Bahá'í Library Online
. . . .
>>   Biographies
TAGS: Hands of the Cause
> add tags
List of mini bios and thumbnail photos of 43 of the 50 Hands of the Cause.
Prepared from an older document (PDF, 2010), compiler unknown. This still needs mini bios of the 7 names missing. Please contact me if you can help.

See more at

Hands of the Cause of God

ADÍB MÍRZÁ HASAN, surnamed ADÍB was born in Talaqán in 1848. He had a Muslim religious education in Tihrán and Mashhad. For a time he served one of the Qájár princes as a secretary. He became a Bahá'í around 1889. Bahá'u'lláh appointed him a Hand of the Cause of God. "He was one of the founders of the Tarbíat Schools in Tihrán." He died on 2 September 1919 in Tihrán.
'ALI-AKBAR-I-SHAHMIRZADI (Hájí ÁKHÚND), (1842/3-1910) Hájí Mullá 'Alí-Akbar-i-Shahmírzádí), Persian HAND OF THE CAUSE. MÚLLÁ 'ALÍ-AKBAR-I-SHAHMÍRZÁDÍ (aka Hájí Akhund) was born sometime between 1842 and 1843 in Shahmírzád, Persia (Iran). After reading the Kitáb-i-Iqán (The Book of Certitude)* he embraced the Cause. He was imprisoned for the Faith at least five times. Bahá'u'lláh entrusted him with the sacred task of moving and hiding the Remains of the Báb. 'Abdu'l-Bahá has testified: "The photograph of this blessed individual, together with that of the great Amín, taken of them in their chains, will serve as an example to whoever has eyes to see. There they sit, those two distinguished men, hung with chains, shackled, yet composed, acquiescent, undisturbed." ... "This honored man was successful in converting a multitude. For the sake of God he cast all caution aside, as he hastened along the ways of love. He became as one frenzied, as a vagrant and one known to be mad." He was appointed a Hand of the Cause by Bahá'u'lláh. He died in Tihrán in 1910.
'ALA'I, Shu'a'u'llah (1889-1984) Iranian HAND OF THE CAUSE. He was born in Tehran into a prominent family: his father was set to become a cleric, but had converted to the Bahá'í Faith, subsequently becoming physician to the royal household. He himself studied accountancy, after which he pursued a distinguished career in various fields of government service, becoming chief controller of army finances (with the rank of general) . He was elected on to the Tehran Bahá'í assembly in 1913, and the newly formed Iranian Bahá'í national assembly in 1934, often serving as its chairman. Shoghi Effendi appointed him as one of the first group of Hands in 1952, and thereafter he travelled extensively, visiting Bahá'í communities in many parts of the world. He left Iran in 1978, spending the last few years of his life in France and then Arizona. Harper 335-8.
ALEXANDER, Agnes Baldwin (1875-1971) American HAND OF THE CAUSE. Born into a Hawaiian Christian missionary family, she became a Bahá'í during a visit to Italy in 1900. She returned to Hawaii in December 1901 as the first Bahá'í on the islands, becoming instrumental in the growth of a Bahá'í community there. After the deaths of her parents she moved to the American mainland, and then, at the request of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, moved to Japan. Reaching there in November 1914, she worked with George AUGUR and his wife to establish a Bahá'í community, spending much of the rest of her life in the country. She was also the first to present the Bahá'í teachings in Korea (1921). She was appointed a Hand on 27 March 1957. She died in Hawaii. Alexander, History; Personal Recollections; BW15: 423
BANANI, Musa (1886-1971) See
BAKER, Dorothy B. (1898-1954) American HAND OF THE CAUSE of New England Protestant background. Her paternal grandmother, 'Mother (Ellen Tuller) Beecher', was a well-known early American Bahá'í. Dorothy became active as a Bahá'í public speaker during the 1930s, and became heavily involved in local and national Bahá'í administration. In 1937 she was elected on to the American national spiritual assembly. She also wrote Bahá'í pamphlets and radio scripts. During the 1940s she travelled extensively in Latin America and Europe to promote the Faith. She was appointed a Hand of the Cause by Shoghi Effendi in December 1951. She died in an air crash in January 1954. BW/2; 670-4; Freeman; Harper 191-201.
BALYUZI, Hasan M. (1908-1980) Iranian-born HAND OF THE CAUSE and leading Bahá'í scholar who spent most of his life in Britain. His father was governor of the Persian Gulf ports and later Iranian minister of the interior. Although a descendant of the Báb's family on both sides of his family (i.e. an AFNAN), the young Balyuzi remained a Muslim until he met Shoghi Effendi in 1925 and became a devoted Bahá'í. He was appointed a Hand of the Cause by Shoghi Effendi in October 1957, and acted as one of the translators at the Conclaves of the Hands. Increasingly, health problems prevented him from travelling to visit the Bahá'ís and he turned to scholarly research (see BABI AND BAHÁ'Í STUDIES). A string of books followed: detailed studies of the lives of the central figures of the Faith - on 'Abdu'l-Bahá (1971), The Bab (1973), and Bahá'u'lláh (1980); a monograph, Edward Granville Browne and the Bahá'í, Faith (1970); and a study of Islam, Muhammad and the Course of Islam (1976). Two further books were published posthumously: Khadijih Bagum (1981), and Eminent Bahá'ís in the Time of Bahá'u'lláh (1985). aW18: 635-51; Harper 411-25; Momen, 'Hasan M. Balyuzi'.
