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Montreal, February 16,2020 – The Bahá’í Community of Montreal organized a memorable meeting to honour the life of ‘Ali Nakhjavani, who passed to the World Beyond on October 11, 2019 in France.

‘Alí-Yulláh Nakhjavání was born in 19 September 1919 in Baku, in then Azerbaijan Democratic Republic to ‘Ali-Akbar Nakhjavani and Fatimih Khánum, both Baháʼís, who rendered outstanding services to the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh. After his father's death circa 1921, when he was only two, his family was advised by ʻAbdu'l-Bahá to move to Haifa, where he was raised. 

He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the American University of Beirut in 1939. In the early 1940s he returned to Iran, residing first in Tihrán, then Tabriz and finally in Shiraz. He was elected in 1950 as a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of Iran, the governing body of the Baháʼís in that country, where he served until the following year. He got married in Tihrán to Violet Banáni, a daughter of the late Hand of the Cause pf God, Músa Banáni.

Violet, ‘Ali and their two young children, Bahiyyih and Mehran, moved in 1951 to Uganda, Africa to assist with the development of the Baháʼí Community in that country. While he was there he worked as a teacher and lecturer. During his early years there, Enoch Olinga (Later appointed as a Hand of the Cause of God by Shoghi-Effendi) joined the Faith and in 1953 accompanied by his wife along with Olinga and two other Baháʼís, travelled from Uganda to Cameroon to help spread the Baháʼí Faith in there. Three years later he was appointed as an Auxiliary Board member and in 1956 he was elected to the Bahá’í National Spiritual Assembly of Central and East Africa. 

In 1961 he was elected to the International Baháʼí Council — the forerunner to the Universal House of Justice, the worldwide governing body of the Baháʼí Community — and thus moved to Haifa. In 1963 he was elected to the Universal House of Justice during its inaugural convention, and served as a member of that body until 2003. After his retirement from the Bahá’í World Center, ‘Ali Nakhjavani and Violet travelled extensively throughout Europe, North America and Russian Azerbaijan. They visited Montreal several times and attended the celebration of the Centenary of the passage of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to this city as well as the ceremony of the inauguration of the Shrine (Maxwell’s home)

Whether in vacation or special mission from the Universal House of Justice, he made a point to cross into African continent, where he spent one of his most cherished part of his life. The 10 years he lived there, he travelled throughout the continent in various countries, he loved its people, its culture, its spiritual openness, its dignified and simple but powerful response to the message of unity and faith. The years in Africa stayed with him until his last days on this earth. Whenever he had the chance to visit Africa, one could sense truly his love directed towards the African continent and its people. His heart was in Africa, his thoughts, his preoccupations, his pure love was for the many people he crossed paths with in his years in that torn yet wonderful continent. He loved the genuine character of the people he met, their purity, their joy and their happiness despite their difficulties. His work and tireless service in Uganda, in the remote villages and rural areas, his extraordinary travels with a small car through the crazy muddy roads to traverse various countries with his beloved wife to bring Mr. Olinga to the other side of the continent, the adventures, the crisis, the victories – all of these made his soul fall in love with Africa and created a special bond with the continent which will endure forever.

There are so many people who carry his name in Africa because, as per tradition, if you touch someone’s life, their children are given your name as a tribute, so you will find many people whose first name is Nakhjavani. Most importantly they carry his spirit: the spirit of service and dedication that he has shone forth all these years.

If one wants to remember Mr. Nakhjavani, one cannot help but also think of his beloved companion throughout his life, dear Violette Nakhjavani – together they represented an example of unity, respect and love which is rarely seen.

Jalál Nakhjavání 

17 Sep 1917 - 9 May 1982

Ali Nakhjavani would never want to be remembered without mentioning his beloved parents and his dear brother Jalal. His immense love for his father and especially for his mother is indescribable. Every service, every victory, every success of his life was not claimed by him. He would always mention the blessings of his parents and how grateful he was to them for all their love.

Mr. Nakhjavani used to say “finita la musica” at the end of every talk but as one reflects on his earthly life, so close to the celebration of the bicentenary of the Birth of the Báb, it is timely to think that he has just joined the beginning of a musical piece, a beautiful spiritual concert in the next world.

Besides his numerous talks given in Europe, Unites States, Africa and Russia, he has authored some twenty books and articles. He continued with his writings practically until the end of his life. His outstanding books on the life of his father Mirza Ali-Akbar-i-Nakhjavani as well as “Shoghi Effendi: The Range and Power of His Pen”, are well known.

Mr. Nakhjavani passed away on October 11, 2019 at the age of 100 years old in France.

It was with sorrowing hearts that the Universal House of Justice conveyed the news of his passing in the early hours of the  morning, to the Bahá’í World: 

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.

 

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