IMPRESSIONS THAT REMAIN FOREVER
Dr. Firaydun Mithaq
I had always considered meeting the Hands of the Cause of God a special bounty and privilege that one would never forget, perhaps even in the life after. All of the Hands that were appointed by the beloved Guardian had met the Guardian at least once and each has stories of his own of how they were immersed in the love of the Guardian which to a large extent had transformed them. The Hands of the Cause of God, in turn, exerted spiritual influence upon the believers that heeded their advice and guidance. I have to say this especially for those friends that did not have the opportunity of meeting the Hands of the Cause of God and are therefore not able to adequately appreciate the magnitude of their transforming power, wisdom and the immense of love they had for Bahá’u’lláh and His Cause.
It is with the immense blessings of Bahá’u’lláh that I was enabled to meet in person a total of fourteen Hands of the Cause of God. I spent a considerable period of time with seven of them while with others I had only brief moments. I have already written earlier with greater details on those seven Hands of the Cause of God with whom I spent much time. They are Mr. Taraz’u’llah Samandari, Mr. Ali Akbar Furutan, Mr. Abu’l Qasim Faizi, Dr. Raḥmatu’lláh Muhájir, and Mr. Collis Featherstone, Mr. Enoch Olinga and Amatu’l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khánum. This time around I am submitting this story on the seven other Hands of the Cause with whom I spent short moments. Though my meetings with them were quite unplanned, mostly unexpected and brief, I must admit these meetings left everlasting and impactful impressions within my soul. I write this story on my brief and impactful encounters with seven Hands of the Cause of God; namely Mr. Jalal Khazeh, Mr. Adelbert Muhlschlegel, Mr. Dhikru’lláh Khádem, Mr. Paul Haney, Mr. Shu’á’u’lláh `Alá’í, Mr. John Robarts, and Mr. `Alí-Muhammad Varqá.
On a sunny day, probably in January 1961, when I was a youth of 18 and passing my last year in a High-School in Tehran, I heard from a friend that Hand of the Cause of God Mr. Jalal Khazeh had come from the Holy Land and was giving a talk to a large crowd of about 2,500 believers. Upon hearing this pleasant news, excitement filled my soul and I was simply jumping up and down. I was truly overwhelmed with the thought of meeting Mr. Khazeh for the first time. Even as a youth I was already taught on the high rank the Hands of the Cause of God occupied in the Cause. More than that I was acutely aware that after the passing of the Guardian, the appointment of further Hands of the Cause of God had ceased completely. To me, meeting those noble and exemplary souls was certainly a lifetime opportunity never to be missed. Therefore, on the appointed day, a Bahá’í classmate and I arrived at the large hall where the gathering was to take place. To make sure we got front seats to have a close view of the Hand of the Cause, we arrived about half an hour earlier. I was informed that Mr. Khazeh was well-disciplined and a retired Colonel of the Iranian army. When Mr. Khazeh appeared, he was full of radiance, and yet very humble. The essence of his talk was sharing inspiring stories of the victories won by pioneers and travel teachers and the vast and wide expansion of the Faith during the last eight years of the Ten-Year Crusade period. As we know, the beloved Guardian called the Ten-Year Crusade the “Spiritual Conquest of the Planet.” Mr. Khazeh also remarked that more pioneers were still needed for fulfilling both the national and international goals, and encouraged the friends to arise and win the remaining goals of the Plan. After his talk, the audience was invited to ask questions. I spoke and sought his guidance on my desire to pioneer. I told him that I wished to pioneer but my parents were concerned about my young age, and that I was totally new to the difficult pioneering conditions in a new and unfamiliar place far away from family and friends.
