Question: He saith, exalted be He: “Should the son of the deceased have passed away in the days of his father and have left children, they will inherit their father’s share…” What is to be done if the daughter hath died during the lifetime of her father?54
Question: If the deceased be a woman, to whom is the “wife’s” share of the inheritance allotted?55
Question: Concerning the shrouding of the body of the deceased which is decreed to comprise five sheets: does the five refer to five cloths which were hitherto customarily used or to five full-length shrouds wrapped one around the other?56
Question: Concerning disparities between certain revealed verses.57
Answer: Many Tablets were revealed and dispatched in their original form without being checked and reviewed. Consequently, as bidden, they were again read out in the Holy Presence, and brought into conformity with the grammatical conventions of the people in order to forestall the cavils of opponents of the Cause. Another reason for this practice is that the new style inaugurated by the Herald, may the souls of all else but Him be offered up for His sake, was seen to be marked by substantial latitude in adherence to the rules of grammar; sacred verses therefore were then revealed in a style which is for the most part in conformity with current usage for ease of understanding and concision of expression.
Question: Concerning the blessed verse, “When traveling, if ye should stop and rest in some safe spot, perform ye … a single prostration in place of each unsaid Obligatory Prayer”: is this compensation for the Obligatory Prayer missed by reason of insecure circumstances, or is obligatory prayer completely suspended during travel, and doth the prostration take its place?58
Answer: If, when the hour of obligatory prayer arriveth, there be no security, one should, upon arrival in safe surroundings, perform a prostration in place of each Obligatory Prayer that was missed, and after the final prostration, sit cross-legged and read the designated verse. If there be a safe place, obligatory prayer is not suspended during travel.
Question: If, after a traveler hath stopped and rested it is the time for obligatory prayer, should he perform the prayer, or make the prostration in its stead?59
Question: If, due to missed Obligatory Prayers, a number of prostrations are required, must the verse be repeated after each compensating prostration or not? 60
Question: If an Obligatory Prayer be omitted at home, is it to be compensated for by a prostration or not?61
Question: If, for another purpose, one hath performed ablutions, and the time of obligatory prayer arriveth, are these ablutions sufficient or must they be renewed?62
Question: In the Kitáb-i-Aqdas obligatory prayer hath been enjoined, consisting of nine rak‘ahs, to be performed at noon, in the morning and the evening, but the Tablet of Obligatory Prayers6 appeareth to differ from this.63
Answer: That which hath been revealed in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas concerneth a different Obligatory Prayer. Some years ago a number of the ordinances of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas including that Obligatory Prayer were, for reasons of wisdom, recorded separately and sent away together with other sacred writings, for the purposes of preservation and protection. Later these three Obligatory Prayers were revealed.
Question: In determining time, is it permissible to rely on clocks and watches?64
Question: In the Tablet of Obligatory Prayers, three prayers are revealed; is the performance of all three required or not?65
Question: Are ablutions for the morning prayer still valid for the noonday prayer? And similarly, are ablutions carried out at noon still valid in the evening?66
Question: Concerning the long Obligatory Prayer, it is required to stand up and “turn unto God.” This seemeth to indicate that it is not necessary to face the Qiblih; is this so or not?67
Question: Concerning the sacred verse: “Recite ye the verses of God every morn and eventide.” 68
Answer: The intention is all that hath been sent down from the Heaven of Divine Utterance. The prime requisite is the eagerness and love of sanctified souls to read the Word of God. To read one verse, or even one word, in a spirit of joy and radiance, is preferable to the perusal of many Books.
Question: May a person, in drawing up his will, assign some portion of his property—beyond that which is devoted to payment of Ḥuqúqu’lláh and the settlement of debts—to works of charity, or is he entitled to do no more than allocate a certain sum to cover funeral and burial expenses, so that the rest of his estate will be distributed in the manner fixed by God among the designated categories of heirs?69
Answer: A person hath full jurisdiction over his property. If he is able to discharge the Ḥuqúqu’lláh, and is free of debt, then all that is recorded in his will, and any declaration or avowal it containeth, shall be acceptable. God, verily, hath permitted him to deal with that which He hath bestowed upon him in whatever manner he may desire.
Question: Is the use of the burial ring enjoined exclusively for adults, or is it for minors as well?70
Question: Should a person wish to fast at a time other than in the month of ‘Alá’, is this permissible or not; and if he hath vowed or pledged himself to such a fast, is this valid and acceptable?71
Answer: The ordinance of fasting is such as hath already been revealed. Should someone pledge himself, however, to offer up a fast to God, seeking in this way the fulfillment of a wish, or to realize some other aim, this is permissible, now as heretofore. Howbeit, it is God’s wish, exalted be His glory, that vows and pledges be directed to such objectives as will profit mankind.
