Aqdas

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Abstract

Aqdas is the Book of Baha’i Laws, which was written by Mirza Hussein Ali, surnamed Baháʼu’lláh, in Port Akka (north of Israel) in 1268 A.H.

This book is in Arabic and for a while, it was not translated in another language for a long time. Baháʼu’lláh died in 1309 A.H. It was expected that this book, with its importance, would have been available to the Baha’is at least after his death. But 19 years passed until these rules reached the Baha’is! Therefore, during this period, it’s not clear what rules and orders the Baha’is lived by? The English translation of Kitáb-i-Aqdas received priority from Baha’i leaders to serve as a basis for translation into other languages. The English translation of Kitáb-i-Aqdas was done by Elder and Miller in 1960 A.D. Intelligentsia and critics attribute the reason of this delay to “maintain reputation of the Baha’is in Western society” but its Persian translation still was prohibited by Baha’i organization. Because claimants of the Baha’i community believe that rules of this book are more appropriate for the global conditions, requirements of the time and current international conditions. They also suppose that there is no other option for it up to the next 1000 years.

 

Aqdas book published by the Baha’i House of Justice

  • Compilation of fhe English version

In 1973 A.D (1352 S.H) “synopsis and codification of the laws and ordinances of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas” with 21 parts of Kitáb-i-Aqdas was translated before by Shoghi Effendi, furthermore another brief lists of the laws and ordinances available in book, and its various subjects translated in English by Universal House of Justice (UHJ) and made it available to the public.

Finally, in 1992 A.D (1371 S.H), UHJ published the complete and formal translation of Kitáb-i-Aqdas in English. This translation includes notes and a detailed explanation of the verses, a summary of ordinances and main points, a small collection of Baháʼu’lláh’s works that are considered attachments to Kitáb-i-Aqdas, and the epistle “question and answer”.

The translation of Kitáb-i-Aqdas served as the basis for preparing translations in many other languages.

Margit Warburg a Baha’i researcher, writes in her book:

“All the hand written copies of Holy texts of Baha’i leaders (Baháʼu’lláh, ʻAbdu’l-Bahá, and Báb) were carefully edited before publishing. They were then translated into English and these edited and translated copies were published by the Baha’i publisher with the approval of UHJ.”

Translation of Aqdas into other languages were made based on these English translation texts. Therefore, even subsequent translations into Arabic language are from the English translation version. In 2014 (1393), Kitáb-i-Aqdas was translated into 37 different languages worldwide.

 

  • Compilation of the Persian copy

In 1992, UHJ published the main text of Kitáb-i-Aqdas with attachments and the epistle “question and answer” that are basically in the Persian language. It also included Persian translation notes and detailed explanation of the verses, a summary of ordinances and main points for Persian speakers. These latter sections of book were translated exactly from English to Persian.

Some years later, in 1997, a Baha’i Institute in Germany published the Persian content of the verses of Kitáb-i-Aqdas. These texts were expressed by Baha’i missionary ʻAbdu’l-Hamíd Ishráq-Khávari in his weekly classes, and were compiled by Vahid Rafati which were reproduced in the book titled “Taqrirat darbareh Kitab-i Mustatab Aqdas”. (Reviews about the Kitab Mustatab Aqdas).

 

However, there still isn’t any translation of Kitáb-i-Aqdas text in Persian language on the Baha’i library website!

 

Baha’i leaders and Kitáb-i-Aqdas

The Holy book is available with two introductions:

  • An introduction by Shoghi Effendi

In this section of Kitáb-i-Aqdas one of the goals of the ten-year map of Baha’i organization was determined. However, the English translation that was working on it died before finishing it. Finally, in 1973, this translation completed and published. Shoghi said about the importance of book:

A further testimony to the operation of these same forces can be seen in the extent to which Bahá’u’lláh’s vision has prefigured contemporary human experience in so many of its aspects. It is a propitious moment for the publication of this first authorized translation into English of the Mother Book of His Revelation, His “Most Holy Book,” the Book in which He sets forth the Laws of God for a Dispensation destined to endure for no less than a thousand years.” (Aqdas, p.2).

 

  • An introduction by Universal House of justice (UHJ)

In this introduction, the context insisted on the formalization of Baha’i laws as a continuation of previous religions.

However, we know according to Luh-i-Ahdi works were divided between two sons of Baháʼu’lláh. Mohammad Ali Effendi was sent to Mumbai to print the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. But there was contradiction in the copies of these two brothers, which amounted to about 200 items and prevented the publication of the book.

 

  • ʻAbdu’l-Bahá and the publishing of Kitáb-i-Aqdas

Also, ʻAbdu’l-Bahá dosen’t permit the printing of Kitáb-i-Aqdas, as stated in a letter to Shaikh Farajullah Kurdi, who was involved in the publication of Kitáb-i-Aqdas and wrote: “what is permissible to publish is allowed in these days. But if Kitáb-i-Aqdas is printed, it will distribute and made available to thugs. Therefore, the publication of Kitáb-i-Aqdas is not permitted.”

 

Therefore, after the expediency of Baha’i leaders (ʻAbdu’l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi) a copy of Kitáb-i-Aqdas was printed. But no one has seen that reissued! This action has caused that fewer Baha’is be aware of their ritual book and propagate public minds with Baha’i mottos in teachings. ʻAbdu’l-Bahá is the pioneer of this duplicity in the innovation of Baha’i propaganda method. Because of this reality, the orders of the Baha’i Faith are not available only for people but also for the Baha’is. However, regarding the laws of Kitáb-i-Aqdas, they have become relevant among critics and researchers of the Baha’i Faith.

 

The examples of polemical laws of Kitáb-i-Aqdas

Among polemical laws of Kitáb-i-Aqdas we can remark the following:

 

  • Burning a guilty

“Should anyone intentionally destroy a house by fire, him also shall ye burn.” (Paragraph 62)

 

  • Place a mark upon the brow of thief

“Exile and imprisonment are decreed for the thief, and, on the third offense, place ye a mark upon his brow so that, thus identified, he may not be accepted in the cities of God and His countries.” (Paragraph 45)

 

  • Dealing with opponents of the Baha’is

“…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… Say: The very life of all deeds is My good pleasure, and all things depend upon Mine acceptance.” (Paragraph 36)

 

  • Fine of Adultry

“God hath imposed a fine on every adulterer and adulteress, to be paid to the House of Justice: nine mithqáls of gold, to be doubled if they should repeat the offense.” (Paragraph 49)

 

  • Women rights

“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.”  (Paragraph 32)

 

  • Laws of heritage

“We have assigned the residence and personal clothing of the deceased to the male, not female, offspring, nor to the other heirs.” (Paragraph 25)

 

  • Excessive discrimination in dowry for women

“No marriage may be contracted without payment of a dowry, which hath been fixed for city dwellers at nineteen mithqáls of pure gold, and for village dwellers at the same amount in silver.” (Paragraph 66)

 

  • Cleaning untouchable

“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…. Verily, all created things were immersed in the sea of purification when, on that first day of Ridván.” (Paragraph 75)

 

Title: The Kitáb-i-Aqdas The Most Holy Book
Year: 1993
Pages: 310
Author: Bahá’u’lláh
Published By: Baha’i Publishing Trust
Location: United states of America
Size of book: pocket size

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