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Synopsis And Codification Of The Laws And Ordinances Of The Kitab-i-aqdas


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89 Beware That Ye Take Not Unto Yourselves More Wives Than Two

contenteth himself with a single partner from among the maidservants of
God, both he and she shall live in tranquillity. 63

While the text of the Kitab-i-Aqdas appears to permit bigamy, Baha'u'llah
counsels that tranquillity and contentment derive from monogamy. In
another Tablet, He underlines the importance of the individual's acting in
such a way as to bring comfort to himself and to his partner.
'Abdu'l-Baha, the authorized Interpreter of the Baha'i Writings, states
that in the text of the Aqdas monogamy is in effect enjoined. He
elaborates this theme in a number of Tablets, including the following:

Know thou that polygamy is not permitted under the law of God, for
contentment with one wife hath been clearly stipulated. Taking a
second wife is made dependent upon equity and justice being upheld
between the two wives, under all conditions. However, observance
of justice and equity towards two wives is utterly impossible. The
fact that bigamy has been made dependent upon an impossible
condition is clear proof of its absolute prohibition. Therefore it
is not permissible for a man to have more than one wife.

Polygamy is a very ancient practice among the majority of humanity. The
introduction of monogamy has been only gradually accomplished by the
Manifestations of God. Jesus, for example, did not prohibit polygamy, but
abolished divorce except in the case of fornication; Muhammad limited the
number of wives to four, but making plurality of wives contingent on
justice, and reintroducing permission for divorce; Baha'u'llah, Who was
revealing His Teachings in the milieu of a Muslim society, introduced the
question of monogamy gradually in accordance with the principles of wisdom
and the progressive unfoldment of His purpose. The fact that He left His
followers with an infallible Interpreter of His Writings enabled Him to
outwardly permit two wives in the Kitab-i-Aqdas but uphold a condition
that enabled 'Abdu'l-Baha to elucidate later that the intention of the law
was to enforce monogamy.

Next: 90 He Who Would Take Into His Service A Maid May Do So With Propriety #63

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