|(Most Holy Book) Bahá'u'lláh's
book of laws, revealed in 'Akká,
in 1873 while He resided in the House of 'Udi K̲h̲ammar. The Kitáb-i-Aqdas,
revealed in Arabic, set forth the laws and ordinances of Bahá'u'lláh's
Dispensation but is much more than 'a mere code of laws'. Shoghi
Effendi has described it as 'the Mother Book His Dispensation', the ' Charter of
His New World Order',15 and as the 'Charter of the future world civilization'.16 In it Bahá'u'lláh sets forth the succession of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and His authority as Interpreter, anticipates the Guardianship and ordains the institution of the House
of Justice and its functions and revenues. He reveals laws, ordinances and exhortations
concerning subjects including prayer, fasting,
marriage, divorce, burial, wills and inheritance, pilgrimage, the Huqúqu'lláh,
the Bahá'í calendar, Feasts and holy
days, the age of maturity, the obligation to work and its elevation to worship,
obedience to government and education. He sets forth prohibitions including the institution
of priesthood and its practices including confession of sins; forbids slavery; condemns
mendicancy, idleness, cruelty to animals, backbiting and calumny, gambling, the use
of drugs and intoxicants; and outlines the punishment for certain crimes.
|In addition the Kitáb-i-Aqdas contains many exhortations by Bahá'u'lláh to His followers as to the high standard of conduct they should follow in their individual
lives and in carrying out their responsibilities towards family, society and their
faith, as well statements directed directed to the rulers and peoples of the world.
|Bahá'u'lláh sets forth the infallibility of the Manifestation
of God and fixes the duration of His Dispensation at no less than a thousand years.
|After the Revelation of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas Bahá'u'lláh continued to reveal supplementary ordinances and explanations of the laws in the Aqdas
such as those contained in the Questions and Answers.
|Not all of the provisions of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas are in practice at
the present time and certain laws (such as the Huqúqu'lláh)
apply only to Iranians. Bahá'u'lláh Himself urged the Bahá'ís to implement
the laws gradually with tact and wisdom.
|Shoghi Effendi explained, in a letter
written on his behalf, that to avoid disturbance and dissension, the laws the Kitáb-i-Aqdas 'are, whenever practicable and not in direct conflict with the Civil Laws of the land,
absolutely binding on every believer or Bahá'í institution whether in the East or in the West. Certain laws, such as fasting, obligatory
prayers, the consent of parents before marriage, avoidance of alcoholic drinks, monogamy,
should be regarded by all believers as universally and vitally applicable at the present
time. Others have been formulated in anticipation of a state of society destined to emerge
from the chaotic conditions that prevail today.'17
|The entire text of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas is not yet available in translation, as it is to be published with detailed explanatory material, drawing on the related
Tablets elucidating its laws. However, its contents are summarized in A Synopsis
and Codification of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, the Most Holy Book of Bahá'u'lláh.
| The law of Huqúqu'lláh is now universally applicable.
This description was published in 1989. In 1992 the complete Kitáb-i-Aqdas was published in English. See Bibliography.
| The "Most Holy Book" of Bahá'u'lláh.
"...the Charter of His World Order, the chief repository of His laws, the harbinger
of His Covenant,
the Pivotal Work containing some of His noblest exhortations, weightiest pronouncements,
and portentous prophecies..." (PDC 24) Revealed in 'Akká, circa 1873, "during the full tide of His tribulations, at a time when the rulers
of the earth had definitely forsaken Him...." (GBP 213).