A Bahá'í pilgrimage consists of visiting the holy places in Haifa and Bahjí at the Bahá'í World Centre in Northwest Israel. Bahá'ís do not have access to other places designated as sites for pilgrimage. Bahá'u'lláh decreed pilgrimage in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas to two places: the House of Bahá'u'lláh in Baghdad, the House of the Báb in Shiraz. In two separate tablets, known as Suriy-i-Hajj, he prescribed specific rites for each of these pilgrimages, it is obligatory to make the pilgrimage, "if one can afford it and is able to do so, if no obstacle stands in one's way". Bahá'ís are free to choose between the two houses, as either has been deemed sufficient. `Abdu'l-Bahá designated the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh at Bahjí as a site of pilgrimage. No rites have been prescribed for this; the designated sites for pilgrimage are not accessible to the majority of Bahá'ís, as they are in Iraq and Iran and thus when Bahá'ís refer to pilgrimage, it refers to a nine-day pilgrimage that occurs at the Bahá'í World Centre in Haifa and Akká in Israel.
This nine-day pilgrimage does not replace pilgrimage to the designated sites for pilgrimage, it is intended that pilgrimage to the House of the Báb and the House of Bahá'u'lláh will occur in the future. The House of Bahá'u'lláh in Baghdad known as the "Most Great House" and the "House of God," is where Bahá'u'lláh lived from 1853 to 1863, it was located near the western bank of the Tigris river. It is designated in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas as a place of pilgrimage and is considered a holy place by Bahá'ís. In 1922 the house was confiscated by Shí ` ih authorities; the Council of the League of Nations upheld the Bahá'í's claim to the house, but it has not yet been returned to the Bahá'í community. The house was destroyed in June 2013, under circumstances that are unclear; the Universal House of Justice sent a letter to all the National Spiritual Assemblies on 27 June informing them of the house's destruction. In this house in Shiraz, the Báb declared his mission to Mullá Husayn on 23 May 1844. In 1942-3 it was damaged by fire in an attack by enemies of the Bahá'í Faith, in 1955 it was destroyed, but again restored.
In 1979 it was destroyed once more during the Iranian Revolution. In 1981 the site was made into public square; the places that Bahá'ís visit on the current nine-day pilgrimage at the Bahá'í World Centre include the following. Please see Bahá'í World Centre buildings for more information about each building. Bahjí: Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh Mansion of BahjíHaifa: Shrine of the Báb Bahá'í Terraces Arc Seat of the Universal House of Justice Seat of the International Teaching Centre Centre for the Study of the Sacred Texts International Archives Monument Gardens Site of the future House of Worship House of `Abdu'l-Bahá Resting place of Amatu'l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khanum Pilgrim Houses: Eastern Pilgrim House 10 Haparsim Street 4 Haparsim StreetAkká: Garden of Ridván, Akká House of `Abbúd House of `Abdu'lláh Páshá Mazra'ihThe nine-day pilgrimage is open only to Bahá'ís and their spouses who have applied to go on pilgrimage. Allen, Denny. Bahá'í Pilgrimage. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. ISBN 0-85398-487-5. Bahá'u'lláh.
The Kitáb-i-Aqdas: The Most Holy Book. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. ISBN 0-85398-999-0. Denis MacEoin. Rituals in Babism and Baha'ism. UK: British Academic Press and Centre of Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge. ISBN 1-85043-654-1. Ruhe, David. Door of Hope. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. ISBN 0-85398-150-7. Walbridge, John. Sacred Acts, Sacred Space, Sacred Time. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. ISBN 0-85398-406-9. Bahá'í Pilgrimage - Bahá'í World Centre Photos of the Bahá'í Holy Places in Israel Map of Haifa Map of Akka Pilgrimage to the House of the Báb
The Hidden Words is a book written in Baghdad around 1857 by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. This work is written in Arabic and in Persian; the Hidden Words is written in the form of a collection of short utterances, 71 in Arabic and 82 in Persian, in which Bahá'u'lláh claims to have taken the basic essence of certain spiritual truths and written them in brief form. Bahá'ís are advised by `Abdu'l-Bahá, Bahá'u'lláh's son and the authorized interpreter of His teachings, to read them every day and every night and to implement their latent wisdom into their daily lives, he said that The Hidden Words is "a treasury of divine mysteries" and that when one ponders its contents, "the doors of the mysteries will open." There is a Shi'a Muslim tradition called "Mushaf of Fatimah", which speaks of Fatimah upon the passing of her father, Muhammad. There are several versions of this tradition, but common to all are that the angel Gabriel appeared to her and consoled her by telling her things that she wrote in a book.
