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The Kitáb-i-Aqdas

  • Author:
  • Bahá’u’lláh

  • Source:
  • Bahá’í World Centre, 1992 edition
  • Pages:
  • 254
Go to printed page GO
Pages 105-141
 

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

103 104 105
 
1. QUESTION: Concerning the Most Great Festival.
 
ANSWER: The Most Great Festival commenceth late in the afternoon of the thirteenth day of the second month of the year according to the Bayán. On the first, ninth and twelfth days of this Festival, work is forbidden.
 
2. QUESTION: Concerning the Festival of the Twin Birthdays.
 
ANSWER: The Birth of the Abhá Beauty 1 was at the hour of dawn on the second day of the month of Muharram, 2 the first day of which marketh the Birth of His Herald. These two days are accounted as one in the sight of God.
 
3. QUESTION: Concerning the Marriage Verses. 3
 
ANSWER: For men: “We will all, verily, abide by the Will of God.” For women: “We will all, verily, abide by the Will of God.”
 
4. QUESTION: Should a man go on a journey without specifying a time for his return—without indicating, in other words, the expected period of his absence—and should no word be heard of him thereafter, and all trace 106 of him be lost, what course should be followed by his wife?
 
ANSWER: Should he have omitted to fix a time for his return despite being aware of the stipulation of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas in this regard, his wife should wait for one full year, after which she shall be free either to adopt the course that is praiseworthy, or to choose for herself another husband. If, however, he be unaware of this stipulation, she should abide in patience until such time as God shall please to disclose to her his fate. By the course that is praiseworthy in this connection is meant the exercise of patience.
 
5. QUESTION: Concerning the holy verse: “When We heard the clamour of the children as yet unborn, We doubled their share and decreased those of the rest.”
 
ANSWER: According to the Book of God, the estate of the deceased is divided into 2,520 shares, which number is the lowest common multiple of all integers up to nine, and these shares are then distributed into seven portions, each of which is allocated, as mentioned in the Book, to a particular category of heirs. The children, for example, are allotted nine blocks of 60 shares, comprising 540 shares in all. The meaning of the statement “We doubled their share” is thus that the children receive a further nine blocks of 60 shares, entitling them to a total of 18 blocks all told. The extra shares that they receive are deducted from the portions of the other categories 107 of heirs, so that, although it is revealed, for instance, that the spouse is entitled to “eight parts comprising four hundred and eighty shares”, which is the equivalent of eight blocks of 60 shares, now, by virtue of this rearrangement, one and a half blocks of shares, comprising 90 shares in all, have been subtracted from the spouse’s portion and reallocated to the children, and similarly in the case of the others. The result is that the total amount subtracted is equivalent to the nine extra blocks of shares allotted to the children.
 
6. QUESTION: Is it necessary that the brother, in order to qualify for his portion of the inheritance, be descended from both the father and the mother of the deceased, or is it sufficient merely that there be one parent in common?
 
ANSWER: If the brother be descended from the father he shall receive his share of the inheritance in the prescribed measure recorded in the Book; but if he be descended from the mother, he shall receive only two thirds of his entitlement, the remaining third reverting to the House of Justice. This ruling is also applicable to the sister.
 
7. QUESTION: Amongst the provisions concerning inheritance it hath been laid down that, should the deceased leave no offspring, their share of the estate is to revert to the House of Justice. In the event of other categories of heirs, such as the father, mother, brother, sister and teacher being similarly absent, do their shares of the inheritance also revert to the House of Justice, or are they dealt with in some other fashion? 108
 
ANSWER: The sacred verse sufficeth. He saith, exalted be His Word: “Should the deceased leave no offspring, their share shall revert to the House of Justice” etc. and “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” etc. In other words, where there are no offspring, their allotted portion of the inheritance reverteth to the House of Justice; and where there are offspring but the other categories of heirs are lacking, two thirds of the inheritance pass to the offspring, the remaining third reverting to the House of Justice. This ruling hath both general and specific application, which is to say that whenever any category of this latter class of heirs is absent, two thirds of their inheritance pass to the offspring and the remaining third to the House of Justice.
 
8. QUESTION: Concerning the basic sum on which Ḥuqúqu’lláh is payable.
 
ANSWER: The basic sum on which Ḥuqúqu’lláh is payable is nineteen mithqáls of gold. In other words, when money to the value of this sum hath been acquired, a payment of Ḥuqúq falleth due. Likewise Ḥuqúq is payable when the value, not the number, of other forms of property reacheth the prescribed amount. Ḥuqúqu’lláh is payable no more than once. A person, for instance, who 109 acquireth a thousand mithqáls of gold, and payeth the Ḥuqúq, is not liable to make a further such payment on this sum, but only on what accrueth to it through commerce, business and the like. When this increase, namely the profit realized, reacheth the prescribed sum, one must carry out what God hath decreed. Only when the principal changeth hands is it once more subject to payment of Ḥuqúq, as it was the first time. The Primal Point hath directed that Ḥuqúqu’lláh must be paid on the value of whatsoever one possesseth; yet, in this Most Mighty Dispensation, We have exempted the household furnishings, that is such furnishings as are needed, and the residence itself.
 
