Question: Concerning the Most Great Festival.1
Answer: The Most Great Festival commenceth late in the afternoon of the thirteenth day of the second month of the year according to the Bayán. On the first, ninth and twelfth days of this Festival, work is forbidden.
Question: Concerning the Festival of the Twin Birthdays.2
Answer: The Birth of the Abhá Beauty1 was at the hour of dawn on the second day of the month of Muḥarram,2 the first day of which marketh the Birth of His Herald. These two days are accounted as one in the sight of God.
Question: Concerning the Marriage Verses.33
Question: Should a man go on a journey without specifying a time for his return without indicating, in other words, the expected period of his absence—and should no word be heard of him thereafter, and all trace of him be lost, what course should be followed by his wife?4
Answer: Should he have omitted to fix a time for his return despite being aware of the stipulation of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas in this regard, his wife should wait for one full year, after which she shall be free either to adopt the course that is praiseworthy, or to choose for herself another husband. If, however, he be unaware of this stipulation, she should abide in patience until such time as God shall please to disclose to her his fate. By the course that is praiseworthy in this connection is meant the exercise of patience.
Question: Concerning the holy verse: “When We heard the clamor of the children as yet unborn, We doubled their share and decreased those of the rest.”5
Answer: According to the Book of God, the estate of the deceased is divided into 2,520 shares, which number is the lowest common multiple of all integers up to nine, and these shares are then distributed into seven portions, each of which is allocated, as mentioned in the Book, to a particular category of heirs. The children, for example, are allotted nine blocks of 60 shares, comprising 540 shares in all. The meaning of the statement “We doubled their share” is thus that the children receive a further nine blocks of 60 shares, entitling them to a total of 18 blocks all told. The extra shares that they receive are deducted from the portions of the other categories of heirs, so that, although it is revealed, for instance, that the spouse is entitled to “eight parts comprising four hundred and eighty shares,” which is the equivalent of eight blocks of 60 shares, now, by virtue of this rearrangement, one and a half blocks of shares, comprising 90 shares in all, have been subtracted from the spouse’s portion and reallocated to the children, and similarly in the case of the others. The result is that the total amount subtracted is equivalent to the nine extra blocks of shares allotted to the children.
Question: Is it necessary that the brother, in order to qualify for his portion of the inheritance, be descended from both the father and the mother of the deceased, or is it sufficient merely that there be one parent in common?6
Answer: If the brother be descended from the father he shall receive his share of the inheritance in the prescribed measure recorded in the Book; but if he be descended from the mother, he shall receive only two-thirds of his entitlement, the remaining third reverting to the House of Justice. This ruling is also applicable to the sister.
Question: Amongst the provisions concerning inheritance it hath been laid down that, should the deceased leave no offspring, their share of the estate is to revert to the House of Justice. In the event of other categories of heirs, such as the father, mother, brother, sister and teacher being similarly absent, do their shares of the inheritance also revert to the House of Justice, or are they dealt with in some other fashion? 7
Answer: The sacred verse sufficeth. He saith, exalted be His Word: “Should the deceased leave no offspring, their share shall revert to the House of Justice” etc. and “Should the deceased leave offspring, but none of the other categories of heirs that have been specified in the Book, they shall receive two-thirds of the inheritance and the remaining third shall revert to the House of Justice” etc. In other words, where there are no offspring, their allotted portion of the inheritance reverteth to the House of Justice; and where there are offspring but the other categories of heirs are lacking, two-thirds of the inheritance pass to the offspring, the remaining third reverting to the House of Justice. This ruling hath both general and specific application, which is to say that whenever any category of this latter class of heirs is absent, two-thirds of their inheritance pass to the offspring and the remaining third to the House of Justice.
