Ibrahim George Kheiralla

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Ibrahim George Kheiralla, (1849 - 1929), the first Bahai in America.

Copyright 2007 by Will Johnson wjhonson@aol.com, Professional Genealogist. All Rights Reserved. This page has been locked, if you'd like to comment on it, please email me.

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Ibrahim George Kheiralla was born at Mount Lebanon in Syria and educated at Beirut University. He moved to Cairo where he went into business. While there he learned about the Bahai faith and accepted it. In 1892 he immigrated to New York, and then to Chicago where he started converting people to the Bahai religion. He married four times and had three children. He wrote several books and eventually broke with Abdul Bahai who was the head of the world movement.

His early partner Anton Haddad wrote about this period here.

Ibrahim's third wife was Marian Miller, they were divorced. He married his fourth wife Augusta Linderborg in 1904 and she died in 1912.

Ibrahim took some of his converts into a new society that he formed called the "Society of Behaists". From 1934 to 1937, Shua Ullah edited their periodical here.

Ibrahim had two daughters and one son George Ibrahim Kheiralla. Ibrahim's daughter Nabeeha married Ameer Hani Shehab, according to Anton Haddad on page 10

Muhammed al-Ahari has collected the writings of Kheiralla's student August Stendtrend and published them as "The Complete Call to the Heaven of the Bayan."

Muhammed al-Ahari adds this : "Further, George's daughter became a well-known art historian, Gulnar K. Bosch. While a son wrote a biography of the Prophet Muhammed "Islam and the Arabian Prophet," edited the journal "Arab World," made Hajj, wrote a history of the Saud family, and translated poetry by Kahlil Gibran and other Arab poets. His grandson Aly is a medical doctor, but I'm not sure if he is in Florida where his mother lived and died."


  • Za-ti-et Al-lah: The Identity and Personality of God. Chicago: 1896.
  • Bab-ed-Din: The Door of True Religion — Revelation from the East. 84pp. Chicago: Charles H. Kerr & Company, 1897.
  • Beha'U'llah (The Glory of God), with Howard McNutt. 1st ed., Vol. 1. 545. Chicago: Privately published, 1899. Reprinted 1915; see Collins 12.45 and 12.46 for details of editions
  • Beha'U'llah (The Glory of God), with Howard McNutt. 1 ed., Vol. 2. 545. Chicago: I. G. Kheiralla Publisher, 1900.2nd. ed. Chicago, Goodspeed Press, 1915, 545.
  • Facts for Behaists, with Rosamond Templeton. 64. Translated by Ed. and trans. Ibrahim G. Kheiralla. Chicago: I. G. Kheiralla, 1901.
  • The Three Questions. 26 + 15. n.p. [Chicago]: n.d. [after 1901?]. Collins 12.55. Includes fifteen pages of Arabic quotations.
  • An Epistle of Peace. 12. Chicago: National Association of the Universal Religion, 1918. Bjorling has 1912.
  • Immortality Scientifically Demonstrated. 16. Evanston, Ill.: Kheiralla, 1914. Collins 12.50.
  • Universal Peace and Its Sole Solution. 18. n.p. [Evanston, Ill.]: n.d. [1914]. Collins 12.56.
  • Behaism: In Reply to the Attacks of Robert P. Richardson. Open Court 29 (October 1915): 633-40.
  • O Christians! Why do you believe not in Christ? 192. Chicago: Goodspeed Press, 1917. Collins 12.53. Kheirallah's first book following his defection to Mirza Muhammad Ali, Abbas Effendi's half-brother, to whom it is dedicated. The last chapter is an autobiography. [c/r biography]
  • Ninety-Five Questions and Answers Concerning the Teachings of the Behai Religion, Which Is Organized as the Universal Religion of the World. 14. Kenosha, Wis.: Dr. Ibrahim G. Kheiralla, 1925. Collins 12.52.
  • Immortality: Hereafter of Man's Soul and Mind: Man Never Dies. 32. New York: Syrian-American Press, 1928. Collins 12.49.
  • Miracles. 24. Newark, N.J.: W. E. Dreyer, 1943. Collins 12.51.
  • Proof of the Existence and Immortality of the Soul from a Scientific and Logical Standpoint: The Mind, As Taught by the Society of Behaists. 34. Newark, N.J.: W. E. Dreyer, 1943. Collins 12.54.
  • Reincarnation: The Return of the Soul. 24. Newark, N.J.: W. E. Dreyer, 1944. This appears differently in Collins 12.80, where it is anon., but notes that it 'includes an essay by I.G. Kheiralla'. He has 1943 and 23 pp. Title as 'Reincarnation, or the Return of the Soul'.
  • The Creator and What it Takes to Win the Peace. Newark, N.J.: W. E. Dreyer, 1943.