According to one tradition they were prophesies. The book, if physical, did not survive, was seen to be something that the Mahdi would reveal in the last days. Bahá'ís believe that The Hidden Words was revealed by Bahá'u'lláh in fulfillment of this tradition. Indeed, Bahá'u'lláh named the book The Book of Fatimah, though he referred to it in its modern appellation; this aspect of fulfillment corresponds with the Bahá'í beliefs that end times prophesies of all the world's religions are to be interpreted mystically and metaphorically. This puts the Bahá'í understanding of what Gabriel revealed to Fatimah somewhat at odds with the Shi'a traditions; the text of The Hidden Words is divided up into two sections: one from Arabic, another from Persian. Each consist of several numbered passages; the Arabic has 71 passages, the Persian has 82. Each passage begins with an invocation; some common invocations include "O Son of Spirit", "O Son of Man", "O Son of Being". Bahá'í prayers are written in the first person of humanity, so that the reader can feel like they are having a conversation with God.
The Hidden Words are written in the first person of God, so that the reader feels like God is speaking to them. From the Arabic, the following is the introduction written by Bahá'u'lláh: "HE IS THE GLORY OF GLORIES This is that which hath descended from the realm of glory, uttered by the tongue of power and might, revealed unto the Prophets of old. We have taken the inner essence thereof and clothed it in the garment of brevity, as a token of grace unto the righteous, that they may stand faithful unto the Covenant of God, may fulfill in their lives His trust, in the realm of spirit obtain the gem of Divine virtue." From the Arabic 1. "O SON OF SPIRIT! My first counsel is this: Possess a pure and radiant heart, that thine may be a sovereignty ancient and everlasting.7. "O SON OF MAN! If thou lovest Me, turn away from thyself. "O SON OF MAN! The true lover yearneth for tribulation as doth the rebel for forgiveness and the sinful for mercy."From the Persian 3. "O FRIEND! In the garden of thy heart plant naught but the rose of love, from the nightingale of affection and desire loosen not thy hold.
Treasure the companionship of the righteous and eschew all fellowship with the ungodly."12. "O MAN OF TWO VISIONS! Close one eye and open the other. Close one to the world and all, therein, open the other to the hallowed beauty of the Beloved."27. "O SON OF DUST! All, in heaven and earth I have ordained for thee, except the human heart, which I have made the habitation of My beauty and glory. Notwithstanding I have concealed thy secret and desired not thy shame." After the last passage, Bahá'u'lláh wrote: "The mystic and wondrous Bride, hidden ere this beneath the veiling of utterance, hath now, by the grace of God and His divine favor, been made manifest as the resplendent light shed by the beauty of the Beloved. I bear witness, O friends! that the favor is complete, the argument fulfilled, the proof manifest and the evidence established. Let it now be seen what your endeavors in the path of detachment will reveal. In this wise hath the divine favor been vouchsafed unto you and unto them that are in heaven and on earth.
