Dowry & Polygamy

Bahā’u’llāh says:

“No marriage may be contracted without payment of a dowry, which hath been fixed for city-dwellers at nineteen mithqāls (3.6 grams) of pure gold, and for village-dwellers at the same amount in silver. Whoso wisheth to increase this sum, it is
forbidden him to exceed the limit of ninety-five mithqāls. Thus hath the command been writ in majesty and power.”

Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, The Kitābi Aqdas, pp. 207-8

Why would a creed who preaches novelty in its laws and equality between men and women, ask men to pay dowry to women? Why not the opposite? If there is equality and no discrimination between the sexes then why should one party pay the other? Either, no side should pay the other, or both sides should pay equal amounts. How can a creed that cannot abide by its own laws of equality among its adherents,preach global equality of rights between men and women and between all races?

If according to Bahā’u’llāh’s second principle, God has made no distinction between people, then why should villagers be entitled to a dowry of silver but city-dwellers to a dowry of gold?


Even though Baha’is express opposition to polygamy, their leader was a polygamist and had three wives. Bahā’u’llāh even allowed his followers to have two wives and an unspecified number of virgins at their service:

“God hath prescribed matrimony unto you. Beware that ye take not unto yourselves more wives than two. Whoso contenteth himself with a single partner from among the maidservants of God, both he and she shall live in tranquillity. And he who would take into his service a maid may do so with propriety [He who takes a virgin to serve him it would be permissible for him].”

Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, The Kitābi Aqdas, p. 41

What we have quoted is the official Baha’i translation. Unfortunately the correct translation of the last sentence has been deliberately distorted. This is the original Arabic text: “man ‘ittakhadha bikran li khidmatih lā ba’sa `alayh.” Which translates to: “He who takes a virgin to serve him, there is no problem with that.” We have placed this in square brackets at the end of the quote.

Why do Baha’is distort their scripture? What are they trying to hide? How does it make sense to speak about taking a virgin for service—or a maid according to the flawed translation—in the middle of a discussion about marriage? Are wives solely seen as an instrument to perform house choirs who can be replaced with a serving virgin or maid? Or does one who cannot marry, can simply satisfy himself with a virgin who serves him?

The context of Bahā’u’llāh’s words when viewed within the undistorted translation, imply another meaning which we will leave to the readers to judge.

Courtesy: Twelve Principles – A Comprehensive Investigation on the Bahai Teachings




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