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, Ḍiyá'iyyih 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, 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 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.
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 very 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 judgment 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 ensure 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, the 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 a 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 has 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 traveling 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 `Akká 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 like 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 watermark 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).
MY ACCESSION TO THE GUARDIANSHIP
A SUMMARY OF THE TRUE FACTS
Not only misinformation, but a deplorable lack of information has been posted on Bahá'í newsgroups, from time to time, questioning the validity of my accession to the Guardianship of the Bahá'í Faith. It has been obvious that those who have posted this information have either never read my Proclamation, under date of 12 November 1969, or have purposely chosen to ignore the facts presented therein for reasons of their own.
The facts attesting to my rightful accession to the Guardianship are summarized below:
Mason Remey addressed a letter to me on December 5, 1961, less than a year following the issuance of his own Proclamation at Ridván 1960, in which, in his own handwriting, he stated the following:
This is to tell you to tell the Bahá'í World that I appoint you to be the third Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith according to the Will and Testament of the Master, 'Abdu'l-Bahá."
The hand-written facsimile may be seen in my Proclamation posted on my web page.
The above letter of appointment was placed in a sealed envelope, on the outside of which Mason Remey wrote the following:
"Please take care of this sealed envelope among your papers in the Bernese Oberland [Switzerland]. As I see things now it may have to do with the coming world catastrophe in or after 1963. You will know when to break the seal." (emphasis was inserted by him)
In accordance with his instructions, this sealed letter remained unopened and was deposited in a bank safety deposit box in Interlaken, Switzerland, where I had purchased a chalet in 1961, pursuant to Mason Remey's suggestion to the faithful friends to move to high ground, due to his concern that a global catastrophe involving a major displacement of the earth's crust would soon take place. Only subsequently, upon my retirement in 1973, was I able to make this a semi-permanent residence until my relocation to Australia in 1980. (The hand-written facsimile of Mason Remey's letter above may be verified in my Proclamation of 12 November 1969, posted on my web page)
In October 1961, I traveled to Israel at Mason Remey's request, as his designated representative, to present evidence to the Israel authorities of that country of his rightful accession to the Guardianship of the Faith, which upon their due recognition of this fact, would enable him to assume his spiritual responsibilities at the Administrative Center of the Bahá'í Faith. His letter read as follows:
"In order that I, Mason Remey, be recognized by the Government of Israel as the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith (head of the Faith), I hereby in this Writ do appoint and authorize JOEL B. MARANGELLA, a Follower of the Bahá'í Faith under the Guardianship of the Faith, and a citizen of the United States of North America, to travel to Jerusalem to explain to the said State of Israel that I, Mason Remey, am the present Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith, requesting them to so acknowledge this, my position in the Faith, so that I can return to Israel, there to take up my spiritual 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 Rabanni, the First Guardian of the Faith, all done and accomplished by him in full accord with the canons of the Bahá'í Faith, I having succeeded him to this position from the moment of his death that occurred in November, 1957."
Charles Mason Remey
Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith
"Subscribed and sworn to before me, a Notary Public for Washington D.C., U.S.A., this 25th Day of September 1961"
The results of my meetings with the officials of the Government of Israel may be read in the footnote below.1
On September 21, 1964, Mason Remey announced my appointment as the President of the second International Bahá'í Council. The other appointed members of this Council were:
My appointment as President of this second International Bahá'í Council was a further confirmation of my appointment as his successor, as it had been accomplished in the samemanner, and the only manner, in which Shoghi Effendi had identified Mason Remey as his successor, in appointing him the President of the first International Bahá'í Council and the sole basis for his succession to the Guardianship, as explained in his Proclamation to the Bahá'í world at Ridván 1960. Therefore, I felt certain that the implication of my appointment by Mason Remey as President of the second International Bahá'í Council would be clear to those believers who had accepted Mason Remey as the second Guardian. I was equally certain that when the sealed letter that I had received some three years earlier from Mason Remey was opened, its contents would further confirm my appointment as Mason Remey's successor, which turned out to be the case. For the above reasons, I felt it would be redundant to now also publish the 5 December 1951 letter appointing me his successor, a decision I would later regret.
In 1965 Mason Remey specifically instructed me, to my great surprise, to immediately activate the International Bahá'í Council under my Presidency. I felt certain that the believers who had accepted Mason Remey's Guardianship on the basis of his Presidency of the first International Bahá'í Council, appointed by Shoghi Effendi, would certainly realize that Mason Remey's instructions to activate the second International Bahá'í Council would have caused great consternation and incredulity on my part. For, it was obvious that if the instructions of Mason Remey to activate the Council were carried out implicitly according to his instructions, it would inevitably and automatically result in his abdication of the Guardianship and my accession to the Guardianship, coincident with that activation. Although in 1965 Mason Remey was already 91 years of age, the possibility that a decision would be made by a Guardian to abdicate the Guardianship, as the result of some incapacity, had never entered my mind and had therefore never been envisaged. As I did not consider Mason Remey in any way incapacitated, at the time, and unable to continue as the Guardian, I had every reason to believe that Mason Remey fully realized the ramification and momentous import of such a decision, for he had clearly pointed out in his Proclamation that his own accession to the Guardianship had been solely based on his Presidency of the first International Bahá'í Council and that his succession had taken place coincident with the passing of Shoghi Effendi. In fact, it had been for this very reason that Shoghi Effendi had carefully retained the International Council in an inactive status during the remaining years of his ministry and had even appointed a "chosen liaison"between himself and the Council to preclude any semblance of his direction of this Council himself.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, I could not bring myself, at the time, to believe that Mason Remey really had intended to abdicate the Guardianship or inexplicably had fully realized the highly significant implications involved in his instructions to activate the Council. Accordingly, upon my return to France, where I then resided, a statement was prepared for publication in our Bahá'í newsletter, "The Glad Tidings" of October 1965 under the heading: "Council Assumes Task"(an article that had been forwarded to Mason Remey for his approval prior to its publication) in which I attempted to circumvent the actual activation of the Council, as a functioning body, by using such phrases as: "the second International Bahá'í Council (the embryonic Universal House of Justice under the hereditary Guardianship) will not be convened at this time as a collectively functioning body" and included a further statement to the effect that I would assign tasks only to individual members of the Council. However, there was a vital distinction, which I failed to perceive at the time, in my assigning such tasks to individual Council members, and the tasks that Shoghi Effendi had assigned, from time to time, to individual members of the Council that he had appointed, and one that I had been unable to avoid in my assignment of such tasks to members of an activated Council. This distinction lay in the fact that, in the case of the International Bahá'í Council appointed by Shoghi Effendi, it was he who had assigned tasks to individual members during the remaining years of his ministry, and not Mason Remey, who, although being the President of this supreme Council, had never been instructed by Shoghi Effendi during his ministry to convene it as an actively functioning body or had been authorized to assign any tasks to its members. Furthermore, when Shoghi Effendi had assigned individual tasks to Council members he would have undoubtedly transmitted his instructions through the intermediary of his "chosen liaison" with the Council, Rúhíyyih Khánum (as specified in his message of 8 March 1952).
