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

One of the most amazing things about really sitting down and going through the contents of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas is that I probably never would have been impressed with the book had I first read it as a non-Baha’i about 25 years ago. I only got a copy of it after I’d been a Baha’i for several months and by then I had strong personal ties to other Baha’is that blinded me to the flaws of the Faith. When you fall in love with PEOPLE, it often makes you overlook FACTS that otherwise should matter.

Here are the links to Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six and Part Seven of my critique of the Most Holy Book of Baha’u’llah. And as always, 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-aqda

Ye have been enjoined to renew the furnishings of your homes after the passing of each nineteen years; thus hath it been ordained by One Who is Omniscient and All-Perceiving. He, verily, is desirous of refinement, both for you yourselves and for all that ye possess; lay not aside the fear of God and be not of the negligent. Whoso findeth that his means are insufficient to this purpose hath been excused by God, the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Bounteous. 

Why nineteen years? We have already seen how Baha’u’llah divided the year into 19 “months” of 19 days each, so this indicates an obsession with that specific number that he passed on to his followers. Having to buy a new couch, chairs, beds or other items for every house would be a great boon to the furniture industry. But it would be also be wasteful if there is nothing really wrong with the items in question. It would be more logical for this matter to be judged by the homeowners themselves on a case by case basis.

Wash your feet once every day in summer, and once every three days during winter.

Why was this short passage not included along with all the other commandments to cleanliness earlier in the book? This is bad editing.

Should anyone wax angry with you, respond to him with gentleness; and should anyone upbraid you, forbear to upbraid him in return, but leave him to himself and put your trust in God, the omnipotent Avenger, the Lord of might and justice.

Good advice. It is similar to the commandment of Jesus to “love your enemies”. Baha’is often refer to Baha’u’llah as the “return of Christ” and it is easy to see why.

Ye have been prohibited from making use of pulpits. Whoso wisheth to recite unto you the verses of his Lord, let him sit on a chair placed upon a dais, that he may make mention of God, his Lord, and the Lord of all mankind. It is pleasing to God that ye should seat yourselves on chairs and benches as a mark of honor for the love ye bear for Him and for the Manifestation of His glorious and resplendent Cause.

Baha’is claim their religion has no professional clergy, because all believers in this modern age should be able to teach each other. Pulpits are usually used by clergymen in Christian churches. But you do not need a pulpit to be a leader in an authoritarian cult like the Baha’i Faith. Unitarian Universalist ministers use pulpits all the time, but they are not dictators over their own churches. This is an example of appearances and substances diverging in the two religions.

Gambling and the use of opium have been forbidden unto you. Eschew them both, O people, and be not of those who transgress. Beware of using any substance that induceth sluggishness and torpor in the human temple and inflicteth harm upon the body. We, verily, desire for you naught save what shall profit you, and to this bear witness all created things, had ye but ears to hear.

More bad editing; Baha’u’llah already addressed alcohol and drug abuse earlier in this book. As for gambling, it can also be addictive and pointless.  But many other people occasionally gamble with no harm coming to them. Likewise, most people who drink alcohol do not become alcoholics and can function normally.  Could the same be true of drugs like opium?

Whensoever ye be invited to a banquet or festive occasion, respond with joy and gladness, and whoever fulfilleth his promise will be safe from reproof. This is a Day on which each of God’s wise decrees hath been expounded.

Right, because if you respond to an invitation to a party with scorn, you should be arrested and jailed!

Behold, the “mystery of the Great Reversal in the Sign of the Sovereign” hath now been made manifest. Well is it with him whom God hath aided to recognize the “Six” raised up by virtue of this “Upright Alif”; he, verily, is of those whose faith is true. How many the outwardly pious who have turned away, and how many the wayward who have drawn nigh, exclaiming: “All praise be to Thee, O Thou the Desire of the worlds!” In truth, it is in the hand of God to give what He willeth to whomsoever He willeth, and to withhold what He pleaseth from whomsoever He may wish. He knoweth the inner secrets of the hearts and the meaning hidden in a mocker’s wink. How many an embodiment of heedlessness who came unto Us with purity of heart have We established upon the seat of Our acceptance; and how many an exponent of wisdom have We in all justice consigned to the fire. We are, in truth, the One to judge. He it is Who is the manifestation of “God doeth whatsoever He pleaseth,” and abideth upon the throne of “He ordaineth whatsoever He chooseth.”