9. QUESTION: Which is to take precedence: the Ḥuqúqu’lláh, the debts of the deceased or the cost of the funeral and burial?
 
ANSWER: The funeral and burial take precedence, then settlement of debts, then payment of Ḥuqúqu’lláh. Should the property of the deceased prove insufficient to cover his debts, the remainder of his estate should be distributed among these debts in proportion to their size.
 
10. QUESTION: Shaving the head hath been forbidden in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas but enjoined in the Súriy-i-Hájj.
 
ANSWER: All are charged with obedience to the Kitáb-i-Aqdas; whatsoever is revealed therein is the Law of God amid His servants. The injunction on pilgrims to the sacred House to shave the head hath been lifted. 110
 
11. QUESTION: If intercourse take place between a couple during their year of patience, and they become estranged again thereafter, must they recommence their year of patience, or may the days preceding the intercourse be included in the reckoning of the year? And once divorce hath taken place, is it necessary that a further period of waiting be observed?
 
ANSWER: Should affection be renewed between the couple during their year of patience, the marriage tie is valid, and what is commanded in the Book of God must be observed; but once the year of patience hath been completed and that which is decreed by God taketh place, a further period of waiting is not required. Sexual intercourse between husband and wife is forbidden during their year of patience, and whoso committeth this act must seek God’s forgiveness, and, as a punishment, render to the House of Justice a fine of nineteen mithqáls of gold.
 
12. QUESTION: Should antipathy develop between a couple after the Marriage Verses have been read and the dowry paid, may divorce take place without observance of the year of patience?
 
ANSWER: Divorce may legitimately be sought after the reading of the Marriage Verses and payment of the dowry, but before the consummation of the marriage. In such circumstances there is no need for observance of a year of patience, but recovery of the dowry payment is not permissible.
 
13. QUESTION: Is the consent of the parents on both sides 111 prerequisite to marriage, or is that of the parents on one side sufficient? Is this law applicable only to virgins or to others as well?
 
ANSWER: Marriage is conditional upon the consent of the parents of both parties to the marriage, and in this respect it maketh no difference whether the bride be a virgin or otherwise.
 
14. QUESTION: The believers have been enjoined to face in the direction of the Qiblih when reciting their Obligatory Prayers; in what direction should they turn when offering other prayers and devotions?
 
ANSWER: Facing in the direction of the Qiblih is a fixed requirement for the recitation of obligatory prayer, but for other prayers and devotions one may follow what the merciful Lord hath revealed in the Qur’án: “Whichever way ye turn, there is the face of God.”
 
15. QUESTION: Concerning the remembrance of God in the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár “at the hour of dawn”.
 
ANSWER: Although the words “at the hour of dawn” are used in the Book of God, it is acceptable to God at the earliest dawn of day, between dawn and sunrise, or even up to two hours after sunrise.
 
16. QUESTION: Is the ordinance that the body of the deceased should be carried no greater distance than one hour’s journey applicable to transport by both land and sea?
 
ANSWER: This command applieth to distances 112 by sea as well as by land, whether it is an hour by steamship or by rail; the intention is the hour’s time, whatever the means of transport. The sooner the burial taketh place, however, the more fitting and acceptable will it be.
 
17. QUESTION: What procedure should be followed on the discovery of lost property?
 
ANSWER: If such property be found in the town, its discovery is to be announced once by the town crier. If the owner of the property is then found, it should be delivered up to him. Otherwise, the finder of the property should wait one year, and if, during this period, the owner cometh to light, the finder should receive from him the crier’s fee and restore to him his property; only if the year should pass without the owner’s being identified may the finder take possession of the property himself. If the value of the property is less than or equal to the crier’s fee, the finder should wait a single day from the time of its discovery, at the end of which, if the owner hath not come to light, he may himself appropriate it; and in the case of property discovered in an uninhabited area, the finder should observe a three days’ wait, on the passing of which period, if the identity of the owner remain unknown, he is free to take possession of his find.
 
18. QUESTION: With reference to the ablutions: if, for example, a person hath just bathed his entire body, must he still perform his ablutions? 113
 
ANSWER: The commandment regarding ablutions must, in any case, be observed.
 
19. QUESTION: Should a person plan to migrate from his country, and his wife be opposed and the disagreement culminate in divorce, and should his preparations for the journey extend until a year hath passed, may this period be counted as the year of patience, or should the day the couple part be regarded as the starting-point of that year?
 
ANSWER: The starting-point for computation is the day the couple part, and if, therefore, they have separated a year before the husband’s departure, and if the fragrance of affection hath not been renewed between the couple, divorce may take place. Otherwise the year must be counted from the day of his departure, and the conditions set forth in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas observed.
 
20. QUESTION: Concerning the age of maturity with respect to religious duties.
 
ANSWER: The age of maturity is fifteen for both men and women.
 
