Baha’u’llah’s Words on Billboards in Isfahan


In Isfahan, a couple of billboards now display the words of Baha’u’llah, Prophet-founder of the Baha’i Faith, from the “Hidden Words”. On one it says, “In the garden of thy heart plant naught but the rose of love” and the other says, “Speak no evil, that thou mayest not hear it spoken unto thee”. The billboards are placed on the main city circle  by Sazman Farhang Tahrifi Shahrdari Isfahan (Isfahan’s municipality’s Organization for spread of culture).hidden-words-at-isfahan-street-1 hidden-words-at-isfahan-street-2


36 Responses

  1. Mark Obenauer

    April 4, 2009 12:44 am

    It is amazing that the revealed Word of God can’t be suppressed even in the greatest oppression.. This is one of the hallmarks of that which is of God.

  2. Greg

    April 4, 2009 2:00 am

    No, seriously how is this possible? Words of an alleged apostate religion allowed to have its scripture high on a billboard so everyone can see? I can see the local authorities taking it down soon.
    Apart from that. Allah’u’abha from Texas!

  3. Shidan

    April 4, 2009 2:05 am

    I don’t think that Baha’is actually put it up. The Muslim clergy of Iran often use the Words of Baha’u’llah claiming that it was all said in the Quran originally. This may be a situation like that – since I don’t think they are displaying that it was written by Baha’u’llah…although I may be wrong as I can’t read Farsi. Allah’u’Abha

  4. RSS

    April 4, 2009 2:05 am

    Hopefully Baha’is have not done this, as Baha’is are obliged to obey the laws of their land.

    Though it is nice to see promotion and awareness risen.

  5. Barmak Kusha

    April 4, 2009 5:46 am

    The Baha’is have most certainly not done this, and as has been said, sometimes the authorities steal words of Baha”ullah. This has been seen before. Or it could have been done by someone who was ignorant of the source, picking it up from some book of “quotes”, which did not give attribution, or at least not correctly.

    Most Iranians will know this story, that the famous poem of Tahirih, called “Mu bih Mu” was for a very long time sung and put to music in Iran, and for source, it was just called “an old traditional song.”

  6. World Citizen

    April 4, 2009 5:55 am

    Yes ,certainly Baha’is have not done this. But it seems that the government is using these words for its own benefit and eventually,it has unconsciously become an instrument or means for spreading the Words of God within the city !! Isn’t it wonderful?:)))))

  7. translator

    April 4, 2009 8:17 am

    Please correct the translation of the sentence the way it is written on the billboard :

    It is NOT:
    “In the GARDEN of thy heart plant naught but the rose of love”

    But :
    In the HOUSE of your heart, plant only the flower of passion”

    It means that the sentence has been altered from its original. Also the word “esgh” has been wrongly translated in the all the bahai writings. It does NOT mean love (=mohabbat) but PASSION.

    Thank you

  8. FE

    April 4, 2009 9:44 am

    To Translator
    You should first learn better Farsi , read the original text and then try your interpretations and modifications (tahrif) .

    Important is that the Fire of the Word of God is burning in the City – where The Bab passed through – still after 160 years of persecutions and killings by the sons of the wolves .
    It is clear that who ever has displayed this billboard is promoting the higher nature of Iranians for an advancing civilization .

  9. translator

    April 4, 2009 12:00 pm

    To FE
    Thank you for you kind remarks and words of wisdom. Actually, I had heard that there was no clergy in the bahai faith. Reading your comments make me think that this is another wrong rumor …

  10. RSS

    April 4, 2009 1:54 pm

    I had shown these billboards to a few Persians and they too instantly recognized these as Writings of Baha’u’llah.

  11. Marty Flick

    April 4, 2009 3:12 pm

    A note to Translator – since there is no appointed clergy in the Baha’i Faith, all of us have the pastoral responsibility to care for our brethren, and the mission to further the Cause. That may cause us to appear ‘clerical’ when indeed we are not.

