Ali Akbar Furutan, In Memoriam
by / on behalf of Universal House of Justice2003-11-27
To the Bahá'ís of the World
With profound feelings of loss, we announce the passing, yesterday evening, on the Day of the Covenant, of the dearly loved Hand of the Cause of God 'Ali Akbar Furutan. Having addressed the assembled pilgrims as was his practice, he paused to exchange a few words with some of the Russian-speaking friends; then, as he was leaving the room, his heart failed. He had fulfilled his longing to serve the Cause to his last breath.
Born in Sabzivar, Iran, on 29 April 1905, 'Ali Akbar Furutan moved with his family to 'Ishqabad in what was then Russian Turkestan, and, through his years of school and university, he took an active part in the work of the Bahá'í communities of 'Ishqabad, Baku, Moscow and other parts of Russia. In 1930 he was expelled from the Soviet Union for his involvement in Bahá'í activities and, from that time on, played an ever more significant role in the work and administration of the Iranian Bahá'í community. In December 1951 he was among the first to be appointed by Shoghi Effendi as Hands of the Cause of God. Following the passing of the Guardian, he was one of the nine Hands of the Cause selected, at their first Conclave, to serve as Custodians in the Holy Land. For the remaining forty-six years of his life he laboured strenuously at the World Centre, undertaking journeys throughout the world, assisting, advising and enthusing the friends and their national and local institutions. These journeys culminated in 1990 and 1991 with visits to the newly re-emerging Bahá'í communities of the countries of the Soviet Union.
'Ali Akbar Furutan's single-minded devotion to the Faith and its Guardian, the vital role he played in the establishment of the Administrative Order in Iran, his contribution to the spiritual and material education of children, his services as a Hand of the Cause of God, and his unswerving support of the Universal House of Justice together constitute an imperishable record of service in the annals of the Cause. His penetrating mind, his loving concern and his sparkling humour are ineffaceable memories in the hearts of the thousands of believers with whom he spoke.
While praying in the Holy Shrines for the progress of 'Ali Akbar Furutan's illumined soul in the Abha Kingdom, we supplicate Bahá'u'lláh to bless likewise the fruition of the seeds he sowed in this world.
We extend our loving sympathy to his daughters, Iran Muhajir and Parvin Furutan, to his granddaughters and to all other members of his family.
We advise friends in all lands to commemorate his passing and to hold memorial services in his honour in all Mashriqu'l-Adhkars.
The Universal House of Justice