The Kitáb-i-Aqdas - The Most Holy Book
Index term: exemptions from, under Obligatory Prayer(s)
k10.
We have commanded you to pray and fast from the beginning of maturity; this is ordained by God, your Lord and the Lord of your forefathers. He hath exempted from this those who are weak from illness or age, as a bounty from His Presence, and He is the Forgiving, the Generous. God hath granted you leave to prostrate yourselves on any surface that is clean, for We have removed in this regard the limitation that had been laid down in the Book; God, indeed, hath knowledge of that whereof ye know naught. Let him that findeth no water for ablution repeat five times the words "In the Name of God, the Most Pure, the Most Pure", and then proceed to his devotions. Such is the command of the Lord of all worlds. In regions where the days and nights grow long, let times of prayer be gauged by clocks and other instruments that mark the passage of the hours. He, verily, is the Expounder, the Wise.
k13.
God hath exempted women who are in their courses from obligatory prayer and fasting. Let them, instead, after performance of their ablutions, give praise unto God, repeating ninety-five times between the noon of one day and the next "Glorified be God, the Lord of Splendour and Beauty". Thus hath it been decreed in the Book, if ye be of them that comprehend.
k13.
God hath exempted women who are in their courses from obligatory prayer and fasting. Let them, instead, after performance of their ablutions, give praise unto God, repeating ninety-five times between the noon of one day and the next "Glorified be God, the Lord of Splendour and Beauty". Thus hath it been decreed in the Book, if ye be of them that comprehend.
k14.
When travelling, if ye should stop and rest in some safe spot, perform ye -- men and women alike -- a single prostration in place of each unsaid Obligatory Prayer, and while prostrating say "Glorified be God, the Lord of Might and Majesty, of Grace and Bounty". Whoso is unable to do this, let him say only "Glorified be God"; this shall assuredly suffice him. He is, of a truth, the all-sufficing, the ever-abiding, the forgiving, compassionate God. Upon completing your prostrations, seat yourselves cross-legged -- men and women alike -- and eighteen times repeat "Glorified be God, the Lord of the kingdoms of earth and heaven". Thus doth the Lord make plain the ways of truth and guidance, ways that lead to one way, which is this Straight Path. Render thanks unto God for this most gracious favour; offer praise unto Him for this bounty that hath encompassed the heavens and the earth; extol Him for this mercy that hath pervaded all creation.
k14.
When travelling, if ye should stop and rest in some safe spot, perform ye -- men and women alike -- a single prostration in place of each unsaid Obligatory Prayer, and while prostrating say "Glorified be God, the Lord of Might and Majesty, of Grace and Bounty". Whoso is unable to do this, let him say only "Glorified be God"; this shall assuredly suffice him. He is, of a truth, the all-sufficing, the ever-abiding, the forgiving, compassionate God. Upon completing your prostrations, seat yourselves cross-legged -- men and women alike -- and eighteen times repeat "Glorified be God, the Lord of the kingdoms of earth and heaven". Thus doth the Lord make plain the ways of truth and guidance, ways that lead to one way, which is this Straight Path. Render thanks unto God for this most gracious favour; offer praise unto Him for this bounty that hath encompassed the heavens and the earth; extol Him for this mercy that hath pervaded all creation.
n14.
He hath exempted from this those who are weak from illness or age
The exemption of those who are weak due to illness or advanced age from offering the Obligatory Prayers and from fasting is explained in Questions and Answers. Bahá'u'lláh indicates that in "time of ill-health it is not permissible to observe these obligations" (Q&A 93). He defines old age, in this context, as being from seventy (Q&A 74). In answer to a question, Shoghi Effendi has clarified that people who attain the age of seventy are exempt, whether or not they are weak.
Exemption from fasting is also granted to the other specific categories of people listed in the Synopsis and Codification, section IV.B.5. See notes 20, 30 and 31 for additional discussion.
n20.
God hath exempted women who are in their courses from obligatory prayer and fasting.
Exemption from obligatory prayer and fasting is granted to women who are menstruating; they should, instead, perform their ablutions (see note 34) and repeat 95 times a day between one noon and the next, the verse "Glorified be God, the Lord of Splendour and Beauty". This provision has its antecedent in the Arabic Bayán, where a similar dispensation was granted.
In some earlier religious Dispensations, women in their courses were considered ritually unclean and were forbidden to observe the duties of prayer and fasting. The concept of ritual uncleanness has been abolished by Bahá'u'lláh (see note 106).
The Universal House of Justice has clarified that the provisions in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas granting exemptions from certain duties and responsibilities are, as the word indicates, exemptions and not prohibitions. Any believer is, therefore, free to avail himself or herself of an applicable exemption if he or she so wishes. However, the House of Justice counsels that, in deciding whether to do so or not, the believer should use wisdom and realize that Bahá'u'lláh has granted these exemptions for good reason.
The prescribed exemption from obligatory prayer, originally related to the Obligatory Prayer consisting of nine rak'ahs, is now applicable to the three Obligatory Prayers which superseded it.
n20.
God hath exempted women who are in their courses from obligatory prayer and fasting.
Exemption from obligatory prayer and fasting is granted to women who are menstruating; they should, instead, perform their ablutions (see note 34) and repeat 95 times a day between one noon and the next, the verse "Glorified be God, the Lord of Splendour and Beauty". This provision has its antecedent in the Arabic Bayán, where a similar dispensation was granted.
In some earlier religious Dispensations, women in their courses were considered ritually unclean and were forbidden to observe the duties of prayer and fasting. The concept of ritual uncleanness has been abolished by Bahá'u'lláh (see note 106).
The Universal House of Justice has clarified that the provisions in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas granting exemptions from certain duties and responsibilities are, as the word indicates, exemptions and not prohibitions. Any believer is, therefore, free to avail himself or herself of an applicable exemption if he or she so wishes. However, the House of Justice counsels that, in deciding whether to do so or not, the believer should use wisdom and realize that Bahá'u'lláh has granted these exemptions for good reason.
The prescribed exemption from obligatory prayer, originally related to the Obligatory Prayer consisting of nine rak'ahs, is now applicable to the three Obligatory Prayers which superseded it.
n21.
When travelling, if ye should stop and rest in some safe spot, perform ye -- men and women alike -- a single prostration in place of each unsaid Obligatory Prayer
Exemption from obligatory prayer is granted to those who find themselves in such a condition of insecurity that the saying of the Obligatory Prayers is not possible. The exemption applies whether one is travelling or at home, and it provides a means whereby Obligatory Prayers which have remained unsaid on account of these insecure circumstances may be compensated for.
Bahá'u'lláh has made it clear that obligatory prayer "is not suspended during travel" so long as one can find a "safe spot" in which to perform it (Q&A 58).
Numbers 21, 58, 59, 60, and 61 in Questions and Answers amplify this provision.
n21.
When travelling, if ye should stop and rest in some safe spot, perform ye -- men and women alike -- a single prostration in place of each unsaid Obligatory Prayer
Exemption from obligatory prayer is granted to those who find themselves in such a condition of insecurity that the saying of the Obligatory Prayers is not possible. The exemption applies whether one is travelling or at home, and it provides a means whereby Obligatory Prayers which have remained unsaid on account of these insecure circumstances may be compensated for.
Bahá'u'lláh has made it clear that obligatory prayer "is not suspended during travel" so long as one can find a "safe spot" in which to perform it (Q&A 58).
Numbers 21, 58, 59, 60, and 61 in Questions and Answers amplify this provision.
q21.
 
