Notes to Aqdas, Sentence #2

Jonah Winters' Notes:

1) Though both the authorized and the Elder editions translate amr as "Cause," my Hans Wehr dictionary does not offer this definition, giving instead "order, command, instruction; decree, imperative; power, authority."

2) The two terms which the authorized version translates as "Dayspring" and "Fountain"--mashriq and maTla`--are virtually identical in meaning. The root of mashriq refers equally to "east" and to "sun," and with the prefix of place, ma-, means the "place of the sunrise." The root of maTla` refers to ascendence and appearance, and with the prefix of place, ma-, means both the rising place of celestial bodies or the opening or beginning of something, as in a poem. In this fashion the authorized version renders the two "Dayspring" and "Fountain," resp., and in my literal version I chose "dawning-place"and "rising-place."

The repetition of synonyms in this fashion is a common feature of Baha'u'llah's Arabic. Diana Malouf, in her article "The Hidden Words of Baha'u'llah: Translation Norms" (The Vision of Shoghi Effendi, 1993, 129-140), addresses this feature in the first Arabic Hidden Word. Where Shoghi Effendi rendered it "...Possess a pure, kindly, and radiant heart, that thine may be a sovereignty ancient, imperishable, and everlasting," Baha'u'llah had written four different words which could be translated "always, permanent, eternal, ancient" [dA'im, bAqI, azal, qadIm]. As such repetition is not acceptable in English, Shoghi Effendi chose near- synonyms and only used three. ("The Hidden Words...," 137. Also discussed in her dissertation of the same name, 200-201, and its published form, Unveiling the Hidden Words....)

Earl Elder's Notes:

1: The word "world of command" is the unseen world of reality; the "world of creation" is the material world. E.G. Browne adds the following note (Journal of Royal Asiatic Society, 1889, p. 972): "The first thing necessary to men is that they should know Beha', the present `Manifestation' of God in the world, without which knowledge good actions are of no avail."

Kitab-i-Aqdas Multilinear Translation table of contents
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