Tag Archives Stories of Abdu’l-Baha

The Language of Abdu’l-Baha

Abdu’l‐Baha giving a souvenir of the Baha’i Temple Dedication to Charles Greenleaf (age 17). Photo courtesy of the Baha'is of the United States.

I think it goes without saying that Abdu’l-Baha communicated the principles of the Baha’i Faith through His actions: generosity, for example, was articulated when coins were placed in the hands of destitute men at the Bowery Mission in New York City and social justice was demonstrated when Louis Gregory, who had been excluded from a luncheon owing to his race, was personally invited to the table by Abdu’l-Baha and given the seat of honor.

This year, as we commemorate the centenary of His Passing, I have been thinking about the Westerners who were in His presence and I often wonder about the logistics of language for those who did not speak Persian, Arabic or Turkish as He did.

I have read accounts of His travels to Europe and North America that describe how there were interpreters in His entourage and that for the most part His communications were translated to those around Him. Stanwood Cobb describes the unique experience of what it was like to hear Abdu’l-Baha speak via a translator: Continue reading