December 6, 2012

Dr. Peter Jamel Khan - a "distinguished servant"

Dr. Peter Jamel Khan


With the passing of Dr. Peter J. Khan, the worldwide Baha'i community has lost a "distinguished servant."

"By any measure, his was a remarkable life, one of earnest striving, of unbending resolve, of unflinching dedication to principle, and of constancy of effort," wrote the Universal House of Justice, on learning of Dr. Khan's sudden passing on 15 July.

Dr. Khan – who was 74 years old when he died – was a member of the Universal House of Justice for 23 years, until his return to Australia in May last year.

Peter Jamel Khan was born in New South Wales on 12 November 1936 to Fazal and Hukoomat Khan from Khassi Kalan in the Punjab region of India. Four years before their son's birth, they were among the first Indian immigrants to settle on Australia's eastern coast.

November 18, 2012

Ali Kuli Khan and Florence

Ali Kuli Khan and his wife Florence, mother of Marzieh Gail, in front of the White House in 1913.

October 16, 2012

Philip Hainsworth -- one of the first Baha'is in Uganda

Philip Hainsworth, one of the first Baha'is in Uganda, with his wife Lois in front of the House of Worship in Kampala at the 50th Year Anniversary festivities, August 2001.
Phlip and Lois Hainsworth with their son, Richard, at the top of the Bahá’í House of Worship in Kampala, Uganda, shorthly before it was completed in 1961. Mr. Hainsworth was one of the six Baha’is who founded the Bahá’í community in Uganda in 1951. (Baha’i Media Bank)

September 11, 2012

Nabil-i-Akbar -- An Apostle of Baha'u'llah and a Hand of the Cause

Aqa Muhammad-i-Qa'ini, surnamed Nabil-i-Akbar

Muhammad-i-Qa'ini, was surnamed Nabil-i-Akbar by Baha’u’llah. He was also known as Fadil-i-Qa'ini (the Learned One of Qa'in). He was arrested as a Bábi, a charge which he denied, however that incident started him thinking. He studied the Writings of the Báb and became a believer. Later, he became an eminent mujtahid and met Baha'u'llah in Baghdad, before He had declared His Mission. At first he did not recognize Baha'u'llah's station, but after listening to a discourse of Baha'u'llah, he became a Baha'i. He taught the Faith widely and was arrested three times. It was to Nabil-i-Akbar that Baha'u'llah's Tablet of Wisdom (Lawh-i-Hikmat) was addressed. He died in Bukhara, Russia, in 1892. 'Abdu’l-Baha designated him a Hand of the Cause and Shoghi Effendi included him among the Apostles of Baha'u’llah. 
(Adapted from ‘A Basic Baha’i Dictionary’, by Wendi Momen)

August 11, 2012

Mishkin-Qalam -- an Apostle of Baha'u'llah

Aqa Husayn-i-Isfahani, distinguished calligraphist, and companion-in-exile of Baha’u’llah, surnamed “Mishkin-Qalam”: Musk-scented pen”, a name by which he as a calligrapher of the first rank was known. He first heard of the Faith in Isfahan, but it was in Baghdad that he learned more about it. In Adrianople he met Baha'u'llah and became His follower. When Baha'u'llah and His companions were exiled to 'Akka, Mishkin-Qalam was sent to Cyprus. He was eventually freed and came to the Holy Land in 1886. After travelling in Egypt, Damascus and India, 'Abdu'l-Baha asked him to come back to the Holy Land, where he passed away in about 1912.

It is Mishkin-Qalam's calligraphic rendering of the Greatest Name which Baha'is most commonly use as its symbol. 
(Adapted from 'A Basic Baha’i Dictionary', by Wendi Momen)

August 3, 2012

Albert Windust -- First publisher of the Writings of the Faith in the West

Albert Robert Windust (1874-1956)
An early Chicago Baha'i and publisher. He became a Baha'i in 1897 and was a member of the first Spiritual Assembly of Chicago. He became the first publisher of Baha'i literature in the West, including the Hidden Words. In 1910 he founded and printed the Baha'i magazine Star of the West and later collected and published three volumes of 'Abdu'l-Baha's Tablets to American believers. He also helped Howard MacNutt to publish The Promulgation of Universal Peace.