ESSLEMONT, John E. (1874-1925) Prominent British Bahá'í, best known for his book Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era (1923), which even now remains one of the most widely available introductions to the Baha', teachings. Both 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi supported his work. He first encountered the Faith in 1914 and was a major figure in its early development in Britain. He became a close friend and confidant of Shoghi Effendi, who invited him to come to Haifa to serve as his English-language secretary in 1924. He was posthumously John E. Esslemont, distinguished early Scottish Bahá'í and author evil spirits designated a HAND OF THE CAUSE, and was named as one of the DISCIPLES OF 'ABDU'L-BAHA. BWI: 133-6; Harper 72-84; Momen, Esslemont.
FAIZI, Abu'l-Qasim (1906-80) Iranian HAND OF THE CAUSE. Following studies at the American University in Beirut, he Taught Bahá'í children in the village of Najafabad after the closure of their school by the government authorities (19305). In 1939 he married Gloria 'Ala'i in 1941, the couple moved to Iraq, and in the following year to Bahrain as Bahá'í PIONBERS. Shoghi Effendi designated Faizi as 'spiritual conqueror' of Arabia, and appointed him a Hand of the Cause in October 1957. After Shoghi Effendi's death Faizi generally served as translator between the Persian- and English-speaking Hands and was one of those chosen to remain in Haifa as one of the CUSTOD!ANS of the Faith . After the election of the Universal House of Justice in 1963 he travelled extensively, visiting Bahá'í communities. He also published a number of essays and translations in both Persian and English. BW18: 659-65. Harper 426-33.
FEATHERSTONE, (Howard) Collis (1913-90) Australian HAND OF THE CAUSE. An engineer and businessman from the Adelaide area, Collis and his wife, Madge, became Bahá'ís in 1944, their home becoming a center for Bahá'í activity. He served on the Australian National Spiritual Assembly from 1949 until 1962, often as its chairman, and in 1954 was appointed as one of two AUXILIARY BOARD members for Australasia. He was appointed a Hand of the Cause by Shoghi Effendi in October 1957, subsequently travelling extensively to encourage Bahá'í activity, particularly in the Pacific region and parts of Asia . He died in Kathmandu during a visit to the Bahá'ís of Nepal (14 September 1990). Harper 434-48.
FERRABY, John (1914-73) British HAND OF THE CAUSE of Liberal Jewish background. He became a Bahá'í in 1941, and in 1946 was elected as secretary of the British National Spiritual Assembly remaining in that position until he moved to Haifa in 1959. In 1957 he published what remains one of the most comprehensive introductory books on Bahá'í, All Things Made New. In October of the same year Shoghi Effendi appointed him as a Hand. BW16: 511-512; Harper 449-54.
FURUTAN, 'Ali-Akbar (b. 1905) Iranian HAND Of THE CAUSE. In the face of sustained persecution, Furutan's family left their native city of Sabzivar in Khurasan in 1914 and settled in Ashkhabad across the Russian border. The young Furutan became an active member of the local Bahá'í community and, whilst still in his teens, became a teacher in its school. In 1926 he won a scholarship to the University of Moscow to study education and child psychology. In 1930 he was expelled from the Soviet Union on account of his Bahá'í activities and returned to Iran, where he established a school for Baha' is in one of the villages. In 1934 he was elected on to the newly formed Iranian national spiritual ASSEMBLY and served as its secretary until the death of Shoghi Effendi. He was also appointed as principal of the Tarbiyat School for boys (see SCHOOLS) until its closure, and wrote study books for Bahá'í children's classes which are still in use. He was appointed a Hand of the Cause by Shoghi Effendi in the first contingent in December 1951. In 1957 he became one of the custodial Hands in Haifa. His Persian publications arc extensive, and several have been translated into English. Furtan: Story of My Heart; Harper 211-22.