All praise to God, the Lord of all Worlds." Bahá'u'lláh. The Hidden Words of Bahá'u'lláh. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust: 2003. ISBN 0-87743-296-1. Banani, Amin; the Hidden Words of Bahā’ullāh in Faridun Vahman and Claus V. Pedersen, eds. Religious Texts in Iranian Languages: In Honour of Professor Ahmad Tafazzoli and Professor Jes P. Asmussen. Copenhagen, Denmark. Pp. 351–60. Hatcher, J. S.. The Ocean of His Words: A Reader's Guide to the Art of Bahá'u'lláh. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. ISBN 0-87743-259-7. Lewis, Franklin. Scripture As Literature: Sifting through the Layers of the Text Bahaʾi Studies Review 7. Pp. 125–46. Ma'ani, Dariush. A Treasure House of Mysteries: Studies by the author on the Hidden Words of Bahá'u'lláh. Malouf, Diana. Unveiling the Hidden Words: The Norms Used by Shoghi Effendi in His Translation of the Hidden Words. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. Momen, Moojan. "Kalemāt-e Maknuna". Encyclopædia Iranica. Savi, Julio; the Love Relationship between God and Humanity: Reflections on Bahā’ullāh’s Hi
Bahá'í World Centre
The Bahá'í World Centre is the name given to the spiritual and administrative centre of the Bahá'í Faith. The World Centre consists of the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh near Acre, the Shrine of the Báb and its gardens on Mount Carmel in Haifa and various other buildings in the area including the Arc buildings. Much of the international governance and coordination of the Bahá'í Faith occurs at the Bahá'í World Centre; these include decisions that affect the religion on a global level, the study and translation of the Bahá'í holy writings. The Universal House of Justice, representing the supreme governing body of the Bahá'í Faith, resides in Haifa; the Bahá'í World Centre is the current destination for Bahá'í pilgrimage. The Bahá'í World Centre has its historical origins in the area, once Ottoman Syria; this dates back to the 1850s and 1860s when the Shah of Iran and the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, ‘Abdu’l-‘Aziz, successively exiled Bahá'u'lláh from Iran to the fortress of Acre for lifetime incarceration.
Many of the locations at the Bahá'í World Centre, including the terraces and the Shrine of the Báb which constitute the north slope of Mount Carmel, were inscribed on the World Heritage List in July 2008. The location of the administrative centre was a result of a successive number of banishments and imprisonments of Bahá'u'lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith. Bahá'u'lláh was banished from Persia by Nasser-al-Din Shah in 1853, at which time Bahá'u'lláh went to Baghdad in the Ottoman Empire, he was exiled by the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, at the behest of the Persian Shah, to territories further away from Iran and to Acre in Ottoman Syria in 1868. Bahá'u'lláh lived out the rest of his life in the area and he communicated with his followers throughout the Middle-East, Central Asia and India through special couriers, Acre became the centre of the expanding network of Bahá'í groups; when Bahá'u'lláh's imprisonment was eased, the area became a centre of pilgrimage as Bahá'ís would travel the long distance to see Bahá'u'lláh.
The location of the Shrine of the Báb on Mount Carmel was indicated by Bahá'u'lláh to his son `Abdu'l-Bahá during a visit to Haifa. Furthermore, the establishing of the administrative centre of the Bahá'í Faith on Mount Carmel was indicated by Bahá'u'lláh in his Tablet of Carmel, considered one of the charter documents of the Bahá'í administration. Bahá'u'lláh died in 1892 near Acre, his resting place is in Bahji. Following his death, Bahá'u'lláh's son `Abdu'l-Bahá was appointed to be the head of His Father's Faith and the condition of the area as the centre of Bahá'í activity continued, he continued to correspond with Bahá'ís all over the world, including now Bahá'ís in the West. While he was still a prisoner and confined to `Akka, `Abdu'l-Bahá organized the transfer of the remains of the Báb from Iran to Palestine, he organized the purchase of land on Mount Carmel that Bahá'u'lláh had instructed should be used to lay the remains of the Báb, organized for the construction of the Shrine of the Báb.
This process took another 10 years and was completed in 1909. In 1908, the Young Turks revolution freed all political prisoners in the Ottoman Empire, `Abdu'l-Bahá was freed from imprisonment. Soon after the revolution, he moved to live in Haifa near the Shrine of the Báb, since the administrative headquarters of the religion have been in Haifa. During the final years of `Abdu'l-Bahá's life the increasing levels of correspondence led to the employment of a number of secretaries including some in Western languages and the provision of a Pilgrim House in the area. `Abdu'l-Bahá died in 1921, he is buried in Haifa, in British Mandate Palestine. After `Abdu'l-Bahá's death, Shoghi Effendi was the head of the religion, he directed the development of a number of separate projects in the area, he renovated the house of Bahá'u'lláh in Bahji in 1929, in the 1950s secured legal possession of the lands around the building, creating a number of gardens. He obtained possession of other sites around Acre related to Bahá'u'lláh's life, including the House of `Abbud.