21. QUESTION: Concerning the holy verse: “When travelling, if ye should stop and rest in some safe spot, perform ye … a single prostration in place of each unsaid Obligatory Prayer…”
 
ANSWER: This prostration is to compensate for obligatory prayer omitted in the course of travel, and by reason of insecure circumstances. If, 114 at the time of prayer, the traveller should find himself at rest in a secure place, he should perform that prayer. This provision regarding the compensating prostration applieth both at home and on a journey.
 
22. QUESTION: Concerning the definition of a journey. 4
 
ANSWER: The definition of a journey is nine hours by the clock. Should the traveller stop in a place, anticipating that he will stay there for no less than one month by the Bayán reckoning, it is incumbent on him to keep the Fast; but if for less than one month, he is exempt from fasting. If he arriveth during the Fast at a place where he is to stay one month according to the Bayán, he should not observe the Fast till three days have elapsed, thereafter keeping it throughout the remainder of its course; but if he come to his home, where he hath heretofore been permanently resident, he must commence his fast upon the first day after his arrival.
 
23. QUESTION: Concerning the punishment of the adulterer and adulteress.
 
ANSWER: Nine mithqáls are payable for the first offence, eighteen for the second, thirty-six for the third, and so on, each succeeding fine being double the preceding. The weight of one mithqál 115 is equivalent to nineteen nákhuds in accordance with the specification of the Bayán.
 
24. QUESTION: Concerning hunting.
 
ANSWER: He saith, exalted be He: “If ye should hunt with beasts or birds of prey” and so forth. Other means, such as bows and arrows, guns, and similar equipment employed in hunting, are also included. If, however, traps or snares are used, and the game dieth before it can be reached, it is unlawful for consumption.
 
25. QUESTION: Concerning the pilgrimage.
 
ANSWER: It is an obligation to make pilgrimage to one of the two sacred Houses; but as to which, it is for the pilgrim to decide.
 
26. QUESTION: Concerning the dowry.
 
ANSWER: Regarding dowry, the intention of contenting oneself with the lowest level is nineteen mithqáls of silver.
 
27. QUESTION: Concerning the sacred verse: “If, however, news should reach her of her husband’s death”, etc.
 
ANSWER: With reference to waiting a “fixed number of months” a period of nine months is intended.
 
28. QUESTION: Again inquiry hath been made about the teacher’s share of the inheritance.
 
ANSWER: Should the teacher have passed away, one third of his share of the inheritance reverteth 116 to the House of Justice, and the remaining two thirds pass to the deceased’s, and not the teacher’s, offspring.
 
29. QUESTION: Again inquiry hath been made about the pilgrimage.
 
ANSWER: By pilgrimage to the sacred House, which is enjoined upon men, is intended both the Most Great House in Baghdád and the House of the Primal Point in Shíráz; pilgrimage to either of these Houses sufficeth. They may thus make pilgrimage to whichever lieth nearer to the place where they reside.
 
30. QUESTION: Concerning the verse: “he who would take into his service a maid may do so with propriety.”
 
ANSWER: This is solely for service such as is performed by any other class of servants, be they young or old, in exchange for wages; such a maiden is free to choose a husband at whatever time she pleaseth, for it is forbidden either that women should be purchased, or that a man should have more wives than two.
 
31. QUESTION: Concerning the sacred verse: “The Lord hath prohibited … the practice to which ye formerly had recourse when thrice ye had divorced a woman.”
 
ANSWER: The reference is to the law which previously made it necessary for another man to marry such a woman before she could again be wedded to her former husband; this practice hath been prohibited in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. 117
 
32. QUESTION: Concerning the restoration and preservation of the two Houses in the Twin Spots, and the other sites wherein the throne hath been established.
 
ANSWER: By the two Houses is intended the Most Great House and the House of the Primal Point. As for other sites, the people of the areas where these are situated may choose to preserve either each house wherein the throne hath been established, or one of them.
 
33. QUESTION: Again inquiry hath been made about the inheritance of the teacher.
 
ANSWER: If the teacher is not of the people of Bahá, he doth not inherit. Should there be several teachers, the share is to be divided equally amongst them. If the teacher is deceased, his offspring do not inherit his share, but rather two thirds of it revert to the children of the owner of the estate, and the remaining one third to the House of Justice.
 
34. QUESTION: Concerning the residence which hath been assigned exclusively to the male offspring.
 
ANSWER: If there are several residences, the finest and noblest of these dwellings is the one intended, the remainder being distributed amongst the whole body of the heirs like any other form of property. Any heir, from whichever category of inheritors, who is outside the Faith of God is accounted as non-existent and doth not inherit. 118
 
35. QUESTION: Concerning Naw-Rúz.
 
ANSWER: The Festival of Naw-Rúz falleth on the day that the sun entereth the sign of Aries, 5 even should this occur no more than one minute before sunset.
 
36. QUESTION: If the anniversary either of the Twin Birthdays or of the Declaration of the Báb occurreth during the Fast, what is to be done?
 
