Relationship of the Laws of the Kitab-i-Aqdas to the Laws of the Bayan of the Bab

By Jeff Simmonds

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #5
Bahá'í National Center: Wilmette, Illinois, USA
March 31 – April 2, 1995
(see list of papers from #5)

    This paper discusses the relationship of the legislation of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas to that of the Persian Bayán. My thesis is that Bahá'u'lláh was not an innovative legislator, but derived His laws from the laws of the Báb. Furthermore, all of the laws of the Bayán were codified in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, both positive and negative commands, and abrogations of the laws of previous dispensations. The only exceptions were laws that the Báb Himself declared were only temporary, put in place to prepare the way for the coming of Him Whom God Will Make Manifest, that is, Bahá'u'lláh. The laws of the Bayán that were temporary in nature, such as the prohibition on studying dead languages or grammar, were abrogated not by Bahá'u'lláh, but by His declaration that He was He Whom God Will Make Manifest, at which time such laws became redundant. The only other laws that were not carried over from the Bábí to the Bahá'í dispensation were those that gave Him Whom God Will Make Manifest special respect, such as the law that everyone should rise when the name of Him. Whom God Will Make Manifest was mentioned. Such laws were abrogated by Bahá'u'lláh, as a sign of grace and mercy, and not because the laws of the Bayán were strange, unworkable or excessive.

    I conclude that a study and knowledge of the Bayán is essential in order to understand Bahá'u'lláh's Most Holy Book, and that there is a strong degree of continuity between it and the Bayán from which it is clearly derived.

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