The Transliteration System Used in Bahá’í Literature


The Transliteration System Used in Bahá’í Literature

The Bahá’í transliteration system was adopted by Shoghi Effendi for use generally in all languages which are written in the Roman alphabet. It is intended to enable all the Bahá’ís who use such languages to have a common and uniform spelling of names and terms in Arabic and Persian, and to prevent the confusion which could result from a multiplicity of transliteration systems. It is in many respects similar to some of the other principal academic systems. This transliteration system is uniquely designed to be used for both Arabic and Persian words, which greatly simplifies the matter for Bahá’í texts, in which the two languages are inextricably intertwined.

Unlike transcription, transliteration is not intended as a guide to the pronunciation of the words of one language in the phonetic system of a different language, but rather to provide a key to the spelling of the words in the original language. The symbols used in transliteration thus serve only as an approximate indication of pronunciation. As the symbols are a key to the spelling in the original language, their pronunciation is determined by the context: Arabic pronunciation in an Arabic context, and Persian in a Persian context, while Arabic terms embedded in a Persian text are subject to the rules of Persian. The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) symbols representing the pronunciation of the letters in Persian and Arabic are provided next to each letter. To listen to the pronunciation of each symbol, please refer to


Letter Transliteration International Phonetic Alphabet symbol
Arabic Persian
ا á a: ɒː
ب b b
پ p p
ت t t
ث th θ s
ج j
چ ch
ح ħ h
خ kh x
د d d
ذ dh ð z
ر r r
ز z z
ژ zh ʒ
س s s
ش sh ʃ
ص s
ض z
ط t
ظ ðˤ z
ع ʕ ʔ
غ gh ɣ q
ف f f
ق q q
ک k k
گ g g
ل l l
م m m
ن n n
و v, ú w, u: v, u:
ه h h
ی y, í j, i:
ء ʔ
َ a a æ
ـَا آ ىٰ á a: ɒː
ِِ i i e
ـِیـ ـِی í i:
ُُ u u o
ـُو ú u:
ــَـیْ ــِیْ ay aj ej
ـُوْ ــَـوْ aw aw ow
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