GIACHERY, Ugo (1896-1989) Italian HAND OFTHE CAUSE. Born into an aristocratic family in Palermo, he received a doctoral degree in chemistry. After World War i he migrated to the United States, where he met and married his wife, Angeline Westergren, and became a Bahá'í (c. 1926). The couple moved to Italy in 1947 as PIONEER Bahá'í teachers in the second American Seven Year PI.AN, establishing Themselves in Rome. Ugo completed the translation of a large number of Bahá'í books into Italian. From 1948 onwards he became heavily involved in securing the marble and various building supplies for the construction of the superstructure of the SHRINE OF THE BAB and the INTERNATIONAL ARCHIVES building in Haifa. One of the doors of the Shrine was later named after him. Shoghi Effendi appointed him as a Hand of the Cause in December 1951, and as a member-at-large of the INTERNATIONAl. BAHA'I COUNCIL in March 1952. He was elected chairman of the newly formed national spiritual ASSEMBLY of Italy and Switzerland in 1953. As a Hand he travelled extensively world-wide. In Western Samoa he was able to present the Bahá'í teachings to the head of state, the Malietoa TANUMAFILI II, who subsequently became a Bahá'í. Giachery himself died during a later visit to the island and is buried there. Giachery; Harper 22342.
GREGORY, Louis C. (1874-1951) Prominent African-American Bahá'í. Born of slave parents in South Carolina, he later graduated from Howard University with a degree in law. He became a Bahá'í in Washington DC in 1909. Already an advocate of racial equality, Gregory challenged de facto segregation in the local Bahá'í community. In this he was supported by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, who during his own visit to Washington DC (1912) deliberately sat Gregory next to him at a formal luncheon in clear disregard of social convention. 'Abdu'l-Bahá also encouraged him to marry Louisa Mathew (1866-1956), a white Englishwoman, this being the first black-white marriage in the American Bahá'í community, and an act requiring considerable courage in the social conditions of the time. Gregory undertook extensive travels to promote the Faith, particularly in the southern states. He played a leading role in the advocacy of racial equality by the Bahá'ís, and for a number of years was the only black Bahá'í on the American national spiritual assembly. Shoghi Effendi posthumously named him as a HAND OF THE CAUSE. Louisa was prominent in Bahá'í teaching activities in the Balkans, BW12: 666-70; 13: 876-8; Harper 85-92.
GROSSMANN, Hermann (1899-1968) German HAND OF THE CAUSE. Born in Argentina, he moved with his family to Germany in 1909. In 1920 he both became a Bahá'í and met his future wife, Anna Hartmuth. He was able to promote the Bahá'í Faith in various parts of Germany and later served on the newly guardianship formed National Spiritual ASSEMBLY. He was particularly active in Bahá'í child education and the Bahá'í ESPERANTO movement, which he organized in Germany. He also wrote a number of books on the Faith (in German) and translated Bahá'í literature. After the banning of the Bahá'í Faith by the Nazi regime in May 1937 he suffered intermittent persecution, including the confiscation and destruction of much of his Bahá'í library and archives and a six-month period of imprisonment. In June 1945 he was able to start reorganizing the Bahá'í communities in the American zone of occupation in south-western Germany. He was among the first contingent of those appointed Hands of the Cause by Shoghi Effendi in December 1951. As a Hand he made several extended visits to promote the Faith in South America. BW15: 416-21; Harper 243-252.
HANEY, Paul E. (1909-82) American HAND OF THE CAUSE of Baha 'i parentage. He was active in American Bahá'í administration, and was a member of the National Spiritual Assembly from 1946 until 1957. He was appointed a Hand of the Cause; by Shoghi Effendi in on 19 March 1954, and became one of the Custodial Hands living in Haifa after Shoghi Effendi's death. BW18: 613-18; Harper 156-63.
HOLLEY, Horace H. (1887-1960) American HAND OF THE CAUSE of New England background. Holley first encountered the Bahá'í teachings in 1909 enroute to Europe. He later established himself in New York, and in 1923 was elected to the American national spiritual ASSEMBLY, serving as its secretary almost continuously from 1924 to 1959. In this role he played a crucial part in the development of the Bahá'í ADMINISTRATION in North America, He also was Shoghi Effendi's closest collaborator in the production of the BAHA'I WORLD volumes, He was among the first contingent of Hands of the Cause appointed by Shoghi Effendi in December 1951, He later became one of the custodial Hands in Haifa, BW13, 849-58; Harper 253-64.
IBN-I-ABHAR HÁJÍ MÍRZÁ MUHAMMAD-TAQÍY-I-ABHARÍ—aka Ibn-i-Abhar—was born in 1853/4 in Abhar. He became a great champion of the Bahá'í Faith. For four years he suffered in Síyáh-Chál wearing the very same chains as Bahá'u'lláh wore in 1852. In one place in Bahá'u'lláh's Writings He states that Hájí Mírzá Muhammad-Taqíy-i- Abharí ws created to extol the praises and attributes of God. His services during the time of the Master included teaching journeys through Persia, the Caucasus and India. He also made some eleven journeys to the Holy Land with the permission of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. "A special service rendered by Ibn-i-Abhar was the promotion of the education of women. He and his wife played an important part in the advancement of women in Persian society." In 1886 Bahá'u'lláh appointed him a Hand of the Cause. He died in 1917.
