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THE

 

TRILOGY

 

IN

 

DEFENSE OF THE GUARDIANSHIP

 

OF

 

THE BAHA’I FAITH

 

1960

 

by

 

Charles H. Gaines

 

Second Edition

Revised January, 2000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preface

 

 


            The three treatises presented here were written in 1960 in defense of Mason Remey’s claim to be the lawful and rightful successor to the Guardianship of the Baha’i Faith.

            In an attempt to make the treatises a little more readable, I have revised the paragraph structure, and corrected spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors.

            There was also a need to make a more durable copy of these texts, since the original was done on a mimeograph machine, which, at the time, was the best method of reproduction. Since I no longer have either the original mimeograph copies or the original typed text, I thought it important to get a permanent file of the documents before they deteriorated any further.

            While there was a temptation to change some things because of hindsight, I have resisted that temptation and the texts and arguments have remained the same, nothing has been changed in that regard so that these treatises, while slightly different in form are identical in content as originally written in 1960.

            In 1960 the Hands and National Assembly were moving rapidly to suppress any discussion of the issue of the guardianship, particularly the Proclamation of Mason Remey.  Therefore, there were great time constraints to get these documents written and distributed before all opportunity of having them read and considered would be lost.

            Even then, after the first mailing of the first document which was, “The Guardianship and  Administration”, the word went out from the Hands and the National Spiritual Assemblies to all the Baha’is in the world, that they were not to open any mail received from Baha’is in Lancaster, but were to burn it upon receipt..

            In August, 1960, Mason Remey called me to  Washington, D. C., to discuss the steps he wanted to take in presenting his case before the religious courts in Israel. He didn’t think we could do much at the moment, but he wanted to be on record as asserting his claim to be the lawful successor to Shoghi Effendi as the Second Guardian of the Baha’i Faith.

            After that meeting, I wrote the two treatises: “The Guardianship and Universal House of Justice”, and “The Guardianship and the Hands of the Cause”. These along with the first treatise written were assembled into the “Trilogy In Defense of the Guardianship of The Baha’i Faith”.

            Immediately after issuing his Proclamation to the Baha’i World announcing that he was the legitimate successor to the guardianship of the Baha’i Faith, Mason Remey also present his claim in writing to the government of Israel.

            He wrote to then, President, Doctor Ben Svi, to Dr. Colby, the official liaison between the Baha’i Faith and the government of Israel, at the Ministry of Religious Affairs, and to Dr. Chaim Vardi, also with the Ministry of Religious Affairs of Israel.

            In these letters he was stating for the record and officially that he was the lawful successor to the guardianship of the Baha’i Faith, and was not soliciting their help or even their recognition as such. But In keeping with his intent to apprise them of ongoing developments in the Baha’i Faith, and the nature of the controversy he sent them copies of numerous documents. Among those documents was “The Trilogy in Defense of the Guardianship of the Baha’i Faith.

            In his letter to Dr. Colby accompanying these treatises ,he wrote: “...Together with the Third Encyclical that goes to you with this letter is an argument in several parts compiled from the Baha’i Holy Writ written by the American Baha’i scholar Charles H. Gaines of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.  In Mr. Gaines’ articles is clearly put forth and explained according to the canons of the Baha’i Faith, the basis and the foundation of my Guardianship of the Faith.

            “Mr. Gaines, who as you see by his style of writing has a legal turn of mind ( he is not a lawyer) is now preparing an argument under a series of subjects that will form the basis of my plea that will be presented in the Courts of Israel ere long in order that my Guardianship Head of the Baha’i World Faith be officially recognized and accepted legally as it is already being accepted morally and religiously by followers of the Faith in various parts of the world as attested to by a letter that I sent you some time ago from Mons. Marangella of Orleans, France and by the letter from the Baha’i Assembly of Lahore, Pakistan, a reproduction of which I send you in this letter.”

            Many of the people who became Baha’is after 1960, are probably unaware of the history of the continuation of the Guardianship, and that there is an active Guardian and has been a Guardian ever since Shoghi Effendi, in a unbroken line.

            If these believers are going to learn and understand the realities of their Faith, appreciate its uniqueness, and understand the Source of its power, they will have to become knowledgeable about the Covenant, this history, and the continuity of this Institution, and its pivotal role in the World Order of Baha’u’llah. They need to know that this is not a fabricated history, it is real, and the leaders of the Faith have known it all along.

            For that reason, I changed none of my arguments because of knowledge and information gained since the time these treatises were written. The arguments advanced and the style are just as they were in 1960. These were the arguments and evidences presented to the Hands, the NSA’s, and the body of believers at that time.

            These arguments were sufficient, then, to prove the validity of The Covenant and the continuation of the guardianship in the person of Mason Remey, and they are sufficient now.

           

Charles H. Gaines

 

Friday, December 31, 1999

Camden, New Jersey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE

 

GUARDIANSHIP

 

AND

 

THE ADMINISTRATION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FIRST INTRODUCTION

 

 


                In the face of such trials and tests as these times are likely to lay upon the entire Baha’i World, it is imperative that we take a second look at Baha’i and see what it is that this beloved Faith of ours teaches, stands for and requires, if it is to be triumphant over the sinister forces of nature and of an unregenerate humanity.

                It is clearly evident how “humanity is languishing upon a bed of sickness, sore-tried and disillusioned,” and it behooves all men to examine anew the remedy that has been prescribed by the Divine Physician, which alone can “deliver mankind from this desolating affliction”, and “fuse its discordant, its warring elements” into one organic, indivisible whole; to ponder dispassionately and penetrate, to depths unparalleled, the “wholesome medicine”, the “Elixir” that can “cleanse and revive” a humanity sick unto death; to study and evaluate, detached from all else but God, the “Force” transcending “the potency of the Elixir itself”, and which “alone, can claim the distinction of being endowed with the capacity required for so great and far-reaching a change”.

                The Baha’i World community stands on the brink of a calamity that bids fair to accomplish what all the enemies of the Faith have filed to accomplish in its stormy, its turbulent one hundred and seventeen year history. It would be tragic, indeed, were this calamity to be precipitated by the failure of any one or all of us to go to the writings and gain from them our strength and our direction, or were any of us to permit rank or station, precommitments, prejudgments, exaltation or abasement, education or lack of it, personality or familiarity, to keep us back from undeviatingly and unflinchingly obeying and following the Covenant of God.

                Can we not use fervent prayer, profound meditation, critical examination and “the greatest gift of God to man - the rational faculty with which God hath endowed the essence of man” - surely never given in vain - to weigh in “the unerring balance”, the revealed and mighty Word, these times and events now facing us?  Can we not zealously pursue the truth, confident in the assurance of Baha’u’llah that “no man that seeketh Us will We ever disappoint, neither shall he that hath set his face towards Us be denied access unto Our Court,” and that “He that giveth up himself wholly to God, God shall, assuredly, be with him; and he that placeth his complete trust in God, God shall, verily, protect him from whatsoever may harm him, and shield him from the wickedness of every evil plotter”? Have we, dear Friends, so soon reached the place where we can shun truth or be disdainful of investigation or fear inquiry? “Where are the people of assurance?”

                In the Holy Writings we are taught to pray for death. Surely, death is better than violation of the Covenant of God; verily, death in loyalty is preferable to life in disloyalty; clearly, death in truth is more precious than life in error; certainly, death is better than to concern oneself, in the Cause of God, with “questions which tend not to edification.” But I cannot convince myself that the desire to be faithful to and firm in the Covenant of God, written by the Manifestation Himself, does not “tend to edification.”

                In view of all these considerations then, I have ventured to compile and write this paper on the Guardianship and the Administrative Order, “enunciated with such simplicity and force as far back as (a hundred and seventeen) years ago by Baha’u’llah, embodying in its essentials God’s divinely appointed scheme for the unification of mankind in this age,” and “whose outlines were delineated by “Abdu’l-Baha in His Will and Testament”’; imploring God that He will compensate my deficiencies and increase my capacities and strengthen my abilities, and set me aright on the straight path.

                If there are many repetitions it is because the point can bear great emphasis; if the quotations appear long it is because I am more concerned with bringing the writings to bear and presenting the Sacred Texts for your consideration, than I am with brevity, ease of reading, or the expression of my own opinion.

 

June 1960                                                                                                                                   c.h.g.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WILL AND TESTAMENT OF ‘ABDU’L-BAHA

 

Source of Administrative Order

          

               

                “‘Abdu’l-Baha, Who incarnates an institution for which we can find no parallel whatsoever in any of the world’s recognized religious systems, may be said to have closed the age to which He Himself belonged and opened the one in which we are now labouring. His Will and Testament should thus be regarded as the perpetual, the indissoluble link which the mind of Him Who is the Mystery of God has conceived in order to ensure the continuity of the three ages that constitute the component parts of the Baha’i Dispensation The period in which the seed of the Faith had been slowly germinating is thus intertwined both with the one which must witness its efflorescence and the subsequent age in which that seed will have finally yielded its golden fruit.

                “The creative energies released by the Law of Baha’u’llah, permeating and evolving within the mind of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, have, by their very impact and close interaction, given birth to an Instrument which may be viewed as the Charter of the New World Order which is at once the glory and the promise of this most great Dispensation. The Will may thus be acclaimed as the inevitable offspring resulting from that mystic intercourse between Him Who communicated the generating influence of His divine Purpose and One Who was its vehicle and chosen recipient. Being the Child of the Covenant - the Heir of both the Originator and the Interpreter of the Law of God - the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Baha can no more be divorced from Him Who supplied the original and motivating impulse than from the One Who ultimately conceived it. Baha’u’llah’s inscrutable purpose, we must ever bear in mind, has been so thoroughly infused into the conduct of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, and their motives have been so closely wedded together, that the mere attempt to dissociate the teachings of the former from any system which the ideal Exemplar of those same teachings has established would amount to a repudiation of one of the most sacred and basic truths of the Faith.”

- Shoghi Effendi, Guidance For Today and Tomorrow, pp. 78-79; The Baha’i World, 1950-1954, Vol.  XII, p. 319.

 

                “...The Charter which called into being, outlined the features and set in motion the processes of this Administrative Order is none other than the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Baha. His greatest legacy to posterity, the brightest emanation of His mind and the mightiest instrument forged to insure the continuity of the three ages which constitute the component parts of His Father’s Dispensation.

                “The Covenant of Baha’u’llah had been instituted solely through the direct operation of His Will and Purpose. The Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, on the other hand, may be regarded as the offspring resulting from that mystic intercourse between Him Who had generated the forces of a God-given Faith and the One Who had been made its sole Interpreter and was recognized as its perfect Exemplar. The creative energies unleashed by the Originator of the Law of God in this age gave birth, through their impact upon the mind of Him Who had been chosen as its unerring Expounder, to that Instrument, the vast implications of which the present generation, even after the lapse of twenty-three years, is still incapable of fully

apprehending. This Instrument can, if we would correctly appraise it, no more be divorced from the One Who provided the motivating impulse of its creation than from Him Who directly conceived it. The purpose of the Author of the Baha’i Revelation had, as already observed, been so thoroughly infused into the mind of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, and His Spirit had so profoundly impregnated His being, and their aims and motives been so completely blended, that to dissociate the doctrine laid down by the former from the supreme act associated with the mission of the latter would be tantamount to a repudiation of one of the most fundamental verities of the Faith.”

                                                -Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, pp. 325-326

 

 

 

 

 

 

WILL AND TESTAMENT OF ‘ABDU’L-BAHA (Cont’d.)

 

                “That Baha’u’llah in His Book of Aqdas, and later ‘Abdu’l-Baha in His Will - a document which confirms, supplements, and correlates the provisions of the Aqdas - have set forth in their entirety those essential elements for the constitution of the world Baha’i commonwealth, no one who has read them will deny. According to these divinely-ordained administrative principles, the Dispensation of Baha’u’llah - the Ark of human salvation - must needs be modeled. From them all future blessings must flow, and upon them its inviolable authority must ultimately rest.”

- Shoghi Effendi, World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 19; Guidance for Today and Tomorrow,  pp. 79-83

 

                ”The bedrock on which this Administrative Order is founded is God’s immutable Purpose for mankind in this Day. The Source from which it derives its inspiration is no one less than Baha’u’llah Himself. The axis round which its institutions revolve are the authentic provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Baha.”

                                                -Shoghi Effendi, World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 156

 

                “...We stand indeed too close to so monumental a document to claim for ourselves a complete understanding of all its implications, or to presume to have grasped the manifold mysteries it undoubtedly contains. Only future generations can comprehend the value and the significance attached to this Divine Masterpiece, which the hand of the Master-builder of the world has designed for the unification and the triumph of the worldwide Faith of Baha’u’llah. Only those who come after us will be in a position to realize the value of the surprisingly strong emphasis that has been placed on the institution of the House of Justice and of the Guardianship...To them alone will be revealed the suitability of the institutions initiated by ‘Abdu’l-Baha to the character of the future society which is to emerge out of the chaos and confusion of the present age....”

