Baha’is Have Been Ordered to Learn Multiple Languages!

Bahā’u’llāh: “We have decreed before that it has been destined to speak with two tongues and a great effort must be put to limit this to one [tongue],”

Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Payām-i malakūt, p. 33.

`Abdu’l-Bahā says: “Make as much effort as possible to learn the Farsi language, for this language will soon be sanctified on all of earth and it will have great use in spreading the Breath of God, elevating the Word of God, and deducing the meanings of God’s verses.”

Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Payām-i malakūt, p. 114.

Bahā’u’llāh says: “God-willing, everyone will mention the Destination of the People of the World (probably referring to himself) by using the creative Farsi language, for this language has and will always be sweet.”

Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Payām-i malakūt, p. 111.

Apart from Farsi a great emphasis has also been placed on learning Arabic:

The beloved Guardian has stressed that the children and the youth of the friends must also learn the Arabic language and use this eloquent language to benefit from the tablets and blessed writings.

Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Ganjīniy-i ḥudūd wa aḥkām, chap. 25, p. 206.

Not content with this, Baha’is have been ordered to learn English and German:

The exalted decision of the beloved Guardian has been for the Baha’i youth to learn firstly English and secondly German and show the utmost effort and seriousness [in learning these languages].

Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Ganjīniy-i ḥudūd wa aḥkām, chap. 25, pp. 205–206.

And finally, `Abdu’l-Bahā advises his followers to teach children foreign languages without specifying what or how many languages:

And further, as well as in the ideals of character, instruction in such arts and sciences as are of benefit, and in foreign tongues.

Reference: Helen Bassett Hornby, Lights of Guidance: A Bahā’ī Reference File, chap. VIII, no. 494.

Thus an average Baha’i is expected to learn or be able to communicate in six languages: Arabic, Farsi, English, German, their mother tongue, as well as the universal auxiliary language proposed by Bahā’u’llāh.

Apparently, Bahā’u’llāh had forgotten too soon what he had uttered about people’s lives being wasted in learning more than one language:

“We have decreed before that it has been destined to speak with two tongues and a great effort must be put to limit this to one [tongue] and the same [applies] to the handwriting. So that the lives of the people will not be wasted and nullified in learning different languages.”

Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Payām-i malakūt, p. 33.

One day, while in Constantinople, Kamāl Pāshā visited this Wronged One. Our conversation turned upon topics profitable unto man. He said that he had learned several languages. In reply We observed: “You have wasted your life. It beseemeth you and the other officials of the Government to convene a gathering and choose one of the divers languages, and likewise one of the existing scripts, or else to create a new language and a new script to be taught children in schools throughout the world. They would, in this way, be acquiring only two languages, one their own native tongue, the other the language . . . and the people would be relieved and freed from the necessity of acquiring and teaching different languages.”

Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, pp. 137–138.

Is Bahā’u’llāh really serious when he claims the people would “be acquiring only two languages” while he reveals his writings in two different ones and his followers are expected to communicate in six languages?

We will leave it to the readers to judge these words for themselves.

Courtesy: Twelve Principles – A Comprehensive Investigation on the Bahai Teachings

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