The Kitáb-i-Aqdas - The Most Holy Book
Index term: Humility
n3.
We have enjoined obligatory prayer upon you
In Arabic, there are several words for prayer. The word "salát", which appears here in the original, refers to a particular category of prayers, the recitation of which at specific times of the day is enjoined on the believers. To differentiate this category of prayers from other kinds, the word has been translated as "obligatory prayer".
Bahá'u'lláh states that "obligatory prayer and fasting occupy an exalted station in the sight of God" (Q&A 93). 'Abdu'l-Bahá affirms that such prayers are "conducive to humility and submissiveness, to setting one's face towards God and expressing devotion to Him", and that through these prayers "man holdeth communion with God, seeketh to draw near unto Him, converseth with the true Beloved of his heart, and attaineth spiritual stations".
The Obligatory Prayer (see note 9) referred to in this verse has been superseded by the three Obligatory Prayers later revealed by Bahá'u'lláh (Q&A 63). The texts of the three prayers currently in use, together with instructions regarding their recital, are to be found in this volume in Some Texts Supplementary to the Kitáb-i-Aqdas.
A number of the items in Questions and Answers deal with aspects of the three new Obligatory Prayers. Bahá'u'lláh clarifies that the individual is permitted to choose any one of the three Obligatory Prayers (Q&A 65). Other provisions are elucidated in Questions and Answers, numbers 66, 67, 81, and 82.
The details of the law concerning obligatory prayer are summarized in section IV.A.1.-17. of the Synopsis and Codification.
n135.
To none is it permitted to mutter sacred verses before the public gaze as he walketh in the street or marketplace
This is an allusion to the practice of certain clerics and religious leaders of earlier Dispensations who, out of hypocrisy and affectation, and in order to win the praise of their followers, would ostentatiously mutter prayers in public places as a demonstration of their piety. Bahá'u'lláh forbids such behaviour and stresses the importance of humility and genuine devotion to God.
n168.
Ye have been prohibited from making use of pulpits. Whoso wisheth to recite unto you the verses of his Lord, let him sit on a chair placed upon a dais
These provisions have their antecedent in the Persian Bayán. The Báb forbade the use of pulpits for the delivery of sermons and the reading of the Text. He specified, instead, that to enable all to hear the Word of God clearly, a chair for the speaker should be placed upon a platform.
In comments on this law, 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi have made it clear that in the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár (where sermons are prohibited and only the words of Holy Scripture may be read) the reader may stand or sit, and if necessary to be better heard, may use a low moveable platform, but that no pulpit is permitted. In the case of meetings in places other than the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, it is also permissible for the reader or speaker to sit or stand, and to use a platform. In one of His Tablets, when reiterating the prohibition of the use of pulpits in any location, 'Abdu'l-Bahá has stressed that when Bahá'ís deliver their speeches in gatherings, they are to do so in an attitude of utmost humility and self-abnegation.