Question: Concerning the basic sum on which Ḥuqúqu’lláh is payable.8
Answer: The basic sum on which Ḥuqúqu’lláh is payable is nineteen mithqáls of gold. In other words, when money to the value of this sum hath been acquired, a payment of Ḥuqúq falleth due. Likewise Ḥuqúq is payable when the value, not the number, of other forms of property reacheth the prescribed amount. Ḥuqúqu’lláh is payable no more than once. A person, for instance, who acquireth a thousand mithqáls of gold, and payeth the Ḥuqúq, is not liable to make a further such payment on this sum, but only on what accrueth to it through commerce, business and the like. When this increase, namely the profit realized, reacheth the prescribed sum, one must carry out what God hath decreed. Only when the principal changeth hands is it once more subject to payment of Ḥuqúq, as it was the first time. The Primal Point hath directed that Ḥuqúqu’lláh must be paid on the value of whatsoever one possesseth; yet, in this Most Mighty Dispensation, We have exempted the household furnishings, that is such furnishings as are needed, and the residence itself.
Question: Which is to take precedence: the Ḥuqúqu’lláh, the debts of the deceased or the cost of the funeral and burial?9
Answer: The funeral and burial take precedence, then settlement of debts, then payment of Ḥuqúqu’lláh. Should the property of the deceased prove insufficient to cover his debts, the remainder of his estate should be distributed among these debts in proportion to their size.
Question: Shaving the head hath been forbidden in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas but enjoined in the Súriy-i-Ḥajj.10
Answer: All are charged with obedience to the Kitáb-i-Aqdas; whatsoever is revealed therein is the Law of God amid His servants. The injunction on pilgrims to the sacred House to shave the head hath been lifted.
Question: If intercourse take place between a couple during their year of patience, and they become estranged again thereafter, must they recommence their year of patience, or may the days preceding the intercourse be included in the reckoning of the year? And once divorce hath taken place, is it necessary that a further period of waiting be observed?11
Answer: Should affection be renewed between the couple during their year of patience, the marriage tie is valid, and what is commanded in the Book of God must be observed; but once the year of patience hath been completed and that which is decreed by God taketh place, a further period of waiting is not required. Sexual intercourse between husband and wife is forbidden during their year of patience, and whoso committeth this act must seek God’s forgiveness, and, as a punishment, render to the House of Justice a fine of nineteen mithqáls of gold.
Question: Should antipathy develop between a couple after the Marriage Verses have been read and the dowry paid, may divorce take place without observance of the year of patience?12
Answer: Divorce may legitimately be sought after the reading of the Marriage Verses and payment of the dowry, but before the consummation of the marriage. In such circumstances there is no need for observance of a year of patience, but recovery of the dowry payment is not permissible.
Question: Is the consent of the parents on both sides prerequisite to marriage, or is that of the parents on one side sufficient? Is this law applicable only to virgins or to others as well?13
Question: The believers have been enjoined to face in the direction of the Qiblih when reciting their Obligatory Prayers; in what direction should they turn when offering other prayers and devotions?14
Answer: Facing in the direction of the Qiblih is a fixed requirement for the recitation of obligatory prayer, but for other prayers and devotions one may follow what the merciful Lord hath revealed in the Qur’án: “Whichever way ye turn, there is the face of God.”
Question: Concerning the remembrance of God in the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár “at the hour of dawn.”15
Question: Is the ordinance that the body of the deceased should be carried no greater distance than one hour’s journey applicable to transport by both land and sea?16
Answer: This command applieth to distances by sea as well as by land, whether it is an hour by steamship or by rail; the intention is the hour’s time, whatever the means of transport. The sooner the burial taketh place, however, the more fitting and acceptable will it be.
Question: What procedure should be followed on the discovery of lost property?17
Answer: If such property be found in the town, its discovery is to be announced once by the town crier. If the owner of the property is then found, it should be delivered up to him. Otherwise, the finder of the property should wait one year, and if, during this period, the owner cometh to light, the finder should receive from him the crier’s fee and restore to him his property; only if the year should pass without the owner’s being identified may the finder take possession of the property himself. If the value of the property is less than or equal to the crier’s fee, the finder should wait a single day from the time of its discovery, at the end of which, if the owner hath not come to light, he may himself appropriate it; and in the case of property discovered in an uninhabited area, the finder should observe a three days’ wait, on the passing of which period, if the identity of the owner remain unknown, he is free to take possession of his find.
