A Critical Analysis of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Part One

The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, also known in English as the Most Holy Book, is the central book of laws written by Baha’u’llah while he was imprisoned at Akka in 1873. Baha’is consider it to be holy scripture equal in rank to the Torah of the Jews and the Quran of the Muslims. For this blog entry, I will include direct quotes from the book in red bold and my responses will be in blue italics. My source for this book is:

http://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/bahaullah/kitab-i-aqdas/#r=ka_en-1

In the name of Him Who is the Supreme Ruler over all that hath been and all that is to be

Baha’u’llah always claimed to be a Messenger of God. Thus the Liar, Lunatic, or Lord argument applies to him just as much as to any other before him who claimed to speak for God, including  Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad.
https://dalehusband.com/2008/10/31/debunking-the-liar-lunatic-or-lord-argument/

Problem: most Muslims claim that Muhammad was the last of God’s Messengers, that no legitimate one would ever come after him. To me, this is absurd. You might as well be an atheist if you think God could be silenced forever just because one man claiming to be his Prophet said so.

https://dalehusband.com/2011/08/13/contradictions-of-orthodox-islam/

Islam is said to be the final religion, the Quran is Allah’s final revelation and Muhammad the last of the Prophets.   This contradicts the idea of Allah as an all-knowing, all-powerful, and thus totally sovereign deity. If Allah wills another revelation by a new Prophet, as Baha’is have claimed, it is not for anyone to deny this. The argument that past revelations have been corrupted is pointless, since Islam is still divided into various sects. A truly pure and uncorrupted revelation from Allah would never have allowed this.

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.

When I was a Christian in my teens, my youth Sunday School teacher at the time insisted that only Christians would go to heaven for following Jesus and that followers of every other religion would go to hell. I now consider that dogma to be evil and this statement above sounds no better.

https://dalehusband.com/2011/03/09/insulting-and-libeling-unbelievers/

Imagine a firefighter or a doctor who saves many lives over the course of his career but is an atheist because reading lies from people like Hugh Ross convince him once those lies are debunked that Christianity itself is a lie. He dies and then is condemned to hell for rejecting Christianity. Wouldn’t it be logical for God to send Hugh Ross to hell also?

It behooveth everyone 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.

This brings up some questions.

  1. How do we know there is at least one God? Why not several?
  2. If there is one or more gods, which one(s) do we worship?
  3. Once we agree on that issue of God(s), which Messenger of Him (or Them) do we follow now?

Without empirical evidence, I could just as easily make up my own gods, scriptures, and rituals and demand others follow them. And my claims would be just as credible as that of the religions based on the Bible, the Quran or any other book known around the world as the basis of a religion. Demanding recognition without clear proof is arrogance. Religions tend to be self-perpetuating because they are already popular and well-known, but those traits do not make any of them true.

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.

In other words, never think for yourself, only obey the commandments of God….or rather, the man claiming to be a Messenger of God. But shouldn’t laws and principles really be based on real needs of real people in real time to be truly successful? Who needs gods or their messengers for any of those, then?

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.

Sure, let us forget about all those people who were Baha’is, like myself, who later rejected it. And also those who still claim to be Baha’is but were condemned by the official Baha’i leaders as “Covenant breakers”.  I guess they never tasted the sweetness of God’s words?

Say: From My laws the sweet-smelling savor 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 favor 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!

Ironically, Baha’is, like Muslims before them, are prohibited from drinking any alcoholic beverages. So these references to wine seem like bad expressions to use. And again, ASSERTING SOMETHING ALONE PROVES NOTHING, no matter how many times you do it.

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 Center 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.

Baha’is actually have three Obligatory Prayers, which are known as the Long, Medium, and Short Obligatory Prayers. The long one may be said anytime once a day, the medium one may be said three times in the morning, afternoon and evening, and the short one may be said only in the afternoon. Baha’is may choose any one of the three, but must choose one a day and face Haifa, specifically the shrine there where Baha’ullah is buried. By contrast, Muslims are expected to pray five times a day while facing Mecca, specifically the Kabaa in that city.
Question: If someone is being forced to talk to someone else every so often, how is that a loving and healthy relationship? If I forced my wife to have sex with me every night regardless of her feelings at the time, I’d be a rapist. Even worse, insisting that we do it doggy-style instead of doing it the way the wife might prefer. That does not seem loving at all.

