Multiple Fallacies in Translations of Baha'i Texts That Are Propagated by the Baha'i Administration

We have mentioned some of these errors in the previous chapters and will put forward some more samples here. Our first sample is from Paris Talks:

Why is there so much interest and eager sympathy shown towards these twenty individuals, while for five thousand persons there is none? [Because they are not French. If they are cut to pieces it is of no concern] They are all men, they all belong to the family of mankind, but they are of other lands and races. It is no concern of the disinterested countries if these men are cut to pieces, this wholesale slaughter does not affect them!
(Abdul Baha, Paris Talks, p. 115)

The section in brackets has been deleted in the English translation although it exists in the original Farsi sermon.
(Abdul Baha, Khatabat (Egypt), vol. 1, pp. 204-207)

Why? Maybe to hide Abdul Baha’s criticism of the French government? The rest of the translation has also been greatly distorted.

Here is another sample:
In formulating the principles and laws a part hath been devoted to penalties which form an effective instrument for the security and protection of men.
(Bahaullah, Tablets of Bahaullah Revealed After the Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 93)

The correct translation should be:
In the principles and laws there is a chapter on qisas (an eye-for-eye or law of retaliation) which is a cause of security and protection for the servants (of God).
(Bahaullah, Majmu`iyi az alwah Jamal Aqdas Abha ki ba`d az kitab Aqdas nazil shudih, 1st ed. (Langenhain [Germany]: Lajniyi Nashr Athar Amri Bi Zabanhayi Farsi Wa `Arabi, 137 B.), p. 53)

Another sample:
The unbelievers and the faithless have set their minds on four things: first, the shedding of blood [beheading]; second, the burning of books; third, the shunning of the followers of other religions; fourth, the extermination of other communities and groups
(Bahaullah, Tablets of Bahaullah Revealed After the Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 91)

Beheading has been translated to shedding blood probably to reduce the savagery in the Bab’s orders.

An example from the notes in the book of Aqdas:
In all the Divine Dispensations the eldest son hath been given extraordinary distinctions. Even the station of prophethood hath been his birthright.
(Bahaullah, The Kitabi Aqdas, p. 186-7)

This is the correct translation:
In all the Divine Dispensations the eldest son hath been given extraordinary distinctions. Even the Prophetic inheritances belonged to him.

The Prophetic inheritances (mirath nabuwwat) were the special belongings of the Prophets that could not be passed to ordinary people. Things such as Solomon’s Ring (Seal) or Moses’s Staff. These have nothing to do with the station of Prophethood that has been translated in the official Baha’i translation. Furthermore, none of these have been the birthright of the eldest son in previous dispensations.

The distortions in Official Baha’i translations are more than we can enumerate. The most appropriate statement that can describe these translations is a section from Professor Juan Cole’s response to the UHJ, when he was unjustly accused of wrongdoing when he had translated the Tablet of the Maiden to English:

Moreover, the Universal House of Justice's own translations, as represented in Tablets of Bahaullah and some of the compilations, are riddled with errors and mistranslations that give an extremely misleading impression of the intent of the original on a number of occasions. So it is not as if the UHJ's own record in translation work is spotless. Unfortunately, it is precisely the attitude of suspicion toward qualified academics and the rigidity of their preconceived opinions, evident in their letter on the Tablet of the Houri, that has caused them to so discount solid expertise and resulted in these many errors in their publications.

These translations that are riddled with flaws, errors, and distortions, have been distributed under the authorization of the Universal House of Justice and have been printed and redistributed by official Baha’i centers worldwide multiple times in the last century and in most cases no step has been taken whatsoever to correct them.

The articles have been based on the book "Avaze Dohol" - the Beating of the Drum by Masoud Basiti, Zahra Moradi.

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