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.

13 We Have Commanded You To Pray And Fast From The Beginning Of Maturity #10 131 Approach Not The Public Pools Of Persian Baths #106 facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail