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Switch to Forum Live View Religious Law In Baha'i
9 years ago  ::  Dec 31, 2008 - 7:45PM #11
Posts: 73
"...if God is really completely beyond human comprehension as Baha'u'llah taught, what use would he have for laws? You'd think he'd have some other way to work with us than laws."

While we do believe that God is unknowable by our own efforts,  we also believe He makes Himself known through HIs Manifestations ... 

We believe God loves us and will not leave us alone without Divine Guidance this is what we call the Eternal Covenant between God and man that we will not be left alone without guidance..

In some past religions the laws were concocted by priests and specialists who were so called religious experts and interpreted religion for the people, this is not the case in the Baha'i Faith, that is we have no professional clergy and we have the Divinely revealed laws with the interpretation of Abdul-Baha and the Beloved Guardian Shoghi Effendi.

Also we  have are the revealed words of the Manifestation for this day, Baha'u'llah and He has revealed to us laws and ordinances for this age...

Society needs standards and guidlines to function properly and what better way can we have this than through a revealed Source.  Also our Institutions such as the Universal House of Justice is empowered to provide guidence to impliment the laws in the future..

- Art
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9 years ago  ::  Jan 05, 2009 - 5:51PM #12
Posts: 105
there's something on my blog about the aqdas and more generally about what "religious law" is and what its for:

"The multi-layered nature of religious law and the jumble of its source texts are there because its purpose is to be the object of "study" as a religious practice, analogous to prayer and meditation and reciting the dhikr."

- that's only part of the story of course. Your mileage may vary
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9 years ago  ::  Mar 07, 2009 - 8:14AM #13
Posts: 105

Dec 31, 1969 -- 6:00PM, world citizen wrote:

Welcome to the forum, Sen McGlinn, and thanks for your input.  Could you give a brief description of "dhikr" for those unfamiliar with this devotional act.

dhikr means rememberance, in a religious context it means the remembrance of God. Dhikr is probably most familiar as a Sufi practice. It usually involves sitting, and reciting some of the names of God or a statement such as "there is no God but God" over and over, often accompanied by breathing patterns, patterns of movement or mental exercises.

Dhikr connects with Bahai in two ways: we have the obligatory daily practice of sitting and reciting Allah'u'abha 95 times, which is saying dhikr. And the plural of dhikr is adhkar, as in the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar, the Bahai house of worship, which is intended to be the centre of every Bahai community (it's not necessarily a physical building, just as the house of justice does not have to have a building to meet in). So where the Jews have the synagogue, the Christians the church, the Moslems the mosque, Bahais have at the centre of their religion a place-for-dhikr, the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar. That means that the religion is conceptualised as mystic in its essence, and it removes the possibility of the division between official religion and mystic practice that has troubled Islam and to a lesser extent Christianity and Judaism.

There's more on this in a compilation of texts and essays on the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar at:


Dhikr or remembrance in the Bahai writings refers to much more than just the Sufi devotional practice:

"Happy the days that have been consecrated to the remembrance of God (be dhikr-allah), and blessed the hours which have been spent in praise of Him (fi dhikr-hu) Who is the All-Wise."    (Aqdas k40; Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 138)


It seems to refer to living one's whole life in relationship to God:

"O rulers of America ... Adorn ye the temple of dominion with the ornament of justice and of the fear of God, and its head with the crown of the remembrance of your Lord, the Creator of the heavens."   (Shoghi Effendi, Citadel of Faith, p. 18)


and "the Remembrance of God" is a title of the Manifestation, and of Baha'u'llah in particular:

"With each and every Prophet, Whom We have sent down in the past," He [the Bab] further adds, "We have established a separate Covenant concerning the 'Remembrance of God' and His Day. Manifest, in the realm of glory and through the power of truth, are the 'Remembrance of God' and His Day..    (Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 126)


"Great is thy blessedness, O 'Akká, in that God hath made thee the dayspring of His Most Sweet Voice, and the dawn of His most mighty signs. Happy art thou in that the Throne of Justice hath been established upon thee, and the Daystar of God's loving-kindness and bounty hath shone forth above thy horizon. Well is it with every fair-minded person that hath judged fairly Him Who is the Most Great Remembrance, ...."     (Baha'u'llah, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 79)

"Unlock, O people, the gates of the hearts of men with the keys of the remembrance of Him Who is the Remembrance of God ...."    (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 296)






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9 years ago  ::  Mar 07, 2009 - 4:03PM #14
world citizen
Posts: 6,480

Sen_McGlinn ~

Excellent indepth response to such a simple question.  Thank you also for giving another way of looking at "Remembrance of God." 

Blessed is he who mingleth with all men in a spirit of utmost kindliness and love.  ~Baha'u'llah
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