Contradictions Part 4 – Equality Of Men & Women

Q12. Did `Abdu’l-Bahā Say Men Can Only Have One Wife?

`Abdu’l-Bahā: Men cannot have two wives.

“It is not permissible for a man to have more than one wife,”

Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, The Kitābi Aqdas, p. 206.

`Abdu’l-Bahā: Whoever claims I have said men cannot have two wives is a liar.

“Concerning polygamy, this has been decreed and will not be abrogated. `Abdu’l-Bahā has not abrogated this law and [accusation of abrogation] is a lie [made up] by the friends. What I said is that He has made polygamy bound on the precondition of justice . . . Such false accusations (meaning charges that `Abdu’l-Bahā prohibited bigamy) are the whisperings of those who wish to induce doubts and [see] how much they are making matters ambiguous. The purpose was to state that polygamy without justice is not allowed and that justice is very difficult [to achieve].”


Q13. Equality of Rights or Having No Right to Be a Member of the Universal House of Justice?

`Abdu’l-Bahā: There is absolutely no distinction between the rights of men and women.

“Taking a second wife is made dependent upon equity and justice being upheld between the two wives, under all conditions.”

Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Payām-i malakūt, p. 232.

`Abdu’l-Bahā and Bahā’u’llāh: Women cannot be a member of the Universal House of Justice.

`Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Ganjīniy-i ḥudūd wa aḥkām, chap. 27, p. 219.


Q14. Equality of Rights or Distinction between Villagers and City-Dwellers?

`Abdu’l-Bahā: For justice to be served all must have equal rights.

“Justice implies that the rights of humankind be protected and preserved and all have equal rights,”

Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Payām-i malakūt, p. 30.

Bahā’u’llāh: Villagers have a dowry of silver and city-dwellers have a dowry of gold.

“No marriage may be contracted without payment of a dowry, which hath been fixed for city-dwellers at nineteen mithqāls 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. 207–208.


Q15. Is God’s Grace for All?

`Abdu’l-Bahā: We are all divine sheep and God has made no distinction between us.

“All humans are divine sheep and God is the kind shepherd who has utter compassion towards all the sheep and has made no distinction [between them],”

Reference: `Abdu’l-Bahā, Makātīb, vol. 3, p. 67.

God has made no distinction in any grace or mercy.

“The God of the world created all [humans] from clay and created everyone from one element, created all from one progeny, created all in one land, and created [all] under the shadow of one sky, has created them with common emotions, and did not put any differences. He created everyone the same and gives all sustenance, nurtures all, protects all, and is kind to all. He has put no differences in any grace or mercy,”

Reference:`Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Payām-i malakūt, p. 42.

`Abdu’l-Bahā: Some women have no share from God’s grace.

“Women are of two kinds. One kind are worldly who have no share from your Lord’s graces. And the other kind are spiritual who are like the pulse of an artery,”

Reference: Riyāḍ Qadīmī, Gulzār-i ta`ālim Bahā’ī, p. 284.


Q16. Why Did Bahā’u’llāh Have Three Wives?

Shoghi: He was following Islamic law.

“Bahā’u’llāh had no concubine, He had three legal wives. As He married them before the “Aqdas” (His book of laws) was revealed, He was only acting according to the laws of Islām, which had not yet been superseded. He made plurality of wives conditional upon justice; ‘Abdu’l-Bahā interpreted this to mean that a man may not have more than one wife at a time, as it is impossible to be just to two or more women in marriage (11 February 1944 to an individual believer).”

Shoghi: Ṭāhirih adopted the Bāb’s laws and openly denounced polygamy!

“She began to correspond with the Bāb and soon espoused all his ideas. She did not content herself with a passive sympathy but confessed openly the faith of her Master. She denounced not only polygamy but the use of the veil and showed her face uncovered in public to the great amazement and scandal of her family and of all the sincere Mussulmans but to the applause of many other fellow citizens who shared her enthusiasm and whose numbers grew as a result of her preaching,”

Reference: Nabīl Zarandī, The Dawn-Breakers: Nabīl’s Narrative of the Early Days of the Bahā’ī Revelation, p. 270 (footnote).

Note: Bahā’u’llāh married his second and third wives when he was a Bābī not Muslim!

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


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