The Kitáb-i-Aqdas: Bahá’í Most Holy Book published in Icelandic
REYKJAVIK, Iceland — The Kitáb-i-Aqdas has been published in Icelandic for the first time, making available to an entire population Bahá’u’lláh’s Most Holy Book.
“This is the fulfillment of a long-held wish of the Bahá’ís of Iceland,” says Halldór Thorgeirsson, a member of the Bahá’í National Spiritual Assembly of Iceland. “This is a tremendous achievement, which comes at a moment of significant importance—the year leading up to the centenary of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s passing.”
The Kitáb-i-Aqdas is Bahá’u’lláh’s book of laws, first penned in Arabic in about 1873 while He was still imprisoned within the city of ‘Akká.
The Universal House of Justice has written in the introduction to the Kitáb-i-Aqdas: “Of the more than one hundred volumes comprising the sacred Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, the Kitáb-i-Aqdas is of unique importance. ‘To build anew the whole world’ is the claim and challenge of His Message, and the Kitáb-i-Aqdas is the Charter of the future world civilization that Bahá’u’lláh has come to raise up.”
The first authorized translation of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas was published in English in 1992, the year that marked the centenary of the passing of Bahá’u’lláh, followed by translations in other languages over the past three decades.
Geoffrey Pettypiece, who typeset the text and helped prepare the volume for publication, explains how the effort to produce the Icelandic translation was a significant undertaking requiring a dedicated team a year and a half to complete the work.
“Few things are as important to Icelanders as our language,” he says. “This translation maintains accuracy of meaning while utilizing the elements of poetry, such as rhythm and metaphor.”
Edvard Jónsson, the lead translator of the project, reflects on the significance of the new publication, stating: “The writings of Bahá’u’lláh offer humanity a new kind of language—a language that gives insight into spiritual reality.
“There is a profound effect on the heart when the Word of God is available in one’s native tongue. It is like being drawn into an ocean, filled with new forms of expression and concepts. There has not been anything like it in Icelandic literature throughout the ages.”