IBN-I-ASDAQ ÁQÁ MÍRZÁ 'ALÍ-MUHAMMAD—aka Ibn-i-Asdaq—addressed by Bahá'u'lláh as Shahíd Ibn-i-Shahíd ("Martyr, son of the Martyr") was born in Mashhad in 1850/1. His father was Mullá Sádiq-i- Muqaddas-i-Khursúní. While still a child he suffered imprisonment with his father in Tihran. He begged Bahá'u'lláh permission to be a martyr. Bahá'u'lláh said that if one lived right he might attain martyrdom. "In 1882 Bahá'u'lláh conferred the station of martyr on him calling him "Shahid Ibn-i-Shahid" ("Martyr, son of the Martyr") ." He is the first of the Hands of the Cause of God named by Bahá'u'lláh. 'Abdu'l-Bahá gave him a special mission to teach members of the "ruling class" the Faith. He was deeply involved in the planning and construction of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár in 'Ishqábád. He died in Tihrán in 1928. * Pronounced moj-ta-head
IOAS, Leroy (1896-1965) American HAND OF THE CAUSE. Both his parents were of German Lutheran background and became Bahá'ís in the 1895. He played a major role in the development of systematic Bahá'í teaching plans in North America, and was elected onto the National Spiritual ASSEMBLY in 1932. Shoghi Effendi appointed him a Hand of the Cause in December 1951 and invited him to Haifa, where he became both secretary general of the INTERNATIONAL BAHA'I COUNCIL and an assistant secretary to Shoghi Effendi. The Octagon door of the SHRINEOFTHE BAB was named after him. BW14, 291-300; Harper 265-75.
KHADEM, Zikrullah (Dhikru'llah Khadem) (1904-86) Iranian HAND OF THE CAUSE. He served on the National Spiritual ASSEMBLY from 1938 until 1960, and also performed various tasks for Shoghi Effendi, including an extensive series of visits to Bahá'í communities in Iran. He was appointed a Hand of the Cause in February 1952, and subsequently travelled to many Bahá'í communities world-wide. He also translated Bahá'í materials from English into Persian. He moved to the United States in 1960 and, amongst other literary works, compiled some 134 volumes of documentation regarding Bahá'í holy places. Harper 362-71; Khadem.
KHAZEH, Jalal (1897-1990) Iranian HAND OF THE CAUSE born into a Bahá'í family in Tehran. A former colonel in the Iranian army, he was elected onto the National Spiritual ASSEMBLY in 1944, but resigned in 1951 to become a full-time itinerant teacher visiting Bahá'ís throughout the country. Shoghi Effendi announced his appointment as a Hand of the Cause on 7 December 1953. He later became one of the custodial Hands in Haifa, and in 1963 moved to Brazil to serve as a focal point for Bahá'í activities in South America. He returned to IRAN in 1969. The upheavals of the Islamic Revolution placed him in special danger, and in 1984 he left the country, eventually settling in Canada. Harper 164-7.
MAXWELL, William Sutherland (1874-1952) Canadian HAND Of TIlE CAUSE. He was the husband of May MAXWELL (m. 1902) and father of RUHIYYIH KHANUM. He became a Bahá'í after meeting 'Abdu'l-Bahá'í in 1909. Following May's death in 1940 he moved to Haifa. A well-known architect, he designed the superstructure for the SHRINE OF THE BAB. He was named a Hand in December 1951, shortly before his death. Shoghi Effendi also named one of the doors of the Shrine in his honour. BWI2:657-62; Harper 276-86.
MUHAJIR, Rahmatu'llah (1923-79) Iranian HAND OF THE CAUSE. Born into an active Bahá'í family, he was involved in Bahá'í committee work as a youth, and delayed his medical studies for two years in order to serve as a Bahá'í pioneer in Rida'iyyih. He and his wife, Iran, daughter of 'Ali-Akbar FURUTAN, pioneered to the Mentawai Islands, a poor, backward and disease-ridden area of Indonesia, in 1954, being named as KNIGHTS OF BAHA'U'LLAH. Learning Mentawaian, living with the local people, and bringing them medical care, they began to teach the Bahá'í Faith. The results were rapid and impressive: by 1956 over one thousand Mentawaians had converted, and by 1958 there were some four thousand local Bahá'ís and thirty-three local assemblies. In 1957 Rabmatu'llah was elected onto the regional spiritual assembly, and in October named as one of the final group of Hands by Shoghi Effendi. In 1958 the Muhajirs left Indonesia, subsequently travelling extensively throughout the Bahá'í world. Rabmatu'llah played a key role in inspiring several Bahá'í communities to begin campaigns of 'mass teaching' to establish Bahá'í communities in the rural areas of the Third World. He also encouraged the establishment of Bahá'í educational and health projects. He died in Ecuador, during an intensive tour of South America . BW18: 651-9; Muhajir, Dr Muhajir. Harper 455-41.
