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Old 01-02-2014, 07:11 AM   #1
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Prohibition of Kissing hands in the Baha'i faith

In the Kitab Aqdas Kissing of hands has been strictly prohibited:
Bahá'í Reference Library - The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Page 193
Quote:
57. The kissing of hands hath been forbidden in the Book. # 34
In a number of earlier religious Dispensations and in certain cultures the kissing of the hand of a religious figure or of a prominent person was expected as a mark of reverence and deference to such persons and as a token of submission to their authority. Bahá’u’lláh prohibits the kissing of hands and, in His Tablets, He also condemns such practices as prostrating oneself before another person and other forms of behaviour that abase one individual in relation to another. (See note 58.)
Here is the question: How do Baha'is view someone who kisses others' hands or allows others to kiss his hands, specially religious figures such as:


 
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Old 01-02-2014, 07:51 AM   #2
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So...When are you going to show the link to early American Baha'i kissing 'Abdu'l-Baha's hand? The suspense is killing me. Or am I supposed to respond to the question before you throw it out? Sorry to disappoint, but that was already played out before. We reached a consensus that the early believers didn't have the Aqdas available or know the teaching, and that Master was patient and loving, rather than dogmatic (Although one wonders what the penalty for kissing of a hand is?). Incidentally, the laws of the Aqdas operate under a principle of gradual unfoldment. The revelation of the Aqdas and the translation of it did not instantaneously and automatically increase or change the laws enjoined upon the Baha'is. Moreover, we do not, as a faith, have a literal approach to scripture. The prohibition of kissing of hands is a spiritual principle of not exalting others, it is not literal in the sense that I cannot kiss the hand of my wife or my mother.

Cheers

Last edited by Fadl; 01-02-2014 at 07:53 AM.
 
Old 01-02-2014, 08:19 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fadl View Post
So...When are you going to show the link to early American Baha'i kissing 'Abdu'l-Baha's hand? The suspense is killing me. Or am I supposed to respond to the question before you throw it out? Sorry to disappoint, but that was already played out before. We reached a consensus that the early believers didn't have the Aqdas available or know the teaching, and that Master was patient and loving, rather than dogmatic (Although one wonders what the penalty for kissing of a hand is?). Incidentally, the laws of the Aqdas operate under a principle of gradual unfoldment. The revelation of the Aqdas and the translation of it did not instantaneously and automatically increase or change the laws enjoined upon the Baha'is. Moreover, we do not, as a faith, have a literal approach to scripture. The prohibition of kissing of hands is a spiritual principle of not exalting others, it is not literal in the sense that I cannot kiss the hand of my wife or my mother.

Cheers
With the justification you have put forward, you are basically implying that hand-kissing is allowed in the Baha'i faith. I didn't know it was this easy to refute the orders of the Aqdas.
 
Old 01-02-2014, 08:27 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by h123 View Post
With the justification you have put forward, you are basically implying that hand-kissing is allowed in the Baha'i faith. I didn't know it was this easy to refute the orders of the Aqdas.
Pretty much. You see, for us it is not about gathering hasanas like browny points to get into heaven. You have to go deeper in the Baha'i faith than that. The prohibition of kissing hands, has a spirit as well as a letter. The spirit is what is important, since it is not about God will cast you into hell-fire because he hates hand kissing, but rather, it is intended to establish a cultural of spiritual equals, where we don't exalt anyone above others, no matter how big their turban or title.
 
Old 01-02-2014, 08:32 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fadl View Post
Pretty much. You see, for us it is not about gathering hasanas like browny points to get into heaven. You have to go deeper in the Baha'i faith than that. The prohibition of kissing hands, has a spirit as well as a letter. The spirit is what is important, since it is not about God will cast you into hell-fire because he hates hand kissing, but rather, it is intended to establish a cultural of spiritual equals, where we don't exalt anyone above others, no matter how big their turban or title.
When those ladies were kissing `Abd al-Baha's hand, were they doing anything other than exalting him!
 
Old 01-02-2014, 08:38 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by h123 View Post
When those ladies were kissing `Abd al-Baha's hand, were they doing anything other than exalting him!
Sure they were. But they were ignorant of the contents of the Aqdas and were ignorant of the teaching and principle of no hand kissing. What do you think he should do, slap them? I think the fact that he tolerated it shows an example to us of what is correct. When they learn the teaching, they will follow it. But as new comers to the faith, they are like children and must be loved and nurtured into the fullness of faith, not condemned for coming in ignorant. What is religion for at all, if not to bring those who are ignorant of God into knowledge of him? Severity and dogmatism never touches hearts or illuminates anything.
 
Old 01-02-2014, 09:27 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Fadl View Post
Sure they were. But they were ignorant of the contents of the Aqdas and were ignorant of the teaching and principle of no hand kissing. What do you think he should do, slap them? I think the fact that he tolerated it shows an example to us of what is correct. When they learn the teaching, they will follow it. But as new comers to the faith, they are like children and must be loved and nurtured into the fullness of faith, not condemned for coming in ignorant. What is religion for at all, if not to bring those who are ignorant of God into knowledge of him? Severity and dogmatism never touches hearts or illuminates anything.
`Abd al-Baha knows that hand kissing is against Baha'i law. He has probably gone to a billion gatherings and knows that when you line people up like that to greet you they are going to come forward and kiss your hand. He has seen it many times. Instead of telling people beforehand that this action is prohibited in the Baha'i faith--just like how he preached most Baha'i beliefs to the people--he says nothing and enjoys the hand kissing. The ignorance of the hand kissers is of no concern here.
 
