Saturday, August 21, 2010

Touched By The Hands

A few months ago, I had the wonderful joy of reading The Unforgettable Hands of the Cause by Michael Woodward. It was a very enjoyable read and I felt like I was right there with him during his experiences with them. In fact, it reminded me very much of those few moments in my own life when I had the bounty of being in the presence of those same souls.

I should mention that I only had the bounty of seeing four of the Hands: William Sears, Ruhiyyih Khanum, Ali-Akbar Furutan and Ali-Muhammad Varqa, in that order. I can actually count the number of personal stories I have about them on a single hand, even if were to lose a couple of fingers. Obviously, this is not enough for a book, like Mr Woodward, but I feel that these simple stories are worth sharing, for they show something of the impact these people had on others.

This realization got me thinking. It occured to me that we have the wonderful blessing of having the writings and recordings of the Hands of the Cause, and we have the pleasure of reading their biographies. We also have the incredible joy to read books like the one Michael wrote, filled with stories from a single person.

But what we are missing are the countless stories from people like myself, people who did not have the bounty to work with them for years on end, or did not know them in the field or as neighbours. No, there are many stories from simple people like me who only knew them by reputation, who heard so much about them but only had the opportunity to meet them once or twice.

When this realization hit me, I decided to try and compile a book with these stories: "Touched By the Hands". Over the last few months I have talked with people about this idea, started a group on FaceBook in an attempt to solicit more stories, and even begun writing letters to different people I know who have many stories.

This is not enough, though.

After talking with a few of the friends last night at the Feast, I realized that I never shared this idea here on my blog, so here it is.

Below is the letter I originally posted on FaceBook. Please feel free to copy it and send it around as you see fit.




Dearly loved friends,

On His journey to North America, 'Abdu'l-Baha said of the Hands of the Cause:

Hearts are attracted by the beauty of their morals, the sincerity of their intentions, and their sense of equity and justice. Souls are involuntarily enamored of their praiseworthy morals and laudable attributes. Faces turn in spontaneous attraction to their outstanding qualities and actions.
As you well know, the Hands of Cause share a position that is unique to the Baha'i Faith, and we will not see their like again for a long time, a very long time, indeed. While thinking about this, I began to realize what a debt we owe to those who recorded their personal memories of the early heroes of the Faith, in books such as Nabil's Narrative: the Dawn-Breakers and many other priceless volumes. It seems to me that we are now in a position to pay forward some of this by recording our own memories of those dear Hands of the Cause so that those in the future may better understand their station in this Faith.

We have many wonderful biographies of their precious lives, articles that they themselves have penned and numerous tributes to their wisdom and dedication. What may be missing are those countless stories of how the Hands touched individuals in their daily lives.

If you have any first-hand stories of any of the Hands of the Cause, stories that are very precious to you, please write them down and send them back to me. I hope, God willing, to be able to compile them into a volume for publication. You do not need to be overly concerned about style as I will try and ensure that they are all conveying the message you wish to convey. Most will require no more than simple editing, while some may need to be entirely re-written as they may be submitted in note form. Both are acceptable. What is important is to get the stories down.

You can either e-mail them to me, phone me in Canada (e-mail me for the number), or join the Facebook group "Touched by the Hands".

I will attribute all stories to the sources, and if requested, send the final draft of each story back to the original contributor for approval. Submission will be considered as permission for publication.

Depending upon submissions, second-hand stories may be accepted, but this is not certain at this time.

Finally, if submitting by e-mail, please include the name of the Hand of the Cause in the subject line. This will enable me to more easily sort the stories. If it involves more than one Hand, please try to include all names in the subject line.

Thank you for taking the time to submit your precious stories. I am certain that many people for generations to come will be very grateful to you. And please feel free to pass this e-mail on to any you think may hope to contribute.

With love and prayers,


Ps - A dear friend of mine who is not a Baha'i just said that this is the sort of book he wants to read about the Faith: stories of how people like the Hands of the Cause touched the lives of ordinary folk. And another friend who is not Baha'i just contributed the title, with words of encouragement. Already they are being touched.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Mead,

    This is Mike Woodward. Thank you so much for the kind comments about "The Unforgettable Hands of the Cause." I feel just as you do about getting these stories down for future readers. I will do what I can to help you amass anedotes. Please contact me at

    God bless, Mike