Dr Lutfu'llah Hakim

Dr Lutfu'llah Hakim

Birth
Esfahan, Iran
Death 10 Aug 1968 (aged 79–80)
Haifa, Heifa (Haifa District), Israel
Burial Haifa, Heifa (Haifa District), Israel
Memorial ID 136928668 · View Source
Suggest Edits

Lutfu'llah Hakim was born into a family of distinguished Jewish medical doctors, his great-grandfather and his grandfather having served as physicians at the court of the Shahs of Persia.
Hakim Masih, the grandfather of Lutfu'Ilah Hakim, accompanied Muhammad Shah as court physician on his pilgrimage to Karbila, 'Iraq. While stopping in Baghdad, Hakim Masih heard about the illustrious Tahirih [1] and hastened to meet her discourse he was overwhelmed with admiration and wonder and openly exclaimed: "Not amongst women nor even amongst men have I ever seen such an erudite person; she is unique in knowledge, wisdom and eloquence." He could not ignore the interest she had awakened and day and night he searched and investigated, desiring to discover and understand the source of power and inspiration on which this unusual and noble woman drew.
The opportunity to further his understanding arose when he was summoned to a prison in Tihran to attend the sick child of one of the believers who had been imprisoned for his faith. Even after the child's complete recovery he would visit the prison to meet the father and son, chained and living under the most cruel conditions. Often he preferred to spend hours in the presence of Ismu'llah, the imprisoned believer, and neglected his clinic. The explanations that were given in answer to his sincere questions were accepted with the utmost love and reverence, and he became the first Jew in the world to embrace the Cause. When news of his acceptance reached Baha'u'llah, a Tablet was revealed by the Exalted Pen in honour of Hakim Masih. This was followed by other Tablets which are unfortunately now lost to us, the paper having deteriorated through being hidden underground by the wife of Hakim Masih to avoid the persecution that would have resulted from their being found in the family's possession.
Hakim Masih had only one son, Hakim Sulayman, whose youngest child was Lutfu'llah Hakim. When his father and mother passed away, his elder brother, Dr. Arastu Khan, took him under his care and protection. Lutfu'llah grew to be a very sincere and staunch Baha'i.
In 1910 he went to England to study physiotherapy. During his studies he wrote frequently to 'Abdu'l-Baha in the Holy Land constantly expressing his deep longing to consecrate his life to His service. When 'Abdu'l-Baha reached London on September 4, 1911, at the outset of His historic journey to the West, He found Lutfu'llah Hakim amongst the friends who had gathered to greet Him. Thereafter, Lutfu’llah was constantly in attendance on his beloved Master. Before 'Abdu'l-Baha left London, He told him, "Mirza Lutfu'llah, I will call you to Haifa." At the request of 'Abdu'l-Baha he visited Germany to serve as assistant and translator for an outstanding Persian Baha'i teacher who was serving the Cause in that country. From Germany Lutfu'llah wrote to 'Abdu'l-Baha saying: "In this trip I discovered three things: first, the love which Baha'u'llah has created in many hearts; second, now I understand what it means to be a Baha'i and I believe in this Faith more than ever; third, after meeting the beloved Master, this trip gave me the greatest joy. I was not worthy of so many bounties. It is all due to the Master's abundant kindness and love showered upon me. I supplicate the Lord that whatever I do in my life will meet with Your pleasure." The remainder of Dr. Hakim's life was spent in the service of the Cause, his sole aim being to follow the path of servitude with determination and detachment. He protected the friends like a brother from many tests and was often a link between the Master and the friends in England to whom 'Abdu'l-Bahi would often relay messages through Lutfu'llah Hakim. In one moving Tablet 'Abdu'l-Baha assured Lutfu'llah that he was never forgotten and prayed that he would receive fresh confirmation every moment of his life.
At a time when 'Abdu'l-Baha was saddened by the publication in Europe of some books attacking the Faith, Lutfu'llah gladdened His heart by writing Him about an ardent new adherent of the Cause in England, Dr. John E. Esslemont [2], and said that "this noble soul is studying the Faith with love and enthusiasm and desires to write a book about it to help the ready souls to reach the fountainhead of love and faith."