Around Haifa, he expanded the Shrine of the Báb by developing its golden-domed superstructure, purchased lands surrounding the Shrine in order to create gardens. Shoghi Effendi had decided that the buildings housing the institutions of the religion indicated in Bahá'u'lláh's Tablet of Carmel, including the Universal House of Justice, the as yet unestablished governing body of the worldwide Bahá'í community, would be arranged in the shape of an arc surrounded by gardens; the fulcrum of this arc would be the Monument Gardens, which hold the graves of members of the Bahá'í holy family. During his own lifetime he started the construction of one of the buildings comprising the arc, the International Archives building, he negotiated tax-exempt status for all Baha'i properties. The religion's situation in Israel was clarified in an agreement signed in 1987 by Vice-Premier and Foreign Minister, Shimon Peres, in which the government formally acknowledged the Bahá'í Faith as a “recognized religious community in Israel,” declared its “friendly relations” with the Bahá’í world community, noted that the “holiest places of the Bahá’í Faith, … are located in Israel,” and confirmed “that the Universal House of Justice is the Trustee of the Bahá’í International Community over the Holy Places of the Bahá’í Faith in Israel and over the Bahá’í endowments in Israel.”The other buildings of the Arc, the Seat of the Universal House of Justice, the Centre for the Study of the Sacred Texts, the Seat of the International Teaching Centre, were completed in 1982, 1999 and 2000 respectively.
The fifth and yet to be built building, the International Bahá'í library, is planned to be built at the east
Universal House of Justice
The Universal House of Justice is the nine-member supreme ruling body of the Bahá'í Faith. It was envisioned by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, as an institution that could legislate on issues not addressed in the Bahá'í writings, providing flexibility for the Bahá'í Faith to adapt to changing conditions, it was first elected in 1963, subsequently every five years, by delegates consisting of the members of Bahá'í National Spiritual Assemblies throughout the world. The Universal House of Justice, as the head of the religion, has provided direction to the worldwide Bahá'í community through a series of multi-year plans, as well as through annual messages delivered during the Ridván festival; the messages have focused on increasing the number of Local Spiritual Assemblies, translating Bahá'í literature, establishing Bahá'í Centres, completing Bahá'í Houses of Worship, holding international conferences, developing educational systems to enhance literacy, the role of women, spirituality for children and youth, family life and economic development, communal worship.
The Universal House of Justice has played a role in responding to systemic persecution of Bahá'ís in Iran by garnering worldwide media attention. The books and documents published by the Universal House of Justice are considered authoritative and its legislative decisions are considered infallible by Bahá'ís. While empowered to legislate on matters that are not explicitly stated in the Baha'i holy writings, the Universal House of Justice has, since its inception, limited its exercise of this function; the Seat of the Universal House of Justice and its members reside in Haifa, Israel, on the slope of Mount Carmel. The most recent election was 29 April 2018. Although all other elected and appointed roles in the Bahá'í Faith are open to men and women, membership on the Universal House of Justice is male-only, providing an exception to the basic Bahá'í principal of the equality of men and women; the Bahá'í writings do not give a reason for this exception, but that the reason will become clear with time.
Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, in his book the Kitáb-i-Aqdas first ordains the institution of the House of Justice and defines its functions. The institution's responsibilities are expanded on and referred to in several other of Bahá'u'lláh's writings including in his Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh. In those writings Bahá'u'lláh writes that the Universal House of Justice would assume authority over the religion, would consider matters that had not been covered by himself. `Abdu'l-Bahá, Bahá'u'lláh's son and successor, in his Will and Testament, elaborated on its functioning, its composition and outlined the method for its election. He wrote that the Universal House of Justice would be under Bahá'u'lláh's protection, that it would be freed of error, that obedience to it would be obligatory. `Abdu'l-Bahá first used the term "Universal House of Justice" to distinguish the supreme body from those local'Houses of Justice' to be established in each community, the secondary'Houses of Justice'.