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 in haled 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.

Again, repeating what was said before in different words. I cannot believe I was so blind as to think this was a masterpiece of divine revelation! If I was a professor and this was an essay submitted to me by a student in my class, I certainly would not give it an A for effort!

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 Pardoner.

According to official Baha’i propaganda, the original tablet referred to here was stolen and destroyed by Mirza Muhammad-Ali, brother of Abdu’l-Baha. You’d think Baha’ullah would have made several copies of this important work and given them to various people before his death, including Abdu’l-Baha himself. It is more likely that the Baha’i leadership after Baha’u’llah’s death looked at the original tablet and realized that most people from non-Muslim backgrounds would have found such a long and complex prayer unacceptable. So it was replaced by the three Obligatory Prayers we have now.

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’án, but from the misconceptions of the divines. He, verily, is the All-Glorious, the All-Knowing.

This would also imply that Baha’is would not belong to radical animal rights groups like PETA, which condemn those who wear fur coats. Let’s give Baha’u’llah a bit of credit here….PETA is an even worse cult than any version of the Baha’i Faith, really!

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 Wise.

Like Muslims, Baha’is are also expected to fast in the daytime for a period of time. Islam commands the fast in the month of Ramadan, which is about 28 days long, because Muslims measure their months and years by a lunar calendar. Baha’is use a solar calendar, but their “months” are actually only 19 days long and there are 19 of them. Why not combine the lunar months with the solar year, then? Again, it seems Baha’u’llah made the rituals of his religion less demanding than Islam to attract more followers.

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.”

This refers to a ritual of the Babi Faith, which was founded by the Bab. He is considered by Baha’is to be the forerunner of Baha’u’llah, but is given the status of a Messenger of God in his own right. BTW, we just had a solar eclipse across the United States. Would that have been an example of a “fearful natural event”?

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 All-Wise.

This completely tosses out how Muslims worship in their mosques on Fridays at noon. However, it must be noted that Abdu’l-Baha himself often attended a mosque in Akka when he was living there. Why continue to follow practices of a religion you no longer believe in and intend to replace?

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 Splendor and Beauty.” Thus hath it been decreed in the Book, if ye be of them that comprehend.

Because there is something unclean about menstrual blood, right? So much for the idea of men and women being equal!

When traveling, 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 favor; 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.

This seems to foretell when people will be traveling in planes or other vehicles where there is no place for prayers. As long as you set aside a little time for God each day, it is OK.

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 Splendor, Whose brightness hath illumined the horizons of the world. Would that ye might understand! This is, verily, that fixed Decree through which every irrevocable decree hath been established.

Say: That is a word that appears often in Baha’u’llah’s writings but seems completely unnecessary.

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-Rúz as a feast. Thus hath the Daystar 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 Há, and thus they have not been bounded by the limits of the year and its months. It behooveth the people of Bahá, 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 end—these 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 traveler, 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.

This gives a few details about the Baha’i calendar. Baha’is do often exchange gifts in the days before the fast, which is helpful since most of them do not celebrate Christmas. Also, note that women in their reproductive years are partly exempt from fasting. This makes me wonder why men should fast at all.

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 Book.

Again, repeating what was said before, but in different words.

Thus ends part one of my critique.

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7 thoughts on “A Critical Analysis of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Part One

  1. Pingback: A Critical Analysis of the The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Part Two | Dale Husband's Intellectual Rants

  2. Pingback: A Critical Analysis of the The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Part Three | Dale Husband's Intellectual Rants

  3. Pingback: A Critical Analysis of the The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Part Four | Dale Husband's Intellectual Rants

  4. Pingback: A Critical Analysis of the The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Part Five | Dale Husband's Intellectual Rants

  5. Pingback: A Critical Analysis of the The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Part Six | Dale Husband's Intellectual Rants

  6. Pingback: A Critical Analysis of the The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Part Seven | Dale Husband's Intellectual Rants

  7. Pingback: A Critical Analysis of the The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Part Eight | Dale Husband's Intellectual Rants

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