About the Kitab Iqan

eQuality
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Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2015 8:57 am

About the Kitab Iqan

Postby eQuality » Fri Aug 14, 2015 1:59 am

I have read something on the internet, that makes me want to find out more about this book. There are some question in my mind, some things, I can't understand.

1. This anti Bahai books claims, that the original first page of the Iqan contains many grammar errors. I can't speak farsi. Are these really errors, or is it just a wierd kind of style?

https://books.google.ch/books?id=LWLBAw ... rs&f=false

2. The book also claims, that because of these errors, the Iqan got changed by Baha'u'llah. Do the authors lie? Is the first page of the Iqan, written by Abdul Baha really different, than the official Kitab Iqan right now? And why is the original manuscript from Abdul Baha hidden from the public? It does not seem so hard, to scan a book..

I thought, that a big plus in the Bahai faith is, that we have all the original manuscripts. But if there are two versions of the Kitab Iqan (One with wierd grammar and inaccurate Quran quotes, and one with normal grammar and accurate Quran quotes), and one of them is hidden from the public, it seems strange to me.

brettz9
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Re: About the Kitab Iqan

Postby brettz9 » Fri Aug 14, 2015 3:49 am

Hi and welcome,

I don't know the details on the provenance of the versions of the Iqan, but The Revelation of Baha'u'llah mentions this:

"The original copy of the Kitáb-i-Íqán, which Hájí Mírzá Siyyid Muhammad received, was transcribed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá Who was then eighteen years of age. In the margins of a few pages Bahá'u'lláh has, in His own hand, made some corrections..."

"For many years this original copy of the Kitáb-i-Íqán remained with the family of Hájí Mírzá Siyyid Muhammad, until in 1948 his great-granddaughter Fátimih Khánum-i-Afnán presented it to Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Faith. It reached him a few years later and was placed in the Bahá'í International Archives Building on Mount Carmel, Haifa."

(Revelation of Baha'u'llah, p. 158, at http://www.peyman.info/cl/Baha%27i/Othe ... .html#p158 )


I think Baha'u'llah's explanation ought to be sufficient:

"QUESTION: Concerning disparities between certain revealed verses.

"ANSWER: Many Tablets were revealed and dispatched in their original form without being checked and reviewed. Consequently, as bidden, they were again read out in the Holy Presence, and brought into conformity with the grammatical conventions of the people in order to forestall the cavils of opponents of the Cause. Another reason for this practice is that the new style inaugurated by the Herald, may the souls of all else but Him be offered up for His sake, was seen to be marked by substantial latitude in adherence to the rules of grammar; sacred verses therefore were then revealed in a style which is for the most part in conformity with current usage for ease of understanding and concision of expression."

(Bahá'u'lláh, Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Questions and Answers, no. 57)


The book cites some sources of Baha'u'llah to this effect, and similar statements are made by the Bab:

"If anyone should raise an objection to the grammar or syntax of these verses, this objection is vain, because the rules of grammar should be taken from the verses and not the verses written in compliance with the rules of grammar. There is no doubt that the Master of these verses denied these rules, denied that he, himself, was ever aware of them." ("Le Bayan Persan," vol. 1, pp. 45-46.)


`Describe orally, if you speak the truth,' the Nizamu'l-'Ulama' requested, `the proceedings of this gathering in language that will resemble the phraseology of the verses of the Qur'an so that the Vali-'Ahd and the assembled divines may bear witness to the truth of your claim.' The Bab readily acceded to his wish. No sooner had He uttered the words, `In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate, praise be to Him who has created the heaven and the earth,' than Mulla Muhammad-i-Mamaqani interrupted and called His attention to all infraction of the rules of grammar. `This self-appointed Qa'im of ours,' he cried in haughty scorn, `has at the very start of his address betrayed his ignorance of the most rudimentary rules of grammar!' `The Qur'an itself,' pleaded the Bab, `does in no wise accord with the rules and conventions current amongst men. The Word of God can never be subject to the limitations of His creatures. Nay, the rules and canons which men have adopted have been deduced from the text of the Word of God and are based upon it. These men have, in the very texts of that holy Book, discovered no less than three hundred instances of grammatical error, such as the one you now criticise. Inasmuch as it was the Word of God, they had no other alternative except to resign themselves to His will.'(1)
"He then repeated the same-words He had uttered, to which Mulla Muhammad raised again the same objection. Shortly after, another person ventured to put this question to the Bab: `To which tense does the word Ishtartanna belong?' In answer to him, the Bab quoted this verse of the Qur'an: `Far be the glory of thy Lord, the Lord of all greatness, from what they impute to Him, and peace be upon His Apostles! And praise be to God, the Lord of the worlds.' Immediately after, He arose and left the gathering."(2)
The Nizamu'l-'Ulama' was sorely displeased at the manner in which the meeting had been conducted. "How shameful," he was heard to exclaim later, "is the discourtesy of the people of Tabriz! What could possibly be the connection between these idle remarks and the consideration of such weighty, such momentous issues?"

(Dawn-Breakers, pp. 317-319)


There is no contradiction to the notion that God's Manifestation may at times demand that people follow the standard of style (which some perceive as ungrammatical) which He sets, and also may at other times, make accommodations for the people by modifying the grammar in such relatively unimportant matters.

Even linguists today do not tend to focus much on prescriptive rules of grammar, as they recognize that language is dynamically created and changes (regardless of rules asserted in dictionaries, even when there are national institutions which try to preserve one "official" version of the language), and instead prefer to describe how people actually use language.

Maybe this quote may be of interest:

In considering the whole field of divinely conferred "infallibility" one must be careful to avoid the literal understanding and petty-mindedness that has so often characterised discussions of this matter in the Christian world. The Manifestation of God (and, to a lesser degree, 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi,) has to convey tremendous concepts covering the whole field of human life and activity to people whose present knowledge and degree of understanding are far below His. He must use the limited medium of human language against the limited and often erroneous background of His audience's traditional knowledge and current understanding to raise them to a wholly new level of awareness and behaviour. It is a human tendency, against which the Manifestation warns us, to measure His statements against the inaccurate standard of the acquired knowledge of mankind. We tend to take them and place them within one or other of the existing categories of human philosophy or science while, in reality, they transcend these and will, if properly understood, open new and vast horizons to our understanding.

(On behalf of the Universal House of Justice, at http://bahai-library.com/uhj_infallibility_abdulbaha )

eQuality
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Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2015 8:57 am

Re: About the Kitab Iqan

Postby eQuality » Fri Aug 14, 2015 6:58 am

Thank you very much for your answer.

"The original copy of the Kitáb-i-Íqán, which Hájí Mírzá Siyyid Muhammad received, was transcribed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá Who was then eighteen years of age. In the margins of a few pages Bahá'u'lláh has, in His own hand, made some corrections..."


Yes, but I read, that this version is not the current official version of the Iqan. Later Baha'u'llah changed the grammar and Quran quotes, and someone else wrote it down. That is the Iqan, we have today, and the one from Badul Baha is not open to the public. That's what I read, it would be nice if someone could tell me more about it. For example compare the first page of Abdul Bahas Iqan, with the first page of the current official Iqan.

There is no contradiction to the notion that God's Manifestation may at times demand that people follow the standard of style (which some perceive as ungrammatical) which He sets, and also may at other times, make accommodations for the people by modifying the grammar in such relatively unimportant matters.


Thinking about it, this seems like a valid point. The first version of the Iqan was written to a single believer and his family. So maybe there are other standards to apply. Maybe the masses would need the book in another form.


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