Old 01-02-2014, 10:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h123 View Post
`Abd al-Baha knows that hand kissing is against Baha'i law. He has probably gone to a billion gatherings and knows that when you line people up like that to greet you they are going to come forward and kiss your hand. He has seen it many times. Instead of telling people beforehand that this action is prohibited in the Baha'i faith--just like how he preached most Baha'i beliefs to the people--he says nothing and enjoys the hand kissing. The ignorance of the hand kissers is of no concern here.
As Fadl said, the Law of Aqdas was not revealed yet at that time, or if it was, it was not spread yet. thus this Law was not to be followed yet. Abdulbaha did not have the right to reveal new Laws. But whenever Baha'U'llah revealed it, then Abdulbaha would be the first to follow it. Therefore, when no such law was revealed yet, Abdulbaha did not have the Authority to tell those people not to do that. Moreover I don't think those who kissed His hand were Baha'is. Baha'I Laws are to be followed by Baha'is. Do you know for what reason they had lined up to see Abdulbaha? What was the event for? What year was it? I think that would help.

Last edited by InvestigateTruth; 01-02-2014 at 10:55 AM.
 
Old 01-02-2014, 11:03 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h123 View Post
With the justification you have put forward, you are basically implying that hand-kissing is allowed in the Baha'i faith. I didn't know it was this easy to refute the orders of the Aqdas.
Do you think there is a difference between kissing someone's hand due to Love, than kissing due to fear, to show off in order to get higher posts at government or to indicate superiority?
 
Old 01-02-2014, 11:33 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InvestigateTruth View Post
As Fadl said, the Law of Aqdas was not revealed yet at that time, or if it was, it was not spread yet. thus this Law was not to be followed yet. Abdulbaha did not have the right to reveal new Laws. But whenever Baha'U'llah revealed it, then Abdulbaha would be the first to follow it. Therefore, when no such law was revealed yet, Abdulbaha did not have the Authority to tell those people not to do that. Moreover I don't think those who kissed His hand were Baha'is. Baha'I Laws are to be followed by Baha'is. Do you know for what reason they had lined up to see Abdulbaha? What was the event for? What year was it? I think that would help.
What did I just read? Abd al-Baha's trip to america: 1912. Baha'u'llah's death 1892. Difference 20 years. So you are implying that the laws of Aqdas had not yet been revealed 20 years after Baha'u'llahs death?!!!!!

Quote:
Do you think there is a difference between kissing someone's hand due to Love, than kissing due to fear, to show off in order to get higher posts at government or to indicate superiority?
Don't try to interpret Baha'u'llah's clear orders. He has ordered no hand kissing irrespective of intention. As the old saying goes: practice what you preach.
 
Old 01-02-2014, 12:08 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h123 View Post
What did I just read? Abd al-Baha's trip to america: 1912. Baha'u'llah's death 1892. Difference 20 years. So you are implying that the laws of Aqdas had not yet been revealed 20 years after Baha'u'llahs death?!!!!!


Don't try to interpret Baha'u'llah's clear orders. He has ordered no hand kissing irrespective of intention. As the old saying goes: practice what you preach.
Its good you found some info about the year. In the Paragraph you quoted it explaines the reason is not to abase oneself in relation to others. So, if they kissed His hand out of love, that excludes the prohibation.
But let's say they actually were aware of the Book and Abdulbaha knew they were doing a wrong thing. In Baha'I Faith Abdulbaha's function was, explaining and interpreting the verses, while Universal House of Justice Role is to enforce the Laws of Aqdas. Abdulbaha was not given the Authority to enforce the laws of Aqdas on others. In Baha'I Faith to no individual is given the right to tell other what to do and what not to do.
 
Old 01-02-2014, 12:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InvestigateTruth View Post
Its good you found some info about the year. In the Paragraph you quoted it explaines the reason is not to abase oneself in relation to others. So, if they kissed His hand out of love, that excludes the prohibation.
But let's say they actually were aware of the Book and Abdulbaha knew they were doing a wrong thing. In Baha'I Faith Abdulbaha's function was, explaining and interpreting the verses, while Universal House of Justice Role is to enforce the Laws of Aqdas. Abdulbaha was not given the Authority to enforce the laws of Aqdas on others. In Baha'I Faith to no individual is given the right to tell other what to do and what not to do.
In the quote it is explicitly stated that hand kissing is prohibited. In no part has it stated that hand kissing is allowed (for love or whatever). `Abd al-Baha must first enforce the law on himself. As I said practice what you preach.
 
Old 01-02-2014, 01:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h123 View Post
In the quote it is explicitly stated that hand kissing is prohibited. In no part has it stated that hand kissing is allowed (for love or whatever). `Abd al-Baha must first enforce the law on himself. As I said practice what you preach.
And Abdulbaha did not kiss anyone's hand, neither did He ask them to kiss His hand by stretching His hand. They grabbed His hand and kissed it. So, if they did wrong, so they did, Not Abdulbaha.
 
Old 01-02-2014, 04:32 PM   #14
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it was for a reason, it was to prevent, to not become what does, to not worship, to keep the own self, to keep the mind open and the own... I think not it was in any kind spoken to judge the right and wrong behaviour
 
Old 01-02-2014, 07:54 PM   #15
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Good morning h123

Firstly, it is necessary to put the kissing of hands into the perspective in which this command is given. It is far too easy to extract a small portion with which to satisfy one's own pursuits, and thus present a false image.

The command itself is found in Paragraph 34 of the Kitab-i-Aqdas. The entire paragraph here:

Quote:
The kissing of hands hath been forbidden in the Book. This practice is prohibited by God, the Lord of glory and command. To none is it permitted to seek absolution from another soul; let repentance be between yourselves and God. He, verily, is the Pardoner, the Bounteous, the Gracious, the One Who absolveth the repentant.
With a quick refernece to Note 57 in this Volume we read:

Quote:
In a number of earlier religious Dispensations and in certain cultures the kissing of the hand of a religious figure or of a prominent person was expected as a mark of reverence and deference to such persons and as a token of submission to their authority. Bahá’u’lláh prohibits the kissing of hands and, in His Tablets, He also condemns such practices as prostrating oneself before another person and other forms of behaviour that abase one individual in relation to another. (See note 58.)
Your query "How do Baha'is view someone who kisses others' hands or allows others to kiss his hands, specially religious figures such as:" regards this practice in other Faiths is thus superflous, thus no answer required. This Law applies to Baha'is and to Baha'is only, not to any of the other Divinely revealed Faiths on this planet.