                                                -Shoghi Effendi, World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 8; The Baha’i World 1950-1954, Vol. XII, p. 321

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER

 

 


                It behooves us, dear friends, to endeavor not only to familiarize ourselves with the essential features of this supreme Handiwork of Baha’u’llah, but also to grasp the fundamental difference existing between this world-embracing, divinely-appointed Order and the chief ecclesiastical organizations of the world....

                “...Where and how does this Order established by Baha’u’llah, which to outward seeming is but a replica of the institutions established in Christianity and Islam, differ from them? Are not the twin institutions of the House of Justice and of the Guardianship, the institution of the Hands of the Cause of God, the institution of the national and local Assemblies, the institution of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkar, but different names for the institutions of the Papacy and the Caliphate, with all their attending ecclesiastical orders which the Christians and Moslems uphold and advocate.?...

                “Upon the answer given to these challenging questions will, in a great measure, depend the success of the efforts which believers in every land are now exerting for the establishment of God’s Kingdom upon the earth....That Baha’u’llah in His Book of Aqdas, and later ‘Abdu’l-Baha in His Will, a document which confirms, supplements, and correlates the provisions of the Aqdas - have set forth in their entirety those essential elements for the constitution of the world Baha’i Commonwealth, no one who has read them will deny. According to these divinely ordained administrative principles, the Dispensation of Baha’u’llah - the Ark of human salvation - must needs be modeled. From them, all future blessings must flow, and upon them its inviolable authority must ultimately rest.

                “For Baha’u’llah...has not only imbued mankind with a new and regenerating spirit. He has not merely enunciated certain universal principles, or propounded a particular philosophy, however potent, sound and universal these may be. In addition to these He, as well as ‘Abdu’l-Baha after Him, has, unlike the Dispensations of the past, clearly and specifically laid down a set of Laws, established definite institutions, and provided for the essentials of a Divine Economy. These are destined to be a pattern for future society, a supreme instrument for the establishment of the Most Great peace, and the one agency for the unification of the world, and the proclamation of the reign of righteousness and justice upon the earth....They have also, in unequivocal and emphatic language, appointed those twin institutions of the House of Justice and of the Guardianship as their chosen Successors, destined to apply the principles, promulgate the laws, protect the institutions, adapt loyally and intelligently the Faith to the requirements of progressive society, and consummate the incorruptible inheritance which the Founders of the Faith have bequeathed to the world.

                “...Unlike the Dispensation of Christ, unlike the Dispensation of Muhammad, unlike all the Dispensations of the past, the apostles of Baha’u’llah in every land, wherever they labor and toil, have before them in clear, in unequivocal and emphatic language, all the laws, the regulations, the principles, the institutions, the guidance, they require for the prosecution and consummation of their task. Both in the administrative provisions of the Baha’i Dispensation, and in the matter of succession, as embodied in the twin institutions of the House of Justice and of the Guardianship, the followers of Baha’u’llah can summon to their aid such irrefutable evidences of Divine Guidance that none can resist, that none can belittle or ignore...Therein lies the distinguishing feature of the Baha’i Revelation. Therein lies the strength of the unity of the Faith, of the validity of a Revelation that claims not to destroy or belittle previous Revelations, but to connect, unify, and fulfill them. This is the reason why Baha’u’llah and ‘Abdu’l-Baha have both revealed and even insisted upon certain details in connection with the Divine Economy which they have bequeathed to us, their followers. This is why such an emphasis has been placed in their Will and Testament upon the powers and prerogatives of the ministers of their Faith.

                “For nothing short of the explicit directions of their Book, and the surprisingly emphatic language with which they have clothed the provisions of their Will, could possible safeguard the Faith for which they have both so gloriously laboured all their lives.”

                                                 -Shoghi Effendi, World Order of Baha’u’llah, pp. 18-25

 

                “The Administrative Order which this historic Document has established, it should be noted, is, by virtue of its origin and character, unique in the annals of the world’s religious systems. No Prophet before Baha’u’llah, it can be confidently asserted, not even Muhammad whose Book clearly lays down the laws

THE ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER (Cont’d)

 

and ordinances of the Islamic Dispensation, has established, authoritatively and in writing, anything comparable to the Administrative Order which the authorized Interpreter of Baha’u’llah’s teachings has

instituted, an Order which, by virtue of the administrative principles which its Author has formulated, the institutions he has established and the right of interpretation with which He has invested its Guardian, must and will, in a manner unparalleled in any previous religion, safeguard from schism the Faith from which it has sprung.

                “The hereditary authority which the Guardian of the Administrative Order is called upon to exercise, and the right of the interpretation of the Holy Writ solely conferred upon him; the powers and prerogatives of the Universal House of Justice, possessing the exclusive right to legislate on matters not explicitly revealed in the Most Holy Book; the ordinance exempting its members from any responsibility to those whom they represent, and from the obligation to conform to their views, convictions or sentiments; the specific provisions requiring the free and democratic election by the mass of the faithful of the Body that constitutes the sole legislative organ in the world-wide Baha’i Community - these are among the features which combine to set apart the Order identified with the Revelation of Baha’u’llah from any of the existing systems of human government.”

-Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, pp. 326-327; The Baha’i World, 1950-1954, Vol. XII, pp. 326-327; cf. World Order of Baha’u’llah,  p. 154

 

                “This Administrative Order, unlike the systems evolved after the death of the Founders of the various religions, is divine in origin, rests securely on the laws, the precepts, the ordinances and institutions which the Found of the Faith has Himself specifically laid down and unequivocally established, and functions in strict accordance with the interpretations of the authorized Interpreters of its holy scriptures...”

                “...The Spirit breathed by Baha’u’llah upon the world...can never permeate and exercise an abiding influence upon mankind unless and until it incarnates itself in a visible Order, which would bear His Name, wholly identify itself with His principles, and function in conformity with

His Laws...”

-Shoghi Effendi, World Order of Baha’u’llah,  p. 19; The Baha’i World, 1950-1954, Vol. XII, p. 319

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VALIDITY OF INSTITUTIONS

 

Kitab-i-Aqdas and Will and Testament

 


               

          I have been acquainted by the perusal of your latest communication with the nature of the doubts that have been publicly expressed by one who is wholly misinformed as to the true precepts of the Cause, regarding the validity of institutions that stand inextricably interwoven with the Faith of Baha’u’llah. ...Such incidents we should regard as the interposition of Providence, designed to fortify our faith, to clarity our vision, and to deepen our understanding of the essentials of His Divine Revelation.

                “It would be helpful and instructive to bear in mind certain basic principles with reference to the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, which, together with the Kitab-i-Aqdas, constitutes the chief depository wherein are enshrined those priceless elements of that Divine Civilization, the establishment of which is the primary mission of the Baha’i Faith.

                “A study of the provisions of these sacred documents will reveal the close relationship that exists between them, as well as the identity of purpose and method which they inculcate. Far from regarding their specific provisions as incompatible and contradictory in spirit, every fair-minded inquirer will readily admit that they are not only complementary,  but that they mutually confirm one another, and are inseparable parts of one complete unit...To attempt to divorce the one from the other, to insinuate that the teachings of Baha’u’llah have not been upheld, in their entirety and with absolute integrity, by what ‘Abdu’l-Baha has revealed in His Will, is an unpardonable affront to the unswerving fidelity that has characterized the life of our beloved. Master.

                “It should be remembered by every follower of the Cause that the system of Baha’i administration is not an innovation imposed arbitrary upon the Baha’is of the world since the Master’s passing, but derives its authority from the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, specifically prescribed in unnumbered Tablets, and rests in some of its essential features upon the explicit provisions of the Kitab-i-Aqdas. It thus unifies and correlates the principles separately laid down by Baha’u’llah and ‘Abdu’l-Baha, and is Indissolubly bound with the essential verities of the Faith. To dissociate the administrative principles of the Cause from the purely spiritual and humanitarian teachings would be tantamount to mutilation of the body of the Cause, a separation that can only result in the disintegration of its component parts, and the extinction of the Faith itself.”

- Shoghi Effendi, World Order of Baha’u’llah, pp. 3-5; Guidance For Today and Tomorrow, pp. 96-99;          The Baha’i World 1950-1954, Vol. XII, Part Two, pp. 321-323

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE GUARDIAN AND GUARDIANSHIP

 

 


                “O my loving friends! After the passing away of this wronged one, it is incumbent upon the Aghsan (Branches), the Afnan (Twigs) of the Sacred Lote-Tree, the Hands (pillars) of the Cause of God and the loved ones of the Abha Beauty to turn unto Shoghi Effendi - the youthful branch branched from the two hallowed and sacred Lote-Trees and the fruit grown from the union of the two offshoots of the Tree of Holiness - as he is the sign of God, the chosen branch, the guardian of the Cause of God, he unto whom all the Aghsan, the Afnan, the Hands of the Cause of God and His loved ones must turn. He is the expounder of the words of God and after him will succeed the first-born of his lineal descendants.”

-‘Abdu’l-Baha, Will and Testament, Part One, p. 11

 

                “O ye beloved of the Lord! It is incumbent upon the guardian of the Cause of God to appoint in his own lifetime him that shall become his successor, that differences may not arise after his passing. He that is appointed must manifest in himself detachment from all worldly things, must be the essence of purity, must show in himself the fear of God, knowledge, wisdom and learning. Thus, should the first-born of the guardian of the Cause of God not manifest in himself the truth of the words: ‘The child is the secret essence of its sire’ - that is, should he not inherit of the spiritual within him (the guardian of the Cause of God) and his glorious lineage not be matched with a goodly character, then must he, (the guardian of the Cause of God) choose another branch to succeed him.”

-‘Abdu’l-Baha, Will and Testament, Part One,  p. 12

 

                “Consider this text of the New Testament: the brothers of His Holiness Christ, came to Him and they said: ‘These are your brothers.” He answered that his brothers were those who believed in God, and refused to associate with His own brothers.

                “Likewise Qurratu’l-Ayn...when she believed in God and was attracted to the Divine Breaths, she forsook her two eldest sons, although they were her two oldest children, because they did not become believers, and thereafter did not meet them. She said: ‘All the friends of God are my children, but these two are not. I will have nothing to do with them.

                “Consider! The Divine Gardener cuts off the dry or weak branch from the good tree and grafts to it a branch from another tree. He both separates and unites. This is that which His Holiness Christ says: that from all the world they come and enter the Kingdom, and the Children of the Kingdom shall be cast out.”

                                                -’Abdu’l-Baha, “Last Tablet to America”, The Baha’i World Faith, pp. 437-438                                                     (NOTE: This entire Tablet deals with the Covenant and the Will.)

 

                “The Hands of the Cause of God must elect from their own number nine persons that shall at all times be occupied in the important services in the work of the guardian of the Cause of God. The election of these nine must be carried either unanimously or by majority from the company of the Hands of the Cause of God and these, whether unanimously or by a majority vote, must give their assent to the choice of the one whom the guardian of the Cause of God hath chosen as his successor. This assent must be given in such wise as the assenting and dissenting voices may not be distinguished (i.e. secret ballot)”                                                                 -’Abdu’l-Baha, Will and Testament,  Part One, p. 12

 

                “This statement in the Will of ‘Abdu’l-Baha does not imply that the Hands of the Cause of God have been given the authority to overrule the Guardian. ‘Abdu’l-Baha could not have provided for a conflict of authority in the Faith. This is obvious, in view of His own words, which you will find on p. 13 (p. 11 of 1944 U.S. Edition) of the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha. ‘The mighty stronghold shall remain impregnable and safe through obedience to him who is the guardian of the Cause of God, to turn unto him and be lowly before him. He that opposeth him hath opposed the True One’, etc.”

                                -Shoghi Effendi, Baha’i News, No. 288, February 1955, p. 1

 

                “The sacred and youthful branch, the guardian of the Cause of God as well as the Universal House of Justice, to be universally elected and established, are both under the care and protection of the Abha Beauty, under the shelter and unerring guidance of His Holiness, the Exalted One...Whatsoever they decide

THE GUARDIAN AND THE GUARDIANSHIP (Cont'd)

 

is of God. Whoso obeyeth him not, neither obeyeth them, hath rebelled against God; whoso opposeth him hath opposed God; whoso contendeth with them hath contended with God; whoso disputeth with him hath

disputed with God; whoso denieth him hath denied God; whoso disbelieveth in him hath disbelieved in God; whoso deviateth, separateth himself and turneth aside from him hath in truth deviated, separated

himself and turned aside from God. May the wrath, the fierce indignation, the vengeance of God rest upon him! The mighty stronghold shall remain impregnable...”

-‘Abdu’l-Baha, Will and Testament, Part One, p. 11

 

                “An attempt, I feel, should at the present juncture be made to explain the character and functions of the twin pillars that support this mighty Administrative Structure - the institutions of the Guardianship and of the Universal House of Justice. To describe in their entirety the diverse elements that function in conjunction with these institutions is beyond the scope and purpose of this general exposition of the fundamental verities of the Faith. To define with accuracy and minuteness the features and to analyze exhaustively the nature of the relationships which, on the one hand, bind together these two fundamental organs of the Will of Abdu’l-Baha and connect, on the other, each of them to the Author of the Faith and the Center of His Covenant, is a task which future generations will no doubt adequately fulfill. My present intention is to elaborate certain salient features of this scheme which, however close we may stand to its colossal structure, are already so clearly defined that we find it inexcusable to either misconceive or ignore.

