Shoghí Effendí Rabbání
(March 1, 1897 — November 4, 1957)
First Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith
During his 36 year Ministry as first Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, following his appointment in the Will and Testament of `Abdu’l-Bahá in 1921 until his passing, the Bahá’í religion developed into a global faith.
The first beloved Guardian of the Faith, Shoghí Effendí, labored unremittingly over the span of his thirty-six year ministry to establish the Covenant on a firm foundation in the hearts and minds of the believers. His copious and matchless writings contain numberless passages devoted to the subject of the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh and to that priceless heritage, the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, whose provisions he said only future generations would fully comprehend. Those of us who read and studied the writings of Shoghi Effendi were thrilled by the sublime and supernal vision that he imparted to us of the future World Order of Bahá’u’lláh based on the divine System bequeathed to us in the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. One might ask what more could Shoghi Effendi have said to bring to the friends a fuller comprehension of the divine origin, the immortality and immutability of the unique Institutions of that God-given System. What language could Shoghi Effendi have chosen to more glowingly and befittingly describe the sacred and divinely inspired character of that immortal Document — the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, a Document characterized by him as the brightest emanation of His Mind, the divinely-conceived offspring resulting from the mystical union between the Mind of Bahá’u’lláh and the Mind of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and therefore the very Will and Purpose of the Author of the Bahá’í Revelation, Himself. And what more superlative appellation could he have given this Document than to extol it as a supplement to the Most Holy Book, Itself — The Aqdas — and therefore a part of the Divine Explicit Text whose Laws and provisions would remain sacrosanct and unalterable down through the ages of the Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh. Supreme among the divinely-conceived Institutions bequeathed to us in the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is the Institution of Guardianship, for the incumbent of that Office in the language of the Will and Testament is “the expounder of the words of God”, the director of the Hands of the Cause and the “sacred head and distinguished member for life” of the Universal House of Justice, the supreme legislative Organ of the Bahá’í Administrative System.
Born in `Akká in March 1897, Shoghí Effendí was related to the Báb through his father, Mírzá Hádí Shírází, and to Bahá’u’lláh through his mother, ?íyá’íyyih Khánum, the eldest daughter of `Abdu’l-Bahá. From the early years of his life, Shoghí Effendí was greatly influenced by `Abdu’l-Bahá, who provided much of his initial training. Shoghí Effendí learned prayers from his grandfather `Abdu’l-Bahá, who encouraged him to chant. It was also `Abdu’l-Bahá who insisted that the appellation given to the child should be “Shoghí Effendí”, (“Effendí” signifies “Sir”), rather than simply “Shoghí”, as a mark of respect towards him.
He was originally educated at home with the other children in the household, and then attended a French Christian Brothers school in Haifa, and then boarding at another Catholic school in Beirut. Shoghí Effendí later attended the Syrian Protestant College (later known as the American University of Beirut) for his final years of high school and first years of university where he earned an arts degree in 1918. After studying at the American University of Beirut he later went to Balliol College, Oxford in England, where he matriculated in “Economics and Social Sciences”, while still perfecting his translation skills.
The Institution of Guardianship
Shoghí Effendí, following the passing of Abdu’l-Bahá’s , became the First Guardian in 1921. `Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will and Testament, designated Shoghí Effendí as “the Sign of God, the chosen branch, the Guardian of the Cause of God”. The Administrative Order which this historic Document [the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá] has established, it should be noted, is by virtue of its origin and character, unique in the annals of the world’s religious systems. . . the Administrative Order which the authorized Interpreter of Bahá’u’lláh’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 its has sprung. The Document [the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá] establishing that Order, the Charter of a future world civilization, which may be regarded in some of its features as supplementary to no less weighty a Book than the Kitáb-i-Aqdas . . . establishes the institution of the Guardianship as a hereditary office and outlines its essential functions; provides the measures for the election of the International House of Justice, defines its scope and sets forth its relationship to that Institution; prescribes the obligations, and emphasizes the responsibilities of the Hands of the Cause of God; and extolls the virtues of the indestructible Covenant established by Bahá’u’lláh.
It must be also clearly understood that the institution of 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 Bahá’u’lláh in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, and repeatedly and solemnly confirmed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His Will. It does not constitute in any manner a contradiction to the Will and Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, nor does it nullify any of His revealed instructions. It enhances the prestige of that exalted assembly, stabilizes its supreme position, safeguards its unity, assures the continuity of its labors, without presuming in the slightest to infringe upon the inviolability of its clearly-defined sphere of jurisdiction. We stand indeed too close to so monumental a document [the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá] 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 Master-builder of the world has designed for the unification and the triumph of the world-wide Faith of Bahá’u’lláh. 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. Divorced from the institution of the Guardianship the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh would be mutilated and permanently deprived of that hereditary principle which, as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has written has been invariably upheld by the Law of God. . . Without such an institution the integrity of the Faith would be imperilled, 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.
The Institution of the Universal House of Justice
Severed from the no less essential institution of the Universal House of Justice this same System of the Will of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá would be paralyzed in its action and would be powerless to fill in those gaps which the Author of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas has deliberately left in the body of His legislative and administrative ordinances.
“The mighty stronghold,” He further explains, “shall remain impregnable and safe through obedience to him who is the Guardian of the Cause of God.” It is incumbent upon the members of the House of Justice, upon all the Aghsán, the Afnán, the Hands of the Cause of God, to show their obedience, submissiveness and subordination unto the Guardian of the Cause of God.”
“It is incumbent upon the members of the House of Justice,” Bahá’u’lláh, declares in the Eighth Leaf of the Exalted Paradise, “to take counsel together regarding those things which have not been outwardly revealed in the Book, and to enforce that, which is agreeable to them. God will verily inspire them with whatsoever He willeth and He is verily the Provider, the Omniscient.” “Unto the Most Holy Book” (the Kitáb-i-Aqdas), “Abdu’l-Bahá states in His Will, “every one must turn, and all that is not expressly recorded therein must be referred to the 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.”
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 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 judgement on such laws and ordinances as Bahá’u’lláh has not expressly revealed.
