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The Kitáb-i-Aqdas

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121. O banks of the Rhine! ¶90

In one of His Tablets written before the first World War (1914–1918), ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá explained that Bahá’u’lláh’s reference to having seen the banks of the Rhine “covered with gore” related to the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871), and that there was more suffering to come.

In God Passes By Shoghi Effendi states that the “oppressively severe treaty” that was imposed on Germany following its defeat in the first World War “provoked ‘the lamentations [of Berlin]’ which, half a century before, had been ominously prophesied.”

122. O Land of Ṭá ¶91

“Ṭá” is the initial letter of Ṭihrán, the capital of Iran. Bahá’u’lláh has often chosen to represent certain place names by reference to their initial letter. According to the abjad system of reckoning, the numerical value of Ṭá is nine, which equals the numerical value of the name Bahá.

123. within thee was born the Manifestation of His Glory ¶92

This is a reference to the birth of Bahá’u’lláh in Ṭihrán on 12 November 1817.

124. O Land of Khá! ¶94

A reference to the Iranian province of Khurásán and neighboring areas, which include the city of ‘Ishqábád (Ashkhabad).

125. Should anyone acquire one hundred mithqáls of gold, nineteen mithqáls thereof are God’s and to be rendered unto Him ¶97

This verse establishes Ḥuqúqu’lláh, the Right of God, the offering of a fixed portion of the value of the believer’s possessions. This offering was made to Bahá’u’lláh as the Manifestation of God and then, following His Ascension, to ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá as the Center of the Covenant. In His Will and Testament, ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá provided that the Ḥuqúqu’lláh was to be offered “through the Guardian of the Cause of God.” There now being no Guardian, it is offered through the Universal House of Justice as the Head of the Faith. This fund is used for the promotion of the Faith of God and its interests as well as for various philanthropic purposes. The offering of the Ḥuqúqu’lláh is a spiritual obligation, the fulfillment of which has been left to the conscience of each Bahá’í. While the community is reminded of the requirements of the law of Ḥuqúq, no believer may be approached individually to pay it.

A number of items in Questions and Answers further elaborate this law. The payment of Ḥuqúqu’lláh is based on the calculation of the value of the individual’s possessions. If a person has possessions equal in value to at least nineteen mithqáls of gold (Q&A 8), it is a spiritual obligation to pay nineteen percent of the total amount, once only, as Ḥuqúqu’lláh (Q&A 89). Thereafter, whenever one’s income, after all expenses have been paid, increases the value of one’s possessions by the amount of at least nineteen mithqáls of gold, one is to pay nineteen percent of this increase, and so on for each further increase (Q&A 8, 90).

Certain categories of possessions, such as one’s residence, are exempt from the payment of Ḥuqúqu’lláh (Q&A 8, 42, 95), and specific provisions are outlined to cover cases of financial loss (Q&A 44, 45), the failure of investments to yield a profit (Q&A 102) and for the payment of Ḥuqúq in the event of the person’s death (Q&A 9, 69, 80). (In this latter case, see note 47.)

Extensive extracts from Tablets, Questions and Answers, and other Writings concerning the spiritual significance of Ḥuqúqu’lláh and the details of its application have been published in a compilation entitled Ḥuqúqu’lláh.

126. Various petitions have come before Our throne from the believers, concerning laws from God … We have, in consequence, revealed this Holy Tablet and arrayed it with the mantle of His Law that haply the people may keep the commandments of their Lord. ¶98

“For a number of years,” Bahá’u’lláh states in one of His Tablets, “petitions reached the Most Holy Presence from various lands begging for the laws of God, but We held back the Pen ere the appointed time had come.” Not until twenty years from the birth of His Prophetic Mission in the Síyáh-Chál of Ṭihrán had elapsed did Bahá’u’lláh reveal the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, the Repository of the laws of His Dispensation. Even after its revelation the Aqdas was withheld by Him for some time before it was sent to the friends in Persia. This divinely purposed delay in the revelation of the basic laws of God for this age, and the subsequent gradual implementation of their provisions, illustrate the principle of progressive revelation which applies even within the ministry of each Prophet.

127. crimson Spot ¶100

This is a reference to the prison-city of ‘Akká. In the Bahá’í Writings the word “crimson” is used in several allegorical and symbolic senses. (See also note 115.)