                “It should be stated, at the very outset, in clear and unambiguous language, that these twin institutions of the Administrative Order of Baha’u’llah should be regarded as divine in origin, essential in their functions and complementary in their aim and purpose. Their common, their fundamental object is to insure the continuity of that divinely appointed authority which flows from the Source of our Faith, to safeguard the unity of its followers and to maintain the integrity and flexibility of its teachings. Acting in conjunction with each other, these two inseparable institutions administer its affairs, coordinate its activities, promote its interests, execute its laws and defend its subsidiary institutions. Severally, each operates within a clearly defined sphere of jurisdiction; each is equipped with its own attendant institutions - instruments designed for the effective discharge of its particular responsibilities and duties. Each exercises, within the limitations imposed upon it, its powers, its authority, its rights and prerogatives. These are neither contradictory nor detract in the slightest degree from the position which each of these institutions occupies. Far from being incompatible or mutually destructive, they supplement each other’s authority and functions, and are permanently and fundamentally united in their aims.

                Divorced from the institution of the Guardianship the World Order of Baha’u’llah  would be mutilated and permanently deprived of that hereditary principle which as “Abdu’l-Baha has written, has been invariably upheld by the Law of God.....Without such an institution the integrity of the Faith would be imperiled, and the stability of the entire fabric would be gravely endangered. Its prestige would suffer, the means required to enable it to take a long, an uninterrupted view over a series of generations would be completely lacking and the necessary guidance to define the sphere of the legislative action of its elected representatives would be totally withdrawn.”

-Shoghi Effendi, World Order of Baha’u’llah,  p. 148; Guidance For Today and Tomorrow, pp. 85-86

 

                “From these statements it is made indubitably clear and evident that the Guardian of the Faith has been made the Interpreter of the Word and that the Universal House of Justice has been invested with the function of legislating on matters not expressly revealed in the teachings. The interpretations of the Guardian, functioning within his own sphere, is as authoritative and binding as the enactments of the International House of Justice, whose exclusive right and prerogative is to pronounce upon and deliver the final judgment on such laws and ordinances as Baha’u’llah has not expressly revealed. Neither can, nor will ever, infringe upon the sacred and prescribed domain of the other. Neither will seek to curtail the specific and undoubted authority with which both have been divinely invested.

                “Though the Guardian of the Faith has been made the permanent head of so august a body, he can never, even temporarily, assume the right of exclusive legislation. He cannot overrule the decision of the majority of his fellow-members, but is bound to insist upon a reconsideration by them of any enactment he

 

THE GUARDIAN AND THE GUARDIANSHIP (Cont'd)

 

conscientiously believes to conflict with the meaning and to depart from the spirit of Baha’u’llah’s revealed utterances. He interprets what has been specifically revealed and cannot legislate except in his capacity as

member of the Universal House of Justice.”

-Shoghi Effendi, World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 150; Guidance For Today and Tomorrow, p. 88

 

                “It must be also clearly understood by every believer that the institution of the Guardianship does not under any circumstances abrogate, or even in the slightest degree detract from, the powers granted to the Universal House of Justice by Baha’u’llah in the Kitab-i-Aqdas, and repeatedly and solemnly confirmed by ‘Abdu’l-Baha in his Will. It does not constitute in any manner a contradiction to the Will and Writings

of Baha’u’llah, nor does it nullify any of His revealed instructions...Only future generations can comprehend the value and the significance attached to this Divine Masterpiece, which the hand of the Master-builder of the world has designed for the unification and the triumph of the world-wide Faith of Baha’u’llah. Only those who come after use will be in a position to realize the value of the surprisingly strong emphasis that has been placed on the institution of the House of Justice and of the Guardianship...To them alone will be revealed the suitability of the institutions initiated by ‘Abdu’l-Baha to the character of the future society which is to emerge out of the chaos and confusion of the present age....”

-Shoghi Effendi, World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 8; The Baha’i World 1950-1954, Vol. XII, pp. 324-325;  Guidance For Today and Tomorrow, p.p. 102-103

 

                “The preliminary measures, heralding the unfoldment of the institution of Guardianship, the pivot of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Will and Testament, have been adopted, through the appointment of the first two contingents of the Hands of the Cause, numbering nineteen, recruited from the five continents of the globe, representative of their extraction of the three principal religions of mankind, and constituting the nucleus of that august institution invested with such weighty and sacred functions by the Center of Baha’u’llah’s Covenant. The International Baha’i Council, comprising eight members, charged with assisting in the manifold activities attendant upon the rise of the World Administrative Center of the Faith, which must pave the way for the formation of a Baha’i International Court and the eventual emergence of the Universal House of Justice, the Supreme Legislative Body of the future Baha’i Commonwealth, has been established, enlarged, and the functions of its members defined.”

-Shoghi Effendi, Messages To The Baha’i World, 1950-1957, Cablegram; The Baha’i World 1950-1954, Vol.  XII, Part One, p. 134

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

 

 


(See also Guardian and Guardianship)

 

                “And now concerning the House of Justice which God hath ordained as the source of all good and freed from all error, it must be elected by universal suffrage - that is, by the believers. Its members must be manifestations of the fear of God and daysprings of knowledge and understanding, must be steadfast in God’s Faith and the well wishers of all mankind. By this House is meant the Universal House of Justice - that is, in all countries a secondary House of Justice must elect the members of the Universal one. Unto this body all things must be referred. It enacteth all ordinances and regulations that are not to be found in the explicit Holy Text. By this body all the difficult problems are to be resolved and the guardian of the Cause of God is its sacred head and distinguished member for life of that body. Should he not attend in person its deliberations, he must appoint one to represent him. Should any of the members commit a sin, injurious to the common weal, the Guardian of the Cause of God hath at his own discretion the right to expel him, whereupon the people must elect another one in his stead. This House of Justice enacteth the laws and the government enforceth them. The legislative body must reinforce the executive; the executive must aid and assist the legislative body, so that through the close union and harmony of these two forces, the foundation of fairness and justice may become firm and strong, that all the regions of the world may become even as Paradise itself.”

                                                - ‘Abdu’l-Baha, Will and Testament, Part One, pp. 14-15

 

                “Unto this Most Holy Book every one must turn and all that is not expressly recorded therein must be referred to the Universal House of Justice. That which this body, whether unanimously or by a majority doth carry, that is verily the Truth and the Purpose of God Himself. Whoso doth deviate therefrom is verily of them that love discord, hath shown forth malice and turned away from the Lord of the Covenant. By this House is meant that Universal House of Justice which is to be elected from all countries; that is, from those part in the East and West where the loved ones are to be found, after the manner of the customary elections in Western countries such as those of England....”

                                                - ‘Abdu’l-Baha, Will and Testament, Part  One, pp. 19-20

 

                “...The guardian of the Cause of God as well as the Universal House of Justice, to be universally elected and established, are both under the shelter and unerring guidance of His Holiness, the Exalted One....”

                                                -’Abdu’l-Baha, Will and Testament, Part One, p. 11.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COUNCILS

 


Evolution of Present Institutions

 

 


                “The passing of ‘Abdu’l-Baha marked the termination of the first and Heroic Age of the Baha’i Faith and signalized the opening of the Formative Age destined to witness the gradual emergence of its Administrative Order, whose establishment had been foretold by the Bab, whose laws were revealed by Baha’u’llah, whose outlines were delineated by ‘Abdu’l-Baha in His Will and Testament, and whose foundations are now being laid by the national and local councils which are elected by the professed adherents of the Faith, and which are paving the way for the constitution of the World Council, to be designated as the Universal House of Justice, which, in conjunction with me, as its appointed Head and the authorized interpreter of the Baha’i teachings, must coordinate and direct the affairs of the Baha’i community....”

                                                -Shoghi Effendi, Introduction, Guidance For Today and Tomorrow, p. 7

 

                “That the Spiritual Assemblies of today will be replaced in time by the Houses of Justice, and are to all intents and purposes identical and not separate bodies, is abundantly confirmed by ‘Abdu’l-Baha Himself. He has, in fact, in a Tablet addressed to the members of the first Chicago Spiritual Assembly, the first elected Baha’i body instituted in the United States, referred to them as members of the ‘House of Justice’ for that city, and has thus with His own pen established beyond any doubt the identity of the present Baha’i Spiritual Assemblies with the Houses of Justice referred to by Baha’u’llah.”

- Shoghi Effendi, World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 6; The Baha’i World 1950-1954, Vol. XII, pp. 323-324

 

                “Enumerating the obligations incumbent upon the members of consulting councils, the Beloved reveals the following: ‘The first condition is absolute love and harmony amongst the members of the assembly....”

 - See Baha’i Administration, p. 22 for complete text.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE UNIVERSAL BAHA’I ORGANISM

 

                “Should we build up the administrative world order to a point of absolute perfection but at the same time allow it to be hampered or disconnected from the channels within, through which channels the Holy Spirit of the Cause pours forth, we would have nothing more than a perfected body out of touch with and cut off from the finer promptings of the soul or spirit. If, on the other hand, the influxes and goings forth of the spirit are scattered, diffused, and subjected wholly to the more or less imperfect guidance and interpretation of individual believers, lacking both the wisdom secured through consultation and also the lights of real unity which shine through consultative action and obedience thereto - a disordered and disorganized activity would be witnessed, which would but dimly reflect the divine purpose for this age, which is no less than the establishment of the reign of divine love, justice, and wisdom in the world, under and in conformity to the Divine Law.

                “In the body of man, which is the true divine example or parallel, the spirit, when in ideal control of all the lesser parts of the organism, find the utmost harmony throughout the whole body - each part is in perfect reciprocity with the other parts. The commands and impulses of the spirit are obeyed by the body and the body in turn in its actions and functions identifies and determines the expression the spiritual impulses shall take. This is divine unity - and this law being universal and found in every created object in the universe, has full application to the universal Baha’i organism made of believers everywhere, which has been established by the Manifestation of God.”

                                                - Shoghi Effendi, Guidance for Today and Tomorrow, p. 110

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE EMBRYO AND ITS DEVELOPMENT

 

                “To recapitulate: As man in the womb of the mother passes from form to form, from shape to shape, changes and develops, and is still the human species from the beginning of the embryonic period - in the same way man, from the beginning of his existence in the matrix of the world, is also a distinct species; that is, man, and has gradually evolved from one form to another. Therefore, this change of appearance, this evolution of members, this development and growth, even though we admit the reality of growth and progress, does not prevent the species from being original. Man from the beginning was in this perfect form and composition, and possessed capacity and aptitude for acquiring material and spiritual perfections, and was the manifestation of these words, ‘We will make man in Our image and likeness.’ He has only become more pleasing, more beautiful, and more graceful. Civilization has brought him out of his wild state, just as the wild fruits which are cultivated by a gardener become finer, sweeter, and acquire more freshness and delicacy....”

                                                -’Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i World Faith, pp. 309-310

 

                “The beginning of the existence of man on the terrestrial globe resembles his formation in the womb of the mother. The embryo in the womb of the mother gradually grows and develops until birth, after which it continues to grow and develop until it reaches the age of discretion and maturity. Though in infancy the signs of the mind and spirit appear in man, they do not reach the degree of perfection; they are imperfect....

                “So also the formation of man in the matrix of the world was in the beginning like the embryo; then gradually he made progress in perfection, and grew and developed until he reached the state of maturity, when the mind and spirit became visible in the greatest power. In the beginning of his formation the mind and spirit also existed, but they were hidden; later they were manifested. In the womb of the world mind and spirit also existed in the embryo, but they were concealed; afterwards they appeared....

                “All beings, whether large or small, were created perfect and complete from the first, but their perfections appear in them by degrees. The organization of God is one; the evolution of existence is one; the divine system is one. Whether they be small or great beings, all are subject to one law and system....

                “In the same way, the embryo possesses from the first all perfections, such as the spirit, the mind, the sight, the smell, the tastes - in one word, all the powers - but they are not visible, and become so only by degrees....”

                                                -’Abdu’l-Baha, ”Man’s Innate Powers,” Baha’i World Faith, p. 312 & 313.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FORMATION OF FIRST INTERNATIONAL BAHA’I COUNCIL

 

 

 


                “Proclaim National Assemblies of East and West weighty epoch-making decision of formation of first International Baha’i Council, forerunner of  supreme administrative institution destined to emerge in fullness of time within precincts beneath shadow of World Spiritual Center of Faith already established in twin cities of Akka and Haifa. Fulfillment of prophecies uttered by F founder of Faith and Center of His Covenant culminating in establishment of Jewish State, signalizing birth after lapse of two thousand years of an independent nation in the Holy Land, the swift unfoldment of historic undertaking associated with construction of superstructure of the Bab’s Sepulcher on Mount Carmel, the present adequate maturity of nine vigorously functioning national administrative institutions throughout Baha’i World, combine to induce me to arrive at this historic decision marking most significant milestone in evolution of Administrative Order of the Faith of Baha’u’llah in course of last thirty years. Nascent Institution now created is invested with three-fold function: first, to forge link with authorities of newly emerged State; second, to assist me to discharge responsibilities involved in erection of mighty superstructure of the Bab’s Holy Shrine; third, to conduct negotiations related to matters of personal status with Civil authorities. To these will be added further functions in course of evolution of this first embryonic International Institution, marking its development into officially recognized Baha’i Court, its transformation into duly elected body, its efflorescence into Universal House of Justice, and its final fruition through erection of manifold auxiliary institutions constituting the World Administrative Center destined to arise and function and remain permanently established in close neighborhood of Twin Holy Shrines. Hail with thankful, joyous heart, at long last, the constitution of International Council which history will acclaim as the greatest event shedding luster upon second epoch of Formative Age of Baha’i Dispensation potentially unsurpassed by any enterprise undertaken since inception of Administrative Order of Faith, on morrow of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Ascension, ranking second only to glorious immortal events associated with Ministries of the three Central Figures of Faith in course of First Age of most glorious Dispensation of the five thousand century Baha’i Cycle. Advise publicize announcement through Public Relations Committee.”

