Baha'is believe the Aqdas supersedes and succeeds previous revelations such as the Quran and the Bible. Rules and principles are interspersed and guide interpretation, and authority and limits for authorized interpretation are also specified. It must be noted that elected Baha'i Administrative bodies and the appointed Institution of Continental Board of Councilors together with their army of Auxiliary Board Members and Assistants wield more power than most clergy could ever hope to have. For example they're permitted to excommunicate critics of the Baha'i Administration and society is required to shun them completely.
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About this document click for more. Written for possible inclusion in The Baha'i Encyclopedia. Posted with permission of both the author and of the editor of the Encyclopedia project.
This article covers the history of the work and its contents in general. Detailed discussions of particular subjects covered in the Aqdas will be found in the respective subject articles see the cross- references in this article.
There is some evidence, however, that part at least of the book may have been written even earlier. In the tablet called Ishraqat q. Thus although the completion of the Aqdas may have occurred in , it seems clear that it was being revealed for several years prior to this Ekbal. Style: The Aqdas is written in a lofty and austere Arabic with little rhetorical ornamentation, a style somewhat similar to that of the Qur'an.
There are occasional grammatical innovations but many fewer than in the Arabic writings of the Bab. Discussions of particular subjects are generally succinct, important laws often being given in a sentence or two. The book as a whole is quite short: the full English translation occupies seventy pages.
First, much of the content deals with other matters--notably ethical exhortations and addresses to various individuals, groups, and places. Second, it is not a systematic legal treatise. Subjects are dealt with seemingly at random. Third, the Aqdas contains religious law in the Islamic sense. Much attention is given to matters that might not be considered law at all, such as obligatory prayer and fasting, while other topics, such as contract law, central to secular legal systems, are not mentioned at all.
Finally, many of the specific legal statements are simply abrogations of particular Islamic and Babi laws and customs. In style and content the Aqdas is to be compared to the Qur'an, a work in which legislation is often alluded to rather than expounded and in which disparate topics are placed together without obvious logic.
In the case of the Qur'an, this may be because it is pieced together from many distinct revelations, some very short. The Aqdas follows the stylistic conventions of the Qur'an, and thus is not bound to a rigid outline, but it may also have been shaped by similar factors. It is difficult otherwise to explain why the law of marriage and divorce should be followed by a prohibition of slave trading, a condemnation of strife and murder, and a clarification of the laws of ritual purity KA ff.
The laws of the Aqdas somewhat resemble those of Islam and the Bab, but the personal laws are considerably less rigorous than either. The Aqdas tends to replace specific ordinances with general spiritual and moral principles. Except in certain specific areas--notably prayer, fasting, marriage, and inheritance--much of the legislation of the Aqdas relates to the community as a whole or is of a relatively general character, while many of the more specific ordinances either abrogate older laws or prohibit specific offensive practices.
Subjects discussed in the Aqdas may be categorized under the following headings: The station of religious law: The Aqdas begins with a proclamation of the inseparable duties of recognizing the Manifestation of God q. The guardianship q. The Huququ'llah q. The Nineteen Day Feast q. Obligatory prayer q. Although the Aqdas does not contain the texts of the obligatory prayers, it does contain many regulations relating to them, such as specifying those on whom they are binding and the conditions of ritual purity q.
Other practices such as pilgrimage q. Laws of personal status: The Aqdas deals in detail with marriage q. These are matters that in Islamic countries fell under the authority of religious rather than civil law. Criminal law: Punishments for the crimes of murder, manslaughter, arson, theft, and adultery are specified see Crime and Punishment. Miscellaneous laws and abrogations: Many of the laws in the Aqdas repeal Islamic, Babi, and occasionally Christian laws and customs--for example, the Aqdas prohibits muttering prayers in the streets, using the public pools in Iranian baths, destroying books, and kissing hands as a sign of respect.
Thus there are many passages in the Aqdas urging virtues such as truthfulness, courteousness, tact, perseverance, and the like see "Ethical Teachings". Sometimes, abrogations of specific laws are accompanied by exhortations to virtuous behavior--thus replacing a specific religious law with an ethical principle.
For example, the Islamic prohibition on listening to music is abolished and the question of music is brought under the general principle of moderation and temperance. Social principles: Some social principles are given in the Aqdas-- the command to show friendship to those who believe in other religions, the stress on the education of children, and the command to have a useful occupation and to study useful arts and sciences.
Further social and political principles can be inferred from the addresses to kings and rulers and perhaps from the details of laws such as those of marriage, education, and the division of inheritance.
It also contains passages addressed to the Kaiser of Germany, the Emperor of Austria, and the leaders of the American republics. A number of other individuals are also alluded to in various passages. Prophecies: Prophecies are made in the book that Istanbul will fall; that the "Banks of the Rhine" will be "covered with gore, inasmuch as the swords of retribution were drawn against you"; that this will occur twice and the "lamentations of Berlin" will be heard; and that Tehran will be blessed with "one who will rule with justice.
Translations into other languages are presently being undertaken. Less authoritative manuscripts of the Aqdas are common. Since then there have been several other editions Bombay, Cairo, Tehran: n.
Enayat 1st ed. The legal passages are collected with supplementary material from Questions and Answers and other tablets in Ishraq-Khavari, Ganjiniy-i-Hudud va Ahkam.
A number of short passages were later translated under the auspices of the Universal House of Justice. Anton Haddad's translation was never published though it enjoyed considerable circulation in typescript in the early American community and is still occasionally found. Elder and William McE. The full translations of Kitab-i-Aqdas and Questions and Answers occupied less than half the volume.
The remaining contents included an introduction to the text by the Universal House of Justice, several shorter supplementary texts, the outline synopsis first published by the Universal House of Justice in , extensive explanatory notes to the various texts, a glossary, and an analytical index. The text employed a system of paragraph numbering intended to facilitate reference to the text independent of language and edition. Related Works: As a preliminary to a full annotated translation of the Aqdas, Shoghi Effendi had begun work on a synopsis and codification of the laws of the Aqdas.
On the basis of his outline and preliminary notes, the House of Justice completed the work and published it as A Synopsis and Codification of the Laws and Ordinances of the Kitab-i-Aqdas in in fulfillment of a goal of the Nine Year Plan see "Plans". This work contains all the passages translated by Shoghi Effendi, a detailed outline of the contents of the Aqdas and Questions and Answers, and explanatory notes.
It is now incorporated into the authorized translation of the Aqdas. Kamran Ekbal, "Kitab-i-Aqdas: redating its beginning," unpublished paper. Wilmette, Ill. Author search. Title search. Date search. Site map.
Al-Kitab al-Aqdas or the Most Holy Book
The text amounts to no more than fifty pages in Arabic script; in style it is somewhat similar to the monotheistic scriptures, especially the Koran. In addition, there are religious exhortations to all believers in general and to particular rulers of the age. The general religious inspiration of the Aqdas is monotheistic. Whoso achieves this duty has attained unto all good; and whoso is deprived thereof has gone astray, though he be the author of every righteous deed.
It is usually stated that the book was completed around , although there is evidence to suggest that at least some of the work was written earlier . The book was divided into six main themes in the Synopsis and Codification by Shoghi Effendi :. People are exempt from the obligatory prayers when ill, in danger, or women during their courses. Exemptions to the fast are given to people who are travelling, ill, pregnant, nursing, menstruating, or engaged in heavy labour.