The Bahá’í Faith

The Official Website of the Worldwide Bahá’í Community

Shoghi Effendi — some contemporary accounts

From his brief sojourn at Oxford University to the nightly meetings with pilgrims to the Holy Land, Shoghi Effendi made a profound impression on all who met him.

Marcus Bach

Writer and Professor of Religion at the University of Iowa

“Then I saw coming through the adjoining room a small, dark-complexioned man, dressed in Western attire but wearing a fez. His clean-shaven face and slender figure registered indomitable strength. He walked with head up as though an entourage of the faithful might be following him. He strode in, bowed to me with an almost imperceptible nod, and held out his hand. As we exchanged greetings there was a smile on his lips, though this did not entirely destroy my impression of a certain aloofness in his bearing. He welcomed me with a sensitivity that seemed to feel, rather than hear my words.

The expression of his dark eyes, too, gave a hint of inner judgement based not on what was said but, rather, on what was sensed. He was self-possessed, self-sufficient, purposeful. I had been told he was a man of fifty-seven, but judging from his unlined, youthful face, he might have been only forty. And thought I stood head and shoulders above him, I felt diminutive. I envied him the sense of security and holy mission in life that filled his whole soul with confidence, beyond doubt and beyond question.”

Mountfort Mills

American lawyer

“All the complex problems of the great statesmen of the world are as child’s play in comparison with the great problems of this youth, before whom are the problems of the entire world. He is a youth of twenty six, left by the will of the Master as the Guardian of the Cause. No one can form any conception of his difficulties, which are overwhelming. … He is indeed young in face, form and manner, yet his heart is the centre of the world today. The character and spirit divine scintillate from him today. He alone can today save the world and make true civilization.”

Lord Stow Hill of Newport

Contemporary of Shoghi Effendi’s at Oxford

“…He was very friendly and easy to get on with and enjoyed laughter and conversation. He was not in the least aloof and liked making friends…I have an impression of him rather restless moving about a good deal and not often to be seen sitting down for any prolonged period.”

Dr Alfred W. Martin

Scholar and humanitarian

Remarks on The Dawn-breakers:
“Your magnificent and monumental work… will be a classic and a standard for all time to come. I marvel beyond measure at your ability to prepare such a work for the press over and above all the activities which your regular professional position devolves upon you.”

Professor Bayard Dodge


Remarks on The Dawn-breakers:
“Everyone interested in religion and also in history owes you a very great debt of gratitude for publishing such a fine piece of work. …

The quality of the English and the delightful ease of reading the translation are extraordinary, as usually a translation is difficult to read. …The force of the book is very great, because the translation is so scientific and the original authorship so spontaneous, that the whole work must seem genuine, even to the most cynical critic.”