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Old 11-23-2015, 10:35 AM   #1
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Question A Simple Question

my dear friends in forum
for three years now, since I have become a Baha'i, I have always been saying my daily obligatory prayers in English language, also the prayers for ablution and in fact alllll kinds of prayers. but yesterday I heard that it is said that daily obligatory prayers and ablution prayers must be uttered in Arabic. it made me a little sad because I am not that good in understanding Arabic language and if I say my prayers in Arabic, I can not understand what I am saying. do you know what is the truth? should we really pray only in Arabic? are there passages in our sacred scripture in which Bahaullah or Abdul Baha have talked about the matter?
 
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Old 11-23-2015, 10:44 AM   #2
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Dear Maryam,

I never heard you have to say it in Arabic. If you are more comfortable with English, that should be fine. Actually my Mom also says in English, eventhough her English is not that good but perhaps better than Arabic.

What I have heard is that, the Arabic Writings should not be translated to Farsi but Persian Friends should try learning the Arabics. That's the only thing.
I personally say it in Arabic though, I lived in Canada for almost 20 years

One thing I noted, and I am not saying this about your question, but generally there is so much negativity about Arabic Language in Iran. They believe Arabic was forcefully mixed with Farsi, and they don't like it and try to speak Farsi. So instead of saying Salam, they say Dorood.

Last edited by InvestigateTruth; 11-23-2015 at 10:47 AM.
 
Old 11-23-2015, 10:58 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by InvestigateTruth View Post
Dear Maryam,

I never heard you have to say it in Arabic. If you are more comfortable with English, that should be fine. Actually my Mom also says in English, eventhough her English is not that good but perhaps better than Arabic.

What I have heard is that, the Arabic Writings should not be translated to Farsi but Persian Friends should try learning the Arabics. That's the only thing.
I personally say it in Arabic though, I lived in Canada for almost 20 years

One thing I noted, and I am not saying this about your question, but generally there is so much negativity about Arabic Language in Iran. They believe Arabic was forcefully mixed with Farsi, and they don't like it and try to speak Farsi. So instead of saying Salam, they say Dorood.
thank you soooo much for your comforting answer
yes, the unfriendly reactions towards Arabic language in Iran is kind of funny to me. but I guess it is an old war; and not only against Arabic LANGUAGE but between Arabs and Persians as well. but I personally would have liked it if I knew Arabic (I knew only a little)- Baha'i students here in Iran have two courses of Arabic language in their special universities but we have no Arabic courses at university. the last time I had to learn Arabic was in my age of 13 when at school we had it and there I could learn nothing useful. for a country like Iran it is very important if people know Arabic; unfortunately we don't ...
thank you for the answer again
 
Old 11-23-2015, 11:08 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by maryamr View Post
... yesterday I heard that it is said that daily obligatory prayers and ablution prayers must be uttered in Arabic.
Have never heard that one...never; anywhere. If that was what Baha'u'llah wanted, He would have said so. He didn't; so pray in whatever language you wish...God understands them all!
 
Old 11-23-2015, 11:23 AM   #5
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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Dear Maryamr - I have not read anything like that in the book of Laws and that is where the requirement is now set.

Bahá'í Reference Library - The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Page 165

Regards Tony
 
Old 11-23-2015, 01:44 PM   #6
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Mary,

What you have heard is not exactly true. It is true, that the Guardian disallowed Persian translations for the Arabic texts; it seems Persian believers are burdened with reading Arabic. However, if you do not want to pray the obligatory prayer in Arabic, it is possible to use English or any other language the prayers are translated into.