MUHLSCHLEGAL, Adelbert ( 1897-1980) German HAND OF THE CAUSE of Protestant background. He was introduced to the Bahá'í Faith by his mother and became a Bahá'í in 1920. He was active in promoting the faith in Germany, including translating Bahá'í literature, and serving as a member of the national assembly (1924-37, 1946-59). He was appointed a Hand of the Cause by Shoghi Effendi in February 1952. He later travelled extensively, visiting Bahá'ís in various parts of the world. A medical doctor, he was given the responsibility of preparing the body of Shoghi Effendi for burial (1957). His first wife, Herma Weidle (m. 1926), died in 1964. In 1977 he and his second wife, Ursula Kohler, became Bahá'í PIONEERS to Greece. He died in Athens. BW18: 611-13; Harper 372-83.
NABIL-I-AKBAR ÁQÁ MUHAMMAD-I-QÁ'INI was born in Naw- Firist, Persia (Iran) on 29 March 1829. "It has been claimed that no one within the enclave of the Bahá'í Faith has ever surpassed the profundity of his erudition." Bahá'u'lláh addressed the Lawh-i- Hikmat* (Tablet of Wisdom), in his honor. He was imprisoned a number of times in Iran for his Bahá'í activities and eventually moved to Ashkhabad ('Ishqábád, Turkmenistan). He died 6 July 1892 in Bukhárá, Uzbekistan. 'Abdu'l-Bahá designated him a Hand of the Cause of God. * Pronounced low-heh-heck-mat.
OLINGA, Enoch (1926-79) The only black African HAND OF THE CAUSE. Olinga was a Christian Ugandan of the Teso tribe. He became a Bahá'í in 1952 in Kampala, and shortly afterwards returned to his home district to teach the Faith. In 1953 he was the first Bahá'í PIONEER to British Cameroon, and was named as KNIGHT OF BAHA'U'LLAH for that territory. In 1956 he was elected as chairman of the newly formed Regional Spiritual Assembly for North-West Africa, and in 1957 became the first of the new African Bahá'ís to make the pilgrimage to the BAHA'I WORLD CENTRE. Shoghi Effendi named him as 'Father of Victories' (Abu'l-Futuh) for his services to the Faith, and in October 1957 appointed him as a Hand of the Cause: at thirty-one he was the youngest of those appointed. Extensive world-wide travels followed. He served as a rallying point for the Ugandan Bahá'ís during the troubled 1977-9 period. He, his wife and three of hiis children were murdered on 16 September 1979 by unknown assailants. BW18: 618-35; Harper 462-72
RANSOM-KEHLER, Keith (1876-1933) Prominent American Bahá'í. She became a Bahá'í in 1921, and after the death of her second husband in 1923 became increasingly active as a Bahá'í speaker and teacher. In 1929 she travelled to the Caribbean, and in 1930 began an extensive world tour to promote the Faith. Shoghi Effendi invited her to Haifa in 1932, and gave her a special mission to go to Iran on behalf of the American national spiritual ASSEMBLY to petition the Shah to ease or lift the restrictions on the Bahá'ís. She stayed in Iran for over a year, but her efforts were unavailing. Exhausted and in poor health she eventually succumbed to smallpox, and was buried in Isfahan near to the graves of the KING AND BELOVED OF MARTYRS. Shoghi Effendi named her posthumously as a HAND OF THE CAUSE, and as the first American to have the spiritual station of a MARTYR. BW5: 23-7, 93, 389-410; Harper 99—109.
REMEY, Charles Mason (1874-1974) American HAND OF THE CAUSE and, finally, COVENANT-BREAKER. Remey was the son of Admiral George Collier Remey. He became a Bahá'í in Paris in 1899 and became one of the most travelled of the early Western Bahá'ís, visiting Iran and Central Asia with another Bahá'í in 1908 and, in 1909-10, completing the first round-theworld tour of Bahá'í communities. He also became prominent in the American Bahá'í community as an author, public speaker and administrator (BFA2: 151- 2, 289-95, 333-4, 348-512). He was appointed to the first INTERNATIONAL BAHA'I COUNCIL by Shoghi Effendi in 1950, and named as a Hand in the following year. He designed the Houses of Worship in Kampala and Sydney (see MASHRIQU'l-ADHKAR), as well as the future temple on Mount CARMEL. After the death of Shoghi Effendi (1957) Remey joined his fellow Hands in the first conclave and their declaration that there was no designated successor as Guardian. He was chosen as one of the Custodial Hands. He later came to believe that the GUARDIANSHIP had to be continued, however, and that he himself was the second Guardian by dint of having been appointed president of the International Council (itself the precursor of the Universal House: of Justice over which the Guardian would preside). He issued a proclamation to this effect in April 1960, but only succeeded in gaining the support of a small number of Bahá'ís world-wide. He and his followers were subsequently declared Covenant-breakers by me Hands, who reasoned that his claim was unsupported by any formal appointment by Shoghi Effendi, and that according to 'Abdu'l-Bahá's WILL AND TESTAMENT the line of Guardians was confined to the male descendants of Bahá'u'lláh (AGHSAN). Harper 287-306; SBBR 130-1; TCB 385-91. 42932; UJH Ministry of the Custodians.