The Twin Institutions
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 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 BAHÁ’U’LLÁH’S REVEALED UTTERANCES.
It is clear from the above quoted statement from Shoghi Effendi that, without the living Guardian presiding as its sacred and permanent head to insure that the enactments of the Universal House of Justice are always in complete conformity with the “meaning” and “spirit” of the “revealed utterances” of Bahá’u’lláh, a headless sans-Guardian Universal House of Justice would be subject to error in its enactments and consequently would unquestionably not be the infallible institution delineated by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His sacred and immortal Will and Testament.
Shoghi Effendi’s Ministry
During his leadership the Bahá’í religion developed into a global faith. From the time of appointment until his death, the Bahá’í Faith grew from 100,000 to 400,000 members, and the countries in which Bahá’ís had representation went from 35 to 250. As Guardian he had a clear vision of how he believed the religion should progress, and he communicated his vision to the Bahá’ís of the world through his numerous letters and his meetings with pilgrims who would come to Palestine During the 1920s, he first started to systematize and extend the Bahá’í administration throughout the world where there existed Bahá’í communities; because the Bahá’í community was relatively small and undeveloped when he assumed the leadership of the religion, he strengthened and developed it over many years to the point where it was capable of supporting the administrative structure envisioned by `Abdu’l-Bahá. Under Shoghi Effendi’s direction, National Spiritual Assemblies were formed, and many thousands of Local Spiritual Assemblies sprang up as the Bahá’í Faith spread around the globe. Then, during the 1930s he worked on a series of major translation projects, translating the works of Bahá’u’lláh into English. Starting in 1937, he set into motion a series of systematic plans to establish Bahá’í communities in every country of the world. The culmination of these plans was the Ten Year Crusade that covered the years from 1953 to 1963. Starting in the late 1940s, after the independence of Israel, he also started to develop the Bahá’í World Centre in Haifa, including the construction of the superstructure of the Shrine of the Báb and the building of the International Archives as well as beautifying the gardens at Bahji, where the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh is located; In the 1950s he also continued building the Bahá’í administration, establishing in 1951 the International Bahá’í Council to act as a precursor to the Universal House of Justice with the appointment of Charles Mason Remey as its President, as well as appointing 32 living Hands of the Cause — Bahá’ís who achieved a distinguished rank in service to the religion and whose main function was to propagate and protect the religion.
The Immutable Administrative Order
Shoghi Effendi made it very clear the importance of the Administrative Order in stating “Let no one, while this System is still in its infancy, misconceive its character, belittle its significance or misrepresent its purpose. The bedrock on which this Administrative Order is founded is God’s immutable Purpose for mankind in this Day [ the Day of God]. The Source from which it derives its inspiration is no less than Bahá’u’lláh Himself . . . The axis round which its institutions revolve are the authentic provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá . . . The pillars that sustain its authority and buttress its structure are the twin institutions of the Guardianship and of the Universal House of Justice.
Shoghi Effendi’s Writings
In his lifetime, Shoghi Effendi translated into English many of the writings of the Báb, Bahá’u’lláh and `Abdu’l-Bahá, including the Hidden Words in 1929, the Kitáb-i-Íqán in 1931, Gleanings in 1935 and Epistle to the Son of the Wolf in 1941. He also translated such historical texts as The Dawn-breakers. His significance is not just that of a translator, but he was also the designated and authoritative interpreter of the Bahá’í writings. His translations therefore are a guideline for all future translations of the Bahá’í writings.
The vast majority of his writings were in the style of letters with Bahá’ís from all parts of the globe. These letters, of which 17,500 have been collected thus far and are believed to number of 30,000, ranged from routine correspondence regarding the affairs of Bahá’ís around the world to lengthy letters to the Bahá’ís of the world addressing specific themes. Some of his longer letters include World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, regarding the nature of Bahá’í administration, Advent of Divine Justice, regarding teaching the religion, and Promised Day is Come regarding Bahá’u’lláh’s letters to world leaders. Other letters included statements on Bahá’í beliefs, history, morality, principles, administration and law. He also wrote obituaries of some distinguished Bahá’ís. Many of his letters to individuals and assemblies have been compiled into several books, which stand out as significant sources of literature for Bahá’ís around the world.
The only actual book he ever wrote was God Passes By in 1944 to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the religion. The book, which is in English, is an interpretive history of the first century of the Bábí and Bahá’í Faiths.
Shoghi Effendi’s Passing
Shoghi Effendi’s death came unexpectedly in London, on 4 November 1957, as he was travelling to Britain and caught the Asian flu and he is buried there in New Southgate Cemetery
Charles Mason Remey
(May 15, 1874 – February 4, 1974)
Second Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith
Covering Seventy Five years of dedicated service to the Bahá’í Faith, culminating in his appointment by Shoghi Effendi as his successor and second Guardian of the Bahá’i Faith.
From Mason Remey’s Proclamation
Charles Mason Remey was born in Burlington, Iowa, on May 15, 1874. Mason was the eldest son of Rear Admiral George Collier Remey and Mary Josephine Mason Remey, the daughter of Charles Mason, the first Chief Justice of Iowa. Mason Remey’s parents raised him in the Episcopal Church. Mason Remey trained as an architect at Cornell University (1893–1896), and the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France (1896–1903) where he first learned of the Bahá’í Faith. Mason Remey married Gertrude Heim Klemm in Paris on 17th July, 1931, and she died in Washington, D.C. 5th August, 1932.
Mason Remey the Architect
With a background in architecture, Mason Remey was asked to design the Australian and Ugandan Bahá’í House of Worship, which still stand today and are the Mother Temples for Australasia and Africa respectively. Upon the request of Shoghi Effendi, he also provided designs for a Bahá’í Houses of Worship to be built in Tehran, and on Mount Carmel in Haifa, and designed the magnificent International Archives building, the latter already constructed close to the Shrine of the Bab on Mount Carmel.