As for if one Baha'i kisses anothers' hand, I still have a a splnter in my own eye, and until I can get it out, I have not the vision, the clarity, the wisdom nor the right to make judgements about another's behaviour. And, so long as their action does not bring the reputation of the Faith nto dsrepute, even the Local Spiritual Assembly has no right to interfere, though if may provide wise council if needed.

And if I wish to kiss the hand of my wife in love, I will do so, because it is the spirit of the Law which is important, not the letter. Obeying only the letter of the law does not make obedience to the law - it is strongly possible to be in obedience to the letter of the law, and yet still be in breach of the law, for nothing stands upon its own in this Revelation. Obedience only to the letter does not make obedience to the spirit - form exists only because of space; the form can be utterly destroyed, but space is infinite and eternal.

Anything other becomes mere quibling, as I have seen from you above, and a waste of time.

With warm greetings

Romane

Last edited by Romane; 01-02-2014 at 07:56 PM.
 
Old 01-02-2014, 09:42 PM   #16
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No ecclleasiastic orders in the Baha'i Faith

To me the issue for us Baha'is is that we do not have priests or a priestly order in the Faith...

The kissing of hands hath been forbidden in the
Book. This practice is prohibited by God, the Lord of
glory and command. To none is it permitted to seek
absolution from another soul; let repentance be between
yourselves and God. He, verily, is the Pardoner, the
Bounteous, the Gracious, the One Who absolveth the
repentant.

(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 30)

Note that we also do not seek "absolution" from another soul as in Christianity where ecclesiastics do this... Nor do we have to repent in front of a priest or ecclesiastical institution.

Nor do we have pulpits as in Christianity or Islam:

168. 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 # 154

(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 236)

Nor do we practise monasticism or asceticism in our Faith:

The Faith "...abolishes the institution
of priesthood; prohibits slavery, asceticism, mendicancy,
monasticism, penance, the use of pulpits and the kissing of
hands.."


(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 14)
 
Old 01-02-2014, 09:50 PM   #17
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As I said, the result of whatever you are all implying is that hand kissing and having your hands kissed has no problem at all. No use arguing with you guys. Whether the order is to do, or not to do something, you will do what you want.
 
Old 01-02-2014, 09:55 PM   #18
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We are bound by instruction from Bahaullah,Abdulbaha,The Guardian and The Universal House of Justice whom are infallible
 
Old 01-02-2014, 10:57 PM   #19
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Good morning h123

You interest me. When my thought passes in your direction, I see, if I may use a simile, a fish, caught on a hook, fighting and struggling, doing all it can to not be dragged to the net of the fisherman. Who that fisherman is, only you know.

When I look at your posts, I ask myself - what is the past of this person?

Two things I feel certain of:
You are most clearly not a Covenant-Breaker - your posts have no scent of that spiritual disease.
You are not a crusading person from one of the Faiths. Your posts do not carry Faith "alternatives" or other Textual "evidence" in support of your points.
Out of the remaining alternatives, one strikes me as more likely (though, of course, the odds are equally strong that another reason applies). Somewhere in your past, you have possibly been hurt, whether by an individual or by an organisation, associated with the Baha'i Faith. This forum is such a tiny pond in the vast Ocean of this Faith, but here you get a hearing, and here you are able to probe the defences of the Covenant of Baha'u'llah, in a way and with a continuity that would not be open to you elsewhere. From this, perhaps you gain also some satisfaction. (Romane shrugs).

If for no other reason than to satisfy my curiosity, but more importantly to help me understand you better, to be able to relate to you better in our conversations, I would like to see something of your past. In the forum or through a private message or via email - method doesn't matter. You can be polite or aggressive, again, doesn't matter.

Nor does it matter if over the future we do not agree on all points - that is not the purpose of this exercise. Continuing in your current pattern serves the Faith of Baha'u'llah, and why would any of us feel animosity at one who aids and assists this wondrous Faith?

With warm greetings

Romane
 
Old 01-03-2014, 04:20 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h123 View Post
What did I just read?
The facts.

Why?

Quote:
Abd al-Baha's trip to america: 1912. Baha'u'llah's death 1892. Difference 20 years. So you are implying that the laws of Aqdas had not yet been revealed 20 years after Baha'u'llahs death?!!!!!
You would do well to concentrate a bit more on spelling and a bit less on quibbling, methinks!

The correct spelling is 'Abdu'l-Baha.

In fact, the Aqdas wasn't even much known in the West before 1973, when only a synopsis was published.

And the full text didn't exist among Baha'is until 1992, when the entire book was published.

Just the facts.

Bruce
 
Old 01-03-2014, 06:27 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceDLimber View Post


The facts.

Why?



You would do well to concentrate a bit more on spelling and a bit less on quibbling, methinks!

The correct spelling is 'Abdu'l-Baha.

In fact, the Aqdas wasn't even much known in the West before 1973, when only a synopsis was published.

And the full text didn't exist among Baha'is until 1992, when the entire book was published.

Just the facts.

Bruce
As I said there is no use arguing with you guys.

Quote:
Around 1900 an English translation was made by Baha'i Anton Haddad, which circulated among the early American Bahá'í community in a typewritten form.
The exact date is 1901.
The book can be found here:
The Most Holy Book
And here is the same phrase from that book:
Quote:
Ye are forbidden in the book to kiss one another's hands.
It is very clear isn't it?

Now stop putting the blame on the Baha'i community of America and their alleged ignorance about the book. Even if we suppose they were ignorant <<'abdu'l-Baha>> wasn't and knew the laws. As I said: Practice what you preach.
Please concentrate more on historical facts instead of paying to some difference in transliteration of `Abd al-Baha's name.
 