Cheers
 
Old 11-23-2015, 04:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maryamr View Post
my dear friends in forum
for three years now, since I have become a Baha'i, I have always been saying my daily obligatory prayers in English language, also the prayers for ablution and in fact alllll kinds of prayers. but yesterday I heard that it is said that daily obligatory prayers and ablution prayers must be uttered in Arabic. it made me a little sad because I am not that good in understanding Arabic language and if I say my prayers in Arabic, I can not understand what I am saying. do you know what is the truth? should we really pray only in Arabic? are there passages in our sacred scripture in which Bahaullah or Abdul Baha have talked about the matter?
Beloved sister, I and many thousands of Baha'i around the world do not have one word of Arabic, therefore God accepts praise in whatever language we chose
 
Old 11-24-2015, 09:22 AM   #8
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thank you dear brother, Aidan Fadl Josh and Tony
 
Old 11-24-2015, 09:37 AM   #9
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That brought up another question, which have being nagging me for some time. It is about saying Allah’u’Abha 95 times everyday. I know the translation of course. But when I repeat the phrase it doesn’t mean anything to me. It is just a strange sequence of sounds. I don’t know why God wants me to say something I don’t understand. Any ideas?
Maybe when maryamr says prayers in Arabic instead of in English she will be more ‘enlightened’?
 
Old 11-24-2015, 09:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anton View Post
That brought up another question, which have being nagging me for some time. It is about saying Allah’u’Abha 95 times everyday. I know the translation of course. But when I repeat the phrase it doesn’t mean anything to me. It is just a strange sequence of sounds. I don’t know why God wants me to say something I don’t understand. Any ideas?
Maybe when maryamr says prayers in Arabic instead of in English she will be more ‘enlightened’?
Within your heart you are confirming "God is the Most Glorious" or "God is All-Glorious" 95 times.

It is something that if not instructed to do so, most of us would not, at least from a Western upbringing, it is strange to start with.

Over time the repetition IMHO becomes a heart felt longing as to what Faith and Service is meant and required by declaring this 95 times each day.
 
Old 11-24-2015, 01:12 PM   #11
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Quote:
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That brought up another question, which have being nagging me for some time. It is about saying Allah’u’Abha 95 times everyday. I know the translation of course. But when I repeat the phrase it doesn’t mean anything to me. It is just a strange sequence of sounds. I don’t know why God wants me to say something I don’t understand. Any ideas?
Maybe when maryamr says prayers in Arabic instead of in English she will be more ‘enlightened’?
It's also a beautiful mantra to assist meditation
 
Old 11-24-2015, 01:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
It is just a strange sequence of sounds. I don’t know why God wants me to say something I don’t understand. Any ideas?
Repeating God's name is a form of meditation. It insists more on vibration than on meaning. These sounds have been carefully chosen to produce a genuine effect. It's a mantra, as Aidan said.
 
Old 11-24-2015, 04:36 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anton View Post
That brought up another question, which have being nagging me for some time. It is about saying Allah’u’Abha 95 times everyday. I know the translation of course. But when I repeat the phrase it doesn’t mean anything to me. It is just a strange sequence of sounds. I don’t know why God wants me to say something I don’t understand. Any ideas?
Maybe when maryamr says prayers in Arabic instead of in English she will be more ‘enlightened’?
Anton,

This is a wonderful question, and I am sure many ask themselves this question. I used to wonder the same thing, but since them my notion of prayer has evolved and, through practicing this repetition, its importance has become clear to me.

The first thing that I believe is a helpful thing to consider, is that anything we do is for ourselves and not for God. God does not need our prayers, our praises, our repetitions or our words at all. If Baha'u'llah has asked us to repeat Alla'u'abha 95 times, it must have some benefit in it for us.

Over the years, I have found there are many different ways of practicing this, and each way seems to have its own benefits. For example, one way of doing it, is the quick and dirty way of just doing it. Perhaps tacking it on quickly at the end of one's obligatory prayer, for example. In this way, one may use finger counting, beads, a counting app, etc., but basically just does it quickly and gets it over with. This method may sound terrible, but, it is getting one's feet wet, and it is obedient. The fact that one is obedient to God even when it doesn't make a lot of sense, in my opinion, is a benefit and so this approach is not without value. Another approach, is to do it slowly, perhaps linked with breaths where one inhales and almost inaudibly pronounces Allah, and then, exhales slowly with abha. In this approach, it becomes a meditational, devotional exercise. There are many similar variations like this, but if you try them and practice them, over time, I think their worth becomes undeniably clear.