128. the Sadratu’l-Muntahá ¶100

Literally “the furthermost Lote-Tree,” translated by Shoghi Effendi as “the Tree beyond which there is no passing.” This is used as a symbol in Islám, for example in the accounts of Muḥammad’s Night Journey, to mark the point in the heavens beyond which neither men nor angels can pass in their approach to God, and thus to delimit the bounds of divine knowledge as revealed to mankind. Hence it is often used in the Bahá’í Writings to designate the Manifestation of God Himself. (See also note 164.)

129. the Mother Book ¶103

The term “Mother Book” is generally used to designate the central Book of a religious Dispensation. In the Qur’án and Islamic Ḥadíth, the term is used to describe the Qur’án itself. In the Bábí Dispensation, the Bayán is the Mother Book, and the Kitáb-i-Aqdas is the Mother Book of the Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh. Further, the Guardian in a letter written on his behalf has stated that this concept can also be used as a “collective term indicating the body of the Teachings revealed by Bahá’u’lláh.” This term is also used in a broader sense to signify the Divine Repository of Revelation.

130. Whoso interpreteth what hath been sent down from the heaven of Revelation, and altereth its evident meaning ¶105

In several of His Tablets, Bahá’u’lláh affirms the distinction between allegorical verses, which are susceptible to interpretation, and those verses that relate to such subjects as the laws and ordinances, worship and religious observances, whose meanings are evident and which demand compliance on the part of the believers.

As explained in notes 145 and 184, Bahá’u’lláh designated ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá, His eldest Son, as His Successor and the Interpreter of His Teachings. ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá in His turn appointed His eldest grandson, Shoghi Effendi, to succeed Him as interpreter of the holy Writ and Guardian of the Cause. The interpretations of ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá and Shoghi Effendi are considered divinely guided and are binding on the Bahá’ís.

The existence of authoritative interpretations does not preclude the individual from engaging in the study of the Teachings and thereby arriving at a personal interpretation or understanding. A clear distinction is, however, drawn in the Bahá’í Writings between authoritative interpretation and the understanding that each individual arrives at from a study of its Teachings. Individual interpretations based on a person’s understanding of the Teachings constitute the fruit of man’s rational power and may well contribute to a greater comprehension of the Faith. Such views, nevertheless, lack authority. In presenting their personal ideas, individuals are cautioned not to discard the authority of the revealed words, not to deny or contend with the authoritative interpretation, and not to engage in controversy; rather they should offer their thoughts as a contribution to knowledge, making it clear that their views are merely their own.

131. approach not the public pools of Persian baths ¶106

Bahá’u’lláh prohibits the use of the pools found in the traditional public bathhouses of Persia. In these baths it was the custom for many people to wash themselves in the same pool and for the water to be changed at infrequent intervals. Consequently, the water was discolored, befouled and unhygienic, and had a highly offensive stench.

132. Avoid ye likewise the malodorous pools in the courtyards of Persian homes ¶106

Most houses in Persia used to have a pool in their courtyard which served as a reservoir for water used for cleaning, washing and other domestic purposes. Since the water in the pool was stagnant and was not usually changed for weeks at a time, it tended to develop a very unpleasant odor.

133. It is forbidden you to wed your fathers’ wives. ¶107

Marriage with one’s stepmother is here explicitly prohibited. This prohibition also applies to marrying one’s stepfather. Where Bahá’u’lláh has expressed a law between a man and a woman it applies mutatis mutandis as between a woman and a man unless the context should make this impossible.

‘Abdu’l‑Bahá and Shoghi Effendi confirmed that, while stepmothers are the only category of relatives mentioned in the text, this does not mean that all other unions within a family are permissible. Bahá’u’lláh states that it devolves upon the House of Justice to legislate “concerning the legitimacy or otherwise of marrying one’s relatives” (Q&A 50). ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá has written that the more distant the blood relationship between the couple the better, since such marriages provide the basis for the physical well-being of humanity and are conducive to fellowship among mankind.

134. the subject of boys ¶107

The word translated here as “boys” has, in this context, in the Arabic original, the implication of pederasty. Shoghi Effendi has interpreted this reference as a prohibition on all homosexual relations.

The Bahá’í teachings on sexual morality center on marriage and the family as the bedrock of the whole structure of human society and are designed to protect and strengthen that divine institution. Bahá’í law thus restricts permissible sexual intercourse to that between a man and the woman to whom he is married.