Some four years would pass, following the activation of the second International Bahá'í Council in 1965 under my Presidency, before an inexplicable act of such magnitude on the part of Mason Remey would occur that it caused me to seriously reflect again upon my status and, as a result, I perceived and had to acknowledge the distinction, ramifications and momentous import that been involved in my activation of this Council and the realization that my assignment of individual tasks to members of this Council had been a futile effort on my part to circumvent assumption of the Guardianship, as it had not paralleled the assignment of individual tasks to individual members of the first International Bahá'í Council that Shoghi Effendi had made during his ministry, in which Mason Remey, in his capacity as President, had played no part. I was then faced with the undeniable fact that Mason Remey had, indeed, brought about the abdication of his Guardianship four years earlier when he had instructed me to activate the second International Bahá'í Council. However, it was only with the greatest reluctance, that I had to accept the fact that my accession to the Guardianship of the Faith had taken place upon the announcement of the Council's activation, in the October 1965 issue of "The Glad Tidings."
My reluctance to assume the Guardianship was heightened by my realization that, contrary to what I had originally believed, Mason Remey obviously had not perceived the fact that he had actually abdicated the Guardianship or had realized the significance and ramifications involved in his instructions to activate the second International Bahá'í Council of which I was President. For, in a letter addressed to me some three months following the publication and distribution of my statement in the "Glad Tidings" announcing his decision, he sent me a letter on February 18,1966, which, while revealing that he had not realized that I had already acceded to the Guardianship, at the same time, it did provide undeniable evidence that he had no intention of trying to retract his letter of 5 December 1961, which he would have certainly realized would be contrary to the provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, that understandably makes no provision for the retraction of this one-time divinely guided and therefore irrevocable appointment. On the contrary, this letter, although not recognized by him as now redundant, provided further and unquestionable evidence that it had always been and remained his invariable intention that I should become his successor, as he stated:
"I am turning the affairs of the Faith over to you as the President of the second Bahá'í International Council to handle this for me’ you having the other members of the International Council to assist you" and further stated in the same letter, "from now on I will leave you free to conduct the affairs of the Faith, I making suggestions when necessary."
It now became clear from the above statement that Mason Remey, contrary to what I had originally believed, had, incomprehensibly, not realized the import of his instructions to me to activate the second International Bahá'í Council in 1965 and, as this had sadly been the case, it was undeniable evidence that his mind had already, by that time, begun to seriously fail. Even more critically, as events would subsequently reveal, this fact would be further substantiated, when, incredulously, in an announcement he would later make to the Bahá'í world, he would prove conclusively that he had completely forgotten his letter of 5 December 1961, quoted above, in which he had instructed me "to tell the Bahá'í World" of my appointment as the third Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith. As I mentioned earlier, I would later come to regret that I had not shared this letter with the friends when it had been first opened in 1964, when I had considered, at that time, that it would be redundant to do so, in view of the clear implication of my appointment by Mason Remey as the President of the second International Bahá'í Council. Now, some four years later, to my astonishment, Mason Remey would make an announcement that fully awakened me to the critical situation in which the Faith now found itself and which painfully forced me to issue my Proclamation of 12 November 1969. I then realized that I had been wrong in my earlier belief that it would be redundant to inform the faithful believers of the contents of Mason Remey's letter of 5 December 1961 when it had been first opened in September of 1964, for if I had done so, it would have forestalled the obviously illegitimate appointment of another successor that he had now incredibly announced and who, incidentally, was not one of the original eight other appointed members of the International Council listed above, whom he had stated, upon appointing this Council, would succeed, in turn, to the Guardianship, in the order named, in the event of my demise and then successively their own. There now remained no longer any doubt that his mind had seriously failed and it accounted for the increasingly irrational and uncharacteristic statements that he had begun to make in his letters addressed, not only to me, but to all of the faithful friends, that were highly disturbing and perplexing, that even included shocking criticism of acts that Shoghi Effendi had taken during his ministry. These letters and writings sadly contradicted and were completely at variance with his magnificent writings during the years, both preceding his accession to the Guardianship and during his short ministry as the Guardian of the Faith.
As mentioned above, if I had published Mason Remey's letter of 5 December 1961 when it had been first opened, it would have forestalled Mason Remey's illicit appointment of another individual as his successor that he would now make in 1969, obviously, not only forgetting that irrevocable appointment he had made in 1961, in accordance with the sacred provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, but ignoring, as well, the fact that the second International Bahá'í Council had been activated in 1965 under my Presidency. Although his mind was failing and he was forgetful of this all-important act, it may well be asked what would now have induced him in these final years of his life to appoint an obviously illegitimate successor, when he had never uttered one word of dissatisfaction with, or criticism of, any of my undertakings, quite the contrary being the case, and had provided clear evidence, as cited above, of his intention from the very outset, and during his ministry, that I become his successor?
The answer to the foregoing question is found in the fact that the individual whom he would appoint in 1969 was actually the admitted choice of Joseph Pepe, a non-Bahá'í, under whose baneful influence Mason Remey had found himself sometime following his departure from Haifa in 1959 and his return to the United States. Being unmarried, living alone and of advance age, Mason Remey, understandably, had needed someone to care for him, and had become increasingly dependent upon this man who, no doubt, had offered to provide this care. My understanding is that Mason Remey had first known Pepe years earlier when visiting Florence, Italy, and now had met him again in these latter years of his life in Washington. Pepe had found in Mason Remey a golden opportunity to enrich himself financially, in the nefarious manner that is discussed in footnote below 2 and, who, upon learning of my long association and friendship with Mason Remey, and undoubtedly concerned about Mason Remey's intention, if not the fact, that he had already appointed me his successor, had possibly become fearful that his plans to become the sole heir of Mason Remey might be, in some way, thwarted if I were to inherit the Guardianship. Therefore, when he had later found in a Bahá'í who had visited Mason Remey in Fiesole, one whom he felt assured would pose no threat to his plans, he then schemed to persuade Mason Remey to appoint this individual of his choice as his successor. However, when he had actually prevailed upon Mason Remey to appoint this individual subsequent to all of the previous statements that Mason Remey had made affirming my appointment as his successor, as outlined above, it would appear that Pepe had no prior knowledge of Mason Remey's letter of 5 December 1961, which had probably been written prior to their association, and of the indisputable fact that any substitute appointment made by Mason Remey would have no validity whatsoever, as my appointment had already been made in accordance with the provision of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, a provision that calls for a one-time, divinely-guided and therefore irrevocable appointment. Moreover, undoubtedly unfamiliar with the terms of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Pepe had blindly ignored the fact that my accession to the Guardianship had already taken place, when, upon Mason Remey's instructions, the second International Bahá'í Council had been activated as a functioning body in 1965, and that, in this manner, I had thereby unquestionably inherited the Guardianship in the same way that Mason Remey had succeeded to the Guardianship, the only difference being that my accession to the Guardianship had taken place upon Mason Remey's abdication and not upon his passing.
