Baha'i world loses most distinguished member
HAIFA, Israel — The worldwide Baha'i community has lost its most distinguished member with the death of Dr. Ali-Muhammad Varqa.
He passed away on the evening of 22 September 2007 at his home in Haifa.
In 1955, Dr. Varqa was appointed to the high rank of "Hand of the Cause" by Shoghi Effendi, Guardian of the Baha'i Faith. Dr. Varqa served in that capacity, on the international level, for 52 years until his passing. He was the last survivor of the 27 Hands of the Cause who were alive when Shoghi Effendi passed away in 1957.
Dr. Varqa came from a well-known Iranian family that has served the Baha'i Faith with distinction for generations. After obtaining a doctorate from the Sorbonne in Paris in 1950, he taught in Iran at the universities of Tabriz and Tehran and served the Baha'i community there in various administrative capacities. In 1979 he moved to Canada, and later established his residence in Haifa to serve at the Baha'i World Center.
He was born in 1911 in Tehran, Iran, and received his name from 'Abdu'l-Baha in memory of his grandfather, who had been killed for being a follower of Baha'u'llah.
Dr. Varqa traveled to many countries as a representative first of Shoghi Effendi, then of the Universal House of Justice, the international governing council of the Baha'i Faith. In that capacity, Dr. Varqa attended the first national conventions held in Belgium, Luxembourg, the Congo, Mauritania, Central African Republic, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Czechoslovakia and Greenland.
Dr. Varqa is survived by three daughters and six siblings. His funeral took place the morning of 24 September, with burial in the Baha'i cemetery in Haifa.