He stated that the institution's decisions could be by majority vote, but that unanimous decisions were preferred, that it would be elected by the members of the secondary Houses of Justice. He confirmed Bahá'u'lláh's statements that its membership would be confined to men, that the reason behind this decision would become apparent in the future. While both `Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi, heads of the religion after Bahá'u'lláh, considered establishing the Universal House of Justice, they both declined to do so. Shoghi Effendi's reason was due to his belief in the weakness of the existing Bahá'í institutions — there were a limited number of national spiritual assemblies and local spiritual assemblies, thus during his lifetime, Shoghi Effendi prepared for the election of the Universal House of Justice, by establishing a strong administrative structure at the local and national levels. In 1951 when there were 9 national spiritual assemblies, Shoghi Effendi appointed members to the International Bahá'í Council, described it as an embryonic international House of Justice.
After Shoghi Effendi's unexpected death in 1957, the Hands of the Cause directed the affairs of the religion and announced that the election of the Universal House of Justice would occur in 1963 at the end of the Ten Year Crusade, an international teaching plan instituted by Shoghi Effendi. In 1961 the International Bahá'í Council was changed to an elected body, with members of all National Spiritual Assemblies voting for its members. In April 1963 the first Universal House of Justice was elected, six years after the passing of Shoghi Effendi, by 56 national spiritual assemblies; the date of the election coincided with the completion of the Ten Year Crusade and with the first centenary anniversary of the public declaration of Bahá'u'lláh in the Garden of Ridván in April 1863. Since the Universal House of Justice has acted as the head of the religion; the Universal House of Justice is elected through secret ballot and plurality vote in a three-stage election by adult Bahá'ís throughout the world.
The House of Justice is elected without nominations or campaigning and all adult male members of the Bahá'í Faith are eligible for election to the House. The body is elected every five years during a convention of the members of the various National or Regional Spiritual Assemblies across the world; each member of the various NSAs, who were themselves elected by the Bahá'ís of their country, votes
Persecution of Bahá'ís
Persecution of Bahá'ís occurs in various countries in Iran, where the Bahá'í Faith originated, the location of one of the largest Bahá'í populations in the world. The origins of persecution stem from a variety of Bahá'í teachings inconsistent with traditional Islamic belief, including the finality of Muhammad's prophethood, the placement of Bahá'ís outside the Islamic faith. Thus, Bahá'ís are seen as apostates from Islam, according to some Islamists, must choose between repentance and death. Bahá'í spokespeople, as well as the United Nations, Amnesty International, the European Union, the United States, peer-reviewed academic literature have stated that the members of the Bahá'í community in Iran have been subjected to unwarranted arrests, false imprisonment, torture, unjustified executions and destruction of property owned by individuals and the Bahá'í community, denial of employment, denial of government benefits, denial of civil rights and liberties, denial of access to higher education.
The Bahá'í Faith was established in 1863 by Bahá'u'lláh in Iran. Eighty-nine percent of Iranians adhere to the Twelver branch of Shi'a Islam, which holds as a core doctrine the expected advent of a messianic figure known as the Qa'im or as the Imam Mahdi; the Báb claimed he was the Imam Mahdi and thus he had equal status to Muhammad with the power, which he exercised, to abrogate the final provisions of Islamic law. Bahá'u'lláh, a Bábí who claimed to be the one foretold by the Báb, claimed a similar station for himself in 1863 as a Manifestation of God and as the promised figure foretold in the sacred scriptures of the major religious traditions of the past and founded what came to be known as the Bahá'í Faith. Concerning the historical context of the persecutions, Friedrich W. Affolter in "War Crimes, Genocide, & Crimes against Humanity" writes: Bahá'u'lláh's writings deal with a variety of themes that challenge long-cherished doctrines of Shí'i Islam. In addition to making the'heretic' claim of being a'Manifestation of God,' he suggested that school curricula should include'Western Sciences,' that the nation states should establish a world federal government, that men and women were equal.
