his behalf,
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 # 74
In a number of religious traditions and in Shi’ih Muslim
practice semen has been declared ritually unclean.
Baha’u’llah has here dispelled this concept. See also note
104. Cleave ye unto the cord of refinement # 74
Abdu’l-Baha 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
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. Baha’u’llah
provides additional guidance concerning pure water and the
point at which it is considered unsuitable for use (Q and A
106. God hath ... abolished the concept of "uncleanness",
whereby divers things and peoples have been held to be
impure. # 75
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 Baha’u’llah. 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 Ridvan # 75
This is a reference to the arrival of Baha’u’llah and His
companions in the Najibiyyih Garden outside the city of
Baghdad, subsequently referred to by the Baha’is as the
Garden of Ridvan. This event, which took place thirty-one
days after Naw-Ruz, in April 1863, signalized the
commencement of the period during which Baha’u’llah 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 Ridvan as "the Spot from which He
shed upon the whole of creation the splendours of His Name,
the All-Merciful". Baha’u’llah spent twelve days in this
Garden prior to departing for Istanbul, the place to which
He had been banished.
The Declaration of Baha’u’llah is celebrated annually by the
twelve-day Ridvan Festival, described by Shoghi Effendi as
"the holiest and most significant of all Baha’i festivals"
(see notes 138 and 140).
108. the Bayan # 77
The Bayan, the Mother Book of the Babi Dispensation, is the
title given by the Bab to His Book of Laws, and it is also
applied to the entire body of His Writings. The Persian
Bayan is the major doctrinal work and principal repository
of the laws ordained by the Bab. The Arabic Bayan is
parallel in content but smaller and less weighty. When
describing the Persian Bayan 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
Abdu’l-Baha has written: "The Bayan hath been superseded by
the Kitab-i-Aqdas, except in respect of such laws as have
been confirmed and mentioned in the Kitab-i-Aqdas."
109. the destruction of books # 77
In the Tablet of Ishraqat Baha’u’llah, referring to the fact
that the Bab had made the laws of the Bayan subject to His
sanction, states that He put some of the Bab’s laws into
effect "by embodying them in the Kitab-i-Aqdas in different
words", while others He set aside.
With regard to the destruction of books, the Bayan commanded
the Bab’s followers to destroy all books except those that
were written in vindication of the Cause and Religion of
God. Baha’u’llah abrogates this specific law of the Bayan.
As to the nature and severity of the laws of the Bayan,
Shoghi Effendi in a letter written on his behalf provides
the following comment:
The severe laws and injunctions revealed by the Bab 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 Babi 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 Bab and His
followers were taken with the view of undermining the very
foundations of Shi’ih orthodoxy, and thus paving the way for
the coming of Baha’u’llah. To assert the independence of the
new Dispensation, and to prepare also the ground for the
approaching Revelation of Baha’u’llah, the Bab 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 Baha’i Writings enjoin the acquisition of knowledge and
the study of the arts and sciences. Baha’is are admonished
to respect people of learning and accomplishment, and are
warned against the pursuit of studies that are productive
only of futile wrangling.
In His Tablets Baha’u’llah 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 Baha’u’llah
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 # 80
This is a traditional Jewish and Islamic title of Moses.
Baha’u’llah states that with the coming of His Revelation
"human ears have been privileged to hear what He Who
conversed with God heard upon Sinai".
112. Sinai # 80
The mountain where the Law was revealed by God to Moses.
113. the Spirit of God # 80
This is one of the titles used in the Islamic and Baha’i
Writings to designate Jesus Christ.
114. Carmel ... Zion # 80
Carmel, the "Vineyard of God", is the mountain in the Holy
Land where the Shrine of the Bab and the seat of the world
administrative centre of the Faith are situated. Zion 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 # 84
The "Crimson Ark" refers to the Cause of Baha’u’llah. His
followers are designated as the "companions of the Crimson
Ark", lauded by the Bab in the Qayyumu’l-Asma’.
116. O Emperor of Austria! He Who is the Dayspring of God’s
Light dwelt in the prison of Akka at the time when thou
didst set forth to visit the Aqsa Mosque. # 85
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 Baha’u’llah Who at that time was a prisoner in
The Aqsa Mosque, literally, the "Most Distant" Mosque, is
referred to in the Qur’an, and has become identified with
the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
117. O King of Berlin! # 86
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 Franco-Prussian
118. the one whose power transcended thy power, and whose
station excelled thy station # 86
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.