Old 01-03-2014, 07:12 PM   #22
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Dearly beloved brother, why are you so hostile toward us? How your heart must be hurting beloved child of God. We ourselves are children stumbling along trying to the best of our ability to know and practice this beautiful faith only revealed to us but a very short time ago.Like all children, we will fall and pick ourselves up but we always try our very best.We are basically good people made in the image and likeness of God and try,in our weakness to be the best that we can be for the glory of God and the love of our fellow man.Peace be upon you beloved brother
 
Old 01-03-2014, 07:57 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by aidan View Post
Dearly beloved brother, why are you so hostile toward us? How your heart must be hurting beloved child of God. We ourselves are children stumbling along trying to the best of our ability to know and practice this beautiful faith only revealed to us but a very short time ago.Like all children, we will fall and pick ourselves up but we always try our very best.We are basically good people made in the image and likeness of God and try,in our weakness to be the best that we can be for the glory of God and the love of our fellow man.Peace be upon you beloved brother
Hostility?!!
I am merely pointing out the facts without insulting anyone and without bias or prejudice towards any specific religion in accordance with Bah'u'llah's principle of putting aside all prejudice, whether it be religious or etc (I'm practicing what you are preaching). You are free to call it hostility or whatever you want.
BTW, this is off-topic and I wont continue this discussion.

Last edited by h123; 01-03-2014 at 08:10 PM.
 
Old 01-03-2014, 08:23 PM   #24
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That video show, that he react to that kissing, in trying to escape that gesture, while its not cared and continued, - what should that image show else? I see they do, he does not want, and its seen and ignored... so.. its just that and to add http://stream.efootage.com/clips/DV-762/57658.mov
But that kiss cat fight it may be that story, you may have to tell, since its a kit kat kiss fight and the winner is fur ball.. or maybe lucky... buts thats just kidding around... its making reaction... indeed... but its maybe not much of use in that reaction... just some fur

Last edited by thefrog; 01-03-2014 at 08:30 PM.
 
Old 01-04-2014, 07:30 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h123 View Post
I wont [sic] continue this discussion.
Very glad to hear it!

 
Old 01-04-2014, 08:16 PM   #26
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Insight

Quote:
Originally Posted by Romane View Post
Good morning h123

You interest me. When my thought passes in your direction, I see, if I may use a simile, a fish, caught on a hook, fighting and struggling, doing all it can to not be dragged to the net of the fisherman. Who that fisherman is, only you know.

When I look at your posts, I ask myself - what is the past of this person?

Two things I feel certain of:
You are most clearly not a Covenant-Breaker - your posts have no scent of that spiritual disease.
You are not a crusading person from one of the Faiths. Your posts do not carry Faith "alternatives" or other Textual "evidence" in support of your points.
Out of the remaining alternatives, one strikes me as more likely (though, of course, the odds are equally strong that another reason applies). Somewhere in your past, you have possibly been hurt, whether by an individual or by an organisation, associated with the Baha'i Faith. This forum is such a tiny pond in the vast Ocean of this Faith, but here you get a hearing, and here you are able to probe the defences of the Covenant of Baha'u'llah, in a way and with a continuity that would not be open to you elsewhere. From this, perhaps you gain also some satisfaction. (Romane shrugs).

If for no other reason than to satisfy my curiosity, but more importantly to help me understand you better, to be able to relate to you better in our conversations, I would like to see something of your past. In the forum or through a private message or via email - method doesn't matter. You can be polite or aggressive, again, doesn't matter.

Nor does it matter if over the future we do not agree on all points - that is not the purpose of this exercise. Continuing in your current pattern serves the Faith of Baha'u'llah, and why would any of us feel animosity at one who aids and assists this wondrous Faith?

With warm greetings

Romane

Romane,
You have expressed good insight into the motives of this person's approach to find some crack in the wall. All that happens is the exposure of the present condition of a soul.
Clearly, as Abdul Baha states: "When the most important work is at hand, let go of the important work."

The former customs of hand-kissing as a form of respect were not the most important work to be accomplished, but rather accepting the spirit of the offering of souls conditioned by previous generations. Thus, Abdul Baha accepted the purity of the hearts of those who approached Him. Would that our visitor had such purity of heart that he might approach Abdul Baha with something other than impure thoughts, that he might "see" Him as the Servant of the Glory of God.

The soiled mirror reflects no sunlight so long as it refuses to purge itself from the dross of the world. With pride, it rejects the light, and satisfies itself with darkness, failing to humble itself before the Source of its very existence.
 
Old 01-04-2014, 09:29 PM   #27
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I think, Romane, was not exposing, but just asking. Since, how to know, how to care - I think it is not that asking, but the unknown but already seen, while not even minded that it may be different. How to know a thing if we not ask... its just that its the state of nobody ask a thing if its not for some reason - just not meant... but we should come back to childhood to see that we should ask and mean...
While it may even just proof that its just that, them and no one would mind or mean a thing. It's to undo what is in such argument, since its certainly not joy...

so I mean to ask and mean to know better to mind and not to find final judgement
 
Old 01-05-2014, 12:19 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dale ramsdell View Post
Romane,
You have expressed good insight into the motives of this person's approach to find some crack in the wall. All that happens is the exposure of the present condition of a soul.
Clearly, as Abdul Baha states: "When the most important work is at hand, let go of the important work."

The former customs of hand-kissing as a form of respect were not the most important work to be accomplished, but rather accepting the spirit of the offering of souls conditioned by previous generations. Thus, Abdul Baha accepted the purity of the hearts of those who approached Him. Would that our visitor had such purity of heart that he might approach Abdul Baha with something other than impure thoughts, that he might "see" Him as the Servant of the Glory of God.

The soiled mirror reflects no sunlight so long as it refuses to purge itself from the dross of the world. With pride, it rejects the light, and satisfies itself with darkness, failing to humble itself before the Source of its very existence.
Your justification for hand-kissing is applicable to hand kissing in all other religions. Unless you mean to say only Baha'is had showed pure hearts to their religious figures: "Thus, Abdul Baha accepted the purity of the hearts of those who approached Him." so much for oneness of humanity.

