Tributes to an illustrious and inspirational life
Tribute from the Universal House of Justice
Mr ‘Alí Nakhjavání, former member of the Universal House of Justice, passed away in the early hours of 11 October 2019 in France. He was 100 years old. The House of Justice sent the following message to all National Spiritual Assemblies on the same day.
With sorrowing hearts we convey the news that in the early hours of this morning our deeply cherished, illumined, and illustrious former colleague ‘Alí Nakhjavání ascended to the worlds beyond.
We mourn the loss of an extraordinary figure who leaves behind a distinguished legacy of uninterrupted service to the Cause of God. In the course of a singularly remarkable life that began in the closing years of the Heroic Age and extended to the very fringes of the second century of the Formative Age, he shone in the firmament of selfless devotion to Bahá’u’lláh and was called upon to be involved in many a major development in the rise of the Administrative Order, whether as a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of Iran, as an intrepid pioneer to Africa in the Ten Year Crusade, as a member of the African Auxiliary Board when it was first created, as a member of the Regional National Spiritual Assembly of Central and East Africa at its inception, and as a member of the International Bahá’í Council when it was first elected, a prelude to his membership on the Universal House of Justice when it was established in 1963. He brought to his decades of monumental service absolute fidelity to his beloved Guardian, an exceptional depth of knowledge of the Cause, leonine commitment to the defence of the Covenant, intense ardour for the teaching work, rare spiritual acuity, and a radiant heart brimming with love for everyone who crossed his path. His was a life of profound spiritual attainment lived at the hinge of history. May his utter consecration, his adamantine faith, and his unswerving dedication to duty inspire generations to come.
We supplicate at the Sacred Threshold for the progress of his noble soul, that it may be richly rewarded, and that it may be united with his valiant pillar of support, his beloved wife Violette. Our condolences are extended to his dear daughter and son, Bahiyyih and Mehran, and to their families, and we pray that their grieving hearts may be solaced. The friends are called upon to hold memorial meetings in his honour, including befitting gatherings in all Houses of Worship throughout the world.
The Universal House of Justice
Condolences from the National Spiritual Assembly
The National Spiritual Assembly sent the following letter to the family of Mr Nakhjavání on 21 October.
We send our loving condolences on the passing of your beloved father, whose illustrious life and legacy have been inspirational to the whole world over many decades. His life of radiant service, and his noble character and capacities were beautifully described by the beloved Universal House of Justice in its letter to the Bahá’í world upon his passing. The New Zealand Bahá’í community was blessed to experience these qualities and your dear father’s warm and generous spirit during his two visits to this country in 2002 and 2006, during which he radiated the utmost love for the friends, and gave most memorable talks.
Memorial services for Mr Nakhjavání are already happening in New Zealand and there will be more planned. We are thinking of you and all the other family members, particularly Mary Victoria and Salím, who are fondly remembered for the time they spent in this land.
With our heartfelt loving sympathies,
National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of New Zealand
The following response was received from the family on 25 October:
Dear Friends, Please accept our gratitude and deep appreciation for your loving letter of condolence on the occasion of the passing of our dear father, uncle and grandfather, Alí Nakhjavání.
His travels in New Zealand were a source of joy to him, and he often expressed his admiration for that land and its peoples to his family. It is in memory of those meetings in 2002 and 2006, and of the most moving traditional welcome he received from your community, that we thank you for your remembrance of him at this time.
New Zealand was a part of his heart, and remains a part of ours. We have no doubt that now he is released from the impediments of the body, his spirit will soar in your skies and inspire your lives too.
With abiding love on behalf of all the family,
Birthday greetings and response
Not long before his passing, Mr Nakhjavání reached his 100th birthday and a congratulatory message was sent to him on behalf of the New Zealand Bahá’í community. This elicited greetings to the New Zealand friends on his behalf from his daughter and grand-daughter. Below is their response and the birthday message from the National Spiritual Assembly.
Mr Alí Nakhjavání was so touched to receive your kind letter and loving greetings on behalf of the National Spiritual Assembly of New Zealand on the occasion of his hundredth birthday. He has asked us to please convey his deep gratitude and utmost respect to that institution, as he is unable to write to you himself.
Mr Alí Nakhjavání remembers with fondness his visits to New Zealand, and the warmth and steadfastness of the Bahá’ís of that land, which shines like a beacon in the “midmost heart of the ocean”. He would like to pass on his well wishes to the dear friends in that country, to those he knew in the Holy Land and to their families at home.
With all of our love and his,
Bahiyyih Nakhjavání and Mary Victoria
19 September 2019
12 ‘Izzat 176
Mr Ali Nakhjavani
Dear Mr Nakhjavani
On the marvellous occasion of your 100th birthday, please accept most loving and whole-hearted best wishes from the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of New Zealand on behalf of all the friends in this country.
Your visit here in 2006 is well remembered with fondness and deep appreciation for the wisdom that you shared, particularly in your talks on the Covenant. These talks were both fascinating and powerfully confirmatory for the hearers, leaving a lasting impression. Furthermore, a good number of New Zealanders had the pleasure of meeting you during your many years of service at the Bahá’í World Centre, benefiting from your warm interest and insight.
We assure you of our gratitude and our best wishes for your continued health and happiness, through the bounties of Bahá’u’lláh.
Loving Bahá’í greetings,
National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of New Zealand