Baha’u’llah 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".
Within 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
119. O people of Constantinople! # 89
The word here translated as "Constantinople" is, in the
original, "Ar-Rum" 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!
# 89 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.
Constantinople was the capital of the Ottoman Empire from
1453 until 1922. During Baha’u’llah’s sojourn in this city,
the tyrannical Sultan Abdu’l-‘Aziz occupied the throne. The
Ottoman Sultans were also the Caliphs, the leaders of Sunni
Islam. Baha’u’llah anticipated the fall of the Caliphate,
which was abolished in 1924.
121. O banks of the Rhine! # 90
In one of His Tablets written before the First World War
(1914-1918), Abdu’l-Baha explained that Baha’u’llah’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.
In 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 Ta # 91
"Ta" is the initial letter of Tihran, the capital of Iran.
Baha’u’llah 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 Ta is
nine, which equals the numerical value of the name Baha.
123. within thee was born the Manifestation of His Glory #
92 This is a reference to the birth of Baha’u’llah in Tihran
on 12 November 1817.
124. O Land of Kha! # 94
A reference to the Iranian province of Khurasan and
neighbouring areas, which include the city of Ishqabad
125. Should anyone acquire one hundred mithqals of gold,
nineteen mithqals thereof are God’s and to be rendered unto
Him # 97 This verse establishes Huququ’llah, the Right of
God, the offering of a fixed portion of the value of the
believer’s possessions. This offering was made to
Baha’u’llah as the Manifestation of God and then, following
His Ascension, to Abdu’l-Baha as the Centre of the Covenant.
In His Will and Testament, Abdu’l-Baha provided that the
Huququ’llah 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 Huququ’llah is a spiritual
obligation, the fulfilment of which has been left to the
conscience of each Baha’i. While the community is reminded
of the requirements of the law of Huquq, no believer may be
approached individually to pay it.
A number of items in Questions and Answers further elaborate
this law. The payment of Huququ’llah 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
mithqals of gold (Q and A 8), it is a spiritual obligation
to pay nineteen percent of the total amount, once only, as
Huququ’llah (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
mithqals of gold, one is to pay nineteen percent of this
increase, and so on for each further increase (Q and A 8,
90). Certain categories of possessions, such as one’s
residence, are exempt from the payment of Huququ’llah (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 Huquq in the event of the person’s death (Q and A
9, 69, 80). (In this latter case, see note 47.)
Extensive extracts from Tablets, Questions and Answers, and
other Writings concerning the spiritual significance of
Huququ’llah and the details of its application have been
published in a compilation entitled Huququ’llah.
126. 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. # 98
"For a number of years", Baha’u’llah 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
Siyah-Chal of Tihran had elapsed did Baha’u’llah reveal the
Kitab-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 # 100
This is a reference to the prison-city of Akka. In the
Baha’i Writings the word "crimson" is used in several
allegorical and symbolic senses. (See also note 115.)
128. the Sadratu’l-Muntaha # 100
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 Islam, 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 Baha’i Writings to designate the Manifestation of God
Himself. (See also note 164.)
129. the Mother Book # 103
The term "Mother Book" is generally used to designate the
central Book of a religious Dispensation. In the Qur’an and
Islamic Hadith, the term is used to describe the Qur’an
itself. In the Babi Dispensation, the Bayan is the Mother
Book, and the Kitab-i-Aqdas is the Mother Book of the
Dispensation of Baha’u’llah. 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 Baha’u’llah". This term is also
used in a broader sense to signify the Divine Repository of
130. Whoso interpreteth what hath been sent down from the
heaven of Revelation, and altereth its evident meaning # 105
In several of His Tablets, Baha’u’llah 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 the believers.
As explained in notes 145 and 184, Baha’u’llah designated
Abdu’l-Baha, His eldest Son, as His Successor and the
Interpreter of His Teachings. Abdu’l-Baha 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-Baha and Shoghi Effendi
are considered divinely guided and are binding on the
The 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 Baha’i 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 # 106
Baha’u’llah 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 # 106 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. # 107
Marriage with one’s stepmother is here explicitly
prohibited. This prohibition also applies to marrying one’s
stepfather. Where Baha’u’llah 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
Abdu’l-Baha 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. Baha’u’llah 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-Baha 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 # 107
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.