July 25, 2012

Alfred Lunt


Prominent Boston Baha’i lawyer who became a Baha’i shortly after hearing a lecture by Ali Kuli Khan in the winter of 1905. He was engaged by Sarah Farmer as her lawyer in her struggle to keep Green Acre in the hands of the Baha’is. He was a member of the Executive Board of the Baha’i Temple Unity and later of the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States.

July 15, 2012

Nabil-i-A'zam -- An Apostle of Baha'u'llah and the author of Dawn-Breakers

Muhammad-i-Zarandi, surnamed Nabil-i-A'zam

Amatu’l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khánum describes The Dawn -Breakers, Nabíl’s chronicle, as ‘a classic among epic narratives in the English tongue’ (PP 215). The author was Muhammad Zarandí, who wrote his narrative in Persian. Bahá’u’lláh gave him the title of ‘Nabíl-i-A‘zam’, which means ‘the most great Nabíl’. Nabíl, in both Persian and Arabic, means ‘noble’, or ‘excellent’, and according to the Abjad reckoning, the two words Muhammad and Nabíl have equivalent numerical values. Zarand is a town in one of the outlying districts of Tehran. Nabíl was on a visit in a nearby locality in Rubat-Karim when he heard for the first time that a merchant in Shiraz had declared Himself as the Promised One of Islam. He soon pursued his interest in the new Faith by contacting those who were among the most prominent believers of the Báb, and became a Bábí around the year 1847. During that period he met Bahá’u’lláh twice, once in Kirmánsháh, and once in Tehran.

July 8, 2012

Dr. Stanwood Cobb


Dr. Stanwood Cobb presenting a talk in Atlanta, Georgia, shortly before his passing in 1982 at the age of 101. (Baha'i News, March 1989)

To review Dr. Cobb's life is to make a beautiful and heavenly journey through those marvelous years beginning with the early dawn of the Bahá'í Faith in the United States when news of this 'new Revelation' and of the presence of 'Abdu'l-Bahá in the Holy Land reached the ears of a few 'ready souls', aroused their curiosity, quickened their hearts and resulted in their making their way to 'Akká in an ever-increasing stream to enter the Master's presence.

An account of Dr. Cobb's introduction to the Bahá'í Faith in 1906 is given in his Memories of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and in Star of the West, Vol. 15, No. 1, April 1924. He was at that time studying for the Unitarian ministry at the Harvard Divinity School but was drawn to Green Acre in Maine as a result of a series of weekly articles in the Boston Transcript. Miss Sarah Farmer introduced Dr. Cobb to the singer, Mary Lucas, who had just returned from visiting 'Abdu'l-Bahá. '… within half an hour from that moment I became a confirmed Bahá'í and have remained so ever since,' Dr. Cobb wrote.

June 28, 2012

Dorothy Baker -- Hand of the Cause

Dorothy Baker and family

Dorothy Baker with daughter Louise Baker Matthias

Born in Newark, New Jersey, 21 December 1898, Dorothy was the granddaughter of Mother Beecher, herself a Baha'i, who took her to see 'Abdu'l-Baha in New York in 1912. Dorothy was too shy to speak during that meeting, although she wrote afterward to Him stating that she wished to serve the Cause. 'Abdu'l-Baha responded that He would pray that God would grant her desire. She developed into a most eloquent, persuasive, and convincing teacher for small groups or large audiences, and in addition to an inimitable charm she had a sincerity that was with her always -- she was an ardent Baha'i first, last, and at all times.

