This document lists the Roman script transcription forms of many of the Arabic and Fársí (some are of Turkish origin) names and words used in the Bahá’í Writings as a guide to their transcription. Hence, there is no need to include all possible combinations of those words used in the names of people and places. However, additional root words have been added as a guide to an understanding of the meaning of the words.*
Why use transcription?.. .
“Regarding the transliteration of Persian and Arabic words the House of Justice requests that the method adopted by the beloved Guardian, and which is described in the various volumes of The Bahá’í World, be followed, as it permits all languages which use the Roman alphabet to transliterate such terms in the same way throughout the Bahá’í world.”1
Whatever “house styles” Publishing Trusts and other Bahá’í publishers may adopt, transliteration of oriental terms into languages using the Roman alphabet must at present be according to the system chosen by the Guardian and described in volumes of The Bahá’í World.2
Any variations in transcription by the authors listed under the Information sources heading, and information from all other Bahá’í authors have been subjected to the following progressive checks:
a) Consistency with transcription rules as used by Shoghi Effendi, and similar words.
b) An internet search of transcripted forms of the words.
c) An internet search for the original Arabic of the words that are then manually transcripted.
e) Consulting knowledgeable Bahá’ís who are Arabic and/or Fársí speakers. However, this information needs to be cross checked with the above sources.
Entries in this document are amended as the author acquires a better understanding of Arabic and Fársí, and when names and words not in the list are found in relevant publications. Hence, it is recommended that you only use the latest available copy from www.miscellanie.com/ transliteration/index.html. Any corrections or suggestions regarding improvements to the list are welcomed.
Arabic and Fársí do not have capital letters. When transcripted, capital letters should only be used for proper names and attributes of God, otherwise, lower case letters should be used. This document uses capital letters for all words/names as if they were proper names—these should be converted to lower case for other uses.
Information sources.. .
Some sources of information are given in brackets. Authors of books, tablets, etc., “(by _____)”. The most reliable sources of information are to be found in documents issued by the Universal House of Justice (caution: there are some errors); and books by Shoghi Effendi, Hasan Balyuzi and Adib Taherzadeh. New entries are checked using digital copies of Arabic (Hans Wehr, also a printed copy) and Persian dictionaries—older entries will gradually be updated using these dictionaries. If these sources lack the required information, then information is sought from a few knowledgeable individuals.
Hybrid word/names.. .
Most words (there are some commonly accepted exceptions, e.g. Bahá’ís) that have an English suffix should not be transcripted (e.g. Islamic, Qur’anic, Shi’ite, Shi’ism). Adding an ‘s’ to many words to represent the plural form is more recognizable to the English reader (bábs) than the often very different transcripted Arabic plural word (abváb). These and some other words are often better replaced by an English equivalent, e.g. Gate-hood for Bábíyyat instead of the incorrect hybrid forms: “Bábhood” or “Babhood”, etc.
List arrangement.. .
The first column of the following list contains a form of the words/names without acute accents, initial ‘Ayns or underdots. This makes it possible to make a simple search for a word without having any knowledge of the correct transcription, and it is used to make an alphabetical sort (the sorting used by Word is not the desired order) of the list itself. When searching for words containing a ‘v’ (Persian) or a ‘u’, look also for the word with a ‘w’ replacing the ‘v’ or ‘u’.