Mason Remey Writings
Mason Remey traveled extensively to promote the Bahá’í Faith during the Ministry of `Abdu’l-Bahá. Shoghi Effendi recorded that Mason Remey was the first Bahá’í to circle the globe teaching the Faith. A prolific writer, Mason Remey wrote numerous articles, many of which were published, promoting the Bahá’í Faith, including Abdu’l-Bahá – The Center of the Covenant and the five volume A Comprehensive History of the Bahá’í Movement (1927), The Bahá’í Revelation and Reconstruction (1919), Constructive Principles of The Bahá’í Movement (1917), and The Bahá’í Movement: A Series of Nineteen Papers (1912), comprising a few of the titles of the many works Mason Remey produced while `Abdu’l-Bahá was still alive. Mason Remey’s life has been recorded in his diaries, and in 1940 he provided copies and selected writings to several public libraries. Included in most of the collections were the letters `Abdu’l-Bahá wrote to him. Mason Remey’s memoir of his final visit with ‘Abdu’l Baha in 1921 records the following words ‘Abdu’l Baha’s addressed to him at that time:
Under the Ministry of Shoghi Effendi
Mason Remey lived for some time in Washington, D.C., in the 1930s and 1940s. In 1950 he moved from Washington, D.C., to Haifa, Israel, at the request of Shoghi Effendi who stated that henceforth this would be his permanent home. In January 1951, Shoghi Effendi issued a Proclamation proclaiming the formation of the International Bahá’í Council (IBC), the first International Institution which initially in its embryonic form would then as outlined by him would evolve, as it matured through successive stages until attaining its ultimate efflorescence as the Universal House of Justice, the supreme legislative body of the Bahá’í Administrative Order over which only the Guardian of the Faith is authorized to preside as its “sacred head” for life according to the immutable provisions of the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha in which are delineated the institutions of the Baha’I Administrative Order. Shoghi Effendi appointed Mason Remey as President of this International Council in March 1951, and Amelia Collins as Vice-President. At the end of the year, on December 24, 1951, Shoghi Effendi also appointed Mason Remey among the first contingent of twelve Hands of the Cause of God.
Proclamation of Shoghi Effendi
During the years that immediately followed the formation of the International Bahá’í Council and Shoghi Effendi’s appointment of its President Charles Mason Remey (who had been previously summoned by him to take up permanent residence in Haifa), he explains in his writings, that he awaited instructions from Shoghi Effendi to convene the Council into a functioning administrative body but no such instructions were forthcoming during the remaining years of his ministry. This fact was the cause of puzzlement at the time and the reason therefore only became clear some two and a half years after the passing of Shoghi Effendi when the President of the Council issued his own Proclamation at Ridván 1960. As the Council was not activated as an administrative body during this embryonic state prior to Shoghi Effendi’s passing (with only individual members of the Council performing assignments under the direction of the Guardian) the import of the establishment of the Council as the embryonic Universal House of Justice – the supreme Bahá’í administrative body in the world – was soon lost sight of by the believers.
After Shoghi Effendi’s Passing
Mason Remey was a resident Hand at Haifa when Shoghi Effendi died in November 1957 while in England. With the sudden and completely unexpected passing of the first Guardian of the Faith, Shoghi Effendi, the believers suffered a tremendous shock, followed almost immediately by the second shock of finding that Shoghi Effendi had apparently failed to appoint a successor in the manner they had anticipated based on their interpretation of the provisions of the Will and Testament. Failing to find a successor so appointed, the great majority of the believers, led by the then Hands of the Cause, forthwith concluded that the Institution of Guardianship had ended with the passing of Shoghi Effendi and that he had failed to appoint a successor in spite of all that he had said about the immortal provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. As the Hands of the Cause led by Rúhíyyih Khánum, Shoghi Effendi’s wife, had taken charge of affairs in the Faith upon Shoghi Effendi’s passing and convened a conclave in ‘Accá for the purpose of determining the Guardian’s successor (although no such conclave is called for under the terms of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will and Testament, nor is it necessary as there is no interregnum in the Guardianship) the believers quite understandably turned to these Hands for guidance and direction when they were informed that there was no successor. The Hands of the Cause (with a single notable exception) mistakenly believing that the Faith had been left without a Guardian quickly seized upon the appellation that Shoghi Effendi had given them as “Chief Stewards” and construed this to mean that they should assume authority for the direction of the affairs of the Faith. They then promulgated their insidious doctrine that God had changed His Plan (i.e. had ended the Guardianship) which meant, although not admitted by them, that the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh would be deprived not only of the Guardian but its supreme administrative institution as well and therefore could never become a reality. Only the President of the International Bahá’í Council (whose supreme station in The Faith no one recognized) refused to accept this doctrine (known as “BADA”) and endeavored over some two and a half years until the issuance of his own Proclamation to get them to reconsider their stand against the continuity of the Guardianship, to no avail). During the years of 1957-1960, Mason Remey wrote more diaries, which he subsequently self-published as Daily Observations of Things and Conditions in The Holy Land. In three volumes he recorded his memoirs of the years in Haifa after Shoghi Effendi’s passing. Mason Remey urged the Hands repeatedly to “seek their Guardian.” Mason Remey’s conviction that the Faith required a living Guardian resounded throughout his diaries. Late in 1959, Mason Remey left Haifa and returned to the United States after the announcement by the Hands of the plan to elect the body of the International Baha’i Council in 1961. The Hands, at this stage, relegated the International Bahá’í Council to an insignificant role subordinate to themselves but, curiously enough, in their announced plans for the future administration of the Faith they called for the election of a successor body to the Council to be held in 1963 which, although headless, as they would depose Mason Remey, Shoghi Effendi’s appointed President, they had the audacity to label “The Universal House of Justice.” This spurious body, clearly created outside of the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá then reigned over the Faith for a period of some six years until its demise and its functions assumed by an equally illegitimate and sans-Guardian so-called Universal House of Justice, elected in 1963 In April 1960 Mason Remey issued a public Proclamation, that he was the “Second Guardian of the Baha’i Faith.” In it, Mason Remey explained:
Both in the administrative provisions of the Bahá’í 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 Bahá’u’lláh 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 Bahá’í Revelation. This is the reason why Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá have both revealed and 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 [House of Justice and Guardianship]
Actions of the Hands
Regardless of these provisions, the Hands barred independent investigation and discussion of Mason Remey’s claim, and they enforced this censorship by excommunication, an act for which they had no authority to impose. Consequently, Shoghi Effendi’s writings were shamefully disregarded in these actions taken by the Hands and they inexcusably placed no importance on and ignored, as well, the “historic” and “epoch-making” decisions he had made pertaining to the establishment of the highest Institutions of the Faith at the World Center and had announced in glowing terms in messages to the Bahá’í World during the concluding years of his 36-year ministry. The National Spiritual Assembly of France was the only national Baha’i institution to officially recognize him in 1960.