Question: With reference to the ablutions: if, for example, a person hath just bathed his entire body, must he still perform his ablutions? 18
Question: Should a person plan to migrate from his country, and his wife be opposed and the disagreement culminate in divorce, and should his preparations for the journey extend until a year hath passed, may this period be counted as the year of patience, or should the day the couple part be regarded as the starting point of that year?19
Answer: The starting point for computation is the day the couple part, and if, therefore, they have separated a year before the husband’s departure, and if the fragrance of affection hath not been renewed between the couple, divorce may take place. Otherwise the year must be counted from the day of his departure, and the conditions set forth in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas observed.
Question: Concerning the age of maturity with respect to religious duties.20
Question: Concerning the holy 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…”21
Answer: This prostration is to compensate for obligatory prayer omitted in the course of travel, and by reason of insecure circumstances. If, at the time of prayer, the traveler should find himself at rest in a secure place, he should perform that prayer. This provision regarding the compensating prostration applieth both at home and on a journey.
Question: Concerning the definition of a journey.422
Answer: The definition of a journey is nine hours by the clock. Should the traveler stop in a place, anticipating that he will stay there for no less than one month by the Bayán reckoning, it is incumbent on him to keep the Fast; but if for less than one month, he is exempt from fasting. If he arriveth during the Fast at a place where he is to stay one month according to the Bayán, he should not observe the Fast till three days have elapsed, thereafter keeping it throughout the remainder of its course; but if he come to his home, where he hath heretofore been permanently resident, he must commence his fast upon the first day after his arrival.
Question: Concerning the punishment of the adulterer and adulteress.23
Answer: Nine mithqáls are payable for the first offense, eighteen for the second, thirty-six for the third, and so on, each succeeding fine being double the preceding. The weight of one mithqál is equivalent to nineteen nakhuds in accordance with the specification of the Bayán.
Question: Concerning hunting.24
Answer: He saith, exalted be He: “If ye should hunt with beasts or birds of prey” and so forth. Other means, such as bows and arrows, guns, and similar equipment employed in hunting, are also included. If, however, traps or snares are used, and the game dieth before it can be reached, it is unlawful for consumption.
Question: Concerning the pilgrimage.25
Question: Concerning the dowry.26
Question: Concerning the sacred verse: “If, however, news should reach her of her husband’s death,” etc.27
Question: Again inquiry hath been made about the teacher’s share of the inheritance.28
Answer: Should the teacher have passed away, one-third of his share of the inheritance reverteth to the House of Justice, and the remaining two-thirds pass to the deceased’s, and not the teacher’s, offspring.
Question: Again inquiry hath been made about the pilgrimage.29
Answer: By pilgrimage to the sacred House, which is enjoined upon men, is intended both the Most Great House in Baghdád and the House of the Primal Point in Shíráz; pilgrimage to either of these Houses sufficeth. They may thus make pilgrimage to whichever lieth nearer to the place where they reside.
Question: Concerning the verse: “he who would take into his service a maid may do so with propriety.”30
Answer: This is solely for service such as is performed by any other class of servants, be they young or old, in exchange for wages; such a maiden is free to choose a husband at whatever time she pleaseth, for it is forbidden either that women should be purchased, or that a man should have more wives than two.
Question: Concerning the sacred verse: “The Lord hath prohibited … the practice to which ye formerly had recourse when thrice ye had divorced a woman.”31
Answer: The reference is to the law which previously made it necessary for another man to marry such a woman before she could again be wedded to her former husband; this practice hath been prohibited in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas.
Question: Concerning the restoration and preservation of the two Houses in the Twin Spots, and the other sites wherein the throne hath been established.32
Answer: By the two Houses is intended the Most Great House and the House of the Primal Point. As for other sites, the people of the areas where these are situated may choose to preserve either each house wherein the throne hath been established, or one of them.
Question: Again inquiry hath been made about the inheritance of the teacher.33
Answer: If the teacher is not of the people of Bahá, he doth not inherit. Should there be several teachers, the share is to be divided equally amongst them. If the teacher is deceased, his offspring do not inherit his share, but rather two-thirds of it revert to the children of the owner of the estate, and the remaining one-third to the House of Justice.