-Shoghi

(Cablegram, January 9, 1951)

-Messages To The Baha’i World, 1950-1957,  pp. 7 & 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPIRITUAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE WORLD CENTER

 

 


                “Announce to friends of East and West the following: furnishing Mazra’ih, completion of restoration of historic house of Baha’u’llah in Acre*, scene of prolonged afflictions sustained by Founder of Faith, as well as supreme crisis suffered by ‘Abdu’l-Baha at hand of Covenant-breakers. Greatly enhanced international endowments in Holy Land in twin cities of Acre and Haifa, now include twin Holy Shrines situated on plain of Acre and slope of Mount Carmel; twin mansions of Bahji and Mazra’ih, twin historic Houses inhabited by Baha’u’llah and ‘Abdu’l-Baha; twin International Archives adjoining the Bab’s Sepulcher and the resting-place of the Greatest Holy Leaf; twin Pilgrim Houses, constructed for Oriental and Occidental pilgrims; twin Gardens of Ridvan and Firdaws, associated with the memory of the Author of the Baha’i Dispensation.

                “Greatly welcome assistance of the newly-formed International Council, particularly its President, Mason Remey, and its vice-president Amelia Collins, through contact with authorities designed to spread the fame, consolidate the foundations and widen the scope of influence emanating from the twin spiritual, administrative World Centers permanently fixed in the Holy Land, constituting the midmost heart of the entire planet.”

- Shoghi

(Cablegram, March 2, 1951)

-Messages To The Baha’i World, 1950-1957,  pp. 8 & 9

 

 

 

THE GUARDIAN ANNOUNCES APPOINTMENT OF HANDS OF THE CAUSE

 

                “Recall feelings of profound thankfulness and joy at chain of recent historic events heralding long anticipated rise and establishment of the World Administrative Center of the Faith of Baha’u’llah in Holy Land regarded as third most momentous epoch-making development since inception of the Formative Age on morrow of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Ascension.

                “Quarter century constituting opening epoch this age signalized successively by erection consolidation over period no less than sixteen years of local, national institutions of Baha’i Administrative Order in five continents of globe in conformity with provisions of the Will of the Center of Covenant, and initiation of first Seven Year Plan by American Baha’i Community marking inauguration first epoch in execution of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Divine Plan unavoidably held in abeyance over two decades pending creation of divinely-appointed administrative agencies designed by its Author for its effective prosecution.

                “Opening years of the second epoch of the Formative Age now witnessing at long last commencement of third vast majestic fate-laden process following two above-mentioned developments destined through gradual emergence of the manifold institutions in World Center of Faith as crown of the administrative structure of Baha’u’llah’s embryonic World Order. Gigantic process now set in motion opening decade second Baha’i century synchronizing with, deriving notable impetus through, birth of sovereign State, Holy Land, greatly accelerated through series of swiftly succeeding events originated in World Center of Faith.

                “First inauguration most holy world-wide enterprise unprecedented in annals of the Faith,

 

 

___________________________

 

* Acca

 

 

 

APPOINTMENT OF HANDS OF CAUSE (Cont’d)

 

construction in heart of Mount Carmel superstructure of the Bab’s Sepulcher. Second, creation of International Baha’i Council in precincts Holy Shrine, forerunner of International House of Justice, supreme legislative organ of nascent, divinely-conceived, world-encircling Baha’i Administrative Order. Third, acquisition, restoration and embellishment of historic sites associated with incarceration Baha’u’llah,

 ‘Abdu’l-Baha, recognition their sacred character, exemption from taxes by newly formed State, accessibility to appreciative general public. Fourth, initiation of formal negotiation with central municipal authorities of same State with twofold purpose: preserve for posterity immediate directly threatened neighborhood Most Holy Tomb of the Founder of the Faith on outskirts of Akka, and acquire extensive,

sorely needed properties in vicinity of Bab’s Sepulcher destined to serve as site of future edifices envisaged by ‘Abdu’l-Baha to house auxiliary agencies revolving around twin institutions of Guardianship and House of Justice. Fifth, preparation of design of future Mashriqu’l-Adhkar on Mount Carmel, outstanding indispensable feature unfoldment rising World Administrative Order. Sixth, forthcoming convocation of four conferences embracing eleven National Assemblies in all continents of globe marking inauguration beyond limits of World Center of Faith of intercontinental stage of Baha’i activity, precursor final step summoning assemblies representative communities all sovereign states, chief dependencies, islands, entire planet.

                “Hour now ripe to take long inevitably deferred step in conformity with provisions of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Testament in conjunction with six above-mentioned steps through appointment of first contingent of Hands of Cause of God, twelve in number, equally allocated Holy Land, Asiatic, American, European continents. Initial step how taken regard preparatory full development of institution provided in ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Will, paralleled preliminary measure formation International Council destined to culminate in emergence of Universal House of Justice. Nascent institution forging fresh links binding rising World Center of Faith to consolidating World Community of followers of Most Great Name, paving way to adoption supplementary measure calculated reinforce foundations structure of the Baha’i Administrative Order.”

- Shoghi

Cablegram, December 24, 1951)

                                                - Messages To The Baha’i World, 1950-1957. pp. 18-20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SECOND  INTRODUCTION

                                               

 

                There are, at the least, two ways to write about any matter touching on the Cause of God: one, to cite passages and references from the Holy Books, making no comments at all; if, however, the people refuse to place any stock in the Writings or have declared, at least by implication, that the Writings are no longer of any effect, or hold opinion, deep feelings or inclinations to be more valid, this method is wasted and produces no result; second, to write quoting liberally from the Writings and presenting arguments as distinct from opinions and feelings.

                ‘Abdu’l-Baha tells us that, “If thou wishest the divine knowledge and recognition, purify the heart from all beside God, be wholly attracted to the ideal, beloved One; search for and choose Him and apply thyself to rational and authoritative arguments.”*

                This is not, in the least, intended to mean that I as an individual have fulfilled the requirements embodied in this injunction. The most it can be intended to mean is that I have accepted this method as the proper method of investigation and have determined to attempt to follow it. “For arguments are a guide to the path and by this the heart will be turned unto the Sun of Truth.”*

                In the first half of this paper I followed the former method of writing, citing the Writings without comment. In this half of the paper an attempt will be made to use the latter method, bearing in mind that the Will of God is, and will ever remain, totally independent of human opinion, that in the Cause of God the Word and the Word alone is the only standard.

                The subject is, at once, packed with emotion, fraught with danger, pregnant with significance and import, and crucial to the soul. I make the claim, as do all men who put forth their arguments - taking cognizance of the fact that I cannot prove it either to myself or my reader - that I have no desire whatever to abuse, misuse, mutilate or distort the Word. That is why the reader is encouraged to go to the Writings himself and to read the entire context of anything that is quoted herein.

                It is impossible to accept that there is anyone who is not sincere in the stand he has taken on this issue, but it is not a question of sincerity. It should be borne in mind and repeatedly emphasized that the sincerity of no one - myself included - is a proper basis for an investigation or far-reaching decision. The Word alone is the Standard.

                There can be no doubt that the true Friends wholeheartedly and unreservedly accept the Revelation of Baha’u’llah and His Covenant and unconditionally accept “Abdu’l-Baha as the Center and Pivot, the Ideal Exemplar of that Covenant. Therefore we are all agreed on fundamental issues and on who constitutes authority and what constitutes an authoritative argument.        

c.h.g

_____________________________

 

* Abdu’l-Baha, The Baha’i World Faith, p. 383

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE ARGUMENT

 

                Now we must take up the most crucial issue - the establishment of the validity of Mason Remey’s claim to Guardianship.

                In this regard there is need for one prefatory remark. The question is vital because it involves three crucial conditions; (1) the status and condition of the Cause of God; (2) the status and condition of the individual’s soul; and (3) the status and condition of the entire planet, its welfare and ultimate survival.

                Since it is obvious that most believers, the Hands of the Cause of God, and National Spiritual Assemblies have taken a definitely negative stand on this issue, the task is more difficult, and it becomes absolutely requisite that we remember Baha’u’llah’s injunction about the seeker after truth: “He must so cleanse his heart that no remnant of either love or hate may linger therein, lest that love blindly incline him to error, or that hate repel him away from the truth.”[i]

                The establishment of the validity of the claim hinges on clarifying four points; (1) the power of God to set aside the commands, even of Baha’u’llah - that is, “He doeth whatsoever He willeth and ordaineth whatsoever He pleaseth”; (2) the succession of the guardianship through lineal descent; (3) the creation of the International Baha’i Council; and (4) its development from an embryo through successive stages into the Universal House of Justice.

                As to the first point, “He doeth whatsoever He willeth and ordaineth whatsoever He pleaseth.” No one who believes in God would ever contend that He has not the power “To do whatsoever He wills and ordain whatsoever He pleases. To make this statement, however, and to absolutely believe it has nothing whatsoever to do with the validity of our interpretations as to what it means and to what conditions it applies is to abandon the most elementary sort of reasoning.

                We have the teachings and example of ‘Abdu’l-Baha to show us that man must also diligently apply his reason, because there are certain salient features of the attributes of God that are impossible to misconceive, even for weak, imperfect, finite man.

                For example, in speaking of the “Mystery of Sacrifice,” He cites the Church’s teaching of “original sin” and says of it that “it is a superstition” and “that we wish to consider these statements from the standpoint of reason”.[ii]

                He goes on to point out that for “His Highness the Divinity who is justice itself,”[iii] to inflict punishment upon the holy souls who lived from the time of Adam to Christ, is so manifestly unjust that “even a child could not justly make such an assertion,[iv] that is to say, the salient features of justice are such that not even a child could misconceive them; yet the Church could and does say, “But God doeth whatsoever He willeth and ordaineth whatsoever He pleaseth,” and we can neither deny nor disprove such an assertion. Be we do not recognize it as a valid answer.

                Therefore, if one wishes to contend that it is possible that God, under the law, He doeth whatsoever He willeth and ordaineth whatsoever He pleaseth,” has chosen to eliminate the guardianship - “Center of the Cause,” “Chief Cornerstone of the Administrative Order of Baha’u’llah,” “Pivot of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Will and Testament” - we can neither deny it with certainty nor disprove it. But we can “consider these statements from the standpoint of reason” and seriously ask: “Could we conceive of His Highness the Divinity who is justice itself, inflicting punishment upon the posterity of (this present generation) for (this generation’s own sins and disobedience)? Then we can suggest for consideration and reflection another more reasonable possibility. It is possible that God, under the law, “He doeth whatsoever He willeth and ordaineth whatsoever He pleaseth,” has set aside a “lesser” provision of the line of succession to the guardianship, especially since such an “interruption” has been prophesied of old and substantiated by and clearly foreseen by ‘Abdu’l-Baha?

                This becomes keenly significant since Shoghi Effendi - the divinely guided, infallible first Guardian of the Faith - gave no indication, up until the very time of his death, either in writing or action, that the guardianship was to cease or to be interrupted in its continuity after him, and since all the writings for ninety-three years of continuous infallible interpretation point up and emphasize the essentiality of a guardian, stating that it is the only thing that can preserve the unity of the Faith.

                Thus, our second point is reached: the descent of the guardianship through lineal succession.

                Let us now present the evidences that support and strengthen the latter premise we have adopted in this regard. The Will and Testament specifically states that the successor to the guardian is to be his first-

 

THE ARGUMENT (Cont’d.)

 

born. This possibility is immediately precluded by the fact that Shoghi Effendi had no children. The Will then permits a deviation from this provision by allowing the guardian to select another than his first-born, and even another branch.

                At this point ambiguity enters. “Abdu’l-Baha has permitted the “Guardian of the Cause of God,” in the event his first-born is unworthy and his lineage unqualified, to choose another branch.

                Speaking specifically, lineage refers to an entire family and only rarely applies to an individual descendant. Any fair-minded person must admit this. But ‘Abdu’l-Baha did not leave us without guidance and insight into this issue. He clearly foresaw the possibility of confusion and of unqualified lineage, and provided us with an interpretation of this point, if it will be received. It is of great significance that this appears in His “Last Tablet to America,” which deals completely with the Covenant, firmness in it, and violation of it. The three key paragraphs will be cited here; the entire text can be read in The Baha’i World Faith:

 

            Consider this text of the New Testament: the brothers of His Holiness Christ, came to Him and they said: ‘These are your brothers.’ He answered that His brothers were those who believed in God and refused to associate with His own brothers.