As for my worries concerning the tests and hardships, Mr. Khazeh asked me to rely upon God, pray and ask Him for divine assistance and assured me that God will surely show the way. Mr. Khazeh was very encouraging, and he advised me to contact the national and international pioneering committees for further guidance and details. I thought I would get a direct and practical answer, but to my surprise, his response was not exactly what I expected. Therefore, I put my head down and tried to reflect on his answer in search of the clue. Mr. Khazeh, noticing my perplexity continued relating a relevant story to rescue me from my bewilderment. His story was this: There was a family pioneering in the Holy city of Qum in Persia that had endured continuous persecutions at the hands of the fanatical Muslims there. Despite the difficulties they faced, they had remained firm and steadfast. One day, things go from bad to worse and the whole roof and ceiling of his house collapsed, and his family suffered further. Having no money there was no way for them to fix the ceiling. But to remain in their pioneering post, the father raised his hands upward and said, “O my God, if this is your providence, I accept it with all my heart. But if it is not, please have pity on my family and bestow deliverance.” Mr. Khazeh continued saying that at that time he served on the National Spiritual Assembly of Iran. An unexpected cable came from the beloved Guardian asking the National Spiritual Assembly of Iran for immediate and urgent attention to the problem that this pioneer family was facing in Qum. The cable urged the National Assembly to make sure that their affairs and needs were fully met. Mr. Khazeh stressed that neither the National Spiritual Assembly nor the Guardian himself was informed of the worsening condition of this family in Qum. But the beloved Guardian who is the “Sign of God on Earth” had somehow sensed the urgent need of this family in Qum and had sent the cable. Mr. Khazeh continued saying that the National Spiritual Assembly assigned him to immediately go to Qum and stay there and do whatever was necessary and not to return until all was well taken care of. The unexpected arrival of Mr. Khazeh to the rescue of the pioneer family in Qum was a shocking pleasure for them. He stayed in Qum and fixed everything. Mr. Khazeh concluded that the prayer-hearing and prayer answering God answers all our prayers in the most unexpected and mystical ways.
With this story, I had the answer to my question. This short meeting with Mr. Khazeh created a pioneer in the form of my own self. When I attained the age of 19 in the year 1962, I pioneered to Laos or officially known as Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
Mr. Shu’á’u’lláh ‘Alá’í
In October 1967, I met four Hands of the Cause of God at the International Conference in New Delhi, India. They were Mr. Faizi that represented the Universal House of Justice, Dr. Muhájir, Mr. Shu’á’u’lláh ‘Alá’í and Dr. `Alí-Muhammad Varqá.
Although I had spent my childhood days in Tehran, I had never met Mr. Shu’á’u’lláh ‘Alá’í and Dr. Varqá who resided in Tehran. When I met Mr. ‘Alá’í in New Delhi for the first time I could see him as one highly disciplined and direct in speech—the usual qualities of a retired Army General who was fully trusted by the Shah of Iran. All the Hands present in the conference delivered short speeches. Mr. ‘Alá’í remarked that pioneers were the soldiers in the army of God that serve in the forefront and advance ahead of others in the spiritual battles. He said by teaching the Faith the pioneers open the way for the progress of people and nations, thereby attracting the bounties and blessings of God. He drove home this message from the Master, “Teaching the Faith is the most meritorious of all deeds.” I waited for an appropriate time to approach and seek his advice. The opportunity came when the Hands of the Cause Mr. Faizi, Mr. Alai and Mr. Varga, and the representative of the National Spiritual Assemblies were going to the office of Mr. Morarji Desai, the Deputy Prime Minister of India. I represented the Spiritual Assembly of Laos. While we were in the main hall of the National Bahá’í Center and waiting for the taxis, I noticed that Mr. ‘Alá’í was standing right at the entrance of the hall. I took the opportunity and approached him. He sensed I had wanted to ask him something, and asked if I needed anything. I politely said that I was pioneering in Laos where we have had a large number of people coming into the Faith. I said we had been trying to help them learn reciting prayers and reading the Writings in the mornings and evenings and develop spiritual habits and discipline. I told him we had not been very successful and asked him for his advice. As he began to give the answer to my question the taxis arrived and we were asked to get into them. I was fortunate to be seated next to him in the taxi. He talked most of the way and shared his experiences of how people have formed habits by doing good things on a regular basis and have gradually developed a discipline of following the laws and slowly controlling and overcoming their weaknesses. He further said that we must be patient with new believers and at the same time to be consistent in doing consolidation and deepening works. We finally arrived at the Deputy Prime Minister’s office and our conversation ended. But within that taxi journey, I got the advice I was seeking – we have to be patient with new believers and be consistent in what we do for them.
