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

This is a continuation of my criticism of the Most Holy Book of Baha’ullah, the book of laws that is a foundational document of the Baha’i Faith. Go read Part One if you have not done so yet.

As before, 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

It hath been ordained that every believer in God, the Lord of Judgment, shall, each day, having washed his hands and then his face, seat himself and, turning unto God, repeat “Alláh-u-Abhá” 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.

Baha’is assume that by “turning unto God”, Baha’ullah meant to face Haifa and the Shrine of Baha’u’llah there. This stating of a specific name of God 95 times is in addition to the Obligatory Prayers and may be done in conjunction with the prayers. “Ablutions” is the actual term for washing the hands and face mentioned a moment before. The basic idea here is to set aside some time each day to worship God.

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.

Including the Ten Commandments, no doubt.

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 day. When We heard the clamor 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.

This provides guidance for passing on of inheritance of a dead person’s estate to others, in case he dies without leaving a will. However, this raises certain questions. Why are teachers mentioned? What kinds of teachers are specifically meant? School teachers? Religious educators? I would assume that issue was left to those who would come after Baha’u’llah to figure out.

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.

Shoghi Effendi, known as the Guardian of the Baha’i Faith, left no will and died without any issue, so I would guess this passage would have been used to justify the Universal House of Justice asserting absolute control over the Faith in the absence of a Guardian later. How convenient for them.

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.

It seems that the Universal House of Justice could make a huge profit off of the death of every Baha’i in the world, regardless of who else receives some of the inheritance.

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 All-Bountiful.

What if the deceased was a mother of several sons? Would her sons be expected to wear her dresses?! Or what if she had no sons, but her daughter(s) lived with her when she died? Would the daughters be evicted from her home? That, verily, is the Sexist, the All-Offensive.

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 all mankind.

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.

Do I have to explain the enormous potential for abuse here? I can imagine lots of lawsuits being filed by young heirs of an estate over these provisions. Even parents themselves have been known to squander the trust funds of their own children such as with child actors or pop stars.

Division of the estate should take place only after the Ḥuqúqu’lláh 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 honor. Thus hath it been ordained by Him Who is Lord of the beginning and the end.

Ḥuqúqu’lláh is a special fund that Baha’is are expected to donate to on a regular basis while they are alive. All the payments to it must be made to the current Head of the Faith which is, of course, the Universal House of Justice! So first the payment of Ḥuqúqu’lláh must be made, then the funeral and burial must be paid for, THEN the estate must be divided. But a person who is impoverished may have what little savings he had wiped out as a result, leaving almost nothing for the heirs in the family. But the Universal House of Justice still gets a massive share, no matter what!

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 number nine is sacred to Baha’is because it is the highest single-digit number, thus illustrating the highest form of unity that Baha’is strive for. A common symbol for the Baha’i Faith is a nine-pointed star.
Baha'i_starThe Lord hath ordained that in every city a House of Justice be established wherein shall gather counselors to the number of Bahá, 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 behooveth 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.

“The Number of Baha” refers to nine, which is why the Universal House of Justice has nine members. But note that Baha’u’llah specified a House of Justice in every city, NOT a Universal House of Justice ruling all the Baha’is of the world! Abdu’l-Baha completely discarded Baha’u’llah’s actual commandment in his own Will and Testament, calling for a UNIVERSAL House of Justice that would be elected by the members of National Spiritual Assemblies. Later, Shoghi Effendi would call for the establishment of Local Spiritual Assemblies and claim them and the National ones as embryonic forms of the Houses of Justices on the local and national levels. But why not just call them Houses of Justice from the beginning? The answer becomes clear from this passage: “It behooveth 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.” Abdul-Baha also violated that by appointing Shoghi Effendi as the only “Guardian of the Cause of God”. Thus, no Houses of Justice, not even the Universal one, would be established while Shoghi Effendi was still alive without causing a crisis in the Faith, because then the House of Justice members could also claim to be Guardians of the Cause of God as well, challenging Shoghi Effendi’s exclusive authority. Small wonder, I suppose, why the Universal House of Justice would decree after it was formed in 1963 that no more Guardians were needed. Never mind that Abdu’l-Baha’s Will and Testament called for just that and Shoghi Effendi mentioned future Guardians as necessary in his own writings. Also, note that the Houses of Justice were expected to work “for all that dwell on earth”. In other words, they were not just for Baha’is, but for the entire population in a city. How their authority would be established without forcing all non-Baha’is to submit to them is a mystery to me.

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.

Baha’i Houses of Worship tend to be massive structures like cathedrals in nature, with nine sides to them. Here are pics of several:
Baha'i_House_of_Worship,_Evanston  1657658BahaitemplesydneyBaha'i_House_of_Worship,_Kampala,_Uganda

Baha'i_House_of_Worship_(Special) BahaiPanama Bahai-apia

I actually visited the House of Worship in Evanston, Illinois. It is indeed a beautiful place. But I doubt Baha’u’llah actually called for such massive buildings. Baha’is often worship in Baha’i Centers in local areas but these are not called Houses of Worship for some reason.

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.

The House referred to is considered Bahjí, a mansion where Baha’u’llah spent his last years and died. He was then buried in a building nearby which is called the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh, and all Bahais turn towards it in prayer and visit it as part of their pilgrimage. Again, this mirrors Islam, the religion the Baha’i Faith evolved from. Also again, we see men and women being treated differently in the Baha’i Faith.

Thus ends the second part of my analysis of the Kitab-i-Aqdas.

 

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6 thoughts on “A Critical Analysis of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Part Two

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

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

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

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

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

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

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