ANSWER: Should the feasts celebrating the Twin Birthdays or the Declaration of the Báb fall within the month of fasting, the command to fast shall not apply on that day.
 
37. QUESTION: In the holy ordinances governing inheritance, the residence and personal clothing of the deceased have been allotted to the male offspring. Doth this provision refer only to the father’s property, or doth it apply to the mother’s as well?
 
ANSWER: The used clothing of the mother should be divided in equal shares among the daughters, but the remainder of her estate, including property, jewellery, and unused clothing, is to be distributed, in the manner revealed in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, to all her heirs. If, however, the deceased hath left no daughters, her estate in its entirety must be divided in the manner designated for men in the holy Text.
 
38. QUESTION: Concerning divorce, which must be preceded 119 by a year of patience: if only one of the parties is inclined toward conciliation, what is to be done?
 
ANSWER: According to the commandment revealed in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, both parties must be content; unless both are willing, reunion cannot take place.
 
39. QUESTION: In connection with the dowry, what if the bridegroom cannot pay this sum in full, but instead were to formally deliver a promissory note to his bride at the time of the wedding ceremony, on the understanding that he will honour it when he is able to do so?
 
ANSWER: Permission to adopt this practice hath been granted by the Source of Authority.
 
40. QUESTION: If during the year of patience the fragrance of affection be renewed, only to be succeeded by antipathy, and the couple waver between affection and aversion throughout the year, and the year endeth in antipathy, can divorce take place or not?
 
ANSWER: In each case at any time antipathy occurreth, the year of patience beginneth on that day, and the year must run its full course.
 
41. QUESTION: The residence and personal clothing of the deceased have been assigned to the male, not female, offspring, nor to the other heirs; should the deceased have left no male offspring, what is to be done?
 
ANSWER: He saith, exalted be He: “Should the deceased leave no offspring, their share shall revert to the House of Justice…” In conformity 120 with this sacred verse, the residence and personal clothing of the deceased revert to the House of Justice.
 
42. QUESTION: The ordinance of Ḥuqúqu’lláh is revealed in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. Is the residence, with the accompanying fixtures and necessary furnishings, included in the property on which Ḥuqúq is payable, or is it otherwise?
 
ANSWER: In the laws revealed in Persian We have ordained that in this Most Mighty Dispensation the residence and the household furnishings are exempt—that is, such furnishings as are necessary.
 
43. QUESTION: Concerning the betrothal of a girl before maturity.
 
ANSWER: This practice hath been pronounced unlawful by the Source of Authority, and it is unlawful to announce a marriage earlier than ninety-five days before the wedding.
 
44. QUESTION: If a person hath, for example, a hundred túmáns, payeth the Ḥuqúq on this sum, loseth half the sum in unsuccessful transactions and then, through trading, the amount in hand is raised again to the sum on which Ḥuqúq is due—must such a person pay Ḥuqúq or not?
 
ANSWER: In such an event the Ḥuqúq is not payable.
 
45. QUESTION: If, after payment of Ḥuqúq, this same sum of one hundred túmáns is lost in its entirety, but 121 subsequently regained through trade and business dealings, must Ḥuqúq be paid a second time or not?
 
ANSWER: In this event as well, payment of Ḥuqúq is not required.
 
46. QUESTION: With reference to the sacred verse, “God hath prescribed matrimony unto you”, is this prescription obligatory or not?
 
ANSWER: It is not obligatory.
 
47. QUESTION: Supposing that a man hath wed a certain woman believing her to be a virgin and he hath paid her the dowry, but at the time of consummation it becometh evident that she is not a virgin, are the expenses and the dowry to be repaid or not? And if the marriage had been made conditional upon virginity, doth the unfulfilled condition invalidate that which was conditioned upon it?
 
ANSWER: In such a case the expenses and the dowry may be refunded. The unfulfilled condition invalidateth that which is conditioned upon it. However, to conceal and forgive the matter will, in the sight of God, merit a bounteous reward.
 
48. QUESTION: “A feast hath been enjoined upon you…” Is this obligatory or not?
 
ANSWER: It is not obligatory.
 
49. QUESTION: Concerning the penalties for adultery, sodomy, and theft, and the degrees thereof.
 
ANSWER: The determination of the degrees of these penalties rests with the House of Justice. 122
 
50. QUESTION: Concerning the legitimacy or otherwise of marrying one’s relatives.
 
ANSWER: These matters likewise rest with the Trustees of the House of Justice.
 
51. QUESTION: With reference to ablutions, it hath been revealed, “Let him that findeth no water for ablution repeat five times the words ‘In the Name of God, the Most Pure, the Most Pure’”: is it permissible to recite this verse in times of bitter cold, or if the hands or face be wounded?
 
ANSWER: Warm water may be used in times of bitter cold. If there are wounds on the face or hands, or there be other reasons such as aches and pains for which the use of water would be harmful, one may recite the appointed verse in place of the ablution.
 
52. QUESTION: Is the recitation of the verse revealed to replace the Prayer of the Signs obligatory?
 
ANSWER: It is not obligatory.
 