At the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office, we were all introduced. As the Hands and the representatives of the national spiritual assemblies were introduced Mr. Morarji Desai commented that the Faith was widespread. After the introduction, Mr. Morarji Desai invited us to sit at a long conference table that was decorated with flowers. The Deputy Prime Minister sat at one end of the table while the three Hands of the Cause of God sat on both sides. The representatives of the National Spiritual Assemblies took all the other seats. Since I was the youngest representative, out of courtesy I waited to take the last seat. But there was no vacant seat. Mr. Faizi was sitting next to the Deputy Prime Minister with Mr. Alá’í sitting at his left corner and translating for him. Mr. Alá’í was not conversant in English. At this point, a chair was brought in and placed at the table’s corner in between Mr. Faizi and Mr. Alá’í and the staff of the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office asked me to occupy that seat. I politely refused to be seated between the two Hands of the Cause of God. The staff had no idea of the august station of the Hands of the Cause, and he insisted that I should take the seat while I kept refusing. The Deputy Prime Minister noticed this and himself bade me take that seat. I looked at Mr. Faizi in search for what to do and Mr. Faizi gave a blink of his eyes asking me to obey the Deputy Prime Minister. I obeyed and sat down but tension ran down my spine throughout the meeting. Mr. Faizi informed Mr. Morarji Desai on the objectives of the Bahá’í Conference which was, among others praying for the well-being of the people in India and their country. Mr. Morarji Desai gave a short talk that he believed in all the religions, including the Bahai Faith. Mr. Faizi told the Deputy Prime Minister about a Tablet revealed by Abdul Baha in which he foretold about the future spiritual significance of India. Mr. Alai mentioned a meeting he had with Jawaharlal Nehru the first Prime Minister of India some years ago and his friendly attitude toward the Faith. That was a very cordial meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister of India.
Meeting of with Mr. Morarji Desai, Deputy Prime Minister of India, centre. To the right of Mr. Desai are Mrs. Shirin Fozdar and Mr. Faizi. Seventh from right is Mr. Alai. Firaydun is standing fourth from right, with Counselor Payman of Indonesia at his right and Counselor Vicente Samaniego from the Philippines at his back. (Bahai News, December 1967, National Spiritual Assembly of the United States)
In March 1970, my wife Giti and I made our first pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Our first pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Báb and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was in the company of the Hand of the Cause of God Mr. Paul Haney who was residing in Holy Land. On the first day, our group of nineteen pilgrims gathered at the Pilgrim House close to the Shrine of the Báb. While sitting down quietly waiting for the coming of Mr. Paul Haney, he stepped in. He shook hands with every one of us and bade us sit down. Then he told us how from the time of Bahá’u’lláh, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and the Guardian, pilgrims have been coming to Holy Land and that in those days the pilgrims were guests of the Faith and even stayed at the Bahá’í properties in Haifa and ‘Akká. But as the number of pilgrims grew from the late 1950s, the pilgrims had to arrange their own accommodations and hotels. The increase in the number of pilgrims was a sign of the growth of the Faith. Mr. Haney also mentioned about the construction of the “superstructure” of the Shrine of the Báb with a golden dome, and the landscaping of the gardens – all under the vigilant guidance of the beloved Guardian. He said that during the ministry of Bahá’u’lláh, the pilgrims from Iran walked on foot for months with great hardships and came to Holy Land. They even carried with them saplings of beautiful flowers, plants and fruit trees for the Bahá’í gardens. They stayed in simple caravansaries. Mr. Haney said how fortunate we are nowadays to come for pilgrimage conveniently by airplanes and stay in comfortable hotels.
Next Mr. Haney led us to the Shrine of the Báb where he recited the Tablet of Visitation and then left us to pray individually for some minutes. He then led us to the Shrine of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and recited the Tablet of Visitation of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. After that, he left us to pray individually as he had to leave and attend to other responsibilities. We met Mr. Haney again together with Hands of the Cause of God Mr. Furutan and Mr. Faizi. Mr. Haney was with us once more when we went to ‘Akká. We had finished our prayers at the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh and were let to the tearoom located behind the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh for tea where we found Mr. Haney was waiting to see us. There he spoke about some historical events associated with the life of the Central Figures of the Faith which broadened our understanding especially about the External Affairs of the Faith with the authorities of ‘Akká and the government officials. Mr. Haney mentioned how the power of God penetrated their hearts and turned their prejudice and hostility into friendliness with the believers. The company of Mr. Haney in this pilgrimage was so important for us as he was able to provide almost first-hand information on each of the Holy Spots. As I look back these days, the pilgrims do not get the company of the Hands of the Cause of God. That was once in a lifetime bounty for my wife Giti and myself.
