PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea — The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Bahá’u’lláh’s Most Holy Book, has been translated into Tok Pisin, the most widely spoken of the hundreds of languages in Papua New Guinea.
“This is a wonderful development, which provides many people with access to the transformative words of Bahá’u’lláh in their own tongue,” says Confucius Ikoirere, Secretary of the Bahá’í National Spiritual Assembly of Papua New Guinea.
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 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.
Mr. Ikoirere, recalling that significant year, states: “The Kitáb-i-Aqdas was treated with great reverence and respect upon its release in English. Special structures were built in many communities throughout the country to house copies of this precious book.”
Marsha Milani, who led the translation effort, describes the undertaking to make Bahá’u’lláh’s Kitáb-i-Aqdas available in Tok Pisin: “After years of experience in translating many other of His writings into this language, it only then became possible for work to begin on the Most Holy Book.”
She continues: “Tok Pisin speakers from different regions of the country were closely involved in the process, as there are considerable differences in pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar from region to region.”
Mr. Ikoirere explains that a meticulous refinement and review process, which began in 2017, has ensured that the Tok Pisin translation sounds familiar to all speakers of this language.
“The Word of God has limitless potency. It has the power to transform,” continues Mr. Ikoirere. “I think there will be significant effects on the lives of the people in Papua New Guinea and the communities that they live in.”