"People of the Bayan" in the Aqdas

Nov 2015
279
France
#1
Hello.


I remember a long time ago, when I hear a professor in Islamology criticizing contemporary translations of the Quran. He said that every Arabic word was translated into Western languages, at the exception of the word 'Islam', which was not.

The untranslation of this word changes a lot our understanding of the Book of Muhammad. Example :

3:85

Whoever seeks a faith other than Islam, it will never be accepted from him, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers.

=/=

Whoever seeks a faith other than submission to the One God, it will never be accepted from him, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers.

Now, I have noticed there is something that appear similar in the Book of Aqdas : the word Bayan. Bayan in English means 'explanation' [of a Scripture]. But as it is the name of the book revealed by the Bab, it is considered as a 'person' and not translated.

However, the places where the expression 'people of the Bayan' appear is related to verses dealing with scholarship.


1.137

O people of the Bayán! Fear ye the Most Merciful and consider what He hath revealed in another passage.

---->

O people of the Explanation! Fear ye the Most Merciful and consider what He hath revealed in another passage.

1.140

O people of the Bayán, I adjure you by your Lord, the God of mercy, to look with the eye of fairness upon this utterance which hath been sent down through the power of truth, and not to be of those who see the testimony of God yet reject and deny it.

---->

O people of the Explanation, I adjure you by your Lord, the God of mercy, to look with the eye of fairness upon this utterance which hath been sent down through the power of truth, and not to be of those who see the testimony of God yet reject and deny it.

1.176

O people of the Bayán! We, verily, set foot within the School of God when ye lay slumbering; and We perused the Tablet while ye were fast asleep. By the one true God! We read the Tablet ere it was revealed, while ye were unaware, and We had perfect knowledge of the Book when ye were yet unborn. These words are to your measure, not to God’s. To this testifieth that which is enshrined within His knowledge, if ye be of them that comprehend; and to this the tongue of the Almighty doth bear witness, if ye be of those who understand. I swear by God, were We to lift the veil, ye would be dumbfounded.

---->

O people of the Explanation! We, verily, set foot within the School of God when ye lay slumbering; and We perused the Tablet while ye were fast asleep. By the one true God! We read the Tablet ere it was revealed, while ye were unaware, and We had perfect knowledge of the Book when ye were yet unborn. These words are to your measure, not to God’s. To this testifieth that which is enshrined within His knowledge, if ye be of them that comprehend; and to this the tongue of the Almighty doth bear witness, if ye be of those who understand. I swear by God, were We to lift the veil, ye would be dumbfounded.

Interesting isn't it. It's as if the expression 'people of Bayan' (those who explain the Book) was written before a verse mentionning the reflection on the Scriptures of God and their meanings.

What's your opinion ?
 
Last edited:
Oct 2014
1,762
Stockholm
#2
Oh, one GoaForce can ask enough questions to throw a whole Bahá'í community into confusion. :)

But please go on. This is interesting.

gnat
 
Nov 2015
279
France
#3
Also, I would like to underline that the verse that precedes 1.176 is this one (1.175) :

O Pen of the Most High! Move Thou upon the Tablet at the bidding of Thy Lord, the Creator of the Heavens, and tell of the time when He Who is the Dayspring of Divine Unity purposed to direct His steps towards the School of Transcendent Oneness; haply the pure in heart may gain thereby a glimpse, be it as small as a needle's eye, of the mysteries of Thy Lord, the Almighty, the Omniscient, that lie concealed behind the veils. Say: We, indeed, set foot within the School of inner meaning and explanation when all created things were unaware. We saw the words sent down by Him Who is the All-Merciful, and We accepted the verses of God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting, which He¹ presented unto Us, and hearkened unto that which He had solemnly affirmed in the Tablet. This we assuredly did behold. And We assented to His wish through Our behest, for truly We are potent to command. 176 O people of the Explanation! We, verily, set foot within the School of God

What is the Arabic word used here ?
> We, indeed, set foot within the School of inner meaning and explanation

Thank you.

EDIT : chiasma structure between 175 and 176 :

175 : we set foot in the School of God + explanation
176 : explanation + we set foor in the School of God
 
Last edited:
Dec 2015
378
N Ireland
#5
Surely "people of the explanation " refers to people who have received an explanation ?perhaps an explanation of hoe we are to worship God and live our lives as Baha'is?
 
Nov 2015
279
France
#6
Surely "people of the explanation " refers to people who have received an explanation ?perhaps an explanation of hoe we are to worship God and live our lives as Baha'is?
I don't know. It may be much more profound than that.