By the way, thanks for the insults. To insult someone there is no need to directly use a swear word. The last paragraph in your post says it all. And please don't stop there how about setting Baha'u'llah as an example and directly calling me an ass or donkey:
"Oh you donkeys! Whatever God says is the truth and will not become void by the words of the polytheists."
Baha’u’llah, Badī`, p. 174.
http://www.h-net.org/~bahai/areprint...tab-i_Badi.pdf
Quote:
یا ایها الحمیر حق آنچه بفرماید حق است و بکلمات مشرکین باطل نشود
 
Old 01-05-2014, 12:53 AM   #29
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Good morning Dale

Your thoughts are most kind, and I thank you for your kindness.

There is one mention you made, where I see a possible different potentiality. Either possibility, or even both together, could be likely. It is where you mention "find some crack in the wall" which I understood as an attack / defense process. Similar, but it could be a seeking an escape from what may, in the end, be an inevitability - the fish will be landed, by whoever the angler is; the line is too strong to break, and it has been strung with dual hooks; only one of these hooks will not bend and release, but the choice of which hook is entirely that of h123. We will see in time the conclusion God shows to him.

I believe you hit a true note when you said:

Quote:
The former customs of hand-kissing as a form of respect were not the most important work to be accomplished, but rather accepting the spirit of the offering of souls conditioned by previous generations. Thus, Abdul Baha accepted the purity of the hearts of those who approached Him.
for in this we see the application of the Spirit, rather than the letter of the law. The beloved Master would not insult or offend any person. His life proved that.

With my warmest greetings

Romane
 
Old 01-05-2014, 12:54 AM   #30
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literal vs spiritual

Good morning h123

Sorry. Longish.

If I may be permitted to be open. I had not expected a reply from you regards my query. But the query had to be made, the effort has to be put in for friendship, unqualified and true friendship. That offer remains open, even after we have both breathed our last breath.

There have been further thoughts flow through my mind. It is to do with the letter of the law, or the spirit of the law. And they relate not just to the kissing of hands, but to perhaps all of the laws, and even beyond these to all Baha'u'llah's Teachings.

Some laws can be seen as hard and fast. Read the Ten Commandments - these pretty well sum up these issues. Don't kill another. Don't steal. Don't commit adultery. There's a little bit of a list, but you have, I see, already filled in the spaces. Easy peasy - one can be considered as having fulfilled the law if one abides by the letter. One may think.

But what about the spirit of these laws against murder, theft, arson, rape, adultery and so on. You have, it is quite obvious, read through the Kitab-i-Aqdas, so will be familiar with them. Because one may be obedient to the letter, but be in breach of the spirit.

What about the spirit of the law? Of what value is it if in your thoughts you kill another. On a personal note, I ask - what about the casual participation in death, both individual and en-mass, in our entertainment and in our news. Can one then say that they have been true to the law?

What about the spirit of the law? What about those times when people lust after, and in their mind, have a sexual relationship with another, either in an adultery or a rape imaginary scenario - or even again, passive participation through our entertainment media, and news. Or through advertising.

Any one of us here could continue in the same vein as these last two paragraphs. For my purposes, they contain everything complete.

Laws applied wholly on the literal level become, in the end, a prison - unyeilding, restrictive, fanatical, hindering, fear engendering, ritualistic, and much more - even leading to another Inquisition, or circumstances as can be found in some cultures in this day and age. They lead to injustice - look today in our western society, and see how many times the application of the letter of the law is in truth an unjust act. My understandng is that, as a general rule, it is the persons responsibility to be familiar with the law, and ignorance of a law is not an excuse, the penalty of the law will be applied; imprsonment, fines, community service and other means available to the Court. As it is said - the law is the law. And likewise, in this manner, a young lass who get raped suffers death by stoning for unlawful sexual intercourse. But we must remember - the law is the law, and it must be enforced.

Dale expressed this concept of obedience to the spirit of the law as distinct from the letter of the law in regards to the topic of this thread when he said:

Quote:
The former customs of hand-kissing as a form of respect were not the most important work to be accomplished, but rather accepting the spirit of the offering of souls conditioned by previous generations. Thus, Abdul Baha accepted the purity of the hearts of those who approached Him.
One can physically abstain from kissing the hands of another, but what of that which is worse. For example, in lieu of kissing the hand, behaving in a manner which degrades the individual, kow-towing to those such as in the images you provided, fawning and other reprehensible behaviour. One may have obeyed the letter of the law, but by golly and by gum, one certainly hasn't obeyed the spirit of the law.

One last point. Literal interpretation leads to division. Even a mere brief examination of history will show that this is how the multitude of sects came about in all the Faiths of the world - before the Baha'i Faith. Really, why stop at just the kissing of hands. The Kitab-i-Aqdas, and all the other Sacred Works, are so full of things that can just be taken literally, any individual who wants can jump up and down, lay accustation, campaign for their own way to be upheld, and so on. But this Faith has something that none of the previous Faiths has. It has the Covenant - and this Covenant has the capacity and the power to resist anything and everything that gets thrown against it. Thus, every effort at schism is doomed before it even begins, to failure. This Faith will not become a prison, but is in fact the key to release from our prison(s).

You speak of instances. the Baha'is speak of principles. Instances are covered by principles, but principles are not covered by instances. The form is always dependent upon the space.

I love the work of Kahlil Gibran in "The Prophet". I leave you with this:

Quote:
Then a lawyer said, "But what of our Laws, master?" And he answered:

You delight in laying down laws, Yet you delight more in breaking them. Like children playing by the ocean who build sand-towers with constancy and then destroy them with laughter. But while you build your sand-towers the ocean brings more sand to the shore, And when you destroy them, the ocean laughs with you. Verily the ocean laughs always with the innocent.

But what of those to whom life is not an ocean, and man-made laws are not sand-towers, But to whom life is a rock, and the law a chisel with which they would carve it in their own likeness? What of the cripple who hates dancers? What of the ox who loves his yoke and deems the elk and deer of the forest stray and vagrant things? What of the old serpent who cannot shed his skin, and calls all others naked and shameless? And of him who comes early to the wedding-feast, and when over-fed and tired goes his way saying that all feasts are violation and all feasters law-breakers? What shall I say of these save that they too stand in the sunlight, but with their backs to the sun? They see only their shadows, and their shadows are their laws. And what is the sun to them but a caster of shadows?