The Baha’i 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. Baha’i law thus restricts
permissible sexual intercourse to that between a man and the
woman to whom he is married.
In 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 Baha’u’llah,
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 this handicap.
Baha’u’llah 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. Baha’u’llah
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 Baha’u’llah, 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
Baha’u’llah 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 Kitab-i-Aqdas for the
distribution of inheritance in the case of intestacy. (See
137. the Most Great Name # 109
As explained in note 33, the Greatest Name of God can take
various forms, all based on the word "Baha". The Baha’is 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.
138. All Feasts have attained their consummation in
the two Most Great Festivals, and in the two other
Festivals that fall on the twin days # 110
This passage establishes four great festivals of the Baha’i
year. The two designated by Baha’u’llah as "the two Most
Great Festivals" are, first, the Festival of Ridvan, which
commemorates Baha’u’llah’s Declaration of His Prophetic
Mission in the Garden of Ridvan in Baghdad during twelve
days in April/May 1863 and is referred to by Him as "the
King of Festivals" and, second, the Bab’s Declaration, which
occurred in May 1844 in Shiraz. The first, ninth and twelfth
days of the Festival of Ridvan are Holy Days (Q and A 1), as
is the day of the Declaration of the Bab.
The "two other Festivals" are the anniversaries of the
births of Baha’u’llah and the Bab. In the Muslim lunar
calendar these fall on consecutive days, the birth of
Baha’u’llah on the second day of the month of Muharram 1233
A.H. (12 November 1817), and the birth of the Bab 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 Baha’u’llah 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 Baha’i 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 Baha # 111
In the Baha’i calendar the first month of the year and the
first day of each month are given the name "Baha". The day
of Baha of the month of Baha is thus the Baha’i New Year,
Naw-Ruz, which was ordained by the Bab as a festival and is
here confirmed by Baha’u’llah (see notes 26 and 147). In
addition to the seven Holy Days ordained in these passages
of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, the anniversary of the Martyrdom of
the Bab was also commemorated as a Holy Day in the lifetime
of Baha’u’llah and, as a corollary to this, Abdu’l-Baha
added the observance of the Ascension of Baha’u’llah, 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-Baha. See the section on the Baha’i calendar in The
Baha’i World, volume XVIII.
140. The Most Great Festival is, indeed, the King of
Festivals # 112
A reference to the Ridvan Festival (see notes 107 and 138).
141. 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. # 114 This
passage abrogates a provision of the Bayan 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 Bab 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
142. the hour of dawn # 115
With reference to attending dawn prayers in the
Mashriqu’l-Adhkar, the Baha’i House of Worship, Baha’u’llah
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
143. 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. # 117 Baha’u’llah 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 Baha’i World, volume V, p. 4, contains a
photograph of a number of Baha’u’llah’s seals.
144. It is inadmissible that man, who hath been endowed with
reason, should consume that which stealeth it away. # 119
There are many references in the Baha’i 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, Baha’u’llah states:
Beware 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
Almighty. Abdu’l-Baha 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". Shoghi 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 ailment".
145. turn your faces toward Him Whom God hath purposed, Who
hath branched from this Ancient Root # 121
Baha’u’llah here alludes to Abdu’l-Baha as His Successor and
calls upon the believers to turn towards Him. In the Book of
the Covenant, His Will and Testament, Baha’u’llah 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
Baha’u’llah on Abdu’l-Baha. (See also notes 66 and 184.)
146. In the Bayan it had been forbidden you to ask Us
questions. # 126
The Bab forbade His followers to ask questions of Him Whom
God will make manifest (Baha’u’llah), unless their questions
were submitted in writing and pertained to subjects worthy
of His lofty station. See Selections from the Writings of
Baha’u’llah removes this prohibition of the Bab. 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 former times".
147. The number of months in a year, appointed in the Book
of God, is nineteen. # 127
The Baha’i year, in accordance with the Badi’ 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 Bab named the months after certain
attributes of God. The Baha’i New Year, Naw-Ruz, 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
Baha’i calendar in The Baha’i World, volume XVIII.
148. the first hath been adorned with this Name which
overshadoweth the whole of creation # 127
In the Persian Bayan, the Bab bestowed the name "Baha" on
the first month of the year (see note 139).