Blessed is the one who discovereth the fragrance of inner meanings from the traces of this Pen through whose movement the breezes of God are wafted over the entire creation, and through whose stillness the very essence of tranquillity appeareth in the realm of being. Glorified be the All-Merciful, the Revealer of so inestimable a bounty. Say: Because He bore injustice, justice hath appeared on earth, and because He accepted abasement, the majesty of God hath shone forth amidst mankind.

((((No comment again.))))

It hath been forbidden you to carry arms unless essential, and permitted you to attire yourselves in silk. The Lord hath relieved you, as a bounty on His part, of the restrictions that formerly applied to clothing and to the trim of the beard. He, verily, is the Ordainer, the Omniscient. Let there be naught in your demeanor of which sound and upright minds would disapprove, and make not yourselves the playthings of the ignorant. Well is it with him who hath adorned himself with the vesture of seemly conduct and a praiseworthy character. He is assuredly reckoned with those who aid their Lord through distinctive and outstanding deeds.

Sorry, NRA members and other gun nuts, but your insanity is not accepted in the Baha’i Faith! At least you don’t have to worry so much about your clothing or your facial hair.

Promote ye the development of the cities of God and His countries, and glorify Him therein in the joyous accents of His well-favored ones. In truth, the hearts of men are edified through the power of the tongue, even as houses and cities are built up by the hand and other means. We have assigned to every end a means for its accomplishment; avail yourselves thereof, and place your trust and confidence in God, the Omniscient, the All-Wise.

((((No comment yet again.))))

Blessed is the man that hath acknowledged his belief in God and in His signs, and recognized that “He shall not be asked of His doings.” Such a recognition hath been made by God the ornament of every belief and its very foundation. Upon it must depend the acceptance of every goodly deed. Fasten your eyes upon it, that haply the whisperings of the rebellious may not cause you to slip.

Were He to decree as lawful the thing which from time immemorial had been forbidden, and forbid that which had, at all times, been regarded as lawful, to none is given the right to question His authority. Whoso will hesitate, though it be for less than a moment, should be regarded as a transgressor.

Whoso hath not recognized this sublime and fundamental verity, and hath failed to attain this most exalted station, the winds of doubt will agitate him, and the sayings of the infidels will distract his soul. He that hath acknowledged this principle will be endowed with the most perfect constancy. All honor to this all-glorious station, the remembrance of which adorneth every exalted Tablet. Such is the teaching which God bestoweth on you, a teaching that will deliver you from all manner of doubt and perplexity, and enable you to attain unto salvation in both this world and the next. He, verily, is the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Bountiful. He it is Who hath sent forth the Messengers, and sent down the Books to proclaim “There is none other God but Me, the Almighty, the All-Wise.”

Baha’u’llah, you just insulted the intelligence of almost every human being throughout history! Laws that do not conform to reason and actual human need should indeed be questioned, challenged, and ultimately changed or replaced. Again, that issue of leadership having absolute authority over the lives of people is completely against the American political ideals. More to the point, God gave us BRAINS and you dare tell us to never use them to think for ourselves?!

O Land of Káf and Rá! We, verily, behold thee in a state displeasing unto God, and see proceeding from thee that which is inscrutable to anyone save Him, the Omniscient, the All-Informed; and We perceive that which secretly and stealthily diffuseth from thee. With Us is the knowledge of all things, inscribed in a lucid Tablet. Sorrow not for that which hath befallen thee. Erelong will God raise up within thee men endued with mighty valor, who will magnify My Name with such constancy that neither will they be deterred by the evil suggestions of the divines, nor will they be kept back by the insinuations of the sowers of doubt. With their own eyes will they behold God, and with their own lives will they render Him victorious. These, truly, are of those who are steadfast.

This refers to a part of Persia (now called Iran) where Babi opponents of Baha’u’llah lived and fought against Baha’is. These opponents were called Azalis.

O concourse of divines! When My verses were sent down, and My clear tokens were revealed, We found you behind the veils. This, verily, is a strange thing. Ye glory in My Name, yet ye recognized Me not at the time your Lord, the All-Merciful, appeared amongst you with proof and testimony. We have rent the veils asunder. Beware lest ye shut out the people by yet another veil. Pluck asunder the chains of vain imaginings, in the name of asunder the chains of vain imaginings, in the name of the Lord of all men, and be not of the deceitful. Should ye turn unto God and embrace His Cause, spread not disorder within it, and measure not the Book of God with your selfish desires. This, verily, is the counsel of God aforetime and hereafter, and to this God’s witnesses and chosen ones, yea, each and every one of Us, do solemnly attest.