Primary documents

  • New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957, showing "Dec 20, 1892, Ship Suevia, out of Hamburg, Ibrahim Kheiralla, 45, merchant, citizen of Egypt, destination New York"
  • Boston Passenger Lists, 1820-1943, showing "Sep 1895, Ship Catalonia, Dr I G Kheiralla, 42, born Syria, last residence Chicago, destination Chicago, Physician"
  • New York Times, Apr 30, 1899, page 7, "Apostle of Persian Mystics" : "Dr Kheiralla Makes a Visit to America with His Daughters. The Rev. Dr. Ibrahim G. Kheiralla and his daughters, Miss Nabiha and Miss Labiha, who arrived here yesterday on the steamship St. Louis, have returned from a visit to the interior of Persia, accompanied by some Americans. Dr. Kheiralla was a clergyman of the Church of England, but withdrew from his charge some years ago and went to Persia as the pupil of a Persian community and brotherhood from which he emerged with radical views concerning the interpretation of the Bible. All teaching by members of the brotherhood is imparted orally, and persons to whom it is given promise to receive no pay or reward of any character for imparting it to others. Those who can grasp the teachings, it is claimed, become members of a great mystic fraternity possessing occult powers. This fraternity, it is said, has many members in the United States, and recently a small company of the initiated, under the guidance of Dr. Kheiralla, left this country to visit the heads of the fraternity in Persia and to receive special communications."
  • 1900 Census of Chicago, Cook County, Illinois showing "Abraham Kheiralla, Head, Nov 1849, born Turkey, immigrated 1892, Missionary work; Labida, daughter, May 1877, born Turkey, immigrated 1899; George, son, Apr 1879, born Turkey, immigrated 1896, Doctor of Medicine; Harif Schehab, Head, Dec 1869, married one year ago, born Turkey, immigrated 1899, Salesman Oriental Goods; Nabida, wife, May 1875, married one year ago, born Turkey"
  • Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage... online at www.ancestry.com "15 Apr 1904 Ibrahim G Kheiralla, Augusta S Linderborg"
  • 1910 Census of Chicago, Cook County, Illinois showing "Ibrahim G Kheiralla, head, 60, married first time, 6 years ago, born Turkey, immigated in 1893, Author; Augusta, wife, 56, married first time, 6 years ago, mother of zero, born Finland, immigated in 1876, Medical Doctor; Etta Streeter, Lodger, 33, widow, mother of zero, born Indiana, Own Income; Bertha Lyons, Lodger, 31, Single, born Indiana, Saleslady"
  • World War I Draft Registration showing "George I Kheiralla, resident of Rapid City, South Dakota, born Apr 25, 1879; Export Merchant, self-employed in Rapid City; nearest relative Anna Kheiralla wife of Rapid City. Sep 9, 1918. Registered in Rapid City, South Dakota."

Secondary sources

  • Brief mention of him in Bahaism and Its Claims: A Study of the Religion Promulgated by Baha Ullah and Abdul Baha, Samuel Graham Wilson. AMS Press, New York. Reprinted from the edition of 1915, New York. First AMS EDITION published 1970. ISBN 0404069959
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