ROBARTS, John Aldham (1901-91) Canadian HAND OF THE CAUSE. He and his wife, Audrey, became Bahá'ís in 1938, having first learned about the Faith from John's aunt, Grace Ober. Their enormous dedication provided significant support for the growth of the then still minuscule Canadian Bahá'í community: teaching the Faith, helping to establish spiritual assemblies, and serving on committees. In 1948 a separate Canadian national spiritual assembly was formed, with John as its chairman. In 1953 the Robartses and their two youngest children pioneered to Mafeking, then capital of Bechuanaland (modem Botswana), subsequently moving to Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), In 1956 John was elected onto the newly formed regional assembly for South and West Africa, and in October 1957 was appointed as one of the final group of Hands. In 1966 the Robartses returned to Canada. They continued to travel extensively, visiting Bahá'ís in various parts of the world, despite their advancing age and John's increasing frailty. Harper. 73-95.
Root, Martha Louise (1872-1939) Prominent American Bahá'í itinerant teacher and writer. A journalist and former school teacher, she became a Bahá'í in Pittsburgh in 1909. In 1915 she made a lengthy visit to various Bahá'í communities in Asia and elsewhere, supporting herself by publishing articles in the United States. In 191 9, in response to 'Abdu'l-Bahá's appeal in the TABLETS THE DIVINE PLAN, she began what was to become her life's work with an extended visit to promote the Faith in several countries of Latin America. Travelling from city to city she gave talks - often to Theosophist and Esperanto groups - wrote articles for newspapers and magazines, put Bahá'í books in libraries, and contacted government officials, educators and others. Other lengthy tours followed: between 1923 and 1930 she visited the Far East, Australasia, Europe, the Middle East and India. Then after a year in the United States and Canada she went again to Europe (1932-6) and then to East Asia, Ceylon, India and Australasia (1937-9). She died in Honolulu on the return leg of her journey. Disregarding her own health and living much of the time in poverty, she pushed herself to seize every opportunity to promote the Faith, making myriads of new contacts, including her meetings with Queen MARIE of Romania. She was the first person to make a radio broadcast about the Bahá'í Faith (in Perth, Australia in 1924). In Europe she helped set up the INTERNATIONAL BAHA'I BUREAU, and enormously expanded Bahá'í links with the Esperanto movement. Shoghi Effendi posthumously named her HAND Of THE CAUSE and described her as a Bahá'í immortal. BW8: 643-8; Garis.; Harper 112-122; Zinky and Baram.
Rúhíyyih Khánum, Ama'tul-Bahá (Rúhíyyih Rabbani, born Mary Maxwell, 1910) American-Canadian wife of SHOGHI EFFENDI and HAND OF THE CAUSE. Her parents were William Sutherland and May MAXWELL. Involved in Bahá'í youth activities in North America, she moved to Europe in 1935 to support Bahá'í activities there. She married Shoghi Effendi on 24 March 1937, seemingly without much in the way of courtship. She served also for many yean as his personal secretary. Shoghi Effendi appointed her as a member of the INTERNATIONAL BAHA'I COUNCIL in 1951 to act as liaison between him and the Council. She was appointed as a Hand of the Cause on 26 March 1952 following the death of her father. She acted as the rallying point for her fellow Hands after Shoghi Effendi's death and was one of the custodial Hands. Her travels have taken her to almost all parts of the Bahá'í world, including many remote rural areas. The honorific Amatu'l-Baha means maidservant or handmaiden of Baha. Harper 168-82.
RUMI, Siyyid Mustafa (d, 1942, 1944 or 1945) Prominent early Bahá'í in India and Burma, His family was from Baghdad but had settled in Madras, and it was there that he came into contact with JAMAL EFFENDI (1876) and became a Bahá'í. He accompanied Jamal during his travels through India and South East Asia (from 1878), eventually settling in Rangoon, where he married into an Indo-Burman trading family. Learned and active, he was able to build on the work started by Jamal and consolidate several Bahá'í communities in Burma, including an entire village (Daidanaw). In 1899 he was one of those who took the marble casket made by the Baha' is of Mandalay for the Bab's remains TO 'Abdu'l-Bahá, He worked extensively to further the Bahá'í Faith in Burma and India, including writing and translating Bahá'í literature in Burmese and supervising the publication of various materials in Urdu. He was murdered during the chaotic conditions that prevailed in Burma during World War II. He was then almost ninety-nine years old. Shoghi Effendi posthumously honoured him as a HAND OF THE CAUSE. BW10 517-20.
