Hasan M. Balyuzi

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Hasan M. Balyuzi (7 September 1908 – 12 February 1980) was a prominent Iranian member of the Bahá'í Faith.[1] He served in administrative institutions of the religion for decades, worked for the BBC, produced articles and books, and served as a Hands of the Cause for the religion. He set a library of materials which was later opened and a long lasting memorial lecture series was set in his name.

Biography[edit]

Balyuzi was born in Shiraz, Iran, but he spent most of his life in Britain. Balyuzi was an Afnán, a descendant of the Báb's family, on both sides of his family. His father became governor of the Persian Gulf ports. The family was exiled to India during WWI where he spent from about age 8 through 16, and there was tutored in Persian, Arabic, went to "Bishops College" of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Poona. Later Balyuzi's family moved back to Iran and his father became Minister of the Interior and attended the schooling in Cyprus. His father died in 1921, his mother moved to Shiraz, and Edward G. Browne assisted in arranging his education in London for a year before he died. Balyuzi then went on to Beirut preparing to go to college.

While living in Beirut, Balyuzi met Shoghi Effendi at a time he considered himself a Muslim.[1] He found a copy of Some Answered Questions and read other papers on the religion but remained skeptical. However as the relationship between himself and Effendi grew he found the need to join the religion at age 17, in November, 1925. He then attended American University of Beirut and advanced with a degree in chemistry and then a Masters of Arts in Diplomatic History along with various sports of student societies. In 1932 he went to Britain where he studied diplomatic history at the London School of Economics and earned a Master of Science degree in 1935. Meanwhile in 1933-4 Balyuzi wrote an article for a Persion newspaper commenting about politics in Europe and Shoghi Effendi wrote a warning about involvement in politics and this was to have a decisive impact on his life. At Ridván 1933 he was elected as a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of Great Britain, where he was re-elected until 1958 and served as Vice-Chair and later served as Chair. In 1938 he was the lead actor in a dramatic presentation in a play adaption of the Seven Valleys.[2] It was also in 1938 that he began to publish a biographical article on Bahá'u'lláh, followed by the Báb and `Abdu'l-Bahá,[1] and later these would expand into books.

From around 1942 he worked with the Persian Section of the BBC until 1958 presenting programs on Iran and Persian history. Along the way he married Mary Brown and they had four sons. He also traveled the country often giving lectures. In October 1957 he was appointed a Hand of the Cause of God by Shoghi Effendi.

He began to write books from 1970 starting with one on Edward Granville Browne.[1] In 1976 he wrote "Muhammad and the Course of Islam" and Moojan Momen became his assistant. His books, especially this "Course of Islam" text, have been donated to libraries,[3] and used as part of lectures[4] and in discussions.[5]

Balyuzi died in London.

Establishments in his memory[edit]

Afnan Library[edit]

He left instructions that a Afnan Library Trust for Bahá'í Faith research be established and contributed his own library of materials to it.[1] The library opened in 2015 with over 10,000 items on diverse topics and had received further donations of materials.[6] Moojan Momen is one of the Afnan Library's trustees.

Memorial Lectures of the Association of Bahá'í Studies[edit]

A memorial lecture series was named after him held by the Association of Bahá'í Studies for North America.[7]

Previous Hasan M. Balyuzi lecturers:[8]

Works[edit]

  • Balyuzi, Hasan (2001). `Abdu'l-Bahá: The Centre of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh (Paperback ed.). Oxford, UK: George Ronald. ISBN 0-85398-043-8. 
  • Balyuzi, Hasan (1973). The Báb: The Herald of the Day of Days. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. ISBN 0-85398-048-9. 
  • Balyuzi, Hasan (1980). Bahá'u'lláh, King of Glory (Paperback ed.). Oxford, UK: George Ronald. ISBN 0-85398-328-3. 
  • Balyuzi, Hasan (1985). Eminent Bahá'ís in the time of Bahá'u'lláh. The Camelot Press Ltd, Southampton. ISBN 0-85398-152-3. 
  • Balyuzi, Hasan (1982). Studies in Babi and Baha'i History, Vol. 1. Los Angeles: Kalimat Press. ISBN 978-0-933770-16-4. 

References[edit]

  • Harper, Barron (1997). Lights of Fortitude (Paperback ed.). Oxford, UK: George Ronald. ISBN 0-85398-413-1. 

Further reading[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Hasan M. Balyuzi, Hand of the Cause of God - the Treasure of All Humanity, by Richard Francis, 1998, Bahai-library.com
  2. ^ Shakespear presented in out-of-doors theatre, The News (Frederick, Maryland)08 Aug 1938, Mon • Page 5
  3. ^ * New Books at county library, The Robeson, Lumberton, NC, May 23, 1973, p. 4
  4. ^ Contemporary religion trends to be discussed, Daily Independent Journal (San Rafael, California)08 Apr 1967, Sat • Page 20
  5. ^ Harvey all wrong about Islam, Letter to editor by Harry Massoth, Reno Gazette-Journal (Reno, Nevada) 29 Jan 1981. p. 4.
  6. ^ Outstanding collection of Baha'i literature finds permanent home, Bahá'í World News Service, 15 February 2015.
  7. ^ Call for 2014 Hasan M. Balyuzi Memorial Lectureship Nominations, by Robert Stockman, Wilmette Institute, October 30, 2013
  8. ^ Hasan M. Balyuzi Lecturers, Association for Bahá'´ʼs Studies - North America
  9. ^ Farzam Arbab (Sep 2016). ABS 2016 (video). Association for Baha'i Studies.