November 29, 2014

The Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas – a talk by Ali Nakhjavani, Amherst, Massachusetts, USA, 1973

The Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, which the House of Justice has just published, was one of the goals of the Nine Year Plan, and this goal was carried over from the Ten Year Crusade of the beloved Guardian.

The book itself consists of four main divisions. In addition to the preface, there is an introduction written by the House of Justice which I consider to be extremely important, and I think that it should be the subject of a study by the friends. Then we have passages from the Kitab-i-Aqdas translated by Shoghi Effendi. No translations were included in this section by other translators, including the House of Justice itself, which has during the past years translated certain passages from the Aqdas and made them available to the friends. This section comprises only those passages that were translated by the Guardian at different times during his ministry. The next section is the synopsis and codification itself. Then there is a fourth section consisting of notes. These notes were written by the House of Justice; they were not originally envisaged in the original goals, and they have been given to the friends as an additional bonus. The House felt that these notes would be of interest to the friends and would help to clarify certain of the laws and ordinances of the Kitab-i-Aqdas.

Now, what the Book is not is a codification of [all] the Laws of Baha'u'llah. That will have to come later. What this book is, is exactly what its title states: A Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, the Most Holy Book of Baha'u'llah. In other words, it is a codification of the contents of one Book, not of the entire subject of Baha'i laws. These are two different things -- not the same. The time will come when we will have, I am sure, a codification of [all] the laws of Baha'u'llah -- the Laws of the Baha'i Faith. That is not what is here before us.

The way the Guardian had envisaged this was to present this to the friends in the West in a gradual way, and this is how it has been done. Just to give you an idea of what the codification of the laws would involve: the Kitab-i-Aqdas will have questions and answers, and, as it happens, the questions and answers have also been added in this book [not in the same format as in the 1993 edition of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, but more like notes regarding certain of the laws]. But it is not in the title. It will have to include the Kitab-i-Aqdas; the Questions and Answers; the Tablets of Baha'u'llah -- Himself elucidating certain laws -- questions that have been put to Him; Tablets of Baha'u'llah revealing subsidiary laws and ordinances to supplement the original laws; interpretations of 'Abdu'l-Baha; interpretations by Shoghi Effendi; and, any additional explanations and annotations that would be required to make the picture complete by giving background information about certain laws that relate, say, to previous Dispensations. That bigger subject requires a lot of work and research which was not envisaged from the very beginning by the Guardian, nor was it envisaged by the House of Justice when it gave it in the Nine Year Plan -- this goal of publishing the Synopsis and Codification.