And what is it to acknowledge the laws but to stoop down and trace their shadows upon the earth? But you who walk facing the sun, what images drawn on the earth can hold you? You who travel with the wind, what weathervane shall direct your course?

What man's law shall bind you if you break your yoke but upon no man's prison door? What laws shall you fear if you dance but stumble against no man's iron chains? And who is he that shall bring you to judgment if you tear off your garment yet leave it in no man's path?

People of Orphalese, you can muffle the drum, and you can loosen the strings of the lyre, but who shall command the skylark not to sing?
With warm greetings

Romane

Last edited by Romane; 01-05-2014 at 12:59 AM. Reason: punctuation
 
Old 01-05-2014, 09:42 AM   #31
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dear h123,

Watch the video of Abdu'l-Baha again. He pulled his hand back the first two women who tried to kiss it, but then gave up as it seems he didn't want to hurt/offend them. You notice near the end some people didn't even shake his hand and simply walked by.
 
Old 01-05-2014, 09:43 AM   #32
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Actually, watch it closely, the first THREE, not two, ladies try to kiss his hand and he tries to pull away.
 
Old 01-05-2014, 09:46 AM   #33
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Also notice the black woman was the only one he didn't want to let go her hand...
 
Old 01-05-2014, 10:35 AM   #34
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I assume, it was not to not offend. That would accept to endure what is not liked but nut shown or told - but no need for reaction, to show or tell since seen it was just not cared, so to react would have been, to be offended, and not seen that it was already in that time, meant to just indeed made that him beeing offended to see ....
 
Old 01-06-2014, 08:05 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h123 View Post
What did I just read? Abd al-Baha's trip to america: 1912. Baha'u'llah's death 1892. Difference 20 years. So you are implying that the laws of Aqdas had not yet been revealed 20 years after Baha'u'llahs death?!!!!!


Don't try to interpret Baha'u'llah's clear orders. He has ordered no hand kissing irrespective of intention. As the old saying goes: practice what you preach.
It is not as complicated as you would like to make it, a bit of a storm in a Tea Cup so to speak

It has been mostly answered above, but the introduction to the Kitáb-i-Aqdas answers it in full - Bahá'í Reference Library - The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Pages 1-11

This year, the 149th of the Bahá’í era, marks the Centenary of the Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh, Bearer of the universal Revelation of God destined to lead humanity to its collective coming of age. That this occasion should be observed by a community of believers representing a cross-section of the entire human race and established, in the course of a century and a half, in the most remote corners of the globe, is a token of the forces of unity released by Bahá’u’lláh’s advent. A further testimony to the operation of these same forces can be seen in the extent to which Bahá’u’lláh’s vision has prefigured contemporary human experience in so many of its aspects. It is a propitious moment for the publication of this first authorized translation into English of the Mother Book of His Revelation, His “Most Holy Book”, the Book in which He sets forth the Laws of God for a Dispensation destined to endure for no less than a thousand years.

Of the more than one hundred volumes comprising the sacred Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, the Kitáb-i-Aqdas is of unique importance. “To build anew the whole world” is the claim and challenge of His Message, and the Kitáb-i-Aqdas is the Charter of the future world civilization that Bahá’u’lláh has come to raise up. Its provisions rest squarely on the foundation established by past religions, for, in the words of Bahá’u’lláh, “This is the changeless Faith of God, eternal in the past, eternal in the future.” In this Revelation the concepts of the past are brought to a new level of understanding, and the social laws, changed to suit the age now dawning, are designed to carry humanity forward into a world civilization the splendours of which can as yet be scarcely imagined.

In its affirmation of the validity of the great religions of the past, the Kitáb-i-Aqdas reiterates those eternal truths enunciated by all the Divine Messengers: the unity of God, love of one’s neighbour, and the moral purpose of earthly life. At the same time it removes those elements of past religious codes that now constitute obstacles to the emerging unification of the world and the reconstruction of human society.

The Law of God for this Dispensation addresses the needs of the entire human family. There are laws in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas which are directed primarily to the members of a specific section of humanity and can be immediately understood by them but which, at first reading, may be obscure to people of a different culture. Such, for example, is the law prohibiting the confession of sins to a fellow human being which, though understandable by those of Christian background, may puzzle others. Many laws relate to those of past Dispensations, especially the two most recent ones, those of Muḥammad and the Báb embodied in the Qur’án and the Bayán. Nevertheless, although certain ordinances of the Aqdas have such a focused reference, they also have universal implications. Through His Law, Bahá’u’lláh gradually unveils the significance of the new levels of knowledge and behaviour to which the peoples of the world are being called. He embeds His precepts in a setting of spiritual commentary, keeping ever before the mind of the reader the principle that these laws, no matter the subject with which they deal, serve the manifold purposes of bringing tranquillity to human society, raising the standard of human behaviour, increasing the range of human understanding, and spiritualizing the life of each and all. Throughout, it is the relationship of the individual soul to God and the fulfilment of its spiritual destiny that is the ultimate aim of the laws of religion. “Think not”, is Bahá’u’lláh’s own assertion, “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.” His Book of Laws is His “weightiest testimony unto all people, and the proof of the All-Merciful unto all who are in heaven and all who are on earth”.

An introduction to the spiritual universe unveiled in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas would fail in its purpose if it did not acquaint the reader with the interpretive and legislative institutions that Bahá’u’lláh has indissolubly linked with the system of law thus revealed. At the foundation of this guidance lies the unique role which Bahá’u’lláh’s Writings—indeed the text of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas itself—confer on His eldest son, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. This unique figure is at once the Exemplar of the pattern of life taught by His Father, the divinely inspired authoritative Interpreter of His Teachings and the Centre and Pivot of the Covenant which the Author of the Bahá’í Revelation made with all who recognize Him. The twenty-nine years of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s ministry endowed the Bahá’í world with a luminous body of commentary that opens multiple vistas of understanding on His Father’s purpose.