While traveling in Europe in September 1974, I went to the House of Worship in Langenhain near Frankfurt to attend the Sunday service. A piece of unexpected news awaited me. I learned that Hand of the Cause of God Mr. Adelbert Mühlschlegel was admitted into a hospital in Frankfurt. I wished to pay a visit upon him in the hospital. When I got back to the hotel, I dialed a telephone number and a lady picked up the receiver replied she was his assistant. When I pressed on my earnest desire to see Mr. Mühlschlegel she said he would not want to see any visitor. Feeling disappointed, I asked if she could kindly pass him a short message, to which she agreed. I informed her that I was a Persian pioneer to Laos and wished to meet him and say prayers for his speedy recovery. She said she will communicate my message to Mr. Muhlschlegel through his daughter and took down my number. After a while, I received a call from Mr. Mühlschlegel’s daughter who wanted more information about me. I said I was a pioneer in Laos and was currently serving on the Continental Board of Counsellors in Southeast Asia. She said she will pass my message and get back to me in case the Hand of the Cause agreed to meet me. I was praying to God to enable me to meet this Hand of the Cause whom I had never met before, and perhaps I may not be able to meet in the future. About an hour later Mr. Mühlschlegel’s daughter returned my call informed that his father wanted to see me. I was in the seventh heaven as people say. We immediately fixed a mutually convenient time to meet up, and she gave the direction to his hospital. I was very emotional as I approached him in the hospital room. He received me with open arms and gave me a light hug while he was still lying in bed. He talked with a radiant and smiling face. I told him that I had been praying from the time I heard he was in the hospital. He said not worry about him since everything was in the hands of God and the good doctors, nurses, and friends. Then he asked me about the progress of the Faith in the East. I mentioned that mass teaching was going on and people in many villages in the Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, and India were entering in large numbers. As he heard of the victories in the teaching field, he became so excited that he immediately sat up straight in the bed with immense joy and started praising God. He instantly said, “The people that come to the Faith in large numbers must be taught to pray, deepened and trained to serve the Faith because that will keep them alive in the Faith. And I thought how true that was. Then he asked about my job and family. I gave a brief reply. He said, “Please kiss your children for me and give my love to your wife. Both you and your wife will serve the Faith, be sustained, and confirmed in faraway lands.”
I had only one hour in the presence of Mr. Mühlschlegel. When I said goodbye and walked out, the daughter of Mr. Mühlschlegel walked me out and informed me that for three days her father was lying in bed and never able to sit up. But it was only on listening to my stories that he sat up after three days. It occurred to me that teaching was one area of service that was of paramount importance for him and news of victories for the Cause seem to be his real healing medicine. What he said in 1974 still rings in my ears – that my wife and I would serve the Cause, and become sustained and confirmed in faraway lands. We are still serving the Cause in Asia.
The impression of Mr. Mühlschlegel cannot be easily described. He looked so radiant even in the hospital. To be present near him had a strong impact on me. I found him highly spiritual, something I never saw in others. As I left the hospital, I recalled Amatu’l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khánum requesting Mr. Muhlschlegel to wash the sacred remains of the beloved Guardian following his passing in London.
I met the Hand of the Cause of God Mr. in Chicago in 1975. It took place when I was taking a fifty-five days consolidation tour in South America in January 1975 on the recommendation of the Universal House of Justice. On this trip, I was scheduled to visit Mexico, Port of Spain, Virgin Islands, Saint Thomas, Barbados, Haiti, Jamaica, Belize, Panama, El Salvador, and San Salvador. I spent a few days in each of these countries. I began the trip from Laos going to the Bahá’í World Center for prayers and supplication for divine assistance. On reaching Haifa, Hand of the Cause Dr. Raḥmatu’lláh Muhájir who orientated me for the South American trip took me with him to the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh in ‘Akká. In the Shrine, he chanted the Tablet of Visitation of Bahá’u’lláh and I stood a couple of steps behind him. The feeling of that moment in that Most Holy Spot on earth was beyond description. As a Counsellor from Laos, arrangements were made for me to meet and consult with the International Teaching Center, but to my surprise, I was also invited to meet with the Universal House of Justice. That was another special honor and experience for me to be in the presence of the body of the Universal House of Justice for the first time. I answered some of the questions concerning the progress and protection of the Faith in Southeast Asia. It was Dr. Muhájir who had lovingly adjusted my itinerary accordingly to meet the Supreme Body. I could not ask for anything more. After praying in the Shrines and meeting up with the Universal House of Justice and the International Teaching Center, I had more confidence to embark on the trip to South America.