Decisive evidence that it was Pepe who had influenced Mason Remey to make this subsequent illicit appointment may be found in the following quoted extract of a letter written by Pepe to Brent Mathieu, (a supporter of Donald Harvey's successor) under date of 4 August 1990: "Mason Remey named Donald Harvey as his successor. To be honest, I did not want that role for myself and I suggested Donald to Mason to begin with. It would have made no difference for Donald and I were as "one" to each other and still are, I believe. Donald is no problem."
In the light of the foregoing summary of the facts, it should be clearly and undeniably evident that no Bahá'í, other than myself, can rightfully claim to be Mason Remey's legitimately appointed successor.
1. With Mason Remey's letter of authority in hand, I traveled to Israel in October 1961, accompanied by an attorney friend, Fergus Belanger, a resident of Orléans, France, where I also was living at this time and who had recently become a Bahá'í. Considerable documentation had been prepared to submit to the Minister of Religious Affairs and the Head of the Bahá'í Department, including an Aide-Memoire written by Mr. Belanger. Upon arriving in Jerusalem on 15 October, and before contacting the Minister of Religious Affairs we decided to visit the National Library of Jerusalem to obtain information about this Ministry. During our research it was suggested that we review the Israel Year Books and in reviewing the Year Book for the year 1957, published in December of that year, only a month after the passing of Shoghi Effendi, we were startled to find under the section covering the Ministry of Religious Affairs, in which the heads of the various Religious Communities in Israel were listed, the name of Mason Remey, as the President of the International Bahá'í Council. It was further noted that in the Year Book for the following year the "Supreme Spiritual Body of Nine Hands of the Cause Residing in the Holy Land" had been listed and placed above the name of Mason Remey. Also, the name of Leroy Ioas had been added as Secretary General of the International Bahá'í Council. Mason Remey's name had been deleted entirely in the Year Book for 1959, the year of the third Conclave of the Hands of the Cause, at the termination of which Mason Remey had refused any longer to be a signatory to their messages to the Bahá'í world and only a short time before his Proclamation to the Bahá'í world at Ridván 1960. As the portfolio of the Minister of Religious Affairs was being held, pro-tem, by the Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, pending formation of a new Government, the next highest official was the Director General, Dr. Kahana. We were subsequently accorded a gracious reception by both Dr. Kahana and Dr. Colby, the head of the Bahá'í department of the Ministry with whom we had two meetings, They listened most cordially and sympathetically to our presentations at the time but it remained for their decision to be rendered after our return to France in a letter addressed to me by Dr. Colby, under date of February 13, 1962, in which he stated:"Whereas my arguments were of a strictly legal nature, yours are exclusively based on religion . . . I am therefore convinced that your claim should be brought before Bahá'í public opinion, which alone is capable of rejecting or recognizing it." On the basis of this letter, Mason Remey decided not to purse the matter further with the Israel authorities.
2. For Pepe to financially enrich himself and become the heir of Mason's estate, he obviously realized that the first thing he had to do would be to influence him to move to Italy, away from his relatives in the United States. And this he soon did, when Mason Remey surprisingly announced to the faithful friends that he would be moving to Florence, Italy, a move in which no benefit to either himself or to the Faith could be perceived. He left his beautiful home in Washington D.C. and upon arriving in Florence took up his initial residence in a single hotel room in the city where correspondence was addressed to him in care of American Express and where he was residing on my first visit to him in November 1962. For Pepe to insure maximum financial benefit from Mason Remey's relocation to Italy, he found a very large rundown unfurnished palazzo, for Mason Remey to buy, very much in excess of Mason Remey's needs, located in Fiesole, a fashionable suburb in the hills above Florence, which required extensive and costly renovations which required furnishing with a shipment of furniture from Mason Remey's Washington D.C. home which would insure that it would be a high-priced property when resold. To further insure that he would inherit this property upon Mason's passing, he then influenced Mason to legally adopt him as his son. I visited Mason Remey for a second time in Italy when he had taken up residence in this palazzo. It was during this visit that an incident took place that, upon later reflection, convinced me that Pepe may have been concerned that Mason was making some plans behind his back that could interfere with his plans to become Mason Remey's sole heir upon his passing and had therefore subsequently influenced Mason Remey to make an appointment of his choice. It was only some years later upon my reflection of events that took place upon my second visit to Mason Remey in Italy, that I called to mind the event in which Mason Remey had asked me to accompany him to his upstairs study for a private conversation away from the others. We had not been in conversation very long before Pepe burst into the room and told us that lunch was being served and that we should immediately come to the table. It only came to me years later that this interruption had taken place because Pepe had been concerned that because of the close relationship and association that had been mine over the years with Mason Remey, both before and after his accession to the Guardianship, that possibly some arrangements were being discussed behind closed doors that would be inimical to his interests and interfere with his plans to become the sole inheritor of Mason's estate upon his passing. Therefore, it would appear that against such an eventuality, he had decided that he would persuade Mason Remey to appoint an individual of his choice so that I would not become Mason Remey's successor, as Guardian of the Faith, not realizing that such an appointment would have no validity and additionally it was already too late. But, as Mason Remey had now come under the control of Pepe and in his deteriorated mental state, had even forgotten that he had first appointed me his successor as early as December 1961, he made an illicit appointment of an alternative illegitimate successor who had been suggested to him by Pepe, as confirmed in his letter quoted above.
Nawasish Ali Siyyid
John B. Byers
Early HistoryJoel 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.
Later YearsIn 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 EuropeIn 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 GuardianOn 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 GuardianIn 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:
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 FlorenceIn 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.
PROCLAMATIONIt 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: Nosrat’u’llah Bahremand Ross Campbell Jeffrey Goldberg David Maxwell Y.H. Taylor 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
(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.
The 200th Anniversary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah – the designated Day of Celebration
These days Baha’i communities around the World are announcing the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah through their local newspapers or internet. This is good, but unfortunately those who follow the directives of the UHJ, knowingly or unknowingly, are announcing the Birthday of Baha’u’llah as October 22nd, although November 12, 1817, was His birthday. Such a shameful mistake is a result of them blindly following the bogus UHJ’s letter of July 10, 2014, in which the UHJ has written:
“The Birth of the Báb and the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh, have, in the East, been traditionally observed according to their correspondence to the first and second days of Muharram in the Islamic calendar. “These two days are accounted as one in the sight of God,” Bahá’u’lláh affirms. Yet, a letter written on behalf of the Guardian (Shoghi Effendi) states, “In the future, no doubt all of the Holy Days will follow the Solar calendar, and provisions be made as to how the Twin Festivals will be celebrated universally.”
"How to satisfy the intrinsic lunar character of these blessed Days within the context of a solar calendar has hitherto been unanswered. We have decided that they will now be observed on the first and the second day following the occurrence of the eighth new moon after Naw-Rúz, as determined in advance by astronomical tables using Tihrán as the point of reference. This will result in the observance of the Twin Birthdays moving, year to year, within the months of Mashíyyat, ‘Ilm, and Qudrat of the Badí‘ calendar, or from mid-October to mid-November according to the Gregorian calendar.”
According to the Compilation Questions and Answers, in response to a question about His Birthday and the Birthday of the Bab, Baha’u’llah revealed: “These two days are accounted as one in the sight of God.”