Soon after that the promise given him by his beloved 'Abdu'l-Baha was fulfilled and he was called to Haifa to serve the Cause at its World Centre. In The Priceless Pearl, pages 31-32, Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum relates that "Shoghi Effendi was still little more than a boy in 1920 when 'Abdu'l-Baha sent him abroad for his studies, in the company of Lutfu'llah Hakim who was returning to England . . ." and at the Master's insistence Shoghi Effendi, who had exhausted himself in the service of 'Abdu'l-Baha and needed rest and recuperation, "took the rest that had been enjoined upon him in a sanatorium in Neuilly, a suburb of Paris", and after a stay of about two months "then proceeded to England in July".
Lutfu'llah was in Haifa when 'Abdu'l-Baha passed away on November 28, 1921, and his services during that poignant period of sorrow were so loyal, painstaking and steadfast that in later years Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Baha'i Faith, expressed his admiration of the vigilance and devotion of Lutfu'llah Hakim. After the passing of the Master, Lutfu'llah remained in Haifa and was one of those who with shattered hearts greeted the grief-stricken young grandson of 'Abdu'l-Baha upon whose shoulders had fallen such a heavy burden. He writes: "When we received the news of the arrival of Shoghi Effendi from London, we all hastened to the station. When the Guardian saw the friends who were there to receive him, he greeted them with such a sorrow-stricken voice that all trembled with sadness." Lutfu'llah assuaged his own grief through seeking to serve and bring happiness to the tender youthful Guardian. In 1924 he returned to Persia and Shoghi Effendi encouraged him to write to him regular and informative letters. In his replies the beloved Guardian assured him that he would be remembered in prayers at the Holy Shrines and wished him an ever-growing measure of success in his services to the Faith.
In Tihran he married Bahiyyih Khanum, the daughter of a well-known physician, who bore him a son and a daughter and shared with him the responsibilities he carried. In this period he served as translator for, and assistant in the clinic of, Dr. Susan I. Moody, a devoted Baha'i physician who in 1910 at the request of 'Abdu'l-Baha had left her home in America to serve the Cause in Persia.[3] It may be from this association that he was always called "Doctor" Hakim.
With the Guardian's approval, he transferred his residence in 1950 to England where he served the Faith and the friends with exemplary loyalty. He was in England when, in 1951, the Guardian summoned him to serve at the World Centre and he was later appointed to the first International Baha'i Council, serving as Eastern Assistant Secretary. In addition he rendered valuable services to the eastern and western pilgrims, conducting them through the Archives and escorting them to the Shrines and Holy Places in Haifa, 'Akka and Bahji. This was an arduous occupation requiring that he cover large distances on foot several times a day, from the Shrine of the Bab to the home of the Master or to the lower area of town, climbing the long flights of stairs, hundreds of steps, over and over again, carrying messages, bringing the pilgrims to see the Guardian, assisting them to make their travel arrangements. Indeed, perhaps it was this ceaseless activity, so exhausting in itself and rendered with such devotion, that strengthened Lutfu'llah's physical constitution enabling him to successfully recover from a serious illness in 1957 and thus prolonging his life until it was crowned by his being elected to the first Universal House of Justice in 1963.
To a nephew of Dr. Hakim who came on pilgrimage Shoghi Effendi spoke of his appreciation of the sincerity of Lutfu'llah Hakim's service, the effort he expended, the confidence he reposed in him and the happiness he brought the pilgrims.