SA'D, 'Abdu'l-Jalili Bey (d. 1942) Prominent Egyptian Bahá'í. He became a Bahá'í after coming into contact with Mirza ABUL-FADL. As a civil court judge in me 1920s he was instrumental in widening the legal basis for freedom of religion in Egypt, and later defended the Bahá'í Faith in newspaper articles from attacks on it (1934). Transferred to a remote area of the country as a result of this publicity, he devoted himself to translating the DAWN-BREAKERS and other materials into Arabic, securing permission to publish and distribute these in the face of considerable opposition. He was also able to gain permission for the Bahá'ís to build the national HAZIRATU'L-QUDS in Cairo (1941). He was president of the national spiritual ASSEMRLY of Egypt and Sudan for many years. Shoghi Effendi posthumously honoured him as a HAND OF THE CAUSE. BW9: 597-99.
SÁDIQ Khurásání, Mullá (d. 1889) Eminent Babi and early Bahá'í. Born in Mashhad, the son of a cleric, He furthered his own clerical studies in KARBALA under the Shaykhi leader Sayyid Qasim Rashti, eventually gaining the rank of mujtahid, and becoming known by the honorific title Muqaddas ('the holy one'). Accepting the Bab, he moved to Shiraz where he became a leader of the congregational prayers, and in that capacity added the Bab's name to the call to prayer (June 1845). This occasioned uproar, and Sadiq, together with QUDDUS and another Babi, were arrested, scourged, mutilated, and expelled from the city. Sadiq subsequently travelled to Yazd and Kirman, where he publicly proclaimed the Bab's advent. He joined Mulla HUSAYN BUSHRU'I, and participated in the struggle at TABARSI, of which he was one of the few survivors. He met Bahá'u'lláh in Baghdad in around 1861, Later becoming one of the foremost promoters of the Faith in Iran, and suffering further persecution and imprisonment. Bahá'u'lláh gave him the title Ismu'llah'l-Asdaq ('the name of God, the most truthful'). 'Abdu'l-Bahá posthumously named him a HAND OF THE CAUSE. His son, IBN-I-ASDAQ, was one of the Hands appointed by Bahá'u'lláh. EB 7-23; Harper 32-41; MBBR 69-70; MF 5-8.
Samandari, Tarazu'llah (1875-1968) Iranian HAND OF THE CAUSE. He was born into a Bahá'í family in Qazvin; his father was Shaykh Kazim SAMANDAR. He spent much of his long life travelling to promote: the Faith and fulfilled various missions on behalf of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi in Iran and elsewhere. Shoghi Effendi appointed him a Hand of the Cause in December 1951. In old age he was among the last to recall meetings with Bahá'u'lláh (in 1891-2), thus giving Bahá'ís in many parts of the world a sense of living history, He long remained active and was a powerful speaker. He was also a skilled calligrapher. He died in Haifa. BW15:410-416; Harper 307-316.
Schopflocher, Siegfried ('Fred') (1877-1953) Canadian HAND OF THE CAUSE of German Jewish background. He became a Bahá'í in 1921. A successful businessman, he made a number of major financial contributions to Bahá'í projects, including the Wilmette temple (MASHRIQU'L-ADHKAR) and the GREEN ACRE Bahá'í school. He travelled extensively and served on both the joint American—Canadian and separate Canadian national spiritual assemblies. He was appointed a Hand of the Cause by Shoghi Effendi in February 1952. His wife, Florence Eveline ('Lorol') (1896- 1970), was one of the most widely travelled of the early Western Bahá'ís, visiting Bahá'ís in many parts of the world, and trying to help alleviate the persecutions of the Iranian Bahá'ís. BW12: 664-666; Harper 384-90.
Sears, William (1911-92) American HAND Of THE CAUSE of Irish Catholic background. He first learnt of the Bahá'í Faith in 1936 from his future wife, Marguerite Reimer, and converted in 1940. In 1953 the Sears moved to South Africa as Bahá'í PIONEERS. William was appointed to the AUXILIARY BOARD for Africa in 1954 and was elected as chairman of the new national spiritual ASSEMBLY for South and West Africa in 1956. He was appointed a Hand of the Cause by Shoghi Effendi in October 1957. The Sears returned to the United States in 1959, and subsequently travelled extensively, visiting Bahá'ís in various parts of the world. Sears was a radio and television writer, performer, commentator and humorist. He was involved with the production of a number of Bahá'í radio programmes, and in 1973 worked with Robert Quigley to prepare the first Bahá'í television series (in Hawaii). His books include a number of popular Bahá'í histories, a Bahá'í account of the fulfillment of biblical prophecy (Thief in the Night), and the autobiographical God Loves Laughter. Harper 496-506.