Remember : the Mahdi is the Hidden Knowledge. It is concealed by God until its Return.
Now that the Mahdi is returned, he delivers the Bayan (the Explanation) of what was Concealed.

There are two aspects of the Bab's revelation :
_before its appearance, knowledge that is concealed by the veils of mysteries
_since his appearance, knowledge that becomes accessible to the whole humanity.

The People of the Bayan are those who make apparent what was concealed. The Imam of Concealment has become the Imam of Knowledge, and the veils have become floodlights.

This movement can be seen in the life of the Bab. In the first years of his praching, he said : him who does not practice dissimulation is not of my folk. Later, he said : proclaim the Truth all around the world.

I think that this Explanation proceeds from the Unveiling initiated by the Bab.
 
Sep 2010
1,297
Canada
#7
The Translations of Baha'I Texts into English was initiated by Shoghi Effendi. Later, the Baha'I Translators followed His patterns of Translation.

People are free and welcomed to have their own interpretations though.
 
Nov 2015
65
.
#9
It makes no difference whether we write the word Islam or translate it to submission instead. Likewise, it makes no difference whether we use the word Bayan or translate it to explanation instead. A difference could have only arisen if some other word (excluding their respective translations) would have been used instead of Islam or Bayan at their specific places. It becomes clear if you see the usage of Islam and Muslim in the Qur'an.

Islam literally means submission and a Muslims literally means the one who submits. The Qur'an uses the word Islam for the Muhammadan religion many times, consider the famous verse of Al-Ma'idah for example: "This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam (الاسلام) as religion". (5:3)

But the Qur'an also used the term Muslim for Prophets (and their followers) before Muhammad as in the following verse: And recite to them the news of Noah, when he said to his people, "O my people, if my residence and my reminding of the signs of Allah has become burdensome upon you - then I have relied upon Allah . So resolve upon your plan and [call upon] your associates. Then let not your plan be obscure to you. Then carry it out upon me and do not give me respite. And if you turn away [from my advice] then no payment have I asked of you. My reward is only from Allah , and I have been commanded to be of the (المسلمين) Muslims." (10:71-72)

And verse 2:127-128: And [mention] when Abraham was raising the foundations of the House and [with him] Ishmael, [saying], "Our Lord, accept [this] from us. Indeed You are the Hearing, the Knowing. Our Lord, and make us Muslims (مسلمين) [in submission] to You and from our descendants a Muslim nation (امة مسلمة) [in submission] to You. And show us our rites and accept our repentance. Indeed, You are the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful.

It makes clear beyond doubt that the Qur'an uses the term Islam and Muslim in a broad sense that includes all of the previous nations that were submissive to God until their set term: And for every nation is a [specified] term. So when their time has come, they will not remain behind an hour, nor will they precede [it]. (7:34)

If you translate the word Islam to submissive and Muslim to one who is submissive then it makes no difference other than losing the specific meaning which the Qur'an uses it for as elaborated by the verses above. Islam means submission to God when used in the Qur'an and Muslim means who is submissive to God when used in the Qur'an.

Similarly, the word bayan means exposition or utterance in Arabic, and there are also instances in the Writings where it refers to the entirety of the Bab’s revelation. (Nader Saiedi, Gate of the Heart, p.262) The Book of Certitude (The Kitab-i-Iqan) is the completion of the Persian Bayan and its revelation fulfilled the Bab’s prophecy that Him Whom God will make manifest, namely Baha’u’llah, would complete the Bab’s Mother Book. Bayan is the specific utterance of The Bab and the people of Bayan are, obviously, the people who hold that specific Bayan of The Bab. It makes sense to use the word Bayan, as it is, instead of translating because simply it gives more meaning to it.
 
Last edited:
Nov 2015
279
France
#10
It makes no difference whether we write the word Islam or translate it to submission instead.
The difference, my friend, is real, as it lies in the intention of the translator.
The fact that this word alone is left untranslated shows Islam not as a universal truth, but as a cultural product.

As you underlined it, Islam is not a simple word, but here, it is oversimplified.

Because the Truth is that, by maintaining the word Islam in Arabic, the translators translate Islam into Islam. There is a translation of a most subtle degree.

It makes sense to use the word Bayan
Did I say the otherwise ?

Bayan is the specific utterance of The Bab and the people of Bayan are, obviously, the people who hold that specific Bayan of The Bab.
Only that ?
 

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