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Can we change terms of a revealed prayer ?

Posted: Mon Sep 19, 2005 6:46 am
by moyo

I've always think that we could take a revealed prayer and change some words in it to adapt it to a particular situation. For example I thuoght we could, change a pronoun like "he" by "she" or a pronoun by a name while saying a prayer.

But yesterday some friends told that, according to the Guardian, it is not appropriate to change terms of a prayer (for a pronoun we didn't talk about). And that we can just think about someone while saying the prayer.

Can someone give me a text about this question ? Or a personnal feeling ?

Thank you

Posted: Mon Sep 19, 2005 10:47 am
by Baha'i Warrior
Well, obviously you can't change the prayer. Look, if 'Abdu'l-Baha revealed a prayer a certain way, and you change some words, can you really say 'Abdu'l-Baha revealed that prayer? No, certainly you cannot. So, if you change some words in a prayer while you are saying it, don't think that you just prayed 'Abdu'l-Baha's prayer. You prayed your own prayer. Just like a Christian who thanks Jesus for the blessings He has given him before he eats dinner; in other words, a prayer that it not so serious.

I've seen people in Baha'i meetings—especially feminists—change the "he" to "she" every time they said a prayer, or a Tablet, and I'm sure it annoyed the hell out of everyone there. The way the prayer is revealed is the way you are to say it, period. It is understood that he means she also, so get over it. The Writings, I'm sure a lot of people would agree with me, would have lost their effect if every sentence had a he/she/it for the pronoun, or even just a she by itself. It's not "chauvinistic" or whatever to use he as a pronoun, that is just proper English, which happens to be the default pronoun.

So, Moyo, any feeble "personal feelings" a Baha'i may have are irrelevant and meaningless especially if they are in contradiction with the Writings, and, therefore, there is no need for them to be expressed. Not to sound harsh or anything, but we already have the Word of God and we do not need anyone's "politically correct" thoughts or impressions.


As to the quote you wanted:
As to whether or not it is appropriate for a female to substitute the words "daughter of" for "son of" when reciting the Long Obligatory Prayer, we provide the following extract from a letter dated 31 August 1997, written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice. The letter addresses this specific issue:
"With respect to your question as to whether it is permissible for a female in reciting the Long Obligatory Prayer to say, "I am Thy handmaiden, O my Lord, and the daughter of Thy handmaiden", you are correct in your understanding that the Guardian did not wish Baha'is to change the gender of pronouns and nouns in the revealed prayers. The following excerpt from a letter dated 14 January 1947 written on his behalf makes this clear:"

'In regard to the question you asked him: As Baha'u'llah Himself specified, in the long prayer for the dead, that the gender could be changed and "his" said for "her", etc., it is permissible to do it - nay obligatory - but in all other prayers, including those for the dead, we must adhere to the exact text and not change the gender.'

"The House of Justice does not feel it appropriate to change Shoghi Effendi's usage of certain nouns in his translations. The challenge, therefore, is to accept the use of pronouns and of certain nouns such as "son" and "servant" in their generic sense, which will lead one to view the matter in terms of a spiritual response, rather than one of semantics."

Posted: Mon Sep 19, 2005 1:04 pm
by moyo
Thank you very much indeed.

Posted: Mon Sep 19, 2005 1:26 pm
by Baha'i Warrior
moyo wrote:Thank you very much indeed.

Sure thing 8)

Bonjour moyo

Posted: Wed Sep 21, 2005 12:40 am
by majnun
Cher moyo:

N'oubliez pas que parrfois, certain mots traduits
en français ou en anglais, ont plusieurs sens en arabe
et en persan.

Récemment, avec un groupe marocain, nous avons
discuté du terme "fourbe" employé dans la tablette "Ahmad".
Après maintes vérification avec les dictionnaires et
les avis des participants, nous avons conclu que "fourbe" était
inaproprié, et que le mot "menteur" était plus proche du sens
original voulu.

Alors, les mots sont les mots,
et les actions sont les actions ?

Allez hop, bonne journée !