In a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi it is stated:

No matter how devoted and fine the love may be between people of the same sex, to let it find expression in sexual acts is wrong. To say that it is ideal is no excuse. Immorality of every sort is really forbidden by Bahá’u’lláh, and homosexual relationships He looks upon as such, besides being against nature. To be afflicted this way is a great burden to a conscientious soul. But through the advice and help of doctors, through a strong and determined effort, and through prayer, a soul can overcome this handicap.

Bahá’u’lláh makes provision for the Universal House of Justice to determine, according to the degree of the offense, penalties for adultery and sodomy (Q&A 49).

135. To none is it permitted to mutter sacred verses before the public gaze as he walketh in the street or marketplace ¶108

This is an allusion to the practice of certain clerics and religious leaders of earlier Dispensations who, out of hypocrisy and affectation, and in order to win the praise of their followers, would ostentatiously mutter prayers in public places as a demonstration of their piety. Bahá’u’lláh forbids such behavior and stresses the importance of humility and genuine devotion to God.

136. Unto everyone hath been enjoined the writing of a will. ¶109

According to the Teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, the individual has a duty to write a will and testament, and is free to dispose of his estate in whatever manner he chooses (see note 38).

Bahá’u’lláh affirms that in drawing up his will “a person hath full jurisdiction over his property,” since God has permitted the individual “to deal with that which He hath bestowed upon him in whatever manner he may desire” (Q&A 69). Provisions are set out in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas for the distribution of inheritance in the case of intestacy. (See notes 3848.)

137. the Most Great Name ¶109

As explained in note 33, the Greatest Name of God can take various forms, all based on the word “Bahá.” The Bahá’ís in the East have implemented this injunction of the Aqdas by heading their wills with such phrases as “O Thou Glory of the All-Glorious,” “In the name of God, the All-Glorious” or “He is the All-Glorious” and the like.

138. All Feasts have attained their consummation in the two Most Great Festivals, and in the two other Festivals that fall on the twin days ¶110

This passage establishes four great festivals of the Bahá’í year. The two designated by Bahá’u’lláh as “the two Most Great Festivals” are, first, the Festival of Riḍván, which commemorates Bahá’u’lláh’s Declaration of His Prophetic Mission in the Garden of Riḍván in Baghdád during twelve days in April/May 1863 and is referred to by Him as “the King of Festivals” and, second, the Báb’s Declaration, which occurred in May 1844 in Shíráz. The first, ninth and twelfth days of the Festival of Riḍván are Holy Days (Q&A 1), as is the day of the Declaration of the Báb.

The “two other Festivals” are the anniversaries of the births of Bahá’u’lláh and the Báb. In the Muslim lunar calendar these fall on consecutive days, the birth of Bahá’u’lláh on the second day of the month of Muḥarram 1233 A.H. (12 November 1817), and the birth of the Báb on the first day of the same month 1235 A.H. (20 October 1819), respectively. They are thus referred to as the “Twin Birthdays” and Bahá’u’lláh states that these two days are accounted as one in the sight of God (Q&A 2). He states that, should they fall within the month of fasting, the command to fast shall not apply on those days (Q&A 36). Given that the Bahá’í calendar (see notes 26 and 147) is a solar calendar, it remains for the Universal House of Justice to determine whether the Twin Holy Birthdays are to be celebrated on a solar or lunar basis3.

139. the first day of the month of Bahá ¶111

In the Bahá’í calendar the first month of the year and the first day of each month are given the name “Bahá.” The day of Bahá of the month of Bahá is thus the Bahá’í New Year, Naw-Rúz, which was ordained by the Báb as a festival and is here confirmed by Bahá’u’lláh (see notes 26 and 147).

In addition to the seven Holy Days ordained in these passages of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, the anniversary of the Martyrdom of the Báb was also commemorated as a Holy Day in the lifetime of Bahá’u’lláh and, as a corollary to this, ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá added the observance of the Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh, making nine Holy Days in all. Two other anniversaries which are observed, but on which work is not suspended, are the Day of the Covenant and the anniversary of the Passing of ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá. See the section on the Bahá’í calendar in The Bahá’í World, volume XVIII.

140. The Most Great Festival is, indeed, the King of Festivals ¶112

A reference to the Riḍván Festival (see notes 107 and 138).

141. God had formerly laid upon each one of the believers the duty of offering before Our throne priceless gifts from among his possessions. Now … We have absolved them of this obligation. ¶114

This passage abrogates a provision of the Bayán which decreed that all objects unparalleled of their kind should, upon the appearance of Him Whom God will make manifest, be rendered unto Him. The Báb explained that, since the Manifestation of God is beyond compare, whatever is peerless in its kind should rightfully be reserved for Him, unless He decrees otherwise.