Question: Again a question hath been asked concerning the residence and personal clothing: are these to revert, in the absence of male offspring, to the House of Justice, or are they to be distributed like the rest of the estate?72
Question: If, upon completion of the year of patience, the husband refuseth to allow divorce, what course should be adopted by the wife?73
Answer: When the period is ended divorce is effected. However, it is necessary that there be witnesses to the beginning and end of this period, so that they can be called upon to give testimony should the need arise.
Question: Concerning the definition of old age.74
Question: Concerning the limit of fasting for someone traveling on foot.75
Question: Concerning observance of the Fast by people engaged in hard labor during the month of fasting.76
Answer: Such people are excused from fasting; however, in order to show respect to the law of God and for the exalted station of the Fast, it is most commendable and fitting to eat with frugality and in private.
Question: Do ablutions performed for the Obligatory Prayer suffice for the ninety-five repetitions of the Greatest Name?77
Question: Concerning clothes and jewelry which a husband may have purchased for his wife: are these to be distributed, after his death, amongst his heirs, or are they specially for the wife?78
Question: Concerning the criterion of justness when proving some matter dependent on the testimony of two just witnesses.79
Question: If the deceased hath not settled his obligation to Ḥuqúq’u’lláh, nor paid his other debts, are these to be discharged by proportionate deductions from the residence, personal clothing and the rest of the estate, or are the residence and personal clothing set aside for the male offspring, and consequently the debts must be settled from the rest of the estate? And if the rest of the estate is insufficient for this purpose, how should the debts be settled?80
Answer: Outstanding debts and payments of Ḥuqúq should be settled from the remainder of the estate, but if this is insufficient for the purpose, the shortfall should be met from his residence and personal clothing.
Question: Should the third Obligatory Prayer be offered while seated or standing?81
Question: Concerning the first Obligatory Prayer it hath been ordained, “one should perform it at whatever time one findeth oneself in a state of humbleness and longing adoration”: is it to be performed once in twenty-four hours, or more frequently?82
Question: Concerning the definition of “morning,” “noon” and “evening.”83
Answer: These are sunrise, noon and sunset. The allowable times for Obligatory Prayers are from morning till noon, from noon till sunset, and from sunset till two hours thereafter. Authority is in the hand of God, the Bearer of the Two Names.
Question: Is it permissible for a believer to marry an unbeliever?84
Question: Concerning the Prayer for the Dead: should it precede or follow the interment? And is facing the Qiblih required?85
Question: At noon, which is the time for two of the Obligatory Prayers—the short midday prayer, and the prayer to be offered in the morning, noon, and evening—is it necessary in this case to perform two ablutions or would one suffice?86
Question: Concerning the dowry for village dwellers which is to be of silver: is it the bride or bridegroom who is intended or both of them? And what is to be done if one is a city dweller and the other a village dweller?87
Question: What is the criterion for determining if one is a city dweller or a village dweller? If a city dweller taketh up residence in a village, or a village dweller in a city, intending to settle permanently, what ruling is applicable? Is the place of birth the deciding factor?88
Question: In the holy Tablets it hath been revealed that when someone acquireth the equivalent of nineteen mithqáls of gold, he should pay the Right of God on that sum. Might it be explained how much of this nineteen should be paid?89
Question: When one’s wealth exceeds nineteen, is it necessary for it to increase by a further nineteen before Ḥuqúq is due again, or would it be due on any increase?90
Question: Concerning pure water, and the point at which it is considered used.91
Answer: Small quantities of water, such as one cupful, or even two or three, must be considered used after a single washing of the face and hands. But a kurr8 or more of water remaineth unchanged after one or two washings of the face, and there is no objection to its use unless it is altered in one of the three ways,9 for example its color is changed, in which case it should be looked upon as used.
Question: In a treatise in Persian on various questions, the age of maturity hath been set at fifteen; is marriage likewise conditional upon the reaching of maturity, or is it permissible before that time?92
Answer: Since the consent of both parties is required in the Book of God, and since, before maturity, their consent or lack of it cannot be ascertained, marriage is therefore conditional upon reaching the age of maturity, and is not permissible before that time.
Question: Concerning fasting and obligatory prayer by the sick.93
Answer: In truth, I say that obligatory prayer and fasting occupy an exalted station in the sight of God. It is, however, in a state of health that their virtue can be realized. In time of ill health it is not permissible to observe these obligations; such hath been the bidding of the Lord, exalted be His glory, at all times. Blessed be such men and women as pay heed, and observe His precepts. All praise be unto God, He who hath sent down the verses and is the Revealer of undoubted proofs!
Question: Concerning mosques, chapels and temples.94
Answer: Whatever hath been constructed for the worship of the one true God, such as mosques, chapels and temples, must not be used for any purpose other than the commemoration of His Name. This is an ordinance of God, and he who violateth it is verily of those who have transgressed. No harm attacheth to the builder, for he hath performed his deed for the sake of God, and hath received and will continue to receive his just reward.
