Ali-Akbar Furutan was a prominent and learned Baha’i, much respected and loved during his lifetime.
Born in 1905, he was raised in the environs of Ishqabad, where the first Baha’i House of Worship was dedicated in 1908. Educated at Moscow University where he studied education and child psychology, Mr. Furutan then returned to his home country of Iran, where he would serve for many years on Baha’i administrative bodies and as an educator.
Over several decades, he travelled extensively to multiple countries around the world to attend conferences and meet with Baha’is. In these gatherings, he gave talks on a variety of subjects pertinent to improving world conditions. In one talk, at a Baha’i Summer School in Italy in 1973, he imparted these insightful comments for his audience to ponder:
The scholars and scientists of the world have labored for years to discover the mysteries of nature. The sheer volume and, in particular, the results of their researches are truly astonishing. For example, they have discovered that electrons spin around the nuclei of their atoms about 1,000 billion times per second! Or, the continent of America advances 20 cm per year towards the West, while the continents of Europe and Asia advance towards the East with the same speed, and in 4 million years, America will connect with Asia from the West. They have also found that the human brain has 10 billion cells; lungs weigh 1,200 gm in males and 900 gm in females; the total length of all the veins of the human body is 650,000 km; 700,000 different species of vegetation grow on the earth, and each one has been given a name; the sun synthesizes 40 million tons of hydrogen every twenty-four hours to produce helium, and will continue to do so for another 10 billion years; there are approximately 50,000 strands of hair on the head of each male and 70,000 on the head of each female and so forth.
Now if the scholars and learned of the world had pursued the mysteries of the realm of truth and spirit with the same vigor and patience, and had investigated, discussed, and studied the teachings of Baha’u’llah, which are the only means for the redemption of mankind from its ignorant prejudices causing so many useless wars, the face of the earth would not have been so savagely stained with the blood of its peoples, and wars and contention would have been transformed into peace and tranquility …
The ultimate purpose of all the discoveries and inventions, and all the labor that is expended in scientific fields should be to secure the peace and tranquility of mankind. If knowledge and science result in humanity’s desolation and in the destruction of cities and countries, then they have failed in their supreme purpose; in other words, the remedy has added to the disease.
For this reason, Baha’u’llah in numerous Tablets has called the people of the world to unity and concord and to the elimination of their prejudices. The following are extracts from His writings:
O contending peoples and kindreds of the earth! Set your faces towards unity, and let the radiance of its light shine upon you. – Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 140.
It is binding and incumbent upon the peoples of the world, one and all, to extend aid unto this momentous Cause which is come from the heaven of the Will of the every-abiding God, that perchance the fire of animosity which blazeth in the hearts of some peoples of the earth may, through the living waters of divine wisdom and by virtue of heavenly counsels and exhortations, be quenched, and the light of unity and concord may shine forth and shed its radiance upon the world. – Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 23.
Abdu’l-Baha has also uttered these words on this subject:
The wild beast hunts at most once a day for its food, but cruel man slays a hundred thousand people each day for fame and power. If a lamb is rent asunder by a wolf, the wolf is killed, but if a man moistens the earth with the blood of a hundred thousand people, he is called a general or a marshal, and is honored and respected. If a human being kills another human being, or sets a home afire, he called a murderer and a criminal, but if he destroys a camp, or devastates a country he is called a conqueror and is idolized. If someone steals one dollar, he is imprisoned, but if he plunders the homes of the people, and loots a city, he is called a commander and is praised. – The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 119.
As long as these prejudices prevail, the world of humanity will not have rest … all mankind are of one nation … all the world is man’s birthplace … In the creation … boundaries and outlets were not assigned. – Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 299.
In his long life, Mr. Furutan received many accolades from the Guardian of the Baha’i Faith and later the Universal House of Justice. Upon his passing in 2003 at the age of 98, the House of Justice sent out a long message to the Baha’is throughout the world, writing in part:
His penetrating mind, his loving concern, and his sparkling humor are ineffaceable memories in the hearts of the thousands of believers with whom he spoke.