Is it not a blatant paradox that, since the passing of Shoghi Effendi, that the sans-Guardian, and therefore headless, illegitimate and so-called Universal House of Justice has now so perverted the meaning of fidelity to the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh that they now ludicrously label as Covenant-breakers those believers who have continued to faithfully and steadfastly adhere to every clause of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s divinely-conceived, sacred and immortal Will and Testament—a part of the explicit Holy Text—whereas, in marked contrast, it is they, who in their abandonment of the Guardianship, have thereby faithlessly declared major clauses of this Will and Testament null and void and have, in consequence, undeniably become themselves the arch-breakers of the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh?
After a short period of residence in Washington, D.C., after returning from Haifa, in the early 1960s, Mason Remey moved to Fiesole, Italy.. A small number of the believers had refused to accept this view and clung to their faith in the continuity of the Guardianship in spite of the signs at the time to the contrary. Some three years were to pass before the faith of those who had remained firm was vindicated and rewarded upon receipt of a Proclamation issued by the second Guardian of the Faith at Ridván, 1960. This Proclamation struck as a thunderbolt in the Bahá’í World and brought on the spiritual catastrophe aforementioned. To the faithful few, it brought the joy of the realization that the line of Guardianship of the Faith had remained unbroken as promised in the Will and Testament and discovery of the unique manner in which Shoghi Effendi had provided for the continuity of the Guardianship in complete conformity to the provisions of the Will and Testament but not in accordance with the preconceived opinions of the believers. These faithful friends hastened to embrace the second Guardian and arose with renewed dedication to work for the victory of the Covenant. Armed with the irrefutable arguments contained in the Proclamation and Mason Remey’s subsequent Encyclical Letters, as well as the enlightening expositions in his “Daily Observations” penned during the painful and fateful years of his residence at Haifa following the passing of Shoghi Effendi, the faithful friends composed numerous treatises and apologia of their own supporting the claim of Mason Remey to the Guardianship.
In spite of the fierce opposition which the Proclamation engendered and the machinations of this new generation of violators of the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh, the true Faith under the hereditary Guardianship slowly began to grow and win adherence to its ranks in the four corners of the earth. It was not long before strong groups were formed on several continents followed by the establishment of Local Spiritual Assemblies and the formation of National Spiritual Assemblies in the United States and in Pakistan. The high water mark in this progress was reached with the historic announcement made by the second Guardian on 21 September 1964 of the creation of the second International Bahá’í Council (announced in the October 1964 issue of the Glad Tidings). Through the means of this historic announcement, the second Guardian, similarly to the first Guardian, publicly announced to the believers the one whom he had chosen, Joel Bray Marangella as his potential successor to Guardianship (i.e., by naming the President of the Council). But he had gone a step further than Shoghi Effendi to reinforce this appointment and to avoid any future doubt by placing in the hands of his successor-to-be well in advance of this public announcement a document written in his own hand naming him as his successor. It is difficult to point to a specific date when the fortunes of the Faith under the hereditary Guardianship of Mason Remey began to falter and then later to decline rapidly, but it was soon after the formation and activation of the second International Bahá’í Council and the passing of the ‘mantle of authority’ to the new Guardian.
Mason Remey remained in Fiesoli until his passing in February 1974.
Joel Bray Marangella
(September 22, 1918 – September 1, 2013)
Third Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith
On 21 September 1964, Charles Mason Remey, the Second Guardian of the Bahá’í World Faith, announced the creation of the second International Bahá’í Council and appointed Joel Bray Marangella its President. The significance of this appointment was certainly realized by the Bahá’ís under the guardianship as Shoghi Effendi had used this same instrumentality in making his appointment of his successor by naming Mason Remey President of the first International Bahá’í Council (the embryonic Universal House of Justice).
Joel Bray Marangella was born on 22 September 1918 in Lynn, Massachusetts, in the United States of America. His father, Phillip Amalfi Marangella, came from a large Italian family who had immigrated to the United States when he was a boy of about four years of age. As a young man he became dissatisfied with the religious faith of his parents and undertook an extensive search for the Truth. One day he happened upon a book in the New York City public library written against the Bahá’í Faith. This caused him to become interested in finding out the truth about the Faith. His subsequent investigations led to his acceptance of the Faith while Joel was still a baby. Joel’s mother, born Edith Brooks Guthrie, came from a completely different background, being a Virginian by birth and raised in the Protestant faith. Even before she met Phillip Marangella she, too, had begun to search elsewhere for a faith that would satisfy her needs and her investigation of the Baha’I Faith led to her becoming a Bahá’í with him. This being the case, Joel Bray Marangella was exposed to the Teachings of the Faith at an early age, but in accordance with the Bahá’í Principle of independent investigation of the Truth, his parents always encouraged him to investigate other religious movements and faiths which he did.