If those who are running the affairs of the bogus UHJ had studied the Tablets and Writings of Baha’u’llah, they would have noticed that “These two days are accounted as one in the sight of God,” because the Bab also is a Manifestation of God.
“Thus, by the “sun” in one sense is meant those Suns of Truth Who rise from the dayspring of ancient glory, and fill the world with a liberal effusion of grace from on high. These Suns of Truth are the universal Manifestations of God in the worlds of His attributes and names.” (Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 33)
“For this reason, hath the Point of the Bayan — may the life of all else but Him be His sacrifice! — likened the Manifestations of God unto the sun which, though it rise from the “Beginning that hath no beginning” until the “End that knoweth no end,” is none the less the same sun. Now, wert thou to say, that this sun is the former sun, thou speakest the truth; and if thou sayest that this sun is the “return” of that sun, thou also speakest the truth. Likewise, from this statement it is made evident that the term “last” is applicable to the “first,” and the term “first” applicable to the “last;” inasmuch as both the “first” and the “last” have risen to proclaim one and the same Faith.” (Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 161)
Shoghi Effendi during His Ministry always advised Baha’is to observe Holy Days according to the solar calendar, which enables the believers to indicate and point to the correct date and time for observing occasions and events in the season and year.
“Moreover, request communities observing Bahá’í Holy Days, solar calendar, celebrate with befitting solemnity the approaching anniversary of Bahá’u’lláh’s Birthday.” (Cablegram, October 8, 1952 – Messages to the Bahá’í World:1950–1957)
“Announce to Bahá’í communities, East and West, on the joyous occasion of the hundred and thirty-fifth Anniversary of Bahá’u’lláh’s Birthday, the successful termination of the protracted negotiations, initiated two years ago…” (Cablegram, November 12,1952 – Messages to the Bahá’í World:1950–1957)
“Dear Bahá’í Brothers and Sisters: Shoghi Effendi wishes me to acknowledge the receipt of your joint letter dated November 12th,1932 written on the occasion of the birth-day of Bahá’u’lláh.” (Shoghi Effendi, The Light of Divine Guidance v I, p. 44)
“It is advisable to use both the Bahá’í dates, according to the Bahái Calendar, and the usual Gregorian dates as well. The friends at present are free to do as they please.” (Shoghi Effendi, Directives from the Guardian, p. 12)
Historians and scholars still are trying to find out the real and exact birthdate of Jesus Christ since it is not written in the Gospels. Christian sects celebrate different dates as His Birthday.
The Birthdays of the Baha’u’llah and His Herald are clearly announced by Himself and His Interpreters of the Word.
The Headless body (UHJ) has created confusion by its negligence.
October 16, 2017
Shoghi Effendi Never Was Silent
Enemies of the Baha’i Faith are criticizing the Faith by accusing Shoghi Effendi, the first Guardian of the Cause of God, of being silent despite the fact that Shoghi Effendi wrote:
“The Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, which, together with the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, constitute the chief depository wherein are enshrined those priceless elements of that Divine Civilization, the establishment of which is the primary mission of the Bahá’í 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.” (The World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 3)
And Shoghi Effendi said:
“Everything that is written in the Will and Testament [of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá] will be fulfilled. The Bahá’ís must not be anxious about this.”
The adversaries of the Baha’i Faith said that Shoghi Effendi did not act accordingly to the obligatory commandment of Abdu’l-Baha in His Will and Testament which decrees:
“It is incumbent upon the Guardian of the Cause of God to appoint in his own life-time him that shall become his successor that differences may not arise after his passing.”
The foes of the Faith then say that if Shoghi Effendi could not “appoint in his own life-time him that shall become his successor,” it means that the Administrative Order of the Baha’i Faith was not well designed, and it is imperfect, etc..
Their wrong supposition is based on the diabolical lies of the bogus UHJ as quoted below:
“There is no doubt at all that in the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Shoghi Effendi was the authority designated to appoint his successor, but he had no children and all the surviving Aghsan had broken the Covenant. Thus, as the Hands of the Cause stated in 1957, it is clear that there was no one he could have appointed in accordance with the provisions of the Will. The fact that Shoghi Effendi did not leave a will cannot be adduced as evidence of his failure to obey Bahá’u’lláh — rather should we acknowledge that in his very silence there is a wisdom and a sign of his infallible guidance.” (The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 353)
Following is the related statement of the former Hands after their conclave in 1957:
“On the following morning, November 19th, nine Hands of the Cause, selected from the Holy Land, and the several continents of East and West, with (Amatu’l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum, broke the seals placed upon the beloved Guardian’s safe and desk and made careful examination of their precious contents. These same Hands, rejoining the other Hands assembled in the Mansion of Bahá’u’lláh at Bahji, certified that Shoghi Effendi had left no Will and Testament. It was likewise certified that the beloved Guardian had left no heir.” (Ministry of the Custodians, p. 35)
The Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha reveals:
“The mighty stronghold shall remain impregnable and safe through obedience to him who is the Guardian of the Cause of God,” and commands that the Guardian:
“appoint in his own life-time him that shall become his successor,” not in the form of a will which usually is disclosed after the passing.
The Guardian of the Cause of God cannot be silent, and the first Guardian never was silent. What guidance is anticipated from silence, which opens the door to different assumptions and speculations?
Shoghi Effendi knew better than the errant Hands of the Cause and anyone else that He did not have a son, and all the surviving blood descendants of Baha’u’llah had broken the Covenant. In a letter on his behalf to an individual believer, which can be found in the Bahá’í News, No. 232, p. 8, June 1950 is written:
“He feels that if … ponders more deeply about the fundamentals of Divine Revelation, she will also come to understand the Guardianship. Once the mind and heart have grasped the fact that God guides men through a Mouthpiece, a human being, a Prophet, infallible and unerring, it is only a logical projection of this acceptance to also accept the station of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and the Guardians. The Guardians are the evidence of the maturity of mankind in the sense that at long last men have progressed to the point of having one world, and of needing one world management for human affairs. In the spiritual realm they have also reached the point where God could leave, in human hands (i.e. the Guardians) guided directly by the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh, as the Master states in His Will, the affairs of His Faith for this Dispensation. This is what is meant by ‘this is the day which will not be followed by night.’ In this Dispensation, divine guidance flows on to us in this world after the Prophet’s ascension, through first the Master, and then the Guardians. If a person can accept Bahá’u’lláh’s function, it should not present any difficulty to them to also accept what He has ordained in a Divinely guided individual in matters pertaining to the Faith.” (Directives from the Guardian, p.34)
Less than three years prior to His passing to the Abha Kingdom, Valera Allen and John Allen had recorded in their Pilgrims’ Notes:
“The Guardian was asked if the meaning of the verse in the Bible ‘the day that would not be followed by night’ meant that succeeding Manifestations would not be persecuted but immediately accepted by the people. He answered, “No, there will always be evil in the world and doubtless the succeeding Manifestations would be persecuted though in a lesser degree.” The meaning of the verse was that the Guardians would be sources of guidance and protection for the Faith until the coming of the subsequent Manifestation which might not be for 6000 years although He might come any time after 1000 years – depending on need.
We became slightly involved as to why the people would probably not accept the new Manifestation if they had the Guardian to guide and direct them which led to Shoghi Effendi recounting for us the functions of Guardianship. He stressed the Infallibility of the Guardian as being the essential thing that kept schisms from developing in the Faith. One could not say that he was infallible only as Interpreter of the Writings but he was infallible in anything that he stated he was infallible in. He was the only one who could know when he was guided infallibly. That was the very nature of infallibility. Regardless of what he talked about if he gave his word as an infallible statement then it was so — if it were a suggestion he would say so. In speaking of the Guardian, as the Head of the Universal House of Justice, he said that the Universal House of Justice was bound to accept the Guardian’s authority if he spoke from the Station of Infallibility, because of the statement in the “Will and Testament of Abdu’l- Baha” which says: “It is incumbent upon the members of the House of Justice, upon all the Aghsan, the Afnan, the Hands of the Cause of God to show their obedience, submissiveness and subordination unto the Guardian of the Cause of God, to turn unto him and be lowly before him.” He spoke with great power and authority when he mentioned the Station of the Guardian and the functions of the Guardianship.” (Haifa Impressions by Valera Allen and John Allen, 1954. Notes from a pilgrimage in December 1954, p. 12. http://bahai-library.com/allen_haifa_impressions)
A response of Shoghi Effendi to one of the pilgrim’s questions asked prior to his passing in 1957 is as follows:
(The Guardian was asked a question concerning whether or not the next Manifestation of God would be opposed by the people of the world, as had Bahá’u’lláh and all former Messengers of God.)
“In the future, when the next Manifestation appears, the Guardian of the Cause at that time will tell the believers who the Manifestation is and will call on them to accept Him. What is the use of the infallibility of the Guardian if he does not do this? This is one of the very important things that he will do. Opposition to the next Manifestation will thus be much less than in former times — that is to say, the area of opposition will be reduced. ‘This is the day that shall not be followed by night’ means that divine guidance will not again be withdrawn from the world.” (Pilgrims’ Notes recorded by Isobel Sabri, 1957 http://bahai-library.com/sabri_pilgrims_notes )
From Pilgrims’ Notes by William Allison in 1957, who had the distinction of being the last of the Baha’is to visit the first Guardian in Haifa:
“The Guardian said there will be Bahá’í Kings. The Hands of the Cause of God, with their own organization, will be these kings. Their duties, specifically, will be to propagate the Faith and protect it. The Hands of the Cause will outrank the members of the House of Justice.
Hujoj. [Huquq.] More will be given on this in later years. It is solely for purification of money and one’s income.
The institution of the Guardianship interprets, directs the Hands, heads the House of Justice and defines their sphere of legislation.” (Pilgrims’ Notes by William Allison in 1957 http://bahai-library.com/allison_pilgrims_notes)
In fact, Shoghi Effendi, in accordance to the provisions of the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha, appointed His successor in His life-time.
On 9 January 1951 Shoghi Effendi by His Only Proclamation issued during his 36-year ministry announced the formation of the first International Bahá’í Council, the real Universal House of Justice, in embryonic form, and by cablegram of 2 March 1951, appointed Mason Remey as the President and Head of the true Universal House of Justice, in embryonic form, i.e. the next Guardian. The presidency of the Universal House of Justice exclusively is the function of the Guardian, and no one other than the Guardian can occupy this position.
The Head of the true Universal House of Justice is pre-appointed, and this capacity comes as an integral part of the authorities and responsibilities of the Guardian delineated by ‘Abdu’l-Baha in His Testament. The Head of this body is the Guardian who is appointed by the predecessor Guardian. No one on earth has the authority to remove the “Sacred Head” of this Body and elect someone instead to replace him.
Mason Remey was appointed by the first Guardian, and after the passing of Shoghi Effendi, nobody had the authority to remove him from this Office to which he was appointed by the first Guardian. Moreover, nobody had the authority to dissolve the International Baha’i Council, all of whose members were appointed by the first Guardian, and this same body, as originally appointed, had to evolve “INTO OFFICIALLY RECOGNIZED BAHA’I COURT” as the “ESSENTIAL PRELUDE TO THE INSTITUTION OF THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE” as clearly stated in Shoghi Effendi’s Proclamation of 9 January 1951. But in the third stage of its evolution when the Court would be transformed “INTO A DULY ELECTED BODY,” the Head and President had to continue in his Office while the members would be elected.
“He [the successor] 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.” (Abdu’l-Baha, The Will and Testament, p. 11)
While the appointment of the successor is not tied to writing a will, it must be done during the life-time of the predecessor Guardian. Shoghi Effendi appointed the second Guardian of the Cause of God during his life-time. The fact that the former Hands of the Cause under the direction of Ruhiyyih Khanum, widow of the first Guardian, did not find His Will, must not be adduced as He had not written a Will. Shoghi Effendi always encouraged Baha’is to write a will according to the commandments of Baha’u’llah in the Most Holy Book: “Unto everyone hath been enjoined the writing of a will.” It is unlikely that He had not written a will. However, as mentioned before, the appointment of the Guardian’s successor does not need to be done by means of a will and testament.
The following passage was written by Ruhiyyih Khanum.
“A further large deposit, invested for safekeeping in Switzerland in both his and my name, I later turned over to the Universal House of Justice after its election”. (Ministry of the Custodians, p. 11)
This may raise the question about the possibility that the Will of Shoghi Effendi containing the explanation of how He appointed his successor Mason Remey on 2 March 1951 was held in a safe deposit box at the same Swiss Bank which only could be accessed by Ruhiyyih Khanum. But she directed the former Hands to the Guardian’s safe and desk in His office.
Shoghi Effendi never was silent. His writings are the best evidence. Shoghi Effendi, during and until the end of his 36-year ministry, had always made it quite clear that the line of Guardians would continue to the end of the Baha’i Dispensation and had made many references to future Guardians in His Writings. Also, many Pilgrims’ Notes are testimonies written by the pilgrims to the Words of Shoghi Effendi about future Guardians and his emphasis on the continuation of the Guardianship to the end of the Baha’i Dispensation.
One night the Guardian said, “Pilgrims’ Notes are very important. They should be eagerly received as they bring the Spirit of the Shrines, and the Station of the Guardianship, and the first-hand impressions which the cablegrams and letters cannot convey. Of course they cannot be authoritative, as they are not written by the Master or the Guardian, but they are very important, and should be so considered.” (Visiting the Baha’i World by Ruth Moffett 1954-59, part II B http://bahai-library.com/moffett_pilgrims_notes – 2)
In 1957 when the first Guardian passed to the Abha Kingdom, the Hands who did not have and could not have administrative authority, justified their usurpation of the authority of the Guardian because of the situation which was portrayed by Ruhiyyih Khanum and the former Hands who followed her. Her false assertion was that after Shoghi Effendi there was no longer any authority. In doing this they (the Hands) ignored the fact that Shoghi Effendi had already established the highest administrative Body of the Faith.