53. QUESTION: With reference to inheritance, when there are full brothers and full sisters, would half-brothers and half-sisters on the mother’s side also receive a share?
 
ANSWER: They receive no share.
 
54. QUESTION: He saith, exalted be He: “Should the son of the deceased have passed away in the days of his father and have left children, they will inherit their 123 father’s share…” What is to be done if the daughter hath died during the lifetime of her father?
 
ANSWER: Her share of the inheritance should be distributed among the seven categories of heirs according to the ordinance of the Book.
 
55. QUESTION: If the deceased be a woman, to whom is the “wife’s” share of the inheritance allotted?
 
ANSWER: The “wife’s” share of the inheritance is allotted to the husband.
 
56. QUESTION: Concerning the shrouding of the body of the deceased which is decreed to comprise five sheets: does the five refer to five cloths which were hitherto customarily used or to five full-length shrouds wrapped one around the other?
 
ANSWER: The use of five cloths is intended.
 
57. QUESTION: Concerning disparities between certain revealed verses.
 
ANSWER: Many Tablets were revealed and dispatched in their original form without being checked and reviewed. Consequently, as bidden, they were again read out in the Holy Presence, and brought into conformity with the grammatical conventions of the people in order to forestall the cavils of opponents of the Cause. Another reason for this practice is that the new style inaugurated by the Herald, may the souls of all else but Him be offered up for His sake, was seen to be marked by substantial latitude in adherence to the rules of 124 grammar; sacred verses therefore were then revealed in a style which is for the most part in conformity with current usage for ease of understanding and concision of expression.
 
58. QUESTION: Concerning the blessed verse, “When travelling, if ye should stop and rest in some safe spot, perform ye … a single prostration in place of each unsaid Obligatory Prayer”: is this compensation for the Obligatory Prayer missed by reason of insecure circumstances, or is obligatory prayer completely suspended during travel, and doth the prostration take its place?
 
ANSWER: If, when the hour of obligatory prayer arriveth, there be no security, one should, upon arrival in safe surroundings, perform a prostration in place of each Obligatory Prayer that was missed, and after the final prostration, sit cross-legged and read the designated verse. If there be a safe place, obligatory prayer is not suspended during travel.
 
59. QUESTION: If, after a traveller hath stopped and rested it is the time for obligatory prayer, should he perform the prayer, or make the prostration in its stead?
 
ANSWER: Except in insecure circumstances omission of the Obligatory Prayer is not permissible.
 
60. QUESTION: If, due to missed Obligatory Prayers, a number of prostrations are required, must the verse be repeated after each compensating prostration or not? 125
 
ANSWER: It is sufficient to recite the designated verse after the last prostration. The several prostrations do not require separate repetitions of the verse.
 
61. QUESTION: If an Obligatory Prayer be omitted at home, is it to be compensated for by a prostration or not?
 
ANSWER: In answer to previous questions it was written: “This provision regarding the compensating prostration applieth both at home and on a journey.”
 
62. QUESTION: If, for another purpose, one hath performed ablutions, and the time of obligatory prayer arriveth, are these ablutions sufficient or must they be renewed?
 
ANSWER: These same ablutions are sufficient, and there is no need for them to be renewed.
 
63. QUESTION: In the Kitáb-i-Aqdas obligatory prayer hath been enjoined, consisting of nine rak’áhs, to be performed at noon, in the morning and the evening, but the Tablet of Obligatory Prayers 6 appeareth to differ from this.
 
ANSWER: That which hath been revealed in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas concerneth a different Obligatory Prayer. Some years ago a number of the ordinances of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas including that Obligatory Prayer were, for reasons of wisdom, 126 recorded separately and sent away together with other sacred writings, for the purposes of preservation and protection. Later these three Obligatory Prayers were revealed.
 
64. QUESTION: In determining time, is it permissible to rely on clocks and watches?
 
ANSWER: It is permissible to rely on clocks and watches.
 
65. QUESTION: In the Tablet of Obligatory Prayers, three prayers are revealed; is the performance of all three required or not?
 
ANSWER: It is enjoined to offer one of these three prayers; whichever is performed sufficeth.
 
66. QUESTION: Are ablutions for the morning prayer still valid for the noonday prayer? And similarly, are ablutions carried out at noon still valid in the evening?
 
ANSWER: Ablutions are connected with the Obligatory Prayer for which they are performed, and must be renewed for each prayer.
 
67. QUESTION: Concerning the long Obligatory Prayer, it is required to stand up and “turn unto God”. This seemeth to indicate that it is not necessary to face the Qiblih; is this so or not?
 
ANSWER: The Qiblih is intended.
 
68. QUESTION: Concerning the sacred verse: “Recite ye the verses of God every morn and eventide.” 127
 
ANSWER: The intention is all that hath been sent down from the Heaven of Divine Utterance. The prime requisite is the eagerness and love of sanctified souls to read the Word of God. To read one verse, or even one word, in a spirit of joy and radiance, is preferable to the perusal of many Books.
 
