Author introduced Faith to a generation

June 29, 2004
Gloria Faizi (1921-2004).

BRISBANE, Australia — Gloria Faizi introduced the teachings of Baha'u'llah to a whole generation of inquirers through her pocket-sized introduction to the Baha'i Faith.

First published in 1971, "The Baha'i Faith: An Introduction" is published in 21 languages. The inexpensive and easy-to-read book has sold more than 200,000 copies.

Right up until she passed away here aged 83, on 29 June 2004, Gloria Faizi was intent on using her literary gifts to tell people about Baha'u'llah.

Her book, "Baha'u'llah -- The Promised One" has just been published, its initial draft dictated by her while ill in bed.

At the time of her death, she was writing her ninth book, a biography of her late husband, Abu'l-Qasim Faizi (c. 1906-1980), a Hand of the Cause of God.

In a message of condolence to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Australia, the Universal House of Justice said Gloria Faizi had "rendered outstanding services to the Cause of Baha'u'llah throughout her life."

"Her distinguished record of accomplishment includes a number of books translated into many languages which have proved most valuable in attracting inquirers to the Faith and in conveying a deeper understanding of the Baha'i teachings."

The Universal House of Justice said they remembered with appreciation "her many contributions to the progress of the Baha'i communities, including her pioneering in Bahrain with her illustrious husband, her work at the Baha'i World Centre, and her devoted travels far and wide as a teacher of the Cause."

Gloria Faizi (center, rear) with her mother Najmieh (left), her father Rahmatu'llah Khan 'Ala'i (right), and her brother, Manuchihr. Slideshow
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Gloria Faizi (center, rear) with her mother Najmieh (left), her father Rahmatu'llah Khan 'Ala'i (right), and her brother, Manuchihr.

Gloria Faizi was born into the Ala'i family, distinguished for its service to the Faith. She met the head of the Faith, Shoghi Effendi, when she accompanied her father to the Holy Land as a child.

When she was 17, she married Abu'l-Qasim Faizi, and together they assisted Baha'i communities in a remote rural area of Iran before settling in Bahrain in the mid-1940s. Their two children, Naysan and May, were born during their 15 years there.

Family members heard no complaints about the conditions there from Mrs. Faizi, and it was only later that they learned of the extreme difficulties she and her husband encountered in the early years -- initial unemployment, malnourishment, the lack of relief from intense heat, discomfort, and hostility. Over the years the couple were of great assistance and inspiration to Baha'is in the region.

Later, Mr. Faizi's duties required them to move to the Holy Land. After Mr. Faizi passed away, Mrs. Faizi lived for two more years in Haifa and then moved to India where she traveled widely in service to the Faith.

"Her love for India and the Indian community was immense," said a longtime secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly, Mr. Ramnik Shah.

"Her great contribution to the development of the Faith in India was her assistance in not only writing but supervising the printing of books and booklets that were required for the proclamation and deepening of the Faith," Mr. Shah said.

Mrs. Faizi set up residential institute programs to teach and train Baha'is in Tamil Nadu and in Solan, in Himachal Pradesh.

In more recent years she was resident at the Rabbani School in Gwalior, where her deep knowledge of the Baha'i Faith and her brilliance in communication were demonstrated in memorable classes for both faculty and students.

A Fellow of the Institute of Linguists, Mrs. Faizi was fluent in Persian, English, Arabic, French, and Turkish, and she had a working knowledge of Hindi.

Her literary gifts enabled her to write not only her immensely popular introductory book but also another best-seller, "Fire on the Mountain Top," a collection of stories about early members of the Baha'i Faith.

More and more books were to pour from her pen. Among them was "Flowers of One Garden," which is now being distributed to government educational institutions throughout India.

Meticulous to a high degree in everything she did, she would painstakingly pore over her manuscripts until convinced they were free from faults.

She was in demand as a speaker and teacher of the Faith internationally.

In a eulogy delivered at her funeral, her literary assistant Vafa Fakhri said Mrs. Faizi was a scholar, writer, and teacher to the end.

Mr. Fakhri referred to her "almost superhuman focus, determination and perseverance", her "gentle and endearing sense of humor" and her vast knowledge of the Baha'i Faith and other religions.

Gloria Faizi is survived by her two children, and four grandchildren.