Upon arriving in Chicago, I settled down and wanted to go to the House of Worship in Wilmette the following day. But something urged me not to postpone my visit to the House of Worship. I went straightaway to the House of Worship where I observed there was a large gathering about to start at the Temple’s foundation hall. At the entrance of the hall, I was asked for my Bahá’í identity card which I did not have. All I had was a written letter from the Universal House of Justice about my trip. The officer took the letter somewhere and returned after a few minutes. The letter was accepted in lieu of the Bahá’í ID. When I entered the hall, it was the Hand of the Cause Mr. Dhikru’lláh Khádem who was speaking about the victories and unfinished goals of the Five-Year Plan. That was the first time ever that I met Mr. Khádem. It was an unexpected bounty to be right at that time at the House of Worship. The officer who met me at the entrance must have informed the Hand of the Cause Mr. Khádem that I was a member of the Board of Counsellors in Southeast Asia. After the meeting was over, I was greeting some familiar faces and old friends. At that time someone asked me to follow him saying that Mr. Khádem wanted to see me. The gentleman guided me across the hall. In there Mr. Khádem was sitting with a few friends, some of whom were also visitors like me. Once I approached Mr. Khádem, he stood up and gave me a warm hug. I could feel the Bahá’í love radiating from Mr. Khádem as he hugged me. Then he introduced me to the friends that were sitting there. There were a number of short teaching stories that were exchanged. The atmosphere was totally spiritual. Everyone was delighted and I felt dreaming of being in another world of ecstasy. Mr. Khádem talked about the hardships that the pioneers and travel teachers had to endure in the underdeveloped countries. He related a story that when he was just about one year old as Hand of the Cause of God – the beloved Guardian assigned each Hand of the Cause to undertake a number of tasks including international traveling and meeting the believers in the numerous countries of the five continents. Mr. Khádem said that in 1953, he was to travel with Hand of the Cause of God Mr. Musa Banani to Africa and visit on the Guardian’s behalf the believers in all the far and isolated communities. Mr. Khádem said the trip in Africa was a bit arduous especially for Mr. Banani t who was advanced in age. Mr. Khádem related his journey to meet a believer in a very isolated place where the roads leading to it were difficult even for 4 wheel-drive automobiles to travel. Therefore, they had to charter a small airplane to get to the town that had a runway and proceed a couple of hours of drive on the surface to reach the destination. He said the road was so bad that they had to get off the car and walk a short distance from time to time along the journey. Once they got to the house of the believer, he was not to be seen. A lady that was in the house answered the door and said the person that they had come to see had gone hunting and was not coming back before sunset. At first, she did not invite them to come in. But when she saw the frailty and weariness of the visitors, she allowed them to come in and wait for his return. When the believer came back and realized that there were strangers in his house, he became furious and kept scolding the lady saying that, “Did not I tell you not to allow any stranger in the house? How could you do that especially when I am not in?” And as soon as he was informed that the visitors were Bahá’ís who had come on the instruction of the Guardian, his attitude changed, and he apologized. Then he turned to the lady and said see how wonderful the Bahá’í Faith is, whose head had sent two fellow Bahá’ís to visit him. The host treated Mr. Banani and Mr. Khádem with immense love, respect, and warm hospitality until they bade goodbye and left. It was a good lesson that pioneering is not always a bed of roses and that one has to sometimes expect the worst and yet remain strong.
After the meeting in the House of Worship, Mr. Khádem invited me to his house for dinner and to meet his family, which I accepted with great gratitude. On the next evening when a friend dropped me at his house, I saw that a few other Bahá’í friends there as well. One of them was Mr. Farzbod Taefi whom I knew from the Philippines in the early seventies when he was a student pioneer attending the university in Manila. At this meeting, I was mostly quiet and listening but dared to ask about the progress of his research work that the Universal House of Justice had tasked him to conduct concerning the places that were associated with the lives of the Central Figures of the Faith. At that time, he mentioned some research and documentation were completed but there was still much work to be done. Later on, the Universal House of Justice announced and commended Mr. Khádem for completing 134 volumes of researched records on Bahá’í historical sites in five years, that were received at the Bahá’í World Center in 1977.
I met the Hand of the Cause of God Mr. John Robarts in Montreal in 1982 at the International Continental Conference. The Hand of the Cause of God Amatu’l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khánum represented the Universal House of Justice. Mr. John Robarts spoke about pioneering and the achievements of the teaching goal of the Seven-Year Plan.