Bahá'u'lláh wrote that in this time and age, priests were no longer necessary for religious guidance. Humanity, he argued, had reached an age of maturity where it was incumbent upon every individual to search for God and truth independently; these principles did not only call into question the need for a priesthood, but the entire Shí'i ecclesiastical structure and the vast system of endowments and fees that sustained it. No surprise that in the following decades until the overthrow of the Qájár dynasty in 1925, it was the mullas who instigated attacks against the Bahá'ís in cities or villages where the clerical establishment was influential. In addition to this, the Bábí religion, the forerunner of the Bahá'í Faith had a violent history in Iran. Friedrich W. Affolter writes: Initially, the mullas hoped to stop the Bábí movement from spreading by denouncing its followers as apostates and enemies of God; these denouncements torture of early Bábís. When the Bábís organized to defend themselves, the government sent troops into a series of engagements that resulted in heavy losses on both sides.
The Báb himself was imprisoned from 1846 until 1850 and publicly executed. In August 1852, two deranged Bábís attempted to kill the Shah in revenge for the execution of the Báb; this resulted in an extensive pogrom during which more than 20,000 Bábís – among them 400 Shí'i mullas who had embraced the Bábí teachings – lost their lives. Others have stated that the Bábís armed themselves and prepared for a holy war that became defensive when they encountered state troops in several locations and that two to three thousand Bábís were killed. Bahá ` u ` lláh took a more conciliatory position. Instead, he attempted to engage various governments in dialog. To this day, Bahá'ís are a persecuted minority group in Iran and other predominantly Muslim countries, since they are seen as apostates from Islam, supporters of the West and Israel; the Iranian constitution, drafted during the Iranian Constitutional Revolution in 1906 set the groundwork for the institutionalized persecution of Bahá'ís. While the constitution was modelled on Belgium's 1831 constitution, the provisions guaranteeing freedom of worship were omitted.
Subsequent legislation provided some recognition to Zoroastrians and Christians as equal citizens under state law, but it did not guarantee freedom of religion and "gave unprecedented institutional powers to the clerical establishment."The Islamic Republic of Iran, established after the Iranian revolution, recognizes four religions, whose status is formally protected: Zoroastrianism, Judaism and Islam. Members of the first three minority religions receive special treatment under Iranian law. For example, their members are allowed to drink alcohol, representatives of several minority communities are guaranteed seats in parliament. However, religious freedom in Iran is far from absolute. Conversion away from Islam is forbidden, with both missionaries risking prison; those seeking to start a new religious group face severe restrictions. The Bahá' í Faith faces an technical hurdle. Iranian law recognizes all those who accept the existence of God and the prophethood of Muhammad as Muslims. Bahá'ís accept both of thes
The Kitáb-i-Aqdas or Aqdas is the central book of the Bahá'í Faith written by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the religion, in 1873. The work was written in Arabic under the Arabic title al-Kitābu l-Aqdas, but it is referred to by its Persian title, Kitáb-i-Aqdas, given to the work by Bahá'u'lláh himself, it is sometimes referred to as "the Most Holy Book", "the Book of Laws" or the Book of Aqdas. The word Aqdas has a significance in many languages as the superlative form of a word with its primary letters Q-D-Š. Bahá'u'lláh had manuscript copies sent to Bahá'ís in Iran some years after the revelation of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas in 1873, in 1890–91 he arranged for the publication of the original Arabic text of the book in Bombay, India; the Aqdas is referred to as "the Mother-Book" of the Bahá'í teachings, the "Charter of the future world civilization". It is not, only a'book of laws': much of the content deals with other matters, notably ethical exhortations and addresses to various individuals and places.
The Aqdas discusses the establishment of Bahá'í administrative institutions, Bahá'í religious practices, laws of personal status, criminal law and ethical exhortations, social principles, miscellaneous laws and abrogations, prophecies. Bahá'u'lláh stated that the observance of the laws that he prescribed should be subject to "tact and wisdom", that they do not cause "disturbance and dissension." Bahá'u'lláh thus provided for the progressive application of his laws. Shoghi Effendi stated that certain other laws, such as criminal laws, that are dependent upon the existence of a predominantly Bahá'í society would only be applicable in a possible future Bahá'í society, he stated that if the laws were in conflict with the civil law of the country where a Bahá'í lives the laws could not be practiced. Furthermore, some laws and teachings are, according to Bahá'í teaching, not meant to be applied at the present time and their application depends on decisions by the Universal House of Justice. Baha'is believe the Aqdas supersedes and succeeds previous revelations such as the Quran and the Bible.