In His Will and Testament ‘Abdu’l-Bahá conferred the mantle of Guardian of the Cause and infallible Interpreter of its teachings upon His eldest grandson, Shoghi Effendi, and confirmed the authority and guarantee of divine guidance decreed by Bahá’u’lláh for the Universal House of Justice on all matters “which have not outwardly been revealed in the Book”. The Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice can thus be seen to be, in the words of Shoghi Effendi, the “Twin Successors” of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. They are the supreme institutions of the Administrative Order which was founded and anticipated in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas and elaborated by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His Will.

During the thirty-six years of his ministry, Shoghi Effendi raised up the structure of elected Spiritual Assemblies—the Houses of Justice referred to in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, now in their embryonic stage—and with their collaboration initiated the systematic implementation of the Divine Plan that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had laid out for the diffusion of the Faith throughout the world. He also set in motion, on the basis of the strong administrative structure that had been established, the processes which were an essential preparation for the election of the Universal House of Justice. This body, which came into existence in April 1963, is elected through secret ballot and plurality vote in a three-stage election by adult Bahá’ís throughout the world. The revealed Word of Bahá’u’lláh, together with the interpretations and expositions of the Centre of the Covenant and the Guardian of the Cause, constitute the binding terms of reference of the Universal House of Justice and are its bedrock foundation.

As to the laws themselves, a careful scrutiny discloses that they govern three areas: the individual’s relationship to God, physical and spiritual matters which benefit the individual directly, and relations among individuals and between the individual and society. They can be grouped under the following headings: prayer and fasting; laws of personal status governing marriage, divorce and inheritance; a range of other laws, ordinances and prohibitions, as well as exhortations; and the abrogation of specific laws and ordinances of previous Dispensations. A salient characteristic is their brevity. They constitute the kernel of a vast range of law that will arise in centuries to come. This elaboration of the law will be enacted by the Universal House of Justice under the authority conferred upon it by Bahá’u’lláh Himself. In one of His Tablets ‘Abdu’l-Bahá elucidates this principle:

Those matters of major importance which constitute the foundation of the Law of God are explicitly recorded in the Text, but subsidiary laws are left to the House of Justice. The wisdom of this is that the times never remain the same, for change is a necessary quality and an essential attribute of this world, and of time and place. Therefore the House of Justice will take action accordingly…

Briefly, this is the wisdom of referring the laws of society to the House of Justice. In the religion of Islám, similarly, not every ordinance was explicitly revealed; nay not a tenth part of a tenth part was included in the Text; although all matters of major importance were specifically referred to, there were undoubtedly thousands of laws which were unspecified. These were devised by the divines of a later age according to the laws of Islamic jurisprudence, and individual divines made conflicting deductions from the original revealed ordinances. All these were enforced. Today this process of deduction is the right of the body of the House of Justice, and the deductions and conclusions of individual learned men have no authority, unless they are endorsed by the House of Justice. The difference is precisely this, that from the conclusions and endorsements of the body of the House of Justice whose members are elected by and known to the worldwide Bahá’í community, no differences will arise; whereas the conclusions of individual divines and scholars would definitely lead to differences, and result in schism, division, and dispersion. The oneness of the Word would be destroyed, the unity of the Faith would disappear, and the edifice of the Faith of God would be shaken.

Although the Universal House of Justice is explicitly authorized to change or repeal its own legislation as conditions change, thus providing Bahá’í law with an essential element of flexibility, it cannot abrogate or change any of the laws which are explicitly laid down in the sacred Text.

The society for which certain of the laws of the Aqdas are designed will come only gradually into being, and Bahá’u’lláh has provided for the progressive application of Bahá’í law:

Indeed, the laws of God are like unto the ocean and the children of men as fish, did they but know it. However, in observing them one must exercise tact and wisdom… Since most people are feeble and far-removed from the purpose of God, therefore one must observe tact and prudence under all conditions, so that nothing might happen that could cause disturbance and dissension or raise clamour among the heedless. Verily, His bounty hath surpassed the whole universe and His bestowals encompassed all that dwell on earth. One must guide mankind to the ocean of true understanding in a spirit of love and tolerance. The Kitáb-i-Aqdas itself beareth eloquent testimony to the loving providence of God.

The principle governing this progressive application was enunciated in a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to a National Spiritual Assembly in 1935:

The laws revealed by Bahá’u’lláh in the Aqdas are, whenever practicable and not in direct conflict with the Civil Law of the land, absolutely binding on every believer or Bahá’í institution whether in the East or in the West. Certain … laws 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… What has not been formulated in the Aqdas, in addition to matters of detail and of secondary importance arising out of the application of the laws already formulated by Bahá’u’lláh, will have to be enacted by the Universal House of Justice. This body can supplement but never invalidate or modify in the least degree what has already been formulated by Bahá’u’lláh. Nor has the Guardian any right whatsoever to lessen the binding effect much less to abrogate the provisions of so fundamental and sacred a Book.

The number of laws binding on Bahá’ís is not increased by the publication of this translation. When it is deemed timely, the Bahá’í community will be advised which additional laws are binding upon believers, and any guidance or supplementary legislation necessary for their application will be provided.

In general, the laws of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas are stated succinctly. An example of this conciseness can be seen in the fact that many are expressed only as they apply to a man, but it is apparent from the Guardian’s writings that, where Bahá’u’lláh has given a law as between a man and a woman, it applies mutatis mutandis between a woman and a man unless the context makes this impossible. For example, the text of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas forbids a man to marry his father’s wife (i.e. his stepmother), and the Guardian has indicated that likewise a woman is forbidden to marry her stepfather. This understanding of the implications of the Law has far-reaching effects in light of the fundamental Bahá’í principle of the equality of the sexes, and should be borne in mind when the sacred Text is studied. That men and women differ from one another in certain characteristics and functions is an inescapable fact of nature and makes possible their complementary roles in certain areas of the life of society; but it is significant that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has stated that in this Dispensation “Equality of men and women, except in some negligible instances, has been fully and categorically announced.”

