Saturday, 22 March 2008

Ali Kuli Khan translation

Recently, a reader emailed me and pointed out that the Ishraqat, which contains the passage about infallibility that I discussed in my last entry, was translated by Ali Kuli Khan. He was also able to tell me that the translation is available online at:

At the beginning of this document, there is a notice saying that the document was digitised in 2007 for Microsoft by the Internet Archive. It goes on to say that anyone can use it for non-commercial purposes. The site also has several other Baha'i-related historical documents of interest to scholars. The document contains translations of other tablets also, including Tablet of Tarazat, Tablet of the World, Words of Paradise, Tablet of Tajalleyat, and Glad Tidings.

The Ali Kuli Khan translation accords with Sen's translation in that the second sentence uses the word "one" in the lower case, indicating that infallibility applies to anyone whom God has guarded against error and not just the manifestation (which the Taherzadeh translation implies).

"Know thou, verily, there are numerous meanings and divers stations for 'Infallibility.' In one sense, the name 'Infallibility' is true of one whom God hath guarded against error. Likewise, the name 'Infallibility' is true of every one whom God has guarded against sin, transgression and unbelief, infidelity, polytheism and the like." p12 of Ishraqat

For comparison, here again is Sen's literal translation:

"Know that infallibility (`is.mat) has diverse meanings and stations. If God guards (`s.mahu) someone from slipping (az-zalal), God confers upon him this name (infallible) as a station (fii maqaam). Similarly if God has guarded someone from sin (khataa'), rebellion (`is.yaan), impiety (`iraaz), disbelief (kufr), joining partners with God (shirk) or the like, God grants each of them the name of 'infallibility.'"

And here again is the Taherzadeh translation from Tablets of Baha'u'llah:

"Know thou that the term 'Infallibility' hath numerous meanings and divers stations. In one sense it is applicable to the One Whom God hath made immune from error. Similarly it is applied to every soul whom God hath guarded against sin, transgression, rebellion, impiety, disbelief and the like." (Baha'u'llah: Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p 108)