Why would the Baha’is “cling to the Hands” as Ruhiyyih Khanum told the Baha’i world to do in a telegram, instead of clinging to the supreme international institution of the Faith established by the late Guardian himself? If it was necessary for a group of nine persons to administer the affairs of the Faith, why should it not be the Universal House of Justice, in its embryonic form, similar to the status of the National and Local Bodies, especially when all the members of that International Body had been selected and appointed by the Guardian himself?
The former Hands did not have any authority to say:
“We nominate and appoint from our own number to act on our behalf as the Custodians of the Baha’i World Faith to exercise — subject to such directions and decisions as may be given from time to time by us as the Chief Stewards of the Baha’i World Faith — all such functions, rights and powers in succession to the Guardian of the Baha’i Faith,” (The Ministry of the Custodians, p. 29)
The International Baha’i Council was the legitimate, rightful and highest institution of the Baha’i Faith, while in contrast the Hands of the Cause do not have administrative authority in the Faith. By now many know the famous admission of Ruhiyyih Khanum in this regard: “How to assume the reins of authority, with no document to support us…” (Ministry of the Custodians, p. 9)
It is of particular importance that they stripped themselves from their station as Hands of the Cause when they denied the fact that the first Guardian had appointed his successor by appointing Him as the Head of the embryonic Universal House of Justice, an Office, which can only be occupied by the Guardian.
“The Hand of Omnipotence hath established His Revelation upon an unassailable, an enduring foundation. Storms of human strife are powerless to undermine its basis, nor will men’s fanciful theories succeed in damaging its structure.” (Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 109)
March 20, 2017
A Warning Call To Obey “The Summons Of The Lord Of Hosts”
by Nosrat’u’llah Bahremand
It was brought to my attention that the illegitimate organization which is headquartered in Haifa and which undeservedly calls itself “the Universal House of Justice”, has recently organized a Web-page and claims that it is the “Official website of the Bahá’í Faith”!1
They should have honestly clarified that they meant a version of the Baha’i Faith modified and manipulated by Ruhiyyih Khanum and those former Hands of the Cause who followed her; a faith which repudiates the “Center of the Cause” and does not adhere to the sacred provisions of the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha, a faith that is based on imitation, herd instinct and mind control, and by scare and hate-mongering rhetoric; a version of faith which is compatible with the ill wishes of “The Center of Sedition, the Prime Mover of mischief, Mirza Muhammad Alí,”, by “interpolating and falsifying the words and verses of the Sacred Text,” and consequently they “inflicted a grievous loss upon the true Faith of God,” by ignoring writings of the first Guardian of the Cause of God, especially his Proclamation of 9 January 1951 the only Proclamation during his own life; and opposing the descendant Guardians of the Cause of God.
The bogus organization pretends to be real; to be the same Universal House of Justice revealed in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas and the Will and Testament of Abdu’l Baha, and as mentioned throughout the writings of Shoghi Effendi. They are trying to say that their organization has originated from the Most Holy Book, the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, when in reality this organization has been rooted in the violation of the Covenant by Ruhiyyih Khanum and the former Hands of the Cause who followed her.
They have written:
“In 1951, Shoghi Effendi appointed a number of individuals to an International Bahá’í Council, a forerunner to the Universal House of Justice. In 1961, this appointed Council was reformed as a body elected by all the National and Regional Assemblies then established in the world.
After Shoghi Effendi’s sudden passing in 1957, his work was faithfully carried on by the group of distinguished Bahá’ís he had appointed as Hands of the Cause of God. These individuals arranged for the first election of the Universal House of Justice
The International Baha’i Council, so contemptuously mentioned in their writing, was truly an august body, the formation of which was announced by Shoghi Effendi, the first Guardian of the Cause of God, in his proclamation of January 9, 1951, the only proclamation of his lifetime to the Baha’i World. Rebellious Hands of the Cause did not have any authority to “reform” the IBC, which by that term they meant the termination of the Embryo IBC.
The first Guardian explained the IBC’s significance and virtues:
“…, combine to induce me to arrive at this historic decision marking most significant milestone in evolution of Administrative Order of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh in course of last thirty years.”
“…in course of evolution of this first embryonic International Institution, marking its development into officially recognized Bahá’í 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 neighbourhood 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 Bahá’í Dispensation potentially unsurpassed by any enterprise undertaken since inception of Administrative Order of Faith on morrow of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’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 Bahá’í Cycle.”
(Cablegram, January 9, 1951, Messages to the Baha’i World – 1950-1957, p. 7)
January 9, 1951 was a major turning point and a milestone in the history of the Baha’i Faith.
Earlier local and national Houses of Justice were established in their embryonic forms i.e. the Spiritual Assemblies: “the local as well as national Assemblies, which in the course of time will evolve, with the Master’s power and guidance, into the local and national Houses of Justice.”
(Shoghi Effendi, The Unfolding Destiny of the British Baha’i Community, p. 5)
“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’l-Baha Section, p. 411)
“The Universal House of Justice is elected by the members of the National Houses of Justice. At this time when the National Assemblies in the Cause are not yet functioning sufficiently or fully representative of all the various important elements within it, and when some of the Baha’is are not even free to practise their faith, despite their numbers, it is quite impracticable to seek to establish the Universal House of Justice. Whenever conditions permit, it will be established.”
(Shoghi Effendi, Dawn of a New Day, p. 95)
On January 9, 1951, the conditions were favorable for the formation of the Universal House of Justice in its embryonic form (The International Baha’i Council). In the course of time and evolution, this embryonic International Institution inevitably must be developed into an officially recognized Bahá’í Court. This process was not only explained in the Proclamation of January 9, 1951; but it has been repeatedly emphasized in many messages of Shoghi Effendi; it having been designated by him as one of the major goals of the Ten Years Crusade synchronous with the establishment of six national Bahá’í Courts in the chief cities of the Islamic countries.
At the World Center of the Faith, where, at long last the machinery of its highest institutions has been erected, and around whose most holy shrines the supreme organs of its unfolding Order, are, in their embryonic form, unfolding;
(Shoghi Effendi, Messages to the Baha’i World – 1950-1957, p. 33)
“– a process which the newly formed Council, now established at its very heart, is designed to foster, which will gather momentum, with the emergence in the course of time of a properly recognized and independently functioning Bahá’í court, which will attain its consummation in the institution of the Universal House of Justice and the emergence of the auxiliary administrative agencies, revolving around this highest legislative body, and which will reveal the plenitude of its potentialities with the sailing of the Divine Ark as promised in the Tablet of Carmel.”
(Shoghi Effendi, Citadel of Faith, p. 94)
Process of the unfoldment of the ever-advancing Administrative Order accelerated by the formation of the International Bahá’í Council designed to assist in the erection of the superstructure of the Báb’s Sepulcher, cement ties uniting the budding World Administrative Center with the recently established state, and pave the way for the formation of the Bahá’í Court, essential prelude to the institution of the Universal House of Justice.
(Shoghi Effendi, Messages to the Baha’i World – 1950-1957, p. 12)
The International Bahá’í 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 Bahá’í International Court and the eventual emergence of the Universal House of Justice, the supreme legislative body of the future Bahá’í Commonwealth, has been established, enlarged, and the functions of its members defined.
