Repetitions of Prayers or Verses

General Guidance on Not Needing to Repeat Prayers
Repetition of Prayers or Verses not binding

"In relation to questions 13 and 14, we wish to note that in the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá, there are numerous examples of Their recommending to the friends that certain prayers and verses be recited at a certain time of day or a certain number of times. It is the view of the Research Department that, unless specified, such recommendations do not necessarily represent injunctions binding on all the friends."

    (Memorandum of the Research Department, dated 6 August 1997)

Reciting Any Prayer Nine Times not Required

"There is no obligation for a believer to recite always any prayer nine times. Ritualism is certainly to be avoided in all matters affecting Baha'i worship...."

    (From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, November 26, 1939, in Lights of Guidance, no. 1511)

Prayer for difficulty
No Instructions given for Repeating Prayers of the Bab for difficulty

"Concerning the prayer for difficulty revealed by the Bab: He wishes me to inform you that it is not accompanied by any instructions for its recital.[+F1 Written in response to a question as to how often this prayer should be repeated to produce the greatest results.]"

    (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, March 6, 1937, in Lights of Guidance, no. 1517)

Repetition of Remover of Difficulties 500 times not a regular observance

"On page 1 of your October News letter you have quoted the Bab's prayer for the removal of difficulties and have added: 'Baha'u'llah has said to repeat this prayer 500 times by day and by night that it may aid us to recognize Him and our souls will be illumined.'

"The above statement gives the impression that the repetition of the said prayer 500 times is one of the prescribed devotionals of the Faith, and has a specified effect on the believer who observes this form of prayer.

"We do not feel it is justified to infer such conclusions from the reference in 'God Passes By', page 119, which you mention. The passage in question obviously refers to a specific circumstance in the life of Baha'u'llah in Baghdad before the declaration of His Mission, and should not be presented to the believers as one of the prescribed observances of the Faith."

    (From a letter of the Universal House of Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly, November 24, 1971; quoted in Lights of Guidance, no. 1528, p. 466)

    `Bid them recite: "Is there any Remover of difficulties save God? Say: Praised be God! He is God! All are His servants, and all abide by His bidding!" Tell them to repeat it five hundred times, nay, a thousand times, by day and by night, sleeping and waking, that haply the Countenance of Glory may be unveiled to their eyes, and tiers of light descend upon them.'

        (Shoghi Effendi citing Nabíl citing Bahá'u'lláh in God Passes By, p. 119)

“God sufficeth...”
The ‘God sufficeth...” prayer not necessary to be repeated (114 times for 19 days)

"Regarding your questions: The Guardian feels it is not necessary to repeat the Bab's prayer so many times.[+F2 Written in response to a question about the repetition 114 times in the morning for 19 days of the prayer of the Bab, 'Say! God sufficeth all things above all things...']"

    (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, September 30, 1950, in Lights of Guidance, no. 1517)

[Foster's note: Because it is not necessary does not mean one cannot do it. However, there is a minimum of ritual in the Bahá’í Faith. The obligation of excessive (burdensome) repetitions common in some Ṣūfī orders has been eliminated. With the exception of the Greatest Name, Allāhu Abhā, and other specific instructions in prayers, the number of repetitions has been made an individual matter.]

Healing Prayer
No special ruling on how many repetitions to be said for the Healing Prayer

"Concerning the Healing Prayer, the Guardian wishes me to inform you that there is no special ruling for its recital. The believer is free to recite it as many times and in the way he wishes. There are also no obligatory prayers for the Fast. But there are some specific ones revealed by Baha'u'llah for that purpose."

    (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia and New Zealand, October 17, 1934)

Qur’ānic Reference to "Seven Verses" of Repetition

"We have already brought unto thee seven verses which are frequently to be repeated, and the glorious Koran." (Qur'án, Rodwell's translation)

    Sale states in his notes: "That is, the seven verses of Sura 1, p. 28. Others understand, the seven long Suras; or, the fifteen Suras which make a seventh of the whole; or, this Sura (Hedjr) as originally the seventh. Mathani is an allusion, according to some, to the frequency with which the fatthah is to be repeated; or, to the frequent repetitions of great truths, etc., in order to impress them on the memory of the hearer and reader; or, to the manner in which waid and wa'd, promises and threatenings, alternate and balance each other in the same or subsequent verses and Suras, in pairs. This verse and Sura x. 10 shew that a part at least of the Koran was known under that name and existed as a whole in the time of Muhammad. Geiger's interpretations at pp. 59, 60 (and in the note) seem very forced."

Repetitions Should be from the Heart (not "Vain")

"But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him."

    (Matthew, 6:7-8)