During these early years Joel Bray Marangella was most fortunate to spend several months every summer at Green Acre, Eliot, Maine, where the first Bahá’í summer school had been established around the turn of the century and whose precincts had been forever hallowed by the footsteps of the Master when he visited America in 1912. Anyone who visits this beautiful spot located some five miles from the ocean on the Piscataqua River and senses the spiritual atmosphere, which pervades it can well understand why Shoghi Effendi, the first Guardian of the Baha’I Faith, should have referred to it as the “Acca of the West.” Joel’s first visit to Green Acre was when he was but two years of age or so, and then later when his father moved to Portsmouth, N.H., and built a summer cottage in Green Acre, this permitted him to enjoy a somewhat longer stay during the summer than those who were guests of the Green Acre Inn. It was in such a setting that he was privileged to attend the classes and lectures held at the school and come to know most of the early believers in America who had met the Master and many of whom had been amongst that early group of pilgrims who had visited the Master in the Holy Land. They were, indeed, aflame with the love of the Faith, with Bahá’u’lláh, and with the Master, Abdu’l-Baha. And as they came to understand the significance of the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh, and the provisions of the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha, that established the Institutions of the Baha’I Administrative Order they became loyal supporters of Shoghi Effendi, the first Guardian of the Faith. He also came to know some of the old believers who had taken up permanent residence in Green Acre, such as the immortal Marion Jack, who later in her response to the appeal of Shoghi Effendi for pioneers, distinguished herself so gloriously in her services for the Faith in Bulgaria, where she remained until her death – a Bahá’í heroine who Shoghi Effendi eulogized as a shining example to future pioneers of the Faith. His association with these dedicated and devoted believers exerted a profound influence on him as a young boy and one, which persisted throughout his life.
In later years Joel Bray Marangella lived in some of the major cities of the United States, including Boston, Miami, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and in the vicinity of Washington, D.C. (Rosslyn and Arlington, Virginia.) As soon as he was able to do so at the age of 15, he declared his intention of becoming a Bahá’í, becoming an enrolled believer at the then legal age of 21, when he was able to participate in both the spiritual and administrative activities of the thriving Bahá’í communities found in the cities cited above.
Joel Bray Marangella’s marriage to Irene Marie Aducat (a Bahá’í ) took place in September 1945 in a Bahá’í ceremony held in the lovely Evergreen Cabin at West Englewood, New Jersey, the site of the annual Souvenir picnic which commemorates the gathering held on its grounds for ‘Abdu’l-Bahá during his visit to America in 1912.
Pioneering in Europe
In the spring of 1950, prompted by an appeal of Shoghi Effendi for Bahá’í pioneers in Europe and with Shoghi Effendi’s approval, Joel Bray Marangella and his wife, Irene, accompanied by their two children (Joel Jani and Mark Vali; their third child Paul Maxwell, being born in France in 1953) journeyed to France where they remained for some 18 years, initially residing in Paris for four years and subsequently in Orleans, before moving to Switzerland and later to Perth, Australia, where they would reside for over thirty years. At Ridván 1954, the Hands of the Cause in Europe appointed Joel Bray Marangella as one of their nine deputies for the propagation of the Faith in that continent as a member of their Auxiliary Board. The Faith expanded in France, and Joel Bray Marangella, after having served as chairman of Local Spiritual Assemblies in Paris and Orleans, participated in the first National Baha’I Convention held in France during Ridvan 1958, in which the first National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of France was elected and became its chairman both at this time and in its successive elections. The momentous and historic Proclamation of Mason Remey as the second Guardian of the Faith was received by this Assembly at Ridvan 1960. The National Spiritual Assembly of France responded to this Proclamation by accepting the second Guardian and, as it turned out, became the only Bahá’í National body in the world to recognize and accept the second Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, Charles Mason Mason Remey, and thus remain loyal to the Covenant and the provisions of the “Child of the Covenant” – the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.
Under the Second Guardian
On September 1961 the beloved second Guardian of the Faith, Charles Mason Remey, appointed Joel Bray Marangella to be his official representative to meet with the governmental authorities of the State of Israel, for the purpose of explaining to them that he was the second Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith and requesting them to recognize him as such so that he might be empowered to take up his “spiritual religious responsibilities and duties in Haifa at the Administrative Center of the Bahá’í Faith as the second Guardian of the Faith appointed to this position by Shoghi Effendi Rabbani, the first Guardian of the Faith.” A month later Joel Bray Marangella journeyed to Israel to carry out this responsibility, meeting twice with the acting Minister of Religious Affairs and the Director of the Bahá’í Department of that ministry and submitting a formal request and pertinent documentation on the part of the second Guardian.
Appointment as Third Guardian
In December 1961, Joel Bray Marangella received a letter from Mason Remey, which included an inner sealed envelope containing the following hand-written instructions on its cover:
According to Mason Remey’s instructions Joel Bray Marangella placed this letter in a safety deposit vault in a locality in Switzerland near where he had purchased a home only a short time earlier. On 21 September 1964, Mason Remey announced the creation of the second International Bahá’í Council and appointed Joel Bray Marangella as its President. The significance of this appointment was certainly realized by the Bahá’ís under the Guardianship as Shoghi Effendi had in the same manner used this instrumentality in effecting the appointment of his successor by naming Mason Remey President of the first International Bahá’í Council (the embryonic Universal House of Justice). In consideration of this fact, Joel Bray Marangella felt that the hour was propitious for him to open the sealed envelope above described and journeyed to Switzerland to do this. The sealed letter contained the following instructions in the hand of Mason Remey:
Letter Of Appointment of Joel Bray Marangella by the Second Guardian of the Bahá’ís Faith, Charles Mason Remey
|“I took no action on the above directive, nor did I inform any of the believers of this appointment at the time for reasons explained in my proclamatory letter of 12 November 1969.”
– Joel Bray Marangella
Joel Bray Marangella Meeting in Florence
In the summer of 1965, while visiting Mason Remey in Florence, Italy, he directed that Joel Bray Marangella prepare a statement activating the second International Bahá’í Council. (The Bahá’ís would have recalled recalled that the first International Bahá’í Council was never activated.) This statement (approved by Mason Remey) subsequently was published in the October 1965 issue of “The Glad Tidings ” – the then official news organ of the Orthodox Bahá’í Faith. The consequent responsibilities that Joel Bray Marangella inherited by virtue of the activation of the Council were further affirmed by Mason Remey in a letter addressed to Joel Bray Marangella and published in “The Glad Tidings” of May 1966, which stated the following:
On 12 November 1969, Joel Bray Marangella issued a proclamatory letter to the faithful Bahá’í friends throughout the world, announcing his accession to the Guardianship of the Faith as the duly authorized and rightful successor of Mason Remey in accordance with his explicit appointment made under the sacred and inviolable terms of the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Bahá.