Question: Concerning the holy verse: "When travelling, if ye should stop and rest in some safe spot, perform ye . . . a single prostration in place of each unsaid Obligatory Prayer . . ."
Answer: This prostration is to compensate for obligatory prayer omitted in the course of travel, and by reason of insecure circumstances. If, at the time of prayer, the traveller should find himself at rest in a secure place, he should perform that prayer. This provision regarding the compensating prostration applieth both at home and on a journey.
q58.
 
Question: Concerning the blessed verse, "When travelling, if ye should stop and rest in some safe spot, perform ye . . . a single prostration in place of each unsaid Obligatory Prayer": is this compensation for the Obligatory Prayer missed by reason of insecure circumstances, or is obligatory prayer completely suspended during travel, and doth the prostration take its place?
Answer: If, when the hour of obligatory prayer arriveth, there be no security, one should, upon arrival in safe surroundings, perform a prostration in place of each Obligatory Prayer that was missed, and after the final prostration, sit cross-legged and read the designated verse. If there be a safe place, obligatory prayer is not suspended during travel.
q58.
 
Question: Concerning the blessed verse, "When travelling, if ye should stop and rest in some safe spot, perform ye . . . a single prostration in place of each unsaid Obligatory Prayer": is this compensation for the Obligatory Prayer missed by reason of insecure circumstances, or is obligatory prayer completely suspended during travel, and doth the prostration take its place?
Answer: If, when the hour of obligatory prayer arriveth, there be no security, one should, upon arrival in safe surroundings, perform a prostration in place of each Obligatory Prayer that was missed, and after the final prostration, sit cross-legged and read the designated verse. If there be a safe place, obligatory prayer is not suspended during travel.
q59.
 
Question: If, after a traveller hath stopped and rested it is the time for obligatory prayer, should he perform the prayer, or make the prostration in its stead?
Answer: Except in insecure circumstances omission of the Obligatory Prayer is not permissible.
q60.
 
Question: If, due to missed Obligatory Prayers, a number of prostrations are required, must the verse be repeated after each compensating prostration or not?
Answer: It is sufficient to recite the designated verse after the last prostration. The several prostrations do not require separate repetitions of the verse.
q61.
 
Question: If an Obligatory Prayer be omitted at home, is it to be compensated for by a prostration or not?
Answer: In answer to previous questions it was written: "This provision regarding the compensating prostration applieth both at home and on a journey."
q93.
 
Question: Concerning fasting and obligatory prayer by the sick.
Answer: In truth, I say that obligatory prayer and fasting occupy an exalted station in the sight of God. It is, however, in a state of health that their virtue can be realized. In time of ill-health it is not permissible to observe these obligations; such hath been the bidding of the Lord, exalted be His glory, at all times. Blessed be such men and women as pay heed, and observe His precepts. All praise be unto God, He who hath sent down the verses and is the Revealer of undoubted proofs!