Townshend, George (1876-1957) Anglo-Irish HAND OF THE CAUSE of Protestant background. He was ordained as an Episcopalian minister in 1906 whilst living in the United States, and resumed a clerical life after he had returned to Ireland, later becoming a Canon at St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin in 1932 and Archdeacon of Clonfert in 1933. He became a Bahá'í in 1921 and subsequently worked to attract other clergy of the Church of Ireland to his new-found faith. These efforts were completely unavailing. He eventually renounced his orders in 1947. From 1926 onwards he acted as literary adviser to Shoghi Effendi, reading through and editing all of the Guardian's major publications. At Shoghi Effendi's request he wrote the introductions to The DAWN-BREAKERS (1932) and GOD PASSES By (1944). His own writings were extensive, and included The Old Churches and the New World Faith (1949), a 'manifesto' to Christians explaining the reasons for leaving the church, and Christ and Bahá'u'lláh (1957), presenting Bahá'í as the fulfillment of Christianity. Shoghi Effendi appointed him as a Hand of the Cause in December 1951. BW13: 841-6; Hofman.
True, Corinne Knight (1861-1961) Prominent early American Bahá'í and HAND OF THE CAUSE. She converted in 1899 in Chicago. She was initially the driving force behind the project to build a Bahá'í temple in the Chicago area, and served on the BAHA'I TEMPLE UNITY. She was one of those consulted by Shoghi Effendi about the future development of the Faith in 1922, and was also active as a Bahá'í teacher in the United States, and in the establishment of new Bahá'í groups in Europe after World War II. She was appointed a Hand in February 1952. BW13: 846-9; Harper 391-407.
VARQA ('Dove'), Mirza 'Ali Muhammad (d. 1896) Prominent lranian Bahá'í renowned as a poet. He and his young son, Ruhu'llah, were killed by one of the Qajar courtiers in the aftermath of the assassination of NASIR'D-DIN SHAH. 'Abdu'l-Bahá named him posthumously as a HAND OF THE CAUSE, and Shoghi Effendi designated him as one of the APOSTLES Of BAHA'U'LLAH. EB 75-97; Harper 42-9; MBBR 361-2
Varqa, Ali Muhammad (b. 1912-2007 lranian HAND OF THE CAUSE. Son of Valiyu'llah VARQA. He gained a doctorate at the Sorbonne in 1950 (with a thesis on hydrology in Iran), and later became a professor at the universities of Tabriz and Tehran. After his father's death in 1955 he was appointed in his stead as Hand and as Trustee of the HUQUQU'LLAH. As Hand he performed various international missions for the Faith, and was in Europe at the time of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. He subsequently moved to Canada, later taking up residence in Haifa as one of the Hands at the Bahá'í World Centre. He remained Trustee of Huquq, and oversaw the enormous expansion in its administration in recent years. Harper183-7.
Varqa, Valiyu'llah (1884-1955) Iranian HAND OF THE CAUSE born in Tabriz. His father was the martyr 'Ali Muhammad VARQA, but Valiyu' llah was brought up under the influence of his staunchly Muslim maternal grandmother and it was not until he was in his teens that he was introduced to the Bahá'í teachings and became a Bahá'í. He later worked in the palace of Muhammad-'Ali Shah and was able to forward letters from 'Abdu'l·Baha to the king. In 1912 he travelled to America and later to Europe, acting as 'Abdu'l-Bahá's treasurer and sometimes as his interpreter. He was a member of the Tehran spiritual ASSEMBLY, and later of the national spiritual assembly. Shoghi Effendi appointed him as Trustee of the HUQUQU'LLAH in 1938 following the death of Ghulam-Rida, and in December 1951 he was raised to the rank of Hand of the Cause. He travelled to various countries at Shoghi Effendi's direction. After his death (in Germany) his eldest son - another 'Ali-Muhammad VARQA was appointed a Hand and trustee of the Huququq in his father's stead. BW13,831-4: Harper 329-32.
Wilhelm, Roy C. (1875-1951) Prominent early American Bahá'í. He was a millionaire businessman in New York City, and head of the family coffee company. His mother, Laurie, became a Bahá'í in 1898, but Roy was not attracted to the Faith until he accompanied his mother on her pilgrimage to Akka in 1907. This experience transformed his life. He was elected to serve on the Executive Board of the BAHA'I TEMPLE UNITY in 1909 and, except for one year of illness, remained a member on it, and its successor, the national spiritual assembly, until 1946, often acting as its treasurer. He also helped administer the Bahá'í community in New York, produced Bahá'í literature, and supported the teaching work of Martha ROOT and Louis GREGORY. He acted as a channel of communication between 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the American Baha' is, and was one of those whom Shoghi Effendi consulted about the future development of the Faith in 1922. He died on December 20 1951, and was posthumously named a HAND OF THE CAUSE by Shoghi Effendi. An annual unity feast is held at the former Wilhelm property at West Englewood, New Jersey, to commemorate a feast held there by 'Abdu'l-Bahá during his visit to America. BW12:662-664.
Back to:   Biographies
Home Site Map Links Copyright About Contact
. .