142. the hour of dawn ¶115

With reference to attending dawn prayers in the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, the Bahá’í House of Worship, Bahá’u’lláh has explained that, although the actual time specified in the Book of God is “the hour of dawn,” it is acceptable at any time from “the earliest dawn of day, between dawn and sunrise, or even up to two hours after sunrise” (Q&A 15).

143. These Tablets are embellished with the seal of Him Who causeth the dawn to appear, Who lifteth up His voice between the heavens and the earth. ¶117

Bahá’u’lláh repeatedly affirms the absolute integrity of His Writings as the Word of God. Some of His Tablets also bear the mark of one of His seals. The Bahá’í World, volume V, p. 4, contains a photograph of a number of Bahá’u’lláh’s seals.

144. It is inadmissible that man, who hath been endowed with reason, should consume that which stealeth it away. ¶119

There are many references in the Bahá’í Writings which prohibit the use of wine and other intoxicating drinks and which describe the deleterious effect of such intoxicants on the individual. In one of His Tablets, Bahá’u’lláh states:

Beware lest ye exchange the Wine of God for your own wine, for it will stupefy your minds, and turn your faces away from the Countenance of God, the All-Glorious, the Peerless, the Inaccessible. Approach it not, for it hath been forbidden unto you by the behest of God, the Exalted, the Almighty.

‘Abdu’l‑Bahá explains that the Aqdas prohibits “both light and strong drinks,” and He states that the reason for prohibiting the use of alcoholic drinks is because “alcohol leadeth the mind astray and causeth the weakening of the body.”

Shoghi Effendi, in letters written on his behalf, states that this prohibition includes not only the consumption of wine but of “everything that deranges the mind,” and he clarifies that the use of alcohol is permitted only when it constitutes part of a medical treatment which is implemented “under the advice of a competent and conscientious physician, who may have to prescribe it for the cure of some special ailment.”

145. turn your faces toward Him Whom God hath purposed, Who hath branched from this Ancient Root ¶121

Bahá’u’lláh here alludes to ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá as His Successor and calls upon the believers to turn towards Him. In the Book of the Covenant, His Will and Testament, Bahá’u’lláh discloses the intention of this verse. He states: “The object of this sacred verse is none other except the Most Mighty Branch.” The “Most Mighty Branch” is one of the titles conferred by Bahá’u’lláh on ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá. (See also notes 66 and 184.)

146. In the Bayán it had been forbidden you to ask Us questions. ¶126

The Báb forbade His followers to ask questions of Him Whom God will make manifest (Bahá’u’lláh), unless their questions were submitted in writing and pertained to subjects worthy of His lofty station. See Selections from the Writings of the Báb.

Bahá’u’lláh removes this prohibition of the Báb. He invites the believers to ask such questions as they “need to ask,” and He cautions them to refrain from posing “idle questions” of the kind which preoccupied “the men of former times.”

147. The number of months in a year, appointed in the Book of God, is nineteen. ¶127

The Bahá’í year, in accordance with the Badí‘ calendar, consists of nineteen months of nineteen days each, with the addition of certain intercalary days (four in an ordinary year and five in a leap year) between the eighteenth and nineteenth months in order to adjust the calendar to the solar year4. The Báb named the months after certain attributes of God. The Bahá’í New Year, Naw-Rúz, is astronomically fixed, coinciding with the March equinox (see note 26). For further details, including the names of the days of the week and the months, see the section on the Bahá’í calendar in The Bahá’í World, volume XVIII.

148. the first hath been adorned with this Name which overshadoweth the whole of creation ¶127

In the Persian Bayán, the Báb bestowed the name “Bahá” on the first month of the year (see note 139).

149. The Lord hath decreed that the dead should be interred in coffins ¶128

In the Bayán, the Báb prescribed that the deceased should be interred in a coffin made of crystal or polished stone. Shoghi Effendi, in a letter written on his behalf, explained that the significance of this provision was to show respect for the human body which “was once exalted by the immortal soul of man.”

In brief, the Bahá’í law for the burial of the dead states that it is forbidden to carry the body for more than one hour’s journey from the place of death; that the body should be wrapped in a shroud of silk or cotton, and on its finger should be placed a ring bearing the inscription “I came forth from God, and return unto Him, detached from all save Him, holding fast to His Name, the Merciful, the Compassionate”; and that the coffin should be of crystal, stone or hard fine wood. A specific Prayer for the Dead (see note 10) is ordained, to be said before interment. As affirmed by ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá and the Guardian, this law precludes cremation of the dead. The formal prayer and the ring are meant to be used for those who have attained the age of maturity, i.e. 15 years of age (Q&A 70).