(Shoghi Effendi, Messages to the Baha’i World – 1950-1957, p. 148)
The development of the functions of the institution of the Hands of the Cause. The establishment of a Bahá’í Court in the Holy Land, preliminary to the emergence of the Universal House of Justice.
Codification of the laws and ordinances of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Mother Book of the Bahá’í Revelation. Establishment of six national Bahá’í Courts in the chief cities of the Islamic East — Tihran, Cairo, Baghdad, New Delhi, Karachi, Kabul.
(Shoghi Effendi, Messages to the Baha’i World – 1950-1957, p. 42)
“the transformation of the International Bahá’í Council into an international Bahá’í court; the codification of the laws and ordinances of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas; the establishment of six national Bahá’í Courts in the chief cities of the Islamic East”
(Messages to the Baha’i World: 1950-1957, Page: 152)
Tenth, the establishment of a national Bahá’í Court in the capital cities of Persia, of Iraq, of Pakistan and of Afghanistan — the leading Muslim centres in the Asiatic continent.
(Shoghi Effendi, Dawn of a New Day, p. 170)
“Sixth, the establishment, circumstances permitting, of a national Bahá’í Court in the capital city of Egypt, the recognized center of both the Islamic and Arab worlds, officially empowered to apply, in matters of personal status, the laws and ordinances revealed in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, the Mother-Book of the Bahá’í Revelation.”
(Messages to the Baha’i World: 1950-1957, Page: 139)
The origin of the bogus UHJ
On November 4, 1959, exactly two years after the passing of the first Guardian Shoghi Effendi, the former Hands of the Cause assembled in a conclave (secret meeting) in Haifa and sent a message to the Baha’is, published on page 165 of a book titled Ministry of the Custodians written by Ruhiyyih Khanum and other violators of the Covenant, they wrote:
“after long and prayerful deliberations, made plans embracing those final steps which they feel must be taken by all the followers of Bahá’u’lláh in East and West in order to bring to a successful conclusion the World Crusade of our beloved Guardian.
Alarmingly little time is now left to us in which to accomplish his design. Well aware of the fact that this great Faith of Bahá’u’lláh stands in sore need of the erection of that infallible and supreme legislative Body which in the words of the Centre of the Covenant Himself “God hath ordained as the source of all good and freed from all error”, and which the Guardian said “posterity will regard as the last refuge of a tottering civilization”, we have fixed the date for the election of the Universal House of Justice as Ridvan 1963”
As it is obvious the inception of the bogus UHJ happened on November 4, 1959 by those who were signatory to the above mentioned message, a group of people who did not have any administrative authority in the Baha’i Faith and who violated the Covenant of Abdu’l Baha.
They have quoted out of context from Will and Testament of Abdu’l Baha: “God hath ordained as the source of all good and freed from all error,” They disregard the fact that this expression in that sacred document is a reference to the real and true Universal House of Justice having the Guardian of the Cause of God as “ its sacred head and the distinguished member for life of that body”, not to a fake and dummy body of their own making.
Abdu’l Baha in His Will and Testaments ordains:
“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 be instituted, and these secondary Houses 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 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, whereupon the people must elect another one in his stead”
From the above text it is apparent that only an institution can be called Universal House of Justice which is elected under the conditions the Master has ordained, having the Guardian of the Cause of God as “its sacred head and the distinguished member for life of that body”.
According to the sacred Will and Testament of Abdu’l Baha:
First: “in all countries a secondary House of Justice must be instituted,” So in all countries a National Houses of Justice must be established, In 1959 there was not one, and to this day there is not one National House of Justice nor a local House of Justice anywhere around the World.
Then: “these secondary Houses of Justice must elect the members of the Universal one.” In the absence of National Houses of Justice, this condition could not be realized.
And, : “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.” It is obvious that a Universal House of Justice could not be and has not been established.
Nevertheless most important of all: “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, whereupon the people must elect another one in his stead”
How do the errant former Hands of the Cause reconcile what they have done in light of the fact that the establishment of an International House of Justice was not part of the goals of the Ten Years Crusade, the establishment of an elected International Baha’i Council was not part of the Crusade either.
The actual objectives of the Crusade were:
“the formation of the Bahá’í Court, essential prelude to the institution of the Universal House of Justice.” And “the establishment of a national Bahá’í Court in the capital cities of Persia, of Iraq, of Pakistan and of Afghanistan — the leading Muslim centres in the Asiatic continent.”
(Shoghi Effendi, Messages to the Baha’i World – 1950-1957, p. 42)
“We are also happy to announce that another milestone in Bahá’í history will be reached with the election of the International Bahá’í Council during Ridvan 1961. The embryonic institution established and so highly extolled by the beloved Guardian will thus enter its final stage preceding the election of the Universal House of Justice.”
Their statement admits how they acted in contradiction to Shoghi Effendi’s writings and drastically altered and disrupted what he ordained and planned for the structure and advancement of the Administrative Order, a plan which he had meticulously and painstakingly designed and announced to the Baha’i World and sought them to follow. While putting forth the pretence they wanted to fulfill the goals of the Crusade, the Violator Hands admitted to the importance of the International Baha’i Council as being the embryo of the Universal House of Justice: “The embryonic institution established and so highly extolled by the beloved Guardian”, even while they declared their plan to dissolve that same institution which had established by the Proclamation of January 9, 1951 of the first Guardian, and the president of the IBC and all its members were appointed by him. The Hands of the Cause did not have any authority to dissolve or alter the International Baha’i Council or change its members. In doing so, they interfered with the following steps for the evolution of the Embryo to the Universal House of Justice:
“its development into an officially recognized Bahá’í Court.”
“its transformation into a duly elected body”
“its efflorescence into the Universal House of Justice.”
“its final fruition through the erection of the manifold auxiliary institutions constituting the World Administrative Center.”
From these stages, only the first step was called for by Shoghi Effendi as one of the objectives of the Crusade, in many of his messages he emphasized the essentiality and necessity of this development.
The first Guardian in June 30, 1952, in one of his most important Messages titled: “The Summons of the Lord of Hosts”, predicted the possibility of severe tests and grievous “ordeal of temporary separation from the heart and nerve-center of their Faith which future unforeseeable disturbances may impose upon them,” He adjured the Baha’is: “never to hesitate, never to relax, until each and every objective in the Plans to be proclaimed, at a later date, has been fully consummated.”
“No matter how long the period that separates them from ultimate victory; however arduous the task; however formidable the exertions demanded of them; however dark the days which mankind, perplexed and sorely-tried, must, in its hour of travail, traverse; however severe the tests with which they who are to redeem its fortunes will be confronted; however afflictive the darts which their present enemies, as well as those whom Providence, will, through His mysterious dispensations raise up from within or from without, may rain upon them, however grievous the ordeal of temporary separation from the heart and nerve-center of their Faith which future unforeseeable disturbances may impose upon them, I adjure them, by the precious blood that flowed in such great profusion, by the lives of the unnumbered saints and heroes who were immolated, by the supreme, the glorious sacrifice of the Prophet-Herald of our Faith, by the tribulations which its Founder, Himself, willingly underwent, so that His Cause might live, His Order might redeem a shattered world and its glory might suffuse the entire planet — I adjure them, as this solemn hour draws nigh, to resolve never to flinch, never to hesitate, never to relax, until each and every objective in the Plans to be proclaimed, at a later date, has been fully consummated.”
