|From The Báb|
Epistle to the Son of the Wolf
|From Shoghi Effendi|
The Kitáb-i-Aqdas is a central book of the Bahá'í Faith written by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the religion. The work was written in Arabic under the Arabic title al-Kitáb al-Aqdas (Arabic: الكتاب الاقدس), but it is commonly referred to by its Persian title, Kitáb-i-Aqdas (), which was given to the work by Bahá'u'lláh himself. It is sometimes also referred to as "the Aqdas", "the Most Holy Book", "the Book of Laws" and occasionally "the Book of Aqdas".
It is usually stated that the book was completed around 1873, although there is evidence to suggest that at least some of the work was written earlier . Bahá'u'lláh had manuscript copies sent to Bahá'ís in Iran some years after the revelation of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, and in 1890–91 (1308 AH), he arranged for the publication of the original Arabic text of the book in Bombay, India.
The Kitáb-i-Aqdas is referred to as "the Mother-Book" of the Bahá'í teachings, and the "Charter of the future world civilization". It is not, however, only a 'book of laws': much of the content deals with other matters, notably ethical exhortations and addresses to various individuals, groups, and places. The Kitáb-i-Aqdas also discusses the establishment of Bahá'í administrative institutions, Bahá'í religious practices, laws of personal status, criminal law, ethical exhortations, social principles, miscellaneous laws and abrogations, and prophecies.
The Kitáb-i-Aqdas is supplemented by the
- "Questions and Answers"', which consists of 107 questions submitted to Bahá'u'lláh by Zaynu'l-Muqarrabin concerning the application of the laws and Bahá'u'lláh's replies to those questions
- "Some Texts Revealed by Bahá'u'lláh"
- Synopsis and Codification of the Laws and Ordinances, prepared by Shoghi Effendi
- explanatory notes prepared by the Universal House of Justice
The book was divided into six main themes in the Synopsis and Codification by Shoghi Effendi:
- The appointment of `Abdu'l-Bahá as the successor of Bahá'u'lláh
- Anticipation of the Institution of the Guardianship
- The Institution of the Universal House of Justice
- Laws, Ordinances and exhortations
- Specific admonitions, reproofs and warnings
- Miscellaneous subjects
Further, the laws were divided into four categories:
- A. Prayer
- B. Fasting
- C. Laws of personal status
- D. Miscellaneous laws, ordinances and exhortations
Some laws and teachings of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas are, according to Bahá'í teaching, not meant to be applied at the present time; their application depends on decisions by the Universal House of Justice. See also Bahá'í laws for laws in practice in Bahá'í communities.
Bahá'ís between 15 and 70 years of age are to perform a daily obligatory prayer, and can choose daily from among three, all of which are accompanied by specific rites, and preceded by ablutions. During the obligatory prayer Bahá'ís face the Qiblih, which is the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh in Bahjí, Israel. People are exempt from the obligatory prayers when ill, in danger, or women during their courses.
Congregational prayer is forbidden, except for the case of the Prayer for the Dead.
The Bahá'í fast is observed from sunrise to sunset in the Bahá'í month of `Alá' from 2 March through 20 March. During this time Bahá'ís in good health between the ages of 15 and 70 abstain from eating and drinking. Exemptions to the fast are given to people who are travelling, ill, pregnant, nursing, menstruating, or engaged in heavy labour. Vowing to fast outside of the prescribed fasting period is permissible, and encouraged when done for the benefit of mankind.
Laws of personal status
Marriage and divorce
In the Kitáb-i-Aqdas marriage is highly recommended but is stated to not be obligatory. Bahá'ís need to be at least 15 years of age to get married, and the consent of all living biological parents is needed to get married. Marriage is also conditioned a payment of dowry by the husband to the wife of approximately 2.2 troy ounces of gold or silver dependent on the permanent residence of the husband. The Kitáb-i-Aqdas allows a man to marry two wives under the condition that they be treated equally. Later, `Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi clarified that monogamy was the intent of the paragraph.
Divorce is permitted, although discouraged, and is granted after a year of separation if the couple is unable to reconcile their differences.
In the Kitáb-i-Aqdas it is stated that all Bahá'ís must write a will. The other Bahá’í laws of inheritance in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas apply only in case of intestacy, that is, when the individual dies without leaving a will. The system of inheritance provides for distribution of the deceased's estate among seven categories of heirs: children, spouse, father, mother, brothers, sisters, and teachers with higher categories obtaining a larger share. In cases where some of the categories of heirs does not exist the share falls partly to the children and the Local Spiritual Assembly.
- Walbridge, John. "Aqdas, Kitab-i- (al-Kitab al-Aqdas, the Most Holy Book)". Bahá'í Library. http://bahai-library.com/encyclopedia/aqdas.html. Retrieved 29 April 2009.
- Effendi, 1944: 213
- Bahá'u'lláh (1873). The Kitáb-i-Aqdas: The Most Holy Book. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. ISBN 0853989990. http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/b/KA/.
- Bushrui, Suheil (1995). The Style of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas - Aspects of the Sublime. College Park, Maryland, USA: University Press of Maryland. ISBN 1883053080.
- Effendi, Shoghi (1944). God Passes By. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. ISBN 0877430209. http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/se/GPB/.
- Hatcher, J.S. (1997). The Ocean of His Words: A Reader's Guide to the Art of Bahá'u'lláh. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. ISBN 0877432597.
- Rouhani Ma'ani, Baharieh; and Ma‘ani Ewing, Sovaida. The Laws of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. ISBN 0853984767.
- Taherzadeh, A. (1984). The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, Volume 3: `Akka, The Early Years 1868-77. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. ISBN 0853981442.
- Walbridge, John (1996). Sacred Acts, Sacred Space, Sacred Time. O: George Ronalxford, UKd. ISBN 0853984069. http://bahai-library.org/resources/tablets-notes/kitab-aqdas/walbridge.html.