Lutfu'llah was in the hospital recovering from serious surgery when he received the news of the passing of Shoghi Effendi, a heartrending blow which undoubtedly aggravated his condition and possibly contributed to the partial paralysis with which he was thereafter afflicted. Though feeble and sorrow-stricken, he hastened to be among those who received Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum when she returned to the Holy Land crushed by the fateful events that transpired in London in that dark November of 1957. Thereafter Lutfu'llah would often ask the pilgrims to pray that his departure from this world would be hastened. He lived through those remaining years of separation from his beloved Guardian with great patience and endurance.
One of the last acts of Shoghi Effendi's life had been to call for the holding of five intercontinental conferences at the midway point of the Ten Year World Crusade which triumphantly concluded in April, 1963. The first of these was scheduled to be held in Kampala, Uganda in January, 1958 and he had designated Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum as his representative, to be accompanied by Dr. Lutfu'llah Hakim, member of the International Baha'i Council. Despite her personal grief and lack of heart to attend any function of any kind, and despite Dr. Hakim's sorrow and the necessity of using a cane when walking, they were united in their view that they must carry out the wish of their beloved Guardian. Their appearance at the Kampala conference was a source of joy and inspiration to the many believers assembled there. An endearing gift of Lutfu'llah Hakim was his capacity for relating stories of the days of 'Abdu'l-Baha and the Guardian with a deep concern for accuracy. Whenever he told a story, it was exactly the same as he had recounted it many times before; even the words would be almost identical and his tone of voice would change at special points in the narration. Nothing would ever be altered to please his listeners nor was there any personal interpretation of his stories; it was sufficient for the individuals to listen and learn the wisdom which they conveyed.
He had a very acute sense of the history of the cause. He did not write history, but he collected and preserved many important documents and photographs. The letters he had received throughout his life were carefully arranged and bound together every year. The numerous photographs he either took or collected were all carefully documented, each bearing an inscription on the back-the names of the people, the occasion and date. He would ask the pilgrims to give him a photograph of themselves with the date, their name and profession, and if applicable a note stating in which branch of the administrative or teaching work they had been active. If a pilgrim did not have a photograph, he would request him to send it by mail.
He himself was a good photographer and said that he had often taken pictures of 'Abdu'l-Baha. He enjoyed relating that one day 'Abdu'l-Baha approached him and said playfully: "Do not put me in this black box of yours anymore; if you do, I shall slap you." Dr. Hakim replied: "I do my work and the Master will do whatever He likes." He continued to take photographs of 'Abdu'l-Baha, but never was he slapped!
Amongst his valuable papers were the memoirs of the Hand of the Cause Dr. John E. Esslemont, the illustrious author of Baha'u'llah and the New Era, a book written in part through the encouragement offered by Dr. Hakim and the first chapters of which Lutfu'Ilah brought with him to the Holy Land for the perusal of 'Abdu'l-Baha.
Another outstanding personal quality of Dr. Hakim was his intense love for the Guardian. This mysterious power kept him alive, energetic and always happy. It was equalled by his loyalty which never wavered in the face of the repeated attacks of the Covenant-breakers, both in the days of 'Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi. At the slightest attack or malevolent threat from the avowed enemies of the Cause, Lutfu'llah would bristle with indignation. Undoubtedly this great loyalty was one of the characteristics that endeared him to both 'Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi and attracted to him such unique opportunities to serve the Faith and receive such high honours in doing so.