69. QUESTION: May a person, in drawing up his will, assign some portion of his property—beyond that which is devoted to payment of Ḥuqúqu’lláh and the settlement of debts—to works of charity, or is he entitled to do no more than allocate a certain sum to cover funeral and burial expenses, so that the rest of his estate will be distributed in the manner fixed by God among the designated categories of heirs?
 
ANSWER: A person hath full jurisdiction over his property. If he is able to discharge the Ḥuqúqu’lláh, and is free of debt, then all that is recorded in his will, and any declaration or avowal it containeth, shall be acceptable. God, verily, hath permitted him to deal with that which He hath bestowed upon him in whatever manner he may desire.
 
70. QUESTION: Is the use of the burial ring enjoined exclusively for adults, or is it for minors as well?
 
ANSWER: It is for adults only. The Prayer for the Dead is likewise for adults.
 
71. QUESTION: Should a person wish to fast at a time 128 other than in the month of ‘Alá, is this permissible or not; and if he hath vowed or pledged himself to such a fast, is this valid and acceptable?
 
ANSWER: The ordinance of fasting is such as hath already been revealed. Should someone pledge himself, however, to offer up a fast to God, seeking in this way the fulfilment of a wish, or to realize some other aim, this is permissible, now as heretofore. Howbeit, it is God’s wish, exalted be His glory, that vows and pledges be directed to such objectives as will profit mankind.
 
72. QUESTION: Again a question hath been asked concerning the residence and personal clothing: are these to revert, in the absence of male offspring, to the House of Justice, or are they to be distributed like the rest of the estate?
 
ANSWER: Two thirds of the residence and personal clothing pass to the female offspring, and one third to the House of Justice, which God hath made to be the treasury of the people.
 
73. QUESTION: If, upon completion of the year of patience, the husband refuseth to allow divorce, what course should be adopted by the wife?
 
ANSWER: When the period is ended divorce is effected. However, it is necessary that there be witnesses to the beginning and end of this period, so that they can be called upon to give testimony should the need arise. 129
 
74. QUESTION: Concerning the definition of old age.
 
ANSWER: To the Arabs it denoteth the furthest extremity of old age, but for the people of Bahá it is from the age of seventy.
 
75. QUESTION: Concerning the limit of fasting for someone travelling on foot.
 
ANSWER: The limit is set at two hours. If this is exceeded, it is permissible to break the Fast.
 
76. QUESTION: Concerning observance of the Fast by people engaged in hard labour during the month of fasting.
 
ANSWER: Such people are excused from fasting; however, in order to show respect to the law of God and for the exalted station of the Fast, it is most commendable and fitting to eat with frugality and in private.
 
77. QUESTION: Do ablutions performed for the Obligatory Prayer suffice for the ninety-five repetitions of the Greatest Name?
 
ANSWER: It is unnecessary to renew the ablutions.
 
78. QUESTION: Concerning clothes and jewellery which a husband may have purchased for his wife: are these to be distributed, after his death, amongst his heirs, or are they specially for the wife?
 
ANSWER: Aside from used clothing, whatever there may be, jewellery or otherwise, belongeth to 130 the husband, except what is proven to have been gifts to the wife.
 
79. QUESTION: Concerning the criterion of justness when proving some matter dependent on the testimony of two just witnesses.
 
ANSWER: The criterion of justness is a good reputation among the people. The testimony of all God’s servants, of whatever faith or creed, is acceptable before His Throne.
 
80. QUESTION: If the deceased hath not settled his obligation to Ḥuqúqu’lláh, nor paid his other debts, are these to be discharged by proportionate deductions from the residence, personal clothing and the rest of the estate, or are the residence and personal clothing set aside for the male offspring, and consequently the debts must be settled from the rest of the estate? And if the rest of the estate is insufficient for this purpose, how should the debts be settled?
 
ANSWER: Outstanding debts and payments of Ḥuqúq should be settled from the remainder of the estate, but if this is insufficient for the purpose, the shortfall should be met from his residence and personal clothing.
 
81. QUESTION: Should the third Obligatory Prayer be offered while seated or standing?
 
ANSWER: It is preferable and more fitting to stand in an attitude of humble reverence.
 
82. QUESTION: Concerning the first Obligatory Prayer 131 it hath been ordained, “one should perform it at whatever time one findeth oneself in a state of humbleness and longing adoration”: is it to be performed once in twenty-four hours, or more frequently?
 
ANSWER: Once in twenty-four hours is sufficient; this is that which hath been uttered by the Tongue of Divine Command.
 
83. QUESTION: Concerning the definition of “morning”, “noon” and “evening”.
 
ANSWER: These are sunrise, noon and sunset. The allowable times for Obligatory Prayers are from morning till noon, from noon till sunset, and from sunset till two hours thereafter. Authority is in the hand of God, the Bearer of the Two Names.
 
84. QUESTION: Is it permissible for a believer to marry an unbeliever?
 
ANSWER: Both taking and giving in marriage are permissible; thus did the Lord decree when He ascended the throne of bounteousness and grace.
 
