Dr. Arastu Khan Hakim (1877-1934)
[Baha’i World, Volume 5, p. 414 ]
Dr. Arastu Khan was the grandson of Hakim Masih, court physician to Muhammad Shah and the first Jewish Bahá’í. Hakim Masih had learned something of the new faith through Tahirih herself, during the early days of the Bib’s manifestation, when he was in Baghdad, and from that time on he had searched for the source of her power. Later in Tihran he offered to visit the prison and treat a Bahá’í child, when the Moslem doctors had refused; the child’s father was the famous Ismu’llahu’l-Asdaq, and in the course of these visits Hakim Masih became a Bahá’í. He later achieved fame in the Cause, and among other Tablets, Bahá’u’lláh revealed the following for him: “In the name of God, the Wise, the All-knowing:
O Hakim, be staunch in the faith of thy Lord, that the blasts of oppressors may not cause thee to shake; be enduring in the Cause of thy Lord, by thy trust in the Lord and His might; and say, O men, how long will ye sin and stray, how long will ye place passion over salvation? Do ye not see that those who left your midst have not returned, that those who were scattered have not again been gathered?
Ere long shall your days to come pass by as your days that are gone. Fear your merciful Lord: by the one true God He hath desired only that which will draw you close unto Him and cause you to enter the realms of eternity, and He is the Giver, the Kind. Eat ye of the fruit of the eternal tree which is ever at hand, for those bereft of it are back of heavy veils … Then know We are imprisoned where eyes can never penetrate, where ears cannot distinguish the words that God the Wise, the Able, and the Knowing doth reveal. By such means have they sought to withhold God’s slaves from hearing the words of their Lord, that His light might go out in the midst of His creatures; but God in His might hath revealed what He willed unto those who were turning toward Him with radiant
faces. Then guard what We have entrusted to thee: thou hast in the sight of God a high station; praise Him, be of those who acclaim Him. Grieve not over that which hail come upon Us, be content with what God hath desired for Us, for We are in radiant gladness, and all praise is meet for the Lord of the heavens and earth.”
Dr. Arastu’s father Hakim Su1ayman was likewise a Bahá’í and Dr. Arastu himself gradually increased his services in the Cause as he grew to manhood. Meanwhile he was carrying on the family tradition, as are his Sons today, of practicing medicine. About 1897 he had graduated from the American School in Tihran and was working in the American Hospital, where he already showed signs of that healing personality which later made him one of the foremost doctors in the capital. At this period he spent many hours in out of the way houses in the back streets of Tihran, studying this faith, in those days when knowledge of Bahá’u’lláh’s cause often ended in death. Soon he began to teach on his own account; his brother Aflatun was also an ardent Bahá’í, much loved by the Master, who wrote him many tablets. In 1900 Aflatun died.
Shortly after his brother’s death Arastu Khan went to Akka, where it was his privilege to stay in the Master’s presence one year. During the first days of his Visit the Master continually addressed him as “Aflatun,” which puzzled him considerably; until one night when he and Dr. Yunis Khan Afrikhtih were following the Master through the narrow crooked streets of the prison city, the Master again addressed him as Aflatun and said, “Do you know why I call you Aflatun? It is because I desire his truth and spirituality to reappear in you.” Arastu developed rapidly in Akka studying the Master’s way, and he worked with Dr. Yunis Khan translating letters from the Western Bahá’í. The Master had hoped to send him to America, but family concerns necessitated his return home. Here he worked devotedly for the Cause, founding a weekly teaching meeting which continued to his death, and which according to his will is to be perpetuated. He received his medical diploma, became known throughout the capital for his generosity to the poor and for his gentleness. In 1911 he was in London
with a patient and ably defended the Cause from Azali activities, and he was with the Master in Switzerland. In 1925 he again went abroad, this time visiting the Guardian in Haifa.
During his last years his health failed, but although he was ill himself he continued to visit the sick. His frequent meetings with Keith Ransom-Keller were an important event of his last year; it was she who arranged a match between his son, Dr. Qulam-Husayn Khan and the sister-in-law of Rahmat Ala’i, officiating herself at the wedding which will long be remembered in Tihran.
Dr. Arastu’s death made a deep impression on Bahá’ís and non-Baha’is alike. Several hundred persons attended his funeral, following his coffin up one of the main thoroughfares of the capital. In commemoration of his passing, The Guardian sent to his family the following cablegram: “Beloved Arastu joined Immortals (of) Supreme Concourse. Fully share your grief earthly separation. Praying fervently. Awaiting account life with photograph for Bahá’í World.”
The Qur’anic verse chosen for Dr. Arastu Khan’s gravestone symbolizes what his life was: “O well-assured spirit, willing and blessed go thou back to thy Lord.”
(BW – Baha’i World Volumes, Volume 5, p. 414-416)
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