The Koranic Roots of Some Legal and Theological Terms in the Kitab-i-Aqdas

By Kamran Ekbal

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #2
Bahá'í­ National Center: Wilmette, Illinois, USA
March 25–27, 1994
(see list of papers from #2)


    Great similarities exist between the Kitáb-i-Aqdas and the Koran, not only in relation to matters of style and structure but also in using legal terms and theological termini technici of Koranic origin. Many passages of the Aqdas are formulated in an allegorical style containing "hidden pearls ... enshrined within them' (Aq. 136) and 'pearls of mysteries" on which we are called upon to ponder (Aq. 137, 182). Without a direct reference to the Koran, the connotations of many passages of the Aqdas will remain superficial. The permission lo attire yourselves in silk' (Aq. 159) and 'to make use of vessels of silver and gold" (Aq. 46) or to "seat yourselves on chairs and benches" (Aq. 154) has thus a much deeper sense of meaning which can be revealed only through checking their Koranic backgrounds. It is only then that a new magnificent scenario may be envisioned, entailing a completely different idea that the general and literal meaning of the passages

    To understand the Aqdas properly and to enable research to be done even by non-Arabic-speaking scholars, a list of key words of its original Arabic legal and theological terms would be therefore indispensable. Whereas all those legal terms dominating divine laws and ordinances used in the Aqdas with an abundance and variety in their individual meanings (amr/awámír, hadd, hudúd, hukm/ahkám, and sunna/sunan as well as the two singular terms 'ahd and námús) were dealt with in the annual meeting of the German-speaking A.B.S. at Landegg Academy, 24-27 September 1993, many more terms will be dealt with in the Wilmette session. Some examples will be the terms `árifín and asfiyá, badí', bayt, burhán, darra, dhikr, hayd, and 'idda (concerning the waiting period for women), Haqq and Huqúqulláh, khalq, huja, 'isma (infallibility), etc.

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