It gives me great pleasure on the occasion of my 88th birthday to proclaim the appointment of the Third International Bahá’í Council—the embryonic Universal House of Justice—with the membership listed below. In this appointment, those believers, who have displayed an exemplary fidelity to the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh and the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, during the many years since the passing of Shoghi Effendi, in their faithful, steadfast and devoted support of and exemplary service to the living Guardian of the Cause of God, may now be assured that I have clearly identified my successor and thereby provided, following the termination of my ministry, for the continuance of the Guardianship in strict compliance with the terms of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.
Unlike the action taken by the first and second Guardians of the Faith, who did not assume the Presidency of the International Bahá’í Councils appointed by them, I shall assume the Presidency of the third International Bahá’í Council as an actively functioning administrative body that can function, as such, thanks particularly to the facility of the internet, without its members being assembled in one location.
I am taking the opportunity provided in the appointment of this third International Bahá’í Council to identify my appointed successor. His identity is found in the one whom I have designated below as the single Vice President of the Council who will succeed to the Presidency, and thereby the Guardianship, upon my passing, or prior thereto, in the event of any incapacitation in the future that may preclude my being able to continue functioning as the Guardian of the Faith, either as determined and announced by myself or, if unable to make such a determination, as may be announced by my successor on the basis of a decision rendered by competent medical authority.
As the future event of a catastrophic nature prophesied by Bahá’u’lláh may seriously affect the membership of the Council, as shown below, it should be understood that, if the Vice President named below should not survive such an event, succession to the Guardianship will be inherited, in turn, by the surviving member of the Council, in the order named below:
President, Joel Bray Marangella
Vice President, Nosrat’u’llah Bahremand
Secretary General, Franklin Schlatter
Assistant Secretary, David Maxwell
Assistant Secretary, Daniel Havner
Assistant Secretary, Y.H. Taylor
Treasurer: Jeffrey Goldberg
Member: Ross Campbell
Member: Joel Jani Marangella
I also take this opportunity to announce with great pleasure the elevation of the following faithful believers to the rank of Hand of the Cause of God:
Future declarations submitted by believers enrolling in the Orthodox Bahá’í Faith who reside in countries and other localities that are not under the administrative jurisdiction of one of the Provisional National Bahá’í Councils or Mother Bahá’í Councils will be submitted to the International Bahá’í Council for acceptance, acknowledgement and matter of record. The Secretary General of the Council will upon receipt of this proclamation publish his email and mailing address.
Copies of future issues of the Bahá’í newsletter, “Herald of the Covenant,” published by the Provisional National Bahá’í Council of the United States, will be sent by that Council to the Secretary General of the International Bahá’í Council for translation by the appropriate Assistant Secretary of all or a part thereof, as determined desirable by the Secretary General, and subsequent distribution to the faithful believers residing in those countries and localities outside of the United States.
The Treasurer of the Council will establish an account under the name of “International Bahá’í Fund” to which contributions may be made by the faithful friends to cover such expenses as the cost of mailing newsletters and other material.
The Secretary of the International Bahá’í Council, Hand of the Cause, Frank Schlatter, will henceforth prepare the annual Ridván letter previously prepared by myself, recounting, for the information of the faithful friends, significant achievements that have taken place during the past Bahá’í Year. To enable him to do this, Provisional National Baha’i Councils and Mother Bahá’í Councils are enjoined to periodically inform the International Bahá’í Council of significant developments that have taken place in their countries so that the Secretary General of the Council may be able to include a summary of same in this Ridván letter.
Joel Bray Marangella.
Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith
22 September 2006
Joel Bray Marangella Writings and Articles
“Open Letters Of 9 July 1960 And 21 October 1960” – Written By Joel Bray Marangella, Former Chairman Of The National Spiritual Assembly Of France And Auxiliary Member To The Hands Of The Cause In Europe, Stating The Reasons For His Acceptance Of Mason Remey As The Second Guardian Of The Faith. These “Open Letters” Were Posted To A Large Number Of Friends, Following Receipt Of Mason Remey’s Proclamation.
“A Brief History Of The Violation Of The Covenant Of Bahá’u’lláh At The World Center Of The Bahá’í Faith Following The Passing Of The First Guardian Of The Bahá’í Faith”. – “Herald Of The Covenant” Winter 1974/75
“The Tree Of The Covenant” – A Statement Of Beliefs Of The Orthodox Bahá’ís Under The Living Guardianship. – “Herald Of The Covenant”— Winter 1973/74 (Published By The European Bureau Of The Orthodox Bahá’í Faith)
(Living Fourth Guardian)
The third Guardian of the Baha’i Faith Joel Bray Marangella in his Proclamation of 22 September 2006 in which he appointed the Third International Baha’i Council, announced:
“I am taking the opportunity provided in the appointment of this third International Baha’i Council to identify my appointed successor. His identity is found in the one whom I have designated below as the single Vice President of the Council who will succeed to the Presidency, and thereby the Guardianship, upon my passing, or prior thereto, in the event of any incapacitation in the future that may preclude my being able to continue functioning as the Guardian of the Faith, either as determined and announced by myself or, if unable to make such a determination, as may be announced by my successor on the basis of a decision rendered by competent medical authority.”
Nosrat’u’llah Bahremand the eldest son of Dr Hassan Bahremand a prominent faithful and steadfast Baha’i; was born in Shiraz in 25 August 1942, at the age of four with the family moved to Tehran and grew up there. He studied administration in Tehran University and worked in the Ministry of Housing. After revolution in Iran, he lost his job for being a Baha’i, eventually he moved to Australia in 1988.