            Likewise Qurratu’l-Ayn, who is celebrated in all the world, when she believed in God and was attracted to the Divine Breaths, she forsook her two eldest sons, although they were her two oldest children, because they did not become believers, and thereafter did not meet them. She said: ’All the friends of God are my children, but these two are not. I will have nothing to do with them.’           

Consider: The Divine Gardener cuts off the dry and weak branch from the good tree and grafts to it a branch from another tree.  He both separates and unites. This is that which His Holiness Christ says: that from all the world they come and enter the Kingdom, and the children of the Kingdom shall be cast out. Noah’s grandson, Canaan, was detested in the sight of Noah and others were accepted. The brothers of the Blessed Beauty detached themselves from Him, and the Blessed Beauty never met them. He said: ‘This is an eternal separation between you and Me.’[v]

 

                These are rational arguments based firmly on the explicit sacred Texts. They should be attentively considered.

               Now regarding the third point: the creation of the International Baha’i Council. For the sake of thoroughness the complete text of the cablegram announcing this event will be cited:

 

            Proclaim National Assemblies of East and West weighty epoch-making decision of formation of first International Baha’i Council, forerunner of supreme administrative institution destined to emerge in fullness of time within precincts beneath shadow of World Spiritual Center of Faith already established in twin cities of Akka and Haifa. Fulfillment of prophecies uttered by Founder of Faith and Center of His Covenant culminating in establishment of Jewish State, signalizing birth after lapse of two thousand years of an independent nation in the Holy Land, the swift unfoldment of historic undertaking associated with

 

THE ARGUMENT (Cont’d.)

 

construction of superstructure of the Bab’s Sepulcher on Mount

Carmel, the present adequate maturity of nine vigorously functioning national administrative institutions throughout Baha’i World, combine to induce me to arrive at this historic decision marking most significant milestone in evolution of Administrative Order of the Faith of Baha’u’llah in course of last thirty years. Nascent institution now created is invested with threefold function: first, to forge link with authorities of newly emerged state; second, to assist me to discharge responsibilities involved in erection of mighty superstructure of the Bab’ Holy Shrine; third, to conduct negotiations related to matters of personal status with civil authorities. To these will be added further functions in course of evolution of this first embryonic International Institution, marking its development into officially recognized Baha’i Court, its transformation into duly elected body, its efflorescence into Universal House of Justice, and its final fruition through erection of manifold auxiliary institutions constituting the World Administrative Center destined to arise and function and remain permanently established in close neighborhood of Twin Holy Shrines.

            Hail with thankful, joyous heart at long last the constitution of International Council which history will acclaim as the greatest event shedding luster upon the second epoch of Formative Age of Baha’i Dispensation potentially unsurpassed by any enterprise undertaken since inception of Administrative Order of Faith on morrow of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Ascension, ranking second only to glorious immortal events associated with Ministries of the Three Central Figures of Faith in course of First Age of most glorious Dispensation of the five thousand century Baha’i Cycle.

            Advise publicize announcement through Public Relations Committee.[vi]

 

                In the Preface to Guidance for Today and Tomorrow there appears this comment on the writings of Shoghi Effendi: “Every word of the passages contained in it (GFTT) is significant. There are no loose phrases, no vague evasions of crucial issues. The style is one which renders it possible to state basic truths in parentheses and to list in one sentence the chief events of a lifetime. Such writing needs, and is worthy of study, for the implications of its phrases are almost as important as the explicit statements made.”[vii]

                Question: Have we really done this with this announcement, the one following, and the rest of Shoghi Effendi’s writings? It should be noted that the foregoing announcement was made almost one full year before any public announcement was made about the appointment of the Hands; and it should be seen by all that in these and subsequent announcements, Shoghi Effendi construed his actions to be the fulfillment of the provisions of the Master’s Will and Testament.

                Shortly after the above announcement, came this pregnant cablegram:

 

            Announce to friends of East and West the following: furnishing Mazra’ih, completion of restoration of historic house of Baha’u’llah  in Acre,* scene of prolonged afflictions sustained

 

__________________

* Acca

 by Founder of Faith, as well as supreme crisis suffered by ‘Abdu’l-Baha at hands of Covenant-breakers. Greatly enhanced International endowments twin Holy Shrines situated on plain of

Acre and slope of Mount Carmel; twin mansions of Bahji and Mazra’ih, twin historic Houses inhabited by Baha’u’llah and ‘Abdu’l-Baha; twin International Archives adjoining the Bab’s Sepulcher and the resting-place of the Greatest Holy Leaf; twin Pilgrim Houses, constructed for Oriental and Occidental pilgrims; twin Gardens of Ridvan and Firdaws, associated with the memory of the Author of the Baha’i Dispensation.

            Greatly welcome assistance of the newly-formed International Council, particularly its President, Mason Remey, and its vice-president, Amelia Collins, through contact with authorities designed to spread the same, consolidate the foundations and widen the scope of influence emanating from the twin spiritual, administrative World Centers permanently fixed in the Holy Land constituting the midmost heart of the entire planet. [viii]

                                                                                    -Shoghi

                Again, notice the emphasis, the language, the repetition of “Twin institutions”; then read the appointment of the first contingent of the Hands of the Cause, in the first section of this paper, and pay particular attention to this paragraph: “Hour now ripe to take long inevitably deferred step in conformity with provisions of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Testament in conjunction with six above-mentioned steps through appointment of first contingent of Hands of Cause of God...Initial steps now taken regard preliminary full development of institution provided in ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Will, paralleled preliminary measure formation International Council destined to culminate in emergence of Universal House of Justice. Nascent institution forging fresh link binding rising World Center of Faith to consolidating World Community of followers of Most Great Name, paving way to adoption supplementary measure calculated reinforce foundations structure of the Baha’i Administrative Order”.[ix]

                Read and ask: What institution, provided for in ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Will, concerns the institutions of the Hands of the Cause? Consider, O people! Reflect!

                The fourth point - the development of the International Council from an embryo through successive stages into the Universal House of Justice - is intimately related to the foregoing and flows naturally from it.

                Shoghi Effendi tells us that “the body of man” is the true divine example or parallel and the law of its development and operation “being universal and found in every created object in the universe, has full application to the universal Baha’i organism.”[x] Furthermore, he calls the International Council an embryo.

                We should then go to Some Answered Questions, the book containing the true “philosophy” of the Baha’i teachings, and see what is the indubitable truth of the embryo, its development, its characteristics, and the universal law governing it, referred to by Shoghi Effendi, as explained by ‘Abdu’l-Baha. The complete Texts can be read by all who desire to consider this matter attentively; excerpts from several will be cited here.

                “Universal beings,” says ‘Abdu’l-Baha, “resemble and can be compared to particular beings, for both are subjected to one natural system, one universal law and divine organization.”[xi]

                “Imagine,” He says again, “that the world of possibility - that is, the world of existence - resembles in a general way the body of man. If this composition, organization, perfection, beauty, and completeness which now exist in the human body were different, it would be absolute imperfection.”[xii]

                “Man is to the world what the head is to the body.” The world without man is imperfect. A living body without a living head cannot be imagined.” “For man,” He further states, “from the beginning of the embryonic period till he reaches maturity, goes through different forms and appearances...nevertheless, from the beginning of the embryonic period he is of the species man- that is to say, an embryo of a man, and not of an animal...”[xiii]

 

 

THE ARGUMENT (Cont’d.)

 

“All beings, whether large or small, were created perfect and complete from the first, but their perfections appear in them by degrees. The organization of God is one: the evolution of existence is one: the divine system is one. Whether they be small or great beings, all are subject to one law and system.” [xiv]

                “In the same way,” He says, “the embryo possesses from the first all perfections...but they are not visible and become so only by degrees.” [xv]

                With many other like words the Master describes and explains the embryo, with many degrees of emphasis, but with ever the same theme: the embryo is perfect from the first. However many stages and transformations it passes through, it never alters its essential members and perfections. The head is in the embryo from the very beginning.

                If we could imagine an embryonic organism without its head, it would be like the world without man - absolute imperfection.  The conclusion is irresistible. The International Baha’i Council as the embryo of the Universal House of Justice is, in all conditions, the Universal House of Justice, and its appointed head is now in the embryo. The head of the Universal House of Justice being synonymous with the guardian, it then becomes clear that Shoghi Effendi, in creating the International Baha’i Council, was appointing, in his own lifetime, his successor.  Hence his strong, emphatic and significant language and his ranking it as “potentially unsurpassed by any enterprise undertaken since the inception of the Administrative Order of the Faith...second only to glorious immortal events associated with the Ministries of the three Central Figures of Faith.”

                Was not one of the “immortal events associated with the three Central Figures” the appointment and/or announcement of their successor?  Many believers say: “Shoghi Effendi must have left something. I still believe some document will turn up.”  He did leave something - his writings.

                A few final considerations: The being of a guardian is entirely apart from human personality. It is in the nature of the being of a disciple: “which is born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”  To this ‘Abdu’l-Baha Himself testifies when He says: “An humble man without learning, but filled with the Holy Spirit, is more powerful than the most nobly-born profound scholar without that inspiration...No capacity is limited when led by the Spirit of God.”[xvi]

                Is it at all possible that we have been so blinded by the brilliance and magnificence of Shoghi Effendi, which was no doubt further enhanced by being, for thirty-six years, the channel of Divine Guidance, that we are incapable of seeing that same light shine from another lantern, which to outward seeming is less spectacular, and are repeating the days after the Ascension of the Master? It has been done before.

                There is one other point to be mentioned. If all this is true, why didn’t Mason Remey see it immediately? To which we reply- why did John say that he was not Elijah, when Christ said he was?

                Another thought for reflection with regard to the physical man: Why did God choose Moses, a stammerer and “Murderer”, to be His Manifestation when He could have picked fluent, eloquent Aaron? The physical man is really unimportant, isn’t he? Can we say here, “He doeth whatsoever He willeth and ordaineth whatsoever He pleaseth”?

                There are other questions that can and will, no doubt, be asked: “Why an American?” etc. There are reasonable answers to these questions; some are to be found in the explicit writings and others are spiritual answers.  To those who see the validity of these arguments, the answers to these and other like questions will be as clear as the noonday sun. We all admit and confess that we are not infallible. Is the unity of the Cause of God, the welfare of our souls and of all humanity, then, not worth a second prayerful, detached look at this entire issue?

                And finally, let us prayerfully call to mind and meditate upon these words of Baha’u’llah:

                “Think ye that you allegiance to His Cause can ever profit Him, or your repudiation of its truth cause Him any loss? No, by My Self, the All-Subduing...Tear asunder the veils of names and cleave ye their kingdom...

                “Beware that ye divest not yourselves of the raiment of Divine guidance.” [xvii]

 

 

Charles H. Gaines

 

July 1960

 

 

- END NOTES -

**************

 

  1.           Gleanings, p. 264[xviii]

 

 2.            ‘Abdu’l-Baha, “The Meaning of Sacrifice”, The Reality of Man, pp. 48-49

 

 3.            Loc. cit.

 

 4.            Loc. cit.

 

 5             ‘Abdu’l-Baha, “The Master’s Last Tablet to America”, The Baha’i World Faith,  

                                pp. 437-438

 

 6.            Shoghi Effendi, Messages To The Baha’i World, 1950-1957, pp. 7-8

 

 7.            Guidance for Today and Tomorrow, Preface, p. x

 

 8.            Shoghi Effendi, Messages To The Baha’i World, 1950-1957, pp. 8 & 9

 

 9.            Ibid., pp. 18-20

 

10.           Guidance for Today and Tomorrow, p. 110

 

11.           ‘Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, pp. 211-212

 

12.           Ibid., p. 206

 

13.           Ibid., p. 224

 

14.           Ibid., p.231

 

15.           Ibid., p. 231

 

16.           ‘Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, pp. 105-106

 

17.           Baha’u’llah, Gleanings, p. 258

 

 

                ‘Abdu’l-Baha, The Last Will and Testament

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Addendum

 

FURTHER CONSIDERATIONS ON THE ISSUE OF LINEAL DESCENT

 

                One of the great stumbling blocks in the matter of the guardianship is lineal descent. Indeed, this is the greatest stumbling block confronting the entire body of the Hands and the believers. If this issue could be clarified, the entire question of the guardianship could be resolved.

                Therefore, these arguments are presented for your earnest consideration and reflection. Consider them attentively.

                In The World Order of Baha’u’llah, Shoghi Effendi writes: “Divorced from the institution of the Guardianship the World Order of Baha’u’llah would be mutilated and permanently deprived of that hereditary principle which, as ‘Abdu’l-Baha has written has been invariably upheld by the Law of God.” (p. 148) “Moreover,” he writes, ”he who symbolizes the hereditary principle in this Dispensation has been made the interpreter of the words of its Author...” (p. 153)

                Consider! What does it mean to symbolize? It is well known that the symbol is not the literal thing. The symbol represents, stands for, something. When we speak of a thing as being symbolized, it means that one thing stands for, represents, another thing, but it is not that thing represented.