    We are students and teachers. Students of the texts, and teachers of the word of Allah for the day in which we live. My brother went to seminary – I feel kind of like the seminarian. Always learning, yet encouraged in teaching. MRF

  12. Nasser

    April 4, 2009 3:17 pm

    “Blessed is the spot, and the house, and the place, and the city, and the heart, and the mountain, and the refuge, and the cave, and the valley, and the land, and the sea, and the island, and the meadow where mention of God hath been made, and His praise glorified.” —Bahá’u’lláh

  13. Nasser

    April 4, 2009 3:22 pm

    Kudos to Isfahanis/Ispahanis:

    “Should the fragrance of Thy praise be shed abroad by any of the divers tongues of the world, out of the East or out of the West, it would, verily, be prized and greatly cherished.” —Bahá’u’lláh

  14. Ali

    April 4, 2009 4:42 pm

    FE, this “translator” guy posted on here under Mohammad the other day. He just can’t hide his hatred of you Baha’is. Mullahs are Borgs and you Baha’is advocate independant scientific investigation of truth, community decision making, democracy, equality of the sexes and reject the “Borgs”. So your views are gaining and the borgs are using your writings to say they are educated. These Mollahs copy Microsoft pirated programs and sell them as original copy to us in Iran. You think they would not steal your writings and post it as their own? We Iranians are much smarter. We watch your satellite Baha’i programs broadcast in Iran all the time. Just let them think what they want.

    Since they disolved your adminstration, they don’t even know who the Baha’is are any more. There are many people in Iran who were Baha’is and didn’t want to identify themselves because you had requirements for them to sign your rolls. Now that there is no administration, these Mollahs don’t know what to do. Even their assistants are downloading your writings and Roohi books. They’ve lost control. People use filtershekan and by pass their internet censors. It’s all over. You should have no administration there even if they beg you. Your ranks have increased and as you see your writings are showing up at the hands of “trusted” government people. Iranians aren’t dumb. We just have dumb rulers. Cheers!

  15. Interested

    April 4, 2009 5:02 pm

    Translator, regardless of your intention, I’m interested in knowing where you get your translation from? Hafez and Sadee have used eshgh to mean love for a thousand years and it has certainly been translated that way into English. To be specific, the poets’ use of eshgh is usually the most sublime that is used only in describing the love of God. How do you translate that into passion?

    Also “joz goleh eshgh makar” is a negation indicating “plant naught….” where do you get “plant only”?

    I do agree however that the sentence indicated here is not exactly from the Hidden Words, as the exact hidden words is “Dar rozeyeh galb…” meaning “In the Garden of heart..” not what is indicated here “Dar khaneyeh ghalb…” meaning in the “house of love”. So if they meant to use the sentiment, they did not copy it exactly.

  16. Ahang

    April 4, 2009 5:23 pm

    “Interested” is right – there’s a slight modifications in each of the two phrases. and we probably should have pointed that out in the story. Modifications appear to be an effort to somewhat simplify the two extracts from the “Hidden Words” and making them more into modern Persian. Otherwise, there’s no question about the source of these statements.

  17. Roya

    April 4, 2009 9:35 pm

    Thank you for sharing. These quotes are so uplifting and so becoming of the people of Isfahan. That’s why that city is called nesfe-jahan. Meaning half the world can be found in there.

    Jesus said, you will know a tree by its fruits. I hope these good fruits multiply and get planted all across Iran so that Iran can once again become nesfe-jahan and we see the words of all of Persia’s greats: Zoroaster, Moses, Mithra, Cyrus, Buddah, Krishna, Shinto, Jesus, Mohammad, Saadi, Hafez, Ferdosi, Bab, Bahaullah & Abdulbaha.

    Love and Peace to all!

    Sorry if left anybody out. I tried to include everyone. After all how can we be nesfe-jahan with only four!

  18. Translator

    April 5, 2009 9:25 am

    Dear Interested and dear Fe,
    Thank you for your comments. I wish you all the best: may esgh (=passion) fill in your heart and bahaa (=light and beauty) impregnate your life. Warmest regards

  19. MM

    April 5, 2009 1:46 pm

    I am a Baha’i but I think FE was a little sharp when he said you should learn better Farsi and then talking about offensive smells etc. ‘Interested’ was much more polite and therefore effective in addressing a difference of opinion…

  20. W

    April 5, 2009 2:10 pm

    Could the discussions between ‘FE’, ‘translator’, and any others who are involved in this please be taken elsewhere?

    Should you desire, exchange contact information between one another and speak outside of this article-posting as the confrontations you have written above are not in conformity with the purpose of this page.

  21. TMC

    April 5, 2009 4:03 pm

    How bittersweet this all is. With all the hate, arrests, torture and persecutions of the Baha’is in Iran, to see the very words of God for this day in which we live boldly displayed for everyone to see (and by the the very government who is doing these ghastly things) is truly a blessing.

    My first thought when I saw the words, “Baha’u’llah’s Words on Billboards” was how I wish *I* could see the words of Baha’u’llah on billboards here in the States. My next thought was how fortunate I am to read these words anytime, anywhere I choose. And this is such a beautiful gift to our Friends in Iran.