June 20, 2012

Dr. Arastu Hakim

Dr. Arastu Hakim

Dr. Arastu Khan Hakim belonged to the third generation of Baha'is. His grandfather, Hakim Masih was court doctor to Muhammad Shah and the first Jewish Baha’i. Hakim Masih's life takes us back to the very early history of the Cause for he had learned something of the new faith when he was in Bagdad through Tahirih herself, during the early days of the Bab's manifestation. From that time on he had searched for the source of her power. Later in Tihran, when Moslem doctors refused, he had offered to visit the prison and treat a Baha'i child. The father of the child was the famous Ismu'llahu'l-Asdaq and in the course of these visits Hakim Hakim Masih became a Baha'i and later achieved much fame in the Cause.

June 13, 2012

Vaeino Rissanen -- the first in Finland to become a Baha'i

Vaeino Rissanen (1909-1973)
He was the first in Finland to become a Baha'i in 1938 by Josephine Kruka, the "Mother of Finland". 
(The Baha'i World 1976-1979; Paragraph 171.3 footnotes of Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986)

May 24, 2012

Leonora Holsapple Armstrong -- “mother of the Bahá'ís of Brazil”

Leonora Holsapple Armstrong --“mother of the Bahá'ís of Brazil” 
(The Universal  House of Justice, message dated January 1977; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

May 10, 2012

Marion Jack -- an "immortal heroine", a "shining example to present and future generations"

Marion Jack (1866-1954)
Her courageous exploits in service to the Baha'i Faith inspired Shoghi Effendi to describe her as an "immortal heroine" and a "shining example to present and future generations." (The Baha'i World 1976-1979)

Marion Elizabeth Jack, circa 1885

May 5, 2012

Rufino Gualavisi

Rufino Gualavisi

Rufino Gualavisi Farinango, a renowned indigenous Baha’i teacher, died March 23, 1990 in Otavalo, Ecuador. Mr. Gualavisi taught the Faith to thousands of indigenous people and campesinos and helped open many difficult areas of the country [Ecuador] to the Faith, often accompanied by his spiritual father and teaching companion, Counsellor Raul Pavon. Although beaten and imprisoned at various times, he remained steadfast and never once wavered in his teaching efforts. He is buried in the cemetery "Parques del Recuerdo" in Quito, on the left side and adjoining the resting place of his good friend and staunch admirer, the Hand of the Cause of God Rahmatu'llah Muhajir. On learning of Mr. Gualavisi's passing, the Universal House of Justice cabled the National Spiritual Assembly of Ecuador: "Deeply saddened news passing outstanding sacrificial teacher Cause God Rufino Gualavisi. His noble qualities, his loving nature, his immense services indigenous masses native land never to be forgotten and worthy source pride your community. Urge hold befitting memorial meetings his blessed memory throughout country. Assure fervent prayers Holy Threshold for progress his radiant soul Kingdom on high. Kindly extend heartfelt condolences family and friends." (Baha’i News, June 1990)

April 25, 2012

Robert Hayden

Robert Hayden

Robert Hayden, a native of Detroit, was a world-renowned poet and the first black to be named consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. For more than two decades he taught English and creative writing at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, and at the time of his death was a professor of English at the University of Michigan. He authored more than a dozen books of poetry including American Journal (nominated for the National Book Award in 1978), Angle of Ascent, The Night-Blooming Cereus, Words in the Mourning Time, Heart-Shape in the Dust, Figure of Time and A Ballad of Remembrance (winner of the grand prize at the first World Festival of Negro Arts in Dakar, Senegal, in 1966). A Baha’i for many years, Robert  served for more than a decade as poetry editor of World Order magazine. (Adapted from Baha’i News, April 1990) 

April 10, 2012

Patricia Locke

Patricia Locke (right) and a young Baha'i woman from Pasto Grande, Bolivia, 1989.

April 4, 2012

Muhammad Arbab -- a Baha'i courier in early days of the Faith

Muhammad Arbab

Muhammad Arbab was born in Kashan, Persia, a place which was noted for the narrow-mindedness and fanaticism of its inhabitants. His mother was a believer and had received Tablets from Baha’u’llah. Though born of a Baha’i mother, Muhammad investigated the Cause thoroughly as a youth before accepting it most enthusiastically. This was a the time when Baha’u’llah had just declared His Manifestation in Baghdad (Iraq).