                The hereditary principle is continuous succession. Therefore, when the guardian is spoken of as “symbolizing the hereditary principle”, it means that the continuity of the guardianship represents, stands for, the principle that things - in this case authority - are handed down in orderly continuous succession from generation to generation. It represents hereditary succession.

                Now this does not mean that the guardianship does not and cannot descend according to the strict law of hereditary succession, but it does mean that adherence to the strict law of hereditary succession along physical lines is not absolutely essential.

                The history of our Faith provides ample evidence that persons who, according to the law of heredity, should have inherited honorable and important positions, were deprived of those positions because they proved themselves unworthy of the trust. Surely, Baha’u’llah would not have enjoined adherence to a law so inflexible as to force an incumbent guardian to turn the helm of the Faith over to an incompetent, spiritually bankrupt person simply because that person was a physical descendant. We have only to review the history of the Papacy in the Catholic Church to see what would be the result of such a procedure.

                Baha’u’llah refers to kings as “emblems of God’s sovereignty”; their station as symbolic of the station of Godhood, but no one construes this to mean that kings are gods.

                Shoghi Effendi, more than once, has compared the World Order of Baha’u’llah, with the guardian at the head of it, with a monarchy; but no one construes this to mean that the guardian is a king. (See Gleanings, pp. 211, 212, 304; WOB, pp. 152-153)

                It has been stated previously that, if the present teachings of the believers are true, the World Order of Baha’u’llah would be permanently deprived of two of its pivotal and essential institutions - the guardianship and the Hands - and a third, the Universal House of Justice, will be mutilated beyond repair. In view of this, then, consider these statements of Shoghi Effendi’s appearing in The World Order of Baha’u’llah.

                “No machinery falling short of the standard inculcated by the Baha’i Revelation, and at variance with the sublime pattern ordained in His teachings, which the collective efforts of mankind may yet devise can ever hope to achieve anything above or beyond that Lesser Peace to which the Author of our Faith has Himself alluded in His writings...

                “Such institutions as have strayed far from the spirit and teachings of Jesus Christ must of necessity, as the embryonic World Order of Baha’u’llah takes shape and unfolds, recede into the background, and make way for the progress of the divinely-ordained institutions that stand inextricably interwoven with His teachings...” (p. 185)

                “Leaders of religion, exponents of political theories, governors of human institutions, who at present are witnessing with perplexity and dismay the bankruptcy of their ideas, and the disintegration of their handiwork, would do well to turn their gaze to the Revelation of Baha’u’llah, and to meditate upon the World Order, which, lying enshrined in His teachings, is slowly and imperceptibly rising amid the welter and chaos of present-day civilization. They need have no doubt or anxiety regarding the nature, the origin

ADDENDUM (Cont’d.)

 

or validity of the institutions, which the adherents of the Faith are building up, throughout the world. For these lie embedded in the teachings themselves, unadulterated and unobscured by unwarrantable inferences, or unauthorized interpretations of His Word.

                “How pressing and sacred the responsibility that now weighs upon these who are already acquainted with these teachings! How glorious the task of those who are called upon to vindicate their truth, and demonstrate their practicability to an unbelieving world! Nothing short of an immovable conviction in their divine origin, and their uniqueness in the annals of religion; nothing short of an unwavering purpose to execute and apply them to the administrative machinery of the Cause, can be sufficient to establish their reality, and insure their success.”

(p. 24)

Charles H. Gaines

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

July 1960

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE

 

GUARDIANSHIP

 

AND

 

UNIVERSAL HOUSE

 

OF

 

JUSTICE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

 

 


                The present condition in the Baha’i World has given rise to a host of opinions, feelings, and attitudes, as distinct from proofs and arguments, on the part of individual Baha’is. It has exposed, for all to see, the Baha’is’ ignorance and misunderstanding of their own basic Writings. More than this, it has hurled back at each Baha’i one of the first challenges of Baha’u’llah; to “see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbor.”

                For years Baha’is relied on Shoghi Effendi, the Hands, outstanding teachers, and “old Baha’is” to do our reading, thinking, believing and understanding for us. In short, we created a priestly caste, attributed to them all the things that have traditionally been attributed to clergymen, but merely withheld from them the titles.

                Today’s events prove, beyond a shadow of doubt, the desperate need for the majority of Baha’is to become more than “twelve principle” Baha’is, and adherents of  “a good platform”.

                The more abstruse and difficult writings and recorded talks of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, and the writings of Shoghi Effendi were read only perfunctorily, because we were to intellectually and spiritually lazy to study these writings “word by word”, to immerse ourselves in them. Too many became Baha’is because Baha’u’llah agreed with them, not because they recognized His station and the plane from which He spoke. It was asking too much of us to stretch our minds, to strive, to attain to those new heights of mental development and spiritual growth necessary to understand these writings.

                We complained that Shoghi Effendi’s style was too complicated; when what we actually meant was, “I don’t want to invest the money in a good dictionary or the time necessary to study, or the thought required to understand what he wrote.”

                We wanted him to entertain us, when his purpose was to educate and edify us. We continued to protest: “I am a ‘humble’, ‘simple’ person and can’t understand his style of writing”. In some instances, without in the least trying to imply the inferiority of anyone, these were legitimate and true reasons. In many others, however, perhaps most, they were but rationalizations and excuses for mental inanition, clothed in the deceptive garment of “piety”, “humility”, and pseudo-self-effacement.

                Today the veil has been torn away and the paucity of our true knowledge, acceptance, and understanding is shameful. Nor has mere knowledge of the written word proven of much more avail in other cases. In many of these we have intimate knowledge without true acceptance or comprehension. Words “learned and conned by rote, to cast into the teeth” of our opponents, but not fully and “inwardly digested”.

                Too many had, and still have, excess professional pride in their human knowledge and not enough “pride” in the knowledge of the Faith. There were doctors, lawyers, psychologists, historians who liked Baha’u’llah’s principles; but not Baha’is whose professions happened to be in these fields.

                There were Christians, Moslems, and Jews in thought, attitude and emotional attachment, rather than Baha’is whose backgrounds happened to be in those religions.

               In other words, too many of us have been something else first and Baha’is second. And there were others who were Baha’is and knew no other religion and have, therefore, never been put to the test of true independent investigation. Today this is ended.

                  We must all start from the beginning again - independent investigation - this time not to find the Manifestation, but to understand and accept His Writings and those of the appointed   Interpreters. No one’s rank or station is assured on the basis of past service.

                The Babi’s had their Conference of Badasht to proclaim once for all, and for all to see, their severance from the old order. We, especially in the West, have long needed, and now have been forced into, our own spiritual Conference of Badasht, testing whether we can, and will, sever our intellectual and emotional attachments to the old order, and set about building a new creation.

                It is painfully and humiliatingly evident that we were not, and thus far in the majority, are not, centered in the writings and the guardianship. The reality of the guardianship and its “suitability to the type of society that will emerge from this present chaos and confusion” has completely eluded us.

 

 

INTRODUCTION (Cont’d.)

 

                Many actually breathed a sigh of relief when it was believed that the guardianship was ended. for this has always been a stumbling-block to the Western mind. One begins to believe that it was never fully accepted or recognized by the majority of western believers, and even less so by the Persian believers.

                To be sure, most of us accepted Shoghi Effendi, the man who was head of the Faith, but not many were convicted in their inmost hearts of the essentiality of the guardianship. The proofs of this assertion are in the attempt now being made to disembowel the Faith of this necessary organ, and the support it gets from the believers.

                One of the densest veils obscuring our vision in the present controversy is our unawareness and misunderstanding of the role destined for the Universal House of Justice, relative to the guardianship.

                In the perturbation and world-encircling gloom, following the death of Shoghi Effendi, we, all of us, grasped at anything and everything, except the one thing we should have taken a firm hold upon - his thirty-six years of prolific, infallible writing.

                Now we are beginning to assign all manner of rights and prerogatives to the, as yet, undeveloped, unevolved Universal House of Justice and the infant institution of the Hands of the Cause; rights and prerogatives far exceeding anything laid down in the Writings of Baha’u’llah, the Master’s Will and Testament, or the authorized, infallible interpretations of Shoghi Effendi, and some of which, in fact, flatly contradict these writings.

                In another effort to redirect our thinking toward the basic Writings, “the fixed and immovable Foundation” of the Administrative Order of Baha’u’llah, this paper is written.

                When, in the early days of his ministry, Shoghi Effendi was assailed by a host of misunderstanding about and violations of the Covenant on the part of the believers, some, incidentally, who enjoyed high stations under the Master, he wrote these words: “I am at a loss to explain that strange mentality that inclines to uphold as the sole criterion of the truth of the Baha’i Teachings what is admittedly only an obscure and unauthenticated translation of an oral statement made by  Abdu’l-Baha,   in defiance and total disregard of the available text of all of His universally recognized writings”. *

                Today, on the basis of an oral statement to the effect that God can change even Baha’u’llah’s plan, admittedly made by Shoghi Effendi, but no doubt misunderstood and

misapplied, we are, “in defiance and total disregard of the available text of all of his universally recognized writings”, immolating the pivotal institutions of the Faith of Baha’u’llah, and disemboweling it of its necessary spiritual and administrative organs.

                The primary purpose of this paper is to review and explore those “salient features of this scheme which, however close we may stand to its colossal structure, are already so clearly defined that we find it inexcusable to either misconceive or ignore.”*

                Indeed, this paper is intended to deal with two basic questions: Is a guardian necessary for the Universal House of Justice to be properly established and to properly function? and Can a Universal House of Justice, without a guardian of the Cause, decide on the guardianship and/or elect a guardian?

                No attempt will be made to describe exhaustively the functions of these two institutions or define with minuteness their features. This is “a task which future generations will no doubt adequately fulfill.”*

 

c.h.g.

 

 

________________________

 

·         Shoghi Effendi, World Order of Baha’u’llah,  p. 147

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE GUARDIANSHIP AND UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

 

 


                “Praise and thanksgiving be unto Providence that out of all the realities in existence He has chosen the reality of man and has honored it with intellect and wisdom, the two most luminous lights in either world. Through the agency of this great endowment, He has in every epoch cast on the mirror of creation new and wonderful configurations....

                “This supreme emblem of God stands first in the order of creation and first in rank, taking precedence over all created things. Witness to it is the Holy Tradition, ‘Before all else, God created the mind’...”[xix]

                The full force of this “supreme emblem” and the brilliance of this “luminous light” must now be focused on the most crucial issue ever to face the nascent Baha’i World Order. With unprecedented determination and detachment we must rise above our selves, our deepest feelings,* and our most cherished opinion,* at this critical crossroads in the establishment and evolution of the “pattern for future society”, and set out upon the path of true investigation and understanding.

                In the words of one of the foremost Baha’i teachers we must “become as neutral as a scientist making a laboratory test. Unless (we)** will look at (our) ownselves, (our) heredity and (our) environment...and deliberately assess these influences on (our) judgment, Abdu’l-Baha’s words on blind imitation can never be meaningful to (us).”[xx]

                “An attempt, I feel, should at the present juncture be made to explain the character and functions of the twin pillars that support this mighty Administrative Structure - the institution of the Guardianship and of the Universal House of Justice.”[xxi] For the degree to which we understand these two essential institutions, their distinctions both in character and function; to that degree will we be able to understand why we cannot hope to build the Baha’i World Order as adumbrated by Baha’u’llah and delineated by Abdu’l-Baha without both these institutions.

                Furthermore, we will see that the present course of most of the friends, while no doubt sincere, is misdirected, and would, if successful, result at best in the paralysis of the institutions of the Faith, and at worst, in the extinction of the Faith itself.

                This can be readily seen if we attempt to write or speak intelligently, informatively, and comprehensively about the Universal House of Justice without reference to the guardianship. If this is attempted, it becomes obvious that the Universal House of Justice without a guardian only succeeds in paralleling those already powerless international institutions reared on the foundation of man’s imagination and human weakness.

                “It should be stated, at the very outset, in clear and unambiguous language, that these twin institutions of the Administrative Order of Baha’u’llah should be regarded as divine in origin, essential in their functions and complementary in their aim and purpose.”[xxii]           

                The significance of this statement for us is, that by pronouncing, in one sentence, these institutions as “twin”, “divine”, “essential”, and “complementary”, Shoghi Effendi establishes upon an unassailable foundation the reality of the relationship between these institutions, and

their relationship to the World Order of Baha’u’llah. He has set our feet firmly upon the path leading to a proper approach to these institutions, and has laid down the central affirmation  which must, else we repudiate the fundamental tenets of the Faith, characterize and underlie our understanding of and attitudes toward these institutions.

                “Acting in conjunction with each other,” he continues, “these two inseparable institutions administer its affairs, coordinate its activities, promote its interest, execute its laws and defend its subsidiary institutions.”[xxiii]

                Now the central affirmation is complete. With but two sentences he has carried us to the realization that these mighty twin institutions are conjunctive and inseparable. A realization from which, if

____________________

*  We have a right to our feelings and opinions, but this is a very different thing from our feelings and opinions being right.