85. QUESTION: Concerning the Prayer for the Dead: should it precede or follow the interment? And is facing the Qiblih required?
 
ANSWER: Recital of this prayer should precede interment; and as regards the Qiblih: “Whichever way ye turn, there is the face of God.” 7 132
 
86. QUESTION: At noon, which is the time for two of the Obligatory Prayers—the short midday prayer, and the prayer to be offered in the morning, noon, and evening—is it necessary in this case to perform two ablutions or would one suffice?
 
ANSWER: The renewal of ablutions is unnecessary.
 
87. QUESTION: Concerning the dowry for village-dwellers which is to be of silver: is it the bride or bridegroom who is intended or both of them? And what is to be done if one is a city-dweller and the other a village-dweller?
 
ANSWER: The dowry is determined by the dwelling-place of the bridegroom; if he be a city-dweller, the dowry is of gold, and if he be a village-dweller, it is of silver.
 
88. QUESTION: What is the criterion for determining if one is a city-dweller or a village-dweller? If a city-dweller taketh up residence in a village, or a village-dweller in a city, intending to settle permanently, what ruling is applicable? Is the place of birth the deciding factor?
 
ANSWER: The criterion is permanent residence and, depending on where this is, the injunction in the Book must be observed accordingly.
 
89. QUESTION: In the holy Tablets it hath been revealed that when someone acquireth the equivalent of nineteen mithqáls of gold, he should pay the Right of God on that 133 sum. Might it be explained how much of this nineteen should be paid?
 
ANSWER: Nineteen out of one hundred is established by the ordinance of God. Computation should be made on this basis. It may then be ascertained what amount is due on nineteen.
 
90. QUESTION: When one’s wealth exceeds nineteen, is it necessary for it to increase by a further nineteen before Ḥuqúq is due again, or would it be due on any increase?
 
ANSWER: Any amount added to nineteen is exempt from Ḥuqúq until it reacheth a further nineteen.
 
91. QUESTION: Concerning pure water, and the point at which it is considered used.
 
ANSWER: Small quantities of water, such as one cupful, or even two or three, must be considered used after a single washing of the face and hands. But a kurr 8 or more of water remaineth unchanged after one or two washings of the face, and there is no objection to its use unless it is altered in one of the three ways, 9 for example its colour is changed, in which case it should be looked upon as used.
 
92. QUESTION: In a treatise in Persian on various questions, the age of maturity hath been set at fifteen; is 134 marriage likewise conditional upon the reaching of maturity, or is it permissible before that time?
 
ANSWER: Since the consent of both parties is required in the Book of God, and since, before maturity, their consent or lack of it cannot be ascertained, marriage is therefore conditional upon reaching the age of maturity, and is not permissible before that time.
 
93. QUESTION: Concerning fasting and obligatory prayer by the sick.
 
ANSWER: In truth, I say that obligatory prayer and fasting occupy an exalted station in the sight of God. It is, however, in a state of health that their virtue can be realized. In time of ill-health it is not permissible to observe these obligations; such hath been the bidding of the Lord, exalted be His glory, at all times. Blessed be such men and women as pay heed, and observe His precepts. All praise be unto God, He who hath sent down the verses and is the Revealer of undoubted proofs!
 
94. QUESTION: Concerning mosques, chapels and temples.
 
ANSWER: Whatever hath been constructed for the worship of the one true God, such as mosques, chapels and temples, must not be used for any purpose other than the commemoration of His Name. This is an ordinance of God, and he who violateth it is verily of those who have transgressed. No harm attacheth to the builder, for he 135 hath performed his deed for the sake of God, and hath received and will continue to receive his just reward.
 
95. QUESTION: Regarding the appointments of a place of business, which are needed for carrying on one’s work or profession: are they subject to the payment of Ḥuqúqu’lláh, or are they covered by the same ruling as the household furnishings?
 
ANSWER: They are covered by the same ruling as the household furnishings.
 
96. QUESTION: Concerning the exchange of property held in trust for cash or other forms of property, to guard against depreciation or loss.
 
ANSWER: Regarding the written question on the exchange of property held in trust to guard against depreciation and loss, such exchange is permissible on condition that the substitute will be equivalent in value. Thy Lord, verily, is the Expounder, the Omniscient, and He, truly, is the Ordainer, the Ancient of Days.
 
97. QUESTION: Concerning the washing of the feet in winter and summer.
 
ANSWER: It is the same in both cases; warm water is preferable, but there can be no objection to cold.
 
98. QUESTION: A further question on divorce.
 
ANSWER: Since God, exalted be His glory, doth 136 not favour divorce, nothing was revealed on this issue. However, from the beginning of the separation until the end of one year, two people or more must remain informed as witnesses; if, by the end, there is no reconciliation, divorce taketh place. This must be recorded in the registry by the religious judicial officer of the city appointed by the Trustees of the House of Justice. Observance of this procedure is essential lest those that are possessed of an understanding heart be saddened.
 