Your true brother
[June 30, 1952]
(Shoghi Effendi, Messages to the Baha’i World – 1950-1957, p. 38)
Developments in the Administrative Order must be made only in obedience to every clause of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, They must honor the plans and arrangements that the first Guardian of the Faith made. This requires recognition of the succeeding Guardians after Shoghi Effendi of the fact that he faithfully fulfilled his obligation of appointing his successor during his own lifetime since the obligatory provision of the Will and Testament, quoted below, does not leave any other option for the Guardians:
“It is incumbent upon the Guardian of the Cause of God to appoint in his own life-time him that shall become his successor that differences may not arise after his passing.”
(The Will and Testament, p. 12)
Unfortunately, Ruhiyyih Khanum and those former Hands of the Cause who followed her, sought to extinguish the light of guidance and put an end to the Guardianship of the Cause of God. They committed everything they could do including the dissemination of the following obvious lies:
“We wish to assure the believers that every effort will be made to establish a Bahá’í Court in the Holy Land prior to the date set for this election. We should however bear in mind that the Guardian himself clearly indicated this goal, due to the strong trend towards the secularization of Religious Courts in this part of the world, might not be achieved.”
Shoghi Effendi, the first Guardian of the Cause of God, as quoted previously in many of his messages emphasised the necessity and essentiality of the “the formation of the Bahá’í Court, essential prelude to the institution of the Universal House of Justice.” and he never wrote anything to show any slightest doubts about that.
They wrote: “due to the strong trend towards the secularization of Religious Courts in this part of the world, might not be achieved.”
To make their lie less obvious they did not mentioned the name of “this part of the world” Israel, where “a Bahá’í Court in the Holy Land, preliminary to the emergence of the Universal House of Justice” was to be established by the end of the Crusade. Even now, after passage of more than half a century, religious Courts exist in that country.
Courtesy of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, everybody can now know that the Baha’i Faith is mentioned among the religions which according to the law are allowed to have a religious court:
While military and Labor courts are not exclusive to the Israeli legal system, the Religious Courts are. The Israeli legal system is unique among modern legal systems in the utilization of various personal status laws in the area of family law, applied by religious courts. This phenomenon has historical and political roots: it existed under Ottoman rule and was retained by the British after they conquered the country.
The basic source for the application of the personal status law and the jurisdiction of the various religious courts is found in the Palestine Order in Council (1922). This order provides that
“jurisdiction in matters of personal status shall be exercised… by the courts of the religious communities”.
The order also grants jurisdiction to the District Courts in matters of personal status for foreigners who are non-Muslims, stating that they “shall apply the personal law of the parties concerned”. Regarding foreigners, this was defined as “the law of his nationality”. Case law determined that regarding non-foreigners, “the court … have… to apply the religious or communal law of the parties”.
The Palestine Order in Council recognized eleven religious communities: Jewish, Muslim, and nine Christian denominations. The Israeli government added the Presbyterian Evangelical Church and the Bahá’i to this list. The Knesset also enacted a law vesting jurisdiction in the Druze religious courts.”2
Those who are running the affairs of the bogus UHJ, which has nothing in common, except it name, with the real Universal House of Justice mentioned in the Will and Testament of Abdu’l Baha, must realized that their existence is temporal. They must understand that they are partially responsible for the calamities and adversities which humanity is facing. It is necessary to remind them the sacred Words of Baha’u’llah in The Hidden Words:
O OPPRESSORS ON EARTH!
Withdraw your hands from tyranny, for I have pledged Myself not to forgive any man’s injustice. This is My covenant which I have irrevocably decreed in the preserved tablet and sealed with My seal.
“O REBELLIOUS ONES!
My forbearance hath emboldened you and My long-suffering hath made you negligent, in such wise that ye have spurred on the fiery charger of passion into perilous ways that lead unto destruction. Have ye thought Me heedless or that I was unaware?”
“O CHILDREN OF FANCY!
Know, verily, that while the radiant dawn breaketh above the horizon of eternal holiness, the satanic secrets and deeds done in the gloom of night shall be laid bare and manifest before the peoples of the world.”
O YE PEOPLES OF THE WORLD!
Know, verily, that an unforeseen calamity followeth you, and grievous retribution awaiteth you. Think not that which ye have committed hath been effaced in My sight. By My beauty! All your doings hath My pen graven with open characters upon tablets of chrysolite.
The mighty stronghold 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, to turn unto him and be lowly before him. He that opposeth him hath opposed the True One, will make a breach in the Cause of God, will subvert His Word and will become a manifestation of the Center of Sedition. Beware, beware, lest the days after the ascension (of Bahá’u’lláh) be repeated when the Center of Sedition waxed haughty and rebellious and with Divine Unity for his excuse deprived himself and perturbed and poisoned others.
(The Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha)
In conclusion, the bogus UHJ sets itself up as if it were the genuine one, ignoring the fact that it was born of violation, none of the essential conditions for its election have been met, and it operates without the Guardian as its sacred head. Contrary to the call of Shoghi Effendi, in his letter entitled Summons of the Lord of Hosts, dated June 30, 1952, adjuring the Baha’is to remain focused on the goals of the Plans no matter what might happen. The prerequisites established by Shoghi Effendi for the embryonic UHJ to grow through successive stages to a religious court, then to an elected body, and finally to effloresce to the Universal House of Justice, have not been met. In 1957 after passing the first Guardian, the embryonic Universal House of Justice i.e. the International Baha’i Council with the Guardian as its sacred head, existed and should have been activated, and then be recognized as a Baha’i court. However, the errant Hands would not let this be.
At this critical time, I call upon all to turn towards God and join the true Baha’is under the Guardianship and save their souls. Certainly the Covenant of Baha’u’llah and whatever revealed by His pen; is fulfilled and will be fulfilled.
“We have a fixed time for you, O peoples. If ye fail, at the appointed hour, to turn towards God, He, verily, will lay violent hold on you, and will cause grievous afflictions to assail you from every direction. How severe, indeed, is the chastisement with which your Lord will then chastise you!”
(Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh)
“We exhort mankind in these days when the countenance of Justice is soiled with dust, when the flames of unbelief are burning high and the robe of wisdom rent asunder, when tranquillity and faithfulness have ebbed away and trials and tribulations have waxed severe, when covenants are broken and ties are severed, when no man knoweth how to discern light and darkness or to distinguish guidance from error.”
(Tablet of Wisdom)
The warning call set forth by the first Guardian went unheeded. Today, this warning call is renewed! Obey the Summons of the Lord of Hosts!
2 http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/aboutisrael/state/democracy/pages/the%20judiciary-%20the%20court%20system.aspx. Also, the information is available in the article written by David Nachmias; “Israel Studies An Anthology: National Government Institutions” http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/isdf/text/nachmias.html
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.
November 2, 2015