Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Persian-speaking Bahá'ís are required to learn Arabic

Persian-speaking Bahá'ís are therefore required to learn Arabic to read the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, say their obligatory prayers or recite special prayers for the fast and other holy days. Establishing Arabic as a liturgical language among Persian-speaking Bahá'ís is not dissimilar to the insistence on the part of most Muslims that all believers read the Qur'án in Arabic, even if their first (or only) language is different.

Shoghi Effendi repeatedly urged the Iranian Bahá'ís to learn Arabic and to teach it to their children from an early age, primarily because the majority of the Bahá'í writings were revealed in that language.

The Guardian also believed that widespread competency in Arabic among the Bahá'ís in Iran would be beneficial to the community as a whole, presumably in terms of deepening knowledge and faith.

Shoghi Effendi's commitment to Arabic was no doubt largely based upon numerous pro-Arabic comments made by Bahá'u'lláh himself. Whilst Bahá'u'lláh felt Persian to be "sweeter" (ahlá) than Arabic, he believed Arabic to be the "better" or "more excellent" (ahsan) language.

Bahá'u'lláh went so far as to say that all should learn to speak Arabic because it is the "most comprehensive" (absat) of the world's languages, and that although in this day the Tongue of God (Lisán'ulláh) has spoken in both Persian and Arabic, Persian has always been and – like all other languages – will ever be limited (mahdúd) and – by implication – inferior, to Arabic. 

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