Mention has already been made of the intimate relationship between the Kitáb-i-Aqdas and the Holy Books of previous Dispensations. Especially close is the relationship to the Bayán, the Book of Laws revealed by the Báb. It is elucidated in the following excerpts from letters written on behalf of the Guardian:

Shoghi Effendi feels that the unity of the Bahá’í Revelation as one complete whole embracing the Faith of the Báb should be emphasized… The Faith of the Báb should not be divorced from that of Bahá’u’lláh. Though the teachings of the Bayán have been abrogated and superseded by the laws of the Aqdas, yet due to the fact that the Báb considered Himself as the Forerunner of Bahá’u’lláh, we would regard His Dispensation together with that of Bahá’u’lláh as forming one entity, the former being introductory to the advent of the latter.

The Báb states that His laws are provisional and depend upon the acceptance of the future Manifestation. This is why in the Book of Aqdas Bahá’u’lláh sanctions some of the laws found in the Bayán, modifies others and sets aside many.

Just as the Bayán had been revealed by the Báb at about the mid-point of His Ministry, Bahá’u’lláh revealed the Kitáb-i-Aqdas around 1873, some twenty years after He had received, in the Síyáh-Chál of Ṭihrán, the intimation of His Revelation. In one of His Tablets He indicates that even after its revelation the Aqdas was withheld by Him for some time before it was sent to the friends in Iran. Thereafter, as Shoghi Effendi has related:

The formulation by Bahá’u’lláh, in His Kitáb-i-Aqdas, of the fundamental laws of His Dispensation was followed, as His Mission drew to a close, by the enunciation of certain precepts and principles which lie at the very core of His Faith, by the reaffirmation of truths He had previously proclaimed, by the elaboration and elucidation of some of the laws He had already laid down, by the revelation of further prophecies and warnings, and by the establishment of subsidiary ordinances designed to supplement the provisions of His Most Holy Book. These were recorded in unnumbered Tablets, which He continued to reveal until the last days of His earthly life…

Among such works is the Questions and Answers, a compilation made by Zaynu’l-Muqarrabín, the most eminent of the transcribers of Bahá’u’lláh’s Writings. Consisting of answers revealed by Bahá’u’lláh to questions put to Him by various believers, it constitutes an invaluable appendix to the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. In 1978 the most noteworthy of the other Tablets of this nature were published in English as a compilation entitled Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas.

Some years after the revelation of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Bahá’u’lláh had manuscript copies sent to Bahá’ís in Iran, and in the year 1308 A.H. (1890–91 A.D.), towards the end of His life, He arranged for the publication of the original Arabic text of the Book in Bombay.

A word should be said about the style of language in which the Kitáb-i-Aqdas has been rendered into English. Bahá’u’lláh enjoyed a superb mastery of Arabic, and preferred to use it in those Tablets and other Writings where its precision of meaning was particularly appropriate to the exposition of basic principle. Beyond the choice of language itself, however, the style employed is of an exalted and emotive character, immensely compelling, particularly to those familiar with the great literary tradition out of which it arose. In taking up his task of translation, Shoghi Effendi faced the challenge of finding an English style which would not only faithfully convey the exactness of the text’s meaning, but would also evoke in the reader the spirit of meditative reverence which is a distinguishing feature of response to the original. The form of expression he selected, reminiscent of the style used by the seventeenth-century translators of the Bible, captures the elevated mode of Bahá’u’lláh’s Arabic, while remaining accessible to the contemporary reader. His translations, moreover, are illumined by his uniquely inspired understanding of the purport and implications of the originals.

Although both Arabic and English are languages with rich vocabularies and varied modes of expression, their forms differ widely from one another. The Arabic of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas is marked by intense concentration and terseness of expression. It is a characteristic of this style that if a connotation is obvious it should not be explicitly stated. This presents a problem for a reader whose cultural, religious and literary background is entirely different from that of Arabic. A literal translation of a passage which is clear in the Arabic could be obscure in English. It therefore becomes necessary to include in the English translation of such passages that element of the Arabic sentence which is obviously implicit in the original. At the same time, it is vital to avoid extrapolating this process to the point where it would add unjustifiably to the original or limit its meaning. Striking the right balance between beauty and clarity of expression on the one hand, and literalness on the other, is one of the major issues with which the translators have had to grapple and which has caused repeated reconsideration of the rendering of certain passages. Another major issue is the legal implication of certain Arabic terms which have a range of meanings different from those of similar terms in English.

Sacred Scripture clearly requires especial care and faithfulness in translation. This is supremely important in the case of a Book of Laws, where it is vital that the reader not be misled or drawn into fruitless disputation. As had been foreseen, the translation of the Most Holy Book has been a work of the utmost difficulty, requiring consultation with experts in many lands. Since some one third of the text had already been translated by Shoghi Effendi, it was necessary to strive for three qualities in the translation of the remaining passages: accuracy of meaning, beauty of English, and conformity of style with that used by Shoghi Effendi.

We are now satisfied that the translation has reached a point where it represents an acceptable rendering of the original. Nevertheless, it will undoubtedly give rise to questions and suggestions which may shed further light on its content. We are profoundly grateful for the assiduous and meticulous labours of the members of the Committees whom we commissioned to prepare and review this translation of the Aqdas and to compose the annotations. We are confident that this first authorized English edition of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas will enable its readers to obtain at least an inkling of the splendour of the Mother Book of the Bahá’í Dispensation.

Our world has entered the dark heart of an age of fundamental change beyond anything in all of its tumultuous history. Its peoples, of whatever race, nation, or religion, are being challenged to subordinate all lesser loyalties and limiting identities to their oneness as citizens of a single planetary homeland. In Bahá’u’lláh’s words: “The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established.” May the publication of this translation of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas lend a fresh impulse to the realization of this universal vision, opening vistas of a worldwide regeneration.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

Last edited by tonyfish58; 01-06-2014 at 08:16 PM.
 
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