With regard to the material from which the coffin is to be made, the spirit of the law is that coffins should be of as durable a material as possible. Hence, the Universal House of Justice has explained that, in addition to the materials specified in the Aqdas, there is no objection to using the hardest wood available or concrete for the casket. For the present, the Bahá’ís are left free to make their own choices in this matter.

150. the Point of the Bayán ¶129

The “Point of the Bayán” is one of the titles by which the Báb referred to Himself.

151. the deceased should be enfolded in five sheets of silk or cotton ¶130

In the Bayán, the Báb specified that the body of the deceased should be wrapped in five sheets of silk or cotton. Bahá’u’lláh confirmed this provision and added the stipulation that for “those whose means are limited a single sheet of either fabric will suffice.”

When asked whether the “five sheets” mentioned in the law referred to “five full-length shrouds” or “five cloths which were hitherto customarily used,” Bahá’u’lláh responded that the intention is the “use of five cloths” (Q&A 56).

Concerning the way in which the body should be wrapped, there is nothing in the Bahá’í Writings to define how the wrapping of the body is to be done, either when “five cloths” are used or only “a single sheet.” At present, the Bahá’ís are free to use their judgment in the matter.

152. It is forbidden you to transport the body of the deceased a greater distance than one hour’s journey from the city ¶130

The intention of this command is to limit the duration of the journey to one hour’s time, irrespective of the means of transport that are chosen to carry the body to the burial site. Bahá’u’lláh affirms that the sooner the burial takes place, “the more fitting and acceptable will it be” (Q&A 16).

The place of death may be taken to encompass the city or town in which the person passes away, and therefore the one hour’s journey may be calculated from the city limits to the place of burial. The spirit of Bahá’u’lláh’s law is for the deceased to be buried near where he or she dies.

153. God hath removed the restrictions on travel that had been imposed in the Bayán. ¶131

The Báb decreed certain restrictions on travel which were to remain in force until the advent of the Promised One of the Bayán, at which time the believers were instructed to set out, even if on foot, to meet Him, since the attainment of His presence was the fruit and purpose of their very existence.

154. Raise up and exalt the two Houses in the Twin Hallowed Spots, and the other sites wherein the throne of your Lord … hath been established. ¶133

Bahá’u’lláh identifies the “two Houses” as His House in Baghdád, designated by Him as the “Most Great House,” and the House of the Báb in Shíráz, both of which have been ordained by Him as sites of pilgrimage. (See Q&A 29, 32 and note 54.)

Shoghi Effendi explained that “the other sites wherein the throne of your Lord … hath been established” refers to those places where the Person of the Manifestation of God has resided. Bahá’u’lláh states that “the people of the areas where these are situated may choose to preserve either each house” wherein He resided, “or one of them” (Q&A 32). Bahá’í institutions have identified, documented, and where possible, acquired and restored a number of the historical sites associated with the Twin Manifestations.

155. Take heed lest ye be prevented by aught that hath been recorded in the Book from hearkening unto this, the Living Book ¶134

The “Book” is the record of the revealed Word of the Manifestations of God. The “Living Book” is a reference to the Person of the Manifestation.

These words contain an allusion to a statement of the Báb in the Persian Bayán about the “Living Book,” which He identifies as Him Whom God will make manifest. In one of His Tablets Bahá’u’lláh Himself states: “The Book of God hath been sent down in the form of this Youth.”

In this verse of the Aqdas, and again in paragraph 168 of the Aqdas, Bahá’u’lláh refers to Himself as the “Living Book.” He cautions the “followers of every other Faith” against seeking “reasons in their Holy Books” for refuting the utterances of the “Living Book.” He admonishes the people not to allow what has been recorded in the “Book” to prevent them from recognizing His Station and from holding fast to what is in this new Revelation.

156. tribute to this Revelation, from the Pen of Him Who was My Herald ¶135

The “tribute” that Bahá’u’lláh quotes in this passage is from the Arabic Bayán.

157. “The Qiblih is indeed He Whom God will make manifest; whenever He moveth, it moveth, until He shall come to rest.” ¶137

For a discussion of this verse see notes 7 and 8.

