The Kitáb-i-Aqdas - The Most Holy Book
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The number of laws binding on Bahá'ís is not increased by the publication of this translation. When it is deemed timely, the Bahá'í community will be advised which additional laws are binding upon believers, and any guidance or supplementary legislation necessary for their application will be provided.
In general, the laws of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas are stated succinctly. An example of this conciseness can be seen in the fact that many are expressed only as they apply to a man, but it is apparent from the Guardian's writings that, where Bahá'u'lláh has given a law as between a man and a woman, it applies mutatis mutandis between a woman and a man unless the context makes this impossible. For example, the text of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas forbids a man to marry his father's wife (i.e. his stepmother), and the Guardian has indicated that likewise a woman is forbidden to marry her stepfather. This understanding of the implications of the Law has far-reaching effects in light of the fundamental Bahá'í principle of the equality of the sexes, and should be borne in mind when the sacred Text is studied. That men and women differ from one another in certain characteristics and functions is an inescapable fact of nature and makes possible their complementary roles in certain areas of the life of society; but it is significant that 'Abdu'l-Bahá has stated that in this Dispensation "Equality of men and women, except in some negligible instances, has been fully and categorically announced."
Mention has already been made of the intimate relationship between the Kitáb-i-Aqdas and the Holy Books of previous Dispensations. Especially close is the relationship to the Bayán, the Book of Laws revealed by the Báb. It is elucidated in the following excerpts from letters written on behalf of the Guardian: