This is a remarkable description of Mr. Furutan’s last minutes of his mortal
life. It is truly amazing …
I would like to share with you the most memorable and distinctive moment of my pilgrimage, which became a spiritual lesson and a lodestar, which enlightened the rest of my life. It happened 26th of November, on the Day of Covenant … In the evening at the Pilgrims Reception Center we were supposed to meet with the Hand of the Cause of God - Mr. Furutan. The meeting was appointed for 6 p.m. It wasn’t our first meeting with him. First time I saw him on the first day of pilgrimage - 24th of November. He gave a marvelous speech and promised us to come every other day. He said that before he used to come every day to meet with pilgrims, as Shoghi Effendi mentioned, that pilgrims were the guests of Bahá’u’lláh. But now doctors recommended him to come once in two days because of the age. He asked us to come on Wednesday with children, as he was going to speak about teaching the Faith. Now you can imagine our disappointment, when we were told, that Mr. Furutan wouldn’t come. Then I remembered that when he first came to meet with pilgrims, he looked very weak and fragile. It seemed to me that his energy was slowly disappearing. Of course, the first thing I thought was that he was not able to come because of the state of health.
Many pilgrims decided to go to their hotels, but some of us, among whom were Nabil and me, decided to stay, hoping that the meeting will still take place. How happy I was when ten minutes to six we were told that Mr. Furutan would come. As soon as this unique person entered the room, it became clear what efforts it took him to come here. He looked very pale and even transparent. It seemed that he no longer belonged to this world. However, notwithstanding this weakness, he went up the stage and put the
Mr. Furutan’s speech was dedicated to the Duty of teaching the Faith. First he read the quotation of Bahá’u’lláh from the “Gleanings":
"Say: Teach ye the Cause of God, O people of Bahá, for God hath prescribed unto every one the duty of proclaiming His Message, and regardeth it as the most meritorious of all deeds. Such a deed is acceptable only when he that teacheth the Cause is already a firm believer in God, the Supreme Protector, the Gracious, the Almighty. He hath, moreover, ordained that His Cause be taught through the power of men’s utterance, and not through resort to violence. Thus hath His ordinance been sent down from the Kingdom of Him Who is the Most Exalted, the All-Wise.”
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 278)
Then the Hand of the Cause shared with us his understanding of the word duty. As an example, he told us a story. It happened in Russia, when Nikolai the II was the tsar. One day Nikolai the II was walking in the courtyard of his palace. He noticed the guard, who looked very ill, his face was red and swollen. He approached him and asked what illness he had. The guard answered that he had malaria. Then the tsar told him that he needed special care and that he could go home. But the guard replied that he was not able to leave his post without the senior officer’s permission and that it was his duty to guard the palace till the last breath. Then Nikolai the II took his gun and told him, that in such case, he would replace him at his post till the senior officer came and he would inform him that he personally let the guard go and that he fulfilled his duty. “This is what duty means” - Mr.Furutan said. “The reason I came here today is because it was my duty to come. And if it is a duty - you have to fulfill it."
Many people know that Mr. Furutan lived and studied in Russia and that he still loves to speak Russian and loves those who speak Russian. Fortunately, all the Russian-speaking friends were present at the gathering. And when he was telling the story, he often translated some words into Russian, and especially, the words “duty” and “responsibility”. When the Hand of the Cause finished his speech, he immediately approached the Russian-speaking pilgrims and asked in Russian: “Friends, did you understand what I said? Did you understand what is duty and responsibility?"
These words were almost the last words in his life, as in few minutes he passed away. He died before our eyes, peacefully and with dignity, on the pilgrims’ hands, whom he appreciated so much. His life and his passing away became for me an example of true servitude, steadfastness in the Covenant, and faithfulness to the Cause of God. By his own life he showed us what duty is and how we have to fulfill it till the last breath!
With love and prayers, Irina Musuc Via Dennis Chee in Malaysia
‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s train passed through the small town of Aitkin, Minnesota, pausing briefly to let off and board passengers. On the platform was a small boy, aged one and a half, and a man, waiting for the boy’s aunt to disembark. Suddenly, the young lad’s attention was grabbed by a very unusual man standing in one of the train exits. The stranger was dressed in a white, full-length robe, wore a turban and had a white beard. The stranger was, of course, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, but the boy wouldn’t know this for 28 years. The little boy was William Sears, who would be appointed the Hand of the Cause of God 45 years later. That night, William had the first of a long running series of dreams about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, but not until 1940 when his new wife Marguerite, showed him the picture of the Master did William know who it was he had seen.
(Earl Redman, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Their Midst, p. 200)
Mr. and Mrs. Charles and Mariam Haney and the baby drove with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in the morning. At the children’s meetings the baby [he was the future Hand of the Cause Mr. Paul Haney] had screamed when he saw ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and I thought at the time, that the child had probably been overwhelmed by seeing a greater spirituality in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá than many saw. Before they went to drive, I spoke of this to Mr. and Mrs. Haney, for the latter had shown such distress when it occurred. I believe Mr. Haney agreed with me. He said: “Three months before the child was born we were in Acca.” Afterward, when ‘Abdu’l-Bahá returned from the drive, I said to Him: “How was it with the baby?” “Everything was quite right” was His reply. I told Him I thought the baby had been conscious of more than we were, and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s answer was, “You have much insight.”
(Agnes Parson’s Diary, April 25, 1912)