149. The Lord hath decreed that the dead should be interred
in coffins # 128 In the Bayan, the Bab 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 of man".
In brief, the Baha’i 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-Baha 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).
With 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 Baha’is are left free to make their own choices
in this matter.
150. the Point of the Bayan # 129
The "Point of the Bayan" is one of the titles by which the
Bab referred to Himself.
151. the deceased should be enfolded in five sheets of silk
or cotton # 130
In the Bayan, the Bab specified that the body of the
deceased should be wrapped in five sheets of silk or cotton.
Baha’u’llah confirmed this provision and added the
stipulation that for "those whose means are limited a single
sheet of either fabric will suffice".
When asked whether the "five sheets" mentioned in the law
referred to "five full-length shrouds" or "five cloths which
were hitherto customarily used", Baha’u’llah responded that
the intention is the "use of five cloths" (Q and A 56).
Concerning the way in which the body should be wrapped,
there is nothing in the Baha’i 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
Baha’is 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 # 130
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. Baha’u’llah affirms that the sooner the burial takes
place, "the more fitting and acceptable will it be" (Q and A
16). The 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 Baha’u’llah’s law is for
the deceased to be buried near where he or she dies.
153. God hath removed the restrictions on travel that had
been imposed in the Bayan. # 131
The Bab decreed certain restrictions on travel which were to
remain in force until the advent of the Promised One of the
Bayan, 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
154. 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. # 133
Baha’u’llah identifies the "two Houses" as His House in
Baghdad, designated by Him as the "Most Great House", and
the House of the Bab in Shiraz, both of which have been
ordained by Him as sites of pilgrimage. (See Q and A 29, 32
and note 54.)
Shoghi 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. Baha’u’llah 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). Baha’i 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 # 134
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.
These words contain an allusion to a statement of the Bab in
the Persian Bayan about the "Living Book", which He
identifies as Him Whom God will make manifest. In one of His
Tablets Baha’u’llah 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,
Baha’u’llah 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 # 135
The "tribute" that Baha’u’llah quotes in this passage is
from the Arabic Bayan.
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.
158. 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 # 139
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 manifest". 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 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 Bayan # 140
One of the titles of the Bab.
160. Verily, there is none other God besides Me # 143
The Baha’i Writings contain many passages that elucidate the
nature of the Manifestation and His relationship to God.
Baha’u’llah 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
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
Baha’u’llah 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 Baha’u’llah, 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
Concerning the uniqueness of Baha’u’llah’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 Baha’u’llah:
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 Shi’ah Islam the
return of the Imam Husayn; to Sunni Islam the descent of the
"Spirit of God" (Jesus Christ); to the Zoroastrians the
promised Shah-Bahram; to the Hindus the reincarnation of
Krishna; to the Buddhists the fifth Buddha.
Baha’u’llah describes the station of "Divinity" which He
shares with all the Manifestations of God as ...the 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
And, regarding His own relationship to God, He testifies:
When 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 Zakat # 146
Zakat is referred to in the Qur’an 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.
Baha’u’llah states that the Baha’i law of Zakat follows
"what hath been revealed in the Qur’an" (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 Zakat are not
mentioned in the Qur’an, 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 Baha’i
162. It is unlawful to beg, and it is forbidden to give to
him who beggeth. # 147
In a Tablet Abdu’l-Baha 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."
The 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 # 148
Baha’u’llah abrogates the law of the Persian Bayan
concerning the payment of a fine in reparation for causing
sadness to one’s neighbour.
164. the sacred Lote-Tree # 148
The "sacred Lote-Tree" is a reference to the
Sadratu’l-Muntaha, the "Tree beyond which there is no
passing" (see note 128). It is used here symbolically to
165. Recite ye the verses of God every morn and eventide. #
Baha’u’llah 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 A 68).
With regard to the definition of "verses of God",
Baha’u’llah 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-Baha; 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 # 151
Baha’u’llah confirms the injunction in the Arabic Bayan
regarding the renewal, every nineteen years, of the
furnishings of one’s home, provided one is able to do so.
Abdu’l-Baha 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 # 152
The believers are exhorted in the Kitab-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,
Baha’u’llah states that it is preferable to use warm water;
however, washing in cold water is also permissible (Q and A
168. 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 # 154
These provisions have their antecedent in the Persian Bayan.
The Bab 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.