                ** The words in parenthesis throughout this quotation are mine. The original author was writing to non-Baha’is about investigating the Baha’i Faith; I am writing to Baha’is about re-investigating their own teachings).

THE GUARDIANSHIP AND THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE (Cont’d)

 

we wish to be faithful to the Master’s Will and Testament, we can never, so much as a hairs breadth, retreat, without disrupting the Cause and pronouncing a death sentence upon its institutions.

                “The guardian of the Cause of God as well as the Universal House of Justice...are both under the care and protection of the Abha Beauty, under the shelter and unerring guidance of His Holiness, the Exalted One. Whatsoever they decide is of God.”[xxiv]

                In view of Shoghi Effendi’s statement - made in reference to the Hands giving their assent to the guardian’s choice - that “the Master could not have provided for a conflict of authority in the Faith,”[xxv]it behooves us to consider: Why ordain two institutions with infallibility, unless there were to be two clearly defined spheres of jurisdiction and authority?

                One might say that this was to assure infallibility in the event the Faith were deprived one or the other of these institutions. But this conclusion is cast out by the terms “conjunction”, “complementary”, “essential”, and “inseparable”,

                The only conclusion we are permitted by the evidence, is that this dual infallibility is to assure correctness in  both religious and secular matters, that is, things pertaining to the spiritual life, involving interpretation of the revealed Word, observances of religious laws, etc., and things pertaining to the material secular life, involving legislation on matters not revealed in the explicit text, and that change and transform with time; in each period requiring new solutions consonant with the conditions of that period, and which may, indeed, vary from country to country.

                That this is a correct conclusion is finely demonstrated by these words of Shoghi Effendi: “ ‘He (the guardian) is the Interpreter of the Word of God, Abdu’l-Baha, referring to the function of the Guardian of the Faith asserts...”[xxvi] The interpretation of the Guardian, functioning within his own sphere, is as authoritative and binding as the enactments of the International House of Justice, whose exclusive right and prerogative is to pronounce upon and deliver the final judgment on such laws and ordinances as Baha’u’llah has not expressly revealed...”[xxvii]

At this point in our study of these two institutions, definite and limited spheres are taking shape in our mind’s eye. The “salient features” which, even at this early stage of our development, “we find it inexcusable to either misconceive or ignore” are being singled out and described by Shoghi Effendi himself.

                As if this were not enough, he ties the guardianship inextricably into this scheme by surveying the Faith, sans guardian. “Divorced from the institution of the Guardianship the World Order of Baha’u’llah would be mutilated and permanently deprived of that hereditary principle which, as Abdu’l-Baha has written, has been invariably upheld by the Law of God...Without such and institution the integrity of the Faith would be imperiled, and the stability of the entire fabric would be gravely endangered. Its prestige would suffer, the means required to enable it to

take a long, an uninterrupted view over a series of generations would be completely lacking and the necessary guidance to define the sphere of the legislative action of its elected representatives would be totally withdrawn.”[xxviii]

                It is ludicrous to maintain that the Guardianship exists without a guardian. As long as there had never been an appointed guardian this statement was true, for the guardianship, at that time was potential, not active. With the appointment of the first guardian, that institution ceased to be potential and became active. Once made active it is necessary that there be a continuous line of guardians, otherwise the institution of guardianship is abolished by default.

                The argument for the necessity of a guardian is now firmly established by Shoghi Effendi himself, the initial proofs are given, all that remains is to see what our efforts along the course of deeper understanding will produce.

                Just as Shoghi Effendi knitted the guardianship into this scheme with such force and emphasis, that none who reflect on his writings can deny; likewise he forged an inseparable link between it and the Universal House of Justice; a link which cannot be broken without destroying the Faith.

                “Severed from the no less essential institution of the Universal House of Justice, this same system of the Will of Abdu’l-Baha would be paralyzed in its action and would be powerless to full in those gaps which the author of the Kitab-i-Aqdas has deliberately left in the body of His legislative and administrative ordinances.”[xxix]

               

 

The GUARDIANSHIP AND THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE (Cont’d)

 

From the foregoing statement it is made perfectly clear that both these institutions are inexpendable; neither can be extricated from the framework of the Faith without causing irreparable damage to the entire structure.

                Further light is also shed on the reason and need for the dual infallibility conferred by Abdu’l-Baha, and our understanding of the character and functions of the twin pillars of the Administrative Order has been carried another very important step nearer to certitude and accuracy.

                It should be borne in mind, however, that the guardianship is now active, but that the Universal House of Justice is still potential, yet in a state of seed.

                “And now, concerning the House of Justice which God hath ordained as the source of all good and freed from all error...It must be elected by universal suffrage, that is, by the believers...in all countries a secondary house of Justice must be instituted, and these secondary Houses of Justice must elect the members of the Universal one.”[xxx]

                “Unto this body all things must be referred. It enacteth all ordinances and regulations that are not to be found in the explicit Holy Text. By this body all the difficult problems are to be resolved and the Guardian of the Cause of God is its sacred head and the distinguished member for life of that body. Should he not attend in person its deliberations, he must appoint one to represent him.”[xxxi]

                Thus, it is unquestionable that the guardian, or one appointed to represent him, must be present at all deliberations of the Universal House of Justice before that body can be considered complete.

                In the womb of the mother the embryo acquires all the members necessary for life in the outer world. What it does not acquire in the womb it is minus and bereft in this world. If it does not acquire eyes it will be born into this world blind. It if develops no tongue it will be born dumb. If it develops no head it will not attain to life at all, for these members cannot be added once the embryo has left the security of the mother’s womb. These laws have full application to the Universal Baha’i Organism  Therefore they apply to the Universal House of Justice. If it has no head in embryo, the head cannot be added after birth, indeed, it cannot even attain to life. It will be born dead, incapable of existence.

                But the body with the head, assuming the other members are intact, will be a complete organism. The head does not perform the functions of the hands, but it sends out over the nervous system, the directions which the hands obey. Neither do the hands, even temporarily, assume the functions of the head. So also with the other members of the body.  They all have their specific and peculiar functions, and they all have one thing in common - dependency on the head for directions and instructions. All obey the head, but the head  does not perform their functions and they cannot function as the head.

                That is why it is written: “Though the Guardian of the Faith has been made the permanent head of so august a body he can never, even temporarily, assume the right of exclusive legislation.”[xxxii] Nevertheless, “it is incumbent upon the members of the House of Justice...to show their obedience, submissiveness and subordination unto the guardian of the Cause of God, to turn unto him and be lowly before him.”[xxxiii]

                Thus the universal Baha’i organism continues to conform to the universal laws governing all bodies in the creational world, the members of the body being at all times subject to and under the direction of the head.

                “From these statements it is made indubitably clear and evident that the Guardian of the Faith has been made the Interpreter of the Word and that the Universal House of Justice has been invested with the function of legislating on matters not expressly revealed in the teachings.”[xxxiv]

                It should also be quite clear that the Universal House of Justice cannot decide on the guardianship whether it should or should not be, or who will occupy this station. Neither can it override the guardian’s interpretation. For the guardian interprets the Writings and defines the sphere of the actions of the elected representatives, in this case, the Universal House of Justice.

                Thenceforth, the elected representatives, acting within this clearly defined sphere, deliver their final verdict on all problems submitted to them. In this sphere they are infallible, and their decision has the same effect, but not the same status, as the revealed text.

                The guardian, however, will always determine when they have stepped outside their sphere. “He cannot override the decision of the majority of his fellow-members, but is bound to insist upon a reconsideration by them of any enactment he conscientiously believes to conflict with the meaning and to depart from the spirit of Baha’u’llah’s utterances. He interprets what has been specifically revealed, and cannot legislate except in his capacity as member of the Universal House of Justice.”[xxxv]

THE GUARDIANSHIP AND THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE (Cont’d)

 

                The Universal House of Justice has charge of all administrative affairs; those things “not expressly recorded in the Book and bear upon daily transactions.”[xxxvi] In such matters their decision or law has the same effect as the Text itself, but can be repealed by the incumbent or a subsequent Universal House. “This it can do because that law formeth no part of the Divine Explicit Text. The House of Justice is both the Initiator and Abrogator of its own laws.”[xxxvii] But it cannot, even temporarily, step into the domain of the guardian, pass on things already revealed in the Book, prescribe religious observances, interpret the meaning of the Book, or repeal or abrogate anything laid down in the sacred Texts. Above all, there is not the remotest hint, the slightest implication or the faintest allusion to its having any authority whatever to legislate on the guardianship or elect a guardian. The guardian is appointed by his predecessor and in no other way.

                Ideally, in human government, new social and spiritual forces should be channeled through institutions specifically designed for them. If not there is no alternative for these new forces but to take over and pour into the old inadequate institutions.

                When this occurs, the old institutions either give way under the strain; producing explosions - revolutions, wars, upheavals and crime-waves, or proceed to operate erratically; producing social enormities - hate, prejudice, religious fanaticism, weakening of the pillars of religion, etc. When this happens much of the energy of the new forces is dissipated and choked off by the anachronistic institutions, and the state deteriorates. *

                “The state is, moreover, based upon two potent forces, the legislative and the executive.”[xxxviii] Thus, in the Baha’i Order “this House of Justice enacteth the laws and the government enforces them. The legislative body must reinforce the executive, the executive must aid and assist the legislative body so that through the close union and harmony of these two forces, the foundation of fairness and justice may become firm and strong.”[xxxix]

                In the Baha’i Commonwealth, this ideal union between new forces and proper institutions to contain and channel them is achieved and reaches its apex in the union and conjunctive actions between the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice, cited above.

                “Severally, each operates within a clearly defined sphere or jurisdiction...Each exercises within the limitations imposed upon it, its powers, its authority, its rights and prerogatives. These are neither contradictory, nor detract in the slightest degree from the position which each of these institutions occupies. Far from being incompatible or mutually destructive, they supplement each other’s authority and functions, and are permanently and fundamentally united in their aims.”[xl]

“Neither can, nor will ever, infringe upon the sacred and prescribed domain of the other. Nether will seek to curtail the specific and undoubted authority with which both have been divinely invested.”[xli]

                With the fingers of a Master musician ‘Abdu’l-Baha has played upon the strings of human government and produced a symphony of divine politics destined to “soothe the savage beast” in man for generations to come, and raise the ensign of human and political solidarity characteristic of the Kingdom of God on earth.

                “It is unquestionable that the object in establishing parliaments is to bring about justice and righteousness, but everything hinges on the efforts of the elected representatives. If their intention is sincere, desirable results and unforeseen improvement will be forthcoming; if not, it is certain that the whole thing will be meaningless, the country will come to a standstill and public affairs will continuously deteriorate. ‘I see a thousand builders unequal to one subverter; what then of the one builder who is followed by a thousand subverters’.”[xlii]

                With a brilliantly conceived finely executed, set of checks and balances the Master has

established the ideal union between executive and legislative, new social and spiritual forces and adequate institutions to channel them into the life stream of the body politic.

                He has made the guardian the pivot, the heart and center of this Order. His primacy is shown in this, that “should any of the members (of the Universal House of Justice) commit a sin, injurious to the common weal, the guardian of the Cause of God hath at his own discretion the right to expel him...”, [xliii]and that he delineates and defines the area of the Universal House of Justice’ authority.

______________________

* This example, paraphrased, is borrowed from Arnold Toynbee, A Study of History,, 2 vol. abridgment, by D. C. Somervell, Oxford University Press, New York, 1956, pp.279-280

 

THE GUARDIANSHIP AND THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE (Cont’d)

 

                Exercising such power and fulfilling such essential functions, it is obvious that the

Guardian is no mere figurehead.

                That the universal Baha’i Organism is the only force in the world with both the spirit and the institutions to bring into tangible reality and practice those ideally united channels is attested to by these words of Shoghi Effendi; “The spirit breathed by Baha’u’llah upon the world...can never permeate and exercise an abiding influence upon mankind unless and until it incarnates itself in a visible order, which would bear His Name, wholly identify itself with His principles, and function in conformity with His Laws...”[xliv]

                “No machinery falling short of the Standard inculcated by the Baha’i Revelation, and at variance with the sublime pattern ordained in His teachings, which the collective efforts of mankind may yet devise can ever hope to achieve anything above or beyond that ‘Lesser Peace’ to which the Author of our Faith has himself alluded in His Writings.”[xlv]

                “Only future generations can comprehend the value and the significance attached to this Divine Masterpiece, which the hand of the Master-builder of the world has designed for the unification and the triumph of the world-wide Faith of Baha’u’llah. Only those who come after us will be in a position to realize the value of the surprisingly strong emphasis that has been placed on the institution of the House of Justice and of the Guardianship....To them alone will be revealed the suitability of the institutions initiated by ‘Abdu’l-Baha to the character of the future society which is to emerge out of the chaos and confusion of the present age.”[xlvi]

                To summarize: The Guardianship and Universal House of Justice are absolutely fundamental and “equisential”* to the proper construction of the Baha’i World Commonwealth. The Guardian is appointed by his predecessor, during the life-time of his predecessor, which precludes the need for the traditional will.

                The Universal House of Justice is elected. The Guardian is the head of the Universal House of Justice, which means that the head of the Universal House of Justice is appointed, not elected by the believers or the Universal House of Justice. Without a continuous line of guardians, each being appointed by his predecessor, the institution of guardianship is abolished by default. With the abolition of the guardianship, the body of the Universal House of Justice is severed from its head and there is, therefore, no such institution as a legitimate Universal House of Justice in the sense that ‘Abdu’l-Baha described it and delineated it I his Will and Testament, or that Shoghi Effendi interpreted and define it in his writings.

                If this happens, the Faith is mutilated and the infallibility of Shoghi Effendi is automatically and inescapably impugned. If we impugn his infallibility we must impugn the infallibility of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, as it was He who delineated the Administrative Order and declared the guardian infallible.

                This makes it necessary to impugn the infallibility of Baha’u’llah, for it was He Who said: “He (‘Abdu’l-Baha) is the expounder of My Book and is informed of My purpose. All must turn to Him. Whatsoever He says is correct for verily He knoweth the texts of My Book. Other than He, no one doth know My Book.”[xlvii]

                This, dear friends, quite simply, is what is meant by the extinction of the Faith. The shell, the form, as the form of Christianity, will persist, but the Faith will be dead.

_______________________________

* of an equally essential nature.

 

Charles H. Gaines

 

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

September 1, 1960

Revised

Camden, NJ

January 2000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE

 

GUARDIANSHIP

 

AND

 

THE HANDS OF THE CAUSE

 

OF

 

GOD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE GUARDIANSHIP AND THE HANDS OF THE CAUSE OF GOD

 

 

                “Baha’u’llah...has not only imbued mankind with a new and regenerating spirit. He has not merely enunciated certain universal principles, or propounded a particular philosophy, however potent, sound and universal these may be. In addition to these He, as well as ‘Abdu’l-Baha after Him, has, unlike the Dispensations of the past, clearly and specifically laid down a set of laws, established definite institutions, and provided for the essentials of a Divine Economy.”[xlviii]

                One of those definite and pivotal institutions is the Hands of the Cause of God. The foundation of this institution was laid by Baha’u’llah; its features, authority and function clearly delineated by ‘Abdu’l-Baha, and brought into tangible existence and caused to operate and function by Shoghi Effendi.

                It should be borne in mind that, in view of Shoghi Effendi’s diligent and faithful compliance to the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, it would be an indictment of his fidelity to that document to interpret any of his statements, with regard to the Hands, as bestowing upon them authority which would amount to a breach of the limits and bounds set for them in the Will and Testament, and provide for a conflict of authority in the Faith.

                Since the Hands “must be nominated and appointed by the guardian of the Cause of God,”[xlix] the existence of this institution presupposes and requires the existence of a living guardian.

                “This body of the Hands of the Cause of God is under the direction of the guardian of the Cause of God,”[l] and under obligation “to diffuse the Divine Fragrances, to edify the souls of men, to promote learning, to improve the character of all men and to be at all times and under all conditions sanctified and detached from earthly things.”[li]

                Another vital function and duty of the Hands is the protection of the Guardian. ‘Abdu’l-Baha expressly enjoins them to “be ever watchful and so soon as they find anyone beginning to oppose and protest against the guardian of the Cause of God cast him out from the congregation of the people of Baha and in no wise accept any excuse from him.”[lii] But in keeping with the principle that the Master could not have provided for a conflict of authority in the Faith, this, too, must be done under the direction of the guardian. This very duty presupposes the existence of a guardian; you cannot oppose and protest that which is not.

                Nine of the Hands, “elect(ed) from their own number, shall at all times be occupied in the important services in the work of the guardian of the Cause of God,”[liii] “these, whether unanimously or by a majority vote, must give their assent to the choice of the one whom the guardian of the Cause hath chosen as his successor”.[liv]

                But this “statement in the Will of ‘Abdu’l-Baha does not imply that the Hands of the Cause of God have been given the authority to overrule the Guardian. ‘‘'Abdu’l-Baha could not have provided for a conflict of authority in the Faith.”[lv]

                It should be recognized by all that the Hands, singly or collectively are subject to error and violation. “Should any, within or without the company of the Hands of the Cause of God, disobey and seek division, the wrath of God and His vengeance will be upon him,”[lvi] etc.

                However high and august the institution of the Hands of the Cause of God may be; from the foregoing statements it is clear that not one single function or iota of authority stems from itself or the individual members. It is indubitably clear that they revolve around the guardian and get all of their authority from his direction. On the other hand, this institution is too august for its duration to be measured by the life-span of those who now constitute its membership. This is an institution of the Lord and is not intended to pass away with the passing of a handful or mortals. Right up until the last days of his earthly life Shoghi Effendi spoke of the evolution of the Institution of the Hands of the Cause. (see Baha’i News, October 1957) The validity of this institution as a divine institution stands completely apart from any person or persons involved in it.

                To say that the Cause is yet being directed by Shoghi Effendi from the 'Abha Kingdom is untenable. The Hands themselves testify that during the life-time of Shoghi Effendi they often misunderstood his aims and purposes. If this was true when he was with us, how much more is it true now that he has ascended. To contend otherwise is to revert to the days when each interpretation of the Church fathers was attributed to Christ reigning on His Throne of Glory. Furthermore, it is obvious that the

 

THE GUARDIANSHIP AND THE HANDS OF GOD (Cont’d)

 

Interpreter, the “sign of God,” is to be upon the earth; otherwise there was no need, from the beginning, to appoint an interpreter.

                Let us not be deceived. Success, alone, is not a sufficient measure of correctness. History, as we well know, is replete with examples of man-made institutions that have been successful in keeping themselves artificially alive through the centuries. To use success alone, as the standard is to embrace the fallacious doctrine “the end sanctifies the means.”

                A World Order based partly on the teachings of Baha’u’llah is not the need of this day. The Revelation released by Baha’u’llah can exercise its proper influence only when it “incarnates itself in a visible order, which will bear his name, wholly identify itself with His principles and function in conformity with His Laws.”[lvii]

                Shoghi Effendi, at sundry times and in divers places, addresses the entire body of believers as “stewards”, The Hands, by virtue of the station they occupy and the duties and functions devolving upon them, would and should, quite naturally, be called “Chief Stewards”. But, to take this parenthetical expression of Shoghi Effendi’s last message and use it as sanction for the arrogation of the rights and prerogatives of the guardian, and the assumption of the rights of an Administrative authority apart from the guardian, is an interpretation above all interpretations.

                Such an action is a self-evident breach of the explicit provisions of the Will and Testament, and transgresses the limits set for the Hands in that document. Anyone who accepts this imposition of, and surrenders to, such an improperly acquired authority, automatically becomes co-sharer in the crime and co-defendant in the trial which must, necessarily, come from God.

                Let it be clearly understood that these words should in no wise be construed as an attempt to whittle down or lower the station of the Hand of the Cause of God. That the Hands occupy an august station and constitute a pivotal institution of  the Cause of God; that they are entitled to respect and honor, can be denied by no one who has but cursorily read the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Baha and the cablegrams of Shoghi Effendi.

                My present intention is to show that the Writings specifically set the limits and bounds of both the authority and functions of the Hands; that in each instance where the functions of the Hands are mentioned, mention is also made of their subjection and relation to the guardian; that regardless of the language used with reference to the Hands it has never, either by implication or explication, conferred infallibility upon them, administrative authority which would amount to a conflict of authority in the Faith, or likened obedience to them as being obedience to God.

                To carry this point, and also bring this paper to a close, let me cite two passages from cablegrams sent by Shoghi Effendi.

                “...The security of our precious Faith, the preservation of the spiritual health of the Baha’i communities, the vitality of the faith of its individual members, the proper functioning of its laboriously erected institutions, the fruition of its world-wide enterprises, the fulfillment of its ultimate destiny, all are directly dependent upon the befitting discharge of the weighty responsibilities now resting upon the members of these two institutions (Hands and NSA’s), occupying, with the Universal House of Justice, next to the Institution of the Guardianship, foremost rank in the divinely ordained administrative hierarchy of the World Order of Baha’u’llah.”[lviii]

                “Hail emergence of the unfoldment in the opening years of the second epoch of the formative age of the Baha’i Dispensation of the august Institution foreshadowed by the Founder of the Faith and formally established in the Testament of the Center of His Covenant, closely associated in provisions of the same Will with Institution of the Guarianship, destined to assume in the fullness of time, under the aegis of the Guardian, the dual sacred responsibility for protection and propagation of the Cause of Baha’u’llah.”[lix]

 

Charles H. Gaines

 

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

August 24, 1960

 

Revised Dec. 1999

Camden, New Jersey

 



[i]  Gleanings, p. 264

[ii]  ‘Abdu’l-Baha, “The Meaning  of  Sacrifice,” The Reality of man,  pp. 48-49

[iii]  Loc. cit.

[iv]   Loc. cit.

[v]  ‘Abdu’l-Baha, “The Master’s Last Tablet to America” The Baha’i World Faith, pp. 437-438

[vi]  Shoghi Effendi, Messages To The Baha’i World, 1950-1957,  pp. 7-8

[vii]  Guidance for today and Tomorrow, Preface p. x.

[viii]  Shoghi Effendi,  Messages To The Baha’i World, 1950-1957, pp. 8 & 9

[ix]   Ibid. pp. 18-20

[x]  Guidance For Today and Tomorrow, p. 110

[xi]  ‘Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, pp. 211-212

[xii]  Ibid.., p. 206

[xiii]  Ibid. p. 224

[xiv]  Ibid., p. 231

[xv]  Ibid., p. 231

[xvi]  ‘Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks,  pp. 105-106

 

 

[xvii]   Baha’u’llah, Gleanings, p. 258

 

 

Will and Testament of ‘Abdul’-Baha

[xviii]

 

 

[xix]             Abdu’l-Baha, The Secret of Divine Civilization, Baha’i Publishing Trust, Wilmetter,   Illinois,  1957, p. 1

 

[xx]              Marzieh Gail, The Sheltering Branch, Barnicott Ltd., at the Wessex Press, Taunton,    England,1959, p. 57

 

[xxi]             Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha’u’llah, Baha’i Publishing Trust, Wilmette,   Illinois, 1955, p. 147

 

[xxii]            Shoghi Effendi, op. cit., p. 148

 

[xxiii]          Shoghi Effendi, loc. cit.

 

[xxiv]          Abdu’l-Baha, The Will and Testament of, Translated, Shoghi Effendi, Baha’i Publishing           Committee, Wilmetter, Illinois, 1944, p. 11

 

[xxv]           Shoghi Effendi, Baha’i News, No. 288, February 1955, p. 1

 

[xxvi]          Shoghi Effendi, World Order of Baha’u’llah, pp. 148-149

 

[xxvii]         Shoghi Effendi, op. cit., p. 150

 

[xxviii]        Shoghi  Effendi, op. cit., p. 148

               

[xxix]          Shoghi Effendi, loc. cit.

 

[xxx]           Abdu’l-Baha, The Will and Testament of,  p. 14

 

[xxxi]          Abdu’l-Baha, loc. cit.

 

[xxxii]         Shoghi Effendi,  World Order,  p. 150

 

[xxxiii]        Abdu’l-Baha, Will and Testament of,  p.11

 

[xxxiv]        Shoghi Effendi, op. cit., p. 150

 

[xxxv]         Shoghi Effendi, loc. cit.

 

[xxxvi]        ‘Abdu’l-Baha,  Will and Testament, p. 20

 

[xxxvii]       ‘Abdu’l-Baha, op. cit., p. 20

 

[xxxviii]      ‘Abdu’l-Baha, Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 37

 

 

 

 

END NOTES  (CONT’D.)

 

 

 

[xxxix]        Abdu’l-Baha, Will and Testament,  pp. 14-15

 

[xl]             Shoghi Effendi, World Order of Baha’u’llah,  p.148

 

[xli]            Shoghi Effendi, op. cit., p. 150

 

[xlii]           Abdu’l-Baha, Secret of Divine Civilization,  p. 23

 

[xliii]          Abdu’l-Baha, Will and Testament, p. 14

 

[xliv]           Shoghi Effendi, op. cit., p. 19

 

[xlv]            Shoghi Effendi, op. cit., p. 162

 

[xlvi]           Shoghi Effendi, op. cit.,  p. 8

 

[xlvii]          Baha’u’llah, quoted by ‘Abdu’l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace, Baha’i        Publishing Committee ,  Wilmette, Ill., 1943, p. 317

END NOTES

 

 

[xlviii]       Shoghi Effendi, World Order of Baha’u’llah,  p. 19

 

[xlix]           ‘Abdu’l-Baha, Will and Testament , p. 12

 

[l]               Ibid., p. 13

 

[li]              Ibid., p. 13

 

[lii]          Ibid., p. 12

 

[liii]            Ibid, p. 12

 

[liv]            loc. cit.

 

[lv]             Baha’i News,  Feb. 1955, p. 1

 

[lvi]            Will and Testament, p. 13

 

[lvii]           World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 10

 

[lviii]          Messages To The Baha’i World 1950-1957, Shoghi Effendi, p. 123

 

[lix]            Ibid., p. 58