February 17, 2021

17 November 1985: The “re-interment of the remains of Mirza Muhammad-Quli, the faithful half-brother and companion in exile of Baha'u'llah and of eleven members of his family, in a new Baha'i cemetery”

Mirza Muhammad-Quli-circa 1868
Beloved friends,

It is with a feeling of joy and gratitude that we inform the Baha'i world of the befitting re-interment of the remains of Mirza Muhammad-Quli, the faithful half-brother and companion in exile of Baha'u'llah, and of eleven members of his family, in a new Baha'i cemetery on a hillside looking across Lake Kinneret and the hills of Galilee towards the Qiblih of the Faith. This historic event, coinciding fortuitously with the first formal presentation of The Promise of World Peace to a Head of State, is of especial significance in the annals of the Cause of Baha'u'llah.

On 12 November 1952 the beloved Guardian jubilantly cabled the Baha'i world his announcement of the acquisition of vitally needed property surrounding the Most Holy Shrine and the Mansion of Bahji in exchange for land donated by the grandchildren of Mirza Muhammad-Quli.

The land referred to in this cable had been in the possession of Mirza Muhammad-Quli on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, at a place called Nuqayb. He and his family lived there and farmed the land for many years and on his passing, at the instruction of 'Abdu'l-Baha, his remains were buried there, as were subsequently those of members of his family.

In 1937 Kibbutz Ein Gev was established just to the north of the farm, and the two groups of settlers lived as amicable neighbours until the war of 1948 forced the family to leave the land which, lying on the troubled frontier of the new State of Israel, was expropriated by the Government. The grandchildren of Mirza Muhammad-Quli gave their rights in the land to the Faith which received in exchange the much needed land in Bahji. Thus the little cemetery passed out of Baha'i hands. It remained untouched until 1972 when the decision was made to approach the authorities with a view to embellishing the site and maintaining it as a place of historic significance for the Faith. However, plans had already been made for the extension of the plantings of the kibbutz and the eventual development of the land in a way that would not permit the permanent re-establishment of the cemetery in that place. Negotiations were then entered into, as a result of which another plot of land in the immediate neighbourhood, but slightly farther from the shore of the Lake on the slope of Tel Susita, was officially designated a Baha'i cemetery and given over to the Baha'i Community. The work of fencing it and planting suitable shrubs and trees was then put in hand and preparations were made to re-inter the precious remains of this family.

On the morning of Friday 18 October 1985, as the final stage in this process, the remains of Mirza Muhammad-Quli himself were ceremoniously conveyed from the old cemetery to the new and were re-interred there in the presence of the Hands of the Cause Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum and 'Ali-Akbar Furutan, members of the Universal House of Justice and of the International Teaching Centre, and a large gathering of World Centre friends as well as representatives of the Israeli authorities and of Kibbutz Ein Gev. Mrs Husniyyih Baha'i, the granddaughter of Mirza Muhammad-Quli, who is now pioneering in St. Lucia in the West Indies, accompanied by members of her family, had been especially invited to attend the ceremony in honour of her illustrious forebear, to whom 'Abdu'l-Baha paid eloquent tribute in Memorials of the Faithful.

The Universal House of Justice

(Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)