Provisional Translation of the Persian Tablet of Aḥmad and a Review of Its Contents

By Foad Seddigh

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #130
Bosch Bahá'í­ School: Santa Cruz, California
May 22–25, 2015
(see list of papers from #130)

Next presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #132
Center for Bahá'í­ Studies: Acuto, Italy
July 2–5, 2015
(see list of papers from #132)

    The Persian Tablet of Aḥmad is one of the Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh revealed in Adrianople addressed to a person by the name Aḥmad who is a native of Káshán, a city in the Central Iran. It may not be regarded as a lengthy Tablet but it contains invaluable exhortations to its recipient, the people of the Bayan, as well as other people. The Guardian of the Bahá'í­ Faith selected certain paragraphs from this Tablet perhaps based on the suitability of their contents and then translated them into English. Such translated paragraphs appear, in scattered form, in the body of the authorized and authentic translation of the Bahá'í­ Scriptures in English. Since, the original sources for most of the small passages translated by the Guardian are not readily available, the author made an effort to search and to identify the Persian counterpart for those paragraphs of this Tablet translated by the Guardian. These passages constitute almost half of the Table. Then, translated passages were placed together in the same order as that appearing in the original Tablet. However, such paragraphs did not form a continuous text and presented many gaps in between these paragraphs which were to be filled by the author of this paper through the process of translation. Such task posed a challenge arising from the fact that the author's translation of the new passages required to be compatible with and conform to the style of the translation of the Guardian both in terms of the selection of words, and poetic expressions and sentence structure.

    The outcome of this endeavour were to be a wholesome translated text of the entire Tablet which would ensure that any reader of this Tablet could not distinguish between the styles of the two translations; otherwise such a reader would be confronted with two different styles of translation which would keep switching back and forth, an exercise which would ultimately defeat the purpose of the translation. Of course, this requirement is not unique to this translation alone and may be present in cases where a significant part of a Tablet is translated by the Guardian. The author is confident that such objectives are achieved in this case and the outcome of the translation is a text which exhibits smooth transition from one paragraph to another as anyone reads through the Tablet. In this paper the historical background for, and the circumstances which lead to, the revelation of this Tablet is reviewed and some of the concepts which characterise this Tablet are discussed.

this paper is not yet online