In comments on this law, Abdu’l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi have
made it clear that in the Mashriqu’l-Adhkar (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-Adhkar, 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-Baha has stressed
that when Baha’is deliver their speeches in gatherings, they
are to do so in an attitude of utmost humility and
169. Gambling # 155
The activities that are included in this prohibition have
not been outlined in the Writings of Baha’u’llah. As both
Abdu’l-Baha 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
The 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 # 155
This prohibition of the use of opium is reiterated by
Baha’u’llah in the final paragraph of the Kitab-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-Baha 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 the user.
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-Baha 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-Baha has written:
Regarding 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? Alcohol 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 medical
171. the "mystery of the Great Reversal in the Sign of the
Sovereign" # 157
Shaykh Ahmad-i-Ahsa’i (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 Bab",
prophesied that at the appearance of the Promised One all
things would be reversed, the last would be first, the first
last. Baha’u’llah 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-Ahsa’i 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-Ahsa’i placed great emphasis
on the Arabic letter "Vav". In The Dawn-Breakers, Nabil
states that this letter "symbolized for the Bab the advent
of a new cycle of Divine Revelation, and has since been
alluded to by Baha’u’llah in the Kitab-i-Aqdas in such
passages as ‘the mystery of the Great Reversal’ and ‘the
Sign of the Sovereign’".
The name for the letter "Vav" consists of three letters:
Vav, Alif, Vav. 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 Bab. The
first letter with its value of six, which comes before the
Alif, is a symbol of earlier Dispensations and
Manifestations which predate the Bab, while the third
letter, which also has a numerical value of six, stands for
Baha’u’llah’s supreme Revelation which was made manifest
after the Alif.
173. It hath been forbidden you to carry arms unless
essential # 159
Baha’u’llah confirms an injunction contained in the Bayan
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-Baha 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 Baha’i 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.
On the societal level, the principle of collective security
enunciated by Baha’u’llah (see Gleanings from the Writings
of Baha’u’llah, CXVII) and elaborated by Shoghi Effendi (see
the Guardian’s letters in The World Order of Baha’u’llah)
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
Bisharat, Baha’u’llah 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".
In another Tablet Baha’u’llah 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
174. and permitted you to attire yourselves in silk # 159
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’an, was abrogated by the Bab.
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 Shi’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 the beard.
Baha’u’llah removed 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 Kaf and Ra! # 164
Kaf and Ra are the first two consonants of Kirman, the name
of a city and province of Iran.
177. We perceive that which secretly and stealthily
diffuseth from thee. # 164
This passage is a reference to the intrigues of a group of
Azalis, followers of Mirza Yahya (see note 190), associated
with the city of Kirman. They include Mulla Ja’far, his son
Shaykh Ahmad-i-Ruhi and Mirza Aqa Khan-i-Kirmani (both
sons-in-law of Mirza Yahya), as well as Mirza
Ahmad-i-Kirmani. They not only sought to undermine the
Faith, but involved themselves in political intrigues which
culminated in the assassination of Nasiri’d-Din Shah.
178. Call ye to mind the shaykh whose name was
Muhammad-Hasan # 166
Shaykh Muhammad-Hasan, one of the leading exponents of
Shi’ih Islam, rejected the Bab. The author of voluminous
writings on Shi’ih jurisprudence, he is reported to have
died around 1850.
Nabil, in The Dawn-Breakers, describes the encounter that
took place in Najaf between Mulla Aliy-i-Bastami, one of the
Letters of the Living, and Shaykh Muhammad-Hasan. During the
meeting, Mulla Ali announced the manifestation of the Bab
and extolled the potency of His Revelation. At the
instigation of the shaykh, Mulla Ali was forthwith
pronounced a heretic and expelled from the assembly. He was
put on trial, transported to Istanbul, and condemned to hard
179. a sifter of wheat and barley # 166
This is an allusion to Mulla Muhammad Ja’far Gandum-Pak-Kun,
the first person in Isfahan to accept the Faith of the Bab.
He is mentioned in the Persian Bayan and praised as one who
"donned the robe of discipleship". In The Dawn-Breakers,
Nabil 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 Tabarsi and perished during that siege.
180. Take heed lest the word "Prophet" withhold you from
this Most Great Announcement # 167
Baha’u’llah 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 Islam. Baha’u’llah 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 Kitab-i-Iqan that the "people of the Qur’an ...