    Stolen words of Baha’u’llah or not…. As we know, The Hidden Words are the words of GOD for this day … Let them steal; let them be reminded and most importantly, let them hear the name of Baha’u’llah. As a dear Friend told me something she heard from a Hand of the Cause…. When one hears the name, Baha’u’llah, the soul recognizes it and goes in search of his/her Best Beloved. And, in my thoughts, the government would not be using these quotes if they were not seeking. Let us pray we see a miraculous change in our lifetime. What a blessing that would be.

    In His Loving Service, T

  22. Fara

    April 5, 2009 4:34 pm

    ..Assuredly we are today living in the Days of God. These are
    the glorious days on the like of which the sun hath never risen
    in the past. These are the days which the people in bygone times
    eagerly expected. What hath then befallen you that ye are fast asleep?

    The Bab -Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 161

  23. sb

    April 6, 2009 12:16 pm

    Let us recall the promise of the made to Baha’u’llah as He lay bound in chains in the Black Pit of Tehran:

    ” . . .Ere long will God raise up the treasures of the earth, men who will aid Thee through Thyself and through Thy Name . . .”

    Ah, this is a most beautiful sight, most beautiful! Wonderful, however it came to pass.

  24. Mario Larose

    April 10, 2009 3:24 pm

    It is the power of the “Word of God” which will change the heart of all human beings. We must but pray, hope and confident that all these injustices endured by The Baha’is of Iran will be a past story in a near future

  25. Translator 1

    April 10, 2009 8:50 pm

    From one translator to the other translator:

    I am so glad to see you here to confirm my appreciation of work you are doing in Iran.

    Because of the translations and interpretations of sweet Persian words by my beloved fellow translators, we, the exiled translators outside Iran have a job to correct the mistakes and misunderstandings of our dear counterparts.

    One simple example is the word “Brain Storming” in the course outline of Masters degree of Amirkabir Polytechnic University of Tehran that is translated by the ministry of culture and higher education to actual literal translation of this word to: “Toofani Kardan-e Maghz” rather than “Mashvarat” [consultation] or “ Moshavereh-e Herfeh-ee” [Professional Consultation]

    The language is the only medium of connection and adherence of a nation to each other and unfortunately, or fortunately, it is being affected by the culture and the culture is affected by the rituals and rituals are affected by the religion. Our country is an Islamic country with a culture shaped by Islamic texts, rituals and religion. So it should not be very strange to interpret “LOVE” as “Passion” as the only meaning of love in our language, based on the religious text books, is related to lust and carnal desires.

    With Love ( of course not your interpretation) for all of my fellow Iranians,

    Exiled translator.

  26. fergie75

    April 12, 2009 2:01 am

    In the “Promise of World Peace” Statement…. which was such a wonderful Letter written to the people of the World in 1985… on behalf of the Universal House of Justice… they said that Governments and peoples of the world are suffering from a ” paralysis of Will” in taking strong steps towards Universal Peace. ( certainly paraphrased) (smiles)… except for the “-” ….
    One of the things that we Baha’is should NEVER suffer from… is the paralysis of will to be kindly and promote unity towards all peoples. We have no enemies… or as Dear Abdu’l Baha has said … that the greatest enemy of man, is man himself. ‘ Everything is tested by everything, from everything, towards everything – itself in itself ‘. Islam says: There is no compulsion in Religion. Christiany says: Love thy neighbor as thyself. Baha’i says: “Love thy neighbour better than thyself”. I’m new to this forum.. and am enjoying reading all your thoughtful words, dear friends. In His Love…

  27. Bahereh

    April 15, 2009 12:55 pm

    Miracle in Isfahan! Hidden words in Isfahan! I love it!
    In my country of Iran anything can happen, this one is a miracle! Yes it did happen!

    Love always,


  28. Badger

    April 18, 2009 3:33 pm

    To TMC, you said: “My first thought when I saw the words, ‘Baha’u’llah’s Words on Billboards’ was how I wish *I* could see the words of Baha’u’llah on billboards here in the States…”. Well, you and anyone else interested can. All you have to do is rent the billboard space and put up the words and/or graphic design. Not necessarily as expensive as you might think, especially with the down economy billboard companies are willing to deal. There are sure enough churches and other religious organizations that use billboards. While not a Baha’i (although someone who feels a great afinity for the Faith), the real lack of an even occasional mass media presence as a way of creating awareness of the Baha’i Faith and Baha’u’llah is something I have never really understood. I live only about 70 miles from the North American House of Worship and there are probably only a handful of people in this area that know that exists, let alone ever hearing about the Baha’i Faith or Baha’u’llah. Sad really.


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