The conference was quite large with several thousands of participating friends from all over the world. It was very hard for me to get close to Mr. Robarts in that wave of the crowd but I prayed and wished to shake his hand and possibly have a small conversation. But the chance did not avail. In the morning after the conference was over, I went to Maxwell’s house as many others did, for visiting the room that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had once occupied in his travel in 1912, for praying and expressing my gratitude for all the blessing that God has conferred on me. Then I went downstairs and was quietly chatting with some friends. Suddenly Mr. Robarts came in accompanied by some friends and went straight upstairs to the room of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Hoping that there might be a chance to see him face to face, I waited until he came down. When he came down he was offered a cup of tea. This I thought was the opportunity that I had been looking for. I went to him, bent down in humility and introduced myself. He most graciously smiled, and a conversation began. Seeing that I had been pioneering since 1962 in Laos, Thailand, Hong Kong, and South Korea he became interested to know about how the Faith was progressing there and what I was doing. Our conversation continued for about ten minutes and still not over when one of his companions came forward and said the car was ready for him to leave. The conversation was still going on and not wanting to depart but he had to, he asked me if we could meet again. He said it would be difficult to arrange another time and invited me to lunch with him in a nearby restaurant. I accepted the invitation with great joy to continue the conversation. At lunch, Mr. Robarts related that how the youth and families had pioneered to the northern parts of Canada had taken the Faith to remote places to the Indian aborigines with courage and devotion. He said when he was a youth he had engaged in teaching and pioneering in numerous locations in Canada. He said they were unforgettable and left good memories, and he regarded those memories as the best part of his life. He turned to me and said that the time would come when I too would also consider my teaching days the most memorable in my life. He went on to say that the Bahá’í Writings tell us that teaching the Faith is what remains of our lives and will perpetuate eternally; everything else that we do is transitory and are sure to fade away in thin air. He also mentioned that the Bahá’í institutions place the services of teachers and pioneers of the Faith in high esteem and pray for their protection and divine assistance. He wished my family the bests in our services wherever we went. Then he asked me about my wife and children and of how they were doing in the Faith. The conversation over lunch lasted about an hour and a half. After he bade me goodbye with another hug he departed. I walked for some minutes thinking about how God undeservedly provided the priceless opportunity of meeting Mr. Robarts unexpectedly at a time when I thought it was impossible.
I also had met Hand of the Case of God Dr. `Alí-Muhammad Varqá the Trustee of Huqúqu’lláh. I had the bounty of meeting Dr. Varqá several times in various places, first at the International Conference in New Delhi, India in 1967. Then I had the bounty of meeting him several times in the Holy Land between the late eighties when he was residing in Haifa till he passed away in 2007. Since my appointment as the first Representative of Huqúqu’lláh in Korea in 1987 and later as Deputy Trustee of Huqúqu’lláh my communication and meetings with Dr. Varqá and the Office of Huqúqu’lláh in Haifa increased. With that, I was able to educate the believers in Korea on the law of Huqúqu’lláh with greater confidence. They helped the friends understand this sacred law better and to be prepared to practice it after the Universal House of Justice announced to the Bahá’í World in 1992 that the law of Huqúqu’lláh had become universally applicable. At one point when materials, quotations, and posters were being developed by some friends in some countries I had the bounty of developing posters with quotations from the sacred Writings on the law of Huqúqu’lláh over the Korean and Chinese calligraphic paintings depicting beautiful gardens, mountains, flowers and birds that were printed in small numbers. The samples and were sent to Haifa for approval and publication. Once in 2006, when I met Dr. Varqá for the last time at his office in the lobby of the seat of the Universal House of Justice, he appeared weak and frail, but he got up to greet my wife Giti and me and bade us be seated. His encompassing love and genuine humility had not changed even at that advanced age. At that time, I was no more serving on the Institution of Huqúqu’lláh since I left Korea and moved to China. We were in his presence for about an hour and listened to his inspiring stories of how friends gave to the Huqúqu’lláh even under very difficult circumstances. By the time we were leaving we begged him not to stand up and he agreed. We said “Khoda Hafez” (Be in God’s protection in Persian) and left.
That was the end of my stories of meeting with these seven Hands of the Cause of God. Some of these meetings were unplanned and unexpected. Meeting each of them was a very unique experience to me, and each meeting provided me lessons not to be forgotten. They may be short, but truly impactful moments.