In a Letter to the Persian Baha’is dated 6 May, 2007 the Third Guardian wrote:
Be advised that upon the termination of my ministry, the Guardianship will again be in the hands of the Persian believer whom I have appointed as my successor and who is identified below.” … “While it is understood that the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Baha does not require the incumbent Guardian to appoint a Persian as his successor and that the race and nationality of the Guardian is not a consideration in this appointment, future Guardians of the Faith in the centuries that lie ahead will undoubtedly represent many races and nationalities, the Persian believers will be pleased to learn that the present Guardian has appointed a Persian believer as his successor. His father, a resident of Tehran, had never believed that the Guardianship of the Faith had ended with the passing of Shoghi Effendi in November 1957, as he had never wavered in his faith in the indestructibility of the Covenant of Baha’u’llah or accepted the view that the major and immutable provisions of its immortal and sacred “Child”––the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha––had become null and void. The steadfastness of his faith was rewarded when he recognized and accepted Mason Remey as Shoghi Effendi’s successor upon the receipt of his Proclamation at Ridvan, 1960. His son, Nosrat’u’llah Bahremand, also accepted his Guardianship but had never received information as to the identity of Mason Remey’s appointed successor. Notwithstanding, he remained steadfast in his belief that the continuance of the Guardianship of the Faith had been assured down through the ages to come of the Dispensation of Baha’u’llah. There is therefore no doubt that, because of his steadfastness in the Covenant, God decreed that he would be guided to leave Iran some years ago and make the decision to settle in the distant city of Perth, Australia, where unbeknownst to him the living Guardian of the Faith then resided, and where he would finally discover that his unwavering faith in the Covenant would, at last, be fulfilled and where he would find, accept and embrace the third Guardian of the Faith in person, while sacrificing, in so doing, his livelihood, the painful severance from members of his family and previous relationships with his fellow-Baha’is who did not follow him in the acceptance of my Guardianship. This dedicated, devoted and exemplary Baha’i, Nosrat’u’llah, Bahremand, well versed in the Teachings and in the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, and the writings of Shoghi Effendi and those of his successors, has been deservedly appointed Vice-President of the third International Baha’i Council that I appointed on 22 September 2006 and, upon the termination of my Guardianship, my chosen successor.
Membership of the Universal House of Justice and Women’s Rights
Anytime a Manifestation of God has appeared on Earth, He mirrored the splendour of God. Spiritual spring emerged; gave new life, and raised humanity.
The rights of women and the slow evolution and progress of their situation in society is one of the most important principles. For thousands of years, the status of women was very low; sometimes they even had the social ranking of a slave. Even today in many parts of the Earth, women are still being mistreated. Teachings of the religions of the past required women to be dominated by men and they had to be obedient and submissive to their husbands.
The Holy Bible teaches:
“Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
“Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing.” (1 Timothy 2:1115)
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.” (Ephesians 5:2224)
Since the Revelations of God are progressive, The Qur’an elevated women’s rights up to half that of men.
“And get two witnesses, out of your own men, and if there are not two men, then a man and two women, such as ye choose, for witnesses, so that if one of them errs, the other can remind her.”
(The Qur’an, Surah 2)
“Divorced women shall wait concerning themselves for three monthly periods, nor is it lawful for them, to hide what Allah hath created in their wombs, if they have faith in Allah and the Last Day. And their husbands have the better right to take them back in that period, if they wish for reconciliation. And women shall have rights similar to the rights against them, according to what is equitable; but men have a degree (of advantage) over them and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.”
(The Qur’an, Surah 2)
The Dawn of the Supreme Manifestation of God and the Dayspring of His Most Divine Essence, Baha’u’llah, inaugurated a glorious new spiritual spring in the World unparalleled in the previous Dispensations.
“This is the King of Days,” He thus extols the age that has witnessed the advent of His Revelation, “the Day that hath seen the coming of the Bestbeloved, Him Who through all eternity hath been acclaimed the Desire of the World.” “The world of being shineth in this Day with the resplendency of this Divine Revelation. All created things extol its saving grace and sing its praises. The universe is wrapped in an ecstasy of joy and gladness. The Scriptures of past Dispensations celebrate the great jubilee that must needs greet this most great Day of God. Well is it with him that hath lived to see this Day and hath recognized its station.”
(The World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 106)
“This is a century of life and renewal. Sciences and arts, industry and invention have been reformed. Law and ethics have been reconstituted, reorganized. The world of thought has been regenerated”
(Abdu’lBaha, Baha’i World Faith, p. 224)
Baha’u’llah in His Revelation granted comprehensive rights to women equal to men.
“And among the teachings of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh is the equality of women and men. The world of humanity has two wings one is woman and the other man. Not until both wings are equally developed can the bird fly. Should one wing remain weak, flight is impossible. Not until the world of woman becomes equal to the world of man in the acquisition of virtues and perfections, can success and prosperity be attained as they ought to be.”
(Abdu’lBaha, Foundations of World Unity, p. 29)
Clergies in the former times did not like that the ordinary people, especially women, were taught how to read or write; so women remained very ignorant.
In the revelation of Baha’u’llah this has been changed:
“Education holds an important place in the new order of things. The education of each child is compulsory. If there is not money enough in a family to educate both the girl and the boy the money must be dedicated to the girl’s education, for she is the potential mother. If there are no parents the community must educate the child.”
(Abdu’lBaha, Divine Philosophy, p. 83)
“The first duty of the beloved of God and the maidservants of the Merciful is this: They must strive by all possible means to educate both sexes, male and female; girls like boys; there is no difference whatsoever between them. The ignorance of both is blameworthy, and negligence in both cases is reprovable. “Are they who know and they who do not know equal?”
The command is decisive concerning both. If it be considered through the eye of reality, the training and culture of daughters is more necessary than that of sons, for these girls will come to the station of motherhood and will mold the lives of the children. The first trainer of the child is the mother.”
(Selections from the Writings of Abdu’lBaha, p. 111)
After the ascension of the first Guardian of the Cause of God, Shoghi Effendi, as a result of the violation of the Covenant by the former Hands of the Cause, the spiritual advancement of the peoples of the World came to a halt, and the people become more materialistic. Only a small group of true Baha’is who remained faithful, who believed in the immortality and Indestructibility of the Will and Testament of Abdu’l Baha, “the Charter of the New World Order;” and who understood the pertinent writings of Shoghi Effendi, and especially his Proclamation of 9 January 1951; and who believed that Shoghi Effendi had not failed to appoint a successor when, in his extensive writings, historic messages and recorded talks to pilgrims they had all abundantly testified to the fact, that to the very last days of his life, he had repeatedly and consistently emphasized the continuity and the absolute essentiality of the Guardianship to the World Order of Baha’u’llah for as long as the Dispensation of Baha’u’llah endures.