Question: Concerning the residence which hath been assigned exclusively to the male offspring.34
Answer: If there are several residences, the finest and noblest of these dwellings is the one intended, the remainder being distributed amongst the whole body of the heirs like any other form of property. Any heir, from whichever category of inheritors, who is outside the Faith of God is accounted as nonexistent and doth not inherit.
Question: Concerning Naw-Rúz.35
Question: If the anniversary either of the Twin Birthdays or of the Declaration of the Báb occurreth during the Fast, what is to be done?36
Question: In the holy ordinances governing inheritance, the residence and personal clothing of the deceased have been allotted to the male offspring. Doth this provision refer only to the father’s property, or doth it apply to the mother’s as well?37
Answer: The used clothing of the mother should be divided in equal shares among the daughters, but the remainder of her estate, including property, jewelry, and unused clothing, is to be distributed, in the manner revealed in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, to all her heirs. If, however, the deceased hath left no daughters, her estate in its entirety must be divided in the manner designated for men in the holy Text.
Question: Concerning divorce, which must be preceded by a year of patience: if only one of the parties is inclined toward conciliation, what is to be done?38
Question: In connection with the dowry, what if the bridegroom cannot pay this sum in full, but instead were to formally deliver a promissory note to his bride at the time of the wedding ceremony, on the understanding that he will honor it when he is able to do so?39
Question: If during the year of patience the fragrance of affection be renewed, only to be succeeded by antipathy, and the couple waver between affection and aversion throughout the year, and the year endeth in antipathy, can divorce take place or not?40
Question: The residence and personal clothing of the deceased have been assigned to the male, not female, offspring, nor to the other heirs; should the deceased have left no male offspring, what is to be done?41
Answer: He saith, exalted be He: “Should the deceased leave no offspring, their share shall revert to the House of Justice…” In conformity with this sacred verse, the residence and personal clothing of the deceased revert to the House of Justice.
Question: The ordinance of Ḥuqúqu’lláh is revealed in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. Is the residence, with the accompanying fixtures and necessary furnishings, included in the property on which Ḥuqúq is payable, or is it otherwise?42
Question: Concerning the betrothal of a girl before maturity.43
Question: If a person hath, for example, a hundred túmáns, payeth the Ḥuqúq on this sum, loseth half the sum in unsuccessful transactions and then, through trading, the amount in hand is raised again to the sum on which Ḥuqúq is due—must such a person pay Ḥuqúq or not?44
Question: If, after payment of Ḥuqúq, this same sum of one hundred túmáns is lost in its entirety, but subsequently regained through trade and business dealings, must Ḥuqúq be paid a second time or not?45
Question: With reference to the sacred verse, “God hath prescribed matrimony unto you,” is this prescription obligatory or not?46
Question: Supposing that a man hath wed a certain woman believing her to be a virgin and he hath paid her the dowry, but at the time of consummation it becometh evident that she is not a virgin, are the expenses and the dowry to be repaid or not? And if the marriage had been made conditional upon virginity, doth the unfulfilled condition invalidate that which was conditioned upon it?47
Answer: In such a case the expenses and the dowry may be refunded. The unfulfilled condition invalidateth that which is conditioned upon it. However, to conceal and forgive the matter will, in the sight of God, merit a bounteous reward.
Question: “…it is enjoined upon you to offer a feast…” Is this obligatory or not?48
Question: Concerning the penalties for adultery, sodomy, and theft, and the degrees thereof.49
Question: Concerning the legitimacy or otherwise of marrying one’s relatives.50
Question: With reference to ablutions, it hath been revealed, “Let him that findeth no water for ablution repeat five times the words ‘In the Name of God, the Most Pure, the Most Pure’”: is it permissible to recite this verse in times of bitter cold, or if the hands or face be wounded?51
Answer: Warm water may be used in times of bitter cold. If there are wounds on the face or hands, or there be other reasons such as aches and pains for which the use of water would be harmful, one may recite the appointed verse in place of the ablution.
Question: Is the recitation of the verse revealed to replace the Prayer of the Signs obligatory?52
Question: With reference to inheritance, when there are full brothers and full sisters, would half-brothers and half-sisters on the mother’s side also receive a share?53