While in Kashan He was subjected to all sorts of hardships and persecutions on the part of the Muslims. He was once attacked by a fanatical mob, his house was set on fire and all his belongings pillaged. Following these hardships, Muhammad could find no other alternative but to quit his home town and emigrate to Tihran. He later managed to successfully engage in commercial pursuits for a period of fifty years. During all this time he was cleverly and tactfully giving the Message to the Mullas, merchants and notables with whom he had dealings. Among these were two well-known Muslim ecclesiastics, Mulla Ali Kani and Haji Aqa Muhammad Najm Abadi.

March 25, 2012

Elizabeth Stewart -- Baha'i American nurse resident in Tihran, Persia, for many years

Elizabeth Stewart 
Elizabeth first heard of the Baha'i Movement in 1899 from her aunt M Isabella D. Brittingham, a Baha'i teacher. It is significant that the only question she asked was, "Are there any martyrs in this Cause?',' She possessed the spirit of the martyr, and lived the life of a humble maidservant, never aggressive, but always and sacrificing as a true Baha'i.

She was graduated from the Medico- Chirurgical hospital in Philadelphia in 1899 and in 1911 went to Tihran, Persia, to become the assistant to Dr. Susan I. Moody, who had preceded her by two years. Undoubtedly these two women saved hundreds of lives. Nursing patients with typhoid fever and other contagious diseases, Elizabeth succumbed to typhoid and later to amoebic dysentery, recovering her strength each time sufficiently to resume her professional services.

March 20, 2012

Lydia Zamenhof

Lydia Zamenhof, youngest daughter of Dr. Ludwig Zamenhof, creator of the Esperanto language

March 15, 2012

Dizzy Gillespie

Jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie shows his great pleasure during a tribute September 16, 1985, by the Baha'is of Los Angeles honoring his half-century in music. More than 500 people attended the gala event at the Los Angeles Baha'i Center. (Baha'i News December 1985)

March 10, 2012

Ruya Ishraghi and parents -- three Baha'i martyrs

Twenty-two-year old university student Ruya Ishraghi (right) with her father, Enayatu'llah Ishraghi, a retired oil company executive, and mother, Ezzat Janami Ishraghi. All three were executed in 1983 in Shiraz, Iran. 
(Baha'i News, April 1985) 

March 1, 2012

Eskil Ljungberg, a Knight of Baha'u'llah

Eskil Ljungberg, a Knight of Baha'u'llah in the Faroe Islands 
(Baha'i News, February 1985)

February 25, 2012

G.G. Paul - first translator of Baha'i Writings into Maori

G.G. Paul, first translator of Baha'i Writings into Maori 
(The Baha'i World 1932-1934)

February 18, 2012

Florence Evelyn Schopflocher

Florence Evelyn Schopflocher
She undertook travel teaching trips to Far East in 1920's.

Landing in Bengazi, Africa, in the Libyan desert. Florence is fourth from right.

February 14, 2012

Hands of the Cause of God 'Ali-Akbar Furutan and John Robarts

Hands of th Cause of God 'Ali-Akbar Furutan (left) and John Robarts embrace before addressing the International Youth Conference in Canada -- London, Ontario, August 25-27, 1984 (Baha'i News October 1984)

February 8, 2012

Pauline and Joseph Hannen

Pauline and Joseph Hannen, early Baha'is of Washington, D.C. They natured Louis Gregory's interest in the Baha'i Faith.

January 27, 2012

January 22, 2012

Antonio Cruz, first Baha'i of the Totonaco tribe in Veracruz, Mexica

Antonio Cruz, first Baha'i of the Totonaco tribe in Veracruz, Mexica (wearing traditional dress) 
(The Baha'i World 1979-1083)