As far as saying this strange "allah'u'abha" phrase, it helps to remember it means "God is most glorious", but, more importantly, it is one of the names of God as manifested through Baha'u'llah. This last reason is why it is generally not translated, just as we do not generally translate names of people or places. For example, an English person named "Rose" would be called "Rose" in every country. Even though there is no doubt a word in the language of that country for "Rose" we would not translate it because it is a name. In the same way, Allah'u'abha (the most great name) is a name, and we do not translate it, even though it is no doubt peculiar to the ears of many.

Cheers
 
Old 11-24-2015, 11:37 PM   #14
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interesting question Aidan
I agree with Fadl in saying that whatever we do if for our benefit and not for God's benefit. but about your question I have an idea. I guess it is not important if you say Allaho Abhas in English yet I have heard that each vowel and each consonant in each language has a special effect on meditative state of the one who is repeating it. for example it is said that "OM" has a great meditative effect because of the vibration it produces in the inner ear. also the name "Allah" because of the H in it, if it is repeated with care and slowly slowly, you will feel the effect of repeating that H on and on as if it empties the inside of one's heart. for sometimes I used to say the 95 Allaho ABhas in English but the words in the English translation doesn't create that strong effect which the word Allah creates (and again I mention that it is because of the H in Allah). I have heard that the meditative mantras, most of them have either H or M in them because of the special vibration. now I think God will accept it from you even if you say the 95 Allaho ABhas in English yet for the sake of our own benefit maybe it is better to say it in Arabic to create that meditative state. I personally think about the meaning of Allaho Abha for each one time that I repeat it.
 
Old 11-25-2015, 01:21 AM   #15
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Thank you everyone for your input!
Fadl, I liked your text so much that if there is no objections from you I want to translate it into Russian and post on Internet that Russian friends may read it as well.
 
Old 11-25-2015, 01:42 AM   #16
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Thank you everyone for your input!
Fadl, I liked your text so much that if there is no objections from you I want to translate it into Russian and post on Internet that Russian friends may read it as well.
Anton,

Net problema, Anton! But please, do not translate my many typing errors into Russian, OK? Yours must be much better! Please share the translation with me so that I can pass it on to my wife. She is Russian and might enjoy seeing that.

Cheers
 
Old 11-25-2015, 05:40 AM   #17
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Anton,

Net problema, Anton! But please, do not translate my many typing errors into Russian, OK? Yours must be much better! Please share the translation with me so that I can pass it on to my wife. She is Russian and might enjoy seeing that.

Cheers
Fadl,

У вас русская жена - у меня тоже была русская жена, а у меня даже русско-шбедские деты: чудные котяата, любимцы папы.

gnat
 
Old 11-25-2015, 06:19 AM   #18
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There may be something to that whole sound and vibration thing. I don't know what it is, necessarily.

Some people believe that some chanted parts of the Rg Veda are chants that go back to our earliest existance as a modern human species. At the very least they are part of an extremely old series of oral traditions handed down, even of all the meanings are not entirely known.

When I was a Buddhist I used to do my chant of "Namo Amitabha Buddha" 108 times. It sounded better than "I bow to the Buddha of Infinite Light"

Christians, Jews and for all I know the few remaining Samaritans follow their prayers with "Amen" It's not a word I suspect many people think about, but there it is, this powerful word that is supposed to be there.

It also brings to mind Gregorian chanting in a dead language of Latin.


When I was a Buddhist we, the english speaking lay people of the local sangha, would meet and chant the Prajna Paramita Heart sutra as a group. Most of it was in English, but we did leave some words, especially at the beginning, in the original Sanskrit. I suppose it just worked better. In fairness, the Vietnamese speaking group sounded much better. Something about chanting in a tonal language is just so perfectly pitched and beautiful. I actually miss thpse group chants. we have nothing like it, really.

So in a roundabout way, I don't know why we do our 95 in Arabic, but it is fine with me, even if I do not handle the pronunciation very well. I just cut a few beats out of my old 108 bead string, and continue on with this, now with 95 beads.
 
Old 11-25-2015, 07:29 AM   #19
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Noogan, it reminded me Orthodox Christian tradition to do service in old Slavic language. Most Russians don’t understand anything except for a few words. I heard an explanation that it is done on purpose that people would have time to meditate and say their prayers while just follow the service but not concentrating too much on its meaning.

Also your words bring to memory verses from Bible about speaking languages…
 
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