Dr. Firaydun Mithaq
30 June 2019
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dr. Firaydun Mithaq (Mithaqiyan) was 20 years old when he pioneered to Laos in 1962, thus catching up with the last year of the Ten Year Crusade-Plan. Coming from the fifth generation of Baha’is on his father’s side and fourth generation from mother’s side, he was raised in a devoted family. From the age of two to fifteen, he grew up in home-pioneering locations among the Kurd populations with his four siblings. He spent the first seven years of pioneering among the tribal masses of spirit worshipers in the hills, mountains and the urban and rural Buddhists communities in Laos. Mithaq witnessed mass teaching in these areas in 1963, from a single village of forty-five tribal people to about one hundred thousand believers in 1973. In 1973 he was appointed to serve on the Continental Board of Counsellors in South East Asia. From 1975 to 2017 he and his family pioneered to Hong Kong, South Korea, China and Thailand. From 1987to 1992 he lived in the aboriginal communities in Northwest Australia such as Carnarvon, Onslow, Karatha, Roburn, Port headland, Brume and Derby and engaged in travel teaching and community building activities. He currently lives with his wife Giti in Thailand. His pioneering life was highly inspired under the direct love and guidance of the Hand of the Cause of God Dr. Rahamatullah Muhajir.
7 thoughts on “IMPRESSIONS THAT REMAIN FOREVER”
Dear Dr. Firaydun,
Thank you so much for this most inspiring story. I woke up and read this story as my first activity of the day. You made my day.
I was fortunate to have met Hands of the Cause of God Dr. Muhajir and Enoch Olinga while I was serving as Administrative Assistant at the National Baha’i Center in Malaysia. Unfortunately I did not realize the importance and significance of their station and rank. It is only as all of them have passed away that I do realize that I am truly missing them.
You have been well blessed to have met several of the Hands. And you have done the most meritorious job by recording for posterity your experience in meeting them in person, in this popular historical blog. The4 current and future generations now have something concrete to learn of the Hands in some respects.
Dear Dr. Firaydun
Thank you for your lovely stories on meeting with several Hands of the Cause of God. I had met some of them but you have met so many of them. You are truly blessed to have attained their presence and received so much guidance. Biographies have been written on some of the Hands but the anecdotes of yours add further to their contribution in strengthening the individuals and communities they met.
We are living at a time when many in the current generation have not met a single Hand of the Cause. How lucky some of us are to have met them.
On another note, I still remember how well you conducted the firesides at my residence. You were able to win over the Persian enquirer with your Farsi language and to this day he appreciates the meeting.
What a great reading. The story was most wonderful and inspiring story.
I remember attaining the presence of Hand of the Cause of God Mr Collis Featherstone at the Winter School held in Cameron Highlands in Malaysia in December 1979. I also have met Amatul Baha, Mr. A.A. Furutan and Mr. Varqa and gained some guidance and advice. However you are most fortunate to have met so many of them. I am sure meeting them would have molded you into an effective pioneer you are today.
Thank you Manisegaran for taking the initiative in maintaining this lovely blog to record such monumental stories.
Very inspiring. I know the feeling of being in the presence of a Hand of the Cause of God. I had the great bounty of meeting Hands of the Cause of God Dr. Muhajir, Mr Samandari, Mr. Featherstone and Mr Sears. I will never forget those moemnts
Mamata Kanti Paul
I just completed reading the story by Dr. Firaydun. Truly inspiring to read about those holy personage and the experience with them. I have never met any of them in my life. I was hoping at least I would be fortunate to meet Mr Varqa. But that too did not take place as he had ascended even before I could make it to the Holy Land/ In the absence of meeting the Hands of the Cause of God, it is only such stor4ies that seem to comfort me to some extent.
Thank you Dr Firaydun
Dear Dr. Mithaq,
Yours is one of the greatest, wonderful and inspiring stories.
Going through his story, I recollected in my mind that Varqa Memorial Baha’i School in Rajabollaram village near Secunderabad, which was run by me on behalf of our Baha’i Institutions.
You have had the greatest bounty of meeting several Hands of the Cause of of God. Not many of us had this opportunity.
Jaya Raju Thota
Dear Mr. Thota Raju
I am grateful for your kind comment on articles about the Hands of the Cause. In fact, the Hands positive influence on believers and motivating the to rise to the service of the Cause is phenomenal beyond measure.