Haj Mehdi Arjmand:
A Biographical Review

By Faris Badii

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #135
Louhelen Bahá'í School: Davison, Michigan
October 8–11, 2015
(see list of papers from #135)

Next presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #137
Bosch Baha'i School: Santa Cruz, CA
May 26–30, 2016
(see list of papers from #137)

    Annual sessions of Irfan Colloquia were established about 18 years ago in honor and memory of Haj Mehdi Arjmand. Irfan has enjoyed continuous support and sponsorship of the grandchildren of Haj Mehdi Arjmand.

    Haj Mehdi Arjmand is arguably one of the most successful, most skilled and most eminent Baha'i teachers of Iran. He embraced the Baha'i Faith as a young man. He was from a Jewish background and as such had not learned the Farsi language. To be able to understand the readings during Baha'i gatherings, he decided to learn Farsi. With his innate ability and keen intellect, he taught both Farsi and Arabic to himself and mastered the Old and New Testaments as well as the Qur'an. His mastery of scriptures made him a respected and renowned teacher in Baha'i communities. When Dr. Holmes traveled from America and took up residence in the city of Hamadan in order to convert the Jews to Christianity, the LSA of Hamandan asked Haj Mehdi to represent the Baha'is in religious debates with Dr. Holmes. Weekly meetings that lasted at least one and a half years resulted in Dr. Holmes becoming respectful of Baha'i revelation and confessing to Haj Mahdi's mastery of the Holy books. Haj Mehdi published a collection of his talks with Dr. Holmes in a comprehensive book titled "Golshan-i-Haqayeq" which can be translated as "Flower Garden of Truth". He became the honored recipient of several tablets from Abdu'l-Baha.

    A brief account of his life and teaching activities, cursory look at the contents of his book, and a review of some of the tablets he received from Abdu'l-Baha are included in this presentation.

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