The text of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas consists of several hundred verses, which have been grouped in 189 numbered paragraphs in the English translation most of which are just a few sentences. The style combines elements of both poetry and rhymed prose and the text contains instances of literary devices like alliteration, repetition, onomatopoeia and antithesis, alternation of person and personification. Rules and principles are interspersed and guide interpretation, authority and limits for authorized interpretation are specified, it defines a Bahá'í Administration as part of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh, speaks to the individual reader, as there are no clergy in the religion to rely on for guidance. The text moves between statements said to be plain and statements suggesting the key to understanding the book is to look at the text for clues to itself; some statements reflect on the teachings in the religion on various themes and underscore a relationship of the Aqdas as a'motherhood' in relation to all the other scriptural works and they to it.
It relates to scriptures of other religions by abrogation, affirmation or reformation — an example of progressive revelation as a principle of the religion. While it is the core text on laws of the religion, it is not the exclusive source of laws in the religion, nor of Bahá'u'lláh's own writings, complementarily the reader is told explicitly to not view the text as a "mere code of laws"; the Kitáb-i-Aqdas was completed by Bahá'u'lláh in 1873. It was published in the Arabic for circulation among Bahá'ís speaking the language circa 1890. A Russian translation was undertaken by Alexander Tumansky in 1899 and was his most important contribution to Bahá'í studies. Around 1900 an informal English translation was made by Bahá'í Anton Haddad, which circulated among the early American Bahá'í community in a typewritten form. In 1961, an English scholar of Arabic, Dr. Earl E. Elder, William McElwee Miller, an hostile Christian minister, published an English translation, "Al-Kitab Al-Aqdas", through the Royal Asiatic Society, however its translation of the notes section was problematic and overall lacked "poetic sensibility, skill in Arabic translation".
Indeed, Miller only used it to further his polemical agenda. In 1973 a "Synopsis and Codification" of the book was published in English by the Universal House of Justice, with 21 passages of the Aqdas, translated into English by Shoghi Effendi with additional terse lists of laws and ordinances contained in the book outside of any contextual prose. In 1992, a full and authorized Bahá'í translation in English was published; this version is used as the basis of translation into many other languages highlighting the practice of an indirect translation and how the purpose of the translation affects the act of translation. The Bahá'í Library Online provides a side-by-side comparison of the authorized translation with earlier translations of Anton Haddad and Earl Elder; the Kitáb-i-Aqdas is supplemented by the "Questions and Answers"', which consists of 107 questions submitted to Bahá'u'lláh by Zaynu'l-Muqarrabin concerning the application of the laws and Bahá'u'lláh's replies to those questions "Some Texts Revealed by Bahá'u'lláh" Synopsis and Codification of the Laws and Ordinances
Hands of the Cause
The Hands of the Cause of God, Hands of the Cause, or Hands were a select group of Bahá'ís, appointed for life, whose main function was to propagate and protect the Bahá'í Faith. Unlike the members of the elected institutions and other appointed institutions in the Bahá'í Faith, who serve in those offices, Hands are considered to have achieved a distinguished rank in service to the religion. According to The Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá, they are to be nominated and appointed by the Guardian of the Cause of God and are to be under his direction and obey his command and a quote of Bahá'u'lláh's is used as a prayer for them; the title is no longer conferred. The last living Hand of the Cause was `Alí-Muhammad Varqá; the work of the Hands of the Cause is now carried out by the Continental Counsellors and the Auxiliary Boards. There were fifty Hands of the Cause in all, four named by Bahá'u'lláh, four by `Abdu'l-Bahá and forty-two by Shoghi Effendi. Twenty-seven Hands were alive when Shoghi Effendi died in 1957.