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 Bab 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 # 167
The word here translated "Vicegerency" is, in the original
Arabic, "vilayat", which has a range of meanings including
"vicegerency", "guardianship", "protectorship" and
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, Baha’u’llah 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 Karim # 170
Haji Mirza Muhammad Karim Khan-i-Kirmani (1810- circa 1873)
was the self-appointed leader of the Shaykhi community after
the death of Siyyid Kazim, who was the appointed successor
to Shaykh Ahmad-i-Ahsa’i (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.
Regarded 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 Bab and Baha’u’llah, and
used his treatises to attack the Bab and His Teachings. In
the Kitab-i-Iqan, Baha’u’llah condemns the tone and content
of his writings and singles out for criticism one of his
works which contains negative allusions to the Bab. Shoghi
Effendi describes him as "inordinately ambitious and
hypocritical" and describes how he "at the special request
of the Shah had in a treatise viciously attacked the new
Faith and its doctrines".
183. O ye the learned ones in Baha # 173
Baha’u’llah eulogizes the learned among His followers. In
the Book of His Covenant, He wrote: "Blessed are the rulers
and learned among the people of Baha." 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
Baha’u’llah and charged with various duties, especially
those of protecting and propagating His Faith. In Memorials
of the Faithful Abdu’l-Baha 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 Baha’u’llah’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. The 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 # 174
Baha’u’llah invests Abdu’l-Baha with the right of
interpreting His holy Writ (see also note 145).
185. the School of Transcendent Oneness # 175
In this verse and the ones which immediately follow it,
Baha’u’llah confronts one of the reasons some of the Babis
rejected His claim to be the Promised One of the Bayan.
Their rejection was based on a Tablet addressed by the Bab
to "Him Who will be made manifest" on the reverse side of
which the Bab 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 Bab.
These Babis maintained that, since Baha’u’llah was two years
older than the Bab, it was not possible for Him to receive
this Tablet "at the primary school".
Baha’u’llah here explains that the reference is to events
transpiring in the spiritual worlds beyond this plane of
186. We accepted the verses of God ... which He presented
unto Us # 175
In His Tablet addressed to "Him Who will be made manifest",
the Bab characterizes the Bayan as an offering from Him to
Baha’u’llah. See Selections from the Writings of the Bab.
187. O people of the Bayan! # 176
Reference to the followers of the Bab.
188. the letters B and E were joined and knit together # 177
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".
The imperative "Be" in the original Arabic is the word
"kun", consisting of the two letters "kaf" and "nun". They
have been translated by Shoghi Effendi in the above manner.
This word has been used in the Qur’an as God’s bidding
calling creation into being.
189. this new World Order # 181
In the Persian Bayan, the Bab stated: "Well is it with him
who fixeth his gaze upon the Order of Baha’u’llah, and
rendereth thanks unto his Lord. For He will assuredly be
made manifest. God hath indeed irrevocably ordained it in
the Bayan." Shoghi Effendi identifies this "Order" with the
System Baha’u’llah 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
The features of the "new World Order" are delineated in the
Writings of Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l-Baha and in the letters
of Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice. The
institutions of the present-day Baha’i Administrative Order,
which constitute the "structural basis" of Baha’u’llah’s
World Order, will mature and evolve into the Baha’i 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".
For additional information on the evolution of this new
World Order, see, for example, the letters of Shoghi Effendi
published in The World Order of Baha’u’llah.
190. O source of perversion! # 184
This is a reference to Mirza Yahya, known as Subh-i-Azal
(Morning of Eternity), a younger half-brother of
Baha’u’llah, who arose against Him and opposed His Cause.
Mirza Yahya was nominated by the Bab to serve as a
figure-head for the Babi community pending the imminent
manifestation of the Promised One. At the instigation of
Siyyid Muhammad-i-Isfahani (see note 192), Mirza Yahya
betrayed the trust of the Bab, claimed to be His successor,
and intrigued against Baha’u’llah, even attempting to have
Him murdered. When Baha’u’llah formally declared His Mission
to him in Adrianople, Mirza Yahya 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
Azalis (see note 177). He is described by Shoghi Effendi as
the "Arch-Breaker of the Covenant of the Bab" (see God
Passes By, chapter X).