158. It is unlawful to enter into marriage save with a believer in the Bayán. Should only one party to a marriage embrace this Cause, his or her possessions will become unlawful to the other ¶139

The passage of the Bayán which Bahá’u’lláh here quotes draws the attention of the believers to the imminence of the coming of “Him Whom God will make manifest.” Its prohibition of marriage with a non-Bábí and its provision that the property of a husband or wife who embraced the Faith could not lawfully pass to the non-Bábí spouse were explicitly held in abeyance by the Báb, and were subsequently annulled by Bahá’u’lláh before they could come into effect. Bahá’u’lláh, in quoting this law, points to the fact that, in revealing it, the Báb had clearly anticipated the possibility that the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh would rise to prominence before that of the Báb Himself.

In God Passes By Shoghi Effendi points out that the Bayán “should be regarded primarily as a eulogy of the Promised One rather than a code of laws and ordinances designed to be a permanent guide to future generations.” “Designedly severe in the rules and regulations it imposed,” he continues, “revolutionizing in the principles it instilled, calculated to awaken from their age-long torpor the clergy and the people, and to administer a sudden and fatal blow to obsolete and corrupt institutions, it proclaimed, through its drastic provisions, the advent of the anticipated Day, the Day when ‘the Summoner shall summon to a stern business,’ when He will ‘demolish whatever hath been before Him, even as the Apostle of God demolished the ways of those that preceded Him’” (see also note 109).

159. The Point of the Bayán ¶140

One of the titles of the Báb.

160. Verily, there is none other God besides Me ¶143

The Bahá’í Writings contain many passages that elucidate the nature of the Manifestation and His relationship to God. Bahá’u’lláh underlines the unique and transcendent nature of the Godhead. He explains that “since there can be no tie of direct intercourse to bind the one true God with His creation” God ordains that “in every age and dispensation a pure and stainless Soul be made manifest in the kingdoms of earth and heaven.” This “mysterious and ethereal Being,” the Manifestation of God, has a human nature which pertains to “the world of matter” and a spiritual nature “born of the substance of God Himself.” He is also endowed with a “double station”:

The first station, which is related to His innermost reality, representeth Him as One Whose voice is the voice of God Himself … The second station is the human station, exemplified by the following verses: “I am but a man like you.” “Say, praise be to my Lord! Am I more than a man, an apostle?”

Bahá’u’lláh also affirms that, in the spiritual realm, there is an “essential unity” between all the Manifestations of God. They all reveal the “Beauty of God,” manifest His names and attributes, and give utterance to His Revelation. In this regard, He states:

Were any of the all-embracing Manifestations of God to declare: “I am God!” He, verily, speaketh the truth, and no doubt attacheth thereto. For it hath been repeatedly demonstrated that through their Revelation, their attributes and names, the Revelation of God, His name and His attributes, are made manifest in the world.

While the Manifestations reveal the names and attributes of God and are the means by which humanity has access to the knowledge of God and His Revelation, Shoghi Effendi states that the Manifestations should “never … be identified with that invisible Reality, the Essence of Divinity itself.” In relation to Bahá’u’lláh, the Guardian wrote that the “human temple that has been the vehicle of so overpowering a Revelation” is not to be identified with the “Reality” of God.

Concerning the uniqueness of Bahá’u’lláh’s station and the greatness of His Revelation, Shoghi Effendi affirms that the prophetic statements concerning the “Day of God,” found in the Sacred Scriptures of past Dispensations, are fulfilled by the advent of Bahá’u’lláh:

To Israel He was neither more nor less than the incarnation of the “Everlasting Father,” the “Lord of Hosts” come down “with ten thousands of saints”; to Christendom Christ returned “in the glory of the Father”; to Shí‘ah Islám the return of the Imám Ḥusayn; to Sunní Islám the descent of the “Spirit of God” (Jesus Christ); to the Zoroastrians the promised Sháh-Bahrám; to the Hindus the reincarnation of Krishna; to the Buddhists the fifth Buddha.

Bahá’u’lláh describes the station of “Divinity” which He shares with all the Manifestations of God as

…the station in which one dieth to himself and liveth in God. Divinity, whenever I mention it, indicateth My complete and absolute self-effacement. This is the station in which I have no control over mine own weal or woe nor over my life nor over my resurrection.

And, regarding His own relationship to God, He testifies:

When I contemplate, O my God, the relationship that bindeth me to Thee, I am moved to proclaim to all created things “verily I am God!”; and when I consider my own self, lo, I find it coarser than clay!

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