Is Baha’u’llah AGAIN addressing religious leaders here? Why not edit this entire book after revealing it to put all the passages of specific subjects together? The disjointed nature of this book prompts me to coin a new term for it: “Literary chaos”.

Call ye to mind the shaykh whose name was Muḥammad-Ḥasan, who ranked among the most learned divines of his day. When the True One was made manifest, this shaykh, along with others of his calling, rejected Him, while a sifter of wheat and barley accepted Him and turned unto the Lord. Though he was occupied both night and day in setting down what he conceived to be the laws and ordinances of God, yet when He Who is the Unconstrained appeared, not one letter thereof availed him, or he would not have turned away from a Countenance that hath illumined the faces of the well-favored of the Lord. Had ye believed in God when He revealed Himself, the people would not have turned aside from Him, nor would the things ye witness today have befallen Us. Fear God, and be not of the heedless.

This is yet another parallel with Jesus, who was rejected by most of the Jewish clergy of his time but was accepted by humble fishermen. The implication seems to be that education can be a bad thing. Because ignorant people are useful as fodder for cult recruitment.

Beware lest any name debar you from Him Who is the Possessor of all names, or any word shut you out from this Remembrance of God, this Source of Wisdom amongst you. Turn unto God and seek His protection, O concourse of divines, and make not of yourselves a veil between Me and My creatures. Thus doth your Lord admonish you, and command you to be just, lest your works should come to naught and ye yourselves be oblivious of your plight. Shall he who denieth this Cause be able to vindicate the truth of any cause throughout creation? Nay, by Him Who is the Fashioner of the universe! Yet the people are wrapped in a palpable veil. Say: Through this Cause the daystar of testimony hath dawned, and the luminary of proof hath shed its radiance upon all that dwell on earth. Fear God, O men of insight, and be not of those who disbelieve in Me. Take heed lest the word “Prophet” withhold you from this Most Great Announcement, or any reference to “Vicegerency” debar you from the sovereignty of Him Who is the Vicegerent of God, which overshadoweth all the worlds. Every name hath been created by His Word, and every cause is dependent on His irresistible, His mighty and wondrous Cause. Say: This is the Day of God, the Day on which naught shall be mentioned save His own Self, the omnipotent Protector of all worlds. This is the Cause that hath made all your superstitions and idols to tremble.

Titles do not matter, it is the substance of people that we should all be concerned about. Another good point from Baha’u’llah, but once again he wastes many words making that point. It is a safe bet Baha’u’llah would not have bothered with the limitations of Twitter.

We, verily, see amongst you him who taketh hold of the Book of God and citeth from it proofs and arguments wherewith to repudiate his Lord, even as the followers of wherewith to repudiate his Lord, even as the followers of every other Faith sought reasons in their Holy Books for refuting Him Who is the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting. Say: God, the True One, is My witness that neither the Scriptures of the world, nor all the books and writings in existence, shall, in this Day, avail you aught without this, the Living Book, Who proclaimeth in the midmost heart of creation: “Verily, there is none other God but Me, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.”

What an irony that I am right here and now using the Kitab-i-Aqdas as a weapon against its own writer and his successors in the Baha’i Faith!

O concourse of divines! Beware lest ye be the cause of strife in the land, even as ye were the cause of the repudiation of the Faith in its early days. Gather the people around this Word that hath made the pebbles to cry out: “The Kingdom is God’s, the Dawning-place of all signs!” Thus doth your Lord admonish you, as a bounty on His part; He, of a truth, is the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Generous.

Call ye to mind Karím, and how, when We summoned him unto God, he waxed disdainful, prompted by his own desires; yet We had sent him that which was a solace to the eye of proof in the world of being and the fulfillment of God’s testimony to all the denizens of earth and heaven. As a token of the grace of Him Who is the All-Possessing, the Most High, We bade him embrace the Truth. But he turned away until, as an act of justice from God, angels of wrath laid hold upon him. Unto this We truly were a witness.

We have already seen where disagreements between people are always assumed to be evil. This makes trust and respect between factions almost impossible. Of course, it is not just Baha’is that are guilty of this distorted thinking.

Tear the veils asunder in such wise that the inmates of the Kingdom will hear them being rent. This is the command of God, in days gone by and for those to come. Blessed the man that observeth that whereunto he was bidden, and woe betide the negligent.