Question: Regarding the appointments of a place of business, which are needed for carrying on one’s work or profession: are they subject to the payment of Ḥuqúqu’lláh, or are they covered by the same ruling as the household furnishings?95
Question: Concerning the exchange of property held in trust for cash or other forms of property, to guard against depreciation or loss.96
Answer: Regarding the written question on the exchange of property held in trust to guard against depreciation and loss, such exchange is permissible on condition that the substitute will be equivalent in value. Thy Lord, verily, is the Expounder, the Omniscient, and He, truly, is the Ordainer, the Ancient of Days.
Question: Concerning the washing of the feet in winter and summer.97
Question: A further question on divorce.98
Answer: Since God, exalted be His glory, doth not favor divorce, nothing was revealed on this issue. However, from the beginning of the separation until the end of one year, two people or more must remain informed as witnesses; if, by the end, there is no reconciliation, divorce taketh place. This must be recorded in the registry by the religious judicial officer of the city appointed by the Trustees of the House of Justice. Observance of this procedure is essential lest those that are possessed of an understanding heart be saddened.
Question: Concerning consultation.99
Answer: If consultation among the first group of people assembled endeth in disagreement, new people should be added, after which persons to the number of the Greatest Name, or fewer or more, shall be chosen by lot. Whereupon the consultation shall be renewed, and the outcome, whatever it is, shall be obeyed. If, however, there is still disagreement, the same procedure should be repeated once more, and the decision of the majority shall prevail. He, verily, guideth whomsoever He pleaseth to the right way.
Question: Concerning inheritance.100
Answer: Regarding inheritance, that which the Primal Point hath ordained—may the souls of all else but Him be offered up for His sake—is well pleasing. The existing heirs should receive their allotted shares of the inheritance, while a statement of the remainder must be submitted to the Court of the Most High. In His hand is the source of authority; He ordaineth as He pleaseth. In this regard, a law was revealed in the Land of Mystery,10 temporarily awarding the missing heirs’ inheritance to the existing heirs until such time as the House of Justice shall be established, when the decree concerning this will be promulgated. The inheritance, however, of those who emigrated in the same year as the Ancient Beauty, hath been awarded to their heirs, and this is a bounty of God bestowed upon them.
Question: Concerning the law on treasure trove.101
Answer: Should a treasure be found, one-third thereof is the right of the discoverer, and the other two-thirds should be expended by the men of the House of Justice for the welfare of all people. This shall be done after the establishment of the House of Justice, and until that time it shall be committed to the keeping of trustworthy persons in each locality and territory. He, in truth, is the Ruler, the Ordainer, the Omniscient, the All-Informed.
Question: Concerning Ḥuqúq on real estate which yieldeth no profit.102
Answer: The ordinance of God is that real estate which hath ceased to yield income, that is, from which no profit accrueth, is not liable to payment of Ḥuqúq. He, verily, is the Ruler, the Munificent.
Question: Concerning the holy verse: “In regions where the days and nights grow long, let times of prayer be gauged by clocks…”103
And in another Tablet, these exalted words have been revealed: O Muḥammad! The Ancient of Days hath turned His countenance towards thee, making mention of thee, and exhorting the people of God to educate their children. Should a father neglect this most weighty commandment laid down in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas by the Pen of the Eternal King, he shall forfeit rights of fatherhood, and be accounted guilty before God. Well is it with him who imprinteth on his heart the admonitions of the Lord, and steadfastly cleaveth unto them. God, in truth, enjoineth on His servants what shall assist and profit them, and enable them to draw nigh unto Him. He is the Ordainer, the Everlasting.
He is God, exalted be He, the Lord of majesty and power! The Prophets and Chosen Ones have all been commissioned by the One True God, magnified be His glory, to nurture the trees of human existence with the living waters of uprightness and understanding, that there may appear from them that which God hath deposited within their inmost selves. As may be readily observed, each tree yieldeth a certain fruit, and a barren tree is but fit for fire. The purpose of these Educators, in all they said and taught, was to preserve man’s exalted station. Well is it with him who in the Day of God hath laid fast hold upon His precepts and hath not deviated from His true and fundamental Law. The fruits that best befit the tree of human life are trustworthiness and godliness, truthfulness and sincerity; but greater than all, after recognition of the unity of God, praised and glorified be He, is regard for the rights that are due to one’s parents. This teaching hath been mentioned in all the Books of God, and reaffirmed by the Most Exalted Pen. Consider that which the Merciful Lord hath revealed in the Qur’án, exalted are His words: “Worship ye God, join with Him no peer or likeness; and show forth kindliness and charity towards your parents…” Observe how loving-kindness to one’s parents hath been linked to recognition of the one true God! Happy they who are endued with true wisdom and understanding, who see and perceive, who read and understand, and who observe that which God hath revealed in the Holy Books of old, and in this incomparable and wondrous Tablet.