Biography of Shua Ullah Behai


Brief Biography

Shua Ullah Behai (1878 – 1950), also known to Baha’is as Mirza Shu’a’u’llah, was the son of Mohammed Ali Bahai (Mirza Muhammad ‘Ali), son of Baha’u’llah. He was Baha’u’llah’s eldest grandson and knew him personally in his childhood and adolescence. Mr. Behai was fluent in English and is the only known descendant of the Baha’i prophet to have become an American citizen. He emigrated from Akka (Acre), now part of Israel, to the United States in 1904, and lived there for most of his adult life as a successful businessman, later retiring to the Holy Land.

During his time in America he served as representative and spokesperson for the Unitarian Baha’i movement which was founded by his father, resisting the claims of infallibility of ‘Abdu’l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi and promoting a liberal interpretation of the Baha’i faith. In the 1930s he published a magazine called Behai Quarterly, which circulated among American Baha’is who followed Mohammed Ali Bahai and disagreed with Shoghi Effendi.

After he left the United States, Shua Ullah Behai’s alternative Baha’i community dwindled and eventually disappeared, but he preserved many of the important writings of this tradition in the book ‘A Lost History of the Baha’i Faith’, which is now published 70 years later.

How he accepted the faith?

Shua Ullah Behai was a Baha’i by birth since he was the grandson of Bahaullah.

His service to the (Haifan) faith

At the tender age of eleven years he was commended by his Grandfather Bah’a’ullah to accompany his father to Egypt and India for propagation of faith, he traveled extensively along with his father to India and Egypt.
Point of turning

Shocked at the death of his grandfather Baha Ullah, Shua Ullah was alarmed at the actions of Abdul Baha. Hence, he campaigned extensively for Ghusn-i-Akbar (Mirza Muhammad Ali), his father


What are his views?

Champion of Unitarian Behai

His writings

Wrote a book which was published by VOX media (A lost history of the Baha’i faith) : The Progressive Tradition of Baha’u’llah’s Forgotten Family

Conclusions from his writings

Greatly troubled due to vast differences that Abdul Baha and Shoghi Effendi bought to the religion that included inclusiveness (of plurality of religion), he said that these 2 have distorted Baha’is. Also extensively campaigned that a manifestation cannot occur before 1000 years.

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