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COLLECTIONProvisional translations
TITLETablet on Marriage (Lawh-i-Nikáh)
AUTHOR 1 Bahá'u'lláh
CONTRIB 1Denis MacEoin, trans.
NOTES Type copied from Rituals in Babism and Bahá'ísm (Pembroke Persian Papers Series: London, 1994), updated in 1999, and formatted for the web in 2001.
CONTENT [1] Thou hast asked concerning the laws of marriage and divorce. That which was sent down previously on this matter in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas hath been forwarded.[2] Likewise, a sermon (khutba)[3] hath been sent down from the heaven of divine oneness in this connection. After the consent of the two parties and the consent of the parents, they should present themselves in a gathering of the pious and recite this blessed sermon with the greatest joy and fragrance. After reading the khutba, the two beloved in one place should read these two blessed verses mentioned in the Bayán.[4] The two verses mentioned in the Bayán should be written down, after which the husband should hand the dowry to the wife and both of them should put their seals upon a sheet of paper, and the witnesses likewise. And if it be a place where the people are unable to read the sermon, it is no matter; the reading of the two verses is sufficient.[5]


[1] Source: ‘Amr va Khalq, Vol. IV, p. 157; Ganjinih Hudud p. 172 (See McGlinn, Sean. The Leiden List of the Works of Bahá'u'lláh., March, 1999). At this point, the date and recipient of this Tablet are unknown, but it was obviously written after the revelation of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. (MW's note).

[2] See KA 65, 66, 139, Q&A 3, 12, 13, 43, 46, 84, 92 (MW's note).

[3] See Bahá'í Prayers (Wilmette, 1973) pp. 186-7 (MW's note).

[4] For men: "We will all, verily, abide by the Will of God." For women: "We will all, verily, abide by the Will of God." See Kitáb-i-Aqdas Q&A 3. These two declarations differ slightly in the Arabic (MW's note).

[5] The Bahá'í marriage requirements and the ceremony, not surprisingly, has many affinities with what is prescribed in the Holy Qur’án and the Hadith of Muhammad. Marriage in Islám is a solemn covenent (See Qur’án 4:21) to which both partners must agree and it is revocable. There is some debate in Islám if marriage is obligatory or not. Also, as in Bahá'í marriage, the groom must give a marriage-gift (Mahr; i.e. a dowry) to the bride (Qur’án 4:4). However, the amount and form of the Mahr is not divinely specified, unlike in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. During the ceremony, the couple announce their willingness to enter into a marriage contract (though there is no specific Qur’ánic verse which is required). Current practice requires that the couple formally sign a marriage contract, and that it be witnessed by two sane adult witnesses. A Khutbah-nut-Nikáh (Marriage sermon) is then recited by the couple, consisting of the Shahadah (Islámic confession of Faith), three Qur’ánic verses (4:1, 3:102, 33:70-71) and the following Hadith: "By Alláh! Among all of you I am the most God-fearing, and among you all, I am the supermost to save myself from the wrath of Alláh, yet my state is that I observe prayer and sleep too. I observe fast and suspend observing them; I marry woman also. And he who turns away from my Sunnah has no relation with me" (Sahih Muslim, Book 8, No. 3236). This Hadith, was apparently often used by the Prophet during ceremonies. Also interesting to note, as can be seen in the following tradition from Mishkat, the Prophet, like ’Abdu’l-Bahá’, urged that marriage ceremonies should be simple: "The best wedding is that upon which the least trouble and expense is bestowed" (MW’s note).
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