The most complete list of the Hands available is from The Bahá'í World: Vol XIV. The Universal House of Justice has confirmed that this list may not be complete, that a study of the letters and archives may reveal others named to this station. Note: Orthography of some names below is not correct. Accented and underscored characters were not transcribed. Hají Mullá `Alí-Akbar, known as Hají Ákhúnd Hájí Mírzá Muhammad-Taqí, known as Ibn-i-Abhar Mírzá Muhammad-Hasan, known as Adíb Mírzá `Ali-Muhammad, known as Ibn-i-Asdaq Aqa Muhammad-i-Qa'ini, known as Nabíl-i-Akbar Mirza'Alí-Muhammad Varqá, the father of Rúhu'lláh Mulla Sadiq-i-Muqaddas, entitled Ismu'llahu'l-Asdaq Shaykh Muhammad-Riday-i-Yazdi John Ebenezer Esslemont Hájí Amín Keith Ransom-Kehler Martha Root John Henry Hyde Dunn Siyyid Mustafá Rúmí Abdu'l-Jalil Bey Sa'd Muhammed Taqiy-i-Isfahani Roy C. Wilhelm Louis George Gregory Amatu'l-Bahá Rúḥíyyih Khánum Jalál Kháḍih Paul Edmond Haney `Alí-Muhammad Varqá Agnes Baldwin Alexander Dorothy Beecher Baker Amelia Engelder Collins `Alí-Akbar Furútan Ugo Giachery Hermann Grossmann Horace Hotchkiss Holley Leroy C.
Ioas William Sutherland Maxwell Taráz'u'lláh Samandarí Valíyu'lláh Varqá George Townshend Charles Mason Remey Siegfried Schopflocher Shu'á'u'lláh `Alá'í Músá Banání Clara Dunn Dhikru'lláh Khádim Adelbert Mühlschlegel Corinne Knight True Hasan Muvaqqar Balyúzí Abu'l-Qásim Faizi John Graham Ferraby Harold Collis Featherstone Rahmatu'lláh Muhájir Enoch Olinga John Aldham Robarts William Sears During the period between the death of Shoghi Effendi and the election of the Universal House of Justice the Hands of the Cause held a convocation from which they constituted a body of nine from among their number to serve in the Holy Land and to act as Custodians of the Bahá’í Faith, a body which functioned without officers and with a quorum of five, whose duties included taking care of Bahá’í World Center properties and other assets. The Hands of the Cause maintained the number of Custodians, replacing those who died or were unable, for health or personal reasons, to remain at the Bahá’í World Center permanently.
Apostles of Bahá'u'lláh Disciples of `Abdu'l-Bahá Institution of the Counsellors Letters of the Living Bahá'u'lláh. The Kitáb-i-Aqdas: The Most Holy Book. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. ISBN 0-85398-999-0. Bahá'u'lláh. Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh Revealed After the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. ISBN 0-87743-174-4. Effendi, Shoghi. Bahá'í Administration. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. ISBN 0-87743-166-3. Effendi, Shoghi. Principles of Bahá'í Administration. London, UK: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. ISBN 0-900125-13-6. Harper, Barron. Lights of Fortitude. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. ISBN 0-85398-413-1. Compilations. Hornby, Helen, ed. Lights of Guidance: A Bahá'í Reference File. Bahá' í New Delhi, India. ISBN 81-85091-46-3. CS1 maint: Extra text: editors list Rabbani, Ruhiyyih; the Ministry of the Custodians 1957-1963. Bahá'í World Centre. ISBN 0-85398-350-X. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list Universal House of Justice. Reflections on the Institution of the Hands of the Cause of God.
"Hands of the Cause of God". Bahá’í Encyclopedia Project. Online. National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States. 2009. Retrieved 2010-08-16. Portraits of the Hands of the Cause of God Braun, Eunice. "Hands of the Cause of God". Bahá’í Encyclopedia Project. Evanston, IL: National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States. Hands of the Cause of God - links to biographies Fadil-i-Mazandarani - House of Justice message of 1998 concerning the status and rank of Fadil-i-Mazandarani; the Guardian Announces Appointment of Hands of the Cause - Announcement of