130 Whoso Interpreteth What Hath Been Sent Down From The Heaven Of
Revelation, and altereth its evident meaning 105
In several of His Tablets, Baha'u'llah 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, Baha'u'llah designated 'Abdu'l-Baha,
His eldest Son, as His Successor and the Interpreter of His Teachings.
'Abdu'l-Baha 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-Baha and Shoghi Effendi are considered divinely
guided and are binding on the Baha'is.
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 Baha'i 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.
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