We, of a certainty, have had no purpose in this earthly realm save to make God manifest and to reveal His sovereignty; sufficient unto Me is God for a witness. We, of a certainty, have had no intent in the celestial Kingdom but to exalt His Cause and glorify His praise; sufficient unto Me is God for a protector. We, of a certainty, have had no desire in the Dominion on high except to extol God and what hath been sent down by Him; sufficient unto Me is God for a helper.

Happy are ye, O ye the learned ones in Bahá. By the Lord! Ye are the billows of the Most Mighty Ocean, the stars of the firmament of Glory, the standards of triumph waving betwixt earth and heaven. Ye are the manifestations of steadfastness amidst men and the daysprings of Divine Utterance to all that dwell on earth. Well is it with him that turneth unto you, and woe betide the froward. This day, it behooveth whoso hath quaffed the Mystic Wine of everlasting life from the Hands of the loving-kindness of the Lord his God, the Merciful, to pulsate even as the throbbing artery in the body of mankind, that through him may be quickened the world and every crumbling bone.

If only I was the chief editor of a newspaper or magazine and Baha’u’llah was one of my reporters, I’d have the pleasure of FIRING him for his making soooooo much lame writing over and over, over and over, over and over yet again!

O people of the world! When the Mystic Dove will have winged its flight from its Sanctuary of Praise and sought its far-off goal, its hidden habitation, refer ye whatsoever ye understand not in the Book to Him Who hath branched from this mighty Stock.

Another reference to one of the sons of Baha’u’llah, later assumed to be Abdu’l-Baha. Certainly I would understand asking of a trustworthy person clarification of obscure passages in a holy book. But Abdu’l-Baha did more than this, as I already showed.

O Pen of the Most High! Move Thou upon the Tablet at the bidding of Thy Lord, the Creator of the Heavens, and tell of the time when He Who is the Dayspring of Divine Unity purposed to direct His steps towards the School of Transcendent Oneness; haply the pure in heart may gain thereby a glimpse, be it as small as a needle’s eye, of the mysteries of Thy Lord, the Almighty, the Omniscient, that lie concealed behind the veils. Say: We, indeed, set foot within the School of inner meaning and explanation when all created things were unaware. We saw the words sent down by Him Who is the All-Merciful, and We accepted the verses of God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting, which He presented unto Us, and hearkened unto that which He had solemnly affirmed in the Tablet. This We assuredly did behold. And We assented to His wish through Our behest, for truly We are potent to command.

I’ve heard of talking to yourself, but WRITING to yourself? This book keeps getting more ridiculous as we go along!

O people of the Bayán! We, verily, set foot within the School of God when ye lay slumbering; and We perused the Tablet while ye were fast asleep. By the one true God! We read the Tablet ere it was revealed, while ye were unaware, and We had perfect knowledge of the Book when ye were yet unborn. These words are to your measure, not to God’s. To this testifieth that which is enshrined within His knowledge, if ye be of them that comprehend; and to this the tongue of the Almighty doth bear witness, if ye be of those who understand. I swear by God, were We to lift the veil, ye would be dumbfounded. 

Take heed that ye dispute not idly concerning the Almighty and His Cause, for lo! He hath appeared amongst you invested with a Revelation so great as to encompass all things, whether of the past or of the future. Were We to address Our theme by speaking in the language of the inmates of the Kingdom, We would say: “In truth, God created that School ere He created heaven and earth, and We entered it before the letters B and E were joined and knit together.” Such is the language of Our servants in Our Kingdom; consider what the tongue of the dwellers of Our exalted Dominion would utter, for We have taught them Our knowledge and have revealed to them whatever had lain hidden in God’s wisdom. Imagine then what the Tongue of Might and Grandeur would utter in His All-Glorious Abode!

This is not a Cause which may be made a plaything for your idle fancies, nor is it a field for the foolish and faint of heart. By God, this is the arena of insight and detachment, of vision and upliftment, where none may spur on their chargers save the valiant horsemen of the Merciful, who have severed all attachment to the world of being. These, truly, are they that render God victorious on earth, and are the dawning-places of His sovereign might amidst mankind.

What are we supposed to think of a person who tells others, “I am smarter than all the rest of you! Look at me!!!” other than scorn? That’s the essence of narcissism. Why not let the intelligence of people speak for itself?

I did not become a huge fan of Carl Sagan in 1980 merely because he told me repeatedly he was one of the smartest men in the world. I admired him because he was able to SHOW me his brilliance! And he was indeed a far more coherent writer than Baha’u’llah!

And so ends the eighth part of my critique.

 

 

 

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One thought on “A Critical Analysis of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Part Eight

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

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