He would accompany the pilgrims to the Holy Shrines, urging them to pray also for the friends who were not there. His constant remark to every pilgrim was: "Appreciate every moment you spend here in the Holy Land." No one remembers having heard from his lips the words, "I am tired", not even in the years when he was bowed with age and afflicted with paralysis and other ailments. Never did he complain. He was an eager and tireless guide to those visiting the Shrines on Mt. Carmel. Exhausted, ailing, bent with the burden of sorrows, under winter rain or summer sun, he would always reach the doors of the Shrines exactly at nine in the morning when the gardens were opened to guests.
Dr. Hakim also had a charming sense of humour. One day the beloved Guardian ordered tea for pilgrims. Lutfu'llah always had everything ready for the occasion. He brought the tea and the Guardian asked him his age. He immediately replied, "Not yet twenty-one, beloved Guardian." Shoghi Effendi's affectionate and sweet smile was his reward.
Illness took its toll and his health continued to fail. In October, 1967, the Universal House of Justice wrote to the Baha'i world:
"After a lifetime of devoted and self sacrificing service to the Cause of God Dr. Lutfu'llah Hakim has asked the Universal House of Justice to accept his resignation from that Institution because his health and advancing age make it increasingly difficult for him to participate as effectively as he would wish in its work.
"The Universal House of Justice has regretfully accepted Dr. Hakim’s resignation, but in view of the imminence of the next election, has asked him to continue to serve as a member until that time, and Dr. Hakim has kindly consented to do so.
Having served the Master Himself in the Holy Land, as well as accompanying Him during His historic visits in England and Scotland, and been intimately associated with Shoghi Effendi in his youth.
Towards the end of his life, his illness grew worse and he was confined to hospital. All the nurses who tended him praised him as a saintly man. The day came when he asked for the photograph of his grandson. He looked at it intently, prayed for the child, kissed the portrait several times and peacefully took his flight to the Abha Kingdom.
Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum who had been ill in bed for more than three months during which time she was unable to leave her room hastened to the funeral of Dr. Hakim. Coming into the hall she placed a flower on the bier and placed her forehead on that flower, as if she were sending a message in care of the faithful servant of the beloved Guardian.
The Universal House of Justice announced the passing of this valued member of the supreme administrative Institution of the Baha'i world in these affectionate sentiments:
GRIEVE ANNOUNCE PASSING LUTFULLAH HAKIM DEDICATED SERVANT CAUSE GOD STOP SPECIAL MISSIONS ENTRUSTED HIM FULL CONFIDENCE REPOSED IN HIM BY MASTER AND GUARDIAN HIS CLOSE ASSOCIATION WITH EARLY DISTINGUISHED BELIEVERS EAST WEST INCLUDING HIS COLLABORATION ESSLEMONT HIS SERVICES PERSIA BRITISH ISLES HOLY LAND HIS MEMBERSHIP APPOINTED AND ELECTED INTERNATIONAL BAHAI COUNCIL HIS ELECTION
UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE WILL ALWAYS BE REMEMBERED IMMORTAL ANNALS FAITH BAHAULLAH STOP INFORM BELIEVERS HOLD BEFITTING
MEMORIAL MEETINGS ALL CENTRES STOP CONVEY ALL MEMBERS HIS FAMILY EXPRESSIONS LOVING SYMPATHY ASSURANCE PRAYERS PROGRESS HIS RADIANT SOUL ABHA KINGDOM.
The author is greatly indebted to Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum who graciously accepted to review this sketch and without whose suggestions and additional material this would have been incomplete.
A. Q. Fazi
Baha'i World 431-434

[1.] "The Pure One", noblest of her sex and outstanding heroine of the Babi Dispensation; only woman among the Letters of the Living, and the first woman suffrage martyr. Born Qazvin, 1817-1818; put to death Tihran, August, 1852.

[2.] Appointed posthumously a Hand of the Cause of God by Shoghi Effendi, November 22, 1925; author of Baha'u'llah and the New Era.

[3.] Baha'i News, vol. I, pp. 3-4.


Family Members

Spouse
Children

Advertisement

Plan a visit to Haifa, Israel?

Advertisement

Advertisement

  • Created by: Maysan
  • Added: 7 Oct 2014
  • Find A Grave Memorial 136928668
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Dr Lutfu'llah Hakim (1888–10 Aug 1968), Find A Grave Memorial no. 136928668, citing Bahai Cemetery, Haifa, Heifa (Haifa District), Israel ; Maintained by Maysan (contributor 48409851) .