Rhuiyyih Rabbani, Bahai Icon, Dies Saturday, January 22, 2000

Rhuiyyih Rabbani, Bahai Icon, Dies

     Madame Rhuiyyih Rabbani, the last member of the Bahai faith's venerated holy family, has died in Haifa, Israel. She was 89.
     Born in New York as Mary Sutherland Maxwell, Rabbani's parents were Bahais. News of her death on Wednesday brought words of reverence and praise from Bahais throughout the world.
     "It's the last link to the Bahai holy family," Los Angeles Bahai Center administrator Randy Dobbs said Friday.
     She held the title of the "Hand of the Cause of God," bestowed upon her in 1952 by her husband, Shoghi Effendi, five years before his death. Effendi was the great-grandson of the founder of the Bahai faith, the Baha'u'llah, who died in 1892. Rabbani and Effendi had no children.
     The Bahai faith has its roots in the Islamic Babi movement in Persia. Baha'u'llah was originally a Babi. While in exile in Iraq and Turkey, he came to believe that he was the prophet foretold by the Bab.
     Rabbani was closely involved with the development of the faith's world center in Israel, according to the Los Angeles Bahai center. The center reports there are 10,000 to 12,000 Bahais in Southern California and followers of the religion in 190 countries and 45 dependent territories.

©Copyright 2000, Los Angles Times
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