99. QUESTION: Concerning consultation.
 
ANSWER: If consultation among the first group of people assembled endeth in disagreement, new people should be added, after which persons to the number of the Greatest Name, or fewer or more, shall be chosen by lot. Whereupon the consultation shall be renewed, and the outcome, whatever it is, shall be obeyed. If, however, there is still disagreement, the same procedure should be repeated once more, and the decision of the majority shall prevail. He, verily, guideth whomsoever He pleaseth to the right way.
 
100. QUESTION: Concerning inheritance.
 
ANSWER: Regarding inheritance, that which the Primal Point hath ordained—may the souls of all else but Him be offered up for His sake—is well pleasing. The existing heirs should receive their allotted shares of the inheritance, while a statement of the remainder must be submitted to 137 the Court of the Most High. In His hand is the source of authority; He ordaineth as He pleaseth. In this regard, a law was revealed in the Land of Mystery, 10 temporarily awarding the missing heirs’ inheritance to the existing heirs until such time as the House of Justice shall be established, when the decree concerning this will be promulgated. The inheritance, however, of those who emigrated in the same year as the Ancient Beauty, hath been awarded to their heirs, and this is a bounty of God bestowed upon them.
 
101. QUESTION: Concerning the law on treasure trove.
 
ANSWER: Should a treasure be found, one third thereof is the right of the discoverer, and the other two thirds should be expended by the men of the House of Justice for the welfare of all people. This shall be done after the establishment of the House of Justice, and until that time it shall be committed to the keeping of trustworthy persons in each locality and territory. He, in truth, is the Ruler, the Ordainer, the Omniscient, the All-Informed.
 
102. QUESTION: Concerning Ḥuqúq on real estate which yieldeth no profit.
 
ANSWER: The ordinance of God is that real estate which hath ceased to yield income, that is, 138 from which no profit accrueth, is not liable to payment of Ḥuqúq. He, verily, is the Ruler, the Munificent.
 
103. QUESTION: Concerning the holy verse: “In regions where the days and nights grow long, let times of prayer be gauged by clocks…”
 
ANSWER: The intention is those territories that are remote. In these climes, however, the difference in length is but a few hours, and therefore this ruling doth not apply.
 
104. In the Tablet to ‘Abá Badí, this holy verse hath been revealed: “Verily, We have enjoined on every son to serve his father.” Such is the decree which We have set forth in the Book.
 
105. And in another Tablet, these exalted words have been revealed: O Muḥammad! The Ancient of Days hath turned His countenance towards thee, making mention of thee, and exhorting the people of God to educate their children. Should a father neglect this most weighty commandment laid down in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas by the Pen of the Eternal King, he shall forfeit rights of fatherhood, and be accounted guilty before God. Well is it with him who imprinteth on his heart the admonitions of the Lord, and steadfastly cleaveth unto them. God, in truth, enjoineth on His servants what shall assist and profit them, and enable them to draw nigh unto Him. He is the Ordainer, the Everlasting. 139
 
106. He is God, exalted be He, the Lord of majesty and power! The Prophets and Chosen Ones have all been commissioned by the One True God, magnified be His glory, to nurture the trees of human existence with the living waters of uprightness and understanding, that there may appear from them that which God hath deposited within their inmost selves. As may be readily observed, each tree yieldeth a certain fruit, and a barren tree is but fit for fire. The purpose of these Educators, in all they said and taught, was to preserve man’s exalted station. Well is it with him who in the Day of God hath laid fast hold upon His precepts and hath not deviated from His true and fundamental Law. The fruits that best befit the tree of human life are trustworthiness and godliness, truthfulness and sincerity; but greater than all, after recognition of the unity of God, praised and glorified be He, is regard for the rights that are due to one’s parents. This teaching hath been mentioned in all the Books of God, and reaffirmed by the Most Exalted Pen. Consider that which the Merciful Lord hath revealed in the Qur’án, exalted are His words: “Worship ye God, join with Him no peer or likeness; and show forth kindliness and charity towards your parents…” Observe how loving-kindness to one’s parents hath been linked to recognition of the one true God! Happy they who are endued with true wisdom and understanding, who see and perceive, who read and understand, and who observe that which God hath 140 revealed in the Holy Books of old, and in this incomparable and wondrous Tablet.
 
107. In one of the Tablets He, exalted be His words, hath revealed: And in the matter of Zakát, We have likewise decreed that you should follow what hath been revealed in the Qur’án. 141
1. Bahá’u’lláh.   [ Back To Reference]
2. First month of the Islamic lunar calendar.   [ Back To Reference]
3. In Arabic the two verses differ in gender.   [ Back To Reference]
4. This relates to the minimum duration of a journey which exempts the traveller from fasting.   [ Back To Reference]
5. The vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere.   [ Back To Reference]
6. The Tablet containing the three Obligatory Prayers now in use.   [ Back To Reference]
7. Qur’án 2:115.   [ Back To Reference]
8. This refers to a volume of approximately one half of a cubic metre.   [ Back To Reference]
9. Colour, taste and smell.   [ Back To Reference]
10. Adrianople.   [ Back To Reference]