In recent years, some have raised criticism regarding the equality of men and women in the Baha’i Faith and about the membership of the Universal House of Justice which is restricted to men. The critics mostly are from Muslim dominated places where women are considered as second grade citizens; who claim that in the Baha’i Faith women rights are not equal to men since they cannot be elected as members of the Universal House of Justice.
Abdu’l Baha revealed:
“Know thou, O handmaid, that in the sight of Baha, women are accounted the same as men, and God hath created all humankind in His own image, and after His own likeness. That is, men and women alike are the revealers of His names and attributes, and from the spiritual viewpoint there is no difference between them. Whosoever draweth nearer to God, that one is the most favoured, whether man or woman. How many a handmaid, ardent and devoted, hath, within the sheltering shade of Baha, proved superior to the men, and surpassed the famous of the earth.
The House of Justice, however, according to the explicit text of the Law of God, is confined to men; this for a wisdom of the Lord God’s, which will erelong be made manifest as clearly as the sun at high noon.”
(Selections from the Writings of Abdu’lBaha, p. 79)
Although establishment of a true and real Universal House of Justice is not possible at this time, but the seed (International Baha’i Council) is planted.
“Consider not the present condition, but rather foresee the future and the end. A seed in the beginning is very small, but in the end a great tree. One should not consider the seed, but the tree and its abundance of blossoms, leaves and fruits.”
(Baha’i World Faith Abdu’lBaha Section, p.120)
I feel the time is come, by virtue of my responsibilities as the Guardian of the Cause of God, to clarify the issue of the membership of the Universal House of Justice and women rights.
True Baha’is know that the existence of the Universal House of Justice has not developed further than the embryonic form.
As time goes on more people will become aware of the mischief and rebellious action of the former Hands of the Cause against the Will and Testament of Abdu’l Baha in creation of a fake and bogus body, called UHJ with no conformity with the Universal House of Justice as welldefined by Abdu’l Baha in His sacred Will and Testament “the Charter of the New World Order which is at once the glory and the promise of this most great Dispensation”.
“The Lord hath ordained that in every city a House of Justice be established wherein shall gather counsellors to the number of Baha, and should it exceed this number it does not matter.”
And the Will and Testament of Abdu’l Baha ordains:
“…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.”
Unfortunately due to the disruption occurred to the advancement and growth of the Faith, and the spread of confusion by the headless body which undeservedly calls itself the Universal House of Justice, today not even a single House of Justice exists (not locally nor nationally) although they were established in embryonic form, by Abdu’l Baha and the first Guardian.
It must be remembered that wherever there is mention of the International or Universal House of Justice in the authoritative writings of the Faith, it means the real and true Universal House of Justice as the Master specified and clearly explained in His Will and Testament:
“And now, concerning the House of Justice … 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. 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,” (The Will and Testament, p. 14)
Also Abdu’l Baha revealed:
“But now is not the time it is utterly impossible to establish the House of Justice which is mentioned in the Book of Aqdas, nay rather it is impracticable and not to be thought of, that is for the time when the Cause is proclaimed and the Commands have become effective. Therefore now is not the time for the House of Justice, which must be established by general election. Its mention is not permissible and its realization impossible.”
(Baha’i World Faith Abdu’lBaha Section, p.120)
Equality of men and women concerns rights and privileges, not physical abilities and duties. Almighty God has created human beings, male and female; divided the duties related to survival and procreation and assigned each with different abilities and functions to complete each other. Men were created masculine, with stronger body to be able to go hunting and bring food to the family, carry things, do the heavy liftings, face danger and fight with aggressors in the old times. Women were created feminine, with delicate body, sensitive and naturally maternity and motherhood are the closest issues to their hearts. They bear the baby inside their body for nine months, suffer the pain of delivery and have to nurse the baby and care for the child.
While as the result of inventions and advancement of science and technology in the developed societies, muscle power is not needed as much as before, women however still must bear the burden of birth and maternity.
Rights are entitlements to perform or not to perform certain actions, to possess certain states or not to be in certain states; or prerogatives that others perform or not perform certain actions.
While voting for the election of the Houses of Justice at all three levels is the legitimate right of every mature Baha’i men and women, membership of the Houses of Justice at all three levels is not a right either for men or for women.
In the Baha’i Faith no one is allowed to nominate her/himself and stand for the election of the Houses of Justice whether local, national or international.
True Baha’is do not consider membership of the Houses of Justice as an advantage and benefit to themselves. They do not pursue reputation, fame and popularity through membership of the House of Justice or other institutions or functions related to the Faith; rather they achieve it through different branches of science, arts and crafts. If they are elected to the membership of the House of Justice, they will consider it as a loving service to the Faith and society in a humble manner.
Membership of the true and real Universal House of Justice is not an easy task. Members may need to be away from home for a long period of time; they have to work long hours and bear the hardship of service.
While women must serve as a member of the local and national Houses of Justice if they are elected; but according to the Law of God they are relieved from the harsh duty of serving as the members of the Universal House of Justice.
It must be emphasized that the relief and exemption of women from membership on the Universal House of Justice in no way reduces the highly esteemed and honourable position of women in the true Baha’i Faith, and in no manner should it be imagined that women are considered as being inadequate or unequal to men.
Numerous women have been appointed by the Guardians of the Cause of God, Shoghi Effendi and Joel B Marangella, as Hands of the Cause of God. And at this time several women are serving the true Faith of God as Hands of the Cause of God.
Hands of the Cause of God outrank the members of the Universal House of Justice.
To achieve the equality of men and women around the world, both men and women need to be educated and this will only be possible by the spread of the True Baha’i Faith.
Nosrat’u’llah Bahremand November 2, 2015