191. remember how We nurtured thee by day and by night for
service to the Cause # 184 In God Passes By, Shoghi Effendi
refers to the fact that Baha’u’llah, Who was thirteen years
older than Mirza Yahya, had counselled him and watched over
his early youth and manhood.
192. God hath laid hold on him who led thee astray. # 184
A reference to Siyyid Muhammad-i-Isfahani, who is described
by Shoghi Effendi as the "Antichrist of the Baha’i
Revelation". He was a man of corrupt character and great
personal ambition who induced Mirza Yahya to oppose
Baha’u’llah and to claim prophethood for himself (see note
190). Although he was an adherent of Mirza Yahya, Siyyid
Muhammad was exiled with Baha’u’llah to Akka. He continued
to agitate and plot against Baha’u’llah. In describing the
circumstances of his death, Shoghi Effendi has written in
God Passes By:
A fresh danger now clearly threatened the life of
Baha’u’llah. 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 Aqa Jan.
The consternation that seized an already oppressed community
was indescribable. Baha’u’llah’s indignation knew no bounds.
"Were We", He thus voices His emotions, in a Tablet revealed
shortly after this act had 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. # 189
Baha’u’llah 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 # 189
The first sign of the coming of age of humanity referred to
in the Writings of Baha’u’llah 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.
Concerning the "second" sign which Baha’u’llah indicates to
have been revealed in the Kitab-i-Aqdas, Shoghi Effendi
states that Baha’u’llah, "...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
Further insight into this process of mankind’s coming of age
and proceeding to maturity is provided by the following
statement of Baha’u’llah:
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 Baha", Abbas Effendi (1844-1921), the eldest
son and appointed Successor of Baha’u’llah, 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 Mirza
Ali-Muhammad (1819-1850) after the Declaration of His
Mission in Shiraz in May 1844. He was the Founder of the
Babi Faith and the Herald of Baha’u’llah.
Baha means Glory. It is the Greatest Name of God and a title
by which Baha’u’llah is designated. Also, the name of the
first month of the Baha’i year and of the first day of each
The "Glory of God", title of Mirza Husayn-‘Ali (1817-1892),
the Founder of the Baha’i Faith.
The Bayan ("Exposition") is the title given by the Bab to
His Book of Laws, and it is also applied to the entire body
of His Writings. The Persian Bayan is the major doctrinal
work and principal repository of the laws ordained by the
Bab. The Arabic Bayan is parallel in content but smaller and
less weighty. References in the annotations to subjects
found in both the Persian Bayan and the Arabic Bayan are
identified by use of the term "Bayan" without further
The "Right of God". Instituted in the Kitab-i-Aqdas, it is
an offering made by the Baha’is through the Head of the
Faith for the purposes specified in the Baha’i Writings.
Literally "the Dawning-place of the praise of God", the
designation of the Baha’i House of Worship and its
A unit of weight, equivalent to a little over 3 ½ grammes,
used in the Kitab-i-Aqdas with reference to quantities of
gold or silver for various purposes, usually in amounts of
9, 19 or 95 mithqals. 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 mithqals = 32.775 grammes = 1.05374 troy ounces 19
mithqals = 69.192 grammes = 2.22456 troy ounces 95 mithqals
= 345.958 grammes = 11.12282 troy ounces This computation is
based on the guidance of Shoghi Effendi, conveyed in a
letter written on his behalf, which states "one mithqal
consists of nineteen nakhuds. The weight of twenty-four
nakhuds equals four and three-fifths grammes. Calculations
may be made on this basis." The mithqal traditionally used
in the Middle East had consisted of 24 nakhuds but in the
Bayan this was changed to 19 nakhuds and Baha’u’llah
confirmed this as the size of the mithqal referred to in the
Baha’i laws (Q and A 23).
A unit of weight. See "mithqal".
The Bab’s commentary on the Surih of Joseph in the Qur’an.
Revealed in 1844, this work is characterized by Baha’u’llah
as "the first, the greatest, and mightiest of all books" in
the Babi Dispensation.
Shoghi Effendi (1897-1957), Guardian of the Baha’i Faith
from 1921-1957. He was the eldest grandson of Abdu’l-Baha
and was appointed by Him as the Head of the Faith.
Literally "the Black Pit". The dark, foul-smelling,
subterranean dungeon in Tihran where Baha’u’llah was
imprisoned for four months in 1852