FAYŻĪ, ABU’L-QĀSEM

(1906-1980), Bahai teacher, missionary, and author.

 

FAYŻĪ, ABU’L-QĀSEM (b. Qom, 1906; d. Haifa, 19 November 1980), Bahai teacher, missionary, and author. Fayżī’s father, ʿAbd-al-Ḥosayn Khan, and mother, Ṣeddīqa, were first cousins and descendants of Mollā Moḥsen Fayż (q.v.). Fayżī moved with his family to Tehran at the age fifteen, where his parents, although they were not Bahais, enrolled him in the Bahai-run Tarbīat school. Influenced by his Bahai teachers and the Bahai weekly classes of dars-e aḵlāq (lit: instructions on ethics), he eventually came to consider himself a Bahai. In 1927 he went to Beirut to study English literature at the American University, and used the occasion to make several trips to Haifa to meet Shoghi Effendi, the then guardian of the Bahai faith (Baháʾí World 18, p. 660). He returned to Persia in 1934 and worked for a short time at the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company before resigning his post and moving to Najafābād to teach the Bahai children there, whose school had been closed down by the government. In 1939 he married Gloria ʿAlāʾī in Tehran; they had a daughter and a son as well as an adopted son. In 1940 Fayżī left Najafābād for Qazvīn. After one year in Qazvīn, he and his wife moved to Iraq for a year before proceeding to Bahrain, where they were the first Bahais to settle. Despite many hardships, they remained there until 1958. He worked as a teacher of English and, at the same time, oversaw the establishment of a Bahai community there. Fayżī was praised by Shoghi Effendi for his work for the Bahai cause in Bahrain. (Baháʾí World 18, p. 664) In October 1957, Fayżī was appointed one of the Hands of the Cause (Ayādī-e amr Allāh, q.v.) by Shoghi Effendi. The next year, after the passing of Shoghi Effendi, Fayżī was elected as one of the nine Hands to reside permanently at the Bahai World Center at Haifa, where he settled with his family. This began a phase of Fayżī’s life in which he was constantly traveling until ill-health overtook him shortly before his death. He visited most parts of the world, especially North America, Europe, Asia, and the Pacific on Bahai missions. Fayżī was a poet and an excellent calligrapher. His writings consist mostly of short tracts. He contributed to the journal Rāh-e now and its successor Jahān-e now. He also translated from English into Persian (R. Rabbani, The Priceless Heart, tr. as Gohar-e yaktā, Tehran, 1969); and vice versa (Ḥājī Mīrzā Ḥaydar-ʿAlī, Bahjat al-ṣodūr, tr. as Delight of Hearts, Los Angeles, 1980.

 

Bibliography:

Obituary by his wife in Baháʾí World 18, pp. 659-65.

B. Harper, Lights of Fortitude, Oxford, 1997, pp. 426-33.

A special issue of Payām-e Bahāʾī (Paris, no. 132, 1990) dedicated to him includes a bibliography (by A. Ṣādeqīān, pp. 55-59) of his Persian writings, including 19 books (e.g., Dāstān-e dūstān, Tehran, 124 B.E=1336 Š./1957) and booklets, 20 articles for general reading, 34 articles on Bahai subjects, and 5 books translated into Persian. The list includes also 14 booklets in English. A forthcoming volume of Ḵūšahā-ī az ḵarman-e honar wa adab,Landegg (Switzerland, 1998) will be devoted to him, and an anthology of his writings is forthcoming.

(Moojan Momen)

Originally Published: December 15, 1999

Last Updated: January 24, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. IX, Fasc. 5, p. 459